Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Cheesy" Rice

Awhile ago I saw something on Pinterest that said mac and cheese comes out creamier if you cook the noodles in milk. I thought why not try it with rice? I added some nutritional yeast and veggies, and ended up with a big pot of creamy and cheesy rice.

This makes 4 servings.

"Cheesy" Rice
1 cup of rice
2 cups soy milk
1 tbs vegan butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup of frozen veggies (I used the standard carrots, corn, and peas mix)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, add the rice and soy milk.  Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Watch it so it does not burn. Add more liquid if necessary to keep it from burning. Try not to open the lid too much though.

Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix together well.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and frozen veggies. Cooked until the veggies are heated through.

Add the veggies to the rice and mix together well.

Season with salt and pepper.

This is a basic recipe, feel free to add any veggies, seasonings or anything else you like!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Finally, my last Thanksgiving 2012 recipe: chocolate pumpkin pie. This was actually a big hit with all the non-vegans on Thanksgiving too. It's got more protein from the tofu. Plus it has less fat and no cholesterol.

And once again, I forgot to take a picture of the whole pie. I remembered half way through eating my piece. When I went back to take some, it was already half gone.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
1 16 oz can of pumpkin
1/2 block of silken tofu, drained
2 tbs of coco powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of soy milk
2 tbs of maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade is fine)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour into the graham cracker crust.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center is firm.

Top with some vegan whip cream or my favorite, coconut cream.

Stuffed Pumpkin

This dish was fantastic and so adorable...too bad I forgot to take any pictures of it! I can at least post the recipe so you can make your own adorable little stuffed pumpkin.  I took this to my second Thanksgiving on Friday since we had to travel two hours. I just heated it up when I arrived.

Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin (Mine had about an 6 inch radius)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cups cornbread stuffing (I used a box mix, but you can make your own as well)
1/2 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and dried well and cut into small cubes
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 of a small onion, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the stem off the top of the pumpkin and hollow out the inside (detailed instructions on my pumpkin craving post, just minus the actual craving part).

Coat the inside of the pumpkin with some olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the stuffing, tofu cubes, chopped celery and chopped onions.

Stuff the pumpkin with the stuffing mixture. Make sure to leave a little room at the top. Cover the stem with foil and place back on top.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. The pumpkin should be tender enough that a fork can easily pierce through it.

Now remove the stem, and cut into slices. You eat both the filling and pumpkin flesh. Goes lovely with some gravy.

Next time I promise to remember the pictures...

Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast

I originally wanted a Tofurky Roast, but I did not find find any at Trader Joe's. I did not feel like going to another store so I just settled for Trader Joe's brand. While I still like Tofurky better, this roast was fantastic. It comes with its own gravy too. I served it over roasted veggies. Only a few people tried it for dinner, but those who did said it was good too. This would be a great options for those transitioning to vegetarian or veganism.
Before the oven, I accidentally forgot to take photos of it cooked...opps!

This recipe will work with any other alternative roast, just adjust the temperate and bake time as needed.

Turkey-less Roast
Olive oil
4 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 large carrots, cut into 1 inches pieces
4 large parsnips, cut into 1 inch pieces
Handful of brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 tbs herb de provence
Salt and Pepper
1 Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast
1 cup vegetable broth, divided in half

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the bottom of a roast pan with olive oil.

Prep and chop all the veggies accordingly.

Add the veggies to the pan, plus the herb de provence and the salt and pepper. Mix together to coat everything in olive oil.

Remove the roast from the packaging and place on top the veggies.

Pour half the vegetable broth over the roast.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the veggies are thoroughly roasted and roast is heated through.

Heat up the gravy packet that comes with the roast, pour it on, and enjoy a healthy and meat-free meal!

Mashed Cauliflower

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very lovely, so nice to spend time with my new family.  I thought I would post some of the recipes I made. I am going to break it into four posts to make it easier.

Here is the recipe for mashed cauliflower. It has a lot less carbs than potatoes. Now, I am not going to lie...I did not have high expectations. Mashed Potatoes is one of my favorite foods and I thought nothing could replace it. But this was fantastic! It is just as good, if not better. And it was so easy.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium head of  cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash the cauliflower head and dry.

Remove the florets from the base stem.

Fill a large pot with water and add the florets.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, uncover and add a bit of salt. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash everything together well.  Try to get the cauliflower as smooth as you can.

Now your mashed cauliflower is ready to serve! I topped mine with vegan gravy but any traditional mashed potato toppings would work great too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu 2012

Thanksgiving is coming up so I thought I would post my menu like I did last year.  I am so happy that, unlike last year, I actually get to eat with people! (Not that I don't love my kitty Penny, but she is not the best dinner companion) We will be attending two Thanksgivings because that is how Michael's family does it.  On Thursday we are going to his sister who lives just a few streets over from us. On Friday we are driving to Lincoln for dinner at his other sister's house. And to make it easier for our lovely hosts, I am bringing my own food. That way I know what I can eat, and no one has to worry or feel bad.

Since we aren't going very far on Thursday, I am bringing more elaborate things:
Roasted Veggies
Mashed Cauliflower 
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

I have to work in the morning on Friday and then have about a 3 hour car ride, so I am bringing one simple combination dish:
Stuffed Pumpkin (stuffed with stuffing, veggies, and tofu)

Check out my recipes from last year, they were all really good and not that complicated. 

I am very excited to share my lovely vegan dishes with my new family. 

**Speaking of family, the previously mentioned Penny and her sister Zoey are still part of mine. They are living with my parents in Oregon for the time being until we are more settled here. Like Lilo says, "Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind," so my kama'aina keiki will eventually become California girls.
A picture my mom sent me of my girls, I miss them so much!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cook! Product Reviews

I mentioned in my post about FoodBuzz Blogger Festival that I really enjoyed the products from Cook! at at the Taste Pavilion. I reached out about working with them and they sent me some samples.

Before I jump into the products, let me tell you a little more about the company. It was founded my Nona Lim in San Francisco, who was inspired to create convenient and healthy food from cooking Singaporean food with her father as a child. She began consulting with physicians and testing allergy-free recipes with the goal of producing clean and nutritious meals. This means no dairy, no gluten, no preservatives, no transfats, and no high fructose corn syrup. Only ingredients from local organic and sustainable farms.

Then in 2011 Nona started the Cook! Delicous Detox program. Cook! provided its clean and healthy pre-made meals to a few test clients for a week and the clients began to see health improvements right away.

Today Cook! offers various meal programs and retail products. The three meal plans are Detox, Maintain, and Customize. You can select the program that is best for you and your health goals. You can find their packaged retail products in stores around the Bay Area.  The meal plans can be shipped nationwide, but the retail products can only be shipped to the Bay Area at this time.

I am not now, nor have I even been on, the detox meal program, but I think it is a fantastic idea. I think delivery meal programs are a good idea for people who either do not know how cook or do not have the time. But most of them are full of chemicals and poor quality food, which seems counteractive. This program, however, actually provides healthy food.  I also like the detox aspect of it. You need to get all the bad stuff out of your body so the good stuff can get in and start healing you.


Now for the samples Cook! sent me. They arrived at my door step the next day, still frozen. This really impressed me, I have heard of other meal services arriving a week or more later. They come in individual packages that contain 1.5 servings each. You just pour out the contents and heat over the stove.

Thai Green Curry: I tried this one at the Taste Pavilion and it was so good I wanted to try it again. It a little creamy and very flavorful. It has a nice selection of veggies that are cooked perfectly.  I had this over rice for dinner one night after a long day and it totally hit the spot.

Tomato Soup: I have always thought that the "classic" canned tomato soup tasted nothing like tomatoes. But this soup was like biting into a sweet, vine-ripend tomato! It is perfectly seasoned too.  What I liked most is that it is not totally pureed. It still had a bit of texture, proving that it was made from fresh tomatoes. I went nicely with a piece of sourdough for lunch after a brisk bike ride.

Asian Lemongrass: I hate to say it, but I was not a fan of this soup. I love lemongrass, but I could not taste the it at all. It was actually kind of bland. However, the veggies and noodles were cooked perfectly. And I liked the big chunks of tofu. I think this has the potential to be a great veggie soup, just need some tweaking.

Thank you so much Cook!, I think this a terrific company with a mantra that the whole food industry should adopt! I hope we can work together again in the future.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Orange Waffles with Blackberry Sauce

I actually made this breakfast back on Halloween, but have not had the time to post it yet. Like I mentioned before, Michael loves waffles, and also loves the Giants. So to celebrate them winning the World Series, I made orange and black waffles.  Rather than use chemical food coloring or artificial flavoring, I decided to use fresh fruit. These came out so good that I am adding them to my regular breakfast rotation.

I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Pancake and Waffle mix,  but you can use any mix you like. Or you can  make them totally from scratch. This makes four waffles.

Orange Waffles with Blackberry Sauce

2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar 
1 cup fresh blackberry 
Juice from half an orange 
pinch of salt

1 and 1/2 cup waffle mix ( I used Bob's Red Mill Organic 7 gain Pancake and Waffle Mix)
1/2 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp oil
Juice from half an orange
Zest from one whole orange

For the sauce, in a small pot over medium,  add all the ingredients for the sauce together.

Bring to boil, the reduce heat to a simmer.

Let it cook down until it reaches desired consistency. I like mine a little on the runny side.

For the waffles, heat up your waffle iron according to the directions.

Mix together all the ingredients just until combined.

Pour the batter into the waffle iron and cooking according to the directions.

Once the waffles are done, drizzle on the blackberry sauce and enjoy!

A lovely hot waffles, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. Great way to start the morning and celebrate the Giants!