What I Ate Wednesday #137


Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #2

It’s time for What I Ate Wednesday #137! Enjoy!

Quinoa, zucchini, avocado, and Cajun seasoning.

Quinoa, green lentils, carrots, zucchini, and taco seasoning.

A Spicy Vegan Chili Burger on a whole wheat bun with Daiya Jack Wedge, hummus, Sriracha, and green leaf lettuce. With my Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw.

Green leaf lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, fresh ground pepper, balsamic vinaigrette, and a crumbled veggie burger.

Toasted Silver Hills Squirelly Bread with avocado tossed in lemon juice, hummus, Sriracha, green leaf lettuce, and a crumbled mini Spicy Vegan Chili Burger. With a side of cucumber with fresh ground black pepper.

Cooked short grain brown rice, defrosted frozen blueberries, coconut sugar, cinnamon, unsweetened almond milk. Warmed up.

You May Also Enjoy:
What I Ate Wednesday #136 – Vegan In Victoria
What I Ate Wednesday #130
What I Ate Wednesday #121

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Jalapeño Avocado Sauce

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #9

Better With Veggies

If you’ve tried Angela’s Creamy Avocado Pasta, or seen my post about it then it’s very easy to see where the idea for this sauce came from. I needed a quick sauce to pair with some zucchini noodles and had some jalapeños on hand, in the hopes that I’d come up with something for Meatless Monday A-Z hosted by Better With Veggies (which I’ve missed every single week of so far).

This sauce is super quick and simple to throw together and is really good! Fantastically creamy from the avocado, with the bright spicy flavour combo of lime and jalapeño. And don’t run away if you don’t like spicy foods! Just use two jalapeños instead of one, and leave out all of the seeds and ribs. You’ll get the flavour, without the heat!

Creamy Jalapeño Avocado Sauce (Yeilds 1/2 – 2/3 cup sauce)
Flesh of 1 ripe avocado
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
1 jalapeño, diced (the more seeds and ribs you leave in the spicier your sauce will be)
1/8 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor (use a small one or a small bowl) and blend thoroughly. The lime juice will stop the sauce from browning, so in a sealed container this will keep in the fridge for at least a few days. The liquid may separate a bit, so just stir it before using.

Nutritional Information (approximately 1/3 of the recipe): 88 calories, 6g carbs, 8g (healthy) fats, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 188mg sodium.

I enjoyed this sauce a couple times tossed with zucchini noodles and topped with a scoop of Smoked Paprika Lentils, which I adapted from The Best Darn Lentils from Jae Steele‘s book Ripe From Around Here. I have this book on loan from the library and am loving it so far. I really don’t want to give it back. The recipes I’ve tried have been great and these really are the best lentils (if you are wondering, the flavour is heavily smoked paprika based)! So good I may have eaten them by themselves a couple times! I enjoyed them all week long on this pasta, in wraps, on a baked yam, and on salads. I have a really difficult time following recipes without changing a bunch of things, so I know it’s a great cookbook when I want to try a lot of the recipes without changing anything.

For the zucchini noodles, I used my new Julienne Peeler. I never even knew these peelers existed until I read Angela’s post about them. I looked for one next time I was in a cooking store and was surprised to find a couple amongst all the kitchen utensils and gadgets. Mine is OXO brand. I love how easy this little gadget makes it to make noodles out of vegetables. My zucchini intake has definitely risen quite a bit since I bought my julienne peeler! While you can eat the noodles raw, I find them a little difficult to eat, because they are really straight. You can solve this problem by sautéing them just until they soften up.

I also ate the last bit of this Jalapeno Avocado Sauce spread on some Black Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuits. Yum!

You May Also Enjoy:
Creamy Avocado Pasta, Avocado Toast with Balsamic Vinegar, or Southwest Confetti Quinoa Salad

What I Ate Wednesday #87 & Fitness Update

So, apparently I can no longer remember to take photos of my food for an entire day anymore. I totally missed last week’s WIAW and forgot to take photos for today’s. I do have some food for you though, it just comes in the form of random meals I’ve had over the past two weeks. Enjoy!

BBQ dinner with the (omnivore) family: a baked potato with Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti, grilled Soyganic Smoked Tofu with some spicy BBQ sauce, corn on the cob (so good all it needed was a bit of pepper)

Spinach Salad: 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped red pepper, 1/8 cup chopped carrot, 1 tbsp hemp hearts, crumbled Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti, diced Soyganic Smoked Tofu (sautéed briefly in a pan then splashed with some balsamic vinegar), 1 tbsp cranberry orange vinaigrette. This was so good I ate almost the exact same thing two days in a row!

Amy’s California Burger on a whole wheat bun w/ red pepper hummus, Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti, and romaine lettuce. With some baby dill pickles.

A Silver Hills Rappleberry Bagel with Plain Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, fresh ground black pepper, and some mini carrots.

A Yves Veggie Chicken Burger sautéed with a few crimini mushrooms and fresh parsley with romaine lettuce and cucumber. All sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes.

Green Quinoa Bowl: Spinach Herb Quinoa*, half an avocado mashed with lemon juice,  zucchini cut with my new julienne peeler, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Steamed edamame with sea salt, roasted red pepper hummus with Sriracha mixed in, Ryvita Sesame Crispbread.

Sautéed Asparagus Salad: green leaf lettuce, cucumber, black olives, dried cranberries, Tahini Sauce*, crushed red pepper flakes, and sautéed asparagus slices (just until green intensifies)

*Recipes, and more photos and info are coming soon for these!

The theme for this month’s WIAW is ‘Fall into Good Habits’ and two weeks ago in my WIAW #85 post I talked about how in an attempt to start exercising regularly again, eat better, and lose a bit of weight I’ve started using My Fitness Pal.

So far things are going pretty good. I have been consistently logging my food, water, and exercise in My Fitness Pal for over two weeks now and it is definitely helping me to be more aware of what I am eating and make some wiser choices (despite all the faux-cheese featuring meals pictured above). Also, I’m really loving the water counter in the program, as I can really easily keep track of how much water I am drinking. While I never really kept track of my water intake before, I know that in the two weeks since I started using this program, I am definitely drinking a lot more water than I used to.

As for exercise, in the past two weeks I’ve done three good 40-55 minute workouts on the Wii Fit, done the Level 1 Workout from the Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD (its aerobics all based on yoga poses) three times, and walked to or from work (a 35-min brisk walk) about five times. Plus I’m back to 40 hour weeks at work, which means a 15 minute walk to and from (if I take the bus part way), and being on my feet and lightly active for 7 1/2 hours a day.

In the past 2 1/2 weeks I’ve lost 2.5 pounds and am still feeling motivated to stick with my goals!

Bye for now! I hope everyone has a lovely day!

Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

I’ve seen a lot of recipes, both online and in cookbooks, for various types of peanut soups and stews but I could never decide which one to make. So I made my own. This is my version. This soup has a mild curry flavour, and is super creamy from the peanut butter and coconut milk, without feeling too heavy. This was a spur of the moment soup and I used whatever vegetables I had on hand. I really love the textures of the eggplant and zucchini in this, but please feel free to substitute other vegetables for the bell pepper. Some carrots and peas might be really good. Also, if you would like a spicier soup, just up the curry powder and/or the ground cayenne.

Did I mention I absolutely love the golden yellow colour of this? I really do!

Creamy Peanut Vegetable Soup
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
A 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 tbsp peanut or olive oil
2 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (2 cups)
2 med bell peppers, diced into 1/4 inch pieces (2 cups)
1 398ml can chickpeas
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 400ml can coconut milk
1/4 cup split red lentils, rinsed and picked through
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Cut up eggplant before prepping the other ingredients. Put it in a colander over a bowl or sink, mixed with 1 tsp of salt. Let this sit while you are prepping the other ingredients (about 20 minutes).

Heat a large pot with oil on medium heat. Add in ginger, garlic, and onion and sauté a few minutes, until onions are softened. Add in all of the spices (coriander, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, curry powder, paprika) and sauté for another minute, stirring frequently. Now add in the zucchini, peppers, and chickpeas. Rinse eggplant thoroughly with water and add to pot. Give everything a good stir.

Now add the broth or water, coconut milk, and lentils. Stir everything together, cover, and increase heat to bring to a boil. Let boil gently for 3 minutes, then reduce to med-low heat.

In a separate bowl, mix until smooth, the peanut butter and a ladle of the hot liquid from the soup. Stir peanut butter mixture back into pot. Cover pot and let simmer on med-low heat for 35-45 minutes, until lentils have disappeared and eggplant is tender. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

I have to tell you, I had absolutely no problem eating this soup 4 days in a row!

This post has been entered Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Shelby at Everyday Vegan Girl, Gabby at Veggie Nook, and Carrie at Carrie On Vegan.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Curried Lentil Soup, Spiced Tropical Smoothie, or Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread

Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread

Yes. Another zucchini bread recipe. I know there are a gazillion flooding blogs these days, and during every zucchini season. But one thing I have not seen is a quick healthy vegan Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread.

Despite hot summer weather I still find myself wanting warm, cozy, spiced bake goods. So, instead of relying on something apple or pumpkin based (as I did all winter) I decided to try something with zucchini, by adapting a couple different zucchini bread recipes together and then adding chai spices. I’m all for loading my baked goods with lots of fruit and veggies, especially when they are in season locally and really cheap!

This is not strongly spiced bread. The flavour is subtle at first, but it builds up. This moist bread is great on its own, or with a bit of vegan margarine (Earth Balance or Becel). It also freezes really well. And yes, as with most zucchini bread, you can see the zucchini (especially if you don’t peel it) but you will NOT taste it. Promise.

Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread
Makes 1 large loaf.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sorghum flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups shredded zucchini (you don’t have to peel it)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup water or unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2-3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar) [depending on how sweet you would like it]
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease a large loaf pan. In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a smaller bowl stir together the zucchini, oil, apple sauce, water or milk, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.

Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients, along with walnuts (if using). Stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes. Enjoy!

Both the white sorghum flour and the chickpea flour could be replaced with all purpose flour or a different flour of your choice. The idea is to use a lighter flour that will balance the heavier whole wheat flour.
There are a lot of spices in this recipe. Leaving out one or two of these spices won’t result in the same chai flavour, but would most likely still taste really good. Use your own discretion.

Nutritional Info for 1/12 of this recipe (with 1/2 cup coconut sugar, and walnuts): 215 calories, 19g carbs, 11g fat, 5g protein, 8g sugar, 260mg sodium.

This recipe has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #10.

the veggie nook

Are you scared of zucchini bread like I used to be?
Of course, when I was younger I thought the idea of putting shredded zucchini in a bread or muffin was crazy. And gross. So I avoided it for a long time. Then a couple of years ago, in the spirit of healthy baking, I tried making a zucchini bread and it really didn’t work! I don’t know what quite went wrong but it was dense and just really not good. So I once again avoided it until this summer, when I tried my hand at this Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Loaf and fell in love! I use whole grain flours and don’t add chopped chocolate but other than that the recipe is perfect as is! It’s very moist and chocolatey, tasting really bad for you, but actually not too bad at all!

Do you have a great zucchini bread recipe you’d like to share?

Do you have a great tea-inspired (chai or otherwise) recipe you’d like to share?

What I Ate Wednesday #80 & New Daiya Wedges

2 Mini Tofu Frittatas*
1 slice Silver Hills toast w/ Crofters Raspberry Jam
Chilled chai tea w/ unsweetened soy milk & liquid stevia

4 Veggie Patch Falafel Chickpea Balls in a whole wheat wrap w/ Vegenaise, Sriracha, cucumber, romaine lettuce, & a sprinkle of lemon juice
Lemon water

1 slice Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread w/ Vegan Becel
Grande soy latte

Vegan Mac & Cheese* (from the Peas and Thank You cookbook) & steamed green beans w/ black pepper & Almesan
Orange juice

I’ve tried quite a few different recipes for vegan mac & cheese, trying to stick with ones that don’t use bought vegan cheese (like this one does), but this was honestly the best vegan mac & cheese I’ve ever had!

I think the main reason this was so incredibly good was  that I used the new Daiya Cheddar Style Wedge which I happened to stumble across for the first time while I was craving mac & cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the Daiya shreds, but I would never eat them when not melted. The wedge style cheese is much richer and creamier than the shreds, and definitely worth eating as is! I will definitely be trying the other flavours soon!

The next day I topped the leftover macaroni with a breadcrumb topping and heated it in the oven. So good even my cheese-loving omnivore sister devoured hers!

Hot cocoa
Almonds & walnuts

And a few other things I’ve been eating in the past 2 weeks:

From top left to right:
1) McCain Xtra Crispy Spicy Fries. Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Fingers, cucumbers w/ black pepper, roasted red pepper dip (Vegenaise, Casa Terra Smokey Pepper Spread, lemon juice)
2) Amy’s Black Bean Vegetable Soup w/ a slice of Silver Hills Bread, toasted w/ Earth Balance
3) A whole wheat wrap w/ rice/bean/vegetable mixture (left over from when I made burritos for the freezer), cucumber, lettuce, and Chipotle Lime Cashew Cream
4 & 5) Lunch & dessert from Organic Connections Cafe in White Rock, BC. Spicy Nut and Seed Burger, signature salad, and an Alive Onion Cracker. Lemon Cheesecake.
6) Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup and a slice of Chai Spiced Zucchini Bread.

*Sorry I’m a little (or a lot) behind in my posting. More info, recipes, and photos on these are coming soon.

Well, wraps and chilled tea are definitely summer staples but the rest is really just using up whatever supplies I have in my freezer and pantry along with slim amounts of produce. Things have been way too crazy around here to even go grocery shopping.

Have you tried the Daiya wedges yet? What did you think?

Do you have a favourite recipe using Daiya or a different vegan cheese product?

Curried Lentil Soup & Cooking for the Freezer

I wouldn’t say that I like my food really spicy (I prefer to still be able to taste my food under the layer heat), but I do love spices and spiciness! Any breakfast scramble (tofu or veggies) isn’t complete without Cajun seasoning and any mention or thought of curry leaves me practically drooling and unable to think of anything else. So, when my sister and I were brainstorming what kind of soup to make on our first day of baking/cooking for our freezers – more on that later – my first thought, especially once I realized I wanted an easy lentil based soup, was curry. The following Curried Lentil Soup is what we came up with. I used a Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry recipe from Veganomicon (page 186) that I had made before as a soup for an idea of the method, measurements, and spices to use, but used our own mix of lentils and vegetables to create a very different soup.

Curried Lentil Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece ginger, minced
1 large shallot, diced
1 cup chopped carrot
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced potato
3 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp each: turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander
3/4 cup red split lentils
3/4 cup green/brown lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt (omit if using store-bought vegetable broth)

Set out all of the ingredients and chop the vegetables. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot, garlic, and ginger for a couple of minutes, until tender. (You might notice this recipe doesn’t have any onions in it. That is because I really don’t like them and besides shallots and small amounts of dehydrated onion I do not cook with them. If you want to add onions to this soup, add them first, sauté until translucent, and then add the shallot, garlic, and ginger.) Add the spices and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add carrots, celery, potato, and lentils (after sorting and rinsing them). Slowly pour in vegetable broth and water. Cover the pot, raise the heat to high, and boil for 1 minute. Stir, then cover the pot again, lower heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the potatoes and lentils are done, they may need a little more time. When the potatoes and lentils are cooked then your soup is done. Cover and let sit about 15 minutes before serving, to let the flavours meld.

I like this soup as is, with a piece of toasted whole grain bread (my favourite is Silver Hills) or served over brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

As I mentioned earlier, this was one of the things that my sister Jem and I made on our first designated day of baking and cooking for both of our freezers. In addition to this Curried Lentil Soup, we also made sun-dried tomato pesto based on this one from Oh She Glows (we froze it in ice-cube trays), chocolate zucchini loaf based on this recipe, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking (we baked 1 tray full and then made 2 rolls of the dough for the freezer), blueberry almond waffles adapted from this recipe, and falafel burgers from The Vegan Table. Half of everything went to me and the other half is for Jem and her fiancé. Our intention was to make a bunch of things that we could both have in our freezers for quick meals and snacks later on. Our day was very successful and we have plans to make this a monthly (or around there) tradition. We have so many ideas of things we want to make!

Our pesto cubes.

Our falafel burgers.

 Making extras for the freezer is something I already do, but making a day of it together was actually Jem’s idea. This gives us a day together, and we figure that it will help get us creative, eat less processed foods, and save some money. It really is those times when you just don’t feel like cooking, or have the time, that it is so easy to reach for a can or box of something way too processed, or to eat out.

What I really love about doing this is that while everything we make will be vegan, or vegetarian if Jem adds cheese to her half of something, neither Jem nor her fiancé are vegan! They are both omnivores and pretty heavy meat-eaters. However, my sister has always been open to trying my vegan and vegetarian food, and is really interested in eating healthier and trying new things. It always makes me happy to get people interested in vegan food and I love sharing my discoveries with her. I think we already have our menu planned out for July’s For the Freezer Day and we are both looking forward to it!

Do you like spicy food? If so, what is your favourite heat-inducing ingredient?
My favourite is chipotle! I use chipotle hot sauce, chipotle chile powder, and canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. I’m also addicted to Cajun seasoning. I have one now that I’m not sure is vegan. It is going to run out very soon and then I’m going to have to create my own, which I’m looking forward to.

Do you have a favourite vegan soup recipe?

Do you make extras for the freezer? Or cook/bake anything specifically to have on hand in the freezer?
I always have homemade vegetable broth and applesauce in the freezer. Since I’m baking mostly for one, I usually put half of each loaf, muffin, and bar recipe in the freezer for a month or two later. Also, I’ve been trying to cook pots of beans on days when I’m at home in order to keep some handy in the freezer. I’m trying to use more dry beans and less canned ones and I find this is helping.

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables & Couscous Salad

Recently, on a rare sunny day (it’s June, but you really wouldn’t know it from the weather we’ve been having), we decided to have grilled kabobs for our family dinner. Grilled kabobs are something we usually only do once or twice each summer, and I was really looking forward to all the grilled vegetables! So much so that I volunteered to take care of the vegetable kabobs and let the meat-eaters (aka: everyone except me) handle the other stuff.

For the vegetables I used white mushrooms, zucchini, and a few different colours of bell peppers. We also did some mini potatoes, separate from the other veggies. I also got fresh oregano, garlic, and a couple of lemons, visualizing a greek/mediterranean flavoured marinade. The following is what I came up with. Sorry for the lack of measurements but I just threw everything into the bowl and adjusted until it tasted right to me. Also, the photos of the kabobs are from before they were grilled. I didn’t get a chance to take any afterwards.

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
Juice of two lemons
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use a microplane)
Fresh oregano
Fresh ground black pepper
Sea salt
Dried parsley, dill, thyme, & italian seasoning
1 tsp red chill flakes

Mix all ingredients together in large shallow container. Add cut up vegetables and toss until they are all well coated. Cover and let marinade it fridge for 1-3 hours. We then put the vegetable pieces on skewers and grill them. Reserve the marinade if your interested in making my Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad, or use it as a salad dressing on your own salad.

Everyone loved these grilled vegetables and I loved the zucchini this way, even though it is not one of my favourite vegetables. Luckily, we had made tonnes of food so there was enough leftover grilled vegetables for me to make this salad.

Before I remembered to add the chickpeas.

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 1/2 cups water
about 1-2 cups mixed grilled vegetables*
1 tsp capers, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 400 ml can chickpeas
1/4-1/2 cup reserved Mediterranean Marinade*
* I used the grilled vegetables and marinade from my Mediterranean Veggie Kabobs, but this same idea would probably work with your favourite grilled vegetables and marinade. 

Put about 2 cups of water in a kettle to boil. In the meantime, chop up the grilled vegetables into bite-sized pieces and put them into a large glass container (preferably one that has a lid) with the dry couscous, capers, lemon juice, and chickpeas. If you don’t have suitable glass container you can use a large pot or bowl and transfer the salad to a sealable container later. When the water boils measure out 1 1/2 cups and add the other ingredients along with 1/4 cup of the marinade. Cover and let sit 10 minutes. Uncover, stir until well combined, and add more marinade if you want to. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Enjoy! 

I also enjoyed this salad scooped on top of some iceberg lettuce and chopped cucumber, and tossed with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.

Do you have a favourite vegetable (or other vegan food) to grill?

Are you the only vegetarian or vegan in a family of omnivores?