Friday, October 21, 2011


I made Roasted Acorn Squash with Squash Risotto last night, it's a recipe I found in the Whole Foods recipe database (actually, I have the WF Recipe app on my phone). I love the Whole Foods recipe database, you should check it out You can find all kinds of recipes, for all kinds of occasions and dietary preferences. Here is the recipe from last night...

  • 4 acorn squash
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups water or gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 cup finely chopped leeks
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage, divided
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut each acorn squash lengthwise in half (from tip to stem) then scoop out and discard any seeds and stringy flesh. Brush insides of acorn squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt. Place acorn squash, cut side down, in a baking pan and roast until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, start the risotto by bringing the broth just to a simmer in a small pot over medium high heat. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and cook for 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until grains are fragrant. Add wine and stir constantly until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth to rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure that most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue until rice is almost tender, but still firm to the bite, about 20 to 25 minutes total. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sage and season with salt.

Meanwhile, put pine nuts into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Stir in thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sage and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside. When acorn squash is cooked, remove from oven. Reduce heat to 300°F. Carefully turn squash over and fill each cavity with about 1/2 cup of the risotto. Gently press about 2 tablespoons of the pine nut mixture on top of the risotto in each squash half. Return squash to oven and bake until topping begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve

I have to admit I was a little nervous at the thought of making this recipe, I get like that when I'm about to try something new. I mean, what if I don't like acorn squash? But it turned out great, very tasty...also, I left out the pine nuts, but used the herbs. This would be a great vegetarian alternative for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Here's the nutritional values (values include pine nuts)...

Per serving: 330 calories (130 from fat), 14g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 6g protein, 48g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 9g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium

P.S...I now know I like acorn squash!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In the Navy.....

Last night for dinner I made Navy Bean soup and Corn Muffins...such a simple meal, but so good and filling...not to mention healthy! Here's the recipe for the vegan version, whatever you do don't leave the ketchup out! Its's the secret ingredient and adds lots of FLAVOR...for those of you who eat meat use real ham instead of my vegan replacement. The muffins are vegan too...if you want you can use 2 eggs in place of the 1/2 cup of soy yogurt. Enjoy!

Navy Bean Soup

  • 1 lb. of navy beans, rinsed and soaked over night
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery, I only use organic celery...only because I can taste the chemicals in conventionally grown celery
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups broth, I used No-Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 package Yves Meatless Canadian Bacon, chopped

Place all ingredients in crock pot, still well to mix and cover. Cook on high 4 hours, and then reduce to low heat and cook an additional 4 hours.

Dairy-Free Corn Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain soy milk or rice milk
  • 1/2 cup Plain soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup corn oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil a (9-inch) square baking pan or muffin pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a second large bowl, whisk together soy milk, yogurt and oil. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes (15 minutes for muffins).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater....

I'm a BIG fan of pumpkin. It's so versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. This (sweet) recipe is one of the best I've ever made...the muffins are moist, dense and full of flavor. The crumb-cake topping is actually from another recipe but goes so well with these that I add it to the top of the muffins right before baking! The smell coming from my kitchen is one of fall, warmth and comfort! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crumb-Cake Muffins
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (Fresh or from a can; do not use pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses

For topping:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 T canola or olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soy milk, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.

Prepare the topping by mixing all the dry topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the oil while mixing with your fingertips until crumbs form. Set aside.

Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's October....

I love October. It's my favorite birthday, Halloween, Vegan MoFo(, fall, pumpkins, my birthday (did I already say that?). See! A lot of things to be happy about!! This weeks recipe is Sweet & Spicy Green Beans. Which is my version of P.F. Chang's Spicy Green Beans.

Here's the recipe....
1 lb French Beans (or regular green beans if you can't find French beans)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP chili pepper flakes (you can determine your spice level by adding more or less)
1 TBSP fresh, minced garlic
1/2 TBSP fresh, grated ginger

Submerge french beans in pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes, and then shock in a cold water bath to stop cooking process. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to blend. Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add french beans, saute for a minute to reheat and then whisk in sauce. Stir to coat and let cook about 5 more minutes to allow honey to caramelize. Serve with white or brown rice. I usually eat mine as a main dish, but they make an excellent side dish too.

Also check out the Vegan MoFo site...lots of great recipes for Meatless Monday's!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The title is brief. The food is simple. An old recipe with a new twist. Broccoli "Beef" Stir-fry (this is the old part) with Peanut Sauce (that's the new part).

I recently bought a bag of partially defatted peanut flour at Trader Joe's.

It's been sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be used. I had no idea what to do with it until last nights meal. I was already making Broccoli "Beef", so I thought a peanut sauce could only make it taste better...and I have the bag of peanut flour, what's the worst that could happen??? Ummmmmmmmm, how about I LOVE it and now I want more? It was as simple as taking a 1/4 cup of the flour, mixing it with some soy sauce, chili pepper flakes, vinegar and a little bit of water to thin it out. Make your Broccoli Beef as you normally would (mine is simple...broccoli, onion and Gardein Beef-Less Tips). Cook the broccoli, onions, beef and whatever else you feel like adding. When the broccoli beef is almost done cooking pour the peanut sauce over everything, cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir to mix well and serve over rice, garnish with some peanuts for fun. It was really good, the only down side is that I hear Trader Joe's is discontinuing carrying peanut flour. Which means I will have to stock up, and you should run out and buy some too before it's all gone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rise and Shine....

This is not one of my new recipe blogs, this is bonus for all of you...Janet and Elizabeth (HA!), who actually read the blog! I thought I'd just share with you one of my breakfast favorites...Tofu Scramble. The one I'm going to share with you today I call Tofu Rancheros, because it has a little bit of a Mexican flair to it (meaning; it's really good with tortillas, Pico de Gallo and avocado slices). I prefer to make mine with extra firm tofu because I like the texture of it better than the softer versions. I also like to buy organic tofu because then I know they did not use GMO-soybeans. (Want more info on GMO's??? Go here...

Next step is to get your frying pan out and saute some onions and bell pepper. I tend to use cooking spray instead of oil to cook with...that's just my preference though, feel free to use some good oil and saute your veggies.

When your onions and bell pepper are cooked till tender and the onions have released their juices, add crumbled tofu. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder and Turmeric. If you don't know anything about Turmeric check out this website... It's one of those spices that have natural healing qualities, it's almost flavorless and makes everything a bright yellow color (it makes my tofu almost look like eggs!)

After you add the spices, stir everything up so that it gets all mixed together. Then add a couple spoonfuls of Pico de Gallo (without the liquid if possible, otherwise your scramble will be too wet). Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Serve with additional Pico de Gallo, warmed whole grain tortillas, and avocado slices (I didn't have an avocado at home when I made this, it was still good...but it would have been better with the avocado!)

This is just one of the millions of Tofu Scramble recipes out there, I have about 4 different ones that I make on a regular basis. Think of what kinds of things you like in an omelet, those are the items you could also put in a scramble. This is also the best way to try tofu out for the first time. It takes on all the flavors of what you are cooking it with and using extra firm makes the texture egg-like.

I'll be posting my new recipe later on this week, I'm making Spicy Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash...I can hardly wait!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"We're gonna eat at a new restaurant, I can't pronounce the name but you're gonna love it..."

Last night we started our girls Thursday night Bible study back up after a month long break. I usually cook for the girls, but things have been a little crazy lately with my schedule and cooking was the last thing I really wanted to do. Instead we went to a little Vegetarian restaurant in my neighborhood that I have wanted to try for at least a year. The restaurant is run by Hindu's (or at least I think they are Hindu). The food was good and I will be going back again.

Jyoti-Bihanga is on Adams Ave in North Park. It's a little hole in the wall place, that doesn't really do much to draw you in other than it's a vegetarian restaurant. Here's what we ordered....

Hummos Dip (VEGAN)
Our fresh homemade hummos on a bed of lettuce served with cucumbers and grilled organic whole-wheat chapati slices.

Dinner Salad (VEGAN)
Lettuce, sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and beets with your choice of salad dressing. My dinner came with a side salad, I got it with the Lemon Tahini dressing.

Shiva Wrap
Light and satisfying. Our Curry of the Day with lettuce, carrots, beets, sprouts and sweet apple chutney sauce. Becca got this menu item, she really liked it and said it tasted great!

Turkey Avocado Wrap
One of our favorites. Grilled soy turkey with avocado, cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo-tamari sauce. Toni, who chose not to be photographed, ordered this...she also enjoyed her wrap. (2 for 2!!)

Brahma Burrito
The ultimate vegetarian burrito: a tasty combination of refried black and pinto beans with jack cheese, brown rice, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, and a side of sour cream. This was Monica's dinner, she loved it...but it did require a knife and fork after it fell apart. It was huge, so if you're hungry this is the item to get.

Our "not too spicy" Indian curry of the day with brown rice, raita (yogurt, cucumber and spices), sweet apple chutney and organic whole wheat chapati bread. This was my dinner choice, the curry of the day was Saag "Chicken" Curry. It was really, really good...I would definitely order it again!

Apple Pie (VEGAN)
Still the best pie around! Fresh sliced Granny Smith apples with a little brown sugar in a whole wheat crust, baked in an enormous pie pan so the slices are big! I ordered this to go, because I was FULL. I ended up giving it to the girls to give to their mom, she's been sick and I'm pretty sure apple pie cures the flu!!

All around we all enjoyed our meal and will go back again. There are a ton more items I want to try. Here is the link for the website, check it out and then go! . The menu descriptions come from the menu on the website. Until next week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Recipe Reprieve....

I was reminded on Wednesday, as I was sitting at Discount Tire waiting for my new $200 tire (one tire, not multiple tires) to be installed that I hadn't blogged last week. I know I made a new recipe, but hadn't taken any photos of said recipe so I hadn't blogged on it...because that would be boring for you and for me. So instead of a recipe this week I have decided to showcase some of my favorite items from Whole Foods. I am having a not-so-secret love affair with Whole Foods. It's an expensive love affair to say the least, but there is no turning back now. Whole Foods is a vegans many options for me, both healthy and not-so-healthy, but vegan none the less!! Here are a few of my favorite items from Whole Foods...some of which can certainly (sometimes) be found at other more traditional grocery stores for less money.

I love Tofurky Deli Slices. I often times have a Tofurky sandwich in the mornings, on really good sourdough bread with some Vegenaise (next product!!). It is so good, the hickory smoked slices are my favorite of the deli slices.

I really like mayonnaise, but since egg and my body don't get along I had to find a substitute. Vegenaise is great, I actually like it better than regular mayonnaise. I like to get the Reduced Fat because it is more calorie friendly, but still tastes great. It's great on sandwiches, or in a potato salad! I love it!

Mother of Pearl...I love Gardein!! This has made being vegan so much easier, and tastier. These meat substitutes are made from whole grains, thus sometimes called "wheat meat". You should give them a try, I especially recommend the Homestyle Beefless Tips....delicious (especially in a stir fry, think Broccoli Beef)

Thought I'd throw a little dessert in here, to sweeten up the blog a bit. These are so amazing and delicious...sometimes it's hard to stop at just one!

I love this pizza, I don't usually get the rice crust though...I get the whole wheat crust. It's good and ONLY 160 calories for the whole pizza. It can be found in the frozen foods section.

I don't get these very often; because Subway is closer, but when I want a more gourmet kinda sandwich I come here. I am NEVER disappointed!!

IT MELTS!!!! Need I say more? If you have any experience with vegan cheeses you know that the melting part is an issue. This cheese melts and it tastes good. It's made out of cassava root instead of soy.

Love this broth, almost as much as.....

this one!! Both are great in soups, rice, sauteing veggies, etc.

Final product of this blog. This stuff is fabulous, I always have a package at home. I use it in tacos, enchiladas, lasagna, shepherd's pie, spaghetti sauce, tamale pie, etc. Try this and I can almost guarantee you will like it!

Thanks for letting me take a break from blogging about my recipes, the next one will be a restaurant review. Until next time!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kiss me I'm really, I am!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (which is exactly one month away) I made Vegan Irish Stew and some Vegan Soda Bread. Also, I have a cold sore right now so you may not want to kiss's taking over my face and is VERY painful. I have no idea where it came from, but it's here! Anyway....

I'm pretty sure there is nothing better or more satisfying than peasant food. You know, good earthy food...potatoes, bread, soups, stews, food that you can eat with your hands or a big ol' spoon. It's simple, it's easy to make, it's cheap, it feeds a ton of people and it tastes amazing. Peasant food is defined as..."those dishes specific to a particular culture made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients and usually prepared and spiced to make them more palatable. They have often formed a significant part of the diets of poor people. Peasant foods often involve skilled preparation by knowledgeable cooks using inventiveness and skills passed down from earlier generations. Such dishes are often prized as ethnic foods by other cultures and by descendants of the native culture who still desire these traditional dishes even when their incomes rise to the point where they can purchase any food they like."

Here are the recipes....

Vegan Irish Stew
4 cups red potatoes, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 parsnips, diced
1 turnip, diced
3 whole cloves
1-12 oz. bottle Guinness
32 oz vegetable or mushroom broth
3 sprigs thyme
1 cup baby carrots cut in bite-sized pieces
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 cup baby Brussels sprouts, halved
1 tbsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas (add last 30 minutes of cooking)

Place all ingredients in crock pot (except peas, those will be added the last 30 minutes of cooking). Turn crock pot to low and allow to cook 6-8 hours. Last 30 minutes of cooking, turn heat up to high and add peas.

Irish Soda Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oats
1 cup soy milk mixed with 1 TBSP vinegar

1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and oats in a bowl.
2. Mix in the buttermilk and form a dough.
3. Shape the dough and place it on a baking sheet or in a loaf pan.
4. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes (the top should be golden brown).

Seriously the EASIEST bread ever. I added about 4 tsp caraway seeds to mine for some extra flavor, some people also add raisins...but I really don't like raisins, at all!

Until next week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

On my honor, I will try:

Girl Scout cookies, I remember selling them, eating them, freezing them so we would have them throughout the year....especially the Thin Mints (better frozen in my opinion!). This year when I went to order some Girl Scout cookies from a co-worker imagine my dismay to find out no vegan ones are on sale this year. That only leaves one option, make my own. Here is a pretty amazing recipe for Vegan Thin Mints I found on the Internet. I'm pretty sure this it the first dessert recipe that's been featured on the blog, so that should tell you how good they are!!

Vegan Thin Mints
Wafer Cookies:
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup vegan margarine
3 tablespoons nondairy milk (I use almond, rice, or soy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Chocolate Coating:
2 cups dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Wafer Cookies:
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda until combined. Add margarine, milk, vanilla, and mint extract. Pulse a few times until mixture comes together. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and knead with your hands in the bowl for one minute. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches in between each ball. Evenly flatten the dough with your fingertips so that it is about ¼ inch thick and bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool completely.

Chocolate Coating:
Melt chocolate chips and margarine over a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir in the mint extract and mix until smooth. Dip completely cooled cookies into the chocolate and remove with a fork, gently scrapping off excess chocolate using the side of the bowl. Or, spread a thin layer of the chocolate on top of the cookies. Place cookies on a parchment-lined plate or tray and refrigerate until chocolate coating sets. Store in the refrigerator.

I also made a new recipe for dinner, Rustic Winter Stew Over Polenta, except I didn't have mine over Polenta (I made the Polenta, but it was WAY too salty, so garlic bread substitutes nicely!!). Here is the recipe for the stew and the polenta as well....

Rustic Winter Stew Over Polenta
Olive oil (from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, depending how much you feel like using)
1 small onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup green lentils
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
2 lbs plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 lb small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in half (if using large ones, cut into about 1 inch pieces)
2 bay leaves
3 leeks, white & light green parts only, in 1 inch chunks (and washed well)

For the polenta:
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry polenta

To make the stew: Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in olive oil, along with a dash of salt, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, celery seed, pepper and salt and saute a minute more. Add the lentils, baby carrots, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes, until lentils are slightly softened (now is a good time to start the polenta.) Add potatoes and leeks. Lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 more minutes, until potatoes are fork tender and lentils are soft. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld. Serve over polenta, garnished with fresh herbs, if you like.

To make the polenta: Bring vegetable broth and salt to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Add oil. Lower heat to simmer. Add the polenta in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until polenta is thickened. Keeping heat low, cover and let cook for 20 more minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

The stew is super hearty and very filling!! So enjoy it, until next week!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'd like to introduce my friend the mushroom, he's a real fun guy...

Growing up one of my favorite meals was Salisbury Steak w/Mashed Potatoes & Peas, at the mere thought of it I start drooling (like I am right now). Until now I haven't even thought to transform this into a vegan recipe, but the other day I bought three vegan cookbooks for my iPod (I use the kindle app), one of them being The Happy Herbivore. This book is full of yummy, healthy, low-fat vegan recipes that I am excited to try out. One of the recipes is for a Mushroom Burger, which immediately made me think of Salisbury steak smothered in gravy (drooling again!!). So now is the time to creatively transform this delicious omni recipe into an amazing vegan recipe.

On a side note if you are interested in looking up all the health benefits associated with mushrooms (which aren't vegetables, but are actually fungi) check out this link from the World's Healthiest Foods website...

Here are the recipes for Vegan Salshroom Steak recipe...

Mushroom Burger
1 slice whole wheat bread
8 oz cremini mushrooms
1 15-oz can pinto or kidney beans, drained
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP steak sauce
2 TBSP BBQ sauce
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bread slice in a food processor and allow the motor to run until breadcrumbs form. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Place whole mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until coarsely shredded to the size of sliced olives. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Repeat with beans. Combine all ingredients. Using your hands, form 7 patties. Place patties on cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip, re-spray and bake another 8 minutes. Flip, re-spray for a third time, and bake 5 minutes more. Burgers can also be pan-fried or grilled.

(makes 7 patties...113 kcals/0.7g fat/17.5g carbs/3.5g fiber/8.4g protein) 3P+ for WW

Vegan Mushroom Gravy
2 cups Imagine Mushroom Broth
2 TBSP flour
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large sprayed skilled saute onions and mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms release juices and onions are almost translucent. In a bowl whisk together broth and flour, until blended. Pour into skillet with mushrooms and onions and cook until thickens into gravy, stirring often to avoid scorching. Serve over mashed potatoes and Mushroom Burger. This dish is GREAT with fresh or frozen green peas.

I also made some Roasted Cauliflower as another side dish....I love roasted cauliflower. Roasting this vegetable changes the flavor and the texture. There is something pretty amazing about roasted cauliflower! Here is the recipe...

Roasted Cauliflower with Sea Salt
3 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 medium head chopped into florets
Olive oil cooking Spray
kosher salt, Maldon sea salt or other artisan flaked sea salt.

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray cauliflower florets with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Spread cauliflower in an even layer on a cast iron pan or a cookie sheet. Roast 10 minutes. Turn cauliflower over and re-spray. Roast another 10-15 minutes, or until cauliflower is just browned and fork tender. Season with more salt if desired.

P.S...I didn't want to leave you wondering what health benefits cauliflower has to offer, so here is the link... ...and now you know!!

P.P.S....Now that I've made the dish, I'm gonna have to say the Mushroom Burgers were good but probably better for a BBQ. The Vegan Mushroom Gravy was AMAZING, and when poured over the mashed potatoes and mixed with the peas it was probably the best gravy I've ever had. I could just eat the mashed potatoes and gravy (with peas) and be completely satisfied. Everything was really good and super flavorful, I would just eat them separately next time! Until next week!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't ditch the kale!!!

I was supposed to make Roasted Red Pepper Pizza (that's what I had said I was making last week), but I changed my mind. We had a youth group game night Friday; the day after our bible study, and were having two nights in a row is a bit excessive! So I changed the menu to Chili Verde con Papas and Corn & Scallion Corn Bread. Thankfully the girls were OK with the change, and enjoyed it. It was really good. Very flavorful, hearty, kinda spicy and thoroughly delicious. Also the addition of kale may seem strange, but it adds a lot of if you make this don't ditch the kale, use it!!

Not to leave out the cornbread (as if I could forget about the cornbread!) was also really good. There's just something about adding real corn to cornbread that makes it extra yummy! Then adding the green onion took it up another notch. Really good on it's own with some Earth Balance spread, and really good the next day!

Here are the recipes.....

Chili Verde con Papas
1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
1 green bell pepper, medium diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup white wine
1 pound tomatillos, papery skins removed, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound kale (about 2 bunches), coarse stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 cup scallions
1 1/2 cup navy beans
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp light agave nectar

Place the chopped potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, jalapenos, and green peppers in the oil for about 7 minutes, until everything is softened and the onions are slightly browned. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Saute for a minute more, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine and tomatillos, turn up the heat a bit and let the wine reduce and the tomatillos release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, scallions and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, just to heat through. Use an immersion blender to partially puree everything. If you don't have one, transfer half the mixture to a food processor and blend smooth, then transfer back to pot. Add the kale, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the kale is soft. Add the cooked potatoes and the beans, and simmer for a few more minutes, until everything is heated through. Add the remaining cilantro, lime juice and agave. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

(6 servings...220 kcals/2g fat/42g carbs/10g fiber/10g protein) 5P+ for WW

Corn & Scallion Corn Bread
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP agave nectar
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly spray an 8-inch baking pan. In a measuring cup, whisk together the almond milk and the vinegar, and set aside to curdle. In a large bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the middle and add the almond milk, agave and oil. Mix just until combined. Fold in the corn and scallions. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice and serve warm.

(8 servings...160 kcals/4.5g fat/20g carbs/3g fiber/4g protein) 3P+ for WW

I also made dessert but it was a repeat from last week, Banana Chocolate Chip Crepes. I normally don't make a dessert twice in a row, but it was requested by Ms. Toni Monique Gonzalez, so I was happy to oblige her request! After all she was Lady Liberty for a few weeks, and I am patriotic!! See last weeks post if you are interested in the recipe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm stuffed.....literally!!

Recipe of the week....Caramelized Broccoli Stuffed Manicotti (get it, I'm stuffed??? Oh, I crack myself up!!!) with Balsamic Glazed Vegetables.

First things first, don't tell anyone that what they are about to eat has tofu in it because what they don't know won't hurt them or influence their taste buds. That being said, here is the recipe for the most amazing dish EVER. If you aren't vegan just use real ricotta cheese instead of the tofu ricotta, and regular cheese in place of the daiya.

Caramelized Broccoli Stuffed Manicotti
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cups broccoli florets, chopped fine
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp red pepper flakes, dried
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup tofu ricotta (recipe follows)
1 cup Daiya vegan cheese
1/2 cup tomato paste
28 ounces stewed Italian tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 box manicotti, prepared and rinsed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the broccoli, onions, red pepper flakes, and 2 cloves of the garlic. Slowly saute the broccoli, stirring occasionally until it starts to brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the olives and continue to cook about 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add the tofu ricotta and Daiya, stirring to evenly distribute.

While the broccoli and onions are caramelizing, prepare the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stewed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in basil and remove from heat. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Stuff the manicotti with the broccoli/cheese mixture. Arrange the shells in the baking dish and top with the remaining sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

(6 servings, 307 calories, 11g fat, 16g protein, 36g carbohydrate, 3g fiber per serving)

Tofu Ricotta
1 1/2 pounds tofu, firm, well mashed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp basil, dried
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Daiya

Mash all the ingredients together until the mixture has a fine, grainy texture like ricotta cheese. Store in the refrigerator. (You only need 1 cup to make the stuffed manicotti. Save any leftovers and use in another dish. Recipe can be halved)

I made this dish for a dinner/movie date I had with my friend Nicole. We usually go out and find a fun new, trendy restaurant to eat at. This time we switched it up a bit and had a dinner party at my house. It was fun and the food was delicious.

For dessert...because you can't have a dinner party without dessert, we had Banana Chocolate Chip Crepes (my first time making crepes, I will be making them again!!). I've included the recipe for the crepe batter. The filling consists of chopped up banana, top them off with SoyWhip or Whipped Cream, more chopped up banana and a sprinkle of chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Amazing!!

3 TBSP Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 TBSP vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 1 TBSP flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, whip the egg replacer and water together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, oil, and vanilla and blend until combined. Add the flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt and mix for about 1 minute. Pour the batter in a bowl. Spray a saute pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. As you pour the batter, lift the pan from the heat and twirl it around so that the batter spreads evenly and coats the entire bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the heat and let it cook. Once the edges start to look crispy, loosen with a spatula and turn over. Cook the other side until golden, and slide it onto a plate. Fold it over and cover with wax paper, continue the above steps until you run out of batter. Fill with fruit or nut butter and serve!

Four weeks into the new year and so far I've kept up with this new recipe a week new year resolution. This week for Thursday night bible study I'll be making Roasted Red Pepper Mini Pizzas, look for the post on Friday...hopefully!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now that's a spicy....beanball?

That's right you heard me, beanball (I really like saying beanball...say it with me beanball!).

Second recipe of the new year...Cajun Beanballs & Spaghetti. I'm not really sure if the title of the recipe truly explains all that is involved here. You're thinking, spaghetti? Easy! But please understand that I made the beanballs and the spaghetti sauce from scratch....from scratch spaghetti sauce tastes so much better than that stuff they stick in jars or cans. So here are the recipes (see note at end for additions I made to the recipes)....

Black Eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs

12 ounces tempeh
1 (15-ounce) can black eyed peas
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt

First, prepare a steamer to steam the tempeh. Once the steamer is ready, break the tempeh into bite-size pieces and steam for 10 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, use a fork or potato masher to mash the beans. They should be well mashed, with no whole beans left, but not completely smooth like a puree. Add the minced garlic, herbs, spices, soy sauce, tomato paste and vinegar, and mix well. When the tempeh is ready, add it to the mixture and mash well. It's good if it's still steaming hot because that will help all the flavors meld before baking. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, add the bread crumbs and salt. Using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per ball, roll the mixture into 20 walnut-size balls, placing them on the baking pan. Spray with nonsitck cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the balls, and bake for 10 minutes.

Mom's Marinara

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat a 2-quart pot over medium-low hat. Saute the garlic in the oil for about a minute. Add the thyme, oregano, and pepper, and saute for a minute more, adding a splash of water if necessary. Add the tomatoes and salt, and stir everything together. Cover the pot, leaving a little gap for steam to escape, and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve.

Cajun Beanballs & Spaghetti

1 serving Mom's Marinara
12 Black-Eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
1 cup thinly sliced scallions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the zucchini to the pot. Drain the pasta and zucchini, measure out four equal portions onto four plates. Spoon Mom's Marinara sauce over the top of the four plates, add three meatballs and 1/4 cup of sliced scallions to each plate and serve.

The girls really liked the beanballs, I believe I even heard one exclaim that they were better than meatballs!! So...second recipe of the new year another hit!! Yay!! I did make some changes to the recipes. The first change was that I went to two stores and neither one had canned black-eyed peas, so I substituted white beans. If you aren't into black-eyed peas, please know that changing the bean type won't affect the recipe, it still worked out great with a different bean. The second change I made was to add a whole red onion to the marinara sauce. I sliced it thin and added it when I sauteed the garlic, I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the onions as I cooked them down. It only enhanced the sauce. That's it, otherwise I followed the recipes as written. This recipe makes four big, hearty servings and is a total of 11P+. The recipes come from my new cookbook, Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. 125 low-fat vegan recipes, I'm sure you will be reading about more of the recipes in her book this coming year!

Oh, one more thing.....DESSERT!!! For dessert I made Baked Banana Splits. So decadent, so delicious and only 3P+!!! Here is the recipe....

Baked Banana Splits

1 banana, peeled and sliced in half
2 teaspoons chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Marshmallow Creme
1/2 tablespoon chopped walnuts
3 maraschino cherries

Place peeled and sliced banana on piece of foil. Top with chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and walnuts. Close foil over banana and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and scoop out onto plate, make sure to pour sauce over banana. Top with cherries and serve while still warm.

It was so good, I licked my really, I did!! Until next week!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's kinda like a tamale but, not...

First recipe of the new year....Black Bean & Corn Tamale Soup w/Oven Baked Corn Chips.

It was good...the thickness of the soup made is super hearty and filling. For those of you following WW this soup makes 5 servings at 6P+ per serving (add 2P+ for the oven baked corn chips and you've got a very filling meal for 8P+). I tasted it as I was making it and added spices accordingly...I like my stuff spicy, you will want to spice yours based on your tastes (I'm not putting any measurements for spices that way you don't feel like you need to follow my recipe to be honest I didn't measure anyways!!). Here is the recipe....

Black Bean & Corn Tamale Soup

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp olive oil or cooking spray
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, large dice
2 zucchini, sliced
1 lg can diced tomatoes
4 cups veg broth
1 cup masa harina
chili powder
garlic powder
mexican oregano

Combine onions, carrot and zucchini in large stock pot and saute with olive oil until carrots start to get tender. Add canned tomatoes and seasonings. Stir in black beans. Add broth. Bring to a boil and slowly stir in the cornmeal. Return to boil and then reduce to a simmer. (the cornmeal thickens the soup and gives it the tamale flavor. If soup gets too thick add 1/2-1 cups water). 10 minutes before soup is finished add frozen corn and cook soup until heated through.

Oven Baked Corn Chips

Corn Tortillas (2 per person), cut into 8 triangles
Cooking spray (I like to use Olive Oil cooking spray)
Chili Powder

Pre-heat oven to 350. Cut tortillas using a knife or pizza cutter. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out tortilla triangles so that none are overlapping. Spray with cooking spray and then sprinkle spices on top. bake for about 8 minutes and then turn over to bake evenly. Bake 8-10 minutes longer, shaking pan every 2 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve on side with soup.

So there you go, first recipe completed successfully. Not only is it completed, but it was AMAZING!! Yay me!

Next up will be Spicy Spaghetti w/Cajun Bean don't want to miss it, so check back Friday!! (I'm making it for my Thursday night girls bible study. Those girls are amazing, they always eat everything I make. That is love!)

Until Friday!!