More Chili

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We make a lot of chili around here. It’s easy to throw together in the slow cooker and it’s something healthy that we know the big kid will eat. Books by Robin Robertson will make many appearances in our 52 cookbooks list and she always has great chili recipes. The Smoky Red Bean Chili with Chipotle-Cornbread Dumplings from Vegan on the Cheap was one we hadn’t tried before but it sure was delicious. And it was easier than making a batch of cornbread separately, though that’s always good too.

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Thanksgiving 2015

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I’ve written this before but it bears repeating. Tradition is what you make it. Millions of people have turkey on Thanksgiving because it’s tradition. This was our 19th vegan Thanksgiving. This is our tradition. And we’re thankful we can have such a fabulous, flavorful meal without unnecessarily harming animals.

We generally have some sort of vegetable pie with puff pastry but we broke with that tradition this year and turned to one of the newest cookbooks in our collection, Street Vegan, and an older book from our collection, The Voluptuous Vegan. Street Vegan is packed with amazing recipes but many of them are rather involved so we hadn’t used it yet because so often we’re cooking meals that are simple and on the table quickly. Thanksgiving is a day to spend more time cooking so we decided to make the Hemp Seed and Rosemary Crusted Tofu with Tarragon Garlic Bread Pudding from Street Vegan. Rather than spelt bread as called for in the bread pudding recipe we used the Amaranth Studded Cornbread from The Voluptuous Vegan. Also from that same book we made the Sauteed Haricots Verts and Cranberry Relish with Apples and Pears. For the tofu and bread pudding we also made a mushroom gravy from the Oh She Glows cookbook. Despite the disparate sources it all came together nicely and was one of the best Thanksgiving meals we’ve made.

We also broke with tradition for dessert. Rather than our typical pumpkin pie or cheesecake we used our newly acquired donut pan and made these baked Maple Pumpkin Donuts with Spiced Glaze. The donut pan has been a big hit with the kids so far.

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We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

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Happy New Year 2015

I don’t consider myself a Southerner but I’ve lived in Virginia long enough that I eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. Last year was a nice twist on that tradition but this year was perhaps more straightforward. The black-eyed peas I cooked in our fancy schmancy new Instant Pot. They were cooked with onions, celery, carrots and garlic and seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin and oregano. I do like the pressure cooker because I put in dried black-eyed peas and they were done (a little over-done in fact) in 15 minutes of cooking time.

We didn’t do collard greens this year only because we had a big bunch of kale we needed to use up. That was simply cooked with garlic, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. And we rounded out the meal with brown rice and cornbread. I just mentioned our go-to cornbread recipe and I experimented with this one a bit by using all whole spelt flour in place of the wheat flour (so it was wheat free though not necessarily gluten free since spelt has some gluten in it). It came out slightly more dense but still very good. We’ve been experimenting with using grains other than wheat and this was a nice change-up.

Happy New Year!

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Winter Solstice

First, apologies for letting this blog languish for five months. We stopped our last blog not long after having our first kid; I’m not sure what made us think we’d have time to keep up with this one after having our second kid. But this one will not come to an end – at least not now. We’re determined to keep this one going and furthermore to make it a resource for busy parents like us who are trying to make healthy meals for their families – healthy meals that just happen to be vegan.

Since today was the winter solstice we wanted to make something to celebrate the gradual return of the sun and the longer days ahead. We settled on “sun cakes”, a.k.a., cornbread baked in a ring mold. And since that’s not a meal by itself we also made chili with lentils and seitan. We’ve been making chili quite a bit lately, in large part because we discovered that the 6-year-old will eat almost anything we put into chili form. It’s also easy to throw into the slow cooker when we have a few spare minutes and then not worry about until dinner time. The chili recipe was mostly from the newest cookbook in our collection, Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker. This was an early Christmas present to ourselves, as was our Instant Pot, which we’ve really been enjoying so far and using a lot. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it in future posts. There’s no shortage of chili recipes out there and you can find any number of vegan cornbread recipes as well but I’ll leave you with our go-to cornbread recipe, which is adapted from Peter Berley.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. flour (we use either unbleached white flour or a mix of that and white whole wheat)

3/4 c. cornmeal

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. + 2 Tbs. water

1/4 c. canola oil

3 Tbs. maple syrup

What  you do:

It’s pretty simple really. Mix together the dry ingredients then gently stir in the water, oil and maple syrup. We typically bake this in a 9 inch cast iron skillet that’s been pre-heated in a 350 degree oven with a little Earth Balance on the bottom. 25 minutes should do it. You could easily bake it in an 8-inch square baking dish too. Tonight I got fancy and baked it in the cast iron skillet inside several ring molds and with the batter that was left I made corn muffins.

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