Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vegan Potato Salad

Yesterday, Malissa was suddenly craving potato the middle of January...(no she's not pregnant).  Because of this, we went on a spontaneous quest to create our own vegan potato salad recipe!  I must point out two things for this post: First, I am not a spontaneous person, and second, I have always hated potato salad!  Upon completion, I reluctantly tasted our impromptu concoction.  You can probably guess what comes next or this post wouldn't exist...I LOVED it!!  It was so delicious I couldn't stop eating it (in fact, Malissa and I immediately ate the entire bowl!)  I was amazed that our spontaneity paid off with such a successful summer side (even if it was made when it was 12 degrees outside).

Vegan Potato Salad

4 Potatoes (peeling them is optional)
1/3 Block tofu, *crumbled
1 Cup diced Dill pickles
3-4 Tablespoons Vegenaise (I prefer the grapeseed version.  Malissa likes original. Either can be found in the health food section of most grocery stores)
2 Tablespoons Mustard
1-2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/2-1 Tablespoon Dill
1-2 teaspoons Chives
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon organic seasoning salt (This one is sold at Cosco and is great)
dash of onion powder, celery salt, and paprika (optional)

Place potatoes in pan and fill with water so the potatoes are completely submerged.  Boil 20 minutes or until soft (how soft you make them is your personal preference).  Remove from water, chop into cubes and place in serving bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Serve warm or chilled.

*To crumble tofu simply drain all the water out of the package, wrap the block of tofu in a towel and lay a book or something heavy on top of it for a couple minutes to remove the excess water.  Then crumble the tofu in your hands as you add it to the bowl (it should have the consistency of scrambled eggs as you crumble it in your hands).

With the 2/3 block of tofu you have left, you can add it to your Vegan "Ham" Fried Rice!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vegan "Ham" Fried Rice

I have never been a fan of using meat or dairy substitutes.  I make sure to tell people that if I wanted meat (which I never do), I would eat meat, not some soy glob posing as meat.  With that being said, let me introduce this delicious fried rice with seitan (NOT HAM) recipe.  I look at the seitan in this meal as its own food, rather than a substitute (it tastes way better than ham ever did anyway).  This meal is quick, easy, incredibly filling, and *makes a ton of food! Enjoy!

(Not) Ham Fried Rice
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Carrots, sliced
1 Cup mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup green onions, sliced
1 Cup broccoli
1-2 Cups peas
1 Package seitan (Can be found in the health food section of most grocery stores)
2/3 Block of tofu, crumbled (we get medium or firm, but it doesn't matter too much what kind you get)
4 Cups brown rice, cooked
1/4 Cup soy sauce
Salt/Pepper, to taste

In a wok or large skillet heat oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and all veggies, saute 5-8 minutes until veggies are tender. Add seitan and crumbled tofu, saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add cooked brown rice and soy sauce, mix well, saute 1-2 minutes.

To crumble tofu simply drain all the water out of the package, wrap the block of tofu in a towel and lay a book or something heavy on top of it for a couple minutes to remove the excess water.  Then crumble the tofu in your hands as you add it to the wok (it should have the consistency of scrambled eggs as you crumble it in your hands).

*Note: This recipe makes a huge amount!  If you aren't looking for leftovers, cut it in half. 

Now you have 1/3 a block of extra tofu, the perfect amount to add to your potato salad!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Drinking Your Vegetables PART 1

    When I began eating healthy, I never thought I would get into juicing.  If asked about it, I would tell people that I like to chew my calories!  Well, when Malissa and I got married we got a juicer and we would use it here or there.  I wasn't ever thrilled about it, but I had to admit that carrot juice was pretty darn good (carrots!! who knew, right?).  Regardless, to me juicing was a waste of time, food, and money.
    I have discovered that I was wrong on all accounts.  Juicing is fast and easy, not a waste of food, and can be inexpensive.  I have been converted.

What finally coaxed me into drinking my rabbit food?  After all, once your glass is filled with that mysterious green liquid you have moved from trying to eat healthy into the realm of hippy health freak!  What converted me, besides Malissa being a juicing enthusiast, was the movie Fat Sick & Nearly Dead.  Having read many books and articles about healthy eating, I thought this movie would only be regurgitating information I already knew.  Well, it did have some information that wasn't new for me, but one thing that was an eye opener was that juicing is a great way to quickly get much of the nutrition your body needs.

    Still, why not just eat your vegetables to get the nutrition your body needs?  The answers are a lot simpler than I thought.  The first reason is because it's super fast!  A few nights ago, I was eating a carrot and it took me a good fifteen minutes to eat the whole thing (not to mention how sick of chewing I became).  Meanwhile, Malissa would drink a glass of carrot juice, containing six carrots (and savoring every sip) in much less time!  So, imagine eating carrots, spinach, kale, celery and an apple in a few minutes.  And imagine all the incredible nutrients you're giving your body as you guzzle the delicious concoction!

    This brings me to my second reason.  It's pretty hard to eat all the vegetables you need in a day, but you can get the same amount of nutrients from juicing.  Imagine trying to eat eight whole kale leaves, a large cucumber, two apples, a lemon, and a handful of spinach every meal!  Now I am not suggesting that every meal you should be juicing a ton of vegetables.  But I am saying that juicing is a quick way to get lots of nutrition in your diet.  At the end of the day, if you realize that you didn't have many veggies, take out your juicer and some leftover fruits and vegetables, and you are set.  You can go to bed knowing that your body has gotten the nutrients it needs.

    Alright, so what about the money, you ask?  I won't lie: sometimes produce can cost a lot of money!  One problem I had with the movie Fat Sick & Nearly Dead was that they were trying to convince you that going on a juice fast isn't that expensive. The numbers they gave showed that purchasing the vegetables at Walmart would make each meal cost four dollars!  At first that may sound great, except that in a thirty day month that would add up to $360 a person, meaning Malissa and I would be spending $720 a month on groceries if all we did was juice!  For two struggling college students (who would prefer to live in an apartment bigger than a walk-in closet) that amount is unreasonable.
     However, we have been able to juice semi-regularly and do it without emptying everything out of our pockets.  First, I can't speak enough about the awesomeness of carrots.  You can get a huge bag of carrots for a dollar or less at many stores, and you will get from 4-8 servings out of them by themselves.  Another thing we do is load up on the veggies we find on sale.  Sprouts Farmers Market always has awesome deals on produce.  Recently, we got four red peppers for a dollar (usually around 70 cents each), mangos for 50 cents each, 5 POUNDS of oranges for a buck!  Look for deals in the mail, find the best prices, and juice away!  If you do it right, you could be guzzling nutrients down each day for a dollar or less.  In addition to these savings, you will be able to waste less food.  Didn't use the entire tomato for your dinner?  Throw it in the juicer!  Is any of your produce beginning to go bad?  Juice it!  Now you can sleep well knowing your body got the nutrients it needs, and you didn't let any of your food go to waste.

Coming up in Drinking your vegetables PART 2- What vegetables should you juice, and what combinations taste good.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Thai food is my absolute favorite, so I was very excited when Malissa's sister recommended this recipe to us.  This coconut curry is delicious, with tons of vegetables to promote healthy eating.  The lemongrass and cilantro in this dish gives the curry that extra zing, making it irresistible! Thanks, Kara!

Thai Coconut Curry

2 Cups brown rice, cooked

2 Cups vegetable stock (click here for a great homemade recipe)
2 cups coconut milk (Usually this can be found in the oriental section of the grocery store)
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1 stalk lemongrass (in the produce section)
1 to 2 teaspoons Thai yellow or green curry paste (or to taste)
1 tablespoon natural sweetener (we use agave)
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or vegetarian "fish" sauce or tamari)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 block firm tofu, cubed
1 head bok choy, sliced (or another green leafy vegetable)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Bok Choy
2 teaspoons salt

Combine stock and coconut milk in a large saucepan or cast iron pot.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, ginger, lemongrass, curry paste, sweetener and fish sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add mushrooms, tofu, and bok choy. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Flavor with lime juice and more fish sauce, if desired.  Serve over cooked brown rice or rice noodles, and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.