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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Baked mac ‘n’ cheese has always been a favourite of mine, and I am pleased to say that I have finally found an incredible recipe for vegan mac ‘n’ cheese:

Believe it or not, this recipe has no soy and no nutritional yeast – instead, it has potatoes, carrots, onions, and shallots!

To make the recipe gluten free, simply substitute your favourite gluten free macaroni (I’ve used both GoGo Quinoa Macaroni and Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows) and bread crumbs (I’ve used PaneRiso Rice Bread Crumbs).

Also, to make the recipe even healthier, decrease the quantity of salt and margarine (I successfully decreased the quantity of salt by half).

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Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers (via Vegetarian Times)

 

Note: I omitted the cheese and celery, and I added corn (frozen, thawed).

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Potato chips have always been a weakness of mine, and since joining a gym 2.5 months ago, I have been trying to avoid eating them. Last night though, I really wanted to have some chips with my veggie burger and salad. As a compromise (with myself), I decided to try Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips, Salted flavour.

 

Ingredients: potatoes [with the skins on!], safflower and/or sunflower oil, salt.

 

Nutritional Facts: According to my bag, a serving of 30-32 “Salted” chips (just over 1/3 of the bag) has 170 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 190 mg of sodium. Interestingly, the Kettle Brand website does not list a “Salted” flavour, only a “Lightly Salted” flavour. According to the website,  a serving of 20 “Lightly Salted” chips has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 135 mg of sodium.

 

Pros

  • Less fat (than fried chips)
  • Less sodium (than fried chips)
  • Large serving size 
  • Short list of natural ingredients 
  • Strong potato flavour
  • Nice crunch (though not quite as crunchy as a fried Kettle chips – which is actually  plus for me)

 

Cons

  • Not organic
  • Still junk food (albeit healthier than some junk food)

 

For more on baked potato chips, check out this CTV “[Baked] Potato chip taste taste” video.

 

To make your own potato chips, try this recipe for “Microwave Potato Chips“.

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I decided to try a new recipe today: Red Lentil Soup with Fresh Dill from Nava Altas’ cookbook, Vegan Express.

 

 

Before I could make the recipe though, I needed to make a trip to the grocery store for some of the ingredients: red lentils, baby spinach, and fresh dill. It took me two stops (apparently the closest grocery store does not stock red lentils), but I managed to get all of the ingredients that I needed, so I went home, put the groceries away and started to make the soup.

 

The soup required little chopping (always a plus in my books) and it went together quite easily…until it came time for me to add the fresh dill. I looked and looked and looked for the dill. I looked in the bags, the fridge, the freezer, the cupboards, the computer room, and even in the bathroom. The dill had disappeared!

 

Dill? Dill? Where are you

"Dill? Dill? Where are you"

 

After giving up hope of finding the elusive dill, I decided to simply omit it and hope for the best . Luckily, the soup was good, even without the fresh dill: it was thick, with a mild (yet not bland) flavour.

 
Alongside the soup, I had:

  • salad (mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrots, alfalfa sprouts, roasted almonds and dressing)
  • roasted red potatoes (potato wedges mixed with olive oil and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning, baked in the oven until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside)

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Pre-made creamy, vegan, gluten-free soups are hard to find. In fact, here in Nova Scotia, Canada, I can only find one:
 

Imagine Creamy Potato Leek Soup


And while I like the Imagine Creamy Potato Leek Soup (particularly as a vehicle for dipping toast – in my case gluten free), I find it a little boring on its own. So, I decided to experiment and to use it to make some Shortcut Chickpeas a la King. To my surprise, the results were pretty good: I wouldn’t serve this to guests, but it makes a nice, quick, homey lunch.
 

Shortcut Chickpeas a la King

Note: I did not keep track of any measurements, so the measurements are left to your discretion.

Ingredients:

  • Bell pepper, chopped (I used frozen, tri-colour bell pepper strips, as this was all that I had on hand)
  •  Imagine Creamy Potato Leek Soup
  • Frozen green peas, thawed
  • Canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cornstarch, dissolved in water, if necessary
  • Bread or rolls, toasted (or cooked rice)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, saute bell pepper in oil until softened.
  2. Add Imagine Creamy Potato Leek Soup, peas, chickpeas, and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil. Stir.
  4. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the ingredients are heated and some of the liquid has boiled off.
  5. Add cornstarch, if necessary. Stir until sauce has thickened.
  6. Serve over toasted bread, toasted rolls or rice.

 

For a proper Chickpeas a la King recipe, see:

For another recipe using this soup, see:

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Lentil Veggie Burger

 

Lentil Veggie Burger, via web cam

Lentil Veggie Burger, via web cam

I was craving lentil veggie burgers, but I could not find a recipe that I liked, so I decided to try my hand at concocting my own “recipe”. The resulting burgers were pretty tasty, so I am going to try to recreate the “recipe” here.

Lentil Veggie Burger

Note: all measurements are approximations, and if you try to make these burgers, you will likely need to adjust the ingredients and quantities until they seem just right to you.

Ingredients:

  • oil, for sautéing
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • one carrot, finely grated
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • one small potato, cooked and peeled
  • one 19 oz can of green lentils, drained and rinsed
  • ~2 tbsp. of walnuts, ground
  • ~3/4 cup of bread crumbs (I used gluten-free bread crumbs)
  • ~2-3 tbsp. of tomato sauce
  • ~2 tsp. soy sauce
  • ~1-1.5 heaping tbsp. tahini
  • 1.5 tsp. Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning
  • ~1 tsp. paprika
  • ~1/8 tsp. pepper
  • flour, as needed (I used rice flour)
  • water, as needed 

Directions:

  1. Saute onion, carrot and garlic in oil, until the onion is soft and the garlic is golden.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the potato.
  3. Gradually add the onion, carrot, garlic, and all of the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl. 
  4. Stir mixture and lightly mash with a fork.
  5. Add flour and water, as necessary, until you can form the mixture into patties. *you may find that it helps to let the mixture firm up in the fridge*
  6. Form the mixture into patties (I was able to make eight medium sized patties). *the patties will likely be a little fragile*
  7. Fry the patties in a little oil, for approximately 4 minutes per side.
  8. Enjoy!

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Photo taken by Darren Hester, http://www.flickr.com/people/ppdigital/

Photo taken by Darren Hester, http://www.flickr.com/people/ppdigital/

A couple of years ago, I learned a nifty, little secret: that you can make your own microwave popcorn with a brown paper lunch bag, popcorn kernels, and scotch tape. To do so, simply:

  1. Get a brown paper lunch bag (you can find these at the grocery or dollar store).
  2. Place approximately 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into the brown paper lunch bag.
  3. Fold the top of the brown paper lunch bag over twice and use scotch tape to tape it shut.
  4. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until you hear 5 seconds between pops (I use the ‘popcorn’ setting on my microwave and it works perfectly).
  5. Place the popcorn in to a bowl and add any desired toppings. Note: some people add their toppings to the popcorn kernels before they microwave them, but I like to add them to the popped popcorn because it creates less mess and allows you to reuse the brown paper lunch bag.
  6. Enjoy.

Making your own microwave popcorn has distinct advantages:

  • it’s cheaper than store-bought microwave popcorn
  • it’s more environmentally friendly than store-bought microwave popcorn (if you reuse the brown paper lunch bags)
  • it can easily be made vegan (unlike most store-bought microwave popcorn, which contains butter or butter flavour)
  • it allows you to control the quantity of fat and sodium on the popcorn

 As an alternative to homemade microwave popcorn, you can also make your popcorn with a hot air popper.

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