Sunchoke Cha Cha Cha!

Bustling schedules and picky palettes can make the task of nourishing a family an uphill battle, so how do you get your brood to eat 30 different vegetables period, much less within one month?

Houston mom Amy Anton has stepped up for the challenge and is sharing her anxieties, discoveries and successes along the way.

new veggie

Have you ever had a sunchoke? I hadn’t even even heard of them until yesterday. And you probably don’t care, but I cook A LOT. I read cooking magazines all of the time. But still, I had no idea what a sunchoke was. Until yesterday, that is.

I was wandering through the produce section at my local H-E-B, when I saw a basket marked sunchokes. Say what? They are also known as Jerusalem Artichokes. Hmm, so obviously, they are some exotic version of an artichoke, I think… Not so! They are brown tubers, or root vegetables that look like a cross between ginger root and a small potato. Crazy!

I grabbed a bag of them and headed home, triumphant that I had a new vegetable for our Veggie Log. The story gets better, though, as we were having company for dinner. Perfect, I thought, they can all try sunchokes! Well, when I announced to my guests I had roasted sunchokes for them, you should have seen the look on their faces. I am sure they were thinking, she’s making us try some weird food… my husband looked disgusted… and the seven boys looked at me like no way, no how. It is spring break, and I am NOT eating anything weird!

Determined, I cut the sunchokes into bite-size pieces, tossed them with olive oil and salt, and roasted them in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. I snuck a bite of one before I served them, and WOW. Like a potato, but nutty, and not as starchy. And when I dished them out to everyone, you know what? They ALL loved them. They ate every last one! They asked for more! Boy, did I feel vindicated.

SO, if you are running out of new veggie ideas for your VegOut! Challenge (or your sanity), grab some sunchokes! They are in season right now, and I have seen them at Kroger, H-E-B, Central Market, and Whole Foods Market.

VegOut! Cooking Classes with H-E-B

Our VegOut! HERE partners at H-E-B offer fresh, seasonal produce all year-round, making them an easy resource to help you make delicious VegOut! meals at home. This month, in honor of the 30-Day Challenge, H-E-B Houston stores are offering VegOut! Kids Cooking Classes, featuring a different veggie each class.

Kiddos enjoying VegOut! cooking class hosted by HEB Buffalo Speedway for the 2014 VegOut! Challenge. They made veggie stir-fry with 5+ veggies and a cauliflower, kale, potato mash. Kids gave it all two thumbs up!
Kiddos enjoying VegOut! cooking class hosted by HEB Buffalo Speedway for the 2014 VegOut! Challenge. They made veggie stir-fry with 5+ veggies and a cauliflower, kale, potato mash. Kids gave it all two thumbs up!

View the calendar of VegOut! classes HERE to find one at a neighborhood H-E-B store near you. 

GRAND PRIZE: Deer Lake Lodge & Spa Getaway

We’re wrapping up Week 2 of the 2014 VegOut! Challenge… how are you doing? Need a little boost? Let us tell you about one of the prizes YOU could win, just by eating all 30 of those veggies…

Deer Lake Lodge & Spa-Juice

Deer Lake Lodge & Spa, an exclusive destination health spa and wellness resort, promotes enhanced living through holistic cleansing and other therapeutic approaches in a relaxing, secluded environment. Located on a 50-acre rustic-chic oasis, only 40 minutes from central Houston and 15 minutes from The Woodlands, the green-constructed health haven is a country mile away from stress. Deer Lake Lodge & Spa’s ideology is to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit through organic spa treatments, juice-fasting programs, raw foods classes, yoga and spiritual enrichment workshops. Through these holistic services and treatments, guests will return home not only feeling cleansed and relaxed, but energized and educated about living enhanced and healthier lives.

Deer Lake Lodge & Spa-2

THE GRAND PRIZE: Experience wellness, pure and simple, with a 3 day/2 night stay at Deer Lake Lodge Spa & Resort.  The package includes a suite for two, plus a range of feel-good activities, from juicing and raw foods class, yoga and life enhancement classes and use of the salt water pool and hot tub and hiking trails.

Guests can also indulge in the resort’s array of refreshing spa treatments.

Sounds pretty dreamy, right? How do you qualify for a chance to win? Simply finish the 30-Day challenge and submit your completed Veggie Log by April 4, and you’ll be entered into the drawing for a host of fantastic prizes.

Learn more about Deer Lake Lodge & Spa on their website, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

FLASH CONTEST: #vegoutjicama

Guess what? It’s time for another chance to win an awesome prize. In other words, it’s FLASH CONTEST TIME!


A more common siting in Houston, jicama has remained relatively under the radar. Frequently used in Latin American cuisine, the root veg is appreciated for its crunchy, slightly sweet starchy flesh, reminiscent of an apple. It’s crisp texture and ability to absorb dressing beautifully makes it a great addition to salad. Or simply peel, cut into matchsticks, and toss with a bit of lime juice and chile powder for a satisfying snack.

Starting TODAY, share your BEST JICAMA DISH with us. From a homemade dish to to one you order at a VegOut! HERE restaurant, the photo of the most inspired dish will be our victor.

Use the social media site of your choice (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to post your dish and be sure to include the hashtags: #vegoutjicama and #vegoutrfs. Submissions are due by March 19 at 11:59 a.m.

THE PRIZE? A $50 gift certificate to any Cyclone Anaya’s location. Yum, yum. Chef Jason Gould of Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen will review submissions and select a winner. Get ready to wow him!

And the winner is… Erika Kwee!

Congratulations to VegOut! challenger Erika Kwee for winning our  Most Veg Recipe Flash Contest! Also known on Instagram and her blog as The Pancake Princess, Erika’s winning veggie concoction included a whopping 15 vegetables. In addition to the veggie count, we were also impressed by the creativity she displayed in getting so many veggies into one meal. Check it out!


15-Veggie Burger on Carrot Buns

For the carrot buns:
6 medium carrots, shaved using a vegetable peeler
2 tablespoons flour
Dash of salt and pepper
Dried herbs of choice (basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, rosemary, etc.), optional
Olive oil

For the veggie burger patties:
2 medium sweet potatoes, steamed, baked or microwaved until tender
½ small onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
spices of choice: I used ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, salt and pepper
1 ½ cups mixed vegetables of choice: I used ½ cup broccoli, 1/3 cup frozen butternut squash, a handful of kale, and 2 tablespoons each: frozen peas, frozen edamame, corn, bell pepper
2 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons hummus

For garnish: fresh cilantro, spinach and cucumber slices

To make the carrot buns:

  • Toss the carrot shavings with the flour, salt, pepper and dried herbs until evenly coated.
  • Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Use a fork to twirl the carrot strands into a large clump, then pull the clump off your fork and flatten to form a rough circle—this will serve as the bun for your burger.
  • Fry carrot “buns” for several minutes on each side, or until golden with a slight crust.

To make the veggie burgers:

  • Steam, bake or microwave your sweet potatoes until tender. A medium sweet potato will take about 45 minutes to bake in a 375 degree oven or 5 minutes in a microwave. Once cooked, set aside to cool before peeling off the skin.
  • Sauté the onion in 1-2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the green onion and hummus to the pan with a splash of water and cover. Steam for several minutes until any frozen vegetables are warmed through. Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl, mash the cooked sweet potato, sautéed vegetables, green onions and hummus together (add more hummus if needed). Form patties 1/3 cup at a time and fry over medium heat in a few teaspoons of olive oil, about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  • Serve on top of carrot buns with cucumber, cilantro and spinach.

 For more tasty recipes by Erika, visit her blog, The Pancake Princess.