Saturday, 26 February 2011

Quick meals and some sauce ideas

I have to confess something: I watch Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals TV show. I hate when he cooks meat (and this happens like always) but he has some good vegetarian (and even vegan) dishes and excellent tips for those who want to cook at home and don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Because I cook everyday (well, not everyday cause me and Matteo divide the "shifts" in the kitchen) I'm not always in the mood to spend too much time in the kitchen too. And some people wouldn't believe but there are a lot of meals that you can prepare in less than 30 minutes. One tip by Jamie Oliver that I totally agree is that people should learn to use and keep using their kitchen appliances. I think I use my mixer and blender everyday and there's nothing wrong with that!

This week we got another vegetables and fruit bag from Home Organics and we're making a great use of everything. Besides carrots, beets, potatoes, broccoli, spinach, we got fungi and butternut squash. Matteo made an amazing soup with one butternut squash and potatoes. Today I used half of the other one to make the sauce for our "pasta al forno" and saved the other half to a dish from Veganize This!, by Jenn Shagrin, that I'm excited to try.

Back to the quick meals, one important thing to make them great is to vary with the sauces. Sauce is an amazing element cause it can change your meal completely sometimes just with one small variation.

Broccoli & fungi sauce
(served with spaghetti)

2 big fungi (or 4 small ones)
1 big broccoli (or 4 small ones)
2 full hands of spinach leaves
1 small onion
1 or 2 garlic clove
1/2 cup soy cream
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Put the fungi, broccoli, garlic cloves and onion in the food processor and mix it until have everything cut in very small pieces. Add the spinach leaves and mix it a little bit more. Heat the oil in a cook pan, add the vegetable mix and start adding the soy cream while stirring. Let it cook in a low temperature for 1 or 2 minutes. Add a little bit of water if you think it's necessary.

Carrot, butternut squash & soy mince sauce
(used in this amazing "pasta al forno" made
with a gluten-free penne)

1 big carrot (or 2 small ones)
1/2 butternut squash
1 onion
1 or 2 garlic clove
1 1/2 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Put the TVP in a boll with hot water (it's important to leave the TVP in the hot water before cooking it) and stock cube. Set it aside and leave it for 10/15 minutes. Use your fine shred/slice disc of your food processor to cut the carrot and butternut squash. Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a cook pan. Add the chopped garlic and onion and let it fry for 1 minute or until the onion turn golden. Add the TVP and let if fry for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring it
. Add the carrot and butternut squash and keep stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and let everything cook for other 3 or 4 minutes. Add a little bit of water if you think it's necessary.

This sauce is also great to fill crepes.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

An amazing vegan guide to life!

One day in the past I wrote here that I would do another giveaway and this day just arrived. Today is a great day for me (despite the fact that my internet at home is being a total bitch) cause I sent my dissertation proposal for the Master in Journalism I'm doing (and hopefully will be finished after this summer!). It will be about vegetarianism and press coverage in Ireland. I'm not so much excited about the course itself but I have to say that I like my topic and I hope I can do a good job.

Getting back to what really matters here, this giveaway is also important to me. Before the idea of this book came to my knowledge I was a fan of this girl's blog and when she contacted me to be part of the book I couldn't not be more delighted! I answered the questions she made, send a picture and waited for the book to come out. It's out now for a few months but just last week I got my copy. And I decided to buy one extra copy to make the giveaway.

The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, by Melisser Elliott, is amazing. It's not a book just for girls but for everybody and it's full of great tips, recipes and stories. I asked Melisser to answer a few questions about the book to this post and, as usual, she was very nice and came back to me with the answers very quickly:

How did the idea of writing a girl's guide come?
I was approached by Skyhorse to write a book and I felt like there were so many amazing cookbooks out there, I wanted to go a different direction. I felt like there needed to be a hip guide to the vegan lifestyle that took an approachable tone, so I decided to write one!

What was the most interesting/funny part of the writing process?
The funniest part for me was, I was on the road for a lot of the time I was allotted to write the book. That means, the book was written all over the world on airplanes, in the back of cars, on trains, and even large parts of it were written on my phone!

You're touring a lot to spread the word about the book. Which are your favourite places/events till now?

NYC is always amazing, both events there were great, plus you can't beat the food. Manchester turned out the be the sleeper hit of the tour. I had SO much fun and the turn out was great. Seattle was also a fun one, as was Philly.

If you could give just one advice to people that are thinking about becoming vegan, what would you say?

As the Morrissey song goes, "Do Your Best and Don't Worry"! Everyone makes mistakes, but going vegan is the best thing you can do for the animals, the environment, and yourself, so strive to make the best choices each day. If you slip up, don't quit, just keep trying to do the very best you can.

Thanks a lot, Melisser!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The giveaway

The prize: 1 copy of the book The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, by Melisser Elliott.

Who can enter the giveaway? It's open to everybody in the world!

How to enter: just leave a comment saying what's the hardest topic on veganism to find information about.

Dates: the entries will be accept from today (February 24th) until March 7th. The winner will be announced on March 8th. If the winner is not a blogger user, please come back here to check the blog post of March 8th and get in touch with me because I will need the winner's email :)

Increase your chances! You can do one or more of the following things, return here and leave a comment saying which one you did (leave a comment for each extra entry so you can have more chances):

a. Tweet about the giveaway and mention @GlaucexVx and @urban_housewife
You can use this text: "All about (vegan) food (@GlaucexVx) is giving away a copy of The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, by @urban_housewife

b. "Like" the All about... (vegan) food Facebook page and "like" the wall post about the giveaway. You should also "like" The Urban Housewife page on Facebook (it's not part of the giveaway but it's worth it!).

c. Write about the giveaway in your blog and leave a comment here with the link.

PS. AOS LEITORES BRASILEIROS: mesmo não traduzindo o post, o sorteio do livro vale tambem para o Brasil e para respostas em português! Basta responder à pergunta com um comentário. Para aumentar as chances, basta divulgar no Twiter ou no seu blog (e postar um comentario aqui com os links) e se clicar em "Like" (ou "curtir") na pagina do blog no Facebook e também no post sobre o giveaway (e sempre voltar aqui e deixar outro comentário dizendo que fez isso também!).

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Bits and pieces

I'm doing a lot in the kitchen in the last days but nothing that new - what doesn't mean that's nothing different going on.

Last Sunday Matteo (the pizza king of this house) decided to try Hanna's (Bitter Sweet) pizza white sauce that I've seen a few weeks ago and was very excited to eat. We bought Nutritional Yeast for the first time and used two different tofu (green and smoked) in the pizza and the result was amazing. The sauce is really easy to make and it's delicious. And I had it with a natural orange and grapefruit juice (L).

On Monday, Valentine's Day, after a busy day I baked a chocolate cake to Matteo. Yeah, I'm eating it too so it wasn't just his treat in the end!

On Tuesday, to keep going with the sweet tooth and also because I'm back on baking in a daily basis, I decided to give a try in a real decorating activity. Everybody in my mum's family is an artist, with amazing motor coordination skills and I'm not that good on this kind of thing. Anyway I decided to make a teddy bear from scratch. The result is here:

And also on Tuesday I made a risotto (again? yeah, you know I love it) with the last broccoli, carrot and parsnip of my first organic bag! Today we'll get another bag and I can't wait to see what's on it :D

So this is it. I have a giveaway to announce soon, so keep coming here :P

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Stylish :)

I'm without internet at home in the last couple of days what made me have more time to dedicate to my thesis proposal and some cupcake decoration! But it means that it's harder to post here too. Last Sunday I received a Stylish Blogger award from Tea and Sympatico, written by a lovely blogger from Manchester. Thanks! This is a great way to know more about other bloggers and it's a good fun too!

As part of the award I have to write 7 facts about myself:

1. If you ask me what I am, my first answer will be: a journalist. I really love the profession I chose to my life. And, unfortunately, I'm not working with it in the moment.

2. I started to eat most of the vegetables I've eating for the last years just after I've became vegan. I used to hate most of them.

3. I don't drink, smoke or use any kind of drugs. This is a decision I made almost 14 years ago and it was the best decision to my life.

4. I have just one brother. And he'll be a father soon. I can't wait to meet my niece.

5. My best friends live far from me and I wish I had a very good friend close to me.

6. I run an independent hardcore record label with Matteo.

7. I really don't like being a housewife, but I don't hate it anymore.

And, I would like to pass this award on to:

Vegan Crunk
Vegan Backpacker
Veganize It... Don't Criticize It!
Vegan in Brighton
The Vegan Stoner
Brazil Nut

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Cooking...)

Onca na Cozinha
A Delicia de Viver o que Acredita

Cruelty Free Makeup

If you wish to continue, these are the rules :)

1. Make a post & link back to the person who awarded you this award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Award ten recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Happy (vegan) Valentine's Day

Vegan Chocolate Love cupcakes by me (Sweet)

Friday, 11 February 2011

Organic food bag = lots of quality vegan food

A few weeks ago I saw my lovely friend Aoife Barry (Adventures in Veg...) writing on her Twitter about Home Organics. I looked for their website and found some interesting information: "We are a small family-run business started by Sarah Merrigan and Paul Fingleton in 2002. Because Sarah worked as a chef in Barcelona for years she organises what goes in to all our selections each week and sends everyone very simple but incredibly yummy recipes so you're never left with stuff you cant cook. Paul has an environmental background and generally sorts all the things Sarah can't figure out."

Because of the good words of Aoife B. and another Twitter mate (@icanhascook), who is also Aoife, I decided to make my first order after we've moved house. I ordered the
Seasonal Fruit and Vegetable Bag (€22) and I was very excited when I got my first bag. I got spinach, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, garlic, avocado, apples, oranges, lemon and grapefruit!! Everything looked amazing and I couldn't wait to start cooking with these organic items.

And I have to say that it was enough for one week and me and Matteo eat at home basically every day (lunch and sometimes dinner). I didn't took pictures of all the meals but I do have some. And I'm sharing the soup recipe because it's the easiest thing ever and it's awesome.

Soup recipe:

1 parsnip
3 potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
1 garlic clove

olive oil

Cook all the vegetables in salty and boiling water until they all become soft. Mix them with most of the water (it will depend of the consistent you want) in the blender. Add two or three tablespoons of olive oil and mix until getting a smooth and homogeneous mix. Serve it hot with your favourite bread (we
buy our bread at Blazing Salads).

We actually made soup twice and still have one parsnip at home!

So here's some of the other meals we had using Home Organics vegetables (and we still have some at home!):

Spinach and broccoli risotto

Carrots and soy mince to make the sauce
that was the filling of the salty pie below

Thursday, 3 February 2011

"Cheezy" love crackers

First things first. I know it's not Valentine's Day yet but I don't care. Love is always a good reason to make special things. And also I'm not that used to VD at all. In Brazil the celebration is on June 12th and while me and Matteo were living in Brazil it was the official date to celebrate (although we started to do something on the February 14th as well because it was the right date for him). Since we've moved to Ireland we've inverted things, but still celebrate on both dates. But you know I will always do things for him out of these dates, they are just one more excuse to celebrate.

Now, the crackers. I receive the C'est la Vegan newsletter and this week it brought two main topics: Valentine's Day and Super Bowl Eats and between the links I found the "cheezy crackers". The recipe mentioned in their post is about Celine's "cheezy quackers" recipe (she writes the amazing Have Cake, Will Travel blog that I've been following for a long time). So I decided to give them a try. BUT I am not that kind of person that follow too much the rules and I came up with some changes in the recipe. And because of that I wrote to Celine to ask her the permission to write my version of her recipe. "Go for it!" she said, so here it is:

Cheezy Love Crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dairy-free/vegan parmesan
(I used Parmazano by Life Free From)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper and garlic
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon dried paprika
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup soy milk

Combine flour, pepper & garlic, paprika, salt and parmesan. Cut butter on top, add the milk and combine with your fingers until dough forms.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll it out and cut. I used the heart cutter this time. Place crackers on baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, depending on thickness. Let them cool and enjoy it!

I made more than 40 crackers and they didn't last too much.


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