Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lots of photos!

This weekend, we were away for a friend's wedding, so these shots are actually from the week before. Looking at them still makes me hungry!

First up, this is the Sausage, Pepper, Broccoli and Zucchini Pizza from Nava Atlas's new book, "Vegan Express." I was appeasing my husband with the idea of pizza, plus cleaning out my freezer a little by using up the vegan Tofurky kielbasa that had been there for....oh, a little while. This recipe was quick as a wink. We just roasted the veggies in the oven, along with some sundried tomatoes and olive oil. The recipe called for vegan cheese, so I went with the Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheddar brand, which is halfway decent. The veggies go on top of the pizza AFTER the pizza is half cooked, which means the veggies don't get overdone, the crust is perfect, but also (unfortunately) the veggies really don't stay on the crust and go rolling off at every bite. Despite these technical difficulties, the flavor was AMAZING. We used Bertolli's organic tomato sauce with basil and it really made the pizza perfect (we usually use this spaghetti sauce for pizzas, as it's so flavorful, not too sweet, and no high-fructose corn syrup!). At any rate, it was a success overall, and a good starter recipe for this cookbook (my newest acquisition). Three and a half stars for flavor, two and a half for portability.

We also made the last of the three wraps featured in the Candle Cafe Cookbook. This was the Mexican wrap (showed unrolled here), which featured a citrus-marinade for the tofu, quinoa, black beans, and an incredibly refreshing salad consisting of avocado, radish, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno and the rest of the marinade. Overall, I really liked this wrap. Not as greasy as the Middle Eastern Wraps from last time, but still not spicy enough for me. I would give this three stars, though, it was still really good!
Then, it was on to the, "You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate" Cookies, from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I made these for the co-workers at my new job at the library! That, by the way, is going AWESOME. I hate to ruin a good thing by jinxing myself (I've already knocked on wood), but I feel so, so very happy there. I leave work everyday smiling, have an hour lunch break during which I can GO ANYWHERE I WANT, and I get to READ at night for homework! I can already feel my incredibly low blood pressure drop even further. Also, as some of you remember my dizziness saga (not vertigo), well, can you believe it's gone??? I think it was probably the medicine, but honestly, I also believe that the minute I left the school for the last time and began my new job, a great weight lifted off my shoulders, and the pure joy I felt at my new beginning helped disperse the bad karma that was hanging around. Really amazing and really strange...Well, at any rate, the cookies were a HUGE hit - "You would never know they were vegan!" was the funniest compliment, but the best one was the fact that my husband ate almost an entire batch (I doubled it) by himself and went back for seconds right after his first! They were chewy, moist, and perfectly delectable! Good thing I made two batches :) Three and a half stars (only because I'm not a big chocolate cookie fan!).
To escape the temptations of cookies, I made a huge salad that night, with leftover quinoa and black beans. The dressing was ED&BV's Creamy Basil Dressing. It was incredible! So flavorful and definitely creamy. The cashews added yet more protein to an already protein-bursting meal (quinoa is a high-protein grain, don't forget). As most foods contain trace amounts of protein, this goes to show you CAN eat "rabbit food" and be strong and very full! Three stars for the dressing.

My friends like to tease me that I eat wheat grass (haven't tried that yet) but I really do love healthy foods. This is one of the best banana breads I have made in a long time, simply because it's not loaded with sugar like most quick breads of this kind! It also comes from Nava Atlas's Vegan Express. It was quick, easy and rose to a great height (some vegan quick breads can be quite flat!). But the taste? Moist, fruity, and not too sweet! The dark quality comes from the cocoa powder (no butterfat here!), and it made me feel like I was eating Boston Brown Bread! Yum. The whole wheat pastry flour, walnuts, and unsulfered apricots (so much better than the regular sulfur-orange kind!) made it even more healthy. Three and a half stars for this baby.
As I was away this weekend, noshing on wedding food (which wasn't too bad) and pina coladas (which were awesome!!), here are some photos for the week:

One flower that is blooming out of a row of bulbs. Not sure what it is, although I'm sure someone out there in blog-land could tell me....

Plus, the beans in my vegetable garden! They are bush beans, and I just recently staked them, because they apparently grow better beans when air can circulate. I saw a bee pollinating their flowers this afternoon - yay!

And here are my zucchini plants, yet to flower, alongside my arugula plants, just recently sprouting from seeds.

And last but not least, my crappy deck filled with lovely pots of various herbs, plants (including spinach in the long pot!), flowers, and veggies (also not yet producing). Can't wait for the meals yet to come from here!


VeggieGirl said...

Mmm, the pizza, wrap, banana bread, and cookies look delicious!!

Thank goodness that your dizziness is gone!! Hooray!!

Lovely garden you have blooming there :0)

Susan G said...

Everything looks great! Looks like I have some new recipes to try. I think the flower is a gladiolus.

Heather Lowry said...

I'm so glad the new job is making you so happy! Send me some of those vibes!

Rach-ums said...

Your banana bread sounds delicious AND healthy! Yum!

(I've had wheatgrass juice before, but I wouldn't reccomend it!)

Vivacious Vegan said...

Glad to hear your new job is still going great and your dizziness is gone.

I've been thinking about making those cookies for a while now but I just don't know if I'm brave enough to turn on the oven right now. I was actually just going to head downstairs and make some ice cream!

mysticxian said...

That beautiful flower is a gladiolus. I plant several every year in my garden.