Wow. 1 year. I can’t believe that a whole year has passed since I started this crazy journey, yet so much has happened that I can’t believe it’s only been 1 year! When Veggies Don’t Bite was first created, I never imagined it would be where it is today. I had zero experience with blogs, websites, design, social media other than my personal Facebook page, photography or even writing down recipes and sharing them! I can’t even tell you how much time I have spent learning what I need to in order to start and continue this blog. From the actual design, to learning how to write from a blog’s perspective to photography. All of this was learned and improved upon over the course of this year. I started with a point and shoot camera, and now I shoot in manual mode. I use to create recipe and ideas as I went, never writing anything down. Now I carefully track every little step and ounce of ingredient I add to my recipes just to make sure all of you understand me every step of the way. This has been a journey like no other and I have learned so much. Just take a look at my very first photo on here next to one of my most recent!
The past few months I have skipped my usual Veggies Don’t Bite “Bite” of the month post and focused purely on recipes. Well, I decided it’s about time for another and what perfect timing! About a month ago I had a good friend contact me asking if I would be willing to try some samples from a local juice company that just started. I of course said yes, because who doesn’t love fresh juices, but I quickly learned that this wasn’t a juice company like all the rest out there.
Tacos…a perfect meal. In our house, you can make anything into a taco. I love that tacos are all encompassing, they have the protein, veggies, flavor, and best of all hot sauce! They are definitely in our weekly rotation and range from simple to fancy, crunchy to soft. These particular bites of heaven evolved when I happened to be shopping at my favorite market, Jimbos, on a day when they got fresh local organic nopales. What are nopales you ask? I didn’t know either, in fact when I first saw them I was a little bit intimidated. Nopales are cactus paddles. Since I have a “blog year” resolution to expand my horizons and create things out of my comfort zone, I bought a few and came home to my computer to figure out what in the world I was going to do with them.
The first thing I read when researching this new ingredient, was how good they are for you. Not only are they a really low calorie vegetable, but they are filled with goodies like fiber, vitamins and minerals. I was super excited to experiment! I decided that to make it something my family would try, husband and kids included, I needed to present it in familiar form… and tacos are not only familiar but as I said before, you can put anything in a taco! Cleaning the nopales was a bit stressful because you want to make sure to get all the needles out, but once I got them cleaned they were easy to chop. Just watch out for the gel like substance that they ooze, kind of gross but it evaporates when cooking. I got to work pulling other ingredients together and came up with these easy to make and super healthy crunchy rolled tacos!
These beauties have pretty much everything: protein, iron, veggies…and they are an awesome kid meal. Your little ones will have no idea how many nutrients they are getting. The veggies inside are pureed enough so they are not chunky and noticeable, but still there making their bodies strong. I did not include spice in the seasonings because I really wanted to keep these kid friendly, but you can always spice it up! They also have no oil, because none is needed, and can definitely be made subbing silken tofu for the nuts in the sauce if you have a nut allergy. I made them with both corn and whole grain flour tortillas and they both were great. My family preferred the corn, as they did get a little bit crunchier, but they are very tasty with any tortilla you chose. They are so much better for you than the store bought versions, and can be frozen for later use! What are you waiting for?! Let’s get cooking!
During the peak of my sickness I had many people asking if they could help me out. Friends, family and of course my husband, taking over so many of our household duties. But some of the sweetest offerings were from my blogging buddies! Anjali, of Vegetarian Gastronomy, was one of those sweet friends that offered to guest post for me while I wasn’t up to much cooking. Well, we all know how time flies, so I am finally getting this great post up!
I met Anjali a while back at a workout class and it was great to personally connect with another blogger as most of my blogger friends are purely online (although there are some of them I so wish lived close by!). She is a super sweet and wonderful person and I am honored to share her recipe with you all…here is the awesome Anjali!
Ice cream is a year round treat for our family so I am always coming up with new flavors and ways to make homemade dairy free versions. Although we sometimes buy vegan ice cream at the store, its quite pricey and not always all that good! And if I’m spending good money on it, it needs to be delicious. So when my friend Kate from Catching Up With Kate asked if I had a recipe that she could share on her blog, I thought why not a new ice cream! I love that I can surprise others with how good dairy free ice cream can taste. I know so many people think we are deprived from many of life’s greatest foods by choosing to stay away from dairy as much as we can, but ice cream is definitely not one of those! I could create and eat it every day, which thank goodness I don’t, lol. But I never turn away an opportunity to share my ice cream ideas with others!
In taking full advantage of fall and all the amazing produce it has to offer, I’ve been in full creation mode. Soups, sandwiches, burgers, sauces…but one thing I’ve been craving for a while now is a pasta dish. Since I haven’t made lasagna for some time, I decided that my Italian fall recipe would encompass some sort of baked pasta. Comfort food this time of year is the best. With the success of my winter squash soup and my love for my new Vitamix, I wanted to bring a creamy winter squash into this recipe. Although predictable, I still love butternut squash and made it center stage in my creation.
I’m not going to lie, lasagna dishes in general are a lot of work. Not that it’s hard, but just a lot of steps. The only way I have found to make it easier is to prep everything ahead of time. Then the day of, all you have to do is build the lasagna itself. I wrote my recipe in the order I made everything so that I took advantage of the lag time, while things were baking and cooling. It took a while but it was SO worth it. These roll-ups came out creamy, comforting and so flavorful. My kids loved the sweet undertones and my husband loved that I mixed it up with adding the sundried tomato in the ricotta. Since I’m trying to mix flavors not often put together, I liked the idea of a touch of tomato but fresh didn’t sound right. The sundried idea was the perfect touch, since they go well with winter type squashes, considering the sweet undertones they have themselves. The pumpkin seed parmesan was the perfect finishing touch, and added just a little bit more fall into the dish. This was the perfect comfort food for our whole family!
Fall isn’t always about soups and chills, sometimes you want a quick and easy sandwich. Or maybe just a little something to dip in your soup! That’s exactly what prompted me to make this fall inspired smoky stack of goodness. My Ultimate Creamy Winter Squash Soup turned out so yummy, that we ate it for a few days straight, but to mix it up I paired it with this little creation. What a good move on my part, pairs together like peanut butter and jelly! What’s there not to like about the sweet and savory flavors of smoky tempeh and apples paired with spicy arugula and my Caramelized Onion & Sage Aioli?
If you use packaged tempeh strips, this is a breeze to prepare. It literally took me about 5 or so minutes. But you can also make your own strips, and although you need to think ahead to allow them to marinate, it’s still a pretty easy meal. Either way, this sandwich is a great way to spice up the leftover soup and have a little dipper to eat it with, or just enjoy on its own. Hope you like it as much as we do!
I love fall! Well, at least the attempt at fall that southern California is giving me. But, I’ll take anything because I’m ready for pumpkins, squash, apples….I’ve been doing this blogging thing for almost a year and as I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to utilize local organic ingredients when possible. So I apologize in advance if you’re already over it all!
I’m trying to be creative and think outside the box, so I used a variety of winter squashes in this soup. It would really work with any winter squash or combination of them, but I really liked the variety I used here. I wanted to add a little different twist, I’ve seen a lot of sage and thyme lately, and although I love both, I thought I’d mix it up by paring these spices with cilantro. It was a risk, but it totally panned out. If you don’t like cilantro, then feel free to leave it out, but if you do, this is the soup for you! We loved it! The variety of flavors really made it a tasty meal. It’s so savory and a perfect winter comfort food. We ate it for a few days and it was just as good as leftovers as it was fresh. I even made a fall sandwich to eat it with the next day, check out my Smoky Tempeh, Apple and Arugula Sandwich!
My favorite thing about making this soup was that I got to test out the “soup” function on my new Vitamix. And wow, was it amazing!! Apparently the speed by which the function purees the ingredients creates a heat that actually makes this soup hot when its done. So you can literally pour it straight from the blender into your bowl. I was shocked at the steam coming from it! And we are talking hot, not just warm, but hot enough that you had to blow on each spoonful before you ate it. This machine continues to amaze me…you can definitely use a regular blender for this, you just need to to heat the soup after its pureed. But if you’ve been on the fence about buying a Vitamix, I’d definitely do it and if you can, get one with the preset functions! So useful! I use mine multiple times a day and can honestly say that the functions have made my life as a mom easier.
It’s no secret that I love veggie burgers. I have four already on the blog: The Original Vegan Veggie & Bean Burger, The Stuffed Veggie & Bean Burger, a Cauliflower Hemp Burger, and a Portobello Black Rice Burger. However, this does not stop me from creating more so here is another one to add to the list! This burger truly exudes the taste of fall. It is sweet, savory and satisfying. The flavors complement each other wonderfully and my whole family really enjoyed them. Although you need to roast the veggies and cook the rice, it is really easy to put together and doesn’t have that many ingredients. The natural flavors of the ingredients make this burger, so a lot of extra seasoning is not needed.
I served these on the vegan pretzel rolls by Rudi’s even though we usually stick to our sprouted wheat buns. Great choice because the splurge was worth it! I’m sure they would be great on any bun though. The burger is also paired with my Caramelized Onion & Sage Aioli, which is a great addition and adds another layer of flavor that complements the burger well. Serve it with a side of my Baked Kabocha Chips and you have fall on a plate! I highly recommend this for your next dinner or fall gathering. I plan to make these as sliders for the annual fall party we attend. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks!
I discovered Kabocha squash last fall when experimenting with different recipes for the cooler weather that was approaching. I first used it in my Four Bean Crockpot Chili and I loved how it still stayed al dente after cooking in a crockpot all day. I am pretty sensitive with textures and slimy overcooked veggies make me gag, especially now in my preggo days. Kabocha is an Asian winter squash and similar to a butternut squash in flavor. I love that you can cook and eat the skin because peeling skin off is a huge pain!
A good friend of mine gave me the idea to make this awesome squash into crispy chips in the midst of my major morning sickness when veggies were not agreeing with me. I love the slightly sweet taste complemented with the dusting of Himalayan pink salt I added and hint of thyme. I made these both with and without a spray of coconut oil and either way was delicious. The slight coconut taste did give an extra depth of flavor though! But if you avoid oil, the good news is that it is great without it too.
Baking these to crispness can get tricky, and I found that straight on parchment paper works best without oil or with very little oil. Because Kabocha releases water when cooked (especially freshly picked ones), if covered with too much oil, the oil almost traps the water in and doesn’t allow the squash to crisp up as nicely. The best way I found to cook it in order to get the crispiest chips is to place a drying rack on top of a cookie sheet and lay the squash strips across the rack. This way the squash stays dry as the water is collected below. Using parchment on a cookie sheet also worked. If you do use oil, a spray works best so that there isn’t a solid layer of oil and water can still evaporate. Hope you enjoy! My kids LOVED these!