Sunday, April 10, 2011

Random Vegan Observations

1. My cat is far more interested in vegan food than she ever was with our omnivorous diet. She attempts to jump on the table during dinner, which she has always been extremely obedient about.

2. I can no longer text The Dad at noon and say "forgot to take meat out of freezer, you pick restaurant." Which means A: we have to plan our eating out (not only because I have no excuse not to cook but WHERE does a Vegan Chicago Southsider eat aside from Jason's Deli?) and B: we save a ton of cash.

3. People REALLY do say "Where do you get your protein?" Are you kidding? Really?

4. No, my children are NOT starving. No, my children are NOT malnourished. They eat more of our vegan dinners than they ever did of our omni dinners (unless of course it was pizza, burgers, or spaghetti & meatballs, which of course we have veganized and they love just as much). Just as BV (before Vegan), they are actually eating more than just dinner on a daily basis *gasp*! Yes, that means they eat breakfast and lunch as well as a few snacks.

5. It's as though I've had to teach myself how to cook all over again. Since January 11 we have had maybe 10 repeats. MAYBE.

6. You can veganize ANYTHING! :D

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MIA but still Vegan!

"We are here, we are here, WE ARE HERE!" Cried the 6 newly vegans down in veganville.

Yes, I've been gone a while and for that, I apologize. I'm rather angry at myself since I now probably won't remember where all the recipes came from and we've had some really good ones. I've still photographed every meal and will post the best looking foods.

I cheated. Yes, you heard me right. I cheated. I cheated pretty bad and boy oh boy did I pay. I ate a Spinach & Artichoke souffle from Panera along with a Bear Claw. My tummy did not enjoy all that cheese & egg. Good news? The sight of meat absolutely repulses me now. Maybe that's not good news LOL, but I no longer crave anything meaty. I do, however, consistently crave something bad. Nothing in particular, just bad. Maybe, cheesecake? Maybe, something really greasy, I mean really greasy. Maybe molten lava chocolate cake (I did find an amazing chocolate pie recipe, though)? It's really nothing specific, but I do have a slight bad girl tendency so maybe that's just it. Just bad.

I have decided that we are in this for the long haul, however. The kids are used to it now, and in the grocery store they will bring me items and ask "Is this vegan, mom?" We are finding more and more items that they really enjoy. Kid 3 is still the toughest customer.

Without further ado, the photos. . .

black bean buyga and homemade steak fries

chocolate ganache pie

citrusy tempeh pasta (really wish I could remember where this one was from because it was AWESOME)

mushroom, spinach, and sun-dried tomato risotto

chicken fried seitan, mashed potatoes, corn, and sauteed greens

veganized shepards pie (Kid 1 LOVED this one)

Spaghetti Pie and "Meatballs" via Vegan & So Forth. Instead of pureed carrot in the sauce, I used pureed sweet potato. 

Cherry Creme Cuppers from VCTOTW YUM!!

"chuna" sammies and spinach/mushroom tofu fritatta 

White pizza with a vegan garlic sauce and no cheese. Loaded with spinach, baby bellas, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. 

Maybe I'll be back to posting regularly ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two Days of Dinner and Desserts

We did a lot of running around on Saturday, so dinner needed to be rather easy as we didn't get home until 5pm. Dinner is typically on the table between 5 and 5:30 every day. We had lunch at Salad Creations and boy oh boy was their Chopped Veggie wrap DELISH! Who would've thunk to put a salad in a tortilla? Not me! But, you betcha I'm going to be making them frequently. So, for dinner, I whipped up some spaghetti and meatless meatballs for the kids and orange "chicken" (from Trader Joe's) for The Dad and I. Yup, a completely processed meal. :( But, everyone ate and everyone was happy.

I commissioned The Dad and Kid 3 to make the cuppers as I was pooped. They made the very first recipe of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Golden Vanilla Cupcakes. They tasted amazing but they sunk a little bit, not sure why. I left the frosting decision up to the Chefs and they made a magnificent choice ~ the Chocolate Ganache Topping on pg. 143 of VCOTW. YUM!!!

Kid 4 doing what she does best.

Last night we had a Mexican Fiesta! Nanny Noodle and Papa Pepper were coming for dinner so I wanted to prepare something spectacular. I had made some beans the other day and wanted to use 'em up so I poked through Viva Vegan and found Green Posole Seitan Stew With Chard and White Beans. Which was lucky because I had to use up the rest of the seitan I made AND I had some rainbow chard that needed to get eaten. 

I didn't think the stew was going to be enough and I love love love empanadas, so I decided to make the Creamy Corn-Filled Empanadas. The empanadas were a lot more work than I anticipated, but man were they good! It needed a little something, though, maybe a dunk in salsa? I used my blender (really need a new one as mine is horrid) twice and my food processor once, busy day for my appliances. 

Nanny Noodle brought a Cherry Pie, Kid 3's favorite!

I knew the kids would have no part of the stew or empanadas, so I made them the meatless tacos they love so.

Kid 4 could not participate with the thumbs as she ate at a birthday party. Kid 4 gave a halfsies since she does not like tortillas, but she ate the innards. Everyone else gave a thumbs up! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Raw Carrot Cupcakes

No, they weren't supposed to be raw. In this case, raw is a bad thing. For Friday's cupcake adventure, I wanted to try the Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. When baking, I always set my timer 5-10 minutes earlier than called for. I tend to burn my baked goods, so I came up with this genius idea about a 18 months ago. It's worked marvelously thus far. When my timer went off for these wee gems, I stuck a toothpick in one and it came out perfectly clean. I did what any ordinary sane person would, and took them out. I let them cool for about 10 minutes and they had sunk a bit. I didn't think much of it, and offered the first cupcake to my most non-vegany friend. I honestly thought she was going to vomit.

"They aren't cooked!!" She exclaimed. So, I gave it a try and sure enough, she was right. I tossed them back in for an additional 10 minutes, and although they were done, they sure weren't pretty. They sunk and stayed sunk.

But, my friends, the flavor!!! WOW!!!! Dare I say they were better then Nanny Noodles famous carrot cake? Oh, I don't know! They came awfully close! Isa & Terry NAILED this one! I had intended on making the cream cheese frosting from the book, but I really didn't want to waste it on ugly cuppers, so I may recreate them tomorrow.

Dinner was rather disappointing for me. The kids had mini semi-vegan pizzas on english muffins (I had some Thomas' in the freezer that I didn't want to go to waste). Are you all sitting down? Kid 1 requested red peppers and boca crumbles on his!!! HECK YEAH!!!! I didn't even offer up any toppings as I THOUGHT everyone would turn me down. I used Teese mozzarella and I really liked the consistency. It shredded well and melted well. I did not try it, however. All 4 kids finished their pizzas happily.

The Dad and I had the Barley and Red Bean Bowl from Skinny Bitch. I also wanted to do something with the seitan I made on Thursday but didn't really have enough time to do what I wanted, so I just sliced it reallllll thin and tossed it in a fry pan with a little oil. It crisped right up and became rather jerky-like. I didn't think it was anything to write home about, but The Dad ate it all and said he really liked it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Petite Confection

I have nothing to say about tonight's meal as I was not home. Every so often, a bunch of knitters get together for a little dinner outing. Tonight was that night for me. The Dad and the Kids were left to their own devices, which I'm pretty sure translates to: Free For All!! That being said, I'm sure it was thumbs up all around.

I would like to speak about cupcakes, however. This afternoon I made more cuppers (as we tend to refer to them around here) from VCTOTW. Todays variety was Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes. The aroma that came from these little babies was luscious. Very vanillay with a slight hint of almond. Heaven. They were super easy and quick to make, which in turn, makes me happy. Very happy. These were the most moist cuppers I've ever, and I mean, EVER had. The flavor took a minute to get used to, not really sure why as I use Agave in my tea. Kid 2 had a rough day (Math. He struggles and boy can I relate. I still get the chills when I think about fancifying numbers. Yuck) so he and I were the secret Agave Cupper Guinea Pigs. Sadly, my first words were, "They smell better than they taste." Kid 2 agreed. The problem? We tested them without frosting. We had some leftover frosting from last nights cupcake capade and it made all the difference in the world. Perfection. Y. U. M. I really wanted to go for just a plain cupper, but sometimes you must give in.

I purchased some cupcake accessories today, a new 12 cup cupper pan, and an official decorating set. You know the one, a bag and several tips. Get ready for some exciting cupcake pictures, folks.

Today, I also made a batch of seitan. I used a different recipe this time, the Steamed White Setitan from Viva Vegan. Not sure what I'm going to do with it just yet, but I know it will be dinner tomorrow night. 

Merry Veggin'!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cupcakes and Such

Let me start by saying:

Sing it Stevie, Sing IT!!!! Look at him go, wouldya??? He was just a baby then! I, on the other hand, was a whopping 3 years old!

I spent alllllllll day in the kitchen, which means what? I'm 100% again! Yee Hawwww!! What did I make that kept me in there all day? Hmmmm, I started with a big pot of rice as Kid 3 LOVES rice, baked some potatoes for tonight's dinner, made some kale chips, whipped up a spinach/walnut pesto, cut up some veggies in prep for roasting this evening, finished playing with the baked potatoes by turning them into homemade gnocci, and last but certainly not least, cupcakes. The Dad ordered Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for me and it came today. How exciting!!! Really. We are big dessert lovers 'round here. So, tonight, lets start with dessert.

Mmmm chocolate "buttercream"

Frosting art courtesy of The Dad and a sandwich bag.

These cupcakes were amazing and EASY!!! I'm going to have get some pineapple and surprise The Dad with the Pineapple Right Side Up Cupcakes. Thumbs up all around, but that really shouldn't come as a surprise. 

The Dad and I really enjoyed this evenings meal. All but Kid 3 finished everything on their plates. Kid 3 despised this meal. I made the gnocci, which I will admit was a little more work than I bargained for, the spinach pesto, and roasted broccoli, carrots, and Brussels. 

When dinner was through, I was clearing Kid 4's plate, before I rinsed it off she declared "Mom! Did you see what I did with my food?" I looked down and this is what was looking back at me:

Now that's a HAPPY MEAL!

Last night I made Snobby Joes from the Veganomicon. I thought FO SHO they would be a hit as all of the kids really loved the Fantastic Foods brand. And, if I made them the snobby way, I'd cut out that processed schtuff I want to avoid. Well, The Dad and I loved them. The kids major complaint was the texture of the lentils. Maybe I'll try it again and just cook the bejezzuz outta them. I also thought I'd give sweet potato fries a good ole try. Again, a hit with The Dad and I, not so much with the kids. sigh.

And, in other news, have you all hear of The Vegan Zombie? Kid 3 & 4 and I discovered the videos the other day and we are TOTALLY impressed! LOVE HIM!!! Such a fun idea! That being said, I thought I'd share our family portraits from December '10. 

Off to dream of fantabulous veganlicious edibles. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shells Bells AKA Stuffed Shells and Roasted Portobellas

I've been down for the count since Wednesday and today is hopefully the day I feel 100% again. Keep your fingers crossed.

I honestly can't tell you how much I've missed being in the kitchen. Over the past several days, I've played around with small easy recipes but I can't wait to make a full exciting meal again. I made Chick Pea Smash on Saturday and boy oh boy was it delish!! So yummy nummy in my tummy!! I, of course, omitted the onions and just used carrots and celery. I put it on a tasty flat bun with some sprouts and voila!! I also made a batch of vegan brownies that were just delightful!

Last night I made Stuffed Shells (I used the tofu ricotta recipe from the Veganomicon) and Roasted Portabellas (again, Veganomicon), with a great little salad. Kid 1 is really diggin' the bellas as of late, which I'm totally stoked about! Again, no thumbs :(, all but Kid 3 really liked the shells and only Kid 1 gave the shrooms an honest try.

Not quite sure what's on the menu tonight, but I'm really excited to get back in the kitchen!!