Thursday, October 29, 2009

Give some love to pancakes

Pancakes are my favorite thing about the weekend. I love to wake up and whip up a batch - it gives me something to do until my husband wakes up and, if I play my cards right, will leave me with leftover pancakes to have one morning before work. I found this recipe online several years ago and while I can't find it again, I will reprint the directions here. Original pancake maker, please forgive me. I promise to add a link to the recipe if I ever come across that website again.

Easy Breezy Pancakes

2 and 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 Cups soy milk, rice milk, or water
(Optional: Dash of cinnamon, fruit of your choice)


- Lightly mix all ingredients in a fairly large bowl.

- Leave mixture 5-10 minutes to rise. It’s important only to mix the batter enough to moisten, as over-mixing will make the pancakes tough.

- Gently fold down; leave again for 5-10 minutes if you have the time, and gently fold down again. At this point your can add your fruit. My favorite is fresh strawberries and frozen wild blueberries (the tiny ones).

- Cook medium to medium-high on an oiled skillet (approx. 3 minutes each side for each side). Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

If you're feeling really sweet, you can use a heart-shaped cookie cuter to make little heart pancakes and french toast pieces for your honey on Valentine's Day, like I did in the photo. But even if you don't, they'll know you love 'em.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

This is a recipe from our new guest contributor Paula.

These cookies make a wonderful fall treat. They'd be great for Halloween gatherings or any time. Kids (and big "kids") love them.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate pieces
  • Cream butter & sugar, beat in egg, pumpkin & vanilla. Mix dry ingredients, add to creamed mixture. Add nuts & Chocolate

    Drop by tsp onto well greased cookie sheet.

    Bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Cluck, cluck, cluck

    Simple fall dinner tonight: Roasted chicken stuffed with apple and carrot cornbread dressing (extra shown in bottom picture), with roasted herb potatoes (I used the chive and parsley that's doing so well on our windowsill) and the obligatory sweet corn. Super simple and extra tasty.

    Ghostly chocolate

    As seen on "Martha Stewart's Halloween: Bad Things, Good Things".

    Melt a bag of white chocolate chips. Using a spoon, spread out the chocolate in the desired shape on parchment paper. Lay down the lollipop/cookie stick. Cover with more chocolate. Throw in the fridge for 5 minutes. And voila!

    And I must admit, I think mine look better than Martha's... but don't tell her that!

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Wine of the Week - Vampire wine!

    A find from my friend Angie. This is a 2005 merlot from Vampire Vineyards. Happy Halloween, everyone!

    Apple crisp

    We're in a very fall mood around here with the weather change, the leaves all over the yard, and busting out our favorite sweaters. I've been craving warm, comforting autumn food so whipping up this yummy dessert was a no-brainer. It took just a few minutes to throw together in the middle of the day and reheated perfectly after dinner to accompany some ice cream.
    5 cups peeled and sliced cooking apples, pears, peaches or apricots
    2-4 T. sugar
    1/2 cup regular rolled oats
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 t. nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon (I used a little pinch of each)
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut
    Place fruit in a 2-qt baking dish. Stir in sugar. For topping, in a medium bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts/coconut. Sprinkle topping over fruit. Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes, or until fruit is softened and topping is golden brown. Serve with a big scoop of ice cream for best results.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Rice & Beans Chili

    The chili in the photo and the one I’m going to write about are not the same. This recipe is a work in progress. It started in my head as rice & beans, because I wasn’t working and we were trying to keep our expenses low. So my thoughts for seasoning options soon merged with my constant thoughts on how to make a decent soy- and fake meat- free veg chili. My amazing husband really upped the ante with this version. I’m pretty sure we’ve got the entire thing written down. I hope so, because it needs to be replicated. Try it in your kitchen!

    Rice & Beans Chili:

    1 Onion, chopped

    3 Cloves Garlic, chopped

    Splash Olive Oil

    1 (32 oz) can Diced Tomatoes

    3 cups cooked Kidney Beans (or 2 cans, drained & rinsed)

    1 Cup Brown Rice

    1.5 - 2 Cups Veg Stock or Water

    .5 - 1 Cup Brown Lentils

    2 tsp fresh Ginger, minced

    2 Dried Chilies, chopped

    4 tsp Cumin

    1 tsp Salt

    1 tsp Chipotle powder

    1 tsp hot sauce

    2 tsp Chili powder

    1 Tbsp brown sugar or molasses

    Juice of 1 lime

    - Heat oil in a large pan.

    -Cook onion and garlic until fragrant.

    -Add spices and molasses (not lime juice). Mix. Use a Tbsp or two of broth/water to deglaze the pan.

    -Add beans and tomatoes, stir to combine.

    -Add rice, lentils and broth/water.

    -Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat.

    -Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until rice and lentils are fully cooked.

    -Squirt lime juice on top and serve.

    I like to eat it with tortilla chips instead of utensils.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Tofu Breakfast Pan Fry

    In light of Helby's recent cholesterol problem, we're working on reducing the number of egg-centered breakfasts we eat per month. To that end, I decided to try my hand at a tofu stir fry.

    Grease the pan with olive oil. Use a spatula to cut the tofu into cubes in the pan while it warms. I had some fresh tomato and green pepper on hand, so I diced those; rounded it out with a handful of frozen veggies. Mixed it all together with some brown rice. If I'd had some onions or leeks, they probably would have been a nice addition.

    Have it straight on a plate, or in a wrap. Top it off with some optional shredded cheese.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Pumpkin Quesadilla

    • 3 tortillas
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup frozen corn
    • 1/4 cup green peppers
    • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
    • Shredded cheese (I used a Mexican mix)

    1. Heat a small pan/skillet. Add all vegetables until warmed, along with any seasonings you like.
    2. In another larger pan/skillet, heat 1 tortilla. Sprinkle on as much cheese as you like.
    3. Spread the pumpkin mixture over half of the tortilla. Fold the empty half over. Cook over medium flame until bottom side is crispy.
    4. Flip tortilla over. Cook until crispy and serve with your favorite salsa!

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Leek and Celery Soup with Avocado

    Soups are so delicious on a cold night! Last night Matt made me some one-of-a-kind leek and celery soup with avocado. It was so incredible that it needed no seasoning! Unfortunately, since he never writes down his secret recipes for me to share, all I can do is taught you with how yummy and filling it was... Also, here's a recipe for a similar soup, via The Singing Chef:

    1 cup Leeks, chopped
    1/2 cup Celery stalks, chopped
    1 tsp Mixed Herbs (Parsley, Basil)
    1 tsp Olive Oil
    1 tsp Garlic, chopped
    1 cup Milk
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    In a pressure pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the leeks and celery and fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add the mixed herbs and 1 cup of water and cook for 2-3 whistles.

    Cool the vegetable mixture and blend in a liquidizer. Transfer the contents back to a pan and add the milk. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Pumpkin Waffles

    From a recipe for Banana waffles in Veganomicon, I made a few minor alterations from the banana nut waffle recipe:

    • 1 1/4 cups soy milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • Mix altogether in a large bowl, throw on your waffle iron, and get ready for some pumpkin goodness!

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Black Bean Burgers

    Sandra Lee, of Semi-Homemade fame, has a new show about cooking on a budget. I caught an episode that featured all vegetarian recipes and they all looked pretty darn good. And I love when she tells me how little they cost. The first one we tried (aka the husband made it) was her Black Bean Burgers. The only change we made was to use 1/2 a package of silken tofu in place of the egg, as a binder. The recipe makes 4 burgers with enough bean mixture leftover to make 2 more burgers or some burrito filling. Yum! Hubby found the burgers a bit bland, so we'll probably throw some more seasonings in, even if it ups the cost by a few cents. A good start, though.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009


    This past weekend, I attended an Oktoberfest celebration at the Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. Much Spaten was drunk... Much oom-pah music was played...

    the bandBand on stage

    All under one huge tent...

    The food was appropriately vulgar and excessive, in that uniquely festive sort of way...

    Here is some video (not shot by me) from this year's festivities. Enjoy!

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Shepherd's pie

    To celebrate the Celts bringing Halloween (Samhain) from Ireland and England to America, I've decided to commemorate with a homemade shepherd's pie.

    Instead of ground lamb or beef, to make this veg I used Yves meatless ground round. If you're using meat, then make sure meat is thoroughly cooked first.
    1. In a Pyrex bowl, layer starting with the "meat", then a couple cups of mixed vegetables, then top with mashed potatoes.
    2. Cook at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes - whenever the veggies inside get hot.
    3. Season with whatever you like and top with your favorite gravy. And Voila!

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Wine of the Week - Vintjs 2008 Syrah

    This Central Coast wine tastes of red berries and hints of pepper.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Autumn Eats

    I don't know about you, but when Autumn rolls around, the color orange seems that much tastier. So when Matt wanted to start the day by baking some delicious yams (aka sweet potatoes), I did not complain!

    We enjoyed them fresh from the oven with butter and dipped in brown sugar.
    If you have not yet experienced the awesomeness that is yams, now's the time to do it!

    Also, here's a picture of the pumpkin Matt carved, just because it's cute:

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

    I was meeting my fabulous friends, Joe & Helen, for an outdoor movie a few weeks back and what's a movie without snacks? In addition to BBQ Seitan Sammies, I baked up a quick batch of these yummy, chewy cookies. I used a recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and overall they came out super tasty. I think they had a wee bit too much sugar and/or maybe I needed to use a finer grained sugar and I'd like the raspberry flavor to shine a bit more, but I'll definitely use this recipe again, with a little tweaking.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    French Toast

    Remember, the ratio is roughly one egg per slice of bread (depends on the size of the egg and the size of your bread). Beat the eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk. Dip the bread in the mix, and let it absorb. Cook on a frying pan until tan. For an extra treat, I like to sprinkle a dash of powdered sugar on top. If you have extra egg mix after you've made all your toast, cook it as scrambled eggs for a side dish.

    And people... please... use real maple syrup. Don't buy corn syrup that's flavored to be maple-esque.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Sweet Potato Muffins

    The next item on my seasonal meal list was introduced to me by I'm having trouble deciding if it's a dessert or a side dish like a dinner roll, but its yummy just the same. Made with a sweet potato, applesauce and maple syrup, along with other miscellaneous items. I'm sure I'll be making this one for Thanksgiving too.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Wine of the Week - Chateau Chevalier 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

    A bit pricier than what I usually get, but said to be worth it. Rich, flavorful taste of berry and cedar.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Breakfast for Dinner

    A quick and easy meal. And an excuse to eat dinner in your pajamas!

    Fry up cubed potatoes and sweet potatoes in olive oil until brown. Crack an egg or two over the potatoes. Turn down heat and cover. Cook until yolk gets a white covering. Add your fave toppings - cheese, bacon, whatever. And enjoy!

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Bulgur, Arugula & Cannellini Salad

    Happy VeganMoFo!! In honor of the occasion, I have returned to write about some of the tasty vegan treats that have graced my kitchen over the past month.

    The weather's finally starting to cool down (thankfully), but just a few short weeks ago it was blistering hot. Too hot to cook. Therefore... salad for dinner! This one is from Veganomicon (again... yes, I love it). It's mostly grains & beans (bulgur & cannellini) with arugula, mushrooms, and red onion. Topped off with a pretty simple dressing with oil, red wine vinegar and some spices.