Archive for lunch

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Vegan Panini Sandwiches

panini side 3

Panini sandwiches have always looked so tasty, but also very fattening. Not that the cheese and meat looked good, but the whole idea of grilled sandwiches  just sounds yummy.This last weekend I decided to try to make a vegan panini. They turned out really rich and super delicious, and not low cal, but compared to the cheese and meat alternative, it is more healthy. This is not hard to make. Gathering the ingredients may take some effort, but not too much, and the results are fantastic.

Vegan Panini Sandwich

crusty Bread of your choice

vegan cheese of your choice, I used Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

vegan pesto

roasted red peppers

seitan, chopped and lightly sauteed

tempeh, chopped and lightly sauteed

panini grill or heavy bottom pan, I used cast iron.

Slice two pieces of crusty bread and spread the grated vegan cheese lightly over open faces. Microwave for about 30 sec. just until the cheese starts to melt. Spread vegan pesto over the face of one slice of bread, covering the cheese. Cut the roasted peppers into strips and lay those over the pesto. Take pieces of seitan and tempeh and lay them over the peppers in a single layer. Now put the pieces of bread together. Heat up the panini grill, or use a cast iron pan like I did. Heat it up to medium high and spray it with pan spray. Lay the sandwich in the pan and put another pan on top of it. I used another cast iron pan. Watch the sandwich closely and after about 3-5 minutes, check the bottom and see if it is golden brown. If it is browned, turn it over very gently and cook the other side until it is also golden brown. This is so yummy! Eat it hot!

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Mexican Pasta Salad

Here is another summer salad that I have been making for years. It was originally inspired by a Moosewood recipe. My kids eat the first bowl alone and then they start using corn chips to eat along the side. They LOVE it! It is quite easy to put together and can be made gluten free by using the pasta of your choice.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pd. chunky pasta of choice, cooked al dente

1 c. fresh of frozen corn

1 c. bell pepper, chopped ( I like red peppers best)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. tomatoes, I love garden fresh tomatoes if possible, but any sweet cherry tomato works well too

1 c. black olives, chopped coarsely

2 tsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce, chopped ( these come in a can, found in most grocery stores)

2 tsp. fresh ground cumin

1 tsp. fresh ground coriander

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the pasta, corn, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the olive, oil, lemon juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, and coriander and mix well for the dressing. Pour this over the pasta and vegetables and keep stirring until well coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the chopped cilantro. You can put this in the refrigerator to chill everything or just eat it right away!

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Spinach Salad with Red Onion Dressing

My extended family gets together for a potluck dinner every month. We have a tradition of great cooking that goes way back, so there are always lots of super yummy dishes. My nephews wife always makes something delicious including this salad that has come to be a family favorite. I have modified the dressing a little bit, and lately I have been on a binge, eating this salad, or just the dressing and spinach every day for lunch. Sometimes I just make this dressing and keep it in the refrigerator instead of tossing it with the spinach. This is super easy to make!

Red Onion Dressing

1/4 of a red onion

1 tsp. dijon mustard

3 tbsp. canola oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. sucanat

1/2 c. raw almonds

1/2 c. dried cranberries

Put onion in a food processor and puree. Add the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the almonds and cranberries, and puree . Put into a container, but don’t scrape the bowl clear leaving a little dressing in the bowl.ow  Now add the almonds and dried cranberries and pulse a few times. I dump the nuts and cranberries into a small cast iron skillet on low heat and stir to carmelize them. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them cool. Now you can prepare the rest of the salad.

Spinach Salad

8-10 c. spinach, washed and dried

Choose two or more of the following fruits (at least one cup each) to chop and add to the spinach:

strawberries, mangoes, pears, apples ( you could get creative here and add whatever fruit sounds good)

my favorites are strawberries and mangoes

Toss together the spinach, fruit, cooled nuts and cranberries, and dressing. Server right away!



Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Low Fat Hummus

Our family has been making hummus for a long time. When myy kids were really little they would sit on the kitchen counter and peel garlic for me on a regular basis. Then they started adding ingredients to help me out and then when they were older, I would go out for a run and they would make hummus while I was gone. Lets just say that the recipe and list of ingredients has evolved! This is currently the most common, even though it still varies widely. This recipe is also the easiest and fastest. We live on hummus for lunch. Its the best on toast or sandwich with tomatoes, red pepper and lately my son adds smashed avocados!

Low Fat Hummus

3 cloves garlic

2 cans chick peas, rinsed

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce

1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. water, less one tbsp.

Put garlic in a food processor and mince. Add the chick peas and a little of the water, just so it processes. Add the cumin, salt, lemon juice, olive oil. I always add the rest of the water a little at a time just to the consistency that I like, not too thick. Then add the chipotle pepper and process well. Taste for needed salt or lemon, or if you want a little extra zip, more chipotle pepper.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Black Bean Dip

Raising a family on a plant based diet has been a challenge at times. Early on I had to discover options for lunch without all the standard fare that I grew up eating (tuna fish, lunch meat, cheese sandwiches). Leftovers from the night before worked while my kids were very little because they didn’t need as much, but as they grew, of course I had to find something more filling and you can only eat so much PB&J! This recipe is originally from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home,  and it turned into a family favorite.  I have made just a few minor adjustments over the years. It is so fast and easy to make that soon my kids started making this on their own. We make sandwiches with this adding fresh veggies, or put it on toast alone, or with cut up red bell pepper slices. Also, super good just for a veggie dip. Yum, it is so good!

Black Bean Dip

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 cloves garlic

2 tsp. olive oil

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. salt

handful of fresh cilantro, washed

juice from 1/2 lemon, more if needed

Put garlic in food processor to chop for you and then add the rinsed beans and olive oil. Once blended, add the cumin, coriander, and salt. Blend again and add the cilantro and lemon juice. If it is too dry, not like a dip, add a little more lemon juice.


Thursday, July 12th, 2012


When the temperatures are in the nineties and above at my house, I do not feel like spending any time in the kitchen cooking. So I try to think of something to eat that is light and refreshing with little effort involved. So the next few posts are going to cover some popular options for my family.

The first is so yummy that sometimes I eat it for dessert! We call it Muesli. It is often eaten in European countries for breakfast, but we eat it for any meal when we need something fast, easy, cool, and filling.


This is a combination of fruit, nuts, oatmeal, and soy yogurt. The amounts used are only decided by your tastes and preferences. I use chopped walnuts, raw almonds, with chopped apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, and berries, depending what is in season. The fun is in creating what combination is best for you. My favorite is vanilla soy yogurt with peaches, blueberries, oatmeal, and almonds. Try many combinations to see what you like best!