Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Barley, kale, carrots, mushrooms and beet salad

My boyfriend and I, well mainly my boyfriend, made a delicious meal this evening.  It come out of the random things we had in our fridge and my boyfriend's apparent love of barley.  Barley is something we don't use that often.  The only thing we have ever made with it, well again my boyfriend does the work, is slow cooker vegan cabbage rolls.  Barley is a great source of fiber, vitamins B3 and B1, and iron.

1 cup of barley, cooked
4 medium beets, wrapped in foil and baked in over for an hour at 400 degrees
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
2 cups of kale, washed and ripped into bite sized pieces

4 tablespoons oil (olive or other favourite oil)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the barley and the beets at the same time as they take around the same amount of time to cook.  You can do this the night before and stored in fridge.  Once the beets are cool enough to handle remove the skin and chop into pieces.  Heat oil in a pan on medium heat.  Cook mushroom and carrots until almost cooked and throw in the kale.  Cook until kale begins to wilt.

Add the barley and beets.  Toss with dressing.

This recipe is simple and surprisingly delicious! My boyfriend was amazed at how tasty this was.  He usually likes spicy meals with lots of complex flavours.  This is a beautiful and clean dish that is a good change from our regular meals.  I plan on making this again in the future.  I think it will also be good using a variety of different veggies.  It will be a good way to use up old vegetables in your fridge.



Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Vegetarian Haven

The first time I went to the Vegetarian Haven, located at 17 Baldwin Street, I was overwhelmed by the choices.  I was so used only having one or two options or having no choices at all when going out to restaurants.  It was a pleasure to go to a restaurant that specialized in vegetarian and vegan food.  The food is amazing and so good the few times I have had the pleasure of eating there.  The specials are hard to resist.  They also serve fresh juices that are a good accompaniment to any dish.  Last time I was there I had "King Prawn" and Oyster Mushroom Tempura.  The "king prawns" are made from konnyaku flour have an interesting texture.  Though I was never a fan of seafood, it did make me want to try their "Seafood" in Clay Pot next time I eat there.
The atmosphere is relaxed and it has the character of a bohemian coffee house.  The staff is friendly and always eager to help a new guest choose a delicious meal.
If you leave in Toronto or in the area you should visit the Vegetarian Haven for lunch or dinner for some pure delicousness!



Sunday, 9 December 2012

Vegan Meatloaf

I never really liked meatloaf for the brief time when I ate meat, but every once in a while I like to make the below recipe when I feel like having an easy and tasty "meatloaf", especially when the weather gets a little colder.  This recipe makes it easy to make good comfort food at home.  I got the recipe off a website some time ago and I have made some adjustments to make it better and better for you.  I added veggies to give is more nutritional value.  It uses TVP for some variety besides tofu, which we have been eating a lot of lately.

2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups TVP
2 cups bread crumbs
1 zucchini, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup tomato sauce or ketchup (or 1/4 sauce, 1/2 ketchup)
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet heat 1 tbsp of oil and cook onion until soft.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.

Mix all other ingredients together in a large bowl.  Let stand for 10 minutes until broth is absorbed.

Pack the mixture in a greased loaf pan.  Top with a little tomato sauce; make sure the top is covered so the loaf does not dry out.  Bake for 1 hour.

My boyfriend likes to make his mom's meatloaf sauce to go on top.  It adds a nice tang to the meatloaf.

1 cup ketchup
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp mustard



Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Easy Vegan Veggie Lasagna

A few years ago my mom came across a great lasagna recipe that involves not baking the noodles before assembling.  It is also great because it doesn't involve time consuming layering.  I would have taken a photo, but my boyfriend unfortunately didn't cover the lasagna while baking so it didn't come out of the oven looking so pretty.  So let that be a lesson for you out there in blog must cover the lasagna while cooking it.
This recipe is also great because you can put whatever you have in your fridge or whatever you like.  The latest creation had veggie ground round, spinach and sweet potatoes.

6 uncooked lasagna noodles (i use brown, kamut or rice pasta)
1 can of tomato sauce (or buy a can of crushed tomatoes, put some herbs in it and let it set for an hour - then you have tasty and easy tomato sauce!)
Vegan cheese (feta or other kinda that you like)
1 cup of veggies (any kind you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.  Put 1/3 of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Place 3 noodles on top of the layer of sauce.  Cover noodles with 1/2 of remaining tomato sauce.  Cover second layer of sauce with cheese, use as much or as little as you like.  Put even layer of veggie on top of cheese.  Place 3 noodles on top of veggies.  Cover noodles with remaining sauce.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Cook the lasagna for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cover top with layer of cheese, once again use as much or as little as you like.  Cook for 10-15 minute or until cheese is melted.

Instead of first layer of vegan cheese you can use 1 block of firm tofu crumbled or 1 package of veggie ground round.  This recipe way to get rid of veggies that you need to eat and best of all it taste great too without all the effort pre-cooking your noodles.  Be creative and you won't be sorry. I promise.



Friday, 26 October 2012

Tahini Salad Dressing

I don't buy salad dressing at the store, instead I make my own from items I already have in my kitchen pantry.  The one I am addicted to right now is a simple and delicious dressing using tahini.

Equal parts tahini and oil (olive, flax or you favourite oil)
Dash of lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl then pour over salad.  I have been using this delicious dressing over a salad of lettuce, hemp seeds and olives.  Easy and simple, yet so deliciously good!



Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cookbook shout out: Vegan Cupcake Take Over the World

I love baking.  I make an amazing chocolate chip cookie, however, that was before I began a vegan.  I now find I do not bake as much as a used to.  This is not because I don't enjoy it, but rather because I don't always have the time.  So I use any special occasion to bake.  My new obsession is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitx and Terry Hope. The book is full of creative and delicious cupcake recipes.  I have made a variety of different kinds and they have all been well received by vegans and non-vegans alike.
This week is the last week I will work at a job I have had for the past 2 1/2 years.  I am sad to leave my co-workers because they are great people, but excited doesn't begin to describe how I feel about the new opportunity that is on the horizon.  So as I said I use any excuse to bake these days, and my departure from work is a great reason to bake cupcakes as a farewell/goodbye to my colleagues.
This time I made the Marble and the Chocolate Stout cupcakes.  I am going to use their "Buttercream" Frosting to top them off, but even without the frosting they look delicious!

I can't wait to share them at work tomorrow.  This will be a particularly hard week so the sweet treats are needed as a little pick-me up.



Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Comfort food the Hogtown Vegan way!

I have a mild addiction...well the kind of addiction where you go into a place to pick up your takeout and they know you by name.  However, my addiction cannot be seen as a bad one.  For I am addicted to the Hogtown Vegan!  The Hogtown vegan is located at 834 Bloor St.  They have a delicious menu, that even non-vegans approve of.  My father, who LOVES his meat, was pleasantly surprised when we  went there for my last birthday.  And that is when the love for this fabulous restaurant began to bloom.  This evening I am having my favourite dish on the menu the Pulled Unpork Sandwich.  Since I can have bread I get this dish put on a bed of their garlic collard greens.  It is super yummy!  The variety is amazing and the prices are not too bad.  Visit there website ( or better yet pay them a visit!  Also please take note that they only accept cash.  Below is a pic of my delicious dinner. Thank you Hogtown Vegan!  M

Monday, 6 August 2012

Simple Kale Chip recipe

I was at my friend's house last night for a party and she was saying how she would like to make kale chips for her husband to get him to eat kale, but didn't know how.  This got me thinking that I should post my easy kale chip recipe.  Kale is super good for you. It is full of amazing nutrients and when cooked right it is super tasty, especially in chip form.  I know my boyfriend seemed a little skeptical at first, but after one bite he thinks they are super delicious.  You don't need to eat a lot of them because they are really filling.  I like to have them as late night snack or as a quick and easy side dish with dinner.  They are best served when fresh out of the oven.

Kale Chips
As much kale as you want to eat (I usually do a handful)
Olive Oil

Wash and then rip kale up into bite sized pieces.  Discard any hard stems. You don't want them bigger because the kale doesn't hold up to being bit into once cooked.  Place kale pieces onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Toss the kale, olive oil and salt with your hands.  Then put into a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Be sure to watch it closely as it burns easily and I don't recommend eating burnt kale chips.

Enjoy this easy and tasty recipe!


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Desperately seeking some comfort food

I can't really eat out right now nor can I eat anything that is "bad" for me, which means I can't have any sugar.  I had a craving for mac n' cheese.  So I decided to make up my own vegan mac n' cheese.  Since it has been so hot (and I don't have air conditioning) it was important for me to come up with a recipe that didn't involve me turning on my oven.  Instead I used inspiration from my friend who is also on a limited diet.  She used to eat Mac n' Cheese at least once a week, but now is not able to indulge in her old standby.
I cooked kamut pasta, but you can your favourite pasta.  I then made a cheese sauce in a separate sauce pan.  This recipe made enough for my boyfriend and I to eat dinner, plus a small portion as leftovers.  The recipe for the cheese sauce:
1Tbls Earth Balance Butter (or other vegan butter)
1Tbls whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other alternative milk)
1 1/2 Daiyan cheese (this is important is melts)
Pepper to taste

Melt the butter with flour in a small sauce pan until browns a little.  Add the "milk" and stir.  Add the "cheese" and pepper to taste.  Stir frequently until the cheese is melted.  Pour over cooked pasta.  Then enjoy!


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Bread making part 2

I have been experimenting with the bread recipe I posted last time.  I recently added cinnamon to the dough.  If you love cinnamon like I do, it is a nice added flavour to the bread.  If you cut the slices ticker you are able to put it in the toaster.  I toaster a couple of piece of the cinnamon bread and it was better than eating it not toasted.  I had the toast with Earth Balance buttery spread, however, it will be great with jam.
I have also been making two loafs at a time.  I make the dough and then before the water is fully absorbed.  Once the dough it separated I add different spices to the two balls.  This way I have some variety in flavours and I don't have to make the bread as often.  Two balls fit onto one pan and the cooking time is still 40 minutes.

Till next time!


Saturday, 14 July 2012

I am unable to eat yeast right now.  As a result I decided to look into making my own bread instead of buying it.  I like this recipe because it is plain and you can add different spices.  Adding rosemary and garlic powder to the dry ingredients makes a great tasting focaccia type bread.  I also added flaxseeds for extra nutrition.  It is a little more dense than yeast bread, but the versatility is amazing and means you will never get bored.  It is also great because you know what it is in it, plus the best part it is super easy and uses things you are likely to already have in your house.

3 cups whole wheat flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup liquid (water, alternative milk or a mixture of both)
1/4 of fat (oil, melted "butter") -I used olive oil

1. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
2. Mix liquid ingredients in another bowl
3. Mix dry and liquid ingredients together until combined. Do not over work the dough. Dough should be moist not sticky, it could take a few minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid
4. Oil hands and place the dough onto baking sheet and make into a ball or oval
5. Score lightly the surface in diamond or "x" shape (to prevent splitting of the crust)
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes

I also decided to use it as a replacement for pizza dough by adding basil and summer savory to the dough.  It doesn't roll out instead use flour to push it out into a pizza dough shape.  



Sunday, 17 June 2012

"Egg" Salad Sandwich

I made this version of eggless salad sandwich for lunches this week.  Instead of eggs I use tempeh.

1 package of tempeh
1 celery stalk, diced
3 Tablespoons red pepper, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 Tablespoons mustard (use your favourite)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
salt & pepper

Place tempeh in pot of boiling water.  Simmer for 12 minutes.  Drain tempeh and let sit till cool.  Once cool cut into small pieces or grate with cheese grater.

Place celery, red pepper, carrots and tempeh in bowl.

Mix vegan mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, ginger powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Place mayonnaise mixture into bowl with tempeh and veggie.  Mix well.

Mixture will keep 3-4 days in the fridge.  I like mine on bread with some lettuce. Makes for a quick and tasty lunch.

If you have different vegetables in the fridge you can also use them.  Green onions, pickles or green peppers would add a different flavour, but still adding a nice crunch in contrast to the tempeh.  



Monday, 4 June 2012

I made a delicious dinner of roasted tofu, potatoes, onions, carrots with quinoa and a side of swiss chard.  My boyfriend was worried about roasting the tofu.  He was paranoid about it getting too dry without marinating it first.  But since I am I always one to try something new I just wanted to go for it.  And this way if it didn't worked out I would know for next time.  Thankfully, it worked out! We had ourselves a delicious improvised meal of influenced by Indian and Moroccan spices! 

1 block of firm tofu, cut in slices then in half
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
3 carrots, cut into pieces about same size as potatoes
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cinnamon
1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp chili flakes (depends on how much spice you want)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the tofu, potatoes, carrots and onion pieces onto a baking sheet.  Mix the olive oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over tofu and veggies.  Mix the oil and veggies with your hands to make sure they are well coated.  Put in oven until veggies are cooked. Serve on top of quinoa, rice or couscous.

I served this with swiss chard that I washed and cut into strips.  I then cooked it in a pan with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  If using the stems be sure to cook them for a few minutes before you throw in the rest of the chard.  It is a nice light compliment to the spices on the tofu and veggies.