Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean

It's the last day of the month which means it's my second month of Foodie Pen Pals. I actually received my pen pal goodies TODAY!

I was sort of sad about having nothing to post about when I decided to check the mail one last time and what was there? This big ol'box of foodie pen pal love.

Beth was my pen pal this month and she had a busy month but managed to send this out to me! Unfortunately I might not have specific enough with my pen pal about my dietary restrictions because most of the items aren't vegan :( These things happen I guess! Other vegan foodie pen pals, How do you explain veganism to your non-vegan pen pals?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summertime Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad is like chicken salad, isn't it?!
What a coincidence.

Pasta Salad is one of those summer-time picnic bbq staples that I remember being weary of from the beginning. For me as a child pasta came covered in cheese sauce or tomato sauce and nothing else. It made me uncomfortable that this pasta was cold, and covered in who knows what, and with all kinds of spices on there. I remember elbow macaroni with beige-y yellow cream sauce and pepper, lots of pepper.

As a child, I went with the potato chips every time.

As an adult, I still wish I could go for the potato chips every time (they're seriously delicious) but now I know they aren't that great for my body and I do get a stomach ache every time I eat too many chips.

Thankfully, my opinions about pasta salad have changed! They actually started to change thanks for my husband (then boyfriend) who asked me to make him pasta salad with the strangest ingredients. He wanted broccoli, black olives, green peppers, italian dressing and NO mayonnaise.

This pasta salad recipe is chilled pasta with all sorts of vegetables and a tangy (super light) dressing that is reminiscent of the pasta salad I made for him when we first met.

Roasted Red Peppers - from a jar (diced)
Black Olives (cut small)
Pickles and Bring (diced)
Broccoli (Use both the floret and stem cup up small)
Orange Pepper (diced)
Fresh Corn on the Cob (cut off the cob)
Green Onion (cut small)
Pasta - I like the twirly kind
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spices - Salt, Pepper, You know.

Note: I use these yummy pickles we pick up at the farmer's market. They are cherry pickles and in the jar are some cherries that give the brine and pickles a sweet fruity flavor I'm obsessed with. If you don't have these, a-sorry and b-that's ok just use regular pickles and maybe throw a diced up cherry in your salad!

Boil your pasta and let sit in the colander until it is cooled down.

Chop up veggies and throw in a big bowl. Side note: I like the veggies I put in the ingredients list because some are salty, some sweet, all crunchy, and all great raw.

You can add whatever you have in your fridge! I don't think leafy greens would work as well. Avocado would be good, or celery. Zucchini or tomato would be delicious.

When pasta is cooled, add to big bowl.

Then pour in pickles brine, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, white pepper, basil, mint, rosemary... whatever you like!

Let it sit the fridge overnight and scarf away! It is good for summertime when you want something filling but not hot.

I think this would be a great option to bring to a potluck as a vegan because everyone will probably try pasta salad and won't even know it's vegan!

Happy Eating!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chickpea Chickun Salad

Did you eat a lot of chicken salad growing up?
Our family did... I don't particularly know why. I guess because my mom loves the stuff.
Chicken salad is decidedly not vegan or even animal friendly. Normally these "salads" don't have the highest quality of ingredients since it's all combined and flavors are covered up. They are also high in cholesterol, saturated, and trans fats.

To be fair! Chicken salad could be light. If you skipped the mayo and the buttery croissant it's served on. There are "light" versions out there with grilled chicken, yogurt, and grapes. That's not the kind we had at my house though. We had the full fat variety with a silky creamy consistency, an earthy chicken taste and sometimes bursts of sweet with grapes or strawberries.

I visited my family for Father's Day and my mom actually made some chicken salad which got me thinking about all this.

We also went to a baseball game! Me, my dad, my grandpa, and my husband. There were even vegan snacks there!

I got home and I couldn't stop thinking about chicken salad. I thought about what I hate about it, what I love about it, and why there are so many various recipes for it with wildly different ingredients.

Here is what I came up with!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sushi Salad

I love sushi, I mean, who doesn't?
Even if you don't eat meat (like me!) sushi is delicious. Cucumber, avocado, rice, seaweed, wasabi... All good things!

This salad doesn't have any rice, but you could totally add some rice if you wanted too! I didn't want to wait for rice to cook, it takes forever right?

1/2 cup Cucumber
1/4 Orange Pepper
1 Radish
5-8 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 cob of Corn
1-2 Carrots
2  Mushrooms
3/4 head Romaine
2 cups Spring Mix/Green Mix Lettuce Combo
1/3 cup Garbanzo Beans
1/2 Avocado

(I know what you're thinking... those ingredients don't really sound sushi-ish. Stick with me!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Comfort Foods

Food intersects with so many parts of our lives.
We eat from the beginning...

Champagne to celebrate a new job. Which Chris and I did when he got the job he has now.
Pancakes to snuggle in bed with a loved one. I made my mother breakfast in bed on Mother's day for 6 years running I think. (hopefully she liked toast)
The hot cocoa my dad managed to microwave for me when we had snow days.
Camping marshmallows toasted until crunchy.
Thanksgiving traditions, those "Famous" family recipes you make over and over again.
Maybe even the beer you cheered to the friend that moved on ahead of the rest of us.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Baked Goodies

I don't often bake things.
I like eating baked things!
Baking is hard because you can't really improvise, you kind of have to measure and I don't like following other people's recipes.

Sometimes the desire for a vegan baked good surpasses the annoyance of measuring cups and I go for it.

I've been making treats off of the Happy Healthy Life blog.

First I made this AMAZING blueberry cake. It doesn't look very blueberry-ish from this picture but the inside of the cake was full of them! I didn't make the frosting and I served it for dessert/breakfast. It's a lot like a coffee cake once it's baked. I stuck to her recipe, plus a few sprinkles of oatmeal and almonds on top (since I was skipping the frosting.) I think next time I'm going to cut down the sugar just a bit and maybe add more oats.

Then I made these delicious orange cinnamon rolls. I followed the recipe again! I didn't stick to the recipe when it came to the topping, I left out the nuts. I also made the frosting but didn't really love it, so I ate them without. These were so decadent, though they should have been with the crazy amounts of margarine I used. I'm not used to cooking with so much "fats" that aren't nuts or avocado.

My husband took both of these to work and they got good reviews from the non-vegans! Not like you were worried about that, right? :)

Happy Eating!

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm eating more Fruit!

Want to know what I've really been eating?
It's not gourmet, or fancy, or hard to make...

It's fruit.
I'm obsessed lately.

I went through this phase in life where I didn't really eat fruit, how sad. I thought it was full of sugar and not great to eat a lot of it. I limited my fruits to small amounts.

That phase has passed! Hallelujah.

Fruit is amazing! It has so many vitamins, plenty of fiber, and it's easily digested by your body. Not to mention it's delicious! The "sugars" in fruit are good for your body and they have really helped to give me some energy. You already know I've been lacking energy for blogging.

my favorite fruits after the jump...