Howdy. What’s cookin? I’m so glad the weekend is here! I have one last final exam next week and then summa school is officially over for me (huzzah!). I’ll be taking one giant sigh of relief that will last exactly three weeks, and then I’ll start another crazy full-time course load on August 29th. I know a good few weeks of doing whatever the frick I please will do wonders to recharge my batteries for the fall semester. I plan on doing a LOT of cooking. More specifically, I want to perfect the art of seitan making!
B and I wrapped up our first week of STS this morning with a killer Legs workout. My gravy, I was absolutely drenched in sweat by the time the workout was over, and my legs were shaking like a wet chihuahua. This first week has been lifting at 60% of our 1 Rep Max, and next week we bump things up to 65%. I’m scared, but in a very good way. I’ve never strength trained like this before and I am really digging it. B is, too.
I guess I should tell you that I purchased quite a few cookbooks since my eating style has drastically changed in the last few months. An important part of sticking to any major health commitment or positive lifestyle change is having the right resources and support, and my cookbook collection was definitely lacking. Now it is filled with a nice selection of vegan cookbooks, including:
I don’t have that last one in my possession just yet, but it’s supposed to get here sometime next week. Tomorrow I plan on making Banana Cream Pancakes from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and this afternoon I’m going to make Vegan Diner’s Banana Breakfast Bars with the tots so that they can enjoy them for easy, healthy and fast breakfasts in the coming week. I am really getting into making things myself instead of buying them at the store, and I have these cookbooks to thank for that! I’ve always made dinners from scratch, but up until recently I’ve been feeding the kids store-bought treats for dessert and breakfast bars, cereals or toaster pastries from brands like Nature’s Path or Kashi for morning meals. These cookbooks, as well as a handful of amazing food blogs, have really inspired me to get in the kitchen a bit more often and start making things myself. I’m expanding my cooking and baking horizons, and I just love it. My new-found love of vegan cooking and baking (and EATING!) has really opened up a whole new world for me in the kitchen! I truly feel blessed to be eating better than I ever have before. This way of eating and cooking and living has definitely proven to be good for my mind, body and soul. It’s feel-good food, most definitely. (And feel-good food doesn’t necessarily mean light food! Vegan Diner is jam-packed with mouth-watering vegan recipes for things like Italian-style Cutlets, Philly Seitan Sliders, Chocolate Chip Skillet Pie, Biscuits and Creamy Sage Gravy, and Horseradish Potato Salad. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World includes recipes for Orange Pudding Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache, Smores Cupcakes, and Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting. Holy ballz, y’all.)
I was never big on baking or making desserts before, but these days I can’t seem to stop! All I want to do lately is cook or bake, which doesn’t exactly jive with the triple digit temperatures outside that aren’t going to be plummeting anytime soon. Sure, I may be a hot, sweaty mess, and there is probably dairy-free chocolate on my face and whole-wheat pastry flour in my hair, but I have a FEVER, dammit, and the only cure is…
…to make more vegan desserts.
We currently have peanut butter-chocolate chip cookie dough balls, peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies and chocolate peanut butter cups in the freezer right now, all vegan, all homemade. Yesterday I thought that it would be a good idea to add a batch of vegan Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats to the list.
Because hello!? There’s an awful lot of peanut butter going on in those aforementioned treats, and I definitely don’t want the almond butter to feel left out!
These got rave reviews from both the tots and from B, who I think has been sneaking into the kitchen late at night after I fall asleep to raid the goodies. Which is fine by me, because then I’ll have a legitimate excuse to make even MORE of them.
I’ve been spending an absurd amount of time gawking over vegan dinner ideas, and last night I finally got the chance to make Mama Pea’s “Cheese”-stuffed Bean Burgers- her take on a McD’s classic cheeseburger.
OH. MY. SEITAN. Were they ever good…
I ate my burger on some sprouted wheat berry bread with lettuce, tomato, Vegenaise, ketchup and dijon mustard, plus a side of spicy kale chips.
Mama Pea did an amazing job with this recipe! The addition of Worcestershire, soy sauce, minced onion and garlic in the bean mixture really brought me back to my Happy Meal days. The nutritional yeast-hummus-lemon juice “cheeze” sauce was out of control… that is a truly magical combination. When I mixed it up to “stuff” the burgers, I was like, eh? How is this going to resemble cheese? But when I took my first bite and the warm, cheezy goodness oozed out from the middle of my thick, rich patty, I understood. It was perfect. We’re having the other two burgers tomorrow night for dinner, and I am very excited. B gave this one two cheeze-covered thumbs up.
While we’re talking dinner, and since this whole post seems to keep coming back to the fact that I am a food-obsessed nutjob who can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen, I might as well give you this week’s menu. I may or may not have spent an hour enthusiastically planning it yesterday morning instead of writing a paper for my summer class. My priorities, they are as straight as an al dente noodle.
Tonight: We are headed back to the Spiral Diner, and this time we’re bringing my mom with us. I will report back with details and food porn. Lots and lots of food porn.
Sunday: Leftover “cheese”-stuffed bean burgers with kale chips (see above)
Monday: Pasta with Vegan Alfredo Sauce and grilled portobello mushroom caps. My sis is coming for dinner and she’s bringing dessert!
Tuesday: Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh with brown rice and steamed veggies. After reading (never home) maker’s rave review of this recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it! B and I have been wanting to try tempeh, and I have a feeling that this will be a good introductory recipe. I’ve also been dying to try one of Heidi’s recipes, so I’m extra excited.
Wednesday: M is coming for dinner, and I’ll be making Jenna’s Falafel Burgers. I’ll serve them wrapped in whole-wheat flat bread with red onion and this tahini sauce. (It will be glooooorious!) I should probably tell M that I’m expecting her to bring dessert. There obviously isn’t anything sweet to eat around here!
Thursday: Mama Pea’s Spicy Tofu Soft Tacos with her Almost Chipotle Guacamole. I’m definitely looking forward to trying yet another one of her amazing recipes! I can’t wait to get my hands on her cookbook!
Friday: Mama Pea’s Italian Meatless Meatloaf Muffins with sweet potato fries and a green veggie (whatever looks good and is in season at the market). Since we usually go out to eat on Saturday nights, we’ll use the leftover meatless mini meatloaves (aren’t those called meatballs?) to make Meatball Subs on Sunday night! We’ll get some soft whole-wheat hoagie rolls, douse them with marinara sauce, stuff with the balls and top with vegan mozzarella. Man, it’s gonna be killer.
Alright! I’m off to take the tots to a mall play land, then we’re going to bake those Banana Breakfast Bars, and then I’m headed to the best vegan restaurant in Dallas (ogle the menu here! What should I get?)!
What are your Saturday plans?
Have a good one!