Vegan Deliciousness

Posted in Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by Mrs.Griffin

I’m sitting here watching Lars and the Real Girl, waiting for my laundry to finish so I can begin packing for my trip to Denver tomorrow (!!) and decided that it was a good time to write a recipe post!

I recently moved and have decided that I need to spend more time cooking vegan in my brand new, beautiful kitchen.  Tonight I made butternut squash ravioli with a dairy-free creamy basil sauce.  AND YUM.  The thing is though, I didn’t decide to start snapping photos to put up here till it was nearly finished, so please don’t expect the best quality!!!  I won’t tease you any longer…

I started with this recipe from about.com because I wanted a cream sauce for my frozen Rising Moon Organics Butternut Squash Ravoli.

Rising Moon Organics Butternut Squash Ravioli

Rising Moon Organics Butternut Squash Ravioli

On to the sauce recipe!

Sauce Serves 6 to 8, Ravioli Serves 1 to 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 T. flour
  • 2 cups dairy-free unsweetened soy
  • 1/2 t. sea salt, plus more to taste

*The original recipe called for nutritional yeast, but (a) I didn’t have any and (b) I didn’t really know what it was.  I now intend to buy some and try it in a few recipes.

1.In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 T. of the olive oil, adding the onion and garlic once hot. Stirring often, cook until the onion

The Chopping Board

The Chopping Board

is soft and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Add the fresh basil (hand picked off my back porch, thanks to the boyfriend’s mom!) and cook until it is wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the process, it looked delicious!

2. In the same saucepan, heat the remaining 1 T. of olive oil. Whisk in the flour using a wire whisk and cook for a little less than 1 minute, or until the flour smells slightly toasted but is not burned. Gradually add the dairy-free soy or almond milk, stirring constantly, until the

Vegan Basil Cream Sauce

Vegan Basil Cream Sauce

mixture is thickened. Add the basil mixture to the pan, stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.  I’m not very good at this whole “thickening” part, and now my beautiful ceramic stove is incredibly dirty from the boil over.  Be careful  :]

3. In a blender [or food processor, like me], process the sliced almonds and walnuts until the mixture resembles very fine, powdery crumbs. Add the basil mixture and sea salt, and process until creamy.   This I also didn’t do very well, and got a more textured mixture that I really enjoyed.  Return to the saucepan and heat until desired temperature and

Shelled Walnuts

Shelled Walnuts

Sliced Almonds

Sliced Almonds

consistency, adding more soy milk or sea salt to taste.

When I was finishing up the sauce I began cooking the ravioli.  Now, the Rising Moon Organics package is very specific about their cooking instruction…

Pillows of Butternut Squash

Pillows of Butternut Squash

Make sure you bring your water to a rolling boil and lower heat before adding your frozen packets of yumminess.  Cook for approximately 8 minutes, until they pillow up and float to the top.

FINALLY!!  Drain the ravioli and top with your fresh, homemade vegan, basil cream sauce!

Butternut Squash in Vegan Basil Crea, Sauce

Butternut Squash in Vegan Basil Cream Sauce

Viola!

Viola!

And now my movie is over, and my laundry is finished and I have to get to cleaning the kitching, washing the dog, and packing my stuff!!  7am flight!

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How to feed a Veg.

Posted in Noteworthy Info, vegan substitutes with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by Mrs.Griffin

Many people think of vegan like they are space cadets and often wonder how they survive on a daily basis on kale and carrots.  It’s hard to believe that there are options at nearly every restaurant, you just need to get creative, and remember that not everyone eats like you.

Lets start with some definitions:

  • Pescetarian: Someone who doesn’t eat meat but eats fish or seafood.

    Lettuce

    We eat more than lettuce!

  • Flexitarian: A hip and trendy word for what some people call a semi-vegetarian. Someone who isn’t a vegetarian but eats several vegetarian meals a week and might be selective about what types of meat she does eat (such as organic chicken only) and how often.
  • Vegetarian: Someone who doesn’t eat any meat, including poultry, game, fish, and seafood, or any meat by-products, such as broth, gravy, or fat, or foods cooked with meat. A vegetarian may or may not eat other animals products like eggs or dairy (ovo-vegetarians do eat eggs, lacto-vegetarians still eat dairy products, and ovo-lacto vegetarians eats both eggs and dairy).
  • Vegan: A strict vegetarian (see above) who doesn’t eat anything that comes from an animal—no meat, dairy products, eggs, honey or other animal by-products.

See  there are a range of options that are based on individuals comfort-ability with the situation.  Knowing the basics will help you to understand, here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts:

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO be honest. Please don’t try to sneak meat, broth, or seafood into a vegetarian‘s food – that’s just rude and a bit selfish. If you put bacon in the broccoli salad, chicken broth in the risotto, or lard in the pie crust, tell your guests.
  • DO invite them. I would have invited you, but I didn’t think you’d…feel comfortable, eat anything I served, enjoy yourself, etc. Even a serious lack of veggie-friendly food isn’t going to stop the fun if the people and atmosphere are warm and inviting.
  • DON’T apologize. You eat meat. Some people don’t. You don’t have to apologize for eating meat in front of a vegetarian.
  • DON’T make a big deal about it. Vegetarians have various reasons for not eating meat, but some of those reasons might not be ideal dinner table or cocktail party discussions. Perhaps save the discussion for another time.
  • DON’T be afraid to ask questions. Ask what foods your guest eats and likes. Perhaps you’ll find a new family favorite or elevate a vegetable from side dish to entrée status.
  • DO ask your guest to bring a dish. Most vegetarians have experience cooking for themselves. Let them bring food to share, if they wish. Many will do it without being asked.
  • DON’T be offended if he brings food. Many vegetarians don’t want to complicate your duties as host. They will often bring something they know they can eat and share with others, so don’t take it personally.
  • DO cook enough food. Make sure there is enough of the vegetarian dish for everyone to try (because they will) and for the vegetarians to take seconds.

The last is soooo important.  I only cook vegan dishes when I am bringing something with me and everyone ends up loving it!  I wait till after they’ve all scarfed it down to reveal my big secret.  I think it helps remove the stigma that it’s all tasteless food.

One great idea idea if you are having a party is to set the food out on a bar – let people create the meal they want with the ingredients they enjoy!  Just because you’re having a burritos, doesn’t mean you have to leave out your vegetable loving friends!  Tortillas, beans, sauteed veggies can be used just the same – and keep in mind that there are PLENTY of vegan substitutes – for even ground beef, chicken, and don’t forget the sour cream and veggie cheese!

Or how ’bout a pizza party, or yummy [wheat] pasta…  Just always keep in mind that you should have enough utensils on hand to accommodate all dishes.

More Ideas for Those who Have a Vegetarian at Home

  • Learn where meat hides. Sometimes meat sneaks in to foods that you wouldn’t suspect. Some common foods that contain meat or seafood: Caesar dressing (anchovies), Thai curry and many Asian dishes (fish sauce), and canned “vegetable” soups (beef or chicken broth).
  • Salads are great. Serve a large green salad before or with the meal, which ensures a healthful option for all. With a couple of hard-boiled eggs or a handful of nuts, that salad can be elevated to a vegetarian entrée.
  • Where’s the beef? Try to offer a balanced meal. Vegetarians sometimes have to be creative to get adequate protein, calcium, and nutrients. Help them out by serving a balanced meal where plant-based proteins (chickpeas, black beans, or lentils) fill in the place where meat might have been. This boosts the protein content, filling power, and helps round out a meal. Beans and legumes are a cheap and easy way to add vegetarian-friendly foods to a meal. Open, rinse, heat, and eat.

The lesson – don’t be intimidated when it comes to feeding us, we generally eat the sames things you do, just with a little more creativity.

Meat Loving Vegan = more of a Meat Loving Vegetarian

Posted in Daily Update, Noteworthy Info, The Bet. with tags , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by Mrs.Griffin

Okay okay – I took a hiatus from the blog.

It’s a lot of responsibility keeping up with a blog, you know.  I can barely keep up with reading all of the ones I have in my reader, let alone post regularly…  BUT, I am going to try really, really hard.

As for the bet, I technically won.  Shmitty and JP both gave in under different circumstances, and have since resumed living normal lives with normal diets.  I’d also like to point out no money has exchanged hands (!!), looks like I got cheated…  oh well.  I did lose like 6 lbs, that counts for something, right…

Now, I haven’t exactly kept up with religiously being vegan.  Cheese got the best of me.  But, I have managed to stay vegetarian.  And it’s good.  I don’t miss meat all that much, and if I do, I won’t deprive myself the craving, but it has yet to have happened.

So, I am going to start posting recipes again, and useful information.  The name of the blog may be a little deceiving now, but I’ll try to keep it as vegan as possible, I’ll at least try to add vegan substitutes.

I recently made cranberry pecan shortbread cookies from The Innocent Primate Vegan Blog and was quite satisfied with the results.  I gave them as a gift, and from what I understand, they were enjoyed!

I am going to work on finding slow-cooker recipes, because I bought one as a Christmas present to myself.  I love the idea of coming home from work to a delicious smelling hot meal that I slave over just long enough to put all the ingredients in a pot  :]

So, check back soon – I promise I’ll start posting stuff!

Feed the mind.

Posted in Noteworthy Info, Website of Interest with tags , , , , , , on November 2, 2008 by Mrs.Griffin

So, I have some interesting information for you guys tonight, so put your thinking caps on!

First off, I want to say that my boyfriend rocks!  Sorry, I have to gush.  I really wanted to go to this little festival in town today because I heard there was going to be some B.A. [BadAss] vegan macaroni and cheese.  I love mac and cheese.  But anyway…I couldn’t make it, so he ran by and picked up a bowl so it’d be waiting for me when I got home.  ❤  Lastly, I’ll add that is was Soul Vegetarian, and you should check to see if there is one in your area.

Now – onward to education!  I was surfing through some forums to learn good substitutes for various items, and found the most interesting information when it came to butter.  An in depth threaded discussion included questions of Kosher food and their relations to veganism.

To sum it up, food with the term: Pareve or Parve Refers to “neutral” – a status of Kosher food which is not considered either meat, poultry, or dairy, and is prepared on or with “neutral” equipment. Lamen’s terms: Jews cannot eat meat and dairy together, therefore, foods with the word ‘Parve’ on them contain neither so they can be used with either.  When I read this I found it to be an interesting little trivia tidbit.  But then, later that day, I tried my new butter: Earth Balance, which pleasantly surprised me as being absolutely delectable, and then I noticed the tiny little P word listed on the lid!  Maybe I find this far more interesting than others, but I thought it was worth blogging.

Another substitute suggested for butter was canola oil, in baking.  I can’t say that I tried this, but it made sense due to it’s lack of flavor, so I decided to stash it away in my memory because I LOVE to bake.  Then, surprisingly enough, the boyfriend mentioned that he was contemplating what canola oil was made of, which made me go a little cross-eyed, and admit I didn’t know.  Later, at the grocery store, I decided to check out a bottle of canola oil, which pictured an indecernable flower on the label and the ingredients of: canola oil.  Coming home and revealing my discovery, or lack there of, to the boyfriend, we were both slightly unsettled and still completely clueless.  From there we turned to The Google.  You’ll be astounded by what we found:

THIS ARTICLE gave some pretty compelling evidence that Canola Oil was contrived by the demonic Canadian government to mass produce a poisonous plant into common household oil because it was cheap due to the fact that insects won’t eat it because they will die.  It is derived of the Rape Seed which has relation to the mustard seed, and that alone makes it easy to connect the dots.

After sitting in awe, thinking that I could no longer trust the FDA I decided I needed to do a little more research and Snopes.com revealed this.  So, as I understand it, yes it does come from Rape Seed, but it is important to understand that it isn’t poisonous to us.  It is also considered the healthiest of oils, as per the Canola Oil website.

So, from here, I found it necessary to research cooking oils and decided which ones really are the healthiest and what not.  I admit though, in my kitchen, we go through olive oil by the gallon…

THIS GRAPH is very informative, and THIS ARTICLE lists what Rebecca Abma believes to be to Top 10 Best Oils.  In short:

1. Walnut Oil
2. Flaxseed Oil
3. Canola Oil
4. Olive Oil
5. Peanut Oil
6. Almond Oil
7. Avocado Oil
8. Safflower Oil
9. Sunflower Oil
10. Corn Oil

You should check the sites, read the article and make your own decision.  It’s just important to remember that everything in the grocery store isn’t always what you expect it to be…

The Cupcake Staredown.

Posted in Daily Update, The Bet. with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2008 by Mrs.Griffin
No CUPCAKES!

No CUPCAKES!

Last night I was attending a meeting and someone did the unthinkable!  She brought Halloween cupcakes for all to enjoy!  Everyone around me was enjoying the little savories, and I went as far as to ask her if she made them and whether there was egg in them.  Alas, I held strong and just eye’d the sugar filled yum-yums from across the room…

On a happier note, this morning while I was scavenging the kitchen for work snacks, I looked at the Lender’s Bagel’s bag and was elated to find that they contained NO animal by-products!!!  WOOT.  Not all is lost, I can still enjoy bagels.

I am going to lunch with a friend today, probably sushi, so, I need to some research on imitation crab  ;]  And at least I won’t be going after all the yummy chocolate candy this Halloween, and fortunately alcohol is sans animal by-products!  I’d be screwed if that were the case…

btw – Shmitty set up her own blog to throw in her two-cents on the situation!

I ate tofu!

Posted in Recipes, The Bet. with tags , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by Mrs.Griffin

Vegan chili and cornbread.

Vegan chili and cornbread.

Let me explain:  So, I made the recipe that I posted yesterday, you know – chili and cornbread, and it was quite tasty and I cooked up some brown rice, as well.  I went to the regular grocery store, and it felt like the longest trip ever.  I had to search for so many new types of groceries, but I ended up with everything I needed.  Except one thing:  imitation egg whites.  Where do I get these??  So, rather then scrapping the cornbread all together, I substituted in ‘silky’ tofu.  It worked just fine!  The chili was spicier than I would have preferred, but the boyfriend enjoyed it.  I also got Tofuti ‘sour cream’ and it tasted just like the real stuff!  I’m pretty excited that my first ‘vegan‘ recipe was a success, and I have soooo much left over, bet you can’t guess what I’ll be eating for lunch….

On an important matter of business, it is to my understanding that Ms. Shmitty has already lost the bet!!!  I’ve just received word from JP that on her cross-country trip with her father she ‘had’ to resort to eating meat – sources say chicken, but this information has not yet been validated.  The terms clearly stated that there was to be NO bending of the rules, regardless of circumstances.  As a gesture of pure kindness I am willing to consider over-looking this instance of weakness if she is willing to allow 1 (one) cheat meal for JP and I, to be used at our discretion.  But she gets no more.

Check back for post of absolute terms of updated contract.

Chili doesn’t NEED meat, right?!

Posted in Recipes with tags , , on October 29, 2008 by Mrs.Griffin

I think I need to work on developing a menu for myself.  Right now I am failing in the “knowing what to eat” department.  Every morning I start with a soy latte, so no change there, but that’s about where I plateau.  Yesterday I had a granola bar, some brussel sprouts and a bit of cous-cous.  That doesn’t sound very nutritionally sound to me.  Today, the latte, some rice chex, and a pita smothered in Goober* so far.  In my defense, I was pretty busy at work.  I’m trying to find a yummy recipe but have an unfortunate issue with tofu.  And does anyone know where to get dairy-free cheese??  I wonder if it’s as melty, gooey, and yummy as real cheese…?

So, I’m thinking Chili.

Maybe the boyfriend won’t give me such a hard time if there’s a yummy, healthy, vegan dish on the table waiting for him when he gets home  ;]

Ultimate Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

3 tablespoon olive oil
3 chopped onions
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 peppers, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large can, undrained, of tomatoes, chopped
1 cup water
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup bulgur
salt and pepper
cilantro (optional)

Directions:

In a large pan, saute the onions and spices.  Add peppers and garlic for 1 min. Add cocoa, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil. Add kidney and black beans, corn and bulgur.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 min. or until bulgur is cooked.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  To serve, sprinkle with  cilantro.

Amazing Corn Bread

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1-3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 apple made into applesauce or 1/3 cup prepared
applesauce
3/4 cup soy milk
2 egg whites equivalent (I used enerG)
1 15 oz can creamed corn

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Spray an 8X8 pan and preheat. Mix all ingredients, pour batter into heated pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Refrigerate leftovers. Also freezes well.

*Goober = pre-mixed peanut butter and jelly, and I feel is like a guilty pleasure because it requires such little effort, and something tells me an adult should not be indulging in a product with such a name unless there are little gremlins running around…