Nourishing the mind, body, and soul along the vegan highway.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Falafel, veggies, and wierd weather

I want to tell everyone thank you for all the kind words you have posted. Everyone made Brandie feel so good! It is awesome to have blogging buddies.
We had the freakiest weather today. I know that most of you live where you have been buried in snow this winter, but here in southern California we live in very boring weather. We had an unusual storm hit us. Winds hit 35mph on the coast and up to 75mph in the mountains. Our family happens to live very close to the mountains so we get a little bit of variation in our weather. Well the winds were a blowing and we were in for a very blustery day. All of a sudden the Heavens opened up and the hail came down. It came down in buckets. By the time I thought to get the camera it started to melt, but I did get this shot. I know it doesn't look like much, but it is now documented that we had hail. :o)
Ok, enough weather news.
On to food.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I have pool therapy for my back and after therapy I am done for the day. I am sore, tired, and just wiped out. Dinner tends to be a struggle for me on these days.

So I put a big pot of brown rice on, which I cooked with No-Chicken broth . I steamed some green beans, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and peppers), and some frozen green peas. I quickly made some falafel patties and fried them in my non-stick pan with a tsp of olive oil. It was a very good meal. I heated up some BBQ sauce to use as a dipping sauce for mine, which I loved and Brandie used some leftover Caulifredo sauce on hers. Dinner was a hit and I got to teach Brandie how to make falafel patties. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and I hope I didn't bore you with my less than fantastic weather report.

Caulifredo and veggies

Comfort food was in the plan, but what to make. I searched and searched and came across Susan's Fettuccine No-Fredo with Broccoli and Sautéed Mushrooms. After reading the comments Brandie and I decided to make a creamier version of the sauce and then just adapted Susan's wonderful dish to our comfort needs. We fell in love with it. DH tasted it, (not knowing what was in it) and he even loved it. We are not going to tell him it is made with cauliflower. :o)

Caulifredo sauce

adapted from Susan's recipe Fettuccine No-Fredo

1 head of cauliflower
4 cups of water (next time I might try No-Chicken broth)
7 cloves of garlic (peeled, but left whole)
1 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp of dried oregano
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp of butter flavor extract
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Nutritional yeast
1 cup plain lite soymilk
Pour water or broth into a large pot. Cut up the cauliflower into small pieces and add to the pot. Next add the garlic cloves, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is completely cooked. The softer the better. When the cauliflower is done, blend it until smooth. I used Susan's recommendation and used my hand blender (moat boater) in this house. That's an Emeril joke! Once it is smooth add the nutritional yeast, flavoring, and soymilk. YUM-O! We served ours over Eden's Parsley Garlic Ribbons with steamed broccoli, green beans, grape tomatoes, and a "chik'n" patty from Gardenburger.
We sprinkle paprika on the noodles to give it some color.
Brandie says, "It's all about plating mom!"

Thanks Susan! Be sure to check out another great recipe by Susan.

Brandie took 2 pictures so I wanted to give her credit. This is the one without the tomatoes, but you can see the noodles a bit better. Good job, BJ :o)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Leftover Aloo Mutter Gobi and Brandie makes lifetime!

Anyone who has not tried Aloo Mutter Gobi is missing out. This dish gets better everyday. I turned the leftovers into a yummy pita sandwich. We heated up some 9 grain pitas, split them, and stuffed them with leftover Aloo. Oh my goodness is it good. I have eaten this for 3 days and can't get enough. Using up what was in the fridge before shopping this weekend gave us steamed cabbage, green beans with toasted almonds, and yellow squash. I can't tell you what a comfort meal this is!

I know many of you don't know that we are a Weight Watcher family. DH, DD, myself, and my mother are all on the program. DH is quiet about his weight loss (he wants to surprise everyone), but my mom has lost 28 lbs, I have lost 58 lbs, and our daughter, Brandie, made lifetime this past Thursday. We are so proud of her. She lost 32 lbs and looks great. We took pictures at her final weigh in, but they are so dark you can't see her. We had her quickly pose for this shot before the leader started talking. She lost 3.6 lbs this week and she was doing the happy dance in front of everyone. She said, "Mom, was I red? I was smiling so much, but couldn't stop. My smile was uncontrollable." We were happy, smiling parents too! We are so happy that she is striving to live a healthy life while she is still young. Congratulations to our baby girl!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Organic food, potato pancake, Aloo Mutter Gobi

My parents gave us this care package for our anniversary. Costco warehouse has started carrying organic products and my parents bought us some as a gift. The frozen green beans, frozen corn, and the salad mix are all organic. The cantelopes are huge as are the Fuji apples. The bag in the back is a big-o bag of Texas ruby red grapefruit, which I loveto eat. I have one for breakfast almost everyday. Look at the size of that lemon! My mom says her neighbors tree is loaded with them. Thanks Mom and Dad! We love you!

I was starving when I got home from work today. I am still only working half days because of my back injury and get to eat lunch at home. I still had left over mashed potatoes so I quickly mixed
up a potato pancake. I took about 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes added some garlic, salt, pepper, about a Tablespoon of whole wheat pastry flour and about a Tablespoon of plain soy milk. Mixed it good and formed into a nice big patty. Then heated up my pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, lightly fried it, and there you have it, instant potato pancake. I topped it with a tiny bit of avocado dressing (avocado, garlic, salt, pepper, and veganaise) With leftover roasted carrots and friends and some unsweetened applesauce I was in Heaven!
While visiting everyone's blogs today, I stopped by 'Kitchen Ramblings from a Fairly Odd Tofu Mom' and saw a new recipe that sounded wonderful, Aloo Mutter Gobi. I wanted curry last night so this hit the spot. I used less oil than tofu mom, left out the tomatoes, and used lite coconut milk and it was a wonderful meal. I followed her lead and also made quinoa. Hey, guess what you can cook quinoa in your rice cooker just like white rice. Thanks, Marti! Dinner was a hit. DD tasted it and said, "Mom it is spicy, but good." Even DH said it was good. It is not a great picture. I don't know why my camera chooses when to work and when not too. The dish is actually a very vibant yellow orange.
Weight Watchers with 4 servings counts at 3pt.
I got the best yellow squash and zucchini at our Henry's Farmer Market. The yellow squash is just like eating sugar.

Please stop by and visit tofu mom's blog and see the original recipe. She has some wonderful looking posts and ideas. Her dish has more sauce and it is a much better picture. Thank you very much, Tofu Mom!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy 30th Anniversary and St Patricks Day

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary. Wow! It is hard to believe it has been that long. The years have been great. We have so many wonderful memories and more love for each other everyday. Isn't it strange how the longer you are married the more you fall in love?We became sweethearts 31 years ago. I am so glad that my dreams came true. That my knight in shining armor came and took me to be his bride. Our oldest daughter could not be with is as she lives in Texas, but we received a happy phone call wishing us a "Happy Anniversary". Thanks Dana and Jac! Our youngest daughter surprised us with these beautiful flowers along with a homemade gift and card. The words on the card
are perfect. I hope you all can read it. DD loves to wood burn and made this beautiful plaque for us. Around the edges she put the word love, in many different languages. I hope everyone can read it because it is beautiful. She said she ran out of room and had to put the date March 17, 77 instead of March 17, 1977, but we don't mind. Thanks BB! Here me and DH are with our flowers and gift. As you can see in the picture I am a blubbering idiot. Of course if you ask anyone in my family they will tell you that I cry at the drop of a pin. I won't tell anyone, but DH has gotten very tenderhearted over the years and he too, tears up in touching moments. (and commercials, television programs, stories in church.... the list goes on and on) Oops! Sorry Yogi, I guess it isn't a secret anymore.

I am so proud of our girls and thought I would share their happy faces. This is our oldest daughter, Dana. I keep asking for her to send pictures, but her and her sweety are so busy. Hi Dana and Jac! Send momma pictures!

Here is BB, our youngest all dressed up to go to a St Patrick's Day party with her sweetheart. She was very inventive this year. She dyed a white halter top forest green, sewed on stretchy sequence, made matching wrist bands, sprayed her white flip flops green, and cut shamrocks off the tinsel and glued it to her cheeks. You look cute BB, great job!

Ok, I guess that is enough of the bragging momma for now. On to FOOD! I decided I was going to get a head start on some cooking for the week, but did not accomplish nearly as much as I wanted to. Anyway, nothing real exciting, but tasty for sure. I had some potatoes that were beginning to grow. I usually use organic when ever possible, but we were given 5lbs of russets and they seem to begin growing much faster that our usual organic Yukon Golds. I also had some fresh chives that needed to be use. Our family loves mashed spuds, which is what they will have this week. I added "no-chicken" broth and a tiny bit of plain soy milk and mashed away. Then stirred in some finely chopped chives along with salt and pepper. My next adventure was to use up some veggies that screaming "use me". I diced up 2 pounds of carrots, 3 small sweet potatoes, a cup of onion, about 10 or 12 cloves of garlic, and some red and orange bell pepper. Tossed them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted them for 30 min covered at 425 degrees, lowered the temp to 375 uncovered them and let them cook another 10 min. or so to get some nice carmelization. They taste like sugar. BB, the youngest, is not crazy about cooked carrots and she said she will be eating these for sure. We go through steamed veggies in this house like crazy. I cooked up 6 pretty good size zucchini and the last 3 tiny, yellow, crookneck squash. I was going to make stuffed acorn squash for dinner, but my mom came over and gave us dinner money from my her and my dad Thanks mom and dad! We don't have any vegan restaurants near us, but I tend to be inventive whereever we go. We all know that it is a hit and miss with most restaurants. We ended up going to Chili's. They have a meatless black bean burger that is really good. I ordered just the patty along with 2 sides of steamed broccoli and corn on the cob, hold the butter. I forgot to take my camera, but I promise it was really good. Omni man had his usual meat and potatoes with corn. Chili's has nothing in the way of desserts for vegans so we came home and I made Chocolate Agave Cupcakes from VCtotW. They call for 1 cup of unbleached flour, but I used half whole wheat pastry flour and they turned out great. In fact, they are too rich for me, but I enjoy savory over sweet 98% of the time. I cut the recipe in half and baked them in my mini-tart pan. Then I frosted them with your typical "butter" cream frosting made out of Earth Balance and vegan sugar. After we took the picture we decided they should at least have something green on them for St. Patrick's Day so we cut more lil shamrocks from the tinsel and decorated a few to be festive.

That is about it for today. Thanks for putting up with my lengthy post. I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and yummy St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Authentic French Bread from The Flying Vegan

I was dying for some French bread when I came across Michelle's blog, The Flying Vegan. I made it right away and we loved it. I had to get a picture before it was gone. I changed the recipe a bit to increase the nutrition value and with fingers crossed I hoped it would work. I am happy to say that it was a great success. I was a little worried when I started making it since all I had to bake in was a toaster over. DH had taken over the kitchen with his film developing, which left me with the end of the counter the kitchen table. With the toaster oven on the end of the counter and bread machine on the kitchen table the French Bread came to life. The recipe says to make slashes across the top of the loaf before letting it rise. My slashes were not deep enough since they pretty much disappeared during the rising. Next time I will have my whole kitchen and oven so I can try my hand at baguettes. My toaster oven barely held the semi-round loaf this time. Below I posted the recipe with the change I made. Bon Appetito!

Authentic French Bread
Adapted from The Flying Vegan
(Bread Machine Magic)
Makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf
1 Cup of water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of whole wheat bread flour
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 tsp of yeast
Add all the ingredients to your breadmaker pan and set on the dough cycle. When the cycle ends remove and form into the shape you desire.
Place dough on cookie sheet ( I always use parchment paper) sprinkled with cornmeal. Make your slash marks on the top of the loaf. Cover and let rise until double. (about 30-40 min) Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Make sure to check out Michelle's post for the original recipe, which has more great ideas for this fantastic bread.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Carrot Cardamom Donut Cookies by Stephanie

If any of you have not stopped by Stephanie's blog you really should. She is an inspiration to other teens by trying to live a well-balanced healthy Vegan life and writing a cookbook too. Here is her link.

A week ago or so she asked if anyone would like to test her recipes. I once again jumped at the chance. I love to test recipes. Today I tested her donut recipe. Remember I said she is living a healthy life and these donuts are just that. Baked not fried and gluten free. In her recipe she gives both the sugar version or powdered stevia version. I used liquid Kal Stevia and probably should have used more than I did. Mine turned out not as sweet as the family would think donuts should be. They are similar to a cake donut and not the puffy ones that many are used to. I mixed together a couple tablespoons of sugar and some cinnamon and dipped them when they came out of the oven. DD would like more cinnamon. She adores the stuff. I also did not have a donut pan, which DH tried to find and buy me so I used a mini-bundt pan and they turned out cute. Overall I think these are going to be a great addition to her ever growing list of recipes for her cookbook. Keep up the good work Stephanie.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Susan's Carrot Spice Muffins

Susan's Carrot Spice Muffins

2pts on weight watchers

I have been out of wheat flour for quite awhile. I was just to lazy to get the wheat grinder out and grind the wheat berries. Last time we bought wheat we purchased the white wheat berries, which made it perfect for this recipe. These muffins gave me that yummy nudge to get a move on things. Since I was grinding I ground quite a bit so I should be set for a couple weeks.

Now back to the recipe. I made these muffins yesterday and they are a hit with everyone. DD, Brandie, took one to work for her boss and she loved them and asked for the recipe. DH and I ate them for breakfast along with fruit. I used all white whole wheat flour, dark agave nectar, dried currants instead of raisins, and added an extra tablespoon of the soy yogurt. (that was what was left in the carton and it seemed silly to throw it away). I also had about 1/4 cup of lonely blueberries, that were just past the plump eating stage so I threw them in too. The outcome was fantastic. Oh, I took a pinch of sugar and sprinkled the tops before baking. I really need to use a vanilla bean and make me some vanilla sugar. I have to tell everyone that these muffins are the most amazing whole wheat muffin you will ever eat. I rarely use anything but whole wheat flour and most muffins are dense. These yummies are light, moist, and full of flavor. This recipe is a #1 keeper for sure.

You can see the beautiful orange carrots and the bits of blueberries.

Susan you have done it again! Another fantastic recipe. Here is the link to her recipe and beautiful photos.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Melody's Far East Spicy Tofu and Green Beans

Hi everyone! I have to talk about Melody's fantastic recipe for her Far East Spicy Tofu and Green Beans! Melody asked if anyone wanted to help her by testing a new recipe. I jumped at the chance. It is so much fun to do this. I love the idea of not having to think about what to cook. It is like opening your cookbook and whatever page you stop on you cook. I love to do that. Anyway back to her dish. The family loved it. It is very easy to prepare and has ingredients that most of us keep on hand. There is Sriracha in it so it is spicy! I used the lesser amount suggested and it was perfect for our family. I had some bean sprouts that needed to be used so I added them to her recipe. The sauce is so good that next time I might double the recipe. DH even ate the tofu! He tries so hard and is doing very well I might add. Sorry I can't give her recipe out, but I can tell you how good it is and show you pictures. Here is the link to Melody's post, her pictures are wonderful as is her dish I am sure.

First batch of tofu after frying.

Simmering away! Smells so good!

(Sorry this picture is so dull looking. This plate is actually bright yellow, the green beans vibrant green and the tofu is a pretty golden color . Sometimes my camera freaks out. Weird since the same camera took all the pictures)

Served over brown rice with pineapple on the side. The pineapple works perfect with spicy foods. We also had a green salad with a new dressing we found, Follow Your Heart Miso and Sesame Dressing. It worked perfect for this meal.

A big thank you to Melody for including me in this recipe testing.

Great fun, great food!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Eggless "egg" salad, vegetable soup

Hi everyone! First I would like to thank everyone for their congrats to DH for his scholarship. He was so thrilled to see all the post from you. I too am very proud of him. I would also like to thank everyone for their help with seitan recipes. I have had some great tips and hope to try some of them in the next couple weeks.

Thanks to
vegan cyclist I found a great site, Compassionate Cooks. You can get some great recipes from Colleen on her site. She also has a blog, which you can link to from her site. You have to pay a small fee for the majority of her recipes, but she does list a few under the DVD site. I tried her Eggless "egg" salad and it is fantastic. I left out some ingredients because I used what I had on hand . I love it. Because this is one of her free recipes I will post it here, but be sure to check out her web page and blog. She has fantastic information on many of the issues we deal with. Below is the recipe. Her essays or papers, or comments are very well written, easy to read, understand, and they are informative.

Here is the "Eggless Egg Salad" with some simple homemade vegetable soup

and fresh fruit salad.

Eggless Egg Salad

1 ½ pounds tofu, firm
½ cup eggless mayonnaise
2 red bell peppers, chopped finely (I left out)
4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped finely
1 small carrot, finely shredded
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
(I left out because I forgot to put it in)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tsp. onion granules
¼ tsp. turmeric
4 tsp. pickle relish
1 ½ Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mash tofu with a fork or potato masher (alternatively, you may wish to finely cube the tofu). Add remaining ingredients and mix well. The resulting savory treat is wonderful as a sandwich spread, served on crackers, or as a side salad.

If you let this sit in the fridge overnight the flavors marry really well. DD loves it too.

Vegetable soup
6 cups of cabbage shredded
2 carrots sliced
2 onions chopped
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1 28oz can of tomatoes ( I crushed up the tomatoes and left out the juice)
1tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
8 cups of "no Chicken Broth"
I sauted the onions, carrots, and garlic. Added the broth, cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, and spices and let simmer for a couple hours. No rules just good eats.
Hope everyone has a good weekend. I will visit all soon!. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.