Vegan MoFo day 28-Doing What I Love

I really like cooking, especially plant-based cooking. Whether it’s making up a recipe on the fly, or following someone else’s recipe..it’s a lot of fun to me. This weekend I got to do a lot of yummy cooking.
Saturday night I made Fat Free Vegan’s Mexican Pumpkin Soup with the jalapeno and Salsa Corn Muffin’s from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook. I’ve been trying to make something from that book every weekend. I love the soup as it’s very flavorful and the pumpkin adds a nice creaminess to it, but it doesn’t taste very ‘pumpkiny’ to me. The muffins are TO DIE FOR!!! I think I ate 8 of the 12 I made!  What made the meal even more fun was the simple tomato and cilantro salad I served as well as an avocado ‘butter’ I made for the muffins. Not that the muffins need any kind of spread as they are yummy on their own,  but I wanted to try something different. I took an avocado, some lime juice and a touch of sea salt and blended it with my immersion blender…WOWZA…what an awesome spread…it was creamy just like butter, but better! I will be making this again soon.
Sunday night I made the Eat Loaf, Garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Mommy’s mushroom Gravy and green beans…it was a very comforting meal. I used some ginormous yukons I got at Trader Joe’s so I have a LOT of mashed taters left. I love all the leftovers this meal makes. My husband thinks this batch is better than the last batch I made! I did use the recommended zucchini this time and added some more seasonings and more salsa to it and it tasted great!

I only had a little trouble cooking as I managed to slice through my thumbnail while I was slicing kale for lunch salads. It’s pretty hard to cook without the use of your thumb-even if it’s on the left hand (I’m a ‘righty’).
Here are some photos…I highly recommend you pick up this cookbook…the recipes are very easy to follow, and don’t have very complicated ingredients. Every recipe has been a success…I can’t wait to try more!

Here’s the Eat Loaf dinnerSunday comfort dinner

 

Here’s a montage of Saturday’s dinner
Saturday's dinner montage

Vegan MoFo Day 21-Tortilla Azteca-Mexican Lasagna

This recipe is from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann and Jane Esselstyn. It’s and OUTSTANDING dish! It does take a little prep work chopping veggies and making two sauces, but it really isn’t difficult to make. It just takes time.
It was a perfect dish to make on a chilly September Sunday evening. As the name says, there are corn tortillas in it and it’s got a great homemade Enchilada Sauce (don’t cheat and use store-bought, it will have too much sodium, and probably added oil). The veggies and beans make it a very hearty dish.
For those of you who like extra spice could add more heat to the sauce if you want. You will need a very big sauce pan or electric skillet to cook the veggies in.
I had way too many veggies when I went to put it all together, which might have been due to me using some pretty good size zucchini. But not to worry, I mixed them up with the left over enchilada sauce, the Tortilla Azteca sauce and some Farro. This leftover veggie dish will make great lunches. The leftover Mexican Lasagna will make great dinners for the week also.
The most exciting part was that my husband absolutely LOVED the dish. Every dish I’ve made from this book he has loved. He liked it so much, he wants to recommend the book to a co-worker who is vegan. I can’t wait to see what recipe I’ll try next!

Here are the photos:

Mexican Lasagna

plated 

Vegan MoFo Day 20 – Beef-less Veggie Stew

When I first started the plant strong lifestyle, cooking presented the biggest challenge to me.  I had no idea how to modify my current animal protein filled recipes to make them plant strong.  Luckily, with the help of some wonderful plant strong websites and some great friends on Engine 2 Extra, I have rediscovered my joy of cooking!

One day I decided to experiment with my basic beef stew recipe to see how I could adapt it to make it plant strong compliant.  I discovered it was pretty easy.  I used to coat my beef chunks with seasoned flour before putting everything in the crock pot.  Now, I just toss chopped potatoes in the seasoned flour, add some veggies, canned tomatoes and a little red wine and ta da…you’ve got the makings of a great stew with wonderful gravy.   This dish is great for the crock pot since you don’t need to really measure anything, and it will cook on its own very nicely.  I learned somewhere to add frozen veggies near the end of cooking, so that’s what I do now, and they are warmed through, but not too mushy.  I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome, so those get tossed in near the end of cooking.

When we remodeled our kitchen, we bought a big All Clad Crock pot with a timer on it, so it turns to warm mode for two hours when the cooking cycle is done.   It even has a non stick removable interior that allows you to saute things in it before placing it in the cooking chamber.  While some people might think it’s too big for two people, it gives us awesome leftovers, which is what I wanted for the week.  We’ve got some great lunches and dinners from this batch.

Here’s my guesstimate recipe for the stew.  There are no measurements…it’s whatever I have in my house!  This time I had a lot of potatoes that my son-in-law gave me from his father’s garden…these potatoes were HUGE!

 

Kirsten’s Beef-less Veggie Stew

Ingredients

Chopped potatoes-sweet and/or yellow/white/red

Whole Wheat flour (any kind of flour will work)

Baby carrots sliced into smaller chunks

Sliced celery

Chopped onion

28 oz canned n/s added tomatoes

red wine (optional, you could use any liquid)

Frozen veggie blend (or whatever you have in your freezer)

Seasonings-poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, anything you want to add.  I added some crushed chipolte peppers also

Directions:

1.  Combine flour and seasonings and potatoes in a ziplock bag and toss to coat.  Place coated potatoes in crock pot.

2.  Add all other ingredients, except frozen veggies,in any order.  Toss gently to mix slightly.

3.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

4.  Add frozen veggies in at the last hour of cooking, stir to combine then replace cover.

5.  Serve in a nice big bowl.

Some good crusty whole grain bread would be good to soak up all the yummy gravy.

Here’s a picture of my crock pot
crock pot

 

Here’s the finished stew:
Veggie Stew
Enjoy!

Vegan MoFo day 17-More Plant Strong Comfort Food

These past few weeks have been pretty stressful at work. There doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done that needs to get done; I seem to be getting more and more to do, and farther and farther behind!  The days that I teach are the really long days. I go in super early so I can get things done either for class, or catch up on other requests and projects that I won’t have time to complete. Those days always end on a later note as there’s always one more email to respond to before I go home. It’s times like this I wish I had some part-time help. Since starting my plant-based journey, I don’t seem to feel the effects of stress as much as I used to. While I still get stressed, and want comfort food, I don’t reach for the normal chocolate or salty stuff (it gets hard at times to resist chocolate, but I know I just can’t go down than dark path!). Tonight, all I wanted was comfort food for dinner. But for me, comfort food now consists of a peanut and butter jelly sandwich on Ezekial bread (slightly toasted).
While it’s higher in calorie density, I still feel pretty good about what I’m eating. The peanut butter is all natural, just peanuts and a little salt-no added oil. I have yet to figure out why manufacturers put oil in peanut butter…it’s got enough fat in it already! The jelly is fruit and fruit juice; no HFCS. The bread has no added sweeteners or HFCS, and is made from sprouted grains. It’s a dense bread, which is why I toast it. I slather it on pretty thick, but it’s a very comforting meal. I had greens for breakfast and lunch, lots of veggies and some fruit throughout the day, so this was a nice end to my day.
Now if only my workload would lighten up a bit!

Vegan MoFo Day 14-Plant Strong Comfort Food and Cool Fall Days

Today was a fun day of cooking.  My husband says cooking is my hobby, which it is so very true; so today I got to spend a LOT of time enjoying my hobby!

I made my version of Smokey Savory Oats from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  Last week I followed the recipe as it was written and  this week I improvised by adding Italian seasoning; I am not a fan of my addition.  While the oats I made are good, they are better just as the recipe is written.  At least I have yummy savory breakfasts for the week.

I also found a yummy Tomato soup recipe from Fat Free Vegan-Tomato soup with Roasted Garlic and seasonal herbs.  She uses canned fire roasted tomatoes and a few other seasonings and spices along with roasted garlic.  The dish comes together very easily (the longest part is roasting the garlic) and I used my immersion blender to blend it right in the pot.   I added a touch of soy milk to add a little richness and also topped it off with a little julienned basil and it was perfect.  My husband who grew up loving Campbell’s Tomato soup actually enjoyed it as well. Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/02/tomato-soup-with-roasted-garlic.

Here’s a photo of the soup before I blended it:

 

soup in pot

Here’s the creamy, blended finished dish:

Soup!

I also made another classic comfort dish with a plant strong twist. I made Veggie Mac and Cheese for dinner! Yes…creamy mac and cheese. The sauce is courtesy Fat Free Vegan (I really love her recipes) and it’s very cheesy and creamy. The secret is cauliflower! This Cheesy Cauliflower Sauce is amazing and it’s low calorie and gluten free. While it takes a little bit of work, it is SOOOO worth making. I decided to make mac and cheese with this sauce and add some tomatoes, broccoli and peas to the pasta, then top with Panko mixed with nutritional yeast. My husband LOVES it! You can use this to top potatoes, veggies or just about any other dish that needs a creamy cheesy sauce.
Here’s the link for the sauce: http://www.blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/05/cheesy-cauliflower-sauce

Here’s my recipe for the Veggie Mac and Cheese:

Cheesy Veggie Mac and Cheese:

Ingredients
Cheesy Cauliflower sauce (FF Vegan)
1 1/2 cup (or so) of broccoli florets (slightly steamed)
3 medium tomatoes diced into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
Panko bread crumbs mixed with equal parts of nutritional yeast
ground black pepper
Cooked pasta-whole wheat would be best (I used medium shells and the entire box)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Cook and drain pasta
3. Make sauce

sauce ingredients

sauce

4. Combine pasta and veggies and mix gently to blend.

veggies/pasta

5. Add hot cheese sauce to veggie/pasta mix and mix gently until sauce is evenly coating everything.

adding cheese

6. Place in casserole dish and top top with a handful of panko bread crumbs and generous grinding of black pepper.

topped with panko

7. Cook covered for about 25 minutes, then remove cover and bake for about another 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

 

dinner is served!

I garnished with sliced green onions.