Monday, June 29, 2009

Lentil & Vegetable Soup, Salad.

Lentil and vegetable soup. Recipe is based on the 'Lentil and Escarole Soup' recipe from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook but I made a few changes. I added a splash of red wine, a tsp. of red miso paste and used kale instead of escarole. It was very warm and hearty. This is my soup o' the week. I made a lot. To change things up, I mix in about 1/2 cup cooked rice to the bowl. It's even more filling that way.

Yummy salad with green leaf, spinach, carrots, cucumber, sliced apples, walnuts and a tahini based dressing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chips n Dip.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Mine was wonderful and I'm so sad it's coming to an end! So many activities the past few days. Thursday night I went out to dinner with my husband to Pomodoro Ristorante in Westwood. I didn't take any pictures of the food but everything I had was delicious. I had a green salad with balsamic and olive oil, fresh fresh bread with more olive oil for dipping and my main was spaghetti pomodoro (fresh tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil). It was all so filling. Friday, my cousins came over to visit and we had tea and sandwiches (again no pics!) but I stuck to the usual tofu salad sandwiches and pb &j with hot hot tea. Saturday I went to a Dodger game with my husband and gorged on veggie dogs (yes, Dodger Stadium carries vegan dogs only on certain levels.) while cheering on my ballclub (they lost, boo.). This morning we went on a beautiful hike in Temescal Canyon and had a yummy picnic afterwards of fresh sandwiches on seeded baguette (sorry no pics!). After our hike, we came home to relax, watch the ballgame with lots of dips and chips. I made the one you see in this post. It's refried beans mixed with the other night's chili, topped with fresh tomato, chopped onions, bell peppers and pepperoncini. Then drizzled with vegenaise mixed with chili powder and lime juice and fresh salsa. Was so good!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fruity Oatmeal and Asian Salad.

Breakfast: Yummy oatmeal (cooked with water and rice milk) with fresh bananas, nectarines, poppyseeds, cinnamon and a drizzle of agave syrup.

Lunch: Asian salad made with napa cabbage, baby spinach, onions, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sliced toasted almonds. Dressing is white miso, cider vinegar, sesame oil, water, sesame seeds and a drop of agave syrup.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hello There, Taco Salad.

This. Was. Good. Leftover chili on a bed of green leaf lettuce, carrots, green bell peppers, tomatoes and topped with onions, crispy homemade tortilla chips and vegan ranch. Yuuuuuummmmmm! Looking at this now makes me want to make another one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chili Dogs! + Bonus Sparky Pic.

There are days when I crave good old comfort foods like soups, stews, casseroles and chili. Today was that day. I almost made a Thai noodle dish but decided to give in to the craving and also use up some hot dog buns I have along with a package of Smart Dog veggie hot dogs. Chili dogs were what I had in mind. I based my chili off of the "East Coast Chili" in Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet but added some stuff, namely green pepper, jalapeno, carrots, cumin, a bit of bbq sauce and omitted the veggie burger crumbles. Great tasting chili on hot dogs bring me back to my childhood in the summer when my cousins and I sat around a table at lunch time stuffing our faces and not talking (my aunt who babysat us never allowed talking at the table). Good times!

I should post more photos of my animals here as they are one of the reasons why I'm veggie. Here's Sparky hanging out outside his cage. He was strangely attracted to these framed tarot cards hanging on our bedroom wall. He's ready to read your fortune! Isn't he just a beauty?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Veggie Fried Rice.

I haven't made fried rice in I don't know how long. I forgot how quick and easy it was and knowing that my household always has cooked rice at the ready, this meal was just right.

Veggie Fried Rice

2 TB canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TB chopped jalapeno or serrano chile
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I used straw mushrooms from a jar but fresh would be better!)
1 tomato, sliced into wedges
3-4 cups cold cooked jasmine rice
2 TB mushroom soy sauce or regular soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup (you may use less or omit)
lemon or lime wedges, cucumber slices and scallions for garnish

Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Add onion, scallions, celery, garlic, chile and carrots. Saute for a few minutes then add mushrooms and tomato. Cook until vegetables are soft. Add rice, soy sauce and ketchup. Stir together on heat until all rice is covered in sauce. You may add more or less ketchup and/or soy sauce if you wish. The ketchup lends a tomatoey sweetness. Serve with lemon or lime wedges and garnish with cucumber slices and scallions.

Leisurely Breakfast with Easy Veggie Girl!

Mondays I usually don't have to go to work until 2 so I have a nice morning to spend doing whatever I please. My cousin Oraphan (of Easy Veggie blog) and I can never synch our schedules to get together so we decided to do morning breakfast today which worked out perfectly. I had a simple but tasty menu planned: scrambled tofu with kale, sesame sprouted grain toast, fresh fruit and hot tea. She brought beautiful cranberry scones and chickpea blondies (to die for!). We ate a whole lot and really enjoyed everything, especially getting the chance to spend time together and talk about food, being veggie and life in general. I wish we can do this more often! Thank you cousin for spending your morning with me! I <3 you!

Scrambled tofu with kale, nectarines/bananas with cinnamon/melon and whole grain sesame toast.

Cranberry scones and Chickpea blondies!

Our beautiful food!

She also gifted me with this cute basil plant! And also garlic scapes but not pictured.

Easy Veggie Girl!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bread Pudding!

Used up the leftover french bread from last night to make this treat which I had for breakfast. I never made a vegan bread pudding before so I went online and looked at several recipes and came up with this.

Bread Pudding

1 small loaf of day old french bread, sliced
2 cups soymilk
2 TB cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
dark raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F. Layer bread in a oiled baking dish, overlapping slices and sprinkle raisins on top as well as in between slices. Combine soymilk, cornstarch, vanilla, sugar and a pinch or two of cinnamon. Whisk together. Pour mixture over bread slices and make sure to soak every piece. Sprinkle more raisins and cinnamon on top and let soak for 5-10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 min. or until golden.
Variation: For extra richness, spread each bread slice with Earth Balance margarine before layering. I would have done this if I had some margarine but I didn't!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Love Pasta!

Hello Friday! Good to see you. I got out of work early today (3pm) so I wanted to celebrate an early start to the weekend by cooking up a big pot of my special red wine vegetable marinara. I really love this sauce. It's rich and deep with a hint of sweetness and full of a variety of veggies. Whatever I have in my fridge is what goes in this sauce. I had zucchini, carrots, red bell pepper and onions which made a wonderful chunky sauce. I haven't had pasta in a while so this was a treat. My husband brought home a fresh loaf of french bread. It was definitely a carb heavy dinner but it was worth it! Underneath the pasta there is a big handful of fresh baby spinach. The topping is "Parmezano Sprinkles" from The Ultimate Uncheese cookbook.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scrambled Tofu Sandwich

I woke up early this morning but didn't have anything for breakfast except coffee so I made this sandwich which combines both breakfast and lunch elements! I used to make these all the time with real eggs and white processed bread. This is a much healthier version which is just as tasty. I don't miss real eggs at all. I sauteed some onions and garlic first before throwing in some crumbled firm tofu, a handful of chopped spinach and seasonings (salt, pepper, turmeric, onion powder and paprika). I popped a couple of sesame whole grain sprouted toasts and spread Vegenaise on both slices (not very healthy!) and squirted some ketchup on top of the scramble. This was deeelicious.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banana-Nut Muffins

Oh my these are good! I haven't made many vegan muffins because I'm not much of a baker but these were just perfect. Soft and moist with the perfect amount of banana flavor and walnut crunch. These are the "Chimp Cakes" from Vegetarian Times magazine. The only difference I made to mine were using regular unrefined sugar, as opposed to Sucanat which would have make them a dark brown molasses color and I also omitted the chocolate chips. The muffin in front has it's hump cut off and spread with sunflower butter. I just discovered sunflower seed butter and I can't believe I didn't try it sooner. It's incredible!

Healthy Stuff.

Fresh fruit bowl for breakfast followed by a bowl of oatmeal (not pictured).

A big tupperware of red lentil soup. I know you're probably sick of seeing this soup. I make it all the time. I'm like a one trick pony when it comes to soup! I did make it a little different this time by adding chopped zucchini. I will be eating this every night this week. It's so good. Recipe is from Olive Trees & Honey.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pizza Pizza.

Pizza day. Made this a half hour before the game on tv (Dodgers vs. Rangers). I was in the mood for two kinds of pizza. I made a hawaiian style on one side with vegan pepperoni, pineapple, onions and olives...and the other side sliced tomatoes, kale pesto (that I had in the freezer) and olives. There's also some vegan mozzarella underneath everything. This pizza was absolutely delicious! I was a pig and had about 3-4 slices.

You can see the cheese better in this shot.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quick Foods.

Lunch. This was simply taking cold leftover tofu and cabbage from yesterday's dinner (Mango Chutney Hoisin Tofu), chopping it up, mixing it with vegan mayo and curry powder and enjoying it in a wrap with spinach. It was....okay. I think it was a little sweet for my taste and became a little overwhelming after every bite. Looks pretty though!

Dinner. I wanted something quick and comfort foody. I made the 'Instant Cheez-It' sauce from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, and boiled a cup of pasta to make this shells and cheese supper. It was nice and creamy. My additions to the sauce: a little soy sauce and yellow mustard for more salty tang.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mango Chili Chutney Hoisin Tofu

This meal came to be when my tupperware of Pav Bhaji fell onto the floor, cracked and propelled small pieces of plastic into my curry. :( Sadness. I had to either throw it out or risk eating small shards of plastic, no thanks! Luckily I didn't waste that much curry and I had some fresh tofu in the fridge. I made this recipe but substituting mango chutney for the plum sauce. It was delicious as usual. Seriously if you think you hate tofu, try this recipe. You just might change your mind.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pav Bhaji + Hummus with Veggies

Some time has passed and I have recovered from the bug incident. I was ready to make Pav Bhaji again. This dish is beautiful. It's a spicy mashed vegetable curry that is served with buttered rolls. It's really delicious and filling! I used this recipe here. (I substituted vegan margarine for the butter!) I also made creamy garlicky lemony hummus and cut up assorted veggies for snacking. I had to buy a few produce items for all of this but I didn't spend more than 6 bucks.

Ingredients I already had:
frozen green beans
frozen peas
pav bhaji masala spice mixture
tomato sauce

Ingredients I had to purchase:
red bell peppers
wheat kaiser rolls

I find that eating raw vegetables is so much easier with a yummy dip!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Biscuit Casserole Stew

It's cloudy and overcast today which makes me want comfort food. I'm still trying to use up whatever I have in my kitchen and after thinking a bit, I remembered this stew from Brian McCarthy's 'Vegan Family Cookbok'. It's a very easy recipe where I was able to add things from my fridge that needed using up. It's a thick soup-like stew with a split pea soup base and features potatoes and carrots with a drop biscuit crust. I added some extra veggies and made whole wheat biscuits for the top. There was a bit of overspill in the oven (should have use a bigger dish), but it made it look interesting I think!

Ingredients from my pantry:
can of split pea soup
plain soymilk
whole wheat flour
all purpose flour
olive oil
veggie broth powder

Ingredients from my fridge:

Ingredients I had to purchase:

Warm and comforting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pantry List (again).

I like lists so I don't mind doing this every now and again. Here's what I've got in my pantry. I seriously have to stop going to the market every other day for stuff when I can make perfectly good meals out of what I already have. I hope to cook with these items and I will try to keep purchased ingredients to a minimum.

-jasmine and basmati 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
-black olives
-roasted red peppers
-tomato sauce/tomato paste/canned diced and stewed tomatoes
-1 can split pea soup
-1 can pinto beans
-2 cans kidney beans
-5 cans chickpeas
-2 cans blackeyed peas
-dry aduki beans
-dry red salvadorean beans
-dry black beans
-miso paste (red and white)
-3-4 cans coconut milk
-various thai curry pastes
-frozen corn
-frozen green beans
-frozen lima beans
-frozen peas
-russet potatoes
-pita bread
-corn tortillas
-flour tortillas
-taco shells

Hopefully I'll get inspiration from my cookbooks...

I've got a few non veg cookbooks as well. Good for getting ideas and I'm not averse to veganizing recipes that require animal products!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Using up what's in your kitchen!

I had this plan to make pizzas this weekend with some vegan mozzarella that I bought but I didn't have any of the other ingredients that I needed like pizza dough and the right veggies for toppings (I was in the mood for red onions, green peppers, olives and pineapple). I am trying to save money by not going to the market every other day for stuff so I opened up my fridge and pantry and perused my stock. I had quinoa. I had black beans. I had canned tomatoes. I had fresh kale. I had fresh mushrooms. I had flour tortillas. "Burritos!" I said.

Pantry staples used:
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
tomato sauce
flour tortillas

Other vegetables/fruits/misc. ingredients etc:
vegan mozzarella

Ingredients I had to purchase: none

So here they are, wet burritos (aka "enchilada style" burritos) with a delicious quinoa, black bean and kale filling, topped with tomato sauce, a bit of the vegan mozzarella and drizzled with lemon spiked vegenaise. I based the recipe off of the burrito recipe I posted on my blog several months ago. Find it here.

Looks like enchiladas and they smelled like pizza!


I got this cookbook recently and it looks really good. There are a variety of vegetarian recipes from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria that I can't wait to try.

I made a Tunisian Boisson aux Fraises, a refreshing strawberry drink flavored with lemon, orange flower water and sugar.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Meal in a Bowl.

I like the idea of a meal in a bowl. You've got your protein, grain and vegetable all in one. And it gets more interesting when you add other elements like savory sauces, beans, nuts, dried fruit and pretty much anything else you can think of. After a long day at the ballgame (Dodgers won AGAIN!), I was hungry when I got home. I was in the mood for a rice bowl. I steamed some rice, added fresh steamed broccoli, pan fried tofu chunks and covered everything in a curry sauce. The sauce recipe is "Chip Shop Curry Sauce" which can be found here. I don't know why I used this sauce because it is traditionally used for fish and chips and I've never had original curry sauce from England before so I didn't know what to expect. I think I was attracted to the chopped up onions and apples in it which I thought would make the sauce pretty flavorful. I really wanted to be blown away by it but I found it to be kind of bland and underwhelming. I ended up adding a few teaspoons of sugar and a bit of soy sauce to give it some flavor. I also served it with a blob of mango chili chutney as well. It tasted much better after all of that but I wish it would have been good from the start. Oh well! I guess my next meal in a bowl will have to feature a better sauce. Maybe a sweet and savory peanut sauce, a bbq sauce or a spicy tomato sauce or something... Well, it's good to try things and I'm glad I tried it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ethiopian Berbere Stew

I am very new to Ethiopian food (my first taste being the glorious 'Rahel' in L.A.) and I would love to explore more of the cuisine, both at restaurants as well as at home. I found this spicy lentil stew recipe at Susan V's fat free vegan blog. You'll find it here. I added green beans to my stew for color as well as add a vegetable to my meals. I plan to eat this all week with either rice or bread. It's delicious, spicy, earthy and full of flavor.