Monthly Archives: February 2015

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Chicken-less Pot Pie-less

Dorothy and her ruby slippers would have been right at home in Anchorage this week.  After watching garbage cans blow down the street, my propane grill do a face plant on the porch and more than one bird being blown backwards, seeing the old green witch on a bicycle whipping past the front stoop would have fit right in.

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I read the skiing reports  with the small hope that some part of town had been saved, but alas, sticks, twigs, cones, debris, uncovered ice and bare dirt were common in the comments.  I do love the Alaska spirit though, in that every single trail had been skied and reported on.  Difficult as it was, people were clearly out making the best of it and encouraging others to do the same.  Apparently the blustery conditions had merely presented a chance to practice the ‘stick slalom’, and as one optimist pointed out  “atleast it’s not raining!”.  True.  In Alaska, it could always be worse!

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While the real Alaskans were out stick jumping and ice skiing, I spent the weekend doing errands, catching up on house chores and cooking comfort food, like this oddly, but aptly named Chickenless Pot Pieless.  It’s everything that chicken pot pie should be: chicken free, dairy free and frustration free while still creamy, comforting and downright crave-able.

[recipe title=”Chickenless Pot Pieless” servings=”6″ time=”1 hour” difficulty=”easy”]

2 large onions, diced
5 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen peas
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen corn
3 – 4 cups flavorful vegetable stock (see note)

4 ounces raw cashews
2 cups plain soymilk or water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, celery, carrots and parsnips over medium high heat for 7-10 minutes, adding small amounts of water as needed to prevent sticking.  When vegetables start to soften, add thyme, saute thirty seconds more, then add enough stock or water to barely cover vegetables (3-4 cups liquid).  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. Add corn and peas to simmering vegetables and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.  Meanwhile, blend cashews, soymilk (or water), cornstarch, yeast flakes and onion powder in a high speed blender until completely smooth.  Once vegetables are fork-tender, and frozen veggies have cooked, add cashew soymilk mix and stir constantly until thickened (3-4 minutes).  Season to taste and serve over mashed potatoes, brown rice or bedding of your choice!

NOTES:

  • I like to use Delisa Renideo’s Chicken-less Seasoning and water to make the broth for this stock. I generally use 2-3 teaspoons of the mixture per cup of water, but taste and adjust according to your preferences.  Although there is salt in the mixture, it’s not especially salty, so you may have to adjust the seasoning at the end to your liking.

[/recipe]

As I type this out, the weather lady has just announced that we should expect warming conditions and rain in the coming week.  Sigh.  Well, at least it won’t be windy…..

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Super Salad, Super Ski and Super Bowl

Two weekend days in a row we drove from Anchorage to Hatcher Pass to get some warm skiing in.   120 miles round trip, but oh so worth it.  While temps in the Anchorage bowl hovered in the single digits, Hatcher Pass was posting low thirties with heat in the sun.  Ahhhhhh…

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If you’re a local then you know that first grind up to the mine can be a serious slog.  The first few times I went it was in a complete white out – I had no idea how far it was to the mine, how far back to the car, or whether I was really cut out for this Alaska stuff.   Back then I never thought that I could have made it on plant power alone, but 10 years and a whole lot of kale later, visiting the ghostly silver buildings on the hill is easier than it ever was.

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In the last few weeks we have been completely loving this Cabbage Kale and Carrot salad, modified from the Honey Mustard Kale Slaw in Kristy Turner’s amazing cookbook “But I Could Never Go Vegan“.  If you haven’t come across this book yet, stop reading and head directly to Amazon.  Seriously.

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This is my variation of her recipe, adding edamame for a bit more staying power and removing the oil from the dressing (mostly because I keep forgetting to add it, and don’t miss it).  Since we first made this recipe a few weeks ago, we’ve had it probably 3 or 4 nights a week.  So yummy!

[recipe title=”Cabbage Kale and Carrot Salad ” servings=”4 large bowls ” time=”10 min ” difficulty=”easy”]

1 small red cabbage, outer leaves removed, quartered, cored and sliced thin
8 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 large bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced thin
1 (10 ounce) package frozen edamame, prepared according to package directions

1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Divide cabbage, carrot and kale and prepared edamame evenly among 4 bowls.  Whisk together agave, lemon juice, mustard and salt.  Taste dressing and adjust seasoning as needed.  Dress the salads and serve!

NOTES:

  • I use Santa Cruz organic lemon juice, mostly for the time savings and because I always have some on hand…unlike actual lemons.
  • For the whole grain mustard, I recommend Maille brand
  • If you’re a vegan that’s ok with honey, by all means, use that in place of the agave
  • I think the lacinato kale is key to this recipe – personally I don’t think curly kale would work as well
  • This is going to make a lot of dressing, likely more than needed for 4 salads, but if you like this dressing as much as we do, you won’t mind having extra!

[/recipe]

Returning home on Sunday to catch the 4th quarter of the super bowl with my New England Patriots put the icing on the cake.  They always say it’s better to be lucky than good….Pats seem to be both this year.  Congrats boys.