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healthy eating

Stuffed mushrooms are on the menu this fall: so delicious!

What’s your go-to fall dish? Maybe a creamy soup? Maybe a hearty stew? I don’t know about you, but soups and stews are big hits in our family at the moment. As soon as the mornings get cooler and the nights get longer, these two kinds of quintessential comfort foods start calling out our names πŸ™‚ They don’t necessarily have to include meat – as a matter of fact, we thorough enjoy vegetarian or even vegan dishes at this point in the year. I grew up eating lots of fruits and veggies (we didn’t have access to meat back in the day), and my earliest childhood experiences cooking alongside my mother have inspired me to continue this family tradition of eating a diet chock-full of produce.

And yet, soups and stews are not the only things you can eat during the fall, right? Enter these delicious stuffed portabella mushrooms I’ve been making with increased frequency lately 😉 I wanted to get out of the usual “soup and stew routine” and to challenge myself, and the weekly sale at the local grocery store could not have come at a better time. My recipe is vegetarian, but you can leave the cream cheese out or use a plant-based alternative for the ultimate vegan treat. Stuffed mushrooms can be such an exciting and creative dish, after all!

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More eating from the pantry: tricolor vegetable pasta salad – with fresh basil for DH!

If you’ve been reading my posts these past few weeks, you know what we’ve been eating up: the pantry! πŸ™‚ Every day this summer, I have worked diligently to declutter the pantry and to give new life to long-forgotten ingredients – and the work is far from over. In the process, I discovered I had a stockpile of high quality rice and pasta, perfect components for easy light summer salads. These pantry staples can be used creatively particularly in the summer, when there’s an abundance of in-season affordable produce.

Growing up, my family and I had no knowledge of pasta salad and how delicious it could be. We would usually eat pasta with feta cheese, if available, or with hot milk, with some sugar on top. Our meal was nothing fancy: pasta was sustenance, a good filler for our bellies when nothing else was available to eat. As we went on to discover different countries, cultures, and eating habits, we gained a better understanding of the versatility of pasta. We said goodbye to pasta with warm milk (we still make it from time to time, but as a treat/dessert, not as a main meal), and hello to pasta salads and their vibrant mix of flavors. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to pasta, right? πŸ™‚

To make the salad pictured above I used one of the best gourmet pastas I’ve ever had the chance to work with: Tuscanini Foods pasta, imported straight from Italy. Keep Reading

My vegan couscous salad: eating from the pantry, summer-style!

What have you been up to this summer? I don’t know about you, but cleaning and tidying up the house has been one of my priorities. I know it sounds boring, routine and uneventful, but that’s the truth: I have been using my summer break to bring some semblance of order to our house. I hardly ever get the chance to do it during the school term, and I have found that two small kids can cause a lot of clutter – or maybe I’m just disorganized and looking for someone else to blame 😛 In any case, these past few weeks I’ve been on a mission to declutter things around the house, starting with the pantry.

Working my way through the pantry has led to many discoveries – who knew I had so many awesome ingredients which needed to be used? Take Bob’s Red Mill’s tricolor pearl couscous, for example. Keep Reading

Potato lemon balm salad: summer cooking at its best!

Did you know use of “uncommon herbs” is one of this year’s hottest culinary trends? I picked up this information while doing research in preparation for attending the latest National Restaurant Association Show (you can check out my review here), and I couldn’t be happier. I’m glad to see the overall “return to nature” approach at work, be it epitomized by plant-based products, imperfect produce, exotic fruit and super fruit – or, finally, uncommon herbs.

But, what are some of the less used herbs at the top of the popularity pyramid this year? In the brochure which details this year’s top trends, the National Restaurant Association gives chervil, lovage, lemon balm and papalo as examples of uncommon herbs. I really wish we’d grown lovage: my mom uses a lot of lovage in her cooking, but sadly I have yet to find this plant available for purchase in Chicagoland. Luckily, on the other hand, our lemon balm bush has survived the polar vortex and is now thriving in our garden. Time then to make a lemon balm salad – so beautiful, so seasonal, so fresh πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

New version of my quinoa patty recipe: living life to the fullest, vegetarian-style!

Who’s here for a delicious quinoa dish? I hope some of you are πŸ™‚ I have been dying to update a few of the recipes on my blog, but life has got in the way, as usual. My nights caring for our newborn baby have been tough, with very little sleep, and finding the time to think and to write has been a struggle. And yet, I’m back now, and happy to report I have a new version of one of our all-time-favorite foods: quinoa patties. This new recipe features grilled corn, fennel and Aloha peppers and is light, wholesome, and packed full of quinoa goodness. To make the patties I used a special organic quinoa blend made by Better Body Foods, whose reps contacted me recently and sent me some to try. Perfect timing! 😉 Keep Reading

Grilled veggie panino: back to my first love!

I haven’t posted a panino recipe in awhile, but now I’m back with a vengeance πŸ™‚ This panino screams summer, sun, warm weather and clean eating – and I just love it for that matter! The freshness of the grilled veggies, with just a touch of charred flavor, works beautifully with the dill and sour cream, and makes up for a surprisingly light combo. I asked DH to grill the veggies for this panino on one of the hottest days of the summer, and he agreed reluctantly. Later on though, he realized the hard work – and the sweat! – had been well worth it. Keep Reading

Aloha pepper and purple potato salad: spicing up your lunch, vegetarian style!

This salad has everything you want from a summer dish. It’s light yet satisfying thanks to the addition of purple potato carbs. It’s flavor-packed, and its explosion of fresh aromatic herbs will make your belly and your soul happy. It looks deliciously gorgeous on the plate. Last but not least, it contains lesser used ingredients which are sure to stir up curiosity. Aloha peppers have stolen my heart – and I know they’ll steal yours too πŸ™‚ Keep Reading

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