Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

A couple of weeks ago the weather was so nice you could almost smell spring in the air. Not anymore. Winter has come back with a vengeance here (looks like the ground hog was right this year!). So instead of being grumpy about the weather I decided in enjoy the last days of winter by making all the warm, hearty soups, stews and chili's I can, and believe me we need warm dinners with this weather!

I've had my eye on the Sweet Potato Lentil Chili in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan for awhile. I wish I hadn't waited so long to make it. What an awesome dish! I found I needed to add a bit more water and up the spices a bit but in the end it turned out spectacular. I also added some corn to the mix. The only thing I would recommend with this dish is if you're going to make it give it plenty of stewing time. The flavors really develop the longer you can leave it. I'm sure you could even make this in a slowcooker. This makes a nice big pot so we have so leftovers for lunches and I froze some in containers for a quick work day lunch. Below is my terrible picture. Don't let it dissuade you from making this, it is very tasty!

I must say of all my vegan cookbooks Dreena's, especially Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, are the ones I most often turn to. I have yet to have a recipe not turn out great and they are all really healthy recipes, even the cookies! I also like that they are fairly bean/legume and whole grain heavy as opposed to soy/tofu heavy. I am soy sensitive and can't eat hardly any. I'm looking very forward to her new cookbook.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Busy day in the kitchen

I hate waking up with a cold. I hate it even more when one of my children wake up with a cold. So when Me and the youngest both woke up with colds I knew I was in for a long day. So we dropped my oldest off at playschool and instead of going to Rhyme Time at the library like we normally do (don't want to spread the germs) we headed back to the house for some quality nesting time. My youngest spent her time nesting in the playroom (more like destroying it but thats ok when your sick, atleast she was happy) and I spent my time in the kitchen. First up was the fridge. It desperately needed to be cleaned out. I found quite a few tomatoes in the crisper and some of them were looking like me after spending a few too many minutes in the tub so before they completely spoiled I decided to make a quick tomato sauce with them. No real recipe, just dice up some roma tomatoes, mince some garlic and saute in olive oil in a pot. I didn't have any fresh basil so I tossed in some italian seasoning. Now what to do with the sauce...I also had some wraps that had to be used up and so lunch was what you see below.

Black olive, artichoke and red onion pizza. Some red peppers would have been good on here to but sadly the kiddies at them all. They love munching on peppers strips. Can't complain, it might be expensive this time of year but their a healthy snack.

The girls didn't like the looks of my lunch so they opted for a wrap spread with peanut butter rolled around a banana. They think this is such a special lunch....glad I can impress them with so little effort!

After lunch I go the girls settled down with their blankets watching a movie. Wall-E is the big thing at this house right now. I have yet to see it despite it being watched several times by the girls already. I got back into the kitchen  to make some muffins. Blueberry was requested this time so I veganized this recipe. I just used flax eggs for the eggs called for in the recipe. They turned out great. We all really like them. In fact everyone likes them so much I have a feeling I'll be making another batch this week.

Then I decided to make a special treat for dessert. I saw the brownies that Carrie posted about and knew I had to make them. Texture wise they were bang on. Nice a fudgy just how I like them. Unfortunately they tasted rather plain. Maybe I missed something in the recipe. The search for the perfect vegan brownie continues....

And lastly for dinner I was craving fajitas. Nothing special here, just peppers, mushrooms, onions and guac. Hit the spot. After all that cooking and cleaning up from all that cooking I was ready to hit the sack. 

Hopefully we're all feeling a bit better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Sniffle Kind of Day

The weather here today was not great. Chilly, snowing and windy. I have been fighting off this tiny little cold for a week now and since I'm getting zero sleep (my 5 year old thinks midnight is storytime. Or time to make bead necklaces, pretty much time to do anything but sleep) its tough to get 100% better.

And so when I woke up this morning and saw the weather outside I knew we had to have Sniffle Soup for supper. This was the first recipe of Dreena's that I ever made. She had posted the recipe on her blog and I made it and immediately ordered her book. There are many reasons why I love this soup; its easy to make, its very easy on the wallet, its filling, its delicious, and it freezes very well. We had this soup along with a green salad and GTS sandwiches (guacamole, tomatoe and sprout). Perfect winter night meal. 

Tomorrow my youngest turns 2. My niece (my Brother's daughter) also turns 2 tomorrow. Thats right we had babies the same day. We had rooms across the hall from each other in the delivery unit and rooms next to each other in the post natal unit. My daughter was born first and 64 minutes later my niece made her entrance. It was one stop visiting for our family. We will be taking my youngest out for a special birthday dinner and Saturday my brother and sil are having a birthday party for my niece (we had our party this past weekend. Nothing like have a sit down dinner for 45 people!). I have a super dinner menu planned for next week and I look forward to sharing the yummy food pics with everyone!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Quick Meals

As promised, more pics of the quick eats we've been having lately. February is always a busy month for us (4 birthdays and Valentine's Day of course so there are lots of family gatherings). 

I saw a recipe for a Pineapple Curry Hummus somewhere and I wanted to try it for the longest time. I finally decided to give it a go and then I couldn't find the recipe. Fortunately I remembered most of it. Basically take one can of rinsed chickpeas, add 2 tbsp. tahini, 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon, 1 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend in a food processor. Then mix in 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple. This was ok, not terrible but not great. I don't think I'll make it again. Or maybe I just need to tweak the recipe. I think there is potential for the flavour combo, just needs some tinkering. If I get something better going I'll be sure to post it.

Had some spinach in the fridge that needed to be used up so I made a spinach salad with pears, grapes, and sunflower seeds with a Tangerine Lime dressing (Renee's brand). Perfect light supper. Renee's makes quite a few vegan salad dressings so if you need a few go to dressing for the fridge check them out. Another one of my favourites of her's is the Pear Guava vinaigrette. So good.

 I generally have a no chocolate for breakfast rule but sometimes rules are meant to be broken (only by me of course, not the kids!). And so chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast it was. They were whole wheat and we had fruit salad and smoothies with them to balance things out. Best breakfast we've had in awhile.

The weather has cooled off here so we need a stick to your ribs kind of dinner. I had to work that day (I work one day a week) so we also needed a make ahead dinner. And so I present the baked penne. So easy a chipmunk could make it. Saute veggies of your choice (we had zucchini, red peppers and mushrooms) boil penne (I used Rizopia's brown rice penne. Seriously the best penne out there and in my opinion rizopia makes the best brown rice pasta. It truly doesn't get mushy at all.) and mix with marinara sauce. I made this the day before and then warmed it in the oven when I got home from work. With a salad and garlic toast it made a great supper with minimal prep. 

Great Grains

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but we've been super busy. And when your super busy sometimes the meals can be a little repetitive. Needless to say I've been doing some batch cooking. I find it easy to make a big batch of grains up and then use them in different dishes. Makes for fast meals.

First up was a big batch of Quinoa. Full of fiber, protein, gluten free and versatile, whats not to love about it. Me and my youngest love Veganomicon's  Quinoa, Mango and Black Bean salad. Easy to make, last for days in the fridge, filling and tastes amazing! Great for lunch or supper on a warm day (or any day!). If you haven't made this salad yet you don't know what your missing! This recipe alone was worth the purchase price of the cookbook. My whole family loves this salad...even the carnivores.

My oldest daughter loves rice, brown basmati rice to be exact. What can I say, she has great taste like her mom! We all love brown basmati rice, in fact its pretty much the only rice we eat. One of our favourite ways to prepare it is steamed, then into a saute pan with a little sesame oil, peppers, green onion, frozen peas and corn and some Bragg's (or soy sauce, whatever you have on hand.). This a much healthier version of the chinese fried rice we used to love so much.

I promise I have been doing more cooking than this. I will post some more pics tomorrow (hopefully!).