Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Greek Green Beans ( Fasolakia Yachni )











Yesterday's lunch was one of the many traditional Greek vegan meals. Greek Orthodox Christians often eat a vegan diet during "fasting" times- such as Lent, Advent, and Wednesdays and Fridays, so the Greek culture offers many delicious vegan meals.
 
Many Greek vegetarian meals are made with a traditional tomato sauce, (formally called Orientale Sauce) and the dishes have the word "Yachni" as part of their name. Preparing them the traditional way involves making the sauce from scratch, then adding it to the other ingredients, and simmering or cooking.
 
In the interest of simplifying these dishes, I make a BIG batch of sauce (which I like to improperly call "Yachni") and then I'm ready to easily prepare a wide variety of Greek Dishes.
 
First, here's the little batch, so you can try it. Also, if you're cooking for one or for a small family, this may be as much as you want to make at once:
 
Basic Yachni Sauce
 

Saute:
1 1/2 Tablespoons  to 4 Tablespoons olive oil (Traditionally, Greek cooking uses a lot of Olive Oil. For a more authentic dish, you can add even MORE Olive oil than this. For a less authentic, but still tasty and healthy dish, Oil may be reduced or omitted.)
 
1 ½ cup chopped onions (1/2 of a 12oz bag of frozen chopped onions works well!)
 
1 tsp garlic
 
 




 
Then add and simmer for about 15 minutes:
3 (15 oz cans chopped tomato
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons Parsley
Salt & Pepper
2 T tomato paste
 
After simmering, the sauce is ready to use.














Fasolakia Yachni,
One batch "Yachni" sauce (you should have 5 to 6 cups)
2 bags frozen Green Beans  (for a total of 2# Green Beans) Rinsed in sieve under warm water to thaw
 
Cook in Slow Cooker or Crock pot on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
 
Alternately, on stove top: Simmer in a pot for 2 hours, until Green Beans are VERY tender

*These are not traditionally Crisp-Tender sort of dishes, but if you prefer your veggies Crisp-Tender, it's your choice.
 
 
To Serve: This dish is great served with Greek Olives (such as Kalamata or Oil Cured), Crusty Bread, Raw Onions,  and Salad. Having a nice dip on the table, such as a hummus will also add variety, and protein to the meal.
 
Tip for dining with Omnivores:
This is a great Vegan Main dish, but it is also a great side dish to serve with any meat-and-potatoes meal!
 
Coming Soon:
Vat O' Yachni!
Other delicious Yachni -type dishes, based on this sauce . . . .

 
 

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Mini-Muffins

This morning we woke up to the first snow of the year. Perfect morning for Pumpkin Muffins with a nice hot cup of Coffee!

Many years ago, I got interested in making my own mixes. But, most available mix recipes are Omnivore, and that doesn't help me with a vegan diet. Over the years, I developed a few mixes of my own, that fit my way of eating.  This mix is 100% whole grain, and no-oil-added!

This muffin mix makes enough for about 8 dozen mini muffins (so you can bake muffins eight different times!). If you like, you can make 1/2 the recipe if you're a single vegan, or cooking for a small family.


Versatile Vegan Mini Muffin Mix

Mix together

8 cups whole wheat pastry flour *
2 cups turbinado sugar or other sugar of your choice
4 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (Cornstarch may be used as an emergency substitute)

After all the ingredients are in your chosen container (see below) close securely and shake well to evenly distribute contents.

Store in pantry in cooler house temperatures, or if mix will be used in a month or less. For longer storage, or in very warm weather, store in fridge or freezer.

* The King Arthur website says Whole Wheat Pastry Flour & Graham Flour are the same thing. It's a lower-protein whole wheat flour, that produces a lighter, more tender product than traditional whole wheat flour.

I have made mixes in two types of containers:
The first is a Gallon Zipper-Type Freezer bag. Filling it is so much easier if you put it inside a #10 can, or a small bucket, and fold the edge over, like so:
The second method I have used (my current favorite) is to use a large plastic canister from the dollar store. I list the ingredients for the mix on tape on the outside (you could use pretty labels if you prefer)

And, I put the name of the mix, along with mixing and baking instructions on the lid. That way, I can leave the cookbook (or website) alone next time I cook!



To make muffins:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine and stir until just mixed:
1 cup Vegan Muffin mix
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (from a can or homemade)
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 Tablespoon oil may be added, but it is strictly optional - I usually leave it out.
Then add:
Water as needed for thick, but pourable consistency (about 3/4 cup)
and a handful of one or more of these:
chopped dates
nuts
raisins
chocolate chips



Drop by Tablespoons into oiled or sprayed Mini muffin pans
(makes 1 dozen per batch)
bake 400 Degrees, 15 to 20 minutes

If you prefer, you may make 6 regular-sized muffins from this batter, or you can double the recipe for a dozen large muffins. If making larger muffins, bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

(Since this is vegan, my little one could enjoy licking the mixing bowl, without me having to worry about salmonella poisoning!)

*I like to sprinkle Cinnamon sugar inside the muffin cups before filling them, and also on top of the muffin batter. It adds eye and taste appeal!




Enjoy!

More Muffin varieties to come . . . .


This is being shared on
Food on Fridays: Finger Foods

Saturday, October 27, 2012

stuffedveggies gets started

Seventeen years ago, I became vegetarian. Three years ago, after reading The China Study, I transitioned to an almost entirely plant-based, vegan diet with a high percentage of whole foods. In the process, I’ve lost and kept off 50 pounds for several years, and my cholesterol has dropped more than 100 points.

Perhaps you have heard “never trust a skinny cook” – well I didn’t lose so much weight as to be untrustworthy! ; )

Over the years, I have constantly encountered people who tell me, “I’d like to be vegetarian, but . . . ” It’s too hard. It’s too expensive. It’s inconvenient. My husband eats meat.

I’m writing this blog to share what works for me to make a plant-based, vegan diet cheap (frugal) and easy to pull off.

You'll find tips for Vegan OAMC, Vegan Batch Cooking, Making your own Vegan Mixes for the Pantry or Freezer, Quick Plant-Based Recipes, Vegan Freezer cooking, Plant-Based Menu Plans, Vegan Slow Cooker recipes, and yes, tips for how to cook for that non-vegetarian spouse, family member or guest and yourself at the same time!

There are many reasons for eating more convenient and easy plant-based meals. Maybe you need to save money on groceries. Maybe you need to lose weight. Maybe you need to improve heart health or control diabetes. Maybe it’s Lent, and you want to focus on God instead of on food. Maybe you’ve just decided to try Meatless Mondays.

Whatever your reason, I hope you find this blog helpful.
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