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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 35

Vegan GF Green Bean Casserole

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This casserole is one of my favorite dishes and I figured out how to make it vegan GF.

2 cans green beans drained
12 oz shimeji mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 Tbs vegan buttery spread
2 Tbs tapioca flour
1/4 cup soy creamer
1cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup fried onions

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First I made creamed mushrooms. I sautéed onion and garlic in vegan buttery spread until it became glassy. I added the mushrooms and let it cook for few more minutes.

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I added salt and pepper at this point.

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I added the  tapioca flour

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And little by little the soy creamer and about 1 cup vegetable broth. I mixed it continuously until it became smooth and creamy. This could be eaten just like this! Yummy!

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I mixed the green beans with the creamed mushrooms and put them in a preheated oven at 350F for 25 min.

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I added the fried onions and let it cook for another 5 min.

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I couldn’t tell the difference from a regular green bean casserole!

I also made a potato salad

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2 Boiled potatoes
5 Green onions
2 large dill pickles
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 Tbs olive oil
White wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Super easy potato salad! I mixed all the ingredients together, have it warm or cold, it’s just as good!

Day 28

Sweet potato quinoa burger with Avocado Aioli

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For the Avocado aioli I used:
1 avocado
3 Tbs vegan mayo
1 clove garlic
lime juice
salt

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I initially wanted to use jalapeno, but it wasn’t spicy at all, so i used few drops of habanero sauce. I used a hand blender to mix all until smooth and creamy.

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For the burger:

1 cup of quinoa boiled – it rendered 2 cups cooked
1 big sweet potato cubed roasted in a 425F oven for 35 min
1 garlic head roasted in the oven together with the potato
4 oz of firm tofu crumbled
1 medium onion chopped sauteed in olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 jalapeno chopped- this one wasn’t spicy either….I had 5 jalapenos that all tasted like green peppers… c’est la vie!
smoked paprika
smoked salt
salt and pepper

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I mixed everything together, formed into patties and cooked them on a grill pan.

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Mike and I had them just like that with no bread.

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Day 26

I’m back in Calgary for two weeks! Felt so good to be in the kitchen cooking again!

Last night I came  across a soup recipe that I had to try.

It is  David McNally’s “Spicy Noodle Soup”:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz extra firm tofu, diced
4 cups broth (organic veggie)
4 oz rice noodles
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1 cup mushrooms
1 stem bok choy
1 cup raw spinach
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup cashews, crushed
1/4 cup green onions
1 tablespoon crushed red peppers

David warned me that it’s spicy, and boy was he right! I added extra broth and skipped the red pepper flakes. This is a great, simple, light but full of fresh flavors soup!

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I started by sauteeing the garlic in olive oil. It only takes a few minutes to brown.

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Added the tofu and cooked for 3 more minutes.

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Next was the vegetable stock. The recipe calls for 4 cups but I ended up adding 2 extra cups because the soup turned out too spicy for me. Note to self: add the spicy element little by little, not all at once!:)

After it reached  boiling point I added the mushrooms, soy sauce and sriracha sauce.

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I let it simmer for about 3 minutes. After that, it’s ready!

I soaked rice noodles in hot water for about 10 minutes before eating. I chopped all the greens and crushed the cashews.

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In a bowl I put some noodles, then soup, and packed it with the greens and crushed cashews.  I added few drops of lime to my bowl. Yummy!

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Those last two spoons of broth with little bits of cashews from the bottom of your bowl, are amazingly delicious!

Day 19

I’ll tell you what!… If they don’t understand you, they judge you! But that’s ok! It’s a normal human being defense mechanism. If it’s out of the norm it must be weird! I remember not understanding why people do the things they do and maybe judge them secretly, or if they were close to me I would ask questions to figure out why they are different. But.. I have never ever been a cookie cutter! I love life and I love my family and my friends, and I love my job- being around women all unique and beautiful in their own way- I love cooking and when I set my mind to something, you bet your marbles it would get done!

So 19 days in, I had my first encounter with one of the best restaurants in Deer Park, TX. Gringos is the best tex mex restaurant ever! The waiter was very knowledgeable , let me know what I can or cannot have and of course they have the best margarita in the world! Had corn chips with salsa and guacamole, and veggie fajitas on home-made corn tortillas! I had just one and was full! Left overs for tomorrow at th e spa. Full day tomorrow too. I love being surrounded by beauty!
Like they say here:” I’ll see y’all soon!”

Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen: http://gringostexmex.com/  check out the gluten guide on their home page.

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Day 13

Today I had one of my favorite fruits: naseberry! You’re probably wondering where in the world would you find naseberry in the middle of January in Calgary, Canada? Thanks to my father and mother-in-law I have a “stash” of dehydrated frozen naseberries . All it takes is a little bit of water and 10 hours in the fridge and I have “fresh” naseberries for breakfast!

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It’s a wonderful fruit, if you ever come across it, try it! I even use cosmetics that contain naseberry.

For lunch I wanted a BLT! Obviously I cannot have the “B” so I added a “J” instead- pickled jalapeños! So I had a JLT!

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I used GF bread, vegenaise, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato and few pickled jalopenos. Yummy !

For dinner I’m so excited about making tacos!
I sautéed green pepper and onion with a little bit of taco seasoning.

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I sautéed veggie chorizo, and soy “ground meat” with 1TBS of taco seasoning, and 1/4 cup water. I cooked it like i would ground beef.

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I used GF plain tortillas.

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I warmed the tortilla up for 20 sec on each side.

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Served it with pico de gallo, guacamole and veggie cheese.

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I was going to have a glass of wine or a beer after that but I’m stuffed!!!!!

Day Nine

After spending eight days in the kitchen, I decided to take a break. First day out and I had a great time and was able to stay the course!
Especially since this  is how I started dinner:

Chili stuffed olives in my spicy Caesar (Bloody Mary)
Chili stuffed olives in my spicy Caesar (Bloody Mary)

I ordered a cheese free, gluten free, artichoke, tomato, olive and mushroom pizza.  The waitress was confused about the no cheese. “How about goat cheese?” she said, but I said I would rather have no cheese at all. It was a 6 inch square pizza.  Is it still a pizza if it has no cheese?

Day Six

What a great feeling to wake up in the morning  knowing that I am healthier than I was the day before! My husband “turned” vegetarian/vegan about 5 years ago and I couldn’t do it, even though I cooked for him. But here I am 6 days into this challenge feeling wonderful!

Today I made my daughter’s favorites: green salsa and guacamole.

I roasted tomatillos and a jalapeño, puréed them in the Vitamix along with a quarter of a small onion, 1 large garlic clove, about 1 tbs cilantro and salt.

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I got to use my stone bowl for making the guacamole.

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GF low sodium tortilla chips with that!
GF low sodium tortilla chips with that!

This was my dinner:

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Happy green life!