Apr 20, 2012

tester - catch up

I am taking the opportunity to catch you all up on what I have been doing recently since it is so glaringly obvious that it isn't blogging!

As you know, last year I was testing for Tami's Grills Gone Vegan cookbook, which is yet to be released, but I keep hoping it will be out for summer grilling. From those delicious-days-gone-by, I tested dreamy recipes such as:

Tami's Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Seitan Salad with Nuts and Fruits
Grilled Leek Spread

And then Tami asked me to test for her sandwich cookbook, co-authored with Celine Steen, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, which has a September 1 release date. I am so excited! This will be the definitive vegan lunch/sandwich book. So amazing:

Two Tomato Tango

Tofu Pomegranate Pockets

Sushi Wrap
Surprise! (Is anyone, really?) These two mad-cappers are at it again! This time creating a  whole grain baking book. Yes, again, I couldn't resist. My time is valuable and I wouldn't want to test anything that I didn't find worthy, or frankly, for any cookbook I wouldn't purchase myself, so when Tami asked if I was interested, well, for sure! 
Whole. Grain. Baking.
 I believe I have at least 4 cookbooks on my shelf on the subject, and not any one I go to as a resource. Either the book is not actually "whole grains" or it isn't vegan (and baking, as we know, is a science, not an art: difficult to ad-lib) or just plain sucks.

Needless to say I was intrigued. Turns out, these women are truly using whole grains: oat, barley, amaranth, rye, corn, wheat, ...you name it, they use it. And, get this, it tastes great! Even my kids like the goodies I've made. 

Here are some teasers:

Wheat Wonder Crackers

Pizza Your Way

Olive Round
Delectable, right? And I haven't even gone down the sweet route, yet!

All this has been horrific on my hips, but I am not done, yet.

While testing for Tami and Celine last year, I was also doing a bit of cooking for Robin Robertson's up-coming slow-cooker cookbook. As an ubber-busy mom, this was another one of those cookbooks that I found a wealth of value in. I applied for testing when Robin posted the need on her blog and she accepted. This book, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, is slated for an October release. Just in time for the holiday onslaught, when we could all use a bit of a break after all the holiday preparation during the day; nice to have dinner ready. Well, that describes my entire year, excluding the holiday factor. Can you relate?  

Here are a few pics of Robin's recipes:

Root Vegetable Bisque

Seitan Posole

Lentil Chickpea Curry

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
That's right. All from a slow cooker.

Last month I got the opportunity to test for Robin again. This time a One-Dish cookbook. I have her first One-Dish Vegetarian Meals cookbook and love it. I figured this would be another cookbook I test for that wold benefit me more than the chef. 
Right again. 

Here are some of the pictures from this new book:

Potato Salad with Avocado Dressing

Jamaican Spinach and Red Bean Soup

Bulgur and White Bean Bake with Cabbage and Tomato

One-Dish meals mean there are no sides needed - it is a complete meal in one dish. Great idea and certainly a headache saver. 

There you have it. Hopefully some of these books will be available for you to get your hands on. In the meantime, rest assured that whatever cookbooks I receive as compensation for testing these recipes, will all be up for grabs in upcoming blog contests. 

Until next time, keep eating well. 

Apr 16, 2012

spaghetti and vegan meatballs

Catt chose Spaghetti and Meatballs to cook this week. Typically I can print the recipe from this blog (the founding intent of it) and let the kids loose on the kitchen, but this time I realized the only encounter I have had with meatballs has been making the Swedish Meatball recipe. Since this menu choice was not Swedish and I wanted something different and perhaps easier, I decided to make the meatballs myself and let the kid continue to hole-up in her room while I prepared the meatballs. This caused a slight delay in dinner, oh, about 2 days' worth; I'm sort of what you call a procrastinator. 

Since I have been recently messing around with seitan and gluten, I decided to continue experimenting and created a meatball with maybe a little less complication, a little more flavor and a better texture. Maybe.

Animal derived meatballs have a flurry of names. Vegan meatballs should not be left out of the nomenclature game. Before, I had made Swedish Meatballs using TVP for the filling, this time I made Italian Meatballs using Tofurkey Italian sausage for the filling. Next time it might be Soy-free Hungarian Meatballs or Gluten-Free Mexican Meatballs. Again, I used vital wheat gluten to bind, but instead of cooking the balls at a high temperature, I baked these in a low temperature oven. These tasted great right out of the oven, but after simmering in the Tomato Sauce for 10 minutes, they were light and fluffy... and 
did not fall apart... at ... all.

Dinner: Possible
Should I call Food TV?

Cost Breakdown

meatballs: $5
pasta: $3
sauce: $4
Total to make 6 servings: