Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fridge and Pantry-emptying chili

My husband and I are going to NY for almost two weeks - so I am trying to empty out our fridge for the exptended period away. I haven't been grocery shopping, needless to say. As I was leaving the house yesterday - to work pretty late- it dawned on me that I never use my slowcooker, and I probably should. So I took about every can I had and threw some stuff together for a chili that was ready when I got home, perfect.

1 LARGE can diced tomatoes (28 oz. I think)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 package cubed seitan
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can diced chiles
1 can black beans
2 Tbsp oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Throw in your slow cooker and put on low! I garnished with some cilantro, avocado and cheese (for shame)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching up

I haven't had much time to cook and subsequently blog for a bit now. I have a study in full swing, manuscript edits, I am starting to look for and apply for post docs... and yeah I guess that's about it. So- here is a quick recap of some stuff I have made over teh past week or two and have failed to share.

1) Lemon Risotto
My friend featured this RISOTTO on her blog Cooking for Dan. I had to make it since I pledged to make about every recipe she has made so far - they all look wonderful. This recipe was simple and delicious. It made enough for an army so I brought some to work to share with my friends/colleagues. One called it the best thing they had ever eaten, the other said it was too salty for their taste and mixed it in with venison chili. One of these individuals will never get any home cooked treats from me ever again. My opinion was that it was INCREDIBLE. I couldn't stop thinking about it after the first night and had some immediately the next night with a big old spinach and beet salad :-) For the recipe follow the link above - or you can be lazy and click here (I can't believe I am enabling this laziness - really).

That little glass by the way is not booze as you might expect - but rather my salad dressing for the night: olive oil, chardonnay, balsamic vinaigrette, and some special herbs! But yes, that is wine.

2) Kale and Sweet Potato Skillet
I've made this once before and I loved it then. From my favorite cookbook Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. It's super simple and chock full of goodness.

The recipe:
2 medium sweet potatoes (microwaved until soft)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
One 8 oz. package tempeh - cut into 1.4 inch slices
1 bunch kale torn into small pieces, ribs removed
4 garlic cloves
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp curry paste dissolved in a but of warm water
2 tsp curry powder (or more if you love curry)
2 scallions minced
cashews (optional if you can spare the calories... I can't)

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and chop. Add 1 Tbsp oil and soy sauce to pan - add tempeh and saute 5-7 minutes. Set aside. Sir fry garlic in remaining oil until fragrant, add kale, 1/2 cup H20, tomatoes, curry powder, and paste. Cook for 10 minutes covered. Stir in scallions, (and cashews if using) and cook 2-3 minutes longer. DONE. Nutritious and FAST.

3) Vegetable Pot Pie
My friend Nick got this recipe from his mother - and he has made it twice while we have been over. It is seriously so good I can't even stand it. The crust is amazing, the addition of tofu baked with soy sauce to the filling is ingenious. You can check out the recipe HERE on the site Gale's Recipe Collection. This is phenomenal - please make it! I forgot to take a picture of it all as one piece, so here is one wonderful serving. Even carnivorous Dave loved it.

4) Butternut Squash Enchiladas
I had a little butternut squash I wanted to use to make something different- and found this recipe on the Vegetarian Times site. OH MY GOD. These turned out INCREDIBLY. I can't even say it enough. Unfortunately there is a lot of hands-on time, making this more of a Sunday meal (like it was for us). Unfortunately, they were so good that I only got to eat 1... my husband ate all of them! I didn't even get to take a picture of them because I had to go to work, and by this morning they were all gone! The website doesn't have a picture either - I'm sorry! But if you need a knock-their socks off recipe - this is it. The ingredient list is short and the prep time mostly accounts for roasting the squash.

I've never asked you to trust me blindly and make something before - but do it, please.

The Recipe
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 butternut squash (11/2 lb.), halved and seeded
1 medium onion, diced (1 cup)
1–2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, drained and diced, plus 1 Tbs. sauce
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp. )
3 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 green onions, chopped (1/3 cup)
1 16-oz. can enchilada sauce
8 whole-wheat or corn tortillas
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until soft. Cool until easy to handle. Scoop squash into bowl, and mash. Heat oil in saucepan, add onion and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add chipotle, adobo sauce, and garlic. Cook 1 minute, stirring often. Stir in mashed squash, cream cheese, cumin, and nutmeg. Cook 3 minutes more, or until heated through. Remove from heat, and fold in green onions.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Lay tortillas on baking sheet, and warm 3 minutes in oven to soften. Divide filling among tortillas, and roll loosely. Place filled, rolled tortillas in baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce and Cheddar cheese. Bake 30 minutes, or until top begins to brown and sauce is bubbly.

5) Tofu Pesto Alfredo Sauce

This was a creation I made on the spot tonight as something to top my cheese tortellini with. I had seen some recipes for vegan alfredo, and figured I would give it a WHIRL. This was not vegan as I added some parmesan - but I figured the tortellini already had cheese in them so I wasn't doing any extra damage! The recipe is an approximation because I just threw this together- but it was GREAT. Even husband agreed!

The recipe:

1 container silken tofu

about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, or to taste

1 big Tbsp earth balance margarine

2 Tbsp pesto

salt and pepper

All you do is whirl this in a food processor

And then add to whatever you are covering in it. I added some wilted spinach and chopped sun dried tomatoes to garnish the pasta because it sounded good. I was right - it was great. I ate it in about .2 seconds flat - so I am still massively full.

Okay - I guess that's about it! Now I can catch up on my reading! :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brie, apple and arugula quesadillas

My friend Sara recently started a food blog - she has an awesome camera and everything always looks amazing. I pretty much bought everything to make a few of the recipes she posted recently. Last night we had to make a grocery store run after work, and neither one of use could wait very long for dinner. Team impatience with the start time of girlie vampire TV night - I decided to make these brie, apple and arugula quesadillas from my friend's blog, cooking for dan.

I won't repost the recipe, and my crappy photo doesn't do this simple dish justice - so just visit her site! It came together in minutes flat- and I was out the door in no time.

Thai-Pineapple Stir-Fried Rice

I make this dish frequently- it's another winner from Vegan Express. It is very simple and very good. The leftovers are almost better than the original batch because the flavors meld together so nicely! I served this with some tofu I tossed in a soy-type marinade I concocted on the spot. A good meal!

1.5 cups long grain brown rice
1.5 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cups broccoli
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 red or orange pepper, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
16 oz can drained pineapple chunks
1 cup light coconut milk ( I use a whole can of full-fat- it makes it ultra delicious and creamy)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp chopped or jarred ginger

Cook rice with 3 cups water (bring to simmer, simmer 30 minutes). Saute up the veggies. Start with the onion, and then the rest after the onion softens. Cook until the tomatoes are a little softened and nice. Stir in the rice, coconut milk, and remaining ingredients.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BAKED leek, swiss chard and mushroom risotto

When I found out in Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet cookbook that I could BAKE risotto rather than stirring it for 45 minutes straight I am almost cried out of joy. You just mix rice, broth, and garlic together and bake for an hour - stirring every 20 minutes. Holy crap. What a miracle.

For this recipe I used short grain brown rice (rather than traditional arborio) - and my Le Cruset 1/2 quart cast iron bakeware to first brown the veggies on the stovetop before popping into teh over with the rice. It was marvelous.

Baked leek, swiss chard and mushroom risotto:
1.5 cup short grain brown rice
2 miced garlic cloves
2 cups boiling water
1 cup plain old water
2 tsp "better than boullion" - vegetable obviously
2 leeks - white parts only, chopped
1/2 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 package sliced mushrooms
Parmesan or soy parmesan

Brown veggies in some oil. Add rice and stir. Add better than boullion to water and add to pot. Add 1 cup water and get ready to bake at 375 for 60 minutes. Set timer every 15 so that you may stir 4 times over the course of baking. When the timer goes off, stir in some parmesan if you wish- and add some for topping. Great stuff I tell you. I had this with my favorite mixed greens/goat cheese/roasted beet/pecan salad.

Life is good.

Post-Workout Smoothie

Check it out in my cute, little magic bullet mug!

This was so delicious and thick.

3oz. silken tofu
1/2 frozen banana
1 heaping Tbsp freshly ground peanut butter
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
2 packets splenda (I am always using packets because I steal them from work)
2 Tbsp coconut creamer
water to thin

Blend and you're done. It tasted like a thick chocolate milkshake for barely any calories! :-D

Friday, November 19, 2010

4Loko - dropping some science

Four Loko has been ALL OVER THE NEWS LATELY - due to the danger of mixing alcohol plus caffeine. Pressure from the FDA has prompted the company to remove caffeine (and taurine) from the product - which contains as much alcohol as a bottle of wine.

This is of course not before many states and universities have banned the beverage altogether.

How are caffeinated beverages mixed with alcohol so unsafe? Well, the short story is that at some point we all recognize that we are intoxicated - and stop drinking. Alcohol is a drug unique in its ability to be both stimulating and sedating - properties referred to as the "biphasic effects of alcohol." At first- you have a few drinks and you feel pretty great! You are talking to people, feel less inhibited socially, and maybe dance a bit. As alcohol intake becomes excessive, we begin to feel sedated. Usually, individuals recognize this and stop drinking - or at least pass out.

When mixed with large amounts of caffeine - alcohol no longer seems to sedating at high doses- meaning individuals continue to drink well past the point of intoxication while maintaining a perception of minimal impairment. You essentially have a "wide awake drunk" who can effectively make more money for the alcohol companies by consuming more alcohol than they normally could - who also puts others in danger by not perceiving their own intoxication - and puts their own selves at risk by drinking to levels of toxicity. And doing really STUPID THINGS.

Since I am an alcohol researcher - I felt it was only fair that I sample this beverage while it is still legal in NC to experience for myself what all the hype was about - kind of Albert Hoffman style.

Well let me tell you- the drink is cheap - only about $2.99! It came in some tasty sounding flavors- I chose fruit punch because it sounded the least puke-inducing. I felt GREAT while I was drinking it. The Polish in me came out right away by changing my cheeks to BRIGHT red.

I was giggly and generally happy.... then I just crashed. I was so tired I could barely stand it. This is probably because of the high alcohol content and my sensitivity to the sedating properties of alcohol.

So please, don't attempt at home! Unless you like drinking cough-syrup-ish flavors. Mmmm.

RIP Four Loko - though I hope though shalt provide me with a wealth of post doc opportunities if the science swings this way!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens

A super quickie post- I was on Nava Atlas' web site yesterday getting inspiration for week-night dinners, and happened upon this recipe featured as the recipe of the week, originally from Vegan Express. I never made this particular dish because it sounded plain- but trust me, it is anything but. I won't repost the recipe- just follow the link. The only difference with my version is that I used a HUGE bunch of swiss chard in place of the bok choy and spinach. It was DELICIOUS - and only 332 calories. WIN!!!!

Lazy and Productive Sunday = Snacks, Lunch and Breakfast

Today the husband and I woke up late (9:30 is the equivalent of 11:00 to my husband) and we headed out for a lazy breakfast before hitting up the the grocery store. While at breakfast, I checked my schedule to find it ridiculously light. Mind you, I do have FINAL edits of a manuscript I have been working on for months as long as the task of finishing up a lecture on opiates (yay!). For the past few weeks I have been SWAMPED- doing all of these things amongst running a study for 10-15 hours/day. For whatever reason I am never prepared for the busy weeks, so as a consolation, I decided to be overly prepared for the coming week by preparing breakfast, lunch and snacks! HOLY CRAP!

Too bad I won't be busy - but perhaps I can spend a ton of time at the gym to create the illusion of business. I am in a weight gain/loss competition with my husband to see who can gain/lose the most amount of weight before Xmas. He is trying to gain (tough life) and I am trying to lose. The most amount of poundage gain/lost entitles the winner to a free dinner. I am all over this.

Chocolate-Covered Katie has been whipping up some mini baked oatmeals ("boatmeals") this week - and I figured I had to be able to make these minis into a full pan (I also wanted to use my new cute little Le Cruset pan.) This will be 6 servings for me because of our friendly competition (I may resort to using Ex-Lax in his meals as we get down to the wire).

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal:
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tbsp splenda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup coconut milk creamer

Mix it all together and bake 15 minutes at 375. I dusted the top with cinnamon to be fancy. I tasted a spoonful already and it was GREAT. I am excited about breakfast this week. Add a light smoothie and I am good to go (and not gain).

My mom calls this "garbage soup" because you are essentially cleaning out all the veggies in your fridge.

Garbage soup: There is nothing to this: chop up all of your veggies, add it to some veggie stock (I had just made some) or broth, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 Tbsp chiles in adobo (is you like spicy things like me) and some seasonings. Simmer and that's it. Divide into little lunch-sized containers.

This batch contained: broccoli, summer squash, beet greens ( I was roasting beets for salads), onion, bell pepper, garlic, thai chile peppers, basil, herbs de provence, salt, pepper.... and I guess that's it. I will be eating this with salad all this week (I want to WIN)!!!


I recently happened upon Oh She Glows which is a cute little blog with gorgeous food/great pictures/a story of abandoning academia and opening a bakery (sigh). I was reading some past posts and saw these cookie bites - which were described as not sugary at all- PERFECT for me and my weight loss glory title. They came together in 5 minutes flat, baked for 14 and tasted great right out of the oven. A few of these after lunch will help my sweet tooth a TON.

I also bought a ton of summer squash for hummus dipping, some apples to slather with peanut butter for my 5PM pre-yoga/spinning/swimmming/pilates/metabolic effect sustenance, and those cheater bags of 94% fat free popcorn that we all learned in weight watchers is only 1 point for the entire 3 cups! Sign me up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pasta with Greens and Tomatoes

I saw this post on my sister in law's blog, Fried Ice and Donut Holes and knew that I wanted it right away. The recipe is a breeze, and came together in no time - it's from the awesome cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. We added asparagus (since I haven't had time to cook the veggies I bought at the farmer's market have just been sitting there in my fridge waiting for Dave to stop eating Papa John's pizza and chicken breasts with no sides). Dave saw some Tofurkey in the fridge and requested I add that as well, so I added two links and it was a nice protein addition.

12 ounces Whole Wheat Pasta ( I used brown rice pasta which wasn't bad at all)
1 medium head Escarole or Curly Endive ( I used Kale)
1/2 bunch asparagus
2 links Tofurkey Sausage - cut into cute little coins
5 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 can (28 ounces) Diced Tomatoes (I used two chopped tomatoes)
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Dried Rosemary
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Chopped Olives, optional ( I didn't have any)

Saute garlic in oil, add greens and asparagus and cook until wilted/soft. Add Sausage and brown. Add tomatoes and cook- add herbs and saute until fragrant. Garnish with cheese and olives if you have them.

Ginger baked tofu and Asian mashed potatoes

I bought the Kind Diet book on Amazon after I saw some awesome recipe's on the book's community site, the Kind Life. Some things turn out pretty good- but I've had some pretty big flops, and some things I just couldn't eat because of their sheer saltiness. This tofu is an example of that - it was so salty I couldn't finish one slab - and I LOVE tofu! Especially when it is marinated and baked. Dave liked this - but I did not.

Ginger-Baked Tofu

1 container extra firm tofu
1/3 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup H2O
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar (omitted)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (increased!)
1 tsp brown rice syrup
scallions for garnish (optional)

Whisk all wet ingredients. Cut tofu into 4 "steaks" - marinate for at least an hour (I marinated overnight which may be responsible for the overwhelming flavor) Bake at 375 on foil-lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes. Baste with some remaining marinade and flip. Bake 15-20 minutes longer. Garnish with scallions if you feel so inclined.

Served alongside I made some Asian mashed potatoes - since I had boiled potatoes days earlier and never used them - and soba noodles with spinach (an old favorite). We usually don't usually even have one starch, but Dave was off to play in his Adult League hockey game, and I figured he could use the extra energy.

Asian mashed potatoes
5 red skinned potatoes
coconut milk creamer to assist in the mashing
1 Tsp red curry paste
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp chopped ginger
Sprinkle yellow curry
Na++ and pepper to taste

I just threw these together and they were very tasty!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grilled Portobellos

Another Portobello recipe.

Yesterday was my first day home after a weekend jaunt to the Chautauqua Valley wine trail in NY. As a 60th birthday present we booked a limo to take some family members around to local wineries and stay over at a Bed and Breakfast. It was a great time, and I was really impressed at the wines- especially Johnson Estate. Their port was great! It was a great but tiring weekend.

So anyway, I returned home to an empty fridge and a house that stunk of urine thanks to the new puppy. She, like my other dog, is especially cute - and also has an affinity for peeing on rugs. So we remedied that latter problem by hoisting all of our throw rugs out of the house, as they were completely ruined. DON'T BUY RUGS THAT CAN'T BE MACHINE WASHED!!!!!!

The problem of the empty fridge was solved by a quick jaunt to Whole Foods - where my husband spied some portobellos stuffed with cheddar cheese, red bell pepper and jalapenos. They were $6.40 for 2! Well, of course I refused to let him buy the ready-made ones, so we bought the ingredients and assembled them at home - where he threw them on the grill. I served them alongside some BBQ Tofu and roasted asparagus.

Take stem off of mushroom
Fill with cheese (I used Daiya)
Top with some chopped red pepper
Add jalapeno or cerrano pepper
Garnish with cilantro and avocado


I need to improve my pictures- they always look like crap!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blueberry Oatmeal!

Just a quick post describing the awesome breakfast I had this morning. I wolfed it down so quickly I barely remembered to breathe. The original recipe can be found HERE on Chocolate Covered Katie.

My oats this morning:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup silken tofu
1 tsp cinnamon
2 packets splenda
1/2 cup frozen blueberries.

Soak oats and milk overnight. In the morning, cook for about 2 minutes in the microwave. Pour all but blueberries in blender and blend. Microwave frozen blueberries for about 1.5 minutes and add in at the end. Stir up and you are done. It tasted like blueberry cobbler. SO GOOD.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Seitan Stroganoff

I was craving this tonight - I made it vegan but it can easily be made dairy. The recipe (from mom way back when) Only with vegan ingredients subbed in:

1 tsp smart balance
1 package seitan
1 white onion
1/2 package sliced white mushrooms
1 Tbsp vegan worchestershire
1 cup veggie broth
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp mustard
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup sour cream (I used the better than sour cream stuff- I like it)
Na++ and pepper

Saute seitan in smart balance. Add onions and mushrooms and saute until soft. Add worchestershire and saute until all brown. Add flour to broth, then pour into side of pan and stir until thickened. Incorporate into the rest of pan. Add mustard (take it easy, it can overpower) and wine. Let reduce just a bit. Add sour cream, salt and pepper and that's it. Serve over noodles. Yum.

Crustless, Eggless Quiche

Doesn't sound very fun, eh? Well, let me tell you - this quiche tastes GREAT. I couldn't believe how smooth the tofu gets from a whirl in the food processor- it was unreal. I saw the recipe HERE initially, on This is Vegan. The original recipe can be found HERE. I left the sweet potato out because I didn't have one, though I didn't feel I was missing anything!

Garden Quiche:
1 package firm tofu
1 small onion
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. miso
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Saute Veggies.

Put the rest of the ingredients in food processor and blend.

Fold together and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let sit and eat! I had mine with a nice salad with some of my balsamic dressing from yesterday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Portobello stacks with Chevre and Tomato

My Aunt has a handy rule for cooking and entertaining. She suggests learning to make 5 menus really, really well. That way - you know if you need to quickly impress someone you know the end product will turn out great. And, if you constantly entertain the same people, you can rotate to the next menu and it seems like you are just full of recipes that turn out perfectly each time.

Her go-to Vegetarian entertaining menu consists of these stacks... portobello mushrooms marinated overnight in teriyaki marinade (I used Carribean Jerk tonight and it was amazing), covered in thick slices of chevre cheese and tomato.

General directions:
Marinate mushrooms overnight
Place on tin foil and cover with remaining marinade
Grill in tin foil about 20 minutes
Add slice of cheese and top with tomato (and breadcrumbs if you have them)
Close grill lid and let cheese melt
Assemble on plates filled with 1/2 arugala and 1/2 couscous

Drizzle home-made balsamic over arugala and top with mushroom stack

Drizzle more balsamic on the plate - top with roasted asparagus (tossed with EVOO and balsamic, roasted at 400 until you can smell the balsamic)

Balsamic (I didn't measure):

2 pressed garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, seasoned salt, basil leaves, squirt agave. This was probably the best dressing I've made so far.

And there you are... a great looking plate for the neighbors or whoever - in no time at all.

The wine tonight - Antanjo Rioja Tempranillo. The nose? Definitely some dark cherry and even black licorice. The mouth feel is considerably smooth and very mouthwatering. There is a hint of spice and almost chocolate amongst the berry flavor. It was only $7.99 at World Market- and well worth it. Absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tofu fajitas

I am running a new study- so that means I work past 5 almost every night until I finish. Meaning dinner has to be quick, quick, quick. Tonight I worked until 7:15, and Dave called me 3 times to see if he was resigned to death by starvation. He had already left the house - assuming I had died and left him to perish- and made me go meet him for Asian once he got ahold of me (mind you, our house is FULL of food, he just refuses to even make a sandwich).

Anyway- yesterday I made my favorite quick recipe of all time - Sizzlin' tofu fajita's from Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Family Cookbook. (My very favorite cookbook of all time).

Basically you just toss some baked tofu, pepper and onions in olive oil and lemon juice and roast. I garnished with some cilantro, corn and black beans - and that's it. 15 minute meal.

While reading the new Vegetarian Times I enjoyed Luna and Larry's Coconut Milk Ice cream- cherry amaretto flavor. It is out of this world creamy and delicious. It really just tastes like straight up coconut milk with cherries in it. You must try it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew

Like every body else in the world- I love PUMPKIN. In fact, my most favorite place in the world is PUMPKINVILLE! In addition to pumpkin-flavored baked goods that are so abundant this time of the year, I also love recipes using actual pumpkin. Last year I made THIS recipe for pumpkin black bean bake (without the beef), from better Homes and Gardens* ... and it was great. However, I vowed never to touch an actual pumpkin again after making pumpkin puree. It was a total pain in the butt and tasted almost identical to the canned variety. My mother sent me THIS recipe - and it looked like a winner. So I actually peeled and seeded a pumpkin.

I just made and devoured this, and it was great. Perfectly spiced and easy to throw together!


pound pie pumpkin peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large onion, chopped

cup red lentils
Tbsp tomato paste
Tbsp grated fresh ginger
Tbsp lime juice
Tsp ground cumin
1/4 Tsp Na++
1/4 Tsp ground turmeric
Tsp ground black pepper
cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Throw everything but the cilantro into a slow cooker. Cook for 7-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high.

Garnish with cilantro. Serve over Israeli couscous (I throw a dried ancho chile in mine for a kick of flavor).

The finished product. Yum. Verdict? Make it.

*The actual magazine that taught me to cook back in 6th grade - high school. It worked!

Bagel and Lox Breakfast Casserole

My husband has been reminscing of all the "bad-ass food" I used to make when we first got together and I was an omnivore. For our first date I made him chili-rubbed tilapia with mango salsa, roasted peppers with balsamic vinaigrette, sauteed cherry tomatoes in rosemary infused olive oil and chili mashed potatoes (yes, I still remember). His favorite was Chicken marsala- which I loved to make for him because there are only about 3 ingredients involved in the dish. I began to feel bad - so I decided I would make him something as a treat for the week.

He also has a hard time maintaining his weight (he loses very quickly unless he eats quite a bit - the opposite of everybody else on the planet pretty much) so he has been getting skinny, and I make it my personal mission in life to keep him at a healthy weight (he once got down to 133 - oh boy). He loves salmon so I figured I'd throw together a breakfast casserole for the week for him to eat rather than cereal. There were about 20 eggs in my fridge so it helped make a dent in a food I don't even eat. This recipe is not vegan or vegetarian (as I know not everyone is who are reading this!) so though I will not eat it- I feel some of you may enjoy this simple dish that takes care of breakfast for the entire week. This recipe is loosely based on a recipe I found on my whole foods iPhone app:

5 cups cubed bagels (I bought mini Thomas' bagels)
2 cups spinach leaves
1 container either smoked salmon or nova trimmings (the trimmings are cheap at whole foods)
8 eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp sage
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Layer bagels, spinach and salmon in pyrex dish. Mix eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, sage and milk together and pour over other ingredients. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Take off foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes longer. You want the bagel pieces to look nice and browned. I can't vouch for taste- but it looked pretty good!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Here are my thoughts on Uggs.

The first picture of Brittney spears wearing smelly-inside Uggs while it was 90 degrees in California surfaced circa 2006! At this time I was still an undergrad - and I thought they were ugly. However, I realized that I did live in Western New York, and if boots were in style, than I should embrace the trend. We all want warm feet while walking around in 4 feet of snow, right? Well, the craziest thing was that UGGs are not water proof, and become saturated with snow, thus getting your feet wet, and then FREEZING (literallly) while you are wearing them on your feet during let's say, I'don't know, a December 20th Bills game? Well, I threw mine out after that I decided that they sucked and that yes, they truly are hideous.

I was back up in NY last weekend checking out a post doc program I would definitely be interested in if it were funded- and I kept seeing Uggs. Yes, yes, Uggs are UGLY- but really, why are people still wearing them? It's 2010 now, years after the trend emerged.

Here is my theory on when trends should end: when they reach the 12 year olds.

If the shoes you are wearing, or really any piece of clothing on your body, is currently being sold at Claire's Boutique.... you should consider giving up on them.

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal... my life is now complete

The other day I remade some banana peanut butter oatmeal, and I happened to add some cinnamon. It reminded me of banana bread, one of my favorite foods. Then I took a trip down gustatory memory lane to the time when I tried to add pumpkin puree to my very favorite banana bread of all time and it ended up COLLAPSING and I was very sad. Then suddenly I decided that I needed to try to make pumpkin oatmeal.

I had a test run yesterday that tasted all right, but today I NAILED IT. This oatmeal was so good I could barely stand it. Thank you CCK, for introducing me to blended oatmeal. This was the best breakfast of my entire life.

Pumpkin oatmeal:
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup plain almond milk
1/4 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 cup So Delicious Coconut Creamer
1 shake of cinnamon
1 shake of pumpkin pie spice
1 packet splenda*

Cook oatmeal and milk in microwave for 3 minutes. Add it all to blender (I used my new magic bullet) and blend. I heated mine up in the microwave for a minute so it was nice and warm for fall. Oh. My. God. Try it. You must. Now.

*SPLENDA - yes I use it. Sucralose i is manufactured by the selective chlorination of sucrose (table sugar), which converts three of the hydroxyl groups to chlorides. Basically it's chlorine attached to a sugar ring. Since our bodies cannot process chlorine, the chlorine and sugar passes through the digestive system unaltered, therefore not allowing our bodies to drive calroies from it. I figure there is Chlorine everywhere - water, the POOL, and I am always swallowing it anyhow- so how much could it hurt. Right? It's a personal thing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stir-fry with seitan

I had been craving this dish for quite some time, even though I had only made it once before - way back in June. The original recipe can be found HERE on Eating Well.

The adjusted recipe

1/2 cup mirin1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce2 Tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp Na++
2 Tbsp safflower oil canola oil, divided
1 package chicken flavored seitan
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
3 scallions
2 cerrano peppers, seeded and pith removed
4 sliced carrots
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup steamed asparagus

Mix the ingredients: mirin-salt together and whisk. Add Tbsp of oil to pan (I use my cast-iron) and saute seitan until nice and browned. Add ginger and cook for a minute or two. Add vegetables and cook for maybe 5 minutes, until they are soft-ish. Add sauce to the pan and cook until thickened. Easy, and quick! Very, very delicious!

The beer wasn't mine, but husband Dave thought it complimented the color scheme of the food nicely. He had his over noodles, but I had it just in a bowl.

PS- I had this popcorn for an after dinner snack. mmmm

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blueberry Vinaigrette

I had to work late tonight... I had two participants scheduled to come into lab. Both were drug positive, so it was not a day of much success. Nonetheless- I had tons of crap to do at work after arriving early and unshowered as a result of yet another ASAP email from my advisor. Really? I had to work until 8pm. I don't want ASAP emails at 9am. So today was long and crappy. Because of the torturous day ahead of me, I had set out some of my mother's home made pasta sauce to defrost so I could make a quick dinner when I returned home*. I didn't want to just put it over sauce, but I was also feeling lazy - so there was that. I searched "marinara" on every vegan site until I found this picture, and I figured I would add some sausage.

It ended up smothering some spinach linguine with the sauce, in addition to some tofurkey sausage. I made some garlic bread alongside for old time's sake.

The salad (contains cheese, I was craving it - sorry!)

mixed greens, pickled beets, steamed green beans, blue cheese crumbles, apples and walnuts. All topped with blueberry vinaigrette.

Making dressings is easy- and once you start doing it you really begin to hate anything out of a bottle. There's nothing to them- oil, vinegar, mustardc(to help emulsify the dressing- i.e. not let it separate) and some sort of flavoring mixed with herbs. If I have time I make a fruit syrup to use as a base- but on a weeknight I just use jam.

Basically, I just put some blueberry jam into a bowl, added enough balsamic to cover it and a squirt or two of dijon mustard, and whisk. Add olive oil (about equal to the bulk of what is already it the bowl) and whisk again. Add herbs, or pressed garlic if you want, and keep on whisking. If you like it thicker, add more jam. And there it is, your very own dressing.

* Yes I suppose husband could have boiled the pasta and warmed the sauce... but I even asked him to do so - he said he'd just eat a snack and wait for me. Oh dear.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal

I shouldn't be blogging as I am going home to NY and am being picked up in 30 minutes... but I can't help it. My breakfast is so awesome. I finally broke down and got a new blender, and decided on the Magic Bullet. SCORE. That meant I could finally have blended oatmeal again. Today: Banana peanut butter

1 frozen banana- melted in microwave for 4 minutes (CCK's melted banana trick)
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup water
1 rounded tsp Peanut butter

Cook oatmeal and water 4 minutes in microwave. Melt banana 4 minutes in microwave. Combine with peanut butter and splash of almond milk in your magic bullet. HEAVEN

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Stolen Bowl

My friend gave me THIS recipe a little while ago, for stir-fried sweet potatoes. I bought some, planning on making them alongside some sort of food good in the coming weeks. Then I saw THIS post on her blog, and knew that I'd have to go all the way and incorporating it into a Buddha bowl/Harmony bowl/Holy crap I could be a vegan bowl... or as I have now dubbed it, the Stolen bowl. I made it almost exactly as outlined on Erin's blog, but I used tofu rather than tempeh - and somen noodles.

The tofu:
Some mirin
Some soy sauce
Some hoisin sauce
Some agave nectar

Press tofu, cut into cute little cubes and toss into the sauce you just pre-mixed. Put in 400 degree oven until you smell burning.

The stir-fry: somen noodles, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, sauteed sweet potaoes, sriracha, tahini sauce. OH dear it was good. Even my massively carnivorous husband ate it up and declared he was taking the leftovers for work tomorrow. YUM.

I have to share my version of the sweet potatoes recipe (based on what I had in my house) in case NY Times ever takes it down and you can not access the deliciousness:

1 tsp grated ginger (jarred ginger is super awesome, not at all like jarred garlic which is nasty)
2 sweet potatoes
2 Thai chiles, seeded
Peanut oil to coat
Na++ and pepper

Put the grating blade on your food processor and grate potatoes (I was a tad worried since my processor is so flimsy, but even my P.O.S. got the job done). Saute in oil with ginger and chiles. It's done in about 10 minutes. Even a non-stick pan became filled with gunk- so beware. I had to deglaze three times and the pan is still soaking in the sink now. But oh my foes and oh my friends, it was worth it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I love chocoate, and I am always open to new ways to get low-calorie chocolate sources into my diet. I found this recipe here, on Love Veggies and Yoga. There's nothing to it - chia seeds, almond milk, stevia and cocoa powder. Put it in the fridge overnight and you have a snack full of omega-3's and almost devoid of all calories. Yay!

Notice that the pudding slid to one side of my container during its transport to work. Look closely and you can see how I spend my lunch- reading journal articles!

Friday, October 1, 2010

*ULTIMATE* Vegan Chili and corbread muffins. om nom nom nom

I'm sure everyone has had the experience when you are sick of having the "worst" day. That is- the day you feel your absolute worst out of all the crappy sick days. Well, hopefully today was the worst of this stupid sickness. I slept 12.5 HOURS last night- right through to 11:30 am this morning. Holy crap. I guess I needed it. I went into work for a few hours, and still had some energy to stand up when I got home, so I threw together tonight's dinner and placed it gently into the slow-cooker and laid back down. Below are my variations on recipes from Vegetarian Times' past February issue.

I added a few things to the chili, mainly sweet potatoes and tomatoes- both of which I love. The seitan added a wonderful meatiness to the dish. I would highly recommend this for a fall dinner! My tomatoes:

Ultimate Vegan chili: Original recipe
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 large onion, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, microwaved until soft (about 5 minutes)
1 chipotle chili in adobo, drained and minced
8 oz. mushrooms
1 quart cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 package seitan
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. herbs de provence
1.5 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp celery salt
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegan Worchestershire
1 tsp cinnamon (trust me, it makes a big difference)
cilantro to garnish
sriracha for each serving

Heat EVOO, saute onion, chuck into slow cooker. Add mushrooms to pan with some H2O, saute until brown, add to slow cooker. Add the rest of the veggies and seitan, spices and everything else to the slow cooker. Put on high and let sit for 4 hours (ish). Garnish each serving with cilantro and sriracha.

Cornbread muffins: Original recipe
1 cup plain soymilk
1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup if you are made of money)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup frozen corn kernels

Pre-heat over to 375. Melt margarine in mixing cup. Add soy milk and the remainder of the wet ingredients, and mix with fork. In large mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add wet to dry. Put the corn kernels right back into the mixing cup and thaw in microwave. Add to remaining ingredients.

Pour ingredients into muffin pan. I don't use those little muffin cup things- I think that they make everything taste funny. So I just grease the pan and ladle the batter right in. Bake for 20 minutes - and let sit for 10. When they are done, it's time for chili. Then you can eat and go pass out on the couch, like I am about to.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Tonight's dinner is not vegan nor is it particularly healthy (well, maybe the soup was). A little while back my sister-in law posted a recipe on her blog for roasted tomato soup. Apparently it was a meal that my brother had made one evening. It's funny that him and I enjoy cooking, since my mother hates it so much. But regardless- we both cook and I am now borrowing a recipe.

I woke up feeling like death today - the weather has changed here FINALLY, which I love! However, every year when the temperature drops drastically I get sick. It's a trade-off. Today seemed like the perfect day to make grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Roasted Tomato soup (Dr. B-S's changes in Italics)
4 large Tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large Garlic Cloves, chopped finely
3 tsp Olive Oil
1 quart Vegetable Stock
Handful of Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp cream cheese
Pinch curry powder Herbs de Provence

Roast veggies 45 minutes on 425. Add stock and cream cheeseto pan, use immersion blender to blend and make into soup. Add spices and you're done. Yum.

Now, when it comes to grilled cheese- I like to embellish. I love brie, caramelized onions and granny smith apples. However, I did not have any of those things on hand - as I don't really keep much dairy in the house. Husband Dave did have some sliced cheddar, so I used that. I like fruit, so I used some jam. Jam is by far my favorite thing in my fridge, and I have many, many varieties to suit my every fancy. The jam of the day? Candy apple. Oh yeah.

Grilled cheese:
4 slices sourdough bread
2 tsp candy-apple jam
2 slices cheddar
2 Tbsp goat cheese
1 Tbsp smart balance

Melt smart balance on griddle. Assemble the sandwiches, bread + jam + slice cheddar + goat cheese + bread. I served it with some of my Uncle's pickles. I still feel like poop, but at least I am full.

Monday, September 27, 2010

BBQ flavored white beans and sausage and spinach... and raw chunky cheesecake

Today I stayed at home to write.... I spent all day sitting and typing up my reference section and expanding on my results. How fun! At 5 I decided to do some yoga so that I would feel as if I had moved a little today. I always feel guilty going to yoga class and hearing them talk about our "home practice." I don't have a home practice. But it was kind of nice, just doing what I wanted to do for an hour. Anyway- when the husband came home he was wet and tired and hungry. I whipped up one of my favorites from Nava Atlas' Vegan Express (I've been on a kick lately). This is a meal I've made a few times, it is so simple and unbelievably filling.

BBQ-flavored white beans with and spinach
1.5 Tbsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 cans white beans, drained1 14 oz. package tofurkey sausage (I like the Italian variety best)
1 cup BBQ sauce (I usually make my own, but not today)
As much baby spinach as you can fit into the pan.

Warm EVOO, saute onion and garlic - add sausage until nice and browned. Add beans and BBQ sauce - then spinach. Cover the pan until spinach wilts, then stir it all up and serve. So easy!

The whole:

The product:

After dinner I decided I would try making a Raw Vegan Cheesecake that I had seen On Love Veggies and Yoga. I had everything to make it and started soaking my cashews the night before.
Here is my crust:

I was a little bummed that my cheap-o food processor could not make the filling smooth. However, it still tasted okay. It is in the freezer now - so I will know how the final product tastes tomorrow. My blender has broken, and I think it may be time to upgrade to a bug girl Vitamix... and tonight's cashew filling has me convinced.... but to spend the actual money? That is stressful! We shall see.

The chunky cheesecake for now:

Back to "writing"! Yay!