Posts Tagged ‘food’


Vegan Brunch at Devil’s Backbone.

October 10, 2010

Attended a vegan potluck brunch this morning in Loveland, or just west of it, really. The hostess’ backyard faced Devil’s Backbone.

Granted, I was forty-five minutes late as Google Maps totally led me astray! The whole drive over there was a disaster. I was driving down one lane roads and over one lane bridges and the directions were telling me to turn down a gravel road that didn’t exist, and there was so much turning around that I actually got carsick. Which I don’t believe has ever happened to me while I was the actual driver of the car. And all I could think about was my co-worker Amy’s story of how she drove off a cliff at Horsetooth and how I didn’t want to do the same. And I saw a woman in an Outback on the side of the road on her cellphone while I was on the phone with Michael asking him for help, and I’m convinced that she was on her way to the brunch as well, but she must have given up before finding the way. I, however, persevered! Though I did almost cry at one point. Pathetic, but true.

Back to talk of a pleasant nature! I took pictures of what I made to take along. First pictures of food that I’ve taken in quite some time. Although the quiche didn’t get to attend, as I left it out on the counter all night and was scared that I’d poison the other guests if I brought it. Michael voted that I bring it anyway, as no one would be able to tell which of the dishes got people sick. I admit I considered it!

Not that talk of potential food poisoning is pleasant. But pictures of food before it goes bad is pleasant.

Vegan Quiche:
Vegan Quiche

Recipe here. And we did eat one of those last night, just to make sure it was good before I served the second one to strangers. It was quite good, too. The recipe had me at roasted vegetables.

Next up. Carrot Spice Muffins – on an LSU plate:
Carrot Spice Muffins

I did bring more. Those are just the two that I have left over! I made those at 7 o’clock this morning, right after I sat up in bed and said, “I left the quiche out all night!” I was worried about how they’d turn out because it wasn’t really a recipe for high altitude baking. And I didn’t have soy yogurt, so I subbed soy buttermilk (i.e. that DIY recipe of soymilk plus apple cider vinegar).

But the first guy to take a muffin immediately tapped his wife’s shoulder and said, “You have to try one!” So they worked out in the end.

Got the muffin recipe from fatfreevegan. Which means I shouldn’t have doubted a thing, as that site never lets me down.

We were supposed to actually hike Devil’s Backbone after eating, but the weather was really kind of iffy, so we bailed on the idea. This guy didn’t let a bit of drizzle stop him though.

You do see him, right? In the keyhole? I took that pic from the hostess’ backyard! That’s what she gets to look at while drinking coffee on her back deck. (Not the guy. Just the view in general.) Assuming she drinks coffee on her back deck. Which she probably does because wouldn’t anyone?

Now I wasn’t really listening when she was explaining what this shed was on the property adjacent to hers, but I’m almost positive she said some college kid stays in that shed on the weekends. Which is wicked cool and all, but I couldn’t do it! Even though it’s about the size of our flat in the Netherlands. So maybe I could.
College Kid's Weekend Home

I’m kind of sad I didn’t think to take a picture of the rest of the spread there. It’s always nice to be surrounded by food from which you could choose to eat anything that catches your eye!

And speaking of, I’m off to find the recipe to a breakfast casserole one of the girls made. It was definitely the best item there. I went back for seconds. Or thirds. I’m choosing not to remember how much I actually ate.

Since we didn’t even hike to burn off all of our brunch calories!


Three Day Food Diary.

May 10, 2010

All right, gang.

Here we have a slight variation on the always fun What Does This Vegan Eat series.

It all started when a writer for decided to address that same question for her readers. She wrote out three days worth of her vegan meals for everyone to see for themselves what a vegan eats.

Because her diet is not representative of all vegans (I would starve if I only ate chips and salsa for dinner!) and because it’s always nice to see how much variety there can actually be in a vegan diet, Erik over at asked other vegans to follow suit. Of course, he asked us to post our meals on our Facebook, but since I have no Facebook, have never had a Facebook, and will never have a Facebook, well, this will have to do.

And to point you in the direction of a few other options: Elaine at answered the call, as did Sayward at (check out her comments section for more food diaries from her readers) and relatively new vegan Trish at (I only point out her newness to demonstrate that it’s pretty easy to make the switch, as soon as you convince yourself you want to!).

And if reading the words aren’t enough to show you that a vegan diet is far from boring, please check out this livejournal vegan food porn community.

But here, behind the cut, we finally come to MY 3 day food diary.


What does this vegan eat? Part 3.

April 22, 2010

Stir-fry! Slash fried rice! Slash veggies and rice and maybe some beans or nuts, who knows!

I first fell in love with this smorgasbord in a skillet back in the UK when I realized almost every Thursday night that I had a huge box of veggies arriving in my CSA delivery the next day, and I had a random assortment of last week’s veggies still hanging out in my fridge.

So I just put them all together, add some seasoning, and voila. There you have it.

I don’t belong to a CSA here in the Netherlands, though I really should look into that, but I still fall back on the one pot meal pretty regularly. Especially on days like today, when I hit up the Farmer’s Market even though I knew full well that I had a boatload of veggies at home already.

So tonight, I decided to use at least one color of every vegetable in my fried rice. Except for blue/purple. Because I didn’t have any. I did have blueberries, but I figured I’d save those for my cereal in the morning. They’d work better there than in a wok.

What I DID have though is:
shallots, garlic, mushrooms – whiteish?
bell pepper – red
summer squash – yellow
bok choy – greeeeeeen.

Plus some dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Oh, and cashews! Not the most extravagant of meals, but everyone needs an easy, fall-back meal for those days when you just don’t know what else to do.

May I present to you this week’s version of that very meal for the Gorka household:


Thank you, and good night.


Bookmarking Frenzy.

March 31, 2010

One of the reasons I’ve started my Filemaker Pro recipe database is because my browser bookmarks are out.of.control.

I spend an absurd amount of my time on the web looking for new dishes to make, and I bookmark them left and right, and sometimes I go back to them and sometimes I don’t, but almost never do I actually clean out that folder.

So I’m trying to methodically go through my bookmarks and make some of the recipes, then if they’re worth saving, into my database they go, and if they aren’t, well…at least I tried.

Here’s a sampling of the recipes I’ve recently bookmarked but have yet to try. (Alas, I have no oven, so some of these won’t be tried for a while to come.)


Avocado Berry Smoothie

Puree of Chickpea Soup (via Kate!)

Cheezy Polenta with Sundried Tomatoes
Cumin Herb Rice Pilaf

Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas
Snobby Joes

Casseroles/Mixed Dishes
Italian Rice and Beans
I Am DIY Rice Bowl
Spiced Potatoes with Lentils and Barley

Penne Pasta with Butternut Squash and Walnuts
Happy Bowl

Raw Entrees
Garden Burger
Mushroom Meatloaf

Jasmine Rice Pudding
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

And one last dessert that will need a bit of work to make vegan, but I have confidence that it can be done! These were sent to me by the one person I know who likes food more than I do (I’m looking at you, Katherine), but they just look so good that even if I end up with a disaster on my hands due to my iffy substitution abilities (there are amazing vegan bakers out there, BELIEVE ME, I am just not one of them), I’m still pretty confident that these will be worth my time:
Choco-nana Muffins with PB Filling and PB Crumble
Don’t they just look so tasty.

As for the two new recipes I tried Monday and Tuesday (the Pasta Della California and Spicy Sweet and Sour Tofu), I’m having trouble deciding exactly what to do with them. I think I’m just going to wave good-bye to both of them. Sure, they were both edible, way above edible even, especially the spicy sweet and sour tofu from last night. But were they good enough for me to put the time and effort into making them again? Probably not, not when there are dozens of recipes that I’ve made in the past that I know I really love, as well as millions of other brand-spanking-new recipes out there for me to try.

I will say, however, that both the lemon asparagus and garlic bok choy sides were superb. Neither night made for a very pretty dinner, but Monday night’s pasta was just barely presentable enough to share, I suppose.


As for tonight, the black beans are soaking. This week has gone from California-inspired pasta to Chinese tofu and veggies to Cuban black beans and rice. Then tomorrow’s International Quinoa Salad will just bring the whole world together in his hands into one bowl.


Farmer’s Market Haul.

March 30, 2010

Tuesday = Farmer’s Market Day. There are other days and other markets, but this is the one that is a two minute walk from my house. And I have my buds there who talk to me in Dutch and forgive me when I either speak to them in English or in completely broken and at times probably unintelligible Dutch.

Although one booth there will be the death of me. Dried fruit and banana chips and sugar-coated peanuts, and I can’t say no to any of them. And sure, I could attempt to walk right past his stall, but I need dates! When I make raw desserts (for no reason other than fascination), dates are my main sweetener.

But I’m announcing it here. Next week, I will stop there to purchase dates and only dates.

But other than dates (both fresh and dried) and sugar-coated peanuts (so naughty), I also bought:
walnuts (I will be using these to make my own version of cruelty-free parmesan cheese)
blood oranges (so pretty!)
bok choy
peppers (both bell and chili)
sweet potatoes
mushrooms (continuing my attempt to become a Master Mushroom Eater, of course)

Yesterday’s meal plan mentioned that I’d be choosing tonight’s vegetable side based on the farmer’s market, so I’ll be using the bok choy. It’s pretty much the perfect side to sweet and sour tofu.

There was no fresh corn to be found though (for tomorrow night’s kale and corn side), so I stepped into the store for that. Otherwise, I was pretty pleased.

How can I not be? Especially with the strawberries and blood oranges. They just scream spring!

*Jacked that photo from Wikipedia btw…


What does THIS vegan eat? Part 2.

March 29, 2010

Today’s WDTVE segment is all about the two extremes that vegans get accused of being. We have the Junk Food Vegan in one corner and the Beans and Veggies Vegan in the other.

Well, guess what, people. I AM BOTH.

It’s true, I mostly try to stick to beans and veggies, while avoiding too many processed products. But sometimes cravings hit even me, and sometimes, I even give in to them.

So I figured I’d share with you two meals from opposite ends of the nutrition spectrum. BUT what’s actually awesome about these two meals is the common characteristic they do share. And that is the fact that they take about a half hour to make.

I actually love to cook. And given the fact that I don’t go to school and I have no J-O-B, it’s not like I don’t have the time to spend all day in the kitchen. But still, sometimes it’s nice not to spend all day in the kitchen anyway. Like, today. When I spent at least an hour sitting on the couch talking to my family over webcam. Even Lillian participated for about three minutes, showing off her new Dora the Explorer pull-ups.

But enough about underwear you can have accidents in. Let’s get back to the food.

Man, whose idea was it to talk about food and bodily functions in the same post?


Food. Recipes. Two dishes. Okay, I’m recentered.

Let’s address beans and veggies first. So that recipe will be this past Sunday’s meal: Moroccan Couscous from The 30 Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. Because this recipe comes from a cookbook, I won’t be sharing it with you, sorry.

But when it comes to ingredients, we’ve got saffron and parsley and mint and onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins, artichoke hearts (swoon), curry powder, and cinnamon. Oh, and orange juice. Which is quite possibly the least healthy ingredient in the mix! And you only use three tablespoons of it! And you could probably just make fresh squeezed orange juice yourself, and then the least healthy ingredient would be what? The salt you add in at the end? The couscous since it’s a carb? Maybe the vegetable broth if you cook the couscous in there, that is if it’s storebought and has extra sodium?

But how nice to have such a problem figuring out an ingredient that could be considered unhealthy.

As for its taste, I have no idea if it’s actually authentically ~Moroccan~ because what do I know about Morocco, but it was delicious. I didn’t have as many tomatoes as the recipe called for, and I do wish I had. Not really because of the taste but because of the look. When I served the dish to Michael, he said it looked good, and I said, “It looks like the desert.” Because doesn’t it?


But I guess if a dish is going to look like a desert, a Moroccan dish makes the most sense.

A couple extra tomatoes might have helped give it more color. I also didn’t have as many raisins as the recipe called for, and again, I do wish I had. When I had the occasional bite with the raisin, it gave the flavor such an interesting tang. And I’m not even a big fan of raisins!

Also, that is a very good eye you have. I did use quinoa instead of couscous. Because it’s what I had! I took a second pic of the food once I had mixed the vegetables with the quinoa, but it kind of looked a mess, so even though it tasted like they were meant to be paired, I’ll spare you the visual evidence.

Oh, and speaking of visual evidence, I know you can’t see the mushrooms, but that is because I’m still in the chop-’em-up-tiny phase. I’m getting better at cooking with them regularly, but I still need to hide them from myself in order to swallow them down. I hope to be a master mushroom eater by 2011.

In the meantime, I did promise you a Junk Food Vegan masterpiece.

So now for the less healthy dish! Where my other tomatoes went! This is Saturday night’s meal: chilaquiles. Now I admit I had never even heard of chilaquiles before I found this recipe, and as far as I can tell, it’s nowhere near an accurate representation of the real deal, but I don’t really care.

It is so freaking good.

But it is so not freaking good for me.

I use an entire bag of tortilla chips. And whatever storebought salsa catches my eye that day.

And sure, I add lettuce and fresh tomatoes and homemade guac, which is really just avocado and lime juice and salt and pepper, so that it’s almost like I’m cooking real food.

But any dish that relies on a bag of chips and a jar of salsa cannot be praised for its health factor.

So I only make this like once a month. But how happy it makes us when I do.

Just look at it!

So there you have it. More information about what this vegan eats. Not a meat substitute in sight! Just beans and veggies and grains and beans and, that’s right, chips and salsa.


Running Roundup and Meal Plan Monday.

March 29, 2010

Woot woot. I’ve decided I need to get back into meal planning. I do it periodically, and sometimes I even stick with it for a month or so before falling back off the wagon.

But I’ve started a recipe database in Filemaker Pro because that’s how I roll (it’s got a rating system and everything), so I want to capitalize on that and start thinking ahead.

Most of my recipes, even the ones stored in my database, come from around the web, so I’ll be able to link to most of them easily enough.

And here is what I’m thinking for this week!

Monday: Pasta Della California with Lemon Asparagus
Tuesday: Spicy Sweet and Sour Chicken Tofu with brown rice and vegetables TBD by Tuesday’s trip to the Farmer’s Market
Wednesday: Cuban Black Bean Soup with Spicy Kale and Corn
Thursday: International Quinoa Salad
Friday: Indonesian Curried Bean Stew
Saturday: Chickpea Gumbo (that I discovered while writing my last entry!)
Sunday: Spicy Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Burritos

Clearly, I’m a fan of pairing black beans and corn.

Also, jsyk, I’ve only made one of those recipes before. The burritos. Everything else is brand spanking new to me.

Can you tell I’m excited about my return to meal planning? Just look at the number of exclamation points in this post.


Wait, that was only the second. For some reason, it felt like I was typing more exclamation points than I really was.

But here’s something exclamation point worthy: the fact that I’m still running 3 months after my return to the sport. !!! My ankle is definitely still wonky, even as we approach the one year anniversary of the fall down the stairs, but as long as I wear an ankle brace every run, the pain mostly stays away. I’ve just become one of Those People.

You know, the people whose aches and pains can predict the weather. Although, really, I don’t know what’ll happen when the pain comes. I just know that the weather’s changing in some way. Then when it starts raining, I can be like, “Oh, yeah. It’s raining. Guess that’s why my ankle hurts.”

But I ran 17 miles last week, which is more than I’ve run in a week since my half last May. And if I make it through to to the end of THIS May with all going well, I am signing up for the Amsterdam Marathon in October.

Which will, at the very least, be interesting. And terrifying. Oh, and miserably painful.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. I want to get up to at least 25 miles a week before I commit.

I’ll keep you posted!