Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Crockpot Chili That Went Wrong and Then Was Saved.

This was the first time using my crockpot to make chili. I don't know what it was but after cooking for 7 hours, I tasted it and it was really sour and had a "tinny" flavor. Not good at all. I tried to save it by transferring it to the stovetop in a normal pot and letting it simmer for a while longer, after adding brown sugar, more salt and pepper, cumin and chili powder. It made it much more palatable but still not the best chili ever. I've made excellent stovetop chili with the same ingredients so I don't know why it was so off. Could it be the crockpot's fault? Well, I'll probably not make chili in it again...

It tasted good in a veggie hot dog. So all was not lost. What really made it all better was this....

The most delicious cornbread EVER.

With some margarine and agave syrup. Yummmmmm.... You can find the recipe here. I added 1/4 cup sugar to my batter because I happen to like a sweeter cornbread.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pan Fried Tofu with Plum Glaze

Got this recipe a while ago from Vegan Dad's blog and I hadn't made it because I didn't have hoisin sauce. Got some today while "recreational food shopping" with a dear friend and immediately thought of making this. It was quick, easy and goes very well with steamed cabbage and jasmine rice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Roasted Veggies, Potato Salad and Pine Nut Couscous

I feel like I haven't made anything really healthy in a while. Today my goal was to make something simple using vegetables. I've forgotten how simple and delicious roasted vegetables are. I made asparagus, carrots, zucchini, red onions, yellow onions roasted in extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of salt and pepper. I served them with pinenut couscous and Veganomicon's Prospect Park potato salad (I used red potatoes this time). I can eat this meal every night, it was so good.

Friday, March 27, 2009

$5 Footlong and Cake Mix Cookies!

When you're lazy and don't want to cook or spend a ton of money on lunch, take advantage of the $5 sandwich deal at Subway. If you're a vegan, you can easily get a mouthwatering "Veggie Delite" sub stuffed with every vegetable they offer. Make sure you get white italian bread as it's the only bread that's vegan. Also skip the cheese and mayo. Mine has lettuce, tomato, red onions, olives, green peppers, cucumber, spinach, avocado, pepperoncini, jalapenos, mustard and oil and vinegar. I ate half of this for lunch and will have the other half for dinner.

Ok, get ready for a junk food alert! If you're in the mood for quick junk-foody cookies, look no further than a box of Duncan Hines cake mix. I got the idea and recipe for these cookies from Vegan Guinea Pig.

The plain ones on the left were my first batch. They were dropped by rounded TB on a cookies sheet and baked up kind of puffy looking. The frosted ones were rolled in a ball and flattened between my palms and baked up more cookie-like. The frosting is Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge. As sweet and cute as these cookies are, I will most likely stick to homemade "from-scratch" cookies next time as they are not full of processed ingredients as these are. But if you want a quick sugar fix and all you have in your pantry is a box of cake mix, give them a try!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Creamy Tomato Blender Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta & Cookbook Giveaway!

This is the second time making this sauce from a lovely little book called "Pasta & Vegetables". You can see the first post here. It's a vegetarian recipe that uses dairy but I was easily able to veganize this by using plain soymilk for the cow's milk and vegan parmesan for the parmesan cheese. It was delicious on top of delicate angel hair. I can see myself adding mushrooms next time or even veggie sausage!

I have an extra brand new copy of this book that I would like to give away to one of my readers. I think you will enjoy this little gem of a book. A lot of the recipes in the book are easily veganizable. Some recipes to tempt your tastebuds:

Pan-Roasted Garlic Chunks with Tomato and Arugula

Texas Tomato Cream Sauce

Moroccan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Orzo Vegetable Melange

Fire Roasted New Mexico Pepper Sauce

Roasted Squash Sauce with Ginger and Sherry

And many more! The best part is all the recipes are Low Fat!

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment telling me about your favorite pasta and vegetable combination and I will randomly pick a lucky person! I'm sorry but this contest is only open to US and Canadian residents! The contest ends in two weeks on April 9th. I will announce a winner on April 10th so please check back!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lemon-Cherry "Teasecake" Pudding

Doesn't this look lovely? Would you believe it if I told you that one serving of this pudding contains a serving of a whole grain? "What?", you say? I know, I couldn't believe it myself. The secret whole grain in this recipe is millet. Yes, that stuff that looks like little seeds that I feed my budgie Sparky. This recipe is the 'Lemon Teasecake' recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook which is a vegan, soy-free version of lemon cheesecake. I didn't have a pie crust so I just layered the filling in a bowl with canned cherry pie filling. It's thick, creamy, tart and slightly sweet. I'm glad I added the cherries which added more sweetness. But how cool is this? You would never guess it was millet. The trick is after you cook the millet, you blend it up with some lemon juice, maple syrup, cashews and vanilla extract until very creamy. After a few hours of refrigeration it is ready to eat. I wish I had some Soyatoo whipped cream to put on top.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Potato and Chickpea Curry with Rice

I love lazy cooking, don't you? Any recipe where it requires you to throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot or dish, stick it in the oven and go about your business for an hour is just damned genius isn't it? Today was one of those days. I didn't want to be bothered. All I wanted was to be lazy and lay in front of the tv watching episodes of 'The Vicar of Dibley', but I also wanted a nice, healthy, comfort food dinner at the same time. I got this recipe from a back issue of Vegetarian Times. In it, there is an article about dutch oven cooking with a few accompanying recipes. You can find this recipe online here. I don't have a dutch oven (though I really REALLY want one) so I ended up using a Corningware covered casserole dish. I only made 1/3 of the recipe, as the original quantities serves 8 which is way too much. The only real work I had to do was cut up a potato, 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a zucchini. Not bad at all. I heart casseroles!

I usually don't enjoy Sunday evenings but today is nice. I am able to enjoy a hot comforting dinner and a night of funny tv. Oh and dessert is covered!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls

These never fail to please. One of the first recipes I tried from Veganomicon. Really yummy! The tempeh chunks are coated in creamy Vegenaise and hot sesame oil which make them nice and spicy too. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Walnut & Pine Nut Cheese

I'd just like to say before anything, Miso I Love You! This walnut/pine nut cheese is the "Ricotta Cheeze" recipe from Ani Phyo's cookbook. I unfortunately only had unsalted walnuts that were not raw so this recipe is only partially raw! So it's got walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, miso paste and water. I can't say enough how much I love miso paste. I put it in a lot of my cooking and the flavor of this cheese is ridiculously good because of it. (I used red miso by the way.) I also added some dried parsley, dill, black pepper and a no-salt all purpose seasoning. Creamy and delicious on crackers, or raw celery sticks, even german rye bread I imagine. It has a really nice salty, cheesy flavor. I don't think it tastes anything like ricotta cheese but that really doesn't matter. The flavor of this is incredible.

For dinner I made this delicious tomato salad. Now, I usually hate tomato salads but this one was divine with the walnut cheese. I added a drizzle of olive oil and cider vinegar, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Delicious Salad and Thai Green Curry.

I made this delicious salad for lunch. It's got green leaf lettuce, red onions, carrots, sliced apples, unsalted walnuts and a homemade goddess dressing. I'm having this again tomorrow.

Dinner was thai green curry with broccoli, potatoes, onions, ginger, baby corn, tomatoes and kidney beans. I used a whole can of green curry paste so this was very very spicy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Potluck food.

Going to a potluck today. It took me forever to decide what I wanted to bring. I was originally going to make an enchilada casserole when I realized that I had already made that for a family get together not long ago. So I decided to make the Chickpea Tahini Casserole that I love so much. I even added roasted asparagus as edible decoration! For a "side" dish I made Veganomicon's Prospect Park potato salad. You can't go wrong with potato salad. Mine doesn't have grated carrot because I was out! But no matter, I added some sweet red onion to help balance out the flavors.

Onto the pics:

Here's the casserole out of the oven waiting to be adorned...

So if this doesn't entice people to try my food, I don't know what to say!

Glorious potato salad. I overcooked my potatoes a bit but that doesn't bother me!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Black Bottom Blondies

These came out lovely. I got the recipe from a lush vegan dessert book called 'My Sweet Vegan'. I cannot wait to try more recipes from this book. The recipes are really exciting and inventive. These blondies are delicious, sweet and fudgy. The bottom layer has chocolate chips which melted so there were gooey bits that made it all even better. I'm bringing these to a party tomorrow and I'm sure they'll go over well. I've already sampled 3 or 4 while hanging out on the couch watching Doctor Who reruns. They were the perfect thing with a cuppa tea!

Friday, March 13, 2009

French Bread Pizza...and More Pizza!

I am a little mad at myself because I spent $20 on groceries this week when it should have been less than $15. :( I bought some packaged stuff like Boca veggie burgers and a few items that I need for a dessert I'm making this weekend for a lunch party. Oh well! I haven't been cooking out of the pantry since the red lentil dahl. I ate that for almost 3 days straight! I might delve into the pantry tonight to make something for dinner but I don't know what yet. Lunch was easy today. I had some french rolls that I bought and made some pizzas with sundried tomato pesto that I already had in the fridge. I also added some vegan mozzarella (another bought item), fresh tomato and green peppers. They were quite good though the cheese didn't melt enough to my liking.

Edited to add:

Dinner was a full pizza pie using Gillian McKeith's whole wheat sweet potato crust recipe. Yum Yum! This pizza was just right. Lots of sauce, dripping with goopy vegan mozzarella and lots of nice toppings. The melting happened with this pizza as opposed to my lunch pizza because it stayed in the oven a lot longer, about 20-25 minutes. (In case you're wondering I used Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella)

Check out the yumminess up close!

I ate two slices and will eat more tomorrow!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cooking out of the Pantry: Red Lentil Dhal

While compiling my list of pantry staples yesterday I already had in mind the first thing I was going to make: Isa's Red Lentil Dhal. I had all the ingredients, so this afternoon I got to work. I've never made dhal before, I've only had it at indian restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised how wonderful, complex, rich and flavorful this dhal was! The first step of toasting and grinding your own spices really contributes to the tasty flavors.

Pantry staples used:
1 cup split red lentils
assorted spices
veggie broth powder
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (I only used 2 TB and freezed leftovers)
white jasmine rice

Other vegetables/fruits etc:
1 lime
1" piece of ginger
1 onion
3 cloves garlic

Ingredients I had to purchase: none

Look at that rich color!

My little lunch serving. This recipe makes A LOT so I will be eating this for a while... Money has been saved!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cleaning out the pantry.

Times are tough. Very very tough. Business is slow for me and it has been since January 1st. It's a bummer and there's not much I can do except keep on looking out for a part time gig that will help me out. In the meantime, take a look at my shop, you might find something you like!

I've been reading up on the vegan blogs and came across some great ideas at Melomeals. Melody is on a strict budget and has been spending $3.33 per day on food. She has been using up all of the food in her pantry which is what I plan to do this month. I've got a ton of stuff in there that I haven't used and/or have forgotten all about. My challenge this month is to use up as much of it as possible and try to spend less than $15 per week on fresh veggies/fruits and any miscellaneous ingredients that I may need. I told my non-vegan husband that if he's not too keen on eating out of the pantry, he may go ahead and make his go-to pastas, grilled cheeses and whatever he wants to make for himself.

I, on the other hand will try to work with these items:

-brown rice/white rice/sushi rice
-corn pasta/white pasta
-pearled barley
-TVP (textured vegetable protein)
-whole wheat flour/all purpose flour
-split red lentils
-green lentils
-yellow split peas
-instant mashed potatoes
-black olives
-roasted red peppers
-tomato sauce/tomato paste/canned diced and stewed tomatoes
-2 cans white beans
-1 can black beans
-1 can fava beans
-1 can refried beans
-2 cans kidney beans
-5 cans chickpeas
-dry aduki beans
-dry red salvadorean beans
-sundried tomato pesto
-chinese style plum sauce
-1 large can pure pumpkin
-plain soymilk
-2 cans coconut milk
-various curry pastes
-frozen corn
-frozen spinach
-russet potatoes
-white bread loaf
-german rye bread
-whole wheat pitas
-corn tortillas
-flour tortillas
-taco shells

Lots of things with potential to be great meals! I see a few curries happening, maybe some tacos, burritos as well as casseroles (my favorite kind of dish!). I think it will be a fun challenge. To those of you out there going through tough times and having to pinch pennies, all the best to you and hopefully you are eating well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fava Bean Fritters

I got some nice whole wheat pita to use up so I quickly whipped up these fritters and enjoyed them in a sandwich with some fresh lettuce and garlicky cucumber sauce. Yummers.

Fava Bean Fritters
(makes about 10-12 fritters)

1 14oz. can cooked fava beans (foul mudammas), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of shelled, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 TB tahini
2-3 TB whole wheat, corn or all purpose flour (for binding)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
handful chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degreesF.
Combine all ingredients in large bowl. If you want a smoother mix, you can pulse everything in a food processor. I like to mix it up with a spoon and then get a dough blender or potato masher and roughly mash everything together. Make sure it's seasoned the way you like. ( I should have seasoned mine with more salt as I found it lacking a bit in flavor.) Roll bean mixture into balls and flatten into little 2" patties and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with oil. Bake for 30 minutes flipping halfway.

Variation: You can fry these in some olive oil too. They will be more crispy and probably even more tasty!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Baking as a stress reliever.

It does work! When you're feeling a little anxious or stressed, baking or cooking gets your mind off your worries beautifully. I was originally going to make cookies but I didn't have the right ingredients so this pineapple upside down cake was the next best choice. I made it healthier by subbing half the flour amount with whole wheat flour and omitting half the sugar. Don't know if that was a wise choice but we'll find out when I taste this later on after it has cooled completely. It's a shame I didn't have little red cherries to stick in the pineapple holes. You will find the recipe for this cake here.

EDIT: This cake was good. Not too sweet and a just a bit "health foody" because of the whole wheat but still good!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Miso Macaroni

I got this recipe from The Veggie Lovers Cookbook. It's supposed to be macaroni but I used brown rice spiral pasta instead. I love anything flavored with miso and this dish has lots of it. I used Kyoto White Miso paste which is very light and sweet. I'm sure if you used red or any darker colored miso it would have a different flavor. The sauce is made with broccoli, onions, garlic, miso, veggie broth, Earth Balance margarine, nutriitonal yeast and tamari. It's very good!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mini Wet Burritos

I visited my aunt today and she had made two trays of chicken and shrimp enchiladas to take home for my husband and parents. They looked really tasty when she pulled them out of the oven and I wanted some! On the way home, I started concocting an enchilada recipe in my head with the ingredients I already had at home. I only had soft taco size flour tortillas at home so actually I made mini wet burritos because enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, not flour. Inside is a mixture of quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, green peppers, corn and mexican spices. The sauce is just tomato sauce mixed with cumin and chipotle chile powder. I also drizzled some vegenaise mixed with ketchup and lime juice on top to make it festive. These were really delicious and perfect with fresh guacamole!

I only ate one of these. Very filling.

Here's the recipe for those interested:

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Burritos

2 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. taco seasoning or just plain chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
1 14oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
3/4 cups quinoa
1 cup frozen corn, thawed in microwave
salt and pepper to taste

1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
pinch of cayenne

1/4 cup vegenaise
a squirt of ketchup
a squirt of lime juice

6 soft taco size flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot and saute onion, bell pepper and garlic until they are soft. Stir in the cumin, taco seasoning and oregano and then add the drained tomatoes, black beans, water and quinoa. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium low and cover. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Add thawed corn and mix into the quinoa mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare sauce:
Mix the can of tomato sauce and the reserved tomato juice in a bowl. Season with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder. Add a pinch of cayenne and stir until combined. Prepare drizzle by combining vegenaise, ketchup and lime juice in another small bowl.
Prepare burritos:
Spread a little bit of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Fill a tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the quinoa mixture. Roll the tortilla closed and place seam side down in the baking dish. Proceed with the rest of the tortillas. Pour remaining sauce on top of all the burritos. Drizzle with vegenaise/lime juice mixture. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.