Tuesday, January 23, 2007


...to December!

I've been promising to post pics of what I made for my dad's soiree and still haven't quite gotten to it yet!

Until now...

Here's the menu!

Pad Thai from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was received well, but we took half of it home. This is M's favorite, so there was no complaining about that!

Green Bean Casserole

I made up the recipe as I went along for this. I used a couple of bags of frozen green beans, some pureed white beans thinned with some soymilk, and lots of garlic, Earth Balance and thyme. I found the French Fried Onions at Trader Joe's and used the entire canister. This was delicious!

Portobello Stroganoff (with meatballs) from Vegan with a Vengeance

I used the recipe from VwaV for the stroganoff and replaced the seitan with mock Swedish meatballs that I whipped up with some Gimme Lean ground beef style. This came out really well, and people really liked it. People did not like it as much as my real Swedish meatballs, but I have yet to find a convincing version. Give me time.

Chickpea Broccoli Casserole from Vegan with a Vengeance

I made this because it's easy and I love it. It is one of my most favorite recipes ever. People didn't go for it so much. They thought it was quiche. We told one woman that there was no egg and no cheese in it and she took a big scoop.

I had leftovers all week! :)

Tourtiere as inspired by my family recipe (with crust from Whole Foods)

My memere is very specific about how to make Tourtiere. In our family we only use potatoes, no oatmeal. Of course she also only used pork in her recipe, whereas my other memere always used different kinds of meat. My dad's side of the family were more spicy than my mom's side of the family who only used onion as seasoning. I always loved my mom's side's texture, but loved my dad's side's spiciness.

The key, according to my memere is to boil the potatoes with the skin on. So for this I scrubbed 3 medium russet potatoes and boiled them. When they are tender, run them under cool water and gently peel away their skins. Voila!

I used a tube of sausage style Gimme Lean and basically sort of boiled it with the potatoes with some garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and onion. I just dumped everything into a pot and added a bunch of water and let it cook down and mashed it. That's how the meat version is made, so I figured, what the heck!

It came out amazing. Wow is not the word. I didn't actually eat any of the pie, but I did have some of the filling.

The pie crust was a different story. Crust is the bane of my existence! I tried using a recipe out of Bryanna Clark Grogan's Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook and it was a bust. I then tried another oil based pie crust recipe off of Vegweb and that failed miserably as well. I called all the Whole Foods in my area and they were sold out of vegan pie crusts, so I settled for one made with butter. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I didn't feel so bad about it because I was making this for omnis and my dad acutally paid for it. If someone has a good pie crust recipe, please email it to me!

Farfalle with Grape Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was something I threw together because I sort of had the ingredients. I subbed farfalle for the orrechiette as that's what I had and they are so fun! I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry, and only about half the amount. I didn't have Kalamata olives, so I used the can of black olives I had in my cabinet. All things considered, this tasted excellent! I'm sure it would have tasted better without my substitutions, but it tasted restaurant quality on its own. I think that is the big reason I love VwaV so much! I can totally futz with a recipe and it still comes out wonderfully.

Indian Spiced Rice from Vegan with a Vengeance

This was yummy. It was like something out of a restaurant. Most of it was gone! I was able to sneak some out, but it was only about one serving.

Apple Butternut Casserole

This was inspired by a recipe from Vegetarian Times. It's really really simple and made more delicious by the buttery panko crumbs on top.

It was a lovely affair, and everything I made was vegan with the exception of the pie crust for the tourtiere.

My dad always takes care of snacks (chips and dip and cheese and crackers) and always has his choir members bring dessert. I always make something to bring for a dessert in case the unthinkable happens and people show up empty handed. This NEVER happens, so we always have this dessert orgy. What made it worse was the fact that my dad went whole hog and got a tray of various brownies from the bakery in addition to the multi flavored cheesecake and tub of cookies he usually gets. What he didn't bank on was that his choir members really like to go all out and bring big desserts. There was this huge German chocolate cake, tons of cookies both store bought and homemade, brownies, bars, fudge, truffles... It was like the Million Calorie March!

I made some oatmeal raisin cookies and some Gigantoid Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies from VwaV...

Even with all of the desserts, they were popular, but I did take half of them home.

All in all it was a success. No one asked any questions so there were no awkward moments!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Goodness...it's been so long!

First of all, I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season. I was incredibly busy. It started Thanksgiving when I had to make an impromptu week long journey out West to see my mom and grandparents. I'm not complaining, but boy did I get sick during and after my trip! The week after that I had that party to cater for my dad's choir group. It went very well, I have to post about that (next post, promise!). I thank everyone for their recipe suggestions!

And then, well, that whole Christmas thing... Family, friends, work, shopping, cooking, baking...it seemed never ending. I made gifts for a lot of my coworkers and boy did that take time!

I should also mention that I began a concerted effort to workout at least 3-6 days a week. I joined the gym in my office building and go at least 3 times a week. I've been doing this since just before Thanksgiving and it has helped me to de-stress and fit in to my pants. Both are good things.

Sadly, I haven't had the time to do much blogging. Oh yes, I cooked, I baked, I even burnt weird little designs on my hands and fingers from knocking around in the oven and not realizing that my skin has touched a searing hot oven rack (or worse-the door) until after the damage has been done. Goodness, after all the blood, sweat and blisters, I feel I should have more to share!

Here are a few of the highlights of my hiatus:

Wilma :)

She is my mom's little Yorkie/Chihuahua mix. She was the family dog until I moved out! She's 7lbs of spunk and love. She is a little love that enjoys opening doors, stealing the eyes out of unsuspecting stuffed animals and sleeping in the crook of your knee. She lived for several months as a feral dog, the leader of a small pack of strays that lived in the woods for an unknown amount of time. You would never know it now...

Emily :)

Wilma's playmate. My mother and her husband decided that Wilma needed a canine pal a few years ago. Enter Emily, the toy poodle. Wilma and Emily get along, but are usually just competing for attention. Emily is a kiss monster.

Pumpkin Muffins from VwaV

Yikes. I made these for Thanksgiving breakfast. Everyone loved them. The word 'vegan' was not used, I just told them that there was no butter or egg. My memere loved them so much she wanted the recipe!

Road Shots (driving from Vegas to Lake Havasu, AZ)

Some of the shots are a little blurry, but please bear in mind that I am an amateur with a digital camera and I was taking pictures through the window of a moving car.

Some interesting bits around my grandparents house in AZ

Their prickly pear cactus is HUGE!

They have a little palm tree they planted in the backyard that is so incredibly cute...

And these pretty flowers. I have no idea what they are. I should have asked my memere!


My last meal in Vegas, made with Thanksgiving leftovers. Collard greens, chickpeas, butternut squash and my addictive cranberry sauce.

Quinoa with spinach, garlic and tomatoes topped with some tofu pan fried with nooch.

Pumpkin hummus (chickpeas, pumpkin & sesame oil) and broccoli for dipping. I think I got the idea for this off of a fellow blogger's site, but it escapes me. Props to you whoever you are!

M's second favorite dish, Soyboy tofu ravioli in marinara sauce. Thank goodness for simple pleasures!

I found these when I was at the conventional grocery looking for some cheapy baking supplies. They were on the expensive side, but it did mean not getting take out for dinner. In the grand scheme of things, they were really very good, though they were shaped much like fish sticks for those of you who might harbor painful memories of school lunches.

I made scrambled tofu & roasted potatoes more times than I could count. It's fabulous as a no brainer stand by.

Okay, Sammy was drinking at the time...I couldn't help it, I so rarely get him still while he's conscious!

So that was a nice journey down memory lane...

Now, let's get up to speed.

My New Year's resolution was to go macrobiotic. I don't know for how long, perhaps only a few weeks or months, perhaps forever. I have issues with energy and health that just haven't been resolving themselves and my doctor really hasn't been a help. Exercise has helped immensely, but I need something else. I have the luxury of having a macro buffet place close to home and work, so I knew that the food could be delightful. I had a day of decadence on December 31st which included red wine, peach bellinis, French Cambodian food, champagne, chocolates, and Banana Split Brownies from VwaV.

Starting January 1st, I started eating like this:

(blurry shot of lentil stew with quinoa, boiled collard greens, kinpura carrots and parsnips, and cabbage pickle)

Butternut squash soup garnished with toasted nori

Scrambled tofu (macro style), quinoa & boiled broccoli

Miso soup with tofu, wakame, daikon, shiitake & red miso

Pressure cooked cauliflower and millet

So far, so good! I like the food, but it is a little more work than I am used to. If anyone out there has any tips or experience in this realm, please--enlighten me!