Archive for sauce

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

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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

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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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Cool runnings, mon!

Well, I just returned from a deliciously decadent week in Montego Bay, Jamaica with Omnivore Boyfriend (O.B.). We had a ridiculously good and relaxing time! We stayed in an all-inclusive resort on the beach, so of course we had unrestricted food, drinks, and sports. It was paradise. We tried to get off the resort as often as possible to see the real country and meet some real Jamaicans. Our excursions included renting our own little boat to motor up and down the coastline, snorkelling on a coral reef, ziplining through a jungle canopy, and visiting the tropical splendour of nearby Negril.

It was soooo harding flying back into Toronto. From the airplane, it looked like someone had shaken a snowglobe and all the snow in existence had landed on this fair city. I can’t quite describe the physical shock of emerging from the airport into the minus 15 deg C weather (from +30 deg C in Jamaica). Blech! Is it summer yet??

I wasn’t sure if how the resort’s buffet-style menu would accomodate my meat/dairy/eggs aversion, but everything was “cool runnings” (all good)! There were tons of options for me at each meal and I had some really excellent dishes. I normally abstain from most fresh produce in the winter when it gets too expensive, so I took the opportunity to pile each plate high with salad and veggies. One small complaint I had is that the dishes weren’t often labelled. However, it was pretty easy to differentiate the vegan from non-vegan dishes, and the chefs were really helpful when I had any questions.

So without further ado, here is the food!

I ate this same concoction for breakast almost every morning. I took a couple tbsp of dry oats, added some hot water, added a layer of corn flakes, and covered it with carmelized fruits (melon, cantaloupe, banana) and fresh fruit.

Lunch and dinner were always some variation of salad. Which sound really boring, but as I mentioned before, there were tons and tons of options, including lots of new stuff I’d never eaten or envisioned.

From top left, going clockwise: steamed calaloo, apple & cucumber salad, grilled veggies. Centre: olives.

From top left: stewed lentils, garlic potatoes, grilled veggies (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes), grilled tomatoes, sauteed spinach with raisins, steamed green beans, apple/cucumber salad, saffron rice, glazed carrots. Centre: olives.

On the left is a big salad topped with sliceed tomatoes, green beans, shredded carrots, chickpeas, celery, cauliflower, and corn. There's also a bit of steamed spinach with onions and peppers.

From top: sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, corn, romaine lettuce, green beans, steamed spinach. Centre: lima beans.

From left: steamed calaloo, hearts of palm, big salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, shredded pumpkin (!!!!), and corn, bowtie pasta salad in a vinaigrette sauce, grilled tomatoes.

From left: vegetable dumpling, grilled peppers/tomatoes/onions, mashed pumpkin, steamed calaloo, shredded pumpkin. Centre: glazed carrots.

A big salad with romaine lettuce tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, celery, and a couple sliced of baked potato.

I took this picture from a different angle to flaunt the lovely view of tropical paradise from our favourite lunch perch. Nothing like the azure blue Caribbean sea to accompany a good meal :-) From left: glazed carrots, grilled peppers, salad with sprouts, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, lima beans, and corn, green beans, steamed spinach, and olives.

From left: grilled sliced tomatoes, olives, grilled baby tomatoes, salad with romaine lettuce, shredded pumpkin, cucumber, green beans, lima beans, sliced tomatoes, steamed spinach, and a slice of fried banana.

There were three speciality restaurants at the resort: Asian, Italian, and a steakhouse. We had dinner at the first two and I wasn’t really impressed with either. The Asian food, which was also delivered buffet-style, was good but not very, um, authentic:

From left: Teppenyaki vegetable stir-fry, sesame vegetables, spring rolls, herbed tomatoes, curry (???) vegetables.

The Italian restaurant was awful. They had no vegetarian entrees, and when I asked the waiter if I could just have plain noodles, I got a really strange look. Is that really so hard?

Instead, I just resigned to making a salad from the restaurant appetizer buffet, but it was pretty pathetic. I found a little olive roll but it was stale.

Other than that experience, I had 20 great meals! I am so supremely stuffed from last week, I don’t know how I’ll endure the whole Christmas overeating tradition. We also had a lot of delicious drinks as all 5 bars on the resort were open bars, and as well we had rum, brandy, vodka, and gin on tap in our hotel room. Yum!

We also bought some Jamaican exports home with us:

Jamaican exports

I didn't get to try any jerk because it was all meat, so I bought the seasonings to make it at home!

Additionally, I ate a few dishes that I want to replicate, such as the steamed spinach with raisins, shredded pumpkin, and sauteed fruit. So definitely you’ll be seeing some Jamaican influence in future posts.

Well, I guess I’ve got a week’s worth of blog posts to catch up on, which I’m quite looking forward to. Looks like everyone is abuzz with pre-Christmas hysteria. Let the holidays begin!

-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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    4 lazy ways to eat sweet potatoes in 5 minutes

    Microwaved and:

    Number 4:

    Drenched in mushroom gravy

    Number 3:

    smothered in dairy-free margarine and mixed with a couple teaspoons of Montreal Steak Spice

    Number 2:

    dairy-free margarine and brown sugar

    Number 1:

    Stirred into instant soup! This is Moroccan Vegetable soup from my local grocery's hot-food counter.

    Why yes, I HAVE been eating a lot of sweet potatoes lately. I have also been eating a lot of instant soup cups, apples, and broccoli soup, which explains my lack of creative posting lately. On the other hand, good vegan food finds a way into my life one way or the other, so I have a few pics.

    On the subject of my grocery store’s food counter, I’ve lately been at a loss to maintain my energy levels for my post-work workout (9 frenzied hours in a frigid, windowless chemistry lab will do that). My gym is conveniently located in a grocery store, so a couple times I have relied on the hot- or cold-food counters for some sustenance. I’m happy to report that the food is quite good and the vegan options are startlingly plentiful. Here are two that I snapped pictures of:

    Crunchy wheatberry salad

    Wild rice, apple, and cranberry salad


    Does anyone have any good tips to spike my energy levels for a nice, long workout? I find a cup of coffee and a banana does the trick for about half an hour, but then I get soooo tired again and just want to sit down.

    In other news, I’ve been eating baked-tofu sandwiches a lot lately.

    I've never hid my love for the President's Choice brand, and their Soy and Ginger salad dressing makes a FINE marinade (and salad dressing!). After 2 days of marinading, I bake these puppies at 400F for 30 mins, rotating once.

    What else have I got? Oooh, Kath’s (from Kath Eats Real Food) love of oatmeal is contagious, and recently I used some of her ideas to make a perfect bowl of Peanut Butter Pumpkin Oatmeal:

    Thanks for the idea, Kath! I'll be eating a lot more of this.

    I recently visited one of my favourite places in the world, the Royal Ontario Museum, with my friends Kara and Michael. We ate an early dinner before the ROM at another one of my favourite places in the world, Noodle Bowl in the Annex.

    I had the green vegetable curry for $7. It was delicious! Too bad I had just lost my mitten (my fourth left mitten this season!).

    I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got to post at the moment, but I’m headed up to Ottawa for the weekend to experiment in O.B.‘s kitchen visit O.B. and cook some delicious meals :-) Happy weekend and don’t forget to set your clocks back and enjoy the extra hour!

    -Maureen

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    Gluten-free vegan food

    Although I am a hearty consumer of gluten, a family member of mine isn’t. As such, there are myriad gluten-free recipes floating around my daily vegan menu. It’s amazing how many options are still available even when meat, eggs, dairy, wheat, rye, oats, and barley are omitted. There are a fair number of GF-vegans in the blogosphere, so I have decided to do a post entire of GF vegan recipes.

    Here are a couple creations I’ve been noshing on over the last couple days:

    Savoury Fried Rice:

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted
    • 2/3 cup dry unsweeted shredded coconut, toasted
    • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce (i.e. Braggs)
    • 1/4 cup fried onions
    • 1 cup green beans, sliced
    • 4 oz collards
    • 3.5 oz jasmine rice, cooked

    Heat oil in large frying pan. Add garlic and cook over a medium heat until golden. Add the chili, cashews, and toasted coconut to the pan and stir fry briefly (don’t let the coconut scorch!). Stir in sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Toss over heat for 1-2 min. Add fried onions and stir in. Add green beans, collards,and cooked rice. Stir just until greens have wilted. Remove from stove. Optional: serve with a lime wedge.

    Thai Sauce:

    Thai sauce and noodles.

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
    • 1 chopped onion
    • 1 tbsp red curry paste
    • 1 can coconut milk
    • 1 of each colour pepper (red, orange, yellow) — slivered
    • 1 can bamboo shoots
    • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • 1/3 cup vegetable stock

    Heat oil. Add garlic & onions, and saute. Add red curry paste & coconut milk. Stir to dissolve paste. Add everything else and heat for 15-20 min. Serve over jasmine rice or rice noodles.

    Garden vegetable salad:

    Purge garden of extraneous vegetation (pictured: tomatoes, cucumbers, orange peppers). Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Voila!

    Mrs. Robinson’s famous three-bean salad:

    Mrs. Robinson's famous three-bean salad


    A:

    • 1 540-mL can of both chick peas and kidney beans (drained)
    • 1 cup cooked & cut green and yellow beans
    • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet red pepper

    B:

    • 1/2 cup corn oil
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper

    Mix A and B separately. Pour B over A and toss well. Refrigerate overnight.

    Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes:

    Oven-Roasted Pecan Sweet Potatoes

    4 cups peeled & chopped sweet potatoes

    • 1 vidalia onion, sliced in wedges
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 1/2 cup pecan halves
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Combine potatoes, garlic, oil, and thyme; toss well to coat. Pour into a shallow roasting pan and bake at 425 deg F, turning frequently (approx 30-35 mins; check to see when potatoes are soft and golden brown). Add pecan and continue roasting for another 10 mins. Drizzle with vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

    Raw Tomato Sauce:

    Raw Tomato Sauce w/ veggies


    O.B.
    ‘s mother sent me this recipe because she thought I’d like it. She was right! This raw, GF, vegan dip is a great low-cal condiment for sandwiches or for dipping veggies. This makes a LOT of dip (I ate it all though…)

    • 8 medium tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 cup basil leaves

    Blend everything except 1 tomato in a blender. Add the remained chopped tomato, and garnish with basil.

    Whew! Where did the last hour go?

    -Maureen

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