Thursday, August 31, 2006

Food Processor Double Feature

Today I was really hungry so I automaticly went to the refrigerator and reached for the bread. The plan was to toast it and eat it with some chunky peanut butter. When I went to look for the peanut butter, I found tahini (seasame paste) which reminded me that I have a recipe for hummus waiting to be made. It's my first time making hummus so I did not know hwat to expect. It came out so yummy and creamy.


1 small garlic glove
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup tahini (seasame paste)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (red pepper)

Put garlic, chickpeas, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the tahini, parsley, salt, and cayenne and proccess until smooth and creamy. Store in a tightly covered container in the refridgerater.

I cut a pita in half and toaster it. Then I added hummus, tomatoes, and cucumber. So much better than having peanut butter again.

Kate's new and improved black bean burgers

My original recipe


1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 cup grated red pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon (or 1/2 for very spicy burgers) each of dried red pepper, cumin and chili powder
1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 15.5 oz. can black beans
2 tablespoons of water
3/4 cup of wheat germ


After grating the red pepper and onion set them aside in a medium bowl. Combine the garlic, spices, almonds, sunflower seeds, and oil in a food processor and pulse until texture resembles bread crumbs. Transfer mixture to the bowl. Put the black beans and water in the food processor and process until smooth. Add this mixture to the bowl along with the wheat germ. Mix (preferably with your hands) completely. Separate into five balls and shape into patties. Make sure the patties are not too thin or they will fall apart. Grill for 8 minutes on each side, or until slightly browned. Enjoy with your favorite burger fixings.

Serves: 5

This recipe-revamp was caused by a mistake made me blending the ingredients out of order and then adding water to the bean part. The final product was a wet mess so I looked for bread crumbs to throw in. I could not find any bread crumbs but I grabbed some wheat germ. I thought, why not? This was the greatest mistake of my life. They taste so much better and are way less crumbly.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

New Recipe!

So my brothers off to college and now I have freedom over all dinners. I cane ven use tofu now without him freaking out. But it is very strange and quiet without him here.

I made the simplest lunch. I sauted whole shitake mushroom caps and spinach. Then I thinly sliced a tomato. I layered them on whole wheat bread to create this sandwich.

Rigatoni with zucchini and eggplant

I have wanted to try this dish forever. I got it from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I can not find the direct link so I am re-typeing the recipe.

1 large zucchini -- sliced in 1/4" half moons
1/2 medium eggplant -- cubed
1 large onion -- chopped
1 bell pepper -- seeded & chopped
3 cloves garlic -- minced
3 tablespoons water -- (more as needed)
12-14 ounces tofu -- (lowfat) mashed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil (divided)
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (divided)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes -- (optional)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt -- (divided)
8 ounces pasta -- rigatoni or other small tubular pasta
two 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (fire roasted, if available)
3 tablespoons tomato pastesoy Parmesan (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Boil pasta according to package directions, cooking until just barely tender (a little undercooked is better than overcooked). When it's done, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water before draining the pasta.

While the pasta's cooking, sauté the eggplant, zucchini, onions, bell pepper and garlic in 2 tbsp. water in a nonstick pan over medium heat, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. When the vegetables are tender, add the reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. oregano, the rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; stir, and keep warm.

Combine the mashed tofu with the pine nuts, parsley, nutritional yeast, and remaining basil (1 teaspoon), oregano (1/2 t.), salt(1/2 t.), and red pepper flakes. Stir the cooked rigatoni into the tofu.

Lightly coat a 4-quart casserole with vegetable oil spray. Spread a thin layer of the vegetable mixture over the bottom (you just want a little sauce there to keep the pasta from sticking). Place a layer of half the pasta mixture, then cover with half the sautéed vegetables; repeat layers.

Cover the casserole and bake it for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with soy Parmesan cheese, if you want.

Cooking the veggies and sauce.

The tofu and nutritional yeast mixture tasted like cheese!

Rigatoni out of the oven.

My whole family really enjoyed this recipe. It's a good way to hide tofu. I halved the amount of zucchini and added half a squash. I did not have fire roasted tomatoes so I used regular canned ones. I also did not add soy parmesan at the end. All and all it was a successful recipe!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Last Post For Two Days

That's right, we are leaving tomorrow to take my brother to college and I won't be back until late Friday night. It's so sad watching him pack all his stuff and having his friends come over to say goodbye. It's pritty tense in my house right now, and when I am stressed I bake. My brother really loves the banana bites (you can find them in past posts) so I baked some more and set aside some for him. Then I hid the rest in the fridge. It's hard to focus on food when my brother leaving but I can not forget to bring things for me to eat on this trip. We are going to have dinner at Panera Bread.

Food For The Trip
- Banana bites
- Bread and peanut butter
- Granola
- Cereal
- Soymilk (the hotel has a fridge)
- Apples

Spicy bean and corn dip
I do not ever post any side dish/party foods, so I decided it was time. Enjoy.
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. minced chipotle chiles (or 1/2 or jalepenos)
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
4 t. fresh lime
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup avocado
1 can black beans
1 can no salt whole corn (8 1/2 oz.)- or simmer 1 cob.
1 cupt diced tomatoes
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips. I used blue corn chips. You can also add it to a tortilla with some rice. Very tasty.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Can You Top This Pizza?

Grilled pizza with spinach, squash, and mushrooms

My Grilled Pizza Recipe

I am trying this new plan of never putting the same topping on a pizza twice. I used to always put mushrooms and peppers on my pizza (and cheese pre vegan, yuk). I don't really like vegan cheese too much because I like to taste the toppings and sauce. Now that I don't use cheese anymore, I want the pizza to be exploding with flavors from the vegetables. I also add a lot more sauce to the pizza then I ever did before.

I love spinach. Most peeple find it a little werid, but I just love the taste. As you can see, I added a lot of spinach to this pizza. I also used shiitake mushrooms that are hiding under the other toppings. The yellow stuff is pattypan squash from the farmers market. Its so tender that it melts in your mouth. To give the pizza a cheesie flavor, I mixed nutrirtional yeast into the sauce before adding it to he pizza. Just remember not to go overboard with toppings or they will fall of when you try to eat your pizza.

*I would love to hear suggestions for other toppings.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Stir Fries And A Morning Surprise

Stir Fry

Awww yeaaa! What Is more perfect and simple then a stir fry? It takes more time to cut the veggies then to cook the food. Great meal for when your pressed for time.

For this dinner I added squash, broccoli, zucchini, red peppers, and tofu. Then I added soy sauce and sesame oil after the veggies cooked a bit. So good!

I made banna bread bites again (recipe from vegan lunch box). I made a full batch this time, which was about 36. My family and I ate about half that amount when they came out of the oven. Then I put them in a container to be refrigerated (second picture). This morning I came down stairs to find that my brother had eaten all of them!! There had to be a least 18 in there! (Note the emty box in the third picture). Well the way I look at it is, I try hard to get my brother to eat vegan food and at least he was eating these insted of somthing eles.

I did save six in the fridge for me eat when we take my brother to college later this week, so it's not a total lose. I guess I need to make some more!

I Love Sundays Because Of..

The Farmers Market!!

Tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, pears, Broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, pattypan squah, crooknech squah, and some weird white squash.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Peanut Tofu And (More) Granola

The granola revolution

I ran out of granola so fast that I had to make another batch. This is half of my third batch of granola because I doubled the recipe so it would last longer. I have been topping my cereal, lOptimun Power Breakfast, off with home made granola every day .
The second picture is of my cereal on top of John Robin's Food Revolution. Which, by the way, is a must read book. My original granola recipe can be found here.

Griled Peanut Tofu

I love trying new marinades for tofu. I used the idea for the peanut noodle sauce to create a salty-sweet taste.

I mixed peanut butter, soy sauce, fresh garlic, and a few drops of sesame oil in a plastic bag and added the tofu. I let the flavors seep in for about 30 minutes in the fridge. Then I grilled the tofu for ten minutes on each side. I took the tofu off the grill and let it sit in the left over marinade for a few mintues.

It was good but I want to add more peanut butter next time. I will try to remeber to write down the amounts of what I use.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jumbo Size Bag of Organic Oats

For my first experiment with making granola, I used Quaker Oats. I really like organic foods. Most of the foods I use are organic so I decided to invest in organic rolled oats. I went to the health food store and got a jumbo size bag. Perfect. Now armed with my oats, I was ready to got crazy...

Almond and walnut granola

I loved the first batch of granola so much I just had to make more. I decided to use walnuts in this batch and found it better then the first batch. I started useing it on my cereal everyday. Any suggestions on what eles to add to the granola? You can find the original recipe here.

The healthiest banna oatmeal cookies in the world

Recipe from Vegan Lunch Box.

Nothing about these makes them cookies. They contain no wheat, sugar, salt, or oil (and naturaly, being vegan and all, no eggs or dairy either). You may be skeptical but they taste soo soo good. Think of the taste as a crunchier banna-nut bread. I used a mini ice cream scoop to make popable mini bites.

Yay! For Nutritional Yeast

It had been raining on and off all day yesterday, but I really wanted to make grilled pizza. I rushed to cooked the dough, flip, add the toppings, take it off, collect all my supplys, and run in the house before the very heavy downpour of rain. This pizza had a lot of determination used to make it and the made it taste evern better.
My grilled pizza recipe.

I also picked up nutritional yeast for the first time. I have heard many praises for it in various vegan cookbooks so I had to try it. For my first test, I sprinkled some on top of my pizza. Very yummy and light kick of a cheesie flavor. I have to go hunt for some more nutrirtional yeast recipes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Very "Back To Nature" Day

I have always wanted to make granola because people always joke that I am a "granola health food freak"; though I had never eaten it in my life. Maybe they had a point? So I decided to make some granola. I found the basic structure of granola from recipes from and made my own.
Today was my first day of volunteering at a wildlife sanctuay where I get to be outside for three hours. I have to remove invasive plants so they do not kill the good plants. I love learning the names for plants, birds, and insects. Then I got to help track wood turtles and mark them in the GSP system. The turtles were so cute!! Anyway, I love nature so this was the perfect day for me.

Almond Cinnamon Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine dry ingredience in a plastic container. Pour the maple syrup on top until everything is lightly saturated. (You can use more if you think you need it, but if you use to much your granola will be a hunk.)

Cover the container and let it dry in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the flavors to seep in. (If you must have granola you can just cook it now, but the drying overnight really enhances the flavors).

The next day:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spred the granola out in a single layer. Bake for 7 minutes (depending on the oven). The granola should be completly dry and crunchy when cool. Enjoy with your favorite vegan milk of choice (I like vanilla soy) or just take along plain.

This was so easy to make and came out so tasty. I added it to my cereal. I want to experiment with other ingredience. Different nuts and raisins, Ill keep you posted.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Grilled Summer Dinner

BBQ tofu with two kinds of grilled squash, purple green beans, and sweet corn

I went to the farmers market again on sunday and decided to use the great vegetables I got that day to make a fresh grilled sunday dinner.

I chopped some crooked neck squash, pattypan squash, purple green beans (they turn green when cooked), and corn that I broke in half and put them all in a bowl. I put on some olive oil, salt, and pepper and tossed.

I took some Annie's Natural Organic BBQ Sauce, which is the most amazing BBQ sauce ever, and slathered it all over a 1 inch slice of frim tofu. If you put some knife slits in the tofu it helps the sauce flavor go into it. Then I let that sit for about 30 minutes before grilling. The longer it sits the better (any time longer then 30 minutes of sitting should be done in the fridge. 24 hours is the best but anymore time after that is just insane)

Then I grilled every thing up and ate outside. Perfect night.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mushroom Risotto

I looked up a ton of different risotto recipes until I decided to take what I had learned and create my own. Give your self plenty of time before starting this recipe because it takes a while to make and you have to stir the entire time but is well worth it. You have to use arborio rice or it is not really risotto and you can use what ever mushrooms you have on hand. I used cremini mushrooms here but one cup of cremini and one cup of shiitake would be really yummy.

Kate's Mushroom Risotto

1 Onion chopped
4 gloves of crushed garlic
2 2/3 cup arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh tyme
1/4 cup fresh rosemarry

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Pour boiling water up to the 2 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes and take out the tomatoes and dice them. Save the water in the cup.

In a pan, combine the onion and garlic. Stir until lightly cooked.

Add the rice and stir for about 5 minutes. Then add the water that you set aside.

Cup by cup add the vegatalbe stock, only adding the next once the stock has been absorbed; about 5 minutes. STIR CONTINOUSLY OR THE RICE WILL STICK AND BURN.

Once all the stock has been added, add the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. Cook until rice is very soft and the mushrooms are tender.

Add the tyme and rosemarry.

You can also add a few drops of truffle oil to each plate. It gives it a really earthy flavor that few can resist.

Lunch Time

Tofu, spinach, and tomato sandwich

I usualy do not cook at lunch time but somtimes I just get in the mood. This is the first way I ever had tofu served to me and it still stands as one of my favorites.

All you have to do is cut the tofu in thin squares and cook it in a pan for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden. Then you add soy sauce to the pan and add the spinach. You let that cook for about 2 minutes and serve with tomatoes or anything eles (avocado is always good) on whole wheat bread.

Peanut Noodles

This is one of those amazing recipes that just happens to be vegan. The peanut butter (legume) and udon noodles (grain) also make it a complete protien, sweet right? Udon noodles can be found at an Asian grocery or specialty foods store. You can make these with other types of noodles if your want, but the udon noodles really makes the dish authentic.

Udon Noodles with peanut sauce
6 T. water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (if you use natural then add 4 T. of sugar)
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 t. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 t. dark sesame oil
1/2 t. cornstarch
2 garlic cloves, minced
a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes (if you want spicy noodles)
8 oz. uncooked udon noodles
random veggies

Combine first 10 ingredients in a small sauce pan; stir with a whist until blended, Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, stiring constantly.

Cook noodles in boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain well. Add sauce to noobles and top with your favorite veggies. I used squash, Japanese zuchini, red pepper, and spinach.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Freshness Continues

Tofu and mixed vegatable stir fry

I got home late and wanted somthing fast and easy so I cut up so farmers market vegatables and tofu and had myself a nice 9:00 dinner. *Note the sweet dragon fly plate I got from the Chinees grocery store.

I used red pepper, regular squash (market), broccoli (market), cremini mushrooms, spinach, and firm tofu and did them in the wok with soy sauce. I made quinoa on the side because it has a similar texture to brown rice.

If you have not already noticed, my camera's picture quality is absoltuley horrible. I am using an Olypus D-380 which is about the size of my whole hand. At 2.0 megapixels the pictures are always crap so just bare with me with food pictures and use tour imagination when needed.
Some day I will get a better camera.