Tag Archives: cooking

Home Made Fresh Vegetable Soup: Good For Your Soul (and Your Health!)

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Aaaahhhh! There’s just something about soup that makes you want to put on PJ’s and hug yo mamma.

The problem is, when you buy soup from the store, you don’t really know what’s in it. It’s probably loaded with sugar or sodium. It’s probably got some chemical in it to make it last a long time on a shelf. Gross!

Soup is an intimate thing (that’s why we want someone to bring it to us when we are sick, right?) Let’s reacquaint ourselves with some kick-ass soup that is really good in your mouth and really good on your waistline!

Chef B’Friend’s Impromptu Veggie Soup Recipe: 

Ingredients: (and make sure they’re of good quality, and that means farmers market or organic. It’s important!) Continue reading

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Viva Las Vegas! Sin City Vegan Challenge: Meatless Meatball Fail

It’s the third day of the Las Vegas Vegan Challenge, and I’m sad to say… I had a bit of a fail.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

If you’re just joining me, catch up with everyone else by going a few entries back to the beginning of my Las Vegas Vegan Challenge: Travel Day and Day One. I’ve traveled from NYC to Las Vegas to visit my best friend who lives here.

I woke up early and had to fend for myself in my friend’s apartment. He had some microwaveable brussel sprouts from Trader Joe’s in the fridge. I popped them out of the bag and sautéed them with a little EVOO, salt, and pepper. Microwavable pouch: you’re stupid and I don’t need you. Be gone!

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The breakfast of champions!

Once my friend crawled out of his cave mid-day, we decided to go to The Meatball Spot in town square. Now, I know from eating the vegetarian meatballs from The Meatball Shop in Brooklyn, NY, that there is a bit of parmesan cheese in the vegetarian balls. I knew that even if I didn’t get any extra cheese on them, I’d still fail. Continue reading

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Homemade Tomato Sauce with Fava Beans (The Beans So Nice, You Shell Them Twice!)

I am a huge fan of the easy, ten minute tomato sauce a la Jamie Oliver. His recipe is brilliant and can be used as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or tomato soup. Rad, right?

I don’t strain it… I just blend it together and use all of it (I also add some thai chili in with the garlic at the beginning), but you get the idea. Anyway, I usually always use this method for tomato sauce… but not last night!

Yesterday I realized the fridge had accumulated a large number of Roma tomatoes. I’d been to the farmers market and Fairway and ended up with a nice little stash of the guys. Chef B’friend also remembered we had acquired a good amount of fava beans and had a brilliant idea. Time to make a vegan pasta dish! (Check that your pasta doesn’t contain egg… some do. If you’re not worried about the egg, then use whatever you want.)

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How to make Chef B’Friend’s Ziti and Homemade Tomato Sauce with Fava Beans: Continue reading

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My Memphis Vegan Challenge

This Tuesday, I’m puttin’ on my blue suede shoes and boarding a plane to Memphis, TN. The BBQ capital of the world. The dirty, dirty, yummy South. The fried Delta. Memfreako, TN.

And I’m going to be Vegan for the entire trip.

I hear people gasping in awe. I see heads dramatically turning, eyes wide with horror. Disbelief clouds the air like a thick fog hovering above the muddy banks of the Mississippi. Yeah. You heard me, boo. VEGAN in Memphis, the Fried-Meat-and-Cheese Mecca of the Mid-South.

It will be a challenge going to Huey’s and eschewing the cheddar on their delicious veggie burger. I may cry on the inside when my dad takes me to Memphis Pizza Cafe, and I cannot order the Ultimate Cheese. My soul will yearn for the feta block on that Castriati Salad at The Villa.

How am I going to survive this sadistic challenge?

Oh, there’s a blog on the internet focused on the exact thing I’ve got a question about? SWEET.

vegan crunk

So Bianca is an 18-year vegetarian and 8-year vegan who has this fabulous vegan food blog set in Memphis.

The best part about her blog is that she’s got a crunkalicious Memphis restaurant guide for vegans. #internetwin

Whoop that rack-of-ribs! Grit and Grind (on vegetables.) Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.

(Go check out Bianca at vegancrunk.blogspot.com)

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Upcoming Ten-Year High School Reunion: Oh, GOD, NO!!! WHY!?!?

I just realized that my ten-year high school reunion is coming up this fall. Thankfully, the universe was somewhat kind to me this morning, and I realized it’s in November. If it were at the beginning of September, I might have to make like a lemming and (metaphorically, of course) jump of the nearest cliff. IMG_0341

Combine the impending doom of the reunion and all the weddings I need to attend this fall, and it makes me want to crash diet like there’s no tomorrow. It makes me want to cut carbs and pop pills, which I can’t understand because I know that’s not the right way. It’s got to be my fear and not my better judgement whispering, “Eat only meat! I know you’re a vegetarian and don’t believe in it… but just buy a cow and eat only that for the next three months! You’ve got room in the freezer, right?”

I’m not going to crash diet. I’m not going to diet at all. I’m going to reverse the brainwashing in me that is screaming DIET! DIET! DIET! because diet’s don’t work. They. Do. Not. Work.

Continue reading

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Mayo-free Coleslaw! Warning: Seriously Addictive

I grew up hating coleslaw.

I was born hating it, and I carried a passionate desire within my child-self to destroy all that was coleslaw. This was a big deal because I’m from Memphis, TN (the BBQ capital of the universe). I hated coleslaw so much that I refused to eat BBQ for the first 15 years of my life because it was guilty by association. That cabbage-sprinkled cup of mayo looked disgusting, and I wrote it off forever until I found out there was a better way… the non-mayonaise way.

In the south, pasta salad is drenched in mayonnaise. Potato salad consists of potatoes swimming in mayo. Egg salad is mayonnaise with a side of egg. Cole slaw is not excluded from the mayo-party. It’s the host.

When I moved up to NY for college, I was ASTONISHED to find out my best friend Ray’s pasta salad recipe called for Italian dressing rather than mayonnaise. It was sacrilegious! And I liked it. Three years ago, my boyfriend informed me that we would be making coleslaw, and it didn’t include traditional mayo. With great trepidation and tremendous courage, I tried the stuff. Now, I’m addicted to it.

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I love this recipe because it’s super easy, super fast, and it keeps the veggies you use raw. Raw means nutrients. Delicious and healthy: Boom!

And now without any further ado, I present to you Chef B’friend’s Mayoless Coleslaw Recipe. (I’m going to share with you the completely white-stuff free version as well as the mayo-substitute version. Both are fantastic.)

Continue reading

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My NYC Fire Escape Garden

Growing your own food is easy, responsible, and super tasty. Plus, you don’t need that much space. Just utilize your imagination!

Reasons why growing your own food rocks:

  1. Lessen your carbon footprint by growing some things yourself. (Remember… those tomatoes at PathMart didn’t grow there. They grew hundreds of miles away. They hitched a ride on a huge truck across the country.)
  2. It’s cheaper to grow your own herbs than to keep buying those small packets. Plus, you only use about half of it before it goes off and you have to throw the thing away.
  3. Wanna be healthier? If you’ve grown it… you’ll eat it. Anything that makes us eat more fruits and veggies is a good thing.
  4. It forces you to be outdoors. Or, kind of outdoors. Anyway, you’ll probably get a little vitamin D from this activity.
  5. Monsanto can’t get you if you know where your food is coming from. (Make sure your seeds and seedlings are not genetically altered or modified.)
  6. You’ll reduce food waste. If you’ve waited for something to ripen on a vine that you take care of… you’re less likely to let it spoil and throw it out. That’s not really the case with that stupid banana that has gross brown spots you paid 50 cents for, right? That guy is going to spoil and get thrown out.
  7. It doesn’t take up that much time. I’d equate it to caring for fish in a tank.
  8. I sound like a hippie, but it’s fun. It turned fun. I don’t know how. Just kinda snuck up on me.

I can hear you say, “Well, I don’t have a backyard with room for a garden. I have no space!”

Dude. I live in New York City. I don’t have access to a yard… but I do use every inch of outdoorsey-type space I’ve got!

My First Fire Escape Garden:

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Chilis, mint, tomatoes, basil, lettuce. YUM!

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The tomatoes had a lovely view!

Continue reading

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Instant Oatmeal: Surprise! It’s not boring!

When we think about oatmeal, we think about mush. Then, we think about that scene from Oliver.


Not so appetizing. Right?

Let’s make this meal of oats into something that’s a bit more exciting, shall we?

Breakfast Idea:

If you’re in a rush, here’s an easy way to not skip breakfast. (Skipping breakfast will make you gain weight.)

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  1. Get some instant oatmeal (Ain’t nobody got time for the other stuff.)
  2. Shake some into a bowl and add just a little sea salt.
  3. Add boiling water to oatmeal to activate it, and mix with spoon.
  4. While the oatmeal is soaking, chop some strawberries or get out whatever other berries you want to add. (Chef B’friend’s fabulous mother suggests adding fresh ground black peppercorn to strawberries to make the flavor pop.)
  5. Add berries.
  6. Pour on a little soy or almond milk.
  7. Add honey to naturally sweeten it.
  8. Eat it!

Quick and easy. Delicious and will keep you from skipping breakfast. Or eating some horrid breakfast bar that has so many ingredients that you get bored whilst reading the label.

Dessert Idea: 

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This recipe was inspired by Chef B’friend’s mother’s recipe.

Everyone has an overripe banana or two hanging around the kitchen. Now, you don’t have to throw them away!

  1. Peel and mash bananas in bowl
  2. Add about 1 cup oatmeal (you can use instant) per banana in and mix. (Remember, you can stop right here for the no-bake option. Just form the cookies and throw them in the freezer to enjoy later!)
  3. Add any fillers you want: blueberries, chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, etc.
  4. Form the cookies
  5. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper or a silpat.
  6. Put them in the preheated (350 degrees) for 15 minutes
  7. Take them out. Let them cool. Look how cute they are. Eat them!

Do YOU have any bright ideas for using oatmeal? Leave a comment! 

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Ziplock Bag Citrus “Chicken” and Salad

Super healthy AND super tasty AND super easy? Heck yes! All you need to make this dish is a ziplock bag and a few simple ingredients.

This is one of the first recipes Chef B’friend taught me when I started to learn about food. It can be done with regular chicken, but I’d suggest you make sure that chicken had a healthy, happy life and could walk. (Know where your meat comes from!)

I use Quorn faux chicken… and you treat it just like it was meat. Quorn is one of the best vegetarian meatless options out there because it’s made from mushrooms rather than soy. (Too much soy in your diet can lead to an estrogen imbalance.)

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Here’s how to make this tasty dish!

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Union Square Farmers Market: Hell yeah!

Man, it’s hot out there! Too hot. I knew it was going to be a very tough task to take the subway from Harlem down and across to Union Square for the farmers market, but I took my man-pill and did it. And, boy, did it pay off.

The farmers market was so boss today. There was an abundance of everything, and I didn’t even get there early for the morning rush. It should have been leftovers-town by the time I made it there, but there was still SO much to choose from. It blew my mind.

Why go to the farmers market? Isn’t it a bunch of farming hippies who will try to make you read Kerouac and sing Hare Krishna? (Actually, there are hippies that dance around and sing Hare Krishna, but they’re off to the side.) I digress!

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