Monthly Archives

May 2010

appetizers, recipes

Nacho Feast

Have you ever gone out on the town and attempted to order nachos that are vegan? Vegan establishments notwithstanding, it’s usually a disappointment. Generally the main feature on a nacho platter is cheese, so once you subtract that from the equation, you’re left with small portions of salsa and guacamole, and a few olives and hot peppers strewn atop a giant mound of chips. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and there will be a tomato chopped up in there. Either way, it’s so not worth the crazy money they charge you.

Logan and I have never tried to make a nacho platter until tonight, but we had a vision. A vision of (vegan) cheese and seasoned beans, and fresh vegetables. An entire avocado’s worth of guacamole instead of a piddly scoop. A vision of having every bite loaded with goodness, instead of trying to distribute measly bits of toppings among the pile of chips. I’m happy to say that we succeeded in achieving said vision.

This was ridiculously easy to make, and extremely filling. The two of us had no hope of finishing it all, though we came close. It only took us about half an hour from start to finish – it would take even less time if you already had the cheese sauce made. Here’s what we did:
1. Bake Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips – bake the entire bag (about 12 tortillas)
2. Cook and season some beans (recipe follows)
3. Make a batch of The Best Cheese Sauce
4. Make a fresh veggie medley (method follows)
5. Assemble toppings (black olives, assorted hot peppers from a jar)
6. Prepare salsa and guacamole (method follows)
in a 9×12 pyrex pan, or something of similar size, layer all of the nacho ingredients in the order listed, from 1-5. Put salsa and guacamole in bowls on the side, with spoons to help you scoop it on your chips (these chips are quite loaded, and therefore a little hard to scoop!). Then, feast! This tasted absolutely amazing. Take that, restaurant nachos!

2. Seasoned Black Beans
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/8 – 1/4c water (as needed)
1 tsp cumin seeds (powder works too)
1 tsp chili powder*
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
*my chili powder is straight-up – most chili powders have added cumin and stuff, so if you have a chili powder like this you might have to adjust the seasonings a little.
Partially mash the black beans so they stick together, but so there are still some whole beans left. Put them into a small pot with a little bit of water and bring to bubbling over medium heat. Add all of the other ingredients and stir every couple of minutes, so the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After 5-10 minutes, the beans will lose a lot of water and be thicker – this is when they’re done. Taste to adjust seasonings – honestly, when I’m seasoning beans I don’t usually measure ingredients. I did this time, to give you a rough estimate, but it’s pretty free-form.
4. Fresh Veggie Medley
1 tomato
1/2 a bell pepper
3-4 green onions
Dice all ingredients (green and light green parts of the green onions only) and mix up in a bowl.
6. Guacamole
This is what I call the lazy person’s guacamole because we barely add anything to the avocado, but it tastes really good. If you have a favourite recipe, by all means, use that instead.
1 large avocado, mashed (or blended, if you want it really smooth – check out my post here on how to choose a ripe avocado)
1 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
a pinch of salt (optional)
Once you’ve mashed your avocado, add the other ingredient(s). Stir and enjoy!

being awesome, Budgeting

A $70 shopping trip

Today, instead of chronicling my eats the way I’ve been doing, I decided to show you what an average, $70 grocery trip looks like. In my article ‘15 ways to save on groceries‘, I discuss our typical eats and what we purchase, but sometimes a picture is worth more than words.

2 pineapples (on sale), 5 lemons, 1 lime, 3 apples, a big bag of oranges (about 10), 7 avocados, a whackload of bananas (about 15)

3 tomatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, 3 english cucumbers (sale!), 3 field cucumbers (another sale!), 2 bunches of broccoli, 6 yellow/orange bell peppers, 1 green bell pepper, 1 head romaine, 3 bunches kale, 1 bunch spinach, grape tomatoes, snow peas, some white button mushrooms (about 6)

green mammoth olives, pumpkin seeds, cashews, black beans, a can of crushed tomatoes, extra firm tofu and soy milk.
This should get us through most of the week, though there will be another trip in there somewhere for a few odds and ends, usually for soy milk, avocados or bananas.

Until next time! 🙂
food and product reviews

New Juicer!

Hey all,

The conclusion of my Band Days accompaniment also saw the arrival of my shiny new juicer, Mr. Hurom Slow Juicer. I squealed with delight on that dreary Thursday afternoon when the doorbell rang – I had been expecting it all morning! This is what it looked like right out of the package, after Logan and I figured out how to assemble it:

And this is what it looked like after it gave us our first juice (the juice glass is empty because we were impatient):

Look at that pulp! It was very dry, too – I was impressed. Logan and I tasted a little bit of it, and it was completely flavourless…but that’s a good thing! Logan mentioned that the pulp glass had the odd aroma of pumpkin pie, and upon sniffing it, I realized he was right…
Check out our first green juice! This one contained kale, green apples and ginger – simple and delicious. The kale mellowed out the tartness of the apple and was even yummier than I had anticipated!
Since then, I made a beet-carrot-lemon-ginger juice, and my most recent one this morning, kale-romaine-cucumber-apple-lemon-ginger juice. Oh man was it good! As you’d expect, it tasted very ‘green’, but in the best way possible! Juicing removes all the fiber from produce, which means all of the vitamins and minerals present are quickly absorbed by the body. I drank the equivalent of a large salad this morning, how cool is that? It’s possible that I’m nerdy.
Of course, fiber is very important in one’s diet, but juicing is a nice little addition to other methods of eating. Besides, a diet that is unrefined and is composed of nothing but plants is NOT lacking in fiber! 🙂 Us vegans generally consume about 45-60 grams of fiber a day, compared to those consuming the SAD (Standard American Diet), which amounts to about 15 grams of fiber each day. Most health organizations recommend at LEAST 20 grams per day, so I’d say we’re good!

That’s all for now. Toodles!