I am a vegan wife and mother to a meat eating family. I will share with you recipes I have tested and changes I am making to encourage my family to lean into a vegan diet.

Archive for April, 2011

Snobby Joes

Isa Chandra author of Veganomicon has the most amazing recipes.  I highly recommend her cookbook.  Recently I tried a recipe from her book called…

Snobby Joes

This is those sloppy joes we loved as a child, but made with lentils.  She says Snobby Joe thinks he’s better than all the other Joes because he doesn’t have any meat.

What you need:

1 cup uncooked lentils

4 cups water

1 T olive oil

1 medium-size yellow onion, cut into small dice

1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp chile powder

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard

4-6 kaiser rolls or sesame buns, sliced in half…or if your dog jumped up and grabbed the buns off the table and ate them today while you were at work, then you can just use wheat bread like I did!

What to do:

Pour the lentils and water into a small saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done, preheat a medium-size saucepan over medium heat.  Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and sauté for a minute more.

Stir in the cooked lentils, chile powder, oregano, and salt.  Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the maple syrup and mustard and heat through.

Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for about 10 minutes so the flavors can meld, or eat immediately if you can’t wait.  These are great served open-faced.

I thought these sounded good with…

I love me some sweet potato fries!  These are easy to make, but it really is easier just to rip open a bag and some days easier is better.

Dinner is served!

The Farmer’s Market

Each year I get so excited about the return of the farmer’s market.  It’s a sure sign that spring is here!

Our local farmer’s market is open and I am so excited.  My husband couldn’t quite figure out why I was so looking forward to going.  I love seeing all the people roaming around.  I loaded up the kids and my daughter’s friend and off we went.  My son was hoping to get a raw brownie, which he had last season, but at $12 per brownie I told him “not today dear!”  (I need to find a good recipe.)

It won’t be long before the tomatoes and squash are ready.  Each week now, I look forward to seeing which veggies get added to the market.

Time to break out the cookbooks and look for new recipes to try!

Tomatoes on Tuesday

If you’re in the mood for homemade creamy tomato soup then you should give this recipe a try!  What I like about this recipe is that the thickness actually comes from potatoes.

Creamy Tomato Soup

What you need:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

Not pictured:

1/2 tsp rosemary (dried)

1/2 tsp thyme (dried)

1/2 tsp oregano (dried)

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

1 lb potatoes (Yukon golds or similar, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice)

1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil, just plain sun-dried tomatoes)

6 cups veggie broth or water

28 ounces crushed tomatoes…you could also use fire-roasted (there are two cans pictured here, but you only need one)

2 Tbsp lemon juice


Preheat large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and onions; sauté until translucent (5-7 minutes).  Add garlic and herbs.  Sauté 1 minute.

Add potatoes (uncooked) and sun-dried tomatoes.  Pour in broth/water, cover and bring to a boil.  After it has come to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and heat through. 

Puree the mixture with an emulsion mixer or using a food processor.  If you use a food processor, let soup cool a bit and puree in batches.  This is what I chose to do to ensure that I got a smooth texture.

Add lemon juice and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a lot of soup, so you can eat it for several meals, or freeze half for later.  I used regular crushed tomatoes, but next time I will try the fire-roasted tomatoes just to change up the flavor.  This recipe got a thumbs up from everyone in the family!

Topped with potatoes…yum!

I came across this recipe from Veganomicon and thought you guys would love it as much as we did.

Tempeh Shepherdess Pie

What you need:

Tempeh layer:

2 (8-ounce) packages tempeh

1/3 cup of tamari or soy sauce (not pictured)

2 cups of water (not pictured)

2 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

Not pictured:

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp ground coriander

Lots of freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen corn

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour (not pictured)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus a little extra for garnish

Potato layer:

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/3 cup Almond or Soy milk (preferably unsweetened), warmed or at room temperature

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, crumble the tempeh into small, bitesize pieces.  Add the water, soy sauce, and 1 tsp of oil.  Cover and let boil for about 10 minutes. 

Start boiling the potatoes in the meantime. (directions below)

Remove the lid from the tempeh and continue to boil until most of the water has evaporated, about 5 more minutes.  Drain the tempeh in a colander and return the pan to the stove top over medium-high heat (you don’t need to wash it).

Sauté the onions in the remaining olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.  Stir in the tempeh, along with the sliced mushrooms and the spices.  Cook for about 10 more minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are juicy and the tempeh is slightly browned. 

While this cooks, your potatoes should be ready for mashing and you can go ahead and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the corn and peas, and cook until heated through.  You may need to add a little extra oil here. 

Mix together the vegetable broth and the flour until pretty much dissolved (a few lumps is okay).  Add to the tempeh, along with the parsley, and stir.  Let thicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will thicken more as it bakes.

Prepare the potatoes:

Place the potatoes in a soup pot and cover with water (the water should be about 1 inch above the potatoes).  Cover and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 20 minutes, or until they easily cut with a fork.  Drain and return to the pot.  Use a potato masher or hand mixer to mash them up a bit, then add the milk, oil, salt and pepper.  Mash very well, until creamy.  Cover and keep warm until ready to use.

Assemble the pie:

Place the tempeh filling in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.  Spoon the potatoes over the filling. 

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes; the potatoes should be slightly browned on top.  If they are not, place under a broiler for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped parsley.

This was so delicious.  Both of my kids loved this and went back for seconds.  This is a great meal for the family…my husband also thought it was tasy and filling.

Keen on Quinoa

One of my favorite grains is quinoa, pronounced keen-wah.

If you have never had it, then I suggest that you put it on the menu.

What is Quinoa?

Although technically a seed, quinoa is commonly referred to and used most often as a grain.

One cup (cooked) quinoa contains eight grams of protein, nearly twice the amount found in other grains.  Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it provides the body all nine essential amino acids.

There are many, many quinoa recipes, but one of my favorites is:

Quinoa with Basil and Pine Nuts

What you need:

1 cup quinoa

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 generous handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse well.  Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, heat the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat.  Toast until the nuts are just starting to turn golden, about 6 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan to prevent burning.  Transfer to a serving bowl to cool.

Add the quinoa to the serving bowl with pine nuts and fluff with a fork.  Add the olive oil and basil, stir to combine, and serve.

This is so yummy and really great if you grow your own basil and have an abundance.

Oh, Rosemary…

I tried this recipe from the cookbook “Skinny Italian” and I loved it!

Rosemary Potatoes

I have eaten rosemary potatoes in the past, but I had never made them before this recipe.

What you need:

6 small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)

1/4 tsp salt

and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.  Pierce each potato a couple of times with a fork.  Microwave until the potatoes are about half-tender, about 5 minutes.  Cut lengthwise into quarters.

2.  Heat the oil and rosemary in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oils is hot.  Add the potatoes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden brown, about 8 minutes.  Season with the salt and pepper and serve hot.

I love how easy these are, and my husband and kids love them too.

It’s a Wrap!

One of the easiest  and healthiest lunches you can throw together are:

Nori Wraps!

You start by chopping up some of your favorite veggies.  Today I used zucchini, red bell peppers and avocado.


Romaine lettuce

and rice (I really like to use short grain brown rice in this because it’s sticky like sushi rice, but all I had was white rice.)

You will also need nori wraps (an edible ocean plant…very healthy!) 

And last but not least…

Wasabi Sauce (this stuff gives it so much flavor…it’s a must have!)

To put this together you lay out a nori sheet and pile on the rice and veggies and top with the wasabi sauce.  Then you roll up the nori and seal the edges by wetting your finger with water to dampen the edges of the nori.

We dip these in a side of soy sauce and they are so yummy.  My husband and kids love these too!

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