Thursday, July 28, 2011

Healthy Vegan Eats in Orlando: Wrap Planet

Okay, I know what everyone is thinking-"when is she going to cook again"?  Well, I'm taking my time getting back to cooking since the husband is still out of town.  It's nice to have a break, and it's summer!  Summer Break.  So that's it.  But just cause I didn't cook lunch doesn't mean we aren't eating good stuff.

Today we went to Wrap Planet in Winter Park.  It's tucked away in an alley off Fairbanks and Park Ave.  You might miss it even though there is a sign.  I have passed it so many times and said "I ought to try that place one day", so today was the day.  And I'm glad we did.  The food is tasty and very reasonably priced. The soup above is the "Vegan Soup of the Day" and it was a carrot broccoli soup with corn salsa...super yummy, even the kids loved it.
The wraps are huge.  This is half of "Set Me Free", a wrap with hummus, greek veggies, and green dressing.

We also had the "Blind Date" Smoothie with a Spirulina Booster.  Oh yeah, look at that dark green in the straw. The kids loved this too!
I was told by the owner that they can veganize many of the menu items, replacing tofu for chicken and omitting any dairy products.  But it's better to come before or after the lunch rush hour so they can take their time to make sure they get things made right. 

To check out the menu go to Wrap For a $2.00 off coupon and a free tea or coffee coupon, go here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Healthy Vegan Eats in San Diego: Stephanie's Bakery

Yes, I'm at it again...traveling across the country to bring you photos of some of the best vegan food in San Diego!  Okay, so that was not the sole purpose of my trip, but I will always find an excuse to seek out great food and take photos.  And maybe one day I will be living on the West Coast, who knows?

Have you ever had an amazing salad, so amazing that you came back the next day to have it again?  It happened to me at Stephanie's Vegan Bakery on Ocean Beach! 

My mouth starts to water every time I see these photos, it was THAT good!  And they only have one salad on the menu, it's their "Salad of the Day".  It is a spinach salad with shredded purple cabbage, sprouts, Enoki mushrooms, artichoke hearts sliced thin, blackberries, sunflower seeds tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette.  I will be trying to duplicate this one really soon!

I dragged my husband with me on the second visit and he had the vegan pizza with pineapple and fake ham.  I let him try my salad and he admitted that the salad was better than the pizza :-)  I love it when I'm right.

Not to be overlooked are the Gluten Free Vegan Tollhouse Brownies.  Those were really good too...

Stephanie's is a small, independently owned bakery.  Everything is vegan, organic and she offers several gluten free options.  The menu includes pizza, sandwiches, a salad and a wide variety of desserts. The bakery is open only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11-7. I'll definitely be back next time I'm in San Diego!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lemon Tahini Bok Choy with Quinoa

Here it is, up close in the pan!

And then on to the plate with quinoa!  This is a super quick 20 minute meal that has simple ingredients you might have on hand.  This is my own recipe but I was inspired by a "quinoa bowl" from "Get it Ripe".  The recipe didn't have much of a sauce, so I decided to do an intervention of sorts :)

Lemon Tahini Bok Choy with Quinoa (Serves 4)

1 large stalk of Organic Bok Choy, washed and chopped (chiffonade the dark green part)
1 can of Eden Organic Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 large clove of garlic, pressed or finely diced
2 tbsp low sodium Organic Tamari (I use San-J brand)
2 tbsp raw tahini butter (I use Artisana brand)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tbsp Unhulled sesame seeds (to garnish)
1/4 tsp or more of cayenne pepper (optional, if you want to give it a kick)
3/4-1 cup water

1. Put rinsed quinoa in a pot with two cups of water and bring to a boil.  While you are waiting on the pot to boil, heat a large non stick pan to medium heat and add onions.  Sautee with water until translucent. 

3. To your pan, add garlic and sautee adding small amounts of water for about 2 more minutes.  Turn the heat down to a low simmer on the quinoa once it is boiling and cover.

3. Add tahini butter, water, tamari and optional cayenne pepper to the pan and move it around until mixed.  You could also mix the tahini, tamari and water in a bowl first, but why dirty an extra bowl? :-)

4. Put your chopped Bok Choy into the pan, turn the heat down to low or simmer, and cover with a lid until the Bok Choy is slightly wilted and bright green.  Give it an occasional stir while you are waiting for it to wilt.  This should not take more than 5 minutes, so keep an eye on it and don't over cook!  You want the bok choy to be crispy, not mushy.   Dump the beans in and give it a good stir to coat with the sauce.  Uncover and allow to simmer on the lowest possible heat setting until quinoa is done.

5. When the quinoa is done, you can squeeze the lemon juice over the Bok Choy and beans and give it another stir.  Serve with unhulled sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.

If you follow this recipe and something is not clear, please let me know in the comments section so I can edit it!!  It makes sense to me, but I realize someone else may interpret things differently :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sauteed Shredded Veggies and Tempeh with Perfect Peanut Sauce

This yummy sauce recipe comes from Jae Steele's "Get it Ripe".  She suggested it be served with tempeh, and since I have never tried tempeh and peanut sauce together I decided to give it a whirl.

I use LightLife Whole Grain Tempeh.  It is made with cultured organic soybeans, organic long grain rice and organic brown rice. 
The trick to preparing great tasting tempeh is that you MUST always steam and marinate it.  It needs to be softened and it needs time to soak up flavors. This will not happen if you just toss it into your prepared sauce last minute.  It will taste very bland, and you probably know that from experience! 

First steam your tofu for about 15-20 minutes by placing in a steamer basket over boiling water.

While it's steaming you can prepare the marinade. In a small glass dish I put the sliced tempeh, 1/4 cup Organic Low Sodium Tamari, 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 tbsp filtered water.  Toss the pieces and let them soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours.  If you are marinating for longer than 30 minutes, you should keep it in the refrigerator.

So, remember on my Salad Extravaganza post I talked about short cuts...well here is another great short cut!  It costs a little extra ($2.15/package and I used 1 1/2 packages) but it made my meal come together in minimal time and no mess from using the food processor.  Whole Foods sells this package of shredded veggies but you can probably find them at other stores.

Here's the finished dish in the pan...

And I know you want the recipe now!

Perfect Peanut Sauce (original by Jae Steele, modified by me)
1 medium onion pureed (about 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 large cloves of garlic, crushed (to taste...if you love garlic add more!)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp curry powder
3/4 cup raw peanut butter
1/4 cup raw tahini butter
2 tbsp low sodium Organic Tamari
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp coconut milk (optional)

Toss it all in the blender and blend until smooth.  I use a Vitamix, so it blends pretty quickly.  Other blenders may take longer.

Enjoy, and let me know how it works out in your kitchen :)

Creamy Cashew Sauce or Vegan Mayo

I found this yummy recipe in the June/July 2011 issue of Kiwi Magazine.  It was presented as a potato salad, but I decided to pour the sauce over the potatoes for my husband and I and let the kids dip their potatoes in the sauce since they tend to not like a lot of sauce on their food.

Well I absolutely LOVED this sauce.  I will totally use it again and add dill as the recipe suggested to make a potato salad.  I didn't have dill on hand but I had everything else.  The result is a creamy, rich, delicious sauce that could also be used as a homemade vegan mayo! 

Creamy Cashew Sauce/Vegan Mayo

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp Chickpea Miso
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, diced or crushed

1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Or you can cheat on this step by placing them in hot water for 20's okay, I do it!

2. In a blender, preferably a Vitamix or Blendtec, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salad Extravaganza

We've been eating a lot of salad here because hot food in hot weather isn't so appealing.  So here are some photos of what we've been eating lately in sunny, hot, humid Florida weather...

This one was made on the 4th of July: Butter lettuce, grilled corn, SproutTofu sprouted soybean tofu, Basmati Rice, Lime Juice, Rice Vinegar, Sea Salt

This one was made today: Butter Lettuce, Organic baby carrots, Eden Organic canned Navy Beans, Artichoke Hearts, unhulled sesame seeds, (not pictured is the homemade Orange Avocado Dressing!)

This one was made for her: 1/2 Avocado, Artichoke Hearts, Mandarin Oranges, Navy Beans, Butter Lettuce, no salad dressing required :)

Obviously I used some canned items and bagged lettuce.  I'm okay with it, so long as it makes my putting together salads quick and easy on busy days.  As much as I like to plan ahead, some days it's lunch or dinner time before I know it and if I had to wait on beans to soak or spend a lot of time chopping, I might decide to go out for food!