Meatless Monday: Quesadilla with Gardein Beefless Ground

Is it Monday again already?

These days Mondays make me happy because I’m linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! As promised I have a vegan quesadilla recipe made with Gardein Beefless Ground that will knock your socks off!

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Not only is Gardein Beefless Ground 100% plant based, it is also gluten free, so if you’re wanting some healthy deliciousness, simply make these quesadillas with gluten free tortillas.

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Quesadillas are one of my go-to dishes when I’m short of time. They are ready in less than a half hour, delicious, and really filling too. You can use prepared refried beans and salsa or make your own. The guacamole used in this recipe is very simple, just a mashed avocado with a little lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper. It works perfectly with the seasoned Beefless Ground and salsa.

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Meatless Monday: Spaghetti with Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I am always on the go. Between work, blogging, dog care (yes, seven dogs including one who is handicapped are quite time-consuming), plus running and working out of course, leaves very little time for cooking, especially on weekdays.

The thing is, I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. It’s just hard sometimes when time is short. So I’m happy when I find a product that is not only plant based, it is also healthy, easy and delicious.

Gardein Meatless Meatballs

I’ve shared recipes made with Gardein here many times. Their products are a great option for almost everyone, whether you’re participating in Meatless Monday, trying to eat more healthfully by adding more plant based meals to your diet, or if you are already a vegan or vegetarian who loves the taste and ease of cooking with Gardein.

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Vegan Pesto Pizza

I’m joining Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday, and sharing some of my favorite recipes.

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Now that I’m (temporarily) not training for anything (except life, you know), I decided to join in the link up fun.

Speaking of training (sorry, can’t help myself), after taking a long recovery week, getting reacquainted with my foam roller, and, well, Aleve, my back is feeling much better and I’m ready to get running again. This past week consisted of a three mile run on Wednesday, and a two mile run with my dogs on Sunday, so you can see I take my recovery seriously. Oh, I also got in a TRX workout and spent some time on the Pilates reformer.

Doggies on the run.

Penny, my Dalmatian, turned 14 last week. She was so excited to run on Sunday that she charged out like a two year old. Look at the smile on her face. Of course, she was good for about a mile, then we walked home, but in her mind she is still a runner. I know the feeling!

Back to Meatless Monday. Today I’d like to share one of my all time favorites dishes, Pesto Pizza.

Vegan Pesto Pizza

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Before you can make pesto pizza, you need to make some vegan pesto! Regular pesto recipes include cheese of course, but I assure you that you can take the cheese out and it still tastes great. In this recipe, I used nutritional yeast to add a little cheesy taste and texture, but I have also made pesto without it and it was very good.

Pesto Pizza 2015

Vegan Pesto

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (walnuts work too)
2-4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast to a food processor. Process until just roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Process until thoroughly mixed.

Now that you’ve made the pesto, let’s put that pizza together.

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Vegan Pesto Pizza

Vegan Pesto Pizza
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Pizza
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Pre-made (vegan) pizza crust. I used one from Trader Joes
  • ½ cup pesto sauce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
  • Any additional favorite toppings of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven and pizza stone or pan to 450
  2. Roll out your pizza dough to desired thickness
  3. Transfer the pizza to your preheated stone/pan
  4. Spread on the pesto evenly
  5. Add a layer of tomatoes
  6. Sprinkle on the cheese
  7. Add the mushrooms
  8. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

I think this may be one of my favorite pizza creations ever! Of course, feel free to add your own toppings. I’m just a mushroom pizza addict, though I did add some caramelized onion to this one. Extra basil, faux meat, other veggies would all be great additions.

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Do you make your own pizza or order out? What are your favorite pizza toppings? And oh, if you didn’t get enough doggy cuteness above, here’s Coco to fill you to the brim:

Coco

Pin It Party V7

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It’s that time again! Another Pin It Party is coming at you! Lindsay, over at the Lean Green Bean, I, and a lot of other bloggers will be sharing some of our favorite pinnable posts from the last few months! Make sure to check out Lindsay’s post, where you will also find a list of all the participating bloggers, and start reading (and pinning) away! While you’re at it, why don’t you follow me on Pinterest! Party on!

Train Smarter: 5 Ways to PR Running 3 Days a Week

Race PRHave limited time? Don’t we all? Here are some tips to get that PR running three days a week.

12 Running Myths You May Still Believe

Running MythsDo you still think running is bad for your knees? It’s time to banish this and other running myths.

Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Have you tried Jackfruit? It is sometimes called the Vegetable Meat, and is a delicious, non-processed, meat alternative. Here is an easy Tuna-less salad to try.

Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7These Lentil cakes are delicious and easy to make. And the riata is out of this world!

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesWhether you’re training for your first or your 50th, here are some potential mistakes to avoid in your next marathon.

If you missed the previous Pin It Parties, and want to check out the favorite posts that I shared, here they are:

Pin It Party 1
Pin It Party 2
Pin It Party 3
Pin It Party 4
Pin It Party 5
Pin It Party 6

I hope you found something worth pinning (and reading) today! There is still time to join the party! Here is the link to Lindsay’s original post with directions and the Pin Party graphic. Then you can join the party and share your own link here. Or you can share one of your favorite posts in the comments.

Meatless Monday: The Joy of Tofu

I’m hooking up with Tina and Deborah for this holiday week edition of Meatless Monday!

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The Joy of Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap. From complaints about its taste (or lack thereof) and texture, to the possibility of it being generically modified, to just the fact that it is made from soybeans, many people won’t even give tofu a chance. I hope to clear away some of the misconceptions about the lowly tofu, and maybe encourage you to try it out (I’ll link to a couple of my favorite tofu recipes) on this Meatless Monday.

Joy of Tofu

Yes, it is true that tofu doesn’t have much taste all on its own. That is also what makes it so perfect to use for almost any purpose. Tofu will absorb the flavor of any sauce or seasoning that you choose to use. The key is to drain and press the tofu first to extract as much water as possible, then marinate it in the sauce of your choice. Well-drained tofu will absorb all the moisture and flavors of that sauce.

Preparing Tofu

There are a couple ways to press tofu. The easiest, no-equipment-needed way is to simply drain the tofu, wrap it in a couple paper towels, and press it under a couple plates, books, or whatever you have handy. Pressing for at least a half hour will produce the best results. Another option of a tofu press. You can place your tofu in the press, screw it down, and it will remove even a greater amount of water. It can even be left in the refrigerator overnight for a firmer, meatier texture.

If you like your tofu with a heavier texture (especially for some recipes) try freezing it before cooking. This can be done either after pressing, or in its original packaging. Freezing might alter the color of the tofu, and will make it more absorbent and dense.

Tofu can be marinated in almost any type of sauce, from bottled marinades to your own favorite recipes. Here is a simple marinade that I frequently use when I’m going to make a tofu “steak” to serve with a salad or potato.

Simple Tofu Marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid heat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper to taste
vegetable broth

In an eight ounce measuring cup, combine all the ingredients, adding the broth last and filling up the cup. Pour over the pressed tofu and marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. You can cook them like this, or dredge in flour, bread crumbs or corn meal. Cook over medium heat until browned on each side. Add the remaining marinade and cook until it is hot and slightly thickened.

GMO Concerns

It is true that soy is one of the most genetically modified plants produced. Much of this soy is used in feed for farm animals, and in processed (human) food. Tofu is much less processed and if you check the packaging for the Non-GMO label and purchase organic tofu, you will not have to worry that your tofu has been genetically engineered.

All Nasoya tofu is certified organic and non-GMO project verified. The company sent me some samples of their tofu products to try out. In addition to their regular organic tofu, Nasoya also has TofuPlus, which is fortified with vitamins, and the new TofuBaked, which has already been marinated and baked, so can be used hot or cold, and is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry.

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Health Benefits of Soy

Soy is low in fat, cholesterol free, and has bone-healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Twenty five milligrams of soy protein per day is recognized as beneficial to heart health. The soybean has been described as a Super Food because of its nutrient rich properties, which have been found to be beneficial in fighting many diseases.

In spite of fears that soy isn’t safe for women concerned about breast cancer, study after study has indicated that soy most likely reduces the risk. As for men, soy is recognized as a prostate-friendly food.

Other health benefits of soy, as well as references to the studies mentioned above, can be found here and here.

Tofu Recipes

I love cooking with tofu. It is inexpensive, healthy, and if you cook it correctly, it tastes delicious. Over the years I have created many tofu recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Quiche Who needs eggs? I just made this the other night, substituting mushrooms for the vegan bacon. Delicious!
Pot Pie To me, pot pie is the ultimate comfort food.
Tofu Scramble I can eat a tofu scramble for breakfast, lunch, and or dinner.
Tofu Burrito I have many burrito recipes (they are one of my favorite food groups dishes), and this is one of the best.
Vegan Bruschetta Caprese I’ve also made this like a simple caprese salad, substituting the slices of tofu for the buffalo mozzarella.
Triple Protein Packed Salad I make a lot of salads, especially in the summer. Big Salads.
Easy Tofu Bake When you just don’t know what to make for dinner.
Cornmeal Crusted Tofu Like the example with my marinade recipe, this is an easy way to eat tofu on its own.
Vegan Buffalo “Wings” The playoffs are coming! I love “football food” as much as the next girl.
(Tofu) Steak and Potatoes The title of the post is “Sometimes a girl just needs a (tofu) steak and potatoes.”
Pumpkin Pie. Your guests (or you) won’t know it’s vegan!

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Well, there were even more than I expected! That should keep you busy for a while! Not on my recipe list, but soft or silken tofu is a perfect addition for smoothies, makes great, creamy sauces, and can be used as a thickener for many dessert recipes.

Do you cook with tofu? Why or why not? Do you have a favorite recipe?

I have five coupons for a free package of Nasoya TofuBaked to give away! If you’d like one, just tell me in the comments and I’ll pick randomly on December 29.

Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Every now and then I like to get fancy. With my cooking that is. Usually I’m a pretty basic cook. I love to make burritos, curry, big salads, etc. They are simple, tasty, quick to make, and usually pretty healthy.

Actually, I think of myself as a lucky cook. I have a “talent” for throwing things together and having them turn out pretty darn delicious. Just as some people can follow a recipe, take a cooking class, really work at a creating a dish, yet it still doesn’t work, I can “make it work.” And really, it’s just luck.

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Anyway, I usually do stick with the basics.  This dish, Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita, is me finding my fancy side. Based on a recipe I was given by a local restauranteur, I “made it vegan” by switching out the dairy products and eggs for a plant based version.

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Guess what? It tastes just as good!

Today I am joining up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! Click the photo below and check out all the other recipes from others joining the linkup party!

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Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup mixed dried lentils (such as red, black, and mung )
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper-chopped
  • 2 cups chopped arugula
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • For Raita:
  • 2 cups soy or other non-dairy Yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped peeled seeded cucumber (I love the Persian cucumbers that do not need to be peeled and seeded)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils and rice, cover with water and soak for 3-6 hours.
  2. Drain and transfer to food processor. Add ginger, garlic and serrano. Process until a grainy paste is formed-add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Add arugula, peas, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper -pulse several times until well combined.
  3. Heat a few Tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet and add ¼ cupfuls of batter fry until golden, flattening and flipping as needed. Add more oil, if needed between batches. Serve w/ Raita
  4. For the Raita:
  5. In a medium bowl mix yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, mint, lemon and agave-
  6. Heat coconut oil in small skillet on medium heat-when hot add mustard seeds, once they start to pop, add cumin seeds stirring just about 10 seconds, add garlic stirring for a few more seconds, quickly add to the yogurt mix. Stir to combine-Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lentil Cakes8Now for a little training recap

Training has gone much better this week as I build my base for the SLO Marathon. I ran 18 miles total, which is an increase of about five miles over last week, so that’s good. As I’ve mentioned, I want to use December to increase my mileage to 25-35 miles per week and get my long run up to 10 miles. I plan to start my training plan for the marathon on January 1 (or second, depending on my new year’s eve). Here’s the recap:

Monday: Running, 5 miles. Yoga: 60 minute class (at work. Hurray for gym perks!).
Tuesday: Rest, though I did play around with the TRX and functional trainer for about a half hour.
Wednesday: Four mile tempo run. One mile warm up, 4-half mile intervals at LT pace with a 1/4 mile recovery. First of any kind of speed work in months, so it was hard but I felt good afterward.
Thursday: Thirty minutes Pilates workout.
Friday: Thirty minute Circuit Training Class. This was at work, basically because I have to sub in a couple weeks and I wanted to get an idea of what level, etc. My knee was really hurting for some reason, so my workout was kind of limited, but enough to make me sore the next day.
Saturday: Six mile run, followed by a 90 minute Vinyasa class (with April so it kicked my butt).
Sunday: This is doggy run day, so a total of three miles with the dogs. Easy Breezy.

Dog run

The plan for this coming week is to increase the mileage for each workout.  Just a little bit, and to increase the challenge of my Wednesday tempo run. Again, just a little bit.  Also to practice yoga at least three times. To do that, I’ll get to the studio once or twice, plus I’m going to try out Yoga30., and the new online classes offered by April and Yoga Central (see below for details).

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon 1024x379 Starting with a Bang...

Join me (and Alan!) in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central Starting with a Bang...

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

Do you celebrate Meatless Mondays? Do you have a favorite vegan or vegetarian dish that you serve your family? What’s on your training schedule?