My First Turnips - in Turnip Soup, Chili Pasta Sauce

For the soup, adapted from here:

Peel a couple turnips, carrots, 1 onion.  Sauté.  Add in canned tomatoes, paprika, 1 cup white wine, water and vegetarian beef bouillon, thyme, and a bay leaf.  Also dump in a half pound of dried, soaked beans.  Leave to simmer until beans are cooked.  Add in corn starch slurry to thicken.  Yum!  Oh, yes, don’t forget the vegetarian beef.

For the pasta sauce, adapted from A Dash of Flavour:

Saute 1 small red onion and 2 carrots for a couple minutes, then add in 4 cloves garlic and a portobello.  Saute until tender almost, and then add the better part of a bunch of spinach.  When spinach wilts, add in 2 small cans of tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, lots of chopped parsley, cumin, chili powder, rosemary, and vegetarian beef bouillon.  Simmer unitl ready to serve.  Serve over pasta.


Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Apricot Sauce

Dinner cooking for 26/12

The brussel sprouts were roasted with a bit of olive oil and dill, then topped with a sauce of microwaved sugar free apricot jam and lemon juice.  Yum! 
And I finally tried one of the muffins, too.


Toasty Veggie Super Awesome Sandwich

Adapted from this.

Grill up portobellos, onions, and bell pepper.  In a small pan mix 1/4 c water, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp flour, and 1 tsp chicken bullion, and simmer until thick.  Slather bread with sauce, veggies, and top with shredded vegan cheese.  Toast in the oven until crispy.

Indulge in an amazing lunch, and savour every crunch.  No rhyme intended.


Christmas Dinner - Pizza

I used this crust (nixing the oil), which I had frozen some time ago, and grilled it for about 10 minutes.  The sauce was a mixture of tomato sauce, Italian seasonings, fresh parsley oregano, fennel seeds and garlic powder.  The veggie toppings consisted of grilled mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper, and some wilted spinach.  Topping everything was some black olives and vegan mozzarella cheese.  The whole thing was grilled for around 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!

Just an FYI - if you split the crust into 10 balls, each one will be about 200 calories.  Then you add your toppings etc., and split it with a friend.  You have yourself a 150 calorie pizza!

Vegan Whole Wheat Fat Free (aka super healthy) Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

So.  Just a note, in case anyone in the world ever gets around to reading this.  I got tired of writing on this blog, so much, so frequently, and no one read it.  So I stopped for a couple of months.  And then I ran into What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat Anyway - the most amazing blog in the world.  So, I was inspired to take up blogging again, only with a different format.  I'm not going to write that much - in fact, as little as possible!  So, here's to the new blog.

Christmas morning breakfast – Lemonpoppy seed muffins (whole wheat, vegan, fat free)
I used all applesauce and the optional ginger.  Make 1 bakers’ dozen (aka 13) mini muffins.


Cheesy Potato Onion Bake and Spicy Roasted Veggie Chili

I was just in the kitchen making Vegan Dad's Kaiser Rolls, so I've got flour all over my hands.  Ahh... I love making bread.  I will be posting the recipe fairly soon, but for now I will be talking about these two.  I just want to say that, yes, I know it's a hundred degrees outside and the middle of a hot, steamy, summer.  So what?  I melt... and then I have good food.  It's all good.  But, even though both of these dishes are not really summer dishes, they are totally worth the trouble any time of the year.
About the potato thing- it's really good.  Um, yeah.  I liked the cheese a lot- this time, I used almond cheese, which didn't melt as well as normal cheese.  But I'm really trying to move towards a more vegan diet, so I figured, since it wasn't too expensive, I would give it a shot.  And the combination of roasted potatoes and onions/shallots was quite amazing.  I loved the sauce that went with it, too.
This chili- oh my GOSH it was so GOOD I thought I had DIED and gone to HEAVEN when I first tasted it.  Seriously.  It's that good- it'll have you crying it's so spicy, but it's all worth it.  I love the rich flavour of the roasted veggies, and the large amount of beans really makes this such a filling dish.  Great for hot or cold days... a must try.  Healthy Happy Life is such a brilliant blog...

Cheesy Potato Onion/Shallot Bake

Adapted from A Dash of Flavour

Serves 8

2 lbs russet potatoes cut into ¼ inch thick slices

Several shallots and/or a small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cheese
1 cup Silk
1 tbsp vegetarian chicken bouillon
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350, and spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Put down a layer of potatoes, and then a layer of onion/shallot. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat until all the potatoes are gone, ending with a layer of cheese. Mix together the Silk, bullion, and seasoning and pour over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve.

Spicy Roasted Veggie Chili

Adapted from Healthy Happy Life

Serves 10


1 large carrots, coined
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Drizzle of honey
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
2-3 tbsp molasses
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, diced
½ bunch spinach, destemmed and torn
1 1/2 cups carrots, coined
3/4 cups diced red bell pepper
3 dried chilies, soaked in water for several hours and finely chopped
6 cups canned fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 bay leaf
1 lbs red kidney beans, soaked overnight
1/2 lb pinto beans soaked overnight

Cheese and sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400. Put the veggies from A on a baking sheet, and mix together remaining A ingredients. Pour them over the veggies, and bake the veggies for 15 minutes, until caramelized. Set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the B section to the pot. Add a bit of water (I used what the peppers were soaking in), and cover. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from pot and put the B mixture on a baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes, until caramelized.
Finally, add all the ingredients to the Dutch oven except cheese and sour cream. Add enough water to your liking, and bring to a light simmer. Cover and simmer for 4 hours, or until you just can’t wait anymore. Serve with cheese and sour cream.


ADORABLE Wonton Pizza Cups, Bagel Sandwich, and Roasted Potatoes with a Dip

Heh, yeah, I'm so behind on this blog, so I'm doing really BIG posts.  Whatever works, right?
Ok, so first up these wonton pizza thingies.  Man, they are the cutest thing I have eaten in for-ever.  I seriously mean that!  Ok, so they were a bit of trouble to put together in the pan, but I didn't really have much else to do that night so it was all good.  Plus, they were so full of flavour and different pieces that I didn't mind what work I did put into them.  Another plus was that there were 24 of them, so there were quite a number of leftovers.  They actually do smell like pizza when they bake, too, so that always such a treat.  What really shocked me was how much the tofu did really taste like ricotta cheese- it had just the right texture in this dish.  One thing about these, though, is you can't eat them with your fingers.. boohoo.
Next up, this lovely bagel sandwich.  I think I have it perfected now!  I have been wanting something different for my breakfast for quite some time now, so I decided today was the day!  Plus, I wanted a nice excuse to use my panini press, so this seemed like the perfect chance.  So, this takes about 5 minutes to throw together, and you can do other things while the bagel cooks.  I got my bagels from Einstein's- they're not homemade, but they coud be if I got ambitious.  They're slightly spicy from the fake sausauge, and sweet from the jam.  All for around 350 calories!  Yum...
Finally, these roasted potatoes.  The potatoes themselves are not a total ingenious thing, but, paired with the dip, they are something that I will certainly be making again when I'm in a pinch for time!  They are so simple to through together, and make a nice addition to any meal.  Leftover sauce is really good on baked potatoes, too.

Wonton Pizza Cups

Adapted from Chow Vegan
Makes 24
24 wonton wrappers          1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup cheese

2 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 small carrots, coined
1 garlic clove, minced

8 oz tofu, pressed
10 basil leaves,
1 tbsp red wine
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.
Heat a small frying pan, and sauté the mushrooms, carrots, and garlic until tender. Set aside.
Mix together the tomato sauce, molasses, and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and set aside.
Put the tofu, basil, wine, nutmeg, garlic powder, and salt and pepper in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender. Alternatively, put in a food processor or blender and blend. Blend until well mixed but not smooth and creamy- about the consistency of ricotta cheese. Set aside.
Coat 24 muffin tins with nonstick spray (I used a mini muffin tin) and press a wonton into each cup, like a liner. Put a dollop of the tofu mixture in each wonton, then a layer of veggies, and finally the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, and then bake for about 12 minutes, until heated through and the wontons are slightly browned. Serve.

Bell Pepper and “Sausage” Bagel Sandwich

Adapted from Healthy Happy Life
Serves 1
about ¼ cup red bell pepper strips
1 soy sausage patty
1 bagel, cut in half
1 tbsp apricot sugar free jam, or other jam

Preheat your Panini press, and press the bell pepper and patty for 5 minutes. Spread the lam on both sides of the bagel, and then put the bell peppers and sausage on the bagel. Press the bagel for another 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot!

Roasted Potatoes with Spicy Dip

Adaptd from Gluten Free Diva

Serves 3-4

2 lbs potatoes, any kind, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup fat free mayo
½ tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix together the potatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a plastic container or bag, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
Serve cooked potatoes with the dip.

Simple Tofu Veggie Stir Fry and Baked Pasta Shells

I am so sore.  Honestly, I have absolutely nooooo clue why, but here I am, feeling all stiff like I can hardly move without some sort of pain in one of my muscles.  Buuut, I suppose that's what I get for working out so hard.  The really annoying thing is that I have no clue what I did.  It seems like if I am this sore, there should be something that I can point the finger of blame on and say that's what is giving me all this pain.  But oh no, not this time.  All I know is that I did something yesterday morning in bootcamp (the best class ever!) that worked me really hard.  I suppose things aren't so bad because M is really sore too.  Hehe.  She shares my pain!!  But, I don't know about the rest of the world, but I don't really mind being sore all that much, because it means that my muscles are getting a whole lot stronger, a whole lot faster.  And it means I worked really hard, so I can eat more ;).  It feels kind of like a badge of honor, too.
So, here's a quickie tofu stir fry that you can whip up in about 30 minutes, shove sdome rice under, and call it a meal.  Simple, quick, delish!
Also, since I am so behind on blogging, I will post a baked shell recipe too.  This one kept M and I well stocked with left-overs for quite a while.  I was totally in LOVE with this dish, even though it was kind of time consuming to make.  But, honestly, the shells were kind of fun to fill, and the most tedious part was picking out the non-broken shells to fill.  Now I still have about 15 shells in the fridge that were broken, and I have to do something with them.  We'll see...

Simple Tofu Veggie Stir Fry
Adapted from FOOD SNOB

Serves 3

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp corn starch
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets
 1 small bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups fried tofu
Rice to serve

Mix together the soy sauce through corn starch in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat with a bit of water, and add the onion.  Stir fry for 1 minute and then add the broccoli.  After another minute, add the bell pepper, and then one minute later add the green onions.  When the broccoli turns bright green, about 2 minutes later, add in the sauce and tofu.  Mix well, heat
through, and serve over rice.

Stuffed Shells

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Serves 10

1 small onion, chopped

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup parsley, chopped

4 medium cloves of garlic, pressed
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp red wine
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp salt
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can crushed tomatoes

25-30 jumbo pasta shells, cooked (pick out the non-broken ones)

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, and sauté the broccoli and onion for 8 minutes, until the onion is tender. Remove from heat and mix with the ricotta, salt, and parsley. Set aside.
Heat the frying pan again, coated with nonstick spray, and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and mix with the mirin through crushed tomatoes. Set aside.
 Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a casserole dish with nonstick spray and fill enough pasta shells with the broccoli mixture to fill the dish in a single layer. Place the shells, opening up, in the dish side by side. If you have leftover filling, go ahead and fill more shells and use another baking sheet. Pour the tomato mixture over the shells so that they are mostly covered. Cover you dish(es) with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, uncovering for the last 10 minutes. Serve.


Spicy Baked Tofu Squares with Sesame Seeds and Green Onions

Wow, I think I totally managed a really long, complicated, and gourmet-sounding title for a recipe this time.  Hmm, what do you think?  Sometimes I really wonder how people come up with really long and complex titles for their recipes, which makes their food sound so fancy.  Then I really READ the title, and it's basically just a list of ingredients.  Sooooo... not so fancy anymore, eh?  But look at me, I'm doing it too.  So it must be a good idea, if I'm doing it, right?  Uh huh, if everone jumps off a cliff you follow too.  The rule of life.  So anyway, the irony is that this dish is really rather simple to make, and even easier to eat.  It looks so pretty too- I would certainly serve this one to company with a side of veggies for a nice bit of healthy, spicy protein.  There's really not much more to say today.  But I will add that the tofu woud prbably taste good grillled too.  I just made this before I bought my DEAR panini press, so I used the ol' oven, which workedjust as well. 

Spicy Baked Tofu Squares with Sesame Seeds and Green Onions

Serves about 8

Adapted from Karma Free Cooking

19 oz brick tofu, cut into ½ inch pieces and pressed for 20 minutes

1 green onion, thinly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds (mix of black and white)
A pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray, and lay out the tofu on it in a single layer.

Combine the garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Pour over the tofu, and then sprinkle the tofu with the green onion and sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until the tofu is firm and heated through.


Korean Stir Fry

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!  Honestly, I really don't get very excited about holidays, even though it seems like everyone else in the world does... But I suppose that's just me.  I get more excited about going to the grocery store than my birthday.  Isn't that kind of pathetic?  One advantage to that would be I can go to the store any old time, and birthdays only come around once a year.  But, while on the topic of birthdays, M gave me something that I have been wanting all summer- a panini press!  Whoohooooo!!!  Now, like M said, I will be grilling/pressing everything under the sun.  In fact, this morning for breakfast I will be making a kind of breakfast sandwich with some bagels that we got from Einstein's yesterday morning.  I am rather nervous and super excited to see how things turn out.  (Random thought: I really need to dust this computer... it's beenon my to-do list for a while but I keep forgetting about it.)  One thing I was also greaful for about this press was that it was about $50 cheaper than the other one I had been planning on getting.  The one I have is from Sur La Table (love that name!) and I got it for about $75.  It's a Breville, which, so I've heard, is a really great brand with top-notch products.  The first one I spotted was at Williams Sonoma and would have been around $120.  The only thing different was that the Sur La Table one only had grills on one side and the Williams Sonoma one had the grills on both sides.  So I just have to be sure to flip everything over... But I suppose I can now go crazy with pancakes and the like now, because I have a griddle.  And M can make toast!  She's so excited...

And about this stir fry.  I just have to say that Chili Garlic Sauce is amazing and I can't live without it.  It really jazzes up a stir fry, and both M and I l-o-v-e the flavour.  Here's a nice simple stir fry, that is supposedly Korean, according to I Eat Food, soooo... yeah.  I'll just play it safe and call it a stir fry.  So there.  It's really good..  Veggies.  Tofu.  Rice.  Sauce.  Chopsticks.....

"Korean" Stir Fry

Adapted from I Eat Food

Serves 4
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp soy sauce, plus more to serve
1 small onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
3 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium small bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups fried tofu
Rice to serve

Mix together the chili garlic sauce though the soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat with a bit of water and add the onion and carrots. Stir fry for a minute and then add in the ginger and garlic. Stir fry for another 2 minutes and then add the broccoli, bell pepper, and scallions. Cook for another 4 minutes until the broccoli is a vibrant green. Add the tofu and sauce, and stir fry for another minutes until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice with additional soy sauce to taste.


Yummy Crunchy Tacos

So all in all I would say that I had a very satisfactory 16th birthday.  Nothing really all that exciting went on, but things went alright.  I had a really hard workout in the morning, as per usual, and then wasted time for a couple hours.  No doctors apointment on this birthday... that happened last year.  I did go the day before, though... Anyway, in the morning M and I made a trip down to the Acemart, which is a supply store for restaurants and places of that nature.  It was rather interesting, and I saw an immersion blender the size of a leaf-blower... that was odd, I thought.  But, hey, I guess people really do need elephantine immersion blenders.  Sure... I also saw one of those really cool neon yellow mustard containers, which I thought was the funniest thing in the whole store.  Aside from that soy sauce container... All in all, it was pretty interesting to see restaurant supplies in a store.  You never really think about where those things come from, but they have to come from somewhere!  Oh yeah, you know those booths that you sometimes sit at in restaurants?  Well, I saw one of those for sale too.  M said that, since we need a kitchen table, we could just get one of those.  Now wouldn't that be odd.  I would really, really like that.  It would totally be the talk of the neighborhood...  After lunch, I wanted to volunteer at the food pantry with D, but there was literally nothing to do, so I got D to take me to Whole Foods.  I always looooove to look in those fancy-pants grocery stores and see all the different varieties of foods.  Just can't get enough of them!  And then I made a fabulous stir fry for dinner, which I will post later.  D got me one of those onion savers, and he is still looking for a bell pepper saver, because I told him that's what I really wanted.  M is going to get me a panini press, maybe from William Sonoma.  Wouldn't that be exciting?
On a very different note- these tacos.  I have been craving this sort of thing for a long time now, and my cravings are gone thanks to these crunchy, protein-packed tacos.  They're full of flavour, thanks to one of those lovely taco seasoning packet, and super easy to make.  You could get really creative with the toppings, but here I just went with cheese, cabbage, and Laughing Cow cream cheese, which was good enough for me.

Lovely Tacos

Serves 6-ish

Adapted from Melomeals

1 medium-small onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups TVP
1 packet taco seasoning
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
Water, as needed
Hard taco shells
Toppings like cheese and lettuce

Heat a pot over medium heat, and sauté the onion for 8 minutes, until tender. Add the TVP, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce. Stir well, and then add about ¼ cup water. Keep adding water as needed, stirring occasionally, until the TVP won’t soak up anymore. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until ready to serve. Spoon onto taco shells (you can warm these in the oven for a couple minutes if you would like), and add your toppings.


Gourmet Grilled Cheese (It Comes With Veggies!)

Yeah, I know.  It's not the healthiest thing in the world.  And grilled cheese.  Come on Basil, really?  Yes- I would sink so low as to make a grilled cheese sandwich and post about it.  But... this is much MORE than your average grilled cheese sandwich.  It's got... veggies in it!  Yeah- some onion and bell pepper.  So that makes it unique.  Perhaps I am not original.  In fact, I know this is not original, beause I got the idea from Happy Healthy Life.  But whatever.  I have been craving a grilled cheese for quite some time, so this was something that was a compromise between unhealthy and healthy.  As we all know, grilled cheeses are not all that good for a person.  There's the bread first of all, which is not your most heathly food in the intire world.  I  think, though, I have minimized that because I used thin slices of homemade, whole wheat, fat free bread in this sandwich.  Secondly, I used low fat cheese, so that got rid of some fat there.  Finally, I know that 99% of those grilled cheeses out there on various recipe sites slather the outside of the bread with butter or oil, or something along those lines.  I decided to totally omit that part, and let the bread do its stuff as far as browning goes.  Plus, the addition of veggies made me feel much less guilty about eating this sandwich; moreover, (haha, I feel so sophisticated.. I used a semicolon) they added an extra boost of flavour and interest.  So, yes.  I was very satisfied with this little indulgence, and it went very nicely with a tomato-based soup for a rather... perked up traditional dinner, if I do say so myself.  Another major added bonus was that this was so quick to make.  I had come home from a summer cap totally exhausted, as usual (more on this in a later post), and this took very little effort to throw together. 

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Adapted from Happy Healthy Life

Serves 1

1 slice low fat cheese
A few slices of onion and red bell pepper
2 slices whole wheat bread

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat with a bit of nonstick spray. Sauté the onion and bell pepper without water, stirring almost constantly, until they start to burn/brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven broiler. Lay the slice of cheese on one slice of bread, then top with the veggies when they are done. Cover with the other slice of bread, and bake in the oven for about 3 minutes each side, or until each side begins to brown. Eat hot, with some tomato-based soup and a big salad!


I love summer break.  I really do.  I don't know what I would do without a three-month break from all of that greuling school-work and homework.  But, seriously, sometimes I just get so bored because there seems to be nothing to do.  I would love to be able to drive myself around to places (cough, grocery stores, cough), but I am too lazy to actually get in the car and learn to drive.  Plus, M is always working and can't really take me anywhere.  Isn't that pathetic?  So I end up mooching around food blogs for a couple hours a day.  Oh yeah, so productive.  What does everyone do on a lazy summer day?
But, come dinnertime I normally get really excited because there is always something for me to do.  Which is why there are always so many leftovers in the fridge, and I am panicking because they all need to be used up.  I've actually ended up making several rounds of this soup, too, because it is soooooo goooooood.  Don't ask me why I can't live without a giant, thick bowl of soup on a day when the temperature is upwards of 100 degrees. I'm just weird like that.... 
So, about the soup.  It originally was this sort of braised beef thing that I spotted on a non-vegetarian blog that looked rather good.  So I decided that I could add some ingredients and turn it into a pretty good soup.  And, yes, it did turn out to make a pretty good soup, if I do say so myself.  The balsamic vinegar adds a very nice tangyness that I have never had in soup before.  This is certainly a very filling dish, and very versatile as to what you put in it.  I think fresh herbs are a very nice addition too, so, if they are on hand then toss them in the pot!

Balsamic "Beef" Soup

Adapted from A Dash of Flavour

Serves 8

1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 large carrots, coined
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
3-4 cups chopped cabbage
5 yukon gold potatoes, diced
½ lb dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar or black rice vinegar
1 tbsp each chopped fresh oregano and thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
4-6 cups water
1½ tbsp vegetarian beef bullion
3 cups vegetarian beef
2 tbsp corn starch mixed with ¼ cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large Dutch oven, coated with nonstick spray, over medium high heat with a bit of water. Sauté the onion and carrots for 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and cabbage, and continue to sauté for 5 more minutes, until the cabbage becomes wilted. Add in the potatoes though bullion, and bring to a soft boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 45 minutes, until beans are tender. Add in the remaining ingredients, and heat though. Serve piping hot.


Simple Grilled (Baked, whatever) Sweet Potatoes

So, I have been wanting an indoor grill for quite some time now, because all the other bloggers that I know are making kabobs or other grilled things of some sort.  Since I live in an apartment, I obviosuly don't have a real grill.  But you would think that one of those small grilling thingies would be alright... right?  But there's just the little problem, which also comes along with living in an apartment- there's noooo room whatsoever.  And I have already filled up the entire kitchen with stuff.  Literaly, all of the little gadgets that I have gotten over the past few yearshave taken up all the available nooks and crannies in there, and I honestly don't really want to throw anything away.  (How am I going to survive college?  I guess that is a bridge I will cross when I get there...)  In fact, things have gotten so full that I am keeping the bread machine and popcorn popper in my closet.  Isn't that sad?  So, obviously M is not likely to let me have an indoor grill.  Boohoo.  But the oven does work as a rather decent replacement, so that is what I would recommend to anyone who is not fortunate enough to have a legit grill.  (Yes, let's all commiserate and cry together, and perhaps we can get past this huge barrier to our personal happiness eventually.) 
Ok, enough about my woes.  Like I have written in the title, these are some pretty quick and easy sweet potatoes.  Well, I mean, they are quick to pop in the oven.  Not to bake in the oven.  But it's super fast to peel, chop, and stir up the sauce for these potatoes, and within an hour of baking you will have a dish that is a great addition to any meal.  I love to use wine in cooking because of its unique flavour, especially after baking/simmering for a long time.  I woudn't really call this dish all that sweet, but then I don't really know how to classify this flavour.. perhaps savoury?  I'll just leave it up to the imagination.  Another thing I loved about this dish, that never really occured to me as I was chopping the bell peppers- you end up with roasted red bell peppers at the end of the day.  And roasted bell peppers have got to be some of the most heavenly foods on earth, so that's another major benefit of this dish.  Plus they're really pretty, along with the basil.  Can you see both of them in the pictures?

Simple "Grilled" Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

Serves 3-4

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch coins
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup mirin
2 tbsp rouchly chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 small bell pepper, finely chopped
Shredded cheese, opt

Preheat the oven to 375.  Coat a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the wine, mirin, basil and thyme.  In a large zip-lock bag, put the sweet potatoes and wine mixture with the bell peppers, and shake well to coat.  Put the sweet potatoes with the extra sauce in the casserole dish, and spread in an even layer.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese if desired.


Honey "Chicken" Stir Fry

I haven't really made an official stir fry in such a long time, and I figured that last Friday was the perfect night to make the stir fry that had been waiting on my list for so long.  By the way- the list of recipes that I want to cook is probably about 3 weeks worth of food.  I am never going to catch up, even if I eat five thousand calories a day... sigh.  Anyway, so I went with this quickie dish that night, and it surpassed my expectations by quite a bit.  There was that lovely hint of honey (alliteration!), along with the usual soy sauce.  I wouldn't say that the flavour was very complex or involved by any means- in fact, it was a rather simple recipe as far as stir frys go.  But there was certainly enough flavour to make it taste really really really good.  And I mean really good.  I still hold my firm belief that corn starch is one of the most amazing substances that I have ever used in the kitchen, because of the amount of intensity it can add to a dish.  Amazing stuff!  You should try it some time...
All in all, I would certainly make this dish again (if I every get a chance to make something again), and I was very satisfied with this filling and colourful stir fry.

Honey "Chicken" Stir Fry

Serves 2

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce plus extra
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp corn starch
2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 lb snap peas, trimmed
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups vegetarian chicken
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Cooked rice, to serve

Mix together the honey though corn starch in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat a wok coated with nonstick spray over medium high heat.  Add a bit of water with the carrots.  After a minute add the broccoli, garlic, and ginger, and stir fry for another 2 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and snap peas, and stir fry for another 2 minutes.  Add in the remaining ingredients except rice and heat through for another minute or so.  Serve over cooked rice with extra soy sauce.


Mexican Tomato Rice

So, here’s a very simple, very hands-off sort of recipe that will satisfy carb cravings, and will still provide at least a serving of veggies, if not more. Sound good? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I think I have totally fallen in love with those taco seasoning packets. They are so useful, and have just the right mix of spices to give whatever dish a burst of great flavour. Taco-y flavour, too. Who doesn’t love that lovely taco-y flavour, with its good taco-y-ness? Come on, don’t tell me that you don’t like it…

If you even care what my favourite brand is for taco seasonings, it would certainly have to be the Taco Bell. Yeah, I know it’s kind of weird to be using a restaurant brand. Buuut… it’s sooooo much cheaper than all the other brands that I see next to it on the shelf. And I am perfectly happy with it, and see no need to switch. But really, I’m just cheap. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just implies that I will be very successful later in life because I am cheap. Yeah. Whatever.

So back to the food. Like I said, there is quite a heap of flavour in this little rice dish. And I know it is very watery to begin with. Trust me, it will get less soggy, especially the leftovers. The tomatoes give it such a nice rich, robust flavour, and really do lend a nice red hue. I love the olives. Like, really love the olives. Probably because they are really high in fat, but what the bananas. They taste flippin’ good, and add that nice little burst of flavour every now and then. Which is totally down with me. Also, the rice seemed to be a little spicy, but I have no clue why. There weren’t really any spicy ingredients, soooooooo… Hm. A mystery? Oh, I love mysteries! Food mysteries… Yeah. Anyway, here’s the recipe, in all its glory.
Mexican Tomato Taco Rice

Adapted from I Eat Food

Serves 6

1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 scant cups brown rice
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 taco seasoning packet
A splash red wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped parsley
½ cup thickly sliced black olives

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add a bit of water, and then the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or so, until the onions are turning translucent. Add in the rice through vinegar, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir in the olives and parsley, and simmer for another 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. Serve hot.
As leftovers, this will become dryer.


Curried Carrot and Tofu Salad

Curried Carrot and Tofu Salad

Adapted from Happy Healthy Life

Serves 6

about 1 lb carrots cut into 1 inch matchsticks
1/4 cup roasted pepitas
1/3 cup peanut sauce
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp molasses
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder

8 oz tofu, pressed and then cubed
¼ tsp dried ginger
¼ cup molasses

Mix together the ginger and molasses, and then marinade the tofu in it for at least 25 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix together the peanut sauce through garlic powder in a large-ish bowl, and then add the carrots, pepitas, and tofu with the marinade. Chill until ready to serve.