Friday, December 29, 2006
I got some great stuff! The Candle Cafe cookbook, the Ultimate Uncheese cookbook and the simple little vegan slowcooker cookbook. If any of you have these, suggest some recipes to try, please :)
I haven't cooked lately, but I did have something different for breakie this morning. Breakfast quinoa with blueberries from La Dolce Vegan. It was pretty good. I'm planning on emptying out the freezer/fridge and pantry a bit before I make anything new, so I don't know how much I'll be cooking. But I did get a really cool chip and dip crock pot thingy that I'll have to showcase soon with a yummy dip!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I made mint chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge as a host gift for my uncle, no pictures, but its yummy!
We're leaving tomorrow for Christmas in Mattawa/Deep River/Ottawa (lots of driving!) and we'll be back on the 28th....so happy holidays to everyone! Be safe and have fun.
Monday, December 18, 2006
I made a non-traditional shepherd's pie, from How It All Vegan last week. There's no ground round or corn. The filling is made of veggies and lentils, and topped with the mashed potatoes. Yummy! I topped it and the broccoli with some cheese sauce I whipped up. Just like when mom used to melt cheez whiz onto our veggies to get us to eat them ;).
When I was in grade 7 I gave up red meat, but I still liked to cook dinners for the family, and my parents sure appreciated it! I often made meals from Cooking for the Rushed by Sandi Richard (she has a show on the Food Network now). I recently rediscovered the book and borrowed it from my mom. There's a few recipes in it that could be veganized. I made one today...the Chicken teriyaki toss over spaghettini. It turned out just as good, meat free! I'll post the recipe since I changed so much about the recipe. I plan on making this with "chicken" seitan in the future, I just didn't have time to today...although it is great with just the veggies too.
"Chicken" Teriyaki Toss over Spaghettini
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. Mrs Dash Original Seasoning
1/2 tsp. (or to taste) crushed chilies
~3 "chicken" seitan steaks
1 small onion, 1 small zucchini, 1/2 each of green and red pepper
350 g whole wheat spaghettini
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp lite soya sauce
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (for more spice you can sub in a few tsp's of black bean garlic chili sauce for some of the sauce)
1/4 cup "chicken" style stock, 1 cup "chicken" stock
2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 tsp basil leaves
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Heat oil in large nonstick pan/wok over med-high. Cut seitan into bite sized pieces, add to pan as you chop. Season and stir til warm. Chop onion, zucchini and peppers in that order into bite sized pieces and add to pan as you chop. Wash and slice mushrooms, adding to pan as you go, tossing occasionally.
Place pasta in boiling water, stir and cook uncovered for 8 minutes. Add cornstarch to small bowl and stir in soya sauce until smooth. Mix in teriyaki sauce and 1/4 cup of the broth. Add to veggies, stir and simmer on low.
Rinse pasta with hot water in colander and let drain. In empty pasta pot on med-low mix remaining broth, curry, syrup and basil. Stir together, add pasta and toss to coat. Remove from heat. Serve veggie mixture over pasta.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I also started some holiday baking. Pumpkin cranberry cookies from La Dolce Vegan, and also from LDV, mint chocolate fudge.
The pumpkin cookies gave me a hard time. I forgot to preheat the oven, and I had poured some of the liquid into the batter, so I'm not sure if that would affect it, but these did not cook in the given time, or anytime soon after that! So the bottoms were overly cooked and the insides slightly undercooked. But they still taste good, with pumpkin pie spices, pecans and cranberries. I'm a fan of cranberries in baked goods, they get nice and chewy.
The fudge is out of this world good. I'm scared to make it again, I'll eat it all. I needed to use a candy thermometre, since I don't know anything about "softball stage" and all that...but it was relatively easy. LDV has other variations on fudge that I'm going to have to try in the coming weeks.
Friday, December 08, 2006
We got a chance to check out the new Superstore, which is still in progress, but there's lots of great new stuff. There's a whole side of a display fridge for veg stuff. I got chicken ground round! Now I just have to figure out something cool to do with it. They've also majorly expanded their organic section of produce....yay, I'm so excited! No vegan cheese though, they just started stocking another casein soy cheese :(
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I had to roast chestnuts to make the golden chestnut soup from Vegan Lunchbox last night. I cut the x slits into them, but two of them still exploded all over my oven! Boo. Note to self: next time make huge slits! The soup was okay, it had a similar texture to a potato soup. The white pepper gives it a really distinct flavour that I think I'm going to have to learn to like. I added some more salt and ate it with some whole wheat crackers, and it made a satisfying lunch.
I packed the soup along with some gingerbread vegans and icing, a mandarin orange, and Best brussel sprouts, a recipe also from Lunchbox; to make the Christmas Menu from the book. The sprouts are really good, even at room temperature. Now I've got a few ways to prepare those guys...which I can't get Billy to eat, for the life of me. I also can't get him to eat oranges, so I've been eating mandarins from the box like crazy! Not that its hard.
I also made the tomato basil bread soup from La Dolce Vegan. Not my favourite from the book but its tasty enough, with plenty of tomato and fresh basil and topped with some parm.
And finally, I have to share my dinner from last night, even though its nothing new. Bowties and cheese with some of the Best brussel sprouts. The cheese sauce turned out better than ever before...so creamy and cheesy! I do admit I was a cheese person when I wasn't vegan, but I like that fact because when people say to me "Ohhhhh, I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much!" I have something to feed them that'll shut them up (in a nice way, of course)!
I'm so excited. My parents gave me a Christmas present early because its heavy....a pantry/cupboard! I got the birch one. My kitchen is so organized now! And everything's not crammed into one shelf. Billy tried to surprise me by starting the assembly while I was at school...didn't work out so well, but I improvised. A fight and a half later, and much insistance that I don't care that he's not a handyman...and its all good! ;)
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The other day I made the 5-minute roasted red pepper pesto from La Dolce Vegan. I had pre-cooked some soba noodles the day before, so it literally took me 5 minutes to make dinner! Toss some jarred roasted red peppers (or roast them yourself), walnuts, parsley, basil and garlic into a blender and whiz in some oil, and you've got dinner. I was even able to make it in my mini-blender so I didn't have to clean up the food processor.
It was good, the only change I'll make next time is to toss it with more pasta, I'd prefer it as a light covering, not a thick sauce.
I brought the rest of my nanaimo bars to work because I was eating way too many of them. They didn't last long. All the servers loved them, and aside from those of them who know I'm vegan, no one was the wiser. The only comments I got were : "Homemade? How Martha of you!" ;) I've only got three days left where I can use my lunchbox before next semester, so I'll be making some yummy food to pack later.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I made ginger butternut squash soup from La Dolce Vegan. I love squash soups. I don't really like roasted squash, so its a great way to sneak some into my diet. I was a bit shy of 2 cups though, so I tossed in some leftover kale that needed to be used up. This will be lunch for tomorrow.
Billy and I put up our mini-tree today, and since its our first Christmas living together (alone at least), I figured we'd start a tradition. I made Gingerbread Vegans from Vegan Lunchbox and some coloured soynog-flavoured icing to decorate the cookies with. Holy cow, this recipe makes a gazillion cookies, it took me all night! But they were worth it and I'll freeze some for later too. Can you tell who decorated the nice looking one?? Yep, it was me ;) Its cute that Billy's cookie looks like it was done by a child, heehee. I also made mini ones to fit in my lunch tomorrow.
Dinner for the last two nights was La Dolce Vegan's spicy tomato peanut and kale pasta. Sounds weird, yes, but it really is good. I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and it still turned out great. I served the sauce with kamut udon noodles....yummers.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The breadsticks are yummy and addictive. The tomato sauce will be a great all-purpose sauce for dipping and pastas. Its got kale, onions and carrot, but shhhh....don't tell Billy. It all blended together secretively, hehehehe.
Saturday night was leftover chili, again. I froze the rest of the chili, I can't go on. As great as it is, you can't eat it two weeks straight. It will save me in the future though. But, on Friday, I made...umm....chili-joes? I put the chili on a whole wheat kaiser roll to sop up all the yummy sauce. And of course, a side of veggies. Very filling.
Dessert was Mom's Chocolate Pudding from La Dolce Vegan. But its really Wolffie's chocolate pudding...and its exquisite. It really hit the spot without being too heavy or filling.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I made the portabello mushroom bake from Garden of Vegan fame last night for dinner. Considering how delicious it is, it really is simple to make. Blend up the sauce, pour on the mushrooms and onions and bake, 25 minutes later, you've got yourself dinner. I ate mine over some brown rice. I have avoided making brown rice lately, because without my steamer, I just can't seem to get the perfect rice anymore, its always wet and mushy. I followed some tips from Berna at the GoVegan forum, and the rice was perfect for once. Thanks Berna! I surrender Joaquin to you for your ability to make great rice!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Not every night will be blog worthy, or award winning, etc. Sometimes you just need to feed yourself (and your family). I had tests, assignments, quizzes galore this week. I'm finally getting better at planning meals that aren't from recipes, and still eating healthy, delicious food. Tonite I made up some soba noodles while I was studying, sauteed some frozen mixed mushrooms and some leftover frozen tofu balls, stirred in a pasta sauce and topped it with some parm. Voila! Dinner for a busy student who really needs to be studying and not spending the night in the kitchen.
I hate not cooking, because I love blogging...so I used this as an excuse to post :)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
The book actually gives you meal plans (lunch menus) and not just recipes, so that you get an idea of what kind of sides, like snacks, fruits and veggies, you can bring. Brownie points for Billy! I didn't think I would be getting this anytime soon. I sent the link to Billy, and he said he passed it on to his parents, but I didn't want anyone to have to order something online for me. Turns out he ordered it as soon as he got the link! Freakin' sweetie.
The homework club where I do my placement for school was great last night. Unfortunately, my regular student has just moved foster homes and didn't come, but I got paired with a girl in Grade 2. It was fun working with her, and we painted animal masks. Mine was a tiger, but I don't know if it was very obvious, haha.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I won't be cooking much this week, I've got tons of leftover chili and I'll just be using the tofu meatballs I froze in the summer with some pasta sauce over spaghetti. But since I love posting, I took a picture of my lunch today:
Veggie chili with some whole wheat crackers, half a red pepper with Goddess dressing, a kiwi, and a piece of cake for dessert. Someone stop me from eating another piece!!
I'm going to the doctor's today...we suspect I may have a thyroid problem, among other things.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Anyways, onto the good stuff! We had quite the gathering at my mom and dad's place last night. Billy's family came from Ottawa, my family was there and my aunt and uncle and their kids came. So a full house...and there was still way too much food there! I don't think any of the girls watched the game, we were having so much fun! I'm blessed that Billy's family gets along so well with mine and we can have these get-togethers.
I didn't contribute too much food wise, since Shirl brought a huge, and I mean huge pot of chili for me...which was delicious, with red and white kidney beans, green peppers, tomatos, ground round, and all that good chili stuff... Mmmm it hit the spot, and I have leftovers for a month.
I made bruschetta, which went over really well, it didn't last long, even without any cheese! Speaking of, I finally got some Vegan faux parm from the Health store...I'm excited!
And for dessert, I made the Chocolate Covered Gold Cake from Sinfully Vegan. As I was mixing the batter I realised the recipe seemed really familiar. It was the exact same cake used for the boston cream pie I made for reading week! But this one turned out a lot better. The cake comes out very dense, not light and fluffy, but it still tastes good. And the recipe made so much icing...I didn't realise how thick it was on the cake til we cut into it, and my mom kept going on about how it was an inch thick, haha. It was very yummy though, my favourite part being the icing, since its just a vanilla cake. Now I've got over half a large cake to eat....my diet will have to start after Christmas I suppose.
I also made an onion chip dip from La Dolce Vegan. Yummers! I added a tad more sour cream, but this is a really good dip, with onion and garlic...so no fresh breath, but great snacks. I almost forgot about it amongst all the food, but managed to have some while we watched the Simpsons and Family Guy.
The pictures aren't the greatest...its hard to take good ones when you're trying to be discrete!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I am trying to use up the pasta I have before buying anymore so I decided to make an easy stuffed cannelloni for dinner. I used the basil tofu ricotta from VwaV. I accidentally used less tofu than required (don't ask how) but it still tasted great. I used it as the stuffing, used a jar of mushroom tomato sauce to cover the shells and topped it all with some easy Faux Parm from How It All Vegan and baked for an hour. So good and comforting! I didn't want anything too fancy, and this was just perfect. Oh and I also served it with my new favourite side: lightly fried and breaded zucchini. This meal was inspired by a post at Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen.
Now, on to the disasters (yes I post the good with the bad!) First I made the butternut chive soup from HIAV. Unknown to me, there was a typo in the recipe. It was quite obvious but I let my need to follow recipes ruin it...so needless to say there was way too much pepper in this soup...to the point of burning my throat and giving me heartburn (which I haven't had since I gave up red meat 9 years ago). It was totally inedible. The rest of the ingredients in the soup were fine though and I hate wasting food...so I made a second batch of the soup and mixed them together. For the second batch I used basmati rice instead of white beans since I didn't have any left, and green onions instead of chives for the same reason. It tastes much better now...still very pepper-y, but I can eat it at least, and its quite yummy.
I had fennel left from the hummus quinoa casserole so I made the moroccan chickpea patties from Vive that I've seen in a few other blogs. These didn't firm up at all when I fried them. So they pretty much got fried on the outside and were mushy in the middle. I still ate them though...they taste great! This is probably my fault...I should've made smaller patties and used a skillet, not our griddle thing-y.
Billy's parents are coming on Sunday to watch the Grey Cup at my parents' house. Shirl's bringing me some chili, as per their tradition, but I have to think up some good appies and dessert to serve...
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It was my four year anniversary with Billy this Sunday. Yours truly forgot to book it off...I was so sure I already had. After 10 minutes of blubbering in Billy's arms, he forgave me (I think getting his present early helped), we had a new plan instead of celebrating at night. We decided to have a decadent breakfast together. I had an appointment at 1 for the spa (my present), so our time was limited. I started to make waffles the night before, but my waffle iron is a moffo and they did not turn out (at least I'm pretty sure it's the iron since I've made the waffles before and they're great). So that morning Billy made pancakes. I made the fruit sauce and ice cream. I knew that it's traditionally waffles that get topped with that stuff in restaurants, but we worked with what we were given. All in all it turned out great. It wasn't the prettiest thing, but it tasted good. I made the vanilla banana ice cream from How It All Vegan. So good! It turned out kind of gray because I used frozen bananas but the flavour is awesome.
Other than that and the spa, the day was pretty sucky for a while. I had to work and none of the girls would let me leave ahead of them (even though they ended up staying til the end of the night to eat anyways) and I got sat two tables half an hour apart, guaranteeing that I would have to be there past close. I am so ready to quit the restaurant biz.
I also made the hummus quinoa casserole from Vive le Vegan last week. Yummers. It was really simple. I made the hummus ahead of time, the quinoa only took 15 minutes, and the rest is just roasting veggies for a bit and then assembling and cooking together. I really enjoyed the veggies in this one. I was apprehensive about the fennel, but roasting it really does mellow it out. I can see myself roasting these veggies just to eat as a side dish. Mmm mmm. I'm sad there's none left! It was probably the best way I've eaten quinoa.
I stayed home sick today..shhh...don't tell Billy I posted...so I don't know how much I'll cook, even though I want to.
I'm going to watch the movie Billy rented me for my sick day...what a sweetie!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Despite the tofu and vegetables, its not the healthiest meal though, so it'll be more of an occasional meal. The tofu is fried and there's lots of sugar in the sauce, but who cares when its that good ;)
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Also from Vive, Crispi squares. These are really unique. They didn't hold up as much as I would've liked, and they're not super crunchy, but they are delicious. Its soft when you bite through, but the rice crispies still have a bit of crunch to them. Other goodies in these squares: chocolate chips, hemp seed nuts, cranberries....and Billy liked them too!
My work shoes (that have some leather) have worn out after two years. I didn't buy any new ones til I absolutely had to. I finally found some vegan ones today, I'm really excited. Payless doesn't always have the greatest selection for us big-footed gals, so I had to buy men's work shoes, but they look the same pretty much. Woot! Now I just have to hurry up and finish school so I can stop working at the place that bruises my soul.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Today, Billy begged me to make the carrot ginger muffins from The Garden of Vegan. This is a miracle and made me very happy for two reasons: 1) He never knows what he wants, and I have to drag it out of him when I'm packing lunch, 2) He requested vegan food!! These muffins are a favourite of his (sans pecans though). They look a bit different than usual. I usually make 6 jumbo muffins, but decided to make 12 smaller ones, so they'd fit in our lunches. So the tops cooked a lot more. They're still yummy though, especially when they're warm and slathered with a bit of margarine.
Tonite I made spring rolls from Vive le Vegan. These are baked, but they still get crispy without the oil and frying. Mine didn't get too golden on the top, but they're still super crispy. I made a ginger dipping sauce (also from Vive). The rolls are pretty good, they lack *something*, I'm not sure, but its missing some flavour. I like them though, and the dipping sauce adds a lot of flavour. These would be fun for lunches too. The filling contains carrots, celery, ginger, garlic, shitake mushrooms, rice noodles and some seasonings. This was my first time working with spring roll pastry, and I was very pleased. Much better than the above phyllo incident. I look forward to trying the pastry with other ingredients too.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
For dinner tonite, I made tacos. Ground round with taco seasoning, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and diced tomatoes. Yummers. I made a simple guacamole from vegweb . The only change I would make is that you don't need half a lemon's juice for one avocado...Mmmm, it was so creamy and went perfectly in the tacos. I probably didn't need the guac and the sour cream, but meh.
We're doing tacos tonite, which I think Billy and I will be preparing together, so I'll post about that later on. I had some time this afternoon so I decided to make another soup to bring for lunch tomorrow. I picked up some leeks on the way home and I was good to go. I was originally going to make the simple leek and potato soup from La Dolce Vegan, which just has leeks and potatoes, but I wanted to use up some of the carrots and celery in my crisper, so I went with the Leek and Potato Soup with Cilantro from the same book (and page). This one has leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and a few other secret ingredients that really make it a perfect winter weather soup. I am not a fan of cilantro, so I didn't bother buying any fresh stuff, but I did use up the few tablespoons of frozen cilantro I had. And it didn't ruin the flavour at all for me. This is a nice, thick soup with subtle flavour. It'll make a great lunch with a few crackers tomorrow.
I start tutoring two foster children today as part of my practicum placement for my B.Ed. I was given the option of tutoring children in a school, but I decided this would be a great challenge for me, since it'll give me a lot of experience with kids with behavioural issues. Wish me luck, I'm scared.