Welcome! To recap – I am cooking my way through the Oh She Glows cookbook. The challenge is to make four new recipes from it every week. So far, it’s been great!
I think I’m slowly approaching the point in the cookbook where I’ve done all the recipes that I naturally gravitate towards, and am now left with the ones that I was not-so-into for one reason or another. The main trend I’m noticing in the recipes left untouched, are that the ingredient lists are rather expensive 😦 I’ve been wanting to try the Pumpkin Pie Pecan Butter since the first day I got the book, but the 2 cups of pecans it calls for makes me cringe! Same with the large amount of cashews in the Mocha Chocolate Torte. Hmmmm. Does anyone else feel that healthy vegan cooking is a bit of a strain on the wallet?
The very same friend who first turned me on to the book, told me she rationalizes the cost of all the nuts and what not by reminding herself that she no longer spends this money on meat and cheese – both of which can be rather expensive as well. I have also tried to figure out how much I’d spend making something like the Mocha Chocolate Torte, versus how much I’d probably shell out to buy such a thing in a fancy vegan bakery. I guess at the end of the day, we all have to make decisions on what we are going to ‘splurge’ on. I’d rather it be on something healthy and delicious than something junky and mediocre tasting.
Besides cost, some of the recipes I have yet to try have been off my radar the past few months because of that human tendency to avoid things that are ‘different.’ I’m thinking of the Hemp Pesto Burgers among other things. For that reason, I’m actually excited to embark on this next portion of the challenge, because it will be just that – a challenge. I think it is important to push ourselves to try new things and get out of our comfort zone. Life is just so much richer and more interesting that way.
Okay, enough pondering and reflecting, lets get to the recipes! This week I made:
Apple Pie Oatmeal
I didn’t have the apple sauce called for in this recipe, so I just used a little more almond milk. It was tasty and filling. I wouldn’t make it on a weekday, as it takes a little while to cook. It does reheat nicely in the microwave though, so if you want to make it ahead, you totally can. By the way, talk about a great way to wake up! The smell of this oatmeal was amazing! Like apple pie baking in the oven. I think I’d try it with Granny Smiths next time, as the Gala’s kind of lost their flavor in the cooking process.
Our Favorite Veggie Burger
I want to like this recipe, but I have some major issues with it. It really took a long time to make; processing oats to make flour, grating carrots, chopping veggies… I would be fine with all that if they had been WOW. But they just weren’t. They were good, but not outstanding. My husband and I found them quite dry. What I do love is the concept of this burger. The addition of sunflower seeds is such a great idea, and one I will definitely repeat. Over all, I think I’ll make these again, but with some changes. I won’t be making oat flour for them next time, as I’m not gluten free anyway, and I think they may be less dry without it. I may use the food processor for other purposes though, to grate all those veggies that needed to be chopped.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes
I never used to cook with fresh rosemary, thanks to a few bad experiences where it was just chewy and bitter. I’m glad I gave it a second shot though, because it tasted fantastic here and lent a beautiful, earthy flavor to this dish. A note on the Brussels: I am usually a huge fan of sprouts! In this recipe, I was a little disappointed with them. I don’t think they should be cooked with the potatoes, as they need less time in the oven. They just got kind of overcooked and soggy. I’d say add them to the pan a few minutes into the potatoes’ cooking time if you are really determined to make them together, or just cook them separately for less time. Or… cut the potatoes really small and reduce the total cooking time suggested in the book.
Cooking Beans from Scratch
So I’m a little embarrassed to count this as one of my four weekly ‘recipes,’ but it had to be done eventually. It is one of the 114 on the list after all! And you know what, it was an important learning experience. I keep reading about how bad canned food is for you, and I am trying to avoid it. Beans, tomatoes, and coconut milk are really the only canned things I use, so now I’m aiming to cook my own beans at the start of every week and then have them on-hand in the fridge. The tomatoes I’m just subbing for fresh Roma tomatoes, which should be interesting next week when I tackle the Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew. As for the coconut milk, well I’m stumped. I’m dedicated, but I’m not about to crack open coconuts in my kitchen just to make some coconut milk. Anyway, back to the beans. It really is so easy to do, you just have to be organized. On a Saturday afternoon, I put some chickpeas in a tupperware, covered them with water, and stuck them in the fridge. It took all of 2 minutes. Then on my lazy Sunday afternoon, I simmered them for about half an hour and that was it! Drain them, sprinkle with salt, and return them to the tupperware in the fridge. Later that week I had freshly cooked chickpeas at-the-ready, to whip up some homemade hummus. So simple and very rewarding!
That’s it for this week. Next week is bound to have some interesting moments as I dive into some of the recipes I have been unsure about in the past. Wish me luck!