11 November 2012

Butternut squash sauce over pasta

Today I was planning on going up to school to get some work done. Instead, I finished watching Breaking Bad and I answered e-mails from my advisor. I did get a lot of work done and because I was at home, I had the luxury of cooking something tasty for lunch.

I had two butternut squashes in my cupboard from our produce delivery that needed to be used up. I found a recipe for Smokey Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese at Manifest Vegan when I was looking through recipes I had starred in my Google Reader.

Notes
I loved this. Instead of using the smoked paprika, I added 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce. I added some sriricha sauce because I wanted a bit more heat. I wanted a cheezier flavour, so I added about double the nutritional yeast called for, but it never got the flavour I wanted. I also use whole wheat rotini instead of gluten free pasta.

When my husband came home from his brewery tour, he finished off the rest of my portion and asked if I would boil him more pasta. I guess it is a winner.

09 November 2012

Butternut Squash Stacks

I have been playing around with more raw food recipes lately. I enjoy the freshness of raw food and I think SOME of the philosophy behind eating raw foods is compelling. Anyway, so I have been dabbling here and there with recipes. I tried to follow this raw food recipe from Callie England for these stacks, but I couldn't get the butternut squash soft enough to chew through. I ended up boiling the butternut squash for a few minutes in order to eat it.




Notes
These were super duper tasty! The cat came over to sniff them and ended up licking up some of the spinach filling. She is so weird.

I did boil the squash for a bit too long, so it became a tad mushy. Overall, pretty good.

08 November 2012

Beer brewing/pumpkin carving party food spread

My husband brews beer. Every few weeks he has his brew buddies over to brew a new batch. He has gotten very technical with all of it and now our basement is filled with two chest freezers with temperature controllers to have the beer brew and condition at the proper temperature as well as a lot of other peripheral brew equipment. The newest piece of equipment saw its debut a few weeks ago. We had a group of people (mostly physicists) over for beer brewing and pumpkin carving. The equipment is a plate chiller and is used to cool the boiling wort to yeast pitching temperature. Unfortunately, we didn't have the proper fittings to hook the hose onto the plate chiller, so they brainstormed and came up with a way to gravity feed the water from our second floor bedroom through the plate chiller to cool the beer. You can see pictures of this adventure at my friend, Robert's, blog. After all the shenanigans, I was glad I made a lot of food!


The entire spread


Dehydrated banana bread, from Practically Raw
It tastes just like banana bread, and only has a few ingrediants. Delicious!


Chocolate kale chips, also from Practically Raw
This is a pretty similar recipe, although I used raw cashews, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and no chia seeds or lemon juice. The massaging of the kale took the longest time. These taste like crispy bits of chocolate. You cannot taste the kale at all. The Practically Raw cookbook has an entire chapter on kale chips and another one on hummus. It is a fantastic book. I need to just buy it, I have been using the library copy for the past few months. The perk of being a graduate student, I get to check out books for as long as I desire.


Hummus, baba ganoush, pineapple, guacamole
All pretty standard recipes.


Homemade pita bread
I used a recipe from Whole Foods for the Whole Family and cooked them on a cast iron griddle in a 400 degree oven. I had the oven heating up to 500 degrees, but the smoke detector went off. Obviously, something was burning off the pan, but 400 degrees worked out fine. I got into quite a rhythm while I was making them. I divided them out into 12 balls. Rolled one ball out into a round with the rolling pin. Put it in the oven. Rolled out the next ball. Turned the first pita over. Put the second one in the oven. Roll out the next ball. Take the first pita out of the oven. Turn the second one over. Put the third one in the oven. I was so happy that these actually puffed up in the oven, it was great and amazing.



Notes
Everyone enjoyed the spread and we only had minimal leftovers. I would say the day was a hit!

The day after the beer brewing/pumpking carving, we were hit with the outskirts of Sandy. School was cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, but there wasn't a lot of damage in the area, thank goodness, and we never lost power. We did, however, see a pack of wild turkeys wander in our backyard during the worst of the wind and rain. They hung out for an hour and then moved onto whereever they were going.

07 November 2012

Chickpea "Omlette" pancake thing - pudla

I have now tried two recipes involving chickpea flour to mimic an omlette texture and I do have to say - it is really tasty. The first one I tried was based on a recipe from Vegan Richa. The second one I tried was from Kittee Kate. The recipes are slightly different, but both my husband and I enjoyed them throughly!



Notes
Would very very very much make again. I had to cook them for a while to make sure they were cooked through, but it was so so worth it. The perfect thing about these recipes is you can use them with practically any vegetables you need to use. Try one of the recipes today!

25 October 2012

Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Today, I was working from home because we needed to take our kitty to the vet. Nothing major, but she is 20 years old and needs a check up every so often.

I'm almost convinced that this cat is going to live forever.


Taken with my Rolleiflex camera. I just needed to adjust the focus a biiiiit more.

Anyway, so both my husband and I were at home today, he is trying to get over sickness and I was trying to work in a quiet environment. I looked at the clock and realised that we hadn't had lunch yet and it was almost time to go to the vet. I looked through our fridge and decided on rice noodles with peanut sauce. I have been craving Thai food lately and none of the "Thai" restaurants around here are cutting it. While this isn't even remotely authentic, it fulfilled a bit of my noodle craving.

Ingredients
rice noodles
vegetables (I used onion, garlic, carrot, broccoli)

peanut butter
sriracha sauce
hoisin/oyster/black bean/other dark sauce to give a little umami taste
hot water, to blend

Method
Boil enough water to cover the rice noodles. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cover for 5 - 8 minutes until almost done.

In a wok or frying pan, saute onion and garlic with olive oil until softened. Add carrots and broccoli (and whatever other vegetables you want, unless it is a green - spinach, kale, etc - add that at the very end) and any water to make it not stick to the bottom and to steam the vegetables a bit.

While the vegetables are cooking, make the peanut sauce. I used about 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter with a few squirts of sriracha and a few drops of oyster sauce, and added enough hot water to make a thin, whiskable sauce.

When the noodles are almost done, add to the pan with the vegetables. Add the peanut sauce and stir until everything is coated. Cook everything together until the noodles and vegetables are the desired tenderness. Add water to prevent too much sticking.


Notes
Both of us thought this was good. I didn't think it was "good" food, but it was exactly what I wanted, so it was great and quick.

19 October 2012

Falafel and tzatziki sauce

Wednesday, I got home after my zumba class and I needed to eat. I was trying to decide if I should just heat up a can of soup or go with the original plan of making falafel. I decided that I would be much happier with falafel.

This is based on the recipe from Rabbit Food cookbook, which is a fabulous cookbook.

Ingredients
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 red onion, diced,
3 - 4 garlic, diced (I love a lot of garlic flavour)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup flour
lemon juice
cumin
cayenne pepper
black pepper
salt

plain coconut yogurt, this was a tad bit too sweet
1/4 cup diced cucumber
lemon juice

tomato slices
cucumber slices
pickles
lettuce
sriracha sauce

pita bread or tortillas

Method
Using a potato masher or food processor, mash up the chickpeas until there are no whole ones left. Usually I use the food processor, but I didn't want to dirty up the food processor bowl, so I used the potato masher and it works okay. Make sure that all the other ingredients are diced very very small. Add all the other ingredients and mix until evenly distributed. The mixture should be able to stick together when pressed.

Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You can also deep fry or bake the falafel, but I prefer to shallow fry them in a skillet. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure out a 1/4 cup and mash into about a 6 cm diameter patty. Place on the skillet and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Continue making patties until the mixture is gone. I made about 8 patties.

To make the tzatziki sauce, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, and lemon juice. Set aside to let the flavours blend.

To serve, heat the bread or tortillas until warm and pliable. Place 2 patties in the center and add the tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, pickles, sriracha, and tzatziki.

Notes
These were surprising good. The recipe is so simple and came out really well. The patties didn't get hard the way they do when falafel is fried, and even though the fell apart a bit, they were still good. My husband had already had dinner, but he kept stealing bites because he liked it so much. We ate the leftovers for lunch on Thursday and they were still quite tasty.

18 October 2012

Homemade Tortillas and tacos

The other day, we had leftover TVP after making vegan nachos with the vegan cheese dip I posted about previously. I decided that tacos would be good, but we didn't have tortillas. I followed a recipe Whole Foods for the Whole Family (which has Bryanna Clark Gordon as a co-editor. I'm sure it was her to help push for the few tofu recipes in there. Over all a fantastic cookbook.)




Ingredients
2 cups white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water


Method
In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt together until the salt is evenly distributed. Cut in the shortening until there are little balls of shortening throughout the flour mixture. Mix in just enough water for a slightly sticky dough and knead for a few minutes. Let sit, covered for about 15 minutes.

Heat up a cast iron griddle pan or skillet over medium heat. You can spread on a bit of oil or other fat, but my pan is virtually non-stick. Divide the dough into 6 - 8 dough balls. Roll out the balls on a lightly floured surface until very thin, 3 - 4 mm thick. Place the tortilla on the pan. Bubbles should begin to form, I usually use a spatula to press down the bubbles and allow the entire tortilla to touch the hot pan surface. It should take about 1 minute on the first side about no more than 20 seconds to cook on the opposite side. Remove from heat and place under a towel to keep warm. Repeat for remaining dough balls.




Notes
We served this with seasoned TVP, guacamole, and habanero hot sauce. Both my husband and I loved the tortillas. I was getting the hang of rolling them out thin enough by the end and it was much easier to roll them up. We are not considering getting a tortilla press, but I should probably see if making tortillas is going to become a regular thing before I purchase more kitchen equipment.

15 October 2012

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Last week, a friend I work with gave me two beautiful eggplants from her garden and last night I decided to make vegan eggplant Parmesan.

I used the recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Blog. When this recipe was first published in 2006, I made it and it was the first time I had made anything with nutritional yeast. Although, I loved the sauce when I made it then, it has taken me a while (6 years!) to come to really love the "nooch".

Things that I changed about this recipe:
My eggplants were small, so I wish I had more of them and that I had sliced them thicker - I think 1/4 inch was too thin.

I skipped salting the eggplant, and I cooked the rounds in my cast iron skillet instead of in the oven.

I used a store bought jar of marinara sauce instead of making my own.

I didn't have any tofu, so I substituted 1/2 cup of cashews that had soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes. I made sure to blend for a bit longer to make sure the cashews were all broken up. Even so, the cheese sauce was a bit granular.

I skipped the vegan parm or ground almonds.

We had some leftover TVP in the fridge, so we put that on top with the bread crumbs.

Notes
I did not take a picture because it looks like glop. Delicious, yes, but not aesthetically appetizing.

Both my husband and I loved this. And the leftovers I ate tonight for dinner were probably even better. If you have eggplants around, I recommend you making this forthwith. It came together pretty quickly and was super tasty!

02 October 2012

Tofu Scramble

Last Thursday, I woke up early enough to have a leisurely breakfast while my husband was still sleeping. We had some tofu in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I made a tofu scramble. My throat also started hurting that day, so I thought I would try and soothe it with some hot water, lemon, and honey tea.

Tofu-Scramble

Ingredients
extra-firm tofu
onions
garlic
spices - chipotle powder, salt, pepper, rosemary
kale
hot sauce


Method
 Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until browned.  Crumble up the tofu into little bits until it looks like scramble egg.  Stir to mix up the tofu, onion, garlic, olive oil.  Add spices, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, etc - anything you think would taste good on the "eggs".  You can even add black salt at the end.  It gives a sulphur flavour that is reminiscent of eggs.  A few minutes before everything is to your liking, add the chopped kale, pour a tablespoon or so of water in the pan and over with a lid.  Allow the kale to steam for a few minutes until tender.  Mix everything together, taste for seasoning, and serve with a delicious hot sauce.


habanero-hot-sauce

I picked up this  hot sauce at the grocery store randomly a few months ago and just got around to trying it.  I love it.  It has heat AND it has flavour.

Notes
This was very good. I haven't made a tofu scramble in a while and it was exactly what I wanted. I served it with some Tuscan bread from the new Trader Joe's!

DSCF2061

The cat has been a good cuddle buddy while I have been sick the last few days.

26 September 2012

What I ate Wednesday

I thought I would document what I ate today, for funsies.

Breakfast, part 1: Strawberry, banana, raspberry, almond smoothie

After drinking my smoothie, right as I was getting up to school, I could feel my blood sugar drop and I needed something a bit more substantial to eat.

Breakfast, part 2: Everything bagel with hummus and sriracha

Lunch, after eating some dill pickle chips and pumpkin ice cream (not shown)

Carrot sticks, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, banana chips, pear, chocolate, mini bell peppers stuffed with cashew cheese

Dinner: Rice noodles, broccoli, tofu, peanut sauce


Notes
This is a typical day of food I eat. I also had some Teeccino Chai herbal coffee today and of course a lot of water.









19 September 2012

Wine and vegan cheese night

I was going to link to my recipe for cashew cheese in my previous post and I realised I had never posted it!

About a month ago, I invited a few friends over for a wine and vegan cheese night. It was a lot of fun. I made "nacho cheese", herbed cashew cheese, and dehydrated cashew cheese. The nacho cheese was the favourite of the evening, which was surprising to me.


Vegan Nacho Cheese
Ingredients
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
about 1 cup water (add more to get to desired consistency

Everything else is up to you, what I added:
diced garden tomatoes
chipotle powder
salt
black pepper
habanero hot sauce
3/4 of a can of diced green chilies
a dash of olive oil

Method
In a medium sauce pan, whisk the flour and nutritional yeast together. Add the water and whisk over medium heat until combined. Whisk in the other ingredients. Taste constantly to get to taste how you want it to. Add more water if needed. Heat until hot and bubbly. I think next time, I'll make it in the 1.5 quart slow cooker to keep it warm.


Cashew Cheese
Ingredients
1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 - 4 hours (or longer)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon probiotic powder
lemon juice
nutritional yeast
salt
herbs, optional

Method
Place the soaked cashews, water, and probiotic powder in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Wrap the mixture in a cheese cloth and place in a strainer. Put the strainer in the sink or in a bowl. Place a heavy object on top of the cashew mixture, just enough to push out liquid, but not the mixture through the cheese cloth. Leave to culture for 24 - 48 hours, depending on how tangy you desire.

Stir the cheese with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and herbs to taste. You can also finely chop herbs and roll the cheese in that. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 8 hours. I think it tastes better after a few days in the fridge.


Notes
Like I said above, the nacho cheese was the favourite of the evening. Everyone mentioned how much it tasted like the processed cheese you get out of a pump. It was delicious. I thought it would be fun to dehydrate one of the cheeses to get a "rind", but it didn't really add to the flavour of the cheese. I'll just keep my cashew cheese undehydrated.

I also served the cheeses with some fresh vegetables, apple chips dried in the dehydrator, and almond veggie pate. A friend had brought over a walnut cheese spread and sunflower cheese after I took the picture. Such a fun night!


The cheese in the front is the "herbed" cashew cheese and the one in the back is the dehydrated cheese.

18 September 2012

Menu 19 - 22 Sept



Here is the menu I made today for the next four days. I'm trying to use up produce we received in our produce box this week.

Wednesday:
B: Smoothies
L: Dining hall at school
D: Raw pecan tacos

Thursday:
B: Smoothies
L: Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles
D: Mushroom Curry

Friday:
B: Breakfast sandwich
L: Thai Smile 2
D: Broccoli Quinoa Bowl

Saturday:
B: Pancakes
L: Baby bell peppers stuffed with cashew cheese
D: Butternut Squash Tamales

23 August 2012

Raw Walnut Meat, salsa, guacamole

I was working from home this week and was trying to decide what to make for lunch. A few blogs I follow had posted recently about raw walnut "meat", so I decided to try it with a salad.

Change up the spices to your tastes. This is a great recipe because it comes together quickly.



Serves 1 - 2

Ingredients
Walnut Meat
1/2 raw walnuts
2 - 3 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
soy sauce
sriracha
salt
pepper
chili powder
cumin powder (We are out of cumin powder, so I added cumin seeds)

Garden Salsa
Tomatoes (I used cherry and roma from the garden)
Onion
garlic chives
hungarian wax pepper
olive oil
salt
pepper
juice from 1/2 lime

Corn Guacamole
1 ear corn
1/2 avocado
salt
pepper
lime juice

Lettuce

Method
Walnut Meat
Place the walnuts and tomatoes in a food processor (I used the smaller bowl because I am using such small amounts). Pulse until it appears to have the texture of ground meat. Add the seasonings to taste.

Garden Salsa
This is just what I had ripe in my garden, feel free to use whatever you think would be good in salsa.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, and chili. Place the tomatoes, onion, chili, and herbs in a food processor (again I used the smaller bowl) and pulse until still chunky, but mixed. Transfer to a bowl and season to taste.

Corn Guacamole
Shuck the corn. Place the ear of corn upright and using a knife, cut away the kernels into a bowl. Add the avocado and mix. Season to taste.


Wash and dry the lettuce. Chop into a bowl and add the meat, salsa, and guacamole.

Notes
This was really really good. The walnut meat has A LOT of flavour. I'm going to try it again with pecans because my husband is sensitive to walnuts. I'm happy that I was able to make the salsa completely from our garden. Garden vegetables taste waaay better than anything bought from the store.

I had a couple of tortillas in the fridge that needed to be used. I put them in the toaster oven until they were crispy and served it with the salad.


22 August 2012

Hummus Board

My husband and I are more grazers than set meal eaters. When we eat smaller meals, we are generally in better moods and have more energy. This is one of our "meals".



Ingredients
Homemade hummus - crockpot cooked chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sriracha sauce, salt, pepper
pita bread
cucumbers
carrot sticks
celery
avocado
pickles
strawberries
peaches


Notes
We love making our own hummus. We add a lot more garlic and spice it up with the sriracha. It tastes so much better than store bought.

21 August 2012

Zucchini Noodles

There has been lots of talk about zucchini noodles around the vegan blogs lately. And for good reason. Zucchini noodles are easy to make (even without a spiralizer!), fast, and delicious. I have a vegetable peeler that has two sides. One side makes long flat peels, much like a regular peeler. The other side has small teeth and makes spaghetti sized noodles when used.



Ingredients
Zucchini
spices to taste, I used basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes

Tomato sauce

Method
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini in strips until you start seeing the seeds. I generally turn the zucchini as I go.

Add spices and sauce to taste.


Notes
This turned out really well! I might even like the zucchini noodles better than regular pasta. I have also turned cucumbers into noodles, mixed it with zucchini noodles, and topped with a peanut sauce for a faux pad thai.



Our cat was contemplating why I was taking pictures outside.

20 August 2012

Almond Veggie Pate

Recently, I have been toying with doing a raw food diet. I have book marked lots of recipes, checked out several books from the library, and I'm slowly starting to make more raw foods. I'm doing it mostly because I enjoy the challenge of making tasty food in nontraditional ways. Also, the arguments I have read for adding more raw foods to your diet seem to make sense to me.

I came across the following recipe and thought it looked good. I made a month or so ago and my husband and I still talk about it. Very tasty!



Ingredients
Adapted from Ani Phyo Website

3/4 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1 T grated ginger
3 cloves garlic (this was a little high even for me and I love garlic, I would probably do two cloves next time)
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup dried plums
salt
pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
sriracha sauce

lettuce leafs
bean sprouts
cilranto
cucumbers
carrot sticks

2 T orange champagne vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T water

Method
Process the almonds and cashews until they are powdery. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined and the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Using lettuce as a wrap, place a tablespoon or two of the pate with the other toppings and eat.

For the dipping sauce, over low heat heat up the vinegar, sugar, and water until the sugar is dissolved, whisking continuously. Take off the heat and serve.

Notes

The original recipe called to wrap the pate up in nori, but the nori I had in my cupboard was a bit stale and chewy and after trying a few in the nori, we decided to just use lettuce as a vessel for the pate. My husband really enjoyed this.


He couldn't wait until I was done taking a photo!


31 May 2012

May Vegan Food Box Swap

This month for the vegan food box swap, I was matched up to receive a box from Stephanie at Just Believe. She sent me a fabulous box! Thank you!

I sent a box to Sarah at She Decidedly Wore Pants When Others Did Not (fabulous name for a blog, BTW).



Stephanie sent me the following goodies:
Dates - which I am turning into homemade Lara bars soon
Coconut water
Coconut oil
Spicy Pumpkin seeds
Two packets of green powder - I'm going to try adding these to a smoothie
Justin's almond butter
Two coconut Lara bars
and a handwritten note

Notes
I'm glad that she sent me so much coconut stuff, I love the smell and taste of it. This was a great box.

If you want to get in on the fun, go over to read the rules and sign up at The Verdant Life blog.

I'm going to sit out the next few months of the food box swap because I am going to be travelling here and there for work over the next few months.

30 April 2012

Cooking for my parents

Last week I was in Colorado for a conference. The weekend before the conference, I spent a few days seeing my sister and her family, my aunt, uncle, cousin, and my parents. It was good to see everyone!

I made a couple of things for my parents during my brief visit.


My dad had some vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast. So I decided to make vegan sausages.


Look at all the cast iron! I am super duper jealous.



This was the best way I could come up with to steam them.



What my mom was doing while I was cooking. Making a quilt for my nephew!



Chickpea gluten sausage, broccoli and carrots, and brown rice.


My mom and I were chatting and she started looking through my food blog when she came across the recipe for the Bubble Up Pizza Bites. She made some dough in her bread machine and then we rolled out pieces and filled them with tomato sauce, olives, and mushrooms. She put cheese on half of them. We rolled the toppings so that the dough was completely enclosing them. I think it works better that way, even though it is no longer "bubbling up". Pretty tasty!


My parents had two bananas reaching the end of its life. I decided to make some banana bread with it before I left. I used the recipe from here and it came out a bit dry, but it was still tasty. I did not use the sesame seeds on top, although they sound really good.

Notes
Lately, my seitan has not been coming out super duper well. It is slimy and not well formed. I'm not sure what changed in my seitan skillz, but they are lacking now. My parents were nice enough to eat the seitan and say that it tasted good. Also, since we have gotten the rice cooker, I have a hard time making rice on the stove top, this came out a bit gloopy. Not my finest culinary moment.

29 April 2012

Vegan Food Box Swap

This month I participated in a Vegan food box swap through The Verdant Life. You can go to that link to get all the information about how to sign up and start sending and receiving a vegan food box

I sent a box to Ashley at Season of the Vegan.



I received my box from Sarah at Gazing In. She sent me:
Sing Buri Cashews - I hadn't tried these before and I loved them. I ate them for a snack in my office and when I was travelling this past week. I am going to look to see if I can find them locally and if there are other flavours. Amazing.

Homemade cashew butter - I haven't tried this yet. I was travelling last week, I plan on having it on my toast tomorrow. I'm sure it is amazing and she even sent the recipe along in the box.

Trader Joe's Chocolate bar - Hmm, I do love all things Trader Joe's and this does not disappoint.

Dried plums - these are sitting right next to me on my desk. I love that they are small.

Orchard Bar in blueberry, pomegranate, and almond - Oh my goodness, this was delicious. I had not seen these bars before and I will be buying many more. It was the right amount of sweetness, the texture was great, and it was really great combination of flavours. I am a big fan.

Notes
Thank you Sarah for sending me a box! I'm looking forward to participating again next month!

Grillin'

Today I was looking through Pinterest (see my boards here) and I saw a recipe for Grilled Mint Julep Peaches. I do love a good grilled peach and we had a few ending the near of their life from our produce delivery as well as bourbon, mint, and sugar, so we put together a grilling fest.



The recipe for the grilled mint julep peaches is located here. We had four small peaches, so I cut the glaze down by half and still had a lot left over. I tried to turn it into a drink with ginger beer, but it was waaayy too sugary. Over the peaches, the glaze was fabulous.

We also grilled apple-sage field roast sausages, a pear, and beet slices. The beet slices were still super hard by the time they came off the grill. Next time I would probably par-cook them by boiling in water or softening in the microwave oven before putting them on the grill. When we cut the beet into spears, it was tender enough to eat with the salad.

Here is our grill set up.




We have a charcoal grill, but instead of going through the hassle of setting it up and waiting for the coals to get hot, we used my husbands burner he usually uses for beer brewing. He put our cast iron grill pan on top of it and it got hot really really quickly.

Notes
We both enjoyed this meal a lot. The sausages are always good, the peaches were excellent, the pear was a pleasant surprise, and the beets were very tasty. A win!

07 April 2012

Bunny bread

My husband and I have birthdays 1 day apart, so we tend to hold some sort of birthday event to celebrate. Last year we went bowling with a group of people and this year we held a cocktail party. It was a bit ridiculous - a keg of Manhattans, a pitcher of moijtos, and dark and stormies. We had people over from school as well as the pub we frequent. It was a great mix of people. The star of show, though, was this bread bunny.

I saw a link to a recipe on Pintrest and decided that I had to make it. I halved the recipe, mostly because my oven is small and I can't fit a large cookie sheet in it. When we obtain a bigger oven, I will be making a full size one.



Ingredients
(for the smaller size)
1 lb bread dough (I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking for the foccacia. I had to add about 1/2 cup more water, otherwise that recipe is topnotch.)
Eye looking things (The recipe calls for raisins and I didn't have anything, so I used peppercorns)
Teeth looking things (Recipe says slivered almonds and again I had just run out, I used a raw cashew)

dip for the belly (I used a spinach dip - 8 oz vegan cream cheese, 4 oz frozen spinach, sriracha cooked in the slow cooker until hot and delicious).
crudités

Method
Look on the Taste of Home website for instructions. I did not do any sort of egg wash before baking.


Notes
Everyone loved the dip and bread. It looks so creepy, but was really tasty.

05 April 2012

Sweet Potato Spring Rolls

I was looking through my 200+ food blogs I am subscribed to and found inspiration from Bean Figz and Katz for a lunch my husband and I had this week. They are women after my own heart with their love of sriracha!



Ingredients
1.5 sweet potatoes
cumin
chili powder or chipotle powder
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
1.5 carrots, julienned
sriacha sauce
cilantro
spring roll wrappers
warm water

peanut butter
hot water
sesame oil
sriracha


Method
Begin by peeling and cubing the sweet potatoes. Boil, until tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain and mash with cumin and chili powder to taste along with salt and pepper.

Put a spring roll wrapper in warm water (I usually use a pie pan for the water, it is about the same size as the wrapper) until it is softened. Place the wrapper on a plate lined with paper towels. Add sweet potatoes down the middle and top with some cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and a few squirts of sriracha. Roll up like a burrito. Repeat with the remaining spring roll wrappers until the sweet potatoes are gone.

For the peanut sauce: in a bowl combine 1 - 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter. Add 1 t of sesame oil with a couple of squirts of sriracha. Add a few tablespoons of hot water until the peanut butter mixture can be mixed easily. Stir until combined. Eat with spring rolls.


Notes
Both of us loved the spring rolls with the peanut sauce! Unfortunately, there was not enough food in this lunchbox to sustain us all day, but it was really good. We were both starving when we were going home. Hmm, I need to pack more food.

Also included was carrot sticks, kiwi fruit, pear, and blueberries.

02 April 2012

Vegan Food Box Swap?

In my last post, I talked about a general food box swap in which I participated. Now someone has put together a food box swap exclusively for vegan food. If you would like to participate you can sign up over on The Verdant Life blog.

30 March 2012

Foodie Box!

This month I signed up on The Lean Green Bean to send and receive a foodie box. Basically, you sign up and are given a name and someone gets yours. You exchange addresses and food preferences/allergies/etc and then send a box worth of $15 snack foods to your person. It was a lot of fun.

If you want to see what I sent in my box head over to the Almondjay food blog. I'm glad she liked what I picked for her!



I received my box from Maureen at Organically Mo and she loaded me up with Trader Joe's snacks! I really miss Trader Joe's and I could not have been happier to see all the food in my box.

- Orange muscat champagne vinegar (this was delicious on a pasta salad I made the other day!)
- Dark chocolate nibs (I have been putting these in my dessert portion of my PlanetBox all week)
- Almonds
- Banana Chips
- Dried mango (my husband ate almost all of these himself!)
- Smoked sea salt (Oh my goodness, this is amazing.)
- Chocolate Almond Butter
- Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (Dairy free Nutella! This was great on toast as well as my celery sticks)

Thank you for the box, Maureen. It was so much fun to receive a food box in the mail!

If you would like to sign up to be apart of Foodie Pen Pals next month, follow the directions below. I highly recommend it!

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-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

If you’re interested in participating for April, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You will also find contact information on that page for the UK branch of Foodie Penpals if you’re a blogger across the pond!

You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!
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07 March 2012

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

We have been getting lettuce every week with our produce delivery and we needed to have something more than salad. I thought of lettuce wraps! Even trying to eat all the lettuce in our fridge was five heads of lettuce, we gave two to our friend Trevor.

This recipe is very much add what ever you have on hand in the quantities you have.



Ingredients
olive oil
tofu, cubed
fresh ginger, minced or minced ginger paste
garlic, minced
soy sauce
red pepper flakes
sesame oil

large lettuce leafs, cleaned
carrots, julienned
red bell peppers, julienned
green onions, chopped


Method
In a cast pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until hot. Add the tofu cubes and cook on each side until browned. Add the ginger and garlic, cook until slightly browned. Add the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and a splash of sesame oil. Stir to combined and everything is heated through.

On a lettuce leaf, lay out some tofu cubes and any vegetables. Eat up.

Notes
I made this for a lunch for myself this past weekend, but gave my husband a few bites and he liked it. I liked it. I would make it again. I used the amazing tofu that comes from our local hippy store. Seriously, it is the best tofu I have ever tasted.

06 March 2012

Dinner Club: Beet Burgers, Curry Fries, Blueberry Cobbler

Tonight we had another dinner club with our friend Trevor. He has mentioned several times that he really enjoys beets, but doesn't eat them enough. When I saw the recipe for beet burgers from the PPK website, I knew I had to make them for him.



The recipe for the beet burgers is from the PPK website. The only deviation I added was about 1 tablespoon of cumin powder. I decided to do the suggested pairing with the baked curry fries, although my curry powder was very sweet and I almost thought I had used cinnamon rather than curry powder on the fries. These were very good, the technique of boiling the potatoes first before baking is involved, but it resulted in a good texture for the fries. I put too many fries on my baking sheet so they did not crisp up enough.

For the cobbler, I looked at the recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker for blueberry cobbler and adapted the following to use up our 1.5 pints of fresh blueberries from our food delivery.

Blueberry Cobbler for the Slow Cooker
Ingredients
1.5 pints fresh blueberries
1/4 cup or less sugar
1 T cornstarch

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup or less sugar
1/4 cup oil or softened butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method
In a 3.5 qt slow cooker (you can also use the same amount in a 1.5 qt slow cooker), add the blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch. Mix to coat. In a bowl mix the oats, sugar, oil, and cinnamon. Spread over the top of the blueberries. Cook on high for about 1.5 hours or until the top is crispy. Serve with Coconut Bliss Ice Cream.




Notes
Everyone agreed, this was one of the best things we have eaten in a while. My husband and Trevor both eat meat and they were very pleased with the tastiness of the patty. I had my husband eat some of the patty dough before he cooked it up and he said that not only does it look like meat, it tasted a bit like ground beef as well. So very tasty. The cobbler was good as well, but the real star was the beet burger.

27 February 2012

Vegetable Lentil Soup

Tonight for dinner, I wanted to make something quick with vegetables we have from our produces boxes. I decided on soup because I can throw anything in it and it usually comes out well



2 servings

Ingredients
1/2 onion, chopped
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow carrot, chopped
1 regular carrot, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 smallish potatoes, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup red lentils, washed
1 t better than bouillon veggie broth paste
water
black pepper
1 t curry powder (it got a bit lost, I would probably increase this next time)

toasted bread, to serve

Method
In a 2qt sauce pan, add a bit of olive oil and allow to heat up. Add onions, garlic, and celery and cook until softened. Add carrots and potatoes and stir to cover in oil. Allow to cook a bit, then add broth paste. Mix until all the vegetables are covered. Add enough water to cover, and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cook until vegetables are nearly at desired doneness. Add lentils and allow to cook until tender about 5 - 10 minutes. Mash up everything with a potato masher or immersion blender. Adjust seasoning and serve with toasted herb bread.


Look at our fantastic CSA potatoes, so good!


Notes
Both my husband and I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was a tad bit salty because I added too much broth paste, other than that an easy, tasty soup.

26 February 2012

Thanksgiving 2011

A post about Thanksgiving in February? I had the photos uploaded to my Picasa web album, so I thought I would make a post about it.


This was my plate. I was just planning on getting a Celebration Roast from the hippy store, but all they had were Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. It was amazing! It was good warm or cold, with gravy or with cranberry sauce. Delicious. The rest of my plate was stuffing we made in the crockpot, whole wheat rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy. I wasn't too thrilled with the gravy, it was super thick and not super flavourful. I had to add A LOT of spices to it.

We never had cranberry sauce growing up, but since being with my husband, I have been introduced to the awesomeness that is homemade cranberry sauce and I love it. We have frozen cranberries in our freezer from our CSA and maybe it is time to make some more sauce!


This was my husband's plate. He said it was the best turkey he had ever had. He essentially poached a half turkey breast in white wine, butter, and fresh herbs. He has the same sides as I do, but with turkey gravy.


I'm testing the doneness of the chickpeas in the crockpot and drinking some tasty home brew cider

Last, but certainly not least, was the amazing apple pie.

This is probably the best apple pie I have ever eaten. It cooks for two hours and then has to cool, but it most definitely worth it. I can't find the recipe that my husband used, but I'll update this if he gives it to me. We ate it for breakfast for the next couple days after Thanksgiving. We served it with Coconut Bliss Mint ice cream. Soo good.

Notes
We spent all day making food and when everything was done, we ate about two or three bites. The leftovers, though, kept us sustained for nearly a week and were fantastic.