Blog: Green Kitchen Stories

I found a new food blog the other day that is quickly becoming one of my favorites: Green Kitchen Stories. The site is touted as being vegetarian, but there are tons of vegan recipes, and you can always modify the vegetarian ones. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes look delicious.

I can’t wait to try the Moroccan Quinoa Salad. Yum.

Confessions of a Bad Vegan

I’ve been a bad vegan. I’m not going to lie: I slipped and had dairy and fish and I feel horrible about it. It all started with my brother’s wedding the week before last. It was a destination wedding, which required a very quick, 10-hour trip down to Destin, Florida. The trip started out well. I actually planned ahead and made food for the entire duration of our quick, four-day trip, with the exception of dinner because we knew we’d eat out with the wedding party. I made pumpkin muffins, eggless egg salad, roasted vegetable sandwiches, and brought chips, a dark chocolate bar, and some lemon cookies for snacks. Everything was vegan.

We weren’t even a few hours on the road before we made our first offense. We had to stop to get gas and noticed a Cracker Barrel across the street. Now, Cracker Barrel is bad for a number of reasons that I won’t go into, but we ended up going in and each ordering the vegetable plate. I ordered mine with the fried okra, baby carrots, coleslaw, and the mac and cheese. All vegetarian, but not at all vegan.

For the rest of the road trip we behaved, eating only what we had packed in the cooler, and it was delicious. The roasted vegetable sandwiches were taken from a Vegan Yum Yum recipe and were out of this world! So simple, but very flavorful.

Our second offense came the first night we were in Destin. Instead of going out to eat with the rest of the wedding party, we opted to run to the grocery for dinner and stay at the condo so I could finish some work. We ran up to The Fresh Market and ended up with a horribly bland margarita pizza and a salad. Once again, both vegetarian, but not at all vegan.

Our third offense came when we went out after the wedding. The Irish pub-style restaurant we went to had no vegetarian entrees, and I have a problem with consuming nothing but fries and salads for dinner, and not to mention that we needed something substantial to soak up the alcohol we had already consumed on an empty stomach. I broke down and had crab cakes, and my husband had the catfish. Neither vegetarian, nor vegan.

But our bad eating habits didn’t stop with our trip. Since coming home, I’ve had no problem sticking to my vegan diet while at home, but not so much whenever I’ve eaten out.

Now, I say all this not to shame anyone for eating dairy, or even meat, but just to show that no one is perfect. Regardless of the diet you adhere to, mistakes happen, but you can’t beat yourself up over them. All you can do is to try to make better choices the next time around. And that’s what I’m going to do. Despite my slip-ups, I love being vegan and have no plans to change anytime soon.

Minestrone Stew

Despite the unseasonably warm weather (we’re talking highs in the 90’s!), I’ve been on a soup kick. I had planned on making a big pot of basic vegetable soup, but I decided at the last minute to add some kidney beans, kale, and pasta to make it more of a minestrone-inspired soup. And really, it’s pretty thick, so I’d say it’s more of a stew than a soup.

Minestrone Stew

Serves 2 + leftovers for freezing

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, sliced evenly
5 red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups frozen okra
1 15-ounce can of dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock (I used 6 cups of water with 6 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base)
1 1/2 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 cups rotini pasta
1 small head of kale, chopped into small pieces
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp basil
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add the olive oil to a pan set to medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring to keep the garlic from burning. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, okra, kidney beans, vegetable stock, tomato juice, and spices. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, then add the kale and cook for another 2 minutes. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!