Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Desserts

Music: The Steve Miller band

Birthday Cake!


When I made the birthday cupcakes to share with my co-workers last week, I neglected to take a photograph. So I made a cake with the recipe and took a picture of that. Delicious. This recipe is from How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer & Tanya Barnard. The icing is to die for!


The Cake

1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 C sugar

3/4 C soy milk

1/4 C vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

egg replacer equal to one egg (I sometimes use Egg Replacer by Bob’s Red Mill but mostly I use ground flaxseed meal; 2 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water=1 egg)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get your pans ready by lightly oiling them; sometimes I make cupcakes & use a 12 cup muffin tin or I make one small round cake). 


Combine flour, baking powder, & salt in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and stir well. In a separate bowl,

combine the egg replacer with needed water & let sit for a minute or two, then add all the wet ingredients to that bowl & stir well. Add the wet mixture to the dry & stir until just mixed. Spoon batter into prepared pan & bake about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Wait until it cools (I usually make the cake or cupcakes the day before I’m going to frost it) before frosting.


Frosting

1/4 C soy margarine

1 1/2 to 2 1/4 C powdered sugar (sometimes I haven’t had quite enough powdered sugar but it still comes out fine)

2 tbsp soy milk (you can also use rice milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract (you can also substitute with almond, lemon or any other flavor extract you want)


In a food processor, combine margarine & powdered sugar, then add milk and extract until smooth and creamy. Spread it on your cupcakes or cake. Absolutely delicious!


Jim made some Mango Gelato yesterday but, wouldn’t you know? The weather just turned chilly so I might have to wait a few days to eat it again when the weather gets warmer. I hate being cold.


2 1/4 C chilled Looza mango nectar 

Juice of one lemon

2 tbsp brown rice syrup (you could also use honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup)


Combine all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. Pour into electric ice cream maker & follow instructions according to the manufacturer. 




We can't wait to try this out with other flavors including papaya, peach, & apricot. I'm thinking this could also be allowed to melt slightly and sipped as a slushie. Ah, summer!





Thursday, May 28, 2009

A New Spring Soup Recipe

Music: Stevie Wonder



For lunch yesterday, I made a soup from Nava Atlas’ latest book. Alas, I forgot to take a picture of it. I thought I'd take a picture today but the arborio rice had kind of expanded so the effect wasn't as nice as yesterday. Anyway, here's how I made it:


Arborio Rice Soup with Spring Vegetables


1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

32-oz carton vegetable broth (I used 1 cube bouillon with 2 C water)

4 C water

3/4 C raw arborio rice

1 C mushrooms, chopped (I used combo of white & Portobello)

1 tsp dried basil

2 C slender asparagus stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 C fresh or frozen peas (the recipe said to thaw them, but I said, “yeah, right”)

1 C diced fresh tomatoes (I used canned since MI tomatoes aren’t ready yet)

1/4 C minced fresh parsley

Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste


Heat oil in a stock pot. Add onion & garlic & saute over medium-low heat until both are golden, taking care not to brown the garlic.


Add the broth, 2 C of the water, rice, mushrooms & basil. Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer, cover, & let cook for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender.


Stir in asparagus & remaining 2 C water, cover & cook 5 minutes.


Add peas, tomatoes, & parsley. Heat through then add more water as needed if it seems too thick. Season with salt & pepper to taste.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Second Breakfast

Music: WRCJ 90.9 FM


I first heard the term “Second Breakfast” from Jim, who is a huge Lord of the Rings fan. He says that the Hobbits often imbibed of this tradition. Who knew? I have just always done this but never had a name for it. But I like that name. 


I sometimes have second breakfast on the weekends if I get up early, do some errands and it’s too early for lunch but I’m starting to feel a little hungry. If we have a party or barbeque in the afternoon, we definitely have second breakfast because otherwise I’d be too hungry waiting around to eat!


I usually have some espresso, a piece of toast or toasted English muffin with jam & butter, and fresh fruit.  Come to think of it, in the summer, after visiting the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings (and buying all those beautiful, super fresh fruits & berries), we almost always have second breakfast. Oh, and I eat it out on the porch so that I can see the beautiful flowers and shrubs in the garden. 


Everyone should carve out a space outside to eat, be it a patio, balcony, deck, or front porch. Try it sometime; it’s lots of fun!





Monday, May 25, 2009

Stay-cation Food

Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers


Today is the last day of my weeklong "stay-cation."  It has been, to say the very least, awesome! The weather has been absolutely perfect (but we really need some rain now) and I've been very relaxed.  I've walked every single day, usually twice a day, and have even added a before bedtime walk to this ritual which I think I will keep.


I made some cookies to enjoy these last few days, Peanut 'Better' Cookies from Vive Le Vegan:


1 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/3 C + 1-2 tbsp organic peanut butter (creamy)

1/2 C pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp blackstrap molasses (you could probably leave this out if you don’t have it)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbsp vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, & soda. Add sugar & salt, then stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine 1/3 C peanut butter with maple syrup, molasses, & vanilla then stir until well mixed. Add the wet mixture to the dry & as it’s coming together, stir in the remaining 1-2 tbsp peanut butter, leaving bits of peanut butter in the batter.  Place large spoonfuls of batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 11 minutes until golden. Let cool about 2 minutes then transfer very carefully to a cooling rack. These are fragile cookies but so delicious!





I also made this wonderful potato salad to enjoy from potatoes I had boiled the previous day.


I have never liked traditional potato salads made with mayonnaise so this version, adapted from The Garden of Vegan is what I prefer. 


10 medium size potatoes, halved then boiled until able to pierce with a fork (be careful not to overcook or they will fall apart), then chop into bite-sized pieces

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

not quite 1/4 C olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

black pepper to taste

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)

2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)

1/2 onion, diced fine

1/2 C roasted red or yellow peppers, chopped


Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, & pepper. Pour mixture over potatoes along with parsley, dill, onions, & peppers. Chill and then serve at room temperature. 

I ate it with some leftover Quinoa, Pea & Asparagus Salad

Delicious!





Saturday, May 23, 2009

Food and Fun

Music: birds singing outside my window (with a little bit of Woodward Avenue drone).

On Thursday night, Jim and I quickly put together a simple stir-fry with mushrooms, zucchini, onions, carrots, bean sprouts, and pea pods along with a jasmine/basmati rice mix. Jim made his usual stir-fry recipe.




And, last night our good friend ME came to Royal Oak and we ate at my favorite restaurant (for the second time in a week!), The Inn Season Cafe. I wasn't very hungry for some reason, though, so I just had some herbal tea, a cup of Budapest Mushroom soup, and a plate of beautiful steamed vegetables which included kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. I only put a little bit of sea salt and ground pepper on them. It was very simple yet very delicious and hit the spot.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quinoa, Pea, & Asparagus Salad

Music: Miho Hatori



Jim has a subscription to a neat little magazine that, while it has good ideas, I don't usually pick up and read. It's called MaryJane's Farm and is basically how to incorporate back-to-basics and organic living into your daily life. There's a lot of outdoor stuff (camping, gardening) which I enjoy but it's a little hard when you live in an urban area. Case in point, as I tried twice today to sit on my front porch with a book, I was assaulted by noise: a lawn service and a Tru-Green (toxic) service (on the same neighbor's lawn, no less). I have some clothes drying on a drying rack in the backyard at least, so that's a start I guess!

Anyway, I was browsing this magazine yesterday and came across a pretty good-enough-to-try recipe for Quinoa with Peas & Herbs (I decided to add the asparagus to it because I thought it needed more oomph and I also decided to make it into a cold salad instead of serving it warm as the recipe suggested).

1 1/2 C water
3/4 C quinoa, rinsed & drained
1 small jalepeno pepper, whole
1 1/2 tbsp olive/flax/hemp oil (you choose)
1 tbsp onion (I used 2) :)
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 C shelled fresh peas (I used frozen as there aren't any fresh ones in MI yet! I also used 1 C as 1/2 C just didn't look like much to me)
6 spears of skinny fresh asparagus, washed & cut up into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp white wine vinegar (the original recipe didn't call for this but, since I was serving it as a salad, I thought it would make a nice flavor)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, quinoa & jalapeno pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, & cook for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Then set aside to cool. Remove jalapeno if you want. I chopped it up & stirred it in because I like the spice.

2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients & serve either warm or chill in the refrigerator.  I found chilling it & eating it later at room temperature really allowed the herbs to infuse the salad.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Birthday Stay-Cation

Music: Iron & Wine

Every year, for the past 20 years, I take the week off of my birthday, which was yesterday. I don't go on a trip out of town but, rather, am a visitor in my hometown or I take little side trips for the day.

Yesterday we hiked trails at Holly Recreation Area and today we explored Seven Lakes Recreation Area, both near Holly Township. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous for hiking (and for being on stay-cation in general!) with lots of sunshine and a nice breeze.


We usually stay long enough to be hungry, so today we got takeout from my favorite restaurant, The Inn Season in downtown Royal Oak. I got the Inn Season Salad and it is not only delicious and so fresh, it also looks very pretty!

The list of what's in here is awesome: chickpeas, cucumbers, walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, a mix of lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, sunflower sprouts, & onions. I got two kinds of dressing, tahini and honey mustard.





Hemp Granola

Music: Jim practicing the violin.

Or, Hemp-anola, as Dreena Burton calls it in her Eat, Drink & Be Vegan book. Jim tried this new granola recipe and it came out wonderfully.

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3 C barley flakes
2 C rolled oats
1 1/2 C hemp seed nuts (we find these at Nutri Foods)
1 C chopped pecans
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C walnuts
1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 C pure maple syrup
1 tsp blackstrap molasses (Nutri Foods)
1 tbsp brown rice syrup (Nutri Foods)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1/3 C water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In separate bowl, mix 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal with 1/3 C water. Let sit about 2 minutes, then mix with rest of liquid ingredients. Combine all then pour into a jellyroll pan and bake 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden. The longer you cook it the more crisp it will be but, be careful not to burn it!

When it cools, you can add any dried fruit to it. We like cranberries. Served with soymilk, it’s a nice and quick breakfast.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meal Catch Up

In the middle of last week, we had some mushrooms to eat so I made this quick sauté of mushrooms with a little olive oil and minced garlic tossed with penne rigate pasta with ground pepper, sea salt, & paprika.

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We served it with some steamed broccoli, but there wasn’t much left, unfortunately, as I would prefer it fill half the plate. Jim got to the Farmers’ Market for more greens on Saturday but this is all we had (sad face).

We also ate the rest of the soup from the other day, with hummus sandwiches.

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Yesterday, I made a spinach, olive, & chickpea salad along with the leftover mushroom pasta but, this time, we added sautéed zucchini and more mushrooms to bulk it up. Heavenly!

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Jim also made some of his delicious scones but, again, he changed it up by adding dried apricots, using 1/2 C chopped pecans, 1/4 C unrefined coconut oil (instead of 1 stick of soy margarine), & 2/3 C rice milk (instead of soy milk). They were so good with my tea for dessert!

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And, before I drive you crazy with even more pictures, let me tell you about the delicious Sunday breakfast I had instead of my usual pancakes. I took Food For Life whole wheat whole grain & seed English muffins (you know, the company that puts Bible verses on the packaging!), and spread one side of each muffin with the tiniest bit of Earth Balance Buttery Spread, then layered a slice of sautéed tofu (sprinkled with all-purpose spice), a soy sausage patty, then another slice of tofu. Voila! Vegan breakfast sandwich. When the firm tofu cooks up, it has the appearance and texture of egg white. Amazing!

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See you in the kitchen!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Savory Scones

Music: Debussy

Too bad the picture didn’t come out, but Jim made these delicious Onion-Rye Scones (from Vegan Soups and Stews) to enjoy with the leftover soup from the other day:

1/2 C rye flour
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp soy margarine, softened
1 tbsp molasses
1/4 C rice milk, as needed

Topping:
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered & thinly sliced
Poppy seeds (he didn't have, so we left out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 4 (dry) ingredients in a mixing bowl & stir together. Cut the margarine into the flour with either a pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly.

In a small bowl, whisk the molasses together with the rice milk. Work into the flour mix, adding enough rice milk to form a soft dough. If the dough is sticky, work in more flour.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured board & knead briefly with floured hands.

Form dough into a ball, then roll in a 9 inch round and place on lightly oiled (Or parchment paper covered) baking sheet. Score the round with a knife about halfway through the dough into 8 wedges.

For the topping, heat oil in a skillet then sauté onions until lightly browned. Distribute onion evenly over the scones, then lightly press them down with a spatula (or your fingers). Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake about 15-20 minutes until tops are golden.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Soup

Music: Nirvana

My co-worker showed me a copy of the newest Nava Atlas cookbook last week, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. She orders the cookbooks for the library and I didn’t know that Atlas had a new book (or that she even had a blog—www.vegkitchen.com). It is filled with wonderful soup and stew recipes for all the seasons. I will probably buy this book.

I tried one of the Spring soup recipes today, adapting it, of course, with ingredients I had on hand.

Greek-Flavored Spinach and Orzo Soup

I already had some leftover bulgur in the refrigerator, so I used that instead of cooking some orzo separately as the recipe indicated.

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 C chopped, well-washed leek, white part only
1 medium-sized zucchini, chopped (her recipe called for red pepper but it was wonderful with zucchini)
3 cloves garlic
6 C water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
On 16-oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained
3/4 C orzo
5-6 oz fresh spinach (regular or baby), washed, stemmed & chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley (you can also use dill)
Juice of one fresh lemon
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste.

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add leek & sauté over medium heat, until translucent. Add zucchini & garlic & sauté until vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add water with bouillon cubes. Drain liquid from canned tomatoes into the soup pot, then chop the tomatoes finely before adding to the soup. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower heat. Cover & simmer about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in a separate saucepan until al dente, then drain. Add cooked orzo to the soup along with spinach & fresh herbs.

Stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Heat soup until spinach & herbs are warmed.

The next time I make this, I would only use the juice of half a lemon, as it was slightly too lemony-tasting for me. Jim thought it was perfect but I didn’t think so. I think I would also like to try it with orzo as it’s a firmer grain and larger than bulgur; the bulgur kind of sank to the bottom so I had to use a spoon to scoop some into my bowl.

And, since the parsley is just getting started in my kitchen garden, I didn’t quite have a 1/4 C fresh parsley which would have added even more flavor.

All in all, it was a nice light soup, which we enjoyed with hummus sandwiches on toasted bread with onions, lettuce, & avocado. The pictures didn’t come out so, unfortunately, I couldn't show you how pretty the soup looked.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yummy muffins…

Music: Hana Pestle


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These came out great!

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I made these on Sunday, improved and adapted from a Vive le Vegan recipe:

2 C ground oats
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 C raisins
1/4 C dried cranberries
2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1 1/4 C soymilk
1/2 C pure maple syrup
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 C vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set up your muffin tins by either lightly oiling them or using cupcake liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients EXCEPT flaxseed meal, sifting in the flours, baking powder & soda. In another smaller bowl, combine flax & milk. Add maple syrup, extracts, & oil & mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry & stir through until well mixed. Spoon into muffin pans. My muffin tin only has 12 slots & I had leftover batter so I used a mini bread loaf pan for the rest. Bake about 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out squeaky clean! If making as a bread, wait 10 minutes until turning out onto cooling rack.

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday

Music: Travis

Besides our usual pancakes (sans sausage—need to go grocery shopping!) and coffee yesterday morning, we enjoyed some soup and a salad Jim made Saturday for lunch. Jim rarely follows recipes at all. Let’s just call it a Bulgur & Bean Salad, with corn, onions, mixed herbs (thyme, basil, & chives), celery, carrots & mixed greens. The dressing was a blend of olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, & agave nectar.

The Vegetable Soup was made with corn, carrots, vegetable broth, celery, bulgur, onions, turmeric, paprika, garlic powder & peas.

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And, for dinner, we ate this:

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Coconut Lime Basmati Rice adapted & greatly altered from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan:

1 C dry basmati rice (you can also use brown, just cook it for 40 minutes instead of 15-20)
1 13-oz can of light coconut milk
1/2 C water
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (we didn't have so we used lemon balm leaves from the garden--it was perfect!)
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, water, lime juice & salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat & simmer 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.


Garlic & Chive Sautéed Tofu/Seitan: all you do is cut up firm tofu into strips or cubes, and the seitan into chunks, pat them dry, then sauté in a little olive oil. We added garlic greens and chive tops (flowers) from the garden and sprinkled a little all-purpose spice in as well.

Finally, we made some Roasted Purple Asparagus from the Farmers’ Market by cutting up the asparagus, drizzling a little olive oil & sea salt, then roasting in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Veganism is a Lifestyle

Music: WRCJ 90.9 FM

Some of my friends have told me that becoming vegan seems like a lot of “work.” I like to think of it more as a choice and a decision I made almost two years ago, to change my life. I cannot tell you enough how I no longer even crave the foods I used to eat without even thinking: a slice of cheese, a glass of milk, a pop, a store-bought cookie with all the hard-to-pronounce preservatives, Hostess chocolate covered mini-donuts, Home Pride Buttertop White bread toasted with real butter.

Now I crave bowls filled with greens, tons of lettuce, spinach or herbs on my sandwiches or in my salads, whole grain breads and pancakes, hot herbal tea or cool water, raw onions, and fruit.

When I decided to go vegan (or “hardcore” as one co-worker humorously put it), I cleaned out all of my cupboards and refrigerator and got rid of tons of food. I gave away sticks of organic butter to co-workers, white sugar, rice and flour to my cousin, anything with high-fructose corn syrup I simply tossed, and then I went shopping. I replaced white flour with whole wheat pastry flour (and also barley, rye, & buckwheat flours), sugar with turbinado sugar, honey with agave nectar, white rice with basmati, jasmine, wild & brown rice (and also adding millet, quinoa, bulgur, barley & soft wheat berries), white bread and saltines with whole wheat and whole grain breads & crackers, boxed cereal with rolled oats, butter and margarine with soy butter & margarine, mayonnaise with Vegenaise, cow’s milk with soy milk, and so on. Yes, my food bill was quite high at first, but it was something I had to do to start to get into my new habits.

Now I don’t even think about it. It has become routine. I shop in smaller quantities weekly alternating my three stores (Nutri Foods, Hollywood, & Trader Joe’s) adding the Royal Oak Farmers’ Market in the summer and fall on Saturdays for all of my produce. And I buy lots of produce: at least 2 bags each weekly of lettuce & spinach or kale, pints of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and bagfuls of onions, peaches, apricots, and apples. And I eat it ALL. And I feel so good.

Of course, in the summer, I also have lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, & other vegetables and herbs from my garden so that I don’t have to buy as much from the Farmers’ Market.

Being vegan is a commitment but, like any habit, it can be learned. Yes, I think about food a lot, but it’s the fuel that keeps my body going and I can’t stand to eat poorly. I refuse. I’d feel really crummy if I did and that’s not a good feeling.

I’m going to a conference this Friday at MSU with some co-workers and I’m already planning what I will eat. I see that there are some vegan choices at the union in their “food court” of sorts. And I will bring some snacks of fruit and nuts to have during the day.

(Of course, I see that there is also a place for me to get my afternoon latte. But do they have soy milk? If not, I might just have to get an espresso).

The other night, we had sautéed firm tofu with sesame oil, Braggs, & all-purpose spice along with roasted potatoes, carrots, & onions. Gasp! We had eaten all of our greens (by Thursday!) so this plate is terribly absent of that much-need color. It was delicious, but there was way too much white in this picture for my satisfaction.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beans & Grains

Music: All-American Rejects

As you can see, I use beans and grains almost every single day. A comment/question I had yesterday asked whether I used canned beans or dried beans. Funny they should ask since I just began using dried beans in my recipes in the last month (now that I know how to do it). I don’t know if I’ll use dried beans exclusively, since they take a bit of time to soak and cook, but I do notice the difference in taste and texture and it is definitely better made from scratch! And making beans from scratch is a lot less expensive, since cans of organic beans at Trader Joe’s are less than 2 cups for $1.09 (used to be 99 cents).

I use an amazingly simple method I’ve found in my vegan cookbooks. First, I take whatever dried bean I’m using and pick through them for stones (yes, I have found some), then I rinse them in a strainer. I put them in a large stock pot and fill it with cold water about two or three times the level of beans. I cover them and let them soak overnight. In the morning, I drain the beans of the soaking water (which, I have heard, makes them more digestible but, if you eat beans as much as we do, your body gets used to it), refill the pot with fresh cold water to (again) two or three times the level of the beans, then I cook them until they're done. At this point, the beans cook in only about 20-30 minutes. When I made chick peas, it took about 15 minutes. Then I drain & rinse them, let them cool a little, and measure them out in containers (about 2 cups per container since this is the amount usually called for in my recipes), then freeze them. That’s it! I DO NOT use a pressure cooker, as my mother does and has for years. I’m afraid of them. This method works great for me.

We made this Portobello mushroom recipe (from The Garden of Vegan) the other night. Outstanding!

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Mushroom Bake

1/2 C almonds
2 tbsp olive oil (the recipe called for 1/4 C which I thought was too much--the amount I used was perfect)
1/4 C Braggs
1/4 C water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
4 large Portobello mushrooms, washed, stems removed
1 medium onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor (or blender), blend the almonds until powdered. Add oil, Braggs, water, vinegar, garlic, rosemary & oregano & blend until well combined. In a baking dish, place the mushrooms upside down (stem cut off side up) & top with onions. Pour sauce over top and bake for about 20-25 minutes.

For the spinach, I used a super simple recipe from Vegan Express. I washed some spinach and didn’t bother to dry it; instead I just tossed it in a skillet & cooked it about a minute or two until slightly wilted, then I added a little sesame oil, Braggs (you could also use soy sauce instead), and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

We ate it with some leftover brown rice, topped with a little of the sauce from the mushroom bake. Wow!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Salad and A Sandwich

Music: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

Feast your eyes on this delicious salad I made today:

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I cooked 1/2 C of (rinsed & drained) quinoa in 1 C water as directed on the package, then after it cooked & cooled, I added 2 C of chickpeas, a bunch of spinach (sliced), 1/2 C roasted red & yellow peppers, 1/3 C Spanish olives, 2 chopped carrots, and an almost full 12-oz drained jar of marinated artichokes. The dressing is the juice of 1/2 lemon & 1/2 a lime (I like to mix things up!), 1 tbsp flax oil & 1 tbsp olive oil.

I served it with a half pita of 1/2 of a Boca Chik patty, Vegenaise, sliced onions, lettuce, & some avocado. I plan to take the other half to work later for dinner.

I also baked some oven fries in a little coconut oil, sea salt, & turmeric to have on the side.

Then I ate it all outside on my patio table—yes! I brought it outside today! Pictures another time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And now for something a little different

Today’s pancakes were made with cornmeal and, while the recipe called for raspberries, sadly there were none, so we had to put a little sweetener in. But they were still very good:

1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1 C + 1 tbsp soymilk
3/4 C + 2 tbsp oat flour (just grind rolled oats in a grinder or food processor)
1/4 C fine cornmeal (ours wasn't so oh, well!)
1/4 C barley flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp agave nectar

In a small bowl, combine flaxseed meal and milk, stir and set aside to thicken for a few minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, and salt. Sift in baking powder and stir to combine well. Add almond extract, agave nectar and oil to the soymilk/flaxseed mixture and stir to combine. Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until just mixed. Lightly oil a frying pan and ladle batter into pan to form pancakes, cooking for several minutes until bubbles form at outer edges. Flip & cook other side. Keep warm in a heated 170 degree oven until ready to serve.

When the Farmers’ Market has them, we will definitely add fresh berries to these and I suggested to Jim that he use a finer cornmeal. He used one made by Anson Mills and it was a little coarse, but in a good way. Very hearty.

For lunch I made some Blackened Tofu along with some brown rice and a little salad of spinach, beluga lentils, onions, & carrots with a dressing made of Dijon mustard, agave nectar, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

The tofu coating came off a little bit in the pan but it was a great flavor. This recipe is adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.

I marinated square slices of firm tofu in a little fresh lemon juice for about 20 minutes, then I coated each slice in a mixture of the following:

1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper to taste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 tbsp olive oil (for cooking)

I didn't have an entire package of tofu left so I think I used about a 1/2 block, if that. I almost didn't have enough coating but it still came out well. I just sautéed the tofu for a few minutes on each side in a skillet with the olive oil.

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Jim picked some more lilac, this time adding it to my vase in our bedroom. I fell asleep last night to their scent, after an afternoon spent hiking at Holly Recreation Area.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Portobello Mushrooms

Music: Queen

Jim picked some up last Saturday at the Farmers’ Market to make sandwiches, which we ate tonight for dinner.

He first washed the mushrooms and rubbed them with a little white wine vinegar. Then he sautéed them, along with some slabs of green pepper and onion slices in a little olive oil. Then on toasted bread, he layered the vegetables and spread on a bit of Vegenaise.

He also made a deliciously fresh salad of leftover basmati rice, fresh herbs from the garden (chives, parsley, basil), salt, pepper, carrots, roasted peppers, green peppers, onion, celery, & kidney beans. For the dressing, he used 1 tbsp of olive oil, a dash of Tabasco, dash of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar.

The result was mouthwatering…

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Looks kind of like a steak sandwich, but with mushrooms instead of flesh!

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