Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart, Corn Chowder, Pumpkin chickpea and Red Lentil Stew

I haven't made this yet but I think this is my husband's ultimate dream so I am going to try to make it for Christmas.....Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart. I borrowed their picture which I hope is legal! Too bad I don't have a tart pan. Wonder if a springform pan will work?

I have been making soups recently. One is an old favorite: Scrumptious Corn Chowder to which I added too much red bell pepper so no one would eat it (except me, of course). I think some fake bacon bits would be a nice touch to this soup. I always add Chipotle in some shape or form and some smoked paprika. I also use half Roasted frozen corn from trader Joe's since it adds a smoky flavor to the soup.

I also discovered this recipe on Amazon while searching for a slow cooker cookbook for my sister: Pumpkin, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew from the Ultimate Slow Cooker Book. I used Butternut Squash instead of Pumpkin. It was a good stew but I always add some hot sauce to my soups/stews, so that is what I did. I did not add the peanuts or cilantro at the end since I did not have any. They may have given it a little bit more flavor. Ooh..some curry powder may have been good too!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cranberry Orange muffins/bread

Another potluck, another opportunity to bake something sweet and healthy. It's one of the easiest ways to make sure that I don't completely fill myself on all the other yummy food. But, of course, that did not really work. I did get a plateful of desserts and this cranberry orange bread was not on my plate. It was yummy, but I had already tasted it :)

I remember making this muffin a couple of years ago. A friend had come by and I had asked her if she wanted a muffin and she was interested in trying. When I gave her the muffin, she said she liked it, but it was a little denser than she had expected for a muffin - more like a bread. So, this time, I decided I would make bread and muffins. We still have some of the muffins and the bread went to the potluck :)

I made the following changes to the original recipe - First, I increased it by 1 and a half times, so instead of doubling it, I increased it by half a serving for the bread. Second, I reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup. That was sweet enough for me :) Third, and most importantly, I had to add another 1/3 to 1/2 cup of orange juice (I could not measure it exactly - I kept adding a little at a time till it was completely mixed in). The amount of juice/liquid called for in the recipe was not adequate to mix in all the flour. Fourth, I added a 1/2 tsp of Orange flavoring in the mix. Fifth, I added a crumb topping to the top of the bread by mixing brown sugar, flour and oil. Sixth, the bread took a little over double the time to bake - we just kept checking on the bread till it was done.

It was moist and both the bread and muffins were yummy!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Banana Peanut butter cookies

When I opened the oven while making these cookies, it smelled like our breakfast. For breakfast, I usually make oatmeal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with slices of banana sandwiched in the middle. Occasionally, jelly is changed to nutella. So, when I found this recipe for banana peanut butter (chocolate chip) cookies, it was exactly what I was craving!

Also, it is holiday season and that means potlucks and parties. V needed to take a dish that was vegan for his party (one attendee is allergic to milk) and I decided these would be a great treat.

The only change I made was that I added 1/4 cup oil to bind the mixture together. I was not able to get everything to mix well together without the oil (I did not use natural peanut butter and that may have been the reason too). Of course, mine had vegan chocolate chips too.

This cookie has a distinct taste of banana, so if you don't like that, this may not be the cookie for you. But, it was ideal for us :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Butternut squash soup with coconut milk

Here's a pre-thanksgiving soup that I made for dinner tonight. We leave tomorrow morning at 4am on a drive to Altoona to have Thanksgiving with our family. There has been freezing rain here today and I skid a few times today and hope tomorrow's journey is without incident.
This recipe started out as the curried butternut squash and bean stew - I started off by sauteing onions, garlic in some oil. Added the butternut squash and cauliflower and added some of the spices - cumin powder, salt, red chilli flakes, basil. As it was cooking, I was reminded of a sweet potato soup with coconut milk and collard greens that a friend made - which was awesome. So, this recipe morphed into that! It came out yummy. We ate it with some leftover white rice. It would probably taste even better with brown rice. Or quinoa. Or Harvest Grains from Trader Joe's. I would also consider adding Tofu to this recipe next time - it was too late by the time I made the switch. I am going to freeze the soup - I hope it un-freezes well.

Chunky Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk


Onions - 2 small
Oil - 2 T
Garlic - 2 cloves, mashed
Ginger - 1/2 Tsp
Butternut Squash - 3 cups, cubed (I used Trader Joe's pre-cut)
Cauliflower Florets - 2 cups
Garbanzo Beans - 1 15oz can
Coconut Milk, Light - 1 15 oz can
Salt, To taste
Turmeric - .5 tsp
Red Chilli Flakes - 1T
Cumin Powder - 1 T
Lemon juice - 1t
Cilantro, to garnish
Basil (dried) - .5 T
Agave Nectar - . 5 T

Heat pot; add oil. Saute garlic and onion till browned.
Add salt, chili flakes, turmeric, basil and cumin. Let the flavors mix.
Add Butternut squash, Cauliflower florets and the Beans and mix together with the spices and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, coconut milk, and agave nectar (or sugar). Taste and adjust seasonings.
Close and bring to a boil.
After the soup starts to boil, reduce heat and leave on for 15 minutes.
Add cilantro and splash of lemon juice.
Turn off the heat and serve.

I added dry roasted peanuts on top for crunch too :)
Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eggplant Stew over Pasta

Earlier this year, I made a hummus babaganoush Pasta and I had an eggplant sitting in my fridge. It needed to be used last week and I wanted to try to figure out a recipe with it. We also had some Trader Joe's gnocchi (not vegan) in the pantry and I knew V would enjoy it. So, I figured I could make a mediterranean-inspired dish using the Eggplant. And I LOVED the end result. It was very filling (I had it over some penne pasta - vegan!) and V enjoyed it with gnocchi. A friend ate it with some Greek Yogurt!

I wanted to take care not to make it too Indian - that would have been easy - and to maintain a mediterranean taste to the dish. Here's how I made it -


Eggplant - 1 big, cubed
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato - 2 small-medium, chopped
Chickpeas - 2 cups, cooked
Roasted Red Peppers - 1 cup
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped/minced
Olive oil - 1 T
Cumin powder - 1 T
Chilli powder/flakes - 1 t (or to taste)
Vegetable Broth/Water - 1 cup
Marinara sauce - .5 cup
Salt/Pepper - to taste
Oregano, dried - 1t
Raisins (optional) - 1 T

Heat Olive oil in a pan (it would be best if you used something that could be easily transferred to the oven). Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Add garlic. After a minute or two (when the raw smell is gone), add onions and saute till light brown. Add tomatoes and salt and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
Add Eggplant, roasted red peppers and chick peas. Add marinara sauce, cumin, chilli powder/flakes, oregano and cook till the eggplant cooks down a little. Around 10 minutes on medium flame.
Add water/vegetable broth to the thickness that you like. Bring to boil. Add raisins (optional), mix well.
Transfer dish to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

I loved this dish. It was filling without being too rich and the flavors were perfect.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegan chocolate cake

Someone very special to us turned 2 yesterday. Unfortunately, we were not with him to celebrate. He does not know about us yet, but (hopefully) soon, our lives will be completely and intricately connected. It was a difficult day for me - celebrating the birthday of a son we don't yet know, but love and want. Yes, we are adopting a little boy - he lives with his foster family in India and we are waiting ..
To celebrate his birthday, I baked a chocolate cake and V and I ate the cake last evening. As I was searching for recipes for a cake, I came across this collection of Moosewood recipes. About 8-10 years ago, when I started getting into cooking more, V's aunt, cousin and I discovered this treasure trove of books from Moosewood and I used to use the recipe books regularly. I may have said this before - but, it's the one book that I don't substitute much. I follow the recipes pretty closely. Then, the blogs opened up new worlds and I have not used the recipe books as much.

The vegan chocolate cake recipe looked easy enough and not too much of a hassle. I made it in the pan as described in the recipe and cut down the sugar to half a cup (I just felt that one cup may be too much). I added a few chocolate chips in the batter - for a surprise chocolate taste!

For the glaze (which I liked more than the cake), I added a tsp of orange flavoring to add a little orange twist to the cake. To make it more fun (and because V likes it), I added cherries to the top of the glaze before cooling it!

Verdict - The cake was a little crumbly and not too sweet. It tasted great with the glaze and I loved the addition of the orange flavor. I was not a huge fan of the cake without the glaze, but I never complain about chocolate!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Stew

Happy Halloween Everyone!!! I had a butternut squash hanging around for a week or so and I decided to cook something this morning. I looked back at a few of the squash soups we have made before and decided to try to merge a few into a new soup/stew. I have decided to call it Harvest Stew. I added red quinoa which made it a little grainy but you could choose another grain if you want. The spinach was a last minute addition because I had a package thawed in the fridge but this could be omitted.

Harvest Stew:
-2 TB olive oil
-1-1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 medium onion, chopped
-4 cups veggie broth
-3/4 cup red lentils
-1/2 cup red quinoa
-1/2 package thawed frozen spinach, squeezed
-spices: to taste-I used garam masala, curry powder, cumin, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, tiny bit of cardamom
- 1 can lite coconut milk
-Dash of Sriracha hot sauce

  1. Heat olive oil in large stock pot. Add onions and garlic. Cook until softened.
  2. Add squash and cook on medium until softened (about 20 minutes).
  3. Add broth and spices. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add Quinoa and lentils. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer about 15-20 minutes until lentils and quinoa are cooked.
  5. Add spinach and allow to warm.
  6. Remove from heat. Pour in coconut milk and stir.
  7. Adjust seasonings. Add Hot sauce to taste.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

So I searched for a recipe for a chili that I made a while back and had trouble locating it. In my search I discovered this Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili on so I though I would try it. I added some frozen corn and prepared brown rice. I also did not have any cilantro but it was good anyway. Later that evening I found the recipe that started this search: Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili on Honestly, they are almost identical but the vegweb version has cocoa powder and green chiles which probably would have been good additions.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zucchini Muffins, Halloween Cupcakes and Yoga Soup (Again!)

I may be lacking creativity lately but my daughter is not. She decided to make Vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and she even planned to make her own vegan buttercream frosting. Sadly, the vegetable shortening had some sort of strange growth developing on it (I know...EW!!!) so we switch to store bought vanilla frosting and she added some colors to make it festive. Overall, I think she did a great job!

This morning I attended a book club and made the chocolate zucchini muffins from Happy Herbivore that Anu has mentioned a few times before. I thought it would be a nice tribute since she could not attend this meeting. I added some chocolate chips to the mix too. Seems to me that one type of the Ghirardelli chips does not contain any milk products so I have been buying them. Also halved the sugar and they were still sweet (13 year old ate without complaint....success to me!). I did not get a picture of these since I made them first thing in the morning and then had to rush to the brunch meeting. They did not have much of a banana flavor to me but I love bananas so I'm not sure I would mind.

Tonight for dinner we had Yoga Soup from which I must have blogged about before. My daughter loves it and my husband tolerates it so I continue to make it. I added shredded carrots and cabbage (still have some from my cabbage fest last week!) and used a handful of stir fry rice noodles that were milling around in the cupboard. I like the steaming photo although when I see this pot here I realize I should have thrown it out years ago!

Hawaiian-style Chickpeas with Harvest Grain

Doesn't that name sound interesting. The original recipe from Happyherbivore was Hawaiian BBQ - I did not see the BBQ in the recipe, so I dropped it from mine. But, I loved the flavor of the dish. I made a variety of modifications to mine to match what I had in my kitchen and pantry.

Here is how I made this dish.

Chickpeas - 2 cups
Soyaki (from Trader Joe's) - 1/2 cup
Plum sauce - 1/2 cup
Salsa (Three pepper from Trader Joe's again!) - 1 cup
Pineapples, diced - 1 cup
Cilantro - to taste
Lemon juice - from 1/2 lemon (can use lime juice too).

I mixed all the above ingredients in a bowl on Sunday night and put it in the fridge. Yes, overnight. When I came home from work on Monday, I put everything in a wok and made the grains on the side for dinner. It was SO amazingly easy and tasty. We ate it for 2 meals and could not get enough.

Oh and the grains - that deserves another post in itself. Our nearest Trader Joe's is about an hour away. Last weekend, V ran a half marathon in Indy and I made the trip to spend the day there with a friend after the half marathon. Because we are so far away from the nearest Trader Joe's, when one of us goes to the store, we ask each other if we bring back anything. My friend Susan asked for 2-3 bags of 'harvest grains'. I did not know where to find it or what it was. It looked interesting and I bought a bag too. I wish I had 3 more bags!! I love it - it's Couscous, Quinoa, Orzo (multi-colored) and has some broken chickpeas too (they look like Indian Channa dal). What a wonderful combination of grains and protein too!!
I have SO many ideas of things to do with this mix and look forward to the next friend driving down to Indy!!

I have never tried this before - but, I am going to see if I am not too late for Blog Bites at Onehotstove.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last 2 months

It's been over 2 months since my last blog post - mostly because of inertia and also because I was not sure anyone has been reading. More importantly, Em was away being a mommy to a little one and this was something that the two of us were doing (sort of for each other, mostly) - so, it did not seem imperative to write.
But, Em's back and so am I :)
The last couple of months have not really been inspiring - but, here are a few things that I made in this time...
- Vegetarian Times' fresh tomato pasta with meatballs for a complete dish (including protien)
- Other pasta recipes from the same magazine (I mixed the ones with lemon pepper and roasted peppers and made it vegan). Maybe one day I'll get to make it again and post the recipe.
- Chocolate zucchini muffins - made many times over. I added chocolate chips too!!

And my usual suspects; twists on our regular foods -
-Stir fry or Stir fry
-Quick Pastas
-Thai Curry
and Indian food. Of course, no two attempts of any of these taste the same!!

I also made a batch of the pumpkin cookies (from last year, this time) and enjoyed it!! Looking back at the recipes from last year - I want to make them all again!! But for tonight, it's good ol' eggplant with Dal (Indian food) and maybe the tortilla soup to eat later in the week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cabbage Recipes

I realize I have been off the radar for quite a bit but wanted to try to get back into the swing of things. Busy toddler is keeping me, well......busy. I am trying to make some South Beach Diet or low glycemic recipes since this seems to help me lose weight and have more energy. Found a great blog called Kalyn's Kitchen that has tons of great recipes and is extremely well organized.

Here are some cold salads I am going to try using cabbage. Cabbage seems like an under-utilized vegetable and it is so good for you so I am going to try to give it some attention this month. These two recipes share many of the same ingredients:
Spicy Cilantro Peanut Slaw
Spicy Mexican Slaw with Lime and Cilantro

I also really love stir fried cabbage with just soy sauce and some toasted sesame seeds. Still searching for some hot soups or other warm cabbage recipes if you have any.
Yum...looking forward to cooking tomorrow.

SO...the Spicy Cilantro Peanut Slaw was good and interesting. The peanuts were an odd addition and I think toasted Sesame seeds would have been better maybe. Raw cabbage involves so much chewing that it was easy to feel really full quickly! I actually ate the entire bowl of this myself throughout the week and the peanuts stayed crunchy enough.

The Spicy Mexican Slaw was sort of dull but I did not measure so the flavors may not have been strong enough. Didn't really have a "Mexican" feel at all to me. Maybe I will try a bowl along with a margarita?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home-made Hummus

At an impromptu deck party earlier this summer, my friend had made some home-made hummus (she called it chumoos). Since then, I have been wondering about making my own hummus. And last month, I did. It's not so difficult to make and it was amazing to have home-made hummus in the fridge in the hot summer months. It was gone in 3-4 days. I added many things I found to my hummus and think it would be good even without all of the additions. I also boiled dried chickpeas and used them instead of canned beans - I think that really helped with the taste, but that also affected how long often I can make this.

The basic recipe calls for
2 cups of chickpeas,
2 T tahini
2 T olive oil
Salt, to taste.

I also added 1 cup of roasted red peppers (store bought),
handful of basil and cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
Paprika, to taste.

Purree all the ingredients to the consistency you like (a little chunky for some of us, very smooth for others) and enjoy it!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hummus-Babaganoush Pasta

I rarely watch 'Rachel Ray' on TV. I used to like her more when she was a relative nobody on 30-minute meals. Now, with her being a complete market in herself, I am not a fan anymore (not that I liked her too much to begin). But, channel surfing one day, I saw an episode of 30-minute meals that was meditteranean and one of the meals was this Hummus-Babaganoush Pasta. It sounded really tasty - and had vegetable and protein.
So I made it the next night. The reason this post lacks a photo accompanying it is that the pasta looked dreadful - goopy and brown. Nothing appealing about it. (I did not add the pine nuts). The taste, on the other hand, was really good. I loved the taste of the rich hummus and eggplant mixed in. I was NOT a fan of the texture (again, I did not add the pine nuts). V liked the texture - for me, it was too much like a dip. I think increasing the amount of water added to make it more 'sauce-like' or adding the pine nuts (as stated in the recipe) may make it better. I will definitely make this recipe again and add tomato pieces and not puree the mix completely - I may leave a few pieces of chick peas and eggplant bigger - to keep the texture more mixed (the way I like it).
In India now... good Indian food are my meals (HUGE meals, though...).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Broccoli with sun-dried tomatoes

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I guess there are a few people reading this blog, even if I don't understand everything they are saying.

Getting a lot of great vegetables from the CSA pilot. Last month, we had a lot of broccoli and broccolini and I found this recipe from the recent Vegetarian Times. I made it without the goat cheese and served it over brown rice. Of course, I added a little crushed red pepper to spice it up. I made this dish for one of my colleagues who's husband was unable to eat for a while and she was not cooking for herself.
It was a very different taste than I am used to cooking/eating, but in a good way..
Short post....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Garden Update and Question

Just to keep you all interested - our doggies - Rafa and Gigi :)

A mid-week post - how fun!! This is related to our plants/garden and not a specific meal and a question!! I hope you'll all still enjoy it. First the question, does ANYONE read this blog? (Again, to the people commenting from Asia - can't understand what you are saying - please try English!). If you read this blog, could you leave a comment or email me or talk to me on facebook if you read this blog. If I don't hear from anyone, I'll take it that no one reads this blog and stop writing - I do'nt want to write just for myself. Em, even if you read this - that's enough. Are you reading?? On to more fun stuff - (pictures - tomatoes and chilli peppers!!)

Just like last year, we planted a small vegetable bed this year too. We were away in South America during the start of the planting season and we returned to warm temperatures and tall weeds everywhere. I was constantly obsessing about cleaning the weeds and not hanging out with a friend. So, she suggested that I hire someone to clean up the weeds and use a roto-tiller. 3.5 hours and $50 later, I had one vegetable bed ready for plants and 3 trees that had an area around them ready to have flowers planted in them!! It was exciting and SO worth it!

We bought saplings for tomatoes, peppers (cayenne and bell), cilantro and basil - less than what we had last year. I still have some dried thyme from last year. In the front yard, there's a spot where nothing grows (actually two spots) - lavender that we planted 2 summers ago is thriving (almost weed-like) in one of them and I bought ground cover for the other area. We also planted a blackberry and a raspberry bush last year - they are doing well. Very few fruits, but at least they are still alive!! (pics - raspberries in the bush and in in V's hands)

Exciting things that we have been happening -
-- Little baby green tomatoes in our plants
-- Enjoying cilantro and basil in a lot of the cooking - tastes so good
-- Took some of the compost out of our compost bin (called bio-orb) and added it into a flower bed, making room for more of the dried leaves and green waste to compost
-- Used a mix of cayenne pepper and flour to keep away bugs from the blackberry and raspberry bush. So far so good.
-- Things that have bloomed so far - Peonies, roses, Day-lilies, Clematis (all planted by previous owners), Daisies, Salvia (planted by us). Impatiens and Beagonias (annuals) growing well. Waiting for the Zinnias and Sunflowers to bloom.
-- Ground cover looks like it is taking some root (had to use some bone meal and blood meal to make the soil better - not sure how that goes with my vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but....)
-- Used lemons to clean the grease on the stove instead of harsh cleaners
-- Using lime/lemon juice and vinegar to clean the mold from the rain flap for our tent

And here are some photos -

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mesir Wat (Ethiopian Lentils)

When we lived in Massachusetts, we used to visit Addis Red Sea regularly for their Ethiopian food. Locally, we don't have any Ethiopian restaurants - we occasionally have gone to Chicago or Indy get our fix of Ethiopian food. I cook a variety of 'cuisines' of food, but have never found a recipe for Ethiopian food - till I saw this one. I had all the ingredients listed and I made the lentils one night. Okay, I did not have 'one' ingredient. I used black lentils instead of 'red lentils'. But, I really liked the taste of the resulting lentil dish. I made it with Dosai (a bread-type dish from South India - with fermented rice, dal etc) and with a side of stir fried spiach.

These lentils were pretty versatile - we ate them with rice, yogurt, naan etc too.

Happy 4th to those who celebrate.. and happy Sunday to those who don't!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cauliflower and Coconut Curry

We are part of a new CSA, but are the only 'pilot' family for this CSA - to figure out if this wil be an option for this agricultural family. I am enjoying the vegetables very much, but one of the difficulties with eating within season is cooking the same vegetable every week.

This week, I wanted to try something different with Cauliflower and found this recipe. I had all the ingredients and it appeared to be a good mix of vegetables and protien. I added some green peppers to the dish to add more color and increased the spice by adding paprika. I also added a couple of Tablespoons of ground flax seeds to the end of cooking. I found that the flax seeds changed the flavor of the dish and would probably not add that next time.

It is quick, easy and tasty... enjoy!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie

What a LONG time in between. There are some comments on the previous post, but they are all in a language that I cannot read. So if any of you wants Emily and/or me to understand, post it in English (or even Hindi, Tamil or Kannada).

We were away in Peru and Ecuador for a couple of weeks. We had some good Vegan and Vegetarian meals there. On our boat at Galapagos, the vegetarian/vegan options were great and provided to me specifically during each meal. When we came back, we wanted to eat home-made comfort food. So there was a lot of Indian food being cooked here; also stir fry's with tofu (variations on this, or this especially with Soyaki Marinade from Trader Joe's as the stir fry sauce!), mexican-type beans (like this) and quick week night pastas (variations on this).

Today, I baked some chocolate chip cookies for a picnic. I did this at the last minute, but they came out great. I used this recipe almost completely. I did not add cinnamon because I was making this for kids and did not know if they would enjoy that flavor in their cookies.
After baking half the dough, I realized that I really like the cookie dough better than the cookie. That's how we ate half of it - as dough. The rest was cookies. If you try this recipe, I would recommend reading all the comments and getting ideas from others before you make this your own.

And I plan to be back more regularly :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

English Muffin 'pizza'

Long time since the last post!! I have just been uninspired in spite of the Vegan Kickstart. I have not found too many recipes that make me too happy.
Recently, we visited a local Aldi's and bought ourselves a really cheap toaster oven. I have always dreamed of owning a toaster oven and making English muffin pizzas - this was when I ate cheese. This time, I had to make a fun 'pizza' without fresh mozzarella!!
I made these with hummus as the base for some, regular tomato sauce for others. Topped with vegan cheese pieces and pieces of vegan sausage, but mostly roasted eggplants and roasted peppers. The eggplants were thinly sliced and red peppers cut into strips and roasted in the 'real' oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I added some olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting them. For more flavor, the 'pizzas' were topped with herbs (a mix of oregano and basil) and red chili flakes.

Yummy dinner... mmmm....
I'll try to post once more this week and then we'll be gone for 2.5 weeks to Peru and Galapagos. My back has been gone for the past 10 days... lots of PT, exercises and changing of travel plans. Fingers crossed for a fun trip.....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roasted Butter Nut Squash salad with thai spices

Mmm.... I can't believe that I have not blogged about this dish before. I read it on more than a year ago and since then it has been one of my more favorite salads to make or things to do with Butternut Squash. So very good. And so very easy!!

I don't make too many modifications to the original recipe (it's not called the same thing - she calls it the Maranui Surf Club Salad, but I don't have the same story to go with it, so my name is different!). I add a little sugar to the Butternut squash before roasting.

Happy Spring :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Black bean burger

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. To the rest of us, happy Sunday!! I had a relaxing weekend and ended it with a bunch of cooking. The food is still waiting to be eaten and in the meantime, I decided it was time to add a new recipe. I mentioned in my last post that I am trying to find ways to add flax seeds to our meals and that V does not like nuts in our food. And with time, I am starting to dislike the taste of flax seeds in my food too. So, I ground some of the roasted and salted flax seeds from Trader Joe's and am trying to find foods to add it too. Of course, it's a great egg substitute.

I was inspired by other burger recipes that we blogged about last year. The photo does not look good - and this was the best that I could find :)
I mixed the following ingredients for this version

Black beans, cooked or canned - 3 cups
Salsa, prepared - 1 cup
Corn meal - 2 T
Ground flax seeds - 2 T
Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce - 1 t
Adobo seasoning (or Fajita seasoning) - 2 t
Olive oil - 1 T
Salt - to taste (depends on how much salt is in the seasoning you are using and the salsa)

Puree these ingredients together. I made it very smooth and would have preferred that a few of the beans were not completely pureed.
Then, I added

Frozen corn - 1 cup
Cilantro - 1/2 cup

t would have been great to add grated carrot, peas or finely diced red peppers too (for color and taste), but I had neither.

I cooked it on a pan. But, the burgers came out better when I made the burgers very thin, rather than a thick juicy burger. The thicker ones tended to not stay whole.

As the burger was getting cooked, I added Vegan sour cream and salsa on top.
I froze some and it made for a good meal on a busy evening!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quick week-night pasta

After spring break last week, I am back to cooking again this week. We went to see V's aunt and cousin in PA for the end of spring break and I was so relaxed. I did not cook for 4 days (although I planned to bake, did not do that either) and was not too inspired at the start of the week. But, dinner needed to be made! I always learn something new when we visit V's family and am inspired by something his aunt/cousin uses. His aunt had roasted some walnuts with maple syrup and some flax seeds and ground them together (coarsely). She adds this mix to her oatmeal every morning. I loved it and brought some back. Flax seeds are supposed to be really good for health. V, though, does not like nuts or seeds in any of his foods. I have tried adding roasted flax seeds (from Trader Joe's) in many meals and he complains about the pieces of seeds in his food. Her innovative idea got me thinking - I could gring flax seeds and add it into many dishes that he would not notice. Flax seeds are also a good substitute for eggs in recipes (mixed with water) and is a good binding agent. This chocolate chip recipe could use some powdered flax seeds in it too for increased heart health. And there will be more - keep your eyes open!!

Based on earlier recipes, like this spinach alfredo and tomato florentine soup, I made a quick week-night pasta dinner. Looking back at these recipes, I think what I made was *very* inspired by the Spinach Alfredo - I did not realize it till now!!

Also please notice the roasted asparagus - my personal sign that spring is here!! We stopped at Trader Joe's on our way home and stocked up on supplies, including the bunch of asparagus. Let's take a little detour and stay with asparagus for a few minutes - I love them!! Yes, they make our pee smelly, but they taste amazing. My favorite ways of eating them are roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 with some olive oil, salt and pepper or blanching them in a little water (with salt and pepper or red pepper flakes).

The recipe for the pasta is -

Boil about 6 oz of pasta (your choice - I used whole wheat penne and rotini mixed).

While the pasta is boiling, blanch the asparagus.

Separately, saute 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 packet of frozen spinach in some oil.

Blend together 1/2 a package of silken tofu with 2 T of Toffutti cream cheese, 4 T of prepared Pesto, red pepper flakes (based on taste) and a pinch of nutmeg

Once the pasta is close to Al Dente (not complete soft), add the blended tofu and the cooked spinach and let it all cook together for 5-10 more minutes. I also added frozen meatballs at this time and cooked the mix till it thawed.

It was a GREAT weeknight supper. I served the pasta with almonds and the asparagus!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vegan tamale pie

After eating out for many days, I tend to return to eating healthy by reverting to Indian food - simple dal (lentils) with bread and a simply cooked vegetable. Then I make a very South Indian meal that has lots of spices, lentils, and vegetables, but no fat at all. It brings the digestion back under control :) and makes me feel better about my food choices!!
After two-three days of eating healthy Indian food, today I veganized this recipe for Tamale Pie that I saw in the 'Vegetarian Times'.

It was an easy recipe to change from vegetarian to vegan - all I had to do was to removed the cheese from the recipe. Everything else was already vegan. To make it my own recipe, I added black beans instead of pinto beans (from a chilli that I had made recently). I did not have tomato puree, so instead I used half a can of roasted tomatoes (again, half was used for a previous recipe!) and some tomato paste.

The pie tasted much better than it looks in this photo and is something I'll make again!!

Hope the sun is shining and it's getting warmer where you are. Happy Spring!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vegan kickstart

How is the 21 day vegan kickstart going? Anyone doing it?
I get the emails, but I'm not really following it. I would like more recipes than it has. I want to try to quinoa pilaf sometime.
Anything else worth trying?
This is a short post - it was my birthday earlier this week and I have been eating out a LOT. Not much cooking going on and when I do it's old favorites like dal (lentils) with an eggplant dish, stir fries - something quick, not too rich and very healthy.
Next week is spring break and we'll be traveling a bit, so not sure about new recipes. Will try to be regular again soon.....

Monday, March 1, 2010

21 Day Vegan Kickstart

I was just playing around on Facebook and noticed an ad for PCRM's 21 Day Vegan Kickstart which begins March 1st. Check it out. Looks like they will send you recipes and advice via your email. Although my husband is a vegan, I am not. I was eating more vegan meals before I got pregnant and then I just couldn't stick to it. I have decided to try avoiding dairy and eggs for the next 3 weeks. I think the things I will have trouble with are: pizza, milk in my coffee, and ice cream. Other than that, no problem since I have lots of vegan products at my house. So far today I have had:
-coffee with Silk vanilla soymilk
-Luna bar
-sandwich with hummus, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes
-peanut butter pretzels from Trader Joe's
-corn chips

Tonight, we are having tacos or taco salad with Yves veggie meat, guacamole, Tofutti sour cream, salsa, etc. I have some Follow Your Heart Cheese but that has a lot of fat and I don't need any more post baby.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mexican Rice-Beans mix

This week has been so busy for me at work and I have been trying to meet friends socially over meals. So, cooking has been at an all-time low. I can't imagine why work is busy, but I was also trying to train for the half-marathon in town in October. I wanted to start early, because I was not sure how my body will react. And 6 weeks in (I am only running 3 times a week and a maximum of 4 miles), my body is not too happy. My knees, legs and back are often sore. I see the end of this attempt at running for long distances and returning to running for exercising and fun (mixed in with walking). Whatever the reason, we've been having a lot of take out :(

But, I made this Mexican 'take-out' inspired dish the other day. I think it would have been even better if I had some of the tortilla soup as the base, but that was the inspiration. I made some tortilla soup the previous week and had some left over beans and crisped tortillas.

To make this dish, I made rice in the rice cooker using the boullion that I made and froze mixed in with water. It made the rice SO flavorful. To this I added sauteed vegan sausage pieces that I sauteed. Then, I sauteed some Spinach with Beans and fajita seasoning with garlic and 1 tsp oil.

For dinner, we layered rice with sausage, spinach and beans, Salsa (roasted red pepper salsa from Trader Joe's) and topped it off with the crisped tortillas. It was one of the best quick dinners I have made and we both could not stop eating it.

I have been making a lot of soups/stews and I'll probably blog about more of them and while they are very convenient to freeze and re-heat during the week, I wish the weather would get warmer and I don't have to eat quite as much soup/stew.

Thoughts of spring.......

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heart Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's cold and dark. We're watching the Olympics and I'm working on making progress on all the adoption paperwork that we need to finish. We were craving something unhealthy to eat. Instead, V took out these 'heart healthiest chocolate chip cookies'. He nuked his for 15 seconds (the chocolate chip melted and hurt his hand) and I ate mine cold.

While we don't celebrate Valentine' day, this cookie would have been ideal for the special day. How better to show love than to bake a cookie that tastes great and is supposed to be good for you. I have baked other vegan cookies that are healthy, but because of the ground walnuts in this cookie (and V does not like nuts in his sweets. Heh heh!) this cookie is denser and also feels more filling.

I got this recipe in my email because I signed up for all kinds of newsletters from Vegetarian Times. On a side topic - I heard this story on NPR about what an email address says about you. Apparently, gmail is best. aol and hotmail are not looked upon favorably. I have a yahoo email where all the forum membership information and newsletters (including teh vegetarian times ones) land. I have a work email and of course, gmail too. 3 emails to check every day (V says every 5 minutes and he's really not exaggerating - I *may* have received an email in the last 5 minutes in all my accounts!!). I happened to have all the ingredients for this cookie on hand and made it quickly.

I used only half the oats in the recipe and even so, I had a LOT of oats and chocolate chip cookies left crumbly at the bottom of my mixing bowl. I dont think the water was enough. I reduced the amount of sugar to between 1/2 and 3/4 cup. I really enjoyed the cookies, but was left with a LOT of crumbs that did not mix together. I'm not really complaining - nothing wrong with a chocolate chip cookie with a side of chocolate chips (and some oats too!).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mushroom dish

Did anyone make anything yummy from the newest Vegetarian Times magazine. I made a mushroom dish that I veganized (is that a term?) from the vegetarian recipe in the magazine. I was considering typing it out for the blog - I could not find it on the vegetarian time website (is there a secret for that I am missing?). Luckily for me, the women at 'Two Blue Lemons' posted their version of butternut squash and duxelles casserole. Our photo was not as pretty as theirs, but it was just as yummy!!

To make the recipe vegan, instead of making a cheese paste with milk, cheese and flour, I combined 1 cup vegan (toffutti) cream cheese with 1 silken tofu, nutmeg and garlic. This mix went as a layer and also on top instead of the cheese. It also added red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. No butter, used olive oil instead.

Happy Valentine's day - a day where we did nothing especially romantic, but had a great day together just the same. V and I are not big fans of the 'commercial' holiday prefering to celebrate other days.
What did you cook for this special day?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jamaican Red (well, pink and white) Bean Stew; Gardein

The picture of this is missing somewhere on my camera's memory so I will add it when my technical advisor gets home from work today.

I realize that I keep making soups and stews that are very similar to one another but that must be what I am craving these days. I tried another slowcooker recipe from called Jamaican Red Bean Stew. I guess the recipe was taken from Robin Robertson's cookbook called "Quick Pick Vegetarian." All of Robin's cookbooks can be seen on her website I think I may have a few on my shelf actually! I used Pinto Beans and Cannellini Beans in this recipe since I am not the biggest fan of red kidney beans. It was spicier than I expected even though it only contained 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. Once again, mine was more of a soup than a stew which I figure is my inferior cooking skills rather than the recipe.

This was good but not my favorite. It is heavy on the beans and has just a few veggies (sweet potato and carrot). I usually prefer my soups/ stews to have lots of vegetables. Also, the coconut milk really needs to be added at the end so it does not separate in my opinion. I ate this over some brown rice. I think I will make some quinoa to serve with it today.

On another note, I keep seeing Gardein products at the supermarket and then saw chef Tal Ronnen use them on the Ellen Show so I thought I would try them. I purchased the Seasoned bites which are like little seasoned chicken pieces but they have been sitting in my fridge for a week. The package shows them being added to a spaghetti sauce. Well, I don't usually eat chicken that way. So far, I have not found a use for them. I will write a review when I think of something! Maybe just stir fry or pot pie or something like that???? I have heard they are great!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One year anniversary

Can you believe it? We started this blog last year in February. I am not sure if anyone even reads this blog, but I know that I get ideas from what Em writes and it inspires me to think of food to eat.
Thanks Em!!

On a week night this week, I used three different recipes to make a dinner! It was a great tasting dinner!

First, I modified this recipe to make a boullion. I was not able to find fennel or leeks in our grocery store for the past two weeks, so I used scallions instead. Also, no parsley, only cilantrol. I pureed carrots, celery, scallions, cilantro and salt over the weekend and froze it. Based on Heidi's recipe, I heated one cup of water with 1 T of this boullion to make stock!

I modified this pasta recipe into a vegan recipe. No butter, olive oil instead. No pancetta, morning star grillers. No chicken stock, home-made stock using the boullion I made instead :), no cheese, period. No parsley.

I had some collard greens left over from the black bean and collard greens soup and saw this recipe earlier. I also saw a similar one on a Vegetarian times magazine. I roasted the collard greens without the sesame seeds.

It was a great dinner :) Here's to one year of blogging and eating Vegan food and looking forward to more :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crockpot Quinoa Red Lentil Soup; Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows

I just discovered a new website this weekend called Savvy Vegetarian while searching for vegan crockpot recipes. There were so many interesting recipes. They even sell downloadable recipe books. I decided on Crockpot Quinoa Red Lentil Soup since I am trying to incorporate more quinoa into my diet. This soup used practically every spice I had on the shelf! Sadly, I did not have fennel seed which may have impacted the flavor a bit. It needed a little salt infusion in my opinion so I added a TB of veggie bouillon. The flavor was better the second day I am discovering. The recipe did not indicate when to add the veggies so I just threw everything into the crockpot and it worked just fine. I used my favorite butternut squash, of course!

I got "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" for my husband for the holidays and had to try these Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows. They look a lot more difficult than they were. They are delicious. Sort of wishing I had not made them since I am still home with the baby and seriously lack self-control around cookies.

Good Night!

P.S. 1/14/11 Just Found an online link for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows. Hooray!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Golden Sesame-esque Tofu and Squash, Chickpea and Lentil Stew

I also finally made the Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew that I had mentioned previously. Looks like Anu beat me to it. Obviously yours looks a whole lot better which I will attribute to your far superior photography skills and prettier stoneware! They don't even look like the same recipe. I did use butternut squash since I cannot get enough of it!!! I also used brown lentils since I was out of red. Mine turned out more soup-like than stew-like but the flavors were good. I added the lime and some peanut butter after but I actually seemed to preferred it without these additions. It was a little heavy on the beans and light on the veggies. I am still searching for the perfect butternut squash recipe!!!!!!

We also took a trip to Wholefoods for some of the Tofutti products that we cannot seem to find any where else. While there, I saw the Golden Sesame Tofu in the Salad Bar area and remembered that I used to have the recipe for this delicious tofu. Sadly, I was unable to find it but I came across this version online on Diana Cooks. I did not have any mirin and so I used rice wine vinegar instead which may have altered the flavor and texture quite a bit. I liked it but it was definitely different than the Wholefoods version. If anyone has this recipe please share!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black Bean and Collard Green Soup with Sweet Potato Fries

I spend a LOT of time looking through recipes and food blogs - can you tell? I found this recipe for Ribollita. It looked SO good and our next grocery list had Kale on it. But when I went to the store, we only found collard greens. So, we bought them. I thought I would try the Ribollita with Collard Greens. And then, I came across the recipe for Black Bean and Collard Green Soup. It's almost like it was written by the blogger after she looked at my pantry and fridge :)
So, I made it!!

The verdict - I should have cut the collard greens even smaller. I am not a huge fan of the collard greens in the soup, but it's a good healthy soup (and it's frozen for later in the week).

I also made quick sweet potato fries - I have difficult time using Butternut squash because it's so hard to cut!! The fries were easy to make - cut up sweet potatoes with a spray of olive oil and drizzled with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. It was a wonderful treat - a slight sweet from the sweet potatoes with salt and spice, with a crunchy texture. Yum!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew

Em posted a new recipe to try. I happened to have most of the ingredients in the house and was looking for a stew/soup recipe to make for someone I know who is bedridden and is looking for some food help. So I tried the Squash, Chickpea and Lentil Stew .
The only changes I made was to use sweet potatoes/yams instead of squash. This gave the stew a little sweet taste along with the spice. I also used a little Paprika in addition to the black pepper.
We really enjoyed the stew. And we were able to save this for dinner on another night too in keeping with my plans to try to eat home more during the week.

I hope that people are continuing to keep the people of Haiti in their thoughts and are giving whatever they can to help the people there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Apple Cake/Crisp/Crumble - esque dish

Before I write about the recipe, I want to say that the death and devastation in Haiti makes all my troubles seem unimportant. Puts everything in perspective. If you read this and have not done this yet, please consider donating to the International Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders or Clinton Bush Haiti Fund or any other charity. If you are planning a party, set out a jar to collect some coins/money and send it to an agency. Do your little thing.

Back to the luxury of writing about food - in attempting to eat healthy food, I have been trying to not eat too many desserts (don't remind me about the ice cream on Saturday and the snacks at a party yesterday). So I decided to bake a dessert (It is logical - I bake healthier food than I buy and I know what I am eating!). There is a reason that I should not make up any baking recipes. The 'apple cake' that I made is not really much of a cake. It could have been because I used a wider pan. A friend made this really wonderful pan for us for Christmas - she is a potter. And I wanted to bake in it. So, the cake was a very thin layer. But, I really liked the taste. V has been eating it with ice cream (not-so-vegan) for the past two days.

V got a new 50mm camera lens last week (a birthday present that came late). So, he used that to take multiple photos. I had to upload all of them - the first is an homage to the pan - just the pan. Susan, we love the pan and love you all! The second is the 'cake' before baking and the third is the 'after' picture. Recipe follows.

Apple Cake -Esque Dish


2 C Apples, Chopped
1/3 C Applesauce
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Oil
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/3 - 1/2 C chopped Nuts (I used Walnuts)
1/3 - 1/2 C Raisins/pineapple chunks
1/2 tsp Nutmeg/Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan
Mix applesauce, oil, sugar and vanilla essence. Separately, mix whole wheat flour, baking powder, nutmeg/cinnamon and salt.
Add the two and add chopped apples, nuts and raisins.
Mix till well coated.
Pour into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes.


Friday, January 15, 2010

New Year's Black-Eyes Peas

Happy New Year - a tad late :) I'm so glad to see that Em blogged a little last week. Yay Em!! Welcome back.
I made this Black-Eyed Peas dish for New Year's day. And based on the plan, I even froze half of the dish and we ate it for dinner during the week last week. It was yummy.

No greens. But to complete the Southern meal, I made grits to eat with the Creole Black Eyed peas. I followed the recipe almost completely. I did not add any liquid smoke and added carrots to the mix.

I also made some home-made ravioli and was going to blog about it, but realized that the wonton wrappers I bought had egg in them. If any one knows of vegan wonton wrappers, I would love to hear about them. I am very excited about options of things to make with wonton wrappers, if I can get vegan ones.

Here's to yummy, healthy foods this year...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vegan Girl Scout Cookies!!!

Just a quick blog to let you all know that the following Girl Scout cookies are (or at least appear to be) vegan:
Peanut Butter Patties
Daisy Go Rounds

The cookies are baked by different companies regionally so check before you buy. Happy crunching!