The Other White Meat

Well, hello there! January just flew right on by, didn’t it? Now February is almost over and I haven’t stopped in to see how everyone’s 2016 started. I hope it has treated you well so far. Ours has been full of… life. Life happens. A lot.

Papa tummy started taking little tummy to the pool for swimming lessons. I’m not sure if I’ve said before that his first job was a lifeguard and held that for many years along with teaching kids how to swim. She loves being in the water so it was going really well, but their schedule kept getting interrupted with her getting sick and then injured. She got sick again at the start of February so we took her to the emergency room as we suspected another UTI. Sure enough, it was. She just finished her antibiotic for that and is all healed up from her injury so they’re going to get back to the pool on Friday. She’s going to be thrilled!

Not much is going on with tiny tummy. She’s been working hard on trying to crawl. Every time she tries she ends up in a downward dog position. She’s still teething with no sign of new teeth coming in. She’s had her bottom two for a couple months already. She’s 7 months old so we have started to feed her some solids here and there. I’m getting much better about the baby led weaning this time around. Mostly because she seems to hate the purees I’ve made her and she would much rather have our food. She just got some baked potato for the first time tonight and didn’t choke! I’m speculating that she is allergic to coconut and hemp. Since cutting out both of those from my diet her eczema is pretty much gone. I believe what is left to be more environmental. We are probably going to get an allergy test done on her when she’s one. Until then I am really going crazy without the coconut!

Due to the new allergies in the house I have started this year off with so many firsts. I’ve been making things from scratch that I never even thought of doing before. I’ve been sharing my experiments on Instagram. There’s been ice cream, yogurt, sourdough starter, burger buns, pretzel rolls, English muffins, a nut-free mozzarella, and pineapple upside down cake. Those first three things were all failures.

I’ve tried making ice cream twice- once with hemp milk (yuck and how we found tiny tummy’s allergy), and the second time with oat milk (that was actually pretty good, just not creamy). I’m starting to think it is impossible to get a good creamy vegan ice cream without nuts or coconut.

I have tried making yogurt twice as well. Both times were absolute inedible disgusting waste of a mess. This one is really bothering me. Little tummy loves yogurt so I’m trying to find a way to make some good allergy-free yogurt for her to have. No luck yet and I have asked quite a few people for their two cents on the matter. I think I just need to get a yogurt maker instead of trying to figure out the best way to incubate it.

I really don’t even want to talk about the sourdough starter. I’m probably going to try that again once it gets warmer here. The only other major thing on my must try to make for the first time list is tempeh. I’ve been told chickpea tempeh is probably the best to try. Oh and I have yet to make sushi. I’ve been wanting to make sushi forever. Maybe this will be the year!

Do you have any new food goals for the year, either to eat or make?

Speaking of new food. Have you had jackfruit yet? If not, why? I think it’s about time you tried it. Check out this article about it. I’ve used jackfruit a few times and we love it. We always get the canned green jackfruit in water because I just don’t feel like messing with the fresh stuff. Even canned gets you an amazing result. There’s a million (okay, not a million) BBQ jackfruit recipes out there. That’s what got this fruit all the attention to begin with. However, if you’re burnt out on BBQ sandwiches I’ve got two new ideas for you.

JCT

Jackfruit Taquitos

vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free

Makes 30

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cans of green jackfruit in water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 30 corn tortillas
  • oil for brushing

Directions:

  1. Prepare jackfruit by draining and rinsing. Cut the hard cores off the segments and chop those up into smaller pieces since they won’t shred. Cut any large pieces, as well. Set all of it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the jackfruit and cook until it’s warmed up, about another 5 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash up jackfruit and shred it.
  3. Add all the seasoning, mix it up and cook for another minute. Stir in the water and tomato paste. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil the bottom of a baking dish.
  5. Take your tortillas and warm them on a dry griddle enough to make them pliable without cracking. This usually takes me a couple minutes on medium heat.
  6. Fill tortillas with a couple tablespoons of jackfruit mixture, roll up, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Try to give them a little room, but make sure they don’t unroll. Repeat until filling is gone.
  7. Brush taquitos with oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and crispy. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!

JCS

Jackfruit “Chicken” Salad

vegan, soy-fee, nut-free, gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of green jackfruit in water
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2/3 cup vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • few dashes of smoked or sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • splash of balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Prepare the jackfruit by draining and rinsing it. Cut off the hard core pieces and chop them up into smaller bits. Put all the jackfruit in a large bowl. Using two forks shred it as well as you can. Squeeze lemon juice over the jackfruit and mix it up. Let it sit for several minutes. I took this time to prep the other veggies.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the mayo, mustard, dill, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add veggies to the jackfruit and mix. Add the dressing the bowl and toss to coat. Stir in the parsley, splash with vinegar, and give one last stir. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Serve on a sandwich, in a wrap, or over some greens. Enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container. It took us a week to finish and it didn’t go bad.

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Cha Cha Cha Chai

Hello! So much has been going on with the holidays. I wanted to squeeze another post in before the new year so here I am for the first time trying to work while both girls nap. We’ll see how far I get.

By the way, I have been sharing impromptu recipes on my Facebook and Instagram pages. It’s just been easier than finding time to make a full post on here. If you want more recipes from me you should start following me on other platforms.

Obviously I did find my SD card which is how I was able to post the review on Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. Luckily, little tummy didn’t get her hands on it. Papa tummy said, “I mommy-brained it” out of sight and out of mind so well that I forgot where I put it. Oy vey! I’m turning into one of those disorganized, forgetful folks that I never understood before. Such is life with two littles I suppose.

The other thing that’s been taking up A LOT of my time is a little project I’m working on for papa tummy’s sister. On Thanksgiving she asked me for some specific recipes and being the person I am I have decided to go through every one of my cookbooks to pull out specific recipes I know she will like based on her preferences. Twelve cookbooks and 233 recipes later… I’m almost done scanning them. I just have to organize it all, print it out, and bind it up for her. My “you can do this because this is so easy, affordable, and delicious” starter kit present from me to her for the new year.

This got me thinking: has anyone else had an influence on friends or family to have a change of heart for the new year?

My real reason for today’s post is to share a recipe that many have asked for and it’s not mine! I got papa tummy to write down his recipe for Chai Granola. Serve in a bowl with some milk, top ice cream, use in a parfait. Do whatever, it’ll all be good. He still thinks it needs some tweaking, but I thought it was fabulous so I’m sharing it anyway. Although, if you’re like him then maybe you should use less cardamom and more ginger. Anyway, here goes!

Happy new Year, everyone! Let’s make 2016 awesome!

CG

Chai Granola

Mix spices together and set aside.

1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp ground cardamon
5 tsp ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan heat on low! Do not overheat, just warm enough to mix.

3/4 cup oil (we use coconut)
1/4 cup Blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup brown rice syrup

7 cups of oats

Toast oats on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. In a large bowl mix toasted oats with spices and add:

1 cup raw sunflower seeds, ground
1 cup raw pepitas, ground
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Mix well and then pour in oil mixture. Stir all the ingredients together using a wooden spoon until the dry is evenly coated with the liquid. Spread on large baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 12 minutes, mixing halfway through baking. Eat warm or let cool and store in an airtight container. Ours has lasted a few weeks. Enjoy!

Indian Cooking Made Easy

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This post is long overdue. Earlier this year (approximately 30 weeks ago according to Instagram) I won the most amazing cookbook from the author herself. When I received the book in the mail I got all giddy to find an inscription inside made out to me from her. The cookbook I’m speaking of is Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I’ve had plenty of time since the book landed on my doorstep to whip up a few of the recipes. I’m finally ready to tell you all about it.

Vegan Richa has been on my radar for a while. She has the most amazing website and everything she cranks out is gold! I have a bit of a woman crush on her. We’re considering moving close to where she resides in Seattle so I may just have to stalk her. Just kidding!

I never would have thought I would be cooking Indian food so often in my kitchen and having my pantry stocked with things like asafetida, dried mango powder, and nigella seeds. Cooking Indian food seems like a very intimidating task. Probably because of all the foreign ingredients and needing to go to a special store to find them all. Really, obtaining the ingredients is the hardest part. Richa makes Indian cuisine a piece of cake naan and she will have you craving curry like never before.

The first thing I absolutely had to make was the Avocado Naan (p. 190). Nothing in this world beats fresh bread. That might be my only weakness. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a try. Pure loveliness! Of course they had an awesome green color from the avocado. They were also that perfect combination of soft on the inside and crunchy outside. I could have eaten the whole batch that night, but I was nice and I shared with my family.

That first recipe had me hooked. Unfortunately, life got busy (getting ready for tiny tummy and then having said baby arrive), I didn’t pick up the book for a while. I still thought about all the wonderful things I wanted to make all the time. There is sat, taunting me.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I picked up the book during one of my menu planning sessions and went for it. I planned an elaborate Sunday meal comprised of several recipes. It would take me all day in the kitchen, but I didn’t care. This was going to happen. It did happen and it happened to be World Vegan Day. Well, isn’t that just a nice coincidence?!

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That magnificent dinner that took hours to prepare consisted of:

  • Puffy Restaurant-Style Naan (p.188)
  • Mashed Spiced Eggplant (p.76)
  • Cauliflower, Carrots, and Peas in Coconut Poppy Seed Curry (p.72)
  • Butternut Coconut Red Lentil Curry (p. 121)

We were not disappointed in the slightest. Everything went together really well. I made a pretty darn good menu! The flavors of it all had me amazed. “Did I really make this?” It was restaurant quality and yes I did make it. Thanks to Richa!

This meal started my month of being gluten-free as part of the elimination diet I am doing for tiny tummy. It was perfect since there are so many gluten-free recipes in this book. Plus many of the recipes are soy-free and a lot of them are nut-free, too. Because of this I was able to enjoy a few more recipes the month of November for my gluten-free experiment.

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The next thing I most certainly had to try was the Chickpea Tofu (p.253) and subsequently Chickpea Tofu in Spicy Madras Sauce (p. 163). Ever since going soy-free I have been wanting to make chickpea tofu. I can’t tell you how much I love it. Richa’s recipe is different from how you would normally make it, I think. She has you make it from chickpea flour instead of the dried beans like I’ve seen done before. Her method makes it ridiculously easy. The result is a soft yet firm block of silky goodness. I highly recommend.

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The last recipe I made was Spicy Red Lentil Cauliflower Potato Casserole (p. 136). This was of course another hit. I actually doubled the recipe and I’m glad I did. It is very easily doubled and will fit just fine in a 9 by 13 pan. I was worried about the cooking time with how much I shoved into the pan. I was thinking it wasn’t going to cook or something was going to go wrong and it would be a flop. There was no need for worry. It all cooked up beautifully! That casserole lasted us all week and neither of us was tired of it by the end.

I haven’t got around to making any of the desserts yet. I will one day! Most of them contain nuts so I will have to figure out some way of getting around that. I don’t think replacing them with seeds would hurt their integrity. I have my eye on trying the Doughnuts Soaked in Sugar Syrup (p. 218) or the Fudgy Cardamom Squares (p. 227).

The entire first chapter was written to make you feel comfortable in executing her recipes. She defines everything you need to know about an Indian kitchen. This includes the tools you’ll need, how to prepare specific ingredients, and just what to expect. My favorite part of this chapter is her grocery list. She graciously divides her grocery list into “Must Have”, “Good to Have”, and “Nice to Have” categories. This was helpful in sending papa tummy to our local Indian grocery store. I sent him off with the book and he just went by her list. Now I have a well-stocked pantry that has enabled me to make whatever I want from the book as long as I have the right veggies.

Bottom line is I would not be writing this review if I didn’t think it was worth your money and time. Richa was able to turn something intimidating like homemade Indian food into the comfort food I never grew up with. Her recipes are full of flavor, her instructions are easy, and her notes are incredibly helpful. Everyone should add  Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen to their cookbook collection.

One more personal note: Richa is a super sweet humble lady. I have talked with her a few times through social media and she always answers my questions with kindness and usually very quickly. She also has no idea I’m writing this.

You can buy Richa’s book on Amazon which is on sale right now! Go ahead and get yourself an extra Christmas present.