Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps

I love when meals are 100% success! With little kids this always feels like a big win all around! This was one of those times! Yeah!!! My kids LOVE guac and tomatoes and of course pretty much any toppings! So instead of assembling their tacos for them I opted to bring everything to the table in bowls, where we had fun constructing them (they used sprouted tortilla wraps and I had the lettuce wrap). They were happy, I was happy and the food was amazing! Life is Amazing! Then Michael came home and loved them too! Happy Wife & Mama! I have always loved ❤ lettuce wraps and this was a great family solution!

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Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps
adapted from www.adventuresinanewishcity.com

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant (or 2 small), peeled & diced into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 block of tofu, pressed & cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 head of Butter or Bib lettuce, leaves separated to make taco shells &/or tortilla wraps
  • toppings (we used Guac with jicama & jalepeno, Red & Orange Peppers, & Cherry tomatoes, quartered & for me hot sauce)
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add jalapeno and onion. Cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir eggplant, mushrooms, and spices into the skillet. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Reduce heat to low, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant softens and reduces in size, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan add just a drizzle of oil and add the tofu. When sizzle to have a nice char on each side before turning, so a few minutes between stirs (I know this feels hard to do, but it makes for the best tofu!) Once good and seared, add to the eggplant mixtures and continue to cook for a few more minutes until ready to serve.
  4. Spoon mixture into lettuce “shells” and add any additional toppings.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter Dressing

It is not officially fall yet, but the start of school inspired me to make this Autumn Salad. The kids loved the hazelnuts and apples and we enjoyed the whole salad. Such a full flavored, rich yet citrusy fresh dressing! Enjoy! Happy fall! Happy September!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts Brown Butter Dressing

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Hazelnuts & Brown Butter Dressing
Makes 4 to 6 servings
recipe from thekitchn.com

1/4 cup hazelnuts
3/4 pound brussels sprouts
1 small (or 1/2 large) crisp, red-skinned apple
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until nuts are lightly golden and skins are peeling away. Wrap nuts in a clean dish towel and let steam for a minute. Rub nuts with the towel to remove as many skins as possible. (Not all of the skins will be removed, which is fine.) Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.

Shave the brussels sprouts by gripping the stem end with your fingers and using a mandoline to slice as thinly as possible down to the stem, or until the sprout is too short to safely slice. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor to shave the sprouts. Trim and discard the stems and use the slicing blade of the food processor to finely shred the sprouts.) Place shaved sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Halve and core the apple, then use the mandoline to cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Place apple slices in a small bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons lemon juice to prevent browning.

Have a small Pyrex or other heatproof liquid measuring cup ready. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until butter is dark brown and smells nutty. Immediately pour into the measuring cup to stop the cooking. Let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice and salt. Slowly drizzle in the brown butter, whisking constantly, until dressing is thick and emulsified. Repeat with the grapeseed oil. Taste for seasoning. Pour the dressing over the brussels sprouts and mix in thoroughly with your hands. Add the apples and nuts and mix.

Salad can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours or up to overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. If making more than 2 hours ahead, add the nuts just before serving for best texture.

3rd Birthday!!!! & Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

My amazing & beautiful kiddos turned 3 this last week. Beyond hard to believe but so wonderful to watch them continue to grow and surprise us all the time! We had a fun birthday party to celebrate them 🙂 Just a few food & goodie bag pictures and a yummy Vegan, Gluten-free, Super low-fat pasta salad that we served. FUN!!! Love big celebrations of course!!

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Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

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Coloring Books

Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
Vegan – Gluten-free – Low-fat
Number of servings: 4
Recipe adapted from blog.fatfreevegan.com

1 cup basil, packed
1 can quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water)(I used 1/2 water, 1/2 marinated in oil)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. vegetable broth
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
salt, to taste
8 ounces whole wheat pasta, cooked (I used quinoa brown rice pasta)
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Place the basil, about half the artichokes, garlic, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until it becomes a thick paste. Add salt to taste.
In a serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the pesto and mix well. Add the remaining artichoke hearts, the tomato, and the (optional pine nuts) and toss. Serve at room temperature.

 

Super Fast Avocado Pasta

I am all about cooking with the kiddos whenever possible 🙂 Today for lunch we made our Avocado Pasta, similar to This One that I make for them normally that they love, but this time we did it all in one bowl (and a pot) 🙂 They loved it and were even super happy to take turns mashing (and tasting!) Lunch was deelish but cooking together and smiles around (and green mouths!) makes it that much sweeter!

Super Fast Avocado P

Super Fast Avocado Pasta
2-3 servings
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, no cook/raw sauce

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Flax seed oil
12 ounces- 1 lb of pasta (we used Trader Joes Fresh Rice Pasta – made it even faster, cooks in 2 minutes!)
ground black pepper, to taste
cherry or grape tomatoes, cut

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In a bowl combine avocado, garlic, lemon juice, oils, salt, basil, pepper and oregano. Mash with a fork till creamy.
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with tomatoes. Serve immediately. YUM!

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese: Healthy Vegan Cheese Sauce Yum!

So this was awesome!!! We are lucky that our kids eat a ton of veggies but this was still an awesome way to serve them! Everyone loved it! Enjoy this tasty and super healthy dish!

Cauliflower Mac & Ch

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese – Healthy Vegan Cheese Sauce Yum! 
Gluten-free, Vegan

1 cauliflower, cut into florets
handful of baby carrots
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
pasta of choice (we used GF penne pasta)
Fresh parsley, for garnish

  1. Add cauliflower & carrots in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil. Once boiling, cook for another 8-9 minutes until super tender. Drain.
  2. At the same time boil water for pasta and cook as instructed by package. Drain when done.
  3. In a high-speed blender (we use a Vitamix) blend the cashews and a 1/4 cup of water for 30 seconds. Then add the cooked and drained cauliflower & carrots, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until a super smooth.
  4. Add sauce & pasta into a pot and stir, till just combined. Salt, to taste
  5. Serve with parsley sprinkled on top

One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese

I have wanted to try this one for a while and it was really great. After too many leftover meals in a row this was super welcome and I had all the ingredients already at home! This was so quick and so good, I know it will become a regular!

One Pot Gluten Free

One Pot Gluten Free Vegan Mac-n-Cheese
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from www.pure2raw.com

4 cups water
2 cup quinoa

  1. In small saucepan over high heat bring the water to a boil. Once boiling add quinoa and return to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes *There might be some water left over, but that is okay.
  2. Remove from heat and pour the quinoa into a bowl and set aside.

The cheezy sauce

1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I was a little short so I used some almond milk mixed with coconut milk)
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Using the same pot that the quinoa was in, place it back on the stovetop over medium heat and add coconut milk and tahini. Whisk together. The tahini will melt into the milk. Then add remaining ingredients and whisk. Raise the heat to be medium high. It will start to thicken, takes about 1-2 minutes. Once it starts getting thick pour the quinoa back in the pot and stir till well combined.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometime you just want a home cooked meal but haven’t planned anything and haven’t gone shopping to cook. The kids are always well fed but sometimes we get left a little behind 😉 This is a great meal that took literally the time to boil pasta to create with all ingredients I always have at home. Super simple and deelish, the best!

Creamy Avocado Pasta

 

Creamy Avocado Pasta
4 servings

2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon + lemon zest to garnish
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup Fresh Basil or Spinach
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of pasta
ground black pepper, to taste
Pine nuts, for garnish

  1. Boil water and cook pasta in a large pot
  2. In blender or food processor combine garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add avocado, basil, and salt and blend until creamy
  3. When pasta is done, drain and mix with sauce.  Garnish with lemon zest, black pepper and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs with Sriracha Mayo

Happy Passover! If you celebrated the last two nights, I hope they were joyous ones!! We are stuffed, exhausted but had a great time!

This year I made a bunch of new dishes (and some old favorites!!)  and they all came out super deelish!! I wanted to concentrate on some kid friendly dishes that I knew the adults would love too. We had fun as a family cooking these up together. So sweet 🙂

This one was a perfect appetizer for Passover or really any party 🙂 It was a hit both nights and we are super happy to have some leftover! I doubled the recipe to make sure we would have enough and will do next time since they everyone loved them!

Mashed Potato Quinoa

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs with Sriracha Mayo
recipe adapted from http://brazenkitchen.com

Mashed Potato Quinoa Puffs

1 lb. potatoes
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups very finely chopped greens such as lacinato kale, swiss chard or spinach
1-3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread
¼ cup almond milk or rice milk
Salt and pepper to taste
vegan mayonnaise
Sriracha
ketchup
lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Steam or boil until soft. Drain.
  3. Mash the potatoes well or put it through a ricer.
  4. Once the lumps are gone, add all the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Using a tablespoon, form into 1 inch balls or using two tablespoons, form the into rough “quenelles” or oblong discs. (I used a mini ice cream scoop/cookie scooper)
  6. Drop into parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the puffs and bake for another 15 minutes.

Sriracha Mayo

  1. Mix Sriracha and mayo to your desired spice level
  2. Kick up with some ketchup and lemon juice.

 

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

I love Gena’s site and have always been happy with how her recipes come out! We love Polenta in our house, so not surprising when I saw this one I had to try! I am such a sucker for appetizers too, they really are always the best part of any meal or party! I made these for several gathering and parties and they were always a hit. Enjoy!!!

You can prepare the polenta up to 2 days in advance, and the tapenade up to 3 days. On the day of your party, simply broil the polenta squares and top them with the tapenade. The polenta can also be used as a base for many different seasonings. Try & play around 🙂

Just a couple of past polenta dishes and I am sure many more to come: Creamy Polenta with Barbecue Seitan SauceVegan Creamy Polenta with Sausage and PeppersMushroom and Kale PolentaPolenta & Shallot SquaresPolenta with Nectarine-Blackberry SalsaPolenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato SauceSlow Cooked Corn Polenta and Chiles and Polenta Vegetable Casserole.

Polenta Squares with

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
Recipe from http://www.choosingraw.com 
Serves 22 (recipe can easily be halved)

Polenta Party Squares

6 cups vegetable broth (low sodium if possible)
2 cups polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 batch sun-dried tomato and walnut tapenade

Bring the polenta, salt, and broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Using a long wooden spoon, continually stir the polenta until it has thickened (approximately 25-30 minutes). When the mixture is very thick and is pulling away from the sides of the pot, stir in the pepper and thyme.
Oil a 15.25 x 10.25 baking sheet (or line with parchment paper). Spread the polenta mixture evenly over the sheet with an inverted knife. It should be about as thick as the edge of the pan itself. Allow it to cool, and then transfer to the fridge for a few hours.
Preheat your broiler. Cut the polenta into squares (you should get about 22). Return them to a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Place under a broiler for 8 minutes, or until they’re lightly toasted. You can alternately bake them at 375 for twenty-five minutes or so. Top each square with a tablespoon of tapenade, and serve.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

3/4 cups sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 cups water
2/3 cups walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes. Allow them to soften for 20 minutes. Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they’re finely ground. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine. Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency. You’re aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.

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Kale Caesar – Kale Salad Challenge #4

Back to the Kale Salad! YUM! This one is so creamy and deelish it will please even people who think they don’t love kale. This dressing can be used with any other salad or even as dip!

Kale Caesar Salad

2 large bunches kale, stems discarded, chopped
Caesar Dressing
1 bunch red radishes, sliced super thin
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped

  1. Massage Kale and Dressing in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage and make sure to really get in there to soften the kale and evenly distribute the dressing.
  2. Add radishes, capers and avocado and toss.

Caesar Dressing
2 cups water
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup cashews
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons dark miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  1. Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend till creamy.
  2. Chill until ready to use and shake well.

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