Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Simple Meals and Food Gifts

I fell in love last week with a simple tahini sauce I made. I hope I wrote it down and can find it so I can use it for my homemade falafel later this week. Oh - I just made for the first time my own chickpeas, not from a can, for my falafel and they are so incredibly sweet and delicious! Anyway, I first put the tahini sauce on broccoli and japanese yam.

Then I put it on broccoli and cauliflower over soba noodles. This was so good I ate it two nights in a row.

Several of you have asked about the japanese yam, so I took a picture of one. It tastes like a sweet potato, but not quite as sweet, and it has a very creamy texture. I get them at my asian market.

At our office Christmas party we had a fajita buffet. They were kind enough to think of me this year, and I got to have some wonderful grilled veggie fajitas to go with the beans and rice. (Usually I just get beans and rice!) There was plenty of veggies left over, so I brought some home and had them over lentils one night.

Today I took my gifts of Texas Trash to the office and everyone went crazy for it. I made another batch last night for the family to snack on. I also made VWAV pumpkin oatmeal cookies since Dori at the Bakehouse blogged about them. I found them a little bland, maybe it's because I've had this cold. But I ended up adding a powdered sugar cinnamon glaze to them. These also got rave reviews. Chase took most of them. He gave some to my mom and she thought they were some of the best cookies I've ever made. I'm sure she doesn't think they're vegan.

Here's my cookies and trash.

I also made mustard for a few special people.

Today I had lunch at Nu Age, my fave veggie restaurant, and they proudly displayed their "2006 VegNews Best Restaurant" plaques. I had their beautiful salad.

Sunday we had a family dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Green Pastures. It's a restored 1800s home which serves a massive buffet on Sundays with plenty of vegan options and even a tofu dish! Here's Chase and my mom at the front door. I wish I had better pictures of the wonderful architure and beautiful holiday decorations. The grounds are full of peacocks. The males have about an 8 foot span of feathers they proudly display. They are breathtaking. (They were also mostly in hiding on this day.) And yes, we are quite comfortable in our short sleeves. It was 82 degrees Sunday afternoon!

Here's all of my family, except my sister who lives in Alabama with her family, in the foyer before being seated. My parents are retired, and my baby brother is an environmental engineer. I will be visiting my sister between Christmas and New Year's.

Me and my angel.....

And lastly, I was clearing out my cookbook shelves of all the meat books I still have and don't use, and I found this!

Isn't that hysterical!?! I'm sure I worked on this at least 20 years ago. I was glad to see that most of my recipes were for vegetable and low fat dishes, along with some family favorites. I have a few golden oldies I want to prepare and show you later!

The dividers had some interesting tips I wanted to share with you.

"White rice will be fluffier if 1 teaspoon lemon juice is added for each quart of cooking water."

"For lighter muffins, heat greased muffin tins in the oven for a few minutes before pouring in the batter."

"To test that bread dough has double in bulk, insert your fingers 1/2 inch into the dough. If the dents remain, the dough is ready to be punched down." (I think I knew this one already)

And my favorite - "Fresh vegetables make tasty additions to green salads."

Let me know if you try the rice or muffin tips.

Tomorrow is my last day of work until Jan. 4!!! Chase and I are planning on decorating Christmas cookies on Thursday, and making some other cookies and Christmas granola after that.

Stay well, everyone!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the pics of you and your family. I like to see family pics. The one of you and Chase is really nice.

Did you post the recipe for your Texas Trash? I thought I saw it somewhere but now I can't find it.

The old cookbook is really quite funny! Isn't it great to dig up an old treasure though?

I'll definitely try the tips. I wonder if the muffin tip would also work for cupcakes?

I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable hiatus from work!

Anonymous said...

The old cookbook is very funny!
love the photos. have a great holidays!

Emmy said...

Yum! I love versatile sauce recipes and the Japanese Yam is so neat!!! I'm so incredible jealous of your Asian Market you have near you. Are you tired of me telling you that yet? LOL

How sweet your work made sure you had something to eat the Christmas party. That's great you were able to take home some leftovers as well.

The cookies look wonderful :) And that's awesome you made mustard too.

Green Pastures sounds like such a nice place. What great pictures of you and your lovely family too :) And for the 82 degree weather? I don't want to hear it about it :P It's been in the 40's here which is like a heat wave for this time of year.

How fun to rediscover the "I'm Writing My Own Cookbook" book. I love coming across cookbooks I forgot I had.

Merry Christmas :) I hope you have a lovely holiday. Take care!!!!

Freedom said...

Well, being raw i don't eat muffins but next time i bake for my parents i'm definately trying that! Thanks and merry christmas!

aTxVegn said...

Crystal - do you want the trash recipe? If so, I'll put it on a comment on your latest post.

erica said...

What a lovely family! I am jealous, I will only see my parents and one of my sisters, the other I won't see until next Christmas. I guess I can be thankful to see one of my sisters, and that both my parents are still around (I might not have seen either sister this year).

Please do post the tahini sauce recipe when you get it figured out!

Amey said...

Hi Diann,
What a super fun post! So many nice food and holiday pics.

I love the tip about adding the fresh veggies to green salads. Ha ha! That cracked me up!

Nikk said...

Beautiful pics, both of family and food. I really love the one of you and Chase! :)

I must try Japanese yam!

bazu said...

I hope you have a great Christmas, Diann! It looks like you and your family are already enjoying yourselves, which is great.

I loved this post. I've always wanted to try a japanese yam, and loved reading about yours. And the cookbooks is awesome! I laughed at the fresh vegetables comment, but I collect vintage cookbooks, and loved reading some of your tips. I'll let you know if I try any.

Great food as always!
I promise to get back to posting soon...!

laura k said...

Great post! Congrats on your last day of work for awhile--have fun decorating cookies with Chase!

urban vegan said...

Happy holidays! What gorgeous gifts you made--I love the idea of the homemade mustard. What a good-looking family you have.

Anonymous said...

Nice post - loved the family photos! I bought the ingredients to make your trash for our New Year's Eve. Can't wait to try it.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Ruthie said...

Diann --
Beautiful post! I noticed you commented on some resturants and thought you'd be the perfect person to ask :) Russell and I are flying into Austin on the 30th to save on airfare, both sets of folks are meeting us there for lunch. We'll be coming in at 2 (but maybe later if flights are delayed). Can you suggest some place that's yummy, cheap, and vegan? I love Thundercloud Subs but there is one in San Antonio. I want a real Austinite experience. :) Oh, and being close to the airport would be a plus!

Joyeux Noel! :)

aTxVegn said...

Hey, Ruthie, I'll leave a comment on your latest post for restaurant recommendations. I wish I could run by and say hi while you're here, but I'll be in Alabama!

Kate said...

The pumpkin oatmeal cookies look amazing!