Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Today the weather actually got cold—it was 25F when I woke up around 8:30 this morning.  Very nice!  So I pulled out the cold weather food, finally.  Tonight we ate split pea soup with toasted ciabatta bread.  It was just the thing to warm everyone up.

Here is the recipe:

1 pound of dried split green peas
8 cups of water
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, diced
1 or 2 carrots sliced into rounds
1 spoonful of diced garlic (I use the kind in a jar)

Put everything into a pressure cooker, bring to pressure, and cook for 10 minutes.  Or use a pot on the stove top and cook for 1 hour.  A crock pot will work too, but cook for 2-3 hours on high.  (Every crock pot is different, so you will need to check on occasion to see how it is doing.  My old one would have cooked all day on low and the beans would have been perfect, but my new one would have boiled off the water and ruined the dinner if I cooked it for that long on low.)

After the beans are done and soft, add 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke for that ham flavor.  Salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

Keep warm!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Potatoes and Mushrooms

Mmmmm—breakfast!  Or brunch.  I got up late this morning and decided to have leftovers from last night.  I cut up cold, boiled red potatoes, a few white button mushrooms, and added sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cooked until hot in about 1/3 cup water.  I did throw a few shredded parsley leaves on top to make it look better.

This is so simple, but so very good.  The more I eat whole foods, plant-based foods, the more I find myself looking forward to foods like my leftover breakfast here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Food Penpal Reveal Nov. 2012

The Lean Green Bean

Last month I signed up for Foodie Pen Pals, a food box swap, through Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  Each person who signs up gets assigned to send a box of foodie items to another person.  The items should cost no more than $15 and can include homemade things, gourmet, or just great local stuff.  I sent mine to Emily in Seattle and received a terrific box from Alli in Seattle.  Turns out they are neighbors and collaborated on my box.  No wonder it was so good!

The first picture shows everything laid out in front of the box.  The first item was Strawberry Pepper jam that Alli got at the Market in Seattle.  We cut slices of fresh baguette and ate the entire jar!  This jam is one of my top two now—so good.  The jam had a little hint of hot peppers in it, but was mild enough that my heat-hating family loved it.  Thanks, Alli!

I got several bags of Cinnamon Orange Tea, also from the Market.  I have not tried these yet, but have them at work to try, well, if the weather ever cools down.  She included honey stir sticks to go with the tea; I just love honey.

My family and I love this next item, Space Noodles.  The pasta shapes are just like the Space Needle in Seattle!  It isn’t just pretty to look at, it tasted good with homemade marinara sauce on top.

If you are interested in joining the Foodie Swap for January, go to The Lean Green Bean and sign up.

My teenagers and I enjoyed the anticipation of receiving the box.  The oldest is getting ready to head off to college soon and is saying that we need to get her on the list for a box.

The best part of the Foodie Box was the postcard of Seattle featuring the Space Needle.  What a beautiful city!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cranberry Sauce

Here is our cranberry sauce for tonight.  You can follow the directions on the back of the bag if you want to.  It is very easy.

1 bag of cranberries
1/2-1 cup of sugar
1 cup water or orange juice

Put everything into a sauce pan, cook on medium until the berries begin popping.  Don’t worry, it isn’t like popcorn, but you can hear them split—or pop—when they heat up.  Once they have all popped, after about 5 minutes, turn off the heat.  I like to mash mine, like I did for the second picture, but you don’t have to.  If you pour it into a dish—don’t use plastic—and refrigerate it for a few hours, it will gel and be nice to serve.  I know some people who like it hot, so if you are a person who wants hot cranberry sauce, put it into a gravy boat and set it on the table.


Red Kuri Squash

This is the Red Kuri squash that I made this morning.  I put it into a 350F oven for about an hour, pulled it out, cut it in half, and scooped the seeds out.  It smells great and will be cubed and roasted with brussel sprouts for dinner tonight.  Don’t forget to sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt before serving.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pho Soup #2

Yesterday I was feeling a bit sick, so I decided to make Pho soup again.  I made it a little differently this time as the soup at the restaurant is quite different than what I made last time.  It really turned out well this time, so here is an exact recipe for what I did:

10 cups water
2 large carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1 stem lemon grass, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into fourths
1 onion, cut in fourths, with the skin on
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 inches fresh ginger, cut into large matchstick pieces
1 star anise
3 whole cloves
15 whole peppercorns
1 bunch cilantro
1 1-inch piece of rock sugar

I put all of this into a pot and simmered it for a little over an hour. I strained out the vegetables, then I added vegetable bouillon that I got at the oriental market; it is nice because it had powdered mushroom in it. I did that to taste, then added 1 teaspoon of sea salt.

Serve over cooked rice noodles and put a plate with cilantro, bean sprouts, mint leaves, basil leaves, and lime wedges on the table for people to garnish their soup with as they please.

By the time the vegetables had cooked and I removed them, the pot had lost about 2 cups of liquid.  It made a lot of soup, but there are 5 people in our family.  We ate the entire pot!  The cilantro had not been added to the pot when I took that picture, but it really made a nice tasting addition to the broth.  I saw it on a couple of different places and thought I would give it a try.  I think if you do not like cilantro, just leave it out and it should still be really nice.  I leave the onion skins on because it adds a nice color to the broth.  I had several people tell me to do that when I was learning about making soup.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Samosas, Cauliflower Curry, Enchiladas

Cauliflower and Pea Curry just before serving.

Cauliflower with the frozen peas added last.

Curry after the cauliflower was added.
Enchilada Casserole with the first corn tortilla of the second layer.

First layer of Enchilada Casserole is finished.
This is how I layer the black refried beans, in blobs, then spread with a spoon.

Samosa with Dipping Sauce

Chopped potatoes with frozen peas added.
Boiled and peeled potatoes for Samosa filling.
Last night I made some meals for the next two days; one was enchilada casserole and the other was curry with samosas.  I put enchilada casserole up here a couple of weeks ago, but here are pictures of it in progress; Last time I just put up the final picture. 

The recipe is the same as before, but I left out the Daiya cheese this time.

I also made samosas.  The picture the third from the bottom is the final product, but I did decide to change how I make it after doing that one.  The wrap is not a traditional samosa wrap, rather it is a square of puff pastry.  It looks great and my husband said it tastes great, but I try to not eat food with added oils, so I am going to make the next batch and wrap them in homemade tortillas.  The idea to use tortillas came from Fat Free Vegan

3-4 small potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion diced
1 t. chopped garlic
12-14 grates of fresh ginger (or 1/2 t. already chopped, but grated is better tasting in this)
1 T. green chili, whatever variety you prefer, leave out the seeds and membranes if you want to cut the heat.  I have even used canned green chili when I was in a pinch and couldn’t find fresh chili.
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 t. powdered chili de poplano (or whatever powdered chili you have)
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. garam masala

Boil and peel the potatoes.  Cut them into small chunks then add the peas.  Cut the onion and saute it in 1/3 cup of water along with the garlic, ginger, and green chilies.  Once the onion is translucent, add the lemon juice, chili powder, tumeric, and garam masala.  Mix well and add to the potatoes and peas.  Mix well and use to fill either puff pastry squares or roll into tortillas or flat bread.

Samosa Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 T. brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 t. diced garlic or a shake or two of garlic powder
Mix all of these in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, turn down heat and keep at a simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool in the refrigerator until sauce is a bit thicker and a little bit sticky.  We found something a lot like this sauce at an Indian resaurant in the Austin area called Bombay Express, we really like it.

The cauliflower and pea curry was really tasty, but honestly, was hot.  I tried a new curry powder and it had to much heat for most of my family, but not for me!  I will be eating this all week for lunch.

2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
1 t. chopped garlic
1 large tomato, diced
8-10 coriander seeds
1/2 cup water
1 large head cauliflower, cut to florets half the size of a ping pong ball
1-2 cups frozen peas
3-4 T. of your favorite curry powder
1/4 t. coconut extract in 1/4 cup soy milk
1.5-2 cups water

Saute the onions, coriander seeds, and garlic in water until onions are translucent.  Then add the tomato and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, with a lid on if desired, until the cauliflower is as done as you like.  If you want a thicker sauce, mix 1/3 cup soy sauce with 1 heaping T. corn starch, whisk to get rid of any lumps, and stir slowly into the curry until it is as thick as you desire.

Serve over steamed rice.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegan Food Swap Reveal: October 2012

Vegan Food Swap Reveal:  October 2013

Last month I signed up for Vegan Food Swap, a swap set up by Cat at The Verdant Life so people can exchange boxes of vegan food, kind of like pen pals exchange letters.  I received a box from Shannon over at  Follow the link to get a look at her site!  It was great fun checking the mail to see if I had received a box and when it got here it was almost like Christmas!  You can see in the pictures what I got.

I’ve got to be honest, I did wait to open the treats until the entire family got home, but then everything except the Seitan was gone in about 5 minutes flat.  There are five of us altogether and we just put each thing onto a plate, cut it into five pieces, and ate it.  The hands down favorite was the Sweet and Sara Brown Rice Crispy Treat; they managed to get it to taste like the marshmallow had been toasted!  Next was the Ain’t She Sweet Gourmet Vanilla Oatmeal Creme Pie.  The great thing about this was that the cookie AND the filling were flavored with a sweet spicy filling—wonderful!  

  The rest of treats were inhaled as fast as the ones I just talked about.  The Chocolate Canoes were like chocolate Twinkies that were dipped in more chocolate!  If vegan treats weren't so expensive, I would have ordered the Almond Butter Bites for Halloween handouts.  I would definitely look at keeping these on the dining table for after school treats.  The Seitan Quick Mix is still in it’s bag, waiting for me to get the time to make something with it.  I still don’t know what I want to make with it, but have it down to 3 or 4 things.  I’ll be sure to post once I am sure.

Thanks for the great food, Shannon!

If you want to participate in the next Vegan Food Swap in January 2013, go to this link and sign up:  The Verdant Life
I sent my box to Julie and The Singin’ Vegan.  Go check her site out! 
It was so fun to choose food for someone else to enjoy--the hardest part was deciding what to send and what to put back....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Citrus Orzo Pasta Salad and Pumpkin Pie

Tonight I made pumpkin pie and Citrus Orzo Pasta Salad.

The salad is:
16 ounces dry orzo
3 medium lemons (or limes, oranges, whatever citrus you love)
1 can asparagus spears or 1/2 package frozen spears (I like the frozen better)
2 tomatoes
lemon zest

Cook the pasta, run water on it to cool, and pour into a large bowl.  Dice tomatoes and add to pasta.  Juice all 3 lemons and add juice to pasta.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the asparagus last—either drained from the can or, if frozen, steamed, cooled and then added.  Cut into 1-inch long pieces.  Stir gently.  Serve with more lemon wedges.  My daughter and I think that there can't be too much lemon, ever.
 Here is a picture of the pumpkin pie.  I just used the recipe on the back of the can, substituting soy milk for the evaporated milk and enerG egg replacer for the eggs.  I also reduced the amount of milk to 10 ounces.  Then grate fresh nutmeg on top.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dalek Costume for Comic Con 2011

I thought I would post my daughter’s Comic Con costume from last year.  She and my husband built a Dalek, from Doctor Who.  She had a great time and won first place in the costume contest for one of the categories.  (I don’t remember which one.)

Ironman Minecraft Costume for Comic Con 2012

My daughter, Guilian, has spent the past couple of months making her own Minecraft Ironman costume.  Today she unveiled it at Comic Con.  Very cool!  She and her friend, the one holding the Minecraft Chicken that Guilian also made, had their pictures taken by Wil Wheaton, who Tweeted it.


Today we went grocery shopping and stopped at a food trailer called Food To Go.  We got the hummus tray and it really looked nice!  I do not eat added oil in my food when possible and I could taste oil in the hummus, so I only had the one bite, but what a great bite it was!  I usually make my own hummus at home, so I recognized the taste of fresh lemon right away, but I also tasted roasted cumin—yummy!  I will be trying that in my next batch.

I also ordered a portabella burger, which I shared with my partner—he really did get almost half of it!  It was perfect!  Sorry I didn’t get a picture of it, it looked so good that we just dove in.  It was made with a ciabatta roll, two mushroom caps, lettuce, tomato, and red onion is thin slices. Mmmmmm……

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Today was boring, just a leftover kind of day.  I had oatmeal and pineapple for breakfast, beans and rice for lunch, and Gardein Chipotle Lime Chiken Fingers for dinner.  It was a good day and hopefully I will get around to cooking some new stuff this weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beans and Greens Over Rice

Tonight’s dinner was beans and rice—really good!  I used Steuben Yellow Eye beans, a variety that I found at Whole Foods.

2 cups Steuben Yellow Eye beans
Enough water to cover by 2 inches in the pressure cooker.
Cook in pressure cooker for 45 minutes once pressure has been reached.  

Let pressure reduce and remove lid.  Add the following ingredients:

1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 large diced onion
1 rounded teaspoon diced garlic
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon sea salt
10 grates of pepper grinder
3-4 handfuls of whatever greens you like, I used spinach, bok choy, and kale

Cook without lid until greens have wilted.  Taste and correct seasoning as needed. 

While the beans were cooking, I prepared rice in the rice cooker.  Serve the beans and broth over the rice and eat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Enchilada Casserole and Chocolate Bread

Dinner tonight was enchilada casserole. 

1/2 can black refried beans
1 can enchilada sauce
1 package small yellow corn tortillas
1 package Daiya shredded cheese
1/2 package frozen corn kernels

Layer ingredients in deep casserole dish, sauce, tortillas, beans, corn, daiya, tortillas, sauce, beans, corn, daiya, tortillas, beans, corn, daiya, tortillas, last of sauce, sprinkle of daiya.  Cook in preheated oven at 400F for 40 minutes.  Eat. 

I used a glass casserole dish, deep, but not large.  It has a glass lid, so I didn’t have to use parchment paper or foil.  Go really easy on the Daiya as it is quite high in fat.


I also have a loaf of Chocolate Bread in the bread maker.  I like how the dough is twirling around in the picture!

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 T. agave nectar
1 T. yeast
1 2/3 cup water
3 rounded T. cocoa powder
Put in bread maker, set for 2 pound loaf, light crust.  I am still waiting….