Monday, June 18, 2012

Vegetarian Sesame Udon Noodles

This next vegetarian dish I found over on and it has quickly become one of our favorites. In fact, I'm getting hungry just writing about it!

I've modified this one a bit to make it more like a stir-fry, but you can also follow the original and cook it in the microwave!


The Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root (make sure you add this, it makes the dish!)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 dash hot pepper sauce (I add red pepper flakes to give it a little more heat too)

2 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups diagonally sliced snap peas
2 cups rough chopped kale
1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 block firm tofu cubed

4 green onions, minced
2 Tbls fresh basil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (use toaster oven or dry frying pan to toast the seeds)
1 (7 ounce) package fresh udon noodles


In a jar with a tight fitting lid (I use a salad dressing container), combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut oil, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce or flakes. Close the lid, and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside to let the flavors blend.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add udon noodles and follow package directions to cook until tender. Drain, and set aside for later.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add peppers and onion and sautee for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add in peas, kale, mushrooms and tofu and stir fry until veggies are cooked.

Add drained noodles to the pan and pour sauce over entire dish. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and gently toss all ingredients together using tongs. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes to allow noodles to soak in some of the flavor.


Serve in a deep bowl with chop sticks and top with sliced green onion and fresh basil.

(Not into the vegetarian thing? Try adding chunks of Asian inspired, grilled salmon (with a sweet and spicy glaze), as an alternate source of protein.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Black Bean & Sweet Potatoe Chili

Continuing on with my vegetarian recipes (as promised!), this next one is an awesome and quick, all-veggie chili that is super delicious! Serve it up with a little cheese, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and a corn muffin on the side! Yum!

Found my inspiration for this one on

The Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (you may consider boiling these for a few minutes to speed up the cooking time)
2 medium carrots, sliced (you may consider boiling these for a few minutes to speed up the cooking time)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (I used green in this version since that's what I had)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 15 ounce can black beans
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste, we like it a little bit hot!)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup frozen corn (I like to add corn to my chili)

The Directions:

Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil for a minute or two, then add bell pepper and simmer until onions are almost soft. Add in (par-cooked) sweet potatoes & carrots, diced tomatoes, beans, spices and stock. Stir to combine and reduce heat to low.

Simmer, partially covered and stir occasionally, for approx 15-20 minutes, until flavors have mingled and vegetables are cooked. Add in frozen corn in last 5 minutes of simmer.

Serve in a deep bowl with Jack cheese, Greek yogurt and corn bread or muffins!

Friday, June 8, 2012

West Elm Room On Sale

West Elm recently sent out an email blast advertising their summer sale so I (of course) perused the sale items. I was pleasantly surprised at what was there and the deep discounts you can get when they mark things on clearance. In fact, I was able to put together an entire bedroom concept for under $1,500 using mostly sale items.

Take a look!
And in case you are wondering, here's the breakdown:

Queen Bed Frame - $479.99
Queen Quilt - $99.99
Standard Shams (2) - $33.98
Euro Shams (2) - $39.98
5x8 Rug - $199.99
Chair - $149
Throw Pillows (2) - $34.98
84" Drapes (2) - $49.98
Candlesticks (1 of each) - $47.97
Table (not on sale) - $199
Owl Lamp (not on sale) - $99

Grand Total = $1,452.89!

Happy Friday!