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Monthly Archives: January 2013

This is just an excuse to post my breakfast and tell you all how excited I am to be flying to Utah tonight to see my cousin Nyki! She bought me tickets for my birthday, which is Wednesday. I’ll be 25 whole years old! I still feel like I’m 15 most days, so maybe I’ll start feeling grown up after this milestone. I hope everyone has an awesome Thursday, and please look out for all the great stuff I’ll be cooking in Utah with my cousin, she’s decided to let me take over her kitchen and cook them vegan meals three times a day! We’ll have a lot of silly pictures, no doubt!
Here’s to a safe flight!
xxx

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almost forgot! My breakfast is a piece of organic 7 grain flour-less sprouted bread from Trader Joe’s, topped with 1/4 of an avocado and a little salt, with a smoothie that has half a banana, 3/4 a cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, 1 tbsp of chia seeds, and one packet of stevia in the raw, and it was delicious!

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this is the nutritional information for my smoothie and my toast. I know it looks like a lot of fat, but peanut butter and avocado are two of the best sources of healthy fats that have omega-3’s and are good for you! If you eat a balanced diet of healthy fats and not fried foods with added sugar, the sugar and fat from fruits and nuts is perfectly fine, and tastes awesome by itself.

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SO MUCH FIBER. I’m glad I didn’t have coffee today.

I make this sauce once a week normally, and I’ve made it for friends to show how vegan pasta doesn’t get boring or repetitive, because you can use any vegetables you have around, and add any greens, and beans for added protein.

For tonight’s mix, I used carrots, celery, onion, garlic, kale, crushed tomatoes, and cannelinni beans, it’s full of nutrients and vitamins, plus it’s super good and makes an awesome leftover lunch, which I’m already excited about eating tomorrow. (yes, really)

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(Serves 4) Ingredients:

one onion

four carrots

8 stalks of celery

8 cloves of garlic

two cups of kale

one 28 oz can of crushed or diced tomatoes

one cup plus extra vegetable broth

olive oil

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

optional: fresh thyme and basil (I had these in my fridge and usually add them whenever I have them, it adds a great depth of flavor to the sauce)

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Saute garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds

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Add your mirepoix (celery, carrots and onion), and salt and pepper. If using fresh herbs, add them now.

Chop the thyme to release the flavor, and chop basil.

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attack of the GIANT basil leaves, they smell so good!

Cook for a few minutes, until onions are translucent.

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this is my archaic can opener that HATES opening large cans, it takes foreverrrrrr!

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Add one cup of vegetable broth, and can of tomatoes, plus one can of cannellini beans if using them.

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Add kale to pot, and stir to combine.

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If the sauce is not wet enough to incorporate kale, add more vegetable broth.

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Cover and cook on medium until carrots are fork tender.

 

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Serve over whole wheat penne!

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I love to eat this pasta with a side of toasted bread to use to scoop up all the rest of the sauce in the bowl, but since I’m trying to be a good girl I’m just having my usual mixed baby greens salad, but please eat all the carbs for me.

This is a really filling pasta, and it’s perfect to make a big pot and save some sauce, freeze it, and reheat in a pan another time if you’re making fresh pasta (I usually just keep leftover pasta for lunch it doesn’t stay very well in my fridge haha).

It’s an easy fridge cleaner, too. Add whatever you’ve got! Bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, any vegetables you have you need to use up.

As always, please let me know if you end up making this, and any comments or suggestions about the recipe are more than welcome!

Pasta luego xxx

 

 

NON FOOD RELATED EDIT::::

 

I went to the pinball hall of fame with my old friend Taylor who’s in town visiting tonight, and I played my favorite Dr Who pinball game :)))))

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he said I need to get out more because I started doing my cats voices when we weren’t even at my house with the cats….

tofu flag

We are tired of your abuse!

I tried to get my mom and boyfriend to help me come up with a better post title, but they suck so I used my original idea.

bruzzer

(Bruzzer eating the leaves on my broccoli! He loved it, and had more for breakfast this morning!)

Dinner was as easy weeknight meal that’s easily refrigerated for lunch left overs:

finished on platetofu

Balsamic marinated tofu, with roasted broccoli and barley.

sprouted tofu

I use this awesome tasting organic sprouted tofu from Trader Joe’s, of course! It’s fresh tasting and non-GMO soy, which makes me worry less about the soy products I buy and eat.

halfsfourths

Slice your tofu into thin steaks. I cut mine into fourths.

tofu blanket

Press your tofu, however you tackle that. I use kitchen towels, and my heavy pizza stone.

pizza stone

While your tofu is pressing, make your marinade.

ingredients2

Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the juice from half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes, 3 cloves chopped garlic, and 1 tsp grated fresh ginger in a shallow baking or casserole dish with a whisk.

marinade

Lay tofu steaks in marinade and swirl pan around to coat all visible surfaces of tofu. Leave the dish in the fridge for at least half an hour, and up to over night. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor the tofu takes on. Do not discard the remaining marinade after soaking, save it to reduce for the balsamic glaze.

marinating tofu

Either heat a grill pan or saute pan over medium high heat, or turn your griddle on to a medium high temperature. Place tofu steaks on your heating surface and grill until browned, then flip and grill other side.

grilling tofu

Heat remaining marinade in a small sauce pan, over medium heat. Reduce until thickened and syrupy. This should be done right after the steaks go on the pan, as it takes awhile to reduce into a glaze.

balsamic reduction

To cook barley, boil a large pot of water or vegetable broth (I used a combination of both). I added salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and paprika to the broth mixture. Add barley to the pot and boil until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

barley brothboiling barley

Once done, drain and season with more salt and pepper.

drained barley

Barely doesn’t soak up much moisture, so it’s hard to season. It’s best to add your seasonings before and after cooking to ensure a good flavor, but even if yours tastes a little plain, it will be coated in the balsamic glaze later and be a great vessel for that strong flavor.

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Serve barley under the tofu, and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

tofu on plate

To make the broccoli, or any roasted vegetable really, heat your oven to 450 degrees.

oven temp

Cut your broccoli into bite sized stalks.

chopped broccoli

Spread out on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

tossed broccoli

Roast in the oven until the tips are brown and crispy, stirring with a spatula at least once to create even browning.

This roasting technique can literally be used for like, EVERY vegetable. I rarely steam veggies anymore, and default to roasting when I’m making a side dish, or something I’m going to add to pasta. My favorites are broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels, potatoes, and carrots. The most common seasonings I use are salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, with olive oil and lemon juice, but sometimes with potatoes and carrots, I will add rosemary and thyme or oregano instead of the lemon juice, it compliments the earthy tones better than the tangy citrus.

I had a fun time talking with my mom and drinking some cheap white wine, and I really love this tofu cold for lunch the next day. And hey, look at that, it also fits the “bean, green, grain” mold, with tofu serving as the protein (bean), broccoli as the green, and barley as the whole grain. It’s super filling, and can serve a lot of people, or just one if you’re cooking for yourself.

If you make this, please let me know your thoughts on it, and any suggestions please!!! All feedback is wanted, good or bad!

I make this super easy cashew cream for a lot of things in my regular rotation, so I like to keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times. It’s really versatile and can be used in countless dishes and to replicate amazing things.

I personally have used it so far by:

soaking day old bread in it for french toast

mixing with fresh nutmeg and garlic for a creamy alfredo sauce

blending with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and fresh basil for ricotta for lasagna

blending with lime juice and cilantro and silken tofu to make sour cream

combining with whole seed dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar for a sauce great over roasted asparagus and tofu

blending with silken tofu and seasoned with garlic,onion, dill and apple cider vinegar to make ranch dressing

melting with butter and sugar to make sea salt caramels that I gave as Christmas gifts this year!

I’m probably forgetting a few things I’ve made with it, too. I’ll have a longer list in no time, this stuff is incredible!

I usually start out with two cups of whole raw cashews. I buy them from Trader Joe’s, I think they’re about 3 cups or so in each bag, but I don’t have a jar big enough to keep all the cream that yields from that many cashews so I only do 2 cups at a time, for now.

raw in bag

Take your raw cashews in an appropriately sized mixing bowl, and cover them with cold water.

soaking in bowl

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge over night. I know lots of recipes say anywhere from half an hour to over night, but I’ve always done it the night before so I can’t attest to how soft the cashews get after only 30 minutes, but you can try if you’re rushed!

bowl in fridge

Once you’ve soaked them for your chosen amount of time, rinse them off, and add to your food processor or high powered blender. For a thick ricotta-like cream, add just a few table spoons of cold water, just so that your processor has something to work with. Otherwise, for a thinner cream, just barley cover the cashews in water. Pulse a few times, just to see what your consistency is like. If it’s too thick, add more water and blend for a few seconds, and keep doing that until you have your desired thickness. For most uses, other than the thicker ricotta, you will want your cream to be about as thick as dairy cream.

whole in blender

Any thinner, like milk, wont be as useful or as textually similar when making dishes that replicate dairy products. When making a cashew cream for most uses, after it is the consistency of dairy cream, you might want to use a small mesh sieve to strain the cream, unless you have like a Vitamix or something crazy, which I don’t. I have a cool Ninja, but it doesn’t always get the cashew cream perfectly smooth, but I don’t mind and don’t take the time to strain it, but that’s up to you whether or not it’s worth the extra effort, it’s a texture thing.

in blender 2

This is the texture I’m stopping at for this batch, since it will be used for ricotta in my lasagna on Thursday, but if I want to use any of it but need it thinner, it can be added to the food processor again with a tablespoon of water at a time until it’s where you want it.

jar full

This jar would be full if it were a thinner cream, and can last in the fridge for about 3-4 days, after that it starts to smell off and doesn’t taste good, the oils in the cashews start to go rancid.

This is just a basic recipe that can be used for anything, and since I’m not actually cooking anything other than this right now, I don’t have a recipe to showcase it in, just yet! But I will be using it in a day or two to make LASAGNA so look out for that one and you can see how this is used to make cashew ricotta cheese that would fool anyone!

 

 

Who else enjoys rhyming alliterations?

brother with kale

this is my vegetarian cat named Little Boy, or more commonly known as Bruzzer, stealing kale off my counter top during my photoshoot

Anyway. I’ve been struggling to come up with combinations to fill a common vegan dinner plate guideline, which is to include a bean, a green, and a grain. Then I remembered that I already make something that fits the bill perfectly. My grandma’s is the original version, technically an escarole and bean soup, but mine is nearly exact except for the fact that I can never find escarole so I end up using kale or chard, and that I do not add pureed beans to thicken it into a soup, instead I just mash a few with the bottom of a jar in the pan while it’s cooking. I like to eat it on toast instead of a soup with a spoon. I really like making this dish for other people, it’s surprisingly easy and delicious, and can be made for a large number of people at a time.

Like anything I cook, this isn’t an exact science. You might like less garlic or salt, just figure out what tastes best to you and season to that.

ingredients

(Serves 4) Ingredients:

6-10 cloves of garlic

two cans of cannellini beans, or 32 ounces cooked dried great northern beans

olive oil

salt, pepper

red pepper flakes

vegetable stock

kale, or chard, or escarole, or any dark leafy green

bread

garlic in pan

Slice garlic thinly

Coat bottom of a deep, large pot with olive oil

saute garlic in olive oil and add red pepper flakes, a tsp is mildly hot, half a tbsp is really hot!

add beans, if using canned, rinse the beans and do not add water with beans

beans in pan

add between 1/2-3/4 cup of vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

smashing beans

use a can or jar or anything you have to smash some the beans, but leaving some of them whole, the ratio is up to you!

cover beans with kale, and stir to combine

kale in pan

if mixture is too thick to incorporate greens, add more vegetable broth

cook on medium heat until heated through and greens are wilted and tender

finished in pan

turn your oven’s broiler on

drizzle bread with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper

bread on pan

put bread in oven under the broiler until brown and crispy

serve beans with bread

finished on plate

I love this dish during the winter, with a glass of white wine and a green salad. It’s got protein, fat, and carbs, plus whole grains, leafy greens with lots of nutrients, and a lot of flavor. It’s the best with sourdough bread, but I’m trying to stay away from bleached flours and stick with flour-less whole grain bread, which is why I have dorky triangles of toast instead of luscious golden brown, olive oil glazed sourdough pieces that I love so much. Carrrrbssss….

I am going to Utah for my 25th birthday this Thursday through Sunday, to visit my cous-sister Nyki. She’s graciously opened her kitchen to me and told me that she and her boyfriend Dallas will be eating completely vegan during my stay with them, I am so excited! I’ll be posting lots of fun pictures of us in SNOW OMG SNOW, and all of the fun vegan things we will undoubtedly make together!

If anyone is actually reading this, how am I doing?

This is a favorite of mine from when I was little, my dad always made steamed artichokes with lemon sauce. They never failed me until one time, I pulled off a leaf, and there was a dead bug on it. I screamed and ran to the bathroom about to throw up, tears streaming down my face like a lunatic. I was a stable child.

With artichokes, it’s about five minutes prep, and the rest steaming.

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First off, get a large pot with a lid, and a basket steamer. With the basket steamer in the pot, fill it with enough water to hit just below the steamer. Bring the water to a boil while you’re prepping the artichokes.

Take each artichoke and slice the stem off, leaving about 1/4″ from the base.

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Take scissors and cut the pointy tip of each leaf off so you don’t stab yourself like I do.

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Cut off approximately 1/2″-1″ of the top of the artichoke, and spread out the petals.

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Drizzle the tops of the artichokes with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper

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Place artichokes stem side down in the steamer basket, and cover the pan with a lid. Let the water simmer and steam the artichokes until the stem is fork tender, or you can pull a leaf from the center easily. Depending on how many artichokes you are cooking at a time, they cook in about 25-30 minutes. I usually just let mine go until I’m done cooking everything else, I don’t think they can be ruined very easily.

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The sauce I make to dip the leaves in is what my parents always served with our artichokes. I don’t normally like to use prepared condiments with lots of ingredients unless I can’t make my own substitute, but mayonnaise, especially vegenaise, is not something I can easily replicate. Take some vegenaise in a small bowl, squeeze lemon juice to taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Mix and dip. It’s not the healthiest, but it’s a childhood favorite that I like to indulge in every once in awhile.

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I hate salad. When I go to a restaurant where I can actually eat something OTHER than a salad, I lose my mind. But I do eat a small green salad every night. I DO like mixed greens with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, but that’s about all you’re gonna get from me in that department. There are way too many things to eat beside salad.

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Mashed potatoes are like, my specialty. I make them for every Thanksgiving our family has, which is for usually around 40 people. I don’t normally stray from my basic russet, butter, milk salt and pepper, but with these ones I try and make it a little more healthy. The types of potatoes don’t really matter, I get these in a mixed bag at Trader Joe’s, and the purple potatoes make the color a little unnerving, but I’ve gotten past that.  They taste great, what do I care what they look like?

garlic potatoes

You don’t need as much garlic as I have to get a good flavor, I like to go overboard with garlic as much as possible, it’s my most favorite food ever.

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I would suggest two-three small potatoes per person, and adjust the garlic to your specific tastes. The amounts in the recipe will be for eight small potatoes, or four servings.

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Cut the potatoes into small, uniform sized pieces. Add potatoes and enough cold water to cover them by an inch to a sauce pan. Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain potatoes and add them to a large mixing bowl. Combine potatoes with chopped garlic, plus two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and two tablespoons vegetable broth. Mash potatoes, adding more broth if they’re not creamy enough. I don’t like too many lumps, so I mix mine pretty good. All the skins are still in them, so it’s not entirely smooth.

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If you don’t like mashed potatoes, or absurd amounts of garlic, I suggest you stay far away from my blog. The farro is left over from yesterday, but I cooked it in vegetable broth, with onion powder and garlic powder, salt and pepper.

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I always make double of everything to ensure Michael and I both have lunch for the next day, and all of these are good reheated the next day. It also tastes delicious while watching King of the Hill.

Good evening, and good eating.