Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's a wrap!

So it's the end of another year! A time that we all seem to sit back and reflect on.
I have to say with the issues of the economy and how's it's affected so many of us. I actually think that it has brought more people in the communities together. People seem to be stepping up to help others out and I think that is a great thing. It also makes you think about what is really important. Wants or needs?

I'm sitting here typing and I'm getting a bit emotional because this year I've seen my son who will be turning 12 next month grow up so much! He has made some really good friends up here in our new town of just over a year. He started 6th grade at a new school that he loves and that is accommodating of his academic needs and is forming these kids to be kinder, giving and confident. His love of playing guitar has really increased as well, which I noticed in September. Even though he is becoming more independent he still loves to cuddle with us, hold our hand and give us a kiss in public. I'm hanging on to all of that.

My husband has found a dealership that actually appreciates him and is finally letting him make good changes for them. He no longer comes home not wanting to go to work. It's nice.

I don't really make any resolutions but there are some things I hope to do.
Taking even better care of myself. Try some new things. Try to be more confident, be more positive and enjoy life more! Also I hope my husband and I can become friends with some couples, even one, that we can hang out with.

A new love this year, Mighty Leaf African Nectar. My son was very happy to see this in his stocking and since it's on the pricey side I haven't had one cup, it's all his. It's so good though. You must try!

I hope for the animals this next year that people will WANT to be more informed about how animals are treated and that animals do feel. There have been some great books out this year and more in the news about the factory farms and how animals are treated. One question still remains. Is there such a thing as "humane" treatment of farm animals for food? I'll leave you with that thought and continue next year in another post.

Thanks to everyone for all of your comments on my blog and also for sharing your blogs with lot's of great food and information.

I also want to thank my girlfriends and those who have come to visit us in our new town! Love you all!

Have a very Happy New Years Eve!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Monday after....

It's Monday and the family has gone. My in-laws left Saturday afternoon. My sister and her family(from Arizona) arrived yesterday afternoon and left this morning to go visit my parents up north. My dad has a lung condition, kind of like that mesothelioma, and it's getting worse. He coughs all of the time and there is no cure. So my sister wanted to go visit because she doesn't know when she'll be able to go back up there. are some Christmas pic's of the family.

My mother in law in her Christmas pj's. My father-in-law has passed over the job of being Santa to my mother-in-law. He says he's retired. I guess retiring from work also means retiring from a lot of other things as well. lol!!!

One of the sweaters we got for my father-in-law. He's a Football coach at Pierce College and he's always wearing the Pierce College sweat shirt, all of the time, even going out. So now maybe he will wear a sweater when they go out with their friends.

A very cool cast iron tea pot for my mother-in-law. She loves red, can you tell? lol! She drinks alot of hot tea and this will keep her water hot. I really wanted to keep it because this is the type of teapot i've been wanting for many years . Oh well.

My son opening up the "big gift" he got from us. He got a microphone and stand that he can hook up to his amp. Cleo dog being nosey as always.

After riddles from the in-laws that took us all over the house. We found an item covered up in the back of their explorer that we had to carry in. What is it?

Our first flat screen tv! Whoo hoo! They got one to fit into our cabinet. My father-in-law kept telling my mother-in-law that he knew they should've gone bigger. I just told them that there is always next year! hee hee hee. They got our first t.v. for us when we got our condo. way back when. Christmas dinner was nice. Plenty of food left over. Let's see there are fresh green beans, grilled asparagus, easy seitan cutlets with chimichurri sauce, bread, stuffed portobellos, butternut squash risotto and roasted root veggies. Yum it was all good!
We had a very nice Christmas as we usually do. It's also nice when you can stay home and don't have to drive anywhere.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Well it's almost Christmas and wow I'm tired. So busy lately baking, shopping, wrapping & cleaning. I need to get as much food prep done before my in-laws arrive later today. Tomorrow my sister-in-law, niece and her boyfriend will arrive.
My husband is cooking something on the bbq spit for all of those carnivores. I will be making seitan steaks, stuffed portobellos, butternut squash sage risotto, salad, roasted root veggies and bread. Apple pie and lots of cookies.
I wish all of you a very happy, warm and safe Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yummy holiday treats....

Howdy everyone! I'm running on lack of sleep today, who isn't right now eh? Yesterday I was busy making cookie dough, doing errands with my hubby and shopping. Then last night baking for my son's teachers. More coffee please!!! No I don't really need the caffeine from the coffee but the warm and strong taste hits the spot. Here are some of the baked goods I whipped up.

Pistachio spiced brittle. I'm really not a big candy eater. I do love a good dark chocolate, mabye a bit of caramel and I do love peanut brittle. I've tried to make brittle in the past but it was frustrating and burned just a bit. I was determined to try it again after seeing a picture of Hannah's Chai brittle on her blog. I found this awesome peanut brittle recipe and I got to tell you, this was so easy to make and didn't take long at all! Click here for the recipe. Alterations on the recipe were that I subbed Earth Balance for butter, golden syrup for corn syrup and used organic sugar.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies(Martha Stewart) & Rumnog cookies(VCON).
I so look forward to making and eating these ginger cookies every Christmas. If you love ginger well these use fresh & powdered ginger, and then chocolate!!!! Oh they they make my mouth happy! :) The only change on the recipe is using Earth Balance to replace the butter. There are no eggs in the recipe. I hope you try them you won't be dissapointed!
My next post I'll be teasing you with some pic's of some recipes I've been testing out out for Celine and Joni's new cookbook they are working on. Yes another cookbook from those wonderful girls.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gluten free noodle kale soup and new products

This soup is made with Tinyada brown rice elbow pasta, kale, tomato, carrots, onion, celery, veggie broth, white wine and herbs. Nice & warm.

I decided to give these treats down here to the left
from Mary's Gone Crackers Sticks & Twigs Sea Salt a whirl since they were on sale.My first bite or two I wasn't so sure about the taste so I put the bag away. Then later when my son got home and I
took out the bag for a treat I tried it again and I changed my mind it's pretty good. They are real crunchy and have a ton of good stuff in them like flax seeds, amaranth, quinoa, chia seeds, etc. I would love to try some of there other flavors.

Then check this out! I found this new product from Wild Wood, it's tofu made with Sprouted Soybeans! How cool is that!!! It doesn't really taste any different from other tofu and since this one is superfirm it would be great grilled or used sliced up as tofu steaks. Now you can feel alot better about eating tofu!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quick, easy & tasty...

I hope everyone had a good weekend. We felt this weekend went by so fast! Our town had it's tree lighting on Friday and Christmas Parade on Saturday.
It's raining today, yay! We didn't even have to do a rain dance, but I was so ready to.
I was really craving this meal. It's so easy to make and is very me anyways. I don't have measurments it's just all by taste.
Cook up some brown rice, set aside. In a large pan, saute onion, few minced garlic cloves. Next add in a chopped bell pepper, shitake mushrooms, once these are getting soft add the brocolli. You make the sauce right in the pan. Sauce: tahini about 1/4-1/3 cup(I love tahini so I had more) a little white wine(dry sherry), ginger, soy sauce & veggie broth. Just stir around with the veggies until warm and add a can of garbanzo beans & 8 oz. cubed extra-firm tofu. Stir until all warmed through. Serve on a bed of rice or grain of choice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hubby's B-Day gluten free dinner

Goodmorning to everyone. I'm sitting here waiting for the house to warm, just to get the chill off, don't tell my husband, before I work out. You see it has to be flippin' cold before my husband turns on the heater, but secretly I have turned it on a couple times in the morning. We've been using our fireplace lots lately. Anyhoo, let's move on shall we. My husband had a birthday monday so let's see what I made him shall we?

Dave loves a good veggie loaf, mashed taters and greenbeans mixed with peas. I wanted to change up the loaf a bit since I do make them quite a bit, always making them different, there are one or two I will always go back to but I found this one that absolutely turned out awesome!
I found it at I Am Gluten Free orignially from Gluten Free Goddess. Thanks girls!

Karina's Veggie Loaf
Serves 8
adapted by Ellen A.
and re-adapted by JoLynn

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
6 oz cremini mushrooms, diced or sliced
5 large leave Swiss chard or any greens( I had on hand about 6oz. of frozen spinach)chopped.
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup oven-roasted grape tomatoes (or sun-dried tomatoes)
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 cup cooked brown rice, packed
½ cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
½ cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp wheat-free tamari
1 egg-replacer equivalent (Ener-g or I used 1 tbsp flaxmeal + 3 tbsp water, whisk until frothy)

Maple Sauce:
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup Ketchup
2 tsp. honey mustard or whole grain with a bit of agave added.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and cook the red bell pepper. Once the bell pepper is almost soft add the mushrooms and your greens, cook until until soft. Remove from heat and put into a large bowl, set aside. Put the raw carrot, cooked brown rice, and nuts in a food processor and mix until the mixture forms a coarse meal. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERPROCESS UNLESS YOU WANT A MUSHY LOAF. Toss into the mixing bowl with the other vegetables and the breadcrumbs. Add the herbs and spices, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and tamari. Add the flax meal mixture(or egg) and stir until well-blended. Press the mixture evenly into an oiled loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.Make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients with a whisk. Pour the maple sauce over the top of the veggie loaf and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut, though it will still be a little fragile.
My son loves the leftover loaf for a sandwich.

Dessert for the birthday guy was chocolate chip cookies. I was going to make him a carrot cake but he loves chocolate chip cookies and when I usually make them I add oatmeal and stuff that he doesn't care for. He prefers the good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. So I broke down and used Soy Free Earth Balance and ener-g egg replacer to make these. He was very happy indeed! Yay!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rum Jumbie

The first batch of holiday treats and also my first go around with these cookies from VCON. Rum Nog cookies and these babies rock! Slightly soft on the inside, crisp and crunchy on the outside. These would be a nice addition to your holiday cookies this year. I will be making these again for Christmas. One issue I did have was that the dough was rather soft so I just had to carefully roll it into the pecans using 2 spoons. I also cut down the sugar to 3/4 cup.

The only dark rum in the house I had to use for these cookies and the frosting was this cute guy down here, Rum Jumbie. Can you hear the waves crashing and the heat of the sun? Ahhhhh I wish I were back in St. Martin where I got this wonderful rum. I made the frosting this morning and I tell you, I could of started drinking this rum, especially because I was in one of those funky blah moods. Now, now, I'm not saying to start drinking when you are depressed but I tell you, rum makes me so happy!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The day after....

To all of you out there who woke up early to go shopping you are very brave! I'm not one for waking up that early and dealing with the crowds especially when we got home late last night. So i'm drinking some coffee and trying to stay warm.
I hope everyone had a nice visit with their family and friends yesterday. We drove down to the in-laws and had Thanksgiving with them. My sister-in-law, father-in-law and husbands' birthdays fall between Nov. 20-30th so we celebrated them all and had 3 different desserts for them.

Since the main course was not such a compassionate one (you know what I'm talking about)my son and I had a cruelty free Field Roast(below).

When I had asked my mother-in-law to buy a Field Roast I didn't specify a Celebration Roast but we had this Smoked Tomato Field Roast instead. It had plenty of flavor and could actually feed at least 3 people. I made a vegan gravy as well. One of my favorite Field Roast Sausages is the Smokeed Apple Sage.yum!

This was the dessert I made and it turned out perfect! It's a Pumpkin Cheescake and the recipe is from Just the Food blog but is also in the new vegan cookbook 500 Vegan Recipes. I actually baked this in a springform pan and made a pecan shortbread crust. Here is the recipe below with my changes but you can see the original recipe by clicking Just the Food blog . It's pretty rich so you don't really don't need a big slice.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Pecan shortbread crust (or any one you choose)
2, 8oz containers of vegan cream cheese
1, 15 oz can of pure pumpkin(organic)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp Cornstarch(I ran out of arrowroot powder)
1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
1/2 tsp ginger (ground)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (ground)
1/4 tsp cloves (ground)

Pecan Shortbread Crust:
1 C. toasted pecans
1 1/3 C. spelt flour (you can use your choice)
1/3 C. organic sugar
1/2 C. Earth Balance

Directions: First preheat oven to 350.

In a 9 inch spring form pan wrap the bottom at least half way up the sides with aluminum foil. (You'll see why you need this when you bake with the filling).

In a food processor add pecans and pulse until coarsely chopped. YOU DON'T want to pulse into a fine meal. You want to make sure you have a nice crunch to the shortbread. Pour into a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

Next in the food processor add flour, sugar and EB and pulse until a dough forms. Once that happens pour into the pecans and stir together.

Press dough into the spring form pan and bake for about 15 minutes. It will puff slightly but you don't really want it to brown. Take out and let cool for a few minutes.

Directions for the filling:
Beat all ingredients together in a food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Pour into crust. Place a pan or drip pan full of hot water (about 1" deep) in the middle rack of the oven. Place the foil wrapped spring form pan onto the drip pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool, place in refrigerator until ready to serve, and to set even more.

Note*The reason for the foil is so that the water doesn't seep into the cheesecake and wet the crust. The reason for the water is so the top of the cheesecake doesn't crack.

This dessert you see here is my husbands' favorite that he grew up eating. My mother-in-law makes everyones favorite cake or pie that they like for their birthdays. This pie is a pudding pineapple cream cheese pie. I'm not a big fan of it but the rest of the family loves it and she made it vegan this year. Here is the recipe, it's real simple. Would be a great summer dessert.

Pudding pinapple cream cheese pie:
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 lg instant vanilla pudding box
1 lg can crushed pineapple, drained (squeeze out as much liquid as possible)
2 1/4 c. non-dairy milk(soy was used)
1 8 oz. tofutti cream cheese

In a large bowl pour in a packet of instant pudding mix. Next pour in milk and mix until thick. Beat in cream cheese until smooth. Finally stir in crushed pineapple. Once thoroughly combined pour into graham cracker crust, put in refrigerator until set about a day or overnight.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lasagna and Brownies...

Let's start out with dessert shall we? These are a little thin just because the pan I used was a bit too big. That just meant bigger portions! yipeee! My favorite brownie recipe comes from Vivacious Vegan with whom I can't find on the internet anymore so below is the recipe. If you prefer your brownies more fudgey than cakey this it it! Then the show stopper on this one is that I swirled in some pumpkin butter! Ohhhhh yaaaaaaahhhh! (you can't tell too much because I was playing safe). I saw this done at Vegan Visitor last year and I finally tried it. I'm going to make a thicker brownie next time and swirl in more pumpkin butter. If you love chocolate(I do) and pumpkin butter give this a try. It's a nice twist for the holidays.

This was the first time in I don't know how long since I've made lasagna. I've been craving it for the last week. I thought I would try something a bit different with it. I made two sauces, a marinara with veggie crumbles and a bechamel sauce(white sauce). I also made half of a tofu ricotta with spinach mixed in. The layers were tofu ricotta, bechamel, marinara and noodles. My husband loved the marinara but could do without the bechamel. I have to agree with him on that. Personally I could do without the veggie crumbles too just cuz it's too "meaty" for me.
Brownie Recipe
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soymilk
1.5 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi/sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8 inch square pan.
Put the oil, maple syrup , soy milk and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula. Don’t overmix.
Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Put the batter in the pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes.
Don't overbake.
Cool before cutting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's the time of the season for Pumpkin la la.... and The Vegan Table

Sprouted wheat bagel smothered with raw almond and pumpkin butter. Ahhhh so so good!
It's that time of year again that you can find Pumpkin butter on the shelves and this one from Trader Joe's is really good along with there awesome raw almond butter. It tastes like dessert but it alot healthier for you minus the sugar in the pumpkin butter. :)
I was able to get a copy of THE VEGAN TABLE cookbook by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau from our library. It's nice to be able to check it out before you buy. It's a lovely book with beautiful photo's and it's based on entertaining. She gives great tips, food and historical lore, and also a page to those non-vegan family members who may feel at a loss as what to feed a family member when they become vegan. I loved how she dedicated the book to the animals by sharing examples on how we can learn from them, this is just one quote from it "May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys." She then concludes "May we learn from the animals what we need to become better people." I think that says it all.
My first recipe I made from the book was this lovely Butternut Squash Timbale. It looks like alot of work doesn't it? It would be great to serve when company comes over because it looks so pretty. My husband didn't want to eat it because it looked so nice. It actually was very easy to make and it tasted really good. I added some mushrooms to the butternut squash, sauteed up some spinach and drizzled a black current reduction on top.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Warm sweet potato and corn stew

My mother-in-law subscribed me to Better Homes and Gardens a while back and I found this recipe last month that I've been wanting to veganize. The magazine itself is adding more vegetarian recipes but many are not. This recipe is actually called Sweet Potato and Hominy Stew. Hominy can look a bit scary looking, it is actually corn without the hull or processed corn, not everyone likes it and if you do you have to really be in the mood to eat it. So I decided to use corn to replace the hominy. Below are the changes that I made to the recipe. The stew has a nice sweet and subtle flavor you can also add beans if you'd like.

6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 14-oz. cans vegetable broth
2 cups water
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped ( 5 cups)
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 lg bag frozen corn
1 large red sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
10 oz. seitan, sliced(store bought or homemade)*
bbq sauce
Lime wedges

First prepare the seitan. If you are using pre-made slice up and add bbq sauce. If homemade seitan, I made the seitan cutlets from VCON and then browned in a skillet. Next I sliced 4 of them and added bbq sauce. Let it sit for at least 3 hours.

1. In saucepan or Dutch oven cook garlic and onion and red pepper in hot oil until tender. Stir in broth and water; add sweet potatoes, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, and cumin. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in corn and sliced seitan. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until heated through.
2. Serve with cilantro, lime wedges, and Cumin Polenta. Makes 8 servings.

Cumin Polenta: In large heavy saucepan combine 2, 14-oz. cans veggie broth and 2 teaspoons ground cumin; bring to boiling. Reduce heat; gradually whisk in 1 cup yellow cornmeal. Cook and stir until thick, about 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon EB. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Sorghum/spelt pancakes with sauteed bananas. Can you smell the sweet, carmalized smell of the bananas and cinnamon? Yum. I made these for my son who had his knee lock up on him again last week. I felt bad for him unable to walk and being very uncomfortable so I thought at least this might take his mind off of the pain for a bit. It did thankfully!
For lunch I used up left over veggie burger that I made the previous night. It was a very tasty recipe that I will have to post at a later date when I make them again. Served in a rice tortilla, shmeared with hummus, lettuce, cucumber and grated carrot.

For dinner....drum roll please. Tofu Marsala, mash taters and steamed brocollini. The potatoes were made with veggie broth and drizzled with a delicious olive oil from Global Gardens that's located right here in the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos. I will post more about this olive oil next time. In the mean time check out the recipe below from EATING If you can use fresh thyme, use it. Note my changes in the parenthesis.

4 servings
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used spelt flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained, rinsed and cut crosswise into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, minced (or medium sweet onion)
1 teaspoon dried thyme(or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme)
6 cups sliced cremini, or (baby bellas)
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
(you can also use sage to change it up a bit for the cooler weather and for a different taste)
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Whisk 1/4 cup cornstarch, flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Pat tofu with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge 4 tofu slices in the flour mixture, add them to the pan and cook until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Place the tofu on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining tofu, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent scorching.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, shallots and thyme to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are slightly soft and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in Marsala and simmer until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
Whisk the remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch with broth and tomato paste in a small bowl. Stir into the mushroom mixture, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and glossy, about 4 minutes. To serve, spoon the hot sauce over the tofu. (I put the tofu back into the saucepan to soak up sauce a bit then plated it)

Ingredient Note: Marsala, a fortified wine, is a flavorful and wonderfully economical addition to many sauces. An opened bottle can be stored in a cool, dry place for months—unlike wine, which starts to decline within hours of being uncorked.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gifts from the heart....

Isn't this firefly stepping stone beautiful? A couple of my girlfriends came up to visit me last friday for the day and they brought me belated birthday gifts! Although just having them visit was a gift. So my friend Dorissa is very crafty/artistic and she loves to do mosaics and is very talented at it. She knows I really like dragonflies and she made this amazing looking stepping stone for me.
This is from her garden as well, swiss chard.

I just had to use up some of that beautiful looking swiss chard so I threw this together. Saute up some swiss chard with garlic and olive oil. Then threw in some cannelini beans and brown rice. Wallah!!! A quick, healthy and yummy dinner. I ate this along with a wonderful glass of Rancho Sisquoc " Meritage" red wine, thanks to my friend Yvette. Girlfriends are the best!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friendship bread

My mother-in-law recently gave me an Amish Cinnamon Bread starter that she received from her Aunt back in Illinois. I did a little research on this bread and you can actually use the starter and make many flavors of breads from it, like pumpkin or chocolate. The cool thing about this whole friendship bread thingy is that after 10 days of mushing the bag, adding ingredients to it, you will have enough of the mix to make your own starter bags to pass on to friends along with the recipe. Thus the friendship part and the story-recipe continues. It's just one more thoughtful way to pass on a sweet and thoughtful treat to a friend.

As I was looking at the recipe I was given I noticed that on day 6 you add milk. Well I know for sure that my mother-in-law used soy milk but I'm sure her aunt didn't. I really wanted to make this bread and pass it along to my girlfriends so on the internet I went and I found a recipe for the starter. YAY!

The recipe says you can fill two loaf pans but I only have one and it's on the bigger side so I used to small bundt pans I had and it turned out great
When you give your friends a bag of starter include the Amish Cinnamon Bread recipe along with it. This would make a wonderful holiday food gift too!
Below are the recipes for the starter I found on-line and a the bread recipe that I adjusted.
Amish Bread Starter:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk(any non-dairy will do)

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator or begin the 10 day process with the recipe.
You will receive your starter in a zip-lock bag.
Store it on your kitchen counter.

Do nothing

DAY 2-5
Mush the bag two times during the day.
Add to the bag;
1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk(any kind non-dairy or cow)
Seal the bag, letting out as much air as possible.
DAY 7-9
Mush the bag two times during the day, letting out as much air as possible.
DAY 10
Squeeze contents out of the bag into a large mixing ceramic or glass bowl.
Add to the bowl: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk. Stir thoroughly, then measure out 1 cup starters in large zip-lock bags. Tomorrow starts Day 1 for the new bags. **Be sure to date the bags**

To the small amount left in the bowl, add 1 cup oil(1/2 cup oil &1/2 cup applesauce), ½ cup milk, 3 eggs(or Ener-G foods egg replacer equal to 3 eggs), 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour*, 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda. 1 cup raisins or nuts (optional).
Add the dry ingredients to the first mixture and mix well. Spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray or any oil/shortening. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Pour batter into pans and sprinkle batter with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean.

*Flour - you can use any kind. I used 3/4 cup white, 1/2 cup whole wheat and 3/4 cup sorghum
Note*Don’t worry if you don’t mush your bag twice a day, it will be okay

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Halloween Birthday apple pie and decorations....

My mother-in-law used to make my cake but since we moved and we are vegan I'm making my own birthday desserts. That's okay cuz I like baking anyways. This year I decided to make an apple pie instead of a cake. We have so many apples left on the tree and I don't like wasting fruit. Also I didn't have to go out and buy any ingredients. I couldn't have been happier with the results. My husband ate all of his portion and said how good it was and he's not a fruit pie eater. He's the type that takes out the filling and adds a scoop of ice cream to the crust! So I took his comment as a big compliment.

Yes my birthday is on Halloween ! Some fun facts about me: 1) I love scary movies, not to much on the gore, just scary ones. When I was little I remember my older brother getting home from work late at night and my younger sister and I used to get out bed and watch old black and white monster movies with him. 2) My grandmother, my dad's mom(whom I was never able to meet because she passed away before I was born) was born in Transylvania, seriously, no joke! I was thinking this weekend that if I start believing I am a vampire maybe my mind will have an affect on my body and I will stop ageing. Just a thought. But the only problem is I love the sun. 3) Clowns scare me. I know I love to be scared but clowns aren't my thing.
I know I just said I don't like clowns and here we have a clown! My son just loves doing this to scare me.
Here are some Halloween pic's. I love to decorate for Halloween, well I do have a kid I have to for him! lol! I made this Halloween garland a few years ago and it's still holding up. I really like vintage halloween decorations. Below is a closer view of it.
My dining table.
Outside the house. We are already planning more fun stuff for the outside next year.
My husband is the one who does the carving of the pumpkins. This year and last I had to because he was too busy with work. I was ready to smash it while I was carving it because I was getting so frustrated and it was taking me forever and it's really not my job! Okay I'm settled down now. So the many compliments I received throughout the night on this pumpkin made me me verry happy. It did look even better in person.
My birthday was a pretty quiet one. This is our second Halloween up here and my family couldn't make it. My son went Trick or Treating with his 3 friends and my husband and I handed out candy. When trick or treating was over we took my son and his friends to the awesome haunted house in town. The people who put the Haunted House together are all volunteers and the $6 a person is worth every penny. They really go all out and they do a great job at scaring people. BOO!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ummmm...smell that warm, rich Tempeh Bourgignon....

I can remember during the winter months as a kid walking in the door after school and sometimes the house would be filled with a warm and lovely fragrance of something good cooking in our crockpot. That smell was one that filled my house up last night but I was cooking in my big cast-iron stew pot. I have been looking for more tempeh recipes and I found this one on the Vegetarian Times website and right away I knew this is what would satisfy because 1)it's been getting really really chilly here and 2) the tempeh marinates in a wine and would take on that lovely rich flavor. Tempeh has a different taste to it that takes getting used to. It took me a while to get used to it and now I love it. The rest of the family is still getting used to it and I have to tell you what a great recipe this is to use it in. Try this one on those carnivores out there. This is a real rich stew that hits the spot and makes you all warm inside and it is pretty rich so you can only eat so much. I served this with some drop biscuits using sorghum and whole wheat flour. Oh one more thing you could even use seitan instead.

Below is the recipe and in parentheses are my additions/changes.

Tempeh Bourgignon
Vegetarian Times Issue: November 1, 2006 p.83 — Member Rating:

This recipe will satisfy your soul with its umami-rich ingredients. Umami is the recently discovered fifth taste—after sweet, bitter, salty and sour—and comes from glutamate and other taste-bud-stimulating compounds found in food. Shiitake mushrooms, tempeh, tomato paste and carrots all have naturally occurring glutamate, making this updated classic a taste sensation.

Ingredient List
Serves 4

2 cups medium-bodied red wine, such as Pinot Noir (Merlot)
1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped (1 lg onion)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 carrots)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (about 1 Tbs.)
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence *(recipe below)
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. tomato paste
7 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms (I used 8 oz. baby bellas)
chopped parsley, for garnish
(5 medium potatoes, diced 3/4 inch chunks)


Combine wine, tempeh, onion, carrot, garlic, 1 Tbs. olive oil, herbes de Provence and bay leaf in large bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 425. Peel potatoes and dice into large chunks. Toss with olive oil, 1/2 tsp herbes du provence and salt. Pour into large casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost done then take off cover to brown for about 5 or so more minutes. Take out of oven when done and set aside.

Strain vegetables and tempeh, and reserve wine.

Heat remaining oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tempeh and vegetables, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until tempeh cubes are browned on all sides. Add vinegar, and quickly stir to coat evenly. Add tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Stir in red wine marinade, scraping bottom of pot to release any stuck brown bits. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if mixture seems too dry before carrots are fully cooked.

Add mushrooms and 3/4 cup water,( I used veggie broth) and simmer 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve over rice.(I added the potatoes into the stew and cooked for like 5 more min.)

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories: 269, Protein: 14g, Total fat: 13g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 24g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 338mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugars: 9g

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cruelty Free Sheppard's Pie

What a treat this actually was. This turned out so tasty I couldn't stop eating it. Maybe it was the mashed potatoes, I just can't put a stop to eating those mashed potatoes! Sheppherds Pie, it's not just about dumping ingredients into a casserole dish and then topping them off with potatoes, it has to be tasty! This is my recipe for a warm and tasty pie!

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or more
1 Large Onion, finely diced
3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped or minced
*8 oz. package Veggie Crumbles
2 1/4 C. cooked lentils
3/4 tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
1 tsp. dried thyme
8 oz. pack crimini or baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 1/2 T.Arrowroot Powder or cornstartch
1 cup or more frozen green peas
Salt & Pepper to taste
About 4 Large (Russet) Potatoes & 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Non-dairy milk and Earth Balance or olive oil for mashing.

Preheat oven to 350.
In a med-large pot boil potatoes, drain and mash as you do for mashed potatoes.
In a large cast iron pan or sauce/stockpot heat oil and add the chopped onion. Stir the onion frequently until it is soft add garlic and stir for a minute or so more. Next add the veggie crumbles, herbs and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are soft and cooked. Stir in lentils and cook until combined. Next add vegetable stock mixed with arrowroot or cornstarch, heat to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir in frozen peas and finish off by adding salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, use a deep medium sized casserole dish. Pour in the filling and top of with spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and smooth out with a spatula. Cover and heat in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes at this time it should be bubbling around the edges. Take cover off and let the top brown a bit for 10-15 minutes.
*You can also eliminate veggie crumbles and use more lentils and mushrooms.