Friday, February 22, 2008

New Concoctions = more recipes!

Update on the No-Coconut Granola cookies from the last post - try them as cookie dough! We froze a small amount of cookie dough and it was even better than the cookie itself. We love cookie dough and now we can splurge without worrying about food safety from eggs. Being vegan is so much fun!

Food this week wasn't too extravagant, although we did invent a new bread - couscous bread. We followed our cornbread recipe, but instead of cornmeal we substituted some cooked whole grain couscous. We also added rosemary to make it more fragrant. It was really good dipped in olive oil, and had a great crust and crumb. It just gave a slight bitter aftertaste, so maybe it needs some olive oil, garlic, or agave nectar in the bread. Here's the recipe as we have it currently:

Rosemary Couscous Bread
2 - 2 1/8 cup cooked whole grain couscous (We use Hodgson Mill's Whole Wheat Couscous with Flax and Soy)
2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup soymilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Then add oil and milk into the center, and incorporate wet into dry. Pour into a medium glass/ceramic rectangular pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until center not dough (knife comes out fairly clean) and edges slightly browned, about 45 minutes. May need to cover with foil halfway (be sure to check periodically).
It seems like the bread isn't done all the way, but it's could be just the moistness/creaminess of the couscous.

We also had a huge bag of puffed millet that we needed to use up...we made Nutty puffed millet trail mix bars, with just whatever goodies we had on hand. It's a healthier PB-rice-krispie-type bar with nuts, dried fruit, whole grain millet and oats, and natural sugar (agave). If you want it more like a snack bar, you might want to cut down the sugar a little.

(Note: after we added all of the dry ingredients, we had to cut out 1 3/4 cup of the dry trail mix before mixing in the nut butter, because we figured it that the bars wouldn't bind well with all of the dry ingredients. You could also just add more melted nut butter/agave concoction instead, so that you could use all of the dry ingredients.)

Puffed Millet Trail Mix Bars
3/4 cup nut butter (we used sunflower seed butter this time)
1/4 plus 1/8 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (small pieces)
1/2 cup golden raisins or any other dried fruit (dried cranberries might be good)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup oats
3 cups puffed millet (we used Arrowhead Mills)

Toast nuts and seeds, being careful not to burn them. Combine all dry ingredients. In a small sauce pan on medium heat, melt nut butter and agave nectar, stirring frequently. Cut out 1 3/4 cup dry ingredients (can add cinnamon and brown sugar for a light snack later). Mix in melted nut butter into the dry ingredients until very well distributed. Press into a square/rectangular pan and refrigerate to firm up. Cut out bars and enjoy!

We had our first salad this year... haha... It is sad to say that we haven't had a simple salad with dinners all winter :( With just the two of us, it's hard to use up lettuce before it wilts, and we've been cooking so many other great recipes, that it just slipped our mind to have salad. Boy, we should never do that again! We enjoyed it with Fat Free Balsamic salad dressing, from Maple Grove Farms (which actually has great maple syrup). We also enjoyed the lettuce in some pitas with homemade blackeyed pea hummus!

The most interesting thing we made this week besides couscous bread was beet veggie burgers! They had a great texture and flavor with chewy oats, sesame seeds, flaxseed, creamy beans, spicy onions, grated beets, diced mushrooms, and good herbs. Of course, it was divine with lots of avocado slices. We modified the recipe a lot, so here are our changes: Beet Veggie Burgers
1 fresh beet, grated (peeled the outer part first)
1/3 cup whole grain oats, cooked (in a little water)
2/3 cup uncooked oats
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme and sage each
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp mashed white northern beans
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
2 mushrooms, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well. Form into patties and place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on each side until slightly browned and crisp on the tops.

We've never had fresh beets before...the beets that we didn't use in the veggie burger we just sliced and steamed them in the microwave for about 5 minutes. It was very easy to do and more flavorful and nutritious - they were nice and sweet. From now on, we are never using canned beets - fresh are so much better. This burger recipe was our second successful burger recipe that we will keep on hand. (We also have a great black bean burger recipe, which we make often and just use different beans and/or spices)

Our last meal this week was from Susan's "Vegetable Love" contest, Orange Caramelized Tofu.
It smelt really good while we were cooking...the citrus and nutty pecans! However, the tofu was bland. It was a good recipe, it just needs some tweaking.
We liked it more without the orange, just as a savory nutty pecan tofu. We put a lot of garlic powder and nutritional yeast on the tofu to make it better. So far, tofu tastes best with some garlic powder, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and avocado. How do you all like your tofu?

Anyways, this week was a more enjoyable (& less stressful) week full of warm days (70's). Which just means that Texas' disgusting hot & humid weather will be here soon. :(

We have been doing a lot of research for school this semester and are learning a lot of interesting stuff, which we wanted to share with you. At the end of April we both have to present a thorough seminar on a certain nutrition-related topic based on many research studies. L is looking at the association between short sleep duration and increased risk of obesity. Did you know that less than 7 hours of sleep is associated with having a higher body weight? K is looking at the how different storage conditions (temperature, duration of storage before consumption, etc...) and processing (juice, canning, different chemical treatments...) of berries affects the berries' antioxidant levels. Of course, fresh fruit retains antioxidants better than juice or processed fruit; however quick frozen fruit is good, too, because the antioxidant content is not significantly altered.

Power your body and mind with healthy vegan foods! And eat more antioxidant rich foods, too!

Peace, LK

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Recipes To Enjoy

Our Homemade Sloppy Joes:
1 tsp olive oil
2 c. chopped mushrooms
1 c. diced onion
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
1/4 c. diced celery (optional)
1/2 c. diced carrots
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. textured soy protein, crumbled firm tofu, or 1 can lentils, drained
2-4 Tb Ketchup
1 Tb red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 Tb dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (8 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers and saute until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns or bread slices. Makes 6-8 servings.

Granola No-Coconut Cookies
These are like a breakfast cookie - slightly chewy and slightly soft, like a muffin-scone.3 c. granola
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb flax meal
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 - 3/4 c. shredded carrots
1 Tb coconut extract
1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk or
soy milk
1/4 c. safflower or canola oil
1/2 c. agave nectar
3 Tb chocolate chips (optional)
nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine granola, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, flax meal, and cinnamon. Then add in carrots.

In a small bowl, combine coconut extract, milk, oil, and agave nectar. Add to the flour mixture. Add any optional ingredients, then mix until well blended.

Drop spoonfuls 1-2 inches apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes. May need to cover with foil. Makes 15-20 cookies.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Food Photo Album (& some)

Finally! A moment to post all of our wonderful food for the past few weeks. Our schedules have been so busy - this semester is going to get even more busier, so expect to see sporadic posting every now and then :(
Canada, 2006

Lent has begun and what did we give up for it?? Honey and yogurt and any minute animal ingredients in processed food, which makes us vegan for Lent! And we are so excited, as this is a great opportunity to be vegan and perhaps keep it up even after Easter. We've actually been loving agave nectar and Whole Soy & Co soy yogurt more so than honey and yogurt. So... this blog should really be a vegan food haven!

Now onto the food album (sorry for poor quality pictures):
Indian Potato Spinach Dish with Quinoa, from Soy of Cooking cookbook (probably one of our favorite cookbooks now!)
- great flavors and so creamy. Love the local yams.

Salsa Veggie Soup with Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cornbread
- a soup concoction with spicy herb garlic salsa, broccoli, and beans.
- used Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Corn Flour which made the cornbread oh so soft and delicate!

Veganomicon Chickpea Noodle Soup
- good with tons of chickpeas and noodles; the miso was a little strong though

Curried Tofu Wedges (Veganomicon) with Curried Cauliflower and Tomatoes
- Awesome tofu - one of the best tofu marinades! Love lots of curry!

Sloppy Joes with Lentils
- used our recipe but instead of textured soy protein, used a can of lentils. Easy and tasty! Especially with homemade wheat buttermilk bread (another Soy of Cooking recipe) with a great texture and sliced perfectly. (note - pic to the far right is from this post here)

We also changed up the bread recipe slightly and made rye bread - had it with tofu scramble and swiss chard.

Roasted Lemon Potatoes (Veganomicon)
- Another awesome recipe - the lemon gave it a great flavor, slightly tangy. We used tons of nutritional yeast!

For an easy lunch - mash up one avocado and sprinkle some garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and nutritional yeast. Serve with bread or cucumbers. A quick guacamole!

We've been attempting to eat more vegetables and greens - we seem to have swiss chard or spinach 3 times a week. We also have been eating more fruits - frozen blueberries in our cereal for breakfast (along with sprinklings of flax meal), firm grapes, sweet apples, and creamy divine mango.

One last note:
We recently found out about the Christian Vegetarian Association. There values seem to be so true - on being vegetarian for health, for animals, and for reasons dealing with the poor and hungry and being caretakers of the earth.

About the Christian Vegetarian Association

The Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA) is an international, non-denominational ministry of believers dedicated to respectfully promoting healthy, Christ-centered and God-honoring living among Christians.

We advocate nutritious plant-based diets in the global Christian community. Through publications, websites, and related public information campaigns, we educate people about the distinct health, environmental, and animal-related advantages of plant-based eating.

And here is a wonderful article on "Christianity and Vegetarianism." This article sums up everything that we believe why we are vegetarian. And everytime an omnivore asks us why we are vegetarian or if we get enough protein or if we eat enough, etc, we should refer them to this article!

Cheers to food, good health, and a more compassionate world!
- LK

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

School has over taken us.

A quick note to say that we have a TON of food pictures on our camera...we just need to make time to download it and blog about all of our yummy meals!

School has over taken us....especially evil Biochemistry. Over 30 mechanisms and reactions to memorize! Yuck. We have a few exams coming up and papers due, so afterwards, then we will post.
Again, we're sorry about the lack of posts.

For the time being, here is a quote to reflect on. We should persist amidst life's struggles and continue to strive for excellence:
"If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, 'I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'" - Ann Landers