Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vegan Brunch + Local Produce = Amazing Meals!

I am happy to announce that I am a proud owner of Isa's Vegan Brunch!! I received it in the mail on my birthday last week....definitely in the running for best present ever! I was lucky to be able to incorporate some local produce into the brunch meals as well. Yay!
I have read this cookbook cover-to-cover probably ten times already and I keep discovering new and exciting things! It is filled with beautiful pictures, tips, and more to
make anyone an amazing breakfast chef! Here's what I've made so far:

Scones, with the Berry-Lavender VariationThese are very moist and delicious and are perfect any time of day. They did not come out quite as dry and dense as I like my scones, but still wonderful all the same! Isa suggests a Marionberry and Lavender combo for a variation on the basic scone recipe, but I used raspberries, as I couldn't find Marionberries anywhere around here. The flavor combination is great...especially slathered with Earth Balance and organic berry jam!
Basic Scrambled Tofu, with Onions and Local Kale
Banana Flapjacks

Since I am such a breakfast-lover, I made brinner last night for dinner! I made the Banana Flapjacks and served them with the Basic Scrambled Tofu, with onions and local kale scrambled in with it. The flapjacks get nice and browned on the outside from all the banana goodness in the batter, so they get crispy edges while remaining fluffy inside! So good! There was, of course, lots of maple syrup involved with this delightful meal.

Speaking of local veggies, here's a random salad I made for dinner this week, featuring local lettuce and tomatoes (!), as well as homemade seitan, hempseeds, vegan Caesar dressing, and other tasty produce. It was perfect on a hot summer day...thanks, Columbia Farmers' Market!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Got Vegan Soul Kitchen!

For a graduation present, my wonderful and lovely friend, Anna, got me Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry! I have read several other bloggers talk about this cookbook and it looked like something that would be right up my culinary alley...and I was right! Filled with delicious and healthy soul food, this cookbook transforms any kitchen to a down-home oasis.
The first recipes I made from Vegan Soul Kitchen were the Whole-Grain Mustard and Cornmeal Crusted Seitan and the Garlic Broth-Braised Brussels Sprouts. These were both so simple to make and absolutely delicious to eat! I served them with a side of spice roasted sweet potatoes, a recipe of my own. I made this dinner for my friend, Sarah, and myself, and we both thought these were great, homey dishes!I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves comfort food, healthy food, or easy-to-prepare food!

With a little room leftover for dessert, Sarah and I hit up Sparky's, the local ice cream shop, for some vegan sorbet! The sorbet flavor of the day was Pineapple-Lime Sorbet...this was summer in a cup!! Very refreshing and cool!

I'm so glad summer is here! Now, if I only had air conditioning....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Birthday Treats for a Birthday Girl

Birthdays are a wonderful reason to celebrate with delicious food...especially if you are a foodie, like me! My 22nd bday was a few days ago, so here's a few treats with which I was blessed on my special day!!
Even though it was my birthday, I did do a little cooking. One, because I love to cook, and two, because I really wanted biscuits and gravy on my special morning for breakfast...and there was no one else around who could make them like I like them! Anyway, I made up some whole wheat biscuits and herbed tofu sausage gravy (still working on this recipe! I'll put it up after it's perfected.) for my mother and myself. It was a great morning!

For my birthday lunch, my mom took me to one of our favorite restaurants in Kansas City, and the world, Eden Alley! I had my favorite menu item: the Sweet Potato Burrito! It is a big flour tortilla stuffed with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes, homemade hummus, and brown rice, topped with fruit salsa and served on a bed of organic baby greens. This is such a refreshing meal on a warm summer day!
My mom had the Falafel Platter, which is their homemade baked falafel patties with brown rice, homemade hummus, and warm local pita bread! She loved this dish, and I loved the bite I snuck from her plate!For dessert, we split a piece of their Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Icing and Candied Walnuts...I love carrot cake so much!! This was delish!We also split some of their homemade vegan ice cream! You can't have your birthday cake without ice cream! We got the Coconut-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and it was mind-blowing! I love the creaminess of the ice cream interspersed with crunchy bits of frozen chocolate chips!!
For my birthday dinner, my dad and his family took me to Waldo Pizza in Kansas City. I adore this place! They are one of the few pizza joints that carry vegan mozzarella and they have tons of veggie toppings! They even have a special vegan menu. So sweet.
For my pie, I got vegan mozzarella, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers. This was amaaaazing! Sweet and salty and savory and wonderful.
Aaaaaand they even had vegan cupcakes! My dad and I both got the Cappuccino Cupcakes. I have to say that this was one of the BEST cupcakes I've ever eaten....and that's been a lot of cupcakes! He thought it was amazing, too! It was just sooooo moist and rich yet light and had the most intense cappuccino flavor! I want one now just thinking about it!
While I was visiting my family in KC for my birthday, I also had to hit up the all-vegan restaurant, Cafe Seed! This place has food that would make anyone want to go vegan!
My mom and I each had our respective favorites: I had the Chik'n Sandwich on a Biscuit (which IS what I will eat in Heaven everyday.), served with an awesome side salad... And my mom got the Veggie Burger on a sprouted wheat bun, served with awesome homemade thick-cut fries. This burger has caramelized onions on it, folks! These people are NOT playing around!!

And, since it was my special week, my mom even surprised me with some sorbet! This is the Pomegranate-Blood Orange Sorbet made my Archer Farms, one of the Target gourmet store brands. OMG this sorbet tastes like a push-pop from my childhood!!! And it is beautiful! Tastes really good topped with some frozen berries, too! Aaaaah, summer is here!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's a Graduation Celebration!

Well, I graduated from MU this weekend!! This is double-exciting, as now I am done with school AND I can get paid for telling people what to eat! hooray! Kidding, kind of.... Anyway, celebrations such as this deserve lots of good food! This weekend definitely delivered!
(This is my dietetics class at graduation yesterday...I'm the one in front, with the dreads.)
First off: My good friend, Sarah, had a grad party on Saturday...and she made lots of vegan food for me to eat at her party! Wasn't that sweet of her??! She and her mother have an amazing garden, so they get double props!
She made a quinoa-veggie salad...
A Mediterranean-style pasta salad...Guacamole, using my got devoured by everyone!
And, a vegan pie!! This was a berry-rhubarb pie in a almond-lemon whole wheat crust! It was delicious! Go Sarah!She also made a salad with greens from her garden, grilled portabella mushroom burgers, and grilled pineapple, which I ate before I could take pics! Thanks for all your hard work and delish food, girl! (That's the lovely Sarah, on the right and me on the left!)
Here's my wonderful mother and me at the party, being happy and goofy....
Before graduation yesterday, we went out for our traditional Sunday breakfast at Cafe Berlin! No weekend would be complete without it! It was absolutely gorgeous outside, so we had to sit out and enjoy the sunshine while we ate!!
My morning pick-me-up: The Dirty Hippie! It's a soy chai latte with a shot of espresso added in...and a little sprinkle o' cinnamon on top! This is so goooood!!!And, to eat, my favorite: The Veggie-Tofu Scramble! Tofu scrambled with TONS of yummy veggies (some of them local), served with roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes and locally-made whole wheat toast (with organic raspberry jam, duh.)...I love this meal!
Then, after all the ceremonies, I had my graduation party! It was held at my old place of work, Main Squeeze Natural Foods Cafe! Thanks to my mom for throwing this for me and to Leigh (she owns the Squeeze) for hosting us and making lots of wonderful food! It was perfect...
Leigh made delicious Tofu Salad, with Toasted Pita Triangles...A Hummus and Veggie Tray...with my favorite house-made hummus and lots of local veggies...Organic Blue Corn Chips and Homemade Organic Salsa....
And, for dessert, an assortment of baked goods! First, the Coconut Haystacks, Sesame Crunch Bars, and Calico Balls...And then, Organic Apple Date Bars (my favorite!) and Organic Apple Streusel Bars!
I was so blessed this weekend my all of my wonderful friends and family! Thank you to everyone who took part in the festivities with me!! I love you all very much!
(p.s. I have to give a special hello to Josh, who visited my blog before ever meeting me and came to my grad party with a mutual friend by coincidence! And he recognized me from the blog...what a small world!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finals Week Foods!

Today marks my last day in college. I can't believe it! Now I am officially a grown-up...ok, maybe that's not entirely true. BUT, I am a dietitian now and I am not under the authority of the University of Missouri any longer! I can live with that. Here's some things I made and/or ate during this last crazy busy week of finals, and a few things from last weekend that I haven't had time to post!
From a potluck last weekend:
Steamed Red Seitan, a tester from Terry's Vegan Latina CookbookEmpanadas, which were filled with the above seitan and lots of other goodies, also a tester for Terry! These were freakin' amazing!! Everyone at the potluck adored them, of course.

Right outta the oven:Getting ready to go party:From Mothers' Day Brunch last Sunday, at the lovely Eden Alley:

I had the Vegan Breakfast, which consisted of crusted and pan-seared local tofu, potatoes with caramelized onion, a coconut whole wheat biscuit, and a healthy smothering of local mushroom-hemp gravy! I was in brunch heaven!!!

My mom had the Falafel and Tofu, which was a bed of organic brown rice topped with a homemade falafel patty, crusted and pan-seared tofu, and a topping of roasted red pepper coulis! She let me try it, of course, and it was divine!

My grandmother had the Raw Stuffed Avocado Salad, a huge bed of organic greens and other veggies, with an entire avocado on top, stuffed with a raw hummus and cucumber mixture, and topped with flaxseeds, drizzled with their homemade mustard seed dressing. This was so refreshing and summery!

My new peanut butter obsession: Vanilla Cranberry Peanut Butter! This creamy, sweet concoction is only sold at Target stores, as it is from their Archer Farms line. This is so perfect in the morning on toast with a big glass of soymilk! It reminds me a lot of the PB&Co White Chocolate Wonderful, as it has the same sweetness and vanilla flavors, but the cranberries just add that little something extra. Also, this PB is not quite as thick, which makes it perfect for spreading on bagels, toast, fingers, etc.Check out the little bits o' cranberries!!

And, my new pride and joy cookie recipe: Oatmeal Macadamia Nut Butterscotch Chip Cookies!! I made these for our big LOST season finale (super awesome, but super sad it's over for so long) watching party. I love how sweet and buttery these babies are! I used the butterscotch chips the lovely Bianca of Vegan Crunk sent me...they are too addictive!Oatmeal-Macadamia Nut-Butterscotch Chip Cookies (makes about 20-2 inch cookies)

1/2 cup vegan margarine, such as EB

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ener-G egg replacer for 2 egg-equivalents

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped roughly

2 Tbs soymilk

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg replacer, until creamy and well-combined. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir just until mixed, making sure to not over-stir. Add the soymilk to make the dough more flexible, then fold in the oats, nuts, and chips. Stir until fully incorporated, but not over-mixing, as this will create a tough cookie. Scoop out approximately 2 Tbs of dough at a time to make the cookies. Roll the dough into a ball in your hands to make a smooth sphere, then place on the sheet pan. Press down the cookie to flatten out to about a 2 inch diameter, as these will not spread much at all. Repeat until dough is gone, which will produce about 20 cookies ( if you don't eat any dough!). Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until cookies are golden brown on the edges and still a tad soft in the middle. After removing from oven, let sit on sheet pan for about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to prevent too much after-baking. Serve warm with a big glass of soymilk and don't forget to share with friends!

I still can't believe I am done with school!! I ordered Isa's Vegan Brunch on Amazon for my graduation present to should arrive in the next few days!! I am so pumped!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Falafel and French Toast...not together, though...

Two things I have to rave about: Falafel and French Toast! (Sorry, I love alliteration.)

First, the Falafel! Last night, my mom and I went to dinner at Kansas City's renowned Jerusalem Cafe, before watching LOST. The restaurant in the Westport district of KC looks small and humble, but it has the BEST falafel I've ever eaten! They are consistently voted the best Middle Eastern food in KC. My faaaavorite thing to order there is the Falafel and Hummus Sandwich which comes in homemade pita bread with lettuce, onion, tomato, and their special tahini sauce! It is so good and so filling and so cheap and so healthy! I crave this ALL the time!My mom got her absolute favorite, too: Tabouli Salad. They have wonderful tabouli, and it has so much parsley in it that you pretty much never have bad breath again! You can get it as a dinner portion and it comes with their warm homemade Pita Bread on the side!
Next up: French Toast! I cannot emphasize enough how much I adore breakfast for dinner! Tonight, I made Bianca's (of Vegan Crunk) tester recipe for Cookin' Crunk, Sorghum Molasses French Toast! It is your basic vegan french toast, made with a tofu batter and whole grain bread of course, topped with a foamed sorghum syrup! The foam in the syrup comes from a pinch of baking soda, which thins out the sorghum a bit to make it more pourable, but also gives it a fantastically light and airy texture that compliments the thick, hearty toast perfectly!I served it with Scrambled Tofu, chock-full of veggies...especially chard! This was a perfect savory accompinament to the sweeter french toast. Brinner is served!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Yay! It's a holiday! I think it's my nature to celebrate with food :) Since it IS Cinco de Mayo today and I AM testing for the Vegan Latina cookbook, by the terrific Terry, I of course HAD to combine those two awesome things for dinner tonight!
For the main dish: Refried Bean Tacos! I was happy to get to use up my plethora of Tofutti Sour Supreme and enjoy this holiday meal. This was so wonderful!!! The taco shells are locally-made, and super crispy....the beans were Homestyle Refried Beans, a tester for Vegan Latina, and they were so creamy and flavorful...and the salsa is locally-made, by the small, local Deja Vivir company! I bought it at the Farmer's Market this past weekend. It is seeeeriously delicious salsa. Very homemade tasting! Taco-rific!And a side note from dinner last night, another tester for Terry's upcoming Latina cookbook: Swiss Chard with Capers and Raisins. This sweet and savory veggie dish has the perfect balance of flavors...if you like the whole sweet/salty combo, and who doesn't?! This dish is for chard-lovers only. Luckily, I am one!

Too bad I don't drink...a margarita would have rounded out this meal perfectly!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mint Julep Brownies

I was so thrilled this week when Bianca finally posted a tester dessert recipe for her upcoming Cookin' Crunk Cookbook! These are her Mint Julep Brownies! Chocolate, mint, and bourbon make a happy little trinity in these awesome, fudgy, and dense brownies! These were my personal little protest to the cruelty of the Kentucky Derby that took place delicious protest!! Thanks for giving me a dessert, Bianca!