Quick Pasta Salad

I’m almost on the road to spend Thanksgiving with family. I wanted a wholesome lunch that was palate cleansing and healthy, but what could I do quickly? I used food ready to go in my frig: Hodgson Mill’s organic whole wheat spirals, sweet potato, spaghetti squash, salsa, onions and cilantro. I might add mushrooms.



Vegan Chili Dog and a Guiness Extra Stout, Please

Back in the 1060’s and early ’70 men either didn’t cook or were beginning to cook a bit (well, outside of barbecuing). My dad was a big strapping guy who loved to cook  his famous dishes and one was the Chili Dog. Actually this was one that he either used canned chili or Mom’s leftover (the best). He married my mom when I was in middle school (Jr. High back then) and I gained an amazing dad!!

We would start with a large, wide, flat on the bottom. soup bowl and lay down a hot dog bun, then a cooked hot dog or two and smother it all with ample chili. Next was fresh chopped white onions and a lot of grated cheese. Heaven in the bowl!! I was too young for beer, but I added that years later.

Here’s to you, Dad!! I’m sure he was looking down from heaven wishing he was sitting with me eating a chili dog (maybe not ’cause it was vegan). Thanks for all the good memories, Dad!!

Vegan Chili Dog

21Vegan Kickstart – What’s Hot off the Stove

Crazy Busy!!!! I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my week. Pretty sure you may have had a busy week too!

This week I was dreaming a bit ’cause the 21 Day Vegan  Kickstart has lots of new recipes to try during this kickstart. I was excited about a variety recipes this week and was a bit over rambunctious about my goals. I had 5 dishes I really wanted to try, but don’t have much time to cook once the work week starts. Additionally, I don’t need too much food each week (that’s why the dishes below look half full/empty.

I actually cooked Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup, Basic Tomato Sauce, and Penne al Forno. I prepared the soup Sunday evening and took a couple pictures while cooking, but forgot the final picture, so will post that later.

pasta salad and tomato sauce

Jim Lahey’s Pizza Crust

I know I said that I would talk about the Kickstart and I will.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love pizza. I grew up with lots of allergies and often pizza was a safe food – fully cooked and yummy. Well, also allergic to dairy, so the pizza wasn’t much of a friend, but learned to love it without the dairy. I’ve been waiting for Jim Lahey’s My Pizza cookbook for a while and was delighted to purchase on my iPad. So, have salivated over the pictures (the pizza not the meat) and imagined all the Vegan alternative I could create, but avoiding the crust recipe. Feared it was loaded with milk and olive oil – why did I wait??? No dairy – No oil!! Vegan & Delightful!

In the Lahey tradition the recipe calls for mixing the ingredients, covering and waiting for atleast 18 hours. Easy

I have a batch mixed and cultivating on my counter.

Jim Lahey’s No Knead Baquette (Stecca) Rising

I know I should be making soda bread for St. Patrick’s day, but am seeing if my baquettes would be presentable for tea our area is hosting at work this week. His recipes are but my bread may not be presentable. One of my grown sons is a baker, so my baking skills are not up to par – I taught him how to bake bread, but that 12-year-old quickly surpassed my baking skills.

If you are afraid of bread dough, Jim Lahey techniques are amazing. I was shocked the first time I mixed this baguette and used a minimal amount of yeast and adding cool water. WHAT – cool water and yeast – my head wanted to explode. To make bread I was taught by my mom to heat the water and use a thermometer or the yeast would die, true if it’s too hot, but cool water. Yup! Bread baking isn’t that hard and the benefits are tremendous! No fillers, lots of variety, the house smells wonderful and fresh bread is delicious. Not to mention such a cheap treat to take to potlucks and use as gifts.

I was looking for the recipe (will share later today) and came across The Bread Time Line: A Brief New Your Baking History on the online NY Magazine.

oh, about my skills – I forgot to add the olive oil, so added it at the end. The good thing about bread dough is it is very forgiving and I know that in the end it will be all mixed. Normally there wouldn’t be an oil around the edges of the dough. Those bubbles show that the yeast is alive and working!!!

Jim Lahey's no knead baguettes (Stecca)

Fabulous Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Owwww!! Fabulous Vegan Blueberry Muffins! Excited about these!

I became a Vegan for a number of reasons and it wasn’t to give up baked goods – unfortunately, my palate really likes baked goods. So, have tried several recipes and thrown out many of the results. This one is a keeper.

21 Day Vegan Kickstart has amazing meal plans and recipes. There is only one of me and am the only Vegan in my family, so most often folks curl up a lip when they see my vegan baked goods (mostly because they are rather flatish looking). They are going to eat these! I just know it!

Check out the recipe for Blueberry Muffins (makes 12 – I got 15) on NutritionMD. Pop on over and explore both the Kickstart and Nutrition websites  – they are related, use each other – however you want to say it. It’s all good. Enjoy…

Blueberry Muffins - Vegan

Vegan New Years Eve Menu

New Years Eve is spent with a good friend from grad school. I’m vegan and she isn’t vegan. I asked her if she was going to bring chicken to eat and she said no, she was bringing humus. See, she is an amazing friend. We have shared pizza for years, so we must keep on the menu. We relax, share about the past year, plan for the future, set goals, create vision boards, enjoy each others company, and ring in the new year.

2011 New Years Eve Vegan Menu

dairy free pizza – veggie

green salad (keep the gut extra healthy)

humus – three varieties




artichoke spinach dip (if it turns out wonderful [4 stars] will share the recipe)

hit: the base is humus, the inspiration is the dip from Costco (pre-vegan fave)

blackberry crisp

Red Lentil Dahl

Yum! We all know how hectic the holidays can be and then we slip a bit and grab fast or overly processed food. No need with a quick Lentil soup packed with Indian flavor.

I was having one of those evening. I needed to stop and return a gift after work and was longingly looking at all the restaurant on the outskirts of the mall. Sigh!  I headed home and was so hungry. The last think I wanted to do was cook dinner. I love soup and found what appeared to be a quick easy soup recipe. Quickly, I added water and red lentils to my soup pot and added an onion and spices. Cooked for 30 minuted and added the juice of a lemon. Easy breezy and so very tasty.

Still Cooking Indian Food

I am back from the funeral and back to work at my day job and my kitchen cooking. So nice to be home. Currently trying to get my Vegan Christmas menu stably paired with wines and breads, but am not quite there yet.

This week I attempted to make Tofuless Matar Paneer for the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart, but quickly realized I didn’t have all the ingredients (ha – has that ever stopped me before). I made a different version. I added spinach instead of potatoes and peas and only had the mustard seeds on hand.

One of the pleasures of experimenting is the new learning. I haven’t roasted mustard seeds until they popped before and almost gave up because they weren’t popping and I was afraid they would burn. Suddenly they began hopping and popping around the pan. So very cool and they browned up beautifully. I need a bit more work on this recipe before I share my rendition.