Three Thing Thursday: the tired edition

October 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Posted in Three Things Thursday | Leave a comment
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My sleepy kitty Maggie.

My sleepy kitty Maggie.

No. 1: I am sleepy. Often.

I really just need to take a day and take a break, but that is NOT going to happen for a while.

No. 2: I get some crazy ideas sometimes, and sometimes they follow through. This is why I am not sleeping.

No. 3: Jamieson got to showcase his work at The Parliament York! I am so very proud of him and happy he got the opportunity.

That is all.

Healthy, green bean casserole

September 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Previously posted on No Sweat, York

When living on a budget, splurging on ingredients for a one-time dish is a big no-no. The past few weeks I had large bags of green beans from my CSA but didn’t know what to do with them other than steaming and covering with Earth Balance.

For green bean casserole, a creamy base is needed, usually in the form of a cream of mushroom soup. This is a hard ingredient to find for a vegan and sometimes a calorie-filled substitute is needed, usually in the form of a mushroom roux using flour.

On Friday I experimented with what I had on hand — cauliflower and butternut squash. I steamed and pureed these ingredients in order to cover the green beans.

It wouldn’t be green bean casserole without the fried onions, which amazingly are already vegan. A healthy alternative can be caramelized onions, though that is more time consuming.

This green bean casserole might not taste exactly the same as a non-vegan version, but it is easy, healthy and chock-full of nutritious veggies.

Healthy, vegan green bean casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 cups frozen, cubed butternut squash
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (or more to taste)
  • 3 pounds fresh green beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fried onions

Recipe

  1. Add chopped cauliflower, cubed butternut squash and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Add a lid and lower to a simmer, steaming for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, wash and cut fresh green beans into small pieces, place in a pot with about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add a lid, lower the temperature to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes.
  3. Drain green beans when they are done and place back into the pot.
  4. Place butternut squash, cauliflower and water into a blender. Add garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to the blender and puree. If the mixture seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to make sure it completely blends. You might need to scrape down the sides and repeat the pureeing.
  5. Add a bit of the puree to the bottom of a 9×13 dish. Add green beans and then coat with mixture. Stir until all the beans are coated.
  6. Spread the fried onions over the top, and cover with foil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
  7. Take out of oven, let it cool for 5 minutes and then enjoy.

Purple potato and kale pierogies with caramelized onions

September 28, 2013 at 12:15 am | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

I usually embraces my Italian heritage, but this past week, I decided to embrace the Polish side. Sometimes I really miss the church bazaar food of my youth: haluski, potato pancakes and pierogies.

And yum, this was the best decision I made all week.

The set-up that I found most helpful included: a clean kitchen counter and doing the filling prep the day before. This made the rolling, cutting, scooping and pinching easy.

This time of year brings in potatoes, onions and kale. I combined these three elements for my filling, and then used vegan best-selling cookbook author Isa Moskowitz’s recipe for the dough.

On a cool, fall Sunday, spend some time with the kids in the kitchen and make these great dumplings that will last all week.

The recipe previously published on No Sweat, York

Purple potato and kale pierogies with caramelized onions

For onions:

  • 3 small onions
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

For filling:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup of shredded kale
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For dough:

  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Recipe:

The night before:

  1. Chop onions into half-moons, place in a medium pan with the oil, and heat until sizzling loud.
  2. Then lower the heat and cook for 30 to 40 minutes on low until the onions are a beautiful, caramel color.
  3. Place in a container in the fridge for the next day.
  4. Peel, cube and boil potatoes in a large pot of water.
  5. Meanwhile, shred the kale with your fingers, add to a small pan with the oil and saute for about 5 minutes.
  6. When potatoes are done, drain and place in a large bowl and add kale, milk, butter and spices. Whip with a hand mixer until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture seems stiff.
  7. Stir in a little bit of the caramelized onions to the mixture, but reserve the rest for topping the pierogies.
  8. Let it cool, and then place in the fridge until the next day (or move on and prepare the dough.)

For the dough:

The next day or immediately after preparing the filling, follow the directions for the pierogi dough from Isa’s Post Punk Kitchen blog. If you are making the dough right after the filling, make sure the filling is cooled completely before adding to the dough circles.

I did not boil these immediately but stored them in the fridge overnight. That was a mistake. Boil or saute in butter after all the pierogies are finished being assembled, and then cool and store, either in the fridge or freezer.

To reheat, I would recommend sauteing instead of reboiling. Heat the onions and top the pierogies with them.

What is your favorite dish that reminds you of childhood? Did you recreate it vegetarian or vegan?

Tahini meatball freezer casserole

September 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Previously published on No Sweat, York

If your life is like mine right now, you barely remember to eat dinner after getting home from work.

We go from unearthing fall and winter clothes during an Indian summer day to everything orange, yellow and red and Halloween costumes and decorations.

Then, in a blink of an eye, we are finagling road trips for Thanksgiving feasts and/or stocking the pantry for the big day.

Then, we will be bundling under large jackets, furiously shopping for holiday gifts, and grumbling about how cold it is and we can’t wait for summer.

Wait, what about dinner?

I’ve learned a new trick to help out my limited budget and schedule: freezer meals. I recently found two, new-to-me blogs: Budget Bytes and Vegan in the Freezer. These gave me a ton of inspiration for what I can do when I get a few hours, in order to free up the time between getting home and my head hitting the pillow. I can even get my significant other to cook it in the oven, so dinner is hot and ready as soon as I step in the door.

This recipe was actually inspired by a Food.com blogger Christine who make a creamy chickpea and tahini casserole. I substituted a few ingredients for what I had on hand: pasta, fresh tomatoes and Gardein meatballs (on sale at Target!), and eliminated a few spices I did not have.

This is such a versatile dish that you can create a variety of sauces and mix and match grains, protein and veggies. Let me know what inspiration you get from this recipe.
Tahini meatball freezer casserole
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 Gardein meatless meatballs
  • 1 box of trio noodles or other small noodles
  • 5 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Boil a large pot of water, and follow directions to cook pasta until al dente. Drain and cool.
  2. Heat up meatballs in a microwave-proof bowl until able to mush the balls. Break up until consistency of ground beef.
  3. Chop veggies.
  4. Mix tahini, water and spices until well mixed. Set aside.
  5. Spray 9×13 pan with olive oil.
  6. Dump all ingredients into pan, first placing some noodles in the pan, adding tomatoes and meatballs and then half of the tahini mixture. Add remaining noodles and sauce.
  7. Stir until all the noodles are coated.
  8. Let the pan completely cool, then place lid on and put it in the freezer.
  9. When ready to cook, place pan in the refrigerator for about 7 to 8 hours. An hour before cooking, take it out and place on the counter.
  10. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Take off lid and place foil over pan. Cook for about 45 to 50 minutes or until center is warm.

Throwback Thursday: Dorito popcorn

September 19, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in recipe, Throwback Thursday, VeganMoFo | 1 Comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

As a vegan, I sometimes can’t have some foods that bring nostalgia: patty melts, milk shakes, Cup of Noodles, porchetta, traditional haluski and pierogies. These are just a few, and whereas I CAN make a lot of them vegan, it sometimes isn’t the same.

Doritos can be included in these a bit, one of those foods that you rarely find vegan anywhere.

However, the brilliant writer at Whole New Mom created a Dorito substitute: Dorito flavored popcorn.

It wasn’t exactly the same but it was close, and that will do.

I am too afraid to pop popcorn on the stove, so instead I air-popped it in the microwave in a paper bag and then sprayed oil on it with my Pampered Chef oil mister. I misted then sprinkled a little then tossed, and repeat until it is all coated!

It was yummy and hit the spot.

Try it for Throwback Thursday!

Wordless Wednesday: Tahini meatball freezer casserole

September 18, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in VeganMoFo, Wordless Wednesday | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Vegan PB&J smoothies

September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

No wonder we are related: My cousin Shelby from Little Miss Type A made a healthy way to enjoy a PB&J — this time in smoothie form.

I actually hated peanut butter as a child and only discovered the joys of it within the past three years. Now, I can’t get enough of it and that can be a problem because of the high calories and fats, despite it being good fat.

I took Shelby’s recipe, subtracted the ground flax and used strawberries, PB2 powdered peanut butter, the banana and Silk Lite milk. For Jamieson’s, he added powdered unsweetened cocoa, but it really came out bitter. I would recommend a little bit of chocolate syrup, chocolate chips or cacao nips.

160x220_g3The next day I tried it with a bit of my homemade strawberry jam and that hit the spot, too.

According to its website, PB2 is “PB2 has the same consistency as full fat peanut butter with all of the natural roasted peanut flavor, but with nearly 85% less fat calories.” It is really awesome and tastes just the same, as far as in smoothies. I haven’t tried it elsewhere yet.

What is your favorite smoothie?

Munchie Monday: Microwave purple potato chips

September 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Munchie Monday, recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

I love potato chips, French fries, mashed potatoes … I have a potato addiction. I love eating them and can eat a ton before I realized that I made myself sick.

But I have been trying to be a good vegan and stick to a diet in order to lose weight. So no more chip bags, gone in a night.

This is why I LOVE Susan from Fat Free Vegan and her amazing microwave potato chip recipe.

I am not going to post the recipe here, since I really didn’t modify it, so go to her blog for the recipe.

The changes I made include using purple potatoes and I ran out of parchment paper, so I greased the glass dish with a little vegetable shortening. It worked out fine and only lost a few chips, mostly the very thin sliced ones. I tried the salt and vinegar variety, and whereas it didn’t have a strong taste, it was good.

If you have a craving for chips, this is a great recipe to try for a fraction of the fat calories.

Munch away!

Cauliflower alfredo sauce over fettuccine

September 14, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

Photo by Bethany Fehlinger

I have been dying for a “real” vegan alfredo sauce. It is hard to have that, though, because the level of creaminess, texture and flavor can be hard to mimic at times.

The Detoxinista had a clever idea: Use cauliflower as the base. This decreases the calories and gets in the veggies.

I followed her recipe, except I used garlic powder instead of garlic cloves. I kept the teaspoon of oil in there.

Now I realize why they add cauliflower to mashed potatoes to make that dish healthier.

It was still a bit grainy and not as smooth as real alfredo sauce. There also was a lack of flavor except for the garlic and the salt I added (I followed her advice and made sure to add extra salt if I was adding it to pasta.)

160x220_g3Batman, who hates cauliflower, enjoyed the dish. It isn’t really something I want to mimic again in order to get the perfect alfredo, but it is a great, quick recipe for a weeknight meal that is lower in calories.

Try the recipe yourself and let me know what you think!

Last summer hurrah strawberry tart

September 13, 2013 at 10:00 am | Posted in recipe, VeganMoFo | Leave a comment
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IMAG0700Originally posted on No Sweat, York

As an indicator of the changing seasons, this past week has been crazy hot and humid, as if summer is saying, “Don’t let me go!” Because of this, I really don’t like to cook.

See, I moved into my latest apartment last year this time, and while the temperatures were still warm then, it was nothing like it is now. This kitchen is far from my air conditioner, doesn’t have vents over the stove, and the windows are old and without screens unless I put one in myself each time I open them. There also is no storm door at the back, would have been lovely when a cool breeze happens to blow.

My kitchen is not ideal for ho- weather cooking.

When strawberries were at their peak, I love to use them before the season ends. This week, strawberries were on sale, and though that was weird because they are out of season in the Northeast, I gobbled them up before the transition to fall happens. Earlier in the summer, I found this tart recipe. However, I am not the queen of raw baking (when the food is not cooked hotter than 115-118 degrees F. In this case, it is the same as a no-bake dessert.) I like my recipes to be quick and easy, so I substituted the raw crust for a store-bought, graham-cracker crust.

160x220_g3This meant I didn’t need as many strawberries in the bottom of the crust. I made up for this with some extra chocolate, which is a favorite addition for my fiance.

If you like to bake raw desserts, let me know how it turned out! Whether raw or not-so-raw, this tart will fill you with that summer feeling.

Not-so-raw strawberry tart
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

  • Store-bought, graham-cracker crust
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 5 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • 1 cup whole strawberries, tops removed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chocolate chips (dairy-free if vegan)

Recipe:

  1.  Place pitted dates in a bowl; cover with warm water.
  2. While waiting for the dates, remove tops and slice two cups of strawberries.
  3. Place strawberries in a single layer on the bottom of the graham-cracker-crust pan.
  4. When 10 minutes are up, place drained dates, a cup of whole strawberries with tops removed and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. Pour the strawberry mixture on top of the strawberries and graham-cracker crust in a single layer.
  6. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. You also can add more sliced strawberries in a design, if you desire.
  7. Let set in the fridge for one hour before serving.
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