Monday, November 29, 2010

Vegan Mofo 29.1: Dan’s Favorite White Chili

Sunday: More Christmas Decorating and Lunch with the Parents

It was another day of Christmas decorating at our house. Winter is definitely here now. The weather this morning also wanted to tell us it is almost Christmas time. When we went to the farmers market, boots, gloves and thick fleece hoodie were not enough to keep me warm. Darn, it was clearly winter coat weather Sunday morning and I found out too late.

Saturday night we had taken in the lemongrass plant and cut back the parsley and brought it inside since it was supposed to get down to 29 degrees Fahrenheit, brrrr. It felt much colder than that when we were at the market. It absolutely feels like Christmas is in the air.

Needless to say we had a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and big mug of hot green tea to try to warm up. We were both cold after going to the market. They seemed to help warm us up a little but both Dan and I were moving slowly all morning.

Knowing that we would be doing more decorating we opted for another simple meal at mid day. Dan loves my white bean chili so I made that for lunch. I was too spicy for my mother *shakes head* but I think it is rather mild personally. I wouldn’t feed it to little children but if you have young teens or older it should be fine. Here is what I did:

White Bean Chili with Seitan Sausage
Serves 6

Long Cooking Ingredients:

1 pound dried cannellini beans (can substitute great northern beans)
approximately 8 cups water to cook beans
3 bay leaves
1 red or yellow onion finely diced (approx 2 cups)
8 cloves of garlic finely minced
½ tablespoon of coriander seed, toasted and ground
½ tablespoon of fennel seed, toasted and ground
½ tablespoon of chili powder
½ tablespoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 tablespoon no salt seasoning
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke, or to taste
2 chipotle’s in adobo (reduce or eliminate if you like less heat) or Chipotle chili powder to taste
14 ounce can of diced tomato
2 seitan sausages cut into bite sized pieces

Last Minute Ingredients:

1 lime, zested and juiced
1 small bunch of cilantro, minced (about 6 or 8 stalks or about ½ cup minced)
1 green onion, sliced on the bias
cashew crème fraiche – optional
paprika to dust the top

Additional ingredients:

brown rice, bulgur or quinoa to serve under the chili


Cook the dried beans in filtered water with the bay leaves until tender (if the beans weren’t soaked first simmer for about 3 hours). Including the bay leaves with the cooking beans is reported to make them easier to digest but I haven’t seen any hard science on that. Don’t add any additional ingredients until the beans are tender; acid makes the outer skin of the bean tough.

In a separate pan, toast the seeds in a separate skillet until fragrant, then grind and add the spices to the soup pot with the onions, garlic, seasonings tomatoes, beans, seitan sausage and chipotles. Be certain to break the chipotle’s into small pieces before adding to the pot. Simmer until the flavors combine (at least 30 minutes). When the chili is ready to eat turn off the heat and add the lime zest, lime juice, cilantro and most of the green onion.

Serve on a bed of brown rice or bulgur and top with cashew crème fraiche, green onion and cilantro if desired. I also added a little sprinkle of paprika for color and flavor.

Nutritional Information: (does not include the rice or cashew creme fraiche)

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 324.62
Calories From Fat (5%) - 16.47

Total Fat - 1.93g
Saturated Fat - 0.34g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 40.89mg
Potassium - 1202.56mg
Total Carbohydrates - 52.67g
Fiber - 15.5g
Sugar - 4.47g
Protein - 27.44g


This is a family favorite which should tell you something. Dan looks forward to it every fall and winter. It is a very easy dish to put together and will cook with little intervention, other than an occasional stir. I think a dish like this is perfect when you want leftovers and don’t want to fuss at the stove. We think the cashew crème on top makes a difference. If you wanted to pass on the cashew crème I would add a few pumpkin seeds for good fat.

Happy Thoughts:

The long weekend was very good and is still going on at our house. Here are my happy thoughts now:

• We got in a good cardio workout last night (Sunday) at the gym and another one this morning (Monday). My goal was to burn at least 500 calories in cardio when at the gym. Since I surpassed that both Sunday and Monday I need to up that for tomorrow. Have I said recently how much I like measuring things? I would be lost without my body bugg while I was exercising.

• Dan decided to take today off so we slept in a little and got to the gym at 9:30 on Monday. It wasn’t very crowded and in fact empted out not long after 10 am.

• We are going to the athletic shoe store to buy some new shoes today. Holabird Sports is only open during the day so we thought we would take this opportunity to get fitted for some new shoes.

• We may do a little shopping since the stores should be less crowded. It is always fun to shop with Dan since he likes to give his opinion on clothes I am considering.

Signing out:

Time for me to make myself presentable and head out for some shopping and maybe lunch. I hope you are all having a great Monday.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegan Mofo 28.1: Thanksgiving Long Weekend Update

It has been a long week at our place but it is ending on a high note. I love decorating for Christmas and I have been up to my eyeballs in Christmas bangles and baubles since Thanksgiving. Here is what we have been up to the last few days.


I started cooking at 8 am Thanksgiving for the meal with my parents at 3pm. It always fascinates me that it takes me all day to cook something that we eat in under an hour. Why do we go through this process every year? Oh yeah, it is tradition. *rolls eyes* ;-)

Much to my mother’s disappointment I went with a reasonably healthy vegan Thanksgiving. I say reasonably healthy because if it has just been us the meal would have been healthier. If only she knew how we eat most days, LOL. Here is what I made for Thanksgiving:

• Portabella mushroom filled with whole wheat bread stuffing made with pinot grigio braised veg
• Cauliflower and potato mash (approximately 85% cauliflower)
• Mushroom gravy with soy and truffle
• Spicy cranberry and orange relish
• Miso and orange glazed green beans
• Whole Dijon and maple glazed Brussels sprouts
• Quick cucumber pickles with red onion and tarragon
• Marinated portabella and roasted red pepper

My father particularly liked the cauliflower and potato mash. Dan’s and my favorite was the miso and orange glazed green beans. My mother, as usual, didn’t “like” anything. She cleaned her plate but complained that there wasn’t any turkey, mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. Seriously, sometimes I can’t believe we are actually related. *shakes head* Oh well, I guess there has to be some family drama or it isn’t a national holiday, LOL.

I am sorry to tell you that I had too many things going to actually measure ingredients. However the green beans and cauliflower and potatoes will be showing up again since they were well received and I will measure the next time I make them so I can share the recipe. I am also going to make the cranberry again but include habanero next time to take the heat up a notch.

Friday: Christmas Decorating and leftovers

I adore Christmas! I love the decorations, music and giving presents. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. You will probably not be surprised to learn that I go overboard decorating for Christmas. We spent Friday putting up the first and my favorite tree in the family room. I have had this artificial tree for over 20 years. It is 9 feet tall and is shaped in spiral topiary. I think I like it because it is unusual. Since our felines are still extremely active (at 9 years old) we have to use only unbreakable ornaments. Thank goodness Pottery Barn and Crate Barrel have had many to choose from over the last few years. I load up during the after Christmas sale when everything is 75% off.

We spent all day testing lights and getting the tree up. The felines are always fascinated with holiday time, just like their mommy. They feel the need to get involved in every aspect of the process.

Here is Binky sitting on an ornament box so that we couldn’t open it.

This is Luca Belle doing her imitation of the Grinch. She wanted to sit on top of the lights we were testing and was annoyed that we wouldn’t let her do that. Can you believe that sour expression? LOL, she needs a little green Grinch outfit.

Here is sweet Masi watching patiently on the tree skirt under the tree. At least we have one well behaved feline. ;-)

This is a picture of the first Christmas tree which is my favorite. It is in our family room.

Here is Binky giving me the “I am not doing anything why are looking at me” routine. A few minutes later he was in the tree. LOL, our felines are so darn cute. But then again I am a bit biased being their mommy.

Saturday: More Christmas Decorating and Lunch with the Parents

The next day we spent listening to more Christmas music (you have to love Pandora which we stream over our TV) and decking the halls.

Here is a shot of the staircase in process. It still needs to have its ornaments but we are getting there.

With all the decking the halls I decided to make something simple for dinner and that meant soup. I choose red lentils since they don’t need to be presoaked. I asked Dan how he wanted it seasoned and he selected Moroccan.

Here is what I did:

Moroccan Flavored Red Lentil and Tomato Soup
Serves 6


1 large yellow onion (approx 2 cups) peeled and finely diced
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 pound dry red lentils, sorted through and rinsed thoroughly
14 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably a low or no salt brand
14 ounce can tomato sauce, preferably a low or no salt brand
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
8 cups of water
6 ounces tomato paste, a low or no salt brand
6 olives thinly sliced (I would suggest leaving these out if the tomato products have salt)
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Topping Ingredients:

¼ cup golden raisins, soaked in 1 cup water to plump, then drain thoroughly
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup cilantro, leaves picked (minced if you are feeding finicky people)
2 tablespoons almond slices


Combine all the soup ingredients (except the lemon) and simmer until the lentils are soft. I simmered mine about an hour and a half. It takes a while to cook the harshness out of the ginger but it will happen. You can start with less ginger if you like though more is better since it a healthy ingredient.  Still the lemon zest and juice in at the end of cooking.

To make the topping combine the ingredients listed above and stir.

To serve, place a dollop of the topping on the soup. Stir the topping into the soup and enjoy.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 386.71
Calories From Fat (10%) - 38.71

Total Fat - 4.62g
Saturated Fat - 0.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 629.46mg
Potassium - 1327.59mg
Total Carbohydrates - 69.65g
Fiber - 13.44g
Sugar - 13.31g
Protein - 23.61g


This is a simple soup but one that has a lot of flavor. I added the topping to provide freshness from the cilantro, crunch and fat from the almonds, and brightness from the lemon. I think the fresh topping is a nice contrast to a long simmered soup. Even my omni parents finished their soup so it much have been fairly good at least, LOL.

To accompany the soup I made a simple salad of roasted parsnips, oranges, watercress and a miso and mirin dressing. I topped this salad with a few almond slices.

Happy Thoughts:

The long weekend has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts now:

• We had a family gathering with a minimum amount of drama. I didn’t even utter a dead animal crack when my mother complained about the lack of turkey. Talk about self control. *pats self on back* LOL

• Dan loved the green bean dish which made me very happy. I love to make things that he enjoys.

• My father practically raved about the cauliflower and potatoes. Another score. ;-)

• While I did spend all day cooking it wasn’t at a rushed pace which meant cooking was actually pleasant this is not what usually happens on Thanksgiving.

• Since I was cleaning as I cooked the holiday aftermath was easy. You have to love that.

• The spicy cranberry sauce has serious promise. I need to make it hotter but I think that will be a winner when I adjust the heat level.

• Everything is starting to look like Christmas. We have lots more decorating to do but we have a great start on things. It is going to be a great holiday.

• The farmers’ market was a lot smaller this morning both in terms of vendors and patrons. We did manage to pick up a few things: cauliflower, lacinato kale, onions, collards, red potatoes, and broccoli. Our refrigerator was still a little stuffed with food so I had to hold it down today.

• We are listening to Christmas music as I type this. I love Christmas, LOL.

Signing out:

It is time for me to get back to decorating and cooking. I need to at least get the stairway finished today. Dan has decided he wants white bean chili so that will be the next recipe posted. White bean chili is one of Dan’s favorite cold weather dishes.

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and a great long weekend. I will talk to you again soon. I should have another post up tomorrow as well as time to catch up on your posts. Tuesday may be rough since I am scheduled for jury duty. Woo hoo? I have my fingers crossed that my number is too high to be called but I don’t think that is going to happen. At least it means I can ride to work with Dan in the morning and meet him for lunch. At least that is something to look forward to.  Hopefully I don't get picked for a jury again I really don't have time for that at the moment.

Enjoy your Sunday and stay warm and cozy. ;-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan Mofo 24.2: Tamarind, Orange and Cayenne Glazed Tofu

Wednesday afternoon was hectic at our place. We ran by our local library to pick up a book I had put on hold and then went to the gym to get our hour of cardio in today.

Cardio in the middle of the afternoon is not as easy as first thing in the morning. However I still managed to burn over 450 calories in an hour so that made me smile. If you are wondering I use my body bugg to calculate calorie burn. Yes, I do love my little gadgets. ;-) I did a combination of treadmill on a steep incline, the elliptical, stair climber, rowing machine and track. Since I get bored easily I switch exercises when things start to feel monotonous. I guess I need to start taking music with me so I don’t get bored as quickly.

After the gym we went to the Baltimore County library to drop off three books and then to Wegman’s. The only thing on grocery list was popcorn and tofu but I managed to pick up dried beans, raw sesame seeds and golden flaxseed while I was there. When I met Dan in line he was telling a stranger how good nutritional yeast is on popcorn. Who is this man, and where is my husband? LOL, I love that Dan has become such an advocate for vegan food.  I am sure I had a big dopey grin on my face when I walked upon this conversation.

On the way home I realized I should have picked up oranges so we parked the car and walked to Giant for oranges. Somehow limes and bananas jumped into the cart too. ; -) It was good that we walked to the store since my legs were already starting to seriously tighten up.

Once we got home I wanted something simple for dinner. This tofu glaze is based on something that Ian made this week that was decidedly nonvegan. However like always I get inspiration from his food that I can easily turn things into a delicious vegan item. Here is what I did:

Tamarind, Orange and Cayenne Glazed Tofu
Serves 2


14 ounces organic extra firm tofu, cut into 6 slabs and pressed of excess water (make certain it is a brand without soy protein isolates added)
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon tamarind
cayenne, to taste
stevia if you think it needs sweetener, this will depend on how your sweet your oranges


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees convection. Line a half sheet pan with parchment, silpat or easy release aluminum foil.

Combine the orange juice, orange zest, and tamarind and whisk to combine. Add cayenne to taste, and stevia if you think it needs to be sweeter.

Place ½ of the marinade on the 6 pieces of tofu and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. This resting time will make the tofu easier to flip. Coat the second side of the tofu with the remainder of the glaze and bake another 25 – 30 minutes or until the tofu is the texture you like.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 212.96
Calories From Fat (46%) - 97.63

Total Fat - 11.7g
Saturated Fat - 1.1g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 17.49mg
Potassium - 381.11mg
Total Carbohydrates - 11.82g
Fiber - 1.51g
Sugar - 6.76g
Protein - 20.1g


This tofu is lightly sweet and spicy with a lot of flavor. We both enjoyed the flavor of this tofu. I served it tonight on top of a spinach and orange salad dressed with white miso and mirin and a sweet potato on the side.

This dinner took a little while (to bake the tofu) but didn’t require much work from me. It was exactly the type of meal I needed tonight since tomorrow will be a food free for all. I am planning on making a healthy dinner like normal only with a larger variety of dishes. This is going to be the first all vegan Thanksgiving for my extended family. We will see how this goes. *fingers crossed*

Happy Thoughts:

Wednesday has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts this evening:

• In spite of the fact that I was not in the mood to work out this afternoon I still managed to burn more than 450 calories and that made me happy. I know my legs were torched since it was tough going down the stairs to leave the gym. That is when you know you had a good workout. LOL

• We got all our errands run and were back home fairly early.

• Dinner turned out really well. I love glazing tofu and this recipe was very tasty

What Do You Have to be Thankful for?:

Since it is almost Thanksgiving I thought it would be good to share what we have to be thankful for. I will go first:

• I am thankful to be married to my best friend. I love you baby!

• I am thankful to have another holiday season Dan and I can spend together healthy and happy.

• I am thankful for my other best friend Louis. You mean more to me than you know.  I love you man. ;-)

• I am thankful that I was finally able to accept that what you ingest makes a big difference in your health and that if you give it a half-hearted effort you will get a half-hearted result. This was huge for me and it only really jelled for me about a year ago. I feel much healthier now than I have in well over a decade, maybe longer.

What do you have to be thankful for this year?

Signing out:

It is time for me to relax so I am ready to get into the kitchen and get cooking first thing tomorrow. I am always amazed that it takes me so many hours to cook these big meals and we are finished eating them in well under an hour. It seems like such a waste of time to spend all that time cooking.

I will talk to you all again soon. Tomorrow should be much more hectic than usual but I will try to get a post in. Right now I am off to relax in a hot tub and work the stiffness out of my leg muscles.

Vegan Mofo 24.1: My Healthy take on Tomato Cream Sauce Minus the Vodka

Last night I was not in the mood for cooking anything complicated or time consuming. This month has been ridiculously busy and when that happens I turn to very simple dishes. I served this over quinoa and had the sauce ready in the time it took to make the quinoa (20 minutes). Here is what I did:

Veggies in a Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 4


1 red onion, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes after chopping before heating)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes after chopping before heating)
2 stalks celery, very thinly sliced (to speed up cooking)
½ cup roasted root veggies, cut into small pieces (I used rutabagas since that was what I had in the frig, carrots or potatoes would also be good)
14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
14 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, dried
½ teaspoon fennel seed (that gives the dish a southern Italian flavor but it can be omitted)
cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to taste
½ cup raw cashews and ½ cup of water pureed in your blender until smooth
½ lemon juiced
2 cups frozen peas


Combine everything except the peas and cook until the onion is tender. This took about 10 minutes for me in an enameled cast iron pan over medium low heat. Be certain to stir often since this will try to stick to the pan. Add the peas at the very end of cooking so they stay bright green. I served this over quinoa though pasta would be more traditional.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 212.06
Calories From Fat (24%) - 51.44

Total Fat - 6.14g
Saturated Fat - 1.06g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 667.54mg
Potassium - 894.98mg
Total Carbohydrates - 33.8g
Fiber - 8.05g
Sugar - 12.96g
Protein - 9.75g


This is my healthy take on the standard Italian tomato vodka sauce. I make variations of this often when I need a fast dinner. This sauce has all the creaminess of the original without the deleterious health impact. I like this sauce with green peas (mostly for color) but any veggies will work in here. It is also good with mushrooms or cubes of baked tofu.

Happy Thoughts:

Wednesday morning has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts this morning:

• We were able to sleep in a little this morning which was a nice change. The gym didn’t open until 11am today so we are going to go mid afternoon since Dan will be working a half day today.

• The gym is closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday but we already have our back up plan ready. Now we just need to execute it. ;-)  Hopefully everything goes smoothly since Dan isn't the biggest fan of exercising at home.

• Not only is Dan working a half day today but he doesn’t need to go into the office this weekend. Woo hoo! Nothing like 4 ½ days with my hubby to put a big smile on my face. I love spending time with Dan as all of you know.  Smartest thing I ever did was marry that man. :-)

• Everything for Thanksgiving is coming along nicely. With a little luck tomorrow won’t be as hectic as holidays past.

• It will start looking like Christmas at our house very, very soon. I can’t wait to begin decorating on Friday. With a little luck I will have it substantially finished by Sunday. That is my plan, we will see if it happens.

23 and me sale:

In case any of you are interested I wanted to share that is having a sale on their DNA testing services 11/24 – 11/26. They don’t ship to Maryland; I tried to order it this morning which is why I know. For $99 it sounds interesting to me. Follow the link through slickdeals and don’t forget to use the promo code otherwise it is a little pricey. A friend of mine did this last summer when it was on sale. He thought it was worth $99 but not at $499.

Signing out:

I need to get a few things accomplished before Dan gets home and we to head to the gym, two libraries and Wegman's (grocery store).  It will be a bit hectic here this afternoon. But isn't that what holidays are supposed to be like? ;-)

I hope all of you have a great holiday. As soon as I get a chance to catch my breath I will fill you in on what is happening here.  Expect pictures of holiday decorations soon.  I love this time of year!  Talk to you again soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan Mofo 23.1: Chanterelle and Celery Salad and Braised Artichokes and Potatoes

I am still in shock that I enjoyed the gym so much Monday morning. I loved being around other people my age that were exercising. I found the entire experience to be very energizing. Dan is now worried I am going to turn into a gym rat. On the bright side at least he will know where to find me. On the down side it could result is less cooking. ;-) I think that is the part he is worried about, LOL. However if I start planning meals and using my slow cooker and pressure cooker more often it should be fine. It isn’t like I would start serving us processed food. That is simply not an option for me.

After Dan went to work I had to run to the grocery store because we were down to our last 3 frozen bananas. Seriously that is a crisis at our house. Thankfully Giant (one of our local grocery stores) almost always has bananas at every stage of ripeness. Good thing that was the case today too. I was able to find 5 very ripe bananas that were ready to go straight into the freezer. Since we can use 5 bananas in a day (2 for Dan’s smoothie, 1 for my smoothie, and 2 for his strawberry banana soft serve) we need plenty of bananas on hand.

Lunch today was nothing special. I had a baked sweet potato (with wet hots), the lemon and mustard roasted veggies, plus roasted rutabaga, beet and onion. I also had two unpictured Brazil nuts to have with it for my healthy fat and daily dose of selenium.

Dinner was as easy as lunch. I mixed chopped roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga, and beet with cooked brown rice. I heated these together in the microwave and then stirred in chopped spinach and topped it with brown rice. This dish was very heavy on the veggies and light on the rice. If you prefer more rice to veggies I would suggest you add a little fresh lemon juice for additional flavor.

Backlogged recipes:

Late last week I made two recipes that we enjoyed. Somehow they didn’t make the blog. I suppose I was busy doing something, but who knows what it was now. Here are those recipes:

Chanterelle and Celery Salad with Truffle and Soy
Serves 2


2/3 pound of fresh chanterelle mushrooms (you could substitute other fresh mushrooms)
½ teaspoon liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon cornstarch
4 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons walnuts that you have chopped
¼ teaspoon truffle oil (or substitute truffle salt and then omit the liquid aminos)


Combine the mushrooms, liquid aminos, and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pan with a lid. I used enameled cast iron. Cook covered for a few minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid. Remove the strained mushrooms leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Store the mushrooms in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and add to the pan and cook to tighten the sauce. Refrigerate the sauce until needed.

To serve combine the celery, parsley, tomatoes, cold cooked mushrooms, and the cooled sauce and toss to combine. Pile the salad onto a plate and top with the chopped walnuts and a tiny amount of truffle oil for aroma.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 87.49
Calories From Fat (55%) - 48.46

Total Fat - 5.76g
Saturated Fat - 0.59g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 158.84mg
Potassium - 423.4mg
Total Carbohydrates - 8.67g
Fiber - 2.63g
Sugar - 2.62g
Protein - 2.46g


Since I don’t typically use either liquid aminos or oil I bet this recipe was unexpected. This was actually an experiment for Thanksgiving. While Dan and I liked it I think the celery and parsley leaves added more flavor than the remainder of my family would find enjoyable. If I had fresh truffle slices those would have been perfect in this salad in place of the truffle oil. Overall I enjoyed this dish a lot but it does have a big flavor punch.

The next recipe is a simple Italian dish that is mostly traditional. Of course I eliminated the typical olive oil but that was the only major change. Here is what I did:

Braised Artichokes Braised with Potatoes and Peas (carciofi con piselli e patate)
Serves 4


1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
1 pound small red new potatoes (I cooked them whole to maximize the nutrition)
2 ounces dry white wine (like pinot grigio) or veg stock
4 ounces water
20 ounces frozen artichoke quarters or halves
½ lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups peas
¼ cup parsley, minced


Combine the onion, garlic, potatoes, wine or veg stock, water and artichokes in a heavy pan with a lid. Cook covered until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Now add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, and cook until the peas are hot. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information (assumes you used the wine not veg stock):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 245.99
Calories From Fat (2%) - 5.55

Total Fat - 0.68g
Saturated Fat - 0.08g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 227.21mg
Potassium - 1278.35mg
Total Carbohydrates - 50.82g
Fiber - 13.26g
Sugar - 4.28g
Protein - 11.69g


I love this dish because it is easy and fast yet it tastes great. This is one of those dishes I could eat for days. If you like potatoes, artichokes and lemon this might be the dish for you. Dan liked this a little better than the salad (above) and he isn’t the biggest fan of artichokes. Imagine he doesn’t understand why I am always confused about what to cook. Nothing like having consistency, LOL.


It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Every year Cross Keys does a nice winter display with adorable lighted deer throughout the complex. They are just starting to put them out and are testing the lights. I thought you might enjoy this picture I snapped last night.

Vegan Meetup:

Dan and I have decided we are going to the Baltimore dinner on December 15th. I will fill you guys in on how this works out.  I have no idea what to expect.  This is not something either of us would typically do. We will see how if coming out of our comfort zone is a good thing, or not.  ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

Tuesday morning has been good so far. Here are my happy thoughts this morning:

• Somehow I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep last night. It seems to be easier to shift our sleeping schedule than I expected. That has been a very pleasant surprise.

• We were up and at the gym bright (well not so bright) and early this morning. The picture above is the gym when we arrived this morning. It feels so wrong to be working out this early in the morning, LOL. We both got a good hour of cardio in this morning.

• The pool at the gym was much less crowded this morning. Yesterday it was packed. I am making notes so I can see when will be the best time to use it. I heard a rumor that Michael Phelps works out here. I am keeping my eyes peeled for that so I can let you know and maybe get a picture.

• We have been enjoying our unseasonably warm weather the last few days.

• Today I am going to prep some recipes for Thanksgiving to make Thursday less hectic. I am looking forward to spending some time in the kitchen today.

Signing out:

It is time for me to get my strength training out of the way and get cooking.  I also need to get caught up responding to email. For those of you waiting for responses I apologize. Email is on my list to tackle today.

I hope all of you have a great day. Talk to you again soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vegan Mofo 22.1: Sunday Update and Lemon Mustard Rosemary Roasted Veggies

Sunday morning started bright and early today for the farmers’ market. In fact we actually set the alarms for 5:45 am to get up a bit earlier in prep for changing our sleep schedule to get to the gym early in the morning. Now we just need to get into bed early every night. Only time will tell if that really happens. ;-)

This is a picture I took from the car (Dan was driving) to give you a sense of the trip to the market. The market itself is off the left exit (directly down the ramp ahead). The market is set up under this expressway.

Having the farmers’ market under the expressway protects people from the weather but makes it dark which means it is hard to take pictures. I wanted to give you a sense of the place. There are about 75 vendors the picture above was taken outsdie the shortest side (the area is a long thin rectangle) of the market.  The tents you see are vendors set up outside the market.

We took our time getting to the market since we were up earlier than usual. It turned out that wasn’t the best plan since we forgot the farmers had warned up to get there early since the market before Thanksgiving was always more crowded. Wow, they were not kidding. We had a little difficulty getting a parking place at 6:30 and the market doesn’t officially open until 7am. Some people were leaving with food when we arrived.

When we arrived at the market Rudy (Cat’s Paw Organic) wasn’t there at all so we started with our CSA (Calvert Farm). Not long after we started selecting produce from the CSA Rudy pulled in. Pam (from Calvert Farm) was kind enough to let us keep our bags there while we ran over to help Rudy unload. Since Rudy sells a lot of baked goods Thanksgiving is a bigger day than normal for him and he was late getting the truck packed. Between Rudy, Dan, the two ladies that help him and me we had the truck unloaded in less than 5 minutes. As one of you pointed out before that does bring new meaning to community supported agriculture. I loved that line so I had to use it. LOL

We headed back to our CSA to finish picking out our items there before the “good stuff” was gone. The market was definitely packed this morning. But you know us we came home with tons of good stuff. Our haul this morning included: kale, watercress, portabella caps to stuff, parsnips, beets, apple cider, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cilantro, parsley, celery, garlic, broccoli rabe, green onions, green beans, spicy greens, and baby spinach. Like usual we were able to fill five (5) reusable grocery bags with produce. I am really going to miss the farmers’ market when it closes on Dec 19th. *sigh*

Lunch with my folks was a simple miso soup with diced carrot, and julienned baby spinach to start.

The lunch entrée was green beans, carrots, onion, garlic, ginger and liquid aminos over brown rice and topped with walnuts and hot pepper flakes (for 3 out of 4 of us).

Since I had time I roasted a few veggies to include with lunch on Monday. This is a very simple recipe but it tastes great and is easy so I thought some of you would be interested. Here is what I did:

Lemon Mustard Rosemary Roasted Veggies
Serves 4


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 lemon, zested and juiced
approximately 12 inches fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and minced (about 1 tablespoon minced)
black pepper to taste
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
1 quart (4 cups) Brussels sprouts, bases trimmed and cut in half


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees convection. Line two half sheet pans with parchment, easy release aluminum foil or silpat.

Combine the Dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary and black pepper in a big bowl and whisk. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Place a single layer of cauliflower on one of the sheet pans.

Place the Brussels sprouts in the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Place the Brussels sprouts on a single layer on the second sheet pan. Roast the veggies until they are the texture you desire. I roasted mine for 30 minutes and they were lightly browned and tender crisp.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 140.88
Calories From Fat (6%) - 8.29

Total Fat - 1g
Saturated Fat - 0.14g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 226.86mg
Potassium - 1493.85mg
Total Carbohydrates - 29.58g
Fiber - 13.07g
Sugar - 11.2g
Protein - 10.73g


These are good tossed with greens or cold cooked grains. Our favorite way to eat them is on salad but there are versatile. We like them hot out of the oven, warm or cold. Roasted veggies are one of my favorite intentional leftovers due to their flexibility.


The alarm was set for 5:30 this morning and we actually got up then without using the snooze button. Will miracles never cease? We were at the gym by 6:06 so we were almost on schedule. The gym was fairly empty but the pool was filled with the swim team. We decided it was best to get in the habit of getting up and going to the gym and start out easy. We did an hour of cardio. There was a little warm up on the padded track (nice), and then we grabbed two elliptical machines. I used the treadmill on an incline while Dan used the rowing machine. It was fabulous to get my blood pumping so early in the morning. I plan to do my strength training at home for a while since the idea is an hour at the gym in the morning before Dan goes to work.

I took a few pictures as we left the gym. This is the view as you come out the door. Loyola really has a lovely campus.  As you can see it was foggy this morning.  I will take more pictures of the gym in the coming weeks to share.

This is a picture of the front of the gym as you come up from the parking lot. We are very lucky to have such a nice gym in the neighborhood and at a very reasonable price.

Here is the best part of the trip to the gym this morning, other than those in the pool most of the people in the gym were my age or older. I have to admit that was a relief. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of working out with people 1/3 my age.  It was nice to have some people my own age around. ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

I had a great weekend but it was really busy. Here are the things I am thankful for this morning:

• I enjoyed being around so many people that wanted to learn about health at the conference on Saturday.

• We had a lovely dinner out on Saturday and got a chance to see our sweet Aimee which we always enjoy.

• The farmers’ market was a blast and I picked up almost everything I need for Thanksgiving.

• My father is completely on board with a vegan Thanksgiving. Who is this man and what did he do with my father? LOL

• Our first morning at the gym was great. I was able to knock out an hour of cardio before I would have normally been awake. I loved that, but I am not right. Dan said the gym wasn’t bad, which I thought was a great sign. I was thrilled when he suggested joining the gym. It makes me happy that he has started exercising.

• It is almost time to decorate for Christmas. That is my favorite thing to do. I start decorating the day after Thanksgiving while most people are shopping. I love Christmas decorations, the little white lights and shiny baubles. There is nothing like turning out the lights (except the decorations) and sipping hot chocolate and listening to music. Can you tell how much I love Christmas? LOL

Signing out:

I need to run to the store for bananas to get into the freezer (for smoothies and soft serve). Then I have to get my strength training in and start my day. I will be back later with at least one recipe (maybe two) that I made last week that I haven’t had time to post yet. I also have a lot of blog reading to catch up on. It has been a busy week and I am way behind schedule. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. Dan and I had a good day but it was busy.

Talk to you all again later today. I hope everyone has a great Monday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegan Mofo 20.1: Quick Saturday Update

(pictured:  Oriole Park at Camden Yards from the Hotel)

I hope all of you had a wonderful Saturday!

My day started early since I needed to be downtown at 8:15am for the Hopkins Women’s Health Conference. I was thrilled to hear that the conference was attended by more than 1,000 participants. I find it incredibly empowering to be around so many other people who are concerned about health. I went to the following conference sessions today:

• Use and Abuse of Supplements
• Foods as Medicine
• Shedding Light on Vitamin D
• Five Tips to Boost Your Immune System and Combat Disease

I will share my thoughts on all these conferences in the next few days. I took copious notes to share with you. ;-)

Here is the vegan lunch I was served. It was a grilled tofu topped with a shitake mushroom and both a green and a whole grain salad on the side. They were also serving rolls with butter but I passed on that. Overall the food was just okay though pretty. Ian’s food is much tastier and healthier, as is mine or course, LOL.

To accompany the entree was a fruit tart with chocolate mousse and a chocolate shard. It was pretty but clearly off my list of things to consume. The fat and sugar had to be ridiculous not to mention it probably contained butter in the crust.

The conference went through 4:15pm. While I was there I picked up a book on kidney cancer from the JHU Press.

I decided to walk to Dan’s office downtown to get some steps in. Nothing like sitting on my tush all day long to make me feel like a complete slug. Dan decided to work today since I was going to be in the conference and he didn’t want to be the only guy at the conference. I think he should have attended the event since he loves to be the center of attention, LOL.

Needless to say after spending all day at the conference I was not in the mood to cook. However I was starving since I didn’t eat much at the conference. Dan and I headed to the restaurant for an early dinner. We were there hours before our normal arrival time. ;-)

First we ordered the marinated mushrooms to share which you all know we love.

Then our sweet Aimee suggested the fattoush without the feta and that sounded great to us. We opted to share this as well.

After the first two dishes I was starting to feel human again. Man was I hungry. LOL

We finished dinner by sharing the roasted vegetable side with balsamic glaze and pine nuts.

Of course we washed this all down with two pots of white tea with rose petals.

Next we ran by the gym to pick up our membership cards. We are planning to go to the gym tomorrow between the mid day meal with my parents and dinner and start going every weekday morning at 6am when they open. Wish us luck on that. ;-)

Now it is time to relax since 6am comes early tomorrow for the farmers’ market. I will be back tomorrow with at least one recipe and possibly a conference update. I hope all of you had a great Saturday. Talk to you again tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Mofo 19.2: Cookbook Review: The Artful Vegan

I picked up this cookbook from the library yesterday that I knew it was amazing in under a minute. This book has already been ordered to add to my library. It is very “chefy” and I am completely in love with it. It is better than “The Conscious Cook” or “Great Chefs Cook Vegan” both of which I also own. The book was published in 2003 so I have no idea how I missed it. Thank goodness my library had a copy. ;-)

The book is categorized as follows:

• Appetizers
• Salads
• Soups
• Pastas
• Entrees
• Desserts
• Basics

This book is absolutely amazing, so much so I don’t know where to start telling you about it. Most of the recipes are intricate and involved and I love that! When I showed this book to Dan he told me to order a copy for myself. Some of the recipes that caught my eye include the following:

• Miso-Broiled Japanese Eggplant over Noodle Cakes with Walnut-Miso Sauce and Wasabi Cream
• Blue Corn Empanada Filled with Smoked Tempeh-Root Vegetable Picadillo, Mint Mojo, and Strawberry-Papaya Salsa
• Avocado, Sea Vegetable, and Plum with Creamy Wasabi Dressing and Spicy Candied Peanuts
• Grilled Radicchio de Treviso with Pink Grapefruit, Pink Peppercorns and Garlic-Tarragon Ranch Dressing
• Caramelized Three-Onion and Porcini Cappuccino with Truffled Soy Foam
• Chilled Potato Vichyssoise with Black Truffle Sorbet
• Yellow Finn Potato Gnocchi with Beet-Merlot Reduction, Roasted Beets and Walnuts
• Lemon-Pine Nut Ravioli over Baby Artichokes-Golden Tomato Ragout
• Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Vegetables and Shiitake Mushrooms, Tomato Lavender Sauce, and Kamut-Pine Nut Salad
• Root Vegetable Ravioli with Portobello Mushroom Pate and Sweet Pepper-Olive Tapenade
• Pear-Huckleberry Trifle
• Key Lime Tart with White Chocolate Mousse and Mango Sauce
• Jasmine Tea Poached Pears with Pomegranate Sauce
• Cannoli Stuffed with Maple Peanut Butter Mousse

I could have listed every recipe in the book, they all sound incredible. It is going to be tough to decide where to start. After reading the recipe titles I bet you can see why I am so smitten with this book.

If you don’t like recipes with a lot of ingredients or steps this isn’t for you. The first recipe I checked had 38 ingredients which I loved but I know many people would find that to be a turn off. The flavor combinations in this book are amazing and some of them are very unique.

I will need to modify most of these recipes to remove the oil and salt. But to their credit the authors use much less of both than most recipes. The authors also give a nutritional breakdown for each recipe.

My only complaint about the book, and it is minor, is that there isn’t a picture of each recipe. If they had included that the book would be perfect!

I don’t often say this but it you love fancy food this is a must buy. Our friend Allan looked at the book last night and described this as vegan food you would happily eat even if you were an omnivore. I think that is a great description.

Today was another busy day. I am happy to tell you we joined the gym at Loyola.  I have purses older than some of the kids I saw tonight, LOL. However, I can’t wait to get into that pool. ;-)  I will fill you in on this later when I have more time.

The Hopkins Women’s Health Conference starts bright and early tomorrow morning which means I need to get my rest. I will fill you in on anything interesting I learn as soon as I can.

Oh, and we out for dinner again tonight.  I seem to have forgotten where my kitchen is located.  ;-)

Talk to you again tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a great Friday night.

Vegan Mofo 19.1: Dinner Out

I loved this picture of a maple tree I took yesterday. It should have been included in the prior post. How did I forget this?

When I got home from my walk I wanted a glass of water. When I left the room I came back to this. Yes that is Nicco (Binky) with his head in my glass. No spoiled cats in this house. *rolls eyes* Can you tell how accustomed they are to doing exactly what they want to do? LOL, I am not a good feline disciplinarian.

I mentioned in the last post that Dan wanted to go out to dinner last night. My first reaction was we should stay home but then I came to my senses. Who in their right mind would say no I would really rather cook and clean at home. Needless to say we went out for dinner. ;-)

Since it was a Thursday night we didn’t think reservations were necessary. Clearly that was a mistake. When we got to the restaurant there was a line for seating, on a Thursday. What? It wasn’t a long wait thought so it was fine. We also got a chance to see a few of the regulars from wine tasting that we hadn’t seen in close to a year and a half. It was wonderful to see them. We chatted with Allan (one of the owners) while we waited for a table to open up. Then we got the news that Ian was off. Dinner without a hug from the chef is just not right. Clearly we need to go back soon when he is there. ;-)  Dan had to remind me that I got hugs from 10 other people so I shouldn't be complaining.  He does have a point about that, LOL.  In case you hadn't noticed the restaurant is like our version of "Cheers".

Here is a pic of Dan scanning the menu. Sorry about the quality of the picture I took it without the flash so I didn’t disturb other diners. I had Dan take some pictures of me but none of them are any good. Some of the pics were so bad I thought of including them because they are really funny. I adore my husband but photography is not one of his strengths. LOL

We are becoming creatures of habit when we dine out. *shakes head* I hope that isn’t us becoming set in our ways. On no, is that a sure sign we are getting, or have already gotten old.  Eek! ;-)

First we ordered the spicy black bean soup that was a special last night that is vegan though not advertised as such. Dan ordered a bowl and I had a cup.  His bowl made a better picture.

Next we split our favorite marinated mushrooms. These are so good I really need to try making them Ian’s way with soy and truffle because it is a wonderful flavor combination. You have to love that this is another naturally vegan item.

Dan thought we “needed” whole wheat pizza. This time we had them include: marinara, red onions, olives, capers, artichokes and shitakes. It was a good pizza combination and Dan came up with it. I think he is getting the hang of this.

After dinner we decided to swing by the college gym to see how crowded it was at night. At 10:30pm there were probably 40 cars in the parking lot. However from what we could see through the window it wasn’t crowded which is a good thing for us. Since both Dan and I are both night owls there is a good chance we will be working out late at night. I am hoping to get him to the gym before work but realistically we may end up being late night exercisers.

The gym building is much larger than either of us envisioned. Our plan now is to stop there tonight after work, get the tour and sign up. Dan is looking forward to the indoor climbing wall, and the circuit weights. I am excited about the pool, sauna and indoor squash courts. Can you believe a school gym has all this? I am still amazed since when I went to school there I don’t remember much of a gym. There was an indoor pool but it was tough to use since the swim team seemed to practice all the time. Things have really changed since we graduated back in the Stone Age.  ;-)

Happy thoughts:

Yesterday was a great day which means I have plenty to be thankful for this morning:

• Dinner out was great. The food was wonderful and we got a chance to see some old friends.

• We also made a new friend at the restaurant. We had a different server last night who was very sweet. Since we go to the restaurant we have our usual servers as well as foods. It is always nice to meet new people.

• Last night I slept like a rock which I really needed. I haven’t been sleeping well (no reason) so I needed the rest.

• Dan and I are thinking about going to a vegan meet up next month that is organized by the same group that is sponsoring the “Forks Over Knives” screening. We have avoided these since we expected to be the “elder states people” but we are considering giving it a try. I will keep you informed on this. It is absolutely out of our comfort zone. That is why I think it will be good for us.

Signing out:

It is Friday which means errand day for me. I will be back later with two recipes from Wednesday night. I am getting behind on my cooking posts and this is still a food blog. Right?  LOL

I hope everyone had a great week and has something fun planned for the weekend. Talk to you again later today.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan Mofo 18.1: Love Letter to Baltimore

I have mentioned many times that I had walked to the grocery store or the library. Most of you are aware that I live in Baltimore City. I love how easy it is to walk to everything that I need on a daily basis because I don’t like to drive. Actually it isn’t the driving I don’t like it is the parallel parking. *ugh*

Today I walked to the library to pick up three books that I had reserved on-line. During my walk I started to take pictures of the beautiful fall leaves and then I shot a few pictures of houses. I love the architect in this part of town. We live on the north side of Baltimore and most of the houses are over 100 years and each is unique which I love. To those of you in Europe 100 year old houses aren’t that old. However here in the states most houses are not that old. Here are a few pictures I took that I hope the other architecture fans will enjoy.

This is the old Roland Park shopping mall that is reported to be the first mall  in the US, it dates back to the late 1800's. When I was a child there was a Baskin Robbins at the end and I would walk here with my grandmother for ice cream. I was heartbroken when the ice cream store moved out because it had so many lovely memories for me.

This is the library branch that was recently remodeled.

Conveniently right across the street is a Starbucks where I stopped for tea before walking home.

This is a neighborhood icon, the Eddies grocery store. Forty plus years ago my grandmother used to call and order her groceries and they would deliver them and carry the bags into the kitchen. This place was definitely ahead of its time. They also have the very nice prepared food. Many of my neighbors order their entire Thanksgiving dinner from Eddies. At lunch they do a booming sandwich and soup business.

Here is the church where I was baptized many decades ago.

I wanted to include some random house pictures from the walk to the library. I think it is a lovely old eclectic neighborhood.   I hope you enjoy the walk.

I hope you enjoyed the brief tour of the north side of Baltimore. The reason I wanted to write this post is that I think people have a big misperception of Baltimore. Television shows like "Homicide" and "The Wire" portray a city that I don’t know and I have lived here a long time. My Baltimore is very serene and calm, nothing like the city I see on TV.  I hope this gives you an idea of my day today.

Happy thoughts:

Today was a great day for me. Here are my happy thoughts:

• I had a nice walk to the library and got my step count over 8 miles by 2pm. Woo hoo!

• It was a lovely day to enjoy a nice mug of tea outside at Starbucks after the library. This gave me a few minutes to start browsing one of the books.

• I ran into a few neighbors on my walk who were out exercising. One lady was using Nordic poles and raved about them. Do any of you use them or have an opinion about them? If so please let me know I would love to hear what you think.

• I am getting very excited about the Hopkins Women’s Health conference on Saturday. If it is half as good as I expect I will be thrilled.

• Dan Sr. and Dan Jr. were able to get together for lunch today downtown. Since I know how much my Dan enjoys spending time with his son it makes me happy when they find time to get together.

It was a very good day. I found myself randomly smiling for no reason just because it was a beautiful day.

Signing out:

Dan mentioned going out for dinner tonight which means I need to make myself presentable.  Talk to you all again soon.  I hope your day was as nice as mine.  :-)
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