Lowfat Rice, Beans, & Mushrooms

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This picture was taken before I added the rice, to illustrate how the mushrooms absorb the bean juice.

My goal with this meal was to eliminate the oil/faux butter I usually use when I saute mushrooms. This ended up being one of my favorite versions of a classic, and it was so easy!

I used:

1 can black beans

1 package of button mushrooms

1 bag of boil-in-the-bag whole grain rice

Mrs. Dash

cutting board & knife

can opener

fry pan

big spoon

Method:

1. I followed the rice instructions on the box.

2. While the rice was cooking, I de-stemmed the mushrooms & saved the stems for a soup. Then, I put the sliced tops into the frying pan on medium & dumped the can of beans, WITHOUT DRAINING THEM, into the pan as well. The mushrooms soaked up the bean water, & I sprinkled everything with Mrs. Dash to taste.

3. When the rice was ready, I opened the little bag & dumped the rice into the pan & stirred.

4. I served this batch as-is on a plate. I then made a second, mushroom-less batch, and served it with some fat-free sour cream and salsa on low-fat tortillas. Mmm… burritos!

Enjoy! ūüôā

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Vegetarian “Beef” Stew

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After watching the ball drop, I managed to catch a cold. I very rarely get sick, despite what may be lingering in the air. Not this time. This past week has mostly been about honing my best seal impression, and getting more sleep than I have ever possibly imagined needing in my entire lifetime.

By midweek, all I wanted was a bowl of soup. Despite my incessant begging and pleading, circumstances were such that no one was able to magically produce a homemade soup for me. Eventually, I gave up, and created this one myself.

As I’ve mentioned before, prepared soups and stocks are far too sodium-laden for my taste. Frankly, I think they all taste the same anyway. But those same high standards are also the reason I spent the good part of a day hand-chopping all of the ingredients to put into this kitchen-sink of a soup (which turned into a stew in the process)… and promptly fell asleep shortly after finishing it.

I’d been meaning to experiment with adding seitan to my soups, if only for the somewhat obvious reason that I have a stockpile of prepared seitan that really should be used up. The addition of the seitan, along with the piles and piles of vegetables, resulted in something more stew-like than soup.

The most noticeable flavor in this comes from the seitan. Because of the Italian flavoring of the seitan, it is a spicier creation than my usual soups. The stock color deepened over time, taking on sort of a brown-ish tint, and the flavors deepened as well. This became one of those dishes that was even better as leftovers. As with all of my soups, I just followed my intuition. By necessity, I just worked with what was around, because there was no way I was going anywhere.

This is not a recipe, so much as a palette of colorful and tasty foods to work with, should you have an interest in making something similar.

I used: celery, nutritional yeast, water, red potatoes, green and yellow bell peppers, red onion, portabella mushrooms, button mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, 3 links of Italian-style seitan sausage, black pepper, Mrs. Dash.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015! Enjoy! ūüôā

 

 

So, This Is Seitan!

Seitan and Mushrooms in Fry Pan

I’ve never made seitan, though I think I’ve tried it professionally prepared. Vegan Monologue recently posted her recipe for homeade seitan, along with points about the cost of prepackaged seitan and a mention of its nutritional value. I bought some prepackaged just to be certain l Iiked it, then decided to give the recipe a try.¬†

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Points I ignored which you shouldn’t:

Let it dry, even if the broth is calling to you like a siren song.

It really is enough for months. Even though the above looked pretty both in the picture and in person, you will never eat that much. Ok, *I* will never eat that much in one sitting.

Pan-frying and whatever it was I did up there with the broth are not the same thing, but it was fun and the flavor was yummy.

Seitan is chewy. Maybe it would have been less chewy if I had been more patient. If you want to try the fried flavor brothy goodness, party on, but then let it dry & fry it for real later. I liked that better than the fragrant but chewy first round.

I froze the rest, then thawed one slice, put it in the processor, fried the little seitan shreds with a dash of nutritional yeast, refrigerated it, and later made a faux cheesesteak, which I heated in the oven.¬†(Real cheese, faux steak: I’m vegan-friendly, but vegetarian myself). I even added some ketchup for an authentic feel after the picture was taken. Good stuff!

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Seitan Cheesesteak

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Her recipe is perfection, but I had to change some minor details due to a combination of allergies, personal taste, & what I had around. 

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Seitan Ingredient Modifications: 

1 tsp marjoram to Mrs. Dash

No onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

+ a dash of nutritional yeast

+ a dash of parsley

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Broth Ingredient Modifications: 

No soy sauce

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon Habanero Catsup

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Prep Modifications: 

I left it as one big loaf and cut it after removing from the broth.

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Enjoy!

Babybella Salad

Mushroom Salad

Every 28 days or so, I randomly go on a cleaning/cooking/washing binge, and the results are often comical. Last week’s flurry of posts was a prime example, and there were still several dishes I made after those posts! My refrigerator is now organized by category and size of item, my clothes are now organized by style and frequency of usage, and the list goes on and on.

The first little dish I made was this big salad. I don’t know what it is about my chemistry that makes me think

*I*MUST*MAKE*A*GIANT*SALAD*RIGHT*NOW*

but ok, sure, salad is healthy. Why not?

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Babybella Salad:

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Ingredients:

Romaine lettuce, cut as you like it.

Shredded cheese

Sliced babybellas

Sliced scallions

Oregano, dried flakes

Basil, dried flakes

A dash of ground black pepper

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Directions:

1. In huge bowl, place lettuce and scallions.

2. In small bowl, place mushrooms, cheese, & spices. Stir.

3. Dump small bowl contents into large bowl. Toss.

4. Serve

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I had this mostly with balsamic vinagrette, but it was also good plain. I imagine it would be great with olive oil. It’s pretty easy to veganize this one, too, which I might try doing later. Enjoy!

The Creative Kitchen Challenge… Sort Of: Supportive Sandwich

Egg White Sandwich

This post is inspired by The Creative Kitchen Challenge, the brainchild of Things My Belly Likes. For more info, please check out her post, which explains everything in full detail. Every day this week, M-F, she will be cooking with ingredients that weird her out. She has invited anyone interested to join in on the fun! In her words:

“You should do one thing that scares you every day (according to the late, great Eleanor Roosevelt).¬†Today I‚Äôm challenging all the food bloggers, cooks and epicurists out there to¬†cook¬†one thing that scares them every day.¬†Well, every day for a week at least…”

Her challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve just been told that I need to start cooking with ingredients that scare me… or, that I haven’t used before, which also scares me. Eggs weird me out the most. I can pretend they aren’t there when I eat cake, pasta, and bread, because they are baked in and generally don’t provoke stomach problems. But, when I try to rock an egg-centric recipe, my stomach protests. Is it an allergy? An intolerance? What is it? I asked the nutritionist about it, & she recommended egg whites, asserting it’s not an allergy. I remained unconvinced. But, banking on the fact that she’s trained in this stuff and I’m not, I decided to try them at home, where I felt safe enough to experiment with this sort of thing.

So, fear factor? Check.

Cooked by you? Uncheck.¬†While the sandwich is, in fact, homeade, I didn’t make it. This is what I’m calling my supportive sandwich, because it was made special for me as a show of support during this scary adventure.

What’s in it? You can tell this was made with me in mind. Just look at that beautiful toasted Italian roll. Then, there’s the little bit of cheddar mixed in with the egg whites, and some green bell pepper and mushroom, topped with a little black pepper. Yum!

Verdict: Taste-wise: delicious. Digestion: To be determined.

Veggie’s Virtual Vegan Salad

Virtual Vegan Potluck

The Virtual Vegan Potluck is a virtual potluck that connects like-minded foodies and bloggers for a worldwide eating and drinking celebration! Recipes will be listed in order of course, starting with appetizers and progressing through to delicious desserts, with links provided throughout. Thanks to An Unrefined Vegan for organizing this event!

I love a good salad, usually for lunch, and often with dinner. When I compose a salad, I strive for visual appeal, along with the obvious taste. I prefer dark greens for their nutritional value as well as visual appeal. I prefer tomatoes from a roadside stand over hothouse tomatoes any day. Most of my vegetables come from stands or farmers’ markets, and I make the salad the same day or next. It really does make a difference in the freshness, and freshness is key to an enjoyable salad. I also love Italian food, so my salads tend to reflect that influence.

Making this salad was crazy and fun and may make it into another post someday. I had most of the ingredients I wanted, but needed a few things to supplement. By the time I’d finished prepping and shopping and tossing, it was a circus, but an enjoyable one!¬†Once you’ve read my post, please check out the other wonderful bloggers who probably were running around their kitchens just as much as I was!¬†Enjoy the potluck!

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Salad

Veggie’s Virtual Vegan Salad:

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Tools: 

Bowls: huge, medium, and small

Storage container

Salad tongs or hands or whatever works

Cutting board & knife

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Ingredients: 

Fresh Basil (One bushel)

Romaine Lettuce (One head)

Fresh Spinach (One bushel)

Scallions (4 stems)

Button Mushrooms (One box)

2 Plum Tomatoes

Red Bell Pepper

Yellow Bell Pepper

1/4 oz. Fresh Oregano

Dried Oregano Flakes

Garlic Powder

Extra Virgin Olive OIl

Balsamic Vinegar

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Directions:

Prep: *I hand sliced the mushrooms, hand diced the peppers, and stored them ahead of time. You may want to do this, it’s a good time saver!* Wash the leafy greens, remove leaves from stems, and pat leaves dry with paper towels. Put ugly but usable leaves in separate pile for later. (Note to self: Do not buy questionable basil!) Use the darker romaine leaves for this, and separate out the lighter ones for later. (This is not really necessary, but I had a certain visual in mind, and the lighter leaves didn’t fit in with that vision).

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1. Put leaves in huge bowl.

2. Slice scallions & add to leaves. Toss everything around to get a good mixture.

3. Put peppers and mushrooms in medium bowl. Stir. Add to huge bowl. Stir.

4. Slice tomatoes. Set aside.

5. Put some olive oil in small bowl. Add oregano and garlic powder. Stir. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar. Stir. Dump tomatoes in small bowl. Coat them with the mixture. Stir.

6. Dump tomato mixture into huge bowl. Stir, making sure to coat everything with the dressing.

7. Serve some and store the rest in your container. Just don’t store past a day, or it will start to get mushy. To avoid this, keep the dressing and tomatoes separate until you are ready to eat. Pairs well with Daiya shreds (vegan) or Smoked Gouda shreds (vegetarian) and any Italian dish.

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Enjoy!

___________________________________________________________________ To visit the blog that precedes mine in the Potluck (Vegan Sparkles), click here!

To visit the blog that follows mine in the Potluck (An Unrefined Vegan), click here!

To start at the beginning of the Potluck, (Vegan Bloggers Unite!) click here!