Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is based on one that a friend made a couple of weekends ago - it was excellent but somehow her version came out a bit spicier.  I think adding cayenne pepper or some jalapenos would not be a bad idea here.  The version below is what we make this past Sunday and it was delicious.  I am also thinking to experiment next time, I wonder how it would come out if we substitute silken tofu for the soy cream cheese - that might also give it the creamy texture - something to try next time.

1 Butternut Squash - peeled and cut into 1" cubes(about 6 cups)
2 Granny Smith Apples - peeled and cut into 1" pieces
3 medium Yellow Onions
1 Tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
6 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 8oz. Package Soy Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti brand - better than cream cheese)

Melt the Earth Balance in a large stock pot, add the onions and saute until soft and translucent.  Add to the Onions the Squash, Apples, Curry Paste and mix until combined.

Add  the vegetable broth and simmer for about 1/2 hour until the apples and squash are softened.
Working in small batches - put approximately 1/4 of the soup into the blender at a time - puree until smooth - transfer into a bowl until all of it has been pureed and then return to the stock pot.

Return to the stove over low heat, whisk in
the soy cream cheese until well blended.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zucchini Bread

Even after the enormous stuffed zucchini, we still have quite a bit of zucchini left - I made this zucchini bread which came out very good - I froze one loaf and we will see how that does when we defrost it - I think it will be nice toasted once it is defrosted.  And now only another 2/3 of a very large zucchini left - not sure what we will do with that yet.....
6 egg whites
 (I used egg-replacer instead)
1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups crushed, unsweetened pineapple

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, add the egg replacer, canola oil, applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on low speed until thick and foamy.
In a small bowl, stir together the flours. Set 1/2 cup aside. Add the baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon to the small bowl of flour.
Add the flour mixture to the egg white mixture and using the electric mixer on medium speed, beat until well blended. Add the zucchini, pineapple and cranberries and stir until combined. Adjust consistency of the batter with the remaining 1/2 cup flour, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. The batter should be thick and not runny.
Pour 1/2 of the batter into each prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the loaves out of the pans onto the rack and let cool completely. Cut each loaf into 9 1-inch slices and serve.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Stuffed Zucchini

There must be at least 100 different recipes available for stuffed zucchini which are all good - I put this together based on what we had in the pantry and refrigerator.  The zucchini came from Tim's cousin Kelly's garden - and they told us these were small compared to some they had already picked.

1 very large zucchini squash (or 2-3 smaller zucchini)
2 cups garbanzo beans
1 large onion
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. Olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup vegan shredded “cheese”

Preheat oven to 350.
Slice the Zucchini lengthwise into two pieces.  Scoop out the insides of the zucchini, chop the portion which was removed into small pieces and set aside.

Chop onion, mince garlic and dice jalapeno pepper, add to a frying pan with olive oil.  Saute onions, pepper and garlic for about 5 minutes. 

Add carrots and zucchini pieces to frying pan, cook until zucchini and carrots are softened, about 15 minutes.  There will be some liquid coming from the zucchini as it cooks allow this to evaporate while cooking without a lid on the pan.

Add the garbanzo beans and quinoa to the frying pan and heat through.  

Add stuffing to the zucchini shells and place into 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes.  Add optional vegan shredded “cheese” and put back into the oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese.  Slice into servings and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jamaican Beef-ish Patties

We made these and brought them to a party - we had them in a tinfoil pan and heated them up on the grill - they were a big hit.  Depending on your preference you could make them more or less spicy, adding more or less of the habenero pepper.

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water

2 tablespoon oil
1 Small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Chopped Habanero pepper
1 1/2 cups Textured Vegetable Protein (we used beef-ish bits from Harmony House Foods) Boiling Water - enough to cover TVP to rehydrate
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried thyme
1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable stock

For the Pastry:
Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the turmeric and sea salt in a large bowl and mix well.  Set aside the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.  Add the coconut oil to the flour mixture and mix until it resembles fine sand.  You can use your hands to mix this, a food processor or a stand mixer also works well.
Combine the vinegar and water.  Add the vinegar mixture by the tablespoon, while stirring until the dough just comes away from the sides of the bowl.  flatten the dough and cover in wax paper and refrigerate for about an hour.

For the Filling:
Add boiling water to the TVP and allow to re-hydrate.  In a heavy skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion and pepper until they become limp. Add the TVP, salt, pepper, curry powder and thyme and mix well. Simmer the TVP mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the breadcrumbs and stock and combine all the ingredients well. Cover the skillet and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all the liquids have been absorbed, the filling is ready. It should be moist but not watery. Remove the skillet from the stove and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

With the reserved flour dust a clean surface and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into 6-inch circles.  We used a bowl which had a 6-inch diameter at the top to cut the circles.  Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling onto the center of one side of each circle leaving about 1/8 inch boarder.  Dip you fingers in water and run water around the edges of the circle.  Fold over, press to seal and make ridges around the edge with a fork.  
Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake about 35 minutes until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Falafel adventure

Every once in a while, I have to voice my opinion - this is not a new recipe but one of the experiences as we are on this adventure with a plant based diet.  The more I learn, the more I want to influence the important people in my life to eat less meat and less processed foods.

I thought I was making some progress with convincing my parents to eat less meat.  I know they will never eliminate it completely but I figured a few meat-free meals per week certainly wouldn't hurt them.  I introduced them to some store-bought falafels (chickpea balls which are seasoned and originate from the middle east - very tasty).  We heated them up, had them with some green salad.  I made a soy yogurt cucumber dill sauce to have with them.  They really seemed to like them.  Another time we had them in Pita Pockets as a sandwich - very good.

They bought more the next time they went to the store.

So, here I was thinking, this is great, I have convinced them to eat a few meat-free meals, maybe this will help their cholesterol levels, blood pressure.  It really could have some positive impact.

Then my Mom tells me, "Yes, the falafels were really good!  We had them with bacon and mayonnaise......."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tofu Cutlets

2 packages of tofu, drained and sliced into 1/2" slices
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 pinch black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 1/4 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Drain and slice tofu, place in large freezer bag with barbeque sauce and freeze overnight.  Take out of freezer to defrost.  Freezing the tofu changes the texture and including the sauce when freezing allows the sauce to permeate the tofu.

Prepare 3 shallow bowls for the breading process.
In the first bowl combine flour, garlic, salt and pepper.  Remove 1/4 cup flour mixture add to second bowl, gradually whisk in water until smooth.  In the third bowl combine breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning.

Dredge tofu slices in the flour mixture.  Shake off excess flour and dip into the flour and water mixture.  Shake off excess and dredge in the bread crumb mixture.  Set on lightly oiled baking sheet.

Bake Cutlets for ten minutes, turn and bake for eight to ten minutes more until golden.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Edamame Corn Salad

1 package frozen Shelled Edamame
1 package frozen Corn
1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 Roasted Red Pepper, diced
1/2 large or one small red onion, diced
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt

Cook the edamame and corn to defrost.

Juice the lemon into a small bowl, add the minced garlic, black pepper and sea salt.  Slowly add the olive oil while whisking into the lemon juice.

In a large bowl, mix roasted red pepper, diced red onion, together with the corn and edamame.  Mix in the quinoa, Once all ingredients are combined, add the lemon olive oil mixture.

This can be served cold or warmed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nutrition Research - Plant based diet

After deciding we would try a plant based diet, I had to do research on nutrition.  I wanted to make sure I was making the correct choices for our long-term health.  With the number of times people ask, "Where do you get your protein?" I felt obligated to have a fully informed and complete answer to provide.  I have read many books, web-sites, newsletters and so on regarding a plant based diet.

One of the best books I have read so far on this subject was The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas C. Campbell II.  This book cites many long-term studies of the impact nutrition has on our health.  It clearly identifies the levels of protein in the typical American diet are much higher than what is needed by our bodies and this higher level of protein is what is causing many diseases.

One of the main questions people have is are we getting the correct and appropriate nutrition when eliminating meat from our diet.  If I had fast food hamburgers and french fries every day, would anyone ask if I was getting the right nutrition?  When I am having a bad day and end up at the cafeteria for a slice of cheese pizza no one asks me where are my vegetables, they are convinced the 1/8 cup of tomato sauce on my slice of pizza is sufficient.  But if I have a huge salad topped with baked tofu slices, and some couscous or other whole grain on the side, they think I am not getting enough nutrition.

It seems that our perception as Americans of what makes up a nutritious diet is so skewed at this point - from marketing on television and everywhere else you look.  There is little to no profit in convincing people they should be eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Therefore, the message that we should eat highly processed foods continues.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Apple Peanut Butter Pita Pocket

This was a great breakfast I had the other morning before heading off to work - very easy and satisfying!

One serving:

1/2 apple, sliced
2-3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1 whole wheat Pita Pocket

Toast the Pita Pocket, slice in half, spread peanut butter inside, put apple slices inside, enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chickenish Fajitas

This is one of my favorite recipes to make on week-nights after a long day at work - it comes together very quickly and it is delicious and satifying.

1 10 ounce package frozen peppers (fresh peppers can be used if you have them, using the frozen peppers is a good time saver as they are already sliced)
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups TVP chickenish chunks
3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
6 sprouted grain or whole wheat tortillas
Shredded vegan cheese (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Serves 2-3 (2 or 3 tortillas each)

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and place in 250 degree F oven. (I use our toaster oven for this)

Add taco seasoning to TVP.  Add enough boiling water to just cover TVP - allow to rehydrate while other ingredients are prepared.

Drizzle olive oil into a frying pan.  Add garlic, onions and peppers, saute over high heat until softened.

Add TVP and taco seasoning mixture to frying pan.  Cook until thoroughly heated through and liquid has reduced.

Put filling in the middle of the tortilla, add cheese and salsa if desired, wrap up and enjoy!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cooking Demo - not quite what I expected

I recently attended a cooking demo at a kitchen store - the main purpose of the demo was, of course, to sell their products but I was hoping to pick up some new techniques or learn a new recipe.  The food processor did look nice as she demonstrated how it worked.

The title of the demo was "healthy cooking: vegetables."  Sounds good so far, right?

The first dish did look really good - and the only modification I would make would be to eliminate the Parmesan cheese from the breadcrumb toppings and it would be vegan - it was a layered casserole with zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes.  So, that was not bad.  I may try it this summer when those vegetables are available local and fresh. 

The second recipe, however, was a 10 layer salad.  They used iceberg lettuce which there really are so many more nutritious choices in lettuce out there but OK, iceberg lettuce is alright if that is what gets people eating more salad and more vegetables so, although it would not be my first choice, I can see it has a use with some recipes.

Now the fun begins, the dressing was made from Mayonnaise and Sour Cream.  And the top layers of the salad were hard boiled eggs, cheese and BACON!  I was a little disappointed, following a  plant based diet, attending a class that is supposed to be about vegetables only to find out they consider bacon a vegetable in this class......The woman doing the demo kept emphasizing this was a healthy salad.  Healthier than what, I wanted to know, I guess it was a little better than a fast food cheeseburger and french fries.  There are many people who follow a vegetarian diet and include eggs and cheese in their diet so, minus the bacon, this recipe would work for a lot of vegetarians.  I would not serve this to a vegetarian though and tell them it is really good for them.

This was an example of how people are constantly misinformed regarding what is good for them.  The message I walked away from this demo with was as long as you are eating some vegetables, it is fine to pile them up with mayo, sour cream, bacon and cheese.

I completely disagree and I was very disappointed.

I do want to turn this around into something I can use - I have some ideas brewing, maybe a vegan mayo based dressing, a layer of beans instead of the boiled eggs.  Instead of the bacon, some Tempeh flavored with BBQ sauce and crisped in a frying pan......More to come once I work on these ideas a little more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

White Bean Dip

We have some dried canellini beans and I have been trying to decide what to do with them.  I put them in the crock pot so they would be cooked and figured, I would think about what to do with them once they were ready......
I put 2 cups of dried beans, 6 cups of water, 1 onion cut into quarters, 4 garlic cloves, and 2 small bay leaves into the crock pot.  I set it on high and let it go......A cookbook I was referring to said it should take 8-10 hours on high - ok, off to work, and they should be ready when I come home.  Fortunately, I don't work too far from home and decided to run home at lunch time to let the dogs out and have a quick lunch - only about 4 1/2 hours in the crock pot and the beans were definitely done.  Next time I will put them on low.

I have cooked beans....ok, now what?

With two cups of the cooked beans, I have made a bean dip.

White Bean Dip

2 cups of cooked White Beans (I used canollini, northern beans would probably work well too)
5 Garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Kosher Salt to taste (I use very little salt)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until combined.

Serve with fresh veggies for dipping.  This would also be good spread on crostini or as a sandwich spread.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tim's Vegan Chili

This is a recipe which comes out a little different each time we make it depending on which of the ingredients we have on hand.  Tim could eat this chili every day and he would be happy.  It is great served with tortilla chips or fresh baked bread (I will post the bread recipe soon too.)  This can be made ahead of time and re-heated in the crock pot and it freezes very well also.
Tim’s Vegan Chili
4 Tablespoons Olive oil
4 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Package Extra Firm Tofu
4 Veggie Sausage Links
1 medium Onion
1 Bulb (yes, bulb not clove) Garlic
16 oz. Can Kidney or Cannellini beans
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) Beefish chunks
TVP Chickenish chunks
28 oz. can Tomato Puree
12 oz. can or bottle of Lager Beer
1 Hot Pepper such as a Habanero (optional)
Ground Black Pepper

Cut sausage into slices and put into oven at 375° F for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes
Cut Tofu into ½” cubes
Dice Onion and Garlic, set aside
Put 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan set to medium-low heat.  Add ½ onion and ½ of the garlic.  Add the tofu after 3 minutes.  Cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Put the tofu in the oven at 375° F for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Put the tomato Puree into a slow cooker with the sausage and beans set to low.
Place the TVP in a sauce pan with enough water to cover; boil for 10 minutes until rehydrated.
Dissolve the Chili powder in the beer.
Put another tablespoon of olive oil in the same frying pan which was used for the tofu – you do not need to clean in between, keeping the flavor from the onions and garlic which were cooked earlier.  Add the rest of the onion, garlic and Tofu along with all of the TVP and the optional diced hot pepper.  Pour the dissolved Chili powder in and simmer for 30-45 minutes.  Add water if it gets too thick.  Add salt and ground pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients from the frying pan into the slow cooker and set to Low or Keep Warm.
The longer it cooks the thicker the chili will get and the more the flavors will intensify.

We order our TVP from Harmony House Foods -  They have several flavors available.  We started with the sampler pack to try out a variety and see what we liked.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chickenish Cigars

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite cooking shows which features meals in 30 minutes. She uses ground chicken and butter in the original recipe. I have adapted to fit a vegan diet using TVP and olive oil. The flavor from all of the seasonings makes it a very flavorful dish. Pair it with a nice green salad or some steamed veggies and this makes an impressive delicious meal.
4 servings

  • 1 ½ cups TVP (I use plain but chicken or beef flavor could be used)
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning, half a palm full
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, a handful
  • 4 sheets phyllo dough – whole wheat if available
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place TVP in a bowl and mix with spices and parsley. Add boiling water to cover the TVP and allow it to rehydrate.

Place a piece of phyllo on a large cutting board or work area, with a pastry brush, brush olive oil on it and top with a second sheet.

Divide the TVP mixture in half. Form a 1-inch thick log the length of the long side of the phyllo dough.

Roll the log in phyllo tightly. Cut the TVP filled phyllo into 4 "cigars" and brush with a dab more olive oil. Repeat to make a total of 8 TVP and phyllo roll-ups.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

About us......

Tim the Vegan blog was inspired by my husband, Tim.

He is a very reluctant vegan…...

Tim has been led to this dietary choice through a health issue. Eliminating meat and all animal products from his diet had a quick and effective result to resolving his health issue. This change to our diet has led to many health benefits for both of us, including losing weight easily and feeling healthier overall.

Since making this change, we have explored many recipes and many new ingredients. Some good, some we will never try again.