Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sheese Please!

After reading about the Sheese cheese alternative a few weeks ago and finding out that they had a blue cheese flavor, I was very intrigued....
So I went on Cosmos Vegan Shoppe online and got some....

And it came a few days ago! I was sooooo excited, but perplexed. I don't buy cheese alternatives very often and, when I do, it is for a burrito/grilled cheese/taco/etc. But blue cheese is different, almost special, so I didn't know what to do with it!

Then it came to me: a big, beautiful salad!!
Lotsa greens, carrots, beets, red onions, apples, walnuts,
dried figs, sprouts, and tahini dressing...
blessed with some tangy blue Sheese crumbles...mmmmmm!!!

And to top it off, I had a Healthy Hemp roll on the side. So much protein and fiber in such a little roll...try them for realz! (if you and gluten are on speaking terms...)

I don't remember exactly what blue cheese tastes like, but this Sheese tasted a lot like what is in my memory. Salty, stinky, creamy, yum. If you liked blue cheese in your pre-vegan days, then I think you will love this Sheese version....except for maybe the 8 dollar price tag. ouch. Indulge every now and again! :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Trip to the 'Lou and more...

Whoa! It has been way too long since I posted last...but the past week or so has been crazy understand!

A few highlights from goodies I have made over the past week.....
Another taco night...this time I made spicy roasted veggies (corn, red peppers, zucchini, shallots, with cumin, cayenne, and coriander) to go with the tacos...and of course, lots of avocado!! Did I mention how goooooood Tofutti Sour Supreme is?

A few nights ago I made what I call the perfect meal....
A bed of quinoa topped with tofu (i saute mine with bragg's and nooch), steamed sweet potatoes, and steamed greens (that night I had chard)... drizzled with miso tahini sauce and garnished with sprouts. I swear this meal is perfect(be not fooled by the crappy photography...I am yet a novice) It cannot be beat!!

One morning this week for breakfast, I made the Blue Corn Pancakes from the Chicago Diner Cookbook (available on their website! Get if for reeeeealll) with some scrambled tofu and wedges of pink grapefruit. I love waking up for good food!

I also made one of my faaaaavorite meals ever (Steve's, too!): BBQ Seitan sandwiches...shown here on some baguette bread from our local bakery, Uprise Bakery. the bomb, ya'll. Being from KC, I have an inborn affinity for all things barbeque, and this is no different! I made some baked oven fries to go with the sandwich. We were covered in BBQ sauce after we were done, but I am not complaining!! When I perfect this recipe, I will post it :)

When I baked for our Lost watching party last week...if you don't watch Lost, you should. It's the only TV show worth rotting your brain for!...I made The PB banana cookie sandwiches created by Bjorkedoff, that freakin' genius! It's the gigantoid PB oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance, filled the PB caramel from Veganomicon and slices of bananas. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I am not sure if I will ever be the same. Bjorkedoff, God bless you!

I also bottled up my Kombucha this week! I let it brew for two months instead of one, cuz I like my Kombucha nice and tangy!

Here is the "mother" for this huuuuuuge batch....I got 14 bottles out of it! My body won't know what to do with all these enzymes and such! Yes, it looks absolutely repulsive, but it's soooo yum!

Over the weekend, Steve and I took a day trip to St. Louis. Being from Kansas City, I have not spent much time in the 'Lou, but it was awesome!

We found this mostly veg restaurant called the Shangri La Diner and it was great! Super diner-style, greasy, messy, homestyle cooking...lots of food for cheap, too! We were both impressed! If you are ever in St. Louis, PLEASE check this place out! You can even look at their place owner/chef was so nice, and so were the servers...they even have a sunday brunch with tons of vegan stuff! so cool.
I don't eat a lot of greasy food very often, so my tummy wasn't as happy as my taste buds, but it's all good! Worth it!
Steve had the St. Louis Style "Slinger:" Hashbrowns topped with scrambled tofu, vegan chili, guacamole instead of cheese, and toast. Enormous and so great!

And of course, he got the vegan chocolate malt...sinful.

I had the vegan burger with vegan bbq baked beans and corn on the cob. The burger was frighteningly meat-like, but really tasty. I am not above things that taste like meat, as long as they taste good...but, I probably wouldn't want to eat it everyday. They even had curry ketchup that they made in-house to put on the burger! It was really tasty...

And for dessert, because I always must, I had the vegan espresso pound cake with a lemon glaze and a chocolate ganache. The flavors went together perfectly and it was SO MOIST! yikes!

Overall, a great trip and a great week. I hope to be cooking more this week, but it looks busy... but there will be baking for sure!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Some Sweet Stuff

This week has been really crazy with working and stuff to do every night, so I haven't made dinners worth posting...but I have baked a little!

On Tuesday night, I was craving bread pudding again after having the choc chip-banana bread pudding from 'nomicon, so I decided to make up my own recipe! I had a plum and decided that it would be the perrrrfect addition to this sweet treat...

2 cups stale bread, cubed
1/2 cup soy, rice, or hempmilk (i used hemp and it rocked!!)
2 T tapioca starch
2 T water
1 plum, diced
1 T molasses
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a mini loaf pan. Soak breadcrumbs in milk in a large bowl for 10 minutes. Whisk tapioca starch (can also use arrowroot powder) in water and pour over bread mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bread mixture and gently fold everything together. Pour into mini loaf pan and press surface to make it even. Sprinkle top with a few extra chopped nuts and bake for 30 minutes, until firm but still niiiiiice and gooey! Let sit 10 to 15 minutes before cutting to let it set up...then serve warm with a nice scoop of vanilla soy ice cream or vegan whipped cream. then you can die, because you will be fully satisfied!! :)

Then on thursday, I baked something that someone else created, but I don't mind because it was from Veganomicon (mild obsession??)....
(p.s. is it donut or doughnut??? i never know...who gets to decide, anyway?)
These were WONDERFUL! The texture and taste were shockingly just like a nice cake doughnut, something I have not experienced since going vegan nearly two years ago! I used strawberry jam for the filling and made a glaze for the top...

All the gang together, waiting to be served...

A lonely little guy, drippin' with glaze and
topped with lots o' SPRINKLES!!

And the jelly filling in all its glory, right before entering my belly!!

Hopefully I will have more time to cook this upcoming week...I am in need of some good foodz!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taco Swell

Last night, Steve and I had the first of what I hope will be many taco nights!!
We started off with crispy blue corn tortilla shells.... then filled
them with Mexican-spiced tempeh with cilantro and lime....
Then, for the veggies, we had a fuuuuullll spread! We had avocado
that Steve had gotten in Mexico on a rock climbing trip (soooo creamy soooo good!), red onion, tomato, shredded cabbage, and a squeeeeeeeze of fresh lime juice--the limes were also from Mexico! My boyfriend went to Mexico and all he brought me back were these amazing avocados and limes...hmmmm...... :)
And, of course, to top it all off we had some spicy salsa verde and Tofutti Sour Supreme! That stuff is dangerous it is so delicious!!
We had some "Spanish" quinoa for our side dish, loaded with tomatoes, garlic, and spices (cayenne, cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika, cilantro...). I have a mild obsession with quinoa. no big deal.
I think this taco night thing will have to become a new tradition...
Muy bueno!!! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Old Newz

I have been talking 4EVER about creating my own blog, so I have been taking pictures of a lot the pretty and yummy food I've made for the past few months...just in case! Now that I actually followed through, I need to share the goodies ( I know you want them!)

Sooooo, here are a few things I have made in the past few months that are photo- and praise-worthy...

Vegan Sushi!!! rice, gingered tempeh, avocado, sprouts, and a butt-load of other veggies...with wasabi and organic miso....i have a special place in my heart for fermented foods!!

(sorry 'bout the lighting...i was still learning!)
A stir fry of tofu, veggies, tons o' fresh ginger, and cashews...over mugwort soba noodles....with broccoli and a little kimchi

Chickpea Cutlets from 'Nomicon with mushroom gravy, rosemary roasted root vegetables (becoming a fav for steve and me) and organic asparagus....spring has been gooood to us!

Breakfast time!! Banana-walnut pancakes from La Dolce Vegan! with scrambled tofu (onions, garlic, peppers, black pepper, turmeric) and slices of organic navel orange--Goooood morning!

And now for some CUPCAKE happenings!!!!
Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes from 'Nomicon--such a hit!!!
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes from VCTOTOW

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes from VCTOTW

I colored the frosting green with spirulina (TRY THIS!!) and topped the little cuties with a square of Black and Gold's Mint Dark Chocolate favorite cupcake, for now....but this will be really hard to beat!!

Where would any of us be with out The PPK, by the way????

Still New to This Blog Thing...

I have been quite neglectful of this here blog for a while for two reasons: 1) i have still been feeling bad this week and 2) i am still new and keep forgetting to keep up with posting about all my yummy fooooods!

At work (Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe, where I am one of two chefs) this week, I made some DELICIOUS tofu salad filled with tons of veggies, garlic, sunflower seeds (the secret ingredient!) and made creamy with lots of vegenaise...of course :) Topped with lettuce, onions, tomato, and sprouts--this is one of my favorite lunchtime eats!

On Wednesday night, I made dinner for a bunch of friends and we dined on one of my favorite meals: breakfast for dinner!! Genius!

We made breakfast burrrrrrritooooos! Whole wheat tortillas filled with shredded FYH chedda cheeze, scrambled tofu (with onions, garlic, peppers, and spices), roasted potatoes (russet and sweet!!), avocado, spinach, and hot sauce...with a big helping of spicy Amy's salsa on the side.....these were the bomb! that's right, the bomb! Served with a side of steamed kale, because EVERY meal need sum greens!

Another dinner this week was vegan sloppy joes...even a meat-eater would flip for these! I use tempeh for the "meat" and simmer it with tomatoes, onions, peppers, spices, and molasses for a little sweetness. I top mine with some avocado, lettuce, onion, tomato, and more vegenaise ( i think vegenaise might be my blood type, by the way!)

Served with oven "fries" and steamed greens....home cookin' to cure what ails ya!

I made two desserts this was perfection from the start and the other one became perfection...with a little more effort!
Dessert one: Vegan oatmeal "cream" pies!!! one of my favorite things i have ever made!

I used the chewy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from Veganomicon and added lots of organic walnuts, then whipped up a basic vanilla buttercream with earth balance (Heaven sent!), organic powdered sugar, vanilla, and soymilk--it was thicker than your standard frosting, so it wouldn't squirt from the cookie sandwiches when bitten into!

These were so frickin' friends and i have been talking about them for DAYS! I brought one to Anna at work (Clover's Natural Market) and she even teared up when she ate hers because they were so delish and satisfying....

This girl and I have identical taste buds, I swear!! Then I teared up because I was so happy to have brought her such joy...and of course, Steve caught it all on camera :)
Baking makes me quite emotional, I'm not gonna lie.....
Food should ALWAYS make people this HAPPY!!!

Dessert #2: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pudding from Veganomicon---that book rarely leaves my sight...
So, this started out a little more bumpy....I started out making a lemon poppyseed cake for a friends birthday, which, thanks to the trickiness of my oven temp got overdone--not burned, but most def overdone-- on the edges. After the fit I threw and Steve calming me down (does this ever happen to anyone else? or is this much concern for food perfection odd??) I knew what to do with this less-than-moist-but-still-tasty cake: BREAD PUDDING!! I had been craving this treat ever since my trip to the Chicago Diner, so this was perrrrrfect!

GOOD GOD this was rich and decadent, but not too much...and even more perfect when served WARM with some chocolate soy delicious ice "cream!!" What did I do to deserve such deliciousness?? Needless to say, everyone (including myself) was pleased with this lemons-to-lemonade creation!

Lesson of the day: If you bake something and it becomes "overdone" make bread pudding out of that shiznit and you will NOT be disappointed! TRUST!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Healing Power of Good Food...

I have been feeling really sick and really tired over the past week, so I haven't been the most creative in my cooking...luckily, good food can be quick, and make you feel better, too! :)

Two nights ago, I tried a new product that I bought at work (Clover's Natural Food Market):
Tofurkey Beer Brats!!
These are soooooo good! Great flavor and texture, and super satisfying! Try them!

I served the "brats" over a bed of braised cabbage (recipe below) topped with organic sauerkraut and a little organic brown mustard...the German in me really came out that night!

On the side we had potatoes roasted with a little oil, garlic, pepper, and thyme, which were so simple and delicious! And, of course, plenty of red chard to go with it all!!

Simple Braised Cabbage:

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sage powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable broth
splash of Bragg's or tamari
1 tsp oil

Heat saute pan over medium heat with the oil and add the onion. Saute the onion for a few minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cabbage and let the cabbage cook down for about 2-3 minutes. Add the sage and Bragg's and cook for one more minute. Next, add in the veg broth and apple cider vinegar and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, until the cabbage is soft and the liquid has evaporated. Salt and pepper to taste, then serve....goes great with Tofurkey Beer Brats!!!

The next morning, my class was cancelled (yay!) so I made a real breakfast...while I love cereal, sometimes a girl needs a nice hot breakfast to start her day!

I scrambled some tofu with onions, garlic, green and red peppers, black pepper, and lots of turmeric...classic. delicious. Then we had some home-fry hashbrowns with pepper and paprika for a little spice, and some toasted sunflower seed bread from a local baker named Annie. She knoooooows how to make bread and make me smile. God bless that woman!

More food to come...hopefully I will get to feeling better so I can get more adventurous again!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eats of the Week...

This past week has been filled with tons of great food that I have been super psyched on writing about...but I have been feeling pretty sick the last couple days, so I haven't gotten a chance to share about all the goodies! Luckily, I have a full belly and some down time right now, so heeeeere it goes!!
I cook dinner almost every night for me and my boyfriend, Steve...who is also did I get so lucky? So, much of these meals were shared by both of did he get so lucky? :)

((Say hi to steve everyone!))
Here are a few dinners from this week--some typical weekday meals:

Tofu Salad sandwiches with steamed spinach
and a homemade waldorf salad (God bless vegenaise!!!)

Vegan sloppy joe's made with tempeh....mmmmmmesssy....with steamed red chard and roasted root vegetables to celebrate the end of the winter produce season

I also had dinner with a group of friends on Wednesday, and one of those friends (Anna, who is fabulous!) is gluten intolerant, so I made a gluten-free dinner filled with quinoa and other goodness, finished off by some gluten-free chocolate chip lavender cookies....

Then, we used some It's Soy Delicious chocolate ice "cream" to create some bomb ice "cream" sandwiches...tgtbt. (too good to be true!)

Ice "cream" sandwiches are my newest obsession!!

Friday night was my friend Zach's birthday...Zach is not really into the whole "healthy" or "natural" food thing, so I decided that a big fat vegan birthday cake is just what he needed to bring him to the dark side...

This should do the trick....
I combined his loves of coffee, chocolate, and copious amounts of frosting to create a Mocha Almond Fudge Cake...mocha cake with mocha buttercream frosting and loads of toasted almonds...this was a crowd pleaser for sure and I believe that he has now seen the light! YES, this IS vegan and YES, this IS freakin delicious!! who knew?!! :)

I also baked a batch of triple chocolate walnut brownies at work (Main Squeeze Cafe!)...but these definitely transcended the brownie category and went straight into the classification of face-melter...yum!!

Yesterday morning, I made a great breakfast...we had the nut milk french toast from the Chicago Diner cookbook (BEST SOUVENIR EVER!!) with Lightlife's tempeh bacon and organic bananas...breakfast might just be my favorite meal.
With lots of organic maple syrup and a steaming cup of french-pressed fair trade organic coffee....who wouldn't want to wake up early for that?!
Steve and I just got done eating an amaaaaazing breakfast burrito at a local natural foods restaurant called Cafe Berlin (not german, oddly enough...). This place isn't vegan or even vegetarian, but they have tons of veg options and organic foods! We had a vegan-ized breakfast burrito filled with scrambled tofu, tempeh instead of sausage, roasted russet and sweet potatoes, spinach, cilantro, and maple syrup, with salsa on the side....we were both slayed!! I forgot to get a picture, but you can trust that I WILL get this again and I WON'T forget to show it to you next time!!
Sorry about the long posts...I am still new and realizing that it can be harder than I realized to remember to post more frequently so I can keep them shorter and sweeter... I will learn :)