Monday, March 30, 2009

What we've been eating

On the menu this past week and weekend was a lot of old favorites. The dish to the left is actually a new one, but it was similar to a typical pasta salad I would make. It was Orzo with Olives, Broccoli, and Basil. It also had mushrooms and tomatoes in it. The recipe was from Vegetarian Planet.

We've been eating on the lasagna below all week. It is Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. It makes a lot and is very dense. I actually just ended up freezing half of it for later.

And last but not least, some delicious junk food. Nachos! These had refried beans, Boca ground meat substitute, spinach, tomatoes, salsa, and cheeze sauce. The cheeze sauce is called LinkAwesome Nacho Dip and is from a website called Veganism for the Meat Eater. I don't even remember how long ago I found this recipe. Before I started reading vegan blogs, so a few years ago. For the nachos I made the dip without using the rotel, but I make this a lot with the Rotel and just use it as a dip. I've tried many other cheeze dips and this is the one I always go back to. It is easy to make and I always have the ingredients.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sunny Sunday Meal

Last Sunday was such a beautiful spring day I just had to cook outdoors again. Well, a lot of this was made indoors, but I did use the grill for some of it.
I made Susan V's Barbeque Seitan Ribz. I love these things and make them often. They start off in the oven and then you finish them on the grill. To go with the Ribz I made baked potato and sweet potato fries (these were in the oven). And on the grill I made some asparagus. Both were simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Happy Vegan Face posted a Kung Pao Tofu recipe a while back. Kung Pao is my favorite chinese dish. I think I went overboard with the amount of veggies and rice in proportion to how much sauce I made, but the flavor was great. Just could have used more sauce.
I made some onsies for a friend of mine having a second baby soon. I used the freezer paper stencil technique which always turns out so nicely. My mom drew the pictures (Thanks Mom!). I only took a picture of the robot, but the other one was a duck pull toy. I have a few other friends having babies soon, so I might be making some more. I have lots of crafty projects I need to work on. A birthday present for my brother-in-law, a birthday present for a friend, those new baby gifts and the WIP stitch a long bunny and bear which I was planning to make for boys for Easter gifts. Better get going!

ABCs in 123

What is fast and easy to make, has veggies in it, and is gobbled up by my 3 year old?
Alphabet Soup!

Alphabet Soup

1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen veggie mixture
1/2-3/4 cups alphabet pasta

1. Combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, broth and water in a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil
3. Add frozen veggies and pasta and rapidly simmer for 8-10 minutes.

See, I told you, as easy as 1...2...3.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back to the routine

So SXSW is over. My husband is back home (he works for SXSW and was gone the whole time working), my mom went back home (she was in town helping me out with the boys), and now we are back to our daily routine. Which means back to cooking!

While my mom was still in town I made us some Vegan Chicken and Dumplings. She used to make the meat version all the time when I was a kid and it was one of my favorites. So I was happy to find a vegan version a while back. I have the recipe typed into my recipe manager on my computer and just have the source written down as the internet. So I'm not sure where exactly I got it. It uses the Morning Star Farms chicken strips and the dumplings have rosemary, basil and oregano in them. It is easy to make and such a comfort food. Sorry I can't find the recipe to link to, but Here and here are some vegan chicken and dumplings recipes that look great. I would say the first one is the most like the recipe I have.

On Saturday I cooked up a really delicious recipe from The Vegan Gourmet. Beets and Greens wtih Bulgur and Miso Tahini Sauce. I have made beets only once before and I really like them. I had never eaten the greens until now though. I love greens. I always feel so good after eating them. The absolute best part of this meal was the Miso Tahini Sauce. So yummy! After the bulgur and beets were gone I ate it with sauteed spinach and then today I had some falafel smothered in it. I will for sure be making this again.

This meal reminded me of Diet, Dessert and Dogs post on meals in a bowl. She has lots of good ideas for grains/greens/veggies and sauce combos. Check them out at her new website and while you are there enter her giveaway for a big jug of maple syrup. I'm completely out of maple syrup, so I hope I win!

I also made Veganomicon's Corn Edamame salad for the first time last week. I was inspired by LinkTwo Vegan Boys--she made this a while ago and it just looked so good.

I mentioned in my last post that I went to a SXSW panel on foodblogging. So I wanted to write a little bit about that. There were 5 panelists from all ranges of food blogs. Here is a write-up from Gourmet about the event. What I learned from the panel was there are a lot of different kinds of food bloggers out there. Some that post a few times a week, some that post a few times a day. No one way is better then the other as long as you are consistent with what you do. Kalyn of LinkKayln's Kitchen stressed how important good pictures are. I'm going to have to work on both of those--consistency and good pictures. Most of the panelists actually made money from their blogs with advertising and such. So that was interesting to hear about. I don't think it is a goal of mine right now, but nice to see people doing what love and making money from it.

I have some good meals planned for this week. I'm so excited to be back to our normal routine.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So much going on...

I haven't been cooking too much lately. SXSW is going on here in Austin, TX. It is a big Interactive, Film, and Music Festival that started March 13th and goes on until March 22nd. I am going to try to make it to some of everything. Tomorrow I plan to go to a panel discussion about food blogging. Should be very interesting, I'll report back.

On Friday night I had my sisters and some friends over and made a big pot of chili for us all to eat Frito Pie style. I also made Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies that Bryanna Clark Grogan recently posted the recipe for. They were really good. Rich, but not overly sweet. Almost light and fluffy.

My son loves alphabet soup and I finally found some alphabet pasta at a little Mexican market near my house. It was okay; it could have been better. I really wanted to put more veggies in it, but all I had was celery and carrot. As soon as I get to the grocery store I'll have to make it again and post a recipe. My son liked it though.

I just pulled some Double Chocolate Chip cookies out of the oven. I usually just make a veganized version of the Toll House Cookie Recipe. They are my favorite. But I thought I would try a new recipe today and went with the Millenium Cookbook. They are good, but a little too healthy. Not something I should really complain about I guess.

Sorry no pictures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Muffins and such

I made some delicious Breakfast Muffins yesterday. They are another recipe from My Vegan Cookbook. He has so many recipes I want to try. They have pineapple and carrots and oats. I can't stop eating them. I wish my son would try them, but he won't even take a bite. Oh well, more for me.
I love this mug. I got it on etsy for my husband for Valentine's day a year ago. I should have gotten two. But he shares, so it is okay.

I didn't have anything done for W.I.P. Wednesday. I have been working on my garden though. We had to build a fence around it so the dogs won't get in and tear it up. So far I've planted carrots, beans, 3 different tomatoes, Ichiban eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper, basil and hot jalapenos. It is raining here, so that should give them a great start. But it is also cold, so I covered them last night. It didn't freeze, but I didn't want to take any chances.
I had some leftover Lime Pickled Red Onions and some avocados from my salad and it seemed that both of those items would be really good on a black bean burger. So I made Veganomicon's Black Bean Burgers. I used the Grapefruit Mojo Dressing on the bun and it was a good combo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salad and Dinosaurs

This is another salad from the Millennium Cookbook. This time I made the Ruby Grapefruit, Avocado, and Pickled Red Onions with Baby Spinach and Grapefruit Mojo Dressing. Whooo, that is a long title. It had a lot of components. I made the oil-free version of the Dressing. It was tangy, sweet, spicy and minty all in one. The Pickled Red Onions were marinated in lime juice and zest. Also on there were Chile-Lime Toasted Almonds which added a nice spicy crunch. All together it made a really pretty and delicious salad.

There are a lot of great recipes in this cookbook. Most of them have a lot of components, but so far everything I've made has been well worth it. Here is what I've tried and recommend:
Marinated Seitan Medallions
Millennium Tofu Spread
Fat-free Mashed Potatoes
Millennium Pizza Dough

Wow, that is not very many. There are so many more recipes to try. My husband suggested throwing out all our other cookbooks.

I got some dinosaur pancake molds at a garage sale the other day. 3 dinosaurs for $1.25! A great deal. Here they are in action.

With some leftover silken tofu I had, I decided to make Chocolate Covered Vegan's easy tofu pudding. I melted some chocolate chips and peanut butter together in a bowl in the microwave. I added the tofu and some agave nectar. Then I used my immersion blender to blend it. Not the best idea. It was a full bowl and it kept splattering everywhere. Ate it all up, no picture. It's pudding, so I'm sure you can imagine it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grilling out

It was a beautiful day to grill outside on Friday. I had some left over lentils and rice from Thursday's Vegan Swiss Steak, so I used them to make Lentil Confetti Salad. This is a cold salad from The Vegetarian No-Cholesterol Barbecue Cookbook.
This is a great cookbook for veggie burger recipes, salads and basic grilling tips.I also used the rest of the red, yellow and green bell peppers and grilled them with some tofu. I didn't use much in the way of spices on these. In fact, none at all on the veggies. So it probably could have used some, but sometimes it is nice to just taste the veggies. So not much to say about this meal, except that it was a nice summery meal on a beautiful 'is it spring yet?' day.Check out those grill lines!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blender Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

My blender has been getting a lot of use lately. For breakfast I tried Chocolate Covered Katie's LinkBanana Bread Blender Cereal. What a great idea! I'm not sure if it was supposed to come out thick enough to eat with a spoon, but mine was more like a smoothie. So I sucked it up with a straw. I was almost done when I remembered to take a picture. I made another variation today for breakfast. Cereal, soy milk, peanut butter and vanilla soy yogurt. Breakfast in a cup! Katie has all kinds of breakfast ideas, so go check them out. You will also want to enter her contest to win a whole case of Jocalat Bars while you are over there.

My blender got put to use again to make Caesar Dressing. The recipe was the Oil-Free Caesar Dressing from The Millennium Cookbook. Check out their website for info on the Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco and their cookbooks. I also made the Oil-Free Croutons to go on the salad. Since I made my salad with spinach instead of Romaine lettuce it wasn't a very traditional Caesar, but tasty none the less. I will for sure be making the croutons again. It was a great use for some potato rolls I had sitting in the freezer.

The blender also came in handy when making the sauce for this Vegan Swiss Steak recipe I found at My Vegan Cookbook. I really enjoyed this dinner. It reminded me of something my mom used to make when I was a kid.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Whatever we have dinner

Today was grocery shopping day, so last night I had to rummage around in my fridge, freezer and pantry to come up with dinner. And it turned out great!
I found a block of firm tofu that I had forgotten about in my fridge. The expiration date on it said March 1st. So I knew I had to use the tofu in whatever I was making. I also had pasta. So I went to Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen (Bryanna Clark Grogan's blog) and searched tofu and pasta. One of the recipes that came up was Bryanna's Quick Creamy Sauce for Pasta. It actually called for Silken tofu, but the firm I had worked just fine. I made the sauce and boiled the pasta. Then looked around for veggies. I cut the extra 1/2 block of tofu into small cubes and sauteed it with some carrot, diced up small and some frozen corn and frozen pearl onions that I had thawed. It came together quickly and was very tasty. Actually, I found out I'm not a fan of pearl onions. I ate around them. I'm sure I'll be making this sauce again though.
As I mentioned last week on W.I.P. Wednesday, I have been working on a bracelet idea. Here are the results of my first and second attempts. The first attempt, I really like the pattern, but the closure was a big button that I didn't like (not shown). The second attempt I used pearl snaps for closure. I like this better, but the striping pattern I did made it look like a sweat band. Not what I'm going for. I'm also experimenting with widths and as you can see from this picture I need to figure out a more finished look for the backs.
Work In Progress for sure!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soup and Crackers

You may not be able to tell from the picture, but last night I made Alisa's recipe for Rich and Creamy Potato Miso Soup. Check out her blog to see what it is supposed to look like. I used up the last of my big bag of Fingerling Potatoes on this. So my soup was purple since there were purple potatoes in the bag. I also may have used more than the required amount of potatoes, because my soup was closer to mashed potato consistency. I should have added more water or broth. But I'm not complaining! I love mashed potatoes and this recipe was delicious.
After making the soup, I was really wishing I had some crackers to go with it. So I made some. I've been wanting to make Celine's Cheezy Quackers for probably over a year now. I'm so happy I finally did. I cut some of them into hexagons, so the shape and the way they puffed up reminded me of Oyster Crackers (which don't contain any oysters). Did you ever used to eat those? I remember eating them growing up.
This soup reminded me of my sister, April. She loves potatoes and miso and I think she would really like this soup. Potatoes are so great because they are inexpensive and you can do so much with them. Perfect for a starving artist. Okay, she's not a starving artist, but she is a very talented fiber artist. You should check out her Etsy page.

Yesterday as I was out and about I decided to stop at Daily Juice Cafe. Daily Juice has been around for a while in Austin as a juice and smoothie bar. They recently opened an all raw foods Cafe on Duval and 45th street that I had been wanting to try. I went with my two kiddos in tow (3 years old and 6 months old). It is all Vegan, gluten free, raw and organic. We got the Banana Nut Smoothie (peanut butter and banana)--YUM! And for eats the Chile Con Queso. Here is the description off the menu: "Crispy organic corn and yam chips served with walnut chorizo, fresh guacamole, mango-habenero chutney, daily salsa, and our creamy red bell-cashew queso." I wish I had brought my camera so I could take a picture. It was a really beautiful presentation. The red-bell cashew queso was my favorite. It had the walnut chorizo on top and I really liked them together. The daily salsa was eaten all up very quickly, I liked it a lot. The mango-chutney was good--spicy and sweet, but just not what I was in the mood for. My son ate the guacamole and didn't share much of the smoothie with me. The best part of the whole trip was this little room they have just to the left of the entrance. My son wandered in and I'm so happy he did. It has a low table that you can sit at on pillows or tiny stools. So perfect for him. He said, "This stool is just for me." And there was a book shelf in there with all kinds of books and some puzzles and games. We did a puzzle and played with jacks and little plastic frogs while we waited and during our lunch. The whole place is really friendly and inviting with lots of windows. I really enjoyed my time there and look forward to going back to try everything on the menu. Plus the desserts--which looked fabulous! Link