Monday, September 16, 2013

Chickpea Casserole

I absolutely loooove casseroles when it's cold and windy outside! It's just great comfort food!
So when I came across several of Isa's Mac 'n Cheeze variations as well as this post, I had to make it work with whatever I had! (Which was pasta, plently of chickpeas -after a great find of a 7 lbs bag of dried ones in an Indian food store closeby! *yay*, I cooked several batches-, cashew nuts and home made bread crumbs.)  We're not GF so I didn't strictly follow the recipe but still liked the outcome!
I threw some roasted cauliflower as well as broccoli in the mix intead of peas, sprinkled some nooch on as well as some hot sauce, done! :D


Hubby didn't enjoy it too much, unfortunately.. but ok, more for me! :p
I froze the majority in portions so I'll always have a quick, comforting lunch!
[I realize this pic probably doesn't look as appetizing as it tasted! lol]

Tonight will be some yummy soup and fresh bread! I love the fall and crispy weather!!! =)


Friday, September 13, 2013

Zucchini noodles and a great song!

A few weeks ago I got a spiralizer after someone on my veg Goodreads group recommended it to me (thanks again, Don! :) ) and after having read Isa's recipe the other day on her PPK blog (here Zucchini noodles ), I just had to try it tonight! :)
Hubby was skeptical when he heard the 'noodles' would be raw (he thought I'd steam them after being spiralized) but then thankfully took the first bite and loved it! Ha! (Don't you just love when that happens! *big grin*)

Anyway... here's my dish in all it's glory... The sauce was plenty so I have some leftover for whatever tomorrow, yay!


The song I'd like to share is one I just learned about yesterday and have to say I'm totally in love with it! The group is German and I find it pretty awesome!



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Eggplant Lentil dish & another bread machine bread

Speaking of great websites, I should have mentioned Susan Voisin's Fat Free Vegan in my previous post!!! Not only does she have the most beautiful food pics out there but her recipes are always a success and sooo delicious!!!
She has a great recipe index too!

Since I had an eggplant in my fridge that needed to be used but not having a recipe from one of my (*cough*, many) books ready to pull out (i.e. not planned :o ), I googled and Susan's Skillet-eggplant-and-lentils-with-almond-parmesan
came up! It was super yummy!

Because I had some carrots on hand, I threw them in as well, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. (The only thing I didn't do, was make the almond 'parmesan' as I was short on time and my family members were complaining of being already! LOL)

~*~*~*~

Now to the bread machine recipe, this one was really easy (aren't they all!?).
I tweaked the recipe for the Super Rapid version (1.5 lbs, ready in ~ 2 hrs)
by using as follows:

~* Wholesome quick bread*~ 
1.5 loaf size

*3/4 c warm water
*1 egg replacer (I used 1 Tbsp flax, 3 Tbsp water instead of Ener-G)
*2 Tbsp vegan butter
*1 c bread flour
*1.5 whole wheat flour
*1/4 c buckwheat flour
*3 Tbsp sugar (will reduce next time to 2 Tbsp)
*1.5 tsp salt
*2 tsp bread machine yeast (or use 2.5 tsp active dry)

Set the cycle on your machine and make sure the flour is all mixed well (I sometimes use a soft plastic spatula in the first mixing cycle to scrape the edges to make sure and add more flour if the dough is too sticky) and do something else in those ~2 hours that the bread is baking.
Once it's done, put on a rack and let it cool down (it's better to cut that way vs. when it's still hot).

Note: If you're not in the mood for a wholesome bread (my kids still don't like 'brown' breads too much LOL), you can simply use the entire amount of bread flour and have a nice soft sandwich style bread! ;)


I had it for lunch today with some baked tofu, lettuce, tomato and some avocado as well as a sice with some coconut oil and jam for breakfast! :D


Great sites and German pancakes

Let's first start off with the cool websites I wanted to share with you!
There's many, many more, of course, but since I've decided to get back into meal planning (slowly.. I'm not 100% there yet again... Babysteps! ;) ), these immediately came to mind:



Another great one is Kathy Hester's site, http://www.healthyslowcooking.com 

If you're a cookbook lover (err.. addict) like me, this one will be quite awesome to use as well: http://vegansprout.com/browse/cookbooks/

And speaking of slow cookers, I absolutely love my pressure cooker!!! I think it's my most-used kitchen item (after the Vitamix ;) ).
So that being said, I came across this website and found it quite helpful! (I have a short list in my Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure -which is an awesome book, by the way! [I should cook more out of it, now that I mention it...]): http://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cookers/cooking_times_pressure_cooker.php#pulses

Now off to talk about my German pancakes! :)

Ironically enough they're also called 'Eierkuchen' in some regions in Germany, which means literally 'egg cakes', so having veganized it seems a bit like a paradox but it works well! (I haven't had German pancakes ever since I've become vegan ~3 years ago and while they lack the eggy taste [naturally], I have to say I really liked them a lot! )

I got inspired to make them the other day after coming across 2 different blog posts about crepes as well as the 'Top 10 Pancakes', one of the latter being described as Swedish pancakes, which are pretty much the same as German if you ask me! ;) [All I did was add 1 tsp of baking powder to the mix..- not sure if it's really necessary or not-.. and increased the flour amount to ~2 cups; 1/2 c chickpea flour and the other 1.5 c white AP and added 2 Tbsp oil and added ~ 2 1/4 c of home made coconut milk until the batter was nice and thin.]



This is how we did it in Germany, spreading some jam on it and having a bit of apple sauce on the side.
You can however make this dish savory too by adding herbs and mushrooms etc. (Just like you would with a French crepe! ;) )
My grandmother used to make a typical southern Germany soup with pancake leftovers, called 'Flaedle Suppe', for which you simply cut the pancakes in small strips and put them in a clear broth kind of soup. Simple but delicious! Unfortunately we didn't have any leftovers from this batch! LOL

You can find the recipe through here:
but also in Isa's Vegan with a Venegeance (Easy vegan crepes)!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Epic fail!

I think we've all been there..., standing for hours (or at least it seems like that!) in the kitchen, prepping and cooking or baking... only to have a major let-down when the dish, we so lovingly created, ends up being an epic fail!!! :(

 I had this happen yesterday with my German 'Donauwelle', which I've been craving ever since reading about it on Mihl's blog Seitan is my motor .
 I remembered having come across a recipe in Attila Hildmann's book 'Vegan for fun' (available on US Amazon as well -beware of the awkward size of 11.2 x 9.6" though! [I didn't know that when I bought it while visiting in Germany last year and was quite disappointed of that format!] Just as an FYI! The pics look great and recipes sound yummy though!) a while ago as well, so I dug that one out yesterday and gave it a try, thinking it'd be a nice cake to have for an afternoon coffee with my MIL!

Well.... it went from something looking like this...
 (prior to putting in the oven!)

....to this @_@

Nothing nearly as nice looking as Mihl's version or Mr. Hildmann's!
I've had that gut feeling when it took the dish out of the oven yesterday that it looked kinda 'off', but still continued going through the motions, adding the pudding on top, melting the chocolate for the glaze (which was a major PITA on its own if you ask me! -first time I tried it on top of a wobbly pudding layer)... only to realize this morning that it's really not gonna work! :/ The texture of the dough was more dense (can you say play-doh!..) and Hubby, who's usually the brave one and kindly eating everything I put in front of him, admitted that he's really not digging it! *sigh*
Soo... into the trash it went and some (non-vegan) baked treats were bought for MIL, Hubby & the kids! [I just didn't feel the baking vibe after this, I was too bummed!]

Let's hope the next dish will be better again! In the future I'll certainly try my luck again (maybe better follow Mihl's recipe next time? ;) ) but for now I'll stick to quick & easy baking dishes I think! :p

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stuffed peppers

I'm a bit on the 'typical German meals' trip lately, probably also due to surfing German vegan blogs more again these days ;). Either way, today I decided spontaneously to make stuffed peppers with the leftovers I had in the fridge.
Hubby declared they were ok but I think he was disappointed that I didn't go the more 'classic' route... Soo.. next time I'll probably do TVP and brown rice again for his sake! ;)

 ~* Stuffed Peppers *~ Serves 2

Filling
~1 c cooked quinoa
~1 c cubed tofu (I had it marinated but I don't think it mattered)
1 can of black beans
1/2 avocado, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp minced garlic
salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin
~ 1/2 c water or veggie broth 
~*~
2 medium-big sized peppers
 ~*~

Fry the onion in the pan until soft, add the garlic, then tofu, brown everything.
Add the black beans, avocado, diced tomatoes and broth, simmer for a few minutes.
Add spices according to your taste.

Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 350F and get the peppers ready, trim the top off, clean them out, rinse and when the filling is ready, stuff them with it.

Pour a bit of water/broth with at the bottom of a small baking dish, add the stuffed peppers and cover with tin foil (I'm sure you can also do without, I personally prefer it this way to make sure they're getting steamed and not burned!), bake for ~20-25 minutes or until the peppers are really soft.
Done!






Those suckers were huge so we actually had some leftovers (which I froze; it'll be a nice quick smaller meal for 1 person).

If you're open to a non-traditional (German) stuffed peppers recipe, then this might work for you! ;)

And because I promised you, more cat pics would follow, here's a most recent one of our little Pixie girl, all relaxed on the couch (next to me)

 Isn't she precious!?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When in Pennsylvania...

... do as the Pennsylvanian Dutch do, right? :D Or at least so I thought when I came across a recipe for a Pennsylvania Dutch Crumb Cake. :D
 It was easy to veganize and quickly put together. (Unfortunately another fail regarding a pic... It was devoured quicker than I could think of getting my camera! :o Next time, I swear!)

~* Pennsylvania Dutch Crumb Cake *~ 

*2 c AP flour (next time I'll do 50/50 with whole wheat or other healthy flour! ;) )
*1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar (I only used 1/2)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c (5 1/3 Tbsp) butter or shortening, diced [I used coconut oil]
3/4 c buttermilk [I used almond milk + 1 tsp vinegar]
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 beaten egg [1 Tbsp flax, 3 Tbsp water]
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease & flour an 8-inch round cake pan or similar rectangle pan/baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar & cinnamon.
With the tips of your fingers work fat into mixture until completely integrated. [At this point I actually used my beloved Dough mixer]
It's ok to see flakes of fat. Reserve 1/2 c of this mixture for the topping, to be used later!

In a separate bowl, combine egg (flax), buttermilk and baking soda. If using vanilla, add now. Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar with the reserved flour mixture. Pour batter into pan. Top with crumb mixture and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
Note: Amounts can be doubled for two cakes.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Just in time for this year's MoFo....

I know, I know... I've been MIA for far too long! *sigh* [By now I feel I don't even need to bother to apologize anymore.. Those of you who're still reading this blog (anybody even out there or is it just me, holding a conversation with myself? *lol*) probably know by now better not to count on regular blog postings by me! :p

Anyway... while I'm not officially participating in this year's vegan MoFo, I feel it's time for me to dust off my apron and start cooking & baking more again! [Life has finally calmed down a bit; the kiddos started school and everyone is getting into the groove again! -Oh yeah, and by now we've increased the number of our fur babies to 4! :D I'll share some pics later on!]

Sooo... let's start with 2 of my recent ultimate success recipes!!!
The first one I came across on another vegan blog and just tweaked it a tiny bit (I used coconut oil instead of vegan butter and put the dough flattened in a 9" pan, baked on 400 F for 30 min. Came out perfect! I also used frozen strawberries as that's all I had on hands thanks to great prices at BJ's ;)), you can find the recipe here Strawberry Lemon Scones


I've made this recipe 3x so far already, with omni company (MIL) being a tester as well and raving about it!

Next hit was the 'Cinnamon-pull-apart-bread' that I've never heard of before!!! Apparently it's cinnamon bun's cousin and I didn't know about it! @_@ (After being married to an American for almost 13 years now, you'd think this info would have come across my little bubble...) Well... better late than never, so here it is, the original recipe can be found if you follow this link Pull-apart-cinnamon-bread
All I've done differently was the fact that I prepped the dough the night before, stored it in the fridge and then baked it the next day. Oh and instead of eggs I used Ener-G egg replacer as well as almond milk instead of cow milk.
(I'm ashamed to admit the loaf was gone within a few hours... :o Hubby & I nearly killed half of it before the kids even came home from school..) It is seriously TDF!!!




In my gluttony I never even made it to take a pic of a single piece (of several slices bunched together) on a plate... Next time, I promise!!! ;)

Ok, and now last not least a pic of our new kitties...  

Cosmo, our black 'tiger' and Pixie our tortie girl. We got them when they're 10 weeks old (they're 14 weeks now) and they're just a wonderful addition to our family! <3>
Rest assured you'll get to see plenty of more kitty pics in the near future! =)



Monday, April 29, 2013

More power food talk

Just a few more little tidbits about food and its power as well as some easy smoothie 'recipes' ;)








Sunday, April 28, 2013

What to do with leftover Quinoa?


The answer is simple: You can pretty much do anything you want with it! :)
I've eaten it as a warm cereal/porridge mixed with some yummy plant milk and some fruit as well as made veggie patties with it. 
Today however I wanted to see if I could make waffles with it as well, considering that my new Belgian waffle maker was still sitting untouched in my cupboard and just screaming at me to be pulled out and used!

One search on Google brought me to this Quinoa Waffle recipe which I simply veganized and added a few extra little things (like a splash of vanilla and 2 tsp of baking powder). For the egg I used Ener-G egg replacer and vanilla soy milk.

I wasn't sure what to expect... But I'm happy to say it turned out amazing!
Thick & delicious waffles that will keep me full until lunch! ;)

 Dressed up with thawed blueberries and coconut milk

 Just for you to see how they look 'naked' without any syrup etc. ;)

Do you have any other great recipes with cooked Quinoa? Please share if you do!!!




Friday, April 5, 2013

Other, non-TA, workout plans

Due to our move back to the US, my workout schedule got quite a bit disrupted ever since we left Sicily a month ago! I'm trying to keep moving every day as best as I can, even though I'm still not back to my usual routine!
When I came across these workout plans on Pinterest, I knew I had to save them to my laptop and also share them with you here! :)
It might not look like lot, but it's better than nothing!


 



More TA workout plans =)



















Sunday, March 31, 2013