Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tempeh Sausage and White Bean Gravy; Rich Chocolate Vegan Brownies

Today is my day off, so of course I've done some cooking. Most of this past week has just been cereal or maybe a grilled sammich. Just haven't been in the mood for cooking. Work has been getting on my one last nerve, so I've been sorta stressed, and that wears me out. Retirement is looking better and better, and I've only got to wait another seven months before I semi-retire. That's good enough for me, the social security will pay the rent, and I can cut back to four, or possibly even just three, days a week. Ahhhhhhhh...really looking forward to it, too, I am, I am.

The tempeh recipe is from "Vegan With A Vengeance," by Isa Chandra Moskovitz, one of my favorite cookbooks. I tried the recipe because it sounds good, and as I've said elsewhere on this blog, I'm on a quest for recipes that will let me like tempeh. This one came pretty close, but still not quite there yet. But, it's the first one that I've basically enjoyed, and I actually ate two helpings of it. Ok, so I guess I like it, lol. Anyway, it takes two recipes to make this, so let's get down to business here, ok?

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and White Bean Gravy

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

1(8-ounce)package tempeh
1Tb. fennel seed
1tsp.dried basil
1tsp.dried marjoram or oregano
1/2tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2tsp.dried sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2Tbs.tamari or soy sauce
1Tbs.olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

In a small pan, crumble the tempeh and add enough water to almost cover it. Over medium-high heat, simmer the tempeh until most of the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. Drain the remaining water and add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

White Bean and Tempeh Sausage Gravy
Tempeh Sausage Crumbles...recipe above
2C cooked white beans or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
2Tbs. olive oil or margarine, softened
1/4C vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp. salt
A few dashes fresh black pepper
10-12 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Prepare the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and keep them warm in the pan.
Puree the white beans with the olive oil and vegetable broth in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Add to the tempeh crumbles along with the salt and pepper. Heat through for a few minutes. If you want to make the gravy thinner, add a little more vegetable broth. Mix in the sage and cook for another 2 minutes. This makes enough to cover 12-14 biscuits.

So, I had to make a couple changes, because I don't use basil nor do I use fennel, so obviously I left those out. I also used only 1Tbs. of soy sauce, as I don't like a strong soy sauce taste...unless it's in my fried rice, that is. When I added the bean mixture to the gravy, it wasn't even close to thin enough, and altho I didn't really measure, I think I added at least another cup of water. It was still thick, but only like a gravy, not paste, so that was ok. I put it on buttered biscuits, and like I said, ate two helpings of it. Will I make it again? I'm not sure, maybe, maybe not. There's a lot leftover, and I'm not sure what I'll do with the leftovers, either...probably freeze them, and then the next time I want biscuits and gravy, all I have to do is thaw and re-heat and make biscuits. I can live with that!!

In case you're new to vegetarianism, here's a quick rundown of what tempeh is. It's made from soybeans, and somehow, they've been inoculated with a mold to cause them to ferment, and then formed into a elongated patty, usually about 1/2 inch thick. It is very high in protein, and because of the soy, it's also high in fiber, as well as B vitamins and some other nutrients. That's not the most exact description of tempeh(pronounced tem-PAY,btw)ever written, but hey, I'm no scientist or food expert. If you want to more specifics about it, I imagine you can google it.

Now for the brownies. I found the recipe on the Care2Green website...and being the chocoholic that I am, I decided that today would be just the perfect day to try it. All in all it's very moist, chewy, very chocolatey, and I'm enjoying it right now, lol.

Rich Vegan Chocolate Brownies

1Cflour(you can use half whole wheat flour if you wish)
3/4C cocoa powder
1 1/2C sugar(or Sucanat)
1/8tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4C chocolate chips
1/4C walnuts(optional)
1/3C soy milk
1/3C extra light olive oil
1/4C silken tofu
1Tbs.vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350ºF
In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
In blender, blend soy milk, oil, tofu, and vanilla.
Add blended mixture to flour mixture in bowl, stir just until combined. Batter will be thick(she ain't jokin', either!)
Spread batter evenly in 8 inch square oiled baking pan.
Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the mmiddle comes out clean.

Ok, these turned out very tasty, they really did. The batter is as thick as bread dough or cookie dough, and it took me a long time to incorporate all the ingredients together. I don't have an chocolate chips, no way to get to Kroger to buy them, so baked without them. My oven may not be calibrated correctly, and I have no oven thermometer, so I'm not sure, but by the time 35 minutes was up, the crust around the edge of the pan was rock-hard, while the middle was still kinda gooey. There's no eggs to worry about, so the gooeyness shouldn't be a health problem, and as it sits, the stiffer it becomes, sorta like a really fudgy fudge...I hope that made sense to you, 'cause it did to me, lol. Anyway, I like them, and will bake them again...oh, I think 1 Tbs vanilla is too much, btw, as I can taste it a little bit, so the next time, I'll try only one tsp.

And that's it for now, so, until next time, Happy Eating!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Correction For Apple & Peach Cake; Tofu in honey bbq sauce(non-vegan)

Not so much a correction, as an addition for the Apple & Peach cake, because I forgot something in the directions. I didn't tell you how to put the fruit in the cake, and that's what the cake is all about: The apple and peaches, lol. Duh, right? Anyway, the way I did it was to scatter the fruit over the top of the batter once it was in the 13X9 pan, and then, with very clean fingers, I poked the pieces down into the batter, leaving just a little bit of each chunk showing. The reason for this was that I figured that if I just stirred them into the batter, they'd all sink to the bottom of the cake, and I didn't want that. This way, they still sunk some, but not as badly, and were distributed nicely throughout the cake. So, that's my correction/addition, whatever you want to call it.

Point of pride: One of my dearest friends, a soul-sister, if you wish, came to visit for a little while yesterday evening. She's an omnivore, tofu or tempeh is NOT in her menu plans, lol. Even so, I cut her a slice of the cake and brought it to her. She really, really liked it, so then I told her she'd just eaten tofu, lol. Since her computer isn't working right now, I was letting her use mine to email her daughter, and she said to the daughter, "Guess what? I like tofu...especially in apple and peach spice cake!" Score ten for the tofu, and five for the omnivore, lol!

The tofu in honey bbq sauce isn't a recipe at all. After draining and pressing half a block of tofu, I crumbled it up into a skillet with melted butter in it, and just let it sog around over medium heat until it started tanning a little bit. Then I doused it good with smoked paprika, enough to turn all the crumbles red, and let that sog around for a few minutes, too. Then I grabbed a bottle of Kroger store brand honey bbq sauce, and poured it over the tofu until it looke like enough(being really precise here, aren't I?), and stirred it around until it got good and hot. I spooned some of it onto a plate, along with some green peas and a baked potato, and that's all there is to it. And it was awfully good, with enough leftovers for the same meal a couple nights later.

If you don't already know how, draining and pressing tofu is an easy task, it just takes some time. Open the package of tofu and dump it into a strainer lined with cheesecloth(I use coffee filters), place cheesecloth on top of it, and on top of that, set a can of beans or some other canned goods. And I almost forgot: before you dump the tofu into the strainer, place the strainer over a bowl or a saucepan, just something to keep the water from going all over the place...don't ask me how I learned that one, ok? Another "duh" moment, lol! Anyway, let it sit for at least 20 minutes, more if you want to. That's all there is to it.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bean and Barley Soup(Vegan); Apple Peach Spice Cake(Vegan)

I found the Bean and Barley Soup recipe on, and since I realized I had all the ingredients, decided to make some. Believe me, I'm very glad I did, too, as it's an excellent soup, thick, chunky, and filling: A perfect cold night type of soup, comfort food as its best. The recipe makes a lot, so I had two containers of it in the 'fridge, and I also have two more in the freezer. With the leftover soup in the 'fridge, I figured out two more ways to make a meal with it, both of which were really good. So, here's the soup recipe, and then I'll tell you the other ways I used the leftovers.

Bean and Barley Soup
1/2 onion, diced 2 ribs celery, diced 2 carrots, diced
Any other vegetables desired, 1/2C each(I chose potatoes, leftover turnip greens, and mushrooms)
2Tbs. oil or margarine 8C water or broth(I used 8C water and 4 veggie buillion cubes)
1C barley, uncooked 1C pinto or white beans, presoaked if dry(I used a 15oz can of cannellini beans)
1/3C tomato paste or crushed tomatoes 1/4tsp.salt 1/2tsp. black pepper
1/4tsp. celery salt(optional)
1/2tsp. each basil, oregano or Italian seasoning, and thyme
1tsp. onion powder(optional) 2 large bay leaves

Saute the onions, celery, carrots, and other veggies in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add the liquid, the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for at least an hour, strring occasionally, until barley is soft and somewhat fluffy. Add more spices to taste. Enjoy.

When I sauted the onions, celery, etc., I also added two teaspoonsful of minced garlic, and did not use the optional ingredients. Instead of basil, I chose to use oregano, Italian seasoning, and the thyme. I don't think I made any other changes, tho. While the soup simmered, I made a pan of biscuits to have with it, and let me tell ya, it was one heck of a fantastic meal.

The next night, I heated up one of the containers of leftover soup in the 'fridge, and this time, I made a grilled "cheese" sammich to go with it. The night after that, I put what was left from that into the other container of soup, made some mashed potatoes with sour cream(tofutti brand)and garlic, and made a Shepherd's Pie. That was wonderful, as well. There was about half the pie leftover, so the next day, for lunch, I dried a couple of slices of wheat bread in my little toaster oven, and made bread crumbs. I mixed those in with about half of the remaining pie, and made a huge "burger" out of it. While it was browning in the skillet, I buttered bread and got out some "cheese," and added the burger to the cheese and bread, and turned it into a grilled sammich. Yup, it was good, too. There was still some of the pie left, but by then I'd had all I could handle, and even tho I hate to admit it, I tossed the rest of it into the garbage.

Ok, now, about the cake. I needed to use an apple that was going soft, a can of peaches, and a can of coconut milk, and this is what I came up with: Apple and Peach Spice Cake. It's a very heavy, dense, moist cake, and awfully good. I had planned on frosting it with a buttercream frosting, but with the sweetness of the apple and the peaches, decided that frosting would be overkill.

Apple and Peach Spice Cake
3C flour, sifted 1 1/2tsp. baking powder 1tsp. baking soda
1C brown sugar, packed 1/2tsp. each ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon
1/2tsp salt
1/2C silken tofu, whizzed in the blender until very smooth
3/4C applesauce and 1Tbs oil
1 can coconut milk plus one can water plus 1/4C soy milk(I add to keep adding liquid to get the right consistency for cake batter, but finally gave up and crossed my fingers, lol. I probably should've used two cans of coconut milk and some soymilk)
2tsp.vanilla 1Ceach diced peaches(I used canned)and apple

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, except the brown sugar.
Place the whizzed tofu, applesauce, brown sugar, vanilla and the oil in another bowl, and use a mixer to blend them for a few minutes, until smooth. Pour this into the bowl with the dry ingredients, add the coconut milk,water, and soymilk, and using the mixer on low, mix until all is blended nicely. Then turn the mixer up to high, and beat until very, very smooth, about three minutes or so. Pour this into a greased 13X9 pan lined with greased wax paper, and put into a pre-heated 300ºF oven for 45-60 minutes, more if needed. The cake is done when it springs back from being poked with a finger, a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, and, if you listen to the cake, it will "sing." Cool, in the pan, on a rack, until room temperature, and then turn out onto a plate. Peel off the wax paper, and enjoy your cake. You can frost it if you want to, but I chose not to.

Did I like it? Yes, very much. Would I make it again? Mmmm,'s more work than I like doing for something sweet, and I don't usually ahve apples lying around. But, if somebody else ate it, I'd sure be willing to helpthem eat it, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pumpkin "Cheesecake;" Mushroom/Pumpkin/Leftovers Soup

My day off is almost over, back to work in the morning, which means I have to set my alarm when I go to bed tonight. I'll be up at 4:45AM, but these last two days I have slept until a little past seven. Sure was nice!!

I made the Pumpkin "Cheesecake" I mentioned earlier, and am very pleased, very. The recipe came from a vegetarian starter kit I ordered, free, from, I think. It was, sorry, I already said that...and had recipes in it, which is why I sent for it. So, here's the cheesecake recipe:

Pumpkin Patch "Cheesecake"

12-oz. firm silken tofu, pureed
8-oz. nondairy cream cheese(try Tofutti brand)
1C canned pumpkin
1C granulated sugar
3Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2tsp. cinnamon
1/2tsp. salt
1/4tsp. baking soda
1 prepared graham cracker crust

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Puree all the ingredients(except the crust...duh, right?)in food processor. Pour the filling into the graham cracker crust and bake for 50 minutes.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes, cover with plastic wrap or the top of the pie container and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight before eating.

Now, did I wait 6 hours?!?!? Hell, no, I didn't, I started munching as soon as it came out of the oven, of course. And don't tell me that you wouldn't have, ok? I actually followed this recipe exactly, except for one minor detail: I forgot to buy a pie crust this week, so I made my own graham cracker crust. No big deal, and it was good. Will I make this again? Probably. Most likely, in fact, it's really good.

The best part of it was that there was quite a lot of the batter left in the blender top, so I ate a lot of that, right out of the blender, lol. Yum! When there was about a quarter cup left, I did something strange, an experiment, if you will, that fortunately turned out good.

In the 'fridge, I had a little bit of Zandra's Veggie Noodle Soup, a little bit of the Mushroom and Buttermilk Stroganoff from the other night, about a tablespoonful of the mushroom mixture from last night's burrito, and about four little Brussels sprouts. Figured out where I'm going with this? Are you saying, "Eeeeuuuuuw, yuck," yet? LOL! Yup, I did, I really did...all those little bits of leftovers went right into the blender with the pumpkin mixture. Not only that, but there was half a can of the pumpkin left, so I threw that in there, too, and pureed away! Poured all that into a saucepan, stirred in some soy milk, and heated it in the top of a homemade double boiler, because it was so thick I was afraid I'd scorch it. It was excellent, so good that I've frozen the leftover soup for another time. With it I had saltines with margarine and/or chevre goat cheese. The earthy, tart flavor of the chevre was wonderful with the sweetish soup, too. Would I make it again? Well, I would if I should ever happen to have those exact leftovers in the 'fridge, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Vegetarian Homemade Burrito(non-vegan)

It's a lot colder here than it was yesterday: 14.3ºF, and I don't care where you're from, that's downright chilly!! My homestate, Maine, is even colder, tho: -3ºF!! While I certainly sympathize with my Dad, and all the rest of my family way up there, I'm sure grateful to be here, lol. And, according to, we must might get some snow either Saturday or Sunday, which just tickles the fire out of me. I won't hold my breath waiting, tho, and as long as I don't get stuck at work, I hope it comes a blizzard!!!!

In spite of all the new recipes I'd like to try, last night I made a new old favorite, lol: homemade burritos. It's amazing how many different things I can eat now that I'm not putting meat in them. Evidently it was mostly the meats that were upsetting my stomach and giving me so much gastric distress. Even my chili doesn't bother me any more, whereas chili con carne(chili with meat in it)always hurt me, and quite badly, too. Pinto beans and other beans don't bother me like they used to, either. All of this just delights me, as you can well imagine. So the fact that I can eat a burrito, complete with sour cream(tofutti brand, of course)and a mild salsa, is just a wonderful, wonderful thing, believe me.

The last time I made a burrito, I made re-fried beans to put in it, but last night, I didn't use any beans at all, just some veggies, some fake cheese, and some goat cheese crumbles. 'Twas delicious, and I'll make it again sometime. There isn't really a recipe for it, but I can give you the general idea, and you, of course, can change it around any way you like. 'Twon't bother me at all, at all!

What I used for veggies were onions, mushrooms, celery, and roasted red peppers. I sauted these in olive oil, along with a heaping teaspoonful of minced garlic, until they were all nice and soft. While they were cooking, I cut two pieces of the fake smoked provolone cheese into strips. I poured a goodly amount of salsa on the middle of a tortilla, laid the cheese strips on top of that, spooned the veggie mixture on top of the cheese, and then spread the goat cheese crumbles over it all. Rolled the tortilla, but didn't fold in the sides this time, and heated the whole shebang in an ungreased skillet, just enough for the tortilla to warm up, not even long enough for it to brown at all. While that was warming, I poured some more salsa across my plate, and then laid the heated tortilla on top of it. It was so full and gooey from the cheese that I decided I should eat it with a fork and knife, lol. Get a forkful of tortilla, load it up with the soy sour cream, and chow down!!! Excellent, I tell ya, absolutely excellent! Dessert was a bowl of Kroger brand granola, without raisins. It was on sale, 2/$4, so I decided to buy it instead of buying all the stuff to make my own. I do have a lazy streak, y'know.

My intentions today are to make a Pumpkin "Cheesecake," but, my intentions don't always come to be. You may be sure that if I do make it, I will post the recipe here...even if I don't like it.

Until next time, Happy Eating...and stay warm, hear?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mushrooms in Buttermilk Stroganoff Sauce

It is quite cold here this morning: According to a few minutes ago, it's 31.3ºF. Now, for those of you in the Frozen North, that may seem like a spring breeze, but for us here in the Sunny South, it's frigid, I assure you. So, it's cold enough to snow, and I sure wish it would!

Last night, I had about eleventyzillion choices for dinner, all of which were new recipes I want to try. What I finally settled on was Mushrooms in Buttermilk Stroganoff Sauce over hot, buttered biscuits(which I freely admit come from a boxed mix, as my homemade biscuits aren't fit to eat, sigh.), and frozen Brussels sprouts in a butter sauce. If I had put the biscuits in the oven earlier than I did, the meal would've taken me only 30 minutes...I kid you prepare, and that included the chopping and dicing. As it was, it took 45 minutes, which wasn't "all" that bad, and the meal was very good. I will cook it again one of these days.

The recipe comes from "The New Laurel's Kitchen," one of my favorite cookbooks, written by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal. The original "Laurel's Kitchen" was one of my first vegetarian cookbooks, way back when I was in my late 20's, and of course, I have lost it. Fortunately, the new one is very, very close to the old one, and I love it. Anyway, here's the recipe, which she simply calls "Stroganoff Sauce:"

1C buttermilk
1Tbs. cornstarch

1 small onion, chopped
(1 clove garlic)
1Tbs. butter
1/2-1 1/2C mushrooms, sliced

1/4tsp salt, or 1Tbs shoyu
black pepper

Combine buttermilk and cornstarch and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in butter until soft. Crush the garlic with a fork. Stir in mushrooms and cook just until tender. Remove mushrooms and juices from the pan and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir and cook until thickened, then return mushrooms and their juices to the pan. Season with salt or shoyu and pepper. This really tastes like a sour cream sauce, even with only a few mushrooms.

First of all, notice that she doesn't list servings. I'm a hearty eater, and ate almost all of this by myself. It would probably serve two light eaters, or maybe more if you added more milk to the sauce, as well as more mushrooms and onions.

Now, in the "labels for this post" section, I said vegan recipe, and the way I made it last night, it was vegan. No, I'm lying, because I use margarine, but to totally veganize it, you could use a mild vegetable oil. I didn't have any buttermilk, so I put a tablespoonful of white wine vinegar into a one-cup measure, and filled the cup with soy milk, and let it sit for a few minutes. Turned out beautifully, too. I also used minced garlic from a jar, instead of a fresh clove. Those were the only things I did differently, so basically, I actually followed a recipe for a change. The sauce, cooked from Laurel's directions, is very, very thick, which is why I think adding more milk would stretch it to more servings without any loss of goodness. Oh, btw, I used sliced portobello mushrooms that I had found at Kroger, already clean and sliced, and I diced them fairly small. You can use any kind of mushrooms you like, of course. Anyway, like I've already said, I really liked this, it's easy, and I will make it again in the future.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Seriously Easy/Quick Dinner Ideas; My new cookbooks!!!

I am thrilled to pieces, because as of yesterday, I have three of the four cookbooks I wanted the most: "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian," by Mark Bittnam; "Veganomicon," by Isa Chandra Muskowitz and Terry Hope Romero; and "The NEW Vegetarian Epicure," by Anna Thomas. The only one I'm still missing is on backorder at Barnes & Noble's online site, "Vegan With A Vengeance," by Isa Chandra Muskowitz. So now, of course, I can't wait to go grocery shopping this week, as I've already found some recipes I want to try.

The ideas I'm posting here came from a Woman's Day magazine. I've only tried one of them, the garlic couscous one, but the others sound pretty darned good, easy, and quick. One of the hardest things about being a vegetarian is that it's not usually a quick process to fix something to eat...or at least, it's not for me. Some of the cookbooks I've read have had a section for what they call "fast food," but the time involved is usually about 45 minutes. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't call 45 minutes all that fast. As far as I'm concerned, fast means 30 minutes or less. That's just my opinion, yours may differ, it's fine by me!

None of these are actual recipes, they are literally ideas, and you'll have to figure out the seasoning amounts for yourself and your family. Basically everything will be "to taste." So, here we go:

Prepare garlic couscous as the box directs. Saute in olive oil onion, red bell pepper, shredded carrot, raisins, and cumin until onion is soft. Mix and fluff w/couscous. I used 1/2tsp. of cumin, and added 1/2tsp. of cinnamon and a whole TBS. of powdered ginger. It was fantastic...and yes, actually fast. Seems like it took less than 20 minutes to get it all together, including dicing the onion and shredding the carrot.

Next one: Mix tofu w/hoisin sauce, scallions, and ground ginger. Heat in a skillet. Can add minced garlic, red bell pepper, and shredded carrots. Haven't tried this one yet, but it does sound good.

Another one: Simmer diced zucchini, chopped onions and canned diced tomatoes w/herbs until zucchini is tender. Serve over hot rice, with goat cheese crumbled on top. Sounds good to me, haven't tried it yet.

One more: Saute sliced apples and onions in oil until tender. Stir in sauerkraut until hot. Pour over grilled tofu slices, seasoned w/sage, salt, and pepper. Spread brown mustard on bread, and make sammiches. Sorta kinda like a Rueben, and I think I'd like it if I ever actually tried it...which I will, some day.

Last one: Saute sliced bell peppers and onions in oil until tender, stir in unsweetened coconut milk, frozen peas, curry powder or paste, and salt. Boil, then simmer until slightly thickened. Serve over rice, noodles, or potatoes.

So, there ya have it, and until next time, Happy Eating.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chocolate Pie w/Graham Cracker Crust; Zandra's Veggie Noodle Soup

My last day off was Monday, the 5th...and, incidentally, the day that the two cookbooks I ordered online were allegedly shipped, so of course, I'm hoping that one, and preferably both, of them will show up today. Fingers crossed....Anyway, I did some cooking that day, the chocolate pie and the veggie noodle soup. Both of them turned out very well, and I was pleased.

The pie is vegan, except that I used regular margarine in the graham cracker crust, so you can use either oil or Earth Balance to veganize it, if you wish. I used the chocolate pudding recipe I posted back in December, but added more cocoa, more vanilla, and three tablespoons of corn starch, to thicken it.

The crust recipe is one I found in my old "Joy of Cooking" cookbook, and is very easy. 1 1/2C of crushed graham crackers, 1/4C packed brown sugar, and 6Tbs. of melted butter...yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: It's Blue Bonnet margarine, lol. Whatever! Anyway, mix all this together until all the crumbs are coated with the butter, and pat it into a 9-inch pie pan, bake for about ten minutes at 300º.

The pie recipe is as follows, with my changes in it:

Combine in blender:
1 pkg. silken tofu
2/3C sugar
3/4C unsweetened cocoa
2Tbs. vanilla extract
3Tbs. corn starch
Blend until creamy and thick, pour into pie crust, and bake at 325ºF for about 30 minutes. It will still be a little shaky when you take it out, but don't overcook it. The crust should be nice and crispy, and the pie, after cooling, should hold together enough to cut and scoop onto a plate. It's awesome, trust me...especially if you're a coolwhip freak like I am, lol. After you put the coolwhip on it, if you can see the pie, it's not enough that from Paula Deen, lol.

Monday was a good day for soup, so I made Zandra's Veggie Noodle Soup, that I'd found on I only changed it a little bit, honest. You know I never, or almost never, follow a recipe exactly. So, here's the soup:

Zondra's Veggie Noodle Soup
10-11C water
2med. potatoes, cubed small
2-3 carrots, in small discs
2-3 celery stalks, small dice
1/2C onion, chopped
vegetable bouillion for amount of water used
2-3Tbs soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 1/2C rotine pasta
salt and pepper to taste
1tsp garlic salt.

Bring water to boil, cook potatoes and carrots until just tender, about 10minutes.
Add remaining veggies and bouillion, add soy sauce and garlic salt. Cook on med-hihg heat 5-10 minutes, covered.
Add pasta, cook 10 minutes or until pasta and veggies are done. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Easy enough, right? So of course, I made it more complicated, lol. First, I sauteed the onion, celery, and one teaspoon of minced garlic in about 2Tbs. of olive oil and margarine. Then I added the potatoes and carrots, and let them saute just a couple minutes, and then added the water. I let all this come to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, when I added the pasta. My pasta was maybe two handsful of penne, a large, round pasta, as I didn't have any rotini. After everything was cooked the way I like it, very, very soft, I added about three good tablespoons full of the miso paste I bought last week, and let it simmer, very gently, for about ten more minutes, until the miso paste was dissolved into the soup. It turned out really good, I liked it very much, and have some of it frozen in the freezer for one of those times I odn't want to cook. One thing I will do differently the next time I make it, tho, is to add quite a bit more miso to it. I could just barely taste the miso, and since I love miso soup, it's just gotta have more in it. So, there ya have it!

Last night was one of those nights I didn't want to cook, so, I took some of the frozen vegan chili out of the freezer, and heated that up. With it, I made a cheese and salsa quesadilla, and honey, please, that was some good meal, let me tell ya! I ate like the proverbial pig, lol.

Tonight? Well, I'm not sure yet, but I "think" I'm going to finish up the pintos I cooked last Friday, before they go bad. It's come to my attention lately that I waste an incredible amount of food, and I'm trying to do something about it, it bothers me that I do. One problem is that sometimes I just don't like what I've cooked, like that bbq tempeh I posted in my first(I think)post. Altho I tried to save it, make it taste better, ultimately I ended up throwing most of it away. Another problem is that some recipes make wayyyyy too much for one person, and the stuff isn't always freezeable, so I end up losing part of it, too. Or, even worse, I forget about the leftovers in the 'fridge until they start growing grey fuzz, sigh, so those get thrown out, too. Anyway, I'm seriously trying to better about the waste, so, yeah, I guess it's the pinto beans, boiled 'taters...or maybe just baked...and the leftover french-style green beans from, um, whenever. They're still good. And a pint of chocolate cookie crunch tofutti for dessert!

One last thing, and I'm thru babbling for today. I think. I made another batch of granola today, and am out of oatmeal, coconut, and almost out of honey. There's about a cupful or so of cashews and walnuts together, so I'm going to mix the two together and make a nut butter with them. Should taste ok, I think, and that way, I'm not wasting the rest of the nuts.

Until next time, Happy Eating.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bean Burritos and Stuffed Acorn Squash...sort of!

It took me a while to do it, but I finally baked the acorn squash that I bought last Wednesday. Did it, um, Saturday evening, I think. I also made my grandmother's Yankee-style stuffing to go with it, a white bread stuffing that most folks here in the South don't like: Southerners seem to prefer a cornbread stuffing, which I generally don't like at all. I reckon it's all what you were brought up with, tho.

Anyway, I scrubbed the outside of the squash, cut it in half, and put it in a baking pan with about 1/4 inch of water, with the cut sides down. Then I put it in a preheated oven, 350ºF, and let it bake for 30 minutes. While it was baking, I made the stuffing, which in this case was actually a dressing, as I didn't actually stuff the squash, but spooned the stuffing around the squash halves in the pan.

I diced up about seven or eight slices of white bread, very small dice, put it in a bowl and added about 1/4C each of diced onion and celery. While I was doing the dicing, I melted, oh, about three tbs. of margarine, and then poured it over the bread, to which I had added the onion and celery. I gave all this a good shake of poultry seasoning, maybe a tsp., I'm not sure, and stirred it all in. After the margarine had been stirred in as much as possible, I added some hot water to it...maybe a quarter of a cup, again, I'm not sure. Stirred all this together and decided that the mixture was exactly the moisture I wanted: not sloppy wet, and not dry, but moist enough to be soft, and to hold everything together. So, I took the pan out of the oven, carefully turned over the squash, and spooned the stuffing all around the bottom of the squash, and returned the pan to the oven for another 30 minutes. The stuffing had browned, the squash was nice and soft, and that was my dinner. It was, in my opinion, awfully good, and hopefully I'll find another squash and do it again before too long.

Last Wednesday, at the grocery store, I bought a jar of mild salsa and a bag of soft flour tortillas. Friday I cooked a pot of pinto beans, to use for refried beans to make bean burritos. Last night I did just exactly that. The recipe for the refried beans comes from "1000 Vegetarian Recipes," by Carole Gelles.

Refried Beans
2Tbs. vegetable oil
3 Tbs. minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2C cooked beans

1. In a medium skilet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic/cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin until absorbed.
2. Add the beans and mash with a fork. Cook until dry.

Variation: for a spicier version, add 1/8tsp. ground red pepper when you add the cumin.

I didn't add the ground red pepper, but I do think I would've liked more cumin, so next time I think I'll add 1/2tsp. instead of just 1/4tsp. When I added the garlic to the onions, I also added about 2Tbs. of diced, roasted red peppers. After the beans were dry, I made the burrito. I laid two torn-in-half slices of soy smoked provolone cheese in the center of the burrito, and then poured some salsa over it, enough to thinly cover the cheese. Than I added enough beans to cover the cheese and the salsa, and some goat cheese crumbles on top of it all. Rolled it up, and set it in a dry skillet to heat. When it had turned golden brown, I took it out and proceeded to chow down, with some soy-based sour creme to go with it. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was, and yes, I will most definitely do it again. The only thing I would change is to buy a thicker salsa. The one I bought was awfully thin, and I'd like it thicker. Other than that, no changes at all.

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Noodles w/Sour Cream and Applesauce

The holidays are over, and I'm totally relieved. We have been wicked busy at work all week, and I'm just plain exhausted. Today is my one day off, and I'm back in there at 7am in the morning, sigh. I just hope the tips will be as good this weekend as they were the past few days, lol.

The Noodles and Sour Cream, etc., is from "1000 Vegetarian Recipes," by Carol Gelles. I'd been thinking about making it for quite a while, and this afternoon, I did. It's excellent, rich, creamy, sweet but not too sweet. So here it is:

Noodles with Sour Cream and Applesauce

8-oz. broad noodles
One 8-oz. container sour cream(3/4 C.)....I used the soy-based Tofutti brand
3/4 C. chunky applesauce....I bought the smooth kind but it works fine
2Tbs. sugar
1/2C golden or dark raisins
1/2tsp. salt, or to taste

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain.
2. Return noodles to pot and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Cook, stirring, until heated thru.

Variation: Stir in 1/2tsp. ground cinnamon....I didn't use the cinnamon.

Like I said, this stuff is wonderful, and I will definitely make it again sometime. And next time I'll remember to buy the chunky applesauce, lol.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping, and bought some salsa and tortillas. Today I cooked a pot of pinto beans, and plan on making refried beans from them, and then making a bean burrito, using my soy sour cream, and some goat cheese crumbles I found yesterday. And one of these days, I might even make myself a breakfast burrito, who knows? When I make either of these, I'll let you know how they turn out.

My other fantastic find at the store was a tub of miso paste. I honestly don't know if Kroger has carried this all along and I never looked in the right spot for it(it was in the refrigerated section of the health food department), or if they've just started carrying it. Either way, I'm delighted to have found it, and can see miso soups in my future. Again, I'll post about those when I finally get around to making one of them.

Basically I haven't cooked much lately, I've just been too tired. I made some cashew butter, so have had a few cb&j sammiches...the other night I fried some vegetarian hotdogs, heated up some green beans, and baked a potato...and, last week, I used the frozen leftover squash/beans/red pepper mixture to make a soup, like Sherrie suggested. First I sauteed some onion and garlic, then added water and a veggie buillion cube, the squash mix, and about two small potatoes, peeled and diced. When the 'taters were good and soft and falling apart, I used the immersion blender to puree it. Turned out great, and hopefully I'll be able to make it again sometime. I love soups.

Until next time, happy eating.
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