Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tap, tap, tap....

Is there anyone still out there? I can't believe it has been 4 months since I posted anything here! So much has happened since I posted last! I joined the SDSU Marching Aztecs as an alumni and played cymbals in the drumline for the last 4 months. It was a crazy busy time at work as well which lead to my not cooking very much. I relied on a whole lot of farmer's market tamales, canned soups, boca burgers and a ton of granola bars. Now that the marching season is over though I am slowly getting myself back in the kitchen but still haven't made it back to many whole foods. Case in point; tonight's post.

Vegan California Burrito

If you've never been to San Diego you may have never heard of this wonderful creation. In my high school days this was a staple of my diet. A couple of friends recently reminded me of it and it made me want to create a vegan version. The staples of a California burrito are:

Carne Asada
French Fries

In addition, they usually include cheese and tomatoes and can sometimes have sour cream.

Here's what I started with:
  • Alexia salt & pepper crinkle fries
  •  Daiya cheddar style shreds
  •  Smart Strips chick'n style
  •  Guacamole (I generally would make this myself but this guac is made by a little    start up company run by a guy I used to work with so I thought I'd go with that)
  •  Roma tomato
  •  Tortillas (disclaimer: I love La Fe tortillas and they do make vegan versions that I buy and eat most of the time, but the burrito tortillas unfortunately have whey...but I let it slide when I really want a burrito)

While the oven preheated for the fries, I marinated the chick'n strips in some bragg's liquid aminos to hopefully turn them into more of a carne asada than a pollo asada.

Once the oven was preheated, I cooked the fries. When they were done I put the tortilla on the hot pan to soften it and I added the cheese in hopes it would melt but the tortilla was soft before it had a chance.

While the fries were cooking I heated the carne asada in my tiny cast iron skillet (I wish I had a picture of that...oops. Rusty I guess). It browned up quite nicely and looked quite a bit like carne asada.

Next I added the fries, carne asada and tomatoes to the tortilla and cheese.

Finally I topped the whole thing off with guacamole.

Rolled the thing up, took a bite and died and went to heaven. This may have been one of the greatest things I have ever veganized. Try it. I dare you not to! Only, make sure you ran 5 miles at the gym before you got home so that you do not feel one ounce of guilt for the ungodly amount of calories that is probably in this thing.

I hope you all enjoyed my first post in a long time. No guarantees that I'm back regularly but as inspiration strikes it's nice to have an outlet!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So there is this one thing I made....

I had still have a bounty of zucchini from my garden this year. One recipe I have fallen in love with is this chocolate zucchini bread. The recipe said it was brownie like so I took a chance and cooked it in an 8 x 8 pan and let me tell you, that is one of the best brownies I have ever tasted. Ever. Uuuuunfortunatly, despite their deliciousness, they do not stay together very well and you end up with brownie crumbles. Not that I'm complaining. I am going to experiment with baking them in muffin tins to see if they hold up better to travel that way. As soon as I work through the 2nd of two batches I baked and froze about a month ago. Zucchini, by the way, picked fresh from the garden, survives remarkably well in the fridge unwrapped.

So this was all leading to a picture, and a description of what I did with the frozen brownie bits.

That's right, I ate it with ice cream. Sometimes I warm the brownie first and other times I eat the whole thing cold. It reminds me of Coldstone where you get to mix in whatever you want. I love So Delicious coconut vanilla ice cream because I can mix in whatever I want. I usually only eat a small portion and mix in whatever sounds good. Last week I had frozen cherries. Yum. This ice cream you may notice is a bit green. While I wish I could say that it was spinach in that ice cream, it's not. It is however matcha. The flavor was a little strong for me to eat by itself, but mixed with the brownie it was very good.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hi, My Name is Allison and....

  • I have been really failing in the photographing of food and my garden departments lately.
  • I have a cookbook addiction. Seriously, I just bought Babycakes, Peas & Thank You and Vegan Diner. So far I have made enchiladas from P&TY and chili from Vegan Diner. Neither have disappointed. I also made the Summer Succotash Quesadillas from the Peas & Thank You blog but did not have any garbanzo beans to make the Mmmm Suace. Next time. They were delicious by the way.
  • I went to Comic Con, watched a bunch of new shows on netflix, went on some hikes, worked in my garden shopped at some farmer's markets, have been drinking way too much Starbucks and have generally been enjoying life. 
How have you been?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Busy Busy

Good morning everyone! Sorry to have disappeared for so long. Life has been quite filled lately. The accounting office where I work recently had our largest client acquire another company and thus double their size. This led to increased work loads and promotions. I gained a new position at my company (one that involves mostly solving puzzles and reconciling bank accounts which I find fun because I am a dork) and also was given permission to log on remotely from home and work some overtime. A number of people ended up working some 55 hour weeks for about 4-6 weeks. Luckily, the worst should be over and we can all resume our normal lives. And thank goodness, as an extra 15 hours of work a week means that there is a trade off somewhere. For me it was working out and cooking. I ate a lot of tofurky sandwiches, quick salads and simple no fuss roasted veggies over the past month. Not to mention some super quick breakfasts, which is actually the first thing I want to show you. Last weekend I went to Costco and purchased a large container of kiwis that smelled super ripe. One day genius struck and I put some berry jam on a piece of toast and topped it with a sliced kiwi. Since then, I think I have eaten this for breakfast just about every day.
Throughout all the chaos, I did take some time at the end of May to have my family over for dinner for my dad's birthday. I made a whole soft taco spread complete with spanish rice, refried beans, taco seasoned tvp, lettuce, guacamole, tofutti sour cream, olives, tomatoes, salsa, chips and a tiny bit of cheese. It was a delicious dinner and a great time. In addition to dinner, I attempted a vegan version of my dad's favorite birthday dessert, a sheet cake. My mom's mom used to make this cake for my dad and so I had some high standards to meet. Luckily I found this recipe and it turned out fabulous! Not only did everyone love it (and go back for more), they said that it might be closer to my grandma's recipe than the version my mom makes. Win! Admittedly, it's pretty hard to dislike a cake with as much sugar as this has, but since it was my dad's birthday I didn't want to go all crazy health foodie on him. I used all purpose flour and made no substitutions.

I still have a piece in my freezer which is the only reason I haven't jumped into the kitchen to go make these Fudge Daddies from Chocolate Covered Katie. How yummy do those look?

And finally, I'll leave you with a teaser in hopes that it will get me to write up another post tonight or tomorrow:

I bought a Vitamix!

Do you have one? What's your favorite thing to make with it?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Best Boyfriend Ever

I received a text on Friday night from my boyfriend on his way home from work saying that he was bringing home yum yums. This job and his last were at restaurants and at his old job that would have meant either chicken or tofu. I was out and about, and when I arrived home I found this in my kitchen:

3 different kinds of hummus and grilled bread slices. Can I just say that hummus is an infinitely better gift to come home to than flowers. Oddly enough, his new job has enabled to me to awaken to surprise flowers as well.
Nevermind that they were leftovers from a private event (as was the hummus) and that his boss made him take them home to his girlfriend (shh...I didn't tell you that). Still, it was quite a surprise to wake up to flowers. Hummus is a way better gift though. What holidays are coming up? I need to capitalize on this idea.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vegetarian Cooking Class

Good morning yet again! I think I have determined that daylight savings, mixed with needing to get up and water my garden, with a pinch of going to bed at a reasonable hour are all coming together to bring you (almost) daily morning updates. Weird.

About a month ago my mom surprised me by taking me to a vegetarian cooking class at this cooking store called Great News. She had told me about this store filled with cooking gadgets and also that they often held cooking classes. I was slightly disappointed when I learned that the class was not going to be hands on, but it turned out pretty great regardless and I had a lot of fun. Everything had the option of being vegan and we got to eat samples of everything made. The class was a little high on the tempeh and seitan levels but all in all, pretty good vegan food (especially for non vegans). I would love to find another vegetarian cooking class that focuses more on fruits, veggies, beans, grains and nuts. Now that would be cool. Sorry for the fairly low quality photos as I was a bad food blogger and forgot my real camera (and had to use my phone). In addition, I also forgot to take a picture of the first dish until my mom reminded me and my bowl was already cleared.

 If you can read that, it lists the menu and the venue. The first dish was a coconut milk curry corn chowder. It was really good considering how few ingredients it contained. They served it with tempeh bacon which was not a winner in my book.

Next up was fried falafels in warmed pita bread with tahini sauce and smoked paprika tomato onion relish. This was so good. And convinced me to buy smoked paprika.
Tempeh reuben with vegan cheese and spinach, mushroom and..and...something else. Can't remember now. This was just all right.

This was the star of the show. Seitan risotto bolognese with portabello mushrooms. My friend Rachel and I recreated this that week with brown arborro rice and leaving out the seitan. A lot of work, but if you have a friend in the kitchen (especially one who likes to cook) it isn't really that hard. And it is mighty delicious.
And finally, coconut pudding with crushed pineapple. Really simple and really delicious. I recreated this at home but failed on the cornstarch front and had lumpy pudding. It was salvageable though since it was sort of like rice pudding.

I did also try the coconut curry corn chowder at home but I wasn't as impressed.

Alrighty, I am off to work now. Have a great day!

Have you ever been to a cooking class?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Any Plant Experts Out There?

Good morning! Just popping in quickly to say hi and show you some pictures from a recent and a not so recent hike around Mission Trails. Saturday my friend Rachel and I embarked on a hike up Cowles Mountain. We proceeded past the summit to Pyle's Peak in a hike that ended up lasting 3 hours in probably 80 degree weather. I ended up extremely starving and a bit sun burned despite having applied sun screen but it was a fun hike.
Which brings me to this plant you see here. It was growing everywhere! It looks like a 7 foot tall asparagus stalk with stems coming out of the top which are either covered in flowers (whitish with purplish ends) or as below
With fruits that look like mini bell peppers. This plant was fascinating! There were also dead dried up old ones along the way as well. I thought perhaps someone might know what they were? Long shot I'm sure, but you never know.

As for the past hike, these are from Mission Trails heading out of Santee near the Old Mission Dam about a month or two ago.

The picture of the mini water fall is shaded pretty poorly, but I love looking at it and remembering that even though I live in a suburban area, there is still water and life to be found only a short ways away.

I hope you all have a wonderful day! I'm off to work!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dehydrator Fun

This morning I set out to make Oh She Glows' Carrot Loaf. I was thinking about how healthy this loaf seems utilizing only maple syrup for the sugar. I got to wondering if I could replace the sugar with something less processed or more whole. I thought dates might be nice but would probably completely mess with the texture. I ended up following the recipe exactly (except I had no walnuts and so I used pecans instead), but this got me thinking about dates and how they could be used to make a sugar substitute. I have seen date sugar but it is pretty expensive. My solution? Dehydrator and either a food processor or a coffee grinder. Here's the before:
I'll get back to you with the after in about 8-12 hours. Or tomorrow.

And since I had the dehydrator out and on anyway....

Mango and banana
And an apple.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Am I?

Just a quick post this morning as I have found myself, yet again, with a bit of time to spare before work (seriously, who am I? This is such a weird feeling). I thought I would show you two yummy eats from recently.
Grilled Oasis garlic sourdough bread with Earth Balance stuffed with Tofutti cheese singles, sliced tomato and red onion. A little bit of comfort. On the side, lettuce and tomato topped with a Costco veggie patty. These things are really good. They are sold in the deli section of Costco and are 100% vegan and delicious.
So, I'm sure you've all heard of peanut flour by now. I'm sure you've probably also heard the rumor that Trader Joe's is discontinuing this incredible product. Of course I discovered it right at the tail end. Se la vie.

My friend Rachel was making some cookies to give to some people at an event and I joined her to help bake (and steal goodies). Rachel does not eat 100% vegan but is very open to vegan food and often makes it on her own. In addition, she eats mostly gluten free which is something I haven't really experimented with much. One of the cookies she made that night were Averie's Vegan GF Peanut Butter Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Flour.  Name is a mouthful, taste is unbelievable. I went right home (after Trader Joe's) and made a batch of my very own. Seriously, you have to try these. I took them to a family event and everyone raved about them and one person even asked for the recipe. Now if only I can figure out how to grind peanuts into peanut flour without making peanut butter....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Those Silly Fates

So, in a stunning twist of fate, yesterday I was up early enough to blog before work and today? Up 50 minutes after my alarm went off, 20 minutes before I had to leave for work. I felt perpetually behind today. Fortunately, towards the end of the day I picked up steam and kicked this days behind. After a productive day at work, I spent some time in my garden (so many of my seedlings have sprouted indoors and will be ready to go outside soon!), I played through a few levels of Portal 2, I made the best dinner and attempted to make a single version without apple sauce of Mama Pea's Chocolate Lava Cake. I made a lot of substitutions including coconut oil and butter in place of apple sauce and using 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and half peanut flour. I also tried to divide the recipe by 5 to get a single serving. I don't think I used enough flour. It was just ok.

As for dinner, here, take a look.
It all started out with needing to use up some green onions. And some chard. And an avocado. Ooh and I have sun dried tomato tofurkey sausages. Oh, hell yeah and leftover mashed potatoes and cauliflower. Amazing. I cooked the green onions in my tiny cast iron and then added in some garlic and the greens as well as some salt, pepper and lemon juice. Once cooked, I added half to a mashed avocado and added the leftover mash to the cast iron. This dinner made me sooooo happy. It was unbelievably delicious!

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weird Kind of Morning

Usually when my alarm goes off I do not want to get out of bed. I consider myself mostly a morning person. I am definitely not a night person (I'm usually in bed by at least 10 every night), but I'd almost always rather stay in bed than get the day started. Today, not so much. I was out of bed with gusto when my alarm went off and as a result, I'm almost ready for work a full 30 minutes early. Your benefit I suppose. Here are some things I've been meaning to show you.

I bought a box of the Amy's Bistro Burgers and regardless of the fact that I had no buns and had to improvise with a pita, managed to make a fairly good recreation of a quarter pounder from my youth. Tofutti cheese singles are not the greatest thing ever, but in combination with other foods they make for some decent nostalgia.

Quarter pounders don't typically have tomato, but I did, so there. This was delicious by the way.

I went through a couple of weeks where I was making burritos like every other day. I developed this lovely technique of putting the burrito seam side down on a hot cast iron skillet to keep it from opening. Genius? You tell me.

Mostly I use refried or whole beans with rice, lettuce and salsa for the boyfriend and add in some avocado for myself, but these were tofu scramble, greens and potato burritos.

My boyfriend never really shops for food. He works in a grocery store 2 days a week and usually the only thing he'll buy is bananas but one day he bought a couple of things including some chocolate for me! And here's how I used it.

First I mixed some peanut butter with some oats and I think a few mini chocolate chips.

Then I added on the melted chocolate and it was almost like a lazy, more healthy resee's. Only more healthy in that it had oats. Delicious.

One day I was wandering the interwebs when I came across the idea for cinnamon roll pancakes. The recipe was not vegan so I just winged it the next morning, before work mind you. The cinnamon swirl kind of cooked into the pancake instead of staying clearly swirled, but topped with a drizzle of icing, these were unbelievable.

Not exactly every morning food.

And finally, I leave you with the tofu omelette that I made Sunday morning. My boyfriend was not a fan as they were a bit more mushy than he would have preferred, but I thought they were delicious!

Alright, that's enough from me as it is now almost time to leave. Thanks for keeping me company while I wasted time before work!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roasted Pepitas

Ok, so just a quick post today. I have a tendency to notice bruises every now and then that I believe indicate a bit of an iron deficiency. Last week, I was feeling it. In my process of looking up iron rich foods, I discovered pepitas are high in iron. So I stocked up on raw pepitas.
 Separately, I had purchased a tiny new cast iron skillet at a garage sale a few months ago. It's almost the size of my hand.
Put the two together.

Yummy! Cooked over a medium heat and stirred occasionally until they started cracking.  These were a bit addicting just on their own. I also ate them on a salad and in a bit of a trail mix. And I thought I would never find a use for that tiny thing. Perfect!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Good Results

To me there is something about baking that just makes me so joyful. I find very few things in life bring me as much satisfaction as taking something out of the oven. When that something is beautiful and tasty as well? I bet they have these muffins in heaven.

Last night I stumbled across a recipe for beet blueberry muffins. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here before, but I have made beet brownies that were delicious. I even brought them into work and no one knew there were beets hiding inside. Of course, beets in a muffin of the non chocolate variety is no easy thing to hide. Good think I like my food funny looking. I think it spices up life. I altered the original recipe a bit in two ways. The first batch I made without beets and with apple sauce instead and for both batches I changed up the flour types.

Blueberry Muffins

3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 ¼ cups apple sauce
½ cup canola oil
¾ cup sugar sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup high gluten bread flour flour
1 ½ teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup blueberries, fresh (sliced in half)

I mixed the lemon juice and the soy milk in it's own dish, then combined the apple sauce, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt together. I whisked the dry ingredients and then added both the wets. Then I folded in the halved blueberries.

Add by ice cream scoop (or utensil of choice) into 12 silicone or paper muffin cups.

I fudged the temperature as the original recipe tells you how to roast beets but I left the oven at 400 degrees for this version. 25 and they were perfect. Original recipe actually called for them at 325. Or maybe you don't even know the real temp of your oven and it wont matter. I set mine for 400 lately and it shoots up to 450. Se la vie.

Without further ado...
I think it's the bread flour that did it, but the un-beet muffin is light and fluffy with a beautiful top. Delicious. Then I made a second batch for myself. The same recipe as above, but puree 2 beets to replace the apple sauce. I think mine was a bit thick and could have used a bit more non-dairy milk, but they turned out equally delicious. I would seriously say that these are the best home made muffins I think I have ever made, vegan or not.

I only have one set of silicone molds so I made the second batch without anything and I wish I had some paper lines because the bottoms lost their beautiful pink color. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

This Post Is About Muesli

Sometimes, typing the first few words is often the hardest. That simple transition from what you will be doing to what you are doing can sometimes be tough. I find often in life that the things I dread or procrastinate doing, are often made monumentally worse only in my head by putting them off. Today has been a day where this has been made clear on a number of occasions.  All day at work I didn't really want to go to the gym. It wasn't that I was super tired, or anything was wrong, I just didn't feel like exerting the energy to go to a class at the gym. In the end, I reached the end of my work day and told myself to suck it up and just go to the gym. I could always half ass it if I really didn't feel into it once there. But in the end I had one of the best work outs in a long time. Once home, I sat at my computer for a good hour and a half procrastinating blogging. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because it takes time and effort to edit pictures and think of something to say that doesn't sound like rambling. After my computer procrastination, I further procrastinated blogging by going to the kitchen to reheat pizza for dinner. While in the kitchen, I procrastinated doing the dishes in the sink for a few minutes until I finally decided to just put away a few of the dishes in the dish drainer. Once I started, I put everything away and washed everything in the sink in a matter of 15 minutes. Finally, as I sat down to eat my dinner, I decided to just download my pictures from my camera and see what I had to work with. Within minutes I had discarded the crappy ones, chosen some to edit and decided on a post. A few more minutes and I had edited them and that brought me to here. It is amazing how just a simple step towards the things you want/need to accomplish can snowball. But enough with the philosophical random musings...I have food to show you!

A couple weeks ago I was at a grocery store that I do not normally shop at. It is a Mediterranean shop with many foreign foods but also a fair number of mainstream products as well. I was taking extra time to peruse everything to see if I could find anything new and different, and while I did buy some not so normal items, that is not what this post is about. This post is about muesli. Bob's Red Mill muesli, specifically.

I had just seen some people posting about muesli days before this and I had never had it before so I decided to try it. I can't say where any of my inspiration for this meal came from as I tend to read through blogs that I don't normally follow and forget where I see things. I don't think the inspiration came from any one person though. Regardless, here's how I have been enjoying my muesli.
Thinly slice banana and add about a tablespoon of peanut butter

Microwave for about 30 seconds until banana is nice and mushy and then stir, stir, stir
Add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup dry muesli
Stir, stir, stir some more
Add in about as much soy milk as muesli
And stir, stir, stir some more
Mmm, banana, pb, muesli mush
  Don't let the mushy texture fool you into thinking this is not a delicious breakfast. I was amazed at how good this was considering that I added no maple syrup, no cinnamon, no chocolate...I have been eating it most mornings for breakfast before work and I am not tired of it after almost two weeks. Which reminds me, my boyfriend always ate a good amount of bananas but I never really did. Well, since I've been eating this breakfast and I have been making a few smoothies lately, we have been going through a lot of bananas and I may or may not have bought 9ish pounds of bananas from 3 different stores yesterday. The Mediterranean market is the only store in town I know that puts overripe bananas on sale and I got some for .49/lb!

Well, that's it for me tonight. Hopefully I'll be back sooner next time, I just need to remember to take that first step.