Did You Know?

Did you know??
Although using avocados and bananas are all the buzz now to get soft and shiny hair, all it will get you is a messy kitchen and bathroom. These products are great to help your hair for one day, but the proteins in them are way too big for your hair to absorb. And unless you are going to use them each day (yikes!), then you should head to a beauty supply store and check out some Vegan products that use "hydrolyzed" proteins - proteins from avocados and bananas that actually are small enough to help your hair.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Onion Marinated Mushrooms

Whenever we buy mushrooms, we usually have a particular reason for buying them.  However, occasionally some mushrooms are left over from a prior meal, which sit in the fridge and at the last minute I have to come up with something that can use them up without needing a bunch of mushrooms.  A few nights ago, after making a mushroom herb white wine sauce, these leftover mushrooms were left to slowly dry up and enter my compost heap. After thinking about it, I remembered a recipe that I had tried in the past that was a mushroom saute, and I came up with this.  These onion marinated mushrooms are delectably cooked in a delicious sauce of oil, vinegar, garlic, and brown sugar and once you start eating them, it may be particularly hard to stop.  The addition of the sun-dried tomatoes infuse a fantastic flavor that balances out the softness of the mushrooms and onions, and this side dish might take the lead role of your meal. 

 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
2 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp  ground dry mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 lb small fresh button mushrooms, sliced

In a medium saucepan, mix vinegar, olive oil, and garlic.  Bring to a boil.

Add salt, parsley, dry mustard, basil, and brown sugar.  Reduce heat.

Stir in mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegan Pancakes


These are a yummy and vegan twist on a childhood favourite. Add fruit, nuts, or chocolate chips, drizzle with warm maple syrup, and enjoy!

The pancakes:
1 c flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c vanilla soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and stir until just about mixed (you don't want to overmix this, or the chemical reaction to make them fluffy won't work as well).
Scoop about 1/4 c of the batter and ladle onto a hot and lightly greased griddle or frying pan. When the batter bubbles at the center, use a spatula and flip them. The outsides should be a dark golden brown, and slightly crispy. Re-grease the pan as needed in between pancakes.

To make homemade maple syrup:
2 c sugar
1 c water
1 tbsp maple extract
Boil together the sugar and water. Once bubbling, add in the extract. If you like a more buttery maple syrup, add in a dash of butter flavouring or oil. Take off heat, and allow to cool to a syrupy texture. Serve on hot pancakes, with a sprinkle of confectionary sugar.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thick Italian Vegetable Soup


This thick, hearty italian vegetable soup is a delicious way to warm up on a chilly fall afternoon.  It's very simple and must simmer for a while, so this is a great soup for raking leaves, shoveling snow, doing last yard cleanups, etc.  How, you ask?  Well, you prep the soup, leave it over low for an hour (or more-- the longer, the better), do your chores, and when you come in to warm up it's waiting for you-- unlike the cat.  I love the colors that the summer squash adds to this soup-- the yellows from the squash, when mixed with the orange of the carrots and red from the bell peppers make this soup wonderfully colorful to match the leaves scattered across the yard.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot,chopped length-wise
4 celery sticks, sliced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small squash, diced
1 cup kale, chopped (about 3-4 pieces)
1 cup green beans
2 tbsp basil dried
2 tbsp oregano dried
2 tsp parsley dried
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can peeled and diced tomatoes, with juice
1/3 cup tvp (still dry)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

Place large saucepan over medium heat.

Sauté garlic, onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and green beans for five minutes.

Stir in herbs and peeled and diced tomatoes, with juice and allow to cook for another minute.

Add broth, squash, kale and zucchini.

Bring to a boil, cover, add tvp, and simmer for one hour.

Caloric Info
Servings 8
Total Fat: 4.8 grams
Sat Fat: 0.6 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 2.2 grams
Monosat. Fat: 1.6 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 656.3 mg
Potassium: 490.4 mg
Carbs: 15.1 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4.6 grams
Sugar: 5.1 grams
Protein: 9.8 grams

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vegetable Barley Soup


As winter wears on, it seems like no matter how much you vary your soups, they end up getting tiresome.  One ingredient that I always regret that I don't use (and seem to always have in stock) is barley.  Stowed away deep in the recess of our cabinets, the humble barley offers a little something extra to beef up the soups into having a little new life.  While the soup thickens up over the stove, I keep my mind distracted with my expected purchases for the garden next year.

Speaking of which, our garden next year is due to provide us with major produce (in theory).  Okay, probably not.  But last year we bought some cranberry bushes... okay, more like cranberry toothpicks, but this year may be their year to blossom.  Along with those bushes, we added a large cluster of first-year plants that we hope will offer us a word of sweet and savory goodies this upcoming season.  Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries will also join our team of persimmon, fig, and grapes in the perennial category, and I'm already looking for something exciting and new to add this year.  I'm tempted to tackle a black current or *gasp* maybe a filbert, but I'm concerned that our landlord is going to attempt to charge us per plant instead of per person that live here.  Thoughts?

Anyways, this soup will keep me going while I dream of warmer days.  Hopefully it helps you as well!

4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup uncooked barley
2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (as always, make sure it's vegan!)
ground black pepper to taste
Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and add the barley, carrots, celery, tomatoes, green pepper, broccoli, garbanzo beans, onion, and bay leaves.

Season with garlic powder, salt, pepper, parsley, curry powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. 

Bring to a boil, add agave, stir, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes. 

The soup will be fairy thick.  If you want it to be more soup-y, add broth or lessen the amount of barley in the recipe.

Caloric Info
Servings 6
Total Fat: 1.7 grams
Sat Fat: 0.2 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 0.7 grams
Monosat. Fat: 0.5 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 640.5 mg
Potassium: 494.5mg
Carbs: 43.3 grams
Dietary Fiber: 9.1 grams
Sugar: 4.8 grams
Protein: 6.9 grams