Tag Archives: vegetarian

vegan.om.I.CAN!

My Dad gave me Veganomicon for Christmas, and I can say that I’ve ever been more excited about a cookbook.  I took it for a test drive at a small dinner get together with Preston’s sister and family on Sunday night.   It was supposed to be a really chilly weekend, so I asked BG to pick out a soup – he chose the Roasted Red Pepper and Bean Gumbo.  Perfect!

I can’t violate the lovely ladies’ copyright by posting the recipe here, but I’d be happy to email it to you if you’d like.  It took about 2 hours, beginning to end, to make – and was well worth it.

Here’s where I’ll introduce my guest photographer for this post, and (lucky me!) the resident dishwasher.

We began by snapping a photo of a very essential cooking activity – enjoying a cocktail

Then, it was on to the roux and veggies

Then more veggies – okra, cloves of garlic and roasted red peppers to name a few

The chef adding okra to the gumbo.  I enjoyed all that photo attention – I might have to ask the BG to step in more often!

A lot more went into the pot, including some 2 below, tomato paste, fire roasted tomatoes and veggie broth.  Then, we had a beautiful bubbling (vegan) stew sure to please any carnivore around.

I served this with my sweet potato biscuits and not only was it enough to feed 4 hungry adults plus seconds, there is plenty left for lunches tomorrow.  This recipe will definitely go into the “make again” file.  Can’t wait to try more dishes from Veganomicon!

Advertisements

Sick but still Hungry

Well, Santa brought me a cold for Christmas, that old jerk.  Wednesday was my first day back to work after a lovely week in Savannah, Georgia with Preston and his family.  His aunt and uncle were the most welcoming and fun people, and his aunt is a gourmet chef to boot.  We enjoyed 4 days of wine, good conversation and great food.  What a wonderful way to spend the holiday!

At work yesterday, I was a bit foggy in the head from the cold and not very hungry at all.  But then at three PM hunger struck like a bolt of lightning.  I could only think of one thing – BBQ tofu pizza.  So at 5pm, I picked up some whole wheat pitas and a small hunk of cheese and headed home.

The ingredients are simple: Whole Wheat Pita, Tofu, your favorite BBQ sauce, fresh spinach, cheese and red bell peppers.

The process is easy.  Turn your oven to 350 and toss the pita in.  In a pan, crumble and cook the tofu, then add the BBQ sauce and simmer.

Pull the pita out of the oven when it’s crisp, then layer it with your tofu, some shredded cheese and chopped peppers.

Stick it back in the oven for a few minutes, enough to let the cheese melt.  Finally, top with fresh chopped spinach.  I like to put it in the oven for a few minutes to let the spinach warm up and wilt a bit.

The finished product looks something like this:

This simple dish is good with a nice glass of chardonnay.  Hopefully you’re better at opening wine bottles than I am.

Hate when that happens!

Tex-Megs: Spinach & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I’ve been wanting to experiment with different types of Vegetarian Enchiladas recently, and with my (chef) brother coming in town to go to a Nuggets game with me, I had the perfect opportunity to get creative. I decided to try to make them with ingredients I already had in the fridge, which included Spinach, Avocados and Sweet Potatoes. Here’s the result!

I like to peel, chop then steam my sweet potatoes because it’s fool proof, and they cook really quickly .

It’s always important to have snacks on hand while cooking.

BG bought us a econo-sized bag of fresh spinach this week.  Mmmmm sexy!

After steaming my potatoes, I pureed them and was ready to start rollin’ them up with my sauteed spinach.

In order to get your roll on with a minimum amount of frustration, heat  bit of oil in a pan and cook each tortilla for about 20 seconds on each side.  This will get them soft and ready to roll up.

Everybody get your Roll on!

I couldn’t resist sprinkling some feta cheese on top. (Which I subsequently learned does not melt) Here’s a close up of the filling.

I popped the tray in the oven at 350 and got to making the sauce – tomatillo salsa with a few fresh avocados.

What I learned during this process is that the Enchiladas should be smothered with sauce before they go in the oven – this helps keep the tortillas soft.  They came out pretty crunchy, like taquitos, but still tasted good.

I would have liked them with some spice, so next time I’m thinking I’ll add some hatch chiles to the sweet potatoes, and stick to a green chile topping.  All in all, a success for the first time out though!

Denver Eats: Rooster & Moon

I checked out a new lunch spot in Denver this week – Rooster & Moon.  It’s a coffee shop turned pub that has free WiFi and a full menu.  Oh, and it’s right in my neighborhood at 9th and Bannock!

Fun(ky) little vibe.  I dug it.

I was drawn to the Caprese sandwich, naturally, and a berry salad that came with  jalapeno vinaigrette.  The sandwich was served warm on crunchy ciabatta, and the salad was the perfect mix of sweet and savory.  While this was one of my favorite lunches I’ve had in a long time (and a steal at $6.50) I was still really hungry when I finished eating.  I could have easily eaten a whole additional plate.  I don’t feel like I need huge amounts of food to be satisfied, so before I pooh-pooh the portion sizes too much, I’ll go back for round 2.

My girl Abba-dabba had the Flatbread and Hummus sandwich, and the same salad.  She said it was really good!

The first write-up I read about Rooster and Moon mentioned their homemade Banana Pudding, which is supposedly an employee’s Grandmother’s recipe.  While I’m not the biggest fan of Bananas, this little treat was amazing.  The flavor was outstanding and the consistency was more mousse-like.  The crumbled Nilla wafers added just the right amount of texture.  I loved it!

Next time I visit Rooster & Moon, I’m going to go for the full size version of the Berry Salad and see if that does the trick in filling me up.  If not, this place might be a heartbreaker!

Lazy Bones, meet Sweet Tooth

I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking lately.  There have been lots of Raw Bars…

Lots of takeout from Whole Foods (Here – roasted harvest vegetables)

And even some insta-meals.  Tempeh is so good!


I meant to take a picture of this, but I was really hungry and sort of forgot…

It was pretty tasty!   And after spending a weekend at my parents house, where 2 caesar salads, a veggie wrap, pancakes, eggs & hash browns, sushi, salmon with potatoes and countless pounds of cheese and crackers were consumed, I arrived back home and decided I wanted to bake.

I had bought some fresh cranberries at le shopette so I made some Whole Wheat Cranberry Bread.  It was super simple and came out dense and hearty with just the right holiday kick.

Want to make it?  Here’s the recipe.  I used Whole Wheat Flour and substituted Vanilla extract for the orange peel.   I’m not a fan of really citrusy things.   I am a fan, however, of lathering things with Smart Balance.

I was also headed to watch the MLS Cup with some pals at a local bar, so I decided to make them some treats as well.  I broke out my raw almonds and the leftover chocolate peanut butter chips from my cookies, and made a little savory & sweet nut snack.

The hardest thing about this not hard at all recipe is just to melt the chocolate without scorching.  I usually put a handful of chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds, and then stir them until smooth.  Then you can just add more chips, bit by bit, and incorporate them until they are good and melted.  You might have to pop them back in the microwave for a few seconds, but just be cautious not to over cook or you’ll get that creepy gritty chalky chocolate, which is obviously not edible.

Then just take that melty chocolate and heap it by the teaspoon over a cluster of almonds, or your favorite nut.

Put in the fridge to set, then enjoy.


Curried Egg Salad with Apples

I hadn’t bought eggs in an age, but I needed one for my Peanut Butter Cookies, so I was left with 5 in my little half dozen carton.  I decided to make some Egg Salad for my lunch, but was a little short on ingredients in my fridge – turns out that didn’t matter!  I made my salad with just four things:

Hard Boiled Eggs

An Apple

Veganaise (or mayo)

Curry Powder (The Ringer!)

I have no quantities for this salad – I had 4 boiled, chopped eggs, 1 gala apple, a hefty teaspoon or two of veganaise and a healthy shake of curry powder.  That was it!  I’m loving these easy prep meals – it really increases the enjoyment when you can toss something together quickly and enjoy it just as much as something that takes much more time.


The curry powder is clutch in this simple salad…it provides a really savory and unique flavor, and is a nice addition to the veganaise, crisp sweet apples and creamy egg.  I ate my egg salad with my new favorite crackers.  These “Flatbreads” were outstanding upon first bite.  They are so crunchy with a wonderful toasted flavor.  I couldn’t get enough!


All that eggage did end up giving me a bit of a stomach ache, but it sure did taste good.  I think next time I’ll try to vegan-ize this recipe, and make a curried cashew salad with apples intead.  Tres bien!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

I made some GF Peanut Butter Cookies last night that came out so delicious it was hard to believe they only took 5 minutes to prep and were made from ingredients that I already had in my pantry!

The recipe came from Whole Foods, so I can’t take credit.  But here’s what you need:

3/4 c. Sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 c. Creamy Peanut Butter

1/3 c. Chocolate Chips (optional, or mandatory if you’re me)

Beat the Egg, Sugar, Baking Powder & Vanilla until thoroughly mixed.  Add Peanut Butter, then stir in chips.  That’s it!  Place by the rounded teaspoon full on parchment (wax) paper, press lightly with a fork and then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

They came out so light, crisp and flaky

And the wax paper helped to prevent them from burning on the bottom

I can’t wait to share these at work tomorrow!

Eat Your Colors

I love this button – it’s displayed in my kitchen and serves as a nice reminder.

Eat your colors.  If you are feeling puny or just a little slow, check out the colors on your plate.  The closer to the rainbow, the better.  I’ve been trying to do more colorful eating, especially with all of the wonderful Fall root veggies available.

Roasted Beet & Spinach Salad

Tofu Scramble with Spinach & Asiago Cheese, plus side of roasted sweeties

And finally, a winter salad.  Parmesan Couscous with Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Peas and Cranberries

As I type about all this colorful, wonderful food, my oven is preheating so I can make some Peanut Butter Chip cookies to take to work tomorrow.  They are brown and virtually void of nutrients so they obviously won’t make this colorful post.  🙂

Roasted Root Vegetables

Check out my forecast:

I had to scrape ice off my car this morning so that means it’s officially fall/winter or somewhere in between and therefore officially time to cook some Root Vegetables – specifically Beets.  There are three restaurants in Denver that I frequent because of their Beet-Centric dishes (Watercourse’s Champ Sandwich, Lala’s Beet Pizza, and Green Fine Salad Co’s Chef Jam Salad) so I figured it was about damned time that I learned how to prepare these nutritionally rich gems at home.

Boy was I in for a mess. The preparation was fairly simple – I removed the greens and scrubbed the beets clean. I drizzled them with olive oil and wrapped them whole in a foil envelope.   Into the oven they went and after about an hour at 375 degrees, they were done.

The resulting mess was due to me attempting to slide the skin of the beets off once they had cooled. Those skins weren’t going anywhere, so I took a tester bite, determined the skins tasted just fine, and left them on.  A few minutes were definitely spent marveling at how much my kitchen looked like a murder scene, complete with blood red beet juice on my hands.  

 I chopped up my beets into bite sizes and am going to add them to my lunch salad tomorrow along with some sweet potatoes and a wild mushroom couscous that tastes frighteningly close to my Mom’s Thanksgiving Stuffing.  Amore!

Long story short – don’t be scared of the beet!  It can be a complete mess to prepare, but they are totally worth it!

Sunday Runday

I met Merrily at City Park for a run at 10am, which my body really thought was 11am thanks to Daylight Savings time!  It was so beautiful outside and there were gorgeous views of the city and mountains.

After about 4.5 sunny fall miles, I went to my favorite local java joint, St. Marks, and had a breakfast (egg & cheese) bagel and giant cup of coffee.  I was so hungry and caffeine deficient at that point that I scarfed everything down before taking a photo.  I then broke out my big book and soaked up some sun.

I got home and continued to wage war against the leaves in my backyard.  They fall, I sweep, they fall again, I sweep again.  After all that sweepage, I was still hungry so I cooked up a fake ‘dilla.  Fake because it was sans queso.

Whole wheat tortilla, spicy hummus, fresh spinach and a sprinkle of almonds for crunch and protein.

It comes out warm, spicy and crunchy – pretty satisfying snack!  I have to tell you now that I’ve been to a new place, Yogurtland, three times in the past three days.  It’s pretty freaking amazing – It’s self-serve so you can have as much or as little as you want, and put as many flavors in one cup as your little heart desires.  I’ve been doing the no sugar added Dark Chocolate plus a second flavor.  (Pumpkin Pie, Peanut Butter, Strawberry Respectively)  I might go there again tomorrow.  Don’t judge.

For dinner I really wanted to max out my veggie intake.  Friends, meet what henceforth will be referred to as The Green Monster!!

Is it salad?  Is it pasta?  Well, it’s both.  I started with a new pasta base:

I roasted some Broccoli (after chopping it up on the new Pampered chef mat my Mom got me – Thanks Mom!)

And prepared my other ingredients: Fresh Spinach, Veggie Curls Pasta & Asiago Cheese


After the pasta was cooked, I tossed it all together with some Pesto and sprinkled the Asiago on top.  It was a green superfood bonanza and I loved it!  I think next time I’ll blend some ripe avocados and fresh pine nuts in with the basil to make a creamier sauce with more texture.  But all in all, a super meal!

Alright, I’m settling in for some MLS Soccer action with a glass of Hob Nob.  I wish my remote had a “Mute Alexi Lalas” button.  Oh well, it’s an imperfect world.   Enjoy your Sunday evenings friends!