30 March 2006

PowerHouse Treats, Vibrance & Fatness

First off, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my birthday being a wonderful day! I really appreciate all of the comments from *you know who you are* this site, as well as thank everyone around here for making March 28 a great day.

Let's get back to the birthday stuff and on to the weekly treats...

I made these last night trying to put as much nutrition into these as possible. These are more like breakfast (which I don't normally eat, ugh), a good morning snack, a light lunch maybe with some (soy) milk. I was going to use a hint of blackstrap molasses (rich in iron) but I forgot. I certainly didn't forget the rest of the 19 ingredients! It's funny, because I'll look at a package in the store and see a ton of ingredients, and quickly pass it up (or comment on how full of crap it is and make a smart-ass remark). But what you see here is 19 awesome ingredients, all whole, mostly organic and mostly raw (I melted down a few items). Everything in these treats is not only super-tasty, but has is own unique nutritional contributions.

"Leslie's PowerHouse Treats"
organic brown rice cereal puffs (like rice crispies)
rolled oats (not instant kind)
raw organic almond butter (I squeezed it but melted it down, not raw anymore)
raw organic peanut butter (same as above)
organic brown rice syrup
organic agave nectar
raw almonds (ok, I'm not going to say *organic* anymore, most items are)
raw walnuts
raw pecans
raw sunflower seeds
organic raisins
coconut, shredded
hemp seeds
flax seeds, whole
sea salt
barley sweetened chocolate chips
vanilla, have to say it... organic.

Everything is mixed together. I melted down (on super-low heat) the almond butter, peanut butter, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla and cocoa. Then I mixed up the rest of the dry ingredients and poured the hot mix over the dry. Then I stood on a step-stool (for better views, reach and method) and I mixed with all my might. And yes, with my clean bare hands.

What you see down here is one of 4 mini-treats that I've been making lately. I made these in mini glass bowls and I simply placed a pinch-full of hemp seeds at the bottom of the bowl. Then I added the "treats" mix, and pressed down. I cooled them overnight in the fridge, and when I took 'em out, unwrapped them, and turned them over, they looked like this...

Ok, ok, back to my birthday stuff. I had such a great day that it went by so fast and I was sad it was over. I haven't had a super-great day like that in a while (unfortunately). Maybe I'll celebrate my half-birthday this year. I could go on and on thanking each and every person who made my day great, but instead THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR WISHES, THOUGHTS AND GIFTS. Even customers (some of my favorites) at work were super-tippers, although they tip well anyway and are the nicest anyway, and my boss made me a vegan (yes, she's in tune) mixed-berry pie, from strach, that I just tried to eat as much as I could of. It was wonderful.

I received so many flowers and they are beautiful and colorful (and Killian keeps messing with them). I thought I'd share some of the vibrance with you all...

And this is the whole display... From my parents, step-parents and more...
A few more close-ups, this one is weird and interesting. I like both weird and interesting things.
This type is my favorite. I need to look up what types of flowers these are, as I am curious.
Lydia also gave me this plant pot, besides the wonderful homemade pie. Check out the kitty.
Birthday Dinner Verdict:
Thanks to some of my favorite people from work, the suggestion of going to "Green" for my birthday was great. I took the risk of trying a new restaurant on my birthday, but it wasn't really a risk. Here's the thing: Green is an all organic, all vegan restaurant that just so happens to be owned by the same person who owns "That's a Wrap" (see Faux Spring Break post) and I had no doubts about this place. Upon entering the restaurant, I happily thought to myself "thank goodness they took the dollar-store-sporting-goods-crap off the walls, painted from pink to green/orange/brown, and added seating". This was already going to be better. Then we skimmed the menu and I introduced myself and happily explained that it was my birthday and I was super-happy to go out to a restaurant and be able to choose from anything on the menu and not worry about cross-contamination of nasty animal foods (or other nasty crap).

I wanted to eat everything on the menu (minus mushroom stuff and fake cheeseburgers). I decided that we should order a bunch of apps and snacks instead of each a main meal. This was wonderful and we ate the most fried food, although fried-veggies, that I've eaten in a long time. It didn't bother me at all. I got a free cookie for my b-day and (better sit down for this one...) didn't have any ice cream on my birthday!!! I'm in shock too... I was way too full, although I managed to eat the cookie in the car on the way home from dinner. This meal was a 9/10 for both of us, my complaint is that they should drain the eggless egg-rolls before placing them on the plate. Or at least have a basket to shake the oil or a cheesecloth. Something. Everything was fabulous (even the occasional grease) and I plan on attending this restaurant as much as I can.

Yum to that. Here's the link and I figured out how to make the menu bigger. You have to right-click it and save it (to wherever you want to save it to) and then just open it as a photo and you can always make it larger. http://www.greenvegetarian.com If you live around Tempe/Phoenix area, please check this place out. I certainly would like to have them open for a long time. Also, nothing on the menu is over $6 (I don't think) and we had about 5-6 different items to our feast and it was under $20. We were happily-shocked and super-full.

******Killian Time*******

And it's been a while since my fatness, Killian has hunted out the "front" window. We use our back door as the front door so there's no need for him to hunt through this small window when we have big ones... But, he's fat and cute and lazy and this is the stance I call "Mr. Super-Paws". I think it's super-cute when he sticks his paws out like that. I don't even know what he's hunting, there's nothing out there but the occasional pigeon or walked-dog. He freaks out to anything, even the rare occasion that wind blows a leaf down the street...
So much for "perching".

28 March 2006

March 28, 1981

Today makes me officially 25 years old. I don't know how I feel about that. It's also 6:30am.

Filling out forms will be different from the past 7 years, as I am no longer checking the box for the 18-24 age bracket. Hmph, does that put me in the 25-29 or 25-34 box? I don't know why I even care, but I am officially in my mid 20s and I think I will have to post later and tell you all how I really feel about this...

In the meantime, I started the birthday celebration a bit early last night. My wonderful, super-awesome grandparents (I call them G & G) took me out to dinner last night. I wanted to try this new organic vegan restaurant called the Mandala Tea Room, (very pricey and of course, in Scottsdale) but they are closed on Mondays. I wanted to go out last night because I think for my "birthday night" I want to sit in my jammies (with Ray, woo hoo, he took some time off for me today) and hang out and eat ice cream and maybe my own personal vegan cake for dinner, who knows. I do know that on my birthday (or pre-birthday dinner), there is no dressing up involved, nor is there meat on the table. We ended up going to the Pita Jungle http://www.pitajungle.com (click on Tempe, although they are all nearby). My Gramps loves this place and Ray and I take out from there every once in a while. We have friends who work there too. I had a falafel sandwich (what else would I have for my special dinner?!). The dinner was great and we were super-chatty for two hours! Thanks G and G, I love you!!!

Oh, let me give you all this wonderful link to check out... http://www.mandalatearoom.com
I will check it out one day and post about it. If anyone has been to this place, let me know what you think, although they are just getting started...

And for the main reason I posted, my fabulous Grams (G) found me this non vegan flower cupcake. She bought it at the conventional grocery store (I was shocked they had something that looked this nice), but we both know it was for looks only. She knows I appreciate these creative things, yet I had to remind myself not to lick the rubbed frosting off my finger! It is worth saving for a while, taking these photos, and having Ray indulge instead.

Pretty, huh?

I'm off to start the day, being 25...

22 March 2006

Midweek Munchies (3-22-06)

MIDWEEK MUNCHIES: What LESLIE is contributing for the week.

I just wrote this whole thing out and it disappeared! This is my third MM and the third time I have typed everything out and it went away! I am frustrated and I wish there was an undo on the internet. Now I am just going to make this quick. As you all know, I didn't post a Midweed Munchies last week because I ate out a lot and was out of town, but I also had advanced planning and the week before bought enough food for 2 weeks.

I'm back in the Midweek Munchies ring and I am pleased to present to you all my very fine shopping list. Actually, 2 lists, as I shopped for the cheapest stuff first (but less quality, so I didn't get everything) at the Sunflower Market, and then I went to Whole Foods Market (WFM) for the rest of the stuff.

I have been tired of going to the Sunflower Market just for coffee, although this week wasn't the case. I decided that instead of buying our regular 2 bags of coffee (over a pound in each, ground), I would buy three and that could save me some "we're almost out of coffee" every so often. So, three big-ass bags it was. And is, from now on.

I used to just buy all of my produce at the Sunflower Market, but the quality isn't as good as WFM, and you certainly get what you pay for. In that case, I bought a few things first, and then saved for the WFM adventure. I would rather have good organic carrots than ugly conventional cheap ones anyway, for example.

On to the lists...

First up, the Sunflower Market:
red wine vinegar
Silk Chocolate Milk, individual size for me to drink right out of the store
5 kiwis for a dollar!
2 garlic bulbs, 25 cents each
2 bigass red bell peppers for ONE DOLLAR (for both, not each. At WFM they're $1.99 each)
a shitload of coffee
4 lemons for $1
3 stupid tiny limes for $1 (kinda crappy)
raw walnut halves, $4.99/lb, I got 1/2

Then I went to WFM and actually spent less! That's because I didn't buy almost $18 worth of coffee there, though!

Whole Foods Market:
2 kinds of organic apples, red and green
yukon gold potatoes
organic pasta sauce, 2 jars
barley sweetened chocolate chips
tahini, blah, should have bought it at Haji
raw sugar
coconut, shredded
organic peanut butter, ground myself
sourdough and rustic breads
bag refund, a whopping 10 cents off!

Click here for the Midweek Munchies code
Click here for Harmonia’s blog

21 March 2006

Midnight Milkshake

This could possibly be the best midnight snack ever. Yes, I ate this at midnight!

We had a pretty boring dinner last night around 9:30 or 10pm. I wanted ice cream, but I was too full for a while. I thought about going to bed... then I thought about ice cream. Then I thought about putting a bunch of good stuff (including broken organic cones) into the ice cream.

A milkshake at midnight it was...

Above: What you see here is magic about to happen in the VitaMix. Well, it already started when I took this photo, but you get the idea, right?

Ingredients for my special milkshake. I just started throwing (what I do best) stuff in that I thought would be good. Funny thing is, what I thought about most was cones, and I ended up forgetting to put a broken cone in. At least I saved 45-50 calories! Whatever to that.

Ingredients (for real this time):
*Soy Delicious Organic Cookies n Cream ice cream (my favorite, from a quart, the 4.5g fat/serving kind, not 12g/serving)
*Silk Soymilk, vanilla flavor, organic
*Organic, barley sweetened chocolate chips
*frozen blueberries, organic
*hemp seeds, shelled(?)

I whizzed it all together in the V-mix and it turned out fabulous. It started melting by the time I got to the photo because it was either take a photo right away and risk the blender being stuck with all the blueberry bits for days, or have a somewhat melty photo and have a nice and clean blender. Blender it was.

Note: Ray and I shared this (I suprised him while he was working on the computer) and not shown, but we had two gigantic red straws to suck up all this goodness.

Verdict: Awesome midnight milkshake, and for the most part, healthy too (kinda).

19 March 2006

My Own Personal Spring Break

I decided to take my own personal spring break... from pretty much everything, including my non-challenging job (which is my choice for now, but there are good/resourceful things about it), the internet, which includes blogging and checking everyone else in the world's blogs. I have also taken a break from cooking (except see below, and I plan on Sloppy Lenties tonight, yes people, again).

Even though I technically am not entitled to a spring break by any means, I have decided that it is good for myself (and everyone) to take a break from whatever-it-may-be and do what you feel like, do nothing, or get a lot of stuff done. I did a bit of each, as well as spending some quality time with Ray, who is usually super-busy. I took a few days off from work. We spring-cleaned the house and it has never looked so good. I am so relieved to have it done, especially putting things in places where they should go instead of crap just everywhere. Anyway, that really made the week nice too. We planned to go to Tucson for the day since it's only just over an hour away driving. It was a few days after the rain/snow so the drive was clear and the snow on the mountaintops was beautiful. Tucson is a good get-away and more real-life, less blonde hair, tube-top, fake boobs - type of town compared to here in Tempe. I enjoyed the day, as did Ray and we walked around U of A's campus. It's so much more of a real campus compared to ASU (which is like modernized office buildings turned sorority style, whatever that means). Anyway, Tucson was nice and thanks to some special readers, I was helped out and shown the way towards some awesome treats and food I didn't yet know about. I do know that there's a good amount of veg restaurants in Tucson, but I've really only been to the Casbah Tea house, which I'm sort of upset I didn't go this week. The chai is special there. I think it's the hippiness and tapestries and congas all around that make it special. Oh, and all the veganness. The above is a photo I took of Tucson while walking down the street. You can see how much I wanted to go to the Casbah, but we already spent a good amount of time down there.

The above is Ray's snacks. We were going to have lunch so we parked on 4th (was it St. or Ave, shit!?). I was led to Epic Cafe which I saw as soon as we parked so I insisted on going there first so we had snacks for sure. I was pleasantly suprised by the menu and the array of vegan treats in their own special part of the deli case. We could have had lunch there but we were both happy with some of these fruity treats. Ray had a strawberry almond treat with a sasparilla rootbeer float. He loves that stuff. I asked if they had Soy Ice cream but then I remembered that I don't even like rootbeer anyway, the ice cream was just good looking to me. The strawberry treat was fabulous, and everything was so moist (I thought I must throw that important factor in). Moving on to my good stuff...

What you see here is my bigass bite taken out of a wonderful vegan seed cookie made by Epic. I have posted info about it below. This cookie is so good but they do need to work on the website. They don't even have ingredient/nutrition information, they just say vegan, in which I personally trust since they have a whole company and such centered around veganism. This cookie was wonderful and not too sweet. Yum.

Yum again. I have been missing baked products.

This is all the info I have to guide you all to these wonderful treats. The prices for the brownies and bars were the same online as the store, but for some reason the cookie was $1.65 at the store (I ate it in increments of 3, it was huge) and on the website they are over two dollars, hmph.
I just wish the shipping was cheaper on the website. It's almost more worth it (to me) to drive to Tucson for 1/2 a day.

I also indulged in a brownie. Super-awesome stuff, I say. It was gone before I could take a photo.

This is what the bars looked like (on the pamphlet).

And for you all to try these. If you don't you are seriously missing out. Plus, I want to contribute to this good company and keep them going.

I mentioned that I took a spring-break from cooking. Ray took me out almost or if not everyday this past week and it has been nice but in a weird way. I am not used to so much going out (all in a row, at least) but I am also happy about it because sometimes I just want someone else to make my food, serve it to me, and clean up after me. It doesn't happen around here, so I must pay someone (besides Ray) for that. I cannot post for everywhere we went, but we do have the usual, which includes Pita Jungle http://www.pitajungle.com (Tempe location, although all three of them are nearby each other). I always get a falafel with tahini and veggies and jalepeno/cilantro hummus. We have friends that work there and hook it up.

Then there's the best falafel in the world from an Israeli place called Sabuddy. I think I can deem this my favorite restaurant around here. I love the baba (ganouche) and falafel there and all the staff is great and knows us and we never need menus. We just share a combo plate.

Then there's of course, Taco del Mar, the good ol' standby in the same courtyard as where I work (I get a discount) and I get "The Vegan" burrito there. I can see everything that goes into my food, make sure the food service workers are doing what they are supposed to (I have a degree in this + nutrtion) and I like seeing my food being made, and fast. Here's a link: http://www.tacodelmar.com . There are locations all over the west.

The following bunch of menu-photos is a restaurant in Phoenix (just a 7 minute drive or so) that I like a lot. One of the owners is vegan and the menu has all the meats on it but anything can be substituted with tofu for no charge. This is wonderful, fresh food, you get a lot and you get a side. I always get fruit salad, even when they do offer vegan soups. I didn't post a beverage/smoothie photo, but they have both (I haven't had a smoothie there) but they have China Mist tea (unsweetened) and wonderful strawberry lemonade and we make Arnold Palmer's with both. It's fabulous considering all the other AP's we drink are just regular tea and regular lemonade, although the other day I did have one made with Yerba Mate, mmm.

So, check out That's a Wrap. I think they have a website, just Google-it or try this: http://www.thatsawrap.com

I get the Prince of Thai's (with tofu, duh) but I get it with red bell peppers instead of onions (ick, onions) and I like to get it without the ginger slaw, even though they no longer make it with mayo. I like the cucumber and spinach mix in it and it has peanut sauce and jasmine rice and veggies and a spinach tortilla. Yum. Plus, we sit outside, and it's a little-house-type-place.

Ray likes the Senorita-No-Meata with "full-fat" cheese.

And I did have an exception when I said I didn't cook. This was the last meal I cooked. Sorry for the nasty photo, but I sat down after Ray said, "Aren't you gonna take a photo?" I told him I already had postings for pancakes and I don't post what I always make, especially things I make a lot, even with exceptions. Well, these pancakes were too good to pass up and I put bananas, strawberries, blueberries and chocolate chips in them. I ran to the camera in the middle of starting to eat, and took this photo. Ray said it [the photo] looks like hamburgers... hmmm... weird... and gross.

And by the way... what you see in that glob in the corner is the rest of my almond butter before it was going to be bad. This is my new thing, newer than the fabulous (vive le vegan) blueberry maple syrup that I will always use. Almond butter plus pancakes (plus Dreena's syrup) equals the best thing ever and I don't know how I will live without it again. Yum to that.

I have been meaning to post about these for a long time now. I buy them every few months or so and they sell them around town (WFM has them cheapest, for just under $4). These are the best cookies (that aren't made at home) ever and I highly recommend them. I like the trail mix kind best, see below, but there's an array of flavors, from the good ol chocolate chip, to oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, and molasses kinds.

It's a family that makes these...

Yum to this.

And this is my next new try. I have heard from some people about this. I also looked it up on the internet and even though the menu is small-print and hard to read, it looks wonderful from what I can make out. I am going to try it and the prices seem reasonable. It's also nearby.

I am now officially back in internet/cooking-action and I have missed all you people commenting, I have missed other people's business, aka- their blogs, and my own cooked food (not cleaning up). Sorry Harmonia (and everyone else who cares) that I missed MW Munchies this week, I did buy enough food for 2 weeks the week before. I had a shopping trip tonight, as my house was pretty much empty, and made up for it all. See you Wednesday with that. In the meantime, I am off to make some Sloppy Lenties that I've been waiting to eat, since hey, it's only been a week since I had them last.

12 March 2006

Smashed Potatoes and Crap

I woke up to some sunshine and some Bob Dylan on NPR this morning. And the ground is still wet which is amazing that it's not warm enough to evaporate. In the middle of our 18-hour + rain, I decided that if I was not going to run to the store and grab an unsweetened milk, that I would let about 1.5 pounds of Yukon Gold's go to waste. The weird sprouts were starting and they frighten me. I have been dreaming about smashed potatoes for a long time, and I bought some Yukon's last week (see midweek munchies post for complete list). Earth Balance is stock around here, so I didn't have to worry about that, but I do keep vanilla Silk as my staple milk, so I was running into problems here. Plus, after seeing Jess' post about her smashed potatoes, I decided it really was a sign (and time to make them).

I decided to go to the store and I ended up buying a small milk, a bag of red lentils and 4 carrots, although I think I left one on the line (no bag). It was so nice walking in the rain, actually being wet, not seeing blue skies, and people were all happy and chill. I was cold though (I'm a wuss when it's under 75 degrees). What a day... and to make it even better, I was about to have some smashed potatoes!

Yukon Gold potatoes, about 1.5 lbs
garlic, minced, about 2-3 cloves
Earth Balance, about 1/3 cup (I didn't measure, but I eye'd it)
Unsweetened Silk Soymilk, about 2/3-1/2 cup, I'm not sure, as I just poured it in and added too
Five kinds of fresh ground pepper (black, white, red, etc..., it's a pre-mixed churner)
sea salt (to taste, I add after finished mixing)
That's it!

And I decided since this was a rare occasion that it rained, I would also indulge myself in something else that's rare... partially hydrogenated oils, UGH, I KNOW!!! Yep, sometimes I like to treat myself to crap, and this here is pretty much going for it. I love these Mary Janes, and I thought I'd have to drive back up to Camp Verde (about 1.5 hour drive) just to get some. I looked everywhere, even online. These are great, but do have some crap in them, and don't give me any more crap, because I am 100% sure these are vegan. They're peanut butter kinda chewy like taffy like sweetness, with added crap.

You know, as a vegan, as a nutritionist, and as someone that doesn't like crappy ingredients, I sure do like these. Except I think I had about 10 yesterday (while playing badminton with Ray and Killian in the house, Killian freaks out over the birdie). And then the sugar (and other crap) started to get to me and I was dizzy and light headed and I think I just ate too many. I also didn't have much in my belly to start with. I was going overboard because they taste so damn good and I think it's fun eating something so weird and chewy once in a while. And I think that having them once in a while, when it makes me happy is completely ok to do, and I am just living life how I feel is best for me (and that includes happy crappy things every once in a while) and that's why I'm sharing this all with you. Plus, I think it's funny how the wrapper is practically the same exact color as our kitchen counters!

So there you have it. I ate smashed potatoes, some almond oat balls, Mary Jane's and some ice cream yesterday! The rain sure did get to me! Oh, and let me just say that I've had Sloppy Lentie's (I changed the name) twice in the last week, that's how freakin good they are. I will post my recipe on my version of these and I may just have some again tonight. It's fast, so easy, a one-pot meal, and virtually no clean up, especially since you will probably eat it all that it's so good.

Leslie's Version of Sloppy Lenties...
1 c. rinsed and drained red lentils
2c. water
1c. tomato sauce
1 T. tamari (soy sauce)
2 carrots, chopped
a big handful of kale, chopped
about 1/4 onion (unless you actually like onion, use more), chopped
pinch of chili flakes
pinch of dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Method: Combine dried lentils, water, tomato sauce, tamari and bring to a boil. While waiting, chop (food processor is best to get real small) carrots, garlic, kale and onion together. Add to pot of lentils. Add chili flakes and basil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir every once in a while. Enjoy with a spoon or some bread (or anything else good you can think of).

11 March 2006

Rain in the Desert

I woke up to the sound of rain hitting the windows and the sandy ground/concrete outside. I live in the desert (don't mis-read and think I'm talking food, aka, dessert). It's raining. This is amazing. It hasn't rained here since October 16, 2005. This made it over 4 months of no rain, about 144 days! It has been in the mid 70s to the 80s all winter, and exceptionally warm.

On a selfish everyday basis, the warm, even hot winter has been nice and the sunshine, tank tops and flip flops year round really do make me happy... On a more realistic and long-term basis, this is frightening, causes even more wildfires (we already had one here in February), and this Earth is just getting so warm, polluted, and I can go on and on, but I wont... here at least. Bad news.

But, today it's beautiful and about the 5th day I haven't seen sunshine all winter. I love the sun, but this is spectacular, smells great, and I love the sound of the rain falling. It's this weird feeling in the air, in the house, and it's unusually dark inside. I have the curtains open (as always) and I still need to turn on the lights. The dry ground is now wet (for now) and we have poor drainage systems here and I am sure many roads are flooded. Flash floods are basically the only weather-related worry we have. Anyway, it looks wonderful outside and it's certainly a different kind of day here in the Valley. We have been waiting for this for months now and it's a strange, yet wonderful day. I am in shock here people!

This has nothing to do with food, I know, but I wanted to share my excitement and relief with everyone. Oh, and Ray's off to play a wedding today that was supposed to be in an outside Garden. Poor couple, it's been sunny and 80s for almost a year now and on their outdoor wedding day, it rains! I hope they take it lightly and make it mean something.

09 March 2006

Treats with Sweets

For everyone who asked... and for everyone who didn't.

Chocolate Mousse
12 oz silken tofu
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c boiling water
1 t vanilla
2/3 c sugar (or substitute)
coconut to top

Method: Puree tofu in a food processor until smooth. In a seperate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate and add boiling water, stir. Add vanilla. Add sugar. Add this bowl to the tofu and blend in the processor until mixed. Chill at least 1 hour.

Sweet Dinner Pancakes
2c flour (whole wheat pastry)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder (non aluminum)
2 c. soymilk
2 T. oil
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg (or less)
pinch of sea salt
1 T. flax seed, ground
choice of fruit. Handful of each.

Method: Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Add milk and oil. Stir. Add fruit. Stir, but don't over do it. Heat oil on a skillet. Pour batter by the spoonful and flip over when bubbly and golden underneath.

Sorbet (valentine's post)
Choose your personal preffered amount of fruit. Per type of fruit, add about 1 T. agave nectar.
I used: peach, plum, blackberry, strawberry, kiwi-lemon-lime, blueberry, strawberry-banana.

Method: Freeze fruits at least 2 hours before preparing. In a food processor, blend fruit with a spoonful of agave nectar (or sugar). Place in a glass, bowl, or container and stick it in the freezer just for a few minutes. You can even eat it right away.

Boiled Cookies
1/2 c. Earth Balance (or other margarine)
1.5 c. agave nectar
1/2c. milk
4 T. cocoa
1 T. flax, ground
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla
3 c. oats

Method: Heat all ingredients except for oats until boiling. Lower and simmer for a few minutes, stir a lot. Add mixture to a bowl of rolled oats. Stir together. Place droplets onto a waxed cookie sheet and chill in fridge. Store in the fridge too.

Best Banana Bread (when I baked)
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. oil or apple sauce
1/2 c. sweetener
1/2 c. blueberries
1.5 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, mash bananas, add lemon juice, oil, sweetener, and blueberries and mix together. In a seperate large bowl, stir the flour, wheat germ, salt, baking powder and soda. Add banana mix to the flour mix. Don't over stir. Spoon onto a loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes, check with a knife. Can also be made with any desired fruit or made into muffins. I miss these.

Leslie's Special Raw Almond-Oat Balls
3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds), raw
1/2 c. raisins
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1.5 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. almond butter (you can get away with only 1/2 c.)
1/3 c. + 1T. brown rice syrup
2 T. barley malt syrup
1.5 t. vanilla
1/4 c. coconut, shredded

Method: Take about 1/3c. rolled oats and 1/4c. pepitas and grind them in a food processor, blender, or use a hammer to turn into a powder. Set aside on a small plate. Forget about this for a while... Combine dry ingredients. Stir. Add from almond butter down to the end of the list. Stir it all together. Grab a shallow bowl and fill with water. Wet fingers and palms and spoon batterfuls into hands and form 1-inch balls. Coat with oat/pepita powdery mixture. Place on cookie sheet and freeze 20 minutes. Take out and store in the fridge. Enjoy.

Random Treats
Take whatever you have in the house that you think would go well together and mix it up. Examples are almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, pinenuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried fruit, puffed cereal, etc. Throw a bunch of this dry stuff in a bowl (by the handful helps). In a saucepan, heat some brown rice syrup, peanut butter and vanilla and chocolate if desired. You can add agave nectar or sugar to sweeten, if needed. Add heated mixture to large dry bowl and stir with all your might. Transfer to a "mold" and place in fridge to set. Cut and enjoy.

A Disaster Twice Over + Treats

I am starting this post with this horrible disaster. It was Tuesday night and it was quiet all through the house. Ray had gone back to the Music Building around 8pm to practice for his piano, bassoon and trumpet "midterms", let alone writing papers, and playing/practicing his own upright bass. I don't miss school in that way. I should have made some dinner before that, as we were both hungry, but I am stubborn and decided to prepare a meal that I thought would only take about 10 minutes while he was gone so we could eat after. Well, he didn't get home until after 10:30 and I was expecting him around 10pm. Because of that, I timed everything wrong and... well, let me back up...

I have been thinking about this recipe from the Spring 2005 issue of Veggie Life Magazine. It is a recipe called Soba Noodles with Green Soybeans and Spicy Tahini Sauce. Sounds good, right? But, does the above look good to you? Not me, it looks too mushy and creamy. I'll tell you why...

While you are cooking the noodles (5 minutes), you are supposed to prepare and heat the sauce. This also only takes five minutes, so I figured all in all, this meal would take about 10 minutes total, barely any chopping, mess, etc. Boy was I wrong! It was just about 10pm and I thought Ray would be home pretty soon so I started on the sauce. It heated up and I lowered it to barely any heat so it could sit and wait. Well, time and time went on and I had to finally turn off the pot of boiling water because Ray was no where in sight and these noodles take only five minutes. I didn't want them cold. The water was turned off the heat and the sauce in the saucepan sat for a long time... It got clumpy. Then it got whiter. Then it reminded me of puke. Then it reminded me of dairy. Ugh. This was gonna suck.

Ray got home and I decided to toss the sauce. I figured that it would be a waste if I served it as-is because it really didn't look good. It was a waste no matter what. Plus, there wasn't too much, as I cut down the recipe (it served 4). So, like a typical American, I tossed the food down the drain and started over (guiltily). Started the noodles (again), re-did the sauce, and finally served it. It didn't smell that good. I should have known. So I added a bit more tamari to it. The noodles were too mushy, the sauce was basically inedible (aka, tasted like complete shit) and I was soo mad/upset/frustrated/hungry/guilty of wasting (again). I wasn't even going to save this for a hungry dog (well, maybe...if there was one around). I threw a mini-fit, hastily stomped to the kitchen and tossed it away. I decided to have the remaining 1/2 of the sourdough bread and make up a meal as fast as possible.

Ray's meal: peanut butter and blueberry spread on Sourdough. With Kettle Chips. Ray said, "I've never had pb & j on sourdough before." That's when I realized that I fucked up, again! Eew, that had to have been bad, plus with salt/pepper chips? Ugh. He still ate it.

Leslie's meal (while moping): 2 corners of Sourdough bread with Earth Balance. What the $^#@ kind of meal is this? I had ice cream right after and that made it a meal. My junk-vegan-meal.

Here's the ingredients if you feel like being brave (I cannot give exact recipe, see website if available)...
veggie stock, tahini, soy sauce, brown rice vinegar, ginger root, sugar (I used agave), cayenne, soba noodles, edamame, carrots, green onions (I omitted), sesame seeds (I used Gamashio which consists of sesame seeds, sea salt, sea veggies, dulse, nori and kombu).
Attempt this recipe with caution and a back-up meal.

Onwards we go...
Yep, more treats. I decided that it was time to stop just throwing everything I had in the pantry into a bowl and calling it treats. I have nothing with this, I am just tired of it, as I have been making pretty much the same treats here and there for a few months now. I sort-of changed it up. I decided that I would love to cookie-cutter treats, but that probably would have been weird and too difficult. Instead, I put treats in mini muffin and muffin pans. I figured I'd use the pans in some way since I'm not baking (for now). They are nice and convienent and I don't have to worry about cutting and making a mess each time. Plus, the mini ones are about 2-3 bites, and the larger ones are about 10 bites.

These treats consist of: peanut butter, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, brown rice puffs, barley sweetened chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cashews and a dash of sea salt. Most or all items are organic.

I mixed as usual, Pam'ed a muffin tin and pressed firmly into the pan. These were nice and sweet and simple. More simple than my standard treats, anyway. Take a closer look...

And now... saving the best for last... ta da!

These are my ULTIMATE special treats. They are a take-off (aka, my own revised recipe) of one I found in Vegetarian Times magazine a while back. I first made these around Xmas time, and I made them so much (treats for home, gifts, desserts, etc) that I decided to stop making them around the time I started this blog. So, this is for sure worth the wait because they are awesome, filling, nutritious and raw. They are also fast and easy to make.

Ingredients: rolled oats, coconut, pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), raisins, raw sunflower seeds, cinnamon, fresh ground almond butter, brown rice syrup, barley malt syrup, vanilla.
Method: mix dry ingredients, stir. Then mix in wet ingredients, stir. Grind up a bit of oats with your desired "seed" and use as a coating. The mixture should be dough-like. Fill a small bowl with water. Wet your hands and roll 1-inch balls. Roll them in the coating mixture. Place on a tray. Place all of them in the freezer for 20 minutes and then store, air-tight, in the fridge. Simple and delicious!

The above is my special container for only these bites. I have a typed-out ingredient list attached to the lid for guests as well as times for when I bring these to work.

I highly suggest trying these.

06 March 2006

Midweek Munchies (3-8-06)

Midweek Munchies: What LESLIE is contributing for the week

soymilk (2 pack)
pb (fresh sqeezed by me)
almond butter (same as above)
cones (for ice cream, organic)
cheese for Ray (a soft weird waxy kind)
Cliff Bar (for Ray)
brown rice syrup (I always have at least 2 back-ups)
canola oil (this lasts sooo long. I just needed more for those un-olive-y dishes, usually just for coating)
2 raspberry spritzer cans (we were thirsty)
1 jalepeno and 1 habenero pepper
raisins (used for treats, mostly)
bananas (I don't know why I buy 4-5 bananas every week. I should only get 2-3)
lemons (always have on hand at least 5. I vow to never buy "lemon juice" again)
tofu, silken (2 packs)
coffee (2 kinds)
sunflower seeds
Rustic Sourdough bread (just a small loaf)
wheat flour (I'm running out from the pancakes not baking!)
yukon gold potatoes (forgot to get a little guy of plain milk to make mashed potatoes, mmm)
kale (especially for that lentil dish)
rice puffs (organic)
edamame (shelled)
mineral water (again, for Ray)
frozen blueberries and strawberries (always on stock)
phillo pies (see Chocolate Phylo Pie post, these are pre-baked for my sake)

This is a hefty shopping list. A lot of this stuff is to keep in the freezer, pantry and the perishables get eaten up as soon as possible. We like to keep "options" around the house and many of these are staples around here anyway.

I will also mention that 25% of these groceries are from one store and 75% is from another.

Links to other Midweek Munchies

Click here for the Midweek Munchies code
Click here for Harmonia’s blog

Sloppy Lentils & Sourdough Bread

It is exactly midnight on Sunday (well, technically it's Monday) and I am stuffed from dinner. Yeah yeah, I know it's late but I decided this morning that I was going to go to the store at 9pm to give myself an hour before they close. We live super-close so it's no problem and I knew I was having one of two things that was fast. This dinner ended up being done around 11:15-11:30pm and I am trying to stay up for a while before sleeping for what is now going to be five hours.

The wonderful spread you see here is my version of "Sloppy Lennies" by Jennifer Shmoo (Lunchbox blog) and she adapted her version to make it for a kid based on another recipe. In that case, I am following a recipe from Jennifer's-mother's-uncle's-brother's-girfriend's-third cousin, or something like that.

My recipe includes (but is not limited to) the following. I served this with sourdough bread. WFM was out of my usual Seduction Bread (sorry Jess [of Get Sconed], I'm trying to get the ingredients for you). I will post the ingredients for the sloppy lentils as well as the bread.

This meal was amazing.
Let me describe the photo below first. Jennifer-Shmoo has a 7-year-old boy. He refuses to eat anything green. I love my greens, but there are veggies that I would rather not eat. That is, unless, they are secretly pureed. In my case, I do all the cooking so I know what I am hiding from myself, but it doesn't matter. I like onion flavor but not the texture, so I have no problem "hiding" onion that is chopped super-small in some foods. I wasn't hiding anything but the onion today, but I decided to mince up a few other things while I was at the onion in my super-cute 1.5 cup mini food processor (best thing, Kohls, $15). I minced up onion, carrots, garlic and fresh kale. Yum.

Sloppy Lentils
-red lentils (rinsed, sorted through, no need to pre-soak)
-part of a white onion
-big handful of kale
-1 large carrot
-2 cloves garlic
-tomato sauce
-basil, dried
-salt and pepper, to taste

I threw all this in a large pot, let it boil, covered it, lowered the heat, and simmered for about 30 minutes. Served immediately with bread. I don't know why this photo below is darker. It's not doing justice here! Refer to other photos if you are going to make an aesthetic decision to make this or not.

Ingredients for the bread.
Organic Rustic Sourdough Boule Bread from WFM
water, organic wheat flour, malted barley flour, organic sprouted wheat berries, organic wheat bran, organic six grain (wheat, barley, corn, millet, rye, triticale), organic cornmeal and sea salt.
Cheaper than Seduction bread, not as many goodies inside, and a bit "tough", but still managed to be wonderful!

Overall, this meal was awesome. This was really flavorful, warming, full of nutrients, smelled really good while cooking, and half-way through eating it I realized there's no fat. I am going to make this again soon, and it was quick, easy and hardly a clean-up at all.