So many good eats!

March 14, 2011 at 12:56 am | Posted in cooking, Life, tempeh, tvp, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 1 Comment
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Hi! It’s been about a month or two since I’ve posted last. Sorry about that. I have just been so busy working overtime and long days that I have had no motivation to blog, just too pooped. But that hasn’t stopped me from cooking up some great food. When I downloaded the pictures to the PC today I was overwhelmed, with 115 pictures! Can you believe it? That’s a lot of food. I have been experimenting a lot with recipes from Appetite for Reduction. Its a great cookbook, if you don’t own a copy run out and get one right now! I think I must make that Jerk Asparagus twice a month now as it’s so darn tasty. I am also a bit obsessed with the Cajun Blackened Tofu too. My husband said it was a little bit spicy though, so if your not a pepper head like me you might want to tone down the spices in the recipe a little. Here are some of the pictures of things that I’ve cooked over the past month.

Rainbow Chard with Shells, TVP, and Daiya

Not healthy, but yummy tasty comfort food. And it tastes pretty kid friendly too

Fronch Toast with real Maple Syrup.

Smokey braised turnip greens and tempeh.

Italian tofu with uncheese bread and Panko n herb Cauliflower.

Seitan taco night!

A salads not complete without raw sunflower seeds!

Chickpea Seitan patties with Coconut Rice and Jerk Asparagus

Leftover Chickpea Cutletts with Mustard Sauce and Rainbow Chard

 

Thats all for now. I’ll post more later. 🙂

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Red chard where have you been all my life?

February 3, 2011 at 9:28 am | Posted in cooking, Life, vegan, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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I have been trying to make dinners that consist of a vegetable, a protein, and some sort of bread and/or a second vegetable. Last night I cooked Red Chard for the first time. Absolutely beautiful and tasty.  This was the first time I have cooked Red Chard, I have cooked White Chard in the past, but I think I prefer the red. It had a real nice taste and texture, and paired well with the skillet pasta with red sauce I made as the main course. Greens are so simple to cook and so tasty. So far my favorite greens are Collards and Turnip greens. They are so delish it makes me question why the only green I ate growing up was Spinach? I enjoy my greens with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and a little Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.

Skillet Macaroni and TVP

Ingredients

2 cups prepared tvp “beef”

Large pinch of hing

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine

    1 cup elbow macaroni

    1/2 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce

    1 cup broth

    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

    salt and pepper

    1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Cook TVP in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat about 3 minutes.
  2. Add oil, red pepper, and hing in skillet and cook, covered, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add macaroni, tomato sauce, broth, and oregano to skillet and bring to boil.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve.

Basic Vegan Ground Beef

Ingredients

1 cup TVP
1 cups water
3 to 4 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
a couple shakes of liquid smoke (optional)

Directions:

1) Place dry TVP in a skillet and cover with water and about 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce. The water should completely submerge the TVP.

2) Cook over low-medium heat until the water is completely absorbed.

3) Add the oil, seasonings and more Braggs, if desired. Fry over low-medium heat until the chunks are firm and the mixture resembles ground beef.  Stir occasionally to make sure that it cooks evenly and does not stick.

Please note that these measurements are approximate, feel free to adjust as you see fit. The same method should work for any amount of TVP, just keep in mind that it will double/triple in size once the water is added.

Easy and delicious food.

January 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Posted in cooking, Life, prasadam, vegan | Leave a comment
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Lately I have been in the mood to cook food that is simple, quick, and relatively un-processed. To do this I have revisited the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch cookbook and have cooked 2 more of the recipes with great success. Tonight dinner only took me 30 minutes (plus prep time) and was offerable without any alterations to the original recipe. Tonight’s dinner was Steamed Veggies & Tofu with Brown Rice. I think it was the tiny details that made this recipe stellar. The tahini sauce was the stand out superstar in this recipe. I have never made anything other than hummus with tahini and had no idea what the sauce would taste like. It added a much needed “oomph” to the steamed vegetables and rice. The sauce was a pleasant alternative to olive oil and Braggs. Or Braggs and hot chili paste. Or teriyaki sauce. “Steamies” and either rice or a baked potato is a staple at our house. So inexpensive and versatile. It reminds me why I became vegetarian in the first place. To eat vegetables. The picture does not do this dish justice.

The other dish that I made recently (last night) out of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch was not quite as healthy as tonight’s dinner. However it was vegan and easy. I made a variation on Sausage, Peppers, Onions, and Garlic over Soft Polenta. I omitted the garlic and onions and was short on bell peppers so I substituted with some zucchini. I also didn’t have polenta, but I did have grits. Which  was close enough for us. The meal was heavy and flavorful. I drizzled balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil on it as was suggested in the recipe. It really brought out the flavors and gave it a touch of sophistication.  I’ve only eaten grits for breakfast before this and I now understand why folks in the south eat them for dinner. We used Tofurky Italian Sausages and they were good but I think it would have been better with Field Roast sausages as they are much lighter.

Tomorrow I return to work after an absolutely lovely staycation. It has been nice to spend time with my friends and family and go to the temple and see Krishna. I plan on  returning to work with a positive attitude and completely refreshed. This was a great way to begin the new year.

The most perfect sandwich, ever.

January 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Posted in baking, cooking, dehydrator, Life, vegan, vegetarian | 1 Comment
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No really, this is the most perfect sandwich I have ever had. After eating this particular sandwich I realized that I really can be vegan the rest of my life. The sandwich I am talking about is the Hummus, Tempeh, and Cucumber Wrap out of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. These Skinny Bitches know whats up too as every recipe that I have used out of this book is easy and foolproof. This was my first vegan cookbook, back when I didn’t know what seitan was. No really, one of the recipes calls for seitan and I bought tempeh. It took me an entire year to figure out why the recipe came out so bad. My husband makes the best hummus, he is the Hummus Master and I made the tempeh. I guess that makes me the Tempeh Mastah. Basically the sandwich is a hummus wrap filled with cucumber, tomato, and tempeh. (The book has cucumber, lettuce, and tempeh.) We wrapped them in warmed whole wheat tortillas. I steamed the tempeh before I cut and fried it in the spices. Steaming tempeh before use reduces some of the bitterness and makes it more ready to absorb flavors. Steaming tempeh also gives it an undeniably moist and delicious texture. The spices and flavoring stuck nicely to the tempeh forming a tasty crust.

Fried tempeh.

Worth the effort.

I am currently making tofu jerky in the new dehydrator that I got for Xmas. It’s not done yet, but it will be soon. Well I hope so because I don’t want to have to stay up all night waiting for it. It’s been in the dehydrator for almost four hours. I have tempeh in the marinade right now that I plan on dehydrating overnight, I did not steam it before marinading as I want the jerky to have a chewy texture. I am also afraid that steaming it might cause it to fall apart in the dehydrator.

Tofu jerky in the dehydrator.

Here is the recipe I found online. I kept seeing it everywhere so I figured this must be the “official” vegan jerky recipe. Then I found it that it’s by my vegan fashion heroine Sara Kramer out of How It All Vegan. I still don’t own any of her cookbooks, but my house smells like jerky and I can’t honestly understand why I don’t yet. This will have to change sometime soon.

     

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 to 4 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tbsp onion powder (devotees use hing instead of garlic and onion powder, about a tsp.)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1 pound firm or extra firm tofu
  •  

In other food news I ate the most delicious prasadam bagel for breakfast this morning. Thank you Aarti. 🙂 It was a sweet little mini bagel. I now wish all bagels came in that size as I didn’t have to slice it to make it fit in the toaster. And I covered it in Toffuti Better than Cream Cheese.

Mmmm, prasadam...

Being on vacation has been wonderful. It’s enabled me to relax, center myself, and detox from caffeine and oodles of processed foods. (Thank you evil yet convenient work vending machines.) This vacation has enabled me to spend some much needed time with my husband to as he took this week off with me. I have been working almost non stop since our honeymoon ended. The last six months have passed very fast and I don’t plan on letting this year pass nearly as fast. I am going to stop and smell the roses more often, or in this case stop and smell the Toll House Cookies.

Gooey....

I used the “official” Toll House Cookies recipe off the internet but instead of eggs I substituted flax seed meal and water and I added about a teaspoon of baking powder. They rose nicely in contrast to last time where they barely rose at all. Last time I made these cookies I used Egg Replacer mix and they were extremely dry so I believe the flax seeds and baking powder were a better choice but not the correct one. The cookies were crumbly this time and had a nice mealy taste to them due to the flax but they were not dry and hard. Next time I bake these cookies I will add apple sauce to moisten them up and see how that goes. If that fails I will substitute out the flax seeds and apple sauce with plain soy yogurt and see how they come out.

Here is the recipe.

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies:


2 1/4 Cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft butter (margarine)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (I used powdered Energy egg replacer)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (I left these out)

Combine flour, soda, and salt.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the egg substitute and beat once more. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: PREPARE dough as above. Spread into greased 15″x10″ jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

My fave coffee substitutes.

January 10, 2011 at 1:00 am | Posted in vegan | Leave a comment
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As a Hare Krishna devotee and health foodie I am not supposed to drink coffee. Oh but how I enjoy the aroma and taste of it. I have worked as a barista for Starbucks, Boudin Bakery, and Zen Coffeehouse and Bakery. This is about seven years of my life and I have grown rather affectionate towards coffee and its products specifically espresso and French Press coffee. As I have grown older (and wiser I hope) I have begun to notice negative side affects when drinking coffee such as: racing heart, sweating, and panic attacks. I have gone back and forth on the coffee front for about five years now and I think I have finally found a point of equilibrium where I am content. I drink the “real bean” only once in a while and very rarely start my day with a cup of Joe anymore. Now to get my coffee craving satisfied I drink Pero or Roastaroma . Of the two I think I prefer Pero because of its ease of use. Its powdered and very easy to make. Its simply roasted grains and chicory and tastes and smells like coffee. Right now I am drinking Pero mixed with dutch process baking chocolate, (unsweetened organic soy milk, and turbinado (vegan) sugar) and it makes a delish Cadillac. A Cadillac is coffee with hot chocolate mix stirred in. I remade this classic drink vegan and caffeine free.

My second favorite coffee substitute is Roastaroma by Celestial Seasonings. It smells like a very mild coffee and tastes the same. I prefer it at night or late afternoon when I am craving a cuppa something warm and roasty. I like to add a little cream and sugar or agave to it. For some reason I only sweeten my coffee substitutes, but I never ever sweeten real coffee. It just seems sacrilegious to me.

My third fave and honorable mention goes to Good Earth Original Caffeine Free Blend. It has a nice roasty flavor and doesn’t need any cream or sugar added to it, however it is a little sweet for my taste so I don’t drink it very much. My husband on the other hand is a big fan of it. Sometimes though I do get cravings for it and I like to bring packets of it to work with me in the morning

Do you drink coffee or coffee substitutes? What are your favorite brands?

Down home American cooking.

January 9, 2011 at 6:02 am | Posted in cooking, utah, vegan | Leave a comment
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Meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy. To me, that is about as American as it gets. Well, my husband had a craving for mashed potatoes with Isa’s Corn Gravy and I wanted some tempeh but was too lazy and impatient to make any that night so I made (un)meatloaf instead. This is some freaking delicious and healthy meatloaf. I made some minor changes to the recipe to make it resemble the one I grew up eating. Instead of garlic/onion powder I used hing and I substituted out the ketchup for the same amount of pasta sauce. (My mother would never put ketchup in her meatloaf, never.) I also added about a half teaspoon of liquid smoke in an effort to make it taste more meaty. It was nice and subtle. Next time I am going to try adding Worcestershire sauce and see what happens.

Recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan from “The Fiber for Life Cookbook”, also reprinted in “No More Bull!” by Howard F. Lyman

Yield: One 10-inch round loaf or one 9 x 5-inch rectangular loaf

2 C boiling water

Vegetarian bouillon for 4 cups broth (optional)

1/2 C ketchup

2 Tbs soy sauce

2 C textured soy protein granules

1/2 C oat bran

1/2 C wheat or rice bran

1/4 C ground flaxseeds

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil or roasted sesame oil (*I have omitted this before; no problem*)

1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp each: garlic granules, onion powder, and dried thyme (or other herb of choice) (Vaishnavas, sub out the unofferables for a large pinch of hing)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Ketchup, tomato sauce or barbecue sauce as topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, dissolve the bouillon in the boiling water. Add the ketchup and soy sauce. Add the soy protein and let stand 5 to 10 minutes, or until the liquid is all absorbed. Add the remaining ingredients, except the topping. Mix well. Pack into an oiled 10-inch shallow glass casserole, or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Spread the topping sauce over the top evenly. Bake for 45 minutes.

Oh, I had the pleasure of stopping by Cakewalk Vegan Bakery in Salt Lake City yesterday and I picked up the most delish eclair. Yes, Virginia, there is a vegan eclair! The eclair was amazing, and the filling was to die for. I regret only picking up one.

And the product I am reviewing this week is Roads End Spicy Nacho Chreese Dip. I was over at Cakewalk Bakery on Xmas eve with my husband picking up our holiday treat boxes order and I saw this dip and felt inspired to pick it up. They only had one bottle left so I took it home with me. It was so delicious. Nachos are my comfort food of choice and I really really like to dip my jalapeno kettle chips in nacho cheese dip also. This stuff rocks. You must buy some now. It tastes great and it has a great texture and the spicy flavor is actually spicy. I can pronounce most of the ingrediants too which is an added bonus. It is basically a thick nootch based sauce with jalapenos. Yum.

****** out of 5 (Yes, six out of five!)

Home cooked goodness.

January 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Posted in baking, cooking, Life, vegan | Leave a comment
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I took a week off work and it’s allowed me to cook again. 🙂 In the last three days I have made some pretty amazing meals: steamed veggies over a baked potato; Breakfast sandwiches; Raman with vegetarian beef balls; pizza (!!) with Daiya Cheese; and today’s lunch which was Southern Beans and Greens with cornbread. Not all of these meals even required a whole lot of planning or prep work and were just created out of things I happened to have in my pantry or fridge. The leftover steamed veggies were used as pizza toppings. I am addicted to eating REAL Asian Raman (not that Nissan crud with no taste, go to your Asian grocer and read the ingredients to make sure its vegetarian.) so I always have some in the pantry and I have some Vegetarian Beef Balls that I bought a while back and had no idea what to do with them. The Raman I ate yesterday was Beef Ball Flavored so I fried a few up and added them to the soup. The tofu in my breakfast sandwiches yesterday was also left over from when I made it last week for something else. And the greens I made today were Turnip Greens and the recipe called for Kale, but I used what I had on hand. It is not hard to eat a healthy balanced diet provided you always keep a stock of veggies and greens on hand.

Steamed veggies over a baked potato with nutritional yeast & olive oil.

Breakfast sandwich with baked tofu and tempeh bacon.

Vegetarian Beef Ball Raman Soup.

 

Homemade vegan cheese and veggie pizzas.

 

Southern Green Beans and Turnips with Cornbread.

And here are the recipes. The greens recipe is from the PCRM website and was todays recipe of the day on the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart that I am taking part of. I slightly modified the recipe by cooking it in a crockpot and substituting Turnip Greens for Kale. The cornbread came out of Skinny Bitch In The Kitch and is my favorite cornbread recipe as it halves easy, and is perfectly moist and a little sweet.

Southern Beans and Greens

Makes 4 servings

This traditional Southern combination creates a beautiful dish with a heavenly blend of flavors and a surprisingly meaty texture. Serve it with rice or another grain on the side. It also makes an excellent topping for warm corn bread, or a delicious filling for pita pockets, tortillas, or chapatis.

1 cup vegetable broth or water
3 cups drained cooked or canned beans (your choice of any kind)
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
4 cups chopped fresh kale, stems and center ribs removed, lightly packed
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste

Combine beans, broth or water, and garlic in a large saucepan. Place chopped kale on top of beans and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until kale is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in oil, salt, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce to taste.

Cornbread

  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Parmesan cheese to toss on top

Preheat oven to 425F.  Oil a 13×9-inch baking pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients.  In a blender, combine the milk, tofu oil and honey, pureeing until smooth.  Add the milk mixture to the cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake the cornbread until golden brown — about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cornbread from the pan and return to rack to cool completely.

Serves 6-8

The most perfect dinner ever

January 6, 2011 at 2:22 am | Posted in cooking, Life, vegan, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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It really was the most perfect dinner ever. Three courses, like real people eat: Smoky Grilled Tempeh out of Veganomicon, Swiss Chard, and Roasted Red Potatoes. Problem is that the pictures I took didn’t come out, well at all.

What are you planning on changing or doing in the year 2011? Are you making any new years resolutions? I am not making any resolutions, but I do have a few goals to meet by the end of the year.

1. Be a better devotee of Krishna, by this I mean chant more, attend the temple more (not necessarily Sunday programs, but go to do seva and classes).

2. Be a purer vegan, no more making exceptions about what I eat to be polite. My stomach can’t handle these exceptions.

3. Loose about 30 pounds. I just joined the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart with PCRM and return to the gym tomorrow after a very long absence.

Plantain Tacos and holiday eats.

December 30, 2010 at 2:37 am | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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Haribol! How were your holidays? Good I hope. Did you receive any vegan or vegetatrian gifts? I recieved a few. My mother in law blessed us with a crock pot and a dehydrator. I am so exited! My dear husband gave me this really cool Vegetarian/vegan hoodie and Isa’s new cookbook Appetite for Reduction. This is perfect crock pot weather and I have so many things to dehydrate!

Now that the new year is almost upon us a real blizzard has come to Utah. It snowed a couple of inches in the blink of an eye and it was snowing sideways! Now isn’t that crazy?

For Christmas we decided to forgo the Tofurky and have a Greek Feast! It was pretty good. We prepared falafel, hummus, tabouli, tzatziki, and gyros marinated tempeh. All in all it was a pretty nice alternative. For dessert we ate pastries from Cakewalk Bakery in Salt Lake.

I had a hard time finding a good  marinade recipe for the tempeh. Any suggestions?

A few weeks back we had a craving for tacos and we made Plantain and black bean tacos! Yum! These tacos are my fave quick lunch to make as if I already have some salsa and guacamole prepared I can get them ready in 30 minutes or less.

Thank you for reading! More exiting meals to come!

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

December 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 1 Comment
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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those foods that is traditionally thought of to be meat laden and very heavy, however I am lucky enough to have no pre-conceptions of how one should taste as I never once ate a Shepherd’s Pie growing up. Many traditionally meaty foods I have never eaten until I was vegan.  My first Shepherd’s Pie experience was from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. Oh how I miss shopping at Traders. Why there are none in Utah is beyond me. It was sooooo good! It had tvp inside and mashed potatoes on the outside. I lived off them for an entire winter, and then like most foods I am obsessed with from Traders they just stopped stocking them one day and they never returned. Fast forward to last winter. Vegetarian Times magazine had an amazing recipe post for Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. It is one of my husbands favorite dishes that I make. The filling is turnips and cannelloni beans. Yum!

Today’s item review is for Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Cheese Slices, American flavor.

I like these a lot, especially since they have been reformulated. They are easy to find and have a nice texture very similar to real processed cheese slices. I haven’t yet  tried to eat them out of the plastic by themselves yet. This vegan cheese tastes great and has a nice melt to it. I put them on everything: veggie burgers, sandwiches, etc…I do however wish for a Jalapeno Jack flavor though…. 🙂

***** out of 5 stars

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