Thursday, February 25, 2010

Black Bean Loaf with Quick Chipotle Red Pepper "Gravy"

Hubster: So what's for dinner?


Hubster:That bad eh?

Me: Well I don't know that's a bean loaf (see how that "loaf" word sounds so horrible in a recipe title).

Hubster: /groan

We are still running on pantry meals...can you tell?? And despite my husbands not so subtle objections, he had seconds, and DS had thirds. I thought it was quite good myself, perfect for a chilly day like today. It didn't hold together as well as some of the other loafs I make, probably could have used an egg in it....perhaps next time. It would probably hold together better with oats, instead of rice too.

Black Bean Loaf

1 block cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup salsa
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
Tabasco to taste
3 cups black beans
1 cup rice
1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozzerella, cheddar, pepper jack, whatever you have handy)

Stir together the first 5 ingredients until smooth, add in beans, rice, and cheese until evenly mixed. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for....a while...dang I really wasn't paying attention...I want to say like a half hour to forty five why am I doing this blog thing again.

chipotle Red Pepper "Gravy"*

3tbs unsalted butter
3tbs flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo chopped
1 cup Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the chipotle, flour, and salt. Continue to stir for about a minute to two minutes to get that floury taste out (we're making a roux here). Lower the heat to medium low and pour in the heavy whipping cream, and soup. Keep stirring intermittently, this should get thick and and ever so slightly bubbly....but never boiling. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Vegan Version:
For the loaf, replace the cream cheese with a box of silken tofu. Puree the tofu, garlic, Tabasco and spices, and add an extra 1/8 tsp salt. Continue with above directions (omitting the shredded cheese of course).
For the sauce, simply replace the butter with vegan butter or olive oil, and replace the cream with coconut cream.

* I don't know exactly what qualifies as a gravy, nor if this fits the criteria...however I feel that the quotation marks make that......
A.) clear
B.) ok

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vegan Black Bean Cornbread, a Lesson in Perseverance, and Not So Vegan Butter

I can't remember where I got the idea for this from, I've googled away most of nap time to no avail....sigh. I can tell you that this is a great recipe for the kiddos, because it is basically measuring pouring and stirring. I love baking vegan goods with my three year old, because she gets the satisfaction of licking the spoon, and I don't have to worry about food poisoning. Also it works with most cornbread mixes and recipes that I have tried, so feel free to use your own favorite mix. I was just tired and reached for the nearest box.

The dry stuff:
1 box, bag, recipe, cornbread mix....except I think that Jiffy uses probably not them
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Chili powder
1/4 tsp creole seasoning
Dash o' cayenne

The "secret" ingredient:
1 can of Amy's black bean soup

Mix together all of the dry ingredients, and stir in the soup. At this point you can actually taste the batter, and adjust the seasonings to your taste. I would have used more cayenne, if not for my kids. Pour into a greased muffin pan and bake @ 375...mine took about 25 minutes, however my oven is 20 years old. I am guessing it might take 15-20 minutes in a newer oven.

Learning with butter....because everything is better with butter

What you'll need
1 somewhat attentive three year old
heavy whipping cream
1 small Tupperware or other food container with a tight fitting lid

First we practiced saying perseverance. Next I explained that perseverance is when you keep on doing something, even when it gets tough, or takes longer than you thought it would. Then I explained how we were going to make butter out of heavy cream. We filled our Tupperware 2/3 of the way with cream, and she shook it until the slosh sloshing of cream turned into the thud thud splashing of butter in buttermilk. It all took about ten minutes, the cream will get thicker and thicker, until the solids separate from the liquid and you will have some buttery stuff surrounded by a watery mess.
She persevered, and was rewarded with muffins and butter that she had made (almost) all by herself. I wish you could have seen the sparkle in her eyes when she presented her dish to the hubster, priceless. Alternatively this lesson can be adapted for a group of children by letting them each take a turn shaking, and explaining the benefits of team work and taking turns.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Celebratory Pantry Meal

We got our tax rebate today, and despite the fact that about 80% of our money is going to road trip 2010, I felt it was important to celebrate. If nothing else to be thankful that we have the money to drive 60 hours across the country stopping only to rest for a few hours in budget hotels, all so we can spend a few days in various places around the west coast.....wait....why are we doing this again?...I must really love my friends and family*. I however didn't feel like spending any of the money not already allocated to the trip on groceries, so I whipped up an Indian spiced dish that is one of the hubsters favorites and only requires things we normally have on hand.
As far as the picture goes....well...whenever I try to photograph Indian food it always comes out looking like dog food...sigh. So even though this isn't the prettiest of dishes, I used all of my limited photographic skillz** to make it look food.

Indian Spiced Black Beans in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

What you will need

Olive oil to coat the pan
6 cloves of minced garlic
1tbs minced ginger
3tsp garam masala
3tsp ground cumin
1tsp chili powder
1 or 2 dashes of cayenne
1/4 tsp salt (more to taste)
3 cups black beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (omit for vegan option)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the ginger and garlic. Stir and heat for one minute. Add the spices and heat for one more minute or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add the black beans and stir to coat with spices. Add the tomato sauce and heat thoroughly. Take off of heat and add the heavy whipping cream and the cilantro. Serve over brown rice.

*I really really do love my friends and family, I hope you know that. I also love sourdough....which may have had some impact on my decision.

** I made it small and used an odd angle to distract you from how bad the food looks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sweet Chili and Garlic Un-Meatballs

It's always difficult to come up with a name for vegetarian loaf recipes, and of course just as difficult to come up with a name for their small round cousin the vegetarian meatball. You want a name that says what it is, but who wants a second helping of bean loaf or veggie balls??? I think that this recipe was a success in taste and name*, the fam agreed.

3oz cream cheese (this is the binder, you could sub egg or a vegan preference)
1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
4 cloves of garlic sliced
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 cans of chickpeas
1/3 cup COOKED brown rice
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil if pan frying

Stir together the first five ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mash in the chickpeas (this took quite a bit of work. I think next time I will run them through the food processor before adding them). Stir in the brown rice and add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate this mixture for about an hour, this will make it easier to shape. Once done chilling, shape the mixture into balls and bake at 350 for ten minutes. After baking, I pan fried some of mine in a little olive oil for added fat and calories. The fried ones went to the kiddos. The hubster and I ate ours with a sauce of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and green onion that was reduced over medium low heat for about ten minutes.

*If I just put "un" and a hyphen in front of a word, that makes it a word....right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I heart my rice cooker

I made Spanish rice today...with brown my rice cooker....don't tell Grandma.
My rice cooker cost about seven dollars, and it has never done me wrong. I won't say that this recipe will work in just any old rice cooker, but it came out perfect in mine. If it doesn't work for you, you are welcome to come on over and use mine....but bring tortilla chips...and avocado...mmmmm avocado.

2 1/2 rice cooker cups of rice
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 onion chopped
1tbs butter
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
dash o' cayenne
1 can of tomato sauce

I mixed the first eight ingredients in my rice cooker (the butter can be omitted or replaced with a vegan substitution for a vegan version of this dish) then I added water up to the top line. We ate this with beans and potatoes fried up with bell pepper and onion, simple, cheap, delicious.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New and Improved

Two things real quick....

1.) I've doubled my if you are out there reading this feel free to (and by that I mean the force compels you to) click on the follow button over here somewhere----->

2.) I've added a little deely bob at the bottom of my blog that will enable you to tell me your thoughts on my blog with a single click of the mouse. I have chosen three words that most likely fit your reaction to my blog, and all you have to do is choose which box is an eerie resemblance to your exact try it out...or not.....don't worry, it's just how I gauge my self worth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pantry cooking....really mostly lentils

The dishwasher, and bathtub we didn't go grocery shopping this week. I love that I live in a place and time where even when we "don't have anything to eat", we still have food. And I feel incredibly blessed to have a dishwasher in the first place so I am not going to complain if it doesn't work for a week or so.
I love a challenge, if they cooked with lentils, and artichokes on Chopped, instead of eel and scallops I would totally go on that show. I may bomb, but I think I would have fun. Now I don't have measurements, because I wasn't paying attention, because I was really absorbed in the fact that I felt like poo....but if I make these again (which I totally will because they were the bomb diggity) I will come back and amend this blog.
The first dish, I have decided to call "citrusy lentils and Thai lime pilaf salad". I sauteed some garlic, ginger, and a healthy dose of cayenne in olive oil and soy sauce. Then I added about a cup of lentils (rinsed...always rinsed) and enough water to cover, a bay leaf, and about 1/4 cup of orange juice. I simmered it until the lentils were done, adding more water and O.J. as needed. Then I tossed this mixture (minus bay leaf) with some Thai style lime pilaf from T.J' was fantastic, I could totally see myself serving this in lettuce cups on a hot day. DH loved it.

The second dish is a lentil curry I make quite frequently in my rice cooker, it's just two parts lentils, one part rice, an onion, crushed garlic, cayenne, curry powder, turmeric, salt, and a couple handfuls of raisins, it comes out delish, and DD loves it!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Post Super Bowl Food Hangover + Q&A

I ate too much on Sunday, and I felt like crap all Monday long. I really do feel better when I stay away from junk why do I eat it...even once a year, I'm compulsive.

Note to self: Next year, don't sit next to chips and dip.

I did make some vegetarian fare to bring to the event, a pesto and roma tomato pizza, and some stuffed mushrooms, but I sat next to the french onion dip, and that's my own dang fault. I did however have a revelation of sorts halfway into cutting my tomatoes. I realized my kids are going to be socially awkward.....perhaps cripplingly so if we don't get out of the deep south. Not just because my DD (at three) begs to watch Star Trek, or because we have a large number of aspies in the family, but also because she will be the kid who's mom brings a vegan option to the Super Bowl, and always smells like garlic.......sigh. It probably won't help either that I continue to use slang from the early nineties....yo.

So for next year more BBQ sauce, less flax seed. Still healthy, but perhaps more deceptively so. As I'm sure every mother of children with allergies feels, I just want them to not feel left out.

On to the Q&A portion of the blog:

Is your sugar fast over?
Yes, it ended here.

Did you cheat?
I may have popped a few of DS's Cheerios in my mouth, before I realized they had sugar in them...but no chocolate, no desserts, even when the Fam decided to eat ice cream I held firm.

Did you lose weight? week without sugar, exercising every day, I lost a whopping 1.2lbs....woo....hoo...

Any other side effects?
My headaches went away, and I lost that afternoon slump feeling. Both were unexpected, but welcome changes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pumpkin Toaster Pastries

I bought a jar of pumpkin butter a while back, because I love all things pumpkin, weather it be flavored or shaped. The problem is I had no idea what to do with it. I didn't want to waste it all on toast and sandwiches, so I figured when the right thing came around I would know. Well when I saw this recipe for toaster pastries it hit me, WHY has nobody come out with a pumpkin flavored toaster pastry??? So I whipped* up a batch of the crust, which is basically a pie crust recipe, and filled it with a mixture of pumpkin butter, cinnamon, and a wee bit o' brown sugar thickened with corn starch. The only changes I made to the crust were replacing half of the flour with whole wheat flour, and halving the size of the pastries. Also by the time I had finished measuring, mixing, rolling, and cutting, I was so ready to be done baking (I really hate baking), that I didn't take the thirty seconds to make them pretty around the edges with my fork....
it didn't really matter that they came out ugly as a monkey's backside, these things were good. They made the house smell fantastic, and the crust was so tender and flaky oozing with pumpkin and cinnamon goodness. I ate a half of one straight out of the oven**. You are still stuck on that reference about a monkey's backside aren't you?? Well nobody ever said selling things was my strong suit. In short, these are good. If you have the time you should try them. If you don't have the time, but can find a good organic pre-made pie crust you could use that for a quicker option.

*And by "whipped" of course I mean spent a good hour of measuring, cutting in butter, rolling, and asking the hubster to roll, in between feeding, changing, and otherwise distracting the kiddos.

** Whatever you do, RESIST the urge to eat these straight out of the oven. Because, by the time you get to the third or fourth bite, you will really be kicking yourself....delicious lava.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread Strata

Say hello to my little friend.....

Stratas are a fantastic way to use up left over bread or veggies that are about to go bad. For this one I used jalapeno cheese bread, caramelized onions, baby spinach, and feta cheese. In the summer I make one with pesto and roma tomatoes that is also quite delicious. So never throw away that old bread*, it is just a strata in the making!

*unless it is moldy, then for goodness sakes throw it out!!! Bleck!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Very Vegan Pizza

This was so very very good. The cooking time, and temp will vary depending on the crust you use, so I have only included the instructions for the topping. This could easily be made whole wheat, or with a cornmeal type crust. If you are going for GF, I suggest Pamela's baking mix, as it is fantastic.

One more thing before we get into the recipe.....You know that song "Ladies Night", or whatever it's called? Sure you do, that one dude sings it in "Wedding Singer"....Oh this is Ladies night, oh what a night. Now sing it but replace "Ladies" with "Pizza"...are you doing it??...

Good, now that's stuck in both of our heads.

You will need
One pizza crust
3 potatoes sliced thinly
One onion sliced thinly
1/4 cup, plus two tbs olive oil divided (I said vegan, not low cal)
3 cloves of garlic put through a press
Salt and pepper

Pour two tbs olive oil into a pan and place over medium heat. Fry up them there potatoes until they are golden brown, and adding salt to taste. Once the are golden brown and cooked through place on your (pre-baked??) crust in a single layer. In the same pan add the rest of the oil, the onions, and salt. Now caramelize those babies, and when they are done take them off the heat. Stir in the garlic and let that mixture set for a minute before spooning it over the potatoes. I meant to sprinkle this with rosemary...but I forgot...and I would have loved to drizzle this with truffle oil before serving...but I didn't have any. If you try out the rosemary and you like it, let me know. If you have truffle oil and try it, invite me over. Bake this according to your crust instructions...oh and if your crust recipe isn't vegan, then your pizza won't be either...but I hope you already knew that.

about to go in the oven!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Is a casserole a one pot meal??? Kind of....right? Except that instead of a pot it cooks in an oven safe dish...I guess since it's my blog, and I'm the one making the rules I can call it whatever I want. I will probably cook it in an oven safe pot next time to ease my conscience.

Rice and Bean Casserole

2 cups black beans
2 cups rice
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup cheddar cheese
2 cups mixture of yogurt and sour cream (whatever ratio tastes right to you, you can also use all yogurt)
1 can diced green chilis
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
dash or two cayenne

Mix together the yogurt, sour cream, chilis, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir in the beans, rice, and corn and dump the whole mixture into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake at 350 until the cheese is golden and bubbly. I topped mine with salsa, and served it with salad. DS ate three servings plain, and DD ate hers with tortilla chips.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Those are Nacho Beans Fool

get it???.....
not your beans...nacho beans

You have no idea how hard I laughed when I thought of this title, and to think it was just one of many equally hilarious puns I thought of while making this dish. If there is anything I love though, it's a good pun. I dare say, one of the best things about owning a home was buying a hoe for the backyard. That hoe provided hours of entertainment for the hubster and I...
"where's the hoe?"
"Hey how much did you pay for that hoe?"
etc etc...until the day my husband broke the hoe...he can be a little rough (Hi Grandma).
So before things get any more awkward, this (with a few minor adjustments of course) is the recipe I use for black beans. I don't use the vinegar or sugar, and I double the spices. To make refried beans I just send it for a spin in my food processor. Tonight we used these beans for nachos, or rather the kids and hubster ate nachos with salsa, sour cream, avocado, cheese, onion, and bell pepper. I ate pretty much the same thing, but I replaced the chips with brown rice, since I can get 3/4 of a cup of brown rice for 150 calories, but only about 14 tortilla chips.
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