"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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A swing and a miss

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese looked delicious.  I wonder, what went wrong?  Well, when they say use a Vitamix, I think they mean exactly that.  My four cup food processor just doesn't cut it.  The sauce was grainy because the cashews were not completely "blended".  I even found a whole cashew in it.  And I soaked them for two days!  I don't know if I will try this recipe again or not.  Probably not.  Too many other things out there that do not require the use of a Vitamix.

Update: This tasted better as leftovers.  It still needs a bit more spice, maybe some cayenne, and some dry mustard.  Maybe I WILL make this again, after all.  I was also thinking perhaps I would use acorn squash instead of butternut.  Or turban squash - it's really sweet, and would have more flavor.  I think perhaps, too, I overcooked the squash.  That would account for a lack of flavor.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Positively Pantry Chili and Vegan Cornbread

Tonight's dinner features Positively Pantry Chili from Vegan on the Cheap and vegan cornbread (with some modifications) here.  I used homemade vegan sour cream (made from the recipe in VotC) instead of plain silken tofu, and I used regular sugar instead of turbinado sugar.  The way I am trying out new recipes this week, you'd think it was the Vegan MoFo.  But no, it's just me, trying to save money AND eat better.

One of the ingredients of the chili:  Asian BBQ sauce (it doesn't call for that; that is what I used because it is what I have).  I loved the aroma coming from the slow cooker when I opened my front door this afternoon after a long day.  It tasted fairly good, though, Brian did say it was too spicy for him.  I think I will cut back on the chili powder when I make it again.  The cornbread was seriously delicious; we ate half of it, and have half left for another meal.  This recipe, with some continued modification (I also need not to use so much water) is definitely a keeper.

Fast food - what needs to actually happen

McDonalds is losing money, adding quarter pounders and other new items to try to revive flagging sales.  The thing is, all that stuff is still meat and dairy products deluxe.  Why not introduce some vegan items?  They would be healthier and I bet Mickey D's would see some increase in sales.  Is going cruelty-free so difficult?  Not only are vegetarian/vegan items better for the environment and healthier to eat, they mean less of a demand for products that come from cruelty to animals.

I'm trying to figure out what items would be on the menu at my ideal vegan fast food place.  Definitely a hummus entree, with pita bread chips or slices and veggie slices.  Maybe an offering of baby carrots and hummus.  Some sort of BBQ seitan sandwich, and fries - both potato and sweet potato.  A variety of salads - maybe two salads to start out with, traditional and ...oh, I'm not sure what else.  How about an order of vegan potato salad?  Or vegan tacos and burritos?  I could see a sweet potato and black bean burrito, since those items are inexpensive.  And some kind of veggie/corn salsa/black bean/avocado burrito similar to the veggie cantina burrito Taco Bell carries.  And make sure the burritos are seared on the outside after folded - Taco Bell, Qdoba and Chipotle all do this.  And perhaps a vegan chili bowl.  That would be good.

Just a few thoughts.  Of course, you wouldn't want to try to do too much.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Easy Vegan Lunches

I found a really cool product in the Nature's Marketplace section of Wegman's: Dr. Mcdougall's soups and stews.  They are all marked vegan, and are quite delicious.  So far this week I've had the White Bean Soup and the Tortilla Soup.  You can find them on the web HERE.  You can also order them in bulk from Amazon.  Delicious, and convenient.  We have a hot water spigot on our coffee maker here, so I just use that instead of the microwave (I used the microwave yesterday and it was a bit messy)  It's good that these products are available, since I can't always bring dinner's leftovers. Sometimes there ARE NO LEFTOVERS!!  Imagine that!

Vegan stroganoff

I have resolved to make more meals at home and try a lot of new things.  One thing I definitely wanted to make was goulash.  I had the recipe from Vegan on the Cheap in mind, but when I got ready to cook yesterday, I realized it was a slow cooker recipe, and that it wouldn't work on the stovetop.  So I switched to stroganoff and after some searching (I still have some vegan sour cream in my fridge that I made from VotC) I found a stroganoff recipe in Vegan With A Vengeance.  Now, my kids hate mushrooms.  So those were out, and the original recipe calls for both porcini and small white mushrooms.  Besides, when I looked in the fridge for the mushrooms I had (bellas), they were nowhere to be found, and,  I suspect, had been thrown out by my ambitious kids when they cleaned out the fridge the other day.  Anyhow, another problem I had was that the original recipe calls for a cup of red wine.  Alison found a great substitute: cranberry juice with a dash of vinegar!  That really saved the day.

One of my triumphs yesterday was the seitan I made from Veganomicon (that recipe is simpler, and tastes better than the one from VWAV and is similar enough to the one in VotC).  Anyhow, the seitan was very meaty, and not brainy at all.  Chris said it tasted like ground beef to him - and Chris is a very picky eater.  Also, I used farfalle instead of eggless noodles or fettucine.  I think I would go with the fettucine if/when I make this again.  The farfalle were too thick.

You can imagine from just reading this post that I did a lot of cooking yesterday.  And that is quite correct: I was busy for two hours.  But the recipe, despite smelling kind of odd after I added the nutritional yeast, or nooch, actually tasted very good.  I will definitely make it again (perhaps sneaking in the mushrooms if I can!).

I am hoping that if I stay motivated in the kitchen, I can cut my eating expenses in half.  That, and truth be told, I am tired of eating out and not having any interesting food, because I don't eat meat and dairy.  Hopefully, our kitchen will become proof that, yes, you can cook without meat and dairy, and make delicious, interesting, enjoyable meals.