Country Breakfast: Tofu and Veggie Scramble with Home Fries

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

I am enjoying spring so much! Even though I hear that it is still snowing in some parts of the US, I am glad that we have cool weather AND sunshine. Don'get me wrong. There are some days that are cloudy and gloomy, but the flowers and the trees are all in full bloom. Maybe a little too much in full bloom.

I am hearing that spring came earlier than last year. DO you know what that means? The tulips start blooming earlier and perhaps will not be in the best viewing mode for the Festival next week, although I have been informed that a wide variety of tulips have been planted that seem to bloom later despite weather changes, so I am looking forward driving my sister and grandmother around in order to show them the 6 MILES of tulip lanes. Oh yes.

I have a little spring in the my own backyard too! Actually, just two flowers, but it still makes me happy.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Does it not look like a weed?? Poor tulips, but they were enjoying the sun as I had been that afternoon.

Now to delicious sunny food. You know that I have been counting calories and watching what I have been actually eating. I have been experimenting with foods for breakfast that have the same amount of calories. I have been consistently drinking Green Monster Smoothies and oatmeal, but on occasion I feel like eating some sort of comfort food.

You know what I am talking about. There is always that favorite greasy spoon of a place that entices you with their smothered bisquits and gravy, hashbrowns, bacon, and other heart-clogging foods. You actually can have that in the privacy of your own home without all the grease!

Before going vegan, I consumed a lot of eggs, so this was probably the hardest thing not to crave, next to cheese. It still is a little hard when I prepare hard-boiled eggs for egg salad for Ryan, but then I think of my goals and my reasons and I remember that I can have a tasty substitute: tofu.

I am glad to feature my recipe because I know that breakfast is one of the most important meals that fuels and determines how I will be feeling the rest of the day. Yes, food affects moods, at least the wrong food choices. Tofu is so versatile as I learned through Isa Chandra's book with brunch and breakfast ideas. It is exciting to know that there are so many options, so I decided to make my own version of a tofu scramble with veggies with a side of home fries. Sometimes I alternate this meal with 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast. Both of these breakfast options equal to a close 400 calories for the whole meal.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Tofu and Veggie Scramble

serves 2

1 12-ounce box Mori-Nu tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup asparagus, chopped
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 Tbsp water

Press the tofu for 30 minutes prior to cooking. Chop all the veggies and leave ready to begin cooking process.

Using a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add pressed tofu and crumble in large pieces. The tofu will need to cook and dry out a little for 10 to 15 minutes, so meanwhile, add onions and garlic to tofu.

After those 15 minutes, add asparagus and mushroom and all the rest of the spices plus the water. Cook for 5 minutes and serve hot!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Home Fries

serves 2

3 red potatoes, diced 1/2 inch thick
2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Prepare potatoes before starting on tofu scramble.

Preheat oven to 450F and move oven rack to the next to last highest row. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Wash and scrub potatoes. Dice them and add to a medium bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Pour potatoes on cookie sheet and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes and serve while hot.

Country Breakfast: Tofu and Veggie Scramble With Home Fries on Foodista


Split Red Lentils with Basmati Rice and Daikon Relish

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

What a most spectacular day! Ryan has been busy with school assignments and Holland Chorale so we were not able to play racquetball today but I was able to ride my bike to the library and back home in 40 minutes and then I danced for 20 minutes. How about burning 430 calories?? There is nothing like taking a nice bike ride on a cool sunny afternoon. Thank you Lord!

After that nice workout, I knew I was not going to get dinner prepared or eaten before going singing in a concert so I was starving when our concert was finished at 8:30pm. When I have not eaten at my normal time it is hard for me to decide what to eat but I finally decided to have a light dinner seeing that it was ALREADY late.

Two days ago I was finally able to purchase Daiya vegan cheese! I thought I would only have to buy it at the Whole Foods that I do not have in town but I found it at my local health food store. SO expensive! I hope that coupons come out for this in the future. I decided to make nachos with Daiya cheese with some purple kale. I added salsa to 1 cup of kale and after the "cheese" was melted I topped it with the kale and half a tomato. YUM!

Last week I prepared a new dish with a bean I do not cook with often. I finally learned that Ryan does not like it, I have told him if there is something he does NOT enjoy or like at all that he is free to tell me. Ha! This was one dish he did not care to have anymore, but it was so delicious! He ate a whole bowl, but because that is all I made for dinner. Oh, he did have an extra bowl of basmati rice!

This lentil dish was an Indian dish with an added Japanese flair. The daikon was the cooling agent in this not so spicy dish. I am going to be making this again, but on a night Ryan is out of town. :)

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Split Red Lentils with Basmati Rice and Daikon Relish

serves 3

1 cup split red lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper

In a medium pot, heat olive oil and saute' onions, orange bell pepper, garlic and lentils for 5 minutes.

Add water and boil on medium high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water has cooked into beans. This dish will not be soupy but will be more like a stew. After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes, add the spices so that the flavors will blend.


3/4 cup daikon, shredded
1 tsp ume plum vinegar
2 tsp gomasio

Using a julienne peeler, shred about 3/4 cup daikon and add to a small bowl. Add remaing ingredients and mix well.

Basmati Rice

serves 4

1 cup basmati rice
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Place rice to a small pot and add water. Heat until water starts boiling. Add salt.

Lower heat to low, and cover pot. Cook for 25 minutes or according to packaging.

Serve lentils in a bowl and place rice on top with a side of relish. Delicious!


Colorful Red Quinoa not so Tabbouleh Salad

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

This weekend we had a busy schedule. We hardly found ourselves at home due to all of our practices. I tried really hard to still eat healthy and to have enough protein to continue to have energy during our busy schedules and I can finally say today that I survived. You know what did it for me? Well, of course God's strength but Primal vegan jerky. I have not reviewed this product yet but it was a bot of an energy life saving food that came in handy. Review to come soon!

I look forward cooking some nice meals this week despite another busy weekend in Holland. Tulip Time Show will soon be gone and over and our lives will be back.

Last week I made some delicious new creations for lunch that also ended up as dinner on 2 sepearate days. Knowing my calorie intake has been an experience and a challenge. Do you know how much you put in your mouth? It is incredible that calories add up, and if I did not have a consistent work out no wonder I was gaining weight. Since Ryan and I have been counting calories we have been working out like fiends. Well, not technically. He has been embracing racquetball and it is exciting to me to play with my husband, especially when he looks at me with nice wide eyes and almost pants "Hey, how about some racquetball???" I love him! He has been a great encouragement so knowing what foods to prepare during the week are fun to make up.

One of the things I have been enjoying is using my juicer. I have been experimenting with different vegetables and only juicing twice a week. This is what I had:

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
On the left are leftover stems from my red kale I used, along with some broccoli stems,ginger, parsley, cabbage and carrots and Oh, some beets as well. It was very delicious and very filling.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

If you have never juiced before, try it! It is invigorating and gives you a slight punch of energy after drinking it. You can even save the pulp and make muffins with them! I have yet to try it but I will soon.

Another recipe I created this past week was a quinoa salad. I have eaten quinoa before as breakfast cereal or as a side with my veggies but not as a salad. Since I like tabbouleh so much, I decided to start with that idea in mind and go from there.

Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein? It is a complete protein because it has all the essential amino acids to make it so. So this is healthier than wheat or rice. The Incans called it the "mother of all grains." How wonderful is it not? Ryan does not like eating it because he thinks they look like tiny spaceships and they are too crunchy for him, but he tends to be particular on tastes.:) You always have to rinse quinoa before cooking it because it has an outer layer that makes it bitter. Once you wash the quinoa, the flavor, once cooking it, becomes milder. Enjoy this recipe!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Colorful Red Quinoa not so Tabbouleh Salad

serves 4 small portions or 2 hearty portions

1 cup red quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
5 red radishes, diced
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup yellow pepper,diced
1/2 cup English cucumber, diced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
3 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Wash the 1 cup of quinoa in a colander for several seconds. Add quinoa, water and salt to a small pot and boil for 15 minutes. You will know it is cooked when it becomes soft and you see little white antennas pop from the grain.

Meanwhile, wash all your veggies well and chop and dice them accordingly.

Add all the veggies to a medium glass bowl and toss. In a small bowl mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil and all the spices and blend well. Add the vinagrette to the salad and enjoy.

Will keep for 1 day, but best eaten the same day.


Turtle Mountain Product Review (SO Delicious Dairy-Free Products)

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
I recently received a packet of information about this lovely product. Even though I enjoy almond milk and soy milk, I use them for specific uses. I use soy milk mainly for cooking and almond milk for eating.

I used to drink rice milk but it was hard getting used to, so when I found out about this product I jumped at it. Turtle Mountain sent me some coupons to try some of their products, so I decided to try the following:
  • Coconut Milk Kefir
  • Coconut Milk Creamer (French Vanilla flavor)
  • Unsweetened Coconut Milk (fewer calories than the sweetened)
  • Decadent Chocolate Dairy-Free Ice Cream (Soy-Milk based)
  • Passionate Mango Coconut Yogurt
  • Passionate Mango Ice Cream
A lot of products, eh? Yes, I decided to stick up the fridge with these goodies to get the whole experience. THESE coconut products are FANTABULOUS!!! Let me tell you how I have been using them or enjoying them.

I have been using the Unsweetened Coconut Milk to make the Green Monster, since it has fewer calories and a lower sugar content. It makes for a creamy smoothie and so flavorful. I also used them in my recent recipe for the Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting. Yes, even though there are recipes using soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk, SO Delicious Coconut Milk comes in handy too! Especially when you want to make something tropical. Yum!

What about creamer? Before going vegan, I resorted to the chemical-ladened Coffee-Mate creamers that helped me gain weight. Yes, I believe that these were an additional culprit, but after going vegan, trying to find a good creamer was hard. The soy creamer really upset my stomach and I was disappointed I was going to have to JUST use almond milk. No probs, but when a company comes out with a yummy product I was super happy to buy the Coconut Milk Creamer in the French Vanilla flavor. It takes 1 Tbsp to be added to your coffee for only 20 calories! Wow, guys, this is so good and creamy. No...it does not taste coconutty, but a little creamy, as are coconuts.

How about ice cream? My hubby and I used to enjoy this often, which he still does now but more in moderation. I, on the other hand, have held off even with the dairy-free options, especially since there are somewhat expensive. I could also make it, but hey I have a day job and do not have time to be in the kitchen all the time! I tried the Decadent Chocolate Dairy-Free Ice Cream (Soy-Milk based) that was very creamy and decadent, as the name indicates. I even had Ryan taste it and he liked it too! It only takes 1/2 cup serving for a little over 100 calories. What a treat, but you know what did it for me??

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Coconut Milk Ice Cream in the Passionate Mango flavor!!

This is by the far the best stuff I have tasted. The flavor took me to a lovely memory of delicious gelato I had in Italy several years back. Yes, gelato. Even though I have not tried any of the other pints in other flavors, I am sorry I have to say I would like to just stick to this flavor. It was TASTY!! Go try it!!

This flavor is also available in the yogurt. I obviously did not have enough of the flavor. SO creamy and delicious and not so bad on the calorie count.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Please go out and try these wonderful products! It is a great option , especially if you cannot tolerate SOY. It is a lovely option to have alongside the other dairy-free products!

Thanks Tree Mountain for such a great opportunity to try these wonderful products! :)

UPDATE!! I tried the Coconut Milk Ice Cream Mini Bars and the Hazelnut Creamer. So delicious!!!


Baby Bok Choy with Ume Plum Vinegar and Gomasio

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

The week has gone by so fast has it not?? I am happy to have the weekend and I am sure there are some that feel the same way! Ryan and I have stayed busy preparing for the upcoming Tulip Time festivities in Holland. We are beginning to have more days driving to Holland and rehearsing our musical numbers with our small groups and our whole ensemble. What are we performing?

Well, Holland Chorale usually puts on a show for Tulip Time that is completely different stylistically and musically. It focuses more on Broadway and show tunes to 60's and popular tunes. Another different thing is all the choreography. It is very organized and people get really gung hoe about it, but the downside of this is not being in the comfort of your own home. No offense to all the folks to allow is to stay in their homes but there is something about preparing your own foods and waking up in your own bed and not hurrying to some rehearsal. YES, I know. It is all a part of being a musician and I love it, but sometimes it gets to you. We are coming to the point where the end of the season is at its closing point so summer will be here to give us a break.

Spring has been here to add to the cheery mood! I enjoyed taking pictures of beautiful tulips. Which one is your favorite?

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Sigh....Spring is beautiful is it not? My grandmother and sister are flying in in a few weeks to see these beautiful flowers and Festival. I am so excited! It is nice when friends and family come in for a visit. I try to convince people to come and visit this beautiful state! It is gorgeous during this time and even in the summer!

So enough of the weather, how about some food? I am up late blogging to prevent my going to sleep on a semi-full tummy of yummy goodies. We had a wine and cheese fundraising event tonight where I happened to be singing. It was funny how people approached me and said how sorry they felt that I could not eat the cheese at this event. I was not sorry, since I know what happens to me when I had cheese....ha ha ha. I did enjoy, though, the lovely wines that were offered from local wineries. I think I settles on a blended white wine that was delicious. I usually like to stick to blended reds more than whites but this was lovely. I am sorry I do not have pictures, but the set up was nice. I had some wine but not much since I had to sing, even though it was one number.

I sang "If I Love You" from Carousel. I think I was very warmed because 1.) I had a voice lesson earlier and 2.)the wine helped a bit (wink wink). After I sang my piece I tasted some more wines but not to much since I hardly had had anything to eat except my tofu scramble from the morning, and apple and a LARA bar. NOT good, I know.  Needless to say, we did go out to dinner after the fundraiser to a nice Italian restaurant we had YET to try called Pereddie's. What a funny name, eh?

They make all their food from scratch, from their pasta down to their pizza. I ordered a portabella mushroom with a Greek dinner salad without any feta. Their salad was huge and VERY delicious. It had capers, 2 kinds of olives, artichokes, pickled peppers, pepperocini peppers and lots of lettuce. I barely ate half my salad but scarfed the mushroom. I am starting to have more fun ordering from menus at restaurants.

On another note, this week I tried a new way of eating bok choy. While meandering through my favorite Asian market, I decided to buy 2 pounds of their baby bokchoy. I started to brainstorm on the different ways I could use these little babys but I had one recipe in mind. The Kind Life suggested a nice recipe using Ume Plum vinegar with Gomasio, which is toasted black sesame seeds, then grounded in sea salt.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

This is such a EASY recipe and can go with any dish you make. Eden Foods makes the Ume Plum vinegar using umeboshi plums and pickling them with sea salt and shiso(beefsteak)leaves.
From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

It is a salty vinegar so you can use it in dressings or sprinkle it over steamed veggies, like I did in this recipe.

Ryan tasted this vegetable for the first time and really enjoyed this recipe. He told me he thought it was VERY gourmet for such a simple recipe. You too can make it in your own home. You can use baby bok choy, medium bokchoy or chop some regular sized bok choy and enjoy the recipe the same way. I think I am going to stick to the baby bok choy since they are SO cute! Enjoy this quick recipe!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Baby Bok Choy with Ume Plum Vinegar and Gomasio
serves 2

8 to 10 baby bok choy, washed
2 tsp Ume Plum Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Gomasio
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (or sesame oil)(optional)
Wash your baby bok choy and set aside. Add water to a medium pot and place in a steamer basket in the pot. Boil the water until steaming.

Add bok choy to steamer and steam for 3 to 5 minutes or before getting too limp. remove bok choy with tongs and place on a plate. Drizzle the vinegar, and olive oil and sprinkle with the gomasio
*How to make Gomasio

makes 1/4 cup

4 Tbsp black sesame seeds
1 Tbsp sea salt

Toast salt in a cast iron skillet or non-stick on medium heat until the salt turns a little light brown color. Remove from heat and add to a mortal. Grind salt to a powder.

Toast seeds in a dry skillet until they just begin to color. Use medium-low heat and shake the skillet often. Watch toasting closely. Remove from heat after 5 to 7 minutes and pound fine with a mortar and pestle. When crushed, add salt and pound again.


BBQ Tempeh Tacos, Red Kale Salad with Sweet Mustard Dressing and Weightloss progress

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
What a beautiful Tuesday! How was everyones day and was it sunny like it was here? Sigh...It is wonderful to see how some days are perfect spring days and others are like summery days. Even the tulips have already started blooming and people are fearing that they will not be in perfect bloom for Tulip Time next month. Yikes! We can't have that happen since I have family coming to visit us next month. I am leaving it in God's hands for sure!

I mentioned to some people that I started journaling everything I eat in addition to counting calories. Last week I mentioned that I have learned that one can still gain weight while following a vegan lifestyle, go figure, so upon my husband's suggestion we both started counting calories and journaling what we ate.

I started last Monday and today I clocked in at losing 10 pounds in 8 days. How did I do it? I calculated my daily calorie intake for my height and current weight and then focused on eating more whole foods and fruits and vegetables. I also worked out a bunch and pretty hit a calorie deficit that allowed me to feel energetic. In addition to this I fasted for 2 days with herbal detox teas and water to boost my metabolism. How could I do this?

I have not gone through a detox in years and I was only given the strength through God's grace to do it especially the weekend of the bake sale. It actually was not a huge issue. After 2 days, I was convincing myself to try doing it for 5 more days but decided against it until another weekend. Before these 8 days, I had never counted calories, but I realized that I had been missing out all these years. It has also helped with portion control! Yes, portion control. These two upcoming dishes are two lunches I enjoyed this past week.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

BBQ Tempeh Tacos

makes 4 tacos (400 calories total)

4 tortillas
4 ounces tempeh, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup daikon, julienned

Heat olive oil in non-stick pan. Add tempeh, onions, and garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add BBQ sauce and cook for 5 more minutes.

Warm tortillas and divide tempeh mixture between them. Top them with spinach and daikon. Enjoy!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Red Kale Salad with Sweet Mustard Dressing

adapted from The Blissful Chef

435 calories for 2 servings

serves 2

2 cups kale, washed and chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
2 Tbsp onions, diced
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds

Sweet Mustard Miso Dressing

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp miso
1 Tbsp stoneground mustard
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp filtered water
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

In a medium bowl, add chopped red kale, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, onions, and sunflower seeds.

For dressing:

In a small bowl, add all ingredients and blend well. Add half the dressing to the salad, or more for a creamier salad.


Two ways to enjoy Pad Thai

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Two posts ago I talked about a great way to limit carbs from your diet, but this post is totally not about NOT having carbs. I really enjoy eating rice noodles and along with that I like adding LOTS of veggies to 1 to 2 cups of cooked noodles. It looks like tons of food but in reality you are eating a greater proportion of vegetables to noodles.

Before going vegan, I really like going to different Thai restaurants in order to find the best Pad Thai. Well, unfortunately, this dish contains fish sauce and is NOT vegan. Luckily since buying Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, I have been able to enjoy Pad Thai in my own home. Everytime I would go to restaurants I would order the dish with tofu and tons of veggies. Somehow, tons of veggies never came out just right.

This is why I decided to work on two different versions of Pad Thai.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Tofu Pad Thai with Snow Peas and Broccoli

serves 4

1 13-ounce extra firm Mori-Nu Tofu, pressed
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup mirin
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp Thai chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
1-1/2 cups snow peas
2 cups broccoli florets
1-1/2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp crushed peanuts
2 1/2 cups cooked rice noodles

Soak noodles in warm water for 20-30 minutes. Cube pressed tofu in 1 inch pieces.

Heat a non-stick pan with 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil on medium heat. Add tofu and fry for 20 minutes.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

In a medium wok, add remainging sesame oil. Saute' snow peas, mushrooms, and broccoli for 10 minutes. Drain noodles and add to the wok. Continue cooking for 5 minutes.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients: agave nectar, mirin, ketchup, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, Thai chili sauce. Add the sauce to the noodles and veggies. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes on medium heat, until the noodles and sauce start to to absorb.

Serve immediately and add peanuts on top.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Pad Thai with crumbled Tofu

serves 2

6.5 ounce soft tofu, crumbled
2 Tbsp sesame oil
4 asparagus stalks, diced
4 small carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup baby bella mushrooms,sliced
1/2 cup Thai basil, chopped,
2 Tbsp peanuts
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup mirin
3 Tbsp ketchup
3 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp Thai chili sauce (I used Sriracha)

Heat oil in wok over medium heat. Crumble soft tofu and add to hot wok. Fry as if an egg. Mix sauce ingredients: agave nectar, mirin, ketchup, tamari (or soy sauce), lime juice, Thai chili sauce in a small bowl. Add to tofu.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Add vegetables and cook for 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until noodles ahve absorbed some sauce. Add Thai basil and serve with crushed peanuts.

Enjoy this delicious meal options during your week!

1st Annual Food Blogger Bake Sale

This weekend I was involved with a bake sale to raise funds to end childhood hunger. The Food Bloggers Bake Sale was a part of the Great American Bake Sale, an event put on every year by Share Our Strength to raise money to support their efforts. So on Saturday, April 17th, bakes from all over the US prepared wonderful goodies to raise money for a wonderful cause. It felt great knowing that many people were doing the same thing on the same day as we were.

Megan @ What Megan's Making, organized the whole event, from locating a place to hold our bake sale, to calling places to donate items for the event. She happened to share with me that she had never organized such an event before but I encouraged her since things went so smoothly. Originally we were going to have the bake sale outside th Kava Coffee Shop, but it turned out to be very chilly despite some sunshine. The owner was kind enough to let us move the table inside and continue our sale.

Our bake sale started at 10am and ended at 2pm. We were glad to know that it was the coffee shop's busier Saturdays they had had in a while because of our sale. We had generous donations from customers especially when they could see the table of goodies we had.

Megan had family help her out making some goodies, like monster sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles and she made many more treats that made for a great spread! She made Chocolate Globs, Monster Cookies, Cinnamon Roll Cookies, and Oatmeal Brown Bread.

When I was thinking about what to bake for this event I thought I would make an equal amount of vegan baked goods to non-vegan  goods. I still had so much butter left in my fridge and this was totally a way to use it up. I made Chocolate Chip Biscotti, dusted in powdered sugar and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Bars:

And I made vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from a new recipe found on Kirsten's Kitchen. I then decided to make something mini. If you have seen my previous dessert recipes you can tell I like a lot of things in "mini" form, so I decided to make mini vegan cupcakes with a new frosting.

Chocolate-Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

makes 24 mini cupcakes

cupcake recipe found on the PPK website

3/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 banana, mashed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup SO Delicious coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Add banana, stirring well to combine. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with 1/2 cup coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups or 24 mini cupcake cups (opt: lined with paper liners). Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back easily when touched lightly in the center. Allow to cool, and frost if desired.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

my creation

1/3 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Peanut Butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp Coconut Milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until there are no clumps. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Nearly 1 in 4 children in America struggle with hunger, and Share Our Strength is fighting to change that. Please consider donating to Share Our Strength to help end hunger. Visit http://gabs.strength.org/.


Guiltless "Pasta" with Sausage Marinara

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Working out sure does burn a lot of calories and knowing what to eat after a workout is so important, from what I am reading. It always seems to be a challenge to not give in to my thoughts when my cravings come along. As I go by my pantry, around dinner time, I hear pasta calling out my name frequently. "Hello! I feel lonely in here as you do. Indulge!" Ha ha ha. I know. There is nothing wrong with indulging some days of the week. I am talking about having it ALL the time. This is what has been calling me this week.

In order to satisfy my carb craving this week, I made a delicious alternative to satiate the pasta craving. I had heard of the alternative from many people but I was dubious. WHat are these alternatives? Well there is always spaghetti squash and then there is zucchini. HOW can zucchini become a pasta alternative. SAY WHAT? I know. My husband dislikes squash and prefers not to eat it or touch it. Yet again a texture issue, but I respect it.

A while back I explained how a mandoline was simply useless to me when trying to julienne vegetables. On the other hand, I was able to find a dandy tool for only 3 bucks at Marshalls! Woohoo. My favorite store too. Even if you find it a little more expensive, invest in it! I use it everyday and it is so handy.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
I grated 2 zucchini for 2 cups worth of "noodles"and also shredded about 1/2 cup of daikon radish. You probably have seen me post several recipes using daikon, but daikon is like jicama, but with a spicier bite to it. It is a detoxifier, a great dgiestive and super healthy containing Vitamin C.

Let me tell you, if the Asian food stores if FULLY stocked with something, they know something that we American consumers do not. Believe me. Alicia Silverstone incorporates daikon in her recipes, including a weightloss remedy! Beware though, it is a VERY smelly veggie. Ryan cringes every time I use it because if it is cooked it smells bad, but not so much if you eat it raw. Raw is the best way.

I combined the daikon and the zucchini shreds and massaged them in 1 Tbsp olive oil and added a bit of umeboshi vinegar to salt the veggies. I then quickly cooked so Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage that is completely vegan and added some marinara and some kalamata olived. DELICIOUS PEOPLE. This dish is simple, quick, filling and only 377 calories. Please try this recipe and try to cut back on your carbs!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Guiltless "Pasta" with Sausage Marinara

serves 1

2 zucchini (1 large and 1 small), shredd in a spiralizer
1/2 cup daikon, shredded
2 tsp umeboshi vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings (or 1 Tbsp fresh basil)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3/4 cup Newmans Own Sockarooni sauce
1 Field Roast sausage link, sliced

Shred your veggies and place in small bowl. Add vinegar and oil and massage for 3 minutes. Add seasonings and let sit for 5 minutes.

Mix in kalamata olives and toss.

Heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet and heat the sausage for 5 to 7 minutes (This sausage does not need to be overcooked, just heated). Add marinara and toss with sausage. Add sausage sauce over veggie noodles. Enjoy!!


Kidney Bean Hummus and Kale Wrap

I am on day three of keeping a log of everything I am eating and counting calories. Someone asked me today if it was possible to gain weight as a vegan, even though I think the question was rhetorical, I wanted to shed major light on this fact.

One can CONTINUE GAINING WEIGHT even after choosing a vegan lifestyle. Yes folks. I know that many choose vegan lifestyles for a cause but there are many that do it for weight loss. I have noticed that after several months of trying to substitute foods for the "forbidden" foods, like cheese, also contain as much fat.

Alicia's explains in her book, The Kind Diet, that in order to have a healthy lifestyle, most foods are centered on an a perfect balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, and clean foods. My problem has been replacing foods with almost the same fat and calorie count and letting er rip.

 I know that this has been a process, but my desire to have self-discipline does not lie in my OWN self but in surrendering the will to have whatever I want to eat, even if it is "healthy." Whether you believe it or not, my strength lies in God's hand and not my own.I realize that when I rely on MY own will and strength, I fail, and I continue to choose food over health and balance. Not good.

My husband encouraged me to log in everything I was eating when I initially started back in November, but little by little I started to cheat. Someone told me if I craved cheese, that it was ok to indulge with a little bit and get the craving over. LIES. If I had a problem with cheese consumption (even paying the consequence of my lactose intolerance) before, having a little was not going to solve the problem. It was controlling how much I wanted to eat. Am I preaching to a choir here? I know someone has been in this same boat.

So I initially lost 16 pounds since I started but pretty much plateaued immediately when I started focusing on foods and my wants and desires as opposed to what was right for me and this time in my life. This is the reason for healthier posts and more veggies. I do not think I am sacrificing flavor, but finding an EVEN MORE creative way to enjoy natural foods. For example:

Lunch consisted on a wrap, filled with kale salad, kidney bean hummus, daikon radish, regular radish and tomatoes. DELICIOUS I tell you!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Kidney Bean Hummus and Kale Wrap

makes 2 wraps

2 whole wheat pita

1 can red kidney beans
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup packed cilantro
1 garlic clove

1/2 tomato, sliced
1 cup shredded daikon
5 red radishes, sliced
2 cups kale leaves, stems removed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp umeboshi vinegar

In a food processor, blend hummus ingredients until well blended.

Chop kales leaves and massage 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3 minutes. Add vinegar.

Assemble wrap: Take one pita and add 1/2 cup hummus and fill with add-ins and kale salad. Wrap and slice in half. 500 calories per each serving.

Corn Tortilla and Veggie Stacks with Red Pepper Coulis

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Another day, another dollar right? I forgot to post my Meatless Monday entree yesterday and then I remembered, "Oh, I am always meatless," ha ha ha.

My exercise routine has been out of this world and even despite some gloomy weather. Yesterday I rode my bicycle to the campus gym and worked on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. I then stretched, did a few weights and worked on the treadmill. I finished that routine by riding back home after stopping at my local health store to stock up on some veggies. Needless to say, I forgot to buy a bag of carrots. Oh well.

After a great workout yesterday and today, I rejuvenated with a glass of delicious juiced-up veggies. Here was my miracle juice of the day.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
This glass of goodness was an experiment based on many other raw foodists out in the Twitter world. I was told that broccoli stalks could be juiced so I tried it. If you have a power juicer, try this. It is midnight now and I still have energy, but I am going to sleep now.
  • 5 Broccoli stems
  • 1/2 beet
  • 1/2 cup Daikon (Oriental radish)
  • 3 kale stems (leftover from salad)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1 gala apple
Trust me people. This might not sound delicious but the apple and ginger even out the flavors to make out such a great combination. I decided to do this since I did not have my carrots, ;(

As a dinner post, I would like to share a recipe I created last week. It actually was an inspiration based on a whim but those are the best, I hear. It consists of layering and grilling vegetables, but overall it is a quick weekday meal.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Corn Tortilla and Veggie Stacks with Red Pepper Coulis

serves 2

3 corn tortillas
1 cup asparagus stalks
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced and peeled

Peel and slice the eggplant with 1 inch thick slices. Lightly oil a grill and cook the eggplant for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not overcook. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute' asparagus and mushrooms for 5 to 7 minutes and set aside for assembly.

Red Pepper Coulis

3/4 cup red peppers (from a jar)
1/2 cup Veganaise
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup packed parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne

Place all ingredient in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender.


Heat 3 tortillas. Place 1 1/2 Tbsp of the coulis on a plate.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Lay one tortilla on top of the sauce. Add 1/2 Tbsp of coulis onto tortilla and top with some veggies.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Repeat with second layer.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Add top tortilla and top with 1/2 Tbsp of coulis and decorate with veggies. Eat with knife and fork!

Since there is no meat or fat, your fat comes from the veganaise. You will have 1/2 cup of coulis left for another use. This was suprisingly scrumptious and I hope to make it again!

Corn Tortilla and Veggie Stacks With Red Pepper Coulis
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