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!