Thanksgiving camping!

I am so excited that I got to go camping not only on Thanksgiving weekend but on the last day the provincial parks are open for the season.  The weather this past weekend was absolutely amazing for Nova Scotia in October:  sunny and highs in the mid-twenties.  What vegan food is good for camping?  For a short stay, the same as any other:  hot dogs roasted over the fire, tortilla chips and salsa, trail mix and marshmallows.

Our front yard

I like simple food when I camp, preferably something that can be roasted over a fire or is prepared in advance and just need reheating.

Regular marshmallows have gelatin.  Dandies don’t and they are delicious, if tiny and requiring delicate roasting over the fire.

Breakfast of champions – plain instant porridge with chunks of banana and trail mix.

I remembered the filters and coffee but forgot the plastic cone.  I improvised with a water bottle lid but it didn’t work very well.  I did eventually end up with a somewhat drinkable cup of coffee with a pile of dregs at the bottom.

Sunrise over Mahone Bay

My oldest son, William

Thanksgiving pumpkin waffles

Thanksgiving is this weekend in Canada.  I am thankful for the beautiful summer-like weather and that tonight  I am going camping.  I am also thankful that no turkeys will die to feed me.  Pumpkins, on the other hand, I will eat with abandon.

Today’s holiday brunch recipe is courtesy of the great and talented Isa Chandra of Post Punk Kitchen fame.  This recipe for pumpkin waffles is from Vegan With a Vengeance but she has shared it on the web site.  Here is a naked waffle:

And here it is dressed up with syrup and homemade peach jam:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Curry and Rice

I didn’t grow up eating curries.  Anyone who knows my childhood would laugh at that – Dad was a meat and potatoes man.  Mom, though was a good and more adventurous cook.  I was looking through her hand-written recipes today and thought about how she would enjoy the vastness that is the internet recipe box, and the fabulous choice of foods that I have available to me, even at my local supermarket in a small city.

I don’t remember where or when I first tasted curry powder but I remember my reaction.  It was sweet and spicy and completely outside my experience.  I am not sure that I loved it then but I do now.  Ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds, turmeric, fenugreek and a new favourite, asafoetida.  So many exotic flavours.

This is a cauliflower and eggplant curry with red and brown lentils, with swiss chard added at the end.  The rice is Spicy Indian Rice with Toasted Almonds from Vegan With a Vengeance.

The curry recipe is a melange.  I like the Vegan With a Vengeance Chickpea and Spinach Curry  spice blend but I wanted to have cauliflower, eggplant and lentils.  So I started with heating 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat, added 1 tsp of yellow and 1 tsp of brown mustard seeds and let them pop for about a minute.  Then I added some chopped onion.  Once the onion was soft I stirred in 4 crushed cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp grated ginger and then added the spice blend:

  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp salt

I also used a full 800 ml can of tomatoes, squished into small pieces and about the same amount of water.

There are, I am sure, people who would be much more fussy about their preparation but I find that curries are one thing that have so many levels of taste going on, as long as you don’t over cook the vegetables or add too much salt  they almost always turn out delicious.

Cinnamon buns with no cinnamon – oops

This morning at 3:30 AM, as is sometimes the case for me, I was lying in bed mentally gnawing over things I won’t mention here because this blog is about food, not my existential angst. After a half hour of inner turmoil I decided to get up and catch up on my internetting.

While sitting here I started to get hungry and thought to myself, I could make some cinnamon rolls. So I jumped up and got out one of my favourite cookbooks, Veganomicon, for the Maple and Brown Sugar Pinwheels recipe. I had made it once before and while we didn’t care for the orange and cardamon, the sweet dough is delicious so I was going to add some cinnamon to the brown sugar filling and have cinnamon rolls.

Unfortunately, at 5:30 AM my mental faculties aren’t always the sharpest. Some of you may remember the raccoon incident. I rolled out the risen dough, spread it with margarine, and sprinkled on the brown sugar. It wasn’t until much later (when I bit into one) that I realized I had forgotten the cinnamon. So we have butterscotch rolls instead and they are almost gone.

I wanted to try a different recipe with the seitan I had made a few weeks ago and tonight made the Almost All American Seitan Pot Pie, again from the ever-trusty Veganomicon. It was delicious. Missing from the picture are the sides of green beans and spinach.

The two holdout meat-eaters refused to even try it. It’s going to be a long week, month, year, since I have decided I am not cooking anything non-veg any more.

While the pot pie was baking I whipped up an apple crisp with some of the many apples hanging around looking shiftless.

Orange you glad it’s not Thanksgiving?

Are all you non-US citizens sick of hearing about Thanksgiving? Luckily today is an ordinary day here in Canada. Maybe for me not so ordinary – it was the last day of my four-month posting at [unnamed government agency]. Coincidentally, it was also the day for the CEO and CFO to travel around to the different divisions and bestow their grace on us. I got a cup of mediocre coffee and a fabulous orange out of the deal. Sorry, no picture of the orange.

Tonight was a roasted potatoes night.

Beautiful crusty brown roasted potatoes with rosemary and thyme

I added the onions too early and they were blackened - I actually like them that way


I also had a large green salad and an Yves sweet Italian sausage. I had eaten all of the salad and half of the sausage before I remembered I was supposed to take pictures, so here is a picture of the partially-eaten sausage, slathered in million dollar relish, yellow mustard, and ketchup.

A Garrison’s nut brown ale completes the pub-like meal and I am ready for my three day weekend.

Quick and easy chop suey for a Monday

For years, off and on, I have subscribed to Leanne Ely’s Saving Dinner Menu-Mailer. Some of the recipes have become keepers, like tonight’s regular rotator,  skillet chop suey.

I replace the ground beef with Yves Ground round, and could just as easily use some seitan, tofu cubes, or tempeh. Chop chop chop the veggies and you’ve got a quick and easy and  healthy meal. I like a good slather of Sriracha on top.

Skillet Chop Suey

modified slightly from Saving Dinner

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 package Yves Ground Round

1 1/2 cup chopped celery

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped green peppers

2 cups bean sprouts

2 tbsp tamari or low-salt soy sauce, or to taste

Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Stir in onions and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add garlic and stir for a minute. Crumble up the Yves and add it to the pan. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, while you chop the rest of the vegetables.

Turn the heat to medium and add in the celery, mushrooms, and green pepper. Cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the bean sprouts and tamari and combine well. At this point I usually turn off the heat, cover the pot for a few minutes and round up the plates and boys. Scoop a hefty serving onto your plate, cover in hot sauce, if desired, and enjoy.