Thursday, February 28, 2008


When we were eating meat we ate tacos all of the time. They are so quick and easy, and most importantly, they are so good!! Rob really likes tacos, and he always loved taco nights. Once we quit eating meat we started eating these lentil tacos. I made them several times when we first stopped eating meat, and I haven't made them since. I was so surprised when I was skimming through my blog the other day, that in all of the time I've been blogging these haven't appeared. Although, I guess getting out of that rut was the point of starting this blog, wasn't it?

I follow the recipe exactly, only I always have to add about 1 1/2 additional cups of water, and therefore I like to bump up the chili powder by about 1 tsp. The lentils just don't seem to get cooked before one measly cup of water is absorbed.

Of course last time we ate these they were topped with lots of cheese, and lots of sour cream. Not so tonight. I topped the tacos with diced onion, tomato, and homemade guacamole. Then I poured a little salsa on top and gave each taco a good squeeze of lime juice. Rob and Mairin wanted cheese on theirs, although, Rob ate 4 or 5 tacos and only had 2 with cheese. Mairin ate 2 tacos and had only 1 with cheese. It's a good start for them anyway.

Rob and I have both agreed that these tacos are WAY better than tacos made with ground beef. And, as I said before, Rob loves tacos, so for him to say they are better than the ground beef version is really saying something. They have all of the flavor and texture of your traditional beef tacos, but none of the grease. They really are good, try them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Current News

Two interesting pieces of news came from The Organic Consumers Association newsletter, Organic Bytes today.

First was news that the EPA is proposing to allow factory farms the right to ignore pollution laws.
We all know how environmentally devastating factory farming is. To allow CAFO's to ignore the standards that other industries must uphold is an outrage. It is unfortunate that creating unnecessary food for Americans is destroying our environment. However, it's unlikely that the factory farming "beast" is going to be eliminated anytime soon, and at the very least, they should be made to uphold environmental safety standards. At a time when our environment is in critical danger, and more and more people are going "green", why on Earth would the EPA want to lower or eliminate the standards for the biggest polluter out there? You can send a comment to the EPA by clicking here.

The second piece of news from the OCA today was this article, reporting a claim by a Kansas cattleman, that offspring from cloned animals has entered the food supply. Maybe for some of you it's not a big deal, but to me, it's scary. I am very thankful that I am not feeding my family, and especially my children food from cloned animals. As far as I know, and I admittedly know very little, there hasn't been a lot of research regarding the safety of cloned animals. The FDA of course has deemed meat from cloned animals safe....but, didn't they also say that milk from cows that were given rBGH was safe? And, haven't many groups now concluded that it is not?

It's important to remember that the FDA is a government agency, and that they are undoubtedly swayed by the big bucks of lobbyists. The government doesn't always have your best interest at heart folks.....and the livestock business doesn't either. The meat and dairy industry do not care about your health, no matter what their commercials may have you believe. It's all about the bottom line to them. I urge any of you that are reading this blog and still eating meat to write to your congress people, and contact the appropriate agencies and tell them that you DO NOT want meat from cloned animals in your food supply, that you do not want to feed your family potentially unsafe food. Insist that they require meat from cloned animals be labeled as such.

Or better yet, stop eating meat!!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

More White Bread!!

What can I say, it was a sandwich kind of day around here! First the egg-less salad sammies for lunch, and now the panini for dinner. And, yet again, my second meal consisting of white bread, both in the same day. Gasp!! This time it was an organic french bread loaf from Whole Foods. It was good....and so worth the overload of bad carbs.

Tonight I changed up our usual panini and made one based on the Dalai Mama's panini. We usually put mozzarella on ours, and since I am trying to go vegan, I thought the Dalai Mama's version sounded like it would be better without cheese than my own version. So, for the panini, I spread one slice of bread with Nayonaise, topped it with halved artichoke hearts, next a layer of roasted red pepper. Then some sliced roma tomato, some baby spinach and a drizzle of olive oil. Finally I seasoned the whole thing with some salt and pepper and put it on the press.

This was delicious. I really really wanted to eat a second one, but knew better than to eat 3 white bread sandwiches in one day!

Along with the sammies we had some sea salt and pepper Kettle Chips. Whole Foods was having a sale on organic broccoli today, so I bought several heads. I steamed some of that as well. And, to finish it off we had some pink Cara Cara oranges. I couldn't find any of the delicious blood oranges we've had for the past 2 weeks, so I opted for Cara Cara's since I've never had them before. They aren't as good as the blood oranges, but they are good.

Egg-less Salad Sandwich

How about a lunch post for a change? Today I made some egg-less salad for eating throughout the week. Egg-less salad tastes just like the non-vegan version I am used to, only the guilt of animal cruelty doesn't come along with it!!

For the salad, I drained one package of firm tofu and crumbled it into a large bowl. To the tofu I added 2 ribs of diced celery, 1 large diced shallot (onion would work too), 2 medium sized diced dill pickles, about 1 Tbs of dijon mustard and enough vegan mayo to make it creamy. Add some salt and pepper to taste and a dash of turmeric to make it yellow and mix it all together, then refrigerate to marry the flavors.

Yes, that is white bread that you see. I know it's so not healthy, but I think egg salad and tuna salad tastes so much better on white bread. And notice that I added some "health" with the spinach leaves you see peeking out of there.

This really is such a delicious sandwich filling, you won't miss the eggs at all. The only thing I might do differently next time I make this is use extra firm tofu instead. The tofu was a bit mushy, and not much like the consistency of eggs. I'd have to try it with extra firm though to know if that would be the fix.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Savory Lentils

Tonight's dinner was Savory French Lentils from ED&BV. Very good.....even the girls liked them, and for Mairin to like lentils, they must be good!! I love french lentils anyway, they hold their shape so nicely and don't turn to mush like most other lentils. They also have a very distinct flavor that other types of lentils don't have. Dreena does this one up right, with a great combination of herbs. Ironically, I didn't have the savory that the recipe calls for, so I subbed in a little extra thyme and a bit of sage. It did the trick.

I served the lentils over some steamed brown rice. Alongside we had steamed carrots, zucchini, and sugar snaps drizzled with ED&BV's Maple Balsamic Sauce. Yummy. Maple Balsamic Sauce is great over vegetables. I did leave out the tamari though, just in case Stella wanted to have a taste.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quick and Easy Repeat

I have to attend a CEU course all weekend , which means getting up at 6am, and not returning home until around 6pm. Not my idea of a pleasant weekend, but something that unfortunately has to be done.

So tonight's dinner was a repeat of ED&BV's Popeye Pasta that I have blogged about before. I think this is a great recipe, it's quick and it's delicious. And an added bonus, it's a great pairing of an iron rich leafy green with the necessary Vitamin C. Just for an added iron boost we had a spinach salad with blood orange vinaigrette to go along with our pasta.

Tonight Mairin ate a surprising amount of pasta and claimed that now she "loves spinach". I will be the happiest mama on Earth if that's the case, but I'm skeptical, and pretty sure that tomorrow she'll be turning her nose up at the leftovers!!

For dessert we finished off our Cherrybrook Kitchen brownies, as there were exactly 4 left since we ate 4 of them last night.

OK, I guess by now you are wondering how I made 8 brownies in a square pan, right?? You got me, there were actually 9. Don't tell my kids, but I ate one of them slathered with peanut butter for breakfast ;)

Anyway, tonight we topped the brownies with ED&BV's Warm Raspberry Sauce. Oh my, was that ever a good idea!! Raspberries and chocolate rock!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Giardino" Burgers

My kids love Curious George. We watch him everyday, sometimes more than once a day. I'm convinced that the creators of Curious George must be vegetarians. On more than one occasion the man with the yellow hat has referenced vegetarian dishes, and on Curious George the Movie, Ted makes reference to the "meatless meatloaf" that is served in the museum cafeteria. There is one episode in particular in which George tries to help Chef Pisghetti make vegetarian burgers for the fire-fighters picnic. Well, in typical George fashion, he of course gets into some mischief and the burgers turn out awful. And, also, in typical George fashion, he explains it all to the man with the yellow hat, and all is made right.

So, Chef Pisghetti's vegetarian burgers are called "Giardino Burgers". When flipping through Vegan Planet last week, I ran across a recipe for Great Grain and Vegetable Burgers, and just knew I had to make my kids "Giardino Burgers".

This was one meal that I've both been looking forward to, and nervous about all week. I knew it would either be a huge success, or a huge flop. The burgers call for brown rice, bulgur, shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, onion, garlic, roasted red pepper, and YIKES, vital wheat gluten. I was really nervous about working with the vital wheat gluten, I've read about it being stringy, and it just reminded me of the dreaded seitan incident.

Well, it turns out, that you make this entire mixture in the food processor, and I didn't have to really deal with the wheat gluten at all. As a matter of fact, there was no stringiness to this burger what so ever. As soon as I whizzed it all up in the processor, I knew it was going to be a hit, the smell of this mixture was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!

I fried the patties in just the tiniest bit of EVOO (only thing I'd do differently is to bake them a bit first to firm up the middles before frying). Then, I topped them with some baby spinach, sliced onions, a red pepper and garlic aioli that I made with some left-over roasted reds. Alongside the burgers I served some julienned sweet potato fries, and some sauteed red chard.

Wow, what an incredible meal. I plan on making up a bunch of these patties and freezing them for lots of quick lunches and dinners. I'm not a fan of any of the commercial veggie burgers on the market, but always want the convenience of them. Problem solved.

If you have Vegan Planet you have to try these burgers ASAP, they will knock your socks off!! Even my picky children loved them.........although I'm sure it helped that they thought they were straight from Chef Pisghetti's recipe!!

With all the raving I've done about the burgers, I almost forgot to mention that for dessert we had some vegan brownies made with Cherrybrook Kitchen's mix. They are some of the best brownies I've had. And, an added bonus, they are allergen free and I don't have to make them from scratch. Thank you Cherrybrook Kitchens!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Tonight I made the enchiladas that I blogged about last remember, the one's that my pictures were so embarrassingly bad I couldn't even post them!! These were the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas from Vegan Planet. Yes, you read that correctly, I said sweet potato. Seems that sweet potatoes have been popping up in all kinds of strange places lately, from chili to quesadillas, and now they appear in enchiladas.

This is the second time in two weeks that we've had this dish, these things are crazy good!! It's a filling of roasted sweet potato, black beans, diced tomatoes, and some sauteed garlic and onion. All that spiced up with some chili powder (and according to the recipe a diced jalapeno, which I've omitted both times, and they've had plenty of spice). You just wrap all that filling up in a tortilla, top it with some salsa (the recipe calls for homemade, but being February there's a lack of fresh produce around, so I just used some jarred salsa), and bake it for about 20 minutes. Did I mention that these are GOOOOD??

The sweet potato is such a unique flavor in a Mexican dish. It adds such a nice depth of flavor that I really can't describe. Until fairly recently I've always thought of sweet potatoes as a "sweet" dish, topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, etc. Over the past few months I've learned that sweet potato adds so much to savory dishes. I expect you'll see the tuber appearing frequently in the cold weather months around here.

Tonight we had our enchiladas served on top of some Spanish style rice I threw together, and topped with some avocado slices. We also had a side of steamed asparagus that had just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on it. For the rice, I just cooked up some brown rice in the rice cooker. When the rice was almost finished I sauteed half a medium onion, and one large clove of garlic in some olive oil. To the veggies I added about 2 tsp chili powder and an equal amount of ground cumin, and heated it up until it was fragrant. Then, I added in the almost cooked rice and sauteed that a bit. Once the rice was starting to brown I added in the juice from the diced tomatoes I used in the enchiladas, about 1 cup of water, and about 1 Tbs of tomato paste. I stirred it all up real good, brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat, covered and simmered until the liquid had evaporated and the rice was tender. This was one of the most delicious Spanish style rice dishes I've had.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

When Mama Eats Alone

If I ate alone every night I wouldn't have much to blog about. Something similar to this veggie plate is about all you would ever see. I LOVE to eat things like this......unfortunately, my family hates them.

Rob had to take the girls to dance class tonight, so he took them to get dinner at Q-doba. I made my way home from yoga and threw together this delicious vegetable plate. I started with a bed of organic baby spinach. The spinach was topped with some chunks of roma tomato, slices of english cucumber, some sliced Haas avocado, and those delicious artichoke hearts. I toasted a whole wheat pita to go along with it, and drizzled it all in some good extra virgin olive oil. The only thing this meal was missing was a good dollop of some garlic hummus (I unfortunately forgot to thaw some chickpeas this afternoon......maybe tomorrow?!)

You may have noticed I've been absent from this blog for kitchen has been undergoing a bit of a makeover, and I just really haven't felt like cooking in it, what with half a countertop and all, it's kind of hard to get in the mood to create delicious meals. What I have cooked have been repeats, or, gasp, spaghetti with sauce from a jar (although I did send some spinach through the food processor and sneak it into the sauce, and to my surprise, the girls were none the wiser). Anyway, aside from getting some new pictures on the walls, my kitchen is finished, and I'll be back to cooking in short order.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pizza Puttanesca

OK, so I knew convincing Rob that pizza without cheese was good wasn't going to be easy, so I thought this spicy, bold sauce might be a good start. I got the idea for pizza puttanesca from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet. However, I didn't really follow her recipe.

You've seen many of my pizza posts where I've blogged about various ways I've made the dough. So, you know that typically I used a combo of all purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. Today, I went to the kitchen to get the dough started, only to find that I have no all purpose flour and no white whole wheat flour (which typically can be subbed 1:1 in any recipe). So, with only whole wheat flour on hand, I am not quite sure what to do. I know whole wheat can't be subbed 1:1 for all purpose flour, but I don't know what the ratios are, and I am famously bad at conducting internet searches that actually result in finding what I'm looking for.

Well, it looked like my first try at vegan pizza was going to be ruined before I even started. As a last ditch effort I logged on to MotheringDotCommune to ask for advice. Lo and behold, within minutes, two nice mamas had posted their recipes for whole wheat pizza dough, which was basically this, with some olive oil added in. Vegan pizza night was saved!!

So, on to the, I know puttanesca sauce is supposed to have anchovies. Well, this is a vegetarian/vegan pizza, so of course, there are no anchovies, and therefore, this isn't REALLY puttanesca sauce, but, whatever.

For the sauce, I sauted 4 cloves of garlic and about 1/4 cup of onion in some olive oil. I then added in 2 palmfuls of drained capers. To that I added 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil, and one 14 oz can each of black olives and green olives, sliced (again, yes, I know that puttanesca sauce calls for fancy shmancy olives, but my grocery budget doesn't call for them, kwim??). Add a pinch of salt, some fresh ground pepper, and about 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 10-15 minutes.

To prepare the pizza, roll out the dough and bake for about 5 minutes on a pizza stone that has been sprinkled with cornmeal, preheated in a 450 degree oven. Remove the partially baked crust, top with the sauce, then return to oven until crust is nicely browned and sauce is hot and bubbly.

All I can say is YYYUUUMMMM!! This pizza was fabulous. The kids did not like it (but I wasn't surprised). Rob liked it, he really liked the sauce, but he did comment that "it's missing something.....maybe some cheese??!!" I think his comment was 50% smart-ass, 50% serious. But, all in all, I think he was impressed and satisfied with vegan pizza. I really want to try Dreena's Thai pizza next, but it involves peanut sauce, so it'll have to wait until I can find someone to keep Stella for the night.

Last night we had Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas from Vegan Planet. Unfortunately, my photos were embarassingly bad, so I opted to spare you (and myself). The enchiladas are incredible. Rob was skeptical, but he liked them. I'll be making them again really soon, and I'll attempt to get some better pictures for you then.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Golden Tempeh Curry

Tonight I tried the Golden Tempeh Curry from the March issue of Vegetarian Times. This was the first time I've cooked with or eaten tempeh, and it may be the last. I much prefer tofu to tempeh. I just didn't like the mouth feel of the tempeh, it was too.....I don't know.....too much like meat maybe?? I did buy another pack of tempeh to make sushi with this weekend, so I guess I'll at least give it one more go.

Anyway, the curry recipe was just ok. I think it's a really good start, but it definately needs some tweaking. For starters, next time I will replace the tempeh with some fried tofu. Also, this curry was a bit lacking in the heat department (but admittedly, we like our curries HOT), so I will definitely be adding some more heat next time. This recipe calls for pineapple juice, coconut milk, the tempeh of course, some stir-fried onions and yellow pepper, and some diced mango. The mango and pineapple juice were a wonderful, sweet addition. The recipe also calls for a garnish of chives. I didn't really dig the chives on a curry, next time I will garnish with either cilantro or basil.

Taco Salad

Last night was a busy night for us, we had classes to teach, meetings to attend, and various other things going on. So, I knew in advance I'd need to prepare something quick and easy for dinner, as it was going to be late before we actually made it home. Rob brought the girls home when he got off work and made quesadillas for them before taking them to the sitter. He and I attended our various functions and arrived home with the girls about 8:00.

By that time the girls were asking for snacks again, and Rob and I were starving. So, we fixed the girls up with some snacks and set forth making this taco salad. Really a very simple method. I used prewashed and chopped bagged romaine salad mix, surrounded by lightly salted tortilla chips. I topped the lettuce with 1/2 can each of Amy's spicy vegetarian chili. On top of that I put on some sliced black olives, diced onion, and avocado slices. I gave it all a good squeeze of lime juice and topped it off with a few spoonfuls of medium salsa. I served it with a wedge of lime for an extra drizzle.

In the past we would have loaded this salad with cheese and sour cream. It was very delicious without the dairy products!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Banana Bread

For weeks the girls have been eating bananas like they are going out of style. I haven't been able to keep enough bananas in the house. So, last week, I bought 16 bananas!! I went to the store Saturday and bought 10 more, and when I got home to put them away I see that our banana consumption has slowed, and I have 4 bananas sitting in the fruit bowl that are on their last leg.

What to do with almost cashed bananas???? Banana bread of course. So, I searched the web today for a vegan version, and found this on the PPK. I altered the recipe slightly, leaving out about 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of margarine. I can't imagine this bread would have been any better with the extra fat. What I love most about this bread is that the soft, moist inside is surrounded by this hard, crunchy, sweet crust......delicious.

Vegan Banana Bread

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup margarine, softened

1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup + 2 TBS vanilla rice milk, mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil bottom of a bread pan. Cream together sugars, margarine, and applesauce. Add in flour, baking soda, spices and salt and mix to combine. Pour in rice milk mixture and continue mixing until batter forms. Finally add in banana and mix to combine well. Pour inot pan and bake for 1 hour. Let cool for 30 minutes or so before removing from pan. Best served warm, but darn good at room temperature too.

I encourage everyone to try this bread. And more importantly to try making all of your goodies free of eggs and milk. You will be surprised at how delicious vegan treats can be!

My Sweet Veggie Girls

No new food to blog about yet this morning.....we were running late getting Mairin to school, and it was Weetabix and banana's for breakfast. And of course, a nice big cup of joe with Silk creamer (for mommy).

I just wanted to share a few "proud of my veggie girls" moments. The first moment came last week when a friend was watching the girls for me, and as a treat was going to get the kids Happy Meals for dinner. Mairin proudly proclaimed that she didn't want a Happy Meal because she was vegetarian!!

The second moment came today when I dropped Mairin off for school. Every morning they have a question that they must answer by printing their name in the appropriate column, and this is how they take attendence, as well as practice spelling their names. So, we get to school this morning and I look at the question and kind of chuckle to myself wondering how Mairin will answer. Then I read her the question: "Which do you like best........bacon or sausage". She looked at me, then she looked at the teacher, then she said "where do I put my name, I'm a vegetarian and I don't eat bacon or sausage". The teacher replied "well, good for you, we'll make a special spot just for you".

We of course haven't had any proud veggie moments with Stella just yet, as she's not really big enough to voice her opinion, and we more or less make her food choices for her. However, I'm sure we'll have MANY proud veggie moments with her, as she's had the advantage of being veg for almost all of her life.

It's so heartwarming to see your children reflecting your values, and to see them clearly making the difficult decision to be different (as I'm sure it was hard for her to turn down a Happy Meal when other kids were eating them, just as it was no doubt hard to have to be the only kiddo who needed a "special" spot on the attendence chart). I made the decision that I wasn't going to force my family to be veg (although, since I do the cooking they don't get much choice at home), and I can't tell you how proud I am to see that all of them have followed my lead and remained veg outside the home as well.......even Rob's given up chicken at restaurants.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Collard Wraps

Inspired by the V-con kick over at Chez Mama, I decided to cook up these yummy black eyed pea-collard green wraps tonight. These are really just my interpretation of the recipe, as I don't actually own the cookbook. The Dalai Mama gave me her version of the recipe and I just kind of winged it from there.

For my wraps. I boiled the 5 largest collard leaves I had for about 10 minutes, until they were soft but still a nice bright green. Then I drained them and set them aside to cool. In a large skillet I sauted one diced onion, one minced shallot, and two cloves of minced garlic, and 8 oz of sliced crimini mushrooms. Once that was softened I added in about 2 cups of cooked black eyed peas and about 2 cups of chopped collard greens. Then, I added about 1.5 cups of barbeque sauce and heated it through. Once the mixture was heated I put about 1/4 cup of the black eyed pea mixture in the center of one of the boiled collard leaves and rolled it up like a burrito. I lined them all in a baking dish, drizzled about another 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce on top and baked them for about 30 minutes at 350.

These collard wraps are REALLY, REALLY good. Rob has always said that he does not like black eyed peas.......he ate seconds of these collard wraps!!

I made the coffee barbeque sauce from the recipe in the March issue of Vegetarian Times. However, knowing that I was serving these at dinner time, I omitted the coffee and used 1/2 of water instead. This sauce has a very strong flavor, and I can't imagine using 1/2 cup of coffee in it, I think it was great the way it was.

To go alongside the collard wraps I made the "Less Dressed Potato Salad with Fennel and Chives" from Vegan Planet. It was so good, and so easy to make. I omitted the olives and instead used a handful of rinsed capers. This was a recipe I was taste testing for our Easter meal, and it definitely made the cut!! In addition to the potato salad we also had some of the vegan cornbread I've blogged about a few times before.

And, finally, for dessert, I made Non Dairy "plain vanilla" Ice Cream, also from Vegan Planet. The recipe calls for soy milk, but we drink rice milk, so that's what I used.......I'm dubbing this treat "rice cream". I crushed some cinnamon graham sticks and sprinkled on top......YUM!! The ice cream needs a little longer to set than I anticipated and so ours was actually more like a creamy vanilla slush, but still very good.

It was so nice to actually be in the kitchen cooking dinner again. Hopefully this week will be full of nice meals to share with you all!

Sunday Breakfast

For what seems like forever, we've had pancakes for breakfast on Sunday mornings. It's something Rob started doing for me when I was pregnant with Mairin, and it's more or less continued until this day, only now I cook the pancakes.

This morning Mairin requested waffles instead of pancakes. I like waffles, so I thought I would humor her and make some waffles instead. I had some frozen blueberries, and I love blueberry waffles, so it seemed like a good change from our usual Sunday morning breakfast. I don't usually make the pancakes from scratch, I just use a mix, add in some rice milk and oil and cook them up. However, I'm going to have to find a good recipe, because the mix I've been using has dried milk in it, so they aren't quite dairy free.

We like to top our pancakes with Grade B pure maple syrup. On the side we had some vegan sausage and some blood oranges. The blood oranges at WFM are out of this world right now, I've been eating a lot of them. Although, you wouldn't know I'd been eating some extra Vitamin C by the killer cold I have at the moment.....uuugh!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas

Wow, it's been quite a while since I've posted a meal!! Rob's been out of town all this week and things have been CRAAAZZZYYY!! I did cook a few meals before he left. On Sunday we had the Bean and Corn Tortilla Lasagna from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Then, on Monday, we had Dreena's Monkey Minestrone, also from ED&BV (unfortunately I do not have any good pictures to share with you). Rob left Tuesday and that's pretty much where the cooking ended!! I did throw together a huge pot of No Chicken Noodle Soup made with alphabet pasta, and the girls and I ate it all week long.

We still have soup left, but I think it's going to have to go the freezer, because we just can't eat anymore soup!! I didn't have a lot in the house because it's been almost a week since I've shopped, and I didn't get much to begin with knowing Rob would be gone. So, I threw together some quesadillas (we always have tortillas on hand). I'm trying to transition to a vegan diet, so I really didn't want cheese on my quesadilla, although I did use cheese for the girls (as much as I would like to stop all animal product, Mairin's not quite ready to accept sweet potato on her quesadilla, so she had sweet potatoes on the side).

For the quesadillas I peeled, diced, and roasted one medium sweet potato. After the potato had roasted I sauted a bit of onion and garlic then added in a few handfuls of baby spinach to let it wilt. I mashed the sweet potato, spread it on one side of the tortilla, layered on the spinach saute, the sprinkled on a bit of cumin, chili powder and just a touch of allspice. I topped it with another tortilla and grilled it in the panini press until the tortilla was golden brown.

We ate our quesadillas with some guacamole and tortilla chips on the side. I had also planned to make some vanilla "rice" cream for dessert, but Stella's a bit under the weather today and I just didn't get time to make it and let it set up, so we'll be having that as a dessert later in the weekend. Instead, I thawed some frozen mango pieces and we ate those as dessert.

I got a new cookbook this week, so look for some new recipes coming soon!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pantry Pasta Sauce

It should have been grocery shopping day, but I just ran out of time to do it today. So, I had to throw together dinner tonight from what was left in my mostly bare cupboards. Because we'd been at a birthday party earlier in the day and had some snacks and cake, we really weren't all that hungry, so luckily I didn't have to find a big hearty meal to make.

I always have pasta on hand, and typically a large stock of various forms of canned tomatoes, so I decided to throw together a pasta sauce. I started by sauteing some onion and garlic. When that was begining to soften I threw in a can of artichoke hearts that I had drained and chopped, and a palmful of capers. I added some salt and pepper, and a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil. I simmered that while the pasta cooked and at the last minute added in a handful of frozen spinach to thaw and heat through. After draining the pasta I tossed it in the sauce and heated it all through. With the pasta I served some sliced french bread topped with pre-made basil pesto concentrate.

(Please forgive any spelling errors. For some strange reason I can't get the spell checker to's not been working for about the last 3 or 4 posts I've made. Anyone else had this problem with blogger?? I'd like to get it fixed, because I'm getting really tired of proof reading over and over and STILL having spelling errors!!)

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!

Yesterday was my friend Shannon's baby boy's first birthday. A few weeks ago they got the unfortunate news that he has some food allergies. I know from experience how stressful and irritating food allergies can be, and I truly feel for anyone that has to deal with them. It turns out that his allergies are to eggs and beet sugar. With the beet sugar allergy, if something's ingredients include sugar, and it doesn't specify "cane sugar" then you must assume it's beet sugar, and avoid it. So, with eggs out, and with unknown sources of sugar out, that pretty much means any cake from a bakery is out. So, knowing all of the wonderful things I know about vegan baking, and knowing that I only buy cane sugar, I volunteered to bake the little sweetie a birthday cake.

Now, I'm not much of a baker and even less of a cake decorator. So, my initial plan was a plain sheet cake with plain icing. Then, I had the idea of making cupcakes instead. Well, that all seemed so incredibly boring for a baby's first birthday cake. So, I decided to put the two together and make a cake in the shape of a lego. Brilliant, I know!!

The cake I decided on was Dreena's vanilla cake (I don't remember the real name of it) from ED&BV. It's a very easy cake consisting of flour, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, applesauce, oil and soymilk (but I subbed rice milk). I baked it in a 9x9 square pan, instead of the 2 round pans suggested and it took significantly longer than directed to bake. I also made 4 cupcakes to use as the "knobs" on the lego.

For the icing I used a simple uncooked, egg free buttercream recipe that I got from The icing wasn't vegan, I used real butter. I can't use Earth Balance because of our soy elimination. For the yellow coloring I added 1/2 tsp. of turmeric powder. The turmeric gave the icing a very interesting, gingery flavor.

I iced some extra cupcakes and let my girls sample them before we went to the party, and they loved them. Stella got to share cake with baby boy since she can't have eggs either. I think she ate more of his birthday cake than he did!!