Sunday, February 1, 2015

Superbowl Tacos!

I had a cute pic of Chewie, but when I updated my iPhone OS, it put all my pictures in a ton of folders and I can't find anything now. argh

Anyway, I made some homemade taco seasoning and tacos tonight for our Superbowl party of three. I think this recipe is a mix of some I found somewhere online. It was pretty delicious.

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix together in a small jar.

I had some Gardein Beefless tips which I sautéed with some of my taco seasoning. I also sautéed a couple poblano peppers and an onion. Tacos were the Gardein Beefless tips, peppers and onions, fresh cilantro leaves, vegan sour cream, salsa, and fresh organic tomatoes with flour tortillas. I served them with roasted carrots and mashed sweet potatoes with a pureed chipotle pepper in adobo mashed into them. Mmmm.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Vegan Brunch with Muffins! yay! (and a quick dinner)

Mmm. Made a vegan brunch today thanks to my favorite vegan cookbook, Vegan Brunch.
I made the "swiss chard frittata" (which ended up being a baby kale and caramelized onion frittata because Whole Foods was out of chard). I also made my polenta topped with roasted tomatoes. Mmm.

I made the Blueberry Ginger Spelt Muffins on page 155 of Vegan Brunch for the first time.
These were pretty good; I was craving some blueberry muffins and these hit the spot. I think I prefer a more dense bran-type muffin, so maybe I'll make blueberry bran muffins when I run out of spelt flour.

Dry Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt (a 6oz container) (as I'm typing this I realized that I actually screwed up and used 1 cup plain soy yogurt but it was totally fine!)
1 cup mylk (any kind of nut mylk will do)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups blueberries
(original recipe also calls for 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, which I omitted.)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl with the exception of the blueberries. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold in the blueberries (and ginger if using). Scoop batter into muffin tin and bake 28 - 32 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Later, for dinner, I made a salad and a quick steamed spaghetti squash with vegan meatless balls. Mmm

This salad was also satisfying and it was just kalamata olives, mesclun lettuce, cucumbers, fresh heirloom tomatoes, roasted chestnuts, and the balsamic dressing that I made yesterday.
I paired it with some steamed spaghetti squash "pasta" and a veggie-loaded tomato sauce and Whole Foods' brand vegan meatless balls.
This is my lower carb alternative to pasta. meh.
To steam spaghetti squash (the lazy way): Cut ends off squash and then cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and put in a microwaveable dish with about 1 centimeter of cold water. Microwave for about 13 minutes. Hold squash with a potholder (it's HOT!) while you scrape out the strings into a bowl.
To make the sauce (the lazy way): I sauté a sliced onion in a little olive oil in a saucepan until translucent. Then add a 28oz can of organic diced or crushed tomatoes and some Italian herbs and spices such as oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flake, salt, and pepper. I also added some frozen artichoke hearts to this sauce which I had reheated in the microwave. (This was my first try of frozen artichokes. Blech. I will stick to canned or jarred.) Heat through until flavors blend - about 5 - 10 mins.
Prepare your favorite vegan meatless balls as directed, put on top of spaghetti squash, top with sauce and enjoy! yum. (Add a basil chiffonade for extra yum yums.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vegan "No Huevos" Rancheros and a Simple Salad

Vegan "No Huevos" Rancheros

This is one of my favorite quick as can be dinners.

Polenta, prepared (I buy one of the pre-cooked polenta rolls when I'm feeling lazy.)
GOYA Rancheros beans
Olives (I usually use black olives)
Fresh chopped tomatoes
Avocado chunks
Vegan sour cream (if you like) - I like Tofutti brand.

Layer polenta slices at bottom of microwaveable bowl, then a layer of the beans. Cover and heat until warm (about 1 min 30 seconds).
Layer some salsa, fresh tomatoes, olives, avocado, and sour cream on top.

Simple Beet Salad
Including here because I am trying to overcome my need to sprinkle cheese in every salad. This one was satisfying without the cheese.
Roasted Beets
Mesclun Lettuce
Cucumber slices
Hemp Seeds
Wolffie's Balsamic Vinegar Dressing (from La Dolce Vegan p.95): (my fave!)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup oil (such as flax, hemp, or grapeseed)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Sprinkle some dressing on salad. Yum.
I think I'll have some soy whip and chocolate pudding for dessert. ;) Yum!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Yesterday, I just ate some leftovers. Today, I made another really delicious dinner - vegan shepherd's pie from Julie Hasson's Vegan Casseroles book. Buy this book! Recipes use whole food and all look so amazing that I had a hard time deciding what to make first!
Shepherd's Pie won because there was some debate over Christmas as to what the entrée would be for Christmas dinner. So, I've had visions of shepherd's pie swirling in my head. heh.
This was a little labor intensive, so definitely a weekend meal, but SO WORTH IT! Yum yum yum. And, it turns out I learned something new - oat flour is magic! It thickened the delicious gravy called for in this recipe like a champ. Such a yummy and simple gravy too! I'll definitely be spreading it over mashed potatoes and such.
Here's a pic of the lovely gravy cookin' away and the final product ...

Shepherd's Pie with Lentils and Herbs
(based on that found on p.74 of Vegan Casseroles)


2 1/2 pounds red potatoes
3/4 cup plain unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
2 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons nooch (aka nutritional yeast)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used some granulated garlic.)
1 teaspoon sea salt
fresh black pepper to taste

1 cup brown lentils
olive oil
1 yellow or sweet onion, diced
(original recipe calls for 5oz mushrooms, but I omitted since mushrooms are the one food I do not like!)
2 carrots (I used 4 small carrots), finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup frozen peas (I heated mine in the microwave before tossing them in)
1 recipe Good Gravy! (recipe below)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Good Gravy!:
1/2 cup Oat Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour)
6 tablespoons nooch
3 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons vegan "no-beef" beef flavored bouillon paste (such as Better Than Bouillon brand)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

First, make the gravy. In a large saucepan, whisk together the oat flour and nooch. Whisk in the soy milk until the mixture is very smooth. Whisk in the granulated onion and garlic. Add the bouillon and pepper, whisking well. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and while continuously whisking, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and continue whisking until the sauce thickens (for about 5 minutes).
Next, preheat the oven to 425F.
Prepare the lentils and potatoes. Put lentils and potatoes in pots and cover with a few inches of water. Bring pot with lentils to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes. Boil potatoes until tender. Drain lentils and potatoes. Return potatoes to pot.
Mash the potatoes with a  masher and add the soy milk, nooch, vegan butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.
In a large skillet prepare the filling. Add the olive oil and cook over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until garlic fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the Brussels sprouts and carrots and cook until both are just tender. (I added a little water and covered the pan to cook them.) Stir in the lentils, gravy, rosemary, thyme, peas, salt, and pepper and mix well without smashing the lentils.
Grease a 13 inch x 9 inch pan. Scoop gravy mixture into pan and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Be sure to spread the potatoes all the way to the edges to try to avoid the gravy mixture from bubbling over. Bake for about 25 minutes - until the potatoes begin to brown.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Healthy Start to the New Year

Happy New Year!
My alcohol-free month of vegan, relatively low carb, and mostly whole foods has begun!
Today was a productive start to 2015. I bathed the dog, went to the gym and lifted weights, went grocery shopping, rode my exercise bike, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, unpacked, changed the sheets on the bed, and made some delicious food.
Let's just say, the boys had other plans. ;)

Here's the stuff I ate today:
I just had coffee with coconut creamer for breakfast as I wasn't hungry. Then, I made myself a delicious lunch of what I like to call "save the crab" salad with a green salad. It's a vegan take on crab salad made with hearts of palm (instead of crab) based on the vegan crab cake recipe in Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

Then, I had a Mamma Chia beverage for a snack. This one was pretty good.
I went all out for dinner and made a black-eyed pea and root veggie tagine based on the Chickpea Tagine recipe in Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Since it's New Year's Day, I added black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas. I made mine with turnip, sweet potato, and carrot. This was out of this world good!

I served this with couscous and some vegan cucumber raita. I decided to make the raita with Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream non-dairy sour cream this time. It was pretty excellent.

Vegan Cucumber Raita

1 package Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1 cucumber, deseeded
about 1 teaspoon garam masala
about 1 teaspoon cumin
a few twists of freshly ground black pepper

Put sour cream in bowl. Grate about 3/4 of the cucumber directly into the bowl with a hand grater. The cucumber's juice will thin out the sour cream; you want that to happen. Add the spices. Stir and keep in fridge until ready to serve. I like to garnish mine with some cilantro leaves and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour so that the flavors blend. Mmmm.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bhakti Yoga Eating Habits

Krishna taking lunch with the gopas

Bhakti Yoga Eating Habits

I've been taking a class at  The Bhakti Center this fall and will gradually get more involved with Krishna Consciousness in various ways once my overwhelming schedule of work, classes, supervision, analysis ... oh, and laundry, cleaning house, cooking, etc. lightens up. It's been a very tough semester and I have more of the same coming in the spring.

In any event, I've been looking up resources for basic habits when it comes to food and bhakti-yoga. These things have to be a gradual process for me. I'm not a person who can flip a switch and stick to it. I thought I'd share a few helpful, informative links with basic information.

Offering food to Krishna (very basic article on prasadam):

Vaisnava Calendar here (to know when to observe Ekadasi, etc.):

How to fast on Ekadasi (aka Ekadashi) for beginners:

A good article about why no garlic or onions:
Admittedly, this one is going to be a hard one for me. I'll get there ... someday. 
At least I know not to offer it to Krishna!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quick White Bean Salad

Quick White Bean Salad

2 (14.5oz) cans large white beans (such as butter beans)
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
a couple handfuls of parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Stir together the EVOO, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss. Yum.

I also made some muhammara today and raw spaghetti with veggie meatless balls for dinner. yum!

Chewie made his second trip on the subway yesterday. He held up better than last time. He's a shy pooch and the subway is a big scary loud thing.