Food and Recipes

St. Patty’s

Posted in Food and Recipes on March 17th, 2011 by Lacey – 1 Comment

St. Patty's cupcakes

Hang in there readers, I’m still here! I haven’t stopped believing in the message of this site, just taking a temporary break.

I sent my child to school with these mini vanilla agave-sweetened cupcakes with vanilla “buttercream” frosting, tinted green of course. They’re cute.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted in Food and Recipes on February 15th, 2011 by Lacey – Comments Off

Happy Valentine's Day!

Glorious pizza

Posted in Food and Recipes on November 8th, 2010 by Lacey – 2 Comments

Vegan pizza #2

Ever since we paid $25 for a lackluster large no-cheese boring basil pizza at a pizzeria last year, I have taken great joy in making my own pizzas from scratch. For $25, I make my own dough, my own sauce, decide my own toppings (and cook them the way I like), and I get to use Daiya cheese. Oh, and I can probably entertain as many people as I want within that budget. Glorious, glorious pizza.

I’ve tried only a few different pizza doughs, but Martha Stewart’s cornmeal crust is my favorite. It has a great texture and isn’t too bready. As far as toppings, pizza is a great way to clear out your fridge or pantry. This time, I used sundried tomatoes (soaked in water for about 30 min first) and fresh basil. On another pizza, I used colorful peppers, shallots, and black olives. (I always sautee peppers, onions, and mushrooms before putting them on the pizza so as not to dry them out, so be sure not to skip that step.) On another, onions, mushrooms, and olives. Any way you serve it up, they’re delicious.

Whatever Soup

Posted in Food and Recipes on November 5th, 2010 by Lacey – 2 Comments

About once or twice a week I make vegetable soup. It’s never the same twice, but there are certain things that, I’ve found, the soup must have in order to be successful:

- 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- vegetable broth (can come from bouillon)

All the other things are your call. They can be fresh or frozen or from a can. You can have starches or not. You can add beans or not. That’s the beauty of this soup…and it’s seasonal!

My favorite iteration of Whatever Soup.

You’ll need:

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small pkg sliced mushrooms (white or bella)
  • 1 28-oz can tomatoes
  • 4c vegetable broth
  • 1c fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1/2c fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lenthwise and chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1/2c fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 14-oz can navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pasta (optional starch)
  • 1 small potato, cubed (optional starch)

Directions:

  1. If you are using boullion, prepare your veggie broth. In a large pot (doesn’t need to be a deep stock pot, just a big pot will do), heat the oil on high. Add the onions and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue sauteeing until the mushrooms exude their juices and the onions are translucent. Reduce the heat to med-high and add the garlic, continuing to sautee so as not to burn.
  2. Open your can of tomatoes and pour the juice from the can into the pot. Then–this is the fun part–crush each tomato with your hand(s) over the pot. Do this slowly to savor the stress relief, but also so as not to squirt tomato juice/seeds all over yourself. Add the vegetable broth.
  3. If you’re using the optional potato and or pasta, add these to the pot. Add everything else, reduce heat to medium.
  4. When your zucchini are kind of translucent and your carrots are soft, this soup is done. Spice to your liking (usually the boullion takes care of it for me, but you may require more or less). Easy peasy!

Usually, after serving my family, I have about 20oz of this soup left. I put it in a glass spaghetti sauce jar because I can easily take it to work and pop it in the microwave without worrying about harmful plastic chemicals leaching into my food.

Enjoy your soup!

Surprise, you like brussels sprouts!

Posted in Food and Recipes on November 4th, 2010 by Lacey – 5 Comments
brussels sprouts

What brussels sprouts look like for reals, photo credit Beth Wodnick (this is not my toddler)

Tonight I returned from a work trip to San Diego to find that the lights in our kitchen had burned out. Or, dimmed out? Something like that, I’m not very handy. So, I prepared dinner in our very dimly-lit galley kitchen. I decided to make the Herb Scalloped Potatoes and Cornmeal Marsala Roasted Brussels Sprouts (from Veganomicon) with a side of lightly pan-fried tofu–we have a ton of potatoes I purchased from Costco and then I kinda went out on a limb and bought the brussels last weekend. The tofu I made for the protein since I didn’t think 3tbs of chickpea flour in the brussels was going to satisfy my toddler.

I actually hate brussels sprouts. I used to hate all cabbage as a kid actually, but lately I’ve been warming up to cabbage in both raw and cooked forms, so I thought I’d give these little guys another try. And, they’re undeniably cute, aren’t they?

Herb Scalloped Potatoes

Herb Scalloped Potatoes. Meh.

Without seeing the meal with the lights on, I didn’t notice until I put it all on the dining table how ….yellow everything was. Golden potatoes, browned tofu, and cornmeal-encrusted greens. Honestly–the potatoes were kinda boring, the tofu was nothing special, but the brussels…man, they were good!  The brussels were gone so fast I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture! The cornmeal texture was really fun, and the garam marsala took the edge off the cabbagey smell.

So in lieu of the brussels, I leave you with a picture of the potatoes. They were pretty, but mediocre? Next time I’ll just add more butter. :)

More brussels sprouts recipes to try:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Ina Garten)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (in a cast-iron skillet with lemon juice and garlic, sub nooch for the parmesan)

Yummy Vegan Donuts

Posted in Food and Recipes on November 2nd, 2010 by Lacey – 2 Comments
Vegan YumYum donuts

Vegan YumYum mini-donuts

Whenever my toddler has a holiday party at school, I get a little note asking to bring a “special treat to share.” I translate this as “make something cool” and usually try to bake. So, when I got the little orange note for her Halloween party, I decided to make the Vegan YumYum mini-donuts.

They were very cake-like, not as much donut-like…but still, very cute and delicious. In lieu of the sprinkles or total dunking, I decided to melt some vegan chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave and dip the tops. Not totally gorgeous, but quite delicious!

Note: She came home with a bag full of little bags of Halloween candy, so I think the other parents brought that. My donuts container came back empty so…I guess they were shared!

Green Soup

Posted in Food and Recipes on July 8th, 2010 by Lacey – 2 Comments

Being vegan for us is first about healthy eating, second about animal rights. We do believe that animals are treated inhumanely, for the most part, before they are slaughtered and made into products for us to consume, but we know that’s not always the case. Also, the ethics of meat-eating is pretty gray in my opinion, so it’s not always an open-and-shut matter.

This all being overly-said, I digress. The first reason we’re vegan is for health reasons. We are of the belief that one can simply consume more nutrients thanks to a vegan diet. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

And as any person who likes to eat knows, it’s good to get a variety of types of food in your diet to feel satisfied. Even though Myk and I don’t eat meat, dairy, or eggs, we definitely feel satisfied that we are experiencing a full array of delicious, satisfying foods. Among many other things, we’ve made delicious golden tofu, stir-fried colorful veggies, tempeh and greens, quinoa and chickpeas, black beans with a cornbread crust, and let us never, ever forget the soups.

Because soup is, if not the backbone, definitely an important rib in the vegan skeleton, I’ll share this awesome recipe for Green Soup which my dear husband invented.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1c. frozen okra, chopped
  • 1 small bunch asparagus
  • 1/c. water
  • 2c. broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 1/2c. green beans (frozen okay)
  • 1/2c. frozen corn
  • 2c. frozen spinach
  • 1 avocado, cubed (optional)
  • 4c. unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 5 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 scant tbsp of Vegi-Zest or Veggie Base by Vogue (available @ Whole Foods)
  • 2-3 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos, or to taste
  • 1/2c. pepitas

Sauté garlic in a splash of olive oil in a stock pot. Before it turns brown (maybe 1 minute), add water, okra, and asparagus.  Boil/simmer over high heat with the water until the water is nearly boiled away, the okra is bright green, and the asparagus is tender (but not yet mushy..that will come later). Okra is kinda slimey, so this helps it break down a bit.

Turn down the heat to medium.  Add the splash of olive oil and the other frozen veggies (and optional avocado–leave this out for a lower-fat version). Slowly add the milk and bring the soup back to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until things start to look nice and soupy.

Now, I’ve never used an immersion blender, but I imagine now would be a fine time to use one, if you’re so inclined. In other words, if you don’t like your soup chunky, you better blend this stuff up. We are totally fine with chunky green soup, but I can definitely see the appeal of blending.

Add the yeast and the Bragg’s, stir to incorporate. Sprinkle a few pepitas on each bowl of soup. You’re done! Enjoy your green soup!

Image courtesy of (Dr.) George Hatcher.

Kale Chips, Vegan Kitchen

Posted in Being Green, Food and Recipes on March 29th, 2010 by Lacey – 3 Comments

Kale about to be oven-baked where it will turn crispy and you will forget it ever started as kale.

Since I started cooking more seriously last fall (I should say, since I started cooking last fall, period), I’ve discovered there are several things I’d consider staples to our vegan food stash. Here’s a partial list of things I keep on hand at all times. But before you read that, first admire this tray of innocent kale, about to be baked into a delicious treat known as kale chips. Now I know you know that I have lost my mind but I swear–THIS IS SO GOOD. There are so many recipes out there, but here’s your crash course recipe: preheat oven to 400. Take a bunch of organic kale, wash it, cut off the ends, and tear into bite size pieces (as you see here). Toss to coat (lightly!) with 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil.  Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and lay the kale on the parchment (if you don’t have parchment, don’t sweat it). Bake for approx 10 min until it’s papery-sounding when you poke at it. Remove from oven. Enjoy!

Now, the list of things you can’t live without!

Proteins:

  • organic tofu
  • tempeh
  • variety of canned beans (garbanzo, black, white, etc)

Grains/pseudo-grains:

  • quinoa
  • brown or red rice
  • all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour (and also all the other usual baking stuff–baking soda, powder, organic sugar, vanilla, etc)
  • smattering of other stuff–flax, barley, amaranth, millet, whatever you’re in the mood for trying

Produce:

  • some variety of dark leafy green (swiss chard is my favorite right now, but kale and spinach are also usually in there, or you could try mustard or collard greens)
  • onions-red and white
  • small or medium organic potatoes
  • fresh broccoli
  • frozen corn, okra, green peas, snow peas, and organic edamame (for soup)
  • frozen stir fry veggies
  • 28oz can of cooked, diced tomatoes (for soup)
  • one or two varieties of whole fruits such as oranges, bananas, organic apples, or plums

Misc:

  • nutritional yeast
  • olive oil
  • powdered vegetarian boullion (yes, I know it has tons of salt, but it’s good for so many things)
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • Veganaise
  • various seeds such as pepitas

Myk and I are going to try to start buying our produce at farmer’s markets on the weekends here in Houston. We really are in one of the few places in the country that has a year-round growing season, so we are going to try to take better advantage of that.

A note on cooking: I’ve been cooking a lot from Vegan Brunch lately, but I will also cook pretty much anything from Veganomicon. I find their scones and muffins especially worthwhile in that book (my personal favorites are the lower-fat banana bread and the pumpkin cranberry scones), but everything I’ve tried has been pretty good.  I also hope some magical elf will leave me How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman someday–I’ve immensely enjoyed learning about food in How to Cook Everything, so I think it’s vegetarian counterpart will be awesome.

Now all I need is a bigger kitchen!

Cheezy Quinoa Casserole

Posted in Food and Recipes on March 10th, 2010 by Lacey – 3 Comments

The casserole, pre-cheeze

Whenever I describe vegan cooking or baking to others, it sounds disgusting. All the things that are actually delicious to me just sound gross. The wost offender, of course, is nutritional yeast. Even it’s nickname, “nooch,” isn’t much better.  What’s also amusing to me is that people seem to think vegan cooking/baking is “healthier” somehow. It won’t save you any calories, but it certainly is a healthier way to live, long term.  This recipe is definitely not health food.  You have been warned.

That being said, I’m going to just forge ahead with this recipe in hopes that you will look past all the weird things it’s asking you to do, make, and eat, and just enjoy the fact that it’s pure, delicious, and will make your tummy happy.

Cheezy Quinoa Casserole

You will need:

  • 1cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups parboiled broccoli
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (or canned, if you’re lazy…no shame)
  • 1 package extra firm organic tofu
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (optional)
  • 1 batch of the cheeze sauce from VeganYumYum (holla! Great recipe if you ever want mac and cheeze. Which I do. Frequently.)

Preheat your oven to 350F and spray a medium-sized casserole dish (or souffle dish). If you don’t have spray, don’t sweat it–just lightly grease with olive oil. Or, if you don’t want to do that, it’s not the end of the world. Just have a dish ready.

Bust out the rice cooker and put your quinoa in there with 1 1/4c of water. Alternately, put 2 cups of water and your quinoa on the stove and boil, covered, until the little white circle forms around your quinoa. If the white rings don’t form throughout the quinoa and you run out of water, just add a bit more. In my experience, it’s much harder to overcook quinoa than rice. Also–about quinoa–I really like Alter Eco red quinoa more than the white kind. It’s really full-flavored and delicious…and ethical! Also, because of the color, it’s easier to see when it’s done because those white rings pop right out.

Next, prep your cheeze sauce. VeganYumYum does a pretty good job of walking you through all the steps. Obviously, just make the sauce and omit the mac part.  I’d like to mention that my daughter is allergic to sesame seeds, so I replaced the tahini with almond butter and it worked very well. I’m sure I’m missing some of that great nutty tahini taste, but it’s better than a trip to the hospital and the epi-pen, right?!

Next, prep your tofu. Now, I have discovered the secret to having fun while cooking tofu and/or tempeh. The secret, friends, is an iron skillet (side note: my friend Cinnamon just wrote a cookbook praising the iron skillet–hooray Cinnamon!). It’s darn fun to cook on one of these things because you don’t worry about scraping it, burning it, or denting it otherwise. It’s just a straight-up, honest to goodness cooking tool. Use it. Love it. Here’s how I cook my tofu, and it’s based on a beloved favorite restaurant from college, The Grit in Athens, GA. First, drain the tofu and shake off the excess water. Slice the tofu into either cubes or triangles (I am a fan of the triangles because it’s so cute to hear my toddler identify them). Then, take 2tbsp of olive oil and heat it on med-high in your skillet. Once it’s hot, place your tofu in the pan. Turn the tofu periodically using a metal spatula and let it get a lovely yellow color on every surface. You may need to add a little bit (maybe another tbsp) more oil during this process. If you’d like, you can also add the optional splash (or squirt/spray, as the case may be) of Bragg’s in there at this time. Take the tofu out of the pan once golden, wipe out your skillet (carefully, iron skillets stay really hot for a while) with a paper towel. At this point, you can roll your tofu in some nutritional yeast to cover it. Heat your skillet again, place 2tbsp of oil in there, and repeat what you just did. Your tofu should be nice and brown and not nearly as wet as when you started. My mouth is watering just writing about this.

Next, parboil your broccoli. It will only take a couple of minutes, and you basically just want to make the broccoli bright green and barely soft. I put about 1/2″ of water in the bottom of a pot with a lid, boil it, put the broccoli in, wait a couple of minutes, and then it’s done.  Also at this point, you can sautee your mushrooms until they exude a juice, remove from heat. Or, open the can of mushrooms and drain.

Now comes the fun part: LAYERING. Take your beautiful red white-ringed quinoa and layer it on the bottom of the casserole dish. Then, take your broccoli and mushrooms–layer those next. Then, the tofu layer. Then, take your cheezy sauce and carefully pour it over the top of the whole concoction. It’ll seep down in between all the delicious bites of tofu and broccoli and will touch the top of the quinoa. YUM. O.

Bake at 350F for 25 min until it’s bubbley and the cheezy sauce it slightly browner than it was before. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and serve.

Vegan Whoopie Pies

Posted in Food and Recipes on January 27th, 2010 by Lacey – Comments Off
whoopie pies

Whoopie pies! So delicious. Sorry for the crappy picture...I will take a better one next time I make these.

Earlier this week, we had a bake sale to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief. The bake sale was a huge success, raising $1100 for Partners in Health which is then going to be matched by the company I work for, the matched money going to the Red Cross.  Cool, eh?

For this bake sale, I baked vegan whoopie pies, recipe courtesy of Hannah Kaminski. Why whoopie pies? Well, why not?! I was organizing the bake sale so I knew no one else would be bringing them and hey–who doesn’t like the sound of whoopie pies. This recipe and the accompanying video were so good that my whoopie pies turned out PERFECT. I also took the time to invest in the correct tools–a cookie scoop (like a mini ice cream scooper–to get all the cookies the same size), a reusable pastry bag for the icing/filling, and an oven thermometer because our oven runs hot (by 50 degrees I now know). Anyways, the whoopie pies received really good reviews and people never suspected they were *gasp* NOT EATING SOMETHING WITH EGGS AND MILK.

As a relevant tangent, I made little table tents for the bake sale out of cardboard cereal boxes I had stacked up waiting to get taken to the recycling center and then I put paper samples I had in my stash in the middle for the actual label. Trying to liven up what probably would have just been an impersonal post-it note that, likely, would have just been thrown away in the end. We recycled all the tents, don’t worry.

I’ll have a rant about that another time, but I would just like to say that vegan food is so misunderstood.

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