Seriously…didn’t 2014 just start? How are we already a month in? February is always such a strange month and always go by so quickly. I think that’s because of so many important dates during the month: Valentine’s Day, my Mom’s birthday and then my sister’s birthday. The month is already short but it seems even shorter with something going on nearly every week. A lot of people dread the month because of Valentine’s day and though this is actually the first Valentine’s Day I am spending single in four years, I’m especially excited for this month because in just 18 days, it will be my six month anniversary of being vegan…sweet!
Today I have two wonderful recipes to share: one oatmeal recipe I tried (as per) and a really awesome dinner recipe that wasn’t originally vegan but is easily changeable. I’ll start with the former.
I can’t stress enough how much I adore my Le Creuset square baking dish, especially since I don’t have a ramekin. And as long as I have this dish in my life, I probably never will own a ramekin. I have tried a few baked oatmeals but I can say with confidence, this is the gold standard of baked oatmeals. Not that I hate baked oatmeal, but some recipes tend to taste dry or undercooked. I had tried another one of Oatgasm‘s amazing recipes (seriously, go check out her site…her writing and photos are amazing as well!) and had a lot of confidence in this breakfast. I have had it the last four days and have not been disappointed. I deviated from the original recipe just a little bit: omitted egg and used a whole banana instead. I’ve mentioned it before, but eggs are used in baking to bind everything together. You could make a flax egg if you wanted to and I’m sure it would be fine but for an extra fudgy texture and for everything to bind, just use a whole banana instead of a half. Make sure the banana is just slightly overripe. As per the directions, I also smashed the banana. Though I don’t mind large pieces of banana in my food, the mashed banana mixed everything together much better. For the topping, use whatever cocoa powder you like…it’s all vegan! I like dark chocolate, so I chose that.
The first two times I made this, I didn’t mix anything into the oat “batter” (that’s the texture it takes on) — I ate it plain and it was delicious. With the almond extract in the batter, the end product takes on a sweet flavor (also, I usually add more almond extract than what is called for because I really like the taste it gives). Thus, the last two mornings, I added a scant amount of slivered almonds into the oats before popping the whole thing in the oven. This was perfect this morning with coffee while finally watching “Frozen” while it was snowing outside — seems appropriate, right?
With the semester picking up with rapid speed and meetings slowly taking over the only free time that remained in my life, I can get really lazy when I actually do need to go to the store — I will put it off until I absolutely have to go. It makes me sad, especially since cooking and trying new foods is something I really enjoy doing. About a week ago, I got the strongest taste for these delicious enchiladas my Mom makes. She found the original recipe at the grocery store and suddenly, I had the motivation to go to the store:
My Mom is actually a vegetarian and is extremely creative at making recipes vegetarian (and now vegan!) friendly. I won’t forget the first time I tried these: it was the beginning of summer and my boyfriend at the time and I were coming back from the city. The drive back to my house (which was about 20 minutes) was really bad because it was pouring down and extremely windy and, if memory serves, I think there was a tornado watch over the area. Suffice it to say, I really needed to get home. I was finally safe and sound at nearly 10 p.m. when my mom was cleaning some of the dinner dishes. I wasn’t really that hungry since I had dinner at Pi (a Chicago-style pizza place in St. Louis) but the dish smelled so good, I had to try a little bit of it. She had made two versions of the above recipe: chorizo for my Dad and just black bean and cheese for her (and me at the time because I wasn’t vegan yet). I grabbed one tortilla, a little bit of sour cream and a handful of lettuce…bliss.
She has veganized these for me with Daiya shredded cheese a few times, even sending some frozen ones back with me when I came back to school after winter break. I called her the other day and asked her to send me the recipe so I could cook them for myself. The awesome thing about this recipe is that it keeps very well, which means you can get a few nights of dinner out of it. I followed her instructions (she writes on all of our recipes and I do too…I guess it’s in my blood!) and used black beans and cheddar Daiya instead of chorizo (though you can actually buy vegan mock-chorizo) and a generous amount of cilantro. Wrap it up in a lard-free, whole wheat tortilla and let the oven cook them to perfection.
I can already see these in my very near future …super easy to make, few ingredients and multiple delicious meals. Do try them!
Also, shout out to one of my professors for brining back vegan jammie cookies from her trip to Chicago! I might treat myself to some of these with another cup of coffee on this snowy day.