Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Happy Weekend


image via Hot Apple Cider


Happy Friday, lovebugs!  What are you up to?

I’m washing and folding baby clothes and putting together my stroller and co-sleeper.  At the rate I’m moving, it may take all weekend.

We’ve had two days of real fall weather here, but tomorrow it’s back to the high 80s : (. At least I can daydream of moments like these.

A gorgeous space in Fort Greene.

Tall boots for girls with skinny calves.

10 ways to be great today.

Two vegetarian recipes we played with this week:

Chard and white bean stew

Roasted butternut squash salad with warm apple cider vinaigrette (make a meal with toasted olive bread spread with goat cheese)

Ever wondered what the difference is between a nutritionist and a dietitian? Me too. Anjali has the answer.

Zara Home has a kids’ collection and it’s just as amazing as the big kid shop.

My next book club book is Beautiful Ruins.  Have you read it?

Happy weekend,

xx Sarah




Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Sandwiches


One of my most vivid memories of college in upstate New York had nothing to do with college or upstate New York.  One brutal winter morning, when all I dared dream about was hot chocolate from the library vending machine, a friend from San Diego mentioned missing his family’s avocado orchard.

He may as well have told me he was from Mars.

From that moment on, California became a very real place in this midwesterner’s fantasy life.  It was CandyLand, where all your favorite goodies hang from trees, everywhere in easy reach, year-round. How could life not be wonderful in a place where crocodile-skinned avocados and bright lemons grow heavy in your own backyard?

I think of that cold weather revelation several times a week- while standing in my California kitchen and spooning avocado on toast.  I like my avocado smushed with a squirt of lemon, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and, yes, a drizzle of olive oil.  I know that’s fat on fat, but give it a go and see if you agree that a little liquid gold makes all the difference.

Avocado toast has been popping up everywhere on the blogosphere these days.  I don’t think it’s a comeback or a fad.  If lunchtime at my house is any indication, avocado toast never faded away.  Maybe we thought it was too basic to share?  I’m sorry, pretty green lady.  Shouldn’t have stuck you in that corner.

All this avocado toast got me thinking.  What other seemingly banal vegetable sandwiches do you love?  Here are my favs:

-GOOD cheddar, avocado and sprouts piled high on thickly-sliced multigrain with Dijon

-Herbed cream cheese with avocado, Persian cucumber, radish, fennel and red onion on toasted cranberry loaf or olive bread.

-(Non-traditional) Vegetable Banh Mi. Hard-boiled egg, pickled carrots and daikon, radishes, cucumbers, fresh jalapeno, watercress and fresh mint on a warm baguette slathered in soft butter- salt with sea salt!- and served with sriracha.  Sriracha mayo is the real way to go, but I don’t go mayo.  Ever.

What’s your favorite vegetable sandwich? Let’s discover new loves this Meatless Monday.  There may be a revelation in store.

xx Sarah

Memorial Day Veggie Burgers


For our Memorial Day dinner, we tried to recreate our favorite super savory Umami Burger portobello burger at home.

Look familiar?  We started with slow-roasted tomatoes.

I made umami ketchup and had to cool it quickly in an ice bath so we could eat.

Marinated portobello caps ready for the grill.

Charred corn means summer!

Baked sweet potato “fries” with sea salt and paprika

The classic Umami Burger calls for caramelized onions, roasted tomato, homemade ketchup and a parmesan crisp stacked between a buttered and grilled brioche bun.  We had it all except for the Parmesan crisp- I could not find my silpat!  Any chance I loaned it to someone out there?  We shaved thin slices of Parm onto our mushrooms and, sadly, it was not the same without the nutty, toasted crunch.  Next time!

The best part?  A tie between the ketchup and the tomatoes.  Try both this summer-they work with any barbecue menu.

What did you have yesterday?

xx Sarah

Meatless Monday: Toast with Almond Butter and Fresh Fruit


Sarah and I have many things in common but our love of toasted bread spread with nut butter and topped with thin slices of fresh fruit is one worth sharing with y’all. Sarah has a cute story that she would pack such a sandwich as her lunch in Grad school and her fellow students would marvel at the concept of the fresh fruit version of PB&J. When we first met we admitted to eating close to a jar of peanut butter a week in this fashion but in an effort to be healthier I have switched to almond butter (most of the time.)

Toast with Almond Butter and Fruit

 This is my go to healthy breakfast or afternoon snack, in fact  I’m getting almond butter on my computer as I write this post before I rush off to work.

Toast with Almond Butter and Fruit

When fresh fruit can not be procured in the wee hours of the morning, SQIRL Jam is an excellent substitution (Kumquat Marmalade pictured above.) Below is all my favorite brands if you want to try this “recipe”. I use Gluten Free bread because that is the bread we keep in our house and I just don’t miss the gluten in this instance.

Toast with Almond Butter and Fresh Fruit

2 slices whole wheat bread (I like Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread)

2 tablespoons Almond Butter (I like raw, creamy, unsalted almond butters)

Fresh fruit thinly sliced (strawberries, banana, nectarine, peach, plum, apple, pear or just a pile of berries)


Hope you love it too!




Homemade Vegetable Stock


Homemade vegetable stock

This was intended to be a post about vegetarian shepherd’s pie.  But I want to give credit where credit is due and that, my friends, is with this rich vegetable stock.

If you think of vegetable stock as thin, brown water that smells bad then you have something in common with the me of one week ago.  But this recipe converted me to a vegetable stock lover. What I miss in a mainly vegetarian household is the smell of something rich and brown and beefy simmering away on a chilly day.  I turned up the radio and tidied my living room while the wine reduced and steamed up my kitchen window and I felt happy in that all’s well, cozy winter way.  That’s why I now love the homemade stuff.

Making homemade vegetable stock

You can find the complete recipe here.  I roasted mushrooms, carrots, 1 onion in its skin (for color), bell pepper, parsley stems and fresh thyme in a little olive oil until deep golden brown.

Making homemade vegetable stock

Then I stirred it on the stovetop with a squirt of tomato paste, letting the pot dry out so the paste broke apart and began caramelizing.

Deglaze with red wine and water, add a bay leaf and let simmer 45 minutes to an hour before straining out the vegetables.

The result is a very rich and deeply savory broth for winter stews and vegetarian gravies.

Vegetarian Shepherd's pie recipe

Here’s the shepherd’s pie with a garlic mashed potato crust.

Vegetarian shepherd's pie

And the vegetables stewing in the rich stock below.

I have a feeling my vegetarian stuffing is going to taste a lot better this Thanksgiving.  Have you made homemade veg stock?


Meatless Monday: Organic Fall Green Smoothie


A slight variation on my favorite healthy breakfast. An organic green smoothie with the star of fall produce, the apple! Trader Joe’s now sells bags of cut and washed kale which makes this smoothie a breeze to whip up in the morning or you can buy frozen kale at Whole Foods. This is the prefect breakfast for your morning commute.


Green Smoothie

Organic Fall Green Smoothie
Serves 2

1 cup organic cucumber, chopped (about half of an English cucumber with the skin on)

1 ripe organic avocado

2 cups organic apples, chopped (skins on)

2 cups organic kale, chopped and tightly packed (washed and dried)

1 cup organic lemonade (or 1 cup fresh squeezed lemons and oranges)

1/2 cup of ice

Puree in a blender until very smooth and bright green. Make sure to blend well as chunks of kale are not so appealing. We like to drink ours with a straw.



Oat Bran Cereal


Oat bran for breakfast

It’s pouring in Los Angeles.  I love soaking wet days and I love them here more than anywhere else.  Not just because they are rare but because in Los Angeles the rain washes the sky.  Literally.  That says something terrible about the state of smog, I know,  but I can’t help but marvel when the sky here is bluer than ever after a day or two of rain and wind.

On a cold, rainy morning I’m not as embarrassed to admit I eat a hot breakfast.  Oat bran, in particular.  If you love oatmeal, give this dish a try.  It boasts a better nutritional profile than regular oatmeal (more fiber, protein and twice as much iron per serving), and takes even less time to make.  Plus, the tiny oat granules make it seem more like an old-fashioned porridge.  Just the thing for eating by the window on a rainy day.

Like all brans, oat bran is the husk of the grain, the part that is normally discarded during the milling process to create a smoother product. It’s the throw-away layer that houses most of the grain’s nutrients.  Healthy brown rice, for example, is white rice with the bran intact.

Here’s how I make it:

Combine 1/4 cup oat bran with 1/2 cup water or milk (always a 1:2 proportion)

Add dried fruit

Microwave for 45 seconds +, depending on your microwave.

You’ll know it’s ready to eat when the bran and fruit are both plump with absorbed liquid.  Add nuts if desired and a squirt of agave nectar or whatever else you like on your oatmeal.

Did I mention oat bran is gluten-free?  Just check the label to make sure it isn’t processed by the same machine that process wheat and you’re golden.

Happy rain day!


Meatless Monday: Baked Sweet Potato Chips


This is one of the easiest dinner side dishes of all time. Drew and I make this at least once a week and sometimes more. I bet that kids would love these.

Sweet Potatoes

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash one organic sweet potato per person and slice them into 1/8″ thick coins or rounds. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

Toss the potatoes with olive oil and then season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned and crisp.


Baked Sweet Potato Chips


Mine looked like this when they were done.


Sriracha Aoili

If you mix Sriracha chili sauce in with some Vegenaise or Mayonnaise you have a fantastic spicy-garlicy-creamy dipping sauce for your sweet chips. Happy Monday indeed.



Meatless Monday: Sweet Coconut, Tofu and Mint Spring Rolls


coconut spring rolls

Do not reserve these for Meatless Monday only.

You’ll be missing out all the other days of the week.

Gingergrass, one of our favorite Silver Lake restaurants, makes a Bo Bia spring roll in which coconut adds sweetness to a rich and savory cooked egg and vegetable combo.  It’s a delicious roll, but the coconut is what floors me.  So simple and so unexpected. I tried it last week in a raw roll, where the chewy decadence of sweet coconut makes the crisp vegetables and herbs taste even fresher.

how to roll a spring toll

Extra-firm Japanese-style tofu was my starting point, but you can go straight veg if you prefer.  Then, a few piece of cucumber, bell and jalapeno peppers all cut into matchsticks.  I balanced them on the damp rice paper, centered in the quadrant closest to me.  Then I topped my little pile of joy with sweetened coconut and fresh mint leaves.  Go bold with the mint; you want some in every bite.

How to make spring rolls

Here’s the first roll, where you cocoon the filling into a little torpedo, using your fingers to gently pinch and even out the roll.

How to make spring rolls

Then you fold in both sides of your little see-through burrito and continue rolling, tightening with each step until you seal the end.

coconut and tofu spring roll recipe

Use a sharp knife for a diagonal cut.

How crunchy and fresh do those veggies look?  Add a spicy peanut dipping sauce and let me know how you like it.


P.S. Angus and I are having my birthday dinner at Son of a Gun tonight.  Angelenos, any menu suggestions?  Anjali says the shrimp toast can’t be missed.


Meatless Monday: Curried Tofu Salad


curried tofu salad, Meatless Monday

My mom always made her chicken curry salad with red globe grapes and served it with real tortilla chips.  A similar recipe was a hit with our clients when made with turkey instead of chicken and served with fresh pita chips sprinkled with sea salt and dried oregano.  It’s one of my favorite warm weather dinner salads.

So why not tofu?


If you like tofu, then there’s no reason why not.  But tofu haters need not apply.  Even with all the ingredients that make this curry salad spicy, sweet, nutty, crunchy and tangy, you can still taste the tofu.

Which means it’s ideal for a certain sect of our Meatless Monday readers.  Angus and I ate the whole bowl during move-in weekend.


Curried Tofu Salad

Serves 6

Note: Like most soups, curried salads taste better the day after they are made.  For optimum crunch, wait to add the cashews until you are ready to eat.


1 blocks extra-firm tofu (not silken), drained and cut into small cubes

2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt (we like Fage brand)

1/3 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup mango chutney (I like Major Gray’s)

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

2 stalks celery, cut into small dice

1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2/3 cup roasted salted cashews, roughly chopped

Sea salt, to taste


Let tofu cubes continue to dry while you mix the curry. Whisk together the yogurt, wine, lime juice, chutney, curry powder, ground ginger and agave.  Stir in the celery, grapes, scallions and cilantro, reserving the cashews until just before serving.  Carefully fold in the tofu.  Season to taste.  Chill, covered, at least 6 hours before serving.  Add the cashews and enjoy!

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