Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taco Night!

I cannot help my ridiculous cuteness

So, it's nearing the end of the week & I'm tired & dragging & want an easy option for dinner - enter Taco NIght! One of our favorite nights around here! I cook up some Yves ground soy meat with hot sauce & seasonings, make a big batch of refried beans, chop up lettuce, red onion & avocado, shred some vegan cheese & put out salsa & vegan sour cream, not to mention, sprouted grain tortillas & we all GO TO TOWN! It's quick, it's easy & it's fairly healthy (minus the processed ground soy meat but it is delicious every so often - I can't be a perfect Vegan ALL the time!).

Spices/Flavorings for taco "meat"
Taco "meat" cooking in the pan

The "Spread"
Worn out Vegan Mama about to devour the spread! & One should ALWAYS...ALWAYS cook while drinking champagne! Ooo la la!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Passage to India

Night before last (yes. I KNOW, I'm a slacker! but, sheeesh, give a gal a break. I've got three kids, a needy dog & even needier husband - both may as well be my other 2 kids!), it was dinner with an Indian flare! I was super excited! Delicious samosas & a new dish I was trying out, Mujaddara (a red lentil & rice dish) were on the menu. I opted for Mujaddara over my usual favorite Massur Dal with Carrot Soup. I was looking forward to venturing out. Uhhh, in a word, MISTAKE. Granted, the Mujaddara recipe was NOT my own & though I followed it to the letter & i have been cooking basically since before i could walk, this turned out AWFUL! I was super disappointed because I tend to love anything that has lentils & rice! But this dish was terrible! The lentils were overcooked & mushy, the rice was undercooked - not a pleasant combination! The only saving grace of it was my amazing samosas & the caramelized onions (which were supposed to go on top of the Mujaddara) were fantastic, as onions drowning in olive oil often are. Sooo, I'm providing the samosa recipe- which is really a culmination of several recipes I've tried over the years & finally came up with one great one! So I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do!!


-1 cup flour
-1 tbsp semolina flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 tbsp canola oil
-1/4 to 1/2 cup warm (not hot) water

1. Mix everything together in a bowl until dough starts to come together. (Start with 1/4 cup water & if you need more, add it.) 2. Knead dough for a few minutes until a nice dough forms.
3. Put the bowl with dough in a warm area (I always turn on my bottom oven & put my dough near that) & cover with a damp kitchen towel. Leave for 20 minutes to a half hour while you prep the filling!

-3 to 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, chopped, cubed (listen, Yukons are my absolute fav but if you can't get your hands on them, you can easily use Russet or geez, sweet potatoes would be different & delicious too! Let me know if you use them & how they turned out! Or I will try that next time & let you know!)
-1/2 package frozen petite peas (approx. 1/2 cup - or more if adore peas like me! Face it, I like everything!!)
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-sea salt to your personal taste
-cayenne pepper to your personal taste (Personally, I make the mixture without the cayenne first & put some aside for the kids samosas, then I add cayenne to the mixture for the adult samosas)
-tiny pinch of Garam Masala
-1/2 - 1 tsp fresh finely chopped parsley (or dried if you prefer)

-Vegetable (or other neutral) oil

1. Place potatoes in medium sized pot, cover with cold water & bring to a boil, turn down heat to a simmer, cover & cook until potatoes are tender but not falling apart tender, about 10 minutes.

2. Cook peas in separate small pot - cover with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer 3 minutes, remove from heat, cover & let sit 2 minutes. Drain.

3. When potatoes are done, drain then put in a mixing bowl & add spices & mash lightly, letting potatoes still have texture. Add peas & parsley & mix lightly until combined. Allow mixture to cool.

Now for the fun part.....

4. Take 2 tbsp water & 1 tbsp flour & make a paste in a small bowl OR get a small bowl of water - this is to adhere the samosas. Set next to your work space.

5. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface.

6. Divide the dough into 8 fairly equal parts & make into balls.

7. Now cut balls in half (oh, dear, do NOT let your men see this direction!)

8. Roll out each half into flat, fairly large circles.

9. Fill each circle with a hefty spoonful of filling.

10. Take paste or water & outline the edge of the dough circle.

11. Bring sides together & push with fingers to enclose the filling, making half moons, like wontons (A couple of mine looked more like beggar's purses but I digress).

12. Heat a large amount of oil in a large, deep pan or electric skillet - check the heat by tossing in a small piece of dough. You'll be able to tell if it's ready. Then start putting in samosas, letting them cook until they are a lovely golden brown color on all sides. Or for a lower fat version, heat your oven to 425 & bake for about 20 minutes. Both versions taste AWESOME!

Yummity yum yum!!

Sidenote: Cover the samosas-in-waiting with your damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out while they wait in line to be fried.

Here's a mixture of the mushy non-yumminess

Next Indian NIght, Massur Dal! You will praise me for THAT recipe!

Peace to all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The boys enjoying their delicious soup & Vegan grilled cheese!

Who loves her beets!?!

Still NEW to me!

Ok to view last night's meal recipe, scroll down to where it says Last NIght's Velvety Squash Surprise Soup & start there! I mixed up the two entries & put them backwards & I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to fix it! If you know how, please let me know! Geesh I am so NEW!!
5. Once the potatoes are tender & ready, dump in the cauliflower & stir for a few seconds. At this point, I love to take out a small cup of the veggies in free form with the broth & eat it. It's refreshing & delicious! Now remove the soup from the heat.

6. In small bathes, blend soup in your blender. Return puree into a new stockpot on the stove. (Before I vaporize the veggies completely, I like to take 1 - 2 cups of chopped, cooked veggies & set them aside.) Heat the pureed soup over medium low heat, add in the unblended veggies for awesome texture (or not if your children are frightened by them!).

7. Once the soup is heated, add in the nutritional yeast to your liking & combine well. I like to add salt & pepper individually since the salt tends to get swallowed up so easily - it's easy to over salt this dish (at least for me). The seasonings are super simple & PERFECT in this soup! IMPORTANT NOTE: This soup gets major hot spots when its reheating & pureed on the stove - watch out for your arms & face! I've been hit with boiling hot soup several times over & it's not fun!


Once soup is reheating on the stove, spread some delicious Earth Balance on two pieces of bread & toss in a grill pan or saute pan over medium to medium high heat. After a couple of minutes add some vegan cheese slices, we like Vegan Rice Slices American. Let the cheese get warmed then put the bread together & form your sandwich. Heat through for a few more minutes. Serve hot with soup & die happy!


Last Night's Velvety Squash Surprise Soup with Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This soup is my freaking addiction! It is smooth, creamy, luscious, extravagent & incredibly good for you - could it be sinful?! You tell me! The surprise is the cauliflower at the end & that blended goodness of all the vegetables together in perfect harmony...

-4 good sized Yukon Gold potatoes, coarsely chopped (they make a little longer to soften but they are worth the wait)
-3 large carrots or 4 - 5 smaller carrots, coarsely chopped
-2 - 3 small zucchini, coarsely chopped
-2 - 3 small summer squash, coarsely chopped
- 1 large sweet Maui onion or 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
-1 - 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic (depending on your garlic preference. Personally, I'm Italian garlic whore, so my motto is: The more the better)
-2 tbsp olive oil (or 1 if you want this to be slightly lower in fat; though it is relatively low in fat - check out nutritional info at the
end of the recipe)
1 large head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
-3 - 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
-sea salt & pepper to taste

Start with ONLY the good stuff!!

1. Prep first!! Chop the potatoes then soak them in a bowl of water. Followed by chopping the carrots, squash, then onion.

2. Heat a large stockpot over medium to medium high heat & add the olive oil. Throw in your yummy onion & sautee, constantly stirring & stirring - you want the onion to get soft, not to brown, which should take approximately 8 to 10 minutes. (I always add a little extra onion only because i adore picking it out as it cook & devouring it! Feel free to do the same! I recommend it!) Add the garlic & cook until garlic is fragrant, which is, like 30 seconds to 1 minute.

3. Toss in your potatoes (after they've been drained, of course), carrots, both squashes & 7 - 8 cups of water. I prefer 7 because then it's a bit thicker but if you like a bit more broth, go for 7- either way is fine. Also, if you like, you can add a bit of vegetable bouillon, or your own stock, but try this recipe first with plain water. It's incredible how the cooking water soaks up the vitamins & minerals from the veggies & the simple great taste is so lovely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down & simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are so tender they fall apart to the touch. They need to be tender or the soup will be ooey gooey when you puree!

4. While magic is happening in that stockpot, steam the cauliflower until it, too, is extremely tender. Put aside & let cool. Believe me, it will take some time for those potatoes to become as soft as you need them to be! This is a great time to clean the dishes you have already used, your workspace, set the table, feed or change a screaming child, etc!

Skinny Vegan Mama after the stiff cocktail

still saddened by loss but better equipped to handle it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So I made a fantastic & yummy dinner & took pics & the whole shebang & I hooked up my phone to my desktop & transferred not only the pics from tonight's dinner but 3 months of pics & videos of my kids & the iPhoto application "unexpectedly quit" & erased ALL my photos & videos. I WANT TO DIE. I just started bawling. Strangely, the photos of dinner are still on my phone (I'm guessing because they weren't taken with the normal camera but an app called hipstamatic). So those pics were saved but I still lost 230 photos of my kids who are growing by the second! Months of memories I cannot EVER get back. It's like someone wants me to suffer greatly! I am so so so so bummed. :( So I will post tonight's dinner tomorrow or I will do it after I've calmed down & do not feel like bashing in my computer & had a ridiculously stiff cocktail.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A happy Kingston Elvis & his best friend, Chica

My SUPER HOT hubby & darling boy Kingston goofing around
PS. The onion broth looks super yellow in the pic but there is NO egg in it! & the white is gorgeous, perfect, yummy Maui onion slices. Mmmmmmm It is 1000% Vegan! Go VegHeads!
So here it is. The whole meal! It is so easy & so delicious! So often simplicity is pure magic.