Posts Tagged Laptop Lunchbox

Beet Hummus, Lots of Veggies, and Pancakes for One

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I realized tonight that I’m going to be even more busy for the next two or three weeks, so I wanted to make sure to get a post in before I go haywire!

Here’s a CSA delivery I got way back at the beginning of June.

broccolini, rosemary, lettuce & bok choy

blueberries, peaches, beets, potatoes, cantaloupe & cauliflower

With the beets and lettuce, I decided to make beet hummus lettuce wraps, even though I had never had beet hummus before.  It just sounded good.

I topped the wraps with shredded carrot and daikon radish, which was a great idea.  Right around this time, I started counting calories and making an effort to lower the fat content of my meals and include more veggies, so you’ll see a lot of meals like this from me for a while.  That’s why this hummus is low-fat, with no tahini or oil.  I went back and forth trying to decide if I should include at least a little tahini, but in the end the beets made the texture and flavor so nice that it didn’t need any added fat.  I meant to include a clove of garlic but forgot, so that would be a nice addition.

Low-Fat Beet Hummus

1 bunch beets, about three large
1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, or 1 1/2 cups cooked
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 dash cayenne
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp minced fresh dill
3 Tbs water

1. Trim the beets, but do not peel.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil.  Add beets to water, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until beets are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and let cool.  Once cool, peel the beets with the side of a spoon and chop.

2. Place beets and all remaining ingredients, except water, in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as necessary.  Add water, 1 Tbs at a time, to reach desired consistency.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 102.58
Calories From Fat (7%) 7.04
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.84g 1%
Saturated Fat 0.09g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 311.27mg 13%
Potassium 334.15mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 20.61g 7%
Fiber 4.61g 18%
Sugar 4.72g
Protein 4.11g 8%

Lunch the next day, with leftover risotto and dried pears.

This is kidney bean and broccoli stem ragout.  I meant to use the broccolini in whole for this dish, but by the time I got around to cooking it, the poor broccolini was looking pretty bad, so I just used the thin stems.

With the ragout, I served rosemary-potato-cauliflower mash.  Adding the cauliflower was a nice way to still have potatoes but cut the calories a little.

Lunch the next day, with persian cucumbers and blackberries.

Next CSA delivery:  lettuce, carrots, zucchini, chard & cauliflower.

Tomatoes, strawberries, plums, cantaloupe, blueberries and nectarines.

With the return of summer and fresh zucchini, I returned to my spiralizer.  This is soba and zucchini noodles with carrot-ginger sauce, mung beans, long beans, cilantro and green onion.  I adapted the carrot-ginger sauce from this recipe, but to be honest I didn’t like it very much.  I think I just don’t like fresh carrot juice though, so if it sounds good to you, give it a try!  One great tip I did learn from this meal is that when you mix cooked soba noodles and raw zucchini noodles, you can barely tell the difference texture-wise.  It’s a fantastic way to extend the volume of soba noodles without adding a ton of calories.

Along with the noodles, I sauteed some purple kohlrabi.  I wasn’t going to have a side dish, but when I saw the kohlrabi at the farmer’s market that morning, I had to have it.  I love kohlrabi.

I had leftover carrot-ginger sauce and mung beans, so I combined them with short grain brown rice, arame and steamed broccoli for another meal.

One pot meals rule my world!  This is tempeh with leeks, carrots, swiss chard, mushrooms, capers, tomatoes, white wine and quinoa.  Delish.

To use up the last of the CSA veggies, I turned to Vegan Fire & Spice.  This is the Kashmiri Vegetable Soup.  Simple yet tasty, I really enjoyed the emphasis on cardamom in the spice mix.  You could add protein and greens to this soup and call it a complete meal.  And, because the veggies are cut into chunks, the prep was really fast.

Soup close up!

To go with the soup, I made Many Bean Salad, also from Vegan Fire & Spice.  This certainly lived up to the cookbook title – it was spicy!  I really liked the combination of beans and the addition of peas, which gave the salad a lovely texture.

A few Sundays ago, Dave left the house ridiculously early to attend a Nascar race up in Sonoma, and when I finally got out of bed I had a mad craving for pancakes.  Seeing as I’m doing this calorie counting thing, I wanted to make filling, relatively low-cal pancakes without having any leftovers.  I googled pancakes for one and came across this Buckwheat Pancakes for One recipe, which turned out fabulously.

I didn’t have any buckwheat flour though, so I used half whole wheat pastry and half quinoa flour.  They were a little gummy in the middle, but I actually like my pancakes that way.  Because I only had to cook one batch, these pancakes were much more quick to make than my usual recipe.  And, my entire breakfast was less than 350 calories, including the 2 tsp of blueberry agave nectar on top.  I will definitely be adding this to my weekend repertoire!

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Laptop Lunchbox Around the World

I’ve gotten back into the habit of taking my Laptop Lunchbox to work a few times a week, and I’ve been enjoying it.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to prepare a few of the menus from Vegan Lunch Box Around the World, which I purchased a while ago but hadn’t cooked from yet.  I picked the menus to use what I had received in my CSA delivery.

First up was Thailand #1:  Pad Thai, Red Curry Vegetables, Thai Cucumber Salad and an Asian Pear

For being so simple, the red curry vegetables were really good.  The cucumber salad was your standard asian cucumber salad, light and fresh.  The pad thai component was supposed to be from a boxed pad thai, but my grocery store didn’t have a vegan brand, so I chose peanut noodles instead and added some tofu.  The noodles weren’t very good, but that wasn’t the cookbook’s fault.

Next up, Germany:  Cabbage Rolls, Beet Salad, Applesauce and Spitzbuben cookies.  Except I didn’t feel like I needed cookies, so I subbed some pretzels and chocolate.  Pretzels and chocolate are German, right?

I was super happy with this lunch.  The beet salad was really simple to make and really tasty.  The cabbage rolls, with a filling of walnuts, chickpeas and brown rice, were surprisingly good.  I thought the recipe was a little simple, but was really pleased with how the flavors came together.  And, the filling held together nicely without any crazy binders.

Nummy cabbage rolls!

For my last themed lunch, New England:  New England Chowder, Fish Crackers, Boston Brown Bread Muffins with Vegan Cream Cheese and a Pear.  I thought the meal was a little carb heavy and protein light, so I cut out the crackers and added some fishy tempeh – tempeh marinated in vegetarian fish sauce.

I also added some cherries to fill the fourth position because, well, cherries are fantastic!  The chowder was good but maybe a little bland.  I felt like it could’ve used some flavor of the sea, say, from seaweed, but I guess that wouldn’t be very kid friendly.  The brown bread muffins had fantastic flavor, but were undercooked in the middle, which was probably my fault.

Here are a few more lunches.

shirataki noodles with sugar snap peas and mushrooms, baked tofu, celery

sourdough bread, Amy’s lentil vegetable soup, carrot sticks, soy nuggets with barbecue sauce, pecan cranberry clusters

roasted cauliflower, springtime risotto with asparagus and fresh peas, salad with french dressing, prunes and dried apricots

One day when I didn’t have a whole lot of food to take, I packed this cute little bento box which I had never used.

Bottom layer:  kiwi with radish flowers, carrots and celery, mixed nuts and mini chocolate chips.  Top layer:  steamed broccoli with mustard-apricot sauce, brown rice and chickpeas with gomasio.  This was tasty and fun, but really small!  I don’t know how people eat this tiny amount of food and aren’t still hungry!

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CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

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Random Meals & Laptop Lunches

I feel like I lost my cooking mojo there for a few weeks in July and had a hard time figuring out what to eat, so I have no theme for this post.  The theme is random!

What does one do when one has leftover filling from tomato-basil-mozzarella sandwiches but no bread?

One makes tomato-basil-mozzarella bites.  Yum!

This is a secret risotto that I tested for a friend to submit to a recipe contest.

CSA delivery…

Corn, yellow onions, peppers & lettuce mix

Grapes, red onions, peaches, tomatoes, cherries & an eggplant

I like eggplant but don’t always like cooking it.  It seems like most eggplant cooking techniques use a lot of oil, so I wanted to do something different.

My solution was eggplant and lentil curry.  This had a whole can of light coconut milk in it, so it wasn’t exactly low fat anyway…but I tried!

Thinking back, I don’t really know why I did this, but I made a little slaw to go with the curry.  This had carrot, celery and broccoli stalk and a Vegennaise-based dressing.  (Again, so much for keeping the meal low-fat!)  Oh, I think I made it cause I had broccoli stems that needed using…

I wanted to make a salsa with the corn and tomatoes, so I made some mostly-raw lettuce tacos.  On the bottom is seasoned black beans, them lime-marinated mushrooms, corn salsa and fresh cilantro.  These were very tasty but very messy to eat, because the fancy lettuce at TJ’s looks like it would be good for lettuce wraps, but in reality was decidedly not.  In the back are TJ’s corn-flax chips, which are slightly addicting.

I got a spiralizer!  I’ve been jealous of other blogger’s zucchini noodles for far too long, so I finally bought one.

…and made zucchini and squash noodles.  I used the larger noodle shredder the first time, and they were a bit too large and super curly.  The blade with the smaller holes is much better for this purpose.

I had fresh basil in the fridge and I was feeling too lazy to make a raw sauce, so I went the easy route and added spaghetti sauce, basil, toasted pine nuts and almond parmesan.  This was very tasty!  The sauce separates and gets watery if it sits with the zucchini, so I want to try a different type of sauce next time.

This is a Saturday afternoon clean-out-the-kitchen salad.  It has red potatoes, purple potatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, carrot and sliced veggie dog, with a Vegennaise dressing.  It wasn’t the most fantastic thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was pretty and it got the job done.

Farmers market purchases:  rainbow chard, okra, baby cucumbers, jalapenos, peaches and nectarines, a golden and regular zucchini, a lemon, broccoli and strawberries.  All for under $20!

The main purpose of my farmers market trip was to get ingredients to make my Southern Style Dolmades for a potluck that night.  I ran late and didn’t have time to assemble the rolls, so I just took the filling and the sauce and hoped it would be okay.  Turns out people really liked it as it was!  That was a big relief.

I realized while at the market that I hadn’t had anything with cheesy sauce for a long time (such a travesty), so I bought the broccoli with plans to make this:

Shells n’ cheese n’ broccoli.  You can’t beat it.  I used my favorite cheesy sauce, which is tofu based, but I used the wrong kind of tofu and eyeballed the ingredients and so it didn’t turn out the best it ever has, but it still hit the spot.

To go with my pasta, I roasted the okra.  Look at the size of these okras!  They are with a regular sized golden zucchini and jalapeno for reference.

All roasted up.

I still had the chard leaves from my non-roll making debacle and hadn’t a clue what to do with them since they were already boiled.  So I asked The PPK for ideas, and one member suggested peanut sauce.  Bingo!  Peanut sauce makes everything better.  I still ended up making rolls, but went a different direction with the filling.

So these are quinoa, pepper, carrot and zucchini chard rolls with fresh cilantro, basil and peanut sauce.  It was very yummy!  I was glad I could salvage my $4 worth of boiled organic chard.

I won’t be using my laptop lunchbox for a reason to be discussed in my next post, so I’ll catch up with lunches.  Most of them are repeats from the meals above anyway.

7/14 the aforementioned secret risotto, steamed broccoli,
carrot sticks, grapes & cherries

7/16 potato & fava bean salad with miso-mustard dressing,
roasted asparatus, sweet potato-chocolate chip-
walnut muffin, strawberries & raspberries

7/21 broccoli/carrot slaw, eggplant curry, brown rice,
oat bran pretzel sticks, wasabi-soy almonds, figs

7/22 lettuce wraps with seasoned black beans, marinated mushrooms,
corn salsa & cilantro, corn-flax chips, dark chocolate

7/24 zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce, pine nuts & almond
parmesan, beanballs, maple cookie, b-complex supplement

7/27 clean-out-the-kitchen salad with lettuce & avocado, strawberries

7/28 shells & cheese & broccoli, roasted okra, gf corn muffin, strawberries

7/30 chard rolls with peanut sauce, celery, soy nuggets
with ketchup, dried figs, dark chocolate

7/31 leftover quinoa filling with peanut sauce, zucchini noodles with spaghetti sauce & almond parmesan, cherries, gherkins, sandwich cookies

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Laptop Lunches

I’ve neglected to post my lunches for about two months, so without further ado…

5/18 multigrain wrap with Tofurkey slices, greens &
dijon mustard, couscous/orzo/veggie salad,
broccoli florets with ginger miso dressing, prunes

5/19 roasted potato & fava bean salad with miso-mustard
dressing, baby greens, sauteed chinese broccoli &
carrots with garlic, extra dressing, strawberries

6/1 paella with seitan, tempeh & kidney beans, carrot sticks,
vanilla soy yogurt with stewed rhubarb

6/2 whole wheat wrap with tofu steak & broccoli slaw,
paella, broccoli, cherries, dried figs

6/3 bbq baked tofu, steamed summer squash & carrots, corn pudding, sandwich cookies, pecan/almond/peanut clusters

6/5 Jamaican baked veggies, island rice salad with mango,
lettuce to go with the salad, wasabi soy almonds,
dried figs, piece of dark chocolate

6/8 veggie burger on homemade bun with lettuce & tomato,
ramen slaw, grilled corn, black bottom blondie

6/9 Amy’s pot pie, carrot sticks, corn casserole, black bottom blondie

6/10 roasted seitan fajitas with guac & peach salsa (& a tortilla under the lid), refried black beans, jicama, cucumbers, black bottom blondie

6/11 grilled tofu with chimichurri on wheat bread, roasted brussels sprouts, steamed spinach, corn casserole, honeydew

6/16 rice & beans, veggies with ranch,
roasted brussels sprouts, blackberries

6/17 samosa burger in a spelt wrap with cheese slice,
ketchup, mustard & pickles, cherries, broccoli with ranch,
wasabi soy almonds, maple cookie

6/24 bbq ranch pasta w/ broccoli, onion & carrots,
celery, dill pickle cashews, dried figs

6/30 takeout pizza (one w/ mushrooms & spinach, one w/ zucchini & pineapple, both w/ walnut parm & red pepper flakes), wasabi soy almonds, celery & carrots, apricots, prunes

7/1 roasted portobello salad (leaf lettuce, spinach, basil, roasted portobello, chickpeas, red onion, sunflower seeds, mustard dressing), lemony roasted potatoes, dried figs, dark chocolate

7/2 corn & squash soup, tempeh pepper steak & harvest grains, gherkins, pb filled pretzels, blueberries, peanut-almond-pecan clusters

7/7 veggie pizza, salad (lettuce, peppers,
broccoli, goddess dressing), grapes

7/8 basil/tomato/mozzarella sandwich, pb pretzels, plums,
carrots, red peppers, scalloped zucchini, grapes

7/9 tempeh pepper steak, mashed potatoes,
a peach, plums & dried figs

That’s it for today.  I’ll be back soon with a recipe for that tempeh pepper steak!

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Massive Post of Catch-Upedness

I wanted to get a post up two Fridays ago before I left for Florida, but that did not happen.  Then when I got back it did not happen.  So I feel way behind, and to remedy this situation I’m gonna throw a whole bunch of stuff together right here.  I went to Florida to attend a wedding and visit family and friends.  I was in total vacation mode and didn’t take very many pictures, but those that I did will get their own post soon.

A few weekends ago some vegan friends and I headed up through the Berkeley hills to have a picnic and check out the Lawrence Hall of Science.  Unfortunately, it had rained off and on all weekend and there was nary a dry picnic spot to be found.  So, we did what any sensible people would do and picnicked in my car.

I brought caramelized leek hummus…

…and veggies for dipping.

Becca & Steve brought a sandwich spread, recipe from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan but I don’t know what it’s called.  It had avocado and tomato and tempeh and it was smoky and good.  Becca also made potato salad with Bacos.  Yummy!

I brought gluten-free strawberry shortcake, but was so eager to eat it during the car picnic that I forgot to take a picture.  So here’s a picture of my serving again after dinner that night, and a recipe!  (I sliced the berries here, but am changing the recipe to call for quartering them cause I thought the slices didn’t hold their texture well enough.)  I’m not gonna lie and tell you that you wouldn’t know they’re gluten free, but I think they hold together relatively well and have a nice texture.  I sadly didn’t have any vegan whipped cream to put on top!

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake

To make the recipe non-gluten-free just substitute 1 3/4 all-purpose flour for the g-f baking mix, brown rice flour and xantham gum.  The lemon zest, rosemary and black pepper can be optional if you don’t want those flavors in your dessert, but I think they give it a special something.

1 lb strawberries (2 pints)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c balsamic vinegar

1 c gluten-free baking mix
3/4 c brown rice flour
3/4 tsp xantham gum
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c shortening
6 Tbs soy creamer
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Hull and quarter the strawberries. Place in a bowl and add sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir gently to combine, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the g-f baking mix, brown rice flour, xantham gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and mix. Cut the shortening into pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the soy creamer, lemon juice, lemon zest, rosemary and black pepper and stir just until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a surface lightly floured with the g-f baking mix. Using floured hands, knead the dough gently about 10 times. Pat the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use a floured round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out rounds. Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat out any remaining dough and repeat. Bake the shortcakes for 15-18 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.

To serve, gently split each shortcake with your fingers or a fork. Spoon some strawberries onto the bottom, replace the top, and top with more strawberries. Spoon extra juice over the shortcake. Serve with vegan whipped cream.

Serves 6.

For dinner that night we grilled.

I tried the new tempehtations from Lightlife, classic bbq flavor.  I was a little wary of eating them plain, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Very tasty!  I’m not sure I’ll be buying them very often because they’re a bit pricey, but if you’re into tasty convenience food then I would definitely recommend them.

Alongside the tempeh are your regular ol’ mushrooms and asparagus, and in the back is…

…an avocado-ranch twice baked potato.  The avocado makes the filling super-creamy without adding any other fats or faux dairy.  BF said the filling was too creamy, but to that I say “whatevs”.  This was a recipe for a contest, so if I don’t get a positive response I will definitely pass it on.

We went to a San Francisco Giants baseball game on Sunday and got to tailgate across the bay!  I made a grain and veggie salad that nobody else seemed too excited about, but that just meant more leftovers for me.

This one had whole wheat orzo, TJ’s harvest grain blend, red bell pepper, cucumber, corn, shredded carrot, fresh dill, rosemary and a dressing of vegennaise, lemon juice and sugar.  I think that was it.  I meant to add a shallot and toasted pine nuts and totally forgot, but it turned out nice without.

We went with skewers again for the main event.  Mine had peppers, onions, zucchini, marinated mushrooms and Tofurkey Italian sausage pieces.

This was my dinner last night:  roasted potato and fava bean salad with miso-mustard dressing.  In the front are sauteed Chinese broccoli and carrots.  This was really good, but it could use a few tweaks before I write up the recipe.  I love fresh fava beans!

And now, some laptop lunches.

4-24 roasted sweet potatoes, chana palak masala, whole wheat orzo, kiwi

4-28 waffles, tofu scramble, veggie sausage patty, maple syrup, fruit salad

4-29 carrots, gherkins, cinnamon-raisin toast, tofu scramble, strawberries

4-30 grit cake, succotash, mango-habanero sauce, pickles,
blueberries, sour gummies

5-1 spaghetti casserole, lettuce, corn, radish & carrot, goddess dressing, prunes, dried apricots & dark mint chocolate

5-4 avocado-ranch twice baked potato, grilled mushrooms & asparagus, bbq tempeh, g-f shortcake with strawberry-balsamic juice in the small container

5-7 pizza with red pepper flakes, dill pickle cashews, orange wedges

5-8 roasted zucchini & carrots with dill, soy nuggets with bbq sauce, chex, sauteed chard, sweet potato-pecan-chocolate chip muffin, prunes

That’s it for tonight!  Coming up will be recipes for my salad stirfry and chard risotto, and how-I-gained-5-pounds-during-6-days-in-Florida.

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Care Packages, Laptop Lunches & Works In Progress

We successfully broke all the internets at our house (wireless AND non-), and with no solution in sight I am bringing you this post from my work computer.  So, I’m gonna jam a bunch of stuff in and keep it brief.

Firstly, I have been receiving a lot of love in food-related form lately, and I wanted to share the love with everyone!

I participated in my third PPK care package swap, and this time my partner was from Japan and sent me all manner of awesome Japanese stuff.

some sort of seitan stars (“fu”), a sushi mat, cooking chopsticks made of bamboo, shiratamako and red bean paste for attempting daifuku, and candy from Kyoto

candy closeup

Bento toys!  nori stamp machine that makes faces, onigiri molds, small containers, flag picks, a small monkey bento box int he back, little utensils, soy sauce bottles with animal heads, chopsticks in a case and monkey mayo holders.  I’m definitely going to have to go Japanese in some upcoming lunches.

I felt kinda bad when I got all this awesomeness because I mostly sent my partner Mexican food supplies and junk food.  That’s what we do well here!  Although he said he ate the Tings and Eco Planet Cheddar Crackers in one sitting each, so I think those went over well.

A few weeks ago I got a completely unexpected box in the mail from my mom.   She had read my blog post about having difficulty finding grits out here and sent me a “box of stuff Erin can’t find in CA”.

Satchel’s secret salad dressing, quick grits, yellow grits, a cute Publix tote bag, a cute notecard, and Southern Living.  Yeehaw!  Unfortunately, Satchel’s dressing is NOT vegan (which I only learned after eating it many times and falling in love…it has honey…sorry mom!), but fortunately a friend of mine who also recently moved out here from Gainesville loves it, so I’m going to pay the dressing forward.

This same friend gave me some love too!  Although she sent this over the day after I mentioned the dressing…hmm…Anyway, she’s an amazing gardener and lives in a house that already had some goodness growing in the backyard.  Thanks Hope!

lemons, mint, rosemary, thyme, keffir lime leaves, oregano and parsley

But I don’t just receive, I also give!  Remember back in November when I celebrated my 1,000th comment by promising to send whomever posted it a package of sweets?  Anybody?  No?  Well, Megan from The Sisters Vegan happened to win, and she happens to live in Berkeley, which is where I happen to work.  So we agreed to meet up for dinner one night after work, at which time I could give her her goodies.  She’s been testing for the upcoming cookie cookbook, so she was all cookied out and requested no cookies.  And said that it would be nice to have something she could grab for breakfast on the way out the door to work.  Enter muffins!

Full Meal Muffins from Vegan Lunchbox.  These have zucchini, pomegranate juice (subbed for the apple juice called for), bananas, walnuts and raisins, and I subbed in some quinoa flour for a bit of extra protein.  They’re completely sugar-free, sweetened by the bananas and juice and raisins.  They turned out sweet enough, I suppose, but next time I make them I’ll probably add a bit of sugar or stevia.

Smoky Jalapeno Corn Muffins.  Made from my Buttermilk Cornbread recipe, with added jalapeno, roasted corn from TJ’s (freezer section), and liquid smoke.

These were the real star, to me at least – Butterscotch Scones.  I had a bag of butterscotch chips in the pantry screaming to be used, and I wasn’t too keen on the idea of butterscotch muffins, so I decided on scones.  Even though I’ve only made scones once, and they turned out just okay.  The first time I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, and while it’s entirely possible that I botched up the recipe, I wanted to make more “authentic” scones, using the pastry cutting method that most biscuits call for.  So I looked in the good ol’ Betty Crocker Cookbook where I was sure I would find a scone recipe, and lo and behold, there it was.  Veganized very easily, and these babies turned out beautiful.  I typed out just the general recipe, so obviously you can add whatever extra ingredients you want, like nuts or fruit, but I would highly recommend the butterscotch chips if you have ‘em.

Vegan Scones

1 3/4 c flour
3 Tbs sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c Earth Balance, cold
6-8 Tbs soy creamer
coarse sugar
1/2 c add-ins (butterscotch or chocolate chips, fruit, etc.)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the Earth Balance using a pastry cutter until there are no large pieces of margarine and the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in 6 Tbs creamer, just until the flour mixture is moistened. If there is still unincorporated flour, add creamer by the tablespoonful, just until mixture comes together. Gently fold in any additional ingredients.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll in the flour to coat. Knead gently 10 times. Pat into an 8-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut into 8 wedges with a knife dipped in flour, and do not separate wedges. Brush the top with additional soy creamer, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the scones are turning golden and the tops don’t give in to the touch. Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack, using a knife to separate the scones if needed. Serve warm.

Makes 8 scones.

On to the lunches!

4-6  lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, dill pickle cashews (Archer Farms brand), pretzel nuggets, rosemary foccacia, boiled beets, strawberries

4-7 sandwich (multigrain toast, tofurkey, tofutti cheese slice, baby greens, gourmet mustard & red onion jam), broccoli & carrot sticks, goddess dressing, dried apricots, raisins & sour gummies

4-9 garlic crusted grit cakes, succotash, mango-habanero sauce, snapea crisps, lime cucumbers, prunes & dried cherries

4-13 tofusteak sandwich on ezekiel bun with greens & mustard,
bbq crisps, coleslaw, strawberries

4-14 salad stirfry, brown rice, clover sprouts, cucumbers &
sesame seeds, tangerines

4-16 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, pasta salad, corn muffin,
kiwi & strawberries

4-17 lentil & tempeh-stuffed collards, multigrain crackers, apple pieces, carrots with goddess dressing, cookies

And finally, I’m very fond of the W.I.P posts on Musing From The Fishbowl.  It stands for work in progress, and they’re crafty works which are posted on Wednesdays.  Other bloggers have joined in too – one who stands out for having super cute crafty posts is Amanda from Walking The Vegan Line.

I wish I could join in on these posts, but the problem is I’m just not crafty.  I’ll sew or make something every once in a while, but the craft is not in my blood.  However, I have a few food projects that I’m working on, so I thought I’d share them as works in progress.

I first posted a picture of this dish that I’m working on for a cooking contest here, asking if anyone could identify the triangles, and giving the hint that they’re not tofu.

The most popular guess was polenta, and that’s really SO close!  They’re grit cakes.  This is Garlic-Crusted Grit Cakes with Succotash Hash, Mango-Habanero Sauce and Quick Pickles.  BF says it’s too complicated, but the contest rules say that you have to prepare it within two hours, and I can do that, and sometimes complicated is how I roll.  I need at least one more run at this one and the contest deadline is the end of this month, so I need to get moving on it.

Another one I’m working on for a different contest is Creamy Corn Pudding.  My mom makes this for almost every family holiday gathering and it’s so good, but it’s full of butter and milk and eggs, so no corn pudding for me.  No more!

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s darned close.  I also need at least one more go at this one.

I posted a picture of this Swiss Chard Risotto two posts ago, and I thought I would have it perfect this time, but alas I didn’t have any white wine and subbed in with white wine vinegar and it was a little too much.  Luckily, I’m getting chard again in my CSA tomorrow and I think with one more try it will be perfect.

That’s it for now.  I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again because we’re cheap and refuse to pay to fix our internets.  Until then!

update:  BF fixed the internets, hooray!  He is now a wireless router reconfiguration master.

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