Monday, March 16, 2009

Random Catch-Up Meals

I know that I haven't been the world's best blogger lately, but I hope you guys understand- there just aren't enough hours in a day! I may not have been blogging regularly, but I have been cooking quite a bit, so I thought I'd share some of the highlights of my meals from the past few weeks.

Using this recipe for the seemingly famous General Tao's Tofu, I was able to recreate the taste of the Chinese take-out food that I used to love so much. I used reduced sodium wheat-free tamari for the soy sauce, reduced the sugar by a tad, and added some steamed broccoli and red bell peppers and served it all over brown rice, so I know that this dish was much healthier than any Chinese take-out I could ever find. While the sauce in this dish was amazing, my favorite part was the super crispy tofu because, despite being fried in oil, it was still so light and not the least bit greasy! I'm definitely planning on making this tofu for my family sometime- I know they'll go crazy for it.

What started out as some accidentally overcooked tofu one night turned into one of my new favorite sandwiches. I had marinaded some thinly sliced, pressed tofu in a mixture of tamari, maple syrup, ketchup, liquid smoke, onion powder, and water and baked it for a long time (about 30-40 min) at a low temperature, flipping every 15 minutes or so. The tofu wasn't becoming as crispy as I wanted, so I broiled it for about 10 min on each side, but then forgot about it for a few minutes! When I came back, I saw that the tofu was very well-done, but I decided to try it anyways. It turned out to be DELICIOUS! My brother loved it as well, so I ended up splitting it with him. I then realized that the tofu had a great texture for sandwiches and tasted a tiny bit like bacon, so my newest version of a "BLT" was created! The smokey tofu was really nice with the cool lettuce, tomato, and Veganaise. It would have been better with an avocado, but whatever- there's no way I'm gonna complain about this sandwich! Lately, I've had a big batch of baked tofu slices on hand every week so I can have a sandwich anytime I want.

As you know, I couldn't wait to try a recipe from my Sublime cookbook when I returned from Florida, so when I felt like planning some lighter meals this week I turned to the "salads" chapter of the book. The Sublime Chopped Salad seemed simple and light and I definitely made the right choice with this recipe! The salad and dressing are both simple and took no more than 10 minutes to put together. All I had to do was toss together some chickpeas, chopped tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, scallions, red onion, and kalamata olives in a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh oregano, salt and pepper and viola! Lay it all on top of some romaine lettuce and I had a perfect light dinner. My mom fell in LOVE with this salad and I think you'll see a return of it very soon....

This is from last month, but I just had to finally share it- a slice of Lemon Blackberry Raw Cheesecake that I brought home from the Chicago Diner one day after lunch with my brother. I've had their raw cheesecake several times, but this slice blew my mind and it's totally my favorite flavor. The filling and crust together tasted kinda like a Lemon Larabar, only better! And, of course, the fact that it was gluten-free only made it that much better :)

Alright- now I need help from some of you guys! If anyone knows of any sources online from which I could buy come vegan butterscotch chips, or maybe has access to some in their area and would be interested in a mini-swap, I would appreciate it very much if you could let me know. My mom has also been diagnosed with a few food allergies/intolerance, with the major ones being dairy, eggs, and gluten. She's been taking it a little rougher than I did and I just want to help her out a bit. Her biggest weakness is cookies and she hasn't been able to find any gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free cookies yet that she's really thrilled with, so that's where I'm stepping in. She told me that her favorite cookies are oatmeal scotchies so I'm taking on the mission of making us some gluten-free, vegan oatmeal scotchies, but the chips are pretty darn hard to find (as I expected). Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!

Less than 2 weeks until Spring Break! I'll have an entire week to cook and bake some great food to share with all of you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Breakfast Sweets

I actually made these quite awhile ago as they were my first successful gluten-free baking project, but I just never got a round to posting them. I was so happy to find this recipe for Cinnamon Apple Muffins because I had some buckwheat flour to use up and my family and I could always use some apple muffins. They turned out beautifully with awesome muffin tops and perfectly sweet and cinnamon-y. After making one batch of these muffins, I made another half batch the next day (I was running out of applesauce!) and froze them to snack on for awhile and they taste just as great frozen and thawed.

I finally got around to making a big batch of granola using the recipe from The Gluten Free Vegan. The only changes I made were using puffed millet instead of the puffed rice and dried cherries and raisins instead of dates since that's what I had on hand and I couldn't believe how incredibly addicting this was! I find myself snacking on it more than eating it for breakfast, but either way it's delicious!

I've been using Katie of Chocolate-Covered Katie's recipe for oatmeal raisin pudding for awhile now whenever I make oatmeal and I finally got around to blogging about it. I used Bob's Red Mill's Gluten-Free Oats, hemp milk instead of soymilk, agave nectar and stevia as the sweeteners, and added dried cherries. This recipe is awesome- by cooking the oatmeal a second time with the added liquid, it becomes so super creamy and really is better than any rice pudding I've ever made. If you want one of the easiest and most delicious oatmeal breakfasts ever, make this recipe!!