Sushi? For me?

I have learned something about myself. I am a condiment whore. I think sometimes I eat particular things, simply for the associated condiments. I have 7 types of vinegar, 5 mustards, 9 billion jars of pickled everything, 2 overflowing cabinets of spices and no less then 1 metric ton of every type of vegetable, seed or nut oil known to man. I need you to understand this about me so the rest of this post will make sense. I am *mostly* vegan, I don’t eat fish, and I LOVE SUSHI. Until recently I believed that the fish, nori, rice was what I loved, when actually it is just the wasabi. Trouble with such a dish specific ingredient is that I couldn’t think of much else to do with it apart from making aolis for tofu. I had been sedating my craving with overpriced cucumber and avocado rolls from sushi restaurants but the idea of paying 7 dollars for 3 cents worth of ingredients usually turned my stomach so much that I hardly enjoyed my meal.

Finaly, last week, I broke down and made all of ppk’s delicious vegan sushi.

 

I am not going to re-write all of Isa’s recipies, you can find them here.

We made all of them, but far and away the very best one is the spicy tempeh roll. I was reaaaaaaly hesitant to try this because my fist experience with tempeh was such an epic failure. I should not have been worried. These ladies know what they are doing, and EVERYTHING I have ever made of theirs has been just wonderful.

Katie and her friend came over last Monday, and we had a freaking amazing time making these.

He is very helpful ❤

We made waaaaaaaaaaay too much though. In case you were wondering 5 cups of rice is too much for 4 people. It is almost too much for 6 people lol. Oh, and we had pie. Cause, ya know, every one needs pie.

 

 

I have had sushi three times now. Three sushi days IN ONE WEEK! How amazing is that? Saturday, I just made a ton in the afternoon and we were hobos and had that and soup for the rest of the day.

 

If I had known how easy, tasty and completely satisfying sushi could be with out the fish, I would have skipped the whole pescitarian thing most likely. It might actually be a bad thing how easy this is to make, I defiantly need to try with brown rice because I feel a teensy bit guilty about eating so much white rice.

The rest of this week should be interesting. This is my first Thanksgiving being vegetarian, *mostly vegan* and I am a little nervous. I know no one will make me feel bad, I am actually more concerned with making other people uncomfortable. I know it is all in my head, I am just a lunatic. I am planning on making a dish to bring to each event this week, and having that as my main thing, and letting everyone else eat it as a side dish. O and pies. Super stoked about the pies this year. With as much stuff as I am going to be making, as many pies as I plan on eating, and how long it takes me to make myself sit down and write, I’ll probably be done with my next post some time next year :-). Happy Thanksgiving every one! ❤

BACON! (kinda)

I make TLTs (that’s a tofu lettuce and tomato sandwich to you) all the time. The last time I used more pepper than normal or something and it hit me like a mac truck. I WANT BACON. I never crave meat, hell I don’t even think about it unless I’m talking to a friend about it, but I simply could not get the idea of attempting to recreate the salty, sweet, smokeyness out of my head. That was my mission yesterday, and I must say (and so did my brother and Matthew) this is far and away the best tofu I have ever had.  But then again, an old bike tire would probably taste all right if it marinated in maple syrup for a few hours.

 

Tofakin

1 block extra firm tofu

3 T maple syrup

1 1/2 T molasses

2 T apple cider vinegar

3 T soy sauce

10 -15 shakes of liquid smoke

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t paprika

about a cup of water

LOTS of coarse ground pepper

salt to taste

 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tofu in to thin pieces about 1/4 of an inch thick. Pat each dry and arrange on cookie sheet. Freeze for 1 -2 hours.

 

Once it has frozen, mix the rest of the ingredients in a shallow dish or large ziplock bag. Put the tofu in and allow to marinate for several hours, even overnight if you want. I had to let mine defrost a bit in the sink because it was getting close to dinner time and they were still kinda frosty.

 

Put a little oil in a non stick skillet and allow it to heat up to med high heat. Put more pepper on them and cook until they are golden brown and all caramelized on the out side. (I am so mad that I didn’t take another picture of what it looks like when it was done! You just have to believe me, it looked awesome lol)

I like veganaise aaaaaaaaaaand mustard on my sandwich. What can I say, I’m a rebel. They also tend to be more than half spinach lol. We ate these with some more sweet potato fries and cucumber and red onion salad. If you are interested in trying tofu, this would be a great starter recipe because the flavors are so familiar, and they are so thin that there is little chance you could have a texture issue lol. Also the process of freezing tofu changes the consistency of the tofu making it less mushy, more meaty.

 

As if the day needed to get better after a success in the kitchen, it was capped of with a fantastic night out with miss Katie!! ❤ I wish I had been hungry because the resturant we went to had tons of vegan options. >;(

Yeah, I eat carrots as my drunk food….wanna fight? ❤

Potato curry Samosas

Yesterday I asked Matt to take Liam out for a couple hours so I could clean and make dinner. Normaly I can do this with all the normal distractions a one and a half (almost) year old comes with, but with an open house today and a tedious dinner planned, I wanted some alone time. I spent around 2 hours cleaning and one hour cooking….and then I had to clean all over again because of the amazing mess I had made. Fail.

I couldn’t bring my self to take a picture of the sink area. Ever seen tornado damage? Yeah, something like that. This is another dish that I started out with a vauge idea of what I wanted, and kind of just evolved as I cooked. I took better mental notes and more pictures then I usualy do, but still I am kicking my self for not writing stuff down!  Anyway, here they are. The result of very little prep time, not including the beyond belief mess I made in the kitchen.

Vegan Potato Curry Samosas.

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1 10 oz package of frozen peas

1 carrot shredded

1/2 large onion diced

1/2 block silken tofu

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 T ginger minced

1 T coriander

1 t cumin

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t turmeric

1/4 t allspice

1/4 c vegetable stock (optional)

salt and pepper as needed

1/2 cup cilantro minced

1 package philo dough, thawed

Steam or boil the potatoes until almost fork tender, around 10 min.

In a very large skillet, sweat out the onions for 3 min until slightly translucent. Add garlic, ginger, peas, carrots, salt, pepper and spices and  salute for 5 min.

When the potatoes are done, add them into the skillet with the veg. Stir in the tofu, and a bit more s&p to taste. If you feel it is too thick, add a bit of the vegetable stock to help thin it out. When the tofu is very well incorporated, add in the cilantro and set aside to cool.

Now for the fun. This was my first time working with philo dough, and I must admit, I will think long and hard about using it again. It was fun to play with though, and I imagine with practice it would become a bit less contrary. I wound up using an entire package of dough for this, but only because I am impatient and did not wait for the first roll to be completely thawed before trying to use it. The end result was a ribbony mess.

Preheat your oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Take 2 or 3 sheets and cut them in half. Place a little scoop of filling in the top corner.

Fold the corners over and start folding down making a triangle as you go. Wet any free edges with a little water, and secure the end with water as well. Keep doing this until all the filling is gone, mine made about 20, but I ate so much of the curry that I probably could have made 2 dozen easily.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

I made a very un authentic mint chutney to go with these.

Mint chutney (kinda)

1 big bunch of mint

1 big bunch of cilantro

1/4 large onion

1/2 seeded jalapeño

2 t lemon juice

1/4 block silken tofu

salt and pepper

Put everything in a food processor, blend till smooth and eat ❤

Now, don’t get me wrong, these were AWESOME. However, the curry it self is lost in the crispiness. I freaking loved that potato stuff and will defiantly be making that again SOON. So if these just seem too tedious for you, just make the curry, it takes like 20 minutes … maybe and it’s wicked good ❤

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!

Ode to sloppy joes

You know those things from your child hood that, when you come across them later, your are transported back in time for a few blissful seconds? Reviling in sunburned shoulders and scraped knees, climbing trees and putting streamers on your bike handlebars. Yeah, well I had one of those moments last night! I came across Veganomicon’s recipe for snobby joes a little while ago and have been waiting for a good time to test them out. I was watching a friends son yesterday evening and couldn’t think of a better time to try them.

Mommy cooking … I desperately need more counter space 😦

Helping mommy!

One bite, and BAM!  five years old lol!  So freaking good I can’t even tell you. LOVE THESE THINGS.

I didn’t even want the celery, I just feel strange if I can’t see something green when I eat. I probably could have been a bit more creative with a side dish but … meh…

Snobby Joes from Veganomicon

1 cup uncooked lentils

4 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons maple syrup ( I used agave)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

4 to 6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns

Directions
Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.

Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld.

I did not even know how much I missed sloppy joes untill I ate these! So delicious! Liam ate at least one cup of it and had more today for lunch!

Being vegan for a few weeks has been awesome, although I know that this will not be something I will maintain forever. I like sushi way way way way way WAY  too much. I miss it. Also, to be propper vegan, you are not supposed to eat honey. Now, I don’t eat much honey but it is only because I like agave better ( honey is too sweet), but the reasoning behind abstaining from it isn’t something I totally agree with. Something along the lines of bees being exploited or some such thing. Here is my problem. I kill spiders. All spiders. There is no such thing as a “good spider” to me. Hate. Lets review. Spiders = evil. 🙂 So if I wage war on spiders why should I feel sorry for bees?

Even though I will eat fish, I doubt very seriously if I will ever be as big a dairy/egg girl as I used to be. I just don’t miss it. I prefer soy or almond milk, and I don’t miss cheese. (except for Brie with apples)

Anyway, enough ranting! Going to play Oblivion! ❤ Night!

Chocca-wha?

Man today has just clean worn me slick, but it was still a great day. Liam woke up quite  bit last night, and for some reason I absolutely was unable to go back to sleep all the way after 3 am. I just tossed and turned until it was time to get up. Fail!  So basically Liam and I were hobos, which is something I excel at.  This consisted of us playing with blocks, watching New Moon, and being creative in the kitchen. I was fixing my oatmeal this morning and noticed this on the side of my soy milk carton.

I … must … have. I am a little bit of a pudding whore but seriously hate the powderd kind and don’t like all the extra sugar in the snack pack kind. So basically I have done with out. But this … Oh my. Right after lunch I made some.

I wasn’t even about  to put 1/2 a cup of sugar in it though so I just added a bit of  agave, and 1.5 packets of stevia until it was sweet enough for me. Also, I am not sure why you would put butter in pudding when coconut oil is so much more yummy!  I kept forgetting to take a picture of my bowl, but I can tell you this much …..

I hated it.

Liam hates it too :-).

Happy hobo 🙂

Dinner was something I have never had before but was really fun to make. Anything that has a lot of dicing of vegetables is right up my ally. Lentil bolognaise was on the menu this evening and it was sooo yummy! This will defiantly be a repeat performer at our house. I am always trying to find new ways to fix lentils because they are so good for you, but can get boring very quickly.  I also loved how easy this recipe was, all the veggies can be prepped before hand and you can cook it just prior to serving, or you can make the whole thing and just heat it up when ready.

1tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves minced

1 onion diced

1 shallot diced

2 stalks celery diced

1/2 bell pepper diced

1 carrot diced

1 zucchini diced

8 button mushrooms diced

1/4 c red wine

pinch dry thyme

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes strained and juice and pulp reserved separately

1 cup cooked lentils

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp sugar

whole wheat spagehtti

Brown garlic over low heat. Add all the vegetables, except the mushrooms, increase heat to medium and cook untill veggies are soft and no liquid remains. Add mushrooms.

Increase heat to high, add wine and cook about 2 min. Add thyme and juice from tomatoes, reduce by half.

Add lentils and pepper, stir in tomatoes, and cook about 3 or 4 min longer. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and sugar.  Serve over spaghetti.

Hope every one is having a great week! I’m getting in to the rest of the wine from dinner and going to bed early tonight 🙂 It’s a bath, book, tea, and wine kinda evening ❤