Saturday, March 31, 2007

Vegan Chipotle Mac! Seitan and BokChoy, Winter Minestrone, Buffalo Seitan Sandwich, Veggie Infused Marinara

Chipotle Spiced Mac and Cheez

I have been having an internal crisis regarding the dairy filled chipotle mac that I was going to enter in the recipe contest. I just couldn't get behind it for several reasons. First, it was filled with dairy. You don't even want to know how much. I personally don't believe in eating dairy, and while I'm not perfect about it (far from it), I just didn't feel good about representing my food with it. Second, it was wicked high in saturated fat and calories. As someone who struggles with my weight big time, how can I possibly feel good about putting a recipe out there that relies on gratuitous fat to carry it? The answer? There was no way I could do it. So, this morning, I have revamped my recipe and will send this new low fat vegan version in. It probably won't win, especially since I used whole wheat pasta, but at least I feel good about it. It only contained 9 weight watcher points per generous serving.

Spicy Seitan and Bok Choy

The cooking bug won over the discomfort in my finger.. (also it IS healing) and I threw together this super fast stir fry. Baby bok choy, garlic, onions, ginger, chile-garlic sauce and 2 tbsp of Newman's Own Sesame Ginger salad dressing came together in 3 minutes. I used 2 oz of seitan and the entire dish only has 4 Weight Watcher Points. It is in the fridge for a meal later in the week; most likely a quick breakfast knowing me.

Buffalo Seitan

This was another defrosted seitan cutlet, 2 oz (yes, I weigh my food) cooked in the the cast iron with cooking spray, buffalo sauce and 1 tsp of earth balance. I sauted an entire head of red cabbage and onions until it was very caramelized to have in the fridge, but figured it would be great on this sandwich. I was right. The white trash bread is a light italian bread containing 1 point or 80 calories per 2 slices. This sandwich had 4 points.

Winter Minestrone
This is a version of my original recipe that is in Vegan Family Favorites. I didn't use any oil, making up for it with roasted garlic. Delicious.. I love this soup. 2 cups of the version I made yesterday only had 5 weight watcher points. You can take this soup over the top by serving it with a tsp of pesto as a garnish.

Super chuky veggie marinara
I made a gallon of this sauce yesterday. I had some veggies I needed to use up, so in went zukes, epplant, green peppers, carrots and of course, onions and garlic. I pureed half of it to hide the eggplant and zukes from my youngest son and left the other half nice and chunky. I love the large pieces of eggplant after they have been slowly cooking in the spicy tomato sauce. I used fresh rosemary, thyme and basil and it is just delicious. One cup has 1 WW point. I don't add oil to the sauce, but will often add a measured tsp of extra virgin olive oil right to my bowl of pasta. A tiny bit of fat helps your body better absorb the lycopene in the tomatoes. A low fat tip I have for marinara sauce is to start the garlic, dried spices and red pepper flakes in a couple tbsp of balsamic vinegar mixed with a couple tbsp of water. Slowly, bring up to medium heat and then add the rest of the veggies. Obviously, this sauce freezes well, but make sure you puree it before you freeze it. The veggies don't come back with the same beautiful texture after they've been frozen.
I am working on a new seitan experiment.. It is in the oven right now. I'll blog all about it, regardless of how it turns out. It is for a lunch meat type smoked "Turkey Breast".

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The perfect cherry tomato, roasted garlic, dog pix

I am officially getting sick and tired of this stupid cut. It has really put a damper on my cooking. Fortunately, I have a lot of freezer staples, so I've been defrosting them for dinner and making salads... although, the washing of the produce is not necessarily good for the cut.

I was THRILLED to stumbled upon some awesome cherry tomatoes. I know for many of you, this early spring is birthing beautiful produce, but up here, in New Hampshire, we are not that lucky, so to find a true tomato is a good thing, even if it's a cherry tomato.

I figured I'd share a tip on garlic since I'm not doing much cooking. I use roasted garlic in a lot of food to replace oil. The texture is similar and the flavor is heady and satisfying. Often, I roast the garlic in the toaster oven as I'm baking other things, but sometimes, I just buy the garlic cloves my grocery store so generously offers (at a mere .99/lb for peeled garlic) and make a pint jar at a time. This is the low cal way. First of all, I spray the cast iron skillet and heat to 2.. and add the garlic, kosher salt/pepper and red pepper flakes. I slowly allow it to come up to temperature and brown the garlic. There is a FINE line between browned garlic and burned garlic. When you start to smell a delicious aroma, the garlic will probably be browned to perfection. Next, I add some water and allow it to reduce down. This will take about 30 mins or so. If you don't care about calories, adding EVOO would be sublime. I care, so I add water. When the cloves are soft, mash them and store them in a covered container for a maximum of 5 days. I actually do this several times a week for my recipes. The calorie bang for your buck is big time, baby!

My sweet baby, basking in the sunlight (PS, this is also where I take most of my food pics. The natural light makes a difference.. sometimes, I use a rice paper filter on the window as well..)

Hi Momma! Why are you waking me up?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chipotle Mac and Cheese, Sprouting tips

chipotle mac and cheese
I am entering a recipe contest and this is my submission. It is not vegan, although I will be creating a vegan version. I tried, but couldn't get it just right. It needs more work. When I do, I will share the recipe, because I think it will be delicious. This was delicious in a non-vegan way, but I am not really tempted by that type of food anymore.

These are my beans soaking for sprouting. I just wanted to share a simple trick with about sprouting.. knee high panty hose. I just secure them with a rubber band on an type of jar and use it as the screen for rinsing. I have the screw on lids for sprouting as well, but I sprout so many things that I run out of wide mouth jars, so this is what I do.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Clean out your fridge Veggie Alfredo, Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Clean Out your fridge Veggie Alredo
This cooking/typing with one hand is annoying. My cut is doing somewhat better. It is still bleeding a bit. The curse of having no health insurance.. it could have used stitches, but I am not about to spend the money on them. Moving on... this dish is a true one pot meal and used leftovers. My favorite type of dish. Monday is the day I usually deep clean my house, use up all my leftovers and clean my fridge. Today I only used my leftovers; sauteed arugula and garlic, zukes and tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, 14 oz lite firm tofu, fresh basil and some pasta cooking water to make this sauce. Just before serving, I added freshly grated nutmeg and pepper as well as a bit of nutritional yeast and truffle oil. Very good.
Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Simple and delicious if you miss the canned thing. For me, it was a junk, comfort food as a child, so being able to re-make this at home is a good thing. There is no Martha Stewart in this recipe; just simple onion, garlic, frozen mixed veggies, fresh potatoes, tomato sauce, veggie stock, soup pasta and a splash of vinegar. I make a gallon at a time. My oldest son will eat a quart at a time as a snack... oh, and I add some beans to make it a bit more substantial.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Seitan with Pesto and Roasted Red Peppers, Cafe Indigo

Zukes and Cherry Tomatoes, charred
Seitan Roll Up with Pesto and Roasted Red Peppers

Seitan, Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas

I cut my finger really bad Fri night, so there won't be a lot of typing. Pics were hard to take as well, as pretty much can only use my right hand.
Seitan cutlets were defrosted and used in our lunches today. Mine was the salad, and the kids and Mark had the queadillas. The cutlets froze well, so they passed that test!
On to some potential great news.. I may have found a job in a Vegan Cafe/Bakery!! I found out about Cafe Indigo the other day and contacted them about potentially working for them. The cafe just started, but they are an established Vegan Bakery out of Concord, NH. They bake delicious cakes, cookies, breads, sticky rolls and other vegan goodies. Check them out! They do mail order as well, so if you're looking for vegan goodies, you've found them! I am also linking to them on my sidebar.
If I don't comment on your blogs, it's because of my finger.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wasabi Lima Puree, Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables

The other day, Atxvegan, blogged about mashing lima beans instead of potatoes and it sounded so good to me. I often use cauliflower, turnips and other root veggies, but never thought to use lima beans! Boy oh boy, these are my new favorite thing. I boiled the beans in salted water, then scopped them into the food processor with a tiny bit of lite tofu, lime juice, 2 heads of roasted garlic and a bunch of wasabi paste. Heaven on a plate. I'll bet edaname would be delicious as well, especially dressed with a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil.
The main dish was a seitan pot roast of sorts that was baked in a flavorful marinade of dijon, tamari, garlic, fresh rosemary, sherry and a tsp of olive oil. Carrots, mushrooms, onions and potatoes were deliciously caramelized along with the seitan.

Bet yo momma never made lima beans like these!

Ham style seitan "BLT" with wing sauce

Lunch for my husband. This man adores seitan. I have made him a different sandwich every day and he's a happy man. Even though I liked my cutlets, I can't eat seitan more than once or twice a week, so my lunch was leftover split pea soup and a veggie wrap on a low carb/calorie lavash. No pic of that.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Spicy Noodles , Very lowfat Banana "Cream" Pie

Spicy Noodles with Tofu and Veggies

Yep, again. I make a version of these noodles at least once every 10 days or so. I think I've got my low calorie/fat version down to a science now. This time I used 12 oz of brown rice noodles, daikon, broccoli, bean sprouts, scallions, green onion, red pepper, carrot and cilantro.. oh and 14 oz firm lite tofu. Only 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil for the entire dish and it easily made 8 large servings.

Banana "Cream" Pie

If you read yesterdays post, you know that I made corn muffins with barley flour. I decided today that I would try some chocolate cupcakes.. which I'm sure would have worked out beautifully if I had left well enough alone.. I mean barley flour, sucanat and olive oil aren't the worst things to have in a dessert, but me being me, I had to push the envelope.. so, I sub'd stevia for sucanat, applesauce for oil and used the barley flour. They were tasty, moist and very, very crumbly. What to do? hmmmm... too bad I'm not making any kitty litter cake (if you have boys, make this! we had such a fun bday one year with this cake!).. cake crumbs, pudding like things... could I maybe make a banana cream pie? I checked my ingredients.. good to go, so,I made a sugar free, fat free pudding with several of overly ripe banans thrown in, banana and coconut extract, agar, food coloring, soymilk and arrowroot. It worked! I had some soy whip which kind of defeats the purpose of a "healthy" dessert, but oh well... oh and I topped it with dark chocolate shavings. It turned out better than expected.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Chicken Seitan Cutlets", Pico'd Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Chiles, Split Pea Soup

"Chicken" Style Seitan Cutlets
I finally did it! I've been working on my seitan recipe for several years now, borrowing tips from cookbooks, bloggers and the like. I've never been truly happy until now. You see, I have always been able to taste that wheaty taste, and the texture has been just a bit too rubbery for my liking. Yesterday, I was determined to make a cutlet that met my admitidly high standards. This recipe will be going in my cookbook for sure! I just want to make it one more time, so I can measure the exact ingredients I put in as far as spices, and I'll send it to my testers. It is a simple recipe, cooked on the stove, requiring no long kneading or resting time, added fat or tofu. Woohoo! This sandwich was just the cutlet coated in dijon and breadcrumbs and "fried" in my cast iron with cooking spray. My husband had it for lunch and loved it. I also baked a slab of ham style seitan for sandwiches, but didn't take a picture. I'm sure it will make it's way into the blogosphere this week though.
Pico'd Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Chile
I had planned on testing one of my new recipes for a quinoa stuffed poblano, but decided to put that off for another day so I could use up some of the ingredients in the fridge. Made a quick pico/black bean salsa, roasted garlic tofu cream and quac. (the quac started to discolor, I got distracted by my dog and company).. I used half the salsa when I cooked the quinoa. Delicious and very healthy. Around 8 points for the whole dish. (I am going back and forth with the weight watchers thing. I REALLY need to get totally serious again, count all of my points and get back to meetings.
Pico de gallo

Pretty pico and quinoa , toasting

Barley Corn Muffins

So many bloggers have been posting pics of baked goods made of barley flour. I decided to try my hand at some corn muffins, so I pulled out my Vita Mix and ground a cup of whole barley into flour for these little gems. I purposely made them smaller than a normal muffin to control calories. Verdict: Awesome! I will be using barley more often. The texture was so similar to wheat. The muffins went perfectly with a bowl of split pea soup for lunch.
Split Pea Soup

When life gives you seitan cooking broth, you make soup! This is my fat free split pea soup with chicken style broth. So good. The pink pieces are bacon bits. I just added sweet potato, celery and liquid smoke. Perfect for this cold, snowy New Hampshire winters day.

"Chicken" Cutlets

Momma, can I have a bite?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Eggplant "Parmesan", Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lasagna

Eggplant "Parmesan", adapted from Susan
Earlier today, I was browsing my favorite blogs and Eden inspired me to revisit Susan's Eggplant Parmesan recipe. I stayed somewhat close to the recipe, but used my own simple marinara, tweaked the tofu/cheese sauce a bit and grilled my eggplant instead of broiling it. Delicious! You must make this. It looks and tastes so incredibly rich, but it is very good for you. Thanks Susan!

Veganized Chocolate Chip Cookies for my son's Band Fundraiser
I am so excited! I took my old cookie recipe that I used when I had my cookie business and veganized it! It worked perfectly! I made 5 dozen cookies.. and am toying with the idea of beginning my cookie business again. I had fun making them! I put a call into our local health department to find out the legalities. I won't do it if I have to rent a commercial kitchen; it wouldn't make wise business sense, but if I could do it from my home kitchen it would work. I also included my new business card in the photo because I love it! hehe
Getting ready to assemble the eggplant parm

simple marinara, grilled eggplant with garlic
I like to grill my eggplant and then scatter chopped garlic on it.. the heat cooks the garlic a bit and the end result is delicious.
ready for the oven

A very non-vegan lasagna for my brother
I am visiting my brother this weekend, so naturally, I am making a lot of food to take down. I am starting with this lasagna... I also made another lasagna for my family to eat.
Some of you wondered how many I cook for. The answer is 4, but I have two teenaged boys and a husband who does at least 2 hours of exercise a day, so they eat a lot. I am amazed at how much food my boys will eat. The other day, my 15 year old (He's 6 ft tall and 145 lbs) killed off 1/2 lb of pasta with tofu and sauce as an after school snack! My 13 year old also eats a lot. He plays basketball and does yoga, so he's super hungry as well.. I swear, he's grown 4 inches in the last two months. It's shocking how fast these kids grow!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Greener than Green Enchiladas

Greener than Green Enchiladas

As most of you know, I am actively trying to lose weight, so I've been playing around with my food quite a bit. For my Greener than Green Enchiladas, I used steamed collard greens as the wrap. In fact, I wrap a lot of things in steamed collards. Falafels, quinoa sushi salad, hummus and many more fillings have found their way into this this sturdy green!
So, back to my enchiladas, I made a quick filling of kale, quinoa, zucchini, black beans, pickled jalapenos, onions, garlic and spices, rolled them up and topped them with salsa verde, extra hot green olives and jalapenos. The top picture was before they were baked. During the last 10 minutes of baking, I added some soycheese and cilantro. I served two of the rolls with tofu sour scream, Mrs. Renfros green salsa and guacamole... on a bed of crispy iceberg lettuce. Not the prettiest dish, but it sure hit the spot. You have to chew the collards quite a bit, so it takes longer to eat than a corn tortilla enchilada. That's part of the charm.

Arugula Salad , baked "falafel, creamy wasabi slaw, pita chips

My lunch today made use of my leftovers. I tossed baby arugula in my lowfat "goddess" dressing and topped that with 2 of my "falafels"and a tiny bit of Newman's Own Lowfat Sesame Ginger salad dressing. I've had several inquiries about the falafels. They are by no means an authentic falafel! In fact, the base of them was some of my pumpkin curry soup (from the last post). I made 10 cups of soup, but only wanted to store 8 cups (in my 2 qt mason jar), so I mixed it up with some chickpea flour, oats, spices, parsely, cilatnro and scallions. That's it. I make falafel type patties from so many bases and they always taste the same. Sometimes, I use leftover hummus, sometimes I use leftover dal. I know it sounds wacky, but I'm serious! It works! Try it sometime!
Oh..... and the pita chips are made from the best low carb pita bread out there! 60 calories per pita, high in protein and high in fiber.
Tomorrow I am baking for my son's band fundraiser. I was going to bake cupcakes, but now I'm debating on brownies. I'm sure I'll change my mind a 1000 times before tomorrow. I hate to say it, but I really dislike baking. I had a cookie business from home when my kids were little, and I think it burned me out big time. I wish I could bake Isa's delicious carrot cake, but the fundraiser is a chocolate extravaganza, so I have to stick with chocolate.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Quinoa, Spaghetti, Falafel, Pumpkin Soup an and so much more!

Quinoa Sushi Salad
Spicy Collard and Tofu Stir-Fry

Baked Falafel with homemade low fat "Goddess" dressing

Homemade Lowfat "Goddess" dressing

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Simple Marinara and Tofu

Baked "Falafel"

Steamed Collards

"Falafel" Veggie Burgers

Besan, Oat and Whole Wheat Banana Panckaes

Curried Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup

Lovely Kale
As you can see, I've done a lot of cooking today. I like planning ahead for the week and using up everything possible in my fridge before I do any more shopping. We are set for a while. I will make salads and more veggies, but I can fix quite a few meals with the staples above. I also cooked up a double batch of Quinoa, which I will be using to make a stuffing my new Poblano Chile recipe later this week. Oh.. and I have a batch of Creamy Wasabi Slaw in the fridge as well.
I love being prepared with healthy and delicious food at my finger tips. Everything here was made very low fat/calorie without sacrificing any flavor.