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.     
  


Polenta
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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 22 - Sautéed Green Beans

Staying with the simple theme I’ll share my son’s sautéed green beans recipe.  We love to make our green beans this way.  It’s so easy and yes, so yummy.  Here is my dinner plate from last night.  My sister-in-law brought over the pasta salad.  I think it has chickpeas, fava beans and black beans in and other yummy ingredients.  I think she got the bean salad from Trader Joe’s and added the star shaped little pasta.  At first I thought it was couscous.  It is very good too.  I heated up the scalloped potatoes and creamed spinach to complete the meal. 




Sautéed Green Beans

fresh green beans
olive oil
garlic salt
water


Snap or cut off the ends of the green beans and put them in a skillet.  Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the beans and sprinkle with garlic salt.  Sauté the beans over medium high heat until desired doneness.  (Pour a tiny bit of water in the pan and cover to steam to cook quicker.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 21 - Baked Acorn Squash

Acorn squash always reminds me of the fall.  I love the rich flavor of it.  I know there are so many different ways to make it but I like it just baked plain.  No matter how you prepare it though I think the toughest thing about preparing it is to just cut it open.  Make sure you have a really sharp, strong knife!





Baked Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash (will serve two - four people)
water 
salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is heating up, cut the squash in half.  Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.  I find it easiest to get the seeds out by getting some of the flesh with your spoon.  Do a few more scrapes to get the remaining threads.  This is what you'll have.



I then rinse the squash on the inside with water and sprinkle a little bit of seat salt on it.  Put squash halves on a baking sheet (I usually cover mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up) faced down.  





Bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes turn the squash over and cook an additional 30 minutes until soft.





My mom and I had a quarter of the squash each last night for dinner.  I really just like it plain.  I put a little Earth Balance margarine on my portion with salt and pepper to taste.  I kinds of mash it all together in the little boat it forms.


I also made creamed spinach and scalloped potatoes for my dinner.  I used coconut milk in both recipes for the milk alternative.  It was okay but I think I like almond milk better in these two recipes because the coconut milk is a little sweet.  I made a little too much sauce for the spinach because I doubled the creamed spinach sauce and used the big value size of fresh spinach.  I probably only needed about 1 to 1 ½ of the recipe of the sauce for all that spinach.  I will start with the original recipe and then add "milk" as needed for the consistency/creaminess.  I am okay with it because I’m thinking I can either have the leftovers over a baked potato.



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 20 - Almond Milk at Dunkin Donuts!

On the long journey back from Massachusetts to Maryland (driving) from dropping B off at school we saw this awesome sign at the Dunkin Donuts at one of the rest stops!





We are thrilled.  It’s so disappointing that the major coffee shop that we all love to get the occasional coffee won’t serve almond milk.  Not everyone likes soy milk as their milk/dairy alternative.  It would be nice if they offered either almond milk or coconut milk as well.  Oh well, their loss – we will be going to Dunkin Donuts now!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 19 - Border Cafe

We went to this Mexican Restaurant in Cambridge the weekend we took B back to school.  I really like the Border Café.  Their chips and salsa and guacamole are so yummy. 





I've also gotten their vegetable fajitas twice now.  The portion size is absolutely huge but no one really wants to share with me since they have their own favorites too.  I probably shouldn't eat so many chips and salsa before my meal comes and I’d be able to eat more than one.  


Just looking at that picture makes me want to make some fajitas soon! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 18 - Easy Dinner

Here is one of my favorite easy dinners and has plenty of protein.  I’ve also included the protein for each below. 



Quinoa (4 grams)
Black Beans (15 grams)
Sautéed Mushrooms (3 grams)
Green Beans (2 grams)

The quinoa is from a package.  My family likes the Near East ones.  I like the rosemary and olive oil one but the roasted red pepper and basil is pretty good too.  I like how easy they are to make!


We just heat up the black beans in a pot, sauté the mushroom in a little Earth Balance, and sauté the green beans with a little olive oil and garlic salt.

It is true that so many people ask me where I get my protein.  I tell them protein is in everything even broccoli.  This nutrition tables says it has 7 grams! 






Sometimes I will also say that cows don’t eat “meat” and they must be getting their protein.  I also tell them I eat a lot of beans.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 17 - Green Bean Casserole


My family, especially my son, loves green bean casserole.  Once I figured out how to make vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup it was easy to make it plant based.  




Green Bean Casserole
2 cans cut green beans
2 cans french style green beans
1 teaspoon no beef better than bouillon 
a few dashes of soy sauce
French's french fried onions

Drain the green beans and add to a casserole dish.  Add the no beef better than bouillon to the cream of mushroom soup mixture.  Pour cream of mushroom soup over beans, sprinkle a few dashes of soy sauce.  Add up to one cup of the french fried onions to the mixture.  Stir well.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Top with a few more of the french fried onions and bake for 5 more minutes.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 16 - Yellow Squash Casserole

I saw a squash casserole posted on Facebook and I knew I had to find a way to make it.  I’ve come up with a smaller version.  I would probably use less of the margarine next time though because it seemed a little greasy to me.  If you don’t like onions you could also take them out of the recipe and even the sage if you don’t like that flavor.



Yellow Squash Casserole
3 yellow squashes
1 medium sweet onion
6 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
1 teaspoon no chicken better than bouillon paste
Salt, pepper, sage, thyme
½ package of cornbread (already made)
Water reserved from cooking the squash
Daiya cheddar cheese shredded

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



In another pan, sauté the onion in the margarine until translucent.  Stir in the no chicken better than bouillon paste.  Sprinkle a few shakes of salt and pepper and add a little bit of sage and thyme (like ¼ teaspoon) or to taste.  Add the drained squash to the onion and spices mixture.  Stir to combine. 


Here's a picture of the baked cornbread.  I used about half for this recipe.



In a greased casserole dish break up the corn bread into chunks.  Pour the squash mixture over top and sprinkle some of the Daiya cheese to taste (I put a thin layer over top.)  Add about ½ cup of the reserved squash cooking water or more to combine.  Stir well.

Cover and bake in the 375 degree oven for 45 minutes; remove cover and cook additional 15 minutes



  

Here’s the original recipe I found on-line.  I didn’t have zucchini squash and I wasn’t sure how it would taste so I pretty much made half the recipe and more to my own taste.  I made the cornbread with applesauce instead of adding an egg.  I also don’t like too much of the cheddar cheese in things. 

Boston Market Squash Casserole
*4 cups zucchini, chopped
*4 cups yellow squash, chopped
*1 large onion, chopped
*1-1/2 sticks earth balance
*salt, pepper, sage, thyme, parsley
*1 package cheddar daiya (or other vegan shredded cheese)
*better than bouillon (no chicken – vegan)
*one loaf of freshly baked vegan cornbread
Preheat the oven to 375. in a large pot add chopped zucchini and yellow squash (covered with water) cook until squash is tender. in another pan melt earth balance. Sauté onions until tender. Add no chicken better than bouillon, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley. Drain squash (reserve ONE CUP of this water) and add the squash to the onion mixture. Combine well. Add one package of cheddar daiya, mixing well. Crumble cornbread into mixture and add the one cup of reserved water – make sure everything is well combined. Add mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 for about an hour.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Vegan MoFo Day 15 - Veggie Salad

Veggie Salad

Here’s one of my favorite salads. I just wish more restaurants could offer yummy, filling salad with these ingredients and not just lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers!  

   


Veggie Salad
lettuce
carrots
red onions
beets
black olives
cucumbers
black beans
celery
grape tomatoes

Sometimes I make homemade vegan ranch dressing or just olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper.