Spicy White Bean Soup

The soup I talked about a few days ago was so good I couldn't just let it sit in my 'blogging' notepad. Again Vegan Dad's recipe called Spicy White Bean Soup. Can you tell I love his recipes? I think I say this once or twice a month. Anyways, it looked like the perfect soup to have when sick. I'm still not sure if I am really sick or just a cold. Hopefully only a cold, but I am prepared to fight this baby. No illness will get in the way of my studies this week. I have three finals and still in the works of finishing a 30 page laboratory report for physics. But, the end is in site and I am thinking about packing.

The soup is 'spicy' because it uses his recipe for seitan pepperoni. I thought this would be the perfect time to use the leftovers from my Thanksgiving seitan log, but that did not go as planned as it already was soggy and just did not taste right. I made the recipe the same and added basil, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, tomato paste, and olive oil. I let it simmer for 40 mins and the smell was just radiating through my house. I got so excited when the potatoes were perfectly cooked that I never added the peas or corn, but I am fine with that. I had two bowls of this lovely soup for dinner, with another two bowls of leftovers. This soup took less than 10 mins to prepare and 40 to cook. I will be adding this to my normal line-up of meals. So simple, but so perfect.



I have to say Thanksgiving has never been my favorite family-oriented holiday. My family in America is very small and during the winter months my nuclear family is the only family in a 1000mile radius. So we normally spend the holiday with family friends. Last year, it was really nice as we hosted the whole event at our own home. It felt much more casual and relaxed. Plus, after we stuffed our faces we were able to quickly get to bed.

This year was at my godmother's beautiful home. It was nice seeing everyone, but the time I spent creating the meal the day before was not really worth seeing two 25lb turkey's being cooked and sliced and fought over. I did though have a very extensive menu. I was the only one that would be eating my dishes, so everything I made was single or double servings.

Bryanna's Seitan Turkey
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Bryanna's Rich Brown Yeast Gravy
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Sweet Yellow and White Corn
Cranberry Sauce and Applesauce
Apple Crisp

It was fun cooking all night, I just hated not being able to reward my cooking with eats right away. Though I did cheat and tried some of the Green Bean Casserole. oops...

Before dinner I spent most of my time re-heating and preparing my food. It is too bad they had to sit a night as the green beans were not as crisp and the mashed potatoes were not as fluffy. Such is life and it was all still perfectly amazing and delicious.

I took one picture of my plate, my family already thinks I'm strange for taking pictures of my food, I was not about to take 30 pictures and let my food get cold. Let's start with the green bean casserole. Holy hell, I absolutely looooved it. It was better than any green bean casserole I have ever tried. If I ever have to go to a dinner or am feeling like a good 'ol American dinner I will be having this! The Seitan Turkey was also amazing, very very flavorful and the texture was perfect chewy and soft. I normally am not the biggest fan of true meat replacers, when they are very similiar to meat's texture and taste I get really weirded out. But for the occassion they worked and were delish. I made my mashed potatoes with Earth Balance, soy milk, and a little Tofutti Sour Cream to fluff them up, they tasted amazing with the dark gravy (which even my parents liked). My mom made the cranberry sauce and applesauce which were to die for, both recipes had fresh orange zest which really made them pop.

Sadly, the apple crisp never actually got to be a part of the dinner party. I made a full recipe of the crisp, but we ended up leaving the dinner early, so we took it back with us as there was already two full tables of deserts to be shared. My family and I enjoyed it the next few days. This recipe is amazing. The combination of allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon made the apples even more brilliant. The topping was also perfect. I wouldnt change a thing about the recipe and I will be making it again and again.

That night I went to bed as early as I possibly could force myself. I woke up at 3.50AM and was at work at 5AM! I worked a 10 hour shift on the lovely American 'holiday' Black Friday. Shoppers galore attacking you, getting mad at you for them not reading discount signs, getting mad at the long lines, and screaming children being lost while their parents are bargain hunting. This year it was not as horrible as the year before. Less people are out due to the economy, but still enough to make it a perfect work day...

My thanksgiving break was not all cooking and eating and work. I got to spend a lot of time with my good friends and some friends I hadn't seen in awhile. I also got to know my new puppy, Mona, a bit better. She is now much calmer around me and likes to cuddle up against me and sleep. 7 more days and I will be back home able to see my family, friends, and of course, my puppies again :)


TuNori Melt and Cannelloni

A week of school is left and 3 days of finals. Oh my, how did the time go!? Apparently sleeping and school and studies. Right now I'm making a lovely soup from Vegan Dad, the smells are making their way to my room. But right now, I really have to get caught up.

I tried another two recipes of Vegan Dad's earlier this year. The first was TuNori Sandwiches. One food that I absolutely adored when I was a meat-eater was tuna fish sandwiches and melts. They were probably one of my favorite lunches, aside from crescent dogs, and cucumber sandwiches. My mom would wrap them in foil and put them in the oven for a good 20 minutes. The bread would come out crispy, the cheese perfectly melted, and the spread melted in your mouth. Well it has been too long since that childhood memory, so I set out to recreate it. His recipe was quite simple, using chickpeas, vegenaise, and nori. I have not enjoyed nori in the past, but I really wanted to try the recipe, so I halved the nori in hopes that would be too little to develop that distinct after-taste. It smelled good and looked like a tuna salad. I popped these babies in the oven for 20 minutes on 200 to try and 'melt' the vegan cheese slices I have. They came out nicely, though I apparently no longer have the photo. Oh well. It turns out that I was still able to taste the Nori perfectly. It wasn't that it was horrible or the recipe, it was my damn sensitive taste. Next time I will try the same recipe, but add celery salt and other spices to get that same level of pow from the original.

The next recipe as I said was too from Vegan Dad. I made his Cannelloni. He made his own marinara sauce to cover the cannelloni, but I felt confident my glass jar marinara would work just the same. So all I had to make was the 'ricotta' filling. The main ingredients was the crumbled tofu, nooch, parsley, and soy creamer. It was so simple to make and it even smelled delicious. I filled my cannelloni with quite some difficulty until I finally gave in and got my hands dirty. Popped them in the oven for 40 mins. What was strange was they were so dry, even after they were covered in marinara and baked for 40 mins, I couldn't figure it out. I called my mom about it and she asked if I pre-boiled my cannelloni as some are all ready for baking and others you have to boil. Well shucks, got me. I definitely am an idiot and did not pre-boil pasta. Wow, hah. I didn't miss the step, but it sure did feel strange filling raw noodle with filling. They were still pretty good, the filling is absolutely mouth-watering. A few days later I saved the last of the bunch by completely DRENCHING them in marinara sauce and re-baking them. They came out nice and plump and again delicious. I will definitely be making these again and remember to pre-boil the cannelloni.

This post sounds like a failure in ways, but it really wasn't. I think that every time you mess up, you only become a better cook. I am doubting myself less and less. When I started to cook all my meals this summer, I would check and re-check and go back a third time to make sure I had the right measurements and was following the steps correctly, but I definitely have no need to do that anymore. I am able to do more and more intricate recipes and hope to do an amazing gourmet presentation for my family for part of their christmas gift (Food is so much better than gift cards!).

Well, I must check on my soup. I am hoping it will be done soon as I am getting hungry. I do believe I am getting sick. I am all congested in my head, sneezy, and a sour throat I only get when I am sick...ugh

8 days til I am home and done with this semester!