Mom’s Potato Salad – Made Vegan
October 9, 2008, 10:17 pm
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My mom makes the best potato salad in the world.  My brothers request it for their birthdays, their kid’s birthdays, and any other reason they can think of to get my mom to make it.  She also makes it every year for their annual 4th of July celebration at their cabin.  It’s seriously good.

I’ve never made potato salad on my own.  I’m usually my mom’s “helper” if I’m around when she makes it.  She “allows” me to chop the radishes and the onion, or peel the eggs, but all under her watchful eye.  She’s militant about things being diced to the exactly correct size.

Yesterday I decided to take a chance and try to vegan-ize her potato salad.  I asked her for the recipe and what I got was basically a list of ingredients, since she measures nothing.

Today I did my best to re-create mom’s potato salad, and actually measure things as I went.  I think I did okay, so here’s what I came up with…

Mom’s Potato Salad – Vegan Version

2 1/2 lbs potatoes

6 medium radishes

1/2 red onion

2 to 3 stalks of celery

1 cup Vegenaise

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 T. yellow mustard

Salt & Pepper

Boil the potatoes with the skin still on, until fork pierces them easily.  Drain into a colander and let them cool.  I waited about an hour or so.

While potatoes are cooling, finely dice the celery, radishes, and onion.

Mix Vegenaise, mustard, sugar, and salt & pepper to taste in separate bowl with a fork until smooth and well-mixed.

When potatoes have cooled, peel them and cut into cubes.  Carefully mix in the celery, radishes and onion.  Then fold in the Vegenaise mixture so as not to break up your potatoes.  If the mixture still seems too dry, add more Vegenaise by the spoonful until you reached the desired consistency…you want it to be creamy.  Taste and then re-salt & pepper to taste.

Mine is chilling in the fridge right now, but my initial impression?  It ain’t moms, but it ain’t bad!  It also doesn’t take kindly to photographs, not looking nearly as pretty as it should!

 I think I will enjoy some for dinner tonight with a vegan veggie burger.   Seriously yum.

P.S.  If anyone wants her “real” recipe, sub Miracle Whip for the Vegenaise and add 3 diced hard boiled eggs.


Dinner Last Nite – Part II
October 7, 2008, 7:21 pm
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Okay, so dinner last night was a ‘made up on the spot with stuff I’d purchased at Whole Foods Market’ kinda thing, but it turned out wonderfully so I’m going to try to get it all down in detail for whoever may be interested.  I’m certainly no great cook, and I’m definitely no cooking writer, but I’ll do my best.  I tend to cook like my mom and just add whatever seems right at the moment.  I usually measure nothing.

Here’s a list of what you’d need:

4 med to smallish yams

1 large potato

1/2 small yellow onion

1 1/3 c. Israeli couscous

1 3/4 c. vegetable stock

1/4 c. vanilla almond milk (you could use soy milk)

2 T. brown sugar

olive oil

Earth Balance vegan spread or other butter substitute

Okay.  Boil salted water in large stock pot.  Wash and peel the 3 smallest yams and the potato.  Then cut them into large chunks and add them to the stock pot.  Let those boil until fork tender.

While those are boiling, preheat oven to 400.  Peel last yam (the largest one, hopefuly) and dice into smallish cubes.  Toss those with olive oil to lightly coat, and bake them until browned and crispy (mine took about 40 minutes)

In medium saucepan, lightly coat bottom with olive oil and add 1/2 of a diced onion.  Saute on med heat until onion begins to turn translucent.  Add 1 1/3 c. Israeli couscous.  Stir until you see couscous begin to turn lightly browned, then add 1 3/4 c. vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, then cover, and reduce heat to low.  Let that stand until the water has been absorbed.

Once boiling yams and 1 potato are fork tender, drain into a colander.  Return to warm stock pan, add approxmately 1/4 c. vanilla almond milk, 2 T. brown sugar, 2 T. Earth Balance, and salt and pepper to taste.  Blend with hand mixer until desired consistency for mashed potatoes.

Remove baking yam cubes from oven, and toss with cooked couscous and onions.

I placed the desired amount of mashed potato mixture on each plate, then topped it with the couscous, baked yam mixture.  You could certainly drizzle this with a balsamic reduction or a red wine reduction if you liked, but like I explained in an earlier post, mine didn’t turn out.  Here was our completed dinner…  As you can maybe tell from the pic, I added salt and freshly ground black pepper to the adult plates.  Cooper kind of ate his deconstructed, but loved all the “parts” of it.

Lunch Surprises
October 7, 2008, 6:12 pm
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So, D.Jones and I stopped at the grocery store on Sunday to just pick up a few quick things.  I saw some Tofurkey “peppered slices” and tossed ’em in the cart.  It was kind of a joke, and Doug had a field day with it…saying how disgusting they were going to be.

Today things ran later at the gym than I thought they would, and by the time I got home, I was seriously starving, so I break out the Tofurkey!  Now is the time for a drumroll….

Okay, I assemble the sammie with a few pickle sandwich slices, a slice of onion, 2 slices of Tofurkey, and a slice of Veggie Slices, pepperjack version.  Add a swipe of Vegenaise for good measure, and I was pretty sure I’d end up taking a bite and tossing the rest in the compost. 

Once again, I stand corrected.  It was seriously okay.  Better than okay!  I think I might just enjoy a Tofurkey sammie again tomorrow! 

Day 4
October 7, 2008, 2:00 pm
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Day 4 of eating vegan.  I gotta say, it seems easy this time.  Probably because instead of going totally off the deep-end like the last “cleanse”, this time I’m allowing myself a cup of coffee in the morning if I choose, and there’s no “gluten-free, sugar-free” requirements.  So, easy-peasy!

The more I read about veganism and it’s positive impact on the environment, the better I feel about giving it a “go”, even if it is only for 2 weeks (or as long as I last).

I’m off to the gym this morning, but later I’ll have to tell you about the dinner I concocted last night.  It was fantastic!  D.Jones even requested all leftovers be “tupped-up” so he could bring them to work today. 

Well…I’ll just tell you, and then perhaps I’ll post pictures  and/or recipes later.  So, I made mashed yams as a base, and then I topped the mashed yams with oven-baked diced yams tossed with Israeli couscous.  So yummy!  I intended to top it all off with a red-wine reduction, but clearly I did something wrong and I got impatient that the wine wasn’t “reducing”  at the rate I wanted, so I tossed it out.  Yep.  Threw away wine.  The sacrilege of it all! 

Either way, all three of us loved it, so another yummy vegan dinner for three.  Yay!

Apple Crisp
October 6, 2008, 1:55 am
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D.Jones requested Apple Crisp today.  Realizing if I made his favorite apple crisp (which is loaded with butter!), I wouldn’t be able to have any, I decided it was a great opportunity to try to “vegan-ize” a recipe.

So I got started, kinda wondering what I was going to end up with…

Basically I took a very, very simple Apple Crisp recipe, and replaced the butter with earth balance vegan spread.  Here’s what I came up with…

 Easy Vegan Apple Crisp

3 med. Honeycrisp apples peeled, cored, sliced thin
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 c. Earth Balance, slightly melted in microwave (approximately 20 sec)
Lightly spray baking dish with non-stick spray (I used Pam olive oil in a 9X7 pan) . Put apples in pan. In bowl, mix sugar, flour and rolled oats. Mix butter in with a fork until well-mixed.  Mixture should be crumbly. Put mixture on apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
The result??
Pretty darn good!! 

Vegan Spinach Dip
October 5, 2008, 1:32 am
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2 thumbs up on this one!  2 thumbs WAY up! 

I wasn’t too sure, especially having never used Tofutti Sour Cream.  That’s right…tofu sour cream.  Hmm…  And when D.Jones walked into the kitchen tonight and saw this

and asked what I was doing, he was like “no way, Kristin!” 

But I made it, and when I brought him a sample, he changed his tune.  Even requesting more!  Seriously, this stuff is good!  I’ll keep this on hand for the next couple of weeks for dipping veggies, sour dough bread or whatever.  Way yum~

Vegan Spinach Dip

    1 box frozen spinach
    1 container Tofutti sour cream
    1/2 cup Veganaise
    1 packet ranch dressing or onion soup mix
 Thaw the spinach in a bowl in the microwave for about 40 seconds.
 Squeeze all water out of spinach. 
 I also added a handful or two of diced water chestnuts because that’s how my mom makes hers, but it’s optional.
 Mix all ingredients together.
 Let it sit for a couple of hours in the fridge for the flavors to blend and then dig in!  YUM~

Some Hits & Misses
October 4, 2008, 11:56 pm
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Today marked Day 1 of the recent “cleanse”.  This one, just to remind you all, involves 2 weeks of a vegan diet, no caffeine and no booze.  Sheesh.  What’s a girl to live on!?

Other than the cymbols ringing in my head all day from last night’s hoopla, it was a pretty easy Day 1. 

Here are a couple of hits and misses from my day:

First up is Earth Balance “natural buttery spread”.  Now, I’m a big fan of buttered toast in the a.m., and although, in my opinion, this stuff is not exactly “buttery”, it serves the purpose.  Tomorrow I think I’ll add a little grape jelly to lighten the “buttery goodness” of it all….

Now, this may not look fantastic, but it’s really good.  Not only was this a hit with D.Jones and I, but Cooper tore it up, too.  Well, except for the edamame.  I couldn’t get that past him.  But this was our first entirely vegan family dinner where I didn’t cook something separately for Doug and Coops and it worked out!

It was easy too.  Here it is if you wanna give it a shot:

Peanut Noodles

  8 oz. soba or udon noodles

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

    1/4 cup warm water
    4 tablespoons smooth, natural-style peanut butter
    3 tablespoons tanari (or regular soy sauce)
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1 to 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
    1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    2 teaspoon sugar
    2 dashes cayenne pepper

 In small pot, boil water and add shelled edamame.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes.  Strain in a colander and set aside.  (you could also use frozen peas for this, but D.jones said that sounded gross, or any other veggies you like.  Shredded carrot perhaps?)  

I used Soba noodles for the added nutrient value, but you could use regular spaghetti, too.   Boil noodles in salted water until tender.  For Soba noodles, you’ll then need to rinse them in cool water in a colander.

Whisk together water, peanut butter, tamari, ginger, garlic, vinegar, cayenne, oil and sugar.  I used a fork which got it quite smooth.  If you wanted to, you could use a food pro.

Next just toss noodles and sauce in a large bowl and add shelled edamame.   Serve at room temp or chill and eat as a peanut noodle salad.

Lastly, since I can’t have the beverages that I live on, ie; Diet Coke, coffee, wine…blah blah blah…I broke down and bought natural ginger ale at Whole Foods.  Um..not a good substitute.  <shudder>  Ick.