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A Moment in Time: Food Styling 101

A Moment in Time: Food Styling 101

What makes a great photo? Food isn’t easy to photograph well. It’s less about the food itself, and more about the moment you create with the food. Think like this: the goal is to create a scene, even spark an emotion in your audience. When…

Gluten-Free Spirulina Waffles

Gluten-Free Spirulina Waffles

Ever wake up on a Sunday craving waffles, but without the gluten? While it tastes great, waffles with regular flour and sugary syrup aren’t always the best option. They can send you into a carb coma, and who wants that when you have great adventures…

Whole Roasted Spicy Cauliflower: Taking Your Cauliflower Intrigue up a Notch

Whole Roasted Spicy Cauliflower: Taking Your Cauliflower Intrigue up a Notch

Whole Roasted Cauliflower – The Method

What happens when you have a head of cauliflower in your produce drawer, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it? Sure, you can add buffalo sauce, fry it, or even turn it into rice. 

Those are all great options, but what if you’re looking for something a bit more… intriguing?

Here, we roast the whole cauliflower head to get a crispy texture on the outside, with a buttery texture on the inside. The cauliflower easily falls apart into florets with a fork after slow roasting in the oven. This Whole Roasted Cauliflower dish is the answer.

When you try it, you’ll be sold on this method, too.

The Spice Rub

This rub takes the intrigue level up a notch for this cauliflower dish. Each spice adds a necessary element to otherwise bland cauliflower. 

Spice mixture
Turmeric, Paprika and Curry Powder
  • Turmeric – it’s earthy, musky, and adds that bright yellow color that brings this dish to life
  • Curry – sweet, savory, and adds a little bite to the flavor profile
  • Paprika – adds a little heat that is the perfect balance in this combination of sweet and spicy
  • Black Pepper – contrasts with the above trio of spices, with a hot and sharp taste

You might want to make a little extra of this dry rub, and store it in a jar for other cooking later.

Plating the Cauliflower

The cauliflower is a delicious side alongside a vegetarian burger, tofu dishes, or really anything that strikes your fancy. It’s perfect to serve as a side for guests: it’s complex, spicy, and interesting. It’s also healthier than your typical roasted potato dish. 

Drizzling the olive oil dressing over the top makes this dish come together with a buttery texture, and the parsley adds a touch of green to this beautiful dish.

I hope you enjoy it!! 

-Meghan

Whole Roasted Curried Cauliflower

What happens when you brush olive oil onto a whole head of cauliflower in olive oil, use a dry rub with the best spices, and slow-roast the whole head in a cast iron skillet? Really good things. This recipe is a go-to as a side with your favorite main dishes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cauliflower, easyvegan, quickrecipes, roastedcauliflower, simplerecipes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author meghanlavincooks

Ingredients

Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika

Olive Oil Dressing

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 diced garlic clove small
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepping the Cauliflower

  • Preheat the oven to 425° and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut the stem of the cauliflower and discard.
  • Wash the cauliflower head and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Start by drizzling a little olive oil in the bottom of the cast-iron skillet. Then, drizzle the rest of the olive oil on the cauliflower, making sure it is coated in olive oil. Place it, stem down, in the skillet.
  • Make a spice mixture of the turmeric, curry, paprika, pepper and salt. Rub it into the cauliflower head, making sure the whole cauliflower head is covered in the spices.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is crispy.

Serving the Cauliflower

  • Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, parsley, diced garlic, salt and pepper in a ramekin.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Pull the cauliflower apart with a fork to separate into small florets.
  • When ready to plate, drizzle a little olive oil dressing onto the cauliflower. Enjoy!
Sticky Date Sriracha Tofu

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Coffee with Social Responsibility: From Nicaragua to Massachusetts

Coffee with Social Responsibility: From Nicaragua to Massachusetts

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Crunchy Chickpea Tostadas: A Gourmet Pantry Adventure

Crunchy Chickpea Tostadas: A Gourmet Pantry Adventure

Tostadas: The Inspiration

I’ll admit, I can’t take full credit for this idea. My Chickpea Tostada recipe has been a result of various successes with chickpea taco recipes, and mostly by observing friends and family in the kitchen.

There’s something about watching people create recipes, throw together last minute meals, and arrange food on a plate. It’s like watching an artist in process. There can be moments of heightened stress, moments of joy, and a feeling of accomplishment when it all comes together into a presentable dish.

Cooking is a form of expression. After a long day, when you reach for your favorite spices, oils, and items from the produce drawer; you feel this sense of release. You know there’s a bit of a gamble to the process. Despite your hard work, you might burn a whole tray of muffins. You might over-salt the tofu. You might throw too many chillies in the pan, and the aroma of capsaicinoids has you in coughing fits. Even though you know the risk, the benefits of creating something new in the kitchen outweigh the potential mishaps.

So you keep creating, cooking, and maybe one day you’ll have a masterpiece recipe you can share with friends and family. 

Tostadas lend themselves to artistic expression. Use whatever colors, tastes, and textures appeal to you. Experiment with risky flavor combinations, incorporate leftover produce scraps, and have fun.

Zesty Beet Hummus
Fresh Tostada Toppings

I have always loved watching people cook. We all have our own approach, our own process in the kitchen. Some of us are planners, relying on a handful of reliable recipes we have saved on Pinterest. Others abandon recipes all together, and just have fun with it. 

You might have guessed at this point that this laid-back approach towards cooking piques my interest and inspires me in a myriad of ways. 

When I lived in a four-person apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, I watched my roommate Blayne cook the most fabulous dinners. It didn’t matter if it was a Tuesday, Blayne would sear salmon in extra virgin olive oil and garnish it with black sesame seeds. One week, Blayne was on a tostada kick. She would take corn tortillas, fry them in an oiled pan and then pat them dry before adding the most intriguing combination of toppings.

I watched, impressed and curious, as she arranged cubes of spiced sweet potatoes onto a crunchy tortilla shell.

I noticed it became a pattern. Tostadas with slow roasted eggplant, with a drizzle of hot honey. Tostadas with crumbly feta cheese, peppery arugula, and farm fresh eggs. Blayne was so nonchalant about her amazing invention: “oh yeah, you know, you can make these with anything. Throw whatever vegetables you have on a crunchy tortilla, and you have a tostada!”

Tostada with Chickpeas
Chickpea Tostada with Zesty Beet Hummus

Noted. I had the tostadas at the back of my mind since then, always wondering if I were to make a tostada, how I would create one of my own. Blayne was not just giving me a recipe—she was giving me a canvas. The tostada is an excellent base for delicious toppings no matter what your food preferences might be.

You use the base, and you create your own art from there.

The Chickpea Tostada

Chickpeas are of course, the main event here. They are a pantry staple, making them an easy protein source for so many recipes that typically use meat. According to Saffron Road, chickpeas have amino acids, stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol. 

In addition to the health benefits, chickpeas are incredibly versatile. Check out this roundup piece featuring 26 Recipes using chickpeas by the Kitchn. Chickpeas are cheap, delicious, and they take on the flavor of whatever you choose to spice them up with. They are often eaten raw on salads, pureed into hummus, or slow-cooked into spicy stews. Roast them and they become crunchy, while soft on the inside. 

That’s exactly what I did with this tostada recipe. I roasted them with paprika for spice, cumin for earthiness, chilli powder for heat and tumeric for a subtle sweetness.

So, this Chickpea Tostada recipe is a perfect use of those cans of chickpeas sitting at the back of the cabinet. I paired the roasted chickpeas with all my favorite garnishes and my bright zesty beet hummus.

Beet Hummus
Simple Bright + Beautiful Beet Hummus

The hummus uses the traditional chickpea, garlic, and tahini combination, with a twist.

The added beets give the hummus and earthy flavor, while creating this beautiful bright color.

The lime juice adds a tangy element to the profile, balanced out by the buttery avocado oil.

The roasted chickpeas add heat and spice to the flavor profile, cut by the soft avocado slices.

The butter lettuce gives it a neutral bite, which contrasts with the peppery radishes.

Roasted Chickpeas with Spices
Roasted Chickpeas

Tostadas: A Chef’s Edible Canvas

In Spanish, tostada means “toasted”. Traditionally, the tortilla is the base, whether deep fried or baked. Think of the tostada as a vehicle for delicious slow-roasted vegetables, dressed with decadent cremas, and topped with fresh garnishings.

Tostadas in a sense, are a canvas for all those leftover ingredients you have, pantry items you might not otherwise use, and produce on its last leg. The best part? The tortillas don’t even have to be fresh. You can feel free to use slightly stale tortillas, because they will become crunchy in the oven anyways.

This recipe is a great place to start, but if you don’t have these ingredients, feel free to build your own based on what you have.

Some great topping combinations for toastadas are:

  • Sweet potato, Feta Cheese and Spinach 
  • Jackfruit, Pineapple and Jalapeno
  • Black beans, Avocado and Pico de Gallo
  • Scrambled Tofu, Nutritional Yeast and Hot Sauce
Delicious Chickpea Tostada with Beet Hummus
Chickpea Tostada with Beet Hummus

Gather whatever ingredients you have on hand, and start creating your own tostada.

I love hearing from you, so let me know if you tried this recipe or if you’ve been inspired to create your own tostada masterpiece! 

-Meghan xoxo

Crunchy Chickpea Tostadas

Deliciously crunchy chickpea tostadas. These are easy to create with a pantry staple, and any toppings you have in your fridge. Add any toppings you like to make it your own.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chickpeas, chickpeatostada, easyvegan, rawvegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 406kcal
Author meghanlavincooks

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder

Tostadas

  • 8 small tortillas corn or flour (by preference)

Garnish

  • 1 lime sliced
  • 2 radishes sliced thinly
  • 1 handful cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch butter lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado sliced

Instructions

Roasted Chickpeas

  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Drain the chickpeas, rinsing thoroughly in a strainer under running water.
  • Allow the chickpeas to dry for a few minutes.
  • Spread the chickpeas out into a layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil, and add seasonings. Using your hands, make sure the chickpeas are coated in the oil and spice mixture.
  • Roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking.

Tostada Base

  • Layer the tortillas onto two baking sheets and crisp them in the oven for 4-8 minutes.
  • Note: feel free to add a little avocado oil and pink salt before cooking in the oven.

Serving

  • To serve, plate the tostada shells and spread some of that delicious beet hummus on the shell.
  • Sprinkle the chickpeas over the layer of hummus.
  • Garnish with butter lettuce, cilantro, avocado, radish slices and limes.
Zesty Beet Hummus

Zesty Beet Hummus

Remember the sad, tired looking vegetable tray at your last summer barbecue? There was a little ramekin of bland hummus in the middle, and instead of reaching for the raw veggies, your guests ate the store bought chips. Sad times. You see, hummus doesn’t have…

No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Squares

No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Squares

Ah, weekends…  You’re at your local coffeeshop. You order a latte, extra foam, with oat milk. You’re ready to pay, but then you peek behind the glass with the baked goods. You see a tower of chocolate squares with beautiful layers of nut butter, oats,…

What I Eat In A Day – Busy Vegan

What I Eat In A Day – Busy Vegan

Hello foodie lovers! I hope you are healthy, well, and thriving! When it comes to cooking as a busy Vegan.. it should be easy! You may want to fuel your body with delicious, healthy foods, but you don’t have the energy to constantly create new meals. You rush to the cabinet and find a half box of pasta: that should do it! Hmm. Eat the pasta. But, know that healthy eating doesn’t happen on the fly like that. 

It takes more prep and planning. Here are some tips for planning ahead:

  • Have a “go-to” breakfast! Eating the same thing = less time planning!
  • Prep your ingredients ahead of time. Chop veggies and store in a reusable container. Prepare a protein source ahead of time!
  • Choose dinners that will take 30 minutes or less to cook. 

Healthy eating should be easy and quick! You don’t want to spend an hour preparing a meal in the middle of the day, when you need your energy for work! Keep things simple for breakfast and lunch. Then, have a little fun at dinner time and let yourself play.

Let me preface your reading with this: I am not a dietitian. Also, I do not want to call myself a vegan (yet). I embrace a 80% plant-based lifestyle. So, here’s a day that I just happened to eat Vegan:

 

What I Eat In A Day: Vegan

Breakfast 

Easy Simple Vegan Breakfast
Protein Oats + Coffee!

Oatmeal is an amazing way to start your day! Oats are high in fiber and water, so they keep you full longer. Not to mention, they lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and support digestive health. If you are a person who needs energy first thing in the morning, oats are a great breakfast option. Aside from the health benefits, they just taste amazing! I mean, look at that bowl of goodness.

I love to workout and stay active in any way I can. That’s why oats have been my go-to breakfast for years! I use instant oats because they are just so easy! I cook them on the stove top for 3-5 minutes. Then, I add a scoop of protein powder to help me stay fuller longer, and to build muscle. Finally, I add frozen mixed berries on top. Oh, and don’t forget the coffee! 

 

Lunch

Alright, I know you’re a foodie lover. But do you actually have time to cook a 5-star lunch everyday?

Easy Simple Vegan Salad
Roasted Veg Salad

I’m guessing no. That’s great, because eating healthy doesn’t mean spending hours in the kitchen. You have so many other areas of life that need attention besides what you eat. You have family, your career, and your hobbies. So, that’s why we’re all about being healthy and well in a way that is easy and fun here. With a little thought ahead of time, you can have lunch ready in less than 5 minutes.

I call this a “throw your leftovers on top of lettuce” salad. Here’s the trick: choose a carbohydrate source. Choose a protein source. Then, add some veggies. After, pick a healthy fat. Arrange them delicately, or haphazardly, into a bowl. Voila! 

This bowl reminds me of those amazing meze bowls with beautiful, slow-roasted Greek veggies. That’s what I attempted to replicate here. The day before, I had roasted some sweet potatoes, eggplant, and prepared some quinoa for dinner. I stored the leftovers in the fridge, and repurposed them into a lunch salad, with avocado. The result? Some serious plant-based goodness right here. 

Dinner

Easy Simple Vegan Lentil Bolognese
Lentil Bolognese

Dinner time. That’s when it’s your time to shine, right foodies? At this point, you’ve finished your work for the day and you begin to relax. Time to get creative! 

Look in your fridge see what vegetables need to be cooked. Are some getting soft? Reduce food waste by using those ingredients first. Then, find a recipe or just create something new! If you’re looking for something a little different, try a healthy version on a classic comfort food. 

So, what’s with this lentil bolognese? It takes 15 minutes and is so easy to make! Let’s just say I was craving this childhood favorite, and this recipe did not disappoint! 

 

 

Dessert

Easy Simple Vegan Chocolate Squares
Vegan Dark Chocolate Squares

It’s the end of the day. You want a treat, but you’ve done so well today. So, you try to avoid that craving like the plague. Please don’t, my wonderful foodies! Why? Ignoring cravings only intensifies them. If you’re struggling with your mindset around food and dieting, fix that first. Read this award-winning book about diet culture and how to improve your relationship with food.

When you’re craving something, eat it! Just remember that there will always be more later, you don’t need to overdo it!

So, what’s this deliciousness here? Vegan dark chocolate squares, of course! I was inspired by a recipe I found on instagram, and changed it up based on the ingredients I found. Anyone else do that?! Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the recipe, but I have a solution for you. Check out these Vegan Chocolate Coconut Squares by Running on Real Food.  

 

Some Thoughts…

Diets are personal and individual, so do what works best for you. This is one snapshot of a typical day of eating. Sometimes I eat more, and sometimes I eat less. That’s just life, right? There are no perfect days!

Comment below what you’re excited about cooking!

-Meghan 

xoxo

 

 

15 Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants You Can Order Take-Out/Delivery From in Boston, MA

15 Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants You Can Order Take-Out/Delivery From in Boston, MA

Pascal Bernardon How are you, foodie lovers? I hope you are healthy, well, and happy. With the stay-at-home advisory in effect in Boston, the restaurant industry is suffering. Some restaurants are temporarily shutting down. Others are offering delivery and takeout. The situation is changing everyday.…