Going Vegetarian: Day One – Stir Fry

It’s day one of our vegetarian challenge, and I’m {somewhat} confident that we go seven days without meat. Tonight we made vegetarian Stir Fry, which was basically a smorgasbord of vegetables thrown in a frying pan and drizzled with a store bought Szechuan sauce.

The original recipe was discovered on Pinterest. We added in a few additional colorful veggies to add some pizzazz and served tonight’s meal with quinoa to add a little substance.  The results…Delicious, but I just finished eating, and I’m already hungry again….

 

StirFry

 

Cabbage and Mushroom Stir Fry {…with a few extra veggies for a pop of color}
adapted from divinehealthyfood.com

2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1 scallion
2 cloves garlic
A pinch of red pepper flakes
½ medium cabbage (about 4-5 cups chopped)
5 mushrooms (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper
baby bok choy
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
2-3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (optional)
favorite Szechuan or stir fry sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
A sprinkle of ground pepper
Instructions
1. Wash and chop the cabbage into small pieces.
2. Slice your mushrooms into 4-5 thin slices, peel and chop the garlic into small pieces, chop the scallions lengthwise in small pieces and chopped the red pepper and bok choy.
3. In a frying pan, add the olive oil, scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes.
4. Turn the heat on medium high and let it warm up for a couple of minutes. Add the cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy, red peppers  and salt and let it saute for about 5 minutes, be sure to stir!
5. Add two teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce and taste, if it needs more, add another teaspoon. Otherwise, add the Szechuan sauce to taste, garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Saute for another 5 minutes and turn the heat off and serve.

 

We were invited to go out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I’m a little nervous about dining out. So many meaty temptations. Wish me luck! And if you have any restaurant vegetarian suggestions, please let me know.  xoxo

Use What You Have Lentil Soup

I believe recipes are made to be ignored. In fact, some of my tastiest meals have been created using the “dash and test” method. Throw in a dash of this, a dash of that and taste before adding in a dash of anything else. The recipe below was created thanks to a dreary Sunday afternoon, and a mix of the “dash and test” method and the “use what you have” method –another favorite recipe practice I utilize on a daily basis.  Using what I had in the refrigerator and Martha Stewart as a guide, I created a simple lentil soup creation. It’s all about what you like, so, if you want to add in a dash or two of another spice, go for it. Enjoy!


photo 3

 

Use What You Have Lentil Soup
Adapted From Martha Stewart
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 8 – 10 (maybe more)

Ingredients
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups chopped kale

½ cup of chopped broccoli

2-3 carrots, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped (optional – I didn’t use celery in my version)

1 garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt and ground pepper – to taste

Crushed red pepper (just a dash)

Thyme (just a dash)

48 ounces low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1-2 cups cooked lentils (I recommend using Whole Foods 365 Every Day Value Green Lentils — They are about $2.99 and easy to cook)

2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

 

Lentil Soup

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, (celery), kale, broccoli and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook until soup thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper, thyme and crushed red pepper.

Don’t get discouraged if your recipe free for all is less than appetizing. Cooking without a recipe is an art. It takes imagination, creativity, practice, and you have to be willing to embrace the risk.

PS.  All of the ingredients used were purchased at Whole Foods Market. Organic is better!

 

Simple and Delicious Pumpkin Pancakes

Florida has two season – Summer and Fall.  Unlike other parts of the country, where seasons change by a drop in temperature and leaves changing colors, in Florida, we know it’s Fall when Dunkin Donuts introduces their pumpkin line-up. Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin lattes, and this year pumpkin cream cheese.  It’s always exciting and to celebrate the season, I decided to jump on the pumpkin band wagon and make some pumpkin pancakes.

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com and even though I hate following recipes, I pushed through and managed to make a delicious breakfast.

Simple and Delicious Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

What you need:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
a dash of cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk or skim milk
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

What you need to do:

Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl to blend.
Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl to blend well.
Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.
Fold whites into batter in 2 additions.
Brush large non-stick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat.
Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches.
Serve with syrup.
Enjoy!

Make Me A Crepe

I have a new obsession.  I’m not sure when I developed it but it doesn’t seem to be going away.

I started making crepes after I found the recipe in “Arcanum’s Secret Recipe” book – A collection of recipes from my mother-in-law’s Garden Club. Page 105 – The reason I need to spend an extra hour at the gym.

The recipe is super easy to follow and the crepes are amazing! You can fill them with an array of fillings from syrup to my all-time favorite Nutella - or if you want to keep them healthy, fresh strawberries or bananas would make the perfect addition.

I plan on making this recipe again this weekend with a ricotta filling I found online.  I will post a follow-up recipe if they come out delicious!

Crepes

What you need:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Butter – Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract (Optional)

What to do:
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Stir in milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and almond extract.
Beat with hand mixer until blended
Lightly butter a 6 to 8 inch skillet
Heat over medium heat
Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet
Immediately rotate skillet until thin-film of batter covers the bottom
Cook until light brown
Turn and cook other side. Crepes will cook quickly.
Remove when cooked and fill with Nutella, Syrup or Fruit
Roll them up
Sprinkle with powder sugar
Enjoy!