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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Indian fried rice using leftovers

I've been busy lately and felt like eating some Indian food and also felt the need for some comfort food. I also wanted to use up some leftovers at the same time. I had some leftover rice and some cooked potatoes that were a recent breakfast side dish. I decided to make some improvised Indian fried rice.

I started with a little asafoetida, some cumin and diced red onion that I sauteed in a little sunflower oil. I added some mustard seeds, a little turmeric, mango powder and maybe some coriander. Sometimes my powdered spices look a little similar and I just go around in my steel spice holder getting about a quarter tsp of each using my tiny spice spoon that sits in the container. The kitchen was starting to smell wonderful with the Indian spices cooking, a scent that is very familiar, comforting and appetizing to me.

I added a can of washed kidney beans, the potatoes and then the rice, adding some water to get the consistency I wanted. I added some salt, garam masala, and a little Brewer's Yeast for added nutrition.

I heated some saag I made previously and had the rice mix with that. However, having it by itself with a little pickle and yogurt would have been just fine as well. I topped the Indian fried rice with a little diced red onion I had set aside. Yumm! I was done just in time for my daughter to wake up, who shared it with me.

After finishing my meal, I discovered some left-over broccoli that I could have used. I just added it to the leftover fried rice for next time.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Potato, tofu, & spinach mix

I made this the other night with one hand, while my fractured left hand heals.  I haven't been cooking much since my fall that caused my fracture a few weeks a go.  There has been a bunch of groceries sitting around so I decided to use up some red potatoes and tofu.

My toddler had the dish as a finger food, feeding herself pieces of tofu (which she enjoys) and potato.  My preteen had it as a wrap, wrapped in a wheat tortilla.

This is a versatile dish.  Play around with which vegetables you want to use and the quantity of ingredients.


  • Approx 10 small red potatoes, cut up in chunks
  • 1 onion (my preteen chopped this for me)
  • 8 oz tofu, diced
  • 1 tblsp brewer's yeast
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp lemon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 tblsps plain yogurt
  • cilantro (optional)
  • salt to taste
I precooked the potatoes in the microwave on my handy potato setting.  You can cook it on the stove if you prefer. I added that to sauteed onions and tofu in greased skillet (I used some spray oil).  Add other ingredients and sautee on medium. Add garam masala and cilantro last. Plain yogurt can add a creamier, "curried taste."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vegetarian Pot Pie

I recently fractured my left hand in a fall and am now typing with one hand.  A reader of the site, Jennifer, from Canada, has graciously offered the following guest post while my hand heals. Thanks, Jennifer! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe - it sounds great!  I had been thinking of trying to make a pot pie and didn't get around to it.  I think everyone in my family would enjoy this.

"I've been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 20 years and married to a confirmed meat-lover for the past 17. We usually cook vegetarian meals, with my husband grilling something for himself to go on the side or making a meaty version of the meal.

Our 10 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter both started life as vegetarians.  At about age 3, they were each told that if they ever wanted to try meat with their dad, that they could...but happily they have both chosen to stay veggie :-)

Less happily, both children are fairly picky eaters and so mealtimes tend to be a challenge. We have ongoing chats about proper nutrition and balanced diets: if you are going to be picky, you need to be aware of getting enough plants, protein, carbs and fats in your day.

We try to get the children in the kitchen when possible., and found the following recipe easy to make with young helpers, comforting on a chilly evening, and even better...enjoyed by all!"

Vegetarian Pot Pie

Adapted from "Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes" by Dorothy R. Bates

Makes 2 9-inch pies - one for now, one for the freezer

Step 1: Prepare the filling
3 medium potatoes - cut into chunks
3 carrots - thinly sliced

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain, saving the liquid.

Step 2: Gravy
1/4 cup oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Favorite veggies, chopped - zucchini, spinach - whatever you like.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1lb tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes OR 1 can chickpeas OR 1 can favorite beans
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
About 1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp oregano + 1 tsp thyme + 1 tsp pepper

You will also need 2 ready-made pie shells or make the equilivant amount of your favourite pastry recipe.

Warm oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook over low heat until softened. Add celery and other veggies and cook a few minutes more. Stir in tofu. Stir in soy sauce. Stir in flour and mix well.

Measure the potato liquid and add enough vegetable stock to make 4 cups. Pour into the pan and mix well. Mixture will be very liquidy at this stage. Stir in spices.

Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then add potatoes & carrots. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Step 3: Assembly & Baking
Divide mixture between 2 9-inch pie dishes. Top with a pie shell, trying your best to seal the pastry around the edge of the dish.

Bake on a cookie sheet (in case the pie bubbles over) at 350F for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Filling will be blistering hot and somewhat liquidy when this comes out of the oven. Cool 10 minutes to allow filling to firm up before serving.

The photo is of the kids and I yesterday on a nature walk.  It's an interesting place - it's an old quarry right in the middle of our city that has been reclaimed and transformed into a wetlands/nature preserve.  As you can imagine, the boundaries of the preserve are very steep. Picture was taken after we had scrambled our way up to a lookout point at the top of one of the old quarry walls.  Takes a strong kid to make the climb :)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Coconut Rice Pudding With Mango

My son had been wanting me to make this old Redbook recipe he saw from my vast collection.  I finally made it recently and we all liked it, including my 1 year-old.  The only thing I would do different is cook the rice extra and consider adding slivered almonds.

Coconut Rice Pudding With Mango
Prep time:  10 min.  Cooking time:  30 to 35 min.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice (not converted) - I used Basmati
  • 1 can (14 oz.) low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  1. Combine rice, coconut milk, milk, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until rice is cooked and pudding is thick.
  2. Transfer to serving bowl, stir in diced mango, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until cool.
  3. Serve sprinkled with toasted flaked coconut.  Makes 4 servings; 4 cups.  Per serving:  312 cals. (33% from fat); 11g fat.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Raising Kids Vegetarian When Your Mate is Not

In my family, I have always been vegetarian, but my husband is not.  My son's biological father is also non-vegetarian.  When we were together, he became veg.  But past divorce, went back to meat.  He has continued to feed our son veg when he's with him though.  My son is used to his Dad eating meat and even his step dad.  I hope this teaches him to respect all and for his preference to be more ingrained since it is tested.

What is the situation in your family?  Do you have support from your family for your dietary choice or do you go it alone?  I think it is significant for a child to have even one vegetarian parental role model.

Breakfast Option: French Toast

French Toast - my preteen son's favorite breakfast food and my one year-old is discovering it.  Make a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, orange juice (optional), cinnamon, agave sugar or organic sugar or just powder later as in this photo.  Soak bread in liquid. I used cut-up French bread in this.  Baguettes work well.  Place in heated, buttered griddle and heat for a few minutes on each side.  Use fruit and or a little maple syrup drizzled on top.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kichadi - rice and lentil stew

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Birthday Cake

I made this cake for Maya's 1st birthday.  She ate some, but I probably liked it more.  I was impressed that it was all natural, had no sugar and tasted good.  I liked it warm with whipped cream.  The recipe is from "What to Expect the First Year" and is recommended as a first cake for baby/toddler when eggs are allowed, and if you are allowing eggs - I would think you could use an egg alternative if desired.  I am keeping leftovers in the freezer for snacking and future desserts.

Makes 1 double-layer 9-inch-square cake

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 1/2 cups apple juice concentrate (you will use slightly less than this)
1 1/2 cups raisins
Vegetable cooking spray
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tblsps low-sodium baking powder
1 tblsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 tblsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1.  Combine the carrots with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate in a medium-size saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add the raisins and process until finely chopped.  Let mixture cool.
2.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line 2 9-inch-square cake pans with waxed paper and spray the paper with vegetable cooking spray.
3.  Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1 1/4 cups juice concentrate, the oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat just until well mixed.  Fold in the carrot puree and applesauce.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
4.  Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool briefly in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chickpea Cutlets

My daughter Maya (who just turned 1) loved these.  Of course, I broke a cutlet into a manageable pieces for her - great finger food!  She seemed to like the chewy texture and probably the flavor as well.  I was glad to be getting a new protein source into her.

1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated with a Microplane grater
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
Olive oil for pan frying

1- In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the oil until no chickpeas are left. Add the remaining ingredients and knead together for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed.
2- Preheat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, divide the cutlet dough into 4 equal pieces. To form cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one into a roughly 6 by 4 inch rectangular cutlet shape. The easiest way to do this is to form a rectangle shape in your hands and then place the cutlets on a clean surface to flatten and stretch them.
3- Add a moderately thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the cutlets in the pan and cook on each side for 6 to 7 minutes. Add more oil, if needed, when you flip the cutlets. They are ready when lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Number of Servings: 4

From the Veganomicon cookbook

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rice & Vegetables with Saag

A great Indian comfort food that is very nutritious, tasty, and that the whole family will enjoy is a rice & vegetable mix with Saag, which is an Indian dish normally made with spinach.  My preteen enjoys this with a side of plain yogurt.  I also like it with a little Indian pickle.  My 11 month-old baby enjoyed this mashed up a little with some plain kefir on the side.  

First, start your rice (I use Basmati) in a rice cooker and add frozen mixed vegetables toward the end.  The vegetables get steam-cooked with the rice.  I also added some cooked potato that I wanted to use up.  

While that is cooking, make your saag.  Start by sauteing spices of your choice.  I used a little asaefotida and added a ginger/garlic paste, along with turmeric.  Add diced tofu and cook till golden.  Add spinach.  I used some fresh spinach and added some frozen.  I also added some roasted garlic that I had on hand and wanted to use up.  Salt to taste as you go along - the salt gets soaked in better this way.  At the end, I added some garam masala (which you can get from the Indian store), or you could just try some black pepper. I added some cooked potato, which is optional.  I also added some corn meal flour as a thickener.  

I had started cooking fresh spinach in the slow cooker and added the remaining ingredients.  You can prepare it on the stove or put all your ingredients in the slow cooker to enjoy later.  You may want to saute the tofu separately to add towards the end.  This dish combination is completely vegan.  Traditional saag in India utilizes paneer, which is basically compressed ricotta cheese.  You can obtain this from the Indian store.  The dish would then be vegetarian.