Mongolian Beef and Tofu with Rice

Last night the Hubs and little one had Mongolian beef with rice and I had tofu instead of beef. My “plumbing” just hasn’t been right since I’ve consumed meat a few times. So, again, I’m trying to be a good vegan and not consume any kind of flesh. I have a recipe for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef. We don’t have a P.F. Chang’s here in Edmonton. They’re only out in Toronto and in Quebec.

Being half Korean, kokuho rice was a staple in our house. We always had it on hand. I’m still that way today. I’ll always have a small bag of it instead of the HUGE bag we had when we were little.

rice_watermarkIt’s always good to have it on hand because I can always whip up some fried rice when I have nothing particularly planned, or if I just don’t feel like having what I had planned.

The only thing with this rice is you MUST rinse it. You have to fill the pot up with water and kind of massage the rice to rinse it out. This is what it looks like on the first try.

first_rice_rinse_watermarkYou see how the water is milky looking? You want to keep rinsing it until you can at least see the rice granules through the water. Once you’re happy with the cleanliness of the water, you’ll want to put your hand into the water and put the tip of your middle finger gently on top of the rice. You’ll want to fill enough water to your first knuckle line. At least that’s how my mom taught me to do it and it’s never failed me yet.

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I turn the eye on high to get the rice to boil pretty quickly. Once it starts boiling, you can turn it down low and let it cook for 20 minutes.

Then I got started on the beef. I bought one pound of flank steak from my local butcher.

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And this is the soy sauce I found from Kikkoman (our trusted brand of choice for soy sauce).

gluten_free_soy_sauce_watermarkSince I was making the beef for the Hubs and the little one and making tofu for myself, I had all four eyes on the stove occupied. I thought it was going to be hard trying to cook for myself and for my two carnivores, but I allowed myself plenty of time to get dinner done. I allowed myself time to cut the beef (against the grain), and to slice and press the water out of the tofu.

stove_fully_occupied_watermarkBecause I was using the small pan for my tofu, the beef finished cooking before the tofu which was ok because the little one was getting hungry. These are how both dishes came out looking.

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Mongolian Tofu

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Mongolian Beef

I just love the combination of soy sauce and brown sugar. I totally forgot all about the green onions but that’s ok because the little one was getting hungry by the time I thought of them. The recipe I have tells you to cook the beef in the sauce but for obvious reasons, I cooked the sauce separate in its own pot.

Tonight, the Hubs is cooking dinner. He’s making pizza. We found a gluten-free pizza crust recipe from Bob’s Red Mill, so we’re going to give that a try.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Chicken and Dumplings

Before y’all judge me, let me explain. I am a vegan, I try to be a good vegan (I try my very best), but I will make compromises from time to time. The Hubs and little one always eat whatever I cook and that’s usually a vegan dish. They make compromises all the time. So, I decided to compromise with the chicken and dumplings. Just because I made the choice to be a vegan doesn’t mean I should force it on others. The Hubs didn’t make the decision to be a vegan, and the little one is too little.

With that said, I am not going to raise the little one as a vegan. There are people out there who raise their children to be vegans and are successful at it. However, I want my little one to make the choice as he gets older. Whether he wants to be a vegan, vegetarian, bacon lover, meat lover, or whatever I will support him and respect his choices.

Ok, now that rant is over, I can continue on with today’s post. Here is my view as I’m working on this

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You’ll have to excuse the little one’s toys in the background. Sometimes the dog will start snoring or even dreaming! More often than not, something rotten will escape his butt and fill the air in the living room with grossness.

So, back to the dish. In my opinion, chicken and dumplings is the ultimate Southern comfort food. There’s nothing like having this goodness on a cold day when it’s snowing outside. It’s also my go-to dish when someone is sick or just not feeling well. I think the little one has a slight cold as he was spitting up a few times the other day, so I decided to make this dish. My Dad (an old school Alabama man) used to always make this dish. One of the key ingredients is garlic. However, I never use it when I make it. I also add carrots and celery just to add a bit of pizzazz.

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I went to my local butcher (if I’m going to cook meat, I’ll always go to the butcher instead of the grocery store), and bought a whole boneless chicken. At least I know the chicken from the butcher isn’t from a factory farm. The chickens are usually from the Hutterites around the area.

whole_chicken_watermarkI just cut it up into manageable pieces and removing the skin and any fat. I just put the chicken pieces into a pot and cover it with water and let it boil for about an hour. Then you skim the fat and any junk off of the surface of the water. I shredded the chicken and then added it back into the pot with the carrots and celery. You can chop it up or whatever to cater your personal tastes. Next, you add two chicken bouillon cubes and a bit more water if you wish. Then you work on your dumplings. I had originally planned on making gluten-free dumplings for myself but as I was making dinner and looking at the clock, I quickly realized that it was a lofty goal and I’d be delaying dinner which would mean dealing with the wrath of the little one when he’s hungry. So, I opted not. What a great way to see if wheat really does make me sick, right?

For the dumplings, just take 2 cups of flour and add a bit of salt and 3/4 cups of water (or take 3/4 cups of the broth) and knead the dough. You’ll want to roll it out with a rolling pin next. Then you can either cut it into nice, neat squares with a knife or pizza cutter, or just rip pieces off like I do. It just gives it a bit of a rustic look when you rip pieces off for the dumplings. You’ll want to have the pot on a medium heat and drop the dumplings in one-by-one and not on top of each other. When they start to float to the surface, then you’ll know they’re done.

When you finish adding all of your dumplings, adjust the seasoning of the broth to your taste. I add a handful of Himalayan pink salt and some pepper. So, taste taste taste. I can’t stress that enough. I’ve learned the hard way. Trust me. When I think the seasoning is just right, I’ll call over the Hubs and the little one. The little one LOVES doing taste tests for me. I know it’s good and when asks for more. Or yells and points is more like it.

You can let the pot cook for a little while longer or you can serve it as soon as the dumplings are done and your seasoning is just how you like it. This is my final product. The chicken and dumplings my Dad used to make didn’t look so watery/brothy. To this day I have no idea how he gets the broth to be so thick.

chicken_and_dumplings_watermark I must confess that this dish will always make me fall off the vegan wagon. Even if the whole time I’m eating it I’m thinking of the chickens. And to answer your question about the wheat test, I did feel a bit “drunk” last night a few hours after eating. I don’t know if it had something to do with the bouillon cubes I used or the flour. So, I had some leftovers for lunch today to see if I get that feeling again. It’s been an hour so far and I feel nothing. So, I’m actually going to go out and do a few errands before the snow here in Edmonton gets worse.

Tonight’s supper is Mongolian Beef with rice. It’s more for the Hubs and little one. I’m toying with the idea of using tofu instead of flank steak for me. I’ve noticed that when I eat meat, my “plumbing” isn’t quite right.

I’ll keep y’all posted!

Sweet Potato Noodles

I’ve decided to post blogs during the afternoons while the little one is sleeping. That way, I’d be able to spend some time with the Hubs during the evenings. Besides, there’s just something about working on the computer during the day. It makes me feel productive somehow.

Anyways, I found this recipe quinoa sweet potato noodle bolognese with toasted crushed almonds from Inspiralized. I went out and bought a sprializer just for this recipe. I don’t know about you folks out there, but it’s a pain using the spiralizer. I bought this one: Spirooli. It doesn’t stay stuck to the surface all that well even though there are suction cups on each of the four posts. The crank isn’t all that good to use. Maybe I’m expecting it to do more, but I wasn’t expecting to push the vegetable into the blade and crank at the same time. It’s REALLY HARD to do! You kind of have to push and then turn the crank with your hand. It might be easier to use with a softer vegetable like a zucchini, but I haven’t tried it with one yet. I will tell you though, if you’re going to use a recipe with a sweet potato, you better allow yourself some time in order to get your dinner prepared on time.

This is how our sweet potato noodles came out of the spiralizer. Another thing is that the sweet potato kept clogging where it’s supposed to come out. Other than that, it does the job.

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I let the Hubs cook the dinner this time so he could experience using the spiralizer. I think he had the same complaints I did when I first used it.

All complaining aside, the dish was good. The little one loves it (when he’s not sick), it’s healthy, and it’s a fabulous way to substitute pasta. This is how the dish ended up looking. I didn’t have any almonds, so there’s none garnishing the dish. And my image is a bit blurry.

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There’s just the right amount of sweet from the sweet potato noodles, but I added a bit more salt (I LOVE salt). The tomatoes add just right amount of acidity and you get a little teeny tiny bit of crunch from the quinoa. I think this dish gets an all around thumbs up from everyone in this house.

Tonight’s dish is going to be chicken and dumplings. The little one is a bit under the weather. My challenge with this dish is trying to make regular dumplings for the Hubs and the little one and making gluten-free dumplings for myself. This challenge should be interesting.

Garlic Pasta

Garlic Pasta

I wasn’t too good with my food today. I did have my customary vanilla chia pudding for breakfast. I managed to go out to Target and get a few things all by 11 a.m. again! Me and the little one were home by 11:30 a.m. after our trip to Target and to the grocery store. I wanted to pick up some oranges because the little one LOVES freshly squeezed orange juice.

When we got back, I made the little one a ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich. Now, anyone who really knows me knows I LOVE mayonnaise. Growing up in the South, mayo is practically its own food group! Feeding the little one sandwiches with mayo just makes me want to have one.

Side Note:

I’ve decided to cut out wheat from my diet. A few weeks ago, I was getting really sick after eating wheat (or at least that’s what we can figure what it is because I don’t eat dairy). So, I decided to cut out wheat as an experiment…not gluten, just wheat. So far, I haven’t gotten sick (I mean like feeling like I’m going to vomit right after eating). 

So, I made myself a chicken, cheddar, and mayo sandwich (the mayo was veganaise). I did use Udi’s wheat-free and gluten-free baguette and Daiya’s cheddar. I bought the chicken for the little one’s lunches. I feel guilty for raiding his supply, I feel guilty for eating meat, I feel guilty for eating chicken, and I feel guilty for not sticking with my vegan principles. The whole time I was eating the baguette, I could just picture in my mind a bunch of chickens crowded together in a dark “barn” in one of those factory farms.

For supper I made Vegan Garlic Pasta from Minimalist Baker. The few changes I made was I didn’t use Almond Breeze. It has carrageenan in it. It’s used to thicken the almond milk but it’s also a carcinogen when metabolized by your body. Check out Food Babe. She’s got LOADS of information about it. I found a VERY similar product with Silk that doesn’t have carrageenan in it. So, I used that instead. Another change I made was not to use too much garlic. The last time we made this dish, every time I burped it tasted like garlic. So, I only added a few cloves (partially because I’m running out of garlic cloves). The last change I made was to use gluten-free all-purpose flour. Other than those three changes, the dish came out great! The Hubs went back for seconds and the little one ate it, so I call that a success.