Veganisms

I have a confession to make.

Thinking of original recipes, putting together indoor light lamps, photographing every step of the cooking process, editing photos, and coming up witticisms about pictures of my food seems like absolute drudgery these days.

I have also been feeling exceptionally uninspired lately.

The thing is I still like to read blogs, peruse cookbooks, shop for unique ingredients, put together meal plans, try new recipes, find fun workouts, learn about nutrition, holistic health, the human body, and talk about all things vegan.

In fact, I could spend a whole weekend doing those things.

I could even spend a whole cold, dreary, gray January weekend, curled up in my favorite fleece blanket putting together a list of all my favorite food, health, and wellness things.

I could spend the better part of a day paging through any and all cookbooks, but when I need some meal planning help, it’s a short list:

Veganomican

Veganomicon

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

If you’re making your foray into vegan cooking, and you can only afford one cookbook, this is the one to buy. It has everything you will ever need to be able to cook wholesome and delicious vegan food for the rest of your life. It contains recipes from every category including appetizers, snacks, dips, spreads, brunch, salads, dressings, sandwiches, vegetables, grains, beans, soups, casseroles, tofu, tempeh, pasta, breads, cookies, and desserts.

Not only that, it has basic cooking guides for grains, vegetables, and beans so you can try a variety of techniques and put together your own meals.

It is literally an encyclopedia of cooking and recipes.

Mine is splattered with various batters and sauces because every recipe I have tried has been awesome. Usually, I find only one or two recipes I make more than once from a cookbook, but this book is filled with recipes that will become part of your weekly rotation.

I promise.

When I’m looking for lower calorie fare, I reach for

Appetite for Reduction

Appetite for Reduction

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

What can I say? This girl has it going on. All of her food is so, so good! This book is packed with salads, dressings, hummus, veggies, pasta, soups, and comforting stews and chili. If it sounds plain, it’s because I’m not a good enough writer to properly do it justice. However,  let the recipes speak for themselves:

Sanctuary Chef Salad

Green Goddess Garlic Dressing

Catalan Couscous Salad with Pears and Romanesco Dressing

OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings

Butternut Coconut Rice

Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale

Mac and Trees

Lotsa Veggie Lentil Soup

Veggie Potpie Stew

Some of the recipes sound exotic, but they are all simple and are perfect for the weeknight meal rotation. Plus they are filled with whole grains, veggies, beans, and aren’t excessive in fat or calories. I also appreciate that it includes the nutritional stats for each recipe for those who like to keep track of that sort of thing.

If you read the blog with any regularity, you have seen this book pop up from time to time:

VEGAN COOKIES INVADE YOUR COOKIE JAR

Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar

It’s because it’s filled with no-fuss  cookie recipes that no one would ever guess are vegan. They are real cookies. None of that health food crap pretending to be a classic cookie. It’s fat, sugar, and flour and all your childhood memories mixed together in a bowl and baked until the tears from the realization that adulthood is hard have dried up.

The book I’m looking forward to cooking from:

Betty Goes Vegan

Betty Goes Vegan

by Betty and Dan Shannon

This book is also an encyclopedia of vegan cookery and I can’t wait to get crackin’. Vegan Betty has a little bit of everything but all 500(!) recipes are inspired from traditional Betty Crocker recipes. It’s a combination of nutritious eats and veganized comfort food classics, and there is a recipe for every occasion including:

Blueberry Banana Bread Pancakes

Mediterranean Salad

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

French Toast Biscotti

Pizza Bread

Peanut Butter Egg Cookies

Doughnuts

More Doughnuts

Inside Out Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Hazlenut Pudding

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

There are also plenty of recipes for sauces, dressings, pie crusts, puddings, and frostings to add to foods already in your arsenal.

A word of warning: Many of the recipes in the book contain processed vegan meat and cheese replacements. It’s nothing to get in a huff about but don’t get all pissed off at me if you buy the book hoping for 100% whole foods. Remember, its imitating the meat and cheese goddess of the 20th century. And personally, I have no problem having those things on occasion. I try not to make them staples of my diet, but if I’m hankering for pizza, then Daiya cheese just might find its way on top of it. All things in moderation and all that blah, blah, blah.

The book I want but don’t have:

Vegetarian Flavor Bible

Vegetarian flavor bible

I’m depending on this book to make up for my shortcomings as a self-taught home cook and help me put together foods and flavors that go beyond peanutbutter/banana and tomato/basil. I like to experiment but since time, money, and resources are at a premium, I’d sure appreciate not having to throw away a whole cake because I was just so sure it needed two tablespoons of cardamom powder.

And in the things you need to know category:

THIN MINTS ARE NOW VEGAN!

Vegan Thin Mints

Sure, we could get in a debate about the best tasting Girl Scout Cookie but we all know that there is one cookie that punches every other cookie in it’s sweet, sweet face.

Thin Mints have always been my all-time favorite Girl Scout cookie.

And now those cute, little cookie monsters have made them Vegan.

I shall enjoy them by the sleeve and make sure that each and every tooth is crusted in Thin Mint Cookie crumbs.

Thin Mints

I’ll be back at a later undisclosed date and time with more randomness floating around my brain space!

*Note: Some people get compensated for featuring things on their blog. I am not one of those people. This is just a list of stuff I truly, actually like.

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HALLOWINNING

I’m trying to convince my husband to let me be a stay-at-home wife, but he’s not having it.

The thing is, work is really starting to interfere with my recreational time.

In my fictional life, I spend all my time at home cooking delicious recipes and organizing my home.

In my real life, aint nobody got time for that.

Well, maybe I would have more time if I didn’t spend 7 hours of my Saturday burning caramel popcorn that I was trying to make for a Halloween party.

WHY IS CARAMEL SO HARD!?!?!

I barely had time to put on my Halloween costume.

Which is less of a costume and more of a fantasy.

It’s what I really want to be when I grow up.

Liberated women everywhere, be warned.

This will shock and terrify you.

A true Halloween horror to the feminist movement.

I want to be a 50’s housewife.

Halloween 2013

The whole “working outside of the home” thing was way overrated.

I don’t think women in the 70’s considered the consequences of their actions.

In what universe did it seem like a bad idea to let someone else go to work everyday and bring home money for you?

So anyway,  as the bewitching hour neared on Saturday, managing my time got a little tricky,

I had no time to cook up a Halloween treat.

And I burned the shit out of 7 batches of caramel.

I didn’t have any more time to burn.

So I mixed up a no-cook honey caramel concoction.

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And added bourbon.

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Because bourbon is timeless.

NO-COOK BOURBON HONEY CARAMEL SAUCE

1 cup honey

2 tablespoon non-dairy butter

1 teaspoon bourbon

1/2 teaspoon molasses

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

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Collect award for best costume.

Halloween Winning

Even though I look like a scary mess in this photo.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Pumped

There hasn’t been much cookery around these parts lately.

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The extent of meal preparation has involved making banana berry smoothies,  a loaf of peanut butter and jelly’s and eating frozen edamame straight from the bag.

Its been delicious.

But then fall came and smacked me in the face.

And suddenly freezing all of my super ripe bananas for smoothies and banana ice cream seemed irrelevant.

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Pumpkin isn’t allowed in any form until at least September.

A strict rule that I never adhere to.

But now I at least feel less awkward about drinking pumpkin lattes by the half gallon.

Get ready for four months of pumpkin madness.

Starting with butter.

Banana Maple Pumpkin Butter

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BANANA MAPLE PUMPKIN BUTTER

2 very ripe bananas

1   (15 oz.)  can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food process and puree until smooth.

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Pour into a small pot over medium-low heat and cook for about 30 minutes or until thick.

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Fall is here.  

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GET PUMPED!

Blue Up

If your belly doesn’t hurt after a day of blueberry picking, you’re doing it wrong.

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It took about an hour to pick six pounds of berries.

It took about 20 minutes until I felt like my stomach was going to explode.

I don’t want to see a blueberry until, well, tomorrow morning when the bloating has gone down and I do it all over again.

The best part of blueberry picking is listening to all of the conversations happening around me.

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Like the young mother taking the opportunity to turn sweet fruit into an even sweeter lesson about primary colors.

“The blue ones! I said the blue ones! Not the purple ones! Put the green ones back. I said put it back!”

Or the girl who found a bush with a “million” berries.

You would have thought she struck gold the way she was gushing.

Or the little lad who squealed excitedly when he “caught” a blueberry.

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Its a quaint little memory that I’ll pack away until February when the only produce in sight is a russet potato.

But for now, I don’t want to see, smell, or even think about fruit, berries, and anything even remotely close to the color blue.

Because once again I’ve Violet Beuregarded myself on blueberries.

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I’ll never learn.

And based on the girth of my stomach following dinner, I have the same problem with peas.

Especially when they’re fresh from the farm and coated in a tangy miso dressing.

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Mayonaise based pea salads are so 1986.

Miso is so summer of 2013.

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You might know miso in it’s more traditional soup form served at Asian restaurants.

But it makes a really great dressing for salads when combined with lemon juice and a little olive oil.

And little else.

What is miso?

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Fermented awesomeness, that’s what.

It’s good for your gut and tastes good too.

Pass the peas, please.

Pea Salad with White Miso Dressing

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1/2 pound shelled, fresh peas

3 tablespoons white miso paste

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons of water

1/2 cup chopped herbs (a combination of parsley and dill would be nice)

pepper, to taste

Steam peas until tender but crisp.

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Add miso to a small bowl.

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Add lemon juice, olive oil, and water.

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Whisk to combine.

Pour over peas.

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Add 1/2 cup chopped herbs

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Toss to combine.

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Add pepper, to taste.

Serve chilled.

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PEAS OUT!

Hot Dog

I feel like summer came and just smacked me in the face.

Suddenly I want to do all the summer things.

Ride bikes.

Drink iced coffee from mason jars.

Go treasure hunting at the local flea market

Drink beer from mason jars.

Eat hot dogs.

Teach the (real) dog how to typewriter some corn.

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Nothing goes better with grilled corn than some veggie hot dogs and all the fixin’s.

When we were treasure hunting, we stumbled on some locally made hot and sweet pickles.

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Half the jar immediately made it  into my mouth.

The other half made it into a homemade relish.

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PINEAPPLE PICKLE RELISH

1 cup fresh pineapple

1 cup “hot and sweet” pickles + juice

1 bunch green onion, chopped

Add pineapple, pickles, and green onion to food processor.

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Pulse until all ingredients are chopped very fine. 

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Makes about 1 cup. 

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Here’s to summer and all its

festivities!

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Spring Fling

Guess what showed up at the local orchard this weekend?

For only being the beginning of Spring, these strawberries were as sweet as a summer’s pie.

It seemed wrong to use them in a recipe.

Criminal, even.

When I woke up on Saturday the sun was streaming in through the kitchen window and blades of  fresh, green grass were beginning to break through winter’s barren ground.

It was going to be 50 degrees.

That’s like a heat wave around these parts.

Practically a dream come true.

It had me craving the bright, fruity flavors of spring and summer.

So I washed myself a bowl of super sweet berries and made a frosty dip for them.

ORANGE DREAMSICLE DIP

2 frozen bananas, chopped

1 orange + zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest the orange and set the zest aside.

Peel the orange and chop roughly.

Add the frozen bananas, orange pieces, and vanilla extract to a blender or food processor.

Process until creamy, dreamy, and smooth.

Stir in orange zest.

Transfer to a bowl and serve with fruit.

Or just insert a straw and sip.

When I finally got myself together for an afternoon bike ride, I stepped out into the drive-way to say hello to Mr. Sun.

And then immediately turned around to get my mittens.

Fifty degrees is cold.

My little fling with spring was short lived.

I was a popsicle by the time I got off of my bicycle.

Which is exactly why I enjoyed a hot toddy when I got home.

Nothing helps with muscle recovery like a hot whiskey with lemon.

I’m still trying to recover from the whiskey, though.

HAPPY WEEKEND-ING! 

Rabbit Food

Every year, I do my best to lure the Easter Bunny to my house.

Muffins?

Bunny Butter?

Cocktail?

I thought long and hard about it this year.

Candy just won’t do.

E.B. already carries around baskets full of chocolates, candy, and other sweet treats.

So I knew he wouldn’t want any of those things in return.

No, I had to get him by the bunny ears.

The fastest way to a bunny’s basket is through his stomach.

And this recipe is 14 carrot gold.

Bunny Bait Salad

1 (10 oz.) package matchstick carrots

1 cup diced pineapple (or canned pineapple tid-bits)

1 cup red grapes, halved

1/4 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons orange marmelade

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional)

Add carrots, pineapple, grapes, and almonds to large bowl.

Whisk together marmalade and walnut oil.

Tidbit: Walnut oil is pretty expensive. If you can’t find it or  don’t want to pay for it, you can use any neutral flavored oil like canola or grapeseed. 

Pour dressing over the carrots and toss gently to combine.

HAPPY EASTER!

Killer Cereal

You know what I’m really bad at?

A lot of things.

But you know what I’m really, really bad at?

Making decisions.

Oh, not major life decisions.

I knew I wanted to go to college before I even went to full day kindergarten.

I didn’t get cold feet before my wedding because I was more than sure I was ready to be a Mrs.

I put my life savings toward my very first home with hardly a care that I would

potentially have to eat Oodles of Noodles for the next 30 years.

Life might actually be easier if I was forced to eat Oodles of Noodles for the duration of my home loan.

Because then I wouldn’t have to decide what to eat.

I.can.never.decide.what.I.want.to.eat.

I have literally stared into cupboards for upwards of 45 minutes trying to decide what I want.

I want everything.

And nothing.

My step-dad has been witness to this.

If he came into the kitchen and found me planted in front of the pantry for longer than it would take a lasagna to cook, he would look at me and chuckle…

“Looks like its a cereal for dinner kind of night.”

Yes!

Cereal!

Jeeze louise, there are 7 kinds of cereal in there.

This is never going to end.

But cereal-ously, I love cereal.

And granola.

And granola cereal.

And chocolate granola cereal.

Because sometimes, nothing will do for dinner besides a big old bowl of  cereal granola.

Cocoa Crunch Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups crisp rice cereal

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Tidbit: You can also use 1 tablespoon of canola oil for a nut free granola*

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, rice cereal, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

If you want crispy granola, you must use crisp rice cereal. Also known as Rice Krispies for the upper middle class that can afford such name brand-ary.

Does there really need to be baking soda in granola? Well, no. But it makes the cocoa taste less bitter.

 

Add peanut butter (or canola oil, if using) and maple syrup.

Mix until oats and rice cereal are evenly coated.

Spread onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes

*Tidbit: Check frequently since granola tends to burn quickly!

This has a lot of sugar to be eating giant bowls of it, but feel free to sprinkle it on smoothies, fruit, non-dairy yogurt, or just eat it by the handful.

But if you’re eating it for dinner, by all means, load the bowl up.

Well, shoot.

Now I have to decide what I want for breakfast.

KEEP CALM AND CRUNCH ON!

See Money

Here’s what I could do with $400.00:

Buy 28 cute spring scarves from Target.

source

Stock up on 266 cans of pumpkin

Finally get a smart phone

source

 Gift a llama to a family in Africa.

 OR

Or I could get new glasses.

Oh, that doesn’t include the frames.

Just the lenses.

That’s exactly how I wanted to spend a whole month’s worth of groceries: on fragile pieces of glass for my face.

I thought I could save money by using my old frames.

Too bad they charged me for that too.

Good thing this recipe is free.

Gluten-free, that is.

I thought I would spring for gluten free pasta since I’ve never had it and I like to try new things.

If I can’t have new glasses, at least I can have new pasta.

And adding fun things like zucchini, red pepper, and raisins almost made me forget the half of a mortgage payment I just dropped on spectacles.

Next time I might add some vision enhancing foods like carrots, walnuts, or tofu.

But this recipe is light, springy and perfect for your Easter table.

Springin’ Vegetable Pasta

8 oz. gluten free pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 bunch basil, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Tidbit: Pinterest Success! A wooden spoon over the pot really does prevent the water from boiling over!

In a large saucepan,  add half of the olive oil, celery, red pepper, and zucchini.

Cook for 7-8 minutes over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Add drained pasta, basil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and remaining olive oil.

Add the raisins and toss gently to combine.

Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

This is a fantastic Easter recipe for those of you that have gluten free family members.

You’ll see.

I, however, won’t be seeing anything until I can save enough pennies for my prescription lenses.


SEE you later!

Lucky Charms

Top O’ The Morning To You!

St. Patrick’s Day is a rather unfortunate holiday for me.

I’m short, small, and my ears are slightly pointed.

And it doesn’t help when I show up to 5k races looking like this.

It must have been my lucky day.

Thirteen is definitely my new lucky number.

Please note that I beat a nine year old by two seconds.

But if I wasn’t trying to beat that little leprechaun, I never would have FINALLY met my goal of running a sub 25 minute 5k.

24:58

To be exact.

I also won the contest for wearing the most green.

I credit that one to Irish blessings from heaven.

And the hat from heaven’s favorite Irishman.

My race day lucky charm.

Thanks Grandpa McFetridge.

For being my spirit and making me sprite.

Speaking of spirits, how about having some with breakfast?

Not the ghostly kind.

The whiskey kind.

IRISH WHISKEY WAFFLES

2 cups white whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups non-dairy milk

3 tablespoons Irish Whiskey

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoon canola oil

Pre-heat waffle iron.

Whisk together white whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt.

Tidbit: Just in case you’re not a regular around here, remember to use white whole wheat flour and not regular whole wheat flour. I am not in the mood to get the shamrock beat out of me because your waffles turned out like blarney stones.

Pour in non-dairy milk, whiskey, honey, and canola oil.

Mix just until combined.

Pour batter into hot waffle iron.

Cook according to manufacturer’s directions.

*Mine took about six minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey, and a shot of whiskey.

In your coffee.

It’s breakfast, for pete’s sake.

You’re not an animal.

You’re Irish.

Just like me and everyone else in America!

This little leprechaun is wasted.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!