This past weekend we ate at Mellow Mushroom. We ordered the portobello mushroom appetizer. It inspired me to try a similar version. Their’s definitely looks prettier on the plate. Some of the ingredients they used were artichokes and sun dried tomatoes along with spinach, mozzarella, feta cheese, spring mix of lettuce and balsamic vinegar. I also used artichokes, but with regular tomato slices, and mozzarella cheese. Along side that I sauteed squash, red bell peppers, zucchini, and polenta. I did use balsamic vinegar. I was planning on a mixed salad to pretty up the plate, but a big downpour started, so I opted out on going out to the garden to gather lettuce.
Food – We all love it. We are always trying to eat healthier. I struggle, being lacto-vegetarian. I have way too much dairy in my diet. Then there is wheat. Recently I went twenty-one days without wheat. Perhaps that wasn’t long enough. I saw no change in the way I felt. For the last three days I haven’t eaten dinner. When I skip dinner I DO see a change. It’s like a mini fast for me. Yesterday while doing yoga and walking I felt so much lighter. I have been trying to make meals I think my husband will really appreciate. I practice with lunch, since that is my main meal. Then I repeat at dinner, and sometimes change it around a little or add to it. I have begun sprouting again. I love sprouts, on salads, on sandwiches, but not really for juicing.
Some of the latest food entrees:
On this non-gmo veggie burger is cilantro, salsa, and avocado.
I use tempeh when making ruebens. I added dandelion greens to the hummus. For the evening meal I added fries for my husband.
Awhile back we saw the show, “Food Revolution,” hosted by Jamie Oliver. This took place in Huntington, WV, the town my husband works in. Just recently they added vegetarian selections to Marshall University cafeteria entrees. I don’t know if this was inspired by the show, but am glad to see it happen.
These directions were taken from www.oprah.com. I put in my own changes. I can’t seem to ever follow a recipe exactly, unless it is something baked. And, even lately, I’ve been veering off in my own direction with baked items, as I adapt for vegetarian or vegan, and get more confidence in the kitchen.
Most all ingredients I used in the following salad were organic. I would love to see more organic being used. Well, actually, I would love to see all organic being used in schools. Don’t we owe the best to our children? Why couldn’t local organic farmers supply the schools? Wouldn’t that be cheaper, as well as greener, and provide jobs locally? Perhaps I’m living in a dream world. In the show the cooks were dismayed at having to peel real potatoes. I can certainly understand this. My own grandmother was a school cook. I know the hard work involved. However, if organic were to be used, the whole potatoes, peel and all, could be eaten. This would certainly save on time. Plus, the skin of the potato, if free of pesticide, provides valuable nutrition including fiber.
From what was being thrown in the garbage, in which there appeared to be no composting or recycling going on, the children shown in the show were dismissing the healthier food prepared by Mr. Oliver. I, myself, think this would require time. It takes taste buds a while to adapt to what is actually real food as opposed to what I consider artificial food. I know my own eating habits took time to develop. There are so many “so called foods” that I used to eat that I couldn’t stomach at all now, and still I feel I have a long way to go in the healthy eating department.
At any rate, I certainly congratulate Mr. Oliver and applaud him in his inspiration and good work.
Everyday Green Chopped Salad Inspired by Jamie Oliver
- 4 scallions
- 1/2 cucumber
- Handful of fresh basil leaves (I also used cilantro.)
- 1 small avocado, just ripe (He called for two.)
- Combination of Sweet Gem, Tango & Oak Lettuce (He used 1 head butterhead lettuce.)
- Large handfuls sprouted cress or alfalfa (I used alfalfa.)
- 2 ounces Cheddar cheese, optional (I used a little bit of goat cheese grumbled on the salad.)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- English mustard (I used Dijon.)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper (I used mixed pepper.)
Get yourself a big chopping board and a large sharp knife. It’s best to start by chopping the harder, crunchier veggies first, so trim and chop your scallions and slice your cucumber. Slice your basil. Bring it all into the center of the board and continue chopping and mixing together. Halve your avocados around the big pit. Carefully remove the pit and peel the skin off. Add the avocado flesh, lettuce leaves and cress or alfalfa to the board. Crumble over the cheese, if using, and continue chopping. When everything is well chopped, you’ll have a big mound of salad on the board. Make a well in the middle and drizzle in 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add a teaspoon of English mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix up so everything gets well coated and serve on the board or in a bowl.
Before going vegetarian, hot brown, made famous in Kentucky, by the The Brown Hotel in Louisville, was always an okay dish with me, but not to be listed among my favorites. I had never thought that hot brown could possibly be vegetarian considering its main ingredients were ham, turkey, and bacon, but the vegetarian version is definitely one of my favorites.
A friend told me about a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, called Stella’s, and how the vegetarian hot brown was her favorite dish there. So, I tried it. It was great. Therefore, as I usually do, I did my best to come up with my own version at home, down to making my own sprouts. The hot brown pictured above is my own version. It is always a little different depending on the veggies on hand. The tomatoes in the picture came out of our garden.
Various vegetables, chopped finely – Some good ones are squash, zucchini, broccoli, onions (the tops of green ones look pretty), red bell peppers, tomatoes. I will stop here as these are my favorites, but use what you like.
Sprouts – optional, but they do had a health aspect to the dish, and personally I love sprouts on a variety of things.
Bread Slices – a good bread makes the difference
Mornay Sauce (recipe below)
You will find it on this site:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the and whisk in the cheese. Serve hot
Note: For my mornay sauce I use gruyere cheese, and I sometimes add more than called for. My husband loves cheese. Also, I grind mixed peppercorns, as I’ve never purchased just white.
Saute chopped up veggies, except tomato, in high heat oil until tender. I use safflower. Use just enough oil to get the job done. You could use a little water if you are trying to avoid oils.
While veggies are sauteing, make mornay sauce. It doesn’t take long. Next step, toast bread slices. You could use either one or two per person.
Place toast on plates. Spread veggies over toast. Pour mornay sauce on top of that. Top with chopped tomatoes and sprouts. Salt to taste (sea salt).
This is the dish from Stella’s that inspired it.
I still remember the taste of hot dogs. I grew up with them, loaded with sauce and cole slaw. Well, actually cole slaw on hot dogs didn’t come until much later. So, I wanted to re-invent it vegan style, right down to the sauce. I finally came up with something, which my husband agrees as I do, is much better. Neither one of us could handle the meat taste anymore.
Soy Chirzo was something we discovered quite by accident at Trader Joe’s. My husband wanted to try it because other people seemed to be swooping them up. When I tried to use it, it just crumbled. Idea! Add a little water and heat it up to make hot dog sauce. Very easy.
I use Smart Dogs for the wieners. Just cook them on the stove top. A little oil might be necessary. I just brown them on a cast iron griddle.
My cole slaw is simple – shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, mixed with Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise Dressing and Sandwich Spread.
Mustard – Trader Joe’s Organic Yellow Mustard
Relish – Trader Joe’s Organic Sweet Pickle Relish
The buns I found were also organic – Rudi’s, however, I don’t want to recommend them since every time we’ve purchased them they have been stale. Perhaps we just always bought them at bad times, but after three times I question this. So, I’m on the lookout for something better in the bun department. I’ve also tried their hamburger buns – also stale tasting.
This past weekend we hiked in the Red River Gorge area. My aching calf muscles and the stinky sweaty clothes I just today loaded into the washing machine attest to the hilly areas we climbed. There was a time when hiking was one of our biggest pleasures, but sadly we had gotten away from it over the past few years.
There was no cell phone reception out in the wilderness, which was quite fine with me. The second morning we started out very early – beating the crowds and found ourselves very alone out on the trail for almost two hours.
On our way down we stopped at a gas station inquiring about any vegetarian restaurants that might be in the area. The lady at the counter laughed. To our surprise we found one of the best ever little eating establishments called Miguel’s Pizza just upon entering Natural Bridge State Park. The pizza was fabulous and very reasonably priced. You were given a piece of paper at the counter in which you checked off the ingredients you wanted. There was a wide variety, including tofu, pesto, and roasted garlic as well as a variety of other vegetables. The ones obtained locally were marked. Plus, they recycled! After you ate you distributed your garbage in the proper containers – metal, paper, plastic, etc. I include what I found on youtube about them to give you some idea:
We are already planning our next trip – hiking and Miguel’s Pizza.
Lombardi’s has been in business for over one hundred years beginning in Little Italy as a grocery store in 1897 and becoming licensed as the first pizzeria in America in 1905. On our first trip together to New York City we visited Lombardi’s. I remember a long line. I vaguely remember the pizza. I do remember the atmosphere, more like experiencing a piece of history. I must note that the business was closed from 1984 to 1994. When the doors reopened, they were reopened a block away from the original location.
So, on the last trip we tried Lombardi’s. On this trip, we were staying in Brooklyn, and Grimaldi’s is suggested as the “must” visit there. So, on our first night Grimaldi’s it was. Grimaldi’s also traces its roots back to 1905. The pizza at Grimaldi’s might have been a tad better than Lombardi’s, but still nothing to write home about, which is quite ironic considering I am writing about it.
There was the same long line manned by a colorful character in what I would call mafia attire. After nearly an hour we were picked to go in – something akin to your lottery number being chosen. There were no pleasantries given by this same doorman. Tables covered in red-checkered clothes were lined up next to each other, no gap in between, in a cafeteria style. Pictures of Frank Sinatra adorned almost one whole wall.
Once inside there was another long wait, perhaps thirty minutes for the pizza. We both ordered root beers and drank them very slowly as we didn’t see any refills being given, and kind of concluded with them bringing out a glass with barely any ice along with bottles of root beers that any refills were extra. I watched as empty plates were picked up and tables dusted off just a bit to make way for the next chosen entrants.
The couple next to us didn’t seem pleased at all and had some words with the waiter. Almost immediately they received their pizza. About the time they had finished our pizza had arrived and a new couple had had taken the previous couple’s place. We were on the edge and not squeezed between people.
The crust had a unique taste from the coal oven. The pizzas are simple with what you think of as normal pizza ingredients, nothing exotic in the least. I tend to like the more gourmet take on pizzas myself, but then that wouldn’t be keeping with the experience of Grimaldi’s at all. There were no leftovers. Previously we had walked both ways the entire span of the Brooklyn Bridge and after the outside line wait and the inside wait we were pretty hungry. After eating, we walked down the street to the East River.
I will conclude by being thankful for having both a historical and present New York landmark experience and sharing it with my husband. In the following days of our trip we followed our gut on choosing restaurants and the food experience got much better.
The one pictured was simple – rice of your choice (This was a mixed rice with various seeds I got from Trader Joes.) Saute vegan sausge cut into small pieces, and chopped onions in oil with a dash of cumin and chili powder, sea salt and pepper. Add a can of kidney beans. Put over cooked rice. Top with fresh cilantro.
I’m thankful for one dish meals.
We sat at a wise sage’s feet and he told us the facts of life, about the birds and bees, etc. And it wasn’t at all how I imagined it to be. I was surprised to learn that babies did not come from storks, but from the food we eat. Possibly I just dreamt this.
When a soul wants to come to earth he/she, really before gender takes hold, gently descends to earth and enters into food. The man partakes of the food. The soul through the food now makes its way to the sperm. You now get the picture.
In hunter/gatherer days the caveman knelt down and devoured nature’s fresh herbs. In modern times the soul dives down into crackers and brie or rich caviar at dinner parties, or pretzels and beer at tailgate parties. There are as many possibilities as there is food and souls on the earth.
This definitely puts a new twist on it for me as far as personality types. I imagine myself to have originally sprung from a potato, while there could have been traces of ice cream in the digestive track as well.
The moral of the story might well be to carefully watch what your man eats. The school your future child gets into could depend on his good eating habits.
Believe it or not, maybe as in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, I’m thankful for this bit of wisdom.
What kind of food personality are you? And, how has this affected you?
I see myself as Mrs. Potato Head.