Soup in the Summer: Spicy Thai Curry

thaicurrysoupI must confess, if I could eat soup everyday for dinner I would. I am pretty sure I ate a bowl of tomato soup with noodles for dinner almost every night in college. The only problem I have with finding recipes is that generally, a lot of soups call for animal stock. I try to maintain a vegetarian diet so this isn’t super ideal, however I have found that curry and coconut milk-based soups often call for veggie stock.

Honestly, I don’t know why I made this…it’s hotter than hell outside, and this soup is spicy…but alas, there are only so many salads you can eat in the summer. It’s a nice change to pace, super hardy, and has a lot of good veggies in it. Bonus points for the fact that you can make it vegan!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 tbs. ginger (chopped fine)
  • 2 tbs red curry paste
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy
  • 4.5 c. veggie broth (or chicken if you wish)
  • 1 sweet potato (cut into chunks)
  • 1/4 c. shredded carrots
  • 13 oz. can of light coconut milk
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs fish sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 c. rice noodles
  • 1/4 red onion (optional garnish)
  • 1 lime (optional garnish)
  • sriracha (optional garnish)
  • sprouts (optional garnish)

Directions:

  • In a pan, on medium heat, add the oil, garlic, and red curry and cook for a few minutes until mixed.
  • In a soup pot, mix the veggie stock, ginger, sweet potatoes, carrot, red pepper flakes, and the stalk of the bok choy (chopped up, leaves separated). Add the garlic curry mix and set to boil. Once the mix has boiled for a few minutes, set to simmer until the potatoes are soft. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
  • Add brown sugar, fish sauce (if desired), and coconut milk and stir. Let simmer a few minutes.
  • Add the rice noodles to the simmering pot and allow them to cook until the noodles are soft.
  • Pour soup into a bowl and sprinkle juice from a lime wedge on top. Add sprouts, sriracha, and onion to the top and enjoy.

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!

CORNERIt’s been quite the week so far! I got a really great promotion at work (woohoo Manager of Communications), we are so close to finishing up our living room project, Mr. JD and I just booked a much needed vacation, AND I found the most adorable old dresser at the thrift store that I will turn into a coffee bar (stay tuned for more on that). $9, solid wood—awesome!

To celebrate, I decided to make one of my husband’s favorite cakes, the classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. I must confess, I snagged the ingredients to make the cake for my mother-in-law, who came to help us peel wallpaper (UGH!), but the recipe makes two, one layer cakes, so it was actually kind of perfect.

This recipe isn’t vegan (you can make it vegan with egg beaters and Earth Fare vegan butter), but it is super easy—I basically follow the boxed ingredients and make it slightly healthier and add a secret ingredient! This recipe is super flavorful and reminds me of summer, it’s also not too sweet and not too rich, which is great because I hate the taste of butter!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large jar of pineapple rings, plus juice
  • 6 maraschino cherries
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 box pineapple upside down cake mix
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg with yolk
  • 1/3 c. oil
  • Coconut oil non-stick spray
  • 2 round baking pans

Directions:

IMG_20160412_183317First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and get out all of your ingredients. Next, open your can of pineapples and remove two full ring and place them in a bowl; leave the juice and the rest of the pineapple rings in the can. Next, open the bag of cake mix and empty into a large mixing bowl. Add two egg whites and one whole egg to the mix, in addition to 1/3 c. oil. Next, in lieu of water, add 1 c. pineapple juice. This keeps the cake super flavorful and moist, which allows you to cut some of the fat out of the cake (I like to use egg whites whenever possible). Mix the ingredients together with a hand mixer until completely smooth.

Next, in a separate bowl, melt the butter and the brown sugar. While this is in the microwave, spray your baking pans with cooking spray and get ready to arrange your pineapples. You can arrange these however you want, I like to take a knife and cut through the rings, essentially halving the pineapple rings and then arrange them in a pan so they will make a pretty design. Place three maraschino cherries in the center of the pan. Next, remove the butter and sugar mix from the microwave and add the vanilla, stir then empty into the two pans all over the pineapple. Next add the cake batter to the pan, making sure you spread the batter to the edges.

Bake for 30-40 minutes. Each pan and oven is different, you’ll know when the cake is finished because it will pass the toothpick test and it will be a golden brown. Set the cakes to cool on a rack for about 40 minutes. Next, you are going to flip over the cooled cake after running a knife around the edges of the pan. Once you have flipped over the cake pan onto a plate give all sides of the pan a little knock with a spoon. This will help the cake loosen and fall from the pan beautifully.

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Last, enjoy with some orange spice tea (my style) or with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (Mr. JD style). ­čÖé

 

 

Refreshing Lavender & Mint Lemonade!

a title hereOne of the things I love most about Spring and Summer is drinking an ice cold beverage on a hot day, ideally swinging on my porch and reading something fun. Ninety percent of the time I opt for fruit-infused water, but every now and then I want super cold lemonade–especially if I have people coming over.

This lemonade is super quick, very easy and can be spiked if you are so inclined! I enjoy this, usually with something spicy, like the vegan tacos my husband made yesterday! The best part is that this recipe costs less than $5 and tastes like a fancy mocktail.

Ingredients

  • Frozen Lemonade
  • 7 Mint Leaves
  • 2 Lemons
  • 5 tbs. lavender syrup, get the recipe here
  • Ice cubes
  • Water

Directions

Follow the directions on the can of frozen lemonade, typically it will tell you to add between 3-4 cans of water. Whatever the directions are add another half cup of water to it. Stir until the frozen lemonade is completely mixed. Next, cut one lemon in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into the lemonade mixture. Stir. Next, add the lavender syrup. I never make this very strong, but you can add more to taste if you like. Lastly, add your mint leaves, lemon slices from your leftover lemon, and add plenty of ice, then mix and let it steep.

If you are having an evening gathering and want to kick it up, you can always add citrus vodka instead of the extra water.

Super cheap, super easy, super delicious and summery!

Easy 30 Minute Vegan Fajitas!

VeganFajitas

Enough of Taco Tuesday–where did that even come from? We’re doing Vegan Fajita Tuesday. Not alliterative, still awesome though.

I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to cooking, if I can take a shortcut, I will—especially because my husband is a meat eater and I am not. This means I often to have to make a meat-filled and meatless version of whatever we decide to eat for dinner. I have found that there are some cuisines that lend itself to vegan food; Thai and Indian food (obviously) and Mexican food works well too. Mr. JD is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, he’s scared of most cooked veggies so Thai and Indian are off the table. He’s just not that adventurous; I put a piece of broccoli on his plate one time and he gave it to the the dog.

So…Mexican it is. I can replace meat with beans or tofu and skip the dairy and still have a tasty meal. On nights when I don’t have to work the next day I don’t mind taking an hour and change to make dinner, but for this I buy some things that help me cut my prep and cooking time down–thank you pre-cut, organic frozen peppers from Trader Joe’s.

Follow the directions and ingredients below and enjoy!

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Fajita Seasoning

  • 2 tbs. Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if you like it spicy!)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin

Additional

  • 1/2 package of Trader Joe’s organic frozen bell/sweet peppers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1/3 Block of Tofu (I prefer extra firm organic from Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tbs. Olive Oil
  • Flour Tortillas (I use the small ones)
  • Taco Rice
  • Vegetarian Refried Beans
  • 1 Large Tomato
  • Medium Salsa
  • Guacamole (you can buy it or use my favorite guacamole recipe on the Eco Friendly Family)

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Directions

  • Add olive oil, frozen papers, and onion to a large skillet.
  • Cut up the tofu into small squares and add to the skillet. Cook until you have the desired texture. I like my tofu a little crispy so I cook it for awhile on medium-high.
  • Once you have the right consistency for your tofu, add the fajita seasoning and let it simmer on low while you prepare your rice, beans, and guacamole. I┬átypically use one of the bags of rice I just have to boil to expedite the process. This time I added corn, lentils, and black beans because I have had a chronic headache all day, which usually means I am low on iron/protein.
  • Assemble your fajitas and enjoy!

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 people, but because I am the only veggie in the house I typically take leftovers for lunch (if I have time to eat lunch). The fajita mixture keeps pretty well for a few days in the refrigerator!