Today’s guest post comes from Richmond blogger, Lauren, who writes at Vegology! If you haven’t checked out her blog, make sure you stop by for a visit, because she has tons of awesome recipes! We’re pretty sure her delicious strawberry snacks are going to be a summer staple!
Hello, I am Lauren from Vegology, and I am so happy to be a part of the Virginia is for Bloggers group. Vegology is a blog about trying new things, so my posts often serve as a travelog of my food adventures. Vegology started in my kitchen, where I researched and cooked with new-to-me ingredients, but it has traveled far beyond my tiny Richmond, VA kitchen in the almost two years since I wrote my first post. The search for new ingredients and cooking experiences can take you to some pretty fantastic places. Today, Vegology chronicles my adventures in cooking, dining, drinking, hiking, gardening and traveling.
While I have expanded the horizons of Vegology (and my own horizons as well), food has remained the focus of my blog. As a vegetarian of 4 years, I write about meatless food. One of my favorite things to do is take meat dishes and remake them as vegetarian friendly foods. I have posted several “Veggie Redux” recipes in the past, including Banh Mi, Bangers and Mash, Spicy Po’Boys, and Caldo Verde. So naturally I thought that my guest post for Virginia is for Bloggers should feature a brand new Southern Cooking Veggie Redux.
Virginia Bloggers, meet Vegetarian “Shrimp” and Grits.
Confession: I have never had real shrimp and grits. This veggie redux might taste nothing like the original. However, I can assure you that this spicy cauliflower “shrimp” and these creamy, cheesy yellow grits are a delightful combination. The cauliflower is tossed with Old Bay seasoning, olive oil, fresh garlic and lemon, and a touch of pepper, then it is roasted to spicy, crispy perfection. The yellow grits are simmered in light seasoning, then combined with a trio of dairy indulgences: cheese, butter and cream. A dash of hot sauce gives the grits enough edge to stand up to the feisty cauliflower. If you can’t already tell from this description, I’ll spell it out for you. This is a vegetarian remake, not a healthier or lighter remake. It’s a delicious treat with all of the comfort and none of the meat.
Fiancé tested and vegetarian approved, this dish is a winner. The recipe follows so you can recreate it at home, and if you do, drop me a line to let me know how it goes! You can check out my other adventures (and misadventures) at vegologyblog.com and @vegology on Twitter.
Vegetarian Cauliflower “Shrimp” and Grits
- 1 cup yellow grits
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 green onions, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Bring vegetable broth (or water) to a boil. Add yellow grits and cook until absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
- While grits are cooking, toss cauliflower with Old Bay, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper. Spread cauliflower mixture out on a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
- When grits have absorbed the cooking liquid, turn heat down to low and add butter, cheese, and half and half. Remove from heat and add hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
- When cauliflower is browned and crispy on the edges, remove from oven and toss with sliced green onions.
- Serve cauliflower over grits in shallow dishes. Add hot sauce as desired.
Lauren @ Vegology
Today’s feature is brought to your by Sarah Rosemary, who blogs at Sunny Side Up, and lives in Northern VA with her husband, toddler, and coonhound. She recently learned how to cook, balances a career while holding together her family, loves a full to-do list, and dreams of writing her own book. It’s a challenge, but she chooses to look at life, sunny side up.
My toddler is non-stop action.
It’s enough to wear this mama out.
So I’m forever searching for someplace I can take her that 1) won’t cost anything (or only a couple dollars), 2) will allow her to run free without fear of breaking something, and 3) offers tons of entertainment.
That’s a tall order. Usually I just give up and take her to our local park for the millionth time in the same week. But even she’s getting bored of the same-old, same-old.
Last week I decided to switch it up and head over to Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, about 15 minutes from our house in Vienna. I knew many of the farm animals just had babies, so I hoped we’d see a few piglets and maybe a calf or two.
Frying Pan Farm Park seeks to preserve the concept of a working farm between the years 1920 and 1950. The farm offers cow milking demonstrations, tours, wagon rides, and many other hands-on educational opportunities for the elementary-age set. While Kate and I were there, we saw bunches of local school groups learning about the farm and participating in potato sack races.
While the farm offers programming for older children, it also provides plenty of stuff for the younger kids. Since the farm is set back from the road and fenced in, toddlers and preschoolers can run free, which, if you’re a toddler, is pretty much the best thing ever.
As soon as we pulled into the gravel parking lot and Kate saw the cows and sheep roaming about, I knew I hit toddler jackpot. I got her out of the car and let her lead the way.
We started off in the cow pasture. Kate loved running up and down the gravel road in between the pastures. Every so often she’d stop and climb half way up the fence to chat with one of the cows. If I’d let her she would have climbed on over the fence and tried to hug that cow, so mamas with climbers, beware.
After the cows, we stopped by a couple different pens to check out some ducks, a turkey, a peacock, and a bunch of chickens and roosters. Kate wasn’t too sure about the turkey. And, honestly, he kind of freaked me out, too. But those chickens couldn’t have been more friendly. Almost too friendly. So friendly Kate kept asking if she could touch those chickens but I dissuaded her by suggesting we touch baby goats instead.
Oh, the baby goats. Those things could not be any sweeter. They were so docile and happy to have tons of little hands pet them. I thought about stealing one away into my diaper bag.
But I think the piglets were Kate’s favorite. There were two sets of piglets – one set born in early March and one set born in early April. The youngest babies were a feisty bunch. If I thought a single toddler was a lot of work, well, I felt bad for that mama pig. The older set of babies seemed a little more well-behaved, so Kate got to give them a pat.
We ended the day with a ride on the carousel. Last year Kate cried on every single carousel ride. But this time she assured me she wanted to do it. So for $1.75 I consented.
Amazingly, she loved it, although her face indicates otherwise.
While the farm is geared towards tots and school-aged children, it would be just as fun for adults and even the senior citizen crowd. I mean, who doesn’t love baby animals? Besides the sweet animals, it felt nice to get away from our usual park and the busyness of downtown Vienna and Tysons Corner and take in the country-like feel.
Our day at Frying Pan Park was the best day we had that week. We both had such a blast, I’m considering a trip there each week this summer. Better save up my quarters for the carousel.
Sarah Rosemary @ Sunny Side Up
But before we get to cooking, here’s a little background on yours truly
I’m a 30 year old CPA living in the Richmond, Virginia area… however, number crunching isn’t exactly my passion in life. So what is? Food, recipes and all things cooking!
I have been watching cooking & foodie shows for years, reading recipe books, and over the past few years have been fortunate enough to bring many of these ideas and dishes into my kitchen and onto the table. I love to work with healthy ingredients, and definitely like to venture out from just the standard recipe. Getting creative and exploring tastes/combos that are new and exciting is what I adore. I guess you can say I am more of a recipe reader than a recipe follower, as I am always looking for ways to personalize a dish!
So today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite Cho-spired recipes, one that is super easy to whip up and also a real crowd pleaser.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be lucky if it even makes it to the crowd 😉
Pimento Cheese: A lightened up classic
This is a great way to lighten up a traditional pimento cheese, replacing the usual mayo suspect with luscious, creamy plain Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
5 ingredients: medium cheddar cheese, plain Chobani Greek yogurt, diced pimentos, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes.
This is so so sooooo easy, just watch!
Grate the cheese and into a bowl it goes.
Add the plain Greek yogurt Chobani 0% Plain for me!
Then the diced pimentos.
You can find them in the pickle aisle at any grocery store, already diced and all!
Finish things off with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice plus some spicy red pepper flakes.
And stir to incorporate.
That’s it folks! The pimento cheese is ready to be served 😉
Or just straight off the spoon.
There’s no judging here…
Lightened-up Pimento Cheese
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 8 oz. block mild cheddar, shredded
- 6 oz. container plain Chobani (0%)
- 4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
Shred cheese using a grater (or use preshredded if you’d like). Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to incorporate.
Make sure to drain the pimentos before adding, as any extra liquid will make the pimento cheese too watery.
The funny thing about blogger meet ups is… you finally meet people that you feel like you’ve already know forever! We had our first “official” VAis4Bloggers meet up, at Stella’s in Richmond, and not only did we have a great turn out, we also had a spectacular brunch!
Stella’s is a small little Greek restaurant, located on the West side of the Museum District and they had a delicious brunch menu, matched with great service. Although Stella’s was brand new to most of us, we all agreed we would certainly be visiting again soon!
Once we got settled in, we had a little raffle, handing out big bags of LOVE (aka Love Grown Granola) as well as some of Sarah’s delicious Coconut Honey Roasted Peanut Butter! But even those that didn’t win the raffle still went home with some Love Grown Granola, as well as a coupon for some Chobani yogurt! (Thanks, Love Grown & Chobani!)
Brittany won some of Sarah’s nut butter! I’m sure it’s super delicious!
Tim won some granola!
And although I didn’t win the raffle, I did enjoy this delicious egg white omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and feta cheese. It also came with a side of delicious hash browns, and warm toasted bread.
Stella’s also served us some complementary desserts! These were fried dough, coated in cinnamon and sugar… basically fancy doughnuts! They disappeared pretty quickly 😉
It was so much fun getting to meet a so many bloggers in person! Thank you to Stella’s for the great service, and for Love Grown Granola & Chobani for all the gift-bag goodies!
Check our the events page for more blogger events going on around Virginia!
Liz @ Virginia Bloggers