Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Portobello Black-Bean Burgers

Night one of the meal planning was a success! I didn't really come out any cheaper at the grocery store by planning, but I did only get what I needed for our meals for the week. I only grocery shop once a week, so it may get a little hairy by the weekend. I will keep reporting on how the planning is doing though.

Last night for dinner I made portobello-black bean burgers. I found a recipe online, but ended up changing some things. The recipe called for baking the burgers in the oven, so I started out doing that, but ended up finishing them on the stove. I went to flip the burgers when they had cooked half their time as the recipe stated, but they were too mushy to flip. So I took them out of the oven and sprayed a non stick skillet with cooking spray to finish cooking them. The burgers weren't nearly as mushy, but were still soft. All of that didn't matter to me though, because they turned out to be delicious!

1 can of black beans rinsed
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons of brown rice flour (or any flour of your choice)
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
ener g egg replacer (equivalent to one egg)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped

Mash the black beans in a bowl. Clean and chop the portobello mushroom and chop the roasted red pepper, then add into the bowl of beans. Add the ener g egg replacer, flour, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Mix all the ingredients well and then make into 5 or 6 patties. Spray a non stick skillet with cooking spray and cook over low/med heat for 10-15 minutes on each side.

As you see I had fries with my burger, and for all of those who have been raving about Elise's "Fry Sauce", there it is on my plate! Now I get to rave about it. I first learned about this fantastic sauce from Shen over at The Shenandoah Vegan. The recipe came from Elise at The Veggie-Full Kitchen. You can get the "Fry Sauce" recipe here. I can now rave about the sauce too, and I have to admit....this stuff is da bomb!!!!! Dipping my fries in it was NOT enough. I ended up putting the sauce on my burger also. You definitely need to try it if you haven't.


Monday, September 27, 2010

OH NO... & Fried Rice

Happy Monday! I hope everyone has had a great weekend. Mine was very busy. I guess that's better than being bored. Being busy didn't leave much room for new recipes though. We went to Margarita's (a Mexican restaurant) to eat yesterday after church. I ordered the veggie fajitas, which consisted of onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes. I think that was it...doesn't sound like very much does it? I love chips and salsa, and to me Margarita's has the best. So, as you can imagine, I filled up on chips and salsa while waiting for my veggie fajitas. I barely ate half of the fajitas, so I had to get a to go box. Of course, me getting a to go box is nothing unusual.

For dinner last night, Tony wanted a salad. A salad sounded good to me also, but I just needed something else to go with it. I cooked some brown rice and decided to use my left over fajitas to make some veggie fried rice. I added a little cumin to the rice as it cooked. While the rice was cooking, I chopped up the fajita veggies into smaller pieces and sliced up a yellow squash. After the brown rice was done, I transferred it to a non stick skillet and added the veggies. I let the rice/veggie mixture cook for about 15-20 minutes on low heat. I have to be honest. I really wasn't to sure how this would turn out, but it was awesome. You just never know what restaurant leftovers are good for. :o)

Okay...here's the OH NO part. Thanks to one of my readers Kim, I found out that Flatout flat bread is NOT vegan. I had to do some research to find out why it wasn't. I found that it has L-cysteine in it, which is a flour treatment agent derived from animal proteins (OH NO...). I was so disappointed when I found this out!

This week I have decided to plan my meals, so last night I got out my recipe books and listed some of the meals that Tony and I wanted for this week. I've never meal planned before, but have thought about it for some time now. The other day I was at The Domestic Vegan's blog and she had blogged about meal planning. That was perfect timing for me! I get to go grocery shopping today after work, so we shall see at the end of the week how well I did at my planning. I am very excited about not waisting food for a change! I seem to always end up buying too much produce, and it ruins before I have a chance to use it. It may take me a couple of weeks to get this planning thing down pat, but I know it is going to make life a LOT easier!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bianca's Cheeze "Eggs"

I tried something new last night! I made Bianca's tofu scramble. She calls it "Bianca's Cheeze "Eggs", and it was/is fantastic! My first experience with tofu scramble was a disaster! It was not a very pleasant experience at all. Of course, I didn't use a recipe, and I was a brand new vegan. I'm sure that's the reason for the nastiness. The second time was better, but nothing that I really wanted to make again. All that is in the past now, and I think that I am in love with Bianca's tofu scramble...it is the best! You can get her recipe here. In her recipe, she calls for a cup of chopped vegetables. I used spinach, broccoli, and some yellow bell peppers. I think I may have ended up with a little more than a cup of vegetables, but it turned out perfect.
BTW, if your not familiar with Bianca over at VeganCrunk, you need to check out her blog at http://vegancrunk.blogspot.com/.

So, for dinner last night I had tofu scramble (Cheeze "Eggs"), corn, brown rice and black beans.

I liked the tofu scramble so much that I decided to bring leftovers for lunch today. I made some mini wraps by cutting some "flatout" into 3 pieces and wrapping the scrambled tofu up inside it. I didn't add anything else to my wrap, as I didn't want to ruin the deliciousness of the Cheeze "Eggs"! :-) We have a cafeteria at work, but I rarely go in there because it is NOT vegan friendly. I took a chance today and went for a quick look at the buffet, and too my surprise they had some seasoned fries. So, lunch was a success today as well as dinner last night.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade Granola

Last night for dinner we had spaghetti and a salad....nothing new, so I didn't take any pictures. I have been so busy lately that I haven't really had time to make anything new. I did have a little free time last night to finally make some granola....YAY! I've been wanting cereal for over a week now, but didn't want store bought. To me there's no cereal better than homemade granola. So, here's a simple recipe.

4 cups oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/8 cup molasses
1/8 cup agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup of dried fruit (I used cranberries and raisins)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl except for the dried fruit. Warm the molasses, agave, and oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and whisk together. Pour the warm mixture carefully over the dry ingredients. Mix together well, then pour onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes to prevent burning. Let cool and then add your dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.
You can use 1/4 cup of honey in place of the agave and molasses if you would like.

I also made some more chocolate chip peanut butter banana muffins last night. This time I used a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a half cup of walnuts....YUM!!

Do you ever get so busy that your eating takes the back burner? That's been me for the last week. At least I haven't been bored, but I am craving some good healthy food! :o)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lunch Mishap

I haven't felt so great the last couple of days, so trying to decide what to eat has been a little tough. We ordered takeout from Chinese No. 1 last night for dinner, because we were short on time. I got the vegetable fried rice, since I wasn't very hungry and nothing really sounded good.

Today for lunch my good friend Rena, that I work with, wanted Chinese No. 1, and asked if I wanted anything. Like yesterday, nothing sounded very good, but I thought some vegetable Lo Mein might hit the spot. She volunteered to go pick it up, since I had to go to the bank. She had 3 orders to pick up, because another lady wanted something too. We got back to work about the same time and Rena wanted me to look at the Lo Mein to see which was mine. The first one I opened had chicken in it, so I knew right away that was Amanda's order. I knew the other one was mine, so I tore into the little box only to find beef in my noodles! What??? I couldn't believe it, they messed up my order. The really bad part about this is that we only get 30 minutes for lunch, so there was no going back and getting my correct order. I was about to starve and of all days, I didn't bring anything to snack on. I had no choice but to disect my lunch and pick out all beef particles. I was actually getting sick doing this. What was I to do though? I had to eat something! I got all the big and small pieces of beef picked out of the Lo Mein and ate some of my lunch. I was only half finished and had to stop. I was getting sick to my stomach. I kept thinking about my noodles touching that meat....I just couldn't eat any more.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever ordered takeout and ended up with the wrong dish that had meat in it? Oh, and you were in a situation where you couldn't go back to the restaurant to get it corrected? What did you do? Did you eat around the meat or not eat at all? I am wishing now that I would have just done without and starved!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tacos and a Veggie Wrap

It's hard to believe that it's already Wednesday! As you can see, I changed my blog up a little. I was getting tired of the brown. I decided I wanted something a little more cheerful and brighter. :o)

Last night for dinner we had tacos. Tony has been wanting some plain ole regular tacos, so that's what we had last night. Here's my version of a taco. It may sound like an odd concoction, but it turned out great! I was amazed at how much it tasted like a real (meat) taco. I had some soy chorizo left in the refrigerator from a week or so ago, so I took that and mixed it up with some refried beans that I had just made. I combined some of the beans and the chorizo together in a small non stick skillet. I added about 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce to the mixture and cooked it over medium heat for about 5 minutes. That was my taco filling. I stuffed a couple of taco shells with the chorizo mixture then added some vegan cheddar cheese, lettuce and topped that off with some homemade salsa...YUM! We had Mexican rice, chips and guacamole to go along with the tacos. I still haven't mastered a Mexican rice recipe yet. It seems like it should be so simple, but my rice always wants to clump together...any suggestions? I thought about cooking the rice the night before the next time...hmmmm

I went to the grocery store yesterday after work, so I now have veggies in the house again....YAY. With that being said, I made a veggie wrap this morning for my lunch today. I bought some whole wheat flatbread, which I haven't bought in a long time. The flatbread makes great pizzas also. Anyway, back to the wrap. In my wrap, I had guacamole, shredded carrots, two collard green leaves, bean sprouts, sliced cucumber, green and yellow bell pepper and a Roma tomato. All those veggies piled up pretty fast. I was beginning to think that I might not get it wrapped up since the veggies were piled so high.

The wrap was a success though. I have to admit that the thought of eating raw collards weirded me out a little. I managed to work past that though, and it turned out good! I think some oil and vinegar would have been a great addition to the wrap. I don't know why I didn't think about that this morning. Oh well, I did need something salty go along with the wrap, so I threw in some pretzels for my side item. :o)

Okay, here is my great find at Kroger yesterday. I've been seeing people mention this dark chocolate peanut butter on their blog, and I have really been wanting to try it. I finally found it yesterday, and I can NOT believe that I have been with out it for so long!

The label says it all....Dark Chocolate DREAMS! :o)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Happy Monday. I started my morning off with the usual smoothie. This morning I made a pineapple/mango smoothie. It consisted of frozen pineapples, frozen mangos, 1 small banana, 1 tbs of flax seed, 1tbs of wheat bran, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ginger powder, and rice milk for blending. I don't know how much longer I will be having smoothies for breakfast though. I don't think it will be a fall/winter breakfast. Going to have to start coming up with some warm breakfast meals. :o)

The majority of my blog today is going to be on the 7 things about me. Jessica over at veggiecookie awarded me this a few days ago. I was so thrilled to get another award, but a little nervous about this one at the same time. I rarely have much to say about myself, so this was a little hard for me. Here goes though....here are seven things that most of you do not know about me.

First thing is that my husband and I have been married for a little over a year and a half now. The biggie to that is that we dated for 21 years before we got married. Yes, I said we dated for 21 years. :o) No, we did not live together. He had his place and I had mine. It was the most special proposal ever though. We were at church on Christmas Eve and all the sudden, our pastor called us up front. I was scared to death. I had no idea what was going on. I am a very shy person, so being up in front of all these people at church had me terrified. Next thing I know, Tony has the microphone and is spilling his heart out to me and then gets down on one knee and proposes. That was the most special moment of my life! Oh, and of course I said "YES"!

The second thing is that I really hate shopping...any kind of shopping. I must be the only woman alive that actually hates going shopping for clothes. I shop for clothes only a few times a year, and when I do, I try to get everything that I need in that one day.

The third thing is that Tony and I do not have any kids. The only child we have has four legs and is our pug, Maggie. Here is our family picture that was taken a couple of years ago. :o) We both love kids, but I seriously doubt we will ever have any of our own, and we both are okay with that.

The forth thing is that I have lived in the south, in Jackson, TN, my entire life. I think this must be the worst place for vegans to live. The nearest Whole Foods is over an hour away in Memphis. There are zero vegan restaurants here and not very many restaurants that have vegan friendly dishes. Some place do have vegetarian dishes though, so I can usually work with those.

The fifth thing is that I am a VERY SHY person. I am not the kind of person that can start talking to someone that I don't know very well and carry on a long conversation right away. I am getting better at this though. Most people used to think that I was just a snobby person, because I was so quiet.

The sixth thing is that I REALLY want to move. I would love to move to somewhere totally different like Italy, but I guess I need to be realistic. I think that would be so cool though. Moving anywhere right now would be great though. Hopefully that is in our near future. We may still be in Jackson, TN, but just a move would be great. I can't wait to have a bigger kitchen with more storage space. :o)

The seventh thing is that I went on a missionary trip to Nicaragua about 3 years ago. It was a life changing experience for me to say the least. To see how Nicaraguan people live and how they get their food is heartbreaking. Below is a picture of me with one of the kids. I still remember being there like it was yesterday. It was the most beautiful place, but the saddest at the same time. In the picture below, we had gone to one the schools up in the mountains and fed the kids lunch.

Now, I believe I am now supposed to pass this award along to some of my favorite bloggers. This is way too hard to do, as I don't really have any favorites. I truly love them all! I am passing this along to a few of my many that I read on a daily basis though. These are in no order!
Jessica at Limas Vegan Kitchen - Jessica's blog was one of the first that I came across.
Amber Shea at Almost Vegan - Amber Shea's sweets are going to make me fat!
Michele at Veggie Num Nums - Michele has some delicious recipes. I will never forget her skillet cake...so delish!
Aimee at The Global Vegan - Aimee also has some delicious recipes. Her blog is one of the newer ones that I have started following, which I just love!
Alie at Vegan Epicurean - Ali is full of all kinds of information, not to mention all of her delicious recipes.
That was just a few of my many favorite blogs. :o)
I leave you today with this Nicaraguan sunset.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Specials

It's Sunday night....booooo! That means I have to go to work tomorrow. I'm just not ready for the weekend to be over with. The weekends seem to fly by for me. I just wanted to share some of my favorite meals from the weekend with you. Tonight for dinner we had pizza. I found some shredded veggie cheddar cheese at Kroger the other day. It's made by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. This was the first time I had seen any at Kroger, so I decided to try it. It's not bad. I still want to try the Daiya cheese though. I put some of the shredded cheese on my pizza this time and some tofurkey. I felt like I was eating pepperoni pizza this time! It tasted really good. Oddly enough, I prefer my total veggie pizza instead.

We went to Jason's Deli for lunch today after church. I got the garden sandwich which had guacamole, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, pico de gallo, and red, yellow and green bell peppers on it. It came on ciabatta bread, which is one of my favorite breads now! I have found another place that has something veggie that I can eat.....Yay!

Last night for dinner I made some Curried Lentil Soup. This was my first time ever trying any kind of Lentil soup, and I have to say that it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again! Here's the recipe:

1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups veggie broth
4 cups water
1/2 cup dry couscous
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Combine lentils, onions, celery, garlic, cumin, broth, and water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover loosely and cook until the lentils are tender, about 50 minutes.
Stir in couscous, tomatoes, curry powder, and black pepper. Continue cooking until couscous is tender, about 10 minutes, then add salt.

Saturday for breakfast I didn't really want to make a smoothie, so I poured a small glass of Naked Green Machine juice. I love this stuff!!!

I also made some buckwheat pancakes for breakfast Saturday morning. I made a few with chocolate chips and coconut in them, which would be the lonely pancake at the top of my plate. :o) On the other two plain buckwheat pancakes, I made some pear compote to put on them, which was very good. I was out of berries, and pears were the only fruit that I had in the house. Yes, it's time to go grocery shopping again.

I also want to say a big thank you to Jessica for awarding me the Most Versatile Blogger award! I will be blogging about this tomorrow :o)

I hope everyone has had a terrific weekend!

Friday, September 10, 2010


TGIF..... :O) It has been one crazy week, so I'm glad the weekend is here! My morning started out with an iced mocha. I wasn't really in the mood for a fruit smoothie this morning, and for some reason I was wanting something chocolatey.

A few weeks ago I won the CSN give away from veganandsoforth. I won a $40 gift certificate, and finally decided what I wanted to get with it about a week ago. I had planned on getting a new cutting board if I won, but I bought one while I was on vacation in August. We haven't been very happy with our dinnerware that we've had for about a year and a half, so we decided that we wanted some new ones. We found alot of really cool, colorful ones....some looked like Mexico, some like Italy and some like Spain. Tony is all about checking reviews on everything, so it was time to check out what others had to say about them. Well, it was good that he did. He found that most of the ones that we liked, (well, most of them period) had high amounts of lead. They were made in places that didn't have very strict guidelines. We started looking into potters in America and found Fiesta Ware which is made by The Homer Laughlin China Co. They're in West Virginia and have been making lead free china since 1871. We really liked the idea of buying American. This past weekend, Macy's had their Fiesta Ware on sale, so we went and got two place settings from them and then ordered two from CSN. We bought Paprika and Lemongrass colors from Macy's and Peacock and Sunflower from CSN. Below are the two that we got from CSN. We love our new dishes!!!

This one is called Peacock and is my favorite!

This one is Sunflower.

We got the dishes in yesterday, so of course I had to use the peacock one last night. Last night for dinner I cooked some yellow squash and zucchini in a little olive oil with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I also cooked some asparagus in a little olive oil with some garlic powder, Herbamare, pepper and then added a pinch of tarragon a few minutes before it was done. I also made some seasoned potatoes that had salt, pepper and paprika sprinkled on them before they were put into the oven. My chick patties that I've had in the freezer for the past couple of weeks have been screamin my name the last few days, so I decided on them to go along with the veggies. :O)

Here's my new favorite quick frozen treat. Kroger had their Almond Dream ice cream on sale last week, and of course I had to try it. I've been keeping my eye on it for some time now, waiting for it to go on sale. It's too expensive to buy not on sale. Anyway, I got the vanilla, because I can add whatever I want to it. Well, Wednesday night I was craving something sweet, so I pulled out the ice cream. I crumbled up a couple of oreos and drizzled some almond peanut butter over it, and it was awesome!

Hopefully I will be trying out some new recipes this weekend! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blue Berry Tofu Smoothie / Takeout Lunch

I don't have anything interesting to post for dinner last night, because we had leftovers. I do have a new smoothie that I tried out this morning though. I added tofu and used hemp milk in my smoothie this morning. I can honestly say that I love the hemp milk! The smoothie was good, but not my favorite. I'm sure it would have been delicious if my blender would have made it smooth and creamy. It was a little chunky though. I really want a new blender. Maybe Santa Claus will bring me one for Christmas. :o) Anyway, onto the smoothie. Here are my ingredients for this mornings smoothie.

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon wheat bran
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 block silken tofu
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 handful of spinach
about 1 cup of hemp milk

For lunch today I had take out from No. 1 Chinese! I got the Bean Curd (tofu) HomeStyle today and a veggie spring roll. I decided to go for a different dish today instead of my usually mixed vegetables with bean curd. Today's lunch was on the SPICY side. Yep, I'm not a big fan of spiciness, but I have to admit that it was very good. Even though my lips were still on fire after I was finished eating, I would get it again!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The 3 day weekend has come to an end. :-( But, on a positive note, we only have a 4 day work week....YAY! :o) Yesterday for lunch, I made and eggplant sandwich with some left over grilled eggplant. I toasted some wheat bread, spread a little veganaise on it and then added some spinach. I also had some chips and homemade salsa to go along with it. It may sound like an odd combination, but I think I could eat chips and salsa with just about anything.

Last night for supper, I made a big salad for our main meal. I wanted some type of grain to go with my salad so I made a Herbed Quinoa. I got this recipe out of my Hippy Gourmet cook book. It called for bell pepper, yellow bell pepper (I did not have any), red bell pepper, minced fresh mint, minced fresh cilantro, minced fresh parsley, minced green onions, then salt and pepper to taste. I didn't have any green onions, so I used a yellow onion. I also left out the mint and added some fresh lemon juice.

Remember those little red peppers that I got at the farmers market? Well it turns out that they have a bunch of different names. Tony and I both did research on the internet for awhile and could not find them anywhere. Finally, Tony came across them. This is a very interesting pepper. It is an Ubatuba Cambuci pepper. It is pretty much the same as a Bishop's Crown but with less heat. The 3 flaps of the fruits have no heat at all and can be extracted and eaten fresh. The center part of the pepper is very hot (I will be staying away from this part). This little beauty originated from Brazil. If you look at the quinoa below you will see what looks like red bell pepper, but instead, it is actually the Ubatuba peppers. I still have some left, so I am thinking about using them in a stir fry. We are going to save some of the seeds and try to grow some next year.

I also made a little snack yesterday. I have been wanting to try my hand at making some kind of energy bar or energy ball made from nuts. I still had some raw cashews, so I soaked about a cup for a couple of hours and used those. I also soaked 10 dates for an hour to get them soft. I ended up adding about a cup and 1/4 of cashews into the food processor and pulsed them until finely ground. After the cashews are ground, add 1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder, and pulse until blended. Add the 10 dates (shake most of the water off) to the food processor and process on low until the mix looks like a grainy dough. Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. You can then roll the balls in coconut or whatever else you can think of that you might like on the outside. I tried rolling them in chocolate chips, but they wouldn't stick. :-( They turned out pretty tasty. Next time I will add more cocoa and maybe a couple of more dates to make them a little more moist. Some peanut butter would be good in them too. I think I will do some tweaking on this recipe, but still wanted to share it with you.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Grilled Eggplant and Extra-Special Oatmeal

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you're enjoying this nice warm weather we're having. Here's Maggie catching some rays. :o) She loves soaking up the sun, but then who doesn't on beautiful days like today. :o)

Last night we grilled out, which we haven't done in a while since it has been so hot. Tony grilled some eggplant for me, which was delicious. I put a Rosa Maria spice blend in a little cup of olive oil and rubbed down the eggplant right as it went on the grill. The spice blend consisted of garlic, salt, rosemary, parsley, thyme, oregano, and pepper. The flavor that the eggplant had was amazing! Tony also grilled some yellow squash and zucchini in our new grill skillet that we got while we were on vacation. Tony cut up some of the red potatoes that I got at the farmers market, while I was slicing the eggplant. I then tossed the potatoes in some olive oil and added some paprika, salt, garlic, and pepper and then baked them in the oven. Oh yeah...can't leave off the grilled bread. I spread a little vegan butter on both sides before the bread went on the grill. It was a very yummy dinner.

For breakfast this morning I fixed some Extra-Special Oatmeal. I got this recipe out of my new Hippy Gourmet cookbook. It was so easy, and tasted fantastic. I cooked some steel cut oats, then put them in a glass pie dish. I then topped the oatmeal with a little brown sugar, chopped walnuts and some dried cranberries. I then put the dish in the oven on broil for about 3-5 minutes. The recipe called for fresh blueberries, but I didn't have any. I decided dried cranberries would be just as good and it was!!

I'm off to do some cleaning before the day gets away from me, so I can enjoy some more of this lovely weather before I have to go back to work tomorrow. Have a great day!!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day weekend. Friday after work, I ran to the grocery store because we were out of so many things. I was very disappointed in the produce this time. It didn't look very good and had been picked over. Of course, I was NOT thinking about it being Labor Day weekend and the fact that everyone would be cooking out this weekend. Oh well, I did find one good thing though. Kroger had Tofurky Italian Sausage. I have to admit I got a little excited when I saw it. I knew right at that moment what we were having for dinner. We had sauerkraut, tofurky (Tony had kielbasa), fresh silver queen corn, great northern beans, and corn bread. The tofurky was perfect with the sauerkraut.

Saturday morning I got up and went to the farmers market. To my surprise, it wasn't as crowded as it usually is. I mainly went for yellow squash and zucchini, but ended up getting some pears, bok choy, little red potatoes, strawberry peppers and sesame sticks that are made by the Amish.

Here are the strawberry peppers. Has anyone ever seen or used these? The Asian family that were selling them said they were very sweet. They even let me try one to see how they tasted...they were so sweet. Needless to say I had to get them. Now I just need to figure out how I am going to use them in a dish. Any suggestions?

When I got home from the farmers market, I made some steel cut oatmeal and then added some maple syrup and fresh raspberries. I totally prefer steel cut oats over the other!

Saturday night I made Alicia Silverstones Fried Udon Noodles. This dish consisted of udon noodles, cabbage, onions, garlic, sweet paprika, salt and pepper. I have been wanting to try this dish for some time, but always seemed to forget to buy the cabbage. I have never been a fan of cabbage, so I was a little nervous about actually trying it. I have to say it was a delicious dish and I will be making it again!

We have a hummingbird vine that covers our porch railing out front that the hummingbirds and butterflies love. I looked out the window Saturday morning while I was waiting for the oatmeal to finish cooking and saw this little hummingbird eating. I managed to take his picture through the window. I love hummingbirds....they are so amazing. You can't help but smile when you see them. :o)

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tostadas with Homemade Salsa and Guacamole

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday! Last night for dinner we had tostadas. I had some corn tortillas at home, so I used those to make our shells. I put a little olive oil on each side of the tortilla, then sprinkled them with a little salt and cumin. I put them in the oven on 350 and baked them for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms started turning brown. Once the bottoms were brown, I turned the broiler on to get the top slightly brown. You have to stay right with them, and keep an eye on them, or they will be burned before you know it. I probably only had the broiler on for a minute, and the shells were ready to take out. I'll take these shells any day over the store bought ones!

I cooked some canned, organic pinto beans, then mashed them to use as refried beans. I topped the beans off with some homemade salsa, lettuce, our home grown Roma tomatoes (peeled and chopped), homemade guacamole, and some of my cashew cheese. I am happy to say that Tony had a vegetarian meal last night. It would have been vegan if he would have left off the real cheese. :o) I do believe these tostadas were better than the ones I made the last time.

Here's my salsa recipe:
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomatoes and green chilies (rotel)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 green onions (chopped)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/2 lime (juice)

In a food processor, process the onions and cilantro for a few seconds. Add both cans of tomatoes, garlic powder, cumin, salt and sugar. Process all the ingredients until well blended. Pour into a bowl and mix in the lime juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat.

I made some simple guacamole last night. It was just enough for two people, but I still had a little left over, which was just enough for my sandwich today. I used one avocado, one green onion one Roma tomato, 1/2 lime (juice), salt and pepper to taste. My husband used to beg me to try guacamole when we would go out to a Mexican restaurant and that just wouldn't happen. Finally, one day I gave in and tried it, but still didn't care for it. Every time we would go out to eat Mexican, I would try it again. I started liking it a little more each time, now I LOVE it!

I had a strawberry banana smoothie for breakfast this morning that was not very tasty. Tony ran by the store yesterday to pick up some bananas, but all they had were green ones....I mean GREEN bananas. I never thought that a green banana could change the taste of a smoothie, but it did! I managed to drink it all, but it was NOT the best! Hopefully the bananas
will be more ripe for tomorrow. I put them in a paper bag to help them ripen faster. :o)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday Night Take Out / Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie

I hope everyone has had a great Wednesday. I am so looking forward to the long weekend ahead! I had an errand to run after work yesterday, so I knew it would be too late to stand in the kitchen and cook dinner when I got home. So, we had Chinese take out from a small Chinese restaurant called No. 1 Chinese. I ordered a dish with mixed vegetables, tofu, and white rice. I also got a veggie spring roll....YUM! They give you enough food to feed two or three people. What I have on my plate in the picture below, was only a third of the food that they gave me. Needless to say, you can pretty much guess what I had for lunch today. And, there is this much more food in the refrigerator for another time. Maybe I will have it for my lunch again tomorrow. :o)

This morning was of course.... another smoothie. Most mornings, I have my smoothie drank by 8:30, so I usually begin to get hungry around 10:30. Not today though. I think putting a little oatmeal in it this morning made the difference. I wasn't starved by lunch this time. Don't get me wrong, I was still ready to eat at lunch time. Here's what this mornings smoothie consisted of.
1 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder (thank you Ali...I'm loving the ginger in my smoothie)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (Yay, I remembered it this morning)
3 tablespoons oats (another thing I got from Ali)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon of honey (yes, I used honey)
rice milk (enough to blend everything together in the blender)

As you see, I used honey this morning. I normally don't use honey, but for some reason I did this morning. Why exactly don't vegans eat honey? I was curious about this, so I looked it up and found this. It starts with a core understanding of what it means for most people to be a vegan. "Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life," writes Jo Stepaniak. Well, as detailed by PETA, "Like other factory-farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation ... Profiting from honey requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects' desire to live and protect their hive." To which, Stepaniak adds: "Even the most careful keeper cannot help but squash or otherwise kill many of the bees in the process. During unproductive months, some beekeepers may starve their bees to death or burn the hive to avoid complex maintenance. I read a lot more, but this is the short explanation. I thought I would share it just in case there are others out there like me who didn't know this. I do promise to never eat honey again! I wish I had looked this question up this morning, before I plopped the honey into my blender. All I can say is that I'm still learning, and probably will be for a long time. Oh, I will also look at honey bees in a totally different way now.