Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegan Day 3

Yesterday I was finally put to the test. We were offered free Annie's cafe for lunch at work, however there were no vegan options. I could've opted for a salad and asked for no meat, but I had already packed my Mardi Gras salad that I was looking forward to, so I went with that. Then, some sweet/evil colleagues ordered Tiff's Treats, which I again had to refuse. But, I felt like one tough cookie and not deprived at all, so I'll chock it up to a win.

One large component of my success yesterday was snacking on a KILLER olive tapenade I whipped up. So easy, yet so satisfying salty. Give it a try:

Olive Tapenade

1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the olives and garlic in a good processor, then stream in olive oil to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and you're done!

I've been eating the tapenade with The Pioneer Woman's Olive Focaccia Bread, which is a favorite in our house.

For dinner, I had spotted Stetted's recipe for Indian-Spiced Mushrooms and Lentils a few weeks ago and knew I wanted to make it. She describes it as almost stew-like, and she's right! It was really satisfying. I didn't have any naan, so we ate some just with a fork and I tried some in a tortilla as well - pretty good! Also, I'd never prepared lentils before, so this was a fun experiment - they were easy! If you're looking to mix things up, definitely try this dish!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Salad

Apologies for the bad photo, but I had a share an image of my "Mardi Gras" salad. Why you say? Why, look at the vibrant colors - the green from the basil dressing and salad and the vibrant purple of the beets are perfect to celebrate Mardi Gras! This was quite filling and surprisingly sweet, a delicious salad.

Mardi Gras Salad
1-2 beets
1 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 ounces salad greens
1/2 cup prepared couscous
1 small carrot, shaved or grated

Coat the beets in olive oil and roast whole in a 375 degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. Let cool, then peel the skin and dice.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, add basil, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor and pulse to combine. Stream in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To combine the salad, place salad greens, couscous, shaved carrot and diced beets. Top with desired about of basil dressing, toss and enjoy!

Veggie Wrap

Day one of the vegan experiment went well. I found that by being prepared with small snacks throughout the day, I was able to put off any hunger before it got so bad that I caved in for a non-vegan treat. Let's see if I can remain that strong for the reminder of the week.

I made this tasty and very filling wrap for dinner last night that satisfied my hunger and got me through an hour-long Body Jam session. Success!

Veggie Wrap

1 large whole wheat tortilla
2 tablespoons homemade hummus
2 tablespoons salsa of your choice
3 ounces salad greens
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup couscous
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
A few red onion pieces

Lay the tortilla out and spared the hummus over one half of it. Next spread the salsa over the hummus layer, then pile on the remaining ingredients. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Great Vegan Experiment

If you've been a long-time Apron Adventures reader, or even if you haven't, you've probably noticed my affinity for cheese, bacon and other meat/dairy products. I find I often rely on them to make a dish pop. So, in order to step out of my comfort zone, and also just to see if I can, I'll be following a vegan diet today through Friday. This isn't to make a statement, rather just a friendly experiment to see if I can hack it.

So far, I've armed myself with homemade hummus and olive tapenade, almond milk for my morning coffee and ceareal, tons of fresh produce, grains such as quinoa, cous cous and lentils, and tofu. If you have any tips for this brave blogger entering a new world, they are much appreciated.

I'll be blogging along the way, so cheer me on since I know I'll need as much support as I can get!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus

1 red bell pepper
1 can chick peas, rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Approx. 1/4 cup olive oil

Roast the red pepper in the oven until skin begins to blister, turning occasionally. Place in a paper bag for about 1 minutes. remove the blistered skin and place in a food processor. Add the chick peas and galic and pulse. Add in seasonings and pulse, then slowly stream in the olive oil until a desired consisteny is reached. Enjoy with pita bread, fresh veggies or on your favorite sandwich.