September Menu

This month I am trying to find a happy medium between my old ‘meat-centric’ menu and my new vegan menu. All veggies was a little tough for the little ones. We need to have some old favorites sprinkled in with the new meat free recipes. I’m sure I’ll keep working on the menu and working on making ‘old favorites’ meat free.

Sweet and Salty

So, I have this little vegan problem. On the whole, a vegan diet is healthier than the typical American diet. But not all vegan food is “diet” food. I have found two recipes that are tempting me to snack. Vegan Cheez Its from Minimalist Baker and Carob Freezer Fudge from oh she glows. I know that vegan crackers are better for me than potato chips, but I don’t usually eat chips. And carob freezer fudge is better than a candy bar, but I don’t eat candy bars either. So, any weight that I had lost from my vegan experiment is now gone. Oh, well. These snackies are so good, I really don’t care. I’ll have to be sure that I don’t always keep these yummies on hand. Or maybe I’ll just add a little more exercise! Moderation, girl, moderation.

Vodka Pasta Sauce

I have passed over the Rachael Ray You-Won’t-Be-Single-For-Long Vodka Cream Pasta for years. Vodka? Why? Is wine not good enough for you? After my kids ate their bow ties and marinara I wanted something a little more grown up. I don’t know why I didn’t look at my Rachael Ray cookbook, but the computer was on so I searched for Vodka Pasta. The Pioneer Woman came up. I like her stuff. It isn’t dairy-free or vegan or anything, but it’s good and easily adapted. Then I searched for dairy free vodka pasta and putting a couple of recipes together made Dairy Free Vodka Pasta. I was pleasantly surprised. Why had I waited to make this sauce? Maybe it’s because I’m more apt to use vodka in a tincture or facial product than in my food. That being the case I might not make this pasta often, but if I’m cooking for myself or maybe for two I’ll pull this recipe out.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I have a crush on limes. My favorite green thickie is the Key Lime Pie one. It is so tasty, but it doesn’t really taste like key lime pie, just like a yummy lime smoothie. I wanted dessert. Not something healthy, something good. I found a recipe for Key Lime Ice Cream on SouthernLiving.com. I just swapped out a few ingredients and added a couple more and it worked! I think this is the best ice cream I have made. I ate two bowls last night. I want to quickly eat a small lunch just so I can have more ice cream.

Vegan Chili

I am on the Green Thickie 7 day diet. It isn’t too much of a stretch for me. I went from one thickie to two, cut out meat and alcohol and sweets. I don’t have alcohol or sweets regularly so that isn’t a big deal, (I might be lying) but I’ve had a little trouble with the no meat. The first night I made brown rice and stir-fry. I just left out the chicken, it was pretty good, but I was hungry an hour later. The next night I made chili. Now the recipe from the Thickie lady said it was chili, but she is in the U.K. and chili means something different there. So, I made red, American-style chili. Only I had no idea how to make vegan chili. I mean how do you make chili without meat? Some people don’t even put beans in their chili! Where does the flavor come from? How do you get the right texture? Most recipes I found on the internet used some kind of “veggie crumble” meat-like product. I don’t know about that. I had some left over stir-fry veggies so I popped those in the Vitamix and mixed it in. Luckily it turned out pretty good. My kids didn’t complain, one of then even asked for seconds! (I served theirs over macaroni)  I don’t know if I was just so hungry or if it really tasted that good! Anyway, I think I’ll make it again just for a healthy alternative. I served mine over left over brown rice, topped it with Tofutti sour cream, salsa and avocado. I thought it was delicious! And, I’m hungry again. More water.

My little birthday cake

My husband’s birthday is one day before mine. That was great one year. We were living in the same town as my aunt. She made a cake and we had a family party, it was wonderful. Other times my husband has been “out of town” (deployed) for my birthday or left on my birthday. One year I was at my parent’s house and it was wonderful (besides the absence of my husband). All my family was there and I requested Thanksgiving dinner. May is the perfect time for turkey! Some years we go out and have a cake on his birthday and have leftovers for mine. This year has been pretty fabulous. We went for a road trip last weekend. We saw Bruneau Dunes, soaked in Miracle Hot Springs, gazed in wonder at Shoshone Falls and marveled at Balanced Rock. Super-fun trip. For my sweetie’s day I grilled shrimp and chorizo kebabs and made a triple layer chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I assume the cake is pretty good, he ate 1/4 of it in one sitting. However, I am staying away from chocolate and I used real butter in the frosting so I can’t really say. On to the point!

I decided to make myself a little carob birthday cake.  When I make things dairy free I am usually satisfied with the results. However, I am having a difficult time substituting carob for chocolate. It is not that the recipes are too hard to find or that I can’t just substitute carob powder for cocoa powder in most recipes. It is the taste. Carob is pleasant, it gives a gorgeous color to brownies and cakes, but it is not chocolate. Before giving up chocolate I ate some every day. I was perhaps a chocoholic. I wasn’t aware of the way it affected my body because it was never out of my system. I really don’t know if can do this. Can I live without chocolate? Back to the point!

I bought Carob Cookbook by Tricia Hamilton and the first thing I made was the Mocha Fudge Cake, but it wasn’t mocha because I am also trying to avoid coffee. I think it would be better with coffee, in fact it would have been amazing with cocoa powder and coffee, but then I couldn’t have eaten it, so I made it with carob and water. I am seriously considering buying coffee substitute, but holy moly, that stuff is expensive! Anyway, I made a half recipe to fit into two 6″ pans and made it dairy free. When I bought the cookbook I didn’t really think about the recipes being dairy-free friendly. They are not, if you were wondering. For the frosting I used an old recipe called “Ciddy Ellifson Frosting”, it’s also called Cooked Icing and Red Velvet Frosting. We never had Red Velvet cake when I was a kid, but I loved this frosting on chocolate cake.