Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update Complete!

Veggiegirl.com has been updated and is live!! This blog is moving over there, so be sure update your Google Reader. You can even sign up to receive blog updates by email now! All of the blog archives from this site have moved over too! Please visit and let me know what you think of the revamped site. Also, if you have this blog linked on your website, please change the link, as nothing new will be posted over here.

To pique your interest, here's a picture of a chocolate peanut butter pie that I will be posting in a few days. Yes, those are chocolate covered pretzels on top. It's the perfect Valentine's Day dessert!

And as extra incentive, I will be giving away an autographed copy of Melliser Elliot's The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life next week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cookbook Project Week 5: Appetite for Reduction

The update to Veggiegirl.com is coming along swimmingly, so things will be pretty quiet over there on this blog while I'm working on the new one. I will be sure to let you know when the new blog is in place. In the meantime, back to my cookbook project...

This week's cookbook is Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This book was just published a few months ago. I really didn't need another cookbook, but the Decemberists made it buy it.  Actually, it was getting good reviews and some of the recipes looked really yummy so I bought it. The book is full of nutritional info and the recipes include lots of veggies, especially greens, so it gets a big thumbs up from me. The dishes are really delicious too - they're not what you would expect from "diet food". Just like with other cookbooks in my project, I was able to get two meals from most dishes, so Dennis and I were able to have leftovers for lunch from most of these meals.

My one teeny tiny complaint about the book is that recipes start on right hand pages and continue onto the back of the page. I use a covered recipe stand, which makes flipping pages while I'm cooking difficult. As a designer myself, I know that it's good practice to start something a right hand page, because people look at pages on the right first. But for a cookbook it's not very practical. I love my recipe stand because it keeps my books from getting covered in my dinner and it spares counter space in my tiny kitchen, but I wasn't always able to use it while cooking with this book.

 Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli was one of the recipes that made me want to buy this book. This was super duper easy to make and really tasty. I doubled the recipe so I'd have some leftover for lunch the next day because I knew we'd each eat more a "serving" size.

 Chickpea Piccata was actually the clincher for me when considering buying this book. It's served with Caulipots (mashed cauliflower and potatoes) and arugula. It was really delicious. 

 Upside Down Shepherd's Pie is also served with Caulipots, so I made a double batch. This was really nice and warming - the perfect dish for winter!

Isa posted the recipe for this Tempeh Helper on her blog about a year or so ago, so I've made this recipe a few times already and I really love it. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of broth powder and two cups of water. In the past I've skipped the powder and water and just used liquid broth, but this time I followed the directions and used a powder. I wasn't crazy about the flavor of it, so this dish wasn't as good as it was in the past. It's still a favorite of mine though!

I love tacos, so I really wanted to try Zucchini, Black Bean and Olive Tacos. These had a really nice flavor. The recipe made eight tacos, but they weren't filling, so Dennis and I actually had four each for dinner!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Color Me Vegan Part 2

I've made even more recipes from Color Me Vegan! Since I'm an organized, planner-in-advance type person, I'm really enjoying my cookbook project. I know what I'm going to make for dinner when I get home in the evening and I have all of the ingredients waiting in my fridge. These recipes all make several servings, and I've been putting the leftovers in containers right away so that Dennis and I can just grab lunch to take to work in the morning. Some recipes even made enough leftovers that I didn't have to cook dinner every night. (I'm talking about you, Manicotti!) I've also been making sure our breakfasts have been taken care of in advance too. A little bit of planning means less work for me in the long run, and I love it! We're saving money too, since we haven't had to get take out for lunch.

I made Raspberry Lemon Muffins so we would have breakfast for a few days. My friend Jen made these for our brunch potluck a few weeks ago and they were really good. I used gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour, and the muffins came out a little weird, but they were still pretty tasty.

 I made Hot Tamale Pie because it was cold and the name called to me. This was really easy and really good!

 I really loved the cornbread topping on this. I added extra nutritional yeast to make it cheesy.

 I love garlic and I also love greens, so Garlickly Greens with Pasta seemed like a natural choice for me. I actually used more garlic than the recipe called for. I also added cannellini beans for flavor and for some extra protein.

 I wasn't sure if I would like Sweet Potato Tacos but I was intrigued, so I made them. And I'm glad I did because I loved them! Since color is the theme of the week, I used blue corn taco shells. I served this dish with spicy rice and beans. 

When we ran out of muffins, I made blackberry breakfast bars. And to make it interesting, I used both blackberries and blueberries. This photo looks a little boring, since it's pretty much just a brownish, squarish blob, but these bars were really good! Next time I make these I'm doubling the recipe! There seemed to be an error in the recipe though. The instructions say to bake the bottom layer until the berries are bubbly and then it tells you to add the berries and top layer and bake for 20 more minutes. Hmmm... the berries are supposed to get bubbly before they're cooked? I went with my instincts and didn't cook the berries with the bottom layer, which is what I think you're supposed to do.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cookbook Project Week 4: Color Me Vegan

This week's cookbook is Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I think the color theme is a really great idea since a vegetable's color comes from it's nutrients. The recipes in the book are divided by color and there's a multicolor chapter in the back. I like the clean page layout and the interesting facts that are sprinkled throughout the book.  I've made so many dishes from Color Me Vegan that I've decided to split the blog post up into two parts.

I started out with Cashew Cheese. I don't think I let it cook long enough to thicken, because it was pretty thin. It was still really tasty.

I made the Cashew Cheese, because I wanted to make Swiss Chard Pie, and the recipe called for it. This pie is actually more of a frittata, and it was really really good. This would be a perfect dish for a brunch.

 And since the theme of the week is color, I made roasted butternut squash to serve with the Swiss Chard Pie. Look at that gorgeous orange!

There was a lot of leftover cheese sauce, so I poured it over some roasted broccoli. This was really good and reminded me of the broccoli in cheese sauce I loved when I was little.  That was a powdered cheese sauce mix poured over frozen broccoli, while this is fresh broccoli with cashew cheese, so this is much, much healthier!

 I wanted to make stuffed shells, but I couldn't find large pasta shells anywhere. I could find manicotti, however, and since stuffed shells and manicotti are basically the same thing, I bought them instead. This recipe makes enough filling to feed a small village manicotti and/or stuffed shells for a week. I spent what felt like hours standing in the kitchen stuffing those little pasta tubes. The next time I make this I'm definitely cutting the recipe in half. 

I sprinkled the manicotti with Daiya Cheese and served it with the broccoli. It was amazing! Since I had enough leftovers to last several days, the prep work was worth it.

There will be more Color Me Vegan food photos coming soon!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Update on the Update

So I had given myself the deadline of the end of January to have Veggiegirl.com updated, but since that's just a week away, I don't think it's going to happen. The update is still in the works, it's just moving slower than I would have liked. Things like cooking dinner, doing laundry and obsessively watching Mad Men dvds from Netflix have gotten in the way. Plus Dennis and I are doing all of the work ourselves and we don't know quite what we're doing. I'm now hoping the website will be done by the middle of February. Should I give myself Valentine's Day as my goal date?

And on the cookbook front, Color Me Vegan will be this week's book of choice! I may have ordered a couple new cookbooks too. Believe it not, they were added to my Amazon cart for the free shipping. See, I was ordering the new Decemberists CD, and and I needed to buy something else to get free shipping, so I decided to get Appetite for Reduction, since I've been hearing so many good things about it. And that still didn't bring me up to the requisite $25! After looking around, I decided to also get Vegan on the Cheap. So I blame the Decemberists for stuffing my already full bookcase with even more cookbooks. It all made sense at the time. And if you're wondering why I still buy CDs instead of downloading from iTunes, there are two reasons: I like having something physical after spending money - $10 for files on my computer doesn't do it for me; and that "buy album" button on iTunes can be dangerous - I've been over zealous with it in the past, resulting in minor freakouts when the receipt lands in my inbox days later.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Quick Fix Vegetarian

Operation Cook Book is in full swing! This week I cooked several dishes from Robin Robertson's Quick Fix Vegetarian. What I really like about this book is that it's full of creative flavorful recipes that all take half an hour or less to make - proof that quick vegan dishes don't have to be bland or boring. Despite the name, the dishes are all egg and dairy free. I also like the clean page layout of one recipe per page. I really hate when recipes run into each other on a page! My one complaint is that I think the dishes don't have enough veggies. That's a simple fix though - just add more veggies!

Polenta and Pinto Bean Pie. This recipe is super easy to make and really tasty. It's basically pre-cooked polenta, a jar of salsa mixed with a can of pinto beans, tortilla chips and cheese, all baked together. I added sautéed peppers and onions to mix.

 Spicy Coconut Rice Noodles with Tofu and Cilantro. I added red peppers and snow peas to this dish to make it a complete meal. Yum!

 Tempeh with Coconut Peanut Sauce. By now, I think my love of peanut sauce is well known, and because of it, this was my favorite dish that I made from Quick Fix Vegetarian. I made a peanuty kale dish from this month's issue of Vegetarian Times to go with it. When Dennis had the leftovers for lunch the next day, a few coworkers followed their noses to his office and asked what the amazing smell was!

 Stir-Fried Tofu and Vegetable Teriyaki. I loooove teriyaki sauce, and this dish was quite delicious. 

Udon Noodles with Bok Choy and Creamy Tahini Sauce. This recipe called for baby bok choy, which I couldn't find, so I used the regular sized variety. I added red peppers and shittake mushrooms for some color and because I wanted a few more veggies in the dish. The tahini sauce was so good that I'm sure I'll be using it again on other dishes!

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whole Foods Vegan Mousse Parfaits

Not that I really need to eat dessert, but while at Whole Foods a few days ago, I found myself standing in front of the dessert case looking for more Candle Cafe mini tarts. To my disappointment, there were none to be found, but I was quite surprised to find vegan mousse parfaits in about 5 or 6 different flavors. Of course, I had to try one! I got a chocolate parfait and Dennis got a raspberry one. They were quiet tasty and the chocolate one was so rich that I couldn't finish it!

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