Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Has Arrived, It Seems

A bit early, too. I feel like we skipped over some steps. So perhaps April and May will stay mild for us here in NC.  We are in the middle of switching seasons food-wise too, having winter favorites like Three Bean Chili this week, and also asparagus and fresh salads.  Our garden is covered to finish off the cover crop. Onions are in the ground, seeds started indoors.

I decided to make granola today after a few weeks of steel cut oats (making vegan substitutions).  I have a favorite recipe that I've been playing with for awhile. It came from La Dolce Vegan originally, but I feel like it's mine now. :)  Here it is:

4 c rolled oats
1 c wheat germ (optional)
1 c shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 c pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 c sesame seeds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 c maple syrup
1/3 c canola oil
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Then pour the maple syrup and canola oil over the top and stir well to get everything coated. Use two baking pans (cookie sheets), spreading half of the mixture evenly over both pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. After cooling, you can store this in an airtight container.

**Notes: yes, use two cookie sheets unless you have a monster cookie sheet that is pretty deep. It's best for the mixture to be spread out and get all crispy and yummy. Also, yes, you do need to stir it. Try to make sure and pull the bits from the edges into the middle and vice versa. The edges get crispy fast, and you don't want to burn anything. You can add all kinds of dried fruit AFTER you cook it. I learned the hard way. Oh and today I made this without sesame seeds. :( I really like them in my granola, so I won't do that again. Good source of calcium, too!  And finally, baking this makes the house smell great!

Hope you all enjoy that! I like it with almond milk or over yogurt with berries.

This week is light for us because we have a Thursday-Friday road trip. We are making seitan stroganoff (from Vegan Planet) to use up the Vegan sour cream I bought last week as a splurge for our chili. We are also having fava bean salad and baked tofu over salad.

A contact on Facebook recently posted a photo of her vegan fish tacos using frozen and thawed tofu... Will prob have to try that soon!  Sounds very summery!

Buen provecho, everyone.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February's Bounty

Yes, the cherry trees are blooming and the broccoli in our compost pile is flowering! What a strange and warm winter we're having. It's time to start buying seeds and the garden cover crop never died off!  I, of course, am looking forward to Spring asparagus and the beginning of berry season. But I still feel like we need some winter.

This week we made some old and new favorites: Vegan Planet black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, Vegan Planet gumbo, the Appetite for Reduction bowl (brown rice, lentils, pineapple, steamed greens, peanut-lime dragon dressing -- my husband's idea).  We're also going to try one of Isa's spinach lasagna recipes!  I haven't had a vegan lasagna in a while.

I also found a cashew queso recipe that Isa had posted a while back and we'll be having taco salads next week!

We were on vacation in Puerto Rico at the end of January and had a hard time finding vegetarian food, much less vegan food. We did find a couple of restaurants that stood out: Food Space in Luquillo and La Estacion in Fajardo. Although I loved the beach and the rain forest and VACATION, it was good to get back and eat homemade vegan again.

Coming up for Valentine's Day, we are going to make some Post Punk Kitchen chewy chocolate chocolate chip cookies!! 

I have also been experimenting with kale chips. I love them! But have found that I burn them somewhat frequently. :(  So now I cook them for 7 minutes at 350 degrees and they are crispy on the edges, but not so much in the center and I realllly like them this way. Who would have thought?  Anything that makes me eat that much kale with my hands, right out of the oven, can't be wrong.

So, no major epiphanies this post. Just truckin' along. Off to make a hummus wrap for my day out in the woods for work. Good health and good eats to you!

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012: A Food Odyssey

So, I'm hoping not to try and set any crazy unattainable resolutions this year. But to try and keep up the good fight to put tasty, healthy, responsible food in my family's bodies! I'm excited to think of where I'll find new favorites and what they will be!  Also excited to start planning a new, bigger garden!

We are currently using up several things out of our freezer: corn, bell peppers, blueberries and strawberries. Yum! Good reminders of the summer we had.  We used them in smoothies, chili and cornbread this week.

The week before, we discovered BOWLS at home courtesy of Appetite for Reduction. It's such a simple idea - a big bowl of a grain, beans/tempeh, lots of veggies and the best part -- some awesome sauce!  I was always hesitant that I wouldn't make a decent sauce that would bring everything together and add the zings needed to make it satisfying meal. But AfR definitely offers some winning sauces!!

We'll be adding another bowl to our menu this week, I just have to pick one!

We're also going to try out a millet and swiss chard recipe from

It's appearing to really stay cold here now that it's mid-January, so all our meals are going to be hot, filling meals. But we do have some arugula for side salads and some romaine.

Does anyone else have a harder time incorporating as many veggies in the winter? Summer is such a piece of cake, but in winter, I tend to focus more on beans, grains, and other filling protein/carbs and then a bit of veggies. If you have a secret, let me know! :) Happy eating!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Plans!

Eek - how the time flies while your blog sits waiting patiently without a whimper or whine! 

Thanksgiving was very enjoyable for us (as it has been for the last 8 years) at the Triangle Vegetarian Society's annual Vegan Feast.  It was just dreamy. I especially enjoyed the braised greens, garlic mashed potatoes with porcini gravy and apple-pecan stuffing. And the desserts... Wow.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I *try* to eat a little lighter to make up for the binging and the extra desserts. One of the best ways I have found to do this is with soups!  They are warming and filling and can be made very nutritiously with a moderate amount of calories.

Last night I made a vegetable soup after making my own vegetable stock. It's so easy and you can make it from all the scraps of onion, celery, carrots, parsnips, garlic, etc that you would have discarded from earlier dishes. Just throw those into a container in the freezer labelled "STOCK". Thaw it overnight in the fridge and stock is at your fingertips!  And we still compost all the scraps after making the stock!  Love it. :)

Anyway, last night's soup had potatoes, green beans, corn, tomatoes, pinto beans... I think next time I'll add some barley to make it a tad heartier.

Also up this week is gumbo - another favorite with loads of flavor and moderate calories!  I love the Vegan Planet version. And sometimes we have leftover tofurky sausage to throw in. We also have some cornbread we'll finish off with it!

Upcoming are some Xmas parties that will make eating vegan a challenge.  And a holiday trip to upstate NY to see the MIL. I will try to think of some easy recipes to make up there and share with the family!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mountain Weekend and This Week's Meal Plan

Hi folks! 

Spent a lovely weekend with friends in Saluda and Hendersonville, NC this weekend. Not always easy to find vegan meals in the smaller towns (usually a trip to Asheville is the most fruitful).  The highlight of the eating part of the weekend was a fantastic green plate at the Purple Onion - consisting of roasted turnips, carrots and watermelon radishes, braised mizuna greens and quinoa with eggplant!!  Not certain it was 100% vegan (perhaps some dairy in the quinoa), but it was fantastic!

This week we are having black bean and sweet potato burritos (throwing it together), Ethiopian lentils and greens, miso soup, mjaddarah (lentils and rice) and baked falafel from Appetite from Reduction. I will probably harvest some swiss chard from the garden as the upcoming first frost looms. I am thinking of doing something simple with it, a saute or something.

Unfortunately I missed the Vegan Brunch at Pinhook this weekend, but hoping to get there in December!

What lovely Fall veggies or fruits are you cooking with this week?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vegan Crispy Rice Treats for Halloween

Ohhh dear, I have not been the best MoFo poster, but I'll try and be a long-term once a week poster. :)

This past week, I have been helping turn up raffle prizes for the Triangle Vegetarian Society's 2011 Vegan Thanksgiving Feast.  For this reason, I was on the Whole Foods website several times and turned up this recipe for Pumpkin Crispy Rice Treats that are vegan.  And oh boy, they are sooo tasty! BUT, I did not really get them to stick together. That doesn't really bother me because they taste great and I'm just as happy to eat them with a spoon. But they probably wouldn't work for a kids birthday/Halloween party at all.

I also was turned on to bulk herbs this week! I have a great herbal remedies book by Rosemary Gladstar and was looking for some herbs, not sure where to go. Very excited to find bulk herbs (this was also from Whole Foods)!

We have been exploring Appetite for Reduction the past few weeks - really enjoyed the Caulipots with Chickpea Gravy, especially since it's gotten cold this week!  This week we are making a wonderful sounding Fava Bean Salad from vegan homemade, Veganomicon's sushi (DH cannot get enough!), roasted root vegetables and Spanakopita. Looking forward to it all!

I hope you find some hearty Fall themed meals to fill your belly and satisfy your soul this week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Succesful Raw Kale Salad (and Pizza!)

Had to write again this weekend because I am so excited that we harvested some kale from our fall garden and made a raw kale salad that DH and I both loved!  Reading online I learned a secret to making it work - add olive oil to the washed, torn kale with midribs removed, and massage the oil into the leaves. The effect is almost that of lightly steaming the kale, it's just a bit less raw tasting. :)  So, below is my official recipe:

Raw Kale Salad

1 cup kale leaves (about 10 small leaves)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup almonds, chopped and lightly toasted
1/8 cup raisins
1 carrot, chopped

Place the washed, torn kale leaves (minus midribs) into a medium bowl with the olive oil and salt. Massage the oil into the kale leaves for about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, vinegar, carrot and raisins, stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes for flavors to mingle and raisins to soften. Just before serving, add toasted almonds and stir again. Enjoy! Note: this served us two small salads, so scale up accordingly.

Our pizza was superb, too!  DH asked for a cornmeal crust, so I found this recipe online. I used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 3 cups all purpose flour. We froze 1/2, made 4 small breadsticks and one big pizza from this recipe. I made the Vegan with a Vengeance pizza sauce, and we added green bell peppers (last of the ones from the garden!), red onion, hot banana peppers and some veggie crumbles. It was delicious and really pretty with all of the colors!  DH's half had organic mozzarella on top.

Very successful dinner in our house. We are both very pleased with it. Great way to end a beautiful fall weekend. Cheers!