Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What do you do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?

 .....I would have just microwaved them….. but thanks to Chef S, we got to enjoy the best Panini’s ever!!!!

ThanksLiving Leftover Panini’s

What you need:
Thinly sliced Italian Bread
Your leftovers.
We used: the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute, Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini, and Daiya Cheese.

What you do:
Sautee the Roast en Croute in a pan and then place on the bread.
Add the roasted veggies and shredded Daiya on top
Brush the outside of the bread with olive oil
Place in your Panini maker for approximately 10 minutes
If you don’t have a Panini Maker, use a skillet or griddle.



Enjoy!!!

VOTES:
Adult: 4 thumbs up

What do Vegans eat on Thanksgiving?

This is a question I get asked commonly… the answer……A ThanksLiving Feast

For the simple Chefs like me:
Holiday Lentil Loaf
Autumn Wild Rice Rissoles
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Cranberry Berry Stuffing
Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini and Asparagus
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

For the fancy Chefs: (courtesy of Chef S)
Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute
Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Roast
Herb Stuffing with Smoked Sage “Sausage”
Rustic Roasted Three Squash Soup
Garden Greens with Maple Balsamic Dressing
Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Glazed Green Beans
Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust



Here are the Recipes and Pictures!

Holiday Lentil Loaf  (courtesy of VegNews):
Recipe:





Autumn Wild Rice Rissoles (courtesy of Chef TK from Vegetarian times):

Recipe:

Very easy to make…. Except I forgot to buy saltines and only had graham crackers and pretzels in our house Thursday morning. So we made a casserole instead of rissoles. It was still yummy!!!!



Creamy Mashed Potatoes:

What you need:
5 small yellow potatoes
5 small red potatoes
5 small purple potatoes (from TJs)
1 container vegan sour cream
1 container vegan cream cheese
1 stick Earth balance
1 tsp chives
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp garlic powder ( or 1 clove garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:
Cook potatoes till soft. Drain water. Add the rest of the ingredients and mash. Creamy and good and pink!!!!



Gravy (Courtesy of Vegweb):
There are many vegan varieties out there, but I think this one is my fave.



Cranberry Berry Stuffing:
This year I decided to put a twist on my usual Cranberry Stuffing – in addition to the fresh cranberries and sugar – I added 1 cup fresh blueberries and blackberries! Yum!



Roast Eggplant, Zucchini and Asparagus:
Very easy. I bought frozen sliced Eggplant and Zucchini. Placed them on a baking sheet with the fresh asparagus and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.




VOTES:
All the above recipes received
Adult: 2, Child: 0 (thanksgiving has never been a big hit in our house)



Pumpkin Pie:

What you need:
2 eggs (or Energy Egg replacer)
½ cup sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp mace
1.5 cups fresh pumpkin (from Halloween)
1 cup soy milk


What you do:
1.) Preheat oven to 425
2.) Beat all ingredients together
3.) Pour into pastry shell (9 inch)
4.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes
5.) Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 45 minutes
Enjoy!

Pastry shell (9 inch):
1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening or Earth balance (cold)
2 tbs soy milk

Use pastry cutter to mix into coarse crumbles. Then gather into a ball, flatten and roll into a circle. Put into pie plate.



Pecan Pie:

What you need:
1 cup broken pecans
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (or energy egg replacer)
1 cup Earth Balance (melted)
½ tsp salt

What you do:
1.)    Preheat oven to 375
2.)    Mix above ingredients together with whisk.
3.)    Pour into prepared pastry shell
4.)    Decorate the top with pecan halves
5.)    Bake 40-50 minutes
6.)    Enjoy!




Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (modified: Courtesy of the Vegan Scoop)
What you need:
1 cup soy milk (or any vegan milk)
2 tbs arrowroot (sold at WFs, sunflower, sprouts – baking aisle)
2 cups soy creamer (or could use mimiccreme or coconut milk)
¾ cup evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
1 vanilla bean

What you do:
1.)    In a small bowl combine ¼ cup soymilk with arrowroot and set aside
2.)    In sauce pan mix soy creamer, remaining soy milk, and sugar
3.)    Cook over low heat, till boils
4.)    Remove from heat add the arrowroot and soymilk mixture and continue stirring
5.)    Add Vanilla Bean
6.)    Put in refrigerator for 2-3 hrs till cool
7.)    Add to Ice maker and then Enjoy!


Snickerdoodle Ice Cream (a variation of my Snickerdoodle cookie dough ice cream)

Use same base as above but substitute 1 tbs vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and then add 1tsp cinnamon.
Then when freezing the ice cream in your ice cream maker, 5 minutes before done; add broken pieces of snickerdoodle cookies. I bought my vegan snickerdoodles at TJs. Yum!

VOTES:
The desserts received
Adults: 2, Child: 4.


Chef S Recipes:

Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute:
This you can buy in the frozen section at WFs

Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Roast:
Recipe at:




Herb Stuffing with Smoked Sage “Sausage”:
Use Arrowhead Mills Organic Savory Herb Stuffing
Cook on your stove top and add additional celery and Field roast “sausage”



Rustic Roasted Three Squash Soup:
Recipe at:

Garden Greens with Maple Balsamic Dressing:
Recipe at:



Garlic Glazed Green Beans:
Recipe at:



Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust:
Recipe at:


Enjoy!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The BEST Mac N Cheese


I have tried many recipes and they have been good...but until now I had not found the best. I saw this recipe (or similar ones) about a year ago but never tried them because I just couldn't believe it would taste good. I was wrong once again!! Here is the link from Veg News Magazine.


What you need:
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces macaroni (or whatever pasta you like)
  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (sold at TJs, WFs, sunflower etc)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
What You Do:
  1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons Earth balance to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup Earth Balance, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.



ps i used TJs tricolor vege radiatore not macaroni 

Of course their picture looks better than mine! I did add more pasta and next time will follow their instructions to only use 8 ounces (it will be more cheesey). However, I would add less breadcrumbs and 1/2 the lemon juice.

Perfection indeed!!!

Enjoy!

VOTES:
Adult: 2 thumbs up. Children: 4 thumbs up.

Want to Veganize your Pantry?

Here are some of my recommendations to replace all those animal products! What I also love about vegan products; most come from small companies that are environmentally conscious and the ingredients are organic (mostly), always healthy, all natural and delicious.  Not only are you saving the lives of animals but you are being healthy too!

Milk:
Options: Soy, Almond, Hemp, Rice, Multi-grain etc etc
Our Pick: Silk’s Brain and Bone Health (added omega 3’s, Calcium and Vitamin D)
Where to buy: Most stores but the best price in town – Costco.
Recs: Just plain awesome!

Eggnog:
YES Silk makes a soy egg nog!!!! Only in stores November to January!!! So hurry!

Butter:
Options: margarines (yuck!) or Earth Balance – come in tubs and sticks
Our Pick: Earth Balance Soy Free or the Whipped variety
Where to buy: TJ (only sells 2 varieties of the tub), WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts.
Recs: Can eat it on anything, melts perfectly and bakes amazingly!

Cheese:
Options: Many but most are horrible. Teese Cheese if you like Velveeta. Daiya for pizza etc
Our pick: Daiya!
Where to buy: Daiya (WFs) and Teese Cheese (Green in Tempe or online)
Recs: For Daiya grate very thin so that it melts evenly or just buy it already shredded (comes both ways).

Sour Cream:
Options: 2 soy varieties on the market
Our Pick: Tofutti
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts (likely carried at other grocery stores? Might be more expensive though)
Recs: Not good plain. Spice it up with chipotle seasoning if using it in Mexican food. Otherwise is AWESOME for dips or baking or adding to mashed potatoes etc.

Cream Cheese:
Options: Several soy varieties on the market
Our Pick: Tofutti
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: Not good plain. Don’t plan on eating this on your morning bagel (yuck!). We eat our bagels with PB. However this is AWESOME in recipes; dips, cheesecakes, fillings etc

Parmesan Cheese:
Options: Two varieties on the market (soy and rice) It is a finely grated powder.
Our Pick: Galaxy’s Vegan Parm Cheese
Where to buy: WF’s. Maybe elsewhere?
Recs: Great on spaghetti or in recipes.

Cream:
Options: Canned coconut milk, soy milk or MimicCreme (nut milk)
Our Pick: All of the above, depends on how you are using them.
Where to buy: All stores sell canned coconut milk. MimicCreme is sold online or at WFs.
Recs: Would use the coconut or soy milks for ice cream or baking. We use MimicCreme for making alfredo sauce, soups etc.

Whipped Cream:
Options: Soy or rice
Our Pick: Soyatoo Rice Whipped Cream (the soy version is gross)
Where to buy: WFs
Recs: This is great fun for the kids. You can also make your own whipped cream from coconut milk.

Yogart:
Options: Soy or coconut
Our Pick: Silk or So Delicious
Where to buy: WFs or Sunflower or Sprouts
Recs: Different from cow’s milk yogart, may take awhile to get used to. Luckily taste buds are adaptable.

Eggs:
Options: Energy Egg Replacer (made from tapioca flour) or adopt your own hens
Our Pick: Both
Where to buy: Energy Egg Replacer is sold at WFs, Sunflower, and Sprouts
Recs: If you want scrambled eggs and you don’t want to adopt your own hens, try tofu scrambled eggs. The Energy Egg replacer is for recipes that require eggs… it works perfectly! AND you can lick the bowl without worrying about getting salmonella!

Mayo:
Options: The one, the only Vegenaise
Our Pick: Any variety of Vegenaise
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: Awesome and made with healthy oils. There is no reason for anyone to be eating mayonnaise these days

Salad Dressings:
Options: Many
Our Pick: OrganicVille Ranch Dressing.
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: If you read labels, most oil dressings are vegan. This Ranch dressing is great! Or make your own from scratch.

Hot dogs:
Options: Many types of soy dogs
Our Pick: Smart Dogs
Where to buy: TJs, WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: We have been eating them for 7 years and I don’t think I can remember what a cow-pig-hotdog even tastes like….

Gound beef:
Options: Soy crumbles made by Boca, Yves, Morning Star etc
Our Pick: Yves
Where to buy: TJs, WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: These are great for those who crave ground beef (not me). There is a taco, Asian, and “turkey” variety. They are all great and will even fool the most die hard carnivore. Also, if you like spicy there are soy chorizo types sold at TJs and WFs.

Chicken Nuggets:
Options: Many types (in the frozen section)
Our Pick: Gardein
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower
Recs: These are awesome!!! Some of the other types are mushy and not textured right. Be CAREFUL to read labels – even though some vege products are soy based – they might still add eggs or milk – so read the ingredients carefully.

Chicken:
Options: many types of patties, cutlets etc (in the frozen section)
Our Pick: Gardein!!!!
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower
Recs: All of Gardein’s products are awesome! The frozen “chicken” and “beef” are the best textured (according to my husband). Many varieties to choose from. WFs also sells Gardein “chicken breasts” in their prepared foods aisle – you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! Awesome!

Burgers:
Options: MANY!
Our pick: Dr. Praeger’s Tex Mex Vege Burger
Where to buy: TJs, WFs, Sunflower, Sprouts
Recs: Try different types and see what you like. The soy varieties have a more meaty texture…Or you could always make your own from scratch!

Chicken Stock:
Why buy this? Vegetable Stock is better!

Gummies:
Options: Many types
Our Pick: Tasty Organic Gummies
Where to buy: WFs
Recs: All natural, yummy, and healthy! Why buy those gummies that claim to be fruit when they are just like candy!

Brownies:
Options: Only these two are vegan – trust me I read all the brownie boxes! Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate and Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate
Our Pick: Either one!
Where to buy: Any store
Recs: Use energy egg replacer and voila you made quick and easy vegan brownies!!!


Chocolate Chips:
Options: Dark chocolate varieties. TJs semi sweet chocolate chips are vegan!
Our pick: TJs semi-sweet chips
Where to buy: TJs
Recs: Awesome for everything! The white chocolate chips below you have to buy online from Food FIght in Oregon.


Chocolate syrup:
Options: Several fancy brands.
Our Pick: Ahlaska!
Where to buy: WFs, Sunflower
Recs: This is delicious and great for sundaes or milk!

Marshmallows:
Options: Only one – Dandies
Our Pick: Dandies
Where to buy: WFs or Green in Tempe
Recs: Great for smores or rice krispie treats or rocky road brownies

Candy:
Options: Skittles, Laffy Taffy etc…but if you want Vegan Chocolate bars
Our Pick: Go Max Go Vegan Candy Bars
Where to buy: WFs or online
Recs: THESE ARE THE BEST!!!!

Cookies:
Options: Lots of varieties in stores and online and right under our noses. TJs line of Jo-Jo’s are vegan (peppermint ones too!). WFs bakery makes the best vegan cookies. Most of Newman’s line of cookies are vegan too!
Our Pick: Too many to choose
Where to buy: All stores. Check online too (see websites below)
Recs: Enjoy with soy milk!

Cookie Dough:
Options: Make your own. But if in a bind and want something quick and yummie… then
Our Pick: Eat Pastry Vegan Cookie Dough
Where to buy: WFs (refrigerated section)
Recs: Yum. Yum. Yum.

Ice Cream:
Options: Soy, Coconut, Almond, Rice
Our Pick: So Delicious Coconut Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Where to buy: Everywhere, but WFs and Sprouts have the best variety
Recs: Totally delicious!!!! Nothing better than cruelty free ice cream – no reason to be eating ice cream from poor cows!


And of course:
Nutritional Yeast Flakes – high in protein, no fat, low carbs. Can be added to most recipes as a salty, nutty flavor. Used frequently in vegan cheese recipes. Sold at WFs, Sunflower and Sprouts.
Chia Seeds – high in protein, fiber, and omega 3’s. Sold at WFs, Sunflower and Sprouts. Can be added to smoothies, brownies or oatmeal etc etc
Ground Flax Seeds – high in fiber and omega 3’s. Sold everywhere. Also can be added to smoothies, brownies, oatmeal, breads, cakes, soups etc etc.
Arrowroot – For making ice cream! This is a vegetable root substitute for gelatin! You don’t have to eat animal hooves.

And don’t forget about your legumes and grains. They are easy to store in your pantry for a long time, are filled with protein and vitamins and are inexpensive!!! Like my brother taught me as a child... beans are the magical food! The more you eat, the more you… J Beans and brothers, can’t live without them!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pesto Cilantro Ziti with Tofu and Roasted Veges
I will start my recipe blogging with one of our family’s faves. This recipe has many variations: pesto-alfredo, super greens pesto, pesto-sausage and variations with pasta and veges added.
(This is a great way to sneak a-ton-o-greens into our kids’ meals)

Pesto Ingredients: (feeds our family of 6)
1 pound pasta (any type you like)
2 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh spinach
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup olive or walnut oil (or any oil you like)
3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (vegan of course. Sold at WFs)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:
 In your food processor (if you don’t have one – you must buy one) combine all the above ingredients (except the pasta) – chop/grind till it is smooth. You may add more oil if you like to get the consistency that you desire. (doesn’t need to be runny – when mixed with the pasta it will coat it just lovely)

Take 1 package Extra Firm Tofu and toss it in 2 tablespoons of the pesto-cilantro mixture. Remove and place in an oven pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 375.

Cook Pasta. Drain and rinse. Toss with the pesto. Top with the baked tofu.

Roasted Veges: (An amalgam of recipes courtesy of several vege friends)
Pick any vegetable of your choice.
Tonight we chose broccoli, TJ’s colorful cauliflower, shitake mushrooms, and green onions
Line an oven pan with tinfoil. Drizzle the veges with olive oil and then sprinkle with spices of your desire… we chose a pinch or salt, pepper, dried basil, dried parsley, onion powder, and some red pepper flakes.
Bake (roast) for 15 minutes at 350 degrees (I like my veges a little soft)

Pre-roast

Post-roast


VOTES:
Adult: 2 thumbs up. Child: 4 enthusiastic thumbs up



Beach Bars (courtesy of ChefChloe.com – I modified her recipe to my liking)

Ingredients:
½ cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I like the cinnamon type)
1 cup canned coconut milk
¼ cup agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot (Bob’s Red Mill – health stores and even walmart)
1  1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2  cup chopped walnuts and pecans, toasted (optional)
2 cups dark chocolate chunks (from WF’s  or any other chocolate chip. TJ’s semi-sweet chocolate chips are vegan. Most others are not)


Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt vegan butter in microwave and pour into a 9x13" baking pan. Swirl around until the bottom of the pan is completely coated.
3. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly into pan until bottom of the pan is completely coated in crumbs. Pat down lightly with your hands.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt, and arrowroot. Drizzle this mixture evenly over the graham cracker layer.
5. Sprinkle the shredded coconut into the pan, then layer the optional nuts, then the chocolate chips. With the palm of your hand, gently pat the top of the cookie pan so that the chocolate chips get cemented into the rest of the cookie.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center looks thick and slightly bubbly with very lightly browned edges.
7. Let cool then refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Cut into even bars. The textures and flavors of this cookie really work best after refrigeration.



VOTES:
Adult: 2 thumbs up. Child: 3 thumbs up. (1 doesn’t like coconut)


Enjoy!!!

Never Say Never

This is hard for me to admit, but yes the self-proclaimed Anti-Blogger now has a blog. I will have to bake myself a humble pie.

Since I am frequently asked about what a vegan family eats, where we shop, what are good recipes, dairy or meat substitutes, etc etc….why not share our vegan life lessons.

I had the idea of starting a periodic email newsletter. I would send emails with recipes to my friends and maybe include a picture or two. This idea transformed into creating a blog where all the recipes could be posted and my friends could use this information in their own kitchen adventures.

Don’t expect much. I am an amateur chef who alters recipes on a whim (no exact science here). I am armed with a cheap camera and have many distractions (oops I mean helpers) in my kitchen. I will try to post weekly or monthly recipes that we have enjoyed. We devised a simple rating system (works well in our house) for the meals made…… thumbs up or thumbs down. There will be a total of 6 votes (2 adult, 4 kids. Sorry no feline or fowl votes).

And lastly, thank you to my vegan buds for the “rights” to my blog title.
Enjoy and Happy Vegan Cooking!