Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Lazy Farewell To Vegan MoFo

I wanted to make my final Vegan MoFo post special, but honestly, I've been eating Thanksgiving leftovers for several days now, and that is not very special. Apparently Tony agrees, because today he suggested going out for Mexican food.

Well, there's only one decent Mexican restaurant around here (I mean, there are probably lots in NYC, but we didn't want to drive that far) and I've already reviewed it twice before.  So this trip to Mexican Radio wasn't special. But, at least my flautas con crema were pretty!

I admit I was a tiny bit disappointed by my meal this time, but only because I read the menu wrong. I thought that each flauta came with a different filling: one with sauteed veggies, one with spinach, and one with cheese. Instead, all three flautas were filled with zucchini, red pepper, spinach, and cheese. They tasted great, but I wanted more variety among my flautas, I guess. Also, I'm not sure what kind of vegan cheese they use, but it didn't melt inside the flautas, so I could've done without it. The vegan crema was yummy, though.

And with that, I say good-bye to November and my first Vegan MoFo.  It's been fun! It has kept me motivated to write often, but the best part has been finding out about so many awesome blogs, that I definitely intend to keep reading after this month ends.

December is going to be a crazy hectic month (Christmas + other reasons to be revealed later!) so I know I won't be able to keep up this pace...but I'll be here, so I hope you'll continue to stop by!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Vietnamese Po'Boys

Do you need a break from Thanksgiving leftovers yet? I know I do! Tonight I made the Vietnamese Po'boys from 1000 Vegan Recipes. According to the cookbook, they are based on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, which I've never eaten.  But now I want to.

For the sandwiches, I made Soy-tan Dream Cutlets, also from 1000 Vegan Recipes. These cutlets contain both tofu and vital wheat gluten (the main ingredient in seitan) -- so they're like a firmer, denser tofu patty, or a less chewy seitan.  I thought they tasted better than the "Tourkey" Cutlets I made on Thanksgiving. These reminded me of Morningstar Farms veggie burgers (except much cheaper, and vegan!) They were extremely easy to make and I'm sure they would be good in all kinds of sandwiches, not just these po'boys.

Besides the cutlets, the po'boys were filled with cucumber, shredded carrot, cilantro, minced jalapeno, and a creamy dressing made from Veganise, lime juice and sriracha. I love that there are so many different flavors and textures contained in a single sandwich! I'll definitely be making them again.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Thanksgiving Feast

Keep in mind this was all made to feed three adults and a 2-year-old.  Yay, leftovers!

Tony made:
Turkey and Gravy
Baked Beans
Coconut Pie

And I made the rest:
"Tourkey" Cutlets with Sage Gravy (from Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations)
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Garlic Pumpkin Knots
Pumpkin Pie (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)

"Tourkey" Cutlets

Garlic Pumpkin Knots

Pumpkin Pie

Green Bean Casserole

The sweet potato casserole and garlic pumpkin knots were my favorites. The cute little knots were so fun to make! The dough was really easy to work with. The pumpkin pie crust was more difficult.  I don't think I chilled the margarine long enough, so it was kind of messy. But the end result was good.  I tasted the filling right after it came out of the oven and it had a strong tofu flavor, which made me nervous.  But by the next day, all I could taste was pumpkin and spices. It was as good as any non-vegan pumpkin pie I've eaten, if not better!  So I'd strongly suggest making your pie the night before and giving it time to chill, especially if you're cooking for omnivores who don't want any  "weird" tofu flavors in their pie!  

Hope you had a fun Thanksgiving -- I can't wait to check out everyone else's feasts!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


My babies can drive me insane but, in many other ways, they keep me sane. I'd do anything for these little guys and they are what I'm most thankful for, every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

Last Thanksgiving, we had just gotten the keys to our new apartment after living in a Residence Inn for two weeks while we waited for our belongings to make their way from Texas to New York. I stayed up until 3 a.m. the night before, unpacking my kitchen, determined to make a real Thanksgiving dinner the next day. We weren't having any guests, but after all the chaos of suddenly moving across the country, I needed to have a "normal" holiday.

Jackson looks so small! He was barely walking then. And Olivia was still four months away from making her appearance. How time flies. (Yes, that's a blurred-out turkey. I didn't want to gross out any readers! For those who don't know, Tony's not vegan and, although he eats my vegan meals most of the time, I can't deny him his bird on Thanksgiving.)

One thing I made that turned out really nice was the Stuffed Acorn Squash from Urban Vegan. The stuffing was chock full of dried cranberries and tasted so good with the baked squash.

This year, my mother-in-law is visiting, so she and Tony will do the turkey and make their traditional (non-vegan) coconut pie. I'll be making the rest of the dishes:

"Tourkey" cutlets with sage gravy (from Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations)
Sweet potato casserole
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)
Roasted brussels sprouts
Pumpkin pie (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)

Can't wait to do two of my favorite things -- COOK and FEAST! What dish are you most looking forward to making this year?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Cravings and Baba Ganoush

Today I did my big grocery shop for the week and also for Thanksgiving. As I grabbed some brussels sprouts to make on Thanksgiving, I realized I wanted some right away, so I got two packages. You know you're a vegan when you make spur-of-the-moment produce purchases because you can't wait a few days to sink your teeth into some brussels sprouts.

For a 10-oz. package of sprouts -- chop off the stems, cut the sprouts in half, toss with olive oil, salt, and lots of black pepper, and roast at 400F for 17-18 minutes. You don't want to cook them too long or they'll start to stink!  They should be crispy on the outside, buttery and tender on the inside.

I was never any good at delayed gratification. But why not eat these little green orbs twice in one week? They are super high in vitamin C and vitamin K, and a good source of fiber.

Then, Tony wanted to cook out one last time before the weather turns arctic, so I had him grill me a couple of eggplants, to make baba ganoush. Since he loves baba ganoush (yet hates eggplant in every other form), he obliged me.

Baba Ganoush
2 eggplants
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
Poke several holes in the eggplants with a fork, and grill them* on all sides until the skins are completely blackened and charred and the eggplants have collapsed.  Set aside in a shallow dish until cool, allowing the bitter juices to drain out. When cool, scoop the flesh into food processor and discard skins. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt, and paprika, and process until smooth and creamy. Spoon the baba ganoush into a serving dish and drizzle with the olive oil, and more paprika if desired.
* Or bake at 400F for 45 minutes or until they have collapsed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Austrian Noodles with Cabbage

Do you ever come across a recipe in a cookbook and think, "This looks so plain -- will it have any flavor?" And then you make it, because you want something easy, and you're like "Whoa, this has crazy flavor!" and it disappears in no time? Sometimes it's good to be reminded how delicious a few simple ingredients can be. Last night I made Austrian Noodles with Cabbage, from 1000 Vegan Recipes. Pasta (the recipe calls for linguine but I used rotini 'cause that's what I had), onion, cabbage, a little butter, and caraway seeds -- that's it. So easy, especially if you have an unused jar of caraway seeds hanging out in your spice rack. I shudder to think how long they'd been lurking in mine.  I always assumed caraway tasted licorice-y, like fennel, and I never knew what to use it in.  It's actually what gives rye bread its flavor. It also pairs extremely well with cabbage. Who knew?

Armed with this new knowledge and a tasty bowl of noodles, I settled in to catch up on some Walking Dead episodes.  Zombies crack me up with their slowness. What happens if a zombie drinks Four Loko?  Does it increase their energy levels, or does guarana have no effect on a zombie's central nervous system? These are the questions I ask myself.

Seriously, next time you have some s ad, bare pasta, saute a little shredded cabbage and onion. Cover the pan and let it get nice and caramelized, and toss in some caraway. The Austrians are onto something here!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Survey Saturday

Blogging on the weekend, what? Don't get all excited, it's just a survey...the EPIC PPK VEGAN MOFO SURVEY from vegetalion.

What's your favorite spice or spice blend?
chili powder

You have $20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). what do you buy?
tofu, soymilk, chard, kale, broccoli, onions, ginger, garlic, apples

What's your favorite way to make tofu?
pan-fry it and coat with sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and maple syrup -- it creates a sticky glaze that is sweet and hot

Vegan guilty pleasure?

If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be?
that's easy -- my husband

If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be?
vegan crunk

Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food?
i've enjoyed cooking for many years, so it's not a big change.  i think omnivores see becoming vegan as cutting down your food options, but my current diet is more varied than ever.

Excluding analogs, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn't have as an omni?
nutritional yeast, nut cheeses, seitan, tempeh

What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can't get behind?

What was your first "wow, I'm such a stereotypical vegan" moment?
i realized that, whenever i'm traveling anywhere, the first thing i do is get on that happycow website and see what restaurants i want to eat at

First recipe you veganized?
fettucine alfredo

What would you like to veganize, but haven't yet?

Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
food processor

Most disastrous kitchen failure?
i burned an expensive pan so badly by leaving it on a hot burner, that i had to throw it away.

First vegan cookbook?
how it all vegan

What question about being vegan do you HATE answering?
"you eat fish, though, right?"

If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be?
we eat a lot of stuff besides salad

Funniest vegetable?
i dunno, cucumbers?

What is a family recipe you have veganized?
we don't really have family recipes

Weirdest food combination ?
i can't think of any super weird ones

Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can't/couldn't?
blue cheese dressing (although, i've heard there is a vegan blue cheese that can be mail-ordered)

Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins?
tofu - mentioned above
seitan - seitan saltado from viva vegan
tempeh - bbq

Are your pets vegan?

Favorite non-dairy milk?
silk soymilk

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chile-Lime Tortilla Soup with Seitan

I've made seitan a few times but, until now, I only made the kind that you roll up in foil and steam. Today I felt like trying a different method -- boiling it in broth on the stovetop. I used the Chick'n Seitan recipe from a new cookbook I picked up, Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations

I felt like I was doing a science experiment, as the seitan doubled in size right before my eyes. It was super easy, although you do have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't bubble over or absorb all the liquid and stick to the bottom of the pan. The end result looks so appealing, doesn't it?  It's OK, though, because it can be transformed into something beautiful.

Well, it's not exactly beautiful (I couldn't get a good pic because Mr. Grabby Hands Jackson kept trying to sneak a taste) but it tasted awesome. It's the Chile-Lime Tortilla Soup from 1000 Vegan Recipes. I didn't have any corn tortillas so I just crushed some corn chips. Tortillas would've been better, but the wind was all crazy and I didn't feel like bundling up the babies to go buy one item. I'll definitely be making this soup all winter. I love how the strong lime flavor contrasts with the spicy chiles and creamy avocado.

Wow, we've made it through Week 3 of Vegan MoFo -- and I didn't even have to resort to filling out any surveys this week.  Amazing!  This weekend, I gotta plan my Thanksgiving menu. If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, have you made your menu yet?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mushroom Kale Potato Pizza with White Garlic Sauce

I make pizza once a week, at least, but I'm especially proud of how this one turned out. It's a little more labor intensive than your typical tomato sauce and shredded cheese toppings, but I think the payoff is worth it -- especially if you like garlic!

Mushroom Kale Potato Pizza with Garlic Sauce
1 pizza dough (my recipe is here)
8 oz. white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 bunch kale, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 potato, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. margarine, divided
3/4 cup soymilk
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
3/4 tsp. salt, divided

1. Press out the pizza dough on your cookie sheet or whatever you use. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Place the potatoes in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. You just want to parboil them so they finish cooking on top of the pizza. Drain and set aside.
3. Your oven might be done preheating now...so pre-bake your pizza crust for 10 minutes.
4. In a nonstick pan with a lid, melt 1 Tbsp. margarine and stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add the mushrooms, kale, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Cover and cook on medium-low for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
5. Finally, using the saucepan again, melt 2 Tbsp. margarine. Add 2 Tbsp. flour and whisk to combine. Next, whisk in 3/4 cup soymilk, 4 cloves minced garlic, 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook on medium-low for just a couple of minutes until a smooth, thick sauce forms.
6. Spread the garlic sauce on the pizza crust. Arrange the potato slices, mushrooms, and kale on top.
7. Bake at 450F for 7 minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Classic Broccoli Quiche

Tonight was another "breakfast for dinner" night in our home. I made the Classic Broccoli Quiche from Vegan Brunch.

Such a cute little quiche! The ground cashews give it a nice creamy texture. I took a shortcut and chopped up the broccoli into really tiny pieces using my food processor.

Sorry so short today, but I's tired. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sloppy Joes

Tonight's dinner was sloppy joes from How It All Vegan. I've also made the ones from Urban Vegan, but I prefer these, for the simple reason that the sloppy joe mixture contains pickle. There's something about that sour, salty pickle taste that brings it all together.  I served them on ciabatta rolls. True to their name, they are very sloppy, as you can see.

While I cooked, Jackson wanted to sit in his old high chair, which is now Olivia's. So I put Livi in Jackson's booster seat and they thought it was so funny to play musical chairs. I can't believe my baby girl is big enough for a booster seat already.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Jersey, Eggs Benny, A Chocolate Revelation

Vegan MoFo Week 3 begins!

On Saturday we spent the day visiting friends over in New Jersey. I love my kiddos but it was nice to hang out with other grown-ups (for a change!) and we all had a lot of fun.  Since the weather was unusually warm, we took the kids to the park for awhile.  Olivia loves to be out in the fresh air.

I baked Mama Pea's peanut butter cookie dough balls to take with us.

If you like super rich, dense peanut butter cookies, you must give these a try! I used mini chocolate chips because that's what they had at the health food store that was vegan...I had a total airhead moment when I realized that most chocolate chips are not vegan! Yes, it only just occurred to me that they call it "milk" chocolate for a reason. Dunno why I didn't make that connection before.  

Sunday morning I made the Eggs Benny from Vegan Brunch, with homemade English muffins. The Hollandaise sauce is awesome.  I was dipping my home fries in it, I didn't want to waste a drop!

Have a good week, guys!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Regular lasagna made can be made even tastier, in my opinion, by layering in some roasted veggies. Practically any vegetable tastes better roasted, so I just pick whatever looks good at the supermarket. In this case I used two zucchini, three small carrots, an eggplant, and a red onion, I made the tofu ricotta from Veganomicon and used some marinara that Tony made.

A veggie layer...

The finished product, topped with some vegan cheese shreds and quick homemade vegan parmesan...

So, that's week 2 of Vegan MoFo! For me, anyway -- those of you who are blogging on weekends have my respect, but I can't seem to do it. This weekend we're going to New Jersey to visit friends and Tony is taking me on an actual date (our first in over a year, whoa!) Do you have any fun plans this weekend? Have a good one! I'll leave you with a survey I swiped from I Eat Trees and have been saving for a lazy day...like today.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
cream cheese...thanks, Tofutti!

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?


What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?


What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?

Sweets -- I love to make dessert when I don't have to eat it all myself!

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
Don't think so...

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

Better Made chips -- I bring them home with me whenever I visit family in Michigan and I can't stop eating them, especially the hot BBQ flavor

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Stevia - it's pricey but I gotta have it in my tea

Are you much of a snacker?  What are your favorite snacks?

Salted almonds, cream cheese on crackers

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

Pickled jalapenos, kalamata olives, fresh basil (not all at once!)

What is your favorite vegetable?  Fruit?

Veggie: Broccoli
Fruit: Strawberries

What is the best salad dressing?

Annie's Goddess Dressing

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Vegan bacon, tomato, lettuce and Veganaise

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
Anything with greens in it, like lentil chard soup

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

Red velvet

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

My Granny's 7-layer cookies, I'll have to veganize them one of these days

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?


What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

Eggplant (although I did sneak it into that lasagna, hahaha)

How long, in total,  do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
1-2 hours

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mango Smoothie and Broccoli Dal

Today I remembered to take pics of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wooo!

For breakfast, I had a mango smoothie. To me, it's like a mango lassi served in Indian restaurants, but I don't want all that sugar when I just woke up, so I use stevia to sweeten it. Do you use stevia? It's my favorite way to sweeten smoothies, oatmeal, or tea.

Mango Smoothie
(makes 2 small servings or 1 large)
2 cups frozen mango cubes
1 1/4 cups soymilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
10 drops stevia or to taste
Mix in a blender until smooth and creamy.

For lunch I had a multigrain bagel with avocado, hummus, and tomato.

For dinner I made the creamy broccoli dal from Vegan Yum Yum. Very easy and fast to put together. I sliced my broccoli stalks thinly but left the florets on the bigger side, so the soup would have a lot of texture to it. I love broccoli.

And to make this post a tad more interesting, I offer a picture of my cookbook collection. I don't have room for a bookshelf in my kitchen, so I store them vertically in cabinets next to my stove. Works for me! Anyone else have an odd way of storing their cookbooks? Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breakfast Burritos and Tony's Salsa

I've noticed that Vegan MoFo is bringing out the storyteller in some bloggers, as they are sharing more about themselves. I enjoy reading these posts and getting to know you all a bit better! I hope to share a little more about myself as well. In real life I'm quite shy so I guess it follows that, on my blog, I'd rather talk about the food or my kids, than me!

One thing I've talked about a little bit already is what a crazy year it has been for me and my family. We had been living in Austin, TX, and I had just found out I was pregnant with Olivia...when Tony unexpectedly lost his job. I was employed as a librarian, but it wasn't enough to make payments on our home, and Tony was unable to find a job locally. With a new baby on the way, we didn't have a lot of options, other than sell our home and move wherever he could find work. That is how we ended up here in the Hudson Valley.

We've been here nearly a year now, and I still miss Texas a lot.  I don't like it here. I don't want to offend any New Yorkers who may be reading. But it's my blog so...sorry! I've given it a chance.  New York City is fun to visit from time to time, but this area is just not for me. Have you ever had that experience, moving somewhere new and it wasn't a good fit? 

Hopefully I'll move again soon, and in the meantime, I try to stay positive. The past year has taught me about appreciating what you have...whether that's your health, your kids, the city you live in, friends, or the food you get to eat. If I'd stayed in Texas and not experienced this upheaval, I might not have taken the time to consider what's really important.

And now, a little tribute to Austin, where a vegan breakfast is easy to come by. Here, I've had to learn to make my own. And that's something to appreciate.

Roast potatoes, fry up some seitan sausage, and scramble tofu...roll it up in a tortilla and douse with salsa...the hotter the better!

Tony can't find a jarred salsa hot enough to suit his palate up here, so he had to invent his own. It's good!

Tony's Salsa
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
3 jalapenos, roughly chopped (or more)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
5 drops stevia (optional)

Place half the tomatoes in your food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse 10 times. Add remaining tomatoes, pulse 10 more times. This insures that the onion and jalapeno get minced finely while you still get some bigger chunks of tomato. Finally stir in 5 drops of stevia. This is optional, but Tony feels that it makes canned tomatoes taste a little sweeter and therefore more fresh.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Restaurant Review: Karma Road

Karma Road is a located in the little college town of New Paltz, across the river from us.  This organic vegan cafe and deli definitely topped my list of local restaurants to try and, this weekend, I finally got around to it.

Tony ordered the Avocado Explosion sandwich, made with avocado (duh), carrots, arugula, tahini and mayo.

I had the Tempeh Reuben with avocado added.

And Jackson had a banana peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  All the sandwiches were served on multigrain bread that I later found out is wheat-free. I thought tempeh reubens are usually served on rye bread, but in any case, this bread was really good. This was my first time eating a tempeh reuben. I'm always a little wary of tempeh and I don't think I've ever had sauerkraut before, either, but I always hear about tempeh reubens and I wanted to try something new! I liked this sandwich. The sauerkraut was sweet, sour and salty all at the same time, providing a lot of flavor. My only complaint about the sandwiches is that they don't come with a side. I guess if you wanted a side, you could pick something out from the deli case, which was full of various salads, pastas, and potatoes.

I also ordered a fresh juice made from kale, spinach, cucumber and apple. In spite of all the greens, it had mostly a sweet apple flavor and went down easily. For dessert, we split a chocolate chip peanut butter and jelly cookie. 

Overall, a great lunch, a cute little cafe, and I wouldn't mind going back again to sample their other sandwiches.