Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tomato Bisque with Red Onion Focaccia

This was quite the tasty dinner. I really liked both the Tomato Bisque soup and the focaccia recipe from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. That being said, I do have some changes next time. I'm starting to get the feeling that this is a good cookbook if you follow your instincts and not the exact recipe.

Tomato Bisque and Red Onion Focaccia

For the Tomato Bisque recipe, the cashew cream rocked. But, Mike and I both agreed that we wanted more tomato and less stock. I would suggest doubling the tomatoes and reducing the stock but the same amount. We did use the Vita-mix to blend this but gave up on sending the blended mixture through a sieve (it was fine without straining the blended mixture).

For the Focaccia, all our salt and hot pepper wound up in one spot so I would just change the way it was added. I would sprinkle on the salt, pepper, red pepper, and rosemary, and then brush over the olive oil. Also, we cooked ours about 10-15 min longer than called for (maybe a typo in the book), which is why the onions got so brown.

Red Onion Focaccia

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dinner FAIL

I made the recipe for Whole Wheat Pasta with San Marzano tomatoes from the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen and I did not like it one bit. I had such high hopes that every recipe in this book would be amazing after I made the tortellini. Oh well.

Dinner FAIL

This wound up with so much liquid in the pot that I served it with a slotted spoon. It literally looked like a soup. Also, we didn't like the flavors and the textures in this dish. The onions and fennel were still too crunchy. We hated this so much, that it went in the trash and we had take-out. I know, it looks so pretty! I don't really know how to describe it, but neither of us wanted to eat it.

I think I could have taken all of those ingredients and come out with something much better. Personally I would have sauteed the onion and fennel till soft and starting to brown. Then I'd have added the wine and cooked it down and then added the herbs, tomatoes, and chard. Maybe then it wouldn't have been like soup. I also think that the whole tomatoes had a ton of juice in them which contributed to the problem (maybe use drained, diced tomatoes instead).

I still like the book, but I do not recommend this recipe.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adventures in Pasta Making

  • I got the new book The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen and saw beautiful pictures of tortellini and ravioli and decided that I NEEEEEded a pasta maker. Lucky for me I found a reputable Italian one (Atlas 150 ) on Craigslist, barely used, for $12. That totally seems worth the experiment. I am tired of picking up fresh pasta packages in the store to find they used egg in the pasta, or if I do find vegan raviolis or tortellinis in the freezer section, the filling tastes like bleah. Definitely needed to experiment!

    I decided to make Tortellini based on a recipe in The Conscious Cook and I pulled out the pasta maker today. Here are some tips I learned by 2/3 through my dough:

    1. Recipe says roll pasta out to smallest setting on pasta maker. My smallest setting is 6 and I can see through setting 5. I could handle 5, but liked setting 4 better.

    2. After cutting your dough circle for tortellini, never ever ever tap your spoon on the dough to get the rest of the filling out onto the dough. This important lesson was unfortunately figured out near the end of my test. I'd pull the circle over to close it up and it would split. Finally I figure out that the split was exactly where my spoon had tapped.

    3. Work with tiny amounts of dough at a time - seriously, like a golf ball+ size. This is especially important if you don't have 2 sets of hands to guide the dough out and keep it from piling up and sticking together.

    4. If your c clamp doesn't go high enough to secure the pasta maker to your counter top, you can place a cutting board under the pasta maker.


    The last couple of tortellini batches through the pasta machine turned out really well and I had enough of the size 4 and size 5 pastas that we were able to compare. We liked the thicker tortellini (size 4) but that might just be personal preference.

    I started with a recipe from the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen for asparagus tortellini with Saffron Cream Sauce. But, I wanted winter squash stuffed tortellini so I made up my own filling and then added fresh sage and garlic to the sauce along with the shallot and left out the saffron. Holy Cow was this good. I told Mike that if you put a bowl of this sauce next to a bowl of ice cream that I would choose the sauce. When I originally got this book I was annoyed that a lot of the recipes called for homemade cashew cream... but now I think Tal is a genius. That cashew cream is the bomb. And the sauce made with the cashew cream is amazing. Should I keep going on and on and on?

    The picture is not great, but the food definitely was. My camera ran out of battery after I'd only taken a couple of shots of the food.


    The filling was made from roasted garlic and roasted carnival squash:

    The filling was yummy but I think a little too liquidy. I might try adding some tofu ricotta to it next time. I only used about half the filling in the tortellini, so the rest will be going onto a pizza later in the week! This filling (and sauce) would be freakin' awesome in a lasagne. Here is the recipe for the filling:

    Roasted Garlic Squash Filling

    2 carnival squash
    1 head garlic
    1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
    salt and pepper
    1/2 tsp dried sage
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1-2 Tbsp cashew cream
    1/4 tsp pepper
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half and rub cut side with olive oil. Place face down on a cookie sheet. Wrap head of garlic in foil (drizzle in some olive oil, salt, and pepper before sealing up). Roast for 45 min to an hour till squash is very tender.

    Scrape squash out with a fork (to loosen) and a spoon into a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the food proccessor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend till smooth.

  • Soy Mirin Tofu with Peanut Sauce

    Last night we made this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum for Soy-Mirin Tofu Over Rice with Broccoli and Peanut Sauce. I know what you are thinking, "peanut sauce two nights in a row"? Yes. It was a menu planning glitch, but neither of us minded having peanut sauce two nights in a row. It was yummy and super easy.


    The only modifications made was to double the soy-mirin sauce for the tofu and we added a bit of sugar to the soy-mirin sauce.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Tempeh Satay and Peanut Sauce

    Grilled Tempeh Satay and Peanut Sauce

    Last night we made Tempeh Satay and Peanut Sauce out of Robin Robertson's new cookbook, 1000 Vegan Recipes. We served it over some leftover white rice with garlicky dinosaur kale and roasted butternut squash. All in all, this was a pretty good meal.

    The Tempeh Satay was just ok for me. Two things might factor into my less-than-wow review: 1) I couldn't get the tempeh I like, Lightlife soy or Lightlife 3 grain because Whole Foods was out of them. I had to settle for Westsoy brand soy tempeh (which I don't like very much). 2) I had recently made seitan chimichurri skewers from the Candle Cafe cookbook and those were amazing. I couldn't help but compare the two things as they are both skewery things that get marinated, cooked on the grill and served with a sauce. I know they are the same, but the Candle Cafe recipe knocked my socks off.

    Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good and if you have the cookbook, it is worth trying.

    Modifications: I modified the sauce a bit because I tasted it after blending and it tasted like coconut milk with garlic. So I doubled the chile sauce (used Siracha) and doubled the tamari and added another large blop of peanut butter. Then I added some water as it cooked because it was getting pretty thick. We skipped the skewers and just threw the tempeh right on the grill.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

    On the way home from Vegas I had to think up something for dinner so that we could stop a the store on the way home. I wanted something quick and easy to make, but healthy and light to make up for all the Vegas junk food. A pureed soup of lots of veggies did the trick. I didn't really measure what I did with this one, but I don't think it matters much. It is kind of hard to screw this one up. It is very close to a recipe in the Uncheese cookbook so if you don't want to deal with approximate values, you can check out that recipe.

    "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

    Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup

    1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
    1 yellow onion, diced
    1 carrot, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    ~1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled as you add it to the pot
    ~ 1/4-1/2 tsp dried basil
    1 russet potato, diced small
    2 cups+ vegetable stock
    1-2 cups water, or more vegetable stock
    1 bunch broccoli (mine was 3 small heads with stalks) - see prep below
    1 cup nutritional yeast
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/3 tsp garlic powder
    ~1 cup soymilk
    salt (or soy sauce) and pepper

    Broccoli prep - cut the flowerets off the stalks. Divide the flowerets into 2/3 to go into the pot early and 1/3 to go into the pot late. Peel the stalks and chop the tender parts of the stalks. Set aside.

    Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and saute till onions are tender. Add the thyme, basil, and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add 2 cups water or stock. Add the potatoes, 2/3 broccoli flowerets, and chopped broccoli stalks. Add enough stock or water to cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer till vegetables are very tender (~30-40 minutes - note that my timing may be long because I am at high altitude and have a lower boiling temperature).

    Once vegetables are tender, use a stick blender to blend soup till very well pureed (or you could use a regular blender). Add the remaining broccoli and simmer. Meanwhile, mix the nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir in enough soy milk to make this a loose liquid mixture. Add this mixture to the soup. Continue simmering the soup until the newly added broccoli has simmered for about 10 minutes. Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Optional - you could also now add a little silk soy creamer or some earth balance margarine for some extra richness.

    Serve with a salad and a fresh baguette of bread.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Eating Vegan in Las Vegas

    A lot of people think it is impossible to eat vegan in Las Vegas. That's not entirely true. It's difficult, but not impossible. It's best to do a ton of research ahead of time. This is a list of places that I compiled from a zillion different websites before we left. The comments are copied from other people's reviews and notes so I cannot vouch for any of these places except for the places where I've linked to my own reviews. I'm sharing this list so that if you have to go to Vegas, you have a starting point and some suggestions of places to check out. Some of the reviews/notes are copied from

    If you drive there, I suggest bringing a cooler with coffee creamer, soy milk, bread, sandwich fixings (peanut butter, jelly - we brought some tempeh "chicken" salad), and then also bring some chips, cookies, and cereal. Then at least 2 meals of the day are eaten cheaply and easily from stuff in your room.

    Off Strip Restaurants

    Komol Thai
    1 mi off the strip. delivers to all hotels. A vegan friendly Thai restaurant, with no oyster sauce or fish oils used in the vegetarian section.

    Rainbow's End Natural Foods Cafe

    Veggie Delight - Spring Mountain & Wynn Road (1.5 miles W. of the Strip; get on the #203 bus at Sands/Spring Mountain next to the Fashion Show Mall or the Wynn)
    A little-known, tiny Vietnamese/Chinese café, specializing in faux meats. Everything on the menu is at least vegetarian, and can be made vegan for $1.00 to $1.50 extra. The menu is extensive and the food is good, but brown rice is not an option. It's less than a block away from Ronald's Donuts.

    Ronald's Donuts (my review and pics)
    4600 Spring Mountain Road (1.5 miles West of the Strip)
    Most of the donuts and pastries are vegan, and are on two completely separate shelves from the non-vegan stuff. Vegan donuts are usually located on the top shelf but you need to ASK your server exactly what you are getting!

    Red Velvet Cafe (my review and pics)
    7875 W. Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89117
    Large menu and everything on it can be made vegan.

    Himalayan Cuisine
    Himalayan Cuisine. Wide range of vegetarian and vegan options. On their menu, I counted 21 vegan dishes and 31 vegetarian dishes.

    Mantra Masala Healthy Cuisine from India
    8530 West Warm Springs #101, Las Vegas, NV 89113
    This is one of the best Indian restaurants in Las Vegas for vegetarian/vegan dishes that are cooked without oil or butter. The flavors created by the combination of spices and curries are truly amazing. They have a whole wheat bread, baked in a clay oven and stuffed with spiced potato called Aloo Paratha that is exceptional. The rice is aromatic basmati white rice.

    Samosa Factory
    4604 W. Sahara Ave #6, Las Vegas, NV 89102
    The Samosa Factory has an all new menu featuring 9 Vegetarian dishes and 16 Vegan dishes. They also have a Vegan soup, two vegan Samosas, vegetable Pokora and a freshly cooked whole wheat flat bread called Roti.

    Frank & Fina’s Cocina
    4175 S. Grand Canyon Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89147
    Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Vegetable enchiladas, tacos, burrito and taquitos. The Sweet Potato enchiladas were excellent, no oil. Order them without cheese or sour cream.

    Pei Wei Asian Diner
    This is quick and can be a healthy place to eat depending on how you order your dish. The menu is made of Pan Asian flavors that are wok-seared. You can choose the style dish and ingredients you prefer, like vegetables & Tofu.

    Whole Foods (near the airport on Las Vegas Blvd)
    Has an entire hot vegan food bar. Makes about 8 different vegan sandwiches and also makes vegan pizzas with Daiya vegan cheese.

    On the Strip

    India Oven - less than a block from the Stratosphere

    PF Changs @ Planet Hollywood

    Tamba Indian - across the street from the Monte Carlo

    Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 @ Hard Rock - Veggie burger

    BLT Burger @ Mirage - Veggie burger (my review and pic)

    Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace - Veggie burger

    LBS at Red Rock - Veggie burger

    Terra Rosa Italian Restaurant inside Red Rock Casino
    Chef Renato De Pirro at Terra Rosa makes one of the best whole wheat pasta dishes in town with an excellent mix of vegies and marinara sauce that has little to no oil. The Minestrone soup is vegan also but be sure to say no cheese. Try the Mista field green salad and best to request the dressing on the side. Be sure you make reservations, it’s a popular locals’ restaurant.

    Chin Chins At NY NY casino (my review and pics)
    Chin Chins will make any dish on the menu with tofu in addition to their on menu veg choices. Portions are generous and satisfying.

    Fusia New Chinese Cuisine @ Luxor
    Red Miso Soup or Organic Oriental Salad are vegan.
    Vegetarian fried rice with tofu and vegetable, an assortment of side dishes: Fusia offers six vegetarian sides: broccolini in hoisin-garlic sauce, baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, Chinese long beans, grilled asparagus spears

    Red8 @ Wynn - The Wynn offers perhaps the best vegetarian and vegan options on the Strip. Fine dining Asian restaurant Red8 has several vegetarian dishes, including steamed vegetable buns, pan-fried turnip cakes, and rice.

    Border Grill @ Mandalay Bay:
    Portabello Mushroom Mulitas, Mexican chopped salad (without chicken - featuring grilled corn, roasted peppers, avocado, tomato, apple, pinto beans, red onion, tortilla chips and romaine lettuce tossed in coriander vinaigrette), chips, salsa (red and green) and guacamole

    Benihana @ Las Vegas Hilton
    Benihana at the Las Vegas Hilton offers some magnificent stir-fry veggies – along with an always-entertaining cooking show. In my experience, the chefs are highly accommodating to vegans. For example, they will make sure not to cook your food in butter, if you ask. The Hilton is just a short monorail ride from the MGM Grand. - Vegetable Tempura, edamame, japanese salad - Benihana offers a "Vegetable Delight" cooked in foil

    il fornaio @ NY NY (my review and pics)
    Vegetable pizza without cheese, bruscetta, minestrone, salad, fried zucchini & onion rings, capellini al pomodoro

    Gonzalez Y Gonzalez @ NY NY
    tableside guacamole, veggie fajitas, margaritas

    China Grill @ Mandalay Bay
    Overpriced at about $100 a head for dinner and a couple drinks. They have a separate vegan menu consisting of one entree and four sides.

    Meskerem Restaurant
    252 Convention Center Dr # 8B, Las Vegas, NV

    Cafe Canyon Ranch in Venetian - Lunch menu has stir fry with tofu, vegetarian black bean chili, portobello sandwich - only open for breakfast and lunch

    Zine Noodles Dim Sum at The Palazzo in Venetian
    Fried Tofu, Ma Po Tofu ($18).

    3475 Las Vegas Blvd.
    Vegan-friendly Burritos on The Strip - Fast Food

    The Grand Wok & Sushi Bar at MGM
    The Grand Wok offers a few vegetarian selections. The staff is very knowledgeable in what can be made completely vegetarian (without fish sauce or broth). Pretty expensive.

    Ichiban Sushi at Bally's - in the back downstairs section

    Ronald's Donuts - Las Vegas

    We heard there were vegan donuts in Las Vegas, so of course we had to stop on the way out of town. Vegan reviews and reports I'd read said to ask which donuts are vegan when you go in. We asked and were told that the top 2 shelves (out of 3 shelves) are vegan. It looked like the non-cake donuts were all vegan. This includes things like bear claws, and bavarian cream chocolate topped donuts. We got a half dozen and ate them throughout the car ride home. They were very tasty but seriously... how are they vegan? We are still in disbelief. Do they use soy milk in the chocolate topping and in the bavarian cream? If anyone knows the answers, I'd love to know.


    *update* They really are vegan.

    Red Velvet Cafe - Las Vegas

    For our last dinner in Las Vegas, we got in the car and headed over to the Red Velvet Cafe. The Red Velvet is a cute, clean looking, and I think family run restaurant. They have a very large menu (2 pages, small type) and when we asked them what items on the menu could be made vegan, the waiter replied "All of them". Well, we were pretty pleasantly surprised by this. I thought I could stump the waiter on this. So I asked "Even the macaroni and cheese, the spaghetti and meatballs". He got a big smile on this face, and said "Yep, those too".

    After we stared at the menu trying to pick what to eat out of the zillion choices we don't normally have, we both narrowed it down some and asked our waiter for advice. He suggested that Mike go with a hot sauce "chicken" wrapini (a wrap, pressed into a panini - I don't see it on the online menu) and suggested that I go with the "chicken" and peanut sauce over rice (also not on the online menu). Well, apparently our waiter has a taste for hot an spicy things! Mike's wrap was a breaded "chicken" wrap with tons of hot sauce. I had one bite of his and couldn't taste my food for about 5 minutes - it was that spicy. He ate the whole thing and then had a tummy ache for the rest of the night... but notice that he ate the whole thing! The spicy peanut sauce "chicken" was also pretty spicy but was really yummy and the little squares of vegan chicken were quite tasty. We were both sad that we hadn't tried this place earlier in the trip so that we could go back and try other (less spicy) items. Again, we forgot the pic till after we ate about 1/3 of the food!

    Red Velvet Cafe - Wrapini

    Red Velvet Cafe

    The Red Velvet cafe has an extensive desert counter. They had at least 6 different kinds of vegan cake and also had some vegan cookies. We both got some cake for desert. I got the Red Velvet cake and he got the Vanilla Chocolate Chip cake. We took the cake back to our hotel room and devoured it. The frosting was yummy.

    Red Velvet Cafe

    Red Velvet Cafe

    Red Velvet Cafe

    Red Velvet Cafe

    If you go to Vegas, you must find a car and go eat here. I know I'll be going back. But be aware that the spicy things on their menu are very spicy!

    BLT Burgers - Las Vegas (Mirage Hotel)

    BLT Burgers in Vegas is definitely a burger joint, but a higher end burger joint. If you can't handle the smell of burgers, then you may not want to eat here... but you would be missing a great veggie burger. There is one item on the menu that is vegan: The falafel burger and an order of fries.

    I was looking for a good lunch on Monday and when I saw that the veggie burger was a falafel burger, I was disappointed and walked away to look for something better over at the Venetian. I didn't find anything else I wanted and was getting hungry. I decided that I would at least get a cold beer and some good fries over at BLT so I headed back over to the Mirage. Boy am I glad I did. This is the best veggie burger that I think I might have ever had. The falafel burger was green inside (which means it is probably a spinach falafel burger). It had a great firm texture that did not slide or squish out the bun. It was topped with lettuce, tomato, a 1/2 avocado, and hummus and served on a whole wheat bun.

    BLT Veggie Burger

    Another great thing about this place is that the veggie burger is cooked on a separate area from the regular burgers so there is no cross contamination. The veggie burgers are cooked on the hot plate and the other burgers are on the grill. If you sit at the bar, you can see all this action going on... the chefs and kitchen are a circular area behind the bar.

    I really liked this place, despite only having one thing I could eat. The veggie burger is great and goes very nicely with a cold beer. My lunch was about $25 plus tip (burger, fries, beer).

    Il Fornaio - Las Vegas (New York, New York hotel)

    Still too lazy to get the car out, we headed back over to the New York, New York hotel to Il Fornaio for dinner on the second night in Las Vegas. There are a few possibly vegan things on the menu. We ordered the Bruschetta Rustica, the Pizza Vegetariano without cheese, and the Capellini Al Pomodoro.

    We always dive into the food and forget to take the picture until we are about 1/3 through dinner, so I'm sorry about the partially eaten food. The bruschetta went too fast and we totally forgot about the pic.

    Vegan Pizza at Il Fornaio

    Cappellini al Pomodoro at Il Fornaio

    Other items that might be vegan (I didn't ask about them) that we did not order are: zucchine e cipolle fritte (fried zucchini and onion rings with tomato sauce), minestrone di verdure (Minestone made with vegetable stock), insalata al balsamico (salad).

    The food here is great, but more expensive than Chin Chin's - but still extremely reasonable for Las Vegas. Our bill was about $60, but we did have a couple of expensive glasses of wine added in there. You could probably eat there for about $40. We loved loved loved the Capellini. This place is definitely worth eating at while you are in Vegas.

    Chin Chin's - Las Vegas (New York, New York hotel)

    We just got back from a long weekend in Vegas. My husband Mike had to go to a conference, and I went to sit by the pool at MGM.


    We drove down as it is about an 8 hour drive from our house. So for our first night of dinner in Vegas we were very tired from the drive down and we were looking for a place close by. We did not want to get back into the car. We headed over to Chin Chin's at the New York, New York hotel.

    I had read that they could make anything on their menu with tofu so I expected a lot of options. When I asked the waiter, he informed me that the brown sauce (which is used extensively on the menu) contains fish sauce. This means no Kung Pao, no General Tso, etc. That doesn't mean that you are left with nothing, but the choices are much more limited than originally expected. Things still on the menu included the Lemon Tofu, Orange Tofu, and the Almond Tofu. Also the waiter told us that the pot stickers are ok for vegans. You may want to double check this as we didn't have a lot of trust in our waiter's knowledge about what was ok.

    We ordered the Pot Stickers and the Orange Tofu and brown rice.

    Veggie Pot Stickers at Chin Chin

    Orange Tofu at Chin Chins

    This was just enough food for 2 people. The food was ok and low priced. Our total dinner bill was around $25 bucks, which is pretty good for Vegas. So, if you need a dinner in Vegas, this place is alright (not fantastic, but it's ok).

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Thanksgiving Mini Pot Pies

    When Vegan Dad posted these cute Mini Pot Pies that he was testing for Canadian Thanksgiving, I knew I had to try them. Gravy, potatoes, carrots, cranberries, white beans, and puff pastry - yum. They turned out pretty good. Mine aren't as pretty as his, which I am attributing to thinner puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm). I think that the thinner puff pastry would have done better if I'd cut it larger than the ramekin so that it would sit more on top of the gravy.


    I only have 4 ramekins, so the rest went into a casserole. I randomly placed puff pastry scraps over the top. Do you see the blueness on top underneath the puff pastry? I used blue potatoes and red carrots because that is what I had from the farmer's market.


    This would be a great recipe to serve to any non-vegan friends coming over for dinner.

    - I don't like the texture of mushrooms, so I put my gravy in the vita-mix and blended it all up before assembling the pot pies.
    - I could not find fresh cranberries, but was intrigued by the idea of the cranberries in the pot pie, so I used 1/2 cup dried cranberries reconstituted in boiling water.
    - High Altitude directions - parboiled the potatoes 2 min, carrots 3 min (things take longer to cook up here as we have a lower boiling temperature).

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

    With all that fresh pumpkin in the fridge, a batch of muffins occurred this weekend. Although I have a couple of good pumpkin muffin recipes, I saw this one by Nicole at Another One Bites the Crust and it looked healthier and easier than the other recipes. These muffins are 100% whole wheat! And, they are really good.



    - High Altitude -> 375 F temperature, 1.5 tsp baking powder.
    - I topped mine with some cinnamon sugar.

    Field Roast Meatloaf Review

    I got a big order of fun stuff from Vegan Essentials last week and I included a Field Roast vegan meatloaf in the box. According to an email I got from Field Roast, this item will be more widely available in grocery stores soon.

    This was a super easy dinner. The meatloaf went into the oven slathered in ketchup and covered in foil for about 30 minutes and then I added more ketchup and cooked another 15. I made some mashed potatoes and broccoli while it was in the oven.


    The flavor of the meatloaf is terrific. Field Roast always seems to get things right and I haven't tried any of their products that I don't like. The only thing we didn't quite like about it was that the meatloaf has a spongy texture to it. After a few bites, we decided we liked it anyway. If my local Whole Foods gets this in, I see it becoming a regular item in our house. The loaf is small and is at most 4 servings. The leftovers make great sandwiches.

    I also think that it would make a great pizza... meatloaf crumbled on the pizza along with some carmelized onions and maybe some toasted broccoli. Yum!

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Roasted Broccoli and Sausage Pizza

    I was home alone the other night and needed an easy dinner. I really didn't want to cook, didn't want to go get take-out, and didn't want to go to the grocery to rectify the empty fridge. So I poked around and found some week old, floppy broccoli, some vegan Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage, 1/2 cup frozen pizza sauce, and frozen Daiya Italian style vegan cheese. Of course, this means pizza. I was out of flour, but found bread flour which actually worked pretty well for the crust.

    For the crust, I used a recipe out of Vegan with a Vengeance. I don't ever follow crust recipes though, just ingredients. Here is what I do. I throw all the dry ingredients into my food processor, then mix the proofed yeast and any other liquids required and drizzle that into the running food processor. Once it comes together, pulse a few more times, then turn out onto floured countertop. Knead a few times, form a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, roll around to oil the ball, cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for an hour. Punch down, reform into ball (or 2 balls depending on recipe amts), and rest for about 30 minutes.

    For the roasted broccoli, place chopped broccoli on a foiled sheet pan. Toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 375F for about 25-30 min; stirring after 15. In the last 5 minutes, add a clove of pressed garlic. I chopped this more after roasting to make it go better on the pizza.

    Here is a pic of the pizza. This picture should teach me not to take food pics while I am on the phone! Every single one was crooked in the same direction that my head was tilted.

    The pizza was just pizza sauce, roasted broccoli, 1 chopped Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage, and about a cup of Daiya vegan cheese.

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Now don't ever buy canned pumpkin again!

    Ok, you can buy pumpkin puree in a can, but please, just don't do it in the fall when you can make it yourself. It's so easy and I'm going to show you how step by step.

    First, you want to get some Sugar Pumpkins. These are small cooking pumpkins.

    Preheat oven to 375F. Then, cut the pumpkin in half.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    All your fruit and a bonus prize

    What if I told you that you could get all the fruit you need for the day AND get Omega 3s, Omega 6s, fiber, protein, probiotics, antioxidants, and a 1/2 the vitamins, calcium, b12 that you need for the day in your breakfast? I think you wouldn't believe me.

    Well it's true. I'm in love with Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer. I put in one scoop of the Natural Flavor** into my smoothies and barely notice it. And yes, it does contain all of that. Take a look at the label (Note that the label shows amounts for 2 scoops, so divide by 2).

    Click to zoom in

    It is kind of expensive, but seems worth it to me. When I am out of Vega, I hit Whole Foods on a Tuesday, as my local Whole Foods has 10% off on Tuesdays on supplements and body care.

    Here are some smoothie pics to get you started:
    Inside the blender (without the Vega and water)

    Post Blending

    Banana Blueberry Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie
    (amounts are approximate)

    1 frozen banana (broken into chunks, then frozen)
    1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    1/4 cup frozen strawberries (a few)
    1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
    1 scoop Vega Natural Flavor
    1-2 ice cubes (optional)
    ~ 1 cup water


    The Vega has a green tint to it, so sometimes smoothies will come out green despite the fact that you added no other green ingredients. Like this one:

    Banana Pineapple Smoothie (amounts are approximate)

    1.5 frozen banana chunks
    2/3-1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
    1 scoop Vega Natural Flavor
    1-2 ice cubes (optional)
    ~ 1 cup water


    And finally, one of my favorites:
    Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie (amounts are approximate)

    1.5 frozen banana chunks
    a handful of frozen blueberries
    1-2 Tbsp peanut butter
    1 scoop Vega Natural Flavor
    1-2 ice cubes (optional)
    ~ 1 cup water


    ** Don't bother with the other flavors if you are mixing into a smoothie. You don't need extra flavor and the flavors don't taste very good to me. I only like the Natural. And just ignore all instructions on the container and add one scoop to a smoothie for best results.

    I am not getting paid anything by Vega. I just think it's a great product.