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.

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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.

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!)

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

Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce

December 14, 2010 at 12:59 am | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan | Leave a comment
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I am trying to be more frugal and make wiser grocery store trips. I am upset that food gets wasted and decided to write a meal list for two weeks and try to target 7 dishes. The meal list is as follows: Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie , Cauliflower Mash, Mexican Food, Masala Cornmeal Brussels Sprouts , Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce, Mustard Sauce, and Chickpea Tagine.    Sone of these I have made a million times with consistent success last winter so they were easy choices: Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie, Mexican Food, and the Chickpea Tagine. The rest of these just looked good and had economical ingredients.

So far I have made the Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce. It was pretty good, but my husband liked it more than I did. I also think it would have tasted better if I had followed it as written, with real cream cheese. I used Tofutti cream cheese which I don’t think tastes very much like cream cheese but I use anyways. The sauce just tasted a little off to me, but in all it was a satisfying meal in 30 minutes.

I recently had a lucky find at the grocery store, some biscuit cutters with fluted edges. They were inexpensive and I was so exited! I decided to break them in last week and made biscuits and gravy with tvp sausage. This was my first time using all purpose wheat flour instead of pastry flour on the biscuits. They were good and tasty, but I prefer a flakier biscuit so back to pastry flour. I found the most amazing white gravy recipe on Chez Bettay The Vegan Gourmet. I prefer to make my own soy crumbles out of tvp, but in a pinch breaking up patties would work pretty nice too.

Stuff we have tried lately.

The Sweet and Sour stuff was good. It tasted a lot like all the other vegan “meat” we get from the Asian grocery store. We were not in the mood to eat any grains the night we ate this so we put it on top steamed broccoli and zucchini. These fake meats are nice to have around the house for work nights and lunches on days off. I just microwave them for 2 minutes.

The product I am reviewing this week is Smart Deli Turkey Slices. Yum! I eat these alot and they taste great and are inexpensive. They are also pretty easy to find as I see this brand whenever I go to a major grocery store like Smiths or Wynco.

**** 4 out of 5 stars

They reminded me of pork chops…

December 5, 2010 at 2:07 am | Posted in cats, cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 2 Comments
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I made seitan cutlets for the first time a few nights ago.  They were pretty good, but I made them a little chewy, and when I took them out of the oven I remarked to my husband that well, they look a little bit like pork chops. They were small and kinda round, and had a brownish tint to them. Well, I fried them in a little oil and served them up with some Spicy Boiled Collards and realized that they had a similar texture to the pork chops I remember eating as a kid- chewy. CHEWY. I was sad. Next time I’ll add a bit more water to the initial gluten mixture in the hopes that they are not chewy. I followed the recipe to the letter, and have I ever mentioned that I am not always good at taking instruction? I’ll keep you updated on the seitan cutlets when attempt two happens. Still, not bad for a first try.

See what I mean?

Does anyone here use Mimic Cream? I read about it on one of my fave blogs, Veganize it… Don’t Criticize it! And I can’t wait to try it. Apparently Good Earth in Provo sells it.

Down home vegan

December 2, 2010 at 3:46 am | Posted in cats, cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 3 Comments
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Wow, tonight’s dinner was so good I had to blog about it when it was still fresh in my mind. I made Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh with mashed potatoes smothered in Jalapeno Corn Gravy. Wow, talk about delish broke food. 🙂

Both recipes come from Veganomicon. (Normally I would just embed links for everything, but the link thing on WordPress is still broken.)

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce package of tempeh

1/2 cup broth
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
hing
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.

Cut the tempeh in half widthwise then cut each of those squares diagonally to form 4 large triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.

Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. To grease it, brush lightly with olive oil or if you have a spray bottle of olive oil, that works, too. (Get a spray bottle of olive oil already!)

Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Alternative broiling instructions:
Preheat the oven broiler. Place tempeh in a rimmed pan (I like to use my cast iron pan for such purposes). Spoon some of the marinade over it and broil for 5 minutes. Flip it and spoon some more marinade over it and cook for another 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Jalapeno Corn Gravy

Ingredients:

1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
hing
2 jalapenos, diced
2 cups corn
1/4 cup milk (I used almond)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Saute the hing and jalapenos in the oil for 5 minutes, until soft.
Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes.
Mix cornstarch and broth together in a bowl. Add broth mix and milk to pan, stir, and let thicken for four minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer to blender or food processor and puree. Add lemon juice to taste.

I felt like such a grownup eating this.

Things soon to come: seitan, more greens, and fudge!

Something to be thankful for…

December 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Posted in baking, cooking, Life, vegan, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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A vegan Thanksgiving is something I am sure that the animals are thankful for. Our Thanksgiving was 99.999% vegan as I used Amy’s Semi-condensed Mushroom Soup for the green bean casserole which had a little bit of butter in it. I was afraid of using a non-condensed soup in my casserole as normally make this dish traditionally with  Cream of Mushroom soup and make it my one non-vegan meal of the year. I subbed out silken tofu for the cream. My husband liked it, but I thought it was a little bit off. Hopefully It’ll come out better for Christmas.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Cranberry Chutney made by my dear husband. 🙂

Cranberry Chutney Rules! Perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

Note to self, put more marinade in next time. The taters stuck to the dish.

Green bean casserole.

Mashed squash, yum! Also my husbands idea.

Dinner, is served.

Thanksgiving dinner was great. A few things I feel the need to improve- such as the Tofurky. I have cooked many a Tofurky in the past and I have never had one dry out on me like it did this year. I guess I just need to use more basting sauce next time. I thought I used enough, but I guess I was wrong. I also forgot to buy carrots to put with the potatoes and that was a real bummer. I also need to find a solution to my green bean casserole crises. To me, it just isn’t a holiday dinner without it and I want it to be both vegan and flavorful. For all the flavor and texture I lost I almost wish I’d just made it the normal way with the canned cream of mushroom soup. I don’t want to make it gourmet or sophisticated or anything, I just want it tasty and vegan. Any suggestions folks?

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