Family Fun Sushi Night

I’m lucky enough to have a cousin bestie and we’ve been talking about getting together for sushi night since I started making it a few months ago! It was past due. It’s her fiance’s birthday on Friday so I thought this week would be perfect to finally have sushi night and celebrate. I invited them and my brother over last night for a sushi dinner and should have thought about planning dinner on field trip day. I was tired from hiking with 21 8 year olds through the rain at the nature center, but I was also excited to have them come over. Luckily, after many sushi attempts I think I’ve got it down to a science and it doesn’t take much time now. The key is prep.

I made the same meal that I made for Josh and I’s anniversary and it’s a really easy meal for a crowd. It gives some diversity and once you make one, you might as well just make 6.  It’s also a great meal for a crowd because I bought the edamame frozen and the vegetable gyozas frozen from Trader Joe’s so you just have to warm them up and they’re an easy appetizer and side dish. I heated the edamame in the microwave then added himalayan salt, then dry pan fried the dumplings and steamed them and you can cover with tin foil to keep them warm so it’s an easy make ahead side. I was flattered that my brother thought I made the gyozas myself, but I’m too traumatized from my New Year’s dumpling experience so the TJ’s ones are my safe bet.

For sushi rolls, I made 6 rolls for the 5 of us which ended up being the perfect amount. We were full in combination with the other two things and I served the sushi with ginger, soy sauce, sriracha, and sweet chili sauce for the dumplings. I used my reusable chopsticks and it came together quickly. You just have to time everything out and try to do as much as you can before people come over so that you can visit while you finish up and you’re not stressed.

I heated the edamame and dumplings before they came and made 5 out of 6 sushi rolls. They wanted to see how I roll, so I waited to show them how to make the last one. I put the rice in to cook about an hour and a half before they came so that the rice was still warm because it’s easier to spread on the nori that way and it stays sticky. Allison even said she liked the vegetable sushi almost better than regular fish sushi because every bite is delicious, whereas sometimes you get those weird chewy, fishy bites. She’s the 3rd person to tell me they like my sushi better than the fish version so it’s a nice feeling!

They cleaned my kitchen up in about 6 minutes so that always makes it a really nice way to end the day! I’ll cook any day of the week if I have clean up help.


Lightly Salted Edamame

Vegetable Gyozas with sweet chili and soy sauces

Grilled Teriyaki Portobello, Asparagus, and Avocado roll

Mango, cucumber, avocado and green onion roll

Spring mix, carrot, cucumber, and avocado roll

Grilled Teriyaki Portobello, Green onion, Asparagus, and Cucumber Roll

Then just use whatever you have left to create new combinations! It’s all good.

Valentine’s Ideas

Dark Chocolate Chip Strawberries

Dark Chocolate Chip Strawberries

It’s been a relaxing and rainy weekend and not much cooking has been happening around here until today. Friday we went out with Josh’s family and had sushi and last night we ordered vegetable hibachi in. It was actually pretty good and you can order it without butter and asked for light on the oil, so it didn’t taste so greasy.

Tonight we had our annual Valentine’s family dinner with my family, and it’s the only time we get to eat in the dining room, so it’s a pretty big deal! It’s a steak dinner so this year I made something that I could have, and my family really enjoyed it as well. I made a vegetable sushi platter for appetizer with several varieties and I saved some of it to have as my meal with roasted veggies and for dessert I made some dark chocolate covered strawberries sprinkled with dairy free chocolate chips. I haven’t been eating chocolate very much since starting to eat HCLF, so these were a treat! They were a great vegan Valentine’s sweet and they were really easy to make.

The sushi is a perfect valentine’s meal to impress. It looks really fancy like you put a lot of time into it, plus it’s delicious and not too heavy. You can add whatever you want inside so it’s versatile and so much cheaper than going out (especially on Valentine’s Day!)

 Vegetable Sushi 

Nori sheets (Whole Foods)

short grain brown rice (almost 1 cup per roll)

2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar per cup of rice

Filling Ideas-

Teriyaki Grilled Portobello, Asparagus, and Carrot- 

1 portobello cap, cleaned

asparagus spears, microwaved for 1 minute

shredded carrots

scallion slices

Teriyaki sauce

  1. Marinate cap in teriyaki for about an hour, then grill on a grill pan until tender. Slice into slices and place back in the leftover marinade.

Avocado, Cucumber, Carrot, Scallion, and spring mix

Avocado, cucumber, avocado, scallion

Avocado, mango, cucumber

Teriyaki Grilled Portobello, Asparagus, Cucumber, Spring Mix

To Assemble-

  1. Mix warm rice with proper amount of vinegar (2 tbsp per 1 cup rice) and let sit for a few minutes until sticky.
  2. Lay nori sheet on a clean and dry surface shiny side down and long ends horizontal, and spread rice with paddle on nori, I leave about 1/2 inch of room on the side closest to me and farthest from me.
  3. Add a little of each ingredient (few pieces of each) about 1/3 way across (near you) in a horizontal line.
  4. Wet your finger and wet the empty space of nori farthest from you to ensure secure sealing.
  5. Start rolling the sushi up while you are holding the ingredients in, squeeze and roll.
  6. Leave it for a few minutes to seal and then use a sharp serrated knife to cut into 3/4 inch pieces.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce.
Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Vegetable Sushi Rolls

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I used the 72% Endangered Specials Dark Chocolate bars from Whole Foods (2 for $5) and melted them with a tbsp of water in the microwave. Yes, no double boiler and so technically wrong, but it works. You microwave for 30 seconds at a time and use a whisk to stir and keep going until it’s totally melted and glossy. Dip the strawberries and twist, then I used Enjoy Life dairy free mini chocolate chips and pressed them on while the chocolate was still wet. Then refrigerate to set up and serve!

2 dark chocolate bars, melted

1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

1 carton fresh strawberries

Dark Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I teach 2nd grade so I always make my kids a Valentine’s treat every year. I usually make rice crispy hearts, but this year I wanted to make a vegan option. I melted down a few bars of dark chocolate and poured it into a thin, tall container so that dipping pretzel rods was easy. After dipping the pretzel rods, I laid them on parchment to harden and sprinkled them with valentines sprinkles to look festive.

4 bars of 72% dark chocolate, melted over double boiler

1 bag of pretzel rods

Valentine’s sprinkles

  1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler and pour melted chocolate into a tall, thin container.
  2. Dip each pretzel about halfway and then lay on parchment to cool.
  3. Sprinkle with Valentines sprinkles while still wet and cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Pretzels

Dark Chocolate Pretzels

Dark Chocolate Pretzels

Dark Chocolate Pretzels

Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi

Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi

Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi

I feel so accomplished!!! I’ve always wanted to make sushi myself because we usually go out for sushi weekly and it gets pricy and it’s something we crave. Today was the day! I watched High Carb Hannah’s video on how to make sushi and it seemed pretty easy, and it actually was. I used my new rice cooker and cooked a batch of short grain brown rice and I think I made enough for both of us all week… guess I need to work on how much to actually cook. The sushi tasted so fresh and had a great texture with the sticky rice, crunchy veggies, and creamy avocado. Life hack, I’m going to save thousands on sushi now! Hooray!

Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi

                           Makes 4 large rolls

about 4 cups short grain brown rice, cooked and warm

8 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

4 sheets of Nori for sushi, Whole foods

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 medium avocado, sliced

3 Persian cucumbers, julienned

2/3 cup shredded carrots

2 cups Spring mix

2 scallions, sliced

low sodium soy for dipping and grated ginger

  1. Mix the brown rice with the vinegar and stir, let it sit a few minutes to get sticky but you still want it warm so it’s easy to spread.
  2. Put a piece of nori shiny side down in front of you with the longer edge closest to you, and use a rice paddle to spread the rice in an even layer and leave about 1/2 inch on the far side empty.
  3. In the center, smash in some slices of avocado in the rice so it sticks, then add a few pieces of cucumber, carrots, few scallions, and a small handful of spring mix.
  4. Wet your finger and use it to wet the empty edge farthest from you so it stays closed.
  5. You are going to start rolling your sushi, squeezing and pushing the fillings in as you roll, and then press gently to seal.
  6. Wait a few minutes to ensure a good seal and then use a sharp serrated knife to slice (sawing motion) the roll into 1″ wide pieces.
  7. Sprinkle sushi with sesame seeds and dip in soy to enjoy!
Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi

Vegetable, Avocado, and Brown Rice Sushi