Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Carob Banana Brownies

Today I went on a recipe hunt calling for bananas because we had several beyond the peel & eat stage. I came up with 'Chocolate Banana Walnut Brownies' from ExtraVeganZa because it calls for 3 bananas. I followed the recipe, except for a few minor modifications: I used carob powder instead of cocoa, used chocolate Silk instead of vanilla, and omitted the walnuts. I also just tossed the carob chips in the mix without melting them, which worked out fine. We topped the brownies with a cookie scoop of Soy Dream. What a delicious way to utilize old bananas!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

These Boots Were Made for Walkin'

I love surprises, and Art really hit the mark with these boots from Off Broadway Shoes (The Market Place in Irvine). They have a spunky Victorian meets Gothic style and are super comfortable. In addition to that, they were marked down several times (ultimately to $25 bucks) -- sizes were limited, but apparently size 10 isn't as popular. They are brown (which goes with everything I own), and the *kicker* is that they are 100% man made. What a score! Thanks, Honey!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Curried Winter Vegetable Strudel & Snowman

Building this snowman was such a workout. It was nearly impossible for me to lift his middle, which made me wonder how they physically did this one at Vegan Ruthie's blog. He watched me through the kitchen window as I came up with this recipe.

1 Leek
1 Sweet Onion
1 Elephant Garlic Clove
1 Serrano Pepper
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/2 Celeriac
1 Rutabaga
3 Carrots
Frozen Peas
1 Tbsp. Yellow Curry Paste
1 tsp. Cardamon
3Tbsp. Soybean Margarine, softened
6 Sheets thawed Fillo Dough. (fridge night before)

1. Saute in Olive Oil Leeks, Onion, Garlic, & Serrano Pepper until translucent.
2. Add Potatoes, Celeriac, Rutabaga, Carrots, 1 Cup Water, Salt & Pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft.
3. Add peas and Curry, stir through, cover and remove from heat.
4. Place 1 sheet pastry on parchment paper. Brush with melted soybean margarine. Layer and repeat.

5. Spoon vegetable mixture on pastry to an inch of edges. Fold in short edges, then roll from the long side, jelly-roll style.
6. Place roll, seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with margarine. With a sharp knife, make 5-7 evenly spaced diagonal slashes on top of the roll. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. I sprinkled some black sesame seeds on top before baking.

There were no left-overs!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Soft Molasses Cookies

You'll Need:
1/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Canola Oil
1/2 C Cold Coffee
1 Tbsp. Soda (dissolved in coffee)
1 C. Molasses
1/2 tsp. Ginger
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
4 C Flour (I used 1/2 White & 1/2 WW)

How To

Beat together the sugar, oil, coffee, dissolved soda and molasses until frothy. Stir in the rest.
Chill dough over-night. But if you just can't wait, chill at least an hour before baking.
Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface & cut with cookie cutters.
Bake in 350* oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool, frost, & enjoy these not-so-sugary cookies.

I prepared the above scene for my oldest daughter. "Do you want to make cut-out cookies?" She ran into the kitchen, and we put on her apron & chef's hat. I had divided the dough, and only rolled out half for her to immediately start pressing cutters. Then, she helped me roll out the remaining dough as the cookies were in cooking/cooling rotation.

We frosted a few, but most were eaten plain. Look at Jolie wishing some would hit the floor!

The Global Warming 'Globie Awards' have been counted, and the winners/losers are....

exactly how I voted!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Coco-nutty Acorn Squash

1. Acorn squash: wash, cut in half (stem to end), clean out insides (reserving the seeds), score inside grids with a sharp knife, place skin side down in a baking sheet with water.

2. Fill each crater with:
1 tsp. Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp. Florida Crystals (or Brown Sugar)
1 tsp. Maple Syrup
dash sea salt

3. Bake for about an hour: pulling them from time to time to baste. Bake until the squash is very soft, cover with tin foil if needed.

4. While the oven is hot: clean the acorn squash seeds in a colander, dry them with a towel & toss in a bowl with olive oil & sea salt, place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, put in the oven with the squash. Check often, turning them. Remove when brown, set aside.

5. Serve the acorn squash: top with some shredded coconut, and the roasted acorn seeds. You might also like to drizzle some maple syrup or add a couple pats of Earth Balance. Acorn Squash are a good source of iron, riboflavin and vitamins A and C.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Easy French Bread

from "La Dolce Vegan!" pg. 269, with half white & half whole wheat flour, and topped with poppy seeds. The recipe name is accurate, and the hardest part was waiting 1.5 hours for the dough to rise. We occupied ourselves with a hike, which really activated our appetites. So we popped the bread in the oven upon return, and waited 20 (long) minutes. Not an easy task given the hunger level and the smell of fresh baked bread in the air, but well worth the wait!

I wanted to try this recipe after reading about Laura's French bread at Eden in the Kitchen. In her post, she includes a cute photo of herself in Paris holding French baguettes. What a fun idea! So here are a couple old photos of myself holding baguettes in Paris.

They take me back to 1999 when Art and I stayed in Oriane's family apartment in the St-Germain-Des-Pres area. The photos flood my mind's eye with memories of the museums, art galleries, churches, architecture, parks, wine, outdoor cafes, and adventure....

Ahhhhhh, Paris.
I can't wait to go back.

and here, you see, I couldn't wait for lunch!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Crock-Pot Seitan Stew

We had been hoping for a rainy day like this because the girls have been waiting (not so patiently) to try-out their new umbrellas. I had forgotten how fun it is to play in the rain and not get wet! Weather like this makes me hanker for certain food. Comfort food -- warm & hearty. Food that fills up the house with a savory aroma. Combine the rainy day atmosphere with this awesome post that I saw recently at The House of Simon, and I was destined to make stew. I followed Carrie's step-by-step photos adding my own flavor.

Layered in the crock --
1. Red Potatoes, cleaned & quartered
2. Carrots, scrubbed & diced
3. Sauteed in soybean margarine: Elephant Garlic, Sweet Onion, Serrano Peppers, Shallot, Chili Powder, Sage, & Thyme
4. Sauteed in Soybean Margarine: Seitan in Mr. Yoshida's marinade
5. Water to cover Veggies, Tamari, Pepper
6. High for 6 Hours
7. Throw in a handful of fresh Green Beans
8. 3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder + warm both to thicken. Cover & cook another 20 minutes.

Mmmm-Good, we ate ours with a crusty, sourdough baguette from La Brea Bakery. Art says this is the best vegetable stock to come from the kitchen. I've decided that next time I won't put the seitan in the slow cooker -- I'll just brown it and serve on top of the stew at the end.

This really reminded us of stew we used to eat pre-vegetarian 16 years ago. Except this is the guiltless vegan version, and every bit as tasty. Removing meat from the bowl is proven to help prevent cancer, beat heart disease, lower blood pressure, prevent & reverse diabetes, gall stones, kidney stones, osteoporosis, & asthma (article). It's also good for the environment.
Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. The number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture, producing more than 100 million tons of methane a year. (article) Going meatless is good for your health, the environment, and the cow. So Dig in!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cornmeal-coated Polenta Fries + My Sauce

Dreena wrote an article for VegNews (#52) and shared three recipes. This one is delicious & a snap to make!

You Need: polenta tube, olive oil, fine cornmeal, sea salt, fresh rosemary (I used thyme)

How To: preheat oven 450*, line baking sheet w/parchment paper. Cut polenta in half lengthwise, and slice 1/3 inch thick. Toss polenta in olive oil, dredge in cornmeal, sprinkle with salt & herb. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once or twice until lightly browned.

My Sauce: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, Mandarin Oranges (drained and mashed), Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

This has that addictive snacking quality -- perfect for parties or beside an Amy's burger. Here you see what a half tube of polenta produced -- I'll make the balance this weekend for Art.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tania's brownie hearts!

I couldn't resist baking Tania's brownie hearts after seeing the pretty photo on her blog. I'm so pleased that I did because these are the best brownies EVER! They have a cake-like decadence, which is just right. I frosted mine with 'Anything Goes Icing' from my Valentine's Day gift, "How it all Vegan!" using vanilla soy milk and vanilla extract. What a winning combination. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration, Tania! We LOVE them and will be making them again.

2 cups flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soymilk
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry. Add the wet ingredients and mix well! Bake them at 350ยบ for about 17 minutes.

Happy Valentine's Day!

How about we put the girls to bed a little early tonight and make a special Valentine's Day dinner just for us?

Side Note: Curious minds may wonder what kind of paste produces this kind of photo. The girls are brushing with Logodent. I wish all healthy habits were as easy as this one! The girls love this toothpaste and it's something I can feel good about as well. Art & I still prefer Nature's Gate Creme de Mint, we find that it gives us the maximum Valentine kissability.

Here's the plan: I'll wash kale & cook while you pop the bottle of wine & scoot the girls off to bed...
1. Purple + Green Kale. Steamed with sauteed garlic in olive oil. Art sprinkles a little sea salt on his; for me, it's lemon juice & sea salt. I like freshly squeezed, but I've wasted lemons that weren't used in time, and I've also had to go without because I wasn't prepared, possibly because they were over-priced, or because they weren't organic. I really miss CA produce, so a bottle of Lakewood is key to have on hand.

2. Couscous with Sweet Red Bell Pepper and Carrot Confetti & fresh Italian Parsley.
3. Sauteed Tofu with the current house favorite marinade, Mr. Yoshida's. We call it Mr. YO! and it blows Soy Vay away (which is better if it's diluted with a can of pineapple chunks & juice)
4. Washed down with a bottle of 2004 Red Bicyclette Merlot. Nothing fancy, but oh so smooth...and French.
This is where I've been getting my Bizarro fix since my newspaper squelched Piraro's thought provoking and humorous voice.

Hubby works out of town a few days of the week, so we celebrated with dinner & wine on Monday. I thought Valentine's Day would be about making cupcakes and paper hearts with the girls. But, when Art called this morning, he sent me on a scavenger hunt to find a gift he left. 'How it all Vegan!' and a Yoga DVD were nestled in a paper bag with his signature sketch. Such preplanned thoughtfulness!

Thanks Honey! I Love You so much! Happy Valentine's Day! XOXO

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vote for the Globies!

Wouldn't you like to help select the best and worst global warming performances? How satisfying would that be? Just click above. There's only 5 questions, so it doesn't take long. They'll announce the winners (and losers as the case may be) on February 23. Go vote! (Thanks for the link, Kleo :o)

This is 'Maple-Almond Granola with Cranberries and Blueberries' from "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker". It's pictured on the one little patch of snow that I could find this winter. hmmmm... About the granola, it's Ok, & we're a bit spoiled by other granola we buy and haven't gone crazy for this. It'll be perfect for a pie crust. It was interesting making granola in a slow cooker, and it worked surprisingly well. This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I'm wondering if any readers have other Robin Robertson cookbooks?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Soup & News of the Homefront

'Curried Split Pea Soup' from VwaV. This soup was easy and quick to make because you don't have to soak dried split peas. It took a little over an hour to get it to the bowl, and it was served with 'Easy Biscuits' from ExtraVeganZa, which was another quick and easy recipe.

My daughter's shark party was a success. The kids jumped in the bouncy house, played pin-the-fin on the shark, ate with shark chopsticks, and made shark puppets. I didn't take any photos on my digital so the poster under the split pea soup is my only evidence.

We took a nature hike last weekend. Art took a shovel and trash bag to collect dog poop and litter left behind. Sadly, the bag was almost too heavy to carry toward the end of the walk. It pisses me off that people squander nature.

Did I mention that we joined the YMCA? The girls have been taking swim lessons, and I've been doing yoga. It feels so good to be working out again regularly -- connecting body & mind.

and, I've been reading during every spare moment from "Healthy at 100" -- I really like John Robbins' style and wisdom.

Something to file under "major bummer" is that my newspaper has dropped the cartoon Bizarro. So I'm calling and writing letters to the editor. Wish me (and some others) luck on bringing it back. I really miss Dan's satirical wit. Idaho is the same color as my counter tops. *hangs head low*

As you can see, I have serious competition on computer time. Olivia's favorite sites are: Peep and the Big Wide World, and Sesame Street. She has mastered the mouse and all the games on each site.