Dec 28, 2008

For Veggie "Nerds"

My fellow video production guy of WCDJs (our DJ company) showed me this video on YouTube, and it cracked me up! Yes, the nerd came out... for a short while. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. By the way, this has inspired me to start working on a vegan cannoli recipe some time soon!... Who's your favorite character?

Dec 25, 2008

On Cooking for My Non-Vegan Family

I have the unique experience of having complete vegan holiday dinners every year, because I am the one who traditionally hosts them. Yes, I usually plan and prepare everything for these "events," including decorations, activities, etc. Needless to say, I am usually WAY too tired to photograph anything (unless done beforehand), and I do a lot of this type of cooking without recipes and eyeball stuff- which doesn't lend very well to writing down recipes.

Anyway, I was just thinking of how unusual it is to be at a party where someone asks if they can bring a meat dish to an all-vegan meal (it's usually the other way around, right?)... From my perspective, I feel like, what's the big deal? It's only once (or twice) a year- they can do without meat for 2 outta the 365 days, can't they? Well, apparently they can't. Why? Because of Vegan Prejudice. There, I said it! Or... let me be fair, maybe it's better named, Meat Addiction. And for those who are really defensive, you can call it Holiday Tradition. Either way, it does leave one a bit vulnerable when there is more skepticism than enthusiasm in the room. I have realized that I worried WAY too much about pleasing people that are just not into fully appreciating it. Don't get me wrong- I LOVE surprising non-vegans with how good vegan food can be. And my family is not unsupportive (they brought delicious desserts from their local vegan bakery). But I do realize that people cannot be coerced into enjoying foods for which they are a bit... fearful? Note: Faux meats are scary to flesh eaters. I sometimes feel like a little kid and get all down about it, but I know that's just my bruised ego talking! Next year, I'll do everything as usual, except worry about the meat addicts... 2nd Note: Worrying helps no one. And, is probably the reason for my first white hair that I found yesterday! UGH! Who knows? Maybe they'll be more open next time, or not- ultimately not my choice. The upside, is that I have a ton of leftovers which we vegans are happily devouring today.

Here was my Christmas Eve Menu:

-Cashew Cheese Skewers with grape tomatoes and fresh basil
-Giant Seitanic Italian Meatballs, browned until crisp and smothered in red sauce.
-Home-Made Spinach and Tofu Cheese Raviolis
-Freshly-Baked French Bread
-Cheezy Garlic Bread
-Roasted Cabbage, Zucchini, and Broccoli drizzled with garlic infused olive oil & truffle oil.
-Decadent Chocolate Yule Log, with vanilla "cream" filling and chocolate "buttercream" frosting.

Email me if you're interested in any of these recipes, and I'll try to get them down on paper!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Cashew Cheese Skewers

Ok, what is up with guys being squeamish about the words "balls" and "nuts" when it comes to food? I suppose the term "nut cheese" really is off-putting... if you think of it that way! All the guys around here apparently do, and cringe accordingly whenever I offer them some. So instead of calling these "Nut Cheese Skewers," which is probably even worse, I have again chosen a more politically correct route for the sake of the delicate male psyche. Inspired by the Tree Nut Cheese folks on the East Coast, which we don't get over here in California, I found this recipe for Brazil Nut Cheese originally printed in Vegetarian Times. I didn't have any Brazil nuts, although they are on my list for the next batch. So I subbed cashews, which are my favorite. I did alter the recipe and method to avoid having to squeeze the mixture, which I found messy and unnecessary. The outcome is a wonderful soft pliable cheese that can easily be formed into... ok, I'm going to say it- balls! (hehe). Anyway, they taste amazing, and even pleased my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, who are non-vegans. You can also do a nice herbed cheese log and serve it with a spreading knife and crackers.

Makes a LOT of skewers as shown in the picture, or one softball-sized log.


1 1/3 C. raw cashews
1 T. lemon juice
2 1/2 T. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. water

container of grape tomatoes
bunch of fresh basil leaves


Soak the cashews in water overnight, or until they've plumped and softened. Drain nuts and process with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and water until smooth- let it run for awhile to get that extra creamy texture. Taste, and add more salt if you like. Next, transfer the mixture to a 1-qt. souffle pan or small loaf pan that has been oiled. Place that pan onto a sheet pan that has been filled half-way up with hot water and bake for 25-30 minutes at 300 degrees. It's done when it starts to crack, and will form a thin crust on top (and sides). Remove from oven and stir well. Then let it cool down. You can keep it in the fridge and make the skewers later if you like. Spoon a small amount of it and roll it with your fingers to shape and squeeze it to make it more dense. Carefully put them on the skewers (or longer toothpicks if you can find them), and layer a basil leaf and tomato. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Dec 21, 2008

Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses

Ho! Ho! Ho! Easy gingerbread houses are here! Ok, well, they're not made of gingerbread, but it is one less time-consuming step to make, especially if you're like me and don't have any interest in eating your creation. Besides, graham crackers are delicious too and are pretty easy to work with- and hey, if you mess up- just grab another cracker! If you're making these with kids, I would recommend making the little ones- less time, less complicated, and more instant gratification. Below this, I have instructions on how to make the trees- they're even easier!


1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. water (add more in small quantities as needed)
Graham crackers
Mix-n-match candies, candy canes, licorice, gum drops, jelly beans, pixie stix (all vegan, of course)


Squeeze bottle with narrow spout (I reused an agave nectar bottle)
serrated steak knife
kitchen scissors
large piece of foam core or cardboard
parchment paper & tape
paper towels
bowls for sorting candy


First, cover your piece of foam core or cardboard
with parchment paper (wrap like a present to cover
one side). This will keep things from sticking!
Next, make the "glue" that's gonna hold everything
together. Mix the powdered sugar with the tablespoon
of water, until it forms a very thick almost pastey glue.
You don't want it runny like Elmer's, but thicker like
ketchup. If you need to add more water, do so a little
water at a time, until it combines. Now transfer your
sugar glue to the squeeze bottle. Note: I will from this point refer to my sugar concoction as "glue," even though you should NEVER use real glue- someone might try to eat it, like your dogs.
To construct a larger house, you'll need to glue some
pieces together first. You'll need 10 unbroken
crackers to build 4 walls. Take 2 crackers and glue them
together by putting a line of glue between them, then
laying them side by side and putting another line of
glue over the seam. Wait about 5 minutes before turning
them over to put another line of glue on the opposite side's
seam. Do the same for all four walls.
For 2 of the 4 walls, you'll need to cut out some triangles
so you don't have gaping holes in your roof. Do this, by
"sawing" your cracker very gently with a serrated steak
knife (as shown), paying particular attention to the corners
which crumble easily. Glue the triangles onto the tops of
2 of the walls in the same manner as before.
Make sure to wait at least 10 minutes before moving them
so the glue has time to set completely.
Next, I would recommend decorating your wall BEFORE
you assemble your house. Once the decorations have set,
put together the walls by putting a line of glue on one wall
and positioning it at a 45 degree angle to an adjacent wall.
Naturally, walls with triangles will be on opposite sides-
for those who never built things with Lego's! Lastly, use
1 1/2 crackers (lengthwise) to build your roof. Build it by
gluing lines on one cracker to fit onto the bottom of one
side of the roof, using the triangles as support, then gluing
the half piece on top of that. Then, do the opposite side of
the roof in the same manner. Don't worry too much
about the seams not looking neat or matching up
perfectly, as you can cover them up with more glue
and candies, as shown.

For the little houses, which are cute and much faster to
make- a great craft project for kids! Break whole
graham crackers in half to form squares. I would
recommend scoring them with the serrated knife
(gentle sawing motion), before breaking them- that
way they'll break into perfect squares every time.
The hardest part is cutting the triangles, which you'll
do in the same manner as the large ones- just on a
smaller scale. I've been lazy in the past, and just
left them open, covering them later with candy canes
-mini ones are great. With these little guys, you
can start assembling soon after you finish decorating,
they should only take a few minutes to set.

To make the TREES:

You'll need the above glue and candies for decoration,
plus -

Ice cream cones (sugar, not plain)
green food coloring
green colored sugar candy (like pixie sticks) - optional


In a small bowl, put a few drops of green food coloring into a
little bit of water. With a brush, dip into the mixture and
blot with a paper towel. Brush onto the cone while holding
the tip (you may want to wear surgical type gloves to avoid
green fingers). While still wet, roll the cone in the sugar
candy (regular sugar would work too). Let dry for a few
minutes. Now it's ready to decorate with your "glue" from
the projects above.

Happy Holidayz Everyone!!!

Dec 20, 2008

Fresh Apple Cupcakes

When I first became vegan several years ago, I was still learning about all the great recipe sites out there, so I made an attempt at "veganizing" recipes I was already familiar with by using my newly found product: Egg Replacer. I now know that this isn't the only substitute, but it worked well back then, and it still does now. The printed page is plenty stained and "tore-up!" So- it's probably a good idea that I put this on my blog before it completely disintegrates! The fresh chunky apples and perfect amount of cinnamon make this a fragrant, moist cake that has become a household favorite. This was originally a recipe for a regular cake, and can be made that way by pouring into a 9 X 13" pan and increasing the baking time to 35-45 minutes.

Makes about 18 cupcakes


Wet Side-
Replacer for 2 eggs (1 T. Replacer + 4 T. water)
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. sugar
4 C. apples, peeled & chopped

Dry Side-
2 C. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 C. raisins (optional)
powdered sugar


In a large bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water. To this, add all the other "wet side" ingredients and mix. Add the dry ingredients (except the walnuts and raisins) and mix well. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, then pour into prepared cupcake pan with paper liners. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.


Oil the top of your cupcake or muffin tin so the raised tops of your cupcakes won't stick to the pan.

Irish Soda Bread

I stumbled upon this recipe from an old Veg News Magazine this morning. I've been playing around with different bread recipes lately, and saw that this one required no kneading AND no rising, because it uses baking soda (thus the name), and baking powder. The consistency is dense, soft, and chewy on the inside, and has a great crunch on the outside. I also subbed some chopped dates because I didn't have enough raisins, and I thought it gave it a great sweet flavor! Great slathered in vegan margarine, as the magazine states, and a snap to make!


1 1/4 C. soy milk
1 T. apple cider vinegar
3 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. dates


Mix together the soy milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to curdle. In a larg bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, including raisins and dates, until well combined. Add the curdles soy milk to form a stiff dough (you may need to add a little flour if it's too sticky to handle). Now, just form the dough into a round, slightly flattened ball and place it onto a prepared sheet pan. Cut a large "X" on top with a sharp knife or scissors (about 1" deep), and bake for 35-45 minutes at 375 degrees. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before cutting in.

Dec 17, 2008

Seitan Roast #3

This is the latest seitan roast (although it's not roasted, but steamed). I was very pleased with the texture-the right amount of chewy vs. tender! The flavor was good, but could use a bit more seasoning... excellent with gravy! The BEST thing is that it didn't take me hours and hours to make, with a similar outcome to the roast from Bryanna's recipe. Like her's, I mixed in pureed tofu to make it less chewy. What I've been finding, is that no matter how bland or chewy your seitan turns out, DO NOT throw it out! Grind it up and make a fantastic meatloaf or meatballs out of it by adding minced veggies, seasonings, breadcrumbs, etc. So, even if your roast isn't the best, it'll be a good excuse to get creative with it afterwards...I'm definitely gettin' closer though!!

2 C. vital wheat gluten
1/3 C. nutritional yeast
2/3 C. soy protein powder
1 T. onion powder

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T.)
1/2 C. blanched almonds
1 block frozen extra firm tofu (thawed and drained)
1/2 C. fresh mushrooms
1 C. water
1/2 C. soy sauce
1 T. hoisin sauce
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke

1 T broth powder*
1/2 C. hot water
1 tsp. salt*
*I make my broth powder without the salt so I can add it to recipes and adjust the salt later, so if you're using broth powder with the salt in it, leave the extra salt out- and taste and adjust by adding more water or more powder.


Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a food processor, pulverize the almonds and garlic cloves until fine and grainy. Add the thawed tofu (after squeezing the excess water out of it) and mushrooms, as well as all the other wet ingredients. Puree until smooth. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a dough forms -get in there with your hands! Make the broth - if you haven't made Bryanna's broth powder- DO IT! It's fantastic! Take two good sized sheets of foil and make a double layer. Form the dough into a rectangular shape and place into the center of your foil. Carefully fold up the foil to create a "bowl," and pour the broth over the roast. Close up the top, twist up sides, and put into your steamer for 30 minutes. I put mine on a wire rack inside of a big covered wok, with water just below the rack, turning down to a low-medium temperature after coming to a boil. Check periodically to make sure water hasn't evaporated. Then, carefully open the foil and flip the roast over with good utensils, re-seal, and steam for another 30 minutes. Unwrap, set on a platter, and brush the top with some olive oil (optional), or pour excess broth over it.

I also made this incredible "Challa Bread" from the post punk kitchen. It makes two gigantic loaves, so you may want to cut the recipe in half if you don't have a lot of people. This bread is tender and slightly sweet, faintly tasting of bananas (one of the ingredients). Delicious!

Dec 13, 2008

Pigless In a Blanket

It was time for the Company holiday party, and I was trying to figure out what to serve. I knew I wanted to do some good, easy finger-foods and not make too much work for myself. So, I put a spin on a cinnamon roll recipe from vegweb, which was basically a good potato bun recipe, and turned it into a tasty bread roll for my "hot dogs." It's a pig in a blanket, without the pig, and also includes a creamy cheeze sauce in the middle. A little of the cheeze did ooze out after baking, but it may be because I added too much margarine (which wasn't needed), and have cut it down in the recipe. I served them with the traditional condiments (mustard, ketchup, relish, etc.) Both vegans and omni's loved them, and devoured them!

Makes about 24


2 packages of your favorite tofu dogs (I used Ive's 4-pack)
4 1/2 C. flour (up to 1/2 may be whole wheat)
1 T. vital wheat gluten (optional, but especially useful if using the whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 C. warm water (or soy milk)
1/2 C. mashed cooked potato (I use instant potato flakes and water to equal 1/2 cup)
1/3 C. melted margarine

Cheeze filling (optional)
- 3 or 4 T. Tofutti Cream Cheese
- half block of Vegan Mozarella (I used the 10oz. Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet)
- 1 T. Vegenaise or vegan margarine
1 tsp. parsley flakes
cracked black pepper


In a small bowl, add the hot water and cold soy milk. Add the yeast to the warm liquid and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix up all of the dry ingredients (flour, gluten, sugar, salt, garlic powder). In a processor, put in all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. By now, the yeast mixture should be nice and foamy. Make a little well in the dry mix, and add the yeast mixture, mashed potato, and melted margarine. Mix/ knead together until it forms a nice smooth dough. Place back into a greased bowl, cover and set aside for an hour to rise.

Meanwhile, cut up your soy dogs into 1 1/2 - 2" pieces. I cut mine into thirds. Now go watch TV, make some cookies, or just stand around and goof off until that hour has passed. The dough should have just about doubled in size. You can now twist off a softball sized piece and roll it between your hands to form a "log." From this, you can cut golf-sized pieces with a knife, and roll each piece into a ball. Flaten and roll out the ball to about 1/4" thickness, and start contruction by placing about 1/2 to 1 tsp. of the cheeze mixture in the center of the dough. Then, place a soy dog piece on top of that, and bring opposite sides of the dough to the top center (like a taco) and pinch together. Close up the sides to seal and pull the dough up towards the top to form a nice ball. Put the ball onto a prepared sheet pan, seam side down. Now let them puff up again for another hour. At this point, you can either cover them in plastic and hold them in the fridge 'til later, or place in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, then broil for about 2 minutes or until golden on top (optional).

Dec 11, 2008

Stuffed Cabbage with Creamy Spicy Marinara

Ok, I admit that I'm sometimes a lazy photographer, and really didn't feel like plating this one and making it look pretty! But the taste definitely makes up for it. Here's something else you can do with leftover seitan roast, which I ground up to make a delicious filling- but the secret's in the sauce!

Makes about 10 stuffed cabbages


1/2 cabbage (cabbage cut in half)
1 C. ground, seasoned seitan (or other meat sub)
1/2 C. shredded carrots
1/4 C. chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 C. cooked white rice
1 T. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

1 jar (22 oz.) tomato sauce
1 C. chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic (about 1 T.)
2 T. Vegenaise
2 T. sugar (to taste- I like my tomato sauce sweet and savory)
Siracha chilli sauce to taste (I used about 1-2 T.), or you can use red chilli flakes


After cutting your cabbage in half, cut out the stem in the bottom center, by making a v-cut. Put the whole thing in a steamer or boil it in water until tender and pliable (takes a few minutes). Mix together the filling ingredients in a bowl. Remove the cabbage and strip off the top leaf carefully. Spoon in filling and wrap like a burrito (or just roll and tuck loose leaves underneath). Place all the rolls onto a prepared baking sheet.
To make the sauce, saute onions in a little oil until tender. Add chopped garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and stir. Stir in Vegannaise, sugar, and Siracha sauce until well combined. Spoon sauce over cabbage rolls and cook in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Broil for a few minutes to brown the tops (Optional).

Dec 8, 2008

Seitan Pot Roast

...And the quest continues for the perfect seitan. Let's face it, as a former flesh eater, it's not going to be the same. Unless you're talking about the processed veg meats from Taiwan and China, which are made with similar ingredients, but have gone through some sort of molecular restructuring to be freakishly like animal meat. Anyway, I think I'm getting closer. I really wanted to develop flavorings that would mask the funky wheat gluten after taste, and I think this one does that! The texture is still chewy and very sliceable (good for lunchmeat), but I'm gonna work on making it more "beefy" and less chewy next time.

Serves about 8


2 C. vital wheat gluten
4 T. nutritional yeast
2/3 C. soy protein powder
1 T. onion powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper

3 T. white miso paste
1 1/2 C. water
1/2 C. soy sauce
1 T. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 T.)
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. canola (or other veg) oil


Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a dough forms -get in there with your hands! Take two good sized sheets of foil and make a double layer. Form the dough into a rectangular shape and place into the center of your foil. Crack some black pepper on top and press in. Wrap up tightly, twisting the ends and steam for about an hour. I put mine on a wire rack inside of a big covered wok, with water just below the rack, turning down to a low-medium temperature after coming to a boil. Check periodically to make sure water hasn't evaporated. Unwrap, set on a platter, and brush the top with some olive oil (optional).

Nutritional Info: 308 calories/ 3g tot. fat/ 0.4g sat. fat/ 1152mg sodium/ 385mg potassium/ 21g tot. carbs/ 3g fiber/ 5.5g sugar/ 50g protein

Dec 7, 2008

Green Pea Soup & Cheezy Quesadillas

This soup is easy, delicious, and BRIGHT GREEN! Makes good use of frozen peas too. I'm gonna link it again, because I LOVE Bryanna's chicken-style broth powder for the base. I think this easy-to-make broth powder is great for anything that needs broth or good chickeny seasoning. I just don't add salt to the mix, so I can put it in other recipes and adjust the salt later- very versatile, and no need to buy that expensive pre-made broth! To have a little bite on the side, I found some leftover tortillas and decided to make a cheezy filling with vegan cream cheeze and some leftover vegan "feta," which I wasn't too fond of on its own. You can sub any other vegan cheeze instead of the feta.

Serves about 4



2 T. vegetable oil
1 C. onion, chopped
1 C. potato, peeled and chopped
4 T. broth powder
5 C. water
1 leek, chopped
1 16oz.(1 lb.) bag of frozen peas
salt & pepper to taste


2 flour tortillas
1/2 C. Tofutti cream cheese, plain
1/2 C. vegan feta (or other)
1 green onion, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste


For the soup, saute the onions in the vegetable oil and add the potatoes a few minutes after- cook until onions are tender. Add the broth powder, water and leeks, and let simmer until the potatoes are soft (about 10 minutes). Add the frozen peas and let simmer for a minute or two. Turn off the heat and blend with a hand-held stick blender until smooth and creamy. Serve hot.

For the quesadillas, mix all ingredients in a bowl and spread onto a tortilla. Cover with another tortilla and heat on a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray. Once it's nice and toasty (1-2 minutes), flip it over and cook the other side. Transfer to a plate and cut into wedges. Serve warm.

Nutritional Info (Soup): 175 calories/ 3.9g tot. fat/ 0.3g sat. fat/ 1264mg sodium/ 434mg potassium/ 29.5g tot. carbs/ 5.3g fiber/ 7.7g sugar/ 5.6g protein

Dec 3, 2008

No Knead Bread

I got this recipe from the Steamy Kitchen site. I was intrigued by the fact that it was so easy to make, a 4-year old could do it! The proof is on this site, which features a cute kid making it. I've taken the liberty of putting the recipe here, for those who don't want to weed through all the text and pictures, but it was funny and worth looking at. I did make some adjustments in the prep, and I think my oven is hotter than most, because I almost burnt mine! This bread IS extremely easy to make, except for the waiting. AND, it tastes incredible- crispy crust, large bubbles, and soft and chewy inside... Carb Heaven!

Makes 1 round loaf


3 C. bread flour ( I did the wheat/white variation...1/2C. to 2 1/2C.)
1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt (you may want to reduce this if you'd like the bread less savory and more sweet)
1 1/2 C. lukewarm water


Literally throw everything in a bowl and stir until it all comes together (no need to knead). Cover the bowl with plastic and let sit for 12 hours (while you're sleeping is ideal). Scrape out the dough onto a floured surface. With dampened hands, pull the ends to the middle and flip over to form a smooth "ball" of dough. Wash out the bowl, dry, and oil the inside. Replace the dough into the bowl, cover again, and let rise for about an hour (doubled in size). Prepare a metal or ceramic pot by lightly oiling the bottom (I added a sprinkle of corn meal too), and transfer the dough to the pot. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits on the top of the dough to make steam vents. Cover with a lid (make sure it doesn't have plastic handles!), and put into a 450 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. You will smell the bread when it's about done. The bread should be lightly golden. Take the bread out of the pot and place directly onto the rack for another 5-10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. And unlike the advice from the Steamy Kitchen, slather plenty of vegan margarine on it (not butter).

Spinz Update:

Jan 1, 2009 I've been making this bread quite often, as it has become so popular in my house. This is the new technique that I've found ideal. Mix the dough in a crockpot, or a similar vessel that has an oven-proof lid (be careful not to use lids with plastic knobs). Let this stand overnight, and then scrape it out onto a floured surface. Clean out the pot, then apply cooking spray and cornmeal to the bottom. Return your dough, and let stand for an hour. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes in your covered pot, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until nice and golden. After pulling from the oven, simply let it cool for a bit, and lossen the sides with a knife and pop it out. The crust is amazingly crispy and good, and the insides reminds my housemate of a good English muffin.


Sometimes I like to add sliced garlic to the mix and make a fantastic garlic bread. Yum!

Nutritional Info (serving is 1/10 loaf): 134 calories/ 0.4g tot. fat/ 0.1g sat. fat/ 233.5mg sodium/ 58mg potassium/ 28g tot. carbs/ 1.6g fiber/ 0.1g sugar/ 4g protein

Dec 2, 2008

Mexican Falafels

It was one of those nights- feeling lazy, rummaging through the fridge to throw something tasty together for dinner. I had wanted to use some leftover chickpeas to make falafels, but found that they had been sitting on the shelf too long and had just started to go bad (hate when that happens!)... So, I looked in the pantry and found some black beans, and decided to make falafels with a Mexican twist! There were no pita pockets in the house, so I used flour tortillas to add to my theme, and mixed up a creamy hummus sauce to go with them. They were a big hit and didn't take much effort.

Makes about 12 falafel balls, 4 servings


1 can (15 oz) black beans
1 C. TVP (textured vegetable protein- the kind that looks like granola)
1/2 C. vegetable broth
1 T. egg replacer + 1 T. water
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 C. finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (less if you don't like it spicy)
vegetable oil for frying
whole wheat bread crumbs (about 1/2 C.)


Rinse and drain black beans and mash them up in a bowl, just until none of them are whole. In a separate bowl, add vegetable broth to the dry TVP, mix well and set aside to let it combine. In a small bowl or mug, add the water to the egg replacer and beat with a fork until frothy. Add this to the beans. Chop cilantro and onions and add those to the beans, along with all of the spices. Finally, add the rehydrated TVP and mix everything together to form a nice thick mixture. In a large deep frying pan, add vegetable oil (about 1/4" deep)- you can use a deep fryer or use more oil which saves time, but I like to conserve my oil and cook both sides. When the oil is hot enough, form the mixture into golf-sized balls and roll in the bread crumbs. I like to smoosh them into "nuggets" so they'll cook faster. Then gently ease them into the hot oil and fry each side for a minute or two until deep golden brown and heated through. Place them on paper towels or paper bag to soak up the excess oil. Let them cool for a few minutes before constructing your falafel. We used heated tortillas, salad greens, chopped tomatoes, and my hummus sauce. Chopped cucumbers would be great with these too, if I had some!

Hummus Sauce: Add 1/2 C. of Vegannaise to 1/2 C. prepared hummus and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. Add about a T. water to thin it into a gravy-like sauce.

Nutrition Info (falafel balls only): 254 calories/ 9.2g tot fat/ 0.9g sat. fat/ 416mg sodium/ 432mg potassium/ 27.4g tot carbs/ 11g fiber/ 5g sugar/ 17.6g protein

Dec 1, 2008

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes I just crave a good cookie. I finally broke down and made the Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies in Vegan With A Vengeance. They turned out chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and decadently rich throughout! The best part? Giving them to non-vegans and making them into believers (when it comes to cookies, at least)! Well, this is one recipe that doesn't need any remixing!

Accompanying them is a nice hot cup of vegan mocha:

1 tsp instant coffee (caf or decaf)
1 T Hershey's chocolate syrup (yes, it's vegan)
a bit of hot water to dissolve (about 4 T.)
soy milk to almost the top
Rod's non-dairy whipped cream in a can

Mix up all except the whipped cream, microwave for a minute to minute and a half, then top with whipped cream.

Nutrition Info for Mocha: 136 calories/ 5.1 g total fat (1.4g saturated)/ 124mg sodium/ 248mg potassium/ 16g total carb/ 2.4g fiber/ 7g sugar/ 8g protein

Nov 28, 2008

Exotic Coconut Muffins

Ok, so it doesn't look so exotic in the picture... but thanks to a trip to the Asian market, the secret ingredient is "Macapuno Strings," or jarred gelatinous(no gelatin!) young coconut. This stuff makes a rich, deliciously moist crumb. It also makes the muffin shiny on top without having to brush on any glaze. The coconut itself is soft vs. the fibrous texture of dried coconut. Watch out- these can be quite addictive!

If you can't get your hands on some macapuno strings, you can substitute 1 cup of regular dried coconut.

Makes about 18 muffins


1 jar (12 oz.) macapuno strings
1 C. sugar
1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk (about 2 cups)
1/4 C. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


In a large bowl, mix together the macapuno strings, sugar, coconut milk, veg oil, and vanilla extract. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients and add to the wet until fully combined. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Done when toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a bit before munching.

Nutrition Info: 202 Calories/ 8.4g total fat/ 5g saturated fat/ 31.2g total carb/ 18.8g sugar/ 1.8g fiber/ 1.8g protein/ 233.3mg sodium/ 66.4mg potassium

Nov 27, 2008

Vegan Pot Stickers

A different way to use that leftover seitan...
After making my trial seitan roast, which turned out too chewy and dry, I ground it up in a food processor and mixed in a few ingredients to make a filling for these pot stickers. Being an Asian kid, I learned how to make the skins from my mom. They're soft, chewy, crunchy on the bottom, and a lot better than the store-bought kind! Plus they were always made without eggs.

Pot Sticker Dough


3 C. all purposed unbleached flour (sorry, wheat flours just don't work in this)
3/4 C. warm water


Put flour in a bowl and mix in the water gradually until the mixture starts to come together. Knead until it forms a smooth elastic dough, adding more water or more flour as needed. Wrap dough ball in plastic and put in the fridge to rest.



1/2 C. raw cashews
3/4 C. ground seitan (may substitute TVP, but may need more water to hydrate)
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
3/4 tsp Bryanna's broth powder
4 T. water
1/4 C. green onions
1/4 C. shredded carrots


In a food processor, blend cashews with a little water to form a thin paste (consistency of Elmer's glue). Put ground seitan in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix in cashew paste until combined well.
Cut the dough in half and roll each piece into a rough 1 inch diameter "log" and cut the log into 1" pieces. On a floured surface, press the piece into a round disc and roll thin with a rolling pin. Place about 1 T. of filling into the middle (size may vary according to the size of your wrapper).

Bring opposite edges to the middle and pinch together. Now here's the hard part: one side needs to be pleated, so while pinching the middle with finger tips on one hand, use the other to pleat one side towards the outer edge. Repeat towards opposite edge while holding the middle and form into a crescent shape. If you get frustrated, you can always just pinch them together - just won't be as pretty!


Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and add about 2 T. veg oil to make a thin layer(non-stick skillet is best). Turn heat to high, and start adding pot stickers- you can fit more if you arrange them in a sunburst pattern. Once they start to sizzle, add enough water to cover them almost to their tops. Cover with lid and steam for about 15 minutes or until you hear them start to sizzle again and no more steam is escaping. Don't walk too far away from these, 'cause they'll burn! Check to see if they're nice and brown on the bottom before removing from pan with a spatula. They're not called "pot stickers" for nothin'- so don't skip the cooking spray! Lift them out with a good spatula. To eat: Dip in soy sauce and rice vinegar.


You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Also, feel free to play around with the filling with herbs and seasonings that you like (ginger, cilantro, five spice, lemongrass, etc.).

Nutrition Info (serving size is 2 fat pot stickers): 306 calories/ 6g total fat/ 1g sat. fat/ 267mg sodium/ 174mg potassium/ 52g tot carb/ 4g fiber/ 2.4g sugar/ 12g protein

Nov 26, 2008

Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese

...Or the politically correct name: Mac 'n' CHEEZE (tm). This is the best recipe so far, and pretty versatile. You can use other veggies to make different creamy pasta sauces, like zuchinni & spinach- just make sure you have the potato for the consistency and try to match colors so you don't end up with some weird brown sauce. This combination is surprisingly cheesy, even without nutritional yeast (which you'll find in most vegan cheese recipes).

Serves 4-6 (I usually double it and have leftovers, hopefully!)

8 oz. macaroni
1/2 C. carrots, chopped
1/2 C. onions, chopped
1/2 C. potatoes, chopped
1/2 C. red bell peppers, chopped
1 T. fresh garlic
1/2 C. raw cashews
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
3 T. vegan margarine
1 tsp. salt


Start cooking pasta as directed. Throw chopped veggies (except garlic) in a sauce pan and add water to just cover. Cover with lid and boil until tender. In a food processor, add remaining ingredients and 1/2 C. of broth from the veggies. Process until very smooth, adding a bit more water if it's too stiff and starts to ball up (should resemble the consistency of creamy peanut butter). Add veggies by scooping them out with a hand-held strainer, and process until smooth, adding more salt if needed, or more broth if it needs to be thinned (should look like a thick gravy). Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish, and dump in cooked pasta. Mix evenly to coat.


If your mac 'n' cheez is too thick and starchy, just add a little hot water and stir.
Top with French-fried onions if you wanna have extreme "itis"- by slicing an onion, separating the pieces, and rolling in some flour before deep frying... yum!

Nutrition Info: 191 calories/ 11g total fat/ 2.8g sat. fat/ 470mg sodium/ 305mg potassium/ 20g total carbs/ 2.2g fiber/ 2g sugar/ 4g protein

Nov 25, 2008

Veganized Elegant Farmer's Apple Pie

I saw Bobby Flay's apple pie throwdown episode against Wisconsin's famous BrownPaper Bag pie by the Elegant Farmer. It had a basic crust on the bottom with mounds of apples and a sugar cookie crust, baked inside a brown paper bag... how cool is that? Anyway, I decided that I wanted to put a vegspin on it, so I looked up numerous recipes and found plenty of "posers," and finally came up with one that was a combination of three different recipes. The crust was made a bit healthier by using an oil crust recipe from vegweb; the filling was adapted from the Elegant Farmer recipe on the Food Network site, and the cookie topping was adapted from the vegan sugar cookie recipe on Squido. My pal who used to own and run a restaurant and went to culinary school thought it had great flavor and texture, but needed some pectin because it was a bit on the runny side, and also thought it would be pretty to brush it with some soy milk to make it shiny. I thought some white (vegan) sugar sprinkled on cookies would have done the trick too. All in all it was a great pie and everyone gobbled it up- even my friend who doesn't usually like apple pie. Next time, I might just add some pectin or increase the tapioca flour to 3T. to thicken up the juices.

Make crust and cookie dough first.


2 C. All purpose flour
2/3 C. vegetable oil
1/3 C. water


Mix the oil into the flour until fully incorporated. Add the water and mix until a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic and set it in the fridge.


1/2 C. margarine
4 tsp. vegetable oil
2/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. egg replacer
1/3 C. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2/3 C. all purpose flour (unbleached)
2/3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. salt


mix the margarine, oil, sugar, egg replacer, water, and vanilla until combined. Throw in remaining ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.


8-10 apples
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
4 tsp. tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. butterscotch extract (vanilla if you don't have it)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt


Peel, core, and slice the apples, and toss them with the rest of the ingredients. After chilling for about an hour, roll out the pie crust dough and place into pie pan. Dump the apples in so they mound up towards the center like a dome, then get the cookie dough and roll out to about 1/4" thick (helpful to roll it out between plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes of choice, then arrange them all over the top of the pie. Place the pie into a brown paper bag and fold under to close, then put it in the oven for 1 hour. Then take it out and cut a round hole on the top so the top layer is exposed and put back in for another 15 minutes to golden up. Let cool a bit before digging in!

Nov 22, 2008

Vegan Meatloaf Stuffed Pepper Rings

This morning, I was watching the Food Network (I know, I know- the "Evil Empire"), but got some inspiration to put a VegSpin on their stuffed pepper rings. So I took a veg meatloaf recipe that I found in VegNews Magazine from Allison Samson of Allison's Gourmet, and adjusted it a bit. The flavor was soooo good! They could be more "saucy" on top, so you may want to double the amount of sauce. I'll keep everyone posted on any new remixes!

Serves about 10


1 6oz. can tomato paste
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 T. minced garlic (do extra T. for the loaf)

vegetable oil or margarine for saute
1 C. yellow onion, chopped
1 C. portabello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 C. celery
1/2 C. carrots
3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 C. cooked brown rice
1 C. French lentils
1 1/2 tsp. vegan Worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry mustard (or dijon mustard)
1/4 C. minced cilantro or Italian parsley
1 T. arrowroot powder or Egg Replacer
3/4 C. fresh breadcrums (reserve some extra to top)
1 C. vegan crumbles (like Gimme Lean) or rehydratedTVP (textured veg protein)
1/4 C. vital wheat gluten
4 medium-large red bell peppers


In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat margarine or oil in a skillet, and saute onions (leave half of them raw) and carrots for a few minutes, until slightly tender. Then add the celery, mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute for another 3-5 minutes until tender. In the food processor, pulse the rice and lentils about 10 times or until sticky but not smooth. Transfer this to a large bowl. Then pulse the cooked veggies, worchestershire sauce, soy sauce, dry mustard, cilantro, arrowroot, and 1/3 of the tomato sauce about 10 times also. Add that mixture to the bowl and mix in breadcrumbs, TVP (or crumbles), wheat gluten, and raw onions. Mixture should be very stiff and easily moldable.

Now, prepare the rings:

Wash and dry red peppers. Cut the bottoms off so you can see the hollow center. Then cut rings about 1" thick (each pepper should make about 3-4 rings). Remove the inside seeds and stems and arrange onto a lightly greased sheet pan. So as to not waste the bottoms, I chopped them up and mixed them into the veg meatloaf mixture (about 1 cup).

Take the veg meatloaf mixture and press into the center of each ring. Dollop remaining tomato sauce over each one and smooth over. Sprinkle each with leftover bread crumbs and bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until peppers are tender enough to cut with a fork. Before taking out of the oven, switch to broil (low) for a few minutes to brown the tops.

I served this with a microwaved potato and side salad. Enjoy!

Nov 21, 2008

Bryanna's Seitan Turkey

I tried out Bryanna Grogan's recipe the other day, using her roulade variation and put my own stuffing in the middle. It was a complicated and time-consuming recipe, since you had to knead, let rest for an hour, knead again, then bake for 3 1/2 hours, turning twice. I suggest that you put several layers of parchment under that sucker so you can use one of the top layers to lift it out and toss it back in. But in the end, it was a much tastier version of a Tofurkey roast, which I never liked because I didn't like its flavor, but the texture was similar. It could also be easily sliced thin. A friend suggested I add a little liquid smoke to the mix- I think I'll try that for the next one, and put a vegan meatloaf in the middle- mmmm! Pics to come.

By the way... anyone try the Seitan Roast with Wild Rice and Chesnut Stuffing from Vegan Dad ? I am itchin' to try that one, and let ya'll know how it turns out!

Guiltless Chocolate Date Bon-Bons

Ok, so at first I called them "Chocolate Date Balls," and my male friends cringed at calling any type of confection "balls." So... I promptly suggested "Chocolate Harry Nut Sacks." Needless to say, that name didn't stick. I have seen a number of "date ball" recipes, and decided to try it on my own. The cocoa powder and date mixture is sinfully good, and makes a great alternative when I'm craving something sweet and chocolatey!


3 C. Dried Dates (pitted)
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
3-4 Tbs. Water
1 1/2 C. Walnuts, chopped
Dried Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)

Makes about 2 dozen


Put the dates into a food processor, making sure there are NO pits (they're hard as rocks and will get stuck in the blade, and no one wants to bite into one). Add cocoa powder and water, then puree until a sticky ball forms and it's almost smooth- if you like it chunky, process it less, but it must stick together. Scrape out into a mixing bowl and mix in chopped walnuts- the batter will be very stiff. Finally, pour some dried coconut flakes into a shallow bowl, and roll formed date balls to coat.


Try your own variation- I've made cinnamon ones, and cayenne pepper ones, but still prefer the old standard. Adding peanut butter sounds interesting, although not as guiltless! You can also roll them in cocoa powder, crushed nuts, crushed choc chips, or whatever you feel like! Also, try varying the type of nut. They make great gifts if you put them into those little crinkled cups and wrap them in a nice box.

Also, I use two spoons (one bigger than the other) to form the balls by scraping the mixture back and forth between the two. I then use a spoon to roll it in the coconut. The mixture is pretty sticky and sometimes I don't like getting my hands all gunked up... not always, but sometimes.

Under Construction

Yep- this blog is a newbie, but will soon be filled with tempting recipes for all to use or put their own spin on (which is highly encouraged, as this is how we learn). Have fun with it, I say- and find out how much joy there is in putting a non-believer in eye-popping shock as they eat your heavenly creations! I once had a friend who was almost, ok, definitely offended when he was told he was eating soy meat... he felt betrayed, yet somehow managed to lick his plate clean. Ah, the joy!