Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

From a serious post, back to cooking...we now return to your regularly scheduled programming, lol.

Tonight I had dinner with my family. They picked Pizzeria Uno. (Did I mention I hate chains?) Their vegetable soup is vegan, so I had a bowl of soup. After dinner, I skipped over to Whole Foods and purchased the two ingredients I needed in order to test Catherine's Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie recipe.

These cookies were easy to mix up and I can honestly say that it is the best vegan chocolate chip cookie I have ever baked! Take a look at the beautiful cookies in the picture. There is another rack full of them cooling in my kitchen. Two of these cookies are not like the others! ---I love chocolate chip cherry cookies, so I added some dried cherries when there was enough dough left for eight cookies. This rack has two of the cherry cookies on it.

Thanks Catherine for letting me test these! I'll share a few with people at work tomorrow. I'm Off to get some exercise in before I make the "blog rounds" and go to sleep.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

This morning, I packed my lunch for work and my dinner because I was meeting a friend at the movies to see An Inconvenient Truth. That means no food pics, but I did want to post about this film.

If you haven't heard about it, I'll explain it quickly. After losing the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore changed his focus and went on the road doing an amazing presentation on global warming. Early in his college life he had a professor that was studying CO2 levels. This professor saw trends and made predictions. This really struck a chord with Al. Most of his career was spent trying to convince the government of this problem. Since the government has not been doing enough and in some cases denying the issue even exists, Gore is educating people all over the world. The presentation is very engaging and the graphs, charts and evidence he has to show is undeniable. A few things really struck me about the movie.

1. Although there are no scientists that disagree that there is a global warming problem, more than 50% of articles in the media cast doubt or imply this is part of a cycle. (It is not, we are at temperatures and C02 levels significantly higher than any other time in history.)

2. Certain companies have memos suggesting that they need to cast doubt on the issue, just as cigarette companies did about cancer.

3. As dire as the problem appears, we have the means to reverse it. If changes were made to energy efficient appliances, more efficient vehicles, alternative fuel sources, etc...these changes could take us back to where we were in the 1970's as far as CO2 and temperature. We just need to make the government take notice.

4. If no changes are made, then all kinds of climate and weather changes are in store for us. Many of the current cities are built in places based on favorable weather or rainfall. As temperatures rise, the weather patterns will change. We'll also see more violent storms because of warmer water temperatures.

I could type so much more, but I don't want to sound repetitive. I'm sure you all read the news in papers and online. All I can say is go see this movie and encourage your friends to go. It will clarify the facts and myths about global warming. Check out the site link at the beginning of this post to read about what you can do to help lower your carbon footprint. Join and write your senators letting them know that complacency is not ok.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Oven Roasted Mushrooms & Caribbean Tofu

In the last Vegetarian Times, I noticed a recipe for oven roasted mushrooms which used buttons mushrooms. My plan was to make that recipe with creminis at some point.

Yesterday while making the mockamole, I noticed another oven roasted mushroom recipe in the Passionate Vegetarian. That recipe used shitake mushrooms. On the way home tonight, I picked up a mixed pack of shitake, cremini, and oyster mushrooms.

These are so quick and easy. Just mix the mushrooms, chopped garlic, and olive oil and then roast in the oven. I tossed them with fresh thyme when they were done. Yum!

The tofu is Soyboy Caribbean flavor. The paler ones are plain and the orange ones were coated with some calypso mango jerk sauce. I sliced and roasted the tofu in the oven with the mushrooms.

BTW - The blogger spell check kept trying to change shitake into Shiites. I thought that was amusing.

This was a great dinner. Though I was super hungry after mowing the lawn.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Tonight I had another avocado and veggie sandwich on toast with the green garlic dressing. The dressing mellowed out over night and now I like it even more. The next question was what to do with the remaining three avocados.

I was thinking that I would make my first batch of guacamole which required a recipe of some kind. For about twenty minutes, I flipped through different cookbooks. The last book I grabbed was Passionate Vegetarian. Early in the book was Mockamole!

What is that? Well---it is guacamole with a portion of the avocado and frozen peas pulsed in the food processor. Sounds weird, but the peas blend in well and add hint of sweetness. Less avocado also lowers the fat content. I think I prefer it to regular guac. Those are blue corn chips in the photo.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Open Face Avocado & Green Garlic Dressing

Well, I've noted lots of you Californians making stuff with avocados or just chopping them up and adding them to salads. Up until recently, I tried to pretend avocados didn't exist. When I was little, I tried one and didn't like it. That's right I didn't try one again until almost twenty years later. On occasion I eat guacamole now and once I even ate an avocado sandwich at a restaurant when there were no other veg options.

Earlier in the week, I purchased some organic avocados and today I decided to give one a try. I was curious how difficult it would be to cut them in half and remove the skin. It was surprisingly simple for a first timer!

These sandwiches are toasted bread with organic tomato, organic avocado, organic baby spinach and Green Garlic Dressing that I made from Cafe Max and Rosie's: Vegetarian Cooking With Health and Spirit. Now, I love garlic...but this dressing is super garlicky! I think next time I might use one less clove. The dressing is basically silken tofu, some herbs, olive oil (I used about a third of what it called for and added a little water), balsamic vinegar, and lots of garlic.

The verdict, I like the sandwiches and I guess I like avocado now.

Last night, I also made Lavender Lemonade from Mindy Cooks. Lemonade and lavender are two things I love. One interesting thing about making lavender lemonade is the color change. The lavender water infusion is purple and when you add lemon juice it morphs into a beautiful pink color. Where do you think the idea of pink lemonade came from? I wonder if the nasty artificial pink lemonades they sell now are actually an artifact from early times when people made lavender lemonade.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Confetti Home Fries, Red Chard, Fried Apples

While at Trader Joe's earlier in the week, I picked up a bag of multi-colored potatoes (blue, red, white). The Garden of Vegan has a home fries recipe and I decided to try the colored potatoes with that recipe.

My confetti fries were seasoned with the all-purpose spice from TGoV which has cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano.

At Whole Foods today, they had some local grown organic red chard. I sauteed it with garlic and pine nuts. The apples were sauteed with some agave nectar and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Today at WF, I also found a new vegan snack that I love. They had samples out and I checked the ingredients before trying some. Ting's from Robert's American Gourmet (the same people that make Pirate's Booty and Veggie Booty) are crunchy, tasty goodness! They are seasoned with nutritional yeast. Since they were on sale, I picked up 2 bags.

Finally, while I was traveling for work last week I decided to try something different at WF in NY. They had a banana carob bar made by a company called Goldie's. I love it! I've been eating it one square at a time and only about half a bar remains. I
searched the Internet trying to find a link to their website and was unsuccessful. A few sites do sell Goldie's carob bars, but none had the banana flavor. Hopefully, you can find it at Whole Foods. Here's a picture of the wrapper.

Random ---Who Do You Look Like?

This post has absolutely nothing to do with food or soap, so it is a slight deviation from the norm. A blog that I frequent, linked to Face Recognition on Unfortunately, you do have to sign up to try it out, but it is free. I uploaded a mug shot of myself and waited to see who this program thinks I look like.

Here's what it says: Grace Kelly, Ashley Olsen, Brigitte Bardot, Ava Gardner, Michael Caine (!?!), Teri Hatcher, Heather Locklear, Lindsay Lohan, Patricia Arquette, and Nino Rota (??).

In real life, I don't look like any of those people; however, I can see that perhaps we do have some similar facial features.

If you give it a try, let me know who you look like!

BTW - I will post some food pics later today.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Well, I brought most of these cookies into the office today and left them in the kitchen. They were gone in a matter of minutes. Definitely not my favorites, but everyone seemed to like them. I didn't mention that they were vegan.

Erin asked for the recipe and perhaps Teddy would like it too, here it is:

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (I used 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat + white)
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sucanat
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy milk
3/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 tbl vanilla extract

Unfortunately, this recipe was given to me and other than is not specific. Last night, I popped everything in the bowl and stirred until thoroughly mixed.

The dough is thick and doesn't spread very much. I tried dropping rounded spoonfuls and I also tried flattening them with a fork. --Both kinds cooked up nicely.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes on greased or parchment sheets. In my oven they were done in about 18 minutes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Catherine's Soup , Pita, & Cookies

Well, it has been too long since my last post. Over the weekend, I was using up leftovers. Saturday a friend and I went hiking. On Sunday I was tempted to cook; however I was heading out of town for work on Mon/Tues, so the idea was nixed.

Tonight I needed to stop at Trader Joe's and pick up a few items to test Catherine's Chickpea Noodle soup. By the time I got home, I was starving. My fridge had been housing an unopened package of Tofutti Cream Cheese for awhile and at TJs, I bought a nice looking jar of fire roasted red peppers. The Vegan Vittles cookbook has lox and cream cheese recipe that caught my eye. (Probably because I hated lox and cream cheese as a kid.) Though the cream cheese wasn't made from scratch like theirs, this made a quick and tasty snack. I've never been a cream cheese fan, but I really enjoyed the flavor of the Tofutti with the roasted red peppers.

After my pocket, I started chopping ingredients for the soup. I was able to cook it up in under an hour. The recipe called for another pasta type, but I only had rotini. The broth for this soup is absolutely amazing. It is a great mixture of herbs and some other flavors that I can't reveal. The veggies, pasta, and chickpeas make for a hearty meal. Though I might tweak this recipe a bit next time I make it, it is wonderful and I thank Catherine for giving me the opportunity to test this recipe slated for her upcoming cookbook.

The soup will last me a few days, so I likely won't post any new recipes until the weekend!

One last thing... The veg restaurant near my house, stopped selling their vegan chocolate chip cookies over a year ago. Every time I was there I would ask for the cookies, but they didn't plan on making them anymore. On my last visit, I asked the owner if he would share the recipe with me. He gave me a double chocolate chip cookie recipe that didn't look to me like the cookies I craved, but I decided to give it a try tonight.

I can definitively say these are not the right cookies, but they are decent. They are a little softer and more like drop cookies than I like. They are very healthy though. There is no oil or fat added and the sugars are sucanat, apple sauce and brown rice syrup. I subbed whole wheat flour for about 1/3 of the white flour and the white specks you see are rolled oats! If anyone wants me to post the recipe for them, I will.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mexican Pizza and Tomato Basil Salad

It has been awhile since I posted. For the most part, I have been using up leftovers and traveling a bit for work. Tonight I rushed home to mow the lawn before it rains again tomorrow. I finished up around 7:30pm and then used the weed wacker until the battery died. (I forgot to charge it up.) Then I headed inside for a later dinner.

Last weekend a friend stopped by and I made the Ginger Mint Lemon Cooler from 28cooks. Unfortunately, it was made without mint, but is was still very good. Then later I made some vegan nachos before we popped in a great movie called Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. I warned Dan that I hadn't tried making vegan nachos before. Once we dug in, he proclaimed that they were the best nachos he had eaten---vegan or not!

Tonight, I had some left over fixings from the nachos to use up. Dinner was Mexican pizza. MindyCooks helped to inspire this dish. I cooked two corn tortillas in my calphalon pan (no oil needed). It was necessary to flip them over every minute or two so they wouldn't burn. The filling is refried beans, a spoonful of Road's End Spicy Nacho dip, black olives, Vegan Gourmet monterey jack, fire roasted jalapenos, and chipotle salsa. On top, is more jack cheese, salsa, peppers, and olives. Yum! (Sorry Mindy, I didn't have any cabbage to put on top.)

I've also been working on a package of Vegan Gourmet mozzarella. A few days ago, I made up tomato mozzarella and basil salad. VG cheese worked well in this dish. It is simply organic grape tomatoes, basil, vg mozzarella cubed, a little olive oil, salt, and a little freshly ground pepper. I can't get enough of this salad.

What's next? Well, there are some great sounding black bean cakes on 28cooks that I want to try and I'm looking forward to trying to duplicate a recipe for sea vegetable salad that one of my favorite vegan restaurants serves up. At the store, I bought some hiziki and arame. I'll need to rehydrate it and dig up a ginger miso dressing recipe. The sea vegetables and dressing are served with salad greens, brown rice, and grilled tofu. Has anyone seen a recipe for ginger miso dressing? I've checked a few my cookbooks, but haven't found one yet.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stuffed "Fronch" Toast & Coconut R-berry Bars

Tonight, I decided to make breakfast for dinner. "Fronch" Toast from Vegan With A Vengeance had peaked my interest in the past on other blogs. Yesterday, I met a friend at Panera for lunch, so I bought a fresh French bread on the way out.

Tonight I made the "Fronch" Toast with a couple of slight modifications. First I could not find plain chick pea flour at the supermarket, so I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix. The first ingredient was garbanzo flour which means it would sub well. Second I decided to stuff a few of the toasts to make my dinner a little healthier. I cut down the center and filled them with sliced banana sprinkled with cinammon and ground flax seed. Also on the plate is soysauge from DixieDiner. DD is not the best stuff in the world, but it is vegan, low fat/sodium and easy to mix up.

In the past, I've never been a huge fan of French toast. I'd guess this is because I've always had an aversion to eggs, even before I decided to go vegan. This "Fronch" toast was great. It is crunchy, chewy, toasty goodness. The difference between a baguette and regular bread for this for French toast his huge. Always use French bread!

Ok, I know I said I was going to put Dreena's cookbooks down, but I'd also read so many good things about the Coconut Raspberry bars from TEV. A few nights ago, I cooked these up. Unfortunately the only organic/unsweetened coconut I could find was extra fine, so I suspect the texture is a little different on the bars I made. I like them a lot, especially the ones that are crispy at the edge of the pan. A few bars, made the trip through the mail to a friend. She enjoyed them too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yam Fries, Pickles, and a New Cookbook!

Howdy! I haven't had much time to post. Sometimes work is very busy. Last week, I cooked up Spicy Yam (I learned something Catherine) Fries from TEV. I needed to use up some leftover yams from the portabellas. These were quick, easy, and very good. Tommy, tommy, the cranky parrot and her friendly cohort Nacho the conure gobbled up a few of the spicy fries.

Other than the yam fries, the weekend didn't involve much cooking. My fridge had plenty of leftovers to use up including a second batch of the white bean boursin.

At the moment, I have some refrigerator pickles marinating in the kitchen. I picked up some baby cukes at the market and needed to use those. The Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles recipe came from AllRecipes. I'll post a pic in a couple of days when they are done.

Today I received a new cookbook in the mail. It is called: The Healthiest Diet in the World. Originally I found it because Erin mentioned it on HIS blog. Since it is a diet book, I wasn't sure what to expect.

As I flipped through this book tonight I was incredibly surprised by the wealth of great recipes. The majority of the dishes are vegan and there are so many tofu, tempeh, and wonderful looking veg dishes. I've been married to Dreena's books for the past two weeks because they were my first new vegan books. I'll be putting them down for a bit and trying this one and VwaVout over the next few weeks.

Look forward to my posts about new recipes that I try!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

DaVegan Code

I first saw this posted on PiscesPlace and thought it was hilarious. I've got to share it again, just in case someone missed it.

Leonardo Da Vinci is said to be the inspiration of Da Vegan Code and the International Secret Society of Vegans. The Mona Lisa is held up as proof.

Dan Brown revealed that Mona Lisa was a play on words using the Greek gods of fertility Amon and Isis.

The Vegans claim that the real joke was rearranging the letters of Mona Lisa to make "No Salami".

Press Release and DaVeganCode website

Oven Fried Tofu & Little Lad's Bakery

Yesterday was a very long day, driving to Maine and back. Today, I took the day off of work because it is my birthday. My plan was to cook a couple of new recipes, but I ended up only cooking one. A package of tofu needed to be used up, so I made the recipe for oven fried tofu that Jess posted the other day.

For the herbs, I used some dried: oregano, basil, thyme, a shake of herbamare, and some ground pepper. This tofu was frozen previously when I was away at training for two weeks. I defrosted it yesterday. That made for a chewier texture when these were baked.

These were a tiny bit on the salty side for me, so I might use a little less tamari next time. Other than that they were crunchy, chewy goodness. Definitely something I would make again. Thanks Jess for sharing this recipe.

Yesterday, a friend and I went to lunch at Little Lad's Vegan Bakery on Congress St in Portland, Maine. Unfortunately, they don't have a website. They have a vegan buffet for $3.99 and then a number of vegan sandwiches. All of their bread is homemade. They also have cookies, tarts, trail mix, and various other handmade snacks.

Neither of us were wowed buy the buffet, so we opted for sandwiches. I had the chik'n salad. My favorite part of the sandwich was the multigrain bread. After lunch, we got a couple of vegan tarts and a pumpkin cookie to go. The pumpkin cookie was good and the tarts are spectacular. If you are ever there, I'd recommend peach or bumleberry(raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry). Though my friend would say cherry is the best!

I'm going to try and start linking everyone's blog over to mine now. I've noticed a couple of you have added me and I'd like to do the same.