Hot and cold.

I apologize for what I am about to show you. This is by far the least healthy thing I have made in ages, just because of the amount of vegan butter in it. >.< However, since we only eat like this every once in a while, and defiantly watch the portion sizes, I actually didn’t feel too bad about it. (Even though while I was cooking it I was working out the amount of calories from fat I had added per serving >.<)

Anyways, here you go. A completely vegan, completely comforting Shepard’s pie. Like damn near everything else I make this was a seat of my pants recipe so the measurements are approximates. Maybe one day I will have presence of mind to write down what I put in as I cook….

Vegan Lentil Shepperd’s pie

For the potatoes

2 large russet potatoes

1 tsp garlic powder

2 t vegenaise

2 T nutritional yeast

1/2 stick of Earth balance or any other vegan butter substitute

1/4 c (about) vegetable stock

2 T soy milk

salt and pepper

For the filling

1 c brown lentils

2 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

2 carrots diced

1 c frozen peas

1 small onion diced

most of a can of corn

1/2 a pint of baby bellas sliced

1 1/2 t each of sage, thyme, oregano and marjoram

2 cloves of garlic

1 t Earth balance

1 c vegetable stock

1/2 c water

2 T cornstarch

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

In a medium sauce pan add the 2 c stock and water along with the lentils. Set to medium high heat and cover. Allow to cook until the lentils are soft, around 20 minutes. If there is some liquid remaining its no big deal, hold on to it for later.

Peel, dice and steam or boil potatoes until soft. Drain in sink and return to a still hot but dry pot to help some of the water evaporate out.  Combine all ingredients except the stock and soy milk and mix until very smooth. Use about half of each the stock and the milk and judge weather or not it needs more. When they are a smooth consistency set aside.

In a very large, deep saute pan, sweat out onions and garlic in the butter. Add carrots and allow to cook until almost tender, about 5 min. Add remaining vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for 5 min, and then toss in lentils. In the same pot you cooked the legumes in, add the remaining 1 c veg stock and the bay leaf. Dissolve the cornstarch in the 1/2 c water and pour in to the pot. If you have any stock left over from cooking the lentils put that in as well. Bring to a steady boil and allow to thicken up a bit. When it coats the back of a spoon, remove the bay leaf and pour over the vegetable mixture.

Heat your oven to 350.

In a well oiled casserole dish (pretty good sized one) add the vegetable mixture, then top with the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until bubbly, about 30 min.

We all loved this. Matt had 2 servings and called dibs on the leftovers. Liam ate as much as I did lol. I covered mine in agave ketchup though lol. This is a little labor intensive, but is totally worth it to me :-).

Now for something you couldn’t feel guilty about if you tried. My new obsession, cucumber and red onion salad.  I have made this, no joke, 6 times in 2 weeks. I ADORE this salad and it’s stupid easy.

Cucumber and red onion salad

1 large cumber sliced very thin

1/2 or less red onion sliced very thin

2 T rice wine vinigar

1/2 t agave

1 t white vinigar

1t sesame oil

salt

pepper

sesame seeds

Thats it lol. Put everything in a bowl, toss, and refrigerate until ready to eat. Or pick out pieces throughout the day…. you know … whatever. The longer this sets the better it gets. I actually ate left overs for breakfast one morning, and it was fantastic lol.

Making something pretty special tomorrow, so it will probably take me another week to get anything written about it, but one word….samosa. That is all ❤

 

Advertisements

Chocolate fudge cookie pie thing.

Finally the rainy cool weather I look forward too all year has come. Liam and I have been enjoying today by bumming around in sweats and watching Harry Potter. And also, making accidentally awesome things in the kitchen.

I touched the middle to see if it had set up >.< just noticed my finger print!

I was eating some of Liam’s graham cracker bunnies, and they kinda made want chocolate too. (i ❤ smores) I didn’t want to just dip them, too easy. So, in a round about way I got the idea of making like a chocolate tart thing. This took me about an hour, from start to eating, to make and I was nervous the entire time that it wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted. This is probably the first actual 100% original thing I have ever made so it was a bit scary lol.

Chocolate fudge cookie pie…thing….

Crust

2 cups Annies honey bunnies or any other graham crackers

2 T coconut oil

1 t almond milk

3 dates

pinch salt

Filling

4 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate

2 T (about) coconut oil

1 t vanilla

2 -3 t agave nectar depending on how sweet you want it

pinch salt

For the crust, preheat oven to 350. Place all ingredients, except the milk in a food processor and let it run until it is pretty fine. Add milk just a couple drops at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. Dump into a pie plate and mash down with your fingers making a little ridge for the edge. Bake in oven about 10 min until it has firmed up and lightly brown on top edge.

For the filling, melt the chocolate according to the directions on the box (I just use the microwave … so much easier lol) Combine remaining ingredients and pour into pie shell. Let cool at room temperature, then transfer to fridge. Takes around 30 min to set up properly in fridge.

The texture is fudgey, not too sweet and with just a little crunchy chewiness. This is defiantly something I would make again and more than likely bring to some upcoming holiday parties. Only problem now is how much I have left over!  Anyone wanna come over? ❤

Super slacker

With Liam and I back in Oklahoma and Matt still in Florida, I have little desire most days to do much more than roast a giant pan of vegetables for dinner. I am the type of person that can eat virtualy the same thing every day for a week and not get tired of it. My personal criteria for food.

1. Is it tasty.

2. Is it good for me

3. Does it take more than 30 miniutes before I have food to shove in face.

That is pretty much it. All of those things considered, I have not felt the urge to take pictures of 2,472 avocado and black bean roll ups, or 75,000 kale salads. You should probably be grateful. Those are the actual numbers. Its lunacy. And while our grocery bill is quite a bit lower, it does get a bit old after a while.

This is my excuse for zero posts in over a month. It’s a weak one, but its pretty much all I got.

Yesterday Liam and I went to the grocery store and inspiration was throwing large boulders at my head as I meandered up and down the isles. By the time I got home there was no less then 7 things that I couldn’t wait to make. Only problem is I’m not very good at cooking for 1.5. Lucky for me, my favorite Katie ever was coming over for dinner.  I gave her options, but wound up deciding for her, mostly because I had to get the tofu marinading.

This dinner was not only super yummy, but wicked fun to make. Some times I like things that have lots of steps, easy small steps….kinda like the little kid slide at the park.

Balsamic glazed tofu

1/4 c soy sauce

2/3 c balsamic

2 T agave

2 smashed cloves of garlic

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/4 t pepper

1 block extra firm tofu sliced and pressed

Combine all ingredients and pour over tofu. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.  Make sure your grill is well oiled and set to med high. (because of the sugar content in balsamic, this tends to char a bit if cooked on too high a temp) Cook about 4 min on each side, longer if you like a firmer texture ( like I do).

While the tofu is on the grill, and if you have an awesome friend to watch it so it does not burn, pour the marinade in to a small sauce pan and simmer until it has reduced by about half.

Edamame and roasted corn salad

1/2 bag frozen shelled edamame

2 ears of corn

1/2 bell pepper

2 green onions

dressing

2T olive oil

1 t agave

2 T rice wine vinegar

1t sesame seeds

Soak corn (in husks) in water around 30 min. Throw them on a med high grill and turn frequently. I actually have no idea how long this takes, when you can smell it, it is done.  Put the bell pepper skin sided down on the grill to blister.

While corn is on grill steam or microwave edamame and put in large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients.   When the pepper is charred, peel away the majority of the skin, dice. Cut corn from cob, and combine everything together.

Sweet potato fries

1 large sweet potato cut in to french fries

2 t olive oil

1 t smoked paprika

1 t garlic powder

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 425

Put everything in a ziplock and toss to coat. Line a baking pan with parchment or tin foil and arrange fries evenly.  Bake for 20 min, turn the fries, raise oven temp to 450 and bake about 20 min longer.

I know I say this a lot, but I really, truly, honestly, loved this dinner. I had not experimented much with different glazes for grilled tofu, and pretty much just stuck with barbecue sauce. This is way better. And the salad! Just make it its stupid good.

I will indulge you with one of the things I have been eating very nearly every day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you whole wheat toast, with almond butter and CHILI AND GARLIC CHOLULA. I eat this, no lie, every freaking day. It sounds so strange, but is just wonderful.

Hopefully my cooking day yesterday will give me the boost I needed to quit with the redundancy (Roasted broccoli and kale chips do not an interesting blog post make)

By for now! ❤

This little piggy ate tofu…

Things are starting to get a little crazy around here, with just a few days left in Florida. I am so looking forward to being home! It feels like we have been gone forever! I am not going to know what to do with myself in a fully stocked kitchen. I promise I will never again complain about my lack of counter space or my crummy knives (even though I really want some new ones, Santa? Are you listening? 🙂 ) I actually fell asleep last night running through all the things I can’t wait to make when I get back! We have been packing and cleaning for most of the day so far today, and I don’t see that pattern changing until we are on the road.

Yesterday I went to Publix (a local grocery store that I am going to miss dearly) to pick up snacky things for the trip.  A huge package of okra caught my eye, and I had to have it.

Roasting vegetables is bar none, my favorite way to cook them. It really does not matter what you have on hand, bell peppers, squash, egg plant, onions, or okra they transform in the oven.  High heat, a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil is all you need to be able to highlight the natural sweetness of most vegetables. Serve it over brown rice or quinoa, and you have a meal.

This is how things work in my house. At around 7:30, Liam wakes up. Mommy drinks her tea and screws around on the computer for 10 miniutes or so, while Liam watches Wonder Pets with a cup of milk and his blanket. When that is over, I go empty the dishwasher and start breakfast. Liam follows mommy and makes this face at me constantly while I am in the kitchen, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks… He is my little baby bird, following me around and peeping for crumbs of avocado or tomato.

Our lunch today was nothing spectacular, just another hummus pizza and a cold beet salad, but these peaches were extrodinary. I love love love fresh produce. The only thing that makes me sad, is I know they are about at the end of their season 😦 . We split this one, I wish I had bought more of them 😦

More than peanut butter, more than veggie dogs, more than sautéed mushrooms or avocados, Liam loves tofu. It is seriously the most perfect toddler food ever. Beyond easy to fix, good hot or cold, can be flavored or prepared a million different ways, all depending on the time and ingredients you have on hand, and it is not a messy food.  One of the easiest and most common way for us to fix it is in a simple soup, with very little broth for him. When I am tired, or just don’t have much time for a five star lunch I just get a block of tofu, press it out a bit in some paper towel, cut it in to little cubes, put some soy sauce and vegetable stock in a sauce pan and let it all simmer a bit.  Now, obviously this is not anything special, just a quick easy way to fix it that Liam loves.  He will eat half of a block just like that. Throw in some steamed carrots, or beets, a couple pieces of fruit, and you have a great little meal. 🙂 Even omni mommys and daddys should look into the versatility of tofu, strictly as a good source of protein that you don’t have to worry about the little one choking on, not to mention a healthy finger food.

Dinner tonight is a once a week type meal. I generaly make this right before I go to the grocery store, just to get rid of the waning veggies in the fridge.  The vegetables always change, and sometimes I use different juices. Lime, orange and pineapple juice are all fantastic in this recipe.

Quick and easy stir fry

1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into squares.

1 celery stalk sliced

1/2 medium onion sliced in to strips

1/2 red bell pepper diced

1/2 a pint of mushrooms sliced

1/4 cup frozen peas

1 or 2 carrots sliced

1 stalk broccoli

Sauce

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c water*

1T corn starch

2 T agave

2 garlic cloves very finly minced or pressed

1 inch grated ginger

2 t lime juice

1t crushed red pepper flakes

*you can use less water and more juice if you use pineapple or orange juice.

Heat a wok to med high heat and add 2 T olive, or coconut oil. Add tofu and gently sauté until all sides are golden brown. While the tofu is cooking whisk together all ingredients for the sauce and set aside. When the tofu is done, remove from the pan and add veggies according to cook time (onions, carrots, celery…) and cook each a few minutes before adding the next. When the veg is almost done, add the tofu back into the pan and pour on the sauce. Allow to set a moment or two (cornstarch needs to come to a boil to properly thicken), and then carefully stir to coat. (Tofu can be a little fragile, and can go from blocks to scrambled very quickly)

That’s all for today! I hope you are all having a fantastic week so far, looking forward to seeing lots of you very soon!! ❤

all’s well that ends well

Some days just don’t start out too great. Liam and mommy were both quite sleepy and pouty today. After I ate the left overs from dinner for lunch we went swimming for an hour or so, while Matt was helping a friend move. When Liam and I came back for a snack he was seriously following me around the kitchen like this.

 

 

So I decided that I needed one of these 😀

 

I made Liam peanut butter quinoa, which wound up being way more tasty than I had expected, I will probably be eating that for breakfast tomorrow 🙂 This was my snack featuring two of my all time favorite foods, avocados, and cold beets.

 

This is one giant wasa cracker, topped with half an avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, splash of hot sauce, salt & pepper.  I used up the rest of a vinaigrette I had made on the beets. Tasty! Since Liam took a total of 1 hour (about) worth of naps today, and basically whined the rest of the time lol, I was super ready to get out of the house. I had seen the sign for a resturant called The Mellow Mushroom, and came across it again while looking up vegetarian resturants in the city. Since Sundays are my cheat day, I felt that pizza was in order 😀

 

 

Everything at this restaurant was crazy fresh, and very tasty. The bruscetta has a fantastic balsamic reduction that I could have eaten with a spoon. I orderd the Mega veggie, which has an entire produce isle on it! It even had tofu! This was the first pizza I have ever seen that had tofu on it.

 

This was the single best pizza I have ever had. The crust is phenominal, and the toppings are deeper than it seems. Liam Matt and I each ate a piece and there is one more for me to have for lunch tomorrow ! ./dance around 😀

 

more beer!

Kyle got the cesar pizza, he did not seem to be too impressed but Matt said it was good. ( I didn’t try because there is chicken somewhere underneath the romaine 🙂 )

Matt got the Italian Hoagie, and said it was really good too.

Liam had his very first taste of diet soda today too >.<  ( I was running out of things to distract him with before the pizza got there) It was only like a teaspoon, but surprise surprise! he liked it lol…

 

That was pretty much it for today, I am wiped out and ummm… did any one else see true blood? If they do what the seem like they are going to do, I will have no more reason to watch that show! ❤ Night!

Weirdest dinner ever.

Today has been FANTASTIC! We started out kind of late because Liam, by some miracle, picked up that mom and dad wanted to sleep in a little so we didn’t get up and around until 8:30, which is freaking unheard of in our house. I made breakfast burritos (no pictures, I was sleepy). Liam took a nap, and Matt and I watched a bit of tv and got ready to go. We went down to Pier Park for lunch, Matt got a burger from 5 guys burger and fries, and I got a seaweed salad and avocado sushi. Liam took turns eating bites of nori and avocado, and bites of bun or French fries lol. I am going to get better about toting my camera around with me, especially when we go out to eat. Epic fail on my part 🙂

Our little outing did have a destination other than food. My hair has not been cut in over a year, at least not more than a slight trim. It was, lets just say, unruly.

Only picture I could find where you could see my hair and it was not in a pony tail.

I have been thinking about cutting it for sooo long, and finally sucked it up and had 7 inches cut off! The cut is not exactly what I had in mind, but the stylist talked me out of a stacked bob. I really love it,  but may still do something a bit more drastic shortly.

I am seeing chocolate brown in my future ❤

After tidying up the house and a couple episodes of Star Trek tos, it was time to make dinner. I love reading Susan’s blog Fat free Vegan, even though I am not a vegan, and I think plant fats (in moderation) are not just good, they’re great! (said in a Tony the tiger voice, rawr.) But recently I came accross this recipie and it sounded so weird I just HAD to try it. Once again there was a fair ammount of forewarning, and even a back up dinner plan that I could whip up on the fly if Matt made his, “really…?” face.

I should not have been so worried! Everything I have made from her site has been phenomenal! I couldn’t keep my spoon out of the pan while it was cooking. Matt had made a run for a few things from the store, one of which was cilantro for the dish, and I was literally pacing the floor anxious for him to get home so we could eat. I was so excited!

This is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. LOVE. THIS. FOOD.

African Pineapple and peanut stew. (taken from Fat Free Vegan who took it from Mooswood Resturant cooks at home )

1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used coconut)
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard (4 cups sliced and ribs removed)
2 cups undrained canned crushed pineapple (20-ounce can)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
crushed skinless peanuts
chopped scallions

In a large pot, or deep skillet with a lid, sweat out the onions for 5 – 6 minutes, add garlic cook for an additional minute. Add pineapple and juice and let simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.  Shove as much kale into the skillet as you can fit, cover and let steam untill it has started to wilt a bit. Stir it up and add more. This sauce can cover A LOT of kale so don’t be afraid. After the leaves are just tender add in hot sauce, peanut butter and cilantro. Stir until well mixed, serve over brown rice, top with crushed peanuts and chopped scallions.

It seriously tastes like you might be eating something bad for you, but this made 4 good sized servings, wich means that each has just 1/8 of a cup of peanut butter (or about 180 calories). So a super filling (realy) meal including rice that is just about 350 or so calories? Not too shabby!

Matt and his buddies have gone out for the evening, and I have a date with a God of war, and a bottle of wine ❤  Have a great night folks!

buh bai sugar!

So it has been 2 weeks with out white refined sugar, white bread or diet soda. How has it been? Um AMAZING! I feel like I have gotten my taste buds back. A month ago, my sweet tooth was taking on a mind of it’s own. I found Newman O’s and since the ingredients are organic,  and I can pronounce all of them, I allowed myself more than I normally would have (like 5 at a time). There was more than one treat a day, (like after every meal) and my coffee could not be too sweet. One day last week (can’t remember when exactly) I was kind of craving a cookie. Matt sugested that Liam and I share one, so I split it and ate my half. Guess what! IT WAS TOO SWEET!. One half of a cookie is all I need!

Sunday is my cheat day and I made pancakes for every one and had a few my self but I did not feel the need to drown them in syrup like I usually do. I did not even feel guilty for the pancakes I ate, because, since I made them I know exactly what went in them 🙂 When I get back home, we will still have pancake Sunday, but I will keep a batch of whole wheat and agave ones for myself in the freezer ❤

I can’t figure out if I became desensitized to sweets because I was eating more of them, or if I was eating more because I was drinking diet soda. Turns out they are both right. I heard of this study done by Purdue University that shows mice fed the artificial sweetener continued trying to achieve the caloric high that is supposed to accompany sweet treats. So,  diet drinks work against you two fold, you can eat more sweet things because your taste buds are so unbelievably deadened to sweet, and you feel the physical need for something sweet.

White bread? Just don’t eat it. All of it’s nutritional value has been bleached off of it, it has more yeast and sugar than any other type of bread (stops you up yo.), and is less filling than a good whole wheat or multi grain bread so you tend to eat more.

An unexpected benefit of the changes in my diet? I have lost another 5 lbs! Only 6 more to go! (dances around)

Mkay done with my rant for the day! So what does one eat who consumes no meat, white bread or sugar? Um all this!

Grilled tofu, with charred bell peppers and zucchini

Mixed greens with cucumbers, chickpeas, lentils, goat cheese and a citrus balsamic vinaigrette.

This is one of my newer and more successful creations. Kind of reminds me of chinese hot and sour soup. If you can boil water, you can make this soup. I really need to start measuring stuff so I am not just guessing.

Spicy shroom soup

2 cups Vegetable stock

1/2 cup (about) soy sauce

1/4 block of tofu cut into small cubes

1/2 onion

lots of mushrooms

1 inch grated or finly minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp agave

1/2 a lime

pepper and sriracha

In a medium sauce pan, add 2 tsp vegetable stock and onions. Sweat out onions until mostly translucent, add mushrooms and cook until they are starting to soften. Add garlic and ginger, sauté about 1 minute. Add remaining stock, soy sauce and agave, let simmer a few minutes. Add tofu and the lime juice.  Top with a few drizzles of sriracha or red pepper flakes. I like mine with extra lime too 😀

I can’t wait to get back home! I miss my family, my puppy, and my kitchen! Dear food processor, blender and Kitchen Aide, mommy’s coming home soon! I see chickpea nuggets and crazy amounts of smoothies in my future ❤