"Oh, I may be on the side of the angels...but don't think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We give gifts of zucchini bread to family and friends every year.  This year is no exception.

Here is the recipe we used this year:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup vegetable oil
2¼ cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Combine all applesauce, vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients, whisking together until well combined.  Then, combine dry with wet, adding zucchini and walnuts until all is well mixed.

Divide batter between two well-greased and floured loaf pans.  Put in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.  Check for doneness with a butter knife in the center of each loaf.  Bake another 10 minutes if needed.   Enjoy!

We had some for breakfast this morning and it was delicious.  It's very moist and can be toasted if you like.  We're using our Kitchenaid mixer that Marcus gave me for Christmas last year.  It is very sturdy and can mix double and even triple batches.  We're having a lot of fun with it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Belated Birthday post

I almost forgot to post something about my birthday.  It was a wonderful day.  Amy gave me a little book, a copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which is a favorite of mine.  Marcus gave me a Le Creuset baking dish - very very nice.  I will definitely use this!
Amy made a feast of Spaghetti For Peanuts (veganized, from Diet For A Small Planet) and roasted Brussels sprouts.  She also made a veganized Red Velvet cake.  YUM!  We had some really good eating today.

Later, Marcus took me out to dinner and we went to Tito's Diner.  I had their hummus and a veggie burger and sweet potato fries.  YUM.

All in all, it was a very fun birthday!

Twice baked potatoes

I used to make my own recipe for these back in my pregan days.  I used copious amounts of sour cream, but pretty much they were like the video in the link below:

Twice Baked Potatoes - Food Wishes

Anyhow, I think I can veganize them as follows:

Bake several russet potatoes at 400ºF for an hour.

Placing them lengthwise, cut about 1/3 of the skin off, and scrape out the the potato from the skin.  Save the cut part, and put it inside the hollowed out larger part.

Mix together the baked potato, some Earth Balance spread, some green onions, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.  When mixed well, add some Daiya cheddar shreds and some vegan sour cream. (The original recipe calls for butter, cheddar cheese and heavy cream)  Mix all this together very well, until it is creamy.  Fill the potato husks so they are heaping with potato filling.

Bake the filled potatoes at 400ºF for 20-30 minutes to brown them.

Eat and enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Work out

Getting the other half of the equation going now.  Rode the lifecycle at level 2 for 20+ minutes.  I want to work back up to 25, then 30.  Watched BBC America all the while.  Only thing I don't like - advertisements.  But you take the good with the not-so-good.  Still a good beginning to working out again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Family meals together

Marcus arrived on December 4th, and it has been pretty hectic.  We finally put up the Christmas tree on Monday night.  I had to beg off of church choir rehearsal that night, and I'm supposed to play flute this Sunday!  I still can't find the music I am supposed to play.  I have no idea where it is.  I'm going to try to look under the piano.  I didn't go to choir because I had to go to the bank's atm at short notice.  This time of year always bites financially.

Anyhow, we've enjoyed some truly singular vegan meals lately.  First of all, I've veganized the Irish Soda Bread recipe from Recipes for a Small Planet.  This is easily done, with applesauce in place of the egg, molasses in place of honey, and soured soy milk in place of buttermilk or yogurt.  I may eventually try this recipe with soy yogurt just to see if it works.  I've made this bread the last two nights and Marcus seems to like it okay.  It's a bit too crusty for the kids, but I intend to make it again and again! 

Sunday, I made Leek and Bean Cassoulet from Veganomicon.  There was enough left over to freeze for two or three days worth of lunches.  Monday night, I made vegan chili using TVP for the first time.  That stuff definitely gives a meaty texture to vegetarian dishes.  I will definitely use it again.  Last night, I made Roman Rice and Beans from Diet for a Small Planet, something I've made time and again, because it's easy and it's vegan without the parmesan.  Marcus, Amy, Chris and Brian all like it.  Somehow, I made it with green peppers last week, and Amy just raved about it.  Last night's rendition contained orange and yellow peppers but it was still VERY good.

Interestingly enough, I much prefer cooking at home now to going out.  Marcus and I are still going out for my birthday Sunday night, but to tell the truth, if he decided to make me a good dinner at home, that would work just as well.  The kids are making brunch for Sunday  noon.  Alison is coming up and she and Amy will probably cook the brunch, though I suspect I will probably take part also.

I think Saturday, I will try making the Almost All-American Seitan Pot Pie from Veganomicon.  That is really good, and I think Marcus would like it.  Yes, I want to make food my husband enjoys.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

By Request

Tonight, for the second night this week, we're having Roman Rice and Beans.  I made this with green pepper for the first time the other night, and Amy & Brian loved it!  They requested I make it again tonight, so I acquiesced.  I made sure I used the amounts of spices called for in the recipe (Diet For A Small Planet). AND I made sure I chopped the tomatoes almost in a dice, since Amy usually does not like tomatoes.  With bread, of course.  Frances Moore Lappé suggests serving with a salad, but this is enough food and veggies without the salad.  This is also one of the DFASP recipes that doesn't have to be veganized, because it's vegan already (if you leave out the parmesan). Viva homecooked meals!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Veganomicon black bean burgers with a twist

Instead of ketchup or tomato paste, I added BBQ sauce (vegan as far as I know, but not really entirely sure - it sure tastes good)  to the black bean burger recipe from Veganomicon.  So far, so good.  With sweet potato fries.  Brian & I will have a good lunch.  No meals out today.  Too many crazy people out there on the road and elsewhere this Black Friday.

Update: General Tso's tofu at China Delight for dinner.  Oh well...

An almost all-vegan Thanksgiving

First of all, this morning I made chickpea scramble for breakfast.

Recipe:  1 can chickpeas, buzzed in food processor (I think next time I will just mash them with a fork and see if that works just as well)
             1 TBSP olive oil in pan for cooking
             1 small onion, chopped
             1 clove garlic, smashed
             1 tsp cumin
             1 TBSP soy sauce
             1 TBSP nutritional yeast

Heat up oil, then sautée onions and garlic in oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until a little crusty around the edges.  Enjoy!

Yesterday, everything on the Thanksgiving table was vegan except for the green bean casserole.  We made vegan gado-gado, with steamed broccoli and carrots, and roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  We also made mashed sweet potatoes - next time we will make sure we don't cook them until closer to the time we eat, because they were a little cold.  The stuffing was a no-go, so we won't do that again, or I will try to find a recipe instead of winging it.  We all enjoyed each other's company.  It was all four kids - Alison, Chris, Brian and Amy, Alison's husband Shane and me.  Oh, and gluten-free squash pancakes and gluten-free noodles.  Because Shane has celiac disease.  I was glad we had food he could eat and enjoy.  The pancake batter made even better waffles.  So I may just make waffles with it when I do it.  We loaded up all kinds of stuff and took it to my mom's.  We did miss her, but she likes the traditional Thanksgiving food, so I don't think she would have liked what we made.

But we had a good time.  I am so grateful I have wonderful kids and a wonderful son-in-law.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

We made the Black Bean Burgers recipe from Veganomicon, the Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Vegan With A Vengeance and mashed potatoes with a secret ingredient - grated onions.  All in all, a delicious meal!  Thanks to Amy for your help and your idea for the onions in the mashed potatoes.

update - those black bean burgers are GOOD

Monday, November 5, 2012

The end and the beginning

Well, a few days ago, the 2012 Vegan Month of Food came to an end.  I really enjoyed blogging about all the different things I was making.  In a way, I wish EVERY month was a Vegan Month of Food.  I'll continue blogging about the new recipes I'm trying and talking about those that become favorites.

On another note: I start a new job November 19.  I am excited, but a little scared.  It's going to be a promotion, and hopefully a new challenge.  I have some worries, which I won't detail here, but I am praying about this, and people at my church are praying for me.  I guess mostly I'm worried about a change since I've had my current job since 2008.  I should be used to a change every three or four years since I was in the Navy and moved around pretty much at that interval (except for San Diego, which I loved and stayed for 7 years).

I had my annual mammogram this morning.  Hopefully everything will be okay.  Fingers crossed.

Tonight is Band Together to Fight Hunger.  I will have to remember to bring a canned good or two so I can get in to watch the bands perform.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

I got this recipe from Veg Web, but when I went back there and did a search, I couldn't find it.  Soooooooooo...

Here's the recipe:

Meatout Mondays Recipe of the Week: Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, we figured, why not have breakfast at every meal! Topped off with melty vegan butter and a warm drizzle of maple syrup or agave, these fluffy wonders will have you craving breakfast morning, noon, and night. We won't say anything if you want to stay in your jammies all day long.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups vanilla dairy-free milk
15 oz. can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. praline or vanilla extract
maple syrup (optional)
pralines, chopped (optional)
1. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together non-dairy milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, canola oil, and extract.
3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix.
4. Brush nonstick skillet with canola oil (or spray) and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
5. Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto the hot skillet and cook on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until undersides are golden brown. Serve with syrup and chopped pralines.
Recipe courtesy of VegWeb.com.
For this veganized recipe and thousands more, visit:

Evidently, I got it all wrong - this recipe came in my e-mail from Meatout Monday- so here's the link so you can find it on teh interwebs:

Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes 

This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, so you're going to want to save some for later.  I made them first on Saturday, but am just posting about them now.  YUM.

One thing - spread the batter out in the frying pan, because otherwise they will take forever to cook.  If you spread the batter out, they will still be fluffy, but they will also not take quite so long to get done.  Pure maple syrup and soy free Earth Balance completes the picture.  (Sorry, no photos, I was in too much of a hurry to eat them!) 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chai Spice Snickerdoodles

Chai Spice Snickerdoodles

I made the substitution of ¼ cup applesauce for ¼ cup (half the original amount) of oil, and these cookies came out very chewy.  Delicious.  Also, in the spices on top, I didn't have any cardamom, so I used ½ tsp of allspice instead.

Cheater Chili

This recipe comes from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.  Really simple.  I didn't use black beans because I'm all out; instead I used extra pintos.  Didn't have any kidney beans either, so I used cannelloni beans.  And Texas Pete hot sauce instead of Tabasco.  But, other than those substitutions, I made the recipe as is.  On high, it's 11:13 now; the chili should be done before 3:30 PM if the power doesn't go out before then.  I guess we'll see what Ms. Sandy is going to do.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet potato and black bean stew with quinoa

I made up this recipe, because I didn't have all the ingredients for any of the recipes I looked up that involved sweet potatoes and black beans. 

First, I cooked a boatload of quinoa in my rice cooker.  Turned out pretty good, though I guess I needed to rinse the quinoa a little better.

Second, I diced and roasted two large sweet potatoes.  This was almost too much, except for the brazen sweet potato lover (me). 

In my soup/stew pot, I sautéed a diced onion and added a can of black beans (drained) and a can of diced tomatoes (with juice).  I seasoned it with a TBSP of chili powder and a tsp of cumin, as well as a dash of garlic powder.  TASTY!

I combined all these things and VOILA!  Pretty good for an improvised recipe.

The kids liked it better once they added some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.

Public Service Announcement

It's not just Frankenstorm - we also have to worry about the Zombie Apocalypse.  Leave it to the zombies to decide to have their apocalypse during the worst storm in ages.  Beware, everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PPK saves the day

Roasted Butternut Alfredo

The minute I first saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  I love me some butternut squash and in my pregan days, I adored a good alfredo sauce.  Add to that, that Isa Chandra Moskowitz can do no wrong in the kitchen, and I am convinced.  So tonight, I'm making her Roasted Butternut Alfredo with pasta for dinner.  I think we have some salad, but I'm not convinced we need it.

Update:  left out the wine, and I think I put too much nooch (nutritional yeast) in the sauce.  And too much miso.  I don't like the way it smells.

Update 2:  It tastes pretty good.  So I think I will try making it again, and maybe cut back on the nooch and the miso.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meals out

I have been eating too many French fries and too many orders of General Tso's Tofu.   I like the latter best with lots of broccoli.  But I hope to eat at home all this weekend.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Amy borrowed a book from the library entitled Sam Stern's Get Cooking,  She wants to have more say in what we cook, since I do not like going out for dinner anywhere near as much as I used to.  Mr. Stern's hummus recipe is in the back of the book, on page 140 under the heading Essential Extras.  Now, anyone who has been vegan for a while knows that one always needs a good go-to hummus recipe.  What else are you going to dip all those raw veggies into?

We did sub a teaspoon of white vinegar for the lemon juice, but other than that we followed the recipe.  We both tasted it before we put it in the fridge to chill.  I think it probably has a bit too much garlic for my taste, but it does have a nice 'kick' to it, that makes it more than just bland old chickpeas ground up.  Amy also, kind of by accident, added dill to it, so it has something extra that makes it even better.

We'll update later on how it tastes once it has chilled for a few hours or so.

Update:  We had the hummus for an after-dinner something (not sure what you call that, second course, perhaps?).  It was nicely chilled and we ate it dipping toasted whole wheat pita chips in it.  VERY GOOD.  

A fungus among us

I had vegetable lo mein for lunch and it contained several whole mushrooms- shaped like a tiny Christmas tree -not sure what they are called.  I LOVE mushrooms. 
Why a post about mushrooms? Well, my kids all hate them.  Amy especially dislikes them because they are a fungus.  I can't seem to find a way to get them to eat them.  And that goes for chopped up as well as sliced.

One week later, or more, I still have a box of fresh mushrooms in the fridge.  I might eat them with a salad this afternoon.  Waiting for Hurricane Sandy to hit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crockpot Black Bean Stew

Brian has a chorus concert tonight, and we very much need dinner to be ready by 5.  Hopefully, that will be the case.  The thing is, the crockpot recipes in the cookbooks cook in under 8 hours.  I have anywhere from 10-13 hours before we eat dinner, so I need something with a longer, not shorter cooking time.

This is one I made up all by myself.  Pretty much.  I cut up carrots, celery, and potatoes and put them in the crockpot.  Then I emptied a bag of dried black turtle beans into the pot.  I added ½ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin and 1 TBSP chili powder to the mix.  My greatest fear with this is that I may have added too many dried beans and not have enough water to cook them completely.  The pot is chock full to the brim.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Request night

Last night, I thought I'd do something involving potatoes.  But Brian asked, "Can we have gado-gado?"  So, } steamed carrots and broccoli, roasted brussels sprouts and winter squash and boiled up some pasta shells.  Oh and made the sauce.  I'll post a link to a recipe later.  Or link back to an earlier post.  Gado-gado is a family favorite for us so I know I've written about it before now.
Some thoughts on the sauce:  coconut milk works best.  It's nice and creamy.  And diced onions add texture. 
Fortunately I made enough so I can have the leftovers for lunch one day this week.

Update:  leftovers are gone.  Brian had them for dinner last night!  That stuff is so good.  I should make two or three batches at a time, I believe.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin and White Bean Lasagna

For lunch today, I have prepared Pumpkin and White Bean Lasagna from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.  She writes the recipes so that some of the work for them is done the night before cooking.  This one is like that.  Last night, I made the Pumpkin-Tofu ricotta filling for the lasagna.  It called for 3 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated, buzzed in the food processor with the tofu and the pumpkin and various spices.  My food processor is too small, so I ended up buzzing the tofu and sun-dried tomatoes until smooth, then blending that with everything else by hand.  I stored the mixture in the fridge overnight, and this morning, made the lasagna in the crock pot.  I used Grandpa's Sauce Goes Vegetarian from Wegman's which tastes really good.  More later.

Later:  It's delicious.  However, the tofu-pumpkin ricotta is very mushy and I used firm tofu, so, I don't know.  Maybe I buzzed it too much in the food processor.  The taste, however, was out of this world!  The Italian Spices coupled with the onion and garlic powders really was spicy.  I used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, which might be why it was so spicy.  But since I've become vegan, I like spicy foods quite a bit more than I used to.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kitchen Wishes

KitchenAid 9 cup food processor
KitchenAid 2 speed Hand Blender

These two items are a must for anyone who wants to do some serious cooking.  All too often, families give up on cooking at home because homemade food isn't quite like what is served in a restaurant.  With these two appliances, you can get the kind of smooth textures you find in restaurant dishes, without the added salt and chemicals from commercially processed/prepared foods.  You can take what you get at your local farmer's market, and with a little work, you get creamy soups, perfect lasagna filling, and all kinds of wonderful vegan foods made with tofu, cashews and other delectables.  I am fortunate I have a good blender, but I need more than that.  Definitely want these two items.  Or something like them.  Doesn't have to be KitchenAid, although that is one of the best brands out there.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

This recipe is from Forks Over Knives Cookbook, page 293.  The batter is, as the recipe says, stiff.  Made the kitchen smell marvelous.

Right now I'm baking the Super Moist Pumpkin Bread, this time WITH pumpkin and walnuts, though I still don't like coconut.  That will be three loaves of sweet bread.  But this stuff is just so good.  And I'm going to make crockpot pumpkin lasagne, but that is another post.

Update:  I am finally eating some of the Pumpkin Spice Bread.  It's a bit dry, and just a touch bland.  I would put some Earth Balance on it, but I want to cut down on calories. I will probably eat some more of it in the morning for breakfast, and I think I will toast it and put Earth Balance on it then.  Toasting seems to improve most breads, sweet or no.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Food wishes Chef John goes vegetarian (vegan, actually, if you leave out the sour cream, or use vegan sour cream).  My husband Marcus found this recipe on teh interwebs. This is what I'm making today.  I have transcribed the recipe from the video and am posting it below.  This is definitely a good cause, and especially as a vegan, I feel that we DO have enough food to feed the world - it's terrible that children starve, when if people adopted a vegan diet, we could feed everyone.  Just my opinion.  At any rate, sign the petition.  Kids need to be fed.  And we can start, by feeding our own children good nutritious food.

Here's the website to sign the petition:  Sweet Potatoes on the menu at One.org

And now, the transcribed recipe:

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

2 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tbsp cumin
2 or 3 tbsp Ancho chili powder, or other chili powders, or to taste
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 can (28-oz) diced or crushed tomatoes
1 cup water, more as needed
1 tbsp corn meal
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
2 cans (15-oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
cayenne to taste
vegan sour cream and cilantro to garnish, if desired

Peel and cube  3 sweet potatoes.  Place cubed sweet potatoes in a bowl and add salt and chipotle chili pepper and olive oil, stir to coat.  Place on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes at 400ºF. 
Meanwhile,  sauté onion, red pepper and jalapeño , chili powder , cumin and oregano until onions are translucent.  Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer, adding salt, sugar, water and corn meal.  While simmering, add cocoa and simmer for thirty minutes.  Stir in black beans and sweet potatoes, and keep warm until ready to eat.

Update:  This is positively delicious!  YUM YUM

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Casserole night

I've veganized Spaghetti For Peanuts before.  And with Daiya, it works BEAUTIFULLY.  The last time I made it (September 30th) I used old peanuts, and it tasted funky.  So, I bought me some new peanuts, and here we go again.  (I wanted Bubble and Squeak, but Brian didn't want to cook potatoes.)  On the side, I'm making stir fried green beans in Wegman's stir fry sauce.  Simple but should be pretty good.

Update:  The stir fried green beans were good, but I think next time I will add a touch of garlic powder.  The Spaghetti For Peanuts was delicious, though I didn't get good enough coverage with the sauce, and ended up with some hard noodles in places.  This is definitely comfort food!

Bubble and Squeak

Since it's Monday I want to make a veganized version of Bubble and Squeak.  I have lots of potatoes and a cabbage at home.  We could have canned beans along with it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The BEST Pumpkin Muffins

Vegan With A Vengeance rides again.  That has to be one of the best cookbooks I've ever owned.  It's worth the price just for the pancakes and The Best Pumpkin Muffins (which are in the oven cooking NOW).  Anytime the kids will scarf down something, I end up making it all the time.  And I've also taken the pumpkin muffins to work and shared them with co-workers.  They're better than anything you get at a café, vegan or otherwise.  I will have to make a second pot of coffee just to enjoy with these muffins.

I did have to toss out an old can of pumpkin.  There was green fuzzy stuff growing on the side.  So I opened a new can.  Yes, in a family kitchen, you do find some science experiments in the fridge.  We had just put off using the rest of the pumpkin for forever.  Not this time.  I think I will make some Super Moist Pumpkin Bread later on.

Now for a shameless plug:  You can find a lot of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipes on The Post Punk Kitchen website.  However, if you're like me, and you realize the woman is a genius with recipes, you're going to want to buy ALL of her cookbooks. (I don't have them all yet, but I'm getting there.)  I have learned so much from the PPK, I can't even begin to tell.  I think, in a way, cooking and especially baking, is all about proportions of ingredients.  ICM gets it right pretty much every time.  I have yet to make one of her recipes that doesn't work, even if I don't adhere perfectly to everything in it.  As she says in Appetite For Reduction, there are no weird ingredients or strange concoctions; just good food.

Sunday Lunch

I woke up late yesterday, and didn't have time for breakfast.  I was out the door and off to church.  But when I got home, I made up for this oversight, and made the pancakes from Vegan With A Vengeance.  So far, I don't think Isa Chandra Moskowitz has EVER come up with a bad recipe.  Every time I make these pancakes, they are perfect (unless I leave them on too long and they burn, but that's my fault).  I only use pure maple syrup, because life is too short to use corn syrup instead of the real deal.  Aunt Jemima can just forget it.  Log Cabin, eat your heart out.

I think what makes these pancakes so good, at least partly, is the touch of cinnamon.  I do have to be honest, though, I ended up burping cinnamon all day!  And yes, I ate the entire batch.  YUM.  Pure maple syrup and Earth Balance, with a glass of cranberry juice to drink.  What's not to like?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lentil Chili

Lentil Chili recipes is on pg. 6 of this pdf ,  This recipe is also in the Forks Over Knives Cookbook on page 128.

There's something inherently satisfying about chopping up lots of vegetables and putting them all in a pot and having Brian come in the kitchen and say, "That smells good!"  I have to sit down to do all my chopping, but still, it's chopping up fresh veggies, instead of using something out of a box.  And there's no oil in this recipe; you don't sauté the vegetables in oil, but in vegetable stock.  All of us could use cutting down on fat in this household (looks like I won't be making vegan brownies again anytime soon!  And no vegan ice cream for a while!) but I especially need to cook with whole foods and cut out fat and sugar.  Even as a vegan, I tend to eat a lot of junk.  I just hope this chili tastes as good as it smells.  And it smells delicious.  I'm slow cooking it on top of the stove.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recipes I'd like to try

WOW!  There is so much good stuff out there!

I really want to try Rip Esselstyn's Cuban Black Bean Stew  (posted by downhomevegan):  http://www.downhomevegan.com/2012/10/cuban-black-bean-stew.html

In looking over the new Forks Over Knives cookbook, I found Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Pumpkin Spice Bread (someone said it has apple butter in it, so it HAS to be good!)

For the coming week, I'm definitely going to try the following:



I also just bought the Forks Over Knives cookbook.  And World Vegan Feast.  YUM.  Can't wait to cook out of these!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Three for all

For dinner tonight we're having chickpea salad sandwiches on pita bread.  The chickpea salad is pretty simple:  1 can of chickpeas is mashed in a bowl.  Add diced onion (a whole onion for us onion lovers) about a teaspoon full of dried dill weed and Nayonnaise vegan mayonnaise along with salt and pepper to taste (I used quite a bit of pepper; love me some black pepper).  Amy has been craving chickpea salad sandwiches for ages, so she should like tonight's dinner.

Canned beans and roasted broccoli complete the meal.  And it's just that simple.  Vegan food isn't always about making complicated, difficult recipes.  Sometimes, it's just some salad and some veggies, and that's it.

I do think I will make some vegan brownies this evening.  Craving them.

Update: I made those vegan brownies - yum, yum, yum!  The kids love 'em too.  Sometimes, chocolate simply hits the spot!

Update #2:  Now that I'm thinking of it, heating up the chickpeas before mashing them makes them softer, easier to work with. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Got to try this

I have half a notion to pick up some kale and pecans for tomorrow night (tonight is the bi-weekly Amy & Mom have Chinese food out).  This looks SO GOOD:  http://good-good-things.com/  And I already have the butternut squash, so it would be a real winner.  The Tofu and Broccoli looks good as well.  Man I love Vegan MoFo.  I always find new things to try.

I wish I could just read vegan food blogs all day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shepherd's pie

Amy did a beautiful job layering the mashed potatoes on top of the filling.  And it tasted even better than it looks.

T TBSP flour + 1 TBSP Earth Balance + 2 cups soy milk made the sauce with onions and a bag of frozen vegetables.  Baked for a half hour.

I originally thought I'd make soup for this first day of the MoFo but Brian wanted shepherd's pie, and he gladly boiled up the potatoes to get us started even before I got home from  work.

Amy said, "I think it's very tasty, especially if you add some chili powder and some cheese."  (The cheese she added was Daiya chedder style)  Brian had only one word: "Good."

I guess my behavior speaks for itself - I had three servings of it!

Vegan MOFO has begun!

Here we go.  It's the first day of the 2012 Vegan Month of Food.  I still am not quite sure what I will be making tonight for dinner.  But, in addition to celebrating the VeganMoFo, I am also quitting Diet Coke for a month starting today.  I don't know if I'll make it through the month without succumbing to the wiles of DC, but I will certain give it all I've got.  I want to know if it would make a great difference in my weight loss if I gave it up.  I have had several people say that it will indeed.  So, I'm giving Diet Coke the old heave ho.  I will do anything to feel better.  Of course, one reason I'm feeling fairly good today is I had corstisone shots in my knees last Thursday.  It takes a few days but now I'm walking quite well and feel good.  Hopefully, I can do some water aerobics this evening after a nice dinner.

Wow.  Feels like a lot of changes on the way.  Not really, but it seems like it.  Amy and I considered Potato and Leek Soup, because we have a bag of the vegetables in our fridge.  I suppose we could do that.  It's cool enough for soup, and I think it would be tasty.  I could stop by Food Lion and get a Pan Bigio bread loaf to go with it.  Maybe I can get Brian to start it before I come home.  I don't see why he couldn't do that.  We could add some beans for extra protein.  I think I might be the only person who doesn't worry about where we're going to get protein.  I think we eat quite a bit of protein, actually.

Update: I'm staying home this evening, but I definitely still feel good.  And the shepherd's pie we made really hit the spot.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vegan MoFo - Bring it on!

Vegan Month of Food 2012 blogroll

I am really excited about the Vegan MoFo this year!  My theme is going to be vegan cooking as a family.  For those of you who have kids and partners who might not be vegan but eat vegan anyway, this is for you!  Right now, there are three of us in the house - myself and my son and daughter Brian and Amy, both of who are omnivores.  Chris, my other son, is vegetarian and says he'll never go vegan (but LOVES my vegan brownies - hey a mom has to try!).  And my mom, who is omni, has to watch her salt level, and her blood pressure.  My husband, Marcus, well, he's game to try most of what I make as long as it doesn't taste too "green".

We will try as many new recipes as possible and hopefully find some new favorites.  We usually choose recipes on the basis of how healthy they are AND how easy they are to make.  No one wants to come home from work and work more.  Same goes for folks coming home from school - so we want to keep things easy and fun.  Anyhow, I hope everyone tries some new things and blogs LOTS about what works and what doesn't work, and why.

Roll on, Vegan MoFo!

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread - turned on its head


First of all, I omitted the coconut and the walnuts, because I didn't have any.  Boo hoo. 
THEN, I was really naughty and used organic sweet potato instead of pumpkin.

And this bread STILL turned out good.  Most of it went to church for the Fall Festival.

Even though the oven didn't turn on the first time I tried to bake it and the batter sat in the pans inside the oven doing NOTHING for about an hour and a half, once I baked it, even though it ended up cooking a bit longer than it should, it was forking delicious!  This is definitely my go-to recipe for pumpkin bread - until Isa Chandra Moskowitz comes up with a new one!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Snickerdoodle cookies go vegan

In my last post I was bemoaning the fact that I didn't have a go-to vegan cookie recipe.  Isa Chandra Moskowitz comes to the rescue again with Chai Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I cannot wait to try this recipe.

Right now, I have to make the food I planned to take to sell at the fall festival.  And I don't particularly feel like it because my stomach hurts.  Too many fries at lunch.  I really need to stop eating fries.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vegan brownies - my first try

Not bad for a first effort. Amy & Brian liked the brownies. Recipe here.  My only complaint is that they were oilier than I'd like.  I'm thinking maybe next time substitute some applesauce for half of the vegetable oil.  Also, I used sweetened chocolate/cocoa powder and it worked out fine.  Ghirardelli makes good products.

Oh, and I'd probably drink unsweetened iced tea with the brownies next time.  This time, I had cranberry juice.  Strange mix of flavors. 

I still haven't decided if I'm going to make more of them to sell at the Fall Festival.  I like The Best Pumpkin Muffins (from Vegan With A Vengeance) a lot better.  I still haven't found a good vegan cookie recipe yet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Amy makes dinner GREAT!

Amy made the best bean dip this evening.  And we used it along with Daiya to make quesadillas.  VERY GOOD.

She blended together black beans, medium salsa, lime juice, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  We then took the mixture, spread it on tortillas, added some cheddar flavored Daiya, and browned the folded tortilla on each side in canola oil, melting the cheese and warming the bean mixture.  DELICIOUS!

Amy, you are quite a good cook!  EXCELLENT!  I am full and happy!  Or as I should say, fat and sassy!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Breakfast and Brunch

I made this chickpea scramble recipe for breakfast this AM.  It was quite good, though I probably should not have omitted the olive oil.  I'm going to use the leftover mix to make beanburgers for brunch.  And we're going to bake some fries as well.  YUM.

Update:  Well, the polls are in - from all 3 of the other people at lunch, Brian, Amy and Gina, and they all agree- these bean burgers taste like Taco Bell!  I think that must be a compliment so I'll take it that way.  I know it was cheaper than Taco Bell, for sure.  Here's something of a recipe:

Chickpea-Cannelloni Bean Burgers
yield 6-8 burgers

½ cup chickpeas, mashed
1 can cannelloni beans, mashed with liquid included
2 TBSP nutritional yeast (or 'nooch' for short)
¼ - ½ cup light whole wheat flour (or as needed)
2 TBSP garbanzo flour (or as needed)
one small onion, finely diced
2 tsp cumin or to taste
2 tsp chili powder or to taste
1 tsp salt or to taste (I wouldn't exceed 1½ tsp)
pepper to taste

Mash all beans together.  Make sure to include the liquid in the canned beans.  If not using canned beans, you are going to want to add about ¼-½ cup water, a little bit at a time.  Combine all above ingredients.  Add additional water or flour, to get a thick batter-type consistence.  If it's too mushy, add flour.  If it's too dry, add a bit of water.  Pancake batter consistency is too thin; aim for more of a bread batter consistency.

Coat a frying pan with non-stick canola oil spray.  Form 2-3" flat patties.  Brown on both sides, keep warm by stacking on a plate.

Enjoy with ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, bbq sauce, whatever you like. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who knew? Vegan brown bread

Amy told me an interesting fact.  Seems if you put a wooden spoon on top of a pasta pot, it won't boil over.  Hmmm.  I have got to try this.  Three peppers and an onion later - too bad the spaghetti sauce she's making has meat in it.  I will be eating leftover vegan lasagne.  But hey - dinner is being cooked! 

Oh, I am making vegan brown bread:

Brown Bread

·         2 cups soy milk
·         2 Tbsp. vinegar
·         4 cups whole wheat flour
·         2 cups all-purpose flour
·         2 Tbsp. vegan margarine, at room temperature
·         1 1/2 tsp. salt
·         1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1.       Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2.       In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar. Set aside.
3.       Sift together the flours in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the margarine into the flours, forming a crumbly mixture. Add the salt and baking soda.
4.       Make a well in the center and gradually add the soy milk mixture, mixing constantly. Add only enough to make the dough soft but still manageable.
5.       Knead inside the bowl for 30 seconds.
6.       Remove to a lightly floured baking sheet and use the palm of your hand to flatten into a 1 1/2–inch-thick disk. Use a knife to score a cross in the center.
7.       Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 15 minutes. If the crust is too hard, cover it in a damp tea cloth. Let cool.

Makes 4  servings