Monday, March 29, 2010

Lentil Tacos

I almost didn't want to post this, because I didn't want to make people jealous. I love it when my meals are colorful. Makes me feel like an artist.

This meal is made with red lentils, celery, onion, low sodium vegetable broth, salsa, tomatoes, baby arugula (I was out of lettuce), chili powder, cumin, Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheddar, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and corn tortillas. Almost all ingredients were organic.

Steamed carrots on the side.

My 11 year old gobbled these tacos up and had seconds. He said, "yum, we have to have these again!".

It was super easy and super delicious.

The recipe comes from Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way.

Ziti with sun dried tomato cream


    1 lb. ziti
    1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
    1 box firm silken tofu, drained
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
    2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    Small can marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
    1 cup mushrooms, sliced
    2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
    Parmesan cheese (may use vegan)

• Cook the ziti until al dente.
• While the pasta is cooking, combine the tomatoes, tofu, garlic, basil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency. Heat sauce on stove top until hot.
• Drain the pasta, and toss with the sauce, the artichokes, and the mushrooms.
• Sprinkle with the parsley and Parmesan and serve.

The recipes yields 4 servings however this made at least 8 servings! Great for freezing in lunch size portions!


This is our typical Italian salad we make when we have pasta. Lettuce of your choice, cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced black olives, sprinkled with a titch of parmesan cheese. We toss it in a light vinaigrette!


A Light Dinner

After working 12 hours, sometimes I come home and run for 20-30 minutes. My husband and I went for a 30 minute run last night when I got home from work. I wasn't hungry, but I knew I should eat something for my body's sake. So I grabbed some frozen green beans, fresh plum tomatoes, and frozen edamame. I warmed up the frozen veggies and mixed everything together in some lemon juice, olive oil, tarragon, black pepper, and sea salt. I sprinkled some nutritional yeast on too. Nutritional yeast is not a yeast that you would use in bread. But it is very important for vegans to have. It has a nutty flavor, but in some foods you can't taste it at all.

I also reheated some sweet potato fries and left over kabacha squash. I had baked the squash a couple of days ago. I tossed the squash in brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Then I drizzled it with agave syrup. I cooked it in the oven at 400 for about 25 minutes. Delicious.

This dinner was perfect with a glass of unsweetened coconut milk. Dessert was a scoop of plain soy ice cream with some vegan chocolate chips, and a drizzle of peanut butter. Perfect.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetable Stir Fry

I tossed this dish together in no time at all. I was in the mood for some stir fry. I took some vegetables and diced them up. You can use any you like.

In a wok I sautéed:


5 garlic cloves, carrots, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms. I chopped up 2 of my faux chick’n breasts. A splash of olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Once the vegetables were tender, I added 2 cups of cooked brown rice and a few splashes of Braggs liquid aminos. I cooked covered for 5 minutes and served.


For more information about Bragg liquid aminos click here.

Info from their site: Bragg Liquid Aminos is a Certified NON-GMO liquid protein concentrate, derived from healthy soybeans, that contains the following Essential and Non-essential Amino Acids in naturally occurring amounts:

Ingredients: Our Bragg Liquid Aminos are made from health-giving, NON-GMO soybeans and purified water. They are an excellent, healthy, gourmet replacement for Tamari and Soy Sauce. Not fermented or heated and Gluten-Free.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Broccoli Tofu Divan

Tonight's dinner came from Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way by Leanne Ely.

I have to admit, we didn't love it.

It was too moist. Also, the recipe said to use a 9 inch pie pan, and it was too small. I ended up with a mess. A casserole dish would have been better.

It was still tasty and filling and I'll eat leftovers. But it wasn't to die for and I wouldn't make it again.

The ingredients were broccoli, tofu, flour, milk (I used rice milk), butter (I used earth balance soy garden), Cheddar cheese (I used Follow your heart vegan cheddar), mustard, onion, salt, pepper, grape juice, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese (I used vegan parmesan).

You heat the milk, flour, and butter in a saucepan and add onions, mustard, cheddar, salt, pepper and grape juice. Then you spoon the sauce over the broccoli and tofu (maybe I used too much).

Then you add the bread crumbs and parmesan to the top and bake it at 375 for 25 minutes.

The couscous was made with lemon juice and dill and I got the recipe here. We all liked the couscous and I wish I had made more for leftovers.

24 Carrots Juice

My mom discovered 24 Carrots Juice just a couple of weeks ago. We were so excited to find a new and healthy place to eat.

Today I decided to take my 2 year old with me to check it out.

I shouldn't have gone, because now I am going to want to be a regular customer. Of course this is a good thing. Fortunately the prices are great too. I have been following them on Facebook and they post the most amazing photos.

My 2 year old and I shared a meal. We had vegan pizza topped with spinach, homemade hummus, capers and so much more. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, they use beets. It was delicious.

We shared a soy/strawberry smoothie that was so good, my little guy kept insisting it was ice cream.

For dessert we had a vegan flax meal brownie. To die for! My toddler ate the crumbs off the plate and let them know how good it was when we left.

We met Sasha while we were there. She is so friendly. We chatted about being vegetarian. She let me know almost any menu item can be made vegan. She said she experiments on new recipes all the time.

The place is so homey. They even have toys, games, and books. I can't wait to go back.

If you go don't forget to pick up some homemade granola too. I can't wait to try it in my yogurt tomorrow.

Make sure you tell Sasha that Melissa says hi.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Green Beans and Carrots in a Tarragon Vinaigrette (and other stuff too)

Dinner tonight is very kid friendly. It comes from Vegan Lunch Box. The concept of this cookbook is to create healthy lunches for kids. But I use it once a week to make dinner.

I created a recipe in the book under the quick and easy chapter. It called for mini bagels with vegan cream cheese. Green beans and carrots in a tarragon vinaigrette. Red Grapes. Animal crackers or alphabet cookies.

To make the green beans and carrots you just boil them for 4 minutes, drain, and toss in vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is made with lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, olive oil, tarragon and black pepper.

My kids ate every bite. My toddler said, "mmm this is good mama!", as he bit into his green beans.

I love this cookbook because it is so kid friendly. My kids get a kick out of it. It's a lot of fun to prepare.


Vegan Friendly Tempe, AZ

This will be a brief post. I just wanted to post the links to 2 vegan friendly places in Tempe, AZ that are located in the same plaza.

The first is for PIta Jungle. I could eat here daily. There are many locations through out the valley. But I believe the Tempe location is the original. I love Pita Jungle because they offer all healthy options. I try something new every time I go. Their breakfast menu is almost 100 percent vegan. I can't wait to try it. There are no unhealthy choices for kids and I love that very much. If you give kids healthy food, they will eat it and love it. If you offer them unhealthy options, they will want that only and anything else will be a battle.

The second is for Chill. It's a vegan friendly ice cream shop. They have gelato and soy soft serve. I got a small cup of gelato and my 2 year old got a soft serve cone. Total price was $3.95

Veggie burger on the run

Now let me start this post with the disclaimer: This is not “healthy” however it is a vegetarian option on the run. It was late we were starved, ok not literally, and we needed a quick bite to eat. So I remembered that BK had veggie burgers! I actually ate every bite. It was delicious!!



Quick fish dish

I make this before work all the time. It takes about 5 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook.

In a small bowl I mix 2-3 garlic cloves (we LOVE garlic) sliced fresh mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves and a titch of olive oil. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper.


I line a pan with tin foil, add the fish and the above mixture in a bowl and seal the tin foil.

DSC01334Then I bake it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. I serve it with 1/2 cup brown rice!!   DSC01348


Basic Fruit and Nut Muffins

Don't these muffins look delicious!? They are from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Blueberries, pecans, natural sugar substitute, flour, baking powder, salt, soy milk, vanilla, Ener G Egg replacer.

They look so good I want to reach into the photo and take a bite.

NOT! These were the worst muffins my kids and I have ever tasted. They were the worst thing I have ever tasted PERIOD. I will never make these again. I don't know if it was my fault or a problem with the recipe. But they were so gross we all took one bite, forced it down, and said, "GROSS!". My 11 year old and I took 2 bites just to be sure. Then it all went straight into the trash can. The 11 year old said, "That sucks we wasted all those ingredients". I love that I'm raising a frugal child. I took me forever to get the taste out of my mouth.

I put a big X over this recipe with the word, "YUCK", written on it. So far it's the only recipe from that cookbook that has failed me.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Delectable Bow Tie Pasta

From Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way

The only change I made was eliminating the Romano Cheese.

Organic pasta, olive oil, lemon juice from actual lemons, sun dried tomatoes, plum tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley, arugula, salt, and pepper.

This was so good my 11 year old asked for seconds. My 2 year old wouldn't touch it with a ten feet pole, let alone taste it.

I loved every bite.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Pecan Crusted French Toast

This little guy is why I don't eat bacon anymore. One day I woke up. I thought, if it grosses me out that in some countries, they eat dogs and cats, why doesn't it gross me out that we eat pigs. Not to mention the literal torture that they endure in the slaughter houses. I cried so hard the day I read what they endure. There are some truly awful people in this world. I really used to think there was just some farmer mercifully killing animals. Boy was I wrong.

My whole vegan journey started out for health reasons, now it's about my furry friends. The title of this post is Pecan Crusted French Toast. I'm getting to that. I just wanted to post why I have a picture of bacon on my dinner tonight photo. It's not real bacon. It's Smart Bacon from Whole Foods. I didn't like it as much as I like Fakin' Bacon. Those are the only two brands of fake bacon I have tried. They aren't as good as real bacon, I will admit that. But my internal organs are happier and I am sure there is a pig out there somewhere who is happier too. I definitely don't miss the grease of real bacon. My 11 year old said, "this is good, not as wet as real bacon. I bet if I had never had bacon in my entire life, I would like this even better".

Pictured here is our dinner tonight. Fake bacon, sliced apples, and pecan crusted french toast. I had multiple servings of the french toast. I got it from my cookbook, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

The batter is made using corn starch, cinnamon, rice milk (or soy), chickpea flour (or brown rice flour). Dip the whole wheat bread (or raisin bread), then coat it with pecans. The cookbook warned that the pecans are hard to make stick. And they were. It then states in parenthesis to quit bitching about it because you're about to have french toast. That made me laugh because I WAS bitching about it to the coauthor of this blog while I was cooking. Especially because the bread kept crumbling up and wasn't very pretty. I drizzled a very small amount of organic maple syrup on top. It was sweet enough with out it! I love to cook things that are made with more natural sugars. I also love breakfast for dinner.

It was such a treat to have something so sweet. Then I logged onto one of my favorite blogs and they posted this tonight. Ironic.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spinach Tortellini Salad

I made this salad for my sister bridal shower, it was a hit. The only difference is now I don’t add bacon crumbles as I did before.

1 Pkg Baby Spinach or 2-3c
1-1 1/2 c Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1-1 1/2c Cherry Tomatoes

Cook the tortellini and cool before mixing all together. I toss it lightly with ranch dressing.

Homemade Ranch Dressing
1 cup of real mayonnaise
1 cup of Milk ( i use 1%)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder


Easy Cheesy Pasta!!!


This recipe has been a lifesaver for me on workdays. I package of pasta goes far!! I use 1 package of Buitoni whole wheat pasta 3 cheese tortellini and 1 jar of fresh and easy tomato basil marinara sauce. I LOVE the fresh and easy brand because as you can see from one of the pictures it is all natural ingredients. No hidden junk in there!! Boil the pasta noodles heat up the sauce and mix! It’s a great quick meal!!



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Italian Pasta and Bean Bake

From Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way by Leanne Ely

I used all organic ingredients. The only thing I changed was the mozzarella cheese. I used Follow Your Heart Vegan mozzarella cheese.

Easy dish, pasta, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and italian seasoning.

The ingredients for the salad came from Bountiful Baskets.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheesy Faux Souffle

Dinner tonight comes from Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way, by Leanne Ely.

The ricotta cheese is made by blending firm tofu with garlic, salt, olive oil and dried oregano. I got that recipe from Skinny Bitch.

The eggs are actually Ener G Egg replacer, it's a powder you can find in the baked goods aisle. Instead of butter I used Earth Balance Soy Garden.

I also used whole wheat flour instead of plain.

The side dish is asparagus with leeks. I got the leeks in my Bountiful Basket and had no clue what they were or how to cook them. I found this recipe.

And of course the squash I made earlier today and posted about below.

Melissa :o)

Kabocha Squash

I (Melissa) got a kabocha squash in my bountiful basket. I never knew what one was. I had never even seen one. Bountiful baskets has a fan page on Facebook. That's when I learned what I had received. They also posted a yummy looking recipe.

This was such a neat treat. Spicy and sweet at the same time. I have one more squash in the fridge. I will probably make this again.

My tip for cutting squash, microwave it for 3-5 minutes on high first to make it nice and soft.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Green Vegetarian

Dinner tonight was someplace I (Melissa) have posted about before. It is to die for. Brittney and I took our good friend Kelsey. We also took my boys, ages 2 and 11. Kelsey brought her daughter (age 2). We neglected to take photos of food. Too busy catching up and chatting!

Brittney had buffalo wings (no buffalo's were harmed) and noodles with veggies and "chicken".

Kelsey had a similar item. Her daughter had edamame. Kelsey is not yet a vegetarian. She said, and I quote, "

I really was very pleasantly surprised. It was awesome!"

My boys and I tried eggless egg rolls (tasted exactly like the kind you get at a Chinese restaurant). We also had pizza with faux mozzarella and pepperonis. We tried the wings as well. We also tried a salad with "ranch" and "chicken".

All of us treated ourselves to soynami's. They are like Dairy Queen blizzards except 100 times better. We ate till we were so stuffed. I can't wait to do it again!

My 11 year old loved being able to eat anything off the menu (he is severely allergic to dairy).

Thanks for a fun time girls!

Mexican Adventure

Instead of posting my meals on Facebook, I (Melissa) will start posting them here.

This dinner comes from Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann.

It's Spanish Empanadas (the dough is homemade and my second attempt, that's why it's not so pretty, but it was so good). The inside is vegan ground beef, taco flavored. It's a vegetable protein. My meat eating husband ate it and said he liked it because the consistency was similar to ground beef.

The rest of the meal is red rice and black beans. Along side of that is Jicama and Mango tossed with lime juice, salt, and dried cayenne. It was supposed to be made with cucumber too, but it went bad. Target produce sucks.

We had lemonade to wash it down with. Perfect treat.

I had leftovers while I typed this and it was so good!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Every two weeks I (Melissa) order Bountiful Baskets. This week I got an eggplant. I have eaten eggplant Parmesan and Baba Ghannouge. But I have never bought or cooked eggplant before. So I googled, "vegan eggplant recipes easy". I wanted to make a snack. I didn't want to make it into a meal because I already have my meals planned for the week.

I decided to try the first recipe I found. You can see it here. I used safflower oil instead of olive oil. I also used a lot more garlic than she recommends. I love garlic. I used organic soy sauce instead of tamari, because I haven't bought tamari yet.

While these babies cooked my stomach grumbled like you wouldn't believe!

And the taste of them afterwards? OMG. Pure bliss. That's all I have to say. I will make these again for sure.

Why Melissa doesn't eat processed sugar

It all started in 1979 when my mom decided not to give me processed sugar till I was 2. LOL.

It was all downhill from there. I was a little bit addicted to it. Several years ago I started having panic attacks. I did a food diary and figured out my trigger was when I ate something with processed sugar. I ignored this and started taking meds instead. Then I decided to quit. I used breathing and yoga instead.

Well, then I thought I could have crappy food in moderation. Well, then I'd make excuses, one treat a day started to equal, it's been a shitty day so I'll eat more. Then the panic attacks started again. I listened to my body, quit processed sugar, and have not had one single panic attack.

I'll still eat junk food occasionally, but it's junk food I have made. Otherwise I want to know what the ingredients are. I don't feel deprived. I feel happy. I feel like I am me.

After all of that, I learned a little bit about refined sugar. You can read about it here. Makes even more sense to not have it now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Breakfast Scramble Vegetarian style

This is a quick and easy breakfast... It might be a no brainer for some but for others that ask the age old question "What do you eat if your a vegetarian?" Here is the answer.... My bestie makes a vegan breakfast scramble that she'll post soon....

This serves 2 people.
2 cage free eggs
1 splash of Rice Dream Original
Any vegetables of your choice (I used onion, celery and cilantro)
Cheese (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook until desired consistancy. Serve with english muffin or bisquit.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Curried Stir-Fry

This is from the cook book, Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way.

My kids gobbled it up. To be honest, it's not my favorite meal I've ever made. But it was filling and tasty.

It's cauliflower, tofu, curry (duh), green bell peppers, onion, and more!

Egg McMuffin

I used to love to eat egg mcmuffins from McDonald's. Well, that was before I learned how poorly they treat their chickens. They are boiled alive! WTF? So no more McDonald's for me. I quit eating there years before for health reasons, now I know to boycott them for animal rights reasons as well.

This is a whole wheat english muffin, faux canadian bacon, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Chedder, and tofu.

If you want the recipe you'll need to check out the book I got it from. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. It was super easy.

It was so good too!

Craving a burger! Red Robin style!

How delicious does this look? I want one now just looking at it!!! One would never guess they weren't eating a slab of meat! This absolutely satisfied my craving for a burger. It comes with bottomless fries or you can opt for a side salad! I love their fries and their fry portions now are meager (hence the 6 fries they gave me) so I was ok with keeping fries as my side dish.

This is what RR has to say about the question, Do you currently offer any vegetarian options?

At most Red Robin locations, we offer meatless options as well as Boca Burgers and/or Garden Burgers, which can be substituted for any of our more than 20 gourmet burger selections. In addition, we are happy to customize other selections to meet your dietary preferences.
If your dietary preference is vegan, please note that currently Red Robin does not have any specific vegan menu items available. However, we are always happy to customize any of our salads or menu items for our Guests. Just ask your server and they will be happy to accommodate you in any way they can.

Sorry my vegan eating bestie, but you can always get a salad :)

Chik'n Soup for a rainy day!!

This week we have had some cold rainy days! I decide I wanted to make chicken and vegetable soup. This completely satisfied my craving for chicken soup!! It is so simple, it calls for 3-4 ingredients:

First I added 1 carton of organic vegetable broth, then I added this bag of frozen vegetable soup mix. (you could use organic fresh vegetables of your choice).

Then I cooked 2 chik'n cutlets and cut them up into small pieces. I also added 1/4 of vermicelli. Vermicelli is a pasta noodle thinner then angel hair and in small pieces. This is an optional step. Then I used salt and pepper to taste!

I brought it to a boil and let it simmer about 30 minutes! It was delicious!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Green New American Vegetarian

AKA: My new favorite restaurant on the planet.

I'll let you check out their website for yourself.

Everything on the menu is vegan. Which means my 11 year old son Ryan can eat anything he wants on the entire menu. I can't wait to take him. It's really close to the zoo, so we can go there after a morning at the zoo sometimes.

Because Ryan has a severe milk allergy, I have never been able to take him out for ice cream. Well, that will never be a problem again, because this place has soy ice cream. Not just any soy ice cream though, it is soft serve. You can add all kinds of goodies to it too. It is just like Dairy Queen with out the dairy or the crappy sugar. Connor (my 2 year old) and I shared ours and fought over the last bite.

Everything was delicious and even my meat eating husband enjoyed his meal. He said he would definitely go there again. :o)


I also can't wait to take Brittney.