Friday, March 23, 2012

Ravioli's Made with Wonton Wrappers

Today was productive!  Tried some new things, too.  I made a new recipe for lunch taken from another really cool blog and then decided to experiment for dinner...

....see below for recipe...


For breakfast, we had steel cut oats with some maple syrup.  I think steel cut oats are way better because of the chewy texture.  I never made it for the kids before, but they ate it right up.  I found online, that you can make steel cut oats in the rice cooker.  So, I tried it.  Definitely worked!  You can't just set it up and walk away though.  At least not toward the end of cooking.  Once the oats start to get tender, you may want to stir it a bit and watch it until it all gets creamy because it seemed like it was going to start sticking to the bottom if I didn't stir it.  It didn't seem to take as long as cooking in the pot, so it was definitely worth the try.

To make in the rice cooker, do 1 part oats to 3 parts water...I made 1 cup of oats and added 3 cups of water...enough for my son, my daughter, and I.


For lunch, I tried a new recipe from the blog Weelicious.  The blog is full of great recipes for the entire family with a focus on babies and toddlers.  We all know it's a struggle to get kids to eat!  This blog is a help!  The recipe I tried today was Italian Parmesan Corncakes.  I didn't make them as pretty as the Weelicious picture, but they were tasty!  The kids really enjoyed them.  I used Galaxy Foods Rice Parmesan Cheese and Silk Organic Original Soy Milk.  Check out the rest of the blog when you get a chance.  You might find some good recipes that are helpful to get your kids to eat!


And last, for dinner, my experiment!  This is probably a disgrace to my Italian heritage, but I made raviolis out of wonton wrappers.  I took ideas from other recipes I had found online and did my own thing.   It worked!  And it was delicious!  By using the wrappers, I cut out the step of making the dough to save some time. 

So, here's what I did...


Wonton Raviolis  

For the wonton wrappers, I used Nasoya's wonton wrappers.  They are not vegan because they have eggs in them.  The package contains 48.  With the ricotta recipe below, I was able to make all 48 and have about 2 tablespoons of ricotta left over.

I started out by making the ricotta for the filling.  I made it vegan with extra-firm tofu.  The recipe I followed for the ricotta is from one of my favorite blogs I like to follow, All American Vegetarian.  The link to the recipe itself is Lasagna 2 Ways.  Just scroll down to the section for the ricotta, and follow the instructions there.  It is definitely a good ricotta recipe!

Follow the recipe from the link above...you'll need your food processor or your hands!

...then I set it aside...


Lay out each wrapper on a dry surface and scoop 1 teaspoon of ricotta on to the wrapper.


Then wet the edges with a little bit of water, fold the wrappers from corner to corner, and seal the edges.


As I made them I set them aside in a bake pan with a little bit of corn meal to keep them from sticking together.


In a large pot, filled a little over half way with water, bring water to a boil.  One at a time, carefully place raviolis in the pot.  Boil the raviolis until they are tender, about 2 to 5 minutes.


When done cooking, with a slotted spoon to drain water, scoop raviolis out of the pot and serve immediately in dishes.  I have learned that if you put them in a serving bowl with some tomato sauce, they still stick together.  They were hard to get out of the bowl to serve unless I was really careful.



We topped it with a favorite tomato sauce recipe and some Galaxy Foods Rice Parmesan.

 The texture of the cooked wonton wasn't exactly the same as an authentic ravioli, but it served its purpose and was still yummy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strawberries and Yogurt...Some "Meatloaf", Too

Yeah, it's been a while...I haven't been on top of my game, especially with blogging.  I haven't really tried a whole lot of new stuff either.  I kind of go through phases with new recipes.  I make something new every night and then I loose my momentum.  Please bare with me  :)  I may have been slowing down, but am not stopping.

So, today, I'll just blog what I have eaten.  It may give you some ideas to try some new stuff.

For breakfast, I had a very refreshing bowl of a half cup of Stonyfield French Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt.  My fave!...with about a cup of chopped ruby red strawberries and 2 tablespoons of my mother's Great Granola.  YUM!


Strawberries have been one of my favorite fruits these days.  I can't get enough of them!  

Lunch was leftovers...

Dinner was a new recipe I found on Happy Herbivore's  blog.  I have been searching for a really good veggie meat loaf recipe.  I thought I found one on VegWeb.com, but I think I found a better one.  Easy, tasty, and quick!  The longest part is the baking.  Since I didn't change anything, here's the link to the recipe.  You would need a package of Gimme Lean Beef-style ground "meat" to make it.  Gimme Lean can be pricey though.  When it's on sale, I grab a package or two for a quick meal when I can't make my imitation meat from scratch.

The recipe suggests baking for 1 hour and 30 minutes, but the recipe says it could be baked less and to check it, depending on your oven.  I could have baked it for a maximum of 1 hour and 15.  It was moist, but the edges got a tad crispy.  Still tasty though!  We topped it with a mushroom gravy recipe from VegWeb.com.  Another favorite of mine.


I can't wait to try it tomorrow, leftover.  I'm sure it makes a great sandwich!

We had the loaf with a side of baked potato...another fave of mine sine I was a kid...with a little bit of Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette...better than using butter, or even vegan butter...I love baked potato with dressing rather than butter.  Even when we eat out, I may ask for baked potato with some dressing on the side instead of fries to cut back on calories...and it's better for you!


I also used my new steamer today, my brother gave me for my birthday.  Great invention!  I steamed some carrots until they just began to soften and still had a bit of a crisp.  I set the timer and walked away!  The way I like it!  I do like the simplicity of the 1800's BUT I do appreciate the technology of today, no doubt!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Crock Pot Vegetable Stew


Here's a  quick crock pot recipe!  I got it from the cookbook Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  The original title of the recipe is "Crock Pot Mediterranean Vegetable Stew."  My version of it is a "throw it all in the crock pot and turn it on" type recipe, which is why I like it.  I feel that if you're going to use the crock pot, why would you want to saute and do prepping before the food gets thrown in?  I don't have time...anyways, this recipe I modified and made it quicker.  I omitted some things as well.  For example; it called for a fennel bulb, but those can be expensive...even though they are delicious!  So, here's my version...

Jamie's Crock Pot Vegetable Stew

You can access a printable version of this recipe HERE.


3 medium garlic cloves, minced


1 large carrot, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound white potato, chopped (that's about 3 medium potatoes)

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 - 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes, undrained OR 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 - 15.5 ounce canned chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all in the crock pot and set crock pot for 6 to 8 hours.  Done!

 We like to throw some pasta in, too.  I might use ditalini or some type of pasta that size.  I'll measure a cup of dry pasta and cook and drain it.  Then when stew is done, I throw it in.  But the pasta is definitely not necessary!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Easy Zucchini Bread

I needed to make some more snacks for the family.  I'm really trying to avoid buying snacks when I could make them.  Muffins, cookies, and quick breads are all good snacks for the kids through out the day or for the hubby to take to work.  So, I took the zucchini bread recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and veganized it.  There were a few recipes online, but they seemed similar to what I had in front of me, or had ingredients I didn't have.  Here's a simple version and pretty tasty!  It's moist, but it's not as moist as I'd like it to be.  Using oil instead of apple sauce would make it more moist if you want to give that a shot.  I used only apple sauce because I like to cut back on the fat. Try it out and let me know what you think!  ðŸ˜‰


Better Homes and Gardens Zucchini Bread...Veganized

You can find a printable version of this recipe HERE.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup sugar ( a bit much, but most of the recipes, in the little time I had to search out, seemed to have just as much)

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

1/2 cup apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients:  both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground nutmeg.


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, grated zucchini, and apple sauce.


Combine the zucchini mixture with the dry mixture.


Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan.


Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.


Let cool before slicing.  
We love zucchini bread with a little bit of cream cheese.  Yum!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pad Thai

I was on my favorite site, VegWeb, and I came across a Pad Thai recipe that I thought looked amazing.  I've been wanting to try making Pad Thai for the longest time, but never had the right ingredients.  When I saw this recipe, I was really excited!  It was such a simple version that any average Joe would have the ingredients around the house...except for the rice noodles.  I don't think that's an average ingredient...or maybe it is?  I'm Italian, so I always have pasta, but not Asian noodles,  especially, because they are a bit more expensive.  Well, I had the rice noodles this time!  I bought them a short while back to save for a special recipe.  I made the Pad Thai tonight, and, oh, was it good!!!  It definitely passed the hubby and kid test!


I made my version of the Pad Thai recipe that I found, which I will share with you.  If you would like to see the original, click here.  I had to cut this recipe in half, except for the tofu, because 1 pound of any pasta or noodles is too much for my family to eat.  We would have tons of leftovers.

The key to making this, if you are using a wok, which I did, is you want to make sure you have every ingredient ready to go to throw in the wok when it's time to cook it.  I've made the mistake, many times, of not having an ingredient ready and either burning what was in the wok or splattering oil.  Not fun!













Pad Thai (the Jamie version)


You can get the printable version HERE.

1/2 pound uncooked rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 1/2 hour and drained

14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed, and cubed (I use Woodstock Farms)

1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup canola oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar (I use Florida Crystals organic sugar)

1 Tablespoon ketchup (yes ketchup!)

1 teaspoon paprika

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

16 ounces of frozen Asian vegetable mix OR approximately 2 cups of your favorite stir-fry vegetables (carrots, broccoli, string beans, green pepper, etc.)


Heat up 1/4 cup of canola oil in your wok on medium low.  Be sure the tofu is ready before you heat your wok up because it heats up fast!  When oil is heated, throw in the cubed tofu and saute until golden.  This makes the tofu chewy.  


Once tofu is done to your liking, drain from the oil and set aside.  I placed it on a large dish lined with some napkins to drain out any extra oil.


Once tofu is removed from your wok, with the extra oil left from the sautéing, saute your veggies until heated, if they were frozen, or tender yet still with a crunch, if they are fresh...I don't like them too soft...when they are done, remove from the wok, and set aside.


While veggies are sautéing, in a small mixing bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and paprika, and set aside.  


After the veggies have cooked, and have been removed from your wok, heat 1/8 cup of canola oil in the wok on medium low and saute the soaked and drained rice noodles, coating them well.  Once they are coated in the oil, add the soy sauce mixture and the garlic into the wok with the rice noodles.  Keep the sauce at a simmer, and continue to mix the noodles and the sauce frequently. 


You'll begin to notice the noodles soften a bit more as they absorb the sauce.


Once noodles are cooked and the liquid is almost completely absorbed into the noodles, add back in the  tofu and the veggies, and heat through.


Once heated through, eat up, and enjoy!   

Mom's Great Granola

I love granola!  I like to have it with some soy milk or sprinkle it in my yogurt or on top of a fruit smoothie.  But it's too expensive for my budget.  So, I make it!  I have a good granola recipe I would like to share created by my mother.  It's so easy and doesn't take a whole lot of time at all.  



 The only thing I was missing this time was the sesame seeds...bummer.  But you can add or omit any of the seeds if you choose not to use them, don't have them, or don't like them.  You can even add in some nuts or dried fruit.  You would throw in the dried fruit after the baking when you put the granola away for storing, or just sprinkle it on top of your granola when you're ready to have a bowl, which is what I do.

Mom's Great Granola
3 cups rolled oats

3 Tablespoons corn meal

3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour

3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

3 Tablespoons sunflower seeds

3 Tablespoons flax seed

2 Tablespoons wheat germ

1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons maple syrup (this adds just the right sweetness!)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine well the dry ingredients in a large bowl: rolled oats, corn meal, whole wheat flour, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and wheat germ


 In a separate small bowl, whisk together the canola oil and the maple syrup until it thickens.


 Pour the maple syrup mixture into the oats mixture and coat well.


 Spread the entire bowl of coated oats onto the greased cookie sheet and lay out the mixture evenly.  


 Bake for 30 minutes tossing every 10 minutes.  I set the timer for 10 minutes once I place the tray in the oven, toss, then set for another 10, toss again, until I've reached the 30 minute baking time...so you'll need to toss only twice.

Once baking is completed, let cool before storing.  I usually keep it in a air tight container or mason jar. 




Monday, March 5, 2012

Hit Like A Girl 2012...Female Drummer Contest!

Hi Friends!



This has nothing to do with food, home schooling, health, or anything...BUT I am posting this for your help!  I am entering the Hit Like A Girl 2012 female drumming contest.  I have posted a video for the contest and people vote for me if they think I have the potential.  I need your votes!!  Thanks for the help!  Here's the link...

Hit Like A Girl 2012 - Jamie Fischer

I'll keep you posted on the outcome!

Thanks again!
Jamie

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cookbooks For Healthy Eating That I Think Everyone Should Have In Their Library

What a week!  Another week goes by with a blur.  I definitely over did it with all that we had accomplished this week.  There was an open house for a homeschool group we had to check out.  That was an all day event.  And yesterday, the hubby and I went skiing...me for the first time.  I did well!  I can't even remember what I did the other days, but I know I was not home!  Because of the busy week, I was again not able to really get down a good post.  Some one had asked me if, in one future post,  I could list cookbooks I use often.  Here it goes!  My suggestion is, see if you can take them out of the library first, and check them out for yourselves, and then purchase them if you like them.  I do that all the time!





The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

Some great ideas for making vegan cheeses are contained in this book.  Some of the recipes, I think, will take a little bit of getting used to with texture, and a bit of taste, but they are good recipes.  We all know how expensive vegan cheeses are in the store, so this is definitely a great alternative if you want to save some money.  But you need the time.  I like the mac and cheese recipes in this book.  Raw cashews are called for a lot in some of the recipes.  This ingredient makes the creaminess in the "cheeses."  You can make Colby, Gooda, Swizz (aka Swiss), Muenster, and Monterey Jack to name a few.



The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas

The binding on my book is now ruined, I used it so much!  All I have to say about this book is "simple and healthy!"  I LOVE this book!  I've made so many things from this one.  I got the idea for the alfredo sauce with silken tofu here.  The stir fry sauce is excellent!  And my favorite recipe is the "Teriyaki Tofu Triangles."  YUM!


Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak

I've used this one often, especially for the "Pot Roast" recipe.  I've made that recipe a ton of times, and figured out how to make it in the crock pot.  There are other great, simple recipes as well.  The mac and "cheese" in this book is good and the seitan cold cut recipes are great, too!  The "Chili Bean Mac" was another good one!  There is a newer version of this book that came out in '07.  I would get that one...alas, I still have the older version pictured here.


Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

My brother gave this book to me this past Christmas, and I am so glad he did!  You think you "can't have your cake...or cookie...and eat it, too" while trying to eat healthy?  Think again!  This book has the most amazing non-dairy cookie recipes!  And they taste great!  I still have many more recipes in this book I must try.


Pasta East Meets West by Nava Atlas

You love pasta?  I do!  This is the book for you!  My brother and I have both made recipes from this book with much satisfaction and success.  The whole book is all pasta recipes inspired by different ethnicities from around the world.  My favorite is the "Fettuccine With White Bean Sauce and Swiss Chard."  Delicious!!  The Asian recipes are excellent, too!


How It All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

More simple and healthy recipes are found in these books.  I have used these books lots of times.  There are lots of delicious salads, baked goods, soups, stews, and entrees.  How It All Vegan even has a chapter at the end for all natural living from making your own all purpose cleaners to facial masks, mouthwashes, and homemade shampoos.  In The Garden of Vegan, I have a few more faves.  "Zoe's Grandma's Roasted New Potatoes" is awesome!  This one contains some more great salads, pasta salads, and entrees that you can't go wrong with.


La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer

This one I consider as the 3rd volume of the two above.  I've made the "Vegetable Biryani," "Eileen's Sesame Ginger Stir Fry," "Wolfie's Pasta Salad," and most of the mock meats in the back of the book.  They were all a success!  Delicious and yummy!


Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann

I found this book through purchasing Laptop Lunches lunch boxes.  What a cool invention!  Laptop Lunch boxes are bento boxes, I guess, Americanized.  The purpose of these bento boxes is to encourage healthy eating at lunch time in the schools.  I have one box for each of us at home and we use them all the time when we have picnic lunches or group events with play dates at the park, etc.  So many cool ideas for healthy eating for kids.  Some are time consuming, but the author shows you how to make it ahead of time.  I LOVE the pizza dough recipe in this book.  That's what I use for pizza making all the time.  I figured out how to make it in the bread machine to save time which is posted here.


Vegan Deli: Wholesome Ethnic Fast Food by Joanne Stepaniak

This book is my summer cookbook.  Summer hits, and I pull this one out often!  There are tons of delicious cold salads, dressings, spreads, and dips in here that will never be boring.  My favorite is the "Boneless Chickenless Chicken Salad" made with tofu.  Oh, my word!  AWESOME!  We've eaten it in wraps, subs, or just by itself.  The hummus and the black bean hummus are amazing, too!


Uprisings: The Whole Grain Baker's Book by The Cooperative Whole Grain Educational Association

This book is pretty cool because each recipe was drawn and hand-written.  Very creative!  But the recipes are very good as well.  My favorite from this one is the "Sandwich Rolls."  I haven't used this book a whole lot yet, but I still would recommend it.  Home-made baking is the way to go!


Peas and Thank You by Sarah Matheny

This one is a new one to my library.  Well, it hasn't been added yet...I still have to buy it, but it is on my shopping list.  I took it out of the library and followed her blog.  Great recipes!!  I've made a couple things out of this book in the little time I have had it out of the library.  I was sad to part with it today.  Her hummus and quick tomato sauce recipe are both great!  I didn't get a chance to try the entrees yet, but when I buy the book, I will be for sure.



Well, My Kids Eat It: A Vegan Cookbook for the Family by Theresa A. Velardi


This book was written by the most awesomest woman in my life that God has blessed me with...my mother.  The recipes in this book are the ones I grew up on.  From the "Wannabe Burgers" to the sauces, soups, and stir fries.  The "Stuffed Acorn Squash," her granola, the burgers, breakfast recipes, soups, pasta fagioli, and the crock pot lentil stew are among my faves...the stuff I grew up on.  YUM!  My mother is the one that started us down the way of healthy eating.  She did the research, later along with my father, and she showed me how to cook and eat healthy.  I am very thankful for that.  It is not an easy task to research and create what my mother did...and also be the one where everyone looked at her like she was nuts for changing our ways of eating.  Years ago, she was considered different for our life changes, especially, by her family.  The constant lectures from my grandfather were not easy to listen, too!  Thank you, Mom!  My family is grateful!


This last link is not a book but a website...VegWeb...what a great site!!  This site contains recipes from people all over the place.  You create an account and when you want to share a recipe of your own or something from a cookbook, you post it for everyone else to try.   You can leave a picture of it, and people can write reviews of what they thought of the recipe and how they have modified it for themselves.  If you want to test out some of your own creations with others...that are vegan, of course...this site is the place to start.  I am on there often!  I even have a few of my own recipes there that I want to eventually post on my blog.  Be on the look out!