Archive for rambling

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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Quick post!

Happy belated birthday to the lovely Maureen!! You deserve all the best <3!

The due date for my thesis is quickly approaching leaving me with little time to get up to any exciting shenanigans in the kitchen. This means that I will be eating a whole lot of my favourite speedy meal over the next month:

Baked whole wheat pita bread, soynut butter and smashed banana with a ton of cinnamon.

It tastes better than it looks: baked whole wheat pita bread, soynut butter and smashed banana with a ton of cinnamon.

I am finally starting to overcome the loss of peanut and almond butters, and am learning to love soy butters (lately I’ve been enjoying Salba Olé brand and the I.M.Healthy brand which carries a dairy-free chocolate spread). I usually eat this after working out as it is a great source of Potassium, protein and carbohydrates.  I am not sure what I would do without soy and got quite worked up when I thought that it might have been responsible for a massive allergic reaction I had a few weeks ago!  I am also not sure what I would do without the Cavendish banana!! Do you?!

Speaking of unsustainable practices (re: bananas), apparently advice to eat fish hurts the environment! Surprise, surprise! In other news, the EU is apparently phasing out some aspects of animal testing in the cosmetics industry.

– Aly

PS Ugh. What?! WHAT?!!

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An announcement… and a plea for help

I don’t know how I managed to keep this under my hat for the last few months, but as of time time tomorrow, I’ll be sittin’ on a beach chair in a Caribbean island paradise with a fruity drink and a book! O.B. and I decided to head south for a totally indulgent tropical holiday, and I must say, it has arrived not a minute too soon!

(To further stir up a bit of envy, I’ll point out that our destination is currently 32 degrees Celcius warmer than Toronto… 49 degrees is you count the wind chill/humidex!)

I’m hoping the resort’s restaurants offer some decent vegan options, but if not, I’m more than happy to stuff myself full of fresh fruit at every meal.  I’ve been subsisting off of apples, carrots, and sweet potatoes (i.e. the cheapest produce in this season) every day, so I’m REALLY looking forward to sampling some fresh Caribbean foodstuffs. There will definitely be tons of pics next week!

And secondly, I’m appealing to all of your for helping finding the perfect recipe. I’ll be helping my mother host Christmas for the extended family and I’d like to wow the clan with some vegan recipes. I’ve already picked a Sweet Potato Casserole and my new favourite bread, Lemon-Cranberry, but I’d really like a third one. I’m looking for something appetizer-ish (i.e. no desserts) and communal. My grandma expressed interest in something quinoa-based, but that’s not essential. There are a couple kids but mostly it’s a big group of open-minded flexitarians

I’d love, love, love it if you guys could comment with some suggestions… with Thanksgiving a recent memory, I’m hoping y’all have some successful experiments in mind. (references to cookbook recipes are good too, I can just look them up).

Thanks, and see you in a week!

       -Maureen

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Happy Birthday Aly!!

 

No picture posts today, but I want to take this occasion to celebrate the birth of my dear friend and amazing co-blogger, Aly!

I hope she doesn’t kill me over the announcement (for further insurance, I won’t cite the specific birthday). For me, Aly’s b-day marks another special day: it was around this time three years ago that we transitioned from accidental lab partners (we were both late on the first day of Plant Biology lab and ended up partnered up) into friends. So Aly, happy three-year Friendiversary, and happy birthday!

 

     -Maureen

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Mmm cabbage

Aside from being delicious, cruciferous vegetables are supposed to be quite good for one’s health, and lately I have been trying to incorporate a wider variety of them in to my diet. This week has been all about cabbage.

The dish pictured below was thrown together using ingredients I had on hand. I thought it turned out pretty well!

cabbage, shredded lettuce, red onion, kidney beans, nutritional yeast, corn, pickled ginger, avocado and hummus.

Coleslaw: shredded cabbage, shredded lettuce, kidney beans, red onion, corn, green onion, nutritional yeast, pickled ginger, avocado, hummus, a little bit of lemon garlic dressing and capers.

This next dish was inspired by a number of simmered Nappa cabbage recipes, as well as Diet, Dessert and DogsAsian Inspired Nappa Cabbage Salad:

shredded Nappa cabbage, grated carrot, tofu cubes, soy sauce, miso paste (soy overkill!) and sesame seeds.

Simmered Nappa cabbage: shredded Nappa cabbage, grated carrot, tofu cubes, soy sauce, red miso paste (too much soy?), sesame seeds and a delicious math assignment.

Unfortunately, this week has also been full of stress! Thankfully I have learned how to manage some of that stress with yoga. How do you cope with stress?

On a partially unrelated note, I have been accumulating a few links over the last week and I thought I might share some of them, as we are touting ourselves as a vegan food and lifestyle blog:

– Aly

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What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for tofu and mock meats. I am also supremely thankful for Vegemite, canned lentils, sweet-thai chili sauce, vegan bloggers, low-sodium instant soups, bulk-food stores, and instant brown rice.

I am also thankful that the Canadian election was so haplessly predictable (so much so that even my lampshade called the Conservative minority weeks before the election), allowing my holiday baking experiments to play out unimpeded by chatterbox political ruminations. Now that all the election hubbub is all said and done, we Canucks can go back to being the poltical equivalent of beige, and focus on the important issues; namely, the Leafs making it to the playoffs this year. Oh, and food and beer.

I, for one, had a GREAT Thanksgiving, on account of finally being able to see my extended family on this holiday (the last time was 5 years ago). As the only veg-inclined member of the clan, I opted to bring a)  my own vegan gravy b) a tofurky-based serving for me alone and c) a communal surprise vegan dish (as in, “surprise.. it’s vegan!”).

I agonized over c) because I was really into the idea of bringing Vegan Lovlie’s Sweet Potato Stuffed Rolls, but I was worried they would be too cookie-ish. As O.B. (Omnivore Boyfriend) was down in Toronto for the weekend, I tried out the recipe on him the night before.

Cutting out the circle

All rolled up and cooked! (sorry for the lighting)

Cross-sectional analysis (i.e. one bite left)

We actually really, really liked these rolls, but they were a bit dessert-y, and also didn’t look very presentable (although VeganLovlie’s batch were, so it must be my uncoordinated rolling skills that mucked it up). I ended up making a double batch again to send up with O.B., with half the margarine and double the sweet-potato filling–these turned out PERFECT. Right after making these on Saturday night, I whipped up a Cranberry Cashew Stir-Fry. I wasn’t sure how this would taste, but the idea popped into my head one day. I sauteed a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of crushed cashews in oil for a few minutes, added frozen veggies and stir-fry sauce, and served over wild rice. Voila!

The cranberries and walnuts were a nice addition, I thought. Especially in this season.

For my second trial attempt at making a surprise-vegan communal dish, I picked Vegan Dad’s Lemon Dijon Tofu and Potatoes, and subbed sweet potatoes in for the white. This dish turned out GREAT, although I wasn’t a fan of all the leeks, but I ended up making it in a larger scale the next morning for Thanksgiving dinner:

Haha, I just realized that this looks like one homogeous material. The tofu and sweet potatoes are actually the same colour. Anyway, it shocked the pants off me to see my uncle, a long-time heckler of my hippie stick-and-twigs menu, eating this from his dinner plate. Point!

So, I couldn’t find any Tofurky, in the end, which caused me an explosive bout of irritation in the mock-meats aisle. Do I not live in the largest city in the country? Argh… Pete’s Szechwan tofu played the part instead, and I followed the “Seitan Veggie Kabobs” recipe from The Garden of Vegan, using zucchini, sweet potato, garlic, Pete’s tofu, and yellow pepper.

There were a couple other vegan options at Thanksgiving dinner, and I managed to pile my plate to the brim:

Sorry for the blurriness! Clockwise from green salad: mandarin-almond salad, cranberry sauce on whole-wheat bread, beet salad, corn, butternut squash, tofu-kebab contents. Center: Lemon-Dijon Tofu with Potatoes. I was stuffed!

Before leaving my mother’s house for the weekend, I made a batch of my fave broccoli soup. I immediately poured it into Tupperware so the picture isn’t all that fancy. Points to anyone who can spot the IMPENDING DOOM about to occur:

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

Heat a large pot on medium high. Heat olive oil, add the onion 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 while continuing to cook the rest. Repeat with another third, then the final third. Careful not to burn your hand like this genius.

————–

Finally, I was flipping through the paper on my coffee break at work and landed on the comics page. I read a comic in which an adorable little cow knocks on a a door and says to a man “Sir, did you know that baby calves are taken from their mothers and put in crates too narrow to… mooove?” My Google-Fu is the best! I found the the comic:

Turns out that www.humancalifornia.org is advocating a “YES ON PROP 2” message. Prop 2 appears to be a measure that would mandate farmers to keep their animals in more humane conditions. Many vegans (and non-vegans!), myself included, feel very strongly about this issue, so please take the time to check out that website. And if you live in California, speak with your vote and let politicians know that it’s wrong to cage animals in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

Back to more pleasant commentary… happy belated Thanksgiving, Canadians!

-Maureen

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Quick update

Hi everybody!

Sorry about my absence! I have been taking some time to myself to adapt to a few new allergies. Thankfully, Maureen has been doing a wonderful job of maintaining the blog! As some of you may recall, I was beginning to suspect that I had developed an allergy to peanuts. A trip to the allergist confirmed my suspicion; I also discovered that I have developed a raspberry allergy. Now that Bluesfest is over, and my allergic reactions have settled down again, I will be able to start posting again :)!

In the mean time, here are two interesting articles which were brought to our attention:

If you have any articles you would like to share with us, or have any feedback, please feel free to send us an e-mail (mad[dot]about[dot]udon[at]gmail[dot]com)!

– Aly

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