Thursday, February 15, 2007

Been cookin'

Besides being swamped with work for the past several days, I also caught a case of the sickies. Nothing terrible, just a sore throat and cold that have been going around. I'm on the up-swing now both with school and with my health, so I thought it was time to jump back into some food blogging.

I made Chipotle Yam Wedges from Vive recently, and they were so delicious that we've had them a couple of times since then! Simplest recipe in the world, really, but it's right on. Here they are with some black beans (courtesy of my freezer) and some sautéed kale. This is the kind of lunch I really prefer to have--large and colorful and healthy.

Also from Vive, we tried the Chickpea Ratatouille this week. In one word, FANTASTIC! It's a very warm, mellow, hearty meal, seen here over a brown and wild rice mix. Bob has been raving about how awesome this is (and he's right), so I bet we'll be making this again soon. One recipe of it made about three servings for each of us, which also gives it points in my book.

When I have a sore throat, I love eating a hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I don't have oatmeal very often right now, since I have to get up super early to cook it. But wanting something warm on my throat, I got up one morning and made some. I added some chopped ginger for good health, almond extract and cinnamon for flavor, frozen blueberries for all their delicious antioxidant goodness, ground flax seeds stirred in at the last minute, and a drizzle of agave nectar on top. Served with a nice pot of ginger-infused green tea... There you have it. Breakfast of champions.

Seriously, I am trying to vary my breakfasts a little more these days. Usually I eat a bowl of fortified cereal with soy milk, and then a couple of hours later I have an apple. When you're rushed in the mornings, you don't have time for much fanciness. But if anyone has any winning breakfast ideas that are filling and not too fussy (and not smoothies until it warms up about 20 degrees), I would love to hear your suggestions! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, when I have time to do it right.

When I do have more time in the morning, I love baked oatmeal. There is a recipe from Fatfree Vegan that I have come to love, and I made this for breakfast over the weekend. Again, green tea with ginger was an absolute must to accompany this meal.

We tried our hand at making French bread this week from La Dolce Vegan, like Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan also blogged about a while back. Her loaves turned out much prettier than mine--next time I will have to make the slashes more neatly. But this was so tasty and tender, nothing like the stuff you see advertised as "French" bread. No, this reminded me of the real thing. I confess that even though I was supposed to use all white flour, I subbed about half of it with whole wheat pastry flour--I couldn't make myself not do it. No harm done, though--the taste and texture were still amazing. Next time I am going to try baguettes, because I love real French baguettes more than any other kind of bread in the world. See?

This picture was taken three years ago when I was in Paris, and depicts my love affair with baguettes.

Now on to the sweet stuff. I made these chili chai glazed nuts as a treat for Bob to keep on his desk at work. The original recipe used walnuts, but I (like Melissa West) subbed almonds since we generally like almonds better and they're a source of calcium. Yum, these are delicious! I'm glad I sent them to work with Bob so I don't have to try to resist them every day.

And finally, Peanut Butter Cupcakes topped with Quick Melty Ganache, from VCTOTW. I told Bob to pick out a cupcake recipe for us to try, and this was the winner. They came out very elegant looking and quite yummy. They're gone now, mostly because we had plenty of opportunities to share. Gotta share the cupcake love!

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Valentine's day! I wanted to try to cook something special, but then the sore throat and cold thing hit me and I didn't feel like getting creative, or even getting in the kitchen at all. Bob and I have a tradition, though, of going to The Grit on Valentine's day--we have done it every year since we first got together. Yesterday may have been our last V-day at The Grit, since we will be moving away from Athens this summer... But it was fun and the food was great (as always). I had a spicy tofu-veggie stir fry, and Bob had an avocado-citrus wrap with tortilla lime soup, which tasted strongly of chipotle.

This Saturday, yours truly will be 23 years old. How can that be??? Anyway, I don't know what my plans are yet, but I'm sure it will be a good time. I will get back to you in a few days and fill you in on all my birthday antics! Best wishes to you all... Peace!


Candi said...

Hi Laura! I hope you have a wonderful birthday! :)

All your foods look so healthy (minus the cupcakes!!) and delicious!! (including the cupcakes! Lol!)

I really want to try the Chipotle Yam Wedges!! Those look great.

I love how you always use beans so much. I forget to make use of them and I tend to go for gluten-filled foods, which isn't so great on my stomach!

The oatmeal looks so good. I looooove oatmeal, especially when it's cold. Your added ginger sounds perfect. Mmm! With tea too! I'd love to have a long breakfast with you and sip tea for a long time!

My breakfasts are the usual: cereal and soymilk, a smoothie, or oatmeal. What I want to do it make scrambled tofu the night before, and then make a quick breakfast burrito the next day on my way out the door!

You also asked me about linking the Cage Free Egg post on my blog; of course you can! Anytime you ever want to link, definitely feel free to do so! Thanks for asking though! The more people that read that, the better off it will be for the chickens, so I'm all for it! lol! :)

Happy birthday again! :)

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

My breakfast secret is much like Candi's....I make stuff at night that will last a few days in the future.

sometimes it's muffins and a tofu scramble or gravy with tempeh sausage and fancy biscuits lately.

this way I can just heat things up in the oven, add some fruit and viola! hearty breakfast in no time.

while not a fan of yogurt, lately i've been occasionally enjoying Silk's Live! version with some chopped banana and/or strawberries and granola on top.

the last few days I've been all over Susan's mini quiches which i made in advance and now just heat up in the a.m.

all this, of course, is assuming you have any extra time before bed ;)

glad you're getting back to better health..and happiest birthday!

theONLYtania said...

Glad you're feeling better! I really would like to try the chipotle yam wedges.. I always say this but.. everything is so hard to do here in the dorms. I'm interested in that ratatouille too.. is it just a bunch of veggies and chickpeas?
Your oatmeal looks delicious, I love it when people can take boring old oats and make something awesome hehe.
Do you think that same recipe would work with cashews? Chris' parents love cashews and I've been wanting to send them some sort of sweet spiced nuts..

Caroline said...

Happy early Birthday!
All of your food looks so good - I especially like the color combo in the bl. beans/kale/yam pic. Yummy! Those cupcakes sure do look good as well. I've had that cookbook for 3 months and have only made one recipe from it (I messed up the buttercream pretty bad and have yet to try again).
My breakfasts usually consist of cereal and soymilk but this morning I actually had garlicky spinach and half an everything bagel. Spinach cooks so fast so it was pretty quick for a breakfast meal:)

aTxVegn said...

Happy Birthday, Laura! You're so young. Enjoy it - it sucks getting old!

I never have breakfast at home, but sometimes I'll take a muffin to work to have around 9:30.

I've been making that same french bread. It's so easy and good. Next time make diagonal slashes, like your picture with the baguettes.

Sorry you've been sick again. You're doing your part by eating healthy foods. Everything looks fabulous!

Johanna3 said...

Wishing you a wonderfull birthday!

laura jesser said...

Candi, I love using beans--they're so versatile and healthy! Maybe you should come visit me and we can have oatmeal and sip on tea for hours! :)

DGMGV, I should really start making stuff in advance that I can just reheat and go--I love those quiches and they would make a delicious breakfast. (I'd have to eat about half a dozen, though!)

Tania, yeah, the chickpea dish is just chickpeas and veggies and a bunch of spices. About the nuts, I am sure that cashews would work just as well--it should be really versatile! I'm sure Chris's parents would love you forever if you made these for them!

Caroline, garlicky spinach and a bagel sounds like a great breakfast! I never think of anything creative like that... These are the third cupcakes I've made from this book and I haven't even tried the buttercream yet!

Diann, I am just one of those people who has to eat almost right after I wake up--I guess because I usually eat a small, early dinner. I would be starving by the time I got to work if I hadn't eaten yet! I do love the bread... I'm not an experienced slasher, though. Those slashes are diagonal, though from the photo the look straight. I think the problem was that they were too deep. Oh well, just keep trying, right?

laura jesser said...

Johanna, thanks so much! Have a great weekend!

KleoPatra said...

Laura, happy early birthday to you. Your food looks speccytacular!! Especially the cupcakes. YOWZA, mama! :o)

springsandwells said...

Hi Laura!
I love this post.
Like you, I usually have to eat soon after I wake up - unless I start my yoga practice right away. If I start practicing soon after I get up, my body knows to wait ( and then I eat as soon as I'm done with practice!).

Also like you, I usually have cereal... but have been trying to get more variety. I've been eating oatmeal a lot lately, I have a nice rolled oats variety that only takes about 5 minutes on the stove top. I add nuts, dried fruits, flax meal, and some maple/agave syrup. I've also made rice "pudding" with wild rice, soymilk, raisins, almonds, and cinnamon (& sweetner). And of course, lately I've been making smoothies too. There are so many ideas out there, but I usually want something quick and easy that won't make too many dirty dishes.

I LOVE the picture of you with the baguettes! What a cutie! And I agree - three cheers for baguettes! The best. Good to hear that you were able to use half WWPF in the bread without altering the quality. I can't stand to use all refined flour anymore!

And, thanks for the Ratatouille tip! I think I'll try it soon. We haven't had something like that in a good while.

Lastly, I've got to say that I disagree with ATXVegan... for me, each year that I get older I feel happier and more comfortable with myself & the world around me. So, happy pre-birthday!! Hope you have a nice celebration!

Megan the Vegan said...

i hear ya..FRENCH BAGUETTES! there is simply nothing better.

Allison said...

Hi Laura-

I've been lurking around your blog for a little while and thought I'd finally post a comment! :)

We're super busy in our house too (my husband and I work full time and we have a 13 month old boy).

I like a variety of breakfast stuff too, so I use my freezer and crockpot to help. I bake a few dozen muffins of different kinds and freeze them. You can microwave them for 30 seconds or so to defrost them and they are a good way to get all kinds of goodness for breakfast (nuts, seeds, fruit, grains, etc.) I also make and freeze whole grain pancakes. My other trick is to fill my crockpot with a variety of grains (I like brown rice, steel cut oats, millet, and barley). Add twice as much water as you have grain (e.g. 1 cup grains need 2 cups water) and some cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, etc. and turn it on low overnight. You'll have yummy hot cereal in the morning. You can reheat leftovers with a little almond or soymilk on top and it is great with apples mixed in.

Happy long weekend and early birthday!


Kati said...

All your food looks wonderful! I will have to try that baked oatmeal. Sometimes when I make the stove top variety, it turns out too gooey for my taste, but maybe I'm just weird...

Love the France picture! I'm getting up the courage to make my own bread one of these days. I usually have a hard time with yeast, but bread-making is something I really want to master. Your loaves are always an inspiration!

Hope you are feeling better and have a fabulous birthday! :)

Vivacious Vegan said...

The picture of you in France is adorable. I love your short hair. I think your French loaf turned out great. It looks so big and puffy and makes me want to make some tonight. I've had dreams about those cupcakes but have yet to make them. Your pics look great and may have just been the boost I needed. For breakfast, one thing my mom used to do when we were kids was make a whole bunch of pancakes or waffles one morning and freeze all of the leftovers in individual serving sizes. Then in the morning we could just pop them in the microwave, top with syrup and voila. I enjoy eating breakfast but I'm always worried that I'd eat away my calorie allotment. So I try to keep it simple and eat cereal (usually half one kind, half Fiber 1) or oatmeal. I top it with a sprinkling of blueberries or bananas or both if I'm feeling frisky!

Vicki said...

hi laura! that top picture is my kind of meal & i'm hungry right now so it a bit torturous to see the kale, fries & beans all ready to be eaten! there's nothing like fresh out of the oven bread & you've inspired me to make a french baguette -- your photo is so beautiful i love how you're clutching the bread. when i make the french bread, i'll share my paris baguette too! HAPPY BIRHTDAY! :o)

Webly said...

Your oatmeal looks like my normal morning oatmeal! Very yummy.
I hope you're feelings better. I've been sick for the past two weeks with various things and I am going to have to make some yam fries with my new found appetite. Thanks for more beautiful foods!

Just call me Orangie said...

oh, you are making me so hungry, everything looks great, especially the chili chai almonds and oatmeal (I can't eat oatmeal since I'm a celiac, so anytime I see it, I yearn for it even more)

Ellie P. said...

For breakfast ideas, Mollie Katzen's cookbook "Sunlight Cafe" has a ton of fascinating and interesting breakfast ideas, a ton of which are vegan or for which she suggests vegan versions. There are so many things in it I want to make.

All of your food here looks absolutely delicious, especially the oatmeal. Oatmeal is probably my favorite food, I like best to eat it with vanilla soy milk -- I like the fairly plain taste! Or maybe a few raspberries too.

laura jesser said...

Kleo!!! It's so good to hear from you! Thanks for dropping in--and for your comments! You are so sweet. :)

Amey, I think it's great that you have "trained" your body to wait until after yoga. I would really like to do that--I get so hungry at such specific times, I sometimes feel like my body controls me. Thank you for your breakfast suggestions--wild rice cereal sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the birthday wish, and I only hope that I can be as positive as you as I get older!

Megan, I remember your Behind the Apron picture--it made me go crazy for some French bread!

Allison, hi! I'm glad you "came out"--nice to meet you! I love your breakfast suggestions. I have been meaning to make a big batch of waffles and freeze them, but I never think to do it when I actually have time. And the crockpot grains sound so good that I am definitely going to give that a try next week. I hope to see you around!

Kati, I don't think that's weird about the oatmeal. My husband is funny about oatmeal sometimes--it has to be just the right texture or he won't eat it. Making bread is one of the most rewarding "homemade" things I do--and once I started doing it, I realized that once you get the hang of it there's really nothing too difficult about it. Maybe your yeast is old?? Or maybe you should try refrigerating it... Anyway, I hope it works out one of these days! Let us know if it does!

Crystal, I really do think the bulk waffle/pancake thing is a good idea. You're right about the calorie allotment, though--it's something I think about. But I find that the more filling and balanced my breakfast is, the better it keeps me going for the entire day without the need to snack as much. And I do love blueberries AND bananas on my cereal too!

Vicki, I can't wait to see your bread and your Parisian baguette! Vive le pain français! I know what you mean too about being hungry--I know I shouldn't read everyone's blogs when I am hungry, and when I do I feel just like you! I hope your lunch was just as delicious. :)

laura jesser said...

Webly, I'm so sorry you've been sick for so long! That's horrible... I hope you're feeling much better soon. Eat lots of ginger, it helps!

Hi Orangie! Nice to meet you! I'm sorry you can't eat oatmeal--what grains can you eat? My aunt is a celiac and she doesn't eat barley, wheat, or rye, but she does eat oatmeal. I guess it's just different for different people...? I'm sure a nice rice pudding would be just as good!

Ellie, I will have to try to get my hands on that book sometime--thanks for the suggestion. I love oatmeal too--I usually sweeten mine a little, not too much, but I load it down with spices. Raspberries make it heavenly, though. Nice to meet you!

Brooke said...

Awww, Happy Birthday tomorrow! :-)

And thanks for the comment on my blog!

Carrie™ said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. That chickpea ratatouille looks smokin'! I've eyed that recipe numerous times. I really should make it. Almonds? Did someone say almonds? My most favoritest nut! What a drooly picture. And I think your bread looks just fine. Delicious in fact.
Happy birthday and enjoy your weekend!

Midwest Vegan said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you're having a wonderful day so far. As always, your food looks great. I'm with you in that I love french bread. I think anyone who travels to France falls in love with the bread!

Urban Vegan said...

Bon Anniversaire, Laura!!! Hope you have a great day b/c you deserve it.

You are light years ahead of where I was when I was 23.

ALl your food looks amazing--your bean dishes and the PB cuppers.

Jay P from RH said...

Hi Laura,
Happy birthday! Glad to see you're well and blogging. I'll also be in Atlanta working this summer (at a law firm); maybe we can have lunch sometime.

laura jesser said...

Brooke, thanks! And thanks for the blog post--I loved it...

Carrie, I have recipes like that, that I look at and look at but never try them out--the ratatouille is worth it! And almonds, hands down, are my most favoritest nut too.

Midwest Vegan, I think so too about the French bread. I actually read some very interesting history about the baguette--whenever I finally try making baguettes, maybe I will share what I read.

UV, comme tu est gentille! Merci! :)

JAY!!! Wow, I'm shocked (and delighted) that you found my blog! I was just wondering recently when I would see you again... It would be great to get together sometime this summer. I'd love to see you (and love for you and Bob to meet each other--he's heard a lot about you). Send me an e-mail--my current address is on my profile. What are you doing these days?

maybepigscanfly said...


I recently tried the chickpea ratatouille recently too and loved it. I served it over quinoa and yum it hit the spot! And I'm in the same boat as you with breakfast being my favorite meal of the day. I do love my oatmeal and recently tried Dreena's amaranth millet porridge which was also good- but yes takes more time. I haven't read the rest of the comments so this might be a repeat, but here's some of my suggestions. Lately I've been into plain yogurt (Wildwood Unsweetened!)with some frozen berries and granola. Some other ideas are to make muffins (or scones) on the weekend and then warm them up in the mornings. Also, as a kid I loved making bagel sanwiches- toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomato, lettuce and a little onion. Of course now I use vegan cream cheese. And with this you could do any veggies, but the most important is the tomato combo with the cream cheese. ( I bet cucumber would be good too if you like those). Well I hope that this helped! And feel better girl- you need to be in perfect health for your 23rd Birthday!