Tag Archives: vegan

Oops, I did it again (and stuffed acorn squash)

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Oh.  Oops.  I said that thing about the writing… you know, that I was going to do it and keep it up and not let so much time go by between postings.

Sigh.  I guess I lied a little bit.

So.  What’s new?  Well, Brian is running and talking (and talking back).  Eighteen months flew by.  Strange, how the middle of the night marathon rocking sessions make it seem like time is going by so slowly, then BAM.  He’s -doing that think that parents don’t mention because they are afraid they will jinx it and make them stop doing that thing.  You know, the quiet, all night thing in their crib…  that thing!  But, anyway.  Moving on.

It’s fall.  Crunchy leaves, chilly nights, unexpectedly warm(ish) afternoons.  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.  Oh, pumpkin.

Pumpkin and I have a long-standing love-affair.  But, that’s a story for another day.

Today, my story is about a dish that smells supremely fall, looks absolutely fantastic, and tastes delicious.

Eric wanted stuffed peppers for dinner, and I’m not really into the slimy green pepper with meat inside.  Gimme my veggies, please.  I had an acorn squash so I improvised.  So, to end my (latest) blogging hiatus, I present to you:

Apple and Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Serves 2 as a side, 1 as a meal)

Ingredients
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 small mcintosh apple, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, diced
A combination of spices, you choose! (I used ginger, marjoram, garlic, and basil)
Leftover barley (or prepare fresh 1/4 cup barley and 3/4 cup water, simmered 20 minutes and drained)
Olive oil
Protein of choice for a meal- chick peas, gardein chicken strips, tofu

Preheat oven to 350*

1. Rub the inside of the squash with a little olive oil and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, apple, and your choice of spices.
3. Mix the apple mixture with the barley, then spoon it into the squash.
4. Bake squash, covered, for about an hour.  Uncover.
5. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired, and bake another 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve with your protein choice if it’s the main dish.

Brian kept asking for more!

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

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My kid’s got an adult-sized appetite.  He’s also not into that “baby food”, thank-you-very-much.  Since we followed the baby-led weaning method of introducing foods to him, he has been pretty happy eating whatever I am eating.  In fact, he prefers to nibble off of my plate most of the time.

I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here.  Sweet potatoes.  I use them.  Always.  They are delicious, and so full of good-for-you stuff.  They are also a pretty bright orange color, and nothing makes me happier than pretty colored food.

We needed a quick and easy meal the other night, it was just the two of us and I wasn’t in the mood to spend forever cooking just to have to clean up a kitchen full of dishes.  It was the end of the week, and I didn’t have much left in the fridge.  The day before grocery day is one tough customer!

I hopped around the internet for a while and came across a recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties.  We love sweet potatoes!  We love quinoa!  We love vegetarian patties!  Score.

I was thrilled with how they came out, they were so tasty, and oh-so-easy.

No photos because, well… you try taking photos of your food before a hungry one-year-old digs in.  Next time.  Maybe.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties
Adapted from A House in the Hills

1 large sweet potato, baked or microwaved and skins removed
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetable broth or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Herbs, spices, flavoring of choice
Salt, pepper
Panko or bread crumbs
Oil or butter for cooking, I used olive oil

1) Prepare quinoa according to package instructions, or use left overs.  I used 1/2 cup dry quinoa and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
2) In a saute pan, cook onions and parsnip in olive oil over medium heat until the onions become slightly translucent.  Add garlic and herbs of choice, I used dried sage and parsley.  Add salt if desired.  I didn’t because I was cooking for Brian.  Stir a minute more.
3) Mash cooked sweet potato in a bowl.
4) Add onions, quinoa, salt, and pepper to the mashed sweet potato.  Stir until well combined.
5) Form the mixture into patties, coat with panko.
6) Cook them in oil or butter, a few minutes per side, until they are crispy and browned.  Serve hot.  I served them over a spinach salad and topped each with a few slices of avocado.

Makes about 6 patties

Rustic Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart

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Mmm, pie crust.  Tasty, tasty pie crust.  I loves me some pie crust!  I’ll eat that stuff raw, right off of the counter after I’ve rolled it out.  I’ve been known to snag the extra bits of crust that people usually throw away just to eat them raw.  There’s something awesome about the cold water/flour/butter mixture.  And don’t even get me started on when you get a little grain of salt that tingles on your tongue before you crunch it away.

Okay, I’m weird.  But honestly, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long without a buttery, flaky pie crust.  Especially now that fall has started to show its glorious face.  Sure, I could make a pie crust with vegan butter.  It’s just not really the same.

I decided I had had enough of the “no pie crust” thing and I decided I was going to make one.  The problem was that I didn’t actually have any vegan butter left.  Instead of letting the sadness get me down, I improvised.

Oil, while an acceptable substitute for a pie crust, didn’t really give the same consistency I usually use for my pies.  I’m sure it would have been fine, but I’m picky.  So, I decided to use my experimental crust for my dinner instead.

This tart could be a main meal, it is hearty and protein packed.  It could also be turned into an appetizer by pressing the crust into a muffin tin and making mini pies for people to snag and eat.  Really, it’s one of those recipes that you can do anything with.  And you should.  Go wild.  I did, and see how it worked for me?

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And because I was so excited about the glorious smell of the crust, I forgot to take a picture.  Enjoy one of Brian instead!

Herbed Oil Tart Crust
Makes one crust.  Double recipe if you would like a top crust.

Preheat oven to 375*.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Herbs- I used Rosemary, Marjoram, and Basil because it’s what I grabbed.  Use what you like!
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Cold Water

Combine the flour, salt and herbs in a bowl.  Add the oil and about 4 Tablespoons of water.  Stir it together with a fork, it will be crumbly.  Incorporate all of the liquid, adding a little more water if needed.  You want it to be moist, if it is too dry it crumbles when you try to work with it.

Once the dough is fairly mixed, feel free to mush it around with your hands!  It’s fun to get messy.  Press the dough flat, by hand if you like. I used a rolling pin to roll it just less than 1/4 inch thick.  Place your filling in the center and fold the edges part way over the filling, leaving the top open.  It’s rustic!

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and cut into quarters.  Dig in.

 

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Filling

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • Herbs- I used Marjoram, Parsley, Cumin, and whatever else I had in my cabinet that smelled good
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil

Cut the eggplant into rounds, then quarters.  Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice them into wedges.

Heat the oil, garlic, and spices on medium and add the eggplant and onion.  Let that cook for a while, stirring occasionally.  Be careful with your gorgeous eggplant, don’t mush it.  Once the eggplant is mostly cooked through, add the tomatoes and chickpeas.  Continue cooking until it is just warmed through.

At this point you can do any number of things.  Bake it as a tart using the recipe listed above*, turn it into a soup by adding vegetable broth and simmering, stuff a pita or eat it as it is.  Mmmm.

 

Vegetable Gravy*

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Better than Bouillon (I used vegetable, but you can use the vegetarian chicken or beef one if you’d prefer)
  • Pepper

Make a roux by melting the butter substitute over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir for about a minute making sure the butter and flour combine and you do not burn the flour.

Add the hot water and bouillon and stir or whisk.  Once it thickens to the consistency you like, remove from heat.  Crack some fresh pepper over the top and serve over the Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart.

*If you’d prefer your tart without gravy, you may want to add some moisture to the eggplant and tomatoes while you are cooking them.  I’d suggest adding about 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and letting that cook down a bit before adding to your tart crust.  It’s a little dry without the gravy.

Oops! (And Vegan Shortcake.)

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Wow, holy blogging hiatus, Batman!  You know what I’ve learned in the last 4 1/2 months?  Babies. Babies are hardJust when I think I’ve got him figured out, BAM!!  Napping boycott, purple crying, 4 month wakeful period, wonder weeks.

Why didn’t people tell me about these things before I had a baby?  Before I had a baby it was all “Oh, you should have a baby.  They are such blessings.  Babies change your life.  Things will never be the same after you have a baby!”

If by “never be the same” they meant “you’ll never sleep again.” then they were right!

Brian teased me.  He slept like a trooper for a month and a half just after his 10 week mark.  Then BAM, 4 month wakeful period.  Everything was more interesting than sleeping, which led to an overtired baby, which caused some serious screaming matches. (Vicious cycle.)

My dreams of sewing clothes, baking magnificent pies, and keeping my house pristine while he napped away like a little angel quickly faded.  Actually, they didn’t so much fade as they exploded in my face.  Large, loud, depressing fireworks of realization, exactly where my quaint dreams had once rested.

Now that I’ve got a handle on all of that madness, I’ve been a busy little mommy-bee.  I’ve figured out how to get Brian to nap, even if he’s screaming at me so loud that I think my eardrums may burst.  White noise is my friend.  Very loud, very annoying white noise.  I bought The First Years Sounds of Silence White Noise Machine thinking “Eh, it will be good to have.  If nothing else, it has a built in night light and I can hook my iPod up to it.”  Oh my.  Life.Saver.  You have no idea.  I turn it on and stick it next to his head and he stops crying.  Then he stares at the blinking power light and his eyelids slowly. drift. shut.  Then, he lets out a huge sigh, throwing his head to the side.  I think “Oh, nonono.  Don’t wake up.  Take a nap.  Pleeease, take a nap.”

But it is just a final release of the tension he had been holding inside his little body.  Just one final, relaxing reflex before he snoozes.

Nap times are still a crapshoot.  Sometimes I get 20 minutes out of him.  Sometimes 45.  Then there are the glorious (but far too uncommon) hour and a half naps that appear just as I think I’m about to crash for good.  Those naps.  Yes.  Those glorious naps.  Those are the naps that allow me to take out my measuring cups and hope for the best as I try to figure out just how on Earth I can invent a delicious, vegan shortcake.

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Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 6 shortcakes

Preheat the oven to 375*
Grease a baking sheet

1 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 Cup Butter Substitute (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed + 1 1/2 Tablespoon Water
1/3 Cup Dairy Substitute (I used Soymilk)

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Using a pasty cutter, cut the butter substitute into the dry ingredients until it is the size of little peas.

Add the soymilk and flax mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  The dough should be lumpy.

Plop the dough onto your prepared baking sheet.  They look rustic and wonderful.  Don’t worry about shaping them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they just begin to turn a golden brown on top.

Top with a mixture of berries, any kind you like!  I like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar over my berries and let them sit in the fridge to get nice and juicy.

To make it really fancy, throw some Coconut Whipped Cream on top!  One of my baking idols, Pastry Affair, has a great recipe here.

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

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I’ve decided I should stop buying bananas. No, really. Hear me out.

Oh, Vermont. The land of the crazy weather. A week ago we had 2 inches of snow across our yard. No joke, May 26th we woke up to snow blanketing the lawn and weighing the freshly-popped leaves down. The green was having a serious “WTF, Mother Nature?!” moment.

Fast forward to this past weekend. June 2nd. It was a sunny, but far too hot day. As the husband and I toted the kid to the grocery store we were complaining about the 90* weather.

I’m getting to the banana part, really. Just hold on.

As the husband and I hauled the kid and our cart full of groceries from the store- sudden downpour. And by downpour, I mean the sky suddenly opened up and let an entire lake fall onto us. A severe storm ripped through and the 60 MPH straight line winds tore our part of Vermont to pieces. Trees and power lines down everywhere. Our middle-of-nowhere back road was blocked from both directions by massive, old maple trees and downed wires. We ended up having to stay with the in-laws for two days.

I’m finally home! Don’t get me wrong, I love my in-laws. I just love to be home. Brian does not like to be away from home either, so we had a seriously fussy boy on our hands for a few days. The grins I got when we got home!! He knew he was back to his place.

Now, to the part about the bananas. Last week I bought some bananas when I was shopping. I think we ate one of them before we forgot they existed. This happens regularly. We love bananas. They just always go from too-green to too-mushy too-fast.

We dragged ourselves into the house today to find a few too-mushy bananas sitting on the counter. Lucky for the husband, I know what to do with too-mushy bananas.

Banana Bread Muffins.

Or, because I want to eat it too, Vegan Banana Bread Muffins.

Brian began a nap in his swing shortly after getting home. I ran around and did some clean-up and laundry, then let myself get lost in the kitchen for a while. This vegan yumminess was invented during his dozy, constantly making me think he’s waking up nap. Can I get a boo-yah?

 

“I Ain’t Got No Time to Waste” Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins or 12 smaller muffins and one mini loaf

Preheat the oven to 400*muffin

2 Cups flour
½ Cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Bananas, mashed+ 1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce+ ¼ cup water or fruit juice

Grease your muffin cups and loaf pan.
Combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine your wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Don’t over mix!

Channeling Bob Ross, now it’s time to make some big decisions. You can get fancy here and add some diced apples, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips- whatever you like! This is your masterpiece.

Once you’ve made your bread your own, fill your muffin cups 2/3 of the way.  If you’ve got the extra, fill your mini loaf pan.

Pop into your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let it cool a bit before taking it out of the pan. You can serve it warm (my favorite!), or let it cool. Top it with some vegan butter substitute, or eat it plain. Or do whatever the heck you want with it. It’s tasty no matter how you shake it.

The muffins will keep for a few days, but I doubt it will last that long.

Happy Eating.