Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There Was An Endnote to the Endnote

Good Evening (said in a voice like that Masterpiece Theater guy), no actually, it's morning, but I just wanted to imagine saying "Good Eee-ven-ing" with a deep voice, stuffy English accent and especially with that three syllabic stretch on evening, emphasis on 'Eee'.

Hey, what did you get for Christmas? I got a soapstone deep dish pizza pan (woo!), a clay baker (to make fake turkey in), some Chabon books, a gift certificate for our local kitchen shoppe (again with the woo! I'm torn over 1)many little things or 2)a pressure cooker), a book called "Curly Girl" so I can start to get a handle on the girls curls and Bryanna Clark Grogan's "20 Minutes to Dinner".

So I made a recipe last night from it- cabbage and noodles which is just as it sounds! It was good, although we are not huge cabbage fans. The cookbook has many great recipes and ideas in it, I'm glad to have it for inspiration.

I am of course still reading "Infinite Jest". It's gotten more interesting to me as more characters are added and it's not quite so masculine as the beginning was when it was super focused in on the main character. I will be interested to see if these different plots are ever woven together? And I also must amend a statement I made earlier about footnotes having footnotes- my good husband reminded me that the notes at the end of the book are called ENDnotes and the notes at the bottom of the page, you know, with the asterisk, are footnotes. My apologies. So I was reading an endnote when I discovered there was an endnote to the endnote. Whatever.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Footnote to the Footnote!

Well, it's snowing here- slated to storm, actually. I just got a good night's sleep in who knows how long, we've got most of our Christmas stuff done (did all the cards last night- phew!) and so now we have just a few trips planned today to run errands to the COOP, the library and the Bikery, our local coffeeshop. I hope you and yours have a great Holiday season and get to spend lots of time with loved ones!

Here is some spaghetti with bottled peanut sauce and some of that fake chicken stuff and a bag of frozen vegetables. Yes, we like to live it up here...

But, even better yet, here are Snickerdoodles!!! Whee! I got to use my whisk attachment for my mixer which I hardly ever get to use. Oh, baby, were these good, it was a good thing my husband took them to work and I only got to eat a half of one! Next time I will roll them in the cinnamon sugar, roll them in between my palms to soften them a little and reroll them. Yes, I am AR, thank you very much. Isn't the cracking bee-yoo-ti- ful? I guess that's from the chilling of the dough. What a great thing to know. Go, make these now. They are really simple and really good.
And lastly, inspired by Guava's Shepherd's Pie, I made this! Man, I didn't even get you guys the money shot it was just so good. Imagine some peas and corn and carrots floating around in the gravy. I used some red wine in the gravy and the mashed potatoes mixing with the gravy... mmmmmm... heaven! I used my favorite Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on Top recipe. Maybe I'll have to try Vegan Dad's version next...

Still reading "Infinite Jest"- I got to the part where I quit last time, you wanna know how I knew it? I was filled with the same bafflement, that's how. I was reading a footnote and THERE WAS A FOOTNOTE TO THE FOOTNOTE!!!!! Srsly, folks, this book truly takes a commitment to read, not to mention that it's sort of hard to read in bed when you have to hold up this thing that weighs like a ton. Really, I can read a big book, I'm a big girl now, but when I have to keep flipping to the back to read footnotes, it gets exhausting. I should skip the footnotes, but I'm paranoid I'll miss something crucial and you really can't let things go with this story. Well, anyhow, I'm commited. We'll see if it's fate is better than that of "In the Name of the Rose".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pay More Attention

Ohhh the excitement!
Well, it was good, if not real pretty...

I used Your Vegan Mom's Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix (thanks to her handy dandy widget search box I found that so quickly!). Thanks, Vegan Mom!

Cheesy Vegan Rice and Broccoli Casserole

2 C rice, uncooked
1 C Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix
1/2 bag frozen broccoli

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil your 9 x 13" casserole.
Nuke your broccoli and chop into smaller pieces.
Get your rice started.
Mix 1 C Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix with 2 C water over med high heat, stirring until thick. Remove from heat and mix together with broccoli and rice in a big bowl.
Pour into casserole, cover with foil and bake 30m, last 10 uncovered.

So, nothing fancy, but it was good hot food on a cold, cold night. Plus I have a cold, so, blah. Not much energy for inspiring foods.

Started "Infinite Jest" which I requested from the library...
Okay, I have started this before, I don't know when or how or why, but everything I'm reading is familiar. This time, however, I have a lot more patience and interest. So we'll see how far I get. It is a huge tome. I've told myself that if I bail, I will at least write the page number down somewhere so I can pick it up again later. Now I'm faced with either re-reading what I already read, or trying to skim ahead to find where I left off. I think I'm just going to reread and pay more attention this time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So Fun!

What We Had For Dinner the Other Night

Again with the chili topped sweet potato! Yes, but it's so good! I must have a vitamin A deficiency or something...

this time with black beans, added some cocoa to the mix...

and served with Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan. Oh, and I've made that cornbread quite a few times, never with the energ egg replacer and it's been juuuuust fine. Make it in a skillet, make it now.

And hey, I tried Vegan Mom's Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix, and lo, it was good.

I did not have raw sunflower seeds on hand, so I used 3/4 C rolled oats and it was fine.

Boiled up half a box of elbow mac (2 C worth), mixed it all up, topped with 10 crumbled Ritz crackers (yes, Virginia, they are vegan). Baked at 350 for 30m or so. Verrry nice. Even better the next day, reheated with a little added oil and some broccoli... for lunch, of course!

That's all I gotz for ya today, have given up on "The Name of the Rose" or whatever it's called. Reading another Aubrey-Maturin O'Brien novel, this one's not as good! Boo! It starts out on land, or as seagoing folk say, shore. Booo-ring.

Christmas presents are rrrrrrollin' in!!!! So exciting. Frigid cold here, snowing. Ahh, Winter.

Oooh, oooh! Not least but last, here's my presents for various and sundry people (neighbor who we hope to have watch cats, daughter E.'s teachers).

So fun!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Too Saccharine Sweet


Yes, that perennial favorite, Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on top.
Well, I had been trying to get my hands on some wine to use in this gravy (Bryanna suggests port/sherry/Marsala), for example I stopped at a liquor store on the way home from our cut your own tree expedition (St. Croix Valley Tree Farm is really nice), but just came home with a bottle of Merlot mixed with something that starts with "C". Black Opal. I have no idea. It didn't even have a cork in it!! It was a twist off!
But I digress, so we had this last night and this time I used the gravy recipe with nutritional yeast where you toast the flour and nutritional yeast and it came out lumpy and liquidy but that was okay. And I spiced up the veggies and Boca by adding some paprika, pepper, garlic and onion powder.
Next time I will add a T of Earth Balance to the gravy. Sorry Bryanna, but it's got to be done.

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed veg
1 pkt Boca 'ground beef'

2 1/2 C water
1/3 C flour
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 T soy sauce
1/2 t salt
few shakes Kitchen Bouquet

1 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C water

Oil a 9", round, covered casserole. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Nuke veg and Boca together in microwave safe bowl, covered, for 10m with 1/4 C water.
Prepare gravy; brown flour and nutritional yeast over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add water, soy sauce, salt and Kitchen Bouquet. Whisk well, return to high heat and whisk until thickening, reduce heat and simmer 5m.
Stir together dumpling ingredients with a fork to make a stiff dough.
Add a dash pepper, salt, paprika, onion and garlic powder to veg and mix well. Pour into casserole. Pour gravy over veg and then top with spoonfulls of biscuit.
Bake uncovered 15m, covered 15m. Yum!

Ain't it purdy.
Here is another repeat, pasta with lentils.
Very yummy, filling and cheap, cheap, CHEAP!!!
I spiced it up with some cumin because I can never leave a recipe alone and it was good. Also some onion and garlic powder, sensing a theme here?

Pasta with lentils

1/2 16 oz package pasta
1 C brown lentils
1 1/4 C water
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C tahini
1/4 C water
1 t cumin
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
dash pepper

Boil pasta.
In a large pot, place lentils with 1 1/4 C water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 30m or until lentils are tender.
Saute onions, garlic in skillet.
Add onions and garlic, tahini, water and spices to lentils in large pot.
Mix well.
Toss in pasta and mix well (it helps if you just spoon out the pasta with a slotted spoon right into the large pot because the extra pasta water makes it easier to mix).
Serve hot.

I made my bread recipe and added some potato flakes which I had read about somewheres. Yo, it was good!!! I get ridiculously excited when I can change a recipe for the better. Note, I also added more oil and sugar. The kind of potato flakes I got at the coop come in these little packs so all I have to do is rip one open and it's so easy! Whee!

My Bread Recipe, the newest incarnation;
4 heaping cups flour
1/3 C sugar
1 pkt potato flakes (about 1/2 C)
1/4 C vital wheat gluten
1 scant T salt
1 scant T yeast
1/4 C oil
2 1/2 C water

Mix it all up, oil a bowl, plop it in there and turn to cover with oil, cover with wet tea towel and place in low oven (170 degrees) turned off for 45m.
Plop onto flour covered countertop, knead a little (10m), cut in half, roll out into rectangle, roll up short side, tuck ends under, plop in greased loaf pans and place back in low oven, turned off, again with the wet tea towel 45m.
When risen, take off towel, turn oven to 400 (you're starting from a cold oven, here) and bake 40m.
If having a really dark top bugs you, cover with foil toward the end.

And here is another repeat (sensing yet another theme here, now I'm repeating my 'sensing a theme here' statements, gah I'm repetitive). Yes, this winter will be the winter of working through the classics, I believe. Quick Tofu Mutter.
Anyway, this time I used more potato and peas to balance out the tofu and more curry paste, soy sauce, garlic.
Make this today!

Quick Tofu Mutter (I think I found this on vegweb or somewheres, but I can't find it again)

1 pkt extra firm tofu, chopped
1 C frozen peas
3 potatoes, cubed
2 T Patak's curry paste
2 T soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced

Start rice.
Start water to boil for potatoes.
Dice tofu, place in 9x9" microwave safe dish and nuke 1 1/2 m.
In a small bowl, mix curry paste, soy sauce and garlic.
Pour over tofu and mix well.
Cook potatoes until tender (10m?), remove from heat, do not drain and add frozen peas to thaw.
Nuke tofu 1 1/2m, stir, then nuke another 1 1/2 m.
Pour tofu into serving bowl, drain potatoes and peas and add to tofu and mix well.
Serve over rice.

Reading "The Name of the Rose" or whatever that Umberto Eco book is called, man is it tedious. Sorry, literary people. There's a lot of talk and theology which is very interesting and all, but man is it slow!
So, to reassure myself that, yes, I can actually read quickly, I guess, somehow I ended up getting "Bridget Jones Diary" and and Elizabeth Berg book from the library yesterday and read them both in one day!!!! Bridget Jones Diary was fun in a fluffy way, the format got sort of ridiculous after a while. Then the Berg book I really super enjoyed, it was the third in a series, "True to Form". I liked what she had to say, her insights into life, didn't think it was too saccharine sweet etc. etc. Feel like I'm wildly vaccilating in my choices of reading material.

Oh, P.S. thanks for all the great feedback about the tater tot hot dish... was kind of embarrased to post it, but so pleased with the reaction!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hooray For Food!

Hokay, lotta catch up to do here...

I made a Tater Tot Casserole, and lo! it was good.

1 pkg tater tots
1 can green beans
1 pkt Boca crumbles
1 T oil
1/2 onion, chopped
dashes chili powder, pepper and paprika
salt to taste

1 can pinto/northern/cannellini beans, undrained
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C (half a small jar) pimentos
6 green olives
1 t garlic powder

Blend sauce ingredients. Mix with green beans in a med. saucepan over med high heat.
Bake tater tots as directed (yes, they're vegan).
In a large skillet, saute onion, then Boca. Season with spices and salt to taste.
Place tater tots in casserole dish (I think mine's 3qt), pour sauce with green beans over and top with Boca.

This is a variation of a sauce I use pretty often, it's nice because it's lowfat and so then the tater tots aren't so bad, right?, right?!? Anyway, I didn't have any lemon juice so I thought I'd try olives and it worked!! I am also sick of hunting down jars of pimentos so I think I'll just use green olives and if it turns a weird color I'll just add some paprika. Hoorah.

Yo, I am fancying it up 'round here! I made French Lentil Soup from Veganomicon with 2 C Merlot and it was good! This was my first venture into cooking with wine land, so that was fun. It was some cheap brand called Barefoot. Next up in Cooking With Wine, Marsala/Port/Sherry in my new favorite gravy recipe.

I made some Cheezy Quackers to go with some veggie soup. I thought they were great, but my husband did not, boo!
Oh, and soooo long overdue, I won! I won!!!
Thank you For The Love Of Guava!!!!! You are too sweet!
I felt so warm and fuzzy when I found out she had nominated me, so I love to pass on the love by nom-nom-nominating these fine bloggers...

I nominate
Cooking For A Vegan Lover because she has a cute cat and she posts great recipes (she actually made VeganYumYum's Seitan Roulade! Kudos!). Check out her Holiday Menu- drooool!

I nominate
The Pink Apron because she ate vegan for November, and because she needed some cheering up, plus I love her recipes and funny anecdotes (gosh that sounds weird, but it's true!)!

I love
That Pain In The Ass Vegan (already nominated, d'oh!) because her posts are informative and funny and personal and righteous.

I nominate
Adventures in Vegetarianism becuase she has a well stocked freezer, she introduced me to Hummus en Fuego and because she made the effort to travel vegan stylee!

I love
I Am Not A Rabbit (already nominated too! Geez!) because her household is now completely vegan!! And because her cat is cute! And because I like to read her posts and she photoshops turkeys for American visitors!

In reading news, I finished "Master and Commander" (you know, the book the movie was based on?) and it. was. teh. awesome. No, really, I did really enjoy it and I even made a special trip to the library to get the next one in the (16 BOOK) series, but of course they did not have it. Boo. So I think I have the 9th one or something. We'll see if they're stand alone books or not. You cannot beat a book about sailing, I mean, it's practically pirates, and the author really makes you love the main characters.

Currently I am reading "In The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco, I have heard lots about this author and I saw it at my library run, so I grabbed it and so far so good, although it is quite long, it's turning into a whodunit which is not usually my usual thing, but hey! why not, right? Lots of interesting theology details and so forth and crazy characters. So far it's working.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Doughy Coupla Days

First up, Coconut Curry Tofu Bake with Mushrooms and Chickpeas, sans mushrooms.
This came from one of my favorite sites, Just the Food.
This was very good, especially with the sauce. The base of the casserole was a dough and tofu mixture and mine came out a little gooey... perhaps next time I'd prebake the bottom a little to crispen it up and then put the toppings on. Another fun idea would be to combine the sauce with the chickpeas right in the casserole. Holy cow this was rich and good, though.
Thanks Joni!!

And next up is Beans 'n' dumplings (scroll down)
This was a good supper, but next time I'll just make my dumplings the way I always do- separately and without the tofu in there.
I think I mismeasured the amount of silken tofu to make the dough for the dumplings (I used 2/3 of a package silken tofu)- I had to add quite a bit of flour (more like 2 C instead of the 1 C called for in the recipe) to get a dough. And then these were chewy, not fluffy. Now, I'm not saying they weren't good, but they were doughy. It's been a doughy coupla days.

Well, I feel like I'm living in a fable or something... you've heard of nursemaid's elbow? well I've got washerwoman's wrist (really it's washerwoman's sprain, but I like the alliteration). Yes, Flylady gave me washerwoman's wrist. Why oh why can I never do things moderately??!?

So of course, now all of a sudden I've got a million knitting projects I want to be working on, plus I still would like to clean my house, plus writing and so forth... but I have to rest my wrist. I'm trying to take the long view, like, not damaging myself and stuff, so moderation here I come.

Finished Good Omens, a lovely book. Really enjoyed it and so, so much fun. Glad I own it, to boot! If you like Ray Bradbury crossed with Douglas Adams, you're in business (just kidding, I hate it when people compare authors to other authors, but there you go).

Not going to finish "Twilight of the Superheroes", could just not figure out where she was going and it was a little too introspective or something...

Started "I Sailed with Magellan" reminds me of "Middlesex" for some reason, maybe it's this plunge into another persons worldview that's so strong. Interesting so far. Characters that are larger than life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snarky Humour

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Chili Topped Sweet Potatoes
with Mole sauce

This time I just sauteed up a small onion and quite a few cloves of garlic and then added a couple of tablespoons of prepared Mole sauce. And a can of black beans. It was good, and now I know what to do with that jar of Mole sauce in my refrigerator.

Oh, and I also washed and didn't dry the sweet potatoes and placed them in the bottom of my rather large slow cooker and cooked them on low all day. So good. I highly recommend.

This was Cabbage Dal. I used my Fail Proof Dal recipe, plus a little curry powder. Now, it's not real pretty, but it did the trick and somehow, miraculously, the cabbage made it oh so much better without leaving any cabbage taste. Bizarre.

Here we have the lovely Blueberry Muffin. Started making this before I realized I was out of all purpose flour... so I used 1 C whole wheat and 1/2 C some fancy flour I got at the coop like pastry flour or something that I'm never going to use properly. Used the frozen blueberries we picked so late in the season at Cain's Orchard. Very yummy. Ate way too many.

And another repeat, Garbanzo Paprikash with Dumplings. Love. It. Decided to not make the dumplings green by using celery seed powder this time.

So, I started reading "Twilight of the Superheroes" because the author was recommended by Francine Prose who wrote "Reading like a Writer", actually I just took the back section where she has her list of books to read right now and opened it up and just walked the stacks at the library looking for the authors. So I found some books.

BUT THEN when I was at Goodwill yesterday morning I found "Good Omens" which I've been trying to get at the library forever and there it was- it was like a light streamed down from the heavens, yea and I arose from my shopping cart and procured it. Hooray!

And what with my newfound Terry Pratchett love, I find it so fitting to be reading this now.

Lots of snarky humour.

I think the reason I like Gaiman is because he writes the stories that I fantasized that the goth boys I had crushes on in high school lived. And how's that for escapism, huh?

So, Good Omens, very good.

"Twilight of the Superheroes" was about 9/11 and so, there's that. Maybe I will get back to it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Red It Is

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Bread and Soup!

I got this Shepherd's Bread recipe off of a Ravelry forum and in my quest to try lots of different white bread recipes, gave it a shot!

It is very similar to other bread recipes I have tried, just without the butter (read; Earth Balance).

So I mixed it up yesterday and it made a quite nice loaf, very serviceable for a soup supper. Then, because the loaf baked for 45m and I didn't have enough space on my stone for both loaves, I punched and kneaded down the second loaf, shaped it and put it in a loaf pan to rise for a second rise during that 45 m. Woo! A loaf of sandwich bread which we had for breakfast this morning with almond butter and homemade jam. Nice. This was fun and useful and I may just do it again! Perhaps I will even monkey with it and add margarine and potato flakes and vital wheat gluten...

Then, to go with it, I made Split Pea Soup from the awesome 101 Cookbooks site. Yes, you can see that I made this exactly as she did, even down to the garnish (okay, I did use 1 C yellow split peas for one of the 2 C)!!

I must admit, this recipe inaugurated me into the world of using freshly squeezed lemon. Usually I sort of think it's a bit pretentious to use freshly squeezed lemon but that's a hangup I'm going to hang up. Now to see if I can actually have them at hand when I need them.

This was another quick supper (like the Pasta Alfako dinner) that turned out well. Everyone ate it, even the baby! I was sort of weirded out at how red it was, guess I haven't had Manwich in a while...

1 can Manwich (yes, it is vegan- yay!)
1/2 C TVP
1 C elbow macaroni
1/4 C ketchup (you could use tomato paste if you do not consider ketchup an ingredient as opposed to it's just being a condiment)
2 T HP sauce
2 T oil
1 onion, chopped

Put on your water to boil up the pasta and boil it up when the water boils. Drain. Set aside.
Nuke a 2 C Pyrex measuring cup of water in the microwave for 5m until it boils. Add the 1/2 C TVP and let it hydrate while you saute the onion. Drain.
In a large pot, saute the onions in the oil. Add the drained TVP and macaroni and mix well. Add the Manwich, ketchup and HP sauce. Simmer until thick.

Not much reading.
Left my knitting at a friend's house, d'oh! Finally got the gumption to get out some yarn and needles and then I go and leave it somewhere! Heavens!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking Forward to Leftovers

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

I have had this recipe for Rotini Alfako by the fabulous VeganYumYum for what seems like forever, let's see, posted Dec. 11th 2006- not sure if I got it then or shortly thereafter, but anyway, SERIOUSLY it's been a long time coming. I know I've pulled it out to make and then put it back without having made it. Finally I mentally designated one of our cans of coconut milk for this and this week it finally got made! I am so glad I finally did!!! People, this is good! A quick, rich pasta sauce? Sign me up! I can guarantee that we'll be having this again.

I made it just as written, except I used soy sauce instead of tamari, used ground pepper instead of fresh cracked (I'm so unfancy), and 1 T cornstarch.
Oh, and I also blended everything together instead of just stirring it together in the sauce pan- I'm crazy like that.

Boiled up my spaghetti, tossed in some frozen peas (right into the spaghetti pot! with the spaghetti!), drained it all and slathered with the sauce! Boom! So good!

This makes a fair amount of sauce, I used it over a whole 16 oz box of spaghetti. So it makes a lot, but I'm really looking forward to leftovers!

No reading. Hope you have a great weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

'Kay, So Why Did I Blend the Tomatoes?

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Nacho Chips!!

Finding this queso recipe (love that Pyrex, btw!)
+ some roasted chilis from our CSA that needed to be used up
+ nacho chips on sale at the coop
+ Boca ground 'beef' in the house
+ a can of black olives
= Nacho Chip Dinner!

Here's how I made my queso, it's mostly the same...

Whizz up your roasted chilis (I think they were jalapeno?) with some water, then decide you're going to add this to the queso.
For some reason add the tomatoes plus everything else excepting the paprika, plus a few cloves of garlic (like, many). Use oil instead of Earth Balance margarine (I'm cheap these days!). Oh heck, I'll just type it out for you...

Queso Why Did I Blend the Tomatoes? (Get it, 'kay, so?, ha ha maybe not)

1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C flour
1 t salt
bunch of chiles, roasted
1 t cumin
4 mild cloves garlic (this is stuff from the grocery store, not the CSA)
1 C water
can diced tomatoes
2 T oil
2 t prepared mustard

Blend all in blender. Cook on stove until thick. Add 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water if you're impatient like me...
Makes a full 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup full.

Brown your Boca in a Tablespoon of oil and add taco seasoning;

Homemade Taco Seasoning (couldn't find the original recipe to cite, but there are many)

2 T dried minced onion
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t oregano
salt to taste
1 C water

I didn't have chili powder (what's wrong with me?!?) so I subbed some cayenne powder and ancho chile powder and WHOO! was that hot!!!

Then slice up your can of black olives and serve.

Next time, use RoTel tomatoes with chiles, and don't add the tomatoes, or maybe I will...

Then, the other night we had soup. I am on a soup kick, hey?

This made a lot of soup, like, 14 C. The original recipe calls for a 4 quart soup pot, but, ah, I used my giant soup pot when it didn't all fit into my 6 qt. slow cooker.

Cranberry Bean and Root Vegetable Soup
loosely based off of Cranberry bean, lacinato kale and pasta soup

13 C turnips, parsnips and rutabegas, chopped into 1/2" dice (this was about 2 large rutabegas, 6 parsnips and 5 turnips, your mileage may vary)
3 C dried cranberry beans
14 C water
1/4 C oil
4 T paprika paste
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 T parsley
1 t sage
salt to taste

Saute the garlic, then add the paprika and spices. Stir in the cranberry beans, then the root vegetables and then add the water. Simmer all afternoon until the beans are tender and the veggies are mushy. Add salt to taste. The end.

Still reading "The Steppe" by Chekov. Verrrry interesting. Stopped at the bookstore to look at "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" to see how many of the recipes are vegan to decide if I should get it, will put it on my wishlist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Good evening!

So here is a good soup we had last night. I was pretty impressed.
I had some wild rice that needed to be used up and all I could think of was cream of wild rice soup or whatever that's called. Well, poof! into my brain came Lachesis' Alfredo Stroganoff sauce, begging to be made into the base for this soup... who was I to argue? And, boy, was that a good call!! If you are a fan of the cream based wild rice soup, do give this a try.

Vegan Wild Rice Soup

2 C cooked wild rice
1/2 pkg soft silken tofu
4 C water
4 cloves garlic
2 T Earth Balance
2 T oil
1 C soymilk
splash white wine
1 T onion powder
2 t garlic powder
2 t salt
dash pepper
pinch nutmeg

Place into the blender everything except the wild rice.
Pour sauce into soup pot, add wild rice and bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until it's thick how you like it.
If it's taking to long to thicken, add 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water to simmering soup and mix well, bring up heat a little and stir until thickened.

And here is a tamale pie type thing. I was so excited to make this!!! Finally, a way to use up my masa flour! Whee! Well, I must admit, I do believe this casserole should be baked COVERED because my tamale pie came out all dry! Boo hoo!
Also, I would double the filling next time by adding another can of black beans and another can of pinto beans and maybe even another can of tomatoes.

Tamale Pie, recipe based off of this.

For the dough;
1/2 C vegetable shortening
3 C masa harina
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C water

2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t ancho chile powder reserved to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13" casserole.
Beat shortening in mixer, add masa, baking powder, salt and water gradually until like a paste (when I added the 1 C water it just got where it was little pea sized balls so I added about another 1/2 C water to get the 'paste' consistency).
Press half into the bottom of the casserole and set aside the other half.

In your big pot, saute the onion and garlic, add the cumin and salt and beans and tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid is gone (again, my tamale pie turned out really dry, so next time I might leave some of that liquid). Pour on top of the masa in the casserole and top with the other half of the dough (again, I might add more liquid to the second half of the masa dough to make it 1) more spreadable and 2) again with the not dry thing.

Bake 1 hour, covered.
Boy howdy there are a lot of tamale pie recipes out there! Some have pimentos, some have olives, some have corn, some have paprika, some have peppers... whoa! Pick yer poison!

On the reading front, instead of edumacating myself with Proust (ha! I lied, I set it aside and did nary pick it up again!), I will now proceed to tell the internets how I am frittering my time away... with THIS! Ha-hah! It's the first 12 chapters of Midnight Sun, the story of "Twilight" told from the vampire's point of view. Okay, I just had to know what all the hubbub was about these books. So I thought that the first 12 chapters of Midnight Sun were great fun. Fast driving, clumsy girl, vegetarian vampires, near death escapes, first love... lots of fun. Maybe a little patriarchal, a little contrived, but I thought it was a great story. Here's a little history on why you can read this online. I must say that I smell a publicity stunt. That is all.

Okay, I did start reading some Chekov, short stories, so good so far.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Steam Leavened

What We Had Last Night

Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on top

Yum! This was good! Nice and easy and quick and and and... you'll just have to try it yourself. Have a mournful can of mixed veggies stuck back in your pantry somewhere? Got flour? Soy sauce? Then you're in bizness. Add some Boca 'ground beef' and it's even better (actual preference may vary)!

So I did try to find this online, but couldn't. Innernet, you have failed me. But I did have some info on my printout, so... thanks Jan Tz! Is the website down or something? I think that's where I got it from...

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Oil a 9" round, covered casserole dish (I used a 9" square baking dish, but then I didn't have a cover and so I used tinfoil, but something with a cover would have been better). I digress.
Nuke a bag/open a can of mixed veg- I used a 16oz bag of frozen veggies (you can also nuke the packet of Boca in the same dish at the same time).
Oil your casserole dish.
Pour the veg and Boca into the casserole dish.

Prepare the gravy;
2 C water
1/4 C flour
1 T + 1 t soy sauce

Find an old spaghetti jar with a lid and put everything in there and shake, shake, shake. Or, just add a little liquid at a time and whisk it together so there's no lumps. Put on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spices (I used a tee-tiny pinch of every single savory spice I could find- sage, thyme, mustard, oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, rosemary etc., also onion and garlic granules).

Pour the gravy over the vegetables.

Now at this point on my printout, the author says 'this recipe is from Bryanna Clark Grogan's book, "The Almost No-Fat Cookbook" p75'. But the 'this' is unclear... is it the gravy or the biscuit recipe to follow? Anyway, the biscuits or the gravy are from Bryanna, I'm hazarding a guess here and saying it's the gravy. If you go to her page here and scroll down, you'll find a more highly evolved version of this recipe, Bryanna's Rich Brown (fat free) Yeast Gravy (note to self; use this next time).

Prepare your biscuits

Featherlight Dumplings

1 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C plain soymilk or water

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water/soymilk until a stiff dough forms.

Drop dumplings by the spoonful on top of the gravy soaked vegetables.

Bake uncovered 15m, then covered another 15m.


Reading "Swann's Way" by Proust. Man alive, I'm in X pages and really, not much has happened. I sure know a lot about the town he grew up in, though. Honestly it's not too bad, because I can put this down and pick it up at will and it's not too hard to get back into the swing of things. Unlike some other long-winded books, I'm still interested and I'm enjoying the ride.

I found some funny threads when I was trying to locate the above recipe online. I somehow stumbled across this. Hilarious! My favorite line was "It tastes a little like strawberries, and a little like failure.". Also the people at MetaFilter tried the microwave cake, with mixed results. I learned that said microwave cake is 'steam leavened'. Cool.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Forsee Soup


Lentil soup with cabbage and kielbasa

Man, I had a craving for lentil soup yesterday! I was planning on making soup with the rest of my wild rice and the sauce from this recipe (scroll down) but then I just kept wanting lentils! How weird is that? Lentils must have iron in them or something I need.

Anyway, this soup wasn't as good as the other lentil soup* I've been making lately, but it was pretty good. And it satisfied my lentil soup craving.

I was going to be awesome and serve it with 5 Minute Artisan Bread, but then that took too long so we just had it with Triscuits. I forsee other soups in our future with this bread.

On to the recipe;

2 C lentils
8 C water
1 small cabbage, sliced thin (about 2 C)
1 Tofurky kielbasa sausage, sliced in half longways and then into rounds
2 T oil
2 T vegetable broth powder
1 t thyme
1 t salt or to taste
1 t onion granules (I used this because I was out of onions, can you imagine?)
1/2 t garlic granules (ditto on the using it because I was out of garlic)
pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
few drops liquid smoke

Maybe the reason it wasn't so great was because I used onion and garlic granules as well as vegetable broth POWDER as opposed to using let's say, real things. Hmmm.

*hey guys, give me a break about the soup, yes? it's Fall. Of course now that snow is falling outside my window I'll be all like, 'hey, it's Winter, time for soup!'

Okay, confession time.
The reasons I'm not knitting are;
1. I'm pretty sure that as a vegan, I need to at least make sure that the wool I'm working with comes from a humane farm. And I have a lot of stash that isn't.
2. I had moths and used moth balls to ensure there wouldn't be any in my stash and now my stash reeks of chemicals and it's kind of freaking me out.
3. I was rejected from Knitty.

We'll see what transpires. Maybe I just need a break.

So I went to the library to find some Proust, Henry Green and Chekov. Found the first and last aaaaand picked up one of Francine Prose's fiction novels. Now, I don't think Francine is this tricky, but I did think it was an interesting coincidence that when I went to look for Proust, RIGHT THERE was Prose. I'm just sayin'.

I kind of blew through "A Changed Man" but it was really interesing and fun. I had a big chunk of time to myself to read and I was so glad I had a good novel to spend, as it were.

I thought the book did a good job exploring the somewhat banality of evil and human nature. I appreciated that the author did not decide to rub it in your face how awful people are but rather gave us a gripping, good story that had a nice ending.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Heavens they're tasty!


Acorn Squash with wild rice and cranberry sauce

This turned out nicely! What a great Fall dinner... and the squash, wild rice, cranberries and maple syrup were local!


2 acorn squash

Cut in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place in 6 qt. slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Cranberry Relish based off of the recipe in Vegan With A Vengeance

2 C fresh cranberries
1/2 C maple syrup
1/2 C water
1/4 C apple juice

In the small bowl of your food processor, pulse the cranberries until chopped but not pureed.
Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is almost gone and relish is thick.


1/4 C apple juice
1/4 C canola oil
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom

Whisk together well.


2 C white rice, cooked
2 C broken wild rice, cooked
1 T canola oil
1 t salt
1 t onion granules
1/2 t garlic granules
2 C fresh cranberries

Mix all ingredients well.

Plate up by placing the squash half on the plate, then filling to overflowing with the rice mixture, then a spoonful of cranberry relish and then drizzle some of the sauce over the top of that.

This recipe has a lot going on, but really all of it is pretty easy and the end result is so good and filling that it's worth it! Maybe next time I'll try a different squash and mix the dressing with the cranberry relish.

Found Proust and Chekov online at Project Gutenberg, but I think I'll see what the library has 'cause reading online is not always convenient.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Liked It So Much, I Made It Twice

WWHFDLN (What We Had For Dinner Last Night)

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Just like we had the other night, except with Moong Dal and I 'smoked' the paprika (read: it burned a little before I could swoop in and add some water). Still, very good and I used up the last of our parsley. I liked it so much, I made it twice.

WWHFDTON (What We Had For Dinner The Other Night)

This was borne out of desperation and fortunately, everyone liked it! Yea!

Beany Pasta with Kielbasa

1 Tofurkey Kielbasa cut in half long wise and sliced
1 can cannellini beans
1/2 pkg soft silken tofu
1/2 16oz pkg pasta
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T oil
fresh oregano to taste or 1 t dried, crumbled
1 t salt

Boil your pasta.
Dump half of the beans in your blender or food processor and add the tofu, salt, oregano and nutritional yeast. Blend.
Drain and rinse the other half of the can of cannellini beans and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, brown your sausage in 1 T of oil. Add the beans and sauce and mix well. When pasta is done, add the pasta and mix well. Serve.

Finally, this curry. I made it a little different but not much.

1/2 block firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1/2 C maple roasted cashews
1 C pineapple chunks
1/2 pkg frozen broccoli
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 T curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 T brown sugar

Toast your cashews; in a large cast iron skillet, toast the raw cashews on high, stirring constantly, until browned (skip this step if your cashews are already roasted). Stir in 1 T maple syrup and stir and stir until the cashews are mostly dry and before all the maple coating clumps off. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large pot on med high heat, mix the shallot with the curry paste and cook until shallot is tender. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the tofu and stir until tofu is well coated and hot. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Gently mix in the pineapple and broccoli and heat through. Simmer until desired thickness (now that I think about it I think I stirred in a T of cornstarch) and serve over rice.

Finished the Francine Prose book (Reading Like A Writer). Thought it was really meaty and great. Lots to sink your proverbial teeth into. Would like to own it. Am interested in reading Chekov now. And this Green guy. And Proust?

Started Monster Island, but the gore got to me. I am a wuss.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Suuuper crispy!


Chili Topped Sweet Potatoes based off of this recipe.

Oh, aghlaghlaghl...
this is a favorite recipe in our family!! When I see those sweet potatoes at the store I am so excited I just snap them up!

4 large sweet potatoes, washed well (do not dry!- you'll see why)
2 T oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, undrained
1 C your favorite salsa (I used some apple salsa!)
1 t cumin
salt to taste

Wash and do not dry the sweet potatoes, placing them in a 6 qt slow cooker on low for 4 - 6 hours (honestly, once you try this you will never make them any other way- they are so tender and good).
Or wash and pierce them and place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 60 - 75m.
Or nuke 'em (pierce first!) 6-8m.

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion, then the garlic. Add the beans, salsa and cumin. Simmer for 10m, taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve over split open sweet potatoes.

Tortilla chips

Well, I had some corn tortillas left from when I made that bean and potato skillet and I thought, hmmm, I wonder... so I googled it and found a recipe and there you have it! Gosh was it fun to make my own chips! And they were good! Suuuper crispy. Just right to go with this dish.

*What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Still reading "Reading Like A Writer" still so good. Man, I'm going to have a lot of new books to read once I'm done with this one. Here's an interesting interview with the author.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Better Soup With Mine Friends Than A Banquet With Mine Enemy

So we had some friends in from out of town and I thought I'd turn out some aebleskiver. Actually, D. did most of the turning- thanks D.! Mmmm so good! If you ever have the chance to pick up one of these pans, do so!

Then, what was it, Saturday night? I tried this recipe for Skillet Black Beans with Potatoes and Tortillas. It was hearty, if not pretty, and hot and filling and good.

And finally, Sunday night we had this soup, based off of this recipe for Middle Eastern Lentil Paprika Soup. It was mmm-mmmmm good.

1 C brown lentils
1/2 C garbanzo beans
2 T canola oil
1-2 shallots, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped and packed tightly
1/4 C ketchup
2 T HP sauce
2 T vegetable broth powder
1 T paprika*
2 t salt
1 t curry paste (I use Patak's, be sure to cook it oh my!)
8 C water

Saute shallot and garlic, add paprika and cook for a few minutes, then add lentils and everything else (water last) and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30m or until the lentils are tender.

Yum. Perhaps it was the great company, but I was so pleased with how this turned out!! Hooray for lentil soup!

*did you know that you must heat paprika in order for it to release it's flavor? Wow.

Reading "Reading Like A Writer: A Guide For People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want To Write Them" - another really good book!! A wealth of information not limited to !words! !sentences! and !paragraphs!. She gives great examples of how authors use these and more to make great stories. Super enthralling. And enriching.

Hope all is well with you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Even Better


Delicata Casserole

1/2 16 oz box pasta
2 delicata squash, cut up into 1/2" pieces
1 C pumpkin from in a can
1 C raw cashews
1 clove garlic
1 C soymilk
1 C water
1 t salt
pinch nutmeg
20 Ritz crackers

Start your water for the pasta.
Oil a 9 x 13" casserole.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a blender, blend the cashews, pumpkin, garlic, soymilk, water, salt and nutmeg.
Chop up your squash and when the pasta is done, mix everything together in a big bowl. Pour it into the casserole and bake for an hour at 400 degrees.
Top with Ritz crushed in a bag or whizzed in a food processor and brown under broiler for 10m or until brown.

I thought this was great, the sauce complemented the sweetness of the delicata nicely. I think it would be good for sweet potatoes as well. I'm going to try that next time.

*What We Had For Dinner Last Night

And, to use up the rest of the pumpkin, I made Vegan With A Vengeance's The Best Pumpkin Muffins. Mmmm good. Not exactly healthful, but deeeelicious. I recommend. Added 1/2 C chocolate chips. Even better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Justify My Soup

What We Had For Dinner The Other Night

Garbanzo Paprikash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I used this recipe for the garbanzos and left off the dumplings and added another can of garbanzos, drained. Isn't it odd what recipes we latch onto? For some reason this recipe has become one of our favorites (maybe it's all the ketchup and sugar, eh?).

I decided to swank it up with some fancy paprika (see pic above). Don't you just love that packaging?!? "Pride of Szeged" it states so proudly. Also "Exquisite 100% Sweet Delicacy". And of course the border with the hearts and flowers.

So, did it live up to the hype? Well, maybe I've just been boondoggled by my own desire, but I thought it tasted better. Really, the sauce turned out a darker browner red than the other paprika I've used before, so there was at least some difference.

Okay, so back to the food. I served the Garbanzos Paprikash over my bread. Which turned out so nicely, by the way, but which of course I can never replicate because I just used the last of my all purpose flour, then what vital wheat gluten was left in the bag, then some brown rice flour I had and some Giusto's white pastry flour (which I had originally gotten to make some baguette). Jeepers, bread baking can be mysterious but thankfully also forgiving. I mean, you're not even supposed to use pastry flour for bread, really!!!

Finally, the brussels sprouts. Well, I was inspired by these, but didn't want to do 4 T of Earth Balance, so I just tossed the brussels sprouts with some olive oil, salt, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and maybe a fourth of a teaspoon of garlic powder. Yum! Baked in the oven at 350 for 30m and boom! Straight into my mouth.

What We Had For Dinner Last Night (WWHFDLN)

Crock A Leekie soup! I was inspired by Heathen Vegan's Mock a Leekie soup.
I tossed maybe 4 or 5 leeks, 6 potatoes, 2 T oil and 4 C of water along with some salt and pepper into the crockpot. Then I cooked it on high for 4-5 hours. Then I remembered I still had some of my potato soup from before and dumped that in and blended it some and then cooked it uncovered for the last few hours to thicken it up. All very fly by the seat of your pants, but I do hope it just inspires you to chuck a bunch of veggies into the crockpot and cook 'em up!

Again with the bread. Mentally, I can justify serving any kind of soup as long as there's homemade bread alongside it.

Reading "Writing Down The Bones" (can you sense a theme here). It's not as good as "Take Joy"- much less no nonsense and much more woo woo therapy primal scream type of thing. I'm not really into 'just write whatever comes into your head first thoughts', but I guess if I got stuck I could do that. But there are some good ideas in there and as long as I don't get sucked into thinking that I have to do it her way, I am fine with most of what this author says. I apprecieate all her advice about not listening to that inner critic voice. So much of life is like that, isn't it? Just doing what has to be done instead of listening to that voice.

That's about it, folks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feeling V. Virtuous

What We Had For Dinner The Other Night

Potato-Green Pea Samosa Filling

I skipped the lemon, used cumin instead of cumin seeds and no cayenne pepper powder. Yum! Served over rice as you can see.

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Easy Yummy Lasagna Recipe

I need to work on perfecting my lasagna. I used uncooked noodles and they came out crispy/crunchy and rubbery- both at the same time!! Maybe next time I will just boil the lasagna noodles first. Sometimes you just can't cut corners.

I was pleased with the tofu basil sauce (much like Tofu Basil Ricotta except with soft silken tofu) and would definitely use it again in a lasagna. I know that my husband and daughter did not love the eggplant and spinach, though. Maybe zucchini and tomatoes or some other vegetable I'm not thinking of right now.
And last but not least, Chocolate Pudding In a Mug.

Oh bliss!

Last night I was just craving some chocolate and wishing I had some kind of ice cream bar, but alas, there was nothing to be had. So I hopped online, remembering something about chocolate cake in a mug... Well, I didn't find a recipe for cake, but I did find something chocolatey and good!! This recipe came through for me! Thanks, internet!

I especially appreciated the ease of making it, the not high calorie content (Holy heart attack, have you seen this recipe?!?) and the specific instructions about how to make it. Oh, the only thing I added was a pinch of salt and I upped the vanilla to 1/2 t.

1 T cornstarch
2 T cocoa powder
2 T sugar
3/4 C soymilk
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients except soymilk and vanilla in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Use a fork to make sure there are no lumps (you could also sift the ingredients together if you were feeling really anal). Slowly add the milk and then the vanilla- add just a little and mix, then a little more and so on.

Nuke for 1m. Stir. Nuke for 33 seconds, stopping when it starts to rise to the tippy top of the cup. Stir. Do this in 15s increments (or however long it takes to boil up again) until it's 'boiled' for approximately one minute.

Eat. Do not burn mouth. Yum.

Finished "Take Joy" by Jane Yolen, a really excellent book. Very encouraging and smart.

Bailing on "The Children of God" because it's dragging and I find it sort of voyeristic. Now that I sort of understand why what happened in the first book happened, I've lost interest. Boo.
All I have left are boring books, I think. Must go look through pile.

Started another Short Row Scarf with some crazy acrylic. Need to go up in needle size. Frustrated that I can't find my favorite size 10 1/2 circular needles. Stalled.

Started Flylady- go ahead, laugh! Go ahead! Anyway, don't have much clutter, but patiently submitting to the slow ramping up while waiting for more info on cleaning. Have polished my sink. Did "Swish and a Swipe" of bathroom this morning. Feeling v. virtuous.