Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Frugan: Goodbye Mofo and Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

It's been a great MOFO! I'm so glad I got the chance to read about so much fabulous food and meet some new bloggers. Mofo actually helped me get back into blogging and I'm so glad I did.

I think I'm going to give up Raw Wednesdays for the next month or so while I transition into the Mini Meal Plan. What I'm planning is 4 400 calorie meals and an optional 200 calorie snack ( that can be divided if need be ). That will give me a good green smoothie in addition to the four meals. Today, I feel like I ate all day long, but never got hungry.

One of my mini meals for tomorrow will star this delicious banana peanut butter ice cream. All you have to do is chop two frozen banana and pulse them in a food processor with 2 T peanut butter until it's nice and smooth. I added some freshly grated nutmeg to the top.

When I first started teaching cooking classes years ago, I would often start my Tofu class with an ice cream similar to this. I would use 1 package silken tofu, frozen bananas and frozen berries along with some sweetener depending on the tartness of the berries. People were blown away by how good it was!

Food for the day: 1800 calories!

  • Green Smoothie

  • Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • Black Bean Tacos with Queso on Chickpea Flatbread

  • Veggie Packed Soup with Tofu and Potatoes

  • Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve

  • Monday, November 29, 2010

    Frugan: Angelic Split Pea Soup

    I think I captured an angel in my soup! I seem to capture a lot of orbs/angels or what have you over the lasts 6 months especially.

    I walked to the store today and bought:

    Spinach .99
    Tofu: 2.29

    Starting tomorrow, I am going to be eating 5 mini meals a day. I need to do something different when it comes to my weight and I figure eating smaller portions through out the day is something experts recommend. I've been eating larger portions than I need and I feel like I need to get a handle on feeling satisfied with less and using food for FUEL instead of using a meal as an EVENT.  I am going to try this for the next month and see how it goes!

    The focus of this blog is going to be not only Frugan ( frugal vegan ) but also weight loss ( again ). I KNOW how many times I've talked about this over the past 4 years and I have had some success, but it's time I kick it up a notch. I am halfway to my goal weight at this point! It's been slow going for sure, but slow and steady wins the race.

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Frugan: Pumpkin White Bean Pasta Sauce

    If you have any leftover pumpkin, sweet potato or butternut squash, why not turn it into a quick pasta sauce? I took 1 c pumpkin puree, 1 c white beans, vegetable stock. roasted garlic, nutritional yeast, chipotle and lime juice to make this almost mexican style mac and hmmmm, I'm not sure I'd call it cheese, but let's just say yummy sauce! I drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top and finished it off with cilantro. Basil would have been delicious too.

    As of tomorrow, I will be back to more regular blogging complete with recipes.

    I am going to either ride my bike or walk to the store every day or other day with that days cash in hand. I have a feeling I will get more variety in my diet this way. We shall see! I need to make a big batch of veggie burgers and bread today for my sons lunches.

    I have some personal food goals this week.

    • No Wheat
    • No Refined Sugar
    • Eat smaller portions and wait 20 minutes before having a second portion of anything
    If I keep eating the way I did last week, I will be broken out in hives and 10 lbs heavier by the end of December!

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Frugan: Rethinking breakfast.

    Split pea and Veggie Fried Rice

    I have never been a traditional breakfast person. Eggs never appealed to me. Sweetly sick cereals and pancakes covered in syrup turned my stomach, so I developed a habit of eating leftovers. 

    This morning I had cooked brown rice and split pea soup, so I sauted a zucchini , onion, garlic  along with 1/2 cup cold rice and 1/2 cup split pea soup. I topped it with 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds. Of course, I doused it in siracha because I'm crazy addicted to spice

    This totally hit the spot and provided me with a powerhouse of nutrition. 

    I am feeling somewhat burnt out by cooking right now.. so the next several days will be full of simple food. 

    Do you have any unusual breakfast favorites?

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Frugan = Frugal Vegan

    I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! I certainly did. 

    I over did it yesterday with food, so today I am going to eat simply. A green smoothie for breakfast and an early lunch of salad with chickpeas and avocado.

    I am going to try something different this week money wise. Shopping every day or every other day instead of a bigger shopping once a week. I think it will allow more variety. 

    My mother will be here until Sunday, and then Monday I am going to get back to posting/writing recipes.

    Frugan TOD: Mix leftover cranberry sauce with 5 spice powder, dijon and liquid smoke for a delicious glaze for tofu, tempeh, seitan or roasted veggies.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Frugal Thanksgiving Recipes Part 4

    Raw Collard and Apple Salad

    I'm back from hive hell! Yesterday they got so bad I had to take massive amounts of Benadryl and I ended up a zombie on my couch. Not fun. 

    I've learned my lesson. NO MORE WHEAT. 

    Today, I have three more recipes to share. The first is the lovely collard and apple salad you see above. I didn't get many votes on which side to make, so I picked the salad because I figure stove space can be limited preparing a huge Thanksgiving meal! 

    Raw Collard Salad
    4 c finely chopped collard greens
    ½ c diced celery
    2 c diced or shredded carrots
    2 c apples, diced ( toss with ½ t apple cider vinegar before adding to salad )
    4 T toasted sesame seeds
    1 c golden raisins
    1 t chunky sea salt ( less if using fine salt )
    2 t onion powder
    Pinch stevia powder or 3 T agave or honey
    ¼ t cinnamon
    Pinch nutmeg
    ¼ t white pepper
    3 T olive oil
    2 T Dijon mustard
    3 T apple cider vinegar

    Toss everything together with your hands. Allow salad to sit for an hour ( or overnight ) before eating. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

    Our second recipe is for Caramelized Garlic Cheesy Potatoes. I am using my Smoky Pimento Spread to give it a delicious, cheesy flavor. I have tweaked the recipe since the last post and I like it better! 

    Caramelized Garlic Cheesy Smashed Potatoes
    2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
    30 cloves garlic
    ½ c olive oil
    1 c scallions
    Salt/pepper to taste

    1. Chop potatoes and boil until fork tender in heavily salted water. ( my rule of thumb is to always start in cold water and bring to a rolling for 2 minutes, then check potatoes. They will usually be done in the first 3 minutes or so) 
    2. While potatoes are cooking, place garlic and oil in COLD cast iron pan. Turn heat to medium low. Very slowly, bring garlic up to temperature. This will take around 30-35 minutes. Turn garlic over now and then if it looks like it’s getting too brown. When garlic is done, you will be able to mash it into a paste easily with the oil in the pan.
    3. Drain potatoes, mash with the caramelized garlic/oil and cheesy spread. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with scallions. 

    Now onto lentil loaf. The picture you see is before baking.  I like to free form the loaf on parchment. It makes it easier to get out on the pan ( plus there are less dished to do! ) 

    Lentil Loaf
    4 T Olive Oil
    1 large onion
    10 cloves garlic
    1 t poultry seasoning
    1 c celery, diced
    1 c carrots, pulsed in a food processor
    Pinch salt/pepper
    2 c cooked ( and drained ) lentils 
    2 c cooked brown rice or millet
    ½ c pecans or sunflower seeds
    ½ c oats
    2 T flax meal
    ½ c nutritional yeast
    2 t Tony’s Cajun Spice
    2 T Dijon mustard
    2 T balsamic vinegar
    2 T Soy Sauce 

    ¼ c ketchup
    2 T Dijon 
    2 T evoo

    1. Sauté onion, garlic , poultry seasoning, celery and carrots along with the pinch salt/pepper for 10 minutes or until soft
    2. Place veggie mixture along with the lentils/grains in a food processor and pulse well
    3. Scrape mixture into a bowl
    4. Pulse nuts and oats, add to bowl
    5. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
    6. Taste and adjust seasoning
    7. Spray a piece of parchment with cooking spray and form into a loaf; pour half of the glaze 
    8. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes; drizzle rest of glaze over the top.
    I hope that these recipes come in handy all year long! 

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! 

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Frugal Thanksgiving Recipes Part 3

    There has been a slight change of plans with the recipes I am posting today, but that's life when you cook! You have to be able to go with the flow or you will be miserable! Especially if you work in a restaurant! I swear, some days I spend the entire day fixing mistakes, but in doing so I often created my best food! That's why I enjoy cooking and letting the food dictate what it needs! It's almost like the food talks to me sometimes.

    Today, the food didn't talk to me, my oven decided to be temperamental and I did not want to bake a custardy pie in it. I thought about the pie and the flavors and came up with this super simple and delicious Pumpkin Ice Cream pie with Chai Ganache. I cut my Gluten Free Brownie recipe in half for the crust and added 1/2 c pecans. I reduced baking time to 20 minutes and baked it in a large springpan.

    Here is the recipe for the filling and ganache. Make sure you allow the brownie crust to cool completely before adding the filling.

    1 qt Soy Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream, softened
    15 oz can pumpkin 
    2/3 c sugar
    1 t cinnamon
    1/8 t nutmeg

    8 oz chocolate
    1 chia tea bag steeped in 1/2 c boiling water

    1.Mix ice cream, pumpkin, sugar and spices together. Spread on top of cooled brownies ( in a springform pan )
    2. Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds. Add hot tea and sitr until the chocolate is melted. Drizzle over the pumpkin filling. 
    3. Chill at least 4 hours or freeze until you want to serve. 

    I also made a Barley Stuffing ( instead of bulgur ). The bulgur was $2.55/lb and the barley was only $1.50/lb. 

    Pecan Cherry Bulgur Stuffing:
    3 T Earth Balance or Olive Oil 
    1/2 t Poultry Seasoning ( salt free )
    1 large onion, chopped
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 c celery, chopped
    1 t sea salt 
    pinch pepper
    3 C cooked Barley ( or bulgur or other grain )
    1/2 c cherry flavored craisins
    1/2 c pecans, chopped
    1 c fresh parsley
    1 t fresh thyme ( optional but good )
    Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    1 T braggs or soy sauce
    Freshly ground pepper

    1. Saute onion, garlic and celery with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper
    2. Add Barley, cherries and pecans. Cool over medium heat for 15 minutes. 
    3. Finish with fresh parsley, thyme and soy sauce
    4. Taste and adjust seasoning
    I keep putting off the cheesy mashed potatoes.. tomorrow I promise! 

    So, tomorrows recipes will be the potatoes, lentil loaf and either the Raw Collard Salad or Cooked Collard Side. 

    Since I had my oven on today, I made pizza! Cheese recipe here. It was so good, although I have eaten too much wheat this week and I am paying for it big time with an upset stomach and hives. 

    Roasted shrooms, onions, garlic, jalepenos, spinach and cultured almond cheese

    I think I'm going to go totally gluten free again soon. I think I'm OK with gluten, and slowly add it back to my diet and then I hit a wall and get sick and break out in hives everywhere. 

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Frugal Thanksgiving Recipes Part 2

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
    Welcome to our second day of frugal Thanksgiving  recipes! First things first, it looks like the winning dessert recipe will be the Gluten Free Brownie Pumpkin Pie. I am going to go shopping either later on today or early tomorrow morning, so there's still time to vote for the Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Orange Infused Ganache if that floats your boat.

     ( see yesterday's post )

    Today I have another choice for Monday's installment.

    • Raw collard salad with apples, raisins and Mustard Flax Vinaigrette or
    • Sauted Collards, apples and Raisins
    Today our first recipe is a simple Roasted Sweet Potato Salad. It's a nice alternative to the rich, dessert like casserole on many tables. ( not that there's anything wrong with that! )
    I am using toasted sesame seeds ( buy the seeds in bulk and toast them yourself ) instead of more expensive pecans or walnuts. I like to think outside of the box a little bit when it comes to flavors, so even though these aren't totally traditional Thanksgiving notes, they will compliment the rest of a more standard holiday meal.

    Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
    2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
    2 T olive oil
    ½ t Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
    1 c dried cranberries
    1 T candied ginger, chopped
    ½ c toasted sesame seeds
    ¼ c scallions
    2 T olive oil
    2 T balsamic vinegar
    1 c fresh parsley
    Salt/pepper to taste

    Pre-heat oven to 400.

    Prep sweet potatoes, toss with 2 T oil and Tony’s. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and roast for 25 - 30 minutes.
    In a mixing bowl, toss with the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

    Our next recipe is a super simple Nutritional Yeast Gravy:
    4 c cold water ( or sodium free veggie broth )
    2 T cornstarch
    1 C Nutritional Yeast
    1.5 t Seasoning Salt
    ¾ t ground sage 
    ½ t smoked paprika
    ¼ c onion powder ( or 1 small onion )*
    3 T garlic powder ( or 8 cloves garlic )*
    Pinch turmeric ( optional )
    Black pepper to taste
    2 T soy sauce
    2 T Earth Balance or Olive Oil 
    2 T Dijon or spicy brown mustard
    1 T apple cider vinegar
    ½ c fresh parsley

    Whisk everything together very well, Make sure the water or broth is very cold. Pour into sauce pan and whisk over medium high heat until it bubbles for 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

    *If you are using fresh onions and garlic, saute them in the earth balance or oil with a pinch of salt first, then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. 

    You can make both of these dishes the day before. 

    Tomorrows recipes will include Bulgur Stuffing,, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and the winning Dessert recipe. Monday's recipes will be Holiday Lentil Loaf and the winning Collard side.

    Happy Frugal Vegan Cooking! 

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Frugal Thanksgiving Recipes Part 1

    It can be difficult to stick to a budget when you are cooking a holiday meal, but the recipes I am going to share over the next several posts will provide you with some flavorful dishes that won't break the bank.

    The first recipe is Spicy Cranberry Chutney. If you want to tone it down, remove the serrano chilies and reduce ginger to 1 teaspoon. I am using apples in addition to cranberries which are much cheaper! If you don't have oranges ( I hope you have some zest in the freezer! ) you can use water or any fruit juice you have around.

    Cranberry Chutney

    • 2 c cranberries
    • 2 apples
    • 2 Serrano chilies
    • 1 T chopped fresh ginger
    • Juice of 2 oranges
    • 2 3 inch pieces of orange zest
    • ½ c apple cider vinegar
    • 1 t cinnamon
    • 1 ¼ c sugar
    • ½ t salt

    Place in saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or so. Stir often.

    Here is my recipe for Seitan "Breast". This is an all purpose seitan which
    can be used for lunch "meat" as well as holiday dinner.

    All Purpose Seitan
    2 c Vital Wheat Gluten
    ½ c  nutritional yeast
    1 T Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
    ½ t sage powder ( not rubbed sage )
    1 t fennel seeds
    1 t lemon pepper
    4 T onion powder
    2 T garlic powder
    ½ t Italian seasoning
    1 T chili powder
    1 ½ c bean cooking liquid
    2 T olive oil

    Mix together and knead for several minutes. Spray a big piece of foil or use a paint straining bag and form into a “breast” like shape. Fill a pressure cooker with enough water to cover a steamer by 3 inches.. Place seitan on steamer and pressure cook for 45 minutes. Allow pressure to come down naturally.  Remove seitan and cool before serving.

    You can add a couple bay leaves and some salt to the water if desired.

    To use as Thanksgiving main course, slice and place in baking dish with gravy, cover and heat in oven until warm.

    Tomorrow, I will share delicious Roasted Sweet Potato Salad and a Super Simple All Purpose Gravy recipes..

    Sunday, stay tuned for simple Lentil Loaf, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and a Dessert.

    I haven't decided on a dessert yet.
    I'm torn between:
    1. Gluten Free Brownie Pumpkin Pie or
    2. Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange Scented Ganache

    Help me choose! Which recipe do you want to see?

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Pancake Recipe and CSN Results!

    First of all, BITT, you are the winner of the CSN $65 gift certificate! Congratulations!

    Healthy Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup and Coconut Oil
    Pancakes were something I never liked before going vegan. I could taste the eggs and that ruined it for me. It took me a while to even want to try vegan pancakes, but I'm glad I did.

    These are super healthy and cheap to make. You could use all whole wheat flour if desired, sub flax meal for the psyllium and use whatever non dairy milk you have on hand. I like making bean milks because they are both cheap and add protein and fiber to my food. My general rule of thumb for a bean milk is 1/2 cup beans : 2 c water. Blend well and there ya go. You could make a big batch and keep it in the fridge. I have flavored mine with stevia, nutmeg and vanilla for drinking but it's not quite right yet on it's own, although is wonderful in smoothies.

    Topping pancakes is another story and I'm still working on a healthy solution. Obviously, pure maple syrup is awesome, but not within my budget. We eat honey in this house, so that is an option if you are into that, but I want something that is low in calories with lots of flavor.
    I attempted a sugar free syrup of sorts and I think I'm on to something. This did not come out that great, but I'll still tell you what I did. It is a work in progress and for my first try, I'm OK with it. Next time will be better. I used 2 cups of very strong raspberry tea along with stevia and cornstarch. The starch was supposed to mimic a syrup texture. I think if you made a simple syrup using sugar and the strong tea it would have been much better, but with stevia sometimes it's hard to get things sweet enough without that taste overpowering the food... but it's a good first try. I boiled mine along with some orange zest from the freezer. As it cooled, it got a bit gloppy.

    I am out of peanut butter, but the next time I go to the store, I am getting some. Next time, I will top these with peanut butter and banana.

    1 c whole wheat flour or 1 cup brown rice flour for a gluten free option
    1 c chickpea flour
    2 t baking powder
    ½ t salt
    ½ t cinnamon
    1 T psyllium husk
    ½ c white beans
    2 c water
    2 t vanilla
    Very scant 1/8 t kal stevia powder or 3 T sweetener
    1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat.
    2. Combine flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, psyllium in a bowl. 
    3. Blend white beans, water, vanilla and stevia. 
    4. Pour bean milk into flour mixture and whisk well.
    5. Ladle into cast iron that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook until bubbles appear all over the pancake then flip and cook for another minute. 

    These freeze well. Pop them into your toaster and enjoy a healthy pancake breakfast! 

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Raw Faux Pho and Last Day for CSN Giveaway!

    OK, so this isn't really Pho, but it's inspired by Pho and it's delicious and satisfying and I'm looking forward to having it for lunch, but I figured I'd post this blog entry really fast to remind people that today is the last day for the CSN $65 Giveaway! I will pick the winner tomorrow morning! 

    I'm going to share the recipe for this dish, but keep in mind, I like things spicy and strongly flavored. If you don't then reduce the ginger and garlic by half, don't add the siracha to finish and leave out the chili or take the seeds out of it. 
    This is a High Raw dish; I am fully aware that toasted sesame oil is not raw. I'm not that strict. If you are, then use raw tahini in place of the oil. 

    Another note, I toast my cumin seeds, which improves the flavor and adds a lovely nutty flavor. 

    Raw Faux Pho

    2 c sweet potato ( spiralized ) 
    1 c cabbage
    2 Serrano chilies
    2 T cilantro, chopped
    2 c lentil or mung sprouts
    Juice 1 lime
    2 T braggs
    1 T toasted sesame oil
    2 T sesame seeds
    ¼ t cumin seeds
    1/2 t 5 spice powder
    Generous pinch chipotle powder
    Pinch coriander
    Pinch stevia or 2 T sweetener
    2 T nutritional yeast

    Marinate the noodle mixture while you prepare the broth. 

    ¼ c sweet potato
    2 c warm water
    2 cloves garlic
    3 inch piece ginger ( or less depending on heat tolerance , I like spicy )
    4 T braggs
    Juice 1 lime
    2 T nutritional yeast

    Method: Blend everything VERY WELL in a vita mix. 4 minutes will produce a nice warm broth. Place Noodle mixture into two bowls pour broth over the veggies. 

    Garnish: lime wedges, chilies,  and cilantro oil or fresh cilantro; optional Siracha

    Do you like raw soups? What are your favorite kinds?

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Sugar Free, Vegan, Wheat Free, Fat free Apple Breakfast Cookies ( that still taste good )

    I know, I know..  it's a bit ridiculous.. but wait, there's more! These cookies also contain beans.

    They are breakfast cookies, so don't expect dessert. ( although if you don't eat much sugar and you are craving something sweet after a meal with a cuppa tea these would probably hit the spot! ) Adding 1 c of raisins and 1 c of nuts would turn these into a more traditional cookie.

    I make these for breakfast and a quick energy snack on the go.

    Just a note, this recipe contains psyllium husk. I used it as a binder and to improve the mouth feel since there is no fat in these babies.

    I have been experimenting with the husk because I have it on hand and because when you cook flax seeds, you are killing the Omega 3 benefits. Psyllium has been working pretty well so far, but I don't think it would be a great stand in for flax in a more traditional dessert like a vanilla cake.  If you have experience baking with psyllium, I'd love to know your thoughts!

    Apple Breakfast Cookies

    3 c pulsed apples ( around 5 apples )
    1 c hot white beans
    1 c water ( if using sweetener reduce water by 2 3 T )
    1 t vinegar
    Very scant ½ t stevia or ½ cup sweetener
    1/8 t cloves
    1/8 t nutmeg
    1 T cinnamon
    Pinch salt
    2 T psyllium husk
    2 c old fashioned oats
    1 t baking powder

    Pre-heat over to 375

    Method: Pulse apples in a food processor, set aside in large mixing bowl. Puree white beans, add to bowl. Add water to food processor and pulse to get everything off the sides, add to bowl. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Drop by ¼ c scoops onto a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes* or until the top seems very firm. Allow cookies to cool before eating. They will be better the next day.
    Yield 24 cookies
    *I think my oven is off because I didn’t anticipate having to bake these for so long, so check them after 15 minutes.

    They have a great texture and like I said earlier, walnuts and raisins would be a great addition. I worked out the nutritional information per cookie:

    45 calories
    1 g natural fat
    8 g carbs
    1.8 grams protein
    1.8 g fiber

    So, you could two cookies for a 100 calorie snack! 
    My son likes to put peanut butter on his for more calories and nutrition. 

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Caraway Dill Split Pea Soup Recipe

    Split pea soup is probably my all time favorite. It is a blank canvas. Dress it up for dinner with curry, lime and cilantro or keep it humble by adding simple root veggies and few spices; regardless of your mood, the precious pea will be happy to please your palate. ( Unless you are my friend, Regina! hahah )

    My go to Split Pea Soup is definitely spiced with chipotle and herbs, but now and then I like to play around with other spices. I created this lovely stew spiked with caraway seeds and dill and filled with cabbage and potatoes. It is delicious and I had it for both lunch and dinner along with some apple and cinnamon.

    Caraway Dill Split Pea
    1 T evoo
    1 t caraway seeds
    1 t rosemary
    2 t dill
    1/2 t rubbed sage
    1/2 t coriander
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 t Tony's Cajun Seasoning
    8 cloves garlic
    2 t apple cider vinegar
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    1 large potato, chopped
    4 c cabbage, chopped
    1 c split peas
    1 bay leaf
    6 c veggie stock
    1 T dijon mustard
    1 T pickapepper sauce
    1 t apple cider vinegar
    2 T soy sauce
    1/2 c nutritional yeast
    pepper to taste

    In a large soup pan add the oil, spices, onion and garlic and Tony's. Bring heat up medium low and caramelize the onions. This will take around 20 minutes. De-glaze with vinegar. Add the carrot, potato, cabbage, peas , bay and veggie stock. Turn heat up to medium hi and bring to a boil. Let soup boil for several  minutes, then turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer for an hour or so. Ad the mustard, vinegar, soy and yeast along with salt/pepper if needed. Let soup sit for 15 minutes before tasting again and adding more soy, salt or pepper.

    I know it seems like there are a lot of ingredients.. and there are. You can use what you have on hand and the soup will still be good.

    My son is becoming more into vegan foods and less into wanting to eat meat. I'm obviously happy about that. He works out so much during the day and eats a huge amount of food! It helps that his dad has decided to be a vegetarian again. I never cook him meat, but he was eating it at his dads.

    I will happily eat soup for several meals in a row, but he needs big, hearty meals. I was originally going to make some black bean enchiladas tomorrow, but I ended up stuffing a HUGE chickpea flatbread with the beans, salasa and queso and making him another quesadilla along with a huge salad.

    He said it was OK if I posted a pic of his back! hahah

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Smoked Cheesy Potato Soup and Smoky Pimento Cheese Recipes

    The other day, I wanted to create a cheese like spread to use on sandwiches and burgers. Several months ago, I tried the We Can't Say It's Cheese smoked cheddar spread and really enjoyed it. It is oat based and I have oats! I looked at the ingredients and based on what I had on hand, tried to re-create it. Their texture is much better than mine, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

    The cool thing is that it actually set up overnight which I didn't anticipate. I see many variations of this in the future. Today, I was craving something warm and soothing, so I figured I'd see how the spread worked to create a cheesy base for soup. Earlier today I made a quart of veggie stock. I had 1 cup of white beans in the freezer and some potatoes on hand. This soup was delicious! It made two large servings. I am saving the other serving for my son. I had a big sprout and carrot salad on the side. What a great lunch!

    Smoky Cheesy Potato Soup

    1 T Vegan Margarine or olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    6 cloves pressed garlic
    ½ t chipotle powder or smoked paprika
    4 c chopped waxy potatoes
    1 c Smoky Pimento Spread ( recipe follows )
    1 c white beans
    4 c vegetable stock
    ½ - 1 t Tony’s Cajun Seasoning
    ¼ t liquid smoke ( or to taste , each brand is different )
    2 t golden balsamic or other light vinegar ( Umeboshi vinegar would be the best option here if you have it )
    Lots of freshly ground pepper
    Scallions for garnish

    Heat margarine over medium heat, add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 10 minutes then add the potatoes, cheese sauce, white beans and veggie stock Bring to a boil, turn heat down to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Puree with a hand blender. Now add Cajun seasoning ( or more salt ) and lots of black pepper along with the liquid smoke and vinegar. Cover an allow the mixture to mellow out for 10 minutes before serving.

    Smoky Pimento Spread

    1 c old fashioned oatmeal
    1 T smoked paprika
    1/2 c nutritional yeast
    1 t salt ( I used chunky sea salt, you may need less if you are using finely ground salt, so start with ½ t )
    1 T onion powder
    1.5 t Dijon mustard
    1.5 c water
    1 T toasted sesame oil
    1 t liquid smoke
    1/4 cup  green olives
    2 T olive brine
    4 T olive oil
    Over medium heat, place oats, paprika, yeast, salt, onion powder, mustard, water and toasted sesame oil in a saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes, covered stirring several times. Place the olives in a food processor and pulse to break them up. Add the oatmeal mixture and process for 3 minutes or until very smooth. During the last 30 seconds, add the liquid smoke, brine and olive oil  pulse to incorporate. Allow mixture to cool.

    This recipe was created with frugality in mind, but if you had ½ of a roasted red bell pepper it would be a very good thing to add!

    Finally, here's a pic of my sprout salad. I eat a lot of sprout salads. This one had spicy mustard sprouts and red clover sprouts. I topped it with a bit of my Queso and some toasted sesame seeds. So good!

    Don't forget to enter the CSN Store $65 dollar Gift Certificate Giveaway HERE!! You have until Nov. 17th.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Share A Plot and Dreaming Big!

    I'm working on my Seitan Bacon recipe. It's almost there. When I get it right, I'll post it.

    Today I taught a Raw Foods class and it re-awakened my passion for teaching! I just love it. I am so passionate about what I do, both in photography and creating healthy vegan food...

    This is about my dream... my dream is to have a Community Kitchen were people can come together and create healthy and delicious foods for themselves and others. People could drop in a learn to cook. There would be a garden and greenhouses.

    I think it can be done! Somehow!

    I started a blog called Share A Plot. It is devote to connecting those with some extra land with those who need some land. It already has some links, but we need more. Go check it out and share the idea with everyone you know! I will be putting up a facebook page for it this week.

    I really believe one family at a time is the way to start to change this on a global level. I know I have lofty goals, but I always have!  The fact is that the internet is International! Change happens one person at a time.

    I am all over the place tonight.. but I am pumped up! If you have land, or even just a patio that can fit a container or two, please consider sharing it with a person or family in need. Start small over the winter! Offer a sunny spot in your home to grow some herbs.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Simple Queso Recipe & Raw nutritional breakdown

    I've been busy the last couple of days, so it has been very helpful to have my fridge stocked with sauces, beans, chickpea flatbread and sprouts.

    I spiced up my last batch of flatbread with chipotle powder, garlic and onion. The black beans were just simple pressure cooked beans mixed with salsa an more lime juice then pureed in the food processor.

    I topped the quesadilla with queso, salsa and corn and pico de gallo.


    ¾ c nutritional yeast
    ¼ c chickpea flour *
    1-2 t Tony’s Cajun Seasoning ( start with 1 and add more if desired. I usually add 2, but if you are using it as a dip for salty chips, add 1 )
    2 T chili powder
    2 T onion powder
    2 t garlic powder
    Pinch oregano
    2 c water
    ¼ c salsa
    1 T olive oil
    1 t apple cider vinegar

    Whisk the yeast, flour and spices together. Add water and whisk very well until the lumps are gone. Bring to a gentle boil, over medium high heat whisking VERY WELL. Cook for 3 minutes, take off heat and stir in salsa, olive oil and vinegar. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to mellow out the vinegar.

    *For a glossy, super smooth sauce use 2 T cornstarch instead of chickpea flour.  Make sure your water is very cold. I use the chickpea flour for it’s nutritional value, but cornstarch produces a admittedly better mouth feel.

    My raw day went better nutritionally. I am amazed at how much more satisfied I feel calorie for calorie when I eat cooked food. I sprouted an entire cup of lentils and ate them all during the day. I think I am going to sprout mung beans next week.

    Here's the breakdown of the day from Fitday.com

    Dietary Fiber

    RDA% RDA
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin B6
    Vitamin B12
    Vitamin C
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin E
    RDA% RDA
    RDA% RDA
    Pant. Acid

    Definitely better than last week.