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Vegetarian

St Patrick’s Day vegetarian tart: There’s spring in every slice!

This tart is a great vegetarian alternative to the corned beef dishes that are typically served on St Patrick’s Day. It is light and chock-full of veggies, and it leaves you satisfied and feeling great in your own skin, as any spring dish would. DH loved it so much that he had it for lunch at work several days in a row – believe me, that’s some serious compliment coming from a carnivore, lol The freshness of the dill coupled with the mildness of the potatoes and cabbage and the assertive notes of the authentic Irish cheddar make this tart a flavorful treat fit to enjoy all year long 🙂 Keep Reading

Quinoa parfait recipe: Eat your way to health!

I don’t know about you, but this long and frigid Chicago winter has taken a toll on me: I’ve experienced cold after cold after cold, and I’ve had very little energy to do anything else but rest. Being pregnant and having a slightly weaker than normal immune system has most likely contributed to my poor state, as of late. Yet, I cannot help but wonder how my health would have been if I’d been more diligent in following a healthier eating menu. With a very busy schedule and limited time to cook (usually during the weekend, when we cook for an entire week in advance), my eating at work has featured way too many cookies and candy bars. I know, I know: I’m guilty as charged!

Fortunately, there’s still time to resort to healthier eating options and to feel better in your own body this spring, and I for sure am determined to make this happen. For a start, I’m planning to make this delicious quinoa parfait more often to keep the “cookie&candy temptation” away. Make this parfait, and you will not regret it: you’ll enjoy sweetness without guilt and healthfulness without laborious cooking 😉 Keep Reading

Call it zacusca, ajvar, relish, dip, or any other way you like: Its real name is delicious!

Looking for a recipe to make on Game Day? Look no further, I have what you need! This is an appetizer I ate a lot as a child, and I love eating it today with my family. We call it zacusca, but you will find it in other Eastern European cuisines under the name of ajvar. This light, low calorie dish is a bit time-consuming, yet also unbelievably easy to make: it’s a a delicious concoction of open-fire roasted eggplant and bell peppers and oven-roasted tomatoes, with extra helpings of crushed tomatoes. It’s aromatic, wholesome, and truly addictive in its simplicity. My daughter loves to eat zacusca on fresh bread, and her hands and smiling face smeared with this colorful spread are truly a vision of happiness 🙂 Make this at home instead of buying it from the grocery store, and you will not be disappointed! Keep Reading

Three mushroom & watercress sandwich: a super-nutritious vegetarian option for the cold winter months

Now that the holidays are over, we are back to our usual routine in the kitchen. No more batches of cookies baked in excessive numbers, no more turkeys or steaks served alongside generous portions of creamy, buttery carb-laden goodness. It’s a new year and time to eat lighter – and since it’s winter, it’s also time to eat as nutritiously as possible 😉

The sandwich below is perfect this season because it has key ingredients to build up energy and to replenish lost vitamins and minerals. It’s vegetarian and protein-packed, with proteins coming from several kinds of mushrooms: cremini, portobello (mature cremini mushrooms), and shiitake. It also has watercress, which should come as no surprise to you if you’ve been following this blog for awhile and have read my previous posts about watercress and my love for this rather underutilized veggie. Packed full of nutrients and easy to digest, watercress has a slightly peppery taste, which makes it the ideal partner to the robust mushroom flavor. Add a few sprigs of young asparagus, and you have the perfect light lunch or dinner option – all homemade and delicious!

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Grilled veggie sandwich: celebrating the end of summer with two secret ingredients to match :-)

Keeping the family happy and well-fed this summer has been easy thanks to a marvelous piece of technology: the grill! We bought our first outdoor grill back in June, and now we finally know what we’ve been missing out on. Grilling outdoors has made our weekends memorable, and our journey through charred flavors has been exciting and rewarding. Gone are the days of using a grill pan for our grilling needs. It’s grill pan out (for now), outdoor grill in! 🙂

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Calendula summer salad: make it now, love it forever!

What’s the first thing you do when you are bitten by mosquitoes? I don’t know about you, but I immediately cover the affected skin area with calendula cream. Indeed, calendula (also called pot marigold) has been my family’s go-to option for minor scrapes and bruises for as long as I can remember. Nowadays, I use calendula cream to moisturize and treat my daughter’s skin. Such was the case yesterday, for instance, when she was bitten by mosquitoes during our usual walk in the park.

In 2008, calendula was named Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association, an official recognition of the exceptional healing properties and culinary value of this plant. You read that right: culinary value. The petals of calendula flowers can be eaten raw (in salads) or cooked (in soups and stews). To satisfy my family’s appetite for fresh summery dishes, I recently used calendula petals as an ingredient in the salad pictured above. The tangy, peppery taste of the petals made this a summer salad like no other – a salad packed with layer upon layer of flavor, a great lunch option for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Here’s a salad to remember 🙂

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When life gives you eggplants, you make an eggplant & sweet pepper panino!

Today, post #2 covering my Pure Flavor veggie cooking bonanza, where I highlight the taste and versatility of eggplants. I’m so excited to be writing about good, nutritious food!

I had a colorful assortment of Pure Flavor baby eggplants and I immediately thought I should use them to make my family’s version of baba ghanoush, one of the oldest recipes ever posted on this blog. In the end however, I decided to push myself a little harder (lol) and after some thinking and experimentation I came up with this vegetarian panino recipe, in which I married the gorgeous eggplants pictured below with the Pure Flavor Aurora Sweets peppers.  More on these peppers will be revealed in my upcoming veggie post #3 (hint, hint!) Keep Reading