Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Get Your Greens Wrap & Impromptu Salad

Music: Gladys Knight & the Pips, Essential Collection

It's Farmers' Market time so today we picked up a lovely mix of greens: mizuna, flat-leaf parsley, red leaf lettuce, pea sprouts, and spinach. We had both some leftover fried tofu as well as hummus, so we made 2 big wraps with some whole wheat tortillas, one with some mashed tofu & Veganaise, the other with hummus, both filled with tomatoes, radishes, & cucumbers. Then we cut them in half and shared so we each could try both.

The Impromptu salad includes leftover basmati rice, can of chick peas, can of black beans (both drained and rinsed), 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes, fresh lemon juice, fresh chopped oregano (which Jim is growing in a pot outside), a few stalks of leftover seared asparagus, and chopped sweet onions. Yum!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Salad of the Week

Music: Into the Seventies, AM580

The work week is beginning once again (after a lovely weeklong vacation) so that means a salad to pack with my sandwich for lunches. This is an adaptation of Dreena Burton's Quinoa Spring Salad, except instead of cucumbers, I used radishes, instead of green onions, I used sweet onions, and instead of red pepper, I used green pepper. Also, instead of the vinaigrette recipe, I just mixed a combination of olive oil and lemon juice, sea salt, & freshly ground pepper.

And Jim has begun a weekly pizza night on the weekends, so we enjoyed this tonight, along with more mushrooms and fresh asparagus from the Firehouse Farmer's Market in the Strip District.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tart Cherry Shortcake

Music: Tori Amos, Tales of a Librarian

When I run out of bread, one of my favorite quick breads to whip up is a batch of Basic Baking Powder Biscuits (see recipe below). From start to finish, they take less than 30 minutes, and they are delicious with a hot soup.

Of course, there are always leftovers and they make an exceptional shortcake. Reheated in the toaster oven, sliced in half, and slathered with some Tart Cherry preserves from Food for Thought in Honor, Michigan, they are heavenly!

2 C unbleached flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 C vegan margarine
3/4 C non-dairy milk (soy, rice, etc.)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, baking powder, & salt. Cut in margarine with either a fork or a pastry cutter until crumbly. Add "milk" and vinegar and mix well. Form dough into small rounds (or, alternatively, roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut with a biscuit cutter) and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and they are slightly golden.

When I want to get fancy, I roll the dough into small balls and place 3 each in a lightly greased muffin tin for cloverleaf-shaped rolls.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gourmet Vegan Dinner

Music: Deb Talan, Something Burning

The more I cook my own food from scratch, the less desire I have to dine out. My food just tastes better! Readers of this blog know how thrifty I am so I know how expensive it is to eat out. But the more I learn to cook different things (as well as some of my favorite repeat dishes), I don't like paying for restaurant food that disappoints me.

The last time we visited my folks in Michigan, Jim read an issue of my mother's subscription to Martha Stewart's Whole Living. In it was a super simple recipe for seitan, a protein substitute used in Asian cooking made with vital wheat gluten.

Tonight we made the halved recipe and cooked it with Stubb's BBQ Sauce, red & yellow sweet peppers, and sweet onions, then rolled it into a large whole wheat tortilla, which we split between us. So good, especially with a side of steamed broccoli rabe and baked beets. Who needs restaurant food when it's this good?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stickin' It To The-Man!

Ugh! I just opened my back door and got a whiff of my neighbor's dryer vent spewing that awful, poisonous, nasty dryer sheet smell. People, people! That stuff is toxic and you don't need it!

Let me tell you a little story. While staying with my parents over the holidays, I dried myself after a shower with a towel. Within a few hours, I had a slight rash/irritation across my belly! I asked my mom if she would wash with a "free" (of color, scent, etc.) detergent next time. Do you ever have itchy nose, eyes, or a rash like I did after using towels or clothes washed in traditional commercial laundry detergent and/or fabric softener? That could be the reason. Many years ago, a dermatologist (a D.O.) questioned me closely when I went in for a skin irritation; this is how I first learned how to listen to my body. This is how I learned that my skin (and nose) are very sensitive to many products; now they also give me a headache. So I try my best to avoid them like the plague.

There's a blog I occasionally read called Angry Chicken and the author creates many of her own personal care and cleaning products, just like I do. She writes that she enjoys that feeling of "sticking it to the man" that she gets whenever she makes something at home that advertisers would make you believe you must buy. It's so true! This is true for many things I now make myself: body lotion, laundry detergent, shampoo/conditioner, face powder, deodorant, lip gloss/balm, toner, etc. It first started because of my own skin sensitivities, then it grew to "what the hell is in this stuff?" and finally, because it's just so amazingly cheap and easy.

My newest addition is a recipe for deodorant. Remember, this is deodorant--not antiperspirant. The body is meant to sweat but this will keep odor at bay.

1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp raw coconut oil

Combine all in a small bowl and stir until well combined; it should be like a white cream. To use, scoop about a pea-sized amount onto your fingertips and apply to your underarms. I've tried a few other recipes out there but this one seems to work the best for me.