Vegetarian Delights from Arlo's Kitchen
Have you ever wondered what incredible culinary delights you could whip up without any meat? As a dad who enjoys cooking for my two adorable kids, Larissa and Zephyr, and also preparing yummies for our pets, the majestic Maine Coon cat Oliver, and our energetic West Highland Terrier Baxter, I can tell you that there's a whole lot to explore in the vegetarian world. Yes, you heard right, this is Arlo talking about vegetarian food. Got a puzzled look on your face? Let's clear that up right now!
Breakfast: Avocado Toast Reloaded
Let's kick it off with the first meal of the day, breakfast. People often have the wrong idea that a vegetarian breakfast equals to a bland, sad plate of greens. But man, how wrong they are! Picture this: thick, crusty toast, loaded with smashed buttery avocado, topped with beautiful, sweet cherry tomatoes, slow-roasted in the oven with some thyme and garlic. Add some crunch with toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and there you go, you've created a piece of art. This is my reloaded version of the classic avocado toast and it is simply divine. This quote from Mark Twain is fitting here, "The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."
Lunch: Lentil and Vegetable Curry
Lentil curry is our family's go-to comfort food for lunch. High in protein, lentils make the perfect meat alternative, and, combined with loads of colourful veggies, you get a super satisfying, easy to make dish. What I love about curries is the freedom to experiment with flavours. A teaspoon of cumin here, a dash of turmeric there, a little bit of smoked paprika, and, bam, you've created a masterpiece. Remember guys, cooking is more like painting or playing a piano than science. Find your rhythm, let it flow through you, and make magic happen.
Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers
Dinner is when I try to impress my family with my culinary skills the most. I mean, who doesn't love a bit of show-off, right? One of my favourites is stuffed bell peppers. Hollowed out bell peppers filled with a mouth-watering mix of quinoa, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes, the sight of which would make even the hardcore non-vegetarians drool. Top it off with some crumbled feta and bake until the peppers are softened and the filling is hot. Trust me, folks, this belly-warming dish will turn even the gloomiest of rainy Auckland evenings into a family fiesta.
Snacks: Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
When Zephyr and Larissa come home from school, they're invariably hungry - as if they hadn't eaten for weeks! That's when my oven-baked sweet potato fries come into play. Crunchy on the outside, tender and sweet on the inside, they're the perfect snack to refuel my little energy powerhouses. Plus, high in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes make a healthy alternative to regular fries. Pro Tip: For extra crunch, toss them in a little cornstarch before baking.
Desserts: The World of Fruit Popsicles
Now, we can't finish without talking about desserts, can we? As much as I love baking, when it comes to dessert, I prefer to keep things light and fresh. Homemade fruit popsicles are a hit in our household, especially in the summers. The combinations are endless!! Mango and pineapple, cherry and lime, watermelon and mint, kiwi, and strawberry whatever fruits I've got in the kitchen, they're likely to end up in a popsicle. So, the voyage of popsicle discovery never ends in our humble abode in Auckland.
Drinks: Smoothie Extravaganza
Now, if you thought the world of fruit popsicles was vast, wait until you dive into the world of smoothies. We're talking blueberries and almond milk, banana and spinach, kiwi and cucumber, the list goes on... The beauty of making smoothies is that you can add a scoop of protein powder or a tablespoon of chia seeds for a healthy boost. When made right, they're the perfect balance of sweet, refreshing, and healthy.
In case you're wondering if I've gone off the meaty end, let me assure you, I still relish a good steak. However, exploring vegetarian cuisine has added a new dimension to my culinary journey. Remember, being a good cook is about exploring new horizons, trying out new things, and creating delicious memories. Bon appétit, everyone!