Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Easy Mexican Soup

  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 zuchini diced
  • 1 small carrot diced
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 can Ro-tel
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can hominy
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  •  3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  •  salt and black pepper
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into strips 
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Veggie Shreds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Coarsely chop the garlic, onion, zuchini, and carrot. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add diced onion.  Saute until soft and add garlic, zuchini, carrots. Stir in the Ro-tel, hominy, black beans and tomato sauce. Add salt pepper and cumin and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Slowly pour in the stock and cook over med low heat until the soup is reduced by 1/3.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish with tortillas, avocados, veggie shreds, and cilantro.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sleepy kitty...

I haven't posted in a while because I really haven't been cooking and I really haven't been inspired.  Just a couple of batches of Veggie Soup and salads and baked tofu.  But I felt like I needed to post so I am sharing pics of our big kitty Buster Drake.  We adopted him from the Harlingen SPCA a couple of years ago.  It was love at first sight.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tofu a la Mexicana

I was hungry for a Mexican breakfast, but didn't want all the calories, fat, and didn't want to contribute to all the dead, suffering animals you get from local eateries or a Stripes "Q" taco.  After surfing the internet and getting inspired...  Tofu a la Mexicana!  I made the scrambled tofu and topped it with a cheeze sauce recipe I found on Fat Free Vegan. On the side you see 1/2 small avocado and a slice of Ezequiel sprouted grain bread.  This would have been better with refried beans   and some fresh corn tortillas or whole wheat tortillas. Next time for sure!

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained (NOT silken)
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 diced  zuchini
1 minced garlic clove
5 mushrooms, sliced
1 large roma tomatoes, sliced

Seasoning Mix (mix all together):

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. corn starch

Mash the tofu and add the seasoning mix. Set aside.

Brush or spray a large non-stick skillet (use one that has a lid) with oil and heat to medium-high. Add the mushrooms, onion, zuchini and garlic. Wait a minute or two and then add tomato.  Cook until the mushrooms exude their juices.  Add the tofu to the skillet, and stir and cook it for a couple of minutes.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 10 minutes.

While it's cooking, make your Cheeze Sauce. Blend all ingredients together in a blender (I use my emmrsion blender and do it right in the pan) and pour into a saucepan. Heat it at medium-high, stirring constantly, until it boils and thickens. Add enough water or plain soymilk (a couple of tablespoons) to make it just pour-able. Keep it warm until ready to use.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Okay so around here it is feast or famine.  Today it is feast...  I have been meaning to post this drink recipe...  Since I was a child we would go across the border to Mexico.  Where you should not drink the water... Right?  We would go to restaurants and my father would always ask for limonada con agua mineral, which means limade made with mineral water.  It was really incredible.  So the other day I got a craving for it.  This is a great drink in the summertime.  I just hadn't got around to posting it.


3 small mexican limes
1 1/2 tsp sugar or stevia (I use splenda mix)
1 can sparkling water

Take a glass and squeeze in 5 lime halves. Add sugar or sweetener of choice. (At this point if you want you can add a 2 count of vodka or bacardi) Top with sparkling water and add ice.  This is very refreshing, alcoholic or non-alcoholic...

Potato and Leek Soup

My super sweet hubby surprised me with a copy of Alicia Silverstone's new book The Kind Diet.  I think it had some kind of peanut butter dessert recipe he was hoping he would get...  It gave me some inspiration.  I have not had alot of that lately as you can see from looking at the date of my last post.  So I went to the local grocery store and bought some leeks.  Leeks are new to me.  So after looking at many recipes on the internet pretty much the only recipe I found was Potato and Leek Soup.  Super easy and I LOVE potatoes! By the way I found that I really like the leeks to so I will definitely look for other recipes for leeks.  Probably in a tofu quiche.  So this is what I did...

2 russett potatoes peeled and diced into 1/2 in cubes
1 onion diced
2 leeks sliced thin (white and white/green parts)
4 garlic cloves
4 c veg broth
1 c soymilk
1 tbsp vegan butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over med heat saute the onion and leeks (about 5 min.)  Add garlic,veg broth and potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft.  (about 20 min)  add butter and soymilk, salt and pepper.   Use an immersion blender to blend soup until it is still a little bit chunky.  Done and delicious!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Enchiladas Verdes (Vegan)

After many attempts, I might have perfected my vegan enchiladas.  First I make a homemade tomatilla sauce. Totally worth the effort.  I haven't found any canned green enchilada sauce that even come close.  I got this recipe from a good friend of mine that lived in Chiapas.  She made the sauce, but used it for something else(with meat).  I switched up the recipe a little and I really like it because it has alot of flavor, unlike canned green sauces which seem bland to me.  The filling is adapted from Fat Free Vegan's "cheese sauce" recipe.  

Enchiladas Verdes
20 corn tortillas
1/2 onion, chopped
1 zuchini, diced 1/2 in cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch spinach, chopped
1 portabella mushroom, chopped 1/2 in. cubes
1 bag monterey jack soy cheese

Cheezy Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

Sauté the onions, zuchini,and portabella in a non-stick skillet until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute.

Add the spinach, and sauté until it is wilted and tender. Add the cheezy sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from the heat.  It needs to cool off so it is easier to work with when you are rolling your enchiladas.  

After your sauces are cooled, pour about 1/2 cup of tomatillo sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 in. pan.  Heat up the tortillas a little in the microwave so they are softened and easier to work with.  OR if you are not worried about fat then you can heat them up in a little oil.  Pour in 2 tbsp. of cheezy sauce filling and roll up.  You should have 18-20 enchiladas from this recipe.  Then pour more tomatillo sauce over all your enchiladas.  Top with the bag of soy monterrey jack cheese and put into oven for 25 min.  Take out of the oven and let them "rest" for 5-10 min before serving.

Tomatillo Sauce
1 lb. tomatillos
2 zuchini, cubed
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c veg broth

Just throw everything into a blender or food processor and then pour in a pan on the stove and let simmer for 30 min.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Roasted Vegetables

I wanted to make an easy dinner so I grabbed all the veggies in the produce drawer and a couple of red potatoes.  Chopped them up and stuck them in the oven.  When my hubby walked in the house he said, "Something smells good!"  I think the Pampered Chef stoneware helped...

1 large portabella mushroom
1 large zuchini,
1 med. eggplant
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
1 small red onion, chopped 3/4 in. pieces
1 small white onion, chopped 3/4 in. pieces
3 red potatoes, cubed
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp dried parsley

 Preheat oven to 425.  Cut the eggplant and portabella mushroom into pieces approximately 3/4-inch.  Zucchini are quartered lengthwise and sliced.also 3/4 in. pieces.  Cherry tomatoes are left whole.

Spray an extra-large baking dish with olive oil and add all vegetables. Toss them with the parsley,olive oil,  and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spray the top lightly with olive oil and place in the oven. Put potatoes and onions in the oven first.  Let them cook for 15 min, take out of the oven and stir. Then add the other dish of veggies to the oven.   Bake for 20 minutes and stir. Bake for about 20 more minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (If you are using Pampered Chef stoneware you don't have to stir every 10 minutes, only if using a glass or metal pan.)  Cook until vegetable are tender but not dried out.  You could try combining the veggies and potatoes all in one dish.  The reason I didn't was because I knew the potatoes would take longer and I didn't want to over cook my vegetables.  Mushy asparagus grosses me out.  I wish I had yellow squash when I made this.  

My husband really did like this and I am planning on making it again soon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I stopped by the local grocery store a few days ago and picked up a bag of nopalitos.  They have ladies there in the store cleaning and dicing the cactus pads daily.  Lucky me!  Some people are put off by the sliminess of them but I think they are delicious!  They make a delicious and healthy side dish for a Mexican meal. They have Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.
I just saute them with onion, garlic,  zuchini,  jalapeno and tomato. I forgot to take the picture before we ate, so this is what was left...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stirfry... My Way

After making Fat Free Vegan's Ginger Garlic Bok Choy, I decided to add some more veggies to it and make it into some type of Oriental stirfry.  I am not sure if it is Korean or Chinese or what.  All I know is that my meat-eating husband really liked it.  It was absolutely delicious!  On a side note, I only post dishes here if he gives them a thumbs up.  This is a nice dish to make when you have friends over.  Get them to help out by washing  and chopping the vegetables.  The prep is the most time-consuming part of this meal.  It is easy to sit and eat.  Just put it in a bowls over short-grained brown rice.  


4 baby bok choy (about 1 pounds)
1 zuchini, chopped 1/2 in. pieces
1/2 bunch aspargus, chopped 1/2 in. pieces, tough ends snapped off
1 portabella mushroom, chopped 1/2 in. pieces
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 can baby corn
4 green onions, chopped 1/2 pieces
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine or sherry (optional)

 Prepare the baby bok choy by washing it well and chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Chop all other vegetables. Splash a little of the water into a wok or deep skillet, heat, and throw in the chopped vegetables.   Sauté for about 3 minutes and then add the cubed tofu, ginger and garlic.  Cook until bok choy is bright green, the mushrooms have exuded their juices and the zuchini is still slightly crisp.  Try not to over cook.  Some people prefer Napa cabbage.  It has a lighter flavor and texture than baby bok choy, but I feel like baby bok choy holds up better in a stir fry.  I prefer my vegetables on the crispy side rather than the mushy side.

Make sure you add some kochu chang.  That is the secret ingredient.  It adds a kick to this dish.  You can get it at a good Oriental Food store.  We have to travel and hour to get it, but it is definitely worth the drive.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Yummy Polenta Lasagna

This is a version of Susan V's Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale. This is sooo delicious! My husband loves it. It goes great with a mixed greens salad (Italian vinagrette) and garlic bread. When I make this he never misses the meat! This is NOT a Mexican dish but we love it so much I wanted to share it...

1 18-ounce package prepared polenta
1/2 large onion, chopped

1 zuchini, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large portabella mushroom, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch spinach, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Cheese sauce (below)
1 jar marinara sauce (The BEST is Seeds of Change Tuscan Tomato and Garlic, but it is expensive and difficult to find.)

2 tbsp. cracked red pepper
1 bag vegan mozzarella cheeze
"Cheese" sauce:
1/2 cup extra-firm silken tofu
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp Italian Spice
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. corn starch

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 8x8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Place the cheese sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.

Sauté the onions and portabellas in a non-stick skillet until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices. Add the garlic and zuchini and sauté for one more minute.

Add the spinach, basil, and 1/4 cup water or veg. broth. Sauté until the spinach is wilted and tender and the water has evaporated. Add the cheese sauce and cracked red pepper and cook, stirring, until thickened. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove from the heat.

Cut the polenta into 1/4-inch thick slices. Line the bottom of the baking dish with half of the slices, overlapping slightly if possible. Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce over the polenta, and then spread the spinach mixture over the sauce. Top with the remaining polenta. Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the top and sprinkle with vegan cheeze.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tofu Bulgur Salad

This is a version of a recipe we found in Muscle Chow. (my husband's favorite cookbook) This is very filling. I took a serving of it for lunch one day and ate it with a plum and was full for 4 hours!
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 c bulgur wheat
2 roma tomatoes chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
3 tsp EVOO
1/2 onion chopped
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 pkg extra firm tofu drained and pressed (cubed)
1 tsp salt
1 avocado, chopped
In a large bowl, combine the water and bulgur wheat. Stir and cover for 30 min or until bulgur has soaked up the water. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice, 2 tsp of EVOO, half of the onion and bell pepper. toss well. In a skillet, heat to medium and add the tofu. Brown the tofu, turning occasionally. Add the remaining onion and bell pepper. Add the tofu mixture to Bulgur wheat. gently fold together with avocado. Refrigerate for 3 hrs before serving for flavors to blend. Tastes better the next day!!! Serves 6. Around 219 calories and 10 g protein per serving.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My favorite foods

Living on the border comes with a few perks. In the last post I talked about local foods. One of my favorite foods since childhood are fresh, warm corn tortillas from the local tortillerias. Delish! My favorite meal consists of homemade pinto beans (with cilantro), mexican rice, guacamole and corn tortillas. We are very fortunate to have lots of lime trees down here too. You need good mexican limes to make yummy guacamole! One way to spend a Saturday is to put a pot of beans on in the morning and spend the rest of the day cleaning house. By late afternoon you have a delicious, inexpensive pot of beans to eat with your Mexican dinner. (and a clean house. Very satisfying!)

Pinto Beans
1 lb. dry pinto beans
lots of water
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatos and green chilis
1 bunch cilantro

Rinse dried beans in a colander. In a large pot, add about 5 ups of water, onion and garlic. Set on high. Add beans and allow to come to a boil. After it comes to a boil turn it down to medium and put the lid on it. Let it cook for a couple of hour checking it every so often to make sure there is enough water. Once the beans start to turn light brown and soften turn it down to low and let cook a little bit longer. Add salt a can of tomatoes with green chilis. I used original Rotel because we like the spiciness of it. You can just use mild. And about 30 min before serving add chopped cilantro.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I live on the border in south Texas and one of the major topics for the past few years has been the border fence.  So I found the following article from chron.com (the Houston Chronicle) very interesting..
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans today to announce an unusual marketing pitch to the U.S. government: Rent us space on the fence for billboards warning illegal border crossers there is more to fear than the Border Patrol.

The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan."

"We think that Mexicans and other immigrants should be warned if they cross into the U.S. they are putting their health at risk by leaving behind a healthier, staple diet of corn tortillas, beans, rice, fruits and vegetables," said Lindsay Rajt, assistant manager of PETA's vegan campaigns.

I find this very interesting.  Most Hispanics living in my community are overweight if not considered obese due to the fact that their staple diet is not corn tortillas, but flour tortillas made with lard.  The amount of vegetables they consume is minimal.  So for PETA to think they could scare illegal immigrants risking life and limb from crossing the border for fear of the average (noxious) American diets is laughable.  good free publicity...

Spent some time this morning with my new favorite cookbook Veganomicon!  I have spent countless hours thumbing through this book.  I can't wait to tryout the Tofu Florentine recipe. Anxiously awaiting my copy of Vegan Brunch from Amazon.