Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Yummy Blueberry Crisp and Notes on the New Challenge

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yummy Blueberry Crisp and Notes on the New Challenge

Oh my! Both Brett and I agree that what we just had was perhaps the best brunch food we’ve ever tried. I made Linday’s (aka The Happy Herbivore) Easy & Fat Free Blueberry Crisp. It was simple, pleasing to both Brett and my tastes, did not contain processed foods (unless you consider whole wheat pastry flour processed, which I do not), and it was fat free.

There is a whole world of possibilities with this too, pretty much any frozen fruit I could think of would probably taste fantastic in place of blueberries, but blueberries rock, so I just followed the recipe.

It was seriously good; it had me when I smelled it coming out of the oven. I wish I had a picture of Brett, with blueberry sauce dripping down his face, mouth half full, saying ‘you can make this whenever you want.’ Hehehe.
I hope my pictures do it justice. Seriously everyone who reads this blog, go out and make this, it takes like 10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to bake, and your mouths will thank you for it, your partner will thank you for it (if you don't have one, thats just more for you! hehe). We ate the whole thing!

I thought I would explain a couple of things about my new personal challenge – trying to reduce my use of tofu and seitan (we don’t actually eat tempeh, but it is part of that ‘holy trinity’ so I had to include it), and get our nutrients from whole foods as much as possible. We have never actually tried most of the other faux meats or ‘meat alternatives’, and don’t plan to so those will not be found on this blog either.

I am doing this for a number of reasons, first off, I really like the idea of living as close to nature as possible for someone who lives in a moderately sized modern American city. This means if given the choice between getting my protein from tofu or a dried bean, I’m going to go for the dried bean. Secondly, tofu is a processed food, seitan is a processed food, tempeh isn’t as much, but still, even though there are far worse processed foods out there, and I don’t chastise anyone for eating these things, I am not truly a huge fan of any of them, and Brett is most definitely not. And besides, I will use them from time to time, there are certain dishes we like very much, in which tofu or seitan is an integral part.

This also brings me to another point, Brett is very interested in getting into whole foods, growing foods, processing our own foods, as am I, and I would like to nurture this. And he really likes the idea of getting more protein from beans and lentils. We will, as usual, be having a container garden on our modest apartment deck. But this year, we are also going to have a Community Garden Plot (I love little ‘ol Columbia, MO), so we can produce more of our own food, being able to garden in actual earth will open up possibilities beyond a wide variety of peppers, which is what our container garden is generally relegated to.

But I have to be honest; there is only so much I can do. I have a full-time job like most people, I do enjoy doing things beyond making food, and if I tried to make everything from scratch, well I wouldn’t have enough time to do it, that would be a full-time job in itself. And Brett's just not really into cooking, and I have no problem with that. So I will use some minimally processed foods fairly often, and even some very processed foods from time to time. What I define as minimally processed foods are things like non-dairy milks, pastas, whole grain tortillas, canned tomatoes in their various shapes and forms, jarred vegan pasta sauces, soy sauce, mustard, peanut butter, applesauce, premade granola bars, you get the point. The more processed items that I will still use on occasion will be things like picante sauce, flour tortillas (I’m still searching for a good whole grain burrito tortilla replacement), vegan cheeses, Veganaise (very sparingly), and Brett will probably never ever, ever let go of the Newman O's.

If I have my way and get the Uncheese Cookbook soon, you may see the processed vegan cheeses being used much less as well.

This may be a challenge as I’m going to have to stretch my comfort zone with reference to spices, cuisines, vegetables, etc. There are a huge variety of beans, lentils, and other legumes available to me at my modest Midwestern grocery store, many of which, I have never worked with. There are grains I have never worked with. I’m pretty excited, I love a good challenge.

'Til next time!


Anonymous said...

Yum!! I've never had blueberry crisp, just plain old apple crisp, and it was all fatty. How can a person resist fat free blueberry crisp!?

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your challenge! I very very rarely eat tofu or seitan, and have never liked tempeh. So I will be looking forward to your upcoming posts--veggies, beans, fruits...yum!


Ruby Red Vegan said...

cool challenge! one great advantage of beans is that they are so filling! a small amount can keep my tummy satisfied for a long time, and tofu can't always do that! tempeh's my favorite, but i don't have it very often... the only problem with beans? i feel like i'd get tooty if i had it too often, ahaha! getting protein from nuts and seeds is awesome too - whole foods rock!

that blueberry crisp looks seriously good. now that's a breakfast idea i haven't tried yet!

Happy Herbivore! said...

You made it! Ohh yay! I'm so glad you liked it and until I read your post I had forgotten how good it smelled! A crisp does fill your entire apartment with a beautiful aroma of peace, health and the best part: baked blueberries!

I have tried it with apples and one day (maybe tomorrow!) I will use mixed berries (I like to get fancy and serve brunch on Sunday).

As for the challenge I am so excited and proud for you. Scott & I talked further and agreed we too would jump back onto the whole foods bandwagon. As Romina is always reminding me, simple and basic is always flavorful and beautiful. Most of my favorite dishes on my blog are whole foods. She too makes amazing whole foods dishes.

I was trying to figure out if WWPF was whole or not when I made the label... now I have some relabeling to do! :D

So you've got two more recruits!

Also, there is a wonderful vegan pill called bean digest - take it whenever you eat lentils and beans and you won't be home alone :)

papaya digestive extracts help too.

pleasantly plump vegan said...

i WILL be making that crisp. it looks so good and the picture does do it justice.
i think it's really cool that you are working towards eating more whole foods. Jared and I enjoy some of the faux meats and tofu but we are also big fans of beans and try to eat them more so than the faux meats and tofu. my dream one day is to work towards eating a more whole foods way and would LOVE to have a huge garden!

Jennifer said...

Romina - I know I couldn't, and you shouldn't either, its fruit, oats, and its fat free!

Courtney - Thanks, I don't think it's going to be all that hard. There is a huge variety of beans out there and many cuisines who utilize them, I'm excited. I have even been coming up with some of my own original recipes. Wahoo!

Ruby Red - Beans are very filling and super nutritious. Happy Herbivore noted below that there is some sort of vegan pill that helps with digestion, I might have to check it out. :-)

Nuts and seeds are such a wonderful source of protein and many other nutrients, and they are super tasty too.

That blueberry crisp rocked, and I think it would be very good with other fruits as well.

Happy Herbivore - It smelled wonderful! I opened the oven and just sighed. :-) It was so easy to make and tasted fantastic, Brett was really tearing into it, like I said, we ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Ooooooh, mixed berries. I may have a bag of frozen mixed berries hanging around in my freezer. Hmm.

Aw, thanks. I'm pretty excited and Brett is too. He talks about how he is far more interested in seriously considering the vegan diet if we relied far more on whole foods, things that are unprocessed (but can, of course, be processed in our home), and foods that are not meant to replace anything. He's never been this excited about vegetables and beans! Well I have, so I'm really going to take advantage of this and see what yummy things I can come up with and recreate from the recipes of others.

Yay! If you and Scott are on the bandwagon, I'm sure to have plenty of recipes from your blog! :-) Romina's food is beautiful, so simple, nutritious, and yummy without a whole lot of fuss. I realized that too, I have a 'tested and approved' recipes folder, and when going back through, and really scouring for my favorites, out of all of them, only one has tofu, the rest of very simple, whole foods. You know roasted veggies over quinoa with a simple sauce, that kind of thing. Can't think of much better.

I'll have to check out that digest stuff. Don't want the challenge to turn me into a hermit. :-)

Pleasantly - Thanks, I don't always take the best pictures. Our digital camera is a hand-me-down, and it works just fine so I can't justify getting a new one (this thing is huge too, a monster), but the flash takes forever, so by the time it gets ready, I have usually wavered from what was once a good shot. You should make it! I bet you and Jared would love it, and it's super easy!

Thank you. I understand some of those fake meats taste pretty good, but Brett would never eat them, so I don't see the point of buying them. I will still use tofu from time to time, I love tofu sour cream, silken tofu in baked goods is excellent, and there are some very good dishes with tofu that both Brett and I like, I will just try to make these things infrequently. It will make them more special that way too. :-)

Maybe you'll get some inspiration from this, and many other blogs out there for tasty, easy whole foods recipes.

I would love nothing more than to quit my day job and tend to a massive garden. Alas, reality slaps me in the face, so I do what I can. And thankfully we have a good farmers market, close to the apartment, that keeps us going. If you have a porch, you can work with that and grow a few things (so long as your porch gets sunlight, of course), if you have a windowsill, you can grow herbs, unless you have cats like ours, then you can't grow anything, it will be eaten in no time.

Lizzy said...

I saved the blueberry crisp recipe a about a week ago and I still haven't bought any blueberries =(
Or any other berries... but it sure looks like something I'd love!!!

I think your challenge is awesome! And it's great that Brett's into the whole foods thing too, because it's always so much easier when you're doing it together.
I love the idea of planting my own spices and legumes. Back when I was still in the country a lot I always got to eat potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, salad, cucumber and whatnot that were grown in the garden. *sigh* Good times!
I am so into trying out various beans, too. My mom bought a lentil-bean mix that's so colorful(white, black, orange, light green, dark green, brown, beige...) I wish I could snack on it =p

Jennifer said...

Oh Lizzy, your a fruitaholic like me, you'll love the blueberry crisp, or this crisp with any type of fruit I'm sure. :-)

You are right, it is a lot easier when we do it together. I have never been able to cook with this many whole foods, and I'm going to take advantage. I'm learning that its not the vegan diet that turns Brett off, but the tofu, tempeh, seitan, faux meats/cheese, etc. I prefer beans and veggies anyway, so it was an easy compromise.

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri (an fairly nice sized American Midwestern city), so no home grown veggies in my childhood, but I'm making up for lost time!

I know, with your veggie challenge and ability to make such healthy veggie meals, I'll have plenty of inspiration to constantly be coming up with new, healthy and rewarding meals.

That lentil bean mix sounds awesome!

Alison Nicole said...

I am inspired by your challenge! I have a very bad addiction to tofu and tempeh...Maybe for the summer I will try to eliminate them. The fresh veggies and farmer's markets will make it a lot easier. Good luck, and I know you can do it!

The blueberry crisp looks delicious. I love blueberries. They are definitely the epitome of a whole food. So many antioxidants. Yum!

Jennifer said...

Alison - Thank you for your kind comments. :-) It was a bit easier for me to avoid getting too into things like tofu, tempeh and seitan because I live with an omni that despises those things (except for in small quantities, in certain forms like tofu sour cream, or in certain baked goods).

Summer is a great time to up your intake of veggies, beans, and fruit. All you have to do is look around the vegan blogosphere for a few minutes to find all sorts of inspiration on how to use what you find at the market. The farmer's market will be a welcome sight here. Thanks for the support!

That crisp was yummy and healthy to boot.