Cheesy sauce gets healthier (but so delicious)


Cheezy brocs and spirals


I used to make a homemade cheese sauce in the microwave, so fast and easy you could whip it up while the macaroni cooked. A few years ago I discovered I liked it even more over broccoli or cauliflower than pasta.  The last couple of years I have been looking for alternatives to the dairy/saturated fat sauce.
I have tried many, some better than others, but the recipe in Vegan Diner is absolutely fabulous and so easy I can, again, whip it up while the pasta and vegetable are cooking.  I can’t give you the recipe but check your library for a copy of the book to try some of her fabulous recipes.
Here is a fall classic, at least in my part of the world: cranberry orange nut loaf.  Let it sit, wrapped or in a tin, for a day or two to let the moistness of the berries permeate the loaf.  It’s good toasted, too.

Cranberry orange loaf with walnuts


Vegan Diner simple supper

I borrowed the new cookbook Vegan Diner from the library a few weeks ago because of the raves it was getting on the PPK.  Most cookbook s I am happy to borrow from the library and return three weeks later but the very best ones I have to buy.  My copy of this one is coming.  I love the recipes and the layout is excellent

So tonight I made the Old-Fashioned Tomato soup – so easy and so delicious. 

On the weekend I had made the Great Smoky Mountain Cheeze, but substituting hickory liquid smoke for the smoked paprika.  The consistency is good, like a soft cheese – sliceable but still spreadable.  I toasted some leftover rosemary focaccia (recipe from Veganomicon) and spread on it some of the smoky spread.  Dunking it in the soup made it all more delicious.

I’m back

It’s been a long time.  I’ve been cooking, most of the time.  After a stellar day yesterday where I cooked up a storm I thought I would pop back in here.  Mainly because I made oatcakes and wanted to post “my” recipe for them.

These are the oatcakes I remember eating as a child, but my memory is bad so maybe they are just the ones I like best.  Here is the recipe, adapted from New Maritimes Seasonal Cooking:

1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups oatmeal (I use the oats specifically called Steel Cut Scottish Oatmeal from Speerville Mills, but Bob’s Red Mill makes them too)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold shortening (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 cup cold water

In medium bowl, combine brown sugar, oatmeal, flour, baking soda and salt.  Cut in shortening using pastry blender until small crumbs form.  Drizzle about half the water over the dough while mixing with a fork.  Add more water as necessary to make a ball that holds together well but is not too sticky.  Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper to line them).  Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let sit a few minutes on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack.  These store well and also freeze well, which is good because if you cut them in small circles like mine there will be at least 6 dozen.

I also made a beautiful tofu scramble this morning after my 10k run to Shubie Park.  Onions, peppers, tomato and spinach, California herb tofu from Acadiana Soy Products, with a side of toasted Boulangérie La Vendéene froment with homemade blueberry jam.  And a large mug of coffee, of course – still drinking the delicious Nicaraguan beans that I got in Calgary at Fratello.


Vegan MoFo is over but I can’t stop…

taking pictures of my food and writing about it. It’s fun when I have time.

Today was day three of my new job. I don’t get home until 5:40 now so I have to be more prepared for supper-making. I leave for work later, too, though, so I have time for a little prep in the morning if I need it.

This morning I made a marinade of apple juice concentrate, dijon mustard, rosemary and garlic and sliced up some tofu to put in it.

Arriving home, I turned on the oven to pre-heat while I  chopped some shallots, garlic and red pepper for a rice pilaf. Marinated tofu in the oven, veggies sauteeing, rice and vegetable broth added, broccoli ready to steam – dinner was ready by 6:30.

A piddly plate of food - I ate more than this

I couldn’t resist making a batch of cookies while the oven was on.

Chocolate Fudgy Oatmeal Cookies

Gratuitous Princess picture


Thursday – summon seitan

Bad joke, I know. How can you help but make jokes about a food called seitan? If you want to learn what seitan is, Wikipedia or the Vegetarian Resource Group can help

I had not eaten seitan before last summer and my first attempt was not a success. I recently borrowed from the library a new book by Terry Hope Romero called Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers in which she has a simple recipe for steamed seitan that I wanted to try. I am hopeful that this may be something the two meat-eaters will like. I made both the red and white versions from the book.

The first step is to whisk together cold broth, garlic, olive oil and other seasonings in a measuring cup. I used vegetable broth for the red seitan and “chicken” broth for the white.











The wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast and spices go in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the liquid.











Stir with a silicon spatula, knead for 3 minutes, and let rest for ten minutes. Then it looks like this:

Red seitan dough












White seitan dough. It didn't hold together as well as the red












Close-up of the lovely strands of gluten












After letting the dough rest for ten minutes, I cut it into four pieces, shaped each one into a rough oval and wrapped in foil.











All four packets went into a steamer basket inside a large pot. After 30 minutes of steaming I removed them and they looked like this:

Steamed white seitan











Steamed red seitan














They smell good, especially the white, but the recipe says to leave them in the fridge for a day or two before using. On Saturday I will try them out so be sure to come back for the taste testing.


Meatless “beef” stew

My quest for meals that will satisfy all of us continues. The two younger boys are unwilling to give up meat and dislike most vegan meals. Oldest son is gradually embracing vegetarianism. I don’t want to cook meat anymore so things are tense.

I bought some President’s Choice Blue Menu Meatless Beef Strips (made by Gardein) to try them out in a traditional beef stew.

Verdict from the meat eaters: yuck.

Verdict from me, having had very little meat in the past five years, and none at all this year: pretty good.

The oldest boy is working so hasn’t had a chance yet to try it.

Everyone liked the biscuits.


Meatless “Beef” Stew

(all measurement approximate)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 carrots, diced

1 small turnip, diced

2 ½ cups beef-flavoured bouillon (I used McCormick’s)

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp marjoram

3 tbsp all purpose flour

several grinds of black pepper

1 small sweet potato, diced

6 medium potatoes, quartered

1 package President’s Choice Blue Menu Meatless Beef Strips


Heat the oil in a stew pot over low-medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, until softened. Add garlic, carrots, and turnip and cook for a few more minutes. Add 2 cups of bouillon, thyme and marjoram and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium.

Place the flour in a jar (Mason or jam, with a well-fitting lid) and add the remaining ½ cup of bouillon. Place the cap on the jar and shake to dissolve the flour. Pour this mixture into the stew and stir well. Add the pepper and potatoes, lower the heat to simmer and cover.

When the vegetables are almost cooked, after about 15 minutes, add the beef strips. I thought they were too big as is and cut them in halves or thirds. Stir and cover again. Simmer about 5-10 minutes more. If the bouillon or stock you have used is unsalted, taste and correct for salt.