Archive for cake

Catchin’ up

Wow, it’s really been over a month since my last post. I kinda decided to stop blogging for awhile there, but subconciously kept photographing my food. I guess deep down I must have known that I’d come crawling back! Blogging is like crack to me, and I’ve been jonesing for another fix. Thanks Aly for keeping Mad About Udon updated!

Oh, and I do have a little annoucement! Aly and I both signed up for our first 5K race! And then, I promptly dropped out… and signed up for the 10K! I started training and realized that 5K wouldn’t be a terribly difficult goal to achieve, and since I have so much time till the race (it’s in late May), I decided to go to town. So team Mad About Udon has been training a lot lately (together and independently) and hopefully we’ll kick the race’s ass come May 23. What’s the ideal time to finish at 5K? A 10K? I heard that 25 mins is a respectable time for a 5K so is it thus 50 mins for a 10K?

Hm, well first of all I’ve been eating a ton of oatmeal—thanks to Kath and Shelby, whose near-daily oatmeal concoctions inspired me to try some of my own. I’ve been including any combination of rolled oats, oat bran, soy milk, rice or hemp protein powder, peanut butter, bananas, berries, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, carob chips, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, etc. It’s usually the following recipe:

  • 1/6 cup oats
  • 1/6 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • dash salt, and a tsp each of fair-trade vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin

The pumpkin really steals this recipe, and at 35 cal / half cup (and 200% of Vit A intake), it’s my favourite addition!

This one has all of the above plus a half cup of frozen berries (which melted in the pot).

I used this Rice Protein powder from Whole Foods:

I don't really love the rice protein powder, it's kinda chalky. I'm partial to my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Powder

My friend Barb and I went to Whole Foods in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood and I was in heaven! I didn’t even realize we had a WF in Canada, so I was pretty psyched to go. I only got a few things, as it’s pretty pricey there, but it`s good to know I can find obscure vegan products nearby if I need to.

Also featuring pumpkin is my amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese. Someone else probably invented this already since there is only two ingredients: Pumpkin and Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese (1:1 by volume).

Good on toast, sandwiches, and anywhere else you would put cream cheese.

I also frequently make Fitnessista’s Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie which I’m kicking myself for not making earlier. It’s so validating, in a strange way, to wolf down a giant cookie for breakfast.

This one has mixed-in a delicious Spiced Plum jam that my friend Barb gave me, along with raisins and PB.

When I left off last time, I was experimenting with juicing using my friend Taras’ juicer. While I concede that juicing provides supremely healthy, tasty, and wholesome juices, I have reservations with wasting all the pulp. Plus, it’s fun to eat fruit, more fun than it is to drink it. Anyway, the last day I had it, I juiced a ton of carrots, zucchini, and apples, and saved the fibrous pulp to bake into a bread:

Fibrous pulp: carrots, zucchini, and apples

I used my banana bread recipe and subbed the pulp for the bananas:

The pulp and the bread didn't really taste like anything! So I guess this proves that all the flavour does indeed come out during juicing.

My witty, candid friend Nick (check out his blog to see just how witty and candid) and I had a very frank and productive lunch a few weeks ago at The Manx. This bar has few menu items, although one is identified as vegan and I ordered that. I don’t post every vegan meal I eat out, but this was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

It was a HUGE burrito with veggies, jalepeno peppers, and TVP (I think) inside with guac on top and a side salad. Tasty, tasty :-)

I got really enthused at the idea of roasting veggies, so I threw a TON of veggies into a pan, sprayed with PAM, and sprinkled with tons of herbs and spices. Then I baked that for about an hour, turning the contents two or three times throughout.

Roasted veggies: carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, garlic, etc.

I enjoyed these best reheated and topped over a generous bed of spinach/cilantro/dill

Oh, and on the subject of “why-didn’t-I-make-this-incredibly-easy-dish-sooner” meals, voila:

Sweet Potato Fries

I sprayed these with PAM and sprinkled with sea salt, and baked at 350 for an hour, turning twice.

Samosa-stuffed baked potatoes, from Veganomicon:

These were just sort of okay, not amazing and not really worth the effort.

Kath’s amazing Nutty Vanilla  Sweet Potato + Kale Soup:

ROLL CALL: WHO'S MADE THIS ALREADY??

Recipe (from Kath):

  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, cut into 1” pieces and microwaved in a bowl on high for 6.5 minutes to start the cooking process
  • 3 cloves garlic,  pressed
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups kale, trimmed, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, for garnish
  • Shredded coconut, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave.
  2. Heat a large pot on medium high. Spray with cooking spray and add potatoes, cooking until they begin to brown. Stir in garlic.
  3. Add coconut milk, soy milk, masala, salt, pepper and flakes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Mash potatoes with potato masher or puree with immersion blender.
  6. Add raisins, kale and vanilla and cover. Allow to cook for 8-10 more minutes, until kale is bright green.
  7. Portion into bowls and garnish with 1 tbsp each peanuts and coconut.

Mmmm… I love the website MediterrAsian.com —I get sooo many recipe ideas from there! Omnivore Boyfriend doesn’t like weird vegan “voodoo” stuff, like tofu, tempeh, TVP, etc, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are simple and tasty and not soy-centric. Then I split the dish in half and add soy protein to my half. Here are two favourites:

Lentil, pea, and potato curry:

That's a double batch in a mixing bowl, I forgot to snap a pic when I had it portioned out

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower:

Dhal with Carrot & Cauliflower

Served with a mixture of jasmine and orzo rices

I made a double batch of Vegan Dad’s Veggie Lunch Meat. This is one recipe that significantly changed by dietary and shopping regimen. Try it!

I should have enough to last me till the summer!

Um, due to a serious of strange and unfortunate events which I won’t go into right now, I procured this piece of chocolate tofu-cheese cake from Green Earth, a new veggie restaurant in Ottawa.

It was mighty tasty!

O.B. and I have been travelling all over Southern Ontario for interviews, birthdays, and such, and our travels have landed us in Toronto more than once. I looooove everything from Toronto’s Chinatown, from the dim sum to the cheap produce. Last weekend I picked up 11 bananas, 5 oranges, 6 large apples, a huge bag of grapes, 3 trays of blackberries, 3 melons, and a dragonfruit—all for $16!

Dragonfruit

Dragonfruit

Also purchased in Chinatown were as many red-bean pastries as I could fit in the car :-):

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

Red-bean pastries

*drool* I love anything with red bean paste in it.

Those Korean red bean balls especially made me happier than a hot koala in a bucket of water AND...

... a seagull eating a starfish!!

I also picked up some cheap tofu (2 pkg/$1) and those weird Shirataki noodles which aren't really noodles (they are actually made with tofu and yam flour and are only 20 cal/serving).

So I’ll have to find something fun to do with those ingredients.

Oh! I also picked up bok choy so I’m envisioning a bok choy/shirataki/tofu/hoisin stir fry coming up.

I'm not sure if you would call this a wrap or a burrito, but I made this puppy on my George Foreman grill!

I packed this full of jasmine rice, refried beans, black olives, and guacamole made with PC Guacamole Mix, and grilled it with a little bit of PAM.

I was struck with the sudden inspiration to make vegan Shepherd`s Pie, which is weird since I`ve never had the real thing. Anyway, here`s what I came up with:

Sorry for the fluorescent photo, I needed to use my flash.

For this dish I mixed Yves Veggie Ground Round and a can of mushroom (i.e. vegetarian) gravy for the bottom layer. Next was a layer of peas and carrots, and finally the top layer was mashed sweet potatoes with some cornmeal mixed it. The cornmeal was gritty and kind of pointless but other than that this was so amazingly savoury. I’m definitely going to make this again, and when I do I’ll leave out the cornmeal and possible mixed some mashed cauliflower into the mix.

Yum!

I sent some of my famous Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Carob Chip cookies with O.B. to work one day for a meeting, and they were a hit, as usual. Even the finicky lab supervisor had a few:

Everywhere I bring these, people just silently wolf down as many as possible until the tray is empty.

The story behind these is that I just grabbed a random “oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie” recipe off the ‘net and subbed in a few bananas for the eggs. Et voila—a moist, chewy, decadent chocolate chip cookie with a rich banana flavour and an oatmealy texture.

Recipe:

  • 1 c Earth Balance margarine
  • 1.5 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1.75 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 c rolled oats
  • 2.5 c vegan choc chips (or carob chips)

Directions:

Beat margarine and sugars. Add bananas and mix. Add vanilla and water, and mix. Add the rest, and mix. Cook for 9-10 mins at 350 C

Procrastinating through exams/theses?  Check out my cousin Lindsay’s scintillating travel blog as she  weaves her way through Europe. Will she ever return? Stay tuned. Also, check out The Bystander, a new Ottawa-centric arts and culture blog written by my friends Tina and Peter.

**CONTEST ALERT!!**
Zesty Clothing is celebrating the launch of its new clothing line by giving away two t-shirts and two aprons, so head on over to the contest website to enter!
-Megan over at Megan’s Munchies is doing a cookbook giveaway–check it out!!
-Sarah over at Tales of Expansion is giving away a very nutty prize pack over at her blog—check it out here!!

Whoo. Dunzo. Happy Wednesday!

-Maureen

Comments (27) »

Vividly vegan

It’s almost spring! (1 month and 1 day) I, for one, cannot wait to emerge from hibernation.

Okay, so first off I want to thank the awesome people at Larabar for sending me a free package of goodies! And all because I professed my love for these delicious bars.

I absolutely LOVE Larabars so I was thrilled to receive this huge box of assorted flavours, as well as a Larabar t-shirt that I've been sporting all over town.

So far I’ve tried about half the flavours and I haven’t found one I don’t like.

Now, onto the food. I’ve been sampling a lot of recipes from the Happy Herbivore lately.

I made a batch of her Fat-Free Vegan Alfredo Sauce:

I really liked this recipe, but Omnivore Boyfriend was not a fan. I've never had real alfredo but I think it's really gross in principle (550 cals/serving? yuck), so I'm glad the vegan version is waaay healthier and packs a mighty protein punch too.

Fat-Free Vegan Alfredo Sauce from the HH

Ingredients
(makes approx 2 cups):

12.3 oz pkg mori-nu lite silken firm tofu, drained
1 cup fat free soy milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion flakes
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
small pinch red chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Directions:

1. combine all ingredients in a blender
2. whiz until smooth
3. heat over low until warmed

I also made the HH’s Creamy Pesto Sauce:

(I can't rotate this picture!) All the ingredients in the blender.

Voila! This pesto was scrumptious, a judgement verified by a O.B. and a few other friends who tried it.

Creamy Pesto (makes 1 cup) from the HH

1/2 pckg silken tofu, drained
1/2 cup (packed tight) fresh basil, stems removed
2 tbsp (packed tight) fresh parsley, stems removed
1 garlic clove
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp vegan parm
2 tbsp fat free soy milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts – optional
2-4 sun-dried tomatoes – optional (for a flavorful spin on traditional pesto)
3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth, then heat over low until just warm. Toss with whole wheat pasta.

Again from the HH, baked yam falafels!!!!

The HH put these in a wrap with "yogurt' spread, but I opted to dip them in sweet thai chili sauce. I loved these little nuggets, they were so tasty and textured and unique. A+!!!

Baked Yam Falafels from the HH

Ingredients (makes about 24 falafel balls)

1/2 cup bulgar wheat
3/4 cup water
1 large yam (makes approx 1 cup “mashed yam”) or sweet potatoes
2 tbsp fat free soy milk or other non-dairy

“Falafel Mix”

1 garlic clove
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tbsp whole wheat or chickpea flour
3 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
pinch of salt

Directions:

1. combine water and bulgar in a pot (no heat) and set aside
2. cook yam until tender
3. blend with soy milk, it should be a thick “mashed potatoes” consistency
4. set yam mixture aside
5. return to bulgar, some of the water should have absorbed
6. bring bulgar to a boil and immediately reduce to low
7. allow to cook on low, uncovered, until water cooks off
8. towards the end, stir frequently to avoid burning
9. while bulger is cooking, make falafel mix (I threw all of it into my processor)
10. combine falafel mix with bulger
11. add yam mixture and combine
12. drop tbsp portions worth on a greased cookie sheet
13. lightly spray with oil
14. lightly cover with foil
15. bake 20 minutes, flip, re-spray and bake another 20-25 minutes until crispy

—————

I borrowed my friend Taras’ fruit juicer so I could increase my fruit and vegetable consumption, boost my immune system, and try out some new flavour combinations.  You can basically put anything into a juicer and it will extract all the water, vitamins, and nutrients out of the material and retain all the fibrous product.

My breakfast juice consisted of two apples, three carrots, 3-5 peeled clementines, and a few slivers of ginger.

And my lunch juice involved a whole cornucopia of produce: 1/2 a cucumber, 2 stalks of celery, a few slices of beets, 3 carrots, parsely, an apple, a tangerine, and a few slices of ginger.

This tasted, um, interesting! Not so palatable, BUT really nutritious and filling. To be honest, I love fruits and vegetables so much that I don’t see the point in removing all the fibrous components… I could probably eat all those veggies whole in one sitting anyway, and it seems kind of a waste to throw it all out at the end. Perhaps I’ll juice certain cake-worthy ingredients first (apple, carrot, zucchini), scoop out the detritus, and add it to a cake recipe.

Onto the junk food! Pumpkin-date oats:

These are just microwave oats, nothing special, but I wanted to share the awesome combination of pumpkin (1/3 cup) and dates (4-5 chopped). I felt like I was eating a giant pumpkiny date square. WIN!

Vegan Sugar Cookies:

Valentine's Day Vegan Sugar Cookies

Obviously, I made these for Valentine’s Day. Per serving, I added about 1.5 cups of smashed cinnamon hearts, cinnamon flavouring, and Vegan Sweets’ White Chocolate Chips. I made 2 huge batches and gave them to friends around town, and to the staff at the campus newspaper I used to work at. I wanted to add icing to them but the job was just so epic and I was tired, so I hope the non-iced cookies were good enough. I thought they were delicious, although I’ve never met  cookie I didn’t like, but everyone else seemed quite happy to eat through the entire 2 batches so I think it was a successful experiment.

Vegan Sugar Cookies from here

Ingredients:

1 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
2 whole egg replacements (Ener-G)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup tofu cream cheese (Tofutti)
1.5 cups smashed cinnamon hearts
1/2 cup Vegan Sweets’ White Choc Chips
1 tsp cinnamon flavouring

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Stir in the egg replacements and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking powder, cinn hearts, chocolate chips, cinnamon flavour, and tofu cream cheese. You may have to use your hands at this point to finish the mixing. Form the dough into a long loaf and wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for a couple hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the cookie sheets or use a non-stick foil.
3. On a lightly floured surface (we taped down a sheet of non-stick foil to our countertop instead), roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place about 1 inch apart cookie on sheets.
4. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottoms and edges just start to get light brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Due to excess pumpkin I made a few batches of the Post-Punk Kitchen’s Super Moist Pumpkin Bread for the freezer:

This was just the best thing ever. Go make it now!

Super Moist Pumpkin Bread from the PPK:

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped walnuts
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup flaked coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans.
2. Spread walnuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and coconut milk, and mix until all of the flour is absorbed. Fold in the flaked coconut and toasted walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cover loaves tightly with foil. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove foil, and turn out onto a cooling rack. Tent loosely with the foil, and allow to cool completely.

—————

Happy Friday!

-Maureen

Comments (24) »

Extended absences = more food

Sorry for the epic absence from Mad About Udon. I’ve been flitting around the province again, though I’ve got a lot of food porn to post. I’ve been fueled by VEGEMITE, thanks to a kind gift from my friend Jon’s mother. She brought me back half a kilo of this wonderful, tasty, nutritious product from Australia. Thanks, Jon’s mom! Now I can resume finding the answer to my sorrows at the bottom of a jar of this black, gooey marvel. *drool*

Onto the food! First up, junk food!

Cinnamon-heart vanilla cupcakes. I just took the Golden Vanilla Cupcake recipe from VCTOTW and added smashed-up cinnamon hearts. This was a practice recipe for Valentine's Day, and they really kicked ass.

Carrot Cake cupcakes with Maple Icing from the Happy Herbivore.

Carrot Cake cupcakes with Maple Icing

O.B.‘s mother sent over this recipe for Date Cookies, which I easily veganized. Unfortch, I don’t have the recipe handy, but I’ll add it in the next post. I brought a batch of these to the campus newspaper I used to work at, and everyone loved them! I used Iranian dates.

Date Cookies

I’m constantly modifying my favourite banana bread to make it lower-cal, since it’s a constant staple in my house.

Banana Bread

Here’s the newest version of Maureen’s Low Cal Banana Bread:

Ingredients:

1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.25 cup whole wheat
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Earth Balance (margarine), softened
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup Sucralose
2 tsp vanilla
5 mashed ripe bananas

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 C. Grease a 9X5 inch pan. Whisk soy milk + lemon juice, and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat butter, applesauce, and sugars with an electric mixer until light. Beat in vanilla and bananas. Stir in flour mixture alternatively with soy milk mixture. Mix and pour into pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Apple crumble... soooooo good!

Apple crumble recipe from here.

Okay, okay, now onto the non-junk food.

I got this jar of pumpkin curry sauce from William-Sonoma. It was on sale from $16 down to $6! It was so delicious, too.

We simmered the pumpkin cury with mixed veggies and TVP slices, and served it over brown rice. It was excellent! (But I definitely wouldn't pay $16 for another jar).

Mango curry dressing

Another batch of mango curry dressing.


Ingredients:

1 medium (or 2 small) mangoes, pitted
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil from a dark bottle (I used half oil half water)

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

Oriental Green Beans

Oriental Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oriental sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced (I use 1 teaspoon chopped garlic from jar

Directions:

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook green beans until just tender, 4-5 minutes.
2. While beans are cooking, in a small bowel combine soy sauce, oil and sugar; stir and set aside.
3. Drain beans, set aside.
4.
Spray wok or skilled with nonstick cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 20-30 seconds. Add green beans; cook, stirring and turning constantly, until well coated, about 2 minutes.
5.
Add soy sauce mixture; continue to stir and turn until most of the liquid is absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

The Happy Herbivore’s awesome Chana Palak Masala:

Rural Vegan’s Happy-Chicken Noodle Soup:

This was super yummy, perfect for winter and for sick days!

Quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa tabbouleh!!  I love this recipe so much. This makes a great potluck dish. I brought this tabbouleh, along with a bag of whole-wheat mini pitas, to a ski hut in Gatineau Park for a potluck dinner after cross-country skiing, and everyone liked it! Recipe from here.

Super-quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta from VeganYumYum:

One word: amazing.

A batch of pancakes from Gwenyth Paltrow’s recipe off her website, GOOP:

Pancakes

Peanut “chicken” noodles, off of Mediterrasian.com:

(chicken = pan-seared tofu cubes)

This recipe didn’t come out so great because I stupidly subbed natural peanut butter with regular peanut butter. The PB overpowered the WHOLE recipe, and it wasn’t peanutty, it’s was peanut buttery… big difference! Because of the salt and sugar in PB, it kinda compromised the recipe. I’d make this again but using natural PB and less of it.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Happy Friday!

-Maureen

Comments (22) »

Footloose

Sorry for the massive delay in posting, guys. I’ve actually moved twice in the last month and, although I’ve been taking a lot of photos, posting them hasn’t been at the top of my list. I hope everyone had a debaucherous and regrettable New Years Eve—after all, 2008 only ends once!

In honour of  2008, I’ll be presenting today’s post of recently devoured foodstuffs in the form of a countdown. DRUMROLL!

10. Jenna’s most excellent Lentil Curry, made with yellow lentils and served with quinoa:

Lentil Curry

9. Fake chicken by SoYeat (or SoVeat?). In truth, I’ve never had fake chicken before but I liked it a lot! It also got the omnivore seal of approval.

Fake chicken by SoYeat

My aunt made me this for lunch, with baked sweet potato fries.

8. Sauteed fruit! I picked up this idea in Jamaica.

bananas, blueberries, peaches, pears

It makes a savoury dessert or, as pictured here, a yummy companion for steel cut oats.

7.  Kath’s Kale Chips. A simple, super-healthy recipe. Just wash a head of kale, slice once down the main vein, spray with olive-oil spray, and sprinkle with a salty-herb mixture. I used jerk seasoning from Jamaica. Bake at 350 deg C for 15 minutes (until edges are brown). A huge bowl of this has about 170 calories, 450 mg of calcium, and 1500 mg of potassium.

Kale is one of those superfoods that you should always eat, and this recipe makes a great sub for potato chips or nachos.

6. Steamed spinach with raisins and dried cranberries. Another idea from Jamaica. I topped this batch with nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy favour.

It looks like a small portion but it's actually about 10 cups of fresh spinach (aka 470% of my daily Vitamin A requirement). That stuff really shrinks, eh?

5. Quesadillas!

I topped my whole-wheat tortilla with 3 slices of Veggie Slices vegan cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cilantros.

I folded it over and heated it for a few minutes on each side, et voila!

4. Thank you, thank you, thank you Vegan Dad for your Veggie Lunch Meat recipe, which will probably save me thousands of dollars over the next few years.

I'll never buy another Yves three-serving package of soy meat for $3.99! (that's a toothpick for comparison)

All the ingredients for this recipe cost me about $2, and I cut the log into 14 thick slices, each of which packs 14g of protein.

Recipe (from Vegan Dad, whose cookbook is for sale here):

Ingredients:
1 cup white beans (I used kidney beans)
2 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp sage
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
2 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Directions:

Get water steaming in your steamer.
1. Place all ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Add gluten flour and work into a dough.
2. Shape dough into a log and wrap in heavy duty foil like a tootsie roll. Try to make the roll as thick as possible. Steam for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees in the last 15 mins of steaming. Remove seitan from steamer and bake for 45-60 mins. Seitan should swell and press against the foil.
4. Cool and slice as needed for sandwiches. This seitan holds up very well and can be shaved very thin. Store in the fridge

3. Another round of my fave lemon-cranberry bread, made with my new loaf pans.

lemon-cranberry bread

2. Pineapple-carrot cake!

I couldn't find any vegan cream cheese to make icing but the cake was really good by itself anyway.

Recipe (modified from a few different sources):

Ingredients:

1 and1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup w/w flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 egg equivalent in Ener-G egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 can (about 14 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix flours, baking soda, cinnamon, spice, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix sugar and “eggs”. Add vanilla, then vegetable oil and applesauce. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add carrots, pineapple, and walnuts. Pour into greased baking pan (9×9 is best) and bake for 50 minutes.

Instead of eating this cake directly, I crumbled little slices into my oatmeal, along with the almond butter that Omnivore Boyfriend's mum sent home with him. Soooo delicious.

1. Pumpkin, caramel, and chocolate loaf, modified from VeggieGirl‘s Pumpkin, Caramel, and Carob loaf.

(those plastic shards in the top are from the bowl that melted into the element while the oven was on. Oops!)

Pumpkin, caramel, and chocolate loaf

I followed VeggieGirl’s recipe exactly, except for the following substitutions:

-2 cups of flour were replaced with 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of w/w flour
-the pure maple syrup was replaced with No Name “maple-flavoured” syrup (po’ students—holla!)
-the carob chips were replaced with vegan chocolate chips from Herb and Spice

I like how this recipe doesn’t have any oil or margarine.

—-

And that’s it! Happy very belated New Years to everyone.

-Maureen

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My belated Christmas-dinner post… and some other fun stuff

Thanks to everyone who suggested recipes in response to my plea for ideas. We hosted dinner for the extended family on Christmas day, and I was pretty pumped to try out some new experiments on a group of unsuspecting victims. Er, guests. I ended up making three vegan dishes (two of which were gluten-free).

Of all the recipes submitted, I picked Ricki’s Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites. I liked how they are both gluten-free and vegan, and as well were low in sodium. Plus I knew I could serve them with my West-Indian Mango Chutney in a communal fashion, which is important for group dinners, I think. Just like Ricki, I omitted the caraway seeds and used fresh cilantro. I used toasted, smashed rice bread for the bread crumbs, and used a cookie cutter to get disc-shaped servings:

Ricki's Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites

I really liked these little bites and I think they went fantastically with my Jamaican souvenir (the jar of mango chutney).

I sort of guessed at the baking time, but 350 deg C for 15-20 mins seemed to do the trick. It might have been a bit too new-agey for a traditional family dinner, but everyone seemed like it… or at least they seemed to appreciate the effort I put in!

Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Bites

1 medium onion, diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, finely grated
1/2 can black beans, drained
1/2 a baked sweet potato, flesh scooped out
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (that is, take 1/2 a cup dry quinoa, and cook it)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in non-stick skillet.
2. Add beans to pan and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring now and then.
3. Turn off heat. Mash beans in pan till they’re about half crushed. Put in big bowl with all the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. If too moist, add more bread crumbs.
4. Form into patties. Grill or bake.

We also made glazed carrots, corn, and braised brussel sprouts (all of which are also gluten-free):

glazed carrots

corn

braised brussel sprouts

Braised Brussels Sprouts:

4 cups brussels sprouts
1/2 cup diced shallots
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp Braggs soy sauce
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup vegetable broth

Steam brussels sprouts for 10 minutes in boiling water. Set aside. Spray a little olive oil in a large non-stick and heat on medium heat. Saute the shallots and garic for 2 minutes. Add the steamed brussels sprouts and brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes, covered, on high heat. Add balsamic vinegar, black pepper, nutmeg, soy sauce. Cook or 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently. Add the parsley and broth. Cook for 5 minutes more, uncovered. (per serving, 112 calories, 22 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 8.6 g fibre).

I also made The Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen’s Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping, but I forgot to take a picture! Which is too bad, because this recipe was all kinds of bitchin’, and it’s gluten-free to boot. It was really sweet and desserty but also a bit tangy because of the citrus juice.

You can see it in the picture below, above the corn but below the quinoa bites. In the top right corner is my aunt's delicious beet salad.

I also made, for dessert, a double batch of my favourite lemon-cranberry bread:

lemon-cranberry bread

Which accompanied another dessert item, fruit salad:

fruit salad & lemon-cranberry bread

So Christmas dinner was a huge success and it was great seeing friends and family again.

A couple of times in Jamaica last week, I ate a dish of sauteed spinach with raisins. I successfully recreated this simple recipe yesterday by sauteeing about 8 cups of spinach in broth with a handful of sultana raisins and one chopped red pepper. WIN.

sauteed spinach with raisins

With a couple extraneous mangoes burning a hole in my fruit basket, I made Indian Mango Curry Dressing, a recipe from a Raw cookbook I bought my sister for Christmas:

Indian Mango Curry Dressing

Indian Mango Curry Dressing:

1 medium (or 2 small) mangoes, pitted
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil from a dark bottle (I used half oil half water)

Blend until smooth. This dressing is a major WIN because it’s delicious and creamy! It’s nice to have a vegan dressing that’s not a vinaigrette.

Next, I wanted to make a big veggie-tofu-noodle dish to last me a couple days. I used this product that I found in my fridge. My mother bought it at a huge chinese grocery in north Toronto

The label reads: Tofu Shirataki. Spaghetti Shaped Noodle Substitute. No cholesterol, no sugar. Gluten-free. Vegan. Guilt-free. 20 calories , 3 g carbs, and 2g fibre per serving. 2 servings per bag.

Has anyone else heard of this product? I’m super skeptical about it. When I read “20 calories per serving”, I became pretty wary, especially since it came from Chinatown. But then I read on the label that it’s shipped from House Foods in California. California = legit? I don’t know. Help?

I cooked the "noodles" up and they looked and tasted exactly like ramen noodles! (seen here tossed with jerk seasoning). So what's the deal with these things? Anyone?

I had also been marinating some tofu in a ziplock bag with jerk seasoning paste (from jamaica) mixed with ketchup, so I fried those up. I also sauted some carrots, peppers, zucchini, celery, black beans, cilantro, and green onion with another dose of jerk paste + ketchup.

I wasn't really sure how to pull of this whole "jerk" thing, so I just added it to everything.

Et voila! Lunch for the week. Can anyone tell me if I cooked with jerk properly? I have never tried the flavour before, since it’s always used with meat dishes, but I think it’s a very tantalizing mixture of spices and I definitely want to cook jerk again.
-Maureen

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Best Cranberry Lemon Bread… EVER!!

Seriously, everyone needs to go out and make this loaf… I absolutely love making bread (banana, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot, etc) but this was by far my most fruitful bread/cake experiment.

Woe is my lack of a loaf pan, but my trusty 9x9 didn't disappoint for gastronomy purposes. For aesthetic purposes... well let's just hope Santa brings me a loaf pan!

Yum, this bread was sweet, soft, and tangy. Just delicious all over.

I wondered what it might look/taste like to sprinkle brown sugar on the top before baking... so... Even better!

I made 3 batches in one day and popped two into the freezer. As for the recipe, I made a lot of modifications and veganizations from a recipe that was previously modified from Gourmet magazine, so this puppy has street cred, twice removed.

Cranberry-Lemon Bread

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 “eggs” (that is, two portions of egg replacer, like Ener-G, mixed with 1/4 cup H20)
  • 1/2 cup soy buttermilk (soy milk + vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together sugars and shortening. Stir in egg-replacement mixture and beat with a fork until combined. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, and rind. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in cranberries and pour into a greased pan. Optional: sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

I also recently made a quadruple batch of Jenna‘s awesome Simple Red Lentil Curry:

What a cheap and easy recipe! I'm so pleased to have found this.

I  bombed my last dahl attempt by adding too much garam masala, so I was hesitant to dip my toes back into the water, but this turned out great. I went completely non-traditional by serving it with Israeli couscous, another discovery chanced upon during my aimless wanderings through the local bulk food store.

The Israeli couscous didn't complement the curry as much as basmati rice would have, but I was just too curious what this neat little grain would look/taste like.

Simple red lentil curry & Israeli couscous

I also made another HUGE batch of my favourite broccoli soup recipe. If you  live in the West GTA, you have probably seen me lately, wailing in numerous grocery stores at the price of fresh broccoli . I realized, embarassingly and by accident, that frozen broccoli is way cheaper and just as good for a blended soup. Can you believe I hold a science degree? Anyway, I reinvented the wheel a bit by adding red chili pepper flakes to this recipe and the results were explosive.

Seriously... best soup ever. (Please ignore my superlatives, my life isn't very exciting these days).

Broccoli Soup

  • 4 cups vegetable soup broth
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen broccoli crowns and stems, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes

Heat a large pot on medium high. Heat olive oil, add the onion, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves, stirring to coat. Cook until onions begin to soften and turn brown, stirring often.

Add broccoli, stirring to coat with oil and onion flavor. Let cook, turning occasionally for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in hot broth. Cover and cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves.

Transfer a third of the hot mixture to a blender. Puree until smooth. Repeat with another third, then the final third.

Happy weekend everyone!

-Maureen

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Perogies, cake, curry — FOOD GALORE!

So O.B. and I ate a lot last weekend… I don’t even know where to begin with the photos.

Let’s start with the simplest recipe: SALSA!! O.B. and I love this simple recipe, but this time we gave it a twist. Normally the only ingredients are finely diced tomates, a liberal quantity of cilantro, and some diced jalepeno. This weekend we added some chopped organic cuban oregano from a rescued house plant.

I bought this little guy last winter and unfortunately left him too close to a non-insulated window. Almost overnight, the plant shrivelled up and died, but for a small green stub embedded in the soil. I quickly moved the plant to my fume hood in the chemistry lab I did my thesis project in, and very slowly the plant regerated into its current splendour. And then we ate it. LOL. Okay, just a tiny piece.

Cuban oreganos are wonderfully fragrant and made a delicious addition to our salsa.

One of my favourite places in the WORLD is any bulk-food store. I’ve never lived close to one, and honestly, it’s like going to prom for me. My new abode is really close to a Bulk Barn and I LOVE IT. I recently made the most glorious find: Sunset Blend, a mixture of parboiled medium rice, lemon garlic orzo pasta, sweet potato orzo pasta, Himalayan red rice, and brown mustard seed. YUM!!!

This blend was PHENOMENAL and I loved it.

We ate it with Kohinoor's Dal Palak curry

Over Thanksgiving, O.B. and I came to the surprising realization that we shared similar ancestry. Specifically, we both have Ukranian roots. In celebration of this fact, we decided to emulate our hard-working grandparents and make perogies from scratch:

boiling

perogies

This is a pretty easy recipe:

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Mix flour and salt. In another bowl, mix oil and water. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour oil/water mixture in. Mix with hands until it forms a soft ball. Roll out until dough is about as thick as pie crust. Cut cereal-bowl sized circles. Add your filling, seal by firmly pressing edges together, and drop into a pot of boiling water until it floats (about 5 mins).

    We made ours a little thick because we didn’t have a rolling pin :-(

    Fillings: we made 3.

    The first was mashed Russet (white) potatoes with cilantro

    The second was mashed sweet potatoes (yams) with Montreal Steak Spice

    And the third filling, for what I termed dessert perogies, was mixed berries

    dipped in light maple syrup

    I also made a whole bunch of junk food for freezing and later consumption:

    My favourite banana bread, modified to be a bit healthier:

    banana bread

    banana bread

    Here is the new recipe:

    • 1 cup soy milk
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1.25 cup 12-grain flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Earth Balance (margarine), softened
    • 1/4 cup applesauce
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 5 mashed ripe bananas

    Heat oven to 350 C. Grease a 9X5 inch pan. Whisk soy milk + lemon juice, and set aside. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat butter, applesauce, and sugar with an electric mixer until light. Beat in vanilla and bananas. Stir in flour mixture alternatively with soy milk mixture. Mix and pour into pan. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

    I also made a batch of Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel from Veganomicon, making a few substitutions as above (swapping half the white flour with 12-grain, swapping half the margarine with applesauce, halving the sugar):

    Pumpkin Cake with Pecan Streusel

    I also made Gingery Bars from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking:

    Yum! I think I undercooked these a bit, but as a result they were quite fudgy and that's actually perfectly fine with me!

    To cap off a great weekend, I had lunch at The Table with my dear friend, the Veggie-Happy Omnivore:

    There is just so much on this plate, I can't even identify it all. There's definitely red quinoa, eggplant curry, tempeh cubes, chickpea curry, sweet potatoes, and a chickpea patty with mango chutney.

    But of course I saved room for dessert:

    Blurry pumpkin pie. Yeah, I'm still not over autumn flavours :-)

    After all those gastronomical indulgences, it was positively painful to return to the reality of soup cups and granola bars. I really need to find someone to cook for / eat with out here.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    -Maureen

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