Monday, January 21, 2013

What We Have Been Eating Lately.

Hi, this is Gina, reporting to the blogosphere from this much enjoyed day off brought to you by MLK Day and working for a financial institution.

We have recently been cooking a lot more as we made the decision to enter 2013 by finally 100% committing to a vegan diet. We have wanted to make this transition for awhile now and are happy to have finally done so. We had lunch with my grandfather today at Bob's Diner in Kennedy Twp and it was very obvious after our dining experience that eating out in Kennedy Twp is going to probably not occur very often, if at all. On the menu at Bob's it is noted that a veggie patty is available upon request. This turned out to be untrue. Our waitress also had a very hard time initially taking our order and grasping that I said "No cheese, no mayo, but yes to tomato, onion, and lettuce." It was a very awkward exchange back and forth as she could sincerely not understand that YES I did want the fixings of the burger but NO I did not want mayo or cheese. Only then to have her come back a couple minutes later and tell us that they did not have veggie pattys. So it was a side salad(which she of course put cheese on and we had to pick it off) and fries(which were offered with gravy or cheese sauce) for lunch. Great. We were not thrilled by anything about the visit or how she acted like we were insane people for making the requests. Which honestly were not really crazy requests because they had a veggie patty on the menu. Ok, I will move on now.

We have been making a lot of meals using the array of cookbooks we have by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the current fave being Appetite for Reduction.

This is the "Everyday Chickpea Quinoa Salad" which you can't tell from the picture but was packed with all kinds of good stuff like red onion, green peppers, romaine lettuce and the obvious chickpeas and quinoa. The quinoa gave the salad a really cool texture. The dressing you make with this dish is AMAZING. I am usually a oil and vinegar or Italian dressing sort of girl and Jason pretty much only uses Apple Cider Vinegar on his salads but we both deeply loved this dressing.  The recipe is as follows : 

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

1/4 cup raw cashews
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Place the cashews, shallot and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse to chop them. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend for at least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth. It's really important that you blend for the full time, otherwise your dressing may be grainy. Transfer the dressing to a container and chill until ready to serve.

We also made from Appetite for Reduction, Curried Chickpeas and Greens which was basically the Indian dish Saag. There was A LOT of kale involved. 2 pounds of that delicious green goodness. It really cooks down but we did have to transfer from a enormous heavy bottom pan to a pot. This was awesome and curbed our neverending want for Indian food that does not exist in Kennedy Twp. Next time we will attempt to tackle Naan along with this. 

By the way, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to place pictures the way I want on this blog, so I am sorry if they are spaced weird. 


Then from Vegan with a Vengeance I made chocolate chip cookies because for reals, who doesn't need some cookies in their lives? These were delicious and super easy to make since I now make everything possible with my Kitchenaid mixer while baking. I used Smart Balance Light which is vegan but FYI, regular Smart Balance is not. We prefer Earth Balance but the grocery stores near us don't always have it and in this recipe that was my only complaint. I don't like the taste of Smart Balance Light as much as Earth Balance so I thought at first I could taste too much of the Smart Balance. Next time I will make sure I have Earth Balance. 

Also from Vegan with a Vengeance we made Basil Tofu Ricotta and we had some amazing stuffed shells. We both agreed that you could hardly tell it was tofu inside the shells, it tasted so similar to ricotta. We did get kind of lazy and used store bought sauce which as Italians is a big no-no. The only improvement we would have made is to use homemade sauce. Hey, sometimes you just don't have enough time. Sorry Mom, Mom-In-Law and all grandmothers.

 Since the vegan transition happened I have been exploring the internet for awesome recipes as well. I found a website I really like called The "V" Word and after many hours spent staring at the amazing looking food and reading the recipes, I finally made something from it. Feast your eyes on Tofu Georgia . IT WAS SO GOOD. My first taste of it I said "This is the most unvegan tasting thing that is vegan!" What I meant is that it seriously tastes like meat and cheese. The tofu is coated in a mixture of flour and spices and pan fried and topped with mushrooms and cheese. The mushrooms create this amazing sauce at the bottom of the pan so when you pour it all over the tofu it just adds to the flavor. We used Daiya Mozzarella Shreds, we both agree that Daiya is the best vegan cheese we have had. It melts like regular cheese and it is not soy based. Behold the beauty.

As a quick meal last weekend I tried this vegan mac and cheese I had bought on Vegan Essentials. It was made by Leahey Foods and it was pretty decent. I used almond milk in the sauce mixture. I usually prefer almond milk to soy milk. Sometimes you just want something super easy and fast to make and this was all over those things and it was pretty good. 

So that is pretty much what has been happening in our food lives recently. We have been cooking so much and intend to continue doing so (basically because we have to) which means we will have a lot more to blog about! Hope everyone is staying warm as the cold moves back in! As always, here is a picture of one of our cats.


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