Category Archives: Vegetarian

Everyday Life: Weeks 12 and 13

Here is a little peek at the last couple weeks.

Everyday Life: Weeks 12 and 13:

Homemade Indian food! Palak paneer, paneer makhani, garlic naan, steamed basmati rice and Punjabi spiced cauliflower.

The next night I experimented with leftovers and turned them into calzones, each stuffed with rice and either palak paneer or leftover paneer makhani.

We drove south to California… Forgot to check the weather for the drive… oops. Snow flurries off and on for the first two hours of driving.

Guess who else got to go on our road trip? (Note all the toys behind her.)

Craig, Silas, Silas’s mom and I went to the Bay Area at the start of Spring Break. First off, our first Golden State Warriors game. It was a lot more fun than I’d anticipated!

We stopped by Lake Merritt in Oakland to walk Percy the next morning.

Craig and I also decided to check out an international aquarium shop we drove past while also on a hunt for a good burrito. This fella caught my eye. And tried to attack my face.

Silas and his mom went to Six Flags so Craig and I ventured into San Francisco for a night.

An unplanned trek up to Coit Tower.

We walked past Liguria Bakery and I instantly thought of Tracy Shutterbean. Though I wanted some raisin focaccia, they were closed. All we found were these perma-dogs on the side of the building.

After walking all over North Beach and Chinatown in the wee morning hours, we stopped by Sam Wo near our hotel for 2AM vegetable chow fun.

The next day we met up with Silas and his mom for lunch at Mi Pueblo, which we discovered a few years ago. I ordered 3 sopes (photo is just one of the three)…little did I know they’d be big enough to leave me with two plates of food. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

After lunch, we decided to venture to the Redwoods near San Geronimo.

Silas amidst the redwoods…

You know who also enjoyed the forest and little streams.

Misadventures.

After the redwood adventure we decided to drive on to Tomales Bay. It was rainy, windy and cold when we got there, but c’est la vie. Get me near any body of water and I am happy.

I always enjoy getting back in my own kitchen when we get home. His and Hers dinner sammiches. His: tempeh bacon, tofurky, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, garlic basil mayonnaise. Hers/MINE: thick cut roasted chicken, muenster cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, curry vegenaise. Both on local made buttermilk bread.

I left the room for – literally 1 minute – came back and guess who’d cuddled up with my shirt? Haha

Still cold enough for soup around here… corn chowder with tempeh bacon.

Totally necessary. Puff pastry morning bun experiment.

Reunited after our road trip. They’d both freak out if they were awake, realizing they were touching each other.

I had been craving crab cakes for weeks. Soooo. I made Dungeness crab cakes, curry aioli, pink lady apple salad and a Vitamix whole fruit frozen margarita.

Surprise daffodils from the husband.

A recipe that was surprisingly good! Brown rice, Quorn chik’n skewers (marinated in a garlic ginger soy sauce), and spicy peanut sauce.

Always a staple meal around here, even when/especially when we have surprise extra kids in the house for dinner. EVERY WEEKEND: “Can I have a sleepover with __________ tonight?” Cheese enchiladas, beans, rice. These chips.

When you’re working in the yard, then realize the dog’s gotten awfully quiet for the last half hour…

Organic strawberries were on sale… so, strawberry shortcake tonight. With sweet biscuits, like how my mom would make it when I was a kid.

You’re welcome. (This is how I feel like I look when I sleep, too.)

Hope you’ve had a lovely couple of weeks!

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

We’ve been hosting sleepovers nearly every weekend for the last few weeks. My dilemma is never that I adamantly don’t like children (OKKKK that’s not the dilemma MOST DAYS). I often find myself trying to think of a vegetarian meal that will go over well with non-vegetarian guests, especially if it’s a type of cuisine they’re not used to.

Growing up, if I didn’t want to eat what my mom made (sorry, Mom) then I could: 1) eat it anyway or 2) make my own food. In my adulthood, I find myself trying to appease 9-11 year old appetites. WHAT.

I decided to take a chance and make fettuccine alfredo one Friday night when I knew we were hosting one of Silas’s friends. To my amazement, Silas demolished his dinner. His buddy ate two big platefuls AND the next week when he slept over again, he said to me, “Auntie J, that pasta was SO GOOD! OH MY GOODNESS!” So, here’s the recipe for you to have as well!

Note:  I’ve learned that when a recipe calls for scarce ingredients, using quality products is important.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 6-8 folks.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds dried fettuccine noodles
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and fresh ground pepper, to your liking
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (4 of 8)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water (this is your chance to flavor the pasta as it cooks, so don’t be afraid to salt profusely). Cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add the heavy cream, butter, and lemon juice to a medium-sized pot of their own, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to combine. Continue heating and stirring until the butter completely melts and the mixture is well combined. Add the cheese, a half-cup at a time, stirring with each addition until the sauce is smooth. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Reduce heat to low.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving about one cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot, then pour the sauce over the noodles. Gently toss well, until all the noodles are covered with sauce. If you need to, add some of the pasta cooking water to help make everything more smooth.

Serve immediately, topping with a bit of fresh ground pepper if you’d like.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (5 of 8)

Everyone should have some recipes in their go-to repertoire. Things you KNOW you can make that everyone will enjoy eating. Around here, the go-to staples probably revolve around Mexican food. Enchiladas? Hell yes. Tacos with homemade corn tortillas? Indeed.

My husband is a big fan of soups. I’ve learned to keep a few go-to soup recipes at hand (even though I am not a particular soup enthusiast). One flavor that goes over particularly well in our house, even with the kids is potato leek soup.

I think a good soup encompasses layers of flavor. Enriching the flavor of each ingredient can help to deepen the complexity of the final soup. For that reason, this potato leek soup includes oven-roasted potatoes, roasted shallots and roasted garlic. The potato still adds creaminess while the roasted shallots and garlic add a faint sweetness. The combination of flavors is delicious!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (7 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
4 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus more for garnish if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (6 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the diced potatoes, shallots, and garlic in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Toss until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture on a large rimmed sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (2 of 8)

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.

Add the potato/shallot/garlic mixture, broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (3 of 8)

Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender or work in batches in a high-speed blender, until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water or more broth to thin it out to your liking. Gently bring back up to temperature and serve hot.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (4 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (8 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (2 of 8)

As people start increasing their awareness about what goes into our mouths — is it low fat/low carb/low sugar? Gluten free? Organic? Paleo? — it seems we’re also allowing ourselves to be more judgmental of other people’s food choices. I think eating should be enjoyed; food should be relished. Its taken some real struggles and work for me to get to that point in my life. However, at the ripe ‘ole age of 30, I have come to the decision that calling people out for their food choices isn’t a healthy behavior. I don’t believe in food shaming — shaming people for what they choose to put into their bodies doesn’t simply create feelings of guilt (I shouldn’t/ should/ can’t/ won’t eat this/that) — it can feed into heightened concerns about following “perfect” diets, causing obsession and removing the joy of eating all together.

That isn’t to say I want to merely eat crap and not have any responsibility over such choices. I do think moderation for any choices is smart. As a kid, I ate my share of fast food, sodas, copious amounts of sugar… Was Taco Bell my lunch choice at least a few times a week? Oh yes. When we went out to breakfast with family friends occasionally on the weekend, was Burger King often my choice (because… well, french toast sticks)? Most certainly. I don’t eat that way now, mainly because it doesn’t make my body feel good afterwards.

There are times I crave foods for pure nostalgic reasons, other times simply because they taste good, never mind the stomachache I’ll probably have later on. Throughout my childhood, I remember the deciding factor on whether to go to Burger King or McDonald’s came down to two things:  the first had chicken tenders and onion rings, the latter chicken nuggets and french fries. When the desire for onion rings hit with full force recently, I knew a trip to good old BK wasn’t in my future, and I wanted to find a better alternative to deep fried batter coated onion rings. The following recipe is a crispy baked version, and it’s both tasty and fully satisfies the craving for what could be a much unhealthier snack!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (5 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
2 large yellow onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
canola oil
dipping sauce of choice (ketchup, ranch, etc.)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (7 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush a couple baking sheets with canola oil.

Peel off the outermost layer from the onions and discard. Cut off the ends, sparing as much of the onion as possible. Slice the rest of the onion into rings about 1/2-inch thick. Separate the rings, placing them in a bowl of cold water while you cut the rest of the onions.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, seasoning salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder Place the panko breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.

Take one onion ring, gently toss it in the flour, being sure to coat all sides well. Lightly shake off any excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, being sure to coat all sides. Lastly, toss the ring in the panko crumbs to coat. You can somewhat firmly press the egg-coated rings into the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick to the onion. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining onion rings.

Lightly drizzle the tops of the onion rings with canola oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, flipping once about halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container then reheated at 350 degrees F until hot and crisp (about 10 minutes).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (6 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (1 of 8)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (3 of 5)

Are you one of those folks who plans their family’s meals a week at a time? I try to be that person… but let’s be real. I really suck at meal planning. Part of the deal is I frequent the grocery store often enough that purchasing the ingredients for just one dinner isn’t a huge deal — often I know I’ll be back in the store again the next day at some point, thus being able to shop for tomorrow’s dinner… tomorrow. The other aspect I somewhat enjoy is the flexibility of not knowing what the hell I’m going to cook. Sometimes I wake up at 8:30 in the morning and think what am I going to make tonight? Then I peruse recipes over my morning cup of coffee for ideas. (Some days this isn’t a pleasant activity; I wake up wishing I knew what was coming so I could cut out the extra work!)

So on a day I had already planned our dinner, and in fact decided I was going to make these burgers, while taking Silas to baseball practice he suddenly said, “Hey! Can we please have sloppy joes sometime soon?” I thought about what I had planned for dinner and realized I could probably transform my plan of burgers into sloppy joes, using ingredients we already had at home. “Sure! We can have them tonight,” I said, only to realize when I got home we were out of ketchup, a staple ingredient in sloppy joe mixture! (Who runs out of ketchup?!) Not wanting to run to the store at the mad-rush hour,  I did a little hunting online and figured out there are many quick homemade ketchup recipes, and simply made my own.

As a kid I remember loving when my mom made us sloppy joes — usually for a weekend lunch option. There’s certainly some childhood nostalgia when you first bite into one of these sandwiches. The culmination of those childhood memories and the deliciousness of the bite are unbeatable.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (2 of 5)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the Ketchup:
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
small pinch of ground cloves
3/4 cup of water

For the Sloppy Joes:
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tubes Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup water
1 full recipe of  ketchup (*see recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to your desire

8 large hamburger/kaiser/onion buns (really, whatever your preferred type is)
8 slices American cheese (optional)
dill pickles (for serving)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (4 of 5)

Directions:

Make the ketchup: place all of the ingredients in bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least one hour to let the flavors come together.

Make the sloppy joes: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, crumble the Gimme Lean into the pot. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently, breaking the larger chunks up.

Add in the green peppers and onions. Stir, and then add the 1 cup water, the ketchup and garlic. Stir to combine, and then add the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cumin, worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, another 20-30 minutes.

To serve, either steam or lightly toast the buns, open-faced. (I prefer steamed!) Add a slice of cheese if you’d like, then spoon a generous amount of the veggie-meat mixture onto the bottom roll. Top with the other bun and enjoy immediately, served alongside a crisp dill pickle (just do it).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (5 of 5)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (1 of 5)