More Cooking from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Here are the other recipes I tried from Isa’s cookbook, as I cooked along with the VegCookbook Club. Moving onto a new cookbook in April.

Basic Scrambled Tempeh-I should have actually read the little box on the page that suggested steaming the tempeh before making the recipe to reduce bitterness. It was a little too savory for me, but I’m pretty sure it will be fine with the steaming and maybe a little  mustard dressing as a sauce/dip. Greens for brunch are a grand idea.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins-Very good. Love the lemon flavor that comes through from fresh lemon juice and zest.

Roasted Butternut Squash-Of course I loved it. Approximately 50% of all posts I’ve ever done involve squash in some way or other. Apparently I was too busy eating to take a picture.

Roasted Potatoes-The basic version was delicious. I couldn’t stop tasting my way through a large cookie sheet, almost.

The Perfect Pancakes I made a few weeks back in my first post on this book were, well, perfect. I still plan on the pumpkin pancakes as soon as I can. I ate too many of the muffins and potatoes last weekend and couldn’t bear the thought of pancakes. Hmmm, maybe I can’t count as a real brunch aficionado.

Basic Scrambled Tempeh from Vegan Brunch poppyseed muffins from Vegan Brunch roasted potatoes from Vegan Brunch

 

I loved this cookbook and will be obtaining my own soon. I am really lucky to be able to borrow books like this from my library as I try them out.

I appreciate Isa’s sentence at the end of the introduction: “Nothing is as delicious as a day off, good music playing, warm food for your belly, and the knowledge that you did it all without harming any of our fluffy friends.” Yes.

Have a wonderful weekend and may it include a nice brunch!

Spot-checking my plant-based diet

I recently downloaded a new (free) app called My Fitness Pal onto my iPhone. I had read in a blog (I truly don’t recall which one) that it was a useful way to “check” how you are doing with getting the appropriate number of calories or nutrients. Personally, I worry a bit over getting the optimal amount of calcium, iron, and protein. This app is very useful. You can search the database for foods that are already in there (most of mine were) or scan a bar code. Then you can adjust for how much you ate. For instance, when I have steel-cut oats in the morning, I eat 2 servings, which was easy to adjust. The app can even adjust for fractions of a serving. I was impressed that the database had the basic information for a recipe I made from the Peas and Thank You cookbook, although it didn’t have the level of detail to include the smaller nutrients such as calcium and iron for that recipe. Therefore, my calculated numbers for calcium and iron are probably below what I consumed.

So, how did I do on my spot-check day? I was pleasantly surprised. Iron was just fine-and I learned that my steel-cut oats and squash and hummus are awesome sources of iron. Calcium was ok too, considering I take a supplement. My diet provided 63% of my requirement, and my supplement provides 66%, with 2 tablets. Therefore, I just took one calcium tablet that evening. I’ve never been good at getting enough calcium through food, and that’s ok with me. I’ll work on that at some point. The winners for providing calcium were kale (curly kale in a smoothie and baby kale in a salad) and squash.

After calculating my nutrient intakes with this app, I’ll be heading to Costco a lot more often for their amazing peeled and cut butternut squash. I love their 2 pound package for 3.99.

cut up butternut squash

Butternut squash rocks the nutrition numbers…(this picture is from my own labor-intensive butternut squash cooking in the fall)

When it came to protein, never fear Mom, I came in at 49 grams. This is a bit over my requirement of 43 grams. I calculated my requirement a few years ago using the US Recommended Daily Allowance. I used the low end of the 10-35% of calories protein recommendation, because I believe that is most appropriate and healthful. I did cut my intake a bit close, however. Maybe I’ll make sure to add a little more protein with some nuts, which I usually do snack on every day, and might have forgotten to enter.

I think I will use this app once in a while, but I don’t want to use it every day–it’s time-consuming and I don’t want to be obsessive over intake. It might be something you want to try to perform a spot-check of your diet. Let me know how it goes if you try it.

Have a great week! I’m going to try to share my super-easy recipe for n0-dairy pizza this week or very soon. I think I finally am onto something in my pizza experiments.

 

Cooking from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Isa's pancakes

I started with a simple recipe from this month’s cookbook Vegan Brunch as I cook along with the VegCookbook Club. I can already tell I want to own this one (and guess who got an Amazon gift card for her birthday?). I did try to buy this locally to support our last brick and mortar book chain, but none in the city had it.

The pumpkin pancakes quickly caught my eye in Vegan Brunch. But I decided to play it safe first with the “Perfect Pancakes”.

They were delish and were also nice as a snack later. This was my first try at pancakes in a cast iron skillet. I would love feedback on what I encountered: I sprayed lightly with cooking spray (I was following her instructions for using cast iron which are given with the pumpkin pancake instructions) and the first side browned well. The second side, which hit the less oiled pan surface, was a teeny bit too crispy and didn’t look as nice. Do I spray again as I flip the pancakes, possibly spraying the other pancakes?  I’m asking in case I serve these to company. I usually cook pancakes for visitors, so I would love to have a great homemade version to whip out. This will meet the need.

In that spirit, I took a picture of the aftermath, i.e. how much cleaning and washing by hand were left when it was said and done. This was pretty light for me. Not pictured were: skillet, spatula, whisk, and bowl, which are hard to avoid whether you used a mix or not. I’d say, this certainly is a good recipe from the clean-up perspective.

pancake cleanup

I told my son he was the luckiest kid in the world-pancakes ready at 3:45 when he walked in. As for me, I’m already dreaming about those pumpkin pancakes.

I’d also like to try some savory recipes and master one sure recipe for guests. I’m thinking of trying Mushroom, Leek, and White Bean Pie or Basic Scrambled Tempeh, which has greens, onion, red pepper, garlic…

Have a good one!

Writing and musings…

When I first started out with this blog, I had a goal to write a post once per week. At times that has been really hard. Pathetic, I know you are thinking! But I came somewhat close, like maybe 80% of the time? You would think this weekly thing would not be strenuous, but as food-oriented bloggers know, cooking, experimenting, photographing…they all take time.

Recently–as I approach my first year of blogging anniversary–life has taken some interesting twists. Yes, it is the stuff of everyone’s life–work, family, friends, illnesses, deaths. It’s just the way life is. It has made me question this weekly goal, to wonder if there is really meaning in it. I am not paid to do this. I don’t get the yearly performance evaluation, thankfully. I probably knew it all along, this had come to cause me stress, another deadline hanging over my head and written on my to-do list. Logically, this led to: Do I really want to do this at all? I had to go back to why I started a blog…

Once I found the blog world, admittedly years after the rest of the world, I wanted to be able to interact with others within these blogs. It struck me, this was my perfect chance to write too! My desire to write originally had nothing to do with food. It had started with a thought, that I would like to write a story about a true (very inspiring and touching) incident with one of my young patients. I started it, and I think it could have been a neat little piece. Not professional, but maybe not bad for a medical person with no creative writing experience and a writing/grammar education eroded by a move to a new state in high school. Well, the wonderful world of HIPAA kept gnawing at me. HIPAA is the legislation that enforces and ensures privacy regarding medical records and information. I don’t want to be messing with it, trust me. I knew that no matter what, I could not disguise my story, and if I tried, it would ethically bother me and  the story would lose its beauty. That project conclusively went to the back burner. However, my desire to write for pleasure was soon confirmed via a well-crafted magazine article, which was kind of like a written life coaching session. My enthusiasm for all I was learning from the blogosphere and newly-found cookbooks was the perfect reason to start this blog. I am not sure why I felt goals and pressure had to come along.

The conclusion of this rambling is that I’m going to reduce the expectations I have placed on myself.  I will definitely still write here, but probably less predictably. I still have a passion for healthy, simple, vegetarian cooking and eating. I recognize that I want to write, but to what end, I’m unclear. I’m not sure if this writing pursuit will show itself on this blog, or possibly on a new blog not centered on food. I may find a creative writing workshop or class. And I may even have to put these ideas on the shelf for the time being. I haven’t felt much space and time for creativity recently.

As far as veggie blogging, I do have one tip/thought this week, and for me, it’s BIG. Finally, thank goodness, a non-dairy, not full of chemicals and artificial creations, coffee creamer. I will admit, I did not know if I would ever find a creamer that did not give me a daily reminder of how I missed my coffee the old way with dairy creamer. As I’m trying to explore and stick with a plant-based diet, this was a nagging problem. The winner is (after trying multiple soy, almond, and coconut options for months)…Trader Joe’s! If you ever have this can’t-find-decent creamer issue, this might be worth a try.

soy creamer

Thanks for reading and have a great week. Hope to see you soon.