Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Satisfying Nutritious Snacks

During a long work day, we need lots of energy to sustain us throughout the day. Although we love sweets, sometimes snack bars can be somewhat heavy and sweet. For a filling healthy snack, we love homemade muffins and biscuits. (Muffins and biscuits aren't just for breakfast!) Especially with hearty whole grains like oats, cornmeal, kamut, spelt, or triticale, these snacks re-fuel us for the last stretch of the day.

Thanks Bob's Red Mill for these recipes!

Triticale Breakfast Muffins

1 cup triticale meal
1 cup triticale flour
3 Tbsp raw cane sugar
<1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp flaxmeal mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1 cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add flaxmeal and milk and mix until just combined (check moistness - may need to add more milk). Put in a 12-mini-muffin pan and bake at 375 degrees F for about 10-13 minutes or until just golden (don't overbake). We love mini muffins because they make the perfect size snack.

Blue Cornbread Muffins

1 cup blue cornmeal (can use yellow cornmeal)
1/4 cup oat flour or other whole grain flour
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbsp flaxmeal
<1 Tb agave
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup soy milk or other non-dairy milk

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add agave, oil, and milk and mix until just combined. Put in a 12-mini-muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees F for about 11 minutes or until just golden (don't overbake). We enjoy the subtle corn flavor and crumb from the blue cornmeal.

Kamut Biscuits

1 cup kamut flour
1 cup whole wheat flour or spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup soymilk or other non-dairy milk

Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add oil and milk and mix until just combined. You can make drop biscuits or you can roll out gently and cut using a round biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes or until just golden. Makes 8 biscuits. We loved the buttery soft flavor.

What are your favorite snacks to give you sustained energy? What are your favorite grains and flours to use in baking? We love to experiment with different grains and flours.

Have a great evening,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cooking for a Vegan Planet

Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson , is a great resource of delicious vegan recipes. We were able to check it out from the library, although we only made a few meals out of this large cookbook. We did scan some of the recipes, so we are looking forward to trying more!The Ultimate Veggie Burgers is a hit - one of our favorite homemade veggie burgers now! We changed it up just slightly with some herbs, and it was a savory delectable pattie. Great on homemade bread with creamy avocado. We liked how the burger held together with the wheat gluten to bind everything. The second time we made it we made it German - with yellow split peas instead of lentils, and some mustard powder and caraway seeds for flavor.

We also made Potato Bread with Chives, which was pretty good, but just a tad dry for us. Good flavor though.

The Pesto Stuffed Tofu Steaks with Tomato Sauce made an elegant dinner. Easy too! We had some Living Tree Community Pistachio Pesto and just stuffed tofu cutlets with some pesto, then cooked on the skillet until golden on both sides. Made homemade tomato sauce (tomato paste, garlic, basil, pepper, tad salt, and olive oil) and turned out great with the tofu pesto cutlets.

Sorry for the lack of pictures - must have cleaned our plates before we could take out the camera!

Speaking of a vegan planet, this past week was Earth Day, which was a great day to celebrate our Earth and to encourage everyone to be responsible. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, and eat Vegan!

Have a great rest of the weekend,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Only this past month or so have we been eating more tempeh. We have found that it is a good ingredient for veggie burgers, "meat" patties, pastas, and sandwiches. It's also better in nutrition than tofu, because it is made of fermented soybeans and is not as processed as tofu. (Although tofu is still nutritious and we love it!) Tempeh is a good source of protein, riboflavin, magnesium, and other nutrients.

We made tempeh meatlessballs from happyveganface, and they turned out delicious. Kind of like Veganomicon's bean balls. We think this would be a great recipe to make many times and change up the herbs and spices. These balls were delicious with spaghetti - organic tomato sauce, onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, and olive oil. Another tasty way to eat the meatlessballs - in a wrap!

At the health food store/cafe in Salem, we enjoyed a tempeh-salad sandwich. This would be nice to recreate at home - a little herbs, mustard sauce, bell pepper, shredded carrots, and celery served on rye bread with lettuce and tomatoes!

More tempeh delicacies - tempeh "sausage" patties for breakfast! We adapted the recipe from Vegan Chef, and while it was a great idea and tasty, it was EXTREMELY salty (and we even cut down the Bragg's/salt). Next time we will make this with less salt and enjoy it with hashbrowns and biscuits for a real "Southern" breakfast.

For future cooking, we have eye-balled these tempeh recipes:
Tempeh Sloppy Joes
White Bean Tempeh Sausage Gravy
Tempeh Miso Breakfast Patties

What are all your favorite ways to enjoy tempeh?
Enjoy your evening!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Oregon Outdoors

Easter weekend and this weekend were filled with rejuvenating fun activities, and good outdoorsy-eats! With our mom and stepdad visiting for Easter, we toured the McMinnville/Willamette Valley and enjoyed Oregon's beautiful landscape. And this weekend we toured Portland and basked in the sun at our local park.
On Good Friday, we drove east of Salem, Oregon to Silver Falls State Park. A huge park, filled with lush plant life and tall ancient trees, steep hilly terrain and windy trails, peaceful rivers and flowing waterfalls, this state park was paradise in Oregon. It seemed like we were in a northern rainforest. We hiked over 3.5 miles (1.5 hours!) up and down canyons around the river - even underneath the waterfall! The rock lining the waterfall included 3 periods of lava rock. Definitely a place to get lost in; a time to re-energize, exercise, reflect, and bask in God's beauty.

Then, Saturday we strolled around McMinnville's downtown in quaint shops, and enjoyed a lunch out at the local Thai restaurant. A popular place, this Thai restaurant was impressive (despite being located right near a tatoo place..lol...). Everything was fresh and full of spices/flavors. What was nice about this restaurant is that they offered tofu and listed some vegetarian dishes. We even asked them if they "hide" fish sauce in their food, and they do not use fish sauce in anything.
Our mom enjoyed a spicy vegetable soup and fresh tofu spring rolls. We shared fresh tofu spring rolls as well, which contained cilantro and mint leaves, and a pineapple red curry dish. The red curry dish was delicious - filled with FRESH pineapple chunks, FRESH steamed green beans (not frozen), and other vegetables, and covered in a spicy yet creamy smooth curry-coconut sauce. The rice was exceptionally sticky :) We love trying ethnic authentic foods that we can't otherwise make easily at home.
After such a filling lunch, we took a road trip around the valley to two organic wineries. Our grandfather makes wine as a hobby, so our family is pretty big into wine (although we don't really drink, and haven't experienced a winery before). Our parents did some wine tasting, and we sampled them in tiny sips - at first it is hard to get used to the taste, especially white wines. It was interesting to learn about the different flavors (hints of raspberry or mango, etc...) and the different grapes. We will start experimenting with red wine in cooking!

Overall, we loved having our parents visit, and being able to cook/bake vegan for them. Easter meal was a zesty orange veggie pasta salad, fresh canteloupe slices, raw pepita and sunflower seed pate, crackers, and crudites, with raisin spice cinnamon roll muffins for breakfast!

This weekend we planned a day trip to Portland - the drive is always scenic, with rolling hills and blossoming Cherry trees, tulips, dogwoods, ferns, and daffodils. Our trip included a visit to a local bookstore, eating out at an authentic Lebanese restaurant, strolling down the "vegan mini mall" and enjoying dessert at the vegan bakery, and stocking up on grains/flours at Bob's Red Mill store.

First (after finding parking in hectic downtown), we perused for an hour or so in the BEST bookstore in the world - Powell's City of Books. It is a huge, yet quaint bookstore, with many compartmentalized rooms, almost like a maze where you turn at every corner and enter a new world full of books. What was also great about this bookstore was that they intermingled used and new books, and so the prices are cheaper. We love used books, not only because it's re-using, but also because they hold a history and are more enticing with slightly worn pages ready to be open to a new reader! We purchased a bread machine cookbook, with many whole grain recipes, and Vive le Vegan cookbook. We also bought North and South novel by Elizabeth Gaskell (after seeing the great movie by BBC productions).

The other items in the photo besides the books are from our stroll down vegan mini-mall. The mall is basically just a strip of 3 vegan stores - Food Fight Vegan grocery store, Herbivore clothing store, and Sweet Pea Bakery. It is nice that Portland is so vegan friendly and popular! We found two cute vegan wallets - handy and fashionable, with many compartments to store all the cards, cash, and other info. (The shirt is just a cute shirt from Target)

Lunch was at a delicious, family-owned, SMALL yet POPULAR Lebanese Restaurant, Nicholas. We love trying new ethnic foods, and the food here was so tasty!

They had a great stone oven, authentic - shipped all the way from Lebanon, where they make large pita breads and flatbread pizzas. We were stuffed after lunch - the platters were huge. We ate crispy (yet soft and not greasy) falafels, creamy hummus, cooling tabouli salad, a side of garbonzos, comforting lentil and rice dish ("Mjadra"), vegan stuffed grapeleaves, and "Manakish (zahtar)" a flatbread pizza coated with sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, sumac, and olive oil. Everything was so flavorful and interesting, and they indicate which dishes are vegan; will have to go again! We were debating between Nicholas Lebanese or Vita Cafe, and so next time we will try Vita Cafe.

Dessert at
Sweet Pea Bakery included two huge chocolate graham cookies sandwiched with a creamy filling and coated with THICK chocolate, as well as an oatmeal breakfast cake. Next time we plan to try Piece of Cake for other vegan delicacies! (Sorry no food pics)

Today was another outdoors day in the warm sun (around 76 degrees!), with the windows open wide, and the sunglasses on! :) We went to the local park and watched kids play, dogs chase frisbies, and athletes throw baseballs on the field. We brought lunch to have a nice picnic, relaxed, and read books in the sun, then we drove to a nearby nature park and went walking along the trails. On our way home we toured around neighborhoods and day-dreamed about our own home someday!

What a refreshing, adventurous past two weekends....we love Oregon and all it has to offer, and are excited about summer at the farmer's markets again! What are your favorite outdoor activities, and what is a favorite outing you all take for fun? What is your favorite ethnic restaurant?

Soaking up the sun and spring,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Soft Chewy Ginger Cookies

Hey! Hope you all had a great Easter - we had company and took lots of pictures and had some great fun! Some great eats too! But until we get all the pictures uploaded, here's something tasty!

The past two weeks we've loved our evening dessert - Soft Chewy Ginger Cookies! Just like it is - soft yet chewy. Ginger gives a nice bite. We adapted this recipe (did 3/4ths the recipe) and are very pleased with the results, especially the texture. If you like a more molasses flavor, these cookies are great! For more zing, we will add a tad more ginger and cinnamon and a little less molasses.

Soft Chewy Ginger Cookies

Makes 13-15 cookies

1 2/3 cup spelt or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp or more cinnamon
3/8 tsp ground cloves
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 Tb softened coconut oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tb applesauce
3/4 Tb water
3 Tb molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the first 6 dry ingredients (flour through salt). Set aside.

In large bowl or mixer, cream together the coconut oil and sugar until well blended. Beat in the applesauce, then the water and molasses. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture.

Shape dough into round cookie shapes, and place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungrease cookie sheet. Depending on the size of the cookies, bake 8-13 minutes, or until slightly golden yet still soft. They will firm up slightly when cooled.

Yum! LK

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Whirlwind of Seasonal Eats Part 2

Since the warm weather didn't last, we also enjoyed hearty comfort foods:
Calazones stuffed with mushrooms, kale, onions, bell peppers, garlic, and balsamic sauce. - We got this idea from Dreena's Moraccan Vegetable Phyllo Rolls. We made calazone dough, sauted veggies, then stuffed the dough with the veggie mixture and baked in the oven. Then we served the calazones with balsamic sauce, which was SO good. The leftover sauce we ended up using later in the week over sauted greens and tempeh.

Tempeh Sausage and Hashbrowns - We got this recipe from iamglutenfree.blogspot.com (adapted from the Vegan Chef blog). A great idea but WAY too salty. Should cut down Braggs to like 1/4 cup or less instead of 1/2 cup. It would be good to make different variations - serve with mushroom gravy, tomato sauce, or mustard sauce; add balsamic; add different spices like curry powder or italian seasoning.

Tandoori Tofu with rice and broccoli - We got a tandoori spice packet from the store (these spice packets are great!), and added it to plain yogurt. Served the sauce over rice, tofu, and broccoli and it was a spicy authentic Indian meal!

Miso Soup with tofu and cabbage - We used Vegan Planet's miso soup, and it made tons - leftovers for the week! Great easy soup, nice on a cool day to sip on healthy miso broth.

and Baba Ganoush Pizza - For the pizza, we used Vegan Planet's baba ganoush recipe minus the fresh mint leaves, spread on homemade pizza crust and topped it with bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion. DELICIOUS! Another easy pizza would to use hummus instead - both make the pizza creamy, and are great substitutes for cheese.

Looking foward to more spring! And Happy Easter! We wish you a great blessed day. - LK

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Whirlwind of Seasonal Eats Part 1

Spring is finally here, with a hint of summer this week (high 70's and sunshine)!! But sadly, it is only temporary. In terms of meals from the end of March to the beginning of April, we have cooked meals that have wavered like the wind- from winter, spring, and summer meals.

To celebrate the sunshine, we enjoyed many meals outdoors and ate crisp, refreshing, summer/spring-type foods:
Raw Buckwheat Pepita Pate with carrots, cucumbers, and collard greens. Very palatable, much like fancy tuna/chicken/chickpea salads. Good with lots of celery seed.

Raw Creamy Tomato Soup, with fresh red bell pepper, onion, herbs, and garlic for enhanced flavor, and with avocado for richness.

Fresh corn on the cob. We're ready for more sweet corn to make some corn soup. But for now we enjoyed the corn with some buttery olive oil on it.

Tempeh BLT's (no bacon of course), based off of this recipe. Awesome. We just started experimenting with tempeh, and it is so versatile, nutritious, and tasty. We love hearty healthy sandwiches, and the marinated tempeh with avocado and red onion was delicious!

Cheezy Quesadillas with pinto beans, based off of this recipe. This was almost too rich, slightly sweet. We love the idea though and feel this is a great idea to branch from. We are making cheezy hummus quesadillas when our parents come up to visit this weekend.

and Tofu Scramble Fiesta Wraps, with potatoes, black beans, salsa, avocado, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno.

For breakfast, we made a refreshing Raw Buckwheat Porridge with fresh blueberries and sliced oranges on the side. Zesty, fresh, and flavorful! For a nice snack, we chomped on Kettle's Baked Potato Chips (the best potato chips, and baked, too). And, we savored some Homemade Root Beer Banana Ice Cream.

Stay in tune for Part 2 of "Whirlwind of seasonal eats" post - about the winter eats. :)