Tag Archives: vegan

Today: Summer rolls with a spicy vegan aioli.

I’m a salad-for-lunch person.  Always have been.  I keep a big container of spring mix in my office mini-fridge (which reminds me, that thing needs to be defrosted #amIstillincollege?), bottle up a simple homemade dressing (olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and grab cooked lentils, tofu, and veggies at the market near my office a few times each week.

Inevitably, I spill half of the aforementioned dressing on my desk, end up schlepping home sixteen different reusable containers on Friday — some more science-project looking than others — and manage to lose at least two forks in as many days.

Summer rolls are a good alternative to this not-so-efficient system.  They come in their own little edible container, require no silverware, and are perfectly pre-portioned.  I worked from home one day this week, waiting for a contractor to arrive (which he never did…), and whipped up a couple for lunch.  Easy, mess-free, delicious.

Summer rolls with a spicy vegan aioli

Summer rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 Vietnamese brown rice spring roll wrappers (gluten free)
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups spring mix with herbs (or your favorite lettuce)
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 small sweet peppers, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Cook lentils (or beans of your choice) per package instructions and allow to cool.
  2. Set out two dinner plates on your work surface; add a bit of warm water to one, while leaving the other dry.
  3. Carefully dip your first wrapper into the warm water, being sure to soak both sides, and move wrapper to your dry plate.
  4. Fill the center of your wrapper with vegetables and lentils (you can add anything to your rolls… YOLO), gently tucking in the sides of your wrapper and rolling.
  5. Repeat with your second wrap.  Obvi.

While waiting for my lentils to cool, I made a spicy vegan aioli using Nayonaise.  I received two complimentary jars from Nasoya recently and was looking forward to giving the product a try.  The taste and texture are great, and the vegan, gluten-free ingredient list (all non-GMO) makes it a great alternative to regular ol’ mayonnaise.

Spicy vegan aioli with dill

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of Nasoya Nayonaise
  • 2 tsp Thai chili paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • a pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add more lime juice as needed, until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. That’s it.  There is no step 3.

This spicy aioli is the perfect dip for my summer rolls.  It’s spicy, but not too spicy as the dill and lime help take the edge off a bit.  You might take things up a notch with a pinch of cayenne pepper or a bit more chili paste.

Leave your forks at home.

I received complimentary samples of Nayonaise.  I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.  Don’t ask me how I feel about the no-show contractor. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Packing, packing, and more packing
  • We could all use a little panda cam
  • Clark thinks this weather is perfect for napping

What is your favorite utensil-free meal?

 

 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XIV.

What a lovely weekend.  Good food, good friends, good hockey… and welp, a few other things too.  I lost my phone (behind the sofa, naturally) at some point, but did manage to capture most of the highlights.

The weekend according to Instagram XIV

  1. I mean, come on.  Two Stanley Cup finals in three years?  We’re spoiled.   I couldn’t sleep Friday night; it was just too exciting.  The finals start Wednesday, which means I will be napping until then.  Toodles!
  2. Sleep or no sleep, Nick and I hit up CrossFit Southie bright and early Saturday morning.  He competed in our box’s internal throwdown (5 workouts between 9 AM – 2 PM) and took 3rd place in the men’s scaled division.  I came in 1st place in spectating.  In all seriousness, it was so fun to watch Nick and some of our friends compete.  I’m so proud of them all!
  3. Speaking of being proud, last week was Pride Week in Boston.  We wanted to make sure all our friends knew they were loved and supported (every week of the year), so we tweeted out this little message from Clark.
  4. Nick enjoyed a well-deserved rest day Sunday while I hightailed it back to CrossFit Southie (this time, in workout gear).  I love working out together, but I find a solo workout every now and then helps nudge me out of my comfort zone.  I got a PR in power cleans (83 lbs… that’s like… three Clarks!) and finished the workout in just over 17 minutes.  It was a tough one!  There were 10 rounds with reps descending each round (10-9-8-7-6… etc.), totaling 55 power cleans (at 55lbs) and 55 burpee lateral jumps (over the barbell).
  5. I got home to find some muscles peeking through.  Unfortunately, I do not excel at taking self portraits.  Want a blurry photo of our furniture? I’m your girl.
  6. I roasted a big batch of sweet potatoes of the week, and enjoyed a small bowl topped with Old Bay.  I love Old Bay.
  7. I also love summer, and being outside.  After working out, Nick and I picked up some groceries at the market on K & 8th Street and headed up to the roof with our friends Tina and Mal.  We’ve got a great little community herb garden up there.  I know where I will be planting my windowsill herbs once they outgrow their space!
  8. I whipped up a simple green salad, a fruit salad with fresh cherries, and my roasted sweet potato salad.  Nick took care of the meat like a good carnivore, and Tina and Mal brought a delicious homemade guacamole and some hard cider (this is one of the many reasons we get along so well).
  9. Good weather, good food, good friends.  What more could you ask for?  Perhaps good friends that you can trick into helping you (finally) complete your puzzle.  Muhahaha.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Vegan roasted sweet potato salad and secret Pinterest boards.

Some things you want to keep secret.  Like, say… surprise party plans.  Or the fact that you have owned a home for nearly four years and still don’t know how to clean an oven.  Other things, like a fail-proof recipe for a delicious roasted sweet potato salad, are too good to be kept under wraps.

Vegan roasted sweet potato salad (gluten free)

Serves: 10 – 12 people

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped across the rib
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your (recently cleaned?) oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Cook sweet potatoes until they are fork tender and slightly brown (stir occasionally) – approximately 35 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix celery, cranberries (or your choice of dried fruit – I’ve used both raisins and currants), and red onion in a large serving bowl.
  5. Once sweet potatoes are sufficiently cooked, mix them with other ingredients and top with green onions.

Notes:  This dish can be served warm or cold, and keeps well for up to three days in an air tight container, refrigerated (obvi).  Feel free to play around with other spices and seasonings.  I personally live to season everything with Old Bay, but am not certain everyone shares my love for the OB.  Got leftover sweet potatoes?  Why not whip up Alex’s spicy sweet potato lentil burgers?

While putting together the menu for Andrea’s shower, I found a few great ideas on the time vortex that is Pinterest, but didn’t want my sister to know what I was planning.  Ever the schemer, I created a secret board for keeping my ideas organized (and secret).  One secret board turned into two, two into three… and well, you get the picture.

How to create secret Pinterest boards

Secret  Pinterest boards come in handy when planning holiday gifts, gathering ideas for blog posts, or pinning chores that — as a 31 year old — you should know how to do without the guidance of the Internet.  They are only visible to you (unless you invite friends to collaborate — perfect for fellow bridesmaids and other co-conspirators), and appear at the bottom of your screen of boards.

 

To add your own secret board, simply click on “create a board,” as you normally would.

… and be sure to select “secret” before saving changes.

Two easy steps and you’re officially a secret (…Pinterest board) agent.  All I ask is that you don’t keep any tasty recipes to yourself.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you find the best recipes?

Today: Vegan red lentil and lemon soup.

As someone who lives in fear of leaving home with the flat iron plugged in and at full power, I’ve always been terrified of crock pots, slow cookers, and similar devices that are intended to be left on, conducting heat, electricity and other fire starters whilst you’re out of the home. [That was a long sentence.]  The idea that I could return to our condo, though, after a full day of work to find hot meal waiting for me?  Well, that sounds like a miracle.  Especially if one assumes I have not burned down our building in the process.


Last fall, the team at Ninja Kitchen invited us to a demo of their new Ninja Cooking System, which is sort of like the mother of all crock pots.  It doesn’t just cook meals and keep them warm, it has settings for sauteeing, searing, and steam-infused baking and roasting.

Ninja Cooking System

The Ninja team (I picture them wearing all black, all the time) was kind enough to send me the product once it was released.  As soon as the box arrived, Nick was making all kinds of meat stews or ribs or whatever in it.  Meanwhile, I kept a safe distance.  And an eye on the fire extinguisher.  And a vow to not leave the condo while that thing was on.


And then Kelsey sent me a recipe for vegan Red Lentil and Lemon Soup.  First thought: Marcel the Shell.  Second thought: I need to make this.  I fired up the Ninja and (hiiiiiiiiiiiiiyah) got to work.

Red Lentil and Lemon Soup

vegan red lentil and lemon soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves… let’s be serious)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

vegan red lentil and lemon soup

Directions:

  1. [This can be done on your stovetop, if you’re using a traditional crock pot.] Pour oil into pot, set to stovetop high and heat oil.  Add carrots, onions, garlic, and salt to pot.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in cumin.
  2. Stir in lentils and broth and heat to a boil.  Set to slow cook low for 5 to 7 hours.  Cover and cook until lentils are tender.  Stir in lemon juice before serving.

Notes: For my fellow gluten-challenged friends, Arrowhead Mills makes red lentils that are certified gluten-free, and slow cooker-friendly.  I included some fresh thyme when cooking the vegetables, and topped the finished product with a drizzle of chili oil.  The more kick, the better.  

Could I have made this on the stovetop in far less time?  Yes, probably.  Would our condo have smelled like cumin and garlic all afternoon?  Probably not.  While there was still plenty of hands on time involved, it was nice to sit back and relax while the Ninja did its thing.  One major bonus: there was only one pot to clean (and the Ninja’s non-stick interior made for an easy clean up), as I was able to saute my veggies and cook the soup right in the cooker.  My usual soup-making adventures are much messier.  And much more low-tech.

I am easing into the idea of leaving the cooker on while I am out.  With two weeks left in January (Slow Cooking Month, apparently), I just may get there.  If you’re looking for more slow cooker recipes, Julie is hosting a Crock Pot Challenge and has posted some great ideas.

For the record:  I received this product at no charge.  I was not compensated for this post, and per yoosh, my opinions are all my own.  Oh, and remember: safety first, fun food second.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you down with the slow cooking?  Feel free to share a favorite recipe.  Or safety tip.

Today: No-bake chocolate pea protein balls.

If you’re a vegetarian like me, you’ve likely been asked (in a somewhat alarmed, overly dramatic voice),

“But how do you get enough protein?”

The truth is, carnivores haven’t cornered the market on protein consumption. Many plants and other vegetarian options, from hemp seed to cauliflower, and asparagus to quinoa, pack as much protein as a steak and eggs.  Don’t believe me?  (And it’s okay if you don’t.  I am not a scientist.  Nor a doctor.  Nor a perfect physical specimen.)  Ask the vegan endurance athlete who was the first person to complete  5 Ironman-distance triathlons on 5 Hawaiian Islands in under a week.

Our protein needs are largely individual.  My RD has helped me a great deal with this, setting a goal for daily intake and recommending possible options for getting there.  It turns out, it’s not at all complicated.  Even, or especially, for vegetarians.  While many of the whole foods I consume are great sources of protein, when I’m in a pinch, there’s always protein powder.  There are only so many protein shakes a girl can drink in a day, though.

No-bake chocolate protein balls (gluten-free, vegetarian recipe)

When (the sadly, now defunct) Pure Matters sent me a container of their Chocolate Pea Protein, my first thought was to mix it with unsweetened almond milk and ice, maybe a few frozen berries.  (For the record: the powder is very tasty, has a great consistency, and blends beautifully.  And no, it doesn’t taste like peas.  At all.)

Thankfully, Pure Matters offered a number of great recipeas on their website for those of us lacking creativity.  It turns out there’s a whole lot you can do with protein powder besides shakes.  Their Chocolate Pea Protein Balls, a far cry from basic shake, immediately caught my eye.  Easy to make, and even easier to consume, these protein balls are a great way to sneak some plant protein into your day.

You can use just about any protein powder in making these… well… balls.

No-bake chocolate pea protein balls

Yields 8-10 balls

INGREDIENTS
• 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
• 1/3 cup nut butter
• 1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats (original recipe called for shredded coconut)
• 1/3 cup maple syrup (I used agave nectar)
• 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/3 cup chocolate chips
• sprinkles (optional) 

DIRECTIONS
1. In a food processor or blender, mix protein powder, nut butter and oats until ingredients are mixed well.
2. Add agave nectar or maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse until combined. Add chocolate chips and pulse again, incorporating chocolate chips into mixture.
3. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined sheet or plate. Decorate with sprinkles.

While I am sure one could cut out the joy sprinkles altogether, I opted to add a bit of holiday kick with crushed peppermint candy.  I used gluten-free rolled oats instead of coconut, and miniature dark chocolate chips, but otherwise followed the recipe as written.  When using this specific pea protein powder, each serving yields a whopping 25 grams of vegan protein.  And you wondered if I was getting enough?

Welp, I am.  And enjoying every bite.

I received complimentary products from Pure Matters, but was not compensated for this post.  My opinions are my own.  Obvi.  

Also On Tap for Today:

Have you tried a new recipe worth sharing?  Feel free to link below.

Today: Give us this day our daily juice.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I bought a juicer a year ago, or so.  I used it a number of times, almost lost a finger once, got sick of cleaning up after myself, and then hid the whole thing away.  It lived under our sink with 9,000 reusable Whole Foods bags (I’m more likely to buy a few new ones that the store than endure the shame of requesting paper) and various other rarely used appliances until last week.  Nick and I have been going balls to the wall, proverbially speaking, with juicing as of late.  A man who will give you the choice of first shower or firing up the juicer?  I’ve got myself a keeper.  After a few weeks of struggling to get up and out the door on time, our new little juice ritual is working wonders.  Perhaps this #hulkjuice is turning me into the Incredible Elizabeth?

Drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juice in the morning is sort of like exercising at the start of the day.  It’s an insurance policy against all the naughty choices I might make later on, and great motivation to keep on the straight and narrow.  Whatever that means.  Even after just a single week of morning juice, I feel a difference.  I have more energy and fewer random cravings.  I don’t need to sneak Diet Coke.  I’ve made better choices at lunch and dinner (namely: more vegetables, in non-liquid form).  I haven’t given anyone the finger during my commute.  Did I mention my skin is glowing?  Oh.  Maybe that’s just the fluorescent overhead lighting.

It turns out the juicer is very easy to clean if you tend to it right away.  I am sure that was somewhere in the directions (why read them when you can promptly recycle them?).  It still takes up considerable counter space (the juicer isn’t getting any smaller, and our condo isn’t getting any larger), but we’re making do.  For people like me who have trouble following recipes, winging it is perfectly acceptable when juicing.  After making multiple trips to procure more kale, I finally just started grabbing whatever was in our refrigerator or on the counter.  A few combinations that have worked well:

  • 1 bunch of kale, 2 cups of spinach, 1 lemon, 1/2 cucumber, 3 stalks of celery, 1 inch of fresh ginger, 1 apple, 1 handful of parsley
  • 3 cups of spinach, 2 apples, 2 carrots, 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of spinach, 3 stalks of celery, 1 lemon, 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 medium cucumber, 1 cup of raspberries

Each batch perfectly fills two tall glasses.  Next adventure: make use of all that pulp.  And make fewer trips to the market.

Also On Tap for Today:

What does your morning routine look like?