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vegetables

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I was recently asked to review two of Urban Outfitter’s cookbooks, both centered around clean and wholesome eating. First up,?Power Snacks, chock full of 50 pages of healthy snacks abundant in energy-boosting nutrients.

Broken down into several categories, the cookbook offers up classic “On the Go” snacks like Squash & Pumpkin Seed Muffins, “High Energy” bites like rainbow chard roll-ups, “Sweet Indulgences” including Chocolate Avocado Pudding, and more. Yummmmm-y!

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Full of color, I was instantly drawn to the Rainbow Nori Roll recipe, featured in the “Take to Work” section of the book. Laying out all of its ingredient on the table, it was hard not to be excited about all of the beauty going into this particular power snack. I mean, just look at that vibrant photo above. Pure awesomeness.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I love snacks that are able to pack in a bunch of vegetables. So often, when we need a mid-afternoon refueling, we reach for something sweet, and often that means something that’s not too entirely healthy. With options like this – that feel entirely like a treat, but a savory one at that – it’s easy to keep snack-time the healthy pick-me-up that it’s meant to be. In other words, this recipe is far from the nap-inducing snack that too often steals away our second half of the day.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Another pro, these nori rolls really pack in the flavor, especially for an all-vegan sushi option. The sauteed asparagus and ginger give them an extra boost, and the beets really add something here, too.

That being said, if you have avocado on-hand, definitely add it. You can rarely go wrong with avocado in vegetarian sushi.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Likewise, there’s tons of room to play around with other ingredients in this recipe. You could add baked tofu for a little extra protein, or cucumbers, or other veggies of your choice. You could play with the grain, for instance, like I did, and try swapping the risotto rice for brown rice. I used a short grain brown rice, cooked it with a little extra water (1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water) and for a little extra time until it achieved the sushi-ready stickiness that it needed.

You could add wasabi to the roll or to the dipping sauce. You could add herbs. Or mango. Or whatever your heart may desire.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Keep in mind, this isn’t a whip-up-in-5-minutes kind of snack. While the veggie prep is simple, there are a lot of ingredients to chop here, and the assemblage is a process, particularly if you’re new to sushi-making. That being said, sushi is easier to roll than you might think, so don’t let intimidation get in your way.

To save time, buy beets (unseasoned) that are already cooked. You can usually find them in cans in the veggie/bean section of the grocery store. You could also make the rice the night before, or prep some of the ingredients ahead of time.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

While these are best eaten the day-of, they’ll definitely last if you make them a day-in-advance. In fact, I’ll be enjoying some leftovers for lunch today.

Prep them on a Sunday and when the Monday stomach rumbles roll around, you’ll have a beautifully fresh snack waiting for you full of that extra zest you need to get the week going.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

 

You can check out the cookbook for other fun snack ideas. And stay tuned for a preview of Urban Outfitter’s other book,?The Clean Eating Kitchen, in the days to follow! Continue Reading…

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

If you’re not on the socca train yet, you should grab a ticket this week and get on it. It’s so easy to make, and incredibly tasty in many, many forms.

I’d say socca is akin to pizza crust – only full or protein and nourishment and a little more flavor. Really, you can add any toppings of your desire, including the classic tomato, basil, mozzarella trio that makes a good slice of ‘za. You can get fancy, like in this roasted carrot rendition. Or you can keep it fairly simple like this breakfast version below. And unlike pizza crust, it takes just a handful of minutes to whip up, no rolling pin needed.

Note – if you’re going to grab a ticket for the breakfast route, go for the savory option vs. taking a ride down a sweet socca road. I’ve tried to turn socca batter into blueberry pancakes, and it’s the first time socca’s failed me. Although, I must say, I haven’t totally given up on it in a sweeter form just yet. Future experiments are certainly to be had, and if you find a creation that works, by all means, please share!

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

As far as savory goes, this is a combination that works. Eggs, greens, and the last of summer’s tomatoes get piled onto a warm, nutty socca canvas. You could add a sprinkle of Parm on top, but it doesn’t even need it. If you’re seeking for more, serve it with a side of sweet potato hash, and a steaming cup of coffee. Magic. Continue Reading…

Asian Broccoli and Eggplant with Tempeh

Asian Broccoli and Eggplant with Tempeh

As I relayed in my last post, I made a big move last weekend.

In reality I guess it could’ve been bigger. Me, and all my stuff, simply switched neighborhoods in my current city of Philadelphia. But, it was a big upgrade from my last residence — especially in terms of the kitchen.

Without many tears, I said goodbye to slanted linoleum floors. A goodbye to minimal counter space. And a huge audios to my old ’70s-styled kitchen.

Ah. That felt good.

Eggplant and broccoli

I will miss being steps away from the cheap, bustling, food-filled Italian Market of my former ‘hood. I will miss the park on my old corner. I will miss the 2-block walking distance of my favorite restaurant. I will miss a lot of things.

However, I am happy to report this recent life change feels better than expected. I’m realizing I lived in an entirely too small apartment for two years too many. No regrets though, right? It just means more things to look forward to, and more appreciation for this next change in life.

Asian Broccoli and Eggplant with Tempeh

Anyway, to celebrate the move, I christened my new kitchen not more than a day after putting all the plates I brought with me into its cabinets. It happened to be a Sunday, and in my book, a Sunday not spent adventuring in a new place is then automatically destined to be spent with wooden spoon in hand. After the whole moving process, no trips were in store. So instead, a Sunday afternoon of cooking was planned. I was more than ready to put that new counter space to use.

Broccoli and Eggplant

The first culinary creation of my new house? This one, of course, filled with summer eggplant and a simple pairing of Asian flavors. A little salty – thanks to some soy sauce. Mildly sweet – thank you Hoisin. And of course, needed hints of freshness with the help of my friend, cilantro.

All of these favorite characteristics pair well with eggplant that gets cooked till its creamy, and broccoli that throws back a bit of crispness to this dish. Add some tempeh for a little nutty protein, and place it all over rice, and you’ve got one heck of a meal.

Continue Reading…

Summer Vegetable Coconut Curry

Summer Vegetable Coconut Curry

I often say that even if I became really poor, it’s unlikely I’d ever go hungry. Through all my various foodie friends, farmer connections, side food-related jobs and food blogger perks, my fridge these days has been endlessly stocked. My splurgeful trips to Whole Foods have been minimal. And my tummy has been full.

Unlike some of my recent grad friends (cue those who moved to NYC), I’ve managed to avoid a diet of peanut butter and canned beans. (Although, don’t think those items don’t show up quite often too. I eat plenty of PB from a jar, primarily by choice, and chickpeas too. Being a vegetarian does have its naturally affordable qualities.)

When I do head to the store these days, often I walk out with nothing other than figs and Greek yogurt. As a hustling journalist in a dying field, and a freelancer of many trades, this scenario seems a bit out of place. And it would be if it weren’t for the abundance of healthy veggies that have graced my life this summer, free of charge. For this I feel fortunate.

Summer veggies.

At this point, I honestly have more vegetables sitting around than I can eat. Some of you fellow gardeners I’m sure can relate.

I often get stuck eating a lot of simple salads, which are great, but sometimes recipes like this are in need. It’s amazing how a simple coconut curry can make you appreciate a bowl of vegetables that much more.

I contemplated putting this over rice, but I honestly wanted to just spoon its brothiness as is, and call the large bowl of veggies a meal. So that’s what I did. However, I ended up pouring it over pasta the following day, which was quite nice too. I’ll leave the decision of how to serve it up to you.

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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Fifteen baguettes later, I’ve arrived home to Philly after a two week excursion in France and Belgium. There was a serious amount of baguette action on this trip. And brie, and pastries, and bottles of wine, and poorly accented bonjour’s and bon appétit’s. You can expect a food-related post on my trip soon. First, however, I need to sort through my 1,000 photos, memories and jetlag, stalk the chef I met on Facebook, and remind myself life will be okay without cute French boys on every block. I also need eat some greens and whole grains. And grab this soup from the freezer.

Wanting to clean out my refrigerator, I whipped this up just before heading to France.  It was literally the perfect light and veggie-packed meal I needed before jetting off to a foodie haven of artisan cheeses and pistachio macaroons. Luckily, some soup still remains waiting for me…waiting for my detox of daily croissant consumption. I admit, the thought of saying farewell to that makes me want to cry.

Oh well. Oatmeal simmers away, energy-restoring smoothies whiz in the blender, and breakfast and life goes on — with or without pain au chocolats. On the bright side, I’ve come home to ridiculously lovely weather in the midst of my favorite season. For that, I will continue to ride my life high. Come home in the winter, on the other hand, and I’m sure this would not’ve been the case. Good thing its springtime. Cheers to that. I also stumbled home to my tax return in the mailbox yesterday afternoon. After Paris, it needn’t even be mentioned I’m cheersing to that too.

Minestrone Soup

If the thought of soup and warm temps makes you want to slap me and proceed to go flag down the ice cream man, well, then bookmark this one for later. But considering it’s still May and sweat-drenching days have yet to arrive, I’m going to argue on behalf of this meal. This minestrone is certainly not a hearty, gut-warming winter stew. Rather, it’s a light soup, fit for a wide range of seasons, and packed with tons of nutrition. Given what was in my fridge the day of its creation, this also happens to be heavy on the green beans. If green beans aren’t your veggie of choice, feel free to add in a handful of spring greens or any other seasonal ingredient that might sound good to you.

Make this minestrone a meal by simply serving it with a slice of crusty bread and a side salad. That’s what I’ll be doing — baguette on the side, pretending I’m still in Paris. Au revoir.

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