Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mexican Rice & Beans

My mom sent me this email to use these for my Mexican fiesta for the Green Orchid Photography Christmas Party.  Everyone was ranting & raving about the rice & beans so I figured I'd post her email on here so you could try it yourself.  Rice & beans are a great addition to any meal to add a little texture & weight.  Rice & beans in a salad add a ton of protein & help you fulfill your hunger much quicker!!  So, here is her email!  Enjoy.


"black beans- wash beans a few times. To the bean pot add black beans, a couple fresh(or canned) jalapenos, add water to about 2 inches above the bean level. Cook on low for as long as 6 hours or just until the beans are soft. Add a little salt after the beans have been cooking for a while. Cover with a sprinkle of cheese.
spanish rice- to a large pan, add 1.5 tbsp of oil. Add 2 cups of white rice and fry up the rice until it turns white. add dice onions and let cook with rice. When the rice is white, add 2.5 cups of broth (veggie), a chopped up tomato, salt. and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce . turn fire to low and cook for about 20 mins."


Mango Lassi- Refreshing & Healthy!!

Mango Lassi
Time from start to finish: 5 minutes

9 fluid ounces plain yogurt
4 1/2 fluid ounces plain soy milk
4 1/2 fluid ounces canned mango pulp or 7 ounces from 3 fresh mangos (stoned & sliced)
4 teaspoons sugar, to taste, or feel free to try salt & cardamom seeds :)

Put all the ingredients into a blender & blend for 2 minutes, then pour into individual glasses & serve with or without ice (I prefer with ice! The ice makes it super refreshing).  Lassi can be kept in the refrigerator without ice for up to 24 hours!!


Hope you enjoy this refreshing drink that will hit your sweet tooth while keeping you fresh & low in sugar!   Ditch those milk shakes & ice cream sundaes... this will definitely do the job for a huge fraction off the calories & heaviness!

Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegetarian/ Vegan/ Raw Transitions... Fun Times

Miss. Lidia has been very successful in being an “Eat to Live” vegan for the past month! Dr. Joel Fuhrman is an American physician specializing in preventing disease through nutrition. He wrote an amazing book Eat to Live which was actually the book that convinced me to become vegetarian in the first place!

The book explains how preventive nutrition can prevent and cure cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, obesity, etc. It focuses on the formula that Health=Nutrients/Calories. Ultimately that means that in order to achieve maximum health, you need to get the most bang for you caloric buck!

My favourite party fact from the book is that if you compare 100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of steak (which obviously is a huge amount of broccoli and a small amount of steak), broccoli actually has twice the amount of protein!! And carnivores wonder where we get from our protein from!!

Anyways it is tough to be a vegan in the U.S., but luckily it is becoming more mainstream and NYC has a lot of great vegetarian/vegan restaurants. So good job Lidia... you rock!

I am trying to switch from vegetarian to a RAW VEGAN! Ahhh.. sounds scary! I have been doing a lot of reading about raw eating, and basically it focuses on the principle that heating food above 116 °F destroys a huge amount enzymes, vitamins and minerals. The enzymes are necessary for your body to easily assimilate food, otherwise your body has to work hard to break down the food on its own... ultimately a process that drains energy. I am no expert so I don’t want to make any false claims... but I am learning.

I have no problem eating raw until dinner as I usually have my green smoothie for breakfast :) and salads, fruits and vegetables throughout the day. The challenge is definitively dinner! Also cooked beans are not raw, but sprouted beans and seeds are raw and in fact have much more nutrition than traditional cooked beans. I really have no desire to “sprout” so I intend on just buying them at the organic store. Yesterday I made raw “vegetable fried rice” for dinner out of shredded carrot and cauliflower and many sauces. Tonight was raw zucchini fettuccini... a recipe I will be posting tomorrow.

So really raw just means that I have to get creative in the kitchen! So far so good!

For more info on RAW:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_foodism

http://www.welikeitraw.com/

http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Put the LiMe in the Coconut...

I have recently discovered the joys of young coconuts. I found them at our local Asian grocery store... you want to make sure you get the white ones, not the brown hairy ones. Young coconuts are high in carbohydrates, as opposed to mature (brown) coconuts which are high in fat. The old coconuts are the ones you always hear that you should avoid because of the fat in them... but the young ones, dig in!!

Young coconut water has almost the exact chemical composition of blood plasma and is often touted as being more hydrating than water. Coconut water used to be used for IV fluid, if none was available. They float in the ocean and provide a sterile source of water. They are full of vitamins and minerals and have a natural sweetness.

Coconut Smoothie:

1 young coconut
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla

The most difficult part of this recipe is opening the coconut!! There are many step-by-step guides online, such as http://www.rawguru.com/html/openyoungcoconut.html, but basically I took my biggest knife and started hacking at it! Carefully of course! Once you pierce the inside shell, you will want to drain the water into a bowl. Then continue to cut the rest of the top of the coconut off. You will then be able to scoop out the coconut flesh with a spoon. Add the coconut flesh, water, cinnamon and vanilla to a blender and blend!! And that’s it, you have your very own, natural, refreshing coconut drink. Enjoy!


Breakfast of Champions – Go Green


To the unapproving looks of my family members, I make my super green and delicious smoothie every morning. I am actually starting to CRAVE it... it is just that good! This drink is so easy, unbelievably nutritious and a great way to get tons of spinach in your diet without chomping away for half an hour on a spinach salad!

4-5 cups spinach
1-2 frozen/ raw bananas
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Optional: berries (Warning: berries will make your smoothie brown!! But berries will provide Vitamin C, which will aid in the absorption of the iron from the spinach! So take your pick.)

If you have an amazing blender like a VitaMix than this recipe will be a breeze! Otherwise you will want to divide your spinach into batches to blend. So start with a cup of spinach, add a bit of water and blend. Continue to add the rest of the spinach in one cup proportions until it is all blended in the blender. Now add the banana(s), cinnamon and ground flax seeds and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

I have yet to convert my family to green smoothie addicts, but I know there is hope! I’m already excited for my drink tomorrow morning!

Halloween Advice from PETA


Quick—think of a word that rhymes with "gelatin."

Odds are you thought of "skeleton," which makes perfect sense, if you think about what the ghoulish concoction called "gelatin" really is—animal bones, along with hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, all bubbled together in a huge cauldron. The coagulated goo is then added to candy, marshmallows, and, of course, that wiggly, jiggly cafeteria staple, Jell-O.

Mad Cow Disease Drives Candy Lovers Crazy
Earlier this year, candy fans got a scare when it was revealed that Mamba candies were made with gelatin from Poland—a hot spot for mad cow disease. Mad cow disease sounds like something out of a B horror flick, but it’s scary for real. It’s caused by grinding up leftover bits of dead sheep and cows and feeding them to other cows, then people who eat meat and animal products infected with mad cow disease can get the deadly new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or nvCJD, which turns their brains into a sponge. Click here for more information about mad cow disease.

Mamba makers pulled a switcheroo, swapping the beef gelatin for starch. Fear of mad cow disease has caused millions to recoil in terror from steaks and burgers—but many don’t think twice about scarfing Skittles and Starburst. Maybe they should—as experts fear mad cow disease may get passed along in gelatin.


source: http://www.peta.org/feat/halloween01/

A Cute Note From My Dad- Meatless Monday

Considering becoming vegetarian or trying to convince a friend or loved one to become a vegetarian?  Here is a sweet email I got from my dad about some interesting information he found out about not eating meat!

"Hi Lid,
Here's some information you may want to add to your website. Or not.
Try a meatless Monday. According to the New Dream Foundation, for every 1,000 people that cut out just one beef meal a week, we'd save over 70,000 pounds of grain, 70,000 pounds of topsoil, and 40 million gallons of water each year.

You can also go to www.meatlessmonday.com for some info on how not eating meat 1 day a week will improve your health, too. I found this site by accident, but it seems pretty cool.

Love ya,

Dad"

So, if you are not ready to become 100% meat-free. Try this & help the environment!

xoxo

LiMe

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Restaurant Review: BB Sandwich Bar (cupcakes)

There is this cute little second floor sandwich bar downtown with a gorgeous array of cupcake selection.  They have red velvet, golden heart (a swirl of red velvet & golden cake), chocolate, butter cream, marble swirl, and a couple other great flavors.  I ordered the butter cream cupcake & Melissa ordered the Golden Heart.  Both cupcakes were amazing!  Melissa's cupcake was so unique & was perfect!  This was a great little find while shopping downtown.  You must check it out.

120 West 3rd Street
New York, NY

Restaurant Review: Jesse's Place

So last week for Melissa's birthday, we decided to try a local restaurant that we pass by every day but have never eaten at.  This place is called "Jesse's Place" and is known for being a staple in 181st street Washington Heights culture.  Melissa & I ordered the Linguini with portabella and goat cheese.  It was so amazing!  Then we ordered the Avocad Salad which was a regular salad but topped with pineapple, orange, balsamic vinaigrette, and avocado, with a cherry on top!  This was also deeeeelicious.  However, a couple days later, we ordered the exact same meals & they were not nearly as good.  Note: Jesse's Place tastes much better after/with a couple of drinks!  Anyways, the food was still good but it varies from trip to trip.    All in all, we would definitely recommend trying it.

Jesse's Place
812 West 181st Street
New York, NY 10033

Monday, August 25, 2008

Delicious Italian Sandwich

Lately, I have really been craving some nice, garlicy Italian food.  And being a vegetarian, you kind of miss sandwiches cause, lets face it, there isn't much vegetarians can put in a sandwich.  So with these thoughts in mind, I decided to make a delicious Italian sandwich.

Delicious Italian Sandwich
Time from start to finish: 15 minutes

1 loaf of Italian bread
1 container of roasted peppers
1 package mozzarella cheese
1 container pesto sauce
5 freshly chopped leaves of basil
1 package sun-dried tomatoes

Cut the Italian loaf in half lengthwise.  Spread a generous amount of pesto on the inside of each half of loaf.  Add a layer of roasted peppers, followed by a layer of thin sliced mozzarella cheese, then a layer of sun-dried tomatoes.  Sprinkle on the basil evenly.  
Then, close the sandwich & cook it in a panini grill, George Foreman grill, or on a stove-top.  Cook both sides evenly until the cheese melts.  Slice into as thin or thick of slices as you want. Enjoy!

Restaurant Review: Hummus Place

Last week, Melissa, Nick, Jay, & I went to Hummus Place.  It is a restaurant where all the meals have the same main ingredient of fresh, homemade hummus.  Jay & Nick thought the restaurant was pretty good while Melissa & I did not like it at all.  Between the 4 of us, we ordered mushroom hummus, chick pea hummus, and 2 shakshukas (a cast iron skillet filled with roasted veggies, tomato stew, and 2 fried eggs).  The shakshuka was okay but kind of bland and the hummus needed serious improvement.  Then we ordered the vanilla & rose malabi which tasted so much like laundry detergent we couldn't even eat it!  The prices were very cheap, but we would definitely not go back.

Me not liking it.
Melissa not liking it.
The shakshuka.
The malabi.

Hummus Place
99 Macdougal Street
New York, NY

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Comforting French Toast Breakfast

This morning, we were all hungry for breakfast but did not want oatmeal or cereal, we wanted something special.  I suggested French Toast & everyone got really excited.  Here's the recipe:

Comforting French Toast (serves 4)
Time from start to finish: 15 minutes

1 loaf of bread (challah bread is recommended but potato or white bread is fine), sliced
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 cups of lite vanilla or lite chocolate soy milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
margarine
powered sugar
maple syrup

In a medium sized bowl, beat the milk, eggs, cinnamon, orange zest, & vanilla together.  Spray a large skillet or flat pan with non stick spray & heat the skillet.  Dip the slices of the bread in the egg/milk mixture & cover all the sides in batter.  Place each slice on the hot skillet.  Let it sit on each side for about 2 minutes of until golden brown, then flip.  After the french toast is golden brown on each side, place it on a serving plate.  Spread a little margarine on top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and almond slices.  Serve with maple syrup.  How delicious & what a great way to start your day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Soup and Salad... a twist on the traditionals!

Sweet Beta-Carotine Soup
Time Start to Finish: 45 minutes

1/2 calabaza pumpkin
2 sweet potatoes
maple syrup
cinnamon
1/3 can coconut milk (try to use lite)
pumpkin seeds

Despite the vitamin-rich sounding title.... this soup is fabulous and truly a product of grocery shopping boredom. It really is loaded with Beta-Carotene (sweet potatoes and pumpkin!...so orange) and the slight sweetness makes it a great dessert or afternoon snack.

Slice the pumpkin into thin wedges and the sweet potato into rounds. Leave the skins on. Lightly sprinkly the sweet potato with cinnamon. On a baking sheet drizzle both with maple syrup and use your fingers to spread the syrup on all the pieces. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees till soft... for about 20 minutes. The syrup will slightly caramalize and give the veggies great flavour and colour.

Once the pumpkin and sweet potato are soft, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool. Remove the skin of the pumpkin. Leave the sweet potato skin on (extra fiber and flavour!). Take half of the mix and put in a blender or food processor. Add half of the coconut milk and blend thouroughly with a few tablespoons of water. Set the blended mix aside and continue to blend the other half of the pumpkin and sweet potato with the remaining coconut milk.

Once blended, put the mixture through a sieve to achieve a silky smooth texture. I actually used a pair of fishnets over a glass!... so you can definitely get creative. You can serve either warm or chilled... sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top for the final touch!

Ado-Ato Salad
Time Start to Finish: 10 minutes

1/2 head of lettuce, chopped
3/4 cup edamame, boiled and shelled
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup hummus
1/2 avacADO
1/2 tomATO, chopped
1 sweet potATO

Boil and shell the edamame. Cook the sweet potato on the "potato" setting in the microwave and ice. Mix ingredients together and serve! How easy was that?

Same Veggies, Different Cuisines continued...

So here at LiMe we are all about fushion and innovation. When my veggie curry didn't turn out quite the way I expected, we turned our Indian inspiration into an Italian dish!

Curry Italiano
Time Start till Finish: 30-40 minutes

For the "curry"...
1 carrot
1 yellow squash
1/2 head of cauliflower
4-5 celery stalks
1 onion
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 large can of chickpeas
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. curry
1 tsp. garam masals
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cumin

Dice the onion and add to a large pot or wok. I prefer not to use oil so I add a few tbsp. of water to sweat the onions, but feel free to use 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil instead. Once the onions are cooking, add the spices and cook until the onions are soft. Add the rest of the vegetables and stewed tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and continue to cook for another 5 min until the veggies are soft and you have achieved a nice CURRY consistency.

Now for the Italian part!

To the curry add...
2 cans stewed tomatoes
2 cans canellini beans
2 cans red kidney beans
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. parsley
balsamic vinegar
hummus

Add the additional ingredients (except the balsamic vinegar and hummus) to the curry pot. Heat thoroughly for 10 minutes. To serve, drizzle with balsamic vinegarette and add a dollop of hummus. Enjoy!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Same Veggies- Different Cuisines!

Last night, Melissa & I went to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, & Jin's Superette (our favorite little local store where our buddy Jay works).  We bought broccoli, yellow squash, chick peas, carrots, zucchini, onions, cauliflower, lite coconut milk, calabaza pumpkin, sweet potatoes, stewed tomatoes, cannellini beans, kidney beans, & crushed tomatoes.  Somehow, all these ingredients resulted in a Sweet & Creamy Dessert Pudding, a delicious healthy Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry, & Hearty Minestrone Soup.  The recipes are as follows:

Hearty Minestrone Soup
Time from start to finish: 30 minutes

1 chopped onion
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 chopped carrot
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 chopped yellow squash
1/2 chopped zucchini
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes in puree
2 large cans of water (use the large can from the crushed tomatoes)
1 can cannellini beans
1 can kidney beans

Spray a large pot with non-stick spray.  Add the onion & garlic.  Lightly cook them until the onion is golden brown.  Add the carrot.  Add the parsley, basil, & italian seasoning.  Stir & cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the squash, zucchini, tomatoes, water, & beans.  Cover & reduce the heat.  Let it stand for about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

The other two recipes were Melissa's creation so she will be posting about those in a couple minutes!  Enjoy!


Restaurant Review: Red Bamboo

This entire weekend was simply amazing!  Sunday was such a great day.  Melissa & I woke up early, got dressed in some cute vintage outfits, &  headed down to the Brooklyn Flea Market.  The flea market was so cute!  There were tons of vintage dresses, outfits, picture frames, books, jewelry, accessories, & plenty of random finds.  Melissa bought a super cute silky red cheetah print vintage dress & a yellow strapless tube top that has large orange flowers embroidered all over.  The only bad thing was the super long lines at the snack booths & the blazing NY sun & humidity- considering the whole thing is outdoors.
After doing a little research online prior to heading to the flea market, we discovered Kumquat Cupcakes would have a booth there.  Their cupcakes are extremely small & only $1 each.  They only had 3 flavors- Vanilla Peach, Chocolate Blueberry, & Red Velvet.  The cupcakes were just okay.  They do not even compare to Batch.  The flavors were weird & I think Kumquat Cupcakes underestimates the joy of simplicity.  They were cute but not worth a special trip just to get them.

After we finished our cupcakes & bargained at the last booths, we headed to Red Bamboo- only a 3 minute walk from the flea market!  Melissa was still ranting about the flea market & we both had a great time.

Once we got to Red Bamboo, we were amazed by the menu! BBQ skewers, Buffalo Wings, Grilled Chicken Salads- all Vegan!  We ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Salad, The Mediterranean Platter, & a side of Tofu Scramble Florentine.   The Teriyaki Chicken Salad was WONDERFUL! It had amazing seasonings & spices, flavor, texture- everything was perfect! 

 The Mediterranean Platter contained freshly made hummus, whole wheat pita slices, greek olives, couscous salad, and tomato.  It made a great little appetizer & was so light & fresh.  The tofu scramble was good too but not as good as the other dishes. 

All in all, our day was amazing!  Red Bamboo is a great find & a true blessing for Vegetarians & Vegans of NYC.


Brooklyn Flea Market
176 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238


Red Bamboo
271 Adelphi Street
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Restaurant Review: Curry in a Hurry

Nestled in Manhattan's "Little India" there is a true gem to be found.  Once upon a time, my mom & I were shopping at Trader Joe's in Union Square when we were both struck by a craving for delicious Indian food.  We were walking the streets of Union Square with no luck.   We came across a fresh fruit stand & noticed that the man working the stand was Indian.  We decided to ask him in hopes of him knowing a great local Indian restaurant.  He told us to take the 6 train uptown just a couple stops to 28th Street & walk until we hit Lexington Avenue.  Doing as we were told, we caught the train & headed in hopes of some great curry.  When we got to Lex & 28th, there were Indian restaurants on all 4 corners, but we both remembered him saying it was called "Curry in a Hurry"... a name we both thought was funny & clever.  We  rushed in to find a counter where you place your order.  The items individually were quite expensive, but as a meal- dirt cheap!  We loved the restaurant so I promised Melissa I would take her there.  Here is our review:


We ordered the Vegetarian Combination Plate.  It comes with 2 veggie dishes, rice, & naan.  In the dining room, there is a free salad bar & rice pudding dessert bar.  For our 2 veggies, we chose mixed veggies & dal (the one with the yogurt!!).  We ordered an extra naan & this was a great amount of food for the both of us to split.  The food at Curry in a Hurry is amazing!  Probably the best Indian Restaurant in all of Manhattan.  Neither Melissa nor I have ever had better Indian food- and we are avid searchers!  Everything wa
s just perfect!  Curry in a Hurry has a lot of vegetarian option, including: cauliflower curry, mixed veggie curry, dal with yogurt, eggplant curry, yogurt-free dal, chana masala, vegetable tempura, potato samosa, and a couple "items of the day".  

The food here is simply amazing. The atmosphere is that of an upscale cafeteria with little wait service & it is mostly "do-it-yourself" style.  However, this would be a great place to meet with curry-loving friends, co-workers, etc.  No reservations needed.  Not recommended for a first date or an anniversary or anything but that is just because the atmosphere is not romantic or very professional... but who cares when the food is this great?!

Curry in a Hurry
119 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016
212-683-0900

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hitting up the West Village: Batch and Ghandi Cafe

Cupcakes and Curry... how could you go wrong?!
LiMe took to the streets of the West Village for a lovely evening of eating and vintage shopping. We managed to walk away with new dresses and boots... and definitely a full stomach!


Our first find was Batch. We saw this cute little bakery across the street and literally stood on the street corner debating between it and Magnolia Bakery. Being the spontaneous bunch we are, we went for Batch! It was so cute inside with paint-splattered pink walls, chandeliers and a window seat to sit and enjoy the sweets. The owner Pichet Ong served us and was very friendly and informative. We learned that Batch uses butter rather than shortening (as nearby bakeries use...Magnolia...) and thus the cupcakes are refrigerated. And they are best when they sit at room tempature for 10 minutes before eating. But trust me... how could you wait!


I had the Carrot Salted Caramel cupcake and Lidia had the Vanilla Bean. What a bunch of suprises these innocent looking treats were! My cupcake was made of a super moist and lightly spiced carrot cake. The cake part was more moist and dense than traditional cupcakes and the icing was thick and not overly sweet. Suprise#1 was the lime cream cheese filling in the middle of the cupcake. Suprise #2 was the coarse sea salt decorating the caramel icing. Apparently salt is the new sprinkles!



The Vanilla Bean cupcake also had a suprise filling and was delicious, but the Carrot/Caramel cupcake was my favorite. They were really amazing cupcakes and we will definitely be back for more!




Batch by Pichet Ong
www.batchnyc.com
150b West 10th Street

Next we ate dinner at Ghandi Cafe. There are several vegetarian options and we ended up choosing the Chana Masalla and Mixed Vegetable Curry served with basmati rice and naan. The restaurant is very small and it was boiling hot inside! Restaurants are supposed to be an oasis from the blistering NYC heat... not this cafe.

Our meal was pretty good. Good but not great. Lidia's distinguished palette decided that the problem was too many cloves. We absolutely love Indian food but this was not as comforting as we are used to. The best part of the cafe was all the fun little suprises we got. After our meal, a small dish of orange-coloured rice pudding arrived and it was great. After our mini-dessert a cup of chai tea arrived. All complimentary! The tea was very weak and watery but the thought was appreciated. Overall it was OK. Our favorite Indian place in NYC is still Curry In A Hurry... a fabulous little joint we will be reporting on soon!

Ghandi Cafe Inc.
283 Bleeker Street
(Between 7 Ave South and Jones Street)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Melissa's Twist on the Spicy Thai Wraps

A simple twist that is... but tasty and very healthy!
Instead of stuffing the Spicy Thai filling into tortillas, top a bed of lettuce with the filling for a delicious salad. This is great to do with the leftovers and it was a hit at dinner tonight! No dressing is needed as the filling is slightly watery and coats the lettuce.

You could also top brown rice with the filling for another option. The rice absorbs the spicy, peanuty liquid perfectly. So depending on your preference, you can make Spicy Thai Wraps/Salad/Brown Rice Bowl. Ahhh the options...
Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spicy Thai Wraps

So this weekend has been crazy!  Jay's brother got married over the weekend and we were running around all over New York City visiting family, eating tons of Bengali food, getting hanna, taking pictures, and dressing up in fancy traditional Bengali wear.  My mom is in town visiting and Melissa's mom & brother are in town visiting us!  Our house is full of people & chaos- but we love it.  Tonight we finally had time to cook at home & relax.  After all the heavy Bengali food and rice, I was definitely craving some fresh, leafy food.  I decided to make my favorite Spicy Thai Wraps & Taste of Europe Salad.  

Spicy Thai Wraps
Time from start to finish: 20 minutes

Salad:
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on an angle
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots, available in pouches in produce department
3 scallions, sliced on an angle
12 leaves basil, chopped or torn
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves (4 sprigs)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
Salt

Spicy peanut sauce:
1/4 cup room temperature chunky peanut butter, soften in microwave if it has been refrigerated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 (12-inch) flour tortilla wraps


Combine cucumber, sprouts, carrots, scallions, basil, & mint with a generous sprinkle of sugar and vinegar. Season salad with salt, to taste.  Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne together. Stream in vegetable oil.  In a very hot nonstick skillet or over a gas burner heat tortillas 15 seconds on each side.  In a large bowl, mix all the veggies and sauce together.  Pile veggies in wraps covered in spicy peanut sauce in wrap & roll!  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan and Portobello Parmesan

So over the weekend I went to a wedding in Houston, Texas and we did not have a direct flight.  We had a flight with a 3 hour layover connection in Atlanta, Georgia so I had plenty of time to brainstorm new recipes & ideas.  During the flight, I was really craving eggplant (random & strange considering I was allergic to it when I was younger).   But anyways, I was thinking of a great way I could make some eggplant when I got home for dinner & this is what I came up with- eggplant parmesan!


Eggplant Parmesan (this recipe is for 2 people- cut in half for 1 person or double for 4)
Time from start to finish: 30 minutes

½ Eggplant
1 Egg
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1½ cups Italian Bread Crumbs
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ jar Marinara Sauce
1 package Mozzarella Cheese
½ package Whole Grain Spaghetti
1 bunch Parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cook pasta as directed.  In a medium bowl, place the flour. In a separate medium bowl, scramble the egg. In a third medium bowl, place the Italian Bread Crumbs. Clean the eggplant, dry it, & slice it into ¾” thick disks. First, individually dip each slice of eggplant in the bowl of flour & cover the eggplant with flour. Remove the eggplant from the bowl of flour & place it in the bowl with the scrambled egg. Flip the eggplant & completely cover it with egg. Remove the eggplant from the egg bowl & place it in the bread seasoning. Thoroughly cover the eggplant with the breadcrumbs. In a flat pan, heat the oil. Place each mushroom in the oil & flip after each side lightly browns. On the side, get a small metal or glass cake pan or brownie tray. Apply a medium-thin layer of marinara sauce. Arrange each slice of eggplant (that is now breaded & lightly fried) in the tray. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the breaded eggplants. Cut off 4 medium-thin slices of mozzarella & lay is nicely across each slice of eggplant. Place the tray in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the sauce around the edges of the tray are browning. Remove the tray from the oven. Gently scoop 2 slices of eggplant on each plate over whole grain spaghetti & place a fresh sprig of parsley on top of each plate. Enjoy!

The three bowls (flour, egg, then breadcrumbs) for breading the eggplant.
The eggplants being lightly fried.

The eggplants are immediately placed in very hot oil after being breaded.
The eggplant slices are arranged in the tray then covered in marinara sauce & a slice of mozzarella cheese!  Yum!

So after eating at Gabriela's the other night, it made me realize how amazing mushrooms are so I wanted to try some mushroom parmesan.  I made a couple pieces of that tonight as well & here is the recipe for that (it is very similar to the eggplant parmesan, just with mushroom).


Portobello Parmesan (this recipe is for 2 people- cut in half for 1 person or double for 4)
Time from start to finish: 30 minutes

2 Portobello Mushrooms
1 egg
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1½ cups Italian Bread Crumbs
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ jar Marinara Sauce
1 package Mozzarella Cheese
½ package Whole Grain Spaghetti
1 bunch Parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl, place the flour. In a separate medium bowl, scramble the egg. In a third medium bowl, place the Italian Bread Crumbs. Clean the mushrooms, dry them, & cut off the stems leaving only the flat top of the mushroom. First, individually dip each mushroom in the bowl of flour & cover the mushroom with flour. Remove the mushroom from the bowl of flour & place it in the bowl with the scrambled egg. Flip the mushroom & completely cover it with egg. Remove the mushroom from the egg bowl & place it in the bread seasoning. Thoroughly cover the mushroom with the breadcrumbs. In a flat pan, heat the oil. Place each mushroom in the oil & flip after each side lightly browns. On the side, get a small metal or glass cake pan or brownie tray. Apply a medium-thin layer of marinara sauce. Arrange each mushroom (that is now breaded then lightly fried) in the tray. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the breaded mushrooms. Cut off 4 medium-thin slices of mozzarella & lay is nicely across each mushroom. Place the tray in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted & the sauce around the edges of the tray are browning. Remove the tray from the oven. Gently scoop each mushroom out & place one on each plate over whole grain spaghetti. Then add a fresh sprig of parsley on top of each plate. Enjoy!


The three bowls (flour, egg, then breadcrumbs) for breading the mushrooms.
The mushroom is placed immediately into the hot oil after being breaded.


Well, here are two great italian recipes for you to try that are vegetarian & they are sure to add some great variety to your diet!  Enjoy!



Sunday, July 20, 2008

Restaurant Review: Texas Roadhouse

In the small city of Katy, Texas (on the outskirts of Houston), there is a restaurant called Texas Roadhouse. This restaurant is so cute. PEOPLE WITH PEANUT ALLERGIES BEWARE! The moment you walk in, there is a barrel of peanuts for the grabbing & peanut shells line the floor. Each table is then served a bucket of peanuts & encouraged to toss the shells right on the floor. Our dinner started with a nice basket of delicious bread served with cinnamon butter. It was delicious! For an appetizer, we ordered rattlesnake bites (little balls of cheese & jalapeno lightly battered & lightly fried). They were amazing! They did not have any vegetarian options, but they did have a meal that was comprised of 4 sides. We ordered some sides & chose chili (which had meat!- so we sent it back & got more fresh veggies), steak fries (which are wide fries, nothing to do with steak), fresh veggies (which were fresh but not very healthy- they were COVERED in butter), & corn on the cob. The meat eaters around us said the food is amazing. The restaurant was cute & the employees even started dancing in the middle of the restaurant just like you would imagine from a Texas restaurant. They also said "Howdy", "Yee-haw", & "y'all". It was very cute but definitely NOT vegetarian friendly- nor was it friendly to people with peanut allergies. This restaurant has locations all over the USA so make sure you check their website for a location near you if you are interested in trying it.

Texas Roadhouse
20840 Katy Freeway
Katy, Texas 77449
281.829.2402


The sign above the entrance.
The barrel of peanuts right when you walk in.
Jay enjoying his bucket of peanuts.
The employees dancing in the path.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Restaurant Review: Gabriela's Restaurant

Tonight was a gorgeous night in New York City.  Melissa & I were invited to a fashion show on behalf of the company she works for, iConcept Media.  We were very excited to go & we wanted to make it a great night.  We made reservations on OpenTable.com for this cute place on the Upper West Side called Gabriela's.  They serve Mexican food & they have amazing vegetarian options.  Everything on the vegetarian menu section sounded great so we decided to split our meals. We ordered a quesadilla stuffed with fresh avocados and tomatoes & Verduras en Cazuela (this came with 2 sides- we chose a salad & the veggies).  The side salad was very pitiful- I would recommend rice or beans.  Anyways, the main dish was AMAZING!  The flavors were so rich & warm.  It was a taste bud party.  The quesadilla was gorgeous & perfect.  The avocados had great texture, were perfectly ripe, & it was such a nice balance to our other dish.  The portions were slightly large but because the quesadilla was only meant to be an appetizer, it ended up being the perfect size meal for us two.  Another great thing about this restaurant is they give you chips & salsa.  These are not good for health conscious people, but they are great for starving people not ready to wait for food.


Pros: In & Out within an hour, good prices, bring chips & salsa, good service, GREAT food (which is most important), great location, great decor.
Cons: Small sides, bad side salad, very hot on the patio- even at night, you eat too many chips & salsa- lol... really can't think of anything else bad.

Gabriela's Restaurant
688 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10025
212.261.0574


By the way, we were walking through the west village the other night close to midnight & we came across Magnolia Bakery.  There was no line & they were selling odd sized slices of cake for really cheap.  Still overly sweet but at least it was a quick in & out experience.  So if you're going to head down there, make sure you wait till closing time.  It'll be a great end to your day!

After dinner, we headed to the fashion show and had a great time!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Million-Bean Chili

Hey everyone. Today I was craving a hearty lunch that would keep me satisfied all night at work so I made my favorite million-bean chili. In fact, this recipe is vegan!

Million- Bean Chili
Time from start to finish: 25 minutes

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Onion
2 tablespoons minced Garlic
2 pickled Jalapenos
1 can of Black Beans
1 can of Red Kidney Beans
1 can of Small Red Beans
1 can of Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)
1 can of Fat Free Refried Black Beans
1 large can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 teaspoon Cumin
7 shakes of Frank's Hot Sauce (or something similar)

In a large, deep pot, heat the olive oil. Chop the onion, garlic, & jalapenos. Add them to the pot. Let them sweat a little & soften. Make sure you constantly stir ir & even reduce the heat if necessary to ensure the onions & garlic do not burn. Add everything else over medium heat. Stir then cover for about 5 minutes on low heat. Serve over a salad, brown rice, pasta, or a la carte! Enjoy!



The onion, garlic, & jalapenos are sweating in a large pot.
After all the ingredients are added the consistency should become perfect.
A delicious bowl of Million-Bean Chili topped with fresh basil.
Dig in!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Restaurant Reviews: Isle Thai and Magnolia Bakery

Ok so today we went to the West Village.  We had a great day of shopping and tasting the local favorites.  Our day started at Magnolia Bakery.  We arrived to find a line around the corner (which apparently was only a 'moderate line' according to the regulars). We were in line for at least 40 minutes & it felt almost like a club (there was even a bouncer asking us how many in our party.. lol)  Anyways, once we got in, the cupcakes looked great!  Cute, colorful, great "cute little grandma's house" decor.  After we picked our cupcakes, there was a line to pay for them.  They were $2.50 for the regular cupcakes at $3 for the specialty humming bird cupcake we had.  We both got vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting then split a humming bird cupcake (which was this small light brown cupcake that supposedly had pineapple & banana in it (although we couldn't taste either of these fruits), cream cheese frosting, & topped with baked walnuts.  It was delicious!  However, after finishing the vanilla cupcake, I could hardly even fit in 2 bites of the humming bird cupcake.  Any how, the cupcakes were great but did not live up to the hype.  The cupcake itself was very dry & tasted like weird pound cake.  The frosting was great but almost too sweet & too much of it.  It is definitely something you should try but I don't think it is something I will make an effort to go back for.  

After cupcakes, we went walking in search of food.  I was really craving Thai food & we were walking aimlessly when Melissa brilliantly spotted a small restaurant with a little sign that read "Isles Thai".  We walked in and the ambiance was great.  The front panel was wide open and the fresh air was venting throughout.  There was cute wall paper & great, modern decor. Cons:  there were not many people there (keep in mind, we went at 4 pm, not prime time for restaurants) & my water glass had a full on lip stick mark on it- YUCK!  Anyways, I ordered Sauteed Vegetables in Garlic Sauce vegetarian style (no tofu or meat).  It was amazing!  Melissa ordered the Sauteed Fresh Ginger (a selection of amazing veggies covered in ginger flavors).  I tried hers & hers was equally great.  The portions were perfect & left us satisfied but not stuffed or bloated or anything nasty.  The prices were fair too.  The bill came out to be under $20 for the both of us- not bad.  After our tummy's were satisfied with dessert THEN a late lunch, we headed out walking through the village & relaxing.  All in all, it was a great day!

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleeker Street, NY NY 10014
212.462.2572

Isle Thai Restaurant
282 Bleeker Street, NY NY 10014
212.929.5699


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Veggie Galore Stir Fry and Taste of Europe Salad



Hello Everyone! Today's meals includes a video! YAY! Our first video! OK well today's menu includes Veggie-Galore Stir Fry & Taste of Europe Salad (my favorite salad in the world!). These recipes are both very easy & quick.

Veggie-Galore Stir Fry
Time from start to finish: 25 minutes

1 White Onion
1 small bunch Broccoli
1-1/2 cups Snow Peas
1 yellow Bell Pepper
1 Italian Pepper
1 Tomato
1 Corn on the Cob (remove kernels)
3 Carrots
4 Scallions


1 package Tofu


1 small box sliced Mushrooms
1 small handful Cilantro
1/2 box of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1-2 tablespoons Hot Chili Sauce
3 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
1 small can Stewed Tomatoes
2 cups Brown Rice (optional)

If you would like to serve the stir fry on a bed of brown rice, you should cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top at the very beginning of preparing the meal.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Coarsely chop all the vegetables. In a large wok or pot, heat the sesame oil until it begins to smoke. Once the oil is smoking, add all the chopped veggies & the pasta. Stir them together. Add the vinegar, chili sauce, stewed tomatos & teriyaki sauce. Reduce heat to medium-high & cover. Stir occassionaly. Serve in a bowl either on top of brown rice or a la carte. Enjoy!

The stir-fry was delicious and had the perfect mix of heat and spice. I loved the mix of colours and textures. I definitely had to go back for a second bowl! Even the non-vegetarians in the house loved it!

Taste of Europe Salad
Time from start to finish: 10 minute

1 half head of Romaine Lettuce
1 half head of Red Leaf Lettuce
1 Tomato
1 small package Spinach/Cheese Tortellini
1 container Pesto
1 container Hummus
1 package Feta Cheese
1 lemon

Chop the romaine and red leaf lettuce. Spread hummus on the bottom of each individual salad bowl, forming a layer. Mixed together chopped lettuce and a wedged tomato. Layer this mix on top of the hummus. Add a 5-10 tortellini pieces to each salad. Sprinkle feta and pesto on top. Drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice.

This recipie is simple and extremely tasty... my favorite salad in fact! I love how the ingredients meld to create a creamy salad. The hummus, pesto and feta serve as a makeshift dressing. Enjoy!



video

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Meatless Mexican Fiesta!

Hola Amigos!  Today's recipes are going to lead to a delicious Mexican meal- and of course- it's meatless! For today's meal, we will be making green enchiladas, black beans, salsa, guacamole, & sangria!  This meal will have  everyone begging you for more!  It is spicy & very enjoyable!
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Spicy, Healthy Black Beans
Time from start to finish: 1-2 hours

1 bag of Black Beans
1 fresh Jalapeno (cut in half length-wise)
A lot of Water
1 teaspoon Cumin

In a medium pan, pour in the bag of black beans.  Cover them in water & add the jalapeno.  Place over medium-high heat & bring to a boil.  Cover it with a lid.  Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium & allow it to cook until the beans are soft.  Add water occasionally to ensure the beans are covered at all times.  After the beans are soft (about 1-2 hours later), add the cumin.  Using a spoon with slits in it, serve up some spicy delicious beans- and only take the jalapeno is you dare!

Mean & Green Enchiladas
Time from start to finish: 40 minutes
 
Salsa Verde (make this first!)
1 small can of green enchilada sauce (used as a base)
5-6 fresh Tomatillos (these are small, green tomatoes in skins- pictured right)
1-2 Jalapenos (fresh or canned)
1 bunch of Cilantro
1 quartered Spanish Onion
2 tablespoons Minced Garlic
2-3 cubes of Vegetable Bouillon
A little bit of Hot Water
2/3 cup Cold Water
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

In a small sauce pan, add tomatillos, jalapeno(s), cilantro, onion, garlic, and vegetable bouillon. Cover all these ingredients in hot water and bring to a quick boil. Use as little water as possible.  (This will keep your sauce thick & rich- as it should be!) After everything is slightly cooked, puree it in a blender, and then return it to the pot. Add the can of store bought green sauce. In a separate cup, combine the cool water and mix in the flour. Add the water-flour mixture to the puree and allow it to thicken for about 5 minutes. 

Assembling the Enchiladas
A little bit of Vegetable Oil
20-30 Corn Tortillas
1 medium container of Low-Fat Sour Cream
2 bags (4-5 cups) of Mexican Cheese (or mixed Cheddar & Jack cheese)
Salsa Verde (see previous part of recipe)

Preheat over to 400 F.  In a large skillet, heat up about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Place 3 tortillas slightly overlapping in the skillet & heat them up.  They should be soft & easy to roll- not crunchy like a taco!  After the 3 tortillas are heated with no brown spots (this means they are too crunch & will not roll), remove them from the skillet & place them on your work space.  Grab a little bit of your Mexican cheese (about 2 tablespoons) and place it in the center of the tortilla.  Roll it up & line them nicely in a large, rectangular pan.  Fill the other 2 tortillas then heat up another batch of 3.  Make sure you add another 1 teaspoon of oil before you place the second batch of tortillas so they can heat up evenly.  Repeat this pattern until your rectangular pan is full or organized, delicious enchiladas.  Now, cover the enchiladas in the sour cream.  It should feel like you are frosting a birthday cake, but the cake is enchiladas and the frosting is sour cream.  Anyways, don't be stingy with the sour cream.  You will need about a cup in total- so get to spreading!  Oh, and the back of a spoon makes a great spreading tool.  Then, pour on your homemade green sauce.  If there is extra salsa verde (this means green sauce is Spanish), put it in a container or zip lock bag & store it in the freezer- it will come in handy when you are craving some enchiladas with little time to spare!  Do not put too much salsa verde but put enough to wear you cannot see any naked spots of sour cream.  Finally, cover the enchiladas with the rest of the cheese.  Finally, slip those enchiladas into the over & set the table.  About 15 minutes later, the cheese should be nice & melted on the top & crispy around the edges.  Take them out & enjoy!  Make sure you use a large spatula to serve them or it could get messy & they may not look as appetizing as they really are!

Mouth-Watering Salsa
Time from start to finish: 10 minutes

1 bunch Cilantro
1 large can Whole-Peeled Tomatoes
1/2 large Spanish Onion (or one small onion)
3 canned Jalapenos & a little bit of Juice
2 teaspoon Salt

Finely chop the cilantro & onion.  In a blender, blend the jalapenos & add a little of the juice from the can for 30 seconds.  Add chopped onions & cilantro.  Blend it again for 30 seconds.  Add the can of whole-peeled tomatoes & the salt.  Blend for 5 seconds.  Serve with chips & guacamole!

Flawless & Easy Guacamole
Time from start to finish: 5 minutes

2-3 Avocados
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Mouth-Watering Salsa (see above recipe)

In a bowl, mash the avocados (remove the skin & pit of course!).  Add the salsa & salt then mix it with a spoon.  Serve with chips & salsa! (Hint: if the guacamole is not of the consistency you would like, add a little bit of milk to smooth it out.)

Mamacita's Sangria (Makes a LOT!)
Time from start to finish: 10 minutes

1 gallon of Burgundy
1-1/2 liters of Rose
1-1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of fruit punch (or one packet of kool-aid fruit punch mix)
1/2 bottle of grenadine (the little bottles most grocery stores sell)
2 cans of orange soda
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, & raspberries (optional)

Combine all the ingredients, except fruit, in a large jug or a huge pot. Stir & sweeten to taste. To store, use the empty wine bottles or other bottles you have. Serve with ice and the optional fresh fruit. Enjoy!
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Let us know how your Mexican Fiesta went!  Make sure to invite friends & family.  This meals serves about 4 people.   Pictures & videos to come!

xoxo

LiMe

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to Our Blog!

Hey everyone!  Our names are Lidia & Melissa.  We are both vegetarians living in New York City and we are both 20 years old.  We are starting our blog to share with you some of the amazing recipes we've come-across & created over the years.  We are into eating healthy but also eating food to enjoy!  We love making food that vegetarians & non-vegetarians alike can enjoy.  Although all our meals are vegetarian, they are not all vegan- so make sure you read the details!  

Our cooking styles are different but they mesh together nicely.  Melissa is more into healthy, organic meals & Lidia is more into ethnic, flavorful foods.  But, I'm sure you'll love both our styles.  We live in upper Manhattan & we absolutely love it up here! We can often be seen shopping, on the subway, chilling on our roof, or going for jogs in the park.  

OK well we hope you like our blog.  We will try to put up as many recipes & videos to compliment them as soon as possible.  

Oh, and for all you non-vegetarians out there, do not avoid our recipes just because there is no meat.  There are a lot of health & moral reasons to switch to meat-less eating & as you will see from our recipes, it can be quite enjoyable!  

Also on our blog, we will review vegetarian cookbooks & shows, show you how to pick the best produce & products, introduce you to our favorite restaurants & stores to supply all your favorite vegetarian meals & ingredients, & basically we will just be your friends in the kitchen showing you around to help you reach your cooking goals!  

Some of the things we would like to see more is more men cooking, more people eating healthy & not polluting their bodies, teens being able to make their own meals!!!, & New Yorkers not having to go out eat for every single meal- save your money!!  

Hopefully we can count on you to come back to our website for recent check-ups or to study up on a recipe.  We love emails & requests!  Feel free to contact us if you have questions, if you're confused, if you're not sure why you should become vegetarian, ANYTHING!

xoxo

LiMe

PS.  LiMe comes from a combination of our names... "Li"dia & "Me"lissa. Get it?  :)