Friday, March 31, 2006

Cran-nana Muffins

No dinner tonight! We have some friends in town and we're going out. They have a very early flight tomorrow morning, though, so I made some muffins so they wouldn't have to suffer with nasty food from the Phoenix airport coffee stands.

These muffins are cranberry banana with oatmeal. I used to make these a lot and then I got out of the swing of it, I wonder why... Oh well, that's the fun of rediscovering an old favorite, right? The funny thing is, one of our cats LOVES these muffins. He practically attacks you when you eat them. His favorite part? The cranberries! He won't touch them dried or fresh, only in these muffins. Silly boy. I'll have to remember to prepare for a Ravi attack tomorrow morning when I heat one of them up!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sloppy Bobs

Tonight we used some more of the garlic rolls I made last night and we made Sloppy Bobs. I sauteed some onion and garlic in some olive oil then added 1 small can of tomato paste, 2 cups of tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 cups red lentils, as well as some soy sauce, brown sugar, chili powder and parsley. While it was cooking, I prepped some red potatoes for some make shift french fries.

Turned out good! I always worry when I make a large quantity of bread that it won't get eaten up, so I strategically planned the rolls last night with tonight's dinner. I forgot to pick up a green bell pepper for the Bobs, so I'll have to remember for next time. Yum!

2 yums up!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Alfredo Gnocchi

I was really craving some Italian today, so I decided to make something we haven't had in a long time: gnocchi. Red sauce just didn't seem right, I wanted something creamy, so I embarked on the voyage of vegan Alfredo sauce. Our end result was a creamy sauce, with just the right amount of cheesiness, thanks to the help of some nutritional yeast. In the next day or two I'm going to get some of my recipes linked and I'll include this one, too.

We ended up eating even later than we normally do (which is really bad) because I started on some rolls when I got home from work and I had to wait for them to rise twice. I used rapid rise yeast, though, and that cut down on my time. We each cracked a roll open and tossed on a scoop of bruschetta from Trader Joe's. I love that stuff!

Then we were so full, so we went for a walk to help things settle, which is why I'm putting this blog up super late! Now it's time for some kitchen clean up, then it's off to bed!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jim's First Dinner!

Jim's recent goal has been to learn how to cook. This came as a bit of a surprise for me and I've been happy to teach him. I have been the victim to having the choice of another bowl of cereal or ramen when I'm sick, so I welcome any desire he has to expand his cooking repertoire.

We're going slow, since he's starting from the ground up. Last night he declared that he wanted to make dinner tonight than said, "wait, do we have anything I can make?" Thankfully, we had an emergency box of Fantastic chili mix. It's based with TVP, all you have to add is water, canned tomatoes and beans. He made it with fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans. Then, he went above and beyond any expectations that I had and pulled out my recipe for cornbread and made that as well! It turned out great, moist and lightly sweet.

It was nice to have the evening off and even nicer to hear him heating it up in the kitchen. Seriously, is there anything sexier than a man cooking?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pretty Fly For A White Girl Curry

Jim's grandmother puts sugar in everything she cooks. Soups. Sauces. Side dishes. Meat. Everything. Consequently, he doesn't like anything that is considered a meal time food that is sweet, like yams. So, while ordering it at a restaurant, I never thought he'd have any interest in my coconut curry.

I was wrong.

Jim is now, what is known in the world of addiction, a curry hound. He will seek it out by whatever means necessary to acquire it. I had the hard task of creating a curry that was savory, yet gentle enough for our delicate palate's, which don't handle spices too well.

This is a simple coconut curry. I used onion, garlic, fresh ginger and garam masala for a base. Some chopped up potatoes and carrots add rooty flavor, along with tasty chickpeas (woot!), green peas, coconut milk, and, because of Jim's love for them, LightLife Smart Strips. We ate it over a bed of steamed brown basmati rice. This makes a sizable amount, enough for 2 large dinners for us and leftovers for several fragrant lunches.

Jim loves his curry so much, he dug out some left over sari material from the decor of our bedroom to use for the photo shoot. He's so silly. We listened to the first disc of "Concert for George", which contains all the Indian pieces. I love that album. If you like George Harrison at all, get the album and the DVD. Namaste!

2 yums up!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Amazing Crepes

I got an awesome deal on strawberries this weekend and I wanted some delicious ways to use them. I'll eat 'em up anyway, but Jim's not always such an easy sale. He likes fruit, but won't really eat much on his own accord. Today I whipped up some whole wheat pastry flour and flaxseed crepes. Finally, Jim will eat crepes! He hated how eggy they were as omnis, but veganized he loves them. I don't really think they taste very different at all, just a bit more delicate and not as rubbery. I made a mixture of soy yogurt, sliced strawberries and bananas for the filling. I reserved some extra slices to decorate the tops of them and I drizzled on some Macadamia Cream from VwaV. Jim wanted to have potatoes again, so I used some white potatoes I had, along with some slices of onion, 2 fresh garlic cloves, olive oil and rosemary.

Of course we had orange juice on the side, as always, but as another treat we also picked up some chocolate almond milk last night, yummy! I love that stuff, almond milk is the best. It's like liquid dessert.

Right now Jim is cleaning up my mess in the kitchen. It's quite the life: make a mess, eat the food and watch someone else clean up after you!

2 seed-filled teeth yums up!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Today, we have had a deliciously lazy Saturday. This is a rare occurrence, so we're really enjoying it. We had a late night last night, so sleeping in was thoroughly enjoyed and after we woke up I started right in on breakfast.

A few years ago my father-in-law bought us a quesadilla maker that leaves little southwest pictures browned on the top and bottom: a saguaro, a boot, a guitar, a sun, maracas and a 10-gallon hat. We used it all of once and it's been sitting in our cupboard ever since. After reinspecting it last week I figured it would work similarly to a waffle maker and decided to give it a shot, using Isa's lemon-corn waffle recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance .

It worked out great! We had dozens of cute, little waffle wedges with the designs clearly made on each one. It was really fun to cut apart waffles with a pizza cutter. I made the suggested blueberry sauce to accompany them (so good!), and we also had good old maple syrup. On the side were some fresh hashbrowns and a serving of strawberry soy yogurt and fresh berries on top. And O.J., of course!

There's nothing better than breakfast with Isa. Mmmm....

2 yums up!

(The spell check on this thing is awful! It wanted to replace hashbrowns with antiperspirant [wtf?] and it always tries to replace Jim's name. What a joke!)

Friday, March 24, 2006

No-Name Treats

Woot! It's Friday! Thank god, I'm sooo tired, I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow. This is going to be the first Saturday in a really long time when I don't have to work, Jim doesn't have to work and he doesn't have plans to putz around with the cars. Yay! That means I get to make brunch twice! Brunch is my favorite meal, by far. It's the only time of day when it's considered acceptable to indulge in dessert-like entrees (crepes with strawberries, anyone?) and I get to use my favorite condiment: the sugar-laden ketchup!

Anyhow, The above treats were something I made last night for Jim to take to work for "the guys". I like to send him to work with "Yay, it's Friday" or "Shit, it's Monday" treats from time to time. I'm too tired to come up with a name for them, my snazzy, witty self has given up and the crabby girl in me is rising to the surface. I wouldn't be doing anyone any favors if I let her name it, so rather than deciding on something regrettable, I will just call them No-Name Treats.

The bottom layer is like a oatmeal/sugar cookie thing, on top of which is drizzled caramel, a layer of peanuts, and a chocolate ganache-y thing. I took two pieces to work today, one for myself and one for a friend, as a post-lunch indulgence. The caramel was a bit gooey and didn't set as firm as I would have liked, despite the added cornstarch I used, but it was tasty, a bit too tasty for my sweet tooth, which is the very reason I make these things and send them to work with Jim. According to his midday call they were very well received.

Well, off to marinate some tofu!

Many manly yums up!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Banana Bread

I had a bunch of bananas that were perfectly ripe and I knew that we weren't going to eat them all before they turned, so I whipped up a loaf of Jim's favorite banana bread. I've actually worked hard for several years to make really good banana bread. Some were too sweet, too dry, or just boring. This recipe is fairly low sugar, which I like so Jim doesn't go all Type II on me, between his sweet tooth and my penchant for baking. I add ground flaxseed to this bread for a little oomph and omegas, as well as whole wheat pastry flour. If you want to add more nutritional value to your baked goods I really suggest baking with WWPF. It's finely milled so it bakes really similarly to white flour, but with many more minerals and more fiber. I also manage to add some walnuts, which add a little more texture and protein. Jim isn't big on "debris" in baked goods, but there are a few foods where I can get away with it. Even the cats like banana bread, which if you've ever seen a cat react to the smell of a raw banana, well, you know why that's weird!

2 yums up.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Tonight we had cream of asparagus soup. I like thick soups, not skimpy ones you have to chase around a bowl with a spoon, so we tend to eat creamy, chowder-type soups. This recipe is kind of a typical recipe for me: I find a meal I want to make and I look at as many recipes for it as I can, take the things from each recipe that I like, play around with it and pray that it works out. I'm usually pretty successful. This soup had asparagus, a bit of potato and basmati rice, as well as some thyme, sage and a bay leaf, with an onion and garlic base. I love creamy soups not only because they are satisfying but also because I get to blend hot liquids in my food processor. Let's face it, that's walking on the wild side for me. :)

I realize I have the benefit of it feeling like spring here in AZ when it's only March and there's no vegetable says "spring" to me like asparagus. It's actually been a bit cool the past few days, making warm soups, sweaters and hot tea sound irresistible. I baked up a quick batch of whole wheat biscuits to have with the soup, ending another working day (*snore*) with a hearty meal.

1 yum up, 1 non-committal yum (still getting him to dig the greens, man!)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Calzone Delight

Tonight we had whole wheat calzones (so no, they aren't over-baked!). Each one was spread inside with a garlicky-buttery spread and filled with marinated artichoke hearts, sauteed mushrooms, black olives, a handful of capers and some leftover soy pepperoni that I needed to do something with. Originally, I thought I had some sun-dried tomatoes, but I must have used them up so I added the capers to replace that little tang the tomatoes would have provided. Normally, I would have used homemade dough, but this was some pre-made stuff from Trader Joe's that we had around for pizza emergencies and I needed to use it up. We had our calzones with ramekins of pizza marinara.

I baked them on my trusty pizza stone, which I love using. If you don't have a pizza stone, I highly recommend it. We bake our pizzas on it at 500 degrees for only about 5 minutes and they are perfect. The bottom is crisp but still soft right under the toppings, the crust puffs up beautifully and depending on your preference you can lightly char parts of the crust by toggling between broil and 500. Yummy. They are cheap enough (I bought mine for $15 and it included a priceless pizza peel) and they are available at most stores where you can find kitchen accessories.

2 yums up.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday's Brunch

On Sunday mornings we've started a ritual of making brunch and spinning records. It's a nice way for two heathens to revel in the last bit of weekend. Anyway, yesterday I made pear-ginger waffles from "Vegan With A Vengeance" (which is the best cookbook ever, btw), rosemary roasted red potatoes and some seitan strips, that I made by slicing some seitan sausages I made on Friday. Not a grand display of the color spectrum, but a delicious breakfast that left us comfortably full and with some extra waffles for breakfast during the week.

2 yums up.

Music this Sunday: While cooking, The Beatles- Abbey Road. While eating, The Doors- The Best of The Doors.

Carrot Cake

I hardly ever make cakes. With it just being the two of us, I always worry it will go to waste. And frankly, I'm a cookie and brownie kind of gal. But I knew that Jim was going to have a busy and hectic day on Saturday and he loves him some cake. When I got home from work I got started on this baby. In my pre-vegan days I tried to make several carrot cakes and they all failed miserably: dry, spiced crap. I worried that I would never find a good carrot cake recipe and it saddend me to no end, as carrot cake was what we had at our wedding. So I was delighted with the results of this hodge-podge recipe, very moist with a delicate flavor that intensified overnight. All the effort was well worth it when Jim dragged his tired self home and exclaimed "OMG!" when he saw the cake displayed next to where he sets his keys. Now he's eating it 3 times a day! Not that I'm all that innocent either....

2 yums up.