Sunday, October 28, 2012

(833) the nature of evil

It has been quite a busy week, and an unexpectedly "crazy" weekend, so I haven't had a chance to post until this quiet Sunday morning, where I can finally gather my thoughts. tomorrow marks one week before my (21st!) birthday. I can hardly believe it, yet I'm so ready for it to get here. There will be lots of planning and running around this week, and next, so I better have some good meals under my belt!

trying to make breakfast more versatile, yet again: leftover fresh cooked chickpeas smashed with avocado, lemon juice, paprika and salt over tomatoes + GF toast rubbed with garlic.

Sometimes I need to bake to forget about things. That sounds silly, I know. The act of baking over actually eating what I make? Yes, to me it's more therapeutic. It helps me block out anything I am worrying about and just focus on what I'm doing. It's a well known fact that I am not a last minute/spur of the moment kind of girl, but these apple cider donuts definitely were. I have only made donuts one other time, but these were perfect. I used this recipe with a few changes, as per Babycakes' recipe: 3/4 C brown rice flour, 1/3 C sorghum flour, + 1/2 C tapioca starch. These were chewy, delicious, delicate, and everything I needed!

Farmer's Market haul

This could be my new favorite quinoa + tempeh dish. Oven baked almond flour battered and soy sauce drenched tempeh with nutritional yeast studded quinoa, and tomatoes + spinach of course. The best part was the creamy avocado, which slightly melted in the hot quinoa. Super delicious, filling, and nutritious. (and easy!) [source: Oh, Ladycakes!]

I am hard headed, I guess you could say. After I burn a pot of rice, I throw it out, soak the pot, and cook another one. When I mess up a shortbread crust, I throw it out and make another crust in the same bowl. I don't give up easily, especially in the kitchen. My first pot of curry was nothing short from a disaster: pot too small, burnt the entire bottom of the pot, etc. I was frustrated. I yelled a few "sacre bleu"s and "merdes" before going to the store for more potatoes and an instant pad thai to tide me over. The final result was a beautiful, delicious golden potato curry. It has few ingredients, and doesn't take much effort, but the flavor is complex from whole cumin seeds, tumeric, and soy yogurt. [source: WFM Cooking]

One thing my family used to eat a lot was Mexican food. They would go out maybe once a week or so to whatever little Mexican joint around here (there are more than a few) and come back with leftovers, of course. I grew up on the stuff. Sometimes I miss it: the atmosphere, the chips and salsa, the "caliente" plates. But, I have found more than a few ways to be satisfied with homemade, fresh, market friendly Mexican food. This one is a winner. Sauteed market squash + zucchini with red onions and garlic. Freshly cooked pinto beans in a spicy broth with peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and roasted red peppers. Vegan Queso cheese. Guacamole. I redid the leftovers as burritos and let me tell you, this could beat Chipotle's butt any day. [source: Adrienne Eats]

I try to plan meals that are balanced, nutritious, and delicious (most importantly). I made an Asian Slow-Cooker Cabbage + Corn soup this weekend (next post) and I made these tofu sticks to go along with them. The flavor of the GF breading is amazing (with fresh GF breadcrumbs) and they pair well with ketchup or any other dipping sauce. I will make these again, maybe for a vegan party or just to snack on while I'm busy. They were super easy to make too! [source: Good Things Grow]

I'll be back later this week before my birthday, I'm sure! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

(825) castles of a bygone age

Hello! It's been an incredibly food-filled week, but also a busy one, so I haven't had much time to catch up on here. You may notice too that all of my recent October post titles are small snippets from horror films. Try to guess what they're from! 

But yes, I have been cooking up a little storm here for some reason, I guess because I was on fall break, but things will be back to "normal" next week. 

As some of you may have noticed, I have been doing a lot of Asian/ethnic cooking here lately. I really love the complexity of the flavors, the quick process of cooking the meals, and that it usually involves pantry staples I have already invested in (rice vinegar, GF soy sauce, sriracha, toasted sesame oil). These items can sometimes be pricey, but they will last you for a long time and really make the meal. I have been wanting to make pho, and this is the closest I've gotten so far: ginger noodles with kale + shirataki. It was so easy, delicious, filling, and nutritious! Kale in an asian soup with shiitake mushrooms and shirataki noodles? Amazing.

My mom finding huge Egg-Man's collard greens at Deep Roots. 

Doing some decorating here for fall: cinnamon broom

I do have one huge accomplishment to speak of: I finally made GF pizza crust from scratch. It always seemed so daunting to me, but after I did it I was like "That's it? Really?". I think it was just a matter of finding the right recipe, which I definitely did. I've been going to Karina's website since I became GF, and this pizza crust recipe was amazing. I did change it a bit to use 2 C tapioca starch, 1 C millet, and 1 C sorghum. This is the closest thing I've ever had to real pizza crust.

Now what is all of that stuff on top? I like to make untraditional pizzas whenever possible, especially ones with out a traditional tomato sauce. This is definitely a new favorite and would be amazing once it starts to get colder: layers of BBQ sauce, tempeh cooked in BBQ sauce, kale, sweet potato, corn, and vegan jack cheese on top from Vegetarian Ventures. I suggest you go make that right now.

Sometimes dinner needs to be simple...and needs to involve a lot of wine and a good read.

Pumpkin rosemary hummus. Recipe from Ashley coming soon!

So I had my first little party this past Thursday to carve pumpkins, get together and of course to eat amazing food. Ashley and I provided most of the grub, mine being these little quinoa falafels. I made a double batch just to be sure to accommodate everyone and there weren't as many leftovers as I thought! The yogurt/tahini/lemon sauce that pairs with it was lovely as well. These little falafels are easy to put together and can be made up to a day in advance and fried when ready. I used freshly cooked chickpeas (!!!) which made a huge difference! 

The drunk gluten-free pumpkin.

We are silly but we have awesome pumpkins.

I did two pumpkin seed varieties: spicy curry + black tea butter 

Ashley also brought pumpkin pie, which was totally vegan and amazing! I made a pumpkin pie last year with coconut milk and eggs (very custardy) but I was surprised at how much more custardy this was! She used this recipe and her mother's GF/vegan pie-crust recipe. I think this will be the pie I made for thanksgiving, and maybe a vegan pecan pie too!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

(819) and a comet rips the sky

I am finally on fall break! It may only be two days but I could really use them to catch up and to get ready for the rest of the semester to get knocked out. As noted on the previous post, I am trying to eat more tofu/tempeh/mushrooms/healthier and I can't honestly remember the last time I ate meat. I will surely enjoy these two free days and hopefully can make some food in advance like vegetable stock, homemade bouillon, tea-scented tofu, smoothie cups and more. We'll see!

I ate the leftover tofu from these AMAZING tofu breakfast tacos for breakfast like scrambled eggs with vegan buttered toast. Absolutely amazing! I found this easier to digest and more flavorful then regular scrambled eggs. 

Finally tried Heidi's kale and coconut salad from her last cookbook. I think I slightly burnt the coconut and kale, so it wasn't as good as I thought it could be. I ate it with brown rice, a scrambled egg, and sriracha. It was definitely interesting flavor-wise, but the leftovers didn't hold up so well. I am glad to know that kale, coconut, and sriracha go well together! 

Trying to make breakfast more versatile: steamed kale, buttered brown rice and Irish breakfast tea. 

Also made another flawless recipe from Sara's book: smoky red lentil soup topped with fresh cilantro and served with corn chips. It was so easy to prep, cook, and make in less than an hour. I made it early in the morning and had it ready for lunch, dinner, and froze the leftovers. The simplicity of pureed soups will almost always win me over. This is my third time cooking with lentils and this one went better than the other tries! Red lentils seem to cook up quicker/easier anyhow. I recommend you all pick up Sara's book immediately!

Halloween bounty from my mother. Starburst for Trick-or-Treaters are almost all gone. 

I'm completely over store-bought hummus. I considered buying some to make sandwiches, but then looked at what ingredients I had and made a cilantro-lime hummus. Recipe to be posted below! 

Me drinking in front my apartment on a lovely fall day. 

Hummus, avocado and tomato sandwich with baby carrots. I am on a HUGE baby carrot kick since they are on sale right now. This has also become probably my favorite sandwich. Never fails to taste amazing, especially with extra avocado. It's so healthy and filling too. 

Finally ventured out to one of the last days of the South Elm Urban Farmer's Market where I scored fresh field peas and sweet potatoes for about $2.50. Can't really beat that and the vendor's artwork was awesome too. 

I am trying to do more homemade things, and more importantly, all vegan things. I am slowly slipping into a full-on vegan diet. I think the only thing holding me back is that cutting eggs out completely from my diet, which don't bother me, will start to bother me if I avoid them. Anyways, this homemade vegan mac + cheese was everything I expected, and more. The sauce is made from sweet potatoes, white beans or cauliflower, and nooch with a bunch of spices/almond milk thrown it. It was absolutely amazing! I feel great knowing all the vegetables that are tucked into this sauce, even though I felt reluctant to eat it with out greens, so I wilted some chard to eat alongside it. I seriously recommend this and hope that my leftover sauce freezes well!

First night of fall break success: homemade mac + cheese, pumpkin hard cider and a GF vegan pumpkin cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and crystallized ginger. Finished off with a horror film: "Slither". 

Cilantro Lime Hummus
-1.5 C chickpeas
-1/4 C olive oil
-1-2 garlic cloves
-large handful of fresh cilantro
-2 T tahini
-large pinch of salt
-large pinch of cumin
-juice of two limes
-Process until smooth and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

(814) the october country

It has gotten quite cold around here lately. I know that the temperatures will fluctuate, as usual, but for now I can enjoy the slightly cold weather and try to brace myself for the cold! 

using some more green smoothie cups with extra honey, flax, and peanut butter for a healthy breakfast after a night of pizza and beer.

I used the rest of the pumpkin hummus I made last week to make a healthy lunch: sandwich with hummus, tomato, and mesculun greens. I really wish I would've put avocado on here! 

my tidy little autumn kitchen. note the pumpkin dish towel!

Things I do while baking: 1.//Line up all of my tools and ingredients. 2.//Make fresh dish water to clean as I go. This is a great time saver and you can actually relax while your baked goods are in the oven. 3.//Baking and cooking for me is impossible with out good music. This particular morning, I put my apron on right out of bed, so I needed Fleet Foxes to coax me out of my sleepiness.

I love banana bread. This is a known fact. Apparently, almost none of my co-workers care for it (which is fine because I have eaten almost 3/4 of it by myself). I love all different types of banana bread: walnut, lemon olive oil from Heidi, chocolate chip banana bread...but Deb's crackly banana bread with millet takes the cake, or bread in this case. It uses coconut oil, maple syrup, and raw millet for the perfect crunch. This is my favorite so far. I subbed: 1/2 C sorghum flour, 1/2 C tapioca starch, 1/2 C millet flour (trust me), and 1.5 tsp xanthan gum.

Pho dinner with my favorite people.

Leftovers for a cold rainy lunch = win

If you have 10 or so minutes, then I suggest you make this polenta dish. It took no time to put together and I added extra vegan butter and red pepper flakes. I actually ate the leftovers for breakfast and it was lovely! A really nice, warm meal. 

I have been eyeing this steamer for a while now. I decided to use some of my almond milk before it goes out today. The only things I changed was adding cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice!) to the hot milk, and a touch of brown sugar. I also let a pumpkin chai tea bag steep in there for about 7-8 minutes. It was so perfect! Next time I will try to make foam at home. We'll see...

I have neglected and hated tofu for so long now, until I realized it's just one of those things you have to know how to cook properly. Tofu is cheap, cheaper than meat is (at least to me) and has so much protein. I have been trying to eat tofu, tempeh and even mushrooms (which I used to hate) every week now. I made tofu breakfast wraps and am amazed. It uses nutritonal yeast, I used 1/4 C GF all-purpose flour to sub for regular flour, onion and garlic powder, GF soy sauce for Braggs, and tumeric. It was so easy to put together and delicious with salsa on top. I am considering making a huge batch of these and freezing them for later. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

(810) elbow grease + high heels

Today marks one more month until my birthday! I am too excited for words. Just went to get my dress taken in today and got some heels. I know it's going to be awesome! This week has been filled with French studying, Othello, and a critical theory essay (lovely). Fall break is coming up in about a week, which I'm obviously looking forward to!

Leftover tomato butter onion sauce from the weekend on pasta. I added vegan cheese and white wine to the sauce this last time. Seriously the most delicious pasta sauce on the planet! I suggest you all make it! The recipe is in the last post before this one.

Nothing makes me happier than finding wholesome, delicious meals that take minutes to make. This consisted of steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, Franks red hot sauce/butter/onion smothered chickpeas and vegan jack cheese. I don't think I need to explain how delicious this was. I suggest you go make this right now. 

I thought it was impossible to find vegan/GF burgers, but I finally found some! these are awesome and can be found at Whole Foods.

I finally made homemade hummus and I have to say, nothing has been easier or more delicious! I only used 1/2 C pumpkin puree and 1 heaping C chickpeas so mine was spicier but still amazing! I will be making be a sandwich with this tomorrow. I got this recipe from one of my favorite little blogs: noms for the poor

I am infamous for trying new things in the kitchen as much as possible, so I made homemade vegan cashew cheese to use in these black bean + scallion quesadillas. They paired perfectly with avocado and salsa, and the cheese was easy to make (and pretty cheesy too!). Quesadillas have been one of the things I've missed being GF/DF but these were amazing!

Using my crock pot for the first time!

Finished product: vegan hot and sour soup from The Vegan Slow Cooker Book. This is the first thing I've ever made in a slow cooker and from this book, obviously, and I'm very pleased! I love that Kathy has steps to do the night before so that in the morning, all you do is throw it in the slow cooker and let it go! I love hot and sour soup, and obviously have missed it since being GF. I also hate mushrooms (I know, weird) but these are chock full of them. They become tender after being immersed in a spicy, sour broth for 8 hours and I loved them for once. The tofu is also incredibly soft, which I love. I cannot wait to make this the next time I get sick. 

Traditional Southern GF/Vegan breakfast: polenta grits with vegan butter and salt.

I rehash the word "simplicity" every time I make a new post. Garlic slathered toast. Fried egg. Salt and pepper. Foamy vegan butter swirled with lots of red wine vinegar and salt. Poured over egg+toast. Served with lightly dressed mesculin greens. //Casa Yellow

The birthday heels! I think they're perfect and will be for years to come!

Vegan Hot + Sour Soup (from The Vegan Slow Cooker)
-8 oz bamboo shoots (about 1 C) julienned
-8 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed + sliced
-10 oz sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
-1 (15 oz) package firm tofu (silken or not), drained + cubed
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 T fresh grated ginger, divided
-2 T vegan chickeny bouillon cubes (I used Edward + Sons)
-4 C water
-2 T GF soy sauce
-2 T rice vinegar
-1 tsp toasted sesame oil
-1 tsp sriracha/chile paste
-1 1/2 C frozen peas
THE NIGHT BEFORE: Store the first five prepared ingredients in an air proof container in the fridge over night. Store the ginger in a separate container in the fridge.

IN THE MORNING: Put all prepared ingredients in the crockpot (4-7qt). Add water, 1 T ginger, bouillon, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha. Cook on low for 8 hours.

A few minutes before serving, stir in frozen peas and remaining 1 T of ginger. Taste broth and add more vinegar as needed. 

Serves 4