Takeout Orange Tofu

So since moving to South Carolina the one type of food I really haven’t ventured out in finding a great take out in is Chinese. We’ve had awesome pizza, awesome Mexican (gosh, yeah… I could eat at the Mexican restaurants every other day if I allowed myself to), we even went to a ramen house! Well, when I was pregnant I had such a craving for the delicious tofu from my favorite Chinese take out place in NY, that I had to figure out something. So we picked out the Takeout Orange Tofu from Vegan Junk Food by Lane Gold and we went and bought all the ingredients and were super excited to make it… well, skip to an unexpected trip to NY, having a baby, staying there for almost 3 months… lets just say that tofu never got made.. UNTIL! We made it when we got home.

Alright, so you know how when you order Chinese take out tofu it’s got that pillowy texture and the sauce gets all soaked up and you regret not ordering another quart because you’ve just devoured that one in 5 seconds flat? Well that’s how this tofu was. I’ve never ever ever made such good tofu in my whole entire life. Seriously. And I’ve been known to make some killer tofu, and devouring whole bricks myself. This stuff was awesome. I started by freezing the block of tofu and then thawing it out, I added that awesome orange sauce from the cookbook that had such complex and yummy flavors it was absurd and then I added it to an awesome brown rice pilaf with edamame and steamed sugar snap peas. Delish!

Have I mentioned how much I’m in love with sugar snap peas right now? My favorite way to make them is to steam them lightly and to make a soy sauce – sesame - butter sauce to drizzle over the top. Or you know, just snack on them raw and enjoy the delicious snap and the cool refreshing sweet flavor that bursts in your mouth. GOSH. I want this dish right now.

 

Bon Appetit!

Happy Pi Day! (3.14)

Yes I know I’m late. It’s not exactly Thursday (Pi Day – 3.14) anymore and yes I know that the REAL Pi day will actually be in 2015 (3.14.15)  but I wanted to tell ya’ll about my pie tradition I’ve been doing for a few years on March 14th. I know that technically it’s a day for the mathematical number Pi (3.14159265359), but it’s the perfect excuse to make a delicious PIE! And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few years… Last year I made chocolate crème pie and the year before that I’m pretty sure I made cherry… anything beyond that I can’t remember… but this year I made a Black Bottom Banana Crème pie and it was amazing!

Look at those delicious chocolate shavings and that luscious home made whipped cream!

It had a shortbread cookie & butter crust, a decadent layer of dark chocolate pudding (might I add it was home made), a layer of perfectly ripe bananas, a layer of vanilla custard and then luscious home made whipped cream. It was heaven in a pie plate. Seriously. I love all things banana and I absolutely love pudding too.. and seriously, home made pudding is so easy to make it’s ridiculous. I would much rather make home made pudding than buy the box (although on super super lazy days I will cave and buy the Jell-O brand pudding… it’s good, what can I say?)

 

And then, just because I believe in writing and broadcasting our cooking failures too, I present to you the most disgusting smoothie I have ever had in my whole entire life.

It’s called a “Clean Breeze Smoothie” (I believe it came out of an issue of EatingWell magazine) and it’s disgusting. Usually I love green smoothies and I frequently request my best friend to make me kale and peach smoothies, but this thing was repulsive. It had everything I usually love in it… kiwi, cucumber, cilantro, ginger kombucha…. but something about the mixture of everything with the extremely tart greek yogurt… Can I tell you how nasty it was anymore? haha If you’d like to try this beast out for yourself, here’s the recipe.

Bon Appetit!

 

Two of My Favorite Things

Today I just wanted to talk about two of my favorite things to eat.

Cookies and Salad.

Yup, I said it. A pretty much guaranteed unhealthy item and a fairly healthy item. They cancel each other out, right?

So anyways… one of my favorite cookies ever are the Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Book. When I first got this cookbook I was super excited because I loved the lay out.. I loved how in the glossary there was a picture of each cookie… so you didn’t have to go to the recipe to see what kind of cookie it was (if you were unfamiliar with it). Well… needless to say, the book is a 50/50 in my opinion. I’ve had some really awesome cookies and I’ve had some that were yucky and didn’t come out like she says they’re supposed to. But these gingerbread cookies, yum! Gingerbread cookies are one of my favorites and to add big chunks of chocolate, delish!

They’ve got sugar on the outside to make them a bit crunchy, yet they’re soft and chewy in the inside. They are definitely a cookie from heaven.

Alright, now I’m going to admit something that I’ve never heard of anyone else doing.. It’s got to do with my salads. And no, I don’t crumble my cookies into them… although, chocolate chip cookies dipped in mustard are amazingly good… but that’s a different post.. (..maybe…?) Anyways. Here goes, I hope ya’ll don’t think I’m too weird..

I absolutely love, love love LOVE steaming hot brown rice or quinoa on top of my salads. I love it when it wilts the lettuce and makes the cucumbers all warm and toasty. I love how the dressing gets soaked right up into the grains and flavors them intensely. Every time I make a salad and throw steaming grains on top people look at me like I’m a weirdo. I used to do it at work on my lunch break and people would be “grossed out”, the boy thinks I’m weird and nasty… I’ve just never met anyone else who does it. Do you? Have you ever tried it? Am I as weird as everyone makes me out to be? Who knows.. but I highly suggest it to anyone who loves salads and hot steamy grains.

Mmmmm… yummy.

 

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Saffron & KFC

A lot of things are different lately. My fiancé and I have been in New York for the last 6+ weeks. Unfortunately some pretty tragic events are happening in my family and we’ve been here trying to…. come to terms with things I suppose. Plus, on top of all the bad things, something AMAZING happened. We finally welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world on January 26th, so you can imagine how stressful and eventful our life has been as of late!

Before we came to NY though, we had really been trying to cook more. We had quite a few recipes we wanted to do and we were only able to do a couple.

The first I want to talk about is a Rachael Ray recipe. Off the top of my head I’m not sure which cookbook of hers it came out of, but I do know that it contained Saffron (which was an awesome gift I received from my fiancé’s mom). Neither of us have ever had saffron and were pretty excited to try it. Unfortunately, I think we chose the wrong recipe to test it out. It was a cream based pasta dish that originally had sausage and eggplant in it, but obviously being vegetarians we subbed the sausage with some steamed tempeh. The cream sauce was pretty darn good, the saffron very light tasting. The boy said he couldn’t place the flavor of the saffron at all, but I think it was just very very light. Annnnnnd, I have come to the realization I HATE eggplant. Unless it’s battered and fried and from Olive Garden, I have never ever ever liked it. So the dish was a flop and we’ve decided to try a risotto next to really accentuate the flavor of saffron.

The picture is pretty yellow, unfortunately that’s the kind of lighting we have in the kitchen when there’s no sunlight. Those breadstick looking things in the background were my favorite part of the meal. Just a simple loaf of store bought Italian bread with butter, Italian seasoning, fresh minced garlic and parmesan cheese.

The next recipe I want to talk about is something of glory. A recipe I can’t wait to try again… A recipe from one of the vegan food gods, Celine Steen. When I got Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day in the mail some odd months ago, I was super excited. There were at least 15+ recipes I couldn’t wait to try. After narrowing it down with help from the boy, we decided to try out the Retro KFC Sandwiches. The boy has always loved KFC and since being a vegetarian that’s all he ever talks about… how he wishes he had had that last KFC stacker, or that last Chick-fil-A sandwich. So when I suggested we make these sandwiches he was pretty excited. He had high hopes of them being just like the KFC stackers and although I have no idea what one tastes like, these sandwiches were divine.

Lookit that crispiness. They’ve got a corn flake crust and at first I was a little iffy about coating them in a breakfast cereal that I remember my father coating in sugar, but these were super tasty and crunchy and crispy and mmmmm.

The recipe had a mayo based sauce and suggested adding shredded lettuce and pickles. I can’t remember if the tomatoes were suggested as well, but either way. Delicious. The only negative comment I can say about this sandwich is the thickness of the “chicken”. The recipe has you making your own chicken style seitan and although I tried getting the pieces as thin as I could, once they were baked they were just a tad too thick. Next time (and there will be a next time!) I will cut the pieces in half horizontally before breading them and that will give me the option of having a thinner sandwich, or if we’re feeling frisky, maybe a double decker.

The last thing I want to talk about it (no, not the blurriness of this photo, I apologize) is this glorious kale and rutabaga mash with chickpea gravy on the right side of the plate. This beauty was found on Pinterest, off the site Vanilla & Spice. Talk about aweeessome. The chickpea gravy was a little eh, I didn’t like it so much with this dish. It has fresh ginger in it and I found it to be a tad to overwhelming, but damn… the mash was great. It really really was. If you’ve never had rutabaga before, this is an awesome first time dish.

Alright, those are the food escapades I’ve got for you for now. Hope ya’ll enjoyed them and I leave this post with a small intimate piece of advice. Enjoy your family, enjoy the ones you love and keep them close to your heart.. turn the tv off, play a board game, order a pizza… enjoy them!! Because you never know what will happen, or when you may not have them to do those things with.

Bon Appetit!!

mmmmmmmmm

Words can not describe what we ate for dinner last night. Seriously. I haven’t had something so delicious in a long long long time. Can I show you? Please?

Welcome to the land of glorious Tofurky, mashed potatoes, home made vegan turkey gravy, roasted carrots with onion and garlic and steamed snow peas. HELLO GORGEOUS.

So the boy and I had to test out the Tofurky before I went out of town (won’t be back until the day before Thanksgiving) and decided to bake it with some carrots, onion and garlic plus a homemade vegan turkey broth. The broth steamed the Tofurky and made it moist and delicious while also making the carrot mixture a creamy delicious concoction of… yumminess! The Tofurky reminded me of what I remember lower quality meats tasting like… like maybe a turkey cutlet Banquet tv dinner.  It was really satisfying and I was super pleased with how it came out. Thanksgiving is always the hardest for me because I love love loved turkey sooo much and I’m always drooling over it.. but honestly, knowing there are products like this out right now makes me believe I’ll never go back to eating real meat. I definitely recommend the Tofurky to anyone!

Now I just wanna find the Gardein Holiday Roast and I’ll be set!

apples!

Back in early October, my fiance and I went apple picking out near Asheville, NC and acquired quite a bit of apples. I’ve been making various things with them, some note-able, most not. A lot of the apples were just eaten as is.. But! Since I’m going to be out of town until like a day before Thanksgiving and since there were only like a dozen apples left, I decided to make Apple Cinnamon Rice Pudding!

I know I’ve showcased rice pudding before.. but this is even better than the last one.

I used my regular rice pudding recipe but made a few tweaks to it.

Apple Cinnamon Rice Pudding

5 cups soy milk (plus more to your liking)

2/3 cup brown rice

5 shredded apples

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

Combine everything but the raisins in a large pot. Cook on medium high heat until bubbly and then switch the heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and there’s still a good amount of liquid/creaminess (I found with the brown rice that it took wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy longer than with the white rice. In fact, I ended up just shutting the heat off and calling it done with some of the rice kernels kind of crunchy.. it seriously cooked for over 2 hours. I had to keep adding soy milk too and probably added an additional cup). Add the raisins and cook until desired tenderness and creaminess. Devour immediately.

I still enjoy my rice pudding with a pad of butter on top, the saltiness balances the sweetness.

Tomorrow, I’ll have another post about what we had for dinner tonight… it was absolutely amazing and blew my mind.

Bon Appetit!

a whole new world, via Whole Foods!

About two weeks ago I heard thru the grapevine that we were going to be getting a Whole Foods Market. I instantly became excited. When I moved to South Carolina I had high hopes for Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Cost Co. How disappointed was I when I found out the closest ones were 3+ hours away! I figured moving from a rural town in New York to a southern state like SC I’d find them, but no…  no I did not. But anyways, happiness now because two days ago I found out that it (being Whole Foods) opened its glorious doors on October 25th. So we set out this morning for a mere 26 mile journey and it was totally worth it.

After several spins around the parking lot we finally found a parking space and when I walked thru those doors, I was in heaven. There were fruits and vegetables piled high in amazing colors, I could see the bulk section from the doors, they were sampling chocolates and cupcakes and cheeses. Pure bliss I tell you. Unfortunately, even though it was a Monday it was still incredibly crowded. I’m assuming it was due to it only being open a few days, I’m hoping the crowds will die down eventually.. I don’t think I’d enjoy grocery shopping and playing bumper carts too. But anyways, my loyal boy pushed the cart dutifully thru the crowded aisles and never complained once. I even went thru the bulk section twice, just because I wanted to and he never said a word. This is why I love him.

So, my favorite parts were as follows:

Beautiful sparkling new bulk bins filled with all sorts of things.. including 10 different types of dried mushrooms, 8 different types of flavored sea salts, 6 different types of grind your own nut butters and all the regular beans and grains you’d expect from WF.

The produce section. Oh, my, goodness. I wasn’t joking earlier when I said the fruits and vegetables were piled high in amazing colors.. unfortunately I have been succumbed to Wal*Mart produce for far too long and I felt like my eyes were going to bleed from the insane amount of colors. Plus they had great variety and in the first cooler case were packages of freshly cut fruits & veggies and freshly squeezed juices… I’d normally not buy pre-cut fruits and veggies, but they were so beautiful.. soo soo beautiful.

The 10+ foot long bakery counter! They had bagels. BAGELS I TELL YOU. Do you know how hard it is to find a freaking BAGEL down here?! Creme puffs and cheesecakes and fudgy brownies, cookies by the pound… they had whole wheat breads, sourdough breads, rosemary and thyme. Baguettes and french breads and perfectly executed roses on top of decadent cakes.

The cheese counter. They had cranberry cheddar for sampling. I easily would have devoured the whole entire case if I had no self control. I’m thinking about buying some for Thanksgiving or Christmas to have as an appetizer.

Pretty much, I could just talk about every single aisle and department in the whole place all night and be perfectly content with it. Obviously I loved the whole store. My biggest disappointment was not having a ton of cash to spend and the fact that I will be out of town for 2 weeks and couldn’t stock up on too many perishable foods.

What I did buy was a few ridiculously good deals.

We got…

a small Tofurky roast to try before Thanksgiving.. the boy wants to make sure his vegetarian turkey is up to par before the big day arrives. I know for a fact I enjoy it, but we got it for $6 and I really couldn’t say no to that since it’s usually $10+ dollars.

Two different and unusual flavors of Tofurky sliced deli meats… a roast beef and an Italian deli. I’m a fan of the sliced deli meats because I enjoy making a sandwich every now and then and it’s a lot more convenient to have them pre-cut and ready to eat.

And the hummus was to awesome of a deal to pass up. 99 cents for those suckers. Hummus is usually pretty expensive so the shelves were almost wiped clean. Plus, have you ever seen Cinnamon Raisin hummus?! Couldn’t pass it up. Same with the wasabi… I do love me some wasabi.. especially with cucumbers… yum! The artichoke and spinach is for the boy, he claims he doesn’t like hummus but said he’d try this flavor. So whatevs. 99 cents, who cares! I’m freezing these packages since I’ve already got one opened, so I can’t vouch on their flavors yet, but I’ll definitely be reviewing them as I open them.

I also bought a bag of sea salted Rice Chips (not pictured) because I love them. All together, I spent 15 bucks. Megan, I know you’d be disappointed. But I assure you, when I get home from NY and I’ve got some groceries to get, I’ll surely be going to Whole Foods.

october is seriously my favorite

I absolutely love October. Love it. I love everything about it. The leaves are almost always completely changed and beautiful, the air is crisp, apples are in abundance, pumpkins, Halloween, scary movies!!! My list could go on and on and on.

This year is quite different however. I’m no longer in apple country… it’s no longer 50 degrees out and rainy/windy/just plain ol’ cold. The leaves haven’t QUITE changed yet.. it was 80 when I carved my pumpkin!! Life has certainly changed.

Wanna see our pumpkins? Okay!

This is Matt’s (my fiance) pumpkin.. he chose the bat clawing the pumpkin. So cute =)

This is mine! It’s a cute little kitty with a pumpkin and some spoooooky bats. Adorable.

These are all 3 that we did… the third one we worked on together and although it was the easiest one, it ended up looking the crappiest.

They always look so much better when they’re lit up!

So obviously, if you carve pumpkins, you should always always always roast the seeds. And of course we did. We decided on plain ol’ salted and cinnamon & sugar. The cinnamon sugar ones could have used double the amount, but they’re still delicious.

We all had quite the debate though… Half the family was saying you aren’t supposed to eat the harder shell on the outside and the other half was saying you could, and should. I had never really heard of anyone cracking the shells open like sunflower seeds until I met this family.. I always eat the seeds whole. The only time I actually eat the inside part by itself is when I buy them specifically (also known as pepitas!). What do ya’ll do? Do you shell them like sunflower seeds? Do you suck on them and spit them out? Or do you devour the whole delicious thing?

It has been far.too.long!

I’ve realized I do a lot of apologizing on this blog and I’ve really got to change that. So this is my last apology..

I AM SORRY I HAVE NEGLECTED YOU, BEEN A BAD BLOGGER & HAVE NOT SHARED MY FOOD EXPERIENCES SINCE MARCH.

Okay. So in saying that, without getting too personal, things have SEVERELY changed (and for the best!!).

1: I’ve moved to South Carolina, officially.

2: I’ve gotten engaged! =D

3: We are expecting our first child in January, a special little boy =)

Now on to the foodz.

These are amazing Buffalo Cauliflower bites we made for pizza night.. they were deliciously spicy and were excellent thrown into a salad the next day!


BBQ Chicken pizza with mushrooms and green peppers…

This is the Pioneer Woman’s taco pizza… IT IS SERIOUSLY AMAZING. I have made this sooo many times and it’s seriously one of my favorite foods. Out on the grill with little charred bits of dough, mm mm good. It’s awesome too because you can serve it cold or room temperature, so you don’t really have to worry about it being HOT when guests come over. Downfall, it’s severely messy. But that’s what forks are for! =)

This is kinda just a shot of the counter on pizza night. Pizza, buffalo bites, salad, soda, board games & family… perfection!

Orange Scented Apple Bundt cake with cider glaze.

No Knead Bread… freaking fantastic. Super easy, even a 4 year old could do it!

This was originally a recipe from the Food Network magazine for Sausage Broccolini risotto, but being a vegetarian my fiance and I changed it up quite a bit and fell in love with it. We make this seriously, like once every two weeks or so. It’s so delicious and it cooks in the oven, no stirring required.

These are from the cookbook 750 Best Muffin recipes and are a combination of 3 different recipes. I ended up calling them Pumpkin Apple Struesel Muffins. They were, of course, delicious.

These last few pictures are a thing of beauty. Apple Cinnamon Pretzels. I actually JUST made them, this very  morning.
Look at how puffy that dough is, how golden and crispy the pretzels came out. The dough recipe was seriously one of the easiest I’ve used.. it only had to rise for an hour and it turned out exactly how I would have expected. I’m going to use the dough recipe for future things… like garlic knots =) But seriously, the hardest part was rolling the dough into ropes. The apple chunks kept falling out and they would make parts of the ropes too thick or too thin. They are not overly sweet, they have just a hint of cinnamon and apple…. they could easily be dipped into something super sweet like caramel, or something more savory like honey mustard. In fact, that’s how I’m going to be eating them later. The only regret I have is that I wish I had sprinkled some coarse salt on top before I baked them, because they could definitely use some salt.

So those are my recent food adventures. I’m not going to make any promises or say any more apologies, but I really really do miss this blog and I’m going to do my best with updating it. I hope that there are still a few of you who linger, occasionally checking up on me..
Bon Appetit!

ps: I’m going to add a link to my food board on pinterest. Some of the recipes I’ve been using lately have come from pinterest and I have pinned them on this board. Plus, I think it’s the coolest thing ever to be able to pin delicious recipes for later! Leave a comment with your food boards too, I’d love to view them! =)

alright…

So unfortunately, my whole plan for the no dairy/no gluten posts failed miserably. I had planned on posting the delicious food I was eating and updating regularly and actually doing this whole blog thing right.. But unfortunately, in the middle of the two weeks my boy got really sick and I spent a few days taking care of him (I actually made REAL chicken noodle soup for the first time in my whole life and I had to tear the chicken apart with my own fingers and I haven’t touched chicken in like 6+ years and it was the strangest thing ever.. but I’ll admit, it smelled fabulous in my house) and then since we’re so inseparable, I ended up getting sick as well and missed some work and he ended up taking care of ME (making me some delicious spicy black bean soup) and then we had like maybe… two days? before he got a massive stomach bug that led me to taking care of him again and now I’m on the verge/brink of having it or not having it, just feeling plain ol’ weird.. SO!

Anyways, the whole non-dairy, no gluten thing was fantastic. I loved it, I felt great and I actually felt GUILTY eating gluten and dairy again! I had thought I ruined it the last day, we all went to the movies to see The Lorax (great movie!! I’d recommend it to anyone!) and had some popcorn, where I would have bet money on the fact the dry popcorn had butter on it, but apparently it didn’t! So I actually lasted the whole 2 weeks and I feel accomplished. But, of course it was a Monday the first day off the 2 weeks and all you Moe’s lovers out there know about Moe’s Monday and how you can get a burrito and drink for 5 bucks.. so the boy and I went (of course) and I had a burrito.. I can honestly say though that my tummy felt a bit off after eating the gluten… like it was pissed I was eating it again. But oh well.. I have been nibbling on cookies at work, even tried eating a piece of baguette (didn’t even taste good, I threw it out after a bite) BUT, I haven’t eaten ONE CROUTON. Which, you all should be especially proud of me for. They don’t even smell good anymore.. the crouton addiction is officially, OVER.

I still want pizza.

And I’ll be devouring it as soon as we’re all done being sick.

So anyways. I did end up making my Morrocan Red Lentil soup.

It’s a recipe I developed while working at the organic market I used to work at.. It was derived from a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks with numerous changes. I’m not going to post the recipe, for some reason I’ve still got it in my head that I must hoard my own recipes, call me selfish.

I also made potato wedges that night to dip into the soup.

I love potatoes. In any form. Love love love them. I just baked them with a little olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. yum!

I also made sweet potato hummus!

I used this recipe, without the cumin flat bread chips because obviously I wasn’t eating gluten at the time. I dipped mine with rice chips, which were absolutely fantastic and I would continue buying them always. The hummus was amazing though.. seriously, it was. I had some the first night I made it while the sweet potato was still a little warm and it a creamy, well spiced dip. I then proceeded to devour it in the few days afterwards, while it was cold,  and it was still fantastic. I could probably admit though that it was a TAD better when warm. But I’ll definitely be making it again, for sure.

I recently re-organized my 1000+ bookmarked recipes on my computer, so I’m going to start (hopefully) bulldozing through those recipes in the near future.

Tootles!

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