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Tag Archives: Veganomicon

Catching Up is Hard to Do

I always find it difficult to muster up the motivation to blog after an absence, even one as short as a week. It’s not that I don’t want to blog; it’s simply that I don’t know where to start. I hate trying to squeeze everything into a massive post, but I don’t blog frequently enough to update you on everything, so alas. I usually just jump into it and skip what has already passed.

Brent and I ate wheat berries for the first time last week. Brent was not a fan. He referred to them as “weird and chewy.” I don’t know what his problem is. Weird and chewy are two of my favorite adjectives when it comes to food! I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I made them into a salad with black beans, red bell pepper and mango. The salad recipe is a quinoa salad recipe from Veganomicon, but I just subbed wheat berries. I thought their chewiness went well. I really loved it.

What is perhaps even more exciting, is that I made my first soup of the fall season this weekend! I was so excited about the cooler temps, I was determined to celebrate by making soup. So glad to have it back in my life! I made some of my minestrone along with some unpictured Artisan Bread.

I’ve been busy with things other than soup-making as well. School is starting to pick up the pace, and today I spent the day volunteering at the MDA Telethon. Unfortunately one of the things keep me busy has been our German Shepherd, Lucy.

That photo cracks me up every time I see it! Lucy has developed an ear hematoma, which means her ear has filled with blood, as a result of her chronic ear infections (she was abused when she was younger, and has a “broken” ear, which is prone to infection as a result), and she’ll be going in for surgery tomorrow morning. She’ll have to be put under general anesthesia for the surgery, which is always a little worrisome. I’m hoping the procedure goes well and will prevent the hematoma from recurring. Wish Lucy good luck for tomorrow!

Spring is Coming

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I’m nearly on spring break! That means I’m also done with my Med-Surg II clinical rotation on the neuro/spine unit, and I start my OB/Peds rotation in 2 weeks! That makes me kind of nervous — I guess just because I really can’t relate, although I love cute baby faces just as much as the next 24 year old female.

Anyway, my point about spring break is that I’ll be able to cook and bake soon! And actually enjoy it and not stress out about how I should be writing a careplan or reading a textbook. 10 glorious days off. Although, I won’t be home for all of it. Brent and I are going to Chicago next weekend, so I can spend some long overdue time with my friends. I can’t wait! Part of spring break will also be spent cleaning and getting the house ready to go on the market again. Hope we have better luck this time around!

Tonight’s dinner was super simple. I bought 2lbs. of asparagus on Saturday, and I was basically just trying to find something to add to make it a complete meal. I used some Artisan Bread Deli-Style Rye dough to make a small English-muffinesque bun on the griddle (I prefer doing this for simple one-meal buns because I can control the shape a bit better), and just heated up a GardenBurger as well. I roasted the aspargus with a bit of canola oil and garlic in the oven and that’s it. A burger and asparagus fries. Super simple.

Also, I wanted to mention this Linguine with Cilantro-Basil Pesto and Artichokes that I made for the second time last week. My first attempt was more attractive, but this time I just used whole wheat spaghetti, and halved the recipe, but kept the whole can of artichokes. I still love it. I need to eat more artichokes.

That’s all I’ve got for now folks. I’m going to finish making some granola, and maybe try to study a bit before bed. SPRING is almost here! 🙂

A Variety

We’ve actually cooked a few meals at our house lately (except for the super boring pizza we ordered tonight, but oh well). This weekend, with a few overripe bananas on my countertop, I finally found time to do a little bit of baking. I made vegan banana muffins based on the lower-fat banana bread in Veganomicon.

Notice the chunks of ripe banana? These were perfect as snacks to take to class this week.

Next up, some sort of stir-fry with tofu, broccoli, some Chinese cabbage type vegetable and pearl barley. Brent was responsible for making this one, and he did an excellent job. This was actually my first time having pearl barley (I’ve only had the quick cooking kind before), and I really liked it!

I really like “Meal in a Bowl” type meals like these. We made another one this week, a Mexican-themed bowl, based on my loved of the vegetarian fajita burrito bowl at Chipotle. This was brown rice with cilantro and lime juice mixed in, topped with sauteed peppers and onions, crock-pot black beans, and diced avocado.

Delicious. Brent actually poured blue cheese dressing on his! Boys are so gross sometimes.

I was telling Brent that lately I’ve felt so “whatever” about cooking and grocery shopping. It’s a shame. I know some of it is because I just don’t have the time to be super into it anymore, but I think it is also because I haven’t made anything fun and new recently. I think I really need to try to make time once a week to try a new recipe, or a new ingredient. Just something to keep me from forgetting why I like cooking. So if you have an idea for me, let me know!

It’s Cold Outside

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With the recent influx of below freezing temperatures and my accompanying seasonal cold, I’ve been wanting nothing more than to curl up on the couch next to the fireplace with something warm (and carby) to eat. This past week, I made use of the Thanksgiving leftovers and made some Turkey Noodle Soup for Brent and I to enjoy while riding out our colds.

Maybe it was the sickness talking, but I thought this soup was amazing. It was just onions, carrots, celery, parsley, shredded turkey and egg noodles with some stock made from the turkey. We ate this for like 5 days straight.

Last night, craving another warm meal, I made Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits from Veganomicon. A million others have made this too, so you should probably be able to find one who has posted the recipe.

This took a bit of time, but it was really simple to make and we got quite a few meals out of it. At first I thought, “Yeah this is a decent meal. Comforting but nothing out of this world.” But it was one of those times where I just kept eating and eating and really enjoying it. Brent and I both went back for seconds (which I deeply regretted because I was uncomfortably full for the rest of the night, and we both enjoyed leftovers for lunch today.

Full disclosure: I unveganized the recipe to use what I had on hand: butter in place of the shortening and fat free milk in place of the soy milk.

I definitely think I’d make this dish again. It was a perfect meal for our first snowfall of the year. I can’t believe it’s already the second week in December! This coming saturday is cookie-baking day! and the week after that is my finals week. I’m looking forward to some down time over the holidays.

And finally, here are the winners of the Alouette giveaway:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

5	7	11	2

Timestamp: 2009-12-07 20:57:59 UTC

So that would be: Mara, 3carnations, Hannah, and chau chu. Send me your address theidleloaf@gmail.com and I’ll send out your coupons!

Spinach Linguine with Cilantro-Basil Pesto & Artichokes

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On Sunday I ate pretty junky. Mostly just because. Junk food sounds glorious when you feel like garbage juice, and I was in no position to disagree. So on Monday, all I wanted was green! I had a green smoothie and scrambled eggs with spinach for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, and this glorious meal for dinner:

hpim3060Another win for Veganomicon. Loved it! It was perfect. It has been firmly placed on its pedestal and no bad will ever been spoken about it. Here’s the link again, just in case you foolishly forgot to click on it the first time. Go make it now.

I will note though, that the spinach linguine was much pricier than my normal whole wheat pasta, so next time I may go el cheapo frugal and just make it with that.

Green Pea and Lemon Risotto

Tonight’s dinner was picked by Brent. He was skimming through Veganomicon and said “Here. Let’s make this. We have all the ingredients.” I was fine with it, although I pointed out that I was somewhat skeptical of a risotto without butter or cheese. Brent’s response, “Oh yeah it’s vegan. I didn’t think about that.”

hpim28901I have a confession. I cheated — I added about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan to the risotto. It just felt necessary. Also, I just used a jarred roasted red pepper rather than roasting my own as the recipe calls for and then diced it up and threw it in the pot. I really liked the risotto without all the butter and cheese though. This tasted very bright, and springy. Brent was equally impressed. To go with it, we had a salad with some of last night’s fabulous dressing. I love this stuff!

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Now I’m just finishing up some baking and soup making for our lunches this week and hoping to be in bed pretty soon for our super early Monday. Because I like to end Sunday night on a positive, cheerful note, here are some things I’m looking forward to this week: I have some fun dinners planned for later this week, including a yummy pizza on Friday night, and the OSCARS are on Sunday! I love watching them. I think we’ll be going to a party at one of Brent’s co-workers’ to watch. Speaking of that, I need to think of something to bring. Any ideas for finger foods?

Croutons & Soup

As I mentioned, my overnight whole wheat bread is very versatile. One of the things it is perfect for is making croutons. They’re easy to make and I much prefer them to store bought croutons. I like that they are crispy, but still a bit chewy on the inside, and I like to make them heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. The bread cubes up perfectly. There’s no need to make sure the bread is stale.

hpim2829Once the bread is cubed, heat oil or butter (I like a combination of both) in a large saute pan. The amount you need depends on the amount of croutons you’re making, but about 2 tablespoons is a good general amount. When the oil is nice and hot (a bread crumb creates a little sizzle), dump a few bread cubes in it, making sure not to crowd the pan. Toss to coat with the oil and spread the cubes out in the pan. The cubes  shouldn’t really touch each other. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and any other flavorings you would like. My personally favorite is minced garlic. After a few minutes, shake them around and flip them over. You just want them to be golden brown on most sides.

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When you’re done, throw some in your soup, or Brent’s favorite way to eat them – a Caesar salad. You can also make them ahead of time and keep them in a sealed container for a few days. I will be eating my croutons this week on top of Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon, which I love. Potatoes give this soup both creaminess and heft, making it more filling that traditional tomato soups. Look how good that looks – Yum!

Spicy Peanut & Eggplant Soup

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Its cold. I’m not complaining, merely stating an excruciatingly obvious fact. Spring cannot come quickly enough. I can handle the cold (by handle I mean curl up in a down blanket and sit by the fire) when I’m at home, but I’ve been running around a lot this morning, getting test results, some quick shopping, and a trip to the post office where I mailed my Secret Valentine Exchange Gift! I’m back home and planning to stay that way until I go get Brent from work. I’m planning to use my time wisely and do some reviewing for my entrance exam. 😦

One of the things I love about cooking and baking is how a recipe almost never tastes the same each time you make it. Use the same ingredients, the same method, but there will still be a slight difference. Unfortunately though, that sometimes means things aren’t as wonderful the second time around. I made the Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup from Veganomicon a while ago, truthfully I have no idea how long ago, but it has definitely been awhile. I remember really liking it, as I do with most soups that have peanut butter in them. I find them very warming and soothing.

hpim2752No one would ever call this soup bad. I certainly wouldn’t and I doubt you would either. It’s a good soup. Just not as great as I remembered. The broth is the standout; slightly spicy and buttery feeling, I really love it. I’m not really feeling the chunky veggies in it this time around though. I just want that cube of eggplant and rings of shallots to get out of my way and leave me to my delicious, soothing, peanuty broth. Alas. I ate it, chunky vegetables and all, but with so many wonderful soups to make, I don’t know that this will be making a reappearance too soon.

But I really do LOVE soups with peanut butter in them, so if you have any that I should make, send them my way. 🙂

Red Lentil Success

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Tonight’s dinner was another red lentil recipe from Veganomicon, but this one had way better results. I made the Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry, which Brent really likes.

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We’ve made this dish a lot, but I feel very conflicted about it. If this meal and I had a relationship on Facebook, it would be listed under “It’s complicated.” I always think it tastes perfectly good when I make it, but I would never really choose to make it, and often I buy the ingredients for it because I know Brent likes it, but never actually end up making it. Weird, I know, but I still feel happy to recommend that everyone else try it, because it is actually quite tasty. And filling! I always halve the recipe, which is then supposed to make 2-3 servings, but I think it makes 3 very generous portions, because I just can’t eat a ton of it. Must be all the fiber. It sits in my stomach like a rock and makes me not even want to think about food for a long time.

Alright, off to veg out and maybe watch a movie. Anyone seen Margot at the Wedding? It’s our latest Netflix movie, but Brent seems pretty disinterested at this point.

Quickie Dinner

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Tonight’s dinner, again, needed to be quick because I have to leave for class before 6. I decided making something ahead would be easiest and I turned to one of our tried and true recipes from Veganomicon: Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango. I love quinoa, and although Brent is pretty iffy about it in general, he likes it in this recipe.

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I don’t really like this recipe hot, or really cold. I think it is best at room temp, so usually I eat it right away or I refrigerate it and then just microwave it for about 30 seconds. Oh, and also, I do not have grapeseed oil. It sounds expensive. I just use canola oil, and it is delicious. I love all the flavors in this recipe, plus, look at it! It’s a very pretty dish, don’t you think?

Alright, off to Advanced Anatomy. I hope I make it home in time to see the weigh-in on The Biggest Loser, because I am a total nerd like that.