Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Roasted veggies

I've discussed roasting veggies in another post, but I thought I'd let you know something I recently found out (while roasting every root veggie I could think of to celebrate cooler weather in the desert!)

You can roast radishes! Yep! Try it - I cleaned them, cut the tips off, and threw them in with potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, onions, turnips, parsnips. Even hubby (aka "if my mother didn't make it,then it's not a food) liked them.
Split Pea Sans Ham Soup
Save the pigs!

Contrary to my ex-husband's way of thinking, split pea soup is wonderful without ham. You won't even miss it. The reason: it's chock full of veggies - thick and comforting.

1 2 cup bag of split peas
7-8 cups of water
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cups of carrots
1 cup of celery
Lots of pepper, salt to taste, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons marjoram
1/4 cup soy sauce or vegetarian worstershire
1 cup of diced potatos

Wash the split peas, add water, bring to a simmer. Add the onions, carrots, celery, herbs and spices. Let simmer until the peas have 'dissolved' into the broth and veggies are nicely cooked. Add potatoes and either the soy or the veg worstershire. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked.

This can also be frozen. Spice it up any way you want. Who says comfort food can't be spicy?

I like a bowl of split pea soup with a slice of crusty french or sourdough bread.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tofu salad panini

I was thinking, there would be no reason you couldn't take a medium firm tofu scramble and do the same thing - I'd probably add a little more capers (for the briney taste), and a little more roasted red peppers (in oil) - and have a darn nice sandwich.
Egg salad panini

I ordered the egg salad panini sandwich at Kokopelli Bistro today - and it was great. Think diced up hard cooked egg (didn't seem to be anything mixed with it), capers, and ribbons of roasted red peppers in oil. This delightful mixture was scooped into a wedge of crusty italian bread (the top was all crusty, no white) and warmed in a panini press.

The bistro is part of the Kokopelli winery operation in Chandler, AZ. It used to be their bottling plant, but I'm not sure if it still is or not. With lunch my friend and I also had their 'wine sampler' - 6 very generous 1 ounce pours of our choice of wines.

In case you're interested, and in the Sonora desert area, look for Kokopelli wines
Not only are these nationally award winning wines exceptional in taste (and their bottles are really neat!), but they're organic. The winery is in Bonita Valley (southern AZ). The velvety texture of your first sip will have you hooked!

I've also heard there's another Kokopelli Bistro in Surprise, AZ for those West-Siders.

Fritos are vegan.

just thought you need to know at some point.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Great Lower Calorie Breakfast Shake

I have one of these almost every morning - I put it into an insulated mug (no lid), and take it to work.
1/2 frozen banana (good use for those very ripe bananas)
6-8 ounces of light soy milk (vegetarians, use fat free milk for low cal)
1/3 cup crushed ice (approximate)
A few dashes of cinnamon to taste
A capful of vanilla extract (don't use the cheap stuff - ever! Get the real thing).

I use my immersion blender, but you could use any blender to blend this all up - till ice and banana is all blended in.

If you're looking to gain weight, use regular soy or cow's milk, (and throw in some protein powder).

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dominion over the animals

I told you there would be musings. You've been warned. Here's one now.

An argument against vegetarianism I hear (enough that I do think about it frequently), is vegetarian is "Against God's Will" (always announced with verbal capitals).
That 'man' (I use the term in the common reference only) has "dominion over the animals" per the bible (Genesis 1:26-28.

Supposedly this and other similar bible references mean that we can do anything we want to with animals - including but not limited to the 20th century invention of factory farming, with all of its lovely accouterments of feeding livestock back to livestock (causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob or Mad Cow disease); the unbelievable overuse of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides; keeping 100s animals (birds, cows, pigs) in areas made to hold less than half that many; putting cancerous animals into the food supply; the list goes on and on.

Now just stop and think. If you are a believer in the bible, did God really mean dominion over animals to include all this?

What does dominion mean? It means power, control, sovereignty. Isn't the type of dominion that has led to factory farming the same as the control Hitler had over the Jews? Is that what God meant?

I don't think so. I think dominion means that while we may make sound decisions regarding animals, we have been charged with their care as well. That means we don't overhunt them to the point of extinction, we don't keep them in cages were they never see the light of day or put their feet on the ground. We don't take babies away from mothers.

Surely if we were "created in God's likeness", then with power comes respect, with dominance comes justice, and finally, with sovereignty comes compassion.

Or, as many vegetarians say, "I don't eat my friends".

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Quick Vegan Dinner

One of my mainstays.

Brown some tofu (amount is up to you) in a small pan. This can be pre-marinated, bake tofu, heck you can use tempeh if you wish. Mash it as it browns.
Meanwhile, boil up some 'boil in a bag' brown rice (or have some premade and heat it). Add a few veggies, fresh or frozen (cook till crunchy). Combine all of this with a little soy sauce and sweet/hot chili sauce (my favorite is Mae Ploy). If that's not hot enough for you, a little sriracha will help it along. Sometimes I leave out the Mae Ploy and just use the sriracha (Thai hot sauce).

Good comfort food.
Happy Mother's Day!

Dinner tonite was a london broil for hubby, but what I want to talk about was his side dish - my main dish. Oven roasted potatoes and baby carrots.
It's easy to do - I like to use all sorts of root veggies when I do this. Heat the oven to aboaut 425. Liberally douse a baking pan (13/9 or cake pan size) with olive oil. Peel and cut your potatoes, add baby carrots (or carrot pieces) and any other root veggie you like - and maybe even some mushrooms. Crush some dried thyme in your hands, apply liberally, as well as some fresh black pepper. Douse with a bit more olive oil (if there's not enough) to coat all the veggies with olive oil and herbs. Bake till brown and done - about 30-45 minutes. Yummy!

If you want to add a little protein to this (and make it vegetarian rather than vegan), you can add a little grated cheddar cheese to the top during the last 5-10 minutes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

You Can Grill Tofu!

About a week ago my husband said he wanted shish-kabobs. Beef. Joy.
Okay, I can do that. Plus, here's my chance to see if it works - can I grill tofu?
Since I'm always baking tofu after marinating it in some thing or another, I thought we'll see.

I decided on a teriyaki marinade. I cubed his beef, marinated that. I took chilis, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, scallions and marinated those. I drained half a block of nigari tofu (always use non-gmo tofu!) and cut it in 1.5 inch cubes. Marinated that. All over night.

I put everything on the grill (of course the tofu kabobs were on a separate cleaned grate from the beef) - after it was cooking I realized the veggies were grilling ahead of the meat. Tofu was holding its own. I realized the grilling recipes I'd referred to all said high direct heat but they were for meat only.

Tofu was a little dry, but the grilled outside was actually pretty interesting. And it was tasty. I will play with the recipe some more to figure out if grilled tofu is inherently dry or ?

Nex time though I'll 'kabob' the beef and tofu cubes and do the veggies separately in my grilling wok.
A couple of my favorite websites

Are created by the same person - Alanna Kellog.

Kitchen parade is a website for "Fresh seasonal dishes for every day eating and occasional indulgences". A Veggie Venture is her blog for "Vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini". You can sign up for an email of her columns on either site - they're worth it. If you have questions or comments she's very prompt in responding at all.

Not all of her recipes are vegetarian, and you will see that caveat on her website. However most of the non-vegetarian recipes I've come across can be made veggie by simple substitutions.

Both of these websites are good for several hours of 'surfing'. Be sure to try her 3 hour baked potatoes!
What to do with Asian leftovers

My friend Linda and I had a great Saturday. We hadn't spent some quality time together for awhile, so we started out by getting a massage at a new place by her. Then we went to Pei Wei for lunch (think fast food PF Chang's, if you don't have one near you - they're owned by the same company). I ordered a sizzling salad and she ordered blazing noodles - both with tofu and veggies - and both blazing hot!

There were a few leftovers and I brought them home. Now what to do with them? Well, I learned awhile back that you can add a little lettuce and make a nice cold salad out of almost any asian cuisine leftovers. Use a little iceberg if you want for crunch, but make sure you add some darker leafed lettuce for the vitamins and minerals - I'll be able to stretch one nite's leftovers into two or three tasty salads for lunch or dinners!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Egg Salad

Time and time again I talk to people who love egg salad but don't like their own recipe for it. Well it's easy to make and I'm sharing my favorite recipe. My favorite happens to belong to my ex-husband. He makes the world's best egg salad. Unfortunately there's no real recipe, so I'll give you the basics.

Hard cooked eggs (I usually do about 6 at a time)
mustard to taste
miracle whip to taste
the secret ingredient: a dash of sugar.

I've left out the sugar and it doesn't taste as good. Just a dash. Yummy!
Vegan Burrito

I made my husband pot roast with potatoes and carrots, and since that's one of my favorite meals, was wondering if I'd miss it. Nope. Instead I came up with a vegan monster taco (I had too much filling in the thing to wrap it like a burrito)!

I cooked the potatoes and carrots separately from the meat so I could have some.


1 whole wheat tortilla (I used the 10 inch carb conscious by Mission - 130 calories)
2 slices of soy cheese (I used pepper jack, but you could substitute any cheese, soy or milk you want. This is your only source of protein in this meal).

The rest is up to you. I used a few chunky potatoes and baby carrots. To that I added some red leaf lettuce and cilantro. Then I added a little salsa for moisture.

As I was enjoying this I realized (duh!) you could use any vegetable combination in this. And I certainly will!
Happy Dance!

Since the end of February I've really been watching what I eat - the old fashioned way - counting calories. There's several sites, but I've been using You can track exercise, calories, weight. There's also a recipe section and you can also get calorie counts by mobile.
Anyway, the happy dance - it's taken 2 months, but I've officially lost 10 pounds! Another 35 or so and I'll evaluate if I want to lose anymore.

After South Beach, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, etc I had decided that the best way was the old 'slow and go' method. I do need to kick up the exercise and should do that soon.

It does seem that at least for now, eating a vegetarian diet is helping with the weight loss. I know when I did this last time (several years ago), the weight came off quite quickly.