Monday, October 6, 2008

VeganMoFo - oatmeal for lunch

Breakfast - Kashi's Golean and vanilla soy milk (about 200 calories). This is my all time favorite work day breakfast. I love a slow cooked oatmeal but a) not practicle for a workday b) not practicle to make for one. When I worked in the cafe, we would make big pots of steaming oat meal - rolled oats and whole (the quick cook rolled oats would break down faster making the oatmeal velvety) with fruit and spices (peach and cardimum!) and topped with steamed milk. Good god, this stuff was good. But I'm lucky if I manage cold cereal before leaving for work most days. I have to work on getting up earlier but now that its turned cold (33 degrees tonight!), it is hard to part company with the electric blankie.

Lunch - Kashi's oatmeal (160 calories). Today was not a planned Kashi Celebration day. I had a lunch time dentist appointment so I needed something quick to eat at my desk before the appointment and oatmeal was the only option. Noting the above statement, I'm not a huge fan of the instant oatmeal, but the Kashi oatmeal is very tasty and not too sweet. I hate a box at work in case of a breakfast crisis.

Snack - peanut butter crackers (calories unknown, but if I had to guess maybe 200)

Dinner - A rice stir-fry.
A drop of peanut oil in the pan
A spoonful of jarred garlic
2 slices of red onion, cut in half moons
A cup or so of broccoli
Saute until the broccoli begins to cook
A few shakes of curry powder
A splash of soy sauce
A drop of fresh grated ginger
A few tablespoons of stock to deglaze the pan and encourage the curry to coat the pieces
A few strips Morningstar Farms Veggie Steak Strips
A cup of left over brown rice.
Cover the pan for a minute or two to help the rice heat thru
Pile onto a plate

Desert - The last sad failed jelly donut cupcake.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

VeganMofo - Jelly Donut Cupcakes FAIL

I had a little gathering to go to Friday night, so Thursday I decided to make Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Veganonicon. I happen to have all the ingredients on hand. Vegan baking is tricky because you often need things I don't generally have on hand. But this ingredient list was fairly simple - flour, soy milk, vinegar, sugar. I did have to make a substitution. For some reason, I was out of flour. I'm not sure how that happened, but I did have some spelt flour which work ok.

I'm a dork, I know, but I had mixed up the batter and THEN realized I didn't have cupcake wrappers. I figured I'd be ok and just grease and flour the pan. I don't think that was the result of the failure.

They baked up just fine, no problems, and they looked delicious. Once they cooled, I popped one out to try. I didn't want to bring horrible goodies to a party! Yeah, I'm a bit sensitive about my cooking. I want people to fall to their knees while one of my tasty treats melt in their mouth. Didn't know if the cupcakes would hold up to that lofty standard.

I popped one out and this is what I found - the jelly sunk all the way to the bottom of the cup and left a puddle of jellied sugar. Aye me, a baking failure!! Now, I used homemade jelly, so that might be a problem, Maybe you need commercial goo to have it set up right. Some magical component in store-bought sweetness, I'm not sure. I did eat one, and they're a bit dry and mellow tasting. Not bad. Just not what I wanted.

I hate when I fail. *pouts*

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VeganMoFo - Veganomicon

I bought the Veganomicon (by Isa and Terry of PPK fame and the madwomen behind Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) months ago, mostly because I liked the cover. Yeah, I'm swayed by the shiny. I'm made a couple dishes with some mixed results. My biggest con about the book is that its more food-to-impress, rather than food-for-a-Wednesday-night-when-you-just-want-something-quick-and-yummy. I do love the introduction section where they give you the basics of cooking every bean known to mankind. That's very handy.

I have made -

Acorn Squash and Black Bean Empanadas (pg. 55) - These were worth every single second of effort. The crust was very flavorful and light and flaky. It was just a little difficult to work with. It was much softer and wet that I had expected but was totally workable. I think I had wimpy jalapenos because there wasn't much of a kick to the filling. I froze some and they reheated VERY well (always a concern for me). I think I might actually make these this weekend and I might try the Sour Cilantro Cream (pg. 209).

White Bean Aioli (pg. 62) - I am hopelessly addicted. This comes together in no time at all, and it works perfect in a blender (here's a note, it gets much smoother and easier for the blender to handle once you add the garlic oil). I made this once with prechopped jarred garlic, and the garlic punch what not the same as with fresh.

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry (pg. 175) - This was lovely. The pineapple chunks were a great addition and I would highly recommend you DON'T use canned pineapple. Just a warning, reheating this in the microwave at work, the pineapple goes lava and gets crazy hot. It says it serves 4, and I don't know who Isa and Terry are feeding but 4 servings of this were enough to feed linebackers.

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spice Pita Crisps (pg. 177) - In the charming little introductory paragraphs that goes with every recipe (which I love!) it says "Terry says she could live for months on the simple ans scrumptious meal of rice, lentils, and onions, and be assured she has damn well tried." And that is a spot on proclamation. I did do something a little different. I caramelized the onions on the stove top rather than in the oven. Yes, more time consuming and more hands on but I like the results better. Hm, I might have to make this over the weekend also. Oh I also did not make the Spiced Pita Crisps.

Pasta Della California (pg. 192) - This is a perfect light meal that is easily broken down into a single serving recipe. When you're cooking for one, anything with avocado doesn't do leftovers well so I broke the recipe into quarters. It calls for arugula, and I don't think I like arugula very much so if I do this one again, I think I'd go with just spinach.

Tofu Ricotta (pg. 206) - The directions don't tell you to press the tofu first and I highly recommend you do this or else its just too watery. It also calls for nutritional yeast and well, I don't think I like nutritional yeast. I think I'll try the Cashew Ricotta instead. This was not tasty.

Almesan (pg. 207) - The blurb says "...when your pasta needs a sprinkle of a little somethin' somethin'." And they are spot on with this. Almesan is awesome!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo - The beginning!

In September, driving home from my parents house, I was alone with my own thoughts. My iPod decided to not turn on. I faced the 5 hour drive flittering thru country music stations or christian rock stations. I spent much of the trip sans music. This is where I hatched my Vegan Month idea.

I have a confession.

This vegan experiment really wasn't about heath, or economics, or the environment or even ethics.

I was driving along and thinking if the nearest grocery store to my house was open or not. This particular store is know for great bargins on staples but is horrible in the fresh food category. To thier credit, they do have a tasty brand of soy milk, but I don't shop there for much besides plastic sandwich baggies and frozen berries. So I started roaming the store in my head thinking of what I could pick up. This was the Ex's favorite shop. He was in love with thier packaged dinners and food products. And I do have to admit, they have some tasty things IF you're not concerned about your health and sodium intake. I was thinking of all the things I would cook for him that he purchased at this shop... breaded chicken breasts with cheese, shelf stable creamy salad dressings, wings, nachos.... instant mashed potatoes.



Now, I have a thing about mashed potaotes. I make 'em good, with tons of butter and roasted garlic and heavy cream. They are a vision of buttery goodness.

Over the course of our doomed relationship, I not only would make, but I would consume, instant mashed potatoes at least once a week. Double Ew. Instant Mashed potatoes aren't even a real food. It's a bunch of chemicals pretending to be food!!

So driving in that car, I can to the hazy realization that I had changed fundanmental things in my life for a man who cared so much about me that he spent 12 hours a day having phone sex with teenagers and married women.

Triple Ew.

Before I moved across the state to live with the Ex, I was mostly vegetarian. The only time I ate meat would be in chinese food 'cuz roast pork is the bomb (as the youths would say). I came to the conclusion that in order to reclaim my emotional and mental health, I had to go back to some of the fundamentals before the controlling-abusive-assy-wonder. Vegan eating seemed like a good place to start.

So here I am, a month sans animal produts under my belt and I'm feeling pretty good. I've decided to join VeganMo(nth of) Fo(od), which is a month of celebrating vegan food thru blogs. This is a good way to ease into the life and learn and grow. I'm not saying I'll never have blue cheese again, and a bbq rib might slip into the scene, but I feel that limiting animal product consumption is a good idea.

So let's get on with it!