11.30.2009

EASY soup*

I have been getting emails asking for recipes so instead of posting my weekly menu, today I'm going to post what is perhaps the easiest soup recipe I have ever made. I got the recipe from http://www.vegetariantimes.com/ but made a few changes. If you can use a can opener then you can make this soup. There is no chopping, measuring or pureeing involved. You don't even add spices. Each serving packs a whopping 19 grams of protein. It makes a huge batch so it's perfect for this time of year. You can bring it to a potluck or share it with a neighbor. It's a spicy soup so if you need to mellow it out, just add a dollop of sour cream or cut back the enchilada sauce and use a little vegetable broth instead. But I think it is perfect just the way it is. I serve it with slices of fresh avocado on top and crusty french bread.

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green chili and pumpkin soup
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1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 28 oz can cut tomatoes w/juice
1 30 oz can green enchilada sauce
1 15 oz can unsweetened pumpkin
s & p

  combine rinsed beans with the rest of the ingredients and heat through.


*no animals were harmed making this soup




11.27.2009

shopping

The day before Thanksgiving I found 6 of these darling English ironstone dessert/salad plates at the Salvation Army for $1 each. I thought they looked perfect for my Thanksgiving table. Since I will be at work today, I'm wishing you all happy shopping. Be brave!

11.24.2009

thanksgiving menu

What exactly does a vegan eat on turkey day? The answer is, really, really good clean food. Food that is colorful, healthy and delicious. Food that digests easily and that you feel good eating because you know that no animals were harmed in order for you to enjoy this day of gratitude.
menu
~
pumpkin soup with roasted pepitas
garden lettuces with apples, dried cranberries and pecans
wild rice rissoles with mushroom gravy
roasted garlic mashed potatoes
fresh green beans
cranberry orange relish
whole wheat rolls
blueberry apple pie
HAPPY THANKSGIVING

11.21.2009

dining room evolution

When I started blogging this is what my dining room looked like (below.) The major renovations to the house had been done and I just filled up the rooms with my stuff, wanting it to feel like home. But I've never felt as if the living room/dining room related to the rest of the house, mainly the kitchen. When you walk in the front door, since there is no formal entryway, you are standing smack dab in the middle of these two rooms and you look right into the kitchen. I love the kitchen, it's white and spare and perfect in my eyes. So again, wanting the two rooms to flow I went ahead and painted the rooms BM Simply White which is the color of all the moulding in the house. Then I went through and removed a bunch of clutter, leaving only what I truly love. While it is by no means perfect, I like it so much better and I feel it is now more "me."


The room slowly evolved to the this, below

this is what it looks like this morning



Next week I will post pictures of the living room as there are a few details left to finish. So that's it. Not a big change, but for me I feel so much more relaxed in the space. Do any of you feel uneasy when you are sitting in one of your rooms and it's just not right? I was really dreading this project because in essence, the rooms were fine and I knew the change would be subtle, but I'm SO glad I did it and it's over (for now!)
"There is relief in imperfection." ~Darryl Carter

11.16.2009

menu monday*



While my living room is a disaster and I'm trying to figure out what to do with it, I'm going to have a little fun in the kitchen this week. We went out for dinner saturday night to a local Mexican/Yucatan restaurant called Casa Maya. They make delicious potato and avocado empanadas. I'm going to try and re-create the recipe using Pepperidge Farm puff pastry which happens to be vegan. Also, I'm making a sundried tomato and faux sausage calzone. I'm also going to work on a wild rice casserole w/seitan. So here's to a little fun.

monday
sundried tomato & sausageless calzone
garden lettuces
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tuesday
asian stir fry with tofu, vegetables & crushed peanuts
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wednesday
potato & avocado empanadas with balsamic reduction
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thursday
spicy black bean tacos w/peach salsa
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friday
oven roasted eggplant w/orzo
garden lettuces
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saturday
gardenburgers w/oven roasted red bliss potatoes
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sunday
split pea and carrot soup
cornbread
*not a single animal was harmed in the making of this food

11.15.2009

beige



Beige is atmosphere. It's bisque, it's ivory, it's cream, it's stone, it's toast, it's cappuccino. It's, well, it's magic. ~Albert Hadley



(That beautiful quote being said, my living room is in the process of being painted. Everything is a mess and I'm almost sorry I started this project. Arghhh!)

11.09.2009

menu monday*

The husband is out of town this week. So in essence I have the week off. But this is also a great time to experiment in the kitchen. There are a couple of things I want to make for Thanksgiving dinner that will need a little practice. My friend Sarah will be coming over on wednesday to play in the kitchen.

I don't know about you, but my idea of the perfect dinner is a bowl of soup, crusty french bread and a glass of wine. So for sure I will be making soup this week. Our local farmers market is winding down but they still had a great assortment of potatoes and onions, leeks, carrots and beautiful garden lettuces. So this week the menu is going to look something like this...

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monday
farmstand vegetable pot pie
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tuesday
leftovers
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wednesday
carrot cappuccino soup
garden lettuce salad
french bread
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thursday
farmstand vegetable pot pie
carrot cappuccino soup
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friday
potato leek soup
recipe by julia child (sheer perfection)
french bread
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saturday
husband returns - dinner out
~
potato leek soup
garden lettuce salad
*not a single animal was harmed in the making of this food.
~RECIPE~
carrot cappuccino soup
recipe by rick tramanto of tru restaurant
1 lb carrots, sliced thin
1 celery rib sliced thin
1/2 med onion sliced thin
1 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
2 oranges juiced
3-4 c no salt or low salt vegetable stock
s & p to taste
sweat carrots, celery and onion. add vegetable stock and ginger. bring to simmer, add oj and cook until carrots are tender. puree in batches until smooth, pass through chinois or fine strainer, season to taste.
note: as you pass the puree through the strainer, use the back of a ladle or spoon to really press the liquid out. i hope you enjoy this soup as much as i do.

11.04.2009

my pantry




Ok, well here it is. my pantry. Don't be shocked by how little food there appears to be in here. It's just that I don't buy many prepared foods, few canned goods at all. I make my beans and rice from scratch and pair those with fresh produce. So I really just keep beans, lentils, rice, pasta and lots of vinegars and oils and nuts. I've had people ask me where I keep my food while they are standing in the pantry. So anyways this little room was a nightmare when we got the house. It is much better now. Lots of beadboard and white paint. The only thing that remains of the original is the pull chain for the light.











So the real point of this post is to tell you about the simple substitutions that I use in my everyday cooking. These ingredients are amazing and make vegan cooking so, so easy.




I use nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese. By mixing it with nuts in the food processor it makes a delicious topping for pastas, pizza, chili and soups. You can sprinkle it directly onto popcorn and it has a yummy parmesan taste to it. Egg Replacer is great in baked goods. Earth Balance margarine, probably the best margarine ever made. It is so creamy and delicious w/o the heavy fatty taste of real butter. Veganaise, I love this mayonnaise. I use it everyday for sandwiches and salad dressings. I also included agave syrup which I use daily instead of regular sugar. It has a really low glycemic index rating. One other thing I do daily is instead of discarding the peelings and ends of my veggies, I collect them in a bag throughout the week. Then I'll just pop them into a soup pot with cold water and seasonings and cook them for about an hour. I let it cool then strain the broth into containers so that I don't have to buy prepared vegetable stock. It keeps the waste down and saves money.


I post my weekly menus more for inspiration than anything. I spent quite a few years as a professional chef so lots of my recipes are in my head or are a combination of 2 or more recipes. There are so many good cookbooks and websites out there. I will try to start writing things down as I make them, cooking times, temperatures, etc. But again, if you see something that sounds good, just pop over to vegetarian times and they will most likely have the recipe or something like it. I hope this was useful to you. Happy cooking!

11.02.2009

menu monday*

i'd like to start this week off by saying that the simple act of posting my weekly menus has brought a great deal of focus to my cooking. instead of shooting from the hip and running to the store every other day for ingredients, i'm much more organized. organization and simplicity go hand in hand. what may seem like a bit of trouble; making lists, shopping and menu planning, pays off in the way of always having exactly what is needed for each recipe. plus i get the added benefit of eating a fresh, healthy dinner each night with a variety of locally grown organic produce. so in the end i save time, energy and money. i encourage each of you to become the executive chef of your own kitchen. plan, shop and create a beautiful meal each night just like a professional. that being said, this week i only have to plan for 5 nights, as we have dinner engagements for 2 nights.

monday
sweet potato & black bean enchiladas
recipe from clean food cookbook
garden lettuce salad
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tuesday
soba noodle salad with ginger peanut dressing
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wednesday
carrot & white bean soup
french baguette
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thursday
oven roasted broccoli & walnuts w/pasta
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friday
steamed veggies over brown rice w/dijon mustard sauce
*not a single animal will be harmed in the making of this food