Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

I’ve got quite a kitchen success to share with you all today. It was a success because:

  1. It’s a super easy recipe (obviously) that sounds fancy
  2. I made something with mushrooms. And I used to hate mushrooms.

But first of all, let’s cover the weekend. Alex’s birthday was on Sunday, so the weekend was packed with lots of festivities. We celebrated with friends Saturday night and then Sunday, I planned a day around the city. It began with Brunch at EAT in Oregon Hill (which you may remember from my post with the RVA Brunch Club).

EAT Oregon Hill Brunch

After brunch, we browsed around the Pop Art Exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and then watched the Twins win from a comfortable spot on the couch. We wrapped up the evening with dinner from 821 Cafe (highly recommend it!) and Oreo Espresso ice cream from Bev’s. Solid Sunday, right?

But let’s get back to the kitchen.

Remember that time I told you to make that super easy pesto recipe? Well if you didn’t, then I’m demanding you get in the kitchen and make it, because you’re going to need it for the recipe. But don’t worry. It will only take an extra 5 minutes to make these. But you can impress your friends with stuffed mushrooms. Because there is something about stuffed mushrooms that just sound fancy. And then when pesto gets involved, it’s a party.

pesto stuffed mushrooms

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • ¼ cup pesto (super easy recipe here)
  • ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil spray
  1. Wash and dry the mushrooms, and remove the stems, so you have little hollow mushrooms.
  2. Combine the pesto, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese in a small bowl. It might be easiest to use your hands.
  3. Then scoop in a little bit of the mixture into each mushroom, so it's piled high.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread out your 'shrooms.
  5. Let them bake in the oven until they start to brown. Be careful, these will be hot!

To be fair, I’d never actually had a stuffed mushroom before. I have only recently started to befriend the little fungi. (Maybe it’s a texture thing?) But I have to admit, I really liked these.

I’m going to keep these in mind next time I need to serve fancy-schmancy party snacks.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Sauteed Spinach & Shrimp via Chic Stripes

Hey friends! I’m super excited about today’s post. My friend Sydney from the awesome fashion blog Chic Stripes is here to share a recipe with you all! You should definitely head on over to her blog, too (I’m posting my attempts at fashion) because not only is she awesome, she’s a local Richmonder!

Hi all! I’m Sydney and can usually be found over at Chic Stripes where I blog about fashion and style from a 2nd hand point of view. As I take my thrifting and consignment shopping seriously, I have committed to only shopping 2nd hand 1st for 2013. It has definitely cut down my impulse and non-essential purchases and I have gotten some quality pieces for great prices in return, but it’s not for the faint of heart (I’m still waiting for the Prabal for Target pieces to show up at Plato’s).

Today though, in keeping with Liz’s amazing blog, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite go-to recipes. I love simple, fresh and healthy meals that not only taste great, but are impressive for sharing. I believe this recipe originally came from a Southern Living cook book (gift from mother-in-law), but it’s one of those recipes that is super simple to make that it’s been committed to memory and I can whip it out in less than 15 minutes. My favorite things about this recipe are, in no particular order:

  1. It calls for less than 10 items
  2. My husband enjoys when I make it
  3. It’s adaptable for a lot changes (go meatless or add different types of seafood – scallops would be amazing with this!

As I said, this recipe is super simple. Prepare to be dazzled by my skills and technical cooking abilities:

sydney's recipe

Sautéed Spinach and Shrimp


1 garlic bulb (I usually use 2-3 of the little garlic pieces)

1 tbsp olive oil

Chicken or veggie broth

Shrimp (any kind/size! I use frozen cocktail shrimp)

Bag of fresh leaf spinach

Lemon juice

Crushed red pepper

Side dish: Cous Cous (we love the Parmesan)

  • Prepare Cous Cous (or your side dish of choice) according to directions on the box
  • Prep shrimp – if using frozen, pull out and thaw in a small/medium bowl with hot water. De-tail once unfrozen. If using fresh, devein and detail
  • Put 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium on the stove
  • Chop your desired amount of garlic and put in the pan to cook (don’t let it burn! Did that once and had to scrap the stuff and start over)
  • Add shrimp and cook until done (shrimp turns a light pink when done)
  • Transfer shrimp, garlic and olive oil mixture from the pan to a small bowl and set aside
  • Add 3-4 cups of broth, 2-3 tbsp of lemon juice, and 4-6 shakes of pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like things)
  • Let simmer until broth cooks down to half its amount
  • Add spinach. For two, I usually use about half a bag (spinach cooks down quite a bit). Stir until completely wilted
  • Add the shrimp, garlic and olive oil back into the pan with spinach and broth and let warm
  • Serve and enjoy!

Will you be trying this recipe? If so, let me know what you think and how/if you adapt it!


5 Minute Pesto (+ Gnocchi)

It’s too bad Alex reads my blog. He’s going to see that this dinner took me barely 5 minutes to prepare. Oh well, by the time he reads this, he will have already done the dishes for me. (You have no idea how awesome it is to have someone do the dishes. Seriously.)

The weather turned cool again over the weekend, and Monday evening I was craving a little comfort food. I had a package of gnocchi that I’d picked up at Trader Joe’s, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. It seemed like I should pair it with a super creamy, cheesy sauce, but I wasn’t entirely in the mood for creamy… so I settled on pesto. The problem was, I’d never made pesto. It figured it couldn’t be that hard, right?

Good news, it wasn’t. I browsed a few recipes online, but in my usual fashion, I ended up just using what I had on hand. I tried to pay attention to portions so you could recreate it!


5 Minute Pesto

Makes about 1 cup of pesto (<-that’s a lot)

  •    1 package of fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (about 8 big leaves)
  •    1/3 cup walnuts
  •    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  •    3/4 cup olive oil
  •    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  •    1/2 tsp garlic powder
  •    1/2 tsp oregano
  •    1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  •    Salt to taste

This recipe is super simple. I literally dumped everything in my tiny food processor and pulsed until it was a smooth consistency. I will note that I added a little too much crushed red pepper and it was super spicy. I cut down on the spice by adding a tablespoon of sugar, but as long as you only add 1/8 tsp, you should be just fine. You can definitely play with these ratios. I think next time I might add a tiny bit more basil, I just didn’t have any more on hand.

I was boiling a big pot of water while I was making pesto, so once I was finished, I added in a pack of Trader Joe’s Potato Gnocchi, which only needs to boil for 2 minutes. Yes, 2 minutes. It’s even easier than pasta. I was actually really pleased with the gnocchi. Not bad for a packaged food. I’d definitely buy it again. If you’re not in the mood for gnocchi, you could also use this pesto on whole wheat pasta, crusty french bread, or over roasted tomatoes.

Super easy pesto

This dinner came together so quickly, we finished just in time to catch Jeopardy. Alex beat me, as usual.

I’ll be keeping this recipe in mind for those nights when I want something a little fancy, but don’t have time to spend in the kitchen. With this recipe, there are really no excuses.

What’s your favorite kind of sauce?

Vegetarian Beer Dinner

I’m going to start off by saying, I’m not really much of a beer drinker. I love wine, I’ll enjoy the occasional cocktail, and I’ve started sipping cider, but I’m still not a beer lover. That said, this vegetarian beer dinner was the perfect opportunity for me to sample a variety of brews, and get more familiar with food pairings. The fact that it was a vegetarian dinner was an amazing bonus. I forgot how awesome it is to be able to enjoy exactly what everyone else is having!

Thank you, Lauren, for hosting all of us!

Here’s a snapshot of the amazing vegetarian spread we enjoyed:

vegetarian beer dinner

From top to bottom: (Links will take you to the original recipe, a similar recipe, or the cookbook it came from)

My favorite drink of the night was technically not a beer, but the Potter’s Cider was so good, we allowed it anyway 😉 I adored Adrienne’s Samosas and she made it sound like it was simple enough that I could recreate these! They were filled with so many delicious spices and vegetables, I loved them. I’ll definitely be trying those sometime this week.

The night was filled with such good food, but also wonderful company. It was great eating with old friends and new friends and laughing about everything from vegan food to hashtags (#rvavegbeerdinner). Food always tastes better with great people, and it didn’t take long for our hashtag to start trending 😉

Have you ever gone to a beer dinner?

Food Review Friday- Chia Bars, Suja Juice, & Kefir Fro-Yo

I’ve got quite a collection of things to review today, all of them being slightly strange-sounding…

I tried everything from chia bars to frozen kefir this week. Some were good, some not so good. But that’s what these reviews are all about, right? So off we go!

Health Warrior Chia Bars!

I snagged this in the checkout line at Whole Foods (hello, impulse purchase) but they sold me with the talk of chocolate and peanut butter… First a quick note about chia seeds: If you haven’t tried them before, give them a shot! Chia seeds are super good for you, and provide lots of healthy fats! They can also serve as an egg replacer in some vegan baked goods. Anyways.

chia bar

This bar was on sale for $.90, so not too expensive. Taste-wise, it was similar to a Larabar, but a little less sweet. The texture was similar to a Larabar as well, but it was packed with Chia seeds. More than I expected, actually. It was also on the small side, but for 100 calories, it seemed reasonable.

Suja Juice

Disclaimer: I received some free coupons from the Suja juice company, so I was able to try this for free. That’s an important thing to note, because these are $8.99 EACH. Yes. $9 bucks for a bottle of juice…

suja juice

Did it taste good? Yes. It actually tasted pretty awesome. Not too sweet, and it didn’t take any “getting used to” as Kombucha does for some. But it was $9. So unless you’re really investing in your juice… I’d just make something at home. They do have some other flavors, and I do have more coupons, so I’ll be trying others, but probably not buying these on a regular basis.

Kefir Frozen Yogurt

Saving the best for last! I first tried a sample of this stuff at SXSW (even the plain was delicious) so when I saw it in the store, I went for the mango flavor.

lifeway frozen kefir

Holy YUM This stuff is good. Only 90 calories per serving, which meant that even though Alex and I polished off the whole pint, it was only 180 calories each. I definitely see this becoming a summer staple. It’s a little pricey, at $5 a point, but this stuff is loaded with probiotics and other things that allow me to tell myself that this treat is good for me 😉 Really though, this is a great alternative if you have an ice cream craving, and it won’t leave you feeling like you just ate a “diet” treat.

If you have a product you’d like me to review, shoot me an e-mail at iheartveggiesblog (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll waste my money so you don’t have to 😉 For more product reviews, click here!

Have you found any fun products recently?

What I Ate Wednesday- Out & About

I haven’t spent more than 5 minutes in the kitchen over the last few days. After the weekend in DC, Alex’s sister and her boyfriend came to Richmond, and we’ve been out and about in the evenings. I’m not complaining, and I’ve actually been able to make some fairly healthy choices, making me feel just fine about it. After the weekend, my body was craving fruits and veggies, so it’s been easy to find ways to satisfy those cravings!

So here’s a little What I Ate Wednesday – Out & About recap.

For breakfast, I’ve still been craving yogurt. I filled a bowl with vanilla Greek yogurt, blueberries, and some Special K protein cereal. The cereal added a nice crunch and a bonus kick of protein. This bowl kept me pretty full until lunch time.

breakfast yogurt

For lunch, I was supposed to go out with my brother and his wife, but my brother wasn’t feeling well so we rescheduled. Since I already had my heart set on Which Wich, Kate joined me and I satisfied my sandwich craving.

lunch at which wich

If you have Which Wich in your area, I highly recommend it! It’s like a much more delicious version of Subway. They have tons of great vegetarian options, and it’s pretty quick to get in and out. I ordered a sandwich and added lots of veggies (and feta of course) and Kate and I shared some Sun Chips. It completely hit the spot, and I wasn’t hungry again until dinner! Normally I need an afternoon snack, but this lunch really kept me full and happy. I guess that’s what happens when you listen to your cravings.

When dinner rolled around, I went the Tobacco Company with Alex, Nicole and David. We ordered a bunch of appetizers and I had lots of hummus + pita and some fried yellow tomatoes.

dinner at tobacco

It was enjoyed with a few drinks, and lots of laughter. The best kind of dinner, of course. Then naturally, we had to follow dinner with a little Sweet Frog. Obviously. (If you come visit Richmond, fro-yo is necessary.)

I’m looking forward to getting back into cooking, but I definitely enjoyed all of these meals out!

Do you like cooking or eating out?


Scenes from the Weekend

To say that this weekend was busy would be a bit of an understatement. But as you probably know, busy weekends are one of my favorite things, so I’m totally not complaining.

Friday night, I got to enjoy dinner with some friends at Fresca, one of my favorite restaurants in Richmond. The entire menu is vegetarian, and I’ve never had something I didn’t enjoy. Alex and I shared the kale pizza and the pesto pizza. The kale pizza is still my favorite, but the pesto pizza was awesome as well. Lauren also got the kale pizza, while Sarah ventured out and tried the lentil burger.

fresca pizza kale

They were fueling up for the Monument 10K and Alex and I were just being supportive 😉 If you live in Richmond, you should definitely check this place out. Good prices, great food, and awesome ingredients! (For more Richmond restaurant reviews, click here!)

Saturday, Alex and I headed up to D.C. to catch the Nationals game, with his sister, her boyfriend, and lots of friends! I’d never been to that stadium, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I filled up on popcorn and french fries… sometimes it’s necessary 😉

ball park photo

After the game, we grilled out at a friend’s house, and black bean burgers were grilled especially for me and Alex. We also sliced up some zucchini and tossed that on the grill as well. (Sneaking in vegetables when I can!)

Sunday, we went to the Smithsonian Institution National Air & Space Museum outside of the city. It was a pretty cool museum with lots to see. I’m glad I had my camera with me, even though I only had my 55mm lens.

 air space museum

We made it back to Richmond Sunday evening, and I’m pleased to say it was a fantastic weekend. I might not have filled up on my usual fruits and vegetables, but I’ve learned that my diet won’t crash in a single weekend. A bag of popcorn or some french fries won’t make or break me, although I will say that I noticed I don’t have nearly as much energy when I’m not filling up on healthy food. I guess it really is all about balance!

What did you do this weekend?

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Wraps + Panko Crusted Asparagus

I’ve got a double dose of recipes for you. Many of you requested the recipes from Tuesday’s dinner, and I’m happy to share because they’re pretty delicious considering how easy they are. At first I was on the fence about the quinoa wraps, but they definitely grew on me. And they’re gluten free + vegan, if that’s your thing. The asparagus actually came out better than I expected. Anyways.

First of all, let me give credit where credit is due. I found both of these recipes on pinterest. This is the original recipe for the asparagus, and this is the original recipe for the wraps. But both of them used a lot of ingredients, and we all know I’m not into that. So I looked for a way to simplify them so they could be put into the 5-ingredients or less hall of fame.

So lets start with my new favorite way to eat asparagus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above tossing them on the George Foreman, and sprinkling with a little salt and pepper, but in case you want to take your asparagus to the next level, here you go.

panko crusted asparagus

Panko Crusted Asparagus

  •     1lb asparagus spears
  •     1 egg
  •     Splash of almond milk
  •     1 cup panko bread crumbs
  •     Your favorite spices (I used salt, pepper, and garlic powder)

Rinse your asparagus, and snap the tough ends off. Whisk the egg and milk in a small bowl, and pour it into a shallow baking dish. Dip the asparagus in the egg mixture and then roll it in panko crumbs. Sprinkle with spices. (You can also add your spices directly into the panko.) Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs begin to brown. Serve hot.

This panko crusted asparagus is the perfect easy summer side dish! Fresh asparagus with a crunchy panko coating!

Easy, right? Let’s move on to the main course. These are a little trickier, because rice paper wraps are a unique little beast. They’re not too bad though. Just grab a little extra patience on your way to the kitchen. I promise it’ll be painless.

sesame ginger quinoa wraps

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Wraps

  •     1/2 cup dry quinoa
  •     1 cup water
  •     3 tbsp sesame dressing (I used this one)
  •     1/4 tsp ginger
  •     4 sheets rice paper
  •     1 cup Mixed greens
  •     1/4 cup chopped carrots
  •     Soy sauce or peanut sauce

Start by rinsing your quinoa in cold water. Then bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then fluff with a fork. Add your dressing and stir. Fill a shallow baking dish with warm water, and soak the rice paper wrappers for 15-20 seconds, and then set aside on a wet paper towel. Immediately fill it with quinoa and greens, and wrap as tightly as you can. It’s a little tricky to work with, but it gets easier! They’ll be a little sticky, but they weren’t too hard to eat. We dipped ours in soy sauce, but I think they’d be delicious in peanut sauce as well.

We ate these on the porch, and they made for a nice and light dinner. I’m not sure how well leftovers would work for these recipes, but it was just about the perfect amount for me and Alex, so it wasn’t an issue.

What’s your favorite light summer meal?

What I Ate Wednesday: Carbs

Some days, I just crave carbohydrates. If we’re eating cheese and crackers, I’d be willing to pass on the cheese and enjoy the cracker. Weird, I know. Don’t get me wrong, I love my veggies, but I also love me some carbs.

That said, I’ve been trying to teach myself balance. I know that if I want some crackers and peanut butter or cereal, but force myself to eat yogurt, I’m not going to be satisfied. (Unless of course we’re talking about fro-yo…) I’m not even talking about sugar-carbs, I’m talking about bread-like carbs. You know, the ones in the cereal box that constantly tempt me. Those.

So yesterday, when I was craving carbs, I went with it, but tried to keep things balanced. So this is a little “What I Ate Wednesday“, heavy on the carbs!

I rolled out of bed earlier than usual, to go on a quick run with Brittany. When I got home, I didn’t have a huge appetite, but I knew I needed to refuel.

breakfast bagel and apple

Since,  I wasn’t craving my normal protein shake, so I decided on a Bagel Thin with peanut butter, and an apple. This really filled me up and totally satisfied my morning carb craving. This actually kept me pretty full until lunch!

On my way out the door, I packed a few things for work.

lunch lentils and chickpeas

A box of Lentil Soup (delicious and so filling, but it was a little hot out for soup) some Special K Protein cereal, and a bag of The Good Bean roasted chickpeas. I ended up eating the lentil soup for lunch, and snacked on the cereal and some of the chickpeas throughout the afternoon.

I hadn’t cooked much over the weekend, so Tuesday night I was excited to get back in the kitchen. I’d been pinning some recipes that I had my eye on, so I did a little remix on this recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon and this recipe from iHerb’s Healthy Haven blog. I made much simpler versions of these recipes. Bottled dressing can be a lifesaver.

asparagus and rice wraps

I managed to get this dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Not bad for a Tuesday. If you’d like I can share my (simplified) version of those recipes on Friday. Rice paper proved to be a bit challenging but it all worked out in the end. Eaten with a glass of wine (x2) on the deck in the sun. Hello, spring.

For more pinterest inspired dinners, follow my boards here.

What do you eat when you’re craving carbs?

Protein [Vegan] Macaroni and Cheese

I think I still have paint on my hands. Alex and I spent a portion of the weekend painting bookcases, a dresser, and a nightstand. The finish products came out quite well, even if I’m a super messy painter. We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Don’t Look Back, Carytown Burgers & Fries, and Urban Farmhouse. Plus Lindsay and I made it to happy hour with Sydney and her lovely friend Jennifer. Oh, and I got all dressed up with Kevin for the Equality Virginia dinner. Yes, busy weekend. weekend equality virginia

I’ve been kind of protein obsessed lately. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s good for you, or maybe because I’ve been running more, or maybe because I’m constantly being asked “how do you get enough protein?”…

But whatever the reason, it’s been on my mind. So when I had a craving for macaroni and cheese, I started thinking about how I could make a protein-packed dinner worth blogging about. I’ve made a vegan macaroni and cheese recipe before (here) but I wanted to make something a bit fancier. Something you’d want to serve for dinner. So armed with an idea, some nutritional yeast, and an adorable set of measuring spoons, I embarked on a quest for a protein macaroni and cheese.


High Protein [Vegan] Macaroni and Cheese

3.0 from 1 reviews
Protein [Vegan] Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 cup soymilk (or almond milk)
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance vegan margarine (or butter)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz whole wheat macaroni
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  1. Start by combining the first 5 ingredients in a sauce pan, and whisk over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the margarine is completely melted.
  2. Slowly whisk in the whole wheat flour, and continue to cook over low heat for 3 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken.
  3. In a separate pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  4. Add in 8oz of macaroni and cook until the pasta is still just a tiny bit firm.
  5. Drain the pasta, and pour into an 8x8 baking dish or 4 large ramekins.
  6. Cover with cheese sauce and breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes at 350.
  7. Note: If your cheese sauce sets while your pasta is cooking, just whisk in a little extra soymilk to thin it out. Same thing for reheating. You may need to add a little soymilk into the dish and stir it around.

high protein vegan macaroni and cheese

I added up the ingredients, and 1/4 of this recipe (shown above) is about 300 calories and 32g of protein. Not bad for a comfort food.

Note: Alex and I decided this would be even better with a little bit of “real” cheese thrown into the mix. I was trying to keep the calories down, but if you’re not concerned with that (or keeping things vegan) you could certainly stir in a 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, to get a little bit more of that ooey, gooey, macaroni texture. 

So maybe next time someone asks how I get protein… I’ll answer: Macaroni and cheese.

How do you get protein?