Posts Tagged chili

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast:  sludge-colored pumpkin pie smoothie (canned pumpkin, almond milk, banana, rolled oats, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baby kale)

Morning snack:  Arkansas Black apple, roasted almonds, multivitamin, papaya complex tablets, (unpictured) coffee with hazelnut soy creamer

Lunch:  quinoa & black bean salad over romaine (shredded red cabbage, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, mint, dressing of orange segments blended with peanut butter, garlic, ginger & sriracha)

Afternoon snack:  Persian cucumber with curry hummus (one can of chickpeas, drained, 1 Tablespoon tahini, juice of half a lemon, pinch of salt, heaping teaspoon of curry powder).  I ate about a third of the hummus pictured, I like to take a container to work and eat a portion, and bring fresh cut veggies every day until it’s gone.

Pre-workout snack:  two prunes

Dinner:  Two-bean chili over a baked sweet potato with roasted cauliflower.  The chili was made up as I went, and turned out pretty well – onion, carrot, celery, red and yellow bell pepper, garlic, and mushroom (all water sauteed), chili powder (both regular and chipotle), smoked paprika, cumin, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, no-chicken broth, kidney beans, pinto beans, corn, salt, pepper.

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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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VeganMoFo: Squashes, Pumpkins and Other Things Autumnal

Welcome to Vegan Month of Food!  If you missed my last post with my plans for VeganMoFo 2010, check it out.  I’m starting out by catching up on some stuff that’s been going on recently.  To get into the spirit of Fall, I’ve been eating as many Autumnal flavors as possible!


This is autumn millet, tempeh, roasted brussels sprouts and toasted pepitas.  I don’t know if I can adequately express my love for roasted brussels sprouts.  I could eat at least three times the amount pictured here in one sitting.  Love!  For the millet, I was inspired by Lilveggiepatch’s Autumn Millet.  I’ve never been a huge fan of millet, because I had never figured out how to cook it correctly, and now I think I’ve found the formula.  Some people say to use 2 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out underdone and crunchy, and some people say to use 3 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out wet and squishy.  So, I compromised and used 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup millet and the texture was perfectly light and fluffy.  I also toasted the millet very well in a dry pan before adding the water, which I think is key.  The tempeh was simmered then quickly marinated in orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, cumin and coriander.  The toasted pepitas totally sealed the deal on this dinner.

When I first saw the frittata recipe from the VeganizeIt! column in the May/June issue of VegNews, I knew I would love it.  The description promised an eggy texture and taste from chickpea flour and kala namak, and while it didn’t seem extremely eggy to me, I did like it a lot.

I served the frittata with roasted pumpkin, cooked in coconut oil and spiced with garam masala and coriander.  I used leek in the frittata instead of the onion which was called for, just because I had a leek in the fridge.  I also reduced the amount of margarine from 1/4 cup to 2 Tbs, because I just didn’t see the need for that much margarine.  The frittata didn’t feel low fat even with the reduced amount, and I was particularly happy with the calorie count – under 150 calories for 1/6 of the whole pie!

I bought a block of Galaxy Vegan Cheddar to try out on some chili, and when I came across (never home) maker’s Smoked Pumpkin Chili I thought it would pair perfectly.  Verdict on the cheese:  It’s…okay.  It’s not better or worse than Daiya or Teese, just different, and I guess I would buy it again if I needed some cheese and it was available.  It did shred very easily, so that’s a plus.

Verdict on the chili:  Delicious!  The pumpkin puree made the broth wonderfully thick, and the smoked paprika gave it a great smoky flavor.  I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper, because my chili has to be spicy.  My only complaint is that the recipe didn’t include any actual chili powder, which to me is an essential ingredient.  I hope to make this soup again sooner than later, and I will probably add a tablespoon of chili powder when I do.

The latest East Bay Vegan Bakesale was last Saturday, and while I didn’t have time to bake for it, I made sure to stop buy and pick up a few goodies.  This is a pumpkin whoopie pie and a sweet potato muffin, and they were both fantastic.  I also bought a mini-banana muffin and scarfed it too quickly to photograph.  There were also brownies, giant cinnamon rolls, cookies, cupcakes and all sorts of other goodies on display, and I used my amazing skills of self-control to not buy it all.  Or, I was broke at the end of the month.  One of those…

For dinner tonight, I baked up a spaghetti squash then tossed the flesh with Vegan Dad’s Alfredo Sauce and some steamed spinach.  I’ve had some major let-downs in the alfredo department since going vegan, but this sauce did not disappoint!  I again reduced the amount of margarine called for, because I just can’t justify putting 1/2 cup of Earth Balance in something that I’ll be eating all by myself.  I can see how the sauce would be more rich with the full amount, but I don’t think it really suffered for taking out some of the fat.  I also reduced the amount of onion powder a bit, and added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, because everything needs nutritional yeast.  On the side, I had some roasted beets and radishes.  Beets and radishes play surprisingly well together.

I’m so excited to read all of the upcoming VeganMoFo posts from bloggers around the world.  There are over 500 blogs signed up!  A full list will be posted here within a few days:  http://veganmofo.wordpress.com/blog-roll-2010/

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March Cleanse: Days 8 – 14

I’m more than halfway through my cleanse, and so far I’ve done pretty well.  I slipped up one time, but other than that my self-control and preparation have been good.  And, I’ve lost a few pounds!

Day 8:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast juice:  sweet potato, celery, apple, chard and cinnamon
snack smoothie:  banana, pear, kiwi, udo’s oil, almond milk, hemp protein powder and Amazing Grass
lunch salad:  romaine leaves with broccoli-tahini pate from Raw Food Revolution Diet and buckwheat sprouts, two clementines


snack:  carrot sticks and hummus
dinner:  citrus-braised butternut squash and red cabbage with quinoa, chamamile tea

The broccoli-tahini was tasty, although it just kinda tasted like…broccoli and tahini.  I like the technique of pouring hot water over broccoli to “cook” it.  However, Dave said the pate smelled “like farts”, so I may or may not make it again!

Day 9:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast juice:  sweet potato, celery, apple, swiss chard and ginger.  This juice combo was extremely tasty!  Also had earl grey tea.
snack smoothie:  same as day 8
lunch:  same as day 8, but with tangerines instead of clementines
snack:  same as day 8
dinner:  same as day 8, detox tea

Lots of repetition that day…Makes it easier to follow such a strict plan.

Day 10:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast juice:  carrot, celery, apple and ginger, lemon tea
snack smoothie:  banana, kiwi, almond butter, almond milk and flax seed.  This was a surprisingly good combination.
lunch:  chef salad from Smart Alec’s (lettuce, cabbage, chickpeas, corn, carrot, tomato, sprouts, tofu and sesame dressing)
The salad kept me full for a while, so no afternoon snack.
For dinner, I met up with some PPK compatriots at Gracias Madre, a new vegan organic Mexican restaurant in San Francisco.  I had tangerine agua fresca (which tasted like tangerine juice without any agua), and the enchiladas mole rojo, which came with mushrooms, cashew cheese sauce, kale and refried beans.  Muy delicioso!

I got home from the restaurant pretty late, so I didn’t have time to prep much food for the next day.

Day 11:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast:  I was out of good juicing ingredients, so I had fruit salad with apple, pear, oranges and flax seed
smoothie:  Mango Cogo by Columbia Gorge Organic.  There was no added sugar, but it was almost too sweet.

lunch:  raw red pepper soup with avocado and the raw sampler from Cafe Muse.  For the sampler I chose the raw sushi, miso-coconut caesar salad and pad thai,which turned out to be a salad.  The dressing was really delicious on the pad thai salad, and the whole meal was under $12 with tax, so I will definitely go back and try more next time I don’t have a lunch to bring.

snack:  romaine leaves with broccoli-tahini pate
dinner:  same as day 9, wild sweet orange tea

Day 12:

water with lemon and chia seeds
juice:  carrot, celery, romaine, red apple, green apple
snack:  two tangerines, peanut butter, lemon green tea
lunch:  massaged kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette, dried cranberries and flax seed

I sorely underestimated how much food I would need that day, so I was still hungry after this salad and I ate some tortilla chips that were in the office.  They were soooo salty!
snack:  cranberry trail mix, sweet & spicy herbal tea
dinner:  white chili with potatoes.  This soup was really good, but I want to make it again to make it even better before I post a recipe.  I also had some hibiscus flavored kombucha.

Day 13:

water with lemon and chia seeds
breakfast juice:  cucumber, carrot, apple and ginger, mango black tea
smoothie:  banana, strawberries, hemp protein, amazing grass, udo’s oil, almond milk
lunch:  massaged kale salad with balsamic vinaigrette, cranberry trail mix and nutritional yeast, two pickles

snack:  popcorn, apple juice with sparkling water
Then, I caved in and had a few beers.  I was trying really hard to exercise self-control, but we were playing music and I caved!  Alcohol does aid the creative process…just sayin’…
dinner:  white chili with potatoes

Day 14:

I woke up late this morning, plus it was the start of daylight savings, so I skipped right to my smoothie.
smoothie:  same as day 13, lemon ginger green tea
lunch:  raw sprouted chickpea hummus, carrot sticks, broccoli, asian pear, cranberry kombucha.  In case you’re wondering, asian pear and hummus go together really well.

snack:  apple with peanut butter, mango black tea
dinner:  I was planning to have more chili, but Dave came home and wanted to go out, so we had Mexican.  I ordered veggie fajitas with corn tortillas, which wasn’t too bad, but I ate too many chips and salsa, as I always do.  I can’t help myself around chips and salsa.

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Homework #4

The fourth section of the Natural Chef program at Bauman College focused on ethnic cuisines, specifically European Mediterranean, Levantine Mediterranean/North African, Japanese, Indian, Latin American and Thai.  Our homework assignment was to turn in one recipe representing each of these cuisines.  I figured that there are plenty of authentic recipes out there that are much better than I could do, so I focused on using the ingredients of each region in what might be a non-traditional manner.  I also wanted to make each recipe a one-dish meal to make things easier on myself.  Here they are!

White Bean & Vegetable Bake with Herbed Polenta Crust

If using dried herbs instead of fresh, be sure to use half the amount called for.  This is great for dinner, but also makes a good breakfast.

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 leek, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 bunch swiss chard, stems sliced and leaves chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/8 tsp celery seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbs capers
2 cups cooked white beans
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1/2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/2 tsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion, carrot, leek, sliced chard stems and a few pinches of salt and sweat the vegetables for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, fennel seeds, celery seeds and red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 2 minutes.  Add the wine, tomatoes and capers, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the chard leaves and white beans and cook for a few minutes, until chard is wilted and beans are heated through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Place the vegetable broth or water, polenta, herbs, salt and black pepper in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.
4. Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish and spread the polenta evenly on top.  Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 482.56
Calories From Fat (13%) 63.71
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.22g 11%
Saturated Fat 1.14g 6%
Cholesterol 1.03mg <1%
Sodium 1353.81mg 56%
Potassium 1356.33mg 39%
Total Carbohydrates 83.8g 28%
Fiber 14.55g 58%
Sugar 8.4g
Protein 16.07g 32%

African-Spiced Rice & Lentil Salad

4 cups vegetable broth or water, divided
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup green lentils
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup raisins
juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbs juice)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp agave nectar
5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1. Bring 2 cups of the vegetable broth or water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add the rice, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 40-45 minutes until rice is done.
2. In a separate pot, bring the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth or water to a boil.  Add the lentils, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender.  If any water remains in the pot, drain the lentils.
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the dried apricots and raisins and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and slice the apricots thinly.  Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing.  Whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, spices (coriander through cayenne), salt and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking constantly.
5. When the rice is done, immediately transfer it to a large bowl.  Add the dressing and stir to coat.  Allow the rice to cool a little then add the lentils, apricots, raisins, cucumber, carrot and pistachios and mix well.
6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Servings: 4 as a main or 8 as a side.

Amount Per Serving (for 4 servings)
Calories 604
Calories From Fat (33%) 196.38
% Daily Value
Total Fat 22.48g 35%
Saturated Fat 3.13g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 259.09mg 11%
Potassium 956.01mg 27%
Total Carbohydrates 84.89g 28%
Fiber 19.12g 76%
Sugar 14.87g
Protein 18.79g 38%

(I forgot the scallions when I took the picture – it’s much prettier with them!)

Soba Noodle Stew

3 quarts water
2 pieces kombu
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 1/4-inch slices ginger, peeled
1/4 cup tamari
8 oz soba noodles, 100% buckwheat
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 medium heat napa cabbage, finely shredded
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/4 cup white miso
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Place the water, kombu, dried shiitakes, ginger and tamari in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes then remove the kombu, ginger and garlic.  If the shiitakes are whole, remove them from the broth, allow to cool, thinly slice and return to the pot.
2. Turn up the heat and bring the broth to a boil.  Add the soba noodles, carrot, napa cabbage and rice vinegar.  Cook for 8 minutes, until noodles are done.  Remove from the heat and carefully ladle some broth into a small mixing bowl.  Add the miso to this broth and whisk until smooth.  Add the miso mixture and edamame to the soup and stir to combine well.
3. Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with the sliced scallions.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 322.04
Calories From Fat (9%) 30.45
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.76g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.54g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2149.96mg 90%
Potassium 697.66mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 63.43g 21%
Fiber 4.37g 17%
Sugar 3.46g
Protein 18.28g 37%

Chickpeas and Vegetables in Almond-Coconut Curry Sauce

1 cup almonds
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs ginger, minced
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup water
13.5 oz can coconut milk
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, diced with juice reserved
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15.5 oz can
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 cups loosely packed spinach, rinsed and chopped

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready.  Add the almonds and boil for 1 minute.  Drain the almonds and plunge into the ice water until chilled.  Squeeze each almond to remove the skin, and pat off as much water as possible.  Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until ground into the size of breadcrumbs.  Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and cook for 1 minute, shaking the seeds around the pan.  Add the ground spices (garam masala through cardamom) and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring the spices to distribute.  Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.  Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, place the potatoes and water in a large, wide pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  You should be able to pierce the potatoes with a fork easily, but they should not be falling apart.
4. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender.  Add the coconut milk, tomato juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and blend until smooth.
5. When the potatoes are cooked, add the sauce, ground almonds and diced tomatoes to the pan and stir to combine.  Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until potatoes are soft and sauce is thickened.
6. Add the chickpeas, peas and spinach and cook for a few more minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through and the spinach is wilted.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
7. Serve hot, with basmati rice or flat bread if desired.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 634.33
Calories From Fat (50%) 314.73
% Daily Value
Total Fat 37.52g 58%
Saturated Fat 22.23g 111%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1050.61mg 44%
Potassium 1578.4mg 45%
Total Carbohydrates 65.46g 22%
Fiber 14g 56%
Sugar 9.08g
Protein 18.07g 36%

Mole-Style Sweet Potato Chili

1 dried ancho chile
4 prunes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, juices reserved
1 Tbs virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 tsp sea salt
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 avocado, diced
fresh cilantro

1. Wearing a glove if desired, use scissors to halve and stem the dried chile, shaking out as many seeds as possible.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Remove from the heat, add the chile and prunes and let sit for 30 minutes.  Drain.
2. In a food processor or nut grinder, grind the pumpkin seeds into a fine powder.  Transfer to a blender.  Add the drained chile and prunes and the juice from the diced tomatoes.  Blend until smooth and set aside.
3. Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the coconut oil, onion and green pepper and saute for 8 minutes, until onions are becoming translucent.  Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and cinnamon and saute for 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes and salt and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  It is okay if the vegetables start to brown a little.
4. Add the chile mixture, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chocolate and vegetable broth or water and mix well.  Raise the heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the pinto beans and corn and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  If the chili is not spicy enough, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
5. Serve the chili topped with the diced avocado and cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 465.91
Calories From Fat (27%) 125.9
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15.04g 23%
Saturated Fat 5.64g 28%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1488.2mg 62%
Potassium 1901.14mg 54%
Total Carbohydrates 78.29g 26%
Fiber 17.47g 70%
Sugar 17.77g
Protein 13.01g 26%

Mango and Rice Noodle Salad with Tamarind Baked Tofu

1 cup sweet tamarind pulp (from 4-5 large tamarind pods)
2 cups water
2 Tbs vegetarian fish sauce (recipe below)
2 Tbs tamari
juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbs)
1/8 tsp sriracha
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 lb extra-firm tofu
7 oz rice noodles
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 mango, diced
1 bunch radishes (8-9 radishes), julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, lightly toasted and chopped

1. Place the tamarind pulp and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium.  Simmer the tamarind for 30 minutes, occasionally using a fork to press the tamarind against the side of the pot, separating the flesh from the seeds.  Remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl, using a spoon to push through as much tamarind flesh as possible.
2. Add the vegetarian fish sauce, tamari, lime juice, sriracha and ginger to the tamarind juice and whisk together.
3. Press the tofu gently with paper towels to blot off some liquid.  Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch.  Add the tofu to the bowl with the tamarind mixture and submerge the tofu as much as possible.  Place a small plate on top of the tofu to weigh it down.  Marinate for at least one hour, stirring after 30 minutes.
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and use tongs to move the tofu from the marinade to the baking sheet, reserving the marinade.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.
5. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced by half.  Allow to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions.  Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water until chilled.  Drain and set aside, shaking off as much water as possible.
7. Place the romaine, mango, radishes and cilantro in a large bowl, reserving some cilantro for garnish if desired.  Add the rice noodles and mix together with your hands, separating the rice noodles if they are sticky.  Pour the reduced marinade over the mixture and mix with your hands until well combined.
8. To serve, top the salad with the tofu, peanuts and reserved cilantro.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 473.6
Calories From Fat (19%) 91.29
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.56g 16%
Saturated Fat 1.51g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1051.73mg 44%
Potassium 830.18mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 82.84g 28%
Fiber 8.54g 34%
Sugar 28.22g
Protein 17.38g 35%

Vegetarian Fish Sauce
from the Bauman College Natural Chef Cookbook

1 cup dried seaweed (any kind)
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/8 tsp chili powder

1.  Add the seaweed and water to a pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 20 minutes.
2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for another 30 minutes.
3.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Strain and use, or store in refrigerator.

Yield:  2 cups

I’d also like to share some of the food that we made during the ethnic foods classes…

There were two Mediterranean classes, encompassing western Mediterranean, the Levanth, and Northern Africa.

Cannellini Beans with Chard

Provencal Artichoke Ragout

Fennel, Orange and Mint Salad with Herb Roasted Olives

Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce (my first time making falafel!)

Tunisian Beet Salad

Whole Wheat Pita Bread with Zataar

Fall Vegetable Tagine over Couscous

North African Carrots with Harissa

Levant-Style Stuffed Cabbage

Japanese class was seaweed-tastic.  Wakame salad.

Veggie Sushi

Kinpara Gobo (Burdock Root and Carrot)

Soba Noodles

Rice Balls with Umeboshi Plum

Indian class was super duper delicious, especially this South Indian Vegetable Curry.

Vegetable Biryani

Moong Dal

Latin America class was nice and spicy.  This is a Grilled Nopales Salad, made from fresh cactus.

Plantains

Mushroom Tamale with Mole Poblano

Lastly, Thai class…starting with Miang Kum, or Thai Lettuce Bites.

Tom Kah – Lemongrass and Coconut Milk Soup

Pad Thai!  I got my own little serving, without the egg and other non-vegan stuff.

Red Curry Squash with Jasmine Rice.  We made the curry paste from scratch and it was hard work, but the flavor was sooooo worth it.

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August Cleanse: Days 15-18

Onward and upward!

Day 15

I was all out of greens on Saturday morning, so my smoothie had banana, strawberries, chocolate hempshake, almond butter, chia seeds, almond milk.  I also took a multi and b complex and had some coffee with almond milk.  For lunch I had a repeat of the Polynesian salad, but without banana and cucumber.  It was a fairly unsubstantial salad, but it was the weekend so I wasn’t too worried about getting hungry again quickly…until I went grocery shopping for an hour and a half and found myself starving at Whole Foods!  I was hoping they would have a selection of juices at the coffee/smoothie/juice counter, but they only had two – wheatgrass, and a ginger refresher with honey.  So I ended up getting a smoothie of banana, blueberries and pineapple coconut juice.  It didn’t occur to me until after I ordered that the juice probably had sugar in it – I got a little buzz from the smoothie.  Oops!  When I got home I had another snack of zucchini slices and red bell pepper with black bean and orange hummus.

I had bbq sauce leftover in the fridge from my grilled Thursday dinner and had been trying to think of a way to use it other than just brushing it on something grilled.  I also had a bunch of tomatoes that needed to be used before they went bad, and my mind went to bbq chili, which I served over brown rice.  It’s really simple, and really tasty.  Along with my chili I had a few beers.  Ahhhh, the weekend.

BBQ Chili

1 Tbs canola oil
medium yellow or white onion, diced
green bell pepper, diced
jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup bbq sauce
2 cups veggie broth or water
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes or 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups or 1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups or 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
optional toppings:  shredded vegan cheese
chopped green onion
diced avocado

Heat oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes.  Add green pepper and jalapeno and continue to cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Add all other ingredients except toppings, raise heat to high and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer at least 30 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with toppings.

Serves 4.

Day 16

I didn’t have much time Sunday morning between waking up and rushing out the door to run some errands, so I just ate a peach and a banana, and took a barrage of supplements – multi, coQ10 and spirulina.  I also had some coffee with almond milk.

Upon returning, I prepared this pretty salad.

It’s leaf lettuce, baby arugula and mustard greens, shredded carrot and squash, sliced radish and persian cucumber, Cheesy Roasted Chickpeas from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan and goddess dressing.  I was going to make a homemade tahini dressing, but was again pressed for time.  This salad came together really well!  Of course, goddess dressing makes everything taste better.  The shredded squash kind of looked like shredded cheese, which was fun, and it didn’t taste squash-y at all.  I didn’t taste a chickpea on its own so I can’t attest to the cheesiness, but I can say that I really like their texture.  They get kind of chewy, in a good way.

The reason I was in a rush was because we were heading off to Golden Gate Fields to watch the horse races.  Not vegan, I know, but Dave has taken an interest in gambling on horse racing as a hobby, and none of his buddies could go so I said I would go to check it out and see how I felt about the whole thing.  I actually ended up having a really good time and gambling a little, and we placed a large bet on the last race and made quite a bit of money!  However, after doing some reasearch on how the horses are treated, especially the ones that don’t perform, I don’t think I’ll be going back.  I’m a little torn on the issue because I really enjoyed going and it’s a nice time for me and Dave, and I’m sure that some of the horses are treated very well while they’re in racing condition, but I don’t think I can overlook some of the business practices that go on in the horse racing industry.

Oh, while we were at the track I snacked on some peanuts and had a few of their teeny dollar beers.  When we got back I had more bbq chili and brown rice for dinner, and two glasses of red wine before bed.

Day 17

All stocked up on smoothie supplies for the week, this one included baby spinach and red chard, banana, blackberries, amazon acai hempshake, udo’s oil, almond milk, agave nectar.  It was impossible to get a good picture of it.  I also took my multi and b complex.

My morning snack was some grapes and English breakfast tea, and lunch was an exact repeat of the salad from the day before, along with a probiotic supplement.  The afternoon snack of the day was carrot sticks, bell pepper strips and cucumber slices with black bean and orange hummus.

Immediately after work we went to the Coliseum to meet our friend Tom and his sister who was visiting for an A’s game.  Well, she wasn’t visiting FOR the game, she was visting and we happened to go to a game.  A game where the A’s shut out the Yankees!  There were some Obnoxious with a Capital O Yankees fans there, although I probably shouldn’t talk because the game last night went a different way and there’s still one more in the series.  Anywho, I had some peanuts and pistachios at the game, as well as some bbq chili and brown rice that I packed, topped with avocado.  I also had a Diet Dr. Pepper, which is against my cleanse rules.  I was determined not to have any beer, and considering I almost always have at least one beer at every game we go to, I wanted to have a different beverage in my hand so the temptation was lessened.  I also wanted the souvenier cup.

Day 18

It was also impossible to get a good shot of this smoothie, which had baby spinach and red chard, banana, blueberries, a peach, vanilla rice protein, udo’s and almond milk.  My smoothie-picture-taking-skills seem to be going downhill.  I also took my multi and coQ10.  For a morning snack I ate a pear, some figs and had darjeeling tea.  I think I may have some issues with figs – I got some mad stomach pains after eating this snack, and have noticed headaches after eating a meal with figs before.  I could be coincidence, but I’m kind of scared of figs now.  It seems to be okay if I only have two or three at a time, so perhaps I’ll stick with that and see how it goes.

For lunch I had another exact repeat salad.  Why mess with something so good?  My afternoon snack was more carrot, bell pepper and cucumber with the last of the black bean and orange hummus.

My dinner was the last serving of bbq chili and brown rice, topped with avocado and green onions, which is how I had intended to eat it each time but didn’t.  Avocado is always good, and the green onions really perked the chili up.  Afterward while doing the dishes, I enjoyed some wild sweet orange tea.

I’m starting to have cravings for wheat, especially for a burrito or sandwich.  Every time we pass a taqueria I want a burrito BADLY, but it’s nothing I can’t hold off on for another few weeks.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a big burrito on September 1st though, maybe I just won’t eat the whole thing in one sitting!

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Sweet Potato Chili & Thanksgiving

All my posts as of late have an “&” in the title.  I will try to find time to post more often and avoid the “ands”!

Last week I wanted to make a big pot of deliciousness.  It’s definitely chili weather here and it’s been at least a year since I last made chili, so chili it was.  I use this as my basic veggie chili go-to recipe.  If you follow the recipe you’ll have a tasty, meaty omni-friendly chili, and it’s great for variations.  It’ll taste good pretty much no matter what you do to it.  I’m trying to stay away from processed food though, so instead of faux meat I diced a huge sweet potato and tossed it in.

To go with the chili I made my whole wheat cornbread and wilted some arugula.

On to Thanksgiving!  This was my first Thanksgiving with bf’sfamily, so I didn’t want to get to crazy with the “weird” vegan food and I stayed fairly traditional.

When I made the cornbread above I doubled the recipe so that I could make cornbread stuffing, using this recipe from Vegan Chef.

This was very tasty!  Everyone else kind of looked at it funny, but that’s fine – more leftovers for me!  The only thing I might change next time would be to use a little less parsley and green onion, and a bit more broth to make it all mush together.

The best green bean casserole, from Fat Free Vegan.  This was a hit with everyone.  Well, at least everyone who likes green beans.

Robin Robertson’s Cranberry Relish.  I’m not a huge cranberry sauce person, but I got two bags for 99 cents, and this recipe looked really interesting, with additions like shallots and red bell peppers.  I liked it a lot, but it’s still not something I can eat a lot of.

My cashew miso gravy.  So good.

It’s very hard to get a decent picture of just gravy.

My plate.  BF’s mom left some potatoes on the side for me to mash with Earth Balance and soy milk.

For my “entree” I made seitan cutlets from VCON.  I have to say, I’m not digging them very much.  It might just be that I left them too thick, but the texture turned out so rubbery I have a hard time eating them.  For this meal I cut one in half to make it thinner, coated it in flour and pan-fried it.  It was pretty good this way, along with gravy and everything else on the plate.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of them that are currently stashed in my freezer though.

Here’s another view of my plate, just because I think the picture turned out better.

For dessert I made Pumpkin Pie Brownies from The PPK, which I have been wanting to try for over a year.

They were really easy to make and the texture turned out great, but I thought they weren’t sweet enough, which is odd for me.  Normally I think desserts are too sweet!  The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate and I used unsweeted, so I’m sure that took a little sweetness away, but I was very surprised.  They were kind of an “adult” dessert, where the bitterness of the chocolate comes through.  If I make them again I will definitely add more sugar, maybe some chocolate chips in the brownies and whipped cream for the top.  Then I think they will be stellar.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am holding my very first contest!  Well…it’s not really a contest…more like a giveaway.  I am approaching 1000 approved comments, crazy!  To thank you all for continuing to come back and read (even when I’m only posting once a week), I will send a package of sweets to whomever posts the 1000th comment!  I won’t say how close I am – it may not even happen for this post.  But I will announce the winner when it happens.

Lastly, I only took two lunches for last week’s shortened workweek, so here they are.

11-24 better than cream cheese & pumpkin butter sandwich on wheat,
celery & carrots sticks, banana pieces, candy cane jo jo’s

11-25 sweet potato chili, cornbread, wilted arugula, a clementine

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is getting into the holiday spirit!

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