Sunday, December 27, 2009

COMING SOON.... Vegan Spinach Artichoke Success

We had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you all had the same. The kids had a blast doing that typical American Christmas, and in the evening we had my parents over for a variation on Christmas Dinner. I even put out appetizers! Weird, huh? It's not really my thing right as my dad was walking in the door I noticed that we had a ton of stuffed olives at the back of the fridge.

I cut up some carrots, placed a different type of olives on either side of the carrots, and I still had a half empty platter. I peered back inside the fridge for further inspirations and saw the artichokes, so away I went. I pulled some spinach out of the freezer and the last couple slices of vegan cheese from the fridge. Then I mixed those in a pot on medium-low with the jar of artichokes and about half the marinade mixture with a little freshly ground mixed peppercorns. All I have to say is, nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. A real recipe and MAYBE pictures are coming soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marinated Strawberries Salad

2 lbs Fresh Strawberries (tops removed & quartered)
12-18 oz. Mixed Salad Greens or Baby Spinach
2 large Carrots (grated)
1 large Cucumber (peeled, halved & cut into thick chunks)
1/2 package of Chickpea &/or Lentil Sprouts
1 can of Chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbs Dried Basil
1 1/2 tbs Vegan Cane Sugar
2 tbs Frozen White Grape Juice Concentrate
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

20-30 Fresh Basil leaves mixed into Salad Greens

Mix Balsamic Vinegar, Sugar or Grape Juice Substitute, Dried Basil and Freshly Ground Pepper in a large mixing bowl or a large plastic storage container. Add Strawberries, stir and refrigerate. For best results chill for 8 hours, stirring every 2 hours.

Mix remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl. Use the Marinated Strawberries in place of a traditional salad dressing.

Ahh Progress

I have made quite a bit of progess on the bones of what I am calling The Veg Book for now. I have made a chart of protein content of various vegetarian protein sources. I've compiled a huge list of the dishes I want to include in the book and I've given myself a deadline for the rough draft. It needs to be done about a week before Sara and Dallas come to pick the kids up.

I've also decided to post a few of the recipes here as I finish them. I've given myself a goal of finishing 5 of the recipes before bed tonight and posting one of those here tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Cookbook!

I've been constructing the bones of the cookbook that some people have been trying to get me to do for a while. Well, Dallas was the straw that finally broke this donkey. When he dropped the kids off here at the beginning of the summer he asked me for recipes to help him cook healthier meals for the kids. I feel like I've got most of the dishes that I really must include on the list already. I may be missing a few, but that's okay for now.

More than the meals and dishes that are going into the book, I think that I need to include a section on nutrition of ingredients, presentation, locating ingredients & economizing. Some of that will take a good deal of re-research since I never remember the exact details, rather the general concepts. For example; I don't know how much Potassium watermelon has, just that it has it in abundance.

So, that's the plan folks. I am striving to have the first draft of the cookbook finished by the time the rest of the kids go back to Florida in mid-August.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Fare

I have determined that I need to make more of an effort to expose the kids to the fundamentals of food. I want to show them the building blocks. I want to sit around a bowl shelling peas with them. I want to shuck fresh ears of corn with them. I want them to know the smell of the cornsilk. I also want them to get to know the heros of the food world; the farmers. So, the best I think I can do is weekly trips to the local Farmer's Market.

At the Farmer's Market we can also do our part to help out our local farmers. In my lifetime the landscape of Northern Virginia has radically changed. I moved in and out of the area my whole childhood and everytime I returned there were fewer farms. I mean drastically fewer farms. Whole communities sprouted up where a farm once had been. Whole cities, a.k.a. planned communities, have literally sprung out of the forests. McMansions and real mansions have replaced cows and corn.

I feel really good about this and I hope the kids will have fun. I think it's good to slow down a bit. They need to know that food doesn't have to come from a box or a can or a microwave.

Friday, May 1, 2009

An Attempt to Recapture Curry Noodles

This is another adventure in replacing the long, lost tomato in my day to day diet. Spaghetti and other noodles are a mainstay around here. It's kinda hard to raise kids without a weekly (at least) night devoted to that tomatoed temptress of carbs, but we've been limited to either Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles or Balsamic Bruscetta Noodles. It is starting to feel a bit repetitive because we're now missing just good old Veggie Spaghetti. So, I suppose it's time that I get down to business and come up with some new ways to dress my pasta.

Another flavor I've been missing is the Curry Noodles that Trader Joe's used to have. Oh, they were so divine with a little EVOO, Onion Powder (the cheap, 2 for $1 crap from Wal-Mart for some reason worked best) and diced Pink Lady or Cameo Apples! I ate that almost everyday for about a year for one meal or another. But, like all things the Trader Joe's has carried and I've become addicted to, it was a short lived product and nothing even remotely like it is available anywhere that I can find. I've tried and miserably failed to recreate the flavor using curry powder on noodles.

Tonight I will try to blend the feel of a kid friendly Spaghetti Dinner with the Curry Noodle thing in this concoction I came up with.

3 cloves Garlic minced
1 Medium Onion diced
1 pound Cauliflower Florettes
2 cups of Sweet Peas (maybe... I haven't decided yet since we had peas last night.)
2 cups Plain Soy Yogurt
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbs Pataks Biryani Curry Paste
1-2 tbs Sriracha Hot Sauce

I will sautee the Onions and Garlic, then add the Cauliflower and cook until it's about halfway tender. Then I will mix in the Yogurt, Curry Paste and Sriracha and as much water as is necessary to bring it to the consistency of Alfredo Sauce. Then I'll add the Peas and let it simmer until the Peas turn bright green and I'll put it over Spaghetti Noodles.

We'll see how it turns out, but I have high hopes for this one.

If this does turn out well I will take pics and post the final recipe.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Search For Sugarless Bread...

A few weeks back we took Alex off refined Sugar and food with added sugar. The only exception was bread. It's a bit difficult to find bread without ANY sugar. Alex has been abusing bread the last few days and his behaviour is deteriorating again. We haven't mentioned anything to him about the sugar content of the bread because we don't want to influence him and cause him to think "hyper" when he isn't. We've just told him to stop hogging the bread because other people want some as well.

We can use some of the Ezekiel 4:9 Breads, but we can't afford to use it exclusively. I must find good bread recipies I can use for daily or nearly daily baking at home; so I expect to have some new recipies to post soon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sprouting Love

I've been trying not to succumb to the emptiness left behind by tomatoes. I can't eat them any more. At the beginning of March I finally figured out that those big, juicy, red beauties were to blame for an allergic reaction that had been driving me crazy and even prevented me from wearing my wedding ring for 5 years. Now, I'm tomato free, rash free and searching for fresh flavors to replace that diva of the deadly nightshades.

Since Christmas, I've been making my own fresh veggie burgers. It used to seem unimaginable to have a burger without tomatoes, but I've been having fun using other fresh fruit and veg like loads of baby spinach, thinly sliced cucumber, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and various sprouts. It's made life a lot more flavorful and interesting of late. I realized, I've been addicted to tomatoes; I'd become culinarily co-dependant.

Ever since that first veggie burger loaded with sprouts I've been trying all sorts of new sprouts. There is a farm in Pennsylvania that is in some way affiliated with The Sproutman & it puts out various sprout salads. We're not talking your run of the mill clover or alfalfa. These salads are something you can really sink your teeth into; they're comprised of sprouts the likes of which I'd not yet tasted, like garbanzo sprouts, azuki bean sprouts, different lentil sprouts and snow pea sprouts.

I've been coming up with as many ways as I can to load up on sprouts. I put some on every sandwich and wrap that comes my way. They are nutritious, delicious and have fantastic textures. I love sprouts!

I think that the excitement over sprouts has been an inspiration to eat fresh, vibrant, raw foods and that just can't be bad.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Start With a Recipe.... (and a request)

A little background
My family loves spinach pies. I would dare to venture a guess that my 11 year old son loves them most of all. So the plan for dinner last friday was to finish off the vegan feta cheese I'd been hoarding since finding it in Richmond earlier this year.

I was in my local Whole Foods looking at the Fillo dough and feeling quite daunted by the whole fillo dough process and the price; things are tight for us right now and I'm generally pretty tired from running with my 7 month old son. So when my eyes fell upon the neighboring pie crusts I quickly realized that Friday's Spinach Pies were going to be, well, pies! I made a quick rundown of the ingredients of the 365 brand Whole Wheat pie crusts to ensure they were 100% Veg and off we went with a whole new idea for dinner!

On my way home I began to mull over the guts of the pie. I just didn't feel like the normal Spankopita style was going to work in a pie crust. In the end, this is what I came up with.... Oh, and by the end of the night my baby boy was also a Spinach Pie fan. That kid ate my whole first plate full and then another piece of his own!

*I will begin posting pics of the finished products soon.

Killer, Vegan Spinach Pies

1 12-15 oz. package Firm Tofu

1 16 oz. bag Frozen Spinach or equivelant fresh spinach

1 6 oz. pack of Soy Feta

1/2 cup Plain Soy Yogurt

3-5 cloves Garlic

3 tbs Dried Basil

1 1/2 tbs Dried Oregano

1-2 tsp Fresh Finely Ground Black Pepper (or mixed color peppers)

2 tbs. Earth Balance (I use the Soy Garden flavor)

2 Frozen, Vegan, Whole Wheat Pie Shells

Preheat oven to 350' F

Combine Tofu, Basil, Oregano, Garlic, Pepper, Yogurt and Earth Balance in a food processor. Once blended thoroughly, begin to slowly add the Frozen Spinach. If the mixture becomes too frozen just turn a few portions of it over with a silacone spatula and continue blending. Once all the spinach has been blended in, pour the filling into the two pie shells.

Crumble the vegan feta in a bowl with a fork. Gently smoosh an even layer into the top of the two pies almost like a top crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Set aside to cool for at least a half hour so the filling can set. After that it can be cut and served then as a warm pie or chilled to be served like a cold Quiche.

So, if anyone knows where I can find Sunergia's Soy Feta or even the Sunergia Soy Blue Cheese in the Washington D.C. area I would be greatly appriciative! Although I think it is worth the trip to Richmond, and Richmond's most awesome grocery store, Ellwood Thompson's; I'd rather find it locally so that I can use it on a whim.