Vegan Sushi Monday!

Happy Monday Everyone!

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Well it’s back to reality for this chick! I’ve been off work for two weeks in order to prepare for and celebrate my wedding, and then to bask in the glow of marital bliss! My husband and I decided to take our Honeymoon on spring break of this year, so we went on a small road trip to Eureka Springs to celebrate the New Year instead. We found a really adorable bar called Squid something. I felt like we were in Europe the entire time. This small town in the middle of the mountains is a lot of fun for a weekend getaway! Alex also decided to go vegetarian after our wedding, so we enjoyed finding so many awesome vegan and vegetarian options everywhere. If you are looking for a cheap trip with good food and fun, you should check it out! The closest airport is in Fayetteville, AR, which is about one hour from Eureka Springs. But back to my sushi recipe!

I LOVE SUSHI! I was really worried about never getting to eat it again, as I had never had a vegan roll before. But Doctor/Lady/Professor Google is a beautiful tool for a new Vegan. You can honestly find anything vegan nowadays. And coincidentally, you can find anything on Google. I have discovered that my vegan options taste so much better and I’m not loaded with guilt by my healthy subconscious or love for animals. So I simply googled “Vegan Sushi” and BAM! Awesome ideas. I also just received my Happy Herbivore Abroad by Lindsay Nixon (find it on Amazon for $11.13!) cookbook in the mail, which is awesome! I encourage everyone to at least view her website:

http://www.happyherbivore.com

Materials Needed

I discovered I needed a few things to make my own sushi. The list includes a bamboo rolling mat, a wooden flat spoon for the rice, chopsticks (if using), Nori Sheets, desired fillings, and of course Sushi Rice (muy importante!). I got my bamboo rolling mat and wooden spoon from Whole Foods in the same package. I can’t remember the exact price, but it wasn’t more than $10 and it works just fine! I also bought the Nori Sheets (10 pack for $3), sushi rice ($4 bag) and all fillings at Whole Foods.

Combinations 

Forgive me for not knowing the correct sushi terms for my rolls, but these are the fillings I used inside of the basic sushi roll that was simply a nori sheet with sushi rice inside with the filling.

  • Avocado (Optional: Add Vegan Mayonnaise, Earthbound Brand)
  • Avocado and Cucumber
  • Mango and Vegan Cream Cheese (Tofutti Brand)
  • Mango and Avocado
  • Mango and Strawberry (Optional: Vegan Cream Cheese)
  • Carrot, Cucumber, and Avocado
  • Tofu and Anything!
  • Bell Pepper and Vegan Cream Cheese

Get creative! Use vegetables and fruit that you enjoy and make up your own rolls. It’s a lot of fun and delicious!

Instructions

  1. Make the sushi rice by putting one cup dry sushi rice in a medium size pan and adding 1 1/4 water to it. Boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While sushi rice is cooking, mix 1/3 cup Vinegar, 2 tbsp Sugar, 1 tsp salt in a small saucepan until just boiling. The sugar should begin to disappear when it is ready.
  3. Place sushi rice in a large bowl with the wooden spoon and pour the sauce over the rice. DO NOT use metal, as it does not handle well with vinegar. Also remember to continuously wet the spoon and your hands while handling the rice, because it is very sticky. Simply fold the rice over and over with the wooden spoon until well mixed.
  4. Place a Nori Sheet on the flat side of the bamboo rolling mat (Shiny side down, so the rough part is facing you).
  5. Place a handful of the rice at a time on the nori sheet, leaving an inch or two at the top with no rice, for rolling. It should look similar to this: Image
  6. Then place your fillings at the bottom, in a straight line. Make sure they are thin for easier rolling. Image
  7. This is the tricky step: hold the ingredients at the bottom of the roll with your middle and ring fingers while using your thumb and index to roll the bottom of the roll up. Tuck the ingredients inside as your roll over them and then pull your bamboo mat out slightly as you continue rolling, to prevent it from becoming part of your sushi roll! Continue rolling until you are left with a nice, tight sushi roll and then cut it into sections with a serrated knife. Use any toppings you like over the roll, or just eat it plain with a little soy sauce. Enjoy!Image

In the photo above, my husband made stir-fry and vegan spicy mayo while I made the sushi! I will have to get the recipes from him later. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

Chili Sundays

Good morning blog!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I did a whole lot of sleeping! I’m not sure if it’s the colder weather or the time change, but I go into hibernation mode in the winter. I actually love my ability to succumb to a mini-coma this time of year. It drives my fiancé crazy, since he has to complete a ritual to fall asleep at night. It includes reading the news out loud from his Flipboard app, which drives me crazy sometimes and therefore even outs our craziness. Then he checks the scores on his ESPN app and then he goes through a list of things he has to do the next day. Somewhere around the Flipboard app, I’m out like a little bear. I also have crazy dreams in the winter time, but I suspect this has to do with whatever doom news Alex is reading aloud while my subconscious is listening.

Winter Time Leo!

Our dog Leo is also a mini-coma participant in the winter time. He snores so loudly sometimes I have to wake him up. I love when he has dreams and he’s trying to run in his sleep. If Alex and I are talking too loudly, he will growl a tiny cute growl like “HEY, I’m trying to knock myself out here!” Who is the boss of this house anyway? So basically, Leo and I are in hibernation right now. This leaves Alex and Buddha to fend for our house during the night. I like to think that the two of them are bonding over their mutual inability to sleep well at night, but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening…

So back to my weekend! I have discovered I love chili. I thought when I went vegetarian for good back in 2008, I would never be able to try chili again, though I wasn’t a huge fan of it back when I did eat meat sometimes. There are no places to go in Arkansas to grab a piping hot cup of vegetarian chili, let alone vegan chili. I have tried other versions with just beans and it wasn’t hitting the spot either. However, with a little searching, I have found the solution. It comes from a combination of my Forks Over Knives cookbook and a Whole Foods recipe,  and it lasts about three days in my house (which is a long time considering the appetite of my athlete fiancé)! I have taken a photo which you will see below, but beware, they are not Good Housekeeping worthy. I’m still new at this blog thing so I promise to get better with age.

Side note: This is not the actual recipe, but rather my version that is based on my findings from sources cited above.

Mushroom and Bean Chili

1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 large portobello mushrooms (or shiitake!), cubed/chopped

3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

2 teaspoons chili powder

1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it!)

2 (15 oz) cans of no-salt added kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or pinto beans!)

1 (15 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes

Black pepper to taste

To garnish: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 2 sliced fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)

1. Heat a large sauce pot over medium-high heat until hot.

2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook about 3-4 minutes until beginning to brown. Add 1-2 teaspoons of water at a time to keep them from sticking to the pan (Awesome healthy secret- you don’t need oil!)

3. Stir in mushrooms and cook another minute or two, until they start to soften and brown. Add in chili powder and cayenne pepper and mix together. Smell that awesome aroma?

4. Add in broth and turn that heat UP! Stir frequently for about 1 minute.

5. Add in beans and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered (I forgot to cover mine and it still worked out) for 25-30 minutes.

6. Stir in black pepper. Serve with cilantro and jalapeños.

Mushroom Bean ChiliIt should look similar to the above photo, taken by myself (again, I promise to get better). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! It can be served as a main course (it is really filling) or you can also serve it as a side. I was actually starving last night after a long run, so I made a vegan cheese quesadilla with whole wheat tortillas to eat alongside my soup. I imagine you could do any number of sandwich or salad combinations with the soup. For desert, I had a bartlett pear from Whole Foods! It was a perfect meal for a chilly night.

Until next time,

❤ Carissa