The fastest pasta dish ever

Do you ever just get home and don’t feel like cooking? You look to your pantry and you see an unattractive box of KD or a can of soup that may have been there longer than you have. Well, this dish is so easy, simple and delicious and pairs perfectly with a light salad.

Serving Size: 4

Cook Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups of chopped broccoli
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • pasta of your choice, 1 cup dry (adjust to your needs) *Zucchini noodles also work
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan + more to top
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of chili flakes

Intructions 

  1. Begin boiling salted water for pasta, while water is boiling heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil. Once water has boiled cook pasta.
  2. In a small bowl add 2 tbsp of oil and your cloves of garlic along with 1/2 tsp of black pepper, chili flakes, and oregano, whisk and set aside.
  3. Add the onion to the heated skillet, cook until translucent (5 minutes) add the mushrooms (cook for 5 minutes) add the broccoli and peppers (cook for 5 minutes)
  4. Once pasta is done drain it, mix in the garlic olive oil, add the mixture to the skillet with vegetables, cook until garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes.
  5. Once the mixture is cooked turn off heat and add parmesan, stir and serve with salt and pepper and parmesan to top.
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Vegan Cabbage Roll Casserole

TGIF!?

I had never made cabbage rolls, as an adventurous cook as I am. My mom makes delicious cabbage rolls but I’m never really sure how anyone finds the time to make them? Maybe setting aside an entire day. Anyways, the prep for this recipe can be made done in less than an hour. This meal is hearty and filling and great for cool winter nights. This is my take on the classic cabbage roll.

Serving Size: 6-8

Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes 

Ingredients 

“Meat” Filling

  • 2 cups of cooked lentils (canned or make your own)
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 large parsnip shredded
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tbsp of Montreal steak spice
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 cup of water

Sauce/Cabbage

  • 8 cups of chopped cabbage
  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of Dill (dried or fresh)
  • 3 tbsp of parsley (dried or fresh)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 tbsp of oil

Instructions 

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, add onions (cook for 5 minutes) until translucent, add garlic, carrots, and parsnip (cook for about 5 minutes) until garlic is fragrant, finally add the lentils and steak spice, cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently so things do not burn to the bottom.
  2. Once the meat mixture is cooked, allow half to cool slightly- 10 minutes, mix in 1/2 cup of ice water, add to blender, blend until smooth, re-add to the lentil pan, simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. To the lentils add the tomato soup, 1 cup of tomato sauce, can of tomatoes and spices, stir until combined and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the lentils are simmering, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and cabbage, cook until cabbage is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  6. Mix the rice in with the lentil mixture.
  7. Grab a large casserole dish and layer the casserole like so, 1/2 the cabbage mixture, 1/2 meat mixture, rest of the cabbage and top with the rest of the meat. Stir until all combined nicely, flatten the top and add 1 cup of tomato sauce.
  8. Either place in the fridge until dinner time (if so cook at 350 F for 45 minutes uncovered) or cook at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbly!

Note: If not vegan add parmesan

30 days of being vegan

Hello all,

My eyes have been opened to the world of hurt the dairy industry actually is. I was always turning a blind eye to the torture female dairy cows go through. Yesterday I listened to motivational speaker James Asprey, my eyes have been opened. I have watched so many documentaries but never wanted to believe that eating dairy and eggs were really that bad. I am horrified by the practices that take place in the dairy/egg industry and have decided to commit to 30 days of being vegan. I will try to post what I eat every day (with recipes!) and decide if this is the lifestyle for me. I have always hoped to say that I am 100% plant-based, and now is the time to try it out. Stay tuned folks!

Cauliflower Wings

Ola everybody!

My dad bought a lovely cauliflower yesterday and I just had to enjoy it while it was still nice and fresh! I was debating roasting it, steaming it, stir frying it, but then it hit me! I decided to make cauliflower wings! I decided to do a vegan version with “honey” garlic sauce, they can easily be made non-vegan, it’s your choice!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 large head of cauliflower

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp of sriracha
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of flour (gluten free can be substituted)

Breading

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of vegan milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs, I like panko

Instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut cauliflower into large chunks, try to keep it into its own pieces, clean, and dry very thoroughly.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together (except flour) in a bowl for the sauce, place in a saucepan and simmer.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together for the breading (except the breadcrumbs), start with 1/4 cup of vegan milk and 1/4 cup of water to ensure the batter is not too runny.
  5. Dip the cauliflower in the breading, then into the panko breadcrumbs, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, flip and 15 minutes more.
  6. Once the wings have about 2 minutes left, add the flour to the sauce and allow it to simmer.
  7. Coat the wings in the sauce once cooked and enjoy!

Mexican Millet Salad with Chili Lime Tofu

Hello all, I tried this recipe yesterday on my family and it was such a hit I had to share it with all of you! Great for a BBQ as a side or a lunch for work. The tofu can be substituted for shrimp or chicken.

Millet salad with chili lime tofu (serves four)

  • ½ tsp of dried chile flakes
  • 2 tsp of grated lime zest
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of hulled millet
  • 20 slices of tofu
  • 2 large ears of sweet corn
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 firm ripe avocado, peeled pit removed and diced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Chile flakes
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  1. Add the chile flakes, lime zest and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a shallow glass or ceramic bowl, add the tofu and stir to coat then cover and set aside.
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the millet and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant
  3. Add 2 cups of water to the millet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Removed from the heat and set aside, covered, to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff the grains with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool completely.
  4. Heat a large skillet over high heat, drizzle the corn and asparagus with the remaining oil, cook the corn, turning 6-8 minutes, or until lightly charred and tender. Remove and set aside to cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the ears. Cook the asparagus and tofu for 2 minutes each side until tender crisp and to tofu is crisp. Add all but the tofu to the millet.
  5. Make the dressing, add to the salad and top with the tofu.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Wow! How has a week gone by since I posted last?! I spent the week working and helping a friend prepare to leave for an opportunity of a lifetime. I decided to create the individual a “care package” encasing these muffins, and oatmeal cookies which will be posted tomorrow!

I always like to make recipes healthier, adding my own tweaks, I tried to make these as healthy as possible, my family loved them, they were very moist! If you do not like large quantities of sugar in your diet you can reduce the sugar within this recipe.

Ingredients (makes 15 muffins)

1 egg, 3 very ripe medium bananas, 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup of sour cream (fat content does not matter), 2 cups of flour (all-purpose or whole wheat), 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt,  2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries.

Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven 350 F
  2. In a large bowl mash the bananas, add the egg, applesauce, and sour cream, blend well
  3. In a medium bowl mix all dry ingredients
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well until all incorporated
  5. Add 1 tsp of flour to the blueberries, ensure that all the blueberries are coated in flour, add to the mix, fold in lightly
  6. Add the mixture to greased muffin tins or lined muffin tins, bake for 25 minutes, check and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and brown on top

Note: In step five, flour is added to the blueberries to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins, it is very important you do this if you do not want your blueberries sitting in the bottom of the muffins!

Vegetarian Italian Meatballs Recipe

Hello, folks! Happy long weekend to all of those celebrating, for the long weekend a family gets together with a delicious dinner is always on schedule, and for this dinner, an abundance of meatball subs and vegan peanut butter pie was enjoyed!

This recipe is super easy and can be doubled which will allow you to freeze the meatballs for later to have with pasta! Vegetarian meatballs can get expensive so making your own is a great way to save money and to be honest, these are better than any store bought vegetarian meatball!

Ingredients (serves 8-10) 

2 lbs of vegetarian ground beef substitute (I use Yves original ground round), 2 eggs, 2/3 cup of Italian breadcrumbs (I use panko breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning), 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup of fresh minced parsley, 1/3 of cooked chopped spinach, 1/3 cup of minced onions, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp of Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp of pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt

Note: You need just enough milk to moisten the breadcrumbs, moistening the bread crumbs with milk allows the meatballs to stay moist

Instructions 

  1. Moisten the breadcrumbs with the milk
  2. Whisk the eggs and mix with the ground round, add all the other ingredients, I noticed that the recipe was quite salty if you are sensitive to salt like me, omit the tsp of salt, mix well so all of the ingredients are well incorporated
  3. Shape all of the meat balls into the size of your choice, for pasta, larger meatballs are better, for subs smaller meatballs are preferred
  4. Bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet at 350 for 25 minutes
  5. While the meatballs are cooking prepare a large baking pan 9×13 with sauce at the bottom, once the meatballs are done cooking, place in the sauced pan, add a very small amount of sauce on top of each meatball
  6. Baked covered for 20 minutes, bake uncovered for 10 minutes, and enjoy

Note: If you plan on freezing the meatballs omit steps 5 and 6, this leaves the meatballs par-baked, bake for another 30 minutes at 350 from frozen

Baking Soda Shampoo

The sun is finally shining and I am trapped inside at work…go figure! Yesterday I tried a DIY baking soda shampoo and I was very impressed! I have used lots of “no poo” shampoos before and have always enjoyed the soft sensation they leave on my hair. The baking soda shampoo left my scalp slightly drier than I wished but I just compensated with a touch of coconut oil! 

Instructions

1. Mix 3 tbsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of water, the consistency must be a paste, add more water if needed 

2. Fully wet hair and apply baking soda paste as if you were washing your hair, remember, there will be no bubbles! 

3. Let baking soda paste sit in your hair for 5 minutes 

4. Rinse baking soda out with water, then rise with diluted apple cider vinegar (1 cup of water, 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar) 

5. Once finished in the shower apply 1/2 tsp of coconut oil to ends and work your way up to your scalp

Why I hike

I enjoy spending my time in the outdoors, I find it calming and satisfying to see the beautiful things the Earth creates. There are many different scientific studies that have been done correlating with increased memory, mood and decreased stress.

Five reasons why I hike:

  1. Improved short-term memory
  2. Restored mental energy
  3. Stress relief
  4. Reduced inflammation
  5. Improved Concentration

Spending time outdoors is especially important to me while I am practicing my studies. I often take study breaks by going for a short walk outside, 5-10 minutes around the block.

Finally, the earth is a temple, my studies include learning about the effects of humans on the earth. My goal is to protect the earth while learning about its beauty on foot in the natural environment

How you can enjoy the Earth’s beauty to:

  1. Go for walks, take time to admire the small things, the dandelions in the grass, the leaves on the trees and the clouds in the sky
  2. Admire the Earths creations, see yourself as equal, not only to all humans but to all walks of life; to the bees, the ants on the ground and the birds in the sky
  3. Reduce your intake of animal products, one vegetarian meal a week, or one meat meal a week.
  4. Reduce your intake of dairy products and eggs, switch to nut milks, use vegan substitutes for eggs such as tofu or ground flax seed.

Admire the Earths beauty in your own ways, but whatever you do ensure you take time each day to observe its beauty, because it may not be here forever.