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Posts Tagged ‘grill king’

So it’s been a while since my last post.  A year….a very busy year filled with so many changes that those who know me understand how busy I have been.  We’ve turned our lives upside down, moved, put the kids in school (teenagers now, no more homeschooling for me) and could not be happier than we are at this very moment.  We have beautiful beaches, friendly people and great schools.

I have still not entered Vegan Land and at this point that is probably not going to happen any time soon.  I just am not ready to give up seafood.

I can say that I am healthier, happier, and feel great since all land meat has exited my diet.  I will not go back because 40 points came off of my cholesterol numbers and that’s a pretty big deal.

I eat lots of vegan meals, vegetarian meals, and pescatarian meals (my seafood).  Grill King still lights up the grill only now the meat sizes are smaller and it is not as often.  If I come across some fantastic vegan recipes and they taste wonderful, I will share them here.

Meanwhile, I am off to another journey because turning 45 has brought about some interesting happenings.  Feel free to check me out at www.waytoohot.me

Until then eat healthy, stay happy and Enjoy, Leslie

 

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Visiting my sister is always fun.  This time though it took a little extra planning.  She calls me to check about the weekends menu.  Everyone, it seems, worries about what to feed the non-meat-eater.  For one meal, the kids and carnivores decided on hamburgers.  My sister and I settled on a veggie burger.  She isn’t a big meat eater.  With it went rice, steamed broccoli and corn.

Her new hubby of 10 months is a HUGE CARNIVORE and refuses to eat a meal without meat.  This is not a joke.  The man thinks it is not a real meal unless there is a carcass hunk laying next to the other stuff.  His favorite meat is chicken which totally gives me the weebie geebies.  He reminds me of Grill King before I turned his world and grill upside down by changing my diet.

While Grill King has been most accommodating with my new life change, my brother-in-law and I have had a few discussions on why I think this life change is necessary.  It is not one he understands nor do I believe it is one he could handle if my sister were to venture down the same path.

Together, he and my sister have 6 kids.  Add in my two and the two elder carnivores and well, you can see for yourself how many hamburgers it takes to fill a grill.

grilled cow carcass

It was a fun evening.  Unfortunately, my sister and I live at two different ends of the state and since Florida is extra long, there are about 7 driving hours between us.  Not always fun for the kids who miss each other the second we leave.

On another note, I recently passed the bacon test.  Real bacon is one of those things that use to make my mouth water.  The other day Grill King pulls some out for breakfast.  I gave him the look that basically asked “do you value your life?”  He said he really needed to use it up and had been putting it off knowing that I may possibly scalp him for it.  I prepared myself for the smell of the bacon frying but then I even surprised myself.  No part of me felt like ripping him limb from limb.  My mouth did not water and I had no desire to eat the plate of bacon.  While this may not seem like a big deal to most for me it was a big step forward.  Tofu anyone?

Speaking of Tofu, I need to figure out how to cook the stuff.  I looked at in the other day in the grocery store and thought about buying it but it was just way too alien to me.  I had absolutely no idea what to do with the stuff.  I recently had some at a Thai place that was fabulous.  If I could cook it like that, I would be thrilled.  I guess I just need to bite the bullet and go for it.  If anyone out there has any great recipes with tofu, please send them my way.

It’s been 8 meatless months.  I’m talking land meat here; seafood and I still have a close relationship.  We visit about once a week.  Matter of fact I was slurping some oysters down just the other day.  Do oysters have a mama?  It seems to be a controversy. Other than the occasional seafood meal , I cook completely vegan.  I cook with no dairy or eggs at home.  I don’t stress too much if I’m eating out.  Right now it just makes it easier.

My kids have handled this whole change quite well.  My daughters favorite dinner is my spinach bean patties.  My son is not huge on meat either and would rather have a plate full of all the other stuff.  Grill King eats along with us and then has the once a week land-meat craving where he chases down a grocer and comes back with either a hoof or a beak to grill.  Both the kids really enjoy fish and like I said, I cook it about once a week.

My latest fish dish (I cooked this last week) was a new one that turned out quite well.  First I cooked some hashbrowns.  Then I put the hashbrowns in a baking dish and covered them with fresh spinach.  After that I place fish filets on top that had been seasoned with salt, pepper and old bay.  On top of that went a mixture of chopped tomatoes, 2 kinds of olives, capers and a little olive oil.  Then I baked it and WOW did this come out good.  See the for yourself:

Hashbrowns covered with spinach

Ready to go in the oven.

Time to eat.

If you like fish, give this one a shot.  It’s something a little different that tastes really good.  If your a vegan or vegetarian, leave off the fish.  Either way Enjoy!

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I mentioned in an earlier post about a great gift I got for Christmas.  I wasn’t able to blog about it at the time because my kitchen was lacking the necessary equipment.  Nothing new there.  I made the trip to Williams Sonoma (I LOVE that store) and managed  to only buy what I went in there for.  I walked out with a very heavy pizza/baking stone.  I was grinning from ear to ear.

The gift I got for Christmas was a book on making bread.  It’s called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  A friend gave it to me.  She has her own blog at www.pickmeyard.wordpress.com.  Anyway, we were discussing bread one day before Christmas and I mentioned how most store bought breads contained things like dairy and eggs.  Two of the things I was trying to remove from my life.  She told me she had been making her own bread and how easy it was.  My first thought was…yeah right.

Turns out she was right!  I now bake my own bread every week.  I make enough dough for about 4 one pound loves.  The dough just gets stored in the refrigerator until it is baking time.  My loaves are usually a little bigger so really I only get about 3 from the mixture.  As soon as the last is eaten, I make another batch.  It is soooo good and super easy.

The first loaf I made was gone in 12 minutes.  It never cooled.  Grill King, myself and the kids scarfed it down very quickly.  We resembled buzzards after a carcass on the side of the road.  Not a pretty picture but I dare you to make this bread and not eat the whole first loaf.  Some of it was dipped in olive oil, while the rest was slathered with Earth Balance “butter”.  Between bites, Grill King mumbled, “If we weren’t already married, I would marry you just for this bread.”  Magical words that every wife longs to here.  That statement though, should tell you how good it is.  He was eating BREAD folks, not a steak, wing, leg, etc..  It was a first for my carnivore to have his eyes glaze over while eating something that did not once roam the earth.  Miracles do indeed happen.

There are so many things you can do with this bread.  I have some dough in the refrigerator right now.  With my next loaf, I plan to experiment.  I’m thinking olives or sun dried tomatoes and some seasonings.  The book itself has tons of recipes.  Basically, all you need is flour, yeast, warm water and salt.   You can go from there in whatever direction you wish.

Four little ingredients will provide you with mouth watering bread that is hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside.  Imagine sitting at a little mom and pop place and they hand you a basket with a loaf of fresh bread.  You reach inside.   It’s still warm and you break a piece off.  It has that perfect sound of crunch while you break it apart and then you see how soft the inside is as you watch  the steam escape.  Your mouth waters and you don’t know whether to just bite it, dip it in something or slather something on it.  It is so good, you must have another.

You’re wanting bread, aren’t you?  Well, this is how it has been at my house for the last few weeks.  Throw in a glass of wine, close your eyes and picture yourself in Tuscany or Paris or where ever you imagine great bread and wine comes from.  It’s like a little vacation and we could all use one of those.  This one will save you money.  Just throw in some imagination, a little peace and quiet and your all set.  Enjoy!

Rising Dough

Fresh Homemade Bread

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One thing that is really a lot of fun is the tasting test that I go through a few times a week since I’ve been tiptoeing towards veganism.  Mostly it’s fun unless I have to go ewwww as I run to hang my head over the porcelain god.  That’s the price of experimenting with food.  Sometimes you love it and other times you’re ready to hurl that stuff back up.  This recent vegan experiment was one that was so tasty, I sucked down a second helping.   I had seen a similar recipe but when one’s kitchen is lacking, one can feel free to substitute, change and add.  This time I got lucky.   I will be making this again.   No ewwww and no porcelain god needed.

If you are not familiar with quinoa, may I suggest that you go to the store now and buy some.  Quinoa is a complete protein which is a major bonus for your health and for your body if you are not partaking in the eating ritual of hooves, beaks & feathers, varmints, etc.  Quinoa is 100% whole grain and packs 6 grams of protein in one serving.  This is information you can throw out to those who ask, “how do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?”  

This quinoa recipe was also consumed by my husband/Grill King and the kids.  All ate and all enjoyed.  It’s nice when I fix something completely vegan and the whole family says yum.  I ate my quinoa pilaf along side a fresh salad and it was very filling.  Grill King on the other hand has been running around here without meat for the last few days and was starting to give the dogs a funny look.  He went to the grocery store and somehow a package of chicken wings ended up in my refrigerator.  He swore they just jumped in the cart.  Lets just say that as I was cooking the quinoa pilaf, our grill was smoking.  On Grill Kings plate, next to the very healthy quinoa and salad, was some artery clogging beaks & feathers.  I haven’t seen him go after chicken wings like that in a while.  I guess he got his fix and will put up with my cooking and experiments for a few more days.  In a couple of days though, I may to have my daughter lock Kiwi (our parakeet) in her room….just to be on the safe side (beaks & feathers).

Quinoa Pilaf Recipe

1 cup quinoa

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 cups of vegetable broth

1 tbsp dried basil

salt and pepper (as much or as little as you want)

2 – 3 cups of loosely packed fresh spinach

In a skillet, warm the olive oil.  Then add the onion and saute till it’s soft.  Stir in the tomato, basil and the vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes.  Pour all of this into a slow cooker/crock pot.  Then add the quinoa and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stir really well.  Cook on low for about 2 hours.  Check periodically, stir, and add a little vegetable broth or water if it starts getting dry. When the quinoa is fully cooked, add the spinach.  Stir it in until the spinach in completely coated and starting to wilt.  Replace the lid and cook all for another 10 – 15 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl and immediately enjoy.  A healthy, yummy, complete meal all in one dish.  Gotta love that!

Quinoa Pilaf with Tomatoes, Onion & Spinach

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So in searching my cookbooks I found a recipe for chickpea cutlets. Thank you Veganomicon and authors Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero!  My thought was:  perfect, this will be our “meat ” for the evening.  Grill King laughed at the thought of something called chickpea cutlets taking the place of chicken, ribs, or steak.  I had to agree, anything with the word cutlets sounds like a meat dish.  But I was determined to have a complete vegan meal no matter what.  Therefore, I hid the butter! After I mixed together the ingredients for the chickpea cutlets, threw together a salad and cooked some quinoa (I have a really big bag of this stuff – COSTCO), Grill King did the honors of cooking the cutlets.  I placed this meal on the table and called everyone in.  My daughters reaction to seeing the cutlets – “I thought we were having a vegan meal, this is fish, you can’t have fish.”  Ah Hah!  Maybe chickpea cutlets can replace meat.  Although to be honest with all of you, I have not yet given up fish or seafood  (this will be a really hard road for me and I’m not sure I’m willing to travel it at this point.)  Does an oyster have a mama or a face?  Tiptoeing remember?  However land meat/things with hooves or beaks are in the past.  They’re out-a-here!  for me anyway.  So we ate our “vegan meat”and even my pickiest eater ate the chickpea cutlets.  Both kids liked the meal and Grill King stated that I am welcome to make these cutlets anytime.  See, miracles do happen and everyone in my family had a completely meatless meal that they enjoyed and that was also veganified (a word?…probably not).   Sounds good though.

My Chickpea Cutlets - Recipe Courtesy of Veganomicon

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