Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nutrition Bars - The Ultimate Convenience Food

Not all nutrition bars are equal. And not all nutrition bars are vegan. But many are. They make for great snacks and convenience meals. I recommend that all vegans (and anyone with dietary restrictions) carry a nutrition bar in their bag or purse for those moments when you can't find a restaurant or don't have time to get a real meal. These things are lifesavers for anyone whose diet is limited.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A vegan thanksgiving

We cooked a simple vegan thanksgiving this year and everyone liked it. Our menu came primarily from the Farm Sanctuary's handout, which you can download. We eliminated a few of the items on the menu and added one from another site. In addition, we added a simple dish of rainbow chard with red bell pepper, because the market had bunches of fresh colorful chard and we couldn't resist.

The meal:

clockwise from left: vegan sausage pot pie, another pot pie, sweet potato biscuits, apple streusel, green beans with ginger and almonds, garlic mashed potatoes


Corn chowder


rainbow chard, sauteed lightly with red peppers in olive oil


vegetables, crackers, dip, plus a cup of mushroom gravy.

The recipes for everything except the pot pie and chard are on the handout linked above. The pot pie recipe is from We substituted vegan Italian sausage for the vegan chicken in the pot pie. We also used frozen whole wheat crusts - which we had to modify to accommodate the large amount of filling.

We found that the pictures on the Farm Sanctuary handout didn't all look the way they actually should. All of the dishes are easy to prepare and require no special skills. There were no duds in the menu and I intend to cook several of these recipes again. I can hardly wait, in fact.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Veggie Bake

Those marinade mixes can be used to make a flavorful baked dish. Choose compatible fresh veggies. Here I grabbed red potatoes, summer squash, onion, bell pepper, and a tomato. Later I added some olive oil. Here's how I put it together:

Slice the onions, throw them in a casserole that allows them to spread out a bit. Slice up the potatoes and add them to the pile.

Cut up the squash and bell pepper, toss on top,

then slice the tomato and layer it last.

Mix about a quarter-cup of olive oil (or less) with the marinade mix. Pour it over all. Stir a bit to mix.

Cover the casserole and place in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, opening to stir two or three times. When it appears that the veggies are pretty much done, take the cover off and let the mixture steam off some of the liquid.

Serve on plates - two to four - and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: I found the marinade a bit spicy. You may want to use less of it or more veggies. I also believe the mixture would do well with less oil, maybe 1/8 cup. If you don't have fresh veggies or are in more of a hurry, this dish would work with frozen vegetable mixtures quite well. Dump in one of those bags of potato mixtures, add the marinade-oil mix, throw in the oven.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ode To The Rice Cooker

I love my rice cooker. Oh, how I love my rice cooker. Let me count the ways:
  1. It cooks rice perfectly
  2. I can walk away from the kitchen while the rice is cooking
  3. It can cook quinoa, couscous, and so much more
  4. It can steam vegetables
  5. It can be carried to potlucks
  6. It keeps rice warm hours after it's been cooked
  7. Some rice cookers can be used like crock pots
  8. Rice goes well with almost anything
  9. Rice is cheap, easy, and convenient

10 Minute Vegan Meals

The Urban Vegan has posted another installment of 10 minute vegan meals.

Here are some examples of the meals:
  • Throw 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin in the food processor with 2 T olive oil, 4 or 5 garlic cloves, and a cup of beans. Spread on a toasted, Earth-Balance-spread baguette.
  • Make a grilled vegan cheese sandwich. Don't forget the sliced onion and tomato.
  • Fried rice: In a hot wok, saute an onion in canola oil until soft. Toss in thawed frozen veggies (peas & carrots, for example). Toss in rice, and coat with oil. Add soy sauce, Bragg's or Nasi Goreng paste, to taste.
  • While boiling pasta, toss in some chopped Swiss chard and loads of sliced garlic. Drain, toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Top with vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast.

Take a look at both of them: