Monday, December 28, 2009

8 Healthy, Yummy Meals and Snacks

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Well, at least I'm early for the last set of wishes. I actually starting crafting this post on December 1 (maybe that date will even show up at the bottom of this post since it's been in draft mode so long?). My new year's resolution will be to post more - it's just been a little tricky since free time is pretty hard to come by with a busy toddler and another little one on the way! Thank goodness my all-day sickness has waned, allowing me to again be excited to try new recipes.

Chelsea Style Waffles from Vegan Brunch - the first time I made these I just subbed maple syrup since I was too lazy to go to the pantry to find my barley malt. Am I ever glad that one day I did muster up the strength! I love the malted taste. And these always turn out, unless past waffle disasters.

Green Goddess Pizza from VwaV - what took me so long to make this!!! Delicious, but hideously garlicky. I now make Isa's dough recipe in my breadmaker, but use whole wheat flour, and it turns out great.

Chickpea Eggplant Stew from Vcon - I was on a real eggplant kick for a while. This was pretty easy and so yummy. Unfortunately, I can't stomach the thought of eggplant anymore, so I'll have to wait until the end of this pregnancy to try this again.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup from Vegan Lunch Box - love it! Ash gobbles this up. Great way to eat what I find to be a bland veggie.

Heart Healthiest Cookie in the World from VT - I may have the title completely wrong, but geez, it's a long one. They were good, but a little labour intensive. The second time I made these, I tried making them with agave nectar and skipping the whole EB/sugar melting step, but they turned out pretty gross.

Leek and Bean Cassoulet from Vcon - I can't say it was my fave. I like making my own veggie pot pies with chick'n tenders instead. Maybe I found it too beany?

Stewed Tofu with Miso Gravy from VwaV - I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and it was heavenly.

Eggplant Moussaka from Vcon - loved it! But again, will put this one on hold. I found it to be much less labour intensive than the rollatini but with the same great taste. I think I used jarred pasta sauce to avoid extra effort.

I received plenty of new cookbooks for Christmas - Vegan Soul Kitchen, Short Cut Vegan and Vegan Comfort Food, so I'm totally pumped about blogging about them!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Our Canadian Thanksgiving (almost two months later...)

Thanks to Princess for taking shots of our T-giving supper! I couldn't find these in Picasa but finally was able to, hence the delay.

I made the Vegan Pot Roast from Vegan Lunch Box - it was 'gobbled' up!

I also made homemade oatmeal bread in my bread machine (I choose the dough setting then shape and bake it myself so it looks like I spent lots of time kneading...hee hee).

Finally, Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake from the Fat Free Vegan. Heavenly! So glad we changed it up from regular pumpkin pie. Since the filling is rather runny, it helps to scoop the second layer onto the first in order to keep the two distinct layers. Will definitely make this again.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fall Food and New Cookbooks

Summer is over so it's time to get serious in the kitchen again. And I got a new cookbook - Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. EVERYTHING in this book sounds delicious to me and I love how he pairs each item with a soundtrack. So of course I had to try some things out.

Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux from VSK paired with Cumin-Lime Tofu from the VegNews Recipe Club (cumin swapped out with chipotle chili powder). The collards were divine and I will use this method for cooking collards all the time. The tofu was zesty and delicious and since it was baked in the oven it was really easy. I used chipotle because I'm not a big cumin fan.

BBQ Tempeh with Straightforward Coleslaw. I would recommend using only 1/4 cup tamari and 1/2 cup water vs the 3/4 cup tamari as written as the tempeh was salty for me. I suspected it might be and only used 1/2 cup tamari but after tasting it I would dilute further. Other than that the sauce reduced in the pan while baking and gave the tempeh great BBQ flavour. This is a super recipe for introducing someone to tempeh. I boiled the tempeh cake before covering with the sauce and baking. I made a mistake with the coleslaw - I should have used the food processor for shredding the cabbage instead of a knife. Other than that, the dressing was mild yet tasty. It was a perfect compliment to the spicy BBQ sauce.

I really like how Bryant Terry makes his sauces and dressings in the blender. It makes for short work and quick cleanup.

Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup with Chilled Citrus Broccoli Salad. The squash soup was so smooth with the addition of coconut milk and a touch of sweetness from the pears. It was a perfect fall soup. The dressing was tangy on the broccoli which led to a large portion on my plate, good for getting my calcium and iron.

After making Alfredo Stroganoff earlier in the week (which was delicious), I used the leftover alfredo sauce with a dollop of tomato paste and made Pasta with Rose Sauce, something that I haven't had since going vegan. This sauce is simply the best vegan white sauce ever and I'm happy to have an old favourite back in my easy meal repertoire.

I'm so excited about the soon-to-be-released-in-Canada Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. In fact, my wonderful sister and family gifted me a copy for my birthday! I made the Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles from the teaser recipe on the PPK website. I've had WAY too many today, they are that good.

I'm going to have to amp up my running mileage so I can test out the rest of the cookies when the book comes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Veganomicon - Revisited!

Ah, so good to revisit a cookbook that I pull out so often. Since it's starting to get pretty chilly out there, I've been turning to warm soups and comforting entrees.

Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans - Tasty, but some baby spinach or something else green would have added some nice colour I think.

Eggplant Rollatini - OMG. Heavenly! ALOT of work, as indicated in the recipe, but so darn good! I really wonder if this would freeze well, as I'd be up for all the effort to just magically pull it out of the freezer one day and enjoy. I'm going to try the Eggplant Moussaka this week since it seems similar but less work.

Acorn Squash, Pear and Adzuki Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes - Sooooo glad I had Kyle peel that acorn squash. I would have hurled it across the kitchen in frustration for sure! Thanks Isa for the warning! Kyle didn't suspect a thing when I asked him to help out...hee hee. The flavours of this were great and I really liked the mushroom topping alot.

Chickpeas Romesco with Saffron Garlic Rice. I didn't have any white rice on hand, so I used brown and it was really sticky and mushy. I didn't really notice the saffron/garlic at all, oddly enough. But the Chickpeas Romesco part was delicious!
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Ashley Fare!

I don't really know why I'm blogging about these two items, but I figured I should give some perspective on the types of stuff Ash eats!

First up, Vegan Brunch's Broccoli Quiche. So darn delicious. I've made and blogged about it before, but I wanted to note how I served it with a side of carrots. I peeled them, then sauteed for about a minute in a little oil. I then squirted a little lemon juice and voila - carrots fully cooked in just a minute!

Then I made an Avocado Dip from Deceptively Delicious. It was another non-hit. Essentially pureed avocado with soy yogurt, a little Nayonnaise, salt and lime juice. Meh. It was actually pretty gross. I'm trying to find some healthy spreads/dips for her since I'm afraid she will forever have stinky garlic breath based on the massive amount of hummus she eats!

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gluten Free for a Week (well, almost...)

This week's menu is courtesy of October's Vegetarian Times. And I guess with it being Celiac Month, many of the recipes are gluten free (GF). Over the past few months I've been trying some GF recipes as an added challenge to just vegan cooking, so it seemed like a fun task to try some of these meals out this week.

I first have to note that I would have modified the order of the recipes presented, but damn blogger is giving me a hard time with copying/pasting and moving pics around...argh...

Pumpkin Parfaits with Oat Crunch - Wow, awesome! The Oat Crunch tastes like Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and with sweetened pumpkin pie filling, this really does satisfy a sweet tooth. I really wish we could eat these at Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin pie. Well, maybe these and a slice of pumpkin pie.

Tasty Tofu Patties - Tasty? Yes. Tofu? Yes. Patties? No - more like crumbles. I have no idea what I did wrong but this stuff just didn't hold together at all. Maybe some chickpea flour would have helped! Ah well. Plus, the recipe said it would make 8 patties - I got to 10 and still had 1/2 the mixture leftover. I'm going to just cook it up like a scramble - way less effort. I served these with my Actually Crispy Sweet Potato Fries...rice flour for these fries this time to stick with the whole GF theme.

Curried Red Lentil Soup - I have about a billion red lentil soup recipes, but something stood out about this one. It was great! And Ashley gobbled it up, so based on that alone, this one is a keeper. I kinda cheated on the whole GF thing, as I served it with multi-grain whole wheat bread.

OK, so this one is the only thing that's not from VT and it's not really GF, but I worry that if I don't blog about it now I'll forget to! Zucchini Spelt Muffins from Vegan Brunch. I don't have much luck with grated carrots or zucchinis in baking, as everything turns out soggy. This was the case with this muffin, sadly. I'm sure it's user error and not the recipe, as Isa is a Recipe Goddess.

Roasted Ratatouille Pizza with Chewy Pizza Dough - OK - the dough. I'm used to 'tough' pizza dough. I thought I'd done something wrong because this gluten-free dough was runnier than my pancake batter. But I followed the instructions to spread the dough with a baggie on my hand and it turned out great. A little soggy, but actually edible. More edible than I thought considering some of the GF stuff I've made has been pretty gross. I don't know if I will make this crust again, but I will definitely roast up the veggies like this for topping future pizzas! I do also have to note that I didn't have that 'heavy' feeling that I normally have after woofing down several slices of pizza. As for the veggies, I would normally cook off some of the liquid on the stovetop, but roasting made the veggies a little chewy and delicious!

Chickpea Croquettes with Greek Salad Topping - I had my doubts about this turning out since the chickpeas were so lumpy compared to the runny batter. But the chickpea flour really did make a crepe-like texture and everything held together perfectly! Great off the griddle and also tasty cold the next day.

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Popcorn - So tasty! Basically microwave popcorn with melted Earth Balance, Sucanat and cinnamon. Tasted just like the cinnamon toast I made as a kid where I loaded it with margarine, a ton of sugar and cinnamon goodness. So yummy! But very calorie heavy. I ate most of the recipe myself, so I probably had about 10 of the 1/2 cup servings to myself. Honestly, who would be able to eat only a meager 1/2 cup of this stuff?

Autumn Vegetable Tagine (no pic - no idea how I forgot to snap one) - I have a pressure cooker since I use it to save time on a meal, but with having to bring it to high pressure three separate times while making this recipe, I didn't find it to be all that helpful. The flavour of this dish was kinda blah and while it wasn't horrible, it really wasn't worth the effort. I also felt a little deceived since a glance at the photo in the mag showed all ingredients, including the couscous (in my case, quinoa) mixed into the pressure cooker. Of course, this made me think it was a one-pot meal. In reality, the grain is cooked separately, adding a little more effort than I originally thought.

The upcoming week's menus are more simple, as I'm trying a few reliable faves since Ashley got stuck with a nasty stomach bug and needs to eat up! I think there are a few sneaky dips that I might be able to blog about though.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dinners and Desserts

Now I know why I don't post often - Blogger isn't all that user-friendly when you are in a time crunch!!! I apologize for any typos but I have lots yet to get done with the little one takes her short nap!

Chana Masala from The Vegan Table. OK...
Pad Thai also from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It was good, but I found the instructions to be a little cryptic. Of the recipes I've made so far, it seems like I would 'add a little oil' and it doesn't specify how high to have the heat on for several dishes. I only borrowed the book from the library so I'm not too disappointed. I didn't find any of the recipes to be all that original. Not trying to be a hater, but I found the same thing with the author's previous cookbook.

OMG - the Pot Roast from Vegan Lunch Box was to die for. I will be making it at both Thanksgiving and Xmas this year. I added cut up new potatoes to the carrots and really didn't think either would be cooked by the time this was done but surprisingly they were! I'll try to eat this up in one sitting since my leftovers seemed to revert to a raw was weird. But with hungry vegans around the festive table I'm sure I won't have any issues with having it all eaten up!

What to do with almost rotting peaches? If you are also feeling lazy like I was, you can make a country torte! I made Bryanna Clark Grogan's Low Fat Pastry, cut up 3 cups of peaches and added 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tbsp flour, nutmeg, 1 tbsp lemon juice and dumped it in the middle of the rolled out pastry. I folded up the sides, topped with sliced almonds and baked at 375 for 35 minutes.
Peach Bundt Cake - I subbed 1/2 pkg silken tofu for the eggs. A little dense, but around here, dessert is dessert and we ate it up!

Grilled Pineapple with my fave Pound Cake from Vcon with soy ice cream. I marinated the pineapple with water, sucanat and cinnamon, then reduced the marinade with a little Earth Balance to make a sauce. So good! I bought another pineapple today to grill up!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I love beans, and I like crockpot recipes making dinner ready when I come back from a run. Here is a recipe for frijoles, traditionally cooked with bacon. Let's love the pigs *and* eat our beans too.

Slow Cooked Pinto Beans

1 pound (3 cups) dry pinto beans, sorted, rinsed, and soaked in water overnight
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beer
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

**First thing in the morning**
Put the soaked beans and garlic into a crockpot and cover with veggie broth, adding water if necessary to just cover beans. Cook on low for 4+ hours.

**At lunch**
Saute the onions and jalapenos in the olive oil until soft. Add to the crockpot, as well as the crushed tomatoes. Stir and cook for 4+ more hours.

**30 minutes to 1 hour before eating, or before your run**
Add the beer, salt and cilantro. Stir and cook until you are ready for dinner.
Serve in corn tortillas or over brown rice with fresh corn.

Makes many servings, with leftovers to freeze if desired.

Cook's tip: The remainder of the bottle of beer tastes really great when you get back from your run, or enjoy with dinner.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vegan Brunch!

Wow, this cookbook has been out for what seems like eons now, and I'm just getting around to writing up my first review.

I have to say, the muffin recipes in this book are awesome. I'm a total muffin girl though. I tend to just throw a bunch of ingredients together and toss it in the pan. Muffins are such a tasty little snack that is so portable. I seem to make them every 3 days and freeze my concoctions so they stay nice and moist.

So far I've made Blueberry Ginger Spelt Muffins - I really am developing a taste for candied ginger. I know I took a pic, but with us now using two digital cameras (both with awful macro settings) I can't seem to find where it's been downloaded. Ah well, there is a pic in the book! I've also made the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. Yum! I made mine with whole wheat flour, hence the slightly brownish tone. I'm surprised I made these, since I'm still scarred from when I was a Loblaws bakery clerk in my teens. I had to walk around the store and distribute samples of poppy seed muffins to customers as they perused the aisles. I would head back to the bakery to refill my cart, then head out again. Since I wasn't paying attention to who I had asked, I would often offer my muffins to those I had just served minutes before. They would smile and let me know that they had already sampled them, but they didn't need to say a word. Wedged between their teeth, there were poppy seeds galore. Here these people were going to go about their day chatting it up with whoever and I was responsible for their potential embarrassment. I was actually more grossed out though. Since then, I have always been leery of poppy seeds, but considering I now often leave the house with clothes covered in spit up or God knows what else, I have no qualms about eating them and don't even check my teeth in the mirror before heading out.
Again, no pic (I'm sure because the muffins don't last long enough to take a shot) - Bakery-Style Berry Muffins. Delish! Just like Mmmuffins - or whatever that chain of food court muffins shops were called. I try not to let a giant frozen strawberry from my fruit mix get into the dough, since it makes for a soggy muffin - or an excuse to eat that one up right away! I tried adding a little oats for added health, but it just dried them out. I'll stick to the recipe! Another yummy one - Cranberry Orange Nut Muffins - super tangy! I used dried cranberries though for extra sweetness - and also because I'm too lazy to find and chop fresh ones.
On a night that I was alone with the little one, I decided to make not one but two new recipes! I loved how quick the Basic Scrambled Tofu and Perfect Pancakes came together. Sadly, the little one wasn't interested in eating them - not because they weren't tasty, but probably because she had like 6 teeth coming in at the same time. More for me!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

Wow, horrifically long time since I posted. I'll blame it on the fact that I take pics with two different cameras, and can't be bothered to load each of them up! My mid-year resolution will be to be more frequent with posting...

But I have a great recipe to share! Tired of eating soggy sweet potato fries, I perfected the crisping process on the first try!

Actually Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch width fries
3-4 tbsp canola oil
3 tablespoons flour

1. Place fries in bowl of cold water and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 8 hours.
2. Preheat convection oven to 400 degrees (I think the convection part is important). Place a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven to warm up.
3. Once oven is preheated, take out sheet and add canola oil. Place tray back in oven.
4. Working quickly, drain fries and place in a ziploc bag with flour. Shake to coat.
5. Place fries on hot sheet (remember it's hot and oil can splatter!) and spread out into a single layer. Give a light spray of canola oil cooking spray and return sheet to oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
6. Remove from oven, add a sprinkling of salt and serve immediately to enjoy maximum crispiness!

Also, Kyle, Ash and I visited Green Earth here in Ottawa on Preston St (see Tracy's post)...OMG - heaven on earth! I can't wait to go again, since the buffet was all vegan (hooray!) and the service was awesome.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Assorted Recipes

Wow, I think I've been storing up some pics again. I shouldn't do that since I forget what I made (I caught myself staring closely at some of the pics, wracking my brain trying to remember what it was - especially when some of the ingredients are nearly indecipherable!). My brain hurts from all of this thinking that I can't even think of an exciting title for this post.

But first, I have to report on Veg Fest. It was great! I honestly couldn't believe how many people were there! It was insane! Crazy that there are that many vegetarians/vegans/interested folks in Ottawa. I only wish the attendance would have encouraged Whole Foods to open here! We didn't stay too long, since the little one was a little crusty with all of the people around. I had hoped to order from one table with a bunch of different things, but as soon as it was my turn in line most of the options were already gone and it would be another 10 minutes (an eternity with a screaming child!) for their replacements to show up. My plans for a cupcake were nixed too. Ah well. There's always next year! If any of the organizers are reading, I hope that the circle of tables in the middle makes rows next year so that some of the space can be used better...especially when I'm sure more people will make it out!

Now back to the my attempt to make faster meals to get dinner on the table at our most harried time of the day, I turned again to Nava Atlas' Vegan Express. Sweet and White Potato Salad with Mixed Greens. Not bad, but weird having cooked potatoes in it!
From Vegan Express yet again, White Pizza with Sweet Potato and Carmelized Onions. World's ugliest pizza, but tasted good. I had a hard time getting the sweet potatoes cooked well enough. It was a little too much work for me.
A winner from VT - Warm Potato Sald Primavera (May/June 2009). So yummy and a little unique! I love how the pesto was so thick.
From VT again, Thai Red Curry with Green Beans and Eggplant (April 2009). Omigod. I'm not a Thai food fan, but I loved how quick it was and how this tasted! Even without the curry sauce! I added Pete's Szechuan Tofu to this, which added lots of heat! I have to make this again, and it also encouraged me to try more recipes with a coconut milk base - such an easy and yummy way to make a creamy and filling texture!
From Vegan a Go-Go, some brown rice-lentil casserole (I forget the name, and I already returned the book to the library). I thought Ash would like it, but nope. I made it into patties the next night with some added breadcrumbs.
Some kind of stroganoff? I don't even remember making this! Must have been the day after a rough night or something. I'll guess that it's from the same cookbook as the last recipe.
From Skinny B*tch in the Kitch, Penne with Butternut Squash, Sage Pesto and Almonds. Delicious! Yet another winner from this little cookbook.
I'm loving my weekly recipe from Veg News. I'd been saving a tube of polenta just for this! Polenta Fries - very quick, different and yummy!

ps - Blogger is being irritating with the spacing and we got a new camera where I couldn't find the macro button :)