Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mexican Zucchini Skillet

Hello veggies! How is everyone doing? I am spending the weekend in PA with Ben and his family to celebrate his birthday. I am so excited to be here because I get to enjoy all the foods Ben and I love near his house.  Now that we live far away, its rare I get to have these special foods, so I am enjoying it while I can!

As you can probably tell, I love me some zucchini. Its so easy to transform it. You can add Asian, Italian, or even Mexican flavors, and they all seem to go perfectly with zucchini. Today I decided on a Mexican flare.


Adapted from Skinny Taste.

What you need:


2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 medium zucchinis, chopped
Olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
Onion powder
1 tablespoon taco sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
Lime juice
Salt and pepper

What to do:

Cook the garlic in the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for about a minute.
Stir in the zucchini and tomato and cook for about 5-6 minutes.


Add in the onion powder, oregano, basil, lime juice, and taco sauce. Mix it all together, and then remove the skillet from heat.


Season with salt and pepper.
Top with cheese and serve.




I ate my zucchini skillet with a side of rice.


When I took my first bite, the first thing I noticed was the authentic Mexican flavor. I'm not sure if it came from the Mexican cheese, or the taco sauce, but it was so good!  The zucchini and tomatoes were so fresh, and all the spices came together really well. The taco sauce didn't add too much heat, so if you are like me and love spicy foods, I would definitely add a little more spice. The hint of lime really tied everything together.  Overall I really loved this dish. I can't wait to make it again!

What is your favorite way to make zucchini? Will you try this Mexican skillet?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fresh Blackberry French Toast

Hey everyone! I am back with a food post after my Yom Kippur break! And whats better than breakfast, for a post after my break-fast (eh get it? Breaking the fast). I showed you what I made with the apples I picked, and now Its time to show you what I made with those black berries!


Ben and I decided to use our blackberries to make to make some French Toast. That is, when we weren't eating them with chocolate ice cream, or just straight out of the container.


Ben and I actually both made our French Toasts on different days. Ben didn't work on Sunday so he made his then, and then I had a day off on Monday, so I made mine. We both compared notes after and it turned out we had made it the exact same way!  A little cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in the egg mix to coat the bread with. Then we both tossed the black berries in with the bread just for a couple of minutes.


I usually don't eat breakfast foods, especially out at restaurants. I find most places don't have good vegetarian options. Of course when most people think of breakfast foods they think of bacon and sausage, which I don't eat. Or they think of eggs, which I can't eat too much on their own. The last option are the sweet foods: waffles, pancakes, and French Toast. Well, I have never had a real big sweet tooth. But once in a while you just need a sweet meal. Its amazing how comforting it is, especially when its a rare and special treat.

After you make your own special blackberry french toast, top with a little syrup, and serve with a side of tater tots and a glass of orange juice.





This breakfast was so warm and comforting. The tart blackberries were the perfect match for the sweet French Toast.  With the sweetness from the sugar and the vanilla extract, I barely needed to add any syrup.  The bread with so moist and soft, and the blackberries were incredibly fresh. Actually, when it comes to fruit, you can't get much fresher than picking your own! Heating up the blackberries warmed them up, and broke them open a bit. I loved sopping up the blackberry juice with the bread.

When I was in college I discovered an amazing food combination: tater tots and maple syrup. While eating French Toast one day, some of the syrup got on my tater tots, one bite and it was a match made it breakfast heaven. I would call it the vegetarian's version of bacon and syrup, that I have often heard meat eaters talk about. The tots are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the salty and sweet flavors are incredible together!

I loved this amazing breakfast, it reminded me of something you would get from a little, southern diner. It was such a nice treat. Talking about it just makes me wish I could eat some more right now!

What is your favorite comfort breakfast? How do you like making your French Toast?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Yom Kippur

Hey everyone. Today, instead of my regular Saturday post, I have a little something different today. Today is actually Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. The way we observe the holiday is by not eating from sundown the day before, until the next sundown. Not only can't we eat, but we can't drink anything, brush our teeth, or shower. Since I can't eat today, I will not be doing a food post today either.

When I was little, my dad taught me that we fast to repent for the sins we have done that year. He said that every time I felt a hunger pain, it was a sin I was making up for. I used to think if I did nothing wrong all year I wouldn't feel hungry at all, or if I was very bad I would be starving all day.

Its funny that in such a food based religion, there is a whole holiday dedicated to not eating. Every other holiday is centered around big meals and big family gatherings (don't get me wrong, the dinner before Yom Kippur starts, and the dinner after it ends is usually a big family occasion). Jewish mothers, including my own, are centered around making everyone eat. Its how they show love and nurturing. Its weird to think of a whole 24 hours where there will be no Jewish mothers saying "are you hungry? eat some more!"

I try to convince myself every year that it is good to do a fast. Good to cleanse the body of not only toxins, but negativity as well. A way to get a fresh start to the new year. However, by the 20th hour of the fast, its hard to think that its a good idea. I still do it every year. It's something that has gotten to be important to me. Its a way for me to connect to my Jewish roots. Jews have spent to much time having to change and hide who they are, I want to embrace everything about my religion and culture.

Are any of you fasting today for Yom Kippur? What are some of your important religious traditions?

Bye from the (no) Veggie Side!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple Memories

Hello everyone, I hope you are all having a great week. Last weekend Ben and I did one of our my favorite end of summer activities: apple picking!  I used to go apple pinking every year with my mom and dad when I was little. My dad would pick me up so I could reach the apples on the high branches. We would always end up picking way to many apples and we could never finish them all before they went bad. I would even give apples to my teachers every year. I have lots of fond memories apple picking with my family, so its nice that I get to share it with Ben now.


When we got to the farm, we found they still had blackberries! Ben and I love blackberries so we were really excited and picked some too.


I couldn't help but sneak in a few to try. They were so tart and warmed from the sun. Amazing.



The apples were so big and beautiful. Absolutely perfect!


Rows of apple trees!

The last time Ben and I went apple picking we decided to bake a pie, but I wanted to do something different this year. I went away to college in Pennsylvania a few years ago, and I have to say, my school had some of the best college food! Lots of vegetarian options and everything tasted great. However, once in a while an amazing apple dessert would make an appearance. I had never tired an apple dumpling before, but they quickly became my favorite college dessert. I always made sure to leave some extra room after dinner to enjoy these amazing apples. I decided I wanted to try my hand at making some apple dumplings.  I used this recipe.







OMG these were unbelievable! Just as good, if not better, than the ones from college! They were so amazing and sweet, and the apples were hot, soft, and fresh. The crust was crispy and flaky on the outside, and soft on the inside. The glaze on top was so buttery and sweet. Just like in school, I ate my dumpling with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cold ice cream went perfectly with the hot apple. These dumplings were just like mini apple pies, so incredibly classic! I couldn't get enough of them, and I'm sad that Ben and I have already finished these up!

Do you love apple picking too? What are your favorite apple dishes to cook? Are you going to try apple dumplings?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

BBQ Tofu Sandwich

I am still getting in the last bit of summer food. Even though it is September, its not Fall just yet. With Labor Day just passed, I decided it was time to make some barbecue! Ok well I didn't use a grill, or meat of course, but I still made an amazing summer BBQ meal!


What you need:
1 Package of tofu
Your favorite BBQ sauce
2 Slices of bread

What to do:
Slice the tofu about 1/2 an inch thick, and press it for about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and then put the tofu in a baking dish, and cover it with BBQ sauce.
Let it marinade for at least 15 minutes, more if you would like.


Place the tofu strips on a baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray) and coat again with BBQ sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes, then flip over the tofu strips, Add some more BBQ sauce, and bake for another 20 minutes.
Then assemble your sandwich with the bread, lettuce, tofu, and of course, a little more sauce.






I just have to start by saying that this sandwich was amazing! I literally thought about it all day at work, I couldn't wait to come home and make more for dinner! The tofu really took on the sweet and smokey BBQ flavor, since you know tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in like it's its job. Pressing the tofu really gave it a great, very firm texture. The crisp and cool lettuce balanced out the sandwich perfectly. I loved biting into the soft white bread, it really helped hold the sandwich together. This was the perfect summer dish. It was so satisfying, I think this could be the meal that would turn a tofu skeptic into a tofu lover!

Do you love BBQ tofu as much as I do? Are you going to try this sandwich?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Adapted from Oh My Veggies.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Greek Potato and Olive Stew

I hope you are ready for another cool weather comfort food, and I hope you are storing up these recipes for fall, just like a squirrel collects nuts. Something happened the other day which really sealed the deal that fall is around the corner: I heard in a commercial that pumpkin flavor was back at Dunkin Donuts. You better believe I will be getting my pumpkin fix all fall and winter long! So while I am dreaming of falling leaves, pumpkin things, and Halloween, I am going to be eating this amazing Greek stew!


What you need:

5 Pounds of potatoes, pealed and cubed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 teaspoon dried oregano
1 jar of pitted Kalamata olives
10 gloves of garlic, chopped
40 oz can of pealed tomatoes
salt and pepper

What to do:
In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, potatoes, olives, and stir it all up together to make sure everything is coated in oil.


Add the canned tomatoes and the oregano, and stir again.
Bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer.
Make sure to stir occasionally.
Keep checking your potatoes until they are tender, about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.





This stew was so incredibly flavorful. I actually didn't add any salt, it was perfect on its own, and I only added a touch of pepper. The oregano gave it an Italian flavor, while the olives make this stew unquestionably Greek.  While the oregano was cooking, it made my kitchen so fragrant. The garlic, tomatoes, and oregano almost made this stew taste like a tomato soup or sauce. I might even use this recipe to make my own tomato sauce. This was so warm and comforting, and the potatoes made it very hearty and filling. This actually reminded me of something my Greek grandma would make with all the Greek flavors, and the amazing homey feeling it gave me.

Adapted from Potato and Kalamata Olive Stew.

Will you be adding this stew to your fall and winter meal line up? What is your favorite stew?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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