Vegan Concert: Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO

Last night we saw Ray LaMontagne and David Gray at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO—just west of Denver. If you’re never been to a show at Red Rocks, you have to make a trip; it’s one of the BEST venues around to see a concert.  It just doesn’t get any better. The weather was phenomenal and with a view of the Denver lights, there’s not a bad seat in the place. Then the moon came out. It was like an orange slice in the sky:

We went with another couple, who also happen to vegan, and since you’re allowed to bring outside food in, it was easy to throw together a picnic. Before we left for the 1 to 1-1/2 drive, I made up some hummus wraps:

On a garlic and herb tortilla, I spread on some hummus, added cucumber, tomato, and sprouts. I also brought along some extra hummus and some very delicious multi-grain flax seed crackers.

Our friends brought fruit, cookies, and some amazing banana cake/brownies that were so delicious! (I will definitely get the recipe)! There is nothing like going to Red Rocks and seeing some of your favorite musicians, while enjoying some awesome vegan food! It can be done!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Epicurean VeganThese cookies are delicious—just like Mom’s. The recipe is from The Joy of Vegan Baking and doesn’t disappoint! It called for 1 cup of nuts, but I left them out since we’re kind of opposed to nuts in cookies and brownies, with the exception of macadamia nut cookies. . .anyway. . .these are yummy. The recipe calls for brown sugar and I have found that storing it in the freezer is the way to go–it only takes about 20 minutes to thaw and once it does, it’s always soft. Just remember to pull it out of the freezer to thaw before using it.

4-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
6 Tbs water
1 C Earth Balance margarine
3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-2 C nondairy semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is great)
1 C chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor or blender, whip the egg replacer and water together until its thick and creamy. The recipe recommends this for better consistency that what you’d get by doing it by hand. In a large bowl, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the egg replacer mixture to this wet mixture and thoroughly combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture until it begins to form a dough. When it is almost thoroughly combined, stir in the chips and nuts, if using.

Chocolate Chip Cookies -- Epicurean VeganScoop out 1-2 tablespoons of batter onto a nonstick baking sheet (or lined with parchment paper) and bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. The recipe says it makes 1 dozen, but they must have been BIG cookies because I got 35. Enjoy!

Pesto Pizza with Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pesto Pizza with Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes -- Epicurean VeganThis is an easy pizza to make and will please even the non vegans–I guarantee. The recipe makes about 6 personal-sized pizzas so I tend to either refrigerate/freeze half the dough for another night, or make up all 6 pizzas for the next day’s lunch.

2 C flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 pkg quick-rise dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried rosemary
3/4 C hot tap water, divided
2 Tbs olive oil
The rest:
1-14oz can artichokes, chopped
6-oz jar sun-dried tomatoes, diced
8-oz vegan mozzarella, shredded
1-1/2 C pesto
Optional toppings: mushrooms, olives, spinach, roasted red peppers

In a small bowl, combine yeast with 1/4 C of the hot tap water; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, and rosemary. Add yeast and olive oil to the flour mixture and combine, adding the remaining 1/2 C of hot tap water. You may need a little more. Once ingredients are thoroughly combined, place in a large greased bowl and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Punch the dough down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 6 sections; roll out each section and place on a greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Using a fork, stick each piece of dough several times. Bake for 4 minutes.

Spread each baked crust with a layer of pesto, then top with cheese, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Feast On This!

Rampant Recalls

There are a plethora of reasons I’m glad my family and I are vegans. One of them is the number of meat and dairy recalls—and we only hear about a few. Obviously, the big one right now is eggs. Half a billion eggs are recalled due to Salmonella.. Half a billion!! How does this happen? I’m so glad that I don’t put my trust into these companies, especially in “Wright Country Eggs” who is owned by Jack DeCoster. 13 years ago, he was fined $2 million for serious workplace violations. Read about this idiot HERE. It’s his business that has distributed the tainted eggs.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspectors Service has issued nearly 40 recalls of eggs, poultry, and other meat. This doesn’t even include milk and milk products. As we know, even vegetables, fruits and other plants are not immune to Salmonella—all because of the meat and dairy industry. Salmonella is a bacteria is normally found in animal’s intestines. It doesn’t stay there. From

“Manure, runoff and wild animals— Livestock animals, especially when kept in large numbers in confined spaces, can contract salmonella and carry the bug without showing any symptoms at all. Infected cows, pigs, and chickens shed the bacteria in their waste, which is sometimes used to fertilize nearby fields. The heat generated when manure is composted kills off most, but not all, disease-causing bacteria. Contaminated water supplies can also put salmonella on your tomatoes. Runoff from livestock pastures, or from leaky or overtopped waste lagoons at industrial farming sites, can dirty streams, groundwater, and other bodies of water farmers draw on for irrigation.”

The 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach, for example, was traced to a pack of wandering wild boars. The swine had picked up tainted cow manure on their hooves before breaking through the fence of a nearby spinach field to graze.

Zemco Industries of Buffalo, N.Y., has voluntarily recalled nearly half-a-million pounds of deli meat products distributed nationwide to Walmart stores because of possible contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly disease. If we can get our sources of protein, calcium, and vitamins from non-animals sources, why take these risks? Especially considering this:

“In 1999, produce was responsible for 40 separate food poisoning incidents in the United States. In 2004, that number climbed to 86. There have been 13 major outbreaks involving tomatoes alone since 1990.

Why the shift? One factor is a lack of inspections of farms and packing plants by the Food and Drug Administration, which means that more contaminated produce slips into the market undetected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects every meatpacking plant in the country each day, keeping close tabs on safety conditions. By contrast, the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with regulating produce, might inspect a vegetable packing facility once a year, and the number of inspections is shrinking. In 1972, the FDA inspected 50,000 farms and plants. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 10,000. Meanwhile, having increasingly centralized packing plants means that crops from a single contaminated field can mingle with clean produce and be shipped across a wider swath of the country than ever before.”

Vegans are not immune to product recalls and contaminated food—no one is, but at least we have choices of where to get our vegetables and we know where most of them come from, especially if we buy local.

Now, Why Didn’t I Think of This?

So this has nothing to do with food, but it’s so brilliant, I wanted to share it everyone. The Husband sent me a link to The Conscious Mind Network. I was enthralled because it’s just so cool. Scott Brusaw and his wife Julie have this amazing idea to create solar powered roadways. I don’t even know where to begin to explain this idea because well, I was an art major, not an engineer. I am humbled by these brilliant minds. What the Brusaws propose is that solar paneled roadways would not only pay for themselves over time, but create 3 times the energy that the world uses on a daily basis. How cool is that?

Check out this amazing project at Solar Roadways and watch a video explaining the project (in terms that most of us non-engineers can understand) and vote for Brusaw’s vision at GE’s Ecomagination Challenge.

Think of me tonite
For that which you savor
Did it give you something real,
or could you taste the pain of my death in its flavor?

-Wayne K. Tolson, from “Food Forethought”

Tempeh and Peanut Stir-fry

Tempeh and Peanut Stir-fry -- Epicurean VeganThis is another quick meal to make when you’re short on time. You can substitute the soba noodles with rice if you’d like and add other ingredients such as bamboo shoots or Chinese snow peas.

1 pkg tempeh, diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 med zucchini, sliced then quartered
1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1/2 a med onion, cut into large pieces
8-10 mushrooms, quartered
1/2 C lightly salted peanuts
12-14 oz soba noodles or 2 C cooked rice
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/8 C water
1/2 C shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp brown rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp ginger
2 Tbs Hoisin sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. In the meantime, cook the noodles or rice. Add the zucchini, tempeh, onion, and bell pepper to the pan and saute for about 15 minutes. Drizzle with a little mirin. While these are cooking, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients, then whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce mixture. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook just a few minutes–I don’t like shriveled mushrooms, so I always add them last. Stir in the sauce and the peanuts and combine well. Let it simmer a couple of minutes, then serve on the noodles or rice. Enjoy!

Pasta with “Meat” Sauce

Pasta with "Meat" Sauce -- Epicurean VeganIt really doesn’t get much easier than this, especially when you’re short on time to make dinner. It was my night to host writer’s group, so I needed something quick to whip up. I used Boca Crumbles, but Field Roast makes an Italian “sausage” that I think would work nicely as well.

14-16oz pasta, cooked
1 jar spaghetti or marinara sauce
1 bag Boca Meatless Crumbles (use as much as you want–depending on how “meaty” you want it)
Vegan mozzarella, shredded
Optional: 6-8 mushrooms, sliced

I added the frozen  Boca Crumbles directing into the pan with the sauce, warming them together. I also added some sliced mushrooms and simmered everything for about 10-15 minutes. Top pasta with the sauce and cheese and you’re done! This is a great combination of carbohydrates and protein and perfect for the night before a hike or activity when you need some extra umph. Even for my morning run, I tend to go further, longer. Never a bad thing. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Coffee Cake -- Epicurean VeganSo I finally got The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author of my other favorite cookbook, The Vegan Table, and as you can see . . . I’ve already picked out some recipes to try.

Ideal timing for the coming fall and winter! The 6th Grader was craving coffee cake, so that’s where we started and it didn’t disappoint. The recipe is quite easy and perfect for throwing together for last minute guests.

1 C nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
1/3 C canola oil
1 Tbs white distilled vinegar
1 C unbleached, all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour (I used all purpose)
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour, or whole wheat pastry flour (again, I used all purpose)
1/4 C granulated or brown sugar (I used brown sugar)
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C chopped walnuts (I used pecans as I was out of walnuts)
1/3 C canola oil or nondairy butter, melted (I used Earth Balance butter)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9″ square baking dish/cake pan. To make cake, combine milk, oil, and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add the milk mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake -- Epicurean VeganTo make the crumble, in a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and walnuts. Add the butter or oil and use your hands to thoroughly work it into the dry ingredients. Spoon on top of the batter (I found sprinkling with my hands worked better) and covering the entire area.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake -- Epicurean VeganBake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. I think this would also be yummy if drizzled with some some icing once it cooled completely. . . Enjoy!

Steamed Broccoli with Craisins and Pine Nuts

Steamed Broccoli with Craisins and Pine Nuts -- Epicurean VeganThe flavors in this side dish mingled beautifully together and was a nice change from just plain old steamed broccoli! If you’re not a big broccoli fan, try this with other veggies like chard, spinach or asparagus.

2 heads of broccoli, trimmed
Handful of craisins
Handful of pine nuts
1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
Truffle oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Steam the broccoli for about 10-12 minutes. Add the craisins and pine nuts and mix them well with the broccoli; steam another 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the margarine. Drizzle with truffle oil and stir to combine. Add a little salt and pepper, if desired and enjoy!

Feast On This!

Chloe Coscarelli, the (vegan) Cupcake Champ!

Ms. Coscarelli, a vegan chef beat out some very stiff competition on Cupcake Wars, on the Food Network. I am so glad that not only did Chloe prove that vegan food can beat out all others, but that Food Network is starting to recognize vegan food. It’s about time. I am waiting (im)patiently for them to finally get a vegan-based cooking show–I have a feeling it will be soon. In the meantime, check out Coscarelli’s site—there are lots of delicious recipes!

World Vegan Day: November 1st!

Mark your calendars! What a great opportunity to invite your friends, family, and neighbors to your humble abode for a delicious vegan feast! In the process, spread the word that not only is going vegan the best thing to do for your health (and for the animals), but healthy for the environment as well. This annual event began in 1994 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of the The Vegan Society, which has been around for nearly 66 years.

Check out World Vegan Day 2010 for more information and lots of great tips, recipes and links!

No Such Thing as a “Late Bloomer” Anymore. . .

. . .thanks to the hormones in milk—at least that’s a theory. For the last  ten years or so, researchers and physicians have been seeing huge jumps in development in girls (not to mention obesity) and speculate that milk could be partly to blame. Every sip of cow’s milk contains 59 different bioactive hormones, according to endocrinologist, Clark Grosvenor in the Journal of Endocrine Reviews. Yuck! What’s more, is that milk also contains traces of the reproductive hormones estradiol, testosterone, and something called IGF-1 which may raise the risk of certain kinds of prostate cancer. Check out for more on that…

However, we can’t lay ALL the blame on souped up cow’s milk. Soy milk, with it’s natural estrogen is also being investigated as a culprit of early puberty. Still, at least the soybean isn’t tortured, pumped full of hormones and subjected to a life of hell.

There are lots of different theories and lots of different variables, but why take chances? Pass me some almond milk, please.

Comic thanks to and Dan Piraro

“The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

-Plutarch, Greek philosopher

Zucchini-Tofu Scramble with Roasted Red Peppers

Zucchini-Tofu Scramble with Roasted Red Peppers -- Epicurean VeganI love tofu scrambles—as you have probably already gathered, but they’re so easy to change up and are perfect for those times when you need to clean out the produce drawer of on-the-verge-veggies. You can pile it into a wrap or a toasted English muffin, or just eat it as it is. I had half a package of tofu just waiting for me to use it, so it was easy to figure out what to make. A great protein-packed breakfast to start the day.

12 or 14 oz tofu, extra firm, drained and pressed
1 small zucchini, sliced, then quartered
1 jarred roasted red pepper, diced
1/3 C salsa
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3-1/2 C Vegan cheese, shredded (any kind you like: cheddar, pepper jack, Monterrey Jack, etc)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
A few dashes cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add zucchini and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red pepper and saute another 5 minutes. In a small bowl, break up the tofu to resemble scrambled eggs. Add turmeric, cumin, and cayenne; stir to combine. Add tofu and green onions; combine well with the veggies. Saute for about 4 minutes and then stir in the salsa, cilantro, and cheese. Finish off with salt and pepper and then top individual servings with some avocado. Enjoy!