Tag Archives: real food

winner, winner, chickpea dinner!

23 Nov

When there are lots of things going on in your life at the same time, the first thing to usually go is a good meal plan. Quick fixes and faux meat tend to fill the gaps and I always can always feel it. It makes me sluggish and just feel icky, frankly.

We’re mid-move and I’m trying hard to not let that happen this time and it’s going much better than expected, thanks to my lovely rice/pressure cooker and some help from a bottle- Original Yumm! Sauce from Cafe Yumm! Yumm Sauce is an indescribable, tangy, cheezy sauce that makes everything delicious. Jess even made her own version of it (with links to other adaptations!), so you can try it, too!

yay! crappy cell phone pic!

Quinoa in the cooker, chickpeas from a can, some chopped up zucchini and carrots sticks on top and a drizzle of sauce on top- perfect, delicious and nutritious. Spot on when you need good food, fast and ready in about 15 minutes, with leftovers.

What satisfying eats do you enjoy when you’re short on time?

tomay-to, tomah-to…

16 Nov

Okay, I’m kind of sucking at MoFo. I think November is not as good a month for it, it’s too busy. Plus, I have some news to share soon (no, I’m not pregnant) that has been tying up my time, but that will come.

I love me some tomato soup. It’s my go-to food when I’m feeling sick and there are lots of recipes for tomato soup out there, but a lot of them end up tasting like spaghetti sauce or salsa. Blech.

Elephant’s Deli, in Portland, is a beloved deli and catering place that is famous for their unique tomato soup. They are not famous for their vegan options. Needless to say, the soup is not vegan, but it’s so loved that they are nice enough to share the recipe on their site. Based on its cult status, I couldn’t resist whipping up a veganized batch of it… and it is seriously good. And the mystery ingredient that makes it so intriguing really does give it that je ne sais quoi.

I’m not going to repost their recipe since I already linked to it and didn’t get permissions to do so. All I substituted was plain soy milk for the cream and vegan margarine for the butter, obviously. The soy milk worked well, but I bet soy creamer would be even better. You’d expect it to curdle, especially with orange juice (fresh is a must, it’s so good!), but somehow it works.

What’s your most nostalgic comfort food during the dreary winter months?

cold weather = hearty food

21 Oct

HP friends, sorry to say there is nothing Harry Potter related in this post. Many more to come, though!

My life, as of late, has consisted of work and baking. LOTS of baking. Not to complain, but woman cannot live on cake alone. (You think I lie. For realz, though, if anyone could it would be me and I can’t.) Thankfully, Jim has started doing some cooking, which is great, but we mostly eat random stuff like really sad bowls of black beans and rice with salsa on top or pasta with red sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you’ve got to mix it up.

Last weekend, inspired by Bianca’s recent post, I bought a spaghetti squash. Now, here’s what you have to understand. This is an annual thing, the purchase of the spaghetti squash. It goes a little like this:

Day 1: Purchase squash. “Yay, I’m so excited to make something with this!”
Day 4: Move squash from counter to sub-counter. “This dumb thing is in the way all the time!”
Day 7: Make excuses to husband about squash. “Yes, I’m going to do something with it! Geez…”
Day 14: Remember squash. “Oh, you. You’re still here, huh?”
Day 21: Become even more indignant to husband. “I am planning to make you a special meal with it. Give me some time!”
Day 28: Smell squash. “Hmm… maybe I should have put you in the pantry or fridge…”

You get the idea.

I don’t know what my problem is, there are just some things that I have no point of reference for and so I literally get freaked out when I think about cooking them. Squash is definitely one of them, as I never had any squash (save pumpkin pie, which doesn’t count) until moving to the Pacific Northwest 4 years ago, so I’m still getting my bearings.

So, after reading Bianca’s post I thought, “This is the year, dangit!” I bought the squash, came home, set it on the counter… and knew my cycle had begun again.

I knew I could break the cycle! So I decided to cook it right then and there. But what to have with it?

Something hearty and filling was in order, so I decided to make a veggie meatloaf, especially after reading somewhere online about how well they hold up in the Baker’s Edge pan. I look for any excuse to use that silly pan. Then, I decided to throw my spaghetti squash’s friend, butternut, into the mix.

Veggie meatloaf with roasted butternut squash sauce, steamed kale and, behold, herbed spaghetti squash!!! I pulled this veggie meatloaf recipe out of thin air and was so happy with it. We eagerly ate through it so quickly that I plan on making it again soon, I wanted to share it.

Veggie Meatloaf

1 medium sized onion, shredded or chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 teas. dried basil
1 teas. dried oregano
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp. red win vinegar
1 1/2 cup cooked lentils (I used French, any variety would do)
1 1/2 cup cooked grain (I used buckwheat, brown rice would be good, too)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan or Baker’s Edge pan.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the onions, carrots, sunflower seeds and olive oil. Process for 30 sec-1 minute, until it resembles a chunky paste. Add the herbs, soy sauce and vinegar and combine. Add lentils and grain to the processor and process until ingredients just come together, scraping down the bowl as needed. If there are still some discernible lentils, that’s fine, but overall it should be thick and paste-like. Hmm… paste-like doesn’t sound very appetizing.

Moving on, spread the loaf into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (closer to 40 for the loaf pan), depending on type of pan. The top of the loaf should brown and get a little crusty on the edges There should still be a little mush-factor if you gently push down on the top of the loaf, as it will continue to firm up as it cools.

Makes 6-7 servings, depending on how much you feel like sharing.

I know I can’t be alone- what foods are purchased with good intentions and then lurk in your fridge only to die a slow, lonely death?

a taste for fall…

5 Oct

As the cooler weather sets in, I start to crave comfort foods. While not necessarily looking for overly hearty fare, chilly nights and layer-weather beckons for something that sticks to your ribs. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane for some recipes that fit the bill.

Some Curried Carrot Soup is simple to make, but is thick and flavorful for rainy nights or when you have the sniffles.

Some Pesto Ricotta will add flavor and protein to any pasta or pizza and make for happy tummies.

Inspired by Starbucks’ annual fall muffin, my Stuff This In Your Pumpkin Pie Hole Muffin will please vegans and non-vegans alike and is the perfect breakfast on a chilly autumn morning.

What are your favorite autumn eats?

a visit to my library

19 Jul

I have a lot of cookbooks. A LOT. I have managed to purge some over the past year, but I still own far more than I ever use. And honestly, I don’t usually use cookbooks very often. I love to read them, page through them, and fantasize over them, but I am too fickle to actually follow a recipe.

Thankfully, Jim is learning how to cook and that means these beautiful tomes are actually having their spines cracked open and the contents transported from the page and into my belly. One dish in particular is becoming a staple because it speaks to all of my senses in tandem: nom nom and nom.

This is the Greek Rice with Lemon Tofu from Dreena’s Vive Le Vegan! I’m not usually much of a rice person, but as Jim was doing the cooking I bit my tongue when he told me what he was whipping up. No need to discourage the man!


Dreena’s always good and reliable for a satisfying meal, but the afternoon I came home and smelled this feast wafting through the front door, I felt like the luckiest person on the block.

Maybe I’ll bust out my books more often…

not-mystery not-meat and a recipe

29 Apr

There is food being cooked! I haven’t had much to post lately because, frankly, we’ve been eating terribly boring food. But I’ve been trying to mix it up a little bit, plus bring back some classics.


Ooh, surprise, surprise, quinoa! I never could have guessed! Well, I never said it would be thrilling. 🙂 I will admit to being a quinoa addict as of late and the 4 lb bag of organic quinoa I picked up at Costco last week for $8 is going to keep the love alive. I sauteed some chickpeas and mixed them with 1 1/2 smashed heads of roasted garlic. Some snap peas and sweet potato on the side and I called it a meal.


This may not look like much, but wow have these sandwiches been hitting the spot! Tofurky slices with mustard, baby greens and pickles on Dave’s Killer Bread… yum! We haven’t been keeping bread in the house for the past few months because we normally only use it for toast and in the winter we default to oatmeal mode, but I just can’t say no to a loaf of Dave’s. Sometimes revisiting those nostalgic foods really satisfies and this is one of them.

A week ago I went to work in a short sleeved shirt, with no jacket, and we took the duvet off our bed, foolishly thinking spring is here. Today it was 45 and raining, much like the past week. With my spring cheer hiding underneath the bed, I fell back into some fall comfort food.


Real Food Daily tempeh meatloaf with mashed potatoes and some broccolini. I loved the ingredients in the meatloaf (tempeh, a little gluten, miso, fresh veggies) but I’m just not a meatloaf kind of gal, even in vegan form. Jim LOVES meatloaf and was deliriously happy to come home to this dinner. I haven’t heard that much lip-smacking come out of the boy in awhile. I wasn’t too big on the texture, it reminded me of stuffing, although the flavor was awesome. Next time I may add a little more gluten to make the texture firmer and a splash of liquid smoke.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, from observers and tasters, on the French Toast Muffins from my upcoming cookbook. And I have to admit, they are one of my favorites, so I wanted to give a sneak peek and share the recipe with you. Not having handheld French toast is no way to live.

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

French Toast Muffins

Prep time before baking: 20 minutes

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teas. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1 teas. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. yogurt (equivalent to 1- 6 oz. container of soy yogurt)
1 1/2 teas. maple extract
1/2 teas. vanilla
cinnamon and powered sugar to dust tops of muffins

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease with margarine or oil, or line with paper liners, 6 jumbo or 12 regular sized muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, oil, yogurt, maple extract and vanilla to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 batches until just mixed.

Fill each muffin tin to just just below full. Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular sized muffins or 25-30 for jumbo muffins until lightly golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Remove muffins from oven and let cool completely before removing from tin. Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon on top of each muffin. Store leftover muffins covered at room temperature.

Yields: 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins

*For extra maple goodness, combine 1 tbsp. of maple syrup with 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar and glaze the tops of the muffins with the maple topping before sifting on the cinnamon and powdered sugar.

With some fresh, spring berries on the side and washed down with a big glass of almond milk- now that’s what I call breakfast! Yum!

i spoke too soon

6 Apr

Apparently my friend Joe heard that I had fallen off of the chocolate wagon and came to my rescue.

I swear, Trader Joe’s just keeps rolling out more vegan goodness. It’s like a new, animal-free surprise every time I shop. The treat this week, dark chocolate mint “UFOs”.


They are basically hugely oversized chocolate chips. I am at a loss as to what to do with them, so for now I’ll keep eating them by the palmful. I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the chocolate and of course I love all things chocolate and mint.

Last week was a really stressful week for me at work and Jim continued taking the reign of dinner preparation. Keeping it healthy, our dinner on Friday was a millet pilaf with sauteed onions and garlic, pinto beans and sweet corn, served over kale.


Even though it appears to be a big ol’ pile of beige, it was remarkably tasty and will probably enter into regular rotation. The only change I’d make is to add more pintos. My tequila sunrise is on the horizon, much needed after a too-long week.

On Sunday I REALLY wanted brunch, but really didn’t want to cook. After whining for about 30 minutes and then imagining the 1 hour wait at Jam on Hawthorne (our favorite breakfast place) I caved and started making brunch. Jim is happy with toast and coffee, but I just can’t live like that on Sunday, it’s uncivilized.


I made the apple peanut butter pancakes from Peanut Butter Planet with white whole wheat flour and subbing water with some agave for the apple juice called for. I appropriately served these up with some applesauce and what Jim deemed my “best tofu scramble ever” with dried basil, artichokes, kalamata olives, shallots, sundried tomatoes and fresh spinach. On the side, some kiwi.

Now, am I alone here, because I always eat the skin on my kiwis. I never knew that other people didn’t until I moved to Minnesota in middle school and kids started picking on me. Minnesotans not eating kiwi skin didn’t strike me as odd because these were the same people who were wearing toe-socks and sandals to school in January. But I have since been looked at with disgust for eating something “furry” while living in other parts of the country. Half of the flavor is in the skin! Can I get a witness?