Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vegan Taco Casserole

I promised I was going to cook a real meal this weekend, and that is exactly what I did.  While I love the vegetarian lifestyle, one thing I miss are savory casseroles with lots of great flavors blended together.  I've been craving Mexican food ever since they were sampling taco seasoning on tofu at Trader Joe's last week.  So, with those thoughts in mind, I combined Mexican flavors and a casserole technique and created this Vegan Taco Casserole.  Give it a try, it's pretty darn fantastic!

Vegan Taco Casserole
1 tbsp EVOO
2 cloves garlic
1 package tempeh
1/4 cup vegetable broth
3 tsp taco seasoning (try to find one without preservatives and bucket-loads of salt)
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (no salt added)
3 whole wheat tortillas
1 can refried black beans
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

An assortment of toppings: arugula, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes

1. Add EVOO to hot skillet, followed by garlic.  Saute for 2 minutes.  Add crumbled tempeh to skillet and cook for a couple minutes.
2.  Add vegetable broth, taco seasoning, and tomatoes.  Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
3.  In a greased glass dish, place a tortilla on the bottom.  Top with 1/3 cup black beans.  Then add 1/3 of the tempeh mixture on top of the beans.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
4. Continue to layer: tortilla, beans, tempeh, nutritional yeast.  You will have a total of 3 layers.
5. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. Serve on top of a bed of arugula.  Top with avocado, cilantro, and tomatoes.

When I mentioned my trip  to Florida last weekend, I failed to share the funniest pictures of the trip.  I though for sure that Bailey would enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool after our 9 mile run in the heat.  As you see, she wasn't exactly keen of the water.  She quickly shimmied up to the highest point and clung on to me for dear life.

What a big baby!  Certainly not the water dog that we hoped she would be.

In other news, check out my vegetable plants.  A week ago they were struggling to survive in the dry heat.  Now, after a week of rain, they are flourishing.  Any tips for controlling my squash that is growing in all sorts of rogue directions?

This morning I enjoyed a perfectly lazy Sunday morning.  Ideally, I would have been reading the Sunday paper.  Does anyone else find great excitement in all of those ads?  Instead, I made a dent in my rapidly growing magazine collection.  I sipped on a glass of chestnut tea, perused the magazines, and soaked up the crisp morning air.  If only every day started like this . . .

After lounging around, I got to work on breakfast.  Thirty minutes later I had a steaming hot plate of cinnamon pumpkin pancakes topped with fresh blueberries.  Yum!  And the bonus that comes from a little extra effort in the kitchen  is lots of tasty pancakes tucked away in the freezer and ready for consumption on a busy morning.

My legs are officially trashed tonight!  As I mentioned in my last post, I had some kick-butt workouts planned for the weekend.  And kick butt they did!  You've got to love those workouts which hurt so bad, but leave you with a sense of accomplishment once you're done.  I hopped on the scale this morning prior to starting my workout so that I could calculate just exactly how much sweat I lost in the summer heat.  After a ninety minute bike and 3 mile run, I found myself 4 pounds lighter.  Crazy!  Have I mentioned how much I dislike the heat and humidity!  I guess that really highlights how much water we need to drink to stay hydrating during workouts.

And last, but not least, in the post full of scattered thoughts, the best benefit that comes from high-quality workouts - food for refueling!  Did I mention that I really love to eat?

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