Monday, February 28, 2011

The Chicago Diner

I'm currently in Chicago with Matt and Marcy staying with some friends that go to Columbia. The one place that Marcy and I wanted to visit was the Chicago Diner. Despite the semi-misleading name, they have been meat-free since '83, featuring diner-style vegetarian fare. Here's a little snippet from their menu:

"Meat free dining is a more sustainable, eco-conscious choice & promotes better health. Awareness of the inhumane conditions of factory farming & vivisection is growing. We support animal rights & care organizations & encourage choosing our vegan menu options. We are now featuring organic or hormone free dairy options, from local farms."
And a little more:

All vegetarian, Very vegan menu
Trans fat free, vegan bakery
Locally grown, select organic produce
Cane sugar & other natural sugars
Fair trade organic coffee
Waste oil donated for biodioesel use
Container recycling
Eco-friendly to-go containers & bags
Organic cotton t-shirts, Bamboo hats
Recycled paper for printing
Local & regional vegan craft beers
Bio-dynamic, sustainable wines
Chicago Soy Dairy Temptation Ice Cream
Daiya Vegan Cheese
Gluten free options
Cage free organic eggs
100% real maple syrup
Multipure water filtration

Gotta love it ;)

We had dinner here on Friday night and it was overwhelmingly amazing. Marcy and I split the Signature Salad and an Avocadonnaise Cheezeberger (quite the name, I know). Anyways just Marcy and I decided to return for lunch yesterday because they really know how to flip one heck of a vegan burger.

The house seitan burger made with corn, peppers &
onions, topped with melted cheeze, lettuce, onion,
tomato & guacamole-Vegannaise sauce.
With a side of Mac n' Cheeze.

A house made veggie patty with Upton’s seitan bacon,
lettuce, tomato & vegan BBQ-mayo, topped with
french fried onions on a multi-grain bun.
With a side of Mac n' Cheeze.

featuring Temptation frozen dessert by Chicago Soy Dairy.
I want to bathe in this. So friggin' amazing.

Marcy looking hungry and excited:

I just thought the name "Karmic Re-Alignment Sauce" was too funny...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spicy Roasted Tomato Pizza with Kale-Almond Pesto

This pizza is AMAZING. So flavorful and spicy and delicious. I will definitely be making this again, and I'm looking very forward to it!

1 prepared whole wheat pizza dough
Kale-Almond Pesto (or other pesto of choice), enough to liberally coat crust

2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 small white/yellow onion, chopped
3 T oil
½ T balsamic vinegar
1-2 basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 basil leaves, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375F
In a small bowl, mix together the oil, salt, vinegar, 1-2 chopped basil leaves, and minced garlic.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the chopped veggies and oil mixture.
Pour into a greased or lined baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove roasted veggies from oven until ready to assemble the pizza.

Raise oven heat to 400F
Pre-bake rolled out pizza dough for 5 minutes, take out and set aside.
Generously spread pesto onto pre-baked pizza crust.
Dump roasted veggies evenly onto pesto.
Sprinkle finely chopped basil leaves and "parmesan cheese" (go nuts with this step- this cheeZe is really really really really amazing).
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Life Changing.

Also known as, parmesan "cheese". I am absolutely blown away by how easy this is to make and how versatile it is (meaning how much I want to put this on everything). It is actually eery how much this tastes like cheese. Plus it's mainly sesame seeds which are a good source of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Copper and Manganese.

"Parmesan Cheese"
1/2 c sesame seeds
2 T nutritional yeast
1/4 t salt

Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor.
Cover your life in cheeZe.

My Caesar Salad
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. Spicy, cheeZe-y goodness.

1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t salt
1/4 c "Parmesan Cheese," above
3 T olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (1/4 c or 1/4 c of apple cider vinegar)
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of salt
1 bunch kale
1 T olive oil
1/4 c olives, chopped (optional)
1 slice of good bread (optional)
as much dressing as you see fit

Toast bread until golden brown and dry throughout.
Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the it forms coarse crumbs.

De-stem kale and tear into bite size pieces.
Drizzle with 1 T oil and massage for a few minutes to soften.

Smoosh together the garlic and 1/4 t salt.
Whisk in the rest of the dressing ingredients.

Pour enough dressing over the kale to thoroughly coat.
Toss well, the dressing is thiiick.
Garnish with olives and breadcrumbs.

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza
Inspired by The Hungry Birdie

1 prepared whole wheat pizza dough
1 onion, sliced
1 sweet potato, thinly sliced into rounds
1 garlic clove, minced
3 T oil
1 T fresh thyme (or 1/2 T dried)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F
Pre-bake rolled out dough for 5 minutes, take out and set aside.
Sprinkle onions with salt and sauté on low heat until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes, set aside.
In same pan, quickly sauté thinly sliced potatoes until softened, set aside. (You can also steam them)
Add oil to same pan and saute garlic until starting to brown, DO NOT BURN.
Paint garlic-oil mixture onto pre-baked crust.
Spread onions onto dough and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Place sweet potato rounds onto dough and sprinkle with fresh thyme.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sneak Peek

I'm working on my menu for the cooking demo tomorrow so I made Matt a dessert pizza! I'm glad I tried it out first because there are a few things that I want to modify for tomorrow. But for now I will tease you with some food porn...

Apple-Peanut Butter Pizza

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wild Rice Salad with Dried Figs

I cooked 8 cups of wild rice this morning. Not sure why, it just happened. So get ready for a week of wild rice brilliance! Let's kick it off with this baby:

Wild Rice Salad with Dried Figs
Wild rice is not necessary, any grain will do! Wheat berries, brown rice, quinoa, farro, cous-cous (I could go on but that may take a while). Extra plus for this recipe, it still tastes great after chillin in the fridge for a few days. Adapted from Bitchin' Camero (love the blog name).

How gorgeous are figs?!

1/4 c olive oil
2 T lemon juice (the juice of 1 lemon)
2 T apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
3 cups wild rice
8 dried figs, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 c toasted almonds, chopped

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
Mix together salad ingredients in a big bowl.
Pour dressing onto salad (use your own discretion, I ended up pouring it all on in one go and thinking it was a bit too dressing-y).
Eat immediately or store in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

Playing with my camera...

For some reason this reminds me of seafood.
Does anyone else see the similarities between crustacean meat and fig meat?
Maybe (probably) it's just me...

Kale-Almond Pesto

Traditional pesto is made with basil and pine nuts but boy, is that expensive! The day that I learned that just about any leafy green and just about any nut can be combined to make a stellar pesto was a pretty life changing one indeed.

1 bunch kale (or other leafy green)
1/3 c almonds (or other nut)
3 cloves roasted garlic (directions below!)*
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1 T olive oil
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Steam kale for a few minutes until bright green.
Toast almonds in a dry skillet until fragrant BUT NOT BURNT, about 10 minutes.
Pulse kale in a food processor until finely chopped.
Add in almonds and roasted garlic and do the same.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached.

*How to quickly roast garlic:
Roasted garlic is the best. You can roast whole heads in the oven (shown here) but if you are faced with a time crunch, a skillet works just as well!

Separate cloves from head and remove papery skin, leaving the immediate layer of skin as a protective barrier between the clove and the skillet.
Drop garlic into skillet over medium heat and allow to roast for about 10-15 minutes.
Move the cloves around every so often as to prevent burning.
Remove from heat when the innards feel mushy inside their skins.
Squish out the garlicky goodness and use to your heart's content!


This is in preparation for a cooking demonstration that the Michigan Sustainable Foods Initiative is having on Wednesday! I was asked to be the "demonstrator" and, needless to say, I am more than excited.

The menu I have concocted is as follows:
Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Pizza with Garlic and Fresh Thyme
Spicy Roasted Tomato Pizza with Kale-Almond Pesto
Cinnamon Apple Dessert Pizza

I have never made any of these before so Wednesday will be quite the experimentation. Wish me luck!

Gone Fishin'

The Union has a bulk candy section in U-Go's (it's convenience store) that mainly consists of chocolate-covered things, fluorescent gummy things, and the makings for a good trailmix. I am not typically a fan of fluorescent gummy things but today I took the bait (pun intended).

Let's just say that I am now functioning on quite the sugar high. And feeling a little guilty for doodling and playing with swedish fish instead of getting ahead on homework...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Midwest Real Food Summit 2011

I will be in Chicago for the weekend for the Midwest Real Food Summit 2011! The summit will be focusing on "urban systems in development" which I am super jazzed about. Urban agriculture has definitely become my new obsession/solution.

So anyways, I will be unplugged for a few days but will hopefully return more knowledgeable and hopeful for the future!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My February Jar Garden

Remember my inspiration the other week? Well my lentils have sprouted little leaves to go along with the lovely spring weather! (Yes I consider any temperature that makes the Michigan snow melt to be spring weather...)

Hopefully these chlora-filled beauties will help me endure the next week's way-too-typical 30-degree February freeze.

(Everyone please appreciate how I figured out how to create a "collage" on Picasa!)

Posted by Picasa

Real Food for Real People

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Garlic and Greens Soup

I have a hard time making recipes more than once because I always want to try something new (maybe this is some sort of weird subconscious worry that that I am missing out on something amazing...) but the recipes I have made lately may change my mind! I have been unabashedly devouring the Millet Bake, Carrot-Zucchini Bread, and Red Lentil Soup.

This soup is absolutely no exception. Just exceptionally tasty.

(Adapted from The Vegan Table)

2 bunches of kale (any leafy green will do!)
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 T umeboshi plum vinegar (or rice vinegar)
8 c water
1/4 c tamari (or soy sauce)
2 T oil (I used coconut oil)

Destem kale, tear into bite-size pieces and chop stems.
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pot.
Add onion and stir until softened.
Add the water, sweet potatoes, chopped stems, tamari, and garlic and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
Remove from heat and stir in greens.
Cover for a few minutes to allow greens to wilt.
Add vinegar and salt/pepper to taste.

I was curious about the nutritional information of this recipe because it has some powerhouses in it (i.e. sweet potatoes, kale and garlic) so after crunching some numbers, here's the break down:

Per serving (1 cup):
Calories: 165
Calcium: 12% of recommended daily intake
Vitamin C: 138% (No scurvy, hurray!)
Vitamin A: 500% (This is why sweet potatoes are rockstars.)
Iron: 10%
Fiber: 5g
Fat: 3.5g

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Butternut Squash Millet Bake

I have been meaning to try a recipe by Mark Bittman (AKA 13-year writer of the New York Times food blog, The Minimalist) for some time now. The premise behind the Minimalist is that every recipe can be tweaked, adapted based on what you have. He's kind of a god in the foodie community.

Well I am ready to sacrifice to my new god (I hope he accepts sweet potatoes). Yes. It's that good.

So. So. Good.

Based off of Mark Bittman's Autumn Millet Bake Recipe

2 T oil (I used coconut oil)
3/4 cup millet
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (any other winter squash/pumpkin will do)
1 cup fresh cranberries 1/2 c dried Michigan cherries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T chopped sage leaves (or 1 t dried sage)
2 T maple syrup
1 c vegetable stock water, warmed
1/4 c pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a large casserole dish.
Put oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat.
When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes (hs note: don't overdo it).
Spread in the bottom of the greased casserole dish.

Scatter the squash cubes and cherries on top of the millet.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage.
Mix together warm water and syrup in a small bowl.
Pour liquids over millet, squash and cherries.
Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.

Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F.
Taste the dish and adjust seasonings.
Add more water if it looks too dry.
Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven.
Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned, another 10 minutes or so.

i (heart) you.

I'm attracted to you like the Earth is attracted to the Sun:
with a large force inversely proportional to the distance squared.

(Gotta love corny awesome physics pick-up lines...)

And for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Potato, Swiss Chard, and Red Lentil Soup

Really really really amazing soup. Perfect amount of spices and different textures. A great (and obvious) continuation of my Indian kick... From Cheap Healthy Good.

2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
1 t black mustard seeds
2 t oil
1 T fresh ginger, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 c water
3 c dried red lentils, rinsed (Any kind of lentil or split pea would do)
1 T mild curry powder
1 bunch Swiss chard

In a large pot, heat 1 t oil and cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Move onions aside in pot and add second teaspoon of oil and whole cumin and mustard seeds.
Stir seeds with spatula for about 30 seconds.

When mustard seeds begin to pop, stir together spices with onions.
Add ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
Add water, sweet potato, lentils, and curry powder and stir.
Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until lentils are tender.

Wash and chop Swiss chard and set aside. (I rolled up leaves and cut them to make long ribbons. Also, I chopped the stems separately)
Stir dal occassionally to prevent sticking and burning.

When the dal is tender, turn off heat, remove lid, and stir in Swiss chard.
Replace lid and allow chard to wilt for 5–10 minutes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins

Last weekend I went to Eastern Market with my urban planning class. I have to say, Monroe, MI rocks my world. There were a bunch of farmers from Monroe at Eastern Market and Holy Cow! there were so many local veggies!

I bought:
kale, onions, leeks, red peppers, red lentils, carrots, and red and green cabbage.

...and oh yeah, 25 sweet potatoes!!?!

A classmate and I went in on a crate of sweet potatoes (for $6). Best. Idea. Ever.

Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins
A tasty way to use up all those extra sweet potatoes. (The crumb topping makes the muffin)

1 c oatmeal
1 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 c ground flax seeds
1 cup fresh sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
3/4 c sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/3 c oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used water because I'm lazy)
1 t vanilla
Crumb Topping
1/4 c oatmeal
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 T oil
1 t vanilla

For Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir in sweet potatoes, sucanat, oil, milk, and vanilla.
Fill oiled/greased muffin tins 3/4 full.
Generously sprinkle with Crumb Topping (instructions below).
Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes

For Crumb Topping
In a bowl, mix together oatmeal, flour and sugar. With a fork, mix in oil and vanilla until crumbly.

I also made Orange-Scented Sweet Potato Cookies but they turned out pretty terrible... I refuse to even post the recipe.

Cookie fail.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spiced Carrot-Zucchini Bread

This bread is so good!
Sweet and extremely moist. Plus you can pretend it's good for you since it has veggies in it ;)

Adapted from Hell Yeah It's Vegan!
6 T ground flax seeds whisked into ½ c + 1 T warm water
0.5 c oil
0.5 c applesauce
2 c brown sugar (I used sucanat)
1 t vanilla
2.5 cups grated zucchini and carrots, (I used 1.5 c carrots + 1 c zucchini)
3 c flour ( I used 2 c whole wheat + 1 c whole wheat pastry flour)
1 t salt
1 T baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t ginger
1/2 raisins (optional)
any other mix-ins (chocolate chips, toasted nuts, coconut...)

Preheat oven to 350F
Mix together flax seed mixture, oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla.

Stir in grated zucchini and carrots.

In a separate bowl, sift together remaining dry ingredients.
Add dry to wet and stir to incorporate.
If adding additional mix-ins (like chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut...), fold them in now.

Spoon batter into 2 greased loaf pans.
Bake for 45-75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (Mine was 1 hour + 10 minutes).

I only have one loaf pan so I made the remaining batter into muffins!

Muffins only need about 30 minutes to bake.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup
Basic root vegetable soup for those cold, winter days. Or in my case, breakfast!

With a healthy dollop of sauerkraut on top ;)

2 T oil (1)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (2)
1" ginger, sliced
1 celery root, cubed (this and the kohlrabi just happened to be in my fridge so we tossed 'em in!) (2)
1 kohlrabi, cubed (2)
9 medium carrots (3)
6 cups water
6 T soy sauce (1)
1 T maple syrup (1)
1 t pepper (1)

Heat oil, 2 T water, ginger and garlic in soup pan. Saute for a minute or two.
Add remaining water, soy sauce, pepper, honey, celery root, kohlrabi and carrots.
Bring to a simmer.
Cook until vegetables are soft and easily pierced by a fork, about an hour.
Remove pan from heat and allow soup to cool a bit.

In small batches, blend soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Spice to taste, I added some ground ginger and more pepper.

(1) Bulk section of the People's Food Co-op
(2) Labelled "Local" at the People's Food Co-op
(3) Left over from Snowtest

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marinated Kale and Beet Salad

1/4 c pumpkin seeds (AKA pepitas) (1)
1 bunch kale (2)
3 T olive oil (1)
1/4 of a red onion, diced
1 carrot, grated (3)
roasted beets, cubed (2)
2 T balsamic vinegar (1)
1 t dijon mustard (4)
1/4 t freshly ground pepper (1)
1 t dried basil (1)
1 garlic clove, minced (5)

Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat when seeds begin to pop, set aside to cool.
Wash kale and tear into bite sized pieces.
Combine kale and oil and massage kale (yes, massage) until it softens.
Whisk together salad dressing.
Place kale, onion, carrots, and beets in a bowl and add dressing.*
Toss and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.

*I prepared this for lunch the night before. I mixed the dressing with the kale, carrots and onions the night before, keeping the beets and pumpkin seeds separate. In the morning I combined all of the ingredients and off I went!

(1) Bulk section of the People's Food Co-op
(2) Goetz Farm
(3) Snowman leftovers
(4) Pre-challenge stash
(5) Labelled as "Local" at the People's Food Co-op


I am a blog-followin-fiend. Probably the most time consuming guilty pleasure I have. Once I found bloglovin, my obsession has only flourished. If you use Google Reader, bloglovin is essentially that. If not, it is just a site where you can follow all of your blogs in one place. Pretty handy!


Low Carbon Diet is now on Bloglovin!

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Roasted Curried Cauliflower: Take 2

Last weekend I made this recipe but took a horrible picture. Luckily, the recipe was good enough to make again for the potluck that I went to last night! This time I used frozen cauliflower from Wilczewski Greenhouses in Howell, MI (thanks to Locavorious).

I am going through an I-only-want-to-eat-Indian-food phase. I think it's because the cuisine is so spicy and warming and perfect for the blustery February days in Michigan. It's currently 5 degrees outside...

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I would call myself an experienced sprouter. Yet Honest Fare blew my socks off in her post on lentil sprouts today.

I had never thought to let them keep growing until they actually grow little leaves! My mind is blown.

And now I'm going to go soak some lentils to try to recreate these little green beauties... Check back in a few days!