How to make lower-fat roti

Yesterday I got to learn how to make roti. The cook that taught me cooks with lower-fat (only brushing the roti lightly with oil while cooking), no animal ingredients, and without a recipe. For the bus-up-shut roti, she used some local margarine. If I had access to it, I would use Earth Balance.

Here’s a video I made documenting the experience.

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A different sort of food…

I’ve been making a different sort of food for my baby, Squeaky.*

Felt foodShe enjoys playing with her felt food! I bought the pattern from UMe Crafts on Etsy. Squeaky loves playing with them. I think her favorite is the pumpkin.

They were really easy to make. The pattern is written for those who sew by hand. I do have a sewing machine, but have opted for sewing these by hand for the most part. I may try using a machine as I increase her collection of felt food.

So far I’ve made the tomato, pumpkin (the pattern author says it’s supposed to be green pumpkin, but I don’t have enough green felt, for one thing and for another thing, I’d rather make an orange pumpkin), eggplant (the Hubby calls it a purple pear. Thanks, hon!) and yellow squash. I still have more veggies to make.

The other missionary kids came over last week and their three-year-old was SUPER disappointed to leave the felt veggies behind when she had to go home. I think I know what will make her happy for her birthday or Christmas, whichever comes first.

* not her real name. Obviously.

It’s been awhile….

Yes, I know, it has been an eternity since I last blogged! A lot has happened.

I had a baby, for one thing. Back in January. And so I took a break getting ready for the baby, and when I got back as well.

Becoming a mommy has broadened my horizons tremendously and I do have a few new interests that I will be sharing here on this blog shortly.

Many of you follow for recipes and may have started following during the Vegan MoFo last November. While I will still be posting recipes periodically, I will also be blogging about other things mommy-related and homemaking related. (After all, homemaking is in my blog title.)

Holiday Cranberry Salad

Holiday Cranberry Salad
Well, I’ll admit I have been kind of lax on the posting this week for Vegan MoFo, but here is a great recipe that I’ll be doing next week for Thanksgiving. We really like having this salad instead of your average cranberry sauce. It’s sweetened with apple juice, so it doesn’t have refined sugars, either.

Holiday Cranberry Salad

  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 2 cups raw cranberries
  • 2 red apples
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 12-ounce can of apple juice concentrate (or apple raspberry or other reddish colored juice if you’d like some great color!)
  • 2 T. agar flakes or 1 t. agar powder

Grind raw cranberries in food processor until they are in very small pieces. Next, shred apples in the food processor, and drizzle the juice of 1 orange over them to keep them from discoloring.

Mix the cranberries, nuts, and apples together in a bowl.

Bring the apple juice concentrate to a boil and add agar. Stir to dissolve, and cook on a hard boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour liquid over the cranberry/ apple mixture, and pour into a fancy bowl. Let set overnight.

Enjoy the next day!

Let’s talk cheese and mayo.

A couple of my friends have requested that I post some recipes for cheese sauce and mayo, respectively. I’m posting a great cheese sauce recipe that I have used often over the years, as well as a soy mayonnaise recipe. I can’t readily obtain Vegenaise here, and the vegan mayo that they do sell is, to put it mildly, in need of help.

My Favorite Cheese Sauce

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp. sesame tahini
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pimientos (or if you’re like me and can’t get pimientos, I use either frozen red pepper — diced by yours truly, or cooked carrots)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tbsp. flour or cornstarch

Blend all ingredients until very, very smooth. Pour into a saucepan and stir constantly while bringing it to a boil. When it has thickened (usually right as it has come to a boil), remove from heat.

At this point, you can drizzle this on pizza, mix it in with cooked pasta elbows and bake it for a few minutes for Mac and Cheese (I love, love, love this cheese sauce in Mac and Cheese!), serve over cooked veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, add to tacos, drizzle on your lasagna, etc.

This does NOT make a good sliceable/ shreddable cheese. This is great for a cheese sauce only. I think this makes around 3-4 cups, although I haven’t actually measured.

Mayonnaise

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup soy supreme powder (kind of like soy flour; you can get it from some health food sources)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tsp. instant clear gel (modified cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Blend water, soy supreme, garlic clove, salt, and onion powder together. While blender is still running, drizzle in the 1/2 cup of oil, and then add the 2 tsp. instant clear gel at the very end. Turn off the blender, then stir in the 2  tbsp. lemon juice by hand.

This makes a lot of mayonnaise (like, 3 cups or so — haven’t actually measured it). If you are just making it for one or two people and don’t have plans for making potato salad or other dishes with a large amount of mayonnaise involved, you might consider just making half a recipe of this.

Gourmet Rice Casserole

Gourmet Rice Casserole

This is the type of recipe that is perfect for cleaning up a couple of leftover cups of rice in your fridge. I got the basic idea for this recipe from my grandma’s cookbook, 375 Meatless Recipes. While this is a vegetarian cookbook, it does have non-vegan recipes, and this basic recipe wasn’t necessarily vegan, so I had to make some adjustments. Here’s what I came up with for my veganized version!

Gourmet Rice Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups reconstituted soy curls
  • approx. 2-3 cups vegan cream of mushroom soup (use this recipe, but decrease the Bragg’s to 2 tbsp., and don’t add the mushrooms since you’ll add them later in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup soy mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 4-oz can mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • paprika

Chop your reconstituted soy curls into bite-sized pieces. Place in a medium-sized mixing bowl with the rice and mix. Make your mushroom soup and add to the rice and soy curls. Sauté the chopped onion, celery, and mushrooms in a tiny bit of oil or water for a few minutes until the onion looks kind of transparent. Then add the veggies to the mixing bowl.

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and pour your casserole mix into that. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with sliced almonds and paprika.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Potato Salad

Vegan potato salad

This week, we had potato salad. My salad is really simple and doesn’t have a whole lot of complicated ingredients. Here’s how I do it.

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers — peeled, and sliced in the food processor (so they are extremely fine slices)
  • Grated carrots
  • Chopped olives
  • Dried minced onion
  • a few dollops of vegan mayonnaise — I love Vegenaise, but unfortunately we don’t have that where we are, so I make mine from scratch. We do have another kind of vegan mayo here, but it’s strange, in my opinion.
  • Salt — I prefer to use something like Herbamare
  • Dill and/or paprika for garnish on the top

I boil my potatoes with the skins on. Then I put them in the fridge or freezer to cool them down a bit. Then I peel them and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Stir in the cucumbers, carrots, minced onion, and olives. I don’t have a specific amount I use. I’m flexible and if I feel like a little more, I add it until it looks “right” to me, whatever my definition of “right” is for that day.

{I really like Isa’s idea (in Veganomicon) of the paper-thin cucumber slices instead of pickles, so that’s what I do these days. You can use pickles if you prefer.}

Add your vegan mayo and season with salt to taste. I’m a minimalist when it comes to potato salad toppings, as you can probably tell.

Garnish your salad with a few sprinkles of dried dill weed or paprika. And that’s all!

Pizza a la Focaccia

I love traveling. A few years ago, my dad and I were traveling in Milan, Italy doing research and photography. We needed pictures inside a certain church but happened to arrive there around lunchtime, so it was closed for siesta. We decided to make good use of the time and grab a bite to eat nearby.

We entered a bakery and looked for some vegan-looking options. We found a type of bread that looked like it didn’t have cheese. So we bought that. It was delicious. It had tomatoes on top and was seasoned with olive oil and herbs.

IMG_5762

A few weeks ago, I was looking through my travel pictures and came across that picture from that day (pictured above). I decided I should reinvent that pizza/ focaccia stuff at home (and make sure it was for sure vegan that way)! What I came up with was yummy. I’m not sure if it qualifies more for pizza or focaccia, but here you have it. Call it whatever you want! (My invention is pictured below.)

IMG_8492

Pizza a la Focaccia

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (I use this recipe, but I use about 1 to 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with the white flour)
  • 4-5 little tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • dried basil (hey, try fresh if you’ve got it! I would totally. Except I don’t have it here.)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Vege Sal
  • garlic powder (you can try minced fresh garlic; when I made this recipe, I was coming out from the fog of morning sickness and trying not to cook with anything overly smelly, like fresh garlic)

Make your pizza dough according to directions.

Roll it out on your pizza pan or stone. Lay the tomato slices out on the pizza dough and drizzle olive oil over each tomato slice. Sprinkle the tomatoes and crust with the herbs and seasonings.

Bake in the oven at 450° for 10-15 minutes, or just until the crust edges start to brown. Then move it to the top rack and turn on the broiler. Watch carefully so the crust doesn’t burn. I cooked these for about 2 minutes under the broiler to make sure the tomatoes were sufficiently cooked the way I wanted them.

Enjoy! We ate this with pesto on penne pasta and carrot sticks. Yummy.

Vegan MoFo Survey

Hi MoFo-ers!

Today I’m taking part in the Vegan MoFo survey.

1. What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?

Cheese. It actually turns my stomach now if I happen to cross paths with it.

2. What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

Can’t say I have had this experience. I was a pretty easy eater as a kid.

3. What vegan food or dish do you feel you should like, but don’t?

Um, probably tempeh. I haven’t had a chance to cook with it because I’m not sure it exists in this country. And I just think it’s kind of strange stuff.

4. What beverage do you consume on most any given day?

Water

5. What dish are you famous for making and bringing to gatherings?

I generally try to brainstorm for something different to make every time I have to go to a potluck or something. But if people request me to bring something, generally they assign dessert to me since they generally like whatever I make.

6. Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

Yeah. I don’t cook with vinegar. If I need acid, I use lemon juice. I also don’t cook with wine of any type.

7. What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much when you have it in your home?

Dessert.

8. What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

Because there aren’t options like vegan cheese or sour cream available for purchase where we live, I have to make those from necessity. I miss Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese… so let’s say I don’t prefer to make it myself, but I do have to make those myself. The same goes for mayo. I love Vegenaise. They don’t have it here and their vegan mayo here is not very delicious in my opinion.

9. What ingredient or food is worth spending extra money to get the good stuff?

Where I live, I have to go to a specialty shop to buy simple things like tahini, dried dill weed, and sage. So all of those ingredients.

10. Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?

I didn’t used to be, before I got pregnant. My favorite snack during this pregnancy is red grapes.

11. What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I like olives, mushrooms, green peppers, and vege-cheese of some type.

12. What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?

I think my favorite vegetable is eggplant, and my favorite fruit is strawberries.

13. What is the best salad dressing?

I like a dressing that I make with olive oil, fresh garlic, yeast flakes, parsley, onion powder, salt, basil, and lemon juice.

14. What are your favorite things to put on toasted bread?

Earth Balance with nutritional yeast flakes melted into it.

15. What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

Potato soup — when I’m in the States, I really like my potato soup with dill weed and Tofutti sour cream. Yum!

16. What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

You know, I haven’t really gotten into cupcakes! Is that bad to admit? I’m not opposed to them… I just haven’t arrived, I guess.

Now, if we’re talking muffins, I like lemon poppyseed muffins from Vegan Brunch. And my mom’s recipe for blueberry muffins.

17. What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Carob chip cookies are awesome. I also like lemon bars. And I really wish I could find a recipe for those oatmeal cookies at Real Food Daily bakery in Santa Monica…

18. What is your most-loved weeknight meal?

Hmm. I’m going to give you my favorite weekday meal because our suppers tend to be on the light side. I like a bunch of different things, actually. I like fake-steak glutens. I like lasagna with eggplant in it. I like Asian stir fry with rice noodles. There are to many good things out there!

19. What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your house to eat?

I like watermelon. My hubby hates it.

20. Favorite nondairy milk?

Silk, I guess. Although I really like Trader Joe’s soy milk. But we don’t have Trader Joe’s here.

21. Most disastrous recipe/ meal failure?

I hate it when I forget to put salt in bread when I make it. Disgusting.

22. Favorite pickled item?

I like PA’S Pickles. We can’t get that here, either.

23. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods, what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?

OK, I am stranded on an island! Well, not really, because I can come and go, but I’ll just say that I brought nutritional yeast flakes, soy curls, and TVP with me ’cause I wasn’t sure they’d have such here.

24. Fondest memory from childhood?

I used to bake whole wheat bread and sell it to my parents’ friends and colleagues. Does that count? *shrug* What does this question mean, anyway?

25. Favorite vegan ice cream?

I like Soy Dream strawberry swirl ice cream.

26. Most loved kitchen appliance?

My BlendTec Kitchen Machine, all the way. I use it almost every day! You gotta have a good blender, you know. And in addition, it’s great because it has a mixing bowl with attachments. I use that for kneading bread dough.

27. Spice/ herb you would die without?

Nutritional yeast flakes, basil, vegan chicken-style seasoning, dill, sage…

28. Favorite flavor of jam/ jelly?

Strawberry or blackberry.

29. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

A meal I call haystacks. It is essentially a make-your-own taco salad bar idea.

30. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

Tofu

31. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

I dunno. Breakfast, I guess.

32. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

Frozen strawberries, unsausage burgers, gluten flour (I keep it there so it doesn’t go rancid)

33. What’s on your grocery list?

Fresh fruit. Preferably cantaloupe.

34. Favorite grocery store?

Trader Joe’s. But like I said earlier, they don’t have that here.

35. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.

Vegetable lasagna — you know, the white kind with all the cheese, and no red sauce.

36. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it every day). Or maybe the top 3?

I like Diet Dessert & Dogs, Vegan Dad, and Choosing Raw.

37. Favorite vegan candy/ chocolate?

I don’t like candy. Or chocolate, for that matter.

38. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

Extravagant?! Uh, I’m drawing a blank…

Creamy Stroganoff

Creamy stroganoff, brown rice, tomato salad, and butternut squash
This stroganoff {pictured above, top left on the plate served over brown rice} is super-easy, and can also be used for mushroom gravy, if you substitute a small can of drained mushrooms instead of the gluten or meat substitute.

Creamy Stroganoff

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups of gluten (wheat meat, seitan, other vegan meat substitute… whatever you like to call it)

Blend water, cashew nuts, soy sauce, and cornstarch until very, very smooth. Pour into a pan on the stove and add your vegan meat substitute and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly so it won’t stick or burn to the bottom of the pan. Once it has thickened to a gravy consistency, remove from heat and serve.

We like this stroganoff served over rice or fettucine-style noodles.

To make this into mushroom gravy instead: Simply replace the veggie meat with 1 small can of mushrooms, drained. Also, if I am using this as mushroom soup in a recipe, I typically cut back on the soy sauce and only use 2 tbsp. as I find that the flavor is very strong and the recipe typically has some sort of salt included already.