Adventures in Vegan Cooking

I consider myself a healthy eater and smart shopper, and clearly advocate the benefits of cooking together as a family, eating healthy, and creating memories, so when Elisabeth asked her Dad and I if a friend could spend the night, we were both happy to oblige. I find myself reverting back to being 13 and having my own friends over. My Mom always went out of her way to create the best meal for us and purchased many of the snacks I was not normally able to have. So when Elisabeth has a friend over I ask her what the girls would like to eat, and go above my weekly food budget and general resistance to buying over sugared, highly processed food for her and her friend.

The excitement was building, when Eric tells me, after speaking to the friend’s Mom in order to set up the sleep over, that Elisabeth’s Friend and family are vegan. This is entirely a new subject for me. Although, I am well versed in Vegetarian cooking, vegan takes it a step further by not allowing dairy, eggs or any animal bi-product. Yes even honey made from bees is not used in vegan cooking. So here I am in a panic wondering what on earth I will make for dinner that night, not to mention it is not as if I have an entire day to think about it. I have to be at work all day then run home and cook this dinner.

I, however, was determined to make this happen. The friend’s Mother had offered to send her daughter with food, but I knew I could not allow that. I wanted the friend to feel welcome and for us all to enjoy a meal together, so I set out inquire amongst my food savvy friends where I could go to find delicious vegan recipes that would satisfy everyone at the table.

A co-worker, who herself, is a vegetarian and an amazing cook told me about a blog she uses often to find such recipes. I encourage anyone who is or is thinking about, or like me needs to cook a vegan meal to visit this site. The recipes are really good. I scoured Pintrest, my second obsession, for vegan recipes as well and found 3 great easy recipes here are the link to the websites I got the recipes from.

The first recipe was  Soba noodles and vegetables which were very good, even Eric and Elisabeth liked the soba noodles and requested we do this again! Win-Win!!

Sugar snap pea and carrot soba noodles -

The second recipe I did was a roasted beet and carrot medley, this was wonderful and for the first time opened my eyes to slightly roasting rainbow chard and the beet greens, wow really good. I will do this again. My only note on this was the beets, which I love did not come out sweet like they normally do when I roast them.  Next time I will roast them with a little agave nectar.

roasted vegetable salad

The final recipe I used, was a Cranberry and quinoa recipe, which was AWESOME!! I will be making this recipe over and over!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

So there I was armed with my recipes and shopping list, I knew some of these ingredients would be expensive, but I was not prepared for just how expensive.  I did not buy a few ingredients:  i.e. White Miso costs $13 in my grocery store!! in the interest of not completely blowing my budget, and honestly if I had more time to plan this dinner I would have probably been able to source some of these ingredients cheaper than buying them in my local supermarket store. My advice for those not already eating vegan and having a lot of these items as a pantry staple: buy what you can afford and substitute to suit your taste and budget as well as what is easily found in your market.

In the end I realized there was a lot of prep to do, that I would have done a day or two beforehand.  That would have speeded it up a little more, and I did tweak the Soba Noodle and Roasted Carrots and Beet recipes in the interest of saving time, choosing not to use the dressing in either recipe, although, I will do so when I have more time. I did sub out the Peas for asparagus in the Soba Noodle Recipe (Elisabeth and her friend do not like peas) and I added Pepitas, roasted sunflower seeds, to the carrots and beets and greens which added a lovely crunch and texture.

Michelle Day

Michelle Day has been cooking and baking since she was old enough to hold a whisk. Michelle is an expert cook and her passion for cooking and entertaining has never wavered. At the age of 10 Michelle’s Family started a bakery in Simsbury CT, where Michelle got her first taste of running a food service business. In 1994 Michelle moved to New York City, where, she found her true passion in baking. In 2001 she started “The Catering Divas” Catering business. Serving the Upper East Side, she catered numerous small dinner and cocktail parties. Her passion and attention to detail won her the attention of some of New York’s Elite. Back at home in Connecticut, Michelle is a well known culinary instructor and her cake decorating skills jump-started a side business — Devine Cake Designs — where clients clamor for her inspired and beautifully artistic designs. After 15 years in the culinary industry, Michelle’s love of cooking, baking and children, has lead to her to her newest career, offering personalized family cooking classes and creating a TV show, digital broadcasts and Cook Books like no other. Kids and a Cook is all about healthy, fun, and easy meals for kids and their families. Michelle credits her parents with her success and her love of food, helping to create so many memories being in the kitchen with them as a child. Her goal is to have a show to help viewers create the same memories with their families. A show for the kids, and by the kids, with the “cook” there as guidance. Michelle’s featured co-host is an energetic, precocious 9-year-old named Elisabeth. Although a finicky eater, Elisabeth still loves to cook in the kitchen and learn about ingredients and how to mix them to make tasty dishes. Come join us — as you and Elisabeth learn easy recipes and explore culinary adventures. Michelle Day is available for lectures and cooking demonstrations. Please contact us through this website.