Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Yes, I've skipped Sunday - Tuesday. I told you anything could happen on "Wildcard" Wednesday.
I haven't permanently skipped them though. "Salad or Smoothie" Sunday, "Make Something New" Monday and "Timesaver" Tuesday should be posted tonight and I will be back on track! I will beg you to cut me a little slack as I've been busy packaging prints and crocheting hats for this weekend's Mistletoe Market (at Wakefield High - Raleigh, NC).
Now on to "Wildcard" Wednesday...
I anticipate December every year. I love December. I love the weather. I love the holiday decorations. I love the Christmas parties. I love singing Christmas carols. I love Christmas movies. I love purchasing, making and wrapping gifts. I'll even admit to loving receiving gifts. Oh, yeah, I love hanging out with my family and friends too. ;)
This December, there is something else I'm looking forward to with much excitement. If you don't know this already, I love good cookbooks. I was so tempted to add this to my Christmas list hoping a family member would buy it for me. But according to Amazon it's supposed to release on December 7 and I didn't want to wait the extra couple weeks. And then what if nobody chose to purchase it? ::shudder::
Appetite For Reduction says it's full of fast, filling, low-fat vegan recipes. All of those adjectives are right up my alley. Unlike most "low-fat" cookbooks, I'm not at all hesitant to try this one. The author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, knows good food. After all, she's the author of Vegan with A Vengeance, and co-author of Veganomicon. Really, she's not one to slap words like "low fat" on a book and just assume it will sell because people will buy anything that will help on their most recent "diet." She says she wrote this book for herself, so I can be sure that I'll be as happy with the recipes I make from it as I am from the two books mentioned above (my two most used cookbooks, by the way) If you want to be as excited as I am checking the mailbox in the upcoming month, you can do what I did: preorder on Amazon.
For a description of the book from Isa and some sample recipes, visit theppk.com
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Put the Coconut Bliss between the two cookies and wrap tightly (I used press and seal, but regular plastic wrap would probably work just fine). Freeze for at least one hour. Take it out, unwrap it and try to make it last for as many bites as possible. The last bite will make you a little sad.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
At some point since going vegan, I turned a corner and now LOVE soup. My favorite canned soup is Trader Joe's Black Bean Soup. But nothing beats homemade soup. I can't pick just one favorite, but here are my favorite two soups. Both of them are from Veganomicon (Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero). These soups alone would have been worth the price of this book.
The first is the Baked Potato and Greens soup which I posted about last year. The recipe is posted here. (I hope they had permission!). The original recipe is already gluten free so the only substitution to make is to get rid of the soy: replace soy milk with gluten free rice milk.
The second is the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme. The recipe is posted over at chow.com (Ignore the comments about all the non-veg stuff people added to it.) One of the best parts is that there doesn't need to be any substitutions! It's already gluten/soy free!
While it's not the most photogenic soup in the world, it is one of the most savory, stick-to-your-ribs soups I have ever had. It's peppery and dare I say it - almost meaty. And I'm convinced that a good dose of tarragon could fix many of the worlds ills (ok, slightly overstated, but I do love the stuff!) If you haven't made this soup before, do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to your kitchen and whip up a batch.
I'm a huge fan of Coconut Bliss frozen non-dairy dessert. It's one of the most delicious, creamy frozen desserts I have ever had. I don't mean since I've become vegan. I mean EVER! I'm not ready to (nor do I suggest that you) sign off on never having Coconut Bliss again. It's natural: made from real organic coconut milk and organic agave syrup. And did I mention it's fabulous? However just a 1/2 cup serving packs a walloping 5 point value!
A lower point (though less natural, not organic) choice is Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet. Less creamy, but absolutely delicious, it satisfies that desire for a cold, rich, creamy dessert at only 2 points per 1/2 cup serving. It's also less than half the price.
Whichever choice you make, it should be the occasional treat, not a replacement for nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. But when you make the choice to splurge on one of them, make sure you take the time to really enjoy it!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
For my first Wildcard Wednesday, which I guess technically I've missed by about 2 minutes, I just wanted to take a moment to show off my new apron. It was custom made in the perfect shade of green by Lisa over at Panda with Cookie. I like to think of this one as Panda with Gluten Free Cookie. I suspect this panda will be covered with gluten free holiday baking flours more than once in the upcoming months. Can't wait!
Yep, you're right...I've got the cutest apron on the block. But you don't have to be jealous, the Panda with Cookie empire can make all kinds of cool stuff for you too.
BTW, Lisa didn't send it wrinkled. Somehow while waiting to have it's picture taken, I covered the apron with a bag of art supplies.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- Trader Joe's Black Bean Soup (it's really hard to find vegan gf/soy-free soup!)
- Coconut milk (light or regular)
- A few cans of beans for when I'm out of dried/cooked
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato Puree
|1 Tbsp Agave Nectar**|
|1 serving(s) garlic, crushed 1 tsp|
|29 oz canned tomato puree|
|1/4 tsp table salt|
|1/4 cup(s) fresh basil, chopped|
|3 serving(s) rice milk, unsweetened*|
Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until just boiling. Serve.
Makes 4 servings, 2 points each
*I use Whole Foods Market's 365 brand of unsweetened rice milk. It is certified gluten-free. Not all rice milks are. Many of them contain barley. Be sure to read the label
**If you use sweetened rice milk, omit the agave nectar. Be sure to adjust points of you're counting.
Timesaver tip #2: Plan what you do in the kitchen so you can multitask. This may seem pretty basic to some of you, but other people just don't think this way. . This meal would take a lot longer if I made the salad before I began the soup and sandwich. Think about what takes the longest and what can be left alone while you do other things. For this quick meal, I started the soup and let it heat while I started the sandwich. Then while both the soup and the sandwich were cooking, I made the salad.
Timesaver tip #3: Make extra and use leftovers. This also saves money. It's generally less expensive and less time consuming to make 2 servings of something than to make 1 serving of two different things. If you're single, you still might want to half a recipe so you don't get tired of it, but whatever you make, be sure to plan it in to the rest of the week. If you're feeding a family, you might want to double a recipe to pack lunches or have another dinner a couple days later.
For this meal, I used a serving of colby cheez from yesterday. Plus I made 4 servings of soup. I only ate 1. I'm left with the basis of 3 more meals.
The half sandwich was your basic grilled cheez made with one slice of Food for Life Brown Rice Bread, 2/3 serving of colby cheez, sliced and 1/2 tsp of soy-free Earth balance on the outside of your bread. If anybody really needs me to tell you how to make a grilled cheez sandwich, just comment in the post and I'll give you a tutorial. (BTW, as further review of the colby - it didn't melt, but it was warm and creamy. Even though it didn't look like a regular grilled cheese, it tasted pretty darn close).
Timesaver tip #4: Salads don't have to be complicated! So what if you go to a restaurant and you have 10 different things on your salad. It doesn't have to be that way at home. They can be simple and still be delicious.
The one I made tonight was made of just torn spinach, chopped red onion and the remaining third of the serving of colby cheez shredded on top. (Yes! It shreds!). A quick squeeze of lemon and a little fresh ground black pepper and dinner is ready!
We can have quick, easy meals that are also filling, healthy and delicious! If only I would remind myself of that more often.
Point count for the whole meal: 5.5
(If you don't have the colby premade, but like the general idea of this meal, try substituting 1/4 avocado for the colby. Slices of it would be yummy warm inside the grilled bread. The amount for the salad wont shred, but you can put little cubes on the salad)
Monday, November 1, 2010
I've had my eye on the Colby Cheez block from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook for a long time. It just always seemed that I didn't have time and raw cashews at the same time.
I bought a brand new bag of cashews today so this recipe was the perfect first choice for my MoFo Mondays.
I did use one variation - I subbed the paprika for the roasted peppers.
Technically, I can't say I made something new. Rather, I started something new. It has to set overnight. But I did use my fingers to help clean the blender and the flavor is already good. Typically the recipes in UUC are better after they've had time to sit for a while to let the flavors meld. The block is already starting to set. I'm hoping to have sliced cheez on toast for breakfast tomorrow!
I'll come back and update tomorrow with a picture and review of the finished product. As of now, what I can say is I can't believe I waited so long to do it because I didn't have time. It took under 1/2 an hour including chopping the cashews.
Point info: (using 2.5 oz cashews as 1/2 cup chopped & using the paprika sub), based on 8 servings per batch. 1 serving=2 points.
It worked! The cheez is not as hard as a dairy block cheese, but it came out of the container, it slices and you can hold a slice in your hand without it falling to pieces.
I ate it for breakfast with a slice of toast (Food For Life Brown Rice Bread) and a serving of delicious green grapes. (Meal point value=5).
The only thing I would probably change next time is to lessen the onion powder by about half if I'm going to eat the cheez plain. It wasn't bad, it was just a little stronger than I remember colby being. (If I were going to add the miso for the cheddar version, I'd leave the onion powder as is).
It's here! It's November! Which means it's time for the Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of food). It's the month of the year where vegans all over the world commit to keeping their blogs active at least 5 days a week so that everybody can see just how great and creative vegan food can be. As of today, Vegan MoFo has over 550 participants. A list of participating blogs can be found here http://veganmofo.wordpress.com/blog-roll-2010/
After skipping the last two years, I've decided to participate again.
Here's where I am: Besides being vegan, I'm allergic to gluten and soy. I'm also currently doing the online Weight Watchers (from here on out referred to as WW) program and counting points. I don't usually tell too many people when I'm participating in some sort of "diet" program because I hate the word "diet" when used to indicate that you're trying to lose weight. One's diet is what he/she eats on a regular basis. It is not a dirty word. It is not a word to be afraid of. I love my diet. I eat good vegan, gluten-free, soy-free food. Maybe some of it's too good - which is why I'm choosing to use WW right now for a little help in the portion control department.
A note on how these posts fit into my life (when I'm doing what I know to do) and should fit into yours: I DO NOT endorse fad dieting. Healthy weight loss is 1/2 to 2 lbs a week. That is, of course, an average weight loss. I've had times where I gained for a couple weeks in a row and then dropped it all in one week. IF there happens to be a small meal on the blog, it is to be balanced out with larger meals. If there's a "3 point" meal that does not mean I think it's a good idea to eat only "9 points" a day. It means that there are times where I ate a big lunch and need a small dinner. In the same way, if I post a high point meal or a splurge snack, they should be balanced out with lighter meals at other times during the day/week. Balance is key.
This is the plan for Vegan MoFo: Each day of the week will have a different theme. If for some reason I miss a day, I will go back and make up for it on another day.
- "Make Something New" Monday: I'll try a new recipe from my cookbooks that are too often neglected. Or maybe I'll try something new that just pops into my head
- "Timesaver" Tuesday: It takes a lot of work to be a gf/soy-free vegan, so Tuesdays will be for giving time saving tips, reviewing/recommending convenience foods or showing really quick meals.
- "Wildcard" Wednesday: This can be about whatever the heck I want. Though not likely, it could even be a non-food post.
- "This-not-that" Thursday: Choosing different brands; adjusting recipes; choosing a different but similar snack or meal, etc to use fewer WW points
- "Favorites" Friday: I said that balance is key. So to balance out "Make Something New" Monday, I will have "Favorites" Friday where I hawk all my favorite stuff.
- "Splurge" Saturday: Whether it's a small treat or a good way to use up your weekly WW points, these posts will be about those items that you might be tempted to think of as "bad" foods. They're not "bad". They just need to be disciplined.
- "Salad or Smoothie" Sunday: Pretty self explanatory.