I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

If you don’t remember that late 90’s gem of a song Da Dip, I’m sorry. It’s kind of catchy!

FOOD

If you haven’t guessed it yet, today’s Vegan MoFo 2012 snack is one of my favorite dips! It’s easy, and who doesn’t love a good dip? It’s another reason to eat food with my hands instead of silverware, and that always makes me happy.

This simple dipping snack has only two ingredients, but has possible endless combinations depending on your fancy at the moment. Spicy? Done. Sweet? Why not! My favorite is this spicy one right here.

Crissie’s Spicy Snack Dip

Ingredients

*1 tub of vegan cream cheese

*1 1/2 cups of pepper jelly (or any other jelly, or pumpkin butter, apple butter, cranberry chutney…you get the idea).

Directions

*scoop the cream cheese out of the tub and put it into a microwave safe dish.

*nuke for about 30 seconds to soften

*mix in the jelly

two ingredient snack! Couldn’t be simpler!

Yep. That simple folks. D’s favorite way to eat this is with pretzels. I like that or some yummy flax crackers. You can eat it warm or not…depends on how much willpower you have after mixing it. I put it into small containers and pop it into my purse with some crackers, and snack whenever the urge hits.

DIP!!!

FITNESS

All I managed today was yoga. Yesterday I was overly jet-lagged and tired and whiny. I did a hell of a number on my right foot in Vegas by hiking all over in (really cute) heels. Didn’t notice it at the time, but tore the skin right off. Shoes suck (yay for warm weather and flip-flops).

I seriously need to travel with more comfortable shoes. Or band-aids. Or the ability to self-administer a skin graft….

I must deal though, since I have a workout scheduled tomorrow that I just can’t put off anymore without feeling like a slug. I need a good run, even if it hurts!

LIFE

I had a great night’s sleep yesterday and didn’t oversleep today (that’s progress, baby!). I actually woke up 15 minutes early when I heard Sammie walking around downstairs. I freaked – woke D up to check it out – who reported that the dog woke up when the coffee pot started (15 min before scheduled alarm going off), and was waiting for someone to feed her. Oops.

Also, I clearly haven’t finished unpacking yet. Just enough for Bumble to stake her claim for a place to sleep….and to ensure I don’t leave without her yet again.

Today was a conference day and all regularly scheduled meetings were canceled. Woo hoo!

Tonight will be a late one (R’s swim practice time has been pushed out a half hour due to moving to the indoor pool and scheduling lanes). That’s okay though. It’s still awesome to be home.

MoFo is BACK! And You’re Gonna Love It :)

FOOD

Okay party people, it’s October.  The best month of the year!  Why???  Well there are a lot of reasons (my birthday, Halloween, cooler temps)…but what I’m talking about here is the kick off of Vegan MoFo 2012!!!

This is my second year participating, and I’m totally excited.  If you’re a new reader….get your head out of the gutter.  Mo Fo stands for MOnth of FOod.  So buckle up and get ready for 30 days of MoFo food fun.

This year, I’ve decided to go with a theme.  All my MoFo related posts (at least 20 in the month of October) will be snacks!  Yes, you heard that right.  Because I love snacks and eating with my hands.  Nothing is more fun than portable food.

Your first snack of the month is an Indian-inspired potato pot pie.  You’re welcome.

Crissie’s Samosa Snack Pie

Ingredients

*2 pre-made

*4-5 sm-med russet potatoes, peeled and chunked

*1 tbsp veggie or canola oil

*1/2 yellow onion

*1 tsp fresh ginger root (ground, minced, etc – I put it pureed already in a jar)

*1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds

*1/2 tsp ground fenugreek seeds

*1 tsp turmeric

*1 tsp Baharat spice

*1 tsp Vadouvan spice

*1 tsp hot curry powder

*1/2 c silken lite tofu (the tofu is really optional, but I like the nutritional kick it gives.  If you skip the tofu, you’ll need to add a bit of soymilk, broth, or water for added moisture)

*1 cup peas

*1 tsp salt

Directions for Filling

*boil potatoes in water for about 20 minutes until soft.  Drain

*(using the same pot) heat the oil over medium.  Add onions and begin to stir fry

*add the mustard seeds and stir until the seeds start to pop.  Add the garlic, and continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until soft, translucent, and maybe starting to brown a little.

*add the fenugreek seed, turmeric, baharat spice, vadouvan spice, and hot curry powder.  Mix well, and stir fry for one more minute.

*remove from heat, add potatoes back to the pot, the salt, and the tofu.  Mash the hell out of it (I use a kitchen mixer)

*Stir in the peas.  Try not to eat all the filling at this point.

Directions for Pies

*you can certainly make your own pie crusts if that type of thing amuses you.  Me?  Not so much.  I buy in bulk at Sam’s Club, and they’re vegan and easy.  You can cheat on this and still feel good about yourself.

*open the crust and spread it out.  Cut into circles to either fit in a muffin or (my personal favorite) a Babycakes muffin maker.

*put the bottom into the muffin tin.  Scoop filling until level.  Add another circle of crust and seal the top.

*if using Babycakes like I did…plug it in for 8 minutes and you’re done.

*if cooking in a muffin tin, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 min, until golden brown.

You will use about half of the filling to make 8 pies.  I put the rest of the filling in the fridge to make wraps or really just eat with a spoon when the urge hits.

But seriously…splurge the $45 on the Babycakes because it’s the coolest, and I can just bet many of this month’s snacktastic recipes will be made in a Babycakes!

Do not be overwhelmed by the steps.  It looks like a lot, but it’s not.  You’re basically making mashed potatoes and sticking it in pie dough.

Also don’t be discouraged by the type of spices.  You can use whatever Indian-inspired spices you may have.  Everything I used is available online (or store front if you’re lucky enough to live in Milwaukee) at The Spice House.  Check it out and become a spice snob like me.

Babycakes mini-muffin maker. Makes more than desserts, as today’s recipe clearly shows. Get one…they’re fun and easy to clean.
cheater pie crusts
SPICES
Penzy’s has some of these too (but not all), and is a store more widely available across that US.
final mashed filling
pie crusts! Oh, and the babycakes maker comes with a little form thingy, so there’s really no effort here.
put one circle down, and fill it with potato fun….
add the top circle
all 8 ready to go in no time!
golden cakes in 8 minutes FLAT
SNACK TIME

LIFE

I’m seriously going to try to keep this short since the food section was so gloriously long.  And admit it…it made you just a little bit hungry, right?

We left Vegas yesterday.  The airport was shut down a bit for Pres Obama’s arrival, so we took off about an hour late.  Still made it to Baltimore in plenty of time to catch out connector.  So we thought….we had “tons” of time, stopped for some Mexican food and a beer, and was suddenly being paged overhead to hustle our you-know-what’s to the gate or miss our plane.  At least we ran off the guacamole.

Got home around 1130ish, and while I wanted to go to bed, in my head it was only 830 pm Vegas time, and I should be putting on make up and getting ready to go out with the girls!  Alas…I slept eventually and was highly grateful today was a work from home 1/2 day.

 

 

I Am NA-CHO Mama!!!

FOOD

I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  I yelled this just before dinner, and my eldest looked at me with a pained face to tell me that yes, I AM her mother….until she saw my pan of goodies for dinner.  Then she giggled.

It is, of course Taco Tuesday, and today’s version is nachos!

My MoFo inspired dish today came courtesy of Just the Food’s TVP Tacos.  I will admit to throwing in a few additions, however.  I couldn’t resist – not because the recipe wasn’t fabulous as is…but because my friend AC (who’s chillin in the Bahamas on a cruise this week) got me a Mexican Spice kit from Penzy’s up in Richmond for my birthday!  So…I put the TVP mixture in a skillet, added a ton of spices from this kit, half a can of refried beans, some taco sauce, and simmered until creamy – only 4-5 minutes or so.

I'm going to need my own spice room soon! I LOVE that!

Then it was layering time!

Cover a pizza pan with foil, put a single layer of tortilla chips, and top with some vegan shredded cheese (I use Daiya).  Broil for just a few minutes, or until the cheeze melts.  Take out of the over, and top with taco filling, black olives, this vegan queso, and pickled jalapenos!  Had I more time and not so hungry, I may have made some homemade guac and put that and some vegan sour cream on it.  Alas…I didn’t and I was, so I served as-is!

these got demolished!

So maybe not the epitome of a healthy meal, but it was still fun.  I love me some nachos!

 

LIFE

On a totally separate note…I know this month is supposed to be about MoFo, but I miss my regular blogging format.  So while I think I can manage one more week of focusing on the food…my world is so much more than that, and I miss writing about it all.

Today was an all day conference with 1500 other people I work with.  It was actually pretty cool, especially getting to see so many people I don’t get to on a regular basis.  Getting there, was a whole different story….

I totally didn’t sleep last night.  I over ate on the cauliflower mashers, and just couldn’t sleep.  I woke up this morning, made breakfast and lunches, got ready for work, and bolted out the door.  I was supposed to meet LE early at the conference to talk finance stuff, but I barely made it on time and he was late (we live in the same area and traffic was abnormally horrific).  Close to lunch, we had an impromptu meeting and got the things we needed to discuss done, thank goodness!

As usual, I packed my own lunch.  Anytime there’s a catered event, I worry I’ll starve.  I brought a BAS with some homemade salad dressing (okay, gotta brag on this one…it’s just olive oil, lemon juice, and a spice blend from the infamous Christmas spice kit from my Dad, and it totally rocked), my sunflower-based cheeze I made over the weekend, some Mary’s Gone Crackers, and a So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt.  And a banana.  And a pear.  Clearly…I’m not starving.

My plan was a 430 spin class.  I’m quite inspired after Sunday’s ride.  My butt isn’t even killing me, so I figured I was totally good to go!  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in time, and I’m frankly so exhausted, that I wasn’t overly upset by that.

My eldest is organizing and running her art school’s very first fashion show in December.  Not only does she have to organize the space, lighting, music, designers, program, etc…she’s also making pieces for it as well.  Along with that is finding models (usually fellow students) and styling (hair, makeup, accessories, etc).  It’s her junior year independent project, and is an art/fashion and business class all in one.  Today, I took her fabric shopping.  She has a very elaborate dress design, and has to get cracking on it.  All I can say…is whomever thought that making clothes was cheaper than buying them clearly never went fabric shopping just before Halloween when NOTHING is on sale.  Oh well, couture can’t always be cheap I guess 🙂

All things considered, it wasn’t a horrible Monday.

Crissie’s MoFo Tribute Week…Oh…and My Kid Had a PAID Gig!!!

Vegan MoFo Tribute Week!!!

This is the final week of Vegan MoFo, and in tribute, I’m dedicating at least one dish per day to other MoFoers.  I will make a recipe each day of a blogger that I have read this MoFo season!

I do have to say, it was ridiculously difficult to narrow it down to just a handful.  I have acquired hundreds of new recipes, and I can’t wait to make them all!  As I’ve been reading the over 600+ bloggers who’ve participated this year, my e-Cookbook has grown exponentially.  Personally…I would love to see the organizers of MoFo create a yearly cookbook, compiling the wonderful creations of my fellow vegan home cooks.  Maybe we could donate the proceeds to charity.

One of the foods I really loved (but certainly didn’t love my waist) was a good vat of mashed potatoes.  My mom made them with butter, milk, and a little mayo or sour cream, and they were heavenly.  I’ve made a few vegan batches over the years, but they were certainly far from healthy.  I have attempted a few cauliflower mashers too, but could never quite get that “mashed potato feel”.

Well…then I read a recipe last week that made me think it was possible to achieve that mashed potato decadence with a head of cauliflower, and into my e-cookbook it went.  When making my meal planning spreadsheet yesterday, this was first on my list.

So dinner tonight was grilled portabello mushrooms, baked sweet potatoes, and The Vegan Adventures of Meggie and Ben’s Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes“!  I began by steaming in my micro steamer a head of cauliflower for 15 minutes.  Then I put them in a bowl with 1/4 cup Earth Balance and 1/4 cup vegan sour cream.  I put the hand-held mixer to it and mashed.  I don’t have a regular food processor and the hand-held didn’t get that “whipped” texture….so I dumped it all into my Vitamix.  Magic!  They LOOKED just like mashed potatoes!  I put it back into the bowl and stirred in the seasoning, and tasted.  They TASTED just like mashed potatoes.  Even my daughter was drooling.  So make them…you won’t be sorry.

don't let the serving on the plate fool you. After dinner...I ate the rest of the mashers. From the bowl.

Part of my meal planning this week actually included my lunches too.  I don’t normally do that.  Typically, I plan for dinners only, knowing there will be plenty of leftovers for lunches.  This week though, I wanted to do all raw lunches, so I busted out my stack of raw books and got cracking.

First on the list was a sunflower based “cheeze” from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials.  I made it over the weekend, and packed it for a snack today with a big bowl of cut up veggies.  I can’t believe how good it was!

just a few simple ingredients into the Vitamix
awesome snack while on a conf call....

I also made a raw soup for lunch.  As it happened, my awesome snack filled me up, and my soup ended up being an afternoon snack.  This time, it was Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen’s Thailand Tom Kha Gai soup.

Overall I liked it very much, but it was a bit too oily and didn’t have enough salt.  Easy enough to fix next time.

raw soup with chunks of tomato, broccoli, and avocado. I let the soup toppings sit in the mason jar with the broth all day, making them nicely tender, but not mushy

Weekend Wrap Up

The coolest thing was probably my 16 yr old daughter having her first paid art gig.  I’ve mentioned before that she goes to a special school for the arts and is incredibly talented (though a pain at times!).  Anyway…she answered a flyer looking for face painters for a community day, and signed up.  I was proud of her for taking the initiative.  It turns out she was being hired by a congressman who was throwing a community appreciation day.  Oh…and A didn’t even realize she’d be paid until the day before!  She was also the only high-school artist, all the others were university students.  She had a great time…even had a parent ask for her contact info because she wants to hire A for her daughter’s next birthday party.  Woo hoo…first paycheck!!

My run Saturday morning felt great, and if I wasn’t on a time schedule, I would have probably gone twice as far.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to “have my body back” and work out without pain.  Today’s run was great too, though I ran into my friend AT during my warm up and spent nearly as much chatting as I did warming up!

Sunday it was off to my first spin class in MONTHS.  I’ve missed my bike, and wanted to do a group ride this weekend.  I was also afraid since it would be my first time since my injury in July.  I figured a stationary ride was a MUCH better idea.  I took the younger two with me, and we went to one of the YMCA’s that isn’t close to us (limited class availability on Sunday’s), and lured them with the promise to swim after.

I showed up, checked the kids into the Interactive Zone, and headed to the spin class…planning to sit in the back corner so I could slack off if I started to hurt.  Yeah.  Didn’t happen.  I was the ONLY student, and she kicked my tail.  The first 10 minutes were awful, but once I was warmed up, it was fabulous.  I can’t wait to hit up a class tomorrow after work!

Breakfast in Bed MoFo Style and a Kitchen Sink Stewp

It’s been a heck of a week….

Kid 3 started running a fever on Monday morning, and couldn’t go back to school until Thursday.  Kid 1 threw up and got sick Wednesday at school, and had to come home early.  Kid 2 started feeling sick Thursday morning, and has spent the past 2 days home.  So…not a ton of cooking going on, and definitely a quarantine type situation at our house!

Wednesday was my birthday, and my husband made me breakfast!  This is pretty remarkable since 1-he doesn’t cook, and 2-cooking vegan food scares the crap out of him.  Nonetheless, he made me not only breakfast, but a really good breakfast!  So technically…my husband participated indirectly in Vegan MoFo month!

He made me Cinnamon Apple French Toast, recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Times.  And coffee.  Of course.  And I ate in bed!

It was still a work day, and as far as that goes, it wasn’t awful.  I spent half of it working from home, and tag teamed with D so I could hit some important afternoon meetings in person.

We had plans to go out to dinner, but with Kid 3 coming home sick, we scrapped that.  My birthday dinner was Chinese take out.  Kinda sad, I know.

On a redeeming side though, D bought me 3 vegan cupcakes from the Carolina Cupcakery (remember how much vegan cooking scares him??  That’s NOTHING compared to his fear of vegan baking!).  One Chocolate, one Vanilla, and one Key Lime!  They were all very good (and 3 days later, I’m still eating them).  Key Lime was my fav.

Thursday’s at our house is what we call Fend for Yourself Thursday’s.  R has gymnastics at 7, which totally cuts into our ability to eat as a family.  It usually ends up that whomever takes R to gymnastics, takes her to eat after (subway, pizza, etc).  Everyone else figures out what they’re going to eat based on what leftovers are lying around.

I threw together another crock pot creation, I’m calling the Kitchen Sink Stewp.  There used to be a small restaurant in Milwaukee (Hales Corners actually) called Stewps that D and I would hit up at least once a month (I’ve heard they’ve closed down).  Every day they would offer a selection of 3-4 stewps…not soups, but not stews either…sort of a combo.  You’d order a pint or quart of the stewp you wanted, and then they added either rice, noodles, or spaetzel to the container before filling it up.  That, plus a hunk of the bread of your choice (Italian, Sourdough, or Whole Grain), and you’d have a rockin lunch or dinner.  This recipe is my homage to them.  And honestly…it was a way to continue cleaning out my cupboards, fridge, and freezer.

There are a LOT of options with this, and I suggest using your largest crock for it.  I used my 6 qt and it was almost bubbling over.

Crissie’s Kitchen Sink Stewp

Ingredients

*2 cans diced tomatoes, not drained

*6-7 cups of any combination of veggies you have (I used frozen peas, frozen corn, diced carrots, cubed sweet potatoes, and cubed butternut squash)

*1/2 cup uncooked grain, I used quinoa

*1/2 cup red or green lentils, I used red

*1 can beans, rinsed and drained.  I used chickpeas.

*1 chopped onion

*1/4 cup vegan worsteshire sauce (not sure it did anything to the taste…but I only have it for bloody mary’s and figured it was time to add it to something else!)

*4 tbsp tamari/soy sauce

*5 cups veggie broth

*1 1/2 tsp sea salt

*1 tbsp seasoning (I used the last of some Italian Seasonings I had)

Directions

*throw it all into the crock, and cook on low 6-8 hours.  You’ll end up with a creamy and thick stewp…and enough to freeze or can.

served with a piece of leftover french bread, with Earth Balance Coconut spread to dip in the stewp!

Random Birthday Pictures!

me opening my Penzy's Spices giftcard from my parents!

I finally got an ice cream maker! And as an attachment to my KitchenAid!!
my cupcakes!!!

Taco Tuesday With a Twist and a Funny Birthday Breakfast

I know you’re dying to know what the twist is.  The twist…is that it’s NOT a taco!  I mean…it could be, but today it wasn’t.  My husband actually had the nerve to complain that he was sick of Taco Tuesday’s…so today I made it Chimichanga Tuesday.  It works with the general idea, he’s thrilled, and I got to clean out my pantry.

Today’s taco filling creation was a much bigger success than I was anticipating…but it also made enough to feed a small country.  Like maybe Luxemburg or something.

Without further ado…here it is.

Crissie’s Sweet Potato Chimichanga of Awesomeness

*Ingredients:

4 peeled sweet potatoes, cubed

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 chopped onion

1 can refried beans (or be fancy, and make your own)

1 jar taco sauce (you could use tomato sauce in a pinch)

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups water

1 container (8 oz) vegan cream cheese

Tortillas

* Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and meanwhile boil the sweet potatoes until soft and drain.

Sautee the onions and garlic until soft.  Add the potatoes, spices, and water back to the pot and mash.  I use a hand-held mixer personally because I’m inherently lazy.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Place a big glob into the center of a tortilla and wrap into a burrito.  You can add some vegan cheese here if you’d like, though I didn’t.

Place on a baking sheet, brush or spray a little oil on them, and bake for 30 minutes.  Eat with vegan sour cream, hot sauce, lettuce, onion, tomato, or whatever else you love.

oven bound!

They freeze very well and heat up easily in the microwave.  I will warn you – this recipe makes a TON, and I ended up freezing half the stuffing to use later.  After making 10 chimi’s, I got incredibly bored and hot standing in my kitchen, so I cheated and froze the rest for a future date.

So to explain my funny birthday breakfast.  Not to worry – my birthday isn’t actually until tomorrow, but there was a wee bit of a celebration at work today.

Every Tuesday is a VP workgroup.  All of the heads of my main facility meet, and we talk about everything that’s going on.  Since it’s usually my first Tuesday meeting (we meet from 930-12), I always bring food and a bottle of water with me.

My standard favorite breakfast – especially on Tuesday’s  – is a green smoothie.  Whenever I bring anything to eat or drink to this meeting, I get pretty well interrogated (my smoothie was likened to a sick person’s suction at one point) about what “hippie” food I’m eating.  It’s all good-natured though, and I like to think I’m introducing my colleagues to good food.  Anyway…TJ brought in a birthday breakfast for me today.  He announced to the crowd that he tried to find all healthy and wholesome foods like I normally have, and brought in some whole grain bagels and juice.  He then proceeds to tell everyone that he looked high and low for my “green thing” or “liquid spinach”, but couldn’t find anything, so he grabbed the closest green beverage and brought me THIS!

I was almost dared to drink it, which was funny.  My son did though, after his chimi tonight 🙂

On a side note, I made a batch of homemade vanilla soymilk this morning.  I soaked the beans overnight, rubbed them in my hands to get the skins off this morning, and then popped them into my soy milk maker.  I followed this recipe, and it rocked.

So enjoy…and make every Tuesday a reason to eat tacos!