Friday, January 27, 2012

Mesir Wat

So, I finally hunted down some berbere (you know, through the wild and raucous aisles that are known as Amazon) and I'm now able to make myself some "Ethiopian" food. It's probably not authentic at all, but it has a sort of taste that I'm looking for. Or maybe it is kind of authentic. I'm not really sure. Anywho, this is my recipe for Mesir Wat, which is a lentil stew. I added berbere to this so it's probably more like kik wat... but with lentils. I have no idea. This is why I need a copy of Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food.

To round out this meal, I served it with sautéed spinach (no collards on hand, otherwise I would have tried my hand at Ye'abesha Gomen. I love me some greens) and leftover potatoes that I cut up and sautéed in some coconut oil. Good idea, by the way!

I used red lentils, which normally cook pretty quickly, but I wanted to get this stew nice and thick so I simmered it about an hour. Just FYI. Oh, and most recipes for mesir wat contain a fair amount of oil. What you do is simmer the onion and the spices in the oil before you ever add the lentils. I might try that next time, but for now I just sautéed the onions and spices in about one tablespoon of oil.

Mesir Wat:
1 c. split red lentils, rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tb. neutral-flavored oil
1/2 Tb. coconut oil
1 Tb. berbere
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. hot paprika 
4 c. water
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft and golden, about 10-12 minutes. You want to cook it a little slower than usual.

2. Add the berbere, cumin, and paprika and let it cook another 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the lentils and the water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 45-1 hour. I used medium-low. You want to cook it until it's nice and thick, without a lot of extra water.

3. Before serving, stir in 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste). Enjoy!

This will make four small-ish servings at around 206 calories, 4.5 g. fat, and 11.7 grams protein. The small serving is good if you have some sautéed greens and a starch (like potatoes, millet, or injeera to go with it). Otherwise, I'd go ahead and serve up two!

Anywho, next week I'm flying down to Athens, Georgia and I hear there are some very good vegetarian/vegan places down there. Athens is nothing like the town I currently live in. They have hummus places and brunch places and coffee places and Indian and Thai places (and that's just the food!). I'll have to let you all know what I try out. Have a great afternoon!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Golden Bowl: Take Two

I've had a hankering for cabbage lately, but I'm not really in the mood for anything spicy or Asian. I thought about the kind of food that I would like to eat and that turned out to be "comfort food". Many people's definition includes such items as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, chili, etc., but I've never been a mac n' cheese eater (not even before I went vegan), and I don't really care too much for pasta-heavy dishes. For me, comfort food means a return to the ingredients and flavors I'm most familiar with. The ones I grew up eating: onions, celery, mushrooms, carrots, beans, rice, potatoes...

So needless to say, I've been eating quite a few of these Golden Bowls. This version here is a winter-version of my other Golden Bowl recipe which features summer squash. It has all the items I want, regular ol' vegetables, a little salt and nutritional yeast for flavor, and tofu for protein. Also, the veggies are a little beyond crisp-tender with just the right about of bite to them without being soggy.

This recipe will serve two as a main dish when served with a cooked grain. Of course, I often just pile the whole skillet into a tupperware container and take it to work with me. It's super easy to make and it comes together in a flash.

Golden Bowl II (or, Attack of the Late Winter Vegetables):
1/2 a carton of extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained 15 minutes, cut into small cubes
2 c. green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 c. celery, sliced on a bias (about 3 stalks)
2/3 c. sliced white button mushrooms (about 4-5)
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 a red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 Tb. nutritional yeast
Bragg's liquid aminos and/or salt

1. In a large skillet sprayed with some nonstick, saute the tofu cubes over medium-high heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally with a spatula. Once golden, sprinkle the cubes with some Bragg's liquid aminos (as desired) and set aside. Before cooking the veggies, you may need to wipe out the skillet.

2. Respray the skillet with some nonstick, add all the veggies and saute for five minutes. Add the tofu cubes back to the skillet and continue cooking the veggies another 2-3 minutes, or until the cabbage is mostly soft with just a little bit of crunch.

3. Turn off the heat and toss the veggies/tofu with the nutritional yeast plus some more Bragg's/salt to taste. Enjoy!

I love my golden bowls!

This particular version has: 384 calories, 15 grams of fat, 17 grams of fiber, 34 grams of protein, your entire RDA of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, plus a third of your daily iron and calcium. If you eat the whole thing by itself. Which I do. Every time. So good. Although I'm not gonna lie, I gotta take one of those Beano meltaways before I do. Darn cruciferous vegetables...

                                                                                           Noochy goodness.

I've also been juicing more, just like I said I would! I got a new juicer (one of them Breville juice fountains, though not the super-expensive ones) and gave my old Juiceman, Jr. (which worked really well actually!) to my parents who still juice quite a bit (I'm so proud!). Amber recently shared a juice recipe on her blog, Almost Vegan and it's a pretty famous one that's been making the rounds for quite a while. And for good reason. It's delicious!

It's a basic mix of kale, celery, cucumber, green apple. lemon, and ginger. It's addiciting and I feel so vibrant after drinking it. In fact, I drank it at 7 pm and actually rolled around in bed all night because I was so wired! I couldn't sleep at all. I just had way too much energy! I'm real excited to begin starting my mornings with one of these because they make me feel great.

I have a lot of good recipes to share with you all. More healthy comfort food for sure. I made vegan reubens last night and they were awesome (and I followed that up with a reuben salad today!). I also have a recipe for mocha chip muffins (probably gluten-free, though I know for sure I'll be doing some GF baking), sun-dried tomato pesto, and I'll be trying my hand at doing some Ethiopian cooking in my own kitchen. I'm seriously craving some Blue Nile right about now. Have a great night!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Medley of Eats

So... I've been eating a lot of simple things for lunch/dinner lately, but they are hearty and comforting and that's what winter food is all about:

1. Roasted Vegetables with Kale
I simply roasted some cauliflower, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, and baby Yukon Gold potatoes with a little olive oil and salt. I boiled some chopped kale for a couple minutes, then drained it and put it on the baking sheet with the veggies the last five minutes of cooking to crisp up a little. 

2. Grain and Veggie Salads
This one here is a packaged salad blend + romaine + baby spinach topped with cooked brown rice, steamed butternut squash, hemp seeds, and raspberry vinaigrette. A very tasty combination. I've also been drinking this Dark Chocolate Mate I found from the Republic of Tea (in the corner of the photo). I love yerba mate and this chocolate-flavored variety is no exception! It has as much caffeine in it as a really strong espresso (100 mg) so I generally limit myself to one cup before work. It gives a good boost!

3. Various Miso Soups
I've been loving the miso lately. For this particular soup I sautéed together some onion, shiitake mushrooms, and thinly sliced carrot. I also boiled some edamame and tossed it with some walnut and toasted sesame oil. At work, I combined together the sautéed veggies, the edamame, some leftover grain (red quinoa in this case), and water. After heating it up I added a tablespoon of white miso, some Bragg's, and baby spinach and stirred until the spinach was wilted. It made a real quick and easy lunch at work. I've been making lots of variations on this combination too (sautéed veggies + greens + edamame/tofu + miso).

4. Happy Herbivore's Chickpea Tacos
What an easy, tasty idea! The only thing I did differently was use one tablespoon of my jarred taco mix instead of all the spices she had listed (my mix has the same ingredients). I also used mashed avocado to help keep the beans in place in the taco. I then topped it with pickled onions from Viva Vegan (which really brought it together!) and romaine. Definitely a tasty lunch.

5. Nut Butter-Stuffed Dates
I don't have a picture of this one, but lots of other bloggers do! I had always seen almond butter stuffed dates but I was pretty "meh" about it. Sure, I like almond butter and I love me some medjools, but I doubted the combination as being anything special. 

At least, until I made my own almond butter stuffed dates! Alone, those two foods are tasty, but when you combine them, they are amazing! They complement each other perfectly, especially if you have those big, soft medjool dates.

Big Lots Find-O-The Month:

I found Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bars at my Big Lots this month! And not as individual bars, either. They are being sold in a five-pack box for $2.80 (that's $0.56 a bar!!!). So if you have a Big Lots near you, check it out and you just might find yourself a box (or two or three!). I also found some Arrowhead Mills no salt almond butter there for $2.50 and that was what set me off on my date-stuffing marathon. 

Luckily, if I move to Georgia, the city I would live in also has a Big Lots. I don't know what I would do without that place! Lol.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chickpea-Vegetable Miso Breakfast Soup

Inspired by my latest edition of Whole Living magazine, I decided to try something a little different for breakfast and I made a veggie-heavy miso soup. I know that miso for breakfast is popular in Japan (or so I'm told), but had never tried it out for myself. So, this recipe is pretty much the one from Whole Living, but I pared down the recipe to just make one serving, not four, and I reduced both the cooking time and the overall fat content.

This soup didn't take very long to make, which is good, because it is breakfast after all. I know that when I wake up I'm cranky, need coffee, and have grumblings in my tummy, so breakfast must be a fairly quick ordeal. I woke up on my day off, so I had a little extra time to spare to make this gem of a veggie soup. It took me about 25 minutes, which I wouldn't exactly consider quick (for breakfast anyway), so to speed up the process I would chop everything up the night before and have it in a container ready-to-go. I've made this recipe about three times already (that's how you know it's tasty!) and I also started sautéing the broccoli with the celery and onions which shaves off another five minutes or so. Instead of coffee though, I drank some hot lemon water with this.

The coffee came later, lol.

Miso-Vegetable Soup For One:
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 Tb. yellow onion, minced (1/8 an onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
half a carrot, chopped
1/2 c. broccoli florets, chopped
1/4 c. chickpeas (rinsed if from a can)
1/4 c. vegetable broth (can use water instead, but I always have an open container around)
1 c. water
1/2 Tb. white miso
Sea salt, to taste

1. In a small saucepan sprayed with nonstick, sauté the celery, onion, garlic, carrot, and broccoli for about 5 minutes, or until softened. 

2. Add the chickpeas, vegetable broth, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes (you may have to simmer a little longer if you want your broccoli to be completely soft. I'm indifferent). Remove from heat.

3. Mix the miso with 1/2 Tb. cool water until blended, then stir into the soup. Add salt to taste, then serve!

This breakfast really is a nice change of pace, and I'm sure it will fit on everyone's diet/detox plan for this new year we've stumbled into. This meal will set you back only 1 gram of fat and 147 calories. Not only that, but you will gain 7 grams of protein, all your Vitamin A for the day, more than 3/4 your daily Vitamin C, and 8 grams of fiber. That doesn't even include the goodness you get from miso!

To make this gluten-free, simply be sure that you use GF miso (some contain barley) and GF vegetable broth (most organic kinds are). 

I don't really have any New Year's Resolutions other than to continue to eat healthy and stay active. Although, I would really like to juice more, so I'm going to work on that. Oh, and maybe one of these days I'll mess around with my camera long enough to figure out how to remove the date from each one of my photos...

Anywho, I feel like this year will be kind of epic compared to the steady last couple of years I've had, so I guess we'll see how it all turns out!