Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cheezy Noodles with "Chicken" and Broccoli

The combo of vegan chicken nuggets and broccoli on the pizza a few nights ago was so good I started to crave it again today. We have quite a few leftovers in a tiny fridge so I couldn't convince myself to make anything too extravagant. So, I settled on noodles with cheezy sauce, steamed broccoli and baked, then chopped up vegan chicken nuggets. It reminded me of something a mom would make in an attempt to get her kids to eat broccoli. Fortunately, we love broccoli!

Banana Spice Cookies

I remember making these a long time ago, way before I became a vegan. I was searching for a recipe for bananas that were getting really ripe and had deja vu finding this recipe again! Vegan butter and eggs are the only needed substitutes for the cookies. You can frost them, if you want them to be sweeter, but they have a fantastic flavor by themselves. They are like little bites of soft, slightly fluffier/doughy-er banana bread.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Soup, Chopped Salad, and Granny's Hurry-up Dinner Rolls

The soup is left over Not-Chick’n Noodle Soup with a half cup of cooked white beans added.

John reminded me last week that we haven't made chopped salad for so long. I think since we lived in Florida! The method is really easy, just chop everything up into little bits. It doesn't seem like it would make that big of a difference, but it really does! The flavors mesh together in such interesting ways. Here is a before with the lettuce.

And an after!

I also added kalamata olives, sunflower seeds (they are already small enough, no chopping needed!), and a cooked beet. The dressing is the leftover marinade from the Marinated Italian tofu I made for my 2 year vegan anniversary a few days ago. There wasn't enough for another block of tofu, but plenty to dress a salad!

My favorite part of the meal, I have to admit a lot because of the fun name, was the rolls. I just googled dinner rolls and this recipe had so many positive comments. They were fast and easy, included simple ingredients, and yes, I added the butter to the top before baking!

Blueberry Banana Shake

I have to stop making these every night. Although they are a good source of fruit, they are also high in sugar :-( But, as a farewell to the shakes for now, I made a final one with 1 cup blueberries, 2 bananas, 1 scoop vanilla soycream, 6 icecubes, and 1 cup Ricemilk. It was fantastic!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spinach Lasagna

This should really be called "Leftover's Lasagna" because it is made up almost entirely of leftovers. The first layer is leftover beanballs and tomato sauce, ran through a food processor for a few pulses. The second layer is leftover alfredo sauce with a block of pressed tofu, and a bag of spinach that was sauteed in 3 garlic cloves and a tablespoon of butter, mixed together and ran through the food processor until a ricotta like texture. The third layer is whole wheat, organic lasagna noodles, boiled for about 5 minutes. I was able to repeat this for three layers. The topping is leftover bread crumbs (made from a batch of homemade crackers, then ran through the food processor until crumbs) mixed with a few sprinkles of Cheshire style Sheese, and oregano.

Not-”Chicken” Noodle Soup

I made lasagna earlier today for dinner tonight but had 2 extra cooked lasagna noodles. I chopped them up and made this Not-”Chicken” Noodle Soup. It turned out really flavorful and I can imagine it will be even better tomorrow after the flavors settle. I didn't have celery or turmeric and did not worry about trying to substitute anything.

Lush Fresh (and Vegan) Handmade Cosmetics

I first fell in love with Lush Cosmetics when I lived in Portland, OR. I was excited beyond words to learn that they have a Lush here in Vienna also! They sell all sorts of fun bath and body products, lotions, lip gloss, bath bombs, shampoo and conditioner, and on and on. Many of their products are vegan and labeled such with either the word Vegan on the sign or a green dot. This information is very good to know before going in.

The company also has such an environmentally conscious business plan. They use very little packaging, everything you buy goes into a thin paper bag that identifies itself as recycled and compost-able. They do not test on animals at all, instead they test on themselves! Their mission statement, located on their shopping bag (if you decide to take one!) also clarifies their use of the words "fresh" and "organic" as "beyond marketing." Here are a few statistics from their facebook page.
100% Vegetarian
74% Vegan
66% Unpreserved
58% Unpackaged

So, I picked up a shower bomb (you drop it on the floor of a hot shower and it fizzes up and creates an amazing aroma)called "Sex in the Shower" and a Sugar Scrub bar with an herbal scent.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Strawberry Banana Shakes

I have become addicted to these! They are just like milkshakes minus the funk of dairy. So, tonight was officially movie, pizza, and Strawberry Banana shake night.

We added 2 bananas, 8 strawberries, a few scoops of soy vanilla ice cream, 6 ice cubes, and a cup and a half of rice milk. YUM!

Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Pizza

I had a ton of alfredo sauce left over from our gnocchi dinner and it is Friday night, so I thought it would be fun to rent movies, eat pizza, and make more milkshakes!

The pizza was not difficult. I made the dough early in the afternoon so it had time to rise and then sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. The recipe says to let it sit overnight but I did not have that kind of time! I only used half the dough for one large pizza.

When the dough was rolled out, I spread garlic butter over the entire surface. This garlic butter consisted of 4 garlic cloves sauteed in a few tablespoons of vegan margarine. Then, a layer of alfredo sauce, the broccoli and sliced chicken nuggets all lightly mixed together. Then a small additional layer of alfredo sauce mixed around and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper.

Breakfast Burritos

Not having made breakfast burritos since we moved from Eugene, OR, it was finally time! I mushed up a block of tofu with a fork and added leftover garlic cream sauce (Saute several garlic cloves in olive oil. Next, whisk in soy milk, salt, veggie broth, and nutritional yeast. Finally, arrowroot to thicken it up), heated it on the stove for a few minutes and it was the absolute perfect egg substitute! It was creamy, rich, warm and soft, plus cholesterol free! I also sauteed some veggies: carrots, yellow peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and spinach.

I made a batch of Garlic Fries and heated my new favorite soy-sausage up to go in the burritos. We added an avocado to the top before wrapping them up and devoured every last bit!

Spaghetti and Beanballs

Definitely a "comfort food" night but it was needed! I have been taking classes to learn German for the last few weeks and my brain is tired!!!

The recipe is from Veganomicon and came together pretty quickly. I used a past recipe for the sauce. It is from VegNews and is awesome.

The ingredients for the sauce are:
1/4 cup olive oil, 1 medium yellow onion minced, 5 garlic cloves minced, 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed, 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, 2 15oz cans tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped, 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped.
In a large sauce pan over high heat, add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add fennel seed, Italian seasoning, and stir for one minute. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and wine. Reduce heat to low and stir in basil and parsley. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

While the sauce is cooking, prepare the beanballs. There is the option of baking or frying. I baked. I also have yet to find wheat gluten so I used whole wheat flour.

For the pasta, I found a whole wheat spaghetti that cooked fast, wasn't mushy, and wasn't stiff or dry. Sorry, can't remember the brand.

We had a tossed green salad on the side dressed with Pomegranate and Maple Glazed Beets and homemade Rosemary crackers.

Thai Stirfry with Thai Tofu and Jasmine Rice

This is one of John's favorite meals, a great way to get tons of veggies, and extremely easy. Unfortunately, I completely finished preparing the sauce before realizing my coconut milk had gone sour. I ended up having to throw it away, make 2 trips the grocery store (also ran out of curry powder!), and eat a very late dinner. But still a nutritiously filling meal with lots of leftovers to make packing lunch for John simple.

The sauce consists of 2-3 diced garlic cloves, an inch-long diced piece of fresh ginger, and a large onion diced. This is all cooked down in a wok or large pan. After the onions are soft and translucent, pour in a can of coconut milk, a Tbsp lemon juice, a teaspoon rapadura (or brown sugar), and 2 tsp curry powder. When this is warm and bubbly, you can add any veggies you want and cook them to your desired consistency. We like crunch veggies, so we cook it for no more than a few minutes.

It goes very well over Jasmine rice and this is a great recipe but takes about 40 minutes so get it cooking first!

I also baked Thai flavored tofu to go along with the stirfry.

Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf with Seitan in Wine Sauce

I had chickpeas in the freezer, leftover from something, and needed to clear out the space. I am also re-evaluating my diet to ensure I am getting enough calcium, iron, and zinc. Those are the three I have always had to be more observant of. So far, so good!

Anyway, I found this pilaf recipe in Veganomicon. I always thought of pilaf as having rice in it. Good to know that is not the case because I tire of rice easily. I didn't have coriander seeds, so instead used oregano. I also didn't have tomato paste (or the desire to buy a can of it only to use 1 Tbsp!) so I used ketchup. It worked just fine!

We also had seitan cooked in a white wine sauce. It consisted of a sauteed onion, and then a mixture of veggie broth, white wine, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Broccoli slightly sauteed in a bit of olive oil was perfect on the side and I also sprinkled ground flax seed on top of my quinoa.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Marinated Italian Tofu

Today is a big day for me!!!! 2 years ago today, I decided to become a vegan. I feel like I have accomplished so many things in these two years that support my decision. I have also been able to spread information and gain support and understanding from people that otherwise wouldn't have been able to define the word vegan!

Along with learning to prepare nutritious vegan meals, I managed to have a vegan menu option at my wedding, including dessert, move to a different country, survive travel through 4 countries, and more states and cities than I care to count all while keeping myself full and happy!

So, to celebrate I made a simple but flavorful meal for John and I.

After the failed attempt at pumpkin gnocchi, John requested I try with sweet potatoes. They did not turn out as soft as the first batch with white potatoes, but were so much better than the pumpkin! I think I figured it out though, a flour issue. If I remember correctly, the first batch was made with a super fine, white flour. The next two attempts, I used a heavier, more wheat-y flour. I will have to give gnocchi a fourth try with that fine, white flour again and test my theory. Here is the recipe.

I made an alfredo sauce to go with the gnocchi. I have made it before, it is cashew based, super creamy, and wonderful to pour on top of pretty much anything! This is good because it makes a lot!

We also had Italian Marinated tofu from Veganomicon and green beans. The recipe for the green beans is so simple but hands-down our favorite. Blanch the green beans, then marinate in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve room temp.

Peanut Butter Banana Milkshakes

I wanted to make something delicious but slightly nutritious for the 2 year vegan anniversary dinner dessert. I initially thought to make cupcakes because they are my favorite! But, decided to go a different route when I found peanut butter at the grocery store! Peanut butter is just not a big deal to people around here. They have no idea what they are missing out on.

I followed this recipe and besides the clean up of the blender, it was a snap.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Individual Heart-Shaped Apple Galettes

After the semi-disappointment of the Pumpkin Gnochhi, I was so happy I had a fantastic dessert made! I made these really cute, individual heart-shaped, apple pie like, crusty, tart and sweet pies. The recipe made 6 so I will be eating the leftover with Peach Green Tea for breakfast/lunch/dinner, basically anytime for a few days!

The crust directions appeared a tad complicated at first but after following the recipe carefully I see that it isn't really that difficult. This blog does a nice job of explaining the process but the ingredients listed here are a little different. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of all purpose flour and no xanthan gum. The blog gives a great alternative to make the crust gluten free though. Instead of coconut oil (although I love this substitution!) I used vegan margarine.

When the dough was prepared, cut into 6 hearts, sides folded and scored, 1-2 teaspoons of apricot preserves were spread inside the heart, topped with apple slices and sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar. They baked at 425 for about 25 minutes. We ate ours with Soy Vanilla Ice Cream! So, so good!

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Garlic Cream Sauce

We had a co-worker of John's over for dinner. I love dinner parties!!! John requested I make Gnocchi again. We decided that a flavored Gnocchi would be fun so I picked pumpkin. I found this recipe that looked very easy and followed it exactly. Unfortunately, the Gnocchi came out very hard, no matter how long we boiled them. I am not sure if pumpkin Gnocchi are simply not as soft as potato Gnocchi or if I somehow messed up the recipe/ingredients. Needless to say, I won't make this particular recipe again and this was not the star attraction of the meal!

The garlic cream sauce was really good. I put a bit too much raw garlic on the Gnocchi so the cream sauce was overpowered. But by itself, it was great. I have made it before, it is extremely simple.

For sides, I made roasted Brussels Sprouts, Maple and Pomegranate Glazed Beets, and Seared Artichoke Hearts. I have previously made all of these recipes so I felt great about them turning out. John thought the Brussels were a bit too "vinegar-y" meaning I added to much balsamic vinegar. Everything else came together! I left the pomegranate seeds off the beets. The artichoke hearts were from a can, sliced in half and marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper for a few hours. They are then cooked in a non-stick pan until seared then flipped and seared on the other side.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumpkin Saag with Scallion Flatbread

I am a huge fan of anything spinach so it saddens me that most Indian restaurants put cream in their Saag (a spinach, curry based dish). This recipe came from the Veganomicon cookbook. I made it a day early to let the flavors really do their magic.

The flat bread is like a traditional paratha. It is flour, peanut and sesame oil, sugar, salt, water and scallions. It is also from Veganomicon.

On the side, Basmati rice.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vitamin Wheel

Seitan Piccata with Olives and Green Beans

It is ridiculous how delicious this meal was. I feel like I have run out of adjectives to describe really good food but if I had a great new word, I would use it for this meal!

The only thing I did that isn't described in the recipe is to dice up the capers. I was really nervous that I wouldn't like them, so I figured smaller would be better. They complimented the sauce so perfectly that I had nothing to worry about.

Here is the seitan I used. The grocery store down the street finally started to carry it!

Spinach and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

After an excellent turnout of the stuffed bell peppers last night, I decided to try stuffed mushrooms today.

I googled many recipes but didn't find one that really stood out to me so I made this one up, combining bits and pieces of things I liked from the other recipes.

Here is a list of the ingredients I used:

14 baby bello mushrooms, stems removed and diced

1 chopped leek
1 Tbsp vegan butter
3 crushed garlic cloves
2 diced Shallots
1 bunch of spinach
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup crumbled Cheshire style Sheese
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems. Dice and save for the filling.

2. Melt the butter in a pan, add leeks and cook until soft. Add garlic and shallots, diced mushroom stems and spinach, wine, salt and pepper. Cook until everything is soft and the liquid is all gone. Slightly cool.

3. Add to a food processor the Cheshire sheese, nutritional yeast, walnuts, and the mushroom mixture. Blend until only slightly chunky.

4. Stuff the mushrooms with the mixture. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. I was chatting on the phone with my mom and overcooked mine a bit! Be careful! They dry out if cooked too long

Here is the Sheese I used.

Banana Pecan Pancakes

My freezer is about the size of a long shoe box, a boot box I guess. So storing things is not easy. I have 3 bananas in there right now and they have to go! So, one is being used for Banana Pancakes today. I am following this recipe from VegWeb.com. Instead of 1/2 banana, I am adding a whole. The pancakes are topped with vegan margarine, toasted pecans and coconut, and agave syrup.

I added closer to 1 cup of milk to make the batter pourable and used rice instead of soy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chili Stuffed Bell Peppers

I got this recipe from the Vegan Planet cookbook. I purchased a red, green, yellow, and orange pepper for the recipe and it looked so pretty! Each pepper was cleaned, boiled for 5 minutes and stuffed with a combo of chili con soja (store bought), vegan cheddar cheese (smoked cheddar Sheese), and pre-cooked quinoa (the recipe calls for rice but I had a lot of rice last night). The sauce is tomato sauce (the recipe calls for tomato juice), apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and mexican chili powder. This is poured around the stuffed peppers. It is all baked at 350 for about 30 minutes. I then sprinkled chives on top.

John made a salad to go with which consisted of mixed greens, beets, avocado, balsamic and olive oil dressing.

It all came together quickly and was such a fantastic combination of flavors. I don't use this cookbook much, but want to start. The author, Robin Robertson, has a cool blog here.

Breakfast Scramble

I haven't posted a scramble in a long time and this one was very eclectic in flavor. I had leftover spring roll sauce from last night so I pressed tofu and marinated it in the sauce.

The rest of the scramble is a combo of the following sauteed in olive oil: a leek, a 1 inch piece of ginger diced, mushrooms, 2 carrots, and green beans. When this was cooked down appropriately, I added the tofu (mashed up a bit) along with the remaining marinade and a few black olives sliced in half. John picked out these olives for a recipe that I will be making in the near future. They are amazing (if you love olives) and seasoned with Herbs de Provence.

On the side, I sliced an avocado and it was a perfect addition because of its neutral flavor alongside the sweet and sour flavor of the tofu. John did not care for the olives in the scramble. Too salty, he said.

Coconut Rice and Spring Rolls

With John still not feeling 100%, a late and filling lunch of leftover pasta still in our bellies, and movies to watch, we settled on a light dinner consisting of spring rolls and a new rice recipe.

Usually I set the spring rolls up buffet style and let everyone make their own. It can get quite entertaining! But, a buffet seemed less appealing with a sick person in the house so I made them all ahead of time. To make sure they were still moist when we were ready to eat, I sat them on and covered them with wet paper towels. This is extremely important because they dry out fast.

The rolls are wrapped in rice paper (actually made with tapioca) that is soaked in warm water until completely soft. For the filling, I used random groupings of the following ingredients: baby spinach, baked tofu (marinated in spicy thai seasonings), cooked rice noodles, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, red pepper, carrot, and green beans.

I normally make this sauce but felt lazy and didn't want another pan to wash. Instead, I mixed light and dark soy sauce, a smashed garlic clove, a splash of apple cider vinegar, water, and a squirt of Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce and a squirt of agave syrup. It was fantastic, so easy, and gained permanent status in my world of spring rolls.

The rice was a new recipe I have wanted to try forever and it was delicious. I sprinkled toasted coconut on top.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cinnamon Apple Walnut Brownies

The cinnamon and chopped walnuts were sprinkled into the batter pre-bake. The apple is really apple sauce in an attempt to use less oil than most of the recipes I found called for.

The recipe is in the comments section of this allrecipes.com webpage. It is NOT the actual recipe on this page.

Oil an 8x8 pan. Combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup vegan white sugar, 6 TBS cocoa, ½ tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, ½ cup water, 2 TBS veg oil, ½ cup natural/unsweetened applesauce, and 1 tsp vanilla. I also added 1 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour the batter into the oiled pan. They took around 30 minutes to bake at 350 degrees. They were rich, gooey, fudgy, but not overly sweet.

Ginger Lemon Tea

Despite the Vitamin C, Echinacin, Zinc, Mucinex, cookies, and wife-love, John is still sick, coughing, and not feeling well. I found this recipe for a tea that consists of ginger, lemon, and agave syrup (really, it calls for honey but I substituted agave). He asked for seconds and I haven't heard as much coughing! I made a cup for myself and it was quite enjoyable and relaxing!

I boiled a full pot of water. To this, I added a 1 inch diced piece of fresh ginger, 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, 1 Tbs agave syrup and let it sit in a thermos for about 15 minutes. I let a few ginger pieces escape into the mug when pouring it from the thermos because we both love ginger!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Gnocchi with Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce and Brussels Sprouts

I needed something yum to use up the leftover Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce that I made for the tortellini/ravioli a few days ago.

John and I used to eat at a restaurant in Tampa called The Laughing Cat. They are not vegan but this was when I was not vegan either. They had the most amazing gnocchi and cream sauces but I think our meal tonight could compete!

Here is the recipe I followed. I only made a half batch and it was perfect for two people. Here are the gnocchi pre-boiled.

This was my first attempt at gnocchi and I am amazed at how easy it was! I can't wait to try it with sweet potatoes. One thing to note, do not overcook! The first batch turned out perfectly. The second, I let sit in the boiling water a bit longer than the first and it all started to break apart and get very mushy. They cook very quickly. Take them out when they start to float.

On the side, brussels sprouts. John noted this was my best batch ever and that says something because we LOVE brussels sprouts. I pour a combo of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper on top and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. They absorb the balsamic vinegar and get really crispy on the outside. Heaven!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hot Chili Soy Curl and Roasted Potato Tacos

I found this recipe in the October 2009 VegNews magazine and originally made it exactly as the recipe calls for. It is really called Chipotle Seitan and Roasted Potato Tacos but I had to make a few adjustments this time around. First, I can't find seitan in stores here and haven't found wheat gluten to make my own. Secondly, I can't find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

So, this time around, I used a spicy, green pepper and sriracha hot chilli sauce (yes, they spell chilli with 2 L's!). I also substituted lemon for lime juice and sunflower oil for peanut. I topped the tacos with diced tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, and guacamole instead of the salsa, cabbage, onion, jalapenos combo they recommend.

Instead of seitan, I used soy curls. They never achieved the crispy texture that seitan does but did a nice job of absorbing the flavor of the marinade and giving the tacos texture and made the tacos very filling.

The recipe is posted at this blog site exactly as it is in the magazine.