Tres Leches Cake

Delicious for any occasion

Homemade Watercolors

For homeschoolers, or just fun at home

DIY Toothpaste

Great for good health, and a happy pocketbook

Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Even picky kids will love these meat-less dishes

Sewing Projects and Tips

Even more tutorials to come soon

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meatless Monday: Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Chili is a common go-to dish for both autumn nights, and Meatless Mondays. Often vegetarian chili is made as a traditional recipe, but with the animal proteins omitted, leaving it bland and flavorless. This chili is hearty and fulfilling, and won't leave you yearning for it's meaty counterpart.

You will need:
sweating finely minced mirepoix
  • about 3/4 cup of FINELY minced mirepoix. I like to make mine a week's worth at a time as I am already turning my week's celery and carrots into sticks and chunks. I use a food processor to get it really fine.
  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Half a white onion, roughly chopped.
  • About 2 cups each pinto beans, kidney beans, and white beans. (cooked) I make mine a double batch, then freeze half for later. You can also use canned if you wish. 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes. You can use plain for a more mild chili, or with green chilies to help add in more heat. Hold on to your can, you'll need 2 of them of water.
  • 1 small (8oz)can tomato sauce. Again, I used the "Mexican Style" to add more heat, but use plain for mild. 
  • 1 package onion soup mix. 
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) rinsed lentils.
  • Cumin, about a palm-full. And chili powder to taste. Salt to taste if you wish.
I've found this combination to feel the best in your mouth
Begin by sweating your mirepoix in the olive oil over medium-low heat. If you slowly let it get a bit brown it will had more richness. Turn your heat up to medium, add your chopped onion. The mirepoix will reduce and melt into the final chili, and help to create a richer, more substantial feel. The additional onion will provide the lovely bits of onion you're used to in your chili.
After your onion has cooked for about a minute or two, add your tomato, sauce, soup mix and the water (2 tomato cans). Stir in your beans, lentils and the spices. I find that the soup mix provides most of the salt needed, and often I don't need to add any more salt!
Let your chili come up to a soft boil, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer and thicken for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Your lentils will start to break down into the sauce, and also still provide a bit of chew.

Serve with your favorite toppings and sides.
Click for a bigger view

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tofu Thursday: "BBQ" Tofu

Here in our Disheveled household, one way everyone enjoys healthy tofu is "barbecued", baked in the oven, and glaze with just a touch of delicious sauce. A crowd-pleaser for the grown ups and the children.

You will need for this quick, easy recipe:

  • A box of FIRM tofu from your grocer's produce section. Or FIRM tofu of your choice
  • McCormick Grill Mates "Mesquite" or a sprinkle-able woodsy spice mix of your own, or homemade. 
  • Olive oil
  • Barbecue sauce, homemade or some from your stash from the 2/$1 sales this summer ;-)
First, as always, drain your tofu for about 20-30 minutes. While you're waiting, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and brush a foil-lined cookie sheet THINLY with olive oil.
Click any picture to enlarge

 With a wide knife, slice the tofu into 1/4 inch slices along it's length. Sprinkle each side with the spices and place on the cookie sheet.

Dab on a teensy-tiny bit of olive oil. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the bottom sides are crisping up.
Flip over and bake for about 10 minutes more.
Then, brush with a tiny bit of your barbecue sauce. Bake for about 5 minutes so the sauce gets a nice glaze, then brush/dab on a bit more. I ended up using only about 1/2 cup for the whole recipe- about 10 pieces. Bake for about 5 more minutes until that layer is glazed nicely as well.

Serve with delicious sides. I served it with Cucumber Salad, Broccoli Slaw, and pinto beans. It was a big hit. Even my picky eater gobbled it up!