Friday, January 8, 2016

Vegan Spaghetti and Mushrooms

2015 was all about changing up my diet. After doing a bit of research and listening to my body I decided to cut back on the amount of meat that I was consuming. I even went so far as to cut back dramatically on the amount of any animal products that I was using or consuming in my home. Now there's never been a bigger meat eater than me. I adore cheese burgers pork chops chicken fried steak you name it I would eat a pound of bacon in one sitting if I could. But after discovering how harmful it was for the earth and how harmful it was for my body, I decided to make some big changes. in August of 2014, shortly after my son was born, I decided to go meat free for 3 days out of the week. Initially it was difficult. I kept craving cheese burgers and all of the things that I was used to eating. But slowly but surely, after making some healthy swaps my body acclimated and I actually prefer meat free meals.

 One of my favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs. I've tried soy meatballs, but they didn't have the depth of flavor that I'm used to. Plus, we don't really eat a lot of spy in this house. So one day I decided to try mushrooms. Mushrooms are often used to replace meat in burgers and sauces, so why not meatballs? They are the perfect shape, size, and they take on flavors very well. It's the perfect swap. Delicious, filling and vegan.

Look, I know what it's like to have those cherished, familiar recipes that all center on meat proteins. I know how hard it can be to wrap your head around going meatfree, but if you start small...swapping out veggies in your breakfast burrito instead of bacon, or using soy chorizo instead of beef in your favorite chili recipe
 It's not as difficult as you'd think. I have found that commiting to just 3 meals a week meatfree was easiest. There are countless benefits to reducing your consumption of animal products, but my favorite benefit has been WEIGHT LOSS! You heard me right, limiting beef, butter, eggs etc, has had an incredible effect on my overall health. And it can do the same for you. Don't know where to start? Try this easy recipe of spaghetti and mushrooms. Easy and damn tasty!

Vegan Spaghetti and Mushrooms

2 8 oz cans organic tomatoes sauce
1/2 vegan vegetable broth
1 tbsp organic maple syrup
1 tbsp dried Italian spices
2 tsp garlic or 1 small clove diced
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz mushrooms whole
1 package whole wheat spaghetti cooked according to instructions

Combine all ingredients except for pasta and stew for 2-3 hours over low heat. Top cooked pasta and serve with green salad. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Roasted Veggie Soup aka Refrigerator Soup

So...Refrigerator Soup may not be the most mouthwatering description of this recipe, but it's certainly the most accurate. Every few weeks, you probably end up throwing out a bunch of produce from the bottom of your fridge because the lettuce is wilted or your tomatoes got so bruised that the idea of eating them fresh makes you gag. Fine. I get that. But, I promise that with a little tender love and care, those neglected bits of leftover veggies can become something incredibly tasty!

With this recipe, high heat is your friend Roasting vegetables (or anything for that matter) really concentrates flavor. All the browned bits taste carmelized and even more savory at the same time. It's one of the rules drilled into us at culinary school. "Browning equals flavour!" I can hear Mr. RICCOMINI saying it now!
The higher and more direct heat the better. I don't have a broiler, but if I did, I'd use that.  Your oven will work just fine though so don't fret.
I learned this method fro working in restaurant after restaurant. You think your favorite five star eatery throws out hundreds of dollars in quality produce every week just because It's a little past It's prime? Nope. You're eating that produce in the soup of the day!
And be honest, it's your favorite soup, isn't it?

It's also worth mentioning that, in addition to being very very delicious and easy, my Roasted Veggie Soup is also completely vegan! How fun.

Roasted Veggie Soup aka Refrigerator Soup

Approx. 3 cups of chopped assorted veggies
(I used 5 medium brown mushrooms, half a small potato, 1 tomato, 2 romaine lettuce cores, a nub of carrot,  onion and celery)
4 cups water or organic vegetable broth

Coat your veggies with good olive oil and place in a cast iron pot. Roast veggies in a 450 degree oven until the veggies are a deep golden brown. Do not burn. This took me about 20 minutes. Remove and immediately add water or broth, scraping the bottom of the pan, releasing delicious browned bits. At this point you can either cool and blend in your blender, or simply use an immersion blender and puree right in the pot**. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped fresh herbs and garlic croutons.

** I don't strain my vegetable soup, personally I like the texture and all the added fiber. However if you decide to strain it, do so using a china cap or cheese cloth for a silkier soup.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

This N That Salad

One of the best ways I've found to use up leftovers is to throw em in a delicious salad. Forgotten about veggies and other small portions of nummys from earlier in the week. Generally speaking an easy dressing of lemons juice, olive oil, salt and pepper seems to go well with almost ANYTHING.  You need a good base of hearty greens, I used a spring mix and some extra kale I had in the fridge. Another bonus about This N That Salads that they come together in minutes! I had this beautiful lunch on the table in about 30 seconds, actually. And it was crazy crazy good! Use this "recipe" as a guideline/inspiration and then go raid that fridge and see what you can come up with. 

This N That Salad
2 packed cups of hearty greens like kale or spinach
2 tbsp beet root hummus
1/2 small avocado sliced
1/2 cup brown rice and veggie casserole
3 precooked falafel
Lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Layer your ingredients over the greens and garnish with LOTS of lemon! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brian Harrison

I'd like to introduce you to the most incredible little person I've ever met.

This is Brian Harrison.

1 week over due and 26 hour labor...he did NOT wanna leave the comforts of my womb.
I won't hold it against him though. Because he's honestly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Mama is exhausted, daddy is exhausted. Baby has an insatiable feeding schedule, abbreviated by the shortest cat naps ever. Ain't that something?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fully Cooked

Well, the new house is coming along quite nicely. We finished painting and putting the babys room together. I love to sit in there rocking and patting my fat tummy, wondering how our lives will look with him here.
I am 40 weeks and there is zero sign of a baby. No braxton hicks, nothin. So I am continuing to walk and walk and walk. If it doesn't work, at least it keeps me active.

Surprisingly, I am not very uncomfortable. A few weeks ago I swelled up pretty badly and my hands got super itchy. It was horrible, we figured it was the August heat? Either way, it passed after a nice cold shower and elevated feet.

Now I am on my way out to a car show with the hubbster. Could be our last outting without our baby boy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

We're HOME!!

Finally! We got the call that escrow was going to close, I almost cried (I did cry). Better yet, the company that fubarred the paperwork causing this whole situation is paying for the movers to bring our things from storage. So we don't have to do anything but point to where we want the furniture! God, I am so excited.

Look at these VIEWS!!

From the front porch...

Sitting on the couch looking out from the living room!

I am just in heaven. I cannot wait to start unpacking, decorating and of course, getting the baby's room ready! Thank you God for getting us into our house. Our dream house....

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reasons Not To Move With A Pregnant Wife

She will want to kill you.

That's why. Especially if, by some terrible twist of fate, your old house closes escrow on schedule but the new house DOESNT. And then you have to pack a husband, fat wife, dogs and a smelly cat into a hotel room for a week.
Moving day, the 'Mater truck is all loaded up.
With no where to go. 

I spend lots of time taking bubble baths at the hotel.
 Trying not to think about the new house.

This is our life right now. Not fun. In all fairness, I don't JUST want to kill Mike. I want to kill everyone. Except for the people at the hotel restaurant, they are amazing and I will love them forever. They give me bacon.

The really fun part? We have no idea when the new house will be ready. So we may be here another week or...? Breathe Eva, breathe... You will have someplace before the baby get's here. I mean, I have to have someplace before the baby gets here, right? They allow dogs, but do they allow newborns?

The dogs just think we are on vacation....