Tag Archives: miso

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Yesterday was VERY busy. Last week I threw out some chopped lettuce, some outer leaves of romaine, AND a whole head of lettuce! It was awful. The problem was that it frozen in my fridge. My produce drawers are so packed from my CSA I couldn’t fit the lettuce in it. Which is a big bummer because lettuce season is over for my CSA, we might get a head or two later in the summer. Feeling a little bad, and I thought I should try and get on top of my product and start cooking.

I didn’t scratch the surface of what I got from my CSA (1/2 bag of shelling peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas combined, a big bag of kale, beets and beet greens, carrots with greens, garlic scapes, summer squash, slicing and pickling cucumber) So here is a quick break down of what I made yesterday:

Image Credit from Kittee's Blog Cake Maker with her review of Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero

Image Credit from Kittee’s Blog Cake Maker with her review of Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romero

EDAMAME & PEA AVOCADO TOAST
I know I didn’t get any avocados or edamame from my CSA, but I did get a bunch of shelling peas. Which is a shame, because I still have some in my freezer from last year o____o How did that happen? I remember taking forever to go through a huge economy sized bag of peas from Wegman’s before touching the hand shelled peas. Oops. So I decided to go all out, double the recipe and use all the peas I got from my CSA (I assume I won’t be getting any next week). I skipped the pumpkin seeds and onion since I didn’t have any but holy moly was this good! I ate it on some Ezekiel Sprouted Bread with thin avocado slices. Perfect. The pumpkin seeds and onion would add even more amazing texture as well. I might have to freeze some of the spread to make it last, but I might be making some yummy sandwiches for lunch with this stuff. Aside from hand shelling, the recipe doesn’t take long at all. If you are using fresh peas, I suggest boiling them right away with the edamame to make sure they are fully cooked.

CARROT TOP PESTO
I got a bunch of carrots with their tops in tact. I never know what to do with them, so I decided to make some pesto to make a savory bread. There is extra, naturally. I modified the recipe from Wholly Goodness, which means I used some sweet basil and garlic scapes in the recipe. In the past I made the mistake of chucking all the greens in the food processor AND THAT IS A BAD IDEA! Take the time to pull off the delicate whispy leaves from the tough stalks. Well worth time.

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SAVORY ZUCCHINI PESTO QUICK BREAD
So I made that pesto JUST for a half baked idea for zucchini bread. I am VERY sick of sweet things… well for the most part. Now that I am not drinking beer and much coffee most drinks other than water are sweet. And to make things worse, most shelf stable snacks are sweet as well. Ugh! So I grabbed a zucchini from last week shredded it and modified this recipe. It turned out really nice, except it probably could of baked just a little longer. Oops. I upped the pesto to a quarter of a cup, and I had some vegan yogurt in the fridge. I might want to see if I can make a super vegan version that uses something other than vegan yogurt. So you might see a recipe on the blog in the future!

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SAVORY MISO TAHINI OAT BALLS
Probably mid-stream in my sugar rant to my husband, I had a very duh moment. I apparently pinned these savory oat balls on my pinterest board awhile ago. It was a big face palm moment. They are quick to make, and doesn’t use a particularly large amount of any ingredient. And I have to say Laci NAILED it. They are super salty, full of umami flavors, and have a hint of sweet that isn’t overwhelming. I think I might try flattening them out to make a bar next time, as the balls tend to be crumbly. Oh and don’t think I am a complete sugar hater. I’ve been eating plenty of ice cream, nice cream, and I have a box of strawberry shortcake cookies at my work.

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HOMEMADE STOCK & BEET CARROT GINGER SOUP
Let’s talk OLD SCHOOL! Dinner was a recipe from The Vegetarian Planet, published in 1997. This was a book that my Mother had, who always had a thing for eating no meat meals, which didn’t go completely unnoticed by her daughters. My older sister Lindsay was vegetarian for a few years (but gave up when living in rural France), and I tried going total vegetarian a few times as kid. Anyways, this soup is very easy to make, just a pound of beets, a pound of carrots, onion, and lots of stock. I had to use up the veggie scraps I’d been saving in my freezer, so made a batch of stock. Well, it was a group effort as my husband filled the pot with water and brought it to a boil while I was grocery shopping. I strained the veggies out later. I strongly recommend making this soup, and just use some vegan sour cream or yogurt.

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Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug? Try Exercise

Why am I not surprised I liked this article? Oh because I later discovered that it was written by Aaron E. Carroll. I seem to pretty much like everything he writes. I think most readers aren’t too surprised by this- exercise is good. He peppers through many studies that show how much it helps us. What I like is that he doesn’t always advocate intensive exercise, which can be good. But sometimes just walking for 30 minutes, is PLENTY. I can’t stress that enough when so many people bum it on the couch all day and say how they aren’t “the exercise type.”

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You’ll Never Guess What this Rum is Made From!

Okay I hate this clickbait title, but I like this idea. Rum is made from Sugar cane right? Well why not sugar from beets? Well, that is what this distillery is doing! I am excited because this makes for a greener rum since it is made in the USA. Plus, there seems to be a big push for “100% sugar cane” on labels, which makes sugar beets less desirable. Plus I am unsure if rum is ever fully vegan since sugar from sugar cane uses non-vegan filters. Let’s cross our fingers that this company has a 100% vegan process!


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Last Monday I was able to hang out with Alexa and try out two new restaurants. It was amazing. But one thing we talked about was our diets, cuz that is what vegans and weight lifters do. Alexa mentioned how she is eating a high protein diet, trying to get about 113 grams of protein and 150 grams of carbs. It made me think about my diet, as I have started to shift towards a very carb-veggie heavy diet. I hit my protein requirements, but I like trying out new recipes. One thing I learned in art school is that sometime making rules for your art can actually help you creatively. So you might see more protein heavy recipes on the blog. 

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This recipe was already slated to be posted on here, but it fits Alexa’s dietary requirements. High protein and low fat. I used tofu originally in the recipe, but you can sauté some seitan and stir it with the noodles, mushrooms, and bean sprouts at the end. So how much protein? Well I actually shocked myself a little once I crunched the numbers- 52 grams of protein, 63 grams carbs, and 10 grams fat!  That means 44% of the dish protein, 30% is fat, and 26% are carbs. The numbers will shift a little depending on the tofu brand you use or if you use seitan instead of tofu. The dish is pretty hearty, and is 550 calories, which might be a little too big for one person to eat in one sitting, as I can imagine with Alexa (I am usually the one cleaning a plate while she tends to just save it for later)

So where is the protein coming from? Well it is comes partly from the Explore Asian bean noodles. These noodles have particular texture so you might not want to just sub them for normal pasta. But they work well with lots of asian style dishes where they use noodles that aren’t made with wheat. That is why I think they work so well with this hot pot. A quarter of a package has a total of 25 grams of protein, making it the highest protein noodles out there…. well the same protein content as Banza chickpea noodles. I used the adzuki bean noodles, since I like the taste of red beans. The prices I am finding online are around $5 a pack, but I was able to get them at Wegman’s for $3.50, making each serving around 88¢, about 50¢ for the tofu, and $1 for the mushrooms (less if you sub for carrots or a cheaper mushroom). I am not really sure how much the rest would cost as I made the kimchi and broth at home. The other ingredients might cost a bit at first, but the last for a long time.

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So let’s talk about the soup outside of nutritional content. Let’s talk about the cultural context. So many people know that kimchi is a korean pickled cabbage. There is also a popular korean stew called kimchi jjigae. Kimchi jjigae has become so iconic and has become a popular dish in Japan- translating into kimchi nabe. The differences are subtle, but my vegan version is a little bit more like the Japanese version… with protein noodles. If you are interested about the differences, Just One Cookbook does a good job explaining all the differences.

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I’ve mentioned how I love my individual sized hot pots, or donabe have been a life saver. I admit, they are kind-of pricey. You can use other types of pots, and you can find similar things in Asian food markets for a discounted price. Take a look around. But since the dish is designed to be eaten by one person, the recipe is small. So if you are using a normal pot for everyone, adjust accordingly. It is easy enough to double or triple the recipe for however many people will be eating with you.

If you do buy a donabe for this recipe, I found a blog post about seasoning your pot! Most pots don’t come with manuals, so I had no idea this was something that needed to be done a day in advance. It will make your pots last longer and doesn’t take much effort to do.

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This was kind-of a weird prompt since I pretty much eat “seasonal” all year long. Why? Well my CSA gives out a LOT of food. Unlike most CSAs that just give you a basket full of food, my CSA is only one farm, that we go to each week. There they have some pre-picked foods and some we need to pick ourselves. There is a big board that says how much we are allowed to take. Some of it is a “pick and choose whatever fills this bag” sort of deal, others are you can pick one of various foods (for example I could of taken two heads of lettuce this week, two bundles of chard, or one of each), and some is take x amount of food. There are also other foods we can buy from other local producers, like pickles, coffee, meats, veggie burgers, and cheeses. Sometimes with the food we are allowed to pick we can take as much as we can if the produce is super abundant. And sometimes they sell some of the extra produce.

We get so much shelf stable food at the end of the year that we usually still cook with it in November and December. So I guess I stop eating seasonally from January to May when I don’t have any incoming produce. I could sign up for their winter produce sales, which I think they just store some of the fall crops but I usually just want to relax and skip it. For todays prompt I tried my best to use 100% all food I got from CSA. I used some other foods, but hey, it probably would be impossible otherwise, right? I mean outside of something like a salad.

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So this dinner is a nice mix of crops that are on their last legs, and crops that are just coming in. I started by making a freaking harissa paste with a bunch of red jalepenos. I used the recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World cookbook, but you can get the recipe off of her blog. Pretty much you just roast some peppers, peel them, and puree them with some spices, tomato paste, lemon juice, and garlic. So the tomato paste, lemon juice, and garlic aren’t seasonal. No biggie right?

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Then I proceeded to mix the harissa with some miso and olive oil and toss it in some acorn squash. It seemed a little early this year, but they were so cute and small. I grabbed three. I roasted them along with some peppers and onions (both were from this week at the farm!). I placed them on a flour taco wrap with some lettuce and cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes are pretty much on their last leg at the farm, which is nice and frustrating because they keep popping open! Ack! The lettuce isn’t something that is normally grown in the fall, but you can trick plants into growing.

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And I think that is what we all need to remember when buying local and seasonally. Sometimes you can trick crops and still get great results. I remember first learning about this when I was reading about growing peas. Sites suggested that you can grow them again in the fall by planting seeds and constantly spraying the seeds with cold water in try and “trick” the seeds that it is early spring. There are also foods that we don’t think about getting “fresh” like onions, garlic, and roots. And it is true, they don’t NEED to be fresh exactly. But my CSA divides these up through out the year. For example we get spring beets then again in the fall. We get a few heads of garlic when the pick them from the ground, then we get them again in the fall once they are done curing. Oh and the garlic scapes too!

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This dish was insanely easy and I was really excited how tasty it was! I will happily make this again (next week even if I get more peppers!) You can easily wrap it up in a burrito with some brown rice too! 

So to sum it up, these are what I used that AREN’T seasonal produce

  • flour tortilla wraps (you could probably make raw corn tortillas though!)
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsbp olive oil + some more
  • salt & chili powder
  • lemon juice + garlic + spices for the harissa

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asksnanswers

Alexa is working toward a vegetarian diet, and is loaded with questions. Jennifer’s got answers. We talk about anything as long as it is vegan. Are tattoos vegan? How do I politely not eat Thanksgiving dinner? How do I order without pissing off the waitress? We know you are dying to ask!

asksalexaI was recommended to eat Greek Yogurt to help with some harsh side effects of my medication, but dairy makes my tummy hurt. What are vegan options with probiotics?

Well, a fast an easy answer would be to eat vegan yogurts, but I think you deserve more options. I will go and breakdown all your options, but most might involve some personal kitchen time. You see, all those yummy probiotics in yogurt are just are a bi-product from fermentation. So I will list a few types of vegan ferments that are fairly easy to do at home. 

Quick notes- if this little post really interests you I would recommend picking up The Art of Fermentation. The book is pretty much a dictionary of fermentation styles, and will go into details about practices in certain regions. For example the chapter on pickles goes into details of different type of pickling in India, Japan, mushrooms, fish, etc. The book lacks lots of specific recipes, but gives you guides, giving you lots of wiggle room with the dishes.

There is also some basics with all type of home-ferments. Some guides seem scary and long, but most just reiterate some basics. Wash hands during preparations, wash and clean everything thoroughly, make sure all soap and sanitizers are rinsed off, and all cultures are living things. Think of them like plants, you need to take care of them, and you oddly start to like them, at take photos of them when they do cool stuff.

There are also more vegan ferments, but I didn’t list them because you need to apply heat to eat them. Some example would be sour dough, tempeh, fermented grains, etc. By adding heat, the probiotics really won’t do much for you.

Vegan Yogurts

The quickest response to a vegan yogurt option is a soy yogurt. These are now pretty widely available at supermarkets, though the price tags are still pretty high. They usually have live active cultures, but tend to have lots of added sugars. You can make your own homemade vegan yogurts, but it can be tricky. You need to keep a consistent 110 temperature, which is why some people buy yogurt machines. You will also need to buy a yogurt culture, which I am never thrilled about. Modern yogurts have mediocre yogurt cultures, and will only live so many generations before having to buy more cultures. Belle+Bella have a non-dairy yogurt starter, if anyone is interested in making yogurt at home.

Don’t want to make your own yogurt? Most stores have big containers of yogurt in plain or vanilla. I recommend grabbing one of those and mixing in granola and fruit for flavor. Want greek yogurt? Take regular store bought or homemade yogurt and strain through a cheese cloth to separate more of the water from the yogurt. Voila! Your done!

Step-by-step Instructions: Waking Up Vegan

Vegan Kefir

You might of heard about this yogurt alternative- kefir. I haven’t seen any dairy-free kefirs in stores, though there are some commercial coconut milk kefirs. So you will have to make some for yourself at home. The plus is that vegan yogurts have a hard time thickening due to low protein levels (and homemade yogurts are thinner than what we are use to, thickeners added to both vegan and dairy commercial yogurt). So consistency will be more similar to the original product.

Unlike yogurt kefir is a lot less fussy. You don’t need to monitor the temperature, and naturally has a thinner disposition. The downside is that kefir grains (the culture) really enjoy cows milk, not vegan milks, so they need to replaced after awhile.

Step-by-step Instructions: Chickpeas and Change
Note: She includes how to make nut milk, you can skip these steps if you use store bought milk.

Water Kefir

Unlike making vegan kefir, water kefir is a lot more stable. Get kefir grains once and they can last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Water kefir is made from sugar, dried and fresh fruits. Most people describe it as a probiotic soda, and there lots of wiggle room for flavor since you can switch the fresh fruit around.

This seems like a pretty low maintenance sort of culture, and would recommend to anyone who wants fresh probiotics with little work. There are two steps to the brewing process, and with some planning you can get two brews rotating (as shown in the tutorial below)

Step-by-step Instructions: Bonzai Aphrodite
To Buy Cultures: Amazon

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I remember the first time I had green bean casserole. I didn’t have it until I was in my 20s, it was never a Thanksgiving staple in my family. My brother in law grew up eating it and requested it for the dinner spread. My sister read the can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, frustrated by the simplicity. Really just a can? What are “french onions”? We all gathered around the table and tasted the dish. My sisters and I all agreed it was a mistake and voted off the dish from future dinners.

I didn’t listen. I couldn’t shake off has a very classic dish could be so bad. This prompted me to make a 100% from scratch version of the dish, and made it vegan. Each year I kept tweaking the recipe, and trying out new methods. This year, as I made a pre-Thanksgiving testers batch, I found the perfect match.

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I debated posting this dish since the photos didn’t turn out so great. I thought I could wait till after Thanksgiving and post it with better photos. I mean, this is a dish you could make for Christmas, right? But then after discussing Thanksgiving dinner with my Mother-in-Law, it seemed that she had plans for her own green bean dish. Posting the dish was a now or never deal.

This is a great dish if you are the guest invited to Thanksgiving. It isn’t hard to make, but it does take some time and planning. First you have to roast the onions, then you have to cook the green beans, then you need to make the sauce, then combine into the casserole dish. So it is great to make, getting all the messy work out of the way of the host. Even better is that it is a vegan dish that doesn’t seem “healthy.”

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The plan is simple. Bread and bake onion rings in the oven. Cook the green beans by boiling them for 5 minutes, or use frozen beans (fresh will give the best results). On a stove top make a mushroom-miso like gravy. Cover the green beans with the “gravy” and top with onions. Heat again in the oven. Simple enough.

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I love detoxes. I mentioned in the last post I was doing a smoothie detox. For three to four days all I eat are smoothies and soups. Usually they are all raw, but they are hardly skimpy. They are packed with lots of nuts and fats to keep me full and going. I like a smoothie cleanse over a juice cleanse since you are getting a larger range of foods. Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life did one for 7 days, which is longer than I have ever done.

I usually do a detox after big family get togethers and holidays since I usually eat foods I wouldn’t normally eat. It is nice “reboot” for some eating habits. If I am suddenly craving beer and cake every single day, I will usually go on a detox. I find that it makes me want to eat healthier foods. I am still going to want to drink beer and eat baked goods, but I know I shouldn’t be eating them everyday.

Of coarse I don’t like the connection people make with loosing weight with detoxing. Yeah, most of the time you loose weight, but it isn’t permanent. A lot of water weight is loss and quickly gained back when transitioning back to a normal diet. Which is why I like how Emily refers to it as a “Liquid Feast,” since you are feeding your body.
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