Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quackers part 2

Saturday night when I got home from work...Saturday night after I got home from work and put the girls to bed, I made another batch of the quacker crackers.

This time, I used my organic vegetable shortening and half the pepper. I also cut the crackers smaller.

I cut the shortening into the flour/nutritional yeast mixture using my pastry cutter and then my hands. I also used soy milk instead of water this time. (I used shortening this time because I was out of Earth Balance, and used water last time because I was out of soy milk!)

I still just used my hands to press the dough out on my parchment paper instead of rolling with my pin. I like the texture. :) I cut the dough into tons of small diamonds and baked at 365 for 15 minutes. I would have left them in for a few more minutes, but A had woken up, so I was nursing her and had asked D to check them when the 15 minute-timer went off, telling him that they might need more time. He ignored that direction, and just took them out. So, they weren't as toasty as I would have liked them. BUT....

J loved them! She just kept eating them up on Sunday. Even when she wouldn't eat anything else, she would eat the crackers with vegan (follow your heart) mozzarella cheeze. Yay! She calls them quackers, and then starts qacking and making her little arms into duck wings. haha!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cheezy Crackers

To calm myself last night after spending two hours trying to get J & A to sleep, I made crackers. The recipe is from Have Cake Will Travel.

They were quick and easy to make, and baked right up in my oven (365 b/c the temp is off for some reason). The apartment smelled very cheezy as the time approached to take them out (18 minutes -- I checked at 15, but they weren't ready yet).

They are spicy -- or as I kept saying to D, peppa, peppa, peppa! Next time, I will not use nearly as much peppa. J tried one this morning, chewed it up, and promptly spat it out on the kitchen floor, getting some on her hot pink tutu (thanks to tata and gramma for the tutu). She has been wearing the tutu every day this week because she wants to be pretty and spin pretty. (Today she wanted to be pretty and spin pretty and small.) She said they were too spicy, but then asked for another when D, J, and A walked me to the subway this morning. That one promptly ended up on the sidewalk, so we left it for the pigeons, and I gave her another from my stash. She clutched it and wouldn't hold my or D's hand with that hand, instead using her key-holding hand to hold hands as we crossed streets. We'll see if she ever ate it or just clutched it (or dropped it). The rest are at work with me (and being quickly consumed), so if she dropepd it, she's not getting another from this batch!

I might eat them all today. I've been snacking on them all morning, and they were basically dinner last night too...Fortunately, they are EASY and QUICK to make, so I can make them again in less than 30 minutes.

Too bad I didn't have any cute cookie cutters to use for them. I just used a pastry scrapper and cut them into diamonds, as you can see above. Also, I didn't roll out the dough, I just pressed it down with my fingers, which resulted in an uneven surface. Didn't hurt the taste at all, and meant less for me to clean up later, so I plan on not using a rolling pin unless ABSOLUTELY necessary (like if I find super cute tiny cookie cutters). I will, however, cut them smaller next time. The larger diamonds are a little soft in the middle (still taste good), but I find that I like the crunchiness of the smaller ones. They also got a little toasty on the edges, bringing out the cheezy flavor even more!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recipes/Food I Want to Try/Make

Things I want to make...

Edamame Pesto -- D said he would try to make this with me. Now to just find the time!

Tofu Coconut Cream Pie

Swedish Tea Ring-- maybe Thursday night/Friday morning (before Mom heads off to Boston?)

breakfast lentils -- changing up the breakfast routine

spring rolls


spaghetti squash with black beans, corns, and kale

100% whole wheat no-knead bread

veganize butternut squash and apple soup

pumpkin and black bean casserole

mini vegan "meat"loaf (chickpea loaf)

Banh Mi sandwich -- D's favorite sandwiches...if I can get him on to a vegan version... :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

French Toast

Can you tell it's a little slow at work for me today? :P

So I've been craving french toast the past week. I looked at a bunch of recipes over the past few days and decided to try my hand at my own. Also, I bought a loaf of whole wheat bread by accident (I meant to buy multi-grain, but picked up the wrong loaf), so I needed to use it up. I got up early enough this morning to try my hand at french toast.

1 cup soy milk (8th Continent vanilla)
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T ground golden flax seeds
2 T garbanzo bean flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

5 slices whole wheat bread

safflower oil for frying

What I did
First, for the dipping mixture I
picked a large glass bowl that would fit my bread slices. Then, I added the first five ingredients, with J's help, and whisked them together. I put maybe 1/4-1/2 inch safflower oil in my pan for frying and got it all nice and hot. I dipped my first piece of bread into the bowl and covered both sides with the mixture, then placed it in the hot oil and fried it. One side, then the other. I blotted it on a paper towel when I took it out of the pan, and served it to J with Earth Balance and organic maple syrup. I know something is a hit with her when she eats it all by herself, which she did! :)
Repeat with the remaining pieces of bread.

What I learned was that the other four were much more like the french toast I remember. I think that the mixture sat a little longer and firmed up, so it made those four pieces a little better. Not that J didn't love hers, but the mixture was more watery with the first piece and less so for the remaining. Next time, I will probably let the mixture sit for a few minutes before making the piece.

I ate two pieces of this, which were great. My first was still a little soggy in the middle, so I will fry it a bit longer next time. I used the deeper oil to fry (rather than just a bit to keep it from sticking) for two reasons. First, my pans are really sticky, so everything is sticking. (Note to self, need to research SAFE non-stick alternative). Second, one of the recipes I looked at when making my own was for Indian-style french toast. In addition to the crazy spices (which I might try at some point), the author suggested using more oil for the frying, based on her parents' use of several inches of oil for frying french toast when she was a kid. The extra oil really worked and nothing burnt to my pan and the french toast didn't burn. So, yeah, I probably used more oil than necessary, but I can adjust that as time goes on. The not-sticking was definitely worth it!

Wednesday's Soup

Update: Photo added and cooking time
No creative or descriptive title for today's concoction. Maybe I will come up with something after trying this at dinnertime. (Here's hoping I'm home for dinner!)

I found canary beans at the Key Food last night and *had* to buy them. They were this great yellow color and looked a little like butter beans. Then I googled recipes, but wasn't interested in making Peruvian stew today. Might try it another day, once I've mastered the whole seitan-making-process, as the recipes all called for various types of meat. (Last night was supposed to be my initiation into the seitan-process, but J wasn't sleeping well, waking up every few minutes, and then woke A up, so by the time they were completely asleep, it was well after 10:30 and I wasn't up for trying to make seitan any more.) Besides, I really wanted to make a potato soup.

So, in between the cleaning and the moving of our futon and the boxing up of things and the moving of other things (we are in the process of emptying our apt to prep and sell it), I got all my ingredients together in my head. I also really wanted to use my sweet potatoes because they were starting to sprout and my m-i-l always puts them in the fridge at that point, taking up valuable fridge space unnecessarily.

Unfortunately, by the time we were finished with the cleaning and moving and boxing, it was after 2am. I did remember around midnight to put one cup of the canary beans to soak.

So, this morning, I cooked the beans for approximately an hour and a half, with the kombu. After putting A down for her morning nap, I chopped the veggies and put the rest of the soup together before I left for work.
(photo taken with my blackberry, so it's a little grainy)


1 cup dried canary beans, picked through, soaked overnight
1 small piece kombu
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
olive oil
1 large yukon gold potato, roughly chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, roughly chopped
1 1/2 or 2 cups vitamin greens, chopped in food processor and frozen months ago
1 can coconut milk + 1/2 can water
2 handfuls of unroasted, unsalted, organic peanuts

What I did
I soaked the
canary beans overnight. I was a bit disappointed this morning to see that the soaking took away their yellow color and made them really just look like butter beans.
I cooked the beans with the
kombu while I made french toast for me and J.
I chopped the onion and sauteed it in
olive oil in my big Le Creuset while I cut up the potato and sweet potatoes . I added the chopped potatoes to the Le Creuset.
Then I added the beans and cooking water, the can of coconut milk, and 1/2 can of water (to get all the coconut goodness into the pot).
I then added the
vitamin greens (from my favoriate organic farm at the Farmer's Market; she says they are a Japanese green and the name translated into english is literally vitamin greens), which I had chopped in the food processor when I got them in June and froze for use in soups. :)
Finally, I added two handfuls of
peanuts from my peanut stash.
I couldn't decide on a spice to add to the soup, so I left it alone. Told D to check the soup and add water if needed to keep the veggies cooking. I also told him to check at lunchtime to make sure the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans were all cooked before serving it, and left the soup covered on 4 on my simmer burner.

At work, I decided that saffron would work well with everything, so I called and asked D to add a few threads. We'll see if he did later, and we'll see how this soup tastes, later.
My serving suggestion: two scoops of brown rice (which we have from Monday) and soup.

Update 9/24/09: I had the soup - well, really a stew, for lunch today with brown rice. (The photo is from my lunch.) It was VERY filling and tasted pretty good. The only thing about the taste: someone left the stew on until 8-something last night, and it burnt a little, so the stew had a slight burnt taste. Lesson learned -- next time, give D or his parents a specific time to turn the soup/stew off to avoid burning. I think that a little lime might go really well with this dish. Next time...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eggplant Stewed

I'm really not sure what to call this dish. I put it together when I left for work yesterday and D let it cook all day long (when I ate some at 9:30 last night, the burner was still on). It smelled divine and tasted divine as well. It looked...less than divine.

2 small eggplants, sliced and quartered
1 large zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 sweet pepper, chopped (I used a red, orange, and green pepper from the farmer's market)
1 small red onion, chopped
~1 T olive oil
2 cubes Rapunzel vegan bouillon with sea salt
herbes de Provence
1 cup dried small white beans
1 small piece kombu

Sunday night, I put the cup of small dried white beans in a pot and covered with three cups of cold water to soak overnight.
Monday morning, I added the kombu and cooked the beans for an hour. I had to add some extra water while they were cooking to keep them under water.
Meanwhile, I chopped the onion and cooked it in the olive oil in my big Le Creuset. I also cut up the eggplant, zuchinni, and pepper, adding them once the onion was nice and fragrant. I sprinkled a bunch of herbes de Provence, and stirred everything well.
Then, I added the bouillon and 4-5 cups of water. When the beans were done (I checked by blowing on a few and seeing the skin come off), I added them and their cooking water to the Le Creuset. I left it on 4 on my simmer burner.
I put the 2 cups of brown rice with 5 cups of water in my rice cooker.
That's where my involvement ended. I told D to check the pot to see if it needed more water, and that it should be ready for lunchtime. D left it cooking all day, so it was really cooked down by the time I got home. J (and D I think) had it for lunch and I had it for dinner. Few scoops of brown rice topped with the stewed eggplant/bean mixture. Super yum, but not very attractive. Fortunately, my child does not judge based on appearances.

Did I mention that when I got home last night, I could smell the yumminess as I got to my front door? Sign of a good meal. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grape Juice Pancakes

Saturday I made grape juice pancakes with J's help. The first one got a little burnt, so I ate it (much to J's upset, who really wanted the first pancake). She got the much tastier and less black but still blue second pancake and ate it all up all by herself. no help requried when breakfast is this yummy! Our toppings are Earth Balance, organic maple syrup (Grade B), and organic powdered sugar. After I made three, I added approximately 1/2 cup frozen blueberries to the remaining batter, which J had been asking for after we used them in our smoothies. She spat out the blueberry blue pancake, so that was not a hit with her. I ate one though, and thought it quite tasty.

Simple recipe
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1 1/2 cup organic unbleached King Arthur's flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups grape juice (you can use any juice; this is what we had in the fridge -- grape juice makes BLUE pancakes, orange juice YELLOW/ORANGE pancakes.

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the juice and mix together gently (don't overmix). Heat up your skillet/pan and add some sunflower oil. Add batter (between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup per pancake) and make it as thick or thin as you want. When the top is all bubbly, flip. (Don't forget, as you're making the smoothies, to flip the pancake, or you will end up with a blackened pancake and a beeping smoke detector.) Serve with some Earth Balance and maple syrup. Let J sprinkle a little bit of powdered sugar on top to make the blue pancakes even prettier!
If you want, add in 1/2 cup or 1 cup frozen blueberries to batter.
Makes six pancakes.

1 cup soy milk
1 cup orange juice
4 really ripe bananas, broken in half
1 cup frozen raspberries and strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 heaping spoonfuls of ground hemp protein
3 heaping spoonfuls of ground golden flax seeds
1 really ripe avocado

Put everything together in a blender (start with the wet ingredients first). Blend and serve.
Makes 3 servings.
J loves her smoothies. This version used up our really ripe bananas; normally we use frozen bananas, which gives the smoothies a completely different consistency.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh You Can't Elope With A Cantaloupe

Have to use these foods more...

Avocados -- love avocados...I should come up with another way of eating them regularly. Right now, they go into our smoothies, but when I'm not making smoothies, we're not eating avocados. Conventional avocados shouldn't have too much residual pesticides.

Blueberries & Blackberries -- again, I use these in our smoothies but nothing else. Blackberries should be organic because of the sheer amount of pesticides used to grow them conventionally; for some reason, less pesticides are used to grow conventional blueberries, so those are ok to buy.

Cantaloupes -- out of season right now I think. And I can never finish one before it goes bad. Something to strive towards.

Carrots & Beets -- I use lots of carrots (who doesn't?). The beets are harder...especially as your hands end up RED when you cut/cook them. I saw a recipe for chocolate beet cake today...maybe I will try that out. :) Or make up some baked beets. Beets are in season right now and available at our farmers' market.

Flax Seeds -- Two heaping tablespoons go into each smoothie and I use these in hot breakfast cereals and other recipes (replacing eggs). Apparently, the flax oil hasn't been shown to have the same benefits as the ground flax - who knew?

Green Lettuce -- I don't really eat salad. Guess I should. Hmm...

Kale -- Big check. Love kale. Love all the different types of kale. J loves kale. Even A seems to like kale. I've been dreaming about adding kale to smoothies...maybe I will try that next week. (And yes, I mean sleep dreaming. That and work have been my dreams lately. The kale is the happier dream.)

Sesame Seeds -- that quiche I made on Sunday had lots of sesame seeds. Used up all my store though, so I will have to buy more. J ate a bunch just out of the jar (when she was supposed to be adding them to the recipe or sprinkling them on top!), so she obviously loves them. And tahini is just ground sesame seeds. We use tahini all the time for sauces.

Strawberries -- out of season now. I use frozen ones in our smoothies. Strawberries are one of those foods you're supposed to buy organic, but we can't afford that right now. The frozen strawberries in BK are expensive to start with (not as bad as the frozen blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, but still), and the organic ones are three or four times the cost! I had high hopes of picking our own strawberries this year while I was out on maternity leave, but that just did not happen. Oh well. There's always next year!

Tomatoes -- who doesn't love tomatoes? We love them, and fortunately "we" includes D. Tomatoes are probably one of his favorite foods. The farmers' market is still overflowing with tomatoes, but I can't seem to use up all the ones I buy in time (before they go bad). Fortunately, the organic canned tomatoes tend to be approximately the same price as the conventional or are regularly on sale, so I can get organic ones year-round.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sesame Chard Quiche

I made this quiche on Sunday for dinner (with leftovers for meals this week).

The original recipe called for button mushr
ooms and broccoli. I used shiitake mushrooms and red swiss chard.

The crust is whole wheat pastry flour with corn meal, sesame seeds, vegan shortening, and water.

The filling is tofu, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, chard, tahini, Br
agg's, freshly ground nutmeg, and sesame oil.

J helpd with the filling and sprinkled the sesame seeds on the top all by herself!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cows Not Required

I'm thinking of changing my blog title. Why? And to what?

Last week, we bought the Key Food storebrand organic soy milk in the need-not-be-refrigerated-until-opened boxes. This morning, while J and I were eating our breakfast, I read the box.

What do you think?

More A Foods

Today, I made squash and peaches for A. She had some squash this afternoon, and in a few days will get to try the peaches. I froze the food after cooking it in little hearts <3.
The squash smelled really yummy while cooking...wish I had gotten a larger one (I got a mini mini squash just for A).

Thursday, September 10, 2009


D's birthday was Monday, and he loves muffins. He normally buys (ugh) muffins at the Key Food down the block, but they haven't been stocking them lately. So, I made three kinds of muffins for his birthday on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday, J and I made banana nut muffins, based off a recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking, and 8-grain muffins, based on a recipe in The Vegetarian Mother. Monday, I made carrot bran muffins as birthday cakes. (J is on a birthday kick and insisted on wearing birthday hats all day.)

The banana muffins are the most appetizing and appealing on looks. They taste pretty yummy too.

The other muffins are very yummy, but look like health foods (which, I guess they are). I topped the carrot muffins with a vegan cream cheese icing and a birthday candle for the "Happy Birthday" singing, which provided a nice balance to the "healthy" taste and texture of the muffin -- filled with shredded carrot, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and bran.

I froze 2/3 of the muffins, and forgot to take photos before the freezing. I will try to take some photos when I take the next batch out of the freezer. And include the recipes.

Added one photo...looks like we've eaten all the banana muffins already! The muffin on the left is the 8 grain muffin and the really healthful looking one (with carrots sticking out) is the carrot bran muffin.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

First Food -- KALE (w/breastmilk)

A tried her mouth at her first (non-breastmilk) food today: KALE!!!! Dinosaur kale. I bought it from the organic farm at the farmer's market (all women farm, btw!). I steamed it and then used my handy KidCo food mill to make it into baby food. Then, I added a bit of warm breastmilk and mixed. J helped me feed it to A -- she ate it up (and got it all over herself, me, the floor, etc.

Cheezy Chili Casserole

Tonight I decided to try combining a few things into a casserole. I wanted a shells and cheeze dish, but I also wanted tomatoes and beans...so I combined them all into one.

I based the cheezy sauce on a recipe from Vegan Yum Yum.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Warm 1/3 cup Earth Balance in saucepan. As soon as it melts, add 1/4 King Arthur's organic all-purpose flour, and stir to make roux.
Then, with J's help, add 1/3 cup nut
ritional yeast (sprinkles) 1 T lemon juice, 1 T tahini, 1 T brown rice miso, 2 1/2 T Braggs, 1 1/4 cup soy milk. Whisk together, making sure to keep lumps out and not to boil.
Warm together, mixing, for a few minutes, then set aside.

Pasta Cook one box De Boles organic shells, drain, a
nd set aside.

Rest of casserole
Place 3/4 cup tvp in bowl with enough water to cover. Set aside.
Drain 15-oz cans of organic kidney beans and organic corn. Open 28-oz can of organic diced tomatoes with basil.
In saucepan or casserole dish, add 1/2 cup water, 1 chopped red onion, 3 minced garlic cloves, 3 medium chopped carrots. Cook for seven min
In casserole dish, add the beans, corn, pasta, tomatoes, water/onion/garlic/carrot mixture and mix well. Then add sauce. Add 1/2 tsp Mexican chili powder (probably too little, but I'm totally paranoid after my last chili dish with too much spice for J) and 1/2 tsp cumin; stir well.
Break up two slices of Vermont Bread soft multigrain and top the casserole with the bread.
Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

I think this makes more than eight servings...and it is *really* filling -- D only had one bowl and didn't need to go back for seconds or thirds. (At 8 servings, in each there's approximately 550 calories, 29 g protein, and and 87 g carbs.) J ate this up really quickly and didn't complain at all, try to avoid eating, or spit anything out. She said it's "tasty" -- her new thing for when she likes something -- score! (The peaches we had earlier were tasty. The tofu omelets I made this morning (not pretty) were tasty (yes, they were).)

So the only weird thing about this dinner was the odd smell of the sauce. I think it must have been the miso. I can't place the smell. D said it has a weird aftertaste; he can't place it either. It's not a bad smell or a bad aftertaste, but we can't place it. Vegan Yum Yum's recipe called for sweet miso, which I didn't have, so I used what I did have. I think that is the odd smell/taste, but even knowing that I still can't place it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Early Morning Stew

This morning, I put a stew together for my family to eat. We'll see (and taste) the results tonight when I get home.

Here's what I did:

Put the garbanzos to soak when I left for work on Wednesday, so they would be soaked by the time I got home that night. Stayed late at work, so by the time I got home, the beans had soaked up all the water and no one had added more. Added more water and let the beans soak another hour. Added one large piece of kombu to the beans, added water, and began cooking beans while I took a shower. Scooped off the foam. Again. And again. Let the beans cook until 12:45 last night/this morning, when I decided they had cooked enough and I wanted to go to bed, as I had to be at work really early this morning. Removed kombu, drained beans, and placed cooked beans into fridge.

Woke up, brushed teeth, chopped onion and sauteed in olive oil for five minutes. Chopped three heirloom tomatoes after cutting out the bad parts (should have made this soup yesterday). Sliced and quartered medium zuchinni. Added vegetables to sauteed onion. Added three cups cooked beans and four cups water. Or was it six? Added one drained can cut green beans and two Rapunzel vegan vegetable with sea salt bouillon cubes (well, really, rectangles). Added organic oregano. Put pot on my simmer burner. Remembered that the spinach on the table was supposed to go into the soup. Chopped the spinach, added it to the coup, and left the apartment at 7:30 for work, hoping the soup cooked and someone remembered it.

Ate soup for dinner tonight. Very beany and good. J had it for lunch and I think she liked it. Off to have another bowl now. Need to eat some grain with it; think I have cooked millet in the fridge.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Broccoli Soup

I was inspired to make dinner for me and D tonight, thinking he would be home not late. Ha. It's 10:30 and he's still not here...

Anyway, here's what I made tonight:

Sweet Potato Biscuits based on a recipe from The Vegetarian Mother

Vegan Dad's Hearty Broccoli Soup

I didn't follow the directions well on the soup, but it still turned out great. I used four heads of broccoli instead of two, and I think I used too much water. Next time I will use a little less to make the soup a little thicker. Soup: approx 4 servings, 225 cal/serving, 12.7 g protein, and 237% dv of Vitamin C!

The sweet potato biscuits are scrumptious with the soup. I used a large sweet potato instead of the medium one called for in the recipe because I *love* sweet potato! About 160 calories each, with a little more than 3 g protein each, and 92% of your daily value of vitamin A!

Eggless Omelets...attempt 1

I tried making eggless omelets this morning for breakfast. I used the recipe I posted a few days ago, with 1/4 tsp tumeric, and an organic green heirloom tomato and four baby bellas from the farmers' market chopped and added to the batter after it sat for ten minutes. While the omelets were cooking, I added a piece of Tofutti cheese (torn up) to each. I made three instead of the four the recipe said it made.

Everything stuck to my pan...didn't look very pretty...but tasted good and very filling. In color, they looked like the pancakes I make (I'll post the recipe for those another day), but with chunks of tomato and mushroom. J called them pancakes, and ate her half omelet as long as I was feeding it to her (she just spat it out when D gave it to her). She was excited about them though, and happily told D I made pancakes when he took over breakfast feeding duty. D passed on the one I had for him, so I will have it for breakfast tomorrow I guess. I think that the apartment smelled like omelets while I was cooking, so if you like the smell of omelets, this worked for that. The texture wasn't exactly omelet-like, but it wasn't pancake-texture either.

I have another eggless omelet recipe to try out, from Vegan Brunch. I was going to make it this morning, but I didn't realize it called for garbanzo bean flour. I have all the other ingredients (except the black salt, but I'm not a big fan of sulphur smell, so I'm passing on that and going with regular sea salt); once I buy some garbanzo bean flour, I will whip some of those up.