Monday, November 30, 2009

Chickpea and Kale Soup

Time flies! November will pass by in a couple of hours, and I am so ready to welcome my favorite month of December! It's the busiest time of the year for work and it's time for SOUP! I've been in the mood for soup and my whole family really enjoyed this tasty chickpea soup for last night's supper, so I thought I should share it with you all.

This is my bowl of chickpea and kale soup topped with saltine crackers, Mmmm!

This is Nathan's bowl, chickpea and sweet corn soup, he asked for "MORE, please"!

My husband asked for spinach instead of kale and he went to the stove for seconds, YUM!
Chickpea and Kale Soup
Adapted from "Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen"
by Deborah Madison
Ingredients for the chickpeas:
2 cups chickpeas, soaks
2 carrots, peeled (the recipe called for 1 carrot)
1 head of garlic, sliced crosswise in half
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley (the recipe called for handful of parsley sprigs, tied together with string)
Ingredients for the seasonings:
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
Big bunch of kale (the recipe called for spinach)
1. Put chickpeas in a pot with the rest of the ingredients and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender. Season with a teaspoon of salt and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a second soup pot. Add the onions, oregano, thyme, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until softened, occasionally giving them a stir. Add the garlic toward the end.
3. Using a strainer, lift the cooked chickpeas into the pot with the onions and discard the rest of the aromatics. Strain the liquid and add 6 cups in the soup pot, setting the rest aside for the moment. Add another teaspoon of salt, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree the chickpeas and return them to the pot. If the soup seems too thick, thin it with any remaining liquid. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
4. Wilt the kale in a skillet in the water clinging to its leaves, then chop and add to the chickpeas. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then serve with your favorite crackers. Enjoy!
Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Beautiful Blogger Award!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day and enjoy your Thanksgiving meals with your loved ones. I'm not cooking anything today as I've been very exhausted from working a lot lately. So I will be dining out tonight with my little family and enjoy relaxing evening together!

I've received this "Beautiful Blogger Award" from Roses r Red Blog a few weeks ago. Thank you so much, Rose for thinking of me and being such a lovely blogger friend since we met each other on this amazing blog sphere. I always enjoy reading both of your beautiful blogs and appreciate your precious time stopping by my blog to leave such positive and caring thoughts:)

I would like to pass this award onto all of YOU on My Blog List because YOU all have such beautiful blogs and I love YOU all! Please feel free to copy this award and post it on your blogs. Enjoy:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Easy Veggie Fried Rice and Green Curry

I've been working on a Thai food menu for my dear friend, Dee Dee who loves Thai food but has never cooked or tried Thai homemade dishes before. I let her borrow my Thai cookbooks last week and she bookmarked several recipes that she is interested in trying. I'm planning on inviting her and her lovely family for a dinner one Sunday. I don't have a complete menu yet but I'll definitely make these 2 dishes which I've experimented with for many times.

Easy Veggie Fried Rice

My son, Nathan who loves my fried rice so much has requested this dish because he wanted his friend, Kaevan (Dee Dee's son) to try it. I hope my vegan friends would understand why I used eggs in this dish. I've just become a vegetarian for less than a year because of health reasons. I'm intolerant of dairy products so I try to avoid them as much as I can. I still include eggs in my diet but I didn't eat eggs during my Vegan Food Experiment. I started to eat them again last week and I feel perfectly fine.

This is how I cook my fried rice:

1) Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, stir until golden brown.

2) Add 2 eggs, stir and cook for few minutes, add cooked rice, soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, and a couple drops of agave syrup (secret ingredient), keep stirring.

3) Add frozen mixed vegetables, stir to mix all the ingredients together about 2 minutes and lower the heat. Cover for 5 minutes and stirring gently about 2-3 minutes more.

I've been fascinated with any kind of rice dish. I grew up eating rice all my life, I truly believe that I can't live without it. So here are some wonderful recipes that I've found and can't wait to experiment with. Hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do:

- Ginger Rice with Sesame Seeds from Authentic Food Delights Blog

- Ghee Rice from Kothiyavunu Blog

- Microwave Coconut Milk Vegetable Rice from Kothiyavunu Blog

- Sesame Fried Rice from Simply Life Blog

- Vegetable Fried Rice from Collaborative Curry Blog

- Thai Fried Rice from Vegan Dad Blog

- Tomato Onigiri Italian Style from Vegan Epicurean Blog

- Jira Rice from Mitten Machen Blog

- Green Pea Pulao Rice from Maine Food and Lifestyle Blog

- Rice Recipes from My Home Cooking Blog

- Indian Inspired Cabbage and Peas from Vegan Epicurean Blog

- Brinjal Rice from Padhu's Kitchen Blog

- Simple Vegetable Rice from Padhu's Kitchen Blog

- Mango Rice from Vazhayila Blog

- Coconut Rice from Vazhayila Blog

Note: Please send me your link if you have posted any rice dishes, I'd love to add yours to my collection. Thank you in advance:)

Easy Veggie Green Curry
I've made green curry to eat with rice or noodles countless times and I usually follow the method provided on the curry paste package. I'm not a kind of person who considers making curry paste from scratch, I hope you know why??? This time, I had green beans, green peas, baby spinach and bell peppers but I will add tofu when I cook for Dee Dee. Oh! by the way, you can find more photos of my other green curry from here

That's all for today, I'm still working on other dishes and hope I would be able to share them with you very soon. Thank you so very much for stopping by my blog and leaving such wonderful comments. I always appreciate your time, I'll visit your blogs as soon as possible.

Have a lovely week, everyone:)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Easy Veggie Noodle Soup

Cool nights have arrived, we really enjoyed our veggie noodle soups for dinner 2 nights in a row. We loved it so much and it's so perfect for this kind of weather!

Would you like to know what my secret ingredient is? Yes, it's because of this "Marmite", Kmouse encouraged me to buy when we went shopping at Cost Plus. This is the first time I've heard about this awesome ingredient which helps transform my veggie stock into a great-looking broth and makes the taste of my soup incredibly delicious!!!

I'm so proud to tell you that this was the first time I made my own vegetable stock. In the past, I always used store-bought veggie broth or stock. I used the recipe from "Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen" which is truly amazing. I can't wait to try so many great soup recipes from this book!

I made it my easy veggie way:

8 cups water
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2 large carrots,chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large daikon, chopped (not an ingredient from the book)
1 cup chopped shitake mushroom (not an ingredient from the book)
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt

Put all the ingredients in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer slowly at least 30 minutes, partially covered, then strain it.

The recipe also called for 1 bunch of scallions and 8 parsley sprigs with stems but I skipped them. I'll add these 2 ingredients when I make it again next time!

This time I used buckwheat Japanese noodles, I served cooked noodles with this super delicious veggie stock (including its veggie chunks). Oh, and I dropped a teaspoonful of miso paste in the soup bowl before serving, Mmmmm!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In And Out Eats!

I cooked a few yummy dishes and ate out a couple of times last week. I actually photographed too many pictures of my food and I got confused which one I wanted to share. Have you ever got confused with your photos? If not, I would love to ask for your kind advice... please, please, please!!!

Baked Acorn Squash with Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

Inspired by Baked Acorn Squash filled with Apples and Walnuts from Vegan Epicurean Blog and Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple from The Ordinary Vegetarian Blog . This was the first time I've ever attempted to try cooking "A Fancy Meal". My usual home cooking meals are just some stir-fried with rice or pasta with store-bought sauce or easy sushi rolls. Reading so many amazing food blogs since the New Year has improved my taste of cooking a lot, hasn't it??? Hahaha!!!

I followed the method of cooking from
Vegan Epicurean and added dried cranberries and brown sugar just like The Ordinary Vegetarian did. Please visit these two fantastic blogs for the recipes and let me know which version you like or what you come up with. I would love to hear from you:)

Pad Thai Noodle
We ordered take-out from our usual Thai Restaurant last Sunday night. I had Vegan Pad Thai Noodle with Fried Tofu. It was the first time I've tried Pad Thai noodle with no eggs and no fish sauce. The noodles were a little bit too dry for me but it was pretty tasty. I'm still not sure which way I like better, I think I like them both:)

Dine-Out at Veggie Grill
I finally went to The Veggie Grill in El Segundo with my dear cousin Kmouse to celebrate her birthday last Wednesday night. I had Chipotle BBQ Sandwich (above photo), it comes with shredded veggie-steak, marinated in tangy BBQ sauce, with chipotle ranch, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomato, Mmmm.... Mmmm.... absolutely delicious = highly recommended by me and Kmouse.
Kmouse had the above Chop-Chop Chef Salad which has chopped romaine, tempeh, veggie-steak, chillin' chickin, green onion, roasted corn salsa with a chipotle ranch dressing. I didn't get to try it but Kmouse said it was so nutty and yummy! Oh, and we also ordered Sweetheart Fries (Scrumptious sweet potato fries, seasoned and served with chipotle ranch) and Chocolate Pudding to share, YUM!!!

Before saying goodbye, I would like to spread the news of "The 50th Post Giveaway" at the lovely
Roses r Red Blog. The deadline is November 29th so you have plenty of time to enter to win. Good Luck, Everyone!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Miso Sesame Salad Dressing

I haven't cooked anything much lately. Just some regular dishes that I've already posted so I don't want you to get bored with my food. But I think I would share this photo and recipe of Miso Sesame Salad Dressing with you because I really enjoyed it for lunch at work 3 days in a row. It was so quick and easy to prepare and soooo good that you could eat up within no time, YUM!!!

My cousin, Kim gave me this recipe a while ago and I've been really enjoying it and have made it countless times. I usually eyeball each ingredient and place it all in a small glass jar with lid and shake vigorously. Here is her recipe:

Miso Sesame Dressing:

3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons miso paste
1 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup
pinch of garlic powder
sesame seeds
Whisk everything together until smooth.

I just need a bag of Baby Arugula Blend, shredded carrots, diced apples (sometimes I used diced avocado), dried cranberries and/or diced dates, and walnuts. I hope you will love this tasty salad dressing as much as I do.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blog Awards!

It has been such a great honor that my humble blog has received 3 wonderful awards during the past few weeks. I hope you know how difficult it is to decide who I should pass each award onto and I will try my very best!

The first award is... "One Lovely Blog Award", comes from Gina at Simply Life Blog ,thank you so much, Gina! I've really enjoyed reading her lovely blog since I found her. She has shared simple recipes with such beautiful photos of her delicious looking meals. She also talks about daily life in general and asks questions at the end of each post that are fascinating!

I will pass this award onto 10 other deserving bloggers! I am aware that some of you have already received this award but I still want to recognize you because you definitely deserved it!

The award goes to...

1. Roses r Red
2. Rosie Sue's Closet
The Vegan Mouse
Ginger is the New Pink
Gluten Free Gidget
Vegan Epicurean
Heathen and Vegan
Allotment 2 Kitchen
Life of a Vegan Kid
Feeding Little Vegans

The next one is "Kreativ Blogger Award". I want to say thank you to Sangeetha at Kothiyavunu Blog for bestowing this fantastic award on me. Sangeetha has a great passion for cooking Indian cuisine and she loves to experiment with new recipes. She has shared truly amazing recipes with great photos, that I can't wait to try them all. It has been such a short time since I found her blog but I feel like I've known her for the longest time!

Rules of the award:

1.You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2.Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3.Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4.Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5.Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6.Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7.Leave a comment in the nominated blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Here are 7 things about myself that people might find interesting which I mostly copied from Sangeetha because we are twins, ha ha!!

1. I am very friendly and at the same time very sensitive.
2. I give respect to everyone who deserves it and dislike arrogant and selfish people.
3. I love shopping but it takes very long time to decide what I want.
4. I love cooking (but not cleaning), gardening, listening to music and watching Nick Jr and Disney Channel.
5. My family is my best gift so I love to spend every moment with them. (Sangeetha made me cry when she said "I miss my dad a lot, why GOD called him so early" because I miss my dad too, he passed away 8 years ago and I wasn't there to say good bye to him!
6. The scariest thing in the world for me is snakes and maybe losing loved ones.
7. I love travelling. I'm so scared to travel alone but I still did it so many times.

And the award goes to:

1. Bitter Sweet
The Vegan Mouse
Mitten Machen
Ordinary Vegetarian
Vegan Epicurean
6. The Voracious Vegan
Collaborative Curry

Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Alicia at Vegan Epicurean for bestowing this thoughtful award on me. I am absolulely impressed with her amazing blog which is full of helpful information and inspiration. I love her attention to details in every post. The best thing of all is that she responds to every single comment that she receives. I LOVE to go back to her blog to find out what her responses are.

Here are the rules of this award:

This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming.

These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.

Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

Please give more attention to these writers.

Deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.

I will pass this award to some of my bloggy friends that I find exceedingly charming...

The award goes to....

1. Kmouse at The Vegan Mouse, Kim is my dearest cousin who introduced the blogworld to me and she has inspired me so much after I started reading her blog. Without her, this Easy Veggie Blog wouldn't have been here. Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement, Kim!

2. Rose at Roses r Red, you're always there for me to make me feel comfortable with my new way of eating. Your kind words make me feel like I've known you for such a long time. Thank you for sharing beautiful photos of your veggie creations and pretty things. I always adore your lovely blogs (both of them).

3. Mary at Mitten Machen, I love your writing style which make me feel like I'm reading a famous food magazine and I've always learned something new from your creative blog. Thank you for stopping by my blog as often as good old friends do.

4. Diann at Eat'n Veg'n Vegan Food & Recipes , I've always loved your blog because I know for sure that I will always find healthy and delicious recipes there. I was so impressed with your quick response when I asked you if I could use your recipe. I really appreciate your time.

5. Lauren at Ginger is the New Pink I feel wonderful every time I visit your nice blog, I love reading about your healthy diet, your garden and the lovely times you share with your husband and Ginger. Thank you so much for being such a great blogger friend for quite a while.

6. Mangocheeks at Allotment 2 kitchen My new wonderful blogger friend who grows her own beautiful organic veggies. She shares garden tips and great recipes. She always responds to every comment I leave which makes me feel welcome and want to go back to visit her again.

Thank you all again for your encouragement and support. I always appreciate every single comment from each of you, short or long; they always make my day:)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tempeh Wrap!

November is finally here and I have to say that I didn't really want October to end!! I have enjoyed experimenting with vegan food and learned so much from other vegan bloggers. It was so fascinating and inspiring to get to learn about other people's lifestyles. To be honest with you, I can't tell you just yet if I feel any better after one whole month of a vegan diet. From the bottom of my heart, I just keep telling myself: "Let's keep experimenting, it's such a wonderful thing to do".

Tempeh Wrap

This was my very quick and easy dinner from last night. If you've read my blog for a while, you should know by now that I always use what I have in my kitchen and I don't usually use too many ingredients!

I cooked tempeh strips 2 minutes a side in a pan with hot oil and set them aside. Using the same pan, sauteed chopped kale with minced garlic, set aside. Clean the pan and put flour tortillas in with low heat, put store-bought vegetarian baked beans on top of the tortillas, about 2 tablespoons. Add cooked tempeh and kale, roll up like a wrap and cut in half just like the photo above. It was super chewy and yummy!!!

What a clumsy day!!!
I didn't plan to post about green smoothie today but this morning, my smoothie needed attention and I spilled it all over my newspaper.

Later on, I dropped my measuring cup, the broken glass scattered all over the kitchen floor.

I am not only an "Easy Veggie", I am also an "Easy Clumsy"! Ha ha ha!!!

Hope you don't have a clumsy day like me!!!