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 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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Monday, January 17, 2011

Three Sisters and Curly's Vegetarian Lunch

Dennis is difficult to shop for, so I usually buy theater tickets for his birthday. This year, I bought tickets for Three Sisters at the Classic Stage Company. It's a really great theater because it's small and there is no stage - the play takes place in the center of the floor and the audience sits in seats along the walls. We had front row seats, so we felt like we right in the action. And Peter Sarsgaard whacked me in the knees with his coat! 

After the play, we went to Curly's Vegetarian Lunch, which is two blocks away from the theater. Years ago we used to frequent Veg City Diner on 14th Street and 6th Avenue, but sadly it's now gone. Curly's is owned by the same people and has similar diner food items on their menu, but it's much, much smaller that Veg City Diner. I counted the tables, and I seems like the restaurant seats 20! We've only eaten there once before - about 5 years ago when it first opened. I'm not sure if the food has changed, or if my taste buds have, but I will admit that it wasn't as good as I remember. I'm not saying it's bad, but I couldn't help but compare it to Red Bamboo, which has similar food that's much tastier. I would eat there again though!

 We started with buffalo wings.

I wanted to faux tuna melt, but they were out of the faux tuna, so the waitress recommended this sandwich. I'm not even sure what it was called! It had baked tofu, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and Daiya cheese. And I had curly fries on the side! 

 Dennis had a Philly cheesesteak and curly fries.

Curly's has Vegan Treats cakes, and I just couldn't pass up a slice of Peanut Butter Bomb cake. I could only eat half and had to get the rest wrapped up to go. 

Dennis had a slice of coconut lime cake. 

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegan Brunch

I mentioned last week that I want to pick a cookbook each week and try three recipes from it. Well, I've had a head start on my goal! Not only did try three recipes from Party Vegan, I also made a few things from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I love this book and have made many delicious things from it in the past.

 It was cold out, and I was craving hot tea and warm muffins, so I flipped through Vegan Brunch to see if there were any recipes that I could make with the ingredients on hand. Coffee Chip Muffins seemed to fit the bill! I swapped out the wheat flour for spelt flour. They were super quick and easy to make, and they were absolutely delicious!! These muffins totally hit the spot!

And because those muffins were so good, I also made Zucchini Spelt muffins. The recipe calls for 2 cups of shredded zucchini, but once I had my zucchini all shredded, I had three cups. I made a batch and a half and made 12 mini muffins as well as 12 regular sized muffins.

 I made a Puttanesca Scramble for dinner (or should I say brinner?) a few days ago. I added nutritional yeast and a little Daiya mozzarella to it because I was in the mood for something cheesy. This was a really good twist on the tofu scramble. The olives and tomatoes gave this dish so much flavor.

I also made Potato Spinach Squares. Potatoes and spinach go so well together! This is the same recipe I made for the brunch potluck on Sunday.

The scramble and squares were perfect together. I had meant to make this meal for Dennis's birthday brunch, but it didn't happen. I'm glad I was finally able to make it, because it was delicious!

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Candle Cafe Mini Tarts

Apparently I missed the email that said Whole Foods was going to be carrying Candle Cafe desserts, so I jumped up and down with joy and surprise when I found these little tartlets a few days ago. I was so excited that I bought one of each flavor. And no, I did not run home and gorge myself on sweets. Dennis and I slowly ate our way through these over the course of a few days. I found that half a tart was a decent sized portion, and only eating half meant I had some leftover the next day!

 Dennis loves fruity desserts so this raspberry linzer tart was perfect for him. He loved it!

 I'm more of a chocoholic, so I went straight for the chocolate mousse tart. This was incredibly rich and creamy. Amazing!

We split this chocolate peanut butter tart. Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate together? Yummy!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Party Vegan

As I mentioned last week, Dennis gave me Vegan Party by Robin Robertson for Christmas. And as I also mentioned last week, I'm going to try to make three recipes a week from a different cookbook every week. Last week I made a few things from Vegan Party:

 First I made Confetti Corn Muffins. I didn't need to wait for a party to make these! I made them just because I was in the mood for a muffin. They have chili peppers, bell pepper and corn in them, which is what makes them "confetti" muffins. They were really tasty!

 I had friends over and made Chickpea Artichoke Bites with Rosemary Aioli. These were a HUGE hit. They didn't last very long! 

I also made Potato Skins for my friends. These went even faster than the Chickpea Bites! I mixed together Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream with chives, onion powder and garlic powder and served it with the Potato Skins. Can you say "Yummy"?

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