Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vegan Appetizer: Chardonnay Grilled Artichokes


What makes grilled artichokes even MORE delicious than they already are? Booze! Hubs and I started reading a book titled the Engine 2 Diet and I came across a topic that peaked my interest. Instead of using so much olive oil in a recipe you can cut the fat in half by adding wine. Sounds good to me...drink a little, add it to the pan, drink a little, add a little more to the pan. I could get used to this new style of cooking!

This little number takes time but is so easy to make.


Ingredients:

-2 large artichokes

-2 tbsp Olive oil

-1 tbsp minced garlic

-1 cup Chardonnay

-2 tbsp Organic Soy Sauce

-1 tbsp Rice Vinegar

Directions:


1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet to med heat

2. Cut both artichokes in half (long ways)

3. Add garlic and cook just over 1 minute

3. Add artichokes, chardonnay and turn up heat to med-high then cook 2 minutes



4. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes total, "basting" every 8 minutes or so

(basting: take a spoon and scoop the sauce in the skillet back onto the artichokes to help the sauce absorb completely)

5. After 20 minutes, uncover the dish and test the artichoke...if the leaves start to break off easily you're done!



Enjoy!

-Joanna


Monday, June 25, 2012

Vegan Breakfast: Tofu Scramble


I heart Houston! Yeehaw! Did I mention before Hubs and I were headin' to Texas for a mini-vacay? If not I apologize--it was awesome!

My hubby used to play for the local rugby team named the Pensacola Aviators so I had to purchase tickets for the upcoming USA vs. Italy game held at the brand spankin' new Houston Dynamo. VIP tix too, naturally, because I'm an awesome wifey.

We're here! Time for drinks!

View from the VIP Lounge

I love a good dress theme

We splurged--if we're gonna go to a USA Rugby game we're gonna do it up right. They ended up losing 10-30 against Italy but we're still #1 fans and will hopefully return sooner than later. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Over the weekend we also chose to have breakfast for dinner. If you're transitioning into a Vegan diet slowly and miss your eggs this recipe is perfect for you. 


Welcome folks to one of my new favorite recipes...the Tofu Scramble. It's easy, so simple to make and perfect after a night of "one too many". In just 15 minutes your hangover breakfast is ready.

Ingredients:

-1 package of organic tofu, extra firm

-2 cups of chopped broccoli

-2 cups of chopped shitake mushrooms

-1 cup of chopped red onion

-1 cup of chopped red pepper

-2 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

-1/2 tsp of salt

-1 tsp of thyme

-1/2 tsp of tumeric

-2 tbsp of water

-1/2 tbsp of tamari, organic soy sauce

-2 tsp of cumin

-dash of paprika

-1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

Directions.

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on med-high heat

2. Reduce to medium, add broccoli, garlic, onion, and tofu then cook 5 minutes



3. Add peppers and mushrooms, then cook 5 more minutes



4. While dish is cooking combine thyme, tumeric, water, tamari and cumin in a separate bowl

5. Cover dish with tin foil, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

6. Add nutritional yeast, sauce mixture and paprika and cook 2 more minutes and you're done!



Enjoy!

-Joanna





Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vegan Breakfast: Arbonne Strawberry Banana Smoothie


Good Morning! Try this smoothie on for size...packed with 20 grams of protein in every serving with the help of Arbonne Protein Powder.


Ingredients:

-1 cup of distilled water

-1 cup of ice

-1 cup of almond milk (unsweetened)

-7 large frozen strawberries

-1 banana

-2 scoops of Arbonne Chocolate Protein Powder

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

Have a great day!

-Joanna

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vegan Dinner: Cheesy Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli Casserole


It ain't easy being cheesy! Oh how I adore Nutritional Yeast. It is the perfect healthy substitute for anything and everything cheesy.

After looking through the pantry to figure out what I could do with this stuff I thought of the perfect comfort meal...MAC-n-CHEESE. Now that I knew what I was craving...how could I make it healthy?

Here's how! Take a head of cauliflower, head of broccoli, nutritional yeast and bam! You've got yourself a healthy meal and zero guilt. I decided to title it "Cheesy Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli Casserole."


Ingredients:

-1 head of cauliflower (3 cups grated)

-1 head of broccoli (2 1/2 cups chopped)

-1 1/2 cups of uncooked Quinoa pasta (and it's Gluten-Free)

-4 tbsp organic Tamari Soy Sauce

-2 cups of Almond Milk

-1 3/4 cups of Nutritional Yeast (1 1/4 in mix, 1/2 to sprinkle on top)

-2 "eggs" of Ener-G Egg Replacer

-1 can of organic sweet peas

-Salt and Pepper as needed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a glass pan with non-stick tin foil and set aside

2. Chop cauliflower into large chunks and run across a cheese grater (if it has two sides, grate across the larger holes)

Cauliflower Rice

3. Chop the broccoli into chunks (golf ball size) then cut each in half

4. In a large bowl combine soy milk, soy sauce and nutritional yeast

5. Combine egg substitute and water, stir until completely dissolved, then add to the sauce mix (make sure it's dissolved before adding! This will help the yeast and milk become creamier)

6. Add the cauliflower rice, broccoli, peas and the quinoa pasta to the bowl and mix

Note: It will be a little runny, but will thicken up while cooking

7. Pour the mixture into the glass pan, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast on top, then cover with additional tin foil

8. Cook for 25-30 minutes, until pasta is cooked

9. Uncover then cook 10 more minutes until the top starts to crisp

Enjoy!

-Joanna










Sunday, June 10, 2012

Oh Canada: Trip of Oh Lifetime


We're back in the states! God Bless America! Wow...what a trip. Five nights and six days of crisp, clean air and oodles of nature. I feel like a Mountain Lady! Well I won't get ahead of myself but I hope you keep reading.

It all began as we flew out of Pensacola Thursday, May 31st and arrived in Calgary by lunchtime. The airport was quaint and we promptly received a "Welcome to Calgary!" from the airport staff, dressed in cowboy attire. I was in love already, and yet confused at the same time. Why was he dressed like that? Did I miss something? I later learned Calgary is known for its Annual Stampede and Banff was jokingly called the "Texas of Canada". Many of its residents wore cowboy hats and it was quite common. To be honest I didn't know much about Calgary at all, or Canada for that matter. Geography and History were never my best subjects....I still can't name all the Great Lakes nor where Montana is on a map, or any of those other Midwest-ish states.

All four of us (Me, Craig and my in-laws Joan and Mark) were nervous as we stepped through the exit doors of the airport...was it going to be rainy outside? brisk? chilly? freezing? Keep in mind Pensacola had been in the 90s for quite some time and Craig's parents being from Austin, TX were coming from Sahara heat as well. The answer? Choice number 3...chilly. The rest of the weekend? All of the above.

First thing's first. Food. We ate lunch at a wonderful Thai place in Calgary. Starting off with spring rolls and lemongrass soup, both having the perfect spice to them we could tell it was made fresh. I'm not gonna lie I did keep having to sip my water to cover the spice but keep in mind ketchup can be spice-risky for me (don't judge). After the apps we pushed forward to Pad Thai for me and Yellow Curry for him. Overall a slam dunk. Yum! Now that our bellies were full we were ready to check out the cabin.

Our cabin at Hidden Ridge Resort on Tunnel Mountain Road in Banff

The view from our Cabin's Porch

Adorable right? It was all so breathtaking. We were surrounded by mountains. Every night we cuddled up by the fire, drank wine and discussed how much fun we were having. We even started a ritual of pulling out the sleeper sofa to make more room. Not a care in the world. That night we did a little sight-seeing and had a great French dinner on Banff Avenue, about a 5 minute drive from our cabin. There was a bit of an incident...the restaurant consisted of two different areas; 1. The rich fancy area and 2. The cheaper, still fancy but much cheaper area. We chose the fancy area, in error and had to awkwardly ask to change spots. Whoops! Oh well. Craig and I also cheated a little and had seafood while on our trip (Pesca-Vegan). It was nice to indulge. I had the Creamy Tomato Soup which was served in a crockpot and covered in a flaky puff pastry. It was mouth-watering. For dinner I had a Gnocchi with spinach dish and Craig had the steamed mussels. Another slam dunk of a meal.

Before dinner on the porch


All of us at Restaurant Area 1, before awkwardly moving to Restaurant Area 2


The next day we rode the Gondola up to the top of Sulfur Mountain. The rain was heavy that morning so there was ZERO visibility. We were bummed at first...but still enjoyed the ride up and continued to take pictures.

No visibility? No problem!


Through the fog we still managed to make some furry friends. Below is Buster and then his friend Dave (get it?). These cute little creatures look like squirrels but live in holes, pop up and stand like prairie dogs.

Buster, right after he gave me a high-five
Dave, posing for me

Well, they answered our prayers because shortly after this photo was taken the skies cleared and the visibility was remarkable!

Before
After!
In the Gondola on the way down, much less nervous than on the way up

 

Guess what? Time to eat again! We decided on a good ol' pub and it did not disappoint. Craig chose the Veggie Burger with tomato soup and I chose the large salad with sweet potato fries. If you're keeping score restaurant success is now 3-0.



The next day we planned a fishing trip. My mother-in-law and I didn't think it would be much of an event, so we packed our water bottle full of wine, gathered our books, bundled up and got on the boat. Boy were we WRONG. Anytime I opened up my book another exciting thing happened. The photo below pretty much sums it up.



Craig threw a fish that was too small to take home into the water...and this is what happened! A bald eagle swooped it up like it was nothing and I was able to capture the moment.

A background while we fished

The next day we drove the "scenic route" to the Fairmont Chateau located on Lake Louise. I think saying this drive was the scenic route is speaking lightly. The pictures speak for themselves. Below are all the animals and scenery we saw in just a 45 minute time period.


The Fairmont Chateau

Overall, it was the trip of OH lifetime and I will never forget it. I can't wait to go back!!

Enjoy!

-Joanna

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Celebrity Celery: Which Vegan Celeb did I Stalk this Week?


Is anyone watching boxing this Saturday, June 9th? I haven't paid too much attention to the sport but this particular brawl peaked my interest. This weekend Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to fight an "up and coming" fighter named Timothy Bradley Jr. I wouldn't call him up and coming at all, he's here folks....he's 28-0, only 28 years old and has been vegan since 2008.



 An article in the Wall Street Journal dated February 27, 2012 states Bradley considered himself a "meat and potatoes" guy until he began training for a title fight in 2008. His trainer suggested the plant-based diet to help him feel more energized and have more endurance (oh he won the fight by the way...). He gets his protein from plants keeping him lean and clean. Now on the other hand, the article does also state he is not vegan 12 months out of the year but he is 100% when he's training. It's a difficult meal plan and people do cheat but I think it's pretty interesting he focuses on the diet when he's training rather than when he's not.


Bradley goes on to say the diet helps him feel more connected to the world. This is so true for a lot of vegans. We feel like we're a part of something...a movement. The world is changing and people are becoming more aware that one day we will all have nothing and need to appreciate Mother Earth.

Check out the videos! His favorite food is Tempeh :-)






 I think when they hold up his arm announcing he's the winner...he should hold a stalk of celery in the other hand! Thoughts?

Go Bradley!


Enjoy!

-Joanna