Monday, September 24, 2012

Cinnamon Popcorn Snack

Simple snack we made at Sunday School yesterday with the little ones.  They got to "measure" out each ingredient and then shake it all together in a baggie.  Simple but yummy!

We just mixed together dried fruits (raisins, fruit bits, dried cherries, etc.) with fresh popped popcorn.  Then we sprinkled on a little cinnamon-sugar mixture and shook it all together. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gazpacho (aka Farmer Market Cold Soup) -- Vegan and GF

I love friends with benefits, especially when the benefits you are talking about are fresh garden veggies!  Got a TON of fresh Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion and peppers from a couple friends this weekend and decided to make up a giant batch of Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup.  It is savory and a little spicy and fresh and wonderful.  And it's a great way to use up your extra vegetables.  Serve it up with a vegan multi-grain bread (from the market).  Just toast up the bread and rub it with fresh garlic.  So good! 

I recommend serving it beside Chickpea Salad on greens or made into a pita sandwich.

I will give approximate amounts, but I just ended up using what I had.  So you may need to start slower on the liquid parts and add as you see fit.

GF AND FOOD ALLERGY NOTE: Some Worcestershire is made with anchovies and/or wheat. Be careful to read labels and buy what you need.

(Notes: I did not peel my tomatoes or cucumber because I don't like to waste any part of the food.  You can peel your veggies if you prefer.)

2 cups finely chopped Roma tomatoes, seeded (peeled if you prefer)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped green onion
1 cup finely chopped cucumber, seeded (peeled if you prefer)
1 cup finely chopped red or green sweet pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves minced garlic
3-5 T. white balsamic or red wine vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. A1 Steak Sauce OR vegan Worcestershire sauce
5 cups Bloody Mary Mix OR Vegetable Juice (I use 3 cups V-8 and 2 cups Hot and Spicy V-8)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper

Mix all together, season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.  Let chill at least 4 hours before serving. Re-season as needed after taste testing. Serve with crusty bread or croutons and hot sauce on the side.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mexican Rainbow Soup (aka Mexican Chili)

2-3 T. minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 red (or orange or yellow) peppers, chopped
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes (or 2 whole tomatoes, chopped)

5-6 cups beans (black, white, red, etc.—whatever you like or have in the pantry) that have been soaked and are soft
3 cans beans (I like to mix one each of black, navy, and kidney)
4-6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

2 cups fresh or frozen corn
Season with:
Tabasco sauce to taste
2-3 T. chili powder
1-2 T. dried basil, or one ½ a bunch of fresh, chopped
1 T. cumin
Salt and Pepper
(spice it up more if you’d like)

In large soup pot, sauté garlic and onion until soft but not brown in olive oil or a little broth.  Add everything except corn and cover it with broth.  Bring to a boil, simmer until veggies are crisp-tender.

Add 2 cups fresh or frozen corn and cook until hot.

(I thickened mine with a cornstarch slurry this time.  I don't always do that.)

Serve with jalapenos and vegan cheese (pepper jack or cheddar) and/or vegan cream cheese or sour cream to top it off.

Good with beer bread, tortillas, chips, or corn bread. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Asian Tofu and Cabbage Salad

Some people think vegans ONLY eat salad.  Well, that's just not true.  I rarely eat a salad, but when I do I like it to be flavorful and colorful and yummy.  I don't do the plain little garden salads of yesterday.  This one gives a real flavor punch and my family really enjoys it.

I originally found an Asian Salad recipe on, but it wasn't quite what I liked.  So I had to revamp it and work it a little more to my tastes.  This is what we had for supper last night, with a side of edamame.  It would also go well with miso soup or another veggie soup.

The original recipe had us marinating the tofu and tossing it together with the other veggies.  I found it didn't have quite enough dressing/marinade and left the salad pretty bland.  So I changed up the ingredient list to make it more of a dressing than a marinade, and I change up the process so that all the veggies get good flavor.  I hope you like it!

Note: I have estimated the amounts for the vegetables.  You can prep your own veggies or you can purchase packages of the ready to use to save time. Also, sweet chili sauce is purchased in the Asian section of most stores.  Some is much hotter than others, so use enough to get the amount of heat you like. Always taste your food before serving!

This recipe makes 4 main dish or 6 side dish servings, but tastes great the next day.  So keep those leftovers!

1 brick extra-firm or firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes or triangles
4-6 cups sugar snap peas (2 packages)
1-2 cups shredded carrots (1/2 package)
2-3 cups shredded purple cabbage (1 package)
Romaine, spinach or other salad greens

2-4 T. Sweet Chili Sauce
2 t. fresh minced ginger
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 t. sesame oil
2 T. agave or honey (optional, to taste)

Chopped peanuts
Chow Mein noodles
Toasted sesame seeds

In a large bowl, toss gently the peas, carrots and cabbage.  Add the tofu.  (Save the salad greens for serving time.)

Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the veggies and tofu. Toss together gently so all veggies are covered, but be careful not to smash up the tofu.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

To serve, pile marinated veggies and tofu onto some greens and top with peanuts, noodles and/or sesame seeds.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Easy Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

My child care kids made these muffins this morning and then they devoured them.  Fun to cook with kids!!

I use all whole-wheat flour but you can use a blend.  If you use whole-wheat, keep in mind that it is a little dry fresh out of the oven.  Let the muffins cool and cover them for a few hours (or cook the night before) for your whole-wheat to moisten up.

I also use ground flax as my egg substitute in this recipe.  Put the ground flax in the water and let it sit while you measure the other ingredients.  Then add it to the wet bowl.  You could use other egg substitutes, but I like the addition of flax to these for health purposes.

3 c. whole-wheat flour (or a blend of whole-wheat and white)
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

2 T. ground flax stirred into 6 T. water
1 1/2 c. sugar
4-5 banana, slightly mashed (we like banana chunks in the muffins)
2/3 c. oil (or do half oil and half applesauce to cut the fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another.  Combine together just until moistened.  Bake in muffin pans using papers or non-stick spray. 

Cook large muffins about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Cook mini muffins about 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Sauteed Green Beans and Mushrooms

Had a great supper last night with lots of fresh produce from friends' gardens and the farmers market.  Easy, too.  I had a lot of onions and peppers that I sliced up and sauteed in a little garlic-infused olive oil with some baby portabellos. Then I steamed some fresh green beans and tossed those into the mix with a splash of white wine, salt, fresh cracked black pepper and Italian seasoning.  We had baby red potatoes on the side (boiled and tossed with a little vegan butter, salt and parsley).

I also baked some lemon pepper tofu.  I pressed the tofu and sliced it about 1/2 inch thick.  Marinated in garlic-infused olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  Then I put it on a cookie sheet and seasoned with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. I baked it at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning it once in the middle.  I don't have a picture of the tofu because my family devoured it too quickly for me to snap a pic. 

It was a simple, fresh meal and everyone loved it.  The only complaint was that there wasn't any leftovers for lunch today!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Plan

This week's meal plan is listed here.  For those new to the blog, WELCOME! and a few notes.  I provide in-home child care, so I list all snacks and lunches.  My day care kids eat mostly vegan, but do occasionally have cheese or yogurt products.  My family eats vegan here at home.

I hope to add the Asian Salad recipe this week with photos.  The sweet potato quesadillas are vegan and are a version of the Forks Over Knives recipe.  The Pea Guacamole is also a take-off of a FOK recipe.  I will try to add my changes to those, too. 

There are little family notes under each day just for you to see our plans.  For instance, on Monday we have both swimming practice for our son and soccer practice for my daughter.  I have two personal training clients that night as well.  So I will make the sweet potato filling and guac early in the day (during kid nap time) and the beans are my crock pot version from an earlier post.  That way it is just a couple minutes to have dinner ready when we all meet back up at home.  I don't usually share my family schedule, but I thought it might help for you to see how I make that happen.

I often times try to cook ahead of time or cook A LOT once and then freeze the extras for future meals.  I have that "EXTRAS" spot at the bottom just in case our schedule doesn't work out some day.  Those are freezer meals that I cooked and saved in serving sizes in the deep freeze. It saves us a lot of time and money going out to eat when we can just grab a freezer meal and throw it in the microwave.
As always, if you would like any of the recipes just let me know.  Have a great week everyone!! 

Breakfast or  Morning Snack
Afternoon Snack
(Swimming, soccer, PT, PT)
Homemade applesauce
Roasted veggies, brown rice, peach salad
Oatmeal cookies or bagels
Refried beans, sweet potato quesadillas, pea guacamole
Freeze extra pea guac and sweet potato filling
(Field trip, PT)
Cereal or Muffins
Tacos, beans, fresh fruit
Chex Mix
Green beans w/ mushrooms and red potatoes, Grilled Tofu
(Swimming, football game)
Cinnamon toast or bagels
Tomato soup w/ breadsticks, green beans, fresh fruit
PB on rice cakes
Asian Tofu and Cabbage Salad, Edamame
(Swimming, PT)
Cereal or bagels
Veggie burgers, peas and carrots, fresh fruit
Granola and dried fruit
Goulash, Spinach salad
Make goulash ahead of time
Tofu scramble, Toast
Granola and yogurt
French toast dippers, fresh fruit, veggie dippers
Smoothies, graham crackers
Make your own pizza subs, salad
(Soccer game)
French Toast dippers, cereal
Kettle corn
Dinner out
(Teach Sunday School)
Rolls at church
Chickpea Pitas, leftover veggies and fruit
Chips and Pea guacamole
Popcorn and Smoothies
Boca burgers, stir-fry veggies and rice, White beans in freezer, Chili in freezer


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vegan Fry Bread

This post goes out to all my junk food vegan friends!  I appreciate your support!

Fry Bread is one of those dishes that IS vegan, but IS NOT a health food.  This is fried, white refined carbs.  Oh, and salt.  Nothing good for you, but yet they are OH, SO GOOD.

Served with beans, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, limes and jalapenos.
Some of you have eaten Sopapillas, a Mexican fried bread with cinnamon and sugar and/or honey and/or chocolate sauce and/or fruit.  They are a dessert bread that puffs up when fried.  Fry Bread is very similar, but I think it has many more uses.

Fry Bread can be used instead of taco shells or tortillas for a great meal or game day dish.  Eat it like a taco or a tostada or taco pizza crust. I really love fry bread with fajita veggies!  Fry Bread can also be a dessert item. It is good plain, with a little salt, or with sugar, cinnamon, honey, etc.  Experiment a little with it and see what you like.

We made Fry Bread last night to go along with refried beans, guacamole, TVP taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions.

My recipe for refried beans is here:

I like to pile everything up on top of my fry bread and eat it with hands, fork, spoon and plenty of napkins.  My son prefers to eat the fry bread dipped in the beans and guacamole.  You can decide for yourself how to eat it. 

It really is pretty easy to make.  Get your dough kneaded together until soft, and while it sits you can heat up the oil.  I use a frying pan with about 1 1/2 inches of oil in the bottom.  I don't know how much that is, but it's enough. I just use a plain canola oil.  I think olive oil would smoke too much since you need this over a higher heat.  I also don't want my fry bread to taste like olive oil.  Use something with no flavor of its own.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup warm water (as hot as you can get it out of the tap)
oil for frying
Dough ball, then rolled out with hole in middle.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt all together then stir in the warm water and mix.  Knead until dough is soft and not sticky, adding in a little more flour or water as necessary.
Puffing up as it drops in the oil.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a bowl, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in a heavy pan or large skillet until about 375 degrees.

After the flip, side one is perfectly golden.
FOR TACO/TORTILLA SIZE BREADS: Divide dough into 12 equal-sized balls.  Roll out to about 5-6 inches across and poke a hole in the middle of the dough. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.

FOR MINI OR DESSERT SIZE BREADS: Divide into 24-36 balls.  Roll each ball out to 1/4 inch thickness.

Eat it separately for dipping in the beans and guacamole, or pile it on!

Drop the breads carefully, one at a time, in the hot oil and fry until golden. This should take about 1 minutes per side, but watch them that they don't get too brown. They will puff up considerably, so allow room in the pan for that. Place fried bread on a paper towel or towel to drain off the oil and cool.  Salt lightly if you want.

Minis with sugar or cinnamon and sugar.

Last night I made 10 balls into large breads for the main dish, the took the last 2 balls and cut them into 4 pieces each.  I fried those up as mini breads and served some with sugar and some with cinnamon and sugar.