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April 2015
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More Tester Recipes

I wish I had some original recipes to share with you today but no such luck….I can say I made the sopapillas(?) from Viva Vegan and they’re delicious, but I forgot to take a picture…

What is pictured here, are a couple more tester recipes from the Diet, Dessert and Dogs e-book that’s coming soon!

First off was the full breakfast hash:


Complete with sweet potatoes, tofu and more…nice and filling.

I also did it up with the socca roll-ups with a sweet potato spread and apples this week…REALLY GOOD!


Not gunna lie, those roll-ups were my Valentine’s Day dinner…really classy I know…I have a thing with making crepes or something like them on valentine’s day, it’s something of a tradition at this point.


Asparagus Oatmeal and Lemoney Potatoes

Just thought I’d post a couple cookbook recipes I ate this week and snapped quick pictures of…

The first is an asparagus-oatmeal “soup” from The Passionate Vegetarian it was interesting and filling, but I’m not sure it’s something I’d do again.  I’m not a huge oatmeal person to begin with, and savory renditions of it just don’t seem quite right to me.


Along with the soup were some lemony potatoes from Veganomicon which I’ve done before, but it had been awhile.  They’re good, but I’m still not convinced lemony potatoes are my favorite flavor combination on earth…oh well.  That isn’t to say I didn’t finish every bite of them in a single sitting…cause I did.



Cornbread Dressing?

I’m told something can only be called a stuffing if it’s inside of something else, so apparently a combination of bread and binders in a casserole dish is either a pudding or a dressing…I’m not entirely certain what the difference is there either, but we’ll go with it…and call this a dressing….up.  This is one of those times where I did use eggs, so not a Vegan recipe….you’ll want to skip this one or think of setting it up with egg replacers if you stick to a Vegan diet.

I’ve had tons of these cornbread “loaves” in my fridge lately, thanks to a couple coupons for picking them up free at BJs in the recent past, and after eating about as many of them plain as I could handle, I decided I might try something new on the cornbread front, and combine them with some veggies and liquid.  We were actually completely out of vegetable stock, which is generally what I would use in a stuffing, but I made do, and I actually think this came out pretty well…I certainly didn’t miss the stock…


Approx. 2 cups crumbled prepared corn bread
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, also diced small
one small yellow onion, diced
1 tbs dried sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried tarragon
S+P to taste
1/2 cup cooking sherry or white wine of choice
2 tsp olive oil
3 eggs

1. preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet (I used cast iron) heat the oil. Add onions, carrots and celery, and cook 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent. Add spices and cornbread, mixing to cook evenly. When things start to look dry, pour in the wine, a bit at a time. Taste, and add salt and pepper to your satisfaction.
2. Spray a 5×7 casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix the eggs. Pour the bread and vegetable mixture into the eggs and stir quickly to combine before eggs get “scrambled”. Pour mixture into the casserole dish and use a spatula to even out the top a bit. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, bake another 10.
3. Let cool for at least 5 minutes to solidify a bit, then serve!

In this case I was using a prepared cornbread that has quite a bit of sugar in it, so my stuffing ended up fairly sweet, how far over on the sweet/savory scale you are, will depend on what cornbread recipe you use…This certainly wouldn’t be bad with some gravy….maybe a nice mushroom rendition…


The Passionate Vegetarian Returns

I decided to pull out a cookbook I hadn’t used in awhile (or if I’m honest, much at all) yesterday and see what I could scrounge up based on what was in the fridge.

First off, I gave the ‘Spicy Eggplant with Buckwheat Noodles’ a shot, which sounded pretty good…but totally didn’t do it for me.  For starters, there’s raw, blended garlic in here, and all I could taste when I ate the dish, was raw garlic.  Maybe that’s something you enjoy…me?  I like my garlic cooked.  It looked pretty though:


I’d also have to admit that mixing raw cucumber with hot pasta didn’t thrill me either, it was ok as first, but as soon as the cucumber warmed up a bit its texture got borderline slimy and simply unappealing, not something you want as leftovers.  So this wasn’t a winner, but what about the other recipe I tried?


Parky’s Pepper Mill Pasta Salad a L’Italia has a ridiculously long name…but it’s pretty decent for a pasta salad.  There was nothing terribly groundbreaking in here, but nothing offensive either (like RAW GARLIC).  I eliminated the Mayo from the recipe, making this a fat free dish, but still pretty flavorful.  I noticed the pasta soaked up a lot of the flavor and I added S+P before eating, but otherwise, no complaints to speak of.  This would be great to bring to a BBQ once it’s actually warm out again…it’s quick and easy to make as well…

And so thus goes my adventures in The Passionate Vegetarian…more to come…


Superbowl Snacks!!!!

Just wanted to share a picture of our GameDay Spread.  I just watched the game with a couple close friends, but we made sure we were totally entrenched in snacks….not to mention beer, but I didn’t bother taking a picture of that…..

Oh and I’d picked the Packers on the day (Since my Pats bowed out not-so-gracefully a couple weeks ago) so um…Go Team!  Yay Win!  Alright, now that that’s out of the way, check out the eats:


I made the pitas and hummus from scratch, buffalo tofu (ie.  oven baked tofu tossed with hot sauce and Earth Balance), and Israeli salad.  We also had a massive crudite platter with homemade Thousand Island (so a mixture of Nayo, Ketchup and Relish…but without the copyright), some olive bar, dill pickle spears, Hint of Lime Chips (Now with all natural ingredients!!!!) and my roommate’s infamous 5 layer dip.  Because only the overachievers make 7 ;) >   Yum.

Now is it just me, or are the commercials getting way over done?  Remember people, there’s nothing like a good joke…even millions of dollars worth of cgi can’t beat a classic.  My favorite?  The third Pepsi Max commercial where the couple are having dinner and the whole thing is subtext, with him wondering if she’s denying him her pepsi max or getting lucky.  I still don’t buy soda…but props on the ad.  The Groupon ones were fun too.  Anyone else got favorites?

I’m also still testing recipes for Diet, Dessert and Dogs…these were coconut pancakes:




So I set out intending to make a minestrone…but  I didn’t really have any fresh vegetables with the exception of spinach and two mushrooms, and I apparently didn’t put enough liquid in….so this turned out closer to a chili…which isn’t bad…and probably put the universe back at equilibrium since the chili I made a couple weeks ago was pretty soupy.  This is a serious cold winter night dish…whatever you choose to call it, that’s for sure.  I think part of the issue may have been that the pasta soaked up all the liquid that WAS in here, you’re supposed to use ditallini, but I didn’t have any, and had to go with pretty big pasta, although I only put a handful in.


The recipe for this can pretty much be whatever you have on hand…that’s the route I went, but I’ll share my ingredients anyway, so you can get an idea.  With the exception of the salt and pepper, these were all Penzy’s spice blends that I used.

2 tbs olive oil
2 blocks frozen, pureed basil
2 tsp Tuscan Sunrise Spice Blend
1 tbs Shallot Pepper
Sprinkle Dried Jalapeno
1 tbs onion powder
1/2 cup frozen corn
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 can black beans, rinsed
2-4 large button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded baby spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
10 ounces vegetable stock
S+P to taste
Handful pasta of choice – optional

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add basil and spices stirring to develop flavors. Add garlic and mushrooms, continuing to stir. Add the rest of the vegetables except for spinach. Once they’re coated with spice/oil mixture, add tomatoes and stock, stirring to combine. Set to simmer, and leave for 20 minutes.
2. Add noodles if using, and allow to boil until they’re cooked. Make sure all the liquid doesn’t cook out, and if it does, add more, 1/2 cup at a time. Once soup is done and heat is off, stir in spinach.

I do wish I’d had more fresh veggies to put in this, but you make do with what you’ve got…and it certainly wasn’t bad.  A little toasted bread to scoop things out with would’ve been good too if I’d had space for it.


Pan-fried Kale and Brown Rice Pilaf

I can’t be the only person who sometimes gets cravings for that Near East brand rice pilaf mix…it’s definitely white rice, full of sodium…and with that little packet of orzo noodles and “spice mix” so darn…cravable.  This time around, instead of giving in to the powers of the box, I decided to make my own, and while it looked and even smelled like the real thing…it wasn’t really.  Good as rice goes, but I’d be lying if I said it totally hit the spot.  Perhaps I should put all the dry ingredients in a box next time and pour them out into the water.  As a healthy alternative and flavorful rice dish it IS good though, so here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup long grain brown rice
3/4 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbs dry orzo
Sprinkle turmeric for color
S+P to taste

1. heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add rice and orzo, stirring to coat. Once things start to smell a bit toasty, add spices and water. Bring to a boil, and than lower to a simmer, covering. Cook until all liquid has absorbed. Use a fork to fluff.


The kale was sauteed in some earth balance and then got to soak up a nice amount of cooking sherry, salt, pepper, and a handful of sliced button mushrooms.  Nothing out of this world, but nice and filling, and kale is SOOOO good for you, I need to sneak it into the menu every-so-often.  I also added my last couple drops of umeboshi vinegar for a bit of a tang.  I wish I’d had more…


Vietnamese Spring Rolls…quick and easy

Nothing like some quick Vietnamese spring rolls with sauce out of a jar for an easy (and healthy, depending on what’s in your sauce) dinner.  Filling too, since I have a habit of really stuffing the heck out of these things.  These particular rolls were filled with some spinach rice noodles, raw red bell pepper, blanched asparagus spears, and salted radish.  (What can I say, I’ve always had a thing for pickled daikon in its many forms)


The great thing about these wrappers is that you can basically put anything in them…and once they’re actually softened and flattened they’re pretty resilient, so you can really stuff these babies.  Filling things with brightly colored vegetables also makes me think of spring…never a bad thing..what with the “wintry mix” coming down outside right now…


Mushroom Spaghetti and Two more Tester Recipes

I’d been wanting to try the recipe for Mushroom Fettuccine in Appetite for Reduction for awhile, and even though I didn’t have the mushroom soup or mushrooms called for, I made due with what I DID have, and this came out SOOOO good, possibly my favorite pasta dish ever.  (And I realize I say that a lot) but this is my NEW favorite pasta dish ever…until the next one.  I used button mushrooms since they were what I had on hand, and it turned out great.  I also didn’t have any portobella mushroom soup and where on earth would I get that anyway?) so I made my own “cream” of mushroom soup, from scratch, before starting on the sauce.  That recipe I can include, following the picture:


5-6 button mushrooms, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Earth Balance
1 tsp shallot pepper (or chopped shallots and pepper if you don’t have that spice)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup soy creamer
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved with 1 tsp water
S+P to taste

1. Melt EB in a medium skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and spices, allow to cook 3-4 minutes until softened and giving off moisture. then add cream, followed by stock, mixing well. Once it starts to boil, lower to a simmer, and leave for 8-10 minutes. Slowly whisk in corn starch slurry, stirring until soup begins to thicken.

I just threw this right into the sauce for the pasta instead of the “portabella soup” called for, but I’m sure it would be delicious enjoyed as-is as well.  Also, I’m pretty sure the real trick to this recipe was that I put in tons of cracked black pepper…giving it some serious savory zing.

And then there was more testing for Diet, Dessert and Dogs e-books.  I can’t give away any secrets, but this first picture is of the “Better than PB&J Breakfast Casserole”:


And the second one is of the “creamy basil pesto tofu scramble”.  YUM on both counts….


So that’s what I’ve been eating, what about you?  What’s getting you through these cold days and mountains of snow?  I’m always looking for new ideas and input…


Jerk Tofu and Asparagus with Sticky Rice and Peas…or what Jamaican me for Dinner?

So get your groan about the title out of the way now…I just couldn’t resist the pun.  Since it’s still snowing (seemingly without pause for the last month now) I’ve run out of interest in slow cooker recipes and stews and have decided that if I cook only things inspired by warm climates, perhaps it will start to rub off.  No luck yet, but we’re still hoping.

My jerk seasoning just doesn’t see enough use, and so I decided to pull it out last night and see what I could come up with.  The tofu is a riff of a couple recipes for Jerk Chicken I checked out online, and the asparagus is similar to the recipe for Jerk Asparagus in Appetite for Reduction, I just took the easy-way out with the ready-made seasoning.


There was one distinctly un-Jamaican ingredient in the tofu that probably contributed quite a bit to its reddish-orange coloring…the squeezable vinegar-ed hot sauce a good friend just brought me back from Korea….WAY exciting.  Anyway, on to the recipe, because I’ll definitely be making this tofu preparation again.

1 block tofu, pressed
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs vinegar-ed hot sauce (you don’t need to have a direct food supply line from Korea)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
5-6 grinds sea salt
2 heaping tbs Jerk seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 385F. Slice pressed tofu into 8 rectangles.
2. Combine all the other ingredients in a large ziploc, and then add the tofu. Shake gently to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
3. Spray a glass casserole dish with something non-stick, and then lay out the tofu. Pour excess marinade on top, and flip to coat evenly.
4. Set oven for 50 minutes and insert tofu. Halfway, flip to the other side. Enjoy!

The asparagus was even easier, and also had a bit of that Jamaican flair that was in the tofu.  Normally I like under-cooking my asparagus a bit so it has a bite, but I let this go a bit long so it would get a bit of a spice crust on it, and was a really big fan.

1 bunch asparagus
1 heaping tbs Jerk seasoning
2-3 grinds salt (my Jerk seasoning is un-salted, if yours includes it, skip this)
1 tsp peanut oil
2 tbs water

1. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add jerk seasoning and water, cook 30 seconds, and then add asparagus.
2. Cook approximately ten minutes, tossing occasionally, until stalks are starting to crisp up a bit. Remove and serve immediately, as they’ll get soggy not long after if left.

Last but not least, I kept reading up on this popular Jamaican dish called Rice and Peas…only thing is when they say peas…they mean split peas…and the dish involves coconut milk, neither of which I had.  I decided to take the name and do my own thing with what I had on hand.  The result was pretty high fat, but SOOO good, I was rather proud.

1/2 cup long grain sticky rice
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup soy creamer
1/2 cup peas
S+P to taste

1. Combine rice, stock, and creamer in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, covered. Once a boil is reached, lower to a simmer and allow to cook until all liquid has been absorbed.
2. Add peas and salt and pepper to taste–stir well. Enjoy!

So maybe I can’t affect the weather (It’s been snowing for about 8 hours now) but at least I can pretend we’re living in warmer times…and this meal did just that.  YUM!