BFF Vegan Chili

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One of my BFFs threw a party a few weeks back & served this amazing chili. The recipe itself is vegan, though there was a cheese option for those who wanted it.

She found the recipe here. For my milk allergic friends, vegans, and/or those who want to cut back on milk, it looks like it could be a good resource. I can tell you from firsthand experience that this chili was amazing. Yum!

Enjoy! 🙂

Ravioli and Peppers

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…That thing where someone brings over something yummy (in this case, peppers), but you don’t eat all of it, and it’s not really a meal all by itself.

As far as I can tell, the mixture was originally sliced bell peppers and white onions that were sauteed in a lot of olive oil. I was looking for something that would absorb the oil, while providing a little balance to the dish. I had frozen ravioli- large or small to choose from. I went with the smaller ones, based on my desire for balance. This is not all that complicated, but here goes…

 

I…

…Removed the container with the leftovers. Btw, olive oil coagulates like woah in the fridge. Some say it hurts the taste, some say it doesn’t… but so far, no one has said it can hurt you. I will tell you it looks very funky, but don’t let that deter you.

…Started up the pot of water to boil.

…Put the peppers & oil into a metal mixing bowl. (Metal conducts heat. Science!)

Once the water was boiling, I dropped in the ravioli. They took another 5 mins or so to cook.

…Strained the ravioli & then placed them on top of the peppers.

…Let them sit like that a minute while I rinsed off the pots & pans…

Which made the oil melt- more science! Then, I stirred them,

…and that was it! It didn’t require any seasoning (but feel free to jazz it up if you like, you know I skew bland!)

 

You can’t beat leftovers that turn into 4 more meals. Yum!

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Cherry Tomato Sauce: First Try!

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My tomato plants were obviously more prolific prior to the onset of black spot (which I treat by trimming the plant and applying fungicide). Still, I managed to accumulate 3 soup bowls full of tomatoes in the weeks prior. By the time I had that many tomatoes, I knew I wanted to try a sauce. Plum tomatoes are typically used, but I don’t grow those. So, I looked up a recipe that called for cherry tomatoes and gave it a whirl. You can find that recipe here. Please note, it is a recipe for a sauce, not a gravy. As I understand it, gravy contains meat drippings, whereas sauce does not. I’ve also been told there can be a difference in thickness- a sauce can be thinner, but doesn’t have to be.

All my life, I’ve had a taste for homemade sauces. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to occasionally eat at Italian restaurants featuring generational recipes. I’ve also watched sauces being built from scratch, happily taste-tested, and have a sense of what goes into a good one. For years, I’ve dreamt of making a sauce myself, but the amount of patience and meticulousness involved was a turnoff. Sure, I can savor it on the table… but to work for hours building it? I just wasn’t sure…

All this to say, my personal bar is rather high for homemade sauces, so, naturally, I personalized the recipe.

 

Method and Modifications:

*I read the comments on the original recipe, which influenced my choices when making modifications.

  • Because so many people commented that 425F was too high, I dropped it down to 400F and baked for 45mins.
  • Because others mentioned the liquid that would result from the cooking, I opted for a lasagna pan & lined the pan with foil for easy cleanup.
  • After baking, there was an excess of watery/oily/tomato-y juice in the bottom of the pan. I used a slotted spoon to retrieve the tomatoes & used the drippings for garlic bread. More on that later.

*I had some leftover plum tomatoes, so I sliced them & added them to the cherry tomatoes.

*Obviously, a single row of tomatoes was out of the question.

*I seasoned the tomatoes before cooking because I wanted the seasonings to seep in. I did not have fresh basil. I went heavy-handed on the garlic, dried basil, and oregano, and light-handed on the onion powder before baking.

*I may have used too much olive oil. I had a coating of garlic-infused evoo on the bottom. Then I drizzled plain evoo on the top, and stirred to adhere the seasonings to the tomatoes.

*I fried one pepper and about 1/4 cup of onion for taste, and added them to the tomatoes before I pureed them.

*I used a mini-chopper instead of a blender.

*Even though I drained the tomatoes before pureeing them, the sauce was too thin for my taste.

*Many sauces use tomato paste as a thickener. I had about a cup and a half left from a mixture of chunky commercially produced sauce with a can of paste added, so I used that to thicken the pureed tomato mixture.

*Finally, I added more seasonings after thickening- including ground black pepper.

 

Picture Key:

  1. Raw tomatoes over garlic-infused olive oil
  2. After seasoning & adding more oil
  3. After 30 minutes
  4. After 45 minutes
  5. After pulsing
  6. After adding tomato paste & sauce mixture to thicken

 

Post-script:

If I were to make this again, I would intentionally set out to establish a hybrid recipe. This means looking up a traditional recipe just in case I’m missing anything. Even though I ended up knowing a lot more off the cuff than I thought I did, it’s still nice to have the security of something written down to reference.

One of the things I liked about this meal was that it was entirely made from things I already had around. I served the sauce atop leftover ziti noodles that were mixed with peppers and onions, with the garlic bread on the side. Needless to say, it was delicious. I had about a week’s leftovers from the original leftovers+harvest. Yum!

 

Enjoy! 🙂

Balsamic Grilled Eggplant with Diced Tomato

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There’s just something about grilled food in the summertime. Although I adore bbq’d veggies, so far I’ve been sticking to the indoor grill because it’s so fast and easy. I’ve been living on grilled vegetables lately. The only thing that changes is the final preparation. Sometimes, I leave them as-is, sometimes I play with toppings. Grilled eggplant is one of my favorites.

This incarnation was incredibly simple to prepare to the point where it’s pretty much self-explanatory. But, here are the steps, just for convenience’s sake:

1. Preheated the grill

2. Diced the vine-ripened tomatoes

3. Peeled the eggplant using a knife & cutting board

4. Grilled the eggplant for about 4 minutes

5. Poured some balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil over both

6. Sprinkled with nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, and pepper

Enjoy! 🙂

Peppers and Blogiversary!

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I made these. They were awesome.

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And look!:

anniversary-2xHappy Anniversary with WordPress.com!

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Can you believe it’s been a year already? WOW!

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Have a wonderful week! 🙂

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Oatmeal in Crockpot

After some consideration, I decided to not to pursue further nutrition appointments. While I was grateful for the meeting, too many things just weren’t sitting right. For starters: “I’m a vegetarian, why are you telling me to consider eating meat?”  

In short, I just felt like I wasn’t being listened to. Though my opinion may change, I felt it was best to go with my gut. Still, the mandate to eat more protein falls within my personal goals, so I’m going to continue on that path, in my own time and with my own stride.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, but I rarely eat it because it requires effort in the morning. I tried instant, and it’s good, if you don’t mind flakes in hot water. First thing in the morning, I don’t have the presence of mind to let it set. Which, is sad, I know, but know thyself…

I’ve done eggs on weekends or prepped them, but how many eggs can one woman eat? Boxed cereal tastes fine to me, but isn’t really protein-rich, nor particularly healthy. Oatmeal. The perfect solution. So, I looked it up. I have no connection to this writer, nor am I a regular reader there.

This is quite possibly the easiest recipe ever. Just remember to buy STEEL-CUT OATS and you’re good to go. I have a 3 quart crock and it worked fine. I didn’t add the fruit- just oatmeal and a dash of salt, follow directions, and wake up to warm fuzzies. Though, I did add a few fresh blueberries after the fact, and that was pretty yummy. I did not eat the crusty parts on the side & would not recommend them. This picture was taken after an 8 hour cook time. With the 7 hour, you end up with a creamier version and more usable food. After the first batch, I refrigerated it and microwaved each 1 cup serving for a minute. That worked perfectly.

(Note: the picture was taken after it had cooled down, because I don’t have the presence of mind to take a picture in the morning, either!;)

Enjoy!

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!