Monday, December 22, 2008

Squash and Beans w/Roasted Red Peppers

The squash and beans turned out really well, and assuming I ever manage to find the frozen squash again, yes, I'll make it again, and probably with no changes...imagine that, eh? Sherrie, I saw your comment, and I had thought about doing a soup, but decided not to. But! There is a ziploc bag of this stuff in the freezer, so, who knows? It might turn into a soup yet, lol.

So this is how I did it. Um, first of all, you need to know what kind of squash I used, right? Too bad, because all the package said was "squash." Period. Now, because of the thick, creamy texture, and the bright orange-yellow color, I'm guessing it might very well be from a Hubbard squash, because it tastes just like the Hubbards my granddad used to grow. It's not zucchini or yellow crookneck, but that's about all I can really tell you. Sorry...sometimes it be that way, lol.

I used a can of navy beans, and since most canned beans aren't usually tender enough to suit me(I like things squooshy, I think I've mentioned that before, right?), I added some water to the pan I put the beans in, and let it simmer for almost an hour. By this time the squash had thawed somewhat, and I mixed in 1/8th tsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. While the beans were simmering, I diced about half of a medium yellow onion, and let it soften in a skillet with some olive oil, and then diced up some roasted red peppers(from a jar, btw), and let those get looked about a quarter cup each of onion and peppers. Then I added the beans and liquid, which by now wasn't much at all, and the squash, let it all sit there and marry nicely and get good and hot, I guess for about 20 minutes, stirring every once in a while so it wouldn't scorch, as it was very thick by now.

That's all there is to it. Very, very good, and not too awfully complicated. That and a baked potato made a lovely meal that night.

Yesterday, all I could think of all day at work was getting home and making a big ol' pot of veggie chili...actually vegan, except for the margarine I used. To be totally vegan, just use oil. I made the chili just like my other two times, except that this time, I crumbled up 80z. of tempeh, and let it get all nice and golden brown and crispy, and because the tempeh has a bitter taste...I think, anyway...I drizzled about, oh, I guess two tsp. of honey over it. Then I stirred the tempeh into the pot of chili, and let the whole thing simmer for close to an hour. Dynamite!!!! It was fantastic, I have to tell ya, it really was. With it, I made sourdough toast, buttered, and also spread with chevre(goat cheese, very earthy in flavor, spreads like a dream). Another lovely meal.

I didn't check my mail Saturday, so I did yesterday, and lo and behold, I had a gift from a friend, of $40 cash and a $25 gift card for Barnes and Noble!!!! I can buy Veganomicon," and have enough left over for maybe a couple more books besides. Praise the Lord!!!! God bless that woman, it's like she's been reading my mind, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

JB's Chocolate/Coconut/Banana Pie with Rice Crust

And it didn't turn out as yummy as I had thought it would, sigh. I'm quite disappointed in it, in fact. After thinking about it, I realized that when it comes to chocolate, I'm much too much of a purist to like a pie with so many other flavors in it. The rice crust was totally an experiment, and I learned something: It don't work, lol. Next time it will be a plain ol' chocolate pie with a graham cracker crust.

The pie isn't actually bad, not at all. It just has too many things going on to suit me, that's all. The rice crust was made just like a graham cracker crust, but with cooked rice...butter and brown sugar...patted into the pan, which was a 9" round cake pan. Then I made the chocolate: blended one package of silken tofu, 1/2C unsweetened cocoa powder, 2/3C sugar, 3tsp. vanilla extract, 3Tbs. of cornstarch all together until it was smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes, I'd say. While it was all whirling merrily in the blender, I patted the crust into the pan, and sliced a large banana over the crust. When I stopped the blender, I poured about one cup of sweetened grated coconut into the mixture, stirred it all in with a rubber spatula, and poured about half of it into the pan, covering the bananas. Then I sliced another banana on top of that, and finished pouring the rest of the chocolate mix on top of those bananas. Then I sprinkled a good handful of the grated coconut over the top, and put the whole thing in a 325ºF pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. The 45 minutes, which was a guess, was the perfect timing for this pie, as it came out exactly like I had hoped it would: solid, but not burned.

Now. Do I like it? Not too much, no. Will I make it again? Nope, I sure won't. Will I try a plain chocolate pie sometime? You bet your sweet whatever I will, lol. And, I will use more chocolate and less sugar, too.

For dinner last night, I went into my beloved freezer and pulled out the last of the cabbage/tomato/sour cream concoction I made, um, last week? I think so. Anyway, I heated that up, baked a potato, and heated up some frozen winter squash I'd found at Kroger this past Wednesday. It's been a long, long time since I've had that kind of squash, and truly enjoyed it, and there's enough left for another meal with it. YUM!

So, I'm thinking that possibly I'll use that leftover squash tonight to make a sorta/kinda/but-not-really succotash for dinner. What I'm thinking is to drain and rinse a can of Great Northern beans, and mix those and the squash together, along with some roasted red peppers and some onions. Maybe. Not sure yet, but will let you know later on, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

JB's PDG Tempeh Gravy

I made the tempeh gravy Tuesday evening, and was very pleased with the results. And, as always, learned something. What I learned about the tempeh was that when I'm trying to brown it, do it by itself, don't do it with the onions in the pan with it. It's too easy to end up with burnt onions, but not nice and crispy tempeh crumbles. Having said that, I'll explain how I made this gravy...and without any recipe, btw.

First I put about a tablespoonful of evoo and one of margarine in a big skillet...the one I have is non-stick, but if you don't have one, well, don't sweat it. I diced up half a medium onion, and an 8-oz. package of tempeh, and when the oil and margarine were good and hot, put the onion and tempeh in the skillet, and just let them brown, stirring fairly often, probably for about ten minutes or so. During the last few minutes, I added a good teaspoonful of minced garlic, and some salt and pepper. The tempeh seemed to have sucked up all the grease, so I added about another tablespoonful of oil, this time using safflower oil, as I didn't really want the evoo taste in the gravy. Then I put about an 1/8C of all-purpose flour over the mixture, stirred it in well, and let it cook for a couple minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Then I added about a cup or so of soymilk...really don't know quite how much, just until I thought it was a little too thin, because as it cooks, it's going to thicken up. Brought the whole shebang to a gentle simmer, let it simmer for just a few minutes, and there it was: tempeh gravy!

Did I like it? Well, it was ok, and I'll probably make it again sometime, but believe it or not, the next time I do, I'm going to add a few squirts of honey to it. There was a slightly bitter taste in it, and I think a little honey would be just the thing to get rid of it.

Yesterday at Kroger, I bought another package of tempeh, and I also bought a honey-based bbq sauce to try, so one of these days I'm going to try bbq tempeh again. Don't hold your breath waiting for this one, tho, as it's going to be awhile before I do. Tempeh just isn't one of my favorite things, altho I'm still hoping to find a way to use that I really, really, really like.

One of my plans for either today or my next day off is to try to make a Chocolate-Banana-Coconut Pie, with...ready for this?!?!?...a Rice Crust. Over on the foodieblogroll, the ingredients for the January Royal Foodie Joust(RFJ from now on)are coconut or coconut milk, rice, and bananas. My immediate reaction to those was "PUDDING!" Then I gave it some more thought, and decided that maybe a pie could work, too. So, I bought the grated coconut and some bananas, as well as some more silken tofu, and I already have the cocoa powder and rice. Sooooooo, I'll let you know how it turns out. Seems to me that it should be absolutely rich, creamy, and good!!!

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Punjabi-Style Mustard Greens

Lousy day at work...all because of one lazy co-worker...but, that really doesn't have much to do with food and cooking, I guess, so I don't think I'll vent about it. Instead, I'll talk about food, and a new recipe I tried, Saturday evening? Mm, I think so.

Thursdays, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution has a section called "Food Guide," with a few ads, what's the best produce in the stores, nutritional advice, and recipes. This week I found a recipe called "Punjabi-Style Mustard Greens." I wanted it. I really, really, really wanted it. Well, as usual, I didn't have "exactly" what the recipe called for, lol, so I just did the best I could, and I was quite pleased with the results, altho it wasn't quite spicy enough to suit me. So, here it is:

Punjabi-Style Mustard Greens

2Tbs.clarified butter or vegetable oil 1/2 small onion, chopped
1tsp.garam masala 1/8tsp.crushed or ground fennel seed
1Tbs.chopped fresh ginger 4 garlic cloves, minced 1/2tsp. ground turmeric
1 1/2lbs.fresh mustard greens, chopped 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 1 lime or lemon Salt to taste

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the onion, garam masala and fennel. Cook until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and turmeric and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the mustard greens. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture eveaporates. Add the tomatoes and lemon or lime and cook until the tomatoes soften, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Ok, now you have the proper recipe, and now I'll tell you how I did it, with what I had to work with. I didn't have any mustard greens, so I used half a bag of frozen turnip greens. Since I didn't have any Roma tomatoes, I used one can, drained well, of diced tomatoes. I've never been able to find garam masala at Kroger, so I used curry powder instead, because according to a couple cookbooks I've read, this is ok. And, because every description of fennel says it tastes like licorice, which I hate with a passion, I do NOT have any fennel...nor will I ever. Never, I say, never!!! And, the only ginger I had was ground ginger, so I had to use that. Now, even with all these substitutions, the greens were really excellent...but needed more spice, as I said earlier. I ate them with a big baked potato,and some of the leftover lentils, and enjoyed every bite of it.

Sunday night I fixed the Alfredo Noodles again. This time I actually had some mushrooms, so I put them in, like the recipe calls for, and, I used a little more coconut milk than the recipe calls for. It was wonderful, and I ate the whole thing, lol. The recipe for this is somewhere on this blog, and I apologize, but I don't know how to link to it, sigh.

Last night, I pulled the last of the cauliflower/potato soup out of the freezer, and had that with biscuits. Also a very enjoyable meal.

Tonight? Well, I'm not sure, but I'm thinking about trying to make a gravy with tempeh, the rest of the mustard(ok, ok, turnip)greens, and mashed potatoes. I haven't had mashed potatoes in a long, long time. Even if I don't like the tempeh gravy, I can still eat enough of the 'taters and greens to fill up, so I'm certainly not going to go hungry tonight. grocery day. My Christmas bonus check showed up yesterday, at work, so I can have a good time shopping, lol. Always nice to know I'm not going to run short before I'm thru, which seems to happen to me a lot lately.

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crunchy Granola

According to an email from foodieblogroll today, the widget is on my blog, but I'll be darned if I can see it, lol. I went over to their site and sure enough, found my blog listed with the others. Right now I don't understand, but I'm sure not going to complain, and am going to get in touch with Sherrie( and ask her to help me...Sherrie, I saw your comment, so thank you, I appreciate you. A LOT!!!

Yesterday I kinda went crazy in the kitchen, but since it was chilly, grey, very, very rainy(which was wonderful and we still need lots more rain), it was a perfect day to do that. I made a batch of homemade granola, another tofu eggnog cheesecake, and then for dinner, a pot of Cauliflower/Potato Soup. There's enough soup left for dinner(do you say dinner or supper, btw? I used to say supper, but now it's dinner...don't know why.)tonight, plus enough to freeze for another time, a time when I won't want to cook.

The granola is from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman, one of the books on my wish list. So, without further ado, here's his recipe:

Crunchy Granola

6C rolled oats(not instant or quick-cooking)
2C mixed nuts and seeds, like sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds
1C shredded coconut 1tsp.ground cinnamon, or to taste Dash salt
1/2 to 1C honey or maple syrup, or to taste
1C.raisins or chopped dried fruit.

1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
2. Put a 9X13-inch roasting pan over medium-low heat(put the pan over 2 burners if it's convenient). Add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to change color and become fragrant, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the nuts and seeds and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the coconut and cook, stirring for 2 minutes more. Add the cinnamon, salt, and sweetener, stir, and put in the oven. Bakde for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. Add the dried fruit, stir,cool on a rack, continuing to stir once in a while until the granola reaches room temperature. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator; it will keep indefinitely.

A couple of his variations: use 1/2C coconut milk with 1/4 or more honey; add 2 Tbs. vanilla extract to the sweeteners. Omit the coconut if you like.

So, there's the recipe, and here's how I ended up making it. I didn't have any shredded coconut, so I added the 1/2C coconut milk to the honey, for a total of 1C. I also added the two Tbs. vanilla...I love vanilla. I used cashews for the nuts, they were all I had, and I used two snack-size boxes of raisins, as that was all I had, also. My 9X13 pan turned out to be too flimsy to heat over the burners, even on very low heat, and started to scorch the oats, so they didn't really get toasted the way they should've been. Next time I will use a heavy skillet. I will also leave the granola in the oven longer than 20 minutes, as it didn't come out dry and crispy, just sort of damp and chewy. But, it's still good, and since I had everything already here, it didn't cost me anything, and I have a lot of cereal now. Oh, I will also buy some shredded coconut when I make this again, and then will only use the honey for the sweetener.

As for the soup, I didn't use a recipe, just cooked it by gosh and by gorry, lol. I finely diced one large carrot, half a good-sized onion, and one large stalk of celery. While these cooked gently in about two tbs. of evoo and margarine, I peeled and diced three medium potatoes, and added those to the mix, along with a good tsp. of minced garlic. Then I added a 16-oz. bag of frozen cauliflower, and a 32-oz.carton of low-sodium vegetable broth, let it come to a boil, and simmered it until everything was very soft, about 30 minutes. When the veggies were all soft, I used my immersion blender to puree it, and there ya are: soup. Thick, good, nice and hot, and perfect for a rainy, chilly evening.

Another thing I've prepared this week is Cashew Butter. As much as I love peanut butter, it hates me with a passion, so when I get the urge for a PB&J, I make cashew butter. It's really easy, too. All I do is dump a can of cashew pieces into my blender, and start off with about 4Tbs. of vegetable oil, in this case, I used safflower. I use the pulse button for a few turns, to chop the nuts, and then change to blend. The hardest part about this is having to continuously scrape down the sides of the blender, as the blender will reach a point where it's just spinning, all the nuts and oil have been slung onto the sides. So, that's the time to start adding more oil, a tbs. at a time, until it reaches the consistency you'd like. Mine was very crunchy, as I like it that way. And I enjoyed several cashew butter and strawberry jam sammiches!!! CB&J's, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My blog has been accepted for foodieblogroll, which means I have to show their widget. Ok, I am more than willing to show the widget, but I don't think I've done this correctly, sigh. I am sooooooooooo computer illiterate, dagnabit. Even if this has gone thru, it's not going to be in the right place, I don't think. Somebody, anybody, help?!?!?! Thanks.

Ok, it didn't work at all, sigh. HELP!! I will be back tomorrow to try again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday evening, and I didn't do any cooking yesterday at all. Dinner was a bowl of granola with vanilla soymilk, lol. Hey, it was what I wanted, and it sure was good.

Sunday night I had lentils and biscuits. No real recipe here, but basically, I heated some olive oil and butter in a saucepan, and sauteed some onions, garlic, and finely diced carrots, for about five minutes or so. Then I added about a quarter pound of lentils, a bay leaf, and six...I think...cups of water with two vegetable buillion(don't know how to spell it)cubes, and let it all simmer for about 45 minutes or so, until the lentils were nice and soft and the carrots were done. When I ladled it into my bowl, I added a good-sized chunk of butter(ok, ok, so it's really margarine), and ate it with hot, buttered biscuits. Pretty good stuff, too. I've been known to cook the lentils and have a baked potato with them, instead of biscuits. There's still some in the 'fridge, which may be dinner tonight, but I really don't think so.

I have some mushrooms, coconut milk, and unflavored chevre(goat cheese), and seems to me I can come up with some kind of creamy, buttery sauce for pasta, with a green veggie on the side. Comfort food to the nth degree, seriously.

My last post I mentioned the Fat Free Vegan site again, without an URL, but I have the URL so you can visit her site if you wish. It's a great site, I really think you'll like it. Here goes:
At least, I hope I've got it right. Let me know if I haven't, please, and I'll correct it.

On a different subject, I did another craft. This one came from Family Circle, and is, again, very, very simple: paper Christmas trees. Quite simply, it's two triangle shapes, both the same size, with a slit from the bottom about 2/3 of the way up on one, and a slit about 2/3 of the way down from the top of the other. Fit the two together, and there's your tree. A heavy paper works best. I "thought" I was using card stock, but it was rather limp, and the tops of my little trees curl a little bit, lol. There was also a pattern for a star, and I had better luck with that. Same principle: two components, two slits, fit the two together. I'm thinking of making several of the stars, probably with yellow construction paper, but maybe red, and hanging them here and there in the living room.

And, I found another recipe, also Family Circle. The name of it is "Asian Beef and Noodles," but of course I won't be using the beef. I'll use tofu, or possibly tempeh, instead. There was also a recipe for a mushroom omelette...that just might be dinner tonight. Sigh....Too many decisions for me to cope with right now. Anyway, when I make the Asian Noodles, I will post the recipe, as well as tell you how I liked it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Marinated Tofu w/Cabbage, Tomatoes, and Sour Cream

Not a bad day at work at all, thank God. We weren't all that busy for a Sunday, but still stayed steady, and I made good money. And we had three dozen assorted doughnuts, as well as a huge plate of chocolate brownies that had nuts in them, and swirls of yummy caramel. I've brought home a lot, so I can have some with my coffee in the morning.

Friday I cooked the Woman's Day recipe of Marinated Shrimp...without the shrimp, of course. Instead, I used a block of tofu, cubed. So, here's the recipe, along with the Cabbage with Tomatoes and Sour Cream from Mark Bittman's cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian."

Marinated Tofu in Cabbage with Tomatoes and Sour Cream
1pkg. firm tofu, drained with a 1lb.can on it for about 20 minutes, and then cubed
1/2C olive oil 1/2C lemon juice 1/2tsp. each minced garlic and hot sauce
1tsp. salt and pepper.

Mix the oil, juice, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a good-sized bowl, and add the tofu cubes. Stir the cubes in well, and marinate for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to be sure that all the cubes get covered with the marinade.

Now for the Cabbage, etc.

2Tbs. butter(oil for vegans) 1 med. onion, chopped 1Tbs. minced garlic
6C shredded cabbage, preferably Savoy(about 1 small head){I used plain old green cabbage, and it was fine.}
salt and pepper to taste 2C chopped tomatoes(drained, canned are fine){I didn't drain them, and it was fine.}
1Tbs. caraway or cumin seeds(optional) 1/2C sour cream{Tofutti Sour Supreme}

1. Melt butter in large deep skillet. Cook onion and garlic, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. {I added the tofu cubes here, with the onions and garlic} Add cabbage, raise heat a bit. Cook, stirring, adjusting heat so cabbage doesn't brown, until it softens, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add tomatoes, and the seeds of you're using them, and cook over lively heat, stirring, until mixture is saucy but thick, about 10-15 minutes. Lower heat to the minimum, then taste and adjust salt and pepper. Stir in sour cream and cook another couple minutes, stirring. Serve hot.

What I should have done, I realized too late, was to fry the tofu cubes first, to get them nice and brown and crispy, and then added the onions and garlic. I also cooked the cabbage separately, letting it simmer for about 30 minutes in a pot of salted water, because I like my cabbage very tender, not crisp-tender. While the cabbage was simmering is when I did all the rest of it, and the whole thing turned out very, very well. I really enjoyed this, and will probably make it again...I know I'm having the leftovers for my dinner tonight, lol. Friday night I had some leftover cornbread, so I sliced it in half, buttered it, and cooked it in a frying pan, nice and brown and version of polenta, which I think would have been good with the cabbage and sauce. Tonight I'm just going to have a baked potato with it, and "maybe" a green veggie, depends on my energy level by dinner time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vegan Fettucine Alfredo; Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake

I realized I had a couple more recipes I want to post here, here I am again. But first of all, I need to explain something, sigh, something stupid I've done...which isn't all that unusual, btw. Anyway, on the left of the blog there's a section called "Tags." When I did it, I had hoped that it would link itself automatically into my posts, but, um, nope, it didn't, and I don't know how to do it. I'm going to leave it there, tho, because it will give you some idea of what to expect to find here, even if it won't take you right to each category. Sorry about that,

This next recipe is for Fettucine Alfredo, it's vegan, and I found it on submitted by Melissa. It's incredibly good, and I was delighted with it, so, many thanks to Melissa for sharing her recipe.

Fettucine Alfredo

1Tbs. oil(whatever kind you like)
8(or more, or less{or none})mushrooms, chopped
5(or more or less)cloves of garlic, minced
1/2C coconut milk(you want the creaminess here, so I wouldn't recommend soymilk)
some vegan soy parmesan{I used quite a bit, but she said that she'd never used it.}
about 1/4tsp nutmeg(makes the recipe, don't leave out{I put it in, like she said, and don't know how it affected the recipe at all, lol}
1/2-1tsp black pepper(freshly ground is nice)
You can also add some lemon juice to the sauce, freshly squeezed is best, or garnish with lemon wedges{I didn't use any lemon, but next time I make this, and believe me, I will, I'm going to try the well as add a little more nutmeg, just to see what happens}
Salt to taste

Saute the mushrooms and the garlic in a pan over med-low heat, until it looks yummy. Separately, bring the coconut milk to a boil over the lowest heat possible, and as soon as it starts boiling, add the parmesan, nutmeg, pepper, lemon if you're using, and remove from heat. Mix it all together.

Add the coconut sauce to the mushrooms and garlic, and simmer onlower heat until the sauce reduces. Make sure to stir it constantly or else it will burn. Just stir until it comes to a consistency that looks like alfredo sauce, and serve immediately over fettucine noodles. I like to use black pepper fettuccine, but any kind is good. This recipe is awesome! Tastes as good as it sounds.

And yes, she's right, it's really excellent. I used plain old-fashioned egg noodles, as I had no linguine. I've never heard of black pepper fettucine, but I bet it's good, and will try to remember to look for it next time I shop.

This next one is from another blog I found, Fat Free Vegan Cooking, and I'm so ashamed to have to admit that I don't have the URL nor the owner's name. My very sincere apologies to this lady, and I hope she doesn't mind that I'm posting her recipe here, because it's an excellent recipe, and I will be making it many, many times in the future.

Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake
1(12.3oz.)pkg. extra firm light silken tofu
1(8-oz.)tub Tofutte "cream cheese"
3/4C sugar
1/2C vegan eggnog OR vanilla soymilk(I used Silk brand vanilla soymilk)
2T lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbs. brandy or rum(I'm a recovering alcoholic, so left this out.)
1/2tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 prepared graham cracker crust(the first time, I had to make it without a crust, and loved it anyway. The second time I made my own graham crust, and loved it more, lol.)

Preheat oven(I neglected to copy the temperature down, but 350ºF seemed to do quite well, altho 325ºF might be better...less chance of browning it.)
Drain tofu and put it and "cream cheese" into food processor and blend until smooth(I don't have a processor, so I used my blender, and it was fine.). Add sugar and milk, process again until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Pour into pie crust and bake in middle of oven about 55 minutes-do NOT brown(well, I did, and it tasted ok to me. Might not to you, tho.) Filling will be slightly jiggly, not set, until it has chilled.

Remove from oven, let cool, and chill, the longer, the better.

So, a couple comments here. The second time I made this, I used half the lemon juice, and a full tsp. of vanilla. The next time I make it, I'm going to use a full tablespoonful of vanilla...since I didn't add the alcohol, I need a boost of flavor. I also will add another 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg, for the same reason. All in all, tho, this is just plain wonderful, and like I said, I'm going to be making this over and over and over and over!!!!

Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage

The last two weeks have been brutal. For one thing, I worked 11 days with only one day off, and that was after six days...brutally busy days, at a row. One of those days was Thanksgiving, which normally would be my Thursday off, but I was told it was mandatory to work. So how come several folks who usually do work on Thurdays were given the day off, hmmm? Talk about attitudes! Then I was off one day and came right back into five more. Most of these days have been wicked busy, but, in a positive light, I made enough money to get December's rent paid, all the utilities and a doctor's bill paid, and spend a LOT of money on groceries a couple days ago. Plus, I have a whole bunch of library books to read, including the new cookbook on my list, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittman. That sucker is over 900 pages, just packed with excellent information, techniques, recipes. Awesome book, and of course is on my Christmas list. Any takers?~?~!!...snicker

Ok. Last time I posted, Sherrie and I were doing a pantry challenge. I've seen the soup she posted on A Dollop of Cream, and it looks and sounds fantastic. I ended up with a can of 'maters and one of rutabagas, and managed to utilize them both...two different recipes, both, as far as I was concerned, excellent!!!

With the rutabagas I made a Potato/Rutabaga salad, without using a real recipe. Just make a potato salad the way you like it, and dump in the drained can of rutabagas. How hard is that, right? I thought it was super, I really did.

With the tomatoes I made Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage, from a recipe I'd found in Family Circle(I 'think"), which, btw, also fulfilled my personal challenge of one recipe and one craft idea from each magazine each month. The recipe was originally a meat recipe, but I simply left out the meat, and loved the results...enough to eat it two times, in fact. So, here goes:

Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage Serves four

1(2-lb.)head green cabbage, quartered lengthwise and cored
1/2 C reduced-sodium vegetable stock
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 (28-oz.)can whole tomatoes in juice(I had to used diced ones. It worked fine.)
1/3 dried cranberries(I'll die of hunger before I'll use cranberries in anything!!)
3 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar(all I had was light brown. It worked fine.)
2 Tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley(all I had was dried, used 1 Tbs., worked fine.)

Place cabbage in a deep 12-inch heavey skillet with broth, 1 garlic clove(sliced), and a rounded 1/4tsp. salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cook, covered, turning cabbage occasionally, until very tender, about 45 minutes, adding more broth or water if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook onion and remaining garlic in oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in tomatoes and their juices, cranberries, vinegar, and brown sugar, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt.

Pour sauce into skillet with cabbage and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

So, there ya have it, and I hope you like it, I sure did.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vegetarian Chili; Vegan Chili; Creamy Chocolate Pudding

It's been a week since I've added anything here, but, I've been working, reading, catching up on email, and, cooking, so I've been a tad busy. One of the things I'd like to do here is to tell you about some of my menus, especially the ones that don't require using a recipe...for the most part, anyway.

For instance, one night not too long ago, I had a MorningStar All-American Griller, with vegetarian smoked provolone, mustard, and relish on it. Along with it I had a baked potato(I LOVE POTATOES, btw.), and some kind of veggie, probably spinach, because I've discovered that frozen spinach is pretty darned good. Sure beats that stuff in a can, and is cheaper than the fresh stuff to boot! Actually, I think that canned and/or frozen veggies are the bomb, and from articles I've read, here and there along the way, they can be better for you, because they're harvested close to the factories that do the canning and freezing, and haven't had to travel cross country for a day or so. In other words, when they're processed, they are fresher than most of the produce in the grocery store, and therefore have more of the nutrients in them. So, from here on in, I make absolutely NO apologies for using either canned or frozen goods.

One of my other meals was a non-dairy mac and cheese that was to die for, trust me. I'm not vegan, don't know if I've already told you that or not, but I can't handle dairy products: they produce unwanted and yucky gastric problems. Thank the good Lord for soy products, as well as for goat's milk and sheep's milk, lol. Anyway, I digress(I inherited that trait from my beloved Nanny. She used to call it "Going 'round Robin Hood's barn," altho I never knew why). I poured some Silk(wonderful stuff, btw)plain soymilk in a small saucepan, added a little margarine, and crumbled up some herbed goat cheese in it, along with some of the smoked provolone, a little veggie Parmesan, some minced garlic, and black pepper. Then I cooked some pasta shells, and let the cheeses and milk get good and hot, and fairly thick. Drained the pasta, and mixed the sauce and pasta together in a bowl. It was awesome, and I was absolutely delighted with it. Made a total pig of myself, in fact.

Another night I pulled a container of spinach soup out of the freezer, some that I had made last month, I think, and froze for nights I didn't feel like cooking. I don't remember now how I made it, or even if I used someone else's recipe or just threw in what I thought would work, but it was pretty good stuff, no matter what. The main issue I had with it was that it was a very dark green, very thick, and looked like...I kid you not...swamp slime, sigh. Anyway, the night I pulled it out, there was still some of the mac and cheese left, so I decided to throw the two together. I also added some vegetable broth to the soup, to thin it out a bit. Long story short, the mac and cheese and soup went together very nicely, altho all the broth did was make the swamp slime look "only" like swamp algae, lol. I got past the visual aspect of it, tho, and along with some hot, buttered biscuits(Pioneer Baking Mix, if you need to know, 'cause I make yucky biscuits on my own), it was a good meal.

I love chili, and have since I was in high school, which is the earliest I remember my Mom ever making it. Sadly, chili does NOT like me, not at all, so basically, I stopped eating it in my mid-to-late 20's. Talk about major gastric distress, sigh! But not too long ago I got an urge for chili that was almost overwhelming, so I decided to try vegetarian chili. After all, there are only a couple zillion recipes for it, right? So, I found one that looked pretty easy, and off I went to make a pot of chili. Here's the recipe:

Vegetarian Chili
2C black beans 2 C pinto beans 2C red kidney beans
365 Organic Diced Tomatoes, 4 C
36oz. V-8 Vegetable Juice, Low Sodium 4TBS. chili powder

1C fresh sweet corn 3TBS. olive oil
1C raw onions, chopped 3tsp. garlic

Saute onions and garlic in pot w/olive oil. Throw in liquids and everything else. Simmer 10 minutes. 14-1C servings
___(_ Submitted by SparkPeople user GINGERLJM)

So, I couldn't follow this exactly, as I had no V-8 juice and wasn't about to call a cab to go to Kroger for it, either. And, I can't eat corn, it's another no-no for my gastric system...and like chili, I love corn, too. Oh, well! Anyway, I subbed a can of tomato sauce and some water for the juice. Long story short, I didn't care for this recipe very much, altho it was ok, and I ate a bowlful, along with a grilled smoked provone sammich. It made a huge potful, and next day I gave it to my omnivore neighbor, telling her to add some meat to it. She brought the pot back the next day and told me she thought it was good. I was pleased. But one thing I learned from making this, is that I sure missed the meat in it!!! Soooooooo, here we go again, lol.

Vegan Chili

2 regular cans Ranch Style Pinto Beans
1 can diced tomatoes 1(6 oz.)can tomato paste 1C water
1/2C each chopped onions and green bell peppers
2tsp. chopped garlic 2TBS. chili powder

Put all ingredients in a 2qt. pan. Stir together and let simmer on med-low heat for about 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.
( again, user CHELLEBELLE104)

So, one thing you'll learn about me is that I almost never, ever follow a recipe exactly, for one reason or another, which I won't go into now. Anyway, I had to cook some dried pinto beans before I could do anything else. After they were done, I spooned out two cupsful of them, and put them, along with a 19oz. can of white cannellini beans and everything else, in a large pot. I also added two cooked MorningStar "Morning Grillers," fake sausage, in other words, crumbled, and a good teaspoonful of cumin, and let it all simmer for close to an hour...I like my beans really, really, really soft. You may not, and that's perfectly ok with me. Honest. It really is. I also left out the tomato paste. This batch of chili was awesome, it was wonderful, it was great, and I didn't give even one spoonful away, lol. I ate it again a couple evenings later, and what's left is now in the freezer. Really good stuff, and I was sooooo pleased, and will make it again, for sure.

I'm a chocoholic, but it HAS to be dark chocolate, not that wimpy milk chocolate stuff, altho that will do in an emergency. One of my very favorite things in the world is Tofutti brand "Chocolate Cookie Crunch" non-dairy dessert: fake ice cream. It's to die for. So is their "Vanilla Almond Bark," but right now, we're talkin' chocolate, ok? Anyway, I found a recipe for a recipe for a vegan Creamy Chocolate Pudding, on the VegCooking blog, and this is Amy's recipe, not mine. And for once, I didn't play around with it, I followed it to the letter...with an addition that I'll tell you about in a little bit.

Creamy Chocolate Pudding
Combine in blender:
1pkg. silken tofu
2/3C sugar
1/2C unsweetened cocoa
2tsp. vanilla extract
Blend until creamy and thick, pour into bowl, and chill.

Well, I decided I wanted a chocolate pie from this. I put off making it until after I'd gone to Kroger and picked up a package of graham crackers...and I know you can see where this is going, right? Yup, I made a graham cracker crust from a recipe on the box. The recipe was for a crumb topping, and had a little too much melted margarine in it, and then I baked it a little too long, but other than that, it was excellent(I don't recommend the store brand grahams for this, btw, as I found out that they don't quite have the flavor that the name brand ones do. Just my opinon, yours may differ...but it was still really good). After the crust cooled, I poured the pudding into it, and put it in the 'fridge for several hours. OMG! I'm telling you, in no uncertain terms, that Amy sure knows her pudding, she truly does. So, if by any chance she ever happens to read this, which I doubt very much, but hey, it could happen, right?, thank you, Amy. This chocoholic is just delighted with your recipe and will make it over and over and over. And again, I didn't give away so much as a spoonful. Next time I'll buy some CoolWhip to go on it, lol.

One of my dear cyber-sisters, she of "A Dollop of Cream" blog right here on, Sherrie, sent me a link to the blog "Happy Herbivore." Reading it was interesting, because the owner does pantry challenges, and MoFo challenges, and came up with some interesting recipes, no kidding. But, it gave me an idea: Why didn't Sherrie and I do a challenge, too? So, we are. We've decided on two different kinds, the pantry challenge, and then an Iron Chef challenge, which I'll talk about in a minute. The first one is the pantry challenge. Sherrie will most likely write about hers on her blog, so I'm only going to talk about mine. I blind-picked two cans from my shelves, and came up with...ready for this?!?!?...diced tomatoes and rutabagas!! What a combo, eh? Took me a couple days, but I've come up with two recipes, one for each can. One is a "Sweet/Sour Unstuffed Cabbage" from, I think, the last issue of Family Circle, and the other one is my own, but not to difficult at all: Potato and Rutabaga Salad. I think it'll work. I'll post both recipes another time, as I'm about typed out for now.

The other challenge we decided on, the Iron Chef, involves a secret ingredient, and as many recipes as possible from the one ingredient. For our first one, her husband is going to decide what we'll be using, and he'll have both our lists of NO WAY, no peanuts, milk, or meat for mine. If he chooses meat anyway, I can figure out a substitute, no doubt, but would prefer not to do that. If we do another one, I'll ask my friend/co-worker, Pam, to pick one for us. That way it's a surprise to both of us. Or, we could pick for each other, too, I guess.

I've set a challenge for myself, too, a personal one that is going to tougher than it sounds, I think...which is why it's a challenge. Duh, right? I read a lot of magazines, I love magazines, I don't know what I'd do without them. But almost never do I utilitze them to the fullest, so, from now on, I'm going to challenge myself to do at least ONE recipe and ONE craft each month from Family Circle and from Woman's Day. One of my favorite magazines is Martha Stewart "Living," but I don't think I'm quite up to her recipes or her crafts...maybe. I may or may not use "Living" for my challenge, we'll see. Anyway, the recipe I'm doing for the pantry challenge is from Family Circle, so I've met 1/4 of my personal challenge for this month, lol. There are a couple crafts I've picked out, too. One is simply to pot a small pine tree to bring in the house...I can do that...from Family Circle(I'm pretty sure, anyway), and the other is paper stars, from Woman's Day. As for a recipe from the Woman's Day, I didn't really see too much I thought I'd like, so, here's my idea. If you read Woman's Day, you know that some issues have a menus for a month feature, in the back of the mag. So, I've checked off some of the menus I thought looked good, and will choose one to make in a vegetarian way. For instance, instead of marinated pork, I'll make marinated and baked tofu slices. That sort of thing. Seems like that would count as a recipe, right?

Until next time, happy cooking and good eating to you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

BBQ Tempeh w/Bell hope for it, sigh!

But. Will I try it again? Yes, most definitely, but the next time I'll leave out the tamari. I did learn something, tho: If the recipe calls for tamari, use tamari and not soy sauce, lol. Last night I did some checking up, and it seems that tamari isn't as salty as soy sauce, so that was one thing wrong, plus I just feel like the recipe calls for too much tamari anyway. That's just my opinion, yours may differ. Anyway, here's the recipe, and it originally came from the "Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook," which is just about at the top of my Christmas list this year, along with "Vegan with A Vengeance."

BBQ Tempeh with Bell Peppers

1/2 C tamari 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar 4 tsp. lemon juice 2 tsp. honey
8 oz. of tempeh 1C sliced onion 2 red or green peppers, cut in strips

1/4 C tomato paste 1-2 Tbs. molasses 1-2Tbs. packed brown sugar
2tsp. prepared mustard 2tsp. apple cider vinegar 1tsp. ea. minced garlic, and chili powder. Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Mix tamari, rice vinegar, lemon juice and honey in a bowl.
2. Put tempeh in, covering with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning every once in a while. Drain tempeh, reserve marinade, and cube the tempeh.
3. Spray large, non-stick skillet with non-stick cooking spray, and heat over medium heat until hot. Add onions, bell peppers, and tempeh, and cook, stirring, until veggies are just tender, about 5 minutes(my idea of tender and the cookbook's idea of tender are two different ideas, btw. I'm from the North, and I like my veggies very tender, thank you!!).
4. Add marinade, tomato paste, molasses, sugar, mustard, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, and 3/4C or water to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cook, uncovered, until mixture thickens, mashing tempeh with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

I had it with mashed potatoes and...gasp...canned French style green beans. The potatoes and the beans were great, lol. Anyway, the next time I try this, and I do have some more tempeh in my 'fridge, I'm going to also use a...gasp again...bottled bbq sauce. That just might make a difference, eh?

If you do try it, or if you've made it before, feel free to let me know your feelings about it. I suppose it's quite possible that I'm the only vegetarian in the United States that doesn't really care for tempeh, sigh. But then, I also don't like basil, horseradish, okra, or black-eyed peas, either!!!! So, until next time, have a good meal, ok?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just Ramblin'

Hi, there,
Glad you could drop by and visit for a while. Right now I'm just going to ramble a little bit, give you a little background information about me, JB. As of now, I'm 61 years old, livin' alone and lovin' it, working for a local Waffle House as a server, and Mom to an almost 40-year old son, who lives in Florida. My location is a little town in Georgia, about ten or so miles from Atlanta. It's a very sleepy little town, nothing going on except traffic. There's a K-Mart, Burger King, Taco Bell, Cap'n D's, a couple places to get tires fixed, a couple or more filling stations, a Publix, Kroger, Dollar General, and a fantastic Dollar Tree that I call "my Macy's." Of course there are more stores, and there's even a bowling alley, but I've never graced the doors of that: I don't like to bowl, and I don't bowl well.

What do I like? Well, I love fooling around on the computer, I love to read, I do a little crafting here and there, and I love to eat, as well as to read about food: Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Vegetarian Times, vegetarian/vegan cookbooks, and all the vegetarian/vegan blogs I can find.

And, there are lots and lots and lots of the vegetarian/vegan blogs, so mine is just a drop in a huge, wonderful bucket, and nothing here is original. I don't think, that is. The recipes I post here are all from sources that I'll give full credit to. I'm also going to list menus here, the ones that I have eaten or plan to eat. Most of what will be posted here will be quite simple, no great long ingredient lists, no weird foods or food combinations...well, I'd better clarify that to say that I don't think there's any weird foods or combinations here, lol. You might disagree, I realize that fully. YOU may think tofu is weird, whereas I don't. Or tempeh?!?! Ok, tempeh is a little weird, I admit, but I'm working on finding recipes that use it and taste good. For instance, tonight I'm going to have BBQ Tempeh, that I made a couple weeks ago and then froze the leftovers for a night when I didn't want to tonight...but I'm going to have to tinker with it. The recipe I used called for too much tamari, so I've got to change that somehow. I'll work on it, lol. But the menu itself is easy: baked potato, green beans, and the BBQ. If you wanted to, you could put the BBQ over rice, noodles, or just buns, any kind you like. I think I'm going to put some soy-based Parmesan cheese in it, too, and add some more water, to dilute the tamari flavor somewhat. I'll let you know if it worked or not.

That's all I'm going to say for now, I'll be back some other time, and then get serious about posting...I hope, lol. I think there's a place here where you can comment if you wish, and, if you wish, feel free!!!!
Click to Mix and Solve Click for Mableton, Georgia Forecast