Ten weeks ago I started a new thing where I take a photo of all the food we purchase in one ‘grocery haul’ as You Tuber’s like to call it. As I mentioned before, I am a snoopy person and love to know more about people’s lives, beyond what we see out in public. Maybe this is why we all love reality television so much? Anyways, I wanted to start something new and see how you all like it. Each week I’ll try to post the week’s grocery haul along with all the links to the recipes on my site. It’s a sort of grocery haul, menu planner and easy way to share delicious vegan options to all of you. Being vegan really doesn’t have to be difficult and hopefully these will share how to eat healthy and still have a few sweet things in between… We aren’t perfect in our household but at least we try – that’s what counts right?Dinner Menu from Last Week: 1. Gang Dang (Thai Red Curry) 2. Spicy Mushroom & Chickpea Burgers 3. Beef Over Rice 4. Hummus, Tempeh & Cucumber Wraps Breakfast: 1. Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread 2. Biscuits and Gravy 3. Oatmeal Waffles 4. Nectarine Banana Bread
Beets are still in season in our region so we are making the best use of them as they are highly nutritious but commonly forgotten in the United States. A lot of nights we will make homemade East European vegan borscht but this week I wanted something different. My choice came from a healthy cookbook that was purchased ages ago from the BBC television show called You Are What You Eat Cookbook by Gillian McKeith. Thanks to YouTube we started to watch the British version but it grew incredibly popular so it was brought to America for a few years on BBC America. As always, the original was better but maybe that’s just a personal opinion. Have any of you seen this show?
Gillian McKeith basically goes into a persons’ house and invades their kitchen and bathroom. If you’ve seen the show, you understand the bathroom part… Her credentials are extensive in nutrition, holistic medicine and other endless healthcare science degrees. In the show she ends up treating one person in a family for special illness/s which usually project to the rest of the family. Her treatments are about 90% nutrition and fitness, the other 10% is minor vitamins/nutrients that are geared towards an extremely sick person. Normally though her corrective measures are mostly nutrition with an occasional exercise routine depending on the person on the show. Her results are truly amazing and really bring to light how much food plays a part in a persons’ health. A healthy lifestyle can really be achieved by just living a healthy lifestyle.
We’ve had the cookbook in our house for ages and I’ve read through the entire thing. Yes, I’m one of those strange people that much read through entire cookbooks front to back once I get it. Other recipes we have done before and enjoyed (minus one that my husband recommended not as work leftovers since it stunk – hello sauerkraut). Beets were hard to come by up in the northern states but down in the mid to southern states it’s readily available at farmer markets. Hooray! If you’ve never had beets, I’d highly suggest roasting them with olive oil in the oven at 350F for about 30-40 minutes, they taste like candy! Don’t buy the canned type though, it’s not the same. Word from the wise, wear an apron since the beet juice can stain anything if not washed out immediately.
Simply toss everything in a large pot and boil until the ingredients are tender. 30 minutes or less and ta-dah – dinner for four! The soup was smooth and hearty. It didn’t have an abundance of sweetness like many other beet soups but it did have a nice ‘fall flavor’. It’s hard to explain but it’s similar to a thick, hearty winter soup. It is a long-lasting, filling soup that doesn’t weigh you down and make you want to take a nap but does put a smile on your face.
Unfortunately since this recipe is in a cookbook and I don’t own the rights, I can’t post the recipe. Thankfully though I did find the exact recipe located on the main show’s website at Channel 4 BBC.
Extra Recipe: Last night we made this recipe again, super easy and another great method to use up some nutritional beets. Rich and Creamy Red Beet Soup
Sweet Mama Jane, the tofu rocks! Sometimes there are tofu recipes with a little bit of this and a little bit of that but then there are some that just turn tofu into a symphony for the mouth. My inspiration was to use all the pumpkin I could possibly hide into each meal without Genki Husband getting too tired of it in the first week of pumpkin season. The original recipe actually comes from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day. Now that I have tested this recipe, I know what e-cookbook will be on my Christmas list.
Genki Husband has been working a lot of extra hours so it’s difficult to make a warming casserole without having to reheat it, which I tend to dislike doing on the first go. Hence, this recipe was perfect because all of the ingredients I could have marinating in a toaster oven pan for an hour or so if he has called in late again. Then, when he gets home we either have time to exercise or have a little recoup from work time before showers and dinner. That means I can easily just turn on the toaster oven and we can do something else. Total cook time was about 25 minutes in the toaster oven, so it was ½ the time of a casserole.
Plus, I loved the recipe contained delicate squash which is in season right now in Virginia. It’s a light yellow color with green lines stretching from top to bottom. It’s a first in our household but similar to other squash, it was familiar in taste. I’d say it was less sweet than a butternut squash and more similar to a kabocha (acorn) squash. Most are smaller in size so finding ½ cup for this recipe was not difficult and inexpensive compared to other more popular squash available.
Thankfully the recipe also contains tofu (protein) and the every household essential, kale (vitamins). Some ingredients that may not be so popular in your kitchen but are staples in ours are white miso paste and also Thai Curry paste. At first when I read the recipe contained both, I was a bit timid since normally people do not stray from the norm and mix two ethnic pastes together. It works though because the flavor was rich from miso paste and a bit of a spicy bite from the Thai Curry paste. Sounds weird but it just worked in every direction. And if that weren’t enough, the recipe won my heart over with potatoes that come out of the oven just like French fries minus all the fat content. Can you tell we indulged and dove into this recipe with a large fork?
As for making the recipe, it was super easy to put together and as I stated I prepped everything ahead of time and then baked it later. The ingredients were easy to find in our stores and I imagine the only two ingredients difficult would be the miso paste and Thai curry paste, both of which you can purchase online or in an Asian store. Only a few items were changed when we made this recipe but we didn’t seem to regret having the original was the lemon (we used 2 limes) and we subtracted the pepitas. Other than that, we kept everything the same and it worked perfectly! Serving it over rice made it the perfect for an after work one-pot dish for Genki Husband. Mine was without much rice and I loved it!
Warms up nicely in a bento.
A new website for me but not hard to believe it’s an instant sensation, is Hilah Cooking. She’s a very high-energy filled person (much like me) that just makes a viewer instantly become addicted, if you can keep up. She’s proof that recipes do not have to be pretentious to be delicious, affordability does not have to be part of the equation. Her recipes (not 100% vegan) consist of all natural ingredients that can easily be found in just about any grocery store.
This particular day I was hoping to use up some sunflower seeds that have been sitting in our fridge for a few months. Genki Husband and I both are not fans of sunflower seeds but we had some leftover from another recipe that required them. No wasting food in our household… These little babies have tons of protein considering the beans and sunflower seeds so I highly suggest it for a nice meal after a hard workout.
Our final outcome was of mixed opinions. While we did like the burgers, it was a bit under-seasoned for our explosive taste-bud needs. The recipe would be easy to spike with flavor though, if you are like us. Simple add some Cajun seasoning, jalapeños or etc. We did double the spices but it just wasn’t enough as written. The texture was like a traditional bean burger but with wheat germ dredging on the outside. Do to the wheat germ, we found it was better on a bed of salad instead of on a bun. But again, this is our own opinion and for cooking beginners, this recipe would be super easy and very fulfilling to have on the table.
Let me start off by saying, I love Tofu! Seriously, I could eat it everyday and be just fine. It’s naturally delicious and a great starter for just about anything. Before my first living experience in Japan, I’d never had tofu. Nope, it just wasn’t available in our little town (thankfully that’s changed now). So when I landed in Japan my first experience was of unfamiliarity and indifference. While there, I lived with a smart world traveler who kept telling me everything should be tested at least 3 times before giving an opinion. She believed it to be essential to be a world cultural traveler. Thankfully I listened to her and I loved tofu after my second attempt- she was right.
As many vegans, we love to make vegan “scrambled eggs” for breakfast, into quiches and so on. At times, one just runs out of ideas for variations, so I seek what others are doing and that is just the case with last night. We chose to make Olives for Dinner’s ‘Tofu Scramble with Seared Shiitake and Caramelized Shallots’. So posh sounding – all of their recipes sound so fancy compared to my sad nomenclature. Knowing my terrible system, I’d probably call this ‘tofu with mushrooms and shallots’. LOL Thankfully I didn’t name this one. We’re still not sure if this is supposed to be for breakfast or for dinner. But then again, who cares because breakfast is good any time of the day, right? If not, new house rules…
Once everything is chopped, sliced and mixed, the recipe runs fast. There are a lot of steps considering everything must be sauté separating but that’s okay. It’s totally worth the steps. We found using the tahini (ground sesame seeds) was a different twist on the soy sauce flavored types I usually make. It was a slightly creamy but still chunky at the same time, sounds weird but works. Genki Husband took his first bite and he fell in love instantly and asked for it again.Of course I did change things up and here’s the differences: Instead of shallots, I used one small onion (cheaper in our area) Baby shiitake mushrooms instead of two large ones (again, large price difference) 1 (16oz) pkg of tofu instead of ½ Smoked salt instead of black salt Rice instead of toast
Otherwise everything was the same – I just wanted something a bit heartier since we do not eat much bread. Since we run and weight-lift, we need more carbs than on a rest day. We separated the items for dinner but the husband enjoyed a mixed on-pot meal as leftovers for lunch the next day. He said it was delicious warmed up in the microwave.
*Sorry for the bad photo, it was done at night with bad lighting.
Here’s another recipe that I have been saving from my magazine subscription to Vegetarian Times Magazine, April/May 2012. My husband used to love Biscuits and Gravy when he was younger but the main ingredients are rather unhealthy and also animal derived. Although I do already make another type of Biscuits and Gravy, I fell in love with the idea of using chickpeas in the place of sausage crumbles. Anything that makes a recipe healthier is always something to test out in my kitchen.
This recipe did take a bit of time (even after I had soaked and cooked my dry chickpeas). The original recipe stated it would take 30 minutes or less but I found it was a bit longer than 40 minutes (not including biscuits). Additionally I didn’t want to have gluten-free biscuits so I made my traditional recipe for my kitchen. The original sounded nice but had a lot of ingredients and when it comes to biscuits simple is better I think. The final outcome was a bit strange I have to admit. Not a bad strange but just different than I expected. The gravy was a nice golden white color but then when I added the chickpea mixture it turned to a murky gray that wasn’t that appealing to the eyes. The texture was pretty right on to the classic American recipe but the chickpeas just didn’t make the soft texture as animal derived sausage. In the end, the husband did love the recipe but then asked for me to make it next year (since you can only have it once a year for health purposes) with mock sausage. Sometimes new things just aren’t as perfect as the original.Serves 8-10 very hungry people 2 c cooked chickpeas 2 ½ tsp paprika 2 tbsp poultry seasoning 1 tsp onion powder ½ tsp salt 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 pinch cayenne pepper 1 tbsp vegetable oil 4 tbsp butter ¼ c cornstarch ¼ c non-enriched whole wheat white flour 4 c nondairy milk 1 recipe homemade biscuits of your choice 1. Add the chickpeas, paprika, poultry seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor and pulse (not whirl) 8 times, or until crumbly. 2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the chickpea mixture until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove for later… 3. Put the butter in the same skillet and heat over medium-heat until it starts to melt. Whisk in the starch and flour until it looks crumbly. Gradually whisk in the non-dairy milk and cook 3-5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Remember to whisk constantly. Stir in chickpea mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Normally I’m inspired by a scent or memory before coming up with a recipe to create in the kitchen. Oddly enough the other day I was rearranging my fridge and I came across a mango I had forgotten we purchased. Thankfully it was only in the fridge for a week, so it wasn’t spoiled. Hence, this back-of-the- fridge find was my inspiration for Mango Lime Muffins. Thanks to my addiction to Pinterest, (intervention may be necessary soon) I found a recipe that was already vegan and all the ingredients we had in stock. Hooray! I love that when it happens; annoyingly, I normally am missing 1 of the ingredients.
Mango put a light lift on the muffins and created a gentle breakfast pastry that didn’t weigh our stomachs down. Sweet toothed Genki Husband normally can only take in two muffins at one sitting but with these he ate three. It’s a sign of the light, fluffy texture and the general balance of flavor and sweetness minus the overpowering sugar punch. So, it’s a definite winner in our household.
I baked the recipe per the instructions (I know, amazed myself on this one). One change was I put the coconut in the muffin instead of on top. Rather, I placed crushed Arabic Cube Sugar on top. To make this recipe please refer to the original at That’s So Vegan. Unfortunately this website is no longer being written so I decided to place the original recipe here just in case it is taken down.makes 1 dozen muffins 1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt zest of 1 lime juice from 1 lime 1/4 cup canola oil 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla) 1 cup diced mango, peeled and seeded 2 tbsp shredded coconut 1 tbsp sugar 1. Preheat your oven to 375º and line a muffin tin. 2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lime zest. Whisk together the lime juice, oil and almond milk in a smaller bowl, then add the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined and fold in the mango pieces. 3. Pour the batter into the muffin liners, filling each about 3/4 of the way full. Mix the coconut with the tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle a bit on the top of each muffin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the coconut begins to toast and a toothpick comes out clean. *Sorry about the terrible photo- it’s dark in the mornings now and fake lightening just doesn’t give it justice… or was it that my eyes were still only half open?
Goulash is very dear to my heart thanks to one special couple, my maternal grandparents. Every winter (and oddly sometimes on a hot summer day) my grandparents would serve us grandchildren homemade goulash. It wasn’t just any goulash, nope, it was everything in the kitchen goulash. They were of the traditional farming type that plowed from the land and ate everything from it. It was a love-love relationship. Every summer there would be tons of tomatoes so us grandchildren would all get together on a hot day and can tomatoes, pickles, jam and anything else that had flourished that harvest season. Tomatoes were a specialty though since my grandmother made tomato sauce, plain tomatoes, tomato soup and I believe I even remember tomato jam was once tried. Then after all the hard work and sweat, we would all sit down together with a nice hot steamy bowl of homemade goulash soup from the leftovers in the kitchen that didn’t make the cut into the preservation jars.
Just like my grandmother, I tend to toss in the same basic ingredients into my goulash soup. We tend to have tons of tomatoes (since I go crazy at the farmers market and have two plants at home) so we used homemade tomatoes and a jar of tomato sauce because I didn’t want to clean a dirty blender. (Lazy, I know! LOL) So, here’s what I used to make my version of hot goulash soup on a hot summer night.2 yellow onions, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 3 potatoes, cubed (don’t peel, the vitamins are in it) 3 tbsp tomato paste 1 (24oz) can marinara (I used Trader Joe’s marinara) 2 cups vegan chicken-free broth (I used Better than Bouillon Organic) 1 batch Homemade Meatless Crumbles, prepare ahead 2 tsp marjoram 2 tsp cumin 2 tsp paprika 2 tsp Penzey’s pasta sprinkle (oregano, basil, parsely) 1. In large pot, saute the onion, garlic and potatoes until golden brown. 2. Add the tomato paste and stir well into the vegetables. 3. Add the marinara and vegan broth. Bring to a boil and keep it there for about ten minutes. You can simmer it but seriously it tastes the same but takes more time. 4. Once the potatoes are soft, add the crumbles and dried herbs.
Toppings: My mother also makes this but tops hers with crackers and cheese. My grandmother never liked us having crackers so were without. I’ve heard others like a dollop of sour cream, yogurt or (like my cousin) ketchup. Your choice, I won’t come after you. J
Call me strange but I am probably one of the few people that actually enjoy watching the Food Network while working out. I’ve had a lot of people giving me the “tisk tisk” while watching cooking shows while working out but that’s really okay with me. Since moving we have a new gym and I miss watching free cooking channels but thank goodness for the internet on cell phones right? I’m not sure how I would live without mine (sad I know). I tend to watch a lot of Giada De Laurentiis since her simple recipes with easy to find ingredients is basically a mimic of my style too. Minimal effort and fresh ingredients is a great start to any healthy recipe.
So last week I watched Giada’s California Dream Boat Cruise Episode from Giada at Home and just had to make my own vegan version of her Linguine with Avocado and Arugula Pesto recipe. Rarely can I find arugula in our local stores here in Virginia (or anywhere in the Midwest) so I could not make the recipe completely the same as the original. Thankfully the final result was smooth, creamy and dare I say luxurious? The ingredients were very ‘green’ but the final sauce was a perfect blend for the taste buds. And, if you have time I would highly suggest making your own pasta – it’s worth the extra hour or less.
Serves 4 hungry people
1 pound homemade linguine pasta (or store bought)
2 medium avocados, halved, peeled, and seeded
3 c fresh spinach (6 ounces)
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ c nutritional yeast
½ c tofu ♥♥
1. Make your pasta. We used the Vegan Dad Recipe which worked out great but had to add double the amount of flour.
2. Put the spinach basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and tofu into a blender and give it a good whirl it until smooth.
3. Toss the pesto over the pasta fold it in until well coated. Sprinkle with a little more nutritional yeast (optional) and enjoy!
♥♥Sorry for the weird formatting of this recipe, for some reason wordpress isn’t letting me correct it today. Weird!♥♥
Japanese food is one of my favorite foods, ethnically speaking. No, I’m not Japanese but I have lived in Japan twice and would be there today if it weren’t for my husband’s work (and him not speaking any Japanese LOL). Thankfully I learned a lot throughout the years of learning Japanese and living there – one being making authentic Japanese meals. It’s a bit hard to keep up with Japanese living and current culture while in the states but thankfully there is the internet. My favorite recipe website I search daily is Cookpad (only in Japanese) and get a lot of ideas from this site. For the most part, Japanese people are not vegan. Yes there are vegans (especially monks) but statistically speaking one might be surprised how few people over there are 100% vegan. Vegetarianism is common but is again practiced by monks but the general public does not understand why anyone would want to skip the meat.
Thankfully I found a recipe that I have wanted to make for some time in a book of all places. I’ve had this recipe before and have even tested it out but the seasoning was just not accurate when I did it previously. Thanks to Naomi Moriyama from Japanese Women Don’t get Old or Fat (Loved the book but by the way, they do.), the recipe I have been seeking did turn out and worked perfectly with my alterations to make it vegan. If you can find mock unseasoned beef strips (mine was from Trader Joe’s) this recipe will be close to authentic. If not, try using seitan or even tempeh – I’m sure it will work. Although it does have a slight salty tasty, you will definitely love the smell and taste of this recipe. The beef-less strips melt in your mouth and the rice is slightly seasoned with the liquid from the mixture. Mmm I’m dreaming of this again…
Serves 4 hungry people 2 c vegetable broth (note: dashi is not vegan) ¼ c sake 1 med yellow onion, peeled, halved, and cut into thin crescents 3 Scallions (or 1 small leek), with roots and rough portion of the top cut off, cleaned, rinsed and cut diagonally into thin slices ½ c soy sauce (a lot, I know but that’s Japanese cooking for you) 1 tbsp light brown sugar 1 tsp mirin 1 pkg unseasoned Beef-less Strips (I used Trader Joe’s) 4 cups hot cooked brown or white rice 1 scallion, roots and top portion cut off, and thinly sliced (for top)
1. Place the broth and sake in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and scallions and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the soy, sugar, salt, and mirin. Add the beef-less strip and simmer for about 5 minutes to get the beef seasoned.
2. Divide the rice among four bowls and top with a serving of beef-less mixture. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of scallion.