Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whats cooking!

I have good news and bad news - the good news is my camera is fixed! After much frustration it appears all it really needed was a good long battery recharge and card format. Sometimes the answers are so simple its embarrassing. The bad news is these pictures were taken before the camera was fixed and all I had was my iphone. What can I say - we all know my camera skills are nothing to write home about to start with and the iphone and crappy lighting didn't improve them all. More good news - this is the last post with crappy iphone pics - next time it will be crappy pics from my dslr!

The friday before Thanksgiving a present came for me from amazon - Chloe's Kitchen and another book that I will blog about very shortly. It deserves its own post. Chloe's Kitchen had a number of good reviews on amazon so I was excited to get it in the mail. I sat down with a coffee and flipped through it for about a half hour that morning making some mental notes of recipes I wanted to try. 

First thing I want to mention is that if you have read my blog at all you know that I am a big fan of whole food recipes and in particular Dreena Burton. I feel she strikes a nice balance with mostly whole foods and a bit of salt, sugar and oil here and there - a philosophy almost identical to my own. I especially like that Dreena has a lot of whole grain and bean dishes because we pretty much live on legumes. I was not expecting Chloe's Kitchen to be that kind of cook book but I was hoping to find a few recipes to add to the rotation. The first recipe that I saw to make was a meatball recipe. They have tempeh, walnuts, and lentils in them and i was pretty happy with the ingredient list. I have been looking for a good meatball recipe and had high hopes for this one. I was not disappointed - these turned out great! I was really unsure about them when I was making them but in the end they turned out fantastic. I took some over to my parents house to taste test and it good 2 thumbs up from the omnivores! My dad particularly liked the sweet and sour sauce on them that was from the book. For some reason the pic of the meatballs went second here and I can't move it.

The second recipe I marked to try was the Barley Bliss Casserole. I loved this! It took very little time to put together and it tasted amazing! Its creamy and cheesy from the nooch - perfect fall comfort food. The only thing about this recipe is that it  takes a bit of time in the oven - about an hour and 20 min total I think? It worked out well for me because I prepped it and put in the oven before i went to get the girls from school and it was ready just in time to eat before I had to take Gabbie to tumbling. I made it pretty much as written but i used red pepper rather than green because that was what I had.

Another cookbook that I love is The vegan Table from Colleen Patrick Goudreau. So many great recipes in that book like the mushroom gravy, broccoli with garlic cashew sauce, etc. But I had a few bookmarked for awhile now that I still hadn't made so I tried the Noodles with peanut sauce and green beans. This was a big hit and I changed the recipe up a bit using broccolini instead of green beans and adding some roasted chickpeas in as well. It was a big hit!

Another beloved recipe in this house is the Kids Cheesy Chickpea and White Bean Soup. I call this soup broccoli cheese soup because I always add some chopped steamed broc into it and it is loved my all. I have always made this soup with cannanelli beans but I was out this time and used navy beans instead - wow the navy beans made this so much more creamy and delicious! i will always make this with navy beans from now on!

Yum, yum, yum! Its a very filling soup and its great with a green salad on the side. And of course a little dessert is good too. I made a batch of the double carob cashew cookies from ED&BV but used chocolate instead of carob and no cashews and added raisins (so not really carob cashew cookies I guess!). These taste like glosette raisins! I know there is a similar recipe in her new book but I've been making this one for a few years now and everyone loves it but I'm sure I'll try her new one too.

We are busy getting ready for Halloween tomorrow - I baked cupcakes for both girls school parties tomorrow and now I'm off to relax before all the craziness starts tomorrow!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thanksgiving eats!

I know this is long overdue been its been a chaotic week! Sadly we had a serious camera problem on Thanksgiving so I grabbed my iphone and did the best I could. The day went really well and I'm glad that I started prepping as many days in advance as I did - it made the actually day go so smoothly. We ended up going out for brunch that morning and I really wish I hadn't gone because it took forever for our food to come and it was really time I could have spent at home finishing everything and giving myself some more time to get ready and relax.

As always I have to thank my superstar SIL Shelley - she did so much in the kitchen to help me with the cooking and dishes. It was nice to have someone in the trenches with me and as a bonus she is not vegan but she is a rockstar vegan chef when the occasion calls for it. Everytime we go to my bro and sil's house they always make sure there are vegan versions of anything that is not vegan so we always have plenty to eat. They actually follow Dr. Fuhrman's eating plans most of the time so they eat vegan fairly often.

Anyways on to the food! I didn't grab a picture of everything but I tried to snap as many as I could. My family is quite large with lots of little children so it can get chaotic at times.

The first pic is roasted shredded brussel sprouts and cippolini onions - hands down my favourite dish! I also made a double batch of the white bean and leek cassoulet from vcon - my Dad thought this was fabulous and had 3 servings! I made Mama Pea's Meatless Meatloaf but I always put it in muffin tins to make mini meatloafs. My Dad and brother chowed down on these as well. The mushroom gravy from the Vegan Table is always a huge hit, its the best gravy I have ever had and its the only gravy I make. The stuffing was also Mama Pea's recipe - its made with sprouted whole grain bread (I used Silver Hills Ali's Alpine), field roast apple sage sausages, celery and onions, veg broth and some poultry seasoning. Really good and we enjoyed the left overs for a few days. I also made some sweet potatoes because I like them better than white potatoes. Not pictured but also made was steamed broccoli with garlic butter and cashews (my sil made this for the diner and it was excellent as usual), and mashed potatoes (I always puree white beans with some onion powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper and add it with some warm almond milk. It makes them rich and creamy and adds some protein and fibre). 

For dessert I made a cranapple crisp served with Luna & Larry's Vanilla coconut milk ice cream and I made the pumpkin cake with creamy mallow frosting from LTEV.

Can we talk about this cake for a minute. I wanted to make something pumpkin but didn't want to do a pie so the cake was a perfect choice. I remember seeing pictures of it on Dreena's blog a few years back before LTEV was out and thinking I would make it once I got the recipe. I decided to make it as a 9x13 instead of 2 round cakes. I made the recipe as written and baked it for 28 minutes. I made the frosting a few nights before and keep it in the fridge till right before serving. So was it worth the wait? I couldn't tell you because 7 little girls ate the entire 9x13 cake in 30 minutes! They had 3rds and 4ths! I couln't believe my eyes! Needless to say i will make that one again next year!

I did make it a second time this week so I could have a taste and boy is it excellent! In fact we ate 4/5ths of the cake that night! I probably should be ashamed about that but I'm not - its so good! If you haven't made it do your self a favour and make it asap. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner last night with my family and I have pictures to share of our meal but after 3 days of food prepping, cooking and cleaning I am beat and I'm just taking it easy today doing pretty much nothing!

I'll be back for a more interesting post tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Prep

Today was a very busy day - too busy to take any pictures. I spent most of today getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner here on Sunday for 20 plus peeps. I started planning the menu a few months ago. here is what we are having: meatless meatloaf (mama pea), mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy (the vegan table), stuffing (mama pea), white bean and leek cassoulet (vcon), steamed broccoli with garlic butter and cashews (the vegan table), roasted shredded brussel sprouts & cippolini onions (a la born to be vegan!), corn (for the picky veggie haters), cranapple maple crisp with vanilla coconut milk ice cream  and pumpkin cake with fluffy mallow frosting (let them eat vegan). I feel like something is missing from that list but I'm too tired to go look.

Today I got all the brussel sprouts washed and shredded, the mushrooms sauteed for the gravy, the cranapple maple filling cooked for the crisp, the frosting whipped, the veggies washed and chopped for the cassoulet and stuffing, and the table is all decorated. Tomorrow and I have to stop at the farmers market for a few more fresh veggies, peel potatoes (my least favourite job), and do some cleaning but it will make everything so much easier on sunday. Fortunately we are celebrated with my in laws tomorrow night so I don't have to worry about supper which is good - I have a feeling I won't want to spend anymore time in the kitchen!

More to come with pictures!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Garden muffins

Today was a chilly fall day - its was a rainy, gloomy 5 degrees. The perfect day to do some baking (and not much else!). My garden this year grew an abundance of zucchini and I grated froze a whole bunch of it to make the Garden Muffins from the 100 best Vegan Baking Recipes. I'm not sure if  have mentioned this book before on this blog or not but it is fabulous! if you like to bake this is a must for your book collection. this book as a great collection of muffins, pies, cakes, breads and it even has recipes to make lil cakes for easy bake ovens! Some of my favourite recipes are the pumpkin cinnazag bread (I double the recipe and bake it in a bundt pan when I have friends come for tea and coffee), the pizza crust dough is excellent and so fast, the banana bread is the best and easiest banana bread recipe ever hands down. I usually make it into muffins and add some chocolate chips and sometimes I add some peanut butter to the batter. Warm from the oven they are amazing! Everyone asks me for the recipe when they eat them. Get the book for this recipe alone.

Another recipe we really like are these Garden Muffins. The have grated carrots & zucchini, oat bran, flour (I used spelt and they work out great), cinnamon, apple sauce, raisins, non dairy milk, and maple syrup. In fact the maple syrup is the only sweetener in these and they are perfect for me.

Don't they look yummy?! They are light and fluffy and fairly healthy so far as a muffin goes. I got 15 muffins out of the recipe and froze half to pop into the girls' lunches and snacks.

One other thing i want to mention about this cookbook is that I tend to makeover almost all baking recipes to make them healthier. This book mostly calls for white flour but I always bake with spelt flour  and the recipes have always turned out perfect for me. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

The weather is turning cooler here which means a lot more time in the kitchen for me! I have a lot of photos for you but I've been working on the computer all day and honestly the last thing I feel like doing today is spending more time typing.

So today I'm posting an excellent video for you to watch - I'm sure many of you already have but for those that haven't please watch this excellent talk from Dr. Michael Greger - its so informative!