Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Tag Archives: get it ripe

Greens

Jae Steel, author of “Get it Ripe”, commented on my post from yesterday asking whether I’d had any greens with my meal. And I hadn’t, of course!

That’s one of my biggest weaknesses, when it comes to my “eating fitness”. I don’t dislike greens, I just somehow rarely eat them. And steaming broccoli or spinach or kale couldn’t be easier or require less prep work unless I played the part of a baby bird and sat with my mouth open for someone else to put the steamed greens into. Which would be pretty cool, now that I think about it, but a wee bit outside the realm of possible!

So Jae’s nudge was a great reminder. Eating greens is a habit I simply must create. It needs to be a daily thing.

I’ll start next week, though, since I don’t think I’ll have time to get to the store before the weekend, and the farmers market is on Sunday. I can start planning now! Not that it takes much to plan for steaming greens!

This does mean I’m going to have to start going to the store more than once every 3 weeks though. That’s okay – I need to start making that trip on my bike, and I can’t carry 3 weeks worth of food on my bike! Well, I maybe could, but it would be a slow ride home.

Anyone have any favorite recipes, hints or tips? Anything you’ve done that facilitated a daily green habit?

Good Shepherd’s Pie and Gingerbread

Fall seems to officially have arrived in the DC area, with daytime temps in the 60’s and overnight temps approaching freezing. Just last week it was in the 80’s, so this has been a quick change in seasons for us. Perfect timing for the recipes I made this weekend.

Though to be honest, the food I am in the mood for rarely has anything to do with the seasons, so I’m almost as likely to crave a good bowl of chili in July as I am in January. This quick change from summer to fall did make me crave warming food, however. Luckily my last trip to the grocery store a couple weeks ago had prompted me to get the ingredients for two recipes that turned out to be perfect fall food.

Both were from Get It Ripe – Good Shepherds Pie and Gingerbread. Both were fantastic. I’m really happy with that cookbook – everything I’ve made from it has been stellar. And that had much more to do with the recipes than me!

The Shepherds Pie wasn’t one of those quick weekday recipes, at least not for me. (I’m slow!) It wasn’t a day long endeavor either, so it was perfect to make late Sunday afternoon. I got the lentils and potatoes cooking, and then started on the gingerbread. Once the gingerbread was baking, I did the rest of the vegetable prep and cooking, and by the time I’d done that and got the potatoes mashed, the gingerbread was ready to come out, the Shepherds Pie ready to go in.

I cooked the lentils with some leftover broth I’d had from making the simple seitan from Veganomicon last week, and that might have been the crowning glory to the Shepherds Pie. It is deliciously flavorful and a great comfort food for the first fall weather weekend.

The gingerbread is absolutely wonderful. The texture, the flavor, everything. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks to johanna for commenting in a post on one of my earlier VeganMoFo posts about this recipe, because that is the reason I got the ingredients I needed!

It was the first thing I’ve baked that called for coconut oil (at least where I actually used coconut oil), and I wonder if that made some of the difference in the texture and moistness. I would advise anyone making this recipe to make sure that their coconut oil is in its liquid state before they use it. That should have been a no-brainer, but for me I needed the reminder! I fought with it instead, having to mash the semi-solid parts as I mixed it in, which was annoying and gave me a hand-cramp…and still the gingerbread turned out really well! I think that makes it a Deb-proof recipe.

And both of these make great leftovers. It’s going to be a great week, lunch-wise!

If only I hadn’t run out of cocoa so I could have hot chocolate to go with it!

hot breakfast cereals

I never used to have to be so prepared in advance with regards to food. I had a lot of bad habits, and that included rarely having a real lunch at work. Let alone breakfast. Now that I’m riding my bike to and from work, I can’t afford to do that. I need to eat something when I first get to work, and I need to eat lunch. And then I need to eat dinner too.

It is a lot of food. Am I the only person to get tired of thinking about food? I’m sure I’m not. I might just be the only person who decided to participate in VeganMoFo who gets tired of thinking about food though!

The post-ride meal has been a challenge for me – I was never much of a breakfast eater, so I don’t have anything to fall back on.

Sometimes I eat Supercharge Me! cookies, sometimes I eat oatmeal, I had a lovely week with a nice tofu scramble too. This post over at Zoey’s Kitchen got me thinking about hot breakfast cereals. Seemed like a great way to get in some different grains as well as whatever else I might throw into the mix. I remembered a friend talking about using her slow cooker for this purpose, and since I have a slow cooker that I’ve hardly used, I decided to give it a try.

So I cracked open “Fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker” and threw the ingredients into the slow cooker on Saturday night.

1 cup millet
3 cups apple juice
1 cup water
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 fresh apple, cut up (the recipe said pear, but I had an apple, and no pears)
1 cup chopped dried fruit (I used pineapple, unsweetened)
1/2 tsp salt

Cooked it on low for 7 or 7.5 hrs. It was supposed to be 6 hours, but hey, I was sleeping! (I’m going to pick up a timer at the hardware store this weekend.) It was a little overcooked, but not bad. The millet was a bit of a hard clump on the bottom, which I’ve been told by the slow-cooking-breakfast-cereal friend is a common occurrence with millet in the slow cooker, but luckily I was able to stir everything up, and it turned out really well in the end.

It looks like a mushy anonymous concoction, but it tastes *really* good. It was really satisfying after my ride this morning. Sweet and rich tasting, and it kept me going until lunch.

There are other similar recipes in that cookbook that I plan on trying in the next few weeks. I’m actually excited about these morning mushes! Go figure!

I also realized that Get It Ripe has quite a few similar grain-and-fruit based morning hot cereal meals, stovetop based. I’m going to have to give those a try as well, in addition to the recipe on Zoey’s blog. I might have to start eating breakfast for dinner!

morning millet melange

morning millet melange

flax maple cookies

These cookies are healthy tasting and virtuous enough that I felt okay about eating them as my post-ride food last week. Ultimately I don’t think they are quite what I need for post-ride food, but they do in a pinch.

And that pinch will likely come about fairly often, in the sense that these cookies have a very short ingredient list, and those ingredients are things I almost always have on hand. I’m often running on a not-quite stocked kitchen, and I seem to be on a schedule that has me at the grocery store only about once every 3 weeks.

When I bit into my first one, my main impression was that they tasted healthy. This is not, for me, a bad thing, though it might turn others off. Yeah, sometimes I want that sinful decadence of the chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Veganomicon, but a lot of times I don’t really want that.

See, before I went vegan I was a sugaholic. That has gone away, to a great extent, and I’m happy that it has. I still like sweets, but I crave real food now. But when I have too much stuff that is sugary, or has too much white flour, or even too heavy on potatoes, I end up craving more and more of it, with a greedy obsession that worries me.

And so when I find a tasty treat that doesn’t turn me into a sugar-craving lunatic, I’m quite pleased.

The Flax Maple Cookies from “Get It Ripe” were just such a treat. They do taste “healthy”, primarily because they use spelt flour, which generally does add that “healthy” taste to baked goods. They are dense and mildly sweet and a little bit earthy as well.

I’ll definitely make these again. Not for post-ride food, but for a time when I’m craving something sort of sweet, but fairly virtuous as well. My mom would approve of these for sure (she was a health food nut when I was growing up) but I don’t think these would have universal appeal.

Since I have some friends who, for various reason, limit their fat intake as much as possible, I should add that I think these cookies could be made fat free fairly easily. There is a lot of oil in the recipe, but the cookies themselves are soft, not crispy, and it seems to me those are the kind that work out well when made fat free. Maybe I’ll try them with applesauce next time instead of the oil…

inspiring-envy factor

There are all kinds of things we judge our meals, and the recipes we use, by. When it comes to recipes, there is prep time, cooking time, accuracy, those kinds of things. And when it comes to the meals that result, it is the look and taste and how well they do as leftovers. And the envy factor. That is, the inspiring-envy factor.

This really only comes into play for me with the lunches I bring to work. The reasons are obvious. A sort of “smell it and weep” type of reason, that unrelenting need to prove to the omnis around me that vegan food is not weird, that it is tasty, and that it can easily fuel my for 30 miles a day.

I recently made a recipe that rated high on the “inspiring-envy” index. As soon as I brought my newly reheated Coconut Cauliflower Chana to my desk, I started getting comments. “That smells good! Is it a curry?” and “Now you’ve done it. Now I’m hungry too and have to eat lunch early.”

I think I’d have to rate it a 9 on the Inspiring-Envy index. I’d give it a 10, but I figure I need room for a higher rating for the dish that instantly convinces everyone to go vegan. This is definitely the dish that rates the highest on the I-E index so far for me though!

And it rates high in other ways too. It tasted at least as good as it smelled, it made for fantastic leftovers, it was filling and satisfying, and it was easy and quick to make. And did I mention how fantastic it tasted?

The recipe was from “Get It Ripe“, which I’d picked up a couple months ago and hadn’t quite gotten around to making much use of prior. If all the recipes are like this one, I’m going to be loving this cookbook.

Total prep and cooking time for the Coconut Cauliflower Chana was about 40 minutes, which is also how long the accompanying rice took to cook. It was easy to put together, the recipe was well written.

I’ll definitely make this one again! And that is a dramatic statement, coming from a guilty cookbook-obsessed person who tries to justify the vastness of her ever growing cookbook collection by constantly trying new recipes!

coconut cauliflower chana

coconut cauliflower chana

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