Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ice Cream Disaster

Ashley got a new vegan ice cream cookbook recently.  We decided to make something.  It was kind of a disaster.  We opted for the S'mores ice cream.  The picture had the ice cream looking like vanilla but I am not sure how since the recipe calls for cocco powder and chocolate chips in the mixture.  Of well.  The marshmallows froze and were very hard to eat however, the ice cream was extremely soft.  Overall it was kind of a mess.  I thought I would share the picture regardless. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Philly Cheesesteak

No much to report.  As always, the last part of the year is bogged down with long hours at the jobby job.  I had the day off today.  I got the gutters cleaned, cleaned the leaves off the driveway, and made some lunch for Ashley and I.

I used the recent tex-mex deli slices to make a philly cheesesteak and coupled with some fries and a spinach smoothie.  It was a nice lunch and apparently, these deli slices are incredibly universal.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Recipe Update: Spinach Smoothie

After much testing and experimenting, I have finally settled on a new recipe for my spinach smoothie.  It has a nice smooth flavor and the spinach taste is very mild.

I am aware that many of those out in the foodie blog world already have your own recipe for this drink drink them often.  However, there are some people who are not regulars in the food world that would benefit from such a healthy an delicious drink.

Since I got my new blender, I have been making these several times a week.  I have even let some co-workers try them and it has been very well received.  These are not your typical foodie types, they are the fast food on your break and a quick energy drink on your way to the time clock types.

I hope that some new people try this healthy and delicious drink ( looking at you).

Spinach Smoothie

1 banana
1 kiwi
4 oz of spinach
1  1/3 cup of apple juice
1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener
1/2 tablespoon of fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Be sure that all of the spinach has completely liquidfied.  For the liquid sweetener, I use agave nectar but corn syrup, honey or even maple syrup could all be used.

I use frozen ginger so I always have enough.  I recommend buying the root and peeling it.  Toss it in a seal-able bag and freeze it.  Later, you can use it with a shredder for stir-fry or whatnot.  For this, I cut off a chunk of ginger and toss it in the blender.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dinner on the eve; Tarragon Mustard Dressing

When Ashley got back from her out of state adventure, we had a nice dinner.  For some reason I had the eve of christmas off before a long week at work.  We made sure to make it memorable with some great food.

I made some portobello mushrooms strips, we made some amazing corn bread, a couple mango smoothies, and a salad for some lighter fare.

Tarragon Mustard Dressing

4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of fresh tarragon
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1  1/2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of onion
1 teaspoon of salt

In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth.  The tarragon leaves will shred but not puree and this is fine.

I am looking for some ideas.  I really enjoy making salad dressings but have trouble finding good pictures of the dressing.  Often, once it is on the salad, the visual appeal is gone.  Any ideas?  What to other people do for good salad dressing pictures?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tex-Mex Deli Slices

With all the work upcoming over the next week or so I wanted to make some food that I can take to work with me that was cheap and filling.  It has been nearly 2 months since I have bought any food while I am at work. This has been a massive financial savings.  This recipe was based on my Deli Slices that I created a month ago.  It is the newest variation.  I hope to create several lines of deli slices.

Tex-Mex Deli Slices

4 cloves of garlic

15 oz of black beans
2  3/4 cups of wheat gluten
1  3/4 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 cup of portobello mushrooms (cubed)
1/4 cup of cumin
1/4 cup of onion
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of chipolte pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 tablespoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

In a pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil.  In a blender, combine the black beans, corn, mushrooms, cumin, onion, cayenne pepper, chipolte pepper flakes, liquid smoke, salt, and pepper.  Once the broth has been brought to a boil, add it to the blender and puree for 30 seconds until the beans have broken up a bit.  There is not need for it to be smooth, in fact, some texture is nice.

In a large bowl, add the wheat gluten, flour, and the blended mixture.  Quickly, stir until the dough until it is all moist and no dry gluten exists.  Place the gluten on a sheet of tin foil and roll like a burrito.  Twist the ends like to avoid an open end.

Steam in a large pot or steamer for 1 hour.  Then bake in the oven (still in the foil) for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Let cool and serve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Roasted Red Stuff

I typically have a very good memory when cooking.  I can recall all the ingredients and the amounts without writing things down.  Today, after an early meeting, I picked up several veggies at the farmers market and went home.  While on the phone, I tossed some things in a baking dish with some broth and baked it for awhile.

I did not expect it to turn out all that well so I did not pay much attention to what I was doing.  About an hour later, I pulled it from the oven and the beets had made the entire dish completely pink.  I scooped some onto a plate and sat down.  Seconds later, I was eating another plate full.  While writing this, I am on my third.  This was amazingly good.  Perfect autumn dish.

Apparently, I will need to make it again and be a bit more conscious with what I put in it.  That way I can share.  Either way, this made my afternoon and I have enough to take some to work for a couple days.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemon Donuts!

A good friend text me and said they were going to get some vegan donuts in a bakery in Florida.  I was jealous.  I never want to be left out of the vegan pastries.  What was I going to do?  I made my own!

I actually used my lemon cake recipe which has been a big hit.  It worked perfectly and I used the glaze (slightly adjusted) to coat them.  The came out great and I was very please.  Now I have my own dozen donuts.

With the extra batter, I poured it into a loaf pan and baked a little cake.  Now I have snacks for a few days.

For my long day at work on Sunday, I made some late night pasta to take for lunch and dinner.  I did not think much of it as I was making it but it came out pretty well.  I will make this again with a bit more focus and share a recipe at some point.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Raspberry Cream Smoothie

I have still not gone a day without using my new blender.  It is quickly becoming a kitchen necessity.  Thus far, I have mainly been using it for drinks.  It is allowing me to eat (well, drink) healthier and making for some tasty treats.

Myrna has been my smoothie tester for the last week or so.  I have been bringing them to work in a thermal mug and whenever she has been there, she has tried them.  She says this one is the best yet.

Raspberry Cream Smoothie

1 banana
3 cups of frozen raspberries
2 cups of apple juice
1/2 tablespoon of agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla powder

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth.  I prefer frozen raspberries in the because then end up a little thicker and certainly colder.  This comes out very creamy and almost has a melted ice cream feel to it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I have a Priscilla

I have a Priscilla!  I am aware that does not make any sense to most people.  Growing up, Priscilla was my Grandfather's wife.  We did not call her our grandmother or step grandmother, she preferred Priscilla.  Never questioning it, that was always who she was.  She played a significant role on my life, especially as I grew older.  She had an urban garden in her backyard and getting involved was always a highlight of my visit.  As I grew older, it tried my best to help plant and tend the garden.  In fact, Priscilla was the person who taught me my first gardening skills.  Now, when I visit Maine, I always make sure I see her, she is important to me.

When I had my first apartment, she got me a sprouting contraption.  I think it was called a Bio-set.  I used it until it broke.  It was amazing to have fresh sprouts.

As I came home yesterday, there was a package on my porch.  All gifts make me happy and when I saw her name on the return label, I knew it would be good.  I tore it open to find a book on kitchen gardening and a new sprouting machine!  I am so excited to use this and will be getting some seeds today.  It is great to have people like this in my life.  I am fortunate.

I also got a few cards.  One was in the package from Priscilla and the other was from my mum.  I appreciate the fact that everyone is my life respects the fact that I am atheist.  All the cards were for seasons greetings or new years.  My mum's card had some great pictures of her birthday party back in November.

Friday, December 17, 2010

National day of...

I am not a nationalist so celebrating those quirky national day of... types does not interest me.  However, Tuesday was national cupcake day.

Late in the afternoon, there was a light knock on my front door.  I answered to be presented with a pair of amazing cupcakes.  Who am I do be a curmudgeon?  I graciously took them in and had a nice snack that night.  Yummy vegan cupcakes!

Before work yesterday I made a stir fry with some soy curls that I won during Vegan MoFo.  It turned out great and was a nice lunch.  Hopefully I will become inspired and motivated to share some new recipes soon.

I anticipate a tough couple of weeks at the jobby job.  The holidays are generally filled with long brutal hours.  Lets home I make it through.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Forgot the pictures

I realized yesterday that after I posted my recipe for the salad dressing, I forgot to post the rest of the meal.

twice baked potato

soy chicken with black cherry sauce

I am also really excited that I am using my new blender everyday!  I even made a little raspberry smoothie recently.  This new blender is so great.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nutritional Yeast Salad Dressing

Last night it was dinner with Ashley.  We watched some cheesy sci-fi show while eating a nice dinner.  We had some soy chickens in black cherry sauce, I made some twice baked potatoes which turned out very well.  I will share a recipe sometime. Meanwhile, I am sure most of the Atlanta readers would appreciate the following recipe.

Nutritional Yeast Salad Dressing

1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons of vegetable broth
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of mustard
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of oil
1/2 teaspoon of tahini

In a blender, add all ingredients, and puree until smooth.  The main thing is making sure that the clove of garlic is smooth.

Those of you from Atlanta should know this flavor well.  It is almost spot on.  Enjoy it!

If anyone has a better name for this, please, offer it up.  Anything other than Prince.  ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Support the Prisoners

I have something I want to share and bring to the attention of people.  I have typically tried my best to keep my politics out of this blog and have done reasonably well.  However, there is something going on locally here in Georgia that needs to be brought to the attention of everyone and is very important.

Prison Strike.

For over a week now, more than 6 Georgia prisons have been shut down by the prisoners (the wardens have since gone into lockdown).  The prisoners are refusing to leave their cells.  They are demanding healthier and better qaulity food, reasonable compensation for labor, improved medical treatments, and better educational opportunities.  The strike was organized completely by the prisoners with little to no outside assistance.  It crosses racial lines and even has brought people from separate gangs together with a common goal.

For a long time in the USA, prisoners have been force into labor with little to no pay.  These prisoners are demonstrating reasonable demands and a refusal to work until the demands are met.  They work dangerous jobs, most are not making license plates.  They are doing de-forestation, road work, and even employed as customer service agents for major US companies.

I fully support the prisoners.  Prison labor is the new slave labor.  This story has been scarcely covered but I have found a few news articles.  The links are below.

New York Times

Atlanta Constitution Journal

Friday, December 10, 2010

Apple Pie Smoothie

My first smoothie creation with my new blender!  I ran out of the main ingredients for my typical green smoothie and did not have time to run to the store before work so I worked with what I had and came out with a treasure.  I considered using oat milk here but the additional fat of the coconut milk really added to the richness of the drink.  It has a nice hearty robust flavor while remaining cool and refreshing.  Not to mention, the home style comfort of the flavors.

Apple Pie Smoothie

1 banana
3 apples (peeled and cored)
2 cups of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

The apples need to have the cores and peels removed.  Peeling is optional.  If the peels are left on, make sure to puree until they are very small or you will be chewing them.  Leaving the peels on will make is slightly more "mealy".  I used 2 sour apples and one sweet for this but you can mix it up based on taste.

In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.

For something additional to take to work with me, I made some mashed potatoes with the few I had left.  Always a great addition to any meal. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Some days are better than others...

Some days are better than others.  Today was burrito day!  It has been awhile since I went all out for some burritos.  I was due.  With several leftover avocado, black beans, and corn from the southwest salad I had most of the ingredients already online.  I added some TVP, vegan sour cream, turned the avocados into guacamole and it was off to the races.

Since I was making lunch for one, I decided that if I made enough, I might be able to take them to work with me for tonight and tomorrow.

Since I got my new blender, I have used it at least once each day.  Today was another green spinach smoothie with some extra to bring to work.

The last few days I have just simply relaxed.  I have been watching basketball and eating greasy french fries.  There is not much better than fries and a game on a lazy weekday night.  It is a good thing that I have been drinking so many spinach smoothies or I might be asking for some malnourishment! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meat and Potatoes

Now that I am feeling much better, I was able to make a fun dinner of old favorites.  I made a few seitan steaks, this has become a favorite for visitors to the house and one of the most popular recipes on this blog.  These are also a personal favorite of mine.

I also made some creamy mashed potatoes.  I have not made these in a long time.  There was a time when this was a standard in on any plate I made.  I guess the "meat and potatoes" mood had not struck me in awhile.

As a nice side of veggies, I added a great southwest salad.  I added a little vegan sour cream and some corn chips to the salad and it totally threw it over the top.  Nice, light, refreshing but still a nice hearty autumn flavor.  It was a great meal.

I have been testing out some new juices / smoothies in my new blender.  I was not totally sold on this one but it was decent and good for me so I gobbled it up.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

I was walking around the grocery store, I found some orange cauliflower. Not much taste difference but the aesthetic value makes it fun.  It also prompted a fun conversation with some ladies about food.  One had recently been diagnosed with diabetes.  I walked around the produce section showing them a few foods and giving them some fun new ideas.

For my second day with my new blender, I whipped up some nice soup!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower (cubed)
3 med gold potatoes (cubed)
5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
3 cups of water
1  1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of pepper

In a pot,  bring the water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cauliflower and boil for 15-20 minute or until the potatoes are soft.

In a saute pan, bring the oil to low-med heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and fry for 5 minute until the onion is soft.

Once the potatoes are soft, add strain the liquid and set aside.  In a blender, combine the vegetable broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, paprika, pepper, salt, and both potato and cauliflower.  Puree until smooth.

Place back in a pot, on very low heat and allow to get hot.  If the heat is too high, the soup with scorch.  Serve dusted with paprika or scallions.

Mine came out a bit more colorful than it would have if I had not used the fancy orange cauliflower.  If you can find purple cauliflower, that would look great too.  I also made a couple great green smoothies to showcase my new glasses again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Got it!

Although it may seem like a hasty decision to the blog world, it has over a month in the making.  I spluged and bought a high quality blender.  I talked the place down and got a great deal so I feel good about spending the money.

Immediately, I bolted to the store to pick up a few things to blend.  Since I have not been feeling well, I opted for my first experience to be my green smoothie.  I really enjoy these and they are a great way for a sick guy like me to get some raw veggie in me!  I am going to be working over a few of my smoothie recipes over the next few months with my new toy.  I have already made some awesome alterations to this recipe but I will share when I am totally satisfied.

from this..
to this...

Additionally, I got so decent thrift store scores today as well.  I got some fun silverware, two new glasses (one above) and a new bowl.  I am a total thrifting junky.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feeling better

I called out sick on Thursday, tried to work Friday and had to go home sick then as well.  Feeling better today and hope I will be able to get back to the jobby job soon.  I really can not wait until I have the ability to do Real Estate full time and get out of my miserable day job.

Sick means tea.  Many bags of tea.

While being sick, I did not eat much.  I did not have an appetite.  I tried to force down a few meals but just had little interest.  At one point, I go so hungry that I made a massive meal.  I over-ate and it made me feel sicker.  I hope that at some point in my life, I will learn to make better food choices.

A quick confession: I went the entire month of Vegan MoFo with no blender / food processor.  Mine burned out about two days prior and I have yet to replace it.  I am constantly debating about spending $500 on a high quality blender or if I should spend only $75 or $100 on some that will need to be replaced eventually.  Thoughts?