Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Oatmeal Post

There are no words to describe a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning. No words. Except maybe a long drawn out yummmmmm.

I am obsessed with oatmeal. Its my breakfast everyday without fail. And lately this addiction has been getting pretty strong. I have an entire stash of products that are solely used as oatmeal toppings, mix ins, and flavourings. I browse the web for different flavour combinations. I even DREAM about oatmeal (well, not really haha).

This post will be solely dedicated to all things oatmeal. This is an expression of my profound love for the creamy warm breakfast cereal.

First of all the stash... aren't you curious?

In the mix I have:

regular large flake rolled oats (my usual)
Mountain Path organic 7 grain oats
dried pear
dried peaches
dried blueberries
dried apricots
goji berries
dried cherries
roasted and raw cashews
pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
sesame seeds
macadamia nuts
carob chips
bakers chocolate
flax seed meal
canned pumpkin
pumpkin pie spice (homemade w/ ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
vanilla agave nectar
soy nut butter
sunflower seed butter
cocoa powder
maple syrup*
maple sugar*
Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal*
homemade cashew milk*
stevia powder packets*
coconut milk*
brown rice*
vanilla extract (I just ran out)*

The combinations are utterly endless. There are so many more flavours and add ins and toppers out there that I have yet to try.

Im constantly picking up new ingredients that pique my curiosity. Another trip the the Bulk Barn is in order for the coming week.

But right now, here are some flavours that Ive already tried in the past.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Pecans of Pumpkin Seeds

Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal with Dried Blueberries, Macadamia Nuts, and Sunflower Seed Butter

Chocolate Oatmeal with Dried Cherries and Pistachios

Nutella Oatmeal (chocolate oats with hazelnuts)
Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal with Almonds
Mango Coconut Oatmeal and Pistachios (Ive added Goji Berries to this combo too.)
Apple Pie Oats (cinnamon/vanilla oats with dried apples, raisins, and almonds)
Maple Walnut Oatmeal with Raisins
Banana Coconut Oats with Crushed Chocolate Graham Crackers
Pear Crisp Oatmeal (fresh pear, cinnamon, vanilla, almonds, and maple sugar)
Gingerbread Oatmeal with Dried Pear and Almonds
Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Raisins, Pineapple, and Walnuts
Pumpkin Carob Chip Oatmeal with Raisins

Ive tried a number of others but there are so many I cant keep track! As for the latest installement (aka this mornings breakfast)...

Dried Pear and Pumpkin Pie Spice Oats with a Chocolate Pretzel Fudge Baby, Toasted Cashews and Pumpkin-Soynut Butter Spread

The Pumpkin-Nut butter combo is one of my new favourite treats. Just 2 teas
poons of your favourite nut butter and 1 tablespoon or pumpkin puree mixed together. And those Fudge Babies! I have to thank Chocolate Covered Katie for those! I opt to make them with cashews rather than walnuts though, but thats another post.

Back to the oatmeal, not only are there five bajillion different flavour combinations to keep things interesting, theres also a ton of ways to prepare it for different textures! Here are a few of them:

The Norm: Boil water, then add oats. Leaves them chewy and give lots of texture.
The Norm 2: Add oats and water and boil together. More creamy, less texture.
Voluminous Oats CCK Style
Baked Oats: Cook oats as usual, then pour into a oven safe dish and bake until the top is golden brown. (Havent tried this yet, but looking forward to it!)

Ive also been know to experiment with grains OTHER than oats. You can find my breakfast rice pudding recipes here and here. And barley is on my to do list as well as sweet short grain mochi rice.

Well, thats all for now, but I promise many more oatmeal in the near future. In the meantime... why not have some oatmeal?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vegan Ensure

I used to drink an Ensure everyday. Its really handy if I cant get enough food in me but it is very, very far from being vegan. And because I haven't had dairy in so long, my body just physically cannot handle it.

That's where this creation comes into place. Ive heard some ideas before about nut milks before but I don't have a Vitamix, a food processor, or a soy-milk maker. I figured it was impossible. But I needed something. So I soaked the nuts and said "what the heck" and used my blender.

To my surprise, it worked pretty well! And it tasted AMAZING. I was a bit skeptical but I am now a believer.

VEGAN ENSURE aka Cashew Milk
(one serving)

1oz. cashews (unsalted, preferably raw)
1c. water
pinch of salt
sweetener to taste

Take your cashews and soak them in 1 cup of water. (You can speed up the soaking by boiling them for five minutes and then letting them sit a few hours. Otherwise, they should soak overnight.)
Then when there done soaking, pop em in a blender, Vitamix* or food processor with a bit of salt (or not) and sweetner of choice (I use stevia powder, Splenda will kill you haha) and let it go until its as smooth as it can get. (This can take a while.)
Once thats done, strain them through a double layer of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. You should let it sit then, again, so all the liquid drains into your container of choice.
Chill or heat up and YUM.

For a October inspired variation add back to the blender after straining and add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to taste. Now you have Pumpkin Pie Cashew Milk!

*You can skip the straining if youre lucky enough to be in possession of a Vitamix.

An ounce of cashews has about 160 calories. After you strain it theres some of the cashew pulp left over so the total caloric value of the milk will be somewhat less for a glass. If you need the caloric value to be increased and dont want to drink 5 glasses, just add an extra ounce or two of nuts to the same amount of water. You could also add maple syrup or agave nectar to sweeten it. Just remember this is NOT a complete nutrition drink. This should in no way be your sole source of nutrition, just a help to get extra calories throughout the day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ugly Food, Yet Delicious

There are some things that just do NOT want to be photographed. Like today's lunch. A casserole of sorts, created by the desperate need to empty my fridge before things started expiring. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

So, despite the inability to snap a good shot, lunch did TASTE beautiful. Dont be put off by the pictures. Trust me! And try it.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Casserole

1/2c frozen sweet potato pieces, microwaved
1/2c canned black beans
3 small mushrooms, sliced (or chopped)
3tbsp. sweet onion, diced
a few florets of broccoli, pre cooked
1tbsp maple syrup
1tsp unsweetened applesauce
2tsp nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1/2tsp flax seed meal
1tsp nutritional yeast
1tsp panko breadcrumbs

Heat a pan over medium and add all 'filling' ingredients except syrup and applesauce. Cook until onions are soft and starting to brown.
Add syrup and applesauce and stir to coat.
Meanwhile preheat the oven on BROIL.
Once filling is cooked, transfer to an oven proof dish.
Mix all 'topping' ingredients together and sprinkle on top of the filling mixture.
Pop under the broiler for 3-4 minutes (or less, keep an eye on it) until the topping is golden and serve.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cajun Spiced Tofu

Once again, I really couldnt help it. It just smelled so good. So I have for you another picture with a few bites missing. I plated up my Cajun Spiced Tofu with left over spaghetti squash and broccoli. It was delicious.

1/6th of a 350g block extra firm low fat tofu
1 tsp vegenaise
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/4 tsp cajun spice
1 tsp nutritional yeast

Whisk together the vegenaise, soy sauce, and cajun spice in a bowl and toss tofu in the mixture until its coated well.
Let marinate for at least 30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Heat pan over medium heat. When up to temp, spray pan with nonstick spray and place tofu in the pan.
Sprinkle each piece with a bit of nutritional yeast and cook until browned on one side.
Flip over and sprinkle on the remaining yeast. Let cook until second side has also browned.
Serve plain or with dipping sauce, in a sandwich, or with your favourite side.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This is Good Stuff

Gardein marinara chik'n good stuff. Another one of my vegan finds while I was down in the States. Ive been back for well over a month but these babies have been hibernating in the back of my freezer.

Not anymore!!

(I started to dig in before I could even take the picture!)

The first bite actually disappointed me. It may have been just my personally preferences with certain herbs and spices but something was not agreeing with my palate. Then I took the second bite, and the third and fourth. And hey! It was delicious! Apparently my taste buds just needed to get acquainted with this different flavour.

I was pretty hungry tonight so I ignored the baking instructions opting instead to dethaw in the microwave for about 2 minutes and then proceeding to put it in the toaster oven at 425F for 10 minutes. I really dont think it wouldve made a difference in the product if I followed the suggested preparation. It had a crispy breading that browned to perfection and the chik'n had a really nice texture without being dry. Cutting into it the marinara sauce and Daiya cheese (you all know how I love Daiya) oozed out from inside and was warm, cheezy, and yum.

Overall, Im impressed. Im most certainly going to enjoy this all over again very soon. (There are two per pack.) And it paired very well with sauteed zucchini. Perfectly satisfying.

**This is my OWN personal opinion that Im sharing with the world. In no way have I been paid or otherwise compensated for this product review.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soup it is!

Root canal number two. Yesterday I came home just before dinner with half of my mouth (half of my face actually) completely frozen. Dont you love root canals?

In any matter, it is a good excuse for soup. And with the chilly weather yesterday, it was perfect.

A week or so back I made this recipe for oatmeal bread (turned muffins). Though I have yet to veganize the beef stew, I whipped up a double batch of Quick and Easy Potato Soup* from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I had a ton left over that I put in the freezer and with the inability to chew, I heated myself up a bowl. Before digging in, I added about 1/3c. broccoli (steamed) and pureed it with the soup in a blender. Then I topped it with some Daiya cheddar and DINNER! Perfect with my moms oatmeal bread (muffins) that I managed to eat alongside.

I also just wanted to make a shout out to Chocolate Covered Katie! Ive never won a giveaway before so Im crossing my fingers and hoping I win that coconut butter!

* I did make a few adjustments to the soup. First of all, I doubled the batch because lets be honest, I could eat four servings of this stuff in one sitting. Secondly, though doubling the recipe, I left the cashews at one tablespoon (I boiled them with the potatoes as well, to make them soft enough to blend) and the white pepper was left at 1/4 tsp. I didnt have rosemary on hand so I substituted it with some sage and tossed in some garlic powder as well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

London Co-op sells Daiya!

On the Daiya cheese facebook page, they announced that they were going to be selling in Canada beginning October 1st. Naturally, I had to find out where this would be happening. Their website brought up the name of a small store (withing walking distance of my apartment) called the London Co-op. Its a non-profit organization where you pay a weekly fee or volunteer to work off the fee to become a member and then you get to shop there.

They have what they call "trial shops" to test it out before you become a member and yesterday, with nothing else to do, I put on my walking shoes and headed down there. What did I have to lose right? I was getting low on my Daiya supply that I had picked up in the states anyways.

One word: AMAZING. Theres local produce, organic everything, specialty products, vegan foods, and so much more. All for good prices too! And of course they had my beloved Daiya cheese. I am more than excited to find this gem hidden right down the street.

In any matter, today, I figured I'd whip up a quick quesadilla using Daiya and some Ezekiel wraps I also grabbed at the co-op. I spread a thin layer of chipotle pepper puree on half of the wrap, topped it with some black beans, steamed broccoli, and a nice handful of cheddar Daiya. A couple minutes in the panini press and it was ready to be served with Tofutti Sour Supreme mixed with a bit more chipotle and some garlic powder. I would upload a picture but it tasted a lot better than it looked, so use your imaginations!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Just signed up for Vegan MOFO! Very first time and super excited. Although no other month can compare to October, I am quite looking forward to November.

Jump on the bandwagon and sign up HERE!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coconut milk and TWO Bowls of Oatmeal

Ive been hearing about coconut milk for a while around the vegan blog-o-sphere but never really paid much attention to it. Ive never been keen on macaroons so I basically wrote off coconut altogether.

Well, a while back I somehow acquired a can of light coconut milk and its been hiding in my cupboard for almost a year now. Yesterday I figured it was time to do something with it. After all, I didnt want it sitting there forever.

I went on a search (a Google search haha), looking for flavour combinations including coconut. I found a few that sparked my interest: pineapple coconut, strawberry coconut and almonds, chocolate cherry and coconut, and then... banana chocolate coconut. The light went on and I had my combination and I knew exactly how I was going to incorporate these flavours- in oatmeal!

For those of you who dont know, Im a BIG oatmeal fan. To be honest, I only started really eating it about two months ago. My mom visited and during her stay we ate at a breakfast buffet in the Hilton that had real oatmeal. And I fell in love. No more quick oats, no more quaker oatmeal packets to stick in the microwave but real old fashioned rolled oats. Delicious.

Banana Chocolate Coconut Oats

1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup water
1/3 banana, mashed
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
sweetener, cinnamon, and salt to taste (optional)
13 pieces Annies chocolate bunny grahams
1/2 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Add oatmeal, banana, and water to a pot and bring to a boil.
Once boiling turn down heat and add vanilla and optional ingredients.
Once oatmeal is just about done, add coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 or so minutes.
Spoon into a bowl and top with grahams and coconut.

Im not done yet though. This morning I was at it again with yet another new combination. This one was even better than the first.

Mango Coconut Oats with Pistachio

1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup diced mango
1 1/2 tbsp lite coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
stevia, cinnamon, and salt to taste (optional)
1 tbsp. pistachios, toasted

Add oats and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium.
Add vanilla and optional ingredients.
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and then add coconut milk and mango.
Cook a bit longer until desired consistency and then serve with toasted pistachios!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day After Thanksgiving Feast

It was Thanksgiving yesterday in Canada! Although I did celebrate yesterday with my father and a delicious meal prepared by myself, I dont want it to be over yet! So tonight I prepared a day after dinner to prolong the holiday.

Day After Thanksgiving Dinner (aka green bean casserole and maple cider tofu)


1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/2 cup canned cut green beans
2 baby cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 tbsp. prepared mushroom gravy
1 tbsp. daiya mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions and mushrooms over medium in a skillet until soft, then toss in beans gravy and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Spoon into a 1 cup oven proof ramekin and top with daiya.
Broil until cheese melts and gravy starts to bubble.


1/4 block low fat extra firm tofu, cut into short strips
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. apple cider
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
pinch of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine syrup, cider, soy, and garlic in a bowl. Toss tofu to coat in mixture and let sit for 10 minutes, tossing again at five minutes.
Pour everything into a pan over medium high heat.
Sprinkle with the yeast and stir. Add salt and pepper.
Cook until tofu is evenly browned.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Childhood Memories

Do you ever have those moments, looking back on your carnivorous childhood, and kind of miss it? Not the meat on the table but a memory, built around a meat-based meal.

In my younger years, my mom made THE BEST beef stew. Even better was the oatmeal bread that was its accompaniment. Though I have yet to recreate her famous stew, the bread on the other hand turns out to be easily veganized!

My first time using a commercial egg replacer was a success and once again I can delve into childhood memories through my mothers cooking.

Mom's Oatmeal Bread (Vegan Style)

2c. all purpose flour
1c. whole wheat flour
1/2c. quick or old fashioned oats (old fashioned give more texture)
1/4c. sugar
3tsp. baking powder
3/4tsp. salt
1 1/2c. non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
3tbsp. vegetable oil
1tsp. egg replacer prepared as directed for one egg
1-2 tbsp. oats

Preheat oven to 350F and grease the bottom of an 8" round cake pan.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet in a smaller bowl.
Combine the two, adding the wet to the dry and mix until just combined.
Spread dough into cake pan and sprinkle with 1-2tbsp. oats.
Bake for 42-47 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes and serve warm.

(Variation: Grease a muffin pan and divide dough into 16 even portions. Bake for 20 minutes approximately.)

INFO: Serves 16. 150 calories each serving.