Marissa's Eggplant-Artichoke-Lemon Lasagna

I randomly found this recipe online from The Veggie Table for a vegan lasagna (this vegan recipe goes out to you, Ro!). I wanted to find something creative because Alina's dishes are always so creative and so she's pushed me to higher standards. :)

This recipe was by far the most labor intensive to make out of everything I've made so far. The amount of prep it took is enough to make me not want to make it again.

Alina's Tempeh Gyros with Tofu Tzatziki

I lived in Chicago one summer, and during that time I consumed an unimaginable amount of gyros. In my mind, gyros equate to summertime which is my favorite season by a landslide. As the snow falls outside (why do I live in Wisconsin again?) I've started to crave this summertime treat. Of course, traditional gyros have a tendency to make your hips expand and your heart chug harder, so my challenge this week was to concoct a healthier version that was equally delicious.

Traditionally gyros are stuffed with lamb meat. I've been wanting to make something with tempeh as of late, and realized that tempeh would be the perfect filling for a gyro. I also wanted a simple and healthy tzatziki sauce, and a quick search yielded a jackpot find from the blogger Vegan Dad. Most tzatziki sauce is yogurt based, which is fine, but I thought this guy's recipe was interesting because he used silken tofu instead. I don't actually like yogurt that much, so I was happy to sub it out. I omitted the parsley because I forgot to pick some up at the store. He also uses tempeh, but he turns the tempeh into patties, so his recipe is more complex. I think my straightforward way is delicious and requires much less effort, but his recipe would be interesting to try sometime too.

The final judgement? It was DELICIOUS! And oh-so-easy too. This is something easy, quick, and cheap enough to make regularly aaaaaand it's healthy, which is a nice diversion from traditional gyros. Score!

Marissa's Thai Tofu Lettuce Wraps

So naturally, as I was making this recipe, I was in a big hurry cooking because we were going to be late to whatever we had planned that night after dinner. So, my pix and process here leave a little something to be desired...

I decided to make tofu lettuce wraps because they are yummy. However, I just glanced at the recipe again and realized they are not all that healthy. 43g fat in one serving? Yikes. I'm going to give them 2 stars for health. I'm guessing it's because of the pb & mayo, mostly. I followed the recipe to a T, except I omitted the chili sauce and used cabbage because I couldn't find the other kind of lettuce. Here are some pics of my process:

Alina's Mushroom + Walnut Pesto Pizza on a Butternut Squash Crust

This post is inspired by one of the yummiest pizza restaurants in Madison: Cafe Porta Alba. I recently had a pizza there with a walnut puree sauce and my reaction was something akin to the entire Mormon tabernacle choir spontaneously breaking out in the hallelujah chorus in my head. Yep, that crazy good. Naturally, I wanted to replicate it at home. I mixed things up a little by setting the stage on a butternut squash crust that I found over at the diva-dish. This crust did not disappoint, and it ended up melding with the walnut and mushroom flavors perfectly! This was so much fun to make and easy enough that any dummy with a food processor could probably replicate it.

Alina's Chipotle Caramelized Onions and Guac on a Black Bean Throne

Last week Marissa made black bean veggie burgers, and they were quite yummy. I love making black bean burgers, so I decided to whip up some of my own. To spice it up, I added guacamole (healthy fat=good) and caramelized chipotle onion-- and when I say spice it up, I mean it. On their own, these onions were sizzling, but I didn't think they were unbearable on the burger because the guac helped mellow them out. Marissa told me they thought the burgers were delicious but the onions were too spicy, so if you don't like spice be wary!

The chipotle caramelized onion recipe comes from Kevin over at one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking. Many of his recipes aren't particularly healthy, but they are always very creative. To be honest, this was just an excuse to try one of his delicious looking recipes.

The burger recipe is flexible, so I often just throw in whatever I'm feeling that day. This time I tried to make it in the "typical" way, but that's like telling the wind which way to blow. It just has to happen naturally. So if you try this recipe, don't be afraid to let your belly lead you.

Marissa's Turkey Minestrone Soup

Last Saturday was Thanksgiving in February at our house. In other words, my husband's parents were visiting so we went all out and made a Turkey dinner. So for this week, I needed a creative way to use some leftover Turkey. I searched "Turkey" on and found a recipe for minestrone. I used the soup base from this recipe, but I ended up changing the rest of the ingredients around, based on what we had in our fridge/at the store. Did I mention that Alina LOVES minestrone? Win.

Marissa's Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Hello again. For this week, I decided to make homemade black bean veggie burgers to have on my husband's (delicious) homemade sourdough bread. He is both the bread-winner and the bread-maker in our home. What a catch! :)

I started with a recipe from Below is a picture of the ingredients that I used. I omitted the hot sauce that the recipe calls for because I felt that with the cumin & chili powder they would be spicy enough for our preference. Instead of breadcrumbs, I followed one reviewer's advice and crumbled Ritz crackers instead. I also added some whole kernels of before forming them into patties to give them some extra color & texture.

Alina's Pumpkin Mole Enchiladas

I had this idea to combine two of my favorite things: delicious cocoa based mole sauce (yum!) with a savory pumpkin dish.

I've been tossing pumpkin mole enchiladas around in my head for a while now, and decided to finally take the plunge and make it. I scoured the Internet for an existing pumpkin mole enchilada recipe, but came up dry. All the pumpkin enchilada recipes I found were not suitable for a mole sauce, so I ended up improvising and modifying this recipe from the Peanut Butter Fingers blog. Basically I replaced the enchilada sauce with the corn based recipe I whipped up below. I also added zucchini and spinach for a little extra veggies. Altering this recipe that is apparently quite delicious might have been a mistake, because while conceptually it has a lot of potential (pumpkin and chocolate sauce has to be amazing) the result was sort of eh. I want to try again and make some renovations to the recipe. I still think this could be great with a little tweaking.