Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives

After three full days of being vegan I can honestly say my my life hasn’t changed very much. I’m a vegetarian anyway, and all that’s really changed is that I haven’t been adding cheese to my food or baking with butter (which I can totally miss out on for a month).

Two questions keep popping up that I thought I would address:
1. “What do you eat for protein”?, and
2. “Don’t you run out of choices”?

I went out for dinner with my Grandparents last night and they asked “when are you going to eat normal again?” which pretty much translates to “if you don’t eat what we eat, how can you possibly eat at all?” It’s a bit annoying, buy hey! We can’t all understand each other. And I’d like to give answers to the above two questions, that might be helpful to you too!

1. Protein isn’t just meat, and I certainly do not only eat tofu. If I want a snack I’ll eat some hummus and carrots, peanut butter and banana, apple and almond buter or some raw nuts. For lunch and dinner I like eating as many different beans as possible see here, here and here. This recipe is also chalk full of protein! Protein can be found in grains like quinoa, lentils, beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, etc.), tofu, tempeh, nuts and so many more things than I can possibly explain. Hopefully this helps!

2. If you read the above answer, NO I do not run out of choices. That’s part of the reason that I’m doing this vegan month. I want to be able to cook with foods I haven’t before, explore different ways of cooking, and try new things. If you honestly thing vegans and vegetarians eat the same thing every day. You are so, so, so wrong. It’s like asking a meat eater how they eat chicken every day. Silly question right? Exactly.

Anyway, I’m excited for the rest of this month to progress, and look forward to all the exciting new recipes I’ll be making. Like quinoa….so good!!

To make this recipe, preheat your oven to 400. Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in a big bowl.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in the same bowl as the tomatoes.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste. Serve chilled.

Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Walnuts and Olives
serves 4 (or 6 as a side-dish)
Recipe taken from Eat Live Run

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable broth
16 oz cherry tomatoes (mix of orange and red if you like!)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (or, to taste)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.

Spread the walnuts out on a foil-lined sheet try and toast for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove and place toasted walnuts in a mixing bowl.

Spray foil with cooking spray and place cherry tomatoes on top. Roast tomatoes for 30 minutes. They will start to burst and char—you want this! After 30 minutes, remove tomatoes from the oven and place in the same bowl with the walnuts.

Combine the quinoa, bay leaves, water (or broth) and spices in a saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.

Add the quinoa to the walnuts and tomatoes and stir in the olives. Season with salt to taste.

Serve chilled.

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Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta

I haven’t had a computer in 5 days.

I thought I’d be able to just use the computers at school…no biggie. But boooooy was I wrong. The computers at school are slow with spotty internet and I haven’t been able to get a post on the blog until now! So, I’m sorry. Last weekend I moved into a new house in Ottawa, and when I drove the boy back to Montreal (who came down to help me move) I forgot my computer there! Talk about scatter brain.

Anyway, I’m back in Montreal now and with my beloved fiance and Macbook. The world is whole again! I’m in Montreal this weekend because tomorrow I’m in running the Rock n’ Roll half marathon! So, here is some healthy asparagus to help you train for your marathon/half marathon/chasing your children around the house. Whatever you’re up to, this stuff is GOOD!

To make this, lay the asparagus in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as you can get) in a large skillet. Add water just until the asparagus is covered. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the asparagus is tender.

Dice your shallot and tomato.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, just to warm and wilt very slightly. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the heat and drain. Remove the shallot-tomato mixture from the heat, stir in the feta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the warm asparagus on a serving platter (or individual plates) and top with the tomato-feta mixture. Serve immediately.

Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats
Serves 2 as a side dish

Ingredients:
1/2 bunch asparagus
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
1 vine ripened tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large skillet, lay the asparagus in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as you can get). Add water just until the asparagus is covered. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the asparagus is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, just to warm and wilt very slightly. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the heat and drain. Remove the shallot-tomato mixture from the heat, stir in the feta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the warm asparagus on a serving platter (or individual plates) and top with the tomato-feta mixture. Serve immediately.

Roasted Corn Guacamole

After an awesome long weekend of friends, Canada Day celebrations, and a Monday OFF, it’s time to get back to the grind.

Boo work! In this heat I could seriously sit in my air conditioned bedroom and eat popsicles all day reading Game of Thrones – which I’m obsessed with by the way. Ohhhhh and speaking of books, if you’re feeling sad, deprived, and lonely after reading the 50 Shades of Grey series, there is this new book out called Bared to You by Sylvia Day that all the 50 Shade-ers are buying now and getting hot over. Check it out!

Now on to guacamole. Tied with hummus, it’s my favorite summer dip. I have a favorite recipe for guacamole that I made a while ago, but since it’s summer I added some fresh roasted corn to the mix (which could also totally be grilled) and turned the heat down a bit. What a treat!

To make this, first roast corn under your broiler and wait until a few of the kernels turn good and dark. Rotate the corn to get this darkness on all sides. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.

Add in tomatoes.

In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro if you like it. I don’t sadly :(

Roasted Corn Guacamole
Serves 10
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients
3 ears Corn, Shucked
6 whole Avocados, Diced
1 whole Large Tomato, Diced
1/3 cup Onion, Finely Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1 Diced Fresh Jalapeno
2 whole Limes, Juiced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves (optional)

Directions:
Roast corn under your broiler and wait until a few of the kernels turn good and dark. Rotate the corn to get this darkness on all sides. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.

In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro and stir in.

Enjoy!

Lentil Feta Salad {Vegetarian Collection}

This year I turn 25 and because of that I started this little list. There are 30 things I want to do before I turn 30, and baby, I’m going to do them no matter what!

Besides wanting to drink in a pub while singing an Irish bar song in Ireland, I also have a few things that are a little more right now instead of in the futre. One of those things is to cook my way through a book from cover to cover.

When choosing a book I had to take two things into consideration. The first is that I am a vegetarian so I can’t choose a book with meat in it, and the second is that I like the way my body is shaped now and didn’t think choosing a baking book was the best idea. I bake once to twice a week already and that’s more than enough!

Lucky for me I work in a book store so during my breaks I had a ton of cookbooks to look at. After browsing many, many, cookbooks I choose Canadian Living’s The Vegetarian Collection and have made 6 recipes from it so far – all delicious! This was the first recipe I made and the very first recipe in the book. I hope you enjoy this lovely, healthy salad, and this new segment on my blog!

To begin, toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together your oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add lentils and garlic; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. Disgard garlic.

Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and parsley to a large bowl.

Toss with dressing to coat.

Stir in almonds and about ¼ cup of feta cheese. Sprinkle remaining feta just before serving.

Enjoy!

Lentil Feta Salad
Recipe from The Vegetarian Collection
Makes 4 regular and 6 small servings
Per 1 of 6 servings: 305 calories | 14g protein | 18g total fat | 25g carbohydrates | 6g fibre

Ingredients:
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup dried green lentils
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olove oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dried oregano (or fresh)
salt and pepper
1 ½ cups cucumber, diced, seeded and peeled
1 cup halved grape (or cherry) tomatoes
½ cup red onion, diced, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
In a small dry skillet, toast almonds over medium heat, stirring often until golden, about 5 minutes.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add lentils and garlic; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water; drain again. Disgard garlic.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add lentils, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and parsley. Toss to coat.
Stir in almonds and about ¼ cup of feta cheese. Sprinkle remaining feta just before serving.