Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lazy Day

It sure is hard to get things done on a gloomy day. I haven't been very productive today, which is nice to not do anything every once in a while.

After pulling weeds and filling three brown bags full I decided to make Mock Tuna Salad. I served it on toasted Ezekiel bread. It was refreshing on such a hot day!

On Friday, Joe and I had a date night at home. We needed it since we are always on the run. I made Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.

Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado
Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

14 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Tobasco
1/4 tsp agave nectar
2 med garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c onion, diced
15 oz of black & pinto beans, rinsed and drained
6-7 corn tortillas
1 large or 2 small avocado
3/4 fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 T fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/2 c crushed tortilla chips
3/4 c vegan chesse (I used Daiya mozzarella flavor)
1/4 c chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, allspice, 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, Tobasco, agave nectar, garlic, onion and beans; stir to mix well. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 baking dish.

Pour half of mixture in baking dish and tip back and forth to distribute evenly. Place half of the tortillas on top of mixture.

When mixture is covered with tortilla shells, place avocado slices on top of tortillas and season with a pinch of salt.

Distribute corn kernels over avocado, then drizzle with lime juice.

Top this layer with remaining tortillas, spread with remaining sauce mixture, and sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips, then cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbling at edges. If cheese hasn't melted, turn on broiler for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into squares. Sprinkle cilantro on top. Serve immediately.

When it was time to eat, I was so hungry I forgot to take a final picture! Oops!

Overall, Joe and I liked the meal but we pondered what could be done differently next time. The meal was tasty but it was lacking a contrast in flavors. We thought we would:
-substitute tomato sauce for either marinara or enchilada sauce
-add jalapenos
-top with sour cream
-substitue Tobasco with sriracha sauce

I will definitely make this meal again but with the substitutions.
 Sunset on Saturday evening

Have a great work week!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Summer sure has been flying by and I have been enjoying it, which is why I haven't posted since the beginning of this month. Spending time with friends, family and taking a camera class has been consuming my time but I am happy that my time is spent with the people I love.

Tonight, I wanted to throw together a meal for my husband for when he got home from driving many hours. I made grilled eggplant and zucchini over couscous and marinara sauce. On the side were balsamic baked green beans.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini over Marinara Couscous
1 Eggplant
1 Medium Zucchini
Olive Oil
1/3 c Couscous (or 1 cup of whole wheat elbow noodles....Joe wasn't feelin' the couscous)
Button Mushrooms
Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara
Meatless Meatballs
Red Pepper Flakes
Garlic Powder

Slice zucchini at an angle into 1/2" slices. Slice eggplant also at an angle into 3/4" slices. Brush one side liberally with olive oil. Place olive oil sides on the grill (medium heat) and brush the other side liberally with oil. Zucchini should cook 3-4 minutes before turning; eggplant 5-7 minutes. I just look for dark grill lines and juices dripping.

All done!

For the couscous (sorry, I don't have a picture!) I cooked according to the package. Instead of water, butter and salt, boil 1 c vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 c couscous. Stir evenly, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

While the couscous was cooking, I made Balsamic Baked Green Beans. Delicious flavor and a great way to get the greens in! I would attempt this on the grill in tin foil next time around.

Balsamic Baked Green Beans
Modified from
2-3 c Fresh Green Beans, ends removed
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 t Salt
Pinch of Ground Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients (except beans) in small bowl; whisk together. Put green beans onto baking sheet. Apply oil mixture and massage into green beans with your hands. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until starting to brown.

Sorry about the awkward angle....still learning how to use the camera =). These are the green beans when finished!! Yum Yum!

Next, I added Meatless Meatballs to a frying pan with sliced mushrooms and one clove of garlic. Add garlic towards end, about 5 minutes, to enhance flavor.

When the meatballs are thoroughly heated, I added the eggplant and zucchini, couscous (or elbow macaroni), about 1 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and a pinch of salt. These are estimates...I don't measure these ingredients because I love strong flavor!

Again, learning how to use the camera. The top is the couscous and the bottom is the elbow macaroni. Joe gobbled this meal up! I didn't hear him when I was in the other room.....concerned he didn't like it. He loved it! And so did I! Definitely a meal that will be made again.

It is that time.....time to get ready for another work day. Hopefully I will be posting sooner than later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Scrumptious Vegan Banana Bread

Good evening!

Although it is not a cold, fall day, I was craving banana bread and thought I would whip up a batch. Lets just say this bread was soooooo delicious I had to share the recipe. It was my first time making it vegan style and it tasted exactly like my mom's bread that had eggs and butter in its ingredients list.
Homemade Banana Bread
Inspired by

1 c + 3/4 c whole grain spelt flour* (can substitute with whole wheat flour)
1.5 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder (I used aluminum-free)
1/2 t sea salt
1 t pumpkin pie spice (or use 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ground ginger, and 1/4 t nutmeg)
1 T Chia seeds (found at your natural/health store)
3 1/2 ripe bananas (medium in size) 
2 T Coconut butter (the bread does not taste like coconut for those of you who do not like coconut)
3 T Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c pure maple syrup
unsweetened coconut, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl (flour, soda, powder, salt, spices).
2. In a small cup, microwave coconut butter for 15 seconds to warm.
3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (bananas, syrup, butter, oil). Reserve 1/2 medium banana. Mix wet ingredients very well, making sure to break up the clumps of the coconut butter.
4. Chop reserved banana into one inch chunks; add to wet mixture.
5. Add wet ingredients to the dry. Stir until flour is well combined. Do not over mix as this will make the dough tough. 
6. Pour the batter into a pre-greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. (Mine cooked for 38 minutes as was done). Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan and serving.

This bread is very moist and does not need any added butter. Enjoy the taste as well as the delicious aroma in your house!