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Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

ahh yes. Another week as arrived. I spent the weekend moonlighting as Minnie Mouse at my niece’s Disney Carnival Birthday party (It was a bazillion degrees out!), working, and brunching it up with some friends at Fiori’s bakery (bagel sandwich with tempeh, avocado and spicy veganaise…so good!). I was hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep but that was the one thing I didn’t manage to fit in! There never seems to be enough hours in the day during the summer.

Anyway, due to the fact that it is, as a mentioned, a bazillion degrees out (and usually humid), my oven has officially been retired for the next few months (with the exception of roasted chickpeas…cause I’m obsessed!). I’ve been eating lots of salads, fruits and lighter meals which is why Wicked Vegan has been light on posts lately. Strawberries and blueberries drizzled with agave and shredded coconut (aka, my breakfast last week) is delicious but not super exciting! How many more weeks ’til fall? I miss the cool weather and comfort food!

Until then, here is one of the many salads I’ve been eating with yummy summer veggies.  Perfect for when you buy a crap load of corn on the cobb because they are 50 cents a piece…

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing
salad was adapted from For The Love of Cooking;
serves 1-2  

  • 1 cooked corn on the cob (can be cooked however you like- grilled, boiled, etc)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, approximately 6, quartered
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/8 c chickpeas (preferably roasted with a little salt and pepper)*
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • quinao (optional, about 1/2 cup per person)
Cut the cooked corn kernels off the cob. Toss with the tomatoes, avocado, chickpeas and strawberries. Drizzle Honey Lime Dressing (recipe below) over the corn mixture and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the flavors mingle  and the avocado breaks down a bit (makes the dish creamier. yum!). Eat as is or mix with quinoa for a heartier dish.
*To roast chickpeas for this recipe, toss one 14 oz can with 2 TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste). Roast for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. You can also use this cinnamon chickpea recipe with the cinnamon dressing for this salad and it also tastes delicious!

Honey Lime Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
Add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

I know this recipe seems to have a lot of ‘approximates’ and vague ingredient amount. It’s because I make it a little different each time. I may have found a really good deal on tomatoes that day but am running short on chickpeas, or I’m having this as a small lunch or I’m throwing quinoa in for dinner. I love it because I almost always have these ingredients in the house during the summer so I can make this  quickly for almost any meal/snack. It’s light for summer, requires minimal stove work (I always make the chickpeas in the evenings when it’s cooler and make one big batch at a time) and it tastes fresh- all the things I require from a summer meal!

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I told you I wasn’t over my avocado obsession!

Welcome to the week before payday! This is the 4 day stretch, Monday-Thurs, where I’ve squandered my paycheck over the last two weekends on sangria, celtics tickets and a general social life (oh yeah…and student loans) and am now attempting to feed myself on the odds and ends of my pantry.

For example, I found a pack of yeast from god-knows-when and was able to make myself a loaf of whole wheat bread. Of course, I added 2/3 cup of water instead of 1 2/3 cup and very nearly lost what has been my lunch all week. But my roommate, Bonnie, came to my rescue. She deserves a shrine or something.

Also, I’ve been eating A LOT of overnight oats due to the fact I bought rolled oats in bulk last time I went grocery shopping. I’m still convinced that’s the best breakfast ever.

For dessert, I’ve been eating these week old cookies and these no bake fudge balls. Except, this is my second attempt at making this ‘fudge’ and it came out all wrong again! Which is why I’m not sharing it with you. I’ll just link you to the original recipe so you can drool over what my lumpy bits of wannabe chocolate SHOULD look like.

Anyway, so here is my economic lunch I’ve been eating this week. I was craving sushi but that’s too rich for my budget this week. This is sort of the poor girls, practical take on a cucumber avocado roll (which is hands down one of my favorite foods) and something a little different from avocado toast:

Cucumber Avocado Sandwich
*all ingredients are approximate and will depend on the size of your bread*

1 slice of bread (free, since I had all the ingredients in my house)
1/4 c. hummus (free, since I had all the ingredients in my house)
1/2 an avocado (on sale at Whole Foods 3 for $2)
1/3 of a cucumber
a sprinkle of sesame seeds (free, had in my spice drawer)
sprinkle of soy sauce (free, had in my fridge)

Toast your bread. Slather on the hummus of your choice (I made garlic hummus). Top with sliced avocado, cucumber, sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of soy sauce.

I know it sounds weird but it’s so good! You can pair it with soup, such as miso soup which is suppose to be very good for you, or some raw carrot sticks. Or you can add another slice of bread and make it into a legit sandwich. Either way, it’s a pretty cheap lunch, even if you have to buy all the ingredients, such as bread and hummus. They will both carry you through the week.

What are some cheap meals you throw together when you’re on a budget?

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Hot Veggie Salad

Here’s the thing: Blogging can be hard!

Sometimes, it’s late Sunday night and you should be posting recipes but you are sitting in the Cheesecake Factory shoveling the 800th guacamole-ladened tortilla chip in your mouth with a friend under the pretense of “planning your week”. Ok, whatever…do we get free refills on the guac?

Other times, it’s a freezing cold Thursday and you should be posting recipes but you are at a friends soaking in the warmth of their apartment under the pretense of lending an ear to their woes. “oh man, that’s awful! Why don’t I just stay here a few more hours to comfort you…”

Or sometimes, I just plain forget! I take pictures of all my meals, I plan out my week for when and what I’m going to post, and then I just forget. It’s kinda pathetic.

But this recipe is amazing for lunches, so if you can pull yourself away from restaurant eating/socializing/whoring-yourself-out-for warmth, I would seriously recommend preparing a batch of this to be consumed throughout the week. It comes together pretty fast.

Hot Veggy Salad
from Healthful Pursuit

makes 2 cups (I tripled the recipe so I could have it for lunch during the week. )

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice, uncooked (the original recipe called for wild rice but I just used what I already had)

Cayenne roasted veggies

  • 1 yellow pepper, diced small
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 10 asparagus spears, diced small
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne (the cayenne is SO subtle. If you want spice, you definitely will need more)

Maple dressing

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp unpasteurized apple vinegar
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Herbamare or salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (if you are making this ahead of time like I did, keep the sunflowers to the side and add them right before you eat so they don’t get soggy)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Basmati rice (or your rice of choice) according to the package
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Place pepper, carrot, and asparagus in a large bowl. Stir in the coconut oil until all the veggies are coated. Your veggies will not taste like coconut. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cayenne. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender. (Alternatively, healthfulpursuits.com says you can do this on a stove top, cooking on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, but I like the taste of baked-in-the-oven veggies more, I don’t know why…)
  4. Remove veggies from oven and place in the bowl with rice.
  5. In a small dish combine olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar and mustard, salt and pepper. If you are making this head of time, store separately from the salad. I used an old, glass olive oil jar. It worked perfectly!
  6. When ready to eat, microwave the rice and veggies for a few minutes. Pour the dressing over the salad, stir, and top with sunflower seeds.

Aren’t the colors super pretty in this salad?! I was super excited for this recipe because I wanted something loaded with vegetables that wasn’t your standard romaine lettuce/carrots/dressing salad. That gets so boring after a while. Plus, its warmth and color helps fight off the winter blues, which has definitely hit Boston- finally. But all the colors in the world won’t motivate me to eat this if it isn’t easy and yummy, which it was. I was able to package this up into servings for lunch and just grab it in the morning! Love how easy that is!

Reused Olive Oil bottle works excellent for home made dressings!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make a few phone calls to see who with heat I can bribe with cookies in exchange for letting me crash on their futons/couches. It’s an icebox in my house!

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Sunday, I may have stayed up until about 2:30 am making 5 dozen cupcakes and my lunch for the week. And then I may have had to wake up at 6:30am…

And then Monday, I may have worked 7:30am-9:30pm between both my jobs and I may not have gotten to bed until 10:30, which may not have helped me recover from my 4 hours of sleep the night before…

And then I may have come home from work on Tuesday with every intention of going to my dance class, which I love to pieces, but I may have been so tired from Sunday and Monday, that I crawled into bed at 6, caught up on all my TV shows I’ve been missing out on (I’m so addicted to Once Upon a Time), snacked on some Cafe Indigo Vegan Chocolate cake and went to bed early…instead of going to dance class.

You know…that may have happened…

Good thing I had this yummy salad for lunch. Makes me feel less guilty about that whole crawl-into-bed-and-do-nothing thing…

“Back on Track” Wheatberry and Bean Salad
  from Oh She Glows

Yield: 7.5-8 cups

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry wheatberries, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing (or sub in your favourite dressing)

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt, ground black pepper, & Herbamare, to taste

Prepare wheatberries according to package. I could not find mine in the bulk section of Whole Foods so I had to buy it in the bag from the grain section. To prepare, I added 1 cup of wheatberries to 1 1/2 c. of boiling water and let sit for one hour. Drain excess water (if you have any).

In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, green onions). Add in chickpeas and stir.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

When the wheatberries are ready, stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley if desired.


I can’t say I loved the wheatberry, though, in fairness, mine look nothing like the ones on Oh She Glows so it may have been the type I bought. I think next go around, I’d substitute some brown basmati rice or try a different type of wheatberries.

Also, this recipe called for 1 cup of fresh, chopped parsley but I couldn’t find it anywhere at the grocery store. They were all sold out. It still has a good flavor without it.

It’s appropriate this salad is called “Back on Track” because after being a lazy bum all Tuesday evening, I’m seriously going to have to get back on track today!!

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Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

Do you know what I slept in last night? Are you ready for this? I’m going to tell you in the order they would have to be put on:

-black tights

-knee high socks

-fleece boot slippers

-legwarmers

-leggings

-flannel PJ bottoms

-tshirt

-long sleeve shirt

-hoodie

-scarf

-fingerless gloves

Ridiculous? Yes. Was I warm and toasty in bed? Yes!

I told you my apartment was cold. I wasn’t joking!!

Because my roommates and I have not turned on the heat yet (its suppose to get up to the 60s at the end of the week and we are waiting to plastic our windows so we aren’t heating the outside), all I can think of is hot things like:

-blankets

-hoodies

-hot showers

-hot tea

-hot coffee

-hot soup

-Ryan Gosling without a shirt on

Hey, Whatever works!

I was actually planning on giving you guys a homemade peanut butter cup recipe today but really, I should have posted that last week so that you were all prepared for the Halloween onslaught of non-vegan candy. If you are anything like me, you’ve shoved your face with seen so much candy the last few days that having more presented to you would simply be over kill. Plus, peanut butter cups are best served cold and I can’t even think of going near my refrigerator.

So here’s more soup. This is approximately my 100th soup recipe since I started this a month ago. I’m probably the worst blogger ever. But its cold outside (or inside, if your me). And our bodies want to hibernate.  And soup is so good for that! Plus, you can pack it in nice to-go containers and bring it to lunch so it saves you time AND warms you up AND its stuffed with good stuff.

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup
courtesy of my friend, Melissa Constantine

makes 3-5 servings

2 bags of frozen butternut squash or 2-3 fresh butternut squash, depending on the size, cut into 1″ cubes (I used frozen)
3 apples (not red delicious), peeled and chopped
1/2 an onion
1 large container of veggie broth
1 stick of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Brown sugar- optional
Cream (such as the cashew cream I made for the Mushroom Onion Soup)- optional
Sunflower seeds/pecans- optional

Melt the butter slowly, and add the onion. Cook the onion just a bit, then add in apples. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in butternut squash. It cooks faster, so add it last. Stir. Add broth. Let bubble, stirring every once in while for an hour, or until the squash has completely fallen apart and the apples are easily squashed with a spoon.

Add about a tsp of pumpkin pie spice, then blend with an Immersion blender. Don’t have an Immersion blender? A Regular blender works just as well. Puree until consistently smooth.

Taste it and decide if you would like to add the optional ingredients such as brown sugar, if you want it sweeter, or a few tablespoons of cashew cream, if you want it thicker.

I opted not to add these ingredients. I think the apple made the soup sweet enough and I was planning on having the soup for lunch so wanted it to be on the lighter side, so opted out of the cream. If I was serving this for dinner or wanted an extra kick of protein, I would most likely add the cashew cream.

I did sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pecans, though. I love smooth soups for lunch but I like adding that little bit of crunch. It helps me from feeling like I’m not eating hot baby food.

Lunch for the week. Yeah!

Do you think Ryan Gosling is single? I bet he has his heat on. Or, you know, enough body heat for two…

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oh, Hello Cold

So here’s the thing with being a 20-something at an entry-level job living in a city- you don’t have a ton of money. At least not with a degree in english and art history and a nasty Starbucks habit you can’t kick.

This means that I have to be stingy- I can’t purchase that studded Burberry purse that I’ve been drooling over for over a year. (Ms. Lindsey-I-have-no-job-but-800-outstanding-lawsuits-Lohan gets one though. WHATEVER!) That trip to Disney World so I can go to the halloween night 5 days in a row and wear 5 different costumes ain’t happening. Decorating my kitchen with gadgets from Crate and Barrel will have to wait…until I’m married…and they are purchased for me.

This frugal attitude also extends to my apartment. My very drafty apartment. The roommates and I do our best to keep the heat down low. Which means from mid-October until May my house is cold. Sometimes very cold. Like, sleep-in-multiple-layers-and-gloves cold.  Though no one will come visit us and we walk around in full length sleeping bag/body suit things, it does helps us save money so we aren’t eating only Ramen Noodles (and I can save for a trip to Italy).

Though we avoid the Ramen, soup does helps fight off the chill, which is already starting to creep into the apartment. This mushroom onion soup is definitely going to be in rotation this winter. PLUS, it may give me a legitimate excuse to buy an immersion blender. Yeah! one gadget I don’t have to wait for my wedding day for!

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup with Cashew Cream

from JoytheBaker.com

2 TBS olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of cremini mushrooms. cleaned and sliced

1 TBS soy sauce

1 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce

about 1 tsp course ground black pepper

3 cups vegetable broth

salt to taste

For the Cashew Cream*:

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup water

*you may substitute the Cashew Cream with 3/4 cup half and half or 8 oz. of silken tofu

Cream from just cashews and water. How cool is that?!

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions to hot oil and saute until translucent and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, stir, and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and cook until mushrooms are cooked and broken down, about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add cracked pepper and  vegetable stock and cook at a simmer until mushrooms are completely soft.  This took me about 10 to 15 minutes.

While the soup simmers, prepare the cashew cream.  In a blender, combine raw cashews and water.  Blend on high until smooth.  Pour into a measuring cup and set aside.  Don’t worry about washing the blender… we’re going to use it to blend the soup.

When mushrooms are cooked through, add about one third of the soup to the blender.  Hot soup rises high in the blender so definitely be careful how high you fill the blender.  Blend soup on low, increasing the speed to high, until no large mushroom chunks remain.  Pour blended soup into a clean pot or large bowl.  Blend the remaining soup in batches.  *If using silken tofu instead of cashew cream.  Blend the silken tofu in with the mushrooms and broth.

Add the cashew cream to the blended soup and stir to incorporate.

Place a fine mesh strainer over the pot that you cooked the soup in.  In batches, pour the blended soup into the fine mesh strainer and work the soup through the strainer with a rubber spatula.  Don’t use a wooden spoon… you could get splinters in your soup… seriously.  Heat and serve the strained soup.  Or place in a freezer safe container for a few weeks down the road.

This recipe was delicious! And how cool is the cashew cream thing?! Cashew’s have such a subtle taste to them that it didn’t overwhelm the onion and mushroom taste. Also, I didn’t bother straining it. The blender did a good enough job and, honestly, I don’t have a strainer that fine. If you don’t have a blender or aren’t into soup that sort of resembles baby food, that’s cool. I tried a bite of the soup before it went into the blender, with just the onions, mushrooms and broth all cooked together, and it was amazing! It was sort of a different twist on a french onion soup.

So, technically, this soup recipe could actually be considered two soup recipes- a vegan cream of mushroom AND a French Onion Mushroom soup, depending on how you prepare it. Don’t you just love this blog =)

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