Hi! It’s me. Your resident mermaid. It’s been a long time. No reason in particular. I think we all take breaks from blogging, vlogging, social media, facebook, instagram, blah blah blah, yaddi yaddi yadda, just because it becomes redundant or inconvenient or you just get lazy. I don’t freakin know.
My oldest just finished third grade. We moved to Long Island last summer and she started school at the elementary school that I attended when I was a kid. Do I sound too old if I some weird phrase like “it’s been a trip”! I feel like that’s kind of the appropriate thing here…::shrugs::
So lets talk summer rolls!
One of my favorite things to make this time of year when you have all the fresh, seasonal produce are summer rolls with rice paper wraps. Some people think they’re hard to make because the rice paper can be a pain in the ass to work with but it just takes some practice, I assure you.
I’ve seen two different sizes: small and large. Maybe there’s an in between size, who knows. Whatever size you go with, get a dish to match up with the size, with a lip on it, so that you can fill in with about an inch of water and be able to submerge the rice paper completely in it without making a mess.
You always want to prep all your veggies first so that you’re not scrambling around while you have a wet rice paper on the table looking for that bell pepper in the fridge that you wanted to add…
My favorite things to use for summer rolls? Asparagus, bell pepper, tofu, mint, sprouts, noodles, cucumber, squash, mango, mushroom, avocado, cabbage, tempeh, lettuce, any greens, scallions, chives, radish, daikon, edible flowers, onions…
Things that I wouldn’t put in there? Slimy, wet things, beans, gooey things, I don’t know, lol. Things that you think would fall out easily. I feel like berries would be too squishy and wet but would probably taste REALLY good if you could figure out a way to make it work. I’ve put tomatoes and peaches in my rolls before and they made the rice paper rip before I could eat them 😦 too wet.
Dip one rice paper in, let the excess water drip off, and lay it down on a clean, flat surface.
I like to use one or two large leaves as a base for each roll, either young swiss chard or lettuce, which work great because they don’t have a tough rib. A tough rib will prevent you from being able to fold the roll neatly and tightly.
A leaf goes down first, then some rice noodles, strips of bell pepper, baked tofu, sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, and some cucumber.
Then take the left and fold it over towards the right. As tightly as you can, roll towards the right. I’ll post a video of this on my instagram 🙂 You can leave the top open if you want; I usually do.
Yes, sometimes they’re going to rip. Yes, sometimes there’s going to be a little hole. That’s life. It’s not perfect. Don’t let it ruin your day. You can always wrap again with another rice paper if it’s really falling apart.
So part two of this post is about the ready made meal delivery service called Veestro. Have any of you tried that particular one?!
In the past, I have had friends gift me free meals from companies like blue apron and hello fresh but they don’t have 100% plant based options. 😦
Veestro is a bit different though. Veestro is 100% cooked already and frozen meals, delivered to you. All you need to do is re-heat the meals. Cooking is kind of my enjoyment, so I didn’t know how I was going to feel about heating up meals and not having any part of the “process”.
First impression: everything was packaged super neat and nice. Labeled well. Nutrition facts on everything (yes, this is important to me because I pay attention to how much protein I get to feed my bod properly). I liked how I could stack everything tightly into the freezer and I wasn’t worried about squishing anything.
First meal I had was the beluga lentil braise. Top 5 fave! Loved it. I heated it up on the stove in a non-stick pan and it came out really nice and creamy. Super nice, creamy coconut flavor. Crisp veggies too.
Chick’n quesadilla (at the beach!) was next. Really enjoyed this dish as well. I looooove a good, cheesy quesadilla, and this did not disappoint. I warmed this up over a (not extremely hot) charcoal barbecue wrapped in parchment paper in a corningware dish. It got super crispy. Added some ripe avocado also.
Kale & quinoa salad. Another one that I enjoyed! The dressing was great. The tempeh was cooked well. Loved the addition of the quinoa to the salad, which I might not have thought of on my own. Kind of amazed me how fresh the kale was considering it had been frozen and prepped from across the country! 💓
Spanish Torta. Well, this was probably my FAVORITE of all the dishes I tried and probably why I didn’t get a picture, lol. I ate it in about 10 seconds flat. This. was. amazing. Layers of flavor; a bit of spice; perfect amount of sauce; not too mushy. Omg. Just perfection. I didn’t even know what the hell a spanish torta was tbh. It’s thinly sliced potatoes layered with other veggies, like onions and potatoes, traditionally with eggs but obviously not with eggs in this dish and I didn’t miss them ONE bit. 🙂
So I’ll follow up my favorite dish with my least favorite of the bunch: the veggie lasagna. It wasn’t bad, but could definitely use some work in the test kitchen. It seemed a bit bland and too mushy.
Another one that I thought could use a few tweaks was the black bean pasta alfredo. It looked beautiful, but I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the pasta. The veggies heated up really well and were so tasty! The sauce was great. It was just that dang black bean pasta that I wasn’t a fan of. I’ve had it before and I didn’t like it then either. What can I say: I’m a frikkin Sicilian. I like pasta made from gluten.
Johnny Appleseed was this sweet, little green juice that was soooo welcomed during the midst of this random heat wave in the beginning of June. It was like 90+ degrees with full fledged humidity for three days straight, and I thought I was just going to melt into a little puddle with a giant ball of frizzy blonde hair. Well, I didn’t. I survived. The juice helped. Very refreshing. Who doesn’t appreciate a bit of fresh, green juiced goodness?! ❤
I saved the Thai Chick’n Stew for a rainy day, and when I knew I’d have a bunch of fresh, baby swiss chard greens in the garden. It was well worth the wait! It came with the rice and stew separate, but I ended up mixing it all together and chopping up the fresh greens, raw, right into it. Really nice flavors. I did add some hot sauce to it though. I love a spicy stew. Nice texture on the chick’n!
Last but not least, the lovely piece of chocolate chip cookie cake. I wish they had sent a whole pie…SO GOOD. Omg. I’m always afraid that cakes you have to reheat are going to be dry and crumbly and I’m like UGH NOT THE DRY CRUMBLY CAKE because I love a good, moist cake. This did not disappoint. Great texture. Great flavor. Yes. Five stars. I love chickpea flour cakes/brownies/whatever. Thumbs up.
So overall, I enjoyed the Veestro menu. I would have taken the lentil braise 5x and the spanish torta 10x over all the other dishes though. If you have the patience to go over the menu and try things, definitely do it. It’s a good service for the price.