May 19, 2013

Watermelon-Berry Summer Sipper

It's not even June yet, and we're already climbing up into the 90s here in the Lone Star State. We've gotten out the blow-up pool, strung up the hammock, and started hoarding ice cubes in preparation for another long, hot Texas summer.

Here in Texas, we like to say...

"It's hotter than a billy goat in a pepper patch!"
"It's so hot the hens are layin' hard-boiled eggs!"
"It's so hot I used my seatbelt buckle as a brandin' iron!"
"It's hotter than a preacher's knee!"
"It's hotter than whoopie in woolens!"
"It's hotter than a burnin' stump!"

This explains why I'm inside my nice, cool house sippin' on my Watermelon-Strawberry Summer Sipper while the husband and kid splash in the pool. Don't judge me - I took some Sippers out to them too. But I'm stayin' right where I'm at, watching the flowers grow through my window panes, while the ceiling fan laps my bangs. Ahhhhhhhhh, summer in Texas...

Flesh of half a baby, seedless watermelon (volleyball-sized)
Half a peeled cucumber
8 to 10 large strawberries
8 to 12 large fresh mint leaves (you should grow this - it's so easy!)
Between 0 (if you're good) and 3 (if you have a kid) Tbsp sugar
About 8 to 10 ice cubes

  • Put all of the fresh stuff into your blender, then just top it off with as many ice cubes as you can fit.  
  • Whirl away!
  • Enjoy.



May 17, 2013

Tempeh Bacon "BLT" Sandwich

I was recently skulking around on the Happy Herbivore's Facebook Group, "Herbie Parents" (great group of really sweet, supportive folks!) and I read a post wherein a pregnant vegan gal admitted to the group that she is having desperate cravings for deli meat, and might there be a yummy vegan replacement? Follow-up comments suggested all sorts of brands and types of faux meats that might fit the bill, but I don't like how overly-processed all that stuff is, so I suggested the Tempeh Bacon "BLT" I found recently on the Prevention RD website. It is sweet and smoky, and tempeh is fairly easy to come by at any veg-friendly grocery store. Plus, the recipe is a cinch! Just mix the marinade, pan fry the "bacon," and build the sammie.

It's the perfect meal for a Friday night at home with the family. I say that because this is what we had for dinner tonight - that very sandwich you see in the photo was snarfed greedily by yours truly only mere seconds after snapping this picture. I paired it with a side of cut fresh fruit and cucumbers mixed with fresh chopped mint leaves (straight from my garden) and fresh-squeezed lime juice. It was so good! My husband said of the sandwich, "I could eat about three more of these." High compliment from the man of the house! And my daughter said, pulling the tempeh ever so slightly out of the sandwich and eyeballing it with curiosity, "What is this stuff? It tastes good." She's four, so... you know that's pretty high praise.

Here's the original recipe from Prevention RD:

"Tempeh 'Bacon':
5 oz tempeh
2 Tbsp maple syrup*
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
a dash of cayenne
To assemble:
6 slices of whole grain bread
1 tomato, sliced
6 large lettuce leaves
3 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • Slice tempeh into about 6 oblong strips.
  • Combine maple syrup, olive oil, liquid smoke, soy sauce, cumin, pepper, and cayenne in a shallow dish. Soak tempeh in marinade for 2-3 minutes, turning to coat.
  • Turn a saute pan on medium-high and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the tempeh to the pan in a single layer and cook 1-2 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  • Build three sandwiches with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 lettuce leaves, tomato slices, and about 2 slices of tempeh. Serve immediately. Yield: 3 servings.
  • Nutrition Information (per serving): 408 calories; 16 g. fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 583 mg. sodium; 55 g. carbohydrate; 12 g. fiber; 16.7 g. protein
  • Result: Sweet and salty tempeh make this BLT a much more nutritious option. Healthy fats and lots of fiber make for a filling, heart-healthy sandwich. The tempeh bacon takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cook, so this meal comes together in a jiff! Enjoy!"

*I don't know about you guys, but I straight-up cannot afford maple syrup. For this recipe, I subbed some organic raw agave nectar that I got on a deep sale at Sprouts. OR, you can use use this recipe for Homemade Maple Syrup if you're really broke.  --Jen


May 10, 2013

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Welcome Vegan Potluckers!

As part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck blog tour this year, I am happy to be a part of the "Bread Course." At first I was going to make the huge loaves of bread that I put into my Thanksgiving meal a couple of years ago, but then I would be forced to butter and consume said loaves, which might not do flattering things to my arse. So, since avocados were on sale at three for a dollar last week, and I have a ton of them to eat, I thought to myself, "Tortillas! Yes, tortillas!" They are perfect for dipping into AwesomeSauce (we have seriously made a meal of this), or slathering with guacamole (again, a full meal of just this), or my favorite thing of all - a wrap consisting of guacamole, alfalfa sprouts, and halved cherry tomatoes. It doesn't sound like much, but it's seriously amazing. And, between you and me, you will BM like a soldier for the rest of the day after you eat it. Woo hoo!

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups cold water

Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until mixed. Add oil and stir. Add water in 1/2 cup increments, stirring or mixing with hands after each addition. Knead gently in the bowl, for just a minute or so, until dough resembles photo above. Allow dough to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Pinch off a piece of dough no larger than the cup of your palm,
and roll it into a ball.
Lightly flour your rolling surface, as well as your rolling pin.
Roll out your dough ball, getting it as thin as possible.
Place rolled dough onto a hot ungreased cast iron griddle. 
Allow to lightly brown on both sides. 
I like to roll out my next dough ball while the first is cooking. 

Repeat until all your balls are rolled flat and cooked up right.


May 1, 2013

Awesomesauce Food Porn

Ever since the introduction of AwesomeSauce into our home, I have put that stuff on every freakin' bite of food that will stand still in my kitchen. I am so in love with it! To prove it, I've snapped a few photos for ya. Maybe this will give you some ideas for pouring/dribbling/injecting AwesomeSauce into your next meal.

Bell Pepper Enchiladas over rice, topped with AwesomeSauce and Guac (recipe coming soon!)
Three-Bean Chili with Quinoa, over a Roasted Poblano Pepper, topped with AwesomeSauce
Simple Steamed Asparagus, topped with AwesomeSauce and Sesame Seeds

Baked potato with AwesomeSauce and Steamed Broccoli

AwesomeSauce makes the BEST (and cheapest) vegan Mac N' Cheese you will ever eat!