Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the name of this title is secret...

is actually a title of one my kids favorite books.  I just typed it because I had no idea what to title this blog.  Who decided we needed a title for a blog entry.
Yesterday's Hoppin' John Salad was amazing!  My picky eater thought it was okay and so did my not so picky eater.  They didn't like the Kwik Kale, which was fine.  It was a bit bitter.  Maybe I cooked it for too long?  I never ate, much less cooked, kale before yesterday.  It was quite an adventure for my taste buds.

Dinner for Day 2 is Southern Beans and Greens and Couscous Confetti Salad.

Couscous Confetti Salad
makes about 8 1-cup servings

1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat couscous
2 cups boiling water
3-4 green onions, finely chopped, including tops
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 carrot grated
1-2 cups finely shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsps salt

in a large bowl, combine couscous and boiling water.
stir to mix, then cover and let stand until all the water has been absorbed, 5-10 minutes.
fluff with a fork.
add green onions, bell pepper, carrot, cabbage, parsley, and raisins or apricots.
in a small bowl mix lemon juice vinegar, oil, curry powder, and salt.
add to salad and toss to mix.
serve at room temperature or chilled.

Southern Beans and Greens
1 cup vegetable broth or water
3 cups drained cooked or canned beans (any you have on hand is good)
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
4 cups chopped fresh kale, stems and center ribs removed, lightly packed
1 tsp olive oil
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
tabasco sauce, to taste

combine beans, broth or water, and garlic in a large saucepan.
place chopped kale on top of beans and bring to a boil.
cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until kale is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
remove from heat and stir in oil, salt, black pepper, and tabasco sauce to taste.

These and other recipes could be found at http://www.21daykickstart.org/

Monday, November 15, 2010

so I found this app...

...from PCRM's 21-day vegan kickstart program.  There is a list of recipes and suggestions for every meal everyday for 21 days.  Very interesting recipes into day 1.  I am going to try to follow it.  I so need to get away from all dairy.  Cheese is my weakness.  Also I am trying to lose a few inches. ;-/
I hope the kids will eat it.

Hoppin' John Salad
Makes about 10
1/2 cup serving size

2 cups cooked black-eyes peas or 1 15oz can black-eyed peas drained (I couldn't find the canned version so dinner will be after sunset around 7ish )
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tomato diced
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

combine black-eyed peas, rice, green onions, celery, tomato, and parsley in a mixing bowl.
in a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil, salt, and garlic and pour over the salad.  toss gently.
chill 1-2 hours, if time permits.

Kwick Kale
makes 4 servings
1/2 cup water
1 bunch kale
2 tsps seasoned rice vinegar

wash kale, remove stems and chop leaves into 1/2 inch strips.
heat water in large skillet with a lid.
when boiling, add kale.
cover and cook over medium heat until greens are bright green and tender, about 5 minutes
sprinkly with vinegar and stir to heat.
serve warm

Also on a side note a lot of the ingredients, so far, I already have on hand.  I went to the store and bought only what I needed for dinner and spent under $5.  Good to always have on hand: brown rice, garlic, lemon juice and celery.  I already had seasoned rice vinegar which seems to last forever because you use only a tiny bit everytime.
Sorry about the typos.  Kids are waiting for AWANA study time.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yum Soup....

It has been raining for the past couple days almost at a steady rate. I love the rain in the evening and most weekends when I do not have to be out and about. Yesterday I was inspired when I saw some people posting the want/need of soup during the rainy season. I lived on soup as a kid. My grandmother used make it all the time for me with different vegetables. My favorite were pumpkin soup and sweet potato soup. I couldn't get enough of it!

These recipes takes some planning. They were taken from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfelf and adjusted to my own tastes.

Meatball Soup

3 ounces whole wheat pasta shapes (I used bowties because the look so elegant and fancy)
nonstick cooking spray (I finally bought one of those empty cooking spray canisters and now my life is almost complete)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice (mine had basil and it was good)
1/4 cup carrot puree
1 1/2 tsps salt
3 cups reduced-fat low-sodium beef or chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
3 slices whole wheat bread, cubed
1 large egg, lightly beaten (I used egg replacer. They are a bit costly but lasts forever)
1/4 cup nonfat (skim) milk (soy milk here)
2 tbsps grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 pound lean ground turkey (I used a veggie burger crumbled)
salt to taste

cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente. drain in a colander and set aside.
coat a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. when the pot is hot, add the oil and then the onion and garlic. cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened but not browned 3 minutes. be careful not to burn the garlic because it will be bitter.
puree the tomatoes and their juice with the carrot puree in a food processor or blender, then add to the pot along with 1/2 tsp salt. add the broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes.
meanwhile, put the bread in a large bowl. add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, parmesan, 1 tsp salt, the pepper and paprika, and let soak until the bread is very soft. stir to break the bread, add the ground turkey, and mix until smooth. form into mini meatballs 1/2 inch in diameter (I didn't. Mine were about 1 inch and were fine).
add the meatballs to the pot. simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, 12-15 minutes. stir in the pasta.
salt to taste
serve sprinkled with parmesan.

Banana Bread
nonstick cooking spray
3/4 whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional but yummy)
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups banana puree
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

I dumped everything in my bread machine from wettest to dryest and walked away but you don't have to.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. coat a loaf pan or 2 mini pans with cooking spray.
in a bowl or a zipped lock bag, mix the flours with the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, if using. set aside
in a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until well combined. mix in the egg whites, banana and cauliflower purees, and vanilla. add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.
pour the batter into the loaf pan. bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 55-60 minutes for the large loaf, 25-30 minutes for the mini loaves. let cool on a rack for 5 minutes. then turn the bread out of the pan to cool before serving.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Vegetarian Paella

Yesterday I had a pretty good visit with the twinnies (granddaughters). Yesterdays dinner was eaten with gusto. Except when I tried to feed them green peas. The youngest of the twins is quite talented in spitting them out but keeping everything else in her mouth. Besides that they were such good vegan eaters. Here, with me, they eat from my vegan dishes and drink soy milk. They listen to everything from salsa and merengue to music from Vacation Bible School and Mozart for Kids. I love them babies.

2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 ozs green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 9 oz package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp saffron threads
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 cup white or valencia rice
8 oz vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 oz oyster mushrooms, stemmed trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
1 lemon cut into 4-6 wedges

heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat.
add the onion, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
transfer the onion to a 6 quart slow cooker.
stir in the bell pepper, green beans, tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts, kidney beans, stock, pepper flakes, saffron, and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
cover and cook on low for 4 hours
stir in the rice, cover and cook on low for another hour, until the rice is tender.
meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. a
add the sausage links and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
remove from the pan and set aside.
add the oyster mushrooms to the same pan and cook, stirring until tender, about 3 minutes.
about 10 minutes before ready to serve stir the sausage links, oyster mushrooms and peas into the paella.
cover and finish cooking.
serve garnished with the parsley and lemon wedges.

For all those who work outside of the home, you can do this!
Go to your local hardware store and purchase an electric timer. You can schedule the timer to turn on and off the crockpot. It is an added bonus together with the slow-cooker for easy healthy meals and so much cheaper in the long run when you add up all the restaurant/fast food you will order instead when you are too busy or tired to cook. You can even prepare everything the night before in the crockpot and in the morning you just remove from the fridge, plug it in and forget about it.

This, again, is from the cookbook Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Go and get it from your local library!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Veggie Jambalaya

Yesterday I stopped at Staples to pickup a few things I wanted to organize the coupons, the finances/receipts. So many back to school things. Glittery pencil cases to backpacks with the infamous Jonas Brothers took over half of the store. I did not pick any of it up because I wanted to be on target. I picked up what I needed and walk out. I am so proud of myself!
It was relaxing to come home after all our errands to they yummy smells of the jambalaya I had in the crockpot. It was like coming home and thinking I had my own personal chef cooking up a storm while I was out and about with my children.

2 tbsps olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 celery rib, minced
1 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup water
2 tsps creole seasonings
salt and black pepper
8 oz vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1 inc pieces
tabasco sauce

heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.
cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
transfer to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
add the beans, tomatoes, water, creole seasonings. salt and pepper, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
just before serving time, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil into the skillet over medium heat.
add the sausage link pieces and cook until browned, then add to the jambalaya along with tabasco sauce to taste.

About the beans...
on Sunday I slow cook whatever beans I use for the week in the crockpot. I have 2 so it makes it real easy on me and my wallet since it is cheaper to buy them dry than canned. Besides, who wants the extra salt in their diets?
I also did not use tabasco sauce since I am not a fan and it really didn't need it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Chili

This is the coldest summer since living here in the valley. We have been waking up in the 50s and 60s. I think we have dipped in the pool a handful of times (besides the kids' swimming lessons). In fact, I still have the 2 bottle of sunscreen I bought in June. Usually I have gone through them by July. One is still unopen. We haven't visited our favorite beaches. School days will be here again before we know it. Husband will be back to school. We are winding down with all our activities in the libraries. I am still cooking with my crockpot through the rest of this season and autumn.

This is another recipe pulled from the Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker...

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsps chili powder
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups slow-cooked or 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
1 4oz can diced green chiles, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper

heat the oil in a large skilled over medium heat.
add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cover and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes.
stir in the chili powder and cook about 30 seconds longer.
transfer the mixture to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
add the tomatoes, beans, water and chiles, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
or if you are like me, on high for 3-4 hours because I took my sweet time getting it together.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

adobo...get rid of the MSG

Living here in California I've had a helluva time finding, what I thought were, simple things for my meals. Adobo and sofrito, a staple in every Puertorican and Dominican home, is like finding an aguja in a pajar. Searching online and I found the closest thing to adobo. I use this in place of salt for more flavorful dish. Once you go adobo, you never go back to plain old sea salt.

Makes 1 cup

6 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons ground oregano

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Now this is for the ladies....

Yesterday I went for my yearly mammogram. I had a different technologist than previous years. She was a little rough with my breasts and made the experience horrible.
I know I have to do this.
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2010:
*About 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
*About 54,010 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
*About 39,840 deaths from breast cancer (women)
*Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

So ladies, check your boobies!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

it's getting hot in here.....

I love the summer even when it gets hot. I would rather walk around my house with very little on that winter when you are piling on the layers. I love my crockpot today! This will be good with brown rice or just alone if you roll like that.

Curried Chickpeas with Fresh Ginger and Cilantro
2 cups dried chickpease
6 cups water
1 red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom pods
1 1/2 tsps pure chili powder
1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon
plain yogurt for serving
3 fresh serrano chiles, seeded, deveined, and cut into julienne, for garnish
a few fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

rinse the chicpeas and place them in the slow cooker along with the water. cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the chickpeas are tender
in a large saute pan, brwon the onion in the sesame oil until dark brown in color about 15 minutes.
combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, chile powder, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne in small blender or pestle and grind to a course powder.
add the coursely ground spices to the onion and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, then add the onion and spices to the cooked chicpeas. recover and continue cooking for another 30-60 minutes.

using an immersion blender puree some of the chickpeas in the crockpot to thicken the mixture.
add salt to taste, then stir in the lemon juice. ladle into bowls, add a dollop of yogurt and garnish with the chile slices and cilantro leaves.

Gotta run so I am going to publish this post with all its errors cause I got to get the kids out of the pool and dressed to get to dance class!

side note

the breakfast last night was delish. I would recommend little to no extra milk. Even my little picky eater loved it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I think I was from India in another life

I love the smells of India. The spices and curry sauces makes me smile.
This morning I decided to try a recipe from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Lynn Alley.
Tonight we are going to have breakfast for dinner....

Spiced Basmati Rice Breakfast Cereal
serves 4
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
3 1/2 cups water or soymilk (I used water)
1 1/2 sticks cinammon
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup currants or raisins (raisins because we always have raisins at home)
2 cups milk, heavy cream, rice milk, or soymilk (I will be using soymilk)
3 tbsps coconut, flaked and toasted
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds coursely chopped and toasted (I am using 1/2 and 1/2)
honey, for drizzling (optional) NOT using

Place the rice and water in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low about 8 hours (or overnight if you want this first thing in the morning).
In the morning or after 8 hours grind the cinnamon, cardamom pods, and nutmeg to a powder in an electric coffee mill or a mortar and pestle or whatever you use to grind stuff.
add the currants or raisins and spices to the rice and stir in 15 minutes before serving.
divide the rice among 4 cereal bowls and pour 1/2 cup milk on top of each serving.
Sprinkle each bowl with the toasted coconut and nuts. drizzle if you like with honey.

She also suggests a cup of hot spiced chai to complete this dish.

Yes, Please!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Need More Protein

For a few weeks I have been keeping count on the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein I consume. I really need to up the protein in my diet and try less carbs. I found this list on www.vrg.org

Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods

Tempeh 1 cup 41 9.3
Seitan 3 ounces 31 22.1
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 29 9.6
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 18 7.8
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.7
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 13 6.4
Veggie burger 1 patty 13 13.0
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 12 4.2
Veggie baked beans 1 cup 12 5.0
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 12 5.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 11 6.2
Tofu, firm 4 ounces 11 11.7
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 10 5.7
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 9 3.5
Tofu, regular 4 ounces 9 10.6
Bagel 1 med.
(3 oz) 9 3.9
Peas, cooked 1 cup 9 6.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked 1/2 cup 8 8.4
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp 8 4.3
Veggie dog 1 link 8 13.3
Spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 8 3.7
Almonds 1/4 cup 8 3.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain 1 cup 7 7.0
Soy yogurt, plain 6 ounces 6 4.0
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 6 3.7
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 3.3
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 5 3.9
Cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5 2.4
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 5 2.1
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 5 13.0
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4 6.8
Potato 1 med.
(6 oz) 4 2.7
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers' information.
The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).

So for dinner I think I will make some veggie burgers with broccoli and spinach.

Monday, May 24, 2010

horrible no good very bad food

That is what I encountered visiting a local Puertorican restaurant. The food was not tasty at all. The beans were watery and had no taste. The rice were okay. Ordering a vegetarian plate only took away the meat and did not add anything. No vegetables. I ordered a side of platanos because that was the only thing on the menu I could have with it. I was so disappointed. Even my husband was disappointed. He had chuletas and he said it had no taste. That night I kept thinking about how they can do better. Obviously people were ok with their mediocre menu. They had to turn people away because the restaurant was teeny tiny. I went to bodegas bigger than this place. But oh if you would just add some yuca, batatas, yautia, Season it with some adobo, garlic, sofrito dipping sauces WHATEVER. Then it dawned on me. Living at home with my Puertorican mom and Dominican dad, I didn't eat much vegetables unless it is was in a sancocho. My Dominican grandmother would make vegetable stews for me all the time.
Vegetables aren't that much expensive than buying a big ass pernil. Buying vegetables in season are the way to go to keep your grocery bill low.
Tonight this is our dinner....

Basic Yellow Rice
2 tbsps annatto oil plus 1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups brown rice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tsps salt

heat the oil in a pot. Add the rice and stir to combine. Pour in the vegetable stock and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the broth evaporates. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.

Platano Relleno de 'Carne'
2 cups olive oil
6 ripe but firm yellow plantains, peeled
relleno de 'carne'
1/4 lb vegan cheddar cheese

preheat the oven to 350. heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the plantains until golden brown. drain on paper towels. make a slit in each plantain from top to bottom. fill each 2 1/2 tbsps of the relleno de 'carne'. sprinkle the cheese on top. bake for 15 minutes. enjoy!

Relleno de Carne
3 lbs TVP or any vegan 'ground beef'
1 cup chopped manzanilla olives
1 1/2 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup recaito
1/2 cup golden raisins
adobo to taste

brown the tvp in a skillet over medium heat. add everything and cook for 10 minutes.

take that you Puertorican restaurant in LA County!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sopa de Fideos sin Pollo

This is super easy and can cure the snot out of you.

2lbs of seitan cut into pieces
8 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of sofrito
4 ozs of angel pasta (made with rice flour)
1 1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup brown rice
1 tbsp adobo

bring the seitan, stock, and sofrito to a boil in a pot.
add the pasta, potatoes, brown rice, adobo and cilantro to a second boil.
reduce the heat to low and cook for 30-45 minutes.
Serve immediately.

I made some sourdough bread and ate that together with the soup. Was so delicioso.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Asopao sin Pollo

What Caribbean didn't grow up eating Asopao de Pollo? My Asopao sin Pollo was so good that I even heated some up for breakfast. Que rico!

2 lbs seitan cut up into bite size pieces
3 tbsp annatto oil
4 ozs field roast (any flavor will do) diced
1/2 cup of sofrito
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup alcaparrado
6 cups water
2 cups brown rice
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup diced pimientos

Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the field roast over medium heat.
Add the sofrito, tomato sauce, and alcaparrado.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the seitan and water and bring to a boil.
Stir in the rice, salt and pepper,
Lower the heat.
Cover and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes until the rice is cooked.
This is a thick soup so don't be alarmed if it is not watery.
Serve immediately and garnish with pimientos.

This is a really good hearty and filling meal. Brown bag it for the next days lunch. Or like me and have it for breakfast.
Seitan can be found in your local health food store like Whole Foods. Annatto oil is 2 cups of olive oil and 2 ozs of annatto seeds. Cook together in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes. Let it cool and strain it into a jar. Should keep away from heat and light like you would with any oils. Alcaparrado, sofrito, and pimientos can be found in Caribbean food stores. If you are lucky, you can find it at any supermarket but here I have to rely on the Cuban supermarket.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

my vegan sancocho

a different twist on the winter staple in my grandmother's house.

1/4 lb of field roast (found in the refrigerated section of the health food store)
4 quarts of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of sofrito
1 cup tomato sauce
1 lb each pumpkin, yautia, yam and cassava peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes (during the off season you can find all of this in the freezer section. My local Cuban grocery store was the best find
2 green platanos peeled and cut in 2 inch pieces
corn on the cob in small pieces (can be found in the freezer section)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 quart of water

In a big soup pot, combine the first 5 ingredients, including all the root vegetables.
Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to another boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
10 sweet chili peppers, tops removed and seeded
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 onions, cut into large chunks
3 medium heads garlic, peeled
75 cilantro leaves with stems or how many you can get your hands on
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

In a food processor, combine green peppers, red peppers, sweet chili peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper. Process to the consistency of semi-chunky salsa (not watery). Place in a ziplock freezer bag, and use as needed, or freeze in portions.

I finally perfected the sofrito of old without the lard and ham. and tweaked a bit because in California I am not lucky to find the recao.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pinto Picadillo

Right now I am soaking 1 lb of pinto beans and will put it in the slow-cooker overnight (about 8 hrs on low). In the morning while waiting for the water to boil in my teakettle, I heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 red pepper seeded and chopped, covered and cook for about 5 minutes. It will save you lots of time in the morning if you chopped and minced and in the freezer over the weekend. Transfer the vegetables to a slow cooker. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, 3 cups slow-cooked or 2 cans of pinto beans, 1 small can diced green chiles, 1 peeled, cored and chopped granny smith apple, 1 cup of vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hrs. 10 before serving, stir in 2 cups of cooked brown rice, 1/2 cup of golden raisins, 1/4 cup sliced black olives, fresh parsley leaves and toasted slivered almonds.


recipe from the Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson

introducing my new BFF....slow cooker

Dusted off my 6qt slow cooker a few weeks ago and have been cooking faithfully Monday-Friday using recipes from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I forgot how much I love that darn thing and loving even more how functional it is and it works for ME. I made so many leftovers and have been packing it in freezer bags that I have no more space in the freezer which means I will catch a break and not cook for next week and maybe the week after.

I cooked black bean soup, Moroccan-style lentil and chickpea soup, sweet and spicy lentil stew, farm-stand chili with chickpeas, spicy black bean chili, three-bean chili with chive-flecked cornmeal dumplings, chipotle-kissed red bean and sweet potato chili, spicy white bean and sweet potato stew with collards, maple baked beans, Greek big beans, what a Dal, sloppy lentils, and pintos picadillo.

All I really needed to do was saute a few onions, garlic and bell peppers then dump into the slow cooker with the other key ingredients. I then either baked bread for the chilis or brown rice for the beans.

There is planning to be done. I continued with my weekly planning and shopping trips. After I put everything away I washed and chopped or minced the veggies. Soaked dry beans overnight and cooked the night before.
Why did I do this? Time has to be set aside to cook wholesome meals. If you are busy with school/work you really don't want to end up going through the drive-thru or coming home and opening the fridge/pantry/freezer trying to find something to feed your family.

I ain't going to lie when I tell you that the kids are picky but I make them try the meals. They do end up liking some and not liking all. They either eat it or make a sandwich. My youngest is very picky and has texture issues and if it's either too tastey or too bland. Nothing makes her happy but she does like some of the beans which is a huge plus. Veggies are eaten raw or cooked. Whatever. Most days what I cook is good enough.

Having a vegan ice cream sandwich is a great incentive.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

stay tuned

Your crockpot can be your bestfriend....

Friday, February 5, 2010

asian foods

This past weekend I went to HK Market. Their customer service sucks but they have the most amazing foods and really inexpensive. Tofu was so cheap I was tempted to buy a box. I did, though, purchase ingredients for potstickers. My kids love it and have no idea the tofu and veggie goodness inside.


1/2 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped bok choy
1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers
2 tablespoons oil for frying the dumplings

Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings.

Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper.

Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier).

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok.When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve the potstickers with the burnt side on top, with potsticker dipping sauce or soy sauce mixed with minced ginger for dipping.

Also I came across this cookbook and have it on my book list. It is called Eat Cheap but Eat Well. I came across it at the library and liked it. There are some meat dishes and yummy veggie dishes. Eat Cheap but Eat Well

Stay warm and dry my Los Angeles friends.

Monday, January 25, 2010

watch me trickem

spaghetti and meatballs

1/2 lb TVP or whatever ground meat of your choosing
1 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat is best)
1/2 cup butternut squash puree
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp black pepper
nonstick cooking spray
2 tsps olive oil
1 (26 oz) can whole peeled tomatores w/their juices, pureed in a blender
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup carrot puree (optional) but doesn't hurt to use it
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (this you can omit esp. if you have picky eaters)
1 bay leaf
1lb whole wheat spaghetti or angel hair pasta

in a large bowl, mix the meat, breadcrumbs, butternut squash puree, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper until well combined. shape the mixture into 1 inch meatballs and place on a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil.
coat a large nonstick skillet w/ cooking spray and set it over high heat. when the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and then the meatballs and brown for 4-5 minutes turning occasionally.
add the pureed tomatoes, water, carrot puree, garlic powder, cayenne, bay leaf and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the beatballs are no longer pink in the center. remove the bay leaf.
meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

They did not have a clue.
Thank you Deceptively Delicious.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

so easy mozzarella sticks

Another stormy day here in LA. It is very cold here. Outside it is 49 degrees and for those who have lived here knows this is almost the point of freezing weather. My central heating seems to be not functioning so I really need to call the landlady's lady friend who is managing this place.

Mozzarella Sticks

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tbsp flax seed meal
1 cup shredded mozzarella (if you are dare try to find the ones that melt in the vegan 'dairy' section.
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
1 tbsp cornstarch
nonstick cooking spray (I used olive oil cooking spray)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

in a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the flax seed meal.
in a second large bowl, stir together the mozzarella, cauliflower puree, and cornstarch until well combined. shape into logs (the recipe say 8 logs but some how I ended with 6). Gently roll each log in the breadcrumbs, then wrap in aluminum foil or waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes.
coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. when the pan is hot, add the oil. arrange the mozzarella sticks in the pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. cook for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally until the crumb coating begins to brown. sprinkle with salt and serve with ketchup.

I had not enough ketchup so............

1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/4 cup water
2 tbsps apple-cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp chili powder to taste (I did not add this)

stir all the ingredients together in a big saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by about half, 15 - 20 minutes. let cool before serving (stick in the freezer together with the uncooked mozzarella sticks.
whatever you do not use refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze in zipper-lock snack bags for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

We are on our third day of pouring rain, heavy winds, and flood warnings. We even had a tornado watch! To be honest, I am so tired of all of this yuckiness coming down.

This week I have been cooking using recipes from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I received this a Christmas gift a few years ago. It is has some pretty simple recipes and nutritious and satisfying even for adults.

Last night I made some mashed potatoes and vegan steaks with mushroom gravy. I was a happy little girl.

1lb baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
2 tbsps butter
1/2 cup buttermilk

put the potatoes and salt in a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes (or steam them for about 30 minutes) Drain well in a colander. Mash with a potato masher (I can't seem to find mine so I put in 2 potatoes at a time in a food processor). Add the cauliflower puree, margarine and buttermilk, and beat with a large spoon until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.
If you don't have alot of time peeling and cubing potatoes, I don't see anything wrong with use the tub of mashed potatoes that rehydrate w/ water. As long as you look through the ingredients and the only thing in there is mashed potatoes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

moving is a horrible time

I hope not to move for a long time.
Stay tuned next week as I continue to open boxes and try to find my sneakers.

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