Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Poor (wo)man's dinner (and dessert!)

How to make a delicious dinner (and dessert!) when you have no money (or groceries):
Step 1: Open your fridge and realize you have no food, sigh heavily and close fridge.
Step 2: Open your fridge again and pull out all the food you actually have (don't be dramatic, you must have something in there!)
Step 3: Decide to make something that doesn't taste gross if you add a bunch of random crap to it, for example, stir fry, soup, or pasta...I chose soup
Step 4: Realize half-way through cooking that some of your ingredients are spoiled.
Step 5: Add other random things you find in the fridge to replace spoiled ingredients.

I followed this 5 step process and ended up with miso soup with udon noodles (linguine), daikon radish (that was bad, so I used a carrot I found at the back of the drawer), shitaake mushrooms (dried), wakame, and scallions (which are miraculously not spoiled!). For dessert I ended up with bread pudding, how cool is that?! The bread pudding rocked so here is the recipe:

One really stale baguette that your sister was about to throw out, seriously, stale is good!
2 3/4 cups almond milk (that never expires, right?)
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
4 eggs (I used 2 eggs and 2 egg whites so I could eat two slices of bread pudding)
1/3-ish cup brown rice syrup 
3/4-ish cup sugar
1/3 c. raisins (or realize you only have a quarter cup and throw in some currants, mmmm)
random spices! (Okay, maybe not random, I used vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice)

Using a bread knife, cut bread into one inch cubes. Drizzle with melted margarine. Toss with raisins and currants. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown rice syrup, sugar, and spices. Pour over bread and let soak until very squishy! Pour into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until lightly browned and top springs back when touched. 

Eat a slice drizzled with honey or caramel sauce if it's not sweet enough, go back for second slice and pat yourself on the back for your resourcefulness! 

Monday, January 7, 2013


Quinoastrone! (Must be said with an Italian accent to get full effect)
Serves 4-6

This isn't really a recipe so much as most of the contents of my fridge, freezer, and pantry in a pot, but it turned out delicious so I figured I would share. On a side note, I really need to go grocery shopping...after a several day illness I was craving soup so I created this delicious take on minestrone but instead of pasta I used drum roll please...quinoa! What?!? It's healtherrific! (healthy + terrific) and vegan too! Enjoy! If your not convinced, take a look at some of the extreme closeup shots I took of it below!

1 quart "no-chicken" broth (or your favorite broth, or water if you hate flavor)
14oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water (I just refilled the tomato sauce can, yay less dishes!)
3/4 c. quinoa
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3/4 c. frozen chopped broccoli
3/4 c. frozen corn
3/4 c. frozen peas (or like me, realize they are freezer burned, then throw away, booooo)
pinch thyme
pinch oregano
handful chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Whatever other random crap you need to use up in the beans, potatoes, celery, pasta, rice, other beans, apples (ok, not the last one, that sounds gross)

Saute onion in oil in a heavy bottomed pot until tender, add carrots, saute for a few minutes. Stir in broth, tomato sauce, water, herbs, and quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add beans and frozen veggies, cover and cook for about 5 more minutes, stir in fresh parsley. That was easy, right? And if you are keeping track of that sort of thing, 1/4 of the recipe comes out to around 360 calories, 6 grams fat, 11 grams fiber, and 15 grams healthy protein!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holy chili! It's really vegan?

Vegan Chili

It has been quite a while since I last posted, mostly because I can't wait to eat long enough to take a picture of any of my food. This meal came to be because I had an avocado that needed to be used up...also, today seemed like a perfect chili day :) I love chili because of how versatile it is, you can basically put anything you want in it and it's actually quite easy to adapt to any diet! This recipe is based on a vegan chili that I used to get at a vegan restaurant where I went to grad school, the restaurant mostly sucked but their chili was pretty good. Lucky for those of you actually reading this blog, my chili is better and you too can have some! Enjoy

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 package soy veggie crumbles (I used Smart Ground Original Lightlife)
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
28oz can diced tomatoes
1 c. frozen corn
2 - 15oz cans beans (I used black and kidney), drained
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth, or water
Desired toppings

Heat oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes. Add all spices through lime juice and veggie crumbles. Cook another five minutes breaking up veggie crumbles with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes with juice, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Uncover and boil off extra liquid until to desired consistency. Serve with favorite vegan toppings: vegan cheese/sour cream, tortilla chips, sliced avocado, scallions, etc.

Extreme chili close-up! 
Warning, do not attempt to insert a spoon into your monitor...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A True Shamrock Shake!

Ok, this post isn't really about St. Patrick's Day or about that sinfully delicious milkshake that many consume to celebrate it (the McDonald's one, not beer). In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of St. Patrick's Day (the U.S. version), I think it's kind of insane that people can justify destroying their bodies with that much alcohol. If you are with me, perhaps you will enjoy my shaped-up shamrock shake made with kale and frozen bananas. Frozen bananas take on a strikingly similar texture and mouthfeel (love that word!) to ice cream when blended. Kale is a true superfood! I have been feeling pretty run down lately so I picked up a box of pre-washed, pre-cut organic kale leaves at Whole Foods and have been making good use of it all week! This morning I made this delicious kale "shake" with raw kale and a veggie frittata with some cooked kale tossed in there too! The 2 cups of kale in the smoothie alone contain a powerhouse (another great word!) of vitamins and nutrients, including 200% of your DV of Vitamin A, over 250% of your DV of Vitamin C, 22% of your DV of Calcium, 15% of your DV of Iron, and over 1500% of your DV of Vitamin K! Not to mention being a good source of B6 and Magnesium and a bunch of other stuff… woohoo! I’m on a vitamin high! Maybe it's just the kale talking, but lately I've been thinking kale would be a great name for my first born child! Ok...I'm gonna go lie down now, I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did today. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was too busy getting creative in the kitchen :)

Kale Shamrock Shake
Serves 1

2 cups chopped, washed kale
1 frozen banana
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
3-4 drops liquid stevia (or any other liquid sweetener), if desired

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth, stopping the blender periodically to stir if necessary. Add sweetener to taste.

Kale and Veggie Frittata
Serves 4

4 whole eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Canola Oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped kale
2 cups chopped veggies (I used 8 crimini mushrooms, 1/2 red bell pepper, and a few florets of broccoli)
1/2 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful chopped herbs (I used basil, parsley, and cilantro)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over Medium-Low heat. Add onion and shallots and saute until tender. Add mushrooms, saute a few minutes, then add rest of veggies and kale. Saute a few minutes until tender, then add garlic. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper to taste (Don't actually taste it, that would be dumb on account of the raw eggs :P, as an alternative you may try using 12 oz silken tofu instead of the eggs, I think that would be delish in here too!). Remove iron skillet from heat and stir in egg mixture. Put entire pan in oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until frittata has set. Cut into four wedges and enjoy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vegan double chocolate cherry donuts. Half the calories, double the fun!

Okay, so I don't know if these donuts really have half the calories, but it sure makes for a catchy title. They may not be health food, but they are made with quality ingredients, healthy fats, and no cholesterol! After picking up a box of Paczki's the other day I was so excited to take that first bite only to find that it tasted like just a fried ball of chemicals, darn you elitist taste buds! Anywho, I saw this recipe on post punk kitchen the other day for chocolate cherry mini loaves and realizing I have no mini loaf pan, decided to turn it into some delish donuts! I adapted this chocolate donut recipe to make these deliciously natural treats. Here is the recipe!

Vegan Double Chocolate Cherry Donuts
Donuts -
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 5 tsp of reserved cherry juice (see below)
1/2 cup frozen cherries, chopped into quarters
2 Tbsp dairy free mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Glaze -
1 teaspoon reserved cherry juice
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
2 Tbsp dairy free mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F, grease a donut pan with coconut oil and dust with flour, shaking out the excess.

In a small saucepan, heat chopped cherries with a few pinches of sugar and a teaspoon water until thawed and juices release, pour out cherry juice to use in dough and glaze. Whisk 5 tsp of the cherry juice into the egg replacer. Mix coconut milk with apple cider vinegar and set aside. Heat 1/4 cup coconut oil by placing in a cup in a bowl of warm water until melted.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk in sugar. Stir milk mixture into bowl, then stir in melted coconut oil and egg replacer mixed with cherry juice. Fold in chopped cherries (drained) and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into donut pans until they are 3/4 full, it should make 8 donuts total. Bake at 375 degrees F for 16 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the glaze:
I modified Alton Brown's chocolate donut glaze recipe (love him!). Combine coconut oil, milk, teaspoon reserved cherry juice, and extract in a saucepan until oil is melted. Reduce heat, whisk in chocolate chips until melted, then add powdered sugar. Remove from heat and dip donuts in the glaze so that the tops are covered (you may have to roll them around a bit). Place glaze side up on parchment paper to cool. Enjoy with a nice cold glass of coconut or almond milk, now this is what a donut should taste like!

I didn't take too many pictures of these, I was way too excited to inhale them!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vegan sweet potato gnocchi!

When I saw sweet potato gnocchi on the menu of a local vegan joint I couldn't have been more excited! Sweet potatoes and pasta are two of my favorite foods (though, to be honest there are many). Unfortunately, the ones from the otherwise delicious vegan restaurant left something to be desired and ever since then I have been dying to make my own. My first try at gnocchi was a few years ago and I was so scarred by those water-logged heavy clumps that I haven't attempted since. I looked around online and found a blog that had a very basic recipe on it which inspired mine:

I overcame my gnocchi failure and the sweet potato gnocchi were a great success!! Here is the recipe:

Vegan Sweet Potato Gnocchi in buttery sauce:

One large sweet potato (mine was probably a pound or two)
1 1/2 - 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Two pinches good quality sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon, mmm)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage (or fresh, I just ran out)
1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash sweet potato, prick with fork and bake on a cookie sheet for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Peel off skin and run through a potato ricer (hopefully yours isn't rusted from 3 years of banishment) or mash. Add salt, 1/4 tsp sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pile about a cup of flour on a board and top with potato mixture, work the two together with a fork. Once mixed, begin working and kneading the mixture with your hands, adding flour a little at a time just until your hands no longer stick to the dough.

Divide dough into 6 parts and roll each part into a log about 3/4 inch in diameter. Cut rectangles (1/2 inch by 3/4 inch) off the log, and if desired, dip your fork in flour and gently roll it across the rectangles to create the ridges (Do it, pasta tastes better with ridges!).

At this point, I froze half of the gnocchi on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then dropped then into a freezer bag for a quick meal later, yum! To make the gnocchi from fresh or frozen, simply bring water to a boil in a large pot and reduce heat to medium-high, add salt then gently add gnocchi. Boil for about five minutes just until the float to the surface. Drain and set aside.

To make the sauce, heat a saucepan over medium-low with earth balance, add shallots, 1/2 tsp sage, salt, and pepper and saute for about five minutes just until the start to brown.

Add drained gnocchi to the pan and toss for a couple minutes. Add chopped parsley and serve.

That wasn't so hard now was it? And no soggy clumps here, phew!

Buon Apetito!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lower impact kugel

I am a strong believer in the power of food to heal. Lately, I have been in need of some emotional healing, and for this tough job what better healing foods are there than comfort foods? When I was younger my comfort foods were mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, fried potato latkes, cheesecake...mmmm, pretty much anything that was bad for me and the environment, but oh so good for my soul :) I believe that comfort foods don't have to be bad for you and the earth, they just have to transport you back to a place where you felt safe and loved. Now when I feel down or tired or...even slightly uncomfortable I make tasty lower calorie vegetarian or vegan versions of my favorite classics. Growing up, my mother always made us traditional Jewish treats like potato pancakes (latkes), noodle pudding (kugel), and chicken noodle soup. Kugel is still one of my favorite things to eat and every once in a while I sneak a slice and as I lay in pain from the dairy backlash later I think "it was worth it"...

So last night after two days of having a horrible cold, I decided I needed some kugel. I made a plan to morph one of my favorite kugel recipes into a dairy-free, egg-free masterpiece and set out to our local health food store. I was able to find all but the egg-free noodles (I am certain the salesperson later recounted the tale of the red-nosed girl who asked for egg noodles without eggs and then proceeded to stand in front of the selections for 15 minutes before sighing heavily and placing the egg noodles in her cart). So I decided that this batch will be close to egg free and when I locate some eggless noodles of sufficient breadth to take on my custard I will try again!!

Anyways, the recipe I am remaking is Emeril Lagasse's classic kugel recipe:
Emeril's recipe is absolutely delish but unfortunately here are the nutrition stats per serving:
446 calories
28g fat
16g saturated fat
150mg cholesterol
2g fiber
29g sugar
12g protein are the nutrition stats after making my modifications:
260 calories
12g fat
5g saturated fat
40mg cholesterol
3g fiber
19g sugar
6g protein

Still not a health food, but my version definitely has less impact on you and the environment...AND most of the fats are from plant products, yay! Ok, enough kugel-pushing ;) here is the recipe:

A Slimmed-Down Emeril's Kugel:

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 pound wide egg noodles (or egg-free noodles!!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread
  • 12 oz mori-nu firm silken tofu
  • 12 oz greek-style plain coconut-milk yogurt (you can use regular coconut milk yogurt, but the greek style has more fiber!)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (or sugar, or your preferred sweetener)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (or your favorite milk substitute, preferably with some fat in it)
  • 2 eggs (see note below)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and drain. Toss the noodles with the buttery spread. Mash the tofu with a potato masher, take 1/2 cup of mash and mix in 2 Tbsp of cornstarch, whisking well, then whisk in the two eggs. In a large mixing bowl, mix the mashed tofu, tofu/constarch egg mixture, yogurt, coconut milk, and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in the noodles and raisins. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a buttered 9 by 13 - inch pan. In a small mixing bowl, mix the brown sugar, pecan pieces and cinnamon, together. Mix well. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the egg mixture, evenly. Bake for about 1 hour or until the pudding is set. Remove from the oven and cool before serving.

There you have it, now just cut and serve to your friends and family without telling them it has tofu ;)

Note: To make this totally vegan which I will try next, just use egg-free noodles, and instead of adding the two eggs, just whisk another 4 tsp of cornstarch into another 1/3 cup of the mashed tofu. I'm sure it will come out great! Or if you prefer more eggs, just use all 5 eggs, and just add the tofu to the recipe mashed (without adding any cornstarch).