Zucchini Bread

After receiving 3 GIANT Zucchini’s from my mom’s garden this fall- I really wanted to make some zucchini bread.  My first attempt to make Zucchini Bread wasn’t the best in the world.  The bread was a bit bitter and sank in the middle.  It wasn’t horrible 🙂  But to be fair- I will post it here- and hopefully you and I will learn from my mistakes…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 egg replacers (I used a baking powder replacer- lesson learned.  Next time- I’m thinking mushed banana instead)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the zucchini with the sugar, egg replacer, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Grease 2 (9x5x3″) pans with cooking spray and put 1/2 the mixture in each pan.
  3. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

Reviews: eh

Black Bean Hummus

Tahini is usually a staple to Hummus – and it’s not necessarily bad for you.  But, here is an option for a healthier “Tahini-Free’ Hummus (plus it’s super quick and easy).  Another plus- easy to put into small Tupperware containers and take with some carrots, crackers, celery, etc to eat for a snack at work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained (garbanzo peans)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp minced onion (I use dried- found in spice section at grocery store)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until desired smoothness
  2. Eat

Review:

Again- it’s been over a month since I’ve made this.  But- I remember it being a healthy snack that tasted healthy.  It was really really good- but next time I may add some Cayenne Pepper to give it a bit of a kick.

Vegan Chili

Chili really is the best fall/winter comfort food.  But, when I think of Chili- I think of hamburger & beans.  We’ll here’s a simple vegan chili that is only tons of veggies & beans and tastes awesome!

Ingredients:

  • 2 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper (add less for less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

  1. In a medium to large soup pot, saute the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil on med/high.
  2. Add tomatoes, veggie broth and chili powder and stir.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans.
  4. Stir occasionally and cook covered for at least 20 minutes. Add water 10 minutes before done cooking.

Tips:

For a spicier chili, add extra cayenne and red pepper flakes.

For a thiner chili (to put over rice or pasta)- add 1/4 cup more of water and 1/4 cup of veggie broth

Rating:

I’m so behind on posting recipes- that I can’t give a precise rating- but it was good!  We had no problem finishing the pot- and ate the leftovers for lunch all week (really good reheated)

Keeping a clean kitchen- Vegan Style

As an adult, I am ‘creatively cluttered’ and living in ‘organized disarray’.  As a child, it was more characterized as ‘messy’ and ‘chaotic’.

I remember when I was a ‘tween’ and all I wanted was a dish-washer.  You see we were raised pretty normally – with chores.  One of my many MANY chores (yes, Mom, you were totally into child slave-labor 😉 ) was to wash the dishes.   And I HATED washing dishes.  I still hate washing dishes.

But it is time to get past that.  Unless you have been blessed by the ‘giant kitchen’ god (and we have not), you are never going to have a kitchen big enough to satisfy me.  My biggest two problems are dishes (have I told you that I hate washing dishes?) and storage (rather, lack-there-of).   You can’t exactly experiment and cook all whole foods and chop & store veggies, yada yada yada – without ROOM.   And who wants to cook in a messy kitchen anyways?

I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I do enjoy waking up in the morning to a sparkling sink and a clear counter.  So- how to get there?

I’ve actually STOPPED using my dish-washer.  I know. I know.  Tween Kassie is kicking me in my shins right now.  But, I learned that it was much like my ‘laundry skills’.  I tend to start a load, get distracted, and leave them in there until I remember that I don’t have any clean underwear.  I did the same with dishes.  So, we stopped living out of the cupboards and started living out of the dishwasher.  Which is great – except some days we don’t have enough dishes to run a load and some days we have way too many- it’s just hard to keep up with and the sink or dishwasher is always full of dirty dishes.  So… we did what I haven’t done since I was in my first cheap apartment over 9 years ago…  We bought a drying rack.  Now, we cook and then hand wash our dishes.  Then we fold up the drying rack and put that away.  Voila- no dirty dishes overnight.  No dirty dishes EVAH.  Cabinets are full.  Sinks are clean.  It really makes me want to cook when I get home instead of order-out.

I’ve also gotten into a habit of cleaning out the fridge and mopping the floor every weekend.  We can see what we have, what we need, and you don’t step on that damn piece of rice that fell three days ago and I never found until it manage to stick up into my toe this morning.  Yeah- that happens.

So- in an odd, round-a-bout way: Veganism has made me a cleaner person.  At least, in the Kitchen.  And, I am more motivated to keep cooking when my kitchen is clean.  Ah- the circle of life.

Our New Favorite Books… I mean sources- we’re not limited to books in this day and age :)

Rick and I love reading books. Rick likes science books, I like fictional detective novels, we both like sci-fi and history and we both like anything that helps us better our lives… enter vegan books (and websites and apps and blogs) that Rick & I have found that we really like and have been helpful on our journey to becoming non-meat eaters. Here is our library of helpfulness (This is my hint to you. While I love physical cookbooks- it really makes it easy to set up the iPad in the kitchen and highlight things and get to cooking (plus you can search easily). So- if it’s a cookbook that I REALLY like- I like to get both the physical and the electronic copy):

Books:
Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
The name says it all- a bunch of healthy vegan recipes- perfect for new vegan like me. There’s even ‘healthy vegan’ junk food suck as onion rings and cookies- and it’s split up into veggies, beans, pasta, salads, etc.

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weights, and Saving the Planet
By Alicia Silverstone. Full of tons of very useful vegan and superhero eating (the best things for your body) food information and the start of becoming a vegan.

The All Pro Diet: Lose Fat, Build Muscle and Live Like a Champion
By Tony Gonzalez- I haven’t read this one yet- but Rick likes it. It’s about how to stay healthy and strong while staying a vegetarian

Forks over Knives
The start of it all. Reading nutrition labels- info on animals and the environment- tools to keep in your kitchen- and some recipes.

The 30 Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide To Eating Clean
Great Book. A great place to start- all about stocking you kitchen, budgets, making the right foods, shopping for the right foods, eating by color, etc

The Skinny Bitch: Everyday Cookbook
Amazingly funny- yet very informational. Great read- even if you aren’t looking for a how-to or a cookbook. And to clarify- in the words of the author “Skinny Bitch has nothing to do with being skinny. And it has nothing to do with being a bitch, either. Though we all have our moments. A “Skinny Bitch” is a woman who cares about what she’s putting into her body. She cares about the small print. She’s eager to re-channel our collective global frustration to take a stand for what she believes in – even if her friends think shes nuts.” It’s not a book about becoming a size 2, it’s a book about being, eating, and thinking healthy and saving the world while you do it.

The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
This is true. They are delicious, low-fat and vegan! Yum! And- the best part- if you REALLY want to dig in deep and have the time- this will even walk you through sauces, spices, etc

Websites:

www.VegWeb.com – Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes Galore!

www.VeganOutreach.org – Saving the planet one animal at a time.

www.TryVeg.com – Learn about the economic and health reasons for becoming a vegetarian.

www.VeganCooking.com – blog/website- plenty of recipes

www.FatFreeVegan.com – recipes recipes recipes 🙂

www.peta.org – Where does your food come from- and what happens to it before it gets to your table?  pst- if you still want that hamburger- no problem with me- but probably skip out on this site.

www.TheKindLife.com – Alicia Silverstone’s site.  Really just a bunch of great information about being and living vegan

www.VegGuide.org – List vegan/vegetarian restaurants in your area

www.VeganEatingOut.com – tells you what you can and can’t eat at your favorite restaurants

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ – great Vegetarian/Vegan fact sheets and starter kits

Blogs:

Kats Health Corner

Around The Kitchen Table – This is a friend of mine from my childhood/adolescence in Iowa, Sarah.  Thanks to the joys of Facebook- we are reunited with the shared joys of food and more.

What The Heck Are You Eating

Not Growing Up

A Tablespoon of Liz

Almost Vegan

Vegan Monster

Veg Hot Pot

Savory Simple

Lactose Free Lizzie

Part Time Vegan

Fat Gay Vegan

Vegan Sparkles

Meaty Vegan

 

Apps:

Kindle- for cookbooks – Duh 🙂

Epicurious – great for creating shopping lists and full of vegan recipes

Whole Foods- they have the cookbook that you can specify Vegan (and vegetarian, low-fat, gluten free, etc)- and will throw together a shopping list

Everyday Vegan- recipes, etc

Vegan is Easy- while we’re not too worried about our beer/wine being vegan (not after the 30 days- we’re not as strict when it comes to good beer)- but if we want to make sure- this app will tell us.  They have a database of wines and beers

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Who doesn’t like cookies?  If you don’t- I do worry about you. 😉

Vegan Snickerdoodles (made by Rick)

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup Veggie Oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 egg substitute (I used 1 tsp ground flaxseed whisked with 3 tbsp apple juice)
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture to coat

Method:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until an evenly distributed dough forms.
  4. Let dough chill in refrigerator for half hour. Remember to cover it so it doesn’t absorb the flavours of the contents of your fridge.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350.
  6. Roll 1 inch cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet; flatten with a fork.
  7. Bake for 6 – 7 minutes; keep a close eye because you want to serve these cookies soft

Review:

Rick– 10 out of 10 (well… he can’t say anything else- he made it)

Kassie– 8 out of 10 (Good- it’s hard to ruin cookies- but I’m excited to try other recipes)

I’m not dead!

Sorry all- I am way behind with my blogging.  I’ve had a week of busyness (decorating for the holidays & getting caught up with work & working on my crafty X-mas presents) and sickness.  I think I got a cold from… Mitch (one of my best friends in Iowa), Danie (one of my best friends in KC), or one of the hundreds of cute little munchkins at ‘Disney On Ice’.  In fact- while I feel 80% better than I did 2-3 days ago- it will still take me twice as long to write this article because I keep having to stop to cough.  Rick’s dad, Ray, keeps telling me that if I would go have a big mac- I would feel all better :).  I think I’ll stick with my vegan food 🙂

This week- we’ve been back on the Vegan train.  I haven’t had any meat since Thanksgiving and no dairy since the Friday after.  Rick still hasn’t had any at all.  Even being sick- I’ve manage to get all of my work done this week- so while I HAVE been sick- I have still had more energy than I used to.  The week of food has been relatively boring (sickness and busyness has led to a week of my chipotle veggie soup and pb&j sandwiches)- and I’m itching to get back to making something interesting.

I have about 20 recipes that I need to blog- and then new ones to be added this week.  Just don’t give up on me- I’m back! 🙂

Thanksgiving

We made 30 days.  Easy peasy.  We are definitely keeping this up.  Rick still hasn’t had any animal products- but I have tried a small amount of turkey and oyster stuffing (tasted good but will be rare to eat) and some dairy.  The dairy- I don’t think I want to ever eat again.  Both times I’ve had dairy this weekend- I have had an upset stomach.

Other than the upset stomach – we enjoyed Thanksgiving.  Good food (some of it vegan- provided by yours truly), family time, dinner & movie with friends, black friday deals, and enjoying Disney on ice with the nieces. A really great weekend.  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday!

Dealing with cravings- Vegan Style

Dealing with cravings.  One of the questions I have gotten most often- “how bad are the cravings?”

Well- they haven’t been bad at all!  My worst craving has been wanting eggs.  I love eggs.  I want eggs.  Other than that- as long as I’m not extremely hungry and walking through a bbq joint- my life is pretty easy.  But look at it this way- most things that you eat that are full of meat by-products: you can copy and create a vegan version.  I was craving mac & cheese so I made macaroni & ‘cheese’.  I was craving cupcakes- I have cupcakes.  We want lasagna- we make lasagna.  Pizza- yes pizza.  They might be a little off- but it’s close enough that we haven’t really been lacking at all.

Chocolate Almond Milk

Now- when I do get a craving that I can’t shake, I’m learning to rely on two things.  Zucchini & Chocolate.  Really.  When I’m craving some salt or something with salt- but don’t want to fall off the wagon OR eat unhealthy- I cut a zucchini and make some quick, easy & yummy zucchini chips.  When I’m craving sweet and it’s not a junk food day (meaning no cupcakes just lying around)- I have some dark chocolate almond milk (they come in single servings and are awesome and really healthy).

Oh- and sushi- turns out that veggie sushi tastes about the same as tuna sushi once you add all of the soy sauce & wasabi (and about half the price).

Knock Off Garlic Bread

Gee- I love Garlic Bread.  Or Bread.  Or Garlic… 🙂

Here is a vegan (and healthier AND SIMPLE) version of Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • minced Garlic to taste (I used the pre-minced squeeze bottle found at HyVee)
  • dried oregano
  • french banquette, hoagie roll, etc- check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the bun in sections (about an inch thick) and lay on a cookie sheet
  3. Put the garlic and olive oil in a small dish and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the olive oil and garlic over each slice of bread. Sprinkle each piece with dried oregano. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes, until the bread starts to dry.
  4. EAT!

Ratings:

Rick– Doesn’t like garlic bread- so I’m not sure

Kassie– 9 out of 10 for garlic bread- tasted like the real thing

MY DAD– Loved it.  Has made it since then

Mom & Grandma– must of like it- they ate it happily!