Tuesday, September 30, 2008


String Beans Almondine

Probably my all time favorite vegetable are string beans. I can't get enough of them. I like them steamed, sauteed, roasted and almondine. There is nothing better than buttery and almondy string beans.

I made these the other day for a pot luck that I go to almost every Wednesday. Since I had to rush home and make these super quick so that I wouldn't be late I didn't get a chance to make them "properly". Generally the string beans are sliced down the middle or on a diagonal, whichever you prefer and are the boiled in salt water for a few minutes and shocked in cold water to help retain their color before being bathed in a pan with butter and almonds. Regardless of how you make them they are easy to do and very delicious to eat. I'm thinking of making them for Thanksgiving this year at my in laws.

Get ready! VEGANMOFO is upon us again. For the month of October it will be daily blogging for me during this special event. Last year I only missed 2 or 3 days because of Thansgiving. This year I might miss 2 because of a wedding at the end of the month in Ohio. Click on the link to learn all about it and see who is taking part in it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers...take 2!

Today's the day to unveil my second Daring Bakers challenge...I'm happy to say this challenge was vegan for everyone involved!

Lavash Crackers w. Bruschetta

For the first time in Daring Bakers history it was a full on vegan challenge. The recipe for the crackers was vegan and to keep it vegan you had to create a vegan topping of your choice. At first I was bummed that we had to just make crackers. I then of course waited until the last day (today) to do the challenge and was then happy it was just crackers. In the end I was very pleased with the challenge and had tons of fun kneading the dough and watching it rise and so forth. It's something I haven't done in a LONG LONG LONG time. There is just something very comforting to me about kneading dough until it is satiny smooth.

I topped my crackers with rosemary, salt and pepper and them made a delicious Bruschetta using a tomato from my mother in laws garden. It was probably the best tomato I've had all summer. Peter and I made a lovely afternoon snack out of both items.

My only issue with the cracker was my own fault. I failed to roll the whole thing out paper thin so the edges were more bready then crackery. I noticed the problem when I transfered the dough to the sheet pan but didn't feel like rolling it out some more. To be honest I didn't have anymore room on the counter I was using to roll it out any more! Next time, and there will be a next time, I will divide the dough into 2 pieces to make it perfectly thin all the way around.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Seitan for everyone!

Crispy Seitan Wraps w. Chipotle Mayo, Mesclun and Sprouts

Besides cutting sugar out of my diet for 30 days I'm also trying to eat 3 meals a day. My days usually just consist of snacking and that just isn't healthy for me. I now try to sit down with Reno during her lunch with a lunch of my own which is actually a lot of fun and I feel better for the rest of the day until dinner.

Above is my new favorite lunch. A whole wheat wrap smeared with chipotle mayo, mesclun, sprouts and some crisped up seitan strips. It's light, satisfying and damn tasty. I've been eating them so much that I made a version of the wrap on a ciabatta roll instead and snuck it in my bag for a free Mets game this past Tuesday. While Peter was muching away on his sausage and peppers I was eating delicious vegan food at a baseball game, you don't hear of that happening too often even though I had to bring it in myself.

Sauteed Seitan w. String beans

Ms. Re LOVES seitan!! Thank goodness. If she didn't I would seriously think that my real baby was switch in the hospital. She likes it lightly sauteed with some cut up string beans.


She likes to eat the seitan first. Then the string beans of which she hides some of them for later in the side of her chair.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ohhh this was gooooooood!!

Black Bean, Butternut and Quinoa Burger w. Chipotle Aioli

My sis and I are on special food restrictions. I'm done with refined sugar for a whole 30 days and she's off a whole plethora of ingredients. For me it's one at a time. Next month I cut back on carbs while still greatly reducing my sugar intake. You really learn a lot about yourself and what you eat when you cut out an ingredient. Do you realize how much everyday stuff has sugar added to it? It's a lot. Breads, sunflowerseed butter, Primal Strips (eek!!), ketchup..etc..etc.. By the third day I was feeling a bit strange but not a bad strange a good strange and it keeps getting better and better. Its been 1 1/2 weeks now and I feel great. I've lost some chub from my chest and middle (although woman problems invaded my body the other day and ya can't tell anymore). I highly recommend this experiment. I want to cheat everyday but I then remember how great I feel without it and have yet to ask the local barista to just add a smidge of chocolate to my Iced Latte.

The other night I was really craving sweet. I decided that the above comfort dinner would hold off my cravings. The butternut gave me all the natural sweetness I needed and the chipotle aioli was well just delicious. It did nothing for my sweet tooth except give me a burning hot mouth. Served with Organic Tater Tots, sauteed broccoli and some avocado slices it was a perfect meal.

I remember one of my teachers in culinary school telling us to eat fried brown rice balls to curb our cravings for sweet. I'll have to give that a try one of these 30 days and see if it actually works.

Have any of you had success in curbing your sugar eating ways??

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Black Bean Chili Nachos

I've been dreaming of this day for a long time now. A day where Peter would be going out with some friends for dinner and I'd be able to eat a non-Peter friendly dinner. This finally happened this week and I was finally able to make myself some vegan nachos!! Peter will never eat this. If he was home and I made this he would probably vomit because the though of it would gross him out so much. It was bad enough when he did come home that my nearly empty bowl was still sitting next to me in the living room. It was worse that when I went into the kitchen to clean up that I left the nearly empty nacho bowl in the living room and then had the nerve to ask him to bring it too me. It's true love when your nacho hating partner will bring something like that into the kitchen for you.

Another view of the NACHOS!!!

Dare I say that these were "semi homemade"? They were. At least I didn't have a whole table scape planned or set up for the occasion. That's only some that Sandra Dee, Sandy Lee, Cindy Nee whatever her name is would do.

What is all was.

Oven was at say 400˚. On a sheet pan with parchment paper I put a very generous handfull, or 2, of tortilla chips plus 1/2 a can of Amy's Black Bean Chili on top (that's the semi-homemade part). While they were heating up in the oven I made Joanna's Nacho Sauce from Yellow Rose Recipes cookbook. When everything was done I transfered the chips w. chili into a bowl and dumped some nacho sauce on top followed by some salsa (not homemade) more nacho sauce and then some diced avocado.

Holy lord were theses good!! What made them even better was sitting in front of the TV with them and watching The Science of Sleep for the very first time. It's now one of my all time favorite movies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sorry Henry Basil

I've used and abused you all summer long to make delicious and large amounts of pesto and pasta sauces. I thought this last time was going to be it for you.

Thankfully you just keep on giving.

Seriously though. I'm going to miss this basil plant I've named Henry this fall/winter. He's done great things for me and provided some life and greenery in my kitchen. He was only $11.00. If I made everything I've made out of him without him I can't even imagine how much money I would have spent. I've made cups upon cups of pesto.

Next year if all goes according to plan I should have an actual backyard were I can grow a new Henry Basil and give him tons of different herb babies like rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage and cilantro.

I'm uber-excited about fall produce though!! I can't wait!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chickpea Cutlets

Chickpea Cutlets (uncooked)

13 Chickpea Cutlets to be exact. I don't know what came over me the other day. Reno went for her a.m. nap and I'm sitting around and just decided that I was going to make a boatload of chickpea cutlets. I didn't realize that I would make that many. There's only 2 of us. We shouldn't eat that many. So I decided to cook one up for Reno when she woke from her nap. SHE LOVED THEM!! I was so excited. Not only does she get protein from the chickpeas but she also gets it from the vital wheat gluten. She ate them all week like we did.

No Parmesan Chickpea Cutlets over Pasta w. Red Sauce

Only after I made this did I realize that a nice cheezy substance would have been nice sprinkled on top. I usually fry the cutlets in a little bit of oil but these cutlets were baked in the oven. It's my new favorite way to eat them. They still get they "fried" taste from the oil I lightly spray on them instead of being fried in more oil then I really need to consume.

Rice and Beans w. Chickpea Cutlet and Avocado

We have also recently discovered that Reno loves Rice and Beans. So we are eating that a few times a week again for now. The cutlet paired really well with the whole dish and it was a super satisfying meal for the 3 of us.

Friday, September 05, 2008


We are off to South Hamilton, Mass. for the weekend. Peter's cousin Jonathan is gettin' married. I'm not looking forward to the 5 hour drive w. Reno. She's good in the car but not for more than 2 hours. Our 5 hour drive will most likely turn into a 6 or 7 hour drive because of all the stops we will have to make for her.


See you all next week!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Reno's 1st Birthday.

Vanilla Cupcakes w. Vanilla Buttercream

On Sunday, 8.31.08 we celebrated Reno's birthday! I was so happy to have her party on her actual birthday. We had about 20-25 people in our apartment, lots of food and lots of fun.

We had cupcakes w. special Reno decorations that I made with some help from my sister, Chi and friend Rachele.

I didn't get pictures of the food but amongst all the stuff I had some VwaV Seitan and Herb Stuffed Mushrooms and V'con's black bean burger, mini style! I highly recommend making the the burgers into mini's for a party. They were so fun looking and delicous.

(1 year)

She got lots of gifts.

Reno (1 year)

Again lots of gifts. Mostly toys.

Shark cutout
made by my friend Rachele

She also had a busty girl pushing a great white shark to the top of the ocean. You can't see it in this picture but the girl had on red socks. That's my friend Todd taking his turn in the cutout.

I didn't get to take lots of picture. There might be a total of 8 of them on my Flickr account which you can access from the side bar of this site. When my parents come back from Cyprus in 2 weeks I should be adding more to Flickr.

And if anyone out there is cares besides me and VeggieGirl America's Next Top Model starts tonight. It's sure to be horrible but we love it! It also means the start up of Wednesday Night Potlucks at my sisters so that my friend and I can watch it together and eat good food. Tonights theme is Chinese food. I'm bringing pot stickers. I hope someone brings scallion pancakes.