Tag Archives: easy

Sweet & Sauteed Brussels Sprouts


Who eats plain old steamed or boiled brussels sprouts anymore? Not me! I had it once and I am OVER it. The good news is that there are so many ways to prepare these guys, and a creative saute is one of the easiest.

1 to 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and cut in halves or quarters
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1-2 tbsp walnuts (optional)
safflower or canola oil
salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Fire up a pan and heat up the oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in your ingredients and saute until brussels sprouts start to turn bright green (or to your liking). Remove from heat and eat!

Soooo easy and yummy! This makes a great side dish or just about any meal. You can add chilies to spice it up. You can use soy sauce and/or sriracha to season for an Asian twist. Or add cumin for a Mexican or Indian flair.

Ooooh the possibilities! Enjoy!

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Hot pot!

When Brent and I are feeling particularly lazy but still want to eat something healthy, we make hot pot. This is an East Asian fun thing that can be enjoyed by small groups of friends or just your family. We use a simple electric wok that’s resistant to tipping over and fill it with our favorite kind of broth. It’s a great way to use just about any vegetables that are available in our refrigerator – broccoli, green beans, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, tofu, tofu skins, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, noodles (we use thin rice noodles and konjac noodles). Napa cabbage, spinach and Romaine lettuce are favorites.

After that, all you need is some fresh veg chopped into bite sized pieces and maybe some dipping sauces. Our broth recipe is as follows
1-2  liters of water

1-2 cubes of bouillon (we use “chicken” or mushroom)

1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns (we like spicy, what can I say)

2 star anise pods

15-20 goji berries

10-15 scallion onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

a pinch of ground cumin

2-3 pods of allspice

1 coin size slice of ginger (optional)

juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

1 tbsp chili or garlic flavored canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

I combine everything but the scallion onions in my pot and boil for 30 minutes or more until it’s fragrant and steamy. Then I add the spring onions and take the pot to our table. You put the veggies into the soup pot and wait for the liquid to return to a boil. Then we remove the vegetables without chopsticks, wait for them to cool or dip them in sauce or not (I like a home-made chili-lime-peanut sauce, Brent prefers a garlic chili sauce) and DEVOUR! Just be careful that the hot liquid doesn’t splash anyone and that the contents don’t spill onto anyone. It’s HOT (hence the name *hot* pot)! This might not be a dish for the faint of heart, but it is for the hungry, adventurous and lazy. Just put down a towel for all the drips and splashes.

As versatile as this particular dish is, there’s something for everyone. Just don’t get hurt when you realize someone ate your mushroom.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

We write about Brussels sprouts quite a bit, and it’s because they are freaking delicious! They’re definitely a winter veggie for me. I see a Brussels sprout and I think of Thanksgiving and Christmas and Sunday dinners. I’ve toyed around with several recipes, but I finally found one that I think is going to be my go-to recipe.


Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(adapted from About.com > Vegetarian food)

1 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts, cut in half
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp safflower or canola oil
1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until a dressing is formed.

Gently toss the Brussels sprouts in the dressing.

Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle some salt on those babies if you’d like.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.

zOMG. These were so good! The mustard added a nice little pop of flavor that’s been missing from other recipes I’ve tried. The best thing about this is that they can easily be served with any meal, from a vegan roast to pasta to tofu to pizza! Yum. –Melissa

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The Lazy Vegan: Sweet Sunday Breakfast

When I think about family meals, I find myself being truly grateful that my parents and siblings and I always ate at the table, together. My parents would cook, we would set the table, get our drinks, and then it would just be us and our meal. There was never any radio or TV or smart phone to distract us. Sunday mornings were especially nice: my parents would sometimes cook what I would now consider to be an extravagant breakfast consisting of eggs and sausages and pancakes, etc. Or, we would stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way home from church and have a junky breakfast together.

Fast forward to today. I woke up alone and wanting something comforting but healthy and easy for breakfast. This meal using items I always have in my kitchen met my criteria and was perfectly satisfying! It’s also a great meal for kids.


Lazy Sunday Morning Waffles w/ Peanut Butter and a ‘Nana

1 frozen Van’s waffle (I love these. There a several varieties, many are gluten-free, and I can find them in any of my usual grocery stores)
1 banana
1-2 tbsp of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams (again… awesome product from a vegan company that I can find in any of my usual grocery stores)


Toast or bake the waffle according to the directions on the box.

Spread the peanut butter on the waffle.

Slice up a banana.

Put it all on a plate.



As easy as it was to make this, I found it to be so comforting. Today is one of those days when a meal can make or break my day. This definitely makes me feel more ready to face my day! –Melissa

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Sounds funny, tastes delicious… This is a simple cold summer soup that is loaded with good nutrients and packed with flavor. It should be a staple in your diet whether you’re vegan or not. Ours is made from the following ingredients:
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (I like 2 different colors, in this case yellow and red)
1/2 cup of cilantro stems
2 cucumbers
juice from 1 lemon
5 tomatoes, stems removed
1 jalapeño (optional for the brave)
6-8 scallion onions, chopped just as the bulb turns green, stems diced
4-5 strawberries (optional)
hot sauce and salt to taste

Brent cut up the vegetables into sizes that fit easily in our food processor. The skins can be left on the cucumber for a richer flavor if they’re organic, otherwise I remove most of it if not all.

The tomato, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, lemon juice, scallion bulbs and cilantro stems all went into the processor and was blended until smooth. Afterward I added salt and hot sauce to taste, garnished with scallion onion (you can use cilantro too, if you like). and served with grilled cashew cheese sammiches. It hit the spot after a day in the muggy Florida heat. Let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Birthday CAKE!

My personal favorite birthday cake is chocolate and vanilla marble cake with coconut frosting. Being gluten-free and vegan makes this an adventure. We tried Wholesome Chow’s vanilla cake mix, chocolate cake mix (both prepared with vegetable oil and soy milk) and their vanilla frosting mix prepared according to their glaze instructions. with 1/4 tsp coconut extract and some flake coconut sprinkled over the top. We baked it according to the instructions but had to bake it for an additional 30 minutes before it became firm. Not a problem, if you ask me.

I brought it to a gathering with some omnivore/carnist friends and it disappeared. For how easy it was to make and how delicious, I’d recommend it to anyone out there. Also, belated blog happy birthday to co-author Melissa!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Lavish Lavash Pizza

I’ve always liked the idea of homemade pizza, but I’m intimidated by the dough-making process. I just won’t make dough from scratch, okay? You’re probably thinking, “what about pizza dough from the grocery store?” Call me strange, but there’s something about Boboli that I don’t find appealing.

I visited my friend Jen last weekend. Two things from my trip inspired me to make my own pizza at home using lavash. The first inspiration came from the pizzas Jen made using flatbread from Target. The flatbread made the perfect thin crust. The second was the lavash that was served with our hummus at Crave instead of the usual pita or pita chips. Lavash is light and tastes great when it’s soft and warm as well as when it’s baked to a crisp.

I will be eating homemade pizza all the freaking time now.

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I was excited to find locally made lavash at Fresh Farms in Niles. If you’re in the Chicago area, take the trip up to Fresh Farms. They have a huge selection and you’ll find a lot of vegan products there at a lower price than those other stores. One pack of lavash costs $1.79 and I can make about six pizzas with it.

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Now, I’m not a big fan of grocery shopping so I was about to settle for dairy cheese instead of stopping someplace else to pick up daiya (I know, I know, I’m a terrible vegan). But, Fresh Farms rescued me! I found shredded cheese made by Follow Your Heart. I like Follow Your Heart vegan cheese wedges, but this is the first time I’ve seen their shredded products.


I love daiya, but I think I might like Follow Your Heart better. Daiya seems to be seasoned. I always know when I’m eating daiya because there’s a certain taste to it that isn’t found in real cheese. I didn’t notice that in the Follow Your Heart. The texture was good and the cheese melted really well.

I got my lavash. I got my cheese. All I needed now was pizza sauce (you can use your favorite pasta sauce or tomato sauce) and toppings. Top your pizza however you would like. Today, I used roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, crushed red pepper, and italian seasoning. I can’t wait to make others using fresh tomatoes or eggplant or basil or jalapenos from my Dad’s garden. Or… pineapple and vegan bacon! Or seasoned TVP! The possibilities are endless.


So, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees, top your pizza, and then bake it for five minutes or until the cheese melts. That’s it! So easy and quick and there’s really no way to screw it up. It’s the perfect Melissa recipe. I am gonna be so fat, you guys. –Melissa

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Apple Bake!

This was something that happened because I wanted to lighter breakfast and didn’t want to fuss with it too much. Did you know apples have almost the exact same nutritional value cooked as raw? I guess that makes sense.


I cut up 2 pounds of apples and tossed them with 2 cups of Cascadian Farms Berry Cobbler granola. I baked it for 30 minutes at 350F and then set it out to cool a little before we ate it. This is just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert!


If you’re wondering why the apples look so pink, it’s because they’re mountain rose apples. I love them because they’re visually stunning and taste like honey crisp apples. Yay!


This is Christie, signing off!

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Epic Vegan Queso

We decided to take queso to the next level. Fortunately the preparation wasn’t epic; it is incredibly simple to make your own awesome queso at home.

You can start with Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso or any other pre-made vegan queso or make your own.

Take your vegan queso and combine it with the following:
1 15 ounce tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced and microwaved until soft
1 15 ounce tin of diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 package of Tofurkey soy Chorizo

Then we microwave it until it’s hot, stirring every thirty seconds. This is perfect for a gathering with friends, even omnivores!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Mango Margaritas!

This is an incredibly simple drink and mango is in season here in Florida. I figured I’d honor our local bounty and make something really fresh (like from the tree in our backyard) and that’s sure to please. We typically collect our mango as they’re available and peel and then freeze the flesh in 16 ounce containers.


Place the frozen fruit into your trusty blender with or without tequila (one ounce per person is my rule), 1 cup of orange juice and juice from half a lime. Before you pour your beverage, you’ll want to coat the rim of your beverage receptacle with salt. There are 2 ways to do this. I recommend using fine sea salt but ordinary table salt is fine. You’ll gently dip the lip of your glass into your margarita and then into a bowl of salt OR rub the other half of that lime around the edge of that glass and then do the same with the bowl of salt.

IMG_2544Blend it up to smooth perfection and get ready to enjoy your vitamin A and vitamin C with enough fiber to make a vegan blush.


Thank-you for visiting the Virtual Vegan Potluck 3.0! Please visit the blogs before and after us in the potluck! They’re also amazing. This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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