Ok folks, it’s “In The Kitchen” time which is probably my favorite time because I love me food. I find it fundamentally strange when people say eat to live, don’t live to eat. Can’t I do both? And what better food to eat during these excruciatingly hot summer months (yes, it gets hot in Canada too believe it or not) than to indulge in a super healthy and more importantly, oven free meal? I found the recipe for these spring rolls in Chef Roberto Martin’s new cookbook, Vegan Cooking For Carnivores.
Before you start moving your mouse over to the close button, WAIT! Vegan is not a scary, tasteless, or hippie word. Or at least not anymore. Spring rolls are a great example of food that tastes lovely and doesn’t involve a single animal to make. You can see the recipe in full at the bottom of this post. I’m also including a video of Chef Martin preparing another version of spring rolls on The Ellen Show below (he happens to be her and Portia’s personal chef. Lucky ladies!) so you can check that out too. I’ll be adjusting this recipe to what I happened to have on hand at the time so they wont be the exact same recipe but that’s another fabulous feature of this meal. You can make it a zillion different ways and have it taste like heaven every time.
The steps are super easy. Basically take all your veggies out of the fridge and chop up what you fancy. I went with lettuce, red and orange peppers, green onion, carrots and mango. Be sure to dice up everything nice and small so it will easily fill your rice paper roll.
Then I added some herbs from my garden which is so stupidly exciting for me. Something about having grown it myself and having it on hand when I need it is exhilarating. Some people like to jump out of planes, I have an herb garden.
I added cilantro, mint, and basil chopped finely. You can also cut some thin slices of avocado at this point and put them to the side to add with your filling later. Now pause and take a whiff of your bowl for the smells of summer at its finest.
This was my first time using rice paper but it was easier to use than opening and heating a can of beans. You literally just need to dip a sheet in some warm water for about 20 seconds and you’re good to go. I used a cookie sheet so the entire rice paper sheet can be moistened at once. The higher the temp of the water the quicker it will be ready to use.
Lay your sheet out on a cutting board and straighten it out, checking for tears and holes.
Now scoop a big spoonful of your filling onto the sheet about 1/3rd down from the top.
Add a couple slices of avocado and sprinkle on a little pepper if you dig it.
Then roll the bottom of the sheet up and over the filling and tuck it underneath nice and snugly. It reminded me of rolling up my sleeping bag as a kid except you wont have to stuff this into a ridiculously tiny bag once you roll it all the way up.
Now you want to flip both sides of the roll towards the center to seal up the sides. The moisture from the rice paper acts as an awesome glue to hold everything together so it’s really a cinch to get right. Then you just finish rolling it out to the end.
And viola, there’s your completed spring roll! I cut each of these babies on a diagonal so you can see the colorful goodness inside and arranged them on a plate all fancy-like:
This would be an awesome starter at a party or served with a summer BBQ. We had them as our dinner and they were perfect. I could eat them like potato chips. What’s also great is they are incredibly filling but you’re full of guilt-free food so everyone’s a winner :)
The dipping sauce for these guys is super flavorful. It’s also crazy painless to make too. Check out the recipe in full below for the instructions on the rolls and how to make a yummy sauce to dunk them in:
Mango Spring Rolls
1 package Rice Paper
2-3 cups of Lettuce, finely chopped (I used romaine)
1 Red and Orange Pepper, finely chopped
1 Medium Size Carrot, grated or cut finely
1 Mango, diced
1/2 cup Green Onions, finely chopped
1 Handful Each of Cilantro, Mint and Basil, roughly chopped
2 Avocados, in slices
Juice of 1 Lemon, Lime, and Orange
1 tsp Fresh Ginger Grated
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Water
Combine all the vegetables for rolls except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Lay a sheet of rice paper in warm water for 20 seconds. Lay paper out on flat surface and spoon filling onto lower portion of paper. Add 1 or slice of avocado and fold the bottom of rice paper over the filling tucking it snugly underneath. Fold over the sides of the paper towards the center to seal sides. Continue rolling to the end of sheet and slice roll in half. arrange on plate.
For sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
And that’s all it takes. It’s a great way to beat the heat and get your fresh summer veggie servings. What kinds of things do you cook during summer that avoid the dreaded oven? Share your thoughts!
And as promised, here is Chef Martin preparing a similar version of these rolls on The Ellen Show:
Last summer I shared with you folks what all the happenings were in my little neck of the woods. You can see that post here if you wish. This is my second summer in our first home and although summer is still in its early stages I thought I’d give you a look-see into my present life during these sun shiny days.
I purchased these sweet little porcelain garden markers from Chapters at 50% off (score!). This summer I’ve mostly stuck with herbs like mint and lavender but I’m hoping to learn some mad gardening skills and by next summer be able to grow everything you see labelled above. As a vegan lady it’s exciting to think one day I can cut way back on grocery shopping and just eat from my backyard the food I’ve put my hard working hands into. Or fail miserably with a bunch of dead plants…. who knows! :)
A big part of my summer lovin’ consists of buying sweet sweet local berries. I’ve been gulping down fruit smoothies in the morning as opposed to my regular steaming hot coffee since I feel like sweaty moose is not a great look for me-unless I’m kicking butt at the gym. Smoothies are such a satisfying way to fill your tummy up sans the guilt and sneak in all the yucky health powders and stuff people like to consume. I add maca powder, chia seeds and a B12 powder to mine for an extra nutrition boost. See more about those products here.
My galfriend gave me this hearty white ikea planter and every summer I put it by my front door to brighten up our entrance and give you a burst of flowery scent when you come and go. This year I filled it with some sunny begonias and other bright blooms. It feels extra jolly to come home to some peppy flowers.
I have to admit summer is not my favorite of all the seasons. I rather enjoy the crisp chill of a brisk Autumn day but when my pink roses come into bloom I forget all about the sweltering heat and feel downright jubilant. I can be a majorly prissy girl I know, but there’s just something so gosh dang pretty about roses growing in your yard. On that note here’s one of my favorite cheesy “think positive” quotes:
Instead of complaining about the thorns on the rose bush, be grateful that the thorn bush has roses.
These are my sweet “Welcome to our Home” flowers in my front door basket. Yes, more pink! I loves me some pink. I can’t remember the name of these little cuties but they are small flowering buds that stay fairly compact and are super easy to maintain. I know this because I tend to inadvertently kill most plants but these guys are hanging tough (while being adorbs!)
I’ve also been doing something I’m very good at: evoking my inner consumer. I went on a bit of a shopping spree with my lady friend and bought some spiffy new stuff. I found this daffodil scarf for $15 at Chapters and it’s one of those fantastically gigantic ones you can do all sorts of different things with (good thing you pinned “600+ ways to tie scarves” on Pinterest last week!) The tangerine ring is from H&M and only set me back $7. I have a serious “big funky rings” addiction. The lipstick is from Sephora (a store that could empty my bank account in one visit if I’m not on high alert) in a really sweet shade of, you guessed it, PINK. My skin is paler than a scoop of vanilla ice cream (I have a little chat about that fact here) so I can’t pull of the fun coral colors that you tanner beauties can or I’ll look like a clown. A soft pink is always my go-to color, this one is called Lovable. And lastly I picked up this adorable little book Baby Cakes from my local library for some sweet vegan treat ideas to make for weekend get togethers with my chums. It’s a pretty awesome little book, I recommend checking it out.
My other little shopping spree consisted of something a touch more extravagant. Recently my iPhone decided it was done being alive and just checked out. No good-bye letter, no forwarding address, just a cold hard black screen of hatred. I felt like I was missing a leg for the three or so days I had no phone. What did people do before cell phones? How do you leave the house without a phone? What if I was out and saw something mildly interesting or funny? How would I instantly tell everyone I know about it?!……. Anarchy!
So I walked into Best Buy all confident that I wouldn’t get swept up into any fancy sales footwork and walked out of Best Buy with Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S3, a nifty case and the extended protection plan. That sales person was smooooth! (I also found out I was his first sale, so maybe I just lack smoothness?) What I found silly was that I am so unhip and non-trendy that I had no clue this was the new “gotta have it” cell phone. I didn’t even look at the display model before I bought it; the salesmen just said this was the phone to get and I blindly agreed. What can I say? I was delirious from not being able to read tweets on-the-go. I would have bought a phone made of asbestos and the tears children if it had a data plan and a decent camera. Addictions are no joke people!
Anywho, after using my new phone in public and being constantly asked by excited strangers about it, I realized I fell head first into the latest trend. I suddenly felt like putting on my sunglasses and strutting my stuff.
At any given time in my life, a portion will consist of animal loving because I am one of those psycho: “Don’t swat at the flies!” “My cats are my children!” “What’s the harm in the racoons eating the leftovers out of the trash can? It’s not like we need them!” kind of person. My Ma is currently fostering four little black kittens. This cute little man above is named Luigi and is available for adoption to a good home.
Now for cuteness x4:
A hug full of sunshine is what this is. These four little tykes are all up for grabs to a home brimming with love. (IF you can pry them from my arms!)
And speaking of tykes. This is my little guy Henri who I’m always happy to be welcomed home by. Don’t be fooled by his sophisticated stance, this guy is a handful and a half. Curiosity with total disregard for safety and/or home furnishings is the definition of Henri.
Last but not least, what would summer be without spending time with your friends? My fella and I share in quality time with our friends and our godson whenever the opportunity presents itself and can you blame us? Look at that face. Not the virile hairy one with the deep brown eyes; that’s my guy:) I’m talking about the bald little goof-troop who is pleased as punch sitting in his big buddy’s lap!
Of course not nearly as pleased as when he’s sitting in Auntie’s lap! The boy has good taste.
So how is you Summer coming along so far? Any exciting plans or just relaxing in the sunshine with some delicious ice tea?
(Photos property of Reckless Bliss with the exception of #8)
Diane Keaton isn’t just an Oscar winning actress, director, photographer, and philanthropist, she also has “home flipper extraordinaire” listed on her already stacked resume. Ms Keaton has been known to purchase houses and restore them for resale all while remaining an A-list star (Suddenly I feel like a major under-achiever...) Although this adorable three year old Cape Cod style home is not currently on the market it wouldn’t be surprising to see it listed soon since she is known for purchasing, flipping and selling homes quickly.
Let’s take a look-see inside at some of Keaton’s mad skills:
The home is located in the Pacific Palisades, California and has 7,800 square feet for her and her two children, Duke and Dexter, to stretch out and relax in. Within that massive space there are a total of six bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
I feel anti-feminist just saying this but is there a woman alive who doesn’t love a gigantic beautiful kitchen island? If there is, we probably wouldn’t get along.
Of course the house has all the usual top of the line frills like a movie theater, wine room, gym and game room. If you’ve got 7,800 square feet to fill then why not right? I’m really digging the warm open living and kitchen area.
This bedroom reminds me a lot of the interior design from Keaton’s film “Something’s Gotta Give” which you can see more of on my post about Hampton style homes here. Men simply don’t understand the importance of a bed properly stacked with lovely pillows.
What do you guys think of Ms Diane Keaton’s purdy home?
"I believe in manicures. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing alot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." -Ms Audrey Hepburn
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"Every once in awhile, a girl has to indulge herself."-Ms Sarah Jessica Parker