Tuesday, December 4, 2012

cookies and stuff

Someone in my office asked me the other day if I had any recommendations on what to make for a vegetarian that they are having over for dinner during the Christmas holidays. My first thought was Toforky. It's easy for a non-veg person to prepare, and it's widely available in our city's major supermarkets.

But Gardein also has a huge variety of meatless proteins too. In fact, I have yet to try one that I don't like. My faves are the mandarin orange crispy chick'n and the turk'y cutlets. And as I'm looking at their website right now, there are some new items that I haven't even see in stores yet. Breakfast patties and meatless meatballs?! Yum! This kind of stuff is a treat for me because I make so many of our meals from scratch.

And this reminds me, last week my (non-veg) aunt made us spaghetti and she crumbled up a couple of veggie burger patties in the sauce to make it nice and hearty. It was such an easy thing for her to do, and made our dinner extra nutritious. Love her! Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it, so I'll leave you with these butterscotch walnut cookies that I made recently.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Latte Luv

Warming up on a chilly autumn morning with a vanilla soy latte from JJ Bean.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall Freebie Friday sweepstakes

Contest alert:
Food For Life, makers of high quality sprouted grain bread and all-natural baked goods for over 40 years, is hosting a weekly Fall Freebie Friday sweepstakes to celebrate Autumn. Simply “like” Food For Life on Facebook and enter to win free product coupons and your choice of a Food For Life t-shirt or apron!

A new winner will be chosen every Friday through November 16th.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ice Cream Dream

Ice cream, the quintessential summertime treat! What better to do with a couple of pounds of freshly picked Strawberries? Bedsides jam, which I will also be making a lot of before the summer is through.

My ice cream machine is a Cuisinart Ice-21C  and it is ridiculously easy to use. Just pour a bunch of stuff in the bowl and let it mix for 15 minutes. Seriously, that's all I did to make this frozen strawberry dessert. Mashed up strawberries, a glurp of soy milk and 1 tbsp of sugar. Easier than pie.

I swear I did nothing to enhance or modify the colour in the image. The strawberries were beet-red all the way through - unlike the California strawberries that are usually available year-round at our local supermarket that are white on the inside.

Today was "ice cream day" at my daughter's school so I sent along a small container of this for her to enjoy while her classmates eat traditional ice cream made with cow milk (thankfully they have a freezer available to keep it frozen until snack time).

And on the topic of ice cream, I wonder if there are other towns out there that have banned the ice cream truck from blasting the iconic music like they did in West Kelowna right before this summer began?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Top 10 Cheese Alternatives

Cheese was the hardest thing for me to give up when I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan. I like the taste of cheese, but I don't like what it is. Thankfully there are tons of alternatives that can replace cheese in pretty much any dish. I rounded up a list of my top 10 favourite cheesy stand-ins.

  1. Avocado - instead of cream cheese, spread this buttery green fruit generously on sandwiches, wraps, bagels, etc. Avocado has a reputation of being "fattening" but if you compare it to cream cheese, it's half the amount of fat! Plus it's loaded with vitamins such as vitamin K, potassium and B6, which cream cheese does not have. See for yourself - compare the nutritional information between avocado and cream cheese
  2. Red Star Nutritional Yeast - the ultimate B-vitamin boost, this can be sprinkled on anything - popcorn salad, pasta. It adds a cheesy flavour and an unexpected punch of protein.
  3. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese - okay, if you're not a fan of avocados then this is a decent alternative. I just wish they would ditch the partially-hydrogenated soybean oil.
  4. Lunch Box Fondue - the Vegan Lunchbox lady is my hero. And this recipe has been one of my favourites since she posted it way back in 2005. There's 1001 things you can dip into this, and sometimes I even use it as a sauce on pasta.
  5. New Farm Style Comforty Gluten Free Mac & Cheeze - Another "cheese sauce" recipe that I fell in love with at first sight. Get Sconed is an absolutely delicious blog, and I'm pretty sure every vegan on the planet reads it.
  6. Mac-Oh, Geez! The first time Dreena Burton posted a pic of this kick-ass casserole, she was still perfecting the recipe, and it was an agonizing five months before she finally dished out the goods on how to make it. And it was so worth the wait. 
  7. Daiya - finally a fake cheese that actually melts. Of all the vegan cheeses I've tried (and I've tried a LOT) this one is my favourite. It's a bit salty, but then again, so is real cheese. Yum, yum, use the shredded version anywhere you would use regular cheese - nachos, pizza, fajitas, you get the point.
  8. The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook - by Joanne Stepaniak. All I can say, is Ms. Stepaniak is a frickin' genius! Order this book on Amazon, get it from the library, do whatever you have to do to get this book. 
  9. Marmalady - unfortunately I don't know if she sells it on its own, but Chef Salima makes the best-o vegan pesto I've ever had.
  10. Road's End Mac & Chreese - in a pinch, this is just as convenient as KD, and without the animal ingredients.
So there you have it. I could have kept going, there are tons of delicous alternatives to cheese. I'd love to hear what your favourites are.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Great Zucchini

When I was in grade school, one of the annual events that took place was the Zucchini Festival. I remember there being a contest where you had to "dress up" a zucchini as if it were a person, and mine had bright pink hair made from Mr. Noodles and food colouring, and arms made of green onions with the roots dangling at the end like little fingers. I remember it well because I won first prize. 

Fast forward to present day. My aunt recently gifted me with a giant zucchini. Giant as in, I shredded it in the food processor and ended up with 8 cups of zucchini! What to do with it...well, most of it ended up in the freezer until I figure out what to do with it.

But I dug up my tattered old Zucchini Cookbook that my mom had kept from that year I won the Zucchini Festival. The cookbook is full of horrible typos and 12 different fonts, but it's also full of love, from all the moms and teachers that submitted their favorite zucchini recipes during the festival. My mom's recipe for Zucchini Pineapple is on page 1. There's a couple of recipes for chocolate zucchini baked goods, which inspired me to make Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbps water (or other egg replacer equal to 3 eggs)
1 cup sugar
1/2 agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut butter spread (or earth balance soy butter)
3/4 cup coconut milk (or other "milk")
7 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups, grated zucchini
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
Using an electric mixer with large bowl, combine flax + water, sugar and agave. Add in "butter", "milk" and grated zucchini. Stir until mixed. In a separate bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into muffin liners or lightly greased muffin tins. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Olives & Things

The good people at a local Vancouver company called Olives and Things were kind enough to send me some samples of their products. They have a wide variety of salts flavoured with unexpected ingredients like berries, truffles and olives. And they have an authentic extra virgin olive oil that comes from their family in Spain.

I'm a big fan of rock salt  (I haven't used regular table salt in years). The first thing I made using their Salt with Wild Mushrooms and the olive oil was a chunky salsa. Deeelicious! In fact I've been using this salt in everything  from wild rice and stirfry to popcorn, and I love it.