Friday, February 27, 2015

More Buffalo

Ashley and Kaleigh have really been enjoying the buffalo seitan sandwiches recently.  Buffalo is not my favorite flavor but these are quickly growing on me.  I also really like to make buffalo seitan pizza on pizza friday so I generally make a little extra.

These seitan chicken pieces came out perfect.  For some reason they were very buoyant in the pot while boiling but it all worked out.  They roasted up great and were full of flavor.  Top the sandwich with some vegan ranch and some veggie sides and we were in business!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cookies & Cream!

Cookies & Cream...well sort of.  Actually more like chocolate chip cookies with coconut whipped cream.  I tried to make them into a cookie sandwich but it was a failure.  The whipped cream was too soft and began to ooze out everywhere.

Desert failures are never a real let down though.  I simply ate my chocolate chip cookies dipped in whipped cream.  Pretty solid actually.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

BBQ Tempeh

Bean & Rice with Sweet Potato and Kale Chips

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kaleigh's first Karate tournramant with MIKA Karate

About 5 weeks ago, Kaleigh asked to go to an open house at a local Karate dojo.  We had been looking for something extracurricular for her to get into and we felt this was a good option.  Within a few minutes of being there she gave me our secret nod indicating that she wanted to sign up. We did and since then she has not missed a class.  She goes 5 days a week and recently started tournament team training.

In the past I have had some poor experiences with Karate academies.  I have felt that they were dogmatic, needlessly patriotic, or too authoritarian.  I have not had any of these issues with Mika in Randolph.  Everyone bows and pays respect to each other regardless of age or belt, there is not spiritual talk, and not a flag to be seen.  Ashley and I feel really comfortable with Kaleigh being there.  I would highly recommend this academy to anyone in the area that wanted to introduce themselves or their child into Karate.

After Kaleigh's 2nd tournament team training she wanted to attend her first tournament.  We packed her up and headed to Wells.  She was one of only a handful of white belts in the tournament but she was extremely brave and not only completed her routine in the forms category but also jumped into the sparring ring.

She did an awesome job.  We were so proud of her.  It was also great that we could hear the other folks from her academy cheering her on from the stands.  It was an amazing experience for her and build a lot of confidence.  Ashley asked her what she wanted to improve on for the next tournament and Kaleigh responded with "nothing.  I did awesome."

Sadly, we had to leave before they took a group picture but we were pretty sure we saw everyone compete before we had to leave.  The MIKA team did an amazing job and we are so proud to have Kaleigh be a part of this.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cheezy Rice and Broccoli Soup

Ashley has always loved my cheeze and broccoli soup.  She requests is frequently and receives it rarely.  There was a recent request for the dish; since I did not want to make it, I offered a fun compromise.  Cheezy rice with broccoli soup.

I used a cheezy sauce recipe that I have been working on to boil into the rice.  It really gave it a risotto like flavor and consistency.  It was really creamy and rice.

I also made a broccoli cream soup to have with the rice.  It was a simple roasted broccoli, pureed with some almond milk and spices.  The dish was a hit with Ashley., she loved the rice.  I am sure I will get requests for the rice going forward.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kaleigh's Challenge!

Kaleigh likes to challenge me to replicate nasty, sketchy foods that most kids eat regularly.  Often, I say sure and never get around to it.  However, for several weeks she has wanted me to make a hamburger helper dish for her.  Since she would not let up, I caved.

As a kid, I never really liked these types of meals.  I did not eat a lot of cheese and we just did not buy these types of things.  Not that we ate healthier, just not these types of things.  I was out of my element a bit but after some due diligence on the internet, I gave it a whirl.

I do not have much to compare it to but both Kaleigh and Ashley said it was pretty spot on in flavor and texture.  I thought it was a little to cheezy but still an interesting and extremely quick meal.

vegan hamburger helper

After some weeks of prodding, I convinced Kaleigh to go outside and play in the snow.  She worked for several hours to build a snow fort for herself.  She did a great job and it really showed her that the snow can be fun.  I think up until recently, she had been a little intimidated by it, being from Georgia and all.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentines party and a new car!

Kaleigh had her Valentines Day school party on Friday.  I volunteered to make cupcakes for her class again.  I made chocolate cakes with chocolate icing as they were a big hit last time.  According to Kaleigh, the kids scarfed them down.

As another introduction to Maine, Ashley bought a new vehicle.  It is much more winter friendly.  The timing of the buy was not perfect but she had an accident about a month ago and she needed something to feel confident driving.  With the insurance money, we were out of pocket very little and still have no car payments which is great!  We are limping through the winter, as expected, but the end is in sight!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday; Chili

I guess I am a little late to the hip social media world.  Throwback Thursday is apparently a thing.  I thought I would jump into the event (about a year late) with a throwback Thursday blog post.  Chili!

Years and years ago, my good friend Laura and I came up with a great recipe for chili.  Over the years it had had some slight changes but it still maintains the original integrity of the chili Laura and I used to eat.  Everyone that has tried this dish really seems to like it.

Last night, I made a heaping pot of chili.  I topped it with some vegan sour cream, raw red onions, cilantro, avocado, and roasted garlic.  It was fantastic and we even added a side of my corn bread as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The un-seaweed sushi night!

Kaleigh and I both enjoy sushi.  We eat it when we can but it has not been often since Ashley seems to hate seaweed.  In fact, it is only the 2nd time we have made it at home since we moved to Maine over 7 months ago.

Sushi is a dish I love and it saddens me how infrequently I eat it not.  It just feels good in my belly.  The wasabi burn in my nose, the pickled ginger tangy aftertaste, and the freshness of the dish itself.

Recently, I spotted some soy wrappers that looked a lot like nori wraps but made from soy.  I snatched them up.  Last night was our chance to try them out.  I made 4 large rolls, 2 with nori and 2 with the soy wraps.  The soy wraps worked pretty well.  A little flimsy but resilient.  They were lacking in flavor but Kaleigh and my nori rolls were on par.  Ashley shared in the sushi fun as we ate off the salt brick!

Maybe there will be more sushi in our future.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Eating the winter

A midst all the snow, we have had the opportunity to eat hearty foods without feeling sluggish.  Fall and winter foods are my favorite for this reason.  I really enjoy the oven.

Roasting veggies is one of my favorite smells.  I think adding a roasted veggie to a dish really throws it over the top.  Baking hearty corn breads and other breads always feels right when it is cold outside.

This time around I enlisted Kaleigh's help to make a tex-mex cornbread muffin.  I made some pinto beans with onions, cumin seeds, jalapeno, garlic, and red peppers; put them in the bottom of a muffin tin (which Kaleigh had already greased and floured) then poured my corn bread recipe over the top.  I tossed some diced jalapeno on the top and let them bake until done.

One the side we had some fried tofu with my BBQ rub, and I made an avocado gravy for the side.  The gravy was intended for the corn bread but was quite good on the tofu as well.  I could be biased though, I would eat avocado on most things,

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Maine Coast, winter style!

We took advantage of some decent weather on Saturday.  We went to the coast to hit some thrift stores but also to get a glimpse of the gorgeous Maine coastline in the snowy winter of February.

The thrifting was much of a bust however, the coast was fantastic.  Frozen tundra with ice cold salt water brushing the shoreline.  The snow was nearly untouched, no one had been here since the last storm.  We found all kinds of shells, some sea/drift glass, and even saw some brave seagulls that hunker down for the colder months.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Recipe: New England Roasted Corn Chowder

This is a dish i have made a few times recently and thought I would share.  This is my first recipe share of 2015!

Growing up in Maine, chowder was a common dish at the dinner tables.  Pronounced "chowdah" there were many varieties.  This dish really reminded me of the traditional chowdah that I grew up with.  Simple, sweet, flavorful, and extremely creamy.  I used cashew milk this time around and it really added to the richness of the dish.

New England Roasted Corn Chowder

5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
1 pound of sweet corn kernels
1 can of coconut milk
1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons of corn oil
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  In a roasting pan, add the corn, oil, onion, and garlic.  Mix with half of the pepper, salt and paprika.  Roast for about 20-30 minutes.  The onions and garlic should be tender but not browning.  The corn should be golden in color but not dried out.  Stir about every 10 minutes.

Once the corn mixture is done, add half to 2/3 of it to a blender with the coconut milk and puree until mostly smooth.  Then add mixture, the remaining corn, all other ingredients to a stove pot and allow to simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to avoid a reddish skin forming at the top.  Do not allow to scorch, simmer only.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snow & Fajitas!

Another snowy day here in Maine.  We should be getting 6 or less inches which will be a nice break from the monster storms we have had in the past week.  With no major power outages, we have gotten by fine.  We have 2 forms of wood burning to keep us warm and plenty of good food to fill our bellies.

Last night, I made some seitan steaks to slice up and use in fajitas.  I fried them up with loads of peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro.  They were a pretty great little meal.  The leftovers should make great lunches for the girls today.

I have really enjoyed the opportunity to be cooking more.  It is coming through in my moods as well as this blog, and my overall happiness.  It has been a great thing for me.  I think that food has a way of connecting people and making you feel grounded.  There is little as satisfying as sitting in front of a hearth with a roaring fire with a home cooked meal to share with your family.  Especially when there is a blizzard on the other side of the wall.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Milk Battle!

Recently, Ashley and I have noticed a new nut milk at the grocery store; cashew milk.  Curious we grabbed a carton.  We had the fun idea to put it to a blind test against our usual almond milk.

The difference in color was obvious, the cashew milk had a more yellow hue to it and looked thicker.  The taste was also noticeable.  I had almost a salty flavor and was far creamier.  It might be great for baking but was not quite as good for our cereal, and hot chocolates.

All in all, there was a clear difference.  The cashew milk is not likely to replace our use of almond but is not a bad nut milk by any means.  If I were to simply drink a glass of nut milk, I think I would prefer cashew to the watery taste of almond however, the girls vote still goes to almond,

The milk test was a nice indoor silly activity while we were getting hammered with our latest snow storm.  In the past 7 days, we have gotten just shy of 4 feet of snow.  Brutal.  Welcome back to Maine!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thyme for the Soup-er Bowl!

I am not much for puns and even less for football however, the girls and I celebrated in true american fashion.  I made one of Kaleigh's favorite soups, thyme and white bean.  I also made some kale chips topped with my new BBQ rub.  The girls thought it was a little spicy but I thought they were fantastic.

Ashley made some nice vegan grilled cheeze with some store bought slices.  It has been years and years since I have had a grilled cheeze.  She also made some cool buffalo roasted cauliflower bites with a side of my vegan ranch.  Despite my aversion to buffalo sauce, these were quite good and perfect for the big game.  A game we had no intention of watching.

Instead of the football game, we watched an old-school kung-fu movie!  We had a great night and fortunately the snow held off until this morning!  Go Soup-er Bowl foods, and no game!