Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas and Soup Mix

VEGAN BISCOTTI (plain anise flavored) with awesome dark chocolate brushed on top and sprinkled with ground up english walnuts. My base recipe came from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Nonna's Italian Kitchen Cookbook, Only I made mine a plain anise flavored variation.
Here's a free recipe that I found though:
Fat Free Vegan's Cinnamon Biscotti Recipe

Now that I have your attention with my tantilizing favorite holiday treat -

Merry Christmas!

I've been trying to post for a couple of days, but I guess NOW is my lucky moment to accomplish the task. After the ice storms came a wonderful Christmas day with highs in the 50's, and sunshine. It was awesome. We had a great Christmas day brunch before opening presents, which we already knew all that there was because we shop together and get what we want .... we just don't get it until after the Bible reading by DH followed by the brunch. Without further ado, I'm going right to the food pictures. Here is my first round Christmas day. The pizza is BREAKFAST PIZZA by Bryanna Clark Grogan Oct/Nov/Dec Vegan Feast Newsletter. Every holiday season since I started subscribing we have had a new awesome main course brunch dish to feast upon. I have been subscribing since the beginning and will not stop. The ideas and personal connection is worth every penny. Bryanna is a kitchen goddess, NO... wait! I take that back, because of Bryanna I AM A kitchen goddess! :) I served the pizza with a sliced pear and a soymilk (made in my soyajoy) cappuchino.

Next trip to the kitchen allowed me to get some of this TENDER BANANA BREAD from Bryanna Clark Grogan's cookbook, FIBER FOR LIFE. I love this because the fat is replaced with a silken tofu mixture which is also great protein and it is made 100% whole wheat pastry flour, yet is still wonderfully tender. The cookbook offers the option to use dates in this, but I use vegan chocolate chips which my family adores, I like that if I am going to add a little fat it comes from chocolate. Mmmm-my kinda fat.
More cheers for Bryanna and the VEGAN FEAST Newsletter again. Here is a picture of her seitan "salami/ pepperoni", I did the pepperoni version. My meat eating sister ate 10 slices of this with crackers and said, I love this stuff! I wasn't a big fan of the seitan o'greatness awhile back due to the fact it was so dry, but this salami / pepperoni is not. The crackers you see on this plate are actually pretzel flats with an everything seasoning, new find at the grocery store and they are not to bad. Back to the seitan, every issue of the newsletter usually has one new way with seitan that I get the pleasure of trying.
I need to back track just a bit. Here is my counter setup for the breakfast pizza. The crust dough, vegan "sausage" crumbles (Bryanna's kielbasa seitan recipe from my freezer that I crumbled up), the tofu frittata mix in the food processor, red peppers, shredded sweet potato, and shreds of Bryanna's sharp chedda' cheez. The crust is interesting, it is like a thick batter that can sit in the frig for up to two weeks until you are ready to use it. The recipe calls for enough to make two pizza crusts. I am going to try a mushroom onion style pizza with the other half, I found a recipe for this that I really want to veganize in a weight watchers magazine.
Okay, I am sure that you are probably thinking Bryanna again? .... yes, I say again. There are so many recipes I still have to try from all of her cookbooks and other vegan feast newsletters that I could sing her praises for a long time. This is my version of CHRISTMAS STOLLEN, the dough has no fat but is not dry. I used the sweet bread dough from her Al-most No Fat Holiday Cookbook. To make it stollen I added cardamom, coriander, orange peel, pecans, english walnuts, rum soaked raisins, cranberries, chopped dates and dried prunes. More backtracking. Here is the seitan salami after it finished cooking in my clay pot, it is wrapped with cheesecloth. It cookes in a small amount of very flavorful broth, which does not get completely soaked up as you can see a small amount is left over.

Last idea to share. I like to make a batch of a recipe I found many years ago called Be Prepared Soup Mix, I call it Five Bean Soup Mix. When I want to make some I take 1 1/2 cups of the beans, 1/4 cup of the seasoning mix and a can of diced tomates. Sometimes I make it in the crockpot, somtimes on the stove top, but all the time when I make it do I enjoy it.
1 1/2 cup pinto beans
1 1/2 cup white benas
1 cup kidney beans
1 cup baby lima beans
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garnulated garlic
1 Tbsp Frontier chicken flavor bouillon powder
3 Tbsp Frontier beef flavor bouillon powder
1 Tbsp parsley
1/4 cup vegan bac'un bits
1/4 cup dried Frontier mixed vegetable soup flakes
Combine the beans and place in a large jar with enough room to add the baggie of spice mix.
1 "batch" = 6 generous servings of soup
To make a batch soak 1 1/2 cup of beans overnight, drain and place them in a 3 quart saucepan (or crockpot). Add 5 cups of water and 1/4 cup seasoning mix, you can add the tomatoes now or at the end of simmering time. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender or crockpot cook them on low all day.
Per serving: 187 calories, 12 g protein, >1 gram fat, 465 mg sod, 33 g complex carbs, and 9 grams fiber.
Individual batches can also be prepared separately, add a nice label with instructions, and give as a gift.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ice Ice Baby

The ice storm on the first of December was followed by another storm system that left a mess of broken tree branches in our yard. Here is the view walking out of our back door onto the porch, the tree still had some leaves left on it. This branch also fell on the roof of my car, but fortunately no damage was done.

In February this year we had a similar storm that caused power outages across our state, to the point our county and many surrounding us were considered at the level of federal help. We were with no electricity for almost two weeks. This time 6 hours (We were worried!), but relieved when the electricity came back on.

In the mean time I got pictures of the stocking DD and I made. Her's is a black velvet with some fancy painting decoration on it and is in the shape of a feminine high heel. We got the idea from a book about Christmas by Martha Stewart. I wanted mine to look more like a teacher's stocking as this has been a big event in my life this year. The guys stockings ended up being purchased ... yes they "cheated", but they did work on them for a few hours with us and we still have the material cut and ready to turn into a stocking someday. Matthew wanted a more complex design though, something with a symbol of a bear or resembling the renassance time period. I was lost as to how to preceed with this without a pattern and instructions.

Knitting is a popular past time recently revived in popularity, so I learned to knit recently. After mastering the lessons in the teach yourself how to knit book my sis gave me a while back I was mesmerized by the idea of a warm pair of socks to make for my feet, but didn't want to spend any money on a pattern that I did not know if I had the skills for. I surfed the net and found a free sock pattern to try and I created one knit sock (pictured above) and yes, it has a few mistakes, but I think I am hooked ... no "needled". I know that if I try to make another sock like my first it would not turn out the same becasue I would want to correct my mistakes so I decided to turn that one into a stocking for a special "my first sock" memory. After running around the house with one sock on showing all I could find who were thrilled with me (one dog and a cat that decided I could talk all I want as long as she was petted) I knew what I wanted for Christmas... tools to pursue my sock hobby. Come Dancer, come prancer, come donner come .... I found what will be my Christams present, but I'll get it after Christmas. The book is KNIT TWO SOCKS AT THE SAME TIME by Melissa Morgan Oakes. I like knitting because it relaxes me, but it is hard for me to set it down before a project is finished.


Busy at work still, but not as much as it has been over the past few months as I am adjusted to my new schedule and organized my class room in a way that works for me. A few things that have been cooking at my house include recipes from Dreena Burtons new cookbook called Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan.

Dreena's Palak Soyabina Panira p. 137. I really liked this dish, but since I am the only greens fan here I am the only one who ate this dish, but this was fine because I really did like this!
Blackened tofu (p. 121) served with baked squash and a romaine salad with pomegranate seeds. This tofu has a spicy bite to it, but I liked it well enough. I had never tried blackened anything before trying this dish, so it was a new experience for me.

Dreena's white chocolate chip with macadamia nut cookies p. 202. DH's favorite! I made the five spice almond cookies also which were my favorite and DH ranked them his second favorite.
Then a few Bryanna Grogan recipes...

Rosemary red potatoes from her Italian Nonna cookbook (yummmmmm).

Neetballs that are baked dry and ready to add to a savory sauce. The powdery substance on the outside is whole wheat flour and these actually stay together when put in a sauce to cook. They swell up while taking liquid from the cooking sauce making them a treat that iI have served at previous holiday functions. I am planning on using them to make a saucy crockpot style neetballs sometime during the holiday. They take some hands on prep time, but they can be made ahead and frozen to have handy for the day I am ready to cook.

I have also been enjoying hot soymilk cappuchinos using my soyajoy soymilk maker. I like these with a little carob powder, stevia, vanilla, and instant decaf coffee granules. CHEERS and I hope everyone is staying warm, we are trying to.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Dreena's ED&BV One Wild Chick stew was good. It reminded me of a chicken and rice type soup, but the wild rice made it more...... wild. DH usually does not like chickpeas except in falafels, so he complained about my choice of soup. As usual I said, "I know it's far from your favorite but please at least try it." He did and then said it is alright. I used homemade chickpeas in this soup which cooked up softer than the canned ones, I think it is actually the firmness canned chickpeas he does not like. I really think that it is the way I first introduced chickpeas to him when I first decided I was going vegan many years ago, I made a dish that wasn't wonderful and decided that they were going to like it so I did not cook anything else until it was gone. Ummm... do not try this at home.

Stockings are coming along, mine and DD's are finished and hanging, the guys are a bit slower. I'll probably have to help them finish up, but then they are only attempting this to please me, doing things together is what I always ask for when it comes to gift choices. I'll show you the finished stockings in another post.

Next food item I have been wanting to try was Dreena's ED&BV Veggie Tempah Muffaletta. I have had this page post-it-note tagged since first seeing the recipe, but thought it would be time consuming with what seemed like a long list of ingredients. Since I was wintered in for a weekend I bought a can of artichoke hearts and went to the kitchen. I had some tempah in the freezer since the beginning of last summer and have not been inspired enough to use it until now. I humbly admit that this was my first time with tempeh, but woo-hoo - my family LOVED it in this recipe.

I made two loaves of red pepper sage bread for the round loaf of bread called for in the recipe. Several years ago I was looking at bakery web pages and noticed one had a bread with this flavoring. I took one of my own recipes and did what I thought was good ...... it is..


1 3/4 cup water

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup dried red bell pepper flakes

1 1/2 tsp dried ground sage

2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp instant yeast

1 C corn flour

1 C whole white wheat flour

1 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose bread flour

(opt) 1 - 2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten

Combine all in bread maker or kitchen appliance to make the dough and allow to rise. Punch down and shape loaves in a prepared baking surface, let rise again 20 minutes. Place in cold oven and turn oven on to 375 degrees. Bake 35 minutes, includes electric oven warming up time, may need more time if you have an oven that heats up slower than mine (approx 6 minutes).

I also like to add pumpkin seeds/ pepitas to this when I need a hearty bread to go with a soup supper.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

One Wild Chick

I have been trying the soup recipes out of Dreena Burton's latest book Eat Drink and Be Vegan. Today's pot is as my blog entry title suggests. It takes one wild chick to live where i live. Today's weather in the central Midwest USA is COLD! We are getting a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow making travel impossible. I love these days when I have no where else to go and the family is all safe at home. I shared in my last post that I have challenged my family to make their own stockings this year to hang underneath the mirror by the Christmas tree. Here we are sitting at the table with our scissors, material, and the sewing machine.... okay a bit of soda pop also.

We are each working hard. Dave took the pictures, but he is trying to make the biggest stocking of all so we can stuff it well with our generosity, however he was hoping I would have enough material to stick a new garage inside of it. ... not likely this year.

The joy is IN the journey. I often like the planning of the event better than the event itself.