Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Creamy Butternut Squash Curried Soup

The Dilemma: We received a big, beautiful butternut squash in the organics vegetable box we ordered this week. My husband does not like squash but we have one so it must be eaten as organic food is pricey.

The Solution: Blend it and add it to a spicy soup. My husband had seconds and my son ate it all so it must have been good.



Ingredients:
1/2 a butternut squash (about 2 cups blended)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped (I used two home grown celery stalks because they are smaller)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 can coconut milk
2 cups water
small handful of sunflower seed
1/4 cup quinoa
2 tsp red curry paste
pinch of black pepper
salt to taste
1 green onion chopped
1 tomato chopped

What to do:
1. Cut the butternut squash into large pieces, (removing the seeds and goop) arrange on a large plate and microwave on high until cooked. This took my microwave about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and blend the squash with a bit of water until smooth.
2. In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil, pepper and celery and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
4. Add squash, coconut milk, water, ground ginger, turmeric, sun flower seeds, quinoa. Bring to boil at higher heat then bring to low heat and simmer until the quinoa is cooked (no longer has white center).
5. This is where I remove my son's portion as he does not like spice.
6. Mix in 2 tsp red curry paste, salt and black pepper to taste. Top with fresh tomato and green onions.

Makes about 3 servings. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sinfully Simple Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Every once in a while I need to eat some awesome dessert. This recipe is incredibly easy and does not need a lot of ingredients. As a basic recipe, you can customize it a lot. Cocoa is good for you and the soy milk has protein and B12 if justification is needed. Needless to say, my son likes this recipe a lot.


What you need:

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 cups of soymilk
  • Optional: Coconut whipped, chocolate shavings, mini Oreos
What to do:

Mix first three ingredients together in a pot. Add about a half a cup of the soymilk and mix well, Add the rest of the milk stirring well to combine. Heat on 4 (medium-low) continuing to mix with a whisk until the pudding thickens. Pour into bowls and put them in the fridge to cool for about an hour. Once cool, top with the chipped cream, chocolate shavings and Oreos.

Makes 3-4 servings.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Quinoa and Lentil Vegetable Chowder

It was early in the week and we had not had time to do a proper grocery. Fortunately there are vegetables in the house (there almost always is) and a few growing outside. We always have garlic and vegetable bouillon cubes and that is all you need for a soup base. Here is what we created from what we could find. Not the prettiest dish but it tasted good and was filling.



Ingredients:
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • vegetable bullion cube
  • celery, 4 stalks if home grown, 1-2 stalks if from the store (we also chopped up the leaves and added them. 
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of cauliflower,separated into florets
  • 1 cup of red lentils (other lentils work fine but take more time to cook)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
What to do:
  1. Add the 4 cloves of garlic to a large sauce pan with the olive oil. Saute on medium until the garlic is fragrant and beginning to brown slightly. Don't let the garlic brown too much or it will taste burnt. 
  2. Once the garlic is cooked, add about 1/2 a cup of water to stop the garlic from frying further. Stir in the bullion cube so that there are no large clumps. Add about 5 cups of waer and set to high heat. 
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil until the vegetables, lentils and quinoa are cooked. Remove bay leaf and enjoy :)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stu (the Impalers) Magnificent BBQ Tofu Kabobs

I post a lot of recipes in this blog which would lead one to believe that I do all the cooking in the house. Fortunately for my sanity, this is not the case. My husband has his own set of recipes and makes dinner rather regularly. This is one of his concoctions and it is quite good. 


Ingredients:
  • half a sweet onion, chopped into large pieces
  • cherry tomatoes
  • pepper, chopped in large pieces
  • zucchini, cut into 1 cm thick slices
  • a package of firm tofu, cut into cubes about a square inch
  • BBQ sauce
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • bamboo skewers
What to do
1. Soak 6-8 skewers in water while you are chopping up the veggies and tofu. 
2. Put zucchini in a bowel and sprinkle on some lemon pepper seasoning. Mix until evenly dispersed.
3. Impale the veggies with the skewers by piercing them with the sharpened end. Split up the veggies more or less evenly among each skewer. You can choose to arrange the veggies in a pattern or not, what ever works for you. 
4. Using a kitchen brush, spread the BBQ sauce over all the veggies and tofu except for the zucchini. 
5. Use an aerosol oil to coat a clean grill of the BBQ. Turn the BBQ on to low-medium heat. Place skewers on the grill after it has heated up a few minutes. Flip the skewers every 3-5 minutes until cooked to your liking.  Use BBQ tongs for the flipping. Add more BBQ sauce to exposed side periodically. 
6. Eat!



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Completely Unauthentic But Pretty Good Tasting Dahl

This recipe has evolved over time from something completely different. It was originally a butter-less, chicken-less, butter chicken recipe but soy chicken is crazy expensive and lentils are just amazing. They are packed full of fiber, protein and iron and my son will actually eat them so they are perfect.


Ingredients:
1 cup green lentils
1/2 a large sweet onion (or a whole small one), chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can of tomato soup
3/4 cup soymilk
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
olive oil
paprika
small handful of cherry tomatoes quartered

What to do:
1. Cook lentils according to package directions.
2. In a frying pan or wok over medium heat, fry onion for about a minute then add garlic and fry both for another minute. Add green pepper and fry until onions turn translucent.
3. Stir in the can of tomato soup, then stir in the soy milk.
4. Add all the spices and mix well. Strain the lentils once they are cooked and mix those in too.
5. Top with tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with naan or rice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pizza Quesadillas

We did not start off intending to make quesadillas again so soon. The plan for tonight was pizza. We had dough left over from another meal that we intended to use but when I went to roll it out is smelled like booze. I guess we let the yeast act on it a little too long. On to plan B.

There were wraps so opted for pizza a slightly different way. I was not confident the wrap would provide enough support for the toppings as a single layer and quesadillas are faster to cook so that became the new plan. It worked well, my 4 year old liked them though we used a different vegetarian luncheon "meat" due to his hatred for anything spicy.



Ingredients:

  • 3-4 wraps
  • pepper chopped
  • tomato copped
  • pizza sauce
  • Daiya cheese
  • Yves vegetarian pepperoni
What to do:
  1. Lay out the wraps. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over half of each one. 
  2. Add a layer of daiya over the pizza sauce followed by the pepperoni, pepper, tomato and more daiya. 
  3. Fold the clear half of the wrap over. Fry without oil on a clean frying pan on medium heat until the cheese melts and that side browns. Flip and fry the other side. Chop in half and enjoy. 




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Quick Quesadillas

We had to eat, we had soccer coming up fast, we couldn't waste anytime so we throw together some quesadillas. I was introduced to quesadillas in undergrad. They are customizable so I could order the ingredients I wanted, watch them make it, and be certain there was nothing lurking within that I was allergic to. This was an amazing discovery for me because posting ingredients to prepared cafeteria food was not common back then and I would frequently have allergic reactions to foods that seemed allergen free.

We left university a long time ago now but have continued making quesadillas at home. This is a simple base recipe that can be added too. You could consider adding chopped snap peas, sweet onions, banana peppers, tomatoes, etc. The highly processed bologna could be replaced with seasoned tofu, beans or quinoa.





Ingredients for 1 quesadilla:

  • 1 wrap
  • daiya cheddar or mozzarella shreds
  • 2-3 slices of Yves bologna
  • 1/2 a pepper chopped
  • salsa for dipping
What to do:
  1. Lay wrap flat on a plate and sprinkle daiya over one side.
  2. Lay the bologna over the cheese. 
  3. Add pepper and any other toppings you like them top this layer with more daiya cheese. 
  4. Fold the wrap in half over the toppings. 
  5. Bring a clean, dry frying pan to low-medium heat. Add the quesadilla, cooking until the side browns slightly and cheese on that side melts then flip to cook the other side. 
  6. Transfer to plate, cut in half and serve with salsa for dipping. 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Easy But Crazy Healthy Vegetable Quinoa Soup

If you have tomatoes, an onion, some sun dried tomatoes and other vegetables (almost any others really), you can make soup! Here is one such soup.


Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces of sun dried tomato . 
  • 2 large tomatoes- cut into large peices
  • 1/2 a sweet onion- cut into large peices
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of savoy cabbage, chopped
  • 1 leaf of purple kale, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cups of water

What to do:

  1. Put the sun dried tomatoes in a high speed blender with a bit of water and blend for about a minute. Leave them to soak for 5-10 minutes to soften the tomatoes then blend again until there are no large pieces. 
  2. Add the fresh tomatoes and onion to the blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a large pot. 
  3. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil on medium high then lower to medium. The soup base should turn from pink to red. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, boil until the vegetables are cooked. Add more water if needed to maintain a desirable soupiness. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bite into Bitters: Simple Dandelion Salad

I love dandelion greens but this has not always been the case. They are bitter, there is no way around that. We are not use to eating bitters anymore because the taste has been more or less breed out of the other vegetables we eat over a long long time. It's too bad because they are good for the digestive system. The first time I bought them I boiled them and was not able to eat them at all. This was 11 years ago and now I buy them when ever they look healthy in the grocery store. I had to learn to love bitters slowly. I was motivated after learning about how amazing bitters are for your health from an expert in herbal medicine.  I started consuming moderately bitter greens like escarole. I would eat it until I stopped noticing the bitter tastes as much and started to notice the sweet notes then I'd move on to another more bitter green after a few weeks.

The dandelion greens looked good today so I nabbed some for a simple, antioxidant rich salad. To my surprise my husband requested some and actually ate the whole bowl full. He did not claim it was enjoyable.


Ingredients:

  • dandelion greens, washed well and chopped 
  • 1 tbsp of hemp hearts
  • 1-2 tbsp of slivered almonds
  • small handful of raw cashews
  • favorite dressing. Lemon with olive oil and herbs works well with the bitters. 
Directions:
  • Mix everything together. 
  • Consume  :)
This is easy enough that I am going to try to bring it as a lunch everyday for work to replace the nothing I currently eat for lunch. I buy these instead of wild sourcing because I live in the city and I am concerned with chemicals but if you had a good source you could collect your own :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Simple Salad with Maple Balsamic Tofu

I don't eat a lot of salad. It was the first thing I got sick of when I went vegan, but I have been craving salads more often lately so I am bringing them back into the rotation. There is nothing too fancy about this particular salad, just veggies, seeds and a dressing I put together last week with ingredients we had on hand. Thus the accompanying tofu had to be a little special. I didn't include the dressing recipe here because I didn't measure anything exactly and it was a week ago so my memory is foggy. I will have a future post on how to throw together salad dressings.







Ingredients:

Salad 
-lettuce
-tomato
-pepper
-celery
-cucumber
-sunflower and hemp seeds

Maple Balsamic Tofu
-1 tbsp olive oil
-420 g (one package) firm tofu cut into 6 slices
-2 tbsp maple syrup
-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper
-salad dressing of choice (Greek works well)

Directions:
1. Chop salad veggies and combine in a bowl. Quantity is not important with salad veggies, chop as much as you like. Sprinkle sunflower and hemp seeds over top and set aside.
2. Add olive oil to a pan and heat on medium. Before the pan gets too hot, arrange the tofu slices on the pan so there is no space between then (pictured above).
3, When the oil starts to bubble pour the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar over the tofu. Keep a lid to the pan handy during the pour in case there is splatter when the syrup and vinegar mix with the hot oil.
4. Cover the pan and left the tofu cook until the bottom begins to brown. Then flip to brown the other side. The maple syrup should caramelize a little. When both sides have browned a bit, add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add salad and tofu to a plate. Add favorite dressing to the salad and enjoy.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When Life Gets You Down and You Just Need A Drink To Match the Mood

I have neglected to post in the last few days. My parents were visiting on the weekend then one of my cats became very sick. We have been back and forth between home and the vets since Sunday. The prognosis unfortunately keeps changing which has certainly taken its toll but now the outlook is bad for my poor little kitty. He is on a pile of drugs now in the hopes that one will work by some miracle but at this point it is getting unlikely. To add insult to injury at the worst possible time, the government has decided I don't qualify for a tax benefit that they thought I did and would like me to pay them back $200 "immediately". It's funny how they take forever to pay us out any money but they want theirs "immediately".

So vodka is the current solution (which is a pun). Since stress causes my body to be ridicules I was blessed with a UTI out of nowhere. 100% cranberry juice fixes these up in no time but is not particularly enjoyable. Hides the taste of vodka like a champ though. So here is my easy cocktail for when one is stressed out to the point of minor immune failure.

F**K Everything I Need a Drink Vodka Cranberry

1. Fill half the glass with 100% cranberry juice
2. Add vodka, don't measure, just pour. Add about 1-3 ounces.
3. Top with some water to take down the tartness of the cranberry juice a bit.
4. Drink and forget your troubles just for a little while. It is not a sweet drink, but sweet drinks don't fit with sour situations.
It's really not much to look at. Not sure why I even took a picture.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Easy Vegan Pasta Salad

This is an easy, weeknight meal. I also served corn on the cob that night because corn was on sale so we had this a more of a side dish I suppose. I also had it for lunch the next 2 days. If made 4-5 servings as a side dish, probably 2-3 servings as a dinner.


What You Need:

  • 2 cups of dried pasta. Most shapes will work for this, I use noodles made of durum semolina because they are vegan and cheep. 
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise. I would recommend Earth Indian (green lid) or homemade mayo because they are good and most vegan mayonnaise is gross. Very gross. 
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Decorate With Your Stuff: A Few Easy Ways To Make Your Closet More Interesting While Spending Nothing

This decorating project started as a storage problem. I have a small jewelry box and not all of my stuff fits in there so I can't find anything and rarely wear any of it. So first, out came the bracelets. I put some nails in the wall and hung them up. (Note: Maybe don't display expensive jewelry this way as you may get robbed)


I also hung up some hats along the ceiling because I want the shelf space for other things. Scarfs are hung below on command hooks. I need a few more hooks to make it look a bit more symmetrical.


I really like dangly earrings. I could not wear them for a while out of fear of having them ripped out of my ears by my son but he is old enough now to know better (I hope). I wanted to hang them up so I could see them all. This was my solution:


This was a very fast project.
1. Staple some colourful paper to a canvas.
2. Staple a string on the back to hang it up.
3. Nail some nails around the edge of the canvas, more or less evenly.
4. Weave embroidery thread haphazardly around the whole get up and tie it.
5. Add earrings.




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Motivated Morning Chocolate Protein Mocha Shake

For mornings when you need some protein and a kick of caffeine. Also good for warm, humid days when the idea of drinking a hot coffee is off putting. Makes about 2.5 cups.


What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Soy Milk
  • 1 scoop of Plant-based Protein Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Vanilla Jello Pudding Mix Powder (this is the secret ingredient, there is no gelatin in the powder)
  • 2 tsp Instant Coffee
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 6-10 Ice Cubes

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Place to Grow Vegetables All Winter Long

This project took my husband and I most of the day yesterday but it was fun to put together. We basically made a 3x3x3 foot cube cage to keep the cats away from our plants. The front panel is on hinges and opens so we can easily access the plants. There is an eye and hook latch to keep it closed. The lid is not attached. It lifts off easily in case we want to work in there for a while. We covered the whole thing with chicken wire, the door and the lid separately so they can be removed. My husband bought the grow light online, it makes the whole room pink. Now I just have to fill it with plants. I'm not sure which ones work best in these conditions. There will probably have to be some experimentation. I think leafy greens like kale and spinach will do well. The pictures are not great due to the lighting but you get the idea.
 


Monday, August 17, 2015

Vegan Criss Cross Nacho Fries

My husband and I used to eat at this place called Squirrel Tooth Alice's. That is where we were introduced to nachos made with criss cross fries instead of chips. They were fantastic but loaded with cheese and sour cream. I chased the dream of homemade criss cross fried for years so I could pull off this dish but I never found the right mandolin slicer and I since got rid of my deep fryer. Then I saw them in the freezer section at No Frills. This recipe feeds 2.5 people. The limiting factor is the fries so you could always buy 2 bags to feed more people.


What you need:

  • a bag of criss cross fries
  • daiya
  • salsa
  • chopped red pepper
  • optional: you could add a lot to this. Beans, green onions, jalapenos, olives, etc. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cheap and Easy Wall Art: Paper Stars on a Stick

I originally saw some folded paper stars on Pinterest from this website. I was inspired to try this simple little craft for myself so I made some stars in Word, printed them, cut them out and folded them up. Repeated 5 times and tied them to a stick with some white thread. The result was a simple wall hanging to take up some empty wall space.  My husband said it looks kind of communist so that is neat I guess. It costs nearly nothing to make. 


Saturday, August 15, 2015

How To Water Your Plants When You Are Not At Home

We are away for the weekend. The plants need to be watered every day. What can be done? Though most of my plants have a water reservoir, they don’t seem to help much so I saw on this website a method of watering tomatoes and adapted it to my whole container garden. I will use the containers afterwards as planters in my new basement garden. 


The process should have been easy, just drill some holes in some cheap containers. Add some manure, fill them with water and close the lid. The lid should hopefully reduce the flow of the water out of the containers so it is slow and steady. The manure should reduce flow and add a boost of nutrients.  This seemed to work for most of the containers but I didn’t get to see them for long. If my plants are alive when I get home either it worked or it rained.




Now this was not as simple as the steps I listed of course because I have a little dude in toe who likes to explore his surroundings. I told him not to touch the manure because it is poo and that is yucky. He said he would not touch it. Turn my back for a second and there he is, he has grabbed a spade and is digging in the manure. It is all over his hands. I tell him not to move and he proceeds to wipe those hands all over his shirt and shorts. My cries to stop are in vein. So I had to pause half way to clean him up. That’s life I suppose.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Potato and Cauliflower Curry Made Easy

There are a lot of recipes out there for potato and cauliflower curry as it is a pretty common dish in Indian restaurants. Most of these recipes seem to involve a lot of steps and separate sauce involving blending things and that is just too much work for me. If I have to use the blender, I will have to clean the blender and I am just too lazy for the extra work. I like curries where you just dump everything in a pot. That is what this is. Makes enough for 2 large portions. My son is not a fan of spicy food yet but I bet this would feed 2 adults and a kid.


What you need:

  • oil
  • onion, chopped
  • potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups cauliflower, chopped
  • water
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste (1/2 tsp was not quite enough)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vegan French Onion Soup the Easy Way

This is an easy recipe but it is not terribly filling so be warned, this will not suffice as a whole meal on its own. It's good though. I don't have the right kind of oven friendly bowls for this so the recipe is modified to not require them. Makes 2 big bowls.


What you need:

  • 2-3 onions chopped up
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 vegetable broth cube
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking wine (optional)
  • stale or toasted baguette, broken into 4 pieces
  • Daiya