Tag Archives: dairy

Barbecue, vegetarian-style

15 Jan

Last week, I really wanted to try making homemade barbecue sauce. I did it once before with decent results, but I wanted something thick and flavorful to eat this week with mushrooms. I decided to try out the Backyard BBQ Sauce recipe from Veganomicon (which you can also see here) and was quite pleased with the results. I used diced tomatoes instead of canned and pureed the whole thing with my immersion blender at the end. It made one piece of a delicious dinner (well, two, actually):

BBQDinner had a good-ol’ Okie vibe with a healthy spin, as you can see. Sorry it’s so dark but, well, it was dark outside. Ha. Clockwise from left is roasted garlic mashed potatoes and kohlrabi (made this way, but way less and using half potatoes and half kohlrabi), sauteed Swiss chard (it has become my favorite green), and barley and portobellos in the homemade sauce. The night before, we just had the potatoes (but a lot more than that serving) and mushrooms. I preferred the better rounded version.

Even after cooking four big mushrooms in it, we still had about a cup of the barbecue sauce left. What’s a girl to do?

Whole pizzaPizza! This was a Sunday meal. As in, this was basically all we ate on Sunday. It was huge and very filling. On top of the crust (made following this easy recipe), I layered barbecue sauce, jalapeno jack cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, artichoke hearts, and then a little more cheese. Fifteen minutes in the oven, and it came out delicious. Here’s a slice:

Pizza sliceI’m telling you: this sauce is perfect for pizza. It’s thick and a little spicy, but it still beautifully complements are favorite pizza toppings. I bet crumbled tempeh would be a great addition, too, and I think you could easily leave off the cheese or sub in Daiya for a vegan meal.


Two for tea

9 Jan

Last month, there was a Living Social deal for high tea at a place in Hollywood, so I bought as quickly as I could. I’ve made no secret of my love of tea and other assorted fanciness. I have never actually been to high tea other than the one I threw myself back in 2010, so I was beyond excited to grab such a great price.

Chado has tea rooms/retail stores in several parts of LA, plus one in India.  The Hollywood location is walking distance from home, so we treated ourselves to their Celebration Tea service on Sunday afternoon.

We sat at a cozy table for two in the corner, which was preset with white linens and tea cups.

Hot dateThe meal started with a pot of tea each. We decided to share both and ended up with the Namring Upper SFTGFOP — a second flush Darjeeling — and Mate Carnival. We each also had an option of soup or salad. I chose the former, which was creamy tomato basil, and he had the mixed baby greens. The soup was really tasty, as was the bread that came with it. We both loved the tea selections as well. I slightly favored the delicate flavor of the Darjeeling.

Let's get startedThen the main part of the meal arrived.

PeekabooWow! The top tier was sandwiches: two each of salmon and chicken salad (for him), and two of egg salad and cucumber (for me). The sandwiches were standard but tasty. The next tier was two freshly baked scones with cream and apricot jam. The scones were incredible. I’m not normally a fan of the scone, since it’s a little drier and crumblier than I prefer my baked goods. These were more fluffy than dense, though, and had the perfectly subtle amount of sweetness. I slightly preferred the plain, but the blueberry was good, too. The final tier was dessert (because, clearly, scones are a healthy dinner). There were two little Madeline cookies, a tiny carrot cake, and an even tinier cheesecake. All were delicious, especially the carrot cake.

But wait. That wasn’t really dessert. I guess it was pre-dessert. The really real dessert was the Mauritius Tea Float.

photo 4(28)It’s exactly how it sounds: a scoop of vanilla ice cream floating in cooled black tea, plus a little cream, chocolate sauce and strawberry slices for good measure. It tasted light considering the ingredients, though I’m sure it was a calorie bomb. It was one well deserved, though.

The place was pretty noisy when we arrived, but the service was excellent, and those scones alone made the trip worthwhile. In fact, I can imagine going and just ordering a pot of tea and a scone or six to pass the afternoon. We will definitely go back to Chado!

Salad and Smoothie

8 Jan

Hey guys! How is your Tuesday? Mine is being spent in spreadsheet hell, but I wanted to break free long enough to share a little food love. Sorry for the brevity!

This week marks the return of the green smoothie into my life:


That’s Monday’s, which featured a combination of spinach, banana, mango, strawberry, and coconut milk. Today’s was spinach, banana, mango, almond milk, almonds, cinnamon, and ginger. I have them alongside a hot mug of green tea sweetened with some allergy-fighting local honey and an unpictured glass of water.

Last night, we enjoyed a delicious beet salad:


I chopped the three peeled beets, tossed with a little olive oil, and roasted it topped with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, I took a defrosted half block of tofu, sliced it into strips, and marinated it similarly to this tempeh. I baked it in a glass dish for about 10 minutes, and then I sauteed it in a little oil. When it was done, I removed the tofu and added chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan, followed by the cleaned beet greens. The tofu and the fully cooked beets then went into the pan, and I tossed everything together. Each salad got a topping of Dijon/vinegar and a few little cubes of Trader Joe’s Parmesan & Gouda cheese. The end result was delicious and surprisingly filling.

So that’s all I have for you today. I hope everyone else’s Tuesday is devoid of tiny Excel cells!

CSA and Meal Planning for Jan 7-13

7 Jan

I’m finally returning to both my CSA and meal planning! I am unreasonably excited about both, so I think that officially makes me a goober. Oh well. There are worse things to be. So let’s get right to it!

Here are the glorious contents of my first CSA box of 2013:

VeggiesBefore you are:

Laid out

  • Baby spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Curly parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Oranges
  • Cilantro

Let’s take a closer look at that gorgeous head of lettuce:

Lettuce blossomIt’s so beautiful and, I predict, will make an excellent salad. Here’s what I’m gonna do with it all:

Breakfast: Green smoothies


  • Monday-Wednesday — A black-eyed pea and corn dish
  • Thursday/Friday — Probably hummus with carrots and homemade tortilla chips
  • Saturday — Leftovers mini quiches and home fries
  • Sunday — Leftovers
  • For him — Soyrizo tacos, the aforementioned hummus


  • Monday — Beet salad (similar to this one)
  • Tuesday — Vegetarian spaghetti carbonara and Swiss chard
  • Wednesday/Thursday — Barbecued mushrooms and roasted garlic mashed potatoes/kohlrabi
  • Friday Asian noodle salad (similar to this one, but simplified)
  • Saturday Probably something out

As for my weekly exercise, I’m working from my 10k training plan:

January training planBut supplementing a little to ensure I get in my six days (and also to supplement with strength training and yoga). Here is this week:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 3-mile run plus strides
Wednesday – class at Pop Physique (I have three classes remaining on my gift card)
Thursday – 4-mile run
Friday – yoga podcast and arms/abs
Saturday – 2-mile run and legs/butt
Sunday – 5-mile run

My first week of our 60-Day Challenge went really well. You can see my four running days highlighted with green check marks in my training plan, and in addition, I did yoga on Friday and some arm work on Saturday.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Come check out all the great produce at In Her Chucks’ weekly “What’s in the Box?” link-up!

Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

27 Nov

I wanted something substantial as my vegetarian entree on Thanksgiving, so I reached into my wayback machine and pulled out this dish that I haven’t made since, oh, 2007. I tweaked the recipe and loved the result, thus I decided to share it with all of you.

Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

  • 1 recipe of your favorite cornbread (I used this one, but you could also use a mix)
  • 1/2 block (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease or spray an 8×8″ baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for your cornbread and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, butter, and eggs until smooth. Pour into the large bowl and add the corn, beans, green chiles, and spices. Stir to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Add the cheese to the top and cook for another 10 to 20 minutes, until the casserole is set.

Let cool slightly then enjoy! Make 9 small servings.

The casserole isn’t dry like regular cornbread but isn’t a sopping mess like green bean casserole (which I loathe). I love that the beans and corn make it perfectly filling, and the cheesy top has great flavor without adding to much heaviness. I like topping it with plenty of pepper sauce.


Thanksgiving aftermath

26 Nov

Hello, everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday — or, if you’re not American, a lovely weekend. I decided to take a break from blogging, too, so I could enjoy family time with Mr. X and his brother. It was such a great visit. And today, it’s back to life and food made without whole sticks of butter.

But before that, I thought I should still share our Thanksgiving spread. Here’s all of it, including the smoked turkey the boys bought for themselves:

And here’s my (first) plate:

Two slices of Cheesy Cornbread Casserole (recipe to come this week), Lemony Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, homemade sourdough rolls, and roasted corn. I also made a pecan pie, which was so pretty:

I admittedly do not like pecan pie, so I thought the result was only ok, but Mr. X really liked it. I followed this recipe (the sugar method, not maple syrup), which was surprisingly easy. I made the crust from scratch, too, and it was the worst. I mean, flavor-wise it was fine, but I will never, ever, ever make an all-butter (as opposed to half-butter, half-shortening) crust again. It melted WAY too fast, so it was a nightmare to work with. I won’t link to the specific one I followed out of propriety, but I’ve made a decent number of pie crusts in my life, and just take my advice and ALWAYS use shortening. (I like the Earth Balance brand.)

As for the other dishes, everything turned out delicious, so I wanted to share some easy recipes with you. They were great at Thanksgiving, but there’s no reason not to eat them year-round!

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (for a group!)

  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter (vegan butter works, too)
  • ~1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Take half a head of garlic and cut off the stem end, just enough to reveal the cloves inside. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake until the garlic is soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Set aside. You can do this step the night before or right before.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. I like mine fairly soft. The cooking time really varies based on how big your potatoes are, but I think mine took 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the base of your mixer or a large bowl. Add the butter and begin mixing/mashing. I used my KitchenAid, and the result was deliciously fluffy and lump-free potatoes. After a minute or two, start adding your roasted garlic by just squeezing it from the skins. Taste after each additions to reach your desired level of spice. Add small amounts of the veggie broth as you go, too, to add a little flavor and fluffiness. Finally, season with salt and pepper, give a final mix/mash, and then serve.

Makes a ton — maybe 8-10 servings. They don’t even need gravy.

The potatoes were my favorite part of the meal. I will never make mashed potatoes without my KitchenAid ever again. They just had the perfect texture.

And here’s another tasty vegetable recipe for you:

Lemony Brussels Sprouts
(based on a dish from Boon in Guerneville, which we had on our honeymoon)

  • 1 pound (or stalk from Trader Joe’s) Brussels sprouts, cleaned and dried
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 capers
  • Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss your Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Pour them into an even layer on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to brown them evenly. They are ready when a fork pierces them easily and they are deliciously browned all over. Remove from oven. Now pour a little more olive oil into a frying pan and set it over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is ready, add the Brussels sprouts, half the lemon juice, and the capers. Stir around and mash the capers as you pan-fry. Once the juice is absorbed, add the rest along with some black pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes until the oil and juice are absorbed. Serve hot and delicious.

Makes 4 small servings or 2 more substantial ones.

These were a big hit, and they are almost as good as the ones I remember from wine country.

So there you go. Like everyone else in this country, today begins a return to healthier foods. Here’s our tentative meal plan for the week:



  • Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday — Leftover Cheesy Cornbread Casserole and carrot sticks
  • Thursday/Friday — Leftovers?/TBD
  • Saturday — Veggie wraps


  • Monday/TuesdayChili (which is almost fat-free) and sauteed Swiss chard
  • Wednesday/Thursday — Giant salad with roasted veggies and tempeh
  • Friday — Veggie wraps
  • Saturday — Possibly dinner out, since I may drag Mr. X to look at Christmas lights

Obviously we’re not talking about a detox here — just a return to the kind of cooking I usually do, with lots of veggies. Today I’m attempting to regain balance in my body by drinking tons of water, and it’s already helping. My poor system has been on salt-and-fat overload!

Soup and tostadas

13 Nov

I have a couple of easy recipes for you today. This past week, I wanted to make my Pro-Immunity Chickpea Noodle Soup, but neither Trader Joe’s nor Ralph’s had miso, and frankly I was not in the mood to drive anywhere else. I decided to improvise, and the end result was way more like traditional chicken noodle soup — minus the death. Even Mr. X commented on how authentic it tasted, so I thought I should share the recipe. Also, I want to note that I made this during the tenseness that was Election Night, so somehow I accidentally made a vat of soup. We ate every bite, though, so don’t let that deter you.

Classic Chickpea Noodle Soup

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped or 4 scallions, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pint mushrooms (cremini or button both work), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • A couple of sprinkles of herbes de Provence (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water (plus more, as needed)
  • 1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
  • Cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 package cooked whole wheat noodles (I break them in half before boiling)
  • 6 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 3 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • Several dashes of hot sauce, to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the celery and cook until softened. Now add the garlic, mushrooms and spices and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and the mushrooms are coated with the mixture. This will only take about a minute. Pour in the vegetable broth, 4 cups of water, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the noodles and garbanzo beans. If the soup is too thick — like mine was — add more water (I ended up with two more cups). Taste for spice and add more, including a little hot sauce, to taste. Eat and enjoy.

Makes a billion 8 to 10 servings.

On Saturday, I wanted to spiffy up the tacos I was planning to make. Since our tortillas were a little stale, I turned them into tostadas. This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method — a ridiculously easy one. Just preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray both sides of your tortillas with cooking spray (or brush on oil). Sprinkle with salt and spices, if you want. Bake until they are crispy. Mine went for about six minutes on each side.

For the toppings, I sauteed onions and garlic and added soy chorizo and leftover pinto beans to the pan. That went down first, followed by shredded jalapeno jack cheese and then sliced avocado. We garnished with lime juice and hot sauce. Delicious! Mr. X got the fancy plate because it was his birthday.

Tacos and their variants are so easy and delicious, so we pretty much always have tortillas in the fridge these days. They are also a big part of the reason that I have started cooking entire bags of beans at a time instead of just what I need for a recipe. I never run out of things to do with them.