Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Here's today's lunch: Quick and Easy Chili from Vive le Vegan, with a cornbread muffin from How It All Vegan, carrot sticks with some Goddess dressing for dipping, a banana oat bundle (Vive) and some mango applesauce. So far I've only eaten the chili and cornbread, since Billy had to run for a midterm, but I'll enjoy the rest of it later. I love how the thermos actually keeps my food steaming!

On that note, the chili is leftover from last night. Mondays are movie night for Billy and me and a few people from work, and I had a lab until 7, so I needed something I could whip up quickly in between. The chili was perfect! So easy and so yummy. This is really a snap to make if you have a well stocked pantry. I had recently bought chili sauce and red onion, and I always have some ground round frozen, and of course, lots of beans, so all I needed to get was a green pepper, which I had bought a few days ago. Billy really liked the chili, which is great because he's a chili lover. When I told him I was making chili he asked "Does it have an insane amount of beans? Ground round? Alright, looks good" Haha. Nice to know I can make one that meets the standards his mom set ;)
I've never had cornbread before, but it seemed perfect for chili so I made them while the chili was cooking. I really liked the texture with the meal. Billy didn't really like them, but he at least tried it. I ended up just crumbling the whole thing into the bowl with my chili. I love that the muffins have real corn in them too.
I already mentioned that I made a vegetable chowder from La Dolce Vegan on Sunday. Its so simple, and to me, its the perfect lunch soup. Stock, veggies (carrots, celery, potatoes), ginger for some kick, and a few other things and voila, soup in 20 minutes. Mmmm this one's pretty spicy, but there's nothing better on a cold fall day.

Note: My flickr is full for the month, so I'll have to post the picture of the soup tomorrow
(Blogger rarely lets me upload pictures anymore)

I also made the mock beef and rice noodle toss on the weekend (from LDV). This one's easy, especially if you already have the seitan made. If not, seitan is really easy to make. It takes an hour to simmer, but you can do other stuff while its doing that. I made a double batch so I could freeze some. The seitan was marinated in teriyaki and stirfried with some veggies and served with rice noodles. I liked it, it was the perfect meal to power up for a long night of work.
And lastly, maple flax squares from LDV. I was so excited when I put these in the oven, because the filling had such a gorgeous maple flavour from the maple extract....but I couldn't really taste it in the finished product. They were still good though, they didn't last long, and they inspired me to try some new maple desserts. The filling has walnuts in it too, yum.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Out of the (vegan) closet!

Well, as usual, I slacked off on my week off. I already posted most of the stuff I made, but there are a few more things that I'll post later when I get home from school. I just slept a lot, haha. I got to see a few movies, including Marie Antoinette, and I got to catch up a bit with my mom, sister, aunt and cousin (we had a girl's night out). They wanted to eat at Boston Pizza. I actually really enjoyed my meal. I ordered the taco salad without beef or shrimp, no olives, no cheese, no sour cream, extra salsa and a side of guacamole. I have never had guac before...yum!!! It was so good in the salad. And since the salad consisted only of lettuce, salsa and diced tomatoes, it really improved the experience. Oh yes, and tortilla chips were in it too. I will be getting it again, and I definitely have to make some home-made guacamole soon!!

I also got to have a sleepover (so high school) with some girls from work. It was so fun, we got a little bit tipsy and gossiped all night, tee hee. Oh yes, and I told them I was a vegan, and they thought it was great. I hadn't told anyone from work that I was, I thought it would create a lot of problems. But I think I will let some choice people know...

Does someone want to buy me this for Christmas?? I literally have 5 dollars in my bank account right now ;)

I forgot to take a picture of today's lunch :( I had the vegetable chowder from LDV (which I will share with you later), an orange, a trailmix made with oat clusters, chocolate chips, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, mango juice and tortilla chips with a refried bean-salsa dip with a touch of Spectrum mayo to make it creamy. Mmmm it was so filling.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Reading Week!

Woot! I have this week off from school so I've been cooking a lot, slacking a lot, rekindling my love affair with the food network...I went to a movie last night, the Prestige...see it! It is so good! Anyways lets get straight to the food, since there is a lot of it.

First, I never got around to posting a picture of my laptop lunchbox...
In the thermos is La Dolce Vegan's macaroni and cheese with some soy hot dogs mixed in. Mmmm, and it was still hot at lunch time! I also had a regular salad with Annie's Goddess Dressing on the side, some grapes and a quick trailmix made from almonds, pumpkin seeds and Jordan's Morning Crisp oat clusters with dark chocolate chips. To drink, I got some Natura soymilk drink boxes from the grocery store. These are good! I enjoy the Natura brand. Campus also sells soymilk in the cafeteria now, but I don't like the So Good brand.

Also, from LDV, I made the green bean zasmashka (whatever that means) as a side for dinner. Its a really simple recipe of steamed green beans and a bread crumb mixture browned in margarine. Nothing too special, but it does go nicely with the beans.
I also made the creamy tropical fruit salad (LDV). Yum yum yum! I'll be making this again, with or without the sauce. The base combination of fruit is perfect for any fruit salad. The creamy sauce is really good too, with pineapple juice and mayonnaise. It gets better as it chills too. The salad has apples, grapes, kiwis, strawberries, bananas, mandarin orange and pecans.
Yesterday I made the mushroom sausage pizza, also from LDV. It required some prep work, but it was worth it. The sausage was seitan from LDV, cooked in a sausage flavoured broth. It was eerie how much my kitchen smelled like meat...I didn't know what to think! And it tasted meaty too, like sausage or pepperoni! I made a semi-whole wheat pizza crust, and the toppings were the sausage, red onion, shiitake mushrooms and shredded soy cheese. It was delicious...and so filling, I only had two slices ;)
sausage pizza
Dessert was boston cream pie from Sinfully Vegan. A rare "almost miss" from this book. This was the most frustrating dessert I've ever made, but I managed to make it edible (no way was I wasting all that food!) First off, the recipe called for a ten inch springform pan, but I only had a 9 inch, and didn't want to buy a new one just for one recipe...so the recipe said that a 9 inch pie tin worked just as well. Yeah...right. There was soooo much batter, it would have all spilled out of the tin...so I used a cake pan. The cake rose so much, it split on the top. And the bottom wouldn't cook, despite the fact that the rest of the cake was already cooked. So by the time it was cooked, I had a crisp outer shell around the entire thing. I had to shave off the bottom of the cake...blah, I don't want to talk about it anymore. Despite the cake mishap, the tofu vanilla "pudding" filling is yummy and so is the chocolate glaze. All in all, its a good dessert, and I will be trying it again...with a springform pan. The author also has many variations on the traditional pie, so I'll probably try those instead.
I also made a few appetizers from La Dolce Vegan. Nana's pesto pin-wheel rolls and shook n' cook zucchini. The rolls turned out alright. I can't get vegan puff pastry here so I used frozen crescent roll dough, like the recipe said. But the dough kept coming apart, so I ended up mushing it all together and rolling it out. I didn't use enough pesto, that's my one complaint. I'll be making these again for sure, they make good snacks.
The zucchini was fabulous! I'll be experimenting to see if I can bake them, because the shook'n'cook breading (with cornflakes) tends to fall off the zucchini when you fry it. But it was soooo good. I ate a whole zucchini like this in one sitting. You can also use the breading for pickles, tofu, seitan, etc. The zucchini was dipped in Caesar dressing and then dipped in the breading. I also ate it with some extra Caesar dressing to dip in.
fried zucchini

Ok, last one I promise (for now). The freedom french toast from LDV. The dip for this recipe is made from silken tofu, maple syrup, cinnamon, etc...The recipe was enough for four slices. I ate two for breakfast, and wow was it yummy. I topped it with some icing sugar and maple syrup, of course. I went to have the last two as a late night snack after work that day, but Billy stole them from me...he loves them! I'll definitely be adding this to my breakfast repertoire. He doesn't need to know there's tofu in it.
Alright, Billy wants to go shopping...sigh... hahaha

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's here!

My laptop lunchbox arrived yesterday, and I ate my first lunch with it today at school. Up until I got it, I was using larger tupperware pieces that filled up the lunch kit pretty quickly, like this one:
Before I hear any comments about how gigantic that cookie is...I split it with Billy!
I'll post some pictures of a few lunches at some point.

I had almost a full can of black beans that needed to be used up, and I thought they would go bad before I figured out how to use them, because I was too lazy to do anything too big. But then I remembered the breakfast black beans on toast from La Dolce Vegan and prepared myself a healthful breakfast in about 15 minutes. I threw some cheese on top since I have to use that up too!

I also threw together a quick soup from How It All Vegan two nights ago, and its been dinner for the last two nights. The rustic tomato lentil soup reminds me of soups that my dad used to make (and still does) and with it comes a lot of comfort. Its very simple and delicious. I had cans of diced tomatoes and lentils in the pantry already, and the veggies on hand, so it was a really quick recipe to use. It also has noodles in it, for some slurping fun ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Frolicking in the Fountain (of chocolate!)

Our trip to Ottawa this weekend was fantastic. The Sens lost 1-0 to the Flames, so Billy was happy and gloating. But I still enjoyed the game. Our cat Logan, and their dog Blue DID NOT get along...hint: Never try and break up a cat/dog fight! I have a huge gash on my middle finger, several scratch marks on my arms and a claw mark on my foot...I almost needed a blood transfusion this weekend. Blue was not vicious, he was just used to acting a certain way with their cat, and Logan was not having it. This picture is of Blue escaping the wrath of the cat...who freaked out if he got too close... I love how possessed the cat looks!
cat and dog
As always, Billy's parents were amazingly adaptable and had great food for me...soymilk, veggie dogs, sausage links, and pepperoni for pizza. Shirl and Steve made me a yummy veggie pizza with the pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, pineapple and tomato. Mmmm mmmm, who needs cheese?
veggie pizza
For our "thanksgiving" feast, I brought a tofurkey, with the apple dumplings and giblet gravy. Add in some corn and peas, and you've got a complete meal. Steve actually cooked the roast for me on the BBQ...it turned out great. No pictures of the roast.
Aside from all the pies everyone ate, and my fudge pecan pie, Shirl also set up a chocolate fondue fountain! It was glorious in all its magnificent beauty...that's right, I love chocolate that much. We had all kinds of fruit to dip in it, and the boys dipped in marshmallows too. Shirl made sure to get vegan chocolate to use.
fondue fountain
So, that was our trip...I love visiting Billy's family, its like an extension of my own family. Hopefully we don't have to wait until Christmas to do it again.

This week will be a stressful one, so I don't know how much I'll be cooking. I may have to subsist on canned beans and such!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gone for a few days

We're off to Ottawa tomorrow to do Thanksgiving (again) with Billy's family. But its really just an excuse for Billy to see the Calgary Flames play the Sens. This should be interesting, our favourite teams are playing each other!

I thought I'd leave you with one last post before I go. For the trip I made the "Anything Goes" fruit muffins from How It All Vegan. I chose apple and pear as the fruit. The pear smelled beautiful when I was making them. Unfortunately, the combo made for a pretty bland muffin. They're still ok, just not great. I don't have a picture of them. I've made this recipe before with raspberries and blueberries, now that was good!

Billy's mom will be making my Tofurkey feast alongside her own turkey, so I don't need to worry about dinner...but I did want a yummy dessert to have while everyone else enjoys their pumpkin pie. I already made pumpkin cheesecake last weekend, so I didn't want anymore pumpkin. I decided on Wolffie's fudge pecan pie from La Dolce Vegan. I really thought this recipe didn't turn out. First of all, after I took the pie out of the oven (after an hour), the top part of the crust was burnt! Then the recipe said to cook until a toothpick came out clean. So I thought I had overcooked the crust and undercooked the filling. But Wolffie let me know that the filling sets as it sits, so I decided to try the pie before chucking it all. I just picked off the top crust...and it is yummy-licious! I just trimmed off the crust all around, and it is good to go!
This is the pie, burnt crust and all:
trip 001
trip 007

Honestly, if you have LDV, don't let my crummy pictures and bad experience ruin it for you...make this pie! Its creamy and chocolatey, what else could you ask for?

I have a quiz tomorrow, so I needed some yummy study food. I made a quick and easy whole wheat quesadilla with Earth Island cheddar, black beans, and salsa. Mmm, it hit the spot!
trip 004

Well I'm off, I need to pack. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pretty please??

Could someone who has VwaV let me know the recipe for the chickpea gravy? I need to use up some chickpeas with my Thanksgiving leftovers!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Dolce Vegan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner was awesome! Great food, even better people. We ate at my aunt's house and it was a pretty full house. My family of 5, plus my boyfriend, plus their family of 4. I was sad that my grandparents didn't come into town this year. Now I probably won't see them until Christmas :(

Anyways, I brought lots of food and when I got there, I found that my aunt had made roasted root vegetables for me in what she called "an experimental recipe". She sounded worse than me saying I didn't have to eat it if I didn't like it (I say that all the time). It was acorn squash, rutabaga/turnip, parsnip, carrots, roasted in oil and topped with oj. It was pretty good.

Everything I made turned out to be from La Dolce Vegan (by accident). But what a good accident. I made the tofu roast, which is like a homemade tofurky, the kalamata mashed potatoes sans olives, and the merciful miso gravy. It was so good, the best Thanksgiving dinner I've had in a long time. The roast turned out perfectly.

The roast was a great source of stress for me this weekend. First I discovered I hadn't bought enough tofu...I needed two pounds and I had 50 g less than that. So when it came to making the tofu shell, which was supposed to be an inch thick all around, it was much less than that. So I had to use less of the stuffing that the recipe made. But, given my tendency for disaster, it actually went really well. It has to sit in the fridge overnight, so if you make this one, make sure you have time. Then yesterday all I had to do was whip up the basting sauce, transfer the roast to a pan, baste the roast for an hour and a half, and serve! It was all in all, pretty easy.

The tofu shell is well-drained tofu mixed with tamari and sage. The stuffing is veggies, raisins, seasonings, bread and walnuts, and is very yummy.
Here's a picture of it with some of the basting sauce on it, before the oven (you can see the marks from the cheesecloth that the shell was formed in):

And a picture when it was done:

thanksgiving 001

It had a crispy, crunchy outside, and a soft chewy centre, and the stuffing goes perfectly with it. Of course, I smothered it with gravy.

Dessert, the pumpkin tofu cheesecake, was the best tofu cheesecake I've ever had! I've made a few before that tasted way too much like tofu. This one had a chance to be refrigerated for a day and a half before, so the flavours had settled. Mmmm, it was perfect. Everyone else was feasting on apple pie, pumpkin pie and New York style cheesecake. I would've felt so deprived if I hadn't made this. And it was the nicest looking dessert there, since everything else was storebought ;) It had just enough pumpkin and wasn't too sweet. Another Wolffie winner.
Pumpkin tofu cheesecake
Pumpkin tofu cheesecake

Also, I had said I would be using up some pumpkin. Two pumpkin smoothies helped with that, and I used the pumpkin chip muffin recipe from the veganlunchbox blog to use up the rest. The only changes I made were to nix the nuts and add more chips (I used chocolate not carob). These are a delight! Like she says, a great way to get some orange veggies in you. I'll be making these again, for sure. They make a great snack for lunches.
Pumpkin Chip Muffins
Pumpkin Chip Muffins

You may have noticed a change with my pictures. The first one was uploaded through blogger, the rest through Flickr. Blogger wasn't going to let me post more than one picture, and I'm fed up. I can't get the same size picture as blogger, but I don't want them too huge. I may be experimenting for the next few posts, bare with me!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rant about "neighbours"

I live in an apartment building, mostly with seniors. Anyways, this morning, Billy and I were lounging in bed talking. The cat was on the windowill, which is like a shelf and is hidden by our blinds. We hear Logan start meowing really weirdly, like he's freaked out. So I got up and peaked through a slat in the blind and a woman had her dog pressed up to the window in the cat's face and it was barking at him!

First of all, get away from my window. Second of all, you enjoy scaring kittens? (I was going to say something really mean here, but I'll keep my mouth shut on that). Logan got over it pretty quick when we took him away and distracted him with a toy. Billy looked out again and the woman was walking away kind of looking back at us. I hope I meet her outside someday, I'll have a few choice words. We've never seen her before, its a big building.

Our apartment is ground floor, with the window right by the exit door used by most people on nearby floors. I've actually been walking into the building when people cross the lawn and peek into the window (If Billy leaves the blinds up while he's home). Hello!?!? How would you like it if I came snooping around your place??

Anyways, I hope this never happens again, because the cat really likes sitting at the window and looking outside. He shouldn't have to put up with that in his "safe place". If it does happen again, you can bet your butt I'm going to the landlord.

Thanks for letting me rant!

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I made the pumpkin tofu cheesecake from La Dolce Vegan yesterday so that I wouldn't be too swamped in the kitchen today. I'll post that later. It only needed 1 cup of pumpkin, and I was left with well over half a large can of pureed pumpkin. So begins the journey of using up leftovers. I'm not a huge fan of using pumpkin in entrees, so it'll mostly be sweets.

For breakfast today I made a pumpkin smoothie. It's a variation on a recipe I found at FamilyFun.com ( I just googled pumpkin smoothie). I made it exactly the way the recipe said to, except with soymilk, but it wasn't good enough for me yet. So I added more milk because there was way too much pumpkin, and added some maple syrup...because what's pumpkin without maple syrup? It turned out pretty good. Here's my version of the recipe if you find yourself needing to use up some pumpkin this weekend:

Pumpkin smoothie
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup soymilk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (you can use the already ground up stuff too)
2 tsp. demarara sugar
4 ice cubes
1 tsp. maple syrup (or to taste)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Makes 1 large serving.

Pumpkin's good for you too! Its loaded with beta carotene (obviously) and according to some, can help curb the appetite and provides lots of fiber. But to me it's just plain yummy ;)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Leggo my...Vans Wheat-Free Waffles?

I haven't cooked anything new. I'm trying to eat up my leftover noodle salad and bean soup before Thanksgiving on Sunday. But I had time to have a quick breakfast this morning, and I thought I'd share. No creativity on my part...all convenience food!

I fried up some of Yves bacon strips and served them with ketchup. These would be awesome in a bacon toasted sandwich or a BLT but I also wanted to clear up some room in my freezer, so I used up the last of my Vans wheat free blueberry frozen waffles. When I first had these waffles, I wasn't overly impressed. They were grainy and a weird texture. I think because its wheat free. But, I toasted them a bit longer than usual today, and they actually tasted pretty good! I think I'll check out some different brands, but I might buy them again. They're great in a pinch and a lot better for you than Eggos. Of course, I drizzled them with pure maple syrup...mmm those pools of maple syrup in the grooves are making me drool all over again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Beans and noodles

This will probably be the last of the cooking I do until Saturday, when I will prepare my Thanksgiving feast for Sunday! I'm going all out, so that I don't have to eat a roasted plain squash again this year. I'm also doing Thanksgiving again next weekend in Ottawa with Billy's family. I bought a Tofurky for that one!

Last night I whipped up the chipotle black bean soup from Vive le Vegan. I even sent Billy out to the store to get me a lime because I accidentally forgot it ;). Its not my favourite of the black bean soups that I've made, but it is very yummy. It reminds me more of chili, especially the next day, because it thickened up. Plenty of healthy goodness in this soup: onions, carrots, celery, sundried tomatoes, lots of spices (cumin, coriander, etc), chipotle hot sauce, black beans, and corn. Dreena Burton is right in saying that this soup must be served with a wedge of lime...it adds a little something extra to the great flavour. Black beans were made for soup, I think. I served it with a dollop of tofutti sour cream that I wanted to use up.

I also made the spicy nut noodle salad from La Dolce Vegan, which I brought to school for lunch today. This one was easy to make, the only thing I had to cook were the rice noodles. The noodles were cooled and tossed with a peanut butter sauce (with tamari, cayenne, rice vinegar, sesame oil and fresh ginger) and raw yellow pepper and napa cabbage. Then it was topped with roasted peanuts. I really like pastas that use a peanut butter sauce. This one was alright, but there was something missing, I'm not sure what though. But nevertheless it was really good, and filling and I love that it has plenty of raw veggies in it. Its better than many other chilled pasta salads I've made in the past.

I'm really enjoying packing a lunch for Billy and myself this year. We're such nerds when we walk into the cafeteria with our big lunch kit, haha, but we'll save a ton of money if we plan ahead most of the time. Most of you know the veganlunchbox blog, and I was browsing it and a few other blogs that have the same laptop lunchbox and I decided to check out their site. I ended up buying a laptox lunchbox and a few accessories...as a matter of fact I got a package. It was quite pricey, but I think it'll be worth it. Plus I haven't splurged on myself for a while. So I'll have a cute bag to carry my lunchkit and thermos in...and I'll waste a lot less on ziploc bags, saran wrap, etc. I can't wait til it gets here! :D
Blogger won't let me upload anymore pictures but you can click here to see the stuff I got.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cannellini bean yam hummus

Cat in a Box

I promised myself I wouldn't post a gazillion pictures of Logan, but this was too cute. He found his way into an empty A&W pop box from recycling.

Anyways, I had to do all my cooking tonight, so unfortunately the lighting is horrible again. I miss being able to use the gorgeous summer sun as my light.
To start, I made the wild pecan fried rice from Vive le Vegan, on Saturday actually. I made the brown rice/wild rice mixture at the start of the day, so when I was ready to cook later on it was ready. So this recipe took no time at all. Its the rice mixture fried in some oil with green peas, green onions, pecans, tamari and seasoning. Mmm it hit the spot after a long period of eating junk food. I'm on the right road again (for now).

The berry oat squares I posted the other day are awesome! Billy ate all of them, almost. Good thing I squirreled one away for myself. They're perfect for our lunches at school.

Along those lines, tonight I made the banana oat bundles from Vive le Vegan. Deliciousness in a...well, a bundle! There's almost no sugar in these and they are so sweet from the bananas. The cinnamon and fresh nutmeg are so good in these incredibly fresh cookies. They're so healthy but the main thing is that they're so good! They were a little raw in the middle after I let them cool, so I warmed them up at a lower temperature for a few minutes. Hopefully that helped. If not, the one I had was still really good, and I'll just bake them a few minutes longer next time, and there definitely will be a next time.

From Vive, I also made the cannellini bean yam hummus. The only cooking this required was baking the yam for 45 minutes, which you can do while you watch TV or read or whatever. Then you just blend everything together. The flavour comes from the beans and yams, and the chipotle sauce and toasted pine nuts. Its a really unique tasting hummus, and from the first bite I took, I think I'll really like this. I'm having it for lunch tomorrow with veggie sticks. Mmmm I know it'll it the spot when my tummy starts grumbling at noon. None of the pictures do it justice, since the light in the apartment is so yellow, but just imagine it differently ;)

I can't post the picture in this post, but it should follow this one...