Saturday, March 31, 2007

Goodbye, Little One...

I interrupt the usual positive, enthusiastic voice of this vegan food blog to share with all of you some very sad news. I have withheld any information about it for months now as I was anticipating a happy announcement 'at the right time'. As of yesterday, we found that that day will not come for quite a while. It is with heavy heart and saddened soul that I tell you that a 10 week ultrasound by my OB yesterday showed lack of fetal growth beyond likely the 8th week and no detectable heartbeat.

Yesterday proved to be the most horrific experience of my life. To go from the highest of highs when we saw the shape of our baby on the u/s the lowest low in realizing that the shape was more that of an embryo than the fetus he/she should have become and that there was no heartbeat in sight was more emotionally devastating than words can describe.

We have no other children save the amazing four legged creatures that allow us to share this life and space on earth with them. In fact, it was only this last year that we realized we even wanted to create life and bring it into this world together. Before then, the environmentalist in me thought there are already entirely too many people on the planet. This recent loss has shown us just how much we truly wanted this. It has awakened in each of us the realization of all the hopes and dreams we'd already begun to have for our little family, how beautiful and miraculous the creation of life from our love truly is.

We will try again when we can, but for now we grieve the loss of this little one who was already so very loved by both of us and our friends and family.

Why am I telling you this here? In each of you who visit and comment I find a like-minded spirit and kindred soul. I need to share this with you in order to move on, to continue to use this place as a forum of positivity and creativity in the lifestyle I so adore and embrace and want to share with the world. To not share this with you would hold me back, somehow, from returning to my 'normal' life. I will never forget every second of yesterday nor will I forget or ever stop loving the little life that had only just begun inside me...but I need to put out into the universe my eternal gratitude that I am even able to conceive, that I am forever hopeful for the future even in the face of this heart-wrenching circumstance, that saddened seems like an empty word when trying to describe the condition of my heart at this time.

I woke this morning and found myself hours later, in the kitchen, still cooking up this and that, imagining sharing each thing created with you. I knew that I would not be able to blog here again until I relayed the impetus for my time in the kitchen. I think that chopping things and focusing on each item was more immediate therapy than anything else I know.

I am fortunate enough to be married to my very best friend and, in each other, we are sure to begin a path to healing and on to our next venture into creating a family. For now, we prepare for a D&E procedure next week as my body does not seem to want to correct the situation on its own and I, honestly, don't know if I can wait for that to happen, emotionally. I will likely not blog again until the D&E is well behind me.

But know that I am as well as I can be and looking forward to feeling like myself again soon, sharing with each of you the products of my 'therapy'.

and to the universe as it claims our little loved one...thank you for proving to each of us just how much our love for each other desires to blossom and grow, just how much we love each other in the face of both joy and sorrow.

and to our lost little one...

How very softly you tiptoed into our world.

You only stayed a moment, but what an imprint

your footsteps have left upon our hearts.

so much love to all

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thirsty? Drink This!

A friend of mine (and excellent hostess) once served me a naturally caffeine free, refreshing concoction she lovingly referred to as 'Hippie Cool-Aide'. It needs no sweetener, is delicate and thirst-quenching, and has none of that pesky caffeine that so many of us try to avoid.

In a word? Perfection in a glass. OK, maybe that's four words.... but they certainly accurately describe this tasty tea. The combo is Tazo's Passion Herbal Infusion (a naturally subtly sweet, rosy blend of hibiscus flowers, licorice root, orange peel, cinnamon bark, rose hips, lemon grass and tropical fruits) and Bija's Certified Organic Double Ginger Tea (full of lots of ginger root with a touch of lemon grass, peppermint leaf, licorice root, and black pepper...all organically grown).

Sure, you could enjoy this blend hot, you could even go all out and supplement it with your sweetener of choice...but we elect to sip it iced and in it's purest form. It's just barely sweet and allows you to truly appreciate all the flavors of both teas as they linger on your palate. When I'm feeling especially bold, I just steep two bags of each in 2qts of water instead of just one of each. Aside from that? I wouldn't dare change a thing!

And just what do I feast on when tipping back a nice, cold glass of Hippie Cool-Aide? Why, a ginormous, crisp, fresh salad, of course!
This one was a huge bed of green leaf lettuce weighed down with cucumber, red bell pepper, carrot shavings, green onion, roasted chickpeas, and Makoto Ginger Dressing. There can never be to much ginger consumption in one sitting, in my opinion.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Knead? No Need! Bread

I've seen the blog entries. I've read the articles. I know that the No Knead bread craze has taken over the vegan blog food world.

While I actually enjoy kneading bread, the promise of the shard-like crust and perfect crumb was the impetus for this... my newest kitchen toy. It's no Le Creuset (there is just NO WAY I'd be able to afford that kind of price tag!) but this 5-qt. apple green enameled cast iron beauty of a dutch oven is all mine, thank you eBay, for less than a quarter of the price of it's fancy, schmancy counterpart. (and I'm not even factoring in the FREE stainless steel dutch oven they threw in by accident and let me keep!).

I honestly had not a single bowl in my collection large enough, Pyrex or otherwise, that I could toss in the oven to try out the no knead bread so this was a delight to finally receive in the mail. Twenty-two hours later and I had this...I used 1/3 whole wheat flour, regular active yeast instead of instant (using about 1/3 tsp) and went with the 1 1/2 c. water that I'd read about over the 1 5/8c. I also measured the needed water in my measuring cup and used a bit of it to proof my yeast first while mixing dry ingredients. I then opted for cornmeal over flour at the end because I love the way it laughs in the face of anything sticking to anything where dough is concerned.

I admit that, at first, I didn't think mine was going to turn out well. It didn't look much like the pictures I'd seen after the first 20 hours, not nearly as wet and sticky, and it didn't rise in the second 2 hour period to double its size as the recipe said it would.

No matter, just look at that amazing loaf!
No, really! Look! And the taste is great, too. I do think it could use a little something, though. I think I may add a little sugar in the yeast proofing step next time. Or maybe some fresh herbs in the dough itself? I do believe that the possibilities for this stuff are endless! But do watch those pearly whites! They're not kidding about the hard exterior. That stuff is serious business...but all kindsa yummy!

Tempeh Teriyaki Take One....and Two!

As much as I love the food over at Eat Air, I've gotten the feeling the last few days that I'm blog stalking them. First, I was inspired to recreate the Orange Seitan, then I found we'd each blogged about burritos within 24 hours of one another, and now this... Vegan Planet's Teriyaki Tempeh (mine served with garlic broccoli over instant white *shudder* rice). I kid you not, I was perusing blogs one evening when I saw that this is what they'd had for dinner....all the while my VP was open in the kitchen to that very recipe for I was craving tempeh and that was what I'd picked to satisfy my tempeh need the next day!

Even the Cap'n who is still not sold on all things tempeh was heard to say that, "That just might be the best flavored tempeh you've made to date! know, for tempeh." I think I may try the marinade on tofu next time so that we can both truly enjoy it.

The flavor was indeed so good that I just had to have it again for lunch today.

This time I threw some brown sushi rice in the pressure cooker while sauteing half a sweet onion, one large carrot, one 8oz package of mushrooms, a splash of lo sodium tamari, and half a bag of baby spinach (in that order) in a bit of peanut oil.

I think it's so funny that so many of us coincidentally make some of the same things at the same time. Great minds, indeed!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Great Way to Start The Day

Ever have those days you just wake up ravenous?! That's how this morning was for me, and quickly satisfied with the help of this yummy smoothie
1 c. plain soy milk
1 c. blueberry soy yogurt

1 c. frozen blueberries

2 tsp. agave nectar

and these awesome waffles.
I usually buy the flax seed variety but have been eyeing the hemp version for some time. These whole grain powerhousesdidn't disappoint toasted and topped with walnuts, fresh banana and some pure maple syrup.

Right now I'm blogging during half-time, allowing my tempeh to marinate for tonight and my first attempt at no knead bread to do whatever it does for 20 hours. During the game I'd used up whatever tempeh was left that wouldn't fit into the pan I'm using to marinade and made a little mock chicken salad with it.I just mashed up the poached tempeh with some Vegannaise, a drop or two each of tamari and veg. worst. sauce, salt, pepper, tarragon, slivered almonds, and raisins. Served on some black pepper and olive oil triscuits (these are sooooo good!) with a huge navel orange, this was a great lunch while cheering on my favorite college team.

Go Gators!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Promise I'll Shut Up About The Oatmeal...

after this post. Some of you have inquired about the usage of Balsamic Vinegar Glaze with the oatmeal. Be sure not to use regular balsamic vinegar but rathera balsamic vinegar glaze which is a reduction of your run of the mill balsamic vinegar. It's a bit thick and sticky and really good with fruit or for a variation on your usual dressings. This version is slightly sweet and still slightly tangy. I never would have thought to use it with oatmeal in this way, but it is truly a wonderful pairing.

Just artfully drizzle on the plate before laying down your oatmeal patty then top with desired nuts and fruits.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mmmmmm, Burritos!

It happens...I'm craving my weekly burrito fix and there seems to be a shortage of Amy's in my freezer. No matter, I should be making these all of the time, anyway!

And just what was inside this delectable dinner?
I roasted two skinned and cubed sweet potatoes at 400 for about 25 min with some olive oil. In the meantime, I threw one chopped onion, two cloves of chopped garlic, one can of black beans (next time? I think two would be better....this makes a ton!), one can of no salt added tomatoes, and a heaping teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder into my pan to saute. A little sea salt stirred in while heating the whole thing thru once the roasted potatoes were added and these were ready for the stuffing!

I just wrapped the filling in some flour tortillas, baked at 350 for another 25 min, topped with Zapata's salsa verde (tho I'm beginning to jones for my own, homemade salsa as of late), a bit of Toffuti sr. crm subst., fresh tomato and avocado.

This was so filling and good! I've seen this combination of sweet potato and black bean all over the place but had yet to try it. I'm so glad I did!

I'm looking quite forward to a couple leftover burritos, thinking of freezing a few, and even excited about using the filling as dinner in a bowl with rice. YUM!

Oh, and a quick note about yesterday's pan seared oatmeal: premaking the oatmeal and storing it in the fridge, then cutting what you want to use the next day when it's pretty much a solid mass before pan searing? perfect! I had put mind in a circular tub and cut the most perfect thick circle of goodness for the searing this morning. You really MUST try this one!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pan Seared Oatmeal Success!

So, I did it....I tried to replicate the amazing breakfast I recently blogged of (sans picture) from Gainesville's 43rd Street Deli. This? Was the best breakfast I've ever made at home, and I highly recommend it! First, I made the oatmeal as instructed on the tin. It's important that you make it with steel cut oats and not the rolled or instant varieties.

When just about done (yeah, it takes forever, but is so worth it in the get up early! ;) I added a bit of soy milk and some organic maple syrup. Then I allowed it sit off heat for another ten to fifteen minutes to help stiffen it up a bit.

Next, I melted some
Organic Earth Balance in a pan, then dumped in about a half cup of the oatmeal. In order to try and keep it in a cake, I used a spatula to continually push in the sides a bit. (I swear they use one of those sandwich grillers as theirs is served as two thick, identical triangles of oatmeal).

After the cake got fairly firm on the bottom i flipped it. This was not entirely successful, but worked well enough. (I have a feeling that tomorrow, after the leftover oatmeal has been refrigerated all night, it will prove much stiffer and be easier to pan sear).

Once the other side was lightly browned as well I plated it over some Gia Russa Balsamic Glaze, then topped it with crushed walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, and fresh banana. Honestly? I cannot WAIT to have breakfast tomorrow!
Have sleepover guests? Rise a little early and surprise them with this morning treat!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Look, Ma! No Cheese!

While I'd really been craving some Eggplant Rollatini, the eggplants at the store have been looking less than desirable. Luckily, I happened upon some of Hodgson Mill's Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles and decided on this insteadWhole Wheat Rollatini with VWaV's Basil Tofu Ricotta and Spinach. This is such an easy meal to prefer, packed with protein, and leftovers for days!

I've basically given up any notion I once had of a suitable vegan substitute for cheese. The store brands never melt or just taste funky to me, the agar/nut based ones i've tried are just.....ew. This is why I'm so glad that VWaV's Basil Tofu Ricotta is such a diverse recipe, to fill that void.

I tried again, after my recent trip to Gville, to once again replicate their nutritional yeast tofu.
This time I skipped the marinade altogether in favor of just coating pressed tofu liberally with nutritional yeast and lightly frying in just enough sunflower oil with a pinch of sea salt. This time around the flavor was closer, but the texture? No matter how long I pressed it it just didn't come out as firm and perfect as theirs. I'm wondering if i ever make my own tofu at home if I'd have better results?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bock Choy Recipe

I know I pulled this one off the 'net somewhere, but can't figure out where. I was looking for something yummy to do with my huuuge head of bok choy.This? Fit the bill for sure! I ate almost the entire thing by myself!

Bok Choy with Ginger Vinaigrette

1 tsp. olive or sesame oil (or any oil you love to saute your veggies in)
1 lb. bok choy
1 T white vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp reduced sodium tamari

1 tsp Florida Crystals

1 clove garlic, grated

1 T fresh ginger, grated

Separate and clean well all bok choy leaves/stalks. I cut the leafy parts straight across and the stalk parts on a diagnal.

mix together vinegar, mustard, tamari, sugar, garlic, aginger and set aside.

heat oil in pan or wok and add stalks, sauteing until just starting to get tender. add leaves and saute until wilted. remove from heat and toss with vinaigrette.

easy and soooo delicious!

Speaking of delicious...I recently wanted tofu salad so used Dreena's marinated tofu in TEV and added what we had on hand, carrots and green onion.
This stuff is superb on some toasted whole grain bread with fresh avacado. yum!

In an attempt (a rather successful one, I might add) to satisfy a comfort food craving, I took the remaining beef-style seitan I'd made and breaded it with some Italian, wheat-free bread crumbs I'd recently picked up and threw together a country fried seitan with mashed cauliflower (one head of steamed cauliflower, one med red potato, made like mashed potatoes) and some green beans, all with nutritional yeast gravy.
This was really good, but I wouldn't buy that brand of bread crumbs again. They were entirely too salty. blech. I think I may have cooked this batch of seitan a bit too long tho, as it was a bit more firm than I'd like. If any of you have a problem with seitan that's too soft? Maybe try boiling it for an extra ten minutes. I did this by pure accident and the results are very, very firm.

A recent trip up to Gainesville (man! the vegan options are just insane! I found, multiple times, that I had so many choices I had a hard time deciding!) I dined with friends at ChopStix Cafe. Over half their menu is already veg or can be made so with ease. The food is outta this world and the staff is really accomodating and friendly. It's really nice, too, that you can eat overlooking Bivens Arm, a gorgeous lake full of wildlife.

I totally forgot my camera, but here are my scrumptious leftovers,
Ginger Tempeh (made locally!) which was a tasty sauce with a little kick from all the ginger over huge chunks of tempeh and zuchini, green beans, mushrooms, carrots, and peas. I steamed some spinach with the leftovers for a perfect quick dinner once home.

I wish I'd had a shot of my perfect breakfast from the 43rd Street Deli in Gville. While this local hot spot (even during Spring Break the place is packed!) is not entirely vegan, some of the cooks there are so they incorporate a ton of options on their menu and gladly make dishes vegan when they can. I enjoyed Pan Seared Oatmeal Cake, a huge hunk of steel cut oatmeal pan seared and served over a balsamic glaze, topped with cranberries, raisins, and fresh banana. This and a side of nutritional yeast coated tofu and I was a happy, happy girl. yum!

Speaking of yum, I've been having a ton of smoothies for breakfast as of late. I seem to go back and forth between two. Here's one:

1c. Matt's Organic Fortified OJ
1 ripe banana
1/4. c. fresh strawberries
1/4 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 c. frozen raspberries
2 T Goji berries
2 T brown rice powder
crushed ice

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Orange You Glad....

you can make this stuff at home?! I'd been thinking for some time about a recipe I'd seen on Chris and Darlene's Eat Air blog for Tangerine Seitan. Last night I finally whipped it up, using orange instead of the tangerine for some seriously Crispy Orange Seitan with Broccoli. Wow! This stuff is incredible! I already cannot wait to make it again! It comes together quite easily (I opted to use La Dolce Vegan's beef style seitan recipe) and I didn't have a problem with the crispiness of the seitan likely because I used a bit more peanut oil in the cooking of the seitan and let it get rather crispy before removing it. I also used an extra teaspoon of agave in the sauce to suit our tastes. My method was to cook the broccoli, remove it, cook the seitan, remove it, make the sauce and then dump it all over the veggie/seitan combo and serve with some brown rice. Great stuff! This satisfied a Chinese food craving I didn't even know I was having! Thanks, you guys for sharing such a tasty recipe!

Next up, a sinful treat at our house this past week....Linguine with olive oil and garlic. I say sinful because it's a rare event that we'll consume any pasta whatsoever much less a non-whole wheat variety. But, at our latest trip to the grocery store, the Cap'n gave me those eyes when asking if we could puuuulllleeeeease do the garlic and oil thing with 'real' pasta. ha! my Italian momma would be so proud. I caved and boy, was it decadently good! I topped mine with Parma! (and don't think we were all bad, this was served with my beloved vegan Caesar complete with sundried tomatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, and roasted port. mushrooms).

Not stopping there, the leftover non whole wheat pasta had to be consumed somehow. There was only about a 1/2 c. of it leftover and I was dining alone that night. Using leftover roasted Portobellos and sauteing some spinach turned into this delight
with a touch of vegan organic Smart Balance and lots of nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Leftovers can prove to be sometimes even tastier than their original incarnations!

and what week at DGMGV's house would be complete without a lunch of Amy's non-dairy bean burrito? none that I'm aware of. here's this week's with Tofutti, Zapata's roasted salsa verde, a bit of fresh cilantro, and some sweet grape tomatoes.I'm telling ya, this is my FAVORITE vegan 'fast food'.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Say Hello To My new Little Friends....

I've always been a huge fan of Silk's Plain Lite Soy Milk. It was the only choice for me...until now.
I came across Silk's newest variety, Silk Plus, at my last trip to the grocery store. This Silk Plus is fortified with Omega 3's and DHA, and the taste is great!

In this same trip I found myself searching for my vegan margarine staple, Earth Balance, and stumbled upon this, insteadAfter a quick comparison of the two, I opted to try this version as it's lower in sodium and in fat. The true test will come, I'm sure, when it's time to bake up a vegan confection. Stay tuned for that!

Next onto an experiment that was NOT my friend...cornmeal coated chicken style seitan, baked not fried.

I know that you can bake the seitan instead of frying it with great results, but I DO NOT recommend doing such after coating it with white cornmeal. The cornmeal just stayed powdery and never fully browned, even though I lightly sprayed it with oil before putting it in the oven.
Live and learn! The sides were fab, though...mashed sweet potato and spinach with wild rice. yum!

For a lazy dinner, I defrosted some of the Bean 'n Barley stew I made a while back. This stuff is reeeeally great. Served with a bunch of sauteed spinach with garlic and the last of my whole wheat biscuits.
I've finally found the package of barley that I adopted this recipe from and will post it below. I really love the flavor of this stew and how the barley just pops when you bite into it. Amazing all over again out of the freezer, too!

With the biscuits all gone it was time for another baked item in the house. This time? La Dolce Vegan's Kissin Cousins Oat Bread.
Think corn bread without the corn but with oats instead. It's a bit crumbly but not terribly so, a little sweet and all kindsa good. I made it with the intention of using it as sandwich bread but have been enjoying a thick slice lightly toasted with a bit of Smart Balance instead.

Craving Mac UnCheese, I thought I'd venture away from our usual variety (from the Nutritional Yeast Cookbook) and test one out that uses tofu in the sauce and doesn't rely on flour, either. This one was from Veg Web
The claim was that this was the Best Mac and Cheese in the Entire World....Seriously, and many reviews said the same. The verdict? blech! we didn't like it. The tamari was too overwhelming and it just didn't measure up to our favorite. I like the idea of adding protein by way of tofu in the sauce, but the flavor was all wrong for our palates.

even a side of our favorite broccoli didn't make it easier to get down.
the worst part? it makes a TON!

We decided a yummy dessert treat was in order that evening.
This was just a simple dish of sliced bananas and fresh strawberries (the berries had been macerating in the fridge with a little sugar during dinner. yum!) topped with a sauce made from Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese and some Florida Crystals and some shaved 85% cocao dark chocolate.

Adopted from Bob's Red Mill's Hearty Hull-less Barley Soup

Bean 'n Barley Stew

3 T vegan margarine
1 large onion, diced
3-4 Carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp salt
1 T dried Basil
1 T dried Oregano
1/2 - 3/4 c. dried Parsley flakes
6 1/2 c. hot water or veg. stock (I like to use Vegan Planet's basic veg. stock recipe)
2 c. hull-less barley
3 cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed (I used one Great Northern and one Cannellini, as that's what I had)

makes a ton and freezes really well! i belived i even halved the recipe and still had a bunch to freeze.

Brown the onion in margarine (this reduces the acid of the onion). Add carrots, celery, salt and cook for a few minutes. Add water or stock, herbs, and barley. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower temperature and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Mix in tomatoes and beans and cook for an additional 30 minutes, making sure to not run out of water/ stock and add as needed, if needed.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Difficult To Please? Pulllease!

I know I typically just blog about the foods I eat and steer clear of any sociopolitical ramblings here (trust me, you should be glad I'm able to stay so focused, I've been known to ramble :), but in my blog lurking today I stumbled upon a great vegan website by way of Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen, SuperVegan.

In perusing their many interesting vegan tidbits of info I came across a blurb about personal growth author Kathy Freston. Apparently, she's recently written a few proveg articles. For that, I say, You Go Girl!" Until I read that her latest contribution included the following in regards to dining out at restaurants:

"You'll obviously want to avoid dishes served with meat, cheese, or eggs, but it doesn't really matter if there's a modicum of butter or whey or other animal product in the bun that your veggie burger is served on," she writes. "You may give your nonvegan friends--not to mention the restaurant wait staff--the idea that vegans are difficult to please."

ooooooh, did this make me mad. Now, I'm not one to push my veganism on anyone. I firmly believe that it's a very personal choice. I only ask that my choice be respected in turn. Granted, since becoming vegan I don't dine out much at all, and when I do it's only after careful research and usually many questions directed (politely and patiently!) at the staff. I like to think I'm polite and easy to accommodate as I don't dine at any establishment that I know beforehand absolutely cannot or will not meet my dietary needs. I've yet to have a problem. Hey, I'm also known for sneaking in my own salad dressings, vegan margarine and the like to make sure I get a full meal and can order items off the menu plain to dress myself. I don't do this to not be difficult. I blatantly smack that stuff on the table. I just do it so I can participate in the social event of dining out with friends and family on occasion.

What I don't understand is why this woman, a self-proclaimed vegan, would set us back this way, would belittle my or your conviction. I understand that there are different levels of veganism for everyone. What I don't understand is why this person would suggest her version is one all vegans should adopt so that we don't look 'difficult'. I never think of myself as difficult but one with clear choices and stable conviction to adhere to them.

So, what did I do after reading this article? I followed the link to her website and sent her (or her people) an email. I wanted her to know that this particular vegan was appalled by her standards and that she would share them with her readers under the guise of a proveg platform. After all, if you're going to let 'em slip a little bit of this here and a little dab of that there in your food just so as to not appear 'difficult'? You may as well just eat the stuff so as to not offend anyone either, right?

Anyway, just thought I'd share and see what any of you have to say about it. I suggest anyone who feels so inclined drop her an email as I did to let her know that she does not speak for other vegans out there trying to pioneer a place for ourselves in a nonvegan world.

ok, now i'm done!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Better'n Hummus 'n Other Great Eats

I love a good hummus as much as the next hungry vegan, but PPK's Lentil Walnut Dip just blows my mind AND it's packed full of not one but TWO great sources of protein. It's also just the easiest thing in the world to whip up.
I think it's best on any fresh pepper and served it with red, yellow, and orange at a recent family birthday dinner. This got a unanimous WOW! from the omni's as well.

Next up a repeat with a quick revision, Millet Loaf with Lentils!
As I had some green lentils left over from my dip, and I'd been craving a grain loaf for a while, I threw together the millet loaf I made not too long ago (no real recipe still, just a cup of cooked millet, a couple sauteed carrots, some celery, onion, roasted sunflower seeds, dill thyme, sea salt, and pepper get mushed into a loaf pan coated with olive oil and dusted with cornmeal) and this time added a cup of lentils into the mix.

The result, served over a bed of steamed kale with some quick nutritional yeast gravy and a side of mashed sweet potato...
Serious yum here, folks! The cornmeal kept the loaf from sticking this time and it all held together pretty well without my even adding four or egg replacer or anything. I cooked it in a 450 oven for about 45 minutes. it gets nice and crunchy on the outside and moist but firm on the inside.

I finally came across some Gimme Lean soy sausage and felt the need to try it out. I was never much of a sausage fan before i went veg, but always liked sausage gravy so I thought i'd try this instead of tempeh.
eh, i've used it up now both as shown (the strawberries have been superb as of late!) and in gravy and the verdict? i'll stick to tempeh. this stuff tastes like the real thing, but i guess i've acquired a taste for something else entirely.

Next up, I wanted to do something with buckwheat noodles that wasn't my usual ginger dressed version.
Here I mixed 'em with some fresh red bell pepper, grated carrot, green onion, lots of nappa cabbage and my peanut sauce (crunchy organic raw peanut butter, agave, water, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes all to taste). Super yum! A peanut-y sauce was just what i needed to shake things up a bit. The captain was a huge fan of this one as well.

Lastly, a super easy meal that used up the last of the lentils (whenever i make lentils i tend to make a ton basically because i love them and you can throw 'em in just about anything!).
I just cooked some whole wheat pasta, heated a can of no salt tomatoes with some tomato paste, garlic, basil, and oregano, threw in the lentils to heat while i steamed some kale. Then topped the whole thing with some Parma!

Mmmmmm, speaking of which...i think it's time for me to go heat up the leftovers for my dinner. I think tonight, tho, i'll add a few soy crumbles just to punch it up a bit.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Decadent Banana Bread Recipe, Curry, and Some High-Priced Disappointments

Let's start with the bad news first, shall we? While recently at the grocery store, I came across these beautiful heirloom tomatoes. Pretty no? When I cut up the smaller one for a salad I found it to be very mealy and a bit too tart to really enjoy. As they were quite expensive (i'd never bought heirloom tomotoes before and was too curious to not), I tossed 'em in the salad anyway. but i didn't like it!

After lunchtime's disappointment I was glad I'd thought to defrost some curry that I'd made a while back. It's my simple go-to curry from Veg. Times (you can find the recipe here. i just subbed sweet potatoes this round for some tiny yukon golds as that's what i had and used green lentils instead of brown...well...because they're my favorite!).Whenever I thaw out a batch I can never leave it as it and threw in another can of chopped, no salt added tomatoes, half a can of chickpeas (I want to roast the other half for a snack, yum!), and about half of the largest bunch of organic kale I've purchased to date. The kale I just cleaned, chopped, and boiled for about fifteen minutes, then drained and stirred it into the curry before serving. I was hoping to try my hand at chipatis, but never got around to it. warming a whole wheat wrap in the oven and tearing it to scoop up the warming goodness of the curry was a decent substitute.

That warm oven? Was from baking some of the BEST banana bread I've ever had, in my opionion, and I owe it all to the folks over at Post Punk Kitchen. I took Isa's original recipe, heeded the advice of just about every person who reviewed it (cutting back on fat, adding choc. chips, topping it with nuts), and even gave it a lil dash of som'n som'n on my own. Here's the final product. Totally decadent and not nearly as bad for you as it tastes!
Decadent Banana Bread

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar (Florida Crystals is my fave)
1 T margarine
1/4 c. applesauce, unsweetened
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. lite plain soy milk + 1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 T. unsweetened coconut
1/4 c. toasted walnut pieces

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan (preferably pyrex).
Sift flour, baking soda, spices. Cream margarine, sugars, and applesauce. Add mashed banana, milk mixture, vanilla to wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut. Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle top with walnuts.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and ten minutes, or until wooden skewer or knife comes out clean.