Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few of My Favourite Things....

Sunflower Kitchen Hummus

These delectable dips can be found throughout the Greater Toronto area and in Ottawa as well as Vancouver and Victoria - My absolute favourites are the Spicy humms and Roasted Garlic and Onion hummus but really you can't go wrong. For those who don't know hummus is a good protein and calcium source so it's a double win!


Monday, October 25, 2010

World Go Vegan Week!!! Celebrate with Vegan Indian Dinner

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend, mine was pretty well filled between a Writing for the Web workshop (I do it because I care <3) and a surprise houseguest on Saturday night 45 mins after arriving home from said workshop. I dazzled my houseguest with soup leftovers and a veggie pasta.

In honor of World Go Vegan Week I'm posting this recipe that will please the tastbuds of vegans and nonvegans alike.

So yesterday I wanted to make a meal that was nice but not gonna actually take too much effort - I mean Sunday is a day of rest and all right? I decided to go half from scratch & half from a package and make Indian food for dinner last night. I'm pretty pleased with the results so here is the scratch recipe and I'll post the other below.

Indian Style Spinach & Potatoes

3 medium white/yellow potatoes, cubed
3 cups chopped spinach or a 5oz container of baby spinach
1 onion diced
1 tsp ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp lemon juice
1 chili pepper, minced/ 1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp margarine
3/4 cup water
salt to taste

Rinse your spinach well in cold water (especially if its not organic!) - remove thick stems if using regular spinach and roughly chop. Set aside.

Heat margarine over low-medium heat in a medium sized pan and add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add garlic, ginger and minced chilies and fry for another 30-45 seconds. Add turmeric, fry briefly then add onion.

After sauteeing the onion for a minute drop in the cubed potatoes and stir-fry for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring everything occasionally letting them brown and turn a nice golden colour.

Add spinach and 3/4 cup of water to the pan and cover. Turn heat to lower setting and cook for another 15 minutes or so until the potatoes have softened up.

When they're done salt to your liking and give a squeeze of lemon or add a teaspoon of lemon juice and stir.

I served this up with the biryani rice from the next post. It was really yummy but if you are cooking for more than two or three people you might want to double the recipe.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall: The Saga Continues....

So we have had a lot of Canadian weather that couldn't make up its mind of late but finally we are settling into chilly nights which means more soup!!! After a trip to the farmer's market on Saturday I have a bevvy of sweet potato beauties just begging to jump in a pot.

As the proud owner of a replacement Blackberry I am back in the business of posting recipes for you my loyal readers ;) I've tinkered around with it a bit and while its no Canon DSLR (a girl can dream) I think it'll do the trick for now. Or hey you can take me on my word - the recipe I am about to bestow upon you is sure to impress your nearest and dearest.... or maybe those you'd like to be nearer and dearer to this winter!

Another word on these sweet, sweet, sweet potatoes, the particular farmer at my farmer's market offers a variety of sweet potatoes so this time around I had the pleasure of using two different kinds. I've made this before with both varieties, only one or regular sweet potato and whatever squash might be handy, so don't have a breakdown if you can't get ahold of them (I'd feel terrible about it)

Without further ado.......

My Cozy Fall Chickpea Stew

1 medium sized white/yellow potato, cubed
1 carrot, diced
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 medium white sweet potato, cubed
1 14oz can chickpeas
2 bay leafs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Harvest Sun herbal bouillon cube (optional but really adds if you can find it)
salt & pepper to taste

I like the veggies in this to soften it makes the soup really reach so I steam the cubed veggies (all about 1-inch diameter) for 20 minutes before I start assembling the soup.

Keep the water they were steamed in and add another 4-5 cups of water and a herbal broth cube (or 1 cup veg. broth & 4 cups water) to a medium sized pot. Add veggies and turn heat up to medium.

Once the water comes to a boil add ground spices and chickpeas - the vegetables should be softening up so they might break apart a bit as you stir, definite bonus as it makes the soup seem so much richer!

After you've stirred in the chickpeas add the 2 bay leaves and allow the soup to simmer for another 20-25 minutes.

Check to make sure the chickpeas are cooked, if not give a little more time - remember to use canned chickpeas, you are gonna have some very untempting soup if you cooked dried chickpeas for 25 minutes!


If you have the fortune of finding them, the bouillon cubes I use look like so:

Happy Cooking :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tastes like fall.....

So the phone seems to have taken a permanent leave of absence and there is no sense in crying over spilled almond milk. This means I am attempting to take pictures with Photobooth off of my macbook (I will pretend you are impressed by my commitment to posting if not by the picture quality). Normally I'm a from scratch muffin maker but I found a box of corn muffin mix in a cranny of my cupboard that I had neglected to peruse. I must have picked it up at Loblaw's:

The recipe does call for an egg but I used one egg replacer instead as well as plain rice milk with a tsp of apple cider vinegar in lieu of the cup of water (mix them together and let it sit for a few minutes). I also like my muffins muffin sized so I made 11 instead of 12.

Results are in.......

I'm munching on one of these with a cold glass of rice milk right now and I have no complaints. The egg replacer and vinegar-milk combo must have done the trick because this corny baby is fluffy and delicious. I give it a solid thumbs up though next time I'd def. make things a little more interesting with some fruit or maybe chopped jalapeños woulda been amazing. Either way these will be pretty sweet just toasted with a little margarine or to accompany the soup you mighta been hoping to make.

Oh did someone say soup? Funny you should mention that..... Dinner tonight is a lentil sweet potato soup with tempeh croutons and corn muffins. Weird how that worked out right?

It was cold and rainy today and nothing fights the sniffles like fortifying your body with everything it needs to keep you running tip top. So check it out....

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Tempeh Croutons

1 1/2 tbsp veg. oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
2 1/2 cups peeled & cubed sweet potato
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

In a pot over low-medium heat, warm up the oil then add the onions. I wanted them to caramelise so I sauteed them for 10 minutes, stirring several times until they really softened and got golden. Put the ginger, cinnamon & chili flakes in and saute for another minute before following that with the carrots and sweet potato and sauteeing for another 5 minutes.

Mix in the lentils and pour in the 4 cups of veggie broth. Bring everything to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the stove work its magic for another 25 minutes or so until everything looks nice and softened. Remove bay leaf before next step! Use a food processor or an immersion blender (I don't know what I'd do without mine) to puree the soup. Return the soup to pot and mix in the maple syrup and lemon juice - Don't leave these guys out they really ring the flavours together. Soup's on!
Should serve 4

Tempeh Croutons:
1 cup tempeh cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp soy sauce (I used Braggs)
1 tablespoon of veg. broth (I used a dash of Herbamare veg. salt with a 1tbsp water)
1 tbsp canola/olive oil

Mix all ingredients (except tempeh) in a bowl. Toss cubes in the bowl until they are well coated in the mixture.

Line the tempeh up on a tray covered in foil and pop them in your toaster oven (or oven) at 375 for 20 minutes. Give them a shake halfway through so they toast properly.

Drop a few on top of your soup or throw them in a salad because they'd be even more at home there.

I love fall.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Things you just shouldn't have to go without

So on my list of things is my phone :( which has been MIA since Thursday. Part my carelessness, part some jerk who stole my phone at the gym results in no camera ability so today instead of posting a recipe  I am going to rattle on about one thing no convert should have to go without. I'm sure there are those of you out there that long for a good chocolate milk substitute. I mean flavour people! 

I find most brands of rice, soy, hemp etc. just don't make the cut. Yes they can be tasty (or lets be honest, not very tasty at all - I'm looking at you hemp) but the one brand that rings my bell and accompanies muffins & cookies like a champ is looking right at you! May I introduce....

Honestly I've gotten funny looks for the way I savour a cup of this chocolatey goodness. I drink this bad boy solo, with baked goods or in my coffee (words cannot describe). The vanilla is great as well but we're talking chocolate milk here and this one knocks the others out. I bet even real chocolate milk is a little uncomfortable knowing that Almond Breeze has joined the ranks.

You could grab it unsweetened but thats just silly. We're talking chocolate here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Veritable Feast or "How I Turned A Bunch of Scraps into Dinner"

I'd like to start by saying I don't often use fake meats but that would make it seem like I'm hatin on those who have a thang for the veggie dogs, sausages, bacon, baloney, tofurkey and veggie ground. Let's be honest, we weren't all born vegetarians and if someone is going to choose between a hot dog and a tofurkey dog and go veg then who am I to cast a stone? *Gets off soap box

So I like so many recent university grads am floundering my way through the work world on temp work and odd jobs until we find that perfect job our Ivy League diplomas promised. (Work experience? Well no sir, but I could write you a twenty page paper no problem...) That being said, sometimes the wallet gets a little thin so I found myself tonight looking at the fridge wondering what the hell to conjure up.

I had half a pack of veggie breakfast sausage leftover from my weekend attempt at brunch (half success, half failed tofu omelette that turned into scrambled mush) a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeños, a couple of mushroom an onion and 3/4 of a can of cannelini beans I feared were about to go south so I decided on a minestone (-ish?) soup and spanish rice!

I had a box of spanish rice hanging around at the back of my cupboard but rice isn't exactly a meal so here is how it went........

Veggie Spanish Rice

1 package of Spanish Rice Mix (Whatever brand tickles your fancy)
1 tsp ketchup
1/2 Green Bell Pepper diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup green peas
8 grape tomatoes quartered (yeah thats all I had, I'd recommend almost doubling that amount)
4 Veggie Breakfast Links (again if you have more use'em!)
chili flakes (to taste I used about 1/2 teaspoon

Oil up a pan with about a teaspoon of oil and once it warms up to medium heat add the diced onion. After the onion softens up you are gonna want to add the garlic, give it a stir and throw in that bell pepper (colour really doesn't matter, I would used red or otherwise if choice was an option) and cook for 5 mins or so stirring a few times. Add that tsp of ketchup, the peas and tomatoes and chili flakes. Follow your rice recipe from here on in......

In a small pan with a thin layer of oil fry up the sausages until they are niiiiiiice and brown (I've never eaten a real one but I'd like to think that all fried up these bad boys look pretty authentic). Pat dry with paper towel to soak up the oil and slice into 1/2 thick slices. I allocate two sliced links to each serving of rice. Had about half the rice left over.

This was pretty damn tasty so I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for this.

Minestrone-ish Tomato Vegetable Soup

1 can diced tomatoes (Eden Organic Diced tomatoes w. jalapeños)
4 white mushrooms, sliced (I'd use 6-8 if you have cremini or baby bella would be awesome too)
2 carrots diced or cut up how you like! 
1/2 onion
1 cup canned cannelini beans (not uncooked beans!)
1/3 cauliflower, small florets
1/2 - 1 cup chopped green beans
2 cups veggie broth ( I used one mushroom broth cube and some frozen I made from scraps)
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic minced
pinch of basil & oregano
salt to taste - I love veggie salt by Herbamare
1 tbsp olive oil

In a medium sized pot warm up the oil on low-medium heat. Toss in the onions, allow to soften up for a few mins then follow with the garlic. Let them sizzle for another minute then add the carrots, cauliflower, green beans and mushrooms. Cook for a few more minutes as is before adding the basil, oregano and bay leaf. 

Pour in the diced tomatoes and the 2 cups of veggie broth. I follow this up with another canful of water to get the remnant out of the can so I don't have to scrape out the stubborn tomatoes (I have bested them - yes I am cleverer than your average diced tomato). Turn the heat up a bit and once things come to a boil add the beans and lower to a simmer. I like to smoosh up some of the beans to thicken the soup. All this involves is squeezing a small handful into a fist before dropping them in. 

I like to let my soup simmer for ages but you can keep it to 30 mins if you are impatient but I like to keep it thickening for an extra 15 minutes or so. Let your stomach be your guide........

So thats all for tonight..... some day in the future I'll buy a camera so that the pics are higher quality than my phone renders them.

Keep it pimp!

It Begins!

So here we are. Where do I start? This is my second foray into the blogosphere and I'm planning on being infinitely more faithful this time around.... promise

As we go I'm sure my motives and direction might change a bit but I guess I'll lay it out right here what I'm thinking (It is my blog after all...)

I became a vegetarian about 3 or 4 years ago and it wasn't until I did that I really learned to cook. My first two years of university had been all about falafel, spagetti and chicken. (I stopped eating red meat when I was 7 or 8 - Charlotte's Web did a number on me). I don't know whether I was trying to convince myself that my palate could hack being vegetarian or impress others but somewhere along the line I realised that cooking vegetarian meals resulted in far more impressive results than my omnivore days had ever produced. So peep the title guys this is all about how pimp it is to be a vegan :)

I am gonna try to post on the regular and we'll see where this goes but I'm gonna try and mix it up between some of my fav dishes to the most awesome veg stuff I've come across in my travels. So welcome and keep on being pimp like a vegan!