Lazy Sunday


On Sunday’s we have recently made a ritual out of going to Church and then heading straight to Trader Joe’s to get our grocery shopping done. If you live in Nashville (or anywhere else that has one) and have not shopped there, it is a MUST! They have a great selection of organic foods and unique grocery items on the cheap. Today, we were surprised to be joined by 3 families that we are friends with (that is 8 adults and 9 kids). Not only were the staff of this very small store not annoyed, but they supplied our children with cookies and popsicles and tracked us down to make sure we had our sea salted dark chocolate almonds (I know right???). So, try this amazing store at some point and be sure to bring some friends…and their kids:)

After my shopping trips I am always inspired. I can’t wait to cook everything that I bought and I am always starving, because what mom has time to eat breakfast before church on Sunday? So, I decided to get ahead of my week a little and cook a few things in advance. I thought I would share some meals for the week with all of you.

Today I first made some lentils.  They are full of protein and fiber and so easy to make from scratch.

2 cups dry lentils

1 carrot (or a few baby carrots) chopped

1 to 2 celery stalks

1/4 cup onion chopped

2 garlic cloves

vegetable broth or water

salt and pepper to taste

I sautéed the onions, garlic, celery and carrots ls, salt ain some veg broth and added the lentil and more broth (you could also use water and be fine). Bring that to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Store and use as a side dish, over pasta or my fave, warm over salad with olive oil, salt and a little Dijon mustard, YUM!!

Next, since I already had the onion, garlic, carrot, celery thing going I made some cabbage soup. Soup amazes me. I love that a bunch of veggies in a pot can turn into something so wonderful and comforting. This is a great lunch (or dinner or snack) filled with fiber, protein and several servings of veggies. It will keep you full and is very low in fat and calories so eat up and enjoy!!!

1 medium size onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic chopped

3 carrots (I used a handful of baby carrots)

3 to 4 celery stalks chopped

Half a head of cabbage (shredded)

4 or 5 small red potatoes (washed, skins on) chopped

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 can white beans drained and rinsed

Thyme, Tumeric, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Pepper to taste.

1 vegetable bouillon cube and 6 cups water or veg broth

I sautéed the veggies above then simply added the potatoes, cabbage, beans and frozen corn. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric and thyme. Add the vegetable bouillon cube and enough water to cover the veggies, boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender.

Now, these are my “recipes” or experiments if you will.  I have had great success and major failure with this technique, but hey, how else do we get better? I encourage you to try your own concoctions, it’s fun and you can add whatever flavors suit you and your tastes. My goal in healthy living is to try to pack as many nutrients into each meal/recipe that I make.  These two recipes are a base. Easy additions to your weekly meal plan that add some protein without the meat.

Lastly, I made Penne Vodka for our actual dinner tonight. It is all the goodness of a cream sauce but without the cream. I served the sauce over some organic whole grain penne with steamed green beans. Here is the recipe (LOVE):

Penne Vodka
(from the cookbook “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
a few dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, plus a little extra for garnish
1/2 pound penne

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Preheat a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the saucepan and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the crushed red tomatoes, vodka, thyme, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cover, and turn the heat up a bit to bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions.

Once the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the almonds. Use an immersion blender to blend the almonds into the sauce until creamy and only slightly grainy. The pasta should be done by now, so drain and set aside. Add the basil to the sauce, and mix the sauce and pasta together in the pot. Serve, garnished with a little extra chopped basil.

I hope you will enjoy at least one of these yummy recipes in the near future. Later this week I am making:

Vegan “egg” salad

Nature burgers with carrot ginger dressing

Lettuce Wraps and

Chickpea Piccatta …. stay tuned for the recipes!!

Much Love,

Your Vegan Friend

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