Sunday, November 13, 2011

Le menu (13-19 November)

This week's menu was largely driven by my Bountiful Baskets produce.   The soup I whipped up today was SO yummy, so if for no other reason than to preserve the recipe before my brain can forget, I am posting it here.  

Winter Veggie Soup


1 pound potatoes (skins on), cleaned and cut into 1/3" pieces (I used fingerlings)
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4"
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2" dices
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
2 tsp white pepper
1 pint soy creamer (not vanilla flavored!)
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

Bring chicken stock to a boil and add potatoes and carrots.  Continue on a low boil until veggies are just tender.  Add all remaining ingredients except creamer and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.  Just before serving, stir in the creamer.  

You could add in some soy sausage crumbles or slices, but my sausage was frozen and I didn't even remember I had it until it was too late.  In any case, this was a hearty, yummy bowl of comfort!  

The other recipes for this week can be found below, but note that some require some veganization.  My big challenge for the week involves making something resembling chicken Cordon Bleu for Hubby and me, as well as a gluten-free, vegan apple cake, for a church dinner party we're attending on Saturday.  The "chicken" is so we'll have something to eat that looks vaguely like what others will be eating, and the apple cake is a copy of the dessert that is being served that we and the gluten-sensitive members of our congregation will be able to eat.  Wish me luck!

Barley, Mushroom and Lentil Soup  Veggie broth will sub for beef.  Easy-peasy.  

Hoppin' John  I'll be making as-is, save for the substitutions of tempeh bacon and veggie broth
Collard Greens Vegan butter and we're good to go!   
Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread  We made this in our pre-vegan days, and it's to-die-for.  This is my friend Bethany's recipe, and you can see that it's extremely highly rated.  I hope my vegan version will be in the ballpark!  I plan to make vegan buttermilk (1 tsp vinegar to 1 cup nondairy milk) and use golden flax meal in place of the eggs.  

Gyro "meat" with tzatziki sauce I'm subbing seitan for the lamb, and I'm sorry, but the more I think about it, what kind of a jerk eats lamb?  Or veal?  They're babies!!!  (OK, so that's something I didn't put together in my omnivore days, so I know I have to cut others some slack, but still.  Watch some videos. It's horrifying.)   
Greek Style Spinach and Rice  This one will get a feta makeover; lemon-marinated, crumbled firm tofu works well.  Or I may just leave it out.  We'll see.  

Eggplant "parmesan"  This one's already vegan, but that's the least of my worries.  You see, I loathe eggplant.  It's vile.  But Hubby loves it and I'm determined to find a way I can stand it.  Since breading and frying anything makes it 100 times tastier, I figure this is a good place to start.  I may need some diving nose clips to get through it, but I'll give it my best.  

Friday - Hubby is cooking, so it's a mystery.  Frankly, it's even a mystery to him until it's finished.  His stir-fries are a good way to clean out the fridge.  ;o)  

Saturday - My friend is sending me her apple cake recipe, which I will de-gluten and veganize.  My loose plan for chicken Cordon Bleu is to use Gardein Chick'n Scallopini cutlets, stuff them somehow with vegan bacon (I can't get any closer to ham on such short notice) and vegan cheese, bread them, bake them, and then douse them in a soy cream/white wine/paprika sauce.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  

Bountiful Baskets!

I am beyond thrilled that my friend K is getting a Bountiful Baskets site set up in our little community!  We have to volunteer twice at other sites (both two hours from here) in order to be approved to start our own site, but she's done one already and I hope to go with her for the second one.  If everything goes according to plan, we'll have our own bi-monthly stops starting in January, and we're crossing our fingers that it will get so popular that we can get an A and a B route, which means weekly deliveries.  :o)

I got three baskets of organic produce this time, but I think next time I'll get a box or two of of "regular" produce so I get greater variety.  Really though, three boxes is about right for our family for a week, so maybe I'll have J1 sign up so he can buy for us, too.  Then we could get up to 6 baskets, which would be awesome if we have to go two weeks between deliveries.  With this, Azure Standard deliveries, and what I order from Amazon, I hardly have to buy anything at the grocery store these days except convenience foods (healthy ones, promise!) and stuff to make lunches.  Awesomeness.  :o)

Here's my haul from last night.  Isn't it beautiful?!

It's a little hard to see what's what in the picture, so here's a list:
  1. Apples (gala, if I remember correctly)
  2. Pears
  3. 3 quarts of strawberries
  4. Celery
  5. Zucchini
  6. Cucumbers (yes, cucumbers in November!)
  7. Carrots
  8. Fingerling potatoes
  9. Collard Greens
  10. Spinach
  11. Black grapes
  12. Tomatoes

Friday, November 11, 2011

Walnut tofu balls

This recipe was given to my by Hubby's office manager, who is a vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventist.  Her family eats these as part of their Thanksgiving dinner.  Ours went into some yummy barbecue sauce and were then served up on sourdough hoagies.  Yum!


    • 2 cups bread, torn into small pieces
    • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
    • 1/2 cup oats, quick-cooking
    • 1/2 cup diced onions
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
    • 2 teaspoons vegan chicken seasoning ( Chicknish, Butler's Chick-Style, or other)
    • 16 ounces extra firm tofu
    • 1/2 cup water ( if needed)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add seasonings and mix until combined.
  3. Drain tofu and crumble with hands into the meatball mixture, mix.
  4. Add soy sauce and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. With clean hands, roll about a tablespoon's worth of mixture into a ball. If it is too dry to stick together, up to 1/2 cup water can be added. (I don't ever have to add water.).
  6. Continue to roll mixture into balls, and place onto a greased baking sheet, an inch or two apart. I use a cookie dough scoop to get mine a uniform size.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (depending on size), until nicely browned.
  8. Cool and transfer to container or bag for freezing, or serve hot as desired.
  9. (These work well as appetizers, or as part of a main dish with barbecue sauce, brown gravy, vegan stroganoff sauce, or Asian sauces.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

16 chairs!

I have yet to stain the table, but the chairs are all there!  (There are two against the wall that's not visible).  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ginger Pumpkin Blender Bread

This recipe comes from Blendtec, but any regular blender could handle this list of ingredients.  (My sister made some yesterday with her regular blender.)  I love using my blender with recipes like this - just dump everything, blend, and bake! This bread rises well and bakes up moist and yummy!

This recipe was vegan as is, but you could substitute dairy milk if you really want to.  My sister used almond milk and regular whole wheat flour and reported great results. 


    • 1/4 cup soymilk ( or almond, flax, oat, etc.)
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 3/4 cup sucanat
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 medium apples, cored and seeded
    • 1 tablespoon gingerroot, peeled
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Add first 8 ingredients to blender and secure lid.
  3. For Blendtec users: press “Speed Up” to Speed 5 and allow full cycle to run.
  4. For other blender users: blend until thoroughly mixed and apple is pureed.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and secure lid. Press “Pulse” 6-8 times to incorporate dry ingredients.
  6. Using a spatula, scrape down sides of jar and add batter to a greased 8”x4” loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes until done.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cherry-Almond-Poppyseed Muffins

This recipe is from Julie Hasson's "Vegan Diner." They are one of my favorite muffins EVER - vegan, or otherwise. Trust me when I tell you you don't need eggs or dairy milk to create great muffins. Even if you're not vegan, save yourself the fat, calories and cholesterol and give these a try! We eat them for breakfast or snacks. 


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour ( I always use whole wheat pastry flour)
    • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
    • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal, preferably golden
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar ( to spoon over tops of muffins, though I omit this)
    • 1 cup soymilk, divided
    • 1/3 cup canola oil
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 teaspoons almond extract ( please, I beg of you, don't use imitation!)
    • 2/3 cup dried cherries ( I chop these up a bit so they're not so big)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Line a 12-cup muffin tray with paper liners or grease well with vegetable shortening or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, poppy seeds, flax meal, baking powder, and salt, mixing well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, half of the soymilk, canola oil, applesauce, and almond extract, whisking until smooth. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the remaining soymilk, whisking until just combined. Stir in the dried cherries.
  4. Scoop the batter evenly amongst the 12 cups of the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle remaining tablespoon over sugar over the tops of the muffins.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until muffins are just barely golden around the edges and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and remove to a rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Le Menu (November 6-12

Today, we finally actually made the almond asparagus couscous that has been bumped from the menu for the last two weeks.  I didn't think it would be all that tasty, but it was actually very good and all the kids liked it.  I'll make it again sometime.  (If you want the recipe, it's on the previous menu's post.)

Recipes for the dishes with numbers following them can be found on (just enter the number in the search field).  I will try to post Monica's meatless meatball recipe later in the week, as well as the recipe for the blue corn bread.  It's from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's "Color Me Vegan."  I made and froze it last week, and it looks really yummy, but definitely different!  It has blue corn meal, quinoa and blueberries.

In the meantime, here is my bagel recipe (see Wednesday's lunch).  I made some bagels yesterday and will probably make some more tomorrow.

Authentic New York-Style Homemade Bagels


    • 1 1/2 cups warm water ( 110 to 115*F or 45*C )
    • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons malt syrup
    • 2 tablespoons malt syrup, for boiling step
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon salt, for boiling step
    • 4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour ( more if needed)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. With a wooden spoon, stir in oil, malt and one cup of the flour. Add salt, then enough of remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10 to 12 minutes. Cover with a floured dish towel and allow dough to rest on a board for about 15 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 12 sections and form each section into 10-inch long strips. Roll the ends together to seal and make a ring. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let bagels rest 15 to 20 minutes, rising about halfway and becoming slightly puffy.
  5. Meanwhile, fill a large cooking pot or Dutch oven three quarters full with water. Add the malt syrup and salt.
  6. Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment and, if desired, sprinkle generously with corn meal. Set aside.
  7. Line two other baking sheets with a kitchen towel, set near your stove. Reduce boiling water to a simmer and cook 2 bagels at a time (do not crowd the pot). Simmer bagels for about 45 seconds on one side, then turn and cook other side for another 45 seconds and then drain bagels on the towel-lined baking sheet.
  1. Carefully place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake bagels plain or sprinkle with a topping of your choice. Place in the hot oven, immediately reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and bake about 17 to 25 minutes. When almost baked, turn bagels over (a pair of tongs do the job easily). If you have a baking stone, finish bagels on the stone directly. Transfer bagels to wire rack to cool.
  2. These freeze well, which helps to retain a just-baked taste, if they aren't all eaten on the first day. To freeze, slice cooled bagels first, place a small strip of plastic between the bagel halves and place in a plastic self-sealing freezer bag. When you're ready for a bagel, they'll come apart easily, ready to pop into the toaster/oven and enjoy.