admin / August 25, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Tex Mex Burgers

Here’s the second guest recipe courtesy of Vegan For Fun by Attila Hildmann. This has lots of layers of taste. I was eager to try the locust bean gum for the burgers because whenever I make a veggie burger they always seem to fall apart when I cook them. I still had some issues with that so I think maybe adding more locust bean gum might work better. Some recipes come out differently each time you make them so if anyone makes this or already uses locust bean gum in their recipes I’d love to hear what you think and if it’s worth the extra cost of adding it to recipes. If you’re wondering where you can buy it, I purchased mine from Amazon, here’s a link if you want to check it out-

No Meatless Monday next week as it’s a holiday weekend but it will return Monday Sept 8th.

Vegan for fun_Tex-Mex-Burger


Tofu Burgers:

10.5 ounces tofu (300 g)

2 onions

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley

¹ ³ cup canned corn (50 g)

¾ cup canned kidney beans (50 g)

½ cup breadcrumbs (60 g)

2 level teaspoons sea salt

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 level teaspoon locust bean gum

(If not available, you can use guar gum.)

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil (70 mL)


2 tomatoes (approx. 250 g)

1¼ cups kidney beans (200 g) (can)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ red chili pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed

lemon juice

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


1 avocado

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed

lemon juice

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In addition:

Lettuce for the burgers

2 sesame buns

1 cup tortilla chips (30 g)

Preparation time: 60 minutes


For the burgers, mash the tofu with a fork. Peel the onions. Wash the parsley, shake dry, and purée together with the onions in a blender. Rinse off the corn and kidney beans and allow to drain. Combine all of the ingredients for the burgers, except for the vegetable oil, and knead well for 2 minutes. Then form 3 burgers from the mixture (the flatter they are, the more crispier they will turn out). Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the burgers for 2 minutes on each side over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the burgers an additional 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

For the salsa, wash and dice the tomatoes. Mix together with the other ingredients for the salsa.

For the guacamole, peel the avocado and remove the pit. Purée the pulp together with the lemon juice in a blender. Season with sea salt and pepper. Wash the lettuce and spin dry. Cut open the sesame buns and toast them for just a minute. Place the lettuce and the burgers on the bottom half of each bun, and then add the salsa, tortilla chips, and guacamole. Put the other of the bun on top.

admin / August 20, 2014

Fruit Drinks for Half The Price

I didn’t have time to post a Friday Rambling so let’s call this one a mid-week one.


Fruit Drinks for Half the Price

One way to be budget smart is to find ways to make the things you like for a lot less. Case in point non-alcoholic drinks served in lots of restaurants. They cost anywhere from $4-6 and on top of that they’re mostly ice cubes and no refills I admit they’re delicious but this summer I’ve been trying to come up with a few of my own. I’ve found a basic formula that you can tweak to your own liking or using what you have on hand.

1 cup frozen fruit

¼ cup fruit juice

Soda water or other sparkling water (or plain water will do too)

Ice cubes

Makes 2 glasses.

Add the frozen fruit and fruit juice to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill 2 glasses with ice cubes and divide the mixture between the two.

Add soda water and fill almost to the top of the glasses. Stir gently to make sure the fruit blend gets mixed throughout the water.

I’ve used peaches and orange juices, strawberries and pomegranate, and limeade and mangoes and would love to hear what you come up with.


Cast Iron Cookware

Seems like whatever cooking show I watched, everyone was using a cast iron skillet. I’ve always been tempted to try one but been scared that food would always stick to it and cleaning it would be a nightmare. When my old skillet finally went to the great kitchen in the sky, I decided it was time to give one a try.

I have to say I won’t be without one now. It cooks the food more evenly, plus, and I think this is a money saving factor, cooks the food a lot quicker too. Now I’m thinking as each other piece of cookware bites the dust I’ll replace it with cast iron.


Here are a few things I found on the Internet-

This looks like a tasty snacks and best of all just three ingredients-


I hate to see articles like this one (especially when chocolate’s on the list). Stock up while you can-

admin / August 18, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Crispy Tofu Nuggets with Homemade Curry Ketchup

Vegan for fun_Crispy Tofunuggets

Recently I was sent two cookbooks. Vegan For Fun and Vegan For Fit both by Attila Hildmann. They’re aimed at people who want to start eating a more healthy diet, lose weight and get in shape. They’re huge books filled with some of the most beautiful food photography I’ve ever seen. While I haven’t tried many of the recipes…yet! Here’s the first one I made (taken from Vegan for Fun), and it’s shared along with a photo, with the kind courtesy of Attila’s publisher.

These are delicious, so tasty in fact that I’m making another batch this week. If like me you’re short on time you could take a shortcut and add some curry powder to ketchup. BBQ sauce is also a great accompaniment, and if you’re not watching those calories, seasoned French fries.

If you want to check out the books, here’s a link from Amazon

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings

Tofu Nuggets:

½ cup all-purpose flour (65 g)

1 teaspoon raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

2¾ cups unsweetened cornflakes

(100 g)

14 ounces tofu (400 g)

2 cups vegetable oil (500 mL)

Curry Ketchup:

Juice from ½ lemon

2/3 cup tomato paste (140 g)

2 tablespoons agave syrup

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the nuggets, stir the flour together with the raw cane sugar, sea salt, and 6 tablespoon (90 mL) water until the batter is smooth. Finely crumble the cornflakes. Cut the tofu into slices that are just under ½ inch (1 cm), and then use a knife to shape the tofu into nuggets. Dip the nuggets in the batter and then coat them with the cornflakes. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or a small saucepan. You’ll know the oil is hot enough if you dip a wooden toothpick into the oil and small bubbles float up to the top around the toothpick. Fry the nuggets approx. 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. For the curry ketchup, mix all of the ingredients with 3 tablespoons water. Serve with the nuggets.


admin / August 11, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Vegetable Pastry Purses

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the second of the guest recipes from the folks at Holland House. When I tried this recipe I had enough filling for 2 dozen of the purses using 2 sheets of the puff pastry. They’re tasty and I think would make great appetizers too. My tip this week is for mushrooms. When you get them home from the store and if you’re not going to use them straight away take them out of their original packaging and store them in the fridge in a paper bag. They keep fresher longer and have less of a tendency to get them sometimes ‘slimy’ look to them.


PREP TIME: 20 minutes



1/2 – 12 oz., package frozen puff pastry (1 sheet)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. fresh shallots, minced

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped

1/4 cup HOLLAND HOUSE Marsala Cooking Wine

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

3 cups fresh spinach

1 egg, beaten

Optional Sauce Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. fresh shallots, minced

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 cup HOLLAND HOUSE Marsala Cooking Wine

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. cold water

2 tsp. cornstarch


Preheat oven to 400º F. Thaw puff pastry as directed. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 12 inch rectangles. Cut into 12 (3 inch) squares.

Heat oil in sauté pan over high heat. Add shallots, corn, and mushrooms; sauté for 1 minute. Add cooking wine and seasonings. Add spinach and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Place 1 Tablespoon filling in center of each square. Brush edges of square with beaten egg. Bring four corners together, pressing firmly. Pull up and twist corners making top of purse. Place on a baking sheet and brush purse with egg. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with sauce (optional). TO PREPARE OPTIONAL SAUCE:

Heat oil in sauté pan over high heat. Add shallots and celery. Sauté for 30 to 40 seconds or until lightly brown. Add cooking wine, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium. Combine cold water and cornstarch; add to cooking wine mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.


Per serving: 218 calories, 14g fat, 246mg sodium, 19.5g carb; (Optional Sauce): 92 calories, 2g fat, 225mg sodium, 14.5g carb


admin / August 4, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Here’s the first of two guest recipes courtesy of Holland House. I received samples of three of their cooking wines with the Sake variety being one of them so I gave this recipe a test drive. It’s easy to make, very tasty and if you don’t have sugar snap peas, green beans work perfectly too, or any other vegetable you have on hand.

For the sauce I suggest adding the cornstarch to the bowl first and then slowly adding the liquid ingredients to avoid lumps. Also, another trick I’ve learned along the way when you’re cooking with tofu (besides freezing and defrosting it), is to boil it. Keep it in its block form and boil it in water for about ten minutes. Remove it from the pan, let it cool for a few minutes and then slice it or dice it. I’ve found it keeps its shape much better and gives it a tougher exterior that holds together well when using it for things like stir-frys where you need to move it around in a pan constantly.


Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry

PREP TIME: 15 minutes



Citrus Sake Sauce:

• 6 Tbsp. HOLLAND HOUSE Sake Cooking Wine

• 1/4 cup orange juice

• 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce

• 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

• 1 tsp. grated or minced ginger

• 1 tsp. cornstarch

• 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, optional

• 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Stir Fry:

• 1 pkg. (14-16 oz.) firm tofu, drained

• 1 Tbsp. cooking oil

• 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen sugar snap peas (about 6 oz.)

• 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced

• 3/4 cup thinly sliced onion


Stir together sauce ingredients. Set aside while preparing stir fry. Pat tofu dry with a towel to remove excess water. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil and tofu; stir frequently until tofu is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas, carrots and onion. Stir-fry about 5 minutes until vegetables are cooked, but still crisp. Stir in prepared sauce and cook 1-2 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve immediately.


admin / August 1, 2014

Perfect Marinades

The folks at Holland House sent me some samples of their products and some recipes to try. Here’s the first one along with some tips about marinades.

During August Meatless Monday will feature guest recipes, beginning this Monday with Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry. On August 11th, it will be Vegetable Pastry Purses, on the 18th, Tex-Mex Burgers, and on the 25th, Tofu Nuggets. I can’t wait to test drive all four of these and if you want to make the following recipe veggie just leave out the bacon and add something like cubed zucchini to the skewers.

Happy saving and have a fun weekend.


For more information and recipes check out-


Tips for the Perfect Marinade

What vegetables can I marinade? While marinating is best known for adding flavor and tenderizing meat, it can also enhance the taste of vegetables. Kick up the flavor of eggplant, zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms by marinating before throwing on the grill.

What elements should a marinade contain? Marinades vary from recipe to recipe, but they all generally contain three basic components – oils, acids and seasonings. Oils lock in the natural flavor and prevent vegetables from drying out, while acids allow flavors to be absorbed. Seasonings provide the unique flavor. Garlic, ginger and herbs are the most common marinade seasonings.

How long do I marinade? Vegetables require less time to marinade than meats; typical marinade times vary between 30 minutes to an hour. Never marinate in aluminum, cast iron or copper, as these metals will react with the acids and salts, resulting in off flavor.


Bacon Wrapped Marinated Mushroom Skewers


SERVINGS: 5 Skewers




15 Small Button or Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned, stem removed


½ cup olive oil


1 ½ cup Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine


¼ cup Holland House Red Wine Vinegar


1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped


1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped


2 Tbsp. garlic, minced


1 ½ Tbsp. honey


15 slices bacon slices


5 large wooden skewers


Salt and pepper to taste




Preheat the grill on low heat. Soak the wooden skewers in water to reduce burning. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Clean the mushrooms with a dry cloth and prick them with a skewer or fork to allow marinade to absorb.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Holland House Marsala Cooking Wine, Holland House Red Wine Vinegar, honey, rosemary, thyme and garlic.

While whisking, add the olive oil in a thin stream until fully emulsified. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

In a shallow dish, combine the mushrooms and marinade together. Marinate for an hour.

In the meantime, place the bacon on a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes or until soft and cooked through. Remove and let cool slightly.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade. Wrap with cooled, cooked bacon and slide on the skewers.

Place bacon wrapped mushrooms on a greased grill and cook for 8-10 minutes on low heat or until mushrooms are cooked through and bacon is crispy. Baste the mushrooms with the marinade while on the grill.

Remove from the grill and let rest for 1-2 minutes, then enjoy!




Do not wash mushrooms with water. Washing the mushrooms with water lets the mushrooms absorb water which in turn doesn’t let the mushroom absorb the marinade.


Marinade recipe can also be used on chicken, steak, pork and fish.



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