Going On Vacation!

The Grand Tetons

We’re off to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, folks! I’ll be back on the 31st with hopefully some fabulous pictures, tales of adventure and possibly a little bit of tan. We’ll be staying in a cabin where we have access to a full kitchen so we’ll be doing a lot of cooking, but we’ll definitely be hitting plenty of restaurants as well, so I’ll report back with my vegan finds and fare.

So until then, have a great week and I’ll look forward to reconnecting next weekend!

Cheers!

Feast On This!

Brings New Meaning to ‘Veggie Dog’

Moe

So do you feed your pet a vegan diet? It can be a controversial issue. Dog food itself is full of animal parts and cancerous tissue. There are LOTS of ingredients to avoid when picking out the best food for that sweet, lovable child -with-fur. For a list of those nasty ingredients, check out The Dog Food Project.

Regardless of avoiding these ingredients, pet food still contains other animal products. Is it safe to give your pooch a vegan diet? Will they get all of their vital nutritional needs met? It’s quite a task to pick out food for pets since there are a million choice: active dog, old dog, joint help, shiny coat, etc, etc. . . . Vegetarian Dogs can also answer some questions regarding this decision.

Our Moe is fed a natural dog food that has Glucosamine for his joints. He’s got a tender tummy and can be quite gassy, so I can’t imagine feeding him a veggie-based diet! I’m not crazy about feeding him animal products, but we try to go with the most natural stuff out there. There are actually lots of brands out there that claim to be vegetarian, but I think the best bet is to talk to your vet before making such a radical change to Rover’s diet.


57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Well, I won’t list all 57, but you can go to NursingDegree.net for the full list. As the site says, vegans are misunderstood. I couldn’t agree more. People tend to think we’re deficient in every vitamin and mineral, protein and calcium and that we are fanatic about animal rights. It’s certainly a stereo type. And while I am an advocate for animal rights, that isn’t how it started for me—it was for health reasons that I decided to go vegan and through this process, I’ve become more aware of the animal abuse issues. What prompted you to go vegan?


The list includes nutritional benefits such as reduced saturated fat, more fiber, and increased antioxidants.

Disease prevention like cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Physical benefits such as weight loss (woo-hoo)!, healthy skin, and energy.

Reduces unnecessary food products and toxins that are in animal protein and eggs, not to mention mercury

Bonus health benefits such as avoiding E.Coli, Mad cow disease, and hormone consumption

And just plain eating healthy because there are lots of sources of fat-free vegan food, gluten-free, and raw cooking that help anyone on their journey of becoming and staying vegan.

Check out the full list at NursingDegree.net, print it off and show it to everyone who know and love!


The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.  If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.

-Neal Barnard

Product Review: Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee

I was very intrigued when I saw these at my local Vitamin Cottage yesterday. For $1.65 for a 1.5 ounce package, I decided to try 3 of their 8 different varieties. The Husband and I tried the Original Mild, Teriyaki “Beef” and the Peppy “Pepperoni”.

On the outside, they look very much like real jerky nuggets and the outside coating tastes kind of meaty and salty. For nutritional information and ingredients, click here.

All of them taste like they’re made of seitan and I’ve got to give them kudos for trying, but these just don’t taste quite right. They’re not terrible, but there were some flavors in them that I just couldn’t put my finger on. The Peppy “Pepperoni” has a black licorice taste, while the other two have a chocolate-like flavor to them. I’m sure you could get used to them, but I think I’ll pass on buying these particular flavors again. Other varieties are: BBQ “Beef”, Tandoori “Chicken”, Original Wild, Spicy “Chicken”, Hot “Pastrami”, and Cajun “Bacon”. I’ll definitely give the others a try sometime, but for now, I’ll pass.

Stuffed Mushrooms

I needed to come up with an appetizer to feed a crowd, so I came up with my own vegan version of stuffed mushrooms. They were pretty easy to make and were gone in no time. Another great ingredient to add is a couple of Field Roast Italian Sausages–just thaw, chop and add to the food processor with the bell pepper.

INGREDIENTS:

About 30 mushrooms, washed and stems reserved

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper

5 green onions

3-4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, divided

1/2 C bread crumbs

6″ of a garlic scape

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 C vegan mozzarella (like Vegan Rella), shredded

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325. Saute the mushroom caps in 2 tablespoons of margarine until they just begin to brown on each side. Then set aside.

Chop up the mushroom stems, red bell pepper, green onions and scape. Here’s a scape:

Add all four to a food processor and chop up until fine:

Transfer to the same pan that you used to saute the mushrooms caps in, and saute the pepper mixture in 2-3 tablespoons of margarine for 3-4 minutes. Add bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Remove from heat. Stuff each cap with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the pepper mixture and a medium pinch of cheese.

If you are making these ahead, you can stuff them and refrigerate them, but add the cheese just before baking. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Broccoli Almond Sweet-and-Sour Tofu

There is definitely a method to this recipe and I learned that there are easier ways to make this dish than what the original recipe instructs. I also doubled the sauce recipe because I tend to wish I had done that with other sauces from this cookbook. I’m glad I did because not only is the sauce delicious, it was made the tofu gooey with yumminess.

INGREDIENTS:

1 14-oz package extra firm tofu, drained

2 tsp egg replacer, plus 4 teaspoons water, mixed (I had to make a little more)

1/4 C cornstarch (Again, I needed a tad more)

1/4 C canola oil

1/2 C sliced almonds

1-2 cups steamed broccoli (I used 2 heads of broccoli)

Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Sweet and Sour Sauce: (recipe below is doubled)

6-1/2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 C plus 2 Tbs water (I left this out for a thicker sauce)

4 Tbs plus 4 tsp sugar

4 Tbs tamari

4 tsp ketchup

2 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp salt

1-1/2 Tbs cornstarch, plus 2 Tbs water, mixed (I didn’t double this–didn’t need to)

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the tofu into triangles or cubes. Toss the tofu with the end replacer/water mixture until coated . I would use a large ziploc bag–much easier than a bowl. Then toss in cornstarch. Again, I recommend using a ziplock bag for this and coat each piece thoroughly.

I would then make the sauce. You can also make it while frying the tofu, but I found it hard to do both at the same time. To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, mix rice vinegar, water (if using), sugar, tamari, ketchup, molasses, ginger powder, and salt and whisk over medium heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and whisk until the sauce thickens.

Place the tofu in the hot oil—you can do all at once, or in batches. I transferred pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Add the almonds right before removing the tofu. (I did this after I drained the oil first). I then combined the tofu, sauce, and almonds in a large bowl and stirred to thoroughly coat the tofu. I served over rice and the steamed broccoli and topped with toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Product Review: Backpacker’s Pantry Freeze-Dried Meals

Camping . . . Vegan Style

We decided to head out to the great wide open and finally get a camping trip in this summer. We escaped the brutal city heat, much to the delight of millions of vicious mosquitoes. Nothing two full cans of bug spray couldn’t handle. Aside from just good old-fashioned family fun, it gave us a chance to test out some vegan freeze-dried meals for our upcoming backpacking trip in August, where there will be about 4 miles between us and the car—not 500 yards or so like this trip.

You can car camp and still get away from other campers, as well as be close to a lake or river—in this case, the Laramie River, just below the Continental Divide. The first night, we fired up some veggie burgers, topped them with avocado slices, and sandwiched them between two toasted buns. (Obviously we were too hungry to stop and snap a pic)! They were perfect camp food.

We of course made s’mores—the Sixth Grader putting away two of them and me, quite possibly having my first one ever. That’s right. . .I can’t remember ever making them before. It was a monumental occasion, not to mention delicious.

The next morning, we enjoyed some Starbucks coffee. Tucked in the remote wilderness was a Starbucks, run by none other than. . . bigfoot. Ok, so no, but we enjoyed their VIA Ready Brew Italian Roast packets:

For breakfast, we fried up some diced onion, potatoes, and green and red bell peppers for the best damn breakfast burritos ever.

Topped with vegan cheddar and salsa, they tasted phenomenal. Maybe everything tastes great while camping—either way, we weren’t complaining.

It was a relaxing morning with some sun, coffee, breakfast, and Neil Young, via the iphone. (We decided that a solar-powered iphone charger would be a wise investment).

While the boys fished, I took advantage of the quietness to write, work on my current project, Folsom’s 93, and finish reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, an enjoyable, quick read by Dai Sijie.

So on to the review. . .

We were pretty excited to see that we could find vegan freeze-dried meals since we try to do a couple backpacking trips each summer. Backpacker’s Pantry, out of Boulder, has a few varieties and we chose two of them: Pad Thai and Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce with Veggies, each for $5.95. All freeze-dried meals require boiling water and a utensil to eat with. And since they’re so light, they are ideal for backpacking. Before going vegan, we used to buy freeze-dried meals from Mountain House and have always been very happy with those, but they don’t seem to have vegan ones. Plus, they are a couple of dollars more than Backpacker’s Pantry. Each package is 2 servings and they really would easily feed two people–there’s a lot there.

The Pad Thai comes with a packet of chopped peanuts and a peanutbutter packet. Take those out, add 2-1/4 cups of boiling water, stir it up, and let it sit about 15-20 minutes (which is pretty standard for freeze-dried meals).

The Spicy Peanut Sauce and Veggies came with a spice packet and 2 packets of peanutbutter that you have to mix in a separate bowl with a 1/4 cup of boiling water. I wasn’t crazy about the inconvenience of dirtying a bowl, but I later found that it was worth it.

Then you add 1-1/2 cups to the bag, stir it up, let it sit for 13 minutes, then stir in the sauce.

The Spicy Peanut Sauce and Veggies was outstanding. It was a little soupy and I would have liked larger veggies, but overall, it was so delicious. The consensus was that the Pad Thai was not quite as good. It too, is on the soupy side with rice noodles and it certainly wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t as tasty as the other one.

They come with a high calorie count. But when you’re backpacking, you’re needing to replace your calories and it’s pretty easy to burn them off. Each serving of the Pad Thai is 460 calories, and 490 for the Spicy Peanut Sauce.

The Husband wanted to try the Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes for just a $1.90 which had 2-9 ounce servings. There was quite a bit. I didn’t try them since they contained milk (he says he’s 99% vegan since he’ll still eat a little cheese–I’m working on nixing that ;)  However, I can’t complain since he’s made it this far)! Anyway, we didn’t bring up any salt, so he said they were pretty bland.

So there’s the low down on the freeze-dried meals. We will certainly be buying those for our backpacking trip coming up.

Laramie River, a few yards from the campsite

All and all, it was a fantastic trip. The second (and last) morning, we woke up to having a deer staring at us from a safe distance and once he took off, we toasted some blueberry bagels and drizzled them with agave. They were great with our Starbucks. :)

I’ve been known to have a grumpy side when I have been roughing it too long, especially if coldness and/or rain are involved. Somehow, I managed to keep things civil between me and the elements, even with the carnivorous mosquitoes. The kid was happy to constantly poke at the fire, whittle, and partake in some pine cone sling-shotting. The Husband caught quite a bit of fish and the three of us had a wonderful time laying by the fire, solving all the world’s problems.

The Cache La Poudre River

Vegan Doughnuts

Yes, they’re as yummy as they look. Plus, they were very easy to make. The recipe, from Vegan Yum Yum, says to place plastic wrap over them as they cool in the pan so that they remain soft and fluffy. They will definitely be more cakey and cookie-like otherwise—which is still great. The recipe also says to use an ungreased petite doughnut pan, but let me tell you. . .I found out the hard way that the pan should be greased! Don’t let this happen to your doughnuts. . .only one made it out unscathed from the first batch:

INGREDIENTS:

Petite doughnut pan (I borrowed one—Thanks, Kristin!) I’ll be buying one for sure.

1 C all purpose flour

1/2 C sugar

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tiny pinch cinnamon (both my non-vegan friend and I who had these, agreed that there should be more–maybe 1/2 a teaspoon)

1/2 C soy milk

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Egg substitute for 1 egg

4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon with a whisk and mix thoroughly.

Combine soy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, egg substitute, and margarine in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and mix well until margarine is melted. It shouldn’t get too hot, just slightly warm.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. It should form a very soft dough or thick batter.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out the dough into the greased, nonstick mini-doughnut pan Smooth out the top of the doughnuts with your finger, clearing off the post in the middle of each one.

Bake for 12 minutes until the doughnuts are almost browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Invert the pan over a cutting board or cooling rack to release the doughnuts. Allow to cool completely before decorating (unless you’re making powdered sugar ones; see below) Makes about 20-22 doughnuts.

(A much better second batch)!

Chocolate-dipped doughnuts (the ones I made): Melt 1 bar of your favorite dark chocolate in the microwave. (I melted some carob chips in a saucepan over low heat and added some soy milk to reach a good consistency). Dip the pretty top side of the doughnut in the chocolate and place on a rack. Top with sprinkles.

Powdered Sugar doughnuts: While doughnuts are still warm from the oven, roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar.

You can also whisk some powdered sugar and soy milk together to reach a desired consistency and glaze the doughnuts. Enjoy!

Feast On This!

The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen

Prevention mag just came out with the updated lists of the dirtiest and cleanest veggies—ones that you should definitely splurge and buy organic and the ones that you can get away with buying conventional. There’s some newbies on the lists and some surprises, too.

The Dirty Dozen: Buy Organic

Celery: 75% of crop is grown in the fall when rain and wind promote the growth of bacterial and fungus and because we eat the whole stalk, it gets sprayed A LOT for pests.

Peaches: Because of the peach fuzz, it can trap pesticides easily, and since they’re sprayed every week or two, it’s good to go organic with these guys.

Strawberries: Since they are delicate, they’re prone to attacks by pests, so they get sprayed with pesticides often—mostly for cosmetic reasons.

Apples: Since they can be stored up to 9 months AND are prone to 30 different insects AND 10 diseases, apples are sprayed continuously.

Blueberries: They are favorites of magots and bagworms, so they are treated with pesticides. They are also new to the list.

Nectarines: Even without the fuzz, they are susceptible to rot and scarring.

Bell Peppers: They lack the bitter compounds that act as bug repellents (unlike their cousins, broccoli and sweet peppers) and have crevices and creases where pesticides can collect and hide.

Spinach: Like me, lots of insects and grasshoppers LOVE spinach, plus, it tends to pull DDT residue out of the soil and into the leaf. ( DDT can live in the soil way after it was banned).

Kale: Sprayed heavily for any type of insect.

Cherries: They don’t have a peel for protection and if one maggot gets into the shipment, the entire load is dumped, so growers don’t risk that. They spray the heck out of them.

Potatoes: I have always heard this about potatoes—even growers will not eat their own potatoes unless they grow them organically. They are sprayed up to five times throughout the growing season and then again after harvesting to prevent sprouting and molds.

Imported Grapes: During their trek from down south, they easily can contract Botrytis cinerea rot. . .hmmm…sounds gross. It causes fruits to split and leak, so farmers want to ward that off, and they aggressively treat them with pesticides. Domestic ones are grown in the dry desert climates of Southern California, where the rot doesn’t thrive.

The Clean 15: Save Your Pennies

Onions: They have their own protective chemicals and are only treated once early in the season. However, the residues are removed by the outer layer of the bulb during harvest.

Avocado: It’s all on the peel, baby.

Sweet Corn: It’s all on the husk, baby.

Pineapple: If treated, it’s early in the season and the residue is gone by harvest time. Otherwise, it is removed with the outer rind.

Mangos: It’s all in the peel, baby. Plus. . .they are grown in climates where fungus isn’t a problem–nothing hand washing won’t take care of.

Sweet Peas: Protected by the pod, baby.

Asparagus: Insects don’t have time to wreak havoc since the spears grow so dang fast.

Kiwifruit: Thanks to Lacewings and parasite wasps, pests are kept at bay.

Cabbage: The outer leaves—that are sprayed early on—are removed before sale.

Eggplant: The slick surface sheds chemicals easily.

Cantaloupe: It’s all in the rind, baby.

Watermelon: Again, all in the rind, baby.

Grapefruit: In the rind. Do we see a pattern, here?

Sweet Potato: This one surprised me because of it’s dirty cousin, but because it has a milky-white sap that gums up insect mouthparts, they leave this root veggie alone. They are also cured at warm temps and high humidity that causes the skin to thicken, therefore, protecting it further.

Honeydew Melon: Say after me. . .It’s all in the rind, baby.


Before There Was Food, Inc.

There was Fast Food Nation. Me and the Husband watched this movie just recently and it reiterated for me how much I LOVE being a vegan. I think it really pushed the hubby to fully be He-gan (male vegan) and to not even crave a burger again. Unlike Food, Inc., it’s not a documentary, but sort of is. It stars Greg Kinnear and others, like Bruce Willis and Ethan Hawke in a scripted, yet awareness-producing flick about slaughterhouses and what exactly goes on behind the scenes. We’ve all heard Paul McCartney say, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” Well, he ain’t kidding, folks. I won’t lie—there are certainly some graphic scenes at the end, but they portray what goes on in a real slaughterhouse, confirming Sir McCartney.

Excellent movie. The author of Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, is also co-producer of Food, Inc. Definitely worth a watch with your non-vegan pals.


How can you eat anything with eyes?

-Will Kellogg

Breaded Tofu with Lemony Tomato Sauce

If you  liked chicken parmesan before you were “enlightened” and became a vegan, I think you’ll love this recipe. I really wasn’t sure what to make for dinner tonight but I had tofu and diced tomatoes, so I winged it.  The Husband and Sixth Grader informed me that this meal is a “make again” and I have to agree—it was yummy, no to mention easy—a good combo.

INGREDIENTS:

1-14oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 8 slices

1 packet Shake n’ Bake

1/2 C vegetable broth

1 C vegan mozzarella, Vegan Rella

Sauce:

3 Tbs olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-14.5 oz diced tomatoes with juice

1/4 C fresh chopped basil

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1 tsp lemon zest (then slice lemon into 8 slices)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400.

For sauce: In a small saucepan, heat garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add tomatoes, basil, rosemary, oregano, onion powder, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, dip each slice of tofu into the vegetable broth, cover with Shake n’ Bake, then place into a 13×9″ dish. Top each with a lemon slice.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. It will basically look the same way coming out of the oven as it did going in, but the outside crust of the tofu will be crusty and crispy. The lemon slices will look a bit dried out, too. Remove the lemon slices before serving with the sauce and some very yummy vegan mozzarella.

Vegan Rella (they don’t seem to have a website) is excellent soy-free vegan mozzarella—very impressed with it. It’s a little slimy when you first open it, but it shreds nicely and tastes great! Enjoy!

Portobello Burgers

This is my kind of burger! They took no time at all to prepare—you can saute or grill the portobellos and use your favorite toppings. I went with Hawaiian-style.

INGREDIENTS:

4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and patted dry

1 avocado, smashed

4 Tbs Tofutti cream cheese

4 pineapple rings

4 burger buns

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Coat portobellos with oil and salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil for 5-7 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese on one bun and about a 1 tablespoon of avocado on the other. Top bottom bun with a portobello and then a pineapple ring. It’s that easy! Enjoy!

Feast On This!

Are You a Raw Foodie?

I am both intrigued and scared by the raw food diet—mainly because I’m just not that familiar with it. Luckily, there are experienced raw foodists to come to the rescue! Eco Chef Bryan Au is a raw chef extraordinaire and his site, Raw in Ten Minutes offers recipes, an online store and access to downloading his $2 iphone app, Eco Chef 10 Minute Meals with  Bryan Au. The app, is actually #4 on itunes.com and I’m pretty impressed with it. The pictures and graphics are colorful, clear and easy to read. You’ll find over a 100 recipes that you can make in 10 minutes or less, like Eggplant Manicotti, pancakes, and onion rings. With an app like this, I’m definitely more inclined to try adding some raw meals to my repertoire.

Nachos (photo courtesy of Raw in Ten Minutes)

So, if you’re like me, and not in the loop regarding the raw diet, I found some information from where else? About.com:

“The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. Heating food above 116 degrees F is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force” of food. Typically, at least 75% of the diet must be living or raw.”

What does a raw foodist eat?

Unprocessed, preferably organic, whole foods such as:

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Nuts

Seeds

Beans

Grains

Legumes

Seaweed

Unprocessed organic or natural foods

Freshly juiced fruit and vegetables

Purified water

Young coconut milk

It’s certainly important to do your homework when it comes to changing your diet like this, but I’m excited to incorporate 1-2 raw meals a week into our diet and hopefully still reap the benefits: more energy, better digestion, and weight loss. (Fortunately, just going vegan has done all that for us already).

So how about it? Would you go raw?


Bringing the Veg Life to a College Near You

Today, more and more college students are becoming more aware of the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and passing it along. Vegan Outreach has a program called Adopt A College where people can win prizes for handing out the most pamphlets—vegetarian pamphlets that educate folks on animal abuse. Most of the volunteers are actually not students. One volunteer handed out 52,835 leaflets at 100 schools in the Fall of 2009!


StAR (Students for Animal Rights) is a nationwide coalition of college students working towards stopping animal cruelty. Three years ago, they started College Veg Pledge, a movement calling on all college students to go vegan for the month of May. Check out an interview with Kenny Torella, StAR Outreach Coordinator, on VegNews.


I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals.

-Bridgid Brophy

Field Roast with a Coq Au Vin Sauce

Not only do I love the taste, I have always enjoyed the smell of coq au vin when it cooks. It goes beautifully with a sliced Field Roast and served with a mushroom and herb pilaf.

INGREDIENTS:

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs butter, divided

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 C red wine

1 C  vegetable broth (plus more for thinning out sauce, if needed)

3 Tbs flour

3 Tbs water

1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 one-pound Field Roast, thawed if frozen

DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until it starts to pop. Add onion and cook until tender. Add mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add broth and simmer until it reduces a little, then add the wine. Cook for about 5 minutes until it, too, reduces a little. Combine water and flour (it will be pretty thick) and stir into the mushroom mixture. Season with salt, pepper, and stir in parsley.

I then transferred the sauce to a saucepan and kept it warm over low heat. It may thicken up more, so you might want to add some broth to it until you’ve reached the desired consistency. In the same skillet (wipe out with a paper towel) add remaining tablespoon of butter.

Place slices of the Field Roast in pan and brown on both sides, about 3-5 to minutes per side. Ladle sauce over a slice or two of the roast and serve with the pilaf. Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

This recipe is tofu-licious! Even though the recipe has a long list of ingredients and you’ll need 3 pans and a bowl, it was extremely easy and it was done in about 25 minutes. I recommend doubling the sauce. As it is, it makes a great glaze for the tofu, but I would have liked it a little more saucy. It made about 5 servings and as I was eating the final pieces of tofu, I was thinking that these would be great toothpicked (minus quinoa and kale) and served as a hot appetizer. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

Quinoa:

3/4 C quinoa, rubbed/rinsed, drained

Zest from one lime, divided in half and slice lime for garnish (use 1/2 the zest)

2 bruised cardamon pods (optional–I used a dash or two of dried cardamon)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tiny cinnamon stick (optional)

1-1/3 C water

Sweet Chili Lime Sauce:

3 Tbs sugar

3 Tbs tamari

1-3/4 Tbs lime juice

1/2 zest of the lime

1/2 tsp red chili flakes (I didn’t have this, so I used 1/2 tsp of Ancho chili pepper)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

4 mint leaves, sliced thinly

The Greens:

1 bunch collard greens, washed with middle veins removed (I used kale)

2-3 Tbs water

1 tsp lime juice

1 pinch salt

The rest:

14-oz extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

Lime slices for a garnish (optional)

Mint leaves for a garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the quinoa, 1/2 the lime zest, cardamon, cinnamon stick, salt, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and don’t remove the lid. Let steam for 10 minutes.

Sweet chili lime sauce: Whisk together the sugar, tamari, lime juice, lime zest, red chili flakes, garlic,  salt, and mint until the sugar and salt and dissolved. Set aside.

Tofu: Slice the tofu into 7-8 rectangles:

Then cut each rectangle in half to make two squares, and then each square into four triangles:

I sauteed the tofu in a dry skillet for about 10 minutes on each side. The recipe says to add it a “well-seasoned” skillet.  Add the chili lime sauce and stir to coat the tofu. Turn off the heat.  The sauce will bubble up, reduce, and form a glaze.

While this is happening, slice up the kale. In a wok (which I didn’t have, so I used a small skillet) add water, lime juice, and salt. Cover with a lid and steam  until tender. (The other thing to do, is just add the greens to the quinoa and steam them that way).

To serve, layer plate with  a scoop of quinoa, kale, then tofu. Garnish with lime slices and mint. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Yum Yum

Miso Tahini Dressing

This dressing has the perfect combination of saltiness, creaminess and nutty flavor that would be great on salads, wraps, sandwiches, baked tofu, steamed veggies or as a veggie dip. It’s also a breeze to make.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C white, sweet miso

1/4 C tahini

1/3 C or more warm water

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl whisk together the miso and tahini to form a creamy paste. Slowly pour in warm water, gently whisking a little at a time until a creamy dressing forms. If thinner dressing is desired, dribble in a little more water. The dressing will thicken if allowed to sit a while. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Veganomicon

Garlicky Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts and Olive Oil

This is probably my new favorite hummus. I love how smooth it is and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and drizzled with olive oil is certainly the way to go. You can make it spicier by adding a teaspoon of cumin or some cayenne.

INGREDIENTS:

4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed (I added one more)

2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil, plus some to drizzle

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pine nuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste. Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and drizzle on some olive oil. Serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread. Makes about 3 cups. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Simply Recipes

Tempeh Bacon

I know many people who would consider going vegan, but the thought of giving up bacon brings tears to their eyes. Tempeh bacon may not cut it for them, but I love this stuff. A little caramelized, it tastes wonderful. You could break it up for salads, sandwiches, tofu scrambles, or just snack on it as it is.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg (80z) tempeh

1/4 C tamari

2 tsp Liquid Smoke

3 Tbs maple syrup (I’m not a huge fan of maple-flavored stuff, so I used brown rice syrup)

1/4 C water

Canola oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the tempeh for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tamari, Liquid Smoke, syrup, and water. Mix well. Let tempeh cool before slicing it into thin, bacon-like strips.

Place slices in marinade (I used a large ziplock bag–just turn the bag over a few times to thoroughly marinate the slices) and let sit for as long as you like. Less than half and hour works great. After the tempeh has marinated, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the strips and each side until crisp. Sprinkle a little extra tamari and syrup on the tempeh while cooking—the tempeh will turn brown, caramelize, and get crisper and chewier . Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Enjoy!

(BaconLettuceTomatoAvocado)

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

Feast On This!

Wow, is it Friday already? I haven’t been posting too many new recipes lately–I’ve been busy and just been making some of my favorites meals that are already posted. Next week, though, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen and start working some vegan magic. In the meantime, Feast On This!:

Meat Free Mondays Are Catching On!

San Francisco is the first city to actually pass a motion promoting a plant-based diet by encouraging its residents to forgo meat at least one day a week. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors are hoping to get restaurants, grocery stores, and schools to offer more meat-free options.

Other cities are catching on as well, such as Takoma Park, Maryland where a statewide initiative designating April 24th-April 30th as Takoma Park Veg Week.

Get Involved! All it takes are some great vegan/vegetarian recipes and you’ve got a Monday night get together with friends, family, and neighbors. Encourage them to go meat-free on Monday by supplying them with a great recipe, or better yet, cook together. It won’t take much to convince people that vegan food is not rabbit food! Start your own revolution in your neighborhood by hosting a a Boca Burger BBQ! Word will spread and you just might inspire someone to host their own Meat Free Monday Night!

Check out the Meat Free Monday website for news, ideas, and learn ways to spread the word!


Rocco the Vegan Cowboy

You’ve probably seen this video before, but it’s one of my favorites! Rocco, a rancher and long-time meat eater took on Dr. Oz’s challenge of going vegan for a month. It’s amazing how much Rocco’s life (and health)  has changed since going vegan–it’s the best testimonial for the vegan diet.


Milk Wars

The National Milk Producers Federation wants “milk” to be theirs and only theirs. They have asked the Food and Drug Administration to define milk as “the secretions of a lactating mammal” (gee…doesn’t that sounds appetizing?) and that plant-based milks be defined as “imitation milk.” Is this really important? The FDA isn’t jumping on it right away, saying that they will consider the issue, but will focus on public health priorities.


First it was necessary to civilize man in relation to man. Now it is necessary to civilize man in relation to nature and the animals.

-Victor Hugo

Lavender Tea Cookies

These are so delicious and have the perfect combination of sweetness and lavender, with a hint of lemon. Being shortbread, they will fall apart easily when taking them off the baking sheet, so be careful. Depending how thick you make them, the recipe makes anywhere from 2-4 dozen. I first made some thin round ones using a 2/3 measuring cup and then some thicker rectangle/square ones using a pizza cutter. Either way, you’ll love them!

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C nondairy butter (3 sticks of Earth Balance), room temperature

2/3 C granulated sugar

1/4 C confectioners’ sugar

3-4 Tbs finely chopped fresh lavender or 2 Tbs dried culinary lavender (I used 3-1/2 Tbs of dried culinary)

2 tsp lemon zest

2-1/2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium-size bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add lavender and lemon zest. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. When thoroughly  mixed, add to the wet batter, and stir until well blended. You should have a thick cookie batter.

Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten to about 1 inch. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

When ready to prepare the cookies, preheat oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes (less if thinner) or until the cookies begin to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe Source: The Vegan Table