a Reno post…

Reno (22 months)

I thought I’d just do a quick Reno post tonight. Yesterday was her first trip to the beach this summer. Last year was a success at the beach for her as was this day trip on Wednesday with myself and my mother in law. We might even go again tomorrow!

The past few months have been really cool and frustrating at the same time..she runs, jumps, climbs, and talks now. She is obsessed and I mean OBSESSED with BOYS!! A bunch of boys will walk by and all of a sudden she is saying out the window “Hiiiii boooys!” She takes swimming lessons and has gone to some toddler gym classes.  She selfed named one of her dolls Coco. She like vegetables but has no idea she is actually eating them because if she did she would promptly spit them out. Her favorite food is seitan and she likes to drink Coconut Water.  She loves our 2 cats but they do not love her. CB bites her once a week and Riley hides in the closet and only comes out during nap time and bed time. She has recently developed her first fear. She is afraid of “fireBOOMS” more traditionally known as fireworks. On August 31st she will turn 2!


Beer Battered Seitan with Hidden Green Bean Mashed Potatoes

I love fried food. I wish it was good for you. Since it’s not I don’t eat it all the time but if I am going to eat it I want it to be battered in some way. Beer battered! Yum Yum! I can’t get enough of this stuff. It reminds me of my disgusting days when I would eat Chicken Crisper’s dipped in Honey Mustard from a popular chain restaurant. I would feel disgustingly sick after eat those and vow never to eat them again even though I would. I don’t feel sick after eating my own which is a good thing.

I’ve been tinkering with this recipe for awhile. The spices in it don’t give it a super specific taste but definitely add something to the flavor of the whole thing. I served this particular meal with some Hidden Green Bean Mashed Potatoes which is just my sneaky way to get Reno to eat her veggies which she is not doing these days. You basically throw in some frozen green beans into the boiling potatoes when they are just about done and mash them how you usually do. Its quite tasty.

Beer Battered Seitan

1 12oz bottle beer
1 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon chili powder

1 pound seitan, cut into strips about 1/2 in thick, boiled seitan works best
canola oil (or preferred oil of your choice)

Pour the beer in a large bowl then whisk in the first 1 cup of flour. It should resemble a nice thick pancake batter if it’s really thin then add the 1/2 cup of flour slowly until you have a nice thick batter. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, mustard powder and chili powder until combined. You don’t want to over stir the batter. Add the strips of seitan and toss until they are fully coated with the batter.

Fill a large frying pan about 1/2 an inch with canola oil and heat on high heat. When heated carefully place battered seitan into the oil, lower the flame to medium-high and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Have a plate covered with paper towels or a clean paper bag to help absorb some of the excess oil.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or give everyone 1/2 a lemon to squeeze onto their beer battered seitan!

Maple-Buffalo Chickpea Nuggets

Maple-Buffalo Chickpea Nuggets w. Brussels Sprouts

I hate the word nuggets but still can’t think of anything better to call these and I’m not to fond of wingz either. I got the lovely idea from this post by the fabulous Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel. I’m a huge fan of the Chickpea Cutlets in Veganomicon and like to use them in a variety of ways but have never thought to use them in this way. I usually just use seitan or tofu when I make buffalo-style anything but the chickpea cutlets were perfect for it. Just perfect. They are so easy to make as well.

I followed Celine’s directions only up to the point of of baking them in the oven. I wanted to then bread and fry them like I usually do and like she did put I was all out of panko breadcrumbs and I don’t like to really use regular bread crumbs. So I baked them and then covered them in my Maple-Buffalo Sauce. I served them up with some sauteed Brussels Sprouts and then my sister and I dug in and our taste buds and bellies were completely satisfied.

I will definitely be bringing these to a potluck and serving them at my next party/gathering of sorts.

Quick Sauce

Quick Sauce

The last few times that I’ve made my own tomato sauce the results have been very underwhelming. They have just been ok. Nothing great. Nothing to write about. I was having the same trouble some time back with my Rice and Beans recipe, all of a sudden it just fell flat. So whatever. I was in need of a sauce when I made my Ricotta Gnocchi and I need it to be made fast. The recipe that follows are the results of that cooking session. I had great success and it is probably one of the best tomato sauces I’ve made in a long time. The secret is in the oil, as was the problem with my Rice and Beans, I just wasn’t using enough. There is a lot of it. So if you are on a diet this isn’t for you.

Quick Sauce

1/4 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, small diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional0
pinch of paprika
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
10 basil leaves
salt and pepper

*heat olive oil over medium high heat. add onions and cook 3-4 minutes then add garlic and cook another 5 minutes or so until soft

*add red pepper flakes (if using) and paprika and stir for 1 minute

*add crushed tomatoes and stir really well to help incorporate as much of the olive oil as you can. it’s a really oily sauce! cook for 5-10 minutes.

*wash and dry your basil, then stack the leaves, roll them tight and cut into thin slices. add them to the sauce along with salt and pepper to taste and finish cooking for 3 minutes and then serve and enjoy!

Vegan Soul Kitchen

Jamaican Veggie Patties

Have you ever gotten a new cookbook that was just love at first sight? I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry to review and it truly was love at first site. What’s not to love about a book that has a whole chapter on using the ENTIRE Watermelon! Zero waste watermelon! I’m still amazed at the concept. As I was quickly flipping through it and seeing the titles of all the recipes I realized that this would be a book that I would read from front to back (that night) just to make sure I didn’t miss a single thing.

As I usually do with new cookbooks I make a list of recipes I want to make right away and a grocery list. The problem was I wanted to make at least 15 dishes right away so I had to just narrow it down and save some for later.

I first went for the Jamaican Veggie Patties. I found them very easy to make even though I couldn’t find my rolling pin and just pressed out dough in single pieces to make “circles” for the filling. The crust was amazingly flaky and tasty and the veggie filling was creamy and delicious. I ate one cold out of the fridge the next day which sealed the deal that I will double the recipe every time I make it from now on.

Other recipes I tried were 2 sides. Simple Seared Green Beans and Roasted Sweet Potato Puree w. Coconut Milk. The Green Beans were good but you have to make a garlic oil first to make them. Which is a technique I can appreciate because I use to do it all the time in restaurants but to be honest I want to see the garlic in my green beans when I eat them. The Sweet Potato Puree was heavenly. You could totally skip the pureeing part of the recipe and have a damn good side dish for you meal.

I really can’t wait to cook more recipes from this book. It will be covered in food stains before you know it.

I beg you all to go out and buy this book and love it as much as I do. (and I’m not just saying that because the author went to the Natural Gourmet like I did.)

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