Friday, July 29, 2016

Pin It

Vegan Granita Madness!

While on a layover in Chicago this summer, after traversing what felt like the entire airport with a toddler and 7-year-old in tow, we had to make a mad dash for food and beverages at  the Starbucks right across from the gate before our flight was to take off. I noticed they had granitas -- something not offered at our local Starbucks -- including a "Caramel Espresso" granita.

I'm not a huge fan of Starbucks at all, but the idea of a refreshing coffee slushy sounded wonderful -- and possibly non-dairy. The baristas told me it actually included cream, but that it could be made without any milk at all. It turned out it was made with caramel sauce, which has dairy, so I asked for a plain espresso granita with no cream. They had that bemused but slightly bewildered look that vegans know so very well -- and far prefer to the eyeroll response! -- but they made it for me. It turned out great! So I decided to make one of my own this week (chocolate flavored!). It turned out far better than any Frappuccino or Coffee Coolatta I've tried to rig up at the store over the years, and I hope to make this refresher for the rest of the summer!

PS - We ended sitting on the tarmac for 2 hours before we even took I was so grateful to have food and a caffeine boost before dealing with my very unhappy toddler for the next 7-or-so hours!

Chocolate Espresso Granita

one tray of ice (12 ice cubes)
2 tablespoons vegan chocolate syrup, or to taste
2 shots of espresso (or about 4 oz of strong coffee)

Blend in blender, and enjoy with a straw!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Got Okra?

Pin It

Here's a quick, cheap, and easy meal I made the other day. Gumbo! Sounds labor intensive, right? Wrong! All I did was crack open 2 cans of lentil vegetable soup, added some tomato sauce, some nutritional yeast and hot sauce and a little bit of water. Then I threw in a bag of frozen okra, brought it all to a boil and then simmered with the cover on for eight minutes as per the package's instructions. It was really delicious gumbo. Try it on a night you're just too tired to cook.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pin It (Way Belated) Vegan, Grain-Free Thanksgiving Madness

Well, kiddies, it's certainly been a while. I guess this blog is turning into a seasonal thing (see the last post about summer gazpacho). This Thanksgiving was another solitary one. My poor husband cooked his turkey carcass for himself and ate the leftovers in a stew for about a week (something that's fast becoming a tradition for him around here). My son would never eat something like that in a million years, and, in fact, when someone asked him if he was going to eat turkey, he started going on and on about how he was not, in fact, a turkey -- he did NOT have wings and did NOT fly. Still not sure what exactly goes on in his little brain, but I'm very curious :)

As for my meal -- it was really good! REALLY good. I'd say about as close to a traditional Thanksgiving meal as you're going to get without meat, dairy, or grains. The stuffing absolutely tasted EXACTLY like stuffing but without the heavy afterfeel!!!

I don't like Tofurkey so I was at a loss when I knew I wanted to make myself a "real" Thanksgiving meal but I didn't really want to include grains, and of course, wanted to keep it vegan. Exact measurements for the "stuffing" to come soon but I wanted to show you, give some links, and wish you a happy, healthy holiday season.

I hope I post at some point during it all (just don't count on it).

Festive Thanksgiving Yumminess Platter:

No Gobbles Here
(NOTE: scroll down within the posts for these goodies)

Spaghetti Squash (added a little more nutritional yeast and it tasted just like garlicky "Mac N' Cheez")
Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Grain-free, Vegan Stuffing (measurements to come)
Button Mushrooms

Sautee in olive oil until very carmelized/browned.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pin It

Easy Summer Gazpacho

Summer is here, thus I made some of this gazpacho last night. Like drinking the most delicious salad ever, it is! And so easy and yummy -- you'll barely notice that it's insanely good for you, too. It's all made in one shot in the blender, keeping you cool during the prep AND the slurp :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pin It I Ate This

Who: Your ever-loving veganized blogger
What: "World Famous Tofu Scramble" with home fries and toast (see pic above)
Where: Cup and Saucer in Portland, OR
When: this weekend
Why: I need to eat to keep on living and it may as well be delicious

Friday, March 02, 2012

Pin It Chocolate Balls! Two Kinds!

I have been really annoyed with the prices of pre-packaged bars. But they're so darned convenient! And I consider Lara Bars a pretty healthy, quick snack for Toddler V. Soooo, I decided to take a crack at these at home. I rolled them all into little balls, or shaped them into square-ish "bites." I'm happy to say, it was easy as pie to make, delicious, and portable! V loved them. Just firmed them up in the fridge and then put a few in a ziploc bag at a time and popped it in my bag. They came out tasting ridiculously similar to fudge. Success.



I had an idea.

I was wondering what I should do with my leftover almond flour. Before I knew it, I was just mixing ingredients like a madman. And heck, I ended up somehow with a super indulgent-tasting, gluten-free (as far as I know), high protein snack that tasted JUST like peanut butter brownies!

Here are the recipes.  Remember-- First set of balls: Fudgy! Second set of balls: Brownie-y! Both gluten-free as far as I know!

You'll notice that the "brownie" kind uses peanut butter as a binder, and the "fudgy" kind uses dates as a binder. However, you can just add a couple tablespoons of peanut butter to the "fudgy" recipe if you want, too. It's quite versatile.

And sure, you can make either of 'em "salty" if you want. ;) Just add a pinch or two.

I'm including just a pic of the "Lara" balls, since they both looked EXAC the same. And I totally didn't get a pic of the other one. Gobbled them up, I did.

Oh, and you TOTALLY don't have to go out and buy packaged almond flour. Suuuper expensive! Just throw almonds in the blender-- just don't blend too long, or it becomes a paste -- and you don't want that. Why am I writing like a valley girl today? No idea. Sorry about that.

"Lara" Balls

About 10 pitted medjool dates
1/4 cup walnuts (optional, but pretty essential to deliciousness)
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: chocolate chips, mint extract, peanut butter to taste

Blend together in blender or food processor. (You could actually chop and mush it all up without either of those devices, to tell you the truth.) Form into balls or more sufficiently chaste shapes. Suuuper easy. There I go again...

Brownie Balls

2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbs peanut butter (or to taste)
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup (or to taste)
Splash of milk (soy, almond etc) or water if needed

Mix everything in a bowl. You're gonna have to put your back into it to get that peanut butter all up into everything. Work it, 'cause it's worth it.

Form mixture into balls and pop into fridge.

Both recipes should keep for a few hours in a ziploc bag at a reasonable room temp.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pin It Curly-Sue

Wow. I've been hearing about soy curls for years, but I never got around to trying them until a year or so ago. A Mexican restaurant that caters to vegans (I know, awesome, right!?!!) opened near us and I gave their soy curl burrito a try. Heaven! They were just so tasty, and I get them every time we go there now. So when I was in the New Seasons bulk foods section recently, I spotted these lovelies and thought I'd take a couple of scoops home to try out. Not bad at all! I think mine tasted almost as good as theirs!

It wasn't hard to prepare these at all. I just boiled some water in a small saucepan, let it cool until it was just warm, and then added some soy sauce, garlic, salt and lemon juice. (Next time I might try boiling veggie or no-chicken broth instead of water for even more tastiness.). Dumped in about 1/2 lb. of soy curls and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then I fried up a large onion, diced. When it was a little browned, I added some garlic. A minute or so later, I added the (well-drained) soy curls. To my surprise, I found that they browned quite nicely -- so really go for it. I like my Lodge Logic cast iron pan which really makes it easy to brown stuff. And the browned curls were quite delicious.

Voila! Then you can use it in any recipe! I used it in a veggie thai red curry (pretty basic, but maybe I'll post about it later). My personal preference is to add the curls to the individual serving plates so that it doesn't get too soft/soggy. These have a great, "dry" texture. I probably shouldn't say this, but my husband actually thought they were chicken strips! Yeah, about halfway into the meal I asked him, "So how do you like the new soy curls?" (he knew I had bought them). He paused and said, "Wha? Soy curls? I thought this was chicken!" I don't remember what chicken tastes like, honestly, so I can't tell you if he was right. They are good, though.

And a close-up:

Does look a bit like chicken, eh?

Another goodie I have been making is a stuffed spaghetti squash. Squash has been on sale in all the supermarkets lately, so I've been taking advantage. So easy: just cook for an hour on 375 degrees. Then cut in half and scoop out the seeds and gook. Then scrape the flesh with a fork until you get a bunch of spaghetti-looking strands. Don't panic: they will be somewhat crunchy, and will stay that way. It's such a fun and interesting texture.

Then, sautee 3 minced cloves of garlic in about 2 tbs earth balance. Add flesh and sautee until almost cooked through. Add parsley flakes, about 2 tbs nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and (at the very end), a few good splashes of lemon juice. This is sublime. The pic doesn't begin to do it justice.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pin It An Early Vegan Thanksgiving!

If I was hosting a vegan thanksgiving this year, this would absolutely be on the menu. I was inspired by the ingredients in my fridge to create a yummy protein-filled dish inspired by Angelica Kitchen's famous, and fabulous, open-faced tempeh sandwich. (This awesome vegan restaurant has a cookbook, available on their site, and their recipe is on p.175.) I merely tweaked the marinade a bit, subbed mashed cauliflower for the mashed potatoes, and used a different gravy recipe using chickpea flour instead of rice flour.

This could easily be converted to gluten free by subbing in a wheat-free soy sauce. Everything really came out delicious -- the tempeh had sort of a buttery quality (in a good way), and the cauliflower tasted sublime with the gravy. I'm gonna pat my back on this one -- *pat pat* -- even if it wasn't totally my recipe -- what a feast! And meat-luvr Husband V actually devoured it -- and he hates tempeh. So yeah, awesome all around! Well, Toddler V was too picky to eat this, but back in the day, he LOVED this mashed cauliflower so I would try feeding it to your littles.

Note: If you're big eaters at all, I'd definitely double the recipe. My husband the human vacuum cleaner was licking his plate clean and sad when we ran out. And that was with me holding back a bit...not cool, not cool.

Marinated Tempeh with Mashed Cauliflower Platter

Prepare the following:

Marinated Tempeh

1 lb tempeh
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg's aminos
2 tbs agave syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tempeh into thin slices. Place the slices in a single layer in a glass lasagna pan. Pour marinade over it. Bake until the marinade is all sucked up, about 35 minutes. The tempeh will look nice and brown.

Meanwhile, prepare both of the following:

Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head Cauliflower
1/2 cup Earth Balance or to taste
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast or to taste
1-3 cloves garlic, whole (opt.)
salt or garlic salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

Rinse, and take the leaves and core off of cauliflower. Cut an "X" into the bottom, and place it into a small amount of water in a large pot. Cover and steam on medium low until soft. Add whole cloves of garlic to the water if desired. Place cauliflower and optional garlic cloves in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher, add Earth Balance and mash some more. Add all seasonings and mash until smooth. You can use a blender if you want this reeeaallly smooooth.

Vegan Chickpea Flour Gravy

I used this recipe, with the following changes:

---Reduced the veggie broth amount to 3 cups
--Eliminated the ginger.
--Didn't use unsalted veggie broth, coz I kind of love salt.
--Added a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast
--Threw in some parsley
--Some more specific cooking directions: after adding broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until desired thickness is reached, slowly. This is so good, you will want to eat the leftovers with a spoon (ahem...not that I did that..)

To assemble the platter/feast:
Place a scoop of mashed cauliflower in the center of the plate with tempeh slices coming out of it like spokes of a wheel. Cover cauliflower with gravy so that it runs down into the plate for tempeh dipping. Garish with dried or fresh parsley.

And have a Happy Thanksgiving! Just kidding.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pin It Breakfast of Champions...Chocolate!

Autumn is upon us, and for me, that means I'm starting to get the baking itch. That doesn't sound too appetizing, but...things are going well so far, anyway. I've been trying to up my protein level, and experiment with gluten-free recipes...and this one does great on both fronts. Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour was on sale for $2.50 a bag, and so was the 24 oz tub of Whole Soy & Co. Vanilla Soy Yogurt, so I decided to throw them together into a hi-pro snack. I call them Breakfast Muffins, but if you look at chocolate for breakfast as verboten, then just think of them as snack muffins. They are full of protein and all sorts of nutritional goodness, so they are a great way to start the day or get a boost during the day and really feel full. I really liked these, and Toddler V, who lives on air, kept asking for more! They didn't last this time, but when they do, I'll put them in some ziploc bags for some to-go snacky power-ups. For mom, too.

My sad, last muffin enjoyed with stovetop espresso

High-Protein, Gluten-Free Chocolate Breakfast Muffins

1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Vanilla Soy Yogurt
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup sugar

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine. Spoon evenly up to 1/2 of the level of a lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes a dozen or so small muffins.


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pin It 'Pacho!!

I made an amazing gazpacho the other day -- something I have been fantasizing about every summer for years but somehow never got around to. HELLO!? So easy!! And really good, refreshing, and versatile. Mr. V popped some defrosted cooked shrimp from Trader Joe's on top and was in heaven! I also provided a little bowl of chopped up veggies to sprinkle on top for extra crunch. Yum! Klassy. I would love to serve this in a fun way, like in a margarita or martini glass with a lemon or lime hangin' over the edge. Spectack.

I didn't get a pic, but I did get one of the chickpea salad I made tonight.

Quick N' Easy Gazpacho

5 vine tomatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 yellow, red or green pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups tomato juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs tamari
1 tsp, sugar
salt to taste
Old Bay seasoning (oh yes I did!) to taste

Pulse in blender for 10 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. You may have to do this in small batches.

Now on to the...

Chickpea Salad

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked
1 large red onion, chopped fairly fine
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large handfuls of grape tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
dried parsley and salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, marinate for at least 4 hours.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pin It Summah Time And the Livin' Is Easy

Grill, baby, grill!

This summer has been all about grillin'. What an easy and pretty healthy way to enjoy a meal on our brand new deck. The Deck has been more enjoyable than this ex-big city dweller could ever had imagined. What a pleasure!

What have we grilled you say? Everything!

Organics to you comes in on Tues afternoon and I marinate it and Mr. V pops it on the grill.

-Spring onions


Tofu has really been the MVP tho. Just get the super extra firm kind and it is just amazing. Top a spinach salad with it and you got yourself an amazing, filling, summer meal.

Marinade is easy:

Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Tamari (opt.)
Finely chopped garlic (opt. but DELISH (see below))
Agave syrup -- drizzled (opt.)
Old Bay Seasoning

BE GENEROUS and just dump all this up on there. Ain't an exact science. The longer the better for marinating time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pin It
Faux Tamale Pie

The tamale pie I made last night resembled the real thing in taste only. Not only was it made without meat or cheese, but also without all the corn! I've been making this lately with quinoa polenta. This stuff is sooo tasty and filling and GREAT for you! I had a ton left over and couldn't even finish it for lunch today. Best of all, it's super easy and quick to make -- a great mid-week staple.

Quinoa Vegan Tamale Pie

1 tube of quinoa polenta cut into thin slices
1 soy chorizo package
1 bunch spinach, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 jar tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package FYH cheddar soy cheez
nutritional yeast to taste
red pepper or tabasco to taste
optional - but delicious -- guacamole (mash avocados with some salt and a few drops of lemon juice)

Sautee onion in olive oil until mostly soft. Add chorizo and brown. Mix in tomato sauce and spinach and cook a bit longer. Add nutritional yeast and spices to a desired level. Layer in a glass pie dish or small glass casserole dish: first the chorizo mixture, then the quinoa. then the cheez -- repeat until all ingredients are used.

Bake in a 325 oven for 15 minutes or until cheez is melted. Add dollops of guacamole to each serving.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pin It Salad That Never Swam

I've been meaning to make tuno salad with chickpeas for years. I first encountered it in the 1990s at the Sri Chinmoy bakery in Queens, NYC. Interesting sect of people...they sure make some great vegetarian food! Unfortunately, their mock tuna salad was made with real mayo, so I never got to try it. They have a couple of actual restaurants with some real tasty vegetarian food, so if you ever find yourself in Queens, I advise you try them! Oneness Fountain Heart is's painted all blue...and it's yummy.

Here's my vegan version...really easy. Makes me wish I'd tried it much, much earlier. Next time, I'll try fresh chickpeas, though I suspect that "canned food" flavor is part of why it tastes so much like mom's tuna sammys from back in the day!

Mock Tuna Salad
1 can chickpeas
3 tbs vegan mayo
1 tbs sweet relish
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dijion mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
2 stalks celery, chopped in small pieces
1 tbs red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
fresh dill to taste
tiny pices of nori to (desired fishy) taste

Mash chickpeas a bit with potato masher. Add mayo and mash until a slightly chunky consistency.Stir in remaining ingredients. This recipe is quite personal and can be adjusted any way you want in order to resemble the tuna you remember. Add bits of carrot, scallions, raisins...whatever!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Pin It Orjeg -gy Goodness!

No, that's not a typo. It's just how my just-turned-two-year-old says "orange." I had a hankering for an orange muffin, and I did something about it, dammit! Also I've committed to making more baked goods with ground flax seeds in order to get all that goodness into my little guy's diet. Unfortunately, even though he was excited about "chocolate cake!" -- he licked all the icing off and left me the soggy, drooley cake, lignans and all. Yeah, thanks, kid.

This was loosely based on Angelica Kitchen cookbook recipe for orange and poppyseed layer cake. If you're ever in NYC and haven't been, you must RUN NOT WALK to Angelica's Kitchen in the east village immediately. It is the mecca of vegan food as far as I'm concerned: it was where I first tried tempeh in 1994, and undoubtedly was a major influence in my vegan conversion that year. You leave this restaurant on a high from its fresh, local ingredients, and consciously prepared food.

In 1999 or 2000, they published a cookbook, and I stalked the restaurant until it finally was available (it was delayed for a bit). It was expensive for a poor schmo like me, but I would've paid a lot more. Now, although armed with their secret recipes, it's difficult to convert my kitchen to Angelica's. They use some pretty hard-to-find and expensive ingredients, and everything is so labor-intensive and time consuming.

But when I can, mmmm boy. It's like I'm on East 12th street all over again.

Orange Muffin/Cupcakes With Frosting
(Adapted from The Angelica Home Kitchen by Leslie McEachern p.260)
4 cups unbleached flour
1 tbs plus 1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbs ground flax seeds mixed with 2 tbs water
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line cupcake pans. Wisk wet ingredients together in small bowl. Wisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Add wet to dry, and mix to form a batter. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups halfway. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.

1/4 cup earth balance
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
2 tbs orange juice

Get earth balance nice and fluffy in a mixer. Add sugar and OJ until desired consistency.
When muffins are cool, ice them. Let sit a while for best flava.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pin It I've Got Crabs!

Crabs...cakes, that is! I'm not sure if I've ever eaten them but I've been intrigued for some time about whether they could make a good vegan snack. Sure do! I'd like to keep experimenting with egg replacers, but these turned out pretty egg-cellent if I must say so myself!

I made some Asian cole slaw on the side -- inspired by an Asian slaw served alongside real crab cakes in Real Simple magazine. I shredded red cabbage in the ol' food processor and added rice vinegar, sesame oil and salt to taste. A perfect compliment to the fried cakes!

Vegan Crab Cakes

2 cups zucchini, shredded
1/4 cups tofu, crumbled
Egg Replacer for 1 egg (I used ground flax seed mixed with water)
1 tbs. vegan mayo
1 1/2 tbs Old Bay Seasoning (found it at Safeway)
1 1/2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp parsley, chopped fresh or dried
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup minced white onion or thinly sliced chives
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
2 sheets Nori, crushed into little pieces (or more to taste "more fishier")

First, place your shredded zucchini in a collander and sprinkle with some salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then squeeze out as much water as you can, using paper towels if needed. Mix zucchini, tofu, egg replacer and panko well. Then add the rest of the ingredients, shape into small, flattened ovals. Try coating these patties in a layer of plain panko. (I found it tasty with and without this step)

Fry until well done and crispy. Drain on paper towels. I served with some vegan Russian dressing (vegan mayo mixed with ketchup). This worked excellently, but any creamy, sweet sauce will do!

[Edit] I recently tried vegan tartar sauce with this and it was great! Just mix vegan mayo with some pickle relish, finely chopped onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Pin It Chick Pea Paradise!

Well, I made fresh chick peas yesterday. It's usually the only thing I'll eat canned, but oh my, have you tried these things fresh lately? Sooo nutty and flavorful. I fried a bunch up with salt and paprika in olive oil --- heavenly. And then used the rest for this hummus recipe. I used very little water because I like my hummus thick (like my men...j/k!). It was really great, and such a treat to eat warm. I finally broke out my food processor, after MUMBLE MUMBLE years. And so far, what a treat! It took like five minutes to make the thing. What a powerful machine! I really look forward to using it more.

Anyways, so a tip in case you lose track of your measurements along the way (which I did), is that 1 cup dried chickpeas = 2 cups cooked. Easy! I soaked them over night and then cooked as the directions called. It didn't take long at all to cook -- I wonder if using a smaller pot than I usually use to cook beans was the reason? Another tip -- after I brought it to a boil, I skimmed off the foam.

I left out the pine nuts because I'm not a huge fan.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pin It And...We're Back!

We just started up Organics2U again and I thought I'd share a rad recipe that Lady Martha Stewart conjured up...and I veganized!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I would really give this recipe a try. Its fun, festive looking...and my picky-beyond-the-pale toddler actually took several bites, too. Success!

This Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash was pretty awesome! I used squash and onions from my O2U box. All I had to substitute was cheddar soy cheez for the parmesan (I just sprinkled a bunch of daiya pre-shredded cheez to taste), I used a whole onion, and I used a boatload of Earth Balance to sautee it in. Really, try this -- you'll look super fancy pants while serving your guests something hearty and vegan!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pin It
Verde Vegan

Tonight I threw together an Italian dish inspired by a recipe in Real Simple magazine this month. I love this mag! I got it for $5 for a year subscription on Amazon. It has so many helpful tips, and quick recipes. This recipe is so easy, I won't type out the measurements and all. All you have to do is boil up some linguine while you sizzle some garlic in olive oil in a pan. Then you add chopped bite-sized pieces of asparagus and saute until almost done. Then add chopped fresh spinach. When pasta is done, drain and return to its pot. Mix in asparagus/spinach/garlic mixture and add some garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Voila! I also steamed an artichoke that we picked at as a side dish. Sometimes I make dinner into WAY too much of a production. Who has the energy every night? Throwing something like this together made me realize that dinner can be cheap and easy if I just keep it Simple. Real simple. Hhahahahahaha!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pin It
Makin' Takeout

I made a really good Chinese dish tonight - - and what's up with me making things that taste like meat lately? My husband has never "complimented" my cooking by saying it tasted like meat EVER. He likes vegan food, but he's pretty bummed I he never comes home to some steak and potatoes. So yeah, he told me he could have been fooled this was chicken! It was good anyway :)
If that's the taste you're going for, I would recommend a heavy, sugary sauce, like a General Tsao's. Or use this in place of chicken strips -- maybe dipped in some BBQ sauce? Organics2U items in red as usual.

Tofu "Chicken" and Broccoli with Baby Bok Choy
1 block tofu
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into florets
4 baby bok choys, ends chopped off, leaves separated (the more the better)
Cornstarch (see directions)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp sesame oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
sesame seeds (opt.)
red pepper flakes (opt.)
2-4 cups rice

Slice tofu into width-wise pieces about 1/2 inches thick. Place pieces on a large plate, cover with 3 paper towels and cover towels with a large soup pot and frying pan for weight. Leave while chopping veggies, mixing the rest of the ingredients for the sauce, and preparing rice in the rice cooker.

Remove paper towels and cut each slice into thirds to make 3 squares. Cut each square into 2 triangles. Place triangles in a plastic ziploc baggie. Shake in a little cornstarch. Gently shake bag so cornstarch to lightly coats tofu triangles. If you need more, add more sparingly. 

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan generously with olive oil. Heat on medium until  hot and then carefully add as many triangles that fit comfortably. Be patient and leave them to fry on one side until that side looks well done. Then flip with a thin spatula. Do the rest in batches and remove to a paper towel-lined plate when done. Meanwhile start steaming the veggies. Be careful, as they will steam quickly. Take out when about 3/4 done. Add to frying pan with more oil or water if needed. When done to your liking, add sauce to warm and then add tofu. Plop on generous helping of tasty rice. Spoon on extra sauce if needed.

Oh, and if you don't have it -- you gotta get a rice cooker! Perfect every time. I have a Zogirushi and I love it. Make sure to follow their recommendations and 1) rinse rice and 2) when done, fluff rice and then close cover again for a bit to re-steam.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pin It
You Can't Beet 'Em 

It's been a while, but I had to share a dish I made for dinner tonight. It's probably more of a side dish, but we ate it as our main meal. I could've used a bit more, so doubling the recipe would be a good idea if you want to serve two people a hearty meal. I'll bold the organicstoyou items again just for fun.

Middle Eastern Side Dish with Green Chard

1 bunch of Green Chard 
4 beets (roots only)
1 can chick peas
1 avocado 
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, smashed and then minced
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
lemon juice 
soy sauce
garlic salt
cayenne pepper
olive oil

Wash off excess dirt from beets, place in baking pan and bake at 400 for 1 hour or until a fork can go in about half way or more easily.

Meanwhile: Rib the chard and discard the ends only. Chop ribs into small pieces, rinse, and put aside. Do the same for the leaves and keep separate. Chop garlic. Drain and wash out chickpeas. Chop parsley. Halve avocado, pit, carefully remove "meat" and slice lengthwise into about 6 slices per half. 

When beets are done, dunk in a bath of very cold water and then peel the skins (should come off fairly easily with fingers).

Sautee garlic in olive oil. When half done, add beets and chard ribs. Cover and cook until mostly soft. (this took longer than I expected!) Add chard leaves and cook until mostly wilted, then add chickpeas and cook through. Add a touch of paprika and cayenne pepper according to desired spice level, garlic salt to taste, a splash of soy sauce, and then shut off heat and add several generous splashes of lemon juice and the parsley.

Garnish plates with avocado.

The whole mixture will turn nicely pinkish -- this was fabulous!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Pin It What else is in my magic box?

The next veggie in the OrganicsToYou box...kale (o2u vegs in red)! This ultra-nutritious veg made a great tofu omelet. I steamed the kale beforehand, but a saute with some garlic would have been divine.

Then I gave Baby V a soft, juicy pear. Loved it. One left.

My husband had a blood orange (yum!) and a tangerine. And all the apples.

And last night I made the broccoli with some garlic as a side dish...with Tofu Chicken Cutlets.

OK, I have never said this before but I almost could have been fooled by these cutlets. They tasted sooo much like the ones my mom made when I was growing up. I don't miss meat, but it was still good, and quite a trip down memory lane. So here it is. It's not the most exact recipe, but you'll figure it out. It sounds involved but it seemed to come together pretty quickly.

This recipe served two of us but we could have used some more, so you might want to double it. Also, I didn't freeze/defrost the tofu in advance but that might help, even though these were perfect! You might be able to stick to fatter pieces that way, and still remain very firm.

Extremely Realistic and Quick
Fried Tofu Chicken Cutlets

1 lb. tofu
panko breadcrumbs
nutritional yeast
cayenne pepper (optional)
Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Imagine No-Chicken Broth

Slice tofu block into 1/4 or 1/8 inch slices (1/4 will be more meaty, 1/8 will have a firmer texture). Cut those slices until you have about 6 rectangles per large slice. Arrange in one layer on glass baking tray. Cover with broth and put in fridge for as long as you can. 1/2 hour was all I had and it was fine. A day would have been better.

When done marinating, put in 375 oven and bake until juice is gone and tofu is firm. When cool, arrange 2 plates -- one with plain flour and one with nutritional yeast, panko, basil, oregano and garlic salt. Be very generous with the garlic salt and spices. So, the plate should be mostly nutritional yeast, a little less Panko, and flavor it all with the spices so that it's very flavorful to taste. If you like a kick, add cayenne pepper. Make a small bowl of Bragg's mixed with a touch of broth.

Dip cooled strips into flour, then Bragg's mix, then panko mix. Fry in veggie oil until crispy. Remember, you've baked the tofu already so you just need to quick-fry the outsides. Easy.

This doesn't need sauce or anything, since it is extremely flavorful. A blander side dish should balance it out. A creamy vegan mac and cheez might be nice for a vegan junkfood night!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pin It OrganicsToYou...IHeartYou!

OK, I've only received my first box so far, but I'm loving my OrganicsToYou! Wow! A big box filled with organic, and mostly local, vegetables and fruits is just so exciting to me. I feel like this is really going to force me to use fresh produce in ALL of my cooking. C'mon lazy bones, let's do this!!!
So I went a little buck wild and used a bunch of the ingredients in one meal last night. This soup was cozy, filling, delicious, and easy. On a rare snowy night here in Oregon, what else can you ask for?
P.S. - I'll highlight in red what was from THE BOX!

IHeartOrganicsToYou Hearty Chickenless Soup

2 turnips, peeled and cubed
1 onion, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 leek, white part only, chopped (would have used a couple more if it had been in there)
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
8 small, cute carrots, chopped into rounds
1 beet, peeled and cubed (this was a great addition, so if you have more beets, I would add a beet or two)
1 1/2 boxes of Imagine No-Chicken Broth
Nutritional Yeast to taste
4 squirts of Bragg's Aminos
2 squirts of Lemon Juice
Paprika to taste
Garlic Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Pat of Earth Balance
Olive OilS

Sautee onions, leeks and garlic in Earth Balance and Olive oil until translucent. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Sautee for a bit. Add Broth, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all is cooked but firm.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pin It Well, looks like I haven't posted much for the month of December. My excuses include the fact that I didn't have internet for much of the month, and that Baby V was teething and had a cold and has decided he can go whole days without a nap at not even 1 year old.

But to recap...baking fever came over me this month! From what I hear, this condition is normal around the holidays. The only cure: sugary, fatty delicacies. The cool thing is, instead of dialing up the internet to see what the ol' gal has to offer, I found recipes on backs of boxes and in newspapers and magazines... and veganized them to death! Being limited to less than infinity was fun and strangely liberating!

So here is one particularly successful one - Chocolate Biscotti from Parade Magazine, which was inserted into The Oregonian. Here is my suggestion though -- for Biscotti you have to bake the dough twice. However, I of course did not have the willpower to resist tasting after the first baking and it was SOOO delicious at that point. So, while it was great and crunchy as biscotti, I would suggest just baking the dough as cookies. I don't even usually like chocolate cookies and I was in heaven.

My final note before the New Year is that I spent an obscene amount of money at the grocery store the past two times I went, due to holidays and gift cards and just loading up the cart. I'd like to try this challenge and see how it goes. I've done something similar before, and it's actually pretty fun -- you have to get creative! My loving husband got me Organics To You for my birthday this week, so I will have fresh veggies, but I vow to do little to no shopping besides that! I think I might be needing some more olive oil and earth balance, though. But no shopping besides that! Probably.

Chocolate Biscotti (Or better yet...Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies)

(Instructions note: "In a pretty tin, these twice-baked cookies keep their crunch for over a week")

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (I used the dark chocolate variety)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp. (3 oz) earth balance, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

1- Sift together dry ingredients. Beat earth balance and sugar together until very smooth, then mix in applesauce well. Mix in dry ingredients until blended. Fold in chips.
2- Divide dough; put pieces on opposite sides of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Shape each into a 12-inch-long, 1/2-inch thick log. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes; cool 20 minutes.
3- Slice into 1/2-inch thick cookies. Stand them up on baking sheet; bake for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
4- Devour!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pin It
Well well, we had quite the traditional Thanksgiving day over here...if Asian food is your traditional Thanksgiving!!! And I bet it's NOT! I guess if you're not eating turkey, nor seeing your family, and you and your spouse are lazy and busy with an infant, it makes sense that we ended eating a few Asian appetizers for the Day Upon Which We Give Thanks.

So, I made a couple of Korean dishes that I love, and one very interesting take on a traditional Thanksgiving appetizer, courtesy of Veganomicon {a book I don't (but need) to have!}

This spinach salad was really good. The only alterations I made is that I salted the boiling water, and I left the spinach in a tad longer than indication. Also I toasted the sesame seeds before using. This is one of my favorite Korean appetizers and I was so happy to make it myself!

This cucumber salad is so refreshing and delicious. Alterations is that I doubled the recipe, I cut the cucumbers into half moons by cutting it lengthwise and scooping out the seeds and then chopping each half. I didn't use cilantro because I despise the stuff in general. I marinated in the fridge for a while before adding sesame seeds. And I added a dash of sesame oil to taste.

The piece de resistance was truly the panko stuffed mushrooms. I've had some panko breadcrumbs in my cupboard for a while now so it was a perfect way to use them. I didn't use much daikon but it didn't matter -- this was really a treat! I probably could have cooked the mushrooms a bit longer but I thought the stuffing was getting dried out/burnt. If I was less distracted I would have tested to make sure. Oh, and I used red pepper flakes instead of white pepper and it was fine, with a nice tiny kick.

Next year we'll do the usual. Having a baby and no family for thousands of miles has sure shook things up a bit. But next year Baby V will be more aware, and I like the traditions because they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside -- turkey corpse be damned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pin It I love, love, love Thai Food. And Pad Thai is so yummy. I decided to whip up a batch with the Thai noodles I got for real cheap with my Whole Foods coupons/sales. It really tasted authentic! My Pad Thai freak of a husband loved it -- eaten as leftovers (this makes a ton!) the day after because he got too full of beer at an after-work function to eat dinner...and passed out on the floor with the baby crawling around and pulling up on him. This was my Friday night.

Ah, romance.

Vegan Pad Thai

1 medium onion diced
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
1 block tofu, crumbled
10 oz. Pad Thai (or medium sized rice) Noodles
4 tablespoons Tamari
4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
1 packet of miso soup paste (my Annie Chun's soup had an extra packet in it. I'm sure about an oz. or two of miso would function the same)
1/3 cup raw sugar or an equal amount of tamarind
lots of red pepper flakes
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
vegetable oil
toasted sesame oil

Boil water for noodles and, in a separate pot, steam broccoli until done. Sautee onions and garlic in mostly veggie oil mixed with a bit of sesame oil until almost done. Push this mixture to one side of the pan, and on the other, add crumbled tofu and sautee until firm and cooked into a scramble. Pour in the broccoli. Whisk the rest of ingredients in a small bowl vigorously until smooth. Prepare noodles as indicated on package. Then add noodles to mixture and mix. At the very end, toss in the sauce. Add more spice if desired.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pin It I made a quick n' easy tamale pie last night, inspired by the tamale pie recipe on the back of the cornmeal box -- but way easier.

Alls I did was layer thin slices of those prepared tubes of polenta with Soyrizo crumbles (on sale at Whole Foods)that I sauteed with onions, garlic, some tomato sauce and tobasco sauce. In between the layers I added a bit more tomato sauce. Topped the whole thing off with tons o' soy cheddar, and baked it at 325 for 10-15 minutes. Easy! Quick! Yum! Non-vegan husband loved this and he is somewhat picky and hard-to-fill.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pin It I've always been frugal (read: cheap/poor as h-e-double hockey sticks), but nowadays I am really focusing on how to save the most money...especially on food. I had no idea there were so many wonderful blogs that detail EVERYTHING about sales and coupons, where to get them, links etc. I haven't looked too hard, but I have had some trouble finding health food ingredients. So I thought I'd add a few coupons I find every once in a while. I live literally a few blocks from Whole Foods, and even though it is rightfully nickmamed "Whole Paycheck" by all my friends and the media -- it really is a pretty good store. And I find I can get things at a basically reasonable price if I 1)Only shop sales 2) combine with coupons. I almost never buy anything full price here because otherwise we will be in La Maison Pauvre (Chez Pauvre?) tout de suite.

I really made out like a bandit with the coupons they give out in their flyers the last two months. For instance, this month I paid about 80 cents for Lara bars, my quick brekkie fix for when I'm on the go. I have never spent that little, and in fact, I have spent as much as $2.50 for them in a pinch at a bodega in NY. Whoopsie.

But anyway, here are a few deals I found.

Annie Chuns soups were 2 for $4 (trader joe's is cheaper but doesn't have the same selection of flavors) - this came with a mail-in offer for Buy 10 get 1 Free. Also came with $1 off 2 bottles of Honest Tea coupon. (Did you know Honest Tea started out as a university project? I think it was Harvard School of Business.)

Any Earth's Best cereals or teething bars have a buy 10 get $1 off coupon for their jarred baby food, which I occasionally use when out of fresh ingredients -- Baby V actually really enjoys these!

Now for the coupons. Look for booklet-type things out in front of the store. (I'll only mention food ones and only those that are vegan):

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER WHOLE FOODS COUPON BOOKLET ("The Whole Deal")- abridged for vegans

$1 off 365 Everyday Value Maple Syrup
This was on sale for $6.99 last I checked. $5.99 is pretty darn cheap for maple syrup these days

$1 off 365 frozen waffles
eh, i'd rather make pancakes from scratch

75 cents off Thai Kitchen product
I bought rice noodles which were on sale cheap already. You could conceivably get their individual soup mixes that are like 95 cents and barely pay anything.

$1 off Back to Nature product
Never ate these

75 cents of Scharffen Berger or Dagoba products
Yum! Quick fact -- Steve? Scharffenberger is a doll. In my career days he sent me lots of free chocolate and was a very nice person. Did I mention he sent me free chocolate?

$1 off Lundburg rice
Not sure if this is a good deal

$1 off 2 Tasty Bite Products
The Bombay Potatoes with chick peas are da bomb! They were on sale for $2.50 each so these coupons made them only $2.00. Sweet.

$1 off Cascadian Farm cereal
Why is cereal so expensive? So cheap and easy to make your own granola.

$1 off Earthbound Farm Packaged Salad
This was already on sale so I got one. My confession: I am not a huge salad person, even tho people seem to think vegans all are.

75 cents off Imagine products
Got a veggie broth for my husband - he makes a fun veggie potato soup.

$1 off Vans waffles
Again, fro waffles not my style. These are good and vegan tho, if you like.

$1.50 off 2 health valley products

$1.00 off 3 Luna Bar products.
Used three of these and got 9 bars. They were already on sale for close to $1 so it was a steal!!! Even cheaper than Trader Joe's, which always have Luna and Clif Bars for $1 each.

Happy Health Food Shopping!!!

Oh! And here are some great coupon/savings sites. Will add more later:

babycheapskate blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pin It I just wanted to give a quick shout out to a great resource for baby vegans. is SO detailed -- perfect for a nervous new mom like myself. Breaks everything down by each and every veggie, fruit, grain, and protein and how to prepare,recipes, nutritional info, at what age it is safe, and any safety issues surrounding it. While not 100% vegan, this site is truly amazing and the main place I get my baby-feeding info (along with Dr. Sears' "The Baby Book" -- though not nearly as comprehensive).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pin It I made this dish courtesy of Food & Wine magazine tonight. I rarely even find veggie dumplings at the Chinese joints out here -- and I'm sure I wouldn't be impressed. No offense, Chinese joints in PDX -- but your food is lackluster at best. Just a conduit/front for your bars and your lottery machines. Sad but true. Veggie dumplings and/or fried rice used to be my staple delivery item in NY for when I was feeling ill or just hungry. Ahh delivery...another thing I miss. The ultimate in laziness and debauchery -- sitting in my bed watching cable TV waiting for the Chinese dude to climb 5 flights of stairs to bring me my doughy, delicious dumplings alongside sweet and vinegary "dumpling sauce," and then proceeding to gobble them down in said bed in front of said cable TV, sauce dripping down chin. Yeah, I was a dynamo back in my single NYC days for sure...

Anyhoo -- My substitutions were: frozen spinach instead of fresh, dried red pepper flakes instead of jalapenos, tamari instead of regular soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil instead of regular. I put the frozen spinach in a collander and ran hot water over it, pressed it into the collander and squeezed as much water out as I could. Then I sauteed everything first, since I have a phobia about frozen foods not being cooked, or cooked enough. So it was all cooked twice, but was still really delicious. Stumbling upon this recipe reminded me of the time I went on a press tour to Whole Foods in Chelsea in NYC. They were just starting to roast their own coffee in store -- Allegro brand. The Food & Wine peeps were on the tour and they were pretty cool. I couldn't be jealous of their jobs though because as a vegan I could never work at a "real" foodie mag. But I digress. The toasted sesame oil really makes this dish and -- truthfully -- any Asian dish IMHO.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pin It One of the best, cheapest places for a veggie to do brunch in NYC is Kate's Joint on Avenue B. So many delicious memories of stumbling in there hung over from the night before, or just the work week, and being served a sumptuous vegan breakfast, Sunday sun shining through the windows, rock on the speakers and coffee brightening my spirits. Yup, bottomless coffee and a veg bloody mary came with all the breakfast specials! Inevitably I would get the breakfast burrito with tofu scramble instead of egg. Served with rosemary potatoes and some fresh made salsa, it always hit the spot. The other day I decided to make my own breakfast burrito and it was surprisingly good -- almost better in a way!

All I did was sautee some crumbled tofu in earth balance with nutritional yeast, a little turmeric and paprika. Then I added a well-drained 3/4 can of black beans and mixed it all up. Threw it into a pre-made tortilla. Whirred up some nori-mu tofu with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and maple syrup -- this would be the soy sour creme. Was overzealous with the lemon juice but it didn't matter much once spread in the tortilla. Served with jarred salsa. I bet soy cheddar would have made it over-the-top awesome. I could tell that Kate's froze and thawed the tofu beforehand, and seemed to add parsley. But this version was fine, too.

Now to make the rosemary potatoes WITHOUT rosemary (used to pick this vile weed off each and every potato ). And soon I will start up my bloody marys again. I make some great vegan ones. Easy peasy recipe to come.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pin It I have a very emotional attachment to Israeli Cous Cous, as my Nanny made it for us many times throughout my childhood, just litely browned and with margarine. That reminds me - I have the instructions for stuffed cabbage I got from her a while ago and I need to veganize this treasure.

So, since acorn squash is popping up we go with a stuffed acorn squash recipe! Oh, and I didn't, but this would be great and healthier (actually, the correct term is more healthFUL. A person is healthy. A food is healthFUL. How's that for nerdity?) with another green veggie added in.

Israeli Cous Cous Stuffed Squash
1 acorn squash
1 1/4 cups Israeli Cous Cous (mine from TJ's)
2 large red onions
earth balance
olive oil
many cloves of garlic
nutritional yeast
garlic salt
ground pepper

Cut acorn squash in half with knife and hammer. (Yup! Only way I can do it, but maybe I'm a weakling.) Put halves face down on baking dish with 1/2 inch water. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes or more.

Prepare cous cous according to package. Fry up with olive oil, onions, garlic and spices. When squash is ready, scoop out most of it (throw away or roast seeds and discard the yuck-yuck) and, in another pan, sautee in butter, spices until a nice consistency. Add as much of the cous cous mixture to this as you think you'll need to fill the 2 halves. Fill the halves with the mixture of cous cous and squash and grate soy cheeze on top of each (be generous -- it's delish and not overwhelming at all!) Bake for about 10 more minutes to set. Enjoy! This was really yummy and tons of yum Israeli cous cous mixture left over.
Pin It This time of year, the cravings start for decadent desserts, too! I made these brownies recently, and they were as chocolatey and chewey as I remember "real" ones to be. Veganized!!!

Brownies with "Buttercream" Frosting

1 cup white flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's extra dark)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted earth balance
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup water

Frosting ingredients:

1/3 cup earth balance
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons vanilla soy milk

Mix dry brownie ingredients and wet separately, then combine. Will be pretty thick and gooey. Grease a pan with a l'il earth balance and bake at 350 until a fork or toothpick comes out dry from the center and the edges seem somewhat hard and crispy (and delicious!).

Meanwhile, beat all frosting ingredients except sugar, syrup and soy milk. Then slowly beat them in in that order. Experiment with maple syrup and sugar amounts because I had this hurtin-my-teeth sweet.

Take brownies out of oven. Here's where you got options. If you want a glazed look and feel -- spread icing on brownies while hot. Let cool. If you want thick frosting, leave brownies to cool overnight and frosting in fridge. The next morning, beat the thickened frosting until smooth and spread. Either way it's great! I did both because I couldn't wait.
Pin It My husband loves a hearty meal, especially when colder weather comes around. Here is an easy, cheap favorite that always lasts at least 2 days.

Chorizo Pasta

1 package soy chorizo (Trader Joe's or Soyrizo)
1 lb penne rigate pasta
3 or 4 yellow squash, cut into small pieces
2 medium onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup tomato sauce of choice
red wine to taste
nutritional yeast to taste.

Start boiling water for pasta. Sautee garlic, onions in olive oil in a large frying pan. Brown chorizo. Add squash, wine, a little water, and tomato sauce and cover. Cook until squash cooked thoroughly. Add nutritional yeast. Serve over pasta.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pin It
Growing up, we never ate anything called a "casserole" or even a "pie" for that matter. My Bronx-born-and-raised mom just didn't make that sort of thing. Except a frozen chicken pot pie on nights when she just wanted to give up on us kids. Anyway, as a vegan, I've really enjoyed making veganized versions of such things (thank goodness no cream of mushroom soup involved - ew...). And when I scored some yummy-looking summer squash at the farmer's market, I thought a squash casserole/pie would be a good idea. And mmm was it ever!

Vegan Summer Squash Pie/Casserole
7 small-to-medium squash (I used a mix of zucchini and yellow but either alone would be fine, I'm sure)
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
cheddar soy cheez (I used Follow Your Heart)
earth balance
olive oil
1/4 sleeve ritz-style vegan crackers

Wash squash and chop into thin rounds. Chop onions into half rings. Mince garlic. Preheat oven to 350F.
Sautee first the onions, then the garlic, and then the squash, in 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 earth balance to generously cover bottom of large frying pan. Add salt to taste if you like.
Spread one layer of sauteed ingredients in glass baking pan (I used a pyrex pie plate) and cover entire layer in shredded cheddar soy cheez. Do the same with the next layer(s) until done. Add crushed crackers to top layer of cheddar. Bake at 350 until cheez is bubbly and top is crisp. My stove took about 15 minutes.

I ate this by itself but it seems like something they would tell you to "serve with crusty bread." Enjoy! This is simple but really, really tasty.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pin It I just wanted to quickly share another quick lunch idea. Take one package of tempeh and cut into 1/4 inch strips width-wise. Then cut the entire thing length-wise. Sautee in a pan with olive oil until about 1/2 done. Add some soy sauce and sautee some more. Then sprinkle vegan cheddar cheez all over and coat tempeh with it as it melts. Add some garlic salt if desired. Serve with ketchup and voila! As a dinner, this is great with mushrooms and/or spinach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pin It I had an idea for a post last night in one of the many, many sleepless moments after the baby wakes me up and before I can find my way back to sleep again.

I had a job for which I traveled fairly extensively for several years, and I thought I would try to detail the kinds of foods I ate as a vegan in the different countries I visited. I usually would tack on a vacation to my business trips, so this includes those travels (and some I did on my own) as well.

To be fair to the countries listed, this may not be currently accurate since some of my travels were as far back as 9 years ago, but it could be a fun exercise for my memory. So here goes.

Disclaimer -- As a vegan I often had to go "off the grid" so-to-speak and eat other types of cuisine than those of the country I was visiting.


(multiple cities):
Cheap, cheap delicious espresso and beer and wine. And Port! Most of my trip was spent imbibing.

As for food, not a lot of options here, though I do remember eating at a decent cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant in Lisbon, in which I learned the word for soy (soya or soija?).

Great bread, olive oil and tomatoes. A couple of places had some fun veggie appetizers swimming in olive oil but I can't recall what they were. Was probably in espresso/beer/wine-induced haze.

When I needed more veggies (which was on most days), I stopped in a Chinese restaurant. In fact, I probably have visited a Chinese restaurant in almost all these countries. I suppose the Chinese have migrated all over the world, bringing their veggie-laden cuisine with them.

Spain (multiple cities):
Delightful, awesome, succulent olives EVERYWHERE. Huge ones I called "turkey olives," which is about how much I know about olives, I guess. Nice.

Remember ordering a lot of "vino tinto."

Tapas bars were usually a place to find food -- I remember a spinach and chickpea tapas dish that was fairly prevalent. One time in Seville I got some sort of toasted sandwich that I asked them to hold the cheese or whatever, which ended up just delicious. Mainly bread, tomato and olive oil, and the woman looked at me like I was absolutely nuts for leaving out the "best" part. Her tapas bar was really cool, very old-fashioned, it seemed, with a bar and stools like an old soda shop and just set up on the street, like a little kiosk. I remember a lot of garlic and olive-oil soaked mushrooms I think?

Decent falafel in Barcelona, actually. Oh yeah, and more Chinese food.

Italy (multiple, tasty cities):
Wow, the capital of cuisine, period. New York City is really a culinary haven but Italy, you have the Big Fat ol' Apple beat. Everything you put in your mouth here just tastes amazing. Oh stop with your dirty little mind...
Seriously though, from fried veggies, to fresh veggies sauteed in olive oil, to mushrooms, to pizza without cheese that is not something you order "special" like here -- it's all divine. I won't even get into the wine. Or the bread. Or just how the people here enjoy life and food, lingering for hours with family and friends over food and beverage and music. Loved it. Hope to go back one day.

And yes, I did partake of their Chinese food and I remember enjoying some sort of fried salty Nori dish? With rice it was really tasty!

Had limonchello on the island of Capri (supposedly their specialty?) and would pass on that if I could. Way too sweet -- like melted lemon sorbet in a shot glass.

The Netherlands (specifically, Amsterdam):
Great granola and dried fruits at breakfast. I admit that's all I can remember of Dutch cuisine.

But Indonesian food abounds here! They invented tempeh (right?) so it was pretty easy to find some great vegan fare. I remember being grossed out at a red pickled egg dish my co-workers were eating while I was still jetlagged.

I had one of the best falafel sandwiches I ever had, go figure.

I don't remember if there were any vegan "brownies" but I bet there are these days...

Australia (multiple cities):
Vegemite!!! On toast!!! Lots of toast with jam and/or Vegemite. Isn't this actually MSG? Too lazy to find out. I wonder if it's truly veggie since I bet "natural flavors" are involved. Anyway, I loved it. And the name sounds...super. Go Vegemite!

Many packaged cookies and sweet bars were baked with margarine and thus technically vegan -- bad for you but good when you're desperate for something sweet. Which I often am. OK, always am.

Oh! And they have those pies, not sure what they are called, but little pies that are filled with things, like veggies, that you dip in ketchup that was just yummier out of these cute little packets and I think some hot sauce, too.

I believe I remember veggie burgers at a few places. Veggie stir-frys.

Lots of tea and coffee.

England (multiple cities):
In London, lots of Indian food and decent veggie options. I remember eating broiled? mushroom and tomatoes at some bed-and-breakfasts which were pretty yummy. I think in Canterbury, specifically.

Scotland (Edinburgh):
Chinese, bro! I think I remember potatoes but I really can't remember what else? What a wonderful city though -- beautiful people.

France (multiple cities):
Yum - espresso. Some okay salads. Divine bread, and tomatoes and olive oil (the usual). I think I didn't do too well here. I think some garlicky mushroom side dishes? Lots o' butter and cream to be avoided.

Yup, more Chinese.

Belgium (Brussels):
Pommes Frites! Supposedly better sopped in clam juice but I'll pass, thanks.

I remember some great dark chocolate filled with hazelnuts and such.

Japan (Tokyo airport):
OK I was only at the airport but I would LOVE to visit one day. Had a funny buckwheat soba dish. I say funny because it was in a 2-level plate that had a certain way you were supposed to dispense the soy sauce-based sauce onto it that I totally failed at. Oh, and all their dishes were in the showcase made of plastic and shellac-ed or whatever! So Japanese...

Switzerland (I suppose Geneva Airport?):
Only at the airport also but had some great dark chocolate of course!

Singapore (its own capital city - didja know?):
I spent most of my time at the hotel and in the malls connected to in by underground tunnel (common in sticky Singapore). At the hotel, they catered to many nationalities and the food there was really yummy - they had congi, great miso soup and Japanese pickles, and beans and toast. Also an Italian food restaurant. Pretty well done, too. Go figure.

Singaporean cuisine is not very specific I think -- Chinese and Indonesian pretty much -- I remember good tofu dishes, a stuffed eggplant thingy, and YUM coconut juice in a coconut when on the town. There were a lot of vegetarian places, even with mock meats.

India (various cities):
This goes without saying. I could go on and on and on about India and its many gifts to vegetarians. Eating homemade food from the (Indian) families' gardens in the himalayas were one of my greatest pleasures, ever. Did you know in India they drink water AFTER the meal is over? Ice cold water is a no-no, too. Room temperature is the norm. Doesn't shock the organs. And you're really supposed to eat with your hands. Correction: hand. Left hand is a no-no. Should be reserved for your...bathroom usage only. I actually saw someone get offended by someone using their left hand to eat. And nodding your head "no" means yes. Sort of. But I digress.

Nepalese/Himalayan cuisine is damn yummy, too.

Some highlights elsewhere were a super fried okra and paprika dish, and a fun common breakfast of potato curry with Puri (puffed, fried bread). Divine mangoes for brekkie, too. And lots of young coconut juice -- which is crack as far as I'm concerned. I would seriously mainline that sh&t.

Sorry I can't come up with the actual terms for everything right now. Dumb, dumb American...

Costa Rica
(multiple cities):
I remember a lovely vegetarian rice and beans plate with sublime avocadoes and plantains. Love plantains.

Dominican Republic
(Punta Cana):
Yucca and other starchy veggies, beans and rice dishes, fantastic fresh fruits and veggies. Watermelon and canteloupe juice are just the best, best, best.

I'll post more/edit if I can think of anything else.

Pin It I just wanted to mention a very quick lunch staple I make. Despite my fear of cans, it's just too tempting. Full of iron, protein and b-12, it is the perfect lazy lunch. Just pop open a can of chick peas, fry up in a pan with some olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic salt and paprika and BOOM, your tummy is full. Chick peas are one of the best items that keep a good flavor canned, methinks. Pic to come.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pin It Well, I had a little Baby Vegan this year, so my extremely infrequent posts became nonexistent. We now have a digital camera (behind the times much?), so I'm excited to finally be able to post some photos. I've also been really behind on my cooking due to a little mini person who takes up ALL my time and does not like me doing anything but tending to his needs, but I've gotten a bit better at it as of late, so here we go. The last couple of things we've enjoyed have been an (almost) 7-layer dip and sweet potato salad. I bought the sweet potatoes because Baby Vegan is starting to eat solids now and that is one of the foods you're supposed to start off with. Well, he hates it so far (sorry, but no pics yet of him covered in orange gunk and flinging it around like a monkey flings poo) but we loved our salad...

Easy (Almost) 7-layer dip

1 package Fantastic Foods Black Beans
1 package Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo
2 medium onions
1 tub Tofutti Sour Cream
1/8 block of Follow Your Heart Cheddar, shredded
3 avocados
lemon juice
garlic salt
jarred salsa
olive oil

Prepare beans as directed on package. Make this your first layer, preferably in a glass baking pan.

Dice onions and fry in olive oil. When translucent, add chorizo and cook through. This is your next layer.

Spread shredded cheese as your next layer. Then add the tub o' 'futti.

Mash avocados and add garlic salt and lemon juice to taste. Spread on top. If ya wanna be fancy, make a nice design in it with yer fork.

Dollop some salsa up on top of it. I used a spicy gourmet chipotle kind from Whole Foods.

Chill and serve with your favorite chip and/or crudite.

Next up....

Cold Sweet Potato Salad

3 lbs. sweet potatoes
2 medium onions
4 tbs lemon juice
olive oil

Peel and cube all potatoes. Bring water to boil in large pot. Add some salt and cubed potatoes. In frying pan, fry up onions in olive oil. When translucent add paprika, turmeric and lemon juice. Drain potatoes. When cool, add onion mixture -- be sure to include oil -- and toss. Chill overnight in a flat glass pan. Sprinkle more paprika on top if desired.

Summer's still here -- enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pin It
Usually I try to spend as little as I can on a meal while cutting down preparation time and stuff needed to make it and number of plates and pans and stuff since we have a major budget and a dolhouse-sized little kitchen with no counter space. And no dishwasher, and I really hate washing dishes. We might be moving soon though, to a lovely place with a DISHWASHER and COUNTER SPACE -- so this might all change. Keep ya fingas crossed.

Anyhoo, here is a quick meal I "make" from Trader Joe's. Basically a japanese/macrobiotic-style thang. Basically.

Dumplings with Scrambled Peas and Tofu
1 package trader joe's veggie dumplings (frozen)
1/2 block of tofu
1/4 package TJ's frozen peas
1 - 1/2 chopped onions
Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste
A few pinches of Curry powder (turmeric, etc)
Garlic powder to taste
salt to taste

I follow the directions on the veggie dumpling package and use sesame oil. Last time it worked a bit better where I steamed them, but with a little oil so they don't stick to the steamer pan.

I stir fry the tofu, mashing it right in the pan with the peas and onions. I put the frozen peas in first with some water but basically I fry it all together with some Braggs, curry powder (or turmeric) and salt and garlic powder and it works out just fine. I serve the tofu thing and the dumplings on a plate with a little Bragg's for the dumplings but they didn't really need it. Too tasty.

This other quick and easy meal has a Mexican theme. I used Fantastic Foods' taco filling, which can be bought very cheap elsewhere, esp. outside of this city but I bought last minute at local overpriced health food store, so I paid a little over $2 for it, but I thought it was worth it.

Taco-less tacos featuring avocado salad with corn-on-the-cob

1 box Fantastic Foods taco filling mix
3 or 4 small tomatoes
2 chopped onions
2 avocados
olive oil
Salt and pepper
dash of lemon juice
olives and juice to taste
tons o' garlic (pre-peeled from TJs = EZ)
tomato sauce
2 corns on cob
Guiltless Gourmet chips
Earth Balance margarine.

Chop tomatoes and avocados into bite-sized pieces and in a medium-sized bowl add this mixture to onions, vinegar, oil, parsely, salt, pepper, a small handful of olives, chopped and some olive juice. Mix well, put in fridge.

Make taco filling following box directions, adding some tomato sauce and chopped garlic for added flavor. Use a little more oil than recommended.

I made the corn by boiling for a minute or 2 in a pan. Came out great.

Serve avocado salad OVER the taco filling. Serve corn on side with margarine.
Serve with chips on side.