Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Freshness of Summer

Finally a summer break from school for us, and a time to catch up on all the delicious food we've had over the past few weeks! We are trying to take advantage of the fresh summer produce that is in season, such as peaches, corn-on-the cob, cucumbers, berries, etc... We are also trying to keep cool in this hot Texas weather (greater than 90 degrees, feels like over 100!).

Here is a list of our typical
breakfasts we've been eating this summer to fill us up and keep us cool and healthy!:

Barbara's Shredded Oats cereal, Kashi Shredded Wheat, Kashi Go-Lean crunch, Nature's Path Flakes (any variety), or any low-sugar low-fat granola, all served with fresh sliced peaches and Silk Plain Light Soy Milk!

On the weekends we do special breakfasts, such as homemade wheat biscuits, scones, tofu scramble, and homemade 4 grain oatmeal with peanut butter, banana, and ground flax seeds - hearty, filling, nutty, and creamy!

We also enjoy many of our afternoon snacks! We tend to eat a cereal bar of some sort and yogurt or a homemade smoothie.
Some of our snacks include: Odwalla Banana Nut, Peanut Crunch, and Choco-walla, which are extremely devine, soft, healthy, and tasty! Doesn't taste like a health bar, but more of a treat!
We also enjoy frozen bananas for a treat and fresh fruit smoothies. This week we enjoyed a fresh peach smoothie and a creamy mango smoothie! Can't get any better than fresh ripe seasonal fruit!

Now, for our delicious dinners, we decided to use fresh summer vegetables in new recipes we have not made before or recipes that we have not had since becoming vegetarian!

Fresh Summer Sweet Corn Soup, from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook, is the ultimate recipe you must make in the summer to take advantage of the delicious, sweet, and fresh local Texas corn! Although it is very time consuming and labor intensive, it is well worth it to make every once in a while. It has the flavor of fresh corn along with a hint of onions, carrots and yellow bell pepper flavors.

We also enjoyed our Homemade Sloppy Joes recipe, and used textured soy protein instead of ground turkey. It worked out really well, and was very healthy! Our sloppy joes are better than the typical meat joes because they have less sodium, added vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, celery, and bell pepper), and herbs/spices. When eating sloppy joes, as the name implies, it is very MESSY and requires alot of napkins! lol.....

For a great side dish, we spontaneously made an Edamame Salad, with bell peppers, celery, and red wine vinegar. It was very flavorful with great texture, and very filling! Easy, too!
We enjoyed another meal of Fantastic Food's Falafel in a pita with cucumbers, spinach, and tarragon mustard salad dressing. It is so fresh and flavorful. We personalized the falafel and mixed in some cornmeal and dried basil to make it taste less curry-ish. For another meal, we enjoyed the wheat pitas with a can of kidney beans. Yum!

About once a week we like to eat pasta in different ways. This time we used some wheat spinach spaghetti noodles and tossed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried italian seasonings, sauteed green bell peppers, diced tomatoes, garlic, and onions, and firm tofu pieces cooked on the skillet. Overall it was a great idea, but we accidently used too much balsamic vinegar, and it soaked the tofu and pasta and was too acidic for our tummys to handle! haha.... Next time, we'll just use less vinegar!
We used up the leftover frozen firm tofu from the pack we bought to make simple herbed tofu sandwiches, which is actually our favorite way to eat tofu! We just slice the tofu, sprinkle garlic powder and a little soy sauce and cook on med high heat on a non stick skillet till browned on both sides. Then we top heavily with dried herbs and avocado slices and put it on bread with spinach or lettuce leaves. So fresh, simple, healthy, and flavorful! The tofu is so chewy and lightly marinated.

Sometimes it is nice to take a break from cooking and use the crockpot! We cooked up some Vegetarian 2-Bean Spicy Chili. We used black beans and pinto beans, and added fresh Kalabasa squash (Mexican sqaush similar to summer zucchini), green bell peppers, onions, garlic, dried oregano, Mexican-flavored diced tomato cans, and jalapeno powder. Beware - the soup was FIREY! The fire department should have come to extinguish the spicy burn in our mouths! lol...but it was very healthy, fresh, and flavorful.

We served the chili with our favorite biscuits! We made some modifications and adapted our usual breakfast honey wheat biscuits to whole grain onion and herb biscuits with some cornmeal and ground flaxseeds. They were so soft and melt-in-your-mouth; really great and subtle to cool the mouth from the spiceness of the chili.

Having family from Germany and having taken German in high school, we have to post about our German feast! This week we adapted our usual German dinner to be vegetarian- friendly. It brought back so many great memories of our German experiences! Abendessen schmeckt ausgeseichnet! (Dinner tasted excellent!).

We made German cabbage by steaming cabbage and diced onions on the stove. Then sprinkled black pepper and some caraway powder when serving it! We also made our usual apple side dish, which is just apple chunks, cinnamon, sage, and nutmeg cooked in the oven or microwave. The aroma is fantastic! We served the cabbage and apples with German Shredded Potato Dumplings. It is a mix, however we made it healthier by adding 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and our own vegetarian mushroom gravy, from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook. It was such a great savory, comfort food meal!

Before we end this week's post, we have to make a note on our lunches that stood out to us: peanut butter apricot jam sandwiches, and hummus spinach pita pizzas.....

If you have never tried this before, you absolutely have to:
pb with apricot jam is devine! Better than any other jam. They pair so well together, and are a gooey sensation!

On the opposite side, don't try this: Manischewitz Hummus Mix
It was way too SALTY! We even added garlic powder and lots of herbs to make it more flavorful, but it was still almost inedible.

But the idea of hummus pita pizzas are a great meal! We put fresh spinach leaves and green bell pepper slices in whole wheat pitas and crisp/heat them on a skillet or panini grill. The spinach is cooked nicely and the pita is nicely toasted. Then, we spread the tops with hummus. Next time the hummus will be tolerable and the pita pizzas will be tastier, I am certain!

So, as another week approaches, we would like to tell all to remember to take time out of your busy schedules to take care of yourself. Relax, do Yoga, read a novel, or listen to music. We can not live life and strenghten our relationships with our family and friends if we do not love ourselves and have control over our own lives. Pray, meditate, and clear your minds......

Also remember take advantage of the freshness of summer fruits and vegetables! :)

Peace, LK

Oh, here is a great end for you all to savor: Maple 4-grain oatmeal Cornflake Chocolate Cookies, adapted from One Smart Cookie cookbook, by Julie van Rosendaal! Heavenly sinful!

1 comment:

springsandwells said...

that's a LOT of cooking that you two have been up to. wow. I have a lot of apricot jam, so I will definitely try the apricot-PB combo! thanks for the tip.