If you’ve been reading my posts about moving from New York to Colorado (here is Part 1 and Part 2), you know that Atlas Van Lines still has all of our belongings. We are hopeful that they will arrive tomorrow. I only packed a few cooking utensils to take in the car cross-country: my small pressure cooker, a cutting board and small knife, a small mixing bowl and spoon, tongs, a small colander, a corkscrew, a french press, and plastic plates/bowls/cups + utensils for two. On the day we arrived in Colorado we made a quick run to Target to pick up things like towels, bath soap, cleaning products, etc. I also picked up a measuring cup, a $1 can opener, and plastic containers to store food. I figured that could round-out my kitchen supplies for a week.
On Friday evening I made my first home-cooked meal. I pulled out the pressure cooker and did some math. Why? It turns out you need to add 5% cooking time for every 1000 feet of elevation over 2000 elevation, so, at 6000+ feet in Colorado Springs, I need to add 20% cooking time when using the pressure cooker. In addition to cooking at a higher altitude for the first time I was also using the pressure cooker on an electric stove for the first time - what a big change from a gas stove!
I started basic. I made brown rice.
After washing the pressure cooker I put it back on the stove and pretended it was a large sauce pan, using it uncovered to make this.
Black-eyed peas (canned) sautéed in low-sodium vegetable broth, garlic, onion, tomato, and sriracha served over brown rice and topped with vegan sour cream and Sriracha. On the side? A small cucumber, apple, and basil salad with lemon juice and black pepper.
After four days on the road eating at restaurants, grocery stores or ordering room service, this was a very exciting meal for me. It was also delicious.
The next morning I made steel-cut oats for breakfast.
PRESSURE COOKER OATMEAL
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup diced apple
- 1 large medjool date, chopped
- Dash of sea salt
Bring to pressure, cook at pressure for 3 minutes (3:30 minutes at 6,000+ feet elevation!) and allow for a natural release.
Later, for lunch, I tried my hand at a quick “meat and potatoes” kind of stew.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion
- 1/4 cup peppers, diced (I use orange, yellow and red)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 1/4 cup mix of celery and carrot, diced
- 3 cups fingerlings potatoes, quartered
- 2 cups tomatoes, diced
- 1 8-ounce package seitan, cubed
- 1 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Saute the olive oil, onion, peppers, and garlic for 3 minutes. Add all other ingredients, stir, and cover the pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and cook at pressure for 6 minutes (6:30 minutes at my elevation!). Allow for a natural release. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I served this stew-like dish with a side of kale massaged with avocado and lemon juice. My omnivore husband loved this meal!
Monday I pulled together a quick lunch.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Peppers, diced
- Onion, chopped
- Garlic, finely diced
- 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 8-ounce package tempeh
Saute the olive oil, peppers, onion, and garlic for 3 minutes. Add all other ingredients, stir, and cover the pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and cook at pressure for 6 minutes (6 1/2 minutes at my elevation!). Allow for a natural release. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I served a cup of chili over a half cup of brown rice and enjoyed it with a side salad of romaine lettuce, apple, balsamic vinegar and black pepper.
This morning I had a craving for an avocado and tomato toasted sandwich. Oops! No toaster. So I made toast in the oven.
I baked the bread, on foil, at 400F for 15 minutes, flipping at the half-way point. I mashed an avocado onto the toast and added tomatoes slices, salt and pepper.
New favorite breakfast (or lunch)!
You can see that we’re using the same patio dish set for every meal – and the ever-fancy GladWare plastic containers as bowls. And I used pretty much the same ingredients – onion, garlic, peppers, veggie broth – simply because we chose to buy small at the grocer because we have so many dry goods and pantry items traveling with the movers. We have loved the hearty cooked and raw meals filled with the five fabulous vegan food groups: vegetables, fruits, legumes/beans, grains, and nuts/seeds.
I kind of like that this move forced me to keep my cooking nice and simple. I got back to basics and was reminded that eating vegan is easy, healthy and positively delicious.