Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chickpea Mania!

The last time I was at the B&D, I found bags of dried chickpeas and black beans for 30 cents each. ORGANIC. What would you have done? I went crazy. I don't know how many I took, but I had to store them in the garage in a bag.

The other day Garrett was begging me for a chickpea salad sandwich. This kid is not even vegetarian (although I think he will be one day; he gets really upset when we see the meat at the grocery store). I told him I was out of canned chickpeas, and his reply was, "Well then I'm not eating ANYTHING for supper!"

Wow! I pulled out a bag of dry chickpeas and soaked them overnight. Yesterday I cooked them a while and I got enough for a large batch of chickpea salad, and two freezer bags full for some other time. All organic, all for 30 cents. Am I awesome, or what?

Today I made the chickpea salad, and we had sandwiches for supper with fresh spinach and alfalfa sprouts. The kids insist on the sprouts. Well, not Drew, he wouldn't eat a sprout if his life depended on it. But at least there is hope for the other two.

This is the recipe that I use for these unbelievable sandwiches. It's not my own recipe.

1 can or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, mashed
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1 large dill pickle, chopped
1-2 green onions, chopped (or red onion)
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
black pepper to taste

Mix it up. Pile it high one some good whole wheat bread, with spinach and sprouts. Eat the rest of it with a fork right out of the mixing bowl. Blog about how awesome it is. Talk about it until people are sick of hearing about it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Salty Vegan

My doctor says I need to eat more salt. I have taken this as a free pass to eat all of the tortilla chips I can possibly ever want. Last night was Mexican night; I made a layered dip with refried black beans, vegan queso, guacamole and salsa. I just finished off the last of the queso, along with Grace, and am planning on licking the bowl clean as soon as I finish this post. It's that good. Maybe I will share the recipe with you sometime. But you have to beg.

October is VeganMoFo...the Vegan Month of Food. Bloggers all over the world go crazy and try to post something vegan every day. I don't know if I will sign up. I mean, this is a pretty pathetic blog. Who is gonna care? There are thousands of awesome vegan blogs out there that are professional looking, and people that have good cameras that can actually take appetizing photos of the food they are eating. These people make up their own recipes and write cookbooks. I am, as always, a dork in a sea of people that are cooler than me. But I enjoy blogging. And eating. So I may take the challenge.

How will I get some more salt into my diet so that my blood pressure isn't so close to a dead person's? How much weight will I gain in the attempt? How can I use up those three cans of crushed pineapple? Why did I buy them in the first place? Will Grace ever stop whining? Stay tuned to find out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Pasta Goodness

Last night I was thinking about supper and thinking about the veggies in my refrigerator. I was thinking about how warm it has been, and how I should fit a few good salads in before the cold weather sets in. I went to one of my favorite recipe sites and found a recipe for pasta salad that looked good.

I used a bag of gluten free elbow macaroni made with rice and soy flour because I had bought the bag at my favorite Amish store (which will here on out be referred to as the Bent & Dent, or B&D for short) for 50 cents. The pasta was delicious. I recently splurged on a jar of Vegenaise for $4.99 plus tax, because the stuff is just that good. The Italian dressing I had was fat free, so that helped the fat content some. Other than the fat from the Vegenaise, which is expeller-pressed canola oil high in omega-3 fatty acids, the salad was pretty low fat. And ohmygodican'tstopeatingit good. Seriously. TONS of flavor. I think this will be my staple for every family picnic or potluck I ever attend. Easy peasy. I have a ton left over. I ate it for lunch today and I'm looking forward to a big bowl for supper, and most likely lunch again tomorrow. And that's okay with me. I'm copying this recipe here because I made it a bit differently, and really, who the heck is gonna know? I don't think there's anyone reading this blog anyway.

Summer Pasta Salad

12 oz pasta (your choice)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1-2 large carrots, grated
1 green or red pepper, chopped
broccoli, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup vegan mayo
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dill
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chickpeas

Cook pasta - drain and rinse well with cold water. Add the chopped veggies. Whisk together the mayo, dressing, mustard, dill, salt and pepper. Add to pasta and veggies and mix well. Mash chickpeas with a potato masher until crumbly, then add to salad, mixing well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mexican Pasta Salad

I have been eating this stuff like crazy all summer and I can't get enough. I looked at my original recipe that I found somewhere online, and realized that I don't follow it hardly at all. So that means that the recipe I make is all my own. And that means I am going to share it with you so you can enjoy the spicy goodness. My daughter Grace loves this stuff. L-O-V-E loves it.

Mexican Pasta Salad

1/2 pound pasta (I prefer something small, like little shells, but I usually use Isreali couscous - quinoa would work as well)
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles (or one can of diced tomatoes and one can chiles)
1 red pepper, diced (or mix up green, red, yellow, whatever)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
dash of salt and pepper
1-2 Hass avocados, diced

Cook the pasta. Combine rest of the ingredients except avocado. Rinse pasta with cold water, add to bowl. Stir in the avocados last. You can wait until serving the salad before adding the avocados, but they really do hold up well in this salad, even the next day. Eat, enjoy, and thank me later.

OK, I have an anecdote to share. I made this for a family picnic this summer, and I used the little shell pasta. My aunt was eating it (she loved it) and she asked me, quite honestly, how I got all those black beans inside all of the shells. It was really an accident, but I should have told her I slaved all day filling the shells with the beans to get it just right. Yeah. Cuz I got nothing but spare time...

Back to work!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Alabama Caviar

I ran across this recipe a couple of days ago. Since I was having a friend over today, I decided to give it a try. I had a bag of black eyed peas in the cupboard, so I soaked them overnight and cooked them yesterday. As usual, I forgot about them and cooked them too long and they became mushy. But whatever, they were still good. I had recently bought a package of different colored peppers so I cut them up, along with a bunch of cherry tomatoes out of my step-mom's garden. I changed a few things about the recipe - I didn't use as many beans as called for, but I still used the same amount of dressing (the balsamic vinegar and raw sugar). This was not due to some great idea or purpose, I just tend to do stupid things like that. When I halve or double a recipe, there are always a few things that don't get halved or doubled. In this case, it was just fine. I added some red onions, because you must have those. Even though the recipe doesn't call for them, the picture seems to have them in there. And I added a couple tablespoons of olive oil just for fun.

The result was beautiful, and delicious. I ate it for a salad today at lunch. When my company came over, we ate it as a dip with tortilla chips. Either way, it was so tasty and addicting and healthy (well, the chips not so much).

I think I will chill out in front of the TV tonight with a bowl of this and my bag of chips and watch a movie. I am ready for my four-day weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time for Soup

This has been the craziest summer. Technically, even though we have started school, it's still summer. But this weather sure feels like autumn. It has been chilly here, especially in the mornings. In typical Minnesota fashion, I used my heater in the van yesterday morning, then used my air conditioning in the afternoon. The kids came home yelling at me because I made them wear pants to school and it got too warm.

So last night I was in the mood for soup because I love it and I haven't made any for a few months. I made one of my faves, a curried lentil couscous soup. I found this recipe somewhere online and changed it a little and added some chopped up kale. I love how it adds color (and nutrition) to the soup. For the couscous I used the Israeli variety because I really like those little round circles of pasta. The measurements are hard for me, because I pretty much eyeball the spices. I also had to add quite a bit of water after the lentils cooked, so then I just dumped in some more spices.

Soup is really easy to make, is filling and comforting, and can be full of nutrition. Lentils are one of my favorite ways to get protein; they are just so yummy and versatile. And anything with curry powder and cumin is going to fill my house with one of my favorite aromas as well. I made a LOT of soup, and I'm the only one eating it (unfortunately), so I may freeze some and see how that works out.

Curried Lentil and Couscous Soup

2 cups lentils, rinsed
8 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup carrots, sliced or chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup couscous
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp paprika
2 or more tsp madras curry powder, depending on your tastes
1/2 tsp turmeric (no big deal if you don't have this)
1/2 tsp cumin
1-2 cups chopped kale (or any other greens)
salt to taste

Saute carrots, onions and garlic in some olive oil until tender. Add water or broth, bring to a boil. Add the lentils, couscous and spices and simmer for about a half hour or so (I really don't know, I didn't time it, just watch for the lentils and couscous to get done). Add more water if necessary. Add the kale and stir around, cooking until kale is wilted. Serve with some bread and fresh fruit and it's a perfect meal for a cool night. I put a bowl of strawberries on the table and the kids and I ate them all up with our soup.