Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cootie's Coconut Cookies

Savanah and I have been looking for a good cookie recipe. We have never been able to get them just right. To flat, no taste...the list goes on. So we just about had given up on a good cookie recipe. Until now. I bought Savanah the book, 'How it all Vegan' and I have been browsing through it since Christmas. Well, Savanah being the sweet toothed one in the bunch went straight for the dessert section. Well low and behold we find a vegan cookie that we have all the ingredients to bake with. That is usually why we chose a wing-it recipe.

You have got to try these puppies. they are, bar none the best darned cookie I have ever eaten. Not too sweet, healthy(In comparison to what you are able to buy), we can pronounce all the ingredients in our recipe. Need I say more?

2 bananas, mashed
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetener
1/2 cup oil
3 t coconut or soy milk (we used almond milk)
1 cup flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats flakes
1 cup coconut, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a blender or food processor, blend together the mashed bananas vanilla, sweetener oil, and milk. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in the oat flakes and then fold in the banana mixture, stirring well. Mix in the shredded coconut. Scoop spoon-sized portions onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 large or 24 small cookies.

Who knew vegan cooking could be so easy and transitional?!

Bringing In The New Year

For those who may not have been reading to long, I have recently re-entered the world of vegetarianism. I had been a vegetarian back in 1992-1995. I fell off the wagon but rediscovered myself due to my already vegetarian daughter. She has been my inspiration. Who at 8&1/2 decides to leave meat off their plate? She did. I have stood behind her from point one. And in my joining her again we are rediscovering food.

We are adding many new recipes, many of which are vegan. That is not to say we want or intend to be vegans. I think it is possible if we don't leave the house...just kidding. But I can see the difficulty in eating abroad when you are vegan. You basically have to take a cooler and box of food with you. I knew it was not a veggie friendly world, but since joining my daughter, I see the world through the eyes she has been using for the last 6 some odd years. People don't even give it another thought to add beef broth to rice to gain flavor, or add gelatin to a dessert. The list goes on. I used to think I might offend people when I ask what is in a specific dish, but I no longer feel that way.

We have chosen a way of life, but I stand by our decision. There are some folks who have even suggested that my daughter give up her vegetarianism. Why would some one do that. Would you give up watching TV because I asked you even though it was something I did not believe in? I thought so. So why encroach on what my daughter knows to be right. And why is so threatening that she does not eat meat. Does it let people see how off their diet is? Maybe. I never told them their eating choices were bad, but they feel guilty all the same.

I believe the old adage, "You are what you eat." Just look at the people who drive through most fast food burger joints. Then look at the fast food burger commercials. Most folks driving through are definitely not working for Ford Model Agency. And yet they portray them as such. Gimme a flipping break. Who are they trying to fool. Not me and not my daughter.

I wish for everyone to have the year of 2009 to be what they need it to be, not want, but need. For what you need, I do not, and want's are just that...want's. Those are the things we can live without. So may your new year be filled with good health, prosperity and a plethora of good food.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We Just Had To Try

Well, I and hubby did it. Yeah, we ate meat when we shouldn't have. But there is a silver lining to this ordeal. Yeah, if eating meat could have a silver lining.

We have, for the last few years, split the holidays. Let me explain. We used to share the food making on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But with all due respect, I just could not fathom having black beans and rice on Thanksgiving...back then. I was a traditional kind of girl. So we decided I would take Thanksgiving, since I was off from work and my mother-in-law was always home, she would take Christmas Eve, since I usually worked that holiday.

Since going vegetarian, I did not feel the need to have Turkey this year, but afterwards, I was craving a turkey sandwich...had one and did not enjoy it.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve!

Traditional meal for Cubans on Christmas Eve is roasted pork (with great marinade), black beans, rice, plantains, yucca, flan, bread. I was debating on whether or not I would sample the pork. Back and forth I went. But when I sat down to dinner I could not resist the temptation. The pork went on the plate. It was not all that great. Either it was not cooked as good in years past, or I was just not feeling it any longer.

My husband had some as well. Even though he recently gave up red meat, he still tried the pork this year. Well, low and behold, both of us are regretting it now. We have been visiting the bathroom waaaay too much.

We have now both pledged to swear off of pork, no matter what anyone says.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Veg-Head Three Bean Chili

This recipe was made for me when I came home from back surgery this past summer. She made it as it was, but slacked off on the spice. She had no idea on how much spice we did or did not like. Little did she know that my husband and daughters middle name is 'hot sauce'. With that said, she snagged it from Rachael Ray and man, let me tell you, this chili is to die for. So set your slow cookers to high, and let this puppy cook.

2T olive or vegetable oil
1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup pale beer or vegetable broth (we used beer, we don't drink it so why not cook with it)
1 (32 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (It does make a difference, but use what you have)
1 (14 ounce) can black beans (I usually have some cooked in the frig already)
1 (14 ounce) can dark red kidney beans (Same as above)
1T ground cumin
2T chili powder
1T hot sauce (This is where I toned it down. You can always add hotness, but you can't take it away)
1t sea salt
1 cup spicy vegetarian refried beans (Again we had homemade ready to go)
Over medium heat, add oil to a deep pot and combine onions, peppers, and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes to soften vegetables. Deglaze pan with beer or broth, add tomatoes, black beans, red kidney beans, and stirring to combine.

Season chili with cumin, chili powder, hot sauce, and salt. Thicken chili by stirring in refried beans. Simmer over low heat about 5-10 minutes longer, then serve up bowl,s of chili and top with shredded cheese, scallions, and tomatoes.

Shredded cheese
Chopped scallions
Diced fresh tomatoes
Blue and or red corn tortilla chips or black bean tortilla chips for dipping

This was to die for. And if I had to have a poster child recipe for chili, this would be it. We love chili in this house and we needed to change nothing except tone down the spice a bit, but other than that you are AOK! Make this one, you will not regret it!!!!!!!

P.S. Thank you Crystal

I Reached 100

Wow! I cannot believe that I have that much to say about food, cooking and health. But it just goes to show you, when you are passionate about something you will want to tell the world. And luckily we live in the 21st century and have thee Internet.

I want to thank all of you who have left comments and have blogs that I follow or just frequent. Thanks to the blogging world, My daughter and I now at least once a week, try a new dish. When just a few months ago we were struggling to get a complete dinner on the table (Not really, but they are much better and more colorful now).

With my joining the vegetarian world, my tastes have expanded and experimented with flavors I would never have combined on my own. So think you to all you lovely men and women who are out there changing the world, one post at a time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Am Loved

Well that's a given, because I am a good cook. But there is another reason for my being loved. Yes, I am going to tell you. Silk Soy products has coffee creamer, but that is not the why I am loved part. Here it comes.....wait for it. Silk Soy Creamer comes in flavors. Did you hear that? It comes in FLAVORS! I am officially in heaven.

Now, I am not the coffee hound many people are. In fact I only have 2 cups and only in the morning and would easily spend mega money on coffee (If my finances allowed) just to drink in(Literally and figuratively) the aroma of great beans. But since I am stuck with buying cheap coffee, I can now pretend at least, that I am drinking Fanny bean coffee, when in fact Silk is the one getting me through each and every morning.

I am not here to sell you on soy products. For we use a variety of dairy alternatives, such as soy, almond and anything else we so choose to try. But this gives me a chance to stay away from dairy and it is all that much easier. So go, enjoy coffee once again

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Macaroni Wing It Thing

I am not a wing it person...sorry River, but I am now. But every once and a blue moon something tickles my fancy and Viola, I have a dish on the table. It is never when I am under pressure, just the opposite in fact. I do best when I have mucho time to think of things to cook.

Yesterday just such a day. I had been cooking beans by the bucketfuls...literally. And I had three different beans in the frig already cooked and ready to pounce into action to make that perfect dish. Whether it be a last minute necessity or a planned sou, salad or side dish. They were there for the taking. I had black beans, navy beans and chick peas. Well I was thinking of what to do with the left overs in ,y frig before they hit the garbage, which I try not to let happen, and we are getting better at using up most, if not all of our leftovers.

1/2 box 16 ounces of elbow macaroni
2-3T olive oil
1/2 large can whole tomatoes, chopped up, with juice
2-4 cloves garlic, almost minced
1/4-1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup cooked black beans, or any bean of choice, but black beans look so good
8 veggie hot dogs chopped into bite-sized pieces
1-2 cups broccoli florets (optional)
Cook elbows to directions on box. While elbows are cooking heat oil in large cooking pot. Add onions and garlic. Soften but do not burn garlic. Add chopped hotdogs until a slight brown, then add broccoli until there is still quite a crunch. Then add tomatoes, beans and stir everything until mixed. Once macaroni is cooked, drain and add to mixture.

I season my mixture with Paula Deen's House Seasoning. I don't leave home without it. Mix it until it heats through and serve with a salad and bread. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot Stuff

Well, if you are a sissy when it comes to spice, stop reading right now, tuck your tail and head back under your rock. This is not for the faint of spice. Bring on the Tabasco, or at least the peppers that make up the Tabasco sauce. We here in this house love Mexican food. But not the kind that you get frorm Taco Bell (stinks finger down throat), or even the kind of food you find in any American styled Mexican restaurants. You have to remember that most ethnic restaurants have strayed so far from what is cooked in their country, that if you went to said country and started eating the native cuisine, you would say, "Hey, this is not what I eat back home!" Duh, ya think?

With that said, we can easily vegetize Mexican food which is analogous to anything meat. But for those of you who are venturing outside your meat eating box and think Mexican food cannot be tasty unless there is a dead animal on the plate. Think again. And it could be just as tasty with a bit of preparation.

You will have to modify your main dish. For those who are not willing to let go of the meat just yet, how about trying a lower fat cut of meat, perhaps some lean poultry or even some fish. Step away from the beef. Now if you are brave enough to lose the meat, then you can easily step up your dish with beans. And and all kinds of beans. But there are a select few that are paralleled with Mexican food, such as black beans, pinto beans, red beans, kidney beans. But don't feel compelled to eat only those style of beans. Go outside your box. If lentils is your cup of tea, then by all means use them where the meat used to be.

Step away from the refried beans, unless you plan on making them yourself, which, trust me, is easy schmeazy. I will post our homemade recipe as soon as I am done with this post. So sit tight, recipe forthcoming. But, if you still cannot find the time to make your own, read the labels and opt for a lower fat version or even a vegetarian style canned refried bean and spice away if you feel the need.

With so many meat analogs, you can easily add veggie ground beef, chik strips, fake beef strips, or just add more beans. It is way easier to eliminate meat than you might think.

Go easy on the cheese. I myself never buy low-fat or fat free, I just sprinkle lightly. I have so much other flavors going on that the cheese element is not a necessity. Remember, when you cut back on your fat (which is flavor) you most definitely have to add more spice. That is the plain and simple truth.

When choosing a side dish, try and choose whole grains...duh!. They pack more fiber and more nutrition.

Pile on the homemade salsa. You notice I did not say jarred salsa. Why? Preservatives. In a matter of minutes you can whip up a bowl of salsa and you can customize it to your families liking. Hot, spicy, sweet, mild, the list is endless.

Lose the sour cream and slather on the guacamole. Again you can add anything and everything or nothing to this simplest of dishes. Have avocado, will travel.

Use brown rice. Now this one was a toughy for me. I can eat rice until I turn into a grain of rice. Did I mention that I love rice. In any shape or form. So when I made the decision to eat better, I knew I had to lose the white rice and head down the brown aisle. Look what brown can do for you!

Hah! Make your own tortillas. This is great. While these puppies are baking, you can be preparing your meal. How easy is that? Cut up some flour or corn tortillas into triangles, set your oven to 400 degrees, and place your tray of chips, sprayed with some olive or canola oil into a totally heated oven. Bada boom bada bing. There you have it, chips that were not fried.

You can now walk confidently into any supermarket and put your nose up in the air when you see those prepackaged things for a Mexican dinner. Keep on walking and do your body a favor and make it yourself.