Wheatballs (Vegan Meatballs)

Eating Vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up all the flavors you love. It simply means you choose a smarter way to eat those flavors. My personal journey to veganism began with food allergies and continued to develop with my aging GI tract. Regardless, eating a plant-based diet has done wonders for my body. Since about 2004, I haven’t been able to tolerate ground beef, so a few years back Chris made Meatless-meatballs for me. Recently however, my tolerance for eggs and dairy have waned so he created savory wheatballs.

Wheatballs (Vegan Meatballs)

(Makes around 30 wheatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb country style bread
  • 1.5 cups soy milk
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, crumbed

    • For a vegetarian option, grated parmesan may be used
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • Cooking oil spray

    • 1 to 2 T vegetable oil may substitute

Egg substitute (Ground flaxseed binding agent)

In a small bowl, combine ground flaxseeds and water. Using a fork or whisk, mix well. Let stand a few minutes and mix again. With time, the mixture will thicken. Continue to mix until mixture obtains the consistency of raw egg whites. Set aside.

The "dough"

Cut bread into thick slices and place in large bowl. Add soy milk and let sit until bread is thoroughly soaked. Squeeze dry bread slices and place in food processor along with tofu, parsley, basil and garlic. Process until the "dough" becomes thick and starts sticking together. The excess soy milk may be discarded.

Depending on the size of your food processor, this may need to be done in batches. If so, split ingredients equally so that the makeup of the dough is fairly consistent.

Return the dough to the large bowl, add the egg substitute, salt and pepper and mix. (Chris’ tools of choice for this step and the next are his hands).

Wheatball assembly and cooking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Form dough into round balls approximately 2-inches in diameter and place on rack to dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Heat  oiled pan and fry wheatballs until brown on all sides. Place browned wheat balls in oven to continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes. When cooked, the center of the wheatballs will be moist but not soggy.

Enjoy!

We serve our wheat balls over grilled veggies and/or whole grain spaghetti noodles and topped with homemade tomato sauce. Yum!

Wheatballs over grilled veggies and spaghetti

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Review: Hamilton Beach 67650 Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor

After watching the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, we decided that juicing might be a nice supplement to our diets and after a few hours of research, we chose to buy the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor. The considerations that went into our decision were ease of cleaning, durability of parts, and of course, how well it extracted juice.

Cleaning

I was NOT about to waste my time with a machine that was complicated to take apart or had lots of tiny nooks and crannies where pulp could hide and cultivate bacteria. The HB Big Mouth Pro had neither. Tear down is as simple as unlatching two things and lifting up the pieces. Not including the pulp collector, which should always be lined with a plastic bag during use, there are just 5 pieces to clean: lid, strainer, food pusher, basket, and juice collector. The machine comes with its own brush for quick cleaning of the strainer, and all four others pieces are dishwasher-safe even though their sleek design, devoid of any pesky hard to reach crevices are easily cleaned by hand.

Durability

I must admit, I have not done any experiments to qualitatively determine the HB Big Mouth Pro’s durability, but all the plastic parts seem sturdy enough, and replacements are easy to purchase from the vendor. It seems as if the only component that would have to withstand some stress are the two latches which are conveniently made of metal.

Function

Naturally, this post would be incomplete without mentioning machine functionality, and I’m happy to say that the HB Big Mouth Pro does well. The true test of how "good" a juice extractor is of course, how well it separates juice from pulp. This is most easily determined by assessing how dry the resulting pulp is and for a machine this inexpensive, the pulp is pretty dry. Maybe its the 1.1 HP motor (similar models have 800 watt motors), but it does its job well.

So overall, I would recommend the product to the beginning juicer who not yet ready to invest upwards of $300 or more dollars into a product they may only use as a passing fad. And at just $70, its also competitively priced.

Pros:

  • Clean-up is quick and easy
  • Motor is strong
  • Unit is nice & compact
  • We’ve had great experiences with Hamilton Beach’s customer service
  • Pulp is fairly dry for a lower end machine

Cons:

  • A larger juice collector would be nice
  • Veggies and fruit must be fed slowly
  • Plastic parts can break easily
  • Moderately loud motor
  • Why is the cord so short?
  • Big Mouth isn’t so big.

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Simple Carrot Ginger Soup with Curried Tofu

Both Chris and I love to cook. We especially enjoy veggie heavy entrees as I cannot tolerate most meat (and yet I’m not vegetarian… well, at least not yet).
So as we remain in recovery from the virus from hell, we chose a simplified version of Carrot Ginger Soup with Curried Tofu as this week’s dinner.

Personally, I hate food blogs that show individual steps of cooking without simply listing the recipe, so I will simply show the food and present the recipe.

By the way, we cook dinner once a week on the weekends so the yield for our recipes is always quite large.

Carrot Ginger Soup w/ Toasted Tofu

(makes 10 – 12 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of carrots
  • 2 small onions
  • 6 in fresh ginger
  • 2 T oil (we prefer olive oil)
  • 1 quart carrot juice (I can’t wait to use my new juicer next time we make this!!!)
  • 1 quart water
  • 16 oz of firm tofu

Carrot Ginger Soup

Chop up the carrots, onions, and ginger. Place chopped veggies into large soup pot with one tablespoon of oil and saute until soft. Season with salt and pepper and add the carrot juice and water. Bring all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until tender (about 20 minutes).

Allow the soup to cool and blend until smooth (an immersion blender works best).

Curried Tofu Cubes

The curried tofu works best if cooked fresh each evening. It takes so little time, but makes a HUGE difference in flavor.

Cut up desired amount of firm tofu into 1 inch cubes. Pat dry and sprinkle all sides with curry powder. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add curried cubes and fry on all sides until brown (around 5 minutes.)

Add tofu to soup and enjoy!

Recipe by HarrisArnoldCollaboration

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