Archive for soup

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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Soup, soup, a tasty soup, soup

Today’s post is brought to you by p-p-p-p-p-p-procrastination.

Soup #1: Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

I recently purchased Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix in an attempt to broaden my dietary range of proteins. It is a simple mix of “green split peas, yellow split peas, barley, lentils and vegetable pasta”. If you do not have to worry about cross-contamination, I would suggest making your own mix from bulk goods to save a little money.

Ingredients (2 servings):

Directions:

1. Sauté onions and garlic until transparent. (I did this with water instead of oil.)
2. Add water or broth, tomato, other vegetables and the soup mix. Bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 60 minutes.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Other vegan vegetable soup recipes:

Soup #2: Black bean soup

Black bean soup

Black bean soup

Black beans are an excellent source of both protein and fibre. Although black beans and other legumes are an incomplete source of protein, one can easily combine them with grains to form an excellent source of complete protein.

Ingredients (2 servings):

  • ½ c onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 c black beans, canned
  • 1 tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c zucchini, cubed
  • ½ c corn
  • 1 c water or vegetable broth
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 t cumin
  • garlic salt and peper
  • ½ avocado

Directions:

1. Sauté onions and garlic until transparent. (I did this with water instead of oil.)
2. Add the beans and a little bit of water. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Add water or broth, tomato, other vegetables, cumin and 2 T’s of yeast. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
5. Add remaining yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with avocado slices.

Other black bean soup recipes:

– Aly

Articles of interest:

PS Let me know if you have an awesome soup recipe that should be included!

Comments (17) »

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) »

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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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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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.

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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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