Tomorrow (Thursday, March 20) marks the first day of spring. It also marks the internationally recognized Meatout Day. Participants from around the world have pledged to eat vegan on this day, in honor of animals, the planet, and individual health. The goal is to share the benefits and joy of a plant-based diet, and promote the widespread availability and expansive selection of alternatives to meat and dairy.
Archives For Quick Fixes
If there is one appetizer that shines brightly above the rest (in my world at least), it’s spinach and artichoke dip. While I have seen many depictions of said appetizer, including those introducing unwelcome meaty touches into the mix (yes, I’ve even witnessed those hiding shrimp or bacon within), this heavily, dairy-filled appetizer can be made vegan, with surprisingly little hassle. This particular version puts a vegan spin on my mom’s tried and true recipe. Personally, I find this vegan-ized version to be more tasty than the original. And because you are subbing out one of the chief ingredients—mayonnaise—with a lighter, less greasy alternative, you can afford to eat more. This appetizer is perfect to serve at any occasion and is sure to put a smile on your friends’ faces (if you decide to share). Unless you tell them, chances are they won’t even suspect it’s vegan.
- 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and drained
- 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 cup Vegenaise (w/ Grapeseed Oil)
- 1 – 1 ½ cups shredded vegan cheese (Daiya Cheddar)
Mix all four ingredients together thoroughly. Pour into lightly sprayed baking dish. Cover with foil or lid and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover for the last five minutes of baking. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies of choice. Great served hot or cold/room temperature.
While tofu doesn’t make up the bulk of my diet like it once did back when I first entered the vegetarian world a decade ago, it does typically enter the dinner lineup once or twice a week. In many cases it’s in the form of a signature scramble or quinoa dish; however, sometimes I like to take a simpler, minimalistic route. This particular dish brings together tofu with a down to earth, homestyle favorite—barbecue sauce, and pairs it with a bed of fresh sautéed asparagus.
My hummus addiction is certainly not breaking news. In fact, it has been around for years. However, since recently acquiring a Certified Reconditioned Standard Vitamix High Performance Blender, I’ve started experimenting with making my own. I’ve been working on fine-tuning my hummus experimentations, playing with all sorts of peculiar combinations with the notion that I would eventually stumble on the desired outcome. This weekend, it happened. Naturally it was at a time that I wasn’t measuring anything out (which is pretty typical). I’ve learned that while the whimsical method of guess-timation works wonders for me, it’s not ideal for sharing the recipe love, and so I’ve gradually been adjusting my madness to become more methodical. Tonight I slowed down a minute, measured things out, wrote them down, and arrived at what I am calling my “Holy Spiced Citrus Hummus.” I finished up just in time to sit and enjoy it outside while basking in the sunlight, thanks to the return of daylight saving time.
In my early 20s, during my five year stint of working for Starbucks, they launched the perfect oatmeal, or so it was labeled. It was here I began to see value in this wonder porridge—value I failed to see as a child, unless this value involved having a spoonful of oatmeal with an entire bowl of brown sugar. In between mixing it up for customers, I began to occasionally welcome oatmeal into my life (generous amounts of brown sugar and dried fruit included). Still, shamefully enough, I primarily remained someone who, on most days, swore by iced coffee as fuel of choice. I continued to miss the point. And in turn, I continued to miss out on the value of breakfast.
I’ve recently come to fully understand not only the value in oatmeal, but the value in breakfast, and the damage I was causing my body and mind by skipping out on what I now recognize as the most vital meal of the day. Just over two months into my newfound love for breakfast, I can already say that it has changed my life, or at least my outlook and energy level throughout the entire day at stake. And as for my breakfast of choice? That was an easy one. Yep, you guessed it—oatmeal! At the beginning of 2014 I made a pact to eat a bowl every morning to accompany my cup of coffee and glass of water. I am pleased to report that I have honored this pact 90 percent of mornings to date. In fact, oatmeal has become such a part of my daily ritual, if I don’t have a bowl of oats to start my day, things feel off. My morning oatmeal energizes me without sitting heavily and weighing me down. This oatmeal offers plenty of fiber, and keeps the blood readily flowing, and the heart pumping strong. Plus it aids in stabilizing blood sugar, and helps keep cholesterol levels in check, making it an all around morning win. Still, perhaps the best part about oatmeal (aside from the pleasure of eating it) is that making the perfect bowl is literally as easy as one, two, three, which is a bonus if you are like me, and are not naturally a morning person.
Everyone loves sinking their teeth into firm, saucy bite-sized delicacies. While there are certainly meat substitutes that come eerily close to resembling an authentic “hot wing,” I’ve come to fancy mock-ups of the whole vegetable variety—mushrooms to be exact.
These especially saucy ’shrooms were born out of a post-run moment of desperation that went something like, “I need a quick, filling bite to eat, but I’m not sure what I have on hand and I’m definitely craving something nutty and spicy.” To my pleasant surprise, the mushrooms, peanut butter, marinara sauce and Sriracha I scrounged for, came together gracefully to inspire what has become a spicy, saucy staple. With a 15 minute combined prep and cook time, you can’t go wrong with this quick fix. And while this dish makes a hearty bite for one, it is also one that can easily be split between two.
Warning: If you happen to be making these for a date night, you will definitely want to use forks and have ample napkins present. Otherwise the sauciness will get entirely out of hand, all too quickly.