Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mini Tofu Quiches

The other day I bought 3 green bell peppers because it was a good deal.  When I got home I had no idea what I was going to do with 3 bell peppers when my boyfriend doesn't even like them.  I thought about stuffing them but that didn't really sound that great.  Finally Monday night I decided to slice them and roast them with some red onion and mushrooms to eat along with the cheetahs.  I had a lot of that mixture left over today along with some broccoli and cauliflower from this and I thought it would all make a nice filling for some tofu quiches.

I used this recipe from Fat Free Vegan.  I really upped the veggie proportion and so they didn't stick together quite as well as they should have but they still turned out delicious.

I meant to put some spinach in them as well but I forgot which was good in the end because I already had a huge pile of broccoli, cauliflower, tofu scramble with chard, bell peppers, red onion and mushrooms.

To compensate for the forgotten spinach, I decide to serve them over spinach.  This turned out to be a fantastic idea.  Nom

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheetah Bagel

Last night I made baked sweet potato chunks based off of Snack Face's method.  She calls them cheetahs.

I had a few leftover so I decided to try this out.

This was a very unusual breakfast for me (scatterbrain moment, did you know unusual has 3 u's in it!?).  It combined so many things that I wouldn't really think to combine.  It was really quite good though, and with an apple to go with it, a very filling breakfast.


For my final post of pictures I took this weekend, I have a few products I would like to review/discuss.
First is this tea that I got on my way home from work on Friday.  At Henry's they were on sale for $1.50 and each one had an attached coupon for $1.00 off making them $.50 each!  I don't drink much other than water but I do like tea so I grabbed a couple to try.

This one is pomegranate cherry blend.  This is the listing of ingredients other than tea leaves.  A few more than I would like and I'd prefer sugar not be so high up there, but overall not sooo bad.  According to Wiki, manioc root starch is made from yucca root.  It is also the same thing that is used to make tapioca balls for use in boba. 

Although I experiment with different non dairy milks, this is the one I tend to get most of the time.

And here is why.  Two ingredients.  Everything else has sweeteners or thickeners...I really should just make my own.

Sprouts had a new size of canola oil which was quite a bit cheaper than buying the small size.  Once I made this purchase however, I got to thinking about how fast this oil would go bad and whether or not it was indeed a good purchase.  Isn't fresh oil better?

Also, I bought this coconut oil, took it home and stored it in my pantry.  When I came back the next day, it was totally melted.  It says no need to refrigerate, store in cool, dark place.  Anyone know why this would happen?  Is it still good?  I was under the impression that coconut oil was supposed to stay semi solid.

That's it for now.  Be back soon with this mornings breakfast after I go put dinner in the oven.

Pancakes Galore!

As the title suggests, I may have gone a little overboard with the pancakes this weekend.  As I am a little later to work than I would like and this is my 4th? post this morning, I think I will keep this short and sweet.  Base recipe: Vegan with a Vengeance.

Extra Cinnamon

Cocoa Powder (though, not really enough)

Peppermint Extract

2nd half of peppermint extract with cocoa powder.  Nom.  These were the best.

Vegan Pizza Rolls and Other Stuffed Pastries

So, can you tell I cooked up a storm this weekend?  It was strange because it was almost all hearty an hardly any sweet.  Here is my attempt at vegan pizza rolls.  I decided to switch up my dough recipe and use the one from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I also decided that as long as I was making dough with stuffings, I might as well attempt a hot pocket like creation as well.  So I gathered up my pizza ingredients, some tofu stir-fry with chard and mushrooms and some broccoli and cauliflower.

 I was going to do the broccoli cauliflower with some mushroom soup except that once I opened the soup and looked at the can I realized that it had cream in it.  I am not sure when I bought that soup but I really need to pay more attention to these things when I am in the store.  I also bought some soy cheese on Saturday only to get home and realize it had casein in it.  Since my boyfriend hates fake cheese it was either drive all the way back to the store to return it, toss it or suck it up and eat it.  I settled for the latter.  I just couldn't justify throwing it away when it cost $4!  And since I had nothing else to put in the broccoli cauliflower hot pockets, I tossed that in there.  Teach me to read labels... >(

The rolls turned out mostly great.  The dough got a little thin and started tearing and so toward the end I just started making them a little bigger and thicker.  Also, I cooked them on a pizza stone and since it was in the oven preheating I decided to just line the rolls up on the stove as I filled them.  This seemed to work great until I went to put them in the oven and realized the first ones had started to melt and stick to the stove.  Oi!

Not too shabby, but I see some definite improvements to be made.

I had made a second batch of dough thinking that I would make some more non vegan rolls for my boyfriend, but by the time I got to this point I was exhausted.  I decided to just use the second batch of dough for 2 pizzas.   I rolled out the dough for my boyfriends and topped it with mozzarella and vegan pepperoni.  When I went to transfer it to the pizza stone, it wouldn't budge.  After much lifting and a little tearing I decided to just say f it and flipped it in half and made a calzone.  Mostly it worked just fine.
By this time, I was done, but I still had my pizza to make.  So I decided on a calzone for me as well and stuffed my dough with tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella and broccoli and cauliflower.  I have yet to try it and it is currently residing in my freezer.  I will most likely take a picture when I eat it.  Meanwhile, here is the non vegan one.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Ever year for as long as I can remember, my mom has made peanut butter balls, toffee and peanut brittle to give as gifts for Christmas.  A couple of years ago she taught me how to make them and I began to carry on the tradition.  I don't really have a yearning to continue on with toffee and peanut brittle as they really contain a whole lot of sugar along with high temperatures I am not so comfortable with.  But peanut butter balls?  That's a whole different story.   Sometime this last year I had made some pb granola bars for my boyfriend but had been out of chocolate chips at the time.  I decided to remedy this by dipping the granola bars in melted chocolate at a later time.  I then discovered that any time I have melted chocolate is a good time to make peanut butter balls.

The recipe for peanut butter balls only contains a few ingredients.  My mom uses skippy peanut butter, rice crispies, powdered sugar and butter with a coating of melted chocolate and paraffin wax.  I follow her recipe but replace the skippy with some all natural (non-hydrogenated) peanut butter and some crisp brown rice rather than rice crispies which I haven't read the ingredients on in so long, but I am pretty sure would have high fructose corns syrup.  And of course I used vegan butter.

Peanut butter balls are pretty easy.

1 lb powdered sugar
3 cups crisp rice
2 cups peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/2 cup vegan butter (I used earth balance)

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Take a small spoonful and roll it into a ball.
Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
Repeat until they are all rolled.

Melt 12 oz of chocolate along with 1/4 bar of paraffin wax and dip each ball.
Place on wax paper.  Repeat and then put the cookie sheet in the fridge to harden.

I didn't use enough paraffin wax this time and so mine have a tendency to melt in your hand.  I need to do some research though on what goes into paraffin wax...scary thought just entered my head that it might not be vegan.

Bagel Bites and Pizza Rolls

Before we started dating, my boyfriends breakfast consisted regularly of chicken nuggets, bbq hot pockets, pizza rolls and bagel bites.  Being the health conscience person that I was, I advised him about the millions of unnatural ingredients that find their way into those products and to my great joy, he stopped eating them.  In general I do not have much of a problem with those foods, just the ingredients in them.  This led me to create some vegan bagel bites a while back.  They were quite a hit and so I decided to make them again this weekend along with an attempt at pizza rolls based on this site.

I am not very pro at dough yet as it seems to never quite get stretchy correctly, but I am always down to try even if it ends in doughy tears.  Just kidding.  But not really.  For the love of my boyfriend who is mostly vegan except for his love of cheese and his once in a while pepperoni pizza or chicken when we go out, I made both the pizza rolls and the bagel bites with real mozzarella cheese and vegan pepperoni.  I do not have a spot in my kitchen to roll out the dough that is large enough,  so I used my glass top stove.  This would have been a good idea if the stove didn't get hot when I preheat the oven.

Overall, the recipe "worked".  I couldn't roll out the dough thin enough and keep it from falling apart when I wrapped it around the tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni and this resulted in a thicker bread than it should have been.  They also did not have anywhere near enough fillings.  Regardless, it was a good place to start and I made a second attempt a day later with vegan cheese for myself which will be shown in another post.

The bagel bites started out as 20 mini whole wheat bagels.  I spread them with tomato sauce, mozzarella and vegan pepperoni.  I didn't make any of these for myself with vegan cheese, not because I really didn't want any, but more for the reason that I didn't really want to have to differentiate in my freezer which ones were vegan and which ones were not.   And plus, I was going to make the pizza rolls and that's plenty of pizzayness for me.  I also saved 2 bagels because I had bought some tofutti cream cheese to try.  Stay tuned for what I do with that for breakfast this morning.

"Chicken" Nuggets

 When I decided to go vegan I had no real love for fake anything.  I wanted to center my diet around all things fresh and natural and from the ground rather than simply excluding meat and dairy.  However, reading so many food blogs along with stumbling the internet and a love of creating in the kitchen does lead me to attempting these mock meats just to see if I can.  And if it turns out I quite like them?  As long as they freeze well so I can eat them in moderation, I'm down.  These nuggets?  They definitely fit the bill.  They come from this page and are mostly made up of vital wheat gluten and flour.  I was shocked at how yummy they are (especially wrapped in lettuce with a little mustard.  nom).  They freeze well and cook up in the microwave in about a minute.  The recipe made15 but I think I could either make them a little smaller or make them into chicken patties for sammiches.  My boyfriend thinks I should do some experimenting and try to recreate some of his favorite orange chicken from Sipz.  He also suggested some bbq experiments.  I am down as long as I serve them with some fresh salad as well. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chocolate Waffles

I am not the biggest fan of waffles and pancakes for breakfast, simply because a bunch of cooked flour covered in maple syrup doesn't really sound like the most nutritious way to start the day.  That doesn't mean I don't like making them or enjoy eating them but it does incline me to come up with more creative toppings than just syrup.

A few months ago I got this waffle maker at a garage sale for $1!  It was a little dirty but I cleaned it up and it works wonderfully.

Since I got it I usually end up making either pancakes or waffles once a weekend.  Today I was searching the internet for the perfect recipe and decided to make these chocolate waffles.  I know what you're thinking, chocolate for breakfast?  This girl's sweet tooth is out of control!  But when you really break it down, chocolate is not a sweet in and of itself, it is the sugar added to chocolate that gives it its bad rap.  This recipe only called for a TBS of sugar for which I used agave.  Dark chocolate is supposed to be good for you anyway, remember?

Once I had decided on chocolate waffles the only logical topping after last night's dinner was raspberries.

I was a little disappointed because the waffles didn't come out quite as chocolaty as I thought they would.  I think next time I might up the chocolate content.  The raspberries definitely overpowered the chocolate, but it was still good.   Unfortunately this breakfast really didn't do all that much towards filling me up.  I am thinking I might go see what kind of fruits I have in the freezer to whip up a green smoothie.

I'll keep you updated.  :-)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feeling Fruity

Here is what a green smoothie looks like at 6:15 am outside my apartment.   Unfortunately the picture of the pumpkin muffin did not turn out.  I have found myself craving a lot of fruit lately. 

Today I had some of my mint chocolate cashew puddingpiecake with date/nut/seed crust and an orange for a later lunch and it was really good.  Before that, for a mid morning snack, I had some sourdough toast with roasted red pepper hummus.  After work I headed out to Crazy Fred's to check out this week's comics since we hadn't been able to make it on Wednesday.  When I got home I attempted another grilled "cheese" sandwich with tomatoes.  It was really decent.  Definitely not cheese though.

I debated on whether I should make myself a "real" dinner or just figure out something easy later on.  When I finally got hungry I didn't really want anything except for fruit of which I have none fresh.  Scouring my kitchen for anything that sounded appealing, I decided to have some granola bars that hadn't held together that make pretty decent cereal.   I had some of this:

that I had opened recently and thought that cereal sounded good.

I prepared the granola bars by crumbling and adding some extra chopped nuts and some raisins.

 Looks good, right?  High hopes for a yummy dinner were had.  Then I opened the hemp milk and was about to pour when I noticed the date said use by 9/9/09.  Usually I wouldn't care so much except that with any sort of milk I try to finish quickly to keep from spoiling.  I only opened this a few days ago and I think I got ripped off at the store, but oh well.

So, now what to do with my beautiful bowl of cereal and no milk?

Mash up some frozen raspberries with a little water!

You would not believe how delicious this was!  And I didn't notice until I uploaded the picture that it is <3 shaped.

I love it when stuff like that happens.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Foraging and a dinner of leftovers

Around the corner from my apartment there is this orange tree growing on the street side of the sidewalk.  For many months this tree has been trying to convince me to get up the nerve to ask the owners if I might have an orange or two.  Last month Sayward at Bonzai Aphrodite posted this blog on urban foraging which was quite inspiring.  If there were any low hanging oranges I might have taken just one or two, but alas the under side is always picked bare.  One morning, a few weeks ago, I took a walk and veered myself the way of the tree to bask in its beauty and long for the fruit it bore.  A few houses before the tree I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Upon further inspection it was a pomegranate tree!  Not only that but there were pomegranates within my reach.  So I took one! 

 Then this morning I took two more.  The tree seems to have a lot of fruit so I don't feel too bad.  I took my pomegranates home and pureed the seeds in my blender and added them to a green smoothie.  Man was it yummy.  I only drank half this morning for breakfast and saved the other half for tomorrow.  I will try to take a picture if I can remember.  The smoothie consisted of some of the mango and oranges listed here along with some of the strawberry lemonade I had made and some frozen banana and beet greens.  It is seriously so good.

The other night I tried to make neatloaf to imitate the one from Jyoti Bihanga.  I used this recipe but omitted the mushrooms, added some rice and made a few other small adjustments and it turned out semi decent.  This is not my first attempt at a meatless loaf and let's just say the first couple didn't turn out so good.  This one mostly had structure and quite a decent taste.  I served it with mashed potatoes and it was a nice dinner. 

I also tried to make aloo matar another night.  It turned out pretty decently even though the canned veggies I was going to use turned out to be ridiculously mushy and so I didn't use them.  

Last night I combined the two for a plate of mostly yumminess only to determine it was just a little bland.  Enter salsa:

This was so good.

That's it for tonight.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Long Day

You know when you have one of those days where you wake up with one thing to do but before you know it you've done 20 things and your day is done?  Had one of those days yesterday.  Started out with a trip to Viejas.  On my way there I passed a number of signs about the farm stand across the freeway.  On my way home I stopped just to see what they had.  I thought I might get some avocados but probably nothing else.  Boy was I wrong.

Avocados, a mango, strawberries, red peppers, green beans, roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes and oranges for under $20!

I was really excited about this place.  Some of the produce was imported but most of it came from neighboring farms.  I believe it was all organic as well.  They also had some fresh made banana bread and other dried goods.

There were also a lot of things I didn't get: melons, plums, peaches, nectarines, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, some bargain baskets of produce, grapes, garlic and lots of others!

Getting all of this along with what I had leftover from last weeks run to the farmer's market meant I didn't need to go to the market this morning.  I really liked this place and wouldn't mind going back except that it is about a 20-25? minute drive from my house where the farmer's market is probably about 15 minutes.  Something to consider.

After leaving this fruit stand I was going to stop at Sprouts in El Cajon since it was on my way home and get some powdered sugar, canned pumpkin and chocolate chips for some baking projects I had planned.  Of course it couldn't be as simple as just going in and getting the 3 things I needed.  First I had to think of a few more things that I should stock up on since I was at the store anyway, then it turned out they didn't have canned pumpkin.  So a trip to Henry's soon followed. 

Before I left the house that morning I had been googling how to make strawberry lemonade and came across a couple of sites with strawberry lemon cupcakes.  I had thought this was an awesome way to use the rest of the strawberry's that I had.  When I left the house that was the one thing I wanted to do for the day and hence the need for the powdered sugar.  I had hoped to make them early in the day to share with a few people but after 3 stops for groceries that idea went completely out the window.

At Henry's I got an onion, a jalapeno, 2 serrano peppers and cilantro to use with the roma tomatoes to make salsa.

Usually I make salsa in my food processor but this time I wanted to make it chunkier and so I chopped ALL of this by hand.  Took forever but  it is a lot of salsa and should last a while!

 In the middle of making the salsa my boyfriend came out to the kitchen and informed me that we were out of hummus.  I put a hold on the salsa and got to makin hummus. 
I also started roasted the 2 red peppers and some garlic to make some roasted red pepper hummus.
 Once the salsa was finished and the produce was put away I got to making the cupcakes.  I used a recipe from the Vegan Joy of Baking for Vanilla Cupcakes and then added a little lemon zest to them.  The recipe said it would make 10-12 cupcakes so I greased up 12 and filled them up.  As I did I thought they seemed awfully full but figured that was how they were supposed to be.  They were supposed to bake for 20-30 minutes but I decided to check after about 5 and I am so glad I did.  They had started rising and spreading over the whole muffin pans.  I quickly greased another 6 muffin pan and scooped some from each into the new ones.  They had already started to firm up a little!  Disastre!  In the end there was cupcake batter all over the top of the pans and it was quite a mess.  They ended up baking 30 minutes and turned out mostly ok.  While they cooled I mixed up some Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance and made the red pepper hummus.
  After the cupcakes were cool I removed them from the muffin pans which was not so easy since there was so much burnt on mess.  I then had to wash the pans so I could use them to bake the muffins I had already mixed up.  While they dried I finally sat down to eat some hummus and pita bread.  At this point I was starving!  All I had eaten was this breakfast and a quarter of a granola bar I brought with me to Viejas.  And I had set out to make one thing: cupcakes!
After refueling a little I put the muffins in the oven and got to work frosting my cupcakes.  The recipe I had glanced at online said to poke holes in the cupcakes and then create a syrup of lemon juice and powdered sugar to pour over the top.  The frosting was made from a little earth balance, powdered sugar, strawberries and a little water.  They didn't turn out nearly as I'd pictured them, but they were beautiful and delicious none the less.  Now I just need to take them to share.

Today I did a couple of noteworthy things but I will leave that for another post.  Thanks for reading!
Also, I'm not so sure if I wanna keep this adsense thing going.  The add that keeps showing up on my blog is Pillsburry and that is not a product I support...I might have to drop it.  Don't know that I even need it anyway. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Fruity Breakfast

I don't usually buy produce from grocery stores because I usually get just about everything from the farmers market.  Last night however, I was at Henry's getting some canned tomatoes and saw that they had clamshells of strawberries on sale for $.88 and raspberries for $2.00.  They were both grown in California and I had no fruit at home so I went for it.  I decided to split them into breakfast today and tomorrow.  I sliced some strawberries, a banana and tossed in some of the raspberries and then squeezed a little lemon juice and agave to create kind of a fruit salad sauce.  I am always a little leary that store bought strawberries will have no flavor but these were quite decent. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mmmm Lentil Soup

A while ago I made this lentil soup sans the yogurt.  At first I was a little afraid it was going to turn out awful because there are so few ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I loved it!  It is just lentils, tomatoes, onions, salt, olive oil and greens but it is so delicious.  This recipe made a huge amount of soup and so I froze some of it.  After finishing what I didn't freeze in mere days I quickly defrosted the rest and devoured it. I ate it plain, with salsa on top, and with avocado on top.  Nom.  It was so good I couldn't wait to make it again!  Well, tonight I finally did it.  And so I present to you:

Lentil Soup

Sorry the picture is so crappy, but there will be plenty more as I finish the leftovers.  My boyfriend doesn't like soup so the whole pot is mine! 

To accompany this lovely soup I made two other dishes.  In the cookbook that my mom got me "The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals" there was a recipe for stuffed potatoes.  The recipe was essentially twice baked potatoes which I had never made before.  This recipe got me thinking that I can't remember the last time I had a baked potato.  I always eat them either mashed, made into baked fries or hash browned.  So I set to work making some baked potatoes.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly and they didn't turn out to be the greatest, but they were quite decent.  I used olive oil, water, italian seasoning, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper and then topped with a brushing of oil, nutritional yeast and paprika.  They were good but a little dry.

I also made  cauliflower and carrots baked with some onions and nutritional yeast.  I really like this method but my boyfriend does not.  Oh well, more for me. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chili, Cornbread and My Very Own Cast Iron Skillet!

I have wanted a cast iron skillet since before my vegan days when I longed to sear a good steak.  Thank goodness I am past those days!  But a cast iron skillet comes in handy for other things as well so I was overjoyed at finding one at a garage sale last Saturday for only $1!

I used it this afternoon for the first time to make a grilled "cheese" sandwich.  For the cheese I used this recipe which is pretty much just nutritional yeast, flour, water and salt.  I had attempted this recipe last week when I first found it but I don't think I added enough water.  I decided to try again and I didn't take a picture because I didn't think it was going to turn out that great, but I was wrong.  I used more water to cook the sauce and added some tomato slices to the sandwich (which added a little more moisture) and it turned out really yummy.  Not quite grilled cheese but close enough and I didn't have to buy some overly processed and packaged soy/who knows what product to make it.

I had already been planning to have some leftover chili for dinner tonight when the thought struck me that a great thing to make in a cast iron skillet is corn bread!  I googled a recipe and came up with this one.  I didn't measure the honey and I don't think I used quite enough so I mixed up a little earth balance with a little honey to make honey butter to spread on top.  Nom.  Now, if only I had an avocado to put on top of the chili like I did when I first made it...

I also would have had a salad with this since there are no veggies, but I left the lettuce at work to make salads.  Oh well, guess I'll have to eat an extra helping tomorrow!

And a bonus:

When I make chocolate chip cookies I like to make a double or even triple batch depending on the yield of the recipe.  I bake up a couple dozen and then the rest of the dough I roll into balls and freeze on a cookie sheet for a couple of hours.  I then take the frozen cookie dough and put it in a tupperware to be baked when the others run out.  When you almost always have fresh cookies around, this saves a load of work. 

The cookies from my baking frenzy ran out today and so I pulled out the frozen cookie dough and a short while later, voila!

Om nom nom nom nom