Watermelon-Berry & Watercress Salad

Watermelon, Berry & Watercress Salad

I promise you; this fruit salad is Berry Berry Good!
We recently returned from a trip to North Carolina, and I definitely felt the need to detox. It is so easy to eat bad and fill up on junk foods when you are traveling.

This salad is so refreshing and packed with flavor. The berries alone are loaded with antioxidants, and still – I kicked it up a notch …with Watercress! Watercress has a peppery flavor to it, which pops so perfectly in this fruit salad. These leafy greens are a powerful antioxidant and packed with many minerals and vitamins (they’re also known to lower blood pressure). It is nutrient rich with Vitamins A, C, K, and is also Calcium rich.

The peppery flavor of the watercress, coupled with the fresh, earthiness of the basil and mint brings this recipe home. The lemon pops too, and any good salad dressing has a balance of fat and acid, so I chose coconut oil as the fat for its flavor.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1 Watermelon (small), seeded / cubed (reserve 1-2 cups for dressing)
2 Pints (4 Cups) Blackberries
2 Pints (4 Cups) Blueberries
2 Pints (4 Cups) Raspberries
4oz Fresh Watercress

Dressing:
1 handful fresh Mint (about 1/4 cup)
1 handful fresh Basil (about 1/4 cup)
2 Lemons, juice/zest (about 1/4 cup)
1-2 Cups of Watermelon cubes
2-3 Tbsp Agave or Honey (raw)
2 Tbsp Coconut oil, softened or melted

Directions:
-Reserve about 1-2 Tbsp of the Mint, Basil, Lemon zest for garnish.
-Cube watermelon and rinse berries, then mix to combine. Add watercress before serving.
-Blend dressing ingredients together to combine and set aside.

Note: This recipe stored in a 1.5-gallon storage container. I mixed the berries and watermelon together and topped with the watercress but I added paper towel and did not mix in the watercress to avoid wilting. I also stored the dressing in a separate container and mixed all to serve.  

Enjoy!

Watermelon-Berry Watercress Salad

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
1 Watermelon (small), seeded / cubed (reserve 1-2 cups for dressing)
2 Pints (4 Cups) Blackberries
2 Pints (4 Cups) Blueberries
2 Pints (4 Cups) Raspberries
4oz Fresh Watercress

Dressing:
1 handful fresh Mint (about 1/4 cup)
1 handful fresh Basil (about 1/4 cup)
2 Lemons, juice/zest (about 1/4 cup)
1-2 Cups of Watermelon cubes
2-3 Tbsp Agave or Honey (raw)
2 Tbsp Coconut oil, softened or melted

Directions:
-Reserve about 1-2 Tbsp of the Mint, Basil, Lemon zest for garnish.
-Cube watermelon and rinse berries, then mix to combine. Add watercress before serving.
-Blend dressing ingredients together to combine and set aside.

Enjoy!

Simple Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

I’m missing my calling as a minimalist, lol. We are moving, and as we are getting the house ready – I think to myself (and out loud) …there is so much stuff. Ugh…things…why do we have so many things, ah! It amazes me how much we accumulate over the years. I’m trying to redefine “spring cleaning” over here as I throw, toss and donate things away, while simultaneously deep cleaning. Ironically, none of this hit me until I had to paint. As I removed all the things from the kitchen, everything quite literally seems to be overflowing into the dining room now. While I don’t have a bunch of tchotchkes (knickknacks) or collections, I still feel like there are a lot of items in general. This immediately made me think of the bible verse (in Matthew 6:19) about storing your treasures on earth. Although I’m not materialistic by any stretch, it still made me stop and reflect. On another note, I also can’t help but to notice how quickly this month is moving right along. The pressure is on to finish, as I’m trying not to let May slip by.  

This recipe today is one that is very simple and tasty. This recipe can be served over cooked rice or noodles of your choice. It tastes delicious on white/basmati or brown rice, and with ramen. Also, additional vegetable additions that would go great are edamame (soybeans) or mushrooms. I did not have any this time around, but next time I will be adding some. Additionally, I used an apple in this recipe instead of sugar to balance the sweet/salty flavors. The apple adds a nice freshness to this dish. Enjoy!



Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Simple Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry
Ingredients:
2-3 Tbsp Oil
1 (16oz) Package (Block) Super Firm Tofu
1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated
2 Tbsp Fresh Garlic, minced
1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 bunch of Scallions, about 7-8
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 small Apple, grated
4 Cups Broccoli (Fresh/Frozen)
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce/Tamari, divided
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar, divided
1/2 Head of Cabbage
2-3 Carrots, grated or matchstick cut
Finish with:
Sesame Oil
Fresh Parsley, optional

Directions:
-Season tofu with salt/pepper to taste and add the paprika. Mix together to combine seasoning.
-Heat oil to medium-high heat. Then add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, be sure to toss/turn or even shake the pan every few minutes to halfway through for even cooking.
-Remove tofu from pan and set aside; allow to drain on napkin/paper towel, if needed.
-Back to pan add red pepper flakes, fresh garlic, and scallions. I typically keep some scallions off to the side for garnish.
-Cook the above for about one minute, then add apples, parsley and ginger. Continue cooking for another two minutes keep tossing while cooking.
-To the mixture add half of the soy sauce (2 tbsp) and vinegar (1 tbsp), plus the fresh/frozen broccoli. Cover and cook for five minutes to allow broccoli to steam up. Keep shaking and tossing in between.
-Remove cover. Over high heat, add cabbage and carrots to mixture plus remaining soy sauce and vinegar. Continue tossing/stirring while cooking for another one to two minutes.
-Add back in the tofu and give it another toss before serving.
-Serve over rice or noodles and finish with a garnish of additional ginger, scallions, parsley, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Enjoy!

The prep:

Matthew 6:19
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (NIV).

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (ESV).

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

May!!! Hello May…whew, this year is just moving right along.
Happy Sunday friends. These blueberry scones are delish! I wanted to make something simple, yet different for breakfast this morning. And I thought of scones, because they go great with coffee and are very easy to make. Scones are like biscuits in texture and ease, these are also not overly sweet. The addition of glaze and blueberries, keeps the moisture just right and adds the right amount of sweetness. Tastes like springtime. Enjoy!   

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Earth Balance, cold
3/4 Cup Soy Milk + 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions:
-Preheat oven 400 degrees and coat your cast iron skillet with butter. If you are using a cake pan, line with parchment paper or butter/flour the pan.
-Mix the tablespoon of lemon juice into the soymilk and set aside to create the buttermilk.
-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk all these ingredients together.
-Next, cut in vegan butter. You can use your fingers in this step and work the butter into the flour mixture.  You can continue using the whisk and mash the Earth Balance throughout the flour mixture, or you can use your fingers.
-Stir in the soy milk/lemon juice “buttermilk” and vanilla extract into the flour mixture.
-Combine ingredients together without overworking the dough. It is okay if mixture seems dry.
-Place a piece of parchment paper or lightly flour a cutting board. Then, turn out your dough mixture onto a cutting board.
-Gently pat and shape your dough into a circle that is about 1 ½ inches thick. I find using the parchment paper itself to shape the dough works best, because it doesn’t stick.
-Cut the dough into eight (8) equal parts or wedges. Then place into your buttered skillet.
-Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside, allowing it to cool.
-While the scones are cooling, prepare your glaze.
-Combine the confectioner’s/powdered sugar with the two tablespoons of lemon juice and whisk together until smooth.

Notes:
-I measure out the Earth Balance first onto a plate and place in the freezer, while I gather all my other ingredients and get everything out and prepped.
-If you are using a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients first into the flour mixture. Then, pulse in the cold Earth Balance.
-Store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Or store them in the fridge for up to five days.

Details with pictures…

Ingredients:
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Earth Balance, cold
3/4 Cup Soy Milk + 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions:
-Preheat oven 400 degrees and coat your cast iron skillet with butter. If you are using a cake pan, line with parchment paper or butter/flour the pan.
-Mix the tablespoon of lemon juice into the soymilk and set aside to create the buttermilk.

-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk all these ingredients together.
-Next, cut in vegan butter. You can use your fingers in this step and work the butter into the flour mixture.  You can continue using the whisk and mash the Earth Balance throughout the flour mixture, or you can use your fingers.
-Stir in the soy milk/lemon juice “buttermilk” and vanilla extract into the flour mixture.

-Combine ingredients together without overworking the dough and incorporate the blueberries. It is okay if mixture seems dry.

-Place a piece of parchment paper or lightly flour a cutting board. Then, turn out your dough mixture onto a cutting board.

-Gently pat and shape your dough into a circle that is about 1 ½ inches thick.

-I find using the parchment paper itself to shape the dough works best, because it doesn’t stick.
-Cut the dough into eight (8) equal parts or wedges. Then place into your buttered skillet.

-Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside, allowing it to cool.
-While the scones are cooling, prepare your glaze.
-Combine the confectioner’s/powdered sugar with the two tablespoons of lemon juice and whisk together until smooth.

Notes:
-I measure out the Earth Balance first onto a plate and place in the freezer, while I gather all my other ingredients and get everything out and prepped. Also, sometimes I putz around in the kitchen. So, while I’m pulling distracted or talking with my family – I want to be sure the Earth Balance remains as cold as possible.

-If you are using a food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients first into the flour mixture. Then, pulse in the cold Earth Balance. -Store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Or store them in the fridge for up to five days.

Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup – the no recipe—recipe.

Soup warms the soul, leaves me with positive vibes and comfort. Whenever I make vegetable soup, I make a LARGE quantity that will last us a few days. It’s so hard for me to put an actual vegetable soup recipe into words though. There are so many different variables when I set out to make it. Each time I use different veggies and sometimes I have no broth/stock and use water. I always start with a couple tablespoons of oil, crushed red pepper flakes, lots of garlic and an onion chopped. To this I add carrots and celery and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then, add diced tomatoes, water/broth and begin layering in my seasonings and veggies. If I’m adding potatoes, I include them in the carrots and celery step. The veggies vary and can include broccoli, cabbage, peas, spinach, kale, corn, cauliflower etc. I always try to include beans for fiber and protein — typically, red kidney beans or chickpeas. I hope this recipe inspires you to mix and match veggies too.
A must try – small/baby potatoes left whole= they are sometimes called creamers. I added them to this soup and left them whole, which made the soup very filling and satisfying.
Enjoy!

Lamentations 3:25-26

“The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

    to the soul who seeks him.

It is good that one should wait quietly     for the salvation of the Lord.”

Chopped Spinach and Quinoa Salad

This salad is delicious and packed with protein, especially when you add the chickpeas.

While I was preparing to make the salad for dinner, I also cut up veggies for a morning juice. Sometimes it is easier to cut, wash and prep fruits and vegetables all at once for multiple uses, such as juicing or a salad or soup.

For the salad, I used a box grater to grate the carrots and apples. While I typically leave baby spinach whole, this time I chopped it up. Proportionally it worked better for me to chop the spinach and it makes for a beautiful presentation. I used a trail mix that we had on hand. Nuts are such a nutritious add to any salad. So, whatever you have available, throw it in! This recipe makes a great lunch, dinner, or side salad. I had this salad two ways, once without the chickpeas with apple cider vinegar as my dressing (it made for a good side salad). Then I had it with a creamier tahini dressing with the added chickpeas (which was great alone for dinner).

Enjoy!

Chopped Spinach & Quinoa Salad

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Chopped Spinach & Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
4 cups Baby Spinach, chopped
2 Large Carrots, grated
1 Large Apple, grated (I used a Honeycrisp)
1.5 cups cooked Quinoa
1/2 English Cucumber, diced
1 Cup Nuts / Nut mix or Trail mix (walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries)
Chickpeas, optional (1 15oz can drained/rinsed)

Directions:
-Grate carrots and apples and set aside in a large mixing bowl. To this add the cooked quinoa, diced cucumbers and chopped spinach.
-Add chickpeas and desired mixed nuts.
-Top with your favorite dressing or add equal parts of oil and apple cider vinegar.
-Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Chopped Spinach and Quinoa Salad with a creamy tahini dressing.

Proverbs 31:25

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,

    and she laughs at the time to come.”

Morning Smoothie!

Morning Smoothie!
(Serves 3) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Raw, Soy-Free

IMG_0419

Morning Sunshine! I should say instead. This smoothie is not so pretty, but it’s pretty healthy. I say not-so-pretty because at least that is what a co-worker thought last week. It was a bright sunny day (jk). So, I was at work reaching for my smoothie as a co-worker passed by and says, “ew, what is that!?!” To which I replied a smoothie, here try some. 😊 She thought it was delicious by the way. I honestly believe she meant no ill-will but the story doesn’t end or start here. A few weeks ago Seth was at a deli picking up some veggie sandwiches, the employee does the ‘ol “order up – veggie sandwiches!” An patron nearby hears this and says, “ew, who would even order a veggie sandwich. Ugh, a sandwich with no meat etc. etc.”  Well her supercilious comment wasn’t going to get by Seth that easily. He replies back, “that would be mine. by the way what form of dead animal carcass will be decomposing in your body today?”  Another incident within the same week occurred at a grocery store. He was on his way home, it was pouring out, I got in late myself and wasn’t up for cooking. So… he stops off to grab pizza. (Vegan – Daiya Pizzas to be exact). Another customer hears the automated self-checkout say the item and price. The customer to his son says, “whoa, that price for 1 pizza my God we could get 2 large pies for that price! The son adds or 3 medium!” Followed by both of them cackling. Now I don’t remember exactly what Seth commented back and he’s sleeping at the moment or I’d ask but I do remember in short – he let it go.

I suppose this rant is all to say or ask the burning question: Has society as a whole lost their manners?  Where is the tact? Has ill-mannered behavior become socially acceptable? Despite the popular ‘vegan perception’ I don’t look in other people’s carts at the grocery store and examine their items. I don’t arrogantly comment or turn up my nose at the person who orders the triple bacon cheeseburger. Can we not get the same treatment?
We are modest and humble people we don’t flash around or advertise our vegan lifestyle. I enjoy life, animals, family and love. I enjoy creating recipes and sharing them with all who will seek them out.
Think about it and ‘do to others as you would have them do to you.”

The best part about this smoothie is that my kids have been begging me to make it. I made this last week before heading into work. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
4-5 pieces of Kale, stems removed
7 Strawberries, hulled
½ to 1 cup Fresh Raspberries
½ Banana
1 Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond/coconut blend)
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Sweetener (Agave Nectar or Honey)

-Blend together in high-speed blender. I used my nutribullet. Enjoy!

 

Black-Eyed Chimichurri Bean Salad

Black-Eyed Chimichurri Bean Salad
(Serves 8-12) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

IMG_0461

Bursting with flavor! Try this amazing side at your next bbq/party. Beans always remind me of Seth since he LOVES beans and all things beans! Hell it even inspired us naming our first dog-child together (Beanie). 😊 So I wanted to share a funny story that happened on Monday night. Seth and I have been binge watching Oz (I know so 90’s, right?) and during one of the episodes the topic of Hell, Hades or something about a ‘lifetime of torture’ came up. (Sorry I butchered that explanation, I know). Anyhow, so he asks me what I would consider so torturous that would haunt me for a lifetime. My response was something about bugs, insects or rodents crawling all over me. I have nothing against the little guys…I just don’t want them crawling all over me. SO I ask him the same question and he replies, “what would torture me for life would be to lose all my senses… to not have the ability to see you anymore, smell or touch your soft skin, or to hear your voice… that would be torture to me – losing all my senses. Knowing that I once could experience those things but to no longer have that ability…” [melt] Um – he won, lol! ❤ well now you all know another reason why I fell in love – he’s smooth, right?

SO if anyone ever asks the question… for the love of God go with your senses.

Pft!…bugs, what was I thinking. 😊 Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3 (15.5oz cans) Blackeye Peas, drained/rinsed
1 (11oz can) White Shoepeg Corn
1 Tofurky sausage, diced (sautéed for 3 minutes), optional
½ – 1 Cup Chimichurri Sauce

-Toss all ingredients to combine and refrigerate overnight. Best served cold.

IMG_0454

Gnocchi & Sausage Chimichurri ~ Vegan

Gnocchi & Sausage Chimichurri ~ Vegan
(Serves 8-12)

IMG_0439

Again it’s all in the sauce. The chimichurri sauce is so bold but marries so perfectly with the gnocchi and Tofurky Italian sausage.

Speaking of marriages…Seth the artist is always creating something. As I always say my artistic expression is cooking, but him… if he’s not photographing, writing or painting you’ll find him always creating something. 😊 Recently he began making music – amazing work too. He’s been creating drum and bass, trance, lounge-type music. Check out his YouTube channel, here is his latest song if you’re interested: https://youtu.be/G5ud12LJCMg . He also tweets them find him @nsanity777.

My eclectic music selections can range anywhere from Miles Davis to Tool or some TripHop…a little Massive Attack/Portishead. As of late, my music sessions end up with anything Electronica/Drum & Bass. Seth turned me onto Goldie, good stuff. Oh to live in England, I’d love to even visit for that matter, the UK seems to have it going on. They’re about ten years ahead of us in music, he says. I can envision the nightclub scene out there, whew.  Good music and timeless, in my opinion. Artists and songs from ten or fifteen years ago, are still hot if you listened to them today. Drum and Bass…there’s no barricade between genres. Drum, the walls come down between jazz, reggae, house, classical, electronica and fuse into a great sound, bass. Seth is always teaching me something… He not only looks up an artist, but the artist that influenced those artists or ones that are similar. It probably started with him with that old-school ‘jungle’ music and his collection just grew. Joey Beltram, Omni Trio, The Prodigy, Goldie, Tricky, Massive Attack, Pendulum…and some popular US favs– Deadmau5, Gridlok, Skrillex, DJ Craze. We saw RL Grime in Vegas a couple years ago A-Mazing time! Maybe one day we’ll visit Bristol…

Ingredients:
Cooked Gnocchi (about 3-4 17oz pkgs)
Fresh Basil, chiffonade (about 7 pieces)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (drizzle to toss in pan before adding sauce)
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 (15oz can) Diced Garlic Tomatoes
2 Tofurky Italian Sausages, sliced (sautéed in olive oil over med-high heat for 3-5 mins.)
1 Cup Chimichurri Sauce

-Toss all ingredients to combine – adjust seasoning to taste.
Enjoy!

Chimichurri (Verde) Sauce

Chimichurri (Verde) Sauce
(Makes about 2 ½ Cups) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

IMG_0426

Mmm…Chimichurri sauce typically used as a marinade (hint: try on some portabella mushrooms) today used as a sauce. An insanely good garlicky herbed sauce to top gnocchi and also used in a bean salad. So good you want to put it on everything!

Ingredients:
2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7 Garlic cloves
3 Scallions (white/light green parts only)
1 handful bunch of Fresh Parsley
1 small handful bunch of Fresh Cilantro
5 Fresh Basil Leaves
½ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Chives (I used dried)
¼ Cup Vinegar
¼ Cup White Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Water
1 Tsp Black Pepper
½ Tbsp Salt
½ Tbsp Sugar
Directions:
-Blend all ingredients to combine. I used a high speed blender (nutribullet).
-Refrigerate leftover sauce for 2-3 days. Enjoy!

IMG_0425

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Lentil Vegetable Soup
(Serves 12-18) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

IMG_0402

Maybe I just don’t have it in me to make a small pot of soup or something. So I’ll just warn you now that this recipe makes an enormous amount of soup! Lol – feel free to cut it down or just go crazy and make the large pot like I did, it freezes great too. I typically go with the large pot of soup since it will last for several days – lunch and dinner. Not only is this vegan soup hearty with veggies it is wholesome too. Lentils are packed with nutrients and are high in protein and fiber – great for lowering cholesterol! I hope you try this great weeknight dinner, sample it with your favorite veggies. Enjoy!

Vegan Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 12-18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped
2 Large Russet Potatoes, diced/cubed
4 Scallions, chopped
7 stalks Celery, chopped
5 Carrots, diced/cubed
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1 ½ to 2 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Chili Powder
2 Bay Leaves
1 (28oz can) Diced Tomatoes
4 Cups dry Lentils, picked/rinsed (I used Bob’s Red Mill – the entire 27oz pkg)
3 Quarts Vegetable Broth (about 12 cups)
3 Cups Water
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste (I used tomato/basil paste)
10oz fresh Green Beans, trimmed/cut (about 2 ½ cups)
4 stalks Kale, stems removed/chopped
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:
-Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. You’ll need an extra-large pot! Add onions, potatoes, garlic and scallions then heat for 5 minutes. Then add carrots and celery continue to sauté for another 3 minutes.
-Next, add seasonings: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and bay leaves. Stir to combine before adding tomatoes.
-Add your vegetable broth and water to the pot and heat to boil. While stock is boiling remember to pick through your lentils check for any rocks for example before rinsing.
-Add lentils, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minutes.
-During the last 10 minutes of cooking add your green beans and kale. Enjoy!

Warning! – Ginormous pot of soup below!

IMG_0382