Sept 19: Tofu scramble

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This is the ubiquitous vegan breakfast. There are so many variations on this recipe. The one I used from Meal Mentor had me sauté a whole onion to start it, with some garlic, peppers, spinach, sweet potato and of course a lot of spices to make the tofu flavorful.

I even tried to take a picture of it. It is easy, quick and cheap. I’ve chosen a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen as a starting point that gives some flexibility. I think tofu scrambles might be almost impossible to mess up!

Tofu Scramble
Serves 4

Eat it with toast, as a bowl, or in a burrito!

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (use kalak namak salt if you have it for an eggy taste)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup of whatever fresh veggies you like: torn spinach leaves, thinly sliced red pepper, broccoli in small pieces, chopped mushrooms, etc.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fresh black pepper to taste

Optional: avocado, salsa, tortillas

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the spices and cook a few minutes.  Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and sauté for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. The tofu should get browned on at least one side.

Add the fresh veggies of your choice, nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with salsa and avocado if you like.

 


Sept 17: Slow Cooker Burrito Soup

Tonight C and I were lucky enough to go visit a newborn baby AND have homemade Indian food. My sister’s in-laws are visiting Portland from Chennai to meet their newest grandchild. After meeting this sweet baby with a full head of thick black hair, we were treated to three kinds of chutney: mango, onion, and coconut with sanbar, dosas, and gulab jamun for dessert. There was also a special root vegetable dish, and we couldn’t figure out what we call it in English.

Meanwhile, I had made slow cooker burrito soup for J and G since they weren’t able to come. It came together quickly and easily (another Meal Mentor dish). This had diced tomatoes, onions, green pepper, beans, brown rice, corn, kale and spices simmering on the stove into a thick stew. I don’t have a slow cooker anymore, but it worked out fine. It was filling and healthy, but C and I definitely got the better dinner tonight!

Although I like the planned dinners for week nights, I felt even more inspired to keep trying to make more exotic meals on the weekends.

 


Sept 16: Rigatoni

This post is just to keep up, and be consistent for my VeganMofo daily food blogging. Truthfully, I want to get back to blogging about issues and ideas even more than writing about food.

This recipe was good, but nothing extraordinary. However, that is the point with the meal plans- keeping it simple and easy. What I liked about this recipe is that once again it used no oil (almost everything on this plan uses broth to sauté). I also like that it was not particularly vegan- in fact, it was a very nice Italian sauce. You could make this for people who don’t want unusual substitutions. It was a sauce with onion, garlic, tomato paste, sauce, basil, balsamic vinegar and red wine. I added some olives which made it a bit salty.

Back to work on my Pups for Pigs project. Stay tuned!


Sept 15: Chickpea tacos

I have some important issues to write about, but have been busy with family in town. I’m still cooking really good vegan dinners every month, a feat of which I am very proud.

Tonight we tried the chickpea tacos from Happy Herbivore meal plan. I wasn’t sure if the kids would like this one- it has quinoa, roasted chickpeas, onion, tomato and a “Caesar” dressing. I realized I was short a tomato, but just stirred in some salsa and served it up with some guacamole which was key to the kids liking it.

It was good, and we’d make it again. I’m very interested in how these very simple recipes are so filling, healthy and easy. The only challenge I am having is pleasing the picky one. I made enough quinoa that this stretched enough to make leftovers that we can have for lunch the next day too.

 


Sept 14: Portobello mushrooms with mac n cheez

I stuck with our meal planning and made the mushroom burgers with mac n cheez as a topping. Sounds strange, but was actually quite good. Everyone liked them except my anti-mushroom girl. No surprise there, if you don’t like small mushrooms in anything, a giant mushroom is not acceptable.

So far I am liking how simple these recipes are. Best of all, I have all the ingredients ready to go. Including a photo so hopefully in the future I can take good photos and see how far I have come.

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Sept 13: SO. MUCH. frosting!

I mentioned in the last post that the red velvet cake recipe used a lot of vegan butter/shortening, and I had a lot left over. Well, it turned out I had more than enough to generously frost 2 dozen cupcakes.

First, I made a simple chocolate cupcake since I had depleted my red food coloring. This recipe was super easy, quick, and was not overly sweet. I ended up giving all those away by 1pm to my kid’s friends.

There was still a lot of frosting left, but now I was out of cocoa powder. For this batch, I used a vanilla recipe. I actually preferred this cupcake and it tasted really good with the cream cheese frosting. Those cupcakes were destined for dessert at a friend’s house.

I still had leftover frosting which my husband wisely advised to throw away. Step away from the oven and put down the muffin tin. I may be a bit sleep-deprived from the shrieking that teen girls make past midnight.

In addition to the bake fest, I made two recipes from Meal Mentor: a “lobster” roll and sweet potato salad. For lunch, I made the lobster roll using artichoke hearts that were sautéed with seafood-friendly spices, lemon, kelp (I used nori), and then tossed with celery and vegan mayo.

I have to say, I really liked it! Not sure how the kids felt about it, but I will be keeping that unusual and healthy recipe.

For dinner, I roasted sweet potatoes, then mixed them with black beans, fresh corn, avocado, red pepper and lime juice. It was pretty tasty, and easy to make.

So far, enjoying having my dinners planned out and knowing I have the ingredients. The biggest challenge so far is to make sure the kids will eat them! Not a problem with the cupcakes.

 

 


Sept 12: Red Velvet cake

For my daughter’s 13th birthday, she requested a red velvet cake to fit in with her “Twilight” vampire theme. I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to make a vegan cake! I randomly found a recipe on the internet while googling “vegan red velvet cake” and made it without really over-thinking the ingredients or looking at comments.

First of all, it turned out delicious. Everyone loved it and you would probably not know it was vegan based on taste.

However, that said, I would adjust the recipe in the future. It was really quite decadent. The batter called for a full 1/4 cup of red food color. I went with just 2 oz (still a full small bottle), and it was still very red. I probably could have also cut back on oil, vanilla and sugar too.

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For the frosting, I ended up with double what I needed because I didn’t do the piped rose decorations. The recipe called for 2 sticks of vegan shortening and 2 sticks vegan butter, and a full 32 oz bag of powdered sugar, but half that would have been fine since I just frosted, but didn’t otherwise embellish the cake.

This cake was very moist and delicious. I wish I would have frosted between the two layers more, as that would looked nicer. I needed to refrigerate the frosting for quite awhile since it was very soft. Definitely don’t frost it while it is too soft!

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So, I would make this again with adjustments! It was a big hit with the teen girls and everyone asked for more than 2 pieces each! Sorry my photos don’t really do it justice. Check out the recipe below to see how pretty it looks with the roses!


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The Best Red Velvet cake that also happens to be vegan recipe (from the Hungry Dudes, a non-vegan website)

 


Sept 11: Mushroom Spinach Curry

This is from one of my favorite Indian resources, holy cow vegan. I made it so quickly, and it is really delicious. Pretty healthy too- just 1 T oil to sauté the onion, and used 1/2 cup light coconut milk.

I used a full 16 oz of mushrooms, and 4 loose cups of spinach, and curry powder instead of sanbar.

Just add brown rice and it is a quick, tasty meal. It is staying in my repertoire. Not as much a favorite for kids I would guess, will have to let you know on that. The fact that one of my kids doesn’t like mushrooms or onions doesn’t bode well since neither are disguised at all. Look at her photos on the website to see how it should look. It is almost impossible to mess up I think!

Mushroom Spinach Curry recipe

I’m excited to start cooking my Meal Mentor plans starting tomorrow! I bought all the ingredients for around $100 for what will hopefully be a full week’s worth of food. I did add a few things we just needed like bread, coffee and cereal. Some of the ingredients were very expensive like a bottle of maple syrup, but will be used for awhile. The 4 portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts and 6 red peppers were a bit pricier items than I would normally purchase.

I’m running out of ideas and need some help with what to make. This was nice to not even think about it, just buy what was on the list. Meal planning really has made my life easier since I am not running to the store every day… I think we will save money in the end and with this meal plan, it uses only whole foods, no fake meats or processed items. The most worrying part is whether the kids will eat it some of these recipes that are a bit unusual like “lobster rolls” using artichoke hearts.

Here is the menu, take a look!


Sept 10: Dinner fail

I’m posting, just to keep up with my record of posting every day for veganmofo… but we ended up having leftover tacos (kids requested it) and soup. I could have made a stir fry, but sometimes you just go with the flow.

Last night I signed up for Happy Herbivore meal planning, but have not been able to start that immediately. Tonight I went to an event listening to Peter Singer speak in a town an hour away which I will post about tomorrow! I did end up eating some delicious vegan food at the reception sponsored by NW Veg. My favorite is a local company Missionary Chocolates… yum.


Sept 9: African peanut soup

The first time I had this soup was when I lived in Bellingham, WA while I was attending WWU. Tony’s coffee shop served it, and it was amazing. Now, 20 some years later and Tony’s Coffee is a big deal with it’s own coffee brand that you can buy through Kroger’s.

Maybe my nostalgia made me want that soup again, but also just these naturally vegan ethnic foods are my favorite meals: Indian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian for example.

I found this recipe and followed it pretty closely except I left out the spicy chile pepper (for the kids), and I blended it with my immersion blender except for about a cup of it which I stirred back in. I also grated a little ginger into it since that is how I remember it. This recipe was pretty easy! Found it on Oh My Veggies, which looks like a great resource, will definitely check out the other recipes on the site.

African Peanut Soup