Easy Basil Vinaigrette

Whipping up a salad dressing is so easy and can be as simple as oil and vinegar plus some salt and pepper.  This takes it up a notch using two shortcut ingredients, frozen basil and garlic cubes (picture below).  I find these at most stores these days including Trader Joes and Harris Teeter.  I don’t always measure exactly when making a dressing.  You can wing it and go by your taste but I typically go with a 2:1 ratio oil to vinegar.  This recipe can be doubled to make a larger batch.

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Makes 3/4 cup

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Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (could also use fresh lemon juice)
2 frozen basil cubes
2 frozen garlic cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

I make this directly in the measuring cup.  Just add oil to 1/2 cup then add vinegar to reach 3/4 of cup.  Add in the basil and garlic cubes.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes until they thaw, then whisk together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Spicy Tofu and Avocado Maki Rolls

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April is National Soy Foods Month and I thought I’d share one of my favorite ways to enjoy tofu.  This recipe even calls for the pre-cooked kind, not the kind in water that you have to drain.  Super easy to slice and already seasoned.  Rolling them can be a little bit of  a challenge but I found that video was really helpful. Continue reading “Spicy Tofu and Avocado Maki Rolls”

Casual Fall Weekend Outfit

After 80’s this week, it finally cooled down again and I was ready to embrace Fall again and  break out the flannel and boots!

 

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Merona Field Jacket I this jacket at Target and I’m loving olive green this season!  And it was only $40.

Mossimo Flannel Shirt  I’m obsessed with this flannel shirt.  Nice comfy fabric, slightly roomy (I probably could have gotten a small) and it’s only $23.

Gap Skinny Jeans I’ve had the jeans since last year, they were called the Always Skinny but looks like they’ve rename the fit to True Skinny.  And these are on sale for under $60 🙂

The riding boots were from last year from one of my FAVORITE shoe websites – 6pm.com.  They have amazing deals and I got these for under $100. Best feature is being able to filter the shaft height.  I’m 5′ 7″and I often have boots that end up being too short.

 

And I styled with some of my Stella & Dot favorites.

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Ally  Wrap Bracelet
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Nomad Stretch Bracelets
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Nova Pendant

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Celestial Choker
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Bungalow Hoops

Sundried Tomato Cream Pasta

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Another delicious “I can’t believe it’s vegan” cream sauce.  I’m officially obsessed with cashews now that I’ve discovered just how rich and creamy they can make sauces, soups or anything.  With this the fresh basil really adds a lot of flavor that compliments the sundried tomato very nicely.  Another great addition to stir in at the end, kalamata olives or pine nuts.

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1/3 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes from a jar (drained of oil)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)

1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Fresh basil (optional but really amazing in this)

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat until onion is translucent; about 3-5 minutes.  Add to food processor or blender with cashews, sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, crushed red pepper and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  Puree adding more broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough reserved pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta, stir and cook 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at time to thin out if needed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat, stir in basil, drizzle with a little oil from sundried tomatoes or just plain olive oil if desired and serve.

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Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

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I’ve used my got-to cashew cream in lieu of heave cream to make a rich, creamy pasta sauce that no one would ever know was dairy-free.  The sage makes this super savory but it can be strong so if you want to lighten up the intensity just simmer a couple whole leaves in the sauce, then remove.  Add in more pumpkin if you you like or even sub with mashed butternut squash.

Makes enough sauce for 2 good-sized portions of pasta

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours (go with 8 if you don’t have a high powered blender)

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot finely chopped

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 Tbsp vegan butter

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add soaked cashews and 2/3 cup water to a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Should be the consistency of heavy cream and should yield about 1 cup of cashew cream.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and sage.  Saute a 3-4 minutes.

Stir in vegan butter, then pumpkin and add the cashew cream.  Simmer about 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

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Target Deals this Week!

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Did you know there’s two sweet deals at Target this week!? Get a $5 gift card back with $20 beauty purchase. Great time to stock up on some basics!
$10 off a $40 purchase on clothes, shoes or accessories!

I’m definitely taking advantage of this because for being a discount store, Target has some great style!

I’ve been perusing the website and had just recently been to the store too. Here’s a few items that caught my eye!

Merona Dorothy Suede Loafer $24.95
Yes real suede! And in 4 colors. At that price you can snag two!

Merona Utility Jacket – $39.99

I came across this jacket in the store and loved it for a nice casual fall look. It might have been 95 degrees yesterday but Fall is coming!

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Workout outifts!

C9 Champion® Women’s Featherweight Tank – $14.99

C9 Champion® Performance Legging – $34.99

love this top and leggings for a great price! I’m definitely not one to spend $100 on yoga pants.

 

And as for the beauty deal – I’m just going to call out my new favorite discovery at Target and that is the Yes to Coconut products. Amazing for dry skin and the smell reminds me of the beach!  Another bonus is they’re products are 95% natural and they don’t test on animals.

Happy shopping!

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

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I discovered tofu lettuce wraps years ago at PF Changs and boy were they tasty!  Most recently for the past two years I’ve been visiting the True Food Kitchen near me in Virginia and they have the most amazing tofu lettuce wraps.   I finally just got around to creating my own and I’m in love.

TIP – make sure to use the tofu that comes vacuum sealed like the Wildwood brand or Trader Joes also has this and has new sriracha flavor.  This tofu is not in water and is very firm, so easy to chop into small pieces.

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Makes 6

Ingredients

Vegetable oil

6oz package of vacuum sealed tofu (not the kind in water), diced very small

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 cup whole cashews, roughly chopped

1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts (from a can)

1/3 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 a fresh lime

6 small ice berg or butter lettuce leaves

Toppings

Avocado Slices

Sriracha

 

Method

In a small bowl mix soy sauce and vinegar and set aside.

Lightly coat a skillet with the oil and warm over medium heat, then add tofu. Saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all around.

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in soy sauce and vinegar mixture.

Add water chestnuts, cashews, and scallions and cook 3-4 minutes.

Add cilantro and squeeze lime juice over the mixture.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Spoon mixture into lettuce cups and garnish with avocado slices and sriracha and serve.

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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

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Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 heaping cup of grape tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

2 Tbsp live oil

1/2 large onion, diced

Pinch of salt

3 large garlic cloves

1 tsp dried thyme

1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes

2-3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup fresh basil leaves (or about a handful)

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper for heat (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss grapes tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

While tomatoes are in the oven, add olive oil to saucepan and heat over medium-low.  Add onion and pinch of salt and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme; cook 2 minutes.

Add whole can of tomatoes with juice, 2 cups of the broth and basil. Break up the tomatoes slightly with a wooden spoon.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly and add to a blender along with roasted tomatoes.  Puree, add more broth if you like a thinner consistency.  Transfer back to pot and season with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper to taste.

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Falafel Spiced Roasted Chickpea Tacos

I really love falafel.  So much in fact that at one point I created a baked falafel recipe in my early days of blogging.  I’ve been meaning to revisit this recipe to see how I could revamp it, but to have to bust out the food processor, form little patties, and all that, just hasn’t been something I’ve had time for.  So I had this brilliant idea to take all those spices and flavors and just coat the chickpeas in them, then roast them.  I do love roasted chickpeas. I substitute onion for onion powder, fresh garlic with garlic powder that way I wouldn’t have to worry about it burning in the oven and the flavors would be all combined.   It worked like a charm!  I got my falafely goodness without the work. Yep, I’ll pat myself on the back for this one.  It’s pretty freakin’ good.

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Makes 4 tacos

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp white pepper

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

Diced tomato

Diced onion

Diced dill pickle (yes this goes very well with falafel)

Lettuce

Tahini dressing (I love the one from Trader Joes that you can find by the hummus or try my recipe)

Taco size tortillas

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Chickpeas to a bowl and add olive oil and lemon juice.  Give it a toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix all the spices together.  This is important so that you have an even flavor throughout.  Add the spices to the chickpeas along with the fresh herbs and lastly the salt and pepper.  Toss to thoroughly coat.

Spread chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes (depending how crispy you want them).