Winter Cooking Spree!

I took advantage of that New Year enthusiasm this January and started trying out some new recipes again! It also helps that I received the new Oh She Glows cookbook for Christmas – it was very inspiring, however only one of these recipes was found in that book. I’m still really glad to own the book -the photography is amazing and a lot of the recipes are definitely ones I’ll be trying out soon.

This Tomato Basil Pasta is from the first OSG cookbook and I can’t remember if I tried it before or not. At first I thought I hadn’t, but then once I was cooking it something felt very familiar. However if it’s the one I’m thinking of, it turned out terribly the first time and this time it was freaking amazing. I guess that just happens sometimes!

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This pasta was simple but really flavourful. Of course you have to soak the cashews first and I don’t often do that, so it’s hard for me to remember to do that ahead of time. It worked out this particular time because the night I planned to make this, there was no fresh basil at either of my local grocery stores. None, not even whole plants which I would have been willing to buy. It almost happened a second time the next night, but fortunately an angel who worked at the store noticed me looking at the fresh herbs shelf and approached me with a box full of fresh basil asking if I needed any πŸ™‚ One of the happiest moments I’ve ever experienced in a grocery store. Then the actual assembly of the pasta and sauce was super easy, and the end result was super delicious. A great experience with this recipe, yum!

Next I made a delicious vegetable korma. I may have mentioned before that I LOVE Indian food. My order of loving different world cuisines is currently as follows: Mexican, Indian, Asian, Mediterranean..then everything else I guess. Are there more cuisines than that? I guess maybe French is another but it seems pretty cheese and meat focused so I doubt there’s a lot there for me. Obviously most cuisines have at least a few dishes that can be very well veganized, but in general I think it’s not the most beloved cuisine of the vegan world. Anyway, this was the korma recipe I’ve been searching for!! Guess what the key ingredient is?? Vegan coconut yogurt! Which I had never tried until this recipe! It was actually so good, and amazing for cooking with…it made such a creamy korma sauce, very similar to one I used to make before going vegan that my whole family loved. I am so relieved to find a good replacement because after my first attempt at vegan korma, I was ready to give up on korma all together. The list of spices for this recipe was extensive and I actually never found ‘fenugreek’, which I’ve never seen before and have no idea what it would taste like or look like. I’m now on the lookout for it every time I’m in a grocery store. But obviously it wasn’t totally necessary. Once you’re getting close to a 10-spice mix, it’s pretty safe to say you could leave out one or two.

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I tried out another OSG recipe, but from her newest book: the Loaded Sweet Potatoes. Now personally, I would have preferred loaded regular potatoes. I have a weird aversion to mixing anything with my sweet potatoes besides brown sugar, vegan butter, and maybe cinnamon or nutmeg. Oh and you know pecans or salt and pepper…things like that. But an avocado? Cilantro? BLACK BEANS??! Nope. Even though I have this prejudice about mixing with sweet potatoes, this was pretty good overall. It was VERY filling – sweet potatoes are already filling I find, but wow topped with all this healthy stuff, it was hard to finish just one. I guess you would call that a good meal though. I will make these again, but with regular potatoes – she’s included this as an alternative recipe with a different sauce as well which is awesome.

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Finally, the Greek Power Bowl. YUMMY. Sometimes when I’m craving Greek food, I can barely think of anything else. Nothing else is even appetizing. My only regret with this was not making roasted potatoes to accompany it. Next time, that’s happening for sure. This bowl was delicious and filling. I made homemade tzatziki which I had not tried making as a vegan before. It turned out great! A little thin, but it could be thickened with Tofutti sour cream (my grocery store was out). Since becoming vegan, I have noticed that sometimes grocery stores run out of stuff. I feel like before this, I never really encountered that problem. Now I encounter it constantly, and it forces me to find substitutes really quickly. I’m sure that’s a good skill to build, but life would be easier if things would just be available when I need them for sure. Here are the finished products, both before and after adding the delicious tzatziki. The tzatziki by the way, is much better after sitting in the fridge overnight. It gets a bit thicker as it should, but it was still delicious before.

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Okay so now I’ve been thinking about different world cuisines and that it might be fun to try challenging myself to make foods from all different cuisines listed here on Wikipedia (at the bottom) this year. Just one dish from each they list at some point this year. I would love to see what I could make that is a Pennsylvania Dutch dish. I’ve been to Lancaster County, among the Amish in Intercourse and Bird-In-Hand, so that would be fun to recreate some of the food I had there before becoming fully vegan. They love their pretzels and shoo-fly pie…

It would also be cool because there’s quite a few cuisines on the list that I have no idea what they are or what the dishes would consist of, and would I even be able to veganize anything? So interesting. Okay so perhaps look out for another post detailing what dish I try first for this experiment! If I feel really ambitious about one, I could make a whole meal with a main, side and dessert…but yeah I shouldn’t get ahead of myself here. This list is LONG.

This week I’m very happy for three reasons. The first one is that I’ve made a plan to get back into running next week. I’m going to work around the weather because I’m really not a winter runner, and then get back into really training in March to get ready for Ottawa Race Weekend in May! Officially signed up for the 10K again πŸ™‚ It was such a great time last year, I’m really excited to run it again.

The second reason is this weekend I’m going away to a cabin somewhere in Quebec with my boyfriend for our one year anniversary. It used to scare me how quickly time goes by, but I really just appreciate it now. Life moves fast and it’s exciting and wonderful a lot of the time if you think about it. We will hopefully be doing some skating, snowshoeing and maybe snowmobiling or dog sledding depending on what’s available this weekend.

The final reason is that tomorrow night I’m going to Pure Kitchen for dinner and I absolutely cannot wait. I haven’t been there in months. They recently updated their menu and we’re going specifically tomorrow because this week they have vegan Big Macs!! (Little fact about me: I worked at McDonald’s all through high school, before becoming vegetarian). I saw PK post a picture and details on Instagram and immediately texted my sister about it. So we’re going and I have a feeling we won’t be disappointed πŸ™‚

L.

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