Monday, January 30, 2012

Korean Food

I spent the weekend with G in Grover Beach because both of our husbands were out of town and we thought it would be fun to catch up and have a girl's weekend.  One thing we love to do when we are together is eat!  I especially like to request that G makes me Korean food because she is such a good cook and her food is so amazing! 

This is what she made this time:

I forget what this meal is called, but it consists of buckwheat noodles and lots of fresh veggies with a special soy sauce marinade. 

SOOO good. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rosa's Pismo Beach

I'm spending the weekend with G in Pismo Beach and we went to Rosa's last night for yummy Italian food.  They had a lot of veggie options on the menu, but I chose the Summer Pasta without chicken.  It had mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil in it and it came out to the table steaming hot -- just how I like it!

I was very pleased with my meal it and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone interested in authentic Italian cuisine.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Italian Night

Tonight was pasta night and I didn't make it!  I was so pleased to come home to a house smelling of garlic and spices and to see my husband whipping up an Italian feast in the kitchen!

He loves bringing out his Italian roots and making a good pasta dinner for us, and I am more than happy to oblige. 

Tonight he made tomato sauce from scratch and we poured generous servings of it over corn spaghetti from Trader Joe's.  It had big chunks of tomato, onion and garlic in it, as well as fresh basil, thyme and oregano.  These are just the things I could pick out, because he won't share is secret recipe.  :)     

This stuff is amazing an gluten-free.  I think it tastes just like regular pasta, if not better.  I like it better than rice pasta because it doesn't get mushy. 

He also made fresh garlic bread by slicing a loaf of French bread, spreading it with Earth Balance and slices of fresh garlic!  How yummy and delicious!  I love when The Husband makes Italian food!  He is amazing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The "I'm-just-too-tired-to-cook" Week

It was one of those weeks where I was so busy and so tired at night that I just really didn't want to cook.  The first half of the week looked like this:

Monday:  Leftover Pink Beans and Rice
Tuesday:  Chinese Food take-out
Wednesday:  Bowling Alley food (which means a packed salad and veggies for me)

For lunches:
Annie Chun's soups or Dr. Mcdougall's soups.  These are the best microwavable soup cups EVER.

And that's that.  I hope I can cook something more exciting next week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game Day Food

Although I've never lived in San Francisco, I was a huge San Francisco 49ers fan growing up.  I had a 49ers jacket, a 49ers blanket, and even posters of Steve Young and Jerry Rice on my bedroom wall.  Let's not forget the red and gold bands on my braces. 

As childhood phases go, I grew up, went away to boarding school and forgot all about my football-loving days.  However, I have always held a fondness in my heart for my childhood team and am super excited to see them in the championship this year!

I haven't watched a football game all season, but today I made a smorgasbord feast and settled in with The Husband to see if my old team will make it to the Superbowl for the first time in eighteen years. 

It is half-time as we speak so I can take a few minutes to show some of the vegan items on the game-day menu:

Pretzel Crisps with dijon mustard

Chips and salsa and spicy hummus

Guacamole, freshly homemade!

Green olives

And the main entree:
Pink Beans and Rice

The recipe is straight from the back of the can!  I always see those recipes on packaged goods, but always wonder who actually follows them.  You know, I usually already have a recipe in mind when I buy a product, but this time, I actually bought the can of beans BECAUSE of the recipe on it!  Ha!

Here it is!  It was quite delicious and game-worthy.

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup ham, chopped (I used vegan ham)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. oregano
3/4 cup water
1 can Goya Pink Beans, undrained
1 packet Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
(I'm not sure exactly what that last ingredient is, but I actually a packet of it in my pantry!)

Heat oild in large skillet over medium heat.  Add vegan ham, onions, pepper and garlic; cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve over hot white rice.  Serves 4.

Baked Potatoes, finally!

If you remember this post about baked potatoes, we've never seemed to have luck with this seemingly simple dinner.

The other night, we finally did it.  I texted W right before leaving work so he could put the spuds in the over and have plenty of time for them to bake.  Apparently it takes an hour and twenty minutes at 400 in our oven.

Meanwhile, I sauteed some mushrooms and onions, and we topped everything with imitation bacon bits.  (Technically Baco's are vegan, although maybe not the healthiest thing in the world...)  I made a salad with my secret lemony dressing and it was a filling, yummy dinner. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I think this might be the best chili I've ever made, and my husband said the key is to let it sit for twenty-four hours.  Because that's exactly what I did and it was amazing.

I made this chili yesterday.  As in, ALL DAY yesterday.  First you have to soak and drain the beans, and then simmer the beans, and then add all the ingredients and cook it for two hours.  And then let it sit overnight.  I'm not joking when I say it's an all day project.

It was well worth it.

Here's the original recipe from Oh She Glows:

The only thing I did differently was not add the last six ingredients (just because I didn't have them.)
And I didn't make the cornbread.

Other than that, it turned out great.  This is a great recipe!

Yield: 5 cups
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 2.5 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup dry/uncooked black eyed peas
  • 3/4 cup dry/uncooked black beans
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, liquid drained
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste, to thicken
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax), to thicken
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp your fav BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • couple handfuls of chopped spinach, or other greens like collard, kale, etc

1. Soak the beans in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours. This part is optional, but it helps reduce cook time and makes the beans more digestible. Rinse and drain beans before using. In a large pot, add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-low heat for about 5-6 minutes, until translucent.
2. Add in the pepper and optional jalapeno and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in the spices (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne) and sauté on low another couple minutes. If you want, you can add just a bit for now and then add the rest to taste after it has cooked.
4. Add the dry black beans and black eyed peas, broth, and drained diced tomatoes. Stir well. Now stir in the tomato paste. Simmer on low with the lid ajar for about 2.5 hours, checking often to make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it does, add a bit more broth to thin out.
5. About 15 minutes before it’s done cooking, stir in the chia seeds, corn, and chopped greens. The chia helps thicken the chili. Also stir in the BBQ sauce, starting with 1 tbsp at a time and tasting as you go. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 2-3 days in advance and frozen if preferred.
Note: You can probably use canned beans, but you won’t need as much broth. I would add it slowly.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This is what happens when it's a long weekend:

 I get to cook a lot and make a mess out of the kitchen.

This was after breakfast by the way.

BBQ Chicken-less Pizza

This is super easy to make, and extremely delicious.

I used the pre-made pizza dough and chicken-less strips from Trader Joes and my husband's favorite barbecue sauce -- Sweet Baby Ray's. 

Other ingredients:
1/4 red onion, cut into thin slivers
1 tsp garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese (optional)

Roll out the dough according to the package. 

On top of the dough spread the olive oil, garlic and tomato paste.

In a large bowl, mix enough bbq sauce to thickly coat the chicken-less strips.  Add the onions and garlic powder and mix well.

Spread the BBQ chicken-less strip mixture on top of the dough.  You can leave it like this or sprinkle the Daiya mozzarella cheese on it like I did.  I'm sure it would be good either way. 

Bake at 450 for 18-20 minutes. 

This thing was pretty big -- about the size of a large at a pizza restaurant -- and let me just say that by the time I ate the slice pictured below, my husband had completely devoured an entire half of the pizza. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Barley Risotto and Roasted Potatoes

Here's another one from Angela over at  She adapted it from vegan yum yum, which is another one of my all time favorite vegan cookbooks/website. 

This recipe is amazing because -- 1. I love barley and am always looking for recipes in which I can use it, and -- 2.  I also love risotto and anything with tomatoes in it, so I was destined to make this.

Here it is:

"Yield: ~2 cups
  • 1 cup dry pot barley
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 cups canned pureed/diced tomatoes (15 oz can)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other milk)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (provides the cheesy/creamy taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp Miso, mixed with 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

Directions: Rinse pot barley in a strainer and place into medium sized pot that has a lid. Add olive oil, basil, and oregano and stir well until barley is coated with oil. Turn heat to medium until barley begins to sizzle.
Once the barley sizzles, add in the minced garlic and reduce heat to low-medium. Cook for 1 minute and then add in the tomatoes, milk, water, nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil and then cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook, covered (with a bit of air escaping) for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, being careful not to burn the barley on the bottom of the pot.
The mixture should be creamy, but not soupy, and the barley will be very chewy and not mushy. Serve immediately. Serves 4 side dishes and makes 2 cups worth."


I added 1/4 cup of okra to the tomatoes, pureed it and it came out to only 1 cup.

The milk I used was rice milk.

I only used 1/8 cup nutritional yeast. 

Also I roasted some potatoes with whole cloves of garlic and chunks of onion.  Yum.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I came across a fun vegan blog the other day called

The author is Angela, and she shares delightful stories of her life and some amazing vegan recipes.  So far I've tried two of them, the first one being this Creamy Avocado Pasta.  Any time I see a way to change up a pasta dish, I'm eager to try it out.

Here it is:

Yield: Serves 2
  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste (I used 3 and it was quite garlicky, but if you are not a big fan of garlic use 1 clove)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (probably optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used 3oz of spelt and 3 oz of Kamut spaghetti)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.

(Note:  I used rice pasta spirals)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I was inspired to make enchiladas when I was visiting my brother and his in-laws in Australia.  They were all talking about how good the enchilada's are that M makes and I wished we had had time to have her make them for us.  I vowed that when I got back home I would try my own hand at enchiladas.

Three weeks later, and I finally had time to make them.  Thank you M for the inspiration!  I made up my own recipe and these were well worth the wait!  Delicious!

Basically you can put anything inside the tortillas, but you just need a good enchilada sauce.  I used the Sprouts brand, and it was great.

Here's what else I did:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/2 can refried beans (vegetarian)
1 cup fresh spinach
Package of small corn tortillas (I used the Mission Artisan kind, see below.)
1 cup mozzarella and cheddar flavored Daiya, mixed
2 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Pre-heat over to 350.

First, saute the onions and garlic over medium-high heat in the olive for about 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini and pepper, cook for another 4-5 minutes until everything is soft.  Add the salsa and beans.  Stir well and turn heat down to low. 

Spread about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. 

Add the spinach to the beans and stir well.

Now it's time to assemble the enchiladas!

Take a tortilla and put it on a clean plate.  Spread about two tablespoons of the bean mixture on the tortilla.  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the the cheese mixture on top of the bean spread.  Carefully roll the tortilla into a slim roll and place in the casserole dish.  Do this with as many tortillas as needed until the casserole dish is full.  Cover the enchiladas with the rest of the enchilada sauce.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the sauce-covered tortillas.  Sprinkle the cayenne pepper over everything.

Bake for 30 minutes.

When finished, eat immediately and enjoy!

I served them with my fresh guacamole which was a great addition.  W ate four of them and said they tasted better than a restaurant's!  I mean, he might always says that, but still...  I'll take it!  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mac and Cheese 2012 Update

Sometimes after a long week at work, you just want some good old fashioned comfort food.  On Friday, I wanted mac and cheese and nothing else would do.  I pulled out my trusty vegan mac and cheese recipe and decided to give it a new twist for the new year.  I know I say this every time, but this stuff never fails!  My meat and cheese-eating husband even loves this stuff!  He says it tastes better than the "real" thing.

1 package of quinoa pasta (8-12 ounces)

Cheesy Sauce:
 1 cup rice milk
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon earth balance
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chedder Daiya vegan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella Daiya vegan cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs
red pepper flakes to taste

Make the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

In the meantime, make the cheesy sauce:

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, nutritional yeast, tomato paste and smoked paprika.

In a small saucepan on the stove, melt the butter and saute the garlic in the butter (about 3 minutes.) 

Before the butter starts to burn, add the rice milk mixture.  Stir well for about 5 minutes until it gets nice and thick and creamy.

When the pasta is done, add the sauce to the pasta.  Add most of the Daiya vegan cheese, but leave a little for sprinkling on top.  Mix the pasta, sauce, and cheese all together until everything is blended nicely.  Pour into a casserole dish.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs, remaining cheese and red pepper flakes on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Check to see if it's bubbling and put on the top rack to broil for 2 minutes. 

As always, we pretty much demolished the entire casserole dish of this stuff.  Not too shabby for being dairy free!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Creamy Sauces

I've been obsessed with vegan "cheese" and "creamy" sauces lately.  It's not like I'm trying to replicate cheese or cream exactly,  but sometimes it's nice to have just a little bit of that creaminess in dressings or dips or anything else.  At Native Foods in LA a couple months ago I had the nachos with a white "cheesy" sauce that tasted like it was made from cashews.  Of course it doesn't really taste like cheese at all, but like I said, it just adds some richness and texture to a dish.

 Of course I use Daiya vegan cheese all the time.  It's the best replacement cheese I've discovered for things like mac and cheese, pizza, nachos, or burritos.  But how bout some kind of dip or creamy dressing?  I decided to experiment and this is what I came up with:

Cashew Creamy Sauce
(To be used alone as a dip or added to anything as a thick, creamy base, such as salad dressing or guacamole)

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
5 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
6 tablespoons safflower oil
1 cup raw cashews, soaked beforehand for at least 2 hours
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons rice milk
1/2 cup water

Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth and thick.  You can play around with the amounts of water and rice milk depending on how thick or runny you want it.  I drizzled it over chips as an appetizer sort of thing, but also used it as a base for guacamole, and as a base for my special secret salad dressing I make. 

It has a very light, lemony flavor and is good alone or for anything you want add a little creaminess!  I took one cup of it and blended it separately with one California avocado to make a creamy avocado sauce.  I then mixed that with salsa and dipped my blue corn tortilla chips in for a spicy, creamy snack by the campfire at a friends campsite!  I think everyone else was skeptical to taste it, but that's fine with me -- the more for me the better! 

Creamy Avocado Dip

Creamy Cashew Sauce

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spicy Tempeh and just a bunch of Veggie Goodness

So this was new.  I have never made any dishes at home using tempeh.  To be honest, I think I've actually only ever had the stuff twice before and the first time I did NOT like it.  The second time it was okay, and I thought I would be willing to try it again.  Well, I bought a package of the stuff at Sprouts and tried it out tonight.  It was actually really good!  I think homemade food is always the best though. 

This meal was inspired from a recipe in the cookbook, Veganomicon.  I followed their recipe for the spicy tempeh sauce and then did my own thing for the veggies.  It all topped a plate of corn pasta and was a delicious, filling dinner!  The Husband ate like it was his last meal or something, and went back for seconds, so that's always a good sign.  So far, the meals in 2012 have not failed!  I'm looking forward to a new year in veggie cooking!

Spicy Tempeh and Veggie Goodness over Corn Pasta

Spicy Tempeh (adapted from Veganomicon)
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, cubed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

Place the tempeh in a large pan on stove.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano.  Pour over the tempeh, stir to coat, and cook over medium heat until it starts to simmer, lower heat, cover and let cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the tempeh is tender. 

Veggie Goodness to go with Tempeh
 In a separate pan, saute the following ingredients:

3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 shallot, sliced
(after five minutes, add..)
6 shitake mushrooms
5 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
(stir and finally add...)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
(Let all simmer for about 8 minutes)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Broccoli-Almond Pesto

Happy 2012!  It's New Year's Day and time for another amazing meal from the January issue of Whole Living!  Seriously, this magazine has given me so many great recipes over the last few days!  Also, after tonight's dinner I have decided I'm going to use rice noodles way more often now!  They are so good and just as good, if not better, than regular wheaty pasta!  Maybe I'll be more gluten-free in 2012 since that seems to be a big trend right now, whether you have allergies or not.  We shall see...

Here is the recipe for this dish from Whole Living Magazine:

The only thing I did differently was add a little bit more basil, but that turned out fine.  This was easy to make and really delicious, so you need to make this for yourself ASAP.  Happy New Year!


  • 1 head broccoli, florets and sliced stems
  • 6 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces medium rice noodles


  1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook broccoli florets and stems until bright green and just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool slightly. (Reserve water.) Roughly chop 1 cup cooked florets; set aside. In a blender, puree remaining florets, almonds, basil, garlic, and lemon juice. Add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Return water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, drain noodles, and return to pot. Toss with pesto, adding reserved pasta water until creamy. Top each bowl with chopped florets, small basil leaves, and remaining almonds. Season with pepper.

New Years Eve Dinner

On the menu for our New Years Eve Dinner:

Mashed Potatoes
Chick-Pea Patties
Shitakes En Papillote
Steamed Artichokes

Last year we had tried to go to a fancy, romantic dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants and it was a disaster; even though we had a reservation, we still had to wait over an hour and by the time we sat down we felt rushed because of all the people hovering in the entrance waiting for us to finish.  Eventually we packed up our food and took it home to finish our New Years Eve in comfort!

This year we just decided to start at home and never even deal with the madness of restaurants on NYE.

It was! relaxing and amazing to have a fancy, romantic dinner at home with The Husband!  While we were cooking, he priced out everything as if we were ordering these items at a restaurant and it came out to be quite a lot of money we saved by staying in!  :)

Anyway, for the chick-pea patties and shitakes "en papillote," I used recipes from Whole Living Magazine.  Click here and here for those recipes and note that I used an egg replacer for the chick-pea patties, therefore it did not stick together very well but was still delicious.  As you can see I placed it on top of a Romaine leaf and added a roasted yellow pepper and some red onion slivers.  Yum. 

W made these and he added smoked paprika!  BTW, it was amazing.

Shitakes "en papillote."  It literally means, wrapped in paper.

And then you open up the paper and eat!