vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Vegan White Bean & Garlic Soup November 30, 2010

Filed under: Dinners,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 2:56 am

This was a delightful little soup.  After all of the holiday meals, sweets and snacks, I was looking for something simple tonight, something that could be concocted out of my pantry.  This little recipe seemed to jump out of my copy of Vegan With a Vengeance. I was pretty liberal with my substitutions and measurements on this one and it still came together nicely with great flavor.  If you’d like to see the original recipe, I highly recommend that you check out this cookbook.  It was one of my very first vegan cookbooks and I’ve used it faithfully for years.

This evening I was a klutzy cook and had several funny little moments in the kitchen.  I didn’t read the recipe carefully and was slightly surprised to see that I needed to haul out my food processor before it was all said and done.  It was worth it – but definitely added an extra element of mess to the process.  All in all, it was the kind of soup that was forgiving of my mistakes and I was thankful for that.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 15 oz can of great northern beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • lemon juice
  • 1 head of roasted garlic

Wrap the head of garlic in tin foil and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  You will want to start roasting the garlic before you begin the soup.

Heat the olive oil in a good sized pot and add the onions.  Let them soften for about 10 minutes.  Then add the spices, broth, beans and bay leaf.  Let cook for about 10 more minutes.  Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves and add the garlic paste to the soup. Remove the bay leaf.  Next blend a portion of the soup using either a food processor or a blender, then return that to the pot and scoop out another portion to blend.  Continue until the soup has a consistency that you like.  Finally add the lemon juice to the soup slowly, tasting as you go and stop when the soup tastes just right!

This would easily feed two people for dinner or one with plenty of leftovers.


The end of November November 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 3:55 am

I am home again!  We rolled into town late tonight and I have no grand meal plan for the week ahead.  Luckily, I do have some leftover ravioli for lunch tomorrow.  Tonight I am dreaming of my first CSA pick up on Wednesday.  I think I will begin updating my weekly plan midweek so I can use the fresh CSA ingredients as a starting point for recipes moving forward.


Thanksgiving recovery November 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 4:14 pm

It’s been a wild visit home this year, full of good food and energetic children.  I’ve cooked a good bit -my homemade mac and cheese, roasted lima bean and olives, and cinnamon rolls.  I thought I might be able to feature those recipes, but we went so fast and ate so much that I wasn’t able to keep up. Here are a few pictures of the food and the festivities!

I think the kids (and the adults) loved the parachute game the most.


Closet Confession November 24, 2010

Filed under: Organization — Vivid Greens @ 7:18 pm

I love organized closets.  It’s odd, since organized closets are not exactly a priority in my family.  I barely remember keeping anything in mine as a child.  I preferred to play in my closet and pretend it was a boat or a wagon or a tiny house.  In all honesty, I was a very messy little girl who rarely put anything away.

And yet, somehow I have grown in to the kind of person that likes an orderly closet.  I admit that I even sort things by style, color and type of clothing.  I’ve gone so far as to help other people organize their closets.  It makes me happy.

So when I was given a gift card to target, I decided to splurge on wooden hangers.  I bought a 24 pack for a mere $14.  With my tiny little armoire (our apartment has only one closet) 24 hangers are more than enough.  I knew before I started that it would look nice when I was done – but I was shocked by how pretty the finished product is.

It is perhaps the cheapest and simplest organizational shift I’ve made this year and, dang, it looks good.


Semolina Almond Cookies

Filed under: Recipes,Sweets — Vivid Greens @ 12:41 am

This was my very first time making these little treats and I am quite pleased with the results.  I’m a huge fan of almond flavor so when I saw these tucked inside of my copy of Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates I marked the page for a fancy event such as Thanksgiving.  They have a unique almost chewy texture from the almond paste and semolina flour.  If nothing else, they smell spectacular while baking and would be worth whipping up just to enjoy their aroma.  The recipe is so simple that it makes the prep work for the black strap molasses cookies look hard.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cup semolina flour
  • almonds for the topping

All you do is add the ingredients while stirring with your electric mixer until there are no more ingredients to add. Then you hand roll little almond shapes out of the dough, top each cookie with almonds, and pop them in the oven for 15 – 2o minutes. Take them out when they are firm and the bottoms have just started to turn gold.

The recipe recommends that you put a whole almond in the middle of each cookie but I could only find slivers and I think they turned out quite charming.  They really were the prettiest raw cookies I’ve ever made.  I think that they lost a little of their sparkle in the oven – but they taste delightful!


Black Strap Molasses Cookies November 23, 2010

Filed under: Recipes,Sweets — Vivid Greens @ 3:04 am

These cookies are not for the faint hearted.  They are big bold cookies full of sass.  The black strap molasses has a hearty bittersweet flavor and the ½ cup of brown sugar does little to mellow it out.  There are nutritional differences as well.  Black strap molasses is full of iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.  Familiar holiday spices like cloves, cinnamon, and ginger help to make it taste more like a modern gingerbread cookie but the difference is clearly there.

Mix in a large bowl:

  • ¼ cup soft butter
  • ½ cup of black strap molasses
  • ½ cup of brown sugar

Mix in medium bowl:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ tea salt

Heat ¼ cup of water to the boiling point.

I used an electric mixer to cream the wet ingredients together and then to slowly stir the dry ingredients in to the wet (about one cup of flour at a time).  Add a the water to help soften the dough as you mix it together.  Then form a large ball of dough and put in the fridge for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Roll the cookies out and use cookie cutters or the lip of a small glass to cut them.  Put them on a cookie tray and bake for about 10 minutes.  Let cool and then ice and decorate.


Library 11/20/10 November 21, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 11:43 pm

This week I got two beautiful and large books.  The librarians tease that I order in all the biggest books for them to shelve and re-shelve.  It’s not my intent, it’s just how the cookbooks are!

I am very happy to have the chance to read Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.  Elizabeth Andon is an american who has lived and cooked in Japan for the last forty years, and in this cookbook she shares many fabulous looking recipes.  She also includes great explanations about new and interesting ingredients.  Even better, the book centers around the idea of appreciation and has a beautiful tone.  I knew I was pleased with this book when I found 11 different recipes for daikon radishes.  Now, I love daikon radishes but I never know what to do with them besides just eat them up raw.  Further into the index I discovered that she provides 16 different recipes that call for kombu.  Which I am so excited about!  I’ve been trying to add kombu to our diet but so far have only tried adding it to miso soup.  After the holiday excesses this week expect to see some of these simple and pleasant Japanese meals featured here.

The other book I brought home, Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera, will hopefully give me a few tips on photographing food in my kitchen.  I think what I really need is better lighting, but I expect to find some helpful hints in this tome.  It is a huge oversized book that focuses on professional food styling and has several sections on breaking into the industry.  I think the sections on making food look mouth-watering, food propping and helpful tools of the trade might yield a few gems.  If so, you’ll see an improvement of the pictures on this blog soon.

In other news, I am not going to be featuring a set meal plan for this week.  Dan and I are headed home on Wednesday evening and I’m going to work on eating up leftovers from last week until then.  Instead, I hope to feature a few other holiday favorites, like black strap molasses cookies!  Yum.



Third week of November in Review November 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 9:37 pm

This was a good week.  I missed a few meals that I had planned to eat out – and ate in instead!  Which is a totally new thing for me.  I’m not sure how to calculate this weeks success.  I prepared and ate 86% of my meals this week – which is awesome.  But I only ate 66% of what I planned.  Since I was eating in more and out less, I count that as a week well done.

In other news, I’ve decided to join the Grasshoppers winter CSA here in Louisville.  So we’re going to be cooking seasonally here at Vivid Greens.  I’m so excited!


  • Coffee & Bagel
  • Sweet Potato & Cabbage Soup
  • Beans & Greens Quesadilla


  • Coffee & Bagel
  • Sushi (out) Sandwich
  • Lentils and Kale


  • Coffee & Peanut Butter Toast Coffee shop breakfast
  • Lentils and Kale
  • Three Sisters Casserole (2x)


  • Coffee & Museli Coffee shop breakfast
  • Thanksgiving Potluck
  • Hillbilly Tea (out) Bagel with cream cheese


  • Coffee & Egg Sandwiches
  • Lentils and Kale
  • Road Trip! (out) Quorn patty and biscuits



Not-Buttermilk Biscuits

Filed under: Breakfast,Meals,Recipes,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 3:59 am

I’ve been craving homemade biscuits.  So tonight, I pulled out my mother’s recipe for not-buttermilk biscuits.  Even though they aren’t buttermilk biscuits, they are true crowd pleasers in this day and age where so many biscuits spring forth from a paper tube.  They take just a few minutes to mix together and only 10 minutes in the oven, so if you are looking for a little something special to add to breakfast or dinner and you have an 15 extra minutes consider pulling these out of your bag of tricks.

When Dan first saw the recipes that I’ve inherited from my family he couldn’t believe that they were just lists of ingredients that might or might not include a temperature  suggestion for the oven.  To me it makes perfect sense, you just add the ingredients starting from the top and move down – but to him it’s like trying to read greek.

My only adjustment to this recipe is that I prefer to add 1 Teaspoon instead of 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Give it a whirl either way and see what you think.

Start with softened butter and cut the flour in.  Add the sugar, baking powder and salt. Finally mix in the milk.  Don’t over fold the dough, just mix it enough to absorb all the milk in to the flour.

Now flatten the dough on some wax paper and use a cup with an appropriately sized opening to cut your biscuits.  I used a big cup this time, so the recipe made 6 biscuits.  Once you are done, put them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

They are wonderful with butter, jam, or gravy.


Perilous combinations November 18, 2010

Filed under: Organization,Photography — Vivid Greens @ 11:29 pm

If you’ve been wondering how I am managing to take all of these pictures of food, while simultaneously cooking the food, please know that you aren’t the only one contemplating this combination of hobbies.  It has been a bit hilarious around here as I get used to the camera in my kitchen.

All the little scraps of time in between steps when I used to kind of tidy up a bit have been usurped by my desire to grab a quick picture before I plow on ahead.  Which means, by the time I’m done cooking, the kitchen is an absolute disaster.  Not to mention that I am afraid that the steam and/or the smoke from the kitchen might harm my camera.

I did get a book from the library this week titled “Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera”.  Here’s hoping that the library yet again equips me to solve my problems.