Simple Sautéed Veggies with Light Salsa

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I missed the farmers market this weekend, and therefore did not get my weekly quota of fresh veggies. Today, before sylvan, I went to the next best thing…Fancy Fruit and Produce! While there, I was able to purchase a lot of great veggies, and tons of fruit to make morning smoothies.

Unfortunately, by the time I got home, I was so exhausted that I did not want to cook a lot! Thus came this dish, simple, tasty, and full of nutrients!

Ingredients for sautéed veggies:

1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper (save 1/3 for the salsa)
handful of asparagus
1 portobella mushroom
4 crimini mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
avocado (add when everything is prepared…do not heat!)

Salsa:
12 cherry tomatoes
handful of fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 yellow bell pepper

Sauté the veggies in the olive oil (except for avocado!). Heat until slightly tender, do not over cook!

In a blender, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and 1/3 of the yellow bell pepper. Blend until the mixture is liquified. My blender did not give me a second option!

Place veggies in a bowl, add chopped avocado, top with salsa mixture. Fabulous!

This meal took less than 15 minutes…and most of it was chopping veggies! I cannot wait to eat it for lunch tomorrow!

Homemade Bagels!!!

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Bagels! Homemade bagels! Probably the baking item that I am most proud of! So much so, that I put off blogging about it until I had the time to do it right.

First, I was really sick. It was the never ending cold/sinus/allergy illness that comes from teaching in a confined room with students. Just found out that strep throat was passing through the 6th grade, really hoping to not get it!

Then, I became insanely busy. A lot of papers to grade, a lot of hours at my second and third jobs, not much sleep, or writing. I did, however, continue cooking…just neglected to write about cooking.

So my resolution, dear readers, is to post at least three times a week, hopefully more! Now on to the bagels.


Warning: This recipe, while not require a lot of ‘hands on time’, is rather time intensive…there is a lot of waiting! Please set aside at least 3 hours…

A lot of bagels found in publix are vegan by nature. They do not contain eggs, there are no dairy products in them…they are inexpensive and convenient. Despite all of these redeeming qualities, I decided to try to make my own, from scratch. Using Pennies and Pancakes- Basic Bagels, sent to me by Kristina, a list of ingredients, a bread machine, pot of water, and an oven, I managed to make homemade bagels.

Ingredients:

2 cups warmish water
1 tsp. dry active yeast
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. olive oil (separate occasions!)
1 Tbsp. salt
6 cups bread flour

In a bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and 2 tbs of sugar. Let this concoction sit for 10 minutes. Then, add in the 1 tbs of olive oil, the flour, and the salt. The original recipe suggests using a standing mixer…I do not own one of these! I do, however, have a bread machine! So I lugged out my bread machine, placed the crudely mixed dough in the proper compartment, and set it to knead, and did laundry for 11-15 minutes. Timing may vary. The dough needs to be pliable and not sticky…I had to add more flour after the bread machine in order to make this a reality. (please note, you can also stir and knead by hand…and instead of laundry, you are getting a workout! check off another task on the neverending todo list)

Once the dough is up to par, roll it into a ball, brush the teaspoon of olive oil on it, and set it on a dish under a damp towel for about one hour. The dough is good when it ‘springs back’ when you poke it.

After the dough has risen (and you have done several chores…or napped), separate the dough into 12 pieces, roll out the pieces into 7-8 inch ropes, and form donuts. I found that rolling the dough between my palms was an effective strategy. It is important to remember to pinch together the ends of the dough to form perfect rings!

Let these sit, under a damp towel for another 30 minutes. Go finish cleaning!

During the 30 minutes, you also want to place a large pot on the stove (about 4 qt, half filled with water), and boil it. You also need to find a slotted spoon, or some other device for dipping things into the water without substantial burns. You also need to preheat your oven to 500 F.

Once the 30 minutes is up, take the bagels, three at a time, and dip them into the boiling water. Flip them after a minute, and at the second minute, take them out and rest them on a dish. Repeat until all bagels have been dipped.

Now for the fun part! Picking the toppings! I originally was resigned to only doing plain, as I did not know how they were going to turn out…but at the last minute, I decided to play with my options. For two of the bagels, I mixed cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkled the mixture on top. I made two with sea salt as a topping, and two more with garlic salt. One was with vegan mozzarella (daiya) and one with vegan cheddar (gourmet vegan). The last four were left plain.

I placed the now mostly dressed bagels on two lined baking sheets, and shoved the sheets in the oven for 15 minutes. After 10, I poked around with a spatula to ensure that they were not sticking to the tray.

So, two and half hours after my adventure started, I was staring at 12 perfect bagels.

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I am hardly ashamed to say that I ate two the first night! They were great for breakfast (duh!), lunch, and dinner as bread for a pressed sandwich!

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I also brought in some to work and got great reviews! Maybe next time I will double the recipe and freeze a dozen of them…to cut down on the time.

Vegan Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

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These cookies were so good, that my doorman called me back after eating them to sing their praises.

Let me back up. I rarely have a sweet tooth, but when I do, it is massive. One of the few things I have had difficulty with being vegan is satisfying that sweet tooth. I have never been much of a baker (as referenced a few times in this blog), and I have consistently not done well attempting to bake vegan. Yesterday, however, I decided that this will all change. I had a craving for oreos (which are vegan!), as well as cookies, and I found a recipe that combines the two. Perfect!

All credit for this recipe goes to This Can’t Be Vegan: Oreo Cheesecake Cookies Hooray pinterest!


Ingredients:

16 Oreo cookies
1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
6 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese (such as Galaxy Foods Cream Cheese Alternative)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Mash the oreos to a pulp…I used my blender, but any crushing method should work. I also used my blender (a different blending container) to stir the butter and cream cheese. While the recipe suggests a hand blender, I found that the dough blending mixer on my ninja blender worked well too. After the butter and cream cheese were mixed, add the sugar, and vanilla. Stir some more. Add flour and one cup of the oreos. Stir until completely mixed.

Now comes the hard part…the mixture must be placed in the fridge without you eating it! While this dish is vegan, and there are no raw ingredients to worry about…you do need dough to make the cookies!

After thirty minutes have passed, take the dough out, and roll it into little ‘golf size’ balls. Dip the balls in the remaining oreo crumbs (as if you are breading them!) and place them onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes on 375, remove and cool on tray for another three minutes. Then remove to wire rack, or other cooling device.

Kristina came over last night to drive us to see Ancient Sun at the Tapas Bar Taste. On the way up to my apartment, she mentioned to the door man that I was baking vegan cookies. We brought one down for him to try on our way out. 5 minutes later, on our drive to the show, I received a phone call from him exclaiming that the cookies were way too good to be vegan! Success!!