Baked Bean Nachos

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We’ve been making nachos for dinner regularly these days. I think this is in part because we joined Costco earlier this year and the two items we most commonly get there are a huge bag of organic tortilla chips and a big bag of avocados. In addition to the chips and guacamole, we usually add a tofu and black bean mixture and some sort of vegan cheese sauce. In this version we changed it up by adding fried seitan and “baked” beans. The beans were based on a recipe from Robin Robertson’s slow cooker book that we made in the Instant Pot. We’ll have to do this more often because it was all quite tasty!

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Christmas Dinner 2015

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For those of you who celebrate Christmas we hope you had a good one. For our Christmas dinner this year we turned to one of our favorite new cookbooks, Robin Robertson’s Vegan Without Borders. In a nod to our German and Austrian heritage we made Seitan Jagerschnitzel, or fried seitan cutlets in a creamy mushroom sauce. We also made the roasted brussels sprouts with walnuts from the same Eastern Europe section of the book. We rounded out the savory part of the plate with more roasted vegetables – root veggies in this case: golden beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and celery root. And finally we made cranberry relish, some version of which is pretty traditional for us on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was a variation on a recipe we used at Thanksgiving from the Voluptuous Vegan cookbook and I’ll share my adapted recipe here:

Cranberry Apple Relish

What you need:

12 oz. fresh cranberries

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 c. spiced apple cider

1/4 c. maple syrup

3 Tbs. golden raisins

What you do:

Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped.

Happy Holidays!

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Barbecue Seitan with Coleslaw and Kale

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When we got our Instant Pot we also got a copy of JL Fields’ Vegan Pressure Cooking and the recipe we’ve used the most so far is the Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches. We’ve only made it with jackfruit once or twice but the recipe works equally well with seitan or tempeh. Here we used seitan (from one of our favorite seitan recipes that I also mentioned last post). It’s really convenient to do this in the Instant Pot but you could easily do it on the stove top as well. Just saute a small diced onion and minced clove of garlic in a little oil, then add 3 Tbs. tomato paste, 1 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. cider vinegar, 1 Tbs. maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds and about 3/4 cup water. Mix in about 1 pound diced seitan the cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (or cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so on the stove top).

We often like to have coleslaw with our barbecue and I don’t usually use a recipe but this is what I did tonight. Just mix all this stuff together:

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

1/4 c. vegan mayo

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. cider vinegar

And we rounded out the meal with some sauteed kale. What we do with kale most often is just give it a quick saute in a little olive oil with garlic, then add salt and a bit of lemon juice.

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Christmas Dinner

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, we hope it was a good one. We thought we’d share our Christmas menu to give you some ideas for future holidays.

  • Hazelnut crusted seitan
  • Apple-walnut stuffing
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Roasted brussels sprouts
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Apple crumble

Speaking of ideas for the holidays, Alicia Simpson’s Vegan Celebrations is a good place to start and that’s where we found the Hazelnut Crusted Seitan recipe. It’s essentially just pan fried seitan with ground hazelnuts in the breading. And it was delicious. The newest cookbook in our collection is the Oh She Glows Cookbook and it was there we found the mushroom gravy and apple crumble recipes. We’re really looking forward to diving more into this book. For the stuffing, I usually make it up as I go but I should write down a formal recipe because it’s so good! The general process is described in our first ever Thanksgiving post. The sweet potatoes were just baked whole then whipped in a food processor with some Earth Balance, while the brussels sprouts were roasted with a little salt and olive oil.

Fresh cranberry sauce can’t even be remotely compared to what comes in a can and most of the time if you buy a bag of fresh cranberries there’s an acceptable recipe right on the bag. We’ve used other cranberry sauce recipes in the past but this year we used the recipe we found on the bag and it came out great. Finally, Angela’s “Mother Nature’s Apple Crumble” recipe is re-posted here. The main adjustment we made was using whole almonds that we finely chopped in the food processor because we didn’t have sliced almonds. I think I actually prefer it that way.

Happy Holidays!

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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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Stir-Fry with Seitan, Bok Choy and Carrots

We’ve really been looking forward to the start of our CSA from Bellair Farm. We’ve been getting a lot of greens so far and are awash in bok choy but that’s not such a bad problem to have. This week we got the first carrots of the season too and we thought the carrots and bok choy would make a nice stir-fry. We also had some homemade seitan in our fridge that we needed to use up but you could really do this with any protein (and any veggies for that matter).

For the stir-fry:

2 Tbs. canola oil

about 4 cups chopped bok choy

1 small bunch carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)

1 lb. seitan, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs. soy sauce

For the sauce:

2 Tbs. soy sauce

2 Tbs. water

3 Tbs. rice vinegar

1 Tbs. mirin

1 tsp. Sriracha (or to taste)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 c. apricot jam

1 Tbs. cornstarch

What you do:

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. In a wok or other large pan, fry the seitan in 1 Tbs. canola oil over medium-high heat until it’s starting to brown. Add the soy sauce and cook for another 30 seconds or so, stirring continuously. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan heat the remaining 1 Tbs. canola oil and cook the bok choy and carrots until they’re just starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute then add the sauce and cook just until thickened. Turn off the heat and add the seitan back to the pan stirring to incorporate. Serve over rice with additional Sriracha if desired.

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Christmas Dinner

We hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Thanks in large part to Darlene (aka Super Mom) we had a fabulous Christmas dinner yesterday. We spent a good bit more time cooking than we usually do but we made a lot of food. And the nice thing about that is we didn’t cook dinner tonight – there were plenty of leftovers.

Christmas dinner

The main course was a simplified version of the Smothered Seitan with Mixed Mushroom Gravy from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. To go with that scrumptious creation we also made apple-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, cranberry sauce and roasted sweet potatoes with bananas. There was so much food the sweet potatoes didn’t make it onto the plate and since we didn’t make anything for dessert they filled in quite nicely in place of dessert. The kid loved them too (and he also requested extra seitan).

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Everything was totally from scratch save for the store-bought bread we used for the stuffing and packaged vegetable broth for both the stuffing and gravy. Both of those items we would’ve liked to make from scratch (and do make from scratch regularly) but time was a little short.

The nice thing about having leftovers for dinner tonight was that we had time to make a proper dessert. Darlene used the Apple-Ginger pie recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance and turned it into more of an apple crisp. Yum!

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