Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Christmas Meal


Here is our Christmas meal - I always make a huge lasagna for Christmas because then I don't have to cook for a few days. I also added a large salad and the dressing I made is the Caesar Chavez Dressing from Appetite for Reduction.




The biggest hit of the menu was Nava Atlas' Smoky Cheddar Cheez from her new book Vegan Holiday Kitchen. I didn't have mesquite seasoning and used liquid smoke. Next time I'll try it the right way as soon as I find the seasoning.



Dessert was simple - I did the Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Happy Herbivore. I didn't use confectioner's sugar (I used agave) which is why my cream cheese icing looks less exciting. Next time I make them I am going to add raisins. Also, I made some simple cookies from the Fuhrman web site - oats, almond butter, dates and coconut made into balls and then filled with fruit-sweetened preserves.

I'll be back this weekend with some New Year's eve appetizer ideas - I think I'm going to do some mini-pizzas along with a hearty salsa with beans from the Chef and the Dietitian.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Links

We had some snow (not always a sure thing here in NM) and I'm in full Christmas mode. I'm currently looking for some yummy vegan goodies that can be used for stocking stuffers. I've already made a batch of DH's favorite Power-Packed Energy Bars from the 30 Minute Vegan Cookbook by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. DH is an avid hiker and I like to make him a hiking themed Christmas stocking each year. I usually add some hand knit hiking socks and gloves, trail mix, and some field guides to each year's stocking.


The Energy Bars are just mainly nuts, seeds, and dried fruit held together with some coconut oil and agave and then baked. I wrap each one individually in foil so he can grab one or two for hiking.

I have a few holiday-related links to share.

HERE is a free ebook for Vegan Gingerbread Houses that even includes a vegan recipe for royal icing.

Scatter Vegan is offering a free 124 page PDF dessert cookbook, Scatter Vegan Sweets that offers low-fat and low-sugar recipes. So far it looks to be wheat-free as well. Just go HERE and click on "Scatter Vegan Sweets e-book - download free".

VegNews is having a Holiday Cookie Contest with all sorts of great prizes including a KitchenAid Mixer.

HERE is a Youtube video showing how to make Vegan Christmas eggnog.

The Unintentional Vegan offers a 12 page PDF, Vegan Holiday Gift Guide.

I found a list of the Best Vegan Cookbooks 2011 which might help in choosing gifts for your favorite vegan cook.



DH has been busy getting us plenty of wood to heat our house this winter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Review

Here is a photo of our Thanksgiving meal - we ended up with Tofurky because they were out of Celebration Field Roast. It was salty but okay. I'm not sure I'd buy it again.


Here's the Thanksgiving plate (menu and recipe links HERE). The two winners were the mushroom green bean casserole and Julianna Hever's great pumpkin chocolate muffins. I wouldn't make the gravy (lemon juice wasn't a good addition) or the mashed potatoes/cauliflower with cashew cream again.

We went on a hike nearby - we're lucky to having hiking trails about 5-10 minutes from our house. I took some photos of our Thanksgiving hike - next year I think we'll emphasize the hike over the dinner.





Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipes I've Tried and My Thanksgiving Menu

I've been trying some of the recipes from the Dr. Fuhrman Member Center. One of my faves is the Banana-Oat Bars which contain bananas, oats, coconut, applesauce, and walnuts These can be frozen and used as really quick breakfast choices.


Another Fuhrman breakfast choice is the really hearty Blue Nut Oatmeal. A small amount of oats is cooked with blueberries, raisins, cinnamon, apple, banana, and walnuts.



Here is one of my favorite hummus recipes which I've talked about here before - Dreena Burton's White Bean Hummus with Thyme and Basil. I make it when I want hummus but I don't have any garbanzos available and as you can see I add lots of veggies to the top and for dipping.



Here's my Thanksgiving menu this year. I tried to find recipes that would include lots of veggies and limit the sugar and fat. Plus DH wanted some sort of leftovers for sandwiches so we're going to try a Celebration Field Roast for the first time.

2011 Thanksgiving Menu

Celebration Field Roast (I think I'm going to baste it with orange juice and fresh herbs.)

Dean Ornish's Health Hearty Salad (sans the blueberries since they're not in season)



Dr. Fuhrman's Nutty Green Bean Casserole (from an email)





I knit this cute turkey (free pattern HERE) to adorn the holiday table along with a photo of Peyton the turkey I adopted from Farm Sanctuary. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Holiday Challenge

I've signed up to do the 2011 Holiday Challenge at the Dr. Fuhrman Member Support Center. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is the author of Eat to Live and was the doctor featured in documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead which is available to watch free HERE on Hulu. The documentary is such an amazing testament to the power of fruits and vegetables.

I read about the Holiday Challenge at the Carrie On Vegan blog and was intrigued by the idea of doing a challenge at a time of year where it is difficult to stay healthy. I'm especially motivated because we hope to be moving to Colorado early 2012 and buying a foreclosure. It would be great to be in really good shape at that point to deal with any necessary remodeling and all the other moving stress.

Here's what you have to promise to do for the challenge:

1. Eat at least one large salad every day. (I already do this.)

2. Eat generous amounts of cooked green vegetables, mushrooms, and onions.

3. Eat beans every day. (I try but am not always successful.)

4. Eat at least three fresh fruits every day. (I currently eat maybe one or two.)

5. Avoid white flour.

6. Avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners.

7. Use oils sparingly. (I do this already.)

8. I will not allow peer pressure or tempting toxic foods to derail me from my health goals.

9. I will not compromise my health to please others.

10. I will set an example of health-mindedness for those around me.

I think the difficulties for me will be the cooked greens and mushrooms and avoiding holiday baked goods from white flour and sugar. It is free but to sign up I did have to give a credit card number.  I heard from Carrie who told me that I have to remember to call them and cancel after the six weeks is up.
Anyway, there are over 1000 healthy recipes in the member center which I will have access to during the challenge so to me it is worth it to remember to call them at the end of the holidays. There is also a Facebook page for the Holiday Challenge HERE.



My rabbit Bubbles looks like she could use a healthy eating challenge as well! I'm always amazed pet house rabbits can get so plump from just eating greens and other vegetables.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trying to Reduce My Grocery Spending

I have this theory that grocery prices increase across the board this time of year. Retailers know we're all going to be cooking and baking for the holidays and price accordingly. In fact I was recently at Sunflower Market looking for chocolate chips and every bag was $5 or more. Not just the fair trade, grain-sweetened kinds of chocolate chips but even the Toll House brand.

A lot of the traditional wisdom on saving money on food doesn't apply to me. I rarely see coupons for the food I buy and while I find the Santa Fe Farmer's Market wonderful, I don't think I've ever seen a single bargain. I also don't have storage space for a lot of bulk items. I'm not organized enough to keep a price book but I do keep old receipts so I can look back and figure out how much individual items are.


PLANNING


My current grocery budget is $600 a month for two people who rarely eat out. About $50 of that is fresh greens for Bubbles and that total also includes non-food items such as shampoo, paper towels, and all our supplements. We generally eat oatmeal for breakfast and include big salads with dinner. I also have a green smoothie every day.

I decided to simplify meal planning so DH and I chose two week's worth of meals and we just rotate through those. The benefit of this is that I'm not buying all sorts of random strange ingredients for unknown reasons. I know specifically what I need for those two week's worth of meals. In fact, I made a list of all those ingredients used in those meals so I can refer to it when making the weekly grocery list.

I can still go over budget with this method. Another measure in place is the running list I keep on the refrigerator that lets me know how much I've spent so far each month. If I run rampant at the beginning of each month I have to rein it in at the end of the month.



PRODUCE

Fruits and vegetables are probably my biggest expense and I think they are too important to limit. We are in a year-round organic CSA (photos on this page show various CSA boxes) but lately I've stopped getting the boxes every week. I generally don't waste any of our lovely CSA boxes but there are weeks we get produce I probably wouldn't buy at the grocery store. For instance, lately the boxes have been including lots of oranges but I'm seriously craving apples. So then I'd pay for the CSA box and still have to buy apples. Now I only get the CSA boxes if the items are foods I really want for that week. Our CSA boxes have also recently increased in price - I think they are currently close to $35 a week.

Another strategy I'm trying is to buy fruits and vegetables at one of the local produce markets. None of the items are organic so I focus on the items that are not on the EWG's Dirty Dozen list. I also buy the inexpensive organic fruits and vegetables such as carrots and cabbage. I often purchase frozen veggies and fruits since they can be cheaper and of course last a lot longer.

BAKING

I have to limit my baking. I occasionally try to price out the cost of a batch of cookies or a cake and the results are always unpleasant. I currently let myself bake one thing each weekend but try to focus on fruit or soy yogurt for dessert instead.

iHerb

I order from the online retailer iHerb often. I'm purposely not going to link to iHerb because they give folks who refer them a $5 discount and that isn't the reason I'm recommending them. I'm recommending them because I save a lot of money. I like using iHerb for those items that are a bit pricier in general like agave nectar and nuts and vitamin B-12 fortified nutritional yeast. Their prices are usually very
good, you can easily search for the best price, and they give you free shipping if your order is over $40. You can choose one free sample with each order and if you start ordering from them regularly you will get a special customer status and save another 5% on everything.

PICKING MY BATTLES

I'm trying to figure out what items are worth paying the highest price and what items are not worth it. For instance, i'm a huge fan of the Frontier herbs and spices. I pay more for them than some of the generic
spices at the grocery store. iHerb sells some of Frontier herbs and I also find them in bulk at the natural foods store. On the other hand, I really can't see much of a difference between grocery store whole
wheat pasta and some brand that costs more than $4 a pound at the natural foods co-op. So there I'd buy the cheaper one.

I would love to hear from others on methods they use to save money on food!

Monday, October 31, 2011

VeganMoFo #22 - Veganomicon

I saved the largest cookbook for last. Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero is the sort of book you'd give to a friend who was trying out a plant-based diet. It is full of helpful advice and 250 recipes to keep you cooking.


I made the Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding. I used whole grain bread for the bread cubes and dark chocolate cut into small pieces for the chips. I thought this dish was excellent but next time I'll use crispier bread for a firmer bread pudding.

Other recipes I've tried and liked from the book include: Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls,  Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls, Tofu Florentine, Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango, Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad, Baja-Style Grilled Tempeh Tacos (my fave recipe from the book), Snobby Joes, Black Bean Burgers, Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu, Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh, Chickpea Cutlets, Black-Bean Vegetable Soup, Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans, Baked Potato and Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons, Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits, Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping (DH's fave recipe from the book), Dill Tahini Sauce, Skillet Cornbread, Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones and the Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies.



Here's a preview of our dinner tonight. I made the Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies from Jennifer Raymond's Fatfree and Easy, the Graveyard Salad (one of the cucumber tombstones fell over) from the Forks and Beans blog, toasted pumpkin seeds and a jack-o-lantern pizza. I prebaked the crust then added pizza sauce, diced bell peppers and kalamata olives. I'll crisp it in the oven right before dinner. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 28, 2011

VeganMoFo # 21 - Table for Two

One of the things I hate most in the world is throwing food away. Still, there are times when DH makes a huge quantity of vegetarian chili and we just get sick of it and there is no room in the freezer. That is why I bought Table for Two: Meat- and Dairy-Free Recipes for Two by Joanne Stepaniak. Every recipe in this book is pared down to just a few servings.


I made the Slow-Roasted Broccoli Hoagies with Mustard Dill Sauce. Broccoli, mushrooms, and onions are roasted and spooned on bread along with olives with a simple mayo/Dijon mustard sauce. I liked it but then I usually enjoy unusual sandwiches.



This book includes a nice selection of pantry staples and a list of kid-pleasing recipes. The recipes are basic and delicious with minimal amounts of oil in the baked goods and a few fatfree salad dressings. I've made and like the following recipes from this book: French Toast, Whole Wheat Muffins, Catalina French Dressing, Cheddar Cheeze Soup, Chuckwagon Stew, Cornucopia Oat Burgers, Golden Gravy, Pierogies in a Pot, Cabbage and Pasta Bake (my fave from the book), and the Chili Bean Topping for Grains or Pasta.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

VeganMoFo #20 - Fiesta Vegan (and a recipe)

Today's book is much more obscure. A while back I self-published this small booklet of my favorite New Mexican recipes called Fiesta Vegan in print, PDF format, and for the Kindle (without photos) but alas it has not sold well at all over the years. Anyway, I wanted to post at least one recipe during VeganMoFo so here is my favorite recipe from the book. I am crazy about the combination of green chiles and potatoes. If you use nondairy cheeses like Daiya, you can certainly add some to the mashed potato mixture.


CHILES RELLENOS WITH CHIMAYO TOMATO SAUCE




Feel free to use roasted poblano chiles for this recipe or even whole canned green chiles.  I really prefer our New Mexico green chiles from Hatch. The photo above shows what the Hatch chiles look like after roasting and peeling and before stuffing.   (Two years ago I wrote a post HERE about the different types of chile peppers and HERE is how I roast chiles.)


I’ve seen all sorts of things used to stuff chiles - once in Taos I ordered Chiles Rellenos and they were stuffed with a carrot mixture. My favorite version uses mashed potatoes mixed with sautéed onions and garlic. The Chimayo Tomato Sauce is milder than most red chile sauces so it doesn’t overpower mild flavor of the chiles.

NOTE: Chimayo chile powder is harder to find outside New Mexico. Use any mild, powdered red chile pepper you like. There are also have frozen red chile purees made by Bueno which would work.

Serves 4

Chimayo Tomato Sauce:

2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 Tbsp. Chimayo red chile powder
2 Tbsp. unbleached white flour
3 cups water
1 tsp. sea salt or to taste
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

To make Chimayo Tomato Sauce, saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes in a medium saucepan. Add the oregano and Chimayo chile powder and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir until all the oil is combined. Add the tomato paste and water, whisking until smooth. Cook over low heat until thick. Add the salt and vinegar.

1 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ c. non-hydrogenated vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance
Pinch sea salt

12 lg. mild green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, stemmed and split lengthwise

Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 25 minutes, or until  tender. Drain well.
In a medium saucepan, saute onion in canola oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Mix sautéed onions and garlic with potatoes and margarine and mashe until smooth. Salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour about 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Reserve rest of sauce for serving with the stuffed chiles. Fill each green chile with ½ c. potatoes. Place the chiles in the pan with the potato side up. (This dish can be made in advance up to this point and can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.) Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Warm the remaining Chimayo Tomato Sauce and serve with the chiles.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 314 Calories; 22g Fat (46.2% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 420mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

VeganMoFo # 19 - Sweet Utopia

I bought Sharon Valencik's Sweet Utopia: Simply Stunning Vegan Desserts for one recipe - the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Sticky Toffee Pudding is my favorite non-chocolate dessert and I really enjoyed her nondairy version of that recipe. Since then I haven't made anything from the book. (Seen here is the library version of the book; I own the Kindle version although now that I see the color photos in the book I wish I'd purchased the print version.)

For VeganMoFo I made the Fruity Chocolate Crepe Rollups and I'm very glad I did. This recipe will become a standby when I need a fancy dessert or breakfast and better yet, the only oil used is what you need to cook the crepes.



The chocolate crepe recipe was supposed to yield four crepes but mine actually made six. The first three stuck to the pan I chose. I finally switched to my trusty cast iron skillet and made these with only some vegetable cooking spray. The crepes are spread with jam (I used Trader Joe's Superfruit preserves.) then soy yogurt and fruit. I topped mine with some coconut and walnuts but really it wasn't necessary.





This book has a really nice variety of different desserts from cakes and sweet breads to tarts and granola and tiramisu. I'm especially interested in the chapter on Velvety Mousses, Puddings, and Cremes and plan to try one of those very soon. I recommend this book to everyone with a sweet tooth!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VeganMoFo #18 - The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook

Years ago a neighbor of ours in Colorado had heart surgery and I gave a copy of this cookbook to his wife. She was having trouble figuring out what to cook for him and The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook: Over 300 Delicious Low-Fat Recipes You Can Prepare in Fifteen Minutes or Less (1997) was really helpful for her. I still use it often years later especially when I'm trying to find new ways to eat more beans.

Dr. John McDougall is one of the original physicians who promoted a low-fat plant-based diet for healing and he is responsible for the health info in the book. His wife created the recipes which are divided up into Breakfast, Salads and Dressings, Soups and Stews, Main Dishes: Grains, Main Dishes: Beans, Main Dishes: Pasta, Main Dishes: General, Sauce, Dips and Spreads, and Desserts. There is also a chapter on acceptable canned and packaged products. For VeganMoFo I made the Greeny Beany Soup. The soup contains leeks, potato, herbs, orzo (I used vermicelli), white beans, zucchini and spinach.


I liked the soup and it is a good example of the recipes in the book - simple and hearty. I've noticed a lot of the recipes really appeal to DH who likes uncomplicated foods with an emphasis on healthy carbs. The book is especially valuable for the large number of soup recipes. There are a few recipes that do use honey so it isn't 100% vegan. There are no nutritional analyses of the recipes in my version of the book. Still I think everyone who is eating a lowfat diet should have this book although maybe they do already. This book is still in print almost 15 years after it was first published!



Other recipes I've tried from the book include: Mexican Corn Salad, Chili Bean Salad, Taco Soup, Cream of Vegetable Soup, Mexi Corn Chowder, Chili Tortilla Soup, Ellen's Bean Soup, Southwestern Brown Rice, Beans and Greens, Spicy Chili and Chips, Quick Wisconsin Chili (DH's favorite), Black Bean Sloppy Joes, Spicy Tomato Couscous, Rotini and Greens, Mustardy Pasta, Mushroom Stroganoff, Vegetable Bean Enchiladas, Potato Enchiladas, Mexican Lasagna, Moo-Shu Wraps, Polenta with Italian Bean Sauce, Baked Tofu Loaf, Spinach Buns, and Peanut Butter Spread.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

VeganMoFo #17 - The Kind Diet

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone isn't only a vegan cookbook, it is a macrobiotic vegan cookbook. Macrobiotics is a diet that emphasizes whole grains and dark leafy greens and de-emphasizes nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes). One of the most interesting things to me about macrobiotics is the belief that you are imbued with some of the qualities of what you eat. So for instance if you eat a lot of root vegetables you'll be very grounded.


Some of the foods popular in the macrobiotic diet are an acquired taste such as umeboshi plums, mochi, burdock, sea vegetables, etc. The best book I've found that explains macrobiotics is the Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter. The best online source for some of the more unusual ingredients used in macrobiotics is Gold Mine Natural Foods.
 
 

For VeganMoFo I made the Ginger Pasta with Zucchini. I wish I'd pureed the tofu instead of mashed it. I do cook macrobiotic occasionally and I don't always find it the most colorful food so I added the carrots to the photo. The Kind Diet is divided into Vegan Recipes (not necessarily macrobiotic) to get you started and SuperHero Recipes (vegan and macrobiotic). About half of this book is devoted to discussing reasons why you should go vegan with information on factory farming, health, etc. She also provides some good tips for those new to vegan cooking on how to stock your kitchen, cook veggies, save money, etc.
 

I've also made the Tahini Dressing and the Rice Pilaf with Caramelized Onions. The Endnotes offers sources for the information she gives on agriculture and health. There are many dessert recipes for those who love to bake. There are a few photos of the recipes and many photos of Alicia. I'd recommend the book if you are interested in macrobiotics or more healthful vegan cooking.

Here's a bonus photo of umeboshi plums and umeboshi paste. There is also umeboshi vinegar available but that has crazy amounts of sodium (the Eden Foods brand of umeboshi vinegar has 1050 mg sodium per 1 teaspoon).




Friday, October 21, 2011

VeganMoFo #16 - Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen

Although I make a lot of unusual pizzas until I made this recipe I had never tried beans on pizza. This recipe is the Quick Tuscan-Style Pizza with White Beans, Tomatoes, and Basil from Donna Klein's Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. It is one of her older books and was published in 2001.


White beans are cooked with garlic, olive oil, and vegetable broth until they are creamy. They top the pizza along with sliced tomatoes and basil. The really fun part of this pizza is the crust. In the recipe she specifies using commercial refrigerated pizza dough but I used the basic pizza dough recipe from the book instead. You roll it out and prick it all over with a fork and bake it for 4 minutes. Then you prick it all over again with a fork and bake it again. Then add toppings and bake it on the bottom rack of your oven. This makes the crust crispy and cracker-like. It was really good and I think this would make a great appetizer at a party cut into smaller slices.


This is the first recipe I've made from this book and I honestly don't know why I waited so long. The book has a whole section of pizzas and I've made all the pizzas from Vegan Italiano several times. I also have her Supermarket Vegan and Tropical Vegan Kitchen on the Kindle and I've never made anything from those books either. It is officially time to remedy that!



Other recipes I want to try include: Provencal Chickpea Flour Pancake, Polenta Crostini with Caponata, Green Olive and Almond Tapenade, Ditali with Cauliflower, Squash Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce, Vermicelli Nests with Chickpeas, Spinach and Tomato, and the Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Panini. Each recipe in the book includes nutritional info; there are no photos. She includes a section on suggested weeknight menus ready in less than an hour and information on entertaining.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

VeganMoFo #15 - Color Me Vegan

I've been doing mini-reviews of cookbooks so far but today I'm going to do a complete review.

COLOR ME VEGAN by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Color is so important to my life - it can change my mood, it can inspire me, and I often feel disappointed with a boring all-brown meal. For me one of the best things about plant-based cuisine is how colorful it can be. I was thrilled when I first saw this book at a bookstore but decided to wait to buy it because I am trying to reduce my cookbook purchases. After seeing the book highlighted in other VeganMoFo posts, I knew I had to buy it immediately.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's previous cookbook, The Vegan Table, is one of my top three cookbooks. (I'm not reviewing it this month because I have the Kindle version and I wanted to only review cookbooks I have in print.) I prefer recipes that are simple with a lot of fruits and vegetables and Color Me Vegan is similar to The Vegan Table in that respect. It is also similar in that it is organized differently than most cookbooks. Chapters are divided by the predominant color of the recipe and I like that you can easily find the color chapter you want because of the colorful tabs at the top of each page. White and brown foods also have their own chapter as do recipes that use the entire rainbow.

The first day I had Color Me Vegan I had already started bookmarking all the recipes I want to make. I started with the Hot Tamale Pie. The photo below shows it before baking.



Beans and corn are mixed for the base and the topping is a simple cornmeal and nutritional yeast combo.


I also made the Purple Cabbage Salad which I have to remember to bring to the next potluck I attend. Unfortunately I didn't have oranges which would have made this over the top in the color department but it was really delicious. I used canned pineapple and omitted the hazelnuts. I loved the sweetness with the jalapenos and toasted sunflowers. 



I saved the best for last. I also made the Chocolate Zucchini Bread which was excellent. I couldn't find any non-dairy chocolate chips at the local store so I bought a dark chocolate candy bar and cut it up instead. I reduced the fat by instead using 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil. It was probably a little crumblier from that substitution but still very moist and rich.



There are so many other recipes I want to make from this cookbook: Strawberries with Lavender Syrup, Chocolate, Banana and Almond Butter Panini, Muffuletta Sandwich, Nori Wraps with Orange Cashew Cream, Peanut Butter Pancakes, Blueberry Croutons, Garlicky Greens with Pasta, Swiss Chard Pie, Nectarine-Agave Panini, Sweet Potato Tacos and the Raspberry Lemon Muffins.

Color Me Vegan is a beautiful book and it includes many color photos. I like that she suggests where you can use water for sauteing instead of oil and that she includes all sorts of interesting tidbits. Did you know there are 1000 kinds of edible greens? Or that dairy cows now get calcium supplements because they often no longer graze outdoors?

I'd recommend this book to both omnivores and vegetarians who want to eat more fruits and veggies, to those following a low-fat vegetarian diet, and to everyone who loves color on their plate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VeganMoFo #14 - Eat, Drink and Be Vegan


Eat, Drink and Be Vegan: Everyday Vegan Recipes Worth Celebrating by Dreena Burton has 8 different hummus recipes. I know this may not mean much to others but I find it very exciting! The White Bean Hummus with Thyme and Basil is one of my favorite recipes and is a great choice for serving to omnivores who may not know much about hummus. I initially wondered about some of the flavors used in the dip - white beans, tahini, lemon, garlic, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard plus fresh herbs but it really works.



This book's emphasis is on entertaining with a section on other dips and nibblers, sandwiches and spreads, casseroles and one pot meals, beverages, and Dreena's signature desserts. There are color photo inserts throughout. I also like that this book uses less oil - for instance, only 2 Tbsp in the Cocoa-Banana muffin recipe. I think this is my favorite book of hers and I really need to try more of the desserts. There are a good selection of gluten-free desserts as well.

Recipes I've tried and liked include: Berry Goodness Muffins, Chipotle-Lime Two Bean Hummus, Tamari Roasted Chickpeas, Lentil Veggie Chimichangas, Quick Chickpea Confetti Casserole, and the Cashew Banana Ice Cream.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

VeganMoFo # 13 - The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook


Joanne Stepaniak was one of the very first authors writing vegan cookbooks. The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook Featuring Recipes Using Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula Flakes is one of her earlier books (1997). If you have never tried nutritional yeast (not to be confused with brewer's yeast) it has a wonderful cheesy flavor and is a good source of B vitamins. Look for it in health food stores in the bulk food section or you can buy it online.

I made the Caesar Salad. The base of romaine lettuce with strips of toasted nori and croutons is topped with a delicious dressing. The dressing is oil free and consists of nutritional yeast, tahini, Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice and soy sauce. I really liked it and will make it again. Next time I might add some capers to the dressing as well. I recommend this book for new vegans and for those who enjoy comfort foods.

Recipes I've tried and liked from this book include Chickpeas A La King, Grilled Cheez Sandwiches, Sadie's Vitality Broth, and the Crock Cheez (my favorite recipe from the book).

Here are some bonus photos from the Santa Fe Farmer's Market voted one of the top ten farmer's markets in the country by USA Today.





Monday, October 17, 2011

VeganMoFo # 12 - Vegan Brunch

One great summer when I was about 14 I went with a girlfriend's family to Cape May Point, NJ. We stayed at her Polish grandmother's beach house and ate her incredible pierogi. I haven't had them since I gave up dairy so I decided to try the potato and mushroom-sauerkraut pierogi from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.


I changed a few things to reduce fat and sodium (I caramelized the onions with some veg. cooking spary and water) and for the pierogi dough I used the same amount of fat but used extra-virgin coconut oil instead of cooking oil. Although the ones in the photos aren't browned, we did end up liking them better browned. I had a lot of filling left over so I will be making them again soon.



I used my little dumpling maker to shape the pierogi. I ran out of yellow onions when making the potato filling so I used a red onion. Below on the left you can see the potato filling and the mushroom-sauerkraut filling is on the right.



The pierogi were labor-intensive as are some of the other recipes in the book so I tend to make these recipes for dinner. (I am never an enthusiastic cook in the morning!) I recommend Vegan Brunch for those who miss big luxurious breakfasts or like to entertain or who love to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Recipes I've made and enjoyed from the book include: Puttanesca Scramble, Shiitake-Dill Frittata, Tofu Benny, Cornbread Waffles, the Banana Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast) which is seriously awesome, Potato Spinach Squares, Cherry Sage Sausages, Cocoa-Raspberry Muffins and the East Coast Coffee Cake.

Friday, October 14, 2011

VeganMoFo #11 - The Art of Tofu

I bought this small cookbook, The Art of Tofu, after I tried some of Akasha Richmond's recipes in Vegetarian Times. Apparently there is also an updated print version for sale that includes color photos.


I made an old favorite - Southern Tofu Fricasee with Mashed Potatoes. The cookbook is intended to promote Mori Nu Tofu but for most of the recipes involving fried or sauteed tofu I use regular old extra firm tofu. Tofu is put in a paper bag with flour and spices and then browned in a heavy skillet. Onions, celery, and carrots are added along with broth to make a delicious sauce. The accompanying mashed potatoes also have a little pureed silken tofu added.



The book gives cooking times along with nutritional analyses of each recipe. I counted and there are about 50 recipes included along with a really large intro that talks about various ingredients. Recipes I've tried and liked include the Deep Dish Pot Pie, Tofu Piccata with Mushroom Caper Sauce, and the Tofu Swiss Steak. There are many more recipes I need to try like the Orange Blueberry Coffee Cake, the Italian Spinach Dumplings, and the Santa Fe Red Chile Enchiladas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

VeganMoFo #10 - Fat-Free & Easy

Not the best photos today but definitely one of the best recipes (the recipe is available HERE). I make this recipe for Berry Cobbler frequently and it does not taste like the usual fat-free baked goods. It is excellent! I've done it in all oat flour, regular whole wheat flour, white flour... really whatever flour I have. I usually use a bag of frozen mixed berries. One time I added some peaches to the berries. (I apologize for the berry juice on the cookbook - how embarrassing!)



Jennifer Raymond's Fat-Free and Easy is one of those all-purpose cookbooks that I refer to often. This one is unavailable in print for a reasonable price unfortunately but it is one of my all-time faves and is still available in Kindle format at least.



I've made many of the recipes including the Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Torte, Pumpkin-Raisin Cookies, Gingerbread, Berry Cobbler (my favorite from the book obviously), Chili Corn Pie, Quick Chili Beans, Holiday Tofu Roast, Spinach and Bread Pudding, Golden Mushroom Soup, Split Pea Soup, Piquant Dressing, Fatfree Vinaigrette, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Aztec Salad, Missing Egg Salad, Quick and Easy Brown Bread, and the Cornbread.

I recommend this book to everyone who is trying to get healthy or lose weight, to those who love simple food and to those who are beginner vegan cooks.
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