Vegan Mole Amazingfood

Twice so far, I have cooked Chili Sin Carne Al Mole from Vegan With a Vengeance.  This stuff is amazing.  AMAZING.  It is so incredibly delicious.  It has bits of chewy seitan, hearty beans (I used black instead of pinto as the recipe called for), sweet tomatoes, spicy jalapeño, and, of course, cocoa powder.

Vegan Mole Ingredients

It took me - no exaggeration - about an hour and a half to chop, measure, and divide this all up.

I first ate mole – real, delicious, sweet, spicy, mole in 2006 when I was living in southern Mexico.  I had a variety of Yucatecan mole, poured over chicken (I was eating meat temporarily at the time, to get the full culinary experience of Southern Mexico) and rice.  It was amazingly good.  I loved just eating spoonfuls of the mole sauce – the actual chicken I could take or leave.  My host mother at the time, explained to me how to make mole, and she made it seem really complicated.  (Though, maybe everything was a bit complicated for me in Mexico – I was learning a new culture and a new language all at once.)

This mole, though, isn’t bad.  I am, admittedly, the slowest cutter, chopper, or measurer around.  Sometimes, I just get distracted in the middle of chopping and leave the kitchen for a while.  But really, I am just very deliberate.  If the recipe calls for a “quarter inch dice” (or something along those lines – is a “quarter inch dice” even a thing?) you better believe that my dice is going to be pretty close to one quarter inch.  I read the recipe 3 times, measure twice, and add to the food mixture once.  (That was supposed to be a play on the “measure twice, cut once” saying that goes with wood work…)

So, despite the fact that it took me an eon and a half to prepare the ingredients, that’s all my fault, and not the fault of the ingredients or the recipe.  Up there in the picture, I have everything divided out so that I could just dump it in the pot when it was time.  First, I have the red peppers and jalapeño, next I have the onions.  After that I added the spices from the small blue dish.  Next came the seitan and garlic.  (I, as always, am lazy and use garlic-in-a-jar).  Finally came the  tomatoes and cocoa.  I ended with the vegetable broth and the beans.  After just simmering for a while (and letting it sit so that the flavors meld) I had an amazingly delicious vat of mole sauce filled with seitan, beans, and some vegetables.

Chili Sin Carne Al Mole

A delicious bowl of chili sin carne al mole.

I wish you could smell through the computer screen – this stuff smells amazing, tastes wonderful, and is pretty healthy, too.  (It calls for 1/3 cup of oil, I think, but I reduced it to 1/4.  I probably could have done with even less.)

Close-up of Chili Sin Carne al Mole

Close-up of hearty deliciousness.

I usually post small photos on here, but this deserved a full-sized viewing.  You can see chewy chunks of seitan, hearty black beans, onions, red peppers, jalapeño peppers, chunks of tomato, and a sweet brownish-red broth of veggie stock, tomato, spices, and cocoa.

I just ate a bowl of this stuff, and already my mouth is watering looking at this picture.

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Fall = Pumpkin?

Here in the desert, we are just barely starting to get a hint of fall.  While the daytime still frequently hits temperatures in the 90s, the nights have been cooling down to the 60s.  The cooler nights allow us to shut the doors and windows all day, and keep the cool early-morning air in the house, thus avoiding the air conditioning.

I know that in normal climates, it has been fall for quite some time already.  And, with fall comes pumpkins.  I have started doing pumpkin-themed activities with my first grade students, and decided to expand the pumpkin theme to my cooking.  Last week Isa posted a recipe for a chocolate pumpkin loaf over at The Post Punk Kitchen.  The pictures looked wonderfully delicious, but I don’t have a loaf pan in which to cook the chocolately, pumpkiny loaf of deliciousness.  Luckily, she also added a note to the recipe giving cooking times for muffins.  So muffins I made.  In addition to the chocolate chips, I added some chopped up pecans to my batter (about 1/4 cup, I think).  I totally plan on making these muffins again, and this time I might decrease the sugar a bit, decrease the chocolate chips a little bit, and increase the nuts to 1/2 cup.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Chocolate pumpkin muffins, cooling in the muffin tin.

I ate two of the muffins the day I made them, put three more in a tupperware in the refrigerator, and shared one with my roommate.  The rest, I wrapped in plastic wrap and stuck in the freezer.  I have been bringing them to work and eating them as a snack in the afternoon when the students are gone.  These chocolate pumpkin muffins have regularly been the best part of my day, this week.  And it hasn’t even been a particularly bad week.  The muffins are just that good!

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin

Close-up of a chocolate pumpkin muffin, in all its chocolately, pumpkiny glory.

I ended up having some pumpkin left over after I made the chocolate pumpkin muffins.  I was nearly out of granola, so I decided to make pumpkin granola with the leftover pumpkin mush.  I originally was planning on using my normal recipe, and just adding the pumpkin in place of the apple sauce (which I use as a substitute for oil).  But then I decided to look around on the internet for a recipe specifically for pumpkin granola.  I decided I should use a different recipe, since the pumpkin granola recipes call for different spices than regular granola.  I settled on this recipe from The Pastry Affair, partially because I had all the ingredients, partially because the website had such pretty pictures, and partially because it just sounded really good!

Pumpkin Granola Ingredients

I love the bulk bins and the spice aisle.

Really, the ingredients weren’t all that different from my regular granola.  As usual, I used apple sauce instead of oil, and I didn’t quite have the 3/4 cups of pumpkin specified in the ingredients list (it was more like 1/2 cup).  Also, I didn’t use fresh pumpkin seeds, I used the raw unsalted pumpkin seeds that I always have on hand for granolas (but I toasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes before adding them to the granola mixture.)

I ended up sort of badly burning one pan of granola (I had it on the bottom oven shelf, and it was too close to the heat source).  Then, after I took out the burnt pan and was continuing to cook the other pan, I burned that one, too.  (What can I say, I’ve got skills.)  When I took it out, it was smoking, for more than a few minutes.  However – I am stubborn.  I was determined that it would taste great even if it was a little scorched.  I picked out the worst burned parts, and tossed the others together.  Ultimately, it is a tad well-done, perhaps a little crunchier than even granola is supposed to be, but it still tastes good.  I don’t know that it actually tastes pumpkiny at all, but it does taste like granola, which was really my main goal.

Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin granola in my perfectly-sized granola tupperware container.

I was reading a book about pumpkins with my students the other day, and it talked about how the Native Americans used to eat pumpkin seeds for breakfast.  They were all confused and awestruck.  I told them that I had eaten granola with pumpkin and pumpkins seeds in it for breakfast, and they were fascinated.

I’m not sure what my next pumpkin adventure will be.  I do not like cutting pumpkins or other squash.  It is hard work!  However, it is also delicious.  In fact, I am doing a pumpkin seed activity with my students and may end up cutting open two dozen pumpkins tomorrow… Maybe I’ll get really, REALLY good at it.

Hey! I can make that!

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and saw a container of edamame humus for sale.  I looked at it, and looked at the ingredients: soy beans, lemon juice, oil, salt, garlic… My immediate reaction was that it looked delicious.  My second reaction was to think about how I could make it on my own.

About four years ago, I made my own hummus for the first time.  I realized how easy it was, how much cheaper it is than buying tubs of over-priced (preservative-laden) hummus from the store, and how you could customize it to exactly the flavor you wanted.  I’ve made roasted red pepper hummus, sun-dried tomato hummus, plain garlic/lemon hummus, and hummus with various curry and chile spices added.

So, I set out to make my own edamame hummus.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of shelled, defrosted edamame (I steamed it for about 5 minutes)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 or 4 Tbs. tahini
  • 5 Tbs. water
  • 3 cloves garlic (I cheat and use the pre-chopped stuff in the jar)
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Throw everything into the a food processor, blender, or Magic Bullet.  (I use the Magic Bullet, and it is completely magic and I am completely obsessed with it, as is my roommate.  It is perfect for making hummus.)  Blend until the desired consistency.  Add more water if needed to make the ingredients blend better.  Eat.  (For better taste, let sit in the refrigerator for a while, to let the flavors meld.)

While I was letting my hummus cool down in the fridge,  (I live in the desert.  I wish I could cool down in the fridge, sometimes, too,) I decided to make some falafel!  I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction.  I had a little trouble getting the garbanzos to blend in the Magic Bullet without added liquid (this is when a real food processor would have helped), but they eventually became mooshed enough.  The recipe called for “2 tsp. hot sauce.”  I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, (what kind of hot sauce?)  I ended up using Sriracha.  I was afraid it would be too spicy, but it wasn’t bad.  It was fairly spicy, but I love my food to be VERY spicy, so I enjoyed the extra kick.

Falafel, Edamame Hummus, and Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Falafel, Edamame Hummus, and Whole Wheat Pita Bread

After the falafel was done baking, I assembled my dinner.

Layer 1: Homemade (pocketless) whole wheat pita bread.
Layer 2: Homemade edamame hummus.
Layer 3: Homemade falafel.

So, yes.  I can, in fact, make that!

Is it still pita bread if there are no pockets?

I don’t eat much bread-bread.  I rarely eat bagels (though I did make them to share with my coworkers a few weeks ago.)  I do enjoy muffins, but I try not to eat them too often.  Before I began this vegan experiment, I ate a lot of flour and corn tortillas with any combination of black beans/salsa/cheese/rice, but with the removal of cheese from my diet, I haven’t really eaten tortillas, either.

I do, though, love a hearty, wheaty, whole-wheat pita bread.  I usually buy my pitas from Whole Foods.  I don’t know what the brand is – I think it might be something local, I’m not sure.  This pita bread is delicious, though.  It is chock-full of protein and fiber in each piece, and just so overall yummy-tasting.  I eat it with: hummus, peanut butter, tahini, black beans, quinoa, lentils, chick peas, vegetables… basically anything.

While nutritious and delicious, the pita breads sold at Whole Foods are not exactly inexpensive.  I usually say that it’s worth it, though, because they are so good, filling, and healthy.  (There are no preservatives, it’s just the ingredients.)  But, then I started wondering… could I make my own pita breads?  Would they taste good?  Would they work?  What is pita bread, anyway?

So, with the help of the ever-trusty Google, I began to investigate.  I found a recipe for pita bread on The Fresh Loaf.  I read through the recipe and all the comments, and thought about it some more.  I looked at a few other recipes and the associated comments as well.  I made sure I had all the ingredients (which isn’t hard to do.  The ingredients are: water, flour, oil, yeast, salt, and sugar. That’s all.)  I continued reading recipes, and saw that a lot of people had problems with the pita bread not puffing.  They generally said that it ended up tasting like pita bread, but was flat.  There was no pocket.  Also, confusing to me, different recipes called for different rise-times.

I got overwhelmed with all the possibilities, and decided to give up and just go buy some pita bread.  But, as luck would have it, Whole Foods was out of my pita bread when I went to the store.  I took that as a sign, and immediately started working on the dough when I got home from the failed shopping trip.

I used 2/3 whole wheat flour and 1/3 white flour (with a little bit of spelt flour thrown in, because I had a small amount left and wanted to get rid of the bag).  I mixed everything together as specified in the recipe, but it was really wet and sticky.  Super-super sticky.  I probably ended up adding another half-cup of whole wheat flour to the recipe (which had called for 3-cups total, and warned that it might be dry and need extra water.)

Looking at the instructions and comments on various recipes, I saw that some people had suggested using a tortilla press to assure uniform thickness, and to help make the dough the 1/8-1/4 inch thick that the recipes call for.  I am bad at using rolling pins (I don’t know why, I just can’t seem to get them to work), so took that advice and used a heavy tortilla press to flatten the pita dough.  It made it a lot easier than a rolling pin would have – that’s for sure!  Since it was a small tortilla press, my balls of pita dough also had to be fairly small, but that was just as well anyway.  I’d rather eat two little pitas than one large one.  (And in fact, I usually end up eating only 1/2 of the large pitas that I get from Whole Foods.)

Some recipes said to bake the pita dough at very high heat in the oven, on a pizza stone or an upside-down cookie sheet.  Others said to cook at medium-high heat in cast iron on the stove.  I opted for the stove-top version.  I had a little assembly line going, with two cast iron pans.

Pita Assembly Line

Pita Assembly Line

Try as I might, though, I just could not get my pitas to puff.  Some commenters said to make sure the dough rested.  (It rested, more than I ever do, at least.)  Some commenters said to make sure the dough was damp.  (I sprinkled water on one side, both sides, and neither side.  Nothing helped.)  Some commenters said to make sure the dough was thin enough.  (I tortilla-pressed those dough-balls to smithereens.  Then let them rest.  Then re-tortilla-pressed them just for good measure.  Then let them rest again.  And sprinkled them with water.  No puffs.)

A few times, I saw the inklings of a bubble, a small, tiny, little poof.  I kept holding my breath in anticipation.  Would it turn into a full-fledged pita pocket?  Would the small air-pockets expand to open up the pita bread?

The answer was, always, disappointingly every time, no.  What you see here is probably the biggest air pocket I encountered throughout the whole process:

Pita with tiny little air pockets.

Pita with tiny little air pockets.

On the many pita discussions I read, the recipe-writers and commenters said that even when the dough doesn’t make a pita pocket, it still results in a great-tasting flatbread.  I have to agree.  Even without a pocket, my pita flatbreads still taste good, and even mostly taste like pita bread!

Next time I will try the oven-baking method.  I will also try the suggestion that I saw somewhere of adding a little bit of vital wheat gluten to help the pitas puff.  (I don’t know why that would help the pitas puff, but I read somewhere that it would.)

The Leaning Tower of Pita Bread

The Leaning Tower of Pita Bread

The pita-process is sort of a long, complex series of baking steps.  But, it is also a whole lot cheaper than buying the expensive pita bread from Whole Foods.  And, it is fun, too.  As I’ve said before – I get super-excited every time I see a pile of random ingredients turn into an edible piece of food.  Yum!

I made a few more delicious food-products to eat on my homemade pita bread.  Stay tuned for those details, coming soon!

Si, Se Puede!

I love César Chávez.  I like how he stood up for the disenfranchised.  How he fought most of his life, until his death, for fair working conditions and fair pay for migrant farm workers.  I did a huge project with my students last year involving César Chávez, and they appreciated his non-violent social justice work, as well.

So, when I saw a recipe for César Chávez dressing in Appetite for Reduction, I decided that I had to make it.  I’ve never had a particular love of caesar salad or caesar dressing.  But, with a name like César Chávez dressing, I had to try it.  As I cook more and more vegan food, I’m starting to actually learn things.  One thing I’ve learned is that cashews are often added to make things creamier.  Creamy sauces, creamy spreads, and now, creamy salad dressings all have ground up cashews.  (I also finally discovered that, while Whole Foods is usually more expensive than anywhere else, they sell cashew pieces in the bulk bins for half of what I have been spending on whole cashews in the bulk bins at my regular grocery store.  It’s worth the extra trip.)  The dressing was really easy, and includes capers to give it that special “briney” taste.  I think it tasted a lot like caesar dressing, but better, because it starred one of my favorite social-justice super-heros, César Chávez.

César Chávez Dressing (in the Magic Bullet)

César Chávez Dressing (before being blended in the Magic Bullet).

I started out just making the dressing, but then I decided I wanted to go all the way – make a whole meal.  So, following the directions for baked tofu (also in Appetite for Reduction), I pressed, marinated, and baked some tofu.  I can’t believe I have never pressed tofu before…but I haven’t.  I have cut it up and dry-fried it, but never actually wrapped it in a towel and squeezed it out underneath heavy things.  (I used a ceramic bowl of water, sitting on a cast-iron pan, sitting on a cutting board, sitting on the towel-wrapped tofu.)  It’s amazing, but, when you actually press it, the tofu absorbs the marinade!  (That should not have been a surprise for me.)

Marinating Tofu

Marinating Tofu

After blending my dressing, and pressing, marinating, and baking my tofu, I attempted what the recipe book called “eggplant bacon”.  I was supposed to cut the eggplant into thin strips, bake them, dip them in soy sauce and liquid smoke, and then bake them again.  I did this, but I don’t think I cut the eggplant thin enough, and it pretty much just turned into soggy/salty eggplant.  The eggplant bacon wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.  I still have half an eggplant left, so I think I’m going to try again, making sure to cut the eggplant a bit thinner this time.  That will give me more crispy pieces, which have more of a bacony texture.

César Chávez Salad

César Chávez Salad

I tore up some lettuce, cut the tofu into squares, scattered on the eggplant bacon, and poured on the César Chávez dressing.  Putting it all together – it was pretty good!  I felt like I was eating a complete meal, instead of just random bits of food (which I have a bad habit of doing).  Overall, I was pretty impressed with the meal.

I will definitely make the tofu again.    The salad dressing tasted a lot like caesar dressing, and since I don’t particularly love caesar dressing, it won’t go into my regular cooking rotation.  Maybe on César Chávez’s birthday I’ll make the salad dressing again.

Oat Groats Win!

A few months ago I had a sort of…failed experiment involving oat groats.

I link-wondered over to a blog post detailing the making of oatgurt.  I have always loved oatmeal, and I have always loved yogurt, so what could be better than a yogurt-like food made entirely of oats!  The oatgurt required a multi-day fermentation process that seemed to scare everyone I talked to about it.  I got warnings from friends to not poison myself, and a qualification from my roommate that if I didn’t die within 24 hours after eating the oatgurt, she would like to sample a bite.

Oatgurt

Oatgurt, in all its oaty glory.

Well, by the time the oatgurt was ready to eat, it looked about right.  However, it smelled quite like vomit (and as an elementary school teacher, I’m well versed in the smell of vomit).  When I got past the smell, though, it actually tasted pretty good.  It just sort of tasted like yogurt.  I added maple syrup, so it tasted like maple-flavored yogurt.  Unfortunately, all the naysayers had scared me too much.  I was worried about poisoning myself with the oatgurt.  So, after a complex 4-5 day process, I ended up eating only a little bit of the concoction before tossing it into the compost heap.

So now, I’ve had this bag of oat groats left over in the cupboard since the Great Oatgurt Experiment of June 2011.  I accidentally ran out of steal-cut oats (oh, the horror!), and wanted some delicious oaty porridge for breakfast.  Then I remembered: Oat Groats!  They are steal-cut oats, only minus the steal-cutting!  So, I consulted google, found a recipe with the water-to-oat ratio to follow, and BAM! 45 minutes later… delicious, nutty, slightly crunchy, fibery, chewy, yummy, healthy oat porridge made of whole oat groats!

Oat Groats

Delicious Oat Groats in the Pot

I was so excited to eat my oat groat porridge, that I didn’t even think to take a picture of the oats in my bowl.  I ate them with some soy milk, brown sugar and a bit of ground flaxseed (delicious omega-3s).  The leftovers that you see sitting in the pot will be breakfast tomorrow.  Or, more likely, lunch today.  (Seriously, SO GOOD!)

I don’t think I’ll be able to eat regular oatmeal ever again.  Oat Groats will be my ideal, and steal-cut oats will be my ‘lazy’ oaty breakfast.  Whereas before, steel-cut oats were my ideal, and old fashioned rolled oats were my ‘lazy’ oaty breakfast.  (But, outside of an oat-based emergency, I never did, and never will eat instant. As Alton Brown said in an episode of Good Eats, he wouldn’t even feed instant oats to his horse.)

The oat groats are slightly higher in fat, calories, and carbohydrates than rolled oats/oatmeal, but they have a lower glycemic index (so keep you feeling fuller longer), and are higher in fiber and protein.  If you get a chance, try eating whole oat groats! I got them from the bulk section of Whole Foods, and they’re also sold pre-packaged by Bob’s Red Mill.  Once you try them, you too will say goodbye to mooshy, soggy, oatmeal, in favor of the textured, nutty, oat groats.  Yum!

Zucchini Pecan Spelt Muffins?!

Last Sunday, on top of the bagels and the garden vegetable spread (that totally grows on you as you eat more and more!), I also made some muffins.  Zucchini Pecan Spelt Muffins, to be exact.  I got the recipe from Vegan Brunch, and modified it slightly, partly on purpose, and partly by accident.

When I first saw the recipe (and the lovely picture in the cookbook), I immediately thought of these delicious, large, soft, fluffy, moist muffins that I used to get from a coffee shop, before I started this whole vegan experiment.  The muffins were made with some sort of non-white flour, they were zucchini muffins, but they also had some sort of nuts in them (either walnuts or pecans, I’m not sure which) and a good handful of nuts on top of the muffin, as well.  I would stick the muffin in the microwave for 55 seconds before eating, and it was delicious.  Steamy and warm and fatty and delicious.

So, I saw this muffin and decided I wanted to replicate the bakery muffin.  So, in addition to the zucchini and spelt flour, I needed to add some chopped nuts.  I think I ended up adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the batter.  I also sprinkled some on top of half the muffins.  The one downside was, I had only about half of the required zucchini.  I even went to the store specifically FOR the zucchini, and failed to buy the right amount.  So, I made due with half the amount.  The muffins were maybe a little drier than they should have been (had I added 2 cups of zucchini instead of only one), but they were still mighty good.

Unfortunately…I left them out on the counter for two days, and in the hot desert heat, I think they started to go back pretty quickly.  I immediately shuttled them to the refrigerator, but, now they taste a little…funky.

Zucchini Pecan Spelt Muffin

I call this: Muffin in the Sun

Cooking results in meals!

Dinner of Food

Cooking results in meals!

I was half done with my meal by the time I took this picture, but I still think it looks pretty good.  It is yesterday’s Black Bean and Quinoa with Broccoli and Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, a handful of heirloom tomatoes, and a Mr. Kracker cracker topped with today’s Garden Herb Spread.

Seriously – before I started cooking, I didn’t realize that food could taste GOOD. Not just edible.  Not just satisfying.  But actually GOOD. Like, hum and dance while you’re eating good.  It’s pretty magical.

Bagels and Garden Herb Spread

So, I just made bagels.  Bagels!  They taste like bagels.  They look mostly like bagels (though a bit misshapen.)  They smell like bagels.  I got the recipe from Vegan Brunch.  It is surprisingly easy to make bagels.  It is just flour, water, a tiny bit of sugar, a tiny bit of salt, some wheat gluten, and yeast.  That’s it!  I never would have thought it was so simple!

Next time, I’m going to try adding some berries or chocolate chips.  I also would like to try to make a crispy cinnamon coating (like the Cinnamon Crunch bagels you can get at Panera.)

Overall, the bagels were a success!

I also made a Garden Herb Spread (also from Vegan Brunch) to go along with the bagels.  It includes cashiews, tofu, and lots of herbs.  I balked at the idea of having to purchase fresh basil, thyme, oregano, and tarragon (expensive) and used dried herbs instead.  It definitely affected the flavor and texture…  The spread is still good, and I think I’m going to play around with it a little bit to make the flavors stronger.  It wasn’t excellent, but I know that’s my fault for not buying the right products.

Bagel and Garden Herb Spread

Bagel and Garden Herb Spread. (Recipes from Vegan Brunch)

Weekend Cooking Adventures, Part 1

Lately, I have been spending my weekends cooking.  Here in Arizona, it is still too hot out to really do much outside.  And besides, cooking is a great form of procrastination! Unlike, say, watching videos on YouTube, you actually end up with a (usually) edible product at the end of the procrastination!  In my case, enough food to last me the whole week.

So far this weekend, I have cooked two things (with a few more waiting until my roommate wakes up, so I don’t bother her with the clank of pots and pans and the whir of the Magic Bullet).

Yesterday, I made cookie dough scoops from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  Cookie dough scoops are, embarrassingly enough, little balls of cookie dough to freeze and eat.  This is NOT vegan at its healthiest or classiest.  It is, however, pretty delicious.  And, due to the fact that the only flour I had left was whole wheat, they are at least a tiny bit more nutritious than they would be with white flour…  I’m contemplating melting chocolate chips, and dipping the cookie dough balls in the chocolate, and then re-freezing.

I also made Black Beans and Quinoa with a Chipotle Raspberry Sauce.  Yesterday was the second time I have made this recipe, and both times have been absolutely delicious – and really easy.  Also, unlike the uncooked cookie dough scoops, this is actually very healthy!

What I tend to do on the weekends is cook something, and then partition it into little containers, and freeze most of them.  Then, each day I throw one in my lunch bag to bring to work, and it’s defrosted by lunch time.  Also, as someone who is cooking only for myself, I would get tired of the food if I had to eat it for every meal, every day, until I ate it up.  Freezing the food allows me to mix it up from day to day.  Still in the freezer from past cooking escapades are containers of Black Beans and Seitan chili in a mole sauce, tofo-vegetable curry with rice, noodles with cashew sauce, and lentil mushroom burgers.  It’s like having my very own, homemade frozen entrees at my disposal.  But, unlike the frozen entrees you buy at the store, mine create no packaging waste, have no preservatives, are generally low in sodium, and contain only the specific ingredients that I want them to contain.  Also, they’re a whole lot cheeper, and taste a whole lot better.  I love it.