Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Everyday food and an anniversary

Where to start? Chronological order, I guess.

Last Sunday, Billy was supposed to have friends over to watch the football games. So I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies (Vive le Vegan) and chocolate raspberry cookies (Veganomicon), two tried-and-true recipes. And Billy even whipped up a vegan ranch dip for his chips, which is really good. But of course, the guys never showed (hungover) so we were stuck with all this food. I didn't have any cookies but I know they're delicious.

Then, to use up some white wine sitting in my fridge, I made peaches with spiced white wine, from Vegan Italiano. The wine is simmered with sugar and cinnamon sticks and then tossed with fresh peach slices. I don't drink or like wine...but this dessert isn't too bad, since the peaches are good, and the cinnamon sugar syrup helps out a bit too ;)

For lunches, I prepared easy Mexican wraps from the Candle Cafe cookbook. Quinoa and black beans are wrapped up in a tortilla with citrus-cilantro-marinated grilled tofu and a tomato-avocado pasta. These are very filling, and a nice change from regular sandwiches.

And lastly, yesterday Billy and I celebrated our anniversary and decided to have a romantic dinner at home with some of our favourite foods. So the appetizer was bruschetta on a whole wheat baguette (not pictured) and dinner was La Dolce Vegan's amazing mac n' cheese recipe, with a twist. Billy stirred in about a tablespoon of cajun seasoning. SPICY! I don't care what anyone says, mac and cheese by candlelight is just as romantic as any other recipe :) The picture I have is of the leftovers so it doesn't show how deliciously creamy this recipe really is!

Dessert, requested by Billy, was carrot cake. So I tried a new recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. This is originally supposed to be a two layer cake, but that comes out to about 800 calories per 1/12th of the cake....and that does not make a Skinny Bitch. So I made just one layer and half the icing recipe. This cake is fantabulous! It is so moist that it is fragile, and it could stand alone without any frosting. In fact, I found the icing to be a little too thick/sweet, and would prefer a lite glaze instead. But we both wolfed our pieces down with glee.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another post, look at me go!

I have lots of meals planned but first I have to finish off my leftovers. So far since my last post, I've been eating up the tempeh pie slowly.

I also adapted a recipe from Cooking for the Rushed, and made a "beef" enchilada casserole, which is basically like a "mexican" lasagna. I'm very pleased with the results. It's a cheesy beef mix with salsa and onion, layered in lasagna noodles and topped with more soy cheese. It is comfort food at it's best. I top it with a little more salsa and some Tofutti Sour Cream. Now these are leftovers I don't mind!

From Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, I made a breakfast sandwich. This consists of fried tofu, soy bacon, soy cheese (optional), tomato slices and some seasoning. It is delicious and very filling. It kept me satisfied right until lunch time. I served it with a side of the yummiest organic strawberries I've ever tasted.

More to come!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Veganomicon Feast

I went on a cooking/baking spree one day to use up the groceries I had bought, before they went bad. It resulted in two entrees and two baked goods from Veganomicon.

First, pasta della california. It's linguine with a white wine garlic sauce, arugula, broccoli and avocado. The avocado is pretty good, since it's just added in at the end, although warming up leftovers is bit harder, since I don't feel like eating hot avocado. It's a good plate though, with just enough saltiness and spicyness.

Then I made the tempeh shepherdess pie. I had two packages of tempeh in the freezer, and this was a great way to use it up. The tempeh is simmered with a tamari mixture, then cooked with spices, peas and corn, and cremini mushrooms. Then you make a gravy sauce right in the whole mix! Top it with mashed potatoes and bake, and voila, you have dinner. I didn't have any soymilk left, so my potatoes are probably a little less creamy than desired, but it still tastes great. A very homey, comforting meal.

Then, to use up the pumpkin puree I had leftover from making a pie, I made pumpkin-cranberry scones. These are wonderfully spiced and not too sweet, but not bland either! It was my first time using fresh cranberries, and they provide a nice, tangy bite every once in a while. They're topped off with pumpkin seeds.

Also, I made chocolate hazelnut biscotti. There are so yummy. I love almond extract in chocolate things. I wish I had some soymilk around so I could dunk these in tea. I brought them, along with the scones, to work for everyone to try, and the biscotti was more popular, although I prefer the scones. Not to brag, but my baked goods are somewhat treasured at work now :) Once everyone hears I brought something in, it's a race to see who will get some. And no one cares that it's vegan.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Catch Up

I could go on about how long I've been gone, but I won't bother. There's been little time/little motivation for me to be in the kitchen often, which is so not like me. But I'm starting to get back to business. To the food!

This is Mac Daddy from Veganomicon. It's a nutritional yeast cheesy sauce, mixed with macaroni and firm tofu and baked. It's pretty good for a nutritional yeast sauce, although I must admit I'm a "fake cheese" mac and cheese girl now. I plan on mixing the leftovers with some steamed broccoli.

Next, maple and brown sugar pinwheels, also from Veganomicon. I didn't have enough brown sugar, so I subbed the rest with regular sugar and molasses. These turned out very nicely. I didn't make the orange icing to go along with it. They're pretty sweet on their own, and as they bake the sugar coats one side with yummy goodness. They're like cinnamon rolls, but no cinnamon. The underused cardamom is used instead, along with allspice.

I couldn't get Thanksgiving off from work, and all of my family left town, so Billy and I had a small dinner at home together. I made a simple, but good, "meat and cheese" lasagna, and pumpkin pie. The pie recipe was from Sinfully Vegan. I believe I undercooked the crust, as it was a bit chewy on the bottom. I wasn't a huge fan of the filling. I know pumpkin pie isn't meant to be supersweet, but this one just wasn't sweet enough for me.

In the summer, I ordered marshmallows (which led to severe finger burns at a bonfire) and ricemellow creme, which led to some yummy homemade treats, such as:
Last minute smore with graham crackers, melted chocolate and ricemellow creme;

and rice krispie squares! These were pretty soft, but very yummy. I think I got the recipe from a youtube video for vegan rice krispies.

I've got plans for more food this week....if I get over this cold and feel like cooking.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Healthy College Cookbook

I bought Billy the Healthy College Cookbook a few years back as an incentive for him to try cooking more. He did try a few things, but other than that, it's been collecting dust. Most of the recipes are vegan-izable so I decided to use up some food in my fridge and freezer and try out some new recipes.

To use up the four PC Meatless chicken cutlets I had left, I made sesame chicken. So good! Basically, I brushed warm agave nectar on the cutlets and sprinkled them with sesame seeds, garlic powder and pepper, and then baked them. The sweetness of the agave was so nice in this dish, with just a hint of pepper. These were so simple to make, literally 2 minutes of preparation. I plan on trying out a few more of their chicken dishes.

Next I made the baked ziti. Except I used rotini. This is just rotini tossed in a tomato sauce with herbs and ground round, onion and garlic. Instead of regular cheese I used up the nacho stuff I had sitting around. I left it a bit too long under the broiler...but it still tastes great.

And a random cat picture....Zeppelin passed out on the couch

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Special Treat

I ordered some goodies from Vegan Essentials and they got here yesterday! I got Sweet n Sara's marshmallows and amaranth graham crackers (to make smores with of course). The marshmallows taste like the real deal without the gross stuff.

I also got Ricemellow Creme, which tastes so good! And was great on my peanut butter toast for breakfast. I'll have to figure out a way to use this to make rice krispies treats.

Soyatoo's Soy Whip was the star of my after-work snack last night....bananas layered with soy whip and topped with some chocolate and pecans. This tastes pretty close to whipped cream in a can...although it has a bit of a taste that's different. It was also good on my hot chocolate this morning.

Here are the crab cakes I made from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. I'm all out of remoulade sauce, which pretty much looks like 1000 island dressing. So tonite, I'll be serving my crab cake on whole wheat rotini with tomato sauce.

To use up some bananas, I made the banana wheat germ muffins from Veganomicon. Yummy! These are made with whole wheat and wheat germ, so they're healthy, but the banana also gives it a great sweet flavour. And they're only about 170 calories per muffin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I busted out Looneyspoons again to get some delicious, easy and healthy meals. First, I made a chicken and potatoes dish flavoured with salsa. Filling and good!

Then I made the veggie fajitas, chock full of veggies: onion, carrot, red and green peppers and zucchini. I didn't have any sour cream on hand, so I mixed just a bit of Vegenaise with the salsa to make it creamy. I also threw in some black beans for some added protein then topped it with lettuce, tomato and nacho cheese .These are delicious and very satisfying.

I also made Crabby Cakes with Remoulade sauce from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, but I haven't taken a picture yet. The cakes are made up of veggies with some kelp powder for that crabby taste. They are really good! The remoulade sauce is a bit too lemony, but that's easily fixable. I served them over a bed of lettuce.

Almost as soon as I saw Vegan Dad's recipe for funnel cake, I had to make it! I wasn't going to, because I didn't want to cancel out all that healthy food, but I couldn't resist, and I threw in an extra long workout to make up for it. There are really good! Best to make when there's a friend around though, so you don't eat all of it at once. I just dusted mine with icing sugar and topped with warmed jam. But they'd be really nice with some vanilla soy ice cream on top too!

I just got a package in the mail from Vegan Essentials with some very exciting stuff...more on that later!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Product Review: Shopper's Drug Mart Nativa Organics

Shopper's has launched a huge organic food line, at affordable prices. There's a lot of different products out, much of it vegan-friendly.

One of those products, their cookie buttons, is my favourite so far. The box comes with 6 100-calorie snack packs. And the cookies are good! They're just mini chocolate chip cookies. And I love the snack pack size...I haven't had any of Nabisco's but they don't look very substantial, they look like a lesser version of the real thing. Not so with the cookie buttons.

Also, I got their natural microwave popcorn. Three boxes for 5$! It was obviously an introductory price, but I'm glad I stocked up, because it is very good. I'll make it my regular popcorn...they don't sacrifice any taste, and it's organic.

Check out a Shopper's near you. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vegan Wedding

I have ambitions to put on a fully vegan wedding reception for my wedding. We're starting to look at locations and both places we're looking at right now have their own catering. One of them says they've never had a vegan wedding before, and he asked me what I had in mind, perhaps the cook could make it.

My family, and Billy's family, are meat eaters. They're going to be expecting some sort of beef/chicken/fillet type meal, so I want our meals to be excellent...but not too complicated or "vegan" if you catch my drift. I thought maybe a nice pasta dish, with some sort of tomato sauce as a base would be nice.

Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, menu ideas, or resources for me? I'd like to be able to tell them more than "pasta with tomato sauce" otherwise that's exactly what we'll get.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Apples + peanut butter= heaven

I had the chance to cook in the last few days. First, I made wild mushroom orzo risotto, and Italian style kabobs from Vegan Italiano. This book has not disappointed me yet, everything comes out really well. The kabobs have red pepper, Brussels sprouts, red potatoes and red onion and they're basted in Italian dressing. Really simple and delicious.

Today, I made the dill and chickpea basmati rice from V'con. It's good enough, nothing stellar. There didn't seem to be nearly enough liquid to cook the rice in, as everything is cooked in one pot, so I added more. It ended up pretty sticky. The lemon juice added at the end is a nice addition however.

Then for dessert, apple peanut butter caramel bars, also from V'con. These are fantabulous. They don't stick together very well, but you can just eat it with a fork. With taste that great, no one is going to complain.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do you miss Timmy's Iced Capps?

Blend together some soymilk, Ghirardelli's Chocolate Mocha Hot Cocoa mix (vegan!), some ice and sweetener, and you are good to go!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I've been working a lot more now and sadly my cooking was pretty non-existent for a while. That, and I also forgot to take pictures of the food I did make. But I do have a few things. A couple weeks ago, I made sticky pecan squares from 125 Best Vegan Recipes. They were really good. It's basically a shortbread type base with the crunchy sweet pecan mix on top.

From V'Con I made the cashew quinoa stirfry, which was really good. I really enjoyed the quinoa cooked in pineapple juice. I also grilled some smoky tempeh to go along with it.

And for a party this weekend, I made vanilla gluten freedom cupcakes from Vegan style! They were so cute, and everyone really enjoyed them. I prefer the chocolate ones, but the vanilla ones aren't bad either. Today, I made the chocolate ones to use up the icing I had leftover, which is just the buttercream frosting with a bit of red food colouring.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sushi and Cupcakes

I got an urge to make sushi last night, so I tried out the spicy tempeh rolls from V'con. Except mine weren't spicy at all because I didn't have any chili-sesame oil and my attempts to substitute it didn't work. It was a bit bland, but still good. And I even made some inside-out ones successfully!

I also felt like making cupcakes, so I made the chocolate mint ones from Vegan Cupcakes. The icing didn't hold up the way I thought it would, based on the picture in the book. Mine just kind of spread out and didn't hold the piping shape. Regardless, it was still delicious, and Billy loved these! There are none left today, except for one that I'm keeping for a friend. I have two pictures, I couldn't decide between the two :P

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bad pictures, but good food

Well, after a hectic, busy and sleepless month...I'm finally done school! I am now a teacher. Woot! While I did cook a bit, I didn't always take pictures, but I'll show what I do have. Billy turned 25 last month so we had a big party with lots of good food.
I made Billy's favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vive le Vegan, and then also made a gluten free batch for our friend with Celiac's. The gluten free ones were so good!!

I also made him a wheat free carrot cake with cream cheese icing from Sinfully Vegan, but I forgot to take a picture. It was delicious, and I'm glad he really enjoyed it. I also made a standard chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I can't remember for sure, but I think the chocolate cake recipe was from How It All Vegan, and everyone loved it.

I also had a hummus platter with veggies and mini pitas, as well as some kick butt spinach dip from 125 Best Vegan Recipes. It never lasts long.

Meals were kept pretty simple during my teaching placement. For example, from Vegan Italiano, I made a quick broccoli pasta sauce. It was very tasty.

Last night, for game 7 against the Flames and the Sharks, I made chocolate gluten freedom cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes for all our friends to eat. They were surprisingly moist. It was my first time cooking with quinoa and tapioca flour, and it was well worth the 12 dollar flour!