Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Orange Stew

Today's stew is orange. Very orange. But not orange from oranges. Orange from sweet potatoes and squash. Beautifully orange!

1 cup dried garbanzos, soaked overnight (makes ~ 3 1/2 cups cooked beans)
2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 long squash
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 very large onion
2 large cloves garlic
2 large parsnips
2 blue potatoes
2 T liquid vegetable bouillon
2 handfuls wild rice mix
3/4 cup red quinoa

What to do
Cook the beans, drain.
Chop the onion; dice the garlic.
Heat soup pot, when warm, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.
Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds, then into six pieces per round slice. Add to the pot with enough water to cover.
Add the vegetable bouillon. Stir to combine. Cover the pot.
Peel the squash, halve it, scoop out the insides, and cut out the stem. Then, slice it into 1/2 inch half rounds and cut those into 3-4 pieces each. Add to the pot. Add more water if needed. Stir. Cover the pot.
Peel the parsnips and chop. Add to the pot. Add more water if needed, to cover vegetables. Stir. Cover the pot.
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch rounds, then into six pieces per round slice. Add to the pot. Add more water if needed, to cover vegetables. Stir. Cover the pot.
Take two large handfuls of the wild rice mix and add to the pot. Stir. Add more water if needed. Cover the pot.
Let it all cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring to keep the stew from sticking.
Add the quinoa (rinse if you remember to - I didn't last night/this morning when I added the quinoa at 1-something). Stir well. Cover the pot and let it cook for another 20-30 minutes.
When the cooking is finished, cover the pot until you are ready to serve it, reheating on the stove if needed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Vegan Pumpkin Brownies

Packed up to shared with my non-vegan friends at work

After my friend Kristi asked about vegan brownies without oil, I started searching for another recipe to send to her. (My first recipe was from my Grammie Lundquist.)

I found lots of recipes out there for vegan brownies. Woo hoo! I also found recipes for pumpkin brownies...and we all know how much I love pumpkin..I tried some in my 10-grain cereal the other morning. A was eating her pumpkin for breakfast and I thought I'd join in! A is also a lover of pumpkin. Most pumpkin brownie recipes amazingly don't have chocolate in them...not sure how they are brownies without the chocolate...

I liked the idea of pumpkin brownies, but I didn't use one recipe. I liked the layers idea from one recipe, and decided to use my own spice combo that I like with pumpkin. And, I love my spelt flour, so I was set on using it in whatever brownies I ended up making.

Here's my version of Vegan Pumpkin Brownies.

safflower oil
Pumpkin Layer
1 can organic pure pumpkin
1/4 cup organic applesauce
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground Jamaican allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Brownie Layer
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
2/4 cup organic applesauce
1 T vanilla
1 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups freshly ground spelt flour
1/2 cup organic cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped pecans

What I did
I preheated the oven to 375 (350 interior temp). I oiled my 9 x 13 pan with a little bit of safflower oil.

I mixed the first Pumpkin Layer ingredients together in a small bowl with a spatula.

Then, I mixed the Wet Brownie Layer ingredients together in a medium bowl.

I mixed the Dry Brownie Layer ingredients together in a large bowl. Then I added the Wet to the Dry and mixed together with a wooden spoon.

I poured the Brownie Layer into my 9 x 13 pan, and spread it out evenly. Then I added the Pumpkin Layer on top and spread it out with the spatula, mixing the layers together a bit. I sprinkled the chopped pecans on the top of the brownies, and popped the pan in the oven for 60 minutes.

They are cooking now (yes, it's almost 12:30 -- I'm up working and baking) and the apartment is starting to smell lovely. Chocolate and pumpkin...yum. I will update tomorrow/later today with the outcome of these yummy-smelling treats.

Fresh out of the oven at 1 am...
I ate two for breakfast. I know, not the best breakfast, but I needed to try them out.

The spices are a little overpowering in the pumpkin layer, so I will halve them next time. Also, parts of the pumpkin layer are still not "set" even after baking for an hour. And parts of the brownie layer are downright chewy after the hour baking time. So I need to work on getting the pumpkin to cook more and the brownie to cook less.

I brought some to work with me today, so we'll see how non-vegans like these creations...

My first non-vegan friend to try them liked them and ate two. He suggested giving the recipe to our cafeteria so that they can make something other than meat and meat and dairy-filled food for a change.

I had another (two) tonight, when I should have been ordering dinner. They are much better than this morning! The spices have mellowed and I couldn't stop after just one. Thank goodness I only brought a limited number to work!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Peanut, Sweet Potato, Barley, and Bean Stew

I used up the last of my Rancho Gordo Lila beans in this stew. So good! :)

The impetus for this stew was my sweet potatoes. After being away for five days, one of my (newly bought) sweet potatoes decided to rot. :( Dave just put my bag of sweet potatoes in another plastic bag, and I wasn't able to do anything about it until late Friday night when I got home from work. So, late Friday night, I cleaned and cut off bad spots from my remaining sweet potatoes, and ended up peeling two. (Do I know how to start a weekend or what?) I wanted to use the peeled potatoes up before anything else weird happened with these sweet potatoes, so I used them to make this stew.

The stew uses barley, because J asked for barley while we were looking at the different grains on the table. She chose barley over this cool-looking burnt-umber colored rice I got at Fairways, standard white and brown rices, and kasha. I'm sure any other whole grain would work in this stew too. And next time I'll probably make it with a different grain, because Dave thinks that J has a hard time eating barley (she chews is slowly).

My inspiration for including the peanut butter was J and our breakfast this morning. I made us some Bob's Red Mill 10-grain cereal and she wanted me to add peanut butter to our hot cereal, in addition to our standard soy milk, pumpkin seeds, pecans, and dried cranberries. It creamed up really well and the little chunks of peanut tasted great in the cereal. So, I thought, why not try it in the soup. Not to mention that every recipe I've ever seen for African stew includes peanut butter and sweet potatoes or yams!

The main part of the stew is the beans. The delicious, and now finished, Lila beans.

1 cup dried Lila beans, soaked overnight or two nights
2-3 in piece of Kombu
2 T freshly ground organic peanut butter
handful of whole organic peanuts
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup pearl barley
1 square no-chicken vegetable bouillon (optional)
1 bunch Vitamin greens

What to do
Soak the beans. (Start on Friday night, get too busy on Saturday to make anything, and finally get to cook them on Sunday.) Cook the beans in a large pot with the Kombu. If the beans need more water as they cook, add boiling water to the pot to keep the beans from getting hard.

After the beans are finished cooking, add the sweet potato cubes, barley, and peanut butter. Add enough more water - everything should be covered. Don't dump the bean cooking water -- it's the broth for this stew. The barley will soak up a lot of water as it cooks, so make sure to add enough. Also, you can add the bouillon if you are using it now. You can add the peanuts now or right before serving, up to you. ( I added them earlier so that they could cook with everything else. I was also not sure if I would get to add them otherwise, as my little A was requiring lots of attention and nursing.) As the stew cooks, stir it regularly to break up the peanut butter and the bouillon and distribute evenly throughout the stew.

While the stew is cooking, chop the greens (including stems). Put them in a pan with some water, cover, and sweat for 5-7 minutes, adding water as needed to keep the greens from scorching.

To serve, put the stew into a bowl and top with the greens. See J's bowl below. That's her cheesing it up for my cell phone camera (we can't find our camera since our trip to Maryland! Have you seen it?).

If reheating, you'll probably want to add more water, as the barley continues to soak up the broth. We have one serving left of this, which J will get for a meal this week.

I have the coolest kids. J asked for the greens for her snack this afternoon (D asked, J, do you want a cookie. J replies, no, I want greens!). And A had some of the greens for dinner tonight. Heehee.

Creamy Potatoed Veggies

This was Dave's and my dinner tonight, and will be J's lunch tomorrow. One bowl full filled me all the way up. The seasoning had just enough garlic in it -- it smelled really great while I was eating it. Make sure it's hot when you eat. I based tonight's dinner on a recipe I found in Kathy Cooks. (Ugh, I paid a lot more than what's being offered on Amazon tonight for this book -- I wonder what happened that all of a sudden there are numerous copies for really cheap??)

6 medium organic Yukon gold potatoes

1 organic carnival squash
1 1/2 cups organic carrots
1 cup frozen organic peas
4 T Earth Balance
1/2 T no-salt organic seasoning
4 heaping tsp nutritional yeast
2 1/4 cups organic soy milk
coarse sea salt & black pepper

What to do
Scrub the vegetables well. With the exception of the carrots, the skins are all used in this dish, so you want to make sure your veggies are clean!

Cut out any eyes or bad spots and prick the potatoes with a fork. Bake or microwave the potatoes until soft.
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the insides (save the seeds!), and bake or microwave. Make sure you have water in the pan, whichever you do, to keep the squash moist. After it's cooked, cut the squash, with the skin, into small cubes.
Peel and cut the carrots into 1/2 to 1 inch chunks. Steam.
Cut 2 of the cooked potatoes into small cubes.
Cut 4 of the cooked (still warm!) potatoes in quarters and mash with the Earth Balance. Put this mixture, the soy milk, seasoning, and nutritional yeast into the blender and blend until smooth.
Add the carrots, squash, and remaining potatoes to a large pot and add the creamy potato sauce. Add a little more soy milk if it looks too thick. Add the frozen peas.
Heat through.
Serve on top of pasta with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brownies :)

Just for my friend Kristi, who wondered why I didn't have any dessert-type recipes up here. Well, the short (and not-so-sweet) of it is that Dave doesn't eat sweets, and I cannot eat an entire recipe of sweets myself! That and there's SO MUCH sugar in these brownies! :)

Here's one of my favorite brownie recipes, for Kristi. It's passed down from my Grammie Lundquist -- vegan without any substitutions!

OIL -- I think that you can use any type of oil, although I've only made these with vegetable oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil. If you want to use olive oil, refined olive oil is processed to remove the strong taste associated with olive oil (extra virgin, virgin). Or you could just add a little more cocoa. :)

Equal Exchange Baking CocoaCocoa -- I use Equal Exchange baking cocoa. Yum.

Sugar -- I like using turbinado or raw cane sugar in this recipe.

I might even make these up this week. It's December, so I can bring a bunch of them to work, thereby avoiding the danger of eating them all myself!!!

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
2 T vinegar
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup water
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

What to do
Sift dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir just enough to completely mix the wet and dry ingredients. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using. Spread into a lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan. Bake 40-30 minutes at 325 degrees. Let the brownies cool for five minutes or so in the pan before cutting them. Cut them as big or as little as you'd like.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Roots & Beans Soup

My attempt at a cute name for la soupe du jour. :P The soup has three beans (yellow wax beans, green beans, and pink Lila beans) and three root vegetables (golden beet, Yukon gold potato, and red potatoes), along with some other yummy ingredients.

This morning was an early morning. Not because I had to get to work early (like Friday and Monday), but because the girls have gotten used to waking up early with me. We just need to adjust their other sleeping times to make up for the hour they are losing in the morning.

I asked J, as we were making breakfast sandwiches with the pumpkin biscuits, slices of Tofutti cheese (orange for J, white for me), and Yves faux Canadian bacon, what she wanted to do. She wanted to make soup! So, we made soup, in the slow cooker.

I dreamed of minestrone for some reason last night. This soup is by no means a minestrone (not sure what makes a soup a minestrone...must figure that out...), but it's a very full (and hopefully filling) soup.

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped (part of our Fairway haul)
1 large clove garlic, minced (EO)
1 golden beet, chopped (EO)
6 small red potatoes, chopped
1 medium Yukon gold potato, chopped (Fairway)
1 - 1/2 lbs green and yellow wax beans, ends snapped off and broken into 1 - 2 inch pieces
1 cup tiny orange/yellow tomatoes (J picked them Saturday at the market)
beet greens, washed and cut into small pieces (EO)
5 cups water
1 square not-chicken vegetable bouillon
1/2 cup pastini (stars!)
1 cup cooked Lila Rancho Gordo beans (grown by Mexican farmers participating in the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project)
Splash of apple cider vinegar

What to do
It's a slow cooker soup, so bring out the slow cooker and plug it in. Put it to hot. W hen it's a little warm, add the olive oil.
Chop the onion and garlic, and add to the warm pot and olive oil. Stir.
Chop the root vegetables and add to the pot. Stir.
Add the water and the bouillon square. Stir.
Wash, trim, and break the yellow and green beans into 1 - 2 inch pieces, and add to the pot. Stir.
Wash and add the tomatoes to the pot. Stir.
Add the Lila beans. Stir.
Take the beet greens off the stems (J helped here), wash them, and cut them up. I used kitchen sheers because I was holding A by this point and couldn't use a knife. Add the greens to the pot. Stir.
After 10-15 minutes (give the greens time to wilt), add the pastini. (Add more water if you think you need it at this point too.) Stir.
Add the splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir.
Wait until lunchtime, and serve!

Any bean would probably work here. I had made these beans up over the weekend and have been eating them as I need beans. They are quite good, with a depth of flavor that I'm not used to in my normal beans. That's why I paid the big bucks for them though -- the taste of RG beans is supposed to be outstanding!

The apple cider vinegar is to combat the bitterness of the greens. I know that J likes the greens (we've eaten them before), but I cook them with a splash of vinegar to take the bitter edge off. So, I added that splash to the soup. Should work.

I ate this soup for dinner. By the time I got home tonight, as you can see from the pictures, the soup was more of a stew. I think that D must have left it on high for most of the day and not turned it to low or warm after lunch. Oh well. Still delish! :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A, J, and Spike

Spike, doing what he does best -- lounging in the various seats around the apartment. This is J's seat. He's using the towel as a pillow. Gotta love it!

J, eating her yellow bean barley soup and sitting in her "special" chair. This is the chair we bought initially for A to have a seat at the table, but J took it over immediately. Just as well, because it doesn't have a tray and has to be pushed right up to the table. A inherited J's tray seat...
And she loves it! Lunchtime on the weekends with Mommy and J is the best!

Drop Pumpkin Biscuits

Tonight I made pumpkin biscuits to go with my eggplant would-be chili leftovers. The would-be chili is still blah, even after the flavors/spices have had a day to blend (plus the full day in the slow cooker). But the pumpkin biscuits are light and airy and full of pumpkiny-goodness! Together, a filling meal.

Drop Pumpkin Biscuits


1 cup freshly milled spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup + 1 spoonful canned organic pumpkin

1/2 cup almond milk + 1 T lemon juice

What to do

Preheat oven to 400 (415 for my sad oven).
Mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the pumpkin and the milk with lemon juice. Mix together with a spoon or your fingers if you need to. (I needed to.)
Drop biscuits onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I made 13 with this recipe.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.

This is a wet biscuit dough. For a drier biscuit dough, use 1/2 the pumpkin. I think if you make the drier biscuit dough, you could roll these out and use a biscuit cutter with them. But they are perfect like this for drop, and they have more pumpkin in them...and who doesn't love pumpkin!

These biscuits are based on the topping for FatFreeVegan's Celebration Pot Pie. I won't be making that any time soon (I need a large kitchen, large fridge, people to eat the large quantities of food it makes), but I did like the idea for the pumpkin biscuit topping.

Eggplant Would-be Chili

This wasn't quite a fail. But it was not a success. And I won't be making it again.

I had two gorgeous eggplants to use. Gorgeous. Not the full purple ones, but the streaks of purple on white. Gorgeous. I wanted a soup with eggplant and garbanzos (I had cooked up garbanzos earlier in the week and wanted to finish them off).

I also wanted a chili. To be chili, a dish needs cumin, chili peppers/powder, and oregano. I like my chili with beans (come on, vegan here!). And I wanted my chili to have eggplant.

I was out of onions, so this chili didn't get any onions. (I didn't even have onion powder or granules, only garlic.) I had a little bit of red lentils that I thought would add good texture and iron, and millet remaining from a lunch meal for me earlier in the week. I don't know why this turned out so blah.

I chopped up my eggplants, chopped up two small red turnips, added the golden zuchinni I had cut up for J (she asked for "chinni" and then ate one bite of one piece), about a cup of cooked millet, my garbanzos (about a cup), cumin, oregano, Mexican chili powder, 1/3 cup dry red lentils, and 1 1/4 cups water. Hello slowcooker Friday night, cook please so that I have chili for Saturday.

Ok, maybe I know what happened. I was afraid of the spices (I wanted J to be able to eat, and the Mexican chili powder has been too much for her in the past), so I didn't use enough initially. When I tasted the would-be chili in the morning, I added more. But it just wasn't enough. It looked like chili, but the taste just wasn't there. I added fresh oregano and roasted squash seeds when J and I ate it for lunch, which really improved the dish, but still, not something I'm making again. And J had a really hard time eating it...because she didn't like it at all! Eck!

The leftovers...I'm thinking maybe putting them in bread or something. We'll see as the week progresses.

Winter Squash and Tofu Soup

It looked like cornmeal. Yummy cornmeal. And made me really want cornbread or popped corn or anything corn. But no corn involved. I did snack on the popped pumpkin squash seeds I made while roasting the squash...

I based the soup on a recipe in Robin Robertson's One-Dish Vegetarian Meals cookbook. I roasted my long pumpkin squash on Saturday, and needed to use up some of the goodness. A can't eat it all herself!

I also had a block of soft tofu in the fridge, taking up precious space needed for our $200 haul from Fairway... I'm a little afraid of tofu, so I tend to use it blended in things, made into brownies, etc. One day I will be brave and try some of those great sounding and looking tofu recipes out there, but until that day, beans are my staple and tofu will be incorporated into my dishes.

Here's Sunday's dinner

Winter Squash and Tofu Soup
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 huge clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped (frozen) celery
1 large carrot, chopped
1 Yukon gold potato, chopped
1 1/4-1 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin squash
5 cups water
1 block soft tofu, crumbled
2 cups frozen brown rice
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2-1 tsp no-salt seasoning
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup (or more) nutritional yeast

What to do
Heat big LeCreuset, heat olive oil, saute onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2-3 minutes more. (I forgot the garlic, and sauteed and added it after the soup was a soup; it still worked. :))
Add the vegetables, water, seasonings, nutritional yeast, and rice. Crumble the tofu into the pot. Cook for 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
When all the veggies are soft, puree the soup, with an immersion blender or by batches in a blender or food processor. (The immersion blender makes this step SUPER easy.) Taste and add more salt or nutritional yeast or no-salt seasoning, whatever you think it needs.

It's a full meal in a bowl. You could serve it with fresh parsley, but I couldn't find mine. (Turns out it was still in a bag in the living room, having been forgotten the previous day! I crashed when putting the kiddies to bed after our Fairways trip, and D didn't remember that the parsley was hiding out in a bag with sweet potatoes and other non-refrigeratables.)

J and I ate our soup with extra sprinkles (aka nutritional yeast) and I added some sprinklings of coarse sea salt to mine. YUM.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pizza Dough

J loves pizza. D loves pizza. I hate buying delivery pizza because we end up with huge boxes in the fridge (none of us ever finish our pizzas). Our fridge isn't very big. The pizza boxes are big. (And D refuses to eat the cheese-less pizza that J and I get, so we will never finish a full delivery pizza...)

I've been looking for an easy-to-make pizza dough recipe that **doesn't** require making the day before and sitting in the fridge, because you know that's not going to happen. Also, Lynn has been bragging about making Vegan Dad's stromboli with Whole Foods brand frozen pizza dough. (Our freezer, like our fridge, is small. And filled with frozen veggies, frozen breastmilk, and flours, so no room for pizza dough.)

Today, while checking out the Disposable Aardvark blog -- which, btw, I will totally be relying on when J starts school for great vegan kid bento lunch ideas -- I found a relatively quick and easy pizza dough recipe. I will be making it later this week!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hearty Tomato, Fennel, and Kasha Soup

Saturday was a big cooking day for me. I had lots of yummy vegetables that I didn't want to go to waste, and I needed to make some good food for J for the week.

The inspiration for this soup was the fennel I bought. It's been sitting in the fridge for a week -- I didn't know what to do with it. I looked in all my cookbooks for something that sounded good -- or that even included fennel! Not much.

I decided that the fennel looked like celery, and so maybe I could use it like celery. The most interesting recipe I saw for fennel was a Mediterranean-style soup, but it required some vegetables (and beans) that I didn't have. I did have crushed tomatoes...and who doesn't love a good tomato soup on a rainy day?

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 fennel bulb + stems, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 no-chicken bouillon square
4 cups hot water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp no-salt seasoning
1 28-oz crushed tomatoes
fennel fronds, chopped
1 cup cooked garbanzos
1 1/2 cups cooked small white beans
1/2 cup uncooked kasha

What To Do
Make the "fennel mirepoix" - warm the LeCreuset over medium heat, add and warm the olive oil, then add the chopped onion, carrots, and fennel. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another three minutes.
Add the bouillon square and hot water, bay leaves, seasoning, and crushed tomatoes.
Add the garbanzos and white beans. Mix well. Add the kasha. Cover and cook for 30-60 minutes.
Add the fennel fronds, and keep soup warm on low until ready to serve.

How it turned out
D and J had this soup for dinner Saturday (while I was out celebrating Sera's birthday!) and both liked it. They had some breadsticks with the soup. I ate a bowl when I came home. The fennel was still a little crunchy (I had hoped for that) and the soup had a slight licorice smell and taste. D called it a "tea-smell" -- I think my nursing tea has fennel in it and he associated the smell with my tea. It was much thicker than I thought it would be - but in a good way.

All the recipes I saw with fennel only called for the bulb. I thought that was such a waste! There are stalks and fronds to work with too!!! I used everything from my fennel in this soup. I also used up my last onion and most of my garlic, so those are getting added to the shopping list too.

Yellow Eye Barley Stew

I finally received my beans from Rancho Gordo! I had ordered two packages of Yellow Indian Woman Beans, but I received two packages of Yellow Eye Beans. When I contacted Rancho Gordo, they said to keep the Yellow Eyes and they would ship me the Yellow Indian Woman Beans. I took this as a sign that I should make something immediately with the Yellow Eyes.

I really wanted a thick, earthy stew, so I chose barley as the grain to match with the Yellow Eyes.

I've also been reading a bit lately about the "traditional" preparations/soup bases, especially in European cooking. A mirepoix is the basic French base for soups: onion, carrot, celery. So, that's what I started with vegetable-wise.

The beans were soft and delicious. This soup doesn't overpower them, and all the vegetables went very well with the flavor of the beans. The barley was a good complement too.

1 cup uncooked Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans, soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, chopped (KF*)
1/2 - 1 cup organic celery, chopped (KF)
1 cup organic baby carrots, chopped (KF)
1 1/2 T organic extra virgin olive oil (KF)
4 large organic cabbage leaves, cleaned, rolled, and chopped (EO*)
1 organic golden beet, chopped (EO)
2 organic purple turnips, chopped (EO)
6 very small organic red potatoes, chopped (KF)
1 cup uncooked pearl barley (KF)
1/2 cup sliced exotic mushrooms (FW*)
1 heaping T organic no-salt seasoning (C*)
1 organic Rapunzel no-chicken bouillon square (NYN*)

What To Do
Soak beans overnight. Cook in soaking water, plus more water if needed, for 45 - 60 minutes.
Start with the mirepoix: heat large LeCrueset, when warm, add olive oil; when olive oil is warm, add onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 10 minutes. It took me a little longer because I used frozen chopped celery, which brought a bit of water into the mix. Although, I should add that if the mirepoix starts to stick, you should add a little water to keep everything from charring on the pan.
Add a bit of water and the bouillon square, and stir to mix well and break up/dissolve the bouillon.
Start adding the other vegetables, ideally the ones that take the longest to cook (potatoes, beet, turnips) first. I did not put anything in the right order, and it still turned out great. :)
Add in more water (to cover vegetables) and seasoning. Add the rinsed barley, make sure the barley is covered by the water, and cover.
When the Yellow Eye Beans are almost done cooking, add them and the cooking water to the stew pot. Cover and cook. Barley needs approximately 45 minutes to cook. The stew should simmer for at least that long; longer will make it even tastier!

Serve and enjoy -- it's a perfect stew for a rainy Saturday. This stew should make 6 servings. J and I ate it for lunch, and I had four servings to put into the fridge for meals later this week. Like most of my stews, this will need some water added when reheated because the barley will soap up the broth. I guess it could be eaten as a not-stew if you didn't add the water when reheating.

*KF - Key Food; EO - Evolutionary Organics (my favorite farmer at the market); FW - Fairway; C - Costco; NYN - New York Naturals (my local natural market).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photos added!

Photos of recent posts...

Pumpkin Muffins!!!

Saturday Stew (aka Potato, Squash, and Wild Rice Stew)

Stuffed Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Sweet Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato Biscuits...and a close-up to see how scrumptious they are!!!

And finally, a photo of J enjoying her Saturday stew with one of her favorite vegetables in spoon - Brussels sprouts! Yay!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins!!!

It being fall, and I loving pumpkin, I decided to make my own pumpkin muffins to supplement the pieces of pumpkin breads that my loving D brings home for me on days when he takes J for lunch to our friendly veg-Ital shop on Washington for a vegetable or soy pattie and maybe some vegan ice cream.

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or a snack or a second breakfast. They are light and moist (although if you add the extra T of flax below, they are less moist). It's hard to stop after just one!

I've worked on this recipe a bit and tried it a few different ways. These muffins have been devoured, so I am making them regularly now (or as often as I can get organic canned pumpkin!). I need to get some more pumpkin from the store on my way home tonight, as we finished the last of these for breakfast this morning. :)

2 T ground golden flax plus 6 T water
1 can organic canned pumpkin
1/4 cup organic oil (canola or sunflower -- don't use olive)
1/3 cup maple syrup (I'm now using the HUGE container that D brought back from Canada on his last trip)
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (ground by the farmer!)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T flax, if desired (I find adding the extra flax makes the muffins less "wet" after baking)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 - 1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)
12 whole nuts to top muffins
cinnamon sugar, ground nutmeg, etc for topping muffins
12 biodegradable muffin liners

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 370 F (350 F for those of you without finicky ovens).
Whisk the flax and water in a small dish and set aside while you prepare everything else.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, and maple syrup.
In a large bowl, stir together the spelt flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices. Add the extra ground flax if using.
Whisk the flax and water together again and add to the pumpkin mixture, whisking to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir or whisk to combine. Make sure to get any pockets of flour incorporated into the batter. Add the chopped nuts if using.
Prepare your muffin pan with the muffin liners. Fill the tin. Top each with a whole pecan or other nut. Sprinkle the tops with freshly ground nutmeg or cinnamon or cinnamon sugar, or whatever you may like.
Put in the oven for 35 minutes. If your oven runs hot, check at 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle muffins should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Try to wait until they've cooled a little before you start to devour them!

Green Beans and Cinnamon Yogurt Dipping Sauce

J loves picking green beans at the market. *loves* loves * loves* picking them.

Saturday we got a whole new bunch of green beans and yellow wax beans, but we still had half our haul of green beans from the previous week. So, I put J to work. I showed her how to snap off the ends and break the beans into smaller pieces. She and I got all the beans ready, washed them, them put them on the stove with water for 10-15 minutes to cook (covered).

After a trip to the playground, I chopped and sauteed 1/2 yellow onion in some olive oil, then added the beans to warm them up again. I added in some Earth Balance to make it all super yummy.

Before cooking the onion and beans, I made up a little dipping sauce for J: ground cinnamon sprinkled in a container, one small pinch of saffron threads, and some vanilla soy yogurt. I let the sauce sit for 5-10 minutes (longer probably would have been better) before serving.

I put some of the green beans and a big dollop of the dipping sauce on J's plate. She happily ate everything. And then I happily ate some too. Yummy and simple. The sauce was very cinnamony - this is a good cool weather sauce.

Saturday Stew

This stew was excellent! ...and probably deserves a better name than Saturday Stew...

I wanted to use up some of my veggie stores before going to the farmers' market. J and I put this stew together in the morning between making/eating breakfast, getting A to sleep for a nap, and heading out to the market, where we of course bought lots more vegetable goodness.

1 big tomato (mistakenly bought or given me by one of the farmers last week), chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
1 golden squash, sliced into rounds and then halved or quartered
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
6 small red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 cup wild rice mix
1 no-chicken vegetable bouillon cube
olive oil

What I did
I started by chopping the onion, heating up my huge LeCreuset, and warming the oil. Then I sauteed the onion for a few minutes.
J picked out six of our little red potatoes, which I then scrubbed, cut the eyes out of, and cut up.
I peeled the butternut squash, scooped out the insides, and cut it up. I then cut the rest of the veggies. I had already "peeled" (not quite the right word, but I'm not totally sure what to call it) the Brussels sprouts earlier in the week, so I just had to cut them in half.
I added the veggies as I cut them to the pot, where I had already add the water and two bouillon squares. This process took an hour or so, between all the other stuff we were doing. I kept it on low-medium heat.

Maybe 15 minutes before we left for the market, I added the black beans and J helped me add one cup of a wild rice mix that I got at MOM's last time we were down in Maryland. (I kept wavering on adding the black beans, because I really wasn't sure about black beans with potatoes and squash. I decided that I needed to use them, and they were the only cooked, non-frozen beans that I had on hand, so I put them in. I don't know why I was so wary about adding them -- they were excellent in this soup, and provided a nice contract to the whites, reds, and browns of the rice, and the orange of the squash.)

We left it on low heat on my simmer burner and spent 1 1/2 hours at the market getting all sorts of fall vegetables from Evolutionary Organics and a NJ farm (hello way too many green and yellow beans!) and some Freekah and spelt flour from Cayoga Pure Organics, listening to Cajun zydeco music (two fiddlers and one accordionist), and stopping off at the Brooklyn Public Library to drop off and pick up a book.

The apartment smelled delicious when we walked in. J asked for some more zydeco music; I didn't have any on my iTunes, so we settled for some South American, and got ourselves some stew for an early lunch (it was 11:40). Not only did is smell like it should be eaten again and again, it looked gorgeous! So many colors and textures! One bowl each of thick, filling stew later, J and A were ready for their naps. Ahh...sleep...full tummies...

I gave J this stew for lunch on Sunday, adding more water to it when I heated it up on the stove (the rice had soaked up all the broth). It was just as delish and possibly more filling the second time around (I ate the bit that didn't fit into J's bowl). She's got probably three more servings for meals this week. Yum.

Soup Fail

It's hard to mess up soup, but I did it.

I had grand dreams for this soup...winter squash plus adzuki beans plus apples. It should have been delish. But alas and alack for my poor soup, I decided to cook it in the slow cooker overnight (because I got home very late last night from Penn Station to see my Mom and Sister, who were there for two hours between trains).

For posterity (thanks Lynn), here's what I did - and what not to do again.

1 1/2 cups cooked adzuki beans
1 medium long pumpkin squash, thing rings, then thirds
1 1/2 granny smith apples, sliced very thin
1 red delicious apple, sliced very thin
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 T olive oil
1-2 tsp frozen fresh lime juice
two shakes black pepper
two shakes ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
2 vegan buillion cubes (Rapunzel)
4 cups boiling water

What I did -- Where did I go wrong?
First, I cooked up 1 cup of dry adzuki beans earlier in the day. It made 3 1/2 cups cooked. I used 1 1/2 in the Failed Soup, and put the other two in the fridge for later this week.
I needed to use up some of the too many apples that my m-i-l keeps bringing over, so I decided to use apples with the squash. I used 1 1/2 granny smith -- 1/2 because J and I used the other 1/2 for our breakfast oatmeal! :) I peeled and cored the apples, then sliced them thin.
I peeled the pumpkin squash, scooped out the insides, and the cut each half into rings and the rings into thirds.
I chopped the onion and minced the garlic and ginger. I put those into the crockpot after I heated it up and added some olive oil (letting the oil get warm first). I let them "cook" for five minutes before adding everything else.
Add all the other ingredients, stir well, put on low to cook. Stir once more before going to bed. (This is where I think I went wrong. The cooking for many hours killed the soup, I think.)
In the morning, turn to warm, and use immersion blender to puree half the soup.

It smelled funky. I put a bunch in a container for me to take to work, with red quinoa. We'll see how it tastes in a little bit...but I was not subjecting J to this today. I told D not to even bother trying to feed it to her. We still have Saturday's wonderful stew (I will post about that later), so she can eat that today. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Legume Love Affair Round Up for October is Posted!!

As I mentioned on Halloween, I entered my sweet black bean chili in my first blog event -- My Legume Love Affair # 16 (October 2009). Jeanne from Cook Sister! just emailed to let me know that (drumroll please)

The Round Up is posted here!

Woo hoo!

Now, to improve my photography skills for my next blog event entry. :P

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Monday night for dinner, I made stuffed squash for me and D. (J ate some golden orange soup.) I also sauteed up some swiss chard and kale that I mixed up with some quinoa, and made some baby red potatoes.

I needed to use up some more of the golden orange soup from last week (it's getting on in age there). That's actually what inspired this whole meal. D had made J the soup for dinner, and I was looking at it thinking that it would be a good base for squash stuffing. I had been dreaming about stuffed squash all day at work. Dream, meet the means.

Ingredients for the stuffing

1 cup cooked red quinoa

1 cup
golden orange soup
3 Swiss chard leaves
1/2 pomegranate

1/4 cup golden raisins

1-2 T pine nuts

Ingredient to be stuffed

1 carnival squash

What I did

To start, while feeding J dinner, I rinsed and cooked one cup of red quinoa. I think the red quinoa is just so pretty. Rinsing is essential, as I've learned. It takes the bitter coating off the small grains, so that they taste MUCH better!

I also washed, rolled, and julienned three mixed Swiss Chard leaves. I then quickly and lightly microwaved steamed them (one minute at 5 power). First ingredient into the bowl.

Looking around the kitchen, I wanted something sweet and thought,
raisins! I pulled out my organic golden raisins and put approximately 1/4 cup into the bowl of stuffing wonders. Then J added some to her soup. And some pine nuts (I had already taken those out of the fridge to add to the squash.)
I had a pomegranate that my mom bought me, sitting on the table, just waiting for something to be made with it, so I used half it, scooping/pulling out the little pom gems and any juice that came along. More sweetness and a little bit of liquid.

I added a cup of the golden soup to my bowl of stuffing wonders.

(Sometime while preparing the stuffing and cooking the quinoa, I pre-heated the oven to 410F.)

I cut the carnival squash in half and scooped out the seeds and string. (It did not want to be cut! J thought it would be funny to keep poking me as I was struggling with the huge knife and the not-to-be-cut squash. It was not funny.)

When the quinoa finished cooking, I took one cup of it and added it to my bowl of stuffing wonders -- chard, raisins, pom, and golden soup -- mixing everything together well. (I saved the rest of the quinoa for other purposes.)
Then I spooned the mixture into the squash halves, topped each with some pine nuts, and placed them in my brownie/roasting/all-purpose pan with a bit of water (maybe 1/2 - 1 inch). (I had enough of the stuffing mixture left to fill another squash half. I saved the stuffing for J to have for lunch today.)
I popped the pan in the oven right before I went to put the girls to bed. If I was going to be in the kitchen, I would have covered the squash with foil for the first 20-25 minutes of roasting, but I didn't want to give D any more complicated directions than, take out when the timer goes off.

I set the time for 40 minutes. This is another step that I would change. I would set it for 50 minutes instead, or maybe even 60.
D turned off the oven after the 40 minutes (I was still getting the girls to sleep), but didn't take the squash out. I don't know how much longer they sat in the oven, but it was all good. [I would add the extra ten minutes because, although everything was cooked, the squash (bottom) could have been a little more tender. Just my preference. :)]

For the side greens and quinoa, I was inspired by a recipe for Swiss Chard in Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.
I saved the rest of the chard and kale that I could (that's what I get for forgetting about two bunches in the crisper!), washed and dried the leaves, rolled and julienned them. I heated my saute pan, added some sesame oil, and when it was warm, added the greens and some salt and pepper. I sauteed them for 2-3 minutes, then turned off the heat and added a bit of Bragg's and some more sesame oil. When I put them on the plates, I added in some more red quinoa and mixed together. (The Bragg's was a bit overpowering without the quinoa, so note to self: don't use Bragg's next time. Buy some tamari.)
D and I ate dinner as the night wore on, adding in some sourdough bread (thanks Rita!) with Earth Balance and Tofutti cream cheese and the baby red potatoes slathered with Earth Balance. All together, very filling. But I should have made the potatoes with everything else, so that we could have been filled up at one sitting. Lesson learned, to be employed next time. And the stuffing was quite delish - toasty pine nuts, splashes of juice in the pom seeds, softened raisins...

Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness!

Chocolate Covered Katie is having a Page View Charity Drive!

How it works: Every time someone views a page on her blog, Foodbuzz pays her a little bit of money. She's going to send all of the money raised this month to The Enough Project.


The goals of the Enough Project are to end genocide and stop crimes against humanity.

So check out Chocolate Covered Katie's blog and look at all the neat pages and suggestions. Yummy food and raising money for a charity!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Happiness

It's Saturday, October 31 --- Halloween! Happy Halloween!!

I made Halloween Chili (aka Sweet Black Bean Chili) and Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits for dinner. A black bean chili that looks blood red with orange sweet potatoes and squash peeking through, paired with quick and easy biscuits. I've been dreaming about making this chili all week.

I'm also entering (is this the right word) it in my first Blog Event, My Legume Love Affair, an event created by Susan at The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Cook sister!.

Sweet Black Bean Chili
1 1/2 cups dried organic black turtle beans, picked through and soaked for one day
5 1/4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin + shakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + shakes
1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder
28 oz crushed organic tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes or yams
1 small orange squash
2 T olive oil
1 small yellow onion

What To Do
Pick through and soak the black beans at least the night before (if not more). Change the water once or twice. Drain, then place in large LeCrueset with 5 1/4 cups of water and two bay leaves. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. To see if your beans are finished, you can take one out and blow on it. If the skin comes off, the beans are done. You can also taste them! My beans, fresh from the Cayuga Pure Organics farm stand at my farmers' market, took a little more than an hour to cook. When they are cooked, remove one cup of beans and set aside for another recipe. Keep the remaining water.
While the beans are cooking, peel sweet potatoes, then chop them into 1 inch or 1/2 inch pieces. Peel the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the insides, and then chop into 1 inch or 1/2 inch pieces.
The beans are done and you've removed the cup of cooked beans. Add the sweet potato and squash, the spices, and the crushed tomato. Stir well to combine, then cover with tipped lid and cook on medium-low heat.
Chop the onion. Heat up a saute pan over medium-low heat, then add the olive oil. When warm, add the onion and sprinkle on the ground cinnamon and ground cumin (as much or as little as you like). Saute for approximately five to seven minutes, until the onion is soft and fragrant. Add the onion to the large pot. Stir to combine and continue cooking with the cover tipped. Total cook time should be approximately one hour to allow all the flavors to combine.

Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits
1 cup freshly milled spelt flour (bought this morning at the farmers' market!)
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour (King Arthur's)
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 T organic vegetable shortening
1 medium sweet potato
1/4 cup vanilla (unsweetened) almond milk

What To Do
Scrub the sweet potato and cut off any bad parts. Cook it. I cooked mine in the microwave by piercing it many times and cooking it for five minutes at 5 power, then flipping it over to cook for another six minutes at 5 power. Mash it when it is finished cooking and eat the skins.
Mix the flours, baking powder, and sea salt.
Cut in the vegetable shortening until the flour mixture looks like coarse meal.
Mix in the mashed sweet potato and the almond milk with your hands.
Make 12-14 rounds for the biscuits and place on a cookie sheet.
Preheat over to 410, and then bake biscuits for 20 minutes.


We (D, J, and I) had this for dinner. It was enough for us all and for D (several bowls) to not claim severe hunger later. Slightly sweet, but not overly so, and delicately spiced. Definitely something to make again.

Stuffed Manicotti

Tonight I got to come home early, so I was able to make manicotti for dinner.

Last night, J and I made up the cashew cheese to use as the base for the stuffing. I took the recipe from Dreena Burton. I don't have truffle oil (really, who does?), so I used 1 heaping spoonful of nutritional yeast instead, and used 4 T of water. My blender sort of conked out though, and wouldn't blend, so I think my cashew cheese was a little less smooth than anticipated. Still tasty though! I stuck it in the fridge last night after making it with J.

Tonight, I cooked the manicotti (1/2 package, 7 pieces) according to the package directions. Well, two of the manicotti fell completely into pieces and another in half, so I think I got some faulty manicotti there. But I made it work with the five I had left. (Next time I'm looking for some large shells instead. Much less of a chance - I think - of them all falling apart on me.)

While my manicotti was in the water, I pre-heated the oven to 365 and I chopped and fried (in 2 T of olive oil) the tastiest (and funniest-looking) mushrooms. J and I picked them out at the farmers' market last Saturday (got to get ready for tomorrow morning!). I also chopped up a bunch of cilantro from last week's farmers' market buy. I took two handfuls of the cilantro and the fried mushrooms and added them in a large bowl to the cashew cheese, stirring with my wooden spoon. I took the manicotti out of the water after their allotted seven minutes and set them aside, saving the water. Then I stuffed the manicotti by hand -- none of that whole trying to use a spoon for me! I placed the five manicotti in a glass pie pan and covered them with basilico tomato sauce (that I got on sale last week). Then I baked the manicotti for 20 minutes.

While the manicotti was baking, I got the water boiling again. I washed and cut up the head of purple broccoli that J picked at the farmers' market last weekend (sensing a theme here?) and put it all in the boiling water, covering the pot. (Not all was in the water; some boiled, some was steamed.) The water, when the broccoli was finished, was purple, and some of the pieces of broccoli were no longer purple.

So, here's what tonight's dinner was for me, D, and J. Stuffed manicotti and broccoli. D said that it was good and he would eat it again, so I consider this a coup. ;) J ate it all ... eventually. I think she was put off initially because we told her it was pasta and cheese, but it doesn't look like the mac and cheese dishes I make for her! Like I said though, she ate it all, so everyone wins tonight. Yum!

And, I have leftover cashew cheese with cilantro and mushrooms because those two manicotti died in the pot. I ate some with triscuits as a snack after I got the two babies to sleep and I've put the rest in the fridge for a snack tomorrow or Sunday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heirloom Beans

This past week, I discovered heirloom beans (on the internet, not in real life...yet!). Same idea as heirloom tomatoes, with which everyone is familiar, but BEANS!

I found a few sites that sell heirloom eating beans to the public. I'm placing a (pretty big) order with Rancho Gordo today that includes I think 10 different types of heirloom beans. I'm going to check out Becky and the Beanstalk for ideas on cooking with them.

Rancho Gordo (California)
Native Seeds
Seed Saver Exchange
Phipps Farm (California)
Zursum Beans (Idaho)

I like this idea of preserving beans. And from all that I've read, they should taste much better than the standard bean. They cost more (obviously) and the shipping can get to be expensive, but hopefully the taste will be worth it. Also, I'm going to keep my eyes and ears out for some East Coast heirlooms. I read about heirloom beans in NC and Tennessee, but didn't find any information on buying them. And I'm pretty sure that the beans sold at my farmers' market, while organic, are not heirloom. (They sell kidneys, pintos, garbanzos, and black turtle beans. Those are all standard beans.) Maybe I can make it out to the Union Square farmers' market during the week some day and see if any heirloom beans make an appearance.

J helped me pick through and soak some organic black turtle beans last night. I wanted to make a black bean chili today, but was not up to cooking the beans this morning (I just wanted to stay in bed), so if I make the black bean chili, it will be tonight. Oh, did I mention I want to include orange (sweet potatoes or winter squash) to make a Halloween-themed chili? I really need to get on that tonight! :)