Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ultra Healthy

These recipes are all Joanna Stepaniak's from Neal Barnard's Breaking the Food Seduction. Turns out, even vegans can pack on the weight if we aren't careful about what we eat. So, these are low fat, super nutritious meals. And yes, they seem to be doing the job!

First, there's Chuckwagon Stew, with tempeh, potatoes, carrots, and onion. This was good, and even better the second, third, and fourth days. Warm and hearty. Perfect for winter nights.

Southern Beans and Greens served on brown rice. Have you ever seen a healthier bowl of food? It relies heavily on hot sauce to make it interesting, but you feel like a superhero after you eat it, so it's a decent trade off.

Cheddary Soup with Italian Chickpea Spread. This soup is thick and captures the tangy, smoothness of cheese. It uses silken tofu as a thickener and is loaded with nutritional yeast so it's a protein bomb. The spread is nice. It won't replace Gee Whiz as the epitome of cracker happiness, but it was good in combination with the soup.
Here's to a new year of getting and staying fit and feeling fantastic!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vegan Meatloaf

I'm on the hunt for a good vegan meatloaf. The one in Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia Simpson was tasty, but I didn't get a good picture of it. This one is Vegan Dad's.
It was flavorful and tempeh based. I like finding new ways to use tempeh so that's a plus for me. The glaze was a little too sweet for us. But the biggest problem was that these little loaves turned us into fart monsters. It was terrible! Funny, embarrassing, and terrible. So, I'm still on the hunt.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

To-Fish Dinner

In the days before the veganity, I used to crave Long John Silvers about once every two years. I blame this on my Catholic mother who used Lenten Fridays as a time to indulge in the grease-fest that is LJS's fish sticks.

I don't crave Long John Silvers anymore, but I have developed a fondness for the combination of Old Bay and tartar sauce. And from that we got this meal: tofu marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic,then breaded in wheat and panko crumbs with Old Bay and parlsey, baked up and served with tartar sauce (Vegenaise, vegan Worcestershire sauce, fresh parsley, and finely chopped pickle), plus apple sauce and pretty cole slaw. Long live (and live longer with) the vegan fish dinner!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shepherd's Pie with Lentils

It's amazing how something so boring looking, like this:

can hide something as yummy as this:

It's based on the Savoury Shepherds Pie from How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard, except with lots more lentils and spinach. It's finally cold enough to make things like this again, and Mr. Tomato couldn't be happier. Ben even ate it with no complaints until he noticed the onions about half way through!
Here it is how I ate it, with Mighty Miso Gravy, also from HIAV.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My parents host a huge Thanksgiving every year. We are the only non-omnivores so I end up bringing a lot of dishes to share. But first things first, this was how Ben started the day: Ghirardelli Peppermint Hot Cocoa with Sweet & Sara marshmallows, in the ever-classy Spongebob mug.

And here's what I took to the shindig. It was all well received. Green beans, steamed and then sautéed in garlic and olive oil.

Country Vegetable Cassoulet from Robin Robertson's Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes. Maybe I'll get an inside shot tomorrow.

Stuffing. Not exciting, just plain old stuffing. But I love stuffing, so I guess that's exciting enough.

Mighty Miso Gravy from How It All Vegan, minus the miso, to go with the mashed potatoes that I made at my parents' house, hence, not pictured here.

And Pumpking Oatmeal Cookies from Vegan With A Vengeance, with chocolate chips instead of raisins. Loved by all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Marshmallow Nut Fudge Recipe

Marshmallows are in season! Nobody around here sells vegan marshmallows, and we live in an incredibly hot climate. Taken together, these two things mean we have to wait until November to order Sweet & Sara marshmallows from the east coast. (They do offer insulating and cooling packaging, but it doubles the cost of the order. And this way they're a winter treat!)
Here's how I made these bad boys.

Marshmallow Nut Fudge

1 8.5 oz package Sweet & Sara Vanilla Marshmallows
1/4 cup Earth Balance stick
1 tablespoon water
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsly chopped walnuts

Line 8x8 pan with foil. In medium saucepan over medium heat, add marshmallows, EB, and water. Stir occasionally until marshmallows are melted. Add chocolate and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is melted and evenly incorporated. Stir in nuts. Pour into prepared pan.
Let cool and then refrigerate, wrapped in foil. When solid, cut into bite-sized pieces and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Tofu and Fondue

These are two of my go-to meals for weeknights. They're easy, filling, and everybody loves them. The first we call Peanut Butter Tofu, adapted from Deborah Madison's This Can't Be Tofu. It's really baked (or fried) marinated tofu and broccoli with green onions and toasted sesame seeds on linguini with peanut sauce. (Ben just has tofu and noodles.) This is one of Mr. Tomato's all time favorite dishes.
And fondue! I like the Chedda Fondue from Joanna Stepaniak's The Uncheese Cookbook. On the far plate are broc, cauliflower, carrots, and celery. On the near plate is torn bread pieces and potatoes I'd diced, seasoned lightly, and roasted for half an hour. It was the first time I'd tried potatoes with fondue--a stroke of brilliance if I do say so myself. (Note Ben's smiley face on his plate :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Egg" Macguffins

These things were so good, and fun, and easy. I used the recipe from Alicia Simpson's Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. This is my first recipe from her very new book and it was a raving success.

The "egg" portion is silken firm tofu with a little flour, nutritional yeast, salt, and turmeric. The "sausage" is Light Life's Gimme Lean. It was a hit with every member of the family. We even had trouble keeping the cats away! Here's an inside shot for you pervs out there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mini Pizzas

We spent our Veterans' Day watching Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI because we're nerds. For grub we had these english muffin pizzas. Here they are naked. That's a sautée of green and red peppers, onion, and seitan o' greatness.
And here they are with FYH Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella melted on. Pretty fine movie food if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Retro Food

Vegans like to recreate their childhood favorites. Stuff you'd thought you'd outgrown, like mac'n'cheese, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks become challenges. For instance, Isa Chandra Moskowitz created this Tempeh Helper recipe, and it's hilariously on target. I laughed out loud alone in my kitchen when I tasted it.
To go along with it I unwittingly followed the theme by making jae steele's Almond Chocolate Creem Pie. It's french silk, vegan style. I used peanut butter and peanuts instead of almond butter and almonds. Though I bet it would be even more fantastic with the almond theme, I had peanut stuff on hand. Either way, it's a make-your-teeth-itch rich, creamy, smooth chocolate cream pie. Just like Village Inn used to make.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday morning with nowhere to be. Ben's playing with legos, Mr. Tomato is leveling up on the original Final Fantasy, and I am making cinnamon rolls. But yeast just takes too long sometimes. These cinnamon rolls are from Brian McCarthy's The Vegan Family Cookbook. It's basically biscuit dough with EB, cinnamon, and brown sugar rolled up inside. The icing is a really simple powdered sugar, vanilla, almond milk thing.

I've tried yeasty cinnamon rolls before, and they have their unique charm. But for a regular weekend these are treat enough for us, and done from beginning to end in about forty minutes! I halve the recipe because they tend to loose their fluffiness as the day goes on.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Last week I bought two eggplants to make baba ganouj for the PPK Get It Ripe challenge. Well, I missed the boat on that challenge and really needed to use those eggplants. I've wanted to try baba ganouj for a long time, and there's nowhere to buy it pre-made around here. So today I tried it. It isn't too much work, but you do have to have time to roast the eggplants for an hour, turning them every fifteen minutes, then let them cool, then let them drain, then they have to set and chill after mixing with the other ingredients. All right, I guess it's time intensive.

Unfortunately, I served it with Vegan Dad's Tempeh Gyros. Bad move. I have no idea how the baba ganouj is because I love these gyros too damn much. I should have known that anything served with these would pale in comparison. Maybe when I run out of leftovers of the gyros, I can give the baba ganouj a fair shake. I hope it's still good by then.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween & Last Day of MoFo

I am sad to see MoFo go. I'll probably keep blogging into the abyss, though not as often. It's fun to scroll through and see the things I've made.
Today for breakfast we had Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch. They were yummy. Ben loves cloves, the weirdo, so these were a big hit with him. This is Mr. Tomato's. You can tell from the way it's drenched in maple syrup.
For lunch we had tempeh wings from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk. I serve them naked because Ben likes to dip them in ketchup and ranch; I like the wing sauce in the recipe and ranch; and Rich just likes the wing sauce. These things are awesomeness. They disappear in seconds. Mr. Tomato made a pinwheel out of his.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Cookies

Ben and I made and decorated sugar cookies for Halloween yesterday. I used the Joy of Vegan Baking recipe and it worked really well.
The other cool culinary thing to happen yesterday was that, for the first time, I got vegan cheese to melt. This is just mostacholi and spaghetti sauce with FYH mozzarella. The trick is to broil the crap out of it. It tasted all right. Rich really liked it. Ben really didn't. I don't need it and it's expensive, so we probably won't see it again for a long time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

That's Good Soup

Yesterday was our first really cold day. A perfect day for soup. I made Cannellini Kale Soup from jae steele's Get It Ripe. It was delightful. I actually said "That's good soup!" Out loud and everything. Then, because we are nerds, we had to say it in a bunch of different languages like the Noodle Soup spot at the end of Venture Bros.

Tomorrow we'll be back in the 80s, but for today I'm enjoying my warm oatmeal and thinking roasted root veggies for dinner.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


A ginger sesame pasta salad that works! I've tried a bunch of these, but the combination is always too bland or too strong. This one, from jae steele's Get It Ripe is a nice combination of flavor and subtlety. I'm so glad, too, because before this week's PPK Challenge, I hadn't made anything from this book and thought it might have been a waste of money and space. But between the pasta (above) and the apple crumble (below, super yum) and her basic tofu marinade (not pictured but holy crap was it delicious), this book has already paid for itself. I'm not done trying new recipes from it either; tonight will be cannellini kale soup. And sometime this week I want to try her baba ganouj and maple roasted roots (not together though).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Retro Dining

When I was little, one of my favorite dinners was au gratin potatoes from a box with polish sausage. I know. It causes a little shudder now. Well, we never did grill up those Veggie Brats yesterday, and I was planning to make a big thing of mac'n'cheese for Ben to take in lunches this week, so I unintentionally recreated a really close approximation of that meal! It was really good. The green beans would have been more authentic from a can, but you can't have it all. Right?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lovin' Spoonfuls

After crazy baking/activism (bake-tivism?) yesterday, today we are off to Tucson for a not very vegan-friendly barbeque. So we're going to Lovin' Spoonfuls beforehand to have brunch!! I love that place. It's the only all vegan restaurant this side of Phoenix, and their food is great. I especially like their mediterranean scramble and southwest burger.

As for the barbeque, we're bringing Yves Veggie Brats, the Zesty Italian ones. Easy-peasy. And who knows if we'll ever get hungry enough to cook them up? If I hadn't been so busy yesterday I would have made stuff like potato salad or pasta salad to bring today, but you can't be vegan chef to all people all the time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free Cookies

Turns out, people will come to the vegan table for free cookies! Today was 350.org's international day of climate awareness. I got up way too early, made a LOT of cookies, and was in the park by 9 am, sitting in my vegan shirt waiting for the crowds.

Well, there weren't crowds, as such. But really, nobody expected them. It was really cool to be part of an organized event along with over 4000 other groups worldwide. (The Seattle group put together 350 zombies doing the Thriller dance and some island nations' governments held meetings underwater, because that's where they will be if nothing is done.)
The cookies went over well and a lot of older women asked, sincerely, what I use instead of butter and especially eggs. Some people took information on animal agriculture and climate change, and one person even took a Farm Sanctuary brochure!
Cookies, from left to right, are peanut butter-chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and sparkled ginger.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rite of Passage

I had my first mammogram yesterday. I definitely feel it was a rite of passage, or at least a cultural symbol that I'm approaching the summit. I see that as a positive thing. I'm ready to be that gray-haired lady who doesn't give a shit about the things that really don't matter.

To celebrate, I made myself a favorite food I knew my guys would hate. Artichoke Rotini Pasta from How It All Vegan. It's chock full of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, and of course, artichokes. Mr. Tomato and Ben at plain rotini with olive oil and vegan parm. So there was enough left over for me to have the artichoke stuff again for both breakfast and lunch today!

My mammo was digital, so I got to see the inside of my boobs. All looks well!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Americanized Mexican food is usually dripping with cheese, but it doesn't have to be. Last night we had Tortilla Chip Soup with tostadas. The soup recipe was from Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard's How it All Vegan. Nice, simple, tasty, and bonus avocado adds some cool smoothness to it. The tostadas would have been plain janes without the Nacho Cheese Sauce from Joanne Stepaniak's Uncheese Cookbook. I added a Taco Bell mild taco sauce packet to one of my tostadas and it immediately tasted like junk food. Interestingly, that brought it up and down in my estimation at the same time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gearing Up for 350.org

Saturday I will be handing out free vegan cookies in the park. It's part of the 350.org group effort to raise awareness about what we need to do to get climate change under control, or at least mitigated. And since animal agriculture causes more greenhouse gases than transportation, this is a perfect opporunity to pimp veganism.

Making 9 dozen cookies means a lot of ingredients. So today I pulled everything out to make sure I have enough. I'm making peanut butter chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and sparkling ginger cookies. Now all I need is a newspaper roll of parchment paper, and I am good to go.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Faux Egg Salad

I wanted to try a faux egg salad using tofu, and I got my excuse from this week's PPK Cookbook Challenge: How It All Vegan. This is a hit or miss cookbook, but I think the faux egg salad is right on. It won't replace the chickpea salad that is really similar that I usually make, but I'm glad I tried it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sushi Day

Grocery day is sushi day! I've tried, and failed, to make my own sushi. There are just some things I prefer to leave to the professionals. And isn't it weird how you never feel like cooking when you get home from the grocery store? At least I don't. So, sushi for lunch is my treat for planning and shopping for food for the week. The dipping sauce is tamari, rice vinegar, mirin, and pickled ginger.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Home Again

We're back from vacation and I'm exhausted. Funny how that works. Anyway, the kitchen is bare so we have one more day of winging meals. The grocery trip tomorrow will be epic. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a picture of my new Fiesta dinnerware. I decided it was finally time to give up the mix-and-match secondhand stuff I've collected along the way for something fun and, hopefully, more photogenic!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hotel Scrounge

I couldn't bring myself to go to the eighteen-billionth salad bar of the week. Instead we stayed at the hotel and ate whatever was left in the room and available in the vending machines. It was fun. Ben thought it was heaven. Those are Tings in the bowl and berries on the plate, so it wasn't all salty corn products!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eating in the Land of Legos

Four days into the vacation and I am ready to get home and fry some tofu. I like vegetables, really I do. But looking forward to two more trips to the salad bar today makes me want to sneak a bag of Tings into the park.

Legoland is the perfect vacation for Ben and his dad. They are serious lego nerds. We have tens of thousands of pieces, all separated by type and some even by color, in various sized bins taking up a good portion of our front room. We have a six foot table designated as "The Lego Table." They are having a ball.

But Legoland is not the place for a vegan food nut. Unlike anywhere else in the universe that I've come across, they do have a list of their vegan food options on their website. So, that's cool. But it would be cooler if any of these choices included a substantial protein. At night we've been doing Amy's frozen entrees and canned soups.

Tomorrow is another day of gas station food and Subway. Then back to the grind, but at least that grind includes tempeh!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goodbye India

Often, new vegans find an extensive new world of food opening up to them. International cuisines are much more vegetable and grain focused than American fare. Asian, African, Mexican, all of these are ripe for recipe plucking. But Indian is a shining star, with the cauliflower, cabbage, and curry, the chickpeas and warm soothing spices. Every vegan cookbook will have at least a few recipes, if not an entire chapter, dedicated to this soft, comforting food.

I have had my definite favorites, including a red lentil soup from The Vegan Family Cookbook that was just lovely. Unfortunately, the day after enjoying a pungent butternut squash soup, spiced heavily with cumin, turmeric, and curry powder, I was the victim of a wretched and retching stomach virus. Two days of curry mixed with bile in the back of my throat and now it’s all off limits. Just looking for the original recipe put my stomach in a knot. My favorite red lentil soup: gone. I feel as if an entire limb of the vegan food body has been amputated.

I still use all these spices in other types of food. It’s the combination that I literally cannot stomach. The human body is a fascinating thing, and I appreciate this safety mechanism that kept our ancestors away from poisonous plants. But damn it, I know it wasn’t the soup that was bad. It’s been over a year. Will it ever go away? And how come I still drink beer even though I threw that up dozens of times in high school and college? It just doesn’t seem fair.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gas Station Finds

We're off on an eight hour road trip to Lego Land today, and instead of focusing on the pitiful lack of vegan options for road food (Subway or Taco Bell anyone?) I thought I'd try to look at the positive: accidentally vegan junk food found at gas stations!

We all have our favorites. For Mr. Tomato it's Swedish Fish; for Ben it's Oreos; and for me right now its Corn Nuts. But there are also Mambas and Nutter Butters, regular Sun Chips, any number of different kinds of roasted and salted nuts, Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter, Sour Patch Kids, and various potato and corn chips. Oooh and chick-o-sticks. Love me some Chick-O-Sticks. So we have no problem getting our fill of crap on road trip days.

Now, for fun: Lego zombies!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chips & Dip

Onion Lovers' Chip Dip from Joanne Stepaniak's Vegan Vittles. Yet again tofu steps in to replace something not just not vegan but also really high in fat: sour cream. There are a few soy-based sour cream replacements on the market, but using silken tofu, lemon juice, sugar, and a few other ingredients does the job just fine without weird sounding chemicals or the dreaded trans-fats. And it works just as well as regular sour cream in dishes from stroganoff to tacos to this here dip.

There's no cheater-pants soup mix in this dip, either. It has fresh onions, tahini, and spice rack residents and that's about it. And the taste? Well, I'm glad you asked! It's oniony deliciousness. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go do something about my horrible breath.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mac n MoFo Cheese

I have a six year old who adores mac n cheese. Not nearly as much as his dad, but he likes it a lot. He was home sick yesterday (well, nominally sick), so I made this for lunch. It's the New Farm recipe as adapted by Jess of Get Sconed! here. And it is by far the best mac n cheese I've tried or probably ever will, because once I found it I stopped looking for other recipes.