Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ten Things That Made Me Smile

1. The sweatshirt I got for Christmas (see photo).
2. Finally finding bulk baking yeast at River City Natural Food Market in Kirkwood so I don't have to use those silly little paper packets of yeast any more.
3. Sipping a soy latte at Foundation Grounds, the new eco-friendly coffee shop in Maplewood, Missouri.
4. Walking at Route 66 State Park. This area was once the town of Times Beach, Missouri, which, in the 1980s, became uninhabitable due to dioxin contamination. Residents were displaced, incinerators were brought in, and all the soil was dug up and burned to remove the toxin. Now, 25 years later, the earth is recovering from the disaster. The area is now a park with trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Lots of smiles on people's faces on Saturday--everyone was so happy to be outdoors!
5. The unseasonably warm, spring-like weather St. Louis enjoyed this weekend.
6. Making my own soy milk.
7. Trying out the new kinds of beans my husband brought home from Global Foods--pigeon peas (gandules), cow peas, and Roman beans (also called cranberry beans). They were delicious in 5-bean dal made from a FatFree Vegan recipe--sorry, no photos (we ate it up too fast)!
8. Going to a Saturday night movie on impulse (Last Chance Harvey, with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson).
9. Finding out that my son is a National Merit Scholarship finalist!
10. Settlers of Catan (to be discussed in a future post).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Dips

For Super Bowl Sunday, I made two great dips to serve with pita bread and chips. Both were from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, The Accidental Vegan by Devra Gartenstein.

I just discovered Devra's blog, The Quirky Gourmet, and was thrilled to find out there is a new edition of The Accidental Vegan--with additional recipes!

We had Babaganoush, which is so good my daughter and I could live on it--and Anasazi Bean Dip. Here are the recipes as written; I'll explain any modifications I made at the end of each recipe.


2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup tahini
1 T fresh parsley
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
1 t sea salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Poke the eggplants all over with a fork or knife, then roast them on a baking pan until they're wrinkled and soft, about one hour.
When they're cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp and puree it in a food processor or blender with the other ingredients.

I left out the olive oil to make this lower in fat; since we're used to eating foods without added oils, the oil in the tahini gives it plenty of richness.

Anasazi Bean Dip

2 cups Anasazi beans
water to cover
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can diced green chilies
1 t sea salt
1 tomato, chopped or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
2 T red wine vinegar

Soak the beans for a few hours or overnight.
Change the water and cook them in a medium saucepan with all the ingredients except the vinegar for about an hour and a half, until the beans are soft enough to break down when you stir them. Add more water if necessary.
Add the vinegar and serve.

I used canned pintos. I've never seen anasazi beans in any store around here--but they could probably be ordered. They sound interesting! I also left out the tomatoes because my husband is not a huge tomato fan. When cooking the beans and other ingredients, I added about 1 cup of water and let it simmer for about 1/2 hour, since the beans were already cooked. If anyone has tried anasazi beans, or knows where to get them, please let me know!

Broccoli and Cheez Soup--Seriously Good!

I first saw the recipe for this soup a couple of weeks ago on this thread at the the McDougall Forums. People there were raving about how good it was, and I decided I had to try it soon. It originated over at FatFree Vegan as Shelly's Cheez Please Soup--here's a link to the original recipe.

The version posted by Kai on the McDougall forum, is simpler--fewer ingredients--and it is incredibly good.

Yesterday, when the new McDougall newsletter came out, guess what was in the recipe section? Yep, a variation on this soup. Below, you'll find the recipe as it appeared in the newsletter, complete with Mary's comment. If you'd like to subscribe to Dr. McDougall's newsletter, there's a link on his home page.

When I made this for lunch today, I used lots of shortcuts: frozen potato shreds, Imagine No-Chicken broth, frozen broccoli, and my favorite 365 Brand canned cannellini beans. It couldn't have been easier. I blended it with my awesome new Cuisinart Hand Blender (my old Oster immersion blender recently bit the dust).

Potato and Broccoli Soup

This recipe came from the McDougall Discussion Board a while ago and it is so good and easy that I wanted to share it with all of you.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2-3

2 cups frozen hash brown potato chunks
3 cups vegetable broth or water
1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups small broccoli florets

Place the potatoes and broth in a large pot. Cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender. Place in a blender jar with all the remaining ingredients except the broccoli. Blend until smooth. Return to pan, add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Hints: Fresh potatoes that have been peeled and cut into chunks may also be used, but since I usually have the frozen chunks in my freezer, I saved time by using those. Frozen broccoli florets may also be used in place of the fresh broccoli.