Edamame, carrot kinpira, brown rice, broccoli

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For a change, I actually have a Japanese-inspired bento. I was planning on making a tamagoyaki/rolled omelette, but found that I used the last of the eggs in cupcakes this week. It’s okay, because it’s good to focus on plant-based lunches, and I often have edamame in the freezer.

I have brown rice and broccoli left over from tonight’s dinner, and I prepared the carrot kinpira and steamed edamame for the bento. The carrot kinpira is pretty easy (adapted from the Just Bento cookbook in that I didn’t actually measure anything but I followed the ingredient list and procedure):

~heat oil over medium-high heat
~add very thinly sliced veggies, and sauté briefly
~add some veggie stock and a dash of soy sauce/tamari to cover the veggies
~simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has gone
~cool, and place into bento

Chickie holds a good pinch of Thai ginger lemongrass salt to sprinkle over the edamame just prior to eating.

Leftover fun time!

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I’m back in the classroom teaching Grade 9 English, in addition to case management and functional academics for students with special needs. As I distributed worksheets for students with examples to work on, I mentioned we’d have some grammar fun time to start the block. One of my students said, “Ms. M, you always try and make it sound more fun that it’s going to be. I never know if it is actually going to be fun or not”. Oops – they’re on to me!

So I’m tricking myself into using up leftovers and calling it fun time. We Canadians have Thanksgiving this weekend, and I’m hosting I-don’t-quite-know-how-many people for a foodfest (I think 10 total, not sure, could be up to 16?). Fridge space will be at a premium once I’ve done the grocery shop for it, so I’m trying to eat what we have, whether or not it’s calling my name.

I have a layer of brown rice and black beans, under roasted sweet potato fries that I diced, steamed cauliflower florets, and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I have safflower oil and balsamic reduction in the container for dressing. I’ll likely toss everything together before pouring over the dressing, but I like seeing the different foods on top of the rice layer here.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You know you want a chocolate snackbox – one commenter mentioned how she’d like to trick her hubs into eating carrot sticks in the chocolate box – genius!

Aloo gobi, chana masala, basmati rice

002I can’t get enough Indian food at the moment. There’s something about Autumn coming, and wanting spicy comforting goodness!

I made Aloo gobi, under the alias of “Promila Kapoor’s Punjabi-Style Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger” in my very favourite Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I made a few substitutions in parentheses.

Peanut or canola oil for shallow frying (safflower)
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into thick fries (sweet potatoes)
1 3/4 lb cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
3/4 to 1 tsp. salt (1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
2-3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (forgot to pick this up at the store today)

-heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, shallow fry the potatoes for around 10 mins (if making this again, I would probably parboil them a bit first – a few of the ‘fries’ are a little undercooked)
-remove the potato, and shallow fry the cauliflower for 3-4 mins
-remove the cauliflower, and adjust the oil level in the pan to 2 tbsp.
-cook the ginger for about 10 seconds
-return the potatoes and cauliflower to the pot, add the spices and 3 tbsp. water. Cover the pot, simmer gently for 4 minutes, serve.

I added some leftover chana masala (curried chickpeas, but I just improvised that recipe, so probably shouldn’t share it here until I’ve measured things and made it easier to follow) and some turmeric-coloured rice. The octopus spork belongs with an octopus-themed bento box which I can’t find. Either my hubs left it at work or my son put it away somewhere it doesn’t belong. I wanted to use that box, too!

Vegan Baking Friday!

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These are were so gooey and good!

I was recently in Vancouver (did I mention it’s one of my favourite cities in the whole wide world? Probably only about 1000 times already!), where I picked up a package of vegan marshmallows, and I had to find a way to make something chocolatey with them. I settled on some brownies, and used the Veganomicon recipe. Seriously, if you’re vegan or vegan-curious and live in North America, get the book! The only adaptation I made to the recipe was to use my very favourite Cloud 9 gf baking mix instead of wheat flour, and pour in the bag of marshmallows (minus two, someone had to taste-test them!) instead of the blueberries.

I took the tray, minus the big spoonful I tried when they were still warm, to my staffroom. They were devoured. Awesome!

Hummus and tomato sandwich, pickles, pear

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Not feeling 100% inspired, and certainly don’t feel like trying new recipes, but it’s still vegan (hi vegan mofo friends!), still technically a bento, and still gluten-free. I just foraged and snacked for dinner, so didn’t really even have leftovers (hubs is feeling carnivorous so will make himself dinner after his meeting) to play with.

Hummus and grape tomatoes on gf bread with some pickled beets in a cup. Dessert is some sliced pear slices. Simple, healthy, what’s not to love?

Vegan baking Friday!

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I made a delicious eggless, dairyless spice cake, from my latest favourite bedtime reading find (y’all know I’m not the only one who reads them in bed!), The Complete Tassajara Cookbook by Edward Espe Brown. The only adaptation I made was to use a gluten free flour rather than wheat. I used quinoa flour, and it turned out very nicely. I added some dried cherries on top to pretty it up a bit, but didn’t really need to!

Quick Vegan Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350’F.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
(3/4 tsp. xanthan gum if using a gf flour that doesn’t include it in the ingredients)

Melt:

1/3 cup coconut oil

Add to the oil:

1 tbsp. balsamic or raspberry vinegar (I would imagine apple cider vinegar would work nicely here too)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup cold water

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and be careful not to overmix. Pour the mixture into a greased pan (loaf or 8″ cake pan) and bake for 35-40 minutes or so.

Vegan Baking Friday!

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OMG do these taste sweet! Wow. They’re good! They’re graham crackers with nuts and peanut butter, then topped with a chocolatey ganache layer. No baking, just chilling.

No-bake peanut butter bars
(The China Study Cookbook, Leanne Campbell, PhD)

1 cup low-fat graham crackers, crushed (top-tip, I just threw them whole into the Kitchenaid and let it bash them around a bit before proceeding to add the rest of the goodies)
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup non-dairy milk

-mix together. Press into 9×9 baking dish.

1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
5 tbsp. rice or almond milk

-melt together. Pour over peanut butter layer. Chill in fridge.

My adaptation using what I had in my house instead of going to the store again – and do you have any idea how expensive gluten-free graham crackers are?

1 cup gluten-free fake graham crackers (smooshed in Kitchenaid)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup regular smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup almond milk

-mix together in Kitchenaid. Press into 8×8 baking dish.

1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup almond milk

-melt, pour over peanut butter layer. Chill in fridge.

Were I making these again, I would only add enough milk to the peanut butter mixture stage until it comes together – it seemed a little too moist overall.

No-green-food-in-my-house bento

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I’m a bit giddy with anticipation right now. Next week, I get to go to Vancouver for a Social Justice committee working session. I get to do more Ally work, and connect with some wonderful friends. Just to add to the awesome, my husband will also be there for a conference. The dates overlap and while we’ll both be too busy to spend much time together, we’ll at least see each other for a few minutes each morning and evening. I’m hoping for one date night dinner out, but that might be a little too lofty a goal.

Being that we’ll all be out of the house for at least part of next week, I’m determined to eat the food we have in the fridge before we leave. I took some leftover brown rice, cooked lentils, and tomato sauce (all in the fridge), and combined them into a saucy, tasty dish. I put some carrot stars over to decorate and pretend that I really do know how to make bento lunches. I managed to get three apples off my tree before the wasps decided “all your apple are belong to us” and started buzzing menacingly around me forcing me to retreat inside (it’s a really bad year for them, or would that be a great year?). Having an apple to eat with lunch is therefore quite a victory! I sliced up a lemon to put in my water bottle that I forgot at work. I love flavouring water with lemon slices, and it’s so alkalizing and cleansing.

Rice, roasted veggies, curried chickpeas

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Not sure if this qualifies as a bento. I feel it’s more just food put into the box. I’ve been having a very good but busy startup to the school year, and I don’t have a lot of energy or creativity left over to give to food. I have made lunches, they’ve just felt a bit pathetic and not worthy of being uploaded. The other day I had a pbj on gluten free French bread, cucumber slices, and a pear. In a bento, but not cute. Today I had avocado on gf sprouted grain bread with some edamame. Again, not cute. Today’s bento isn’t cute, but I feel I’m letting vegan mofo down, so here we go.

Under everything is a layer of brown rice, then a layer of roasted green beans and red peppers, then some leftover curried chickpeas on top. To give it some colour, I hacked away at a spring/green onion. Will taste good, just doesn’t look cute!