November 30, 2011

A very Simple Soup

What do you do when you're just sort of worn out and in a bit of a funk? In addition, it's cold out and your funk  is partially affected by the cold?

You make some yummy soup!

Easy Carrot Ginger Soup
3 cups vegetable Broth
5 cups chopped carrots
2 cups soy milk
4 tbsp of minced ginger

(Feel free to scale these down at will, if you don't want to make a lot of soup)

Bring the broth, carrots, and ginger to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the carrots softened.
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. (You may have to do this in chunks- you can also use an immersion blender)
Return to pot, and add the soy milk. Stir to combine, and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before eating.

Then Enjoy! It works great as a first dish for a dinner party.

November 28, 2011

A simple Panini

I think all this taking care of Matthew (first with the bad flu, and then with his surgery) has worn me down a bit. I've had a sore throat for days and I'm exhausted. Trying to recoup today, relaxing, eating healthy foods, drinking lots of tea. Which brings me to my next point.

I have an obsession with Paninis. Matthew bought me a panini press a few years ago for Christmas, and I have been ridiculously addicted ever since.

I love that you can make almost ANYTHING into a panini! It's so delicious! So long as you have something to sandwich it between, anything can be a panini!

Tempeh and Sundried Tomato Panini
1 Brown rice (or whatever your favorite is) wrap
1/3 cup Daiya Cheddar
4 chunks of sundried tomato, cut into little pieces
1/4 cups tempeh, cut into chunks
Basil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper, to taste

Layer the Wrap with the ingredients.
Grill on a panini press.

That's it!

However, if you don't have a panini press, don't fret! There are options!
1 option is to cook it on a grill or BBQ, squashing it down with a spatula. You can also use a frying pan with some non-stick spray on it, squashing it down with a spatula. Or you can get a stovetop grill, and use that as well! Waffle Iron? Do it up! George Foreman Grill? Works too!

So many options for panini fun, however Panini presses are awesome, and if you have a slot on your christmas list, or a few dollars extra hanging around, I would pick one up!

Look at that cheesy closeup!

November 26, 2011

Chocolate Rice Cookies

I got bored last night. So bored I needed to make some cookies!

It was a very slow night, and I really wanted to bake SOMETHING, but didn't have any flour besides glutinous rice flour, which you really can't make much besides mochi cakes with. So, I took my spice mill and ground up some brown rice and jasmine rice as finely as I could with it, which took FOREVER, because I could only do about 1 tbsp at a time.

Despite this, it all turned out for the best, I think! Also, I had put in some puffed rice, but I didn't like how it turned out, so I left that out of the ingredients.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Rice Cookies
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup sweet glutinous rice flour
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or vegan margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup warmish water
1 1/2  tbsp finely ground  flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp room temperature water, and left to sit a few minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350.
In a bowl, sift together the flours, salt, cocoa, guar, and baking powder until everything is smooth and there are no clumps of cocoa. (I find cocoa gets pretty clumpy.)
In a separate bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. Once that's all combined, add in the vanilla and flax mixture, beating until mixed.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour, stirring as much as possible. Start adding a bit of the water, a tbsp or so at a time, to help you mix it until it's the consistency of cookie batter (You might not need the full cup!)
Add in the chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
Drop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack!
I find these cookies taste best the day off, and they're VERY dippable!
Check out the action pics!
A glass of Almond Milk awaits!

The first dip

Not quite dipped enough!

The second dip!

There we go!

Nom Nom Nom!

November 25, 2011

I'm Back!

I know, I've been away, but trust me when I say that it was NOT MY FAULT.

Last weekend, Matthew started feeling poorly, he had a bad stomach ache. It was bad enough to wake him up from sleep at 7am, which let me tell you, is painful. (He can sleep through a hurricane!) He thought it would go away, so got up and tried to watch 24 until it went away.

It got worse.

So we went to the hospital in concern, and it turns out he had to have emergency gallbladder removal surgery! We've been sort of recovering from the whole thing, though Matthew is in good spirits!

I however have been stressed and exhausted beyond belief (which I think is understandable!)

So my recipe for returning to the blogging world is a fairly simple one.

Fairly Simple Sweet Pea and Carrot Pasta Salad
2 cups gluten free pasta (I used Quinoa Fusilli) cooked
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tbsp mochiko flour (Sweet glutinous rice flour- does not contain gluten!)
1/3 cup vegannaise
Salt and Pepper, freshly ground to taste
Any of your favorite spices, to taste (Optional)

Mix together the pasta, peas and carrot, tossing so they're all combined.
Next, in a microwaveable bowl, mix together the mochiko flour, agave, and non-dairy milk. Combine well!
Microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it's thick and goopy.
Mix the milk mixture with the vegannaise, combining well.
Season with the salt and pepper, until it reaches the right taste.
If using any other spices add them now, tasting as you go. Oregano and Basil work well together, especially if you also add some cherry tomatoes to your pasta salad!
Take your sauce mixture, and add it to the pasta, stirring well to distribute. Eat right away, or refrigerate for guests, or picnics, or lunches, whatever!

As an aside, the mochico flour mixture, if you play with the amount of liquid vs flour can work as a condensed milk substitute! :)

November 16, 2011

A Wednesday off is a perfect day for Soup

I had a day off today. I had absolutely nothing that needed doing! No school work, no housework, I wasn't babysitting, I didn't have anything wedding related to do, there was nothing that needed doing.

So I went to the grocery store (a usually hobby of mine) to see what yummy produce they had just in. They had some really good looking swiss chard.

When I was growing up, my dad loved Swiss Chard, which I learned was not a commonly eaten thing with my friends. He grew it himself, and would steam it and make us eat it. Being the obstinate child I was, I decided I hated it. However, It grew on me. But I can rarely find it in stores, as I'm not sure it's a very popular grocery item these days. So it appearing at the little grocery I go to was a really exciting event.

So I made it into a really good soup! Not only is this a good soup, but it's a super healthy soup, and ridiculously nutritious for you. Ridiculously.

Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup
7 Cups of water
a few large leaves of Swiss Chard, chopped into large chunks and rinsed.
2 large carrots, sliced
1 cup dried lentils (I'm using green lentils, but feel free to use your favorite kind)
4 small new potatoes
1 smallish/mediumish sweet potato
1 vegan bouillon cube, any flavor (I use mushroom)

Combine 4 of the 7 cups of water and the bouillon cube in a soup pot. Bring to a boil.
Dump the lentils in, and turn the burner to low, simmering for 10 minutes to start softening up the lentils.
Add in the carrots, and simmer for 5 minutes, until also slightly softened.
Add in the two types of potatoes, and cook for 10 minutes, turning up the heat to medium to get everything cooked up.
At this point, test the lentils, make sure they're cooked. They shouldn't be too chewy, and just falling apart in the soup.
Add in the chard, and stir to combine. Cook on medium for about a minute, until it wilts slightly and is a nice vibrant yet darkening green. Serve.

This is a really good soup to serve in the dead of winter. It's really warming, and lentils have a nice peppery taste that sort of makes you feel good.  If you can't find Swiss Chard, it can be easily replaced with some chopped spinach or kale!  It also makes an excellent meal if you've got a cold, or are recovering from illness and need a nice nutrition boost. Trying to lose some weight? This soup you will notice has no creams or oils in it, thus is calorie friendly. It also has lots of fiber due to the lentils, so makes you feel full and helps with digestion.

Thus, eat, feel good, and enjoy!

November 14, 2011

Two Tone Tomato Pasta

On another note, I am the worst form filler-outer who has ever existed. If there was a way to screw up filling out a form, I will screw it up. Big time. So the fall semester is always so stressful for me, because there are just SO MANY FORMS to fill out. I live in this endless state of freaking out until all the forms are done. I'm down to 2 forms left, and they're both filled out, I just need to mail them! (I forgot the addresses today, so it continues until tomorrow. See, I told you I was bad!)

On the non-form related front, I love tomatoes. Love em. LOVE them. So I cook with them often, because hey, when you love something do it! If you eat food you love, it just takes away the stress in your life for that sublime moment in which you're eating. So to all those food haters out there (the whole '1 minute on the lips, forever on the hips') I say that one minute of sublime deliciousness is worth it. Trust me.

Without further ado:
Pasta with Two Tone Tomato Sauce
A bowl of whatever type of pasta you want, cooked.
1/3 cup of frozen peas
4 large chunks of sundried tomatoes (the kind in oil)
2 cloves of garlic
4 Cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp of the oil from the sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp dried basil (or a bunch of fresh leaves)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and Pepper, Freshly ground

So take the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, oil, dried basil, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt&Pepper, and combine them in a food processor or blender. Blend until slightly smooth, but still chunky.
Pour into a saucepan, and add the peas, stir together and heat on medium until bubbly and the peas are cooked.
Mix into the pasta. Eat. Enjoy!

I usually would recommend using fresh basil, but I didn't have any, and I didn't want to go get any, so I just used dried, and it tastes really good, so I wouldn't fret about using fresh ingredients too badly if you don't have them!

November 12, 2011

Restaurant Review: Aux Vivres

Matthew and I hit up a restaurant today, Aux Vivres in Montreal. If you're a vegan who finds themselves in Montreal, this is apparently the place to go.

I have to apologize in advance for the less than stellar photography, I took it on my Ipod, whose camera is very noisesome. Bear with me!

So First Matthew got some Parathas for an appetizer, which were not gluten free, so I couldn't test them. Though he ate them with much gusto!

They came with a veggie butter dipping/spreading sauce, which he says was absolutely excellent.

I didn't get an appetizer, because I was saving up for dessert, which is to come!

So for the main course, I got the "Dragon Bowl" and chose the option with grilled tempeh. It looked like this:
It had brown rice in the bottom, and grated carrots, beets, red cabbage, and sprouts. I think there were also some Daikon radish in there. The tempeh was grilled to PERFECTION, and the dragon sauce was INCREDIBLE. The brown rice and salad it was on top of was brown rice and salad, so there's really not too much there to go over, it's hard to screw up brown rice and lettuce, haha.
Matthew got a Gyro, which he says (from the perspective of an omnivore) was one of the best gyros he's ever had, vegan or otherwise. It was made with Seitan, so I can't say whether or not this is true for myself.

We shared some roobois tea, which was divine.
For dessert, I had the only GF pie/cake offering, which was a banana chocolate pie on a nut/date crust. It was awesome! I need to reverse engineer this one! So creamy and rich!
Matthew got a brownie, which he says was delicious, but a bit dry. He said that since the rest of the food was so excellent, he's giving the brownie the benefit of the doubt, and saying it was probably just an off brownie.

So Aux Vivres was awesome! It was a bit pricey for us (but we're cheapos) and our two meals, with Matthew's appetizer, and his coffee, our tea, and our desserts, came to 51$, which isn't terrible, but as I said, we don't really go out to expensive places (we usually spend about 25$ for the two of us when we go out). However, the food was awesome! I recommend it if you find yourself in Montreal!

November 11, 2011

A no-cook meal for a quiet Friday

I've had a bit of a hectic week, as I may have mentioned! However, after needing to do something for my job this morning (which made me get up very early!) I had absolutely nothing to do in the afternoon.

This is awesome. I caught up on my DVR, I took a bath, I read some e-mails, and I decided to be equally lazy with my meal, and made a no-cook lunch, mostly (le gasp!) pre-prepared. This doesn't mean processed, just pre-made. But I also like to feel slightly fancy, as Tom says, Treat yo self!

So here's what I made:

So in the front, we have rice stuffed grape leaves, in olive oil with mint (you can get these in cans, they're incredibly delicious!) As you can see, there is an abundance of pomegranite seeds. The little grocery I go to (I do most of my shopping at a tiny little independently owned grocery store which carries a lot of imported foodstuffs, which I love. They also have GF noodles, which I appreciate!) had a sale on pomegranites, so I took advantage of that like nobody's business. At first I thought to myself, "Pomegranites won't go with this, will they?" But then I said "Ah, who cares, I'm doing it anyway!"

They tasted awesome with it.
In the back we have brown rice crackers topped with black olive and olive oil puree, a slice of fresh tomato, and more pomegranite seeds.

This dish was flavorful, delicious, easy, and so pretty and colorful to look at!

Thursdays Things (slightly late!)

Eeek! Midterms are around this time of year, and papers are coming in due. Not for me, but for the class I TA for, so I've been fielding e-mails and meetings, and haven't actually cooked ANYTHING this week. For reals. I had an Amy's microwave burrito one day, and have been surviving on pre-cut fruit, and takeout salads and tofu stirfry.

It's very sad. And I woke up this morning and realized I hadn't done a thursdays things! Good lord, I suck.

So I'm jsut going to give you guys my video of the week.


November 9, 2011

Turn the Page Tuesdays

What have I been reading this week? Before I tell, a little story.

I love books written for teenagers, specifically teenaged boys. While there are many books written for teenaged girls, they're a bit of a hit and miss for me. On one hand, you can get excellent literature like The Hunger Games, and on the other, you get something like Twilight. (Sorry Twihards! I tried to like it, but have a very detailed and elaborate argument as to why I don't, but I won't drag it into this, as it's quite a volatile subject on the internet I hear)

I appreciate that currently there is a huge push to have girls continue to read and enjoy reading. As a girl who grew up reading, I totally love that there's currently a huge realm of (usually supernaturally themed) books starring girl characters who may or may not be good role models or interesting character studies.

However, I feel like boys are sort of being left out. Not that there aren't boys who would read books which are geared towards women, there are tonnes! However, for books with interesting male characters written for pre-teen and teenaged boys... I find either they're poorly written, stupid in idea, or sexist. I'm not going to name names. However, there are a few that are not only well written, interesting, and engaging for anyone, there's actually one that came out in October, that is all of those things! I think what makes a book written for boys awesome for me are a few things: 1- good character development. 2- not only a strong central male character, but strong female characters who exist as more than just the romantic or relational foil for the male characters, 3- an interesting story, 4- a smart story that is well written.

The following book, the newest in it's series, is a total win for me since I picked up the first book a few years ago and then just kept reading it. It's smart, funny, a neat idea, has great characters, AND it actually sneaks in lessons about classical mythology, which is always pretty cool in my books.

This is the 2 book of the series "The Heroes of Olympus" which follows a previous series of 5 books, "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." You might recall in the back of your mind a movie that came out a few years ago called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians- The Lightening Thief." Ignore this movie. Go pick up the book of the same name, and read that instead. It's an awesome read. Once you devour that, go pick up the next book, The Sea of Monsters, and keep it rolling, because I tell you, these books are just excellent! (Not just for adults, your kids will love em too! I recommend them for probably 10 and above, 10 if your kid is very mature, above if not!) 

Happy Reading!

November 8, 2011

Getting over the Flu with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini

So the past week my household (IE Matthew and I, the cats were fine) was stricken by the flu. Matthew got it far worse than I did, and didn't eat anything besides rice crackers and broth for a week, so his appetite is extremely diminished, and his stomach very sensitive, so I can't feed him anything too intense. But I worry about his health, as he hasn't been eating too many vegetables, so I decided to try to make something delicious, but not too flavorful, and still healthy.

I also like turning everything into pancakes. I could eat pancakes and waffles every day. And you can put so much stuff into them, if you cut it up small enough! (I don't have a waffle iron, hence why all you guys get is pancakes, but there's one on my wedding registry, so we've got the ol fingers crossed!)

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Pancakes
1/2 a medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 smallish zuccini, grated
1 cup bisquick gluten free (or regular if you aren't hampered by gluten issues) Or really any pancake mix you want!
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup non-dairy milk

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until well combined.
Heat a non-stick frying pan, and spray with cooking spray.
Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the heated pan, flattening it into a pancake shape.
Fry, flipping occasionally, until golden on the outside and cooked all the way through.
Then eat with gusto! (But not too much gusto if you're recovering from illness!

I also served it with the following Dipping Sauce (for me, Matthew ate em plain)
Veggie Pancake Dipping Sauce
1 Part Ketchup
1 Part Dijon
1 Part Agave Syrup

Mix together until combined, then either spread or dip or pour to your hearts content!

November 3, 2011

Thursday's Things

Wow, I totally dropped the ball on Thursday's Things Eh?

Well it's back! Matthew and I both have the flu so I haven't cooked anything beyond a banana and some rice crackers with peanut butter, so it's not food central here today. But since I'm sick, I've been surfing the net as it's a very low energy consuming activity. What have I found?

First up!
Isn't this dress absolutely adorable? I'd wear the heck out of it!

I don't think that these vegan pumps would go with the dress, but would look quite nice with some black pants!

I like this vegan bag, it looks like it's wearing a halter top! And it's by a Canadian designer to boot! Super Chic!

And Finally, your video of the week:

This video makes me die of laughter. 

Happy Thursday!

November 2, 2011

Fancy Mac and Cheese

Ever need something fancy to prove to non-vegans that your food isn't tasteless mush? When I first 'came-out' as vegan as it was often difficult to explain to people that I wasn't eating just lentils and brown rice, or other brown tasteless mushes just to keep me sustained. Apparently vegans used to eat that back in the day. Poor people!

Luckily, in the current age there's all sorts of things Vegans eat! Taking out meat really hasn't slowed any of us down, has it? However, every once in a while you still need that little helping hand, a dish that really makes the stubborn go "Oooh, yum!"

And I have this dish!
Fancy Mac and Cheese (Serves 3-4)
1 cup dry macaroni noodles
1/2 zucchini, sliced thin
2 smallish tomatoes, sliced thin
3 Spring onions, the white bits chopped up and put aside, and then the stalks chopped up and put separately.
a few sprigs of basil, chopped (and more for garnishing if desired)
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 1/2 cups Daiya Mozzarella
Freshly ground Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook up the macaroni. Drain and place in a casserole dish. Set aside.
Next, in a frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil on medium high. Add in the zucchini and white bits of the spring onions. Saute for a few minutes.
Once the zucchini are mostly cooked, add in the tomatoes, basil, and onion tops. Saute for about 1 minute.
Toss with the macaroni.
Feel free to use the same pan for the following steps- heat up the milk until it just boils. Add in the cheese, and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the cheese over the noodles, and stir slightly to get the cheese mixed to everywhere.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is bubbly and slightly crispy.
Serve with some basil as a garnish if you're being super fancy! Then wait for expression of happiness on your skeptical omnivore friend's face!

November 1, 2011

New Feature: Turn the Page Tuesdays

I have to work on tuesdays, so I don't have time to do much cooking, and tend to just snack on stuff (For example, today's sustenance snack is peanut butter on rice crackers for the most part!) In addition, Matthew is super sick, so cooking is pretty much off the table for today.

So I've decided to talk briefly on Tuesdays about what I'm reading/have just read, for a little break from veganism.

I read quite a bit, at least an hour every day (usually more) and tend to consume a wide variety of books.

This week I recently Finished:
I love Terry Pratchett books. In fact I own every Terry Pratchett book published, even the ones written for kids! I think what I love most about Pratchett's work, specifically the books written in the alternate universe known as "The Discworld" (which this book is) is that while on the surface they seem to be rather ridiculous fantasy novels written in a humorous style, they're actually commentaries on society as a whole. This one was about racism, and the tendency of the powerful in society to tread on the weak. It was excellent! However, I would not recommend reading this book as the first Discworld novel you'd digest. There are several different storylines that the series can follow (based around characters) and this one is based upon the character of Samuel Vimes, Commander of the City Watch of Ankh-Morpork, the big metropolis of the series. His storylines are my favorite! Thus, if you wanted to dip the toe into his particular storyline, start with the book "Guards! Guards!" It's also excellent, and it has a dragon in it. Always a recipe for a good read in my opinion!