Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tropical Ice Dream (my turn!)

I'm a chiquita banana
And I'm here to say
That this Ice Dream concoction
I could eat every day
My tastebuds thank Gaia, Vivacious Vegan too...
I now offer this treat to YOU!Ok, so maybe I wasn't singing the correct song...but seriously? This stuff is amazing! I'd tried it with blueberries and vanilla after originally seeing Gaia's blog, then Crystal reminded me that everything's better with flax meal (LOVE the golden flax meal in and sprinkled on smoothies) for when I next tried Gaia's pineapple version. You almost can't believe it's a healthy way to start your day, it's so good!

It truly made me wish I were in the islands (pictured here, dreaming of St. Kitts)But then I realized, Hey! I live in veritable subtropical paradise! and happily enjoyed the rest of it (and a very fine morning) in the favorite 'room' of our house, the back patio....what a breakfast, and what a view!

Happy weekend, everybody!


Turns out, I'm a bit anxious with the trigger finger when taking pictures, and I sometimes don't let my camera finish before changing settings....thus I corrupted the memory card. OOPS!

After much head scratching and backing AWAY from the computer, I was able to recover the pictures and reformat the disc so that I could share with you this...

Tonight's brainchild....Sesa-not-so-much-usually-for-me Bean Sprout Salad. Ya see, I'm that girl who, when finding the ingredients include tahini or sesame oil, deflates a little bit because I always think that the end result is overpowered by the sesame flavor and find that it's all I can taste. If my tastebuds were fans of this flavor, that would be great! But alas, they typically respond with, "blech!". I can tolerate tahini things but don't crave or truly embrace them usually. Actually, when a recipe calls for tahini I will often substitute cashew butter (yum!), and when it calls for sesame oil, I'll use just about anything but.

But tonight I wanted something asian inspired, and I wanted to use the sprouts I'd bought recently (a mix of mostly mung, some adzuki, and some lentil). I remembered a dressing I'd tweaked in the past and absolutely LOVED (granted, I'd subbed some oil or another for the sesame), and thought it might work in the salad that was already being conjured up in my brain.

Armed with a 'maybe it was just the sesame oil I was using before that I didn't like' attitude, I picked up a new, small bottle at the store while out, and rushed home to get a'mixin. Here's what I dreamed up:

Sesa-not-so-much-usually-for-me Bean Sprout Salad
(I'm totally open to suggestions for less....complicated names :)

1/2 c. veganaise
5 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. sugar (or your favorite sweeter equivalent, next time I'm gonna use agave)
1 Tbs. low sodium tamari
1 clove garlic, crushed

Mix in blender until smoothe. (This will make a ton. It almost fills my little salad dressing cruet, but you can then use it however you please in your own creations! Or, cut it down as you'll only need about 3 Tbs of it for the salad).

Approx. 8 oz. fresh sprouts
1 med. carrot, grated,
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, minced
1/8 red onion, minced
3-4 scallions, chopped

(basically, you can throw in whatever veggies you'd like, but this is what I had on hand and I loved the combo of flavors, it was really about the sprouts standing out more than anything)

If you sprout your own (I so want to do this!) or know that your sprouts are organic, go ahead and just mix it all up and enjoy! Since mine are bought at my local grocer, I blanche mine for about a min. and a half in water that's at a rolling boil, then rinse and cool in cold water before tossing with the veggies and about 3 Tbs. of dressing.

This dressing is reeeally thin. I've used it to make a tempeh salad before, and that works really well, too. I liked the sesame flavor. It's really subtle but there. It doesn't over power the sprouts or veggies and it doesn't hide out either. Perfect, and just what I was hoping for! Maybe it really was the brand that turned me off...tho, that doesn't explain my tahini aversion...hmmmm.

On a totally unrelated note, I woke up this morning craving Dreena's Avacado Cashew Sauce from Vive le Vegan. If you haven't made this one yet? DO IT! It's rather addictive. I woke up this morning, threw it quickly together in the food processor...
and promptly treated myself to a late brunch burrito. I'm sorry to say that I didn't have any leftover burritos that I'd made myself (her chipotle veggie burritos that I think are also from Vive are one of my MOST favorite tasting burritos), but that was probably just as well, as Amy's non-dairy variety are filling and tasty but not at all spicy, and spice is something I'm still having to avoid right now.

I topped the burrito with a healthy heaping of the avacado sauce and a dot of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (for the artsy possibilities, mostly :) and chopped up a lone tomato that would have gone to waste (since I've been avoiding them as well) then tossed in a couple blue corn chips to help scrape up the last little bits.

The remaining avacado sauce will make a wonderful dip for come corn chips while watching the game tomorrow. YUM!

Friday, September 29, 2006


Unless something miraculous happens between now and tomorrow night (when my wonderful, amazing, helpful husband picks up a new card reader to replace the P.O.S. one that is currently NOT transfering pics from our camera to our computer) I will not be able to blog about the incredible sprout salad that I made tonight for dinner.

Because to blog about its yumminess sans picture? I shudder at the thought!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to marvel at some of all of your culinary creations! :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's Easy, Being Green!

Today was the first day that felt warm and not hot, the air clear and not muggy, just the kind of day that makes people love this state. It made me want to eat all kinds of green things for some reason...thus this was born...Mixed Mashed Potatoes with Kale (lovingly now referred to as Green Goddess Potatoes...why? because creating them and then eating them made me feel like like a Goddess, that's why! :)

I love mashed potatoes with a passion. Always have. I rarely make 'em tho because they seem to lack any real nutritional oomph. Can't say that with these! They're slightly sweet, slightly salty, really creamy with bits of unmashed potato (sweet potatoes are an excellent source of caratenoid antioxidants and contain calcium...they're high in vitamins A and C, with a fair amount of thiamine) and laced with wonderful, super yummy kale (an exceptional source of chlorophyll, calcijm, iron, and vitamins A and C as well. Kale is also known to ease ailments of the stomach, liver and immune system).

Oh, the goodness! I'm so glad that this recipe I came up with made enough fo a small army so that I can accompany my next 12 meals or so with a healthy side of 'em!!

Green Goddess Potatoes
med-lg red potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 lg sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered

3-4 cloved carlic, halfed

1/2 cups plain lite soy milk
3-4 Tbs Earth Balance (I used soy balance as that's what I have right now) pinches of salt black pepper
1 lg. bunch of kale, washed, removed from stems, and cut into slivers

Place potatoes and garlic and pinc of salt in large pot, cover with water, bring to boil, and simmer for aobut 25 min, or until tender enough to mash. Meanwhile, place kale in large saucepot and add soy milk. Bring to a boil and then lower heat, simmering about five minutes, then turn off heat. Drain Potatoes and garlic and mash in large bowl. Add EB and ladle in most of soy milk (you only want to use what you need to get the desired consistancy. You may end up with some extra soy milk. You may not, it really depends on how you like your 'taters. Using electric mixer (or a fork and more energy than I ever have when I'm whipping up some mashed potatoes!), cream potatoes to desired consistancy. Add kale (I used tongs for this) and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir again.

Viola! Heaven! I can't wait to add this to the table for the holidays.

This, apparently, wasn't enough greens for me as I fixed myself a Caesar salad while the potatoes were boiling and the kale simmering. I had originally wanted to add some silken tofu to my potatoes for some added protien, but soon found that the peanut butter pie I made recently used up all I had in the pantry. This turned out to be a very good thing because it forced me to suddenly remember that I have been waiting to use the Nutiva Shelled Hempseed that I ordered weeks ago but has been sitting in my 'fridge awaiting it's turn in the kitchen. What the heck have I been waiting for? This stuff is fantastic! Two Tbs in my salad not only gave me 6 grams of protein but also provided iron, zinc, vitamin E, phosphorous, magnesium, and a bunch of Omegas! Did I mention it tastes wonderful, too?! It really does, and I cannot wait to add it to other salads (I just loved how it clung to each piece of lettuce like little jewels of nutritous yumminess) and kitchen creations.

And if you're still not won over by my Goddess Potatoes? How's about a closeup?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yuba, take one!

Living out in the boonies where the closest 'big town' to shop in is 30 minutes away and very conservative (read: non vegan-friendly), I enjoy the fruits of the internet and odering pantry items regularly.

Recently, I became aware of Yuba sheets and quickly found somewhere to purchase them (and a few other goodies that will surely make an appearance here) and have them delivered right to my door!
Unsure of just what to do with these yuba sheets, I came up with a sort of wrapped up rolls.

I soaked the sheets in warm water for a few minutes (tho, in the future, I think I'll just run them under warm water so they don't fall apart so easily!). I had thawed some seitan from the other night and sauteed it in my trusty iron skillet with a little hoisin sauce while some portabellos roasted in the oven (with just a drizzle of olive oil, some sea salt, and pepper). I placed a little hoisin on a piece of yuba, put in about a Tbs of seitan, a sprinkling of green onion, and a Tbs. of chopped portabello then just rolled 'em up!

Here's where I realized that baking them? was not going to happen. It was a tad late when I started dinner and baking them in a 375 degree oven was taking for-ev-er to get that crispy good texture that everyone raves about. So? I fried 'em. I know! I know! but it was peanut oil and was quick and they were......FAB-U-LOUS! My husband raved and snuck some extra (always a good sign :).

I served 'em up with some steamed broccoli (I think the best way to steam broccoli is with some slivered garlic and a pinch of sea salt. yum!) and a little plum sauce...for the dipping. While they look awfully shiny, they really weren't greasy at all. I would love to bake them instead next time, however, so it looks like I better start planning my dinners sooner!

For those of you who've tried or regularly use yuba, what's your favorite thing to do with them? I'm looking forward to trying some of Bryanna's creations. Each one of her ideas looks so amazing!

In less exciting news....there was lunch...

Black-eyed pea dip, avacado dip, and baked pita chips.

I'm reeeeally not supposed to have anything spicy or...not bland as of late while I wait to go to the doctor to find out what's ailing my aching belly. (basically, it hurts all the time and anything I eat makes me feel like I just devoured a nine course meal!) So, the fried yuba rolls above? You know nothing. :)

At lunch today I was hungry but not feeling all that well so I wanted to stick to things that were mild (read: bland) but still tasted good. I mashed up an avacado and added just a couple drops of lime juice and a dash of sea salt and pepper. Then, I took the leftover black-eyed peas from the other night, mashed them up, and added about a tsp. of tofutti sour cream and a couple splashes of plain soy milk. The pitas are mini multigrain pitas. I just brushed with a tiny bit of olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper, then baked until crispy.

This was actually VERY satisfying and really yummy. The pure flavors all came thru and really didn't need any special treatment or crazy spices. The tummy? not the happiest afterward, but I'm beginning to think there's just no way around that one right now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hardy Breakfast, Light Lunch

When our guests were here Sunday morning, I broke out VwaV and thew together some Baking Soda Biscuits and Tempeh Sausage Gravy. Very easy, very tasty. I first thought that the biscuits could use a little something, maybe a tad more salt? As the veg shortening in the reciope adds no flavor and they're a tad bland. Granted, a little of the scrumptious gravy made me throw that notion out of my mind. This pic is from this morning, as leftovers are just as yummy, with some fresh cut canteloupe.
While enjoying my breakfast I spent some time organizing a folder I keep of jotted down and printed out recipes. I came across one that I made all through the beginning of summer and hadn't made since. It is a favorite amongst everyone whenever I add it to the mix of any potluck or bbq gathering. I can't remember where I got the recipe from, but it's listed below.

Super Fresh Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1c. loosely packed flat leafed parsley leaves, chopped
1c. grated carrot

1/2 c. sliced radishes

1/2c. sliced green onions
juice of one lemon (or three Tbs lemon juice)
1 tsp. coriander

sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

4 Tbs olive oil
toasted pine nuts or tofu 'feta' cheese (optional)

Place 1/2 chickpeas in a bowl and mash with potato masher or wooden spoon until they are a coarse paste. Toss in remaining chickpeas, parsley, carrot, radishes, and green onion. Stir to combine.
Whisk together lemon juice, coriander, 1/2 tsp sea salt, few generous grinds of black pepper. Continue whisking while adding olive oil in steady stream (i think that the original recipe called for 6Tbs oil, but I use 4 and it works out great!). Toss salad with dressing and season (if you like, but i never need more salt) to taste with salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts or 'feta'. This is such a simple salad with a wonderful flavor. It's a great side (serving 6-8) or, as I had it today, a fantastic meal (serving 4)!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pasta, Schmasta!

In blogging my meals I've noticed that I tend to make a recipe (new or old) and use up the leftovers in new dishes for the next couple of days. Funny, I never really thought about it before! Tonight, I wanted to use up the last of the artichoke pesto that was in the fridge but wasn't feeling any more pasta lately.

Good thing I had this urge to buy a spaghetti squash the other day! Sometimes I don't know why I bother to use pasta at all when this is so much better! Perfect texture, hint of sweetness, goes well with all my favorite pasta toppings. All around YUM! For those of you not familiar with the wonders of spaghetti squash (though I'm sure I'm not alone in my love for it 'round these parts :), I cut it in half (scooped out the big, flat seeds) and placed in a glass baking dish, cut side down, in about 1/4 c. of water and covered it with tinfoil. Into a 350 degree oven it went for somewhere between 45 min to an hour. Easy to tell when it's done as the outer skin no longer feels like cement and the pulp inside is so tender. With a fork, all you have to do then is scrape out the innards which happily pull away like strands of spaghetti! I mixed some of it with my remaining pesto, chopped sun-dried tom's and some walnuts...and some nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper.

I'd also been wanting to try black-eyed peas forEVER (I'd never had them before!) and came up with the following, which turned out to be a wonderful side dish!
1 1/2 c. canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 lg. bunch kale
1 Tbs olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3-4 (or all depends on how much you love garlic, really!) cloves garlic, slivered
sea salt
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
fresh black pepper

Boil the Kale in water for about 15-20 minutes in a covered pot, until cooked well but still bright green. I like to stir it now and then to check on it. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in pan on med. heat, add onioin, cook a few minutes. Add garlic, cook a few more. Add black-eyed peas and cook just a few minutes more. Throw in the drained kale, stir it all up, salt to taste, add the vinegar and serve immediately, then top with fresh ground pepper....easy and soooooo good!

I can't wait to get my hands on the 1/2 can of remaining peas and the rest of spaghetti squash to see what other yummy goodness can ensue! Did I mention, YUM!?!?

Great Spread for some Great Friends

Last night we had a couple of our best friends over for dinner and the Gator game (Go Gators!). As we live about as far from civilization as I can stand and entirely too far away from our friends it was really nice to prepare a dinner for all of us.

Sadly, I was having so much fun reconnecting, I didn't remember to take photos of the food!! Until dessert, that is. Here's VwaV's No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bottom Pie (or something like that ;)

If you are a fan of all things PB and Chocolate, like me? And you haven't tried this recipe? DO IT. Soooo good! Sadly, it did not hold up as well when cut as it did turn out pretty, but that is entirely my fault.

I'd never used agar before (outside of biology class, anyway) and when I boiled the agar in water I got a LOT more than Isa said I would. What did I do? I took the amount she said I would have (1/3 c.) and put in 2/3 c. soy milk into the filling. What I should have done, tho, is figure out how much agar I had made and put in all that (it just seemed like sooo much!) and then put in however much soy milk made it all up to 1c. You know, just like she said to do! :) Now I know. Good thing is? It doesn't affect the taste at. all. It is creamy and just sweet enough to feel super decadent.

I couldn't find any chocolate cookies at the store that were vegan so I grabbed a box of those 100 calore packs of Oreo flavored crisp cookies. While the throwing away of the box and all those packets nearly killed me (I reeeally loathe wasteful packaging), I did end up with the exact amount of crumbs necessary to make the crust (which is divine, btw).

Oh, and I'd also never made a makeshift double boiler before (always relied on the micro and risked scorching) and it worked out wonderfully for melting the chocolate for the bottom and drizzled on top. Can't believe I didn't throw a bowl on top of a small saucepan sooner!

Last night's dinner I jumped on the Stroganoff bandwagon and make VwaV's Setain/Port. version on some whole wheat penne. I served it with Garlicky Roasted Brussel Sprouts (truly my new fav veggie side dish) and the most beloved Caesar Salad. For lunch today, the Cap'n and I enjoyed Stroganoff leftovers, his:

and mine, with a dallop of Toffuti sour cream....just 'cause.

One more quick note about my second homemade seitan making. The first time around I wasn't in love with the veggie broth I used and thought I would have to try something different next time. This time, I used some vegan onion soup mix that I added water to and then cooled in the 'fridge. The flavor was sooo much better this time, and really blended well with the Stroganoff recipe.

I've been informed by everyone that this meal? A keeper that needs to make repeat appearances! The Cap'n says I should make it for his family next time we do dinner with them...and that is one big, shiny star of approval. :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Presto Pesto

I'd been thinking of the artichoke lemon pesto that I'd seen at Vegan Taste Test.

It comes together in no time and the flavor is outta this world!

As dinner was a late meal this evening I didn't bother to get creative and tweak it on my own so I followed someone else's methods (sorry, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where I read this, but whoever suggested it, thanks and kudos to you!!) and tossed in a bunch of toasted pine nuts before blending then topped with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts.

Soooo good! As I'd had a huge salad for lunch this was great all on its own as dinner. I used about a quarter of the pesto I made over 1/2 c. whole wheat bow tie pasta, then added the tomatoes and walnuts.

I think the next time I whip this one up (because oh yes, this will make a return appearance...or two or three) I'll try increasing and then roasting the garlic first. Not that there's anything wrong with the bite the garlic has in it raw (it's really quite yummy!), but I'd like to see what the mellow sweetness of roasted garlic would do in its place.

If you're looking for a fast and different pesto to try out, I totally recommend this one!

Taste Tested, Kitty Approved!

Since blogger is being so cooperative today, I thought I'd share this too! Last night we paired our take-out with my new favorite Caesar Salad (you've seen it below) and I discovered that our Mad Max was a fan of the dressing (he was found at one point in the night licking the bowl I mixed it up in), AND the recipe itself! I couldn't help but laugh as I came across my jotted down recipe, complete with signature Max bite marks lying on the counter when I was cleaning up. I looked up to find Max and saw that he was quite content with himelf, just chillin on the couch, totally spent from all of his efforts...

Take Out Thai Dinner

Last night, when my most wonderful friends came over for a little hang time, they arrived bearing food from one of my favorite restaraunts in town (Granted there are only a few that I will actually dine at as a vegan, but these two places totally rock, every time!), Thai Ruby. On the menu for me? Was this, Ginger Tofu w/Vegetables:

Big hunks of perfect texture tofu with some water chesnuts, carrots, baby corn, red peppers, snow peas, celery, 'shrooms, a few bean sprouts, and some onion all over jasmine rice and with a light, gingery sauce. The sauce was really yummy. It was a bit oily, but there wasn't much of it so it went a long way.

This was a break from my usual fare from them, Panang Tofu With Vegetables. Panang is, easily, my favorite Thai dish, but I've recently (as in, yesterday) had to rule out all spicy things while my doctor and I figure out what is causing me weeks of stomach woes. I had to pull out the onion and red pepper here, as well, but it was still very good.

Also, beware of many curries in Thai restaruants because they authentically contain shrimp paste, unfortunately even if you find the selections in the 'Vegetarian' section of their menu. Believe me, I've had some interesting conversations with the Thai staff trying to discern whether or not a curry dish did, in fact, contain shrimp paste. I inevitably am answered, "No, no shrimp in curry". When I ask, "But what about shrimp paste?" I get, "No, no shrimp in curry". I also learned the hard way that, when I told them I did not eat meat, including seafood, they just scooped it out of the soup that came with the special assuming that would be good enough. Needless to say, I skipped that part entirely!

It's sad, really, because Thai food has always been one of my most favorite cuisines and not one I have ever really successfully duplicated at home thus far.
This just means we'll be frequenting my other favorite, Tony's Sushi on more occasions! A selection of various vegetable rolls (they have one called Nerudo Veggie that is veggies wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber drizzled with two sauces, one vinegary, one sweet and sprinkled with sesame seeds...oh my is it amazing!), edamame, inari, aged nasu, and green salads with ginger dressings make for a happy vegan every single time! I forgot my camera the other day when we ate there but really must remember for future visits!

Oh, one last I mentioned above, I'm having lots of trouble with my stomach and am on the lookout for healing foods and teas and herbs to rely on while I cut out all matters of things that may be aggravating my condition so, any tips, tricks, recipes, or ideas any of you have are greatly appreciated...thanks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It's official. I'm insane.

With the a/c out and the repair guy on the lookout for a second replacement motor (apparently, the first one was defective) it's been a long, warm day. And by warm? I mean hot. And by hot? I mean cooler outside my house than inside even with a box fan in every rooms' window. This is when high ceilings are no longer beautiful but cruel for they trap all the hot air and let 'em just sit there on top of you to boil.

That said, I'm being held hostage in my own home by the repair guy who needs me to be here (whenever that may be) upon his return. So? No grocery shopping yet today. So what do I scare up for lunch? Baked Last Night's Dinner, Revisted:I preheated the oven to 375 (what was I thinking?!), and whipped up a batch of Bryanna's Cheeze Sauce, the Chedda version (am I totally nuts?!), then tossed it with the remainder of last night's whole wheat spaghetti and spinach/carrot combo.

All this went into a small baking pan, was topped with Ian's breadcrumbs and some Parma!, and baked for about 25 minutes, until golden brown (ok, not all that golden brown but I was hungry and impatient to turn off the oven) on top and bubbly below.

Crazy I may be, sweaty I certainly am, but soooo happy 'cause this was darn delicious!

Finally, the repair dude came back (two a/c motors later), and I was able to go shopping!!!!! Once I eventually got home and everything was washed and put away, however, I didn't feel like scaring up much. So I opted for some more of my yummy lunch (now affectionately called, Today's Lunch, Born of Last Night's Dinner....For Dinner :)

and looked around for a yum sounding Caesar Salad dressing that did not require the blanching of almonds or whizzing of tofu in my food proccessor.

Bunnyfoot has totaly hit on EXACTLY what I've been searching for forever with this. Oh My. It is perfect. Seriously! It's simple, fast, and just the taste I crave when I crave a Caesar Salad. On mine I've tossed on a few sliced sundried tomatoes, chopped up half an avacado, and (naturally) sprinkled some Parm! I followed her recipe exactly with the dressing, including both optional items. Nex time I may use a little less oil and add some water to thin it but the flavor? A-MA-ZING.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

From what remains....

in the house sans grocery shopping.
Breakfast was simple but opens all kindsa doors in the future.

Behold! Eggless omelets:

this is my first attempt at making these crepe-like concoctions. I'd been eyeing the recipe in
this book forever, but only tried it today (if you're as big a fan of nutritional yeast as I am, this book is for you! the broccoli soup recipe alone is worth the few bucks! everything is so simple but soooo yummy!).

I opted to stir in 1 tsp. of dried dill and put a little smidgen of tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream on 'em before folding 'em over and eating 'em with m'hands. two of these and an apple was really all I could put away...ok, maybe I ate three. :) I can't wait to try them out topped with veggies, various herbs, or fruits. Very easy and I always have the ingredients on hand.

Lunch was a mad whirl in the kitchen of 'what do we have left and how fast can I make it?' This was the result:

We had some leftover eggplant that had been coated with breadcrumbs, baked and then frozen. I just sauteed them in a little olive oil and piled them on a sprouted roll with some marinara.

As a side, I chopped up the last tomato, cuke, avacado, and a little red onion, then tossed with a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and oregano.

Actually, I threw that together first so it could sit while I assembled my sandwhich. It hit the spot, and I was done in a flash.

The tomato goodness lingered on my palate thru to dinner. I knew I wanted to use up some tempeh and some carrots....hmmmmm......

VwaV's sausage-like tempeh crumbles recipe always cooks up in a jiffy.
add that to the remaining marinara and a 16 oz. can of Muir Glen's Fire Rosted Tomatoes and a little organic tomato paste, simmer.....
and dish that up atop some organic whole wheat angel hair. Don't forget the Parma! (never forget the Parma! ;) I really need to start making my own.
Oh, those carrots? I LOVED them braised with garlic the other night so I did that (minus the leeks) and tossed them with a box of frozen spinach that I thawed and heated, like so

This was actually soooo good!
It was so satisfying that I'm not even craving anything sweet right now...but if I do? I know there's a couple pcs of dried mango left over that will squelch that in a hurry. :)

Not the most inventive of meals, but certainly delicious and now I can enjoy my grocery shopping excursion tomorrow (finally) knowing nothing's going to waste in this vegan household!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Purple Monday

My favorite breakfast is a yummy shake/smoothie.

I love they can be mixed up and changed to suit your tastes for the day. I, typically, follow a simple recipe:

8 oz. light/plain Silk soy milk
1 c. frozen fruit (blueberries are my fav, but strawberries, peaches, and mango work great, too)
1/2 frozen banana
1 heaping teaspoon nut butter (I mostly opt for almond, but peanut or cashew = yum, as well)
some sort of protein powder (LOVIN' the Living Harvest Hemp Powder right now but like brown rice powder on occasion I try to steer clear of the soy powders. I get plenty of soy as it is)
a couple of pc's of ice

blend that all together and you've got yourself a thick, filling morning starter!

When a fruit is in season and I'm finding them looking especially lovely in the grocery store, I'll opt for fresh, but I find that it's much more cost effective and convenient to keep some always in the freezer. There are some great Organic varieties out there, so I tend to keep blueberries, strawberries, and mangoes in the freezer all of the time).

I buy bananas about six at a time and cut them in half, toss in a freezer bag, and then in the freezer. They chop up easily even when frozen and the pcs can be tossed into the shake while it's mixing just before the ice. They give them a texture that I totally love.

If you haven't been enlightened to the wonders that is Hemp powder, I highly recommend snagging some (link above you can shop from). Not only are they full of protien and fiber but have all ten essential amino acids! I got mine at Whole Foods and can't wait to get thru my cannister of Original Flavor so I can try some of their other flavors (like Chocolate Chili!!).

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cleaning House

More Seitan Nuggets and Mashed White Lentils topped with Braised Leeks and Carrots:
I like to only have to make one trip a week to the grocery store if I can help it, so tonight it was all about using up anything that might go bad if not made soon. I had bought a bunch of leeks thinking I was going to make a recipe from Vive, but opted for this quick preparation instead. No cookbook required. It's actually my favorite way to eat leeks:

Wash about four leeks thoroughly and slice thinly thru to light green part. Peel and slice paper thin six cloves of garlic and thin two large carrots. Saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat for a couple minutes to allow oil to be flavored. Add leeks and carrots and toss to coat. Add a couple Tbs of water, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 min. Remove cover, raise heat and cook, stirring often until most liquid is gone. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh black pepper. YUM!

I guess you could eat the above by itself as a side or serve over pasta, but I had mine over some lentils. Yup, those are lentils! I know I've mentioned before that I adore these little legumes. I've had this bag of an organic white variety in my pantry forever and never knew what to do with them. Tonight I thought to boil them until just done, mash 'em up, and add a little Earth Balance, soy milk, dried rosemary, a few red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper. The texture was awesome. Creamy, but with still some firmness in some of the lentils. Flavor was good but I thought the lentils were a little antiseptic tasting? I don't know why. I have more to play with in the future so we'll see if I can't fix that next time.

I was going to just use some BBQ sauce for dipping the seitan, but when I tested it I felt it just overpowered the nuggets and all I tasted was BBQ sauce (not my favorite condiment to begin with). So, I got the idea (from my long lost love for a good honey mustard) to mix my beloved Nutritional Yeast Better Than Mustard Spread with a little Agave nectar. MMMMMmmmmm!
That BBQ sauce didn't stand a chance!

Potatoes on Pizza? You bet!

Yes, I eat quick pizzas a LOT. For the last few days, I've been enjoying my first post all over again (Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and Herb Roasted Potatoes). Today, for lunch, I decided to polish off the rest of it (i've made it since, it's not from the first post :) off by following Isa's suggestion in VwaV that everyone raves about and put it on pizza. While I've still managed to put off making my own dough the last couple of days, it was great on the flatbread I've been using and not overly filling, just satisfying enough.

No Time?

If you know me, you know I'm an advocate of freshly made foods from whole ingredients. I avoid as much proccessed stuff as I can.

That said, when you've had a long day of frantically cleaning and then letting prospective buyers trapse thru your house hoping they don't notice that time that the newly rescued 80 lb yellow lab puppy tried to chew her way out of the laundry room or that steamy showers are all but causing the expensinve wallpaper to roll right off the walls (why do people still wallpaper bathrooms?!?) or that you've adopted a 'natural floridian wild' look in your flower beds in lieu of regular's so nice to have friends like Amy.

this one? soooo good. and with ingredients that include only organic vegetables, legumes, rice, safflower oil, tomato paste, sea salt, and yummy spices without a single chemical, preservative, or other such ingredient that you'd come across only in chemistry class i don't feel bad about enjoying dinner by Amy from time to time...At. All. In fact, this korma dish, her non-dairy bean burritos, and the tofu scrambles are quick fixes that I almost keep in our freezer....just in case.

'sides, this stuff's not so much 'processed' as it is whipped up, frozen, packaged, and sent out. I think I'm really against the packaging more than anything else! Can't they just put all that info on the clear wrap and at least eliminate the box altogether?!

Behold! the beauty that was this delectable dinner last night when I was entirely too tired to cook a third meal....

The flavor is great with just enough heat. Look! You can even see the mustard seeds in there. Yum!

Oh, and those carboard boxes they come in? I save 'em up and cut out shapes that kids deocrate as holiday ornaments at a wildlife refuge fundraiser each year that I volunteer for. Every little bit helps!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Salad Days

Today's blog, surprisingly, is not about salad. I thought it would be. I was so looking forward to a big spinach salad with peppers, cukes, pumpkin seeds, carrot, raisins, pine nuts, and some homemade viniagrette that I've been dreaming up. Sounds good, right?

Then the cap'n told me about the e. coli scare that's got everyone tossing their bagged greens in the trash and I just couldn't bring myself to unbag the spinach and eat it. Suddenly, it looked 'off' to me. Honestly, I've noticed that the greens at the grocery store have been looking less than wonderful as of late and it just makes me even more anxious to move back to Gainesville where I can join the CSA and enjoy places like Wards, the downtown market, and the the upcoming Whole Foods. Until then, I think I'll be switching to more romaine and leaf lettuce that I can buy unpackaged.

So what ended up on the menu today for lunch?

About a month ago (pre dgmgv) I made a batch of Dreena's Celebrity Adzuki Bean Patties from Vive le Vegan (yum!). As we only ate a couple that night, the rest froze quite nicely and heat up on the skillet in minutes for a hearty lunch! They are fantastic, so tasty!

I eat 'em two at a time since I form the patties a little thin so they're not so mushy. Here, they sandwhich some slices of vine-ripened tomato and are topped with a bit of veganaise and chopped sweet onion on a sprouted whole grain bun.

I love to slather the bottom half (or anything, really) with this:

Mmmmmmm, this is my MOST favorite condiment. It's basically really good mustard packed with loads of nutritional yeast. I get mine from here.

I'm still craving something green and am kicking myself for polishing off the last of my roasted brussel sprouts last night. I see a salad in my future tomorrow, for sure!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eazy Pizza

Last night it was reeeeally late before I even thought to make something for dinner. I'd had a huge salad for lunch and snacked on some falafel and then leftover seitan nuggest in the afternoon. Even tho we've a 'fridge full of leftovers right now I had a hankering for some pizza. So much that, while in town today, I stopped by Mother Earth to be sure to stock up on Follow Your Heart's Moz. Style 'Cheese' (Oh, Publix, what are you waiting for? Carry this wonderful food, already! those other brands are just blech!).
The result?

The easiest Pizza around. I just topped some (really incredible, a great find!) multi grain (wheat, flax, corn, barley, oat, rye) flatbread that I recently thought to try

(these were great for tofurkey roll up sandwhiches we brought to the beach the other day, too!)

with a bit of jarred tomato sauce (ingredients: imported italian plum tomatoes, imported italian olive oil, fresh onions, fresh garlic, fresh basil, fresh parsley, salt and spices..tho, i don't know how 'fresh' they all are now :), and i'm not entirely happy with the sodium content - 560mg in half a cup! i only used about 2Tbs for the pizza and usually buy sauce going on ingredients and how much sugar is in each serving, in this case only 3g per half cup). Topped the whole thing with leftover steamed garlic broccoli from the other night and a little oregano for some extra good flavor.

Not an exciting meal, I know, but it hit the spot, was light but satisfying, and totally quelched the pizza craving that was nagging at me all day. I can never seem to get my FYH 'cheese' to melt before the pizza crust starts to brown too much to leave it in longer, but it melts just enough to blend with the other flavors.

This weekend I plan on making Isa's pizza crust from VwaV and doing the pizza thang all over again (tho I'm gonna make mine whole wheat).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Seitan Nuggets

When I recently made the Jerk Seitan, I found I only needed to use up about half the seitan that I made that day (actually, even half the jerk seitan made it to the freezer for an easy meal in the future!). The remaining seitan was frozen until two days ago, when I took it out to thaw, unsure of what I would be doing with it.

As I'd cut the seitan into small peices, I thought it would be fun to make a sort of nugget out of them. Lots of folks have blogged about different piccata recipes, so I snagged a quick one from
VegCooking. I breaded the seitan my own way. It was already wet so coated it lightly with a mixture of unbleached flour/sea salt/pepper/oregano, then dipped it in soy milk (Silk's plain lite is my favorite) then back in the flour.

I then pan fried them in my beloved iron skillet until they were golden brown.

Topped with the piccata sauce and served with some leftover quinoa hash and steamed garlic broccoli, it was an excellent, filling, and quick meal. Sorry, there's no pic of the whole meal as our camera battery was exhausted and needed recharging!

Not sure if I'd use piccata sauce for these again. It was alright, but I think that my seitan was more beefy than a mock chicken style. I'd like to try to make a lighter version for sauces like piccata. While good, these nuggets might be great for dipping in a mustard or bbq sauce in the future. I plan to play with them a bit and see what I can come up with.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quinoa Hash and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

My new favorite kitchen item is, without a doubt, my HUGE iron skillet. Everything seems to cook up better in it AND it adds a little bit of iron to everyting I make with it! Tonight I was craving quinoa, and I wanted to make something new and different with it in my handy new kitchen tool, so I hunted around vegweb and stumbled upon nutty quinoa hash:

The only things I changed about the recipe were that I tossed in yellow bell pepper for the green (I really just don't like the overwhelming flavor of green. The sweetness of red, yellow, and orange are more subtle to me) and I used 3 Tbs of organic raw almond butter instead of the peanut (generally, we always have almond and cashew and sesame butter on hand but not often peanut). I was thinking of chopping up some almonds and throwing them in as well, but decided against it at the last minute. My seasoning of choice was about 1&3/4 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

I have to admit, upon first putting it all together, I (like someone else on vegweb's comments) felt that the nut butter addition to the quinoa made the quinoa a little too mushy. It kind of became this sticky big clump. I also wondered if maybe there was just too much quinoa going on for the dish. but after tasting it (and taking the time to really combine the veggies with the quinoa/almond butter mixture with a spatula), I found it to be perfect, just as it was. the potato, onion, celery, zucchini, corn, and yellow pepper all made an appearance on my pallette, blanketed in the subtle nutty taste of the quinoa. it was wonderful!
Itopped it with a roasted portabello cap and served it with a side of VwaV's roasted garlicky brussel sprouts. (this recipe, after first trying it, convinced me immediately that brussel sprouts were indeed a veggie that i'd been missing out on all this time!!!!)

I also learned today, in reading Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet (a book I've been soaking up for the last couple months since my switch from's so amazingly full of great nutrition info!) that it's wise to combine foods high in vitamin C (like brussel sprouts!) to help aid in the absorption of iron in iron rich foods (like quinoa!).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Recipes, Old and New

This morning's breakfast? Johnnycakes!!!
In an effort to clean out the 'fridge and freezer, there hasn't been too much excitement going on in our kitchen the past couple of days. Lots of leftovers and simple fixes. Today, when I woke, I knew that grocery shopping was high on the list, but something tummy warming and satisfying for breakfast was higher. So, what did I come up with using only the basic staples found in my barren pantry? Johnnycakes!

I've never been much of a pancake fan, but I love all things corn. Johnnycakes were the precursor to pancakes, from back in the 1700's, when Native Americans taught English settlers how to prepare them. This recipes is not totally traditional, but it's veganized, yummy, and full of corn-y goodness. They need something to make them a little sweet as there is no sweetner in this recipe, so I've found that a tablespoon of pure maple syrup per serving is the perfect accompaniment:

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal

2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp non-aluminum baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 c. nondairy milk (i use soy)
1 tsp corn oil or canola oil

Mix flour, cornmeal, nutritional yeast, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. pour milk and oil into dry ingredients, and stir them together to make a batter. let the batter rest for about five minutes, then stir again. Mist large iron (or nonstick) skillet with canola spray and heat on medium heat. when skillet is hot, spoon batter onto skillet using 2Tbs for each cake. spread out each cake a bit using back of spoon. cook cakes until bottoms are golden, flip and cook that side until golden as well. serve with maple syrup and a side of fresh fruit.

this should make about 8-10 cakes.

Per Serving: Cal 229, Prot 8gm, fat 3gm, carb 43gm

Once the 'fridge was restocked, I dove in to try Dreena's (from Vive le Vegan!) Creamy Orange-Poppy Seed Dressing on a spinach salad:
(fresh baby spinach, cucumber, shredded carrot, red onion, diced yellow pepper, sliced apple, walnuts, and some tomato)

and then her Sunflower Lentil Pie, complete with Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce drizzled on top of it

I LOVED the poppy seed dressing when I tasted it after whipping it up. It is light and creamy and orange-y and YUM! Once on my salad, though, it kind of lost something. I used fresh squeezed orange juice and not anything from concentrate, so I'm not sure if the oranges I used just weren't flavorful enough? It might be better just as a simple dip, the way mine came out. Been thinking I'll maybe squeeze some more OJ tomorrow and thin it with that (it's also rather thick) to see if that helps.

The lentil pie is to. die. for. Granted, I'm a sucker for all things lentil, but this recipe is certainly a keeper and will be made again! Usually, I'm not the biggest fan of tahini or tahini based sauces, but this one is light enough to just give the pie that extra liquid it needs and a flavor (with a mustardy kick) that stands out without competing. I would like to use her other suggestion of topping it with Balsamic-Garlic Flax Oil, perhaps, the next time I make it as that's much more my kind of flavor combo.