Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vegetable Chow Mein

I just bought the vegan cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen, by Chloe Cascarelli and I have been salivating all week looking at the recipes!  They all look so amazing, I couldn't wait to make one.  Tonight I tried her recipe called Chinese Takeout Chow Mein.  Score!  Recipe #1 is a success!  I can't wait to make more from Chloe's book!

Due to a lingering sinus infection, I've recently decided to try a gluten-free, soy-free diet as a self-diagnosis for possible allergies.   Therefore, I modified the recipe a little bit, but it still tasted amazing.  I also made rice which might seem redundant, but what's Chinese food without rice, right?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Stuffed Mushroooms and Cream of Broccoli Soup

The Skinny B* cookbook never fails.  Never.  I love this book.

This week I made the stuffed mushrooms and cream of broccoli soup recipes from this cookbook and what can I say?  They were amazing!  I think Will agreed because he couldn't get enough. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quinoa for Dinner

I just threw this together last minute and it turned out to be pretty amazing.

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup fresh carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen vegetables: edamame, corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper

Spicy Sauce
1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon Chili-Garlic sauce
1/2 freshly squeezed lime
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

Cook everything according to packages, except the carrots, and then mix all together with the spicy sauce (to taste.) 

It was perfect as a main dish to go with my salad.  I'll be having leftovers for lunch tomorrow, thank you. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers

I had no idea what to make for dinner until I opened the pantry and saw a package of tricolor Quinoa from Trader Joes. 

I just happened to see a recipe on the back of the package for black bean and quinoa veggie burgers and that is what turned into dinner.  I made them into sliders and topped with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and avocado.  Don't forget vegenaise and mustard!  Also, we had tater-tots on the side, just because...

Here's the recipe from the back of the package, but -- Warning:  This recipe isn't vegan.  It calls for an egg.  And I used one.   Oops.

6 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, diced small (I used about 1/4 cup white onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves ( Skipped this because didn't have)
1 can black beans, drained (Used dry beans, cooked, 1 cup)
2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package
1 egg, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs (didn't end up using, see below)
TJ's Everyday Seasoning, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add red peppers and saute until slightly soft, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and shallot and continue to saute until soft.  Remove from heat, cool for a few minutes and combine with beans and cilantro; add to food processor and pulse until chunky.  Blend mixture with quinoa, salt and pepper.  Taste; adjust seasoning if needed.  Add a beaten egg and mix well.

Divide into 7 or 8 patties and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.  Season bread crumbs with Everyday Seasoning; salt and pepper to taste.  Dredge patties in bread crumbs.  (Okay, I tried this, and they just crumbled to pieces when I tried to put them in the bread crumbs.  Skipped.)  Fry in remaining olive oil until browned.  About 3 minutes on each side.

These were pretty good, but even with the egg to hold it together they were really crumbly and fell apart easily.  I just don't get it!  How do people make veggie burgers from scratch?  Especially vegan ones, because those have NEVER turned out for me. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Winter Weekend at a Cabin in the Mountains

Sitting down to St. Patrick's Day Dinner!

Last weekend a bunch of us headed into the mountains of Southern California just in time for an epic winter storm!  The whole weekend we made tons of food including this wonderful dinner of two kinds of Irish stew.  Lauren, of Irish descent, made the classic Beef and Guinness stew, while I (of Czech descent in case anyone is wondering) made a veggie version which contained tempeh instead of beef.  Monica made an amazing Roquefort salad and brought some fresh rolls of bread.  It was a feast!  There's nothing like good homemade food on a cold winter's night in a cabin with good friends. 

For my veggie stew, I didn't follow a recipe or write down what I did, but basically I threw the following ingredients into a big soup pot and simmered for an hour. 

Brussel sprouts
Canned tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes
Vegetable broth
Frozen peas
Garlic Salt
Black Pepper

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yet Another Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe

One of my favorite comfort foods ever is Mac and Cheese.  But until I discovered Daiya vegan cheese last year, I hadn't had Mac and Cheese since I was 13!

Anyway, I've pretty much perfected my mac and cheesey-licious recipe and have been wanting to once again switch it up a little bit.  I was looking at the gourmet mac and cheese dish on the menu at The Yardhouse and that is the inspiration for this new vegan Mac and Cheese dish.

We had our friends and new vegans, TJ and Tara, over for dinner on Saturday night to enjoy it with us and I am proud to report it was a huge hit.

This is also based off of the recipe in Skinny B* in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  I seriously love that book!

3/4 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped and steamed
1 package cavatappi pasta
16 ounces of pureed squash, frozen beforehand
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
8 ounces Daiya vegan cheddar cheese shreds
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook the pasta according to the package.

In the meantime, combine the frozen squash and milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir until the squash is completely defrosted.  Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese shreds, crushed red pepper, cream cheese, powdered mustard, and cayenne pepper.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Drain the pasta, return to pot, and mix in the cheese sauce.  Add the mushrooms and broccoli and mix everything together. 

Transfer the cheesey pasta to a large casserole dish.

Mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and sprinkle it over the pasta.

Bake for 25 minutes then broil for 3 minutes to make it nice and crunchy on top.

Oh yes.  This is the best version of Mac and Cheese yet.  And, yes, I know I say that every time.  So okay, it just gets better and better.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chickpea-Spinach Curry

A delicious, easy dinner!  I had spinach and I had a can of chickpeas.  Add some tomatoes, onions and spices on top of rice with Naan on the side and dinner is served.

You need a large sauce pan.

First, saute 1 cup of chopped onions and 3 garlic cloves in about 2 tablespoons of oil.

Then, add 1/2 a can of chopped, stewed tomatoes and one can of chickpeas.

Stir well.

Add at least 2 teaspoons of curry.  (Add more to taste.)

Finally add 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander, crushed red pepper, cumin, turmeric and salt.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pasta Alfredo

This is a recipe I've been wanting to try forever from Vegan Yum Yum.  It's called Hurry Up Alfredo and its supposed to look like this:

I followed the recipe exactly, but for some reason mine had a nice orangy-chedder-cheesey look to it rather than the nice white-creamy look. 

And I forgot the basil.

No matter!  It still tasted amazing and delicious.  I've never had real Alfredo sauce, so I can't compare, but The Husband loved it and said it was better than the real thing.  (I said, "This is REAL, what are you talking about?")  It was super easy to make, which is perfect for those late evenings after getting home from a long day at work.  I used whole wheat rotini pasta, but I'm guessing this would go really well with potatoes, rice, or steamed veggies.  It's a really good cheesey-like sauce for things like that.

Here's the recipe:  I just sprinkled some black pepper on right before serving, because who doesn't love some black pepper?

Copy and Pasted from

Hurry Up Alfredo
Makes 2-3 Servings
1 Cup Soymilk
1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbs Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tbs Tahini
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika (smoked is awesome)
1 Pinch Nutmeg
2-4 Cloves of Garlic, optional
Black pepper, to taste

"Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This may work best in a high-speed blender (like a Vita-Mix), but you can definitely make it in a regular blender. Just blend extra-long, or perhaps strain if if you want it perfectly smooth. Tiny bits of cashews won’t hurt anyone though!
If you’re making this sauce for pasta, drain the pasta and return it to the hot empty pan. Pour the sauce over, place on medium heat, and stir until heated through. Serve with lots of fresh cracked black pepper. I love it with steamed broccoli added in!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Potato Soup

I really wanted something with potatoes and onions but didn't take forever to make.  I'm kinda bored with baked potatoes with sauteed onions and mushrooms, so instead I made all three of those things and just blended them together to make soup!

Well, instead of baking the potatoes I boiled them in 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons on McKay's chicken seasoning.  I threw in the sauteed onions and mushrooms simmered for a few minutes.  Finally I put it all in a blender and blended until smooth and creamy and delicious!  Don't forget to add some spices like smoked paprika and cumin; and salt and pepper to taste.

With some roasted asparagus and garlic you have a well-rounded veggie-goodness dinner!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Week in the Life of a Busy Veggie Lover


11:00am -- Have a ton of fresh veggies and am not going to be home for the next three days.  Can't count on The Husband to make fresh salads for himself while I'm gone, so I better make a gigantic one now.  Have some for lunch before I leave, take a to-go container for dinner tonight, and leave some for Will to eat tomorrow.

7:30pm  -- Still working at the registration table for college event.  Everyone else is taking shifts to go eat in the cafeteria, but not me!  I have my trusty, healthy, plentiful salad I packed for dinner.  Mmmmm, yum....


7:15am -- Breakfast in the cafeteria with 100 visiting high school students and the rest of my coworkers.  What's for breakfast?  Tater tots, scrambled tofu, rice and fresh pineapple.  Not too bad actually.  Our cafeteria is pretty good.

11:00am -- Back in my office between campus tours for a quick email and phone catch-up.  So exhausted... Need fuel.  Snack on the yellow bell pepper I cut up yesterday. 

1:00pm -- Lunch in the cafeteria with same 100 visiting high school students.  More rice, this time with beans on top of tortilla chips and layered with salad.  You have to be creative in the cafeteria, but they have a pretty good selection to choose from.  The fresh salsa is delicious!

3:00pm -- Scarf down a packet of sundried tomatoes in my office before two hours of financial estimates start.

5:00pm -- Help set up for banquet and snack on chips in salsa back in the kitchen.

8:00pm -- It's my shift to eat, but all the food is layered with cheese, so I just eat more chips and salsa and some dry salad.  It's not good, but I'm pretty much too exhausted to care or even be hungry.


7:15am  -- Another breakfast in the cafeteria.  Same thing as yesterday.  I ate a french toast stick too, but after four hours of sleep I don't even care anymore.  Just need food...

12:00pm -- Finally the students have gone home and I've had a few minutes to sit in my office and just stare out the window.  A few of us tired recruiters eat lunch in the cafeteria again.  I don't even remember what I ate.  I think I rolled up a tortilla with some beans and spinach and more fresh salsa.

6:30pm -- Back home!  I'm about to fall asleep standing up, but I must watch the Oscars!  I've refrained from all social media and internet usage so I wouldn't be spoiled.  I collapse on the couch while Will makes me an Oscar party dinner of garlic french fries, popcorn, and veggie pot stickers.  Amazing.  I love him.


I warned my boss yesterday that I might be a little late.  I sleep in until 7:00 (instead of 5:45) and we go to our favorite bagel place for breakfast.  The owner exclaims when we walk in "Where have you been?!"  I love that we've been missed!


"What are we having for dinner?"  Will asked.
"Pasta and salad?"  I said.  That seemed easy enough after this hectic week.  I had a bag of "Potpourri" pasta from Sprouts and a jar of my favorite pasta sauce from Trader Joes.  I added some Tofurky Italian Sausage, and within 20 minutes we had a wonderful, last minute dinner.


What can you eat at Tomiko if you're a veggie-lover?  How about miso soup with a side of rice, seaweed salad, edamame, one veggie roll, and one cucumber roll?  Not too shabby my friend, not too shabby.

The end.