Monday, April 27, 2009

Spicy Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder; Another Pancake

I am not sure why I am still stuck on hot foods in this heat but they seem to last longer around here so I will keep making them. I adapted Scrumptious Corn Chowder to make my own sweet and spicy version. I used a really big sweet potato instead of a red potato since I have been enjoying them lately. I did not have any red peppers so I used one chopped roasted red pepper (jarred) and some of my favorite chipotles in adobo (probably about 2 TB). This is really more of a potato soup than a corn chowder in my opinion but I think you could make it thicker my adding mashed potato flakes or boiling another white potato and adding it to the blender with the corn mixture. We like it so I usually just make the consistency as suggested. I used soy milk and Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. I often add more chipotle tabasco at the end. I guess I really like that smoky flavor!!!

Donna let me borrow Vegan with a Vengeance so I tried the Pancakes recipe which I feel like I have made before. They tasted good but were very thin. I used whole wheat flour which may have made then too dense. Oops.

Side note: I totally plan to make that Carrot Cake from 101 cookbooks that was in the email today/yesterday. I am thinking I will use some egg replacer and soy yogurt. I have a bunch of dates in the fridge (oddly-had a craving!) and at least two rotting bananas so it was perfect timing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Smoothies and Pasta

After we run or take the dogs out for a walk, I tend to make a smoothie when we come home - especially in the warm weather. Today, V had a smoothie with bananas, protein powder, strawberries, blueberries, light soy milk, orange juice and agave nectar. Mine did not have the agave nectar. Based on Em's suggestion, I added a handful of spinach to my smoothie. It did not change the taste too much, just a little. I liked it, but the photo was not appetizing. So the photo is only of the spinach-less smoothie!

For lunch, I put together a quick pasta. Today was a beautiful day here and we ate in the deck! We did not want a hot meal, so I put together this pasta quickly. I change it around by adding herbs, different vegetables (when the tomatoes are out, I add tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes instead). Sometimes, I add chick peas instead of the vegan meatballs. The sauce that I use changes too. If I was not vegan, I would add fresh mozzarella to it too. Here is what it contained today -

1 bunch, Asparagus
1 cup, Peas
2 cups, Pasta cooked
2 cups, Vegan meatballs
2 T, Pesto
2 T, pine nuts
2 t, Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes
In the meantime, cook pasta.
Mix all the ingredients including the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jamaican Vegetables and Sweet Potatoes

I made two more dishes from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen. I made a couple of changes but not much. I made the Jamaican Veggie Patties without the Patties. So I just made the filling and served it over quinoa. To add some more protein, I added black-eyed peas to the mix. It was a little too spicy for me - I added too much red pepper flakes and cayenne powder. Have to be careful next time (and there will be a next time!)
On the side, I made Roasted Sweet Potato Purree with Coconut Milk. It was YUMMY. V would have preferred it if it was not purreed. He just wanted the roasted sweet potatoes without the coconut milk. But, I still loved it :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Black Bean Soups

I mentioned before that I had used a recipe for black bean soup in the past that I liked and I found the link today. It is called Black Bean Vegetable Soup from When I make it I add an extra can of black beans and I use the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. I often skip the step in which you are supposed to puree one can of beans with the tomatoes. I like chunks in my soup!

Today I am trying Southwestern Black Bean Soup since I wanted to use my crockpot (it is cold and rainy here today) and I had a bag of dried black beans to use up. I used two 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes since it was unclear what size cans to use. I also added about 1 TB of chipotle chili instead of the red pepper flakes since I had about that much left over in the fridge. This soup will probably be spicy! Oh, and I also added 1 TB of bouillon mix since I find it makes my soups taste better. There was far too much liquid for my crockpot so I removed about 2 cups of the liquid and saved in case I need to add it later. I will let you know how it tastes later tonight!OK, verdict is in. It took a little over 6 hours to cook at high in the crockpot but the beans did finally get soft. I put the immersion blender into it for a few spins after it was fully cooked to help thicken it up a bit. This soup was definitley NOT spicy. It was actually a little blah. I added approximately 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (necessary!) into the soup and then we mixed some salsa and Smoked Chipotle Tabasco into each serving. After those additons the soup was great. I made some plain polenta to have on the side since we love it!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pigs in a blanket, fiesta salad, chocolate cake

I did not make all of this today. We were actually out at a party but I realize that I have been taking pictures and forgetting to blog so I am playing catch up now! I did make the cake tonight since M did not want to eat any of the treats at the party since he is so disciplined. I thought he needed a treat since I had both a brownie and a cookie.

Pigs in a Blanket
The pigs in a blanket are made from the Pigs Are Safe in the Barn recipe from I used corn flour instead of cornmeal since last time I tried these it was too crumbly. I used SmartDogs since they are very low calorie yet have 9 grams of protein. I remember thinking they were awful the first time I tried them but they have grown on me over time and now I eat them quite often when I need something quick and easy.

Fiesta Black Bean Salad
This is a cold salad that I have made so many times and I always love it. I found the recipe online years ago but I was unable to find it to add a link so I will write out the recipe for you. The picture is not fabulous but it generally looks very brightly colored and festive if you bring to a party. I often make this and then just some plain polenta when I need to bring an appetizer. They go together well and this salad can be served at room temperature wihtout any problems. M uses it as a burrito/quesadilla filling with some brown rice and salsa since it takes good heated also.

  • 2 cups corn kernels (I usually just use frozen but I have used canned and fresh also. In the picture, I used Trader Joe's Frozen Roasted Corn)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (or any color pepper, I used green and red this time)
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • black pepper to taste
Toss corn, onion, red pepper, and beans. Stir in chili powder and allow to sit at room temperature.
Whisk together olive oil, garlic powder, vinegar, lemon juice and pour over vegetables.
Stir in cilantro and seaon with black pepper.
Chill 2 hours before serving. (I never actually do this!)

Chocolate Cake
Last, but not least, chocolate cake for my husband. D and I had lots of sweets at the party so we just licked the spoons (it needed to be done, right?).
I used this Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe and made this Chocolate Frosting. I would say the "frosting" was more like a glaze or an icing but it taste good so no complaints. It was easier than having to spread. It just sort of dripped down nicely. The other frostings that I looked up required a cup of margarine or similar heavily fatty ingredients. This one just needed a few TB of oil.

Have a great weekend! I am off this week so maybe I will be cooking more. We shall see.

Asparagus Stir Fry

I have been busy in the kitchen this morning. I made the trail mix bars that both Em and I tried before. Mine was sweeter today, but also goo-eier (is that a word). I made some as cookies that stayed together better. The rest I poured in a pan to turn into bars. They are mushy, but yummy.

I also made the vegan cupcakes. They are in the oven, we'll see how it turns out. I also am planning to try the glaze and take it over to a friend's for dinner. I am seriously in trouble with all the baking that I am doing. Need to be careful about what I eat.

For lunch, I made Asparagus Stir Fry from 101cookbooks.
It turned out very yummy. I did not have basil/mint, so I used cilantro instead. I also added some Seitan because we had extra. I ate mine over some white rice and when V eats lunch, he plans to use noodles! I liked the bright green of the vegetables and red pepper flakes in the wok, so I added a photo of the preparation too, although the photo does not do it justice!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Black Bean Soup and Cornbread

It is a warm day here in the mid-west today. I am not sure why I would chose to make soup today, but I did. My brother and sister-in-law wanted some quick, healthy soup recipes (they live in MN - and it probably is still cold there!!). So I made the soup.
I used a few different recipes and mixed them together to make this. I did not have any any Chipotle Chillis in Adobo Sauce, so I used red pepper flakes and Paprika instead. I also had very little salsa, so I used broth and some tomato sauce instead. This would probably taste great with different flavors of salsa too. The soup would also taste good with different vegetables - I just used what I had on hand - peas, peppers, celery etc would also be good options.
I combined two recipes to make it. It was a little crumbly and I was not too impressed. I also did not plan too well and the soup was ready half hour before the bread, so we ended up eating the soup first and then the corn bread. And the corn bread was too hot to eat too. I think I'll like it more tomorrow. Also in my attempt at to bake in a pretty dish - it was too deep and it took longer for the corn bread to cook.

Black Bean Soup

1 Onion, Chopped
3 Carrots, chopped
1 C frozen corn kernels
1/2 vegan sausage
1/2 C Seitan
2 t Olive Oil
3 Garlic cloves
2 C Vegetable Broth
2 C Black Beans - cooked (I used dried black beans, soaked overnight an
d then cooked it)
2 T Salsa
3 T Tomato sauce
1 T Cumin
1 T Red pepper flakes
1 T Paprika
1 T Sugar
1 T herbs (I used oregano and Italian Seasoning)
Cilantro, to taste

Heat Oil in a soup pot, add garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cumin and salt.

Add carrot and cook for 5 more minutes. Add black beans, salsa, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, paprika, broth, herbs and corn. Bring to a boil.

Take 1/3 of the soup and purree it (either in a food processor or a hand blender). Mix it the purree with the chunky beans. Add cilantro, sugar and bring to a boil.

Corn Bread

I did not like the sweetness of this cornbread much - If I make it again, there will be no sugar!!


1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C Corn Meal
1 t Baking Soda

1 T Baking powder
Egg replacer for 2 eggs
1/4 C Agave Nectar
1 C Soy milk
1/2 C Frozen Corn kernels

1/2 Red pepper, Chopped
1 T salt
1/3 C Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a pan

In a medium/large bowl, mix flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add agave nectar, soy milk, oil and mix together. Also, add corn and red pepper and mix it in.

Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lentil Sauce for Pasta and Smoothies

Hopefully no one will mind that I have copied this picture (thanks Heliamphora at but my camera batteries died right as I tried to get a photo last night. I made Lentil Sauce for Pasta which was so simple that I am sure I will make it again. It required all ingredients that I had floating around the kitchen (except the lentils which I had to run to the supermarket to pick up). I sauteed the onions and added 2 cloves of minced garlic before adding the other ingredients. I also added about 1 TB of red chili flakes. The recipe took about 30-40 minutes but I just covered it and forgot about it after the initial sauteeing. This is not fancy food but makes an easy week night dinner and is a good protein source. We served it over Trader Joe's whole wheat rotelle pasta.

I have also been making a lot of smoothies since I need more nutrients lately and can only eat so much in a day. I have tried green smoothies in the past and have liked them so I thought I would try again. This is a great way to add more greens to your diet since you barely taste them.

My Smoothie

(rough measurements)
1 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1 cup light vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup honey dew melon
1 chopped apple (with skin)
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
small handful of raspberries
small handful of strawberries
1/2 an avocado
3 large leaves of chard
1 TB tahini
2 tsp flax oil (for omega 3s)

It added the green things after giving D a portion since she cannot handle any green floaties. It made over three servings so I kept it in the fridge and had some for breakfast the next morning. I think I could add more greens next time and maybe even some soy protein powder!!! Yummy!
FYI, it did turn a little brownish the next day because of the avocado but it still tasted great. Enjoy.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I completely agree with you. Having trouble cooking during the busy week! We made these falafels this weekend (ok, Mike made them but I helped so here they are!) but I have not had a chance to post until now. We, well he, used the Perfect Falafel recipe from and made a few adjustments. The adjustments were my idea since they were a little blah last time and got too crumbly when cooking. He fried them but they would probably cook fine on a lightly greased pan at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. To the original recipe, we added 2 TB of tahini to help keep them together, about 1 TB of lemon juice, and some red chili flakes. We used Ener-G egg replacer since we had it on hand but I bet you could come up with another egg replacer! I tried silken tofu once and it did not work....maybe ground flax seed and water whisked up?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spagetti and Beans; Blueberry Coffee cake

Long time! I feel like I am only blogging on weekends. My week day recipes are foods that are cooked quickly. This week included 3 dinners out (with a book club meeting too). So, to make up for that - I tend to cook over the weekend. So here we are...
I baked this blueberry coffee cake (fat-free, at that!). It may not look great to look at, but it tasted good. It's not moist, melt in your mouth - that takes butter (or substitute) and eggs. But, I REALLY like this cake. I did not add ginger and thought the cinnamon was too strong - I will reduce the amount next time.
Based on the not-too-accurate calorie counting on the 'Lose it' application on the iphone, one serving is 136 calories.

I also made a vegan version of Rachel Ray's Spaghetti and Beans. I did not add any nutritional yeast, tofu or vegan cream cheese to this recipe. But I think a little of that may help too. This recipe came out creamy and that was enough for me.


3 Pepper (I used red, yellow and orange), cut in slices
1/2 Cup Olive oil, divided
3/4 lb Spaghetti
2 Cups White Beans, cooked
1 small/medium Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
3 small Carrots, chopped
1 Cup Dry White Wine
3 Cups Vegetable Broth + 1 cup water
1 T Thyme
1 Bayleaf
Salt, to taste, divided
Pepper, to taste, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place Spaghetti on a cookie sheet and brush with 1 T of olive oil. Toast Spaghetti for 5-7 minutes

Place sliced peppers on Silpat or a non-stick cookie sheet. Brush with a mixture of 3 T olive oil, satl and pepper to taste. Roast peppers for 30-40 minutes.

Heat Vegetable broth and water mix in a microwave till warm - about 3 minutes.

In a pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add onions, bay leaf and garlic. Cook till softened.Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add spaghetti and white wine. Simmer till all the wine is absorbed. Add beans, thyme and 1 cup of the warm broth-water mixture. Stir and cook till the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding liquid and cooking till the pasta is al-dente. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve pasta with the roasted peppers!

Based on my input into "Lose it" on the iphone, one serving of the pasta and peppers is 314 calories

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Seitan Nuggets

OK, not healthy at all but I am basically feeding two kids over here so they are drawn to these types of foods. You made me think of comfort foods with your last post! I made the nuggets in the picture a while back from the Fried Chicken recipe on using homemade seitan. This time I made them with another similar recipe that was in the October 2008 edition of VegNews Magazine called "Down-Home Country Fried Seitan." I bought a package of White Wave seitan at Wholefoods. This version was coated in mix of spicy dijon mustard and then dipped in Panko, nutritional yeast, flour and then pan fried. It was very crispy but hard to keep from burning (I am not the best fryer in the family-I usually give that job to my husband but at least I tried!). I also breaded and fried a little bit of tofu that was milling around in my fridge. Sadly, I did not get a photo of the most recent batch. We may make these again but I think M likes the Fried Chicken version better.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Seitan in Mushroom Gravy

Vegan or vegetarian, I try a variety of foods from different parts of the world - Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Italian, American and even Indian :) But, I have never tried African American/Soul food. I always assumed that most Southern food involves a LOT of meat and nothing transfers well to vegetarian/vegan food. Then, I read about Bryant Terry and his book - Vegan Soul Kitchen. Two blogs that I follow posted recipes from his cookbook and raved about him and the recipes - - about his favorite cookbooks and a recipe; Holy Cow. And I was sold. Both the recipes looked yummy and this was a whole new adventure. So I bough the book and looked through it.
I was partially right about the amount of meat in Soul cooking. So Bryant Terry uses a lot of Seitan and Tempeh - both tastes and textures that I am not completely sold on. But, I am going to be open and try some of these recipes.

Today, I made my version of the 'Smothered Seitan Medallions in Mixed-Mushroom Gravy'. Of course, I made many modifications. The original recipe is supposed to resemble smothered pork chops and involves deep frying 1/2 inch Seitan medallions after being soaked in arrowroot powder. I try to eat healthy as much as possible (so I can eat desserts at the end!) and just don't enjoy deep frying. So my Seitan pieces were smaller and were sauteed in oil - they were browned but not deep fried. He also calls for Button mushrooms and Baby Bella mushrooms and I used a 3-mushroom blend (Oyster, Shitake and Crimini) that Trader Joe's carries and we love. Also, I used soy milk instead of rice milk and store bought (organic) vegetable broth rather than making a 'shroom stock that the book recommends.

So here is the recipe

Smothered Setian In Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy

1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, cut
2 T Olive Oil
2 T whole wheat pastry flour (I used 1 T each of all purpose and whole wheat flours)
1 cup Plain soy milk (light is fine too)
1 cup broth
Sea salt
White pepper - to taste

Heat 1 T of the olive oil and add mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add flour and other T of olive oil and stir together till combined.
Reduce heat and cook (stir often to prevent sticking) till flour browns.
Add soy milk, broth, salt and pepper and mix well together. Cook till it thickens, about 15 minutes.
This could be served with rice, as is. This itself was yummy!

Seitan Medallions in Mushroom Gravy

1 pound Seitan, sauteed
1 T Olive oil
1 large onion
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
Mushroom Gravy (prepared)
2 cups broth
1 cup cabbage (finely chopped)
2 green chillis or jalapeno's
2 green onions, thinly slicd
2 T cilantro (recipe calls for parsley)

Heat Oil and heat onions. Cook in high heat for 2-3 minutes, reduce heat and cook for 8 to 10 minutes till soft. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes
Add mushroom gravy, broth, Seitan. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Add cabbage, green chillis, green onions and cilantro - stir and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Serve with Rice!


It's been a long week of quiet. And hopefully, I'll have two posts this week!
I made eggs and pancakes for breakfast this morning (I'm allowed Jane's eggs!) and they were delicious. The pancakes were vegan and based on this recipe.

I used half cup of whole wheat flour and half a cup of all purpose flour. I would have liked to use the banana in place of egg and applesauce instead of oil, but the bananas were not ripe enough. Also, I wanted to try the recipe as it was written first and then begin to modify it.