Vegan Rainbow Cauliflower Stir-fry

One Saturday my family and I took a trip to the local farmers market. As we browsed our usual favorites we came across some gorgeous purple and orange colored cauliflower. After speaking a bit with the greengrocer, we learned some pretty cool facts about this ever popular rainbow cauliflower veggie.

There are many exciting benefits to rainbow cauliflower! Per Trader Joe’s, most rainbow cauliflower is grown by the volcanic fertile soil near the Central Andes mountains in Ecuador. The climate and environment there allows for the unique beta carotene orange color found in the orange florets. Another cool fact is that pack they 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower.

As I asked the greengrocer to bag us some of his best rainbow cauliflower bunches, I began to think …. what in the world am I going to make with this?

Well, the next day (which my family has now labeled as “Vegan Sunday”), my cooking creativity with our colorful cauliflower began. (To my surprise the cauliflower tasted slightly sweeter than cauliflower and the same texture as broccoli and cauliflower when steamed). I took all of our remaining hand picked green beans leftover and came up with the following fresh and vegan friendly stir fry idea.

A helpful side note tip: If you are transitioning away from eating meat, try this “trick your brain” idea. Replace the food textures that your mind is used to having with certain dishes. See my example below for this particular recipe.

Rainbow Cauliflower Stir-fry

“The Meats”

baby red skin potatoes and rainbow cauliflower

“The Noodles”

hand picked green beans

Seasonings: Pink Himalayan Salt, Garlic Cloves, Black Peppercorn

Directions: Chop red skin potatoes and whole garlic cloves to your liking. Pour about 2 cups of olive oil in a frying pan (or you can bake). Cook red skin potatoes until brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Steam the green beans and rainbow cauliflower together with butter, garlic, salt and pepper.

Place a layer of green beans at the bottom of the plate first then top with potatoes and rainbow cauliflower.

This dish is super healthy and delicious! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Delicious Vegan Bakery: Poison Berry Bakery in Cleveland, Ohio

lillie kitty2

Poison Berry Bakery

12210 Larchmere Blvd

Cleveland, Oh 44120

Vegan lover’s will enjoy this colorful bakery on Larchmere Blvd., catering to just about everything a vegan could possibly be looking for – vegan pastries and vegan snacks that are all animal and cruelty free. They also serve a tasty vegan Saturday brunch!

Located near historic Shaker Square in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Poison Berry Bakery is a unique, artsy, family-friendly coffee shop that offers an array of desserts, pastries, vegan cheese, vegan jerky and (as the sign on the window states) some of the best coffee in the universe!

vegan jerky
Try out some delicious vegan jerky such as Smoky Carolina BBQ and Mesquite Hickory Bacon.

 

VEGAN CHEESE
You can purchase delicious vegan cheese inside Poison Berry Bakery such as mozzarella, gouda, and provolone to take home.

 

Next time you are looking for one of those rare vegan food spots, give Poison Berry Bakery a try. Check out other cool happenings on Larchmere Blvd by clicking here.

 

 

Free Family Event: A Harp Quartet, Coloring and Cocktails

I live for finding free family events for my family. And when the event includes an opportunity for a musical exposure – the better!

LES DELICIES

The group Les Delices, directed by Debra Nagy performed at the Cleveland Bop Stop to an audience of children aged 5 to 12. Monthly, the Cleveland Bop Stop offers several musical events for children during the day. By night they are a full fledged jazz club where every cocktail purchased goes towards funding their musical education department.

ANGELS
Angelic harp coloring sheets

 

The setting for the event included several small round tables outlining the stage. On each table were unique coloring sheets that included a few pictures of the Harp’s past history: The Pharaoh, and angelic angles. While we colored Les Delices (a quartet of piccolo, violin, cello and harp) played several delightful songs including a silly story of the mouse and the frog led by vocalist Debra Nagy.

PERFORM
Les Delices performing at the Bop Stop

 

Should you find yourselves thirsty or hungry during these events, the Bop Stop offers a small appetizer menu such as ranch popcorn and flatbread pizza to name a few. Parents can sip on wine, beer, and other cocktail favorites.

To our surprise, we were pleased to find out Les Delices gives free family musical events and paid performances throughout the year! If you would like to go to one of Les Delices events, or visit The Bop Stop for a family/adult jazz event, check out the links below for more information:

View Les Delices live performance here:

Les Delices: http://www.lesdelices.org/outreach/

The Bop Stop Calendar: https://www.themusicsettlement.org/calendar

outside
Outside the Bop Stop

Caterpillar Fruit Snack Kabobs

Parents – you know at least a few times a year we are given the lovely opportunity to bring in a treat for our child’s class. It could be for a birthday, Halloween party, or an after school snack just to name a few.

Nevertheless, you know you have some choices to make. Do you resort immediately to the sugar rush of cupcakes and icing? Or, will you be a little more creative and healthier this time around?

Many parents are choosing the latter decision for good reason. Last I checked, white refined sugar is not the best ingredient to put in our bodies. Let alone our children’s bodies!

In place of the new normal, parents are coming up with are some pretty creative ideas with fruit. Fruit is versatile and can be made into several shapes and designs. The sky is the limit!

In my search for a healthier snack alternative for my daughter’s class, I came across the recipe for a cool caterpillar looking fruit idea on Pinterest by musthavemoms.com.

The possibilities are endless with what you can put on a kabob. So let your imagination run wild!

Below is the recipe for what I used. And don’t forget to have some little helpers help you…

2 cartons of organic strawberries

1 bunch of organic red seedless grapes

1 bunch of organic green seedless grapes

Cake pop sticks

Round black sprinkles (for eyes)

Wash all fruit thoroughly and pat dry. Prep strawberries by cutting off the green stem. Take one grape color at a time and place on kabob switching alternative colors. At the tip of kabob put strawberry on as the head and place two black sprinkles on strawberry as eyes.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help your Garden this Spring by making a simple Mason Bee House.

Did you know there are well over 500 different species of bees in the State of Ohio alone? The mason bee is often less talked about in comparison to our friend the honey bee, but just as important nonetheless. Although, mason bees help pollinate our fruit and vegetable reproduction, they do not produce honey like the honey bee. Mason bees are always looking for shelter each spring to lay their eggs. Why not take a moment this spring to give these little friends some help? One simple way is to provide the Mason bee some shelter for its eggs. In exchange they can aid with any growing backyard garden.

What is a Mason bee and how do they differ from the Honey bee?

Although honey bees are the most common bee type, have you ever really gotten to know the mason bee? Mason bees are docile male and female workers that carry pollen on their abdomen whereas, the honey bee carry on their hind legs. For this reason mason bees are able to pollinate 100x more! Mason bees are docile because they don’t have a hive or a queen bee to defend like the honey bee. The females do carry a stinger like the female honey bee, however the sting is similar to that of a mosquito bite.

Another way they are different from the honey bee is their natural blue hue color. At times they have often been mistaken for a pesty house fly.  Their main purpose from March (they peak in the Spring when the temperature is a steady 50 degrees or higher) to June is to help pollinate flowers, especially fruit trees and fruit bushes. Their average life span is about 8 to 10 weeks. Whereas, the honey bee works year around.

Finally, Mason bees only fly a few hundred feet away from their nests. The honey bee will travel up to 3 foot ball fields away in search of pollen.

How can I make a Mason Bee House?

Mason bee houses are simple to make at home or at local workshop in your area. They are even simple enough to make alone, or with your kids, and are a great way to help out your garden and give shelter to some of the most awesome pollinators on the planet.

Starting in the month of March, female mason bees look for shelter to lay their eggs. You will definitely want to have the house prepared ahead of time. If made with cedar wood (as I will explain below), the houses can easily be stored away at the end of June until the following Spring.
To start measure and cut four pieces of cedar wood as follows:
dimensions
wood
Drill 2 to 3 holes either side with 1inch screws:
drill3 house
You should have the shape of a house
house
Mount the house to the last slab of wood by drilling holes in the back
LILLIE DRILL
Roll approximately 40 to 50 tubes of newspaper each 6 inches long to be laid within the house.
ROLL
This is where the females will lay the eggs. A cool fact: female eggs will be laid towards the back of the house and male eggs will be laid towards front. This is to protect the female from predators such as woodpeckers.
packing

Once your house is complete follow these steps to insure your Mason Bees have a proper set up:

  1. Hang your house on a building, garage, post or tree that stands at least 3 to 6 feet tall.
  2.  The house should face east towards the rising sun each morning.

3. Make sure that mud is easily accessible for the bees to grab. You can easily dig a small mud patch near the house. Mason bees use the mud to securely pack and seal their eggs in the tubes.

4. Having your fruits and vegetables nearby the house helps since mason bees do not travel far.

Sources: Information gathered from The Mason Bee Workshop at the Shaker Lakes Nature Center in Ohio

A Cure for Christmas Day Cabin Fever: Plenty of Food and Tasty Drinks

Hosting a Christmas Party? Easy! Hosting your kids and spouse for the ENTIRE day… take a breath and take some notes.

The magic of Christmas comes and goes in the blink of an eye, so when the big day comes and all the gifts have been opened what’s next? The last thing anyone wants to do is venture outdoors into the cold. This day is all about being snuggly and feeling bubbly. Here are my fun drink and food ideas to get you and your family through your Christmas Day cabin fever.

Drinks & Finger Food for Gift Opening 

Adults: Pop Champagne Mimosa – Kids: Orange Juice Spritzer

Why not serve yourself and the kids a refreshing fun twist on orange juice for the special day while opening presents? You deserve to sit back and relax first thing in the morning after the weeks of decorating, wrapping and shopping.

Adult Recipe: In a festive fluke serve Prosecco Champagne with a splash of orange juice or grapefruit juice. Garnish with a thin orange slice.

Kids Recipe: Serve sparkling juice and a splash of orange juice. Garnish with an orange slice.

Mini Breakfast Snack Finger Food: Cinnamon & Brown Sugar French Toast Bagel Sticks

Do a quick prep the day before and pop these yummy sticks in the toaster oven for a few minutes while the family excitedly open their gifts. Serve on a decorative Christmas platter to tie everyone over until breakfast.

Recipe: Slice package of mini plain bagels in half then cut down the center (each bagel should make four pieces. Prepare a bowl of almond milk (or your milk preference) with cinnamon. Prepare a bowl of brown sugar and cinnamon.

In a skillet melt butter. Dunk a bagel piece in the milk with cinnamon and brown both sides in the skillet. Let each piece cool then sprinkle both side with brown sugar and cinnamon. Place into freezer overnight for a quick warm up in the morning.

Award Winning Christmas Breakfast

Okay you relaxed on the couch. Now it’s your time to shine! Show off your creative style for this special day by adding small quality touches to all your favorite breakfast items.

Eggs: Why not toss in some mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes? Prepare your eggs your favorite style and add plenty of veggies and cheeses.

Waffles or Pancakes: Throw in chocolate chips or strawberries to your batter. Top with powdered sugar, whip cream or hot fruit topping and you have a delicious twist on plain waffles and pancakes!

Potatoes: Cut some red skin potatoes into chunks. Add in green peppers, onions and broccoli. Mix in some ranch dressing and sprinkle with shredded cheese. (go ahead and splurge it’s Christmas Day once a year!)

Meats/or Not: Fry up some turkey bacon, turkey sausage, or vegan seitan bacon or sausage to accompany your delicious sides.

Mid Afternoon Drinks & Food

Once all the morning excitements have died down (and maybe a nap or two has everyone refreshed) it is time to move on to the next half of your Christmas morning. Gather the family around the fireplace (or watch the t.v. fireplace on Netflix) for a family game, or television for an oldie but goodie Christmas movie. And wait….. don’t forget about the next round of food and drinks!!

Adults: Hot Coffee with a shot/Kids: Hot Cocoa Chocolate Bar!

Adult Recipe: Brew a cup of your favorite Joe. Add in a shot such as Patron XO Café and any other of your favorite condiments.

Kids Recipe: Select your favorite cup of cocoa mix and adorn your table with toppings. Have the kids squirt on the whip cream and top with sprinkles, chocolate chips, and cherries. If you’re really feeling fancy cool off the hot chocolate with some vanilla bean ice cream at the bottom of the mug.

Mid-Afternoon Snack – Holiday Popcorn Medley

Pop a bag of your favorite popcorn. Be creative by adding dried fruit like cranberries, marshmallows, and chocolate chips to the bowl of popcorn once it has cooled.

It’s Dinnertime Drinks & Food!

Some of you may be venturing off to parties or over to a relatives for dinner. Lucky you! However, if you will be finishing off your day at home, everyone will soon be asking for dinner. It’s time for another creative meal and beverage to accompany the evening plans. Make a fancy and inexpensive place setting at the table – Hopefully you were able to get the kiddos out to play in the snow for a breather. If not, now would be the time!

Adults: Holiday Moscow Mule – Kids: Holiday Ginger Juice

Moscow Mules have become one of my favorite drinks for its delicious blend of vodka, lime and ginger bite at the finish. Add a splash of cranberry juice, mint sprig and a few cranberries to make a holiday rendition.

Adult Recipe: Choose your favorite Vodka. Add ginger beer (go for a strong brand like Goslings), squeezed lime juice, cranberry juice, and pour over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and toss in a few cranberries.

Kid Recipe: Ginger beer (non-alcoholic), squeezed lime juice, cranberry juice poured over ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and add some cranberries.

The Final Event: Dinner!

So you made it to the end of your Christmas Day. You’re exhausted I am sure, but that Holiday Moscow Mule will help you get through the last stretch. Make it a dinner they will remember!

Veggies: Kale Greens with Cabbage – Start with a base of broth (chicken or vegetable), butter, garlic and salt and pepper (add more or less to your liking). Make one layer kale, one layer cabbage. Add more butter, garlic salt and pepper. Keep layering and repeating. Once pot is full let this deliciousness simmer for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the texture you prefer.

Starches: Brown Rice Noodle Mac & Cheese – Boil brown rice pasta and drain. Stir in butter, salt and pepper, pinch of garlic, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, and your favorite milk. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bread crumbs. Put in the oven on 425 for approx. 40 mins.

Pineapple Sweet, Sweet Potatoes – cut sweet potatoes into medallions. Boil in hot water. Prepare a skillet of brown sugar, honey and butter (add more or less to your liking). Place sweet potatoes into skillet and add frozen pineapple chunks. Let simmer on low heat for 10 mins.

Meats: Barbeque Turkey Ribs & Salmon – Marinate turkey ribs (or cut turkey cutlet sliced) and salmon in Italian dressing overnight with salt and pepper. Place in broiler and turn midway when ready to cook. For last 10 minutes in oven pour barbeque sauce over the meat. The turkey ribs should take approx. 45 minutes on 425. The salmon approx. 10 – 15 minutes and serve.

Breads: Butter some pumpernickel bread and place in the oven for 7 minutes. Serve warm and make this last so it stays warm and soft at the table.

Place setting: Find inexpensive holiday table placemats at stores like Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart. Spice up the decorum of any table with candles and holiday colored napkins. Goblets go well and can also be found at Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart for under $5.

Enjoy your memorable Christmas Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meatless Black Bean Lasagna

A hearty and delicious meat free lasagna.

This hearty and simple to prepare vegetarian lasagna is just delicious! This recipe is great to cozy up to for those cold winter nights. Feel free to make different variations, but definitely try this one out first…

Recipe

2 packages of Meatless Meat

1 can of black beans

1 package of spinach leaves

2 ears of kernel corn cut straight from the cob

1 pkg shredded cheddar Daiya Cheese (or 12 slices of Colby Jack Cheese)

1 half jar salsa

2 jars spaghetti sauce

No boil lasagna noodles

Optional Seasonings to taste

Pink Himalayan Salt

Ground Pepper

Basil

Cilantro

Mix meatless meat in a bowl along with seasonings. Add can of black beans, cut corn kernels and pour in spaghetti and salsa to mix all the ingredients.

In a glass pan coat the bottom of the dish with spaghetti sauce. Start adding first layer of lasagna noodles, meatless meat mixture, spinach leaves and Colby Jack Cheese (Daiya cheese slices). Continue layering (including smoothing spaghetti sauce on noodles in between each layer) until you reach the top of your pan. Sprinkle final layer with bread crumbs. Stick into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes on 375. Enjoy!