Posts Tagged Betty Crocker

Food For Sports

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that Dave and I like sports – we like inviting people over to watch sports, and we love going to games!  Here are some foods that we ate while watching or preparing to watch sports.

Our friend Tom is a biiiiig Green Bay Packers fan, so we were very excited for their final playoff game against the Bears.  (Yes, all the way back in January.)  We had some friends over and observed what we’re told is a Green Bay tradition.  Apparently, Packers fans bring chili to their tailgates, then mix all the chilis together in a giant pot.  We didn’t have a pot big enough to hold all the chilis, so we just mixed them in our bowls.  Well…everyone else mixed them, I just ate my vegan chili.

For an attempt at authenticity, I based mine on this recipe for Wisconsin Chili.  I used soy crumbles instead of meat, and the only other major change I made was to saute the vegetables before adding the rest of the ingredients.  This was a simple chili, and very tasty!  Even the meat eaters liked it.

I topped my bowl of hot chili with some shredded cheddar Teese.

Oh, yes I did.  I made a chili cheese dog, and it was amazing.  Carbs on carbs, mmmmm…

Imagine our delight when the Packers won and advanced to the Super Bowl!  Naturally, we had friends over for a Super Bowl party.  Aaron Rodgers vs. Ben Roethlisberger, to me, was practically good vs. evil, so I was rooting for the Packers big time.

Jake greeted our guests by the door.

I made a seven layer dip a la this post, and served it with Trader Joe’s Corn Chip Dippers, which are awesome.  I also put out some TJ’s Trek Mix with chocolate, which is also awesome.  All on a green tablecloth, of course.

Dave was preparing some sort of meat with baked beans and mac n cheese, so I put together a similar plate.

Buffalo Tempeh from Appetite for Reductions.  SO GOOD.  I will be making this again and again.

Mac and Trees, no trees, also from Appetite for Reductions.  I put some breadcrumbs on top and baked (overbaked) it.  Also so good!

Fantastic football dinner!

I made a Packers cookie cake!  Toward the end of the third quarter, when the Steelers were threatening to mount a comeback, we decided we needed to “consume the power of the Packers” in order to help, and we dug in.  Cookie cakes are always loved.  After The Great Cookie Cake Catastrophe of 2008, when I dropped a blob of icing on the top of the N in NY, I was very careful with the frosting, and so happy with how it turned out!  To make a cookie cake, I just prepare the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance then press the whole thing onto a round pan covered with foil, and bake maybe a bit longer than the recipe calls for.  The edges get chewy but the middle stays nice and gooey.  The topping is just regular buttercream; I used the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

I like to believe that the cookie cake aided the Pack in the win.  After football was over, we had nothing to do other than look forward to baseball season.  For the first baseball tailgate, we needed a cold side dish to go with some barbecue, and I went with potato salad.

I don’t think a picture of potato salad can really ever do potato salad justice, because this potato salad was super duper delicious.  I started with Betty Crocker’s recipe for Creamy Potato Salad and replaced the mayo with half regular Vegenaise, and half low-fat.  I left out the egg, obviously, and added some relish and fresh chopped dill.  You can never have enough fresh dill.

Perfect meal for eating in a parking lot – potato salad, grilled mushrooms and barbecue tofu.

I wanted to make a special dessert for our first tailgate of the season, and I had a crazy idea about making something with Cracker Jacks.  I googled it, and found out that rather than baking with Cracker Jacks, I could make cookies that taste like Crackers Jacks.

I veganized this Cracker Jack Cookie recipe, swapping out egg replacer for the eggs and using organic brown rice cereal instead of Rice Krispies.  I also added peanuts, because what good are Cracker Jacks without the peanuts?  Somehow, the cookies actually did taste a little like Cracker Jacks.  I don’t like shredded sweetened coconut at all, but it was fine in this cookie since there were so many textures going on.  The cookies spread a little more than I would like, so I want to make these cookies again with more binder, and I’ll post a recipe once it’s perfected.

Finally, I know the Kentucky Derby isn’t very vegan, but its official drink is.  Dave is a fan of horse racing, so he invited a few friends over for the derby and we mixed up some mint juleps.

Apparently there are a few different ways to make a mint julep, but I followed the recipe on the derby website.  It’s super easy.  You just make a simple syrup and chill it with fresh mint, then strain out the mint.  Put ice in a glass, add syrup, whiskey and fresh mint, and sip!  Seriously though, sip.  This is one strong beverage.

We don’t have highball glasses or julep cups, so we drank ours out of half-pint mason jars.  We’re classy like that.

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You-Pick Blueberry Crisp, Faux Pho & Laptop Lunches

My friend Jackie asked last week if I wanted to go blueberry picking on Saturday, and of course my answer was yes.  We wanted to pick blueberries a month or two ago but it was too early in the season.  So Saturday around 12:30 we set out to meet her friend Jenny at a local blueberry farm.  Why we went during the hottest part of the day I’m not sure, it just seemed like the time to go.

The blueberry farm turned out to be not so much a farm setup, but a house with a little sign in the front that said “for berries go around to back porch and ring the bell”.  With trepidation we walked toward these people’s backyard, and the lady was on the porch finishing up with another customer.  She then turned her attention to us and said “You guys ready to pick some blueberries?”.  I kind of felt like a kindergartner being psyched up to go on a field trip, but I appreciated her pep.  She gave us some insect repellent and warned about snakes.  Eep!  We set off toward the farthest field where we had been advised there were plentiful ripe berries, and after about a half hour in the hot, hot sun we came back sweaty, tired, non snake-attacked, and each with 1 1/2 – 2 pounds blueberries.  My haul only cost three dollars!

blueberries

I was glad when Jenny suggested lunch at Satchel’s, a trendy little pizza place that I like but never go to because bf doesn’t care for it.  They have a killer salad of lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, apples and nuts with their secret dressing.  I also ordered an “indy” pizza with mushrooms and spinach.  Their sauce is just a bit spicy.  According to the menu the small salad feeds 2-4 (as a side I assume), but I was famished – I ate my whole salad and half of the 10-inch-or-so pizza, only stopping because I wanted to save the rest of the pizza for dinner.

Soon as I got home I jumped in the shower, a cool shower since I had gotten a little too much sun while berry picking.  When I came out, Jake the monster was being super adorable, so I had to stop and take some pictures.  First he had decided to use my backpack as a bed.  Cats really do love to lay on things.

jake

Then somehow he got himself through the strap.

jake

Such a handsome man.  Then while I was getting dressed he tried to eat the Target bag.

jake

And again managed to get semi-tangled in it.

jake

Yes, those are a couple new melamine plates from Target under the fat boy.  I needed some other supplies from there (gigantic Method laundry detergent, anyone?) and the plates were only like two dollars!  Hi, my name is Erin and I’m addicted to buying cute, cheap plates.

Back to the food.  I didn’t have any specific plans for my blueberries, but we were having a few people over to grill that night so I decided a crisp was in order.  For tried and true Southern style recipes I turn to the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and it really never fails me.  I went with blueberries and peaches for the fruit layer.

blueberry crisp

I patted the crust on and packed it up to bake later at bf’s house.

blueberry crisp

At this point I was a bit wary of the recipe because I thought that most pie/crisp/crumble recipes added stuff to the fruit, like sugar or flour, and this recipe called for the fruit to be naked.  But like I said, I trust Betty Crocker.

BF and co. were grilling mostly meats that night, so I took along the rest of my pizza from lunch.  Tom did bring over some zucchini and squash though, so I sliced it fairly thick and dressed it simply with olive oil, sliced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.

pizza & squash

The squash was AMAZING.  I assume it was the combo of prep and cooking it in foil directly over the coals that had died down a bit, and I also assume we’ll never achieve this squash nirvana again.  They were soft but not falling apart, and tasted almost buttery.  I was sad there weren’t leftovers.

Meanwhile I baked the crisp, then forgot to take a picture until I had dished out many servings.

blueberry crisp

Verdict:  Everyone loved this.  I liked that all the sugary sweetness resided in the crust, and the fruits were left to speak for themselves.  The blueberries made this amazing syrup.  I even reduced the original amount of sugar called for, so to me it was perfectly sweet.  I ate mine with a dollop of vanilla soy yogurt.  Before…

blueberry crisp

…and after.  (But before I licked the plate.)

blueberry crisp

Fruit Crisp
adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

4 cups of sliced or chopped fruit (apples, blueberries, peaches, etc)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup margarine, softened
heaping tsp cinnamon
heaping tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to 375.  Grease an 8×8″ baking dish.

Spread fruit in dish. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; sprinkle over fruit and pat down gently.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender. Serve warm with ice cream or soy yogurt. 

Sunday night bf was in the mood for “big soup”.  There is a Vietnamese place called Taste of Saigon II that we go to every once in a while, and pretty much only order the huge bowls of pho.  Two or three meats for bf, vegetarian with oyster mushrooms and tofu for me, and everybody’s happy.  But we’re both trying to save money right now, and I got to thinking that it shouldn’t be too hard to at least make an unauthentic dumbed-down version of pho.  After some help from the internets and a trip to the store this is what we came up with.

pho

I’m not going to write up a recipe because it wasn’t that great, but it definitely hit the spot for what we were craving, made four meals instead of two for about the same price, and saved us from a drive across town.

The general method is to bring the veggie broth, some water, half a sliced onion, 1/2 lb mushrooms, lime juice, a dash of sugar, and salt, soy sauce and five spice powder to a boil, then simmer about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile cook the rice noodles according to the package, and cook any proteins you want to add.

Make a pretty plate of condiments:  bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro, sliced jalapeno, scallions, sriracha and hoisin sauce.  Basil probably would’ve been good too.

pho

Put some broth in a huge bowl and add some noodles and optional protein.

pho

Yes, I ate out of a casserole dish  That’s why it’s “big soup”.  Add your garnishes, stir, and eat with chopsticks and a big spoon.

pho

And finally, a wrap up of last week’s lunches.

6-2 lunch

6-2-08  spaghetti, steamed kale, grilled marinated portobello, corn off the cob,
garlic bread, choco-choco chip-walnut cookie

6-3 lunch

6-3-08  wheat toast, green beans, eggplant parmesan, roasted red pepper-lentil-basil sauce, cherries

6-4 lunch

6-4-08  stir-fried eggplant, carrot, kale & basil, sweet & sour peanut sauce,
white rice w/ toasted peanuts, cherries

6-5 lunch

6-5-08  pb&j on wheat, half strawberry jam half peach spread, baby carrots,
two dill pickles, pickled mushrooms, cherries

Friday I was mostly out of fresh food so I grabbed an Amy’s non-dairy pot pie and the rest of the green beans.  I actually microwaved it and ate a hot lunch for a change.

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