Monday, May 26, 2014

IC Friendly Noodle Salad

1 large head of Napa, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
2 C shredded carrots

2 Tb molasses
2 Tb sesame oil
1/4-1/2 C water

3 bundles of soba, cooked, rinsed, salted, and chilled

First, cook the noodles according to the package, season and set them aside.  Next, add the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and microwave for about 5-15 seconds to make the molasses easier to whisk into a dressing.  Put all the chopped veggies into a huge mixing bowl and toss in the sauce.  Add the noodles being careful to separate then as you toss, they will want to clump together.  Chill and serve.  

Some other ingredients that work well in this:  sesame seeds, sliced almonds, cashews, peanuts, celery, broccoli and water chestnuts.  You could also add tangerine zest to the sauce if you know you can tolerate it.  If you don't like the napa ribs, cut them out and save them for stir fry or veggie broth.  

Serves 8, keeps crisp for about 2 days. 

IC Friendly Enchiladas

1 package of corn tortillas
2-4 zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 box of sliced mushrooms
1 bag of shredded green cabbage (about 3 C)
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cans sliced black olives
1 bag of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
Dried parsley
1 pint plain unsweetened almond milk
whole wheat pastry flour
Olive oil

First the filling!!  Sweat the mushrooms, then add the zucchini.  When they're almost dry, add a Tb or 2 of olive oil.  Add the bell pepper and garlic.  Add cabbage, beans, olives, parsley, salt and pepper, and remove from heat.  

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Coat a large casserole dish with olive oil.  

Now the roux!!  In a sauce pot, warm 1-2 Tb olive oil  and add 1/4-1/2 C pastry flour to make a roux.  When it's ready, add the pint of almond milk.  Carefully bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and add half the cheese shreds to make cheese sauce, then remove from heat.

Tortilla time!!  Lay about 6 tortillas on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Top with about half of the cheese sauce, then add 3/4 of the filling.  Stack 6 more tortillas on top for the top, add the rest of the cheese sauce and filling.  Add the remaining cheese shreds over the casserole, and moisten the exposed tortilla edges with water.

Bake for 30 minutes, serves 6-10, slice when hot, serve when cooled for 5-15 minutes.  

You can make the filling and roll each tortilla up to bake, but making them casserole style increases the proportion of veggies to starch.  Also, add any filling you like:  corn, squash, more beans, no beans, puree red bell peppers to make sauce, used cheddar, whatever makes you hungry.

Broccoli Chowder

1 head or bag of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1-2 C of shredded carrots
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 bunch of chopped parsley
Olive oil
1-2 Tb Margarine
1 pint plain unsweetened almond milk
1/4-1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1-2 pints water
Herbs of choice

In a sauce pot, make a roux with the margarine and flour.  When the roux is ready, add 1 C of the almond milk to make a bechamel like sauce.  bring to a boil, then reduce to warm.  In your soup pot, cook the veggies olive oil to taste, maybe 1 to 2 Tb.  Add the garlic after the veggies are cooked then add the remaining almond milk and water.  When everything comes to a boil, add the bechamel.  Watch your pot, it may boil over.  Season before serving.

Your soup will be only as thick as the amount of flour you used to make the roux.  1/4 C will make it thin and 1 C will make it chunky.  If you make it too thick, you can always add more water.  If it's not thick enough, you could add leftover mashed potatoes or make more roux. 

Serve with saltine, oyster cracker, wheat toast, and top with non-dairy cheese.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

IC Friendly Pasta Salad

1 lb of elbow macaroni
1-2 cans of sliced black olives
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts (or freshly steamed if sodium is bothersome)
2 diced roasted red bell peppers
olive oil

Cook the pasta, rinse, salt, and cool while you prep the dressing and veggies.  If you cooked your own peppers and artichoke hearts make sure they're chilled before you add them to the pasta.  

For the dressing, I used olive oil, FYH Soy Free Vegenaise, and Wayfare Foods Sour Cream.  If these creamy ingredients are bothersome, use softened Daiya cream cheese or blend cannellini/garbanzo beans with olive oil until creamy.  It may separate.  You could also try adding coconut cream (the fatty part) and whipping it with beaters, but coconut may be too sweet for this dish.  

Add the veggies to the pasta, add dressing, drizzle with olive oil, and season to taste.  Chill and enjoy.  

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Heaven, heaven in a cook pot.  

1 bag of gold potatoes
2 large cloves of garlic
4 tb of Soy Free Earth Balance butter
Plain unsweetened Almond Milk
2-4 tb Daiya Cream Cheese
1 tb olive oil

While the potatoes are boiling, add chopped garlic to the butter and olive oil in a small pot and set on a very low flame.  When the potatoes are done and the butter has absorbed the flavor of the garlic, chop a little bit of parsley for a garnish.  Mash the potatoes until chunky, then add some almond milk and use a stick blender to break up the peels and add some creamy potatoes to the chunky mix.
Pour in the butter and garlic mixture and stir.  Add Daiya and stir. Add more almond milk if you need to.  Season and serve with the parsley garnish.

Serves 6 million.  Potatoes are starchy. :)

IC Friendly Coleslaw

I got everything I needed for this from +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and +Whole Foods Market .  I used 1 bag of sliced green cabbage, 1 bag of shredded carrots, and 1 very large fennel bulb shredded on the mandolin for the salad.  

For the dressing, I used Follow Your Heart Soy Free Vegenaise, olive oil, agave syrup (or honey, maple, or simple syrup), salt, and pepper. A note for people with IC:  the Vegenaise has a small amount of lemon juice and vinegar.  If this is bothersome, substitute with softened Daiya cream cheese or Wayfare Foods sour cream.  If these are also bothersome, blend drained/rinsed cannellini or garbanzo beans with olive oil until creamy.  It may separate.  

Microwave 2 TB syrup with 2-4 TB olive oil for 10-20 seconds to make it workable. Whisk together with 1/4 C of Vgenaise or substitute).  Add salt and pepper to taste if tolerable.  Dried parsley also has a nice savory flavor if pepper is bothersome.

Pour over the slaw and toss well.  It will last a few days in the cooler, but it's best served once chilled.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish, more if served in Dixie cups.

Turkey Dinner--IC Friendly

Since bouillon is bothersome, this poses an issue when making gravy.  This dish though, is savory and has a glaze on it so it's very comforting food.  Served with the right side dishes, this may be perfect for the Holidays. 

1 whole bunch of celery with leaves, chopped
3-4 boxes of sliced mushrooms
shredded carrots to taste
seitan/wheat meat (I used Upton Naturals Traditional Seitan)
1 small bunch parsley, chopped, no stems
1 tb marjoram
1 tsp tarragon
1 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1-2 tb cornstarch
olive oil

Sweat the mushrooms until they're dry-ish, then add oil to fry with the celery.   Make a slurry with the cornstarch and almond milk and chill while cooking.  When the veggies are nice and stir fried, add the seitan, carrots, and herbs. Just before the mixture starts to stick, add the slurry.  Make sure you stir it again before pouring.  Take off the flame and season to taste.

To make this more festive for the holidays, your stuffing ingredients to the mix. I use sage, chopped Fuji apples, sliced black olives, and chopped pecans. You could also add cranberries, chestnuts, squash, fennel, sausage,hazelnuts, whatever tastes homey to you. 

A note to IC people:  If the herbs or spices are bothersome, substitute or omit.  Also, when selecting a seitan, make sure there are no bothersome ingredients.  Aim for plain if you can find it.  

Serves 6-8

Harmony Valley Sausage Patties

The other day I made enough breakfast to feed an army.  I had been to +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and saw a new product:  Harmony Valley Sausage mix.  It was less than $3 so I figured I'd give it a shot.  I used to eat Nature's Burger and was expecting something similar, but wow was I surprised.  The patties were relatively easy to work with (keep a bowl of clean water for your hands close) and they had a great texture.  They were not grainy at all and had the same lightness of other vegan sausage patties as well as the familiar flavor.  

The other half of that platter is scrambled tofu.  When I make this dish, I let the tofu drain overnight.  I crumble it with my hands into a hot pan with a tablespoon of oil, and stir until it's crumbly and most of the water that is left cooks off.  Season with salt, pepper, Red Rooster, and ketchup.  Serve these dishes with whole grain toast and plan for an afternoon walk because this is a traditional heavy Sunday breakfast. Serves 4-6

Cherry Cheesecakes

Dessert time!!

You need a graham cracker crust, store bought or homemade, pie size or minis; 1-2 tubs of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese; pantry items; and cherry pie filling, canned or homemade.

Let the cream cheese warm up while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees and gather your other ingredients.  Whisk the cream cheese with 1-2 tb of vanilla extract, 1 tsp lemon oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/4-1/2 C sugar, 1 tb pastry flour, 1-2 tb soy/rice/almond milk, and 1-2 tsp oil until smooth.  Taste and add more sugar/vanilla/lemon as needed.  Spoon into your pie crust, top with cherry pie filling (or whatever fruit you like, blueberry works well too) and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Since you're topping with the fruit filling, you don't need a water bath, unless it's really dry where you live.  Chill for a few hours and serve.

Gardein Boeuf Bourguigon

I've been trying red wine these days. I knew I liked some Shiraz and Merlot, but I have recently discovered lightly sweet red table wine and Claret. Of course this Claret seems perfect for Boeuf Bourguignon with mushrooms. I've seen this made with stew vegetables, and always with onions, but I don't get on well with onions, so just mushrooms for me.

If you are comfortable making a roux in the pan with your ingredients, sweat the mushrooms, add the Beefless Tips, make the roux, and add the liquid last. If not, try it this way. 

Sweat sliced Baby Bella and button mushrooms in a soup pot or deep sautée pan while you defrost the Beefless Tips in the micro.  Add the beef and cook until the mixture absorbs most of the mushroom liquid. Set aside the mushroom mixture in your serving dish and make a roux with Earth Balance, olive oil, and whole wheat pastry flour in your pot/pan. When your roux is ready, add the wine, veggie broth, and some dried herbs--your favorites. I like to make my broth by adding boiling water to bouillon cubes and dried herbs. When the liquid comes together, add your mushroom/beef mixture and cook through. Season to taste. Serve with some white starch and a glass of the wine you used to make this. 

1bag of Gardein Beefless Tips
2 boxes of sliced mushrooms
1 C of stock (or more as needed)
1C of red wine
2-4 pats of margarine
2-4 tb olive oil
1-2 tb flour
2 tb herbs (parsley, tarragon, marjoram, whichever are your favorites)
Salt and pepper to taste

In case you were wondering, +Barnivor lists many wines and spirits that are veg*n and which to avoid. +BevMo!  +Whole Foods Market , and +Cost Plus World Market  have a nice selection of these wines at affordable prices. 

Miso Ramen

I do not at all claim to be knowledgeable about the subtle art of Japanese cuisine.  This soup is my Asian inspired version of American comfort food.  Miso Ramen at a proper Japanese restaurant will be made with dashi, miso, and good noodles.  I don't eat seafood so I made my own broth:  bouillon cubes, ginger, soy sauce, sesame, white pepper, sometimes I use lemongrass too.  Usually I prefer white miso for this because it's sweet and mellow.  Your toppings can be anything you like, here I used LightLife Smart Bacon, greens, and peas.

If you use dry noodles, soak them in cool water to rehydrate them and remove some of the sodium and starch.  Make sure to separate the noodles so that they can absorb as much as possible and change the water if it gets cloudy.  If you use fresh noodles, they should probably be blanched before adding to the soup, but follow whatever instructions come on the package.

Make your broth and bring to a boil.  Add miso and stir to dissolve.  Add the noodles and warm them through.  Serve the noodles in a bowl and pour broth on top.  Add warmed toppings and slurp away the cold weather.

What I Did With a Package of Corn Tortillas

There are so many things you can do with corn tortillas:  tortilla soup, nachos, chilaquiles, enchiladas, but my favorite of course is tacos.  Being a veg, I don't get to hit the taco truck very often (unless you want to help me chase the Kogi truck) so I make mine at home.  The rad thing about tacos is that you can make them however you want.  I usually stick to the basics when I make tacos and just put whatever I'm eating into a warm corn tortilla.

This week, I wanted tacos dorados, or golden delicious fried crunchy tacos.  To reduce the calories, you can bake your tacos on a cookie sheet lined with foil or silpat and a little cooking spray.  Your filling can be anything you want.  I use mushrooms, potatoes, refried beans, greens, Daiya, Soyrizo, tofu, +gardein Tofurkey, Yves, +Lightlife or whatever you have around the house. These guys are mushroom tacos. If you choose to fry your tacos, make sure your filling is relatively dry so the oil won't splatter out of the pan.

I sweated 2 boxes of sliced button and baby bella mushrooms until they dried out a little and seasoned them with salt, pepper, dried parsley, dried cilantro, powdered chile de arbol, and powdered chile new mexico.  If you don't like heat, pick something mild like paprika or pasilla.  I let the mushrooms cool a bit while I steamed my tortillas in the micro.  This is how you can tell my mom is not Mexican.  Yes, I wrapped the tortillas in cling film and zapped them until they were soft and fluffy, about 30 seconds per pair of tortillas. Be careful taking them out of the microwave if you do this--steam burns suck.  2 boxes of mushrooms makes about 18 tacos.

Lay out your tortillas and top sparingly with the filling, fold, and fry in a good amount of oil that is already hot and has a sprinkle of salt in it to help with splatter.  The first side takes a while to cook (like grilled cheese) so check before you flip.  The tortilla may start to curl and shrink when the tacos are close to golden, but they will continue to cook after you take them out of the oil.  Be careful with the hot oil and use a fork/spatula combo if you don't have tongs.  I burn myself making tacos all the time.

Okay now these guys!!  Taquitos!!  These are great for appetizers and pretty easy to make.  Again with the micro steamed tortillas.  I laid them out and added a single slice of Tofurkey for the filling.  You can use a strip of tofu, or zucchini, or anything that will let the tortilla roll around it in crunchy goodness.  If you use sliced veggie meat, pull the slice a little bit outside the edge of the tortilla and keep some tension on it  If the slice hangs out past the tortilla, it may burn.  Fold if you need to.  Pin each roll by inserting a toothpick diagonally through the length of each taquito.  That will keep them from unrolling in the pan.

I topped mine with avocado sauce.  Some people like fresh or store bought salsa, taco sauce, sour cream, or regular guacamole.  I make my avocado sauce with ripe avocados.  Slice in half, retain the pits, dice in the skin and scoop out into a bowl.  Add a lot of lime juice, salt and pepper, then mash the chunks with a fork and whip the sauce until it's smooth.  I also like to add olive oil and or Vegenaise.  Sometimes I add garlic or chopped serranos, add whatever tastes good.  Keep the pits in the sauce and cover with cling film so that the sauce stays green

Okay, go eat now.

WARM CORN TORTILLA I suggest you get the really thick ones made by hand using yellow corn. They're fragrant and have a lovely texture, but if you can't, the tortillas at your local grocery store will work fine.  If you don't normally eat corn tortillas, FYI the ones at the ends usually fall apart.

RIPE AVOCADOS are hard to find.  Just because they're soft or have a sticker that says ripe, does not mean they are ready or suitable for your purposes.  Often the soft avocados will have dents in them from the weight of being stacked.  These are likely to be black inside.  If the avocados are soft, but seem to have air between the flesh and skin, those are bad too.  Rock hard avocados are hit and miss sometimes.  They may go bad by the time they soften and the ripening could take days.  A good avocado will have a tiny bit of give with just the slightest pressure and will be mostly firm with a continuous curve-no dents or creases.

Pigs in a Blanket

Roll up the veggie dogs in crescent dough and bake according to the package. I suggest warming the dogs before baking so that the dough on the inside cooks through and baking on the middle-top rack. 

Asian Dinner

Hosted a dinner party, made some tasty food, had a great time.  Some of these dishes were bought pre-made, like the gluten with peanuts, snap peas, chile peas, sea cucumbers, preserved tofu, and chile bamboo shoots.  The vegetable bao were also pre-made, but I deep fried them.

The napa salad had shredded napa, watercress leaves, and a sesame soy vinaigrette I made with chopped chiles, sesame oil, crushed ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, wite pepper, and raw sugar.  The tofu in brown sauce required a little planning.

Brown sauce:

Vegetarian oyster sauce, soy sauce, veggie broth, raw sugar, white pepper, and cornstarch slurry in rice vinegar.  Add everything but the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil, stirring.  When it does start to boil, add the slurry and stir until thickened.  I made this ahead of time and warmed it back up when the tofu was fired.

Fried Tofu:

Drain the tofu overnight, then soak in soy sauce to season.  Make your favorite cornstarch beer batter Mine didn't come out well :(  Deep fry in oil at 350 until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Cover in brown sauce, top with cilantro and pecans.  Nom Nom!! :D

<a href="" title="Asian Inspired Vegan Dinner by chiquibuttons, on Flickr"><img src="" width="500" height="375" alt="Asian Inspired Vegan Dinner"></a>

You can see the rest of the photos here.


I haven't had stroganoff in many many years.  During a discussion about casseroles, I was inspired to make some.  I had only eaten the Hamburger Helper style stroganoff as a child so I went to the internet to find out more about the dish.  So it's actually Russian, and originally a meat only dish made with mustard; the starchy side and sour cream came later.  Knowing what I know about cooking, I decided to keep the mustard, omt the Campbell's Soup sauce and hit the spice aisle for ingredients.  It's delicious by the way, but do not use more than 1/4 tsp. of dried mustard or it will be bitter.  Also, keep the meat/sauce away from the pasta when storing it or the pasta will soak up all the salt.  I stored some in the freezer so I'll let you know how that works out when I defrost it.

For 8 servings:

2 bags of +gardein Beefless Tips
1 bag or box of farfalle (or your favorite shape of pasta)
1/2 stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/4 C +Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
1/12 C broth
1/2 C to 1 C red wine (I used sweet vermouth)
Tofutti sour cream
Salt, white pepper, olive oil, herbs of choice (I used parsley and marjoram)

Set the pasta water to boil, this cooks fast.  Defrost the Beefless Tips, in a microwave works great. Add boiling water to a bouillon cube and the herbs and pepper.  Make a roux in a saute pan by melting the margarine with a splash of olive oil then sprinkling in the flour.  Stir Stir Stir until it smells cooked through, then add the broth.  When it starts to bubble, add the mustard powder and stir.  Add the Beefless Tips and wine then taste.  Season if necessary.  When it thickens, turn off the heat and add the Tofutti.  Hopefully the pasta will be cooked by now, so drain it, season and serve together.  

Pumkin Pie

I love pie and at this time of year, pumpkin pie starts calling my name.  Spork Foods shared a great recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake in the LA Times a while back so I've been using it ever since.  They also have a great cookbook; I bought one from Amazon.  So pie and coffee made with Torani SF syrup to save on calories made a great breakfast that day.  I tweaked this recipe by using a graham cracker pie shell and I added some maple syrup to the top while it cooled. Next time I'll use maple sugar, the pie is very soft when it's hot so the syrup made little holes on the top.

**Note:  Allspice, nutmeg, and Ceylon cinnamon have been reported as tolerable to some IC people. Also, Daiya cream cheese is soy-free and allergy friendly.

Udon--My Favorite Comfort Food When I Have a Cold

When you're sick you want something hot, nourishing, soothing, and nutritious.  Udon is easy to make if you have access to an Asian market or your local grocery store has a good selection of Asian goods.  A large pot of this soup makes 4-6 servings.

2 packages of individually portioned Udon noodles.

If you don't use the included seasoning packets, 2 cubes of Vegetarian bouillon and water to cover noodles and fill a soup pot a little more that half way, or broth in the same quantity if you don't like bouillon.

Soy Sauce to taste, maybe a splash.

Rice Wine Vinegar to taste, also a splash or two.

Ginger, your choice of fresh sliced or chopped.  You can also use dried or candied slices.  I like to use Christopher Farms jarred ginger.

Something sweet, like agave or raw sugar, just a touch.  If you used candied sliced ginger there is no need to sweeten any further.  If you're not a vegan used honey.

Black and white pepper to taste.

After bringing the stock and noodles to a boil, turn down the heat to warm and add:

1 C baked tofu slices or cubes.
3 fresh red chiles, sliced.  Seed if you don't like searing heat.
1/2 small head of napa cabbage, sliced.
2-4 C small baby bok choy, well rinsed and halved.
1 box of sliced mushrooms, cooked separately or fresh.
Bean sprouts, for topping when you serve the soup.

This soup does not keep well overnight.  The noodles get soggy and the vegetables wilt.  If you are making this only for yourself, make the stock ahead of time and freeze the extra.  Buy and prepare less of the other ingredients and only add what you are going to eat at that time to the stock and save the rest for later.  I know it's hard to buy fresh veggies in small quantities, but napa keeps well if you peel the outer layers and save the heart.  Baby bok choy will keep longer if you don't wash it until you're ready to use it.  The noodles will keep well; some brands are shelf stable.  Chiles keep well in the fruit bowl and baked tofu can always be washed and scrubbed by hand if it gets a little slimy.  

Chia Pudding--From Bust Magazine

This month's issue of Bust Magazine featured quite a few recipes, one of which was a recipe for Chia Pudding.  I've been wanting to try Chia seeds, and I had a single serving from June's +Vegan Cuts box, so I went to +Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, bought a bag of +Bob's Red Mill Chia Seeds and a half gallon of +Silk Vanilla Almond Milk and to the kitchen I went.  I used the recipes proportion of ingredients and had a sauce pot going before I realized this was a no cook recipe.  I let the mixture chill in the refrigerator overnight and I had a tapioca like pudding that tasted sweet without being over-sweetened like real tapioca pudding.

The second time (this week) that I made the Chia Pudding, I did cook it.  I also doubled the recipe, substituted 1/2 C of the almond milk with Creole coffee made in the cafetera, added 1/4 C each Torani SF French Vanilla and SF Brown Sugar Cinnamon syrups, and a few tb of powdered cinnamon.  After bringing to a boil while stirring constantly, the pudding was well on its way to thickening.  It cooled on the stove for about 20 minutes and I packed it in two reusable  containers, because I'm sharing with my comadre, and they are cooling now in the fridge.

I think if this was made with plain unsweetened and low-fat almond milk, or soy/coconut/rice milk, it would be very suitable for a diabetic diet.  I sat down with a notebook and calculator and did some math; please fix any errors I made, I'm notoriously bad at counting.  Also, I rounded numbers a bit since 4.6666667 would be really hard to measure at home, at least for me.

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 C milk substitute and 1/4 C chia seeds.  Since I used Vanilla Almond Milk, this is based on the nutritional content for that milk.  Most of the fat comes from the chia seeds, but it's good fat.  Most of the carbs come from the soy milk, but in a reasonable portion it's still only one starch exchange.

Totals for 14 oz of cooked pudding

21.75 g Fat
44 g Carbs (24 g Sugar and 20 g Fiber)
13.5 g Protein

Totals for a 4.5 oz serving (between 1/2 and 2/3 C cooked pudding)

7.25 g Fat
14.5 g Carbs (8 g Sugar and 6.5 g Fiber)
4.5 g Protein

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Broccoli Salad

Chop one head of broccoli into small pieces.
Chop tomatoes to make 1 cup.
Chop and seed one red (or yellow or orange) bell pepper.
Add one or two cans of sliced black olives.
Add one can of drained and rinsed Garbanzo beans.
Add your favorite vinaigrette, or toss in olive oil and vinegar.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves six.

This salad is very rich in vitamin C and has iron and calcium.  Also, it makes a great side dish to a pasta entree. I like to use this for women's health issues and to prepare or recover from strenuous exercise.  

I suggest taking a heavy dose of Beano with this as well as letting it marinate for a while.  Broccoli takes a lot of chewing. :)