Vegan Meatless Monday 6 (on a Tuesday)

Yes, I’m doing my Meatless Monday post on Tuesday.  I was ill all weekend and had made the food and all but wasn’t up to actually typing it all out.  Pathetic, I know but lying doesn’t make it different. Plus I figure it’s a little like spaghetti Tuesday on a Wednesday, and what’s better than that new tradition?

Second, we have a Spartan Race winner!  Seth, email me at kindazennish@gmail.com and I’ll send you your code, congrats!

Anyways, I’m only posting dinner this week, see above for why. BUT.  It is excellent, you can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still be happy. Plus a recipe for salsa which you don’t really need for the enchiladas but you must make it anyways and eat it on everything you have for the next week.

I would never in a million years thought I’d have enchiladas without cheese and not miss the cheese, but that’s what happened.

Salsa:

  • 8 medium sized tomatoes, diced (I usually use 15 romas, but these were on sale so…)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro, cut up a bit (not to be overly technical but…)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 7 cloves of garlic, finely diced (or to taste)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. pepper

Just throw it all together in a big bowl, stir it up and eat with chips or over pretty much anything. I hand dice the tomatoes just because I threw them in the ninja once and it wasn’t pretty.  Still tasted good though!  This is one of those things that tastes better the next day if there’s any left.  It makes quite a  bit.

Tip:

If you have kids have them roll the limes as much as they will between their hands while you do the other stuff. Squishy limes = more juice.

 

For the enchiladas:

Corn tortillas & black olives,

Thin sliced lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and jalapeno slices for optional garnish/topping

Enchilada sauce:

  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Enchilada filling:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 can re-fried beans
  • 3 cups sliced spinach (remember it shrinks when you cook it)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 fine diced white onion
  • 2 fine diced frying peppers ( I didn’t think that was the real name but it was on the sign and I Googled it and yep, that’s them)

Frying peppers

Just mix it all up in a decent sized bowl and put it in the fridge till you’re ready to roll. Ready to roll?

I always put a ladle full of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Why? Because that’s just the way it’s done! I had made the sauce and filling in the morning an rolled them up right before cooking so I had to heat up some sauce to dip the corn tortillas in.  I like to use a pasta bowl because they’re low and wide, perfect for dipping tortillas in.

Tips:

  • You have to dip the corn tortillas in warm sauce so they don’t tear when you roll them.
  • The enchilada sauce will taste too tomato-y until after it’s baked.  After it’s baked you’ll be hooked and will never buy canned sauce again, except maybe on those lazy days.
  • Take out all the tortillas you’ll need, put them above the bowl of enchilada sauce.  Put a plate to roll them on to the right, touching.  Finally, put the pan you are going to bake them in to the right of that, touching. If everything is out and as close together as possible it’ll minimize the unavoidable mess.  Once you have dipped your fingers in the sauce you won’t want to reach back in the tortilla bag or anywhere else till you’re done.  (That’s where my kids come in).  🙂
  • You need less filling per enchilada than you think. Always.

Cover the pans with foil and cook in a pre-heated oven at 325 for an hour.

Ta-da!

VeganEnchilads

Top with a big spoonful of salsa and serve a little salad on the side to mix in and – Dinner.

I made a double batch of sauce and had about half left, I made two pans of enchiladas and had a bowl of filling left that I intend to use for nachos which shall rock.

I’ve never actually had a recipe for enchiladas, I always make them different but this one’s a keeper.  Do you have an awesome vegetarian (vegan or not) enchilada recipe? Do share here or share the link!

Vegan Meatless Monday 5 – Keeping it Easy

Another vegan Monday, this time I decided to keep the entire day as easy as possible. Because who says vegan has to mean difficult?

Breakfast – boxed cereal and vanilla almond milk

I love, love, love unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  It’s actually pretty sweet and really good on cereal.  That was the easy part.  I decided to pick up a box of Raisin Bran which goes perfect with it but at the last minute I Googled it to be certain it’s vegan. Geez.

Most sites say it is vegan including PETA’s.  However I found two sites that say it isn’t, first on Happy Hippie Vegan then this one with a letter from Kellogg itself. Hmmm, looks like I’ll go with Cinnamon Life cereal. That’s always been a favorite of mine anyways.

Lunch – salad

Just open a bag of pre-cut lettuce and add your favorite toppings and dressing.  I like diced cucumbers and tomatoes and either green olives or diced jalapeno.

Dinner – World’s Easiest Chili – aka canned chili

I was reading This Crazy Life of Mine and saw a recipe for black and red chili and was reminded that it had been way to long since I’d made this chili!  Her recipe isn’t vegetarian but it’s otherwise so close it’s funny, I’ve been making this for years.

This is perfect for a work night when you don’t have a lot of time or energy but want a hearty meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can diced or stewed tomatoes
  • pre-cut frozen peppers and onions
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic

Brown the onions and garlic a bit, then add everything else in and stir.  Let it simmer about 20 minutes and it’s done.

Chili

Vegan Meatless Monday 4

This week I went from one extreme to the other – trying my best to avoid using oil where it’s always used for breakfast and then frying my burritos in oil for dinner.  Variety is the spice of life and all!

Breakfast:

I love starchy foods.  Just putting that out there.  Potatoes and pasta are a necessity in my diet – maybe the Italian side of my family’s fault?  I don’t know but hash browns and potato cakes are always a win to me.

Since I’m aiming for healthy vegan I decided to see if I could make these without oil too and they actually turned out!  I expected to need to broil these to brown them but they turned out crispy and brown without broiling them.

Oh, and I was planning on adding unsweetened almond milk to them but all I had was vanilla which didn’t sound very potato-ee so I just skipped that.

Potato cakes:

  • 8 medium skin on Idaho potatoes – cut like steak fries, simmer till soft, then mash
  • 1 onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup kale minced
  • 2 Tbsp chives
  • 1 tsp black pepper (maybe ought to have used 1/2 tsp, I really like pepper though)
  • 1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 400

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper

Pan fry the onion and garlic in their own juices

Add the kale at the end for just a couple of minutes

Kale and Onions

Mix everything into the potatoes and mash some more

Potato Mix

Form into thin cakes and put on the cookie sheets – can be touching

Bake for  15-20 minutes each side (bottoms should brown)

They brown MUCH nicer on the bottom oven rack and using a light-colored non-stick pan didn’t really work as well as an old-fashioned dark cookie pan.

I dipped them in ketchup because that’s how you eat fried potatoes and deemed them a success.  Good thing since I made enough to heat up before work all week!

Baked Potato Cakes

Lunch:

My grandfather made me a pot of vegetarian marinara for Christmas dinner and I’m cheating by using that for spaghetti for lunch – easy and by far the tastiest pasta sauce on the planet. He is one of the people who originally pretty much thought I’d die when I told them I was going to be vegetarian and now he’s practically one  himself so we’ve come a long way for him to make me my own pot of sauce!

Dinner:

Chimichangas

After soaking pinto beans for about 16 hours ( a trick I found on accident for better tasting pintos) I crock-potted them with nothing but the leftover chipotles in adobe sauce from the can I opened last week (after running them through the ninja).  No added spices or anything.  It was the slacker-est pot of beans I’ve made yet and the first one to meet the full approval of my less than easy to impress children of the corn.

We put some in a small tortilla with chopped onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and salsa and fried them for a couple minutes in a pan with a bit of oil in it.

My kids were more than amazed that I fried something.  They asked – isn’t that bad for you?  I told them it was and they immediately deemed it the best meal ever except for the part were there weren’t any seconds. Of course.  Actually, it was though – if you’re gonna have a splurge meal then do it with chimis, they are awesome.

ChimmiI had pickled jalapenos and carrots (from a can) as a side.  Not my healthiest vegan meal but definitely one we’ll be doing again!

Oh, and Lelo was down with every meal, she just sits attentively waiting for me to finally give in and feed her whatever I may be cooking!

Lelo waitingI can’t decide whether or not it’s awesome that my biggest fans in the kitchen are all three dogs.  I guess I’ll take it.

Do you think that using oil to cook with is a bad thing?  Does it make a difference to you if it’s used as an ingredient or to fry something?

Vegan Meatless Monday 3

I haven’t written all week and with the holidays I probably won’t write much if at all next week either.  I’m substituting holiday and family type things for writing and also for pretty much everything else.  And I am very OK with that!

Christmas light

I had to come tell about Meatless Monday though because it’s kind of become a goal of mine to be a once a week vegan. I’m thinking it may be one of my 2014 goals – to keep it up all year.  That may sound like an easy goal but only if you don’t know what a dairy addict being vegetarian has made me and only if you don’t know how slightly horrible I am with trying new recipes.

About that…

Breakfast:

Last week I tried to make this cranberry bread in the bread maker and my result was bad enough that it went straight to the trash.  I mentioned it wasn’t the recipe, it was most likely my choice of bread machine settings.

This week I just made it in the oven like the recipe called for – and I love it!  This is the first time I’ve actually bought an orange for the purpose of using the ‘zest of one orange’ but I doubt it’s the last.  I really like the way it tastes and highly recommend you try this recipe. I actually plan on making this to bring to Christmas dinner.  If you figure out how to do it in a bread machine do tell!

Cranberry bread

Lunch:

Thanks to having Christmas Eve and Christmas off it seemed kind of wasteful to make a full week’s lunches like I usually do.  I mentioned it to my boyfriend and he said he was just doing sandwiches.  Hmm, good idea. But are the breads sold at my local grocer vegan?  I didn’t even look because I kind of doubt it and even if they are you know they’re full of unnecessary ingredients.  And so I had my next bread machine (almost) disaster.

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 and 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c oats
  • 1/4 cup flax
  • 2 and 1/4 tsp yeast

I used the whole wheat setting for a 2# loaf.  I modified the recipe from this one on Paleo-ish Guilty Kitchen.  I was a little confused about the setting for this bread too because she says she uses the ‘rapid bake’ setting and that it takes over 4 hours but on my machine rapid bake is less than an hour.  Hmm.  I just used the regular whole wheat setting.

I looked in at the bread a wee bit through and it was all crumbly  like it had sand in it.  What?  I make bread often enough to know it doesn’t do that.  So I ran back to the site and scrolled through the comments and saw one that said they thought they may have added too much water.  Um, I don’t remember water being in this recipe.  Talk about an A-Ha moment.  So I went back to the machine and added my 2/3 warm tap water and squished it in with my hands.  I kind of wrote off the bread at that point but figured there was no harm done by letting the bread machine do it’s thing.  And what came out?  An ugly, uneven, slightly heavy but very tasty bread!  Talk about a fool- proof recipe! So sandwiches it is.

wheat bread attempt

Dinner:

I do like to stick with easy on Monday nights so this week I’m making a minestrone type soup.  I can’t give an exact recipe because my method of making soup is throw a little of this and a little of that in a pot, then switch to a bigger pot once or twice, and so on and I didn’t make this one in advance.  But here is the general idea:

  •  a can of cannellini beans
  • maybe a can of kidney beans if it looks like it needs more
  • 1 sliced zucchini
  • 1 sliced yellow squash
  • a chopped onion
  • about 2 regular sized chopped carrots
  • a stalk or two of thin sliced celery
  • lots of fresh minced garlic – at least 3 or 4 cloves and likely more
  • fresh green beans
  • bite sized kale pieces
  • a can or two of diced Italian tomatoes
  • shell or macaroni pasta (depending on what I have)
  • Italian seasoning
  • spices but I’ll just have to use the add and taste method for that part (it’s my favorite cooking method!)

This is totally unrelated to any kind of meatless Monday but totally related to spending my time not blogging.  My son just showed me this:

Alex's highlighter expeimentHe squeezed the innards of a highlighter into a glass of water and put it in front of his black light.  Believe it or not I did nothing to the above picture at all, I just took the pic and uploaded it.

Groovy!!

If you have a vegan bread machine recipe I’d love a link to it!

Also let me know what you thing of my son’s experiment. I told him I was posting the pic on my blog and he of course instantly asked me what people thought.

 

 

 

Vegan Meatless Monday 2 (and some kitchen disasters)

This Monday’s meals didn’t turn out exactly as planned…

I made this cranberry bread for breakfast. Unfortunately although it looked great on the top the flour didn’t mix in on the bottom and it didn’t cook through so looks like it will be bananas and cantaloupe for breakfast. Which I like, but still.

I’m not sure what happened there, maybe I chose the wrong setting?  I’ve never made anything completely inedible in the bread machine before. I was kind of excited to make something with fresh cranberries so I’m pretty bummed about it. Plus I burned the hell out of my hand taking the pan out of the bread maker. It wasn’t the recipe – I ate a piece of the top crust and it would have been incredible. I think I’ll try it again when I get over severely not wanting to be in my kitchen unless it’s to get an adult beverage.

Lunch:

I made enough to pack for lunches all week because otherwise I’ll end up eating just a banana or fast food for lunch.

Earlier this week I made my own version of the Barfly‘s island salsa and it was so good I wanted to eat it with a spoon.  Granted the ingredients are all healthy, but that still may have been a bad idea.  So as an excuse to eat more of it I decided to morph it into island rice.  Score!

The salsa:

  • 1 can diced pineapple
  • 1/2 a diced red onion
  • 1 finely diced habanero
  • Fresh chopped cilantro to taste – is ‘lots’ an official cooking amount?
  • diced bell pepper (not green, just because it’s cooler with more colors!)

Island Salsa

I modified the salsa by using shredded pineapple and 3 chipolte peppers in adobe sauce instead of the habanero just because I had them and it sounded good. Then I cooked a cup of brown rice with 2 cups of water in the rice cooker and threw it all together with a drained can of black beans. Turned out kind of awesome if I do say so myself.

IslandSalsaWithHabanero

The first salsa with chunks of pineapple looks nicer as a dip but they were both really good. Here’s the end result of the island rice:

Island Rice

I’m going to go totally easy and just make a big green salad with a vinegar and oil dressing for dinner.  This is because of the stupid carrot fries.

So. I decided I’d be all cool and make carrot fries too, as a healthy vegan snack.  Why? Because I have still not learned to quit when I am ahead.  Here’s the recipe, they were great.

Cut about 2 pounds of carrots into fry shapes – I made mine on the thin side and about 2 inches long.

Toss them with 2 teaspoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of salt

I put the first half on one cookie pan and then added a tsp of chili powder, a tsp of onion powder, and a sprinkle of cumin on the second half and baked both pans at 400 for a little over 20 minutes, then put them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up a bit.

They were so good we ate them all Sunday and so they didn’t end up being part of meatless Monday at all.  But this little trip into cooking taught me many valuable lessons, so I thought I’d share them with you.

  • The drawer under the oven is NOT a broiler, it’s for storage
  • The garbage disposal is really easy to take out, but Google it first because the screws that look like they’re holding it in are not holding it in at all
  • All of the pipes under a kitchen sink come apart and go together pretty easily, and you don’t even need putty
  • Do not run your dishwasher and then walk away when your sink is clogged up
  • Do NOT peel 2 pounds of carrots into the sink, even if you have a garbage disposal, even if you’d swear you’d done it before with no ill effects

Ya. That’s how I spent my Sunday afternoon, how about you?  Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I haven’t yet starved to death or totally broke my entire house yet…

Vegan Meatless Mondays

I always see posts for people doing ‘Meatless Mondays’ and I’ve been thinking it would be a fun thing to do here on my blog too.  Kind of a fuel for running kind of thing.  The problem is, that feels kind of like cheating because I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 17, over 25 years now.

What to do?  I’ve decided to do my Meatless Mondays vegan.  I’m vegetarian but I eat way too much dairy (and other junk), it’s something I’ve been wanting to cut back on for a while but just haven’t bothered.  So here I go trying to make a pledge to myself and actually keep it – one day a week will be completely vegan AND unprocessed.  How hard can it be after all?

So here is my first Meatless Monday / Fuel for Running menu.

Breakfast:

The kids and I have been on an overnight oatmeal kick but I tried a green vegan recipe and I didn’t really like it.  The green part was good, but it was much soggier than when I use yogurt.  I’m hoping to find the perfect mixture and when I do I’ll let you know.

Until then it’s my usual quesadilla but I’ll use beans instead of cheese.  I made a crock-pot full of seasoned pinto beans (cooked with an onion and 3 cloves of garlic diced about to liquid in the Ninja, chili powder, pepper, garlic powder and a bit of cumin) Sunday so I’m ready to go.  Just spread some pinto beans, onion and jalapeno on a tortilla, sprinkle on some chili powder and throw it in the toaster oven.  Dunk it in salsa and you can’t beat it to start the day!

Lunch:

I’m either giving myself a pass here or I’m a horrible cheater.  I made a huge pot of goulash and then realized the whole wheat noodles I used where egg noodles.  I thought they where just shaped like egg noodles.  Fail!  For that I will have to eat more vegan meals throughout the week!  But for next time it will be easy enough to look at the label and make it vegan:

1/2 bag of pasta

1/2 a huge white onion

3 cloves garlic

A pound of fresh green beans broke into bite size

2 can’s diced tomatoes

1 can corn

Pepper, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, onion powder

I just browned the onion and garlic, cooked and drained the pasta and threw it back in the pan with everything else and cooked it about 10 minutes more. Not much of a recipe but I’m not much of a cook. Next time I’ll cook the green beans a little before adding everything together, they could have been less crisp!

LunchOK, that picture looks gross like it has seafood in it, but I swear it tasted good.

Dinner: Kale salad

Two kale leaves cut in thin strips (minus the stem)

Half a diced ripe avacado

Half a diced cucumber

Garlic, onion powder, oregano, basil, juice of a slice of lemon

I found out I LOVE kale salad as long as the kale is sliced nice and thin.

So there you go, my first vegan meatless Monday.  And now you know why I will never, ever be a foodie blogger. Or a cook.

Do you do Meatless Mondays?