Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tofu and Vegetable Hash

Officially my second favorite vegan breakfast of all time! First being French Toast. We toasted a few Ezekiel English Muffins on the side and fell in love! I found the recipe in Vegan Bites but made many changes. I began by making Scrambled Tofu. Normally, I add turmeric to make the tofu yellow like eggs, but this time left it out and added a few splashes of Tamari, a teaspoon of red curry paste, and a teaspoon of dried dill. In a larger frying pan, I browned 3 red potatoes, diced, in olive oil. Once the potatoes looked like they had a crispy outside I added the following: 2 small white onions, a green pepper, a dozen mushrooms, all diced, fresh spinach leaves, 1/3 cup frozen peas, 4 garlic cloves, a sprinkle of parsley, 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast, 3 Tofurky Breakfast Links, salt and pepper. After cooking all of this down for about 10 minutes, I added the scrambled tofu and stirred it together.

Nana's NO's!

For a variety of reasons, I have found it very beneficial to have small snacks available throughout the day. Normally, I would shy away from purchasing a bunch of packaged items, but because of time constraints, I have been searching for healthy, reasonably priced choices. I get tired of the same ol' thing, want something that feels like a treat, but that isn't just sugar to my system. These little cookie bites by a company called Nana's are very tasty, vegan, and contain no refined sugar. So far I have tried 3 different kinds, Fudge and Ginger Spice are my favorite. The Lemon are so-so. I have only seen them at Market of Choice, but have not really searched for them elsewhere. They are a tiny treat but buy me just the right amount of time in between meals.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peace Cereal

Golden Temple is a local, Eugene company. They make many products we love such as Peace Cereal and Yogi Tea. John listened to a business presentation from a senior employee and has a great amount of respect for their philosophies toward promoting and supporting peace along with organic, vegan ingredients in all their products. The apple cinnamon cereal is my favorite!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vegan Shampoo/Conditioner and Nail Polish

Since moving to Eugene, I have been using this shampoo and conditioner (I was not able to find their website). I love the way it cleans my hair and both John and I enjoy the way it smells! I have tried the raspberry, lemon, and green apple and continue to rotate the scents. I was excited when I realized they were vegan. Normally, they are quite pricey but lately I have been finding them on sale, and stocking up! On average, they are anywhere from $5-$7 each....I know! But all "chemical-free" shampoos, that I am not allergic to, are at least that much. And, it is less than salon products typically cost.

Also, with summer coming and sandals on my mind, I found this nail polish that is free of many chemicals normally in other brands, like formaldehyde and toluene. They claim to be healthy alternative products, but do not specify if they test on animals. I have emailed them and will re-post when I hear back!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quick and Spicy Lentils

I was excited to try this recipe because I had Black Beluga Lentils from Trader Joes in the fridge. They come pre-cooked which is such a bonus. I was working late so John made the recipe for us, along with some tasty Brussels sprouts. I was not able to finish my bowl because it was so spicy! Next time, we will use less cayenne pepper. We also did not have the right chiles and substituted Embasa Peppers. Yikes! They were ridiculously hot. I have to say, not a fan! All in all, I will make this again for a quick meal but will severely tone down the spice!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Banana Nut Bread

What to do with 2 super squishy bananas? Make bread! I took this recipe from my Vegan Bites cookbook. On the side is a new kinds of Earth Balance butter. It is not on their site, that I could find. We really like the flavor and it is made from olive oil.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour ( I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup spelt flour)
2/3 cup unbleached cane sugar or beet sugar (I used sucanat)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 large banana ( I used 2 medium)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts ( I used walnuts)
Preheat the oven 350. Lightly oil 8x4x2 loaf pan. Combine the first 6 ingredients. Whisk mashed banana, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Sprinkle the nuts on top and gently press them in with fingers. Bake 20-25 minutes (I had to bake for closer to 40!!! It was dark on the outside, but very moist on the inside). Will keep for 3 to 5 days.

Golden Vegetable Noodle Soup

Because I needed to use leftover veggies that had been used as stock in a gravy last week, this soup came together so quickly. The veggies had been cooked in red wine, shallots, and other seasonings adding a rich, savory flavor to an already tasty soup. I made a few changes to the recipe. I did not blend any of the ingredients only because my veggies were precooked and very soft already, ready to absorb and/or release flavor. And because the description of the soup says it is similar to chicken noodle, I added chicken flavored seitan. It almost makes me feel like getting sick to stay home from work and eat this all day!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tofutti Ice Cream Sandwiches

Unless it is a special occasion, I normally do not buy pre-made desserts. I love to bake or go out for dessert and having things around the house is dangerous, because they will get eaten quickly! Have I ever mentioned in this blog how much of a "sweet tooth" I have?! Anyway, I saw these and curiosity made me put them in the cart. Tofutti Cuties are a dream come true. Vegan ice cream sandwiches. 8 come in a pack but they are small and I found it difficult to eat just one! I will buy these again for sure, but won't keep them in the freezer regularly!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rosemary and Hazelnut Encrusted Seitan

I found this recipe a few months ago but didn't make it for fear that it was going to take too much time. It is marinated, then breaded and fried. Then there is a gravy to add and it just seemed a bit overwhelming. I am happy I finally made it though because it was delicious. I was a tad turned off in the beginning of the meal because John made the comment that the seitan tasted like chicken livers. (deep breath). I rolled my eyes and moved past the comment, focusing on the rich, red wine flavored gravy, the smooth, rosemary infused breading, and the chewy texture of the seitan. Next time I make this, I will add mashed potatoes to soak up more of the gravy. On the side, we added steamed broccoli with a dollop of Earth Balance Buttery Spread.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

On a quest to buy more cat litter, I decided I needed a snack! We stopped at Market of Choice and asked at the bakery counter what vegan options were available. Selection was limited on freshly baked items that are actually made by their bakers...if I recall correctly, these were it! They do have yummie pies made by a local company. Anyway, these vegan thumb print cookies were soooo good. John did not feel they were sweet enough, and I am not crazy about jam, but the cookie part was very nutty and the fruit filling was thick, not gooey. I will look for them again...I highly recommend trying them if you can find them!

Supreme Seitan Cheesesteaks

While John was out of town, I spent a lot of time at the bookstore! I can get vegan lattes, correct papers, meet interesting people, and buy books!!! I picked up Vegan Bites Recipes for Singles. I was drawn to it because the serving sizes are generally 2-3. Now, I know in the past I have given recipes a few extra points if they provide me with a delicious lunch serving the next day, but lately we have had too much food in the fridge! My first pick from this book was a vegan version of Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches. Vegans really can have it all!!! I substituted the seitan for Trader Joe's Steak Strips. (Cant find a picture or link..I will take one of the box next time I buy them!) They don't have much of a flavor alone, but in recipes, add a great texture and absorb flavors nicely. On the side is Mac and Cheese, made mainly because we had so much extra cheese sauce! To be honest though, I am finished making mac and cheese for now. This attempt was MUCH better than the last disaster!!!! But still, just did not hit the old mac and cheese spot. In the bowl, spinach and Annie's Goddess Dressing, still my favorite dressing of all time.

Supreme Seitan Cheesesteaks
8 oz seitan
1/2 cup yellow onion, mushrooms, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp tamari
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 submarine rolls or hot dog buns (I used Ezekiel 4:9 Hot Dog Rolls)
2 slices vegan cheese or 1/2 cup shredded (used the cheese sauce listed below)
Remove seitan from its package and drain. Pat dry and slice. Cook the veggies on medium heat with the olive oil 2-3 minutes. Add seitan, cook 2 minutes. Add all other ingredients, cook 1 minute. Assemble into buns and add cheese!

Quick Melty Cheese (From Vegan Homestyle)
1 cup water
2 oz pimentos
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 c cashews
2 T arrowroot powder
2 T oats
2 t salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 c boiling water
Blend the first 8 ingredients until smooth. Bring 1 1/2 cup water to boil. Turn heat to low and add blended mixture to water, simmer, stir constantly until thick.

My New Favorite......Steamed Edamame!

I love adding edamame to dinner. It is super fast: boil some water, add frozen or fresh edamame and a little salt, cook for about 3 minutes (until bright green), drain and serve! It is also fun to eat because you pop the little beans out of the shells and it creates all kinds of conversation and giggles (at least it was that way at our dinner table!)

The other food in the picture is my second attempt at Lemon Rosemary Tofu with brown rice. The last time I made it, the picture was very blurry! This picture is better and I adjusted the seasonings a bit to make the flavor better too! More lemon, less rosemary.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup w/ Green Beans

This is the second time I have made this soup...the first time I did not get a picture though (dinner guest situation!) It was equally as good this time but I did change a few things. First, I used three different kinds of potatoes instead of one: red, Yukon golds, and purple. I also used a yellow onion which made the soup a tad sweeter. The green beans are also the same recipe as favorite way to prepare them!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Vegan Sushi and Potstickers

The Potstickers are frozen, then fried in Safflower Oil. The sauce we used to dip them in is a tangy Dumpling Dipping Sauce. Both were purchased at Sunrise Asian Market off Willamette Street. I don't remember the brand name of the Potstickers, but I am pretty sure it is the green bag in the freezer if you click on the link!

For the sushi, our good friend Ananda taught us how to make delicious sushi rice, which is the key to successful rolls.
* 3 cups Niko Rice or anything that says sushi rice
* 3 1/4 cups water
* 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
* 3 tbsp sugar
* 1 tsp salt

After washing the rice well, cook it by pan or rice cooker. Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small pan. Put the pan on low heat and heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture.
Spread the hot steamed rice into a large plate by spatula. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice very quickly. Be careful not to smash the rice. To cool and remove the moisture of the rice well, use a fan as you mix sushi rice. This will give sushi rice a shiny look. It's best to use sushi rice right away.

We purchased a Bamboo Mat to fold and wrap the rolls. The process was fairly simple:
1. Lay a piece of Nori on the bamboo mat.
2. Spread a thick layer of sushi rice onto the Nori. Leave about a 1/2 inch strip rice-free on the top of one side to use to seal the roll.
2. Carve a space in the rice down the center to fit the veggies in.
3. I put avocado and slightly steamed green beans and carrots in mine.
4. Start rolling, using the bamboo mat to tighten it as you roll.
5. Wet the rice-free strip of the Nori and seal the roll.
5. Slice the pieces with a wet knife.

On the side we had pickled ginger, Soy Sauce, and Wasabi to dip the rolls in. Please note the "tail" on the sushi roll that John made. Very creative :-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Enchilada Bake

For some reason, the recipe is completely incomplete! It was pretty easy to figure out the missing pieces but the baking time was a mystery. 20 minutes worked for me. I did not use Fritos on top, tortilla chips instead. In substitute of the cheddar cheese, I used creamy mozzarella (Yes! Still using the original batch up!) Also, I made the enchilada sauce from a recipe I copied out of a Rachel Ray cookbook a few years ago. I am not sure which one.
Enchilada Red Sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 T olive oil
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
a pinch of cinnamon
Cook over low heat while preparing the casserole.