Friday, April 24, 2009

Broccoli and Tofu in Garlic Sauce, vegan

Hello, again. Another gorgous day here in the Sunny South, and so was yesterday: sunny, light breeze, and the temps went up into the 90's, which is really just too high for me. Today promises to be about the same. Last night we had some wicked storming going on, hail, lightening, thunder, heavy, heavy rain, wind, and the warning sirens going off all around me. Fortunately, my little house and I came thru just fine, and so did my neighbors. I admit to being a little scared, tho, because that hail really pounded on the roof and on the skylights. Believe me, I did some serious praying...and my prayers were answered.

Today is 36 days, 1069 cigarettes NOT smoked, and $204.12 and 8 days, 3 hours of my life saved. I'm impressed. The best part is that the urge to smoke hits me less and less the longer I stay quit. It still feels very weird, tho. I smoked for around 47 years, and now, well, it's certainly different, lol. Right this moment, I guess I like it...ask me again in an hour or so, tho, ok?

The recipe today comes from, in the vegetarian section. If you've never checked out the veg section over there, I think it's worth your time to do so. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Broccoli and Tofu in Garlic Sauce...vegan
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3Tbs. olive oil
2C broccoli, chopped
1lb. firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 1/2tsp. ginger powder
1/4tsp. cayenne pepper
3TBS corn starch
1/4C soy sauce
1C water

Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes.
In large skillet, saute onions and garlic in oliver oil until onions turn clear, about 3-5 minutes.
Add tofu, broccoli, ginger, and cayenne to pan, and cook until broccoli is done, about 6-8 minutes.
In separate bowl, mix together the corn starch, soy sauce, and water, and add this mixture to the tofu and broccoli. Cook until sauce thickens, then remove from heat. Serve over rice or grains.

This is wonderful, it really is, and yes, I will most definitely be making it again some time. It makes quite a lot, and altho didn't give serving amounts, I think probably four would be about right. The 1/4 tsp. of cayenne looked a little much to me, so I cut it down to 1/8tsp, but even that gave a little too much heat for me...not enough to ruin my enjoyment of this dish, but my mouth felt pretty much like it was on fire, lol. If you like it hot, fine, go with the full amount or maybe even more, it's your call. The night I made it, I put it over couscous, and the next night, I had green beans and biscuits with it. And there's enough for one more meal, lol.

See you next week. Until then, Happy Eating.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Seitan and Onion Gravy...vegan

Good morning. Beautiful day in the metro Atlanta area, pushing the 70's, sunny, breezy, and I have a front lawn full of buttercups, so cheerful and happy looking, lol. All that is outside, tho. It's not all that cheerful and happy in here...again...altho yesterday I had a really good day. But, since I have to go back to work tomorrow, I expected today to be a depressed one, sigh. It's just getting harder and harder to go to work now, and to enjoy it once I'm there. Waffle House has changed so much over the years, and every change they make seems to make life harder for the wait staff, and generally seems to hurt our tips, as well. So, I just don't like the job anywhere near as much as I used to!!!

Anyway, yesterday was good, like I said. I went to the library and took out my usual 10-14 books, two of which are cookbooks. One is vegetarian, by Linda McCartney, wife of Paul of Beatle fame, and the other isn't vegetarian, but it's sort of a "story" cookbook, from Amish country. Then I went to Kroger and bought two pints of my beloved Tofutti "ice cream," along with a few other groceries, including tortillas and picante sauce for burritos for my supper last night. I used the Tofu Taco Filling that I've posted here, along with re-fried beans and "cheese," and the leftovers, I think, will go into some vegetarian chili for supper tonight. Maybe. Depends on what kind of mood I'm in by then.

Today is day 29, 858 cigarettes not smoked, $164.43 and 6 days, 13 hours of my life saved! Not bad, eh? Do I want to smoke? Oh, yeah, I can't candycoat this in any way at all, because I do want a cigarette. I'm just not going to give in, that's all. Fortunately, the cravings are coming slower now, so hopefully they'll all but disappear before too much longer.

Ok, I admit it: I'm having a love affair with seitan, believe it or not. My latest way to use it is to dice it up and make a gravy with it, sort of like beef tips only beefless. And yes, it's very, very good. I've made it a couple times, and each time ate leftovers for a couple days afterwards, enjoying them as much as the original dish. There's still some in the freezer, but yesterday I bought another bag of the vital wheat gluten, and will be trying yet one more seitan recipe before too long, I think. Each time I make it, I learn a little more about it, and eventually, I think I will have my own recipe for seitan, from combining a little from this recipe, a little from that recipe, etc.

So, again, no actual recipe, just "as you like it" amounts for the most part, ok? About two cups of diced seitan, and one medium onion diced. Saute them both in a hot skillet with about two tablespoonsful of olive oil, Earth Balance, Blue Bonnet, whatever you prefer. When the seitan is browning and crisping, and the onions are starting to also brown a little, add about one tablespoonful of steak sauce(I use the Kroger version of 57 Sauce, which is called 1883 Sauce)and stir until it's incorporated thruout all the onions and the seitan, letting it sort of "scorch" onto the bottom of the pan. Just before you stir in the steak sauce, sprinkle a teaspoonful of minced garlic over the onions and seitan, and stir it in well. Then go ahead with the steak sauce. This should all take between 10-15 minutes, btw. While things are browning, stir one tablespoonful of corn starch into one cup of cold water until it's dissolved. Add one cup of cold water to the skillet, stirring to get the "scorched" off the bottom of the pan, and then add the cornstarch/water mixture, stirring until it comes to a boil. If it looks too thick, add more water. Otherwise, turn the heat down to very low, and just let it simmer for about ten minutes, add salt and pepper if you wish. And that's it, that's all there is to it. Easy, eh? It's really good over any kind of potato, altho my two choices are mashed potatoes and baked potatoes, and usually baked, because it's so much easier, lol: Just stick it in the oven(well, ok, you have to scrub it first, and then I always stick a knife thru it in a couple places, to keep it from exploding in the oven)at 400ºF and go back and take it out in about an hour!!! So, potatoes and gravy, and whatever vegetable you'd like to go with peas go really well with it, I think.

I can't think of anything else to say, so, until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Seitan "Philly Cheesesteak," non-vegan; Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie, non-vegan

No real recipes this week, as I haven't tried any new ones, just played around with some of the leftovers in my 'fridge and freezer. Turned out pretty good, too, I'm pleased to say, especially the Seitan "Philly Cheesesteak." The Shepherd's Pie was truly wonderful, and the fact that it's a "non-recipe" will make it easy for anyone to make one, honest, it really will.

Before I get to the non-recipes, tho, allow me to babble for a little bit, please...or hey, just scroll on down to get to the food stuff. I won't know, and, quite frankly, won't care, either, lol. Anyway, today makes 22 smokefree days for me. Seems like yesterday, #21, was one of the worst. I'm tired, I'm not sleeping well, I of course have cravings for a cigarette, and yesterday and today, for no reason that I can figure out, I am mega-depressed, to the point that I can't do The Next Right Thing, nor have I been able to function enough to even do The Routine. Sigh. BIG sigh.

Something wonderful did happen yesterday, tho, so even in the Black Hole, there shines a little light at times. Have I told you that I'm a greatgrandmother...and yup, I remember telling you. Anyway, I spent an hour with my two week old greatgrandson yesterday evening, while his mom and other greatgrands went grocery shopping. So I was able to snuggle with him in the rocking chair for a while, before I put him on the loveseat with pillows around him...just in case. He's so tiny, and gives off so much heat...and talks in his sleep, lol. It was nice, I enjoyed it, but sure don't envy my granddaughter for having a new baby!!!

So, about the food. First, the Seitan "Philly Cheesecake." My last attempt at making seitan, as I've told you, wasn't all that good, but I managed anyway to salvage most of it. Some of it is in the freezer, and some of it I had left in the refrigerator, for about a month?...maybe only three weeks. Anyway, it was fine, it kept very well...good to know for future reference. So, it was driving me nuts, trying to figure out what to do with it. Last Wednesday, while shopping at Kroger, I picked up a marked down package of hoagie rolls, which turned into the inspiration for the "cheesesteak." So, I cut the seitan into strips, and sauteed them in a mix of margarine, olive oil, and soy sauce, and after they'd browned a little bit, threw some steak sauce in there, too. While it sat there and cooked, I sliced a goodsized onion and let it caramelize. Then I dragged out the vegetarian smoked provolone cheese, as well as some chevre goat cheese, and put the chevre across the bottom of the bun, and then layered the provolone on top of that. Then the seitan and some of the juices, and then the onion. Wonderful. I was delighted with my "cheesesteak" sammich, I really was, and plan on making it again sometime. Everything was "to your taste," which is why there isn't a real recipe for it. Just make it up as you go along, ok? Little bit of irony here: I never ever liked the real Philly Cheesesteak, not at all, but I loved my vegetarian cheesesteak!!!

Ok, now for the Shepherd's Pie. Remember the post from last week, with the stew of sweet potatoes, beans, corn, and tomatoes? The one I didn't use the corn in ? Anyway. I sure had a LOT of that leftover, so one of the things I did with it was to make the Shepherd's Pie. I've also done that with a Lentil Stew, too, so you can make this with any kind of leftover, thick soup/stew you want to, or, if you prefer, of course you can start from scratch. I prefer not to do that, it's way too much work, lol. Anyway. I boiled four smallish potatoes, and I'm going to tell you right now, that wasn't enough, I should've boiled more. While they were boiling, I sliced a big onion and let it caramelize, in quite a bit of olive oil and Earth Balance, a vegan margarine substitute that I decided to try, and don't especially care for...I'm still a Blue Bonnet person...and quite a lot of smoked paprika and black pepper for seasonings. I scooped about four ladlesful of the stew into an oiled 9"X5" loaf pan, and laid three slices of the provolone cheese on top, along with two slices of so-called "cheddar" cheese...the cheddar isn't very good, but I hate to see it go to waste in the fridge, y'know. Then I smoothed the potatoes over all of that, and then the onions on top of everything. Put it in the pre-heated oven, 350ºF, and left it there for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes were browning a little bit around the edges, the cheeses had melted, and the onions were nice and crispy. This stuff is wonderful, too. I was sooooo pleased with it, and am pretty sure that it's what I'm going to re-heat this evening for supper. I'm not totally sure how to re-heat it, but I think I'll just put it in a skillet with a little water, cover it, and let it sit there for a few minutes...however long it takes it to heat thru. 15 minutes, maybe? I honestly don't know.

Maybe next week I'll have some "real" recipes for you. Until next time, Happy Eating.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Slow Cooker Stew s/Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Corn(Vegan)

Good morning, for the second day in a row, lol. Rather unusual, but I made a new soup last night, and wanted to post it for you. But first, I have to go "shift" my washing machine into its next cycle, sigh. The poor thing is dying, but I really can't complain too much, as it was second-hand when I bought it for $125, ten years ago. So, I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it!! BRB! Ok, I'm back, and you didn't even miss me, admit it!!!

I think I mentioned yesterday that I was supposed to work today, for four hours, which meant that I wouldn't have another day off until next Wednesday, but, miracles do happen, and lo and behold, I have today off, thank goodness. It's chilly(59ºF)and cloudy outside, but since I don't have to go anywhere today, I really don't care, and, quite frankly, I hope it rains again. I've been up since about 5:50AM, and so far have gotten dressed, swished and swiped the bathroom, done the meds/vitamins, prayer/Bible/devotions, made the bed, and started the load of towels, and I think that's probably all I'm going to do today, even tho my teeny tiny little house is a mess, and needs cleaning, sigh. Tsk.

So, about the new soup. I found it on and thought the recipe sounded good. Last night I decided to try it.

Slow Cooker Stew w/Beans, Sweet Potatoes, and Corn

1-28oz. can of unsalted whole tomatoes, including the juice.
3C sweet potato chunks.
2C EACH cooked cannelini and lima beans, and frozen corn kernels.
1 lg. onion, diced, 2 lg. cloves garlic, minced.
3C vegetable broth.
1Tbs. EACH paprika and dried basil, 1 tsp. dried thyme.

Dump tomatoes into slow cooker and crush with your hands or back of a wooden spoon. Mix in everything else, cover, and slow-cook, until tender, either one hour on high or about seven on low. Your heat settings and cooking times may need to be adjusted to your slow-cooker or for your own preferences.

Makes enough for 8 servings or more.

And I have no idea why I lost the color, sigh. Doesn't really matter, tho, I reckon.

This made a huge potful of stew. I used canned everything, as that was all I had available to work with, except corn, which I don't eat, because it hates me. I didn't use a slow-cooker, either, altho I do have one. It's in a hard to get to storage spot, plus it's been sitting there so long that it's covered with dust and grease and I wasn't in the mood to dig it out and clean it up. Maybe I should, tho...just in case, right? I also didn't have any garlic, because I smelled my jar of minced garlic, and it didn't smell right at all, so I just put the lid back on and tossed it. Lesson learned: do NOT buy the big jar of minced garlic from now on, JB. Use the smaller jars, ok? 'K. Anyway, I grabbed a jar of garlic powder from the cupboard, shooke in what looked like enough, and as I put the jar back in the cupboard, I realized that it didn't say "powder," it said "garlic SALT!" Uh-oh! Thankfully, it didn't cause the stew to be over salty.

Ok, it wasn't the best stew in the world, but it wasn't the worst, it was edible, and it's worth saving and freezing for later. Will I make it again? I really don't think so, but if I do, I think I'll cook my own beans, and use fresh sweet potatoes. And since I've discovered that I can eat a lot of things that I didn't used to be able to when I ate meat, I just might buy some corn and try it in the soup, just to see what happens. I love corn. Now that I'm not cooking with meat, I've found out that I can eat chili, very spicy chili, with a LOT of beans, and it!!!!! Sooooo, maybe I can sneak some corn back into my diet. I plan to try, anyway.

One idea that this stew gave me was to make another one, but different: home-cooked and seasoned pinto beans, onions, garlic, thyme, and the sweet potatoes, either canned or fresh, but NO tomatoes. Sounds good to me...oh, yeah, simmer the pintos with a bay leaf, too.

Guess that's it for today, got to go shift the blasted washer again, sigh. So, until next time, Happy Eating.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tofu Taco Filling(vegan); JB's Burritos(non-vegan)

Another rainy day in Georgia, and again, I'm delighted and hope it will rain some more tonight and/or tomorrow. It never bothers me when it rains on my days off, because, and I'm pretty sure I've said this before, I love rainy days, and always have.

Ok, I have to make a public confession and apology here, altho it's not about anything too awfully serious. Last week I said that my number of cigarettes not smoked was 900+, but I was wayyyyyyy wrong, lol. The number for that day last week was only 222, which really sounds more logical, right? The figures for this week, as of yesterday evening, are: not smoked, 386; lifetime saved, 2 days, 22 hours; money saved, $73.71. By 9:30 this evening, I will be smoke-free for a full two weeks. Yesterday at work, I came awfully close to relapsing, but didn't, managed to white-knuckle it thru the whole day, but it was really hard. Never realized how much anger could influence the urge to smoke, but it does. I honestly don't remember ever being that angry for that long, at work, ever before, because of my boss and a female co-worker. It's too long a story to go into here, even tho I'd really love to vent...again...but if I did, I'd just get angry all over again, so, guess I'll just talk about cooking, lol. About making my homemade burritos...not the tortillas, please understand, but the filling and rolling and heating. The Tofu Taco Filling recipe is from someone named Wendy O, who sent it in to Recipezaar has a pretty good vegetarian section, if you didn't already know, and is worth checking out sometime for new recipes.


16oz. firm tofu, frozen and then thawed.
1Tbs. EACH soy sauce and Mrs. Dash Original Blend
2Tbs chili powder
1tsp. oregano, 1/2tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp black pepper
1C canned corn
2C salsa

1. Wring out and crumble the thawed tofu.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the tofu[Either she didn't give the amount of oil to use or I didn't copy it down, take your pick, but I used about 1Tbs. olive oil and 1Tbs. of margarine with good results. Vegans just use the oil.]
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook to heat thru and combine flavors.

That's it, easy peasy, and pretty darned good, too. Now, I only used one tablespoonful of chili powder, and it was plenty for me, almost too much, in fact. So, use your own discretion here, ok? I didn't have any of the Mrs. Dash, and have never used it at all, so I don't know how that would affect the recipe. And on top of that, I literally forgot the soy sauce, lol. Even without those two ingredients, tho, it was good. So, what did I do for the rest of the burrito fillings?

First thing I did was rinse and drain a can of pinto beans. While they were draining, I diced up a small onion, and started sauteing(did I spell that right?)it in my usual combination of olive oil and margarine, about two tablespoonsful. When the beans were drained enough to suit me, I dumped them right in on top of the onions...I had let the onions saute for about five minutes, I guess...and started mashing them with my potato masher. After it was mostly mashed, I let it brown a little on the bottom before turning it and letting the other side brown a little bit, too. While the beans were browing, I spread a tortilla with some chevre goat cheese, and put some of the tofu filling on top of the cheese. Then I put two slices of smoked provolone vegetarian "cheese" on top of the tofu, and spooned some of the now-refried beans on top of that. A few pieces of diced tomato, and I rolled it all up, and put it on a hot griddle to heat, took about four minutes to get it warm and slightly brown all over. Oh, man, it was super, it really was. I ate it with some Tofutti "Sour Supreme" sour cream, which just set it off to perfection, lol.

There was enough of the beans and the tofu filling for me to have two burritos, and enough tofu leftover to freeze about a good cupful, I think. My plans for it are to let it thaw, see if I can't refry it and crisp it up some, and then add it to homemade vegetarian chili...I'm getting the urge for chili again.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!
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