Posts tagged 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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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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Confessions of a busy, lazy eater

So… eek, it’s been a little long since my last post, and I have a couple solid excuses to put forth. Shortly after my last post, I had a job interview for an environmental chemist, got the job, started the job, realized that the commute from Toronto was INSANE, and moved out to upper-middle-class suburbia. Yeah, moved. To one of Toronto’s annoyingly domestic fringe suburbs. So I’ve got Life Jet Lag, in addition to being super busy at my new job and uncomfortably out of my element in a new kitchen and with new grocery stores–all of which translate into lazy eating habits.

I’ve become pretty dependant on these puppies for noontime nourishment:

I love everything (vegan) in the President's Choice Blue Menu line, but these soup cups are little wonders. They have 160-220 calories, 5-13 gms of fibre, and 200-800 mgs of sodium (hardly a steal as far as sodium goes, but many soup cans are 1000+ mgs). At $1.79 each, it's barely a chip in the pocketbook to keep a few on hand for uninspired mealtimes.

I've been snacking on green beans a lot too... I steam them in advance and eat them cold with PC Blue Menu Soy & Ginger Salad dressing:

A plethora of pears is also on my snack menu since my grandma's pear trees are shedding their fruit like it's the end of the world.

Some other things:

Tomato and Red/Yellow Pepper Salad

Tofu and Sweet Potato Kebabs

Tofu and Sweet Potato Kebabs Recipe (thanks mom):

  • 2 Red, yellow or orange peppers cut into bite size pcs.
  • 3 yams or sweet potatoes sliced in 1 inch thick pcs.
  • Firm tofu cubed
  • Your favourite BBQ sauce
  • Peel yams and slice to 1 inch thick.  Precook yams/potatoes
  • (put in pyrex dish with a bit of water and microwave until almost cooked)
  • Cube the firm tofu,
  • Cube the potato and or yams
  • Skewer the potatoes, yams, peppers.
  • Baste with your favourite BBQ sauce.

BBQ, turning and basting until brown


My friend Adrienne and my mother share the same birthday, September 15. I made them each a Pumpkin Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. It was totally delicious and I can’t wait to make more pumpkin-flavoured delights.

Pumpkin Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting


I had the pleasure of dining out with a regular cast member on Mad About Udon, The Veggie-Happy Omnivore, at Fresh in Toronto (Spadina Ave at Queen St) last week. WordPress won’t let me embed the link, so go here for more info: http://www.freshrestaurants.ca/ . I really cannot overstate how impressed and satisfied I was with this restaurant the meal. I truly can’t believe it took me so long to try Fresh out. The food was criminally delicious, or so it seemed since most dishes are less than $8 and I felt like we were robbing the place.

The V.H.O. had the Energy Bowl...

... and I had the Buddha Bowl (thai peanut sauce w/ marinated tofu cubes, tomato, cilantro, cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped raw peanuts, herbs & spices:

Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve got to show for the last three weeks, but I’m headed up to Ottawa for the weekend to visit O.B. and I’ve got a full menu of autumn-themed recipes planned! Stay tuned!
-Maureen

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Wow, I’m a slacker

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks! There were a couple things driving that. First of all, my camera done busted. Actually, Microsoft Vista, in all it’s exceedingly user-unfriendly glory, stopped recognizing my camera. Second, life in Toronto is a rollercoaster of events, appointments, things, places, people, etc, and I haven’t had much time for cooking. Thirdly, I no longer have O.B. here to consume all of my experiments and so the fridge is slow to deplete. And fourthly, living in the suburbs, I can’t walk to the grocery store so my creative recipes (previously envisioned at work, planned on the way home, and prepared with a quick trip to the nearby grocery store) have sort of dried up.

Yet, I do still have SOME creations.. here we go :-)

Minestrone soup from here, garnished with pre-slivered carrots.

The first of many salads… I’ve sort of become a nutter over salads these days. Must be all the fresh produce.

Left, another salad creation using Byward Market vegetables (this was a couple weeks ago when I was in Ottawa) and Soy & Ginger salad dressing. The mixed greens are from a stand that sells bagged mixed salad with sprigs of dill (YUM!!!) for $2.50 a bag. On the right, oh god oh god oh god, I can’t even look at this soup without gagging. It’s Cream of Leek soup from the Bulk Barn which I bought because there was no cream in the ingredients… which is a little fucked up, don’t you think? Anyway it tasted ATROCIOUS, I had to brush my teeth for an hour afterwards. *Gag*


Speaking of the Byward Market, it was so great to see all the stalls open and all the produce out. I can’t wait to check out the St Lawrence Mkt in Toronto. Here are some Byward Market pics:



But anyway, back to the food:

I LOVE this green bean recipe. This recipe comes from my mother, who is kind enough to share the recipe:

Oriental Green Beans

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

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.


Again, with the salad creations:

I’ve become totally obsessed with mango/strawberry/dill-containing salads.

I like communal fridges for the variety of random salad ingredients found within. Here again, is another mixed green salad with mango, kiwi, strawberries, dill, sunflower seeds, papaya, and bean sprouts.


Rice paper rolls! AKA “Summer rolls”. I loooove these things, esp dipped in plum sauce.

Here’s what they look like being made:I ususally throw in avocado, slivered carrots and cucumber, cilantro, green onion, sprouts, pepper, etc.


A big stir-fry for some packed lunches, with my favourite noodle, UDON!! I also added grilled herbed tofu, frozen vegetables, VH Teriyaki sauces, and sweet thai chilli sauce.

Sorry for the blurry pic, but this is a slice of spinach-red pepper pizza from a downtown eatery (wish I could remember the name!).

That’s all for now! I’ll catch up on all your blogs later today.

-Maureen

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Sweet Potato Soup

Crap! I just posted this and went to check the blog and it mysteriously disappeared! Er, let me know you if you find it?

Here is the gist of that post:

1) It’s really freaking hot in Ottawa.

2) Despite this, I made sweet potato soup… voila:

This soup was so good!!
The recipe came from Canadian Living Magazine and can be found here. I used curry madras paste which worked well. I also garnished with cilantro (mint would also serve the purpose, I think), and a streak of soy milk.

Hoping this posts,

-Maureen

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