Monday, September 9, 2019

Best Sandwich Ever and...

... my favorite Easy-Bake Side.

I am completely obsessed with this sandwich lately. I could eat it every day. It's quick and a little junky with just enough healthy components to make you not feel too guilty about it. You could leave off the butter and the cheese and it would be a lot less 'junky', but trust me when I say that the combination is amazing!

This all started because I bought some frozen vegan hamburger patties that, after just one, I decided were gross. They are a brand I usually like, but I had bought the wrong variety by accident. They had some ingredients and a texture that bothered me. I wasn't going to eat the rest of them, but I had these toppings that needed to be eaten. It turned out to be an amazing combination that, with a little tweaking, quickly became my favorite sandwich. The fact that it is super easy really helped it win that title.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Golden Mushroom Soup (Vegan)

Golden Mushroom Soup Braised Tofu
One of the things I have missed most since giving up meat almost 8 years ago is Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup. It was always really great with a grilled cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, it is made with beef broth, so was out of the question for an herbivore. Today I decided, since I had some very lovely mushrooms, to try to make some. I searched  online for a copycat recipe that I could veganize.

While looking for recipes, I found several that were for braising meat with the soup, so I decided this would work great with some crispy tofu. And I was right! What a delicious meal this was along with some doctored up canned green beans (recipe for that below as well). I wish I had taken the time to make some rice as well, but as usual, I was really hungry and feeling the clock ticking on crocheting I needed to get back to. More so than usual this year as my custom order queue is twice as full as last year. (And here I am writing a blog post instead of working- oops!)

This recipe is based almost verbatim on one I found on a website called Mushroom Appreciation- it's a neat little resource for growing your own  mushrooms- something I would never have time for. I altered it just a little to accommodate plant-based foods and to leave out things that I didn't like or normally use. Wine, for example. I don't really keep wine on hand as I don't have time to be even a little bit foggy-headed. Wine is for special occasions. Also, I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure how long it would be good and knew I couldn't eat that much in a day or two.

Anyway... here it goes!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Benjamin Bunny Hat

My grandson loves the Peter Rabbit and Friends cartoon and every time he watches it I think 'someday I will make Benjamin Bunny's hat!'. Being a much slower knitter than crocheter, and really wanting to squeeze in a couple of presents before Christmas, I decided to do a crochet version.

The colors of my hat are not quite accurate as I had this really plush apple green that I wanted to use. The hat would look great in any combination of colors, with or without the ears. It is a very thick and warm hat, and very stretchy, so should fit for quite a while!

It is very important that you make a gauge swatch before beginning this hat and adjust your hook size accordingly. A 15sc by 18 or so row swatch should do it. I measured it relaxed and unblocked to record the gauge, so you will want to do the same. I used Aran weight yarn for my hat shell, so got pretty big stitches from my hook/yarn combo. Keep that in mind as you are choosing a yarn and trying to match gauge. If you choose a Worsted Weight, you will most likely have to go up a hook size or two.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

General Tso's Broccoli Tofu

This dish has quickly become a favorite. It's surprisingly easy to make and very filling. Paired with some veggie spring rolls or a simple Asian slaw, it's quite an impressive dish for  company without keeping you all evening in the kitchen. This dish is pretty versatile, too. You can substitute any veg that you prefer- and cook it to your preference before adding the sauce. It  works really well with frozen veg if you are like me and hate running to the shops for fresh veg every few days.

I've been experimenting making my own Oriental sauces lately. For me, a store-bought bottle of sauce, besides being expensive and full of things I can't pronounce, always seems like too much sauce for one recipe but not enough sauce for 2 recipes so then the extra sits in the fridge for weeks until you forget how long it's been in there and are afraid to use it. So, basically, you've spent $5+ for a bottle of sauce and thrown away 30% of it. If you can make a gravy, then making a sauce is easy peasy. If you have yet cooked a liquid until thickened then it's probably time to start! 

As with most of my recipes, I have taken bits of recipes from here and there and adjusted to my liking or to the ingredients I tend to have on hand. Feel free to make it sweeter or tangier or spicier to suit your tastes! After making this a few times, I have toned down the sugar and the vinegar to get a less intense sauce. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Vegan 'Chicken' and Dressing

I went through the holidays really wanting to veganize a traditional chicken and dressing, but pretty sure someone else in the family would bring a vegan dressing to one of our many gatherings and did not want to step on their toes. As it turned out, nobody brought any vegan dressing or vegan stuffing so I went through the entire holiday season not having my dressing itch scratched in the least. I was also seriously off my cooking game recently and some of the dishes I made flopped or I ruined by falling asleep and letting them burn (I really shouldn't cook so close to bedtime!). The one thing that I contributed that people actually ate was a pan of sweet cornbread (see my chili recipe for that one), though my daughter said it was basically just cake. She doesn't care for my cooking in general, though, I think. Someday I will tell you how she adulterated my guacamole on Christmas. (haha)

So today, going into my last free weekend as the crochet orders have began rolling in again, I decided to tackle the whole vegan 'chicken' and dressing thing. Now or never, it seemed.

This took all day.

Seriously. I stood at the stove and stirred gravy until my back hurt. I am not used to making such a huge amount of sauce at a time and it takes a while to heat through!  In the future, I think I'd do some of the prep for this recipe the day before.

So... traditional chicken and dressing. It had been a while so I looked up a recipe to remind myself the ratios and the seasonings. This one is almost identical to how I remember it being made, though I am sure we never added eggs.  I based my amounts on this recipe, though I switched some of the combos. I made a gravy to take the place of  broth and cream soup and in my mind dressing has both cornbread AND biscuits in it. Next time I make this (now that I know it works), I will get more pictures, but for now I really just want to write this down before I forget what I put it there!