Tag Archives: gluten free

Not Your Momma’s Sloppy Joes

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When I was a kid, growing up in the 70s, easy-to-prepare food from a box or can was the rage (well, it still is really). But back then, processed food was sort of newer and kind of exciting. So our family dinners often consisted of things like Hamburger Helper, Stovetop Stuffing and of course, Manwich Sloppy Joes.

It wasn’t until i graduated from college that I started to explore the world of fresh vegetables (not green beans from a can) and other whole foods. I got my first vegetarian cookbook in 1989 and I have been preparing plant-based meals ever since. A few years ago I came across a recipe from the Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook for vegan sloppy joes and it took me right back to my 10-year old self.

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Savory Chickpea Pancakes

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I know I have friends who plan meals ahead of time. Maybe even pre-cook for an entire week. I think that’s awesome. But for me it’s just so not how I typically operate.  I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, let’s-see-what’s-in-the-fridge, totally-wing-it cook.

That’s just how I roll. And sometimes inspiration strikes and I end up making a meal like this one. First, I made a big pot of curry butternut squash soup and wanted something to go with it. So I thought I’d try making chickpea pancakes as a side dish. Oh man, these are great. Super easy and really tasty.

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Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pomegranate

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I guess you know you’re a grown up when you can say with a straight face that you like brussels sprouts. Because I’ll tell you, even just a few years ago, I would have never even wanted to try them. Now I love these little guys so much…especially roasted.

Discovering the wonderful world of vegetables has been such a fun process for me. I started this journey about 15 years ago when I decided not to eat meat anymore. I haven’t missed it a bit. But for years, I still ate eggs and dairy and many of my meals centered around cheese.

Then about 5 years ago, I thought I’d try eating a vegan diet for health reasons. I have never felt better in my life and now I can’t wait to try new veggies whenever I get the chance. And luckily for me, there are so many more choices available at restaurants for vegetarians and vegans today.

The idea for this recipe came from a lunch I had recently with my friend Missy at True Food Kitchen. The concept behind this restaurant (which has locations in Texas, California, Georgia, Colorado, Arizona and Virginia) is an anti-inflammatory menu based on the work of Dr. Andrew Weil. The omnivore menu changes seasonally and identifies items that are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free.

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Festive Cranberry Wild Rice Salad

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Tis the season for hosting gatherings, sharing meals and savoring moments. I brought this simple salad to a holiday party recently and it was a hit. I knew I wanted to use fresh cranberries, but honestly didn’t really know how it was going to turn out. Well, it worked and I was asked by several guests for the recipe, so here you go.

I cooked some Lundberg Countrywild rice according to the package directions, but you could use any wild rice really. Then while the rice was still warm, I added chopped fresh cranberries so they would soften but not be too cooked. I chopped celery, apple and pecans to add. The whole thing was pulled together with a simple cranberry vinaigrette. I found the most amazing cranberry vinegar here in Houston at an oil and vinegar store called Vom Fass. If you can’t find that flavor, simply use a plain balsamic vinegar.

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Peruvian Vegetable Stew

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Peruvian Vegetable Stew topped with Salsa Criolla

” Not all those who wander are lost.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

Spent an amazing weekend at Wanderlust Festival Austin recently. This year’s event was just as wonderful as last year’s or maybe even a little better. The festival includes tons of yoga classes, workshops, music, cool vendors and more. It’s a wonderful time to connect with friends, do LOTS of yoga of course and include a bit of wandering.

Yogis tend to be seekers and part of that path includes straying off a set course from time to time. This is usually where the good stuff happens: serendipity, growth, discovery.

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FYG Fall Breakfast Ideas

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Green Apples + Raw Walnuts

Now that it’s Fall, a busy time of swirling activity and change, I’m looking for a grounding seasonal breakfast to start my day. Don’t know about you, but I can get into a morning rut. Always having the same thing…usually some variation of raw or minimally cooked oatmeal, nuts and seeds.

As recent as five years ago, I was mostly eating boxed cereal for breakfast. I thought this was fine, even healthy. I’ve learned so much since then. I wouldn’t dream of eating that way now. First of all, boxed cereal is not a food, it’s a processed food product. There is nothing in nature that resembles a Cherrio or Fruit Loop.

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Old Bay Fried Green Tomatoes + Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade

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Every year I make a summer road trip from Houston to Cincinnati. It’s about 17 hours each way, for a total of 2,000 miles. 2000 MILES!!! That is a heck of a lot of driving. But I love it and I look forward to it each year. I break the trip up into two days and almost always stop in Memphis on the way there.

This year it was just me and my oldest son, Jonah, who was going to jazz guitar camp at the University of Louisville. We stayed in downtown Memphis right on the Tennessee River and made our way to Beale Street for dinner and meandering. We ate at Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe and I had fried green tomatoes. Traveling as a vegan can be challenging at times, but wherever I go, I seem to do just fine. And this meal was no exception. It was fun Southern soul food and I loved it.

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Blueberry Pie Granola

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Here’s my summer go-to granola. Blueberries are so good right now. And they are even better if you can find a place to pick your own. We are lucky where I live to have a wonderful blueberry farm about a half an hour away. Houston peeps if you haven’t been to Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm in Conroe, do yourself a favor and go. It’s so fun. But be warned. You will probably come home with way more blueberries than you know what to do with. Stick those babies in the freezer and enjoy them all summer long in your smoothies.

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Creamy Orange-Vanilla Smoothie

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Growing up in a suburb outside of Atlanta, my free time was often spent hanging out at Perimeter Mall with my friends. Checking out black light posters and other stupid stuff at Spencer’s gifts; and on a good day, getting an Orange Julius. Making this little smoothie takes me back to that time. I can still picture it all.

I don’t really know what was in an Orange Julius. Probably some things I wouldn’t want to have now. But what I put together today is simple, yummy and perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool. I started with some toasted coconut almond milk from Califia Farms. This is my new favorite brand. I get it at Whole Foods. Check it out.

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Coconut Milk Panna Cotta + Fresh Cherries

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I  ♥  panna cotta. But when I see it on restaurant menus, it’s almost never vegan. Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that’s a cross between jello and pudding. It’s typically made with cow’s milk and gelatin, neither of which are vegan. Gelatin, believe it or not, is made from cow or pig skins, ligaments, tendons and bones boiled in water. Disgusting. YUCK! Who wants to eat that? Not me…ever.

So I made a vegan version of this luscious dessert two ways: (1) with vegan gelatin powder (thanks to a little gift from my friend, Tessa) and (2) with agar agar flakes (a thickener derived from sea vegetables) to take the place of the gross gelatin. I like the agar agar version best, but try them both if you feel like it a decide which one you like. The texture for both is similar. The taste of the vegan gelatin version is a little tangy and the agar agar version is a bit richer.

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