Tuesday, September 30, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 30 - Mexi Soup

This soup is another from the McDougall Made Easy DVD. It comes together in the time it takes to open a few cans and heat up. When desperate, I've put the ingredients together, ladled the soup into bowls and either served as-is or nuked for a minute in the microwave. 

Mexi Soup

Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup water
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15 ounce can kidney beans, undrained
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, undrained
1 16 ounce can creamed corn
1 cup vegetable broth
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
several dashes Tabasco sauce

Place the onion and water in a large soup pot. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

RECIPE HINT: Taco seasoning mixes can be found in most supermarkets and natural food stores. The brand I use is Bearitos. This is a spicy, thick soup, hearty enough for a
filling dinner with a loaf of bread.

My changes:
I never cook up the onion first. In 4 minutes it's barely warm, so why bother?

I use Pomi strained tomatoes instead of crushed.

My canned & packaged products are always the no-salt added versions. If I don't do that, this soup would put 5 pounds on me by morning.

Instead of broth I make up a cup using no-salt bouillon/broth powder. On this particular day I used a tablespoon of Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest powder.

And as I mentioned in another post, instead of Bearitos brand taco mix I traditionally use Old El Paso fajita mix, but this week none of the local stores I go to had any, so I used a tablespoon of this homemade version, substituting Bryanna's broth powder (minus the salt and hemp powder) instead of chicken cube. It tastes pretty close to the Old El Paso brand fajita mix.

Fajita Seasoning Mix
Linda Larsen
Make your own fajita seasoning mix using this easy recipe. If you are simply going to rub the mixture on steak, chicken, pork, or seafood before grilling it, omit the cornstarch.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes


    3 Tbsp. cornstarch
    2 Tbsp. chili powder
    1 Tbsp. salt
    1 Tbsp. paprika
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    2-1/2 tsp. crushed chicken bouillon cube
    1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 tsp. cumin

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into small glass or plastic container, seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place. Makes the equivalent of 3 packets of commercial or purchased Fajita Seasoning Mix

Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Chicken Broth Power 

Use 1 level tablespoon per cup of water.

1 and 1/3 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs onion powder
2½ Tbs sea salt
2½ tsp. garlic granules or powder
1 Tbs soy, rice or hemp protein powder (kind you's use in a smoothie- just make sure it's not sweet or flavored)
1 Tbs vegan sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp finely crumbled dried sage (NOT powdered)
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
Blend in a dry blender:
Store in an airtight container
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Lastly, I omitted the Tabasco sauce from the soup. The spiciness from the fajita mix is enough, and even my sriracha-loving husband says it's perfect the way it is.

During the winter months we usually have this soup every other week, rotating with other soups from the McDougall Made Easy and McDougall Made Irresistable DVD's. Most of those recipes have made it into the McDougall newsletter's "favorites" issues, and I've covered them either in the past or this month. I was surprised to see I never posted this one before, because it is one of our family's favorites. Now it is.

And that's the end of VeganMoFo 2014. But keep checking back - I'll be making up some recipes from Ann and Jane Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook pretty soon. I've been sitting on this for almost a month now and itching to try a few recipes from it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 29 - Barbecued Bean Sauce

More beans, Mr. Taggert!

Be glad you weren't around our home this month, not with all the bean-heavy recipes I've been making for VeganMoFo!

This is another new one for us but another favorite of Mary McDougall's, posted in the December 2007 newsletter:

Barbecued Bean Sauce

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  6

1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/3 cup water
1  15 ounce can fire roasted chopped tomatoes with green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1  15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1  10 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup barbecue sauce
dash or two of hot sauce (optional)

Place the onion, garlic and water in a large pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and seasonings.  Mix well, then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.

Another dump-and-heat recipe - my favorite kind!

Changes? Well, I didn't bother pre-cooking the onion, nor did I use the hot sauce. I used water instead of broth when adding the BBQ sauce, too. 

For the BBQ sauce, nothing beats good old Nathan's Famous Coney Island barbecue sauce. Not too spicy, not too sweet, and nothing but good, wholesome ingredients. Many of the other sauces had all sorts of chemicals, even added oils and plain white sugar, but not Nathan's. I always have a jar in the refrigerator.

I couldn't find low-sodium fire-roasted with chilies so just tossed in a 4 ounce can of chopped green chilies when I added a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

My husband and I had a debate over whether this should be served over brown rice or cornbread. The rice won only because the the temp outside is hovering around 90 again the day I made this and I refused to light the oven.

It was tasty enough, but nothing special. It's not really liquidy enough to qualify as a "sauce" though, just flavored beans and veg with watered-down BBQ sauce. 

One thing I'll do differently next time is cook the frozen veggies ahead, not just defrost them. Some of those green beans were still so hard they bruised my gum!

This meal will be good for a quick workday dinner. Toss the rice in the rice cooker, nuke the veggies, toss everything else into a pot and mix, add the veggies when done, heat until the rice is ready, and there you have it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 28 - My Favorite VeganMoFo Blog

No recipe from me today. I just want to remind everyone of the Randomofo link. Click that link and it takes you to one of the thousands of blogs or Instagram sites that are participating in this year's VeganMoFo. Sometimes you get a decent blog with decent recipes, sometimes you get a site in a foreign language, sometimes it's a dead link. 

I must have hit it a hundred times this past month and it still hasn't taken me to any site that promotes WFPB, no S-O-S eating, nor has it taken me to my own site. Oh, well. Maybe next year.

But it did take me to my favorite vegan web site discovered during VeganMoFo. It's called Kale Crusaders: Promoting Under-Represented Foods, and each day the owner of the site posts a new cartoon about a healthy unprocessed (or minimally processed) food. It may be asparagus, or maybe horseradish. This past week was macaroni and . . ., such as white bean cheese, butternut squash cheese, or red pepper cheese.

There are no recipes, just an explanation of what the food items of the day actually are, with links to their favorite recipes made with those ingredients.

Be sure to go visit and drop a comment to let the owner know you enjoy their work.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 27 - Puttanesca Sauce

When I make our Saturday pasta meals, I usually just toss on a package of Tinkyada pasta and open a jar of Walnut Acres sauce. 

It's only for VeganMoFo that I've been experimenting with more elaborate home made spaghetti sauces. I had jarred puttanesca sauce once, in my pre-McDougall days, and it was no better or worse than plain sauce with my own veggies tossed in with the cooked pasta. This one is from the September 2009 McDougall newsletter.

Puttanesca Sauce

This flavorful sauce should be cooked for at least an hour before serving.  The longer it simmers the thicker it will get.  Serve over polenta, pasta or gnocchi.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes
Servings:  6-8

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable broth
3  14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1  14.5 ounce can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1  14.5 ounce can hearts of palm, drained, halved, and sliced
½ cup quartered and pitted kalamata olives
½ cup quartered and pitted green olives
2 tablespoons small capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Place the garlic and vegetable broth in a large pot.  Cook and stir for about 1 minute until garlic softens slightly.  Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, and simmer for at least another 30 minutes (longer is better).  Stir in the fresh parsley before serving.

My changes:
I couldn't find fire roasted crushed tomatoes, or any crushed tomatoes in smaller cans, so used a 28 ounce can of plain low-sodium crushed and a 15 ounce can of regular fire-roasted petite diced, as well as a can of no-salt added petite diced tomatoes. I debated about putting a capful of liquid smoke into the pot, as Chef AJ had suggested in some video to get the fire-roasted flavor, but decided against it. In the end, it didn't need it.

Hearts of Palm is an ingredient I've never had before. I found this can way up on the top shelf in the canned vegetable aisle mixed in with the cans of artichokes. Although the can says it's pre-cut, those things were in pretty huge chunks, so I cut them up into pieces about the size of the petite diced tomatoes. Because they weren't low sodium I also rinsed them a few times, too.

It looks simply amazing! The photo was snapped after adding the veggies, before the second half hour simmer. When I served it over whole wheat pasta an hour later, the olives and capers kept their size and shape but the hearts of palm kind of disappeared into the sauce. Maybe if I left them in larger pieces that wouldn't have happened. I have no idea.

This was such a full bodied sauce that it didn't even need the pasta to make it into a whole meal! If Ann Esselstyn had written the recipe she probably would suggest serving it over a bed of kale and been done with it, that's how rich this sauce is.

While it does take at least an hour to cook, it only takes a few minutes to actually put together. If I keep making sauces like these, my husband will never let me return to jarred pasta sauce ever again! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 25 - Cheezy Baked Macaroni

Ah, mac and cheeze! Is there anything better on Earth? This one is one of the favorites of the McDougall family and appeared in the March 2007 newsletter:

Cheezy Baked Macaroni

I have had many requests for a macaroni & cheese substitute, mainly from people with children.  This recipe was developed with the children in mind, but Heather and I really like it, too.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  6-8

12 ounces uncooked macaroni
1 ¼ cups raw cashews
1 ¼ cups water
¼  cup nutritional yeast
2 ½  tablespoons chopped pimientos
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons white miso
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼  teaspoon salt
¼ to 1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a large pot of water on to boil.  Drop in the pasta and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes, depending on the kind of pasta used.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the cashews in a food processor with half of the water.  Process until fairly smooth, then add the remaining ingredients, except the bread crumbs, and process for several minutes until mixture is VERY smooth.   Pour the mixture over the pasta and stir to combine.  Transfer to a covered casserole dish, sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top, cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Hints:  Use any of your family’s favorite tubular pasta in this recipe.  The initial cooking time may have to be adjusted slightly depending on which type of pasta you choose.  Cook until just tender, do not overcook because the pasta will cook again while baking.

This may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to bake.  Add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

First off, let me say I did not follow the recipe as-written. I had in the far past, but certainly not since my husband's CABG surgery. There was no way I was going to use that many cashews! According to Dr. Esselstyn, he should't be having any nuts at all, but I used about an ounce of soaked cashews to give it a little bit of creaminess. For the 1 1/4 cups of nuts I substituted a can of rinsed and drained cannelini beans. Our coronary arteries thanked us for that change.

I also skipped the miso. I did find some that was lower sodium, but it was still pretty high, and when we taste tested it, neither of us really liked it, so I continue to skip it when a recipe calls for it and use some lower sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos, instead.

And whenever I make mac and cheese I always add some vegetables to the mix, and this time it was a bag of frozen crinkle cut carrots and a bag of petite peas. I do microwave them a bit first, otherwise the carrots are so hard they hurt my gums, and I'm already nursing a swollen one from some hard broccoli I ate last week.

Lastly, in keeping with the "kid's meal" theme of this recipe, instead of elbows I used Tinkyada's Little Dreams shape for kids, with bunnies, teddy bears, bikes and airplanes. What can I say? I'm still a kid at heart! 

That's such a pretty dish! Tasty and filling, too. We would have preferred it a bit moister, because cooked whole grain pasta soaks up a lot more liquid than semolina pasta does, but it was good enough. I usually use the whole 4 ounce jar of pimientos but this recipe called for only 1 ounce - hardly worth it. 

If you're looking for a recipe for children, as Mary and her daughter Heather were, this is a perfect recipe for them, because kids do require more fat than over-the-hill adults with cardiac disease or obesity do. But I'll be going back to my Mac and Oaty Cheese recipe next time my husband looks for mac and cheese for dinner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 24 - Spicy Cajun Sauce

Another day off, another quick meal. Rice is always easy and filling, and this sauce is ready before the rice cooker beeps, even if I make white instead of brown rice.

Spicy Cajun Sauce

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Servings:  4-6

1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup water
2  14 ounce cans Cajun-style stewed tomatoes
1  15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1  15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
½ teaspoon chili powder
dash or two of hot sauce 

Place the onion and water in a medium saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens slightly about 3 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, mix well and cook for about 10 minutes until flavors are well blended.  Serve hot.

Hint:  To make a thicker sauce, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/3 cup cold water.  Add to the sauce and cook and stir until thickened.

Couldn't find Cajun-style stewed tomatoes so used 2 cans of plain no-salt added ones and added 2 teaspoons of Penzy's Cajun seasoning blend. And my husband added some sriracha, of course. The only other change was to add the whole bag of corn instead of half of it.

When the sauce was all heated and the rice cooker beeped, I just dumped the sauce in with the rice, stirred it up, and it sat there on keep warm until we finished our rainy day movie and were ready to eat.

I hate rain on vacation days, but at least this was a great warmer-upper meal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 23 - Easy Taco Casserole

This is very similar to all the other Mexican Casseroles out there, whether they're from Mary McDougall or the Engine 2/Forks over Knives folk. This one is from the September 2004 McDougall newsletter:

Easy Taco Casserole

As I have mentioned many times before, my family really likes spicy, Mexican flavored foods. We like to come up with variations, such as the previous recipes for Mexican Pasta Surprise and Polenta with Black Beans, and this is another one that is so simple anyone can prepare it in almost no time at all. We like to roll this up in a tortilla, but it can also be served over rice or a baked potato.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4-6

1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 ½ cups salsa, mild, medium or hot
1 package Bearitos Taco Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Hints: Some grated soy cheese may be sprinkled over the top of the casserole for the final 15 minutes of baking, if desired.

I used half a package of frozen diced onions and green bell peppers combination. It sure beats hand-chopping!

Instead of leaving a half cup of salsa in the 2-cup jar I use the whole thing.

Nobody around here sells Bearitos brand anything, so I used a package of my favorite Mexican flavoring, Old El Paso Fajita mix. It has less sodium than the taco seasoning and isn't as hot.

And even though Mary McDougall recommended the soy cheese that her husband doesn't allow, I never use it.

This was my husband's second helping, served over a wedge of Happy Herbivore's cornbread. I had mine over some leftover rice. I forgot to take the photo when the bowls were still clean.

It's a very tasty recipe, but I don't see the need for heating up the kitchen to make it in the oven. Doing this in the microwave, a slow-cooker/pressure cooker, even in a pot on the stove would do just fine.

Monday, September 22, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 22 - Potato Broccoli Soup

Ah, vacation! We've been out all day and only an hour to go before dinner. What to make that's quick and filling? How about this soup from the January 2009 newsletter:

Potato and Broccoli Soup

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  2-3

2 cups frozen hash brown potato chunks
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1  15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups small broccoli florets 

Place the potatoes and broth in a large pot.  Cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Place in a blender jar with all the remaining ingredients except the broccoli.  Blend until smooth.  Return to pan, add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Hints:  Fresh potatoes that have been peeled and cut into chunks may also be used, but since I usually have the frozen chunks in my freezer, I saved time by using those.  Frozen broccoli florets may also be used in place of the fresh broccoli.

Perfect! I always have hash browns and broccoli in in the freezer, cans of beans and boxes of broth in the pantry, and nooch in the refrigerator. I use a full box of broth plus around a cup of water, a full bag of both hash browns and broccoli

Toss it all in, let it heat up, take an immersion blender to it, and serve with a loaf of whole grain bread. We each had a big bowl followed by a bit more and there's still enough for each of us to have a bowl for lunch tomorrow.

Sometimes, especially if I use shredded hash browns instead of diced and chopped broccoli instead of any larger size, I don't even blend it, just serve it as you see in the photo. Tastes just as good either way.

We spend most vacation days at home, with day trips, doctor visits, laundromat and shopping excursions, or just hours in front of the television as our great plans. Today was one of only 2 this vacation we had any plans to be out until early evening so I had planned on this quick soup. The other day we'll be out late we plan on having Chinese take-out, with my husband and I getting brown rice and loads of steamed veggies, like Chef AJ mentions in her weight-loss video. 

But when planning the menus for this week I started thinking of how I could probably make some meals in my pressure cooker. I hardly ever use the thing as a PC but do use the nice big heavy pot for big batches of soups, stews and Jeff Novick's SNAP recipes. I really hate fiddling with that thing, and man, it's heavy! Carrying it across the kitchen from the stove to the sink counts as one of my weight training sessions, I swear! 

My husband knows I would use it more if it was lighter. Well, stove-top pressure cookers will never come down in weight because of the necessity of having heavy steel pots that can withstand the pressure, but I noticed in this episode of the Chef and the Dietitian show 

that Julianna Hever so so enthralled with the Instant Pot once she saw that the inner pot with the food was removable and so easy to clean. And it hit me - that's what I'm looking for, something easy to clean! I need an electric pressure cooker, too!

In an earlier video, Chef AJ and Julianna are talking about the electric pressure cooker, and Chef AJ mentions how she bought hers (A Cuisinart at the time) at Costco for something like $59.

Listen for it at the 49 second mark. One of our stops today was to a store that sells the same electric Cuisinart Chef AJ had, but after looking at the pan with the non-stick lining I decided to wait for an Instant Pot because of its stainless steel pan. 

Of course, I still have to convince my husband that I need it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 21 - Dijon Mushroom Potatoes

There's nothing like a great baked potato with a simple sauce over the top. Toss in some veggies and it's a complete meal.

Today was another late summer 90 degree-plus day so the casserole I had planned went out the window. I had gotten another rare bag of perfect potatoes, and since my husband's favorite food right now is a good baked potato, supper ideas came streaming in. All that needed to be done was to toss a few of those russets in the microwave and get started on this flavorful sauce from the McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss book.

Dijon Mushroom Potatoes

Serving Size : 4     
Preparation Time :0:20
Cooking time: 1 hour

  4             medium  baking potato -- scrubbed
     3/4           cup  water
  1             medium  onion -- chopped
     1/2         pound  mushrooms -- sliced
  1             medium  green bell pepper -- chopped
  1              small  carrot -- shredded
  1         tablespoon  soy sauce, low sodium
  1         tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  1         tablespoon  cornstarch
                        freshly ground pepper

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prick potatoes in several places with a fork.  Bake for 1 hour or until tender, or microwave on high power for 15 minutes, turning once.  Let the potatoes rest while preparing the sauce.

In a large saucepan place 1/4 cup of the water with the onion, mushrooms, green pepper, and carrot.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, adding a little more water if necessary.

  Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Stir into the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened.

 Serve the potatoes hot, passing the sauce separately.

Well, I just skipped that whole first part about roasting the potatoes in that hot oven. Neither of us cares if the skin is crispy or not, so the moister microwave cooking is just fine for us.

I used a bag of frozen onion and peppers from Bird's Eye, and as luck would have it, I also had some frozen mushrooms in the freezer today, too.

Shredding up a carrot using a hand grater was the pits. Usually I just pull out my mini food processor for this job but didn't feel like climbing around the storage area where I keep it for just one carrot. For the first time in ages I scraped my knuckles. That's what I get for taking the "lazy" way out.

And one tablespoon of Dijon mustard is never enough. This meal got close to three tablespoons. My husband likes mustard so much that one year I bought him a book about mustard and a gift box of gourmet mustards for Christmas. Those jars were empty before New Year's Day. This was in the dark ages, when the only mustard varieties grocery stores sold was yellow or brown, and occasionally they carried Dijon, usually around the holidays. Now stores carry dozens of versions, from sweetened honey mustard to spicy horseradish or wasabi-infused ones. For this dish I used plain old Grey Poupon.

Cornstarch - my nemesis! At least this time I added a wee bit more at the beginning and it was just right. 

Just added a bit of Brussels sprouts to round out the meal.

Another great meal. I had this plateful, my husband wound up with 3 potatoes total, and we had just enough of this sauce for all of them with no leftovers.

This triggered something in my husband - he asked if I would concentrate on making a lot more baked potato meals like this after VeganMoFo meals are over. Of course I would! I always hesitated to make these super simple meals for fear he wanted "more", but he says he likes these better than some meals that I spend lots of time on. I see a lot of tater toppings and simple gravies in my future. Hopefully by then the stores will have this year's batch of potatoes in and they'll be in better shape than in previous years (green, spotty, full of mold and/or eyes, etc.). 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 18 - Deviled Green Beans

This recipe comes from the October 2011 newsletter. I was very disappointed in this recipe. It makes less than 3 ounces of sauce for about 6 cups of cooked green beans. Only a few molecules of the sauce gets on each green bean. Then comes the ingredients themselves:


Preparation Time: 15 minutes 
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

1 pound fresh green beans   
2 tablespoons vinegar 
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Clean beans and cut into 1 inch pieces. Cook in the water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, reserving 3 tablespoons. Mix reserved water, vinegar and mustard. Pour over green beans. Stir until well coated. Serve hot or cold.

Hints: 20 ounces of frozen green beans may be substituted for fresh, if desired.

5 tablespoons of water and vinegar mix and a scant 2 teaspoons of mustard. Not too flavorful. In fact, my husband looked at the serving dish of beans with the sauce already poured over the top and asked when I'm going to add the sauce! Where's the "devil" in this devil sauce??
This is with all the sauce on it, without even stirring it in

We wound up using the Jane Esselstyn 3-2-1 Sauce that I always keep on hand in the refrigerator. It has more vinegar and mustard per serving and has the little bit of maple syrup tang. OK, so it's no longer deviled green beans, just tasty green beans.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 17 - Red Lentil Surprise

I love cooking with red lentils! They cook up quick, dissolve into the liquid to make a nice thickened sauce, and have a pretty nice taste, too.

This is another new-to-us recipe and is taken from the November 2007 McDougall newsletter, a month showcasing one-pot meals.

Red Lentil Surprise

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  40 minutes
Servings:  8

½ cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh minced garlic (or bottled minced garlic)
1  32-ounce box vegetable broth
1  15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups red lentils OR French green lentils
1 carrot, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1  7-ounce package baked tofu, sliced

Place the water in a large saucepan.  Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until vegetables soften slightly.  Add remaining ingredients, except for the tofu.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tofu, stir gently and heat for about 2-3 minutes.  Serve over whole grain toast or rolls.

Hints:  This may also be made without the tofu and it is still delicious.  We like this with some fresh chopped spinach added at the end of the cooking time, either with or without the tofu.  This is also delicious served over rice or potatoes.  It reheats well so it is great as a leftover!

The only change I had to make was to skip the tofu. I already had it once earlier this week and really shouldn't have too much of it.

I served it over Yukon Gold potatoes. When I find some that are good, I eat them at least twice again that week, because I never know when I'll have another good bag of them.

It made for a very tasty meal. It looked nice with the potatoes and spinach mixed in. It had a little sweet taste to it, probably from the hand-grated carrot. It was so good my husband didn't even think of adding sriracha sauce. 

This would probably go great with pasta as well as potatoes, toast or rice. In fact, that's how I'm going to serve up the leftovers over the weekend, in pasta.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 16- Garbanzos a'la King

This one comes from the May 2006 McDougall newsletter, and is another oldie but goodie for this family.

Garbanzos a’ la King

Preparation Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  8

1 onion, chopped

½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ cup sliced fresh oyster mushrooms
¾ cup water
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
3 cups soy or rice milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2  15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1  4 ounce jar diced pimientos
1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/3 cup cold water

Place the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms in a large pot with the water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour and continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Gradually add the soy or rice milk while stirring.  Add the seasonings, garbanzos, pimientos and sherry, if desired.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook and stir until the sauce thickens.  Serve at once.

Usually I just use 2 boxes (1 pound) of plain old sliced button mushrooms, but our local Stop and Shop recently revamped its produce section (again) and now they sometimes carry some of the more exotic stuff, like oyster mushrooms. I was in luck - they had some when I did my shopping for this dish! I've never cooked them before and had no idea how to clean or slice them. YouTube to the rescue!

Those are ugly looking things! Mine were all squished up in a plastic box, broken up into pieces. And the "root" had round black things attached to it. Were they bugs? Eggs? Part of the root? At least they're better than what this lady has:

Man! This makes me want to toss the whole box into the garbage! Are teeny worms commonly found in these things?? I'm really afraid to use them now! Luckily there were no worms - or at least didn't see any - so I went ahead, washed them as thoroughly as I could, and got them all chopped up into tiny pieces. I actually sat there and watched that cutting board for a good 10 minutes to make sure nothing was going to start crawling around!

That also got me looking really close to the box of crimini mushrooms, and I noticed something different about this package than previous boxes I bought. As mentioned above, the produce section was recently revamped. It looks like part of that upgrade included using a different distributor to get their fresh produce from, because the mushrooms now had a label that said, in really teeny fine print, to wash those sliced mushrooms thoroughly before cooking and not to eat them when raw. I know Dr. Fuhrman says to cook mushrooms, and many people on his forums had posted that they would always eat raw mushrooms in salads before so better stop doing that. I know my grandmother used to use raw mushrooms, too. I see many other places on-line are now saying not to eat raw mushrooms. And now the label says not to do it. But the washing part? They all used to be pre-washed. I wonder how many boxes of sliced mushrooms I used and didn't wash because I assumed they were still pre-washed? Well, I'm still alive, so I guess not many.

Back to those oyster mushrooms and this recipe. I won't be buying them again. To both of us, the dish tasted better when I used 2 boxes of button mushrooms, or one button, one cremini, than it did with these oyster ones. It certainly wasn't worth the $4 I spent for those few ounces of mushrooms.

Changes I did, and usually do, make:

I used frozen sliced tri-color pepper strips and chopped them into a dice instead of fresh peppers.

I no longer have white flour in the house so use white whole wheat in the pan.

Almond milk, not soy, was used. That's the only kind in the house any more, unless I feel energetic and make myself some oat milk.

Yukon Gold potatoes were the starch of choice this time around. Sometimes I use rice, and a few times I used egg-free (but white flour) noodles. Luckily I had some really great potatoes this time. Some cauliflower rounded out the meal.

I used to make this fairly regularly, at least once a month. Then I got lazy and started making simpler dishes, like Jeff Novick's SNAP meals, or Chef AJ's chili or pea soup. This is also a richer dish than the others, another good reason not to make it so often. But we really enjoyed it while we had it, and this is now in the running for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Without possibly wormy oyster mushrooms, that is.

Monday, September 15, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 15 - Bountiful Autumn Stew

A lot of hand chopping with this stew. This one comes from the September 2009 McDougall newsletter.

Bountiful Autumn Stew

This vibrant stew takes advantage of many of the garden fresh vegetables available at this time of year.

Preparation Time:  20 minutes (need cooked rice)
Cooking Time:  45 minutes
Servings:  6-8

1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups peeled and diced yams
2 cups tightly packed chopped kale
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1  15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 large chopped fresh tomatoes
2 zucchini, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a large pot with a tablespoon or 2 of the broth.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion softens and turns translucent.  Add the remaining broth, the yams, kale, soy sauce, mustard and crushed pepper.  Mix well, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes.  Add the beans, tomatoes and zucchini, return to a simmer and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.  Stir in the rice, vinegar and pepper.  Cook for another 10 minutes or so until flavors are well blended.

Hints:  Since I usually have dinosaur (lacinato) kale growing in my garden, that’s what I use in this recipe.  I usually remove the tough inner stem from any kale that I use, then chop into bite-sized pieces.  To easily remove the inner stem, just grab the bottom of the stem with one hand and pull the other hand firmly along the stem of the kale.  The leafy part should easily separate from the stem.  Substitute 1 ½ cups cooked beans for the canned beans, if desired.

Since I don't have a garden in my third floor walk-up apartment, I used frozen kale. For convenience I used frozen diced onions, but hand-chopped the other fresh veggies. I wish I could find the frozen sweet potatoes that Jeff Novick talks about in his Fast Food 4: Beyond the Basics DVD. That stuff is like trying to cut through rocks, they're so hard! By the time I was done with all the chopping my poor arthritic fingers were swollen and sore.

I did use the crushed red pepper, and my husband loved that I did, but it was way to much heat for me. I would have liked this stew better without it.

I also had to cook this for almost an hour total before my sweet potatoes were soft enough to eat. I've complained abut my stove here in the past. Foods cooked go right into a boil even on the lowest settings unless I put 2 flame tamers in place. For something like this, I start it on a burner without the tamers, then move it over to a burner with them to simmer. Hard to regulate, so I guess the simmer temp was a bit too low to cook those taters within the same time frame the recipe gave. It was a problem on my end, not the recipe's.

I can't say yet whether I would make this stew again in the future. My husband liked it more than me, so I guess if I wanted to make him a special treat I would make it again.

And recruit someone to help with the chopping!