Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Vegan Recipes

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Every culture has its version of the ‘roll’, whether it’s an egg roll, burrito, crepe, taquito, Chinese lettuce wrap, goi cuon, American roll-up and cabbage roll. There are different versions of the cabbage roll from various counties: Sweden, Finland, Bosnia, Italy and perhaps most famously Poland.

Cabbage rolls are usually soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped with minced beef or pork and rice and baked in tomato sauce. It’s a simple peasant food. I can remember my mother in law admonishing  me not to cook cabbage in my house because neighbors would smell it and think I was impoverished.

Yes cabbage does release a lingering strong odor when cooked but cabbage is very nutritious. You can open a window and turn on a fan if you are so delicate. Cabbage rocks! It’s full of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1 and B2, folate, calcium, selenium, iron, protein and niacin.

And by the by, it’s filling, tasty and a child friendly dish!

ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups fake meat (there are a variety available at most supermarkets)images-3
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 10 large cabbage leave, plus 1/2 cup chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups of vegan marina sauce
  • 2 Tbs chia seeds
  •  1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tps turmeric
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Steps:

  1. Saute onion, red pepper, 1/2 cup chopped cabbage and garlic in a pan.
  2. When soft add vegan meat and continue to saute until ‘meat’ is cooked through.IMG_6255
  3. Meanwhile cook cabbage leaves in a pot covered with boiling water for 4 minutes or just until the leaves are limp. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add 1.5 cups marinara sauce, rice, cilantro tumeric and nutritional yeast to the pan.IMG_6257
  5. Divide the “meat’ and rice mixture into 10 equal parts.
  6. Put mixture on a cabbage leaf and fold sides of leaf and roll up. Repeat.
  7. Place seam side down in a baking dish.IMG_6264
  8. Pour remaining sauce over the rolled cabbage.
  9. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  11. Use a slotted spoon to serve cabbage leave and pour a little of sauce on top.

Enjoy!!IMG_6268

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

Pumpkin Custards

gluten-free, low-fat, Vegan Recipes

Every year toward the end of September, I feel a pain in my heart.  I’m giving up the glorious sun filled days of carefree summer where there are no worries about homework and tests and our family has vacation and sleeping in on the schedule.  But as the days get cooler and the leaves change color a new routine replaces the dog days of summer.  We rent skis for the winter, plant chrysanthemus and just like that I’m loving fall.

I guess I’m a season chameleon.  I can’t wait for Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving dinner, apple picking, jumping into leaf piles and chowing down pumpkin pie!

But my kids aren’t exactly enthusiastic for my Grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe: one’s a vegan therefore won’t eat it due to the eggs or milk and the other one is trying to eat only healthy food.  Traditional pie crust is not healthy.  It’s full of fat and calories (unless you use my healthy vegan pic crust. Stay tuned!)  The pumpkin is the nutritional star with leading roles going to high vitamin C and A, high fiber and zero fat  in a can of 100% pure pumpkin.

Hence I devised vegan pumpkin pie custard!  It tastes just like Grandma’s pumpkin pie (minus the pie crust) and is a nutritional bonanza!

Ingredients:

  • one can of 15 OZ pure pumpkin
  • 12 fl oz. almond milk (you can substitute other vegan milks)
  • 3/4 cup of coconut sugar (or sugar of your choose)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 flax seed egg

Steps:

  1. Grind the flax seeds in a mini-grinder or coffee grinder until fine
  2. Soak the seeds in the water
  3. Preheat your oven to 350° and grease the ramekins
  4. In your mixer bowl put all the dry ingredients and gently whisk
  5. Add flax seed eggs mix
  6. Add pumpkin
  7. Slowly add milk while mixing
  8. Ladle mixture into ramekins
  9. Put ramekins in a pan filled with water about an inch below the top of ramekinsIMG_7148
    1. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until pumpkin mixture has firmed
    2.  Take out of water bath and refrigerate for another hour or more

    ENJOY!!!

    Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

It would have been our 21st Anniversary

Real Parenting

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At the hospital the staff let me stay alone with my husband for 20 minutes after he passed.  I hadn’t left his side for more than two hours in the last three weeks.  A wonderful angle of a neighbor stepped in to help care for my kids: 11 and 14. Our minister was there and my father and family came two days before he died. But when I was alone with him after he passed I had no idea what I should do.  I took his wedding ring off his finger and took mine off and placed them both on a gold chain hanging around my neck. I then just collapsed onto his body and cried telling him how much I and his children loved him.

Three years later at what would have been our 21st wedding anniversary it’s still there our rings around my neck.  I know I should have moved on and taken off this pathetic plea for attention. Yet somehow the rings had become a token of comfort, something tangible that I can grasp at various points during the day when I wanted him at my side.

Our daughter and son brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and wrote a touching card in honor of the day.

My daughter told me she picked out each flower for the bouquet, certainly her perfectionist father would have done the same. They are so much alike.  The flowers are beautiful just like my children.

I remember two weeks after my husband died I went to a widowers grievance support group at Greenwich Hospital.  A  widow in his 70’s said the pain of his wife’s death  four years ago hadn’t eased. In fact, he wanted to join her.  I didn’t return to the support group.

I have my husband’s personality, charm, temper and eyes in both my children for which I am blessed.  Sometimes it’s hard to ‘get over’ and ‘move on’ after your soul mate dies. Those who seem to grieve long after the acceptable time are still in pain and may not want to ‘move on’. There is no acceptable time limit for sorrow.

 

 

 

 

Old Fashion Vegan Mac & Cheese

Vegan Recipes

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When I was growing up, I looked forward to when my parents went out at night because that meant we could have Kraft Mac & Cheese. 23169Supposedly the company made it healthier a couple of years ago by removing artificial dyes, flavors and preservatives. Hold on Kraft fans, this new Kraft dinner is not a healthy choice to eat. It’s low in fiber and still high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. I came up with a healthy vegan mac & cheese that doesn’t have any artificial ingredients  is low in sodium, but high in protein and fiber, and zero added sugar and only 2 teaspoons of healthy oil. Yes, it does take more time to make, but it tastes better and is better for you and your family.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2 teaspoons grape or virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced bella mushrooms, (can use crimini or white mushrooms)
  • 1 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cilantro stem removed and cut (reserve 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) small white beans drained (reserve the bean liquid for later use)
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine or low sodium veggie broth*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 cups dried cavatappi (or elbow) pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 green onion chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:IMG_6588

  1.  Place cauliflower florets on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place under broiled until gently browned. Watch closely.
  2. In a large fry pan saute onions in broth for 5 minutes then add mushrooms, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Continue to saute adding broth as necessary, until soft.
  3. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
  4. Prepare sauce by adding beans, wine or broth*, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons cilantro and cayenne pepper to blend. Blend until smooth, stopping to stir and adding liquid as needed.
  5. Combine cauliflower, pasta, green onion and remaining cilantro in fry pan.  Then stir in sauce.IMG_6590
  6. Heat over low medium for a couple of minutes until warmed.
  7. Serve.IMG_6594

ENJOY!

* I frequently use wine in recipes. I understand some people have a hard time metabolizing it or want to avoid for other reasons. I totally get it. Substitute low-sodium veggie broth. For those of you who can’t tolerate “LTP”  remember it is found in the skins grape but white wine is fermented without the skins.  Check with your doctor if you can tolerate white wine.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Vegan Recipes

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Yum, yum, yum!  This is a Tex Mex salad that can be served as an entrée.  I like bringing it to group BBQ because its healthy, filling and vegan. And if I bring it there will be at least one vegan dish that I can eat. This simple recipe only calls for the corn cooking in the microwave several minutes.  Other than that everything else is raw and easy to assemble.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears of corn, Kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 cans (1 lb. 13 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bell pepper chopped (red, orange, yellow or green)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 avocados chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 4 limes juiced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, except dressing in a large bowl
  2. Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar so you can shake and add later if you are bringing it to a gathering
  3. Shake dressing and combine with other salad ingredients

ENJOY!

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

Jackfruit BBQ Pulled Pork

Vegan Recipes

 

If you’re a vegan you know jackfruit is a frequent meat substitute in many vegan recipes.  When this nutritious fruit is cooked it mimics the texture of pulled pork and its mild taste can easily be seasoned to a variety of flavors. Just recently several national chain food stores have started carrying the fruit in the produce section. It’s sold whole or in pieces. You may prefer buying a cut up jackfruit section since whole jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds. Whole Foods and many Asian markets stock fresh and canned jackfruit. If you choose to use the canned variety, make sure it’s packed in brine or water, not sweet syrup. Jackfruit may look intimidating but its well worth the effort to learn how to prepare and cook.

Ingredients:

  • approximately 3 lbs of unpeeled jackfruit or 2 drained (20 oz.) cans
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups veggie broth plus 2 tablespoons

Directions:

  1. Cut jackfruit into several smaller sections. (Note: jackfruit is very sticky so you may prefer to wear gloves and cover your cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper.) Remove rind with a knife.

     

  2. Keep slicing jackfruit into large chunks. Remove the seeds and from the pieces.

     

  3. Put a large heavy bottom pot filled with broth on the burner to boil. Meanwhile cut jackfruit into thin shreds.IMG_6532
  4. Add sliced fresh jackfruit or drained canned jackfruit to broth and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
  5. While jackfruit is simmering, slice one large onion and bell pepper.  Sauté onion and pepper in a pan with 2 tablespoons broth until soft.
  6. Combine sautéed veggies with jackfruit and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  You can serve the ‘pulled pork’ on a gluten-free roll as it is traditionally done. I prefer to serve it with roasted baby potatoes.

 

ENJOY!

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Are You Cool?

Real Parenting

uncool3I was cool, but no longer. My kids say I’m ‘like uncool.’ In other words, my cool is their uncool. If you can agree with any of the following, you are no longer cool. You’re uncool. Welcome to the club!

  1. You type texts on your with your index finger?
  2. You leave 2 spaces between sentences.
  3. You get out of the car, take your phone and the GPS App starts giving you directions in the store.
  4. You have a home phone.
  5. The main use of your land line phone is to call your cell phone so you can find it.
  6. On Facebook you post an obituary and tag the deceased.
  7. You believe in the practicality of fanny packs.
  8. You still turn around when you back up in the car although you have a backup camera.
  9. You watch the network evening news.
  10. You watch it on a television.
  11. You pay bills via snail mail.
  12. You write in cursive.
  13. When you listen to music and hear a song you like, it’s a remake of a song originally sung by a group at least 20 years ago.
  14. You don’t recognize the names of the majority of current bands.
  15. You think your daughter’s dresses are shirts.
  16. You tuck your shirts in pants.
  17. You own a velour workout suit.
  18. You believe the word Brazilian should only be used in reference to a person, not a beauty procedure.
  19. You have email account with AOL.
  20. You wear clogs and you aren’t a a doctor, a nurse or cook.
  21. You think a hook-up is something on the back of your car.
  22. You wear sneakers in neon colors.
  23. You think tattoos are only appropriate for pirates.
  24. You wear a watch.
  25. You subscribe to a hard copy magazine or newspaper.
  26. You can’t turn on your home lights with your smart phone.
  27. You use a rolodex or date book.
  28. You require your son to take his hat off when he sits down at the table or in church.
  29. You pay by check or cash.
  30. You “drink” water as opposed to “hydrate.”
  31. You think it is rude for someone to look at her phone when she’s talking to you.
  32. You wear nylons.
  33. You feel bra straps should be covered by your top.
  34. You rent DVD’s.
  35. You want store receipts printed out, not just emailed to you.
  36. Black, grey or dark navy are the only clothing colors appropriate for funerals.
  37. You use a real clock for an alarm.
  38. You mail, via horse and buggy, invitations.
  39. You bank in a bank.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Sibling Rivalry: I Love You Both!

Real Parenting

I have a daughter and son, both teenagers and one child asks, whom do I love most. “Both,” never satisfies as an answer but it should. I promise my child its not a cop-out. It’s the truth. Granted, I may LIKE one child more at different times, but never does my love wane for either one.  My frustration fluctuates, but that’s not love.

After I had my first child I thought I could never have another baby, for my love of my daughter was so powerful and strong it could never be replicated. If I were to have another child, it would be impossible for me to love him equally. That child would end up as the forgotten bag of groceries left in the shopping cart.

I never wanted my daughter to be an only child. I had 3 siblings growing up and it was wonderful. But as my biological clock ticked louder, I knew if I really wanted another child I needed to conceive ASAP. Like many decisions I’ve made, I went for my gut feeling and did it.

There wasn’t any less love for my daughter when my son was born.  Somehow my heart grew bigger and my love for my daughter grew as my love for my son blossomed. The more love I had for my children and husband the more love I had to give. Love is not limited, it’s infinite.

Sometimes, one child needs may require more attention and monitoring than the other but that should never be confused with the strength of my love. I love them both to infinity and beyond. I hope they will feel my love and love each other…someday.both1

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

Body Image and Males

Real Parenting

IMG_6486I have had many a discussion with female friends whom bemoan the fact that women and girls don’t have the same societal standards for body image that boys and men have regarding, clothes, skin care, hair, weight and cellulite. Unfortunately for our sons, I think they also have impossible standards subjected on them that can cause social anxiety, depression, eating disorders and inter with learning.

Let’s pick it apart starting with clothes. Teenage boys may not care about how dirty their clothes get at the end of the day, but they certainly want to wear the right brands and put on clean clothes in the morning. I’m raising both a daughter and son and can say they both are very choosy when it comes to color, style, fit, brand and latest trend. In fact, boys have this whole thing about athletic shoes that the girls don’t have such as finding the latest Micheal Jordan’s. My daughter certainly never cared about socks as much as my son and even though her designer jeans and Lululemon leggings cost more than his Vineyard Vines pants, national sports team logo wear or goofy lacrosse pants, the label was important and both wanted what they wanted.

Skin care is paramount to both genders. Nobody wants huge, swollen zits. And although, boys usually don’t wear make-up, in a way that’s too bad, since it’s a crutch not available to them to feel beautiful with just application of a few products.

When it comes to hair I think it might be harder for the boys. Most girls wear their hair long with subtle variations with length and bangs, but boys need a hair style and are concerned with the perfect hat if they don’t like their cut.

Then there’s body image, a particularly painful subject for me.  Frequently I hear men/boys don’t have to be concerned with their weight and they don’t struggle with dieting, unfortunately this isn’t true. Maybe boys suffer in silence, as do many girls, but they suffer at increasingly alarming rates and help may be more difficult to access.

Thanks to the pressure that always existed combined with social media postings, it’s no longer safe to think we can just assume indifference to our boys’ emotional state concerning appearance and weight. Women are gaining equal rights slowly in many fields but some of the cultural norms we hold are nothing I want to share with my son.  IMG_6488Body dysmorphia should be eliminated not granted equal rights. Neither my son nor my daughter need to be defined by his or her thigh gap.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Does Falling in love exist after 50?

Real Parenting

Widowed? Divorced? Never Married? Bad Marriage?

Maybe you haven’t been ‘in love’ since your first love.  Maybe you’ve fallen out of love. Maybe there’s no desire to have sex. Or maybe you’ve just given up.

Is it possible to fall in love with someone after a certain age? I’m not talking about falling in lust or falling in love with the idea of being cared.

Is it possible to sexually desire someone? To feel overjoyed at a phone call? To look forward to being with someone?  To feel an attraction so strong that you actually daydream about being with him or her and can’t stop thinking about him?  I’m talking about the whole deal: to want to be with someone because it feels so right and exciting at the same time.

And what about all the baggage we’ve accumulated over the years? Let’s face it none of us look like we were in our teens or even forties.  And even if you’ve had tons of plastic surgery, great dermatological procedures, daily workouts and diligent dieting, the experiences you’ve gone through, can’t be eliminated with a little Botox..

Can love exist for people who’ve gone through heartbreak and lost? Or is love only  reserved for the young, the beautiful, the affluent?

I have little tolerance for bullshit. I want to edit through an individual and get to his core. Maybe it’s because my biological clock is ticking, not for a baby but for the possibility of enjoying the next thirty plus years of my life (hopefully) in love.

Maybe the answer to true love is a website away or maybe it’s a pipe dream and loneliness is better since at least it’s real and not a delusion.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.