Category Archives: healthy living

Day 57

Vegan eggplant wild rice burgers

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4 slices of GF bread for making bread crumbs
2 eggplants roasted
1 cup wild rice boiled
1 shallot finely chopped
1 large garlic clove crushed
100 g smoked tofu crumbled
1 cup shredded jalapeño pepper soy cheese
3 tbs fresh chopped parsley
Cayenne pepper
Salt
Pepper
Sesame seeds

First I dried out some GF bread in a preheated 200F for about 30 min.

I roasted the eggplant.

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I peeled it and let it drain for about 1hr. Then I finely chopped it.

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I boiled the wild rice and let it cool completely. In a large bowl, I put the eggplant, added the wild rice, crumbled tofu, cheese, shallot, garlic, parsley and half of the bread crumbs. Mixed it well and started forming the burgers.

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On a plate a put the rest of bread crumbs and added salt, pepper and some cayenne pepper and sesame seeds.

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I ran each burger through the bread crumb mix. I let the burgers cool down in the refrigerator for an hour before I cooked them. I used a griddle to cook mine.

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I also made a spicy sauce to go with the burgers.

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Vegenaise
Sriracha sauce
Mustard
Horse radish

I didn’t really use specific quantities. I mixed little by little until I got it perfect to my taste.

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Day 55

Vegan Moussaka

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I found this wonderful recipe for Vegan Moussaka : http://www.theveganhousehold.com/mains/vegan-moussaka/

It calls for a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but the end result its well worth it. My mom would have been so proud of me. She used to make us moussaka all the time(with meat of course) but this she would have loved!

INGREDIENTS

2 medium aubergines, cut into 1 cm slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2 cm rounds

olive oil for shallow frying

For the sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

120 ml ( 1/2 cup ) vegan red wine

1 400g ( 14 oz ) tin chopped tomatoes

120 ml ( 1/2 cup ) water

2 tablespoons tomato puree

300 g ( 10 oz ) mushrooms, chopped

200 g ( 7 oz ) fresh spinach, chopped

50 g ( 1.7 oz ) dried soya mince (TVP)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon all spice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

For the topping

250 ml ( just over 1 cup ) soya milk

100 g ( 3.5 oz ) firm tofu

2 teaspoons egg replacement powder

40 g ( 1.4 oz ) vegan margarine ( I use Vitalite )

40 g ( 1.4 oz ) plain flour

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon black salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

oil for brushing

I started by slicing the eggplant, put them in a bowl, added 2 TBS of olive oil and baked them in a preheated oven at 400F until they were soft.

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While the eggplant was in the oven I sliced the potato. I used several small ones instead of one big potato. I don’t, or better said can’t follow exact directions when it comes to cooking.  I want my free will! 🙂

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I fried the potato slices in vegetable oil.

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As soon as they browned a bit i took them out, and set them aside on paper towels with the eggplant slices.

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Next was the sauce. I like to get all my ingredients out before I start cooking. I did forget the wine! But only from the pic! I was tasting it, that’s why!:)

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I sauteed the onions and garlic in olive oil, until the onions softened, then added the red wine letting it cook for another minute.

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I added the chopped tomatoes, water and tomato puree, stirring well and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

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Next, I added the mushrooms and spinach, covered the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.

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I stirred in the soya mince and the black pepper, cinnamon, all spice,
agave, salt, soy sauce and the parsley. I let it cook until it thickened and it tasted done. Took it off the stove and let it rest while i started on the Topping sauce.

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I used the Vitamix to blend the tofu, almond milk and the egg replacement until it was smooth.

In a saucepan, over a medium heat, I melted the margarine and I added the flour, stirring continuously to form a very thick paste.

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Turn off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and tofu mixture. Be sure to whisk continuously, and add the mixture a little at a time, to avoid any lumps.

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As soon as it looked and felt like a sauce I added the nutritional yeast, agave, pepper and salt and let it cook for 2 more minutes.

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When everything was done I layered the moussaka in this order:

Potatoes on the bottom, half of the eggplant, the sauce, the other half of the eggplant slices and I poured the topping all over and made sure it covered the entire area.I put it in a preheated oven at 400F for 40 min. I brushed it with a little bit of olive oil and cooked it for another 10 minutes.The recipe says it serves 4-6, but in our case , it served 2  with few extra helpings! So good! It’s worth the work!photo(159)

Day 50

It feels like forever since I cooked! After a much needed trip back home to Romania, I came back and got inspired to make a vegan version of one of my grandmother’s potato stew.

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2 bunches of green onions chopped
If you find green garlic chives use them too
6 medium potatoes peeled, cut in chunks
5 garlic cloves chopped
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes chopped
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs light olive oil
2 tbs chopped parsley
Salt, pepper

I heat the oil, add the green onions and garlic and let it cook for few minutes until the onions soften.

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I added the potatoes and enough water to cover them and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

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Then, I added the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft.

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I added the parsley, salt and pepper at the end.

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Yummy!

Day 33

Avocado and Hearts of Palm Salad

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Here’s what goes in it:
Iceberg lettuce
Avocado
Hearts of Palm drained and roughly sliced
Radishes sliced
Fresh lime juice
McCormick garlic pepper
Olive oil
Salt

I like to season the avocado separately before I mix it in the salad. Cut the avocado in slices, add lime juice, salt and the McCormick garlic pepper.

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This particular pepper grinder is my favorite seasoning for  avocado!
I mix all of the ingredients and add the avocado at the end and give them a good toss.

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If you eat cheese, this salad goes best with Gorgonzola!  We were in the the Cayman Islands visiting my parents-in-law, when one day we decided to make a salad with whatever we find in the house. Jim(my father-in-law) and I came up with this salad(minus the radishes, plus the gorgonzola).

I’ve been making this salad for years!

Day 32

Today I made Roasted Vegetables Quinoa Pasta

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This is a wonderful Gluten Free vegan pasta dish. I could eat this every day!

I used quinoa fusilli, carrots, parsnip, onion, green, orange and red bell peppers. I cut all the vegetables in long strips and put them in a large roasting pan.

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I sprinkled some olive oil, salt and pepper and give them all a toss.

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I put the roasting pan in a preheated oven at 450F for about 30 min.

Meanwhile I cooked the fusilli, and in a frying pan I sauteed chopped garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.  After 2 minutes I added some kalamata olives.

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Took the vegetables out of the oven and added them to the frying pan.

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I drained the pasta, put it on top of the veggies and added the fresh spinach and few basil leaves and give them all a toss. Salt, pepper and red hot pepper flakes.

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Day 27

Vegan Gluten Free Lasagna

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I wanted some kind of white cheesy sauce for this lasagna. I didn’t use a recipe so I just went with it, using the principles of making a béchamel sauce.

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2 Tbs vegan buttery taste spread
3 Tbs GF all purpose flour
1 Tbs cashew butter
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 cups almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 dash of nutmeg
Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper

I sautéed the garlic in the spread for few minutes.

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I added the cashew butter, stirring constantly until it completely melted.

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Next was the flour. As soon as the flour was incorporated in the ‘butter”, I switched to a whisk and started to add the almond milk, little by little.

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When it became a smooth sauce i added the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

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For the filling I sautéed sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and about 3 cups of chopped mushrooms.
I peeled a big eggplant and sliced it 1/2 inch thick.

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Sprayed the slices with olive oil and grilled them.

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I layered tomato pasta sauce, eggplant, white sauce, mushrooms. I finished with layering white sauce on top of last row of eggplant. Few slices of tomatoes on top of that. Baked it in preheated oven at 350F for 35 min.

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Day 20 and 21

Great weather in Houston! But it’s supposed to get to 29F by tomorrow night! What the what? I guess I dragged it down here!;)

I just realized I haven’t needed caffeine as much as i used to, I have more energy and haven’t felt bloated or sluggish. I don’t crave diet cokes or any kind of sweets!
Tonight my friend Shannon and I made “Birthday quinoa salad”, a recipe she got from her trip to Napa.

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So refreshing, I could eat this every day!

Day 18

I’m not sure why I was nervous about being away and still be able to keep up with this new way of eating. I think maybe I didn’t have faith in myself, but I just realized I can do whatever I want! I’m in control and that feels great! Another great day!

I had a banana and half a pear for breakfast, half of a baked potato(a huge potato) with vegan cream cheese and Pace picante sauce. For dinner I had zacusca(Romanian eggplant relish) and sautéed vegetables with jalapeño salsa! Happy girl! I haven’t figured it out how to post pictures without a computer yet! 😦

Day 17

I woke up really early this morning to make my flight to Houston. Got to the airport in plenty of time, and went straight to Starbucks. My first time since this challenge begin! My order used to sound like this: “I’ll have a triple grande, three splenda, wet cappuccino…”! Fancy, right?!?! But instead, I ordered a grande coffee with a splash of soy, bought a cup of fruit and a green smoothie. The green smoothie was way too sweet and I ate only had half of the fruit cup. On the plane I ordered the hummus snack, gave the pita chips to the person next to me, and I enjoyed a really good Bloody Mary! 😉

I got to Deer Park and my girlfriend and I went to the local HEB grocery store to stock up on some wonderful veggies and fruits. I looked for Vegenaise but couldn’t find it! When we were checking out, the funny check out kid was great and asked:
“Did you find everything okay?”
I said : As a matter of fact I couldn’t find any Vegenaise!
“What is that?” he asked.
It’s vegan mayonnaise.
“That sounds terrible!… I’m glad you didn’t find it!”
Lololol! So cute, loved him! I should go back in a couple of days and ask him again!

I’m not able to post pics tonight, but we roasted baby potatoes with olive oil and rosemary, and carrots with zucchinis. We jullienned the carrots and cut the zucchinis a bit thicker, olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic! Oh, so delicious !
First day away was a success!!

Day 16

I’ve been doing great being home, having time to cook, but let’s see how I do when I’m out of town working 12 hrs a day! I have faith! I cannot wait to go back to the spa and see everyone. 

This morning I had my first chocolate banana smoothie. I used one banana, one square of 70% cacao chocolate, 1/2 cup almond milk and a cup of ice.

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So delicious!

My husband came from out of town and he absolutely loved the yam cashew burger.

For dinner we decided to eat fresh salad. I could eat this salad every day! Romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper, white onion,  radishes, kalamata olives, sunflower oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

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My next post will come to you from Deer Park, Texas. Until then, stay healthy!