Author Archives: Suzanne

runs on plants. eats out of mason jars. bends like a straw.

Coconut-Basil Stuffed Bell Peppers with Rice, Lentils, and Veggies

The countdown is on; only ten days remain in Vegan MoFo and I still have a few posts lined up. It has certainly been a whirlwind month with moving back to Kingston, settling into my school and work routine, and blogging everyday (and without home internet for a good majority of the month). I have thoroughly enjoyed vegan MoFo thus far and have learned a ton about myself, and how I see hello, veggy! evolving in the future!

Free-for-all Fridays2

I love Fridays for many reasons: no scheduled class, an excuse to belt out Rebecca Black’s greatest hit, and the freedom to post whatever my heart desires! I was feeling generous, so today I have a delectable bell pepper recipe that I will be submitting to Amy’s Veggie of the Month Link-up! With every good recipe comes a good story, and this one is no exception.

Long Drive Journey

A week or so ago, my Dad was travelling for work, and just so happened to pass through Kingston on the way to his destination. Like any good parent of a university student, he came bearing gifts in the form of things-I-had-forgotten-at-home, and offered to take me out for dinner. We opted for pizza at Woodenhead’s; I can’t believe it had taken me three years living in Kingston before going there! I chose the ‘make your own pizza’ option and had mine topped with tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, basil, and avocado; delicious and vegan to-boot!

Source: Megan Gritanni-Livingston

After dinner, he reunited me with my laundry hamper (how did I overlook packing that?) and handed over a care package from my Mom. Among the goodies were a bag of grapes, some Lindt dark chocolate, and four bell peppers. Let me repeat that: FOUR BELL PEPPERS for ONE Suzanne. At first I just rolled my eyes; my mom is Italian and notorious for over-compensating in the food department. Luckily, an idea quickly popped into my head on how I could use these beauties up before going bad.

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Coconut-Basil Stuffed Peppers with Lentil, Rice, and Veggies

Yield: 4 bell peppers

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. brown rice
  • 1/4 c. brown lentils
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • bell pepper tops, diced
  • 1/4 c. basil, finely slivered
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c. spinach, chopped
  • 4 bell peppers (yellow, or orange preferably)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine the rice, lentils, and water in a rice cooker or small pot. Cook until water is absorbed (approx. 20 minutes).
  • Cut the tops off four bell peppers, remove inner seeds, and place in a square baking dish. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan with coconut oil. Chop the onion, celery, pepper tops, and grate the ginger. Saute on medium heat until softened (5-7 minutes).
  • Chop the basil and spinach. When vegetables are softened and rice and lentils are cooked, stir in remaining ingredients (basil, spinach, rice, lentils, and coconut) until spinach is wilted. Taste and season with salt and pepper if required.
  • Scoop mixture into prepared bell peppers and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

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Despite the above pictured red pepper, I would splurge on the slightly-more-pricey orange or yellow varieties for this recipe; the red ones tasted ‘tomatoey’ once baked (unless that’s what you’d like, in which case go for it). Thanks again to Amy for hosting the link up; be sure to add your recipe for bell peppers or apples (the fruit of the month) by September 26th!

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Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Can’t Be Beet Smoothie

Thirsty Thursdays

I feel a great sense of accomplishment getting a head start on my daily vegetable requirement. I tend to gravitate towards sweeter breakfasts, so eating veggies in the morning can be somewhat of a challenge. One trick that works for me is blending greens into a fruit smoothie; I took this one step further and added the veggie power of beets!

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I made this smoothie with beets I picked up last week at the Farmer’s Market. Many vendors were selling these little red gems, but only one left the beet greens attached! The farmer excitedly told me how I could use the greens in a stir-fry, but I thought they might be a nice addition to this smoothie as well. Despite the amount of veggies that make up this beverage, it is adequately sweet, and not bitter or ‘vegetable-y’. The berries, fruit juice, and ginger perk it up quite a bit. I also added hemp seeds for some protein; feel free to increase the amount, or substitute for your favourite vegan protein powder. I also like how this smoothie holds off on the banana; sometimes I just want to eat a banana in its true form (with peanut butter), you know?

Can’t Be Beet Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 c. greens (I used spinach and beet greens)
  • 3/4 c. shredded beets
  • 1 c. mango or orange juice
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen berries (mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)
  • 3 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. ice
  • optional: extra liquid to achieve desired consistency

IMG_1314Instructions

  • Place ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add extra liquid if required.

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I hope this smoothie perks up your Thursday! A word of caution; be careful when grating the beets. They tend to go here, there, everywhere, and gravitate towards white clothing items. I personally shield myself with a tea-towel, yet I always find beet juice on my clothing despite my best efforts :(

Question of the Day: What is your trick for adding more veggies to your day?

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Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Sauerkraut and What I AM Wednesdays (WIAW)

This post may be somewhat long-winded, but I wanted to get all my thoughts across. Bare with me, or scroll to the end for my thoughts on this week’s new-to-me food!Work With It Wednesdays

As you can probably guess by reading hello, veggy!, I really enjoy preparing and eating food. One of the reasons I actually started writing the blog, was because one friend in particular (hi, Liz!) would often ask me for recipes. Hello, veggy! was born as my vehicle of sharing my love of food with people, and for chronicling life as it plays out.

I’ve since discovered other aspects of blogging that really make my heart sing. I am overwhelmed by how amazing the community associated with blog writing is. I love commenting on other blogs, responding to comments on my own posts, and even connecting with people face-to-face in real life!

Another thing I’ve discovered is my interest in writing about topics other than just food; I am more that what I eat! I find myself itching to write on topics much as health and mental wellness, school and work, the environment and travelling, yoga and fitness, and friends and family. Since I am currently participating in Vegan Month of Food (MoFo), the majority of my posts have centred around food, but I am excited to start branching out a bit.

Last week I participated in What I Ate Wednesdays (WIAW) for the first time. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous to do so, despite the fact that it isn’t meant to be about judgement, comparison, or guilt. I loved being a part of WIAW for the community associated with it; hundreds of bloggers link up every week, and it’s a great way to (virtually) meet new people, and share ideas in healthy eating! What I didn’t love, however, was that it felt confining; I want to be more than just what I eat!

From here on out, I hope to be part of WIAW on a regular basis, however, for the above reasons I will be ‘rebranding’ it as What I AM Wednesdays. I’ll be recapping my week in relation to what I am right now: fun, school, fitness, food, community, friends, and more!

What I Am Wednesday

Last week was the first week of classes; it seems to be getting off to a slow start, but I’m not complaining! It’s giving me time to adjust to a new routine, and get myself organized for the busy school year ahead. This semester I am taking four courses, and each one involves a group project!  Not my favourite, but I’m grateful to gain the experience; nursing is teamwork, after all! Aside from classes, I’m starting to get back into my extracurriculars, namely, energy exchange at the yoga studio, my part-time telemarketing job, and various other volunteer positions. I feel as busy as a bee!

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With the slower-than-usual work pace, I’ve been able to catch up with some friends. My pal Teryl stopped by for tea, Jenn accompanied me to my first spin class (ever!) at the school’s gym, I hosted a few friends for dinner, and went on a couple leisurely runs with the aforementioned Liz.

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Now we get to the food! I had myself some good eats last week. I made a huge pot of chili when I had my brothers for dinner last Sunday (recipe to come), and played around with my new spiralizer while making this week’s salad! The recent turn in weather is pushing me to crave warm foods like Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes, roasted squash galore, and hot drinks.

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I also got around to trying a new food this week: sauerkraut. I know it seems like a strange item to want to try, but my curiosity got the best of me after hearing oodles on its health benefits (flu fighter, immune booster, and digestive aid) and stumbling across a handful of delicious looking recipes online.

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Unfortunately, Bubbies sauerkraut was the smallest jar available at the health food store. I was seriously crossing my fingers that I would like it; what else could I do with a litre of fermented cabbage?

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I used Janet’s recipe for my maiden sauerkraut voyage. I know I love salads, so if the sauerkraut failed to please me at least I knew I would like the rest of the dish!

The Verdict

I liked it! I wouldn’t say sauerkraut replaces Ryan Gosling as the apple-of-my-eye, but the rest of the jar certainly won’t go to waste! It was much saltier than I would have liked, so now I know what to reach for when I’m craving something savoury. I’m interested making my sauerkraut; perhaps I can lessen the amount of salt to my liking? Next on the sauerkraut roster is this recipe; I can’t wait to try it!

Finally, a few random thoughts from my week: this song is my current favourite, and I’m itching to get my hands on a Leaves candle!

veganmofo

Question(s) of the Day: What do you think about WIAte/AmW? Have you tried sauerkraut? What should I try next week for Work With It Wednesdays?

Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

Cocoa-nut Wasabi Truffles

Treat Yourself Tuesday

A few summers ago, I worked in an ice cream and chocolate shop. This was before I went vegan, so there were temptations galore. I essentially could taste-test whenever I felt so inclined; I felt so inclined quite frequently. Among the offerings were a few dozen home-made ice creams (Brandied Fig and Goat Cheese, Drunken Kitty, Strawberry, Espresso Almond etc.), amazing cakes (Lemon-Raspberry Marscapone), and a case chock full of truffles.

The owner had a ton of really cool moulds for her truffles. There were Egyptian-inspired truffles, cute animals, shoes, dragons, and (my favourite) a tiny buddha.

Source: sweetolenkas

People would gawk at truffles and spend hours before picking out the ones they wanted. Without reading the sign they would point at the beautiful marbled-green Buddha stating it was what they wanted. Before lovingly placing the Buddha in their truffle box I would inform them, “just so you know it’s wasabi flavoured“. Half the people would look at me in horror and choose something less adventurous, while the other half would jump at the challenge to their taste buds.

Regardless of whether wasabi excited or terrifies you, I can attest that it accompanies chocolate very well! Feel free to play down (or up) the amount of wasabi to your spice-tolerance (just make sure to taste-test as you go). Still not convinced? Here are some cool health-facts about wasabi:

  • Naturally Anti-Viral, Anti-Microbial, Anti-Bacterial
  • Kills cancer cells
  • Improves liver function
  • and more!

Source: wasabi.org

Cocoa-nut Wasabi Truffles

Yield: 12-14 truffles

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 c. pitted dates (approx 10)
  • 1/2 c. nut butter (almond, cashew, or pistachio work well)
  • 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 c. walnuts, divided
  • 1-3 tsp wasabi paste, to taste

Instructions

  • Pulse nuts in food processor until crumbly. Remove 1/2 c. of nuts and set aside in a shallow bowl.
  • Add dates, nut butter, and cocoa powder to nut butter. Blend until a cake-like texture is achieved. Taste for desired chocolate flavour.
  • Add wasabi incrementally (blending with the addition of more wasabi) until desired spice is achieved.
  • With slightly wet hands, form the ‘dough’ into small balls and roll in nuts.
  • Refrigerate or freeze in a sealed container.

Question of the Day: What are your favourite weird food combinations?

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Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

The Farmer’s Market

 

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Did I ever mention how awesome my school is? Every Wednesday, the university brings a variety of vendors straight to campus to make healthy local produce accessible for students. Cool, right? The market is going into it’s fourth year, and features many vendors that also set up at the Kingston Public Market.

After reading about Amy and Davida‘s success at scoring Kabocha squash last week, I thought I would explore the market offerings to see if I could achieve similar success. Fall produce is definitely on its way! A couple vendors had apples and squash galore, though I’m happy to see that peaches and berries are still available.

Aside from fresh produce, the Farmer’s Market also brings in a few vendors with prepared foods. Among them are a hot dog stand, curry dishes, Russian foods, and even vegan samosas!

The local Wolfe Island Bakery also sets up a massive stand with various baked good, and their famous “Cookies The Size of Your Face”.

After doing a bit of exploring, I centred in on my goal; mission find-a-squash. There were a ton of varieties to choose from, but the squash resembling my yearned-after Kabocha was puzzlingly labelled Buttercup. :s

I purchased one despite my confusion, and turned to Google for answers. It turns out that I’m not the only one perplexed by the Kobocha/Buttercup identity crisis. Heather explains the difference between the two, but after carefully examining my squash’s stem, size, and rind, I’m was still unsure of the real variety. Further research on Wikipedia informed me that both Kabocha and Butternut belong to the same species, Curcurbita maximaEpicurious points out that the base of a Kabocha squash points out, where on a Butternut the base is flat.

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I determined that I successfully found a Kabocha! I did a little dance and preheated the oven. Even though Kingston has been scorching, I was far too excited to pass up eating my prize for dinner. I cut the squash into wedges, drizzled them with coconut oil, Herbamare, and some paprika, because I was feeling sassy. When the oven was heated up to 400 degrees (yes, it was hot in my apartment), I baked the squash for 30 minutes.

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I served it alongside a lovely stuffed pepper (recipe to come) and a fresh green salad. I know the picture isn’t stellar, but it was taken after the natural light has disappeared! I’m pretty impressed with myself for achieving this with my teeny desk lamp and some poster board! :D Any who, the squash was fab, and I’ll happily eat the left-overs for days to come! Now that mission Kabocha is complete I intend to zero in on locating a Delicata squash; in my experience they are extremely elusive!

Question of the Day: What is your favourite squash?

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Thanks so much for reading! Leave me a comment, or follow me on, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram; I’d love to connect with you!

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