Lima Bean Lover

The adventures of a crafty, vegan, college student!

Revamp

As mentioned in my previous update, life has gotten crazy busy! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m actually having a pretty good time. Between school, work, running campus clubs, and coordinating the social media for Cosmic Forge Studios (check it soon for the new website), I’ve barely had time for homework, let alone the blog. This post was mostly written because I have time off from school due to some snow days (see picture below).

snowman

I do not see things letting up any time soon, so Lima Bean Lover will now be a blog for recipes only. I’m still constantly cooking and baking, but have little time to write “Oh look how nice this meal looks!” posts. So whenever I come up with a new recipe (or steal one from my roommate), then I’ll share it here. I already have a few in drafts including sloppy joe pasta, wholesome banana muffins, and slow cooker navy bean soup. So know I’m still thinking of my readers and the blog!

Update

Hey everyone! Sorry if you saw any odd pictures on my blog lately, I had a mix-up trying to moderate a friend’s WordPress blog and some of his stuff got posted to mine.

I’m also trying to update everyone as to what’s happening with Lima Bean Lover. I’m super busy with school, a new part-time job, and being president of three different organizations. Needless to say, the blog is not top on my priority list. But I am not abandoning it, just letting it cool down a little. I’ll be posting the second half of my Vinegar Variety posts soon, and definitely one about Thanksgiving dinner.

So I hope everyone has a great holiday break, and I should be updating y’all soon.

Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Muffins and Tattoos

Corn muffins with a vegan take on honey butter, agave margarine!

agave butter muffins

Pizza hummus with pita chips
pizza hummus and chips

Pumpkin spice muffins made by my lovely roommate. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

pumpkin muffinsAnd lastly my new tattoo! Which is in honor of the University of Montevallo’s Purple Side. Our symbol is the cow and also an old tradition used to be to throw Moon Pies at the opposing side. Now I need to veganize some Moon Pies!

cow tattoo

Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Raw Pasta, Pita Pizza, and Whole Foods

I want to start doing a weekly Wednesday roundup of yummy meals I’ve made. Basically anything I’d put in the PPK’s Food Porn section, but doesn’t deserve an entire blog post.

One of my first raw food meals ever (not counting salad)! Spiralized zucchini and rich marinara sauce.
raw pasta

The mini restaurant inside our local Whole Foods has a vegan sandwich! It’s toasted sour dough bread with balsamic tomatoes, arugula, onions, and basil hummus. Served with a side of roasted red skin potatoes.

Whole Foods sandwich

Fried tofu (from Whole Food’s hot bar) and mashed cheezy bacon potatoes.
fried tofu and potatoes

Pita pizza with mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and nutritional yeast.

pita pizza

Veggie stir fry with kale, tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms all piled on top of brown rice. rice stir fry

Vinegar Variety (part I)

The other day, as I was observing my pantry shelf, I realized I had a semi-dusty almost full bottle of red wine vinegar. I hate buying something for one recipe then never using it again, so I searched online for “recipes with red wine vinegar” and almost every recipe was for salad dressing. Now I don’t mind a good red wine vinaigrette, but I was surprised with the lack of variety.

From that incident, I decided that vinegar seems to be a bit of an under appreciated pantry staple. Due to that, I’ve decided to dedicate two posts to writing about different types of vinegar and how to use them in your dishes (with no salad dressing recipes in sight).

Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV is a very common vinegar. It’s made by crushing and releasing the liquid from apples, then putting the juice through the vinegar fermenting process. It’s a pretty mild type and has a light fruit undertone with a sharp tartness. The latest health craze seems to be drinking ACV plain (yuck) or washing your hair with it (I’ll just stick with my Jason’s shampoo, thanks), but this vinegar is still great for eating too, as is shown with the coleslaw below. The recipe was creamy with a hint of sour from the vinegar and relish in it. I served it with a barbecue Boca burger.

coleslaw

Balsamic Vinegar

Equally sweet and sour, this vinegar has the richest flavor of them all. It is commonly drizzled over salads with sweet accents, like fruit. Although the traditionally made BV from Italy is amazing (I’ve only bought a bottle once, but it was worth the money), the commercial made will make due for those who don’t want to splurge on it. But if you’re doing a dish with the vinegar as a main focal point, it might be worthwhile to get the traditional. I didn’t want to do a shameless plug and encourage you to cook my balsamic pasta and beans (recipe here), so I chose some salty and crunchy goodness with kale chips. These chips were super simple and delicious. You only need kale, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt. I ended up eating these while watching Supernatural in lieu of an unhealthy snack.

balsamic kale chips

Malt Vinegar

MV is made by malting barley, then brewing it into ale, which is finally converted into vinegar. It is commonly used in the UK for fish and chips, but it’s also known for being a good pickling vinegar. I’ve never actually pickled anything before, so I thought I’d give it a go! I chose to make pickled mushrooms since shrooms are one of my favorite foods. In the finished product the Malt vinegar has a distinct taste and the slice of onion and garlic in the jar add an extra depth of flavor. I’m going to serve these sprinkled on a salad with a sweet raspberry dressing to balance the vinegar taste.

pickled shrooms

Crispy Ritz Tofu

As I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, wasting precious hours of my life, I came upon an intriguing sounding recipe. It was Crispy Ritz Chicken. It struck me that I’d never actually tried cracker coating tofu before. And through a little experimentation, this recipe was born!
Ritz tofu

Crispy Ritz Tofu

Based on a recipe by For the Love of Dessert

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained and well pressed

2 sleeves of Ritz crackers (I used the Roasted Vegetable flavor)

1 & 3/4 cups plain soymilk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup vegetable broth or vegan “chicken” broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2.5 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons margarine

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Start by thoroughly pressing the tofu.  Set the oven to 450 degrees and lightly mist a baking sheet with spray oil. In a small bowl, mix the soymilk and lemon juice together, then set aside.

Cut the tofu into cutlets of whatever size you desire (I got about 8 medium sized cutlets). In the food processor grind the crackers into a fine crumb and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Place the crumbs into a shallow bowl. Begin coating the tofu cutlets by dipping them first into the soymilk mix and then the crumbs. Continue until all the cutlets are coated, then place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flip tofu, then bake another 10 minutes.

While the tofu cutlets are baking, create the gravy. In a saucepan mix the vegetable broth, soy sauce, onion powder, and black pepper. Bring to a small boil. Thoroughly mix together the cornstarch and cold water, making sure there are no lumps. Pour into the broth mixture and whisk thoroughly. Continue to cook over medium heat until sauce has thickened and there are no lumps. Take off the heat, and whisk in margarine.

Plate the tofu and top with gravy. This is great served over rice and veggies.

Last Meal (Vegan MoFo #21)

mofo banner

I decided to end Vegan MoFo with an entire book-based meal. Main dish, sides, drinks, and dessert are all mentioned in the book, so I cooked it all! I’ll miss the challenge this month has been, but it will also be nice to be able to not worrying about blogging five days a week. I’m already planning my theme (*cough* Disney movies *cough*) for next year.
up_QljcTv

The genre of vampire fiction has grown rapidly these last few years. But the first vampire series I remember getting truly invested in (before all the Twilight hubub took over)  was Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan. The first book in the series is A Living Nightmare, in which the main character is a young boy, Darren. Darren’s obsession with the supernatural and outlandish prompts him and his friend, Steve, to visit a traveling freak show that has just rolled into town. Due to their encounters at the show, Darren and Steve end up over their heads and thrown from their mundane everyday lives into being involved in the dangerous vampire world. Now Darren must choose between saving Steve’s life and sacrificing his own human future.

In the same vein as Goosebumps, but with much better writing, A Living Nightmare (and the rest of the Cirque Du Freak books) tells a harrowing story involving vampire mythos, a dash of sarcastic humor, and good old fashioned gore. Great for anyone wanting to read a vampire story that does not involve romance or sparkles.

This would be my last meal with them and I wanted it to be special. When I was looking back on it in later years, I wanted to be able to remember us together, at home, a happy family.

Mom cooked my favorite food: chicken, roast potatoes, corn on the cob. Annie and me had freshly squeezed orange juice to drink. Mom and Dad shared a bottle of wine. We had strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Everybody was in a good mood.” - Cirque Du Freak (A Living Nightmare) (paperback) page 225

I won’t tell why (I hate spoilers), but Darren is having his last meal with his family. Because of this it’s a very important dinner and I wanted to make sure I captured that in my last Vegan MoFo meal. For the chicken I used PETA’s cruelty free Chick-fil-a recipe, the potatoes were just thinly sliced and baked with Lawry’s seasoning salt and pepper, and then some fresh corn on the cob. I served it with barbecue sauce and orange juice.

cirque du freak mealThe best part of this meal though was the dessert. I decided to adapt my lemon-berry cheesecake recipe and make it into strawberry cheesecake. I wish I’d done this recipe earlier in the month when strawberries were more in season, but it still turned out well with the mediocre selection that was available.

strawberry cheezcake

Strawberry Cheesecake

Serves 8

Ingredients:

One graham cracker crust (store-bought or home-made)

1 cup silken tofu

2 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor blend together all the ingredients (except the pie crust) until smooth.

Pour the strawberry mix into the crust, place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chill for at least 5 hours and then slice and serve! This is also great garnished with strawberry sauce or vegan whipped cream.

Brownies Love Brown Mushrooms (Vegan MoFo #20)

dragon-riderDragon Rider by Cornelia Funke is a classic tale full of magic, adventuring friends, and ruthless bad guys. The story starts with Firedrake, a young silver dragon, and his brownie companion, Sorrel.  They live in a valley which is soon to be flooded because of humans. To save their friends and family, Firedrake and Sorrel set out on a mission to find the Rim of Heaven, a land in which silver dragons can live in safety from the outside world.

Ironically, while traveling the save themselves from the humans, they become friends with and are joined by a homeless boy named Ben. The trio faces many trials including a golden dragon (who loves to kill silver dragons), spies, being lost in a foreign country, and more. They must try and follow their destiny to save themselves and their loved ones, all while learning what it really means to be home.

“Oh, yes, the question.” Sorrel rubbed her eyes. “Right, but only if we have something to eat first. This heat makes a person hungry.” She made her way over to her backpack, the sand hot on the furry soles of her paws.

Ben followed, grinning. “It’s the heat now, is it?” he teased her. “We’ve had rain and thunderstorms and all kinds of weather since we started out, and you’re hungry all the time.”

“So what?” Sorrel took the bag of mushrooms out of her backpack, sniffed it appreciatively, and licked her lips. Then she placed two large leaves on the sand and tipped the mushrooms out on them. “Hmm… Which shall I eat first?” - Dragon Rider (hardback) pages 174 and 175

Sorrel the brownie is constantly eating and on the look out for food to forage. Her particular favorite is mushrooms. I made golden mushroom soup and used a “gourmet” mix of baby bella, oyster, and shiitake. There was a bit too much dill in this for me, but I think I would like it better as a mushroom sauce over pasta and Gardein beefless tips. I will be using the leftovers for that.

mushroom soup

Sentry Soup (Vegan MoFo #19)

redwall

Matthias is the main character in Redwall by Brian Jacques. He is a small orphaned church-mouse who lives in the abbey called Redwall. It was founded by Martin the Warrior, a legendary mouse warrior, and has long been a place of peace. There, Matthias lives with other animal creatures like his fellow mice, squirrels, shrews, moles, badgers, and rabbits. Redwall’s happy existence soon ends though when they are attacked by a rat named Cluny the Scourge and his horde of rebellious rats, weasels, and ferrets.

Matthias sees this as his opportunity to work his way up from being an apprentice to a glorified warrior. Cluny’s relentless attacks soon begin to wear down the resolve and resources of Redwall. As the citizens struggle to continue on, Matthias and his friends learn of a venerable prophecy about Martin the Warrior’s ancient sword. Trying to fulfill it, he and his friends begin to search Redwall for clues to the sword’s location. Each solved puzzle, every unearthed scrap of paper, and any whispered bit of prophecy brings them one step closer to finding the weapon that could save Redwall and its’ citizens.

“When Friar Hugo hurried off to join the defenders he left Cornflower in charge of the kitchens. She had busied herself with setting pans of oatmeal and oven bread ready for the next morning’ breakfast. Cornflower then thought of the sentries up on the wall, and she set about making a large pan of vegetable soup. It was a great favorite with the defenders at nighttime, especially when she made it to her own recipe.” - Redwall (paperback) page 300

The food described in Redwall has always sounded delicious. Especially since most of the animals are vegetarian. I chose the warm and veggie-filled Louisiana River Otter Hot Root Soup from Redwall Kitchen.

otter soupThis is probably my new favorite vegetable soup recipe. I don’t know if it’s the Zatarain’s shrimp boil seasoning, the thick roux base, or just the combo of vegetables the makes it taste so freakin’ good. Either way, I’ll definitely be making this again.

 

Abaratian Pastries (Vegan MoFo #18)

abarat

Abarat by Clive Barker is probably the hardest book that I will have to describe. It’s such a fantastical story that it’s a challenge to just give a short review/synopsis of it. But I will try my best!

The remarkable story of Abarat starts in the most unremarkable of places, Chickentown Minnesota. There lives Candy Quackenbush, a troubled teenager living with her mother, two brothers, and abusive father. After leaving school and venturing into a nearby abandoned field, Candy meets John Mischief, an odd creature with seven extra heads attached to his antlers, all of which have their own personality. She soon learns John and his brothers are from an amazing world called Abarat, but they are in peril due to a bounty hunter sent after them by the Lord Carrion, the Lord of Midnight.

Due to her less than desirable life at home, Candy chooses to enter the Abarat to help John and while there she starts her own adventure. Her journey will take her across the many islands of Abarat, each of which stands for an hour of the day, plus the mysterious 25th hour. While there, she encounters many other creatures more bizarre and far more dangerous than John Mischief.  As Candy struggles to find her place, either safe and boring Chickentown or wonderful and perilous Abarat, she finds out more about herself than she ever thought possible.

She went up two or three steps, to a stall with a variety of pastries laid out on it. The display looked very similar to something she might have found in the supermarket in Chickentown, only tastier. Turnovers, croissants, sticks of bread rolled in dried fruit and a variety of small cakes. 

She selected three very quickly: two turnovers and one huge scones; and then, greedily, went back for a croissant. Having got herself more than a meal’s worth, she glanced up and down the street, just to check that the vendor wasn’t making his or her return. It seemed she was free and clear.” - Abarat (paperback) page 180

The aforementioned turnovers are what inspired this whole Vegan MoFo theme. As I was sitting there thinking “What do I love that also involves food?” and “Abarat!” was what popped into my head. So for it I made apple cinnamon turnovers. I’m not positive they have apples in the Abarat, but I’m sure there’s something similar.

Abarat apple turnover

Apple turnovers inside

I used the apple filling recipe from VeganBaking, then just stuffed it into vegan crescent roll dough and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top. These were quite amazing. I had never shredded apples before and I really like how the texture turned out.

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