A Loaf for the Vegans

PeaNot “Meat” Loaf

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanuts
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One cup mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
2 TB ketchup
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a loaf pan or 8×8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8×8 pan makes a crisper loaf).

Grind the peanuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you’ve chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

Cold leftover slices of PeaNot “Meat” Loaf make a great sandwich filling.

I generated this recipe courtesy of http://www.veganlunchbox.com/loaf_studio.html. I apologize for neglecting the vegetarians and vegans out there in not having a dinner loaf recipe as a meatloaf alternative. Feel free to use ingredients your family likes or can eat.

V.

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Summer Gladness

Now that the first half of summer is over and done with, I now get to enjoy the second half of summer. I am now out of a cast and into a soft brace, I went to my county fair (and enjoyed the best butter-bathed, fire-roasted corn and some red birch beer), I just turned 37, and I’m enjoying a glass of beer to cool off in the summer’s heat. My two peach trees have given up scores of peaches to be enjoyed fresh and in a peach cobbler (which my two living stepsons and their best friend devoured – what is it about young men’s appetites that compels them to eat massive amounts of food? A young woman of similar age is encouraged to eat as daintily as possible; no such luck for the young man), I’ve picked a load of string beans, and the corn is just starting to become taller than me (I’m 5’7″, or 1.7 meters).

No, I didn’t get to spend the summer riding my bike or roller skating or even working a summer job so i could at least try to go back to college for the fall, but at least if I can start a temp job soon I’ll most likely be able to go to school come spring semester. I am happy, though, that my youngest stepson is going to college this fall as a criminal justice major. Yes, I spent the first half of summer indoors, going out only for doctor’s appointments; now I get to see how my chickens have grown (two of the seven, unfortunately, have passed away) and I get to gather their eggs. I also get to see how my garden has grown, both my external garden and the garden that is creative writing, as I also spent much of my indoor time writing a novel. Bear in mind it’s nowhere near finished, but at least I’m learning much about novel writing that a class may or may not teach me.

Summer doesn’t have to be shot to pieces just because you didn’t get the summer you always wanted. Not every summer is the one you want, but every summer is the one you need. I needed to learn to depend on others, to see what people with obvious physical disabilities live with daily, and to laugh at myself, plus I managed to make over 400 additional friends on MySpace. Now, go outside and play.

V.