Thursday, May 04, 2006

Food is Good

One thing I'm really enjoying about following the weekly meals from Vegan Cooking for One is that the meals are so easy to make. Its nice to not have to worry about what's for dinner, and the meals pack in a lot of veggies. They may not be the most flavourful or original meals, but they are good and the point is that you can get your dinner ready in little time. I would really recommend this book to new vegans or vegetarians who don't know what to make and are a little apprehensive. Its a good way to break in new habits. Plus the recipes don't make more than two servings at the most, so if you don't like it, there isn't much waste. For the most part, the meals have provided me with the perfect amount of leftovers for the next day's lunch. I think I'll use this book a lot during the school year. That way I can get in a healthy meal without too much time or planning.

Yesterday's dinner (and today's lunch) was vegetable fried rice. Remember eating Chinese fried rice with the little bits of egg in it? Well this recipe mimics that with mashed tofu, without the grossness/unhealthiness of eggs. It is quite yummy. This meal can be made even faster if you've got leftover rice sitting around (which I did, I prepared twice the amount of brown rice needed for Monday's meal to use last night). Its a simple recipe, with sauteed onion, carrot, collards, peas, bean sprouts and tofu with soy sauce, pepper and topped with roasted almonds and sesame seeds. This recipe made too much for me to eat in one serving, so I saved some for lunch today. I served the dinner with brussels sprouts (one of my favourite veggies).

Today's dinner was a welcome change from the stirfries; Chickpea burgers! Mmm mmm these were good. A little mushy on the inside, but that wasn't a big deal. The burgers were made by mixing mashed chickpeas with soy yogurt, tomato paste, soy sauce, and marjoram; a spice I don't get to use very often. Oh yes, and breadcrumbs. These were made into three smallish patties and coated in flour. They were then refrigerated for half an hour. They can easily be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge as long as you need. Then they were fried in some olive oil until browned. I ate one in a whole wheat hamburger bun and one on its own. I was too stuffed to eat the third, so that's lunch tomorrow! For veggies, I had cauliflower and baby corn. I believe this was my first time making "burgers", and it was really easy with a great turnout.

I work a split shift tomorrow (at lunch and then at dinner) so I made tomorrow's dinner tonite, so I can bring it with me to work and eat between shifts. Spaghetti stir fry. The week's meals are all very similar, but the point of that is being able to use up all the groceries you buy for the week...and they all have a slight variation, so its not like you eat the same thing every day. This meal is whole wheat spaghetti mixed with sauteed tofu (I mashed the tofu instead of dicing), green onions, garlic, fresh ginger, green pepper, mushrooms, beansprouts, soy sauce and topped with diced cucumber. I tried a bite to make sure I'd like it, and it tasted awesome.

I went to the library last night and picked up some cookbooks. Vegan with a Vengeance and The Big Book of Quick and Healthy Recipes. I've heard rave reviews of VwaV and wanted to try out a few recipes before buying it to add to my lovely collection of vegan cookbooks. For all you fans out there, what one recipe would you recommend to really sell me? I was all set to make the oatmeal pb cookies and chocolate thumbprints, but decided against it, because I don't think I could stop at one cookie!
The Big Book really intrigued me. Its not a vegan book but the author gives vegan options for every recipe! So instead of lamb chops, it'll say to use seitan. Hopefully I can find some time to try a few recipes from that one too.

I'm still waiting for most of my marks back from far I've got a 95 and an 87...hurry up LU!


Megan the Vegan said...

I've never thought of soy yogurt as a binder for burgers. Good idea!

You're meals looks great. I like how the food plan uses similar ingredients throughout the week...that must make weekly shopping trips a little more managable.

I'm a huge VwaV fan. I haven't tried a recipe I didn't like (oh, except for the bean and tempeh sausage crumble, didn't care for that one). I had the biggest wow reaction to the tempeh bacon...cause I'd never tried anything remotely as good. I also love the lemon gem and fauxstess cupcakes (they work just as well with regular cocoa, I don't think you need the fancy stuff). And, the pumpkin cookies were great too (though I'd recommend dried cranberries instead of raisons...seams like a better match to me). Oh...and the corn fritters are fantastic!

Laine said...

they all look so good! this Vegan Cooking for One book sounds great, I really like those kinds of books. Very practical :)

I agree with the soy yogurt as a binder thing! totally never thought of that. I also just recently discovered how great it is (in my own weird opinion) as a frosting/icing substitute on cakes. I'm often too lazy to make frosting..

oh! mind if I ask what camera you use to take the pictures? I was interested in getting one.. but have nearly no knowledge on them at the moment :/
thanks a lot!

Melissa said...

Megan, yes the yogurt worked great, and its a great way to use up any leftover plain yogurt. It does make the trips to the grocer easier, and the book even gives the grocery list for the week. The one thing I don't like about the book is that because you are working with single portions, it'll call for, say, 3 to 4 oz of collards. I don't work well with ounces! Its fine if you have a kitchen scale (it also gives the weight in grams) but I'm much more accustomed to using measuring cups.
Thanks for your recipe recommendations!

laine, thank you :) Yogurt as icing? Well that's different! Sounds good. I got my digital camera for Christmas so I didn't pick it out...thank goodness, I hate deciding among so many products! Its an Olympus FE-100 (4.0 megapixel). Its easy to use, small, and gets the job done.

Nathalie said...

It's soooo nice to be back at your blog and seeing all the awesome food you make! I'm also getting pretty convinced I need to buy that cookbook, Vegan cooking for one. Everything looks great.

In terms of VwaV, there is a lot too choose from. One of my faves is the Seitan Portobello Stroganoff. So yum. And I second the tempeh bacon. It's great to keep in the fridge and make sammiches and what not. It's a yum cookbook.

Also, thanks for the tip! I'm totally going to check out the library for cookbooks! lol.

Catherine said...

TOMATO PASTE AND SOY YOGURT! I'll have to try that as a burger-binder. I've tried flax, egg replacer, oil, cornstarch, flour and water . . . all with little success. Thanks for the (unintended) inspiration!

Melissa said...

My my opinion, it worked pretty well...that and refrigerating it for half an hour seemed to help. The burgers didn't crumble very much.

Carrie™ said...

I've also been toying with the idea of picking up VwaV and did want to check it out, but my library doesn't seem to have it! I'd like to get your thoughts on it and see if you'd recommend buying it.

Carrie™ said...

Oh and I forgot to say - Congrats on great marks!

Melissa said...

Thanks Carrie! So far I've only made the oatmeal peanut butter cookies, which I'll post pictures of later. Oh, and a variation of the tofu scramble. I really like the sound of many of the recipes, so I think I will be buying it.