Monday, January 23, 2012

yellow split pea soup w/ mushrooms and chipotle


I've been on a serious soup kick lately... soup is so satisfying and warming on cold winter days. It's also super easy to make; I find soup foolproof, it's the type of food that can be mostly ignored on the stove, and especially when kept simple, is always delicious. This one bubbled away on the stove for most of yesterday's lazy Sunday afternoon. This was inspired by a bag of yellow split peas that's been living in my dried bean basket for a while now :) I flavored it with dried porcini mushrooms and chipotle, nice and spicy without  burning.

I topped each portion of soup with a little crumbed tempeh bacon. The hubby and I each really enjoyed this and gobbled up the leftovers at lunchtime today.

Yellow Split Pea Soup

-1 bag dried yellow split peas
-2 cubes veggie bouillion 
-1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
-1 chipotle pepper in adobo
-1 clove garlic-smashed
-6 cups water
-2 cups frozen broccoli stems (this was mostly to use them up, potato would do the same job)
-2 tsp cider vinegar
-salt, pepper, curry powder to taste
-crumbled tempeh bacon for garnish

-In a heavy pot, add peas, buillion, mushrooms, chipotle, garlic, water and broccoli stems. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer until the peas start to break up, this took me atleast 90 minutes.
-Use an immersion blender and blend soup until creamy. I added a little more water, cause mine was a little thick at this point.
-Once happy with consistency, add the cider vinegar and season with salt, pepper and some curry powder.  
-Garnish each bowl with some tempeh bacon crumbles.

*it's really hard to get a good picture of food during the winter!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

african peanut stew

African Peanut Stew over brown rice
So.. winter has finally hit Upstate NY, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am totally under the weather and feeling junky, and needed some soul food to warm me up and make me feel better.

This is some stew I made, full of veggies and some good spice to clear out my head and fill me with goodness. Very hearty and satisfying. I love the combination of the peanut butter, chipotle pepper and root veggies. I made a huge pot full to feed us for a couple meals, cause mostly I want to be hiding under a blanket, watching Felicity. Hopefully this healthy food will heal me.

This isn't really the type of dish/meal/recipe I'd worry about making sure I have the exact veggies, or amounts of each veggies suggested, I just use what I have in the fridge that needs to be used up and seems like it would work. Same with type of hot pepper, this time I used a chipotle in adobo. (Last time I opened up one of those lil cans, I froze the extra in a tray, so now I have lil chipotle icecubes. most of the time you only really want one, not all six or so that come in a can, right?)  If I didn't have any of those, I might have just used pepper flakes, but I was pleased with the smokiness the chipotle added to the stew. Maybe if I didn't have chipotle, I'd use some liquid smoke.

African Peanut Stew


1/4 onion- diced
1 tsp cumin seeds-crushed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 chipotle pepper in adobo- chopped 
1 can tomatoes (i used canned whole tomatoes, and roughly crushed them/squeezed)
1 potato- diced
2 sweet potatoes- diced
2 acorn squash- (i had some i already roasted, so i just scooped out the flesh. peeled, raw squash would be great too)
2 carrots- chopped
1 clove garlic- pressed
1-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4-1/3 cup natural peanut butter
dash vinegar (i used ume plum vinegar-cause it's way yummy)
pinch Indian chili powder
1 package frozen spinach

cooked brown rice


-start cooking onion, cumin, coriander and turmeric in a lil water, when starts to get fragrant (1-2 min), add in the chipotle pepper, cook for a min then add tomatoes, and their juice, all the root veggies, the chickpeas, and the garlic. 
-add water to the pot until it's a soupy consistency/almost covers the veggies. turn up heat and bring  to a simmer. turn down heat to a low simmer, cover pot and cook until it's thickened up a bit and the veggies are starting to get tender (20-25 min).
-add in the peanut butter, and stir it around until incorporated, this can be a lil tough if the peanut butter is thick, if you cover the pot for a min, it'll start to break up and you can incorporate into the stew. taste and season with a dash of vinegar and hot Indian chili powder, you might even want more peanut butter. 
-once it tastes yummy, add in frozen spinach, stir and cook until the spinach is thawed and all mixed throughout the stew.
-eat over rice (it would also be really good with some bread)


Sunday, January 15, 2012

roasted eggplant muffaletta on homemade ciabatta bread and crunchy broccoli salad

Tonight's dinner was totally amazing, if I may say so myself! :) The hubby says so too.

I've been craving ciabatta bread (and having frequent day dreams in regard to one I made maybe a year back) following a recipe I found somewhere online. Well, I did a little searching and found the recipe again. I remember this bread being pretty fool-proof to make (I'm not generally very good at making bread). I located the recipe --> here.

I had a stay-at-home sunday today, the perfect kind of day to let some dough rise on the counter while lounging around trying to stay warm (and smell fresh bread in the house!). This bread is so easy to make, definitely as easy as I remember!!! The only snag was the directions call for measuring by weight... I don't have a scale so I kinda guessed with measurements. I used 4 cups of flour (Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose), and about 2 tsp salt, but then the dough was too dry and I needed to add way more than the suggested 2 cups of water. I probably used around 3 cups of water total in order to create a real goopy wet dough/batter/mixture. I'd def recommend adding water until the dough is the consistency of slightly thick pancake batter.

Also, I baked mine on a pizza stone. I was hoping that would assist with nice thick crust ( and it did!! Score.). This came out way way yummy! The inside was chewy, flavorful and full of delightful big bubbles, with a thick, chewy crust.  With such yummy bread, dinner just needed to be sandwiches. I decided to roast some eggplant, and use other sandwich fillings like olive salad and roasted red peppers.

Great dinner. I served them with our most favorite side dish: crunchy broccoli salad. I didn't really set out with any recipe in mind, but I'll post what I did this time. This was my type of dinner, slightly indulgent (what's more indulgent than fresh bread??) and hearty, but still full of veggies!

roasted eggplant muffaletta sandwich


1 loaf fresh made ciabatta bread 
1 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
olive oil
roasted red peppers (I used jarred)
muffaletta chopped olive salad mix

-set oven to 425 degrees
-marinade slices of eggplant in olive oil balsamic and spices (i used a garlic herb spice mix) for 1/2 an hour
-roasted eggplant for 10 min, flip then roast for 5 more minutes
-slice bread, slather with olive salad and vegenaise, then stack on veggies!! yum :)

(most amazing) crunchy broccoli salad


2 crowns broccoli, broken into small florets (don't use stem, save for something else! OR ELSE!)
1/4 sweet onion, sliced into thin ribbons
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 cup bacon bits (obviously vegan variety, the store brand around here just happen to be vegan anyway)
vegenaise, mustard, poppy seeds, agave nectar

-mix dressing together (i didn't really measure, 1/2-3/4 c. vegenaise + 2 Tb mustard +1 Tb poppy and  squirt of agave), season with black pepper and salt
-add with everything else (except bacon bits), let sit in fridge for at least 30 min, add bacon bits at last minute so they stay nice and crispy
-WARNING: this stuff is addictive! 

Enjoy :) 

Make the bread! Do it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

baked potato pizza and buffalo tofu nuggets!!!

For our Friday night dinner, I decided to make pizza. For some reason, I can't get enough of potatoes on pizza, so this is a baked potato pizza with onions, sliced potatoes, daiya cheese and bacon bits, yum yum yum! As I was making the pizza, my hubby was very concerned that there wouldn't be enough protein in dinner, I think he was over-hungry and a lil grumpy, but I do love him with all my heart ... so I decided to make him some spicy proteiny nuggets to keep him happy and grump-free.

All in all, this was super yummy and satisfying for a Friday night. It came together quickly and was nice and junk-foody. We thought the only thing that could possibly have made it better was some ranch dressing for dipping, so maybe next time I'll do that. The Buffalo nuggets were very easy, they might become a regular snacky food for us.

oh hello yummy pizza time

Here's what I did:

Baked Potato Pizza
1 package of pizza dough (I usually make dough, but prepared is cheap and super convenient)
1 sweet onion, sauteed with a little olive oil
1 potato, sliced thinly
Daiya Pepperjack "cheese"
Bacon bits (storebrand is vegan around here)

-Preheat pizza stone in oven @ 500 degrees
-Roll out dough, top with onions, then potato, then "cheese."
-Bake on pizza stone until nice and golden... maybe 13 mins?
-Top with bacon bits!

Buffalo Tofu Nuggets

1 block extra firm tofu, drained
Earth Balance
Frank's Red Hot

-Cut tofu into little chunks, I sliced widthwise into 8, then in 1/2 again
-Coat tofu in cornstarch
-Fry in big cast-iron skillet with some earth balance, until all the nuggets are nice and brown
-Put in big bowl and coat with Frank's Red Hot   

Friday, January 13, 2012

eating vegan doesn't have to break the bank

My hubby and I do not have high paying jobs (to say the least…), we work in human services, so we’ll never be rich!  We’ve been talking a lot about budgeting and doing better with our money. One of the things we know that we spend money on is food. Obviously, we take food seriously. We are both vegan and both LOVE yummy food. We’re not the type of people that can eat PB&J for every meal and be happy, we like variety.

We tend to spend money at the grocery on food we like to eat; something being on sale usually isn’t much of a factor as to whether or not we buy it. White pasta, is way cheaper than whole-wheat and there is always some on sale, but… it’s junk food. We buy whole wheat and tend to eat way less than if when we eat white pasta, because it’s real food, not just empty calories. Actually most of the things I put in the cart, I don’t even really look at the price, I just know we like it and it’s real food, so we buy it. The exception would be produce; I tend to choose fruit that is on sale. I do try to pay attention to “the dirty dozen” and buy organic produce when I can.  I would say that pretty much all the rest of the food we buy, we buy because we know it’s healthy, and we know we’ll eat it. We really don’t throw food out in our house, so I know I’m not wasting money. By the time we go grocery shopping each week, our fridge looks pretty sad, because we actually eat everything we buy!

I’m pretty good at coming up with ideas based on what is in the cabinet and fridge. Hmm… we have brown rice, some leftover BBQ kidney beans and some fresh breadcrumbs (that I make from ends of bread that I collect in the freezer)… I’ll make a bean loaf! Yum yum yum. I hear often from others “It’s so expensive to eat vegan!” Well… It can be. If we buy prepared foods (hummus, soups, frozen dinners, vegan ice cream, faux meat, faux cheese) a bunch of nuts and deli olives, yup that can add up quick. So those are the items I’ve been trying to cut back on, in order to be more economical.  But if we buy cheap produce (huge bag of shredded kale for $2.79? yes please!), dried beans and lentils, tofu, tempeh and big bags of rice, we can be nice and frugal and the meals are just as delicious.

My hubby definitely craves “meaty” foods more than I do. With a lil planning and cooking on the weekends, it’s totally possible to have homemade faux meats way cheaper (and yummier) than the store bought ones. We really enjoy the faux meats recipes that I have tried from vegandad’s blog, I like to make up a double batch of sausages and throw most in the freezer for future meals. Chickpea cutlets from the Veganonmicon are pretty amazing and come together quick. I tried to cook a pot of beans every weekend and keep some in the fridge for a variety of recipes, and the rest go in the freezer for future deliciousness.

I’ve also been looking at discount stores (Ocean State Job Lot) for cheap specialty items. I’ve found organic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar in big bottles for 3$ each, also organic cereal for ½ the price of the co-op or grocery store. They even have a full section of Bob’s Red Mill products, including vital wheat gluten (an ingredient in lots of faux meat recipes). One of our favorite meaty items is Tempeh, it’s super versatile and satisfying. We regularly have tempeh bacon marinating the fridge; it takes 5 minutes to put together, is super cheap and only gets more flavorful after a couple days in the fridge. Throw a couple slices in the cast-iron skillet in the morning, cook til crispy; add to some toast, and you gave a quick, super filling and satisfying breakfast sandwich.

We’re definitely not always frugal.. I still can’t resist buying stuffed grape leaves and tabouli salad, especially when I go shopping hungry. But overall.. I think we do a pretty good job, my hubby and me J

Sunday, January 8, 2012

thai lettuce wraps and massaman curry

So.. I made this yummy dinner and I thought I would share with y'all. I have been less than motivated to blog recently. Mostly... when I cook yummy dinners, I just want to eat them and I'm too lazy to take pictures :)

This is a very Thai inspired dinner... authentic? Of course not! The lettuce wraps were a memory from a dinner at PF Changs. I looked on for a recipe.. found this one --> here, but definitely didn't follow it very closely. Here's what I did: (Came out DELICOUS!!!!!)

Thai Lettuce Wrap:


2 packages of mushrooms (white button and porcini)-chopped
1 package tempeh-cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 small chunk ginger- minced
1/2 c. lemongrass broth (2 tb dried lemongrass soaked in hot water, then strained)
good squirt sriracha
2 Tb peanut butter
2 Tb Bragg's- more to taste
1 head Boston lettuce 

-In castiron skillet, med heat, add lemongrass broth, then garlic and ginger. Cook for a couple minutes then add mushrooms and tempeh and other ingredients. Cook until mushrooms are soft and mixture is moist.
-Serve in crispy lettuce leaves. We topped ours with some sprouts for added crunch

massaman curry

Massaman curry is my ABSOLUTE favorite Thai curry to get at restaurants (potatoes, peanuts and tofu? hell yes!). I got an email from VegNews with a homemade version and decided to try it. Here's a link to the --> recipe. It was definitely yummy, but needs some work. My hubby realized that there were no red peppers in the recipe, but there usually are at our favorite Thai restaurant, and I think it would have benefited from some. Since I made this for guests, I doubled the recipe... and ended up added 4 limes worth of juice to it.. The lime was way overwhelming, still tasty curry, but really really tangy. So, I think I'm going to have to tweak this recipe for a perfect at home Massaman curry.

Dinner was enjoyed by all, and the Hubby would like Thai lettuce wraps everyday.