Posts Tagged spaghetti

VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

Last week’s Semi-Wordless Wednesday turned out pretty well, so here’s another random assortment of things I have made!

Pad Thai Salad with kelp noodles, adapted from Appetite for Reduction, and orange-glazed tempeh

Avocado Cream Soup (better than it looks) and Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara (best raw marinara ever) from Practically Raw

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You, topped with pineapple and sriracha mayo

Moroccan Chickpea & Lentil Soup and Cheese Herb Corn Muffins fro Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

Reuben salad with roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, pickles, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressings from Eat to Live

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

Almond Butter Sesame Kelp Noodles from Practically Raw with Sesame Garlic Marinated Tempeh.  Loved the noodles, not so much the tempeh.

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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Heading To The Cabin

I haven’t heard from the second winner of the Appetite For Reduction giveaway, so I’m hoping the third time’s a charm!

The new winner is number eight, Autumn Tao.  I’ve e-mailed you!

The day after Christmas, I flew to the east coast to spend time with my family at “the cabin”.  A few years back, my parents bought a cute little cabin in Clayton, Georgia, so now they head up whenever they can, and I was happy to be able to join them as well as my brother and sister-in-law.  I didn’t anticipate when planning my trip that Atlanta and northern Georgia would experience a big snow storm beginning on Christmas day!  I’ve got lots of pictures, so I’ll try to keep the text short.

For comparison, the same tree in October.

We didnt spend much time out here on this trip!

death icicles

I was a little concerned about finding vegan food in small-town back-country northern Georgia, but my mom assured me that I would find enough to eat.  The Ingles grocery store there was pretty well stocked, and downright pleasant!  Between what my parents brought, stuff we bought and local restaurants, I was plenty well fed.

Oatmeal with bananas, Back To Nature Harvest Blend trail mix (good stuff!) and agave nectar.

cute little kitchen set up

Possibly my favorite sandwich:  hickory smoked tofurkey, hummus, mustard, pickles and mixed greens, with baked chips and my mom’s veganized ginger cookie.

We found this really delicious, locally made bread at Ingles.  It even said “vegan” on the label!

My sis-in-law had never seen snow (I know!), so upon arrival she immediately jumped out of the car and made a snow angel.

bustling downtown Clayton

bookstore kitty!

For dinner, we went to Mama G’s.  The pizza crust was confirmed as vegan, so I ordered this delicious personal pizza with broccoli, garlic, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.  It was really tasty!

my family at Mama Gs

Yay for beer that I can’t get at home!  Ingles lets you build a six pack from single bottles, so I got to try a variety.

Tofu scramble breakfast made with onion, mushrooms and what I could find at the cabin – salsa, garlic salt, mustard and dried cilantro if I remember correctly.  My parents had some for breakfast too, although my dad wanted a swipe of Miracle Whip on his 🙂

Brother and SIL in Franklin, NC

On the way back to town, we stopped at Fatz Cafe, a local chain, for lunch.  I knew there wouldn’t be much for me on the menu, but what I did end up ordering was pretty tasty.

house salad (minus cheese, bacon and croutons) with raspberry walnut vinaigrette

baked sweet potato, loaded up with salt and black pepper

We stayed in for dinner that night – spaghetti, focaccia and roasted veggies.  I started to feel under the weather this night, but I wasn’t going to miss…

Our day trip to Asheville, NC, and lunch at Laughing Seed Cafe!

Before we left, I fueled up with peanut butter and banana on cinnamon raisin toast.

While we waited for our table at Laughing Seed, we walked around and checked out some shops, my favorite of which was The Spice & Tea Exchange.

I bought little packets of ras el hanout, zahtar and spicy cocoa mix, but I wish I could have bought a lot more!

When we finally sat down at Laughing Seed, we shared two appetizers.

pakoras - tri-pepper and squash-onion

crispy wontons with delicious sesame-ginger dressing

Moms plate - roasted veggies and sauce over toast, and a salad (their menu changes seasonally and this meal isnt listed any more...)

Dads "Lumberjack" - seitan with spinach and gravy over toast, and mashed potatoes

My Havana Cuban, with vegan cheese spread instead of swiss, and carrot soup. Didnt really taste like a Cuban, but it was good!

coconut cream pie; I dont love coconut usually, but this was nice!

Vegetarian food isn’t always my family’s favorite (I’m looking at you, brother!), but everyone found something on the menu that they liked well enough.  I thought the Laughing Seed Cafe’s food was really nice, and I’d love to go back sometime.

We passed by a gingerbread house contest - Dr. Suess house!

This house had its own garden, adorable!

last breakfast at the cabin - pita with peanut butter, soy yogurt with trail mix, and coffee

We said goodbye to the cabin (and the snow) and drove down to Florida, where my parents dropped me off in Gainesville, where my friends were getting married on New Year’s Eve.  I was pretty sick with a head cold by this time, but I only had two nights in Gainesville so I tried to make the best of it!

I met my friend Jackie for lunch at Boca Fiesta, which opened up soon after I moved away and now seems to be all the rage.

herbivore menu section!

Vegan queso! You could tell that it had been thickened with flour, but the flavor was good. I dont complain about vegan queso, ever.

I got a giant burrito, salad and collards. This was so much food, but I managed somehow.

That night, my wonderful friends Janeen and Mark got married!  I won’t post many pictures for privacy’s sake, but here’s one – look how pretty!

A few of the other guests were vegan, so there was a vegan-only food table.  Sadly, not everyone got the memo, and there wasn’t much left by the time I got there!

I had some vegan drumsticks, pakoras, mac n cheese, and vegan cheese and crackers, which was plenty enough for my sick head and tummy.

The cupcakes on the table were vegan!

We held sparklers instead of throwing rice, which was only slightly terrifying.

Despite catching a death-cold that ended up lasting three weeks, and having the worst flight home ever (my ear didn’t pop on the way down from my first flight, and I had to walk around the airport basically deaf and miserable), my trip was so fantastic!  I only wish that I could have spent more time with my friends and family.

On a side note, check out xgfx.org, a new vegan and gluten free website run by three lovely ladies – Allyson of Manifest Vegan, Kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars, and Jessy, my favorite happy-faced vegan!

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Weeknight Meals

May is a busy month for me this year – I’m going out of the state twice, once for fun and once for work, my birthday falls in between those trips, and there’s the usual baseball games and other stuff going on.  So I haven’t had a lot of energy to focus on my cooking.  I still eat well I suppose, but it’s been more of a matter of just getting decently healthy food in my belly.

I’m calling this Cheater’s Channa Palak Masala.  Method:  Steam-fry or saute a diced onion, add minced fresh garlic and ginger, add chickpeas and a can of diced tomatoes, put in a whole lot of whatever seasoning you find appropriate (I used curry powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, dry mustard and cayenne), and add spinach to wilt at the end.  Delicious, quick, easy, and nutritious.  I was going to serve this over rice but was too hungry to wait the hour for brown rice, so I used whole wheat orzo, which didn’t really go with the masala that well.  On the side are roasted sweet potatoes seasoned with coriander.  The coriander is a tip I picked up from Vegan With A Vengeance’s sweet potato fries, and I will probably never roast sweet potatoes without coriander now because it’s so good.

I had a laugh when I saw that Lindsay from Happy Herbivore made Channa Masala just a few days after I did using about the same recipe, with an option to add spinach.  This was even funnier because as I was making mine I decided to steam-fry the dish with water rather than using oil and this made me think of her.  Great minds think alike!

One of my favorite ways to use up random veggies, tofu scramble!  I don’t follow a recipe, nor do I write one down, but my scrambles usually involve turmeric, about a ton of nutritional yeast, yellow mustard, a splash of soy milk and maybe some soy sauce.  This one also had zucchini, carrots, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms and fresh basil.  Yum yum.

I had planned to also make strawberry corn pancakes (a la VCON blueberry corn pancakes) and have full on breakfast-for-dinner, but by the time I got home I had neither the energy nor the patience to actually cook two things.  So I threw together this fruit salad, which made me realize that I don’t eat fruit salad enough.  I always have singular fruits and rarely put them together.  I liked adding the orange sections because the juice acted like a dressing and kept the bananas from turning brown.

I found myself with a lot of fresh herbs in the fridge threatening to go bad, so I had decided to make some pesto pasta.  But then that day I got a MAD craving for tomato sauce, so I spent most of the day trying to figure out how to have both marinara and pesto, and whether that was even a good idea.  Turns out it is!

I made this meal completely from what I just happened to have at home.  The pesto was made with a little bit of mint, thyme and oregano, a lot of parsley, pine nuts, and no basil whatsoever.  The crumbly stuff on top is supposed to be tofu ricotta but I used frozen and thawed tofu, which I knew wasn’t a great idea from the beginning.  I wanted tofu ricotta though, and the frozen tofu was the only tofu I had.  So the tofu stayed crumbly and spongy and didn’t get creamy like normal, but bf said that he actually liked it that way, so go figure.  (On a side note, bf ate what I ate for dinner TWICE last week.  I think it was a freak coincidence, or that he was just feeling lazy and cheap.  Fine with me!)

Anyway, I mixed cooked whole wheat spaghetti with organic jarred sauce, layered it in a casserole dish with the pesto and ricotta, and baked it for 20 minutes.  I’m calling it spaghetti casserole.  I wasn’t sure how this would turn out – I knew it would be edible, but didn’t know how great it would be.  It was great!  The pesto really did the trick.  Parsley pesto is good.  Oh, and this dish totally reminded me of the spaghetti pie my mom used to make with leftover spaghetti when I was young.  Vegan spaghetti pie?  Hmmm…..

With the bisketti, I had a side salad from whatever-I-could-find-in-the-fridge:  lettuce, carrots, radishes, corn kernels, clover sprouts that surprisingly had lasted a long time, and goddess dressing.  A fine side salad, indeed.

Here’s a weeknight meal made out of necessity, but then actually remade and written down cause it was so good.

This is  Salad Stirfry, and I’ll write more about it soon.  I love how colorful it is!

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Weeknight Meals, Laptop Lunches & A Meme

I never thought I’d be the type of person who got home from work in the evening and made whatever would get in my belly the fastest for dinner, but that has been my situation lately.  Right now we leave for work at 7:20AM and usually get home around 6:15-6:30PM.  During the day I get it in my head that I’m going to get home, exercise, make a nice dinner, do some chores or poke around on the internet and still maybe have time to watch tv or read before going to bed at 10.  Right.  What happens lately is that I cook up whatever is quick and satisfying and try to check a thing or two off my to do list, and before I know it the night has gone by.  Hopefully in a few months bf and I will be able to align our work schedules and I’ll gain another thirty minutes to an hour which will ease things a bit, but for now it’s all about fast, effective dinners.

Here’s one from last week:  grilled eggplant and zucchini on whole wheat flatbread with hummus, pickles, lettuce and tomato.  The eggplant and zucchini were from the farmers market, and the tomato from my backyard, where the tomato plant is STILL producing new tomatoes.  In November!  This is before I piled on the lettuce.

Rolled up, with cucumbers and tahini dip.

Tuesday night I was planning on a simple stir-fry with leftover veggies and frozen-then-thawed tofu, then while perusing The PPK I saw this post on dry frying tofu with a link to these instructions and became very intrigued.  I also decided I wanted a “real” sauce with my tofu instead of just a plain stir-fry, so I found this recipeon Vegweb and modified it a bit.  I was going to post the recipe because it turned out really good, but I’m not at home right now so I don’t have it.  Will post it next time!

Here’s the dry-fried tofu.  It took just about forever to do because I was using my wok which doesn’t have much flat space so I had to fry the tofu in three batches.  With a griddle or wider pan it would go much quicker.  I really liked the texture of this tofu and will definitely be preparing it this way again.  I also liked that I didn’t have to use any oil!

This orange tofu & broccoli was incredibly good, even served with overcooked, mushy instant brown rice.  The sauce has a very intense flavor, with lots of acidic quality, but it tastes great if you can get past that.  I was kind of afraid my stomach was going to get upset afterwards, but on the contrary:  I got the happy tummy, bigtime.  You know how sometimes you eat and you’re still hungry or unsatisfied, and sometimes you eat and it was a bit too much and you don’t feel so well, but sometimes you eat and it’s just perfect and your tummy is sooooo happy.  That’s what this dish does.

Wednesday night I got home with no exact dinner plan and went straight for comfort.  Organic veggie soup from a can and a grilled cheese with pickles and tomato on whole wheat.  Hot, crunchy, slurpy and good.  And I tell you, pickles on grilled cheese is the way to go.

And here’s my Thursday dinner made from what I could find in the house.  Whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli, garlic and some tempeh sausage crumbles that were hiding in the freezer.  It would’ve been better with pine nuts and almond parmesan, but I’m still working on fully stocking my kitchen.

It doesn’t look nearly as nice as I had thought it would, but it did the trick.  And, because I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better:

I think tomorrow when I get back home I might come up with a food plan for the week and get my grocery shopping done.  I was reading yesterday that Jessy from happyveganface plans all her meals for the week ahead of time and I think that’s adorable.

I only took three laptop lunches this week.  Thursday I was in a mega hurry and grabbed some instant pad thai and a salad, and Friday my office held a Thanksgiving potluck for our students which was really interesting because most of them are from other countries and didn’t really get the whole pot luck concept.

11-17 beanie weenies, veggies, homemade ranch, dried apricots

11-18 veggie dogs w/ ketchup & mustard, pasta salad, veggies, dried cherries

11-19 orange tofu & broccoli, brown rice w/ extra sauce, cauliflower, kiwi & blueberries

Last week Miss Bianca of Vegan Crunk tagged me for a meme, and now is the time.

  1. Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
  4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before on this here blog, but I’m a musician.  I started taking piano lessons when I was five, played flute in middle school band, picked up trumpet in ninth grade, and was a total high school band nerd.  During my third semester in college I switched majors from civil engineering to music (smooth move) and hold a BM.  Seriously, it’s a Bachelors of Music.  I have a BM.  I’ve played trumpet, guitar and sang in ska punk bands, fronted a pop-punk band and switched off on bass and drums in an all girl punk band.  I sang harmony and played trumpet and flute on a couple recordings for local bands when I was in Gainesville, including one release that came out on Epitaph.  I’m kind of a big deal.

2.  I’ve been afraid of sharks for almost as long as I can remember.  I know when I was a little kid I liked the beach and swimming in pools, but somewhere along the way I became terrified of sharks and ocean creatures in general.  I think it came about because there was a science museum my summer camp visited, and there was a stuffed hammerhead shark hanging above the staircase that you had to walk up to get to the exhibits.  I didn’t want to walk under it.  I also think this brought about my phobia of taxidermied animals.  I can’t go to natural history museums.  I don’t much like being around mounted deer heads and things of that nature, but I REALLY can’t do whole big animals like bears or panthers.  At one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. there is a taxidermied elephant in the lobby and it’s kind of my worst nightmare.  Although, in recent years I have been facing my fears and getting better about it.  I’ve gone to a few aquariums and planted myself in front of the shark tanks, and I went to that museum in D.C. and looked at the elephant from the second floor.  I still couldn’t stand right next to it though.

3.  Although it’s not another phobia, I can be very uncomfortable around certain large things.  Like cruise ships for instance.  I don’t mind being on one, but standing next to one in a harbor can get to me.  Airplanes too.  Dinosaur skeletons also freak me way out, but I’m not sure whether they fall under this category or the dead animal fear.

4.  I was kind of obsessed with Alice in Wonderland for a while.  I collected all sorts of memorabilia and books, whatever I could get my hands on.  I had a large collection for a while, and sold it all off a few years ago for the money.  I still have the pictures and the memories though.  If you’ve never actually read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, do so.  They’re fascinating.

5.  I don’t like olives or licorice.  Disgusting.  Or Jagermeister.  Barf.  Those are pretty much the only flavors I can’t stomach.  I’m coming around on olives, but only if they’re mixed in with other complimentary flavors.

6.  There are a few tv shows of which I refuse to miss an episode:  Top Chef, The Office, Project Runway and The Biggest Loser.  We just got DVR so it’s making my life much easier in this respect.  Other current shows I really like are What Not To Wear, Law & Order (SVU or Criminal Intent – love Vincent D’Onofrio), and Top Design.  I like reruns of Gilmore Girls, King of Queens, Frasier, Full House, Golden Girls, Friends, Seinfeld and Family Guy.  These things comprise most of the tv I watch other than sports.  I know way more about Full House than any person should.

7.  I don’t do scary.  Can’t watch scary movies, especially if it’s about supernatural things like ghosts or monsters.  Real life scary I can sometimes do, such as murder mysteries or thrillers.  Thing is, watching these kinds of movies I get too worked up and my heart beats to fast and I end up with a headache and generally I just don’t enjoy the feeling of being scared like most people do.  I kind of like true crime books though.  I’ve read Helter Skelter and Danny Rolling’s biography and while they were intensely interesting, they scared the living crap out of me.  I thought Charles Manson was hiding in my apartment every day I came home from school during the time I read Helter Skelter.

Huh, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be!  Guess I’m a fairly interesting person.  I tag anyone who hasn’t done this yet and wants to, or better yet, tell me something random or weird about yourself in a comment!

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Still Cleaning Out My Kitchen

Actually, I’m starting with one thing that didn’t help purge my kitchen, but it sure did taste good.  A couple years ago I made a chocolate cake for my birthday, a wacky cake recipe from La Dolce Vegan.  My friend Laura liked it a lot, so since her birthday was Friday I made her a cake of her own.

I knew I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time to decorate and was feeling festive, so I went with sprinkles.  Yay!  I had to buy a whole bottle and certainly don’t need leftover sprinkles, so I mixed most of the bottle into the cake, for a funfetti-type-thing.  It worked well!  Here’s the insides.

A funny thing happened while cutting the cake.  A friend of Laura’s from nursing school came into the kitchen.  Laura offered her cake (there was another cake there too) and she said no thanks.  Then Laura was like “this one’s vegan” and her friend said “Oh!  Yeah!” and took a slice.  I wanted to ask if it was opposite day.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen!  Turns out she’s vegetarian and therefore interested in vegan baked goods.

On Saturday I had a Buy My Stuff Open House, kind of like an indoor yardsale for friends only.  I had promised refreshments but didn’t feel like preparing anything (crazy!) so I took the opportunity to thaw some freezer foods.

Leftover cake with oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate-chocolate chip-walnut cookies, both from the freezer.

Smoky salsa from the freezer, store bought guac (gasp), blue corn chips and oat bran pretzels.  The oat bran pretzels are really good.

Sunday night my parents came into town and took us out to dinner at Emiliano’s, a Pan-Latin restaurant downtown.  I wish I had taken my camera, because the food there is really good.  I had gazpacho and black beans over spanish rice, and shared two tapas with my mom – escalivada (grilled veggies & pita chips, cheese on the side for mom) and amarillos.  I also had a basil mojito, which was at once odd and delicious.

Last night I made a meal I had been meaning to make since I bought green beans at the farmers market last week, but had to keep putting it off, and I’m glad I waited because my parents brought me a bunch of tomatoes from my dad’s garden.

As good as these tomatoes are, I’m just not a raw tomato person except for a slice in a sandwich here and there.  Even the cherry tomatoes – some people eat them like candy.  Me, not so much.  Anywho, a thick slice of tomato on top of this chickpea cutlet parmesan gave it that extra special something.  Served with spelt spaghetti marinara and balsamic roasted green beans.

Freezer – chickpea cutlets, marinara
Pantry – spelt spaghetti, breadcrumbs, almond parmesan
Farmers Market – green beans
Free! – dad’s tomatoes

Overall three meals of this cost $2.  That’s some good math.

In the spirit of using more tomatoes and freezer foods, tonight I had a take on succotash and onion rings.  I love onion rings, but they’re so bad for you!  Probably why they were still in the freezer.

The succotash is lima beans, edamame and corn (all from the freezer), EB, quartered cherry tomatoes, garlic and onion powder, basil, dill, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and braggs.  Topped with hot sauce.

By my math, this meal was free!  And there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Sweet.

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