Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sweet Bakery in Cambridge, MA

A few weeks ago we went to the Sweet Bakery in Cambridge, MA and I got this yummy vegan chocolate cupcake. 

They aren’t just a vegan bakery but it’s nice to know they have a few vegan options.

So, I’ve been thinking I need to start finding some vegan cupcake recipes and try them out.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No Knead Bread Take 2

So, that first No Knead Loaf of Bread didn’t last long at all.  So, I doubled the recipe and this is what I got.

It’s better but still not a true loaf of bread.  I guess I’ll have to have No Knead Bread Take 3 soon! 

It is a very tasty bread.  I would make the first smaller loaf as a sandwich roll though. 

No Knead Bread Take 2
2 cups of flour
1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
¼  tsp salt
¼  tsp sugar

Put the flour into a mixing bowl.  Measure out the 1 cup of warm water and stir in the yeast, salt and sugar.  Pour the water mixture into flour and mix with a fork until the dough is formed. 

Cover with dish towel and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.

Put the dough still covered in the refrigerator overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan.  Sprinkle dough with a little flour and slowly remove dough from bowl.  Form into a loaf.  Place formed loaf in the prepared loaf pan.  Allow to rest 45 minutes. 

Sprinkle loaf with a tiny bit of water.  Bake 25-30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. 

Remove from oven and allow bread to cool


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

Again I went to the fridge to find inspiration of what to make and post on my blog.  I saw this big container of mushrooms just asking to be used. 

So I thought “How about stuffed mushrooms?”  I love mushroom and I really like stuffed mushrooms.  These mushrooms are very simple but so delicious!

Stuffed Mushrooms
½ medium onion, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
8-10 mushrooms
1-2 slices of bread (or ¼ cup of bread crumbs)

Sauté the onions and celery in a skillet with the Earth Balance.  Trim and take the stems out of the mushrooms and chop fine.  Put these pieces of the mushroom stems in with the onion and celery mixture.  Cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stir often.

Sprinkle a few shakes of salt, pepper and ground thyme into vegetable mixture.  Add about ¼ of water or less.  Finely break up the bread into tiny pieces and add to the vegetable mixture.  Stir to combine.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Fill each mushroom cap with about a teaspoon of the vegetable mixture.  Place in a greased baking dish.  Bake covered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; take off cover and continue to cook 5 minutes.

Note: You could also add a few shakes of nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavor to these yummy delights.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pick Up Stix

One of my favorite fast food chains in California is Pick Up Stix.  It’s easy for me to eat plant based from there.  My nephews and my sister-in-law introduced me to these awesome options.  

The other day I got fried rice without egg and their vegetable chow mein for me and my mom for lunch.  FYI – Their chow mein is really like lo mein back East.   

Here’s my plate! The vegetables in the chow mein were so fresh and cooked perfectly!  It was absolutely delicious!  And we even had plenty of leftovers!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

No Knead Loaf of Bread

I went out for my run/walk yesterday morning and came back to the house and went out to get a fresh loaf of bread from the Dutch Bakery.  I get all the way there and there’s a note on the door which says “Closed from October 1st – 31st due to personal reasons.”  I was kind of bummed but I understand “things” happen in all our lives.  So, I came home and made a batch of the hash browns with zucchini for me and my mom.  She was thrilled because she likes them so much! 

I still wanted some homemade bread so I figured I’d just make my own.  Yup, I figured out how to make a small single loaf that my mom and I can eat the next couple days.

This makes a really small loaf of bread but it is enough for me and mom.  It seems more like ciabatta bread but still delicious.  The flavor of this bread is amazing!  

I may try to double the ingredients next time for a full loaf of bread.   But this loaf could be sliced in half lengthwise and make an amazing sandwich.  I don't think this one will make it that long though!  

No Knead Loaf of Bread
1 cup of flour
½ cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

Put the flour into a mixing bowl.  Measure out the ½ cup of warm water and stir in the yeast, salt and sugar.  Pour the water mixture into flour and mix with a fork until the dough is formed. 

Cover with dish towel and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours.

Put the dough still covered in the refrigerator overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan.  Sprinkle dough with a little flour and slowly remove dough from bowl.  Form into a loaf.  Place formed loaf in the prepared loaf pan.  Allow to rest 45 minutes. 

Sprinkle loaf with a tiny bit of water.  Bake 25 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. 

Remove from oven and allow bread to cool


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Baby Squash Casserole

I realized we still have a bunch of these baby squashes in the fridge so I decided to make another squash casserole.  I also found the leftover polenta still in the fridge so I grabbed that too. 

Baby Squash Casserole
Mixture of baby squashes (about 2 cups sliced)
½ recipe of polenta (leftover), cubed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground thyme
¼ tsp sage
1 teaspoon dried minced onion flakes
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes to taste (I used 1 tsp)
Reserved water from cooking the squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pot put the sliced squash and ½ tsp of salt and cover with water.  Cook until the squash is tender.  Drain but keep at least 1 cup of the squash cooking water. 

In a casserole dish put the cubed polenta at the bottom.   Sprinkle few shakes of  pepper and add a little bit of sage and thyme (like ¼ teaspoon each) or to taste.  Sprinkle the 1 tsp each of dried onions and nutritional yeast over top.  

Add the drained squash to the polenta, onion and spices mixture.  

Stir to combine.  Add about ½ cup of the reserved squash cooking water; stir to combine.  Add the remaining ½ cup of water so it’s not too dry.

Cover and bake in the 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Friday, October 3, 2014

100th POST!!!!!

Wow, this is my 100th post on Plant Base Living.  (I picked Plant Base Living because Plant Based Living was already taken as a blog.)  I don’t really have a special recipe to post today so I will just reflect.

I’ve been on this healthy for me journey for a little over two years.  I truly believe it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for my health.  I feel amazing and I love trying new recipes and making traditional recipes plant based.  I love searching the internet and any recipe I’m craving and how to make it “vegan” and especially for recipe ideas.  I save many, many recipes into word documents to make at a later date.  You should see how many recipes I have.  I have an older folder that is labeled “recipes” and then a sub-folder that is labeled “vegan recipes.”  I tend to copy the recipes right into a word document and then when I make them I usually make them “my own.”  I usually, if not always, change up the spices mixture.  I think less is more especially when it comes to salt. 

Posting on a blog every day is harder than I thought it would be.  As with most successful endeavors planning is essential.  I’m thinking I may start posting different ideas like internet find day, family favorites, what restaurants could easily serve to all their customers and it’s still vegan, saved recipes and haven’t made yet, bread day, gluten free plant base day, dessert day, etc.  The ideas are endless but like I said I just need a plan!  LOL

I just kind of looked at all my recipe files and I have over 900 recipes in my “vegan recipes” folder.  Wow, that should keep me busy.

I do find it hard to make new recipes especially when it’s mostly me eating them.  Yes, I do get bored of many foods after a few meals of it.  So, I’m going to try to cut some of these recipes in half too. 

 I’m also not so overwhelmed with what to eat.  There are so many foods that are naturally vegan/plant based or are easily made that way with just using like Just Mayo (vegan mayonnaise) or Earth Balance or olive oil or using almond or coconut milk.  Finally, I say I’m 90% because I know that sometimes foods aren't totally vegan especially when you go out or you are at someone else’s house.  I do my best.  Yes, I have tasted and eaten non-plant based food items but mostly I say to myself “that’s not worth it to me!”  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Butternut Squash II

Well, it’s weird not having (in my mind) to post daily.  Yesterday I made a few dishes that are already on my blog but still so refreshing.

For breakfast I made my hash browns with shredded zucchini in it too.  My mom really enjoyed it and even ate the leftovers.  I find it so refreshing and surprisingly light. 

For dinner I made butternut squash soup.  I made it even more simple this time since I didn't add the potatoes to it.  I just cut up the squash and added a half a medium onion chopped up and covered with water and added a few spices.  So easy since I recently purchased an immersion blender for my mom. 

Butternut Squash Soup II
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and cover with water.  Bring mixture to a boil and then put on medium to medium low heat.  Cook until vegetables are soft – about a half an hour.  Use an immersion blender or put in a blender to make a smooth, silky soup. Salt & pepper to taste.

This version is a little bit sweeter and I'd say richer in flavor.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reflections on my Second Vegan MoFo

Wow, I made it again.  I did a post every day of September for my second Vegan MoFo.  I must say again I’m pretty proud of myself!  It truly hasn’t been easy since again I am away from my home and all the life changing things that have happened to me.  But, it’s the one thing I’ve been able to control on a daily basis and it’s something I really wanted to do.  I’m glad I stock piled many recipes I’ve made the past few months to have daily postings and pictures.

My hopes are to continue posting on my blog throughout the year and not just during Vegan MoFo!  So, I’ll try to continue as often as I can to post my new recipes. 

Here’s the beer bread recipe I recently made.  It’s kind of sweet.  I think I would omit the sugar next time I make it.  I cut the amount of sugar in half but it’s still too sweet. 

Beer Bread
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup of sugar
1 12 ounce beer
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance margarine

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Slowly add the beer and stir until just combined.  Put dough into a greased loaf pan.  Cut up the margarine into little pieces and put over top of the dough in the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Allow loaf to cool in pan about 15 minutes.  Take out of pan and allow to cool about a half hour longer. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 30 - White Bean and Spinach Soup

I’ve been craving this soup too ever since I bought more fresh spinach the other day.  It is a light but hearty soup.  I also made some homemade beer bread to go with it.

White Bean and Spinach Soup

¼ of a medium onion chopped fine
2 stalks of celery chopped fine
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance  margarine
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon better than bouillon vegetable base
4 cups of water
1 15 ounce can of great northern beans
2 handfuls of fresh spinach

Chop up the onion and celery in small pieces.  Melt the margarine and add the celery and onion.   

Sauté until the onion is soft.  Stir in the salt, thyme, basil and vegetable base.  Slowly add the 4 cups of water.  Add the great northern beans.  

Cook over medium high heat for about a half hour.  

When ready to eat, bring soup to a boil and add the fresh spinach.  I trimmed the stems off the spinach and sliced it in about half inch slices.  

Continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the spinach wilts.  Serve.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 29 - Blossom Restaurant NYC

A while ago my DH, DS and I went to NYC.  I asked if we could at least try one of the vegan restaurants there and we did.   

We were staying in Times Square and we walked down to Blossom (we took a cab back LOL!)for lunch.  It was amazing!   Here’s what we had:

Black-eyed Pea Cake

Cashew Cream Ravioli

Tofu BLT

Portabella Panini

I would love to go back there any time!  Their French fries were delicious too!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 8 - Tomatoes & English Muffin Yumminess

Tomatoes on an English muffin is one of my favorite quick breakfasts before I head out to work or even for a quick snack.  I just love the freshness of it and simplicity.      

Tomatoes & English Muffin Yumminess
4-6 grape/cherry tomatoes or a big tomato slice
½ English muffin
Earth Balance Spread
Salt & Pepper to taste

Toast the English muffin to desired crispiness.  While the English muffin is toasting slice up the tomatoes pretty small.  Once the English muffin is done toasting spread a thin layer of the Earth Balance spread on top.  Put the tomatoes evenly over top.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I’ve found the store brand of many English muffins are vegan; the name brand isn’t. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 27 - Polenta

Polenta really isn’t that hard to make but I would say it’s a tiny bit time consuming.  You really need to be stirring it most of time you are cooking it every few minutes.  It is so worth the effort.     

2 cups water
1/2 cup corn grits
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine

Bring the water to a boil over high heat.  Once the water is boiling slowly add the corn grits whisking as you add them.  Add salt.  Turn heat down to medium low and continue to cook for a half hour; stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and remains creamy.

Once cooked (taste and it shouldn’t be crunchy tasting any longer) add the Earth Balance. 

Put cooked polenta in a greased bowl.  Polenta will take on the shape of the bowl.  You can eat after 10 minutes while it is still hot or allow to completely cool.  Cut into desired thickness.  This makes two generous portions or 3 to 4 sides.  You can also just serve immediate and not mold it in a bowl.

I also made some stir fried veggies to go with my polenta.  I love this baby squash mix I got from Costco.  I also added some fresh green beans.  I just add a tiny bit of Earth Balance and a few shakes of garlic salt.  I cook over medium high heat in a cast iron skillet.  So yummy!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 26 - Cream of Potato Soup

It seems like I’m on a bit of a soup kick.  Soup is probably my favorite food group!  I love to have it available to heat up.  I really like homemade soup the best and I’m trying to get away from canned/processed foods.  

Cream of Potato Soup

2 big potatoes peeled and cubed
1 medium onion chopped
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup coconut milk (or other milk alternative)

Chop the medium onion and saute in the Earth Balance until soft.  

Add the salt and dried thyme; stir.  While the onions are cooking peel and cube the potatoes 

and add to the onion mixture.  

Add enough water to cover.  Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft.

Add mixture to a blender and add the coconut milk (or use an immersion blender - I still don't have one here!)  Blend until smooth.   Put back into sauce pan and heat to desired temperature.  

At this point you may want to thin out the soup with more coconut milk or water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 4 bowls of soup.

I’m not a fan of parsley but I would consider putting some parsley and or slice up some green onions for a garnish for this soup since it is kind of boring looking.  I love the flavor though!  

I like to thin soups out a bit and put them in a mug to sip too.  I will probably do that with the leftovers of this soup.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 25 - Hash Brown Potatoes

Hash browns are one of our favorite go to weekend breakfasts.  Yup just hash brown potatoes and coffee.  Kind of funny but true.  I like to sauté the onion in the Earth Balance margarine and then add it to the shredded potatoes and season with salt and pepper to incorporate all the flavors and then put the mixture back in the pan.  

 Hash Brown Potatoes

2 big potatoes peeled and shredded
1 small or medium onion (depending on how much you like onion)
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel and shred potatoes; put in a big bowl.

Chop the onion and sauté in a frying pan over medium heat until soft. 

Add cooked onions to the shredded potatoes in the bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper (a few shakes.)  Stir combine.

Put the mixture back in the frying pan.  Cook over medium heat until potatoes are cooked through and you get a nice browning.  I flip a few times during cooking but allow a nice crust to form for the first flip!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 24 - Tomato Soup

Mom and I came home and I didn’t know what to make us.  So, I looked in the fridge for what I can do with leftovers.    Mom and I had our  pasta with zucchini, tomatoes and basil.  (I posted the recipe during last year's Vegan MoFo.)  We didn’t eat it all so I saved it.  I put the remains in the Nutri bullet and voila we had yummy tomato soup.  I added a bit of water to clean off the blade and the container into the soup.  It was delicious.  My mom loved it!  (Which if you know my mom, means a lot!) 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 23 - Acorn Squash Soup

I’ve been craving some homemade soup for a while.  I just haven’t had the time to think about it and/or gumption to do it.  But yesterday I got thinking that I could use that leftover half of acorn squash and make a little bit of soup.  So, I did.  OMG – it is wonderful.  It is as good as if not better than the butternut squash soup I made last month.  The flavor is amazing and it’s so silky.  This batch makes two nice size bowls to go with a salad or one big bowl.  If you use a whole cooked acorn squash then just double the other ingredients.  Also, it is pretty thick so you could also add more coconut milk creamer (or almond milk) or water to thin it out.  The next time I make acorn squash for dinner I’m going to make an extra one for soup the next day!    

Acorn Squash Soup

½ cooked acorn squash
1 carrot
½ medium or small onion
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
½ teaspoon vegetable better than bouillon
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons coconut milk creamer
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel and dice the carrot into small pieces.  Chop the onion into small pieces too.  Melt the margarine in a medium sauce pan and add the carrot and onion.  

Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft.  Stir in the vegetable bouillon and add the water.   

Scrap out the acorn squash from the shell with a spoon and add to the soup mixture.  Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.  

Add mixture to a blender and add the coconut milk creamer (or use an immersion blender - I don't have one here.)  

Blend until smooth.   Put back into sauce pan and heat to desired temperature.  At this point you may want to thin out the soup with more creamer or water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Note -   you may want to add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or brown sugar to taste.  I am thinking the thicker version of this soup would be delicious over pasta too!  

I used my mom's Nutribullet so I allowed the soup to cool before I put it in the container.  I would put the hot mixture into my Vitamix or probably just use my immersion blender right in the saucepan.  My mom just doesn't have an immersion blender - yet!  Amazon Prime may be delivering one shortly!  LOL