Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nanaimo bars! Yes!

Ah, a favourite from my non-vegan days that I thought I would never taste again. Wrong! These are John and Hilana's Vegan Nanaimo Bars and they are so delicious, just like traditional bars. Except, the filling isn't bright yellow, but that's probably a good thing. The recipe is in that link so I won't get too specific, but its a base of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, cocoa and walnuts, a middle layer of frosting-type filling and a ganache top. Mmmm, its going to be so hard not to eat these all up, but they store well in the freezer so they'll keep for a while.

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.
Spicy tomato almond and kale pasta
Spicy tomato almond and kale pasta

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chili-joes ?

I probably won't be able to post tomorrow. I have three assignments due, two of which are finished, but I have to finish my ten page paper on Gorilla gorilla tomorrow before 5. So instead of taking a picture of my lunch in the nice, natural sunlight tomorrow morning, I suppose you'll have to deal with the artificial light of my apartment! This is my first menu from the Vegan Lunchbox cookbook: Pizza shop breadsticks with tomato sauce for dipping, a frozen vegetable and lima bean medley, and fresh blueberrie and plums. I also threw in the last eggnog muffin as a treat. I think I'll also be bringing chili again for dinner at school, since I have a night lab. Mondays suck.

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.
Mom's Chocolate Pudding

Saturday, November 25, 2006

~Tis the season~

For Noel Nog.....woot! No one had it here last year, I searched, believe imagine my excitement when I was in the health store yesterday with Billy and I saw it in the fridge! You should've seen Billy's face as I piled the Nog into his waiting arms, haha. Now, as good as it is to drink, its great to bake with too! Enter Wolffie's Eggnog Muffins from La Dolce Vegan. I'd made them before, but with homemade eggnog, and they just did not frost my cookies. So I tried them again and they came out great. A little browned on the top, but fluffy on the inside. They taste like eggnog, plain and simple. They're a little plain according to Billy, but they showcase the greatness of the Noel Nog, with some nutmeg and ginger thrown in.

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

Larabars to the rescue!

I had a large smoothie for breakfast this morning, but while I was last minute cramming mid-morning, my tummy started rumbling. I knew I'd need the Larabar I bought when I was in a pinch, and since I have a midterm today, I didn't really get time to pack a snack. I tried the cinnamon roll larabar. It was so good! Lots of cinnamon...and I figured it had to be full of sugar and stuff to make it that yummy, but the ingredients are so simple: Dates, walnuts, cashews, almonds, raisins and cinnamon. So when they call it a fruit and nut bar...that's all it really is! The dates are so yummy and give it all the sweetness it needs. I would probably use this as a meal replacement along with a smoothie, rather than eating it with a full meal though, since it has about 240 calories and 12 grams of fat (healthy ones). I have to go and buy a box of these now!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Vegans get busy too...

Most of us post food that's impressive/pretty/downright challenging, or just because we're damn proud of what we eat. But occasionnally there comes a time when there is no time to cook up something super impressive, and you just need to eat. I don't have a picture, because my batteries are dead, and because its not really worthy of being blogged about, but tonite, and actually all my dinners this week, were quick and easy. Vegandoc posted about how we have to make veganism look easy to appeal to more people, and this is my contribution.

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 I used this as an excuse to post :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Brownie (points)

At the height of my "feeling crappy and lazy and useless" day yesterday, Billy surprised me with an early Christmas present. I wanted to wait to open it but he said he wanted me to be able to use it for the last few weeks of class. So I opened it up to find... Vegan Lunch Box, the cookbook! I don't know if I'll be able to use it before the break, since I barely have time to do groceries, but now I have something to read and I can plan for next semester!

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

The devil

By the time we picked up the cat from the vet yesterday, the techs were calling him Logan the Devil, and not just to our faces ;) Apparently he escaped his cage a few times, among other mischievous deeds. How on earth do we pick the one cat who isn't still drowsy or anything after surgery! He was bouncing off the walls as soon as we got him! No relaxing time for us, since we're supposed to limit his activity...fat chance. It was worse than babysitting a 2 year old last night....le sigh. Anyways...

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

Grey Cup Food!

Logan's getting neutered this morning...We weren't planning on paying for any extras that the adoption centre didn't cover, since we are low on funds...but I got suckered into it this morning, with their fancy wording and all, I was convinced he would die without it ;) So I'm about 140 bucks in the hole, but we'll pull through. I already miss him, this place is so quiet.

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 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 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

Kitchen Disasters

Maybe not disasters, but nothing went right for me yesterday. I'll start with food from Tuesday to make me feel better. I took a sick day on Tuesday (from my one class, haha) to sleep and relax since I felt a sore throat coming on and I'm seriously sleep deprived. After I slept as much as I could, I wanted to make something, something really easy. So I went to vegweb and found some no-bake cookies to make. I love these types of cookies. These are called No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Oat Cookies. They're yummy and store well in the freezer. I used about 1/2 a cup less sugar and threw in some chocolate chips.

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 needless to say there was way too much pepper in this 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 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

Sort-of Anniversary

Before I start, how many people are using the new version of Blogger?? Its urging me to switch whenever I log in, but I don't want to if its going to be a pain in the butt. Your comments are welcome :)

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.
hummus and quinoa casserole
I stayed home sick today..shhh...don't tell Billy I 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

Me + 12 hours at school+ the beginnings of a sore throat ≠ a happy camper

Yawn, cough, grrr...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Move over Billy...

there's a new love in my life! And while it may not be able to warm up my feet the way you do, it sure is yummy. General Tao's tofu from Vegweb is amazing! I am usually reluctant to put tofu cubes in stirfries because its just too mushy for my taste. This recipe took care of that. The tofu is coated in cornstarch and then fried, so it gets a super-crispy outer covering. And the sauce is so good, its a good thing I doubled it ;) This is just like something you would get in a restaurant. I changed a few things; I added some frozen peppers to the sauce, and used red onion instead of green onions, and I mixed in some steamed broccoli and cauliflower. I served it all over white basmati rice. I love basmati, its my favourite type of rice, its just so fragrant.

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

beans, beans...

I made the three bean curry soup from Vive le Vegan this weekend. I think it'll last me til next week! Its a good thing too. I've been really busy getting assignments done, going to my placement, etc, and wouldn't have had time to make a good lunch otherwise. Its spicy, but not too spicy. I'm a wimp when it comes to that. There's chickpeas, black beans and red lentils and they go together really well.

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

Hybrid Dessert

I started out making apple phyllo strudels from Vive le Vegan, but the phyllo was not cooperative, and well, let's just say that we did not get along. No one has seen the phyllo since. So I was left with a bowl of apple filling. I decided to make an apple crisp. So much easier. I used the apple raspberry crisp recipe from La Dolce Vegan, but only used the topping ingredients. So we have a Vive-Dolce apple crisp, and it is yummy! My grocery store finally started carrying soy ice cream again, so I just had to buy some to serve with it. Mmmm, nothing better than baked apples.

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

moley moley mole, guacamole that is

OK, so the tutoring went well. I read french picture books to the 4 year old til she got too squirmy, and went over handwriting and the multiplication tables with the 11 year old. They're good kids, and like most, they're attention spans aren't that long for school work. But I had fun. And I brought them cookies. Not the coconut lime ones, but the never-fail chocolate chip cookies from Vive le Vegan. Kaleb was so excited that I brought him homemade cookies for his lunch tomorrow!

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.

Save me!

Someone save me from these cookies...they're marvelous. Coconut lime cookies from Vive le Vegan, as part of the November cookbook challenge over at the VegginOut Forums. I can't stop eating them, they're so yummy. The lime zest and juice and coconut extract are best pals in this cookie. I even got Billy to try one, and then admitted they had coconut...he still ate the second one. These are a nice change from the old standby. I'm hoping there's enough left for lunch tomorrow.

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.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vegetable Chowder

As promised, the chowder from La Dolce Vegan. LDV has a few delicious chowder recipes. Oh, how I love soup!
No other new foods right now. Billy has a calculus midterm today, which I've been helping him out with. So we both ate leftovers last night while we studied.