Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making seitan is way easier than I thought!

Anyone that lives in Manitoba knows that today was a miserable day.  The sun never came out, it rained and rained (and in some cases snowed) all day long.  Not the way that I like to say goodbye to April, especially considering that we haven't spent much time inside all week!  We've gotten used to the nice weather and now..   BAM..  All of that is besides the point though, today we needed exactly this kind of meal.  A seitan "meat and potato" stew, some garlic rolls, and a crisp green salad.  It really hit the spot!  I made the seitan from Veganomicon (thanks for the suggesting Heather!) and got the stew recipe from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook.  Please excuse the photo quality as my battery died right after the first (not in focus shot) and I didn't have time to recharge it (we were hungry!!!).

Seitan Stew

 1 chopped onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
5 diced potatoes
3 sliced carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 lb seitan, cubed
1 tsp italian seasonings
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

*In a stock pot, saute onion and onion until soft.
*Add potatoes, carrots, broth, and seasonings (except parsley) and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
*In a frying pan, saute seitan until browned on each side
*Mash stew several times and then stir in seitan. 
*Cook for 5 more minutes and then top with parsley.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pizza on a Thursday :)

Tomorrow is my first baby's 8th birthday!  8!  We are having her grandparents over for a bbq and cake so I thought we would have pizza today instead.  While looking through my old blog posts and I realized that I've never actually posted my pizza recipe so here it is. We just had a cheese pizza with some raw vegetables.  Simple and delicious!

Pizza Dough

2 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp yeast
2 tbsp honey
4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
olive oil

*Mix together water, yeast and honey.  Set aside for 10 minutes.
*In a large bowl combine flour and salt, mix in yeast mixture.
*Knead for 6-7 minutes and cover in oil.
*Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

 1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water 
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme

*Whisk together paste, water and oil.
*Add in remaining ingredients and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Burger Wednesday!

My most favourite burger cookbook has gone missing!  It's true!  I don't know if I gave it to someone or put it down somewhere in the house, but either way I can't find it :(  Anyway, my friend Shannon makes some bulgur burgers and the other day on Best Recipes Ever I saw another version of them!  Obviously I took this as a sign that I should be adding them to our menu, so here is my version.  We had the burgers with some mashed yams and a simple green salad. 

Black Bean and Bulgur Burgers

1 1/2 cups bulgur
3 cups water
3 cups cooked black beans
1 chopped onion
1 chopped shallot
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups finely diced mushrooms
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups oats
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
 salt and pepper
3/4 tsp thyme
2 tsp cumin

*Bring water and bulgur to a boil, cover and remove from heat, let sit for 20 minutes
*Saute onion, shallot, and garlic in a skillet until soft
*Add mushrooms and stock and simmer until reduced
*Mash black beans in a large bowl, add bulgur, and onion mixture
*Add oats, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and cumin
*Form into 8-10 patties and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
*Cook on bbq for 7-8 minutes per side

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April's Slow Cooker Curry!

My friend April assured me that this was THE BEST curry ever, so I figured I should try it out!  She was right, it was pretty darned good.  It would have been even better if my swiss chard hadn't gone bad in the fridge and if any of the three grocery stores I sent my husband to had it in stock.  I was a little miffed about that (can you tell?)...  I liked this recipe because it only has to cook for 4 hours and so its good if you haven't had a chance to put things together in the morning and have to do it at lunch!  We had this curry with some brown rice, steamed broccoli, and (of course) samosas from India Palace.

April's Butternut and Chickpea Curry

 2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups cubed potato
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
3 tbsp curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups finely shredded swiss chard  :(
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

*In a slow cooker, combine squash, potato, and chickpeas
*In a skillet, saute onion, garlic and ginger for about 7 minutes
*Add curry paste and stir in until fragrant
*Add to slow cooker, along with coconut milk, stock, peanut butter and salt
*Cook on low for 4 hours
*Add swiss chard and peas, turn slow cooker on high, cook for 15 minutes
*Serve with chopped cilantro

Monday, April 25, 2011

Menu Plan for the week of April 26

Tuesday: April's Chickpea Curry, rice, and steamed broccoli
Wednesday: Black Bean and bulgur burgers, mashed yams, and brussel sprouts
Thursday: Pizza and raw veggies
Friday: (BIG BIRTHDAY!!) lentil burgers, salad, corn on the cob and grilled asparagus, maybe potatoes?
Saturday: Seitan stew, garlic rolls, and a green salad
Sunday: Vegetable upside-down casserole, mixed bean salad, and...
Monday: Cream cheese pasta, tofu salad, and something else :p
Tuesday: Southwestern corn and roasted red pepper soup, sourdough bread, and a green salad

Whole Wheat Bread!

When I was making my menu last week I forgot that because today is technically a holiday, dance class would be cancelled.  I was SURE my favourite 2 year old would love tonight's meal because the only thing she ever tells me that she likes is peanut butter sandwiches.  We had peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches on fresh whole wheat bread, fruit salad, and some raw vegetables.  Unfortunately the little miss was not here to enjoy it but I can always make it again :)  This is one of my favourite bread recipes.  Last year, while nesting, I think I made at least 15 loaves to freeze for bebe's arrival.  Not one was left when she arrived (2 weeks late) but they were enjoyed nonetheless.

Whole Wheat Bread

1/4 cup butter
1 cup hot water
1 cup brown sugar
3 packages yeast
4 cups warm water
4 tbsp honey
3 tsp salt
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
9 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour

*In a small bowl, whisk together butter, hot water and brown sugar until dissolved.
*In a large bowl, combine warm water and yeast and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
*Add honey, salt, wheat gluten, butter mixture and all purpose flour.  Mix well.
*Add remaining flour one cup at a time until you have a stiff dough.
*Remove from bowl and knead well (at least 10 minutes)
*Place in a well oiled bowl and let rise until doubled (about an hour)
*Punch down and divide into 4.  Place in greased loaf pans and let rise for 1 more hour.
*Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Dinner

I think today there might have been too much food, even for this foodie.  It started yesterday when I made the mashed potatoes, ratatouille and started the tofurkey.  After church and swimming (our Sunday morning tradition!) I almost immediately got to work on the rest of our Easter supper.  It was a beautiful day (finally!) and I could hear the kids playing outside and feel the lovely breeze.  I spent a bit of time (while the rolls were rising) sitting with a neighbour on her porch.  It was a perfect day.  I can hardly move now though, from both sheer exhaustion and because I am pretty sure that I am literally stuffed full of food.


  So from the top, I have: the super easy cranberry sauce (sugar, water, cranberries, orange zest),steamed vegetables, apple pie (the only change I had was using slightly more apples), vegetarian gravy, Amy's super wicked mashed potatoes, quinoa rolls, tofurkey (which didn't at all hold up like the pictures BUT it did taste good!, ratatouille (I found this recipe in the Metro a few weeks ago), and stuffing (box mix that I added craisins, yellow and red onion, and celery to).

Amy's Super Wicked Mashed Potatoes

10 medium potatoes, boiled until very tender
1/4 cup butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs

*Mash together potatoes, butter, cream cheese, and sour cream
*Add salt and pepper to taste
*Transfer to a greased baking dish
*In a small bowl, mix together melted butter and bread crumbs, top potato mixture
*Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking
*Bake at 350 for 45 minutes


 2 tbsp olive oil
2 sliced yellow onions
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 diced red pepper
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
3-4 sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups comte cheese (or gruyere)

*In a large skillet, saute onion, garlic and pepper for 10 minutes.
*Add basil, thyme, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
*Spread a third of the tomato mixture over the bottom of a deep dish pie pan.
*Arrange a third of the zucchini on top, then a third of the cheese.  Repeat the layering two more times.
*Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Such a rebel!

This is the third day in a row that I haven't followed my planned menu.  I know, I'm as shocked as you are!  Today we are hosting a poker party for a good friend and so my parents took the three older kids for a sleepover.  I decided to take advantage of that and have some India Palace for dinner.  It was so delicious (and filling!).  A few days ago I was googling some fun dessert ideas and came across this AWESOME recipe for Strawberry Margarita Pie!  I think I was out the door to buy tequila in about.... 3 minutes.  It was very easy to make but it did have to freeze for 8+ hours so you have to plan ahead.  You should all try it, really, it is THAT good.

Strawberry Margarita Pie

2 1/2 cups salted pretzel sticks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
 20 oz strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2 tbsp sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
9 oz mascarpone cheese
6 tbsp tequila I added more
1 tbsp grated lime zest
2 tbsp lime juice

*Thinly slice 3/4 cup of the strawberries and set aside
*Cut remaining strawberries in half and toss with 2 tbsp sugar.  Place on a baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.
*Add pretzels and 1/3 cup sugar in food processor, pulse until fine.  Add butter and mix until crumbly.
*Place in a greased 9 inch pie plate and press down evenly on bottom and sides.
*In the food processor, add strawberries from the freezer, condensed milk, cheese, tequila, lime juice and zest.  Blend until smooth.
*Transfer to a large bowl and add sliced strawberries.
*Pour into pie plate and freeze (uncovered) for 6+ hours
*Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for another 2 hours.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Top Five: Favourite drinks!

 Lemonade (with or without vodka!)

1(ish) cups sugar
4-5 cups water, divided
 6-7 lemons
1 lime

*In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and sugar to a slow boil until syrupy
*Juice lemons and lime into a pitcher
*Add remaining water and cooled syrup mixture

This is especially good with lime flavoured vodka

Hot Chocolate

1 cup water
2-3 tbsp cocoa, sifted
2-3 tbsp sugar
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
freshly whipped cream

*In a saucepan, whisk together water, cocoa and sugar until disolved
*Add milk and vanilla and bring to a slow boil
*Serve immediately topped with freshly whipped cream

The Pink Fizzy (from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook)

Handful of pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2/3 cup pink grapefruit juice
1 cup sparkling wine

*Divide the pomegranate seeds among 4 champagne flutes
*Mix together juices and divide among flutes
*Top each glass with 2 oz of sparkling wine

Berry Avocado Smoothie (also posted here)

1 cup frozen berries
2 tbsp ground flax
1 scoop protein powder
1 very ripe avocado
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup raspberry juice

*Combine all ingredients to a blender and process well

Lime and Blueberry Margarita
I think I originally got this recipe froma n Eatinig Well magazine

2 cups ice
1/2 cup blueberry nectar
1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup 7-up
2 tbsp frozen limeade
3 oz of tequila (or not)

*Combine all ingredietns in a blender and process until smooth

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recent Repeat with Coleslaw and Curried Butter :)

I know we just had tacos last week but they were such a hit that I figured while my husband was away we'd have them again.  Fun food for a fun day!  I doubled the recipe and we still only have enough for maybe 2 more, sorry husband - you missed them again.  Today I served the tacos with a mexican style coleslaw and corn on the cob with curried butter, these were the perfect side dishes!  My son especially liked the coleslaw and literally licked his plate clean.

Mexican style Coleslaw

1 small head shredded cabbage
3 shredded carrots
1 finely minced jalapeno
1 clove minced garlic
3/4 cup mayo
juice and zest from 1 lime
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cilantro

*In a large bowl, combine carots, cabbage and jalapeno
*In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables.
*Toss well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Curried Butter

4 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
juice from 1/2 small lime
1/4 tsp cilantro
1 clove minced garlic

*In a food processor, pulse together ingredients.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The kids like tofu :)

Toe-fooooo, toe-foooo!  My kids really love tofu. So much that they chant for it when I ask for menu suggestions!  This time they thought I should make a burger out of tofu and have tofu fries?  A little too much if you ask me ;)  I have never tried to make tofu burgers before but I figured it shouldn't be too hard, and it wasn't!  They could have used a little more spice but they were still very good.  I served them with a sweet and savoury kale and a bell pepper salad.

Tofu Burgers

 2 packages of soft tofu
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, crushed
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup old fashioned oats
3 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

*In a food processor, pulse together tofu, seeds, onion and garlic
*Pour into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, mix well.
*Form into patties and cook in a skillet (with olive oil) for 4-5 minutes per side.
*Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Repeat Recipe with Cupcake Dessert!

Tonight we had one of our favourite stand-by slow cooker recipes: Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach Soup and cheese biscuits.  I even blended some up for my very picky baby and she loved it!  What a relief to finally find something that not only can she tolerate but that she really seemed to enjoy :)  We also had some Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes for dessert.  Last year one of our neighbours brought over a still warm version of this and I fell in love.  I kept meaning to borrow her cookbook to make them myself but today I decided to figure it out my own recipe. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

 1 package of york peppermint patties
5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

*Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt
*In another bowl, mix together butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla
*Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients, and stir until well combined.
*Pour into prepared muffin tins, filling each liner until 2/3 full
*Press one peppermint patty into each cupcake
*Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centre of cupcakes comes out clean.
*Top with your favourite chocolate butter cream icing.
These are best while still warm

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today is super-grouchy-Monday, I'm not sure why that is but I'm going with it.  On super-grouchy-Monday I didn't want to put any extra effort into supper and had conveniently planned this no prep meal with a small prep side dish!  Realizing that was the only non supergrouchy thing about this Monday ;) 

We are big on walnuts in our house- my daughter even has an afternoon walnut snack  every day when she gets home from school and I often find my 3 year old sneaking into the pantry to get fistfuls.  I find it pretty cute that she thinks that she has to sneak around to get them.  Tonight's meal is brought to you by the Simple Suppers  cookbook, and a roasted red pepper salad.  I think it is finally time to punch out my parenting time card and go to bed.  Tomorrow has to be better than today, right?  (Please say yes!)

Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame, and Walnuts

 1 box of rotini, cooked and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
3 cups bite-sized pieces of broccoli
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped thyme
red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts
salt and pepper
feta cheese (the recipe says parmesan but we were out!)

*Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on low.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
*Add broccoli and 1 cup of water, cover and cook on high for 2 minutes.
*Add edamame, salt, and herbs and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.
*In a serving bowl, toss together pasta, broccoli mixture, walnuts and cheese.  Serve immediately.

Mostly for Shannon, here is my menu ;)

Tuesday: Mediterranean Lentil and Spinach soup
Wednesday: Tofu burger, sweet and savoury kale, and brussel sprouts (with cheese sauce!)
Thursday: Pizza, quinoa salad, asparagus
Friday: Seitan stew, garlic rolls, and green salad
Saturday: Vegetable Upside-Down Casserole
Sunday: Easter!  Home-made tofurkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, quinoa rolls, mashed potatoes and steamed veggies.  Apple Pie!
Monday: (still a holiday for us!) peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches (on fresh bread) raw veggies and a fruit salad
Tuesday: April's Chickpea Curry

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Child's Portion: "Tuna" Noodle Casserole

Another childhood favourite for my husband is tuna noodle casserole.  I found this recipe in my Vegetarian Family Cookbook and thought I would try it out.  With a few adaptions it turned out pretty good!  The kids really liked it and I managed to forget about the fact that I had used mushrooms in it.  It's kind of a running joke that I'm the worst vegetarian in the world because I don't like mushrooms or eggplant and when you request a vegetarian meal it is almost ALWAYS a combination of those two things.  I served this dish with scalloped broccoli and some steamed carrots.  This picture is of my oldest daughter's plate because she thought it was only fair that I shared her meal for once :)

"Tuna" Noodle Casserole

1 box pasta (I only had bowtie), boiled to al dente
 1 package baked tofu*-finely diced
2 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
4 stalks chopped celery
1 cup minced mushrooms
2 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2-3 sliced scallions 
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded cheese
wheat germ
*I didn't buy pre-baked tofu, I just pressed a block of firm tofu and sliced it into 4, marinated it in braggs and nutritional yeast and baked it for 30 minutes.

*Heat the butter in a saucepan, and saute onion until soft
*Add celery and cook for 4 minutes, add mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes
*Pour 1 1/2 cups of milk into saucepan and bring to a simmer.
*Combine flour and remaining milk, and add slowly to saucepan, stirring constantly until thickened
*In a large bowl combine pasta, peas, tofu, scallions and milk mixture
*Pour into a well oiled 9x13 casserole dish.  Cover with wheat germ and cheese.
*Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gong Show!

Today we had my daughter's 8th birthday party.  8!  I can't believe that she'll be 8 soon, but that is another post entirely.  We had 15 children at the pool and then back to our house for pizza, fruit, veggies and cake pops!  It was an exhausting (but wonderful) day and I can hardly put two words together tonight.  I had plans to write a very good FAQ post but now I think I can save that for another night.  I took a photo of our meal from last night so I'm going to share that very simple recipe with you.  My husband found a similar recipe many years ago and has never been able to find it again so here is our version ;)  It's an easy way to use up leftover rice on a lazy day.

Chickpeas and Rice

 1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 cups cooked chickpeas
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

*Saute onion, garlic, and ginger in olive oil until soft
*Add rice, chickpeas, cumin, cayenne pepper, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
*Lower heat and simmer until liquid is reduced
*Add parsley and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Top Five: Favourite Recipe Websites/Blogs

Even though we didn't have pizza tonight (I know, can you believe it?!), I thought I should continue on with the Friday theme.  We are having a (8th!!) birthday party with pizza tomorrow and I didn't want to have pizza 2 days in a row.  I get my food ideas from all over: magazines, cookbooks, food blogs/websites, friends, etc.  These are my top 5 go-to websites when I'm thinking of new additions to our menu:

Savvy Vegetarian

I can honestly say this is my very favourite website for recipes.  The great thing is that it isn't just recipes!  There are a lot of recipes but there is also an advice section, articles, advice, menu ideas, and favourite cookbooks.  It isn't just about food it's about some green living too :)  Check it out, you won't regret it!

Vegan Dad

I love this blog and not just because the author is a fellow Canadian!  He has a lot of "faux-meat" ideas that my husband really likes.  I really like how he talks about how his children enjoy his creations, it helps me decide whether its worth it or not to make it for my kids.

Calico Girl

The newest of my blog obsessions is my friend Shannon's food/life blog.  I haven't tried anything yet but I have big intentions of trying out some of her (hella busy) Thursday recipes for our upcoming road trip.  Not only is she a great cook with some awesome ideas, she is also a super talented photographer.  And I love food pictures!

Canadian Living

Canadian Living has a lot of good vegetarian ideas but it is pretty easy to convert all their recipes to vegetarian.  If you have an account you can save recipes to your own personal recipe box, get help with your menu planning, and track your eating in a food journal.  I also love their kids cooking section!

Best Recipes Ever

The kids love this show and so I am constantly checking this website for recipe ideas - especially dessert recipes!  I like how the most recent episodes' recipes are right on the front page and also that you can watch the videos there too.  It's always nice to see what the meal is supposed to look like even if what you are making rarely turns out the same.  The recipes aren't often vegetarian but they do give you some good ideas for things to make.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lentil Tacos!

I have had a life-long love affair with tacos; it's the only thing I can remember loving as a meat eater.  I've tried a lot of different ways to make vegetarian tacos and most have turned out okay but today I think I have officially perfected it!  The only thing is that this was not nearly enough for our family.  Everyone wanted seconds (and thirds) but only 1 person was able to do that....and that someone ate it in the pantry so nobody would know ;)  I served the tacos with leftover tomato soup and some raw broccoli and carrots.

Lentil Tacos

3 cups cooked lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

*Place half of the lentils in a food processor and pulse several times with 1 tbsp olive oil
*Saute onion, garlic and ginger in remaining olive oil until soft.
*Add both whole lentils and pureed lentils along with spices and tomato paste and cook for 8-10 minutes on low.
*Warm taco shells in oven at 350 for 5 minutes.
*Spoon lentils and whatever toppings you like into shells and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesdays are love.

Today I woke up to snow.  Again.  In the middle of April :(  I shouldn't really be surprised but somehow I always am.  We had already planned on bbq type food but I decided to cook it all inside and continued to pretend that it was spring outside.  I'm tired of the pretending...anyway!  We spent the day inside cleaning (and cleaning and cleaning) and getting a whole bunch of stuff done that I've been avoiding.  The burgers were made this morning, starting from this recipe but then totally finishing off as something different!  Served with some roasted veggies and corn on the cob, it was the prefect way to avoid the weather outside.  Tomorrow is a new day and it's not looking quite so terrible.

Black Bean Burgers

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped onion
5 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp curry paste
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
salt and pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
1 cup bread crumbs

*In a large bowl mash black beans together with rice
*In a food processor, pulse together onion, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms
*In a small bowl mix together flax and water, set aside for 5 minutes
*Add flax mixture and vegetable mixture to black beans and rice
*Add remaining ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes
*Form into patties and cook on a skillet in olive oil for 5 minutes per side
*Grill burgers (inside or out) until heated through

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Tuesday: Veggie Dumpling Stew!

When I asked my kids if there was anything they wanted on this weeks menu, all they could come up with was "MORE TOFU!".  I was happy to oblige with today's meal that I found on this website!  Tuesdays are generally our busiest day of the week, and this week we added a dentist appointment to our regular obligations.  I didn't check the recipe closely enough though and when we got home I realized there was still more to add in and cook for another hour and forty five minutes!  Oops!  I had also planned on making some garlic rolls but decided to enjoy the lovely weather again.  Luckily my mom had dropped off some fresh bannock so we had that with some garlic butter and a green salad with feta.

Veggie Dumpling Stew

Olive Oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 package of tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
3 sliced carrots
2 sliced stalks of celery
3 1/4 cups vegetable stock, divided
2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup + 2 tbsp flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup soy milk
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

*Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft
*Add tofu and cook until browned on all sides
*Transfer to slow cooker and add carrots, celery, 3 cups stock, sage, salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
*Mix together 1/4 cup stock and 2 tbsp of flour (to thicken).  Add to slow cooker and cook for another hour.
*Mix together remaining ingredients to make dumplings.  Add to slow cooker and cook for another 45 minutes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

...and a menu

Tuesday: Veggie Dumpling Stew, green salad and garlic rolls (?)
Wednesday: Black Bean burgers, roasted veggies, corn
Thursday: Lentil Tacos, leftover soup, steamed veggies
Friday: Chickpeas and rice dish, and raw veggies
Saturday: 8th birthday party!  Pizza, veggies, and fruit
Sunday: "tuna" noodle casserole, spinach salad, steamed veggies
Monday: Pasta with walnuts and edamame, roasted red pepper salad, broccoli something or other

FINALLY! A real spring day!

I've been waiting for a day like today!  15 (celcius) and sunny, it was a perfect day to spend outside and not in the kitchen!  I must have sub-consciously known what it would be like today because I had planned on making quesadillas and a fast cooking soup.  I saw this recipe in a magazine a long time ago but I never made it.. and I never cut it out... and I couldn't remember any ingredients beyond the black beans and corn.. so I decided to just wing it!  The end result was pretty good, I might have made them slightly spicier if it was just for me but the kids seemed to enjoy them.  The tomato soup we had was the perfect side dish!

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 finely chopped red pepper
1 finely chopped green pepper
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
6 tortilla wraps
1 1/2 cups of monterey jack cheese

*Saute onion and garlic until translucent.  Add peppers and cook for 5 more minutes
*Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
*Place one wrap on a hot skillet, spoon in 1/4 of the mixture and some cheese, top with another wrap and cook for 4 minutes.  Flip once and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Tomato Soup

1 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 chopped carrots
2 stalks chopped celery
7 chopped tomatoes
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper

*Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.
*Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes.
*Add tomatoes, broth, and spices and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
*Pour 1/2 of the soup into food processor, pulse until well blended.  Repeat with remaining soup.
*Return to pot to warm.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chickpea Salad and baby-food-making :)

I spent the afternoon making what is hopefully my last big batch of baby vegetables.  Baby is 10 months now and transitioning to table foods so I'm hoping this will tide us over!  You should have seen my kitchen at the end of the day!  It was quite a sight and I'd have been very embarrassed if anyone had seen it that way.

I talked recently with a friend about how most baby foods in the stores (and homemade by some) is pretty boring.  Carrots, sweet potato, peas, and green beans.... it's like they don't think babies can handle anything different.  Not so here!  I am an admittedly very picky eater, especially when it comes to veggies so I try hard to ensure that my children do not follow in my footsteps in that way.  This baby eats everything: red pepper, cucumber, spinach, avocado, turnips, parsnips, beets (big favourite!), broccoli, cauliflower, and of course all the regulars as well.    Most vegetables just have to be steamed and then blended for any baby to enjoy.  I took a picture of the red pepper to show you how 2 red peppers makes very little food! 

Tonight we had a family favourite: baked macaroni!  I've shared this recipe before so I won't bore you all with the details but you can find the recipe here.  Even the baby loves this recipe as I just used the mini food chopper to make it a little more baby friendly.  It was served with some green peas (leftover from baby food making) and a chickpea salad.  My kids are not crazy about tomatoes and I don't usually serve them because everyone is allowed some dislikes, right?  Tonight though I thought I'd suggest (strongly) that they try them and they didn't go over as badly as usual.  My oldest daughter even asked to have the salad in her lunch tomorrow so I consider that a win! 

Chickpea Salad

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 cup feta cheese
any chopped peppers you might have
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

*Mix together salad ingredients
*In a food processor pulse together dressing ingredients several times, until well mixed
*Pour dressing over salad and let chill for at least 1 hour

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Broccoli and Red Pepper Soup

Because of my children's ages I can still get away with putting most of their activities in the daytime/evening, leaving our weekends free.  This session we do have swimming lessons on Saturday but otherwise we are obligation-free on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  I love being able to spend the days reading, playing games, catching up on chores, and just being us.  I usually try to keep the meals pretty simple on those days so that I'm not spending too much time in the kitchen.  Today we had a really delicious broccoli and red pepper soup from the Garden of Vegan cookbook, cheese biscuits, and corn on the cob.  We ate super early because we are going to watch Diary of a Wimpy Kid, wish me luck! 

Broccoli and Red Pepper Soup

1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chopped broccoli
2 chopped red pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp braggs (or soya sauce)
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper

*In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes
*Add broccoli, red pepper, stock, braggs, tarragon, thyme, and pepper and bring to a boil
*Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
*In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 of the soup at a time
*Return to pot and reheat.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Top Five: Favourite Dessert!

As much as I try to feed my family healthy foods I also LOVE sweets.  I can be found (often) eating pie or ice cream, or cookies (or...) for breakfast in the pantry while making the kids eat steel cut oats.  Shhhh.... I can still hide it from them!  So, in honour of my sweet tooth, today's Friday top five is my favourite desserts!

Pear/Apple Crisp, or Apple Crisp, or Pear Crisp.  Basically any fruit baked with some sugar and oats on top.  Yum!  I featured this recipe already in my blog and you can find it right here!

Ice Cream Sandwiches are definitely at the top of my list!  Really... cookies and ice cream, can you get any better?  The best part about this dessert is how easy it is to make, that and that you can use any cookie recipe you have.  I made these ones using a chocolate chip and walnut recipe and already wrote about it here!

The other afternoon we went on a picnic/bonfire at a local provincial park and brought along these Carrot Cupcakes!  Spring, remember?  My daughter had picked up these cupcake liners and decorations in the dentists treasure chest so we figured we better use them right away.  We used this recipe and a simple icing of cream cheese, butter and icing sugar.

I made this Cherry Pie the other day to celebrate my husband's first royalty cheque for his new book series!  I used a mixture of this recipe and this didn't turn out exactly how I planned but it was still DELICIOUS.  The problem is mostly that its not exactly cherry season around here so I had to settle for canned cherries, and well, they left a little to be desired.  I had no problem however eating it for breakfast this morning.
I made this last Monday for our favourite Monday 2 year old as a bribe.  There I said it, I tried to bribe her into liking our meal.  It didn't work.  She ate as little of it as she had to in order to get the Chocolate Pudding, and then threw the rest of it away.  My oldest daughter suggested we fancy it up with some freshly whipped cream and strawberries, it was an excellent idea that I promptly took her up on.  I swiped the recipe for it from my sister and I can't seem to find the paper now... it was basically cocoa, sugar, milk, butter, cornstarch and vanilla boiled up together and simmered until thickened.  Cool and serve ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Matthew's Delicious Tofu

I have no idea who Matthew is but I'm pretty sure that today he is a hero in our house.  I found this recipe in The Garden of Vegan last week and thought it sounded okay.  I had no idea it would be so well liked though!  To quote my son, "This is spicy but delicious!" and I didn't even tell him the name of the recipe ;)  In the cookbook it doesn't have you dry-fry or marinate all day, but I figured it couldn't hurt!  We had the tofu with a mixture of brown and wild rice, and steamed carrots and broccoli. 

Matthew's Delicious Tofu

2 packages of medium firm tofu, dry-fried and chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves of minced garlic
 2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
3 tsp Asian chili sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup braggs
juice from 1 lemon

*Saute tofu in olive oil until browned
*Reduce heat and add garlic, ginger, and chili sauce. Saute 5 minutes.
*Add maple syrup, braggs, and lemon juice.
*Cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
You can serve it just like this or place it in a container to marinate in the fridge and then re-heat it in a frying pan later on.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On why I try to always make supper in the morning.

Wednesday is my lazy day, it isn't that I don't do anything, it's just that I don't have to be anywhere.  My husband has the van that day and he does the school pick-up so if I want to, I can just stay home all day.  It's one of my favourite days of the week!  That being said, even though I don't have to be anywhere I still try and make our burgers in the morning.  You never know what is going to happen in the afternoon and today is the perfect example of that.  At about 1 my sister-in-law called and asked if I could watch two of my nephews (5 and 1) while she took her 3 year old to the doctor.  No problem!  But there was no way I could have made anything with 5 children, 5 and under, in the house.  We had a great time playing and I was so happy to not have to worry about supper. 

Today we had these vegetable burgers that my sister made for me last year.  I had just had a baby and she left me at least 25 of them in the freezer (I had asked her to make a million but she didn't listen!).  I ate them for lunch, suppers, and snacks until they were gone... I couldn't get enough!  Along with the burgers we had quinoa cooked with garlic and parsley (so quick and easy!) and some green, red, and yellow peppers.

Dana's Vegetable Burgers

5 potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 shredded zucchini
3 shredded carrots
2 shredded red pepper
1 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 can mixed beans, mashed
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp curry paste
1 tsp parsley
1 cup rolled oats

*After shredding zucchini, carrots, and red pepper make sure to squeeze out excess liquid
*Mix together all ingredients and form into patties.
*Fry patties in a little olive oil for 5-6 minutes per side
*Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

 On most Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a very busy morning, particularly before lunch when I'm getting my daughter to and from nursery school and then getting my son from kindergarten. Today was different because my son had a playdate! In anticipation of a quiet, less hectic morning I decided to make things even easier by preparing the soup last night while I played cribbage with my husband. This morning I got up and put it in the crock pot and enjoyed a quiet(ish) morning just as planned (even if I didn't get the nap I had hoped for)! I got this recipe out of (surprise!) the 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook.  I love this cookbook but I'm starting to think I may need a couple more to choose from.  I served the soup with some garlic naan bread and a simple green salad, everyone seemed to enjoy it although it was a little spicy for the kids.  My husband had 3 bowls full though so I'm guessing he didn't mind :)

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

olive oil
2 chopped onions
3 sliced carrots
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups red lentils
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 finely chopped jalapeno

*In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute onion and carrot until soft
*Add garlic, turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir for 1 minute
*Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil, add lentils and stock
*Transfer mixture to slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  
*Stir in coconut milk, lemon juice and jalapeno and cook for 30 minutes on high.

Menu: April 5-April 11

Tuesday: Red lentil and carrot soup with coconut, naan bread and..
Wednesday: Dana's vegetable burgers, wild rice something or other, and raw veggies
Thursday: Delicious tofu, quinoa something, and steamed green beans
Friday: PIZZA and raw veggies
Saturday: Red pepper and broccoli soup, cheese biscuits, and corn on the cob(??)
Sunday: Baked macaroni, tofu crouton salad, and roasted veggies
Monday: Quesadillas, tomato soup, and a green salad

Monday, April 4, 2011

Another Monday of trying to please a 2 year old...

I'm pretty sure the only reason any of this meal got eaten by our favourite Monday dinner guest is because we were having chocolate pudding for dessert.  Another Monday, another fail!  You just never know with a 2 year old!  Tonight we had spaghetti with a super easy (super delicious) lentil sauce and a tofu and veggie salad.  I just kind of threw the salad together at lunch and it went over so well I will definitely be making it again.  Possibly even this week, ha!  I basically just marinated the tofu in a simple balsamic vinegar marinade and then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then I threw it in a bowl with some tomatoes, cucumber, yellow pepper, carrots and the leftover marinade!  So for next week all I know is that our little friend likes bread and... well that is actually all I know for sure :)

Spaghetti and Lentil Sauce

2 small chopped onions
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups of dried green lentils
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 can tomato paste

*Saute onion and garlic until soft
*Add lentils, broth, and spices and bring to a boil.
*Lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes (until lentils are cooked)
*Add tomato paste and mix well.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chickpea Potpie!

I love casserole Sunday.  It is so great to be able to make something in the early afternoon and then spend the rest of the day relaxing (you know as relaxing as 4 kids + 2 play date kids can be!).  My pretending it's spring idea is just not working out, we had rain/snow all day and I'm pretty sure the sun never came out to play.  It really was the perfect day for a chickpea potpie, some roasted baby potatoes and some steamed broccoli.  I started out with this recipe from Vegetarian Times, but I just couldn't stick totally to what it said.  I skipped the noodles, added more chickpeas, and put it all in a pie crust.  It was a little runnier that I would have liked, I think I just needed to leave out a bit of the stock but it tasted fantastic!

Chickpea Potpie

2 batches of pie crust
2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
3 stalks chopped celery
4 chopped carrots
3 cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cubes "chicken" bouillon
2 cups water
2 cups corn
1 tbsp parsley
2 1/2 tbsp sage
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
4 oz cream cheese, cubed and softened
 1/2 cup parmesan
1 1/2 cup peas

*Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft
*Add carrots and celery and cook 5 more minutes
*Add in chickpeas, stock, bouillon, 1 cup of water, corn, parsley, sage, and bay leaves
*Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes-covered
*Whisk together cornstarch, flour, and remaining cup of water
*Fold into chickpea mixture, along with cream cheese and parmesan
*Remove from heat and add Peas
*Pour into 2 pie crusts and bake at 375 for 45 minutes
*Allow to cool slightly before serving

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Game Night!

My kids have been really into games lately (mostly cards but any board game will do).   After spending most of the day running around and snacking, a big supper would not have gone over well, so we had a snacking kind of meal while we played many (many) games!  Homemade pitas, roasted red pepper hummus, raw veggies, black bean dip, artichoke and spinach dip and chips.  It was as delicious as it sounds :)

Black Bean Dip

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
 2 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1 lemon

*Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until you've reached desired consistency
*Chill before eating

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus 

 3 red peppers, roasted and blended
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves of minced garlic
1/3 cup tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper

*Pulse all ingredients together several times in a food processor
*Chill before eating

Pitas!  from Leora

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1+ tbsp olive oil

*Combine water and yeast and set aside for a few minutes
*In a large bowl mix together flour and salt, add yeast mixture and oil, mix well.
*Knead for several minutes on a lightly floured counter top
*Place in well oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 2 hours
*Divide into 10 pieces
*Flatten each piece into a disk and roll quite flat
*Bake at 500 for 3-5 minutes

The recipe for this spinach and artichoke dip can be found here

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Top Five: Favourite (Winnipeg) Restaurants!

In honour of date night (yes, occasionally we do get to do that!) this week's top five will be my favourite places to eat in Winnipeg.  We don't get to go out to eat often, especially without kids, but when we do the decision is always a tough one!  Hopefully this will help me narrow down the choices for tonight!   

 Mondragon Bookstore & Coffee House is a restaurant that I don't go to often but that I never regret visiting when I do.  It is reasonably priced and fun to go to!  Personal faves: Southern Fried Tofu Strips and their Veggie Burger.
 Affinity Vegetarian Garden is the kids' favourite restaurant, ever.  They, actually we all love the lunch buffet.  It is a bit pricey to go for supper with all 6 of us but for lunch it is very inexpensive as you pay by the weight of your plate.  Personal faves: Crispy Veggie Balls, Sweet and Sour Veggie Ribs, and (just for my son) Spicy Tofu! 
 Boon Burger just opened last year but it has quickly become one of our go-to's on date night.  It is pricey for the family to go but just right for the 2 of us.  We generally get take out but if we do dine in the atmosphere is great and the staff are so friendly.  Personal Faves: Buddha Burger and the Poutine!
 India Palace got me through my last pregnancy, no joke!  I couldn't keep most food down, even crackers, but somehow I managed to eat chickpea curry and samosas quite regularly.  We always get take out but the staff are quite courteous and the food is always ready very quickly.  Personal Faves:  Vegetable Samosas and Chickpea Curry ;)
The Star Grill is another restaurant that we don't frequent often but that I always have a soft spot for.  The restaurant itself is very intimate and inviting but it is small so plan ahead and make reservations or go at non-peak times.  Personal Faves: Veggie Burger (really I love burgers? lol) and French Fries and their Hummus!

Honourable Mentions: Kelsey's, Hu's Asian Bistro, Delicious Vegetarian, Cousin's Deli, and Stella's.