Sunday, January 26, 2014

Best Husband IN THE WORLD!

Tonight, Hubby decided to cook.  I will now tease you all with his amazing skill :)

It all smells AMAZING, and I snagged one of the eggplant fries - it TASTE amazing too.  :)   I know, I'm one lucky lady.  I'll post more probably tomorrow about my adventure in bread making and what other goodies I made today :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Meat"loaf and Pudding

So, nothing new for dinner.  I made the "No-fu Loaf" from a few posts back.  Made a sandwich with some Go Veggie (purple) cheddar.  Instead of ketchup for the topping, I used some Annie's BBQ sauce.  Very yummy, I think I want seconds!

A few nights ago, I was craving something sweet.  I decided I wanted chia seed pudding.  If you've never made chia seed pudding, it's ridiculously easy.

What you need:
  • Chia seeds
  • Milk (I use almond, but you can use any milk you want!  I've made it with coconut milk before and it's amazing too!)
  • Whatever spices you want
  • Sweetener, if you want
If you are unfamiliar with chia seeds, let me enlighten you.  Yes, this is the same chia seeds as Cha-cha-cha-chia.  Yes, the same as the sculptures heads with grass growing from them.  Per Wikipedia: "Chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family ... according to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein. The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese,[7] similar in nutrient content to other edible seeds such as flax or sesame."  This is pretty amazing stuff.  I use it in stir-fry, salads, smoothies, all sorts of stuff.

So, pudding.  You take some chia seeds - as much or as little as you want.  Then milk - you want 5x the amount of milk as chia seeds.  So if you use 1/4 cup chia seeds, you would use 1 1/4 cup milk.  Next add what ever spices.  I suggest about 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, just for a little flavor.  Then you could add cocoa powder to make chocolate pudding (yum).  Some cinnamon and honey (or Honee) for a simple pudding.  I decided to do a chai pudding :)  I have there ground clove, ground cardamom, and ground cinnamon.  Very small amounts  of these spices are needed.  1 teaspoon of each, at the very most.  I think I used 1/2 tsp of cardamom, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and maybe 1/2 tsp of clove.  ( I did this a week ago, so forgive my bad numbers.)

Once you mix all the ingredients, you will need to put a lid on your bowl and refrigerate.  You need to go and shake the bowl about once or twice every ten minutes for the first 45 minutes.  The chia seeds will get stuck together if you don't, and that's not a very appetizing pudding, trust me.  Keep this in the fridge for about 24 hours.  You can break into it after 12 hours, but trust me, it's better after a whole day.

Chia seed pudding has a consistency similar to tapioca pudding.... not the same, but similar.  Don't be freaked out if you take a bite and it feels like you're chewing little eye balls :P

Unrelated to the rest of the post - I had a couple friends at work that had birthdays this past week.  I decided I would make them each their favorite cakes.  Now, before I decided this, I'm not sure I ever baked a cake before, let alone a vegan cake!  But the power of the internet is fantastic.  You can find just about anything.  I found a pretty great red velvet cake (lost the link now, but I'll try to find it), and an equally amazing vanilla cupcake recipe converted into a regular cake.  I used the recipe found here and just baked it in my circle Pyrex instead of a cupcake pan.  Here are my cakes:

With that, I bid you all a good evening.  Feel free to leave comments or questions! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dinner and Cleaning As I Go

Okay.  Dinner was not as pretty as I had hoped.  But it actually tasted pretty amazing.  I mostly followed the recipe on Fat Free Vegan.  I really love all the recipes I've tried from this site.  They are all pretty simple and EASY to follow.  Obviously my stuffed seitan didn't turn out quite like Susan's did, but I'm sure the taste was pretty close. 

I did my filling a little different than the recipe, simply because I HATE celery.  Will.  Not.  Eat it.  My mom tried everything she could think of, when I was a kid, to get me to like it.  No luck.  I love carrots instead :)  Anyway.  I used double the amount of mushrooms and no celery.  I also added 2 small jalapenos, because I like a little spicy.

In case you all didn't know, you do not need to use oil to saute your veggies!  Just pop your veggies in your pan, as if you were going to saute or stir fry with oil, and let them get all yummy smelling and soft, stirring occasionally.  Then add about 1/4 cup water or veggie broth to get up any of the brown, cooked on bits.  There you go.  No oil saute. 

I was just about to toss this thing the other day, since I don't eat eggs anymore.  Now I'm glad I didn't!  I used it to cut my mushrooms, just the way I used to cut my eggs!  It made quick work of an otherwise time consuming task.  I sliced all of my 8 oz of mushrooms this way and it took may 7 minutes.  That includes the time I paused to take a couple pictures.  One draw back - As you can tell from my counters, this isn't the "cleanest" way to slice mushrooms.  I had little mushroom bits all over the place after this.  Not to fear, I got them all cleaned up :)

So, I mixed up the veggies to saute, then worked on the seitan.  Now, this seitan recipe has a few.... "different" ingredients that you don't find in just every seitan recipe.  Not that it's a bad recipe - it's actually delicious!  I was just a little surprised to see ground flax seed and oat meal on my ingredient list :P

I am pretty sure I made mine just a little too wet.  It was not holding shape well, and I should have stopped and added some more dry stuff, but I didn't want to stop.  So, I rolled it out, spread my filling on it, and rolled it up.  That's when the first sign of trouble came up.  But I was not to be deterred!  I pressed on, with my floppy seitan and overly mushroomy filling.  As I plopped the ever-shifting mass into my pan, I was almost lead to throw the whole thing away:

It was coming apart all over the place.  I was a little depressed :(  But!  I had come this far, so I said, "What the hell, let's finish this thing."  So I did.  And I'm glad I did.  But I wasn't glad until I tasted the thing.  At this point in the process, I was still a little depressed.  I added the roasting liquid, and it came apart even more.  But, I was determined.  So I wrapped it up like a present and popped it in the oven.

After baking and basting and baking and basting and baking again, I had a pretty decent smelling kitchen.  It didn't look too hot though :(

I started kind of cleaning after I got my "roulade" in the oven.  I was surprised at how quickly it came around.  Mine you, I'm not one that "likes" to clean, I just like my house to be clean.  I swear, I would love little brownies to come clean the place while I was asleep.  Alas, I don't live in fairy tale land.... *sigh*  So, I set about cleaning it up all by myself. 

I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but I clean better when Hubby's home.  We split the duties, each taking what we're good at - me vacuum, Hubby dishes - and at the end, we have a clean apartment.  So just imagine my sense of sinking when I stepped back from cooking and saw this kitchen.  Bleh.  It looks worse than what it really is because my stoneware lives in my oven, so I had to take it out to make dinner.  Once I took that into account, it was a little better.  Then I realized there are clean dishes ready to be put up, so I did that.  Then everything went nicely into the dishwasher, ready to be cleaned, once we have a full load.  :)  Easy clean up! 

So, dinner was great.  Had "roulade" (I keep putting quotes around it, since it didn't really roll up) and fiesta corn. 

I finished my evening with a lovely Earl Gray/lavender tea that I got from a friend at work.  If you should find yourself in possession of such a tea, I suggest you only steep it for about 3 minutes.  The longer it steeps, the soapier the lavender flavor gets.  But when you get the time just right, it's amazing :)

Good night!  Hope to see you all again soon!  :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pad Thai, Ice Cream, and My Sink

Confession - I love Asian food.  Chinese, Thia, Japanese, Korean.... I love it all.  So many yummy flavors and colors.  And, most of it is easily vegan-ized. 
Tonight, I had amazing homemade Asian food, which makes it even better.  Feast your eyes on THIS:

Cheater Pad Thai from Happy Herbivore
"Cheater" Pad Thai Sauce
Makes 2 Servings

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sweet red chili Asian sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste

1. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tbsp of warm water, soy sauce, peanut butter, chili sauce, garlic powder, ginger and hot sauce together until combined. It may appear too runny at first, but it's not.
2. Taste, adding more hot sauce if desired.

Use to coat rice noodles, tofu, as a salad topper, or even in a vegetable stir fry!

I served this with some stir fry veggies and bean threads.  These are super simple to make - just soak in water!  How simple is that??  Love easy....

I did make a few changes here.  I doubled the recipe, as I wanted a few more servings.  Also, I used spicy peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co.   This made the dish a little more spicy. 


Also, I accidentally picked up regular red pepper sauce instead of sweet red pepper sauce.  Which isn't a huge deal for my family, since we love spicy....  In spite of my changes, I'd say the dish went over well:

 Now, while I was at the store, I decided I would treat my husband to some dessert, since he always asks for something.  I picked up two Rice Dream vanilla nutty bars.  In my rush to get dinner to Hubby, I forgot his at home :(  I had mine though, and it was pretty darn good. 

I'd say dinner was a win.  And any time I can say that, I think it's been a pretty good day.

Now, my sink.  It's still shiny, thanks to following the steps from FLYLady.  Working on getting out of CHAOS. 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share - I look forward to hearing from you! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shining My Sink...

So, this is unrelated to food....mostly.  The only thing this has to do with food is that it happened in the kitchen.  I came upon this website and started thinking that I haven't made any New Year's resolutions yet.  So, my resolutions:
  1. Be more committed to eating plant based.  I feel so great when I'm really sticking to it, then I slip up and think, "Man, cheesy tots sound sooooo good."  So I get them, with onions of course, and then I feel sick for the rest of the day.  I don't eat dairy regularly anymore... not even occasionally.  Only sometimes.  And I am sick for days after.  (I won't go into details because... well, we don't know each other that well yet.)
  2. Follow the baby steps found at the site listed above.  I read around on the site and watched - what I assume to be - an inspirational video about following this program.  I decided that CHAOS is exactly where I am and I want out. 
  3. Run a full 5k.  I did a 5k in December.  I trained for a couple months.  I decided my goal was to finish and to not come in last.  I did that.  I finished in what I think was the top 25% and came in just under 30 minutes.  Not bad.  But I didn't run the whole thing.  I had injured myself in my training and was able to run about 3/4 of the 5k.  That all being said, I want to RUN a 5k.  I will resume training once I am fully healed - which running again 2 weeks after my 5k didn't help that process any.

So, tonight, I shined my sink.  Day one - complete.  :)

If you are interested in following this process with me, you can find the baby steps here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I'm a terrible blogger.....

I taunt and tantalize you with delicious food, and promises of being around... alas, life happens and I've been otherwise occupied.  But, I have no other plans in the foreseeable future, so I am all yours :)

First, I assure you that I have still been cooking all this time, just not taking pictures and blogging about it.  For my "Welcome Back" recipe, I am trying something I never even liked as an omni - "meat"loaf.  Of course, this version has no meat.  I haven't actually eaten it yet - as I am actually STILL cooking it.  But I figured if I put this (blogging) off anymore, I just would never get back to it.
So, here I am, making Dreena's No-fu Love Loaf  from the Fat Free Vegan blog.  The pictures that Susan has posted are MUCH prettier than mine.  If you're looking for food porn, I'm afraid you won't find it here today.  I will post the picture I took just before putting my loaf in the oven though.....

Now, this picture is terrible.  I know that, and I apologize, but this is what you get from a quick snap with a phone.  Also, the pan you see UNDER my loaf is the original pan I was going to use for this.  It's an individual portion pan from The Pampered Chef.  If you are interested in this, or have any questions, feel free to email me. 

I will update this post once the loaf is finished cooking and I have sliced it - for better pictures and all.  Hope you're all glad to see me back here.  Sorry it took so long.

Okay.  It's done cooking.  I have more pictures.  Here goes:

This delicious looking thing just came out of the oven.  It smells DELICIOUS!   I wanted to dive right in, but I still had to WAIT 15 minutes (per the recipe) to let it finish setting.... oddly, just like a cake.  Now I want cake....

 Here are what I made for Hubby's dinner.  I take his dinner to him at work, since we work conflicting shifts and hardly see each other.  He opened it and said, "It smells like meat loaf.  Which is weird."  He then proceeded to eat it all and say it tasted pretty good.

If you will look to your right, you will now see my plate.  I am so excited to say this is pretty tasty.  I was concerned, since I never liked meat loaf, but this is NOT meat loaf.  It's.... DELICIOUS loaf :P  I urge you all to try this.  It is easy and taste good and got the seal of approval from my omni husband.  Can't go wrong there.  My favorite thing about this is that there's no fake meat.  I don't always like the taste of seitan and tempeh, and my husband isn't a huge fan of tofu, so if we can avoid the fake meats, it's a plus.  I'm sure I'm not the only one that isn't fond of all the fake stuff.....

It doesn't look like it in this picture, but I still have just under half of this loaf left.  I think it will set up very nice in the 'fridge tonight and will make a killer lunch tomorrow.