Friday, December 31, 2010

Vegan Fondue Part Deux

Last year we decided to try fondue out with the kids on New Year's Eve. After enjoying ourselves so plentifully, we elected to make a tradition out of it.

This year we tried a few new things. We did broccoli, tofu, bread, bananas, and marshmallows again, but added seitan, black eyed pea fritters, and polenta.

We learned a couple of things. Seitan cooks much faster than tofu, so we'll skip the tofu next year. Little kids don't have a whole lot of patience for waiting. Polenta was more finicky and just crumbled with the first batch we made. It was best to cut it into larger chunks and fry it on a higher setting separate from the other food. In the future, I'd save it for last or single it our for its own pot.

To keep it more simple, we had three fondue pots going verses four (thanks to Auntie Camille for the loan). One pot contained Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate, another had Leahy's Vegan Cheese Sauce, and the last was canola oil. We did bread and broccoli in the vegan "cheese." The oil worked well for the fritters, tofu, seitan, and polenta (you can do broccoli too).

Lastly, we dipped bananas and Dandies vegan marshmallows into the chocolate. This was by far the kids favorite, which was no surprise. You can see by the look on Elliott's face, he is pretty darn happy about the chocolate covered banana.

To celebrate the New Year's, we set a clock ahead and rang in the New Year with the kids at 7:45. They really got into the toasting part of tapping your cups/glasses together. It is always the small things.

If you are interested in making the Black-eyed Pea Fritters, I'll be posting the recipe soon. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jamaican Stuffed Savory Pastries

Although it was my first time making these, awhile back my husband made them, and I remembered them being quite tasty. I was eager for a shot at making them myself.

This isn't an appetizer you'll whip up quickly, if that is what you seek. I was lucky to have my hubby around this week, so I could work on these during the kids' afternoon nap.

Next time around, I've got a few ideas for speeding up the process. First, I'd probably chop it all in the food processor versus hand chopping it all. You have to let the filling cool after cooking it, which does add to the preparation time.

The adapted recipe originally comes from Cooking with Peta: Great Vegan Recipes for a Compassionate Kitchen. Although I am not a huge fan of PETA (I think the publicity stunts more hinder than help animals rights cause), the cookbooks we've received as gifts have been good.

Jamaican Stuffed Savory Pastries


2 large onions
2 Tbsp jalapeno peppers
3-4 cloves garlic
1 large tomato
1/2 cup green onions
2 tsp. curry
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein) reconstituted in 1 cup hot water and 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

For brushing on top:

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. curry
9-11 sheets of phyllo pastry (depending on size you make them)

In food processor, combine onions, garlic, jalapeno peppers. Cook in frying pan with a very light coating of oil (less than a Tbsp) on medium heat until water cooks off. In processor combine the remaining ingredients, except for the TVP. Add to cooked mixture, and cook off the water again. Remove from stove and stir in the TVP. Let mixture cool.

For brushing the tops, combine vegetable broth and curry powder in the microwave until it dissolves well. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
Cut phyllo pastry into rectangles approximately 6 inches x 5 inches. Layer 3 to 4 rectangles on top of each other, then spoon 2-3 Tbsp. of filling onto the corner. Start to roll the pastry until you have rolled it halfway. Fold in the corners like an envelope and finish rolling (like an eggroll). Place seam down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops with veggie broth mixture. Cook in oven 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vegan Cookie Exchange

Last weekend I organized a vegan cookie exchange and have added treats to my ever growing list of favorites. My contributions were Tea Lime Pistachio and Cinnamon Pecan Swirl cookies.

The other participants brought Peanut Butter Blossoms, Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtles, Soft Chewy Molasses, and Lime Shortbread cookies. Lastly there were Chocolate Peanut Marshmallow bars, which were so rich and delicious.

Our greatest dilemma was determining which kind to eat whenever we had one or two or three. They were all quite good and a nice variety. The kids loved them all and gave their thumbs up to all the treats we brought home.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtles

Tea Lime Cookies

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Cinnamon Pecan Swirl

Soft Chewy Molasses Cookies

Lime Shortbread Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Drooling yet? They were as good as they look. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vegan BBQ Wings

Sometimes you just need a quick meal. Despite your desire to turn to take out, there is probably a quick healthy option available at home. For us it was this one. It took less than 15 minutes to have it ready and on the table. We tried both Gardein's BBQ Wings and Alexia's Red Potatoes & Italian Vegetables for the first time.

The potato medley was pretty darn good considering it was frozen food. We'll definitely have these in the freezer for a night we need something really quick. We also had a wild rice pilaf (already cooked earlier in the day) which we re-heated. To top it off, we had pineapple which seemed like a nice compliment to the BBQ "Wings."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chick Pea Loaf

Something about winter makes me wish for a nice chickpea loaf. It was one of my son's favorite foods when he was a baby. It had been awhile since we had made it, so I wasn't sure of the reception it would receive.
Luckily it was a success! Once they tried that first bite, they both ate it all up. We adapted this recipe from, "The New Soul Vegetarian Cookbook."

Chickpea Loaf

2 cans of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) drained
3/4 to 1 1/2 cup croutons, bread crumbs or stuffing mix
1/3 cup canola oil
1 small onion
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. sage
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 jar pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 325 F
Mix all ingredients excluding the pasta sauce in a food processor or grinder. Start out with less croutons/bread crumbs/stuffing mix, and add more to obtain a thick consistency, where it has to be spooned into the pan (it should stick to the spoon and have to be shaken off). Once it is well mixed, put it into a lightly greased 8 x 8 pan. Cook it for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add 1/2 a jar of pasta sauce on top of the loaf. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, until the water cooks off the pasta sauce.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Savory Seitan Pot Pie

Every year, I make this for my husband's birthday. It is his favorite dish. Since this year was Thanksgiving, I shelved it for this weekend. It is one the recipes I used to make my way into his heart. As a man with a high metabolism, he loves good ole classic comfort food.

Since it takes a little more time to make, I've doubled the recipe. We always freeze the second one for a rainy day. You can cut in half to make only one pot pie. To simplify things, I buy store made crusts and only make the tops myself. You could certainly double the crust recipe and make the bottom crust yourself.

Pot Pie

1 lb. seitan
2 cups potatoes
1 bag frozen peas, carrots, and corn
1 medium onion chopped
1 3/4 cup water1
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 ready-made pie crusts

Pie covering
2-3 cups flour
1/3 cup shortening
1 tsp salt
1/4- 1/2 cup water as needed

Boil cubed potatoes and save cooking water.

In a separate large stew pot, on medium low, saute onions in oil until they are tender. Next add the flour, and yeast. Whisk until creamy. Add 1 3/4 cup of cooking water and soy milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Add spices, potatoes, tofu or seitan, and frozen vegetables and continue to simmer. Simmer until the consistency desired is achieved (thicker pot pie sauce), then pour mix into the two ready-made crusts. Cover with pie crust dough (see preparation instructions below).

In bowl mix margarine into flour using a fork to press it down. Do this until the margarine is well mixed and starts to become doughy. Add water as needed to get mix to stick together, but use only a small amount (1/4 cup at most). Knead into a ball, then separate it to make two balls. Roll out with rolling pin, then cover pie. Slit a few lines in top crust and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Dairy Free Vegan Advent Calendar

Yesterday we got to start our vegan advent calendars we got from Vegan Essentials. The kids were so excited! Of course they were ready to eat the second day's chocolate as well. It will take a couple days for them to get the concept down.

In the meantime, I've had to put theirs into a locked cabinet, as Elliott already tried to burglarize his. I can't say I blame him, but it does take the fun out of it if you eat them all up right away.

If you missed the boat on getting one this year, order in early November next year as I've noticed they run out fast. Another option is to make your own or buy one you can put your own treats into each year.

There is a really cute log cabin one, which has a different forest animal behind each door at Gardener's, but the price has always been limiting to our purchasing it. This year I plan to see if it goes on sale after the holidays. It is always the best time to get any holidays decorations.