Friday, November 29, 2013

Isa Does It, Part 5...

This whole week, I have been talking about the recipes that I have made from Isa Does It, and I am kind of sad that this week is over.  You can definitely count on seeing more recipes from this book in the future! 

Today, I just wanted to talk about one dish that totally surprised Kyle and I.  I'm talking about her Sticky Orange Chicky Stir-Fry.  I did end up using tofu, instead of the seitan.  I really love the chapters in her book, leading up to the recipes.  She has a chapter on "tofu butchery", which showed me how to make cute little triangles. 
I prepped everything so that it would be super easy to throw together.  Below I have my tofu triangles, fresh green beans, and scallions.

Also chopped up, shallots, red bell pepper, and the star of the show, fresh orange juice and zest!

With a little help from my new cast iron skillet, everything was seasoned and cooked in barely any time!  At this point, the citrus smell had my mouth watering.

I served it over some brown rice, and garnished it with some toasted sesame seeds. 

This was one of my favorite meals that I have ever made at home!  It filled me up, but tasted super light and crisp.  The orange zest was unbelievable.  From now on, when I'm craving Chinese takeout, I need to get off my tushy and make this! 
Like I mentioned before, I have never had such success with one cookbook.  But with this one, everything that I have made, I would gladly make again.  If you are in a rut with you meals, you need to get this book, and get your cook on! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving and Isa Does It, Part 4...

I have to start with HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Today is bittersweet as Kyle and I are celebrating for the first time without family, but we are finding our own traditions to start.  We are actually going to Native Foods Café for a full Thanksgiving meal, so I'll be posting about that next week.  For now on with my weeklong cookbook extravaganza! 
Today, I am presenting the recipes that involve things that I naturally love.  As you may have noticed in my previous posts, many of Isa's recipes are common favorites or a fun spinoff of such.
At the top of my list is the red-hot BLT.  For those of you who don't know me, I was a meat eater at one time, and BLT's were one of my favorite things EVER!  Whenever my mom said she was making BLT's, I would make sure that I was there.  Well, this red-hot BLT (or TLT, as I like to call it), is now my favorite sandwich!  Buffalo marinated tempeh, crisp romaine lettuce, juicy heirloom tomatoes, veganaise, all on fresh sourdough.  Mine looked different than the picture, but was to die for anyways! 
We had some tempeh left over, so the next day, I sliced it even thinner (than pictured below), and toasted the sourdough.  It was even better than the first time!  I am anxious to make this again, and again, and again!  :)

Moving onto my next obsession, kale.  This just happens to be a queso blanco bowl with crispy kale.  What you don't see is the mound of brown rice and pinto beans underneath.  They are covered in crispy kale chips, and smothered in a homemade queso, heirloom tomatoes, and diced avocado.  This was so filling, and the flavors and textures worked together so well.  Before, whenever I got a hankering for queso, I would buy the jar of vegan queso, which is around $6.99!  This queso tasted better to me, and was much cheaper to make.

Last on today's list, is a chocolate cake with gooey ganache.  This brought back memories of the molten lava cakes that I used to love.  The chocolate cake itself, was moist, and had the right amount of sweetness.  And I don't know if I have words for the ganache.  Dreamy, delectable, exquisite, Heavenly, rich...well, maybe I do have words!  I think you get the point.  ;)

My last post this week, will feature one recipe that stood out a little more than the others.  And that is saying a lot, as I could probably blog solely about this book, for the rest of the year!  Make sure to come back tomorrow and check it out!  And I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving, celebrating with those you love!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Isa Does It, Part 3...

Here I am again, with more delicious foods made from Isa's awesome book.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, these are all recipes that I have made in the last couple of weeks.  Today, I am focusing on all things sweet.

I am starting it off with carrot cake pancakes.  I did not take any pictures that shows you how amazing these were!  One thing that I do not really enjoy doing, is grating foods.  Thankfully Kyle helped me out with grating the carrots.  Other than that, again, these were simple to make.  I learned from the previous pancake recipe, to let the batter sit for 10 minutes.  This results in a much fluffier pancake.  Kyle suggested that next time, I take it one step further, and make a glaze to drizzle on them.  He may be right!  :)

Next on the list, marbled banana bread.  I was really excited to try this one, because it looks so fancy to me.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly this bread came together.  While it was in the oven, I kept getting wafts of banana and cocoa.  I couldn't wait for it to cool completely.  I dove right in, cut a sliver off, spread a little Earth Balance on it, and realized immediately why I made this!  Who wouldn't love this swirly loaf?!?
To me, snickerdoodles are one of the most essential cookies of all time!  In the past, I have been pretty disappointed in how different recipes have turned out.  They either come out super crunchy or they are just a pain in the butt to make.  These came together quickly and easily...and were just how they should be!  They were a bit crunchy, chewy, and had the perfect amount of sweetness.

 Last but not least, pineapple upside down cake.  I have never made this dessert before, but have tasted many other's in my day.  Under 20  minutes in the kitchen, and the cake was already prepped for the oven.  The flavors were spot on, and was even more delicious served with some vanilla ice cream. 

The only thing that tasted different to me, were the pineapple slices.  I recall the slices being very soft, and easy to pull apart.  This may be, in part, because of the syrups and other ingredients that normal pineapples are canned with.  I used organic pineapple in juice, which resulted in a much crunchier experience.  As soon as I took the first bite, I knew Kyle was not going to dig it.  He was already worried about "tropical fruits in his dessert", and he is also one of those "texture" people.  I was right about him disliking the pineapple part, but he did really love the spongey cake.

Next time, I'll be showing you some of the recipes that incorporate many of my favorite things.

Isa Does It, Part 2...

In my last post, I started talking about my favorite new cookbook, Isa Does It.  Here are four more recipes, that I have fallen in love with. 
First up is the lentil-a-roni.  I had never thought about using lentils as a substitute for ground beef, but I am glad that I now know!  The creaminess from the cashews took this dish to a whole other level.  I served it with some steamed kale, and was 100% satisfied! 
Next, I went with the Greek diner salad.  Again, I was feeling very skeptical of this recipe, but I trudged on.  Instead of making a traditional dressing, it called for making "feta" from boiled cashews.  After soaking the cashews overnight in various seasonings, they were transformed into delicious little chunks of Greek goodness.  I mixed my "feta" into my prepared salad, and topped with some store bought falafel balls.  I am looking forward to making this salad again in the very immediate future!

This next recipe filled my place with the most delicious smells!  Chewy, scrumptious, oatmeal raisin cookies.  They took me less than 10 minutes to throw together, but tasted like they took me forever to make!  Kyle absolutely devoured these!

Lastly, I tried the muffin pan mini omelets.  These took me 5 minutes to prepare all of the ingredients and pour into a muffin tin.  The only things I added were some black pepper and fresh chives.  I was so excited to find a different "egg option" besides tofu scramble.  These will be perfect for my breakfast sandwiches!  I love that you can totally customize them, depending on what you're craving, and what is in your crisper bin.  I have made them again, with some fresh scallions.  Next time, I want to try adding some onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms.  I have found these to be so convenient in the morning.  They are easy to reheat and stuff inside of a bagel or English muffin. 
Stay tuned for part 3...

I have a new love affair with a cookbook, Isa Does It, Part 1...

A couple of weeks ago, Kyle and I were at Tradesmart.  He was looking at DVD's while I searched for a new and exciting cookbook.  I picked up a copy of Isa Does It, opened it up, and knew that I had to buy this book.  There were so many pictures, all of them really beautiful pictures.  As soon as we got back to our place, I was on the couch, in my pajamas, scouring the pages in search of my first recipe.  Within 15 minutes, I had already marked about 20 recipes that I was dying to make.  I thought that maybe I would try to make one recipe from the book, each day, for a week.  I can tell you, that since then, I am about 15 recipes deep, and I am LOVING them!  So this week, I will be blogging about everything I have made, in no particular order.

Notice all of the post it notes on all of the "must-makes"!

First up, broccoli cheddar soup.  This was so good and it looked exactly how I remember broccoli cheddar soup looking!  It was perfectly speckled with bits of broccoli and carrots.  The cheesy flavor was definitely there.  It was so simple to make, even without an immersion blender.  I bought a fresh loaf of sourdough to dip with, which never hurts!  :)

This bowl of soup did not last very long.  It tasted so good, that I didn't mind the fact that I was burning all of my taste buds off!  I did learn a lesson, to let it cool down a bit, before enjoying.  You better believe that I was scraping down the bowl with my sourdough!   

I was off to a good start, but how about something more simple?  When I saw the words, "Puffy Pillow Pancakes", I had my doubts.  I've made a variety of different types of pancakes, and I have never really been blown away by any of them.  After making these, I feel guilty for doubting, even for a second.  They were in fact puffy and pillowy, and so delicious!  The first batch to go in the pan, went in a tad early.  Isa did say to let the batter rest for ten minutes, which I didn't want to wait for.  That resulted in a less pillowy pancake, thanks to my impatience.  The other two batches though...WOW!  Kyle has requested these several times since then.  Tomorrow may be his lucky day (and mine).

This post is the kick off to my weeklong blogging about Isa and her amazing cookbook.  It's not often that I try over 15 recipes from a cookbook, and love every single one of them!  Here's to a great week of food!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Birthday Boy's Weekend, Part 2...

Sunday, I started by making breakfast of Kyle's choice.  He chose breakfast sandwiches and hashbrowns. 

After breakfast, we walked over to a football field near our place.  Michael loves running around the track with Kyle.  And I love to watch. :)
For lunch, our friends, Matt and Devon, went with us to Hops and Pie for some pizza. 
 This might have been THE best pizza combination that I have ever tasted!  We got the house smoked tofu, broccoli, and caramelized onions, with Daiya cheese, of course!  OY VEY!  From now on, this is my official toppings combo, for real.  There wasn't a crumb left! 

 After lunch, time for Sunday football!  We put on our jammies and relaxed the day away.

We snacked on some popcorn.  Michael quickly rebounded any dropped kernels.  :)

This is the popcorn that we were munching on.  This popcorn is beyond any other popcorn that I've tried.  This particular flavor is like a kettle corn, but it is on a whole other level!

That was pretty much the gist of our Sunday.  Monday, we went to see the movie, "Bad Grandpa", which was hilarious!  We were going to do a double feature, but we were both feeling too antsy to sit through another movie.  We decided to try a local Mexican restaurant, Tarasco's, which I read about on The Gay Vegans Blog.  They were so right about how great this place is! 
After the free chips and salsa, we ordered a tamale to split.  I can't for the life of me remember exactly what was in this.  All I know, is that I wish we had ordered two.  

The owner suggested that we try the horchata, which was made with water, oats, vanilla, and cinnamon.  I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit nervous to try it.  But man, it was sooooo scrumptious!  Now I'm wanting to make this drink at home!

Lastly, we split the spinach enchiladas with rice and beans.  The enchiladas were simply amazing!  The mix of sautéed spinach and fresh creamy tomato sauce blew my socks off.  

The owner was really sweet, and talked to us almost the entire time we were there.  We went at a weird time of day, so we were the only ones there.  We talked all about Colorado, and he wanted to know more about our choice to go vegan.  He was so friendly, and we can't wait to go back!
Next up, I'll be gushing about my new favorite cookbook...

Time flies when you're having fun...

WOW!  Almost three weeks ago, I said that I was going on vacation and planned on blogging more...that totally didn't happen!  Woops!  I got so caught up in the fun that I was having, that I didn't even blog once!  I have some MAJOR catching up to do!  Is it bad that I don't even know where to start?!?!?  How about I start with Kyle's 30th B-day weekend?  I'm going to break
The big 3-0!  Instead of just celebrating for one day, why not celebrate for 3?  I let him choose the meals, and I would make it happen.  First up, birthday breakfast...
He requested French toast, which sounded delish to me as well, so I had no qualms with making it.  On a side note, see the butterfly puzzle in the background?  The day before, I literally sat at the dining room table ALL day, doing that puzzle!  749 pieces and 8 hours later, I realized that I was missing the last piece...Kyle had thrown it away on accident!  Luckily I found it and it was still in the plastic.  Otherwise I might have hurt him.  ;)
Back to the French toast...fresh ciabatta bread, juicy strawberries, powdered sugar, a little slab of Earth Balance butter, and pure maple syrup...what else do I need to say?  This was dynamite!
After breakfast, we decided to pick up some iced lattes, and head up to Red Rocks to get some fresh air.
I LOVE Red Rocks!  The view is absolutely spectacular!  We have to enjoy the sun and warmth while it is here, because snow is right around the corner!  The weather could not have been any more perfect.  We walked around a bit and drove up to the top of the amphitheater to get another view (forgot to take a pic). 
After our little jaunt outdoors, it was time for gifts.  We went home and Michael helped Kyle open some presents.  He loves ripping the wrapping paper off!  LOL It is pretty freaking cute!
Next on our agenda...trying a new restaurant...well, new to us.  I have been hearing about Native Foods Café for a long time now, but haven't had the chance to go.  Lucky me, they opened one right near my work.  In case you are not familiar with Native Foods Café, it is an all plant based restaurant.  I still get giddy when I can go to a restaurant and order anything on the menu, and not worry about what I'm eating!  Their drinks alone, are awesome.  I got the unsweetened peach black tea and Kyle got a watermelon fresca.  So refreshing!!!
We started with their Nuevo Native Nachos, Homemade corn tortilla chips covered in black beans, Native Taco Meat, Native Chipotle Crema, Native Cheese, salsa fresca, and guacamole. Topped with corn, green onions, cilantro and jalapenos.  I can't explain how good these were.  They make all of their own "cheeses" and "meats", and you could tell!  It was jam packed with flavor!
Next, we split the Super Italian Meatball Sub.  Native Sausage Seitan meatballs, marinara sauce, caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, pumpkin seed pesto, ranch dressing and Native Parmesan on a warm grilled baguette.  On the side, some lemon dill potato salad.  Again, I was floored at how good it was!
The manager came over and offered a free sample of their Native Wellington.  It was a puff-pastry filled with savory Native Seitan, steamed kale and thinly sliced yams complete with Native stuffing made from whole wheat bread, a caramelized onion compote and rosemary and thyme herbed mushrooms, served with mushroom shallot gravy.  I could eat just this for the rest of my life, and I think I'd be OK! 
We also got a free dessert.  We were so stuffed, that we could not even try a bite, so we took it home with us.  We ended up eating it the next day, and it was another winner for Native Foods Café!
My awesome manager, Lucinda, hooked us up with tickets for a Colorado Eagles hockey game.  Kyle and I hadn't been to a hockey game for a couple of years, so we were super stoked about this.  Lots of fights on the ice made for an exciting game! 
For a snack, we grabbed some cinnamon glazed cashews.  I asked the girl if they were vegan, and she gladly showed me the ingredient list.  Good to go!  Covered in some sugar and spices, then roasted, they tasted like brittle!  I was going to save some for my friend, Devon to try, but we inhaled them in no time.  :)

When we got home, we just wanted to relax and watch a movie.  After turning on the fireplace, there was only one thing missing...
BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!  I was pretty excited for him to see the cake that I had made.   I was originally going to go buy a cake, because baking cakes really isn't my thing...or so I thought.  I had so much fun making this two layer cookies and cream cake.  I foresee many more cakes in my future! 

After digging into this deliciousness, we did some relaxing and called it a night. 

Stay tuned for part 2...