Recipe/Tip: Instant Garlic Bread (with a vegan version too!)

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(Version shown is vegan and uses Earth Balance + nutritional yeast!)

Sometimes, you don’t realize until the last minute that your entree would be much improved with a side of garlic bread. In my case, my tomato soup had just finished cooking and my taste buds were demanding dinner. And all of a sudden, I realized: that loaf of bread I bought to dip in the soup would be much better in the form of garlic bread.

I was not in the mood to cut up a bunch of garlic or fresh herbs, however, so I decided to take a bit of a cheater’s route. I turned on my oven, dug through my spice cabinet, and had garlic bread within 10 minutes.

And my tastebuds were happy. In fact, I was shocked at how much it tasted like fresh, restaurant-style garlic bread.

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(Photo is pre-nutritional yeast/cheese)

Ingredients:

– Slice(s) of Italian bread

– Butter or Vegan margarine

– Garlic powder

– Salt

– Dried basil (optional)

– Nutritional Yeast or Cheese (Optional, if you want cheesy garlic bread)

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Directions:

1. If using the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees. If you want even quicker garlic bread, you can use a toaster/toaster oven (I have neither in my apartment, hence my use of the oven!)

2. If using oven, spread butter/margarine on slices. Set the bread on a sheet of tinfoil, and fold the edges up to loosely cover it. Bake for  5 minutes, open up the tinfoil (so it becomes more of a baking sheet), and bake for 5 more minutes, or until crispy.

If using toaster, cook it as long as you prefer, and then spread butter/margarine on it.

3. Sprinkle garlic powder and a pinch of salt evenly across the bread to taste. I just eyed it, but 1/4 tsp of garlic is probably a good amount per slice.

4. Add your basil and/or cheese.

And voila, you have near-instant garlic bread to accompany your meal!

And here’s my completed lunch:

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Enjoy,

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes (Quick and Low Cal!)

I had to get blood work done this morning. In addition to the natural nervousness I had regarding a needle that was about to be jabbed into my vein, I also couldn’t eat for 12 hours beforehand. As a dedicated daily breakfast-eater, this was the most upsetting part of the whole affair.

I used to never eat breakfast, however, (I have since learned the error of my ways) so I was able to make it through the agonizing 20 minute walk to the clinic with an empty stomach. Okay, it wasn’t actually all that agonizing: there was less marijuana-smell and blaring construction than I’m used to experiencing on the streets of southside Berkeley. But I digress.

Once I got home, I decided to treat myself to something more exciting than my usual miniature bowl of berries and soymilk. It was around brunch time at this point, and I had a sweet potato in my fridge, so I figured, why not splurge a bit?

Turns out my splurge was actually really low calorie, and only took 10 minutes to put together–which made the brunch even more satisfying! It also ended up more versatile than I expected: I can see myself eating this at Thanksgiving dinner.

Also, for all you skeptical non-vegans out there: it doesn’t taste vegan, or particularly low calorie, for that matter. It in fact tasted eerily similar to the butter & heavy cream filled version I made for my family this summer.

Maybe I should get blood drawn more often.

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Recipe source: My head, and the sweet potato in my fridge.

Makes double the amount pictured: about 1.5-2 cups.

Serving size: 1/2 of recipe. Calories per serving: 250-300

Ingredients: (Approximate amounts–feel free to tweak things to your tastes)

  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 1 tbs Earth Balance Vegan Margarine
  • About 1/2 cup unsweetened Soy or Almond milk (If you use a sweetened kind, use less maple syrup)
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chopped or broken walnuts

Directions:

1. Poke holes in sweet potato with a fork, and microwave for about 1.5-2 minutes, or until you can chop it into small chunks without difficulty. Remove skin if desired. (I leave it in because it’s delicious and has extra nutrients!)

2. Melt vegan margarine in a pot over medium heat. Add sweet potato chunks to pan, and stir to coat with margarine.

3. Add the milk and 1 tbs of the syrup. Stir to coat. Cover pot with lid, and stir occasionally so the chunks don’t brown.

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(I used a pan that I had a lid for. Either works as long as it can be covered.)

4. Continue cooking until the chunks are tender enough to be easily smashed with a wooden spoon. If they start to become dry, add more soymilk or margarine.

5. Remove from heat once tender. Mash with a fork or masher to your desired consistency–I went for chunky, but you can also make them smooth–and add the walnuts. Add the last tablespoon of syrup, or to taste.

And the most important step of all: enjoy your guilt-free meal!

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Happy cooking,

Michelle