Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lentil tostadas, mac and cheese

Lentil Tostadas with Pico de gallo
These are one of my favorite go to meals when I need something quick. I almost always have cooked lentils on hand, so all I had to do was make some pico. This pico had tomatoes, red onions, cilatnro, pickled jalapeno, lime juice and some of the habanero sauce.
I used my cast iron skillet and corn tortillas sprayed with cooking spray, crisped them up then topped them with the warm lentil/pico mixture. Just before serving, I added avocado and more pico. The zukes and summer squash were steamed and sprinkled with sea salt.

Mac and Cheese

I used low carb macaroni for this. Sometimes I like to use the low carb stuff because it has such a high protein content and a serving size fills me up. I have a tendency to want to overeat pasta, even whole wheat pasta. This low carb pasta had soy flour and wheat gluten flour in it and had 16 grams of protein per cooked cup of pasta. The "Cheese" sauce was based on a mixture of recipes I've read, I just threw it all together in my vitamix. I used 2 cups of plain, homemade soymilk, a handful of cashews, a whole roasted red pepper, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, a spoonful of miso, sea salt, and about 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast. I blended it for around 3 minutes and poured it over the hot pasta along with a couple of tbsp of the Light Smart Balance.. (That is vegan, right?? The store was out of Earth Balance.) It was delicious. Hit the spot.

I also made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.. no pic though, because we lost power last night for around 8 hours and we had to eat it all so it wouldn't melt in the freezer lol.. It was absolutely delicious..... but very fattening due to the cashews I used. I didn't follow a recipe, but remembered hearing people talk about cashew ice cream. I used 4 cups of homemade soymilk. This had stevia and vanilla flavoring in it. I added around a little less than 2 cups of cashews.. (told ya it was fattening!), 2 capfuls of mint extract, stevia and 1/8 tsp of xantham gum and blended it in the vitamix for at least 3 minutes. I chilled that for 3 hours and put it in the ice cream maker and added dark chocolate chunks during the last 5 minutes. (as far as I can tell, Baker's brand of dark chocolate chunks are vegan..well, they have sugar in them, but I'm trying to do the best I can!).. everyone was very impressed... and my husband said he didn't even want to try it. He said that almost sugar free, vegan, cashew ice cream was something he didn't need to even think about, let alone try.. but he did and he liked it. My next ice cream experiment will be Cherry Garcia. I want to find a way to make it rich and creamy without that amount of cashews though. I'm thinking silken tofu, xantham gum and maybe 1/2 of cashews. My ice cream maker makes 1.5 quarts. The stevia works very well, so I don't have to worry about replacing the sugar.

We had a pretty big storm last night. A huge tree in our neighborhood came down on a home and crushed it along with two cars. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I feel so bad for the people who had so much damage to their home.

My oldest son is home! I'm so glad he's here. Now my younger son is gone until Tuesday, camping with a bunch of friends. I am very uneasy about this, but you have to let go, ya know? He's 13... he'll be having Air Soft Wars in the woods (Can you believe I allow my children to have Air Soft Guns? oy.. I used to say they'd never have ANY sort of toy gun.. and now they have these.. again.. it's about letting go and not making a huge deal out of something.)... the thing that scares me the most though, is that he'll be riding on dirt bikes and 4 wheelers... I trust the people he's with to make sure they stay safe, but it's hard to trust others with your children, especially doing things like this.

**In case you don't know what Air Soft Guns are, they are similar to BB guns, but with small, plastic pellets that won't do damage like BB's will. I am searching for biodegradable pellets... do any of you know where I can buy them? It's all the rage with boys right now.. I've been shot with one and they smart a little, but don't damage like a BB does. Eye protection is required.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stray dog survives gas chamber

Stray Dog Survives Euthanasia Chamber

You always hear cats have nine lives, but a Hinesville dog is starting on her second.

Animal Control was putting her and three other dogs down, but after 30 minutes in the gas chamber, she still survived.

People who run the Liberty County Humane Shelter say they're not sure how, but they're hoping her story can serve as a catalyst for shutting down the gas chamber for good.

Watching her tail wag Friday afternoon you would never guess what horror this happy-looking dog had gone through just a day earlier.

Deborah Palpal-Latoc, with LCHS, says "It will never leave me. I have had nightmares and don't think I'll ever forget this as long as I live."

Palpal-latoc saw first hand. When a chamber filled with carbon dioxide failed to kill the two year old dog, she helped pull her out of the cage and get her to a veterinarian.

"the dog above her -- it's bodily fluids were dripping all over her," recalls Palpal-Latoc with tears in her eyes. "And she was cowering and scared and foaming at the mouth and trying to get out."

Now the dog, who's since been named "Amazing Grace," is serving as an example.

People at the humane shelter say gas simply isn't a humane way to euthanize stray dogs.

"It is very hard. I would never do it again," says Wendy Thompson, who worked as an animal control officer for three months.

She says long before Amazing Grace showed up, she probably put several hundred dogs and cats to death in the same cages: "Having to put an animal down, I actually did cry several times. I had to walk off and do what I need to do, get through it."

The humane shelter's been fighting gas for years -- and thinks that with Amazing Grace's help -- they may have finally won. They've been told that Animal Control will be moving to lethal injection next week.

A lot of people probably would like to adopt Amazing Grace, but she's already been spoken for.

Workers at the humane shelter say instead, folks should try and save a different animal instead.

WTOC talked with one person at animal control, but did not hear back from a manager to get official word on if they're shutting down the CO2 chamber or not.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,

I am so sick.. so sad... I can't believe that it is acceptable to use GAS to "euthanize" dogs.. (or any animal, I'm sure they do it to cats too)... How can anyone do this? How is this legal, OK? We have to figure out a way to stop this.

Could you do this to her?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

not much to say... I'm getting on my own nerves

I feel so aggravated.... I just can't get comfortable for any length of time. Many of you commented and said that I cooked so much .... but it was only because I can not sit still for any length of time.. because sitting down, "relaxing" and lying down hurts more than standing up... and if you have to stand, then at least doing something helps. Ya know what I mean?

Several of you asked about the mock cream cheese... basically it's 1/2 block of firm tofu, 1 handful of cashews, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 tbsp sweetner, 3 scallions and some green olives. I puree the mixutre in a food processor for several minutes, until totally smooth... and then chill for 24 hours before eating. I actually like to keep it in a Better Than Cream Cheese Container.. it makes it seem more real. Forgive the nasty color. If you want a veggie like cream cheese, add roasted red pepper, stir in the scallions and green olives. Yum!

I don't have a lot to say.. we've been eating leftovers... I've been irritated... I can't wait to feel back to normal..

I will be shocked if my Tempeh actually matures. If I don't start seeing a major change by tomorrow, then I will throw the batch out and start again, this time with the hulled soybeans. I'm pretty sure my Okara was too wet.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I had a bad fall on Sunday morning.. I was taking my dog out to do her business and it was raining. I had flip flops on and fell down the outside stairs. I litereally could not get up.. but fortunately my lovely dog alerted my son and husband and they came and helped me. She's such a great dog. I have a huge bruise on my right bum... and yesterday actually thought I had cracked a rib, but it's much better today. I have not been able to sleep because of the pain.. but it does seem to be letting up just a bit today... so there is hope!

I've been managing to do some cooking.... because I can't stay comfortable in one position for long.. everytime I have to get up, I cook and clean the kitchen. I'm glad I had a stocked fridge though... it has made life easier. Sunday I did nothing, yesterday I made some great mock cream cheese, hummus, more bread, salad and shredded cabbage. I started some sprouts last night and soaked some soybeans for milk/yogurt/okara... This morning I made 3 batches of soymilk (pure soymilk this time) and turned 1 quart into yogurt, and have the rest chilling in the fridge... I saved the Okara to use for my first homemade batch of tempeh! That is in my oven right now. I have no idea if it will take or not.. I don't have a thermometer. I hope that it does take though because okara will be much easier to use for tempeh than the whole soybeans and the de-hulling process and all that. oy.. We'll know by Friday if it took. .. I fried up the okara bacon burgers.. they are so good. I love them. Oh.. and yesterday I made some pina coloda sorbet (made from homemade soymilk, frozen pineapple, cococnut extract, stevia, lemon juice and frozen bananas.. blended it in the vitamix then put it in the ice cream maker)..

back today.. I prepped 2 quarts of refrigerator pickles.. one with brussel sprouts, one wiht cukes. Both with lots of garlic, onions, spices and dried red pepper flakes. I am going to pickle some jalapenos next.
I also finally rehydrated some "chicken" tenders that have been sitting in my pantry forever.. I konw I won't like them, but my youngest son and husband did.. I marinated them and then fried them in cast iron and coated them in wing sauce, garlic powder, pepper and earth balance.. I decided to use the rest of the seitan that way too... hopefully, they'll eat it up.. I'll probably use some on a salad.. I could maybe stomach it that way. I am still not a fan of seitan or many fake meats. I like fake bacon.. and my homemade bean or tofu or nutburgers, but I just don't like the texture of meat.
I steamed 3 lbs of broccoli, 1 lb of green beans and 1 lb of snow peas and topped it with mustard vinaigrette.
Basically, I did all of this while watching TV... I had to rest a bit on the couch, but couldn't stay on my left side forever, so I'd get up and putter around for 20 minutes and when that got uncomfortable, I'd sit down.. I spent many hours like this...
I hope I feel better soon... and I really hope I can get some sleep tonight.

I went to see my cranial sacral lady today... and I know she has done some good.

My oldest son has been gone for a week and I'm really starting to miss him. He'll be home either Thursday or Friday. I can't wait to see him!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Habanero Sauce

Habanero Pepper
Vicki and a few other people a while back asked me if I would post my Habanero Sauce recipe, so here it is. First, as a disclaimer, these are HOT. Very, very hot! If you are sensitive, please wear gloves and be very aware of the surfaces they touch. Do not cook this in a cast iron or another reactive plan due to the high acidic content and the fact that the habanero will get into the pan and the heat will remain. The same goes for the cutting board, knife and sponge or rag you use to wipe up. After cutting these, I wash everything and then rub it down with a baking soda paste. I also rub the baking soda into my hands.
OK, onto the recipe:
Habanero Sauce
yield 24-32 oz
7 Habaneros, seeded and stems removed, cut in half
1 large purple onion
1 large red bell pepper
3 small to medium carrots
3 large garlic cloves
about 1 tsp sea salt
about 1/4-1/2 tsp KAL STEVIA or 1/4-1/2 cup sweetner or your chioice
1.5 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
tbsp or two of vegetable oil
Cut everything into chunks and saute over medium heat until soft. Add the vinegar and water and bring to a boil for at least 10 minutes. I cover it at this point.

Habanero mixture cooking

When the veggies are soft, add them to the blender. You can either add them hot and be careful by putting a towel over the top of your blender or you can wait until the mixture has cooled. I ususally just add it hot. Blend until totally smooth, then pour into glass containers and let it come to room temperature on the counter.

Finished Sauce

At this point, put the top on and put it in the fridge. I use the plastic mason jar caps. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, but I usually make a very large batch and freeze the cooled sauce in ice-cube trays. This is very hot, a tsp or so will be more than enough for most people. I'm weird, so I can eat large amounts of it. If you want a delicious sauce to serve over fries or sweet potato fries add some strawberries to it. YUMO! The ice cube portion is perfect to add to a pound of black beans or rice or other meals. I also like to add one when I make tomato based salsa. This mixed with avocado is out of this world.

I did some big batch cooking yesterday. I didn't take pics at the time, but here's a pic of my fridge full of all the goods. On the top shelf there is mashed potatoes, black bean/tvp/cilantro mixture, steamed broccoli and greens beans tossed with mustard vinagrette, Whole wheat pasta with spinach and crumbled tofu tossed in a sauce made out of coconut milk, garlic, ginger, cilantro, siracha, kafir lime leaf, lime juice and a little bit of sesame oil, bread, soymilk, KOOLAID (my dirty little secret, I make this for my kids , their friends and my husband, but I use KAL STEVIA.) The middle shelf has a sauted spinach, tofu salad and various fruits/tofu and tortillas, the third shelf has okara bacon burger mix, fried rice with seitan and veggies, unprepped/cooked veg and yes, a GALLON of Vegenaise. My local health food sells it that way for 16 bucks and it keeps for 6 months after opening. Then I re-use the container.

Should I feel weird about the fact that I took a picture of my contents of my fridge and posted them on the internet? lol

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Okara Crab Cakes, Wonder bread dissed

Seitan, pepper and onion tortilla bake
This little casserole turned out great. I sauted seitan with poblano peppers, red onions, garlic, cumin, taco seasoning and finished it off with fresh garlic and homemade salsa. I used 6 corn tortillas and made two layers of the filling/salsa/cashew cheese and topped it off with extra cashew cheese, pickled jalapenos, red onion and lots of fresh cilantro. I served it with tofu sour cream, more salsa and avocado slices. I have to say, I am impressed with how well the cashew cheese worked. It really hit the flavor notes of real cheese and I felt just as satisfied with this as I do with my old tortilla bake.
Okara crabcake with roasted asparagus

Okara crabcake lettuce wrap

The other day, I was reading Fat Free Vegan's blog and was excited to see a recipe for Okara Crab Cakes. I had all the ingredients and whipped up a batch. I followed the recipe pretty close, but sub'd zukes for green pepper, added garlic, onion powder and Louisiana Hot Sauce and a handful of nori shreds instead of dulse powder. Delicious!! I made a tartar sauce out of silken tofu, capers, sweet pepper relish, lemon juice, lemon zest and onion powder. Thanks, Susan for a great recipe!
An interesting thing happened today. My kids have often complained that they never get to eat white bread, they want white bread, they are so deprived, yadda yadda yadda. Well, the other day I decided to buy them their coveted junk when I saw some "white wheat bread".. I knew it was pure crap, but you have to throw them a bone now and then so it doesn't become a power struggle. (They've been eating a lot of my homemade bread and not complaining).. well, first of all, my husband was shocked and said that bread was gross and he couldn't believe I bought it. Today I made my son a sandiwch (Actually two sandwiches) on it and he couldn't believe it either. He said that it was gross and he hated it and please, don't ever buy it again. He said it felt like he was eating something really low quality. He actually used those words! Then he said, "I wish we had whole wheat bread, do I have to finish this? " I was please to say, "No Way!"
I took the fillings out of his sandwiches and made him one on healthy bread and he said, "Thanks Mom, this is so much better."
Take that Wonder Bread!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I just kind of got.... distracted

Can anyone guess where that title is from?

So, wicked hot here, but I didn't let it stop me. I didn't complete my list, but that's OK. I got enough done to be happy and will do more tomorrow. I got a little distracted though, and ended up making several things not on the list. I couldn't help myself! I've been wanting to try Isa's Punk Rock Chick Pea Gravy for a long time, but never got around to it until today. I almost followed the recipe, only adding more corriander (By accident) than it called for and adding some fresh sage. Let me tell you, DO NOT PASS GO, MAKE IT NOW! Delicious. Both my oldest boy and I loved it. I plan to make this a staple.

Punk Rock Gravy, brown rice, spicy tofu stir fry, kale

I served it over brown rice. The tofu dish was scallions, garlic, ginger, siracha, tofu and zukes. Hot and spicy. The kale was sauted and charred a little bit with garlic, onion, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.

simple, basic quesadilla

My husband and yougest son had quesadillas for lunch. I worked at a vegetarian restaurant years ago, and these were our biggest sellers. They are sooo easy to make and really good. If you want to be extremely naughty you can fry these up in a little earth balance, but they work well with nothing at all in a cast iron skillet. The great things about quesadillas is you can easily make them as healthy as you want... but back to the basic recipe. In the restaurant we used refried beans, cheese, picante sauce and avocado. That's it. It is delicious with tofu or soycheese. I'm fond of it with some cashew cheese spread on thinly. My all time favorite filling is my lime infused black beans, lots of cilantro and homemade habanero sauce. YUM!

For breakfast today, I had a huge spinach salad with pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, red onions, cukes, tomatoes and mustard vinaigrette. I love starting my day off with salad. I feel the best that way (in the summer). I am thinking of making a kidney bean, pumpkin seed type hummus thingy.. I love those two flavors together. It probably won't be the most attractive hummus, but I think it will be good. I'm going to play around with the recipe a bit and if it's good, I'll post it.

So, I've been doing Bikram's Yoga (at home) for the past week. I started a yoga blog here too.

Ok, so I prepped all the greens, cleaned the fridge, cooked the kale and the chickpea gravy, brown rice, sliced up the watermelon, attempted some Okara burgers (they sucked, so I threw them away and threw the mixture out after 3 burgers were cooked.. I was NOT going to have a repeat of the other day!).. I used the funky ruined salad dressing as a binder and it was just nasty, so I dumped the almost 64 oz of FUNK down the disposal. I made more soymilk (obviously because that's where I got the Okara).. then cut up a bunch of raw veggies to have around for snacks, cleaned out my freezer, made some veggie burger mix (haven't fried up the burgers yet), made some tvp sausages, cut up the rest of the homemade bread and put it in the freezer so it won't spoil.. and that's it. I'm done for the day.

Did I mention that I've been up since 2:30am? I have horrific insomnia... it's been really bad the last 3 nights. I stayed in bed til 5, but watched TV around 4am. I hope I can sleep tonight.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I have work to do, but I'm not doing it!

I must get in cooking mode again... it's really really hot and humid (at least for New Hampshire) and right now we don't have A/C downstairs.. I wonder when my husband will install it? We have been eating sandiwches and dips and smoothies and salads.. It's supposed to be hot for the next week or so, and I have lots of food that needs to be prepped.
I need to make a menu so I can use the huge amount of food in my fridge.

To do list:
  1. Clean the fridge
  2. Wash and prep all greens and cilatnro/parsely for storage
  3. Make Spinach Artichoke dip
  4. Make soy and seitan "turkey" (I'm actually thinking about setting my crockpot outside and letting it cook there)
  5. Make a big pot of brown rice
  6. Make salad dressing
  7. Make tofu salad
  8. Make chickpea salad
  9. Make cashew cheese
  10. Cut up huge watermelon
  11. Make more soymilk
  12. Cook a pot of lentils
  13. Cook a pot of garbonzo beans
  14. Grind chickpeas into flour
  15. Make 7 layer mexican type dip
  16. Make hummus and tabouli
  17. Grill Crostini Croutons
  18. Sprout mung beans, alfalfa, mustard seeds, adzukin beans and broccoli seeds
  19. Make tahini
  20. Make essiac tea and DRINK IT
  21. Make sausage patttes
  22. Make veggie burgers
  23. Make Salsa

OK... so that's a lot and obviously it won't get done in one day.. but I'd like to have it done by Wednesday.. The most important thing is to clean the fridge and prep the greens before they get funky. I have huge bunches of kale, romaine, green leaf lettuce, parsely and cilantro. I'd like to hold off any grocery shopping for the family until Friday, which will be do-able.. My oldest son is going to NY to visit his friend for 10 days on Tuesday, so I will send a bunch of packaged type food with him. (I'm sure they have no idea what to feed him, they are big time junk food and meat eaters) I'm thinking that refried beans, tortillas, salsa, vegetarian baked beans, annie's mac and cheese, canned chickpeas, tofu, veggie hot dogs, cheese and avocados, fruit and hopefully they will provide veggies for him.. oh.. he also loved the Big Soup cups... so I'll send those as well.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rare political rant.. vegan related

I suck... I have not done hardly any cooking the last two days. It was cool yesterday, so I made bread... but other than that.. nada.

We have pasta leftover and tons of salad.... and raw veggies and I've made chickpea "tuna" spread and tofu salad. It's really freaken hot today. The kids and husband had a package of smart dogs for lunch. I had Kashi Go Lean (I'm aware it has honey in it... but it's better to eat something you have than throw it away.. plus, honey just doesn't move me like milk or cheese), homemade soymilk and blueberries for bfast... I'm not hungry. It's too hot. I did yoga (this is a new development, I also started a yoga blog here) and now I'm chilling out in the A/C for the first time this summer. I had my husband put it in my office. It is so nice. I'm trying not to feel guilty... which is nuts because I know it's hot (over 90).. I just wanted to go the summer without A/C to not waste energy... not for financial reasons.. just because I think it's a huge drain on natural resources...

That being said, I am onto a rare political rant...

disclaimer: There will be foul language... and strong political opinions... if you do not wish to hear this, then I suggest clicking your BACK button....


so... I HATE this pResident... I despise him. I think HE is the Axis of Evil. He has done such harm to this world... I don't even know where to begin. Iraq... that speaks for itself... any thinking person knows that this is a nightmare and has become a Civil War.... and the blood is on OUR HANDS. We chose to USE these innocent people to fight "our" war... they did not ask to be involved, the did nothing to provoke it and we have killed countless civilians and created a situation where Sectarian violence and Insurgents are killing innocent people. It seems that our "fearless leader" is just fine with this.. "so long as we fight them over there, we don't have to fight them on our streets"... WHAT? Not only does he justify this, but many American's repeat this ridiculous talking point... Soo... it's OK to stir up the hornets nest in Iraq... and kill the civilians over there? How arrogant can you be?.. and you wonder why the majority of the world HATES AMERICAN POLICY?.. and probably hates US TOO... because WE are Americans.

Of course, the "right wing" will try to say that I want a terror attack to happen on US soil. NOTHING could be further from the truth. I don't want a terror attack to happen ANYWHERE... but I see this arrogance will draw more terror to the United States... and you and YOU and YOU and YOU.. and YOU.. soccer mom, driving your beloved SUV.. keep on talking on that cell phone and depleating our natural resources... and bitch to all your friends that the price of gas will top 6.00/gallon. Did you vote for this War Criminal for the second time? Yeah? well then shut the fuck up. You voted for this.

So.. what has me all upset now? It just might be the fact that we are on the verge of WW3... and that this administration has been gunning for Iran. It has been predicted for at least the last year that this will be the summer of war.... of Iran. Now we have perfect justification..

The sickening thing, is that when the War Criminal (aka BUSH) was asked about the rise of violence and threat of WW3... his reaction was, "I thought someone was going to ask me about the pig"...

..............yeah.. bush was going to a Hog Roast that night and was told he could carve the PIG... he was asked several more times during that news conference (in Germany) and he went on to talk about the PIG he was going to carve.. "Isn't anyone going to ask me about the pig" "Let's talk about the PIG"...

that mother fucking son of a bitch... he is sadistic.... with animals. When he was a little boy he used to put firecrackers up frogs and blow them up. Did anyone see when he caught a fish and let it flop around, alive, for his dog to play with... laughing his evil chuckle the whole time (This was on the espn fishing show a year or so back)... now he is fixated on carving a whole pig? and I do mean... FIXATED... impending WW3 can't take him mind off of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

There must have been something in the stars...

I had such a bad day yesterday. Nothing went right. I planned on doing another super cook-a-thon since the weather is going to get hot again and I ended up throwing away at least 75% of what I made. I HATE wasting food and I will do just about anything to salvage something if it doesn't turn out right. Yesterday just sucked.

Of course, I learned several things, so that is good. First of all, if you make the Chicken Style Seitan I posted about several days ago, do not allow it to sit in the marinade for more than 24 hours. With normal seitan the longer, the better. Not so with this stuff. The teryaki chunks were horrific. The texture turned to an awful mush. I tried to make a stir fry out of them.. (I wish I had just tasted the chunks, first... but the bbq seitan is still great and I've let other seitan sit this long and it was fabulous.).. so I made this beautiful stir fry out of asparagus, carrots, red peppers, sugar snap peas, ginger, onion, bean sprouts and the seitan. I threw in some chipotle/tofu/orange sauce (more on that later), cilantro and scallions. It was wonderful, except for the damn seitan. As I sad, I am not one to throw things out, so I figured I could turn this into Asian Veggie Burgers and Spring Roll filling. I took out my dandy hand held mixer and went to town, mixed half of it with breadcrubs and set it aside to cool in the fridge. I took out some spring roll wrappers (which had eggs in them, so I wouldn't even be eating them.. but the kids and husband would love them) and filled a bunch and DUH... the mxture was too hot. I thought it was cool enough (Because, of course, I dirtied yet another dish and spread it out to cool in the freezer).. but it wasn't, so all of the spring rolls split wide open. I was soooo annoyed. Oh... and my oven was on, and I store baking pans in my oven, so they were all over my kitchen table and my kitches was really messy)...
I threw away the spring rolls.

As I just said, my oven was on. This was because I baked bread and burger rolls (at 5am) yesterday. Those came out well, thank the stars or I probably would have cried. Back to my oven.. I hardly ever turn my big oven on (especially during the summer), so when I do, I fill it up. I had started my morning off with a big bowl of oatmeal and soymilk and prunes. For some reason, I wasn't hungry, so I didn't want to eat it when it was done. Not one to waste, I decided to make muffins. If I had only stuck with my original plan to make oatmeal,bran and prune muffins, it would have worked, but I got the wise idea to throw in a can of crushed pineapple and all the juice.... and then I had to add more flour and so on... and I ended up baking 18 muffins that never got done in the middle. Vegan muffins can stick really bad... and these were like freaken glue.. oh and I didn't use any sugar or sucanat, only a tiny bit of stevia. I'm sure that didn't help. More food in the trash, but this time, it took me about 20 minutes just to pry them out of the pans.

But wait.... there's more! I got the bright idea to make a Chipotle Sweet Potato and Asparagus Salad. I made up the dressing with silken tofu, oj concentrate, lime juice, chipotle peppers, a pinch of stevia, cilantro and garlic. It was delicious. the dressing was so good. I'll make it again. Unfortunately asparagus and this mix did not really go over well. I wasted a pound of asparagus and 2 med. sweet potatoes. My husband pretty much spit his out. I didn't think it was THAT
BAD... It's still in the fridge, and I will probably eat it because it's healthy and there and I don't like wasting food. I have a couple of ideas that MIGHT salvage it. I can see mixing it with rice and black beans and habanero sauce for a burrito. I might also stuff some sushi with it.. That might be horrific, or OK... I guess we'll see. bleh..

I made a quart of Chipotle Orange BBQ sauce and that was good.
Made lunch for the kids/husband..
made popsicles for them..
cut up a bunch more watermelon
stuffed my face with the last of the cherries

My kitchen was so trashed. big time trashed. cleaned it up for the thousanth time.. oh, did I mention when I made bread that I knocked over about 1 cup of yeast and 4 cups of flour onto the floor...

and then once the kitchen was spotless (and this was 1pm) my son comes in and grabs a bunch of cut up watermelon in his hands and spills a bunch of the juice all over my fridge, floor, under the fridge and left a trail into the living room??? Who does that? Teenagers are just brainless sometimes. Duh.. get a bowl!

For dinner I made whole wheat angel hair, used the marinara sauce mixed with the last of the tofu-basil ricotta and made a salad. I vaguely remembered reading on Dori's blog (The Bakehouse) that she made dressing with xantham gum to take the place of some fat. So... did smart me get online and find her recipe? NO! I started out trying to make an italian type dressing with a tiny bit of veganaise... but wanted it thicker. I didn't want to add tofu (I couldn't stand the thought of washing out my vitamix one more time) so added some of the gum... obviously, way way way too much! oh my.. So.. I ended up having to get the vitamix dirty and make up the different with soymilk and water.. and now I have almost half a gallon of really funky nasty creamy italian type dressing that is sooo slimy (I'm SURE Dori's dressing is fabulous because this would lend a nice texture in the right proportions.. I will be writing hers down)..
Most normal people would probably throw it away, right? But I didn't. It's in my fridge. I'm thinking it MIGHT work in small batches as a binder or in place of eggs in burgers or to dip seitan or tofu in before coating with breadcrumbs.. but I will try both of these things in very small batches and if it doesn't work, I will throw this away.

This was an odd experience for me, usually I don't have trouble in the kitchen... I mean, we all have things here or there that don't work out (Especially if we don't cook with recipes), but to have almost everything I touched suck so much .... OY VEY!!

Today is a new day...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A little bit of cooking

I did a little bit of cooking today. For breakfast, I sauted an eggplant with crushed red pepper, fresh rosemary, garlic, fresh basil and a tiny bit of olive oil. I served that on four pieces of my whole wheat crostini rubbed with garlic and topped it with a tiny bit of FYH cheese, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil. The eggplant mixture was hot, so it melted the "cheese". I really should have taken a pic because it was a nice looking dish. Maybe I'll have the same thing for bfast tomorrow morning and take a pic. Yum! I am still full and it's 3pm. I made my son and his friend french toast with eggs. bleh. They were fresh, organic eggs from a local farmer, so it's not as bad as store bought... but I can't wrap my head around eggs. Nasty. I've never liked them.

I made a huge batch of roasted sunflower seed pesto. (toasted sunflower seeds, tons of garlic, miso, lemon juice/zest, basil, water and a tiny bit of olive oil), then I made a batch of Basil "Ricotta" from VwaV... omg.. that is delicious. Soooo freaken good. I didn't measure, but I think I stayed pretty close to the recipe. I'm planning on making pizza tomorrow and I want to use that for it.

I had about a cup of leftover basil, so I opened two 36oz cans of whole tomatoes and peeled about 7 cloves of garlic, a pinch of celtic sea salt, a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and some fennel seeds... into the vitamix that went and now I have 3 qt jars filled with sauce. This sauce is delicious on pasta and pizza. I put two jars in the freezer and one is in the fridge.

I boiled up a pound of pasta, 2 lbs of broccoli, chopped a pint of cherry tomatoes and mixed this with some of the pesto for a cold pasta salad. Hubby and youngest son had it for lunch with some leftover BBQ'd chicken style seitan.

I'm going to make a big salad for dinner and we can snack on leftovers and watermelon as well. I have popsicles in the freezer (tofu, rasbperry, pineapple, coconut extract, stevia) so all in all, I can relax now.

It's hot. I think I need to get myself a big mason jar full of peppermint iced tea.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is that sushi, or are you happy to see me?

Avocado and Chickpea Sushi Wraps
Ok, so I was a little overzealous with the fillings last night, so I had to eat it more like a burrito. I think I like it this way even more! I used my mock tuna chickpea filling,(there are tons of variations out there, I make it a little different each time depending on what ingredients I have on hand. This one was made from chickpeas, shredded carrots, shredded nori, onion, garlic, vegenaise, dill pickles, dijon mustard, yellow mustard and capers) brown rice with white balsamic vinegar and a pinch of stevia, avocado, cucumber slices and ginger matchsticks. The dipping sauce was just soy sauce, water, tons of wasabi, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Delicious. I am totally addicted and will probably eat these several times a week. My oldest son and husband love them too.

Grilled Veggie and Corn Salad with Edename

This was inspired by a picture on Stephen Cooks blog. I was sitting here, wondering what to make for dinner when I came accross his pic of the corn salad. I had leftover grilled veggies I needed to use immediately, so I tossed those with some blanched corn, carrots, edename, fresh rosemary, thyme, and chives, and mustard vinaigrette, then topped it off with some grey celtic sea salt and ground chipotle pepper. Delicous. I have some leftovers too. You know, if it was cool outside, I'd toss this with potatoes and some cashew milk for a nice veggie chowder. I'll probably mix this in with some pasta and creamy pesto sauce for a pasta salad later on today. That will be good.

I'm thrilled to report that my oldest son LOVES my new seitan. (post before this) I admit, I lied and told him I made it all out of soyflour and it is kind of like homemade tofu. I haven't cooked it in a dish yet, I just gave him a piece of the teryaki marinated seitan. I know he'll love a grilled teryaki sandwich with it. Woohoo! This makes me very happy.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Seitanic Experience

BBQ'd "Chicken"
1 lb soy "chicken" seitan

I have a confession...... I am not a big fan of Seitan. The texture is too meaty for my liking, but it's something that my husband and younger son like, (my older son doesn't like it and won't eat it unless it's ground) so I make a batch every week or so. Since discovering this lovely vegan blogworld and Bryanna's website, I realize that there are ways to make it more palatable. I also got the Real Food Daily cookbook which instructs you to cook seitan in a way I've never heard of before, in the oven packed into a square baking pan, baked in a water bath. Well, I took a little from several recipes and gave it a try. First, I don't turn the oven on if I can help it, so I used a huge , wide stockpot, and cooked it on the stove.

Here's what I ended up putting in the seitan:
3 cups vital wheat gluten
1.5 cups soy flour
1 15 oz can white beans, drained
3 cups leftover "chicken" stock
lots of onion powder
lots of garlic powder
sea salt
about 1/4 cup oil (the RFD recipe called for 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
about 1/4 cup unbleached white flour (I know, it's not very good for you, I just didn't feel like grinding any whole wheat)

I used my kitchen aid with the dough hook and mixed it for a couple of minutes, then greased a square baking pan and stuffed the dough into it.. then put it in the large pan and poured water halfway.. RFD says to cover the dough with foil, but I didn't.. I turned the heat on med-hi and cooked it for around 2 hours, making sure to add more water as needed. I turned it out and cooled it for a while, the cut it into fourths. This made about 4 lbs of setian. It was getting close to lunch time, so I cut 2 lbs of it into slabs very much like I would firm tofu and make a quick bbq sauce out of onions, liquid smoke, mustard grill seasoning, garlic, tomato paste, water, dark soy sauce, a bit of stevia, yellow mustard and celery seed. I simmered the seitan slabs for around 30 minutes and then put them on a bun with vegenaise, onions, iceberg lettuce (white trash vegan cooking yeeehawww) tomatoes and pickles. Delicious. I have a bunch leftover and I think I will grill the leftover slabs... and the time after that I'm going to use my chipotle orange bbq sauce.

I cubed the next pound and those are marinating in a teryaki type sauce.. I'll make a veggie stir fry with it tomorrow or maybe for dinner. I have 1 lb left.. I'm not sure what I"m going to do with it. I'm thinking of slicing it really thin and using it for cold sandwiches or maybe we'll marinate it in teryaki for sandwiches. who knows. It will go in the freezer if we don't use it in the next 3 days. Oh... I just had an idea.. I can freeze it and then slice it really really thin and marinate it in reuben marinade and use it for philly "cheez" steaks and reuben sandwiches.
I hope my older son likes it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Midweek munchies

The last couple of days I've made a lentil loaf which is in the freezer (lentils, leftover grilled veggies, sunflower seeds, homemade breadcrumbs, flaxmeal, lipton onion soup mix, tiny bit of salsa), Mac and Cheez out of my Cashew, Chickpea Sandwich spread (mock tunaish).. and some amazing sushi.. OMG.. the sushi! I haven't taken a pic, but will the next time I make it which will probably be today. I took the chickpea spread (I think I must of read a blog somewhere with this idea, but I can't rememer who it was), avocado, brown rice with freshly grated ginger, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of stevia, Siracha, and tons of Wasabi), grated carrots, chives and sliced cucumber. I made the dipping sauce out of soy sauce , a couple drops sesame oil and water.. and spread even more wasabi on each piece. It was sooo good. I ate two rolls for dinner last night. My husband and oldest son loved them too.. (my younger son is a bit picky, so he won't usually try some of my food.. he had cereal for dinner)

Harmonias Midweek Munchies Meme

Midweek Munchies: What Melody is contributing for the week

(I'd say about 1/2 of this is organic)

Smart Bacon
4 pack avocado
5 lbs red potatoes
2 lbs silken tofu
2 packages extra firm tofu
8 garlic bulbs
2 lbs tomatoes
4 red onions
2 lbs yellow onions
2 lbs zucchini
2 lbs green peppers
2 english cucumbers
2 lbs carrots
1 head romaine lettuce
1 head iceberg lettuce
2 very large watermelons
7 lbs cherries (I know, it's a lot, but we'll eat them or freeze what we don't use)
1 lb ginger root
3 bunches cilantro
1 lb tempeh
5 lbs all purpose, unbleached King Arthur's flour
2 lbs mozzarella cheese (dairy)
1 gallon milk (dairy)
32 oz sauerkraut
sweet relish
unsweetened kool aid (my bad, but I sweeten it with stevia, so it could be worse.. I also make popsicles out of it and my kids friends drink it)
1 gallon vanilla soymilk
silk french vanilla creamer
12 pack lemon seltzer
package sesame seed buns
strawberry all fruit
soy flour
2 loaves whole wheat bread
2 15 oz cans chickpeas
2 15 oz cans white beans
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
7 gallons spring water
yellow mustard

Total Spent: $124.57 (my goal was to keep it under 100.. oh well.. )

Links to other Midweek Munchies
(If you participate, leave your link in the comments and I'll post it below; or, you can post in the comments)

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A special thanks to Running2Ks and Rift for all of their help with coding, graphics, and encouragement for this project.

PURPOSE of Midweek Munchies: Put together by a small group of Veg Women, we hope to spread the word about healthy vegetarianism while obtaining idea starters for meals, recipes, learn about new products, and meet other female veg*n bloggers. Visiting and commenting on other participants lists are encouraged but not required. Have fun and Go Veg!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Salads, Wraps and Sprouts

Grilled Veggie Wrap
This was made from the leftover grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic from the other day. I used a low carb, whole grain lavash bread (only 100 calories for the entire lavash!) and spread it with my cashew pimento cheese, toasted it in the toaster oven and then sprinkled it with alfalfa sprouts, raw tomatoes and some diced red onion. This was my breakfast.. not much to look at, but very delicious.
Mustard Marinated Lentils, Baby Greens and Crostini with Cashew Pimento 'Cheese'
I marinated cooked lentils in dijon mustard, Braggs apple cider vinegar, olive oil, oregano, stevia and of course, garlic. I used that as my salad dressing as well. The rest of the lentil salad is just cucumbers, red onions, radish and fresh tyme, baby greens avocado and a sprinkle of walnuts. The cashew cheese was made very soft, out of cashews, onion powder, garlic powder, miso, lemon juice, green olives, roasted red peppers, paprika, cayenne and salt/pepper blended with water and agar powder. The crostini is just my homemade whole wheat french bread, grilled and rubbed with garlic. This was lunch
Alfalfa Sprout, drying
My lovely sprouts, drying on a platter. I use a 64 oz glass Mason Jar and specially made lids (you can find the lids on the links later in the post) to sprout most of my seeds. When they are done, I rinse them well and lay them on a platter for a day or two to dry and green up. I make sure to turn them over several times a day and line the platter either with paper towels or a clean dishcloth. This batch probably made around 10 cups of sprouts and cost me a whopping 50 cents! I buy organic seeds online at The Sproutpeople or Mumm's.. one of them is in Canada and one is in the States, but both companies delivered great products and have a wealth of infomation on their sites.
I love sprouting... I usually have at least 4-5 different types of sprouts going and they are a delicious, very cost effective way to eat your veggies. Plus, if you have kids, it is a fun science project for them and will make them excited about eating healthy food! Yay Sprouts!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Chilled Curried Pea Soup (vegan of course)

Chilled Curried Pea Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup scallions, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
½ cup raw cashews
2 cups light colored vegetable stock or water
1 lb frozen peas, rinsed under cool water
Juice of 1 large lime
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp hot curry paste
Several tbsp fresh cilantro

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, gently sweat the scallions and garlic. Make sure you do not get any color on the veggies. This will take around 4 minutes, then add the cashews and cook for several more minutes. Add the stock and turn off the heat. Pour this mixture into a blender along with the drained peas and blend on high speed for several minutes. Add the lime-juice and taste and adjust seasonings.
Chill for several hours
To serve, mix the coconut milk and curry paste and drizzle about 1 tsp over each bowl. Top with cilantro and more lime juice if desired. I place the leftover curry mixture on the table for people who like it a hot!
This will make 6 1 cup servings.

I had this soup for lunch. I made up the recipe as I went along and actually measured everything so I could get it on paper. It is a very simple soup, without a lot of strong flavors. I wanted to be able to taste the peas, so I didn't add any ginger or much of anything else. I liked it, so did my husband and oldest son. My youngest hasn't tried it yet. I might add some raw ginger to the leftovers to see which version I like better.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ch -Ch-Changes

I have been vegan on and off for several years.. and vegetarian my entire life.... but this latest Vegan romp or whatever it is has been much different. Before, I missed cheese so much and tried so hard to replace it. Nothing was complete without a sprinkle or parmesan or romano. Slowly, I began the change.... and I would fall back into the cheese about once a week... but the last 3 weeks or so, I seem to have lost my cravings for it. Amazing.... now it is not about depriving myself, it is about enjoying what I'm consuming and feeling good about it. That is the biggest change of all... I've also noticed that my tastes are changing. Today, I grabbed a couple of my roasted sweet potato wedges.... they were sprinkled with sea salt and chile powder... I ate them cold and it was like dessert. They seemed so sweet. I've all but given up most sugar and probably even more important, Splenda. Fruit seems sweeter.. I am still using Stevia, KAL stevia to be exact, but not a lot of it.

I've had some Gorgonzola cheese in the fridge for several months now, and I finally offered it on Freecycle... someone is coming to pick it up tomorrow. I feel free! I am overweight and food has been a struggle for many years, but I feel like I am finally eating what my body needs and enjoying it... I am not feeling obsessed about portions, but I have noticed that I am eating less than usual. The best thing, is that none of this is forced.. it has come naturally...

OMG... my neighbors are lighting off so many fireworks and my dog is going NUTS... she is NOT happy. We celebrated her "guesstimated" first birthday yesterday..