Saturday, September 30, 2006

Much cooking fun

I finally tried the Lemon Herb Tofu from Vive! We were looking for a quick, easy, light dinner last night, and I had a block of tofu that needed to be consumed, so it seemed a pretty obvious choice. It was so quick to make, and it was quite delicious! I loved the way the tofu soaked up all the flavors... It was probably the most flavorful tofu I've had. As it baked, I just made some frozen broccoli and re-heated some brown rice and some of the yeast gravy we made last weekend.

We went for a hike today, up near Helen, Georgia, in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Autumn is absolutely the best time for hiking because you don't get all sweaty as you ascend steep inclines, and the insects don't bother you, and the weather and the world are gorgeous. We hiked up to Raven Cliff Falls, a 5 mile round-trip hike. It was one of the shorter hikes we've been on, actually. But here are the intrepid adventurers at the top of Raven Cliff:

The view was gorgeous. Everything was gorgeous about today.

Last night I made Dreena's Totally Nutty Bars, again from Vive! as an energy-rich snack to take hiking. Modifications: I used walnuts instead of pecans, and I left out the almonds entirely since I was out. The recipe also called for cashew butter or almond butter, but I was fresh out of both so I just used some natural peanut butter. Other than that, I went just by the recipe. Result: Fabulous taste! They were really very nutty, very earthy. As far as texture, these did not hold together on the hike. In fact, the only time they would hold together is when they came straight out of the refrigerator. I packed some in a small Tupperware, and when we finally got on the trail, it had all disintegrated from bar-form to giant clump-form. Not that this was really a problem; they were fantastic and really helped keep us going. I guess I was not really surprised at this result, either, since there was really no binder in the recipe. What do you all think? Have you made these before, and what was your result?

We also took some fresh bread and peanut butter and apples, and had peanut butter-apple sandwiches for lunch. Have you ever had a peanut butter-apple sandwich? Try it sometime--yum...

Speaking of apples, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand on the way home and picked up a peck of fresh apples. I got a lot of Granny Smiths because I want to make some applesauce using them. We also got some Jonagolds, some Golden Delicious, and some other kind (I can't remember everything we got, actually). Apples... Have I mentioned how I love autumn? :)

Since we had such high-energy (= high-fat) food on the trail, I really wanted a low-energy, veggie-laden dinner. I also wanted a quick dinner. So here's what I came up with:

Some of you will remember my last attempt at Garlicky Kale from VWaV, when my garlic got all charred to a crisp. Well, tonight I gave that recipe another go, this time following Melody's advice--put the garlic and the oil in the pan together and let them heat together, the garlic infusing with the oil and making delicious flavors. Success! This recipe was awesome. As far as the sweet potatoes, I just peeled and sliced them, then marinated them in some orange juice while I heated up my Foreman grill. I grilled the rounds until they were somewhat tender, yet still firm enough to skewer with fork (about 8 minutes, I guess). When they came off, I melted just a little bit of margarine over them and sprinkled them lightly with cinnamon. Mmmm... What a delicious, flavorful, simple, healthy dinner.

Lastly, I have been impatient to try Isa's pumpkin muffins from VWaV, so I whipped them up tonight. I wanted to make them healthier, so I used whole wheat pastry flour, I cut the sugar down somewhat, and I replaced half the oil with unsweetened applesauce. After mangling the recipe, they still tasted fabulous. I'm very glad I cut down on the sugar because they are still very sweet. The pumpkin flavor is wonderful, and they are light and moist and spicy.

Oh, what a sublime day...


Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

Mmmm, what great and healthy eats!!

Those muffins look scrumptious!

and I never thought to throw sweet potatoes on the 'foreman. will have to try it! sounds wonderful!

KleoPatra said...

Wow, what a day! I absolutely love the photo you had taken of you two hiking (mid-hike break there?!). So beautiful, both of you, the greenery, the sky of blue and puffy white clouds. Breathtaking!

Well, Laura, really i'm sorry, your food is truly spectacular (as always, especially those mmm-mmm-muffins!!!) and i *heart* those fresh picked apples, but nothing beats that photo or your day outdoors enjoying the National Forest and all its splendor. Truly fabulous!

I love autumn as well... a nice change, a welcome moving along in the year!

P.S. The gravy on the rice looks phenomenal as does the tofu and the broccoli, but the plate it's on... that's such a beauty as well!

Melissa West said...

That's a lot of cooking you have been doing my dear! You made some of my favourite recipes... I have been wanting to make that seed and nut bar for a long time - it is such a great snack to grab on the way out the door on the way to fitness classes! I've only made that tofu once - I don't know why, it is so delicious and EASY! Love the kale, glad it turned out better this time! I gotta put kale on my grocery list for this week.

Megan the Vegan said...

Dreena's lemon herb tofu is such a great recipe! I've never managed to give tofu the same amount of flavour with other ingredients! The nut bars look good, but I've never tried that recipe so I have not stickyness advise. I have heard that pureed dates do a good job.

Midwest Vegan said...

I need to get that cookbook! Looks like a lot of great recipes.

Kate said...

The tofu sounds really adn the brown rice looks really big, is it long grain? The bars you made for your hike look really good, maybe you could have tried rolling them in some kind of flour (oat or maybe spelt) after words so they would keep their shap. I love apples so much, I can not wait to go apple picking nad make apple related foods! Well, it looks like you had a great day for food adventure.

Eat Peace Please said...

Keep the nutty bars frozen. They will be perfect to eat and not fall apart on your hike. They keep longer too.

Julie said...

Everything looks awesome! I enjoy that Lemon-Herb tofu as well.

What a beautiful pic of you hiking!

Jackie said...

I should try the lemon herb tofu as everyone says it's wonderful.

The muffins look great. Yum !

Johanna3 said...

all looks yummy and perfect!

funwithyourfood said...

I made some garlicy kale in mashed potatoes this weekend. It was my favorite thing I ate all week. I have more of everything and I think i'll make it again this week and actually post about it.
PS make soem apple pie with all those apples!! ;)

Candi said...

I love the tofu! Lol! I made it the same night, I think! I really liked it too!

What a great photo of you both on the top of Raven Cliff!! Looks like a great hike.

Those Nutty bars looks great. I've never made them, but I wouldn't mind either if they fell apart...they look so good!

Your kale and sweet potato dinner looks so good! I love kale, and I'm so glad you gave this a second chance. It looks perfect! I love the idea of grilling the potatoes!!! :P

Glad you had a great hike and I loved seeing all the amazing food you made!

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