Thursday, November 26, 2009


There's lots to be thankful for this year. I could go on a rant of gratitude here, but I've already done so other places and I can sum it up here: Friends, Family, and Food!

I've been invited to a friend's house for dinner, so I only had to make a few dishes to bring over. Saved me the trouble of making something with potatoes and/or gravy, and I had it all done in a reasonable amount of time... and ahead of time.


Tofu-Almond Loaf with Agave Glaze
Orange-Cranberry Sauce
Crumb Cauliflower
Cheesecake (NOT vegan, but eggless)

Tofu-Almond Loaf with Agave Glaze

1 cup almond meal, toasted
2 TB vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups mashed, pressed firm tofu
1 cup uncooked oat bran
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup uncooked Cream of Wheat
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 TB nutritional yeast flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 T. soy sauce


Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Toast the almond meal in a skillet over medium heat till lightly browned. Be careful, it's very easy to burn once you get to the browning stage! Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté vegetables in the oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more oat bran or cream of wheat as needed if the loaf seems too wet. Mix the glaze ingredients in a separate bowl.

Press loaf mixture into the prepared pan and cover the top evenly with glaze, then bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce

1 lb. fresh cranberries (4 cups)
1 cup water
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup orange

Rinse cranberries and pick out any icky stuff. In large saucepan over med heat, heat water, juice and sugar until boiling, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, then add cranberries. Heat to boiling again over medium heat, stirring now and then, about 10 minutes or when the cranberries have sufficiently popped and thickened. (Keep in mind that will be much thicker chilled than when it's still boiling.) Remove from heat, give it a good stir and let stand for about 20 minutes to cool. Pour into bowl and cool completely before refrigerating.

Crumb Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup margarine

1 tube ritz crackers. crushed

Steam cauliflower till soft and put in a serving bowl. Then smash up the crackers and brown them in butter, pour over cauliflower and serve.


1 graham crust

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. vanilla

1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pt. sour cream


1 pack graham crackers (8 long crackers)

1/2 stick butter, melted

2 T brown sugar

Grind crackers into fine crumbs, add melted butter and sugar, mix well and press into 9 inch spring pan. Bake crust separately for 5 minutes at 350 degrees while mixing the filling.

Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoons vanilla. Pour into shell and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, sour cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over cheese mixture and bake 10 minutes, cool. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Breakfast Soup!

Okay, that's sort of a misnomer. It's not exactly a breakfast soup, but I've been making it at breakfast time several days in a row this week, and I love it to pieces. It uses up my leftover veggies, keeps me from skipping breakfast, smells delicious, gets my appetite going, and makes enough that I can eat it for several tasty meals. I also appreciate the fact that it's very light, lacking the processed-ness of bread or tofu. Sometimes you just need your food to be simpler. Your tummy will thank you.

This is the exact version I made today.

Breakfast Soup

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped
5 small carrots, sliced
1-14 oz. can petite dice tomatoes
3 cans water
2 large vegetable bullion squares
5-6 baby red potatoes, quartered, sliced and rinsed
1-14 oz. can navy beans (including liquid)
1/4 tsp each marjoram, ground thyme and garlic powder
1/2 tsp. agave syrup (sugar would be fine)
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked rice

In a dutch oven or large saucepan, cook onion in vegetable oil over medium to medium-high heat until it starts to soften. Add peppers and carrots and continue stirring over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cooked rice. (Note: rinsing the potatoes will wash off some of the starch and prevent icky foam from forming on top of your soup.) If you're not using leftover rice like I did, you can throw in 1/3 cup or so of uncooked rice at any point before you bring everything to a rolling boil. Once it's boiling pretty good, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. If you're using cooked rice, add in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Delicious with ritz-y crackers, rye toast, or just by itself.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quick Minestrone

Lots of "oh crap, it's dinnertime and I have no idea what to cook" recipes creeping in here. Which isn't a bad thing, I suppose. Everyone needs a stash of pantry-heavy staples to fill in when you just don't feel energetic enough to go all-out, or when you lack the fresh ingredients to make something else happen.

This soup is warm, flavorful and easy to slap together. If you were feeling slightly more motivated than I was, you could start by sauteing half a chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic in the pan before you add the other ingredients, and omit the garlic and onion powder.

I was just feeling lazy.

PS. Sorry, my husband and I ate all the soup before I had a chance to take a picture. I'll be sure to immortalize the next batch for you all.

PPS. I dunno if you're "allowed" to use pinto beans and call it minestrone. I don't care either! Kidney beans are not my favorite. I like pintos in something like this. They're more buttery and bland.

Quick Minestrone

1 can petite-dice tomatoes
1 can pinto beans, including liquid
1.5 cans water
1 large vegetable bullion square
1/4 cup green salsa
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
2 small zucchini, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp thyme, oregano, basil and/or marjoram
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup orzo pasta (uncooked) (any small, short pasta will work, I like orzo)

Dump everything into a pot (about 2 quarts should do ya, if you're not using big cans of tomatoes and beans) and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low heat until the mushrooms and zucchini start to look cooked, about 10 minutes. Then add orzo, stirring well, and bring it back to a boil. Simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the cooking time of the pasta you chose. Serve hot with warm rolls or crackers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tofu Breakfast Sandwiches

Yum, yum, yum. I haunt all the time looking for good food porn and new recipes to spark ideas or introduce a little variety in our diet. (You should check it out, it's a really awesome resource for vegetarians. All the recipes and photos are user-submitted, and vegan to boot. It's also got a pretty extensive social network built into it, so if you're looking for veggie forums, this is a place you wanna go.)

This recipe looked promising, and I finally tried it yesterday with a few adaptations and found it to be a really delicious, simple way to prepare tofu. Pressing the tofu for just 30 minutes to an hour keeps the center light and fluffy, replicating the texture of the best egg ever cooked and tossed into a sandwich.

I just ate the sandwich in the picture above. It was tasty and filling, and my husband (who is not a vegetarian, just exceptionally tolerant) raved about how good they smelled and tasted.

Tofu Breakfast Sandwich

1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed

3 T vinegar
1-1/2 tsp country-style dijon mustard (I prefer the brown mustards over regular dijon, they're less bitter)
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 T nutritional yeast
generous sprinklings of turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper

Cut tofu block in half, making two fat rectangles, then slice each into thirds. You should end up with 6 pieces roughly the size and shape of a deck of cards. In a flat-bottomed bowl just big enough to fit one slice of tofu, mix the marinade ingredients until it makes a thick sauce. Dredge each piece in the marinade til coated and drop into a skillet on medium heat, scooping any remaining marinade over the slices. Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side, or until browned. If you like, put a small piece of non-dairy cheese on each tofu slab after turning and let it melt in while the bottom finishes cooking.

Serve on a warm soft roll or toast with a little vegan mayo, or with tomato and avocado slices. Makes enough for 3 hearty servings, or 6 small ones. I bet they'd be pretty fantastic on a homemade biscuit with a vegan sausage patty, too... *drool*

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One-Pot Spinach and Pasta

This is another one of those recipes that you can make when you have literally nothing fresh in the house... you just need a few essentials from the pantry and freezer, and a few basic seasonings to make it happen. Of course, adding strips or chunks of mock chicken and some kick-ass tofu ricotta makes it that much better. My 7 year old absolutely loves this, tomatoes, spinach and all, and will eat as much as I let him. (I try to make sure he doesn't eat so much that he comes to me afterward clutching his belly and saying "I hurt my body..." again.)

Here are some extra tips, since I'm feeling excessive this morning:
  • If you like it, double the spinach for extra veggie love here... those little boxes of plain frozen spinach are a fantastic deal at around $1 each, and packed full of vitamins and minerals.
  • Make this extra-nice if you *do* have fresh produce. Chop an onion and saute it with a clove or two of fresh minced garlic, then add 1/2-1 lb of sliced mushrooms or zucchini and stir till the veggies are cooked. Complete the recipe as follows (omitting the onion and garlic powder, of course).
  • I "thaw" my spinach by dropping the sealed plastic pouch into the pasta water and taking it out when it boils.

One-Pot Spinach & Pasta

1 lb medium shell pasta, cooked (rotini and macaroni work great too)

1 package frozen spinach, thawed
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can navy beans, drained
2 T olive oil
1 cup chopped chicken substitute (optional)
1 recipe Basil-Tofu Ricotta (also optional)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional but delicious)
1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder
1/2 tsp each thyme, basil and oregano or 1 T italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions while you open cans and get out your sauce ingredients. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. Add all other ingredients to the now-empty pasta pot (hooray, fewer dishes) and stir over medium heat till bubbly. Taste it for salt now- this is important, since a lot of these ingredients can vary widely in salt content and once you put it in, you can't take it back out! When you're satisfied with the tastiness of your sauce, add the drained noodles back to the pot and stir well. Makes a LOT, and refrigerates very well for leftovers. Serve by itself, or with garlic bread and a salad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Better-Than-Sausage Gravy

(Pulled this recipe for further testing. Sorry guys! It's just not quite right!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cabbage Soup

I love cabbage soup. It's easy to make, and warms you up on a cold day. I wish I'd added a handful of barley or brown rice to this while it was simmering, but it was delicious without. We ate it with buttered whole wheat toast.

Cabbage Soup

2-3 T vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 head small/medium cabbage, halved, cored and coarsely chopped
1 can chickpeas, including liquid

8 cups vegetable stock -OR- 8 cups water and 2 large vegetable bullion squares

a few pinches of thyme, marjoram, and freshly ground black pepper
season salt to taste

In a large pot, saute onion in oil on medium heat until it just starts to soften. Add garlic and cook another two minutes, until fragrant, then add celery, carrot and pepper. Stir another few minutes until the veggies are bright and fragrant, then dump in the cabbage, chickpeas, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes.

If you want to add brown rice or barley, just throw 1/2 cup in with the cabbage and make sure they're tender before serving.