Friday, August 17, 2012

Vegan Fast Food; The Method

This is Dish 1. I added seasoned quinoa and some coconut milk for a truly authentic taste of India Curry.

To my great horror yesterday, the fireplace in my living room was painted a bright purple, with shades of pink. I had asked the fix-it men to paint it a dark brown.

Somehow the color had gone completely awry.

But I couldn't communicate with them any further because I don't speak a lot of Spanish, and Paul was at work (he's the fluent Spanish speaker around here!)

My dilemma is that the appraiser comes to our house today. If I ask our workers to paint it a different color, then the fireplace will not be completed entirely before the appraiser arrives.

Installing and completing this high efficiency fireplace has been a big expense, and it is actually the way that we heat our house for the snowy winters up here in the mountains. If the fireplace is "under construction" then the appraiser cannot count it as adding additional value. And I know we already talked about the need for our house to appraise really high in value in order to buy the additional 7 acres surrounding our property.

But I really don't think I can stand to look at a purple and pink fireplace...once they put on the diamond finish, which acts as a sealant, it will be really hard to paint the fireplace a different color. There is something so final about a diamond finish. It's these kind of decisions that have me biting my fingernails and calling everyone I know with sense of artistic color (thanks, Mom!) to help me figure it out.

It's also in these situations that I really don't have a lot of time to cook. Something about transitioning to whole foods can feel like cooking is all consuming. Although I LOVE cooking, I really don't want to spend my whole life in the kitchen. More and more, "fast food" is becoming a necessity. Today I need to spend my time vacuuming up spilled granola, mopping up chocolate milk (don't worry, it's nondairy!), washing little fingerprints off of walls, and tidying up little hands' toys and books.

A few weeks ago I ran across this idea by Jeff Novick that is more of a method teaching how to make a meal from your head instead of always having to rely on a recipe every single night.

This is what I need. It's starting to become how I think. If I am in a panic or in a rush, I can't be looking through recipe books for a quick dish.

I know what you are thinking. It's not perfectly safe to learn methods instead of precisely following a recipe. It may not turn out as well as I want it to. I would argue that most of us are better chefs than we give ourselves credit for...and getting to know a few methods will increase our cooking abilities.

I recommend you watch some of his short excerpt films on youtube.

This movie is what I especially recommend:

I LOVE his personality. He is funny, and honest.

Although quite simple, (I almost said to myself, "No, Duh!")

His main idea is:

1.) Spice and seasonings (and I add here, that often, sauteed onions and garlic add a lot in terms of spice and flavor!!!)
2.) Tomato or broth base (in both cases I add Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base)
3.) Beans
4.) Steamed vegetables
5.) Quick cooking whole grain

The variations of this theme are endless.
Here are five of them I found on his site. I am saving up to buy his two DVD's on Vegan Fast Food. But for now I am happy with understanding The Method.

My meals feel so complete when I eat this way, and my body feels very satisfied.

I have made Dish 1 and Dish 3. It was so fast and easy, and delicious (I do add salt and "no chicken base" to the broth) and throw in some of my own flair. The food was done so quickly that I felt like I had a night off when I followed this method.

Admittedly, I can't stand the thought of "zapping" any of my vegetables. I have an electric pressure cooker and just throw in my potatoes with my veggies and have them cook together. Then use the broth or tomato base, plus salt and seasonings, beans and grains. YUMMY!

Dish 1 - Curried Indian Potato Stew

1) 2 cans whole tomatoes
2) 1-2 cans Garbanzo Beans
3) Frozen Cauliflower (1 1/2 - 2 lb) , peas (1/2 lb), onions (1/2 pound)
4) 3 large potatoes
5) Salt Free Curry spice mix

Microwave the potatoes. While they are zapping, put all other ingredients in the pot and heat. When potatoes are done, cut into 1 inch pieces and add to pot. Simmer 5 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro Enjoy.

(can be served with brown rice which you can cook in 10 minutes while potatoes are cooking by using Success Brand Quick Cooking Brown Rice)

Dish 2- Mexican Beans and Rice

1) 2 cans whole tomatoes (or 1 can whole, 1 can pureed)
2) 1 cans Pinto Beans, 1 can black beans
3) Birdseye Frozen Pepper and Onion Mix (3 lb), and Corn (1 lb)
4) Success Quick Cooking Brown Rice ( 1 large bag)
5) Mexican Spice Mix, or Hot Sauce

Cook Brown rice. While brown rice is cooking, add all other ingredients to the pot and heat. When rice is done place rice in a bowl. Top with beans, veggie and tomato mix. Top with fresh cilantro Enjoy

Dish 3 - Italian Pasta Primavera

1) 1 Can whole tomatoes, 1 can tomato puree
2) 2 cans Dark Red Kidney Beans
3) Frozen Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots (3 lbs total)
4) Whole Grain Pasta (1 lb)
5) Italian Spice Mix

Cook Pasta. While pasta is cooking, put all other ingredients into large pot and heat. When pasta is done, rinse, and them mix together with the tomato vegetable mix. Top with fresh parsley or basil. Enjoy!

Dish 4 - Longevity Soup

1) 1 can whole tomatoes, 1 can pureed
2) Your favorite beans (I use kidney or garbanzo)
3) 2- 3 lbs of Your favorite frozen veggies plus 1 lb of frozen collards
4) Your favorite starch (potato, sweet potato rice, barley) cooked separate then added
5) your favorite seasoning (I use fresh ginger, garlic)

Place tomatoes in large pot. Add in 2 28 oz cans of water. Then add in all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Dish 5 - New Orleans Jambalaya

1) 2 28 oz can Whole Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
2) 2 cans 14 oz can red beans or kidney beans (No Salt Added)
3) 3 lbs frozen Vegetables, corn, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash (equal parts)
4) Success Quick Cooking Brown rice (1 large bag)
5) Spice mix

Cook Brown Rice (Success Quick Cooking), While rice is cooking, place tomatoes, and veggies in pot and heat. Add in 4 cloves garlic, diced, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp thyme, 4 tsp paprika, .25 to .5 tsp cayenne pepper. And heat.

When rice is done, place in a bowl and serve tomato vegetable mix on top.

This gives me an idea...would you enjoy a series on Vegan Fast Food? I could post recipes that take 30 minutes or less that your family would enjoy, and even give tips on how to make it faster.


  1. Yes, please for Vegan fast food! My mom has these DVD's and really enjoys them. He is a hoot!

  2. And can I also say that I am mortified about what happened to your fireplace? I think I need to see pictures. I am so sorry that you are going through this craziness!

    1. I took pictures, so I could show you, Katie! You'll be quite impressed with the painters ability to create a big, purple fireplace. Lovely! They come to repaint it tomorrow, phew!

      The vote is in, we all want vegan fast food!

  3. Replies
    1. It was so nice to put together such a healthy meal in minutes, eat it adn feel satisfied, and then have the rest of the night off! Glorious!

      I am working on this vegan fast food thing, I may need to get the DVD's and post my modifications on his recipes to make them tastier. Glad you like the idea, Carolyn! Also, may I recommend that you try the Cauliflower Bechamel? I am going to keep bugging everyone until they try it. You may fall in love with it!


  4. Bring on the (healthy) FAST FOOD!! This is what everybody needs! This will be a series I will pay much attention to!

    1. Aimee, if you use your pressure cooker to cook the cauliflower, the Bechamel takes less than 30 minutes. Just like I told Carolyn, I recommend you try it.

      And, It sounds like everyone wants Vegan Fast food!

      Soooo good to hear from you, I hope you are doing well. Love ya!


  5. I wish you could just be like my good angel on my right shoulder whispering in my ear what to get at the store and how to cook it! This is what your blog does for me in some ways....

  6. Aaawwwww, thanks Carolyn! It's good to hear that the blogging helps. I have to work hard to find the good stuff and post it, so it's a good outlet for me, too. Otherwise I would do all that work and then not be able to share it with anyone else. Bummer!

    I think I need a good angel like that, too! Sounds heavenly....hehehehe.