Monday, March 31, 2008

Quinoa and Potato Croquettes and Kale with Lemon-Balsamic Butter

Both recipes are from a Cooking Light magazine. Before becoming a vegan, I made the croquettes with cheese and egg. We really like the recipe, although I do remember it taking a long time to prepare. I was very nervous to make them without the ingredients that I assumed had made them so tasty the first time. The croquettes were a bit of a challenge to make vegan because they call for both cheddar and cottage cheese along with an egg. I substituted the cheddar for 3 tablespoons of the Creamy Mozzarella cheese that I made for a pizza a few days ago (the recipe made a ton!). Instead of cottage cheese, I made Tofu Ricotta. And for the egg, Orgran No Egg egg replacer. They turned out so delicious and neither John nor myself could remember them being any better with the cheese and egg.
The kale is time consuming to clean and de-stem, but well worth it. We generally make an entire pound and have never had left-overs! I leave the raisins out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Cheesy" Vegan Pizza

The dough was pre-made from Capella. It had rosemary mixed in so not only did it taste excellent, but the smell was wonderful while baking. The tomato sauce is a large can of diced tomatoes, onion and garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. The toppings include spinach and mushrooms sautéed in garlic, and artichoke hearts. The cheeses are homemade Tofu Ricotta and Creamy Mozzarella. We spread the dough out over an olive oil covered pizza pan with a sprinkle of corn meal, piled the sauce, cheese and toppings on and baked at 425 for about 20 minutes. It was as good as any vegan pizza we have ordered!

Creamy Mozzarella (from Vegan Homestyle)
2 c water
1 c cashews
1/2 c tahini
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 t garlic powder
1 T arrowroot powder
1 T onion powder
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 t salt
2 c water
Blend first 9 ingredients. Add remaining water. Place in saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Vegan Camping

John and I decided to travel south to the Redwoods National and State Parks for Spring Break. We car camped the entire time and decided beforehand that bringing a cooler of food would be our best guarantee of having healthy, vegan selections at all times. To make things easy, we pre-planned stir-fry meals by washing/chopping the veggies and buying jars of sauce that could be cooked on our camp stove. We also brought pasta and tomato sauce along with a log of Polenta. And, for an easy night, a can of soup and vegan hot dogs to cook over the fire. All meals were very tasty, quick, and most important to me, healthy and vegan! For lunch, we brought whole wheat tortillas, pre-chopped lettuce and red peppers, and hummus. (We were also supposed to have vegan steak strips for the wraps but I forgot to throw them in the cooler!) Snacks included rice crackers and hummus, Larabars, Kettle Chips, tortilla chips and salsa, and Rice crispy treats (recipe below!). Breakfast was simple: cereal (just the plastic bag, to save room in the cooler), Almond Milk, and coffee with soy creamer. Everything fit into a cooler, along with two bags of ice, and one canvas bag.

Puffed Cereal Bars
1/2 c honey (I used agave)
2 T vanilla
1 c coconut
1/2 cup almond butter (I used peanut butter)
3 c crispy rice cereal
2 c raisins (I used chocolate chips!)
Heat agave, almond butter, and vanilla until liquid. Put other ingredients in a bowl and pour liquid over top. Stir well. Press into 9x13 pan. Chill for 1 hour. Cut into squares.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fruit Pizza

I am sad that I did not get a picture of this delicious dessert. The recipe site has a pretty photo though, for those who have never seen a fruit pizza. My mom used to make these a lot when I was growing up. I have recently found out how easy they are, how impressive they look, and how vegan-friendly they can be. This one was made to accompany an evening brunch. (Did I just make that meal up?!?!) We made Breakfast Burritos, Garlic Fries, and Cara brought mimosas and her cappuccino machine! My substitutions include:
Earth Balance instead of butter. For the eggs I used Orgran No Egg. And instead of cream cheese, Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (I like the Non-hydrogenated plain kind).
For the fruit, I used apples, oranges, strawberries, and kiwi.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sweet Polenta Pie

So delicious and sweet and tasty. It did not take too long to make. I took the recipe from the How it all Vegan cookbook. Next time I will let the polenta crust sit for a while longer to cool before I top with the veggies. Leftovers are going to make a wonderful lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Carrot Cake

I took this recipe from the cookbook How it all Vegan. I will use sugar next time, not sucanat. It definitely changed the flavor. I enjoyed the cake but will search for a different topping next time. I am happy that I kept it on the side verses spreading it on the cake. It has stored better in the fridge and allowed me to skip it all together! John really enjoys the topping on his cake though.
Country Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cup flour (I used spelt)
3/4 cup dry sweetener (I used sucanat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4-cup soy milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-cup oil
egg replacer (to equal 1 egg)
1/2-cup carrot, finely shredded
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
Heat oven 350. Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix until "just mixed" but don't over mix. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake for 25 minutes.
To-Fruity Cream Cheese
1-cup soft silken tofu
1/4-cup cashew pieces
4 tsp sweetener (I used agave)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-cup fruit (I used strawberries)
Mix in a blender.

Sautéed Potatoes

I took a 2-hour nap when I got home from work tonight, which left me very hungry, and not in the mood to prepare anything fancy. So, dinner was quick and easy: Tempeh with red and green peppers sautéed and dowsed with Annie's BBQ sauce, baby spinach with Annie's Goddess Dressing and avocado, and Sautéed Potatoes. I have taken many recipes and added/substituted ingredients. This was tonight’s version:
6 small red potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves (this seems like a lot, but we love garlic!)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
Heat the oil, add the garlic, cook a few minutes. Add the onion, cook a few minutes. Add the rest, cover and cook until the potatoes are finished. I like to cook it a little extra to make some of them crispy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pumpkin Lentil Lasagna

Sorry the picture is blurry. I have been using my camera from work to take photos lately but forgot it at school this weekend. John's camera won't even turn on and mine just takes lousy pictures. The recipe page shows a much prettier picture of the meal.
I made quite a few changes to suit our tastes. First, I left the olives out. Secondly, instead of feta on top, we added a homemade ricotta. Next time I might add the ricotta as a layer instead of just plopped on top because it tasted excellent. I didn't put greens on top but that was just because we were really hungry and ready to eat! The lentils I used are Black Beluga Lentils. I found the beans pre-cooked at Trader Joes. For the noodles, I found DeBoles Organic Artichoke Flour Pasta. It had a great consistency, not mushy, and tasted...well, like what you would want pasta to taste like! We added steamed broccoli to the side and fresh Ciabatta Bread.
My lasagna turned out a little on the "soupy" side. I will cook it down a while longer before adding it to the layers of noodles next time. The taste was delicious and there are tons of left overs!

Tofu Ricotta (from theVegan Homestyle Cookbook.
2 lb. firm water packed tofu, mashed. (I used silken)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T. onion powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 T. basil
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. salt
Mash tofu. Add remaining ingredients, mix, chill.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blueberry Pancakes

Yikes, it has been a while! I have not been cooking lately at all. In fact, I don't think I have even been to the grocery store for 2 weeks! We have had company in town, been reheating leftovers, and eating out A LOT! It has been a nice break but I am ready to start cooking again.

My friend Debbie gave me a cookbook to borrow for a few weeks, How It All Vegan. I found a recipe for pancakes that sounded great this morning. Very simple recipe, nothing that a kitchen in desperate need of a trip to the grocery store wouldn't have! I also liked that the recipe didn't included sugar. I added 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (partially thawed, then chopped) for additional flavor. We spread Earth Balance Buttery Spread and maple syrup on top. I have to say, I have been addicted to this butter for a while now. Last week at school we had a luncheon. I was responsible for rolls and butter. Not an easy or inexpensive things for a vegan to shop for but I found great rolls at Market of Choice. I won't go into details on how my cats destroyed half of them as they sit on the counter top..still infuriates me! Anyway, back to breakfast. On the side we tried Smart Bacon. I was convinced immediately that there must be bacon fat or something authentic in this product because it tasted exactly how I remember bacon to taste. (note: It is over 10 years since I have eaten real bacon...) John felt differently and I notice in many reviews of the product other people agree with him. Anyway, I am very excited to try BLT's. Finally, we had coffee on the side. I have given coffee up except for weekends and special occasions. We add Silk Creamer and it gives it a creamy flavor.
I made a few changes to the recipe noted in parenthesis.
Classic Pancakes
2 cups flour (barley flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups soy milk (a little bit less because I didn't have quite enough)
2 tbsp oil (3 tbsp to make up for the milk I didn't have enough of)
Sift dry ingredients. Add milk and oil. Don't over mix. Cook on hot non-stick pan.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vegan French Toast

I didn't have all the ingredients (bread!) for the recipe so we walked to Safeway. It's definitely one of my least favorite grocery stores, but it's close. They had french bread but the ingredients were very sketchy. I googled L-Cysteine, from my phone (thank goodness for wifi!). It made me very uncomfortable. I wanted to make the french toast for breakfast but I didn't want to settle for that crappy bread!
Being the trooper that John always is, he said, "Let's put it back and go to Capella." A little further from our apartment, but such a great selection of fresh organic and vegan foods. Also, they sell bread from Metropol Bakery. So we spent an extra half hour getting the ingredients but it was well worth it. The french toast was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It had a sweet, almond flavor. The recipe made 8 pieces and between John (6) and me (2), we had no leftovers!
I did not make any changes to the recipe. I used coconut oil instead of shortening but could not find "Coconut Shortening" and the oil is the same consistency as I think the recipe meant to say Coconut oil!!! It tasted great. The Spectrum brand was a little pricey. I found a local organic, cold pressed brand that I purchased instead.

The sausage on the side is Smart Links Breakfast. It was very dry. We both agreed that it would be perfect in gravy for another round of Biscuits and Gravy, but not to be eaten alone.

The juice is oranges and apples (I meant to put blueberries in it also, but I only had frozen and forgot to thaw them in time!!!)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy

Although we love tofu scrambles, John made one yesterday and I was ready for something different this morning. I have never eaten biscuits and gravy, the gravy just never appealed to me. This gravy was phenomenal though! Both recipes came from the Vegan Homestyle cookbook. The gravy was a creamy white color until I added the sausage. We only had Soyrizo, (Meatless Chorizo) not my first choice. It added a great flavor though, and turned the gravy into a caramel color. It is spicy in a "heartburn" way, not a burn your tongue way, and full of garlic.
Drop Biscuits
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup almond milk
Preheat oven 475. Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together oil and milk. Add to dry ingredients and mix until all flour is absorbed. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. (Should make 9 biscuits.) Bake for 12 minutes (mine baked for about 14).

Cashew Gravy
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 T. arrowroot powder
1 T. onion powder
1/2 t. salt
2 T. Bragg liquid aminos
Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Heat in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking until thick. Add sausage.