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This was so yummy and hearty. It’s messy, so be prepared with a fork or serve open-faced!

Beer Bread

Beer Bread is so amazing!  It takes seriously 3 minutes to come together and 1 hour in the oven.  The inside is soft and the outside is crusty.  And you don’t have to like beer to like this bread… the beer flavor is there, but subtle.

Follow this Happy Herbivore recipe for 100% whole wheat beer bread.  Some tips:

  • Prep your dough after the oven is preheated!  The dough comes together so fast and you don’t want the leavening to weaken while it’s sitting on your counter waiting for the oven.
  • Consider doing half whole wheat pastry and half regular flour if you are using this for a sandwich as it can be a little dense as is.  Keep it all whole wheat if you are serving this with soup!

Caramelized Onions

  • 4 onions, sliced like this
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp no-beef bouillon base
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, whole thyme sprigs, and pepper, and cook until the onions are caramelized.*  Dissolve no-beef bouillon in a small bowl with the wine and water.  Add the liquid to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium, simmering until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

*Quick way to caramelize onions (Seriously this takes half the time with the same result!):

Start with a dry non-stick pan at medium-high heat… do not add water or oil.  Add onions. Stir once every minute or two with a wooden spoon until the onions release some moisture and then that moisture cooks away.  

When the moisture cooks away, the onions will start to brown and you will see a sticky brown substance start building up on the bottom of the pan.  This is when you want to start stirring the pan more frequently, every 15-30 seconds.  Allow the onions to stick to the pan a little and brown, but do not let them or the sugars on the pan burn.  Now every couple minutes or so, start adding two tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan.  Only deglaze the pan when you fear the sugars on the pan might burn or you will slow down the caramelization process.  When your onions look like this, you are done!

Creamy White Cheese Sauce

Chop the following veggies and steam in a steamer basket in a pot or saucepan:

  • 1 cup yukon potatoes (if using russet, you will need to peel)
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • 2 Tbsp shallots or more onion

While the veggies are steaming, blend in your blender:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp or a few drops of yellow mustard
  • a few cloves of garlic (amt. depends on personal preference)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

When steamed veggies are soft, add to blender and process till smooth.

Let’s just say my search for the perfect vegan grilled cheese is over.  And I will say the same for this tomato basil soup.  Although, if you’re making the soup for yourself, cut the recipe in half as it makes a lot!  The vegan grilled cheese is based off of VegNews mac and cheese sauce here. The tomato soup is a simplified and veganized version of Ina Garten’s Tomato Basil Soup here.  I have to say, I really love these two together!

I’m not sure if this is three pounds, but it worked out perfectly!

Purchased at Whole Foods… it has a lot of salt in it, so if you’re avoiding that, just use water.

I’m still learning to eat well at restaurants.  Especially vegetarian and vegan restaurants… it’s not like I’m going to accidentally order a steak, you know?  But fried falafels and the often oil-laden restaurant hummus can be just as unfriendly to the waistline.

My favorite question (suggested by both the healthy vegans and happy herbivore) for restaurant ordering is “Do you have a dish that can be easily prepared without oil?”

So I forgot to ask that one today.  This is the potato and cauliflower bowl with brown rice.  I had steamed veggies in my head, but they were roasted.  It wasn’t drenched in oil or anything, but it was a bit on the heavy side.

Tsom has a great cold buffet that I ate from last time that has a lot of light options, from greens to couscous salads to lentil stews.   I do recommend that!

My brother ordered the Indian curry biryani special and yam chips.   He can get away with this because tomorrow morning he will run 10 miles up some mountain peak… with his shoe laces tied together and blind-folded.  Or something like that!

I’d be willing to bet my brother could eat just one potato chip. 🙂