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!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Saturday - Farmer's Market and Banana Bread

Incredibly beautiful Fall day here in NC - blueblue skies, yellow leaves blowing, and it's about 70 degrees!  Finally wrestled my DH from bed this morning when I mentioned the Farmer's Market. :) We got, of all things: raspberries, field peas, beets, turnips, mums and a pumpkin!  The mums and pumpkin are for decoration out front - already in place! I love quick and compostable decorations!

I think I'll boil up the field peas for lunch and add some of our summer frozen corn to them - we love the two mixed together with salt and pepper. Maybe a small dab of margarine.

We are planning to roast the beets and turnips.

Best part of this morning is that I wanted to clean out some of the freezer and found three individually wrapped bananas that had gotten soft and I had been saving up for ?? months just for this moment!  Found this awesome banana bread recipe from my favoritest cookbook author, Ms. Isa Moskowitz.  It's baking now. Smells lovely!

Hope you all are enjoying the day as much as we are!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Vegan Month of Food!

Hi folks,

That's right, it's the Vegan Month of Food! And this is the first time this month I have posted! :P

Tonight's quick Mexican meal warrants no space on the page.

I didn't post for a bit because we traveled two weekends in a row. The first weekend in October was our wedding anniversary! We stayed in Winston-Salem (NC) where we ate at Mary's Of Course, with a couple of nice vegan options.  We also hit Foothills Brewing Co. and Mellow Mushroom.  Overall, very lovely anniversary.

The second weekend in October, we visited family in the DC/Maryland area. I rode the Amtrak train from Cary, NC to Washington, DC and found that my dining car had TWO vegan options! One nice salad with a couscous side, and a vegan veggie burger (labelled as vegan on the menu.) Go Amtrak!

This morning I made the Wheat-Meat Stroganoff from Vegan Planet... Nom!  My husband doesn't like mushrooms, so I have to saute them on the side and add them to my half. We made the seitan last night at home using a small box of wheat gluten.

This vegan month of food for us will most likely include an apple pie, several winter squash recipes, chili, soups, sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, roasted fall vegetables, and more!

Cheers to you all and many a delish fall meal we wish you! Don't forget to buy local and seasonal when possible!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ethiopian Food!

A couple of nights ago I finally had most of the ingredients to make some Ethiopian food. We had to get red lentils at Whole Foods, couldn't find them at our usual grocery store. We also bought a bag of frozen chopped collards, thanks to a tip from a friend. This definitely makes a weeknight dinner more doable!

For the red lentil stew recipe, we turned to, and it's entitled Mesir W'et. Amazing amount of spices!  For our greens, I found a recipe here ( that was entitled Ethiopian greens. Very easy with the frozen greens.

We didn't have time to make injera (the bread), so we had the stew over brown rice and split a piece of pita. It rocked! I really loved the flavors, and it just felt healthy! My body was very happy afterwards. I enjoyed using the pieces of pita to pick up the stew, too. It reminded me of time in Honduras, using tortillas to smush the beans and then pick them up.

The stew recipe called for berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix.  I couldn't think of where to get this.... an African market? I imagine there are some around here, but I hadn't ever noticed one. I used the alternate (one *teaspoon* of cayenne. Can't imagine a tablespoon!).  But then yesterday hit up Whole Foods for something else and found it!  So - for next time we will have the real thing!

I'll have to see if there are any other veganizable Ethiopian dishes to add to our repertoire.

Just as a note, last night we had the spicy tempeh sushi from Veganomicon! Yum! And tonight we are making broccoli and spinach fajitas, and having my FIL over again. :)  This weekend is our 1 year wedding anniversary and we'll be eating out a lot (staying out of town), so this week we had to cook!

Buen provecho everyone!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eating Out!

Last night my husband and I met some friends out for dinner before a concert. We don't get to Remedy Diner in downtown Raleigh more often than every couple of months, so it was a real treat!  As usual, it was hard for me to pick a dish because there are so many vegan options! I settled on the Under the Volcano buffalo mock chicken sandwich. OMG.  I try not to eat processed soy foods too frequently, but that was a yummy sandwich. Their three side options are all vegan and I had slaw. The sandwich was huge but I ate it all! :) Good thing, it powered me through the concert and a trip back to Remedy for drinks with our friend the singer!

The upcoming week's menu includes sushi (Veganomicon recipe with spicy tempeh), broccoli-cashew stir fry, and something with acorn squash to take advantage of some Fall foods.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Visit from an Omnivore

Well last night I sat down with my husband and his father to a lovely vegan dinner. I made the African Peanut Stew from Vegan Planet, and served it over quinoa. I always add just a little extra cayenne. It was awesome!  My FIL had two servings and we sent him home with leftovers since he works too much and doesn't often get a chance to eat well.

I love so much about the stew - its bit of fat comes from one tablespoon of olive oil, and from the peanut butter. The rest is pure vitamins and fiber from sweet potatoes, bell peppers*, tomatoes*, kidney beans, ginger, onion and garlic.

*= these came from the summer garden that is now wrapping up.

Bestest part? Use the hand blender to creamify about half of it... Dreamy! And very filling.

Well dear readers, another short post, but I hope I've inspired you to open your cookbooks or search online for a healthy recipe to share with your loved ones!

Until next time....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First post!

Testing.... testing....
Is this thing on?

Well, didn't really plan to start a blog until the Vegan MoFo contest  popped up and I thought, "That would be fun!" Hope that doesn't backfire!

No real recipe to post since this week is mostly an eat-down-the-fridge kind of week. We finished up some fajitas tonight that were pretty yummy. I made homemade seitan (from a box of wheat gluten), and marinated the slices in adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles). Fantastic!  I had finally started thinking of branching out from my go-to seitan simmering broth, especially for Mexican meals. I'll have to look into that.

Well, I hope to post much more interesting chronicles of our quest to balance yummy and healthy in our vegan meals.

All for now.