Archives For Appetizers

Baba Ghanoush Made Easy

November 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

Baba Ghanoush [pronounced BahBuh Guh Noosh here in the South] is a rich, savory eggplant dip—one I am openly obsessed with. Yet I always assumed it was way too much trouble to make on my own. Shame on me for assuming.

Last week, I finally decided to give Baba Ghanoush a fair shot and craft my own easy rendition using this homegrown eggplant I was gifted.

Eggplant

Since using this little guy pictured for my first experiment, I’ve already picked up two more eggplants from local farmers and whipped up round two.

I can’t say my version tops authentic Middle Eastern or Mediterranean Baba Ghanoush, but I can say the result was nothing short of Baba-licious. Not only is this Baba dip creamy and pleasing to the tastebuds, it’s packed with fiber and B vitamins.

Here’s a quick look at how to make your own Baba Ghanoush following my easy bake and blend approach.

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Spring is officially coming at us this week! Consider celebrating the arrival of a fresh new season filled with green, by springing for plants—eat vegan for an entire day. 

MeatOut_FARM

There’s still time to join the masses in making an official pledge to eat plant-based this Friday, March 20, via Meatout.org. Since 1985, this international Meatout event has helped raise awareness of the benefits of eating vegan: helping animals, achieving great health, and saving the planet. Each year, thousands upon thousands make a pledge and join in.

If you are thinking of springing for plants this season—by pledging to do so Friday, or any other day—here are some suggestions to help you eat vegan at all hours, any day you choose.

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If it seems like there has been a two week delay in my delivering a Thanksgiving (or as I prefer, Thanksliving) followup, it’s because there certainly has been.

Let me explain. Immediately upon arriving home for Thanksgiving, Andrew and I were both hit hard with the sinus infections we had been fighting for days. It’s as if our bodies were saying, “Hey, we know we carried you through an art show and half marathon, but now, it’s time to slow down, rest and repair.”

Naturally, the combination of being home and being sick meant that every plan I thought I had for our trip fell through. Beyond that, it turned into a life lesson (our plans always fail us). It also meant extended family time, with both of our families. Above all, it left me with several valuable reminders:

  • Being able to taste and enjoy food is truly such a blessing that should never be taken for granted.
  • Snotty tissues are disgusting, but dogs still love to rip them up and chew on them.
  • No matter how bad I feel, being at home and curling up on my mom’s couch watching HGTV makes me feel leaps and bounds better.
  • Sometimes my body demands a level of rest and recovery that doesn’t include running.
  • My flesh is impermanent, but my spirit is everlasting.

Ultimately, it reminded me—”We have food on the table and we are together. That’s really all that matters.”

Cuddlecouch

Thanksliving Feasting

Speaking of food, despite the circumstances, we were able to have two feasts—one with Andrew’s family on Thursday, and one with my mom on Friday. Here is a look at Friday’s Thanksliving feast showcasing the plant-based creations Andrew and I prepared.

Before departing from St. Augustine, I stopped by the produce stand to pick up all the veggies we would need for our menu, including sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, and yellow squash. As a bonus, the produce man gave me an acorn squash I decided to turn into a hummus-filled appetizer.

HummusSquash

To prepare, I boiled the squash for about 15 minutes to cook and soften, then sliced it in half, scooped out the gooey portion of the innards with a spoon, added a little vegan buttery spread to the rims, and placed it face down on a pan in the oven to bake for just a few minutes. The only thing that would have made this appetizer better was if I’d made my own hummus. In this case, my mom had some Sabra Spinach and Artichoke hummus on hand. Each bite of hummus was paired with warm, sweet buttery squash.

As for the the main features of our Thanksliving feast, I present to you our vegan spread.

ThanksgivingFeast3

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Yesterday, I revisited several “On the Run” highlights from the first six months of Vegan on the Run. Since at the heart of each and every one of my days is plant-based cuisine, today I’ve decided to revisit the recipes that I’ve shared thus far. And so, I present to you a visual recap of the spread of vegan eats and drinks I’ve included on the blog since its launch date.

Intrigued by any of the dishes below? Simply click on a photo and it will take you to the appropriate blog post—complete with ingredients, directions, health perks and more.

Breakfast

TofuScramble

OatmealSpread

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This past weekend was the first weekend I’ve been back at home in awhile without some sort of major happening taking place, which meant ample downtime after playing catch up for a few days.

For a delayed birthday celebration Saturday evening, my mom and I enjoyed an evening of grilling on her best friend’s deck overlooking Pensacola Bay. During the summer months my body especially craves lighter meals, which urges me to really focus on clean eating. Once it cools off a bit and gets slightly more tolerable outside in the evening hours, firing up the grill offers a festive way to enjoy fresh vegetables. Our vegetable features for Saturday evening consisted of grilled Portobello mushrooms, zucchini and onions. For a simple marinade, these veggies were brushed with a blend of garlic, salt, pepper and basil in Walnut EVOO.

GrilledVeggies

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As the summer heat and Florida humidity have been steadily on the rise as of late, I’ve been especially craving food that is what I consider to be stripped down, light and airy. Yesterday afternoon, I found myself dreaming of lettuce wraps. I have no clue what inspired this day dream of mine since it’s been quite awhile since I’ve munched on lettuce wraps, but it was pretty vivid. Minutes later I opened the fridge to figure out what I was going to eat after yoga, and lo and behold, our neighbor had given us a giant bag of green leaf lettuce. Clearly lettuce wraps were meant to be.

Lettuce wraps offer a great way to get some added roughage in your diet, and are an alternative to tortillas. While lettuce on its own may seem a bit boring or bland, I find wrapping food in lettuce to be nothing short of entertaining. Just like with tacos, you can literally wrap anything into a piece of lettuce.

For some lettuce wrapping inspiration, here is a quick look at how I rolled last night.

LettuceWraps2

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No dinner party is complete without a log of cream cheese with juicy jam on top. So why not make it vegan, and take the opportunity to blow a few minds while you’re at it? If you’re party-bound and looking to bring an appetizer along with you that is delightfully sweet and spicy, and takes virtually no time and effort to prepare, this cream “cheese” with a kick just might be the one for you.

CreamCheeseKick

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 container of original Tofutti (or other vegan) cream “cheese”
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. of jam (Raspberry recommended)
  • ½ – 1 tsp. prepared Horseradish

DIRECTIONS

Mix jam with desired amount of horseradish. Pour atop cream “cheese” in your dish of choice. Serve with your favorite crackers.

This appetizer is recommended for an evening of wining and dining with friends, a potluck, or even a family reunion. It pairs well with any cracker, and no garnishing is necessary. Just be sure to have an extra container of cream “cheese” on hand because this one goes fast.