Friday, November 14, 2008

A meme - 7 random or weird facts about me.

I’ve been tagged by Felicity at Thrifty Vegan which is a really great blog if you haven't read it before. Her blog inspires me to think about ways I can be more thrifty.

Here are the roolz:
Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I have lived in three very different regions in this country: The South: GA, AL, SC. The North: Boston, MA. And the West: Park City, UT.
2. My husband and I moved all the way across the country because we found a job near the best skiing in the country. We drove here in a Prius with 2 cats.
3. I'm not a morning person. I'm downright mean until I've been awake for a couple of hours.
4. I have no patience. I like crafts and things to be finished within a day. This means that anything I paint or draw has to been done by the time I get up from the table. I just started a knitting class which is really going to test the limits of my patience.
5. I love TV and think TiVo was the best invention ever. I hate those "I don't watch TV"-raise-their-nose-in-the-air people.
6. I hate mushrooms and squishy foods. I don't mind the flavor. I'll cook with them, but then I pick all of them out and put them on my husbands plate. I can't stand the texture. And, I make a mean mushroom risotto, heh.
7. I get ill watching at bloody scenes on TV shows. I have to look away during Grays Anatomy. I just started training/working as a volunteer Ski Patrol. When I signed up I didn't realize the training was almost like EMT training and there are lots of gory pics in my text book. And the stories they tell about what we will see on the mountain. Should be interesting to see how I do.

I tag:
Monika at Dabbles with Apples
Mihl at Seitan is My Motor
Webly at Fueled By Popcorn
Herbstonne at The Sisters Vegan
Sheree at Life on the Vegan Highway
Dino at Alternative Vegan
Abbie at Hooray Vegan

Monday, November 10, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Walnut Manicotti

Last night we made Vegan Dad's Roasted Pumpkin Walnut Manicotti. It was pretty good. The picture is awful but they tasted pretty good. Served with my favorite roasted brussel sprouts. This recipe takes a long time to make and I'm not sure I'd do it again. I think it'd be easier to just make it into a lasagna.

While I liked it ok, I thought I added too much sage, but thought it would have been bland without it. I thought it needed something else... maybe caramelized onions or vegan sausage (everything is better with vegan sausage, right?

Pumpkin Walnut Manacotti with Brussel Sprouts

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I miss Grasshopper - No Name Tofu and Broccoli

I miss Grasshopper Vegan Chinese Restaurant in Boston. They have this one item on their menu that is out of this world. It is called No Name. It is basically a sweet and sour seitan. They also had an item called the House Special that was the same thing but with tofu. So, a couple of days ago we made "No Name" using Vegan Yum Yum's recipe. This was pretty good and we will probably make it anytime we are craving sweet and sour tofu or seitan. We loved the fried tofu and we loved the sauce but together was not as fabulous as I remembered. It was still pretty good... and a keeper.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

I can't stop making these Skanky Pumpkin Squares

These might be the best thing ever. Every time a pumpkin comes in the house we make these pumpkin squares. And a pumpkin comes into the house about once a week from our CSA.

The recipe is from Vegan Addict. I have tried these with both AP flour and also with White Whole Wheat flour. The latter is a little grainier, but I can't decide which I like best.

I have had a bit of a problem with the middle sinking a little, but that hasn't affected the flavor at all. It just provided a larger vehicle for the frosting. I guess I just need to keep making these until I figure out the right high altitude adjustment. :P

Pumpkin Cake

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Please stop with the Zucchini already Stuffed Zucchini

I don't hate zucchini. I usually look forward to the first zucchini in the spring. But after I've had that one or two of the first zucchini's of the season, I'm pretty much done with zucchini for the year. So, now it is November and I've had 20 weeks of CSA zucchini. I can't make any more zucchini bread or zucchini muffins and even my co-workers have had enough of my extra zucchini. How is my CSA still putting zucchini in my box? It's snowing outside for pete's sake. Anyway, this week I got 8 small zucchini's. We used 2 in a stir fry which left 6.

I really really did not want to cook this zucchini, but I stuffed them and they came out amazingly well. I have a theory that putting Field Roast sausage into anything makes it taste great. I got the idea when I saw Sheree at Life on the Vegan Highway post about her stuffed zucchini boats. She didn't post a recipe so I made this one up. I did follow her idea to use field roast and brown rice. I used french fried onions as a topping because I had them, but vegan parm would work well here too. We did actually like the crunch of the french fried onions on top.

Here is my version of stuffed zucchini boats. They'll take the zucchini hate right out of you.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm onion, diced
1 sm bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-4 Tbsp white wine
2-3 cups spinach, destemmed, rinsed well, and roughly chopped
2 field roast italian sausages, crumbled
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp water
6 small-med zucchini (prep below)
1/2 c french fried onions in a can, or vegan parm
Preheat oven to 375. Oil a 9x13 casserole dish.

Make the Filling:
In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and pepper. Cook for about a minute. Deglaze with white wine. Add the spinach and sausage to the pan and a little water if the spinach is pretty dry. Cover and cook for about a minute until the spinach is wilted. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, and brown rice. Stir to combine. Add about 2 Tbsp water to loosen up the tomato paste and make a sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the boats:
Slice the ends off of the zucchinis. Slice in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and make room for filling. Place them on a plate, sprinkle very lightly with salt, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. You may need to do this in a couple of batches. They should now have a slight give to them. Place them in the casserole.

Fill the boats:
Fill each zucchini half with as much filling as will go in them. Any remaining filling can just go into the dish around the zucchini. Top with crushed french fried onions or vegan parm.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

This filling & technique would also work really well with stuffed bell peppers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Restaurant Review: Evergreen House (SLC)

We ate lunch today at Evergreen House in Salt Lake City. It is a vegan Chinese restaurant. I'd heard a lot of good things about it and was missing the great Grasshopper in Boston (and My Thai too!). So, we drove down to SLC for a ski swap at REI and then lunch. Oh man. It was bad. Really really bad. I can't believe anyone likes that place. I feel really awful saying anything bad about a vegan restaurant because I really want to support vegan businesses, but wow, so bad.

Mike got a sweet and sour "chicken" and I got a black pepper "beef" dish. In the sweet and sour dish, the sauce tasted like ketchup, the "chicken" was fried on the outside but gummy on the inside. Mike described his "chicken" as "It tasted like a frozen package and um... yucky". I just asked Mike if gummy was an accurate description of the "chicken" and he told me "I don't know, I was too distracted by the horrible taste". My "Beef" had the texture of undercooked seitan (doughy) and tasted a little like five spice powder and a lot like cinnamon. The spring rolls we good ;).

Here are some pics of lunch:

photo.jpgSweet and Sour "Chicken" - You think there is enough sauce on there?

photo.jpgHot Pepper "Beef"

Sorry Evergreen House, but you are no Grasshopper... sigh.

Annie's Woodstock "Copycat"

For about a year now, Mike and I have been addicted to Annie's Woodstock dressing.


Seriously, we have stopped buying any other dressing. We don't even consider it. With the economy not being so great now, I've been inspired by Thrifty Living's blog to do more stuff myself. I searched and found a recipe from Musings from the Shire's blog that mimics Annie's Woodstock dressing and made it a couple of nights ago. It is so good. Mike thinks it might actually be better than the original. We are going to keep making it instead of buying it. 5 minutes and a blender and I've probably saved a few bucks. Here is a pic of how it turned out:

"Woodstock" dressing

I think next time I will make a few tiny adjustments to the recipe despite Mike telling me to leave it exactly as is. I'm going to substitute flax seed oil for the canola oil to make it healthier and I am going to cut back on the vinegar a touch. I also think I will use sundried tomatoes in oil rather than the dried ones.

I love love love this recipe!