Friday, July 25, 2014

Energy Booster Smoothie

First post of 2014! It's been 9(!!!) months since I last posted a recipe, mainly because I've fallen off the vegan train. At home, I still cook 100% vegetarian, but since vegan substitutes are nonexistent in Mexico (or the few that can be found here are really, really expensive), I've had to resort back to basic dairy and egg products. When I eat at a restaurant, I sometimes totally cheat and eat all the seafood things, because, oh my god, shrimp cocktails and ceviche! Of course I'll still eat vegan food when and where I can, but it's just not all the time anymore. 

But back to vegan food. Today, I made the creamiest, thickest fruit smoothie ever for lunch. It's full of vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, fiber, and healthy fats. Plus, it's only 5 ingredients, so it's perfect for my lazy Friday!

Ingredients

1/2 ripe avocado

1 sliced banana

6-8 frozen strawberries

6-8 frozen mango cubes

Almond milk (I cheated and used regular milk + a splash of strawberry milk, since almond milk is 3x more expensive than regular milk here)

Directions

Toss the avocado, banana, strawberries, and mango cubes in the blender. If you use fresh strawberries and mango, add a couple ice cubes. Pour in the almond milk until about 2/3 to 3/4 of the fruit is submerged, and blend on high for about a minute. You'll get a super thick, creamy, banana-colored smoothie, and you can only taste the fruit!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vegetarian: Avocado, Egg, and Black Bean Breakfast Sandwiches

It's been awhile since my last post! I've recently moved in to a new apartment in Mexico City where I actually have a functioning kitchen. And, I'm not afraid that the stove is going to explode every time I light it. Perhaps more recipes soon to come?

 This morning for a late breakfast, I made a hearty meal to warm me up post-chilly-weather-workout. (Yes, really. Mexico City can get pretty cold in the night and early morning hours). Fast, filling, and easy, here's the recipe for one delicious breakfast sandwich:

Ingredients:

2 slices whole-grain bread

1 egg

1/2 avocado, sliced

Refried black beans (or cooked and pureed black beans)

Salt and pepper


Directions:

In a small bowl or coffee cup, beat the egg. In a small frying pan over low heat, pour in the egg. Leave the egg to cook in one piece (no more mixing, no scrambling the egg).

While the egg is cooking, place both slices of bread in the toaster. Toast on the lowest setting--you want the toast warm and slightly crunchy. Slice the avocado into small strips. Spread the refried black beans over one slice of the toast and top with avocado slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the avocado and black beans.

Flip the egg that has been cooking, and make sure it is cooked all the way through. Place the egg on top of the avocado slices, and top with the other slice of bread. Serve with potatoes on the side, and enjoy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

PB-Banana Oatmeal

I've become a bit of a convert to the famous PB-banana mixture. And you know what? I  l-o-v-e  it. If you haven't tried it, don't bash it just yet! I thought it sounded kinda gross too, but I was wrong. PB-banana foods have become a staple in my diet (PB-banana wraps, PB-Banana Protein Bars, and PB-banana oatmeal, to name a few). Quite recently, I've been making oatmeal to warm myself up on these chilly Mexico City mornings! What, you thought all of Mexico was hot? NOPE. Because of our elevation, Mexico City mornings are just as cool as Iowa October mornings. So here is my quick, simple, little warmer-upper:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup oats

1 ripe, mashed banana

Almond milk (I didn't measure, but I guess I used no more than 1/3 cup)

1 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter

Honey, to taste (or agave, for strict vegans)

Cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

The method itself is just as sinfully simple as the ingredients. Toss everything into your breakfast bowl, minus the cinnamon, and mix it together as well as you can (the sticky peanut butter won't want to mix perfectly). Pop it in the microwave for 1 minute to 90 seconds, depending on microwave power. Remove from the microwave and mix it again (now it should mix much better). Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

UPDATE + Mexican Rice

WHOA. And I'm back. After a 7-month hiatus from food-blogging, it may be something I want to start doing again! (Time permitting).

Essentially, the short explanation for my disappearance from this blog is that 1) I live in Mexico City now; 2) I keep really busy with work and travelling (as can be seen at my other blog, Aventuras en D.F. ); 3) I have a tiny kitchen and the stove doesn't even have temperature labels; and 4) I have fallen off the vegan train. Oops! You see, living in Mexico, being vegan is much more difficult than it is in the states, for numerous reasons. However, the big reason for me was that pretty much all Mexican food includes cheese, sour cream, and/or milk. Aaand, vegan substitutions are non-existent around here. If I lived in Mexico, and never ate Mexican food, I would feel like I'm missing out on a big part of the culture here! So, I've added dairy back in to my diet. (Organic and family-farm raised, whenever possible, of course). To tell you my really dirty secret, I've even added shrimp back in to my diet. Forgive me, die-hard vegans.

SO...What does this mean for the blog? Really, nothing. If I have cheese in a recipe, it can just as easily be substituted with vegan cheese. Same thing goes for milk / almond milk, cream / coconut cream, sour cream / tofu sour cream, etc.. So, without further ado, let me give you a fully-vegan recipe that I made for lunch today: Mexican Rice. (How fitting).

Ingredients:

1 cup rice

2 cups veggie broth

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 tsp-tbsp (depending on how much you want) garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

~1/3 medium onion (you can use more if you wish, but I don't recommend using the whole thing)

1 cup peas (I used frozen)

Olive oil

Directions:

Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high flame, and generously coat the pan with olive oil. Toss in the rice, and mix with a spatula until all the rice is coated in oil. Sprinkle the cumin and garlic salt over the rice, and mix again. Allow the rice to toast until golden (being careful not to burn!). In the meantime, roughly chop your 1/3 onion, and mix that in as well. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

Now, mix the veggie broth and tomato paste into the pan as well. Crank the flame up to high heat and allow to boil out. For me, this couldn't have taken more than 15 minutes, just be sure to stir/fluff the rice every couple minutes. When the soupy-ness goes away, you'll be left with a reddish-orange rice. Reduce the heat back to medium-low and toss in the cup of green peas. Stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes, or until the peas are soft. (Or in my case, unfrozen). Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!!


Monday, February 11, 2013

PB-Banana Protein Bars

I'm in love with granola bars. Head-over-heels. They are so yummy! Luna bars, Clif Bars, and Larabars are all super-delicious, but can be expensive. Homemade granola bars, on the other hand, are quite inexpensive, and you know exactly what goes into them and what they come in contact with before you eat them. (Particularly useful for strict vegans and those who are gluten-intolerant). The homemade granola bars I made the other day are vegan (of course), gluten-free, about 160 calories each while packing in 12 whole grams of protein per bar! Guaranteed delicious and healthy. I added a vegan protein powder supplement to these bars, which I highly recommend. The brand I use is called MLO Vegetable Protein Powder, to buy it online, click here. Otherwise you can probably find it in the health-food section of your grocery store. Really good stuff to have around to mix into smoothies, granola bars, etc. But enough of raving about my protein powder (you're welcome for the free advertising, MLO), now it's time for the actual recipe!

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup vegan protein powder

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1 ripe banana

6 whole dates

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons agave nectar

1/4 cup almond milk

Directions

Chop the banana and dates in to very small pieces.

In a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, melt the peanut butter, and stir in the agave nectar, and almond milk.

Slowly mix in the protein powder, almonds, oats, chopped banana and dates. Mix together very well--the mixture will be very thick, but keep at it until it's all mixed evenly.

Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 8 x 8 pan, and press it down into the pan using your (clean) hands. You may need to wait for a minute or two for the mixture to be cool enough to touch. Once everything is even in the pan, set the pan in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours for the bars to set.

Cut the bars in to 10 pieces, and serve cold. The only "downside" is that the bars need to be kept in the fridge, but they pop out of the pan really easily and make a great snack or pre/post workout fuel. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lorna Rae's (Sugar Cookies)

Ah, it's been a nostalgic morning. I'm getting ready to move back to Mexico City after being home for a month and a half, and aside from my excitement for the future, there are a lot of things that I'm really going to miss about Iowa. (Not the weather) But my family, my friends, my favorite hiking spots, midwestern-restaurants, get-togethers, American holidays...the list goes on and on. So, in the midst of all these nostalgic thoughts and feelings, I made sugar cookies--from a recipe that my mom has been using for at least 20 years. These cookies have been at every family Christmas and Easter (and other various holidays) for as long as I can remember. I have a taste of one of these cookies, and the trip down memory lane begins...I've tweaked the recipe just a tiny bit, of course, and veganized the cookies, but they taste just the same as always :) This recipe made 9 cookies. (2 of them vanished before they got in front of the camera...Oops)


Ingredients

1 cup flour

1/2 cup Splenda or sugar

1/2 cup melted Earth Balance (vegan buttery stick) (you can use regular butter if you're not vegan)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400.

Melt the Earth Balance "butter" over the stovetop or in the microwave

In a small mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients together

Pour the melted Earth Balance "butter" over the dry ingredients, and beat together with a fork. This will form a crumbly dough.

Form 8-10 cookie dough balls out of the dough, flatten slightly with your hands, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. When they come out of the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes before transfering them to a glass plate, and allow to cool completely before frosting them.

Frosting Ingredients

**This makes more than enough frosting for 9 cookies, so you'll have extra...Darn ;)**

2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery stick

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 & 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

Food coloring of your choice

Directions

Melt the Earth Balance, and pour into a small bowl. Add in almond milk and vanilla, and whisk together.

Stir in the powdered sugar using a fork. The stirring will take a while, but it should result in a nicely thick frosting.

Add a dash of salt and a few drops of the food coloring of your choice, and mix together very well.

Frost the cookies (I use the back of a spoon, that tends to work really well), allow the frosting to harden for 10 minutes, and enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tofu Tagine Pasta (Can be Gluten-Free!)

Another grey day in Iowa, another perfect excuse to spend a lot of time in the kitchen making new recipes :) These grey days aren't bothering me so much anymore! Bad weather = excuse to stay in and bake/cook = happiness. Ah, the simple things in life. Today's lunch was inspired by a recipe I saw in Cosmo a few months back: Chicken Tagine. It looked really good for a lunch or dinner, except that little problem of chicken not being quite vegan. Buuuut, a little bit of tofu solves that problem! After subbing the tofu for the chicken and making a few not-exactly-minor tweaks to the recipe, I came out with a tofu recipe that is great on its own, and awesome in a pasta dish. The tofu needs to marinate for a long time, so it can absorb a nice flavor--so it's best to begin preparing this dish 8-24 hours ahead of time. Here's the recipe for a fancy-schmancy lunch or dinner, serves 4 people.



Ingredients for the Tofu Tagine:

1 block extra-firm tofu

2 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon spanish paprika

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions for the Tofu Tagine

Drain the tofu and pat it dry with a napkin. Cut it into strips, about 1 inch wide, 1/2 inch thick, and 4 inches tall. Set aside on a paper towel.

Pour the vegetable broth into a bread loaf pan, and stir in all of the remaining ingredients listed above except the olive oil.

Place the tofu strips into the vegetable broth marinade, and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours. (I let it sit for about 15 hours)

After the tofu has been marinating for 8+ hours, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the tofu for 25 minutes; this really locks in the flavor.

When the tofu comes out of the oven, drain the marinade liquid and, using tongs, gently place the tofu strips on paper towels.

Now, heat up a large frying pan over medium heat, and coat it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the tofu strips for a couple minutes on each side, until they reach a golden color.

Remove from the heat and set aside. Your tofu is done! Now for the remainder of the pasta dish ingredients...

Pasta Dish Ingredients

1 package (8 oz) fettuccine (I used DeBoles brand gluten-free rice fettuccine)

1/2 zucchini

4 large baby portabella mushrooms

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Pasta Dish Directions

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions, in salted water.

While the pasta is cooking, slice the zucchini and mushrooms into small, bite-sized pieces.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, lightly coat it with a little bit of olive oil, and stir-fry the zucchini and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Then, remove from heat and set aside.

Drain the pasta and portion it onto 4 plates or bowls.

Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the pasta, to taste.

Distribute the tofu, mushrooms, and zucchini into each bowl on top of the pasta. Add salt and pepper to each bowl, to taste. Garnish with a bit of lemon zest, if desired.

Serve warm, and enjoy!!