Category Archives: Quick Tips

SOY-SAUCE SOLUTION

Soy Sauce Solution COLLAGE

I don’t know about your kids, but my kiddos like to do as much for themselves as possible…pouring their own drinks, saucing their own food, etc. (of course that doesn’t always apply to cleaning and chores).

Low sodium tamari (we use that since it is a gluten-free soy-sauce substitute) makes an appearance at our dinner table quite often and for the longest time that meant over-poured tamari aka tamari rice soup.

I wished I could remember for sure where I heard this tip (I think it was at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo last year).  Put the tamari / soy-sauce in a spray bottle.

It works like a charm.  There are no tamari spills anymore and you tend to use MUCH less in general since the tamari is evenly distributed on the top of your rice.  That is good news.  Even better news is the fact that using a spray bottle for your tamari results in putting less sodium in your body.

Do you have any fun food tips?  Any tricks your family uses?

 

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Filed under Quick Tips

SEMI HOME MADE TOMATO SOUP

I know we are all in the market for fast dinners.  When I was little I would get so excited when my parents would announce that dinner was going to be grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  My parents probably thought they were making a cop-out dinner, but I seriously loved it.  Those dinners cemented the relationship between tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches in my mind.

The other day my son announced that he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner.  We were short on time and in all honestly I hadn’t given dinner much thought that day, so I went along with the plan.  When trying to figure out how to round-out the quick meal, tomato soup popped to mind, however we didn’t have any on hand.

I have tried so many tomato soups through the years and most of them are too sweet in my opinion OR they have cream / milk in them.

Well…necessity is the mother of invention, so I popped into my pantry and came-out with a jar of pasta sauce, a can of navy beans, and some broth.  In the time it took for the Daiya grilled cheese sandwiches to brown, semi-home made tomato soup was on the table as well.

Here’s what I did…

  1. Get out your Vitamix 
  2. Rinse and drain one can of navy or other no salt added white beans
  3. Pour the beans into the Vitamix
  4. Fill the bean can with pasta sauce
  5. Pour the pasta sauce into the Vitamix
  6. Fill the can with broth
  7. Pour the broth into the can
  8. BLEND
  9. Add more broth if a thinner consistency is desired (I like it thick…my kids like it thin)

And there you have it…a fast, healthy, tasty tomato soup that courtesy of the beans is packed with fiber and protein.

NOTE – I am an affiliate for Vitamix which means that someday I may earn a tiny bit of money if a reader decides to purchase a Vitamix by clicking on the link to the right  :-)

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Kid Friendly, Quick Tips, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

A STICKY PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION

As I mentioned a little while ago, I have become a “Pinner.”  Pinterest is such a wonderful source of neat tips and tricks.  One of the people I follow on Pinterest pinned something about natural cleaning solutions and that pin brought me to it’s original source, a blog called “One Good Thing By Jillee.”  I have learned a lot from Jillee these past few months.  Though we don’t follow the same eating plan (her cooking posts aren’t usually relevant to me), her cleaning posts, sewing posts, crafty posts, make your own bathroom products posts, etc. are nothing short of inspiring.

At the beginning of May I received a post in my inbox from Jillee explaining how to remove sticker goo.  I have 30+ jars in my cabinets that need to have their stickers removed.  For some reason I can’t bring myself to even recycle them because I feel like I will come-up with a way to repurpose them for gifts or storage…I have a problem…I am a hoarder of glass containers (and plastic strawberry baskets…is there a classroom in need of these???).

Jillee’s photographic evidence prompted me to give her method a try and it worked like a charm.  I picked a Vegenaise Jar as my first victim.

  1. Peel off the paper / plastic coating (No need to be perfect here)
  2. Run the offending jar through the dishwasher in an attempt to get rid of some of the offending glue (I opted to just run my jar under warm water and scrub it with a scrub brush to get rid of the paper).
  3. Rub a thin layer of PEANUT BUTTER over all of the stickered (Is that a word?) areas.
  4. Leave the jar and peanut butter alone for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Rub off the peanut butter and use the abrasive side of a soapy sponge to scrub off the remaining sticker goo while running it under warm water
  6. Voila…sticker free jar!

It totally worked.  I now have plans to tackle the rest of my sticker-laden jar collection.  I plan on placing them in the sink to soak in warm water so the paper comes off easily and then will lube ‘em all up in PB and be rid of their stickers once and for all so they are ready for whatever I can think of to repurpose them.

Here’s a public apology to all of you who have received gifts of food from me in glass jars covered in brown paper labels because I was too lazy to scrub at the sticker goo for hours.  I promise it will never happen again because I now know how to tackle this problem!!!

And now I finally have a need to purchase the ultra-cheap by icky hydrogenated fat peanut butter…my jars are getting the artery-clogging peanut butter treatment because it is too hard for me to part with my beloved Organic All-Natural PB…but it was worth it for this trial.

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NOTE – I also recently tried this with coconut oil and was happy with the results as well!!!

Click HERE to see Jillee’s original post.

Click HERE to go to my Pinterest Boards.

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Filed under Cleaning, Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian

LENTIL SALAD IN A BELL PEPPER BOWL

I couldn’t for the life of me come-up with an interesting name for this meal, but that doesn’t mean that this meal doesn’t rock…because it does.  This salad in a pepper bowl covers all the bases; protein, complex carbs, and vitamins galore not to mention the fact that you eat the bowl…no dishes!!!

A few weeks ago I was talking to my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher after school about food and recipes…an almost daily occurance between the two of us (my daughter knows to keep playing when we get on the subject of food, because we are GUARANTEED to be there for a long while) and she mentioned that the last time she was at Trader Joe’s they made a yummy salad by mixing together pre-cooked lentils and bruschetta.  Um, yum!

I think I might be single-handedly responsible for purchasing all of Trader Joe’s bruschetta.  While I can make my own, this product has saved me so much time and the flavor is amazing.  What is NOT amazing is the amount of olive oil they add to it.  Rest-assured, I have a solution for this problem.  When I buy the bruschetta I put it in the coldest part of my fridge for a day and all of the olive oil floats to the top and solidifies a bit making it quite easy to skim-off and throw in the trash can (better the trash can than my arteries!).

I have been eating this like crazy and it is now a staple in my fridge.  I took the liberty of adding some rice to the salad and really enjoy the results.

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INGREDIENTS

1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (oil skimmed off)
1 box Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley* OR Frozen Organic Brown Rice

*Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley contains barley which is not gluten free

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Cook the frozen rice by placing it in a glass bowl (NOT in the plastic as the directions suggest) and microwaving for 2-3 minutes.

Mix together the rice, lentils, and bruschetta (including all of the juice).

Cut the top off of a bell pepper and remove the seeds.  Spoon the lentil salad into the prepared bell pepper and enjoy!

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

BAKED TOSTADA SHELLS / BOWLS

Since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner I have been thinking about what I want to serve for dinner that night and I thought a Tostada Bar might be fun.  Traditionally tostada shells are not exactly healthy (since they are fried), so today I played around in the kitchen and found out that it is actually REALLY easy to make baked tostada shells / bowls with corn tortillas.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, softened some corn tortillas (which can be done on the stove top, or in the microwave), shaped the softened corn tortillas into a bowl by placing them inside some small springform pans and topping them with little pastry molds to keep the middle of the tortilla down while they baked, and baked them for 15 minutes.   How easy is that?  I am sure the same method would work for flour tortillas as well…just watch the baking time since I haven’t tried it myself.

Here are some ideas for what to put-out for a Tostada Bar:

  • Beans (whole or refried)
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Shredded cheese (Daiya is our favorite)
  • Vegan Queso (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Salsa Fresca (click HERE for my recipe)
  • Guacamole
  • Chopped onion
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced Jalapenos
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
  • A variety of hot sauce
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Finely chopped mushrooms cooked down with taco seasoning

Is there anything you would include in your Tostada Bar that I haven’t listed???  I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Quick Tips, Recipes

HANGOVER HELP

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! In a few days Veggie Grettie will be celebrating it’s one year anniversary.  I really love what I do and want to thank all of you for your support and comments.  Here’s to an amazing 2012…I can’t wait to see how Veggie Grettie unfolds in the next year.

For those of you who will be imbibing tonight I thought I would pass on some great information from two of my favorite sites. Click on the images below to be forwarded to their tips.

Have a really fun night!

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Filed under Alcohol, Detox, Education, Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian

QUICK MEAL – Embellished Amy’s Chili

During the holidays I think we are all struggling to get healthy meals on the table as we run from errand to errand and holiday pageant, to holiday music production, etc…I know I am.  An easy solution is to buy some pre-made meal items and “healthy” them up a bit.

A tried and true brand is Amy’s Kitchen.  There are so many of their products that I really like (Their black bean enchiladas are awesome).  My meat-loving boys also love their Vegan Chili, which is saying a lot.

The other day I made a pot of Amy’s vegan chili in 5 minutes flat and embellished it in an attempt to bring the total sodium level down.  I warmed all of the following in a pot and that served as dinner:

I served the chili with a choice of either tortilla chips or sliced bell peppers (my choice) and Tapatio sauce on the side.  The chili pictured above was also served atop polenta.

What are your favorite FAST meals this time of year?  Any tricks to share?

image of canned chili courtesy of amys.com

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOLIDAY GRANOLA TEACHER GIFTS

I know many of you may be scrambling right now to come-up with gifts for your children’s teachers and the coaches in their lives.  Our family really values the people who help us shape our children and this year we decided to make them homemade holiday gifts.

Granola has always been a favorite in our home, so we decided to share some of our favorite granola (click HERE for the recipe) with the special people in our lives.  My daughter helped me make the granola and I was very thankful for her help because we made a TON!!!  We made 4 double recipes and luckily it was the right amount…isn’t it funny how things have a way of working out?

We made 24 gifts (each in a 1 quart Ball mason jar).  As a bonus this ended-up being a wonderfully inexpensive project with each gift costing between $5-6 plus our time.  Time well spent.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Grains, Holiday, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick Tips, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

OKTOBERFEST QUICK MEAL

As a rule I am not a big consumer of mock meats, however from time to time I do crave a hot dog and Oktoberfest is the perfect excuse to indulge my German roots.

A few days ago after a long day of shuttling the kids to and from their activities we came home and as the kids settled into the couch for some reading time I put together dinner in a matter of minutes.

My family does not share my love of sauerkraut, but that just meant more for me…I LOVE IT!!!  If my mom and sis were here with me we would have been fighting over the last bite.

My meal consisted of:

Jumbo Smart Dogs by Lightlife

Bubbies Sauerkraut (It has a nice crunch to it)

Udi’s Classic Hot Dog Buns

Beer and Brat Spicy Mustard

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It tasted so good!  While I am not a beer drinker, PeTA has a listing of vegan beers that I thought might be of interest to some of you  (click here for the listing).

What are your Oktoberfest plans?

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Filed under Gluten Free, Holidays, Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian

LIMP LETTUCE – Easy Fix

For some reason all of the organic romaine I have been buying from the store has been going limp really quickly lately.  I eat A LOT of romaine, so I needed to find a solution to this problem.   I found a really easy fix…

Cut the base off of the romaine, and stick it into a large beer mug (mine are from Crate & Barrel) filled with high quality filtered water (the same way you would put flowers in a vase).  It is crucial that you use high quality water since the romaine (or whatever lettuce you will be using) will drink it up and as a result so will you!

Leave the lettuce in its vase out on the counter if you plan on using it that day or put it into the fridge.  You will be shocked by how quickly it crisps-up.  I took these pictures yesterday and within the span of an hour my romaine was better than ever.

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Filed under Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian