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!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Marinara craving

I hope your 4th was as great as mine! My weekend ended up extending one day longer than I had planned and I was able to enjoy the great weather and fireworks with family. The following photo is the sunset right before fireworks began.
Marinara sauce sounded really tasty so I decided to whip up a quick yet delicious meal. It is so quick I am able to enjoy the rest of the evening =).

Italian Zucchini
Modified from
Serves 2

2 T Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 medium zucchinis
5 small button mushrooms
1/2 c chickpeas
Salt & pepper to taste
1 c Trader Joes Tomato Basil Organic Marinara Sauce
2 T oregano
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T red pepper flakes

1. Heat EVOO in large skillet until warm over medium heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms, chickpeas and salt & pepper. Cook until tender.
2. Add marinara, oregano, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to zucchini mixture. Toss until well combined. Cook for 3-5 minutes until warm. Serve hot.

This last picture isn't the camera is stubborn and decides when it wants to work.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend! Holly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Last night I had to prepare my meals for this weekend as I will be going away for the holiday! I am very very excited for a long and relaxing weekend. Unfortunately, I won't be posting any new items for 'Friday Funday'. However, I am hoping to make up for that on Monday.

Here is a new recipe I tried from Let's just say several people have tried it and would like to have the recipe! 

Mock Tuna Salad

15 oz chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 large carrots, grated
1/2 large cucumber, diced
2 stalks of celery, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 or 2 tsp of black pepper
salt to taste
2 to 3 T Veganaise (I used 2 and thought it was plenty, but season to your liking)
1 or 2 T yellow mustard (I used 1 T to not overpower the flavor)
1 tsp paprika
2 T sweet relish

Mash the chickpeas in a separate bowl with a fork or potato masher, until 80% are mashed. Combine chickpeas with all other ingredients in a large bowl, stir until well combined. Chill for 20 minutes for the flavors to combine. Serve cold alone, on Ezekiel bread, Bibb lettuce or wrap. Enjoy =)


 Have a great holiday weekend! Check in on Monday....I have a new cookbook (it's a surprise) and will be trying a recipe from there!  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Light & quick spring roll dinner

Good Evening! Tonight I made spring rolls for dinner with an Asian Dipping sauce. I was not very hungry but wanted something. I thought that this would be enough & it was!

Asian Dipping Sauce (makes 1.5 c)

1 inch of ginger, grated and minced
1 c olive oil
2 t sesame oil (toasted)
Juice of 1 lime
4 T mellow white miso 
6 dates pitted, or 1/4 c pure maple syrup
2 T nama shoyu (also known as soy sauce)
1/3 c water

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  I used the Magic Bullet.

Spring Rolls

1 rice wrap
slivered carrots and cucumbers (to your liking)
1 small handful of pasta (I prefer whole wheat)
Sprinkle of fresh cilantro

Wet 1 rice wrap under cold running water....keep it under water, covering front and back, until flexible. You will know when it becomes flexible. Quickly add above ingredients. Tightly wrap...cover veggies first, then fold over the sides of the wrap, and roll. All ingredients should be covered so they do not fall out.  Dip roll into Asian dipping sauce.
Cooked shrimp, mint leaves in place of cilantro, and other preferred veggies would also be great replacers.

This meal took exactly 7 minutes to cook the pasta noodles and roll ingredients together. Enjoy!

Please let me know of quick meals you assemble after a long day of work. =) Have a great evening!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wrapping up a great weekend!

What a great weekend! I spent Saturday to Sunday up at the lake and had a great time fishing! At 6 am this morning I caught a decent size crappie and a HUGE large mouth bass! I was proud that I managed to keep the bass by putting it in a plastic bag with my foot (because I was alone and there wasn't a net) and then got help to put it in the fish wire net. Maybe one of these days I will touch the large fish....I'm not quite there yet.

Today I made several meals to prepare for the work week ahead. One meal I am not going to highlight because it just did not spark my interest too much. I will monkey with the recipe and see what I can do.

The next meal I made were black bean burgers. Don't be turned off from the color/appearance. These have delicious flavor....I'm just not sold on the density. I have to figure out how to keep these together. They turn out moist but will crumble apart. I was interested in creating my own veggie/black bean burger to avoid any processed ingredients that may be in the packaged kind.

Black bean burgers
modified from Gourmet
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
*2, 14 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 c whole wheat dry bread crumbs
2 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 c finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T vegetable oil

*Purchase organic black beans to avoid BPA contamination from the can

1. Heat 1 T of oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
2. Stir in garlic and jalapeno with onion for 2 more minutes.
3. Pour the beans, bread crumbs, spices and cilantro into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture to the bowl. Mash the ingredients with your hands until the beans resemble a paste-like texture. Form into patties.
4. Heat 3T oil in 12" skillet over med-high heat. Cook burgers until outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve onto buns.
*I did not have vegetable oil on hand, which may have impacted the way my burgers turned out. The recipe calls for 4 patties...which are about 1/2-1 pound in size. I made small (approx 1/4 pound) patties and made them thinner throughout the cooking process in hopes to make them stay together. I got 6 patties total.

This photo is before I started cooking.

The next meal I made was for dinner. It was very tasty and Joe enjoyed it as well!

Portabello Burgers
Serves 2
2 portabello caps, stem removed and rinsed
Marinated peppers and onions (balsamic marinade recipe follows)
Hamburger bun, slice of bread, or wrap to serve on

After washing and snapping ends off with your hands, lightly coat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and place on tin foil. Place tin foil over medium to high heat on the grill. Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until able to be pierced with a fork.
After washing and removing stem, place shroom on grill and cook both sides for approximately 4 minutes each side, or until tender and juicy. *Snap stem off in the store to reduce your price from the overall weight of the mushroom*
Slice avocado in half, remove the seed, and lightly spoon around the avocado for easy removal. Place on grill and flip after approximately 2-4 minutes. Cook for the same amount of time on the other side.
Red Bell Pepper and Onion
Marinade in ziploc bag in fridge for about 2 hours. Place mixture with marinade on foil and place foil on the grill. Cook until veggies are tender.

Once all items are cooked place on bread/wrap. I enjoyed mine without the bread, which made it very juicy. This recipe is very easy and took about 20 minutes for prep, cook and clean-up!


2.5 T balsamic, white or red wine vinegar (I prefer balsamic)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t dijon or regular mustard (I prefer Dijon)
2 T pure maple syrup 1/4 t sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 garlic clove, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil

 Toss all ingredients into a bowl and whisk! Makes about 1/2 cup of dressing. *I have used this marinade as salad dressing as well....very delicious! Makes a different consistency when blended in blender...more like dressing.

Yum Yum!

Well, it is time for me to get everything wrapped up for the week! Enjoy =)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday fun-day

Happy Friday! Today is the day where I try something new and rave about it. The review is to come....

My morning started out cooking my mom's delicious Sloppy Joes for my step-dad for father's day. These sloppy joes are very popular and are recommended to be made at all gatherings. Although this blog documents healthy items for a healthy lifestyle, I thought I would post this fabulous recipe for those family members that enjoy meals that are made with meat.

To start the sloppy joes, you brown one pound of ground beef with half of a medium sized yellow onion. The beef I had is lean and produces very little grease. Once the beef is fully cooked, drain any leftover grease.

Then, add 1 can of Campbell's chicken and rice soup, 4 T of ketchup, 1 packet of McCormick sloppy joes seasoning, and 1/2 can (soup can) of water to the beef. Stir together.

Cover and let the juices cook off...approximately 20-30 minutes. The finished product should look like this...

My step-dad was very happy to receive one of his favorite meals. We enjoyed our belated father's day lunch on the patio at a local restaurant.

After lunch, I headed to the local co-op called River Market. I really enjoy browsing through the store and trying the many samples of food. As I was going down one aisle, I came across something I have been looking for for a few months....a BPA free bottle with a sports top! When I am running it is time consuming to twist the top off to have a swig of water. I am excited to try this out tomorrow!

Later in the day I went to Trader Joe' of my all time favorites! Today they were sampling portabello sandwiches with arugula and balsamic dressing. It was very tasty! I am excited to make a mock recipe with a few touches. I found several items I wanted to sample today....I should have ate before I went to the store

It is hard to tell in this picture but I sampled each bag in the car ride home! From left to right we have baked jalapeno cheese crunchies (mainly I got for my husband), flat/thin pretzels, sweet potato chips, and wasabi wow! trail mix (which I have had in the past). The jalapeno cheese crunchies are ok....probably won't buy again for myself. The pretzels and the sweet potato chips were very tasty and light....perfect for when I am searching for a small snack. Now, the wasabi wow! trail mix is outstanding! My husband, Joe, and I were devouring the bag as we were watching a good yet pathetic show (Bachelorette....don't tell him that I mentioned this!). The trail mix is your usual mix (nuts and dried fruit) but adds a kick with wasabi peas. The dried fruit tames down the heat from the wasabi. If you are a fan of wasabi then this trail mix is for you!

After Trader Joe's I went to Border's and came across this recipe book for $3.99! I have many recipe books and am going to add this one to the collection. I will highlight a recipe from this book in the near future!

Backwards I know, but after Trader Joe's I came home and made dinner. It consisted of Bibb lettuce (perfect for lettuce wraps), tomato, red onion, avocado, sprinkle of sea salt, and Boca crumbles (resembles beef, has great flavor, and is found in the freezer aisle by the Boca veggie burgers at your traditional supermarket). This meal is real easy and quick to assemble and is light for the summer evening.

Organic blueberries, strawberries and raspberries for dessert. Yum yum!

Time to relax and hope that the severe storms aren't very severe!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Welcome to my blog! I am excited to document my daily adventures and hope you enjoy. Please bear with me as I learn how to run this site. What you can look forward to reading are posts about my meals along with their recipes, testimonials on various products, and anything else that occurs in my day. Since my week consists mainly of work, I am hoping to have posts that are more enjoyable on the weekends (Thursday thru Sunday). Fridays will be my 'fun days' as I will highlight one new food from my favorite grocers (local co-op and Trader Joe's). Please ask questions and provide comments!!! Sit back and enjoy!