My Summer In Recipes

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

All throughout the year, I’ve had a tiny list of a few recipes I’d like to try. Well, when I realized I was home and had the whole Summer before me, that list kind of… exploded. Thanks to all of your suggestions and more, here is what I hope to make and bake over the next few months.

Wow. I better get cooking, right? Thankfully, I have.

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Microwave Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup no-stir peanut butter*(smart balance recommended)
  • 3/4 cup natural vegan butter substitute(earth balance recommended)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

In a bowl, microwave the vegan butter until melted. Add in the peanut butter and stir until fully incorporated. The mixture should be a thick liquid at this point. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla while slowly adding the milk as needed. Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, pour into a shallow square pan. Keep in the fridge loosely covered for at least 12-24 hours before cutting into.

*If the peanut butter is not solid at room temperature, the recipe will not set properly

**The powder is recommended because the alcohol in the vanilla extract will hinder the setting process somewhat

Good thing I’ve been running too…

14 Miles

14 Miles

I hoped to run 14 miles today, but honestly I did not know that I would. I put myself out on the road, and after the first few miles things just felt good. At 6.5 miles, when I could have cut it short, I knew I had it in me to keep going and going and made it all in under 2 hours. Wahoo! I was excited, and ready to eat a good meal for lunch.

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Ah, nothing feels more refreshing than a Summer salad. I dressed spinach in this dressing and then mixed together chickpeas, golden raisins, raw cheddar, and a little maple syrup. The maple and sea salt really draw out the flavor in the cheddar to the point where it is too good for words. Have you been following your salads for salad a day?

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Dessert was the 2 things I’ve been holding in my head all day: A piece of vegan peanut butter fudge and a Sweet Utopia vegan GF chocolate cupcake. The fudge isn’t quite set to where I’d like it, but I couldn’t help digging in with a spoon; the flavor is dead on. This plus Tivoed Bobby Flay made for a perfect afternoon. Do you think I could get into a fudge throwdown with him?

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

I also had for the 2nd day in a row a bowl of oatmeal with 365 crunchy. What can I say? I’m obsessed. I like the crunch, but so often pre-flavored nut butters are smooth. So now that I’m on a 365 kick, I expect to be crunching away!

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Plus an organic apple for a good serving of fruit before dinner.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

For dinner I tried out this recipe.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

I think I’ve got you matched here, Whole Foods. This was pretty fantastic. Sure, it wasn’t fried. But the flavor was nice and spicy. For the rice, we just cooked it normally and then drizzled with coconut milk and lime zest at the end. Magnifique! So simple and yet rich and flavorful.

What recipes do you hope to make this Summer? Or maybe you shouldn’t tell me because then my list will grow longer…

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The Banana Soft Serve Diet

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I loved learning from this post that American Chop Suey is primarily a New England meal; I never knew that! It sounds like you either grew up eating this 3 times a week(guilty and proud of it ;-)) or have never tried it. Really, it’s just pasta(usually elbow macaroni) with ground beef, green pepper, onions, tomato sauce, and some seasonings, but it’s one of those dishes that is 10 times better than the sum of its parts; you would not believe the flavor it can have.

Another thing I cannot believe the flavor of? Fried Rice. I admit I’ve had this from a restaurant maybe once in my life, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to make it with my leftover organic brown rice. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but that’s never stopped me before 😉 I heated maybe a tablespoon of earth balance in a pan, then added the rice and tamari until it was mostly absorbed. Then I added steamed broccoli florets. I couldn’t figure out if eggs were traditionally added as a necessary ingredient, or a protein source(still unclear on this), so I threw in 1 egg white and cooked until that was well set.

Fried Rice

Lightlife Buffalo Wings

1 egg white was not my protein source so I had the rest of my Lightlife buffalo wings, too. I realize the flavors don’t work here at all; I could have thrown in some tofu. But damn if those wings ain’t delicious. Now if only they weren’t an arm and a leg 😦 The fried rice came out delicious! I mean, anything with added fat and sodium is never bad, is it? I think next time I’ll add a full egg or two for some yolk-flavor(Oh, and there will be a next time). Along with lunch I was watching television and guzzling down a new-to-me beverage.

Raspberry Steaz

This Steaz was a lot better than the other two I’ve tried. Instead of just tasting like flavored green tea, this actually tasted like raspberry. I don’t think I’d buy it over Zevia again, though, except for that we got 2 4-packs for $2.66; that was such a good sale at Whole Foods I think I’ll be dreaming about it.

Snow

Did I mention it was still snowing after Days? In fact, it snowed all day, even though it wasn’t supposed to at all. Weird. It was a nice snowfall to watch, though–very light and fluffy. For whatever reason my grandmother dropped by and proceeded to try to convince me it was “warm” out. Warm? Really? From what I’ve learned, it doesn’t snow when it’s “warm”. Then again, I wasn’t about to argue with an 81 year old(now, if she were 82, that would have been a different story).

The one thing I did not like about lunch was that it did nothing for my hunger. It really is true what they say about Chinese food: You’re just hungry an hour later. I could have eaten my arm off, but instead I decided to have an early afternoon snack.

Chocolate Banana Softserve

So much to say–where to start? Number #1: Anything put in a food processor with cocoa powder comes out good. It’s a fact. This was 6oz banana, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and some vanilla stevia, and it came out amazing. I was thinking of adding Xanthan Gum but was sooo happy I didn’t. Look how thick it was all its own! #2: As good as this was, it wasn’t a Frosty from Wendy’s, which I was craving. This would be more like a frosty if it had less chocolate, and some milk, and some ice, and came from Wendy’s. Yep. That’d make it more like a frosty. #3: Whereas my meal of fried rice and buffalo wings didn’t hold me over for an hour, this held me over 3 hours until dinner. Does that mean there’s some truth to the banana diet? I’m totally up for it, so long as that banana comes in soft serve form.

Among the things I did in the afternoon was play with my food processor, while it was out.

Tierra Farm Organic Salted Pistachio Meat

Among the package Tierra Farm sent me was these pistachio meats. Because I’m 99% more likely to eat seeds and nuts in their butter form, and didn’t have a pistachio butter, I set 1/2 an ounce aside for dinner and shoved the rest into the processor.

Pistachio Butter

Nut and sed butters are, unfortunately, not the sexiest one at the party, but this was pretty bangin’. It was so easy to grind these, probably because Tierra Farm knows what they’re doing in roasting them unlike this nut. I can’t wait to put this over oatmeal. Pistachio and pumpkin? Sounds good to me. Speaking of being a nut…

Buffalo Chicken

I ate those buffalo chicken wings at lunch fully knowing I was making the real thing for dinner. Obsessed? Just a little. These were really simple. I cooked the chicken breasts fully. While those were working, I melted 2 tablespoons earth balance and franks red hot sauce in a pan until melted. When the breasts were done, I let them sit in the butter mixture for 5 minutes or so.

Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese, 3oz Buffalo Chicken, 1/2oz Organic Pistachio Meat

The chicken came out good and flavorful, but I don’t think the sauce was thick enough or took to it well; maybe add a tablespoon of flower next time? Still, it was an upgrade from what would have been all-white meat. It’s good to have some sort of fat on or with meat, and since I used earth balance it was trans-fat and cholesterol free 😀 I smeared goat cheese on my brussels, to change them up, and had 1/2 an ounce Tierra Farm organic salted pistachio meat to review. Umm, yum! Maybe I just forgot how good pistachios were, or maybe these were just that good, but I loved them! Nice and salty 🙂 I can’t wait to try my seed butter now!

I have to tell you: Tomorrow morning will not be pretty. Our big coffee pot died this morning 😦 It’s not so much a problem for me because I have my Keurig single cup brewer. The key words there are “my” and “single” 😉 And now I’m flipping between American Idol and The Biggest Loser right now. Why do we have to choose things like this? It’s not fair.

Here’s a superfruit spread giveaway.

A giveaway for vegan ice cream! How fun.

And a giveaway for Q.bel chocolate–one of my faves!

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A Domestic Day

Posted on January 5, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I will warn you this post might turn out to be just like my day: very long, delicious, full of British humor, and ending with a winning recipe. Just a warning.

Last night, after blogging, I felt like I needed more nuts in my life.

Tierra Farm's Organic Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts

In the box they sent me a while back, Tierra Farm included these maple glazed nuts. Maple and nuts? Two of my favorite things! I knew just how to try them out.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Maple Glazed Nuts

Delicious! These nuts were very good; they weren’t huge on the maple flavor but deliciously rich and satisfying. Note: They didn’t come in tiny pieces like that. I was actually impressed that they came all whole, and with a good selection. I just crushed them up to make them more oatmeal friendly, and threw in some sweet peanut butter. This did a great job at getting me sleepy and in the mood for bed.

Unfortunately, all this week I’ve been waking up around 4am, and I’m not sure why. Originally, it was always to go to the bathroom. Since reducing the amounts of liquids I have before bed, however, I’m still waking up, but not needing to go to the bathroom. Suggestions on how to “fix” this? I’d like to imagine(or use this as an excuse) that this is why I did not feel like working out this morning. Didn’t Kelly Clarkson once say something like “Some months I feel like working out, and some months I just feel like eating ding-dongs”? Well, if that’s the case, then I’m saying some months I feel like running, and some months I feel like watching I Love Lucy, because that’s what I did for the first hour of my day as I sipped down 2 cups of coffee. After showering from that “workout”, I had a seasonal breakfast.

Nog Greek Yogurt

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Drizzled With Maple Syrup

Very wintery and delicious. For the yogurt I used 1/4 cup Nog and a little bit of my Xanthan gum! I’ve had a problem with Nog yogurt being too thin for my preference but the gum really thickened it up. I wouldn’t say, however, that it’s flavorless. It’ll be interesting to see if now I can pick out its flavor in other products, too. The oatmeal with Artisana walnut butter and cream cheese was just beautiful; I swear I’m going to eat the rest of that cream cheese before it grows mold again… again.

Like the title says, this was a very domestic day. I had the house to myself and plenty on my to-do list to finish. Would you believe I haven’t downloaded music in months. These were the few songs I’ve heard on the radio recently that I had to have.

Recently Added

That gave me the chance to charge my iPod, Nintendo DS, and cell phone. While I was doing that, I was also looking online for a good vegan meatloaf recipe. In true Evan-fashion, I couldn’t find one that fit my wants perfectly or I had all the ingredients for, so I took a little of each and made my own. I’ll admit–making my own recipe for something that I’ve never even had before felt a little silly, but I had high hopes for this.

Lentils And Trader Joe's Brown Rice Mix

The “meat” of the loaf I decided was brown rice and lentils, which are two of my mom’s favorite vegan foods(and probably the only two). Instead of plain brown rice, I used a Trader Joe’s mix that has some seeds in it, as well. In another bowl, I worked with all the dry and wet ingredients, and 60 minutes later had it actually looking like a “loaf”

Uncooked Vegan Meatloaf

Not only have I never had vegan meatloaf before, I don’t think I’ve ever had regular meatloaf before. How weird is that? But after seeing this on Anna’s blog, I knew I really wanted it to work out. Did I mention I had to dice an onion for this? I felt like Julia Child from Julie & Julia. After the pot of rice for the loaf came off the stove, I decided that’d be good for lunch, too, so I threw another serving on. Besides that, I did not feel like cooking. Naturally, I let Al Fresco do the work.

Al Fresco Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages

Brown Rice Bowl With Broccoli, Garlic Chicken Sausages, And Soy Sauce

Let’s not point out the irony in shoving a vegan meatloaf in the refrigerator and pulling out chicken sausages to eat. Instead, let me just tell you how good these sausages were. In our Italian household, we’ve never been shy about adding garlic to dishes. It’s just one of those spices I cannot get enough of. Apparently, somebody at Al Fresco felt the same, because they just let these have the flavor like it was nobody’s business. It tasted so good with the soy sauce and rice(yes, there’s rice under there).

After lunch, I really wanted to get a good workout in. I came up with what I’m calling the “Count to 10” cardio and fitness workout. All you need to do is know how to count to 10, and you can do it!

  • Walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times
  • Do 10 push-ups
  • Walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times
  • Do 10 sit-ups
  • Repeat for 10 iterations

Isn’t that simple? But it’s also good in that it works you for a while, and works your legs, abs, and arms. Next time I do this, I’ll probably raise the sit-ups to 20 to fit my own fitness, but you can play around with it as you will. The whole thing took about 70 minutes, and halfway through I reached for some electrolytes.

Orange Bot Beverage

Just today, Bot Beverages sent m a pack of their lightly sweetened sport waters to sample and review. The timing for this really worked out perfectly, and orange sounded like a zesty flavor to start. The Orange Bot wasn’t incredibly flavorful, but it was definitely better than water for replenishing myself; and I’m ecstatic to see a company who believes you don’t need high sugar and artificial flavors and colors to have a good workout. I ended up drinking 1/2 the bottle and saving the rest for another time. After those electrolytes, for my post-workout eats I turned to some protein.

Chocolate Greek Yogurt With Orange Dark Chocolate Shavings

Really, I’ll look towards any excuse to eat chocolate. And because I was on an orange kick, I shaved on a square of the 1.4oz organic Endangered Speciesdark chocolate with natural orange flavor. The orange wasn’t super pronounced(just like the Bot water), but it was a nice hint of flavor. And, as I’ve pointed out, I’m really saving the environment by eating chocolate 😉 During this, my mom came home and was delighted to see dinner mostly made. We threw the meatloaf in the oven at 5:30 so it’d be ready for dinner when my dad got home.

Vegan Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard

On the stove, cook completely your brown rice and lentils. While those are simmering, dice the onion and shave the carrot. In a food processor or mini chopper, finely crush the walnuts into crumbs. Combine all of those in a dish with the bread crumbs, salt, and seasoning. When the brown rice is ready, toss it in that bowl. In a separate bowl, mush the cooked lentils with a potato masher until a thick puree. Add to the rice mixture the ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, and tomato sauce and mix. Lastly, add the lentil puree and fold until fully incorporated. Transfer this into a loaf pan. For best results, let the laof sit in the refrigerator for 2-5 hours before baking if time allows. When ready to cook, bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees for 60 minutes, and let cool on counter covered for another 10 minutes before cutting into.

Since the loaf is so dense and nutritious, we didn’t cook too much alongside it. We simply roasted some brussels sprouts.

Vegan Meatloaf, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oh my God was this good! Right off the bat, with the ketchup and mustard and onions it reminded us all of a McDonalds hamburger. Except it was vegan–go figure! My mom also enjoyed that it was soy free(save some soy sauce). The loaf didn’t hold together as well as I hoped it would but that’s probably because we took it out a little early. I ended up eating probably twice as much as pictured, and it was sooo worth it even if it’s made me bloated like a balloon. For once I can say I’m truly excited to have leftovers!

After dinner, my parents decided they needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some things, and I opted to stay home to watch Dr. Who and do work like write 4 product reviews, a recipe, and this post. I must really like blogging if I turned down a trip to the grocery store for it 🙂 Since then, they’ve came back with a McDonalds’ coffee for me, which has already “disappeared”, and I’m watching the new Biggest Loser! Now I just need to remember that, as delicious as this vegan meatloaf is, it’s not as easily digestable as chocolate or oatmeal at 9pm at night…

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“Hey, That Was Vegan!”

Posted on December 29, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Last night, like I mentioned, I took control of dinner. I got hungry handling the food, so I snacked on some yogurt.

YoBaby And Greek Yogurt

I mixed 1/2 a container of YoBaby with 1/2 a greek yogurt. The YoBaby was made for… well, babies and was sweet potato and apple flavored. It was actually pretty good! A little thin, but I suppose babies need it to be like that? If you’re wondering why we even had a YoBaby, there was an instore coupon to get it for free and I could not pass on free probiotics. I was very excited to see how the parents would respond to my dinner.

Broccoli Fries, Maple Baked Tofu, Brown Rice Medley With Vegan Butter

I stuck with my favorite simple vegetarian dish: maple tofu. I also made broccoli fries(which needed another 10 minutes but I wasn’t going to make others wait any longer) and some rice which I don’t particularly care for but knew my mom loves. Everyone seemed to like it! Even my mom was picking at second servings of the tofu from the pan. She later asked if it had soy in it, which she’s convinced is poison for woman over 40. Should I bother showing her it’s probably in 50% of everything she eats? I’ll save that amusement for another day. Literally 3 hours after this, for no reason whatsoever, it popped into my mind that this meal was completely vegan! I never would have pictured us as a family enjoying a vegan meal so much, and entirely accidentally. Later on I was still stuffed but wanted a little bit of chocolate cake.

Vitabrownie

Perfect. I love the touch of walnuts on top, which is weird because I’ve never made brownies with walnuts in them. I was thinking of making my gluten free brownies with walnuts instead of mints. Good thing I didn’t because I later found out that my aunt happens to break out with acne from walnuts(and she loves digging in to my desserts at the holidays ;-)). Later on I still had a chocolate tooth but this time more room to stomach oatmeal.

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Chocolate Chips

Delicious. I swear I’m going to need a 5lb tun of Naturally Nutty‘s butter toffee to last through the next semester. I’ve thought about trying to recreate it with my food processor but I just don’t think I could; the texture is just too perfect with this one among other things.

This morning I slept in again. Maybe I need a New Years Resolution to get up on time? Thankfully, I had nowhere to go, just some things to address.

Recipes

These are all the recipes I plan on making before the New Year. 3 are for out New Years Eve party and 3 are for my own amusement. 4 of them are just adapted from internet ones but 2 are “homemade”. The first one I wanted to try was homemade deep chocolate vitatops; I don’t want to think about how much money I’ve spent on these so I was happy to get muffintop baking sheets for Christmas. After studying the ingredient list carefully, I wrote up a recipe that would almost match it exactly.

Homemade Vitatops

They certainly look like the real deal, don’t they? And they’re almost identical in every way, from calories to texture to even whole grains per serving(although I threw in a few extra chocolate chips because vitatops tend to skimp ;-)). So even though I haven’t tasted them yet, I’m going to count this as a win because the point wasn’t to make the best tasting thing I could but the best replica. I’ll post the recipe a little later on. After showering, I wanted a maple(not chocolate) breakfast.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple And Pumpkin Cream Cheese

Greek Yogurt With Maple Butter

I need to eat my pumpkin cream cheese more because there was a little mold when I opened the container. Why, oh why. This happened last time and we had to throw out the whole thing, but this time I just skimmed the top and carried on(shh, don’t tell). I’d rather take the risk than lose the 6 dollars. The maple butter on yogurt was perfect; I’m going to be using the butter as the “special ingredient” in one of those 5 remaining recipes. But first up it’s time to take Montana to the vet for a check up! Of course the big lump of fur is still sound asleep.

Check out this kitchen gadget giveaway from Graze With Me!

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