Guest post! Morgan’s vegan pesto zucchini pasta

One of my really good friends Morgan is a vegan and I love swapping recipes and food ideas with her. Last week she sent me a snap of vegan pesto that she made and I needed the recipe pronto. I knew it would be even better if she was able to write a guest blog post so I could also share with everyone! Please read on for her recipe and be sure to try it soon! I know I will be 🙂


Hi All! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Morgan, a good friend of Ashley’s! When Ashley asked me if I wanted to write for her blog I felt EXTREMELY honored. I really enjoy reading her posts and am always looking for new recipes to add to my collection!

So for my post, I will show you guys how to make vegan pesto with zucchini noodles!

I will say that you do need 2 essential tools to make this: – A blender (I don’t think it matters what kind, I just use my nutri-bullet-thing because it’s MUCH easier to bring out than my big blender) – And a vegetable spiraler (I got mine for like $10 on amazon and I use it CONSTANTLY… just get it, ok?) PESTO FIRST! Here are all of the ingredients you will need:
IMG_4632
– 2 cups of basil – 3/4 cup of pine nuts – 2-3 cloves of raw garlic (I usually go for 3-4, but I’m a garlic fanatic) – 1/2- 3/4 cup of grapeseed oil (or olive oil… basically whatever oil you usually cook with) – a couple dashes of salt and pepper (to taste) – 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast – 1 tablespoon of lime juice Blend all of the things! I usually blend for like 2 seconds, shake it, and repeat until I get the consistency I like. (I like slightly chunky pesto)
IMG_4619
WHA-LA! PESTO!! See…. it’s not that hard! 😉 Ok, you can do whatever you want with that now. Orrrrrr you can make zucchini pasta! In which case, you will need the following:
IMG_4622
– 1 zucchini – 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil (again, or use whatever oil you usually use) – Wash and trim the stem off the zucchini. – Put teaspoon of oil into a pan. – Insert cut end into the spiraler and twist over the pan. – (I usually do about two rotations then pull it up to break it off, or they get too long and it’s impossible to eat) – Once zucchini is done, turn heat on low, and sauté until warm.
IMG_4624
(I like to just heat them up so that they are still crunchy) When cooked to your preference, put zucchini in a bowl and add a dollop of pesto on top and work into warmed zucchini.
IMG_4628
Now you have vegan pesto zucchini pasta. You don’t have to warm the pesto at all, raw is pretty tasty as well. It’s been real and hopefully you all enjoyed my recipe! Your favorite little blonde vegan, Morgan B.

My Best Friend. My Freezer.

I am 100% obsessed with my freezer. My freezer is amazing. She always has my  back when I buy too much food and don’t want any of it to go to waste, not even a single leaf of spinach! (Yes, I have froze approximately 10 leaves of spinach before. …And a half of an apple one time.) She saves me money and time every month. She stores the leftovers from bulk cooking. She makes sure I am never out of ice for my cocktails or iced coffees.

She once let me store vegetable scraps in her drawer for an entire year so I could make my own veggie broth. Smoothies are readily available all year round because of her. If I wanted to, I could  make dinner for an entire month and she would keep all of my noshes safe on her frosty shelves. My freezer is on 24/7 and I know I can always count on her. (In my kitchen,) my freezer is my best friend. She’s my ride or die. I love her big and I know she loves me right back.

Some freezer-frequents in my house are soups and stews; bananas; chopped basil, garlic, and green onions; ice wine; and vegetables (of course!). My most recent addition and discovery is homemade burritos! A while ago I posted my vegan sweet potato recipe. I doubled up on this recipe and froze the extra burritos that I made which got me thinking… why don’t I make a whole bunch of burritos and freeze them all!?

#burritosfordayz

Recently I bought a 10 count pack of flour tortillas, mashed sweet potatoes, frozen bell peppers, green chilies and guacamole. I already had some spicy black bean dip and salsa so figured I would make a few breakfast burritos too.

image
Trader Joe’s, anyone?

I let the bell peppers thaw overnight and then “wrung them out” with a paper towel to get any unnecessary moisture out. The next day I heated up my mashed sweet potatoes; which I got from Trader Joe’s and they save me a ton of time by not having to steam and peel the potatoes before mashing. All you have to do is pour the potato “pucks” into a pan, add 1/4 c of water and stir while they heat up.

image

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog for a website called Living Sunlight that explained which fruits and vegetables you should try to buy organic and which ones are okay to buy non-certified. You can check it out here and you’ll notice that sweet potatoes are a part of the “clean 15,” so I don’t fret about finding organic sweet potatoes. (You will also notice bell peppers are on the list of things you should buy organic but, unfortunately, my frozen bell peppers were just regular ol’ pesticide laden ones.)

While my sweet potatoes were in the pan, I spread my tortillas all over my kitchen. If you have a bigger kitchen you won’t have to be so creative…

image
Can you count all 10?

Then I spread my spicy black beans on 3 tortillas (Mike isn’t a fan of the breakfast burrito so I made less of these), added scrambled eggs, some peppers, and salsa to make a perfect breakfast burrito for busy mornings.

image
I swear these will taste better than they look

After my potatoes were heated all of the way through, I spread guacamole on the remaining tortillas and piled a scoop of potato in the middle of each.

image

And then added peppers and green chilies before wrapping them up to freeze for future use!

image
image

And there you have it… 10 homemade burritos ready for my girl, the freezer! 😉

image
In all of her glory!

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

Christmas in Canada

Last night I made a red lentil and chickpea soup that was inspired by the dinner my boyfriend’s sister, Wendy, made on our last night in Canada.

Mike is from Toronto and we usually spend time there with his family over the holidays. I love going to Canada around Christmas because, even though it’s freezing, it is usually snowing and, having grown up in California,  a white Christmas was something I only got to experience through movies. This year it didn’t snow as much as it has in the past but we still got to experience some snow before we left. We also tried our hand at an Escape Room which was a ton of fun and highly recommended (even for people like me who aren’t the most strategic, game-minded individuals!).

Of course it’s always nice to see all of Mike’s friends and family. We make it a point to see one of his best friend’s (and my soulmate, essentially) Melissa. It is also a tradition to eat at The Keg (best steaks ever) with family friends Nikki and Carole. This year was extra special because we got to meet Mike’s niece, Ella, for the first time. Our holiday in Toronto was filled with games, celebratory drinks, good food, and better company.

12458792_10101255601213621_2011712349_o
Dinner and drinks with good friends Melissa and Davin!
blogger-image--2047384168
After we successfully escaped our Escape Room
IMG_0887
Drinks and some Catan action

Our last day there was lazy and perfect. In the morning we took a nice walk in the snow and then went to go see the new Star Wars movie (which I, surprisingly, actually liked). After the movie we went to get a few beers and appetizers and then went home to pack. As we packed (and, full disclosure, drank scotch) Wendy made the most delicious soup with red lentils, onions, and chickpeas. She garnished it with cilantro and, in much need of something healthy and nourishing, I devoured it!

Last night I re-created this meal for me and a friend but based only on the knowledge that the ingredients included red lentils, chickpeas, onions, and cilantro. I had a general gist of the recipe but didn’t have anything written down so it wasn’t exact – for instance, I added a carrot and a tomato because I had them on hand – but I am happy to report it turned out well and tasted similar to what Wendy made. I decided not to share the recipe until I get the real one from her.

Also, this dinner incorporated cilantro (Herb of the Week!) and didn’t include cheese. Win-win.

IMG_20160107_194942

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

Easy Hump Day Pasta

We’ve made it halfway through the first week back to work! Annnnd it’s “cheese night.” If you remember, I’m trying to reduce the amount of cheese we eat since having given up meat on the weekdays and TONIGHT is the night for some added parm on my pasta!

This dinner is super easy and fast to make (as I believe most weeknight dinners should be). We paired the pasta with some roasted green beans and slivered almonds for some added veg power.

IMG_20160106_182414

Happy hump day, y’all!


Ingredients

  • 1 c pasta
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1/4 c onion – chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package
  • Sauté garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent
  • Add can of fire roasted tomatoes and package of spinach – bring to a boil and then simmer until pasta is ready
  • Drain pasta and top with sauce
  • Sprinkle on parmesan, if desired

Easy peasy, right!?

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

So simple (Mexican inspired) spaghetti squash

A few years ago our good friends Gary and April moved to Los Angeles. I still haven’t gotten used to not seeing them every week and miss them terribly. One of my favorite things we used to do was bi-weekly Wednesday dinners, where we alternated going to one couple’s house and the host cooked / the guest brought dessert. These dinners were casual and lovely. Plus, it was nice to have something to look forward to in the middle of the work week.

If you have friends that live nearby, I definitely recommend starting this tradition with them!

Now (sadly!!) to see Gary and April we have to put in effort and planning. Waaah, wah, wahhh. Happily, we started a tradition of visiting them in LA every year for 4th of July – which certainly doesn’t make up for all of the time we don’t see them but at least we have one weekend a year where we know the four of us will get together again.

During our first 4th of July visit, Gary woke up early and reserved us a perfect spot at their pool, complete with umbrellas and couches to lounge on in between dips. We spent the whole day outside, alternating between lazily laying around and splashing in the pool. We ate, drank, laughed, and played. It was perfect. But, after all of that time in the sun (and all of those beers!), we were beat and opted out of plans to go to a nearby street fair.

Instead we stayed in and April made this AMAZING pasta dish that inspired my dinner tonight. In short, she added cooked bell peppers, garlic, onions, zucchini, asparagus and grilled chicken to pasta and tossed everything in olive oil and cilantro. So simple and so good! I love recipes that you can easily add and subtract to and from which is exactly what I did tonight.

IMG_1520
IMG_1522

You’ll notice I used the left over black beans and corn from yesterday’s dinner and I’m sticking with my Herb of the Week, cilantro. Also, no cheese!!

I hope you try this dish and maybe even have it at your own bi-weekly dinner with friends 🙂


Ingredients 

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 c black beans
  • 1/2 c corn
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs cilantro (garnish)
  • 2 Tbs green chilies (optional)

Directions

  • Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, bake hallow side down* for 35 minutes at 350 degrees
  • While squash is baking, sauté garlic in olive oil until translucent
  • Add black beans, corn, and green chilies – stir
  • Keep on low heat until squash is ready (you can also prep the spaghetti squash before and heat it back up in the sauce to save on time)
  •  When squash is tender to forks touch, “shred” it
  • Incorporate squash into beans and corn
  • Top with cilantro
  • Enjoy!

Note I usually put a little bit of water in my baking dish to keep the squash from crisping up

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

Vegan sweet potato burritos

Since Mike and I have been trying our hand at being weekatarians (which we did a pretty good job at maintaining over the holidays) I’ve noticed I have been relying heavily on cheese to supplement the flavor meat used to bring our dinners. Last year at least 3 out of our 5 dinners had cheese as a main ingredient so I decided to try really hard to limit our cheese intake in 2016. We aren’t completely cutting out dairy (yet) so I think it will be fine to have cheese once or twice a week at dinner but certainly not as much as we used to. So we don’t miss out on flavorful and satisfying dinners, I will use a lot of beans and herbs in dinners this year. I love cooking with fresh herbs but find that I don’t use all of them quick enough. This is why I will be buying one fresh herb a week and basically building most of our dinners around it. This week? Cilantro!

IMG_20160104_192353
No cheese for me, please

Tonight we had vegan sweet potato burritos with cauliflower cilantro lime rice and because of a HUGE demand for some recipes on this blog (ok, ok, one person has suggested I add a few veg recipes…), I’ve provided the ingredients and instructions for you below 🙂


Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup guac
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 6 flour tortillas

Directions:

  • Peel and steam sweet potatoes until tender enough to mash
  • Once SPs are mashed up, layer the mash, black beans, corn, guac, and then salsa on each tortilla
  • Wrap, serve, and enjoy!

Note: I froze the extra 4 burritos we made for a quick lunch or dinner in the future

Stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

A new year and a new way

Oh, 2016, you are about to bring on a whole new way for me…

You are going to change me. You are going to make me better. More pleasant and more present. You are going to be filled with light, balance, and restoration. Your clean slate will allow me to grow, to forgive, and to learn. I will love, laugh, swim, jump, dance, create, read, downward dog, namaste, live, jam, and vibe with authenticity in your days.

At your end, I will have evolved. During your allotted days, you will give me time and space to stretch and touch new things; physically and mentally. I hope to gain flexibility to touch my head to my knees, as well as the patience to be more flexible with day to day life. I will also flirt with new hobbies, new thoughts, and new parts of my mind.  We are already three days into your 366 twenty-four hour time blocks we judge time by. In the past, this timeline would make me anxious. Seventy two hours spent getting to know you and I haven’t even tried a little bit to start on my resolutions for you…

Some of my resolutions are the same as they always are – to eat better (I’ve devoured fried appetizers and pizza during your past 3 days), to drink less (I started the first day of 2016 – your birthday, friend – with a mimosa …in celebration of you, of course;), to exercise more (I’m already 2 days behind in my yoga challenge) – but there are new resolutions, too. Resolutions that I’ve never made before, like giving myself a stress-free grace period before I dive deep into your pockets of time.

I have decided not count any days as the “new year” until tomorrow, January 4th, 2016. A Monday. When I will go back to work, when my travels for the year are complete, when the parties are over, and when I can pass on the morning champagne without feeling like I’m missing out on the festivities.

Tomorrow will be the official start of our relationship. You will remind me to be grateful of pleasures – big and small – everyday. I will take in the smells of my morning espresso. I will enjoy both the rain of the winter and the heat of the summer. I will recycle and reuse and keep mother nature close to me. I will work on remembering that Earth loves – and needs – me as much as I do her. I will treasure time spent with friends and family.

I will visit the beach more often because I know it’s hard to be upset with the ocean breeze blowing in my hair and the salt and sand on my skin.

This year I do resolve to eat better, drink less, and exercise more (all very physical driven resolutions) but I will also make a conscious effort to nurture my mind and spirit as well. I will read books that make me think about big things and books that let me escape reality for a while. I will dedicate more time to my blog, endlessly documenting my efforts of living a compassionate life and eating a compassionate diet. I will create and cultivate every day with your months as my maps and your seasons serving as my milestones.

You’re going to be a whole new way for me, 2016, and I can hardly wait to start the voyage.

As always, stay tuned and eat your greens.


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **