…the veg! blog gave to me

Four lasagna noodles,

Three almond cookies,

Two types of ginger,

and a recipe for spritz cookies!

Oh no, I’m getting behind!  I’ll do a double-recipe day sometime this weekend- I’ve got an awesome idea for #5 ready already, I just spent most of today out doing seasonal things, like skating!!!  Yesterday and today have been beautiful, whereas the past two weeks or so have been bitter cold.  So, it’s been outdoors with the veg!blogger.

However, I have an experimental casserole for you.  It’s something like a cross between lasagna and baked vegan mac and cheese.  Really, I had intended to try and work out a couple of flaws from my current baked mac and cheese recipe, however, I discovered the only pasta I had on hand was orzo and lasagna noodles.  Then it occurred to me- why not make “cheezy” lasagne?

The results were delicious, but need a little work on consistency.  In particular, the bottom layer needs work.  I had a couple of ideas, and I’ll list them in the recipe- let me know if you try any of them!

Mac and “Cheese” Mini Lasagna

Serves 2

- 4 whole wheat lasagna noodles

- handful of mushrooms

- 1-2 stems of Kale

- 1 green onion

- a little oil for cooking

- about 1/4 of this recipe for cheese sauce, although if you like yours saucier, perhaps go with a little more

- 1/2 can soybeans

- 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small

- 1/2 cup diced cooked tomatoes, drained

- a sprig of fresh oregano, or dried oregano to taste

- pepper to taste

- 1 tsp Earth Balance

- 1 piece of bread

1.) Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees farenheit.  Boil water in a pot on the stove, and cook lasagna noodles.  Rinse in cool water.

2.) Wash produce (kale, mushrooms, green onion), and chop up fairly small.

3.) Mix the cheese  sauce without cooking it yet.

4.) Cook veggies in a frying pan over medium heat until just done.  Add the cheese sauce, and stir until thickened, and then remove from stove.

5.) In a small, deep baking dish, combine the soy beans, sun-dried tomatoes, regular tomatoes, pepper and chopped oregano.  Smooth out to create a nice bottom layer.

6.) Cover that layer with half the noodles.

7.) Add the veggies from the frying pan, reserving some of the cheese sauce in the pan.

8.) Cover that layer with the rest of the noodles.

9.) Scrape all the cheese sauce from the pan, and smooth it over the top layer of noodles.

10.) In a small bowl, break up the bread into crumbs, add the margarine, and mix it with your hands until it forms crumbs (this could also be done with a food processor…but are you really going to dirty a food processor for that?).  Sprinkle these over the casserole.

11.) Bake for 15-20 min, or until top is golden brown.

Tips- To change the consistency of the bottom layer, you could try blending the beans with the two types of tomatoes and spices.  This would make a layer that’s less runny.  Or, what about using tomato sauce instead of diced cooked tomatoes?

…the veg! blog gave to me

Three Almond Cookies,

Two types of ginger,

and a recipe for spritz cookies.

More sweets!  Sweet!  I swear, there will be some savoury recipes in here too!  However, it is cookie baking season.

This one is an old family favourite refurbished.  I remember eating wonderful, intensely nutty, crumbly, peanut butter cookies as a child.  However, not only is our family peanut butter cookie recipe not vegan, I’ve also developed a mild allergy to peanuts (I miss them).  So, I not only set about veganizing this family favourite, but de-peanutting it.

Some notes: First of all, I did not use white flour for this one.  I used a seven-grain blend.  This recipe, because it’s a little more dense, lends itself to the use of healthier flours without anything being lost.  I do not think I would use spelt flour with this recipe, however, because it would make cookies that are too soft.  The second thing that I would like to point out, is that for an egg substitute in this recipe, I used this. I mix the powders ahead of time in large quantities, and keep them in an old tea tin.  Then, when I need it, it’s there!  Very slick.  In the ingredients photo, you can see it in it’s prepared form (because I didn’t want anyone to get confused and add Darjeeling instead of egg replacer).  Lastly, about the molasses and sugar- if you don’t want to buy separate bone-char free sugar and brown sugar, then just add a little molasses into your recipe to replace the molasses content in the brown sugar.  I usually use 1 tsp to 1 cup of sugar.

Almond Butter Cookies


- 1 1/2 cups flour (7 grain or whole wheat should work)

- 3/4 tsp baking soda

- 1/2 tsp baking powder

- 1 c smooth almond butter

- 1/2 c Earth Balance vegan margarine

- 1 c veg-friendly sugar

- 1 tsp molasses

- 1/2 tsp vanilla

- substitute for 1 egg (don’t use banana)

- 1/2 – 3/4 c chocolate chips (optional)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.

2.) Mix flour, soda, and powder.

3.) In a separate bowl, mix together almond butter, margarine, sugar, molasses, and vanilla until creamy.  Mix in prepared egg substitute.  Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and mix until blended.

4.) Roll into balls, and flatten with a fork.  Don’t forget the flattening step.

5.) Bake 12-15 min, or until slightly browned underneath.  Don’t overbake (I overdid one sheet a bit, and they’re very crunchy).

…the veg! blog gave to me

Two types of ginger,

and a recipe for spritz cookies!

I have been rather under the weather, so I have nothing elaborate for you.  However, I thought I could share the warm-me-up soup I made for supper last night.  Very easy, and great for cold, busy winter days.

Double-Ginger Udon Noodle Soup


serves 1-2

- 2 to 2 1/2 cups H2O

- 1 cube veggie bullion (look for something with low sodium)

- 1 pack udon noodles

- a handful of sliced mushrooms

- about 1/3 cup frozen peas

- a few cubes of extra firm tofu, optional

- ginger powder and freshly grated ginger to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp powdered, 1 tbsp fresh)

- a sprinkling of red chili flakes, optional

1.) Boil the water in a pot on the stove, and dissolve the bullion cube. Put a lid on the pot, and turn it down to a lower temperature, but keep it simmering.

2.) prep the mushrooms, and tofu if using.  Add all the veggies, the tofu, and the noodles to the pot.  You may need to turn the stove back to medium heat or so.  Cook until the vegetables are just done.

3.) Add the powdered ginger, fresh ginger, and chili flakes, tasting as you go to get that perfect combination.  Try grating the fresh ginger from frozen- it makes it a lot easier, and makes the ginger keep far longer.  The chili may come as a surprise, but when I’m sick, I find spicy foods help to calm my stomach, and warm the rest of me up.  Just don’t go overboard!

Now, some Canadian Christmas tunes.

…the veg! blog gave to me

A recipe for Spritz Cookies.

School’s out!  Glee!!!  That not only means that there’s time to cook again, but that there’s time to cook crazy Christmas foods again!  So, without further ado, I present to you my 12 days of Christmas, now with even more how-to photos!  (This  should be more successful for me than VeganMofo, as I don’t have University to interrupt my kitchen freakouts.)

During the last, psychotic week of school, my grandma passed on her mother’s cookie press and icing press.  Now, I have wanted a cookie press since I was old enough to know what they were, but I never thought I’d end up with a beautiful, antique metal one.  So, now that I’ve been freed, and had some time to just spend relaxing, I had to find a recipe for spritz cookies.  For whatever reason, I also decided they had to be peppermint spritz cookies.  The recipe I used was adapted from this blog.

You may notice that this recipe goes against many of my usual baking methods.  First off, it uses white flour.  Following that, it’s loaded with sugar and fat.  However, I make some exceptions for Christmas cooking, as there are some recipes that just aren’t the same without these ingredients.  If you have any awesome spritz recipes that are lower in sugar/fat/white flour, please do share them here!

Peppermint Spritz

3/4 cup vegan-friendly sugar

1 cup Earth Balance margarine

1/2 cup soy yogurt *or substitute

1 tsp peppermint extract, or more to taste

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 handful of frozen or fresh raspberries

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

1 1/2.) *if you cannot get ahold of soy yogurt, try using this substitution, although be conscious that the above recipe makes more “soy yogurt” than is needed for these cookies.  This substitute is what I used, since Regina either doesn’t seem to have soy yogurt, or when I can find it, it’s gone moldy.  You could also use silken tofu, I bet.

2.) Cream the margarine and sugar until somewhat fluffy.

3.) Beat in the soy yogurt and peppermint extract.

4.) Sift in the flour and salt.  Yes, please do sift your flour, not just throw it in, as these are more delicate baked goods.  Whip with the electric mixer until a fluffy dough forms.

5.) Divide the dough in half.  Warm up the raspberries if they’re frozen.  Place in strainer, strain pulp and juice out, and discard seeds.  Add this raspberry pulp and juice to 1/2 of the dough to make it a light pink colour.

6.) Place dough in cookie press.  Get creative about how you get the two colours in- try rolling them in logs, for example.  Press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper.

7.) Bake for about 10 min, or until lightly browned.  As I made thicker cookies (since I am new at this cookie press thing), it took much longer- perhaps even 20 minutes.

8.) Transfer carefully to wire rack to cool. Caution- these break easily.

9.) Place under tree for Santa, or your cats, to eat.

VeganMoFo III

I was bored of toast, and therefore needed some muffins to go with my breakfast smoothies.  Breakfast is likely my favourite meal, since most breakfast foods are awesome.  Who doesn’t love a meal that can consist of fruit and greens smoothies, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal (you haven’t seen oatmeal until you’ve seen the crazy oatmeal I cook up), muffins, fruit salads, hash browns, and so forth?  I also believe in eating big at the beginning of the day.  Some people would disagree with me, but I find my body likes this system best.  Then, you have the whole day ahead of you to use up the energy from that big meal, whereas if supper is you’re biggest meal, you’ll be going to sleep not that long after eating it.  I also like simultaneous breakfast lunch.  I know, there’s another word for that, but mine’s cooler.

This batch of muffins turned out amazing, and they’re healthy enough to actually be included in my normal everyday breakfast.  No sugar, no wheat flour (although I’ve added wheat germ), no oil, but lots of delicious flavours.  This is a severely altered version of a recipe I found in the Zen Monastery Cookbook; I’ve used the base recipe from their orange pecan muffins for a few different modifications, as its proportions just seem really nice.  I also think the citrus helps to make them rise all lovely-like, and therefore gives them a nice texture.

Oh, and these are made with stevia.  I know, some people aren’t fans.  However, I actually really, really like the taste of the stuff, as long as you add just enough.  Don’t go overboard.  Stevia is strong stuff, and a teaspoon can be as sweet as a cup of sugar.

Blogmuffin

Orange-Blueberry-Banana Breakfast Muffins

-2  1/4 cups light spelt flour

- 1/2 cup wheat germ

- 2 tsp baking powder

- 1 tsp salt

- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- 1/4 tsp white stevia powder

- flax seed for decoration, optional

- banana egg replacer for 2 eggs (mash a banana with 1/2 tsp baking soda.  Usually it’s 1 tsp, but there’s already another 1/2 tsp of baking soda in this recipe.)

- 1 cup orange juice, plus 2 tbsp of orange juice concentrate

- 1 cup blueberries, fresh, or thawed from frozen (or partially thawed, if you forgot to thaw them ahead of time, like me.)

Preheat oven to 375.  Coat muffin tins with non-stick spray or a light coating of oil.

Blend the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and stevia powder together.  In a separate bowl, mix the banana eggs, orange juice, and blueberries.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended.  If it seems a little too thick for muffins, add a little more orange juice.

Spoon into muffin tin, and if desired, sprinkle with flax seeds.  Cook for 25 min, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Avocado Cucumber Rolls
Oh, and since I missed blogging yesterday, here’s another quick mini- recipe. Sometimes, if I have leftover rice, I just mix a little rice vinegar, a sprinkle of salt, and a half spoonful of veg-friendly sugar with it to make a dressing for the rice, and use it as though it were sushi.  I know, this may be blasphemy, but to be fair, when I actually make sushi rice, it comes out beautifully.  For these rolls, I added lots of avocado and thinly sliced cucumber, and a little wasabi.  Actually, it was a lot of wasabi…mmmmm.

Since that title seemed to get everyone’s attention in one of my first ever blog posts…

Now, for another addition to my attempts at blogging for VeganMoFo III
A brief post for today.  I was rummaging through a garage sale looking for something to turn into a sculpture for art class, when I came across a simplified ice cream maker that uses a pre-frozen tub to chill the ice cream.  Glee!  Took it for its first run on Sunday, and created this.

Sprinkles

I think I overfilled it a little bit, because it was freezing somewhat slowly, yet when I started scooping it out, the remainder froze really fast.  The whole process from mixing ingredients to eating ice cream took just over half an hour, and that was with my miscalculations.  I’m excited to try again!

This particular ice cream was made from coconut milk, blended frozen blueberries, fine turbinado sugar, Cocoa Camino cocoa powder, almond slivers, unsweetened shredded coconut,  and almond extract.  Yeah, we went a little crazy.  It was actually delicious, although a little too almond-y.  Less almond extract next time.

On top, you may notice some sprinkles.  Vegan sprinkles!  In one of the issues of Vegetarian Times recently, there was an article on vegan donuts, where they called for vegan sprinkles in a recipe.  I scoffed at this, thinking, “Sure, I bet in some big city you can find vegan sprinkles, but what about those of us living in small cities?  I’ll never come across those, and that is so not a realistic ingredient to call for in a recipe!”  Yet, when I was perusing a health food store that I don’t go to that often, guess what I found!

Ice cream with sprinkles.  I feel like I’m seven.  Oh, and in keeping with the seven-year old theme, here’s a pic I took today whose colours delight me.

Blue Violet to Be

VeganMoFo III

Long time, no internet…I needed a break from updating and keeping track of too many different accounts for awhile.  However, I decided to start blogging again (likely with more pictures, less text, to keep things manageable) for VeganMoFo the III (Vegan Month of Food).  This will mean blogging every day, or almost every day, for the rest of the month.  So, sometimes it will be short cooking tips, or pictures of simple meals, and other days I will post some of the more complex recipe posts I’ve been putting off (like puris…).

Now, in honour of official World Vegetarian Day, I give you what I ate for supper-

Simple Sesame Greens, Zucchini and Beets

Greens on Soba

Ingredients
Ingredients

- zucchini, chopped into half rounds

- a small beet, also chopped into half rounds

- a minced  green onion

- a leaf or two of kale, chopped

- a couple teaspoons to a tablespoon of cooking oil

- sesame seeds, as many as you like

- a splash of sesame oil

- soba noodles (if you’re rich, go for the real ones, but if you’re poor, you can get ones that are partially buckwheat flour, partially wheat flour)

Process
Frying Pan
Cook your soba noodles following the instructions on the package.  Chop your veggies, heat your cooking oil in a frying pan, and sauté the beet, zucchini and onion for a minute or two.  Add your kale, sesame seeds, and a little sesame oil, and cook until the kale just begins to wilt.  Don’t over-cook.  Eat the veg over the soba noodles.

Nom!

Three gardens.  One salad.  Devoured by many.  This is a sneak peak of one of the recipes that will likely be in my cookbook, with more exact measurements and instructions attached.

The potatoes are from the organic community agriculture project that I’ve become a part of (aka, we finally have veg baskets in Saskatchewan like the ones everyone else is bragging about!), the spinach, radishes and green onions were from my friend’s garden that I’m helping tend in return for produce, and the herbs were my doing!

Potato Salad

Now, let’s see if I can remember the ingredients…

- potatoes, cut into smallish cubes and boiled, skins on

- a large handful of fresh spinach

- some green onions, chopped

- a few garden radishes, thinly sliced

- chopped fresh dill and chives

Toss together, then add a dressing made of

- a little extra virgin olive oil

- a good splash of chive flower vinegar (where you’ve soaked chive flowers with vinegar, turning the vinegar pink and flavouring it, a trick I took from Where It All Vegan, I think).  Or, I bet cider vinegar would work well too

- a little dry mustard

- freshly ground salt and pepper

I think that was everything.  I’ll add an update if I remember any forgotten ingredients.

I’m thinking of compiling a cookbook, because it seems like a fun thing to do.  It might possibly end up here so that people can download it for free; I don’t think I’m in this project to make any money, so much as to create a crazy compliation of recipies and pretty pictures.  Actually, half the pictures will likely have nothing to do with food, and just be photos that amused me and seemed to loosley fit for strange reasons.

However, the reason I’m posting about this is that I don’t think I want the chapters in this cookbook to be consistent with all the others on the market.  You know, where they are traditionally divided into categories like soup, starters, entrées, salads, breads, and desserts. While this is helpful, it’s been done already… a lot.  No, I think I want to find some more interesting way of sorting recipes.  Categories I have in mind so far include Accidental Recipes, Things with Avocados, Thins that Taste Way Better than they Look, the Colour Orange, and Things That can be Made in Fifteen Minutes Flat.  What I want to know is if anyone has some more chapter ideas.

I will have to keep this post brief, as the cat asleep on my one hand is making typing incredibly slow.

Hi internetz!  I kind of got sick of tending to all of the chores of the Internet for a while (partially due to the daunting task of dealing with the lack of space in my flickr account…which I’ve been avoiding) and needed a break from blogging.  However, today I made a sandwich that I couldn’t keep to myself.

I have no idea where this little bit of logic came from (about the apples and the tofu), but the results were delicious.  I decided I wanted a toasted sandwich with an avocado-Dijon spread for lunch – something along the lines of what I created for an article in our university paper.  It was a delightfully easy sandwich made from lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, red onion, and seasoned, pan-fried tofu slices.  The spread was just mashed avocado and Dijon mustard.  The problem I was having today though is that I am currently not eating any soy products in an attempt to figure out if I have a soy allergy.  So, no tofu.

So why not apple slices?  I started by making my avocado spread, with the intention of putting lettuce, cucumber and tomato on it, and calling it a sandwich.  Then, this nagging little voice told me to look over at the fruit bowl.  The textures and flavours of the cucumber and apple just seemed to be calling out to be paired together.  This was the results:

Apple Sandwich

Apple Sandwich

1/2 avocado

Dijon mustard

1/2 apple, cut into centimeter-thick slices

handful of thin cucumber slices

lettuce

optional- a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds

2 pieces of toast.

Mash the avocado and stir in Dijon to taste.  Spread on both pieces of toast.  Assemble the rest of the ingredients onto one slice of toast, and then place the other on top.  Eat immediately.

Don’t be scared of the whole fruit-in-your-sandwich thing; this is absolutely delicious!  It went well with the nice spring weather.

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