freezer meals

The Nonfire

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Aren’t those just bright and cheery?

So, Skittles are vegan, if you didn’t know that. No gelatin!

But this post isn’t about Skittles. It’s really about our nonfire. I would have posted about this a long time ago except that I’ve had all kinds of computer issues and then I couldn’t find my card reader to get photos off my camera. So forget that this happened almost two months ago.

As you may recall, last year we had a bonfire. This year, it was kind of wet, and we actually have a house fit to throw a party in, so I decided to have a nonfire instead. I mean, there was a fire in the woodstove, but that hardly counts aside from HEY, IT WAS WARM. And dry. And inside.

We invited a lot of people from church and elsewhere and had a lot of no-shows. All the people who ended up coming were from church. I’m not complaining! Except, yanno, as always, I had way too much food.

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It was March, so I went with a St Patrick’s Day kind of theme. So it was all GREEN and RAINBOWS and stuff. My Irish flag veggie tray was a thing of beauty… at least to me. We also had crackers, pretzels, hummus, guacamole, chips… and the star of the meal was the scalloped potatoes. I mean, what’s an Irish themed meal without potatoes?

As with my chickpea potpie, I faced the dilemma of needing it to be soy and nut free. Usually I use a cashew-based sauce. But I decided to try it with an oat milk based sauce, since that worked in the potpie. And it worked for the potatoes too! They were a hit and so delicious. Want the recipe? Well, here it is.

Soy and Nut Free Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

To make the oat milk:
Soak 1 c oats in 5 c water overnight. Add 1/16 tsp salt in the morning.

Blend for a couple minutes and then strain. This makes one quart of milk.

When you’re ready to make your potatoes:

Peel and slice 8 c potatoes. Boil in 3.5 c water until partially cooked (7-10 minutes). Drain potatoes and arrange in a sprayed 13×9 Pyrex-type pan, and set aside.

In a saucepan stir together:
6 T oil
1/2 c onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped

Sauté onion in the oil about 2 minutes. Add garlic.

Add:
6T unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp of a favourite dried seasoning (I used dill)
3 c oat milk
Stir dry ingredients in first, then add the milk very gradually, stirring thoroughly to prevent lumpage. Stir constantly over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat again.

Pour sauce over potatoes. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 25 more minutes.

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Aside from the food, we had good music, good visiting, and an entertaining escapade with some shrimp that mysteriously appeared in someone’s contribution of supposedly vegetarian Chinese takeout. Train Boy climbed high up in a fir tree and didn’t die. Yep, all in all a good evening.

It was very interesting because we had a different group of people than the usual group that comes to our bon-or-non-fires, so the dynamic was totally new. That was fascinating for me to observe. Is that weird?

And, in closing, here’s a picture of rainbow-hued chocolate chip cookies to brighten your day.

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Categories: dairy-free, dessert, entertaining, entrees, freezer meals, lunch, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Vegan Month of Food, Day 12: Savoury Kale Waffle Sandwich

I really don’t like kale that much.

I know that pretty much revokes any right I’ll ever have to a vegan card, but it’s the truth. Still, as with nutritional yeast, I use the stuff anyway, because I know I should. (Granted, 5 years ago I thought spinach was disgusting and now it’s my favourite green…) So, we’ll see in another five years, I guess.

If it’s steamed or in a soup is the way I like kale mostly.

But best of all is when it’s blended up so I really hardly know it’s there.

Plus, it’s a good way for GooGoo and Lou Who to get greens, since Lou Who still can’t really chew them and GooGoo sometimes eats it, but usually only while she’s in the garden picking it.

The Green Waffle

The Green Waffle

So, here’s a savoury waffle, greened up with kale. This was inspired by Green Monster Bread from “Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day” as well as a waffle recipe from last year’s MoFo that I can’t find now, and also by a waffle from “Of These Ye May Freely Eat“.

Yes, the batter looks like pond scum.

Yes, the batter looks like pond scum.

A few notes:

*Soak lentils overnight, at least 8 hours. I think mine soaked around 14 hours, because I didn’t have time to get to them first thing in the morning.

*You want cold milk and water because it will give you a nice fluffy waffle requiring no leavening when beat well. I don’t really understand the science of it, but it does work.

*Cold water+loads of beating is the magic combo. Since there’s no gluten, you don’t need to worry about overbeating. Blend it at least a minute if not longer, to get lots of air into it.

Green Savoury Kale Wafflewich
2 c lentils, soaked at least overnight
3 c oats, divided
4 c unsweetened almond milk, cold
1/2 c cold water
2 c packed greens: kale and collards were what I used
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp California chilli powder

First, get the waffle iron heating.

Fabulous green batter, green waffle, and green waffle iron.

Fabulous green batter, green waffle, and green waffle iron.

Put all ingredients except 1c oats and 1/2 c water into blender. Blend well. If your blender isn’t big enough, you can do it in batches, which is what I had to do.

Pour into a large bowl and fold in oats and 1/2 c water. I cooked them for about 10 minutes fairly high. Just keep an eye on it, since every waffle iron is different.

Ideas for serving:

  • Serve like beans on toast, with some nice savoury black beans on top
  • Use rice-bean combo to fill, maybe with some onions and bell peppers
  • Black bean burger with tomato, lettuce, and hummus
  • Cream cheeze, tomato, and cucumber

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What I have in the photo at the top is tomato, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, and Sabra spinach-artichoke hummus. And green beans on the side, because apparently today is green day.

This makes 4 12″ waffles, which means I can get 8 sandwiches out of it. They freeze well and are very filling. And the girls both liked them. Score!

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Categories: bread, breakfast, brunch, challenges, freezer meals, gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, oil-free, recipes, snacks, soy-free, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013, vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Taco Filling

I still have a couple of freezer food posts to post that I started before Baby Lou Who arrived, so here’s the first of them.

Today I made a double batch of taco filling. I got three 2.5 cup portions out of it, which I froze in quart bags.

1 1/4 c water
1/2 c walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 T nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 T taco seasoning (see below)
1 c bulgur wheat
8 oz can tomato sauce

Place first 6 ingredients in blender and blend. Place bulgur and tomato sauce along with blended stuff into pan. (Alternatively you can mix it all up just in the pan and hand-chop the walnuts, which is what I do – I like the extra texture.) Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 10 minutes. Use as is or brown in a nonstick skillet.

NOTE: If you want just plain “ground beef”, substitute 1 T beeflike seasoning (such as Beaf) for the taco seasoning. You can still use the tomato sauce if you like or just sub 1 cup water instead.

taco seasoning

I store my taco seasoning in an old jam jar.

Taco Seasoning
2 T onion powder
3 T paprika/smoked paprika
2 T salt
1 T garlic powder
1/4 c cumin
1/4 c California chili powder

Mix all together and store in airtight container.

Categories: entrees, freezer meals, lunch, recipes, substitutions, vegan | 4 Comments

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Baked Burritos

Well, I’m not really fulfilling my grand ambitions. This has been mostly due to my just being GONE so much the past few months. I went to two church-related camps in June and July, which was wonderful but the camping+recovery period both times took a lot out of me. I also was just flat-out lazy many days.

However, a week ago today I was in full-blown nesting mode and made two pans’ worth of this delicious and wonderfully simple recipe for the freezer.

Easy Baked Burritos

8-10 whole wheat tortillas
8 oz can tomato sauce
2 14-oz cans diced or stewed tomatoes (with or without green chilies)
2 14-oz cans refried beans
Cheese of choice for topping

First, spray a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray.

In the bottom of the pan, put half the tomato sauce and half the stewed tomatoes and stir together. I like to chop up my stewed tomatoes a bit, because they tend to be huge. This particular flavour was original. I usually like to get the Mexican stewed tomatoes, but I’m at the mercy of my local discount store and they had original or Italian to choose from. At 49 cents a can I can add my own Mexican flavourings, right?

Next, spread the beans on the tortillas. (I was too poor to buy wheat or corn tortillas, so I settled for el cheapo white tortillas. I could have made some of my own, but didn’t feel up to it.)

Then you roll up the tortilla cinnamon-roll style and squish them into the pan thusly. I like to use 10 tortillas because there’s room in the pan for 10, and this was a pack of 10 anyway.

Then you spread the rest of the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce on top. Since my stewed tomatoes were plain, I chopped up some green onion and cilantro to give it some zing in the absence of the green chilies I usually would have in there.

Finally, top it with your cheese of choice. I did a sunflower-based cheese sauce, but you could use Daiya or whatever kind you want. The above picture is unbaked, since the pan is currently in the freezer, but I’ll be adding a baked photo when we thaw and bake it to eat (which I hope will be VERY soon.)
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Consume with relish*.

 

UPDATE on 25 September 2012:

This is what it looks like baked. Some of the topping peeled off with the tinfoil.

baked burritos

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*NO, NOT PICKLE RELISH.

Categories: entrees, freezer meals, lunch, nut-free, recipes, vegan | Tags: | Leave a comment

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Soup

I’ve been delinquent about keeping up with the blog; I know. I feel much guilt. The fact is, I’ve been dealing with all kinds of interesting things in my real life: I discovered I have asthma. I’ve been camping. I’ve been prepping for the arrival of Baby Lou Who (this involves a lot of lounging around in bed being too tired to do anything else).

The asthma seems to be under control (yay!). The camping I’ll post about next week (maybe). Our unfinished house now has temporary carpet and linoleum in our bedroom and bathroom respectively, there’s a toilet installed (it even flushes – with a bucket of water), and we have our mattress made up in there to sleep on. All is ready for the birth. I hope.

All this has put a damper on my Very Ambitious Freezer Food Project, but I’ll update you on a couple of the things I’ve done since my last post.

  • Soup. I didn’t end up doing black bean soup (I may still, but that depends on time). I was making Chickpea Rice Soup With Cabbage to take for our Friday Bible study group and made a big batch while I was at it. I froze approximately half of what I made since we weren’t expecting a very big group and my soup was going to be supplemental to the main soup, and so now we have 14 cups’ worth of soup in the fridge.
  • Muffins. I was going to make bran muffins, and then I found SO many bran muffin recipes I wanted to try that I ended up doing several different kinds. I tried Ginger-Raisin Bran Muffins and The Best Pumpkin Muffins from Vegan With a Vengeance. I made Pumpkin Bran Muffins and Cranberry Orange Nut Muffins from Vegan Brunch. All four of these were delightful. The Best Pumpkin Muffins I will definitely make again. My least favourite: the Ginger-Raisin Bran Muffins. They were really good when my friend made them, but mine just came out really blah. I’m not sure what went wrong with that.

I organised my freezer as well, which wasn’t too hard to do since it’s getting pretty empty: most of last year’s frozen fruit is nommed up, and that was the bulk of what was in there. I’m confident we’ll have plenty of room for all I make throughout this project. I’ve sent my husband after some more foil pans while he’s making a run to town, so I hope next week to get going on some of the casseroles and finish the other pizza crusts.

Next week I should have another post ready for you that Actually Has Photos. See you then.

Categories: freezer meals, Mrs Pine Nut, recipes | Leave a comment

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Macaroni and “Cheese”

The macaroni and cheese recipe from “Of These Ye May Freely Eat” is easily the best vegan mac and cheeze recipe I have tried. Today I made two pans of it for the freezer: one all pasta, and one part pasta and part rehydrated potato because I ran out of pasta.

I’ve adapted from the original recipe. It calls for pimentos, which I never have and therefore always leave out; I always reduce the salt by a tad; and today I accidentally left out the lemon juice and I’m realising I actually like it better without the lemon juice.

So, here’s my modified version:

In a saucepan, stir together
2/3 c white flour
1/2 c nutritional yeast
4 tsp onion powder
1 T salt

Add:
6 T oil

Stir into dry ingredients as much as possible.

Gradually whisk in:
8 c water

Cook until thickened. Add 8 cups cooked pasta and stir together in a sprayed 13×9″ pan. You can garnish with breadcrumbs and paprika if desired.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so. Snarf down with blissful abandon.

Categories: entrees, freezer meals, lunch, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: | 1 Comment

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Pizza Crusts

For my first freezer project, I chose to do my pizza crusts, because bread keeps so well in the freezer. I need 4 but only had enough oil for 2, so I’ll have to make the others later.

Pizza Crust

Single Basic Pizza Dough Crust recipe (adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook)

1 T yeast
1 T sugar
1 c warm water
1 tsp salt
2 T veggie oil
2.5 cups flour (I use varying combinations of white/whole wheat)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add in salt, oil, and flour. Knead until incorporated, adding flour if necessary. I don’t usually knead it for more than a minute. Let it sit there for 5 or so minutes before rolling out to fit your pan.

In this particular batch of 2 crusts, I added in with the salt/oil:
1 T sesame seeds
1 T pizza seasoning

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.* Let cool completely. Freeze on trays before wrapping/bagging.

This recipe will do a variety of sizes, depending on thickness. I have stretched it over an 18″ circular pan (thinner crust) and these ones I did a bit thicker in an 15×9-ish rectangular pan (the biggest that fits in my trailer oven). You can also do small rounds for mini pizzas.

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*If I’m making this to eat right away, I bake it at 425 for about 5 minutes, add my sauce and toppings, and return it to the oven for 8 minutes or so. Since I’m going to be thawing and reheating this time, my theory is that baking it a little less will keep it from being too dry. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Categories: bread, freezer meals, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: A Series

Last time I had a baby, I had a really good birth experience – outside of the fact that I tore several places, had a few stitches, and was in pain for 6 or more weeks afterwards recovering from that. I would sooner have given birth again 3 times than dealt with the recovery pain. I’m a wuss, apparently.

Anyway, during this recovery time I was obviously not super mobile, and I was spending a lot of time with GooGoo latched onto my breast suckling, so doing a lot of food prep or housework was very difficult. Two very lovely people brought us food. I appreciated this very much. But I couldn’t help feeling a little bummed that more people didn’t offer. The church where I grew up saw to it that 2 meals a day were brought to any new mom for at least 2 weeks, sometimes more depending on how the mom was doing. I really miss that. I’ve tried to do my part to make sure any new mom at my current church gets a few meals out of me, now that I know from experience how helpful that is.

That all being said, I’ve decided I’m going to not count on anyone bringing me food this time based on my experience with GooGoo’s first few weeks of life. Because this time I’m going to have a toddler to tend to and it’s going to be the depths of hot summer and my husband has a lot on his plate, I’m going to initiate the Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom, starting now. I’ve gotten my menu all written up and I’m going to get started on it so that by mid-late July all will be ready for Baby Lou Who’s arrival.

So, I’ve decided that instead of being silent here every other week, as I had originally thought to do, I’ll do a post about freezer food, share the recipes that I’m using, and what I learn along the way. I’m going to freeze some things I’m familiar with freezing, and some things I’ve not tried before, and I’m going to be doing some recipes that are new to me as well.

Today I’m going to simply share my list of what I plan to do, and we’ll go from there. You can feel free to skim. I’ll be coming back and updating it with links as I create posts that correspond with the various meals.

Freezer Meal Plan: Breakfasts
My husband makes breakfast 99% of the time anyway, so we don’t need as many breakfasts pre-prepared, but I’d still like to have enough ready to cover at least the first 2 weeks while we’re adjusting to our new addition and making sense of a topsy-turvy schedule. So here’s my plan for 14 freezer breakfasts:

1-6. Waffles. I will do a double batch on a couple separate days to break up the hours doing it. Quadruple batch should feed us for 6 or so meals at least.
7. Baked oatmeal. I haven’t tried freezing this before, so I’m going to do just one batch and we’ll see how it fares.
8-10. Pancakes. I’ll do a quadruple batch or thereabouts of these.
11-14. Breakfast burritos. Tortillas filled with fakey bacon, cheeze sauce, rehydrated or diced potato, shredded zucchini, whatever. Make 1-2 dozen (I imagine we’ll each eat at least 2 apiece per meal if not more)
Extra fill-ins: blueberry muffins (double batch, double bagged), bran muffins, savoury oat patties. Tofu available to make scrambles.

Freezer Meal Plan: Lunches (lunch is our main meal of the day)
I’m getting a tad ambitious here, and I reserve the right to change/omit at any time. 🙂 None of this is set in stone… or ice… yet. But if I was to make the whole list, this is the bulk of enough main meals for a little over a month.

1-4. Pasta sauce. A quadruple batch would be 12 cups sauce, do half tomatoes and half sauce to be cheaper. Divide into 4 3-cup portions for 4 meals of spaghetti. Pasta can be made as needed.
5-7. Black bean soup. Double or triple batch frozen in 4-cup portions.
8-9. Curry: Double batch, freeze in quart bags and serve with rice.
10-11. Easy Baked Burritos. 2 13×9 pans.
12-15. Pizza pockets. Do 2 batches, maybe chicken/bacon/ranch and a more traditional sausage/tomato/pepper. 32 pockets – 4 meals – freeze 8 to a bag
16-17. Mac and cheeze. 2 13×9 pans. (May also do a couple of these with rehydrated sliced potatoes!)
18-21. Pizza crusts. 4, ready to have toppings added + make pizza sauce frozen in portions.
22-24. BBQ Gluten. Served with rice this is one of the best things ever and should last us at least 3 meals.
25-27. Hot dogs. Just for fun; recipe makes 8-10 and they’re quite large.
28-31. Chickpea cutlets. Chicken nuggety yumminess to fill out a meal.
32-33. Soybean patties with golden gravy. Simple and good for bulking up a meal.
34-35. Taco filling.

So, here’s my game plan: I’m going to shoot for completing one of these a day, and I’m going to try to group together things with similar ingredients (like I’ll cook up enough garbanzos to make the golden gravy and chickpea cutlets on consecutive days). I’ll also make enough extra of the various recipes that we can use a portion for that day’s meal so I don’t have to make something else on top of a large batch.

I’m going shopping now and plan to get at least some of the ingredients I haven’t on hand at the moment to start working on all of this. See you back here in two weeks… or you can come back next week and read about grain mills. 😉

Categories: freezer meals, Mrs Pine Nut | Leave a comment

Gigantinormous Bowl + Waffles.

About 15 minutes from our house is a charming little shop called Shoppe of Shalom. It is owned and run, interestingly enough, by relatives of some friends I had during my time in Idaho as a child. What a small world.

Anyway, it has been my dream for many years to own a Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl. I have memories of visiting friends during my childhood who had such bowls and watching my friends’ mothers deftly tossing popcorn in these bowls to coat them with the butter and toppings, and I wanted to be such a skilled popcorn genius as this myself. (I love popcorn. I love it best with olive oil, salt, and onion powder.)

So, for our third anniversary, my husband and I went to the Shoppe of Shalom and treated ourselves to a Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl.

The cat was fascinated by his reflection, and my daughter found it to be a wonderful depository for her inflatable beach ball. I didn’t get too many chances to actually use it for popcorn, however, because we didn’t often have popcorn when we had ravenous hordes at our house. It’s even been used as a camping bathtub for my daughter during the summertime.

Then we moved from our deliciously spacious townhouse to this 29-foot travel trailer, as I’ve previously discussed, and I find that in my limited space I’ve actually used the bowl more often than I did in my big kitchen. I’ve mixed granola in it, and filled it with snow during a snowstorm-caused power outage to melt for water, and made quadruple-batches of bread in it.

Or quadruple-batches of waffles.

Here’s the thing. I love waffles, but they’re so time-consuming for the results you get out of them. (Maybe I’m just too impatient.) So I find I’d rather dedicate an entire afternoon to cooking waffles one at a time for 5 minutes each and then putting them in the freezer so that we can get 8 times the breakfasts (or suppers) out of the effort. The Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl is perfect for doing gigantic batches of waffles.

This was one of my first successful vegan adaptations, from some recipe I found somewhere. It’s a basic waffle – yummy, healthy, light, and fluffy. You’d never guess it has no eggs. A single recipe makes about 6 ten-inch waffles.

Egg replacer equivalent to 4 eggs (if doing flax eggs, this will be 12 T water+4 T ground flaxseed)
2 c rice or other non-dairy milk
1 1/2 c water
1 c olive or other veggie oil (you can substitute 1 c pumpkin puree for the oil or replace half the oil with applesauce if you want a lower-fat waffle)
2 c white flour
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder
2 T brown sugar or liquid sweetener
1 tsp salt

Get your waffle iron heating.

Beat egg replacer on high speed for 2-5 minutes until fluffy (this is only if using Ener-G, and it’s optional, really. The flax eggs work fine without beating them first.)

Add remaining ingredients and blend just until smooth.

Pour approximately 1 cup of batter onto the waffle iron and let it cook 4-5 minutes. You can eat them hot off the pan, keep them warm in the oven until the batch is done, or let them cool on racks for freezing.

We top it with fresh hot applesauce, or cornstarch-thickened fruit sauce, peanut butter, and sometimes nothing at all.

Categories: around the kitchen, breakfast, freezer meals, Mrs Pine Nut, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Vegan White Sauce

So, the pot pie we made last week has cream of mushroom soup in it. For a vegan option, I frequently use this white sauce recipe instead:

Blend smooth:
1/2 c water
1/2 c raw cashews
1/4 c cornstarch
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp onion powder

Pour into a saucepan.

Rinse blender with 4 cups of water and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil and lightly boil 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

(Sometimes I reduce the water by a little bit if I want a more concentrated sauce.)

Other uses for this recipe include, but are not limited to:

  • Chicken – er, garbanzo – a la king (add a small jar of pimento and mushrooms if you like mushrooms, then serve over pasta or rice)
  • Cream of Whatever Soup (just add appropriate flavourings). Lots of casseroles call for cream soups.

I hope this is helpful! This recipe is a staple in my house.

Money-saving note: Sunflower seeds are a cheaper alternative to cashews and work beautifully in this recipe.

Make-ahead tip: This recipe makes the equivalent of 4 cans of cream of mushroom (10oz each, or 1 1/4 cups). You can freeze it in 10oz portions and pull it out whenever you need it.

Categories: freezer meals, recipes, soy-free, substitutions, vegan | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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