It’s Good to be Back!

After a very long blogging hiatus, I am back now and refocusing my blog to share one of my favorite things: food!

I thought I’d start today’s post with my breakfast and include a few other photos and commentary about what I typically do on a Sunday to prepare for my workweek and for meals during the week.

Most Sundays, I look forward to “bagel” Sunday and treat myself to a really crispy, toasted bagel, slathered in non dairy cream cheese, topped with tomatoes and piled high with sliced cucumbers and arugula. Today, I was really craving something different and I came across a few recipes for chickpea omelets that looked pretty good. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand, because isn’t that always a bummer — when you’re all pumped up to try a new recipe and you’re out of most of the key ingredients?

I gathered together my chickpea flour, mixed it with water and baking soda. Next I sautéed some mushrooms and cooked my omelet topped with some spinach and roasted red pepper.  Mmmmm!  So delicious and filling, too.  Bagel…sorry, maybe next week.

Next up was lunch. Luckily, I had some leftover kale and quinoa salad in the fridge. I decided to load up a Trader Joe’s Lavash flatbread with the salad mix and sliced some baby cucumbers that I bought at the farmer’s market the day before. Yummm…so delicious. It was so messy, but so worth it!

My final cooking project for the day was vegan cheese sauce. You’ll see from the pictures that it is more science project than cooking project. I’m not sure who the genius is who put this combination together, but it totally works. It is such a great “fake” that you will fool pretty much any non-vegan into thinking it’s really cheese. Somehow, raw oats, onion, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, seasoning and water turn into a thick and creamy cheese sauce…who knew?

Well, I am pretty tired from a full day of cooking. I hope you’ll come back soon to read my next cooking update. In the coming weeks, I will detail some of my tips and tricks that I use to stay organized in the kitchen and share some of my favorite go-to sources for plant based recipes. Maybe you’ll be inspired to incorporate one or two ideas to try.

Heidi

Today the kitchen was my happy place

I always thought #myhappyplace sounded like such a trite phrase, but today it seems appropriate as I spent most of my day there. Tonight is Kol Nidre, or the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday. This year, we are spending the High Holiday season in our new home and celebrating with both old and new friends alike.

To me, pretty much every Jewish holiday is all about the food. My mom’s chicken soup and matzoh balls are legendary. And it was really hard this year to be so far away and not have them. She also passed down an amazing Apple Cookie Cake recipe that is spectacular.  (Neither of which are anywhere near vegan!). But…I probably would’ve caved… instead of apple cookie cake this year, we will have Detoxinista Macaroons. Find that fabulous recipe here.Blonde Macaroons

Here’s the fresh from the oven Challah!

And here’s the mess….

I’ve been researching all the vegan recipe websites and Pinterest in search of traditional Jewish holiday foods transformed into vegan versions.  Last week, I spent hours comparing challah recipes and sweet noodle kugel preparations. I narrowed it down to one of each that seemed doable for me.

I found a really great website  for the kugel. Vegan Noodle Kugel

And for the Vegan Challah,  you’ll never guess the “secret” ingredient…. this recipe uses Aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) to replace the egg! Who knew??

So…after about 4 1/2 hours in the kitchen today…we will have delicious vegan challah! And tomorrow we will be enjoying a sweet and vegan noodle kugel!

Wishing everyone an easy fast and a Healthy Happy New Year!

Move over, Ina Garten (and I mean that in the nicest possible way)

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (from Florida) lived an inexperienced cook who was introduced to the cookbooks of the Barefoot Contessa. For years and years, this stay at home mom started all her recipes with many sticks of butter, the glug glug glug of olive oils and of course, “good” vanilla in all her baked goods. Her bookshelves proudly displayed almost every one of Ina’s wonderful cookbooks. She spent her children’s nap time engrossed in every episode of Ina’s food network show. Would Jeffrey make an appearance in today’s episode? Who will her special guests be for dinner tonight?

Fast forward to a new age. There’s a new sheriff in town. His name is Rip Esselstyn. He created the Engine 2 diet. It’s a whole food, plant based way of eating. Did I scare you? Plants…yes. No meat…yes. No dairy…yes. Delicious and filling food..yes and yes.

This past January, I was introduced to a Facebook group called the Engine 2 seven day rescue. Rip had written an update to his original diet and I joined this group to see what it was about. Anyone can do something for seven days, right?? So…I tried it and I’m happy to say I’m still following the rules for this way of eating. It is that good. It really works for me and it really is easy. If, you are willing to make the changes and I won’t lie, there is some advance food prep required if you want to make it work.

I won’t bog you down with all the details of the way I eat now. But I’m having a lot of fun with it and I just started an instagram account to show the world what I eat and cook now.  It’s has been a lot of fun and I’m meeting all kinds of fellow plant based people out there who share this journey.

Here are a few of my most recent kitchen creations. Carrot Dogs in the first picture and Chili Cheese fries in the second picture. No animal products whatsoever in either meal!


I feel great eating this way and if you are interested in learning more, I’m happy to answer any questions. You can follow more of my food adventures on instagram  @heidicooksplants

Oh, and if anyone’s interested in some bargain Barefoot Contessa cookbooks…😉😉😂😂

Vienna waits for you…

I have been a Billy Joel fan for as long as I can remember. Start any song of his and I’m pretty sure I can finish that lyric. I was lucky enough to see him last summer on his concert tour when he played at Wrigley Field- it was an amazing show.

Billy Joel

Now that we are “retired”– we’ve chosen to move to Florida and begin our new chapter. After a lifetime of cold winters, we will not miss the ice, cold, slush and dreary weather in Ohio. We are both ready for sunshine and warmth!

Today, my very talented daughter helped me with my re-branding. My updated resume details my love of cooking and healthy living.  I like to think of myself as the vegan Ina Garten…I only use “good” cashew cream in my Mac and “cheeze”. Perhaps there’s a specialty food store that can use my expertise in healthy cooking. I’m excited to find out what’s next.

As we ring in 2017, I hope to post more often and keep you all updated on my new beginnings in Florida.


Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

Football Saturdays

Anyone that knows me well would never describe me as a sports fan. Yes, I was devoted to watching my children’s swim meets for years. Swimming is a sport I understand. It is easy to follow. I “got” swimming. For the most part, swimming was enjoyed in the comfort of a steamy indoor venue.

Enter college football. For many years, I sat in the same room with my husband and son and “watched” the game. Every Saturday, I feigned interest, as I flipped through cooking magazines or cookbooks, or Facebook. I cheered where appropriate and consoled when necessary. Oftentimes, I could be heard saying, it’s just a game. And, can we leave for the restaurant now?

I’m now a fan. Really. A true fan. I have two teams to watch this year. Michigan State Spartans and the Florida Gators. I get it! Right now, I’m home alone…and I just watched a phenomenal Spartan win over Michigan. The Gators are on now…and I AM WATCHING! Who knew?

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I can honestly say I am enjoying this season, especially as both teams are having a great year. I also like watching from the comfort of my house…no inclement weather for me. I’ll continue cheering for my Spartans and Gators from my couch!

Thanks for stopping by!

Today I am nesting

Who remembers those last few days before you went into labor?  They called it “nesting”. I remember nesting with my first child. I went into a cooking frenzy the few weeks or so leading up to my due date. That was almost 22 years ago, so excuse me if I don’t recall the exact details! With my second child, I don’t remember the cooking frenzy. Most likely because I had a nearly 3 year old to take care of. I think we relied on the kindness of friends who brought over meals when Darcy was born. Again, almost 19 years ago…who can remember.

Fast forward 19 years as we prepare to pack up said daughter to college. This afternoon I went on a cooking rampage. Partly because I want Darcy to have all her favorite foods before she leaves, and partly because I downed a venti cold brew at Starbucks at 3:00.

What’s cooking? Maple Pecan Granola, courtesy of The Detoxinista.  Her granola is to die for! Visit her at http://detoxinista.com I also stopped at our local farm stand (Mulvin’s, for my local fans). I thought butternut squash sounded good. So, that is roasting in the over right now. Selfishly, that’s probably more for me than anyone else.  I also bought some blueberries. I’m contemplating a batch of muffins, although that may have to wait until after dinner.

The oven timer is beeping…until next time…

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Thanks for stopping by.

This is a lot harder than it looks

A week ago today was my first blog post. In the past seven days I have written and deleted more posts than there are New York Housewives. When I embarked on this project, I really didn’t think it would be so difficult to just write. I love reading other people’s blogs, and I wonder, are they struggling, too?

Now, in addition to whatever book I’m reading, and other random papers and receipts, my nightstand is now littered with scribbled notes with story ideas: “I Love the 80s”, “Stacey’s mom lyrics” “where do you shop when you aren’t ready for Chicos?”

  

Groundbreaking topics, don’t you agree? Seriously…what clothing stores are out there for the woman in her fifties? I’m still looking for just the right place to fit in. It used to be so easy. The Gap always had the basics…when I was in my 30s. My recent trips there seem wasted. Shrunken blazers, cropped t shirts, ripped jeans. Let’s move to the other extreme, Chicos (sorry, mom). Whenever I walk into a Chicos store, the salesperson says, “do you know how our sizing works”, which translates to “oh, this must be your first time in here” I usually just politely walk through the store, and make a quick exit. Really, I am not there yet. So where, then?

  Is this a look for me? It’s from Evereve….
Have you heard of Evereve? Yeah, well, it used to be called Hot Mama. Apparently that wasn’t really working for them. Is Evereve any better? Oh, and let’s not forget Soft Surroundings.  A new retailer that I discovered recently. The best thing I can say about them is that the store smells really nice. Let’s just put them up in the Chicos category.

I like to shop…but nowadays, I don’t really LOVE to shop. It just seems like a lot of work.

Leave me a comment. Tell me where you like to shop. Someplace where you feel like you aren’t browsing through your daughters closet or your mothers closet. I’d love to hear from you.

I finally did it

Hello, and welcome to my first attempt at blogging. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about doing for at least the past year. I must have said to my daughter at least 50 times this past year…”I really need to start a blog”  Yesterday I turned 51. A very dear friend of mine said to me, “now, you’re officially in your fifties”. Wow…thanks a lot. At that moment, I realized that it’s now or never and so here it is.

I was born in 1964, the last year of the Baby Boom era. I’ll be adding Empty Nester to my title in a few weeks,as my husband and I prepare to send our youngest to college. Now seems like the perfect time to start my blog.

In future posts, I hope to share my journey into this new, unknown phase of my life. Please stop back. You may find some new recipe that I’ve found- now that I’ll be cooking for just 2.  Maybe you’ll find some new discovery–who knows. It will be an adventure for us all.