dining in

Five Ways to Use... Beet Greens

Beet Greens Plant Based For Me

Vibrant greens and purples! I love when my plate is visually stimulating. It's not hard to make fresh produce (especially beet greens) look appealing. This was my second time making beet greens. I usually end up throwing them out because they spoil so much faster than the beet root. What a waste! Here are some recipes to help you (and I) avoid throwing out pretty, dark leafy greens that are packed with iron, calcium, and magnesium. 

1. Grape jelly veggie breakfast toast please. I know it sounds bizarre (think fresh, sweet, salty, and warm). The photo above features beet greens, purple seedless grapes, edamame, two slices of toast, and sea salt. To make- wash the grapes and greens, add to a pan with a bit of olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar), cover the pan, cook until the greens begin to wilt (add a bit of water if they look dry), layer the ingredients on your plate, then add some sea salt. 

2. Eat them as a side using this recipe that has a sherry vinegar and garlic base.

3. This filling salad has two kinds of plant protein (quinoa and chickpeas). Switch out the dairy-based dressing in the recipe with another like italian or balsamic vinegar. 

4. Add them to my favorite avocado-banana green smoothie.

5. Switch out the spinach in this frittata recipe. No eggs needed. 


Book Rec: This Cheese is Nuts

This Cheese Is Nuts By Julie Piatt Plant Based For Me

Happy Holidays! We kicked off the season-of-stuffing-your-face at my house with our annual Harvest Fest potluck. It's a tradition that my old roommate and I started nine years ago. I took this opportunity to make two recipes from the book This Cheese is Nuts. It's a vegan cookbook with recipes for everything from cream cheese to aged hard cheeses. I made the Provolone and the Cashew Cheddar. Since I was crunched for time I did not store them in the fridge overnight (if you want them to truly harden this is necessary), but otherwise I followed the recipes. You just soak cashews overnight, dump the ingredients into a serious blender (I like my refurbished Blendtec), mix until smooth, then heat on the stove top for about two minutes until it thickens. You can serve them hot, keep them in the fridge overnight, or place them in the freezer for three hours like I did.  

I wouldn't call them cheese, but they are delicious spreads. I might be biased because I am excited about the general idea of homemade vegan cheese so I asked my husband for his opinion. He liked the provolone one better (it might be because of the white truffle oil), but overall he said he didn't like them enough to seek them out again. 

Fast forward a few days... I made the Botiija Olive Rosemary Cheese Spread for a work party.  It was a flavor explosion. A++. However, I did not follow the recipe exactly because I could only find dried botija olives so I added two extra olives plus a tiny bit of water until the consistency was right.  Someone mentioned that it would be a really good stuffed mushroom filling. 

Next up on my list are the Mozzarella and the Cream Cheese. I will update this post once I have made and eaten them. Oh, the things I do for you guys!  

I'm going to be straight with you. This Cheese is Nuts has proven to be a delicious and welcome new take on non-dairy cheese, but there are barriers to entry when it comes to executing the recipes.

The first one is money. Most of the recipes require a hardcore blender (i.e. a Blendtec or Vitamix) which are not cheap. I bought mine refurbished from Blendtec so it was about half of the original retail price. A good portion of the recipes also require a dehydrator. It looks like you can get one for about sixty bucks on Amazon.  

The second barrier is ingredients. You can definitely buy things like agar powder (gelatin substitute) and botija olives online, but not a lot of grocery stores carry them. You have to love cooking and be a bit adventurous to make some of these recipes. 

Overall, the cookbook is groundbreaking in a lot of ways and it could significantly help improve non-dairy cheese options. I think the next few cookbooks that are less intimidating and more approachable on the same topic will probably become very popular and widely used. 

If you're not feeling up to the task of making your own "cheese" do not hesitate to try the Kite Hill or Follow Your Heart non-dairy cheeses which are available in a lot of grocery stores. (This is not a paid endorsement!) 

hit me up with your questions about non-dairy cheese! nom nom nom. subscribe here.   

Food is love

My friend (since birth) is getting married in a few weeks. She was a baby at the time, but she still came to my baby shower! No excuses y'all. That is what real friends do. I don't think I have to explain to you at length why she is basically family. 

Myself, the bride to be, and our buddy wayyy back in the day.

Myself, the bride to be, and our buddy wayyy back in the day.

There are so many traditions around weddings. One tradition that is beautiful, meaningful, and worth cherishing is spending quality time with your nearest and dearest celebrating love. 

When it was time to plan the details for her bachelorette weekend I volunteered to cook dinner for the group on our first night in Austin, Texas. I wanted to show the bride how much I loved her and I thought the best way to do that (besides wearing a bridesmaid dress) was to cook a meal in her honor. 

This is when it became a challenge.

  1. I do not like to cook meat. When I do consume meat (at about 20% of my meals) it has been prepared by someone else. Check out my story for more details on how I eat. 
  2. Two people in the group cannot eat dairy.
  3. Two people in the group cannot eat gluten.

Keeping those things in mind, what could I cook for a group of seven women that would feel celebratory and hearty? We had plans to hit the bars after dinner-a light salad was not an option. 

Here is what we ate:

Pear Kale Slaw from the Nom Yourself cookbook.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Vegan Meatballs from The Minimalist Baker. Ours didn't have bread crumbs (for our gluten-free friends) and they didn't taste any different from how I usually make them.  

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Newman's Own Marinara Sauce

Enjoy Life Brownies which are gluten-free and can be found on Thrive Market.

The delish chickpea meatballs right before we covered them in marinara sauce. 

The delish chickpea meatballs right before we covered them in marinara sauce. 

It all worked out in the end! We ate the leftovers at 2AM. It was a lively weekend with a lovely group of women.

I believe it's important to cook for the people you care about and give a damn about what you feed them. You have the power to send them off into the world with a full heart and a happy belly. That's love man.