Friday, September 28, 2007

Nothing Disappointing

A week of new recipes from some of our favorite cookbooks - no disappointment whatsoever!
From the Mother Nature's Garden Cookbook, we made Potato Leek Soup and Sweet and Sour Tofu with Pineapple. We have been really enjoying this cookbook - there are so many tasty creative recipes (but too bad we had to return it since it was due at the library).

The Potato Leek Soup was hearty and filling, a great recipe to make on those cold winter days (too bad it wasn't cooler here - it's still 90's here). It was a first to try leeks, and we both really liked them. Spicy like radishes and chives but slightly mellow like Brussels sprouts. The soup was pretty easy to make - just chopped up 3 medium-sized baking potatoes, 1 bunch of leeks (4 stalks), some celery, garlic, and onion, and spices- and put in the crockpot. Crockpot is great for busy students like us! We had leftovers enough for 2 more times and then put the rest in the freezer. A cheap meal too!

The Sweet and Sour Tofu with Pineapple dish was delicious. It was a different way to make sweet and sour sauce - instead of a tomato based sauce, the recipe had maple syrup and white vinegar. Great combination of flavors and textures - pineapple, onion, green bell pepper, tofu, and asparagus. We served it with whole grain couscous.

From the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook (our favorite bread book), we made Wheat Thins! Our first time to make crackers, and we are thoroughly impressed! Very easy to make, just combined the ingredients, rolled out the dough, cut into pieces, and baked at 375F for ~6 minutes. We stored them in a tight container in the fridge, and they were still crispy and fresh tasting when we finished them (4 days). Great addicting snack! No need to buy expensive crackers now.The rest of the foods that we made were modified from our own recipes.

We made scones with currants, a different variation from the Graham scones posted here. We felt that the currants worked great for an authentic "English" scone.

We also modified our before-vegetarian-tuna-macaroni salad and made a macaroni salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, red bell pepper, zucchini, onions, celery, and lots of peas. We really like the Nayonaise spread!

For a great treat, we baked gooey divine vegan brownies! We used Goodbaker Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix and it was the best brownies we've made in a long time. We like our brownies gooey and fudgy, and these definitely hit the spot (FYI we baked them slightly under). Great heated in the microwave - it turns out like thick brownie fudge sauce :)

Oh, we also made a delicious pear banana smoothie (love the gritty texture of pears!), and we tried heriloom tomatoes - the yellow and the red-purple ones! So juicy and fresh as if they came right from the garden!

Lastly, for a boost of gratitude and fulfillment, Maria Palma has great advice on "Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude". This week we are gratefully to be blessed with love and joy. We are blessed to have healthy nourishing lives and a loving family. What are you grateful for?

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Kind regards, LK

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our Daily Tortilla

Our main staple food for this week was tortillas! We bought some whole wheat tortillas, which comes in a pack of 12, so we had plenty of days to use tortillas in different ways. There are so many options to using tortillas, and it would have been nice to make enchiladas or a casserole, but we opted for easy cooking and used them mainly as wraps. If we didn't include tortillas for dinner, than the next day we would stuff our tortillas with the leftovers.

We didn't have "our daily bread"; instead, God gave us "our daily tortilla"! lol....

Tofu Stuffing
- We tried to make "Easy Veggie Tofu Cutlets" from Mother Nature's Garden Cookbook, but it turned out real crumbly. At first, we were a little iffy about what it would be like, but in the end it turned out very flavorful, with great texture! We just enjoyed it like stuffing, and it really tasted like stuffing! It had garlic, celery, onion, homemade breadcrumbs, mayo, mustard, soy sauce, and lots of dried oregano. We served it with lots of avocado and sauteed mushrooms.

Tofurkey chutney wrap
- This is so easy and flavorful! We used up the last of our homemade apple-pear-currant chutney and spread it on some Tofurky slices. Topped with sprouts and avocado, it tasted great!

Azaki beans and rice

- First time to try Azaki beans. They are mild in flavor, and like small black beans, only red in color. We mixed them with some wild rice pilaf and anaheim pepper. Cheap and hearty!
Veggie burger in a wrap
- We finally got Amy's California Veggie Burger, which is our favorite, but not available at our usual grocery store. We crumbled it up and added avocado and sauteed zucchini and mushrooms.

Tortilla chips (a form of tortillas!)
- Our favorite chips are Guiltless Gourmet Baked Blue Corn Chips! Crunchy, flavorful, and healthy!Black-eyed pea salsa
- From "Students Go Vegan" cookbook, this salsa was fresh, filling, and flavorful! It included anaheim peppers, tomatoes, and scallions/onions. It would be even better if we had lime juice, like in the actual recipe.

- We used the leftovers in a wrap and added edamames to make a protein-powered, healthy meal!

*Other foods we had this week that were simple and flavorful:

Banana peanut butter oatmeal! Extremely healthy and hearty, with steel cut oats - tried it for the first time!

Cherry Date Nut Balls from FatFreeKitchen - great simple snack similar to Larabar!

Chomp! Nutty Oatmeal Rayzen - tastes homemade with lots of spice!

Dr. McDougal's Apple Cinnamon Multi-Grain Cups - creamy and filling!

Palapa Azul Frozen Mango Fruit Bars - refreshing and tropical! It's still 90 plus degrees outside, so anything cool tastes great.

This week we didn't come home for lunch for some of the days. We were so busy at school, that we brought our lunches. We had two tests this week, followed by getting ready for career stuff. We just turned in a cover letter and resume to our department at school, which we've been working really hard on editing it all week! Hopefully we can get an interview and be accepted into the internship! Again, if you have any interview tips, let us know!

Oh, by the way.... be thankful that you all do not have to sit in a class for about an hour listening and seeing disgusting pictures about meat microbiology! This week our food bacteriology class is focusing on meat, and it made us nauseous and very upset to hear about slaughtered cattle! Yuck.

Praying that everyone has enough "daily bread" to sustain them each day....And, praying that society learns to appreciate and respect all forms of life!

Peace, LK

Sunday, September 16, 2007


We've been tagged by Paulina of Veggie Delight to share a little bit about ourselves through a meme. These are the rules:
# Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.

# When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.

# At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag.

# Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

# If I’ve tagged YOU (the bloggers that I've tagged are listed at the end), please join in on the fun!

Ok, here goes...
Lisa and Krista

L is for Learning. We enjoy learning - learning about nutrition, health, cultures, vegetarianism, sustainability, God, and just life. We've been in school for so long, and even though this is our last year in school, we will continue to learn everyday.

I is for Involved. We love volunteering and making a difference. We are always doing some volunteer work. Through volunteering in the community, we have grown personally and have met some of the sweetest people. We have learned so much by being involved in the community. Our most memorable volunteering experiences has been volunteering at an assisted living, our church food pantry, and an animal shelter. Not only do we volunteer, but we try to donate to worthy causes. We also are sponsers to two lovely girls (Mary from Zambia and Daniella from Columbia) through the Children International sponsorship program. Finally, we are members of the Nutrition and Dietetic Association, American and Dietetic Association, and Texas Dietetic Association, and we were members of the University of NH's Animal Rights Alliance.

S is for Studious. We are very much hardworking and dedicated students. Trying our best at our work is one of our highest priorities in life. Sometimes it seems we work too hard...

A is for Appreciative. We try to appreciate all that has been given to us. Each day we try to be optimistic and thankful for our family, our friends, our pets, school, and all that we are blessed with!

K is for Kind. We are friendly sweet gals and want to please people. We enjoy volunteering and helping others. We don't like it when we hurt someone else's feelings!

R is for Religious. Our faith is very important to us. We love God and look to him each day for guidance and strength. We regularly attend mass and strive to grow in faith and love. We depend on Him and thank Him for all that we have in our lives.

I is for Interested in Nutrition. Our passion is nutrition and food. We love learning about nutrition and how food impacts health. We love cooking and baking. We love to eat great-tasting vegetarian natural foods. We are finishing up our Bachelors in Nutritional Science, and we would like to work in the food industry dealing with nutrition-related work. We try to help our parents improve their nutrition. We are disgusted with the American way of life - non-nutritious junk food!

S is for Soft-spoken. We are shy and quiet. We just don't talk that much; rather we are better at listening. Sometimes people associate it with being rude, but we aren't. We are very sweet, just reserved. Communicating in person isn't the strongest characteristic about us.

T is for Traveler. We enjoy traveling and seeing beautiful landscapes and architecture, national parks, quaint towns, and new places. We love experiencing new cultures. Ever since we were little, we've enjoyed traveling with our family - Canada, Germany, California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Cayman Islands, and other US states. We also learn new things by traveling! (For instance, by exchanging to the University of New Hampshire, we learned about vegetarianism!)

A is for Agreeable. Overall we both agree with each other on things, and we get along quite well. Every so often we bicker at little things and maybe raise our voices at each other, but most often we come to an agreement. But overall we think alike and so we end up agreeing in the first place!

So, now you know a little more about us.

Since we don't know too many other bloggers, and many of you have already been tagged, we are just tagging two people (Sorry for breaking the rules!):
GG of Be Animal Aware

- Peace, LK

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Our schedule this week was so hectic and busy with meetings, classes, and studying for tests, that we ended up cooking quick and easy meals.

(Also loved having fresh fruit such as nectarines, mango, and pears!)

We liked getting meals from the freezer, such as Amy's Black Bean and Tofu Enchiladas, frozen vegetables, and leftover Corn and Chive Pancakes, and quickly heating them up for a fast dinner.

We also brought our lunches to school twice this week which made things quick and easy. We made either Edamame salad sandwiches or Tofurkey sandwiches. The Edamame sandwiches were very tasty, somewhat like egg salad, and were quick to make (in Passionate Vegetarian cookbook). We added Pear and Apple chutney to the tofurkey sandwiches - so divine! We made our own chutney for the first time (in the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond), and it was really easy and tasty. Better homemade than buying it at the store for an expensive price.

Another quick fix is black beans and sweet potatoes. We boiled the sweet potatoes this time and then pureed them to make mashed sweet potatoes. Very good, but so much leftovers. We only bought 3 sweet potatoes for less than $1.00 and it lasted 3+ days! We froze about 1 cup and made sweet potato biscuits this morning! We also were creative and combined some mashed sweet potatoes, some black beans, some cornmeal, and some spices and made black bean sweet potato cakes. They were a little soft (not firm like a bean burger) but still good and unique. We were just trying to think of different ways to use the same ingredient, so as to not get tired of the same thing.Last weekend we enjoyed one of our classic favorites - spaghetti with lots of vegetables and whole wheat pasta. We made homemade garlic breadsticks to accompany the meal!On Wednesday we drove home back in Houston for an appointment, and we made Edamame Stir Fry with Couscous and Mustard Sauce for our mom and stepdad. The meal was excellent and quick too (from Student's Go Vegan Cookbook). It had edamames, red bell pepper, broccoli, pineapple, and onion and the mustard sauce wasn't too spicy nor sweet. Easy with 2-minutes-to-cook couscous!

For sweets, we made our own granola (which is alot cheaper than store-bought), and made Graham-pb-cocoa-balls.
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
14 whole wheat Mi-Del grahams, crushed
2 1/2 Tb cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients and form into balls. Freeze.

When we wanted a ball, we took it out of the freezer and ate it after 1 minute or so when it softened slightly but still had crunch in the center. Very addicting and only requires a few ingredients to make!

Well, this past week and this next week are extra busy with exams and getting ready for an interview for an internship. Does anyone have any interviewing tips?

Hope you all take time to enjoy those moments of peace and relaxation.
- LK

P.S. Healthnut - we'll post later about the meme!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Power up with your fruits, vegetables, and whole grains!

This past week we decided to step it up a notch and make new homemade concoctions. We tried new grains and mixed vegetables in new ways. Our menu for the week consisted of a lot of powerfully nutritious grains, vegetables, and fruits! (such as swiss chard, blueberries, and brown rice.)

Cooking/baking gives us so much satisfaction and optimism, because it makes us feel good knowing that our meal ideas turn into reality, taste fantastic, and are healthy!

First of all we have been wanting to use sundried tomatoes for a meal, and decided to do a sundried tomato pasta dish.

We used whole wheat penne pasta and added minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, hydrated sundried tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and some crushed red pepper. Of course, olive oil always makes things wonderful! The pasta really tasted fresh with alot of great flavor and texture. Next time some firm tofu cubes might be a nice addition to mellow out the tartness of the sundried tomatoes.

Tomatoes are known to contain lycopene, a powerful phytonutrient, and reduce the risks many cancers, including prostate, breast, and colon. It is also a great source of vitamin C and A.

As the end of summer comes to a close, we took advantage of fresh corn cobs and made corn and chive pancakes, from Passionate Vegetarian cookbook! They were very flavorful, fresh, with corn popping in every bite, yet slightly soft like cornbread. Yum!We also made a powerhouse blueberry banana smoothie!

Simple, with just fresh blueberries, frozen banana slices, and fruit flavored yogurt, blended together! Blueberries are one of the top nutritious foods, with high levels of antioxidants.

One of the greatest meals we got to make this week was mushroom fajitas with homemade whole grain tortillas!

We used fresh elegant cremini mushrooms, which research states have many protective benefits from cancers and diseases, and are a good source of many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Mushrooms are so easy and simple to enjoy - we have been just sauteeing mushrooms with dried herbs and black pepper. We even add some sauteed mushrooms to veggie burgers to enhance them.

With the fajitas, though, we added some spices to make it Mexican flare. Along with mushrooms, we sauteed some onions and bell peppers, and served them with slices of avocado. We dashed in some soy sauce too for an interesting flavor combination, trying to replicate Mr. Natural's mushroom fajitas, which had soy sauce.

It was our first time to make homemade tortillas, and we were doubtful about whether we could replicate our grocery store's tortillas, but they surpassed our expectations tenfold! We used the recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook and added unique grains, such as spelt and kamut flour.

Other nutritious meals we made over the week incorporated green swiss chard, our first time to eat it. Swiss chard is absolutely addicting! It is tastes similar to spinach and is not bitter, like kale tends to be. We sauteed the swiss chard with some minced garlic, olive oil, chopped onion, and garbonzo beans. It was a great colorful meal!

Swiss chard is one of those top vegetables, along with other green leafy vegetables. It has more than the recommended amount of vitamin K, which is important in maintaining strong bones, vitamin A, which helps eye sight and cancers, iron for blood cells, vitamin E, an antioxidant that also helps with mental functioning, fiber, and other great health benefits.

We served the swiss chard bean dish with amaranth. Amaranth is new to us and we saw it at the store and thought to cook with it somehow. I have to say that it is a very different grain. You cook it like quinoa or couscous, but it is very gelatin-like in texture. From what we know, amaranth has similar health benefits to quinoa; it is a complete protein source. Maybe the high content of proteins interact to produce the gelatin texture. We didn't much care for it in the end, it was too bland and gummy. We'll stick to amaranth flour if we need to.

Our last meal of the week had one of our favorite foods in it - peanut butter! We made a pb tofu stirfry, using our pb Asian dipping sauce that we usually use for spring rolls. It was so devine and creamy! Stirfrys are so great because they are easy and incorporate a wide variety of fresh vegetables. We added peas, scallions, onions, red bell pepper, broccoli, and firm chewy tofu.
A lot of health benefits right there! As you probably know, tofu and other soy products are very much praised by health professionals these days for their soy protein, calcium, iron, and other vit/minerals. Broccoli, which is a cruciferous vegetable, has cancer fighting phytonutrients also.

So, just from those four meals, we are now pumped up full of great nutrients!

Hope you enjoyed our "nutrition lecture" post this week. We love to talk about the health benefits of food, especially fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! There is a lot more information out there; we are even taking a college class right now titled 'Nutrition Treatment of Disease'!

As William Londen quotes, "To insure good health- eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life"!
-Cheers to good vegetarian health! LK

P.S. We forgot to mention some great products we've recently had!
Eden Organic's Fruit Sweetened
Dried Cranberries, Nature's Path HempPlus Granola, Prana Energy Bars (apricot goji), and White Mountain Food's Vegetarian Spicy Tamales

Saturday, September 1, 2007

(Mostly) Easy

With getting back into the typical busy routine now that school started this week, we've enjoyed making meals and then having easy prep and clean up with leftovers. This week we made meals with different textures and bold flavors - black bean and mango with rice, millet patties with sauteed mushrooms, baked cornmeal tofu with okra and tomatoes, and veggie pot pie. We also enjoyed sweet treats.

The mangoes this summer have been fabulous, and we usually enjoy them as is or in smoothies, but we thought that in a dish would be a treat. We created a dish with black beans and mango - simple but delicious!

Black Bean and Mango Rice
1.75 cups or 15 oz black beans

1 ripe juicy mango, cubed
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 small chili pepper, seeded & minced
3/4 c. cooked short grain brown rice

> 1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
salt to taste
dried oregano

crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper
optional: fresh cilantro

Saute onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper in a skillet on med-med high until onion slightly translucent and golden. Meanwhile, add cumin and oregano to the black beans and heat beans in the microwave until hot. Mix the sauteed onion and pepper with the mango in a bowl.

Serve with brown rice - top brown rice with beans and mango mixture and enjoy!

We also enjoyed eating (and making!) Millet Patties with Mushrooms from vegweb. These patties were very tasty, healthy, and unique. We couldn't find millet but we used whole grain couscous and the chewy oats, the couscous, the breadcrumbs, and the sesame seeds gave it great flavor and texture. We sliced mushrooms, sauteed them with garlic powder and oregano, and topped the patties with tons of mushrooms. Great leftovers...

Wanting a "creole" dish, we cooked okra and tomatoes (with bell pepper, onion, cayenne pepper, garlic, and oregano) and baked cornmeal tofu. The tofu had a
great texture- really dry, chewy, and grainy. Might need a marinade first though. Added some oregano, basil, cayenne, garlic, and paprika to the breading. Very easy and quick to make!
We must like vegweb for recipes... we also made this week Veggie Pot Pie. This recipe is very good and we added lots of veggies (carrots, zucchini, potatoes, onions, peas, celery) and tofu. Only that making the pot pie took long and was so exhausting; this is not an easy meal, but luckily we made it the day before school started (so we had plenty of free time).

For sweet treats, we
baked apple cinnamon muffins, peanut butter cookies, and German pancakes. The Apple Cinnamon Muffins were fluffy and full of Granny smith apples and we used kamut and spelt flours.

The peanut butter cookies are OUR FAVORITE OF ALL TIME! We've used the same recipe for years, and we love how gooey they are and how easy and quick they are to make. There is no flour in these. We usually use an egg white, but we haven't eaten or bought eggs in a long time (we are mostly vegan, just vegetarian because of yogurt or some veggie burgers that have egg whites). This time we tried flax meal - the cookies were even more gooey and so maybe cooking them slightly more would have helped, but we didn't. Instead we froze them - they were just as good - great bite at first, but then it melts and gets gooey still! Yum!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/2 c. natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar or 1/4 c. Splenda brown sugar blend
1/2 c. sugar or 1/4 c. Splenda sugar blend
1 egg white or 1 Tb flax meal + 1 1/2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix ingredients until well blended. Use cookie dropper to drop ~ 2 Tb batter onto a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray or onto a baking stone. Press down each cookie to make ~ 1/2 inch thick.

Bake 12-14 minutes, checking half way to see if cookies need to be covered with foil. Cool for 5 minutes to firm up. Makes 10-12 cookies.
We, being of German descent, have made German pancakes with berries and jam since we were little. We haven't had them for a long time, and this time we took out the egg to make them vegan. We had one with apricot preserves and one with raspberry, and we like both, but our favorite is the apricot. Turned out tasty!

Vegan German Pancakes
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 Tb ground flax seeds
1 Tb sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup or more soy milk
apricot or raspberry preserves
powdered sugar (optional)

Combine flour, flax meal, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir well. Add soy milk and mix well with a whisk.

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over med-high heat until hot. Remove pan from heat, and pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, quickly tilting in all directions so batter covers pan with a thin film. Cook about 1 minute. Then lift edge of pancake carefully with a spatula to test for doneness (pancake is ready to turn when can be shaken loose from pan and the underside is lightly browned). Turn pancake over, and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Place pancake on a towel and let cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Stack pancakes between single layers of paper towls. Spread preserves over each pancake and add berry slices (we like strawberries), and roll up. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar. Makes 4 pancakes.

So, we finished our first week of our senior year and we already have worries and stresses with classes and with the future. We don't know what lies ahead for us (job, internship) or where we are headed, but for now we are trying to take it easy and enjoy what time we have now - and one way to enjoy life is our cooking.

So hope you enjoy food as much as we do, LK