VM’s Seitan Spice Mix

Seitan is becoming a popular food at our house. We use it to make Seitan Schwarmas almost exclusively and everybody in this house loves them. I love them not because they taste so fantastic but because they are totally frakking easy to make.

Honestly, with a log of Seitan in the fridge, my schwarmas take maybe 10 minutes to get from fridge to table. The Seitan is easy to make, too. Check out my other post.

The big thing, though, is finding alternative spice mixes. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original mix, but every cook likes to adapt a tried and true recipe to reflect their own quirky tastes and what they have on hand. I’m no different.

VM’s Seitan Spice Mix

Dry Ingredients
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp mustard powder (Keen’s or Coleman’s)
1 tsp chili powder

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup, -1 TBSP, water
1 TBSP liquid smoke
4 TBSP BBQ sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (found amongst Chinese foods at grocer)

Do you have a spice mix you’ve tried and loved? If you alter this mix, what did you change? Come back and tell us your thoughts!


Mega Bean Crockpot Soup

It never was a very warm summer. In fact, it was rather cool and rainy in Ontario this year. But, now that school has begun and a cold spell has settled upon us – due to the new weather reality, more tropical storms and hurricanes coming earlier every year – well, this is perfect weather for a good hearty bean soup.

Mega Bean Crockpot Soup

Mega Bean Crockpot Soup

Inspired by the 9 Bean soup at Natural Moms Recipes, I concocted a beany soup that made the entire family hungry all day long. “Is that soup for lunch?” “Can’t we eat at 4pm? I’m so hungry!” “Mom, what is that delicious smell!” Nothing is more satisfying than hearing THAT come out of your 5 year old’s mouth!

So, without further fanfare, I bring you:

Mega Bean Crockpot Soup

1/3 cup each of the following beans: white kidney, pinto, black, navy, great northern, chickpeas and black-eyed peas*
1/3 cup each of red and green lentils*
6 cups water
3 carrots, diced
3 stalk celery, diced
1 lg onion, diced
3 bay leaves
1 TBSP mustard powder

1 lg can diced tomatoes
2 cups warm water
2 cubes of veggie bullion
1 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP sea salt

Soak beans overnight.

Put the beans into a crockpot with all of the ingredients in the first section. Let cook on high for 5 hours or 8 hours on low.

Add ingredients from second section into crock, dissolving the bullion in 2 cups warm water, replace lid and let flavours bloom an additional 20 minutes. (While you make a salad, set the table, prepare some bread or toast…)

Makes 12 servings.

*note: you can use any mix of beans you have on hand. I just happened to have all of these. Just make sure you have 3 (to a maximum of 4) cups of dried beans soaking for the soup.

Wanna Win A Basket Of Food?

As you may have noticed over on the left there, I have a couple of blogs. On one of those, The Clever Mom, I’m having a contest to win a reusable grocery bin filled with a selection of food items.

The prize basket was generously provided by Loblaws who want to spread the word that they’ve reduced the prices of many of their grocery items. With the cost of shipping driving up the costs of food, this is a welcome move.

They’ve also begun a program called “Grown Close To Home” that is bringing local produce into their supermarkets. It’s about time the big stores started adding local produce. This is a win-win for everyone, in my opinion.

I’ve always been a fan of Loblaws for their President’s Choice premium house brand and their good quality yellow label brand – though I’ve started noticing the yellow label receding a little, I still think the products are pretty decent quality and good value.

So, if you want a chance to win the basket (I’m more excited about that basket, frankly, than the food inside!) go over to The Clever Mom now and post a comment listing your favourite kid snack (with recipe, s’il vous plait, and without nuts). Contest closes 9pm Friday, September 5.

Food Pron: Fresh Tomatoes

Picked this morning from my Granny's garden.

Picked this morning from my Granny's garden.

All Hail Seitan?

With a name like Seitan, I just had to try the recipe. So, I followed the Seitan O’Greatness recipe and created my first homemade log of un-meat.


Before it was completely cool, my husband and kids started cutting pieces off. I was afraid they’d eat up so much that we wouldn’t have any for other meals. But we did. We had lots! This stuff goes a l o o o o n n n g way.

What is it? At it’s most basic, seitan is gluten, water, oil and spices either boiled or baked. It has a chewy, meat-like texture and the spice mixtures often mimic that of sausages and deli meats to make really good un-meat pepperonis and salamis. The stuff is pure protein.

Have you ever eaten seitan? What did you think? Do you make it regularly? What are your spice combos?

A Moving Breakfast

I found the most fantastically delicious breakfast recipe anywhere, ever! And it’s totally fiberlicious! And it tastes like dessert!

Poking around for cool kid crafty/project sites, I found a really nice zine called Root & Sprout. In their archives I came across a super simple recipe for Apple Oatmeal that I had to try. And try it I did! And it was like heaven on my tongue.

It was so delicious, in fact, it tasted exactly like apple crumble, something I could eat an entire pan of if left unsupervised.

The article where the recipe resides is about easing toddler constipation. We already eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning, so that effect for my family will be limited. The addition of the apple is a good move, though. We usually put raisins in our oatmeal right now, and rarely my 5 yo insists on chocolate chips. But you can’t go wrong slipping an extra serving of fruit into your diet.

I can’t overstate how delicious this oatmeal is. You know that instant apple oatmeal that is so sweet and yummy. This is better. And it only has natural sugars in it. Unless you are like me and need a little brown crack sugar over the top. Which totally makes this tasty identical to apple crumble.

Hot Apples and Oatmeal
by Lis Garrett

  • 1 apple, chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1/4 Cup quick cooking/instant/minute oats
  • 1/2 Cup apple juice
  • Optional: sprinkle of brown sugar

Mix ingredients in a pot on medium heat until the apples become soft, approximately 5 minutes. Optional: serve with a sprinkling of brown sugar, though it is not necessary to add any further sweetening to this recipe beyond the apples and juice.

Moan at your desired volume while eating and exclaim to your husband that he must be crazy to not eat apples because this apple oatmeal is better than morning sex.

This recipe is totally kid friendly. Both my 5 yo and my 1 yo (today was his first birthday!) gobbled this up greedily.

Dooce Thinking About Nixing Meat

Dearest Heather Armstrong, that fantastic and inspirational blogger also known as Dooce, has been contemplating making some lifestyle changes and, inspired by Oprah’s recent 21-day fast (which includes abstaining from all meat by/products, amongst other foodstuffs), has challenged herself to living vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free and alcohol-free for 21 days. She has written a very thoughtful post about why she is doing this that I really enjoyed.

Heather has written a lot about her problems with constipation, which it seems her daughter has inherited. I’m hoping the intense focus on whole plant foods will finally give her relief from her problems. I know that when I started having problems late in my pregnancy and after the baby arrived, when extensive pelvic floor damage made constipation a very dangerous prospect, dietary changes completely altered what was going on in my gut.

I’ve written an article on helping kids adapt to new foods that moms like Heather may find helpful. And, we try to post recipes here that my kids seem to really like.

What vegetarian/vegan recipes do your kids love? What can moms like Dooce do to make the transition to vegetarian family meals easier?