Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh no!

I really want this blog to exist. I really, really do. It turns out that moving and then not having internet and then working every day until the end of time tends to put a damper on things. Go figure.

I am back though, and I am back with what happens to be my favourite comfort food in existence. You may find it strange, but that comfort food is Tomato-Cabbage soup. Seriously, yes. Cabbage.


When I was young, my mother would always make a slow-cooking dinner on Sundays. I would love to say that the smell of home-cooked meals cooked with love permeated our humble abode and made me long for 6pm, but it would be untrue. Most weeks Sunday meant dried-out, flavourless roast beef, which I despised. Sorry, Mom. Other - very special - weeks, it meant cabbage rolls. I love cabbage rolls. I miss them terribly in my veganism. I also miss my mother, who lives many hours away these days.

My mother hates vegetables. To this day, I'm fairly certain the only green thing I've ever seen her eat is my grandmother's Christmas jello salad. I don't count the cabbage in her cabbage rolls because by the time she was done with it, it was cow-flavoured and greyish. Still though, I loved cabbage roll Sundays.

Mom would mix ground beef with onion powder, roll it into microwaved leaves of cabbage, cover it with spaghetti sauce, and throw it in the oven to forget about for a couple hours. This may not sound particularly magical or even delicious to you, but what got me the most was the time that I got to spend in the kitchen with my mother on those days. When I got old enough to cook, I'd help her roll them. It helped that my sister hated cabbage rolls and that any time spent making them was just between my Mom and I. Dad was always just watching football, he never cooked. I do think he recently mastered toast, though.

I am an impatient person. 8-year-old me must have made my mother just as impatient, I'd imagine. As such, I could never wait for the cabbage rolls to be done. My mother, anticipating this, would throw any leftover ingredients that wouldn't fit in the roasting pan into a soup pot on the stove. I would eat this an hour or two before dinner and my mother would get some peace from me asking for dinner. That's where this recipe comes from. It's comforting not only because it's hot, filling, and easy, but also because it makes me think of time that I'd never admit I appreciated as a child. It reminds me of home.

Tomato-Cabbage Soup
1 head cabbage, largely chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 large can tomato juice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup canned or jarred spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 or 3 tablespoons sugar (to cut the bitterness of the canned tomatoes)
Love (awww)

*You'll notice this soup doesn't call for any salt. This is because the canned tomatoes already have enough to brine your mailman (or woman).

Cabbage can take forever to cook if you don't go about it the right way. My mother solved this problem by throwing the whole head into a microwave for a few minutes before assembling the rolls; I solve it by sauteeing and then steaming the cabbage for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. I suggest doing this too - it cuts down on cooking time.

- Sautee onion and cabbage over medium heat until cabbage just starts to turn transparent around the edges.
- Add a cup or two of water and let boil/steam for about 5 minutes, until it's still fairly crisp but no longer raw.
- Add tomatoes, juice, sauce, and spices, and simmer on medium-low until the cabbage is soft and the flavours have melded. You'll want to add the sugar midway through so that it has some time to mellow out.

I eat giant bowlfuls of this for nearly a week after I make a big pot of it. I tend to double the recipe. Possibly the best part of this soup is that it contains an incredibly low amount of calories and tons of fibre. For something so not-bad for you to have this much flavour is surprising to me for some reason.

Mmm, Sundays.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I can't stop eating spicy food! I think it has something to do with the fact that it's 8 million degrees outside. Thank you, global warming. I hope you'll forgive my gratuitous use of canned foods this week - I'm ashamed to say that we spent our $15 on groceries at WalMart because it was the only place open at the time. How truly un-vegan of me. Anyway, I usually do eat as many fresh foods as humanly possible. After a while of eating things that are processed I tend to feel a little sluggish and weighed-down. Payday cannot come soon enough! I promise I'll be posting real recipes next week. Really, I do.

Breakfast today was pb&j again. I picked up a banana at the grocery store beside my workplace for my morning break, too.

For lunch, I had leftover chili (it's better the second day!) and a little snackpack of roasted red pepper hummus and flatbread. It was so filling that I didn't start making dinner until about 10pm:

Spiced Chickpeas and Rice
1 can chickpeas
2 cups basmati rice
chili powder
4 1/2 cups veggie stock or water*

*If you like your rice firmer, use a little less, for softer rice, a little more

Combine veggie stock/water and rice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add drained, rinsed chickpeas and about a palmful of chili powder. Stir everything together, cover, and reduce to low heat. Set a timer for 25 minutes or so and forget about it until it beeps! I didn't find any need to add salt to this as I used canned chickpeas, but obviously you can adjust seasonings as you see fit. This would be really tasty with curry powder also. If I had cashews and/or peas, they'd definitely be in this. I'm pretty sure that would make this biryani!

Sammy ate this with a really spicy salsa, I ate mine just as is. I ADORE the nuttiness of chickpeas and I love that they're a little firmer than your average legume. You'll find I eat a tonne of them.

Monday, June 22, 2009


What's better than a giant, steaming bowl of tasty food that you know will feed you for days? A giant, steaming bowl of tasty food that you know will feed you for days that only cost you $4. Yes, seriously. This chili is colourful, filling, and you could probably find all of the ingredients at a 7-11 if you wanted to. On a fun sidenote, black beans contain the same chemical turkey has that makes you feel sleepy after you eat it, only with 0% of the ethical atrocities!

Cheap Chili
1 can black beans (or chickpeas)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can diced tomatoes
Chili powder

Throw it all in a pot and simmer until the flavours meld.

Obviously this would be better with some onions and garlic, but let's face it: when you have $15 for groceries, you have to make some sacrifices. If you want to go all out, you could also splurge the extra $1.5o and eat this with some multigrain tortilla chips!

First Post!


I'm going to apologize in advance for this post; I'm feeling a bit under the weather today and as a result, my food choices have been less than stellar. In addition to that, Sammy's bank decided they would hold a cheque on him for FIVE business days and we are almost entirely out of groceries. That said, today is a perfect example of how vegan food doesn't necessarily require thought. Or even many ingredients, for that matter.

I had very a very uninteresting peanut butter and jam sandwich for breakfast AND lunch today, but for dinner I did throw a few (boring) things in a saucepan on the stove:

(I don't list any measurements here for two major reasons: 1, I rarely measure anything, and 2, all of this should be to your own personal taste).

Curried Noodle Soup
- spaghettini (or any other noodle of your choice)
- vegetable broth
- finely diced garlic
- curry powder
- black pepper
- red pepper flakes
- sesame oil
- sea salt

Over medium-high heat, gently fry garlic in a little bit of light oil. Add curry powder, black pepper, and pepper flakes for about 30 seconds once the garlic starts to brown. This is to toast the spices and intensify the flavours. I used about 3/4 of a teaspoon of curry powder for about 4 cups of water for a pretty mild broth, but feel free to adjust to your tastes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add noodles and let simmer until they're softened to your liking. I like to finish with a few drops of sesame oil - I think it lends a bit of earthiness to the soup. Adjust seasonings as you see fit and then eat!

I would post a picture but the dog peed on my camera (please don't ask), and the lighting isn't good enough for my cameraphone just now. Sorry!