Saturday, February 20, 2010

Creamy Sweet Potato Bake

The other day, as Loretta and her beautiful children were leaving my house, I mentioned I wasn't sure what I would make for dinner. She said she was making the Creamy Sweet Potato Bake from Vegan Yum Yum. I had seen this recipe in the cookbook, but always seemed to be missing an ingredient. Not this day! One of the reasons I love blogs is I can hear from others what recipes they are making out of cookbooks and how they liked them, see pictures, as well as see new recipes. It is nice to have friends who cook similarly so we can recommend dishes to each other. We love whole wheat pasta, kale, and sweet potatoes so this meal was a hit.
If some in your family are adverse to sweet potatoes, cut them up small and you could probably add it to the sauce to really hide the sweet potato, but who doesn't love them? I am not big on topping things with bread crumbs so I used gomashio on the leftovers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two Tasty Tomato Soups

I love homemade tomato soup. It brings me back to my childhood. Sure, it was canned tomato soup when I was a kid, but it was oh so comforting. I don't know why my mother, who was a very good cook, didn't make her own tomato soup, but I don't remember her doing anything besides opening the can and adding milk. Maybe it was because I loved tomato soup, but hated tomatoes. Silly childhood pickiness. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches equaled my perfect lunch as a child.
Flash forward, adult me could live on homemade vegan tomato soup during winter (I don't even miss the grilled cheese so I've never tried to veganize it). The first picture is Tomato Orzo Soup (page 166 in 1,000 Vegan Recipes). I subbed star pasta for the orzo and probably added some tahini because I can't help myself. The end result reminded me of another childhood favorite from a can ending in o's. Really hit the comfort food button. I baked some potato slices dredged in nooch and Old Bay Seasoning to top of the lunch. The kids ate it up even though they have never eaten canned tomato soup nor canned o's.
This picture is from another Christmas cookbook, Vegan Yum Yum. Oh the eye candy in this cookbook!!! Don't let my picture fool you Vegan Yum Yum is a feast before you even start to cook. Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup is excellent. Adding chickpeas is genius and it went well with papadums and hummus. Both soups are satisfying, delicious, and nutritious. I wish I had a bowl right now.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quick Pad Thai

Pad Thai from 1,000 Vegan Recipes
(for a beautiful picture of this dish, check out Cooking From 1,000 Vegan Recipes)

We love Thai food, but I rarely make it at home and I worry sometimes when eating out because of the hidden fish lurking in some Thai dishes. We usually get to know the owner of a restaurant before feeling comfortable ordering anything outside of the vegetarian section. Luckily, we have a couple Thai restaurants in town where they know us and we trust them and know the ingredients. Still, eating out is not cheap for a family of five and I love to cook. I also like to add more veggies to Thai dishes and I can do that easily at home. I jump for joy when I find already veganized Thai recipes. Pad Thai on page 236 of 1,000 Vegan Recipes was calling to me the other night.

I received 1,000 Vegan Recipes finally for Christmas and I've been thoroughly enjoying it. You will see many posts from this home run from Robin Robertson. I did some testing for some of the recipes and I knew it would become a well used book. I love being able to look in the refrigerator and see what I have on hand, look in the index, and whip up something tasty for dinner. There is something magical about this cookbook.

So, how was the Pad Thai? We couldn't stop eating it. We like our Thai food hot, but it is easy to up the spiciness and I used red curry paste in place of crushed red pepper (and doubled it, but we could have used even more heat). I used lemon juice because I was out of limes. I used cashews instead of peanuts (I never have peanuts around). Even with all these substitutions, I was very happy with this dish. I added steamed green beans and garnished with carrots. For locals, I think the taste is between Tara Thai and the Y Eatery (leaning more to the Y Eatery). Yum and quick!!!

What do you do with opened tamarind paste? I can never find a good way to store this sticky mess. Also, does anyone know where to find brown rice noodles? I thought I saw some on a blog a while back. This would make me feel better about eating Pad Thai.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Double Digits

My eldest is ten. It is hard to believe he has grown from this to a decade old young man. He taught me how to love. I mean really love someone without wanting anything from them. The kind of love that has no conditions. The kind of love where you would die for that person...really. Loving Parker made every other love in my life deeper and more meaningful. Parker has made my life so much better just by being himself. He is an old soul and I don't think for a moment that I can take credit for the person he is. He came into this world with a personality that melts my heart and makes me want to be a better person. No one is perfect and he definitely has his days when I realize, yes, he is a child...a goofy kid, at times. He spends hours in his own imagination, he likes to have things neat and orderly, he thinks of others almost to a fault, he takes care of everyone and is a wonderful big brother, he is smart and funny, he takes forever to tell a story, he feels equally content alone and in crowds, he finds it hard to take a compliment, he stays up way too late, he has more patience than anyone I know, he adores being outside in freezing cold and sweltering heat, he is terrified of tornadoes, he gets queasy when he sees blood, he loves to create, he is a little too cautious, he loves other children from babies to late teens, it pains him to see others suffer, he feels everything deeply, he is sensitive and trusting...he filled my heart so much I didn't think I could love another child, but he showed me that hearts grow to fit our needs.
When he was born, I knew I wanted to hold him, to get to know him, even if he only lived ten minutes. Now ten years have gone by in an instant. I wish I could relive every second and take it all in more deeply. Cherish it all even more. How unParker of me to wish this. He lives in the moment. He holds his memories dear, but lets go of the past and future. I learn something new every day with him and I hope we have several decades more together. I love you, sweetheart. Happy Birthday!