IKEA food

So, I’ve got some postdated blogging to do.  Back at the beginning of December, we went to IKEA.  I love their little food section as I’m really fascinated by Scandinavian cuisine (even though it’s decidedly not vegan-friendly traditionally.  Though these days, since that block of countries is generally way more progressive than the rest of the world in almost every way, there’s plenty of vegan options).  I always get a packet of the ginger thin biscuits they have; they’re a nice tea break snack.  I knew I wanted a jar of lingonberry jam so I could try to make Swedish meatballs.  Wishfully thinking, I picked up a pack of this frozen gingerbread dough, which seems to be a seasonal item, and read the ingredients list:  another accidentally vegan score!  I like to make things from scratch, but I am not above the occasional shortcut.  These were really pleasant and spiced, I’ll be sure to get them next time I see them!

I hated the Glögg.  I’m always looking for interesting alcohol-free to have when I’m with people drinking (I’m straight edge) drinks, but this was…really nasty.  Tasted like cough syrup.

Gingerbread moose!

Anyway, yeah, I wanted to make Swedish meatballs.  I remember eating meatballs as a child and thinking they were gross; they were sort of greasy and slimy.  These were really good, with a nice savoury, meaty bite.  I used the recipe from Mo Betta Vegan, the only change I made was substituting soy sauce for the Worcestershire sauce.

I made mashed potatoes, Chris and Crystal Tate’s white peppery gravy (which used to be posted online, but the link is dead.  If you have Melisser Elliott’s book “The Vegan Girl’s Guide To Life“, it’s in there, too), and a proper helping of the IKEA lingonberry jam.

It was a pretty beige meal which I try to avoid most often, but sometimes the craving for colourless comfort food wins!

– Crystal

Picadillo Mexicano + Taco Salad

And now for a couple from the it-doesn’t-photograph-in-an-appetizing-way-but-it’s-delicious-i-promise files.

The Picadillo Mexicano from Vegan Explosion is super duper easy and makes for a quicky, cheapy weeknight meal on nights where I’m at the gym until late and we don’t feel like doing anything big.

And a big ol’ taco salad!  This one is romaine, arugula, black beans, tomato, avocado, cilantro, tortilla chips, salsa and some sanctuary dressing from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook.

Ugly, delicious food.  Sometimes the best kind!

– Crystal

Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today!  I have been fighting a nasty cold or flu, I can’t figure out which.  Even still, I pressed onward and made a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.  We went to an apple orchard earlier in the day; I had a groupon to get 10 lbs of apples, so there will be some apple-y things in the near future on the blog.

Clockwise, below:  Orange-maple baked tofu with cranberry sauce (hiding behind the potatoes!), bread rolls, butternut squash casserole, sautéed green beans with walnuts, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Vintage Pyrex love.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, folks.
– Crystal

Seitan Pot Roast

We love our slow cooker!  Trevor whipped this up on his day off, so I came home to a delicious, hearty meal!  He said it was really easy, too, and honestly tastes just as delicious as any Tofurky roast.  The roast made great sandwiches the next day, with some of the carmelized onions, mustard, vegenaise, and lettuce.

For those new to vegan cooking, seitan is otherwise known as “wheat meat” – wheat gluten is used to create a high protein food that can be made into cutlets, loaves, sausages, and pretty much anything meaty-textured you can think of.  It’s really delicious, and the texture is really nice and honest to god, super “meaty”.

Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast
(by Robin Robertson, original recipe found here)

1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound baby carrots
1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups wheat gluten flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock, or more as needed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato sauce

1. Arrange the onion, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a lightly oiled slow cooker. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper and add the stock, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each of the thyme and marjoram.
2. In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten flour, onion powder, garlic powder, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of thyme and marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the water or stock, soy sauce, and ketchup. Mix well, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry, then knead for 2 minutes until smooth. Shape the gluten to fit inside your cooker and place on top of the vegetables. (You can place it on top of a piece of aluminum foil or wrap it in cheesecloth, if desired, to keep its shape). Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours (or longer, depending on your slow cooker), or until the seitan and vegetables are cooked.
3. To serve, remove the vegetables and seitan from the slow cooker. Cut the seitan into slices and arrange them on a serving platter. Surround with the vegetables and spoon the cooking liquid over all or transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan and thicken into a gravy.

– Crystal

Horchata and Latin Food

Vacation week!  Sorry we haven’t been blogging much, but we’re on vacation and between day trips and refinishing furniture, we haven’t been doing much in the way of bloggable food.  Figures, time off means no cooking?!

Anyway, we made a really nice dinner tonight, making a bunch of stuff from Vive Vegan by Terry Hope Romero.  Swiss chard with raisins and capers, Peruvian potatoes with spicy cheesy sauce, Creamy horchata, and some blue corn tortilla chips.

– Crystal