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.

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.

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


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.

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.

(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).

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

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!

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

peanut butter
hot water
sesame oil

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.

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.