Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Recently, we were visiting some friends of ours for dinner, and they served a light meal of hummus with veggies and pita. But then - there was something new. Something I had heard of before, but never tried. Of course, being a good role model for my kids(as well as a gracious guest), I took a small portion of this new and interesting dish. As we enjoyed our meal (and conversation) I realized that I went back for not only a second serving of this new dish, but also a third!

Tabbouleh is the classic bulgur salad of the Mediterranean, and man is it good. The combination of fresh herbs and spices in this dish was so refreshingly satisfying. I couldn’t wait to make this at home!!

Enjoy it with some warm pita slices or flat bread. Delicious!

What you will need:
1 cup of dry bulgur wheat
1½ cups of boiling water
1 tsp salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
Black pepper, to taste
4 scallions, minced (whites and greens)
1 cup of packed parsley, minced
15 fresh mint leaves, minced (if using dried mint it’s about 2 Tbs – but use fresh…it makes the dish!)
2 medium tomatoes, diced

Combine bulgur and boiling water in a medium bowl. Cover and let stand for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the bulgur is tender.

Add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and black pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Then stir in remaining ingredients. Enjoy with warm pita slices or flat bread.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shish Kabobs

Colorful, healthy and delicious! What more could you ask for in a meal?
We love shish kabobs. They are simple, quick and flexible. Yes flexible! You can use whatever veggies and/or fruit you have on hand (yes I said fruit). They can be cooked on the grill or right in your oven. Get your kids involved - trust me they will love creating their own kabob, each one is different and unique (just like your littles). Oh and did I mention how much fun they will have painting them? Yep, painting the Kabobs! So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite marinade and veggies, and then get cooking!

What you’ll need:

Marinade – We like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Tofu- cut in cubes
Mushrooms -sliced in half
Grape tomatoes
Red onions - cut in large chunks
Zucchini - thick slices
Pineapple (fresh is best) - cut in large chunks
Bell peppers (use yellow and orange to add more color ) -cut into large chunks
Any other veggies or fruit of your choice
Wooden skewers

Marinate your tofu for about one hour in the fridge, make sure to flip the container about half way through so that the tofu gets completely covered. In the meantime cut up your veggies.
Now you are ready to assemble your kabobs. Take your skewer and add one ingredient at a time. The order doesn’t really matter and each one will be different and unique.

Oven version:
Place skewers on a cookie sheet and paint additional marinade over veggies. Broil on high until nice and crispy golden. Flip and repeat.

Grill version:
Place skewers on grill and paint additional marinade over veggies. Grill until nice and crispy golden. Flip and repeat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Shake

During one of our summer vacations, our family went out for a quick bite to eat. Of course my boys quickly spotted a milk shake on the menu. Not just your normal milkshake, a cherry chocolate milkshake. They begged for it …and I gave in, but I made them share it. It was gone before you knew it. However, they did manage to rave about how good it was for the next few days. Then I realized something….I could make this milkshake myself! It’s so simple. As usual, my version is just as good - minus the dairy and added sugar. That’s right, it’s healthier. But don’t worry, my boys didn’t notice the difference, I doubt you will either. They thought it was just as good as the one they had on the trip.

What you’ll need:

1 -2 cups of vanilla soymilk. See below for soymilk replacements.
1 frozen banana
6-8 fresh cherries, pitted
2 scoops of cocoa or *raw cocoa

Put ingredients in your Vita-Mix or food processor. Zip it up and you’ve got yourself one yummy treat.

Remember, if you want to make this raw, or you're simply trying to stay away from soy products, just use a freshly made vanilla nutmilk! See our previous post for the recipe. If you can’t make your own, and you really don’t want to use soy, purchase an almond or rice milk instead.

*Raw Cocoa is simply the cocoa bean that has not been dried above a certain temperature. This way you still receive the health benefits that Raw Cocoa has to offer. Yes, I did say health benefits. Seriously. Here is a link if you are interested in learning more:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vegan Pancakes

If you have kids, you make pancakes. It’s so easy- just add water. Right? Yep. But- have you ever read the label on your Bisquick? We have. It's not pretty, trust us.

Yeah, we've used some more natural brands of pancake mix, but the truth is- unless you are a scientist and know what some of those things are that you can’t pronounce, you are better off staying clear.
Also, the ingredients list includes both milk and eggs- which are at the top of the allergy list. Even if you haven't been diagnosed formally, lots of people are allergic at some level.
So.... stop eating pancakes, right? Wrong.
Relax, we have a simple, yet satisfying recipe with some tasty variations for you and your family to enjoy.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup (plus a little extra) of soy milk
Butter substitute for frying

Heat up your griddle or frying pan and coat with butter substitute. Mix ingredients together. Pour or scoop batter onto the griddle using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. When bubbling in the center flip and cook till golden on each side. Serve warm with maple syrup. That’s it, really!

Favorite Variations
Blueberries... lots of them
Bananas and pecans or walnuts
Chocolate chips – only on very special occasions of course
Apples and cinnamon
Shredded carrots and zucchini – great for getting those extra veggies in the morning
Once you have your batter made just add any of these combinations to your batter. Or better yet, create your own variation using your favorite fruit, nuts or really - whatever.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vegan Shopska Salad

Shopska Salad is a favourite traditional Bulgarian Salad that is easy to make and incredibly tasty. I have had at least 20 of these since arriving in Sofia (seriously). However, I typically don't like eating dairy products so I decided to create my very own vegan style Shopsky Salad by omitting the feta and adding tofu. Because I was unable to get a proper photo, the one I included is from a charming restaurant (whose name I neglected to notice, because of the incredible views from our table) located just a few minutes walking distance from our home in Sofia, Bulgaria. The beautiful salad you see in the background is the Shopska. Love it!

What you'll need:

4 Tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 large cucumber un peeled and chunked
4 red peppers chopped
4 green onions sliced
2 tbls fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 -1/4 cup shredded or crumbled feta or Tofu

Throw it all together in a bowl and enjoy.