Tag Archives: vegetarian

Blend-til Soup (Lentil Soup)

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See what I did there? Blender…Lentil… Soup = Blend-til Soup.

Clever, huh? My good friend Katy made this soup for us when we had a lunch date a while ago. We met in town to go for a walk, and then went to my sister in law’s for lunch afterwards and to watch our kiddos play with each other. Well, kind of. We have a 2 month old, a 7 month old, and a 17 month old, so I’m using the term ‘play’ liberally. The young ones pretty much watch my niece play, but it’s still completely adorable.

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I fell in love with this soup immediately and Katy was nice enough to email it to me ASAP. I got to work about 2 hours after I got home and made it for dinner. And I’ve been eating it for lunch ever since! The recipe is based on Giada’s Lentil Soup recipe- but I used cabbage instead of celery, left out the cheese and noodles (it’s still yummy, promise) and added in mushrooms and zucchini.

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It’s a warm, filling and flavorful soup and you can blend it to make it smooth and velvety. I love soups that are thick and hearty, and Gabby loves watching the blender- she thinks it’s hilarious. 

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Or maybe she thought that it was hilarious that I filled the blender TOO FULL at first and it exploded everywhere. Hilarious, Gabs.

With the weather cooling down, soups are now an acceptable meal. Let this be your first soup offering! The recipe makes a TON, so I froze some and kept some for lunches throughout the week.

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~M

Lentil Soup

adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
12 baby carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. Add the garlic, salt, zucchini and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Carefully ladle into a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend soup until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve!

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Filed under Baby, Food Stuffs., Soup

Baked Cheesy Quinoa Mac

Ah, a breath of fresh air provided by my non-vegetarian sister. Felt gooood! I talk to her almost daily and it is so inspiring to hear her talk about her day whether it be at her internship or at work. Way to go Katie! Next step, doctorate. You know it’s gonna happen, even if you don’t accept it yet.

While she’s busy finishing school and eating her meat, I’ve been cooking up quinoa and deciding that cheese is my favorite. My cheese drawer in the fridge (I think that drawer is actually meant for lunch meat, but in its absence, it is filled with CHEESE) is absolutely packed.

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Goat cheese. Parmesan. Feta. Gruyere. Tillamook sharp cheddar. Boursin. Gouda. Fontina. Ay yi yi I can’t get enough! I was desperate for some mac’n’cheesy last week and cheesy quinoa mac is what I came up with, with some help a lot of help from Giada de Laurentiis.

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I got the recipe from her book , Giada At Home. A lot of times, I find that I don’t have half the ingredients that she calls for in her recipes (fresh herbs, weird pasta/grains, gourmet meats) but usually the recipes still work with the substitutions I use. Improv, dudes.

The recipe is actually online and available for you to see without having to purchase the book! Woohoo! My substitutions were: quinoa instead of farro, no mushrooms, no tomatoes, dried thyme, and I added cheese to the topping, obviously. Why didn’t I add the mushrooms/tomatoes?? That would have been delicious… I must have not had them on hand. Don’t leave them out!

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I used my leftovers all week in my lunches- usually just heated up and mixed into a salad, or eaten cold by the giant spoonful.

I’m totally into cooking large batches and eating leftovers for days right now- makes it SO easy to choose good things to eat for lunch. I started logging my eats in an app called “Lose It” and am slightly horrified at my habits- I don’t usually have a hard time eating healthy main meals, but my snackage logs more calories than my meals all combined! Niiiiice. Sounds like I have another challenge to undertake… or just delete the app. 🙂

In other news, we are SOOO ready for fall! I am a lover of cool weather, and bundling up to go outdoors. I am jittery with excitement for when I can wear sweats and put Gabs in a cozy tracksuit and hit the trail!

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~M

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Baby, fitness, Food Stuffs.

Baked Eggplant Fries

Eggplant… Sounds grody, I know. Gabs is trying to master the sweet potatoes right now and judging by her response, she’ll be 35 before she tries eggplant.

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Joey has been up to his ears in work/school/harvest/beingadaddy&husband lately, and poor guy is putting up with my vegetarian challenge. Or mostly, anyway. I did hear something about a carne asada burrito the other day, but I didn’t push it. The guy ate tofu two nights ago, for Pete’s sake! He could eat a buffalo and I’d understand.

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I, however, am staying strong and sticking to the challenge. Besides my er,burger on Sunday, that is. And a few shrimp. Eh.

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Sheesh, we are a mess. A mostly vegetarian mess.

Joe had a dairy meeting the other night and I had an eggplant in the fridge. Naturally I made it into fries.

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I hate it when you try to make fries with vegetables and the recipe promises you they’re ‘just like the real french fries!!’ but they are basically just limp,soggy sticks of the veggies. That is NOT a fry.

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But these… These seriously give French fries a run for their money. I ate an entire eggplant myself, guys. That’s kinda weird but really delicious.

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~M

Baked Eggplant Fries
Adapted from Bon Apetit magazine

Ingredients
1 eggplant
1 cup brown rice flour
2 T garlic powder
1 t salt
3 T olive oil

Ice water

Directions
Cut eggplant into fries and submerge in ice water. It’s best to get at least 2 hours of soak time in the ice water, but I only soaked mine 20 minutes. (Soaking longer makes a crispier crust)

Mix together all dry ingredients, and generously coat eggplant strips with olive oil. Dredge in flour mixture and bake at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Filed under Food Stuffs., Vegetables, vegetarian

Gourmet Veggie Bagelwich

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One of the best parts of living in the country are the endless choices of fruit stands that line the road to our house. One stand even sells milk, eggs, butter and bread as well– if it wasn’t the furthest one away, I wouldn’t ever need to step foot in a grocery store!

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Well, that’s not entirely true. Where would I get my chocolate other pantry staples? Anyways, I stopped at both of these fruit stands in one day in order to pick up all the goods for our dinner last night.

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I have always loved veggie sandwiches, but I knew that Joey would need an extra something in order to deem it a sufficient dinner. A quick google search of “manly veggie sandwich” led me to the simple addition of a cream cheese spread to take it up a notch!

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While Joey didn’t think cream cheese made the cut as a ‘manly’ addition, he did give the bagel two thumbs up and gave the go-ahead to make this for dinner again!

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Gourmet Veggie Bagelwich: spinach leaves, sliced tomato, cucumber, sprouts, avocado, red onion.

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Cream cheese spread: 1/3 less fat cream cheese, parsley, dill

toasted bagels

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=love.

 

~M

P.S. I’ve been asked a few times now, ‘how in the world do you get Joey to eat vegetarian?? ‘ Well, first of all, it was kind of his idea! The next trick sounds a little mean, but I have stopped asking what he wants for dinner. He’s not a picky guy and usually likes the end product- and if I even mention ‘tofu’, he’d inhale a steak just to get the sound out of his ears. So, it’s a surprise from now on! Ingredient list is given AFTER dinner. 🙂

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6 months ago

Six months ago, this happened.

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6 MONTHS ago! Someone quoted this to me the other day` “These are some of the longest days of your life, but the shortest years.” I couldn’t agree more, and a year hasn’t even passed yet. I can think of a handful of the ‘longest days’ part.

Like when Gabby got croup the first time- I was sure she was having an allergic reaction at 11:30 at night, and medical help never seemed so far away. Thankfully it was just a cough, but time went by really slow that night!

Or even the first day we had her- she choked in the hospital, and panic swept over me like a blanket depriving me of air. A nurse rushed in, pounded Gabs on the back firmly, and reassured me {while I bawled} that I would be able to handle it when I went home with her.

Or that first week we had her home- when I woke up to feed her for the third time that night and was so groggy that I bundled up a BLANKET and took it to the nursery to feed it, while leaving my precious daughter fast asleep in her bassinet.

Long days? Yes, they were.

But those days are totally worth it- because most days are like this.

She is my sunshine, in summary. She is the happiest, most talkative little sweetheart. She’s curious, a fast learner, and loves to jump! She’s sitting up, babbling, and a TOTAL daddy’s girl. To celebrate her 6 month (half) birthday, today we are getting pedicures with a friend, frozen yogurt and baby food with grandma, and hopefully going to the gym for the first time in 6 months!!

Happy Monday!

~M

P.S. The husband and I are going to try a {mostly} vegetarian month of September- any vegetarian recipes you want to share with us would be greatly appreciated!

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Pesto Zucchini Lasagna with Goat Cheese

Hello Monday! We celebrate Monday’s over here with ruffle-butts. And coffee dates with sweet friends.

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This past week was packed- weddings, showers, my little sister’s prom, and Gabby’s first set of vaccines. Most of the activities were fun, the last one was not. But we made it through and somehow, the shots did not permanently scar my child. 🙂

Friday morning, I was begging K to come with me to Gabby’s appointment, but K had promised to help set up for a wedding so she couldn’t come. My next desperate attempt was to get my mom to come with me last minute, but she also couldn’t come. I started to spiral downward into tears as I drove my happy daughter to her appointment- but then my mom unexpectedly told me over the phone, “Monica, you need to BUCK UP. You need to be tough for your daughter, she doesn’t need to see you cry.”

Sniffle. Didn’t expect that response. (*slightly surprised*) I stopped crying and remembered how I give these shots to babies everyday at work, and was always impressed by the moms who kept it together and took a matter-of-fact approach to the vaccines. I noticed that with the kindergarten age kids, if the moms were firm and didn’t over-stress how scary and awful the shots were, the kids generally responded better to the shots.

So, I bucked up, finished my last few whimpery tears, and held Gabby tight during and after the shots. She screamed, but within 10 minutes she was back to her happy self. Later that afternoon she was a little feverish and her little legs were swollen, but thankfully that only lasted for a few hours. We’ll be back for more in two months!

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That same night I did my little sister’s hair and make-up for her Junior-Senior Banquet, and it was so fun to have some girl time. My mom cuddled Gabs and soothed her tender legs while I got my sister all prettied up.

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I can’t believe how stinkin’ pretty my sister is!

The next day Gabs and I woke up early to sneak a quick morning run in and some kettlebell workouts. Thankfully we squeezed that in early because the rest of the day was devoted to some happy brides! I got to meet my cousin-in-law’s sweet fiance at her bridal shower, and then went to a good friend’s wedding later that night with my handsome husband.

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It was an awesome weekend, but we were pooped by Sunday and had a relaxing afternoon at home to recoop. Relaxing to Joey and Gabs = naptime. Relaxing to me? Lasagna!

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I had seen a few recipes for zucchini noodle lasagna floating around Pinterest and wanted to try them out- I ended up combining a few different recipes into my own idea of a yummy meal and was beyond pleased with the results!

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Now that summer is about here, and pool-side lounging in bathing suits draws near, it’s nice to have a few low-carb options for a hearty meal. I used zucchini in place of noodles, and lean-ground turkey (or drained and rinsed ground beef) for a protein kick. I swapped goat cheese for the typical overload of mozzarella cheese, and the flavor boost is phenomenal!

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Won’t be hard to make this my new go-to lasagna recipe. And a good hearty lasagna soothed this momma’s heart after watching Gabs endure those shots!

~M

Pesto Zucchini Lasagna with Goat Cheese

lightly adapted from SkinnyTaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean turkey (or beef) (I had browned and frozen my meat a while ago with bell peppers and onions for added taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP dried basil
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 oz. soft, unripened goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • splash of red wine

Directions

Brown the ground meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, wine, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 350°.

I like my lasagna with lots of layers, so I used a small baking dish- you can use an 8×8 or 6 1/2×8 1/2 size dish. Start the layering by spreading pesto on the bottom of the pan, then the zucchini, then the sauce/meat mixture, then parmesan & goat cheese, then zucchini, pesto, sauce & repeat. Top with remaining goat cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 35-45 minutes, let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Family, Food Stuffs., Vegetables, Wedding