As a kid, my mom used to make BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches. The chicken was tender and the barbecue sauce perfectly sticky and sweet. I ate those sandwiches up.
From plants, grains, and seeds. I make my own tofu. I make my own seitan. I make my own everything. We do not eat a lot of processed foods.
Note: Since this post, we have removed wheat and many other processed foods from our kitchen, but I still wanted to share our story and recipe with you all!
Most nights I like to make dinner from scratch, but Fridays are my, "I'll cook, but not all of the way" days. Naan pizzas are my go-to for Fridays. They are yummy and they make use of the produce in the garden.
I pick up the naan bread from a local bakery, the mozzarella from a small farmer, and the rest is from the garden. The basil. The pesto. The tomatoes. All from the yard.
You are probably wondering how the heck do I grow tomatoes during the winter/spring...Siberian Pole Tomatoes. Look'em up. They are native and grown in Siberia. They can withstand anything.
Make some naan pizzas tonight.
Roasted cauliflower, carrots, and spinach go into this warming red curry made completely vegan and completely good-for-your-soul. When I lived in San Francisco, I was able to stop into any of the hundred Asian market to pick the ingredients, but now, I have to make a solid effort to find these ingredients. In my hunt to make this Thai soup, I was able to source the lemongrass and ginger from a small market with the rest of it from the local market.
So, I always have them in stock. My kitchen is very rustic, Asian-inspired, and a little wacky. This curry is spicy, but in a warm sense and will appease kids and adults. Your entire home will smell of lemongrass, ginger, and meaty roasted cauliflower.
Shoot. Okay, so I caved and I made this Shepherd's pie using ground turkey because we had company over and I just knew that my girlfriend's husband would have soiled his freshly pressed True Religion jeans if there was an ounce of tofu in sight.
So, I cowered through Whole Foods (which I hate now, to be posted soon) and purchased a $15 1lb. slab of turkey. Thankfully, the ground turkey was from Diestel Turkey Ranch, a family that I grew up with in my hillbilly home town.
The meal went off fabulously and my little one who is mostly vegan as well, truly enjoyed the meal. So much so that for the last week she has been pretending that everything that she eats is turkey.
Did you know that nearly 50 billion burgers are eaten by Americans each year? Yup. PBS told me so. This statistic doesn't count for alternative meat substitutes...only red meat. Cow.
I brought my daughter up vegan for nearly four years because I felt it was important to establish a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and the like. During that time, she grew like any other toddler and never had a health problem. In fact, she is super healthy and has only had two colds in her life. She has no allergies and she is incredibly bright. I did supplement her with fortified soy or almond milk and a vitamin to be sure. You never know.
I know. I know, where the hell am I going with this-- I did have a point. You don't need to eat animals to survive. However, you can't survive without fortified foods or a vitamin. B12 is an essential part of our diet that tends to come only from animals or through processing. Either way, I am okay with it, but I want to keep our lifestyles as close to the earth as possible.
Okay, back to my point. I never intended to force her into a vegan diet or lifestyle. Honestly, I don't think we should consume dairy often because it is weird and eggs sort of freak me out...so..when my daughter turned four, I told her that if she wanted to try animals, she could.
We started with fish, which she loved. And now she is into turkey. This week we made turkey burgers. But not just any turkey burger! These turkey burgers are loaded with pureed carrots, bell peppers, garlic, and onion. Because even though she is eating a bit of animal, our consumption of vegetables will not wane. Now, our diet includes 1-2 meals per week that had fish or turkey. I'm still keeping most dairy out of the picture, and I don't know if I'll keep this animal-eating practice up, but for now, it is what we are playing with.
Do you know what I miss more about living in San Diego? Good barbecue. Deliciously good BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw (with a bite of acid), and skillet cornbread. I made myself a promise the other night that I would go back to my home flavors and make BBQ baked beans that wouldn't come from a can. Gritty, honey cornbread too. Recipe to follow.
Turkey is everywhere. Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Turkey eggrolls. Turkey in my oatmeal. There is a lot of turkey goin' on 'round here. Tonight I took some of the turkey and transformed it into fall off the bone shredded brown sugary BBQ sweetness. Oh yes, I did.
BBQ shredded turkey is so delicious. You can stuff into a tortilla of between two slices of crusty bread topped with pickled red onions and apple cider vinegar coleslaw. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can put it together in the pot and let it sit for 3-4 hours without doing anything.
The key to this recipe is to have homemade BBQ sauce on hand so you can be super lazy and watch the meat shred itself in a pot of sauce. Mmmm. Oh and I did I mention that I add carrots and onions to my shredded meat? Mmmm...Keep reading to get the BBQ sauce recipe.
Once you have made the recipe, add it to 3 cups shredded turkey, 1 diced, sauteed onion and a diced carrot.
Thanksgiving left a lot of food in my fridge -- mostly turkey -- turkey wings; turkey legs ; turkey everything...turkey carcass...yup. I used the turkey bones to make a rich, marrowy stock that served as the base for the soup that I made last night. The soup is so easy -- you can use veggie leftovers and add new veggies to the soup for a rich, winter stew. It features spinach, carrots, potatoes, corn and ditalini pasta.
I love this recipe because you can eat it immediately, store some in the fridge and freeze the rest in heavy-duty bags for another night. The stew will last 3-6 months in the freezer if properly packaged.
This soup pairs well with crust bread and butter.
Lasagna -- a classic Italian dish filled with cheese, meat, and red sauce -- oh and noodles. I like to fill my lasagna with an abundance of rich cheeses, ground turkey, fresh oregano, and my *secret* ingredient -- lemon zest -- to give it a punch. My feelings on portion control come into play when I make this dish because it is one of those meals where you can accidentally overeat as you go in for seconds. We as human underestimate our caloric intake daily. To avoid overeating and to maintain portion control, I like to make lasagna in individual ramekins. And I only make enough for the people at the table. No overeating; unless you want more salad!
Chili is a great way to have a dinner party. Yes, I'm serious. A chili dinner party. Throughout my undergraduate education, I held monthly dinner parties for friends and classmates. Instead of slaving away over a plate that requires 3 components cooked to perfection (in my tiny kitchen, no way), I made of pot of something delicious that puts a smile on everybody's faces.
Given that some of my friends are vegetarians, vegans, or otherwise, I always made the dish eater-friendly. No meat. No dairy, and a gluten-free side. My three-bean chili with soyrizo always won people over.
It is rich, hearty, and healthy. The soyrizo lends a textured spicy addition to the beans. The chili can sit on the stove for hours, making it a great set-it and come back to get it dish. I make cornbread with the dish, but it does great on its own too.
Carrot and ginger soup is refreshing, light, and super nutritious. This soup gets made at least twice per month. Sometimes by me, but mostly by my sister who has become pretty killer at it. The carrot soup is loaded with vitamin A, healthy fats, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc. This soup is a powerhouse.
Consider pairing this soup with a dollop of goat cheese, a slice of crusty French bread, white fish (halibut, cod...), or just on its own.
If you are interested in growing your own carrots, then consider heirloom seeds. Most carrot seeds can be planted in late Spring for early fall harvest, and you can plant carrot seeds every two weeks until the next summer....yep, carrots year round.