Feast On This!

Vegan MoFo, Day 19

Friday sneaked up on me. Normally, I’m waiting for it, but I woke up and suddenly realized what day it was. I usually write my Feast On This post Thursday nights, so you’ll have to bear with me this a.m.; I haven’t had my cup-of-joe to get my Vegan MoJo on for Vegan MoFo yet. . . so here goes.

Gee . . .Another Recall

2,600 pounds of full-cooked, ready-to-barf-eat turkey breast was recalled in Texas because it may have been contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly bacteria. Lovely. The four different products by the New Braunfels Smokehouse, were distributed nationwide and each has a UDSA Inspected mark on them. Way to go.

The FDA just made their third cheese recall of the month. In Washington state, several varieties of Del Bueno Mexican-Style cheese was found to also contain listeria.

Earlier this month, Gorgonzola cheese was recalled from Cosco stores because of E. coli.

It is absolutely staggering the amount of food recalls in the United States just this year—we only hear about some of them. People have gotten sick. People have died. Some people could still have these products at home, unaware of the recall. Check out an earlier post regarding recalls. Visit the Recall page of the FDA’s website for a comprehensive list of recalled products. With the amount of meat and dairy recalls that continue to pile up, why do Americans take the risk?


(I try not to post dead animals on my blog, so here’s a fake dead animal)

What food do you consider to have more taste? Meat? Veggies? Dairy? Since going vegan, I have found for myself that food has so much more flavor and taste. I never was a huge meat-eater before and never understood that thrill people claim they get when eating a steak. Peter Springberg, MD, a fellow NCW member, wrote an interesting post the other day regarding fat, taste, and beef burgers, entitled Even More Fat for our Taste Buds. The post is based on a Wall Street Journal article about celebrity chefs’ quest to make the most expensive, fattiest, and tastiest burger. Two burgers were featured in the article, one costing $39, and another a whopping $60! I guess compared to the cost of a triple bypass, it’s nothing.

“If you knew how meat was made, you’d probably lose your lunch.”

-K.D. Lang

Tasty Harmony

Vegan MoFo, Day 18

Asian Lettuce Wraps, Tasty Harmony in Fort Collins, CODoesn’t that look wonderful! They are Asian Lettuce Wraps that my favorite restaurant makes (and they happen to be the only vegan restaurant in town). They are amazing! Tasty Harmony is a fabulous restaurant downtown that seems to always be packed when we go there. Thanks to them, I’ve discovered jackfruit tacos, sea vegetables, and an incredible nondairy raw key lime pie!  I love to bring meat-eaters there because it’s impossible not to love their food!

Tasty Harmony in Fort Collins, COPhoto: Feasting Fort CollinsSo if you ever find yourself in Downtown Fort Collins, CO, hit up Tasty Harmony. If not, try my own version of Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Cashew Cheese Nachos

Vegan MoFo, Day 17

Cashew Cheese Nachos -- Epicurean VeganThe Sixth Grader loves nachos and loves cashew cheese, so this is an ideal after-school snack for him. I still had some cashew cheese in the freezer,  so I left it in the zip lock and placed it in some warm water for about 10 minutes. It’s best if it’s still a little frozen for grating it. I recommend using the microwave—at first I used the oven on a low broiler, but the chips were browning before the cheese was melting.  Other ingredients to try: tomatoes, salsa, or refries.

Tortilla chips
Hard cashew cheese, shredded
Green onion, sliced
Black olives, sliced
Avocado, diced
Tofutti sour cream

I like to have a layer of chips, some cheese, then another layer of chips and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle on the green onions and olives. Zap in the microwave for about a minute, then add the avocados and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Buttered Party Mix

Vegan MoFo, Day 16

Buttered Party Mix -- Epicurean VeganSo easy! And a great way to grab some protein. You can sub in pecans if you’d like—I’m just not a big fan. These are for an artist reception at the Northern Colorado Writers Association that is tonight. I’m also bringing my favorite hummus. The artist happens to be my mother-in-law, watercolorist-extraordinaire.

4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted
1 Tbs garlic salt
1/2 tsp cayenne, or more for taste
1 C raw, unsalted cashews
1 C raw, unsalted walnuts
1 C raw, unsalted almonds
1/2 C sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts, garlic salt and cayenne. Add the margarine and thoroughly combine. Layer onto the lined baking sheet and bake for about a half an hour. Stir and flip over the nuts. I know, that’s not easy, but you’ll be able to tell which side is which since the cooked side will be dry-looking. Bake another 20-30 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to an air tight container if not eating right away. Enjoy!

Buttered Party Mix -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan Gravy

Vegan MoFo, Day 15

Vegan Gravy -- Epicurean VeganThanksgiving leftovers are a given. We had some Field Roast leftover, so I made some vegan gravy to go with it. Luckily, we had some Israeli Couscous left, so I heated that up, too. Everything was even better the second time!

2 Tbs olive oil
2 C vegetable broth + some for thinning
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions
4 mushrooms, diced small
1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/4 C flour
1 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add the garlic and green onions. In a large bowl, combine the broth and flour with a whisk; combine thoroughly. Add to the saucepan, along with the nutritional yeast, sage, salt, pepper, margarine, and soy sauce. Season with salt, pepper and heat to a boil. Add more broth, if needed and reduce heat once gravy is thickened. Ladle over a Field Roast slice and enjoy!

Vegan Gravy -- Epicurean Vegan

My First Vegan Thanksgiving

Vegan Mofo, Day 14

That’s right, Thanksgiving. No, you didn’t just skip a week and a half, we celebrated Thanksgiving early with The Husband’s side of the fam because they were going to be gone over T-Day. So for our first vegan Thanksgiving, I brought a Field Roast for the veg side of the table. I think I picked it up for sale for $17.99. It comes frozen, so all you have to do is thaw it in the fridge overnight and then bake it at 475 for 45 minutes.

It’s stuffed with hazelnuts and cranberries, wrapped in a flaky pastry dough. It tastes much like their Celebration roast, but I will say that it did need some kind of sauce or gravy. Otherwise, it was fantastic!! Loved it!

We had all the other trimmings, too (only veganized). My mother-in-law made some mashed potatoes without milk and butter for us, as well as some separate stuffing. The sweet potatoes were cooked to perfection with some brown sugar and I brought Israeli Couscous. We came, we drank, we ate, we napped.

ROAST: Filtered water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed safflower oil, cranberries, crystallized ginger (ginger, cane sugar), toasted hazelnuts, naturally flavored yeast extract, barley malt, organic wheat flour, dried apples (non-sulphured), granulated garlic, onion powder, ginger juice (ginger, citric acid), yellow pea flour, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, sea salt, spices, irish moss (sea vegetable) extract, red wine, tomato paste, black pepper, garlic,
natural hickory smoke flavor with tortula yeast , rubbed sage, rosemary, natural liquid smoke and paprika.

PUFF PASTRY: Enriched wheat flour, water, expeller pressed palm oil and sea salt. Contains: Hazelnuts.

Product Review: Tofurky Beer Brats

Vegan MoFo, Day 13

This doesn’t seem like the time of year to be eating brats, but that’s ok, because I think they actually taste better when prepared on the stove; they tend to get dried out on the grill–even though the package says grilling them is the recommended cooking method. I opted to brown them in some olive oil (briefly) then added a bit of water to the pan and covered them for about 5 minutes. They turned out great and it took less than 10 minutes.

We then layered on some sauerkraut that I heated in a sauce pan, Dijon and ketchup, onto a bun and enjoyed! So these are quite healthy compared to a real brat. When people give you a hard time about not getting protein from a vegan diet, show them labels: Johnsonville Beer Brat has 11 grams of protein, whereas Tofurky’s has 27 grams! The cancer-licious brat has 23 grams of fat and our (non GMO) brat has 13 grams. That alone is a huge difference. When it comes to saturated fat, the real thing loses again (no surprise) with 8 grams, while Tofurky has 1 gram. Wow. Should I go on? YES! Let’s talk cholesterol. The veggie brat has NO CHOLESTEROL and the Johnsonville one has 50 mg. There’s even more iron in the Tofurky brat. You also get 5 grams of fiber with Tofurky and no fiber with the animal-based one.

Why would anyone want to eat a real brat? The taste is virtually the same and even if it is a little different, the health risks are just too high–it makes no sense to me. Overall, we were quite impressed. I also picked up Tofurky’s Kielbasa sausages, so I’m looking forward to trying those.

Feast On This!

A Veggie A Day Keeps The Colds (and Cancer) Away

It’s that time of year. Cold season. Although we can’t always avoid getting the traveling crud, there are ways to boost your immune and shorten the length of the cold or flu. And guess what? They’re all plant-based. No surprise there. Experts tend to agree that it’s best to avoid supplements and go straight for the real thing. For example, eat an orange rather than popping a supplement since you’ll also get magnesium, potassium, folate, B6 and antioxidants.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that are also key in fighting many cancers.


  • Leafy Greens–Spinach, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens & Kale: are loaded with antioxidants. Steam some kale and spinach and add a little Earth Balance, which has lots of Omega-3.
  • Broccoli, Green Peppers & Cauliflower: High in Vitamin C.
  • Orange Veggies–Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Squash and Pumpkins: are loaded with Beta carotene which turns to Vitamin A, that is rich in antioxidants (which is also cancer-fighting).


  • Apples: contain antioxidants and insoluble and soluble fiber to help the bowels run smooth (always a good thing)
  • Kiwi, Oranges, Grapefruits & Cantelopes: High in Vitamin C and A and oranges and grapefruits are actually cheaper in the winter.
  • Blueberries and Raspberries: Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin B.
  • Strawberries: 8 berries supply 160% of your daily value of Vitamin C, as well as 170 mg of potassium.

Other Good Stuff:

  • Onions, Garlic, Leeks, & Chives: loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, chromium and selenium.
  • Ginger: Strong in antioxidants and helps with digestion and circulation.
  • Whole Grains, Quinoa, Barley & Amaranth: packed with fiber, zinc, and B vitamins.
  • Seeds: Lots of Vitamin E

Tips to Staying Healthy

  • Stick to organic: free of chemicals and contain more nutrients.
  • Avoid processed, canned or frozen food (With the exception of vegetables—steam or microwave them) but even avoid canned soups–they’re not fresh and are full of sodium.
  • Keep away from excess sugar. If you need a sugar fix, eat some strawberries.
  • Make some soup with vegetable broth, ginger, spinach, and green onions.
  • Eat some hot salsa or sprinkle some cayenne on steamed veggies to clear the sinuses.
  • Chew (and swallow) a garlic clove to cure a cough—some people swear by it. Just don’t breath on anyone.

Bottom line, stick with fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and avoid hard-to-digest and processed foods. Don’t forget to drink tons of water and only 100% juice with a low sugar content. Then boil some fresh ginger, pour it through a strainer into your favorite mug, add a bit of fresh lemon juice and settle in with a good book!

Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use… It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.
-Neal Barnard

Ranch Bread

Vegan MoFo, Day 11

Happy Veteran’s Day!

It also happens to be the first snow of the season:

Ranch Bread -- Epicurean VeganAnd you thought ranch flavor was just for salads or dips. It’s for bread, too! This recipe is so simple—I used the basic quick bread recipe that I used for the green chili bread. It’s a great basis for quick breads–just add some of your favorite flavors and seasonings.  I served this with the Cheezy Kale and White Bean Soup and it made a great fall meal.

3 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 C Tofutti sour cream
1 C almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9″ loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, chives, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add the sour cream, milk, and oil; combine well and transfer to the loaf pan.

Ranch Bread -- Epicurean VeganBake 40-45 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then slice and enjoy!

Cheezy Kale and White Bean Soup

Vegan MoFo, Day 10

Cheezy Kale and White Bean Soup -- Epicurean VeganKale is my drug. I love it. This soup is great for fall (or even a cool summer evening) and easy to throw together. It’s hearty without being overly filling, not to mention full of immune-boosting ingredients that will help ward off those pesky winter colds.

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large leek, chopped
2-15 oz cans great northern or cannellini beans, drained
8 C vegetable broth (or 6 cups broth, 2 cups of water)
1/2 C white wine
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbs lemon juice
4-5 C fresh kale, torn or chopped
1 C vegan cheddar, shredded
White pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Cheezy Kale and White Bean Soup -- Epicurean VeganI just filled my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup of kale to the top–so about 5 cups

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and leek and saute until slightly browned. Add the beans and parsley and saute 4-5 minutes.

Cheezy Kale and White Bean Soup -- Epicurean VeganAdd the broth, kale, lemon juice, and white wine. Let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper. 5 minutes before serving, add the cheeze. This is strictly an optional ingredient—you can also just sprinkle a little cheeze on individual servings. Enjoy!