June, 2014

  1. tofu “chorizo” tacos

    June 26, 2014 by Angie

    For dinner last night, I tried out a new recipe from Mark Bittman’s cookbook VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 and Restore Your Health..for Good. We are obviously not going to eat meat before or after 6:00 but I wanted to check out the vegan breakfast and lunch recipes. I made his tofu “chorizo” tacos last night which he has listed as a breakfast food. Nothing is stopping me from eating tacos any time of day or night so I made it for dinner. In case you don’t want to commit to the entire book, he has this particular recipe on his website.

    mmm, avocado addition is the best addition

     Tofu “chorizo” tacos with a delicious avocado addition

    Robbie and I both loved this. We are huge Mexican food fans so a new taco recipe is always welcome. The flavors are great. It created very few pots/dishes to clean up. This will definitely be on the regular rotation at our house. I followed his directions exactly, including the optional red bell pepper. I added a bit of cumin and onion powder when I threw the chili powder in (maybe a 1/2 tsp each?) and we topped our tacos with a little sliced avocado. These tacos were so good that I didn’t miss the cheese or salsa at all.

    Note: I used La Banderita Low Carb Low Fat Tortillas, microwaved for about 40 seconds between two damp paper towels, and they were perfect. Only 5 net carbs per soft taco shell!


  2. baby boy jelly roll jam quilt

    June 24, 2014 by Angie

    Quilt #4 is in the books! This is the “boy” baby quilt made with the other half of the Simply Style by V and Co. jelly roll. I love it just as much as the “girl” one, if not more. I know I’ve said it before but I’m crazy over this fabric line.

    boom, baby quilt

    Baby Boy Jelly Roll Jam Quilt

    slouchy quilt

     Slouchy quilt in the backyard

    My friends had an adorable baby boy the morning after I finished making this little quilt for him. Just like I did for this quilt’s more feminine counterpart, I used this tutorial on Vanessa Christenson of V and Co.’s blog. She created this fabric line I love so much for Moda. The jelly roll jam pattern was made by Fat Quarter Shop and can be found here. Fat Quarter Shop, where I happily buy most of my fabric, also made a very useful instructional video for this pattern.

    Strip Block Units

    The pattern starts with sewing together three 6 piece strip units. Next, the units are paired, some flipped around, to make nine quilt blocks in three configurations.

    Blocks A, B, & C

    Quilt blocks before sewing them together

    Baby Boy Jelly Roll Jam Quilt Top

     The nine quilt blocks are sewn together to make the quilt top.

    BLOOD, sweat, no tears this time

    BLOOD, a little sweat, but no tears this time.

    I’m trying to get in the habit of making labels for my quilts. I think it’s important for a keepsake quilt but it’s also kinda difficult to attach it in the correct spot so late in the quilting phase. I stabbed myself with a pin trying to stitch this one to the back of the quilt. I only tell you about it so you’ll think I’m tough. Full contact quilting. Don’t worry, I didn’t bleed on the quilt.

    The Quilt Stats

    Finished size: about 35″ x 35″
    Quilt top fabrics: 18 strips from Simply Style by V and Co. for Moda Jelly Roll
    Quilt back fabric: Bella Solids Graphite yardage
    Binding: Navy Blue Frames yardage from Simply Style by V and Co. for Moda
    Batting: Warm and White
    Quilt label: handmade from the jelly roll scraps and Bella Snow yardage
    Quilting: straight line quilting

    peek at the back of the quilt

     Peek at the quilt back

    Quilt back and label

    The quilt back with the label

    I straight line quilted this one just like its counterpart. I also used the same machine binding method for durability. I sewed the double fold binding to the back first, then flipped and pinned it to the front using my new Clover clips. I machine sewed it to the front, as well, being careful not to sew over the backside of the binding. I succeeded this time – no accidental stitches on the binding – hooray!

    Quilt #4

    This quilt was fun to make and I’m really happy with the end results. It worked out well to use this pattern and single jelly roll to make two identical quilts. The thorough instructions got me through the first one with barely any mishaps and doing a familiar pattern a second time let me focus on precision and improving new techniques. I already received a sweet thank you photo of the adorable baby recipient lounging on his quilt. Victory!


  3. herb-roasted cauliflower and bread crumbs

    June 19, 2014 by Angie

    I tried a second new-to-me recipe from Appetite for Reduction this week. I made herb-roasted cauliflower with bread crumbs as our side tonight. Both of the things I made, (Robbie’s favorite) blackened tofu and the cauliflower side, are from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s fantastic cookbook. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: you really should get this book because it’s great. If you’re not going to take my advice though, you’re in luck because the recipe is online at the Humane Society of America’s site.

    herb-roasted cauliflower & bread crumbs with blackened tofu

    Robbie loves blackened tofu

    Both halves of Robgeleen endorse this recipe. It’s a very tasty excuse for eating a bunch of cauliflower. Preparation and cleanup were easy as well so it’s definitely a keeper.

    herb-roasted cauliflower & bread crumbs out of the oven

    Herb-roasted cauliflower and bread crumbs right out of the oven


  4. masala baked tofu

    June 19, 2014 by Angie

    For dinner Tuesday night I made a new favorite tofu dish from Isa Sandra Moskowitz’s book Appetite for Reduction. I marked this recipe as one I wanted to try a long, long time ago and finally got around to it this week. You should really buy the whole cookbook but, if you don’t believe me you can find the recipe here, blogged by a kind Internet person.

    Masala Baked Tofu

    Masala Baked Tofu

    Next time, I will cut the tofu differently for thinner triangles and also marinate it longer. I did the minimum one hour of marinating and the flavor was excellent but didn’t quite penetrate all the way to the center of the thick tofu triangles. Even with those lessons learned, the masala baked tofu was reallllllly good. I made cracklin’ cauliflower to go with it for a yummy, low-carb, Indian-ish meal.

    Masala Baked Tofu & Cracklin' Cauliflower

    Masala Baked Tofu with Cracklin’ Cauliflower


  5. Maria’s French onion soup

    June 14, 2014 by Angie

    I’ve been on a quest for really fantastic homemade vegetarian French onion soup. This slow cooker version I made a few weeks ago was pretty great but I thought I could do better. My friend’s mom, Maria, makes an amazingly delicious soup that I have been fortunate enough to eat. Here is my slightly altered rendition of Maria’s recipe. Let’s just say: Mission Accomplished.

    a bowl of French onion soup

    Makes 4-5 servings

    Ingredients

    1-2 tbs olive oil
    5 medium to large sweet onions, cut in thin rounds
    64 oz of vegetarian beef stock made by dissolving 3 tbs Vegetarian Better than Bouillon No Beef Base in 2 quarts of boiling water
    1/4 cup cooking sherry
    3/4-1 tsp thyme, to taste
    salt and pepper, to taste
    1 loaf of French bread
    1 oz of shredded Swiss cheese per serving (or Daiya shreds to make it vegan)

    Instructions

    1. Caramelize the onions. I used the slow cooker to do this so that I didn’t have to babysit. I put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the slow cooker, added the sliced onions, put the lid on, and cooked on low for about six and a half hours. My slow cooker cooks hot so other crocks may require eight hours of cooking. Stir every few hours, if you’re home.

    2. Boil two quarts of water in a large stock pot. Stir in 3 tbs of Vegetarian Better than Bouillon No Beef Base.

    3. Once the bouillon is dissolved, turn the burner down to low. Add the sherry, thyme, salt, and pepper. Transfer the caramelized onions to the stock pot. Let the soup simmer while you do the next steps.

    French onion soup

    Simmering French onion soup

    4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shred your cheese if you haven’t already.

    French bread in bowls

    Two servings of French onion soup coming right up!

    5. Cut slices of French bread about 3/4 inch thick. Place one or two pieces in the bottom of an oven-safe bowl for each serving.

    6. After the soup has simmered for 10-15 minutes, add seasoning to taste. Ladle the soup into each bowl and top with the shredded cheese. Move the bowls to the oven (on a baking sheet to avoid a mess) and bake until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

    just out of the oven

     Just out of the oven

    7. Pour some wine to drink with your ridiculously good French onion soup.

    yummy

    OMG French onion soup


  6. strawberry basil margarita

    June 6, 2014 by Angie

    I have a basil plant on the windowsill in my sewing room that I have managed not to kill for three weeks now. I know this good fortune won’t last much longer so I’ve been putting fresh basil in a lot of things. I have noticed that fresh basil is a trend in cocktails but was kinda skeptical. I decided strawberry and basil doesn’t sound too far out. I made this strawberry basil margarita loosely based on this recipe from Betty Crocker.com. I gotta say: strawberry and basil go really well together.

    strawberry basil margarita

    Ingredients

    about 10 strawberries, hulled
    3 medium sized basil leaves
    2 oz tequila
    2 tbsp orange liqueur
    1/2 cup crushed ice
    another strawberry and basil leaf for garnishing

    Instructions

    1. I only have an immersion blender so I cut the strawberries into smaller pieces and put them in the immersion blender container with the tequila and orange liqueur. Blend until smooth.

    2. Add the basil leaves. I pulled them apart into smaller pieces first then blended them into the strawberry mixture.

    3. Add the crushed ice. If you have a real blender, you can use ice cubes and blend them in.  Immersion blenders aren’t great at chopping ice so I used small pieces from my refrigerator door ice shooting apparatus. I blended the ice into the drink a little but I think it would have been better to just add the crushed ice without blending so the drink can be sipped slowly without getting watery.

    4. Pour into a glass and garnish with a strawberry on the rim and a basil leaf.

    use up that basil!

    I thought this was delicious and, with almost three shots in it, you only need one. If you have a real blender it would make sense to make a bigger batch, which would mean adjusting the quantities, of course. Something closer to the Betty Crocker recipe would be a good start because it makes two servings. I really don’t see the need for added sugar though since the strawberries have such a nice sweetness already.


  7. low sugar mimosa

    June 5, 2014 by Angie

    I so dearly love a good mimosa. I usually only let myself have them on vacation or a special occasion because of all the sugar in the orange juice. Alas, I have found a way to enjoy them more frequently! Trop 50 orange juice has half the sugar of regular orange juice. I think it tastes the same and they make a no pulp one. It’s like they knew about me.

    Cheapish Champagne & Reduced Sugar OJ

    The ingredients: the champagne doesn’t have to be expensive to taste delicious.

    Robbie pops champagne!

    Robbie popping bottles in da kitchen.

    The preparation is so simple I’m insulting you by writing it here. I don’t have time for a tiny champagne flute so I use a wine glass. I pour a healthy serving of champagne in there then a tiny bit of Trop 50 orange juice, maybe a tablespoon. It’s all it takes to flavor things up nicely. I don’t even stir. What a great lazy weekend drink.

    low sugar mimosa

    A low sugar mimosa.