Spilling the Greens

Get it?? It’s like beans but…green.  Except not green beans.

I’m tired.

And I’ve been spilling stuff non-stop for the past two days.  This morning I knocked over my bag of chia seeds and they went all over the floor.  Just a minute ago I knocked over my coffee mug at work and it spilled onto a case I had been reading (thankfully just a print out and not an actual court file!).

But yesterday’s spill was the king.  I had hoped to get in to work a little early, so I set up my coffee and prepped my smoothie ingredients the night before.  I was totally jamming and making great time.

I made my pretty purple smoothie:Spill the Greens

1 cup frozen organic strawberries, 1 cup chia gel (1 tbsp. chia seeds + 1 cup water soaked overnight or longer), 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1/2 fresh banana, 1 large collard green leaf, 2 leaves of kale.  [Pause: If I made this again, I might add a touch of liquid sweetener, because my berries weren’t all that sweet.  Resume.]

As I was filling my smoothie cup, I knocked the blender bowl into it and I spilled half (okay maybe like a third) of the smoothie onto the floor.Spill the Greens 012

It was disgusting and surprisingly hard to clean up.  I was not early for work.

Anyway!  I’m getting pretty pumped about Vegan MoFo (that’s the Vegan Month of Food) this year.   I’ve never participated in anything like it before.  And, as is probably crystal clear from scrolling down a few inches on this blog, I don’t publish anything close to 20 posts in a month, ever.  But I have a fun theme in mind, and I’m really excited to challenge myself to be creative and to post very frequently.  It’s starting September 1st this year, and the deadline to sign up is August 28, in case anyone else is interested.

I don’t want to reveal my MoFo theme just yet, but I will say that it does NOT focus on green foods.  I, along with many other herbivores, eat so many greens each and every day that it wouldn’t be all that daring or interesting to do a whole month on green food.  They’ll be there, of course, but not *featured* is all.

To that end, I’m doing a photo dump (or “spill” if you will…see how good I am with themes??) of some yummy green stuff I’ve eaten lately, to get ready to fill my camera up with MoFo pics.

Green Smoothies: nothing new in the blogosphere, but somehow they never get old.  I made this one at home (fresh pineapple, frozen banana, hemp seeds, kale):
Spill the Greens 005

And bought this beautiful thing at Whole Foods:
Spill the Greens 006

My wallet may never forgive me for discovering that Whole Foods has a smoothie and juice bar.  This one is called the Mighty Green and it has unsweetened non-dairy milk (you can choose from coconut, soy, almond, or rice), banana, kale, spinach, avocado, and your choice of fruit (pineapple, mango, strawberries, or blueberries).  The one pictured above was coconut milk and pineapple.  The one below was almond milk and blueberries.

Spill the Greens 002SO GOOD.

Despite all of the Halloween decorations you are seeing in stores, it’s still summer, dammit, and basil is calling my name.
Spill the Greens 003

Half the time I go into a store (well, really, a farm stand) with no plan to buy basil, but then its aroma wafts over to me and it’s game over.  I mean, it’s never going to go bad as long as pesto is a thing.  My favorite recipe (and everyone else’s I’m sure) is the Classic Pesto from Vegan With a Vengeance.

Spill the Greens 004

I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and die happy.

I had a buttload of corn and black bean salad leftover from a barbecue H and I hosted at our house.  The original, ultra-simple salad recipe (by Maria Guadagno) can be found here.  I ate some of the leftovers on tortilla chips, and cooked up the rest with some onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and tomato, and added a little lime juice, fresh cilantro, and some additional cumin (because I can never have enough cumin).

Spill the Greens 008

For 3 days I ate it over steamed collard greens, topped with chipotle hot sauce.  Talk about cheap and cheerful!

Spill the Greens 007

I also have discovered this:

Spill the Greens 3 001

If you like hummus (or “hommos,” I guess?), and you like spinach artichoke dip, you have to try this.  Trust me.  It is creamy and tangy and best of all, dairy free. My favorite way to eat it is spread on crostini (also leftover in droves from this storied barbecue), but regular bread or toast would do just fine.

I want to write a little more about the barbecue H and I had, because I served up a whole lotta vegan food to a bunch of omnivores and it went over pretty swimmingly.  I also found a restaurant in the Boston suburbs that has actually heard the word “vegan” before and I want to give them a write-up too.  I’ll try to get a post on both of these topics up before Vegan MoFo begins.

Make sure you get out and enjoy the last few weeks of summer!!

The Bright Side

I don’t like to get into too much personal biz on this rather public blog but feel like I need to let people know that my recent absence can really only be explained by saying that it’s just been a really weird month. I can pinpoint the start of the weirdness pretty exactly to April 15th, the day of the marathon bombings.  But the last week and a half in particular has been just a crazy roller coaster of crap.

I missed the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Saturday and I’m super-depressed about it.  I think it’s such a brilliant concept and I was so excited to be a part of it, but life sort of got in the way.  Even though I was one of the shameful no-shows, I encourage others to visit the Potluck and check out some of the rockstar blogs that actually followed through with sharing their amazing recipes and stunning photography.  If I’m not blacklisted for life, I might try again to get in on the next one.

I’ve been trying really hard to look on the bright side of all things and just take really good care of myself, and my husband of course.  Summer is coming and I am very much looking forward to the relaxed attitude that falls over New England this time of year, to just enjoy the time I have with my family and friends and make really delicious and nourishing food for us all.

April-May 005

Recently I have been experimenting a little with my eating.  I’m trying to focus really hard on whole, unprocessed foods and balancing my diet a little better overall. It’s not always possible and it’s definitely not always easy. But I’m also trying not to be so hard on myself when my diet isn’t “perfect” or as “clean” as I’d ideally like it to be.

For our relay race two weekends ago, I made a huge batch of Winter Spice and Brown Sugar Granola (click for recipe) by PureWow.  I added dried cranberries for a little extra somethin’-somethin’.

Winter Spice Granola

This came out unbelievably delicious and smelled like heaven while it was baking. It’s sugary, yes, but highly satisfying and a little goes a long way.  And it certainly was great running fuel.  Highly, highly recommended (but be warned; it seriously makes a ton).

For dinners I’ve been all about the beans and greens. This time of year in general I find that I crave leafy green vegetables, and this is never something I feel guilty about eating!

This is Hottie Black Eyed Peas  (click for recipe) from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I added like a metric ton of hot sauce to the recipe after it was done because it just tasted so darn good with the black eyed peas.

Hottie Beans n Greens

I’ve also been enjoying Warm & Spicy Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms over Brown Rice (click for recipe) by Maria Guadagno of The Bombshell Blueprint.


I LOVE this recipe.  It is delicious and spicy, even as cold leftovers, which is fortunate because the recipe makes enough for three [large] meals! Just make sure you open some windows and put on your oven blower, if you have one, to avoid getting a blast of cayenne pepper to the face while this cooks.

Finally, there’s good old-fashioned Black Bean Burgers (click for recipe) served up with a side of greens, in this case sauteed collards.  The burger recipe is by Urban Vegan.  I also made roasted sweet potato wedges to have on the side.  And there was ketchup, obvi.

April-May 009

Black Bean Burger

Sweet Potato Wedges

H was also a big fan of the patties.  I’m totally sold because they are so ridiculously easy to make, so his approval means they will be making frequent appearances on our lunch and dinner plates going forward.

So there you have it.  Look on the bright side and eat great food, and life is good.


Spring In My Step

Good day, fair bloggonians!

I am feeling extraordinarily chipper today, due in no small part to the fine spring weather that has decided to grace us with its presence this week.  Boston is truly a wonderful place to be when the weather turns warm; people take to the streets en masse,  smoothies and iced coffees in hand, wearing smiles and sunglasses and taking extra-long lunch breaks.

In addition to lifting my spirits, the arrival of springtime also tends to make me feel rather industrious.  For example, this past week, I finally managed (after living there four months already!) to make a dent in my long list of things to do around our new house.  I’ve also been doing some serious recipe-hunting and list-making, with every intention of cooking up some big-batch recipes.  This is mainly because I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which for me always means having to make some adjustments to allow for a new schedule, budget, etc.

In the past, I’ve found that having food prepared in advance makes any adjustment period a lot easier to handle.  Often, I do this in the form of soups.  However, lately all I can think about is spring produce!!! Hence, I have other recipes in mind.

As I am particularly excited for spring’s leafy greens, the Weekend Glow Kale Salad from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Oh She Glows, will definitely be on the menu.  This recipe is a little time-consuming to prepare because of all of the vegetable chopping involved, but produces a lot of food and is therefore a great prep-ahead, eat-for-days recipe!

Look at all of the amazing ingredients that get mixed in with the kale base:
You’ve got your avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, carrots, and dried cherries (because I didn’t have raisins or goji berries).

Served on top of raw kale, with Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing:

You let it all marinate together and then enjoy!  I adore this salad; its many flavors and textures all combine perfectly to make your tastebuds very, very happy.  I have made this a number of times since last summer and it always lasts me at least 3 days, and sometimes up to a week, because it makes so much (I prepare it in the biggest mixing bowl I have and sometimes bits still fall out while I’m tossing it!).  Obviously you could halve the recipe if you wished, but I personally love the feeling I get when I behold a massive mountain of salad.  Also, after consuming this I always feel incredible.  It’s hard not to when you’re fueling your body with such incredible, vibrant ingredients.  I highly recommend making this!

Well I just realized that the other recipe I wanted to post about today is also from Oh She Glows, but oh well (seriously, it’s an amazing blog…check it out).  This is her High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad.  A perfect recipe for berry season!

Strawberries, cherries, and [hidden] blueberries, chopped and ready for use.

All Mixed Up (like 311)

And who doesn’t love a good quinoa close-up?

This is another recipe that can quite easily feed one person for an entire week (depending on the freshness of your berries), and the quinoa turns an increasingly deeper shade of red/purple each day that it sits.  Delicious, nutritious, and energizing, this recipe is perfect to prepare on a Sunday and use throughout the week as a pack-and-go breakfast.  Alas, it’s still a little too early in the season to make this, but believe me, it’s on my mind and will be first up on my recipe roster once the warm weather truly rolls in to stay!

Enjoy the rest of this gorgeous week!

Ladies Who Lunch

Or, in this case, lady who lunches, I guess.  It’s finals time.  My last finals time ever (hallelujah!).  While the light at the end of the tunnel (I’m done at noon tomorrow!!!) certainly helps, nothing can truly ease the pain and irritation caused by this time of the semester.  Except perhaps some fabulous eats.

For some reason, breakfast is always a chore for me and lunch is kind of take-what-you-get, while dinner is the main event meal of each day.  The last two weeks however have been filled with some of the most delectable lunches I’ve ever had.  I have tons of photos of them so I hope you like photos.

1) Gardein crispy tenders on a whole wheat sandwich thin with honey mustard, and kale and spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil:
Gardein 3

By the way, this is the kale and spinach in the pan when I first put them in (kale on the right, spinach on the left):
Kale and spinach

And this is after a minute or so…amazing how much spinach wilts down in a hot pan!
Kale and spinach

2) Gardein crispy tenders on a whole wheat sandwich thin with barbecue sauce and kale sauteed with garlic:
Gardein 1

3) WildWood southwest flavor sprouted tofu burger on a whole wheat sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with a side of Sabra roasted pine nut hummus and organic cucumber slices:

4) WildWood original flavor sprouted tofu burger on a whole wheat sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce, with a garlic dill pickle (because when is a pickle ever not the solution to all your problems?  All this time, I should have been writing “pickle” on my exams when I didn’t know the answer.)

5) ED&BV Lemon Chickpea Lentil soup with rustic bread and Smart Balance light:

6) ED&BV Lemon Chickpea Lentil soup with a beet medley (roasted bulbs; stalks and greens sauteed with garlic):
I had never eaten beet stalks before and let me tell you, they are a delight.

7) Flat bread with Sabra pine nut hummus, cucumber, and tomato, with the fava beans from my last post, sauteed with garlic and olive oil:
The fava beans were SO GOOD! I wished I had more.

8– Leftover Ancho Lentil mix from this recipe, on a whole wheat sandwich thin, with lettuce and a swirl of dijon mustard, a side of kale sauteed with garlic, and a pickle (duh):

9) Leftover Ancho Lentil mix on a whole wheat sandwich thin, with lettuce, chopped tomato, and a side of roasted beets:
I should have had a pickle.

Some of these were repeated one or more times. Ya know…lather, rinse, repeat.  Plus, when something’s this tasty, why change anything about it? I have to say, #3 might have been the best lunch I’ve ever had.  The WildWood southwest flavor is my favorite by far (I’ve also had shiitake and original), and my avocado was heavenly.
So ripe and creamy.

Also, how much do you love Sabra hummus?  I’m not plugging them for any reason other than that I love them…I mean, look at this perfection:

I loved this lunch so much that I took a couple extra beauty shots:
A perfect burger

MMM sabra sabrosa…sorry it’s a little blurry, I was too hungry to focus, I guess.

The next time I post, it will be posting as a non-law student! Woo!!

Me:  Someone found my blog yesterday by searching for “deformed chocolate chip cookies.”
H:  That’s a funny way to spell delicious.

Spring Things

The weather in Boston has been less than delightful the past week or two, despite that it’s now late April.  Last week it was pretty frigid, extremely windy and in the 40’s.  However, yesterday we got a glimpse of the sunny days to come with morning sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s!  Even though it got cloudy later in the day and threatened rain, the temperature stayed comfortable, which was a big relief to me (I hate being cold!).  Today is much the same; cloudy but mild.

Anyway, enough small talk.  Whether or not the weather cooperates, it’s spring, people!  And that means it’s time for fresh produce and love.  It also means that it’s almost summer, the time of year when for all intents and purposes I follow a raw diet because there is just that much fabulous produce available!  But I digress.

Lately I’ve been loving me some zucchini and summer squash.  I made a couple of random yet tasty dishes with these recently.

One night I was “using up” so I tossed some cut-up zukes and squash into a sautee with onions, garlic, chickpeas, and olive oil.


Then I mixed it all into a pot of whole wheat couscous that I’d cooked in vegetable broth that needed using.

Sorry for the dark picture…the evening lighting in my apartment sucks

This was so friggin’ easy and versatile.  I ate it as pictured above the first night, but when eating as leftovers, I topped it with mushroom spaghetti sauce.  True to form.  I love sauce.  Like whoa.

And so, a few days later I made my own sauce that was comprised of spring vegetables: zucchini, squash, and red bell pepper.

Stop light
It’s a stop light!

Then, I browned them in a stock pot with garlic and olive oil:

Once the veggies had a nice caramelized look to them, I added jarred mushroom spaghetti sauce and a bunch of spices (chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, oregano…I am not very specific about these things) and let it simmer.  While it cooked, I had a very typical A. Cook appetizer…

Garlic dill pickles and kalamata olives…salty heaven!

Finally I cooked up some elbow macaroni and vegan meatballs and tossed it all together in a bowl.  The result: veggie-filled, warm, spicy goodness.


In case anyone is curious, these are the meatballs I used:

I always keep a bag of these in the freezer. You can get them at Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s makes a version of them now as well.  I prefer the ones pictured, personally.  The price is pretty comparable and I find that the Nate’s brand are softer when heated, whereas the TJ ones sometimes have hard bits around the edges.

In other news (and H can testify to this), over the last week I have been consuming obscene amounts of green vegetables, namely spinach, kale, and broccoli.  (Lucky for Mr. Asparagus, though unlucky for me, he is never on sale for under $4/lb. anywhere in Boston and that is the only reason he has been spared from my insatiable green appetite.)  But seriously, I can’t get enough.  And that, my friends, is how I know it’s springtime!

So Close, Yet So Far Away

Good LORD it’s been a while since I posted! I apologize that I’ve been a little bit MIA from commenting also, but this semester has been crazy-train! I usually check out everyone’s blogs during class on my Google reader (I know, I’m awful), but all of a sudden they started really cracking down on us, so I am really behind, but I promise to try hard to catch up this weekend. The end of the semester seems so far away but I know finals will be on me before I know it, so I need to make sure I put school first for the next few weeks.

All that said, I have still been doing close to my normal amount of cooking.  This is something that I won’t compromise on, and I always work to find a way to fit it into my hectic schedule.   I know that alot of people, students in particular, who are committed to healthy lifestyles feel the same, and I believe that home food-prep is especially important for vegans!!

Anyways, enough of my rambling!  Even though spring is technically close, it seems SO far away, so I have continued with my soup-making.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I like to make soups out of leftover parts of veggies I eat, because not only have I paid for them, but they are just as yummy and nutritious as the other parts.   My most recent concoction was made out of the stems of organic broccoli and kale, as well as the obvious onion, garlic, veggie broth, and spices.

Here are the ingredients hanging out in their little veggie hot tub

Here is the finished (pureed) product

This soup was just okay.  I think I much prefer a version incorporating butternut squash or something else a little sweeter, because the kale gave this soup a slightly bitter, blander flavor.   I have a squash at home so my next batch of soup will definitely use that!  Now…all I need is a new food processor.  Look what happened when I blended the broccoli-kale soup! 😦

Be back soon with some new Indian food and also desserts!!

Woo! That Sicky Sicky Shake

Boo for being sick 😦  I stayed home from school yesterday and spent 25 of the last 36 hours sleeping.  Because I’m able to stand up and actually walk today, I figure I’m “recovered” enough to be back at school.  Now that I’m here though, I’m realizing that I’m too out of it to pay much attention, so I’m blogging instead.  Whoops.

I started today with a little something I call my Sicky Shake.  I invented this last May when I was recovering from my tonsillectomy.   I just throw the following into the food processor and go to town: 1/2 c. Purely Decadent Peanut Butter ZigZag soy ice cream (my faaaave), 1/2 a large frozen banana, and about 1/3-1/2 c. unsweetened soy milk (I just pour it in as necessary to thin out the shake.  The end result is sweet, cold, and delicious and is a total pick-me-up when you’ve been bed-ridden.   Here’s mine from this morning:

Sorry for the weird picture.  My head is not really working properly yet.

Moving along, I said last time that I had some potato-y goodness to share.   Basically what happened was that I had a 5-lb. bag of Yukon gold potatoes that needed to get used, so I had some fun with those.

One night I decided to cut them in wedges and roast them.  A pretty elementary recipe: Cut potatoes, toss in a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, turning once.  With a side of kale steamed with garlic:

The next night in order to use up a greater number of potatoes at once, I made them mashed.  I peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters, bring them to a boil then simmer then for 20 minutes, drain them, then use a fork to mash them with about 6 T. Earth Balance, 1/2 c.-1 c. unsweetened soy milk, and sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.   With a side of–you guessed it!–kale steamed with garlic:

I like to take the garlic out of the pan after steaming the kale and mix it into the mashed potatoes.  I also eat them with tons of hot sauce because I love my food spicy!  These are sooooo yummy and literally last me a whole week.  I’m pretty proud of my use of this big bag of potatoes!

As a sidenote, I know that neither of these really look like complete meals, especially to a non-vegan eye.  I actually on both occasions had planned to eat a grilled portabello mushroom with the meal, but never got there because I was full enough from the potatoes and the kale.