My View Monday – Warm Food, Warm Soul

Ahhh, fall. My favorite time of year; cooler temps, sunny autumn days, changing leaves and weekends full of football. Of course, as the weather cools down my desire to cook heats up. man do I love warm comfort food! I truly believe a warm and full belly makes for a warm and full heart. Sappy, I know.

favorite irish recipesMmmmmm, all the fixings for cheddar scones and Shepherds Pie. While I have tried various recipes, Jody’s, from her new cookbook Favorite Irish Recipes, is our new family favorite. Tonight I am pairing it with cheddar scones. The easiest way to describe these beauties is tongasmic! But if you make them – BEWARE! Your family will fight over them. So try not to get caught eating the last one with your morning cup of java – not that I would know anything about that! And don’t even get me started on what happens when I make her brown bread – NOM!!

What did you view today?

How Do You Cook A Jicama

Let me introduce you to a jicama

Last week while I was at the grocery store I decided to try something new, so I bought a jicama. What is a jicama you ask? Some call it a Mexican potato. Others call it a Mexican Turnip. Me? I just like to say it and say it often – jicama (yick-a-ma). I have liked saying it so much that I have been making up crazy sayings with it all week. “Dude… You are such a jicama!” or “Can you believe that jicama??” The possibilities are endless!

Most people eat it raw either sliced or on top of salads. Instead of eating it raw I decided to serve it as a warm side dish. Curious how I served up? Want to impress others with your mad jicama cooking skills? Check out this super easy and super yummy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 clove garlic

1/4 pound jicama (peeled and thinly sliced)

2 tablespoons red pepper, chopped ( I added more because I really like red peppers)

DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Mix together garlic, peeled jicama and red peppers. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Once skillet is hot, add the jicama mixture and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Saute the entire mixture for 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Serve as a warm side dish or eat it as a main dish. Either way it is delicious!

Oh, and for the record: I did not see Hubby sneak back in to the kitchen and eat the rest out of the skillet leaving me none for lunch the next day. Nope. It didn’t happen.

Vegan BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

This weekend the family and I went camping. It was my first, Hubby’s second, camping trip vegan style. We went for four days so I had to put some extra thought into our meal planning since we were limited on cooler space as well as kitchen appliances. The boys love cheese quesadillas so I thought it would be an easy dinner fix over the camp fire. While the boys enjoyed regular cheese quesadillas, Hubby and I noshed on vegan BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. And by ‘nosh’, I mean chowed down cause we were starving and they were DELICIOUS!! Did I mention they were super easy to make while camping? I did. Excellent!

INGREDIENTS

* One can of black beans

* One package of Trader Joe’s Meatless BBQ Chicken

* Tortillas

* Soy-Sation Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat BBQ chicken till hot all the way through through.  Drain black beans and spoon onto a tortilla. Add chicken and cheese and place in frying pan either over an open fire or camp stove. Fold the tortilla in half and evenly brown each side. Put quesadilla on a plate, cut in half and enjoy!

In hindsight, it would have tasted even better with some of the salsa that Hubby and I snarfed down the night before and that day at lunch. Guess next year I will have to pack two jars of salsa!

Have a yummy recipe you want to share?  Be sure to visit A Southern Fairytale to see what everyone else is making in the kitchen! Your taste buds will thank you for it!

edamame salad

Edamame, to me, are like little pods of crack. You can’t have just one and sharing is not an option. It is also one of the few vegetables that my picky 10 y/o will eat. And while I embrace the fact that my boys love it as much as I do, they  know not to stick their hands in my bowl – ever. So when my friend gave me her recipe for edamame salad I jumped at the chance to make it! It’s a great salad for picnics, BBQs, family gatherings or just to make for lunch. Added bonus – it is super easy to make! (if I don’t eat all the edamame before it’s done)

INGREDIENTS

SALAD
1 lb frozen shelled edamame
3 cups frozen corn
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 or 2  chopped red tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup cilantro
2 Tbl fresh oregano or marjoram or basil

DRESSING
1/3 lemon juice
2 Tbl dijon mustard
2 Tbl olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Add vegetables together in a bowl and stir. In a separate bowl combine dressing ingredients and whisk till mixed well.  Pour over chopped veggies and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can also just grab a spoon and eat to your hearts content but I wouldn’t know anyone who was that desperate to eat it from the bowl. *ahem*

nom nom nom

Don’t forget to see what Rachel is cooking up this week. I think I smell chicken – YUM!

Oven Baked Eggplant

I am entering week eight of Vegandom. Yes, that’s right, I said Vegandom. When I say it in my head I imagine it is coming out of a loud announcer with a deep voice, like Jan Gabriel….. but I digress. This week I will be participating in my uber sweet friend Rachel’s Mouthwater Monday. While my cooking skills are no where up to par with hers, I am going to join in every week with a little vegan twist. Plus, it will force me to try different recipes instead of getting stuck in the ‘same meal‘ rut. It’s a win win all around!

I had been scouring the interet for some new recipes when I came across this one. When I read that I had to “soak the eggplant in salt for 30 minutess”, I knew I had a winner. Hubby is addicted to salt – he salts everything. Look at how pretty and sparkly they look all salted up!

Salted to Perfection

Ok, now on to the recipe!

  • Slice eggplant about 1/4″ thick
  • Salt heavily and allow to stand for 30 minutes
  • Rinse well and drain.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Spray cookie sheet with Pam
  • Lightly brush eggplant with olive oil
  • Place on cookie sheet and season with garlic salt, oregano and pepper
  • Sprinkle parmesan cheese over eggplant (ok, this is where I cheated)
  • Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until brown
  • Serve atop organic whole wheat pasta and sauce

Delicious!

Now, I am aware that I added parmesan cheese, which in all honesty, makes it not completely vegan. I typically use a soy cheese substitute which melts really nicely on veggie burgers and pizza but was not sure how it would bake considering I had to bake the eggplant on each side. Next time I plan on cooking the eggplant without the parmesan and just add the soy cheese at the end.

What did you make this weekend?  Be sure to visit A Southern Fairytale to see what everyone else is making in the kitchen! Your taste buds will thank you for it!

week five as a vegan

Just when I think the worst is behind me I have to travel. What on earth does one eat when traveling by car across the country? Ok, not entirely across the country but it was an all day drive.  I thought about packing all my food like Hubby had done when he went on a fishing trip with his buddies but the lack of probable refrigerator space AND the fact we would be eating out a lot, put a damper on my packing idea. I did pack snackables which made the car ride tolerable but when we stopped for lunch I was at the mercy of the rest stop and the rest stop was unforgiving.

I opted for a turkey sandwich since it was loaded with lettuce and a tomato and was on a tomato basil bagel. Ironically, it did not taste that good (aka – it tasted like carp) and I threw most of it away. Dinner in our home town was a yummy spinach, mushroom, olives and peppers stuffed open calzone. Side that bad boy up with a few Blue Moons and this lassie’s tummy was singing the praises of her Italian hometown.

Things got easier as we only ate out the rest of the weekend. My options are slim, read: salads, but I was really shocked at my lack of choices when driving along the glorious highways and interstates. While I tried to be optimistic  in what I might find along the way, I definitely know that the next time I take a road trip I need to pack a cooler if I want anything good and of substance to eat. On a completely random side note – I treated myself to sushi last week and have been dreaming about it every since. Mmmmmmm, sushi.

On a good note, and also in the TMI category, my monthly cravings are non-existent this month. That is not saying I am the most joyful person to be around cause I am a wee bit crabby today, but I am not ransacking the pantry like a teenage boy in a growth spurt.

So now I seek your advice of vegan masters – what do you eat while traveling? Are you a food packer or food scrambler? Your insight will be greatly appreciated.

week four as a vegan

Ok, whoever created the idea of being vegan did not take ‘stress eating‘ into consideration. What is a lassie supposed to eat when she is stressed? Cauliflower? Hummus?? I know, dangerous right. The problem with being four weeks in is that nothing tastes good to me anymore. I tried chomping on some chips and ended up spitting them out in the garbage can. So I resorted to the next best thing – Bloody Marys! They are chalked full of vegetables and yumminess. Aaahh, the stress relief of the gods.

Vegan meatless tacos

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…. I was cooking up these yummy creations. Yes, you read the title right, vegan meatless tacos and the were YUMMY! Hubby even made homemade guacamole which was to die for. Actually he almost did when he tried to finish it off on the sly while I was putting the boys to bed. Don’t come between a girl and her guacamole! I spared his life when he offered to make another batch. Hmmm, I wonder if there is anymore in the fridge. My tummy is a grumblin’.

But in all seriousness we have completed the 28 days required by the Engine 2 Diet. While Hubby is still not feeling the whole vegan thing (he does like his chicken), he is willing to commit to a better lifestyle (with a side of chicken every now and then). I on the other hand am willing to make this a permanent way of life though don’t think I can walk away from seafood. I really like how my body feels off of dairy and dislike the lethargy my body feels when I cheat for a meal (aka stuff my face with chips and salsa on the 4th of July).  I will continue to log my journey as I continue down this unpaved road. Oh, and any suggestion for healthy stress foods would be greatly appreciated!

week three as a vegan

Oh greasy cheese pizza…. why do you taunt me so. Why do I succumb to your smooth and gooey texture? Why does a cool side of beer make you taste even yummier?  In the words of Hank the Tank : It’s SO good! Once it hits your lips, it’s so good! So there you have it, my confession of the week. On to bigger and better things.

meatless steak soft tacos

In the quest to find bigger and yummier vegan recipes, Hubby and I stumbled across this tasty delight – Steak soft tacos. Yes, I realize I said steak. But it is actually meatless steak courtesy of Trader Joes. Now, I know what you are thinking, meatless steak, gross. I thought the same thing when I picked up the package but thought I would give it a try. Hubby was also a little hesitant when he read the package. “Seriously Kat??” “Just try it!” So we did and I am happy to say that they were really good! We also added meatless meatballs to our Vegan Delight pizza which was a yummy edition.

For the most part, I am beyond all of my ‘bad food‘ cravings, though Hubby and I were both fiending a bowl of cereal this past weekend. And of course, I am still in love with pizza. But I am also having new cravings. My friend introduced me to kohlrabi this past weekend. It was amazing! She had cooked it like sliced potatoes in a skillet – I could NOT stop eating it. Definitely will be picking up some more of that at the store. I also found a nice and salty Hunters Mixed Nuts made of various nut and seeds. We pick out the cheddar crunchies cause we are good like that though I swear I have seen Hubby sneak a few in. One more week to go in our initial 28 days. I can’t wait to see what Hubby decides to do since my mind is already made up!

thursday ten

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday. Oh, how I love thee Thursday. Why you ask? Because I get to write my Thursday Ten! The ten random things that happened this past week or just random thoughts that are floating around in my noggin.

1. I had talked about the delicious vegan pizza, aka  “Vegan Delight“, that Hubby and I make in my post on Monday. Well, we made it again on Wednesday. It was even more delicious than before. Feast your eyes on this yumminess!

2. Today is also the first time the sun has been out in days. Guess this lassie will be packing up the boys and heading to the pool. Vitamin D here I come!

3. Our missionary friends from Operation Mobilization came to stay with us a few days this week. They too live in the land of boys, with three young lads. We had a great time. Oh, and the boys did too! But how can you go wrong with Legos, trains and a trip to the aquarium?

4. I am starting a photography class this week that I have been dying to take. I just got my assignments and book and can’t wait to dive in. be on the lookout for uber fabulous photos! Ok, maybe not. But I am hoping that they are at least an improvement from what I am taking now. I am also hoping it will getting me taking more pictures on a regular basis. Someday I will finish a project 365!

5. Looking for a hilarious, laugh out loud summer read? And by ‘laugh out loud‘ I mean snorting and guffawing so if you are reading in public other people give you those sideways funny looks. Then I suggest “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea“. I will warn that Chelsea Handler’s writing is a bit risque and vulgar but if you don’t mind a F-bomb here or there it is SO worth reading. Nexy on my list, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

6. Yesterday was Hubby’s birthday. Happy birthday! This year I decided to get him something different for his birthday – a new ring. We have worn matching rings on our right ring fingers since we were dating. In our almost 13 years together we have gone through (broken) three. Fear no more! The incredibly talented and gorgeous Lisa from Studio Jewelry made him one similar to this with an inscription on the inside. Hubby LOVED it!!! So in turn, my crush on Lisa continues. Check out her blog for all her latest creations and adventures.

photo courtesy of Studio Jelwery

7. I am also happy to say that Hubby’s present made up for the horrifically crappy Father’s Day he had. (Yeah me) The thought that both his daughters forgot to do or say anything to him on Father’s Day still blows my mind. They are SO great like that. Luckily I believe in Karma and she tends to be…. well, you know her temperment!

8. My dreams to be reincarnated as a dog or cat have once again been confirmed. Can you believe this chihuahua recently inherited 8.3 million dollars? I wonder if she would be willing to move to Chicago? I promise to take really good care of her!

9. I have finally, ok maybe only somewhat, gotten over the shock of watching my 5 year old almost drown last week. It did take me over a week to finally go back to the pool. Thankfully Mother Nature provided some of her own intervention. I also opted for a lifejacket once the pool got really crowded but that only brought my anxiety level down to about a level 3.

10. Looking for a cute online game for your kiddos? My boys’ new obsession is Polar Bear Bowling. They like to play together and can do so without fighting (added bonus). Throw in the fact that my 10 y/o is OBSESSED with polar bears and it’s a win/ win.

Don’t forget to head over to This Mom’s Wired for the original Thursday Ten! She always has something good up her sleeve.

week two as a vegan

Two weeks down and I think I am over the hump. Though I am in full PMS mode so there may have been a little cheating this weekend. No seriously, that s’mores brownie WANTED me to eat it…. and it’s friend. I didn’t want the poor guy to be lonely in a belly of fruits and veggies! Don’t look at me with those judging eyes. You couldn’t have walked past it either!

I all seriousness, I am loving the way I am feeling and my tummy problems of the past are all gone. Hubby and I have been finding some great recipes online. Our favorite that we made was a vegan pizza. It was SO delicious. I actually like it better than the ones from the store we typically eat. I also found a soy mozzarella cheese that melts like cheese and tastes like cheese but without the nasty dairy aftermath in my stomach. It tastes yummy on veggie burgers too! I was also lucky enough to find crunchy peanut butter with flax seeds. Dipping celery into that jar of heaven is to die for.

Hubby on the other hand is still being a trooper. He flat out refused the veggie burger and opted for a turkey burger instead. He also gets a cheat day every week where he partakes in chicken – though I am not sure BBQ wings count but who am I to judge. Guess we will have to wait and see what week three brings!