Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Stuff and Things

So we're leaving for Oregon for 3 weeks this coming Saturday. This forced us to be very very mindful of using things up before we go! Because of this (and because I'm on this crazy declutter/budget/simplify-your-life jag) we made up a weekly meal plan! And I'm going to try to stick to it, by gum!

What we've had so far:

Tofu scramble
Herb Roasted Red Potatoes
Toast with Earth Balance

Leftover pizza from Friday night (doh! not vegan. They were out of soy cheese and we were des.per.ate.)

Peanut Red Curry with onions, peas, and carrots over brown rice
Spinach Salad

Newman's Ginger-O's (those things are the DEVIL! but vegan!)


Toast with Cashew Butter (YUM!)

Bow Tie Pasta with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Garlic Olive Oil
Ginger O's

Berry Berry Juice from local juice joint (vegan) - Chad and I split one

Almost Irish Stew (from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker) - uses up the navy beans I made last week, the chicken style seitan we needed to use, baby carrots, red potatoes, a can of green beans, onion, garlic, broth and spices. My house smells soooo good right now!

Coming up this week:

Monday: Magical Loaf Studio Loaf, Leftover Roasted Potatoes

Tuesday: Chilli Con Bulgar from La Dolce Vegan!, Garlic Toast, spinach salad

Wednesday: Tofurkey-Avocado Reubens, bread and butter pickles, spinach salad

Thursday: Either Biscuits and Gravy or Tempeh BLT's

Friday: EAT OUT

Lunch for each day will be leftovers from the day before or Cashew Butter and Apricot Jam sandwiches. We also have the fixins for some smoothies, cuz we need to use up our jug-o-juice!

Can she actually stick to the meal plan? Will this change her life forever? Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some catch-up

Well, the baby's been keeping me busy lately and I haven't had time to post. But I've still been cooking up a storm! Some highlights from the past few weeks:

From Vegan with a Vengeance:

-Breakfast Potatoes - sooo good! The onion in the recipe turns caramalized and in some cases black which looks scary but is so tasty. Chad was avoiding them until I clued him in on the delicious factor. Takes some forethought because they take about an hour in the oven, but worth the effort.

-Maple Walnut Cookies - OMG OMG OMG I think I peed a little these are so good! Will definitely make these again. And again. And again! The only oddball ingredient you need is maple extract, which we luckily had on had for the pumpkin "cheesecake".

-Tofu Scramble - So I make tofu scramble all the time, but I decided, what the hay, I'll give this "recipe" a try. Really glad I did, because yumm-o! It seems to take a teensy bit longer than I would normally take with a scramble, but the flavor was fab.

-Baking Powder Biscuits with White Bean Tempeh Sausage Gravy - YUM. YUM. YUM. I make these biscuits all the time, they are so easy and so tender and delicious. The gravy has such amazing flavor, with fennel and sage and basil and marjoram - and a little red pepper flake for a kick in the pants! This recipe takes a little longer than my normal get-food-ready-before-baby-freaks-out time limit (about 45 mins-1 hr) but so worth it.

-Coconut Heaven Cupcakes - Holy crap, so tender and light and fluffy! I want to eat these everyday. Easy to make, too.

Other stuff we've been eating:

-Tempeh Avocado Ruebens - we can't get enough of these things! I even made homemade (well, bread machine) Rye Bread for them. I love fresh bread! Serve these babies with bread and butter pickles and some Tings.

-Slow Cooker Navy Beans - Yes! I finally made beans in the crock pot and it was not such a long tedious process as I previously thought. I soaked the beans all day the day before, cooked them overnight and they were ready for a recipe the next morning! Yee-friggin'-haw! These beans so far have been transformed into the white bean gravy and:

-Maple Baked Beans - From Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Pretty good overall! We had these with veggie hotdogs cut-up (Polka-Dot Beans) and it was good, but the hot dogs had a stale taste to me. Maybe we'll try different dogs next time.

-A new incarnation of the Magical Loaf Studio loaves we've made in the past. Tasty, as always!

In other news, we tried some of the Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourment "cheese" - cheddar style. EWWWWW. So wrong. I took a tiny taste, gagged and spit that gunk out. I had previously read really good things about it, but alas it was not to be.

This week I acquired a new toy: The Braun Multiquick Hand Blender/Chopper. I've had my eye on one of these things for a while. I've always wanted to be able to "cream" soups without getting the blender (and usually my kitchen floor) dirty. Also, it's going to come in verrrry handy when I make my own baby food - just blend right in the cooking pan instead of getting the food processor dirty! Way easier to clean than the respective blender or processor. Yay! I haven't tried it out yet, but I'll report back after testing.

Some goals for the future week:
  • Make more fresh bread
  • Make more slow cooker beans
  • Make pizza dough in the bread machine
  • Make split pea soup (mostly so I can try my hand blender!)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tofurkey Day!

Mmmm, I loves me some thanksgiving! How can you top a holiday where you reflect on what you're thankful for in your life and then cook and eat fabulous food? We never even got dressed or left the house once! It was a fabulous day.

We also adopted/sponsored a turkey through the Farm Sanctuary. Isn't Hildy cute?!?
We had a 99% vegan holiday, enjoyed by just my husband, our son (who doesn't actually eat food yet) and myself. It was low-key, fun and fabulous!

The menu:

Tofurkey Roast
Basted with olive oil, Braggs liquid aminos, and poultry seasoning. I think this was the best Tofurkey I've ever had! Tender and salty and delicious.

Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
We added some Tofutti Sour Supreme to the mashers to make them extra-creamy! The mushroom gravy recipe was from La Dolce Vegan, I believe it was called "Malloreigh's Mushroom Gravy" or something like that. It was really good and soooo easy to make! I'm pretty sure that short of premade/instant gravy, this was the easiest gravy recipe I've every made.

Cornbread Stuffing
I used Wolffie's "Buttermilk" Cornbread recipe from La Dolce Vegan except I made it in the cast iron skillet, which is my usual preferred method for cornbread. However, this made it a little bit drier than I would have liked, so next time I'll probably just bake it in the pan as recommended. But the stuffing was fabulous! I used Bryanna's recipe.

Ok, I know with a name like "Crapple," this dish deserves some explanation. It's actually called something like "Cranberry Apple Dish" or something, but one thanksgiving my mother hilarioulsy and accidentally renamed it when she offered one of our guests some "crapple."


1 can cranberry jelly
2 C of cored, peeled & chopped apples
1 ½ C quick oatmeal (uncooked) (I've used regular oats and they work fine, too)
¾ C Brown sugar
½ C flour (scant)
1 stick melted vegan margerine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

Mix jelly & apples & put in baking dish. Mix topping & put on jelly & apple mixture. Pour melted margerine over top & bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Can also top with 1/3 C pecans.

OMG crapple is so good, we had some for breakfast this morning!

Potato-Rosemary Rolls
(the slightly unvegan item)
We made these rolls last year, and they are soooooo good and easy, especially if you have a bread machine. The only thing is they were un-vegan, because a) I don't know what to replace nonfat dry milk with and b)I kind of want to use up the dry milk and c)they also had some unvegan instant mashed potatoes in them that I wanted to use up. But they could probably be totally vegan with no prob if you used Barbara's instant mashed potatoes and maybe just skipped the dry milk altogether? Maybe someone out there knows a replacement for dry milk and will write in a tell me!

Cran-Orange Relish

Chad makes this concoction of fresh cranberries, whole oranges (peels and all!) and sugar in the food processor. Adjust to taste, and enjoy!

Pumpkin-Tofu Cheesecake
Oh I was so excited/nervous about this "cheese"cake! It is out of La Dolce Vegan, and the description said that it had fooled omnivores in the past, but I was still a little skeptical since it was all tofu and no tofutti cream cheese. But it was realllly good! I can't wait to have some more. Maybe now is a good time for more. Now? Ok, how bout now?

This was also super easy, involving mostly just the food processor and a springform pan. I would definitely make it again.

And that's it! Oh, we did have some red wine, too. Yay for Thanksgiving! And yay for all of our leftovers!!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So I was away for two weeks in Oregon helping my Mom recover from surgery (double mastectomy, in case you were wondering).

I was as vegan as possible, which wasn't very much. Partly out of laziness, partly out of trying not to stress my parents out even more during a difficult time.

I feel good being home and back to the vegan-ness though. I was feeling pretty yicked out by the end of the trip.


I've been cooking up a storm lately. Here's what we've been eating:

Breakfast: brunch fiasco, can never speak of this again. Just know that eating out Sunday morning in Michigan is not for the faint of heart.

Lunch: Chili Con Bulger and Baking Powder Biscuits, both from La Dolce Vegan.
YUM! We improvised a little since we had little in the way of fresh vegetables, but it came out reallllly good. We added an extra can of beans, and about 1/8 tsp of chipotle powder and it was fabulous.

Dinner: Nachos using blue corn chips and our chili from lunch, some tofutti sour cream (a little sketchy - probably better in recipes than straight) and some smoked tillamook cheddar we are trying to use up.

Monday - Chad took the day off work to make sure he wasn't getting sick and to hang out with us, so it was like Sunday all over!

Breakfast: Freedom French Toast from La Dolce Vegan. Trader Joe's Breakfast Patties (vegan, yay!)
OMG, yum!!! Best french toast I've had in a long time. I'm not such a french toast fan in general, but Chad loves the stuff, and it got 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up from him. The key here for us was to a) not cover it like the directions said b)only use low heat (around 2.4 on our stove) and c)use a little "butter" to grease the pan each time. The first piece was a disaster from too high heat, but the rest just kept getting better and better!

Lunch: Leftover Chili and biscuits

Dinner: Tofurkey Avocado Reubens.
OMG so freaking good, we thought we would both die. We adapted the PETA Avocado Reuben recipe by adding Hickory Smoked Tofurkey to the mix and leaving the avocado sliced instead of mashed. Chad and I both agreed that we seriously did not miss the cheese at all and that these were some of the best darn Reubens we had ever had. In fact, we liked them so much we had them again for lunch today!

Dessert: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting
Ok, these are pretty good, but not the best ever. The cupcakes themselves are good, it's the frosting that skeeves me out a little. The fact that it has shortening in it and little flavoring per se just leaves me feeling slightly greasy when I'm done eating them. Next time I think I would try another frosting recipe, like maybe straight vanilla.

Ok Silas is hungry now and I hate typing with one hand!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A day of weird eats

But here it is, anyway!

Tofu scramble (mushrooms, pepper, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomato with a little braggs, pizza and grill seasonings.) YUM.
Whole grain toast with Earth Balance spread.
8 oz OJ
8 oz Apple cider
Pero (coffee-like grain beverage) with Silk soy creamer and sugar

Two pieces of toasted whole grain bread with peanut butter, bananas and a wee bit of honey.

1 whole wheat pita, toasted

Morningstar Chik'n strips sauteed with mushrooms and steamed broccoli
Quinoa (leftover from Sunday)

Vegan Pistachio Mystic cookie (yumm-o!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, Monday

Yesterday I made some delicious homemade hummus, recipe courtesy of Sara at Happy Foody. YUM! I ate a bunch with whole wheat pretzel sticks from TJs and then had some on a sandwhich for dinner.

It was kind of a light cooking day, babies weren't in the mood to be in the kitchen. :/

3/4 C Homemade Granola
3/4 C Vanilla Soymilk
1/2 C Fresh Raspberries

Leftover Baking Powder Biscuits and Tempeh-White Bean Gravy (from Vegan with a Vengeance) YUMYUMYUM!

Hummus with Pretzel Sticks

1/2 Whole Wheat Pita
1/2 Avocado
1 C Baby Spinach
1/2 Can Lentil Soup

Apple Raspberry Crisp
Vanilla Soy Delicious Ice Cream

Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekend Catch-up!

It's really hard to find time everyday to post, with a baby and with Blogger being so g*dd*mn freaking slow to load! Sheesh!

We had a mostly vegan weekend. Still using up some of our dairy products (out of milk and I think we have 1.5 sticks of real butter left. Quite a bit of cheese still around, though.)

I can't really remember my whole menus for Thursday or Friday, but I do know that on Friday I made Couscous Porridge for breakfast, out of In the Garden of Vegan. It was couscous, soymilk, dried apricots, cashews and dried coconut. And a titch of maple syrup. YUM!

Saturday, 10/21/06
8 oz Odwalla Protein Shake
1 Bagel with hummus, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato
8 oz Decaf with sugar

Leftover Thai Red Curry with Tofu, peppers, onions, spinach, fresh peas over brown rice (YUM)

Gardenburger Chick'n Patty
Steamed broccoli with butter and garlic
Freshly made Roasted Applesauce (Vegan with a Vengeance) - YUM

Freshly made Apple-Raspberry Crisp (vegan!) with Vanilla Purely Decadent Soy Delicious

Sunday, 10/22/06
3/4 C Homemade Granola (Mothering magazine recipe - contains butter)
3/4 C Vanilla Soymilk
1/2 C fresh Raspberries

Trader Joe's Frozen Pizza (1 of 2 left - non-vegan)
Apple Raspberry Crisp

1/2 Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup and Dried Cherries
1 C Quinoa (cooked in Veggie Broth, with butter)
4 oz Glazed Tempeh
2 raw Carrots

6 oz decaf with raw sugar
1.5 peanut butter oatmeal cookies
8 oz soymilk

Overall it was pretty successful. We also bought Becoming Vegan by Davis and Melina, so I'm schooling myself on vegan nutrition, yay! And we bought La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer, and I can't wait to break into some of those recipes.

We've decided to give seitan another shot - I don't think I've had it in like 10 years, so it must have improved, right?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So I'm totally obsessed with food. Not in a bad, eating-disorder type way, I just really love to cook and eat. Other than being a new mama, it's probably my number-one obsession right now.

I have a long history with vegetarianism and veganism. I was vegetarian many times growing up, and while my family was pretty supportive, my dad is and remains a very meat-and-potatoes type of guy, and we never had a ton in the way of fresh vegetables (mostly canned or frozen) so until I was older and cooking for myself, it was hard for me to stick it out. I went from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan very quickly around age 17, and remained vegan for almost two years. Things got really hairy when I moved into my college dorm. I'm a BIG fan of variety (I'm kind of bad at eating leftovers unless I can transform them from their original incarnation) and eating cilantro pesto pasta multiple times a week got really, really old. Oh and there were absolutely NO cooking facilities in our dorms. So I went back to plain old vegetarianism for my psychic health, if nothing else. I remained so until just last Christmas, when at the ripe old age of 27 I craved the fat-salt-protein of meat - which I blame on raging pregnancy hormones, since I was about 4 months pregnant at the time. I remained an omnivore until very recently (about 3.5 months post-partum), when I learned that my mother has breast cancer - again. That was it for me. I went back to vegetarianism, which wasn't hard at all, and now I'm researching and psyching myself up for the vegan way of life as well. I know my family is going to be thinking "OY! Not the no-cheese thing AGAIN!" but I've seen and read too much about all of the health/environmental/animal suffering arguments to do anything else.

My husband is supportive and will play along (he's been a vegetarian for like 13 years) but he has no intention of being strict about the veganism. I'm not sure how strict I'll be either. And thus, this blog was born!

I intend to chronicle my food joys and sorrows here, the successes and failures, the ecstasy and the misery. If nothing else, it will remind me of good recipes to make again! In all my cookbook-lust, sometimes I make something that's great and then forget all about it. And hopefully I can see just where I stand on my committment to veganism.

Oh, I should mention that I abhor wasting food, so we intend to finish up all the food we have on hand (cheese, yogurt, frozen pizzas, lasagne, and stroganoff - all veggie but not vegan) before we replace them with vegan alternatives. So I have to use up my 2 last sticks of butter before I buy the Earth Balance, knowwhatimean?

So this is my adventure - exploring the world of veganism from several angles, learning all I can to hopefully make this a permanent choice for myself, my husband and my son.

Food Log for 10/18/06
Warmed up Baking Powder Biscuits with Tempeh-White Bean Gravy (from Vegan with a Vengeance - YUM!!!! Will definitely make this again). Used up some butter in the biscuit recipe.

Met Chad for Lunch at Family Dining type of establishment. LIMITED options.
Hummus and pita
Grilled veggie sandwich on foccacia (Not terrible, but eggplant was pretty inedible.)

Honeybaked Lentils (YUM! So easy and delicious)
Brown Rice
Green Salad
Pumpkin Muffin (out of Vegan with a Vengeance - best damn muffins under the sun!) with a scoop of Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Dessert #2: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (also out of Vegan with a Vengeance - will defnitely make these again, too)