Week 8: Saucy

This past week I felt like having a repeat favorite, Pistachio Crusted Eggplant.  I love this recipe and usually make it as a casserole by stacking the eggplant slices with layers of sauce and pistachio between each layer (note if you do this it takes longer to cook, usually about 40 minutes).  Since I’d chosen the eggplant as my main course and I didn’t have a lot of time for new recipes last weekend, I went to Happy Herbivore Abroad for some pasta sauces to accompany my eggplant.

I started off with the Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.  The Abroad version is mainly black olive based with minimal tomato, other than some tomato paste.  Though I love black olives and enjoyed the dish I think I would prefer the Everyday Happy Herbivore version, which has sliced cherry tomatoes and spinach as well as some marinara sauce.  I didn’t realize there was a puttanesca recipe in Everyday Happy Herbivore until the author, Lindsay Nixon, posted a picture of another fan’s version on facebook that looked absolutely nothing like mine.  I will definitely have to give it a try as a future New Recipe Challenge entry, or perhaps a mix between the two.

Puttanesca HHA p 173

 

Continuing with my saucy week, I tried Penne Vodka.  I admit I was skeptical; silken tofu?!  Yes, silken tofu, and fresh basil.  This sauce is amazing!  The only thing I would change in the future is to add a little bit of finely diced onion or some diced tomato.  The flavor is perfect but it is a bit smoother than I’m accustomed to for a Vodka sauce.

Vodka Sauce HHA p171The final edition to this weeks saucy post is Bolognese Sauce.  This version is full of wholesome vegetable goodness with carrots, celery and onion chopped so fine you don’t even see them and mushroom as the “meat” of the sauce.  I left mine nice and chunky and will have a bunch leftover to inspire next week’s meal planning.

Bolognese Sauce HHA p 168

New Recipes Made This Week: 3

New Recipe Tally 2013: 32

 

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Week 7: Chocolate and Spice

Where did the weekend…errr week, go!?  It’s been a busy week and weekend and I’m a bit late with Week 7’s post but have no fear I haven’t been slipping on my resolutions as we approach mid-February!  Quite the contrary, my one year anniversary of plant-based living finds me excited and reflective.

7 Weeks in to the 2013 challenge you should know the game, I cook at least one new recipe a week.  However, looking at the tally I’m averaging about 4/week.  I do not cook every night.  In fact I don’t cook most nights, at least not from scratch.  I am a weekend warrior;I do almost all of my cooking on the weekend so when I get home from work I can relax with minimal work necessary.  Week 7 found me still craving chili from all the Super Bowl chili recipes floating about (I don’t respond to the commercials with impulse buys but I do respond to pinterest with meal plans), so last week’s lunches were a repeat recipe of a favorite vegetarian chili.  I like this one because it has whole food, vegetables as it’s core.  The seasoning takes some experimenting to get just right but it’s definitely a keeper if you’re looking for a chili.

I decided to stick with this flavor profile and make enchiladas  for dinner.  Just about all of my cookbooks had a recipe but the  Happy Herbivore Abroad Vegetable Enchiladas (which is 2 recipes with the enchilada sauce) seemed the simplest so I went with that one for this busy week.  These were super easy, as are most of Lindsay’s recipes.  They were also quite delicious despite some difficulties getting them out of my ancient pan (I blame my pan, which is so old I line it with foil because I don’t want my food to touch it).

Vegetable Enchiladas (HHA p103)

While I loved these right out of the oven, they did not reheat well.  This is mandatory for us weekend warrior food-preppers!  I tried re-heating in the microwave and in the oven and the texture was not quite the same as fresh out of the oven.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will prepare the filling and the sauce in advance and bake ready to eat.

I also made Chocolate Glazed Donuts from Happy Herbivore Abroad since it was Valentine’s Day and all!  These were beautiful and also yummy fresh out of the oven and the next morning but didn’t hold up beyond that (oh well you’ll just need to eat more;)

Chocolate Glazed Donuts (p155 HHA)

Finally, it wouldn’t be realistic for every recipe to come out beautifully now would it.  Veganomicon is not exactly E2 approved if you’re following the no oil rules, but with most recipes you can leave the oil out and all’s well.  Banana Nut Waffles…not so much.  I tried to replace the oil with applesauce and they became a mess stuck to the waffle iron.  Yes, that is a waffle in the picture below…they didn’t taste bad.  Any advice????

Banana Nut Waffles p75 Veganomicon

New Recipes Made This Week: 4

New Recipe Tally 2013: 29

Week 6: All American Veg

It’s been nearly one year since I went plant based!  In honor of the anniversary I plan to sprinkle in some mid-week posts about the journey in addition to these weekend recipe roll calls.  This past week I felt inspired to try for some standard “meat and potato” classic recipes with a plant based twist of course.  I think even the omnivores creeping this blog would admit this plate looks pretty damn good.

No Fu Loaf with HHA Calconnan and Mushroom gravy

 

I had seen Dreena Burton’s No-Fu loaf recipe online awhile ago and it was lost on my pinterest board awaiting attention until my friend over at The Pink Ticket mentioned making it and reminded me I’d been meaning to give it a go.  Dreena’s cookbooks are next on my purchase list but I’ve told myself no new cookbooks until I get further into the one’s I just received for Christmas.  Luckily, the No-Fu Loaf recipe, originally published in Let Them Eat Vegan, can also be found online.  I paired the loaf with Calconnan and Peppered Mushroom Gravy from Happy Herbivore Abroad.  A simple, delicious meal with whole foods and no oil.

Of course, I didn’t stop with just three new recipes.  I made Forks Over Knives  Minestrone soup for lunches.  My version substituted garbanzo beans for the cannellini and added a little pasta instead of brown rice since I had a small bit left that I’ve been meaning to add to a soup.  As good as this was, I regretted not having some chili for the Super Bowl (not that I I watch the Super Bowl, but I do love the food 😉 so that will be on the menu for tomorrow.

FOK MinnestroneFinally, it has now become somewhat of a tradition to have a Monday treat to bring to work to share so I rounded out the meal planning with Everyday Happy Herbivore Butter Bean Cookies; this recipe can also be found online.  These cookies are very moist and have an almost cake like texture.  People would never guess that it’s mashed beans holding them together.

EHH Butter Bean Cookies

New Recipes Made This Week: 5

New Recipe Tally 2013: 25

 

Week 5: An Early End To The Long Cold Winter?

Happy Groundhog day, It’s finally February!  Am I the only one who felt I  was trapped in January for an eternity.  I am pleased to report to those superstitious folk among us that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring.  Though personally, I consider this “holiday” nothing more than a reminder of how much I like the movie and an excuse to watch it again.

This past week was a cut back version of the new recipe challenge since the end of the month also meant the end of my budget cycle.  In addition to the new recipe challenge, I’ve also set myself a goal of a winter financial fast and am focusing on where my money goes and how much I could save if I was more conscientious of my spending.  Meal planning, only going to the grocery store once a week, and finding ways to use what I have on hand have been big money savers so far.

There were no new main course recipes this week.  I ended up making Cheater Pad Thai again because I loved it so much last week and filled up the week with some other dishes I could throw together with minimal need to purchase additional ingredients.  For lunch I went with a new to me soup recipe, Baked Potato & Greens Soup with Potato-Wedge Croutons from Veganomicon.  This soup was quite easy to put together and packed flavor from additions like fennel, sage, and thyme; it also used up the Kale I had left in the fridge.  The consistency was not quite creamy, not quite brothy with chunks of potatoes throughout.  I’ll admit this wasn’t my favorite of the soups I’ve made so far but I was also not a huge potato soup fan to begin with.

Baked Potato Soup Veganomicon p146

I supplemented my lunches with side salads and decided to give this creamy dressing a try.  It’s packed full of fresh flavor and as a bonus is only about 10 calories!

Finally, for a sweet treat, I made Banana Bread for my coworkers.  I had multiple recipes to choose from but Dreena Burton’s recipe kept popping up on my twitter feed, pinterest, and facebook and I couldn’t resist the yummy looking loaf.  It is absolutely delicious!

Banana Bread-Dreena BurtonConsidering the number of recipes I pin on pinterest and all the bloggers I follow.  I’ve decided these should count in the new recipe challenge tally too.  This is also my justification for wasting time on pinterest 😉

New Recipes Made This Week: 3

New Recipe Tally 2013: 20

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today” Phil Connors, Groundhog Day