Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Days, Hot Eats

On a cold day, there is nothing that warms you up better than hot oatmeal. Since it's been in the low 20s these past couple of weeks, I've really needed it! We're having an early taste of winter, I guess.

Most people say, "Oh, I don't have time for oatmeal," and then go on to say they just have toast. I have to laugh! First, you have to locate and open the bread bag. Toast takes a couple of minutes to toast, then you have to spread your topping, and then cut it and put it on a plate. That's pretty easy, I guess, but take hot oatmeal: Throw a scoop of oats in a bowl. Top with water or vegan milk (your judge how much, but I like it to be just barely covering the oats) and heat for 1 minute and 30 seconds in the microwave. Done. Way less time than cooking it on the stove top, which I never do.

I guess my way is about the same amount of time as toast in the end, but consider the nutrition factor! Oats lower cholesterol (even wheat bread isn't as good!) plus there are ZERO added sugars and shelf stabilizers (check out the list of most breads - it's crazy how many ingredients are in there! - by the way, Wonder bread is NOT vegan, contrary to Veg News' report). I like to cook up my muesli mix from the summer, but even easier is mixing up some cinnamon and wheat germ with it (all in a big container in the fridge, so I don't have to mix it every day). As you can see by the picture above, I like to dress mine with some hemp seeds or ground flax, fresh fruit (or dried fruit - yum! in the microwave!) and a drizzle of iron-healthy blackstrap molasses, which adds a touch of sweetness to it. I don't add extra almond milk on top afterwards, because I find it cools it down too much (plus I like it realllllly thick!). So, good-bye muesli and hello oatmeal! Four stars! **** Oh, and oats are much cheaper and longer lasting than bread!

Speaking of warm weather foods, to welcome my husband back after a trip to the snowy north (early snow even for them!), I made Robin Robertson's Perfect Hominy White Bean Chili, from her slow cooker book. It was a little beany at first, but after a day in the fridge - incredible! The flavors were spot on (even though I subbed extra chili powder for the jalapeno - I forgot to get one) and I just love hominy!! It was pretty and yummy and cozy - perfect indeed! Also, simple and cheap! Maybe 4-5 dollars for the whole pot. (That'll make you reconsider going out to Hard Times for chili, huh?(they have the best vegetarian/vegan chili!). Three stars for sure! ***
Since I'm on a "how much money can I save" kick, I discovered that it's cheaper to buy the larger can of crushed tomatoes for this recipe (it usually is more economical to buy the large containers of food, etc, but not always!). So I just used the 14 ounces I needed and saved the rest in my freezer for a rainy (or snowy!) day.

Be sure to label everything! I reuse my bags a lot, so I had a hard time finding room for the description on this baby!

No, green slime wasn't on sale at the store this week, and really, neither were the avocados. Nor were they local. But Vegan A Go-Go had me craving this Avacado Sunflower Seed Dip, and I had all the other ingredients in my pantry (tahini, vegan milk, sunflower seeds, spices). It was really, really good! And fatty - think of the avocado, seeds and tahini - it really packs a wallop - but a healthy fat one! Great, creamy flavor. Only unfortunate part? The weird color it turned in the days after, as the avocado combined with the oxygen more.... Three stars altogether! *** Only 1 dollar and change for the whole recipe (the avocado was all I had to buy).

Unfortunately, I end this post on a rather blah note....I've been wanting to make these Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies from La Dolce Vegan for years. They sounded so - yum! However, the batter was really soft and the cookies didn't really harden up enough. They smelled amazing, but tasted like cookie batter! Not bad, if you're going to eat them in front of the TV by yourself while watching The O.C. on DVD, but not something you're going to want to serve company...or friends...or co-workers. Two stars ** only because they smell really, really good - and I see potential! Didn't cost me a cent, because I had all the ingredients, but a pretty expensive recipe if you don't have pecans, dried cranberries, canned pumpkin and margarine laying around like I did....

That's it for this week (I laughed when Vegan Dad said he was sorry he would only be able to post 4 times a week now!) but I'm sure I'll nip back on to do a post-Thanksgiving entry! Happy Early Thanksgiving everyone! And, if the thought of all those poor, suffering turkeys gets you down, just remember that when Lincoln first decreed this holiday, it was really about giving thanks to god, not to slaughtering defenseless animals....


VeggieGirl said...

Deeeelicious eats!!

Wishing you an early Happy Thanksgiving.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I usually have oatmeal for breakfast (I'm really enjoying these oats right now called Coach's Oats) although once or twice a week I'll switch it up with something a little more exciting for my husband. It amazes me when people say they don't have time for breakfast when it's so easy and such an important meal.

You've inspired me to try to cook out of the pantry for the rest of the year (except for fresh produce). I just checked my shelves and they're so stuffed I couldn't fit another thing in there even if I wanted to.

Oh, and hooray for your mom becoming vegan. That's terrific news! I'm sure you were a big influence on her.

jd said...

Mmm! I love oatmeal - it's the best.

And that Avocado Sunflower Dip sounds fantastic...