Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's Raining Cookies! Hallelujah!*

*to be sung to the tune of "It's Raining Men"..come on, I know you want to.

Hi All!

So far this week has been quite drab. I know, what a ridiculous word, drab, but honestly I can't think of any other way to describe it. The days are still short and dark, the weather is windy and rainy. Sad day. My favourite season is autumn. I LOVE autumn. The crunch of the leaves under my feet, the smell of wood stoves in the chilly evenings, the warm September sun bathing me in its rays as I frolic about the city! I know, I make it sound like a fairy tale, but its so far away right now that it feels as though its arrival is only that, a fairytale. I suppose I do have spring and summer to look forward to, and I DO love fiddleheads and asparagus and fresh corn. So I guess I should just shut my mouth. Or talk about some food.

Last night was pasta night! Woo! And while I was getting busy in the kitchen (COOKING, I was getting busy cooking, get your mind out of the gutter!) I thought I should probably make some peanut butter cookies, and while I was making some peanut butter cookies, I thought I should probably cover half of them in chocolate. Good thoughts? Yes indeed.

These are the Gigantoid Peanut Butter Cookies from VwaV. There is only one gigantoid one though, as you can see, that one I made for Curtis...because I love him...and there is long history of peanut butter cookies in our past!

And now for dinner,(*gasp* dessert before dinner!! I know you've eaten dessert before dinner before, don't deny it), PASTAAAAAAA!

This was thrown together pretty quick, a really simple tomato sauce using about 1/4 cup of a jar of tomato sauce we had in the fridge, fresh tomato, garlic, basil, thyme, pepper and sea salt. With chickpeas, roasted cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. And of course...garlic toast! It's a top secret family recipe. It is my absolute favourite. Curtis and I went to spend a weekend at a cottage with some friends of ours this summer...and this garlic bread, on the BBQ, saved our LIVES! Okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly helped to curb what could have been a (more) nasty hangover.

Tonight for dinner, I made some plain and simple tomato soup with crackers for Curtis, he has come down with a cold and stuffy sinuses. His sniffles demanded some soup. I had nothing too fancy myself, but a gigantic salad with some toast. It kinda looks pretty, though.

Greens, tomato, carrot, roasted beets, home grown sprouts, chickpeas, and a few pieces of smoked mozzarella sheese. Mmmm. So nice, so comforting. And we had cookies for dessert...again! But hey, we all need a little indulgence now and then. And of course by "now and then", I mean two days in a row!

Tomorrow is Thursday, (like you didn't already know that), and hopefully I will have something more substantial for you to gaze at than salad. I hope you are all staying warm and dry.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Barbeque! (aka: Wishful Thinking)

Hello from the stormy east coast, my fellow bloggers!

The snow and the freezing rain, and the rain, and the hail and the wind swept through the city last night and all of today. Its cold, and rainy now, but I'm warm inside blogging to you. Happy day! We live right beside the Halifax Harbour, and when the wind whips down the narrows from the Atlantic Ocean and slides in around the basin, you know it! We layed in bed last night listening to the ice pellets pound up against the window. Its something I've heard my whole life, but sometimes I still get a little overwhelmed with the power of nature. But enough about the weather...let's talk about some food!

On Saturday night, I was in the mood for something carbilicious. (So much so, that it caused me to make up a word to describe it). I found a great tea biscuit recipe on recipezaar. And of course I can't find it now, but I will share it with you when I do.

I used a star shaped cookie-cutter to make super-rock-star-tea-biscuits! We ate them warm from the oven with lots of earth balance, but I bet they'd be good covered in some mushroom gravy, too. Now that's a dinner I could go for...rock star biscuits, mushroom gravy, and a glass (or four) of Barolo. Mmm. Classy? maybe not... but delicious, heck yes!

There has been much eating here the last few days, yesterday of course was Pizza night. So we had leftovers for breakfast :) For lunch we had sammiches on crusty bread with tofurkey, greens, tomatoes, sprouts, and the best mayo...ever. Our local health food store, Planet Organic, makes a kickbutt veganaise. If you have one in your area, I highly suggest picking some up. Its garlicky, and creamy, and delightful.

For dinner tonight, we were thinking about something fun (and maybe a little summer-y?). I spent a good part of the afternoon leafing through some cookbooks, while watching the Sopranos, and decided on the delish scalloped potato recipe from Vive Le Vegan, and the BBQ Tofu from V-Con. I served them up with some simple steamed broccoli (eat yer greens!). It was a very satisfying meal for a long day of...okay we had a pretty lazy day, but it was nice to eat something fun. This was my first time with both recipes, and we cleaned our plates happily! I would recommend both.

As far as what we'll be eating for the rest of the week, I have a one or two things in mind, but you'll just have to wait and see (and I promise it won't be a plate of biscuits and a bottle of wine! ;) )
I hope the rest of you out there are staying in, warm and dry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Midweek Rustic Food Bliss...And A Love Letter to the Sun

Well, I know I promised more than a stir fry this week. And today isn't a stir fry...but it somewhat resembles one! Whattareya gonna do, though?!

Today, I needed a day. A day to not do anything but wander around the city day. A day where I can FINALLY get some sunshine (some MUCH NEEDED sunshine), hit up all my favourite coffee shops, and listen to some music. So, that's exactly what I did. Now, I don't mean to rub it in of course..hear me out. Normally, I leave the house each work day (Tues-Sat), at 7 am, I work from 8-6, and then I get home at 7 pm (public transit in Halifax is a bitch). Now, I know, some of you more southern of me, would see no problem with that, but here, its dark. It's very dark. It's pitch black when I leave the house, and it's pitch black when I leave work. I called in a "mental health day" at work today. I felt a little guilty for abandoning my clients, but Wednesdays aren't crazy busy, and let's be honest here; we ALL need a day to ourselves. Today was perfect for just that. The sun was beating down hard, reflecting off the harbour, bouncing rays of sunshine all over my head, hands and feet like it was trying to get in pants! The temperature was a little cool (a balmy 1 degree Celsius), but wow it was gorgeous. I made a sweet play list on the old iPod, grabbed my travel mug and headed out.

After such a beautiful day forgetting about any little trouble I would ever have in the world, I wanted something rustic and earthy for dinner. I wanted to be eating it in a cabin on the beach with my feet in the sand...but I guess that fantasy will have have to be just that for now- a fantasy! Damn.

These pictures are a little shaky...must have been all the excitement of getting outdoors today!

Fantasy Island Roasted Beets and Tempeh Bacon over Kale

Tempeh Bacon

1 8oz pkg of Tempeh, cut to your desired "bacon" shape
Now this next part...I just do to taste;

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Liquid Smoke
Chopped Garlic
Dried Savory
Dried Thyme
Black Pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Rice Syrup

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Boil the tempeh for about 3 minutes. This allows it to absorb the marinade more readily. Then toss it in the marinade. Leave it for at least an hour- up to overnight. Bake in the over with the beets (it will probably need a bit less time, depending on how crunchy you like the outside).

Roasted Beets
5 small beets, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces (I used a combination of yellow and candy stripe beets)
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 350*. Heat your cast iron pan on medium heat on a burner. Meanwhile, toss all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer the contents of the bowl to the hot pan, let them sizzle, and mix them around for about 2 minutes, then put the pan in the oven, and roast the beets for about 30 minutes.

Kale Salad
3 Cups Shredded Kale
1 Carrot, Shredded
1/2 Red Pepper, Shredded
2 Tbsp Raisins
2 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds (also good with tamari roasted pepitas or toasted pine nuts)
1 Tbsp Brown Rice Syrup
1/4 Cup Your Fave Vegan Mayo
Pinch of garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste

I think this is pretty obvious. Throw it all in a bowl, and mix until well combined. WOO! This tastes better if made ahead of time too. Gives the Kale some time to soften and the flavours to meld.

Divide the Kale Salad between two plates, top with the Roasted beets and Tempeh Bacon.

Goodnight, Blog Lovers

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Pasta, and Little Fridge Adoration. An All Encompassing Tuesday.

As I sit here catching up on my terribly late blog entry, I am in heaven! Before you go inquiring as to why indeed, I would blog from heaven when I could very well be binging on vegan cakes, cookies and having some sort "deep meaningful conversation" with James Dean, allow me to explain.

It's cold here. Many people refer to this type of cold (this chilling, muscle clenching, grind your teeth, can't feel your toes and the coffee in your travel mug is frozen type of cold) as frigid. While I do agree that this particular word fits into a context like this, I really hesitate to use it to describe this type of weather. Because *frigid* makes me think of fridge...and I love my fridge, I really do. Is it anything really special? Does it tell the time and make my grocery lists and digitally monitor the temperature of my food on a regular basis? No. (Though someday..maybe) No, our fridge is just a plain old, run of the mill fridge. But I adore it. It holds the kale and spinach and mushrooms and peppers and celery in a neat little crisper in the bottom. And it holds our large and delish assortment of mustard, our locally made grape jam, and our chocolate covered coffee beans all snug on the door. I will stop divulging the contents of the entire thing now, but you see what I'm getting at? Our fridge holds our FOOD! and we LOVE FOOD! In fact, I talk about food all day at work. You'd think I'd be tired of it when I get home, but secretly I could spend all evening in the kitchen. Oops, not so secret anymore. But I'm willing to bet I'm not entirely alone in that feeling. So, to get back to the reason why I am currently feeling like I'm floating on a nine if I had to get into the specifics.

I leave work today in a whirlwind of snow. Its -30 degrees (Celsius) and I am HUNGRY. Sure I could come home and whip up a stir fry, I mean after all that's pretty much what I did all last week (thus no blogging, I'm sure you've all seen you share of stir fries). Yup, last week was BUSY, a stir fry and an Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffin...I know, I'm so fancy. This weekend was a write off for anything fancy, I had a best girlfriend down visiting me this weekend. She and I went to University together. So between the wine, the snacks and the gossip, there wasn't much room for anything gourmet, and of course Curtis and I had our usual Sunday night pizza and drinks (oh, and Sopranos DVDs, which is our new current obsession!). Tonight I was determined to come in out of the cold, and whip up some gorgeous, delicious, comfort food. PASTA! There is a good possibility that this decision is based on all the pasta eating we witness in the Sopranos...but I would like to think I'm immune to that sort of subliminal we'll just pretend that is so.

I opened up our dear, faithful fridge, and what should I find in her shelf-like arms? PINE NUTS! Well since I was already planning on making pasta, the pine nuts put the idea of pesto into my head, and I knew there was no turning back once I was on the pesto train! And then, I spied the big, juicy portabellos, the balsamic vinegar, and the strands of tagliatelle, begging me to stop my pesto train at its station. So, I did. And the thrown-together-I'm-so-cold-and-freaking-hungry combination of flavours that married in my kitchen tonight, is heavenly! Does this picture do it justice? Not really. But hey, not everyone is photogenic...even pasta has a "fat day" sometimes ;) .

Pesto Tagliatelle with Balsamic Veggies

1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
3 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts*
3/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Cup Spinach Leaves
1/2 Cup Olive Oil (use your good stuff here)
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tsp Sea Salt

Put the first six ingredients in the blender and puree until things are incorporated, slowly adding the olive oil about a Tablespoon at a time. Add the nutritional yeast, and salt afterwards and pulse to combine. Add to a small sauce pan on the stove with 1/2 cup shredded soy cheese of your choice, add a splash of soy milk to give it a little more creaminess. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes until everything is warmed and combined. Leave on min while you prep the rest.

7 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
2 Medium Sized Portabellos, Chopped (to your desired size)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Heat your cast iron pan over medium heat while you clean and slice the veggies. Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl, toss into your pan, and let them sizzle for about a minute (this helps to seal in the moisture and flavour). Then place in your pre-heated oven while you prep the pasta.

Enough Pasta for however many people you are serving
A handful of spinach for each serving

Boil the pasta according to the directions, at the very last minute, add the spinach, and then pour the whole shebang into the colander to drain.
Put some pasta onto each plate, top with the warm pesto sauce and the baked balsamic veggies. Annndd Enjoy!

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it really didn't take much time, and for a warm, delicious and decadent meal (I usually use no or little oil in my cooking), its totally worth it. I bet it would be good with some tempeh bacon, too, a little carbonera pesto pasta. But in my need to fill my belly quickly, I was not about to make a batch. That's the type of thing that has to marinade overnight anyhow. So, that was our Soprano's-inspired meal for the evening, complete with garlic bread. And speaking of the mafia...

We love our ink...and we love being vegan. This is Curtis's arm. And his hardcore vegan bunny! A little glamour shot for the day.

I hope that you are all staying much warmer than we are here on the East Coast. And hopefully I will have something more exciting than stir fries and English muffins for the rest of the week for you!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Sugar Coma! And Some Soup...

Today, as most of you know, is our "Sunday". The day of sleeping in, rest, and making food! Last week, on Thursday, I was having a really crappy know what I mean, the kind of day where nothing seems to go right and no matter how positive you try to be, nothing seems work...and usually its for no reason in particular...more like, an accumulation of things. So point is, I had a crappy day. I came home to discover that Curtis had got off work early, and he was making brownies!!! The maple walnut browines from La Dolce Vegan. They were AMAZING. And they made me smile, and realize just what a lucky girl I am! Today, Curtis (and his HUGE sweet tooth) were in the mood to bake something sweet again, so he chose the Apple Peanut Butter Caramel Bars from V-Con. And I must take this opportunity to say. Holy Eff. They are AMAZING. A delicious crunchy graham cracker crust, with a soft, sweet granny smith layer of apples, topped with a sticky, creamy peanut butter caramel layer. What more could a girl ask for?!

Here is Curtis assembling the delightful pan of bliss.

And here is the finished product...please ignore the balckened bits of caramel...our oven is slightly unforgiving! But these squares are AMAZING!

After we recovered from our sugar coma, I decided to make some dinner. And the slow cooker seemed like the way to go tonight. So into the ceramic pot went;

Mushroom and White Bean Star Soup
4 Cups Veggie Broth
1 Tbsp Evoo
1/2 Cup Nooch
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Basil
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Celery Seed
1 Tsp Onion Powder
3 Cleaned and Chopped Portabella Mushrooms
4 Stalks Celery, Chopped
1/2 Red Pepper, Chopped
1 Can Canellini Beans
1/2 Cup Green Lentils
3 Tbsp Tamari
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
2 Cups Spinach, Chopped

I left this in the slow cooker on high for 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally ( I didn't add the spinach until there was 30 minutes left). I made a slurry of Evoo and Balsamic Vinegar and dipped star-shaped pieces of bread into it, covered with mozarella soy cheese and broiled for a few minutes to make cheesy, star shaped croutons.

We devoured it with some beers and are spending the rest of the evening watching Soprano's DVDs while listening to the freezing rain falling outside. It's a stormy night here in the maritimes!
Back to work in the morning, so it will probably be early to bed tonight!

Cheers for Now

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Sunday Scramble and Shamless Kitty Pictures


My apologies for being MIA for the last few days. I mean, I don't suppose you were terribly upset by my lack of posting, but I gotta say, it makes me truly excited (maybe a little too excited) when I see a new blog posting on any one of my fave blogs...Not that I'm saying I am your fave blog. Uhm...I will just stop rambling now and assume that you get the point!

So what have I been eating/cooking lately?! Well... not a heck of a lot! Well, I mean, I HAVE been eating, but nothing totally exceptional that I MUST write about it. And uh, my camera batteries died and only yesterday did I manage to pick some more up! Hoorah!

Today though, for breakfast, we had TOFU SCRAMBLE! I know, I know, totally over used. Just about every vegan cookbook, blogger and recipe page has their own version. And to be honest, I don't use any of them. But nor do I have my own recipe. It changes everytime I make it! But its all good cause it makes things interesting, yes?

For todays scramble, I thawed a frozen block of tofu in a sink full of boiling water. (we don't have a microwave...they terrify me. Honestly. Our favourite restaurant has NO microwave and NO deepfryer...just the way I like things, which is one of the reasons they are my absolute favourite! They are so great though, they deserve their own post....later) I'm getting easily sidetracked today. So anyway, I thawed the tofu, pressed it for about 30 minutes while I prepped the rest. I then crumbled it and let it soak in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and tamari for about 10 minutes, then into the cast iron pan went it for a few minutes, then I added a mixture of water, only about 1/4 cup, chickpea flour, nooch (the two constants in my scrambles), tumeric, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black and red pepper. I also added fresh chopped red pepper, tomato, mushroom and spinach.

The spinach was a last minute addition because I had planned to juice it...and my juicer passed out this morning. Yes that is correct, I pushed the little guy too hard. A quality juicer it is not, but a free juicer it was, so I can't complain. It's totally my own fault though for remembering that I had ginger in the freezer, which I just HAD to have in my juice, which I was not patient enough to de-frost first. Frozen ginger + sub par juicer = sad day.

We also had a fruit salad of green grapes, navel orange and golden delicious apple, with toast for me and a bagel for Curtis. It filled us up to the top of bellies and gave us lots of fuel for an afternoon trek around the city. Its a beautiful sunny day here in Halifax. Its a little chilly, but nothing a travel mug of coffee can't remedy! With a little So Nice Mocha soy milk added! That stuff is delicious, if you haven't yet tried it. It comes in little tetra pack, recycleable packages, that are great on the go. I'm often quite busy at work, so I find those little guys a great way to get some calories, fiber, and protein in if my lunch break is no where in site. Those and lara bars. I could probably live off of lara bars if I didn't enjoy being in the kitchen and playing with food so much.

On the menu for tonight is our usual Sunday night of adventure! Homemade pizzas with drinks and movies! If you haven't had a chance yet to read Tracy's latest entry though, you really should. She makes me laugh so hard I pee my pants sometimes. Okay, so I don't ACTUALLY pee in my pants...but you see where I'm going with this. And also, us Nova Scotia girls have to represent.

I think that is all the latest gossip for today. I will however leave you now with a total glamour shot of Lola, sleeping facedown on the couch. Lola is an endless source of entertainment, at least for us...have I mentioned we don't have cable?


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Smoky Corn of Delight!

As I mentioned yesterday...I wanted something warm and cozy for dinner! Corn Chowder ended up being our dinner of choice last night. The only soy milk we had in the fridge was I had to come up with something else that would give the chowder that creamy, creaminess that I was soo looking forward to. So that can of coconut milk that was staring longingly at me from the cupboard got its time to shine, corn chowder style! Here is the recipe!

Smoky Coconut Corn Chowder

1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups corn
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups potato, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups veggie stock*
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsps chili powder**
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Sautee the shallot in the olive oil for a few minutes until tender, and almost caramelized, then add the garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chili powder, followed by the veggie stock and the coconut milk. Stir to combine. Add the rest of the veggies. Simmer on medium low for about an hour, to an hour and a half, puree the soup as much as you'd like (some folks like it smoother than others). I pureed about half, making sure that I scooped up some of the potato, so assist in making it creamy. Add the pureed part back to the pot, and heat the soup through, adding sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

*I used my own "compost" veggie stock for this one, so if you are one of those people who saves their compost scraps in the freezer to make soup stock, you know what I mean! Taste may vary!

** I made my own chili powder using a giant dried ancho chili, cumin seeds, corriander seeds, toasting and pulverizing them, and adding smoked paprika and basil. This is what gives it that smoky flavour, so if you're using regular chili powder, try adding a drop of liquid smoke, or your own smoked paprika.

Tonights dinner was nothing overly special...but delicious...and sadly my camera batteries have died (tis the season just passed for picture taking!). A simple kamut and garlic spaghetti noodle, with tvp and kidney sauce with red peppers and mushrooms. Usually we'd have salad with this, but eating so late tonight, we just had a little pasta and are on our way to bed!

Goodnight, all!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sunday: Ode To The Carbohydrate

Yesterday, was a lazy, lovely, carb-filled day. We adore carbs. Sundays are usually the days I try to focus the most on cooking. Our weekends are Sunday and Monday, instead of Saturday and Sunday. Curtis is a tattoo artist, and I am a nutritional consultant, so we work on the days that are best for our clients. For this reason, Sunday for us is like Saturday for other folks. Confused yet? Point is, Sunday is usually our relax/have pizza and wine night, so knowing already what we're going to be having for dinner, gives me lots of time to play with food and make new things all day! Yesterday was no exception. Now, I love cooking, I could cook all day, but baking is something that hasn't always been my strong point. I really took a leap of faith yesterday though after reading about just how easy homemade bagels can be! Bagels! I LOVE BAGELS! Thought I. So out came my mixing bowls.

I must say, it really was easy, and the results...delicious!

The original recipe is from the lovely Joni. I replaced one cup of the flour with whole wheat flour (why? because I love fiber!). This recipe makes 8 bagels. I made 4 of them everything bagles with minced garlic, onion powder, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. I made the other 4 cinnamon raisin with a little extra sugar added. Of course, you only see 3 of each here...because we couldn't help ourselves! We made sandwiches for brunch with lettuce, tomato and soy bacon...Mmmm.

And for dinner, our Sunday usual...PIZZA! Mushroom, Red Pepper, Tomato, Broccoli, Sundried Tomato and cheeze from Acadiana Soy (our local soy producers!). All on homemade crust.

I should mention that everything we use in our kitchen is organic, and for the most part locally grown. We are very fortunate to live about 3 minutes away from our Farmers Market, and usually stock up on most produce there. If we can't get it there, we get it from Planet Organic, or from the Organics section of the Supermarket closest to our house. We go to the store, pretty well every day! But after reading so many other blogs of yours...I know we aren't alone!

I'm planning something warm for dinner tonight...possibly corn chowder...but I am also eagerly anticipating the potato soup recipe from Vcon. Sooo, check back to see what my indecisive mind has chosen!


Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year, New Blog!

Welcome to my new blog! Okay - my first blog. After years of drooling over the beauty and deliciousness of all my favourite vegan blogs, I thought it was time to start my own! And really, what better time to start than the begining of a new year!

In our little vegan house is myself (Kristine) and my love Curtis, and our fuzzy, much smaller member of the household, Lola - the cat.

I am hoping to offer some fun and delicious recipes, photos, and maybe a little humour!

So, please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, questions, anything! As a new gal to this bloging thing, I can use all the help you have to offer.

Thanks for stoping by! I hope you are looking forward to the latest recipe as much as I am!