Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Persimmon Loaf

I received a couple bags of persimmons from my boss and also from my sweet neighbor. My neighbor's kids picked them at a friend's farm- so cute!

So I had to let them get uber-ripe and I started to get impatient! But the first batch finally ripened up and I made this beautiful persimmon bread. I got the recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and it was so easy, moist, delicious, and a crowd pleaser. I got several, "You can't even tell it's vegan" comments. I was like,  "yeah, because vegan food is awesome!" ;)

I slathered each piece with Earth Balance, but it was good plain too.

The next batch of persimmons is ready and I'm going to make persimmon soup! Should be interesting!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Collard Greens & Sausage Pizza- Whoa!

I am officially obsessed with collard greens! I made the most delicious pizza with them. Here's what I did:

I rolled out store bought dough into a 'rustic' shape (I'm no perfectionist) and spread a couple tablespoons of tofutti cream cheese over it.

I sauteed the collards with fresh garlic and salt in 1 tsp olive oil, added a handful dried cranberries and then slices of Field Roast apple sausage. I added a splash of shoyu and then spread it all over the dough. I cooked it for about 17 minutes and some of the bits of collards got really crispy. It was divine!

This is my new favorite pizza.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Autumn in a Bowl

I think this meal just screamed AUTUMN!! It was warm and comforting and colorful and good!

The bean dish is an adaptation of a common macrobiotic dish- Azuki Beans and Squash. This was my first foray into soaking beans overnight and cooking them. I've only used canned beans in the past. It was fun to make them from scratch and I will be doing this a lot from now on.

I used acorn squash for this dish. It was sweet and hearty. The greens are collards. I sauteed them in a touch of sesame oil and a clove of garlic, and a hint of shoyu. Both dishes are garnished with toasted acorn squash seeds. After I cut the acorn I rinsed the seeds and dry pan-roasted them with a splash of shoyu- so yummy and a perfect accent to the greens!

I ate this meal for days!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

7 layers of heaven

I made a miniature 7 layer dip inspired by a recipe in The Kind Diet (I'm not sure mine actually had seven full layers...). This was supposed to be my dinner one night since I made about a quarter of the actual recipe. I ate this for FOUR meals! So you can imagine how big of a crowd the full recipe would feed!

I won't quote the entire recipe here, but 7 layer dip is pretty standard and made several changes to the recipe so I'll describe what you see in the pics.

This is a side view before I baked it. In a small Pyrex bowl I layered black refried beans, fresh avocado mixed with key lime juice, Tofutti sour cream mixed with a couple tablespoons of Bearitos Taco Seasoning, and Nacho Teese. I then baked it for a while until everything was hot throughout.

Then I added a layer of salsa, kind of in a heart shape...

Lastly, and I consider this a layer :), I ate it up with Have'a Corn chips- my favorite corn chips with a hint of soy sauce and lime.

I ate until I was full and there was so much left over. The next meal I crisped up an Ezekiel tortilla and cut it into wedges, the next meal I ate it cold with a toasted whole wheat tortilla and then just a spoon!

This was my first experience with Teese. I liked it okay. It has a slightly strange tang to it, and I think the dip would be just as good without it. The spiced-up sour cream gives it enough 'cheesyness' on its own. But it was still YUMMY and satisfied many cravings!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes Rock!

Chipotle Mashed Sweet potatoes are a staple of my Thanksgiving feast! I have been making them since 2002, the year I got married and the first year I cooked my very own Thanksgiving dinner all on my own. (for 45 people, no less!!) I have since veganized and adapted the recipe. It was originally from the magazine Cooking Light. This recipe serves about eight people. There really are no hard and fast measurement rules here… you can use more or less of pretty much everything depending on how creamy, sweet, spicy, etc. you like your food.

Here is my version of this savory/sweet/spicy dish:

  • 1 40 oz can cut sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained and rinsed (Bruce’s makes organic canned potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup (or less) plain non-dairy creamer (like Silk Original)
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup (or less) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Place potatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat. While they heat up, mash them a little with a wooden spoon.

Add creamer, EB and lime juice and mash to desired consistency (at this point I use a hand mixer. An immersion blender would probably work awesome here, unfortunately, I don’t have one.) Cook until heated thru, stirring nearly constantly.

Remove 2 chiles from can and chop (I try to get most of the seeds out at this point, too); reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. Stir chopped chiles, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon into potato mixture.

PS- I had the leftovers heated up with a chopped Field Roast Apple ‘Sausage’ for breakfast and it was truly divine!

PPS- I made these last Friday for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck and they were a huge hit- even though there were no other vegans/vegetarians in attendance. I forgot to take a picture! I’m making them again for actual Thanksgiving, but wanted to get the recipe posted before then… sorry!

PPPS- Please feel free to use fresh sweet potatoes. I have done it both ways and honestly cannot taste the difference. The canned potatoes are just so easy and quick to work with! If you choose to use fresh ones, just peel, chop and boil till tender, then drain and proceed from there.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa

I made something that I think might be my new favorite thing to eat, ever!

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa!

I mixed about 1/2-3/4 cup pumpkin puree with a tablespoon of brown rice syrup, about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and about a 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk. This alone would make an awesome sweet pumpkin soup/pudding snack or dessert. But to ramp up the filling-ness and nutrition factor- I poured it over cooked quinoa for breakfast.

As I was preparing it the night before I had to force myself to stop eating the pumpkin mixture so there would be something leftover for breakfast! I am such a fan of anything pumpkin and have been really craving it lately. Fall will do that to ya, right? This would be good over any cooked grain you like.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Meal from The Kind Life- Success!

The other night I tried my hand at a recipe from Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Life. I made the Ginger Zucchini Pasta. It was so simple, clean, and awesome! It has an Asian-y taste because of the Shoyu and ginger. The recipe makes two servings so it was perfect for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. I will definitely be adding this to my regular weeknight rotation.

It isn't super colorful since it is primarily whole wheat pasta, tofu and zucchini, but it is colorful in your mouth! The next time I make it I will probably have a side of veggies or a salad, for more color, but as a quick, healthy, filling meal- it is a hit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I’m getting busy with the whole grains!

Quinoa with apples, agave, spices and soy milk- where have you been all my life?

I had some cooked quinoa in the freezer (it held up quite well) that I wanted to use up. I also wanted something quick to put together last night to take with me to work this morning for breakfast. So I put about 1 cup of quinoa in a pyrex bowl, added a giant chopped Jonagold apple, about a ½ cup unsweetened soy milk, about 3 Tbsp Agave syrup ( I went a little crazy with this on accident- but it was nice and sweet!), and some ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. When I got to work this morning I heated it in the microwave and the apples got nice and soft. It was seriously good!

 you can always click on the photos to see a close up

For lunch I got inspired by The Kind Diet’s ‘Clean Mean Burritos’. I had some simple black bean soup leftover from lunch a couple days ago, so I strained a ½ cup of the beans, added a ½ cup brown rice, and then some chopped veggies- romaine, jicama, red pepper, radish sprouts. I drizzled all of this with some of my sesame vinaigrette and wrapped it up in a warmed Ezekiel tortilla. Hearty, filling, yum. I don’t know if I could ever get tired of rice and beans and their infinite possibilities!

 The beans are there in the middle and the rice is at the bottom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veggie Pot Pie- I love you.

For dinner a few nights ago I made a veggie pot pie. The temperature outside is just barely getting a slight chill in the air here in South-Central California, but it feels autumn-y and I’m workin’ it. Pot pie is autumn comfort food at its best, right? I took a traditional chicken pot pie recipe and adapted it to be a little healthier and, of course, chicken-free. I used Smart Balance Light to make the crust, but only as much as seemed necessary and I used whole wheat pastry flour. I also only put a crust on top- even though I REALLY LOVE a double crust pot pie… *sigh*.

the crust is 'rustic' :)

For the veggies I used the traditional carrots, celery, onion and peas. I had it for dinner and then breakfast the next morning. It made an awesome breakfast!

I really enjoy eating dinner-type foods for breakfast. They seem to fill me up and satisfy me better and for longer than 'breakfast' foods. I'm going to continue to work with this recipe to make it even healthier but still 'comfort-food-ish'.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Usin' up the leftovers and last bits!

Seriously delicious food day today. My meals today were a combination of food inspired by The Kind Diet (lots of whole grains, veggies, non-processed foods) and leftovers (which is also very 'kind diet-ish' as Alicia advocates using up everything and getting creative with leftovers!).

I started my morning with some oolong tea. Coffee just sounded icky to me today. But the oolong has just enough caffeine since it is a mixture of green and black teas.

For breakfast I had brown rice and a mashed sweet potato. I put a tiny bit of Earth Balance and cinnamon on the potato. I cooked the rice using the 'excess water' method, where you cook it like pasta and drain when it's done. Turned out awesome and it only took 30 minutes instead of 45! I added a tiny bit of soy milk to the rice and kind of mixed the two as I ate. This was so delicious! I also had a cup of Morning Thunder tea after breakfast. This had a good amount of caffeine and I still wasn't ready for any coffee. It was also my last bag of Morning Thunder.

For lunch I had a sandwich with the last of the mock tuna salad I made last week on Ezekiel bread, and a yummy salad of romaine, purple cabbage, jicama, red bell pepper, radish sprouts and zucchini, with a sesame vinagrette I whipped up last night (olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, dijon, agave, salt).

I didn't eat all the salad and later I got hungry and used the leftovers to make a wrap with an Ezekiel tortilla as my afternoon snack. I had a third cup of tea this afternoon- Tummy Mint. (keeping with the theme, it was my last bag of Tummy Mint, too.)

not wrapped up yet

wrapped up 

After hitting the gym for some light cardio and a stint in the sauna (still 'detoxing' :)), and to bring the day to a close, I had the last of the Pumpkin Pasta from last week (cannot wait to make it again!!) with some cubed extra firm tofu and cubed zucchini thrown in. I added these items at the last minute so they would heat through, but so that the zucchini would stay mostly raw and crunchy. Yowza- it is still sooooo good!

 there is a hunk of ginger root in the background... 

I think I have finally fully recovered from my rowdy weekend!

I'm too old for this... ;)

Oy Vey did I have a doozy of a weekend (but it sure was fun!). I overindulged on Friday night and also stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime. I paid for it the rest of the weekend. I just “had” to compensate with greasy food all weekend and lots of lying around doing nothing but recovering this old bod.

Last night I decided that I just needed to ‘detox’. Now, there is nothing about my ‘detox’ that is scientific in anyway, it is simply things that I’ve always done that make me feel better when I’m hungover, ill, or generally icky feeling.

I started with a dry brush full body scrub. Starting at my toes with a dry sisal brush and using short, firm strokes toward my heart I brushed my entire body. That always feels good. I do this a couple times a week anyway. Then I did something called a Hot Body Scrub that I read about in Alicia Silverstone’s new book, The Kind Diet. It is essentially scrubbing your body from head to toe with a hot, wet washcloth. It felt really nice and invigorating. I’m going to incorporate this into my grooming routine now.

After the double body scrub actions I took a nice steamy shower. I closed the door in my little bathroom to let the steam build up. I took lots of nice deep breaths and just relaxed and ‘detoxed’.  Afterwards, I applied some antioxidant serum to my face, moisturizer to the rest of me and put on my nightie and fuzzy slippers. I made some hot lemon-ginger water with agave syrup and sat on the couch while I soothed myself.

Finally, getting to bed at a decent hour, I woke up mucho refreshed and back to normal this morning! Yay. Just in time to start incorporating Alicia’s ideas from The Kind Diet, which I will talk about more this week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Pasta Perfection!

Breakfast, lunch and snacks were the same today as Monday (except I didn't make juice and ended up super hungry all morning!). 

So- check out my new lunch tote bag: Smurfs! Only a buck in the $1 section at Target. It is the perfect size, just big enough to carry my breakfast and lunch and snacks to work and it is washable! I feel like I seriously scored with this find. My 7th birthday party was Smurf-themed and I have always been a fan!

I also recently received a $50 Target gift card as a thank you for my roll on a project at work and I used it to purchase a variety of sizes of covered Pyrex dishes- to house leftovers in the fridge and freezer and to bring my meals to work. I got rid of all my icky semi-disposable plastic storage containers (recycled the ones my city program will except) and couldn’t be happier about my new containers. 

Another random tidbit- I donated blood last week. It was the first time since I have gone veg and guess what? My iron was higher than it has ever been in my blood-donating years! In fact, the last time I tried to donate when I was still eating meat- I got rejected because it was low! Take that people who freak out that I’m not getting enough protein or iron!

Now on to food: I made some seriously delicious Pumpkin Pasta for dinner tonight. I got the recipe from this post at The Palatial Palate. I subbed out whole wheat rotini for the penne since I had it. I also added two tablespoons of raw sugar because I like even my savory pumpkin dishes a little sweet. I also added the juice of one key lime to brighten it up a touch. Other than that I followed the recipe and it was super easy and I wanted to eat more, more, more!! I restrained myself though... I will have it again for dinner tomorrow- I think I'm going to have it for breakfast tomorrow, too! I'd eat it for lunch but I have a lunch date. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Everything I ate today!

Well Vegan MOFO is over and I did- eh- ok for my first time and without any planning, I guess. I definitely slacked off there at the last half of the month, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to post or was too lazy. I was busy and due to the busy-ness, I just wasn’t making blog-worthy meals. Anyway, on to something new…

Since I log my food daily for Weight Watchers, I figured I could blog about it too. This way I can have a visual record of what I’m eating- and really see how balanced (or not so much) my diet is. What seems to be working, what leaves me hungry or tired, etc.

Yesterday I busted out and dusted off my grandmother’s old Champion Juicer (thanks, Grandma!). I made some carrot/apple/cucumber/key lime juice and it made me feel so vibrant and healthy! With the time change I was able to get up early enough this morning to make myself a nice glass- I added in some celery, too.

I juiced:

3 small carrots

1 large celery stalk

1 large cucumber

1 large jonagold apple

2 key limes

It made about 18 oz of juice- and about 2 WW ‘points’. A really yummy way to start off the day. I sipped this all morning- while I was getting ready for work and then on my drive to work and then finished it up at my desk.

I waited about an hour or so and then made myself a pot of coffee- when I say ‘pot’ I mean a tiny French press which makes enough for one mug. (I drink organic dark Sumatra- my all-time favorite!) I drank this with a splash of unsweetened soymilk, sometimes I use Silk Creamer- Original flavor. Along with my coffee I had a bowl of steel cut oats (I make a double batch the night before since it takes 30 minutes to cook) with soymilk. This was satisfying and filling for another couple hours.

Around 10 o’clock I had some jicama slices and fat free spicy black bean dip. This was so delish it was worth the effort of peeling and cutting the tough outside of the jicama yesterday. I sliced it up and now I have easy snacks for the rest of the week.

I ate lunch at noon-ish. I made something I’ve wanted to make since my veg conversion- Mock Tuna Salad. I made the recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch which calls for grated parsnip and then some other typical tuna salad ingredients (celery, onion, sweet relish). While it is slightly reminiscent of tuna salad, it is absolutely delicious! I used just enough reduced-fat Vegenaise to hold it together. Spread onto two slices of Ezekiel bread it is a hearty lunch! (I have to admit that I ate it with a few potato chips- I just love a sammy and chips lunch- reminds me of childhood) Alongside, I enjoyed a nice navel orange.

By 3 o’clock I’m always ready for a snack so today I had half of a Sweet & Sara Peanut Butter S’more and another cup of coffee. I don’t often drink a second cup of coffee- but I’m babysitting a 6 year old and a 3 month old this evening… so I have a good excuse.

Dinner was one of my go-to and favorite stir fries. Szechuan tofu with sweet potatoes. I peel and cube a medium sweet potato and then partially cook it in the microwave (if I’m pressed for time- which is usually). Meanwhile I cook minced onion and garlic in a bit of cooking spray. When the onion is translucent I add the potatoes, then I add other fresh veggies- red or gold bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, whatever is on hand. Finally, I toss in a serving of Pete’s Soyganic Szechuan tofu (sometimes I use the teriyaki variety, sometimes I use plain tofu, but the Pete’s has just enough sauce to flavor everything and it is so easy). I add a dash of salt to taste and voila. I had it with a tortilla tonight because I was in a hurry to get to my sister’s house to babysit my darling baby niece and nephew. But I also eat it with couscous, quinoa, brown rice, jasmine rice, you get the picture.

I feel really good about today’s eats. Lots of produce, plenty of whole grains, plenty of water. And I stayed well within my Weight Watchers Points allowance.

And PS- I finally ordered Alicia Silverstone’s book since it apparently is not available at Borders OR Barnes & Noble in my town! It should arrive soon and I’m super excited to devour it. In the meantime I’ve been devouring her new site! Check it out-

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ooooohhh- Curried Butternut Squash & Coconut Milk Soup!

I've been craving some spicy, autumn-y, creamy soup- even though it is still in the 80s where I live... it feels like fall...

I've had some frozen mashed butternut squash in the freezer for a while. Butternut squash is totally in season and this would have been awesome to use fresh squash, but since I had the frozen on hand AND it is such a time saver, I used it.

Here's my recipe:
  • 1 T safflower oil
  • one onion chopped ( I got a bunch of onions for free that someone at work brought in... we get a lot of random local produce around these parts- bonus!)
  • one clove of garlic chopped
  • 2 T fresh grated ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 c champagne
  • 2- 14 oz cans veg broth
  • 2- 14 oz blocks frozen mashed squash (thawed)
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp course kosher salt
  • 1- 14 oz can light organic coconut milk
  • 2 T lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Saute the onion, garlic and ginger until soft- about 5 minutes. Add the curry and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Add the champange and reduce for about a minute. Add the veg broth and stir. Transfer to a large blender and blend until veggies are pureed or mostly pureed. (a tiny bit of texture is fine). Pour back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the squash, sugar, and salt. Cook 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and cook 5 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and serve. Add more salt to taste if needed.

Voila! Delicious, easy, perfect-for-autumn soup! I will eat this for days with some hearty whole-grain toast spread with avocado. I might add some diced smoked tofu if I feel like I need a protein boost some days.

You really can't mess this up and the recipe isn't an exact science. You could experiment and add different spices- maybe some cinnamon or cardamon to autumn-it-up even more?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vegan Chili & Cornbread Feast!

Vegan chili and cornbread- wins over the Omni every time!

I am not afraid to call myself an awesome chili-maker. I have been making chili for years. I rarely make the same exact recipe twice. My favorite is a three bean version that is a veganized hybrid of a Rachael Ray recipe and a Better Homes & Garden recipe. I'll make that sometime soon now that it is getting cooler around here...

I recently received a cute little print out of a Spicy Tofu Chili recipe from my co-worker and a little packet of Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. See, the recipe was from the Mrs. Dash website or something. My co-worker knows how I love tofu, so she was sweet enough to print the recipe and give me the right amount of the Mrs. Dash so I wouldn't have to buy a whole bottle for the recipe.

I happened to have all the ingredients yesterday and decided to make it for dinner. (It's a super fast recipe!) I also whipped up a batch of Double-Corn cornbread from my beloved Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (I LOVE that book and it is what I grew up learning to cook from. So many of the recipes are incredibly easy to veganize!) All I did was use EB, soy milk, and egg replacer in place of butter, milk, and eggs...

So my husband and I usually eat different dinners- not just because I don't eat meat and he does- it's mostly because we just have different taste in foods in general. But he loves my chili and cornbread (all the different variations) so he was raring to go when I asked if he wanted to have it for dinner. He ate a big 'ol bowl of chili with chunks of tofu just brazenly obvious! :) I didn't even have to try to hide them, the chili was just THAT good! :) and the corn bread? I'm sure he never even thought there was anything un-traditional about it (even though he subconsciously has to know that there is...). He said, "This corn bread is GOOD." And proceeded to eat about half the 9x12 inch pan of it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mexi-Cabbage & Polenta

I LOVE cabbage. It is my favorite veggie, probably. I eat it almost everyday. I generally buy the pre-shredded 'slaw' mix that also has bits of carrot in it because it is so easy to throw into almost any dish and I really like it heated with BBQ sauce as a taco/burrito/sandwich filling.

So, when I saw that Lindsay of Happy Herbivore had a recipe for Quick Mexican Cabbage, I HAD to make it and it is now a total staple! It is a perfect meal all by itself as it is filled with veggies, beans, and awesome flavors! I made a huge batch of it and had it for dinner and then lunch the next day over sliced, crisped polenta discs. So delish! I have enough left for another meal soon, too.
Here is the Quick Mexican Cabbage in the pot. You can see the cabbage and carrots, black beans, corn...

Here are the (blurry, sorry) polenta discs- they are crisping up in a generous spray of olive oil cooking spray.

And finally, here is the finished product!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bear Mush!

Bear Mush is actually just a cute name for Cream of Wheat. I really like cream of wheat! And I really like that Arrowhead Mills calls their hard red wheat cereal Bear Mush. It cooks up super fast and I can make it the night before and then re-heat at work in the morning. That's what this pic is... Bear Mush with soy milk and golden raisins in a coffee mug- at work. 
I am going to try some recipes a la Chocolate Covered Katie's fancy oatmeals. Check out the link to her adorable blog over to the right. I'm thinking Banana Brulee Bear Mush sounds pretty delish!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Veggie-ism Saves Lives!

I'm taking a break from blogging specifically about food I eat to talk about some AMAZING news I got from my mom today.

Although she is a beautiful 62 year old lady, with gorgeous silvery-platinum hair and hipster glasses, she has struggled with some health problems for a long time. She has suffered from very high (like dangerously high) cholesterol and the medicine she was prescribed for it made her feel like she was "dying". She is also diabetic and has to take medication for that. (those are the two main problems, but there are others...) My grandma died pretty young of diabetes/heart disease related complications, and my mom did not want to end up that way. I think five out of the seven of my mom and her bros and sisses have diabetes.

My mom has experimented with vegetarianism a few times in her life, but never really put her heart into it. Earlier this year she read Eat Right for Your Type, and her type (as is mine) is recommended to eat a nearly vegan diet. She decided to try it and became a vegetarian with vegan aspirations (like me!). She started feeling better. As I started to transition further into veganism, I'd share recipes with her and we also started going to lunch at our (one and only) local vegan restaurant about once a week or so. (she even got my 'very omni' dad to go to their weekend brunch and he's met us there for lunch during the week!)

Then I read Dr. Barnard's Reversing Diabetes, which advocates a vegan diet for reversing diabetes (obviously) and also pretty much every other health condition. After I read it my mom read it. She was convinced even more that she should be completely vegan. (she's not quite there yet, but probably about 90-95%)

So today she had a doctor appointment with her long time doctor- its been about 6-9 months since she last saw him- and guess what??? Her cholesterol is 148!!!!! That is nearly perfect! And before it was so high, even with the medication that her doctor was afraid she was going to die! Her blood sugar levels are very good, not quite 'normal' but better than they have been in years, and she has lost 10 pounds! Way to go MOM!! And all of this is with only about 6 months of a vegetarian diet and about 3 months of a nearly vegan diet.

If my mom isn't proof that eliminating animal products isn't amazing for your health, I don't know what is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

BBQ flavored soft tacos

On Mondays and Wednesdays I go to a three-hour long night class after work. I have about one hour in between work and class so I have to get home, relax for a sec, make dinner, eat, do any homework, chores, etc. and then drive across town to class.

Needless to say, I need a super fast but nutritious dinner on these nights. Almost every Monday and Wednesday I make my BBQ flavored soft tacos. They take about 10 minutes- max! and are soooo yummy, filling, healthy, and low in Weight Watchers points. :)

I start with a light spritz of cooking oil spray and saute a big handful of shredded cabbage and carrots (slaw mix). I add about a half of a nice red or gold bell pepper and let the veggies get crisp-tender. 
Then I add in one or two servings of LiteLife Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles. (I usually get the Mexican Style) Finally, I add about two tablespoons of BBQ sauce and heat through. 

I spoon this delicious mixture into heated tortillas. I LOVE white flour tortillas, but know that I should eat whole wheat or multi-grain more often, so I have one white and one whole wheat... 
It has been almost four hours since I ate these, and I'm still feeling satisfied!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spicy Crusted Tempeh Bake

No post yesterday- I forgot to take a pic of my dinner before class because I cooked it and ate it while I was talking to my mom on the phone! But- it was delicious and simple enough to cook and eat while chatting, so I will definitely post about it soon. It is something I eat regularly.

But tonight, I finally made the Spicy Crusted Tempeh Bake I've been wanting to make for a while. It was good, too. I got a new stove top griddle/grill (it's reversible!), so I made it on that. Here's a photo of the potatoes and the crusted tempeh on the griddle:
I used chile powder, ground thyme and salt as the seasoning for the potatoes and the tempeh. For the tempeh I made some breadcrumbs and mixed in the spices before wetting the slices with water and then coating and placing on the griddle. I sprayed the slices with some olive oil cooking spray to help the crumbs crisp up a little.

The potatoes came out delicious, but the tempeh needed to be finished off in the oven (that is how it was supposed to be cooked- but I wanted to use the griddle so bad!). The tempeh was a little dry, but the flavor was nice. I dipped both the potatoes and the tempeh in BBQ sauce.
Next time I'll probably steam the tempeh first and then follow the recipe more closely, but all in all, for a quick dinner when I was starving after the gym, it was good. I should have had some veggies too, but I forgot till I was already eating it... :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Dinner I *Almost* Made

I was totally going to make a dish called Spicy Crusted Tempeh tonight for dinner that I found on the Weight Watchers website! How awesome is that? They actually have a ton of vegan and vegetarian recipes for WW members. I can't wait to try some of them...

But, I didn't make it because after another long day at work (but I met my tradeshow deadline! yay) and then a banking near-miss with my husband's paycheck (crisis averted- phew!), I decided to go to the gym with my husband to blow off some steam and also because he asked me if I wanted to join him so how could I say no? So I was still planning to make the crusted tempeh, but then David said, "I'm just gonna grab a sub sandwich for dinner" and I was like, "me too, then". :)

So I had a nice big sub on a wheat roll with spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers and lots of pepperocinis (how do you spell that?), and spicy Russian mustard (I added that at home). It was nice to just come home, doctor up my sammy, and sit on the couch and stuff my face!

So another less-than-stellar Mofo post... but I feel way less stressed than yesterday and I think I'm going to shower and then enjoy a glass of champagne while I read the new Lucky magazine and chill on the couch! (and I'll probably make that tempeh recipe on Thursday...)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Like These...

I have had a crazy stressful day... without going in to too many details, I'm on a crazy deadline at work and also, some jerks at work decided that our resident kitties are causing an odor issue and they have to go, and I could go on. But I won't.

Instead I'm going to talk about my new favorite treat! (sorry this is a bit of a MOFO cop out, as I'm not talking about something fabulous that I made...)

Turtle Mountain's So Delicious Banana Split Mini Sandwiches. They are tiny non-dairy ice cream sandwiches made with coconut milk. They look like Neapolitan sandwiches, but the flavors are strawberry, chocolate and banana! At first I was like, "oh- it is so teensy. I'll have to eat three!" But really, one is enough because they are very rich! You can still taste a hint of coconut in each flavor, which I LOVE! Coconut is one of my favorite things.
They only have 100 calories each (2 Weight Watchers points) ;) and are the perfect end to an evening. When my stressful day is done here in about 3 more hours... I'm going to have one!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Asking for What You Want... Not as Scary as I Thought!

When I go to a restaurant- which is pretty often- I have been hesitant to ask for special changes to menu items to veganize them. I will order something that is already vegan- like a roasted veggie salad or pasta marinara. I have asked for cheese to be left off or a vinaigrette dressing to be subbed for a creamy one, etc., but that had been the extent of special requests, until tonight.

We went to one of my favorite restaurants- a quaint, local Italian place with a live accordion player on Friday nights! I just love it there, but generally order the one item that I didn't have to make many changes to, except ask them to leave off the parmesan. The problem was, this dish is just spaghetti with LOTS of olive oil, a few red pepper flakes and garlic. It is REALLY oily and pretty overpriced for what it is...

So tonight I asked for the thing I always want to order- with a pretty small change- but was kind of afraid to ask for before. The original dish is penne with fresh veggies in Alfredo sauce. I asked for marinara to be subbed for the Alfredo and any and all parmesan or other cheese to be left off. The waiter was like, "no problem!!" And the dish came out perfectly- tasted delicious (I have more than half left over for lunch or dinner tomorrow)- and was such an easy adjustment for the kitchen to make.

I was really proud of myself and now feel more empowered to ask for what I want.

Slaw & Salsa Sammy

I did not start out thinking that my dinner last night would be even remotely blogworthy... but once I put it together it was so pretty and I knew it was gonna taste awesome! So I decided to take a pic.

(Now, just a note about most of my pictures, I used my iPhone so they are sometimes a bit blurry because my hand is not so steady, the color isn't always great, etc. BUT if I am going to take a pic this is the only way it is usually going to happen because I can just quickly email it to myself and then upload to the blog versus plugging in my camera, uploading, etc., so sorry they aren't always great... :)

One of the few fake meats I do enjoy are the Boca Chik'n Patties. Last night I needed a quick and satisfying dinner so I decided to make a sammy. On a toasted Orowheat Multigrain Sandwich Thin (they are like a super thin hamburger bun- but heartier), I layered some warm BBQ flavored coleslaw (shredded cabbage, carrots and BBQ sauce heated up till cabbage is soft), a Boca Chik'n patty, and a couple spoonfuls of mango/papaya salsa. Oy Vey! It was soooo good. Sweet and tangy from the salsa, sweet and tangy from the slaw, and comfort food-y from the patty and bun. I think this might be a new go-to meal-in-a-hurry staple!

(in the back ground of the plate is a toasted tortilla and some black bean dip)

PS- I've met my 5% goal on Weight Watchers! If anyone is interested in learning more about WW and vegan/vegetarianism- just let me know!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

scrambled tofu over polenta- Mexi-style!

I decided to start off Vegan MoFo with a bang! Mexican flavor-inspired brunch!

I have been craving polenta lately, so I thought this would really hit the spot. I made the basic tofu scramble from Vegan Brunch (which uses cumin- my favorite spice- and it definitely can help add a smokey- Mexicany flavor), then spooned it over slices of polenta that I had panfried with just a little cooking spray. I drizzled over a few tablespoons of Trader Joe's roasted tomatillo and yellow pepper salsa and topped with 1/4 of a fresh avocado. The finishing touch was a sprinkle of course kosher salt. This would have been awesome topped off with some vegan sour cream- but I didn't have any on hand and was too hungry to take the time to make any.

It was sooo flavorful, yummy and satisfying! It really did hit the polenta-craving spot. I'll have another polenta dish to share later this week.

Happy World Vegetarian Day, too!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day... Vegan MoFo Starts!

I'm new on the vegan blog scene, as I'm new on the vegan scene... :) I'm super excited about MoFo because my post numbers are pretty wimpy... like only one post in August and three (well, 4 after this one) in September. But now, in October they will be a big ole number over there to the right... like 20ish! or more!

I'm also really looking forward to reading all my fave blogs everyday and finding all kinds of new favorites! I plan to spend the three hours I'll be in class tonight reading blogs... we haven't started a new project in weeks so it's not like I'll be falling behind on school work... oh I just got an idea for a post or two- what I eat/prepare on the days when I have my night class...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October is Vegan MoFo- Vegan Month Of Food!

I've just committed to Vegan MoFo- Daily (weekday) blogging for the month of October. I'm super excited and a little scared :) Heck, maybe I'll make it on the weekends, too!

Monday, September 28, 2009

appetizers for dinner

Tonight I made the Roasted Red Pepper, White Bean, Cilantro Dip from Happy Herbivore. It is so easy and good. You can find the recipe here.

I LOVE hors d'oeuvre more than probably anything! So I decided to have a little platter of finger foods for dinner tonight. I chopped up some raw broccoli and raw zucchini that were just about to hit the 'too ripe' mark and then toasted up a couple flour tortillas in a tiny bit of safflower oil in a hot pan. This made for a fun, easy and deeelicious dinner.

I let the dip chill for about an hour tonight, but it will probably be even better tomorrow after the flavors have ample time to marry. mmmmmm

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tofu Bennies! Finally!

Eggs Benedict and their multiple variations were one of my favorite breakfast items in omni years passed. So, I have been dying to make the Tofu Bennies from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch since I got the book a few months back. The problem has been that I can only make them on Thursdays or the weekend (if I want to actually have them for 'brunch'), and by the time I get ready to make them, I am tooo hungry to let the tofu marinate for an hour and I end up eating something like cereal. boo.

So today I did it! I made a few adaptations (which are in green type), but followed the hollandaise sauce recipe 'almost' exactly. SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOD!

Here is what I did:
I used super firm tofu because I like it the best. I cut an 8 oz block into squares because
that is what I had on hand. I halved the marinade recipe since I didn't have 6 (or even 2) people to serve. (I'll have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow and Saturday) I marinated the tofu squares while I went to the store to get a few things needed for the rest of the recipe.

When I got home I made the sauce exactly as the recipe stated except I used 1 tsp 'Better than Bouillon' instead of 2 tbsp veg broth powder because that is what I had - again, it was SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD! :) I burned the shallots a little, so I was worried it would be ruined, but it absolutely wasn't. I'll be more careful next time tho....

While the sauce cooled I started frying up the tofu. I used less olive oil than the recipe states, because I'm on Weight Watchers and I new I could still get it nice and crisp with less. I drained the tofu on paper towels and then I crisped up two slices of Smart Deli 'ham' in the leftover oil. Isa's recipe calls for beefsteak tomatoes instead of ham, but I couldn't find any nice tomatoes, so I used 'ham'. Isa's recipe calls for smoked salt (which I will definitely purchase at some point!) or as a substitute she suggests a dab of liquid smoke and sea salt. Since I had liquid smoke and sea salt I used them and I dabbed them on the ham instead of the tomato.

Isa's recipe calls for either English Muffins or using her Diner Home Fries instead. For time's sake, I used the muffins this time.

Here is how I assembled my bennies:
Toasted the muffins, and put both halves down on a plate. Put a dollop of sauce on each muffin half and then put the smoke/salt seasoned crispy ham slices on top. Then added a tofu square on top of the ham. Finally I poured sauce over top. I used 1/3 cup sauce total (the recipe makes 2 cups, so I'll gently reheat for my leftovers later).

Mine turned out awesome, but I'll definitely try these again a million times and make the recipe exactly as Isa wrote it, and also experiment with more variations that I think of.

Here is what mine looked like. PS- My cat, Bas, licked the plate clean after I was done. The hollandaise sauce was a HUGE hit with him!

Go Out and buy Vegan Brunch (or order it) TODAY! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weight Watchers & Winco

So... I joined Weight Watchers this week and I'm incredibly excited about it! I have a friend who joined about a month ago and has lost close to 15 lbs and she inspired me to go for it- meetings and everything!

Weight Watchers is very vegan/vegetarian friendly because you eat whatever you want and just calculate your points and make sure to stay in your points range. Many of their recipes even have directions for a vegetarian variation.

On a related note because it has to do with food and eating :) I went to Winco this morning for a successful shopping experience. David and I have decided to start shopping there because it is sooooo much cheaper than Vons! Like 1/2 the price sometimes! Last week was our first visit in a very loooong time and I was so pleasantly surprised to find so many great veggie options, and lots of organic options too.

Today I got some unsweetened organic soymilk for about $1.83 per carton, some fake ground 'beef', which I rarely buy, but am planning to make a Mexi-casserole type thing next week, bulk organic raw sugar, bulk quinoa, beautiful gold and red bell peppers for .83 each! And some other stuff... I was so happy with my haul I took a pic!
They also have a nice selection of organic marinated tofu, for cheap. I wasn't able to find any tempeh, so I guess I'll still have to head to the health food store for a few things...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coming Up...

This week I plan to post some pics of a yummy cheese-less pizza I made, my first experience with seitan, and I'll probably rave some more about tofu, tempeh, and Sweet & Sara's Peanut Butter S'mores. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

BBQ Tempeh & Roasted Veggies!

MMMMMMMM- I adapted this recipe from Vegan Express to fit what I had on hand.

I took 1/2 of an 8oz block of regular flavor tempeh and sliced it into inch long strips. I sliced a green bell pepper that had turned red (from my friend's garden), a little jalapeno (from the same garden), a handful of tiny yukon taters, and a big chunk of zucchini (also from said garden). I mixed it all up with some BBQ sauce and roasted it for about 30 minutes. Isn't summer produce the best? I don't think I can handle a garden myself- but I sure love indulging in the fruits (or veggies) of my friends' labors!

I ate it with the Fruitful Slaw for dinner and for lunch the next day. I cannot say it enough- I love tempeh! Maybe I should be the Tempeh Lush??

You may have noticed that I mention Vegan Express A LOT. That's because I use it A LOT. It has a ton of recipes that all use beautiful fresh produce and take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. In fact, this recipe isn't even supposed to take 30 minutes to roast- but I bumped the time up because I added potatoes that aren't included in the original recipe. I highly recommend Vegan Express to anyone that likes to cook, but also likes to get the goods on the table with little to no fuss. Another cool thing about this book is that every recipe has "menu suggestions" for sides, salads, etc. that are either also in the book or simple add ons, like a hot cooked grain, fresh veggie platter, simple salad, what have you. I ALWAYS feel healthier after eating a Vegan Express meal. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Potluck Wrap Up

This week we had a "Good Luck Garden Pot Luck" at work- on 7/7 (the luck part) and the garden part is because everyone had lots of fresh veggies from various back yard gardens and such.

This was a vegan dream potluck- and not because I work with a bunch of vegans (I don't), but because I work with a bunch of health-conscious sorts who are creative and fun! (I do! We are a Marketing Dept. after all)

Nearly everything offered was vegan so I didn't feel left out. I made the aforementioned blueberry muffins. There was a cucumber/jicama salad in rice wine vinegar served over freshly steamed rice (and I mean FRESHLY! Hector brought a little rice cooker and made it at his desk! So cute!), zucchini/red onion/tomato salad, steamed brocolli and other veggies over brown rice, and homemade tabouli. YUM! The only things I didn't eat were some traditional zucchini bread (dang it looked amazing!), a cold cucumber/avocado soup that looked and smelled divine but was made with chicken stock (WHY??), and brownie sundaes that were not even remotely hard to pass up even though the brownies were made in a special pan that makes individual brownie cups specifically to hold a scoop of ice cream! Too cute! I ate half of a Sweet & Sara PB S'more and was all good!

Most everyone in my office knows of my recent dietary switch. I haven't made a big deal because I want it to be taken seriously and I don't want anyone to think it is my diet du jour (I've been know to try every diet under the sun- but this isn't a diet because I'm not doing it to lose weight- although that'd be a nice bonus!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Maybe there is a God??? :)

I just came across this great site- Barnivore- that lists nearly every alcohol company in the world and whether or not they are vegan/vegetarian friendly! I guess I never really even thought about the possibilty that wine or *gasp* champagne could be made with animal products!!!

Well, according to Barnivore, Moet Champagne is 'vegan friendly', phew!

More Muffins!

I think I've probably mentioned my love affair with blueberry muffins. I made some from scratch- again using the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch basic fruit/nut muffin recipe. I made them with local berries for our Garden Potluck at work. A hit, of course! ;) I used more than one cup of fruit- I used more like 1.5 to 1.75 cups, plus I dropped a few berries on top of some of the muffins that looked like they needed more. This is the easiest recipe ever! I mean, muffins aren't rocket science, but this recipe is like baking in your sleep!

PS- Happy Birthday to my older sister! ;)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fruity Slaw

I'm a huge fan of exotic slaws! I was never the biggest fan of regular coleslaw- mostly because I was never a fan of uber mayonnaise-y stuff. But gimme a slaw in a vinaigrette or an interesting asian-y sauce and I'm all over it!. I like to make slaws with broccoli-slaw too, just a side note there. These pics are of the Fruitful Red Slaw from Vegan Express- I forgot to get pineapple or mango at the store so I used golden raisins. It also has red cabbage, granny smith apple, shredded carrots, toasted sesame seeds and the dressing is a simple mix of lime juice, olive oil and sesame oil.

I'm eating this with veggie potstickers this week and also with BBQ roasted tempeh and veggies.

Here's a pic with the potstickers drizzled with a sweet-hot mustard/teriyaki sauce: