Mini Focaccia with Tapenade

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Mini Focaccia with Tapenade ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite.” — Joe Moore

Feast your eyes on these cute little round focaccia breads with a caper and kalamata olive spread, topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh rosemary. These are fun to make and a great appetizer option for when you’re having company over. Delicious warm or at room temperature.

The recipe is from Party Vegan, by Robin Robertson, page 62.

Focaccia Fact: Focaccia is a popular flat oven-baked Italian bread that is traditionally topped with olive oil and herbs and other ingredients.

Tempeh and Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Tempeh and Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, to talk of many things: of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–of cabbages–and kings–and why the sea is boiling hot–and whether pigs have wings.”Lewis Carroll, from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

These sweet & savory cabbage rolls were filled with tempeh, barley, carrots, onions, and dill, cooked in a tangy tomato sauce, topped with fresh heirloom tomatoes and served over Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

From Robin Robertson’s wonderful cookbook Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, page 161.

Slow cooking really brings out the flavors in food and makes foods like these so tender they just melt in your mouth.

Cabbage Fact: Cultures in which cabbage is a staple food, such as in Poland and some parts of China, show a low incidence of breast cancer. Research suggests this is due to the protective effect of sulfur-containing compounds in cabbage.

Camping Fare

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Camping Fare ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.” George Carlin

Keith and I recently got out of town for a couple of fantastic nights of cabin camping on the coast. We always like to prepare our food in advance before we go camping so it’s easier to relax and enjoy ourselves while we are there. Then we just have to fire up the old camping stove, heat, and eat! :) This was our menu this time around…

Breakfast: Some sweet-tart Cran-Apple Muffins from 1,000 Vegan Recipes page 410, served with fresh fruit, tea and espresso.
Lunch: Smoky Mac and Cheese from The Vegan Slow Cooker, page 115. This is our go-to macaroni and cheese recipe. It is so cheesy and melty you wouldn’t believe it. We added some roasted broccoli & red peppers for good measure.
Dinner: Thick and savory Seitan Beef Stew from Cookin’ Crunk, page 78. This stew is amazing and was just what we needed on those chilly evenings by the fire.
Dessert: Chocolate Banana Walnut Brownies with Holy Chocolate Icing from ExtraVeganZa, page 228. Yum, yum, yum! And for second desserts, some toasted vegan Dandies Marshmallows.

Camping Facts: Camping has been a recreational sport for over 140 years. However, the roots of camping go back hundreds of years. It can be traced back to Native Americans, the first settlers of the United States.

“Seeing Red” Borscht & Whole Wheat Beer Bread

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"Seeing Red" Borscht & Whole Wheat Beer Bread ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Everything I do, I do on the principle of Russian borscht. You can throw everything into it beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, everything you want. What’s important is the result, the taste of the borscht.” — Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet

This slow-cooked “Seeing Red” Borscht from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, page 53, is so tender and flavorful that it really justifies the Russian proverb, “Better fed than taught.” This earthy soup was a steaming cauldron of chopped beets, carrots, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and spices.

We topped it off with some Sour Dressing from Vegan Deli, page 123 and fresh dill.

The crusty, warm, buttery beer bread on the side was from Cookin’ Crunk, page 140. I can’t tell you how simple this bread was to make. The beer and baking powder give it it’s lift, so there’s no need to add yeast and let the dough rise. You just mix the few, simple ingredients in a bowl, pop the dough into your bread pans, and bake. About an hour later you’ve got the freshest, tastiest bread ever! We used a nice hoppy, organic German beer for ours, but you could use whichever brew you prefer.

Borscht Facts: Borscht is a soup made mostly from beets. It began as a specialty of Eastern European cuisine, primarily of the poorer people (beets were inexpensive). The soup dates at least to Medieval times.

Quinoa & Chard w/Sherry-Glazed Mushrooms

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Quinoa & Chard w/Sherry-Glazed Mushrooms ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

We made this wholesome, nutritious, and deeeelicious dish from Quick-Fix Vegan, page 60, for our lunches this week. We used black-eyed peas instead of the white beans that the recipe called for and we substituted millet for the quinoa, because that’s what we had in our pantry. We also substituted shiitake mushrooms for creminis because shiitakes are incredible immunity boosters and they are oh-so-delectable. Sometimes you have to improvise, you know? ;)

Quinoa Factoid: Quinoa is native to the Andes, and was a staple of the Incas (who called it the ‘mother grain’).