29 April 2009

I could eat this everyday.





I am soo excited that Sami's The Pita House just opened another location close to my work. This is one of their Vegetarian Platters. Yummy!

27 April 2009

Spinach salad with tarriaki glazed seitan, green onions, and mango


This is my lunch today. I took some of the seitan I made last week and sliced it into 1/4 slices, brushed with a tarriaki glaze and bake at 400 degreees for about 17 minutes turning and basting half-way. Then refridgerated over night. The salad is just baby spinach, the seitan, mango, green onions, roasted sesame seeds and Newmans Own Asian Dressing spray. YUMMY

The Rain Won't Get Me Down!!



We went to my friends cottage this weekend. The forecast disappointingly went from being sunny and in the 80's on Thursday night to being in the 60's and rainy all weekend. But we still managed to have a bonfire, make some-mores(sp), and the kids blew bubbles in the mist. My daughter and her friend Ava had a riot. Ava is a really cool kid. At the age of 8, she decided on her own to become a vegetarian, while her parent are not. They are very supportive of her efforts. I am surprised that an 8-year-old has such will power. Her and Renee had girl time all weekend, either upstairs on the balcony or in our pop-up. I can't believe my baby is a big girl now. She really didn't want anything to do with me all weekend. It was good to see this independant side of her.

My friend always goes to the Variety in Hesperia to by some odd and crazy gifts for the people staying. While we were looking I spotted this crazy angel baby doll with a black eye.

24 April 2009

Feeling Groovy

I think I have finally snapped out of my grouchy mood. I do believe I get seasonal depression. That was one of the nice things about living in the VI, I never got it when I lived there. Sun shiny days year round. I am so looking forward to this weekend. We are going to my friends cottage tonight, on the White or Muskegon River (I can't remember which) and will be there until Monday. We are tenting it and I can't wait. We did not do enough camping last year and I think my soul needs to be near nature more. There is something so calming about waking up outside and sitting near the campfire at night communing with our friends and family. This weekend is just what I have needed and eventhough it hasn't even started yet, I feel the tension that has been with me the past month or so lifting. So for now, I will forget about my messy house and the huge amounts of spring cleaning and garden prep I will be doing next weeked and relish in the fact that I have this weekend ahead of me.

Get out and enjoy the "sun shine shining down" to quote Jamiroquai!!!
Tracie

AAAAAAH, SPRINGTIME

Pretty toes and sunshine
Flower buds and white wine
Open windows
Fresh air
Wind in my hair
Birds signing
Spring is here!

23 April 2009

My Sundried Tomato Lasagne Recipe that was in the GR Press


Sauce Ingrediants:
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced
1 tsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb of bulk sweet Iitalian sausage
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup of roasted sweet red peppers (pimentos)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
Sauce
Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven, large sauce pan, or saute pan on medium heat. Add diced onions, garlic, and brown sugar. Cook onions until translucent. Add balsamic vinegar and cook 1 minute longer to de-glaze the panAdd sweet Italian sausage and break it up into little pieces and cook through. Put sun-dried tomatoes and pimentos in a food processor or blender and puree.Add puree mix and crushed tomatoes to sauce pan.
Optional: add 1/2 tsp salt to taste. Bring just to a boil and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

While oven is heating and sauce is simmering, prepare the
Ricotta cheese mix.
2 eggs, slightly beaten.
32 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of parsley
1 cup of pine nuts (pignolias)
extra virgin olive oil
Brush the inside of a small skillet with oil olive. Heat on medium heat for 1 minute. Turn to low and add pignolias. Stir constantly until they start to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.In a medium bowl, slightly beat two eggs, fold in ricotta, Grana Padano, parsley, and pignolias until well mixed. Set aside.
2 oz of fresh basil.
9 0z package of thin, flat lasagne noodles (uncooked)
3 cups of pre-shreded Italian 5 cheese blend (Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago, and Parmesan)
1 tbsp parsley
Brush interior of a glass 9x13 baking dish with olive oil. Ladle one cup of sauce into dish and spread around the bottom. Layer 4 uncooked lasagne noodles , then 1/2 Riccota mixture, whole basil leaves, 1/3 of sauce, 1 cup of 5 cheese blend. Repeat.Layer 4 more noodles, last of sauce, last of 5 cheese blend. Sprinkle with parsley.Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Grill Roasted Root Veggies

I have a grill pan so they don't fall through.cube into 1 inch cubes any variation of root veggies: I just did
turnips
parsnips
yellow potatoes
red potatoes
sweet potatoes
yellow beets
carrots
I microwave these in a glass casserole dish for about 5 minutes (with water and then drain) then I add whole mushrooms, a few chopped green onions, minced garlic, course salt and olive oil and toss. Grill in a grill pan until they are done as much as you like them. I like them crisp/tender.I make extra and then you can always mash them for another meal.

Tofu Balls

I made this receipe up last week. It was my 1st attempt at a vegan receipe like this and they are very yummy.
1 package Nasoya Extra Firm Organic Tofu
1/2 walnuts
1/2 irish steel cut oatmeal
4 sundried tomatosminced garlic (to taste, I used about 2 tbsp)
1 can of lentils drained and rinsed
seasoning--I used a Italian Tuscan seasoning from costco
put walnuts and oatmeal in food processor or spice grinder and process until minced
put all ingredients in a bowl except garlic and sundried tomatos--put those in food processor and process into paste and then add to bowl
you may also want to add 1 egg or egg substitute as a bindermash with a hand held potato masher until well blended.
Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until well browned turning every 10 minutes. I also sprayed with olive oil I when I turned them. I made these a day ahead and then served them with rice and a cheese sauce. I also plan on trying them with spaghetti.

Feeling Old

My 7-year-old daughter was playing Barbie Fashion Show on her DS last night and said to me that they had stuff from the "Olden Days" on there. I said, "Olden Days?" and was thinking she was perhaps talking about Victorian fashions. She says, "You know, Mom, the 80's." I started laughing. To make matters worse, she looked and me funny and said, "What?" She could not see what was so funny. I will be 39 next month and was feeling pretty young, but to look at me through her eyes, I guess I am getting up there. That is ok. I am very comfortable with my age and wouldn't want to be in my 20's again. When I was 7, my mother was only 25. I am very glad I waited to have my daughter and got to experience life.

On another note, in my quest to eat less meat, I have been trying out new recipes and cooking styles. Last night, my daughter and I made homemade ravioli stuffed with ground pine nuts, almonds, tofu, garlic, egg, and Grana Padano. They turned out fabulous. I also made, for the first time a few nights ago, homemade seitan. I think it turned out pretty good. I made a mock chicken salad, which I will be having for lunch.

I am truly disappointed with Cedar Springs school system. My daughter said they did nothing for Earth Day yesterday, didn't even talk about it!!! Fortunately, we are having her go The West MI Academy of Environmental Science next year. I will be posting links the I love today.

Peace,
Tracie

22 April 2009

My husband is great

So yesterday I get home and am devistated because my husband had someone cut a tree down in our back yard. When they did this, they were very careless and crushed numerous plants, including some of my oriental lillies, which I love. I was crying and upset. I had also just spent about two hours this weekend cleaning out the flower beds which now have hundred of twigs in them. I ranted and cried and took it out on Rob. He emailed me this morning telling me how sorry he was that they trashed my flower beds and that he would by me some new ones and that he would clean out all the twigs. He is so sweet.

On My Way

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging. I am on my way to becoming more of a vegetarian. I guess I am a "flexetarian". I am making these changes for a varity of reasons. I would like to lose weight. I want to be healthier. I am concerned about the environmental impact that farming animals has on our planet. So, I decided that I want to start blogging so I can look back and reflect. Last night was my 1st attempt at making seitan from scratch and it turned out pretty good. I will blog more later, as I am just getting my bloog set up.

Happy Earth Day!!
Tracie