Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pack-a-Snack #87

A cinnamon roll.

Did you know that a lot of the cinnamon rolls that come in those cans you pop out and bake are incidentally vegan? These came from Trader Joe's.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Skater Lunch Box #31

I almost never pack just one thing for lunch, but I was in a hurry and this couscous salad hits most of the high points. I just had to make sure to get some legume-based protein at breakfast (via the soy milk on my cereal, as it happens.) The salad was a modification of this recipe. I was really pleased with how my version turned out!

Colorful Couscous Salad Dressed with Lime and Cilantro
Serves: 1

2 teaspoons melted vegan butter, such as Earth balance
1 teaspoon lime juice
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 cube frozen cilantro
About 1 cup leftover cooked couscous, at room temperature (you can microwave it for about 15 seconds if needed)
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 very small avocado or 1/2 a normally sized avocado

Whisk melted vegan butter, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, cilantro, salt, and pepper with a fork in a small bowl; set aside.

Mix couscous, tomatoes, corn, and scallions. Cube avocado and set atop the couscous mixture. Immediately top with the dressing and mix gently.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #62

Vegetable gyoza with an improvisational dipping sauce (soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and sesame seeds), apple wedges with a cinnamon-chocolate spread for dipping, and veggie and edamame fried rice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Insulated Jar & Sides #35

Spinach sauteed with garlic and tomatoes, some simple steamed carrots with a bit of margarine and seasoning salt, Skillet Bulgur and Mushroom Casserole (recipe below), and pumpkin cookies.

I veganized a recipe in Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just You) to excellent effect! In Frances Price's cookbook, this is called "Skillet Casserole of Bulgur & Crimini Mushrooms," but I had no crimini mushrooms and it wasn't vegan. I was undaunted and plunged ahead anyway. Bulgur is cheap and nutty and delightful; it is also relatively high in protein, as are mushrooms.

Skillet Bulgur and Mushroom Casserole
Serves: 2-3

1 tablespoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (white or crimini--I used white)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 cups vegetable broth (I recommend making this from the "no chicken" Better than Bouillon paste)
1/2 cup bulgur
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup dairy free sour cream (optional)
Salt free seasoning blend (like Mrs. Dash) to taste (optional)

Melt vegan butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring frequently. As the mushrooms release their juices, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the broth.

Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil quickly, then add the bulgur, thyme, and a little more salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender. The bulgur will absorb liquid as it stands.

When ready to serve, stir the sour cream in and season with salt free seasoning blend, if using.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Insulated Jar & Sides #34

Cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar and black and white sesame seeds, Japanese-style veggie and edamame fried rice (from Trader Joe's--too much going on to actually cook), and raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips.

The Trader Joe's fried rice was so good. It was also embarrassingly simple to prep--take out of the freezer, cut a corner in the bag, then microwave for a few minutes. I prefer to cook my own food, especially something as inexpensive and easy to do as fried rice; however, you can't do everything all the time, and this week is really hectic, with some late nights and early mornings. I dream of a time when I can live a life worthy of envy from strangers on the internet, complete with all-from-scratch meals and a perfect apartment, but real life rarely lives up to fantasy.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thermos 3-Tier Bento #1

This is is Couscous with Sweet Potatoes & Yellow Squash from Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just You), raspberries, and kiwi.

With winter coming, I invested in a new lunch container. (Did I need an excuse? Hmm.) This is a Thermos bento jar that is kind of a knockoff of Mr. Bento. It has three tiers, with the bottom ones supposedly staying hot while the top one is more room temperature. Instead of Mr. Bento's chopsticks, it comes with a big spoon in a giant spoon-shaped case. I found a photo of the thing on the Target website.

We'll see. The bottom tier was definitely warm but the middle one wasn't as hot as I would have liked--still, that may be because it wasn't really full.

As I continue on this journey of figuring out what veganism is for me--about a year in now--I went through some of the old omnivore cookbooks I'd loved before the transition to find out if there were things I could try in them. It turned out, there are a lot of recipes that are either already vegan or easily veganized. So, having always loved couscous, I gave this one a whirl.

It claims to serve two, but in my opinion it serves something like 4. I think if I made it again I would leave out the chickpeas (I've come to terms with the fact that I don't like chickpeas in their unprocessed form--I need them mashed or pureed, and I'm okay with this) and serve it with some sort of other source of lysine (that's the essential amino acid usually lacking in grains) to complete the protein. I might add cauliflower or something, and I think it could use a hint of green (maybe zucchini instead of yellow squash). I'd also up the couscous-to-veggie ratio. But the flavor profile was nice, and I especially liked the way the couscous tasted when the juice had a chance to soak into it.

A bonus for this not seeming "weird" to omnivores, who are usually oddly skeptical of my food a lot of the time.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pack-a-Snack #86

Squares from one of my favorite chocolate bars and glazed pecans with dried cherries.

The chocolate bar was dark chocolate salted almond butter. So good. It's made by Chocolove (who has paid me nothing to say this).