Monday, September 24, 2007

Soups and snacks

With my husband working very late hours recently, I have been alone with the boys for 11 hours a day. I have thus discovered a new love for soup. It's easy, fast, and only requires one pot. Perfect! And, as a bonus, hubby can easily take the leftovers for dinner the next day. (Actually, his company brings dinner every night, and almost always provides a vegan option...apparently the CEOs are vegetarian!) Anyways, aside from being simple, soup if perfect fall food, and it is definitely fall here.
Here are a few of the soups we've sampled in the past week.
A soup my mom made for us. She found the recipe in the paper....I think it was called a Harvest Soup or something? I don't remember, but it was good! Perfect fall food.
I was feeling a little under-the-weather last week (anyone who's ever nursed, or knows what mastitis is will feel my pain), but with the some rest, a healthy dose of vitamin C, and a few big mugs of rosemary tea, I managed to avoid antibiotics. To help nurse me back to health, my husband made a batch of the Cure What Ails Ya Garlic Soup from La Dolce Vegan. Whoa! It sure was garlicy! But yummy, and it did the trick! I was feeling better in no time.
I finally tried the Earthy Lentil Soup from Vive. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while....I'm a sucker for anything with 'earthy' in the title. ;) It was just as delicious as I hoped it would be. Unfortunately, my dining companion is going through a texture phase, and didn't like the texture of the lentils (I used red instead of brown, so the disintegrated and got mushy...just the way I like!) Anyways, he ended up having a snack later on to make up for the lack of soup he ate. But the husband (who got the leftovers) and I really enjoyed it! Quinn and I made the Whole Wheat Biscuits (with spelt flour instead of ww) from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. They were a little dry, but we ate them up!
I got a new cookbook today! ExtraVeganZa. I have flipped through it, and it looks fabulous! I made a recipe from it tonight, the Spicy Peanut Lime Cilantro Soup. Except that I didn't have any lime. Or cilantro. So, it was more like a Spicy Peanut soup, but whatever. Quinn loved this! Seriously. It is the first meal, in his life, that he has ever said, "This is good!" about, without prompting. Yes! I win this round!
While I was making the soup, Quinn snacked on frozen peas, something I used to do while my mom made dinner. Say PEAS!!!
On to the snacks.... Late last week we made a batch of the Banana Oat Bundles from Vive. We threw in some dried cranberries and carob chips. Yum! They didn't last the day, so I made a second batch the next day, except with applesauce instead of mashed bananas, because we didn't have any more. They turned out great too!
This morning, before he went to work, my husband made me the Carob Coconut muffins (I think that's what they're called...) from Vive. They are so good! Thanks honey! Look at sneaky Quinn stealing a carob chip!
And, on a random food note, we got some giant garlic from the CSA this week. The heads are the same size as regular garlic bulbs, but there are only about 5 cloves per bulb.
Well, that was a long-winded post! Phew. Go make soup!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Garlic Shoot Pesto

I've been wanting to make this since Lolo first posted about it. Although we get garlic shoots (or scrapes) from the CSA, my husband always uses them up in a stirfry or something (I recall him making a garlic shoot-almond butter sandwich....what a weirdo), so I finally went down to the farmer's market and got myself a huge bag, determined to finally make the pesto.
I'm so glad I did! It was so good, I found myself craving more later in the evening!
I've been ill the past few days, and my husband's been working late, which makes for lazy cooking. I hope to be myself again soon! Until then, have a great weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

I've made these a few times in recent weeks, since my garden has been producing zucchini the size of small cars faster than I can use them. I've grated and frozen a few, just so I can make this recipe again and again, because I love it that much, and I hope you will too! The zucchini makes for a super-moist muffin, and I like to think that they add a bit of healthiness. You could ice them if you want (thereby transforming them into a cupcake), but, seriously, these are decadent enough on their own.

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup melted margarine (I use Earth Balance)

3/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tbsp flax meal + 1/3 cup water (combine well before adding)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup "milk" (I use soy, or rice) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups grated zucchini

1-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups spelt flour

1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves/ nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Optional add-ins:
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease muffin tin, or line with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl, cream the margarine, oil, and sugar until well combined. Add flax-water mixture, and stir until incorporated. Stir in "milk", vanilla, zucchini, chocolate chips, and additional add-ins, if desired.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, and stir until well-mixed. Add liquid mixture to wet mixture, and combine thoroughly, but be careful not to over-mix.
Use 1/4 measuring cup to spoon mixture evenly into prepared muffin tin, and bake for approx. 30 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool, and proceed to stuff your face. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Comfort Food

Well, I think that yesterday marked the official end of summer here in Edmonton. Temperatures hovered around 5 degrees (C) most of the day. I even had to bust out Teague's little fleece MEC onesie! As much as I love the fall, it's always sad to see summer go.
It's a good thing we had a big Farewell To Summer firepit at my mom's this past Sunday! We dined on veggie dogs and pasta salad, and, of course, I had to try out the marshmallows I'd ordered by making s'mores!
They were so ridiculously good. Unfortunately, my tolerance for sugar has been really low lately, so I didn't get to enjoy more than a couple, but I was so impressed. Yum. I can't wait to use the marshmallows again. Good thing we have plenty left-over! I give them 5 enthusiastic stars!
We were doing our weekly grocery trip, when I spotted these beauties at Planet Organic:
Red bananas! They were too cute! They tasted very similar to bananas, but had almost more of a creamy texture, and a faint floral-y taste. The sign said that they tasted like raspberries. My husband agreed, but I didn't make that connection. I was a little disappointed that the fruit was the same colour as the standard banana. I was kind of hoping that they would be bright red inside. :)
And, from our CSA, a purple potato!
Isn't it lovely? I roasted bite-sized pieces, and served with the Bean and Nut Loaf from the Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, and a giant salad. They potatoes maintain their colour when cooked (unlike purple beans). I remember having mashed purple potatoes as a child and thinking that they looked like playdough. :)
And from the Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook (I don't know why I overlooked this book for so has been sitting in the bookshelf collecting dust for over a year, but it is really fabulous!), a Shepherd's Pie.
Believe it or not, I don't think I've ever had Shepherd's Pie in my life prior to making this. My mom used to make a reverse kind of thing, with the potatoes on the bottom, and it wasn't baked in the oven. Anyways, this version was super yummy. It was filled with aduki beans, carrots, kale, broccoli, corn, peas....the list goes on. It was darn good! Perfect fall comfort-y food.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Triumph and Disappointment

I can't believe it's Friday already! Yahoo! Unfortunately, the temperature here has dropped... I could see my breath this morning! Yikes!
I got some presents in the mail this week. (Although, I suppose they're not really presents if you bought them for yourself...) First, tempted by Peggy's post, I ordered (and received) a copy of World Vegetarian. I haven't tried anything from it yet, but it is gigantic, and I've had fun leafing through it. Along with the book, came big package from Vegan Essentials. I did a little splurging... There were a few things that I'd been dying to try, and, well, there's no time like the present!
First, success! I ordered some Eco-Planet "Cheddar" crackers, that emulate the little fishy crackers many of us know and loved. I thought the Eco-Planet crackers were really yummy, and tasted very similar to their non-dairy counterpart. I don't think I'd order them again, but if I could get them in the city I might pick them up occasionally.
Secondly, I was very curious about Scheese. I'd heard great things about it, but was skeptical. I ordered the mozzarella and medium cheddar, and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, my expectations were just too high, I think. I used half a block of each (the blocks, or wheels, are really quite small) to make a macaroni and cheese casserole (from a recipe found somewhere online).
It didn't do the trick for me. I think I'll try using the rest in a dish where "cheese" isn't the predominant flavour, and I hope I'll have more success. Anyways, obviously many people enjoy this product, but I wasn't a huge fan. My husband and I agreed that we'd rather have our "mac" with a nutritional yeast sauce. That said, I may have to order some Cheezly, just to compare. ;)
I also got two packages of Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallows, which I am saving for a fire-pit at my mom's this Sunday. I'll be sure to post about them afterwards.
So, aside from fancy new foods, I did some real cooking this week too!
This week marks back-to-school for many people, and, while no one in my household is in school, I have other family members, and friends, who are. So, to celebrate that, as well as my sisters moving out of mom's and into their own place, I made the Kamut-Hemp Chews from Vive Le Vegan. Yum!
I also made a batch of the Buttery-Lemon Cut-Outs (or something like that) from Vegan With a Vengeance. I cut them into apple shapes, and iced them with the Green Tea Glaze from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, using lemon extract instead of almond. They received rave reviews, but have a lot of not-so-healthy ingredients, so they are definitely a once-in-a-while cookie treat.
I bought some kamut berries last weekend, and was itching to use them, so I made a batch of the Kamut-Bean Stew from Vive. I altered it slightly, using carrots and leeks instead of celeriac and red onion.
We paired it with the Mock Tuna Salad posted about by Lindy Lou at Yeah That Vegan Shit and Michelle at Tiger the Lion. It was super good, and we will definitely be making both recipes again and again.
Wow... I can't believe the baby let me finish that post!
I'll finish off with a picture of Quinn enjoying the Kamut-Bean Stew. (Yes, we're having dinner in the living room... our kitchen isn't quite put back together yet.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Phew... time flies! I didn't intend to go a whole week without a post, but there really just aren't enough hours in the day!
For our lazy Sunday morning breakfast, I made a huge fruit salad, decked out with bananas, apples, strawberries, peaches, and some blackberries from the farmer's market.
Quinn tried to help, but he just couldn't resist temptation..
Sneaky little guy! I know, a fruit salad isn't really blog-worthy, but it was darn pretty, so I don't care.
Oh it was so good. We topped it with some walnuts, which makes for beneficial food-combining. (Nuts are the only food that should be eaten with fruits, to promote good digestion.)
Here's last night's dinner, the Groovy Garden Vegetable Casserole from La Dolce Vegan:
It would've been really tasty, but I was a little heavy with the Braggs. I didn't measure, just squirted. I think I will try it again, and use the braggs much much more sparingly. To accompany the casserole, I made a quinoa pilaf with red pepper, green beans (actually, purple beans that turn green when cooked), and fresh basil from my basil plant. Yum!
I have lots to post about this week, so stay tuned! I just need to find a few minutes of solitude to do post.... twice in one week might be asking a bit much... ;)