Thursday, August 31, 2006

Comfort in Cookies

The last 24 hours have been grueling. Suffice it to say that when it rains? It really does pour. So much love to my family, both bipedal and furred, may we all come out the other side stronger. Even though I know everyone is okay, there's that empty feeling you get from emotional overload having taken over your body for a day and dictated how you eat, sleep, and breathe. afterwards, it's nice to just feel nothing for a few minutes.

the past day has been lots of leftovers, which are less than exciting. but i thought we'd end the day with something that i guiltily admit just makes it all disappear. like a culinary calgon experience. I just took Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies (from
Vive le Vegan) out of the oven. I always think of recipes such as these as a kind of ironic find. they're just as good (if not totally better!) than the nonvegan version so many of us grew up on, but they force me to bake cookies on a whim, something i never did before finding them. no matter, really, because they're divine! another really great think about her recipe (you know, aside from the fact that they come out perfect every time, are so simple to make, and require nothing but easy to find, natural ingredients) is that is only yields about 8 decent sized cookies and not the typical three dozen most recipes will make. 'cause believe you and me, i'd eat more if i made 'em. (try them, you'll be so happy you did! and toss in a handfull of your favorite chopped nuts if you have 'em. i like to chuck in some walnuts or hazelnuts when i have them).

Pizza In A Pinch

Last night called for another fast food remedy. It was late, I was tired, much had transpired in the day.

Recently, I tried my hand at making my own dough from scratch. It was heaven, and I cannot wait to do it again. What I love about pizza, though, is how easy it is to whip together even if you don't have the time to get elbow deep in flour. Often, we'll throw a pizza together on a whole wheat tortilla with all kinds of toppings such as olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, you name it, but tonight this quick meal's base was some frozen tomato basil millet foccacia we had in the freezer. I needed to use up the very last of the tofu basil 'ricotta' so i lightly oiled the bread with olive oil, spread on the ricotta, topped that with some simple tomato sauce, sliced up a ton of zucchini in the saladaccio (have i mentioned lately how much i love that tool?!), and grated some Follow Your Heart Mozzerella style 'cheese', then sprinkled a little oregano and basil on the top before broiling until the cheese started to melt. very satisfying, if not the most balanced meal in the world. Normally, we'd make a salad to go with it, but last night just called for a quick meal before bed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TLT and A's!!!!

While my breakfast was cooking this morning, I took a minute to throw together the marinade for VwaV's Tempeh Bacon recipe (I swear, I DO use other cookbooks, this one is just a real staple at our house, everything is soo good!).

By lunch, the tempeh was ready to evolve into this yummy goodness:

Typically this recipe is a breakfast acommpanying favorite (it really is best when you can marinate it over night, but totally scrumptious after a few hours, too), but today I had a hankering to put in on a sandwhich for lunch. Hence, the TLT (tempeh, lettuce, and tomato) and A! (avacado, 'cause really? nothing could do without a little avacado). all this with a teeny bit of veganaise on whole grain bread with a few blue corn chips and store bought hummus (not pictured) made for a really satisfying meal. I like to use really green greens, usually, but i've been loving the remains of my homemade salsa on EVERYTHING so there's lots of burritos and quick nachos here and there as of late, and I'm always wanting some shredded iceburg on those things so I have plenty to use up.

Naturally Nutritious Breakfast

When I want to forego the usual smoothie breakfast, and I'm just not feeling like whipping up anything elaborate in the morning, this is what I eat:

what's not to love about a cereal whose ingredents are listed as: organic whole cracked wheat, organic steel cut oats, organic whole rye grits, organic whole barley grits, organic flax seed? Normally, I'm inclined to cook it on the stove with a pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon of Smart Balance with a serving of fresh fruit on the side. Today, however, I thought I'd veganize their serving suggestion and added a couple splashes of almond milk, about a teaspoon of agave nectar and some thawed frozen berries: I loved it this way! Next time, however, I'll switch out the frozen berries (they are just a little too tart) for some fresh ones and leave these for my smoothies, but other than that it was a most excellent way to start the day!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Worshipping Seitan

I've mentioned before that store-bought seitan never really won me over. It always tasted 'off' to me. Sunday, I decided to dive in and make my own and used the recipe in VwaV. Finally, tonight, I made this with it:

It's VwaV's Jerk Seitan. I substitued yellow bell pepper for the green mostly because I just can't stand green bell peppers, but also because i knew i'd be making some steamed garlic broccoli and the yellow was a nice contrast (i'm a sucker for having a plate full of colors).

I am now an official seitan worshipper. this stuff is GREAT!!! not only does it taste great (i think that next time, however, i'll make my own veggie broth-something i've yet to do, but i really don't love the flavor of anyone i've come across. i used Emeril's organic veggie broth tonight and it still just had that overly not fresh taste that i could do without), but the texture of the seitan is PERFECT, AND it's finally another source of protein that is not reliant on some sort of soy. while i've got no problem with soy and happen to love it, actually, i think that it's wise to not rely to heavily on any one food for the majority of any nutritional component. the seitan and broccoli were paired with some brown rice, but next time (assuming it doesn't follow yet another looong day of errand running) i'd like to try the coconut rice from VwaV. tonight was our old standby, Uncle Ben's long grain brown rice micro packs. they're just too darn easy and quick to not use on a night like tonight!

oh, and dessert? some dried mango from Whole Foods

and some raw almonds. what can i say, i'm a mango fiend!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Buckwheat? O-Tay by Me!

Today's lunch is probably my most favorite thing to eat in the world, a cold Soba Noodle Salad. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, you can get 'em made with a mixture of buckwheat and wheat, but I wholeheartedly prefer a pure buckwheat version. I get mine from here (the ones pictured are not from there, however, and you can expect the others to be darker in color). I think I found this idea in a Vegetarian Times Magazine a while back before I became vegan. Lucky for me, many of their recipes (like this one!) are totally vegan anyway. This is what it looks like when I serve it to other people:
The ingredients are:
1/2 c. soba noodles, cooked, then run under cold water so that they are cool
cukes, sliced
carrot, shredded
green onion, chopped
soy beans
2 Tbs your favorite ginger dressing

the only things I ever measure are the noodles and the dressing. you really don't need more than the above amounts, and I promise that the soba noodles are quite filling! the rest of the ingredients, as they're veggies and soy beans, i just eyeball to my liking.
if i'm eating this meal all by my lonesome, you can be that it tends to look more like this:
So yummy!
I tend to only use two bottled dressings ever and only occasionally. I'm a big fan of making my own, but sometimes the convenience just wins out. Here, I used
Mikoto's Ginger Dressing. (the other bottled dressing I'll sometimes 'cheat' with is Annie's Naturals Shitake & Sesame Vinaigrette but not for this recipe).

Back to the buckwheat love! Before buying Rebecca Wood's the New Whole Foods Encyclopedia (because i'm not just a cookbook junkie but one in love with all good books about food!) I never even thought to use Soba Noodles. After reading what she had to say, I'm glad I finally did!

(from the NWFE):

'Of all the grains, buckwheat has the longest transit timein the gut and therefore is the most filling and stabilizing for blood sugar. Since it is a glutenfree, noncereal grain, many people with food allergies rely upon buckwheat. It's a good bloodbuilding food, as it neutralizes toxic acidic wastes. ..The most outstanding nutritional characteristic of buckwheat is the high proportion in it of all eight essential amino acids, especially lysine, which, at 6.1%, is greater in proportion in buchweat than in any of the cereal grains. In addition, buckwheat has up to 100 percent more calcium than other grains, is rich in vitamin E, and contains almost the entire range of B-complex vitamins.'

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vegan Fast Food

As a vegetarian, you quickly learn that fast food that fits your dietary choices is hard to come by. This is a good thing, as pretty much all fast food is overprocessed, full of added ingregients, and all around just not good for you. You succumb, in the inevitable pinch, to bean burritos from taco bell and well, that's all i ever succumbed too, really. Alright, alright! those cheesy fiesta potatoes are like crack!
As a vegan, both these options just don't cut it anymore. Granted, the other day I was running errands and a quick lunch of salad and soup at Panera hit the spot, but more often than not, coming home and whipping up something super fast is so worth the extra 10 minutes my belly has to wait to be filled. My favorite 'fast food' as of late is Amy's frozen bean (non-dairy) burritos topped here with my super secret salsa recipe, some Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack style vegan cheese that i need to use up, some tofutti sour cream, avacado and red onion. So worth the wait!!!!!!

Last Night's Culinary Creation

I've wanted to start this blog for a while. I've been a vegetarian for over eight years, and have only recently (three months ago) decided that becoming Vegan was something that would truly make me happy AND healthier! So excited to begin, i posted this mornings brunch first, but really enjoyed my dinner last night so thought i would share.

Hmmm, haven't thought of a name yet, but basically it's an oven roasted Portabello Cap stuffed with VwaV's (whatever would a vegan do without Isa's amazing book?!) Basil 'Ricotta' and topped with shredded zucchini and summer squash (which were sauteed with a little olive oil, some garlic, a bit of fresh basil, and a splash or two of balsamic vinegar) all over Quinoa. This is quite possibly my new favorite meal. I'm totally in love with my
Saladaccio, and can't wait to spring the 'ricotta' on my Italian Mamma this weekend. She won't even believe the yumminess!

Sunday Brunch for One

Roasted Herbed Red Potatoes (i like to use rosemary and thyme and a little onion and oive oil) & 'Sausage' Tempeh Crumbles from Vegan with a Vengeance (VwaV). I added a little bit of Follow Your Heart's Moz. Style Vegan Cheese to the crumbles (you know, for fun!) and served it (to myself) with a quarter of sliced avacado and some of the summer's last fresh mangoes.

some ginger green tea (my favorite) to wash it down made this brunch a winner!