real food. real life.
Alright, so I don't know what has happened in this house but I'm not questioning it! Lee agreed to let me make vegetarian meals all week! So excited to try out some new recipes and to save money on meat. Is it just me or is meat just getting more and more expensive these days??
I know, without a doubt, that I could pull off a vegetarian lifestyle. Heck, probably a vegan lifestyle. I don't eat dairy anyway. Eggs - I could take them or leave them. But I don't think I could leave honey out of my diet... I suppose I would miss bacon and sausage, for sure. And lobster... But the savings on food bills would make it all seem worth it, right? I know Lee isn't there with me on the v-train... yet... so meat in the freezer is just how it's going to be! However, we have mainly crossed into only buying our meat from local farms/markets, so at least we know where the meat came from. That's a start, I think.
Anyway, today's vegetarian recipe (actually raw vegan recipe, if we're getting specific here) is brought to the by the awesomeness that is Laura Miller. She hosts a show on youtube/Tastemade called Raw. Vegan. Not gross. Haha, I know, awesome title. Makes vegan foods intriguing! Actually, watching her shows totally reminds me of my sister, who is currently somewhere deep in the woods cooking food for a bunch of tree planters, right now, but who also has an awesome food blog, focused on v foods - check it out here!
Alright, sorry, side track there. Back to Laura Miller. I have watched every episode she's posted. She is entertaining to watch and posts a ton of yummy, easy, recipes. I find her humour hilarious. Lee finds it corny. But I laugh out loud every episode.
This one episode caught my attention because I am always looking for ways to use cabbage - we get a ton of it in our CSA. It does have a lot of 'nuts' in it though... which is a bit pricy and 'heavy', but it does go well with the sweet and spicy flavours. She uses mango as her sweet fruit topping. I used pineapple. (Lee's allergic to mango) I think both would taste good, either way. She also uses soy sauce in hers. I just omitted it, as I didn't have any coconut aminoes in the cupboard. I think it tasted find without it, but it would definitely boost the flavour if you have some. Here is the original recipe. Subscribe to her channel! She's full of wonderful vegetable info. These are best places to learn about food and how to cook! (Raw vegan cooking is extremely easy, great place to start!)
Here's what I did to create ours!
half a head of cabbage (red looks prettier)
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 slice of pineapple, thinly sliced
For the "Meat":
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp ginger
1 tsp chili flakes
juice of half lemon
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup cashews
What to do:
1) In food processor, add oil, maple syrup, salt, almond butter, ginger, chili flakes, and lemon juice. Pulse until combined.
2) Add walnuts and cashews. Pulse just a bit until it looks half smooth/half chunky. It should look kind of gross, but taste delicious! Haha
3) Assemble the wrap! Use half a cabbage head and peel away the leaves. Scoop about a tbsp or 2 on a leaf, then top with pineapple, pepper, and carrot. Eat like a taco, roll it like an egg roll, or flatten like a quesadilla. The cabbage keeps it crunchy, but it you're like Lee and not a fan of cabbage, try using another leafy green. So good!
1 more month.
1 more month to figure out how to save, use less, and live happily and healthily without spending lots. 1 more months till things are real!
1 more month till we see a major dip in household income! My parental leave runs out. And, surprise! - to anyone who reads my blog posts and is any bit interested in knowing - I am not going back to my full time job! Eek - super scary to not have 2 full time salaries paying our bills.
Super scary indeed. But exciting.
Exciting to be the one raising our daughter.
Exciting to take on a different style of living that includes family time, home cooking, and appreciating the little things.
Not so exciting to have zilch in the spending department though! And, depending on who you're talking to, not so exciting to Lee but super exciting for me to scrape together random ingredients to create a yummy yet healthy family meal! Lee looks at the fridge and says there's nothing to eat. I see a challenge. I love a good challenge in the kitchen.
I've posted many random recipes before using random ingredients because I had an abundance of a certain vegetable, or what have you, and I found a good use for it. Usually, it turns out good! (not always... haha, you don't see those ones!) Well, get used to it! No money = using up everything we have, no wasting and unnecessary purchases :)
This week's post is brought to you by: the buy one get one free spinach sale at the Vegetorium this week, and therefore, a need to use up spinach before it went bad.
This pesto was extra garlicy and lemony, which you could tone down if you're not as much into those flavours as we are. It was a great way to use up your spinach and made enough for me to freeze half for another meal. It would taste great mixed into a pasta dish or overtop salmon. Tonight, we put it atop some panfried chicken breast pieces with rice as a side. It was quite yummy if I do say so myself! I was impressed. Here's the recipe!
Total Time: 5 minutes to prepare pesto
about 2 -3 cups of spinach, steps removed (rinse and dry if fresh from a farm - ours always has dirt left on it! But that's how you know it's fresh and local!)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
about 1/2 cup olive oil *** This really depends on how liquidy you want your pesto - don't go by my measurements. Go by instructions below.
Pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Optional: Parmesan cheese for you dairy eaters out there.
What to do:
1) Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Pulse on high until mostly combined and chopped fine.
2) While processor is on low, drizzle in olive oil until it reaches a consistency you are happy with, kind of creamy, kind of liquidy, but still holding its' form slightly.
3) Remove top for a quick taste test. Add more garlic, lemon, cheese, salt, or pepper to adjust taste to your liking. Use right away, store in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple weeks, or freeze in a container/baggie for months!
I consider myself a pretty healthy eater. We eat mostly organic and local. I am super adamant that every meal have at least half a plate's worth of veggies/fruit. We have meatless meals quite often, and because of my dairy deal, we often eat vegan food and try lots of new veggies with our CSA. There hasn't been white or brown sugar in the house in years and stocking the cupboards with sweets is out of the question. I also have a crazy amount of will power, which means we totally stick to our meal planning and all that lovely stuff. I'm crazy headstrong when it comes to things I set my mind to. Eating healthy is just one of them. And boy do I take it seriously!
But, you know, sooner or later you're going to want cookies.
This week I wanted cookies
And not just regular cookies, I wanted chewy soft oatmeal raisin cookies. The kind that are normally made with copious amounts of butter and brown sugar.... yeah... problem there!
So, I tweaked a couple recipes to satisfy both my craving for something sweet and cookie-like and my desire for a somewhat healthier version without the dairy and refined sugar. After a few attempts, and some definite fails, I give you this recipe.
Sweetened with apple sauce and maple syrup, it has a good sweetness (add more if you want it sweeter) but soft centre to keep it chewy. My tip - don't let them bake too long. They will dry out! Also - try, if you have time, to soak your raisins in a bit of warm water for about 10-15 minutes before using. They will become juicier and not dry up your ingredients. Be sure to drain the water, of course.
Makes approximately 24 cookies
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour of choice
3 cups oats (rolled or quick-cook)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raisins (soaked, if possible - see note above)
What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets with a little oil or butter, whatever you have.
2. Mix eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt together in another bowl. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
4. Lastly, add oatmeal to the mixture, followed by raisins. Fold mixture together until sticky and cookie-doughy :)
5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheets. Press down a bit to flatten. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or when cookies are slightly browned. Remove and cool on wire rack. Store in an air-tight container to preserve chewiness!
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
A Bit About Me...