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Monday, January 23, 2012

Bean Pie

OMG, you guys. It rained in the desert today. That only happens like 4 times a year, so this is a pretty big day. If I were a weaker person, I would use it as an excuse to have some totally cheesy, non-vegan nachos. But only if I were a weaker person. I'm saving that particular weakness for Friday, as a celebration for keeping the children alive for another week. But I did enjoy the rain, I had a cup of tea with the last of my soy nog from Christmas, I thought I would try and read some of "The Hunger Games", but instead, planty kid 1 wanted me to read with her. So we enjoyed "Little House on the Prairie". All in all, a good rainy day. And now food is on my mind (when is food NOT on my mind?). This is a really good recipe. Remember when I confessed my closet love of cheese? Well, this recipe has cheese. You could make it with Daiya if you are really, really, committed to being a vegan, but I don't believe a little cheese is that big a deal. Bring on the hate.

Bean Pie

  • 1 package of tortillas (this one had 11 in it. Weird.)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped chilantro
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • Cheese 
How to make it...
  • Preheat your oven to 350. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the black beans, cilantro, tomatoes, and corn, and mix it all up. 
I took this before I added the corn. Just to keep you on your toes...

  • The dump the salsa into the pinto beans, and mix that all up. 
Ta da!

  • Now, in a round baking dish, you want to layer it, tortilla, black bean mix, cheese, tortilla, pinto beans, cheese, repeat. Got it?
It should look like this when you're done. 

  • Then bake it for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty, and gooey and good. I mean, if you're going to do a vegan cheat by eating cheese, don't burn it for goodness sakes. 
My attempt at fancy food photography... 

Planty kids 1 and 3 loved this. Planty kid 2, the one who won't eat anything other than PB&J, and really, really, hates beans, well, she didn't want anything to do with it. But that's pretty standard. Planty Dad was in a very happy place after dinner, so much that he didn't even complain when I served him vegan brownies for desert. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome Back! (And Twice Baked Potatoes)

Well, hello there! Long time no see. But that's my fault, so I apologize. As most of you know, in addition to being a mom, vegan, and part time super hero, I'm also an Air Force wife. And that means we move. A lot. In November, we moved from Ohio to California. That's a long way. The last few months have been spent getting settled into our new place. And now we have cable. So, a lot my time has been spent watching TV. Sorry. BUT! I'm back, better than ever. And lucky you, I've been cooking up a STORM. Some recipes have been major flops (seitan stroganoff anyone?), but some have been mighty tasty (veggie pot pie is a new fave). So, first on the menu...

Twice Baked Potatoes

These are really good, and really easy. You bake the potatoes in the crock-pot. Seriously. They will be the fluffiest, juiciest, baked potatoes you have ever had. 

Here are the ingredients. The "This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese. This is a Tub of Non Dairy Spread" from Trader Joe's is a revelation. It is fantastic. You guys know I'm not a huge fan of soy. I don't eat tofu, and I don't particularly like the tofu based "cream cheese" or "sour cream". But this stuff is tapioca based, and it tastes really, really, close to actual cream cheese. I eat it on bagels, it's that close. The other thing is, I get some flack for using a boxed soup mix in this recipe. Here's my response. Bite Me. I would love to put together my own spice mixes, but reality gets in the way. I need food that is easy, fast, and healthy. This soup mix is tasty, and easy. Healthy? I think so, but it's the internet, and someone will disagree with me. Whatever. I like it. 

  • However many potatoes you need. We used 5. 
  • 1 tub of "TINATOCCTIATONDS" from Trader Joe's
  • 1 box of Mrs. Grass Homemade Vegetable Soup Mix
How to make it:

  • Wrap the potatoes in foil. I don't poke holes in mine, and they never explode. 
  • Throw those bad boys in the crock pot, on high, for 6 hours. 
I love watching a robot cook my food.

  • When the time is up, pull them and unwrap them. Be careful, they will be hot, hot, hot. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350.

  • Cut a small part of the skin on the top. Pull the skin off.
The picture does a better job showing what I mean than I do. 

  • Scoop all the potato flesh out of the skin. 
Like so. 

  • Take the flesh you just scooped, put in a bowl. 
  • Add the soup mix, and the "cream cheese", to the flesh (doesn't that sound gross?), and mix it all up. 
  • Then spoon the potato guts (is that better? not really...) back into the potato skins. 

  • Bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they are browned on top. 

  • Serve and enjoy! We ate them with oddly large broccoli, but all in all, it was a pretty tasty meal. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothies

Planty kid 2 is a very picky eater. She likes peanut butter and jelly, boxed macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and french fries. She does not like anything green, or red, and she especially hates beans. She also hates tortillas, and soup. All of this means she goes to bed hungry a lot, because we have the rule,
"eat it, or starve". It also means I worry about her nutrition, because lets face it, the above list is not super full of vitamins and minerals. All of this leads to a couple days ago, when she was being silly and said, "Mom, wouldn't it be crazy if we had peanut butter and jelly smoothies?!?". 

Challenge Accepted. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

  • 3 bananas (put them in the freezer overnight before smoothie time, it'll help make it frosty)
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1/2 block firm tofu
  • 1 bag frozen strawberries 
  • Almond Milk (or whatever kind of non-dairy milk you like, I really hate the taste of soymilk, so I pretty much stick to almond and coconut)

  • Cut the tofu into 2 equal parts. 
  • Dice the bananas, put them in your blender, along with the peanut butter, half the tofu and about a cup of almond milk, more or less depending on how you like your texture. 
  • Blend baby, blend. 
  • Pour the PB mixture into cups, filling them about halfway full. 
  • Rinse out your blender.
  • Next, toss the strawberries, second tofu half, and almond milk into the blender. 
  • Blend it again. 
  • Pour the Jelly smoothie on top of your peanut butter already in the cups. 
  • Give it to your picky eater, and watch her slurp all those nutrients without a whimper. 
Yummy yummy. 
I wish I had a shot of her drinking this, but it was pretty much gone by the time I got the camera turned toward her. 

Friday, October 21, 2011


I must be in a Mexican sort of mood these days, because it is all I want to eat. Yesterday, I had a bean and rice breakfast burrito, a burrito bowl from my favorite restaurant for lunch, and a tortilla casserole for dinner (don't worry, recipe coming soon, and it's good). I think I get it from my husband, he lived in Mexico for 2 years, and his love is seriously rubbing off on me. Of course, I think he regrets it when he has to deal with barking spiders in his bed at night. 

Empanadas are Latin American pastries that are either savory or sweet. They are usually stuffed with meat and cheese, and veggies, then deep fried. We ate a lot of them when we visited Mexico. This is probably why I gained about 5 lbs that week. But it was so worth it. So, this week, when I've been craving Mexican food like crazy, these were on the top of my list. But I had a couple requirements, 1) Not deep fried. It's one thing to gain 5 lbs on vacation, it's quite another to gain 5 lbs while at home. 2) No meat, and no cheese. And 3) fast and easy. I have 3 kids, I don't have time to make pastry dough by hand and all that business. And I'm kind of lazy. 

A quick word about cheese, and a confession. I used soy cheese in this. Don't. The only vegan cheese I've found (and I've tried a lot of them) that even comes close to dairy cheese is Daiya. The other stuff is not even worth your time, unless cheese isn't that important to you. Cheese is definitely that important to me. Which leads to my confession. Daiya is not readily available to me here in Ohio. And that makes me sad. But you know what makes me sadder? A life without cheese. So sometimes, I might post a recipe with cheese. Don't light your torches and grab your pitchforks, I just really like cheese. I guess I'm a vegan+cheese? Or a vegetarian-with-no-milk-and-eggs? I think I'll just stick with planty. 

Anyway, less words, more FOOD! 

Makes 4 pastries, but easy to double
  • 1 Pillsbury pie crust (only Pillsbury, generics are made with lard, Pillsbury is made with shortening)
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups prepared rice
  • 1 tbsp cumin 
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro
  • Daiya or other cheese of your choice
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, other taco-type toppings of your choice
Soy Cheese, blech.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. 
  • Cook the rice, rinse the beans and pour them into a bowl.
  • Add the cumin and the cilantro to the rice, mix it all up. 
  • Add the salsa to the beans, mix it all up.
  • Put the lime in the coconut and mix... wait.... wrong day. Sorry. 
  • Unroll the pie crust, and cut it in half.
Like so. 

  • Put some rice, and some beans on the bottom of one half. Top with cheese. But not soy cheese.

Like so. 

  • Fold the pie crust over, and crimp the edges. 
  • Repeat with the rest of the pie crust. You will end up with 4 pastries.  

  • Bake these for about 30 minutes, or until the crust in flaky and beginning to brown. 
  • Top with the taco toppings, and eat with a fork.
Man, just writing this makes me want to go back to Mexico... And as treat for you, a picture of a very pregnant Planty Mom in Mexico, drinking some coconut juice with plenty of lime. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Easiest Soup EVER

The is seriously, the easiest soup ever. This is the soup you make when you are sick. This is the soup you make when you know it's going to be a crazy day. This is the soup you make when you are feeling lazy. This soup is also amazingly good. Like, serve to your mother-in-law good. Not-so-planty Dad loves this soup. Serve it with some tortilla chips, a little tofu sour cream, and you'll be in love too. 

Tortilla Soup
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced chilies
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (I use green, but you could use red)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 c water
  • 2 c veggie broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 bag frozen corn

  • Chop the onion
  • Open the cans and pour everything into the crock-pot
  • Cook for 6 hours on high
  • Yep, that's it. 
  • I feel like there should be more bullet points. 
  • But there isn't. 
  • Darn. 
I like to eat mine while watching "House" and drinking a tall glass of almond milk. It makes me happy. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slurpy Chinese Noodles

Here in the planty house, we LOVE Chinese food. I mean, LOVE it. In fact, one of the hardest things for me to give up as a vegan was General Tso's chicken. It's like my crack. We have to drive by our favorite Chinese place on the way to my daughter's cheerleading practice twice a week, and it makes my mouth water every time. So I decided to try my hand and making a planty version of Chinese takeout. I still haven't gotten the General just right, but these noodles make me and my kids pretty happy. 

But beware General Tso, planty mom is gonna get 'cha... 

Slurpy Chinese Noodles

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 inches of peeled and chopped ginger
  • 2 bags frozen stir fry veggies (it's cheaper than fresh, and I'm lazy)
  • 1 package Tempeh (or you could use Seitan, but once again, I'm lazy and didn't feel like making any)
  • 1 package rice noodles (or you could use Udon, but I prefer rice because it doesn't get as gummy)
  • 1/2 c Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar (1 tbsp white vinegar would probably work too, you're just trying to cut the sweetness of the Hoisin sauce a bit)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (this is just to give it a little heat, if you don't have sesame oil, use some red pepper flakes for the same effect)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups of water
That's everything!

  • The first thing you want to do is cook the pasta. Cooking it in a separate pot works the best I've found. Is it authentic? No. But I've always had issues with my veggies scorching when I try to cook both in the same pot. 
  • You'll want to cook this in a big pot. I use my 5 quart dutch oven. 
  • Add the oil to the pot, let it get a little hot, then toss in the onions, tempeh, and ginger. Let the onions sweat and get soft. You're not trying to caramelize them, just let them get soft. 
Like so... 

  • After the onions are soft, toss in the frozen stir-fry mix. Or make your own by chopping up and dumping in whatever veg you have on hand that sounds vaguely Asian. I usually throw my veggies in frozen, as they thaw, they release some liquid that helps deglaze the pan a little. If you are using fresh, you'll want to add about a cup and half of water at this point. If your using frozen, add about a cup of water. 
  • While those are cooking mix your sauce in a separate bowl. Mix the Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil until well mixed. 
  • Now toss that sauce in with the veggies. It will smell really, really good. 
And will look something like this... 

  • Let that simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit and the flavors will intensify. Basically, it will get super yummy. 
  • Now, toss in those noodles you cooked earlier, and serve!  

This is really, really good. Most people think the secret to Chinese noodles is soy sauce, but I've found that Hoisin sauce gets you much closer than soy sauce. And honestly, large quanities of soy sauce are nasty. Have you ever tasted that stuff on it's own? Bleh. So, in other words, go easy on the soy sauce, hard on the hoisin, and you'll pass on paying $12 for takeout from now on.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Easy Peazy Crock Pot Curry

Here in Ohio, we've been hit with a mid-fall warm spell. It's been in the high 70's and low 80's for the past week. So, as you can imagine, the Planty family has been trying to soak up as much outside time as possible before hardcore fall sets in, and hats and jackets take the place of flip-flops. Hence, a longer than desired interval between recipes. Sorry. But not really, because playing outside has been super awesome. 

But one of my favorite things to do during the fall is make something in the Crock Pot. I love my Crock Pot. Dump a bunch of things in it in the morning, and if you've made the right choices, something delicious comes out in the evening. Honestly, it makes me feel like I'm living with the Jetsons. This is another Planty fave, and I usually serve it over quinoa (Keen-wah). Here's the great thing about quinoa, it's a complete protein! Yay! Do the complete protein dance! Here's the skinny on protein, and why a complete protein is such a big deal. Proteins are long chains of 9 amino acids. Meat is a complete protein, meaning that you get all 9 amino acids, in the correct quantities, just by eating one thing. Most plants are incomplete proteins, meaning you need to eat several different kinds in a day to create complete proteins in your body. BUT, there are several plants that are complete proteins, and one of them is quinoa! So quinoa is definitely a vegan must eat food. And it's wicked tasty. A nice, almost nutty flavor, with a soft, yet crunchy texture. So. Good. 

Easy Peazy Crock Pot Curry
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp curry
  • 1 tsp coriander (if you don't have this, just chop up some cilantro and add it)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I like petite diced, because no one in my family likes big chucks of tomato)
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 bag mixed veggies
  • 1/2 bad of frozen southern style hashbrowns (the cubed kind) OR 3 chopped potatoes
I used shredded potatoes because I need to get rid of them. They pretty much disappeared, that's why you shouldn't use them. Also, I decided at the last minute to change out the chili powder for cinnamon. So just pretend that's cinnamon.

  • Dump everything in the crock-pot, EXCEPT coconut milk.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8. 

  • About 30 minutes before serving, dump in the coconut milk. Stir it up, and let it warm up. 
  • Cook the quinoa. I use my rice cooker. It works great. I do 3/4 cup quinoa to every 1 cup water. I'm not sure how to cook quinoa any other way, but just follow the directions on the bag. 
  • Add a little salt to the curry, then serve over quinoa! 
Fast, simple, AND cooked by a robot? Yeah, this is my kinda food!