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  1. I Know Your “Chicken”

    December 21, 2015 by admin

    12341322_10208364235247228_2027019583423696611_n

    12341322_10208364235247228_2027019583423696611_nWinter is soup season, as much at the TR Home as anywhere.

    Chicken noodle soup is a classic that many people remember fondly from childhood, and treasure on a chilly day, or when they are a bit under the weather.

    But we’re a vegan/vegetarian house!  How can we have all the yummy of goodness of chicken noodle soup while staying within our dietary guidelines?

    Enter: “Chicky” Noodle Soup, a delicious version of the classic that can be made vegan or vegetarian while keeping all the yumminess you expect and remember.

    “Chicky” Noodle Soup

    Ingredients:

    1 Package Beyond Vegan Chicken Strips (or equivalent)

    2 Carrots

    2 Celery Stalks

    1 Onion

    2 Garlic Cloves

    4 -6 Cups Veggie Broth* (or Water)

    1 teaspoon Oregano

    1/2 teaspoon Rosemary

    Salt & Pepper to taste

    2 Cups Noodles**

    Process:

    1.  Partially defrost vegan chicken strips, enough so they can be diced.

    2.  Saute Onions, Garlic and Carrots in bottom of soup pot for six minutes or so.

    3.  Chop or grind rosemary in a spice grinder or with a mortal & pestle.  Add to sautéed vegetables.

    4.  Add diced vegan chicken.

    5.  Add broth or water and bring to a simmer.

    6.  Add noodles and cook 10 minutes until soft.

    7.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

    Enjoy!!

    Invite a friend over to share!

     *  Make your own veggie stock:  The next time you chop onions, peel carrots or use celery, take the peels and bits you don’t want (so long as they are not spoiled!) and boil in water for 45 minutes to an hour.  Things to include in your veggie broth: onions, carrots, celery, parsley.   Thing to avoid in your broth: potato peels, pepper innards, beets.   If you don;t have veggie broth, you can use a vegan vegetable bouillon, available in most groceries.

    **  What noodles to use:  For a more traditional ‘Chicky’ Noodle Soup, use egg noodles.  But these are not vegan.  If you like a vegan soup, we like to use bowtie pasta.  As it gets very cooked, the bowties partially unfold leaving large, flat noodles of deliciousness.


  2. Let The Sun Shine

    July 21, 2015 by admin

    IMG_3141Our new, sun-filled yard has allowed us to rediscover the joys of sun tea- and pass this pleasure on to our kiddos.

    Spending most of the day flooded in sunshine, our backyard is the perfect place for making sun tea!  You can make sun tea in any large glass jar- a throughly washed pickle or olive jar can work quite well.  But we picked up a sun tea jar at our favorite grocery for a few bucks – and it includes a dispenser tap at the bottom.  This way even our youngest can pour himself a glass of tea without difficulty.

    The recipe is simple: fill you jar with cold water and add a few bags of tea.  We use five with our approximately half-gallon jar.  Use more if you like a stronger tea.   You may find different tea flavors require different strengths to turn out the way you like.  Let the tea sit in a bright part of your yard for most of the day- the longer it sits there the stronger it gets.

    Tip:  If it gets too strong, you can water it down with water or ice cubes when you drink it.

    We keep our tea in the fridge and it cools down quickly to just the right temperature.  Add ice as desired.

    Our youngest loves watching the tea darken during the day, and particularly enjoys sampling the fruit flavored teas.  Try it out and find your favorite flavor!


  3. Come Kale Or High Water

    July 6, 2015 by admin

    IMG_1266We are always looking for ways to introduce nutritious snacking option to our kids.

    Kale chips are a low calorie, super easy, and very tasty choice that you can make at home in less than ½ hour.

    Pick up a good bunch of Kale from your local farmer’s market or favorite grocery store.  Wash the leaves and then dry all of them thoroughly.  Next, cut the leafy green away from the stalk.  But don’t just throw out those stalks!  You can save them for soup stock!  Or chop them down and saute them into your next stir fry.  Or feed them to bunnies!IMG_1263

    We hear kale is pretty easy to grow in your garden.  We haven’t tried that yet, but we’ll let you know when we do!

    Tip1: If you fold the kale along the stalk, you can easily cut straight down to separate both halves from the stem.

    Use your fingers to rip down the leafy parts into chip size pieces and put them into a large bowl.  Toss theKale with olive oil and coarse kosher sea salt and set aside.  Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper.

    Tip2: We put a coat of olive oil on our tinfoil.

    Distribute the Kale in an even layer on the cookie sheet.  Cook at 350degrees for 10 minutes.  Rotate your tray and perhaps flip your kale.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until you’ve got your desired crispness.

    Enjoy!


  4. Mac & Cheese: Variations

    April 15, 2015 by admin

    IMG_3001 Our TR family loves comfort food!  Our feel-good dishes bring a satisfying end to a hard day or a work great as for rainy day pick-me-up.

    One of our longtime favorites is Macaroni & Cheese.  Everyone in our family can dig deep into a piping hot casserole of cheesy noodles any day of the week.

    We long ago perfected a satisfying, quick and easy homemade mac&cheese.  It tastes fantastic and goes together in just a few minutes.

    TRMom’s recent shift to a vegan diet may seem like it spelled the end of mac&cheese night, but it did not.  We just reworked the recipe a bit and use two separate casserole dishes.  We can easily make two versions of mac&cheese: the traditional favorite and a vegan version that TRMom adores.

    First up, the Vegetarian Version:

    Ingredients:

    1/2 Pound dry macaroni pasta

    1/3 Cup Cream Cheese

    3 T Butter

    1/2 to 3/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar

    Salt & Pepper to Taste

    1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs

    Process:

    1.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add dry pasta and boil for ten minutes.

    2.  Drain pasta and return to the same still-hot pot.

    3.  Mix in Butter and Cream Cheese, and stir until fully melted.

    4.  Mix in shredded cheddar and stir thoroughly.

    5.  Transfer to an oiled casserole dish.

    6.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and bake at 350 for fifteen minutes.IMG_3002

     

    The Vegan Version:

    Ingredients:

    1/2 Pound dry macaroni pasta

    3 T Earth Balance

    1/2 Cup Teese

    Salt & Pepper to Taste

    1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs

    Process:

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add dry pasta and boil for ten minutes.

    2. Drain pasta and return to the same still-hot pot.

    3. Mix in Earth Balance and stir until fully melted.

    4. Mix in Teese and stir thoroughly.

    5. Transfer to an oiled casserole dish.

    6. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and bake at 350 for fifteen minutes.

    We usually make a much smaller portion of vegan mac&cheese, since it is for one serving.  You can scale down or up as necessary to feed your hungry crew.


  5. Seitan

    March 2, 2015 by admin

    Seitan is a versatile and delicious complement to many vegetarian and vegan dishes- especially meals that play off traditional meat-based recipes.  In many areas, seitan is readily available in supermarkets and co-ops.  But it is also fun and easy to make on your own.

    An extra advantage of making your own seitan is that you can add your own flavor accents to the basic recipe and make it into whatever you want it to become.  But before we get into all the many variants you can try, let’s tackle the basic seitan recipe.seitan_spongy_400

    There are two main ways to prepare seitan: boiling and baking.   We’ve had great fun with both techniques, but this recipe will be boiled.  Boiling the seitan gives you two chances to enhance the flavors of your seitan: once when you make the dough, and then again when you boil it.

    Making seitan is a lot like making bread.  You’ll add water and other ingredients to flour, knead it and shape it, and cook it.  Unlike most breads there is no yeast, baking soda or other leavenings.  Also, unlike most breads we will cook it by boiling.   Seitan takes about 10 minutes or less to put together and boils for about forty-five minutes, so the whole process can be done in an hour.

    Tip:  Depending on what you plan to do with it, you should probably make your seitan in advance, maybe even a day ahead.  Slicing chunks of boiling hot seitan is not easy (or particularly safe).

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 cups Gluten Flour
    • 2 t Fine diced garlic or garlic powder
    • 2 T soy sauce
    • 1 Cup Water
    • 10 cups water
    • 3 T Soy Sauce
    • 1 T Vegan Boullion

    Process:

    1. Mix flour, garlic, soy sauce and 1 cup water in a bowl.  Knead two or three minutes into a dough.
    2. Shape into a ball.  Try to make it as smooth as possible so it holds together in the water.
    3. Bring 10 cups water, 3 T soy sauce and boullion to a boil.
    4. Put the ball of dough in the boiling water and simmer for 45 minutes.

    Tip2:  Gluten Flour, or Vital Wheat gluten is more expensive than All Purpose flour, but you get a lot of seitan out of each batch, so it will last a long time.  It is available at most grocery stores and food co-ops.  Bob’s Red Mill is one brand that is available in many places.

    When forming your dough (Step 1 above) you can add flavors to suit your needs.  Making a mexican dish?  Add mole sauce or chili powder right into the seitan.  Making Italian food?  Add some oregano.  Do you want your seitan to sub for chicken?  Add some vegan “chicken” flavoring to the mix.  The sky’s the limit- be creative!

    One add in that works for all versions is Nutritional Yeast.  This inactive yeast enhances the flavors of many vegan and vegetarian foods. If you can, replace 1/4 cup of flour with Nutritional Yeast- you’ll like the results.


  6. Stir Fry With Seitan

    January 30, 2015 by admin

    We recently added this dish to our rotation.  It is simple and delicious- two qualities that are right on target for how we like to cook.

    We were inspired to create this dish upon reading about a beef-based version in a British cooking magazine.  We thought to switch out the beef for vegan seitan and go from there.  Seitan is a wheat-based meat substitute.  It’s easy to make at home, or you can buy it at most supermarkets (we like Upton’s).  A few other changes to the original British recipe and we ended up with a family favorite- no leftovers from this one, we’re pleased to say.15-Uptons-Naturals-Traditional

    Ingredients:

    • 1 T Oil
    • One 12 oz. Package of Seitan
    • 2-3 T Black Bean Sauce
    • 1 T Soy Sauce
    • 1 T Corn Starch
    • 1 Green Pepper, cut into thin strips
    • Scallions for Garnish

    Process:

    1. Slice the seitan into thin strips. (Some brands/batches of seitan slice better than others.  Don’t panic if your’s crumbles more than it slices.)
    2. Heat the seitan in the oil in a large skillet or wok.
    3. Add the Green Peppers, and sauté 3-5 minutes.
    4. Add the Black Bean sauce and simmer 2-3 minutes.
    5. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce and corn starch together.
    6. Pour the starch into the pan and mix.  Cook through until sauce thickens.
    7. Serve over brown rice and garnish with scallions.

    Tip: This whole dish goes together in about ten minutes, so make sure you cook the rice first!


  7. Holy Mole!

    November 20, 2014 by admin

    IMG_2505We only just started making this Mexican staple, but we are so glad we did!

    We use this sauce almost everyday to bring a bit of zing to all sorts of dishes.  We mix it in with pizza toppings, add it onto nacho platters, and mix it into other dishes like beans and rice.  And yes, it makes a great addition to chili as well.

    The whole recipe goes together in about twenty minutes and will keep for several weekends in your fridge.

    Here’s our version of this classic sauce, based around Guajilla peppers, which are easily found in grocery stores in our area:

    Ingredients:

    1 t Cumin Seeds

    1 t Coriander Seeds

    2 Guajilla Peppers, Dried

    2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

    1 Cup Onion, Chopped

    2 Tomatoes, Peeled and Diced

    2 t Salt

    2 T Sugar

    2 T Oil

    1/4 Cup Water

    1/4 t Cayenne Pepper

    Process:

    1.  Toast the cumin and coriander in a dry pan for a minute or two.

    2.  Remove the stems from the dried guajillas and place in a spice grinder (we use an old coffee grinder for this purpose) along with the toasted seeds.

    3.  Pulse the onions, garlic, dried peppers and seeds, tomatoes and all other remaining ingredients in a food processor.

    4.  Add a bit more water if you’d like the sauce to be smoother.

    Enjoy!  Let us know how you use your mole!


  8. Chili With TVP

    November 7, 2014 by admin

    IMG_8630There are probably as many recipes for chili as there are cooks.  Maybe more.  After all, with so many ways to enjoy chili, who could settle for having just one recipe?  Not us, certainly.

    We make chili almost once a week these days.  It makes a great dinner and can easily be packed off to lunch or reheated as a snack.  Mix it with rice or pasta, or serve with some home-made bread and you have a full meal.

    Our latest iteration is made with TVP- Textured Vegetable Protein.  TVP is a soy-based product that is sold as a dried item in the ‘natural foods’ sections of most supermarkets.  TVP gives this chili a heartiness that we like, especially on a cold day.

    Ingredients:

    1/3 Cup Dried Chick Peas

    1/3 Cup Dried Red Kidney Beans

    1/3 Cup Dried Great Northern Beans

    2 T Oil

    1 Onion, Diced

    2 Cloves Garlic, Diced

    1 T Cumin Seeds, Ground

    1 t Chili Powder

    1 T Vegetarian Bouillon

    1 Red Bell Pepper

    4 Cups Water

    1/2 Cup TVP

    2 Cups Diced Fresh Tomatoes

    1 t Tabasco Sauce

    Salt To Taste

    Process:

    1.  Boil beans to al dente.  (They will cook a little bit more in the chili, but not much.)  We like to cook them all in the same pot, but we give the chick peas a twenty minute head start, so they all finish at the same time.

    2.  Saute onion and garlic in the bottom of a stock pot until clear.

    3.  Add spices and bouillon.  Cook for a few minutes.

    4.  Add pepper and cook a few minutes.

    5. Add water and beans – bring to simmer.

    6.  Add TVP and cook ten minutes more.

    7.  Add tomatoes and Tabasco.  Cook five or ten minutes and taste to determine how much, if any, salt you want to add.  You can add more Tabasco or Chili powder if you like more heat.

    The whole recipe goes together very quickly.  The flavors will deepen if you let the chili simmer on the stove.  Enjoy!


  9. Roasties!

    October 12, 2014 by admin

    IMG_8317As much as we enjoy mashed potatoes around the TR house, we also love to mix it up.  One of our favorite potato side dishes is Roasties, our family’s oven roasted version of a potato recipe.

    Everyone digs in when we make our Roasties, so we’re pretty sure you and your family will like them too!

    Ingredients:

    Potatoes- we average 1 fist-sized potato per person.

    IMG_8273Tip:  You can use white or red potatoes.  Or add in some sweet potatoes for a flavorful, healthful zing!

    2 T Oil

    1 T Salt

    1 t Pepper

    1 t Oregano

    1 T Paprika

    Process:

    1.  Peel and wash potatoes.  Cut into cubes- small cooks better and are easier to eat.  We aim for approximately 1/2″ cubes.

    2.  Toss potatoes in a large mixing bowl with  oil and spices.

    Tip2: You can easily change up the spice mix to suit your family’s taste.  Add 1 t of garlic powder, chili powder or cumin to give potatoes a little more bite.IMG_8285

    3.  Pour potatoes into oven safe baking dish.

    4.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes to an hour.

    IMG_8307Tip3:  Different variety of potatoes may take different baking times.  We check the potatoes for doneness at 30 minutes and then use 10 minute increments after that until they are cooked the way we like.

    Tip4:  If you need your Roasties quicker, try this: Before you toss with oil and spices, put the potatoes in a pot of water, and boil for five minutes and drain.  This par-cooking will speed the oven time dramatically.

    Next time you are making pizza, burgers, or really anything else that needs a fun starch side dish to go with it, try our easy and delicious Roasties!


  10. Vegan Quinoa Burgers

    September 19, 2014 by admin

    IMG_2286There are so many different ways to make a veggie burger and we are always up for trying out a new one in our search for the elusive ‘perfect’ burger.  We recently tried a new recipe featuring white beans and quinoa and were quite pleased with the results.  Try it for yourself, and let us know what you think!

    Ingredients:

    1/2 Cup Dried White Beans

    1/2 Cup Quinoa

    1 Cup Water

    1 Small Onion

    1/2 Red Bell Pepper

    1/2 Cup Corn – frozen or cut off the cob.

    1 Small Clove Garlic

    1 t Oregano

    1 t Ground Cumin

    1/2 t Marjoram

    1/4 Cup Flour

    1 T Corn Starch

    1/3 Cup Water

     Tip:  Flour can be wheat flour, or any other type of flour you prefer.  Use bean or rice flour to make gluten-free vegan burger, if you like!

     

    Process:

    1.  Boil Beans for approximately 1 hour in 4 cups of water until soft.IMG_2284

    2.  Boil water, add quinoa.  Cook for five minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed.  Cover and turn off heat and set aside.

    3.  Fine dice Onion, pepper and garlic.  Saute over low heat along with corn, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and marjoram.

    4.  Mash about 3/4 of the beans, along with the sauteed veggies in food processor or using an immersion blender.

    5.  Mix beans and veggies with finished quinoa.

    6.  Mix cornstarch and water thoroughly, and add to bean-veggie-qunioa mix, along with flour.

    7.  Form into 6-8 patties (Depending on the size) and bake on oiled sheet for ten minutes.

    8.  Flip burgers and cook ten minutes more.IMG_2285

    Enjoy with your favorite burger toppings on a great bun, or in your favorite wrap!