Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...I thank you for saving a turkey, and probably lots of other creatures, too! :) My holiday was wonderful! What's not to love?! Lots of food, friends and family, no school, playing board games, and even more food! That's my kind of break!

For breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, I made Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones from Veganomicon:
They were a little softer and cakier than I typically like my scones (just like the book said they would be!), but they were delicious! I love that it calls for fresh instead of dried just adds that little extra zing that I love! Plus I got to use some of the local farmer's market pumpkin that I pureed myself! DIY bonus!

Meal one, for lunch, was at my family's house, where I made all of the food for Steve, my mom, and myself (everyone else had to fend for themselves!! vegan power). I made the following:
--Tofurkey Roast with Mushroom Gravy
--Chili-Maple Glazed Sweet Potaotes and Chestnuts
--Garlic-Roasted Brussel Sprouts
--Double Cranberry Chutney (from Veg Times)
--Uprise Bakery Cranberry Pecan Rolls with my homemade Apple Butter
Yeah, we were STUFFED! I think Tofurkey roasts are my favorite thing about this holiday!!

And I made two desserts:
Pumpkin "Cheezecake" (again with my own pumpkin puree!)
Pecan Pie...with a homemade crust! Both from the Vegan Feast Kitchen Blog!

Thanksgiving two was for dinner at Steven's family's house....
We just did leftovers for the side dishes, but had a Celebration Roast by Field Roast...since we demolished the Tofurkey Roast at lunch! This was our first time trying the Celebration Roast, and I must say that it was great! I liked the butternut squash in the roast, and the spices were tasty. However, I must give my honest opinion that Tofurkey's is better overall...especially in texuture, but I for sure like the wild rice stuffing and the general flavors better, too. But both are delicious and WAAAAY better than cruelty turkeys!!

All in all, a wonderful day! I ate too much and had a bad cold....but I had a lot of fun, too!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cooking for One...

Well I will be cooking for just myself for the next few days, because Steven is away on a camping/climbing trip to Alabama. I feel like I almost forgot how to cook for only one person, since I am always cooking for two! I have still managed to eat well, though :) Here's a few things that I have enjoyed over the past few days...yay alone time! Homemade Seitan Brats with Leeks and Apples,
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Rosemary Sweet Potatoes

BBQ Tofu (Veganomicon), Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Kale
My Perfect Meal: Quinoa, Tofu, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and
Tahini-Miso Sauce (Veganomicon)

Earlier this week, a bunch of my friends, all of whom happen to be roommates with Steven, had birthdays...Since they all live in the same house, I made them all one batch of cupcakes to share. With the recent COLD weather I wanted something "warm"feeling, so I made the Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from VCTOTW. I whipped up a Cocoa-Cinnamon Buttercream to top them off...and they also got a little kiss of powdered sugar!

These cupcakes are soooooo good! I absolutely love the combination of chocolate, cinnamon, and makes you feel all warm and happy inside. The coconut milk and cornmeal make them have an awesome texture, too! Make these! I might go so far as to say they trump an actual mug of hot chocolate...but maybe I would just like to enjoy them together :)

Even though I am appreciating this alone time, I think I am ready to cook for two again!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tasty TVP Loaf and Homemade Granola

I have been cooking more and more lately (I am actually waiting to take cupcakes out of the oven right now!), but I haven't been doing a good job of keeping up with my blogging because school is so crazy right here is a catch-up of the past week or so: Homemade Granola with coconut, dried pineapple, raisins, and sunflower seeds!

Kung Pao Seitan, from the Whole Foods Cookbook, with Steamed Brown Rice

I also whipped up a faux "meat"loaf the other night, which we have had as leftovers a few times. I didn't go off of any recipe, so I was kinda just throwing stuff in there....and it turned out amazing! Some of the ingredients included: TVP, brown rice, breadcrumbs, carrots, celery, local bell peppers, onion, garlic, sage, thyme, tomato paste, olive oil, tamari, parsley. There's more, I'm sure. Anyway, I spread some organic ketchup on top before baking for that mom-made feel.
Crazy TVP Loaf with Rosemary-Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Chard

Crazy TVP Loaf, Garlic-Mashed Potatoes, Leek and Local Zucchini Saute

Has anyone else already planned their Thanksgiving dinners? I have been thinking about mine for a long while now...too long, here's a few hints:
--Tofurkey, cuz I'm kind of lazy
--roasted sweet potatoes
--my homemade apple butter on something
--brussel sprouts
--a pie and a cheezecake
--probably lots more!!
What are you thinking of cooking up for Save-the-Turkeys Day??

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cinnamon Spice is Nice!

I absolutely love using cinnamon in savory so often gets trapped in the world of desserts and baked goods, so I like to let it run free and add spice and flavor to vegetables, grains, stews, and anything else that needs that warm and fragrant quality! Tonight, I used it to make Cinnamon-Spiced CousCous with Raisins, which I paired with Curried Tofu from Veganomicon and Cornmeal-Masala Roasted Local Eggplant and Zucchini, based on the Cornmeal-Masala Brussel Sprouts recipe from Veganomicon. Deliciously warm and flavorful, which was perfect for a chilly, cozy night in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm A MoFo Burnout.

Man, am I the only one who has a little Vegan MoFo burnout?? I mean, I really loved the excitement it brought and the push to be more creative in cooking and blogging, but it made me a little bit exhausted, too! I have been cooking a lot, though...just not totally psyched on blogging about it much. Also, I feel a little out of new ideas from the recent surge of creativity, so I have been making a lot of old standards...they are still delicious and beautiful, though!
This weekend we had our traditional Sunday breakfast at the wonderful Cafe Berlin...this is a must to make my week run smoothly! It is pretty much the only time Steven and I go out to eat, so this is a really special treat to be served and relax for a whole meal! Tofu-Veggie Scramble with Roasted Potatoes and Whole Wheat Toast
One of my favorites!!!
Like I said, I have been making a lot of things that I have made looks like it's time for me to delve into some of my dusty cookbooks and find some new ideas! Here are some dinners from this week, about which I have been to busy to blog!
Tofu "Crab" Cakes with Vegan Tartar Sauce, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Crunchy Coleslaw

Indonesian Tempeh Stew with Broccoli (from Student's Go Vegan Cookbook), and Coriander Brown Rice

Pumpkin Pancakes with Toasted Walnuts, Sweet Potato Homefries, and Tempeh Bacon
(yes! Brinner is the greatest!)

I am now leafing through Veganomicon...if I can't get ideas from there, I can't get them anywhere!! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Craving Some Soul Food

Some things are just good for your soul. For example, my soul was absolutely ecstatic on Tuesday night when Barack Obama became our next president!!!! Perhaps it was due to his awesome-ness, his amazing staff's work, or my cooking?! I did make those lucky black-eyed peas, you know! I also made these Barack Obama Cupcakes!! As good as these were, I guess he deserved his win from his own merit....

These are the Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, topped with a Maple-Cinnamon Buttercream that I whipped up...and they are blessed with little Obama cupcake toppers, courtesy of Natalie at Bake and Destroy!! These were a perfect way to celebrate a victory! Oh, and the pumpkin puree used in these was some I made myself from a locally-grown pumpkin courtesy of the Columbia Farmer's Market and Steven! yay DIY! These not only tasted amazing, they were life-CHANGING! :)

Another thing that is good for your soul: SOLE food! This is a culinary ideology and, more recently, a trend where consumers are beginning to desire foods to eat/purchase that are: Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical. I hope this is not just a hip trend for eaters, but that it becomes a way of life for people everywhere. Here are a few meals we had this week that were both in the area of soul foods and SOLE foods!

Seitan Chorizo-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Angelica Kitchen Cookbook's Cornbread

V-Con's Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu, Dirrrrrty Brown Rice, Roasted Root Veggies

BBQ Soycurls, Angelica Kitchen Cookbook's Cornbread, Garlic Barack-oli
(we had this on election night, I had to go there....)
This week has been so crazy, but I am so glad the election is over and I can think about other things! Thanks to everyone who worked for the Obama or their state/local campaigns! It really is important...I promise :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good Luck Dinner...

Even though I am a city girl now, I grew up in rural anti-city parts of Missouri. Because of that upbringing, I really love comforting and hearty soul food. Part of that tradition in my family is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Eve to bring you good luck for the rest of the year....Tonight, I felt compelled to make black-eyed peas to bring us all good luck for the election tomorrow!! I know, this is an old wive's tale and probably won't have any effect, but I'm just doing whatever I can to make sure Barack is elected tomorrow and food is what I it just makes sense! I made Black-Eyed Peas with Onions and Garlic and a dash of Liquid Smoke, Sauteed Greens, and Cornbread from the Angelica Kitchen Cookbook (I added jalapenos!)...This meal was nice and homey, and hit the spot after a long day! It seemed pretty lucky to me!!

VOTE! Go early so you can get away with waiting in long lines...and bring a snack so you don't get too famished :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Belated MoFos!!

I have been quite the lazy blogger for the past two days! My apologies...after I got back from my long week in Chicago, I was too lazy to cook (and I had no food in my fridge!), I was tired, and I really just wanted to hang out with Steven. Needless to say, I was less than motivated to cook or blog! I am now refreshed and ready to cook, though, starting with last night!
Yesterday was not only Halloween and the last day of Vegan MoFo, it was also me and Steven's nine month anniversary! yay! So, I had to make a really delicious dinner for us, and I wanted it to be something he loved a lot...but not more than me :)
I went with Homemade Bratwursts, inspired by Julie Hasson's recipe for Spicy Italian Sausages, served with Bubbie's Raw Sauerkraut on top, along with Braised Cabbage and Local Apples, and Rosemary-Roasted Sweet Potatoes. This meal was perfect! Warm and satisfying...perfect for a long night of Halloween fun! And there's even orange in the sweet potatoes! So clever.When I was in Chicago, I picked up something locally-made to make for Steven and myself, because I think it's really important to try local items wherever you go to appreciate the culture and tastes of the places you are visiting. When I saw this Upton's Naturals Chorizo-Style Seitan at Whole Foods, I knew that this is the item I had to bring home with me!! It seemed like a lot of the veg-friendly restaurants there in Chi-town had something featuring Seitan Chorizo on their menus, so I wanted to try using this tasty ingredient at home as well!

I wanted to use the chorizo in a Mexican/South American-inspired dish, so I made this:
Seitan Chorizo with onions, garlic, jalapenos, red peppers, hominy, greens, and avocado over quinoa....with lots of citrus, cumin, chipotle, and cayenne, this was really flavorful, and was a great way to celebrate the chorizo! I haven't had hominy in a long time, and I had forgotten how much I love it! yum!!

This precious little skull is made of chocolate (obviously) and was another cool thing I bought in Chicago! This was made by the gourmet chocolatier Vosges, who is famous for creating innovative and wonderful chocolate concoctions. This particular Hot Chile Chocolate Skull, in celebration of The Day of the Dead/Halloween, was made of solid dark chocolate, ancho chiles, chipotle chiles, cinnamon, and black sea salt...this skull was so warm and spicy and sweet and flavorful! This is probably the only time I will rave so much about eating a body part (unless they make more body parts out of chocolate)!

On some side notes:
Happy end of Vegan MoFo...I'm already looking forward to next year!
Happy belated Halloween
Please do whatever you can to support/volunteer for/encourage Barack and Joe over these next three days! We are so close...don't give up now, people!!