Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Green Curry Revisited

I am pleased to announce that there will be a drastic reduction in my dining out bills in the future. The green and red curries in a can that I bought last week are YUMMY. They aren't too hot at all, and are very tasty. I added some broccoli, tofu, and shitake mushrooms and ate it all over some short grain brown rice. My wallet is happy and so is my tummy. Of course, there is nothing like having the chef hand-grind the spices for your curry, as they do in my favorite little Thai restaurant in Des Moines...but when you're trying to save money and you have a craving for Thai, this is it!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Creamy Hummus

Ok, yes...I'm addicted to Vive Le Vegan. It's so great! I made this tonight to dip some chips in...and it's completely addicting. After I looked at the recipe again, I realized I forgot the tahini (kind of an important thing!) and it was STILL great. Don't EVER buy hummus from the store again...this is the best recipe I've found!

2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is ok, soaking your own is best)
3.5 - 5 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust to taste)
2-3 T tahini
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 small to medium garlic clove
1/2 t toasted sesame oil
1/2 t sea salt
3-4 T water (or less/more as desired)
Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth, adding a little water at first, then more if desired to thin it. Scrape down sides of bowl several times throughout and puree again until very smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice. Serve in a large bowl, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars

Another recipe from Vive Le Vegan. These bars are really a great snack...they have the consistency of a chewy granola bar. Perfect for kids...really easy to take with you. They are not too sweet...just perfect. It's also wheat-free...which is a nice bonus.

Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars

2 cups ground oats (blend quick oats in food processor)
1 cup quick oats
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 pure maple syrup
1/3 cup fruit sweetener or other thick honey alternative
1/4 vanilla or plain non-dairy milk
2 T canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients into the dry mixtures, stirring until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled 8 x 8 or 8 x 12 baking dish and press down until it's evenly distributed. Using a sharp knife, cut to mark out the bars before you bake them to make it easier to fully cut and remove the bars once baked. Bake for 19-21 minutes, then remove and let cool in pan. Once cool, use a sharp knife to fully cut the bars, then remove with spatula.


Chipotle Veggie-Bean Burritos with Creamy Avocado Cashew Sauce

This recipe is sooooo yummy. It's from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton. I'll be posting more by Dreena...she is fabulous. It was pretty quick to make...and we had leftovers . These are great for people who need to take a lunch with them to work...I just wrapped them up in foil for Matt and he re-heats at the office. Delicious. I did leave out the chipotle hot sauce. I used Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella cheese...and put a strip of it inside each burrito and crumbled it on the top as well. It was very tasty. Topped them with the Creamy Avocado Cashew Sauce (see below) and homemade salsa. You'll definitely make these more than once.

Chipotle Veggie-Bean Burritos

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained (Muir Glen Fire Roasted will lend a natural smoky flavor)
1 T olive oil
3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 t chipotle hot sauce (optional)
1 t chile powder
1 t cumin
1 t mustard seed
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1 cup green bell pepper, diced (optional)
1/3 cup celery, diced
1 cup cooked beans (black or adzuki work well)
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 t liquid sweetener (honey if you're not vegan)
6 large whole wheat tortillas (10 inch)
1 cup non-dairy mozzarella cheese (optional)

Press the drained tomatoes to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside 3/4 cup of the tomatoes. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, chipotle hot sauce, and all the dried spices and hers. Stir through for 5-6 minutes, then add in the green pepper and celery, and stir through for another couple minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, including the diced tomatoes (except reserved portion). Cook for a few minutes, then remove from heat and cool.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Spoon about 1/6 of the cooled filling into each of the the tortilla, leaving a few inches around each edge. Bring the bottom edge over the top of the filling, and begin to roll up the burrito, tucking in the sides as you go until fully rolled.

Place the burritos, folded side down, in a lightly oiled 9 x 12 pan. Sprinkle the reserved diced tomatoes over the top of the burritos. Cover with foil and bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle on the optional soy cheese, and bake uncovered for another 5-7 minutes until the tops have browned lightly and cheese is melted.

Makes 6 burritos.

Creamy Avocado Cashew Sauce

3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk (adjust for consistency)
1/2 cup avocado (1/2 of a good sized avocado)
1 T cashew butter
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t sea salt
Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the blender and puree until very smooth. Adjust to taste with additional sea salt/pepper. If you don't have lemon juice, you could use some apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar, but you won't need as much, about 1 1/2 T.

Lentil Dahl

So many of you responded positively to the Honey Baked Lentil post...so I thought I would post my other favorite lentil dish, Lentil Dahl. It's taken from a wonderful cookbook, The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook: Whole Foods to Nourish Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and their Families by Cathe Olson. It's so flavorful, and I love it because it's a "pantry" recipe. Everything is dry or canned except the onion, so it can be made at anytime...hopefully without a trip to the store.

Lentil Dahl

1 cup lentils (I love red lentils, but any will do)
1/2 strip kombu (optional)
3 cups water
1 T oil or ghee
1 onion, diced
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t tumeric
1/4 t cumin
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 cup diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
1/2 t sea salt

Place lentils, kombu, and water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 45-60 minutes or until lentils are tender. While lentils are cooking, heat skillet. Add oil or ghee, onion, chili powder, tumeric, cumin, and ginger. Saute 10 minutes or until onion is soft. Stir in tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes. Pour cooked lentils and tomato mixture into food processor or blender and pulse to puree, leaving some texture. Serve with millet, quinoa, or brown rice and/or flatbread.

Chipotle-Kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

I love crockpots. There is nothing that will make you feel like "super mom" more than having supper ready by 10am! Today I tried a new recipe from the cookbook "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" by Robin Robertson. It was super easy and delicious. Yummy vegan corn muffins with honey on the side. It was the perfect meal for a dreary, rainy day.

Chipotle-Kissed Red Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

1 T olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I used 28 oz. because I like tomatoes)
1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 T minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, pepper and garlic. Cover. Cook until softened; about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potato and stir to coat with the spices.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a 4 -6 qt. slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, beans, and water. Season with salt. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, stir the chipotles in to the chili. Taste and adjust seasonings.
I omitted the red peppers and the chipotle chiles and it was still delicious. Whenever I make chili, I always add a little cinnamon and some type of sweetener. Make for a very unique, wonderful taste.

This cookbook looks like one I might want to own someday (it's from the library). It's the first crockpot cookbook I've seen that isn't chock full of pot roast and potato recipes. It doesn't call for dehydrated onions or cream of mushroom soup. Instead, it uses WHOLE FOOD ingredients (what a novel idea!) and has a huge variety of recipes. Appetizers, grains, pasta, breads, desserts...it's all in there. I had no idea a crock pot could make so many wonderful things. I think I'll try the "No Hurry Vegetable Curry" next. Yum!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Oriental Food Store

I love ethnic food...but I had never been to an Asian grocery store. Until TODAY! Oh my goodness. I went to the East Village, where there is a nice little grocery called The New Oriental Food Store. I wanted to buy it all. I was trying hard not to hyperventilate when I found the green and red curry in a can. Heat and serve! Now...I know that goes against my good 'ol home cookin' philosophy. But...it's green curry in a can! I am trying not to get too excited because Denise told me that it's going to burn my mouth off. I'll have to report back on that. I had to get it...it was only $1.79. Much less than the $10.00 I pay to eat it at my favorite Thai restaurant.

I also found coconut milk for 89 cents a can ($1.00 cheaper than my grocer), green curry paste for $1.89 for a large tub, organic soba noodles for $2.59 ($1.00 cheaper) and 2 cucumbers for 89 cents. There were sauces galore...including my favorite sweet thai chili sauce.

The store was large, bright, and well-marked. In the back they had freezers and coolers of lots of food that I can't pronounce. In the middle they had TONS of fresh produce. Chilis, bananas, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lemongrass...and more. Even though it's not certified organic, any time I talk to the Asian vendors at the Farmer's Market, they assure me that they have not used any chemicals on them.

I will defnitely be back.

Monday, October 16, 2006

World Food Festival

This weekend was the World Food Festival in Des Moines. It was a beautiful, crisp autmn weekend, and Matt took Bella so I could go check it out. After looking through all the food booths, I decided on some pad thai. Delicious! Des Moines has a lot of ethnic food restuarants...which I love! One of my favorites is an African restaurant called the Cookry. Yum! But I will always love my Thai the best. Check out a few more photos here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What's In My Fridge?

There is nothing better than going grocery shopping and then bringing the bounty home to sort through, organize, and put away. I love it. So, when I found this group on Flickr, I just had to add my own photos.

Here is a glimse into my fridge. Run your mouse over the photo for notes. Here is the main fridge. Here is the door. And the freezer is here.

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder with Skillet Corn Bread

It was the perfect cool autumn night for soup and bread. This soup is deliciously sweet and filling. Serves 3-4.

Sweetcorn & Potato Chowder
A recipe from my sweet friend, Denise

4 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 small potatoes, diced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 1/2 cups veggie stock
1 1/4 cup milk (I used homemade almond milk...yummy!)
1 cup of frozen or canned corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil. Add onion, garlic, potato and celery. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add stock, season, and cook for 15 more minutes. Stir in milk and corn. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.

Skillet Corn Bread
The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook (thanks Jackie for the great cookbook!)

1 1/2 cups cornmeal (I was pleased to get this for 75 cents a pound...organic!)
1 1/2 whole wheat pastry or bread flour
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 T honey or other sweetener
1 t salt
2 1/4 cups milk (I used almond)
1/4 cup oil

Heat over to 400 degrees. Put an oiled 10" cast iron skillet into the oven to heat. Mix the dry ingredients well, stir in the milk and oil. Pour mixture into hot skillet and bake for 30 minutes on the top shelf. Cut into wedges and serve hot from the oven...topped with honey, jam, or butter. Yum!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is nothing better than thinking you are completely out of groceries...and then discovering that you have exactly enough to make a delicious batch of vegan carob chip cookies! Oooooh!
These are horribly horrible for you...believe me, not everything vegan is healthy. But they are so yummy. Actually, I should give myself some credit for using whole wheat pastry flour, but even that is canceled out by the CUP of margarine! We rarely make cookies though...so this is a definite treat. Taken from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moscowitz.

1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, at room temperature (I like Earth Balance Organic)
1 1/4 cup dry sweetener (I use rapadura)
1 T molasses
2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups vegan carob chips...or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the margarine and sweetener until fluffy. Add the molasses and vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls spaced a little over 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just slightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Honey Baked Lentils

I found this recipe on the Mothering forums...but there are lots of variations elsewhere. I was looking for a great recipe to use up my red lentils, and I FOUND IT! I am in love with this recipe and I will definitely be making it a lot this winter. It's really, really inexpensive...especially if you are buying your lentils in bulk. I love that it's a "one-pot" recipe. I just threw all of this into my stoneware breadloaf pan, covered it in foil, and poof! Time to eat.

1 cup lentils (I use red)
2 cups water
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soysauce or tamari
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
salt & pepper to taste

Bake in a covered dish at 350 until tender (about an hour and a half).

You could also substitute 1/3 cup of rice or barley for some of the lentils...and add whatever "winter" vegetables you have on hand. When I made it, I used squash and potatoes. It was delicious.

We ate this as a soup, but it could also be eaten over brown rice or quinoa, or on some flatbread. We eat it as the main dish, but it would be a great side dish as well. Can't wait to make this again!

Tofu Sticks

Bella loves to dip things...so this week we made "Tofu Sticks" from Simply Natural Baby Food by Cathe Olson. They are deliciously crispy AND tasty.

1 lb. extra firm tofu
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (whole wheat) or cracker crumbs
3 T sesame seeds (optional)
1 T nutritional yeast
1/4 t paprika
1/2 t kelp powder
3 T olive oil

Press the water out of the tofu using a towel. If you use the tofu packed in water, you may want to rest something heavy on it for 10-15 minutes to get the water out. In a pie plate or shallow bowl, combine crumbs, seeds, nutritional yeast, paprika, and kelp. Cut the tofu block in 1/2 lengthwise. Turn tofu back to the widest side, and cut tofu into 1/2 inch slices across the shorter end. You should have 12 pieces.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss tofu sticks with olive oil...coating all sides. Next, carefully roll the sticks in the breading mixture until coated.

Place them on a baking sheet (stoneware works best). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown and crisp. You may have to turn them once.

For the sauce, I use vegenaise with a little dill pickle juice and lemon juice added. Yum! These were a big hit.

Basil Basil Basil

So much basil! I am planning on making a large batch of pesto with these bunches...and freeze it to use later. Here is one of the pesto recipes that I'm going to try:

Lemon Artichoke Pesto w/ Toasted Pinenuts
Recipe compliments of Brooke the Vegan

1 cup canned artichoke hearts, quartered
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (or more as desired)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
pinenuts, toasted

Blend first seven ingredients, adding olive oil for desired consistency. Top with toasted pinenuts.

Sounds pretty tasty!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I think simple is always better when it comes to food. This is a very simple dish, yet very complex in flavor and nutritional value. Organic whole wheat elbow macaroni topped with Seeds of Change Arrabiatta sauce...and some freshly chopped organic basil.

The jar of sauce was given to me by a good friend as a housewarming gift...and boy was it tasty. Just enough spice to keep it interesting. Be sure to check it out!