Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ode to the Pose

Diana and I go way, way back.  She has known me longer than anyone else in the world, other than my parents and perhaps my big sister.  She has probably spent more time with me than anyone else in the world as well. 

You may remember she recently made a 12 hour round trip drive to visit me for one night in Indy.  She is a good sister! 

It is only obvious then that I would make a similar drive for her, right?  Well, I'm staying longer than a night, but the time on the road will be pretty equivalent.  Since we last saw my sister Diana, she has moved with her husband to Nashville.  This makes me quite happy because now she is 5 hours closer to me than before.  Much more doable for a weekend visit.  She is also smack-dab in the middle between the rest of my family and me, making for a perfect pit-stop should I ever drive to Missouri.

To welcome her into her new home, and help her explore Nashville, Forbes and I are taking the weekend to hang out with Diana and Kendall.  I am excited for all the sister time and I know Forbes is excited for some serious gaming (him and Kendall have a shared interest in video games!)

Along with quality time with my family, I am excited to experience all Nashville has to offer.  There will certainly be a night out on the town in my future, lots of good eats, and many, many photos to share with you soon.  While you are waiting and anticipating the recaps of my amazing Nashville adventure, I leave you with some memories from my past.  You may see a common theme throughout these photos...we call it the Sister Pose.  I'm sure there will be many more photos like these coming soon...stay tuned!
Why do we insist on sticking our cheeks together?
Will had to get in on the sister pose action!
That is not a cigarette in my hand...I swear! (Circa worries, that would never happen now!)
The sister pose always comes out in full force when we have been drinking...and well, let's just say it ain't always pretty!

That was obviously a failed attempt at the sister pose (get your big fat head out of the way Tanya!)

Beautiful sister pose:

You're my favorite!
Ode to the Pose!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Recipes

Yesterday I pronounced my sincere love for all things fall...including football and pumpkin beer.

Well speaking of has finally made its way back into my life.
Quick fact: my childhood nickname is Pumpkin.  Who am I's my adulthood nickname too.  I will never out grow it!  It is so fitting since I dearly love pumpkin.  As a child, all I knew was pumpkin pie, but now as an adult and food blogger, pumpkin makes an appearance in nearly everything I create in the fall.

While we are talking about nicknames, I should give you the full run down of my name.  You may know, my full name is Tanya Kay Kummerow.  But if you want to ask my dad, the full name he gave me is Tanya Kay Emde Pumpkin Kritter K.  I go by P.K. for short.

Of course my Halloween costume from the time I was 4 until I was too tall to appropriately fit into anymore was a giant pumpkin suit my mom fashioned.  It was my favorite and I would wear it year round just because.

But enough embarrassing childhood tales, pumpkin made a big appearance this week, meddling its way into every single one of my recipes yesterday.

There were Pumpkin Spice Bars.
photo source

And Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers.
photo source

I recreated my Pumpkin Chip Micro Muffin.
I may have even dropped some pumpkin into this Maui Black Bean Soup.

But the main pumpkin events were this Pumpkin Smoothie.

And this amazing Pumpkin Bread!
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
serves 1

Sip on this for your pumpkin pie fix!  This smoothie combines the flavors cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with the creaminess of pumpkin puree, banana and almond milk to deliver a healthy, yet rich and delicious treat!  I couldn't help it, I drank one for breakfast and lunch yesterday!

Prep time: 5 minutes

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie spice
  • ~1 1/2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients except ice in blender and let it whir.  When well mixed, add in ice and blend until your smoothie is thick and ready! 
  2. Garnish with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and a cinnamon stick.
Sip slowly and savor every last morsel of this treat!  But don't treat it as a treat...this you can have all the time because not only is it delicious, but it is also good for you!

Pumpkin Bread
makes one 1.5 lb loaf

Add pumpkin to anything and it will make it light and fluffy.  This bread is no exception; the flavor profile is wonderful, and the texture is airy and soft.  This recipe utilizes a bread maker.  I apologize, but I have no alternative methods.  If you don't have a bread maker, I highly recommend one!  We make all of our own bread now.  You can even find them really cheap at Goodwill!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: ~3 hours

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  1. In bread maker, add water, pumpkin puree, honey and molasses.  
  2. Next add flours, salt, and vital wheat gluten, adding the yeast last.
  3. Set your bread maker for a 1.5 lb loaf and medium crust setting.  Hit start!
For even more wonderful pumpkin recipes visit my food page!

And don't forget to enter to win an entry into the Ramblin' Rose Women's Half Marathon!  Two more days to enter!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vegan Mini Quiche

Don't forget to enter to win an entry into The Ramblin' Rose Women's Half Marathon!

I heard on the radio this morning that 50% of Americans say Fall is their favorite time of the year.  Well usually I pride myself on being just a little out of the ordinary...but on this one, I fall right into the majority.  Fall is definitely my favorite time of the year.

I love football and the start of the season is ushered in along with the cooler weather and leaves changing colors.
Forbes and I settled in this weekend to watch a full Bears game.  Unfortunately they lost...but we won big!  In food and drink that is!
I love the reintroduction of Pumpkin Beer into my life.  This is a Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale.
Did you know all Smuttynose brews are vegan?  What makes a beer vegan you ask?  Well I have some questions about that as well, so I am planning a whole post based on just that.

Football season also means football jerseys come out of the back of the closet, and I once again get to act BA while Hester returns the football for game-winning touchdowns! (But not this week!)
I pretend I'm Hester, and Forbes pretends he's Urlacher.
I can't see Urlacher and Hester getting married in real life...

Fall brings the return of lots of delicious foods as well, including all of my beloved orange veggies.
Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and squash are staples in my diet at this time of the year.  Don't be surprised when I begin to appear fake-tanned in the next few weeks from all the beta-Carotene! 

My favorite way to prepare vegetables is roasted.  And fall allows me to fire up the oven once again!
Roasted veggies are always featured with ketchup of course!

The best foods are always those that are served before, during and after a football game.  This week Forbes and I picked up chips and salsa and served with Mini Vegan Quiche.
These were impressive!  I was wary when I began this recipe.  I had tweaked and altered so many different recipes into one and I was very nervous it would flop!  To my delight, they turned out perfect!  Full of flavor and rich texture.  If you are vegan and craving this decadent food, this is the recipe for you.  However, do not be afraid of this recipe even if you are not vegan.  These are still a wonderful treat for anyone.  Even non-football lovers (those don't exist, right?)

Mini Vegan Quiche
makes 24 mini quiche

I have been craving quiche and researching recipes for a few weeks now!  I was delighted when my experiment in the kitchen resulted so well!  These are a great snack for tailgating, or a football party at your house.  Enjoy cold or hot straight out of the oven.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 2 packages (12 count each) mini phyllo shells (I used The Fillo Factory brand, swag from HLS)
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped small
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup Garbanzo Fava Bean Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 medium tomato, stem removed, cut into fourths
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, diced bell pepper and chopped broccoli to the pan and saute until just tender (5-7 minutes).

Meanwhile, in blender combine flour, almond milk, tomato, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and paprika.  Blend until pureed.

Add vegetables from the stove top into the blender and pulse two or three times until fine, but not pureed.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of puree into each of 24 mini phyllo shells.  Place shells on baking sheet and place in 400* oven for 25 minutes.

Remove and cool 2 or 3 minutes before serving.  To re-heat, use toaster oven or place back in oven for 5-10 minutes.  Microwaving will make the shells soggy and soft.
These are a snack food that you can feel good about.  Enjoy the game!
But most importantly...enjoy the food!

Monday, September 26, 2011

No Meat Monday "Ch-ch-ch-changes"

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an entry into the Ramblin' Rose Women's Half Marathon!

Today we are talking about Change.  It seems to be a theme.  Last week we talked about how difficult change is when giving your life to Christ and converting to a Christian.  Change can be equally difficult when giving up your unhealthy eating habits and leaning into a new diet or regiment.  Just as "Conversion" can be seen as an ugly 4-letter word, so can "Vegan." 

But change doesn't have to be impossible.  And it doesn't have to be all at once.  Thus the introduction of No Meat Monday!  Reducing your meat consumption by just one meal or one day a week can reduce your risk for sickness and disease and can also reduce your impact on the environment.  Just one meal a day! 

Day to day what we do is pretty routine.  Even at the grocery store, our choices are routine.  What we eat, what we cook, how we cook, etc.  It is all habit.  I admit, I don't love trying new foods.  Especially if I have to pay for them.  What if I don't like it?  Then I have just wasted my money!

Well today I am going to ask you to try a new food.  It's another "4-letter" word and you might just turn the page as soon as I type it.


There.  I said it.  It wasn't pretty.  But I urge you to give it a shot.  At least tofu is relatively inexpensive, so trying it won't take an investment!  I really believe you will love this tofu.
Remember, the other 6 days of the week, choose whatever you like, but today...choose tofu.  And please, let me know what you think!

Chinese Tofu and Veggies
serves 6-8

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 35 minutes

Tofu comes to life with a quick deep fry.  The outside is wonderfully crusty with a smooth texture on the inside.  A homemade Chinese sauce uses ingredients you likely have on hand in the pantry so the tofu will be your only new-to-you ingredient this week.  Use mushrooms and snap peas as we did, or substitute with your favorite veggies.  This meal is great to serve to guests, and is wonderful as leftovers.  (As an option, you can use quinoa or another fast-cooking grain to substitute for the brown rice if you don't have the time to prepare.)  

  • 2 (14 oz) packages extra firm tofu (see buying instructions below)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five-Spice (optional)
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce or hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cups snap peas
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked to package directions
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Prepare your tofu by draining the water from the package.  Cut each block of tofu in half and lay all 4 slabs on a clean kitchen towel close together.  Wrap the kitchen towel over the top and place a cutting board on top.  Then stack cook books or other heavy objects on top of the cutting board to press the excess water out of the tofu.

While the tofu is pressing, start your brown rice (this will take close to 40-45 minutes). 

In a small pot, combine ketchup, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce and water.  Heat to boiling over medium to high heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring frequently.  (Sauce will thicken upon cooling when you mix with the veggies and tofu.

In a large frying pan, begin heating canola oil over medium-high heat.  Remove tofu from its cutting board-induced fortress and cut each slab into equal size squares, about 1 x 1 inch.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt and Chinese Five-Spice.  Toss the tofu squares in the flour mixture until well coated.

When your frying pan is heated, drop tofu squares into hot oil, about 1/3 of them at a time.  Careful not to allow the oil to burn you as you drop each square.  Cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side until crispy and brown.  With a slotted spoon remove the tofu squares and place on a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to absorb excess oil.

Continue the quick-fry method until all tofu is cooked through.  Set tofu aside and discard remaining oil in the pan.  You may use the same pan for the next step.

Over medium heat, toss mushrooms and snap peas with a tablespoon of water and cook for 7-10 minutes until just soft, adding more water as needed.  When cooked through, add tofu back to pan to reheat.

When sauce is thickened, stir into veggies and tofu.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over brown rice or other grain.
On the side we served my favorite Asian-restaurant style salad- just iceberg and romaine lettuce topped with ginger dressing (store-bought).

And of course we enjoyed this meal with friends!
For dessert: Cake Donuts and Cake Balls!

Tofu Buying Guide

Buying tofu can be as scary as eating tofu for "newbies."  I remember avoiding tofu at all costs because I was frightened of the different kinds, different packaging methods, and most of all the texture!  I want you to approach the grocery store prepared and unafraid, so here are some tips:
  • Tofu can be packaged as Firm, Extra Firm, Cubed, Lite Firm, Soft, Silken, Lite Silken, Extra Firm Silken, and even Sprouted.
  • For cooking in a savory dish such as this one, I always use Extra Firm.  The kind that comes water-packed.
  • Occasionally we will buy the kind that is already cubed, but you can't press it is as easily and pressing tofu aids with the texture.  
  • Occasionally we will also buy Sprouted, but it has the same flavor and texture as Extra Firm and can be used interchangeably.
  • And we also buy Silken tofu but only for special projects like cheesecake, smoothies, or other desserts.  
  • I've never seen tofu that isn't organic, but you do want to make sure you are buying organic so your tofu isn't made from genetically modified soy beans. 
  • Tofu is usually found in the produce section of your grocery store in the cooler and can be located at all grocery stores.  If your store has an organic or health-foods section it may be found there in the cooler.  In my experience, the tofu found on the shelves in cardboard packaging is always silken, so don't use unless you know that is what you need for a recipe.
If you loved the tofu, here are some other wonderful recipes for you to try!

Tofu Peach Kabobs
Coconut Battered Tofu
Egg-less Salad
Perfect Tofu
Quick and Easy Tofu Stir Fry

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ramblin' Rose Women's Half Marathon

Today I am a bottomless tank.  It may have something to do with my PMPDR (Post-Marathon Personal Distance Record) of 8 miles that I achieved earlier today-- in between thunderstorms no less!

What motivated such a jump in mileage this week?  Well, for one, I knew I could do it.  I have been wimping out of long runs for about 9 months now, yet I feel as if I am in the best shape of my life.  I have been consistently working out 4-6 times a week and pushing my stamina on the bike, as well as in the gym. 

Secondly, I am looking forward to a few events on my calendar that are fast approaching.

Every year I get together with the girls (Ashley's Army) for the Triple Lakes Trail Run.  My first year at the event I achieved my very first half marathon.  My second and third years I participated in marathon relays.  Now in my fourth year I will again run a leg of the marathon relay.

Originally scheduled for 11 miles, I have dropped down to a shorter leg of 8 miles because of recent developments in plans.  When I met with some really awesome guys from Endurance Magazine and Sport Often this week they offered me a much coveted spot in the very first North Carolina women's only half marathon.  The half-mary just happens to land on the day after Triple Lakes but I couldn't pass up this opportunity!  And you shouldn't have to either.

This week I am giving away an entry into the Ramblin' Rose Half Marathon.  Here are the details:

What- Ramblin' Rose Half Marathon
When- Sunday, October 16, 2011 7:30am
Where- Durham, NC, American Tobacco Campus
I am likely going to be a few miles short of fully trained for this race, let alone two races back-to-back, but I just couldn't turn down the opportunity.  I plan to just do my best and go with how my body feels.  So even if you are not 100% ready for this opportunity, I encourage you to enter to win, and run-walk this event with me!

Here's how to win:

Leave a comment below.  For fun, I want you to tell me your favorite food (vegan or non-vegan!)

You can get a bonus entry by following me on twitter and/or facebook and then leave a separate comment below letting me know you did (or already do).

Comments will be open until Friday morning at 8am when I will draw a winner at random for the free entry. 

Ramblin' Rose events are a unique and exciting experience.  This morning I went to Charlotte's Ramblin' Rose Triathlon and watched as 1600 women of all ages, shapes and sizes completed a triathlon!  It was motivational and uplifting and I can imagine this half marathon will be just as exciting!  These events celebrate the empowerment of women and benefit many worthy causes, including one near and dear to my heart--Girls on the Run!

Just comment below for your chance to win!  Good luck!