Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thai Red Lentil Coconut Curry

9/25/12  Boulder, CO

   I've worked in the restaurant industry for several years and, generally speaking, chef's really don't like vegans.  They don't even like vegetarians.  They often don't really care whether your soup has chicken broth, or even think of that as being non-vegetarian.  Plus they cook your veggie burger on the same grill as the meat, and why should they care about that?  There is no point asking them to.  If you have an allergy, they don't want to be responsible for  killing you, but they still don't like you.  They want to make what they like, the way they know how, and their passion dies when they are forced to make substitutions or leave out key ingredients.  They want you to like it how they like it.     Sorry to break this to you, but the servers don't like you either.  They don't want to take the extra time to make note of all your elaborate preferences.  They want their job to go as smooth as possible, without you throwing a stick in the spokes.  I don't eat out much at all, but if I do, I dread asking them to cater to my needs.  

  I love authentic Indain and Thai food.  I know going out to eat at ethnic restaurants, specifically Indian and Thai will usually leave me with many vegan options.  But Indian food, though often plant based,  loves to contain yogurt and clarified butter.  Thai food loves to sneak fish sauce in everything.  I don't really know what that is exactly, but I know I really don't want to consume it.  Again I really like to know what I'm eating.  That leaves me my favorite option, to make my own ethnic foods at home.  Which I am very happy to do!  

  This recipe has very similar flavor to a red Thai curry, without that pesky fish sauce!

Thai Red Lentil Coconut Curry, Vegan, Gluten Free
Thai Red Lentil Coconut Curry

Thai Red Lentil Coconut Curry

Vegan, Gluten Free

1/2 a yellow onion, diced
1tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, but if you like spicy...do it!)
1 tsp garam masala 
1/2 tsp of the following spices:  ground coriander, celery seed, cumin, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek seed, cardamom seeds, salt*
1 c. red lentils
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cubed
3 c. water
2 tbsp soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 c. chickpeas, cooked
1 c. kidney beans, cooked
1 13oz can coconut milk
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1.5 c. baby spinach
2 tbsp sugar
3 curry leaves (optional)
2 c. cooked rice, white or brown
1/4 c. basil leaves

*Spices are so important in my recipes.  Obviously it would be very pricey to purchase a bottle of all these spices, and wasteful since you probably won't use a whole bottle of some of them in a lifetime. And you sure can't fit all those bottles in an RV pantry.  I recommend finding a natural grocer such as a Whole Foods or health food store that carries bulk spices, sold by weight.  This way, you can buy just a 1/2 tsp of  each spice (or exactly how much you want) for a few cents per oz.  Your bring it home in a little plastic bag, and you are not breaking the bank or paying for wasteful packaging.  It is a great thing!  Try it!

-Heat sauce pot to med/high heat.  Add coconut oil.  Add onion to oil and let cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally.
- Add water, soy sauce, potatoes, curry leaves, spices, sugar, and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med/low and simmer about 15 min.
-Add coconut milk, and beans.  Remove curry leaves.
Red lentils do not hold their shape.  They turn yellow and break down to a split pea soup consistency.  When this happens, stir in rice, tomatoes, spinach, and basil.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Karen's Ingredient Glossary

Seitan? What is that?  

   I keep cooking with seitan and not telling you anything about it.  Seitan is my meat alternative of choice.  It has actually been used in asian cuisine for centuries, originally  developed by Buddhist monks.  It is made of wheat gluten flour.  The gluten gives it a texture that looks and tastes much like meat.  The wheat gluten flour is mixed with a liquid such as vegetable broth, wine, or a soy sauce & water mixture and then baked to form a loaf. Though it's consistency is much firmer and denser than bread,  it is a type of bread.  Wheat meat.  It is actually an excellent source of protein, too.  The great thing about it is it can be seasoned to replicate your favorite meats.  I've altered the recipe dozens of times, making homemade pepperoni, italian sausage, pastrami, corned beef, chicken fried steak, thanksgiving turkey, meatballs, chorizo, and gyros.  I highly recommend trying to substitute your favorite meaty dish with seitan.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.  You can buy it ready made at almost any grocery store, but making it yourself is way more cost effective.  It's quite easy to make,  and you have the pleasure to season it  how you like.

Nutritional Yeast- your new best friend.

   Another ingredient common in my recipes is nutritional yeast.  I use it daily.  It looks like yellow flakes.  It sure doesn't sound appetizing, but it has a salty, nutty, cheesy flavor, kinda like parmesan cheese.   Delicious on salads, popcorn, and a great overall cheese substitute. It is a natural, inactive yeast.   Great source of vitamin B12 and it saves the day when I want something cheesy.  It should not be confused with brewer's yeast which tastes bitter, or the active yeast used for leavening.  It is inexpensive and readily available packaged or in bulk at natural food stores.

Tofu-  Please don't be scared

  I know what you're thinking.  Ew.  Even if you never tried it, you hear it and shudder. Whenever I mention tofu, I scare people away.  Tofu gives us vegetarians a bad name.  I admit it....open a package of tofu,  take a bite.  It doesn't taste good.  In it's out of the package unseasoned state, it has a very mild flavor...that is not very pleasant.  You have to give that tofu some love.  It is actually a very versatile ingredient.  With a soft cheese or scrambled egg like texture, it takes on any seasoning you give it.  Don't be scared to marinate that tofu in some flavor.  All of a sudden, it is delicious.  I've been making tofu scrambles for years, way before I stopped eating eggs, because I actually like it better than eggs.

  I notice a lot of people think soy is bad.  Avoid processed soy and stick with traditional soy products such as tofu, miso, and tempeh.  Much like gluten (in my opinion), if it's not an actual allergy, you have nothing to worry about.  I'm no doctor, but common sense tells me that gluten and soy have been around for thousands of years.  They are very basic plant based ingredients.  Again, in my opinion, it is when you add preservatives, oils, refined sugars, etc, that these foods become an unhealthy problem.  People experience health problems and weight gain from all the additives.  If you just eat natural foods from the source, your food will taste better and it will be better for you.  Another thing to look for is certified organic soy products.  This way you can be sure they are not treated with any harsh chemicals such as the very toxic hexane, and that the soy you're eating is from non GMO beans.

Liquid Aminos

  Liquid aminos are a liquid protein derived from soybeans.   It is considered a gluten free, preservative free, substitute for soy sauce or tamari.  It tastes a lot like soy sauce.  In fact, I can't tell the difference.  It does have much lower, naturally occurring sodium than soy sauce, and contains 16 essential amino acids.   I often use it instead of bouillon to make a broth.  It is very inexpensive, and you can easily find non-GMO certified brands such as Braggs Liquid Aminos, at any supermarket or natural foods store.

I will add more to this glossary eventually.  Please let me know if you are interested in more info on any other ingredients.


Miso is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soy beans, rice barley, and other grains.  It is used primarily as a salty seasoning and a base for  dips, dressings, sauces, and soups.  Different types of miso vary in flavor, aroma, and color.  It is high in B-complex vitamins.  Avoid boiling miso which destroys some of its nutritional value and digestive properties.  Stored in a tightly sealed container, miso will keep for months.  Find it in a refrigerated section of the natural foods store.

Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is an excellent seasoning for soups, sauces, and bean dishes.  It adds a nice hickory (they also have mesquite) smokey flavor.  It is a great substitute flavor for a ham bone in soups or for pork with beans.  It is not spicy at all, just smokey.   No additives or preservatives, vegan and gluten free.  I use the brand Colgin for liquid smoke.  It is the most common and you can find it in the grocery store near the BBQ sauces.

Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha is a very spicy chile sauce.  I describe it as similar to a ketchup flavor and consistency but with lots of heat.  It has a slight sweetness to it.  If you like heat, sriracha can become quite an addictive condiment!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baked Ziti Pizza and The Best Pancakes Ever.

9/20/12  Back in Boulder, CO

  So I've been a vegetarian for 20 years.  I always loved animals and decided to stop eating them at a young age.  I grew up in New Jersey, and ate an abundance of pasta and pizza.  It was great!  It was an easy transition for me.  I've always loved cooking for my family and getting creative in the kitchen.  I am 3/4 Italian, 1/4 Southern farm girl, which basically means I have no choice.  I want to feed you.  My absolute favorite pastime is cooking someone a meal.   
   I tried to go vegan as a teen, back in '96, but it only lasted a few days until I had an uncontrollable craving for pancakes and butter.  During those few days of being teen vegan Karen, I also worried about pizza.  How would I get my all consuming pizza fix?  Anyone that knows me will tell you that I NEED pizza.  I'm obsessive about it.  My soul depends on it. You just can't taste NJ shore pizza and then... just do without it for the rest of your life!  It can't be done.  This pizza obsession carried through my teens, twenties, and until recently, I had not even considered going vegan again because of it.       

  The more I got into creative cooking,  the better I got at it.  I learned about all kinds of new ingredients.  I cut out almost all foods that were processed, or had preservatives in them.  I started making everything from scratch.  I like knowing what is in my food.  If I read a packaging label and have no clue what the ingredient is, then I don't eat it.  Now I was never a big girl or anything, but the minute I started doing this, I lost 30 lbs.  I have maintained that weight for about 4 years now.   My eating habits have never really been about weight loss,  but it sure was a nice perk!

  The more natural, real foods I consume, the better I feel.  More energy, happier, feeling better.  I did eventually cut out almost all dairy except for mozzarella for my homemade pizzas and butter for my pancakes.  The more plant based my diet became, the less dairy I craved.  Then I started reading about how plant based diets can actually heal people's ailments.  A plant based diet can actually cure heart disease, reverse diabetes, and obesity.   One day it just clicked.  It makes sense that what you eat affects how you feel.  Food can heal you.  If you eat crap, you feel like crap.  I thought about veganism again.  100% plant based diet.  I experimented on making dairy free cheeses using different people's recipes and adding my own touch to some.  It took awhile but I got there....and here I am.  

Baked Ziti Pizza.  Why? Just trust me.

Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza

for the crust:
2/3 c. luke warm/hot water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp active yeast
1 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt

-In a small bowl add sugar and pour water in.  Mix until sugar dissolves.  Sprinkle yeast over water and stir.  Let sit 5 min until yeast looks foamy.  Meanwhile in a separate large bowl, mix flours and salt.  When water mixture is foamy, slowly pour into flour mixture mix together, then knead for about 3 minutes.  Let rest in bowl, covered with a towel for at least 30 minutes. 

for the cheese:
1 c. firm tofu, crumbled  (Wait, don't go! I said trust me!)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1tbsp olive oil

-smash and mix all cheese ingredients with a fork

for the sauce:
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp red wine
1/2 a jalepeno chopped (optional)

-in a small pot, saute garlic and olive oil over med heat until golden brown.  turn temp to low, add crushed tomato, oregano, parsley, salt, fennel, paprika, jalepeno, and wine.  Cook 20 min or so, until the dough is done

1/2 lb ziti or penne, cooked

- Preheat oven to 425.  Rub some olive oil over a 9x13" casserole dish...or the biggest that will fit in your teeny tiny RV oven.  When dough is ready it should have just about doubled in size.  Pick it up and stretch it a bit.  Pretend it's a steering wheel, and make a long left turn.  Lay it in the casserole dish and push it around, stretching it more and more, make it fit that casserole dish!  It will resist but eventually give in and fit that thing.
-Mix the cooked pasta and the sauce together.  Pour it on top of the dough.  Layer the top with the cheese mixture.

Bake at 425 for about 15 min or until crust looks golden brown.

The Best Pancakes Ever
makes 4-6 pancakes

1/2 c. All purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 c. water 
1/4 tsp cinnamon
handful chopped walnuts or pecans
2 dates, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rosemary 
3 dried figs, chopped
1 tsp coconut oil

in a large bowl, mix everything except the water, vanilla, and coconut oil.  Slowly add water and vanilla to mixture and stir to combine.
-Heat frying pan med/high.  Add coconut oil.  When pan is good and hot, pour pancake batter about the size...of a pancake! onto the pan.  let it brown for 3-5 minutes before flipping to the other side.  3 min on the other side.  
I use Earth Balance organic buttery spread.  It tastes as close to butter as I've ever tasted, and it is totally vegan.  Serve hot!

If you happen to try any of my recipes, please post a comment and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lentil "Meatloaf" Muffins

9/18/12 Vedauwoo, WY

  We finally hit the road in the Pioneer for our 2 days off work.  It was the pioneer's 1st real voyage.  Very exciting.  Sean & I have been dreaming about visiting Vedauwoo for some rock climbing, scrambling, general exploring, and adventure. It was the perfect place for all of that.  

Vedauwoo, WY

  Oh and how convenient is living in an RV?  All the comforts of home & a stunning view out the front door.  I can bring ALL my shoes on vacation!  I've always wanted to do that.  Not to mention all my food supplies.  I love camping, but I want more than a small cooler's worth of food to bring.  I want to bring my whole kitchen.  So I did!
  I often have minimal room in the RV fridge for leftovers.  This forces me to make meals using my leftovers so I don't have to waste anything.  Today, I looked in the fridge and I had leftover cooked lentils and leftover tomato sauce from a pasta dish the other night.  I decided to make a lentil loaf with them. Much like a meatloaf but without the meat.  It's a hearty flavorful dish great with a homemade gravy or even just a little ketchup.  I thought the meal should be pre-portioned so I could easily freeze what we don't eat, so I baked it in muffin cups.

Lentil "Meatlof" Muffins

They're cute, aren't they?

Lentil "Meatloaf" Muffins

(makes 12-15 muffins)

4 c. cooked lentils (brown, green, french, or dahl)  I used dahl here.
1 tbsp flax seed meal
3/4 vegetable broth
1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 c. Vital wheat gluten flour
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
1 c. crushed tomatoes (or leftover tomato sauce)
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh parsley

In a small bowl:
mix broth, worcestershire, tomato sauce, ketchup, & flax seed meal

In a large bowl:
Mix lentils, dried parsley, cumin, paprika, nutritional yeast, black pepper, sage, vital wheat gluten flour, bread crumbs, salt, baking powder, fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425
Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix with a fork, smashing some of the lentils, combine well. 

Spoon mixture into muffin cups.  Fill them completely with a little extra heaping over the top of the muffin cup

Bake at 425 about 15 min. Turn heat to 350.   Bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Let rest removed from heat about 5 min.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Biscuit Pot Pie

9/7/12 Boulder Canyon- Boulder, CO

  Today stayed cool all day.  It felt like fall.  The moment summer weather disappears, even if for a day, I get really excited about cold weather food.  Soups, casseroles, homemade breads, warm enticing comfort foods.  I went right to town on this earthy, vegetable packed, fall staple...

Biscuit Pot Pie

Biscuit Pot Pie
(serves 4-6)

for biscuit:
2 c. all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4 c. water

for filling: 
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. sliced seitan*
1 c. vegetable broth
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c. cooked chick peas
1/4 c shelled edamame or peas
1/3 of a yellow onion, chopped
3 white button mushrooms, sliced
1-2 leaves of kale, remove vein & chop
1/4 c. water
1 tbsp miso
dash celery seed
1/4 tsp dried sage
2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 400ยบ.  In a 9x13" casserole dish, layer potatoes on the bottom and pour vegetable broth on top.  Bake 15 min.

Remove from oven and layer over potatoes: carrots, seitan, garlic, chick peas, edamame, onion, mushroom, and kale

in a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together 1/4 c. water, miso, celery seed, sage, nutritional yeast, cornstarch,  and smoked paprika.  Pour over vegetables and bake another 15 min.

While that is baking...
in a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and 3/4 c. of water.  knead and add more flour if necessary. roll out dough until it is about the size of the casserole dish.  

Lay the biscuit dough right on top of the veggies and bake until dough is golden brown.  10-15 min.

* I make the seitan myself in advance, slice it, and store it in the freezer.  I just take how many slices I need from the freezer, and defrost per meal.  A loaf of seitan lasts over a month in the freezer.  I use Robin Robertson’s recipe from her book Vegan on the Cheap.   You should own that book.  It will change your life.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Heirloom Zucchini over Polenta and a Homemade Plum Tomato Sauce

9/05/12  Boulder Canyon- Boulder, CO

  We go grocery shopping often.  2-3 times per week.  We eat so much fresh produce everyday, but have this little RV fridge which is approx ⅓ the space of a standard household fridge.   Some of it doesn’t need refrigeration but most does.  So today was a grocery shopping day.  I found some delicious looking heirloom zucchinis, which are now the inspiration for my dinner tonight. Heirloom Zucchini over polenta and a homemade fresh plum tomato sauce!
   If you've never had polenta with fresh tomato sauce you are missing out on something so glorious you will want it everyday.  Especially if you are a gluten free vegan who misses Italian food, oh my god, this is your new favorite thing ever.  I don’t have any problem with gluten, but I try to eat a variety of different grains and starches.  Polenta is cornmeal cooked into a thick paste which may not sound appetizing, but oh it is.  I buy organic polenta from the bulk bin at my local natural grocer.  Corn and soy beans are the most common crops that are genetically modified, so I always make sure any corn or soy product I buy is organic, to assure me it is non GMO.  Organic foods cannot be genetically modified.
Vegan, Gluten Free

Heirloom Zucchini
over Polenta and a Homemade Plum Tomato Sauce
(serves 2) Vegan, Gluten Free

2 heirloom zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 1/4" thick
1/4 c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cayenne pepper, sliced thin
salt & pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1tsp dried parsley
1 tsp fresh parsley
3 tsp olive oil, separated 1 tsp & 2 tsp
1 tbsp red wine
1 c grits or polenta
2 c water
pinch of fresh rosemary
1/4 c vegan cream cheese*

For the sauce:
med/high heat on the stove, heat a pan and add onion, garlic, tomatoes, cayenne, oregano, fennel, parsley, 1 tbsp olive oil, red wine, and salt & pepper to taste. Layer sliced zucchini right on top of the sauce and cover pan.  Cook until zucchini is tender.

For Polenta:
While sauce is cooking, in a separate pot, boil water, add grits, 2 tbsp olive oil, and salt & pepper, cook 20 min stirring often until polenta thickens.

Take tender strips of zucchini, spoon on a thin layer of cream cheese, and a layer of the sauce.

Spread polenta on a plate, add some of the sauce over the polenta, layer zucchini over the bed of polenta & sauce.  Sprinkle with fresh rosemary.  Serve hot.

Vegan, Gluten Free

* I made my own cream cheese using the recipe from VegNews Magazine's Sept/Oct 2012 issue.  It came out absolutely amazing.  You can also find vegan cream cheese in a natural grocer or health food store.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seitan BBQ Sandwich with a Quick Hot & Pickled Slaw

9/2/12 Boulder Canyon- Boulder, CO

   We worked 6am-2pm today, so for breakfast Sean made our usual breakfast of champions.  We have a similar version of this meal for breakfast almost everyday.  I will post a recipe soon,  but basically it is a breakfast burrito consisting of rice or quinoa, tofu, broccoli, kale, arugula, maybe some beans, lots of spices, and hotsauce.  It is the best concoction ever, and it is neccesary nutrients to start our day to prepare us for a very early fast paced, stressful, physically draining job.
    Lunch we bring to work everyday.  It is either leftovers from dinner, or a sandwich that is fast to make.  We make peanut butter by putting a jar’s worth of peanuts in a food processor and process for a few minutes until creamy, then store in that jar in the fridge.  We buy organic strawberry preserves preferrably sweetened by fruit or cane sugar, we never buy it if it has corn syrup.  We are serious label readers, and don’t want any processed crap.  We buy Ezekiel bread for sandwiches, which is found in the freezer section because it has no preservatives.  It’s made from sprouted grains, and it tastes good.  Soooo basically lunch is a PB&J....and a carrot stick.  We also bring a trail mix for a snack, consisting of almonds, cashews, peanuts, shredded coconut, and and organic dried fruits.

julienned carrot


Seitan BBQ Sandwich
with a Quick Hot & Pickled Slaw
serves 2, (10 min prep time, 12-13 min cook time)

3 slices of seitan*, cut into thick shreds
2 leaves swiss chard cut, veins removed but saved, chopped
¼  onion, sliced
½ cayenne pepper, thinly sliced
2 white button mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white vinegar
1tsp red wine
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 tsp olive oil (optional)
¼ cucumber sliced
4 slices of bread of choice, a baguette or good quality bun would work well

For the slaw:
In a small bowl, or (measuring cup) add vinegar, garlic, carrot, red wine, cayenne, salt, & half of the chopped veins of chard.  Set aside

The sandwich:
Heat frying pan at med-high.  Add onions and other half of chopped veins of chard, add oil if
needed and saute for about 5 min.  Add seitan and mushrooms, cook another 3-5 min.  Add
BBQ sauce, cook 1-2 min, add chard leaves and slaw mixture to pan, turn to high and cook 1
more min.  Remove from heat.
Load onto bread and add sliced cucumbers on top.  Serve with a salad

* I make the seitan myself in advance, slice it, and store it in the freezer.  I just take how many slices I need from the freezer, and defrost per meal.  A loaf of seitan lasts over a month in the freezer.  I use Robin Robertson’s recipe from her book Vegan on the Cheap.   You should own that book.  It will change your life.

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Quinoa Red Chard Wraps

9/01/12  Boulder Canyon- Boulder, CO

   Ok we’re at day 2.  Moved into an RV yesterday.  Yesterday we were moving out of our apartment, and shopping for RV essentials all day.  Then we ordered pizza from the vegan friendly local sandwich shop because all my stuff was not organized yet, and crammed into inconvenient places.
  We don’t eat out very often at all.  My husband and I love to cook and frankly, we like our creations and meal options much better than restaurants we’ve tried.
  So anyway, today Sean and I worked 6am-noon. We work together at a hotel restaurant during breakfast shift, watching people scarf bacon, sausage, and eggs in massive quantities (don’t get me started on how I feel about that, ugh).  But that’s how we make a living for now. Anyway, so we got out of work pretty early, and I went to town organizing my kitchen because that’s where I need to feel at home, ya know?  During that time, Sean worked on installing an inverter so that our outlets work on our RV battery, which is charged by solar power.  It is very important to us to be as self sufficient as possible in this RV.  It feels really good for the soul knowing that we are living simply and green with only a few modern conveniences that are powered by the sun!  ...and a little propane.  Ahh but what can you do.
   Ok so for dinner tonight:  I kinda want a mostly raw meal, but I also want to use my oven for the 1st time, and damnit, I also want my leftover quinoa in there.   So here’s where I went with that...
Vegan, Gluten Free

Quinoa Red Chard Wraps 
(serves 2) Vegan, Gluten Free

1 c white beans
salt & pepper
dash of garlic powder
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp red wine vinegar
 tsp orange juice
½ tsp vegan sriracha sauce
6 leaves swiss chard
½ avocado, chopped
¼ cucumber, chopped
¾ c cooked quinoa
1 corn on the cob
1 plum tomato, chopped

Put the corn, leaves & all, in a 400 degree oven and bake for 20 min. Let cool a bit, then remove
leaves.  Stand corn on end and cut off kernels.

In a seperate bowl, mash white beans with a fork, mix in some salt & pepper, garlic powder,
nutritional yeast, red wine vinegar, orange juice, vegan sriracha sauce
For the chard leaves, I cut off the thickest part of the stem/vein at the very bottom, then with my
thumb and index finger, I smooshed the rest of the stem/vein all the way up the leaf, so it’s not
so stiff.
On each leaf,  at one end of leaf, spread on ⅙ th  bean mixture, spoon on ⅙ th the quinoa,
avocado, corn, cucumber, tomato
Roll chard, like a burrito, tucking in ends as you go.  I dipped in extra sriracha and served with corn chips.  Yum!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Me & The Pioneer.

I am a vegan home cook.  I’m a foodie.  I live in an RV.

It is very important to my husband and I, that we avoid foods that are processed, pre-packaged, and/or containing preservatives.  We stick to a strict plant-based mostly local & organic diet.  

Most of my recipes call for ingredients common to me, but I would imagine not so common to your average RV pantry.  I try to make most of my food from scratch.  I use lots of fresh produce, whole grains, and have quite the spice shelf for a camper kitchen.

Grocery Shopping

My husband and I have lived all over the country, and at this point a major factor in choosing a city to live in, is the grocery store options of that area.  Sounds crazy.  Well living near a natural foods grocery store with an awesome bulk section makes being a vegan, no preservative eating, local, organic, fresh, spicy, home cook  soooo much easier, even on the wallet!  Bulk sections carry dried beans, grains, nuts, dried fruits, flours, legumes, and spices.  Without wasteful packaging, all the things your vegan heart desires cost much less and you can get it in the exact quantities you want.  Everything you eat, besides fresh produce is there.

From Scratch Basics

When I have some time to dedicate to cooking,  I choose to make some staple foods that I then bottle or freeze, for easy use later in my everyday quicker dinners.  For example, I make a loaf of seitan and then slice it and freeze it.  It is much cheaper than buying seitan, and I can just take out the amount I need for a meal and leave the rest frozen.  A loaf can last me over a month.
Other staples I make and bottle, bag, refrigerate, or freeze:
Beans (purchased dried, then pressure cooked, then frozen in baggies), salad dressing, hot sauce, and veggie burgers

All recipes are on Petitchef