Category Quick Snacks

Meatless Monday – Labor Day Edition, Part 1

I don’t often get up early enough to make breakfast. So on the Saturday/Sunday and holiday mornings where I am I love to play around and see what I’ve got. Typically I try to use any produce I still have (because by the weekend it’s nearly a week old) as I don’t want to let it spoil and have to throw it out. This week I had left over squash, baby potatoes, onions and bell peppers from the grilled veggie shish ka bobs I’d made a few days back. Clearly, stir frying all of these in a little oil with a heap of Light Life’s Gimme Lean Sausage was the way to go! A fresh grapefruit and a cup of french vanilla coffee and I am more than set to enjoy my (paid!) day off for Labor Day 2012.

I hope you all have an equally as relaxing, or exciting, day. Be safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t. ;)

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Product Review \\ Wei-Chuan Vegetable Spring Rolls

There are two things you, as a reader, shoulder know about me: a) I used to live in Thailand b) Asian food is my absolutely favorite. Be it Thai, Japanese, Chinese, etc. I love all of the traditional favorites, but I also love the stuff that most Americans have never heard of. Yes, I’ve eaten live bugs. There were mystery meats in some of the dishes I ate while overseas that I just didn’t ask about. (I also love MSG. You think I’m kidding? I’m not, Thai people use MSG in nearly everything they cook and I will tell you right now it makes everything taste so much better.)

Okay, so all of that aside. I went hunting through my Asian market recently in search of vegan versions of some of my favorite foods. Rolls, steamed buns, and a lot of others. I stumbled across the Wei-Chuan Vegetable Spring Rolls and fell in love. There’s eight in a bag (four servings per the package). They’re easy to store, inexpensive, quick to prepare and surprisingly delicious. The ingredients list is vegan and includes TVP (texturedized vegetable protein). The shells were crispy, the filling was delicious and the were relatively nutritious!

I paired these bad boys with some steamed cabbage buns (for another post) and had a wonderful dinner. Now- they do have sauce with them, but as I am not a sauce type person so I discarded it. I had Sriracha and gave them each a line of that and was more than good to go. I’ll definitely be adding them in as a quick snack/side item/appetizer for my own home and suggest you do the same.

Verdict: Thumbs up!

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Simple Snack Saturday // Vegan Mac and “Cheese”

I love comfort foods. They are my be all end all, of course, and the thought of going vegan has scared me a little because I didn’t want to lose cheese. I know there are a lot of new replacement products that are dairy free and I’m sure I’ll try them (also note: I just found out Veggie Shreds aren’t vegan- makes a sad panda sad), but creamy, cheesey goodness is a huge part of my current diet. So when I was craving mac and cheese yesterday I did a little research and came up with a lot of recipes that had been veganized. I couldn’t believe that any of it would suffice but boy was I wrong! This recipe is simple, inexpensive and nutritious! I may eat it every day from now on!

Serves: 1-2
Start to finish: 10 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $1.00

Nutritional values if serving two (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 192 calories, 5g fat , 28g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 11g protein

Ingredients:

Sauce
- 1c unsweetened almond, soy or rice milk
- 1/3c nutritional yeast
- 1tbsp vegan butter
- 1tbsp white flour
- fresh ground pepper
- cajun seasoning
- garlic powder

- 1c uncooked whole wheat pasta

Method:

1. Cook pasta to package specifications
2. Melt butter in skillet on medium
3. Whisk flour and and milk together
4. Add milk mixture and yeast to pan
5. Stir constantly until heated through**
6. Add spices to taste
7. Pour sauce over drained pasta and enjoy!

** Add more milk if sauce is too thick until you reach desired consistency.

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Simple Snacks – Vegan “Cheesy butter” Noodles

* Here’s another “let’s go rummage through the fridge and see what pops up” creation. Honestly- I’m lovin’ it!

Now, before I continue. Udon noodles are one of my favorite ingredients. They’re easy to use, inexpensive, you can buy them precooked or dry, they take on amazing flavor, etc. I could go on forever. I think I’m going to do a spicy veggie stir fry with the leftover noodles I have and I have a udon noodle soup I did the other night I need to post. Anyway, I suggest anyone looking for a low calorie, lower carb count, easy to manipulate noodle to try this one on for size and let me know what you think!

Serves: 1
Cook: 5 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $1.00

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 185 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 435mg sodium, 1g fiber

Base Ingredients:

1/2 package Annie Chun’s Freshpack Udon noodles
1tsp. Earth Balance Soy Garden “butter” spread
14g (1/2 serving) Veggie Shreds Parmesan, Mozzarella & Romano blend
Fresh ground pepper

1. Heat noodles to package specifications, drain.
2. Top with butter, cheese and pepper, allow butter/cheese to melt and enjoy!

So simple! There are a million other things you could add to this. Steamed veggies, veggie broth, stir fried tofu, etc. It’s a good base that can easily be a snack or a quick entree!

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Simple Snacks – Saltine Nachos

* I love simplicity. As a matter of fact there is nothing more that I like more. When I open my fridge I don’t necessarily want to spend six hours in the kitchen to make a snack. NOW! Don’t get me wrong! I do love to cook, and there are days, even entire weekends where I will stay holed up in my kitchen experimenting and challenging myself to make and create. But snacking? I’m the polar opposite. So when I opened my fridge this lovely Saturday afternoon I someone decided that “Saltine ‘Nachos’” were a fantastic idea, which, somewhat surprisingly, they kinda turned out to be. I give unto to you: VEGAN SALTINE NACHOS OF EPIC WIN AND DELICIOUS! Please enjoy. :)

Serves: 1
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 seconds
Cost per serving: ≈ $1.00

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 187 calories, 6.7g fat, 23g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 750mg sodium

Ingredients and method:

1. Place 9 saltines on a plate and cover with 1/4c. veggie cheddar shreds and microwave or broil until softened
2. Top with diced onion and cilantro (or any other toppings you can think of!)

Suggested toppings:
- olives
- salsa
- taco flavored soy crumbles
- vegan sour cream
- hot sauce
- diced jalapenos

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