Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegan BLT

I think my new favorite food is tempeh.  I am still not a huge fan of tofu, but I LOVE tempeh. From Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a patty, similar to a very firm veggie burger. Many commercially prepared brands add other grains, such as barley, and also add spices and extra flavors. Although tempeh is made from soy, it has a unique taste and is mildly flavorful on it's own, unlike tofu. If you aren't fond of tofu, tempeh is also very high in protein and calcium, as well as beneficial isoflavones, but tastes nothing like tofu. Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor. Here is a great site with more detail, especially concerning the nutrional benefits of tempeh.

One of my favorite sandwiches has always been a BLT.  I love the juxtaposition of the crispy, salty bacon with the crisp cold lettuce and juicy tomato, together on toasted bread slathered with Miracle Whip.  Now, bacon is just about one of the worst foods you can eat - super high in sodium, fat and nitrates (cancer causers), but I love the salt and crispiness.  So when I heard about tempeh bacon, I couldn't wait to try it.  It has a different texture than bacon, obviously, but with the right seasoning it tastes smoky and salty just like bacon and I am thrilled to have a way to enjoy my favorite sandwich.  In fact, I made it for Rachel the a week or two ago (because she loves bacon) and she has asked for it every day since. 
You can buy it already seasoned or make your own.  I find it a little expensive to buy ready-made so I marinate and cook it myself. 
Tempeh bacon:

1 pkg (8 oz) tempeh
1/4 c. tamari soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
3 Tbsp real maple syrup
1/4 c. water
Oil for frying

Place block of tempeh in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 10 minutes.  Let cool, then slice into thin strips.  Meanwhile, in a bowl combine tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup and water.  Mix well.  Marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.  The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be. 

After tempeh has marinated, add strips to a lightly greased skillet and heat until crisp.  After about 5 minutes on each side, the tempeh will turn brown, carmelize and get crispier and chewier. 

To make the BLT, I toast whole-wheat bread, then spread with hummus. 

Layer on the tempeh, lettuce and tomato.  Delicious!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lentil loaf

Lentil loaf, roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli
This is kind of a combination of a few different recipes. 

16 oz package dried brown lentils, rinsed
4 c. water

1 onion, chopped (more or less to taste)
3 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 c. ketchup
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 to 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 to 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Cover lentils with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 50 to 60 min.  Check lentils after 30 minutes, adding more water as necessary.  When lentils are done, remove from heat and let stand for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic in enough water to keep them from sticking.  Cook about 5 minutes until onions are soft.  Preheat oven to 350.  Mix into the lentils along with remaining ingredients.  Thoroughly combine all ingredients, adjusting seasoning as necessary.   Press mixture firmly into a lightly greased loaf pan and drizzle ketchup over the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers, Carrot fries and berries.  Super easy!
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (I didn't have black beans so I used pintos).
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c. instant oats

Preheat oven to 400.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, mash beans together with condiments and spices until well combined.  Then mix in oats.  Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into thin patties.  Bake for 10 minutes, carefully flip over and bake another 5 minutes or until crusty on the outside.  Serve on a whole wheat bun with extra condiments and enjoy!

Tons of fiber and protein.  Zero fat.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mushroom stroganoff

Today we went to lunch at Lupi's pizza. We ordered a pizza on whole wheat crust with extra sauce, no cheese. David's half had broccoli, roasted corn and roasted peppers. My half had spinach, mushrooms and black olives. It was really good.  I didn't have a camera to photograph it, but we were happy to have managed to eat out and still stick to the plan. 

 For dinner, I made mushroom stroganoff from the Engine 2 cookbook.  Basically, start by sauteeing chopped onion in water (no oil!), then add some garlic and chopped mushrooms (I used baby portabellas but you could mix it up if you wanted).  Let them cook down for a bit, then add in some whole wheat pastry flour, balsamic vinegar and some non-dairy milk (I used rice milk).  Serve over whole wheat linguine.  For sides I made fresh green beans lightly sauteed in water and some garlic, then drizzled with natural maple syrup.  Also, some cooked apples.  This was delicious.  Definitely one to add into our rotation. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Last night and tonight

I know these aren't the best foodie pictures, but please bear with me as I figure out how to photograph food well... 

Tempeh bbq on whole wheat bun. (Steam tempeh, then chop and marinate in bbq sauce.  Heat in a skillet until warm, then serve.)  Purple cabbage coleslaw (shredded purple cabbage, carrots, broccoli, shredded apple.)  Then I mixed together some apple cider vinegar and apple juice and mixed into it.  I let it sit for half an hour or so to let the flavors mingle.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds just before serving.  This was really delicious.  Mathis even said he LOVED the salad!

From the Engine 2 book, "Bluberry Dumpster Fire Cobbler"  (whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, vanilla, rice milk (could use almond or soy), agave and frozen berries).  Topped with a dollop of soy vanilla yogurt.  Super easy.

And tonight's dinner, polenta topped with marinara.  I made the polenta (boiling water and cornmeal with some herbs and nutritional yeast mixed in) then just took a jar of store-bought marinara sauce and added in chopped zucchini and chopped baby portabella mushrooms.  Served with a side of broccoli, some lightly steamed kale and a bowl of canteloupe. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A few meals we've eaten lately.

Cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, red pepper, green onions, shredded carrots and cilantro tossed with a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.

Whole wheat spaghetti noodles, shredded carrots, zucchini, red peppers and green onions tossed with warmed peanut butter mixed with tamari sauce (whole soy sauce).

And today for the kids' lunch I made "banana dogs."  Whole wheat hot dog bun, natural peanut butter on one side, jam on the other side and a banana in the middle.  Served with fresh strawberries and pretzels.

"Rip's Big Bowl"

David's breakfast most mornings:  From the Engine 2 book, a mixture of old fashioned oats, Grape Nuts, bite-size shredded wheat, Uncle Sam Cereal, ground flaxseed, raisins, walnuts, 1 banana, 1 strawberry, and almond milk.  Delicious, and full of fiber.