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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lighter Eats, Plus Cookbook Club 4.1

Breakfast was a quick smoothie with the last of pretty much everything I could use up: spinach, a frozen banana, a few frozen blueberries, and an Amazing Grass chocolate meal. I used iced green tea to blend instead of plain water this time! It didn't add any noticeable flavor but I was thinking about the caffeine kick and the "good-for-yous" in the tea. (Although, I read that caffeine isn't really prevalent in iced tea because the water isn't heated up. Does anyone know if  that's true? I soaked the bags in room temp water and put it in the fridge.) I also had a few raw almonds.
Lunch was the coleslaw I prepared for yesterday and didn't eat, bulked up a little with some raw escarole and cherry tomatoes. In the bag was an early morning snack of bell pepper, carrot, and celery.

Later in the day I got kind of hungry and drank half a Naked Acai juice.
For dinner I jumped right in to The Kind Diet for the Cookbook Club. Since I had the radishes and was looking for something light, I made Sugar Snap Peas, Radishes, and Edamame with Lemon.

It was easy to put together and pretty delicious. I did make a few changes because I'm craaazzyyy. The recipe calls for umeboshi vinegar, which I couldn't find - even at our Asian convenience store - but I read that it's just very salty so I subbed white vinegar and added a bit more salt. The whole recipe as written actually seemed pretty salty, from blanching the veg in salted water to the umeboshi vinegar to salt in the recipe and the final addition of Earth Balance. I don't really like that sort of palate so I skipped salting the water, used white vinegar (as said above), and didn't add any Earth Balance - also to cut back on fat (the veg are already sauteed in olive oil with some shallot anyway).
All said, though, I really liked it.  It was quick enough that it wasn't a problem making it after work and I would definitely make it again. A big bowlful would be a tasty side at a party, I think. Also of note, I said before how much I like radishes but this was my first time cooking them! I had no idea what to expect but they were great.
So there it is. High raw, easy eating. Dessert will actually be another Kind Diet recipe but I'll save that for next time.

Monday, May 30, 2011

ALMOST Too Hot to Eat

Oof. I do not do well in humidity. I see a lot more raw stuff in my future. If I survive the heat, anyway. Haha okay ENOUGH COMPLAINING.
Breakfast was a banana and an almond butter and strawberry sandwich on dark rye, inspired by Carissa.

I bought the strawberries for Sarah Kramer's strawberry/spinach salad but I realized I just don't care about it.
My mom then stopped by with some radishes from her garden that I helped her plant! It has been so long since I've had radishes but I love them. The next Cookbook Club book is The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and going through it today I noticed quite a few recipes with radish in them so, cool. I snacked on a couple with some cucumber and pesto before pretty much losing my appetite.

I had another piece of bread with raw honey later in the day, a few cherries, and some bell pepper but my heart wasn't in it. So sad. I did go out for a beer with my mom and pop, though, which was nice. I haven't actually seen them in quite a few weeks.
I had been planning a Memorial Day dinner of sorts but was unenthused for it. Instead of tofu pups, guac, and coleslaw, I had salad with some avocado, lime juice, and red pepper flakes mixed in and a pup with bell pepper and cabbage leaves topped with Trader Joe's pineapple salsa.

When I was eating fairly high raw last summer I ate cabbage instead of corn chips. It sounds weird, but all I care about is the dip sometimes and however it gets to my mouth works for me.
Now to go lay on some ice.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Day Outside, Dining, Drinks and Dessert

G and I are pretty much homebodies. Or, rather, I am and he has a life-encompassing hobby that can only be done at home so we don't go out much. But his brother and his wife had two extra free tickets to go see Stomp today and invited us along! G is a very talented drummer as well as a very talented cartoonist so he was particularly interested to see the show.
It was really entertaining! I was smiling through almost the entire show and definitely tapping my feet at times. It was clever and visual as well as musical. I think it had a really good urban, working class message too that made me remember and finally get the Roseanne reference!

Yeah, that was definitely my favorite show for a reason.
Anyway, G's brother and his wife (OKAY I'm just gonna call them Andy and Maritza because this is getting confusing!) are vegan too, so afterwards we all went out for some early dinner at The Organic Grill. I got the Raw Kale Salad, which also had collards, carrots, scallions, dulse, tomatoes, hemp seeds, and olives in a "sweet herb dressing." It imposing plate full of green. It was also pretty tasty, though a bit lacking in spice. The olives were a good addition. I brought some home (it was really a HUGE plate) and topped it with red pepper flakes for a second-session dinner.

We walked over to Lula's Sweet Apothecary afterwards, an all-vegan mostly ice cream shop. I'd heard of this place but never stopped to see it. It's not exactly the sort of place I'd seek out on my own. They have both soy-based and cashew-based ice creams, vegan malts, vegan egg creams, etc. I also spied a few vegan candy bars in the shop. Hot as it was today, I've got to admit, I'm not an ice cream person (vegan or not) and the very small storefront was packed so I waited outside. Maybe for the blog readers' sake I could have sampled something but I uh..didn't want to make you jealous. Yeah, that's it. G sampled chocolate and vanilla and said they were good. Andy and Maritza both got chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Thanks, guys, for inviting us out!
G had to get to band practice (amped on Stomp!) but we stopped for one beer beforehand. I'd heard Lindsay raving about Dogfish Head's summer Aprihop beer (OMG! The suggested go-withs are salad and hummus! That's what I eat!) and we tried to seek it out at Barcade but they were only carrying their Festiva Peche beer. We got that anyway and it was great (just a little less boozy). I could easily have spent the rest of the evening in a chill bar with a cold beer but...didn't. Probably for the best. I came home, ate the rest of the kale, read, sweated, and made myself dessert.

Cherries and white wine. I also had some chocolate chips and now I am listening to Pavement really loudy which means SUMMER IS HERE. I hope you guys had a great day too!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.4: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles and a review

Today was the last day to post the review for this month's Cook.Vegan.Lover Cookbook Club's pick, Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum. I had been enjoying the book so much I piggybacked one more recipe, Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles.
This dish was a delicious meal of contrasts. It was cool and spicy, crunchy and creamy and one of the lighter, fresher, meals in the book. It also looks really classy all put together but only takes about half an hour to make and much of it can be done in advance.
I may have mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of all sorts of slaws. This one takes it one step further. You start with a base of cabbage and carrot, add chopped broccoli and noodles and cover it all with a spicy tahini based sauce! I had actually bought some of those tofu shirataki noodles that are appearing on "the blogs" - particularly inspired by Rose's post - and used those here because I've had enough pasta lately (lasagna, orzo salad) and could always do with more protein.
The sauce itself was awesome. I might have liked it to have been a little thicker but I was low on tahini so that could have been the problem. I would love to make this again, maybe without noodles altogether, or with more vegetables. I wish I had chopsticks for a dish like this!

So this was the fourth recipe within the designated time period and previously had made one more. See:

Golden Chickpea and Artichoke Salad
Lemon-Cranberry Muffins
Sweet Chili Lime Tofu
Creamy Broccoli-Mushroom Bake

Of this small selection, I'd probably say the Sweet Chili Lime Tofu and the Chickpea/Artichoke salads were my favorites.
The layout of the book is great, with the focus on a photo of almost every dish (over 100 in the book) and a list of ingredients blocked off on the side. Overall, the font, the colors, and the photos are all very aesthetically pleasing.
The sections in the book are pretty standard: Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Appetizers, Salads, Side Dishes and Light Meals, Soups, Pasta, and Desserts. The fact that Ulm gives pasta its own section, which most cookbooks don't, might key you in to this being a comfort food-heavy book. I don't typically enjoy those types of foods but she gives enough variation in recipes and room for options that most people will be satisfied.
The subtitle of the book is "Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day," which describes it well. The ingredients are for the most part easy enough to find (tamarind is probably the most exotic thing in there besides a few specialty Asian ingredients for two or three dishes) but Ulm does magical things with them. Not much equipment beyond a food processor is needed. She also specifically notes which recipes can be made in 30 minutes or so - so opt for those on a weeknight and other dishes for a party. The only thing you might want to keep in mind for the more decadent party dishes is that all recipes serve a low number of people (usually no more than 4) so certain dishes may have to be doubled.
I guess my one complaint is easily anticipated by those of you who know me: I'd like to see healthier foods, or at least a guilty admission of nutritional information. I'm pretty sure a lot of these recipes are high in fat and salt and I want to at least be aware of what is going into my body. Even the salads section is pretty short and contains cooked ingredients.
BUT I had a long list of dishes I wanted to make on first perusal and still want to come back to a bunch of them. This is a great, informed, and elegant but approachable cookbook.

Who has VYY? Any must-try recipes? And - who the heck else has tried those crazy tofu noodles?? I'm a little on the fence about them, if only because thin, squirmy white things make me balk but...I'd get them again (Rose I still want to try them your way!).

Friday, May 27, 2011

All About the Lunch

I actually took a photo of the pumpernickel bread with almond butter and raw honey and my banana this morning but the picture didn't come out. I'm sure you'll live without seeing my breakfast.
Lunch was delicious! Last night I was apparently feeling masochistic and turned on the oven in the heat to roast some asparagus. I also made a quick orzo salad into which I threw in a bunch of fresh basil that was also wilting, and followed some tips from Renae and froze the rest of it. Anyway, lunch was the orzo salad (orzo, basil, sundried tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper) with chopped zucchini, chopped carrots, and the roasted asparagus over mixed greens. Delicious and filling.

On break I picked up some groceries - among other things, strawberries for the Sarah Kramer month of May recipe and cherries! I couldn't help myself. They were expensive but I had to. Is there any fruit or food you particularly splurge for?
Dinner was the last of the white-bean escarole soup from the dinner party and a salad (heavy on the beets, you can see).

Dessert was another HH chocolate-carrot muffin and DUH cherries. I hope I still have some come Monday for a real Memorial Day treat. Oh and beer. Of course, beer.
What are your plans for Memorial Day? I'M going to do laundry! Jealous?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Nothing special here today.
Breakfast was a banana with some almond butter and a piece of pumpernickel toast with honey. I was probably still full from all those lentils last night.
Here's lunch, plus my two snacks (12:30 and 5:00).

Salad (with fennel and mushrooms, cuz I'm fancy!), blackberries, and a chocolate Pure bar.
And dinner, which ought to be more typical! It's been a long time since I've had collard wraps. I also scarfed some crackers when I got home so quickly that I didn't take a picture.

These were filled with zucchini, carrot, pesto, sundried tomato, cherry tomato, and escarole. The fridge is sort of sad in the vegetable department. That tomorrow! And, yes, I get too excited about groceries.
Dessert was two (whatever!) Happy Herbivore chocolate-carrot muffins.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weird Lentil Dinner

Everything I ate today was boring. I had a banana, blackberries and rye bread for breakfast, an orange as a snack, a Pure bar and a salad for lunch, then some baby carrots and a few sips of kombucha. I felt very weird all day - my allergies are causing migranes which are in turn causing nausea and I went back and forth between intense hunger and not wanting to eat anything.
But when I got home I was really hungry. I had plans to eat leftover salad and soup but figured they could wait. I used up some leftover cooked lentils instead to make a lentil salad.

This is cooked brown lentils, chopped carrot, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and celery topped with some Trader Joe's pineapple salsa I had in the fridge. This was surprisingly good. The salsa was a little sweet, so I added hot sauce (also to help with congestion) and it really hit the spot. I can actually see myself deliberately making this again, perhaps with the addition of chopped onion, as opposed to a last ditch leftover lentil effort.
Any surprise leftovers triumphs in your kitchens lately?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Herbivore Muffins

So to come down off the more splurge-y type foods from the birthday party, I baked transition muffins! (Okay, basically I really just wanted to make them one way or another).
I made Happy Herbivore's Chocolate Zucchini Muffins - but with carrot instead of zucchini. I don't know what make me tinker with the recipe, since I had zucchini too, but hell why not. Maybe I was thinking about carrot cake. Actually it's not the weirdest thing I could have done since that also got me thinking about beet chocolate cake! I'm still going to make that someday.

I've made zucchini muffins before and these were just as moist and delicious. I couldn't help but eat one right away but I feel like they'll be even better tomorrow. I cut down on the sugar even more than Lindsay suggests - to about 1/4 cup - and added cardamom as well as the suggested cinnamon to play off the carrot. Half the batch has chocolate chips and half have chips and dried cranberries.

That's a less than stellar photo but I wanted to show off these silicone baking cups I got from work for a dollar! Actually, 50 cents. ACTUALLY, free, since G picked the book up for me. They came with a cupcake book (not vegan but some cool ideas) and 9 of these cups. I thought it would be a good time to try them out since I was baking without oil and shure nuff they just popped right out!
Has anyone ever used those?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Birthday Dinner Party

Yesterday was Greg's brother's 18th birthday so we invited him and the rest of the family over to smoke a lot of cigarettes and vote on which one tasted the grossest. Aaactually, we made dinner.
We had crudites and pita chips out with hummus when they arrived and then served two types of stuffed mushrooms:

Half are made with pesto and half with a lentil/fennel/almond mixture. It was sort of an adaptation from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook. I think that filling was actually better on its own than in the mushrooms but oh well. If any of you are interested in the tweaked recipe, let me know and I'll post it.
Greg made a salad and then we served White Bean and Escarole soup from Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

The only tweak in this was that I used leek instead of onion and 2 c. broth instead of all 6 c. water.
The main course was spinach lasagna, which G actually assembled and everyone liked a lot. It was the recipe from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which we've made numerous times and always enjoy.

We had a digestive game of Scrabble and brought out the desserts. I made Kitchen Sink biscotti from VCIYCJ with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and almonds.

I didn't actually get to taste them because I was eating the two other desserts that G's sister-in-law (via his OTHER brother) made: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip cake (as per the birthday boy's request) and sugar-free peanut butter filled cupcakes for G's dad, who is diabetic.
Some good food and a really nice night. Happy Birthday, Ben.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quick and Easy

Hi guys. Today was a little untypical in terms of food because plans were up in the air. It is my momma's birthday (Hi Mom!) and my sister just graduated college (HI LIZ) so I thought I might be heading to the folks' after work to celebrate but they are busy and whatnot. I didn't want to pack a big deal for lunch and then have to carry the tupperware around in my bag. Plus I bought a sandwich yesterday and pretty much had to eat the damned thing so it wouldn't go bad (I was out for the night and thought I might need it but then I realized I'm OCD and can't eat "on the go"). Turns out the shortcuts where unnecessary. Still, I feel pretty good. I was energized throughout the day and never stuffed. I'm not trying to eat like this often but sometimes quick and easy is plenty acceptable.
Breakfast was a smoothie:

Spinach, 3 frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 1/3 mango, Vega natural protein powder, shredded coconut, flax, lemon juice, ginger.
I snacked on a not-so-great organic Fuji apple at 11:30.
Lunch was in two parts. This sandwich as I ran errands on lunch at 2:

I thought I liked this flavor but it turns out I don't. It was mostly cabbage and then some weird flavor I couldn't quite pick out. Not spicy at all and I'm not sure what made it "Hawaiian-Taste." Oh well, it kept me full until 5, when I ate these: Red pepper and carrot sticks.

When I got home I ate the other half of the red pepper and grilled up some Tofu Pups leftover from a HOT DOG PARTY G and I had the other week.

Topped with raw, local kim chee (so good), mustard and ketchup. I swear I had a salad on the side but I can't load the picture. For dessert I had two of the biscuits with raw honey and a date. Also tea because I'm trying to get some writing done tonight.
Speaking of birthdays, G's brother's birthday is on Sunday so we're having his fam over for dinner. It should be fun!

So - I know vegans are always supposed to be prepared in terms of carrying food but apparently I need to come up with something better than those pre-made sandwiches. What do you guys pick up in a pinch? (Besides bars - I eat too many of those already)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.3: Creamy Broccoli-Mushroom Bake

After the freshness and healthiness that was yesterday's lunch, tonight's dinner represented the other side of Vegan Yum Yum: creamy, cheesy, comfort food. This isn't typically my kind of meal but I picked it primarily because I had almost all the ingredients needed to make it (except for raw cashews, which I didn't mind buying because, really, everyone should always have them in their pantry anyway).
So, when you think "casserole," you think one-dish easy peasy, right? Maybe I've never had a casserole before (quite possible) but I set to preparing this after I got home from work yesterday and almost didn't make it when I realized how many steps there were. Hell, I had to eat half a sandwich halfway through to keep from fainting dead away (sort of). I dirtied a blender, a food processor, a baking dish, a pan, a pot, and a mixing bowl! I even almost skipped a step due to both time concerns and because I wanted to keep it a little healthier. Eventually I went through with it all because trying to healthify a recipe that calls for alfredo sauce is probably a lost cause anyway.
And, well, it was very tasty. Photogenic...not so much.

I served it with a bit more steamed broccoli, red tomatoes, and orange bell pepper.

I tried to get an inside shot for you, but mush is mush.
The filling is basically cooked orzo with sauteed chopped broccoli and mushrooms coated in Ulm's "Hurry Up Alfredo Sauce." It's then topped with breadcrumbs and paprika and baked. Was it worth it? Sure. Will I make it again? Probably not. Do you feel like making it anyway? Amber Shea posted the recipe here. Do you guys have a favorite basic casserole?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.2: Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

From Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum.

With collard greens and quinoa.
This was really, really tasty. I've said this before, but I rarely do much to tofu beyond cutting it straight out of the container into my salads but I always love the results when it's pressed, seasoned, and cooked.
This tofu was actually dry-fried and the whole recipe contains no added oils or fats! It is just straight up delicious. The lime flavor wasn't super prevalent but the marinade for the tofu was great: soy sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, and maybe a few other things I can't remember.
The collards were simply cooked with lime juice and a little salt. It had been a long time since I've cooked them! Apparently they're good for things other than wraps.
The quinoa had lime zest in it also AND cinnamon and cardamom!
I ate the leftovers today, cold, for lunch and it was still good. I appreciate that this was a pretty easy dish to make, as well. I was a little rushed because I wanted to have it finished before G had to leave but I was worried unnecessarily (will I ever stop that?) It probably took under an hour to pull all the components together. I would definitely make this again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Soup

Like so many of you, I am thrillllled (with a trill) it is asparagus season. I am happy with all the green sprouts everywhere and I am glad the earth is thriving. Spring also tends to bring a lot of rain and after a walk outside today, succeeding in completely soaking my right foot (I think I might need new shoes), I had only one thing on my mind: spring soup.
It isn't exactly what I was imagining it being - and it doesn't help poor un-photogenic soup's cause that it's BROWN and not green - but it warmed and filled me up. I had a salad and a homemade biscuit on the side.

The soup had onion, veg broth, thyme, oregano, black pepper, mushrooms, asparagus, green peas, spinach, and a bit of lemon juice. At the very end I stirred in about a tablespoon (all I had left) of some pesto (garlic, walnuts, basil, spinach, salt, nooch, olive oil).
The biscuits were my go-to from The Joy of Vegan Baking, with a little less oil and 1/3 cup fine cornmeal subbed in for flour.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Veggie Pride

Today was the 4th Annual Veggie Pride Parade in NYC at Union Square. The weather was a bit iffy but after a run in the rain and a tropical green smoothie (spinach, mango, frozen banana, coconut, lemon, ginger, OJ and soy milk) I forced myself into the city. Silly me, I brought along a snack bar in my bag in case I got hungry. I also brought along my copy (purchased at work yesterday - the first copy we got into the store!) of Hannah Kaminsky's new cookbook, Vegan Desserts because I heard she would be at the parade! I'm a bit of a fan geek when it comes to Hannah and I wanted to get it signed....

As it turns out neither the cookbook nor the snack were necessary. Hannah actually got rained out of her table - it wasn't raining when I got there but people definitely did have tarpaulins over their books and pamphlets and such. I was a little disappointed about that but I'm horribly shy and might not even have approached the table anyway. However, I was cheered by the crazy amount of free samples everywhere!
Sabra was there again with Stacy's pita chips, Raw Revolution bars were there with their mini bars (incidentally, the kind of bar I had stashed JUST IN CASE), V-Spot was passing out what looked like empanadas (I didn't feel like trying one - or standing in line), Whole Earth Bakery was giving out samples of some chocolate cake (I also passed on this, as I didn't feel like eating sweets right then - but they've been around in NYC for a pretty long time and I've heard they recently changed the way they bake some stuff - for the better), there were YisRoyal cookie dough cookies (I'd never heard of them before) setting up, etc. etc. and so on, and I'm sure more things came out of the woodwork a little later.
Anyway, I sort of walked back and forth a few times, just taking it in. There weren't a whole lot of people there but I'm not much for crowds so I liked that. I'm definitely glad I went to this and did NOT attempt to go to the Vegetarian Food Festival back in April. I heard that was a madhouse. I'm always happier to be in fresh air, anyway. The weather might have scared a few people away but it wasn't a big deal.
Also cheering the space up was a costume contest with prizes for the best costume. Here are a few pictures I snapped:

I loved that blinged out dog! I hope she (he?) won. Maybe you can't tell but there are a bunch of plastic vegetables stuck to its head, hahah. The pig was pretty funny too - she was dancing a lot. There was also a lady all in brown with what I thought was a weird hat on, until I realized she was dressed as a mushroom! In the background you can kind of see Honey LaBronx, the Veggie Prom Queen, who is trying to get her Vegan cooking show on the internet. I would love to see that happen.
Anyway, I didn't stay too long but still, here's the free stuff I got (plus the cookbook):

One of the things I was most impressed with was that all the food samples were vegan and there were vegan cookbooks, vegan restaurants menus, etc. I heard some vegans had problems with the Vegetarian Food Festival because the food samples were vegetarian but not necessarily vegan. This did not appear to be the case here, which was awesome. There were also a lot of people dressed as cows saying "Don't drink milk," etc. G made a good point that anyone dedicated enough to show up to this thing was probably pretty hardcore and had made the jump to veganism already. Anyway, it was an enjoyable time. I guess that's all I have to say today. Afterwards I came home and made some tasty food, but I'll save that for tomorrow. Or something.
Do you guys have these sorts of festivals where you live? Do you usually attend? I'm going to tag this post "Holiday," 'cuz this counts, right?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Anti-Allergy Salad

Saladgeries? Sallergies? Seasonal Allergies? Slurring yr words due to allergy medication? Well I'm not. I mumble all the time, regardless. I also hate taking medicine if I don't have have have to and would much rather rely on the bounties of nature - and eat while I'm at it, because that's my favorite thing to do.
I borrowed the Everything Easy Cleanse Book from work the other day and have been going through it a bit. It is divided into chapters of cleanses with various aims (a cleanse for healthy skin, a cleanse for better digestion, etc.) and I focused first on the cleanse for better respiration.
As a kid I had bad hay fever and allergies (as well as an severe case of weird) but they haven't been so bad in recent years. However, I heard that this is one of the worst allergy seasons in a long time and I can feel it. My symptoms are mostly wheezing and coughing. Here are a few tips I picked up from the book that might help if you're affected similarly. My eyes have been itchy too, but I've just taken to rubbing them angrily to help in that department.*

-Citrus fruits contain liminoids, which protect lung tissue and reduce mucus build-up
-The omega 3 oils in walnuts (and flax seeds and soy beans) inhibit chemicals that trigger airway restriction
-Magnesium improves overall lung function
-The caspaicin in hot peppers is a natural decongestant and expectorant
-Certain compounds found in thyme and oregano have been found to loosen phlegm and soothe bronchial spasms.
-Raw, local honey may help with allergies because it contains the local pollen and helps your immunity.

I came up with a cooling chopped salad that incorporates some of these tips:

Anti-Allergy Salad
(that is, unless, you're allergic to any of the ingredients) (that's Greg's joke)
serves 4 as a side

1 small yellow squash, chopped
1/2 de-seeded cucumber, chopped
1 1/2 c frozen and thawed lima beans
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
juice from one lemon
1 TBS honey (or agave)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp crumbled dried thyme
dash cayenne pepper

-Mix all your vegetables together.
-Throw in sunflower seeds, lemon, honey, and spices. Let sit to marinate or eat immediately!

This was pretty tasty, but only as good as its components! Use this as an excuse to support yr local farmer's markets. Organic and fresh as possible mean the nutrients in these raw veg are at their peak. This is high in fiber, protein, and magnesium and the lemon and herbs give it a nice kick. Sub edamame for the limas if you want and I bet a bit of chopped garlic would be nice in here too (garlic also may help prevent respiratory ailments - but it's all around good for you)

*Oh, and not to insult yr intelligence or anything, but I'm not a doctor. You guys know that, right? I'm a kid who works in a bookstore and reads a lot of nutrition books. I'm not diagnosing or pretending to cure anything here, but hey, at the very least, you get a tasty salad.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cookbook Club 3.1: Lemon-Cranberry Muffins

I'm taking part in Lindsay's Cookbook Club again for this round's book - the loverly Vegan Yum Yum - but have been seriously slacking after having bookmarked about 12 recipes to attempt. I'm gonna give myself a "It's OK, We Love You Anyway" pass on that, though, because it seems like most people who wanted to participate have let it slip a little too. How come you guys didn't remind me?? Ah, it's ok. I love you anyway.
My eats were pretty typical today: Blueberry smoothie, collard wraps, salad.

I also snacked on the last of Happy Herbivore's nacho cheese with some sourdough pretzel pieces but the photo borders on obscene. Gwoss. But I assume you're here for the dessert: Lauren Ulm's Lemon-Cranberry Muffins.

These were easy to whip up with things I usually have in my pantry/fridge: dried cranberries and lemons. The dried cranberries are plumped up a little bit by being simmered with water and then drained before being added to the dough, which I thought was a little funny: usually you either use fresh (frozen) cranberries if you don't want the dried cranberry texture. She includes almond extract, as well as suggests using almond milk (I used rice milk instead), which also gave a subtle almond flavor to the muffins. I may actually have preferred for the lemon flavor to shine through a bit more, but I usually find almond flavoring a bit overpowering. Maybe it's just me. They cooked up in the exact amount of time she said they would and were perfect with a crunchy top and a nice crumbly, moist inside. It almost felt as if there were a bit of cornmeal in the mix (there wasn't but it probably wouldn't be bad)
I'm a big muffin fan and would probably make these again, maybe cutting back on the oil a bit, using less almond extract, less sugar, and more lemon - or at least fresh cranberries to both skip the sort of extra step and to add a bit more tang.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

15 Minutes of Mom

Happy Mothers' Day! I believe that's the correct punctuation, as I push my glasses up my nose.
I went to church, got annoying church songs stuck in my head for the rest of the day, came home and walked around the hood for about 15 minutes with my mom and that was the end of it. She's a wonderful lady but we're both pretty busy and I'm a terrible daughter. I love you mommy; I'll cook you something soon.
This was breakfast for G and I: (Well, he had his own - we didn't have to share)

Spinach, banana, frozen strawberries, 1/2 inch chunk of ginger, soy milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and maybe 1 tsp. raw honey.
Lunch was collard wraps:

Stuffed with Happy Herbivore's nacho cheese, avocado, hot sauce (the trifecta!), carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and yellow squash.

I also had more of the avocado, hot sauce, and nacho cheese with some chips to round out the experience.
Then I re-organized the pantry (though you can't really tell. I think I just shifted some dried peas to the left) and cleaned up the fridge. I don't like to waste food but I am happy to have tossed a few things that were probably inedible at this point. In an effort to use up a few odds and ends that were sitting in the fridge, I chopped up a withering beet with some of the summer squash, tossed it with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, intending to roast it for dinner. However, when dinner came around, I didn't feel like roasting the veg and just threw some spinach in the dish and called it a salad while I cooked up some fusili. An odd choice, I guess, but I'm trying to clear up some room in said pantry.

Salad and fusili, topped with homemade pasta sauce (to clear out the fridge) and a bit of pesto (cuz, really, if you've got it, flaunt it.) Watch that fusili clip!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I've been itching to cook something for the last few days but have had dinner party leftovers to use up, collard wraps to simply wrap, and one random Annie Chun noodle bowl to eat. I even turned on the oven the other night, wanting to bake cookies but then sadly turned it off, realizing I was out of the canola oil called for.
Then I thought, why do I need oil to bake anyway? It seemed the perfect time to break in the Happy Herbivore Cookbook I won from Lacey a month or two ago.
It wasn't until tonight, though, coming home from work and seeing a bag of tortilla chips on the kitchen table that I made something from it. Still in the Cinco de Mayo vibe, I guess, I wanted nachos. Making the cheese sauce was step number one and actually turned out to be the only step since I thought I had other things to put on the nachos but didn't really. No beans, only kalamata olives, no corn, no avocado...but I plugged along, thinking the sauce would be alright with vegetables as a dipping sauce at the least.
What I've heard about the book is so true: with a few minor substitutions, everything the cheese recipe called for was already in my pantry, it came together really quickly, and was totally delicious! Oils be damned! This also worked out way better for me than V'con's Cheezey Sauce, which was a little too drippy for my taste. I served it on a handful of chips and had a salad on the side because, lets face it, nachos aren't a meal.

Close up on the glom:

Anyway, this was a totally successful first recipe from what seems to be a very promising book. I'm excited to cook a lot more from this! I do enjoy shopping for special ingredients sometimes and planning elaborate meals but it's nice to be able to whip vegan cheese sauce up in a matter of minutes, no pre-planning required (though it would have been nice if I had some black beans and salsa on hand). Another reason I am excited to use this book is the clean-up. My least favorite part of washing most prep dishes is getting the oil off of the bowls! Yuck! I might be a little obsessive with it, but it seems impossible to ever get an oily bowl clean. Think of what it must be doing on our insides!
I am already thinking of baking something from it for Mother's Day tomorrow but may hold off on that. My mom isn't quite that vegan. Yet! Happy Mother's Day to all you out there, though.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Vegan Mayo-ish

I don't doubt that some of you are celebrating Cinco de Mayo in a very clever, cute, and delicious way (Jenny, I'm looking at you). I can't even keep track of how many recipes I bookmarked and then realized I'm too cheap to buy something for the novelty of a meal. And we still have leftovers. Kudos to those of you who made something interesting.
Breakfast was just breakfast, no huevos rancheros here.

Plain soy yogurt, goji berries, sliced banana, pumpkin seeds with powdered ginger. Irish breakfast tea.
Lunch was - dare I say it - Italian. Didn't even have the 20 minutes apparently to make and tote along tacos.

Mixed greens with orzo salad and pesto.
Dinner, I tried. But not too hard. We had one last avocado from the dinner party that I wanted to use before it shriveled up (eew) as well as an open half-can of chickpeas. Sara convinced me it was okay to eat chickpeas instead of black beans today. I even almost made this corn salsa before realizing I used up all my frozen corn.

Mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas (straight from the can, not even refried), red pepper, carrot with guac on top.
So, whatever. Happy Cinco de Mayo. I might drink a beer but probably not some Tecate or Corona. I enjoy my beers a little darker and I enjoy my whiskey more than beer. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Appliances Need Not Apply

I'm here today to talk to you about appliances. The ones that I don't use.
Breakfast was superdelicious, yes one word, due to my oven. G and I don't have a toaster which is funny because it's the most basic of basic and instead we have a spiralizer, a waffle iron, and a popcorn maker. I don't eat much bread anymore so when I do it has to REALLY COUNT and toast is a hundred times better than plain bread. It's a scientific fact! It also helps when you have a really great bread. I used Trader Joe's Three Seed Honey Loaf which isn't vegan (due to the honey) but is amazing. My brother introduced me to it and I had a small piece and had been thinking about it ever since. The three seeds alluded to are sesame, poppy, and fennel! I intend to make a similar loaf without honey reeeallly soon. Anyway, I topped the toasted bread with melty Earth Balance and chopped Smyrna figs. Fig and fennel is a recently discovered flavor combination that I find surprisingly delicious.

I also ate a banana and smushed the remaining half onto the bread with the fig and butter and was completely content. Until I spilled coffee all over my bag and was almost late for work. That was annoying. But whatever! Delicious! I will keep you posted on the bread.
Lunch was obviously a salad.

Spinach, broccoli, red pepper, cucumber, carrot, snap peas topped with homemade hummus, balsamic, and pepper.
Dinner I'm a little embarrassed about. I went grocery shopping the other day for one or two things and for some reason threw an Annie Chun's teriyaki bowl into the basket, despite having leftovers galore at home and the fact that I rarely enjoy readymade dishes like this. The stuff is all-natural, so it could be worse, I guess, but it certainly isn't healthy and I'm humorously baffled as to what made me buy it. And what made me eat it when I have so many leftovers? Did someone post a subliminal message recently about these noodles? It was okay. Never again, though.

I tried to soup it up a little with more tofu on top and some red pepper flakes. I also used only about 1/3 of the sauce to cut back on sodium. I made a quick salad to go with it and topped it with some Asian-y sesame-ginger dressing that G's mom brought for us. But anyway, this was the second meal that I took the long way with: We actually DO have a microwave but I don't like to use it. Especially microwaving the plastic container the noodles came in. Eesh. So I plain old boiled water, like the frontierswoman I am.

How do you guys feel about microwaves? Do you use them? I saw a post by someone that her microwave is built into the (rental) house so she can't take it out, and instead uses it for storage! What about other appliances? Do you have a favorite?