A Life-Changing Vegan Lunch

April 20, 2011 § 42 Comments

There has been a slight change of plans in my posting schedule this week. Originally I was planning on posting the recipe for my homemade Spinach Artichoke Hummus today, but yesterday I ate something that was truly amazing and I wanted to share it with all of you. It is life-changing! :-D

Yesterday started out as any average day would. I woke up, showered, had breakfast, tried to clean my room. Again.  Around noon my stomach started to grumble. My body was indicating that it was, indeed, lunch time. Instead of just whipping up an old-standby I was feeling rather adventurous so I turned to Blog World for help. After a quick scroll through the bookmarked “Recipes” tab on my computer I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta.

Doesn’t that just scream Springtime to you?

Avocado.  Lemon.  Garlic.  Basil.  Pasta.  This is what dreams are made of. ;-)

Although it looks rather fancy and intimidating, this dish was easy to prepare and can be done in a snap! I guess that’s why they call it 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. It only takes 15 minutes to make, if not less!

Ease of preparation isn’t the best part of this recipe though. Oh no. It is most definitely the taste and texture. Just look at that vegan ‘cream’ sauce. It was so creamy and delicious. Who needs alfredo?! :-P

Since the recipe states it makes 2 servings I figured I would be a nice sister and share some with my 10-year old brother, Phil. You’d think a kid his age would hate something like this. Nope. Phil loved it and so did I! Each ingredient provided a unique flavor and they all came together in perfect harmony. I garnished the top of the pasta with lemon zest and the citrus-y flavor was phenomenal against the mild taste of the avocado. Once I had eaten my the last bite I knew that I would be making this dish again soon.

That being said, if you ever find yourself trying to impress someone with a healthy vegan dish, this 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta is the dish for you!

I liked it so much that I got Phil to take a picture of me with it on the front lawn. I’m sure the people walking by loved seeing that. ;-)

Mixed Nut And Chia Butter

April 14, 2011 § 48 Comments

As if I don’t already have enough jars of nut butter. ;-)

Today I was stuck at home all day. After battling a cold for an entire week, a harsh round of Track intervals reared its ugly side yesterday and left me feeling terrible. Thus the reason why I was stuck at home today.

After a few hours of blog reading and setting up my Bites Of Life page in the morning, I finally decided to be somewhat productive and try to clean my room. That lasted for about 5 minutes. Let’s just say my room isn’t the most organized. Instead, I ventured into the kitchen, plugged in my food processor, and began making nut butter.

Inspired by Nuttzo, I began throwing in roasted almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and cashews, blending them until they reached a creamy consistency. I took the first spoonful. Pure bliss. I tossed in a couple tablespoons of chia seeds at the end to complete the mix. It was perfection. The chia seeds added the perfect texture and crunch to an already delicious-tasting nut butter.

Mixed Nut And Chia Butter

“Inspired by Nuttzo, this nut butter is a nutritional powerhouse! It’s a great source of protein, fiber, calcium, and Omega 3s! Enjoy it on toast, crackers, or even by the spoonful to reap its amazing benefits.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds*
  • 1 cup raw peanuts*
  • 1 cup raw cashews*
  • 1 cup raw walnuts*
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  • Place nuts in a large bowl. Add ¼ cup canola oil and toss to combine. Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 5-6 minutes, or until they are a light golden color.
  • Once the nuts are done roasting, place in a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Place roasted nuts, salt, chia seeds, and remaining canola oil in a food processor. Process on high for 8-10 minutes, stirring/scraping down sides often.
  • Scoop finished nut butter into jars and enjoy!

Yield: 2 cups nut butter

*If you buy roasted nuts, skip steps #1 and #2 and continue with the rest of the recipe as written.

* * * * *

Once I had the nut butter photographed and jarred, my stomach started grumbling. I quickly made myself some toast with Mixed Nut And Chia Butter and it was delicious. At the last minute, I topped it with some grilled banana slices. Heaven on a plate. I highly recommend trying it!

In addition to toast and banana slices, I also really enjoy using this as a dip for fresh apple slices and eating by the spoonful. Yum! :-D

Oh and before I sign off for the night, I’d like to answer a question I got on Twitter the other day.

I always hear you talking about your “nut butter addiction” and huge nut butter stash on your blog. How many tablespoons of nut butter do you consume daily and how many jars of nut butter do you own?

This question really put a smile on my face! I love nut butters and probably eat anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons of nut butter on a daily basis and own around 11 jars of nut butter.

Actually, counting today’s little nut butter adventure, make that 12. ;-)

Lentil Loaf: It Brightens Any Rainy Day!

April 9, 2011 § 36 Comments

When I was little, Lent was just the season before Easter. I wouldn’t give anything up, so it didn’t mean much to me. As I got older I began to give up little things like gum and Nutella, but Lent was still just the season before Easter. Now I give up Nutella, understand the meaning behind Lent, [Thank you Catholic High School!] and use it as an excuse to try out as many vegetarian recipes as possible! ;-)

All year I’ve really wanted to make Angela’s Ultimate Lentil Walnut Loaf. I don’t remember what drew me to it in the first place, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with how different it was. I had never heard of making meatloaf without meat before! But it looked delicious, so I gave it a shot and I’m so glad that I did!

Now, before I get into telling you how delicious the Lentil Loaf was, let me tell you a little story.

Back in January, when Angela first posted the recipe for her Ultimate Lentil Walnut Loaf, I immediately knew I wanted to make it. I pitched the idea to my mom and she said “It better be good or else I’m not eating it!” I told her not to worry so she gave me permission to pick up all the necessary ingredients at the store. Lentils. Walnuts. Carrots. Flax. I was ready for action, or so I thought. As the days went on my homework load got heavier and heavier, Track started, and mom made dinner every night. I forgot about the Lentil Loaf. Days, weeks, and eventually months went by until I finally rediscovered the dusty bag of lentils in the back of my pantry. Again I gathered up the necessary ingredients and waited for the perfect day to finally make my beloved Lentil Loaf.

Yesterday it was a cool 50 degrees and rainy outside. All day I thought Track practice would be cancelled. It wasn’t. So there I was, in my new running shorts, at school doing intervals with my team in the rain. We did a 1.5 mile jog to warm-up, 8 sets of 200 meter sprints, and another 1.5 mile jog to cool-down. It wasn’t a hard workout, but I was dripping wet by the time we were finished. As I was finishing my last lap, the thought of making Lentil Loaf popped into my head.

When I got home I showered, got dressed in my comfiest sweatpants and t-shirt, and decided that it was time to get to work. The entire family was home and meat was off-limits since it was Friday. In other words it was the perfect time to experiment with Lentil Loaf. :-P

I followed Angela’s recipe almost exactly. Almost. I think it’s impossible for me to follow a recipe ingredient-for-ingredient and step-by-step. It must be the chef in me. ;-)

I substituted dried cranberries for raisins, agave for maple syrup, omitted the celery, and doubled the amount of glaze.

As we sat down to dinner and I pulled the Lentil Loaf out of the oven, my dad started to give me a confused look. “But Erika, we can’t have meat on a Friday.” he said.  “Dad, there is no meat in this meatloaf…just lentils!” I replied. I could see that he was judging my Lentil Loaf. “C’mon it’s good. Try it!” I told him as he took his first bite. “This actually isn’t too bad. It’s actually pretty darn good.” he announced as everyone else began to dig in. Everyone “Mmmmm-ed” in agreement.

Success! :-D

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