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….

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cheater's Pad Thai

A friend of mine, moonwatcher, posted her version of Cheater’s Pad Thai Sauce from the Happy Herbivore.  I went to a site with the recipe and tried it out.  Here is where I got it from:  Cheater's Pad Thai Sauce 

To feed 5 people (and a boyfriend)
1 package of rice sticks
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/8 cup peanut butter
1/8 cup sweet chili sauce
several gratings of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
5 wedges of fresh lime
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup bean sprouts

Put the cooked noodles (mine were leftover from yesterday) into a wok turned to medium with 1/3 cup water.  Stir fry around so noodles are evenly warm.  Mine started out cold, so if yours are freshly cooked and still hot, just add them to an empty work and turn heat to medium.  Whisk the peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, and chili sauce together in a mixing bowl then empty into the wok full of noodles.  Grate ginger on top and stir with a silicon spatula.  When thoroughly mixed and hot, serve into large flat bowls.  Add sprouts, cilantro, and Sriacha sauce as desired then squeeze lime on top.  Eat!

Yummo!  Even my very picky youngest child likes it!  Win-win!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pizza Night

I am very tired this evening and do NOT want to cook.  So we are making pizza.  I keep a couple of crusts around for just this sort of, well, need….inexpensive, quick.  I put fake pepperoni slices, spinach, black olives, tomato slices, mushrooms, and Daiya on top.  It is in the oven right now.

Breakfast was half of a small papaya and lunch was leftover Pho soup.  I also took 5 or 6 slices of dried persimmon.  It was good and my office smelled wonderful!
Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cows With Guns and Pho Soup

An internet friend of mine, moonwatcher, went to a Dana Lyons concert.  She posted a link to Cows With Guns, a song of his, that I listened to and just loved.  Here is the link:  Cows With Guns  I really liked it so I began playing it for my husband this morning.  It only played the first couple of measure and he said, "Cows With Guns?"  He not only has heard it and played it for our children, he has a copy on our hard drive!  Gotta love it, hope you do, too.  My youngest daughter walked in as I was listening to it and said, "I like The Duck Song better."  (It is not by Dana Lyons, by the way.)  You know that feeling when everyone in the room knows what is going on and you don't?  Yep.

I am making my own Pho Vegan Noodle Soup today, so I have veggie stock cooking right now.  I spent some time online the past week reading different recipes and as much basic information about ingredients as I could find and am trying my own take on it now.  I have water in a stock pot with charred onion and charred ginger, carrots, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and whole peppercorns, and am simmering it all for a couple of hours.  I'll put up more when I get more done on it.

It is now several hours later.  The picture at the very bottom of this post is the vegetable broth after about 30 minutes.  Then I added dried shiitake mushrooms, some lemon grass, a piece of kombu, and a little leek.  I let the stock continue simmering all afternoon, overall, about 6 hours.  Then I skimmed out the veggies with a mesh strainer.  If I had wanted a perfectly clear broth, I would have strained it through cheesecloth.

At this point I added 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon of Rice Wine Vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt.  Taste it and see if you like it.  I loved it and left it alone at this point.  Most of the recipes that I read called for some fish sauce, but that contains anchovies, so I skipped it.  I know that there are a couple of brands that make vegan “fish” sauce, but did not want to drive to Whole Foods or Sprouts to look for it.

In a bowl, I put the wide rice noodles that I had prepared, then ladled hot broth over them.  I served the soup and put the garnishes on the table so people could choose what they wanted.  The offerings were bean sprouts, mint leaves, dried basil (usually use fresh, but I was out), tofu, and lime wedges.
This was very good, but according to the family was still not as good as what we had at the restaurant.  I have to admit, though, that I liked it better; after all, I just spent all day cooking it! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Salty Lemon, Papaya

Great day today!  Had oatmeal with berries for breakfast, went back to Pho Saigon and got the tofu noodle soup, and ordered a salty lemon drink.  It was really good!  Stopped  by the oriental market and picked up a papaya--it tastes really nice.

Now back home and getting a not-bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich together for the kids to eat.

Eat well, everyone!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Company for Dinner

Had company for dinner and made pizza, pasta with marinara sauce, and bruschetta. Mmmm! I only have pictures of the bruschetta getting made and the sauce simmering on the stove—we all ate everything else before I remembered I was going to photograph it.

 My oldest child and my friend’s oldest child polished off the entire bowl of bruschetta—they made more and ate it too!  Nice to see them enjoy dinner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Leftover Thursday

Today was a leftovers day.  I had oatmeal and a yellow bell pepper for breakfast, mushroom stroganoff for lunch, and eggplant stew over polenta for dinner.  It was a good day!  Tomorrow night we are having friends over for dinner.  They have three teenagers, just like we do; so we will have 6 teenagers here for dinner!  Naturally, we have pizza on the menu.  I am going to pick up another package of mozzerella-flavored Daiya after work tomorrow, really should have gotten it today, but I didn't think about it.  We are also going to make black and yellow couscous, a recipe my husband makes that Mary McDougall created.  They do not eat a plant-based, vegan diet, so I want to have another choice for them, maybe beans are rice?  I'm just not sure.  If you have an idea, I'd love to hear it.  One child of mine just suggested a tossed salad, so maybe that will be enough.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mushroom Stroganoff

Tonight’s dinner is mushroom stroganoff.  I love stroganoff and I love mushrooms, so here goes. 
1 yellow onion
1 rounded teaspoon chopped garlic
2 cups water
1 Not-Beef broth cube (well, rectangular prism)
6 sliced white button mushrooms (or more, but that’s what I had)
1 jar gourmet assorted mushrooms, about 1 cupfull
1 T. vegan worcestershire sauce
1 T. red wine
1 t. paprika
5 shakes of dried thyme
4 ounces Tofutti Sour Cream
1/2 lime (it helps cut the aftertaste that I get from the fake sour cream)
3 T flour in 1/2 cup cold water, whisked until no lumps
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the chopped onion in water, then add garlic for the last minute.  Add mushrooms, water, boullion, and rest of ingredients except for last four.  After the mushrooms have softened, add the water-flour mixture slowly stirring the entire time.  This is to thicken the mix.  Then add the sour cream and s & p to taste.  Serve over eggless noodles.  Mmmm!