Friday, December 28, 2012

Cajun Tofu Skillet

This recipe was inspired by one found on that she called Tofu Jambalaya.   I have changed the cooking method and some of the ingredients and made it my own.  I don't find it really resembled jambalaya though so I changed the name too.



1 cup Jasmine Rice and enough water to cook rice according to package directions
1 tsp vegan No-Chicken Bouillon mixed with water to cook rice
1 lb extra firm Tofu
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
1 large Green Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeno, deseeded and minced
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 cup Okra, chopped
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 - 28oz can Diced Tomatoes
3 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce


1.  Start rice cooking according to package directions adding the bouillon to the water.

2.  Pat/squeeze moisture out of tofu and cube into 1/2 - 1 inch cubes and set aside.

3.  Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add in onion, celery, green pepper, jalapeno and saute until soft. Add garlic and saute another minute.

4.  Add tomatoes, okra, chili powder, salt, liquid smoke, cayenne pepper, hot sauce and tofu.

5.  Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.  When rice is cooked, add rice to skillet and stir so that it is incorporated into the tomato mixture.  Serve.

I have made this dish several times, but it has actually been a while since I've cooked rice because we have been eating quinoa instead for it's nutritional value.  I am thinking that this dish might be better with quinoa as I found the rice to be a little mushy.  It could be because I used jasmine rice instead of a more substantial variety.  Next time I am trying it with quinoa though.

- Au Revoir

"We fry everything - if we could stick a bike tire in the right kind of batter, we'd eat it." - Gas Station Attendant, Port Fouchon

Friday, December 21, 2012

Date Ball Cookies

For the last few days I have had a craving for Date Balls.  A recipe I remember my mom making when I was little.  Something she always made during the holidays.  I still have her recipe, although I don't know where she originally found it, it is at least 40 years old.  It is one more of those I copied down on a card before leaving the nest.

Yesterday afternoon I was off work a little early and decided to make a vegan version.  It was easy to do since this recipe doesn't call for eggs and I always have sticks of vegan margarine in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy this simple, but tasty cookie.


1/2 Cup vegan Margarine
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar (and extra for coating)
1 Tbsp water
1 Tsp Vanilla
1-1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
dash Salt
2/3 Cup pitted Dates, chopped
1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:  I use my big KitchenAid mixer as it is a stiff dough.

1.  Heat oven to 300˚F.

2.  Cream margarine and powdered sugar.

(Creamed margarine and powdered sugar)
3.  Mix in water and vanilla

4.  Add flour and salt and mix well.  

5.  Mix in pitted dates and nuts and combine well.  Dough will be stiff and shouldn't stick to your hands if you make it into a ball.

(Dough ready for forming)
6.  Roll into 1 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet.  They do not spread so you can put them fairly close together.

(Ready for the oven)
7.  Bake at 300˚F for 20 minutes.  While warm, roll in powdered sugar.  This makes approximately 30 cookies.

(Ready for eating)

Bon Appetit! I also think these might be good with dried cranberries in place of the dates.  I just might have to try that next time.

- Au Revoir

"Baking cookies is comforting, and cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food.  They are very bite-sized and personal." - Sandra Lee (Semi-Homemade)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Black Bean Avocado Salad

I found this recipe online almost three years ago on the Vegetarian Times website. Whenever I find a recipe online I print it out and it goes into a basket to try at a later date.  This one got buried so I didn't try it until last summer.  It was so simple and we enjoyed the taste so much that I've tried to make it at least once a month since then, even more often in the warm summer months.  It makes a nice light salad served with tortilla chips for scooping, but would also be tasty (and lower calorie) served over a bed of mixed greens or crunchy kale.

As always I've modified the recipe just a little.  In this case just increasing the quantities of veggies of beans.  The original recipe can be found by clicking this ---->LINK.  If you are not a fan of black beans I am sure you could be adventurous and substitute white cannellini beans, kidney beans or even chick peas.  And as long as your mustard of choice is gluten free, this recipe is gluten free.


2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp whole-grain Mustard
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Can whole Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 Cup frozen whole Corn, thawed
1 large Avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 Sweet Red Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup chopped Celery
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped Cilantro
4 Green Onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1.  In a small bowl whisk lemon juice, mustard and olive oil.  Set aside.

2.  In medium sized serving bowl mix beans, corn, avocado, red pepper, celery, cilantro and green onions.  Drizzle with dressing and toss.  

3.  Season with salt and pepper.  I usually serve this with hot pepper sauce to drizzle on top prior to eating.

**  Please note that the red pepper is missing in the photos above.  I admit I forgot to buy one and it was not worth the effort to go to the grocery store for one pepper. The salad was still good, but I did miss the pepper.

- Au Revoir

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They probably get jet-lagged, just like people." Elizabeth Berry

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Simple Apple Crisp

I had a few sad looking apples in the refrigerator and was too lazy to make an apple pie.  I just didn't feel like fiddling with the dough so I thought an apple crisp might be nice.  Easy to mix up and a lot less fat overall.

My favorite recipe for apple crisp is one that I found in a Quaker Oats mini cookbook over 20 year ago. You know those small soft cover theme cookbooks you find in the checkout lines at the grocery store? It was one of those.  I used to love collecting them, but found I never used too many recipes out of them.  My solution was to cut out the recipes I liked, tape them to a sheet of paper then slide those pages into a clear plastic sheet protector which I then placed in a binder. Easy to find the recipe I want without all those little books around.



1 Cup Oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
1/2 Cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1/4 Cup Vegan Margarine, melted
1/2 Tsp ground Cinnamon
6 Cups cored and chopped Apples, I used Galas and left the peels on
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1/2 to 1 Tsp ground Cinnamon


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2.  Combine oats, walnuts, 1/4 cup brown sugar, melted margarine and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and mix well.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl combine the cored and chopped apples and 1/4 cup water.  Add remaining brown sugar, flour and cinnamon to taste tossing to coat.

4.  Spoon apple mixture into an 8x8 square glass baking dish.  Top evenly with reserved oat mixture.

5.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until the apples are tender.

6.  Serve warm with vegan ice cream.

(Ready for the oven)

(Ready for my belly)
- Au Revoir

" Our bodies run on the fresh green fuel of the land." - Terri Guillemets

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

In November 2009 I found a recipe online at the Vegetarian Times website. I thought it sounded yummy and printed it out to try at a later date.  That recipe was for Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash.

I've never had great luck with wild rice so the first thing I did was substitute Chinese Black Rice and modified the rice/quinoa to water ratio to a number that works better for me.  The first time I made it I did as the recipe instructed and stuffed the squash.  I believe that I even posted a picture on my motorcycle blog at the time.

I made it again this week and instead of using black rice and quinoa I used a wild rice and quinoa blend from Costco thinking I'd cut out the step of cooking each separately.  The flavor was just as good but the texture was a little sticky, I think because the quinoa doesn't take as long to cook as rice resulting in an odd texture.  

I also decided to cube and roast the squash and serve the stuffing on the side.  Troubadour and I agreed it seemed easier to eat this way, although the presentation isn't as fancy if you have company, and cutting and peeling the squash is a little time consuming.

Here is a link to the original recipe. Click -----> LINK  What follows is the recipe with my modifications and squash on the side.  An addendum is added at the bottom with instructions on how to cook the squash halves if you wan to fill them like the picture below.

(Made with Chinese Black Rice cooked separate from Quinoa)



3 Large Acorn Squash, halved and seeds removed
1-3/4 Cups Water
1 Cup uncooked Quinoa
1-1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Green Onions, chopped
1/2 Cup Celery, chopped
1 Tsp dried Sage
1/2 Cup dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup dried Apricots, chopped
1/3 Cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped
1/2 to 3/4 Cup  fresh Orange Juice (I used 3/4 Cup)
Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste


1.  Preheat oven to 425˚F and line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray foil with non stick cooking spray.  Use a veggie peeler to peel the halved squash and cube into 1 inch chunks.  Place on foil and spray with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper and set aside.

2.  RICE - In medium saucepan bring 1-3/4 Cup water to boil.  Add Black or Red Rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer approximately 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand covered 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  

3.  QUINOA - In another small saucepan combine 1-1/2 Cups water and Quinoa and bring to a boil.  I also like to add a teaspoon of Better than Bouillon's 'No Chicken' to the water while cooking for added flavor. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  

4.  Once those are going on the stove place your squash chunks in the oven.  Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir to turn over squash and bake for an additional 12 minutes.

5.  In a large deep skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add green onions, celery and sage and cook stirring often until the veggies begin to soften.  Add cranberries, apricots and nuts and cook, stirring often until heated.

(Green onions, celery, sage, cranberries, apricots, and walnuts cooking in the skillet)
6.  Add fluffed rice and quinoa to the skillet and mix.  Add orange juice and mix until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.

7.  To serve, remove the squash from the oven and place in serving bowl.  Place filling in separate serving bowl and enjoy.

(Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing with Roasted Acorn Squash)
(This was the wild rice quinoa mixture from Costco that was quite sticky like traditional stuffing)

These ingredients are so simple but the flavors are complex when combined.  It is definitely a favorite recipe of ours especially during chilly Autumn weather when squash are in abundance.

** ADDENDUM - If you would like to cook the squash halves for stuffing - preheat your oven to 350˚F and  place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish or roasting pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until tender.  Spoon cooked filling into cooked squash and serve.

- Au Revoir

"  He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise." - Henry David Thoreau