Excited about my new cookbooks

I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck in a rut lately as far as cooking is concerned. Sure, I come up with a few new interesting things to make here and there, but it takes time and thought, both of which I don’t feel like I have a lot of lately. I feel like I need more direction. While it’s fun for me to invent new recipes, lately I’d rather just flip open a book, find something with the ingredients I have, and go at it. Which is why I’m so excited about two new cookbooks I recently ordered off Amazon. πŸ™‚

The first is “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day” which I found used for $5.72. Here’s a bit about it:

“The Moosewood Collective has had big vegetarian cookbook success with other collections. The main aim of this addition to their list is to offer much-needed help to those who need recipes for speedy preparation. Most take less than 30 minutes preparation. Recipes include stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, bean dips, soups, scones, pancakes and desserts. Almost all are vegan, with dairy products offered only as optional extras, though there is a separate section on fish and eggs. Winner of the 1995 James Beard Award for vegetarian cookbooks.”

It comes widely reviewed and recommended and I’ve heard only good things about the Moosewood collection as a whole. I’m especially interested in the recipes that don’t take long to prepare. πŸ˜‰

The second book I got is “The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook: Whole Foods To Nourish Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women – And Their Families” which I found used for $14.24. This book comes highly recommended as well. A bit about it:

Ò€œThe Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook is a cookbook especially designed to nourish vegetarian pregnant and lactating women, though the delicious meals are also excellent for serving one’s whole family. Over 300 vegetarian and vegan recipes with nutrient analysis (vitamins and minerals as well as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and sodim) along with vegan recipes, “quick fix” meals and freezable entrees, wheat-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and egg-free options,” and more.

The reviews all seem to indicate that this cookbook will be very useful to the whole family beyond pregnancy and lactation and I’m looking forward to it.

I already checked the mail today and no books yet, but hopefully they will be here by the weekend so I can check them out and get cookin’. πŸ™‚

Mexican polenta casserole – recipe

This proved to be a very tasty dinner for us on Thurdsay. Ava gobbled it right up. Hope you enjoy it as well. πŸ™‚

Mexican Polenta Casserole

Ingredients:
1 package of polenta w/ green chiles and cilantro (it comes seasoned that way)
1 can of refried beans w/ green chiles
1 C Quorn grounds (warmed and seasoned with taco seasoning)
1/2 C salsa
1/2 can black olives (sliced)
3/4 C cheese (I used sharp cheddar and monterrey jack)

And 1 or 2 avocados (and whatever you put into your guacamole) to make into guacamole. I used lime juice, Spike seasoning, pepper and cilantro.

Instructions:
Spray the bottom of your casserole dish w/ some non-stick cooking spray.
Soften and mash the polenta by adding some water and microwaving it until it softens.
Spread 1/2 the polenta into the casserole dish.
Spread a layer of refried beans (use the whole can).
Spread a layer of the Quorn grounds (that have been warmed and seasoned w/ taco seasoning).
Put down a layer of salsa, then black olives.
Spread on the other 1/2 of the polenta.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 min., then follow up with the casserole under the broiler for a minute or two.
Top with guacamole and serve.


By the way, the Indian food (palak paneer) we had for dinner last night was sooooo good. πŸ™‚ Ava loved it too and had leftovers for dinner tonight as well. Yum!

Oh, I was mixing up some guacamole tonight to go along with my dinner leftovers (of the Mexican polenta casserole no less). I asked Ava what I was making and, clear as day, she said “guacamole.” Then she repeated it about 6 times. Can’t tell that we like our avocados in this house, can ya? πŸ˜‰

Tahini tofu stirfry with saifun bean threads – recipe

I’ve had these Saifun bean threads sitting in my pantry for months and months now. I bought them by accident, thinking they were rice noodles, and then wasn’t sure what the heck to do with them. So when I decided to make some sort of tofu stirfy for dinner last night, I thought I’d give them a try instead of brown rice.
They look really weird after being boiled, as they are these clear noodles, looking almost like soapy bubbles.
(I found this site that has descriptions of various Asian noodles including bean threads.)

The meal turned out pretty well and was quite tasty, though see my note below.
Oh! I have to thank Jess of Get Sconed! for her tips on getting your tofu to cook just right. Basically you don’t touch it until it’s time to flip it. I cooked it over med-high heat and I think that helped a lot too. I was so proud that it finally looked good instead of like mush. πŸ˜‰

Tahini tofu stirfry with saifun bean threads

Ingredients:
Saifun bean threads
Tofu
Olive oil
Sesame oil
Tamari
Garlic powder
Cayenne powder
Red swiss chard
Sesame tahini

Instructions:
Cook tofu in olive oil, sesame oil, tamari, garlic powder and cayenne powder. Set aside.
Cook the chard in olive oil.
Combine the tofu and chard. Add about 1/2 cup tahini and more tamari, as well as some water to thin the sauce.
In the meantime, boil the Saifun bean threads for about 20 minutes. Drain and cook a bit longer with some vegetable oil and tamari.
Place some bean threads on a plate, cover with the tofu/chard/tahini sauce. Enjoy.

Note: This meal was a LOT heavier than I thought it would be, perhaps due to the amount of oil I used. I didn’t think it was a lot, but if I make it again, it will be with less oil.
Also, sorry I didn’t specify amounts much for this recipe. It really was an “eyeball it” kind of meal.

I had a lot of bean threads left over (since I made two packages – oops), so after dinner I gave a couple handfuls to Ava on her tray and she had a ball playing with them and eating some as well.

Two recipes – Polenta Lasagna and Carrot Casserole

Thanks to my friend Sonja for turning me onto polenta and sharing this recipe with me.

Polenta Lasagna

Ingredients:
Tomato sauce
Polenta (I used the kind with sun-dried tomatoes and garlic)
Basil
Vegetables (optional – I used red Swiss chard and black olives)
Cheese (I used Monterrey Jack)

Instructions:
Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your dish to prevent sticking. Spread a layer of polenta (you can soften it in the microwave first). Add a layer of sauce. Sprinkle some basil on the sauce. Add the vegetables (which should be cooked a bit first to prevent crunchy vegetables in the lasagna). Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and melty.

This was my first time cooking with polenta (which is corn meal mush). It was easy to use and quite tasty. Reminded me a bit of grits, but more flavorful, especially in the lasagna. I was also excited about the meal because it was entirely organic, except for the black olives. And Jody and Ava liked it as well. I love it when my meals are a hit. πŸ˜‰
While I was at Vitamin Cottage today, I also bought some polenta with green chiles and cilantro in it and will prepare some sort of Mexican meal with that one. Mmmmm. πŸ™‚

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The next recipe I got online (somewhere??), but modified it a great deal, so I kind of consider it an Amy original. πŸ˜‰ Unfortunately, I don’t have pics of it, but it was very tasty and enjoyed by all three of us. πŸ™‚

Carrot Casserole

Ingredients:
8 C sliced carrots
1 large onion, diced (Since I didn’t have one at the time, I left it out)
Quorn “meat”balls (Looove the Quorn products in this house)
Veggie crumbles (I used Morningstar Farms)
A few shakes of garlic powder
1/2 jar tomato sauce
1 T butter
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 1/2 C grated cheese (I used cheddar, but I think just about any would do)
1/2 C fine dry bread crumbs

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and place in a 2 qt casserole dish. Cook “meat”balls and veggie crumbles in the microwave. Season with a bit of garlic powder. Cut the “meat”balls into smaller pieces. Stir in onion, butter, cream, salt, pepper, “meat”balls, veggie crumbles, tomato sauce and cheese. Mix well. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Bake in preheated oven for 50 min.

Tomato artichoke tempeh sauce – recipe

I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner last Thursday. I had some tempeh that I wanted to use, but wasn’t sure how to prepare it. After looking through the cupboards, I decided to throw this sauce together, totally unsure about how it would turn out. It was actually quite tasty and I think I’ll make it again sometime.
Here’s roughly what I did.

Tomato artichoke tempeh sauce with fettucine

Saute 3 cloves minced garlic in 2T olive oil.
Stir in cut up tempeh and saute until golden brown.
Add in 1 14 oz. can of quartered artichoke hearts (chopped up).
Add in 1 28 oz. can or organic ground peeled tomatoes.
Add in 2 T dried basil.
Cook until heated through.
Meanwhile, prepare fettucine (or other pasta) according to package directions.
Top pasta with sauce and serve.


The best hummus ever – Avocado hummus recipe

This delicious recipe came my way from Harmonia’s blog.

I took some pictures of this after I made it last week, but they have disappeared on my computer for the moment. Grrr. I’ll post one if I can round them up.

Avocado Hummus
(from Harmonia with my clarifications/amounts)

Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas
1 avocado
5 T tahini
3 T olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
3/4 C water
4 or 5 cloves of garlic
salt/pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Peanut butter tofu stirfry – recipe

This is an Amy original. πŸ™‚


PEANUT BUTTER TOFU STIRFRY

Ingredients*:
2 T Olive oil
2 T Sesame oil
5 cloves garlic – minced
1 package extra firm tofu – cut into bite-sized pieces
2 stalks of broccoli – cut into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot – chopped into bite-sized strips
2 T Tamari
Cayenne (red) pepper flakes
3/4 – 1 C natural peanut butter
4-6 servings of brown rice (I used Instant brown rice)
Handful of crushed peanuts (optional)
*Please note these are approximate amounts.

Saute tofu in 1 T olive oil and 1 T sesame oil until it starts to turn golden. Add the garlic in and cook for another 5 min. Set tofu/garlic aside. Cook broccoli and carrot pieces in 1 T olive oil and 1 T sesame oil, along with about a 1/4 cup of water, covered, until soft.
Add tofu back in with the broccoli and carrots. Add Tamari and peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter melts. Add a few shakes of cayenne pepper to taste.
In the meantime, cook your brown rice.
Put the stirfry mixture on top of the brown rice (you might want to add a little Tamari to the rice first for flavor). Add peanuts on top and serve.
Makes about 5 yummy servings. πŸ™‚

Soup’s on – carrot soup recipe! And my blog is featured!


Here’s a new (to me) soup recipe I got from my friend Julie. πŸ™‚ She made it for our moms’ night out get-together a week and a half ago and it was delicious!

Carrot Ginger Soup

2 or 3 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1.5 pounds of carrots, chopped
2 baking potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 c. soy milk (the recipe called for 1 c. of white wine, but I didn’t have any and using the soy milk was just as good)
7 cups of vegetable stock
¼ c lime juice
1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled & sliced or 2 t ground ginger (or I used pumpkin pie spice)
1 T chopped cilantro
1 T lemongrass (optional – I didn’t have any and it tasted fine without it)
salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onion, carrots & potato in the olive oil for 10 minutes until softening, but not browning. Add the soy milk (or wine) and cover, letting it simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the stock & the ginger and cook until the vegetables are totally softened, about 45 minutes (or longer) depending on how small you cut them. Puree in a blender or food processor and then add the remaining seasonings to taste.

And here’s the best way to eat it – using a carrot spoon, of course! πŸ˜‰

Edited to add:
How cool is this?? My blog is featured on the Toronto Vegetarian Association. The listing says:
———–
Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess
Ò€’ Daily
Blog run by amygeekgrl who is passionate about breastfeeding and parenting, and cooking delicious looking veggie meals.
———–
Oh, just noticed there’s also a poll to vote for your favorite veggie site. Wanna give me your vote? Hehe. It feels kind of weird for me to be on there since I just started adding veggie recipes to my blog, but it’s fun to get a mention nonetheless. πŸ™‚

Couple recipes – Chickpea lunch and Kentucky Fried (Baked) Tofu

I’m not sure where I picked up this first recipe. (My apologies in advance to anyone I may have snagged this from since I don’t know whom to credit. If I did get it from you, let me know so I can link ya here.)

No pics of this one, but it’s a nice colorful (and tasty) lunch and super easy to throw together.

Chickpea Lunch

1 can of chickpeas
sliced cherry tomatoes
feta cheese
lemon juice
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
dried oregano
salt
pepper

Toss together and serve.

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The second recipe is for Kentucky Fried (Baked) Tofu. I got this from Running2Ks, who I believe got it from a friend. It’s really easy to make and is very tasty!


Kentucky Fried (Baked) Tofu:

2 Tbsp hot water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp almond butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
1 lb very firm tofu sliced in thickness to your liking
Salt & Pepper Kettle chips crushed
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender, then pour in a bowl (or just mix vigorously in a bowl if you don’t want to dirty your blender like me). Dip the tofu in the sauce and then coat it with the Salt & Pepper Kettle chips. I added a bit more water to the leftover sauce and poured it over the coated tofu pieces. Place tofu pieces on a cookie sheet and bake @ 350 F for 15 min. Flip them over and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Mmmmmm, tasty! Jody and I both loved these and and Ava ate them right up as well. πŸ™‚

Recipes – Indian food and Chocolate-covered peanut butter balls

I made Miriam’s “Pseudo-Indian Dinner” for dinner the other night. It was my first time cooking with or eating Swiss Chard and I have to say, I really like it! πŸ™‚

This is Miriam’s recipe, but I added in amounts that I used of everything because I’m anal like that πŸ˜‰ and it will help me to make it again the next time.

Pseudo-Indian Dinner

3 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion
2 C water
1 large potato chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
2 large spoons of tomato paste
1/2 t cumin
1 t coriander
1/2 t tumeric
2 t curry powder
3 shakes red pepper flakes
1 bunch freshly chopped red swiss chard

Sautee garlic and onion in olive oil.
Add water, potato, garbanzo beans, spices and tomato paste.
Once potatoes are softened, stir in the chard. Allow chard to cook until softened.

Serve over quinoa (Miriam’s idea) or brown rice (my idea) or basmati rice (thought that would be tasty for future reference). Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Thanks for the delicious recipe, Miriam! πŸ™‚

And now for the scrumptious dessert – Chocolate-covered peanut butter balls!

Running2Ks got this from the book “Sinfully Vegan” and it can be a vegan recipe if you use vegan chocolate chips. Since we aren’t vegan though, I just used regular chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

– 1 cup peanut butter (I used natural, organic peanut butter)
– 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar
– Approximately 3/4th of a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips (can use vegan chocolate chips to make the recipe vegan-friendly)
Blend the peanut butter, pumpkin and powdered sugar in a food processor (or mix well in a bowl). Form into small balls and place on wax paper; freeze 30 minutes or until hard.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove.
Using a wooden toothpick, dip the frozen balls into the melted chocolate. Place back onto the wax paper and put back into the freezer until chocolate has hardened.
Enjoy!


I took some of these with me to our AP group’s moms’ night out get-together last night and they were a big, big hit. πŸ™‚ Jody loves them too and was bummed I didn’t bring any home. I told him there were 4 leftover, but I left them with the hostess because I knew if they came into the car with me, I’d eat them all on the drive home. πŸ˜‰ They are really good. Thanks for sharing the recipe, R2Ks!