Saturday, December 16, 2006

Moroccan Chickpea Patties......WOW! ('n a bunch of food)

Thank you, Dreena Burton, for this aMAzing recipe. I've seen some of you blog about these before and have been itching to try it. I can tell we're going have these many, many times in the future. I served them on leaves of Boston (butter) lettuce, Dreena's suggested Ginger Dipping Sauce and with a side of our favorite sauteed broccoli (saute in olive oil with garlic until nutty smell is wafting thru your kitchen but don't burn!...add oregano, basil, and sea salt, a bit of water, cover, and steam til desired tenderness....tastes buttery!) and half a sweet potato with a teeny bit of EB, some sea salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.I did make a tiny change or two to the patties in that I tossed the sauteed fennel and pepper in the food processor to break them down a bit then added about a cup of brown rice to the mixture to try and give it a little more form. I coated them in panko breadcrumbs (our favorite) and used both white and black sesame seeds in the breading.

I cannot get over how yummy these are and reeeeally enjoy eating them by way of picking them up inside the lettuce leaves after drizzling with the dipping sauce. The only thing better than this dinner? LUNCH of leftovers and an apple the next day.
It'd been a while since I made VWaV's Tempeh Bacon so I thought it was high time we had some for TLT'n A wraps (Tempeh, Lettuce, Tomato 'n Avacado).
My avacaco, tho nice and soft to the touch, was not quite ripe so I mashed it up and added a touch of lime juice, salt and pepper, and some vegannaise before adding it to the wrap.

Leftover Tempeh Bacon made for a great breakfast the next day with herbed roasted tiny potatoes, some avacado,
and some banana with Silk blueberry yogurt.

Here's a His 'n Hers display:

Hers (with a touch of Toffuti's) BTSC
I really cannot admit enough how much I rely on Amy's Non-Dairy burritos when I don't have time to cook anything. I especially enjoy loading 'em up when I'm all by my lonesome and don't want to mess up the kitchen but want a full meal. Here's one on top of a huge bed of romaine lettuce, topped with some hummus, Tofutti Better'n Sour Cream, fresh tomato, Zappata's Salsa Verde, and avacado. I wish you could see the romaine in this picture. It was such a deep, vibrant green and really nice to mix in with everything. Like my own little (well, not that little, really) burrito salad.

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at bread for a second time. I like that I don't own a bread machine and really enjoy the whole kneading and baking process so La Dolce Vegan's Easy French Bread sounded like a great recipe to work with. SO EASY! and now? the Cap'n has requested that we have this bread at least EVERY DAY. hehe. Here it is in the oven, almost done, just misted with water to give it that crunchy crust. And here it is cooling, just begging to be torn apart and eaten hot out of the oven. the inside is so soft, perfect bread in no time and with little effort, even!
Wanting something warm and flavorful to sop up with this amazing bread I reverted back to the Tofu Marsala recipe that I'd stumbled upon a few months ago in Veg. Times.
I love this one pot meal and the flavor is really amazing. I didn't have enough Marsala wine in the house so i subbed half of what is called for with some Sherry and honestly? While I thought it smelled a bit different upon reducing, the end resulting flavor was just as delicious as I remember.

I served it with roasted brussel sprouts (something else the Cap'n wants only every too!) and they were so fantastic at soaking up some of that marsala goodness inbetween their tender leaves. I swear, they are a perfect food!
I'm ashamed to say that, of those two loaves of bread pictured above, only a third of one remains today. We just could not stop eating the stuff! I'm going to have to limit my bread making in the future ;), but am really excited to get into making some whole grain baguettes.

Oh, and before I forget...I've been wanting to share with all of you my new, favorite snack. I've actually been enjoying it for quite some time but never seem to remember to blog about it. If you're anything like me you want a healthy snack from time to time but don't want to rely on processed foods, even the good organic varieties that lend themselves to all that packaging. Enter homemade TRAIL MIX!
I've been treating myself to bulk bins at the local healthfood store and stocking up on raw cashews, raw almonds, raw sunflower seeds, roasted pepitas, raisins, vegan chocolate chips, and my beloved crystallized ginger. I just chop it up and add with the rest of the above and keep in ziplocs or tupperware containers and basically always have some in my purse, just in case. I'm thinking I need to add some dried cherries or cranberries and maybe some coconut or dried mango the next trip to the store, but I am totally loving this combination as is right now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Back To Nature, then Blogging

I want to thank each of you for your comments about BTN on my last post. I hope you each had a moment to check them out and see what it is they're (we're) all about. The fundraiser was a great success in that everyone in attendance had fun, learned something, and left happy. The kids and I made picture frames from old CD jewel cases and scented bath salts which we put in decorated old Rx bottles. we had entirely too much fun for me to remember to take any pics, tho! sorry! ;)

I supplemented the bake sale table with my newly infamous Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever. I made 4 dozen, one third choc chip and walnut, one third choc chip, walnut, and cryztallized ginger, and the rest choc chip and crystallized ginger. We sold them two for a dollar and i was left with what you see here, just seven!These doubled nicely as bday cookies for the Cap'n whose birthday was Friday. ;) I got amazing feedback from people who were all thrilled to try something vegan, interested to learn just how one goes about making such yummy cookies without the traditional methods, and so happy to come back for more! I even supplied the recipe for anyone who wanted to rush home to duplicate it.

Just a reminder that BTN does animal sponsorships which make GREAT christmas gifts. For a small donation of $25 you get a sponsorship certificate, the animal's story, and a beautiful 8x10 of their cute mug! Give the gift of life and great care this holiday season and give your loved one something to feel good about AND adorn their wall with! I've gotten them in the past and put the info and pic in one of those double frames and they've made wonderful presents.

On to the food....
I really liked that sauce I tried from vegweb. So much that I made it yet again, this time taking my own advice and backing down on the tamari, adding real garlic, and then a few sundried tomatoes. I liked this MUCH better. Which, going on how much I liked it the first time, is saying that i LOVED it. hehe

The first night I made it, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, tho. I didn't want pasta, so I opted for a wrap and just shredded a bunch of zucchini and then roasted a portablello cap to put in there with it.It was crazy soupy and really messy but sooooooo good. I loved it. So much, in fact, that this led to the following day's breakfast:

Here I roasted some little yellow potatoes that i'd found (so creamy, like yukons only tiny!) with some garlic, thyme, and rosemary.I also made VwaV's tempeh sausage crumbles. This all went into the wrap with the sauce, more zucchini, and another portabello from the night before. EVEN BETTER! yeah, i had this for lunch too. :) A couple of days later I noticed I still had some of this sauce left but didn't really want to do the same thing. I'd been craving some sort of tempeh salad so I began making the tempeh much like Marlo's Oh My Goddess Tempeh, but boiled it in veggie stock first after crumbling it. Then I sauteed it in olive oil, adding some lemon juice and some sherry (i had no white wine in the house). I added some rosemary but my store bought tempeh was not really flavoring up the way the homemeade stuff does and that just wouldn't do for my in with the remainder of my sundried tomato/cashew sauce! This was all done in a med saucepan that i then took off the heat while i prepared a salad: butter lettuce, shredded carrot, shredded zucchini, chopped tomato....then a heaping scoop of the tempeh salad (still pretty warm...yum!) and then a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and some nutritional yeast. sooooooooooo good!!!!!! I loved this. and it was funny because i had no idea that this is what i would end up eating for dinner. I truly thought i'd be making some tempeh salad sandwhich of some sort. ya never know!

I had the leftover tempeh salad on the ride home from our bday celebration weekend in the car with some torn pieces of a whole wheat wrap and it was fine cool but so much better warm on a crisp cold salad.
speaking of bday celebration weekend....we went to the fam's about an hour away for the Cap'ns bday dinner. I took a tip from Kaji's mom and Susan and decided on some mini crustless quiches. Using what i had in the house I went for broccoli/onion versions.
I sauteed the chopped broccoli florets in some olive oil with garlic, then added some oregano and basil and just let the broccoli release some of that nutty flavor before removing it from the heat. I whipped up the silken tofu in the food processor and basically followed Susan's recipe and directions using a muffin pan.These are truly wonderful. I ate three right out of the oven, two before we left (you can tell from my messy plate that this is not the first one i ate. hehe), and devoured a couple more as part of my dinner at the fam's.

They had fish but were happy to try my quiches. We also had steamed broccoli, some reeeally wonderful black beans (thanks to the Cap'ns mom!), and they all enjoyed a regular caesar salad while I ate (and treated them to the rest of was huge....) Vegan Caesar with sundried tomatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, and hemp seed. This salad is such a winner. I really need to give everyone the recipe for christmas. I haven't had anyone eat it yet that isn't just wowed by how yummy it is, myself included!

Back home from our celebrating, I opted for easy last night and defrosted a curry I'd had in the freezer. Nothing fancy. Just Veg Time's curry from last year some time of lentils, sweet potato, tomato, cauliflower, onion.

I heated it in a saucepan adding one more can of chopped tomatoes (no salt added) and a can of chickpeas (rinsed). Once that was heated thru I served it on some whole wheat bow tie pasta and topped it with shredded raw zucchini.
I can't believe something so simple and easy can turn your tired evening into one with that includes a fabulous meal!!!! I'll be having this for lunch too. I really want to try something new and different tonight so I'm off to scour the internet, all of your blogs included! ;)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Freezer Food, A Repeat, & A GRRRReat Cause!

You can always tell when I'm putting off trekking to the grocery store as I start pulling things out of the freezer. Don't get me wrong, shopping for food is honestly the only kind of shopping I love to do, it's just that I always try and hold off to slim down the vast amount of pantry and freezer items we always seem to accumulate.

For this reason, last night's dinner was a simple, tasty, but not something I'd eat very often creation:frozen peas 'n corn heated in the micro then added a little EB, sea salt, Parma, and black pepper aside some Morningstar Farms Strips that we had in the freezer for-ev-er. I just sauteed those in a little olive oil with a touch of vegan worsteshire and then threw in a handful of hempseed which coated it rather nicely. It was good, even if the strips are a little salty for my taste. The Cap'n loved the strips and can barely believe that they're not meat in any way. I'm inclined to agree that they are freaky to eat as they taste convincingly like a real meat product. I don't buy them anymore, but it's nice to finally have them out of the freezer.

Had a craving for some soba noodles the other day and, lucky for me, even when our fridge is getting rather bare we almost always have carrots, cucumbers, green onions, and some ginger or ginger dressing on hand.I also try and always have some edamame in the freezer. Combine this all together for a repeat that's so worth repeating. In my original post of this food favorite, I artfully combined the ingredients as one would likely see them in a fine dining establishment. Here, this is how we always eat it, in all it's messy, yummy glory. hehe ;) oh, and yes....that IS some crystallized ginger chopped and sprinkled on the top. Once i but this stuff in bulk you're likely to see it everywhere until it's gone. I cannot get enough of this stuff!

This morning breakfast was on both our minds and I knew we were down to the wire but a bag of frozen spinach and some tofu lingered in the freezer for a really awesome tofu scramble this morning.I just sauteed an onion in olive oil, then combined the thawed, pressed tofu with nutritional yeast, garlic, thyme, a touch of basil, tamari, and some turmeric, salt and pepper to add to the onion in the skillet. when it was ready to serve i just mixed in the spinach which i'd heated in the micro. With a side of vegan rye toast and some EB, this was a perfect way to start a day that seemed to begin with no food in the house! I am missing fruit right now tho , really looking forward to stocking up on some fresh produce. yum!

lastly, I'd like to introduce you all to some friends of mine who are having a big fundraiser this weekend in the Orlando area.
Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the four R's: Rescue, Raise, Rehabilitate, and Release.
When we lived in Orlando, I spent three of the best years of my life becomming a wildlife rehabilitator.It is truly the most life altering experience of my life and I am a changed person forever for having volunteered and then worked there. I still go back twice every year to help out with the fundraisers (I'm the crazy one who commandeers the kids to make fun crafts out of things we'd normally throw away. so much fun!).
This Saturday, Christmas with the Critters will be held on site, free to the public, so that people can come and check out just how central Florida's wildlife is cared for there.There will be food, kid's activities, raffles, and lots and lots of educational embassadors for everyone to meet (these are the refuge's permanent residents who have either come to them due to illness or injury and, therefore, cannot be rereleased back into their natrual environs or were confiscated or tossed out as pets....for the record? wild animals NEVER make good pets, no matter how cute, cuddly, or adorable!).It's truly a remarkable place to visit and learn from and the fundrasiers are always a ton of fun. Should you know anyone in the Orlando area with kids or who would love to learn more, check out their website here. Also, I must also tell you that, sadly, the refuge is in a serious time crunch to find a new home!Zema, the resident cougar...playin'...typical! hehe

They've been existing for years on the same tiny property but it's not enough. What they need is real acreage for better enclosures and release sites. If land and money are not accumulated within the next year, the refuge will be forced to close its doors and end its truly altruistic service forever. Not only will the animals who have spent the better part of their lives there have to move to new homes far and wide, but injured and orphaned wildlife will have no place to go in the area, an area that is continuously growing and pushing them out. The educational presentations that the refuge has, for years, brought to the public as well as the countless tours given to schools and kids of all ages will come to an end as well.
Makai, the resident wolf hybrid. He was found running around a neighborhood as a pup trying to round up a pack. Such a gentle and timid creature. He's very skittish but so sweet once he decides to trust you...something he never fully does.)

There are no words to describe how this prospect breaks my heart or how it will devestate a truly beautiful vision cultivated over the last twenty years. So, again, if you know anyone or know anyone who knows anyone, or even know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who can help in any way (be it money or land or any kind of donation) please pass this along. Even if you can just take a minute this holiday season to check out their site and donate even a little, it would mean the world, for all those little bits really do add up!

Please check them out and spread the word....for the love of the animals!!!! thanks! You can find most of these pics, info, and more on their myspace. check 'em out!

Babbette and Mocha, resident White-tailed and Asian Fallow Deer

Columbo, resident great-horned owl who lost an eye to a bb gun.

Whizzer, resident red-shouldered hawk, who lost his eye and one foot's talons.

Winnie, resident bald-eagle with a permanently injured wing.

Pookie, resident bobcat and sunshine of your every day. RIP, Pook! we miss you like crazy! (pookie recently passed away after many, many more happy years than he would have ever seen out in the wild. a mixed blessing for our dear, sweet pook).

Casper, the friendly goat! also a permanent resident. Casper was orphaned, tho none of us can imagine how that is even possible. sweetest lil guy around!

two of the resident barred owls, tho i can rarely tell them apart...unless one is trying to swoop down and attack me and take off an ear...then i know it's the male. hehe never turn your back on a barred owl...lesson learned! :)

Calhoun, and Kokomu, resident goat and emu. they're pals and share an enclosure..but what they really wanna know got any grapes?

and here's a squirrel who just happened by...even the local wildlife knows how good they have it here!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Feelin Saucy

In an effort to clean out the fridge of all the extra veggies lurking from dishes i'd yet to make I stumbled upon a GREAT sauce on vegweb. they call it Creamy Garlic Sauce, and, while i'm head over heals for this sauce? i wouldn't call anything that relies on 1tsp of garlic powder for its garlic flavor Creamy Garlic Anything. It's rich and flavorful and creamy alright, and I've a few ideas for some tweaks to make it more my own, but if you're looking for a sauce that's all garlic? this is not it. ;) tho, i'm sure roasting a bunch and blending it in would take care of that!

Here it is over quinoa smothered in roasted cauliflower 'n carrots 'n a leek we had lying around along with some sauteed broccoli (this is my favorite way to cook broccoli, thank you Marlo! I'll share it below).On the side, I decided, for a quick cold salad, to toss a lingering zucchini in the saladaccio and shred it. To it I just added the remaining Almond Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from VwaV's Revolutinary Spanish Omelet and a few leaves of fresh basil, sliced up thin. Oh my, I think I found what this sauce is PERFECT FOR! even tonight when I finished it off while deciding what to have for dinner the flavors were perfect together and it was cold and refreshing.
even our kitty, CJ was totally into it. hehe

The sauce/quinoa/veggies dish was sooo good, too. I ate it for a few meals. Tonight, tho, I realized I had just a bit of quinoa left, a little bit of broccoli, and some sauce. What to do?
I grabbed a garlic/herb wrap from our beach trip, heated up the quinoa/broccoli and added some canned, rinsed adzuki beans (heated) then chopped up some roasted red pepper and a couple sundried tomatoes. then the sauce and a good sprinkling of hempseed before carefully wrapping it up and devouring it like the amazing and mouth-watering quickie dinner that it was. I didn't know if everything would jive flavorwise, but I'd no need to worry. It was scrumptious and very filling.

I just love the evolution of a recipe from one dish to others. Does it show? ;)

want yummy broccoli to have some extra flavor and tired of steaming? years ago my now infamous friend Marlo clued me in on just how to make your broccoli sing. ya take the florets and saute them in some olive oil that you've first sauteed some garlic in (the more, the better), it begins to toast but not burn and you can smell a real nuttiness impart from the broccoli. next, add a little sea salt, oregano, and basil, then a Tbs or two of water, cover, reduce heat, and allow to steam until bright green and tender to your liking (only takes 5-10 min or so). So good.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'm so thankful.....

that all of you are so wonderful even when i'm a baaaad blogger who is rarely able to comment on your blogs (thanks, blogger!) and almost never responds to your comments on mine. I want to, I just keep telling myself I'll make the time....and then I don't. See? Bad, bad blogger.

So, because I'm so thankful, I'm hoping to change that today. I did go back a bit and try and respond to everyone in the last posts. (so if you had a question at all you can finally find the answer there. ;) I am so appreciative to have stumbled into this amazing community of truly inspiring and like-minded people. You are all my own personal superheroes, and I'm so glad to share my vegan journey with you. that's a little peek at what Thanksgiving was like for this vegan:Got up yesterday and made VwaV's Revolutionarly Spanish Omelet with Almond Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. I LOOOOOVE the way this cooks up like an omelet and the saffron is a great flavor that I have not had in so long! I think i may tweak the sauce a little bit next time. I'm not even sure how yet, but I think it may have been a little more lemon-y than I was in the mood for? not sure. It was reeeally good as is, I'm just catering to my own tastes. It was a huge hit with the omni family just as it was. They even kept some to have today! A huge success! ;) granted, i reeeeally need to invest in a smaller iron skillet. it was quite the a.m. workout to try and flip that baby all in one piece!

honestly, I'm so blessed to have my family really interested in my vegan lifestyle on both mine and my husband's sides. yesterday, as my family lives in VA, we dined with his. they were sweet and clued me in early on what would be safe for me to eat. I brought along the omelet, some leftover roasted brussel sprouts, green goddess potatoes, the rest of the carrot cake and some stuffed mushrooms and tempeh pate with rye crisps as appetizers for everyone. i'm now needing to email that tempeh pate recipe to the fam as they simply cannot go another day without it. how great is that?! hehe.

here's my plate. this vegan did NOT go hungry spanish omelet with red pepper sauce, roasted garlicky brussel sprouts, fresh cranberry relish (my mom-n-law makes this every year and it is the BEST THING EVER, all citrusy and fresh and just barely sweet and tart enough. mmmmmmmmmm i'll have to see if she'll share with us her recipe), green goddess potatoes, and some fresh green beans made with new potatoes and 'shrooms (my aunt-n-law made this version special this year, no butter or hambone to be found. yum!). and of course....i had more cake. ;)
hope everyone in the states had a wonderful thxgiving yesterday spent with friends and family and fabulous vegan food!