Archive for chocolate

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

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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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Hibiscus, Butterscotch Pecan Bars, and Nuit Blanche

Anyone else hit up Nuit Blanche this year?
For those not in-the-know, Nuit Blanche is/was an annual all-night art exhibition at 155 locations across downtown Toronto. This year, a million people attended. I dunno, I was pretty underwhelmed. The art was supposed to be really edgy and provocative, but in the rare occurences that I actually saw any art through a swarm of people, I didn’t really see anything memorable. Ducks in pond, cool… guy with a spotlight, neat… black-and-white video of naked men holding mirrors..?? wtf?? I don’t pretend to have much comprehension of the artsy-fartsy stuff in life, but this stuff was just weird or boring. Food is my art.

Speaking of, I was delighted to have dinner at Hibiscus on Friday night in Toronto’s Kensington Market area with my friend M. I loved how by all outward appearances, it was a little hole in the wall surrounded by clapboard fruit markets, hippie-flavoured cafes, and odds-and-ends shops; but inside it was warm and elegant.

The menu was sparse, so I ordered a salad and an apple-cinnamon crepes.

Oh my god, this salad was unbelievably good. It was so substantial, it could have been the meal in itself. The salad had everything--green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, chick peas, lentils, broccoli, quinoa, and more.

Mmmm... crepe-y. (not crappy!)

OH. MY. GOD. The soy ice cream was TO DIE FOR. I've never had anything this good. If you live in Toronto, go to Hibiscus NOW and order some soy ice cream. This was mango, raspberry, and chocolate (the kindly proprietor gave me three scoops for the price of two!).

I spend the “nuit” of Nuit Blanche at my friend Mel W.’s house (we also saw the Nuit Blanche exhibitions together with some other friends and ex-coworkers) and since I missed her b-day jam last week AND wanted to give her a housewarming gift, I made a batch of Have Cake, Will Travel’s marvellous Butterscotch Pecan Bars.

I think they went over well, based on the reception (okay, maybe I also ate one on the subway down... and on the way out in the morning; they are sooooo good and chewy).

That’s about it for food at the moment but I have another cool picture to share. After leaving Mel and Brian’s apartment Sunday morning, I grabbed an organic coffee at a local cafe and was impressed with their innovative use of pasta:

Win!

-Maureen

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Best vegan brownies

I’ve tried a number of vegan brownies and I do think that my favourite is from The Garden of Vegan. I didn’t actually make these; O.B. (Omnivore Boyfriend) did and I was very impressed.

Decadent Brownies:

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups soy milk
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, soy milk, nuts. Stir gently until just mixed. Pour into 8X8 inch pan and cook for 30-35 minutes. (Check by inserting a toothpick).

Chocolate Icing:

1/4 cup veg shortening
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2.5 cups sifted sugar
3 tbsp soy milk
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Mix margarine and shortening. Add cocoa powder and milk. Add sugar in 1/2 cups portions with soy milk; mix well. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

I took some of these brownies on a hike in Gatineau, Quebec today, and my friend Taras and I chowed down at a beautiful lookout. I’m sure I consumed all the calories I’d just burned!

-Maureen

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