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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Is it Time to Cook AGAIN?

Hi y'all...time to catch up from a busy holiday weekend last week and an even busier week so far. I thought I was retired but I swear, the day goes by so fast it's kinda scary. Welcome to my world today....and how I try to stay on the path of plant-based eating and being healthy.

I have found that making substantial quantities of things we enjoy is an easy and efficient way to make sure we have a supply on hand for quick meals or those last minute “what am I going to fix now?”

This week has been of those where I spent the entire mornings in the kitchen making ‘stuffs’. Sunday was biscuit makin’ day and Monday was sausage makin’ day.

Waiting for the 'good stuffs'
Fresh nutmeg is hard to beat
 Here are the dry ingredients for the sausages. Grateful acknowledgement to The Gentle Chef's cookbook for this recipe. We made several different sausages from a basic recipe, changing the seasonings to make the sausage we want (Italian, Andouille, Breakfast and Bratwurst).

This is what the dough looks like when it's 'resting' for a bit. This is a gluten based (Vital Wheat Gluten) dough, so not for anyone who is gluten sensitive, for sure. At the end of today's post, you'll find a link to a site with LOTS of great gluten free recipes.  Once the dough has rested, it's shaped into multiple sausages (like these on the right and are a representation of the Brats, Italian or Andouille) or a large sausage loaf (this would be the breakfast sausage for sausage patties that you can just slice right off and pop in the skillet. The smaller sausages are steamed whereas the large sausage loaf is baked. 


Bag O'Biscuits
We are committed breakfast eaters and believe strongly in the benefits of getting your day started off with some good food. We also prefer a hot breakfast to, say a smoothie, but that’s just not us. Since Big Solid is not a total vegan, he usually wants an egg white omelet (veggie cheese) or just scrambled egg whites with some veggie cheese mixed in. He also gets two vegan biscuits; I make up a whole ‘passel’ of those suckers and freeze them.  So, all I have to do in the morning in pull a couple from the freezer. By the time the oven is hot
Big Solid's Breakfast
enough, they have thawed and ready to bake.  He also gets two slices of vegan breakfast sausage (compliments of The Gentle Chef cookbook) and one serving of egg whites.

Avocado and tomato 'sammich'
 I have an entirely different breakfast—a breakfast sandwich of two slices of whole wheat bread, a quarter of a ripe (but not TOO ripe) avocado and a couple of slices of fresh tomato. Truth be told, there are many occasions when I go all out and eat a WHOLE HALF of the avocado. I love them. This routine gets boring sometimes and we may enjoy a tofu scramble but our basic breakfast stands.  We are entirely predictable! We do like cereal and fruit but have a tendency to eat that as a snack with almond milk.


Lunch time is sandwich or Boca Burger time.  We keep a chickpea ‘chik’n’ salad handy as well. But our MOST FAVORITE lunch is almost always a soup of some kind. This week, I made up a recipe for a very spicy cabbage soup that is high on flavor (and heat) and low on calories and fat.  It made 12 cups so we have been able to enjoy either a half cup with a sandwich or a whole cup with some beluga lentils thrown in. I call it “Kiki’s KickAss Kabbage Soup”. Before I publish the recipe for y’all to try, I want to make sure I can replicate it without too much deviance from the original. I’m bad about just throwing things in (spice-wise) and not writing down amounts.  Other soup favorites of ours are from Vegetarian Times--Fennel and Tomato soup with Seitan Italian sausage and Spicy Three Bean Chili. We DO like out spiciness. We'll have a soup day post one of these days with recipes and pitchers too!


Roasted Jerk Garbanzos
As much as I love to cook and play in the kitchen, I really don’t like to HAVE to cook. So, as the afternoon wears on (and I haven’t yet come up with anything remotely interesting to prepare),  pressure to CREATE something wonderful mounts. Big Solid has told me time and time again, “it doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal”. Herein lies a bit of a problem…I LOVE brown rice and beans/lentils. Big Solid does not like rice. I LOVE a good casserole or lasagna. Big Solid does not like lasagna or one-dish meals. I would LOVE to fix a risotto…Big Solid does not like risotto. THAT being said, the man is a SAINT for eating just about whatever I put on the table and has embraced the plant-based lifestyle for ‘hisownself’. His “AHA moment” came with reading The China Study and then was solidified by hearing Dr. Neal Barnard’s lecture her last year (Jackson MS) as well. He did TRY the vegan regimen for a pretty good while but decided it was just not the way he wanted to live and eat. When we eat at home, we eat vegan (except for his egg white breakfast). But when we go out, he partakes of chicken or seafood.
Roasted Broccoli and B. Sprouts

So our suppers usually consist of portabella fajitas, the ‘fauxsages’ I talked about earlier in today’s blog and some roasted veggies, jerk tofu or LAST NIGHT’S effort which was so good I could hardly stand it.  We had a curried Seitan with chickpeas and roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The Curried Seitan was ‘store-bought’ from Whole Foods (Sweet Earth Curried Recipe Seitan). Now, I want to try to make it instead of having to buy it.
Curried Seitan--SO GOOD!

And now, lookee here!! I got my FIRST ever box/bags of bounty from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in which I bought a share for the summer. It’s from Amorphous Gardens owned and run by Jonathan and Sevanna Picarsic. It’s located outside of Canton MS and from the looks of these treasures, it’s going to be a fun summer. This is a partial picture as I couldn’t fit everything in…but you can see zucchini, elephant garlic, squashes (different kinds), baby leeks, baby carrots, new potatoes, baby onions and FRESH BLACKBERRIES!!
Amorphous Gardens' booth/table can be found at the Jackson Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and the Madison Farmers’ on Tuesday afternoons.  If you are not local, this whole CSA thing is quite fun so look one up in your area (if you haven’t already). Can’t wait now for next week’s offerings.


The Swearengen Salute this week is an amazing site/person that has been such an influence on what I cook and recipes to try. The site is The “V” Word and it is powered by Rhea Parsons. Rhea, whom I’ve never met personally, is like a tried and true friend. She is tireless in her promotion of the vegan lifestyle, committed to animal welfare and cooks like a son-of-a-gun. She has recipes galore and works hard to develop some delicious gluten-free meals as well. Rhea is very accessible and never fails to respond to a question or a comment. The “V” Word has a FaceBook page as well, so add that to your list of ‘likes’.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Janne. I'm honored and humbled. You rock too!