Nutrition Ambition

Welcome to my vegan food blog! When it comes to food, my philosophy is that taking time to lovingly prepare your own meals can result in better health and greater life satisfaction. I use natural, whole ingredients to create nourishing, exciting meals which replenish mind, body and spirit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's been so long!

I know I haven't updated this blog in months, and for that I'm sorry. But I have been having too much fun this summer to spend a lot of time on the computer. So anyway (if I haven't lost all my blogging buddies...I know I've neglected you) please check out the new blog about my new love, Matt and all the yummy things we will be cooking togther. Our first post is on veggie burgers and mango iced tea. Need I say more? See you there! It's called Kitchen Love, by the way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Curried Tempeh with Sweet Potato and Dried Mango

Last night I so needed to clean out the fridge of some overabundant produce, so I put on my thinking cap. I had a little pouch of Lemon Curry Powder that smelled too irresistible to pass up. A peek in the pantry revealed some ButterCream potatoes, a sweet potato, and a can of coconut milk. I also spied some Chile Spiced Dried Mango I picked up when last I was at Trader Joes. In addition, I thought a little lime would be delicious squeezed over all this spicy-sweet madness. The potatoes, while usually cooked inside the curry, I thought would be good pan-fried and served more or less alongside. Check it out; it's several ingredients and a few steps, but worth it. The myriad textures and flavors is sure to be delightful. By the way, it was entirely too hot last night to be spending this much time in front of the stove, but it was worth it!

* about 10 golf ball-size thin-skinned potatoes (washed and cut in half), or fingerling potatoes
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
* 2 large carrots, cut into small chunks
* 1 package tempeh
* 1 additional tablespoon olive oil
* 1 generous teaspoon lemon curry powder (or regular curry powder)
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* cayenne pepper, to taste
* 2 teaspoons Braggs
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 (15 oz) can coconut milk
* 1/2 cup water (or as needed)
* Diced dried mango and lime sections

Begin by placing the potatoes in a pot of cold salted water and bring to a simmer. Let cook about 10 minutes, or just until fork-tender. Drain. Heat a medium size saute pan and add the first tablespoon of oil. When hot, put in the potatoes cut side down and pan fry until golden, then flip and cook another minute. Remove the potatoes and set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and crumble the tempeh into the pan. Cook until nicely golden then add the garlic. Stir in the spices followed by the braggs, carrot, sweet potato and coconut milk. Place the lid on the pan and simmer until the sweet potato and carrot are tender, about 15-20 minutes. When ready to serve, top with the mango, a few lime wedges and pile on those potatoes!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

mini key lime pies!

Today while I got my hair colored, I purused Teany by Moby and Kelly and the key lime pie recipe (in the "petit fours" chapter) caught my attention. So, while I was at Trader Joes (which I am in love with, by the way), I picked up the ingredients I would need to make this tempting recipe. Well, as is were, Trader Joes does not have the biggest nor the best selection of products (mind you, they do have some pretty cool stuff), so the "vegan vanilla pudding mix" needed for the key lime pies (which I can only assume is the Mori Nu Mates brand) was no where to be found. This component of the recipe serves many functions: A.) sweetener B.) thickener C.) vanilla flavoring. So, I had to change the recipe. Here's my version:

Ingredients (makes 12 adorable mini pies):
for the crust:
* 1 1/2 cups natural gharam cracker crumbs
* 2 tablespoons melted earth balance margarine
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
* 1 (8 oz) container Tofutti Cream Cheese
* aprox. 1/2 of a 1-lb. block of soft water-packed tofu, drained and well-blotted
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon lime zest
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons key lime juice (this is about 10 key limes--you can also buy the juice bottled, but I doubt it would taste as fresh)
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
* thinly sliced key limes as garnish (optional but really, really cute!) or extra lime zest

Line a regular sized 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners. Mix together the cracker crumbs and margarine then spoon about a tablespoon of this crust mixture into each muffin liner.

In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients and pulse until smooth. The mixture will be quite loose, but don't panic. Fill each crustified muffin cup with about 3-4 tablespoons of the filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. When you jiggle the pan, the centers should be springy while the outter edge is firm. Let cool completely and the centers will become firm. Top with a slice of lime and enjoy! Warning: don't fool yourself into thinking that you will eat just one of these.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Coconut Raspberry Goodness

Recently I picked up Dreena Burton's cookbook The Everyday Vegan and knew the first thing I had to make was her Coconut Raspberry Squares. Who would have guessed that coconut and raspberry flavors would be so good together? Dreena, apparently. This delicious sweet treat reminds me of something a Southern grandma would make, or Paula Deen. The recipe says to use 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam as the filling, but I didn't measure, just slathered it on there. Next time I will use more jam, probably more like 2/3 of a cup. I really like the gooey wet texture of the jam along side the cookie-like texture of the bottom layer of the bars. By the way, I used Trader Joe's Organic Raspberry Jam, and damn if it isn't the best jam I've ever tasted. I can't put my finger on why it is so good, it just is. Also, I left out the coconut extract (I didn't have any) and increased the vanilla extract amount from 1/4 teaspoon to a full teaspoon. Lets just say this recipe barely made it long enough to be photographed. That may be an exaggeration, but not by much.

I wonder if I'll fit into my bikini this year?

Thursday, May 31, 2007


I was shopping at Target, of all places, and while browsing the food section (yes, Target has a food section) I came across Riblets! I just had to get them. On a side-note, I noticed that Target is surprisingly vegan-friendly. I saw all kinds of things that I would normally buy at the natural foods store (Amy's pizza, Odwalla bars, Cliff bars, soymilk, veggie burgers, etc).

Anyway, I was a little cautious with the first bite. I've had some pretty gross faux-meat products is all the years being vegetarian and vegan, and was worried Riblets would be yet another thing on that list. Let me tell you, Riblets are officially my favorite! They come slathered in a ton of sweet and tangy barbecue sauce and have a scary-similar texture and taste as "real" ribs.

I don't feel I need to "justify" my choice of eating fake meat (because I feel it is a controversial subject among vegans/vegetarians), but I want to make one thing clear: I think a lot of omnis mistakenly assume all vegans/vegetarians miss meat terribly and consume "fake" meat for the purpose of satisfying a craving for the real thing. This is not the case. When I was younger, my dad used to cook ribs on Sundays in the summer and we'd eat it with sweet corn and mashed potatoes. I have a lot of good memories of my family that are tied along with this food, and having something very similar yet without the cruelty is nice because it brings back memories. I also want to point out that meat itself is not what appeals to people, it is the emotional ties we have to it, as well as whatever cooking method makes it taste good. Very few people would kill an animal with their bare hands and eat the flesh raw.

Anyway, now that I'm done grossing you much as I would have loved some sweet corn and mashed potatoes like my dad used to make, we didn't have any, so along with my riblets, I cooked up some Greens With Envy from Trader Joes (spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus and edamame) and some pre-packaged sundried tomato-flavored roasted potatoes.

My sister is also vegetarian and we both agreed that Riblets taste just like dad used to make. Awww... That's my Hallmark Moment for ya'll.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Picnic, The Sequel

JenniferSchmoo doesn't get to have all the fun! For my picnic on Friday, I used up the leftover mashed tofu from Wednesday's stuffed pasta shells and turned it into eggless egg salad. You can find the recipe in a previous post of mine. With the egg salad I threw in some toasted bread squares (I didn't have any crackers). I have discovered NaSoya's Creamy Dill dressing and love it! It is great in eggless egg salad in place of veganaise or a homemade version, as a spread on Tofurkey sandwiches, or as a dip with veggies. I like to stir in extra dried dill, because I really don't think it has enough dill flavor.

I also packed a small salad of fresh organic lettuce, spinach and carrots with Goddess Dressing in the cute little container. Right above the salad is my new favorite thing: vanilla soy yogurt with rhubarb compote. The sweet, creamy yogurt paired with the tangy, fruity rhubarb is a heavenly combination and makes for a light, healthy sweet treat. Yummm!! You have to make this. Just take about 4 long stalks of rhubarb and chop them into small pieces. Place them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water, cover, and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat, uncover, and simmer gently until the rhubarb falls apart and resembles thin jam. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool before spooning over yogurt or ice cream.

This was a great lunch that gave me plenty of energy for a 2-mile bike ride!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Teriyaki Tofu and Plantains

First, lets talk plantains. This was my very first time a.) cooking plantains and b.) eating them. Everyone always says how plantains and bananas are nothing alike, but I beg to differ. At least the one I got; it was sweet and, raw, tasted very much like a very starchy banana. I lightly fried the thinly sliced plantain in a little canola oil. A word of caution: be careful not to let them go too long--the sugar tends to caramelize quickly and therefore burn (I flipped each plantain slice over for the photo...the other side is considerably darker.) I really enjoyed these plantains. They were sweet and slightly tangy, with a light crunch from the frying. I salted them, but I regretted it once I tasted them--they would have been perfect even without seasoning.
Next up is Nava Atlas's Teriyaki Tofu Triangles from Vegetarian Family Cookbook. The marinade consists of fresh ginger, soy sauce (I used Braggs), sesame oil, maple syrup (I used molasses instead), rice vinegar, and hoisin sauce (AKA Chinese Barbecue Sauce). First off, if you've never tried hoisin sauce, get on it! It's so good and adds a lot of flavor to the party. In fact, this marinade is so flavorful, you don't have to let the tofu sit in it for hours. 10 minutes is sufficient. I doubled the marinade because I like it saucy! I garnished with a little scallion. The last time I made this recipe, my mom and sister both loved it, as did I. It was just as delicious this time around.
Finally, to add some color and freshness to the plate, we have our loyal friend, broccoli.