Summer Rolls

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Were stuck in this constant back and forth weather change of is it spring or is it winter? Ohio doesn’t even know! While the weather in OH is trying to figure out what season it want’s to be, I’m over here dreaming of summer and the warmer days ahead. Clear blue skies, sun shining, birds chirping, people out running, kids playing or screaming whatever it is they do best, firing up the grille in the backyard, sipping wine on the patio with the girls laughing and reminiscingย on the best of the past, playing 18 holes and then sitting on the patio with the boys throwing back a few ice cold IPA’s and snacking on potato chips, the time of the year where yard work never ends. Yes, good old summer time, sweet sweet summer. Snapping out of it, were less than 50 days from spring so that’s something to be happy about!ย 

I literally rolled into this last weekend by starting meal prep with some Vietnamese Summer Rolls. Although, these are great for warmer weather, I feel I may have put on a little bit of a fur coat myself if you catch my weight gaining drift LOL. I need a better balance of lighter fare to keep in my diet so I thought about one of my favorite summer dishes. These rolls are great with Chicken or Shrimp, I just did a simple vegetable roll. I recommend Hoison sauce for dipping if you have it or a sweet chili sauce, which is what I used. If you have a mondoline with a shredder attachment, that works the best for getting the matchstick size you will need for the vegetables. If you don’t have one, just finely slice the veggies as thin as you can. These rolls are a definite crowd pleaser. Make them as a great appetizer to share or as a meal for yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Yield: 8 Rolls

Mise en Place:

  • Large Spring Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Head Boston Bibb Lettuce, washed, leaves picked from core
  • 2 Carrots, peeled, shredded (or thing matchstick cuts)
  • 1/2 Large Cucumber, shredded (same as above)
  • 2 Scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 Small Bunch Cilantro, leaves picked
  • 1/2 Pack Rice Noodles, cooked according to package
  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl Warm Water
  • Sweet Chili sauce, for dipping

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Method of Prep:

  • Prepare all mise en place and have all ingredients kept in separate bowls of the order you want to build the roll.
  • Lay one sheet of rice paper into bowl of warm water. Allow to sit for 10-15 seconds or until soft. Remove from water and lay on a clean surface. Gently roll out the edges to form the circle (This part can become tricky because when you remove paper from the water, the sides with begin to tuck in. Carefully try to spread out to original shape keeping your fingers wet and being sure not to tear the paper. If you cause a tear, start over).
  • Going down the center of the circle, lay one large piece of lettuce (or two small), then a pinch of cucumber, small bunch of rice noodles, pinch of carrots, pinch of scallions, and then a pinch of cilantro(keep in mind this paper is very delicate, the more you put in the harder it will be to roll and will causing tearing, keep your portion sizes small).
  • To roll, fold the bottom part up, then the top down. Working from left to right, Keep the sides tucked in using both hands and begin to fold from left to right (Be sure to have enough work space for this part as it could become difficult if space is limited . Should seal easily, if not rub a little water on the outside to seal. Roll as tight as you can without causing a rip. Should the paper rip upon rolling, just keep going, it happens and is still edible, doesn’t need to be perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Continue each step above until all mise en place is used.
  • I recommend eating these within 2 days of making them. Store in a sealed ziploc bag or air tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy!

**Make sure the bowl of water your using is warm at all times. The longer it sits, it will become colder. Switch out to warm water every so often to help the paper soften quicker.

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Lentil & Chickpea Patties

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Well we made it to Friday, yay! I hope that where ever you’re reading this post from, the weather is better than 14 degrees! Sometimes the frigid temps are okay, it keeps me indoors and allows me to catch up on cleaning and organizing the mess I’ve been putting off all year, plus I get to play with this blog some more :). I have no interest in even going outsideย  on an adventure – at least not when the wind chill is in the negatives. I’ve been staying productive inside, not sure if it’s because that’s my way of keeping my mind off being bored or because it’s my way of keeping my body moving so I don’t put on too much of a winter coat LOL.ย 

As I mentioned in my previous postย in the winter were all looking for comfort food. Something hearty to keep warm when the weather outside is being weather. While I do enjoy an occasional heavy dish, I tend to find more comfort in healthier, protein packed fare. Normally I wouldn’t share a recipe that wasn’t on my must make again list, but these lentil “burgers” may interest someone else more than me. This recipe was borrowed from “Essential Vegetarian” Cookbook. I found the texture to be grainy and the inside dry. However, the flavor was good! I recommend if you do prepare these, to have some kind of a sauce with them to add moisture. I topped these with hummus which helped a lot in the mouthfeel as well. This recipe suggested a coriander garlic cream as a sauce, I didn’t like that at all with these burgers. I think there is a better alternative to this recipe with the ingredients than in patty form such as a coconut curry or soup.ย 

Lentils are high in protein and fiber, a versatile and nutritious ingredient. A mini version of a bean and part of the legume family, lentils grow in pods and come in a variety of colors such as red, brown and green. They are quick to prepare, and their low cost makes them an accessible form of high quality protein for many people around the world. If you’re looking to take on another version of a veggie burger, these Lentil patties are right up your alley!

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Mise en Place:

  • (1) Cup Red Lentils, cooked
  • (2) Yellow Onions, Julienne
  • (1) Tablespoon Tandoori Mix Powder
  • (1) Can Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • (1) Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated
  • (1) Egg
  • (3) Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • (2) Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro
  • (2) Cups Breadcumbs
  • Flour, for dusting
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • In a large frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of oil. Add onion cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tandoori powder and stir until fragrant, allow to cool.
  • Place the chickpeas, half the lentils, ginger, egg and the onion mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining lentils, parsley, cilantro and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate mixture for 10 minutes.
  • Shape into round patties. lightly toss in flour to coat.
  • Over medium heat, add in some oil to a pan and cook patties 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve with choice of sauce.
  • Enjoy!

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Sweet Chili & Soy Tofu Vegetable Bowl

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This is a great recipe for anyone who is also following a low carb regime. I started the keto diet for Lent, in hopes of being able to fast myself from drinking alcohol, and eating sweets. Two things that make up a large part of what I consume on a daily basis (so much for a healthy lifestyle, huh?)ย  I just did a weigh in last week and have lost 5 pounds in 1 month! That’s pretty exciting to me considering I haven’t been to the gym since early December. An unfortunate injury to my tailbone from slipping on ice a few weeks ago has kept me from being able to work out. I’m hoping the bruising will heal soon so I can get back into my fitness routine. 2018 has been off to a rocky start with my health. I started it sick with bronchitisย  for all of January into early February and then right when my strength had come back, during an early morning walk with the dog, I slipped very hard on the ice and slammed flat on my tailbone causing severe bruising which is still healing 3 weeks later. I heard rumors that the keto diet is an easy way to lose weight without having to workout. So I figured, if I cant go to the gym to lose weight, I’ll have to sacrifice some of my favorite things for 40 days to see if this diet actually works, and we’ll go from there.ย 

As you may have read, I recently adopted the pescatarian diet (Vegetarian including the source of fish or other seafood as protein) I will however still eat small bites of meat on the rare occasions like a tasting menu at work or my husband and I are at a restaurant known for their food. I’m not super strict or hardcore about this change, I just chose to eat less animal fats and focus more on healthier alternatives for personal reasons. During this change, I have been eating more vegan “meat alternatives”, a ton of seafood, lots of vegetables, berries, whole grains and soy products such as tofu. You may see a lot of tofu recipes on here but that’s because I happen to enjoy cooking and eating it.

This recipe takes my favorite Asian flavors of soy, and sweet chili sauce to coat the tofu and lay on top a bed of sauteed vegetables with garlic and sesame oil. If you enjoy Asian cuisine, I’m sure you’ll love this recipe. Feel free to substitute Chicken or another protein of your choice if Tofu isn’t your cup of tea ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 45 Minutes

Mise En Place:

  • 1 Pack Firm Tofu (Pressed to remove liquid, cut into bite size chunks)
  • 1 bag of Frozen vegetable Medley of choice (you may use fresh vegetables if you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Cup Raw Spinach
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • S&P, TT

For the Sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Sweet Chili Sauce ( I used Mae Ploy)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey

Method of Prep:

  • In a saute pan over medium high heat, generously oil pan with vegetable oil. Add in tofu cubes and sear on each side 4 minutes or until golden brown all around.
  • As tofu is cooking, in a small sauce pot, whisk together all ingredients for sauce over medium heat until well combined. Bring to a boil and adjust heat to low. Allow liquid to simmer and reduce for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Once tofu is browned on all sides, remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the oil.
  • Using the same saute pan, over medium heat, oil the pan again then add frozen veggies and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until hot and vegetables are cooked through. Finish with sesame oil.
  • Dump vegetables into serving bowl. Top with spinach, allowing the steam from hot vegetables to lightly cook the spinach. Stir to combine.
  • Place saute pan back over medium heat, add in tofu and half the sweet chili sauce. Toss together until tofu is well coated and hot again. Pour onto bed of vegetables and spinach. Serve immediately. (Add extra sauce if you choose)
  • Enjoy! *Can Also be served with rice

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