Observations and Coconut Curry

i’ve been contemplating the new recipes i could possibly try this week (Friday is payday, so that means GROCERY SHOPPING!) and i realized that all the recipes i add to my “to try” list have one thing in common… it’s not your standard Vegan fare. in fact, i would go so far as to say i practically specialize in Vegan Comfort Food. i have a family of 4 to feed… (me, hubs, and 2 kids) i need the food that i cook to be delicious. i need the food that i cook to be filling. i need the food that i cook to be meat-a-saurus friendly. the dishes that i’ve been collecting over the last few months aren’t light salads or tiny sandwiches bursting with greens… no, they’re big hearty stews, meatballs and loaves that mimick meat as much as i could manage with a can of beans, and side dishes and desserts that reflect their non-vegan counterparts in near perfect symmetry.

i’m still not great at it… i don’t trust myself to cook for a non-vegan and know that they’ll love it. i still experiment and fail pretty regularly. before becoming a vegan i spent minimal time in the kitchen. i hated working with food- raw meat, especially.  now that i don’t have to worry about raw meat, i feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. i feel free. i feel like i was meant to be a vegan, but i just checked the dates, and i’ve only been vegan for 4 months.

4 months? that’s it??? i’ve learned so much about food in my journey. i’ve learned so much about ingredients and different cooking methods, that i feel like i’ve been piling it in for years. cooking isn’t as difficult as i thought it was… vegan cooking is way easier than pulling out all the meat-n-dairy stops. i’ve collected more recipes than i ever did before. my little cookbook/binder full of printed out recipes is bursting with possibility.

i love my food. and for the first time, i don’t mind screwing it up. [too much] because i know i can [and don’t mind having to] go back later and try again.

anyways, that’s been on my mind lately, and i just wanted to share it with you. if you want something a little more solid than observations from this blog post, never fear… i have a recipe for you to try.

i’ve found that limiting oneself to a specific style of cooking not only hampers your culinary creativity, but sometimes the food just gets boring. as a result, i’ve been experimenting with cuisine from all over the world. stir fry is my go-to quick meal. spaghetti and “meat” balls is a belly filler. “meat” loaf is my favorite comfort food. (and is my whole family’s favorite food!)

one type of food i’ve never tried is Indian food. i don’t care for spicy foods, so i’ve always avoided it like the plague. my new motto in life is “Open Mind, Open Heart”. Ignorance is NOT bliss. how do i know i don’t like it if i’ve never tried it before???

enter Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Cauliflower.

now, i’m not sure what a traditional curry is supposed to taste like, but in the end it doesn’t really matter how traditional the dish is- only that it tastes really good. and by golly this dish tastes awesome. 

one of my favorite recipe sites is GoDairyFree.org. it’s chock full of recipes and tips for living a diary free life style. normally when i try a new recipe, i cook it exactly the way the original recipe tells me to, then i tweak it over the course of the next couple times i make it. this? didn’t need any tweaking. it was the perfect blend of spicy and creamy just as it was. the more of it we ate, the more of it we wanted. i should also state that my husband hates cauliflower, and he’s the one who ate the lion’s share of the curry. 😉 so without further ado, head on over to Go Dairy Free, and click the link below for the recipe for

Coconut-Curry with Chickpeas and Cauliflower

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

1 Cup Lentils
4 Cups Water
1 vegan bouillon cube (i use Rapunzel brand)
1 tbsp Soy Sauce

1 medium sized onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups frozen mixed veg
2 small cans mushrooms, drained
S&P to taste
3 tbsps Soy Sauce
1 Flax Egg

6-8 medium-small sized red potatoes (or whatever you like for mashed potatoes) cubed
1 vegan bouillon cube
3 tbsps vegan butter (i use Earth Balance)
4 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
non-dairy milk, to taste
S&P, to taste

9 x12 Casserole Dish, greased (i spray it with olive oil non stick spray)

Directions

1) Place the Lentils in a pot with the 1 bouillon cube and 4 cups of water and boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft. Drain, then stir in Soy Sauce and set aside.

2)  Boil the cubed Potatoes in a large pot of water with the other bouillon cube until they are very tender. I recommend beginning this process about 20 minutes into cooking the Lentils.

3) Prepare your Flax Egg by adding 3 tbsps milled (ground) Flax Seed to a small bowl. Add in 1/3 C of water, and whisk together. Set aside.

3)  Sautee the onion and garlic in a pan with the olive oil until transparent. Add the vegetables and sautee for a few more minutes. Add S&P to taste, then add the mushrooms and Soy Sauce. Sautee until warm, then stir in Flax Egg. Pour this mixture into the baking dish, and level out using the back of a spoon. Set Aside.

4)  When potatoes are done, drain out all the water. Add butter, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add the Parsley, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and S&P. Pour in about 3/4 cups of non-dairy milk (i use Vanilla Soy, and it always tastes fine) and stir together once you mash the potatoes enough. Keep adding milk until the potatoes reach an acceptable “mashed potato” consistency, but be careful as you don’t want them too watery! Smooth potato mixture evenly on top of the Lentil mixture.

5) Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes in the center of a 375 degree oven.

Vegan Protein Bar Recipe Link

i knew it would happen, and it finally did. i fell off the wagon. i did fairly well exercising every morning for about 2 weeks, then i couldn’t exercise one morning. (dr’s appointment) so i didn’t. then the next day i didn’t either. then i just kept forgetting… now it’s been about a week, and i’m a lazy bum.

this afternoon i decided to try and tickle my exercise motivation just a little by making some protein bars. i’ve never made protein bars before, so while it wasn’t a daunting task, i was a little nervous.

thankfully, they turned out great!

once again Angie at Oh She Glows busted out with some serious food awesomeness.

i made her Last Minute Protein Energy Bars, and after taste testing the first one… i want another. (oh noes!)

i tried to get pretty close to her recipe- for the protein powder, i used 1/2 a cup of the same stuff she did. i don’t know much of anything about protein powders (especially of the Vegan variety) so i figured i’d just stick with what she says is good… she hasn’t failed me yet. 😉

i used peanut butter and honey for the nut-butter and sweetener, and they taste really good together. i didn’t have any problems at all with there not being enough to hold the oats and rice cereal together. i also threw in a handful of raisins just for the heck of it.

the only thing i totally forgot to do was heat the pb and honey before stirring in the vanilla extract. i just whipped them all together with a fork until it was nice, smooth mixture, and dumped it into the oat mixture. they turned out fantabulous… and now i have a reason to get serious with some exercise! these bars won’t keep well… they are, after all, no-bake bars. hopefully the thought of wasting food is just what i need to get off my butt and exercise.

maybe.

hopefully.