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Back And At It… Sort Of

6 Jan

After veganmofo, I stopped posting much.  I was a bit tired of trying to find things to write about.  I also stopped taking as many photos of my food.  Which is kind of sad because I’ve made some pretty yummy things. 

On the running side, lots (ish) has happened.  After my crappy November of mileage, I’ve been back up at 30+ miles per week.  I got new Mizuno Wave Rider 13s on sale in December to replace my Asic Gel Pulse shoes since I was having arch pain in my right foot.  I like the light weight of the Wave Riders but I think they may be just a touch tight… either way, they don’t sit quite perfectly on my feet *sigh*  Well, I paid for them so I’m going to run in them.  As long as I don’t lace them too tight, they seem to work.  They’re kind of temperamental… some days, they’re great.  Others they’re kind of meh. 

I also ran the KW Resolution Run 5k on January 1… 29:46, which is 4 seconds above my Mississauga 5k time, but this wasn’t chip timed and I have my doubts about the length of this route.  I admit that I didn’t run it full out at all (about 3/4 through the race I realized that I wasn’t even breathing heavily, which is a sign that I’m not racing very hard)… it just didn’t feel like a race, more like a group of people out to run 5k.  *shrugs*  I have most of my 2011 races planned out and they’ve been added to the race history page… along with my potentially unrealistic goals.  Ah well.

Back to food…

Dear Soup: I think you are my best friend, especially on cold winter days.  Maybe tied with stew and mugs of hot chocolate or green tea.

 Moroccan Red Lentil Soup: Taken from Alice in Paris add carrots, minus tomato paste, sub sweet potato for normal potatoes, sub 3 tomatoes for canned tomatoes, less sour cream and parsley.  Not bad but needed more spices… more salt.  And I never say that!

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veganmofo 18: Enchiladas

29 Nov

I have a confession: I’ve totally made these before so they’re not new. 

But I’ve run out of things to talk about.  i’ve been so busy with work (I’m working in a different town) that my lunch everyday has been veggies, crackers and hummus.  Yeah, fascinating.

I cheated and used canned enchilada sauce.  Sorry, lame, I know, but I’ve never worked with chiles before and decided that I would totally butcher it if I had to use them.  For that matter, I’m not sure I’d know how to buy them… hmph.

Other than that… the filling loosely follows the enchiladas recipe from veganomicon.  Except I used spinach instead of kale because I’ve never had kale before and I like spinach.  I love spinach.

Sorry, enchiladas don’t really make for appealing looking photos :S

veganmofo 17: What Do You Do With Leftover Bagels?

25 Nov

Remember those cinnamon raisin bagels I made last week?  While they weren’t bad, they weren’t great enough for me to want to sit around and eat piles of them.  And the recipe made a pretty good pile of bagels.  I guess I could have frozen them, but I didn’t think of that soon enough.  So what does one do with leftover bagels?

Make bagel chips, of course!

Slice thinly (thinly!), place on a baking sheet, spray or brush top with melted butter or olive oil or canola oil.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 (watch them so they don’t burn… timing depends on your oven and location).  Eat.

Great way to get rid of my leftover bagels.  Also the reason that I pretty much sat down and ate something like 3 bagels without even thinking about it.  Oops.

veganmofo 16: Peanut butter nut butter butter butter!

24 Nov

I made the gigantoid peanut butter oatmeal cookies from VWAV and they are totally amazing… best peanut butter cookies ever!  I love oatmeal so I think I prefer my peanut butter cookies with oatmeal rather than without.  I used the large flake oats cause they were all I had left and I worried a bit that they would be too hard in the cookies (they take 10-15 mins to cook normally compared to the 1-3 minutes of the instant or brisk cooking oatmeal I typically use in my cookies).  But because they’re larger, they are more obvious in the cookies and make the cookies kind of chewier so it makes it all better!  I like the added texture.  TEXTURE!

Oh yeah, a pic.

These are the littler ones I made.  I made six gigantoid ones (1/3 cup), six giant ones (1/4 cup) and five little ones with the leftover.  I wanted to stack one of each size in a tower and take a picture but sadly, I didn’t decide that until after I had brought the gigantoid cookies to band practice and we had eaten four and one of my friends “volunteered” to keep the other 2. 

So you just get a picture of the little ones.  “Little”.  The gigantoid ones were crazy big though!

I think I’ve talked about my spice rack but I haven’t managed to post a picture yet so:

You know what’s sad?  Within 3 days of putting it up I filled all of the containers up.  I might need another spice rack lol.  How sad am I?

I also wanted to share that I am now 35,000 words into my novel and nanowrimo!  I’m so happy!  I’m still about 3 days behind (Nano says my expected completion date is now Dec 3) but I’m catching up!  Funny how I’m getting more written now that I’m driving back and forth between London and Waterloo.  Must be the pressure.

veganmofo 15: Sabra Hummus

23 Nov

Hummus is one of those dishes that it took me awhile to start liking.  It seems like such a ubiquitously vegan food – I mean, there’s an entire chapter on hummus and its variations (I’m including white bean dips and spreads, etc) in ED&BV.  When I first tried it, I didn’t “get it”.  Why on earth would I want to dip my chip or cracker in a pool of mushy, cold paste?  Yeah.

A couple of years back, I finally tried hummus at a gathering and actually kind of liked it.  Then I discovered that if I nuked my hummus in the microwave for a couple of secs to bring it to room temperature or a bit above, I didn’t mind it.  Then I made my own hummus and fell in love. 

I’m kind of picky about hummus.  There are some brands I like and some brands of some flavours I like.  Oddly enough, my least favourite flavour of hummus is roasted red pepper.  I like normal hummus and I like roasted red peppers.  But the combination tastes absolutely terrible to me. 

Anyway, Sabra hummus is a brand I’ve heard tossed around on veggieboards and other forums and I’ve always wanted to try it.  I checked out the website and it looked epic!  It seems hard to find Sabra around here though.  I swore for a long time I’d seen it somewhere (they’re kind of distinctive) but lately, when I’ve looked for it, I can’t find any of it.  Anyway, the first time I tried Sabra classic hummus, it was in these snack packs.  Sobeys and metro sells them… about half a cup of classic hummus and half a cup to a cup of pretzel crisps.  They’re reasonably healthy, especially in these days of “these oil-laden chips are healthy because they’re baked and not friend!” or “sugar covered candy coated chocolate and caramel”. 

Anyway, I find the classic hummus good, but nothing to write home about.  I like the pc brand hummus too.  But if I want plain hummus, my favourite is my home made hummus.  It’s pretty simple.  Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  But somehow it tastes different.  I like my hummus marginally chunkier than pre-packaged tend to be and somehow even using canned chickpeas, my hummus still tastes better… imo, of course. 

Today I found the roasted pine nut hummus at metro… I’m working out of town and needed lunch.  It’s fabulous.  Amazing.  Smooth, creamy and a little bit sweet from the pine nuts.  Yum.  I think this is my new favourite hummus.  Pity it’s so darn expensive! 

Now I want to try the Hummus Abu-Goush (although I wonder if that will just be just like the roasted pine nuts one) and spinach and artichoke hummus (my favourite dip ever!).  I think that’s it though.  The rest look good but not great just from the descriptions.  Now I just need to find a store near here that sells them… I can’t go driving off to London everytime I want sabra hummus!  There’s a metro in cambridge… maybe I should try that.  Although it’s probably a good thing I haven’t found it near here.  I’d eat nothing but hummus if I did.

Anyone have a favourite brand of hummus?  Any varieties of Sabra hummus I must try?

veganmofo 14: Pad Thai!

23 Nov

I’ve always loved pad thai but I like it too spicy so it’s often hard for me to find pad thai that has the right level of sweet and tangy-ness when I eat out without it being too spicy.  It was also one of those recipes that just looked way too damn hard to make on my own.  It’s a taste combination that I don’t typically make at home.  But seeing as I’ve been trying soba and baking bread, I figured heck, why not.

My first attempt was this recipe from chef chloe’s blog.  As with her garlic sesame soba recipe, it’s pretty good but it’s not my favourite.  It was better the second day (tonight) but still not quite my favourite.  It is tangy and sweet as the recipe says, but it’s still missing something, in my opinion.  I think it is that the sauce is pretty light… it felt like it was missing depth.  I think this would be a great summer almost-noodle-salad recipe though.

My next attempt (with the other half of the noodles) was the Brooklyn Pad Thai from VWAV. 

This recipe was really, really good but I think it’s still missing something.  This time though, I think I know what it is.  I didn’t use peanut oil because I didn’t want to spend six bucks on a ginormous bottle of peanut oil that I wouldn’t use often when I didn’t know if the recipe would even turn out well, so I used olive oil.  I also didn’t use chopped peanuts.  I did add most of a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter which sort of helped, but then I got clumps of noodles with TONS of peanut butter and the rest of the noodles didn’t have quite enough.  In addition, I didn’t use tamarind concentrate (i couldn’t find any at either of the two grocery stores near me… i will keep an eye out for it in the future) and I think it would make a big difference.  Anyways, I wnat to try this recipe again with the peanut oil and the tamarind concentrate and I will review the actual recipe but last night… I thought that it was pretty damn good as it was.

I now have leftover soba, pad thai and enchiladas in my fridge.  And I can’t even eat any of it for lunch cause I’m out at a client’s where i don’t know if they even have a microwave and I’ve been bringing pb&j sandwiches and hummus (there is a fridge) so it’s pretty slow going with clearing out my fridge.  *sigh*  I only like leftovers when i can eat it for lunch the next days 😦

veganmofo 13: Soba!

19 Nov

I am in love with soba noodles.  They are the right thickness/chewiness.  Closer to the asian noodles I grew up eating than pasta.  And unlike my attempts to cook dried chinese noodles, they actually cook right and don’t end up impossible to eat.  They are also more nutritious than most typical pastas/other noodles.  From the first time I tried them (about 2 weeks ago), I was in love. 

Unfortunately, if you’ve been following this blog, you will have seen that my attempts at finding a sauce that I liked have been kind of meh.  Happily, I can now say that I think that I have found my sauce and it is courtesy of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan.  Which also happens to hold my favourite oatmeal-raisin cookie.  It’s funny.  Before veganmofo, I had only made one recipe from ED&BV and didn’t like the book much.  I have now found two of my favourite recipes from this book.  I’m rather motivated to try the other recipes now, especially as the Supercharge Me! cookies came out great too!  That’s also a go-to recipe for when I want a healthy-ish cookie. 

Sesame Lime Soba Noodles: From ED&BV.  I replaced the apple cider vinegar with mirin to make it more authentic as I suspect that the vinegar was really just a replacement for mirin.  I also used sugar rather than agave nectar, which I don’t own.  I thought maple syrup had too distinctive of a flavour to go well in the sauce.  I also added green peppers because really, snow peas aren’t enough vegetables in a dish.  At all.  I contemplated other too but I was hungry.  I found the sauce a bit too ginger/garlic-y but I used ground ginger in place of fresh (the one piece of ginger I still had had turned into a dry tree trunk).  I didn’t measure it just sort of dumped it in from my spice canister.  That’s probably why.  But it’s yummy!  I think the hoisin sauce is the key in this dish… it gives the dish just the right level of sweetness, although it’s probably not too accurate tastewise to japanese soba noodles :S

Deserving a honorable mention is the Galic Sesame Soba Noodles recipe from Chef Chloe.  I made these last week (see?  I have an obsession with soba noodles) and they were decent but not my favourite.

I guess one thing to keep in mind is that I grew up with oyster sauce and hoisin sauce when it comes to asian noodles so my tastebuds are probably kind of random or something… I like certain flavour combinations more than others.  I’m also partial to have a bit of sweetness in my dishes, even the savory ones, and it drives some of my friends crazy. 

I don’t love sweet things in general (my ability to eat chocolate is generally limited to one halloween-sized bar unless I’m really stressed or something) but a bit of sweetness in my food is awesome.  I’m not talking about a boatload of sugar or anything.  For example, I don’t like salads unless there’s fruit on top of it.  Oatmeal requires fruit on top of it.  I like the sweeter vegetables… summer peas, baby carrots and stuff like that.  I like the sweet sauces like hoisin and teriyaki. 

Am I the only person like that?  I’m not crazy, really!  I guess it means I like sweet things but I prefer naturally sweet things (simple sugars) rather than the processed kind.  Go me!  Once upon a time, I was addicted to chocolate and pop and processed sugar.  I’m glad that’s changed.