Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ladybugs!!! Grilled Bok Choy and Veggies with Lemon Marinade

 It must be the effects of Summer getting to me because I haven't been updating my blogs as much as I would like.  I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Last week during our hike we stumbled upon something pretty amazing.  I've never seen anything like it.
There were thousands of ladybugs right by a stream coming down from the mountain.  It was crazy at how many there were!

While we were standing there looking in awe of them, they started to fly onto us.   That was a bit weird.
I don't know what kind of plant this is that they were on.  Do any of you? 
Moving on to something with the same color scheme. hee hee 
Here is a juice with celery, kale, parsley, apple and beets. 
We pretty much grill everything during the summer but this was my first time grilling bok choy. I just cut them in halves and poured a lemon marinade over them and all of the other veggies.  I then let them marinade for a couple of hours before I grilled them.

Veggies served over brown rice. 
A great book I bought myself a couple of years ago called The New Vegetarian Grill is a must have for summer months.  It's because of this book that I tried grilling the brocolli and bok choy!  The key is to marinate the veggies really well, especially the brocolli.  Anyways, it's easy to adapt the recipes to vegan too! The marinade I made consisted of soy sauce, lemon, garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, water and maple syrup.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rosemary Lemonade and Grilled Summer Pasta w/Creamy Pesto Sauce

 Another summer monday morning! Right smack in the middle of summer, I love it!!!  I hope everyone had a great weekend and kept it cool.

Here are a few pic's from a hike we recently took.

  Dave and I rode our mountain bikes in this area last year and saw a turtle from the trail so we thought it would be nice to take Keaton and hike part of the stream going down the mountain and find more turtles.  Well, we found a little more than a turtle.
This here is a aquatic garter snake, we saw 3 of them.  They are harmless and we grew up with the ordinary garter snake.  They aren't very big and I think they are kind of cute!

This here is a western pond turtle.  This little guy blends in so well with the sand and rock, if he hadn't been laying in the water right in front of me it would have been hard to find him.    I love turtles!!!
We had a great time hiking.  It's such a nice way to spend as a family and we always find something new and we always get great pic's to remember it.

There's nothing like drinking homemade lemonade to cool yourself with on a warm summer day.
This is actually Rosemary Lemonade.  A cafe we go to offers a Rosemary Lemonade so I thought I would try my hand at it.  Keaton loved it and we gave some to Dave and didn't tell him what was in it but the first thing he said was "it smells like that bush by our front door."  He did say it tasted good.  

I don't have exact measurements but this is what I did.  I had some simple syrup made so I reheated it along with  3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary. (simple syrup is made by using equal parts sugar and water, heating it until the sugar dissolves and turns into a syrup).   I let the syrup with the rosemary sit off the heat for about 20min.  In a jar, I used a 32oz. jar and squeezed about 5 large lemons, we like it on the tart side.  Then I poured in the simple syrup and added water 2/3 of the way and topped off with ice.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

For dinner last night we had Grilled Summer Squash with a creamytomato pesto sauce on pasta.  Grilled yellow summer squash is so juicy and buttery good tasting when you grill it.  Yum!  The sauce was so easy to make, flavorful, yet light on the palate.  A perfect summer pasta!  

Grilled Summer Squash Pasta

Cook up 1 package of pasta according to directions.  Set aside.

Grilled squash
1 Large summer squash, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil

Heat outside grill. In a small casserole dish add the summer squash, garlic and enough olive oil to coat.  Mix with your hand to evenly coat with oil.  You don't want to stick on the grill.  On medium heat add the squash slices and grill for about 10 min. then flip over for about 2-3min. more.  Take off grill and set aside.

Pesto tomato sauce:
4 X-tra large homegrown tomatoes(farmers market) or (storebought but homegrown are so sweet and juicy), chopped 
1 C. white wine or veggie broth(a light broth)
1/2 -3/4 C. basil pesto(I make my own
1/2 C. soy creamer or other non-dairy creamer 
3 red spring onions or green scallions
salt to taste

Heat a medium sized saucepan and add 1 T. olive oil.  Next add in chopped tomatoes.  Let simmer until tomatoes are soft and then add the 1 C. white wine or broth.  Let the white wine or broth reduce to half then stir in the pesto.  Next add in the creamer.  Once heated through take off heat and stir in the spring onions.  Set aside.

To plate, scoop some pasta into pasta bowl.  Pour some sauce onto pasta, add a few slices of grilled squash.  Drizzle a bit more sauce on squash and sprinkle with extra onions.  You can add some fresh cracked pepper over top if you choose.  Serve with a side of fresh green salad!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Grilled Veggie Nachos, Non-dairy Ice Cream Sandwiches and Homemade Beer!

June gloom in July?  What?  So when I go to bed at night the sky is clear and full of stars and when I wake up....cloudy and damp.  Oh well at least it burns off and it's good for the grapevines, you know need to have my wine! Ha ha ha! 

 Speaking of wine.  Since I live in an area that is full of vineyards and wineries I have been in the process of finding wines that are vegan.  I've come to find out so far that just because the bottle doesn't say it's vegan doesn't mean it isn't.  I'm also finding out those that use sustainable practices.  So far there are a couple of wines that I really liked that I found out aren't vegan. Bummer!  Oh well, that just means I get to try out new ones!    

 Recently one of my girlfriends was facebooking about how she had made nacho's and she didn't feel guilty about it one bit. It got me thinking that I have never made nachos, ever!  So how can I make a guilt-free version that actually has some nutrition in it?  Idea!  First I found a great non-dairy cheese sauce recipe on-line, baked my own chips and added grilled veggies.  There's just something yummy about homemade tortilla chips and they aren't loaded with salt.  I prefer more of a cheddar flavor so I threw in a handful of Daiya cheddar to the sauce and stirred until melted.  Dave wanted some Soyrizo so I heated some up, but just a small amount.  The boys loved it!  The next day I used up the leftovers and made Keaton and his friend Nacho's for lunch, his friend raved about the sauce!  I would definitely make this as an appetizer for company or when Keaton has a sleepover for his friends.
    This recipe goes out to you Y!

Grilled Veggie Nachos   
serves 4 as main dish

more as appetizer
Corn tortilla chips(recipe below)
Nacho Cheezy Sauce(recipe below)
Grilled veggies(recipe below), diced
*Pinto beans(I use homemade but you can use canned) 
scallions, sliced
tomato, diced
cilantro, chopped
avocado, chopped
Soyrizo, optional

To plate.  First lay some corn tortillas on a plate. Next pour some cheezy sauce on top and add the rest of the ingredients on top of that.  Continue with another layer of chips and repeat. 

*Cooking up homemade beans is actually really easy, saves you money and doesn't contain any bpa in them that have leached from the cans.  If you look on the directions on a package of beans it gives you two ways to soak beans, either over night or a quick soak. (I usually do the quick soak).  The total cooking time of the beans really depends on the type of beans.  I find pinto usually takes a good 2 hrs, garbanzo only takes 1hour at the most.  You can also freeze any beans that you aren't using right away.     

Nacho Cheezy Sauce:
makes about 2 cups

2 cups water
¼ cup raw cashews
One 4 oz. jar pimentos, drained
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin, heaping
*1/4 daiya cheddar cheese, grated(optional)if you want more of a cheddar flavor

Combine all ingredients in a blender/processor and blend until completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
* If you add the Daiya you may want to cut down a bit on the salt.

Baked Corn Tortillas
Corn tortillas12-18(as  many as you want)
canola spray

Heat oven to 375.
Lay aluminum foil on your top oven rack.  Spray each tortilla on both sides with oil or brush oil if you don't have a spray.  (You can also cut each tortilla into triangles before baking or just break apart when finished baking).  Lay tortillas on aluminum foil, six at a time if using whole.  You will want to flip half way through baking about 5-6 min. on each side. Bake until slightly brown and crispy. 
Note* you can turn up the heat to 400 and they will bake quicker but you really have to watch them because they will burn easy.

Grilled Veggies
2 med. Zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 anaheim peppers, whole

Heat bbq or indoor grill.  Coat the veggies with olive oil.  Grill until done.  The anaheim peppers are grilled until the skin is charred then put in plastic bag so the skin comes right off or you can scrape off the skin with a knife, then seed and dice up.  Cut up zucchini and red bell pepper and set aside.

Chocolate Mocha Fudge Ice Cream Sandwiches. When I saw the chocolate-dipped Ice cream sandwiches by Chloe in Veg News I new I had to make some for us. Now as you can see these aren't chocolate chip and that's because Keaton picked out the Mocha Fudge so I adjusted the cookie accordingly.  The fun part about Ice Cream sandwiches is that you can make any cookie and fill them with any type of non-dairy ice cream you want.  Next time I'm going with Coconut Bliss for my filler.
 Below is the recipe with my adjustments.

Chocolate Ice-Cream Sandwiches
original recipe by Chloe
adjusted by JoLynn

What you need:

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine(Earth Balance)
1/2 cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-4  oz. bar of dark chocolate, chopped
1 pint Mocha Fudge(So Delicious)

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment.

2.In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, egg replacer, salt. In mixer, beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar, water, and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture ½ cup at a time, then add chocolate chunks.

3.Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and flatten with the palm of your hand. Repeat with remaining dough, and space on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15minutes.  These will really flatten.

4.Let the pint of ice cream soften in the refrigerator for about 15 to 30 minutes while the cookies cool.

5.Between 2 cookies, sandwich 1 scoop of ice cream and freeze. Repeat with all remaining cookies.

Isn't this beer lovely?  We finally got to try some homemade beer by a father of one of Keaton's friends.  I was told by the mother, when I called to thank her for this amazing tasting IPA, that
this was the first time in 20 years that her husband didn't use a recipe.  Dave and I were pretty impressed by the flavor of this Indian Pale Ale.  He needs to keep on doing what he's doing because this stuff rocks!!!
Look at the beautiful head of this!   We are saving our last bottle to share together, although I have to tell you, yesterday evening, a warm summer evening,  I was so tempted to open it up and drink it myself before Dave got home.  Bad, bad thoughts. lol!  It just tastes so freakin good.  It still sits in the back of the refrigerator, taunting me everytime I open the door.  Diana, if you are reading this, you can tell Warn that we are more than happy to try more anytime! Hee hee!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Merlin kitty! Yummy 4th of July food!

Happy July!  It's Wednesday and things are getting back to normal from 4th.  It's been a bit cooler in the mornings here the last few days but I can't complain, I know that everyone back east is dealing with record breaking temps.  Sorry for all of you that live in those states, try to do your best to keep somewhat cool.  Just think about about those states that deal with 110-120 temps every summer.  My brother lives in Arizona and a few days ago it was around 115 that day.  I'll stick to living here on the central coast of California.
It's our cat Merlin's 15th birthday this month! 
He joined us for dinner one night.
I was washing dishes one evening when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Merlin was just sitting up there watching me.  It was really funny!
I couldn't leave Cleo out!  This was on the houseboat. 

We grilled pizza's last Saturday night for the first time for my in-laws.  It was also the first time
I've used Daiya(dairy free cheese).  I know... but better late than never.  We usually make cheeseless pizza's but I figured since my father-in-law was here I'd try out the Daiya.  I must say I was very pleasantly surprised!  It is so far the best non-dairy cheese I have ever tasted.  Everyone really liked it too! In the future though, I think we'll stick to cheeseless pizza's, just because I'm not used to having any type of cheese product and putting the cheese on all 3 different types of pizza's were a bit too much for me.  I didn't get a chance to take a pic of all 3 pizza's but this one was a tomato, onion, mushroom, vegan sausage with daiya cheese.  Yum! 
Our favorite black bean burgers with a grilled corn and tomato salsa.  This salsa is so good you can use it to top off tortilla chips!  Just grill up a few corn on the cobs, then cut the corn off the cob.  Chop up a couple of ripe tomatoes, cilantro, scallions/red onion, lime juice, jalepeno(to taste), s & p. 
So my plan for dessert on the 4th was to make berry hand pies but the Pate Brisee was so fragile I only got to making 4 little ones and they were falling apart at that.  Soooo....I opted to use all the berries I had, mix them together and make a Triple Berry Crumble Pie!  The berries were blackberry, blueberries and strawberries.  I mixed in some arrowroot and sugar, then poured into the pie crust.  
For the crumble top I used, flour, brown sugar and Earth Balance.
This doesn't look so great,  but I had wax paper covering the top so it kind of softened the crumble topping.
I must admit this was one very delicious tasting Triple Berry Crumble Pie!  This is the first time I've used strawberries in a baked pie.  It's also the first time I've used a crumble top on a berry pie.   Since I didn't use much sugar with the berries the crumble top sweetened it nicely.

Last week I had a visit from 2 of my best friends.  We have been hooked on succulents lately and there is a great place in Los Olivos with amazing arrangements and succulents.  One of my girlfriends made me this cute arrangement from some of her succulents.  When the girls come out we've been exchanging propegated plants and succulents from our cuttings.  It's a nice way to add to our collection of plants and make for nice little gifts.  It's alot of fun too!
This is an arrangement I made using a Corona pail.  I just made some holes in the bottom of the pail, added rock for drainage, filled with cactus/succulent soil mix and then the succulents.  There is some Irish Moss in the middle.  The nice things about succulents are that they grow pretty quickly, easy to care for and don't require much watering.

Upcoming reviews: POM