Friend Feature: Mandi’s Amazing Salads

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of a very good friend, former Lethbian who now lives in Edmonton, Mandi.   She has slowly transitioned to become almost full time vegetarian for the health of her family. Way to go Mandi!  Below she shares a flexible recipe for salad… and its not your standard crappy lettuce salad.. this stuff’s a meal!

When my mom came to visit my family for the week she made all sorts of salad combinations. She use to do this while I still lived with her before I was married. I loved  all the combinations , you really can put anything in a salad – it doesn’t have to be a bowl of bland greens with a few chopped veggies. It doesn’t have to be greens, croutons and a pound of dressing.

This was an LP-PL salad remix. the base of it all was my mixture of ‘rice’ I find brown rice a hard to swallow sometimes so I mixed it up and added green lentils, buckwheat, quinoa, and pearl barley to it and mix it in a container. I find that in the rice cooker I have, a 1/2 cup of this grains mixture with 1 cup of water is perfect for making all grains soft and edible without being mushy.

With the grain mixture heated and in the bottom of the bowl acting as the base, we added rainbow slaw which is shredded broccoli and cauliflower stalks with shredded purple cabbage and carrots.
Then we added pumpkin seeds, pomegranate crasins, peanuts, black beans, catalina dressing, Vega EFA oil, and cracked black pepper. *mom used lemon juice and olive oil instead of catilina dressing*

Well it was a hit! we ate it for lunch and dinner then we experimented and made up so many different combinations but always keeping the above as our basics (until we ran out of pumpkin seeds and peanuts) each combination was so good. I have re-discovered that salad can be amazingly flavorful.
pickles
lettuce
taco chips
snap peas
green beans
crushed spelt pretzels
pineapple chunks
blueberry crasins
spinach

We would add one or more of these ingredients to give each dish a new hit of texture or flavor. I really liked the base salad with the crushed pretzels on top when we ran out of peanuts. And throwing in a few slices of pickles in there was a surprisingly good thing.

I choose crazy home made salads to any of the salads on any fast food menu any day.

Friend Feature: SweetSugarBean

Salted Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundaes

I have been lucky enough to work with some very talented and inspiring people during my short stint in the restaurant industry.

Renee is one of those people- we met at the Rutherford House Historic Site where we both worked.  She was the head chef in the tiny little kitchen that serves the equally tiny (but super busy) Arbour Restaurant.  Think high tea, scones, quiche, sandwiches, and an incredible dessert menu, of course, all kinds of tea.  Though it was not a vegetarian restaurant, the Arbour did have some great options.  And Renee always would fix something special up for me if I wanted something different.

Well, we have both moved on since then, she, moving back home to Saskatoon, and I, of course, moving back home to Lethbridge.  But through the magic of facebook, we’ve kept in touch.  Renee continues to work in the culinary industry and has recently started her own blog at the request of many of her friends.  She just has way too many good recipes not to share!  That, combined with her artistic approach to food styling and eye for photography has created SweetSugarBean. I was lucky enough to assist a little in formation of the blog, and it’s so exciting to see how it’s grown in the short time it’s been around.

She really has a special touch when it comes to desserts, as well as yummy (but healthy) comfort food.  Renee has posted a number of vegetarian and vegan recipes and I thought I would share some of these today (and thank you for creating a separate vegetarian & vegan label!)  Click on the pictures for the recipes!

curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

And be sure to check out the rest of the SweetSugarBean’s recipe index on the side of the page.  Of course, don’t forget to snoop the chocolate section!