Monday, March 29, 2010

Seitan Noodle Soup

Here is definitely a family favorite - one of our top five dishes we love. My oldest daughter actually requested this when she got one of her extremely rare colds recently. It's good and chunky and so yummy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Seitan Noodle Soup

1 and 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 packages of seitan, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 - 6 ounce pkg of very small pasta, like stars or alphabet noodles
1 - 32 ounce box of vegetable broth
water to cover
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the seitan and veggies and cook until the seitan begins to brown and the veggies just become tender, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate small pot, cook the noodles according to package directions; set aside. In a large pot, put in the seitan, veggies, broth and spices. Add enough water to cover an inch or so. Cook over medium heat for another twenty minutes, or until the veggies have become more tenderized. Add the noodles to the pot and cook until heated through, about five minutes. Add more water if necessary. Serve with oven-heated rolls. Deeeelicious! Feeds five hungry vegans.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Here is a seemingly easy recipe, but after trying several times to make a successful grilled cheese sandwich with vegan cheese, I know that it's not as easy as it sounds. However, I think, at least for our family, that I've found a way to make them taste pretty darn good.

Whole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The yumminess of the grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 kinds of vegan cheese (we used Vegan Gourmet, cheddar and mozzarella styles)
Vegan margarine
Sourdough bread


Sliced the cheese very thin into rectangles. In a large skillet heat about a tablespoon of margarine over medium heat. On one piece of sourdough bread, spread a thin layer of margarine. On the plain side of the bread, lay out about five pieces of cheese, alternating the flavors. Place the second plain piece of bread on top. Make a total of three of these sandwiches, or four if your skillet has the room. Place each sandwich plain side down on the skillet. Cover with a lid and let cook for about three or four minutes, or until the bread gets kind of toasty. Carefully flip each sandwich over, so that now the margarine side is down on the skillet. Replace the lid and cook for another few minutes. Your cheese should be wonderfully melted. Create as many sandwiches like this as you please; just add the bit of margarine first to the skillet for each batch. You may need to adjust your heat down, if you find that the bread is burning. Feeds five hungry vegans. Good stuff!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Super Easy Soy Burritos

Here is an easy dinner that we like to have every couple of months. It satisfies my need for Mexican food! Have fun with it.

Super Easy Soy Burritos


2 pkgs. Smart Ground, Mexican Style
1 Tbs. Canola oil
Romaine lettuce, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup of cheddar style vegan cheese, grated
1 can of black olives, sliced in thirds
1 container of Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
Your favorite salsa (we used Herdez medium)
1 package of burrito-style flour tortillas


In a medium skillet heat the oil on medium heat. Take a potato masher and smash up the Smart Ground in the oil. Cook for about five minutes, until heated through, stirring occasionally. I like to put the other ingredients, except for the tortillas, in a divided party tray, so everyone can take what they want. To easily fold a burrito up - I'm going to add these simple directions because there are some people that actually would like help in this area - put your burrito filling towards one side of the tortilla, fold that side over the filling, fold up the bottom, and finish rolling the first side over. If necessary, keep tucking the bottom end up to make sure the filling doesn't fall out. Open wide! Feeds five hungry vegans.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep Fried Battered Veggies with Ranch Dip and Pizza Sauce

So, although this is not a dish to have every week, I indulge in it once or twice a year. This used to be some of my favorite fair fare. I modified a couple of recipes I scoured off the net for the batter and dip and think they came out pretty tasty. I have a couple of other deep fried recipes that I'll share throughout time. I probably won't be using the mini peppers again because the batter didn't stay on very well, but they were still good. Hope you like it!

Deep Fried Battered Veggies with Ranch Dip and Pizza Sauce


Assorted Vegetables (we used asparagus, broccoli, mini peppers and zucchini)

Ranch Dip:

1 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup soy milk
1 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper


3/4 cup Bisquick
1 cup soy milk
1 and 1/2 tsp. Ener-g Egg Replacer
2 Tbs. water
1 tsp. garlic powder

Homemade or your favorite canned pizza sauce (we used Cento)
Canola oil


Wash and prepare the vegetables ahead of time. For broccoli, cut into large chunks, or keep smaller florets whole. Snap asparagus spears in half. Cut zucchini into lengthwise wedges. Keep mini peppers whole. For the ranch dip, in a small mixing bowl, blend all ingredients together. Chill for one hour. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. For the batter, whisk everything together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Heat up the pizza sauce in a small pot and keep warm until the veggies are ready. In a deep fryer, fill with oil to the fill-line. If you don't have a deep fryer, pour enough oil into a large skillet to cover the veggies while they are cooking, maybe two cups. Plug in the deep fryer or turn the skillet onto high heat. When the oil is very hot, drench the veggies in the batter and shake off any loose hanging batter back into the bowl. Carefully add the veggies to the oil being sure not to splatter yourself - the oil should boil around the veggies. You will only want a cup or so of vegetables at a time in the oil, so they can get evenly cooked. Gently stir occasionally during the cooking process, so they don't stick together. If using a deep fryer, use the spatula that came with it; if using a skillet, use a spatula that won't melt in the oil. Cook until the batter is browned, maybe 2 - 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven. After all the batches have cooked, serve with the dips and enjoy! Keep plenty of napkins handy. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Garden Pictures - March, 2010

Well, seeing all the garden shots and having beautiful Spring weather inspired me to share some of my garden photos in this early season. Many of the pictures will show just newly budding plants that will soon bring forth abundant goodness. God was so creative and thoughtful when He designed nature and all that comes from it. There are captions under each photo, so take a look and let me know what you think. I'll post a recipe in a few days. I hope everyone is enjoying their weather.

This is our baby nectarine tree that we just planted a week ago. Look at the pretty pink buds on it already! It's orange flesh, my favorite, and I'm still getting used to the fact that I'm growing my very own nectarines! The branches in the background are from our neighbor's mulberry tree that my husband pruned. I have a very hunky picture of him doing this, by the way, but I'm still hesitant to show family pics on the Internet. My girls, however, would love their pictures on here! As you can see the lawn isn't the greatest. We paid a pretty penny to have our backyard landscaped a few years ago, but with animals and kids that didn't last long. That's okay, I prefer them than being overly concerned about how my yard looks.

This is one of our garden beds. In the corner is our giant artichoke plant and next to it is a younger one. In the near corner is parsley. Next to it is kale, and in the back is lettuce.

This is another garden bed full of healthy carrots that my children love to pull and eat. In the back are Brussels sprouts and strawberries. Last Summer this bed and the first one were so lush they looked like a rain forest with the crookneck squash, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, basil, cilantro and more. This is still early in the season, so I'll take some shots a little later and show you the progress. I'm sitting on the corner of this bed in my blog picture.

These are garden beds that my husband built. The one on the left he dumps in weeds and anything large to sort through. We'll grow stuff in it, as well. The one in the back right with the plant pots on it is our compost bin. The three small ones connected to it will be used, as well. He also built the fence and gate you see in the back because our sweet dog Earl was leaving too much of himself behind, if you get my drift. Now, Earl can only come in while supervised.

The next three pictures are of our almond tree. I put several shots of this tree in because my oldest daughter was trying to take a picture of a bee pollinating and inadvertently took some breathtaking shots, I think.

Another shot of the almond blossoms.

Our almond tree - isn't she pretty? By the way, my husband is a proud squirrel rancher.

This is our mandarin tree; it's still a baby. Underneath are the ashes of our bunnies.

This is our young ruby red grapefruit tree. Underneath are the remains of our hermit crabs, and the rock is painted by the children for one in particular: Frederick.

I have a large flower bed, but I'm showing you my freesias (which were the flowers from our wedding) because my three-year-old son who normally gives me rocks and sticks as surprise gifts has been bestowing flowers on me recently. Yesterday, I received several freesias - hmm, where do you think he got those? When the second gift was bearing several unopened buds, I gently asked him to not pick so many of Mommy's freesias. So, they deserve a shot, too.

This is our dog, Earl. He's been on before, but he followed me diligently around while I snapped pictures, so I wanted one of him. It wasn't as easy as you might think since he's terrified of cameras. In the background you can see the mulberry branches again and a corner of one of the doghouses that my husband built with shingles, a hallway, the whole bit. In front of Earl is a corner of one of our two play structures for the children and their friends.

Well, since Earl got on we have to include Sparkly. Her expression here generally matches her disposition: not so sparkly, if you know what I mean. My oldest blessing named her several years ago - her name is quite ironic.

And, lastly, you gotta have Charlene, who was named after another cat, Charlie. Charlene is definitely a cat after Mama's own heart.

So, there you have it - a quick tour of the latest things growing at my house. Hope you enjoyed it! I had fun doing this, so I'll do it occasionally.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Soyrizo over Tofu

This is a fun, tasty meal that's pretty easy to make. I love spicy food, so there's always something on my weekly menu that has some kick to it. Soyrizo (vegan chorizo) is mildly spicy for me, makes my husband hiccup, and my children won't touch it. I've also made this meal a bit healthier by adding flax to it; we are trying to incorporate more of flax into our diets for good mental health. I should note that it changes the flavor slightly of food, as well. Hope you enjoy this dish!

Soyrizo over Tofu


2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 packages, extra-firm tofu, water packed
2 Tbs. whole ground flaxseed meal
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 package soyrizo


In a medium skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the bell pepper and onion until soft. Drain the tofu and add to the skillet. Mash with a potato masher or fork. Turn heat up to medium high and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until tofu begins to brown. Stir frequently, so it doesn't burn. When the tofu has begun to brown, add the flax seed and other seasonings to it. Mix well. Meanwhile in another smaller skillet, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the soyrizo from its casing and squeeze out onto the skillet. It may start off looking tube-shaped, but will mash up as you cook it. Cook over medium heat, until it browns, only about five minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove both pans from the heat. Serve with the soyrizo on top of the tofu. Strong tasting but good, and healthy. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shortcut Chocolate Chip Waffles

Here is another very easy recipe to whip up for your family on a Saturday morning. Again I used Bisquick as a speedy kitchen helper. There are just a few ingredients, and it only takes a few minutes. I didn't add syrup to these waffles for the picture because I thought they looked too beautiful without it. A real kid fave!

Shortcut Chocolate Chip Waffles


4 cups Bisquick
2 and 2/3 cups of soy milk
4 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. of EnerG Egg Replacer
4 Tbs. of water
1 cup of vegan chocolate chips
Pam spray


In a medium bowl, whisk together the Bisquick, soy milk, oil, Egg Replacer, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spray the waffle iron with Pam and let heat while the batter rests, about five minutes. Fill each waffle well as normal - I'm guessing you know how to use yours - and cook until the waffle iron indicates they are ready. Spray the wells before each serving. Serve with homemade maple syrup or your favorite kind. I freeze the leftovers for quick weekday morning breakfasts. Feeds more than five hungry vegans.