Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Are there pigs flying?

I got two big compliments on my food from Billy yesterday! Not that he ever makes fun of it, but I was at risk of losing my food to him :P First, when I was making the calzones for my lunch he asked for one for lunch, and then raved about it. Next, I was eating my chipotle burrito and he stole like 3 big bites, saying he liked the veggies. To quote from my somewhat French background...Whoa minute.....YOU LIKE THE VEGGIES THE BEST? So I'm going to be making these meals quite often from now on!

Alright, so lunch this week is a broccoli calzone with tomato sauce for dipping, an apricot, grapes, and a piece of mint chocolate. Vegan Lunch Box just keeps delivering on the yummy food. The calzones were easy to make, and the tofu and broccoli filling was really good. Billy's only complaint was the same as Schmoo's...too much crust (but that's because the one he took had a lot less filling in it). I do believe this was my first time eating a fresh apricot, unbelievably.

I had some leftover tofu from the calzone recipe, so I used it up at breakfast by making half a tofu omelet recipe (Garden of Vegan), and eating it in a toasted sandwich with ketchup and a cheese slice. Mmm mmm good. I was always a big fan of scrambled egg sandwiches, so this hits the spot.

Check out how the frost looks on the inside of our window...it makes for a cold apartment, but it sure is pretty :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Behind the Apron

Sometimes, amid the food pictures and descriptions I'll briefly talk about my day or life. I thought this would be fun to do, and have really enjoyed reading all the other posts. (click on the picture for more information!)

Obviously, my name is Melissa. I'm 21, turning 22 next month. I moved quite a bit when I was younger, and ended up spending about 10 years in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where I graduated from high school. My parents decided to move to Sudbury, ON to be closer to their families, and I followed them. I went to the University of Ottawa for my first year, as I was offered a 3500$/year scholarship in their new biomedical program. After that, I transferred to Laurentian University, still in the biomedical field, but decided to do a concurrent B.Ed. Right now, I'm in my last semester of undergrad (finally!) and next year will complete my teaching degree. I want to teach high school science.

As for the whole vegan thing...I gave up red meat when I was 12 after my Pawpaw sent us moose meat. I thought it was gross and realised what a waste of a beautiful animal...then I finally made the connection to cows. It took me a while to give up the rest though. I started reading books on the topic and eventually became vegetarian in grade 11. I was mostly vegan in grade 12 and first year, but I still ate milk chocolate occasionally and was far from eating a healthy diet.

During first year, my aunt brought me to a bookstore on my birthday and suggested I pick out a vegan cookbook. I found Sarah Kramer's Garden of Vegan, bought it and loved it. I started cooking more and I finally gave up milk chocolate and soy cheese with casein. Its been quite the journey since, and it took me a bit longer to start buying vegan products, but I like to think of myself as a full fledged vegan warrior now (although its impossible for one to be 100% vegan in this world).

My boyfriend, Billy, and I have been together for over 4 years. We met in Winnipeg, and stayed together after I moved. He eventually moved to Sudbury. We live together in an apartment, work in the same restaurant and have a cat named Logan.

Well, I didn't expect to write that much, but there you have it!

I take too many food pics and not enough people pics, so I didn't have the greatest selection, haha.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Two for One

Two posts in one day! I'll be eating leftovers for dinner the next couple of days, so I won't post much but my lunch. Tonight I used up some kale by adapting a recipe in Calciyum. Kale and sundried tomatoes. This had onion and garlic and veg stock, and it was yummy. One of the best kale sides I've made, since I'm not usually a huge fan of kale on its own. It went nicely with my burrito. The avocado sauce I made on Friday has had a chance to settle in the fridge, and I don't know if its the soymilk or what, but it doesn't taste right to me. I would prefer guacomole, but hey, you gotta try new things!
Oh, and for anyone who plans on making the chipotle burritos from Vive le Vegan, unless you're feeding a family of 4-6 people, I suggest you make the burritos separately. I've been making one at a time, but keeping the filling in the fridge and rolling it up in a tortilla when I need it. That way you don't have soggy leftovers. And it gets better everyday :)

Pancakes for Two

After lounging in bed with the cat this morning, I finally got up and made some peanut butter and banana pancakes from Table for Two. They were easy to make, and I like that we didn't have leftover pancakes to deal with. You couldn't really taste the peanut butter though (probably because it calls for 2 teaspoons). I'd make them again because they're quick and easy, but they didn't taste spectacular. For me, pancakes are just a vessel and an excuse to use maple syrup ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Chipotle Veggie Bean Burritos

After a horrid embryology lab, dinner tonight was Chipotle veggie bean burritos from Vive le Vegan. The filling (onion, garlic, chipotle sauce, spices, green pepper, corn, aduki beans, etc) was quick to make and I had time to prepare the rest of dinner while the cheese and tomato-topped burritos baked in the oven. Mmm mmm good. I served it with some Creamy cashew avocado sauce. I was bad, and instead of eating one with a salad, I had two ;) The recipe makes six, but instead of making them all and having them get soggy, I'll make them as I need them over the weekend. This meal would be great during the week if the filling is made ahead of time. Just come home, roll it up in a burrito and bake for 20 minutes. Voila, dinner is on the table.
I suppose I should go exercise now...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Beans and Bows

Dinner tonite was fairly quick and nummy. Whole wheat bows with a tomato chickpea sauce from Table for Two. Even Billy ate it; with the sole complaint that there were too many chickpeas (I used a 19 oz can instead of 15). The tomato sauce is really simple, made from tomato paste, oregano, basil, and onion/garlic granules. Mmmmm.

I had it with a tossed salad with Creamy Italian Dressing from How It All Vegan. Garlicky goodness!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I spent my early years growing up in Quebec, and as such, most of my vocabulary was learned in French first, or very soon after. I still remember mornings when my dad would offer me "pamplemousse" for breakfast, because I had started speaking only French at home to try and blend in at school better.

For a quick breakfast on Monday, I tried Candle Cafe's grilled grapefruit. Sounds different, huh? Well, I'm glad I tried it. I don't really like pamplemousse anymore, but I really loved how the broiler warmed up the fruit and caramelized the sugar and ginger. Yum!
Lunch just keeps getting better and better! This week is Pups in a Blanket (or pigs in a blanket, if you prefer), with cooked veggies (broccoli today), a kiwi, and 2 oreos. The pups are so good, I think the taste of soy dogs has grown on me. And the dough is 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour (the recipe called for all white), plus there's wheat germ in it. So its good and good for you; yes, I went there. They even go so far as to remind me slightly of pogos. These would be great for kids lunches too!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Beef" stew

Here's something I made around Christmas. I ended up freezing the leftovers, and thawed them this weekend so I wouldn't have to cook. This is also adapted from Cooking for the Rushed, which has a few vegetarian options, which is nice. Its got a bit of a kick to it.

"Beef" Stew

1 tsp. olive or canola oil
450 g. "beef style" seitan
1 1/2 tsp. prepared garlic (minced)
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 onion
2 celery stalks
10 mushrooms
1 cup baby carrots (Frozen or fresh)
1 can (398 ml) stewed tomatoes (Italian or chili style)
1 can (398 ml) brown beans in tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 cans (398 ml each) or 1 1/2 cans (about 500 ml each) whole potatoes, drained (if potatoes large, slice in half)

1. Heat oil in large pot at medium-high. Cut beef into bite sized pieces and add to pot as you chop. Toss until warmed. Add garlic and pepper to "meat" while its warming. Sliver onion, chop celery and slice mushrooms in half, in that order. Add to pot as you chop.

2. Rinse carrots in a colander under cold water and add to pot. Add in this order: canned tomatoes, brown beans, ketchup and potatoes. Stir and heat on medium for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Serve with fresh dinner buns (warmed).

As you can see, its very quick to prepare (because of canned foods), but its a great quick fix.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rice and oats

I made my first meal from The Ultimate Uncheese cookbook on Thursday. The cheezy rice and broccoli casserole was really easy to make. You stir everything together in a casserole dish and stick it in the oven. However, the timing was really off. It said to cook for 50-60 minutes and there was nothing about stirring in between. I decided to check it a good 12 minutes before the 50 minutes was up...and it was done! Maybe too done. It still tasted good though, and I can see myself making it again. Hopefully I'll cook it properly though and it'll be creamier or less dry. The "cheese" comes from nutritional yeast, and turmeric for colour.

I also gave the Candle Cafe cookbook another chance. I made the oatmeal currant cookies (but with raisins). Yummiest oatmeal raisin cookies ever! So chewy with a bit of crunch, just yummy. I can't stop eating them.

I recently switched to the new version of blogger, and everything's fine, except I can't get the layout I used to...the text won't move around on the final draft, no matter how I change it....grrrr.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chili spuds

Lunch this week is Chili con Carne with a baked potato, pineapple-banana fruit salad, and salad, all from Vegan Lunch Box. The chili was made in the slowcooker overnight, so lunch was ready in the morning. Its probably the cheapest chili I've made, since I got the dried beans, lentils and TVP all in bulk for 2 bucks or so. Its a good chili, but it could use some chili powder. I love it in combination with the baked potato. Today, I topped it with a bit of "cheddar" cheese. The fruit is topped with a bit of agave nectar and some walnuts. The salad is a simple tossed salad with Asian Miracle Dressing, which I'm not a huge fan of. Next time, I'll use less sesame oil.
All in all, a very satisfying and filling lunch! Oh yes, and I found some frozen chocolate chip cookies today for dessert...sweet!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Coming home to dinner

I didn't have time to take a picture of lunch today...but it'll be the same all week, so I'll get one eventually. Its perfect for this snowy weather we just got.
Dinner tonight was made thanks to my slow cooker and a recipe from The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker; Sloppy Josephines. Let me tell you, the smell in the apartment when we got home was amazing! These are really simple with ground round, ketchup, onions, bell peppers and some other stuff served over whole wheat kaiser rolls. I forgot to buy brown mustard and had to use dijon, but it worked out fine. Also, I couldn't find dark nonalcoholic beer so I improvised and used water with some tamari. These had such a great BBQ flavour. And Billy went crazy over them! He ate 3 and barely left me any leftovers for tomorrow! They weren't very sloppy though. The sauce thickened considerably, but I don't think that's a really bad thing.

I've also made the stuffed peppers from the book, which Billy also really enjoyed.

This weekend I had a craving for cheese biscuits, like the ones at work. But I didn't have any bisquick mix and all the recipes seemed to call for it, so I just made whole wheat biscuits from Table for Two, mixed in some Earth Island cheddar cheese and topped them with some garlic butter. They did the trick. The picture isn't all that great, but these were delicious.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stickin' it to Hamburger Helper

Lunch today was awesome!! Another Vegan Lunch Box inspired one, this had inari sushi, edamame and a pear. I couldn't find botan rice candy, as Jennifer recommended for the Asian-inspired lunch, but I did find something else at the Asian grocery store. Fruity coconut jelly. They're like jello cups almost, but with no gelatin/glycerin...it uses seaweed extract and coconut jelly. They're so yummy!

The inari turned out great. I was tired last night when I was preparing the lunch, so I didn't prepare the sushi rice recipe from the cookbook. The frozen inari I had came with seasoning, so I just mixed that into the rice. They were so easy to assemble, and so delicious! Simple and good.

I have another recipe to share. As you may have noticed, these recipes aren't fancy but they're quick and easy. I hope this doesn't make me the vegan Rachael Ray...we just need some solutions for the later nights at school. And Billy shovels this stuff down, so count me in! I adapted this from Cooking for the Rushed also. Its like hamburger helper stuff, but more home made. And it has a chili-like taste, which always wins.

"Hamburger" Jumble (I served it with some warm baking powder biscuits from La Dolce Vegan)

2 packages ground round
olive oil as needed
1Tbsp. oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 onion (use a whole onion if you want, I just wanted to use up the one in my fridge, and Billy is not a big fan)
1 small green pepper
10 mushrooms
1 cup chunky salsa
2 cups water
400 ml mushroom pasta sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
250 g whole wheat rotini
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup grated "Cheddar" cheese (Optional)

1. Cook ground round in a large pot at med-high, in oil. Add spices (oregano, garlic, cumin) while ground round is warming. Chop onion and green pepper into small chunks, adding to pot as you chop. Wash and slice mushrooms, adding to the pot as you slice.

2. In order, add to the pot: salsa, water, pasta sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, rotini and corn. Stir til hot and simmering (bubbling). Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes (check that pasta is cooked).

3. Add cheese to pot if using, and stir til melted. Serve right away, with buns or rolls.

The picture for this one isn't too great, thanks to the horrible lighting.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gigi sauce

Thanks, everyone for the kind words in the last post. School is back on for me but hopefully I'll be able to cook some healthy meals during the week.
First up, double chocolate chip muffins from La Dolce Vegan. The first time I ever made these, they weren't that impressive to me. But I tried them again,and they're yummy! Especially with some fudgey frosting on top.

Dinner last night was delicious, fast and super easy. I adapted another recipe from Cooking for the Rushed: penne with Italian gigi sauce and veggies. This is a creamy tomato sauce with a bit of kick. I substituted the chicken with "chicken" seitan. It was so good, Billy liked it too :)

Penne with Gigi Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil
3 "chicken" seitan steaks (this sauce would work just as well without it too)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2-1 small onion
10 mushrooms
350 g whole wheat penne
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/2 of the soup can, plain soymilk
3/4 cup chunky salsa (mild to spicy, depending on how you like it)
2 green onions, more for garnish if you'd like
oil and basil for pasta

1. Fill large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Heat oil on med-high in large frying pan or wok. Cut seitan into bite sized pieces and add to the wok as you chop.
2. Add the garlic and basil to the wok. Toss to coat seitan, and cook until warmed through.
3. While the seitan is warming, sliver the onion and add to the wok as you chop. Wash and slice mushrooms, adding to the wok as you go.
4. Place pasta in boiling water, stir, and cook uncovered. Set the timer for 11 minutes. In a mixing bowl, stir together the soup, milk and salsa and pour over the seitan mixture. Stir well.
5. Wash and chop green onion and add to the wok. Simmer while pasta cooks.
6. Drain pasta in colander, return to pot and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil (optional) and 1/2 tsp basil.

I served mine with some broccoli that was cooked with Mrs. Dash, and a bit of vegan parmesan on top of the sauce. Yum Yum!

And finally, lunch yesterday and today was straight out of Vegan Lunchbox. Easy potato salad, green grapes, and some cut up deli meat and soy cheese to eat with some rice crackers. Oh, yes, and some back-to-school chocolate chip cookies! They're whole wheat, and good! I undercooked the potatoes a bit, but its definitely a good recipe. Nice, and simple, the way I like it.

Tonight's dinner is leftover Gigi pasta, but I will be trying some new recipes later in the week.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy Blog-iversary!

Woot! One year ago I posted for the first time about Celebration Loaf! One year and 143 posts later and here I am :) I would just like to thank everyone who stops by now and again to read about the food I make (even the lurkers!) ;). I thought I'd recap some of my favourite foods and posts from 2006, so here goes:

January 20: the best chocolate chip cookies
February 9: My discovery of vegan mac and cheese...mmmm
February 12: Cupcakes!
February 13: Burrito pie
February 25: My birthday cake, and tofu omelets
April 2: Billy's birthday cake
July 4: Spaghetti and Tofu balls
July 13: Tortilla chip soup
October 9: Tofu turkey and cheesecake
November 9: General Tao's Tofu
November 29: Nanaimo bars

Here's to another great year!

How vegetarianism becomes so confusing to many, and some food.

Overheard by Billy at Subway:

Girl: I'll have the cheese bread.
Subway Employee: Would you like cheese
on your sub?
Girl: No. I'm a vegetarian.
S. E: But you're having the
cheese bread...
Girl: Its not the same.

Ummmmm, yeah. That's all I have to say about that.

I've made lots of food, but I only have pictures for two things, I'll get more tomorrow. I made a few things from the Candle Cafe book. So far, I'm less than impressed. The lentil chowder is okay but is rather bland. It takes a lot of salt and extra seasoning for me to want to eat it, although I like that there's plenty of veggies in it (carrot, celery, squash, onion, tomato, etc). I served it with some brown basmati rice.

I also made the tofu scramble and home fries. The home fries are delicious and have Yukon and sweet potatoes, but the scramble is also bland, despite having many spices in it, somehow. I ate some leftovers in a toasted sandwich with ketchup and nacho cheese sauce, which was a bit of an improvement. Nevertheless, I'll persevere with this cookbook. I'm sure there are many great meals in it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007's first recipe

My fridge and cupboards are getting pretty bare since I've been working since I got home. But today when we got home from our sleepover, I managed to whip a pretty decent snack/meal together. I made the nacho cheese dip from The Ultimate Uncheese Book (thanks for the recommendation, affectioknitter!) and served it over nachos and chili. I topped it with a bit of guacomole, and voila!

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope its a great year for you all. A year ago today Billy and I started moving into our apartment. The year went by so fast!

Anyways I'll be doing groceries tomorrow...I can't wait to try out some new food!