Thursday, January 31, 2008

Need Good Food

Just need to vent for a moment... I am starving!! All that I've had since arriving here in Galveston are steamed plain veggies, a luna bar and some soy milk (the last two I brought with me). It drives me crazy when they think that's all you can eat, and I'm not staying at a shabby hotel either! I need grains! I need protein! I need flavor! Ugh. Okay, well at least the view from my room isn't bad....

That's all for now. Internet at the hotel is 50 cents a minute so I'm keeping this brief. Can't wait to get home, get some real food, and catch up on your blogs!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time to Analyze

Not much cooking going on here lately, I'm still trying to get through the massive amounts of red lentil cauliflower curry and the "it's only tuesday, what the f$@k pie". And tomorrow I am going on a journey down to the Texas coast (galveston) for a 2 day work thing and am quite worried that I'll be living on plain pasta and steamed broccoli. We'll see. But to mix things up a bit, inspired by Traci Anne over at .:*hello darling*:. I have been following my google analytics stats and here are some keywords that led people to my little blog (my comments are in parentheses).

warm gooey goodness vegan cookies recipe (you've come to the right place!)
republicans love meat (damn straight, in my experience)
vegan noodles (i.e. not egg noodles or fresh pasta made with egg, also my nickname)
%s (not sure what this is)
is there bat droppings in makeup (ewwww! and yes)
angle food cake + whole wheat + recipe + vegan (oh I dream of this quite frequently)
cookies made with couscous (strange combo, but it could work, MSV used lentils!)
houston with animal sex (okay this is scary)
litle girls blodies pics (scarier)
raw chocolate in north conway (this is random)
super size me recipes (hopefully not here)
texas vegans (yes! we exist!)
torres del paine white bread recipe (not exactly two things I would put together...)
vegan but eat fish (ummm, that's NOT a vegan)
vegan conspiracy (damn, they found me)
veganism and gas (hey, it happens)

Okay, now I could say that I will take pictures with my phone and send them, but I say that whenever I leave town and never do it. We'll see. But this weekend I do promise a post of my cake decorating class that finished up on Saturday. Time to go eat some more "man that was a lame post pie"....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So Wishing That Sunday Wasn't Almost Over Pie

Yep, that's the new name for this pie, also known as the smlove pie from Veganomicon. Tonight we watched Waitress (one who makes awesome pies based on her current life drama) on dvd and in preparation, I was inspired to make a pie (but not the crust, it's straight out of the freezer). The heart doily (sp?) underneath is courtesy of my talented sister-in-law.

Here's an up-close shot just to get your mouth watering. The verdict? We both loved this pie. Not sure if it was the type of chocolate I used (El Rey 70-something percent cocao), but the chocolate filling itself wasn't terribly sweet, which allowed you to fully enjoy the peanut butter caramel, maple pecans, and chocolate drizzle on top. If you aren't so crazy about no-so-sweet chocolate, maybe using a different chocolate would be better, but this suited us just fine (and went along perfect with the movie:-)

For dinner tonight, another V-con special, the red lentil and cauliflower curry. I changed it up a bit and subbed red pepper for parsnip, added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, and a big handful of chopped kale (can you tell I've kept my resolution about eating more greens?). Very filling and this made enough to feed us for the next few days I'm thinking.

And earlier in the week I covered new territory, something I had hoped to do back during Vegan MoFo (November), but never got around to it. I finally tried Soy Curls! After seeing DGMGV show us so many tasty and easy way to eat these, I dove in head first. After rehydrating these for just ten minutes, I browned them and added a healthy Texas serving of BBQ sauce. Add some black beans with sauteed onion, garlic, kale, and plenty of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, and you've got yourself a meal! I ordered 6 more bags of these from Food Fight the very next day.

Okay, time to go face reality. I think I need another piece of pie....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snap Krackle Pop !

Vegan Rice Krispie Treats!! I have made one previous attempt since going vegan to make these childhood treats, but was pretty unsuccessful... the result was dry and tasteless. So I turned to a recipe I knew I could trust, the Nicer Krispies Treats from ED&BV. In addition to the gooeyness of the treat itself, these are filled with pistachios, white and dark chocolate chips, pistachios, and coconut. Perfect for a pick-me-up after planning vegan outreach events with Society of PEACE here in Houston (I shared these with our planning committee).

And here's a simple dinner consisting of gnocchi with sauteed mushrooms and garlic and earth balance over a bed of pureed roasted sweet potatoes with garlic. Kind of an overkill on the potatoes, the components are better kept separate I think. But it was an experiment, plus I was trying to get rid of my plethora of potatoes.
I made my first green smoothie! Well, the color is actually kind of bleh. I used two kale leaves, in addition to my standard favorite smoothie ingredients (banana, strawberries, mango, peanut butter, flax meal, and soy milk). Afterwards I felt so proud of myself for getting some greens in my tummy before noon! I think I may try spinach next, the flavor is milder so maybe I can add more and make the color a bit more pleasing to the eye.
Okay, time to go do dishes...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Waffles Wasting Away a Sunday

It's a dreary day in Houston, TX .... one of those that makes you want to just sleep all day, cuddled up with a fuzzy blanket. But it was back to work instead. Sunday went fast, we had a group of friends come over for brunch, and by the time it was over it was 3pm! Both John and I agree that this is the downside of brunch, it pretty much blows your whole day. But I think it was worth it considering what we got to eat. I made banana nut waffles from V-con (using half whole wheat flour) and topped them with blueberry maple sauce (Vive Le Vegan), macerated strawberries, and celestial cream (ED&BV). Oh I am so glad we had a few leftover, it made getting up for work this morning much easier (although it made getting out the door pretty tough). Alongside we had a tofu scramble using the spice mixture from Yellow Rose Recipes. This has been one of my favorite tofu scrambles yet (and like all good vegans, I've made many) And let me just say that I love Joanna's tribute to Texas as well as her kind words about the Lone Star State in her introduction! She grew up in Houston too, wonder if we ever crossed paths? Back to the scramble... I added red pepper, jalapeno, spinach, and tomatoes, topped with salsa and guacamole. Some vegan sausage (I love Gardenburger's) and a massive fruit salad rounded out the meal.

Saturday I spent the day working on a craft project with my mom and taking my second of four cake decorating classes (more on that in a later post). To fuel our bodies for optimal performance, my mom put together a healthy lunch featuring, yes, a Martha Stewart recipe. This is the quinoa pie with butternut squash. Beautiful presentation isn't it?
This was very tasty, the sage was subtle and the butternut squash gave the dish a rich feeling. And even though the recipe included 18 sage leaves (!) it wasn't overwhelming at all. I think my dad also discovered that, to his surprise, he enjoys butternut squash. The only recipe modification to make it vegan was leaving out the parmesan cheese (which may have binded the pie a little better, but wasn't a big flavor component I would think).
Okay, time to put on some comfy yoga pants and my favorite hoodie and make some dinner....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fire Ants on a Log

I am trying as hard as I can to get rid of the celery that is lurking in my crisper (especially since it's going on two week old). My solution? Updating the favorite (?) kids' snack of ants on a log. I have never been a big raisin fan, but I love dried cranberries (though not by themselves as much). This made the celery easier to swallow (since usually I can't stand it) and made for a healthier after-work snack than I usually have.

Like the rest of the country, we are experiencing some colder weather, somewhat welcome since we've had a mcuh warmer than average winter. Another method of ridding the house of celery? A veggie chili! I tossed in every veggie I was in the mood for, including onion, red pepper, zucchini, kale , and 3 kinds of beans (black, pinto, kidney). Add some diced tomatoes, plenty of chili powder, and a package of Boca crumbles and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. And what goes better with chili than cornbread? This was the recipe for skillet cornbread from V-Con, except I didn't use a skillet (pyrex) and I halved the recipe. And I threw in some jalapenos for good measure.
But did I mention there are benefits to having a warmer than average winter? Fresh, local strawberries!! These are from Wharton County, just up the road from Houston. They were so big and bright and juicy....
And all gone!! I love my little strawberry bowl. Reminds me of the time I spent in England with my parents (this is from Portmeirion).....
And finally, a quick dinner from earlier in the week. I have been really anti-going out to eat lately. Mostly because I'm just sick of explaining to waiters that I don't eat animal products and then they point out the fish on the menu. Ugh! No seriously, it's not that bad here. But I wanted to not go to one of my standard places I'm comfortable with. So I took Ruby Red Vegan's advice and hit up Pei Wei. I got the teriyaki bowl with veggies and tofu, and left feeling full and satisfied.
I am sooooo ready for Friday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Toy In Spring Green

I've been busy setting up my new computer, so dinner last night was pretty simple. I made the fail-proof quinoa salad with black beans and mango and the chile cornmeal crusted tofu, both from V-con. The quinoa turned out perfectly (though I had to cook up a second batch because I forgot it on the burner for 25 minutes, very stincky), I added extra cilantro and used rice vinegar in place of the red wine vinegar. I baked the tofu instead of frying to be a bit healthier. Next time I will make some kind of sauce to go with it, but alas, I didn't plan ahead very well this time. As Isa and Terry suggested in the recipe, I snuggled up with a copy of the latest Herbivore magazine (travel issue) and dreamed of biking to the vegan mini-mall in Portland, walking to the Vegetarian Dim Sum House in NYC, taking a street car to Millienium in San Francisco, or biting into a Mighty-O in Seattle (which I may do soon, planning on visiting my sis during VegFest weekend).

I've also been munching on spiced sweet potato chips a lot lately. They are delicately spiced with cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Even though they are fairly high in calories, they pack a punch of Vitamin A.
And here's a peak at my new laptop in spring green (I think I was more excited about this than the 600 some odd GB of storage), with a lovely message plastered on the side (get yours at Herbivore). Now if I pull this out at the local coffee shop, everyone will know just how cool I am.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Please Don't Super Size Me Cookies

Sometimes a girl just needs a cookie. But why not make it a healthy cookie that tastes good to boot? The answer? These super charge me (NOT size me) cookies from ED&BV. I used dried cranberries for the fruit and substituted whole wheat flour for spelt. These cookies are packed with good-for-you things, like rolled oats and flax meal. But there's also enough chocolate chips to satisfy your sweet tooth.

On Friday night, in an attempt to comfort a friend who had a rough week, I made the Leek and Bean Cassoulet from V-con. I had high expectations for this one, but was pretty disappointed. For my tastebuds, it lacked any flavor and tasted pretty bland. Maybe adding more spices next times would help? Also, the biscuits seemed a bit soggy on the underside. I think this is the first recipe from V-con that I can say I likely won't repeat. :-(
Luckily there was more comfort at the end of the meal in the form of brownie sundaes.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Seitan From A Can?

I have seen a few others blog about canned seitan, so I just had to try it for myself. I ordered this one awhile back from Vegan Essentials. I must say it made me very nervous to try seitan from a can....

And my gut feeling was correct, I couldn't stand this stuff. I thought it was squishy and weird tasting, made my stomach slither a bit. But, John loved it (I sauteed it in a little coconut oil before serving). So thankfully, it wasn't wasted and he ate up what was on my plate. I wasn't totally lazy in making dinner... we also had the tamarind lentils from V-con (added a bunch of steamed kale towards the end and subbed lime juice for tamarind) and the coconut lime rice from ED&BV. Both were very tasty and made plenty of leftovers. I was expecting the coconut flavor to be stronger in the rice, still trying to decide if it's worth the extra calories (I used lite coconut milk). I also tossed in some toasted coconut with the rice.
And just to show you that I really haven't been all that lazy, here is our dinner from two nights ago, using homemade seitan (recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes); seitan stroganoff from VWAV! I love this stuff and I'm sure I've posted it before. But this time I updated it slightly by adding some vegan sour cream both to the sauce and to top it off (also fresh chives). I think I could eat this every night.... (and luckily there was a bunch leftover, so we will be having it and the lentils tonight!)
And it's hard to contain my excitement, I should be getting my new laptop from Dell tomorrow!! I have been waiting a looonggg time it seems to get a new laptop and I'm finished suffering through the slow machine that I've been using. Plus, it's green! Oh, and I got a recycling kit for my old, dead computer, so I'm interested to see how that works.
One more thing, I sewed the first stitch of my life the other day!! Made me so proud :-) You'll have to wait another month though to find out what, sorry to keep you in such suspense.
Whew, tomorrow is Friday.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Learning Lessons

On Friday night, one of my best friends from high school and her boyfriend joined us for dinner at our home. We hadn't seen each other in almost five years, there was so much to catch up on!! Such an occasion called for a fancy dessert (and dinner, but I've already blogged about what I made in previous posts), the Caramel Machiatto Cheesecake from My Sweet Vegan.

Now you'll notice that there really isn't anything that looks like caramel on this cheesecake.... well, that's because I had a small disaster with the caramel sauce. Not sure if my arrowroot powder was bad, or it boiled too long, or if it was using light brown sugar instead of dark, my the sauce hardened like a rock in seconds. Boo hoo. So, in a pinch I used chocolate sauce from the fridge, so this is actually a chocolate machiatto cheesecake. I also learned a valuable lesson in the difference between regular and instant coffee (forgive me, I'm not a coffee-drinker), luckily just in time. This cheesecake was so creamy and smooth with a moderate coffee flavor. The chocolate cookie crust and the vanilla cream top layer complimented the cheesecake well. Oh, and another lesson ... although I painstakingly took the time to drizzle the chocolate on in an elaborate, fancy design, after putting it back in the fride, it ran all over the place! Next time I'll wait until just before serving to put on the finishing touches.

Needing to use some leftover tempeh (from tempeh nori rolls for appetizers) and celery (yikes! I never use celery, but it's in the chickpea tart I made for dinner), I decided to imitate a chicken salad I used to get from Whole Foods back in pre-vegan days.
The recipe is simple... I just steamed the tempeh for about 13 minutes, added nayonaise, fresh chopped dill, white pepper, chopped celery, red grapes, and walnuts (all in whatever amounts I deemed necessary). This was yummy by itself (as I had it for lunch today), but would probably be good in nestled between toasted whole wheat bread as well.

In other news... we had quite the warm weather here in Houston this weekend. I was tempted last night to turn on the AC. John and I went for a long walk along the bayou and I actually got a bit sunburned on my shoulders (since I had to dig out a tanktop to wear). Guess I should extend my resolution of sunscreen on the face daily to any exposed body part... lesson learned.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Let's Roast!

Veggies that is! I have been roasting vegetables like crazy the last few days. The oven has been keeping our house warm through this Texas winter cold snap! Wednesday night I was starving when I got home and so I fixed the tamari roasted chickpeas from ED&BV. Where have these been all my life? I ate close to the whole can of beans and still wanted more. I managed to save a couple to add to my dinner plate.

Amazing that I still had an appetite after all those legumes! The roasted items for dinner were: portobello mushroom (marinated in red wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, etc), brussels sprouts, and red bell pepper. And on the side some steamed swiss chard and quinoa. I discovered just how much I love balsamic glace swirled on my plate (makes it so fancy!) and sopped up with roasted veggies. This stuff is worth searching out and buying!

And alongside a salad last night, we had perfectly roasted cauliflower, tossed with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and finished with lemon juice and fresh parsley.
A healthy start to the new year, if I do say so myself! Oh, and I took another step towards fulfilling my resolutions and signed up for an 8-hour cake decorating course here in Houston (spread out over four weekends). And thankfully, we get to bring our own icing and cake, so I can ensure that they are vegan :-) Can't wait to report on my learnings... Enjoy the first weekend of 2008!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

363 ... , 364, .... 365 Black-Eyed Peas!

Well.... almost, at least between the two of us we ate enough black-eyed peas last night to bring us good luck for everyday in 2008. Growing up I remember my mom making black-eyed peas every New Year's Day, but I never ate a one until today (amazing that I got where I am today with no luck!). Plus, I got started right away with one of my resolutions and had some leafy greens with dinner. Here are the BBQ Black-Eyed Peas from V-con.

The recipe calls for collard greens, but we decided on swiss chard instead. I also added three strips of sauteed tempeh bacon, and was lazy and used store-bought bbq sauce (a Texas brand of course). One little problem though... I got fresh black-eyed peas from the store. Having never used them, I thought they were ready to go like the canned variety. But when I tasted the crunchiness when I opened the bag and snuck a taste, I was quite surprised. So I added some water to the bbq sauce and let the peas, mushrooms, and chard simmer for about 40 minutes. I actually think it made the bbq flavor soak into the beans more than the original recipe might have, and with good results. I stuffed the pea mixture into a steamed chard leaf and rolled it up as a wrap, then had some just plain on the side. This was good stuff. I will certainly be fixing black-eyed peas before Jan. 1, 2009!