Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Creamy White Bean Soup

When I feel like eating simple, no-frills food I like to turn to Gillian McKeith's cookbooks. Her recipes are very wholesome, basic and healthy yet full of flavor. I made the 'Creamy White Bean Soup' from the Slim for Life book. It's very simple: onions, garlic, leeks, parsley, coriander, veggie broth and white beans. I'll probably have a rocket salad with this for dinner.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pancake Breakfast & Iraqi Eggplant Casserole

This morning we had pancakes (Vegan w/ a Vengeance recipe) and veggie sausages. The sausages are Lightlife's Gimme Lean ground veggie sausage which I shaped into little links. They were perfect with the fluffy pancakes and maple syrup!

Not the most photogenic dish... This is the eggplant casserole recipe from my Iraqi cookbook "Delights from the Garden of Eden". It has eggplant, onions, peppers, garlic and chickpeas in a savory tomato sauce. The recipe called for too much liquid I think so it was still a little watery at the end but I didn't mind that much. Next time I make this I'll decrease the liquid a bit.

Casserole served on top of couscous with a garlicky yogurt sauce, pita and arugula and cucumber salad. So delicious!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Avocado Sandwich & Xmas Cookies

Avocado, tomato and Daiya cheese sandwich. Been living on these sandwiches the past few days. We got several giant avocados that had to be eaten asap! They were delicious.

I made these cookies for christmas: chocolate chip, white chocolate and rainbow chip plus pumpkin oatmeal raisin. 

My boss made me these cute christmas tree cookies that were creatively dyed green with liquid chlorophyll! They were so soft and sweet. There were more but I ate most of them on the way home from work yesterday!

We spent xmas eve with our dear friends/neighbors and watched National Lampoon's Christmas vacation. My omnivore neighbor surprised me by making these vegan chocolate chip mint cookies! She went all the way and used spelt flour, agave syrup and grain sweetened chocolate chips. They were gorgeous and so yummy!

Dozen after dozen, I saw these come out of the oven. They are so beautiful.

Here's my neighbor holding up a plate of her first ever vegan homemade cookies! I was so touched that she made these for me. She said vegan baking was easy! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Food rundown.

Thursday night's dinner: macaroni with esme's special sauce (delicious!) with steamed carrots and kale. Haven't made this sauce in so long and so glad I thought of it. Husband approved!

Saturday's lunch: romaine salad with red cabbage, cucumber, homemade croutons and tahini dill dressing,

Saturday's dessert: parsnip-carrot cake with a mess of a cream "cheese" glaze (didn't set up at all!) Got the recipe for this cake in a bargain book I found at Borders called 'The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking'. I had problems with the batter because the recipe didn't call for enough liquid so I had to add some in increments. Good thing the cake turned out. It was wonderfully spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and very moist but the frosting recipe was a disaster. It didn't ruin the taste so I was happy enough.

Saturday's dinner: glorious quesadilla with Daiya cheese, roasted red peppers and caramelized onions. This is a vegan copycat of Giada's Italian quesadilla recipe. Amaaaazing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lentil Dal and Alu Matar

Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines. Today I made two dishes: Red Lentil Dal (adapted ppk recipe) and Alu Matar from "Flavors of India" cookbook.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two-Bean Chili with Bulgur

Got this recipe from a cookbook that my husband got me for x-mas last year which I haven't had the chance to use yet. It's called "366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans and Grains". Considering it's got a whole section on beans, there were no more than 2 or 3 chili recipes. This one looked interesting to me because of the use of bulgur for thickness and texture. I've never tried that before so this was a first. I think I like this much better than using soy ground crumbles. I tried a little bit for lunch and it was deliciously hearty and spicy. Will be having again for dinner which will go very well with "buttered" whole wheat flour tortillas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eat Your Greens!

Mmm, kale! I sure do love this dark green leafy that I've been eating a lot of lately. I'm sure to some of you, the idea of eating a serving of dark green vegetables plain is not desirable in the slightest. Which is why it's a good idea to pair it with something that will make you love your greens. Today I made two sauces that I ladled over steamed kale. Both were absolutely wonderful!

First up is this delicious garlicky sauce that was invented by my friend Lauren. She eats kale by the ton and uses this sauce that she whipped one day. She is addicted to it and I think I will be too! She ran the recipe by me today and I came home and made it. It takes not more than 3-4 minutes and is worth the preparation. This is what you do: Chop finely a few cloves of garlic. Heat some olive oil (I used about 2TB) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add some Earth Balance margarine, just a bit for some saltiness. Add chopped garlic and saute until it lightly browns. Then add nutritional yeast flakes(I added only 1/2 cup, Lauren uses a full cup!) and then add some water little by little while stirring to make a sauce with the thickness you prefer. Season with black pepper and cayenne. Pour over steamed kale and toss to coat.

Second sauce is the Tahini Dill sauce from Veganomicon. Super easy to make as well in your blender. It's a wonderfully smooth and creamy sauce made with tahini, dill, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, water and vinegar. The recipe called for balsamic but I used red wine vinegar instead. Very good on fresh salad too.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Food: Lasagna & Coffee Cake

I've been craving a lasagna forever. I haven't made one in months and months. All week I imagined this lasagna filled with creamy cashew-tofu ricotta with spinach, eggplant, zucchini and roasted red peppers.

First layer of noodles, sauce, sauteed eggplant and zucchini...

Next comes cashew-tofu ricotta with spinach, more sauteed eggplant and roasted red peppers, yum!

After an hour in the oven. Topped with Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella.

I had so much leftover noodles, sauce and filling that I made another smaller pan of it. Anyone want this?

This was so good.

For dessert, Vegan Brunch's East Coast Coffee Cake with fig jam swirl. Deelicious with tea!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pot Pie, Tea Sandwiches and Gardein Buffalo Wings

This is an adaptation of Vegan Dad's pot pie. I didn't use seitan but used chickpeas instead. I had a spelt crust in the freezer that I wanted to use and for the top crust, I used an oil based recipe which I cut into pumpkin shapes. I added a few things to the sauce/filling, namely 1 tsp. white miso, 1/2 tsp. vegemite and 1/4 tsp. dried thyme.

The other day I bought a package of Gardein buffalo wings to try out. I had them with cucumber sandwiches and salad. To be honest, I wasn't crazy about them on their own. The texture was good but the taste was kind of weird. I think they would be better in a sandwich with other things.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Easy Berry Cobbler

I made this last night when I got a sugar craving. It was very easy and quick and doesn't require that many ingredients. I wish I would have had some non dairy ice cream to go with it!

Easy Cobbler

1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain soymilk
dash of cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup vegan margarine like Earth Balance
3 cups frozen mixed berries, thawed OR frozen peaches OR frozen mangos (or any frozen fruits really!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thaw frozen fruit and reserve the juice.
Put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the soymilk and a dash of cinnamon. Mix the batter until all ingredients are incorporated.
Meanwhile put the vegan margarine into a baking dish. Put the dish into the oven to let the margarine melt completely.
After it is melted, take the dish out of the oven and pour the batter on top of the margarine. Spoon the fruit and juice on top of the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. The batter will rise up around the fruit.
Let it cool after taking it out of the oven. I find it tastes better after it has cooled. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rice Casserole

Another warm and comforting casserole for a chilly day. I've made this before. It's the "Potato and Chickpea Curry with Rice" recipe from Vegetarian Times. It's so easy to throw a bunch of things in a dutch oven or covered casserole and bake for an hour. I made 1/3 of the recipe and added green beans and eggplant to my casserole and served it with sauteed garlicky kale. I should have doubled the amount of eggplant in it because they shrunk to almost nothing! But still, this was really yummy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Burger Night.

I love to make homemade burgers. Whatever beans I have in hand are what I use along with other things like tofu, garlic, onions, grated carrots, bread crumbs, etc. I do eat frozen veggie burgers now and again but homemade are always better. I've made these 'smoky tofu and bean burgers' before and I don't think the recipe has ever failed me. They bake up wonderful, firm on the outside and tender on the inside. I like to serve them with grilled onions and a homemade thousand island sauce (vegan mayo, ketchup, relish, lemon juice, salt, pepper, hot sauce).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Daiya Cheese Quesadilla

This was a quick lunch for me before I head out for work. I've had Daiya before on homemade pizza which I liked but having it in a quesadilla I loved! For some reason, the combination of melty cheese inside a grilled flour tortilla with buttery earth balance margarine made it taste just like real cheese. I can't wait to try this again and maybe add grilled vegetables to it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

German Cabbage Soup (Krautsuppe)

Alright, the pigging out has got to stop! I've been a naughty naughty thing and have eaten so much indulgent foods this holiday weekend. Pumpkin pies, apple tarts with cashew cream, biscotti, bread stuffing with mashed potatoes, gravy, potato chips and chocolate chocolate chocolate! I tell you there's nothing more satisfying than laying in bed watching a dvd with a bar of chocolate by your side. Trader Joe's dark chocolate truffle, Ritter Sport marzipan and Anassa orange marzipan with dark chocolate have been my friends.

So to start off healthier this week, I opened up my favorite cookbook 'Olive Trees and Honey' and made the German cabbage soup recipe. It's very simple: cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes and veggie broth flavored with caraway seeds, salt and pepper. And it tastes so warm, comforting and very delicious. To make it heartier, I added about a 1/3 cup cooked rice to my bowl at lunch. I wouldn't mind having this every week.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hurrah for Vegan Biscotti!

I think I must be dreaming. I haven't had a biscotti in a million years it seems! When I went vegan, I pretty much said goodbye to these sweet cripsy italian cookies that I loved having with a coffee. The biscotti that you can buy at your local coffee shop or specialty store were off limits because of the ingredient list which traditionally contains eggs. Today I was craving biscotti and after shopping at Whole Foods and ogling the pretty holiday biscotti packages, I decided that I would make my own today. I knew there were a couple recipes in Veganomicon so I hurried home and got to work. I used the 'Almond Anise Biscotti' recipe but omitted the anise as I didn't have any. I also ran out of canola oil so I subbed olive oil with no problems. And instead of whole almonds, I used slivered almonds, mmm! The egg replacement in the recipe was ground flax seed that was whisked with soymilk. They did the trick and in about an hour, I had beautiful golden crunchy biscotti!

They were so heavenly dunked in coffee.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Vegan Pumpkin Waffles

I so had this for dinner. I felt really guilty and full of white flour and sugar afterwards but then I thought, 'what the hey! it's the holidays!'. This is the recipe from 'Vegan with a Vengeance'. I think I may have messed up because while the outside was semi crispy, the inside was a little mushy. I was playing around with the amounts of sugar (I decreased it by a bit) and the amount of oil and pumpkin. So it was very much my fault for fiddling around with the recipe. But the taste was good and I ate all of it with melty Earth Balance margarine and maple syrup. I was so sugared out after I finished that I had some salty/sour sauerkraut and pepperoncini to balance my taste buds out, haha!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks.

Over the years on Thanksgiving, my whole family gets together at an aunt's house to celebrate together and eat together. It's usually a gigantic Thai-American potluck and boy, can our family eat! Our family parties last all day and into the night with non-stop eating. It's quite amazing and makes me laugh when I think about it. I won't be partaking this year at the family party because my mom has to work all day today. We decided to have a small dinner tonight for the 5 of us here at home (me, husband, brother, mom and dad). I'll miss seeing my many many cousins but I know that christmas is just around the corner and I will most likely see them at the holiday shindig in December. I'm so grateful to have such a large family who all enjoy being in each other's company and always want the best for each other. I can't imagine not having them in my life. I am thankful for so many things in my life, number one being my family.

So as this is a food bog, on to the food!

I made this Tofu Dinner Loaf last year as well. It's wonderful and bakes up firm and sliceable. I love it with orange herb gravy. Recipe here.

My plate: tofu loaf with orange herb gravy, stuffing (I used the vegetarian stuff in a box, not homemade sorry!), green bean casserole, glazed dijon carrots and mashed potatoes and cranberry/mandarin sauce. All very simple recipes that took no time at all!

The best part of the meal is dessert I think! Here is my favorite vegan pumpkin pie with a spelt crust.

A slice served with maple sweetened cashew cream!!!!! Recipe is here. This cream is unbelievable! I used rice milk instead of the water in the recipe and a little more maple syrup than usual. So freaking creamy and delicious!!!

I also made a VERY EASY AND QUICK puff pastry apple tart. Seriously, all you need to do is slice a few apples and toss them in sugar and lay 'em out on a piece of frozen puff pastry and bake! This was yummy as well.

Here's a bonus pic of my baby. He had a "Thanksgiving Day" flavored dog food today to celebrate.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ramen for Dinner.

Found these instant noodles at the Thai market. They are "Long Life" brand and have a three ingredient list that I liked: flour, salt, water. It's a departure from "Top Ramen" or "Maruchan" brand noodles that contain god knows what in them: palm oil, hydrogenated this or that, msg and other fun stuff. Wanted to give these noodles a try and see if they are tasty enough.

See? Ingredients: flour, salt, water. It doesn't say on the package but if you want to boil them in water, it took 5 minutes for them to be cooked. The package comes with 8 bundles of dried noodles. I used 2 bundles.

And they passed the test! They were great with broth, tofu and veggies. Slurp slurp!

Heat a small pot of water (about 3-4 cups) on high heat. Add chunks of carrots, onions, tomato, celery, scallions and chopped cilantro. Add 2-4 TB mushroom soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Add cubed firm tofu. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for salt and add more soy sauce as necessary. Cook packaged noodles and drain. Add noodles to a bowl and pour broth over along with vegetable and tofu. Serve!

Monte Cristo Sandwich

This was breakfast. Two slices of french toast slathered with vegan mayo with veggie bologna and melted Tofutti cheese in between. Not healthy but so yummy.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
(Makes 2 sandwiches)

1/2 cup soymilk
2 Tbsp unbleached white flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon
4 bread slices
4 slices Yves veggie bologna or Lightlife veggie ham (or any deli meat alternative of your choice)
2 slices Tofutti American slices
powdered sugar

Whisk together first 5 ingredients while heating up a pan sprayed with oil. Dip one bread slice in mixture on one side then quickly turn over and dip the other side. Do not leave it in too long or it will get soggy. Fry on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside and continue with the other bread slices.

To make a sandwich: Set french toast slices aside and keep the heat going in your pan. Place two bologna slices in the hot pan. Place a slice of cheese on one bologna slice. Flip the other bologna slice on top of the cheese so the cheese is sandwiched in the middle. The cheese will start to melt. While they are frying, spread Vegenaise on both slices of the french toast. Place bologna/cheese combo on on slice and sandwich with the other. Spray a little nonstick spray on your pan and fry your whole sandwich on both sides to firm it up more and get a golden color. Repeat with another sandwich. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!