Cooking for the Vegetarian (or Vegan) in Your Life Just Got Easier 2

Just about every cuisine and type of dish is featured, and the full range of meats, alternative proteins, grains, and vegetables are covered. I have prepared several dishes already, including Kung Pao Chicken or Tofu; Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Portobello Mushrooms; and the delicious Moroccan Vegetables, Fish, and Couscous En Papillote. I look forward to making my way through many more.
One of my absolute favorites in the book is among the simplest (and so flavorful); I’ve made it many times already. Lazy Spanish Rice-which appears in Ivy’s Rizo Quesadillas with Creamy Avocado Dip and Lazy Spanish Rice recipe-is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican main dish, though I also love to eat a bowlful as an entrée with a salad or quesadilla on the side. Its prepared in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, takes only about 20 minutes, and is colorful, filling, and tasty (and can easily be made vegan).
Every guest at your table is sure to enjoy it, as I am positive they will the other eighty recipes Ivy serves up in The Adaptable Feast.
Serves 4 as a side dish
This easy side dish is cooked with pantry staples in a rice cooker, so it is as easy as flipping a switch. The secret is a good-quality salsa and a slightly spicy chipotle bouillon cube, available at some grocery stores and Latin markets. You can use canned chipotle chiles instead if you can’t find the chipotle cubes.
1-1/2 cups long-grain white or brown rice
5 tablespoons mild or medium salsa
1 Knorr chipotle bouillon cube, crumbled,
or 2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles
2-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 green onions, chopped
Combine the rice, salsa, bouillon cube, water, and butter in a rice cooker. Cook until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork and fold in the olives and green onions.
Vegan Variation: Use olive oil instead of butter.

Cooking for the Vegetarian (or Vegan) in Your Life Just Got Easier

I grew up in a household not unlike millions of others: one of a mixed-diet family. My mother cooked well-balanced meals with meat and vegetables nearly every evening, and my parents, sister, and I all ate together at the dinner table. However, by the time we were in our teens, my sister developed a dairy allergy and made the choice to be a vegetarian. This required my mother to prepare a larger portion of a main meat dish for three of us to eat while making an individual portion of more vegetables, tofu, or grains to feed my sister. It was a difficult transition-my mother had to entirely rethink how she approached the evening meal. The biggest headache was trying to time everything so the two meals were ready at the roughly same time, allowing us to continue eating as a family. Unfortunately there weren’t any cookbooks available that offered a selection of recipes starting with the same base ingredients and prepared all at once to accommodate both the omnivores and the vegetarian at the table.
I face the same challenge when my sister comes to visit for dinner every week or two, because even though I don’t need to have meat with every meal to feel satisfied, my husband does. I often adapt common vegetarian recipes and add grilled chicken or shrimp for him, or prepare a separate dish that tastes just as good with a pile of vegetables to offer my sister. But now I have a great resource at my fingertips that allows me to do double duty in the kitchen: Ivy Manning’s new release The Adaptable Feast: Satisfying Meals for the Vegetarians, Vegans, and Omnivores at Your Table.
Over the course of several years cooking for and with her vegetarian spouse, Ivy-an omnivore-compiled an impressive number of main dishes, sides, and staples that can be served in portions to satisfy all the vegetarians, vegans, and/or omnivores in your home.

Closet Clips

When it comes to fashion, I am a bit of a sissy. I do not lead the pack and revel in my bold style decisions. I do not wear plants on my head like Sarah Jessica Parker, hobo-chic body sacks like Mary Kate and Ashley, or full swan costumes like Bjork (though I admire any woman who can ruffle feathers). Rather, I adopt the safe, mainstream trends that, on a good day, earn me a sidewalk compliment, and, on a bad day, go generally unnoticed.

For this reason, I am thrilled to have a fashion book on our list this fall. Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way is the gift book of the season, penned by Daddy Likey blogger Winona Dimeo-Ediger. In her guide for the fashion wary, Winona shares fifty style lessons that are refreshingly accessible (for those of you who prefer your plants in a garden) and more addictive than peanut MMS. This is just a sampling of my favorites.

STYLE LESSON #2: The constitution guarantees freedom of speech, press, religion, petition, assembly, and to wear any style of jeans we want, so try something new you might be pleasantly surprised.

Boot cut jeans (aka Jeanus versatilus) are the most frequently occurring articles my wardrobe, which I credit to both their extreme versatility and my unsubstantiated fear of jeans that aren’t boot cut. I realize this makes me to use Winona’s words a complete style snore. So, last month, I finally summoned some retail bravery and headed to T.J. Maxx with plans to avoid familiar denim territory. Two trips to the dressing room and three unflattering try-ons later, I emerged with my first pair of skinny jeans (aka Extreme intimidatus). Despite the blue sparkles on the back pockets that were probably intended for pre-teen fashionistas, they were exactly what I didn’t know I’d wanted all along.

STYLE LESSON #21: Fill your purse with the necessities. You get to define necessities.

Closet Confidential offers a chart that displays purses of all sizes: from the teeny evening mini bag to the colossal Brontosaurus. My current bag definitely falls more into the prehistoric category. On any given day, my necessities include:

A bagged lunch that will inevitably be forgotten upon my arrival to work.

Reading material. I like variety: a novel about genetically altered prep school kids and a copy of Closet Confidential is a good combination for the bus.

Knock-off Chanel sunglasses (fondly referred to as Ohnel’s by my husband for the intersecting Os that, in the right light, almost resemble Chanel’s intersecting Cs).

A coin purse shaped like a cat’s head.

96 pens.

While friends occasionally make fun of me for my excess baggage, Winona informs me that purses large enough to hide a murder victim have come into style in a big way. Which is great news for me and my cat head coin purse.

STYLE LESSON #27: If you live, have lived, or ever plan to live north of the Mason-Dixon Line, you might want to consider one of those giant quilted jackets that look like a queen-size down comforter with sleeves.

I attended college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with 30,000 other freezing undergrads. In my five-mile walk to class what felt like five miles anyway since my eyelids were frozen open I quickly learned that if I was going to survive, I would need a puffy coat, fashion be damned. Along with bulk quantities of Easy Mac, the Gap down comforter coat I bought that year was, without a doubt, the best purchase I made in college. (As evidence of my purchase, I have a stack of photos from 2001 displaying my inability to put my arms at my sides). Like umbrellas for Seattleites, industrial coats for Midwesterners are essential. Sometimes there really are more important things than looking cute on the way to class. Like circulation. And being able to blink when you want to.

Tell us: What are the most valuable style lessons you’ve learned?