Thursday, December 20, 2007

I scream, you scream - Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream

My new best friends over at Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream brought me some yummy samples to review. Wheeler's is a new vegan ice cream and they are trying to find a place to set up a shop here in Boston. This ice cream is seriously the best vegan ice cream I've ever had. It actually might be the best ice cream I've ever had (comparing to non-vegan brands from my pre-vegan days).

They brought me 4 flavors to try: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin, Pina Colada, and Black Raspberry.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chip was the favorite for both me and my husband. It was rich, full of dark chocolate flavor, and had thick flakes of dark chocolate in it (not positive but we thought maybe we tasted a little almond flavor in the background).

We also really loved the Black Raspberry. I do not even like Black Raspberry and I thought this was great and want to run out and buy more of it. I expected this to be like a sorbet, but it was definitely a creamy ice cream. It had an interesting (but good) flavor that we could not figure out - I thought it tasted a bit like taffy. That is probably why I liked it so much.

The Pina Colada flavor had fresh chewy coconut throughout and actually contained alcohol to make it taste authentic. The Pumpkin flavor was creamy and tasted like freshly grated nutmeg.

When they do find a place to set up shop, I think I will single handedly be keeping them in business. I can't wait.

Here is a pic of the Black Raspberry next to the Pina Colada.

Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream

PS - Take a look at their nutritional info comparisons to other ice creams. I had no idea I was eating healthier ice cream!

x-posted to

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter Vegetable Mushroom Ragout on Polenta

Winter Vegetable Ragout on Polenta

Tonight's dinner was a Winter Vegetable Ragout from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville. This was a very involved recipe and I made parts of it in advance. Even so, it still took me over an hour and a half to make dinner. I started by making a shitake mushroom vegetable stock and a roasted garlic puree in advance. The mushroom stock was then mixed with the garlic puree, sherry, soy sauce, and porcini mushroom liquid (after soaking). After that I made a roux with earth balance and flour and added the stock mixture. At the same time veggies roasted in the oven. 2 large portobellos were brushed with garlic oil, salt and pepper and roasted. Then butternut squash, rutabegas, fennel, potatoes, and onions roasted in the oven with garlic oil, salt and pepper. The vegetables were mixed with the mushroom sherry sauce and cooked. Then some swiss chard was added, and then the portobellos and some fresh herbs went in. I made some polenta while this was simmering and served the stew over the polenta.

Swiss Chard is fun to take pictures of:

Swiss Chard

Is this the most beautiful swiss chard you've ever seen?

Swiss Chard

Snow and Waffles

This is our second big snowstorm this week. On Thursday we got 12" of snow. Today we have gotten about 8", so far. A snowy day makes me think of warm comfort foods: tea, waffles, cocoa, stew. So when we woke up to snow this morning, it seemed like a good day for waffles. Again, I didn't take pics of the waffles because they weren't all that attractive. I'll try to take some nice pics of dinner to get you your food pron fix. We made "Waffles II" from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. We both liked the flavor a lot, but felt like we couldn't get the middles to cook enough. That didn't stop us from eating all of them. Perhaps I needed a touch more flour?

Anyway, since I didn't take food pics, here are some snow pics taken from the safety of inside the house.

This is the roof:

Here is what it looked like after we dug out my cooper (see the sides of the driveway):
Hey look, there's the cooper.

More pics in the extended entry:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Easy Burritos

We went to a movie this afternoon (I am Legend) which meant that we didn't get home to start cooking dinner until about 6:30. Luckily we'd planned ahead and had burrito fixings. Before we went to the movie we put brown rice in the rice cooker so it was ready when we got back. I like to use a 12" whole wheat soft lavash roll-up instead of a tortilla for this because they are soft and larger which makes it a lot easier to roll up without any heating of the tortillas. They taste identical. We had dinner ready in under 30 minutes. I didn't take a picture, sorry.

Serves 4

4 large whole wheat lavash or whole wheat tortillas
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 can pinto beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
baked tofu or seitan, cubed
brown rice, cooked
guacamole (we buy the Whole Foods premade guac in the produce section)
salt to taste
chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet on med-high. Add peppers and onions and cook till soft and lightly browned. Add salt and chili powder to taste (I used 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili powder - just enough for a little flavor). Cook for about a minute. Add the beans and the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until warm. Add a tablespoon of water to deglaze if things start to stick to the pan.

To assemble, place a tortilla on a plate. Add some brown rice, guacamole, salsa, and some bean mixture. Fold in both ends and roll up.

Serve with chips and salsa and a salad.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Watch out for the milk in that seemingly vegan cheese

I'm sure I am preaching to the choir here, but I am so annoyed by all of the cheese products that market themselves in such a way that you would assume they are vegan. Here are a few NOT VEGAN cheese products that you should avoid because they contain casein which is a milk derivative.

Veggie Slices
Soya Kass

Squashage Pasta

I'd heard how good the Field Roast vegan sausages were and I'd been dying to try them. Unfortunately the Whole Foods in Framingham doesn't carry them. I stopped at the Whole Foods in Cambridge last week and grabbbed some Italian style Field Roast Sausages while I was there. Once I got them, I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with them. Last night after a mid-day BVA meeting (around 4:30), I didn't know what we were having for dinner and I still needed to go to the grocery but there wasn't much time left in the day. So, in the car on the way back from Boston, I concocted this recipe for Squash-age Pasta in my head for a quick cooking dinner later in the evening. The Field Roast sausages ARE the best vegan sausages I've had. They were yummy!

Squashage Pasta

Squashage Pasta
Serves 5

1 med sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2 in cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 pinch crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp (or more) pine nuts
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
2 Field Roast vegan sausages, quartered lengthwise and then sliced (or other brand of vegan sausages ~ 6 oz).
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp+ white wine or mirin
5 oz baby spinach
16 oz whole wheat penne

Preheat oven to 385. Place the butternut squash on a cookie sheet lined with nonstick foil. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir the squash and add the garlic, pinenuts, sage, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, stir and then cook for another 15 minutes (total time of 40 minutes). Pine nuts and garlic should lightly brown. If they are cooking too fast, push the squash and other ingedients together in one end of the cookie sheet to protect the squash and pine nuts with the moisture from the squash.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile (in the last 5 minutes or so of the squash cooking in the oven), in a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and cook till lightly browned. Add the vegan sausage and cook for about a minute till heated through. Add a couple of tablespoons of white wine to deglaze. Then add the spinach, cover and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir and then cook for another 15 seconds. You want the spinach to just wilt. Add the squash mixture and stir to combine. Here is how it looks in the skillet at this point:

Squashage Pasta

Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the squash/sausage/spinach mixture to the pasta and toss to combine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vegan Not-Turkey Pot Pie

On Saturday, I made Byanna Clark Grogan's recipe for Soy Seitan "Turkey" to make up for the Cafe Indigo Roast. Bryanna's recipe makes 3 lbs! It was ok and oddly tasted like turkey (and a bit like flour). So after a couple of dinners and a few sandwiches, I still had half of it left. Tonight I made a large portion of it into a pot pie - A Not-Turkey pot pie! It was really good and was reminiscent of a chicken pot pie or a turkey pot pie. So, if you have any leftover Tofurky, or Soy-Seitan Roast, or Celebration Roast, this is a great way to handle the leftovers. I suppose any chicken-style seitan would work here. Oh, and FYI - I wasn't aiming for health food when I made this.

Not-Turkey (Vegan) Pot Pie

Vegan Not-Turkey Pot Pie

3 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks earth balance margarine, each stick cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp salt
ice water

4 tbsp earth balance margarine
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 yukon gold potatoes, diced (no need to peel)
1 to 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme, rubbed between your fingers
1/4 tsp dried basil
2 cups boiling water
1 Not Chickn boullion cube
3 Tbs flour
1/2-3/4 cup soy milk
2 cups cubed seitan (chicken style - homemade will work best here)


Place 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 2 chopped sticks of earth balance margarine into a food processor. Pulse until no butter pieces are larger than the size of a pea. Add 8 tbsp ice water. Pulse in the food processor just enough to incorporate the water. If the dough is still too dry add more water. It should form a moist dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead a couple of times. Form into a ball and cut in half. Make each half into a flattened ball. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Dissolve the bouillon cube in 2 cups boiling water to make a stock. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp earth balance margarine in a large pot. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until softened. Add dried herbs. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the stock. Add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are just softened. Add the frozen peas.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp earth balance margarine in a nonstick skillet. Add the "turkey" and cook for a minute. Add 3 tbsp flour and cook for another minute. Add soy milk and heat until warmed and just starting to thicken.

Add the "turkey" mixture back to the vegetable mixture. Cook until thickened. If it gets too thick, make some more stock with water and another bouillon cube and add more stock (or add water). Set aside.

Roll out one of the dough rounds into a circle so that it is larger in diameter than your pie plate. Place it in the pie plate and trim the excess. Add the filling to the pie. You may have extra filling. Just fill it to the top of the pie (and eat the rest of the filling another time). Roll out the other crust and place it over the top. Trim the excess. Turn the edge of the bottom crust up over the top crust and press down to flute the edges.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400. Turn the oven down to 350 and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving desert redux - Pumpkin Cheesecake

Double Layer Vegan Pumpkin Lemon Cheesecake

Tonight I made a Double Layer Pumpkin Lemon Cheesecake (recipe linked) with a Pecan Oat Crust from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This pie was really tasty and the crust was fabulous. You should definitely make this crust the next time you make a pie that calls for a graham cracker crust. It was so nutty and rich. I only made 2 small modifications to the cheesecake. I added some lemon zest and a pinch of salt to it.

I really don't think that last night's pie fiasco was a result of a bad recipe. I really think the canned pumpkin was bad. I had two cans of pumpkin yesterday - 2 different brands. One can went into the pie and another can went into the rolls. When I opened the second can for the rolls, I noticed that it smelled much better and had better color. The previous can was more solid. I just chalked it up to the fact that they were different brands, maybe the pumpkins weren't as great the day the other can was canned... but now I wonder how sick I would have been if I had eaten more than a 1/2 bite. Weird.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What does a vegan eat for Thanksgiving?

I've heard this question too many times this week. In general, Mike and I are not traditionalists. We don't feel any need to have a dinner that replicates the Thanksgiving dinners of our childhoods. Often we take advantage of the idea that we are supposed to be cooking all day to do something fun. One year we made a massive Indian feast of dal, basmati rice, aloo ghobi, etc. Another year it was all mexican with drunken beans, corn fritters, and enchiladas.

This year we did in fact go pretty traditional with the meal. It was really because I saw that Cafe Indigo in NH was selling a "Stuffed Faux Turkey Breast" that they said was "made with our own seitan and stuffed with Grandma's famous bread stuffing". How could I resist? I ordered one and then planned around it. Here was the menu of the day:

Port Wine "Uncheese" from the Uncheese cookbook and crackers

Cafe Indigo Stuffed Seitan Roast
Carmelized Onion and Mushroom Gravy with Sherry and fresh herbs
Baked Sweet Potato Casserole with a Pecan Struesel topping
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Herb Stuffing
Pumpkin Orange Yeast Rolls
Pumpkin Pie



More pics in the extended entry.

Everything was pretty good, but there are a few things that were new that I definitely would not do again. We were not particularly fond of the Port Wine "Uncheese" or the Cafe Indigo Seitan Roast.

And the pie... well, it looks pretty, but I think it is the most hideous thing I have ever made. And I'm a pretty good pie maker. The recipe is from the Joy of Vegan Baking. I've never made anything bad out of that book. I thought Colleen could do no wrong. But wow, this was horrible.. I couldn't eat more than one bite. It was grainy and metallic. We'll be making another pie tomorrow to make up for it. It's really sad because I was also eyeing this recipe for double-layer pumpkin cheesecake and I'm sure it would have been about a thousand times better. Hmmm, I wonder if the canned pumpkin I used was bad?? (Update - I really think I had a bad can of pumpkin - no fault to Colleen).

Ok - here's some more pics of dinner:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Favorite Vegan Products - Update 1

My friend Liz requested an update on my favorite vegan products and she's right, it's time to revisit and update this list. I'll italicize changes.

Coffee Creamer - Silk Plain Creamer
Tofu - Nasoya
Milk replacement - Soy Dream Soy Milk, or Enriched Rice Dream (tastes like skim milk)
Butter replacement - Earth Balance - sticks
Egg replacement - Ground Flax Seeds and water for hearty baked goods, Ener-G for desserts, Tofu for quiches and scrambles
Bread - Vermont Bread Company Organic Bread - Soft Wheat
Wine - Rosenblum Zinfandel
Honey replacement - Just Like Honey Rice Nectar (internet order), Maple Syrup
Nutrional Yeast Brand - Bob's Red Mill (I order this by the boxload on the web)
Vitamins - Chewable Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Formula by Pioneer
Energy Bar - Cliff Bar - Peanut Crunch
Sugar - Hain Organic Cane Sugar, Florida Crystals Cane Sugar
Powdered Sugar - Hain - Organic Powdered Sugar
Brown Sugar - Hain - Organic Brown Sugar
Cookie - Newman Os (oreo flavor and ginger o's)
Soy Ice Cream - Temptation Cookie Dough, Soy Delicious Purely Decadent (Vanilla, Strawberry, Cherry Nirvana, Peanut Butter Zig Zag)
Setian - Bridge Seitan
Tempeh - Soy Boy Soy Tempeh
Sandwich Slices - Yves Veggie Bologna Slices

Cereal - Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins, Kashi Autumn Wheat

Lipstick - Zu Zu Luxe
Concealer - Clinique All About Eyes Concealer (works well for blemishes too)
Makeup - Clinique Soft Finish Makeup
Eyeliner - Clinique Quickliner for Eyes
Blush - Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush
Mascara - Origins

Skin Care
Deodorent -Oyin Handmade Funk Butter - black cedar fig (I have never smelled at all with this)
Shampoo - Aveda Sap Moss, or Aveda Scalp Benefits *
Conditioner - Aveda Damage Remedy *
Lotion - Jason Vitamin E unscented
Face Moisturizer - Kiss My Face Under Age
Lip balm - Lush Eggsnog - Artisan Soapworks lip balm (sadly seem to be out of business this year)
Hand Soap - Kiss My Face Self-Foaming hand soap
Soap - Lush Sexy Peel, Lush Karma, Dr. Bronners Almond
Shaving cream - Kiss My Face Patchouli Moisture Shave

Socks - tdb
T-shirt - Food Fight grocery, or Vegan Freak
Purse - tbd
Wallets - Matt & Nat

Web Sites
Vegan store - Food Fight Grocery, Cosmos Vegan Shoppe, or Vegan Essentials.
Podcast - Vegan Freak Radio
Shoe store - Moo Shoes

* I've recently discoved that Origins matches Aveda in veganness (watch for honey and beeswax) and price, so I plan to try some Origins shampoos and conditioners soon.

Stir Fry Noodle Bowl

When I travelled to San Francisco last year, I got noodle bowls all over the place. I love a good stir fry noodle bowl. I've been working on this recipe for a while and I think it is really close to what I want it to be. Next time I make it, the only change I will make it to add more liquid to the sauce - I might up the soy sauce and mirin and add a bit of water. It is pretty good as is, so I am going ahead and posting it. I'll update it if I change it next time. This recipe is pretty versatile - you can replace any of the vegetables with others and it will be fine. There are pics of all the steps in the extended entry.


Stir Fry Noodle Bowl
Serves 4.

Stir Fry:
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp peanut oil (unrefined peanut oil is fantastic in this)
8 oz seitan (I like Bridge Seitan if you can find it), drained, rinsed, and sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 sm red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 scallions, greens in 2" pieces, whites sliced
1/2 sm curly cabbage, thinly sliced
8-12 oz soba noodles or curly chinese noodles

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Mirin
1 tsp Hot Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1/4 tsp chinese 5 spice powder
2 tsp natural peanut butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Hoisin sauce

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to directions.

Meanwhile, mix sauce ingredients and set aside.

In a large skillet or wok over high heat, heat 1 tsp peanut oil and add the seitan and cook till lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Warm 1 tbsp peanut oil to the skillet and add the carrots and peppers. Cook about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the snow peas and scallions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook covered for about 3 minutes. Add the seitan back to the pan and cook until heated through. Add the sauce ingredients and cook for about a minute more. If the sauce looks dry or sticks to the pan, add some water or veggie stock (you want it to be saucy to coat the noodles).

Drain the noodles when ready and add back to the large pot. Add the stir fry to the large noodle pot and toss to combine.

Dinner disaster recovery & Spanish Rice recipe

Last weekend we made Kale and Potato Enchiladas from Isa Chandra Moskowitz'z new book Vegamonicon. I used some bad judgement and used the huge bag of baby russian kale I had just picked up from the CSA farm. Since it was small, I couldn't remove the stems and thought it would be fine anyway. I got done making the filling and had potatoes with chewy nasty looking kale stems. We tasted it and gave up on dinner. This made us really sad because the sauce we'd already made was yummy and we also had mexican rice in the rice cooker. I wanted to save it but was having a hard time coming up with ideas. Finally it dawned on me to use a can of refried black beans in it. I picked all of the kale out of the potatoes and stirred in a can of refried black beans and used that as the filling. We also heated another can of refried black beans as a side. I actually think this turned out way better than it would have if I'd used kale. It was great. I topped it with some grated Cheezly (vegan cheese from the UK) that I had gotten from Vegan Essentials on the web.


Rice Cooker Spanish Rice

I took Isa's recipe for Mexican Millet and turned it back into a spanish rice recipe and threw it into the rice cooker. We loved it.


1 cup of brown basmati rice (or 1 rice cooker cup)
2 cups vegetable stock (or enough stock for your rice cooker)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 small yellow onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1 sm roma tomato, seeded and diced

Rinse and drain rice and add it to the rice cooker along with the veggie stock. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and jalepeno and cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion mixture to the rice cooker.

Stir the rest of the ingredients into the rice cooker - tomato, tomato paste, salt, cumin. Cook according to rice cooker instructions. I set mine to the brown rice setting on my rice cooker.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brunswick Stew

I grew up in Atlanta and had my share of bbq and brunwick stew before moving North and going vegan. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this month's VegNews magazine which had a recipe for Southern Vegetarian Brunswick Stew and Cornbread. I thought this might be a good stew but had no notions that this would actually taste like the stew that I grew up eating. My husband Mike did not either and was a little afraid of my dinner plans. After we started eating it, we were shocked to find it did actually taste like brunswick stew. SHOCKED. It was really good.

Vegan Brunswick Stew

The recipe is from Robin Robertson:

Vegetarian Brunswick Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12 oz package vegetarian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces *
1 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large white potatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger **
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) package frozen succotash
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) package frozen vegetarian burger crumbles ***
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the "sausage" links and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.

2. Reheat the oil in the saucepan and add the onion, potato, garlic, and ginger. Add 1/4 cup of the stock or water, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, add the remaining stock and stir in the tomatoes, succotash, tamari, mustard, sugar, allspice, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, add the reserved “sausage,” the vegetarian burger crumbles, and the Liquid Smoke.

Serves 4 to 6

* We used only 6 oz lite life vegan sausage links. Next time we might try sausage crumbles instead, maybe lite life in the tube.
** Ginger People jarred prepared ginger works fine here.
*** Morningstar frozen burger crumbles

We served this with some vegan southern cornbread (modified from the article in veg news by Robin Robertson) cooked in an iron skillet.


1-2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup soymilk
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/4 cup canola oil

Place an 8" cast iron skillet in the oven with 1-2 Tbsp canola oil in the skillet. Place in oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix the soy milk, maple syrup, oil, and corn. Add to the dry mixture and stir until just mixed. Pour into the hot skillet, and spread it if necessary. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned on top. Turn cornbread out of skillet and onto a plate (it will be upside down). Cut into wedges.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Printing recipes

I installed a new plugin to my site today which makes the entries print in a printerfriendly way. Now you can print the recipes and not get the sidebars, just the entry and comments. It should just work autumatically when you print (no special buttons). I haven't been able to test this yet because my printer has decided not to connect to my wireless router today.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tomato Spinach Bread Pudding

We got 7 lbs of Tomatoes from the CSA this week AND 2 quarts of cherry tomatoes. This weeks menu kind of sounds like Forest Gump talking about tomatoes: Cherry Tomato Sauce with Orzo, Tomato Soup, and Tomato Bread pudding. This is the tomato bread pudding:

Tomato Bread Pudding

Tomato Bread Pudding

5 medium tomatoes or 3 large (~2 lbs - peeled, halved, cored, and seeded) *
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 Whole wheat baguette (cut into 1 to 1 1/2 in cubes)
2-3 Tbsp vegan margarine, melted
1/4 cup vegan parmesan replacement **
1 bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
fresh thyme, minced (~4-5 sprigs)
1-2 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tsp balsamic

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 1 1/2 qt shallow casserole dish.

Place the tomatoes in a food processor with salt, pepper, and sugar. Pulse 4-5 times until the tomatoes are nearly pureed, but still have some recognizable tomato chunks. Set aside.

Toss the bread cubes in a bowl with the margarine. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add the spinach and stir. If there is no water clinging to the spinach from washing, you might need to add a teaspoon. Cover and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir. Cover and cook for about another 30 seconds. You basically want to cook it until it is just wilted. Add the balsamic.

Place 1/2 the bread cubes in the casserole dish. Top with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle the basil over the spinach. Add the rest of the bread cubes. Top with the tomato puree and gently stir around a little to incorporate the tomatoes (just a little stir/poke).

Bake for about 30 minutes until browned. Top with the vegan parmesan replacement. Cook for about another 4 minutes.


* Invest in an Oxo tomato peeler. These are great if you only have a few tomatoes to peel. If I need to peel a lot, I'll resort to the old boiling water trick, but for a few this peeler is very handy. It also works well on peaches.

** We make our own vegan parmesan replacement from a recipe in the uncheese cookbook. In the picture above, you can see that I didn't grind it enough in the food processor when I made this batch, but it is really tasty anyway. It is made from miso, blanched almonds, nutiritional yeast, and salt. You can find this recipe if you go to this google book search page and scroll to the bottom right of the page and search for "parmesan". It should be around the 3rd hit. It is also a good book to have, so I would recommed ordering the book. I have made this "parmesan" with both white mellow miso and with the darker barley miso. I liked the taste of the barley miso better, but it looks funny. The white miso looks better as a parmesan topping and has a milder taste.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Apple Streusel Pie

This is my grandmothers recipe which I've used for many many years and has been veganized. I let this one get a little dark on the top, but it will still taste just fine.

Dutch Apple Pie

Vegan Dutch Apple Pie

Filling Ingredients
6 large apples (or 7 medium sized), peeled and sliced (I prefer Granny Smiths)
3 Tbs vegan margarine
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 deep dish pie crush (make your own or just buy one)

Topping Ingredients
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 Tbsp vegan margarine

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork and blind bake the crust for about 9-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Topping: Mix the flour, cinnamin, and brown sugar. With a fork or pastry cutter, work in the butter till it becomes incorporated and crumbly. Set aside.

Filling: Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the apples and stir to coat. Cook for about a minute or two until they just start to soften a little. Stir in the sugar and the cinnamon.

With a slotted spoon, move the apples to the pie crust, leaving behind the juices (they will make the pie soggy). Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon if you wish. Sprinkle/pat the topping over the apples.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15. You may need to add a foil collar around the edge of the crust after the first 15 minutes if the crust starts browning too quickly.

Cool and eat with some vegan vanilla ice cream.

What to do with 12 lbs of Apples??

After apple picking last weekend, we wound up with 12 lbs of apples. I got a bunch of green granny smith apples because they are so good in pies. The first thing we made was a German Apple Cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. It was sooooo yummy. And it definitely did not last long. Since the recipe was pretty healthy (low sugar, low-fat) we ate it for breakfast a couple of days. Here are some pictures:

German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookie update - better the next day

This is an update to my previous entry about the chocolate chip cookies from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's new cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking. These cookies became amazing the next day. Normally cookies are best right out of the oven, but when we tasted them right out of the oven, they seemed to greasy. The next day, that element was gone and the cookies were great.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Joy of Vegan Baking

I was so excited when the UPS guy brought me Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's new Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook a few days ago. It is a beautiful cookbook with lots of pictures. It is a much larger book than I expected. There are so many recipes and so little time.

Tonight we made the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were yummy, but I have to admit that I like Dreena Burtons recipe in Vive Le Vegan better. That may just be a matter of taste. These were heavier and on the greasy side, but they were very crispy.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometime in the next couple of days (after we go apple picking this weekend), we will be trying out her recipe for German Apple Cake. I can't wait.

See the update on this entry.

Summer Corn and Fresh Tomato Risotto

Here is a pic of a really nice risotto we made last week. We had a ton of corn and tomatoes in the house. This is Peter Berley's recipe from a Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Someone else posted the recipe here. We added some fresh spinach in towards the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, Basil, Spinach Risotto

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Off food topic - My upcoming tattoo

I'll be getting a sleeve starting in April. I met with the artist today and he did some sketches on my arm. I decided to blog the progression of the tattoo, so if you'd like to see it as it evolves, you can subscribe/read about it over here: I put up a picture of the ink sketching on my arm.

BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Grilled Pineapple and Mango Ketchup (and tots)

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know I've been away for a while. I took a new job and switching jobs is a bit stressful. In addition to the job switch, the Boston Vegan Association is really starting to kick into high gear this month. phew. Anyway, I hope to get back into the swing of things. I got a new camera so I hope the food pics will be even better. This should be the last pic off of my old camera. We made this a couple of weeks ago. It was pretty tasty. I know tater tots aren't the healthiest thing in the world, but sometimes I have a craving. These were at least organic tater tots.

BBQ Tempeh Burger with Mango Ketchup and Tots

This is BBQ Tempeh Burgers with Grilled Pineapple and Mango Ketchup from the Candle Cafe cookbook. The bbq sauce was amazing. Sorry, I don't have a recipe link for you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Are humans meant to be carnivores?

Watch this Dan Piraro video to find out (safe non-gross humorous cartoon):

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Better than Julian's Gingerbread Pancakes

A few weeks ago we went to brunch at Julian's in Providence (with Liz). Mike got the gingerbread pancakes that came highly recommended from my friend Liz. I made him give me a bite. They were so good. I went home and immediately started looking for a recipe. I found one on (from the Blossoming Lotus restaurant) and printed it out. Mike made them for me this morning and I kept saying "good lord" over and over again. They tasted like gingerbread smothered in maple syrup and they were very light and fluffy. If I remember correctly, the ones at Julians are tasty, but not light and fluffy (they are more dense). I liked these a lot better.

Now, go print out this recipe and make these next weekend!

Vegan Gingerbread Pancakes

The picture doesn't do them justice.

Note - for two people, I'd cut this recipe in half. It made about 16 pancakes.

Why you should join a CSA next year!

Stir Fry

Mmm, purple carrots!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quick and Easy Vegan Meals

Urban Vegan posted an incredible blog entry called "summer express :: 101 simple vegan meals ready in 10 minutes or less". Definitely check it out, especially if you are sitting around right now wondering what to make for dinner!

I'm printing it out and putting it on my fridge for quick reference.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

8 true things - an annoying meme

Animal Friendly tagged me so I must comply. But, not before changing the intent. :) I was tagged with a meme called 8 true things where I am supposed to tell you 8 true things about me. I'm going to tell you 8 true things, but not about me. And then I am going to further break the rules and not tag anyone.

The Meme:
First, the rules
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Random facts/habits:
1. Milk contains pus. And therefore cheese, yogurt, and butter all contain pus.
2. Eggs are the byproduct of a chicken's menstual cycle.
3. Over 10 billion animals are killed for food in the US every year (not including fish).
4. Your dog/cat is no different from a pig or cow. You just find them to be cuddlier. In some countries people eat dogs and cats. Pigs are smarter than your dog.
5. Dairy cows are killed after they no longer produce enough milk (about 4 years old).
6. Baby male cows are taken from their dairy cow mothers almost immediately after they are born and either sent to slaughter or to a veal farm. They are fed a formula made from cow's blood because humans drink their milk.
7. When breeding chickens for eggs, the male chicks are ground up alive into fertilizer or suffocated in trash bags because they are not useful in egg production (and they won't grow big enough to be used as a "fryer" chicken).
8. Going vegan is not hard. It is acutally very easy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mike's Almond Poppyseed Scones

My husband Mike is the best baker ever (flattery gets you more baked goods!). Here is his veganized recipe for almond poppyseed scones. The poppy seeds can be left out and they are just as good. We have also made them with blueberries folded in at the end of mixing, but that is a little trickier because the dough gets really wet if you are not careful.

Almond Poppyseed Scones

1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
3 Tbsp water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unrefinded sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into bits
1/4 cup earth balance vegan margarine; chilled and cut into bits
1/3 cup tofutti sour cream
2 teaspoons almond extract
sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix ground flax seeds and water with a fork in a small bowl and set aside. This is the egg replacement.

Mix the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the shortening and the margarine and cut in using a pastry cutter or fingers until you get a coarse meal (avoid using hands as it heats up the margarine).

Whisk tofutti sour cream, flax/water mixture and almond extract in a small bowl to blend. Add to the flour mixture and combine with hands until incorporated, be careful not to overwork the dough or you will have bricks.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half. Press the dough into two rounds about 3/4" thick (about 6" across). Cut into quarters and sprinkle with sugar. Place the scones on a heavy baking sheet, spacing about 1-inch apart.

Bake in 400 degree F oven until lightly browned, about 17-18 minutes.

Servings: 8

Pesto Kale Pizza

Someone on a forum I read wanted to know if they could put kale on a pizza which got me thinking about it. Then Animal Friendly Eric told me about a pizza that he had in LA from Native Foods that had greens and pesto on it. I looked it up on the web and it says "Creamy pesto, grilled veggies, steamed greens, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a balsamic drizzle". Well, I had to try that! So here it goes. This was more time consuming than expected because I forgot to take the frozen pizza dough out of the freezer and had to make a fresh batch, and because I also had to make some pesto. It was really good and we plan to make it again and again and again, esp once the zucchini from the CSA starts pouring in.

Kale Pesto Pizza

Breadmaker Pizza Crust (makes 2)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup warm water (plus more as needed)
2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp kosher salt

Place ingredients in breadmaker according to manufacturer instructions and set it to Pizza Dough. Meanwhile preheat the pizza stone to 500 degrees. Pull out the dough, punch it down, cut it in half. Place half in an oiled ziploc bag and throw it in the freezer for another day. Roll out the dough some, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then roll it out some more.

I used Peter Berley's Almond Pesto recipe as a base but used all the CSA green garlic, garlic scapes, and added one clove of garlic. The original recipe called for 2 cloves of garlic instead of the mixture below.

Garlic Scape Green Garlic Almond Pesto
1 1/2 cups toasted blanched almonds
3 garlic scapes
4 green garlic bulbs and stems
1 clove garlic
2 cups packed basil leaves (or more)
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
salt to taste

Grind the almonds in a food processor. Add the various forms of garlic, lemon juice, water, lemon zest, basil and puree. Add the olive oil gradually. Add salt to taste. Place in a container and cover with a light film of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.

Pesto Kale Pizza
1 bunch of kale, middle ribs removed, cut, steamed and salted
2 small zucchini, sliced in 1/4" slices, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled in a grill basket
1/4 cup toasted salted pumkin seeds
balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Preheat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for about an hour. Roll out the pizza dough and place in on a peel with semolina to prevent sticking. Drizzle with olive oil and brush to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Add some pesto as a base layer. Mix the greens with some pesto and add it to the pizza. Top with zucchini slices and pumkin seeds. Drizzle on some balsamic vinegar. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Veggie Burger Pic

I found a picture of the veggie burger on the camera.


The fries in the pic are just a russet potato roasted at 425 with salt, pepper, and olive oil for about 40 minutes (turning every 10-15 minutes).

Almond Butter Chip Ice Cream

Summer is here and we decided to experiment with the old ice cream maker. You may see a few ice cream recipes over the next few months. Here is one that I have been wanting to make for a while:

Almond Butter Chip Ice Cream

2 c. French vanilla soy creamer

1 1/2 c. almond milk

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. fresh ground almond butter

2 T. arrowroot powder

1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds
1 bar dark chocolate bar, in shavings or ground up in the food processor
1/4-1/2 cup additional almond butter to swirl in.

Mix ¼ cup of almond milk with the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and set aside.

Combine soy creamer, remaining almond milk, and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat. When hot, whisk in almond butter so it is thoroughly incorporated. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. When the mixture has just started to boil, take off the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot slurry. This should immediately cause the liquid to thicken (not a lot, but a noticeable amount; it will be thicker when it cools).

Set the ice cream mixture aside to cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Add chopped nuts and chocolate shavings in the last five minutes of freezing.

As you put the ice cream into a container to store in the freezer, occasionally add some dollops of almond butter into the mix.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

There is no such thing as happy meat

This post is probably just preaching to the choir, but some of my meat eating friends do read this, so I persist.

In my last entry, I alluded to the fact that this comment on a friends blog irritated me to no end:

"By all means make it humanely slaughtered organic red meat, but red meat is still your very best source of dietary iron."

There is no such thing as humanely slaughtered animals. Killing animals is not humane. If you think it can be done humanely, come over here and let me stun you with a stun gun, or cut you with a knife and then you can tell me all about how humanely I did it. No animal wants to die. And, you know what, no animal needs to die so that a person can eat dinner (my previous post addresses the iron issue). If you want to think that you are eating happy meat, you should assure yourself that the meat was really happy.** Otherwise, you really don't know what you are talking about. So, watch the videos of slaughterhouses, chicken farms, and bulls being castrated without anestisia and then see if you still think that the animal is happy. These things happen on all farms including free range farms, and the animals are sent to the same slaughterhouses as animals not raised free range.

Furthermore, if you are still reading this, even if there truly were some real life happy meat where animals roamed free and slept in hay and rolled in the dirt when they wanted to... and you commited yourself to only eating happy meat, and free range eggs... what happens when you go out to dinner? Do you ask the chef how the meat was raised? or do you eat vegan when you eat out so that you can be sure that you are sticking to your morals about how animals should be raised? Of course not. The fictional happy meat is a myth that meat eaters want to believe and the meat industry put out there. It makes you feel better about eating meat and killing and abusing animals.

Sorry if this seems like an angry post. But, I have a hard time not getting really mad thinking about the 10 billion plus animals that are killed every year for Americans to eat. It's horrifying. Once you know how many animals are killed and how they are treated, how can you still eat it?

** Ask me and I'll lend you some videos.

Wah, iron. Get over it already!

Recently a friend of mine was experiencing health issues that could be easily helped by a change in diet. I am am firm believer in doing everything you can to change your diet and avoid taking pills to fix problems, before resorting to pills. I'm not saying that pills don't have their uses, I'm just saying that Americans are way too willing to take the quick fix rather than finding the root of the problem. The root of a lot of our health problems stem from the SAD (Standard American Diet). In a comment on her blog, I mentioned that a vegan diet might be worth considering as an option to try to correct the problem. Wow, the crazy mis-informed nonsense that came back from people commenting made me insane. I tried to reply to the comments, but well, she moderates comments and doesn't like any conflict on her site, so my reply was never posted. I'll have to reply here instead (too bad they won't be able to see the reply).

The topic today is iron. One of her commenters replied that she shouldn't consider a vegan diet because:

"There really aren't any vegetable-based sources of iron that are as effective as red meat. By all means make it humanely slaughtered organic red meat, but red meat is still your very best source of dietary iron."

The humane meat part of this comment will be my next post, if my head doesn't explode first. There are plenty of good sources of iron in a vegan diet. And, if you are really worried about absorbing enough iron, drink some orange juice too. Citrus helps the absorption of iron. The Vegan Society lists the following sources of iron: "dried fruits, whole grains (including wholemeal bread), nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and pulses [beans to us Americans]. Other foods rich in iron but which are usually eaten in smaller amounts include soya flour, parsley, watercress, black molasses and edible seaweeds. The use of ironware when cooking foods also contributes to dietary intake." So, eat those beans, seeds, and nuts. Here is more from the VeganSociety:

Up to 22% of the iron in meat is absorbed, while only 1-8% is absorbed from eggs and plant foods. If the body stores fall, the rate of iron absorption rises. About 40% of the iron in animal foods is in a form called haem iron, while the remainder, and all the iron in plant foods, is in the less well absorbed non-haem form. Iron absorption can also be reduced by tannins (e.g. in tea) and phytates (found in nuts, grain and seeds). At this point one tends to wonder whether the rumours of vegans suffering from anaemia have substance, however, this isn't the whole story and the reader will be heartened to learn that research has shown that iron deficiency in vegans is no more common than in the rest of the population.

The absorption of iron from plant foods is improved by the presence in a meal of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), other organic acids such as malic acid (e.g. in pumpkins, plums and apples) and citric acid (in citrus fruits). Laboratory research in which experimental meals were given to 299 volunteers has shown that the inclusion of foods (such as fresh salad, orange juice or cauliflower) providing 70-105mg of vitamin C in each meal increased the absorption of iron. A particularly pronounced effect was seen when 4.5oz cauliflower containing 60mg of vitamin C was added to vegetarian meals, causing more than three-fold increase in iron absorption.

So basically, other factors in the vegan diet make up for iron that is less well absorbed from plant sources than from meat. And, you are not more likely to have an iron deficiency on a vegan diet.

Furthermore, the American Dietetic Association says "It is the position of The American Dietetic Association (ADA) that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

Iron is no longer an excuse that can be used to justify killing animals. Go vegan.

Now you probably want to know what to put in the hamburger buns!

Inside our homemade buns, we had grilled Tempeh Walnut burgers (recipe link). I did not add any olives (because I hate them so). I also did not add the optional umeboshi paste. I cut the fresh rosemary to 1/2 Tbsp. These burgers are ok and they hold together well on the grill. They are not my favorites though. We both thought they tasted a bit like crabcakes (well as much a we remember from the pre-veg days). I think it was the red bell pepper and celery. A great addition to these would be some vegan garlic aioli. I couldn't find any locally and was too lazy to make my own after making buns, veggie burgers, and oven baked potato fries. We also had a nice green spinach salad, in case you were worried about the color of the plate!

Best Hamburger Buns Ever!! (breadmaker recipe)

This recipe is modified from this one posted at the

Hamburger Buns
Makes 7 hamburger buns


2 cups flour, plus more as necessary
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/3 cups room-temperature water
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS toasted* pumpkin seeds (half ground up in the food processor)
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS toasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds for the topping (optional)
water, for brushing the tops of the buns (optional)

Place all the ingredients (except seeds and brushing water) into the breadmaker according to manufacturer instructions. Mine takes liquids first. Set the breadmaker to the dough setting. Add a Tbs of flour or two if it is too sticky, or add a Tbs of water if it is too dry. After about 10 minutes, add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. When the breadmaker is done, take out the dough and on a floured surface, cut the dough into 8 pieces. Shape into flattened rounds. Place on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cover with a damp warm towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. After rising, bake for 18- 20 minutes. Move to a cooling rack to cool. Freeze any buns that you will not be using immeditately since these contain no preservatives.

* To toast the seeds, place them on a baking sheet at 375 until they start to brown, about 5-10 minutes.


Lemon Tofu Broccoli Rabe with Brown Rice and Roasted Balsamic Carrots

A few nights ago we made this recipe for Lemon Tofu Broccoli Rabe. I am not a big fan of broccoli rabe, at least I wasn't before this recipe, but this was really tasty. I think the trick might be lots of lemon. Preparing broccoli rabe is a snap. Just trim off the bottoms, rinse in a sink full of water, drain, and then chop into 1" pieces. It will look like this when you are done:


Here is a look at the final dish. You can't really see the tofu and brown rice in this pic, but I assure you that they are there.


Served with a much needed lemon wedge.

Boston Vegans Unite!

If you've noticed that I haven't been posting much over here, it's because I have been really busy on an exciting new project. Eric Prescott (An Animal Friendly Life) and I have been working to start the Boston Vegan Association ( I have been hard at work on the website in ALL of my spare time. It is not completely ready yet (we still have a lot of work to do), but the web site is up and running for the most part. The Boston Vegan Association is being founded to unite Boston-area vegans and empower them to work as a group toward ending the exploitation of animals by locally promoting and supporting veganism as the moral baseline for animal rights. We intend for this to be a very active community of vegans in the Boston Community and feel that this sort of community is missing in our area.

If you are in the Boston area (and vegan or on your way to becoming vegan), go and register at the site. Registration is open and free. Once you register, you will have greater access to the website. Paid membership will be available after our official launch this fall and will provide access to special member only events, possibly a t-shirt, discounted fees for fee driven events, etc.

If you are not in the Boston area, go and take a look at the web site and let us know what you think.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Vegans love to talk about Poo

Vegans seem to love to talk about poo [1]. See, they even make stickers to brag about poo prowessness:

It seems like an odd thing to post about, but I think that it is an important health issue and we shouldn't be so uptight about it. The average American only poos about once every other day (that's what I've heard). I had a hard time finding any decent stats to back this up... you try googling for poo or defectaion rates and see what you get. Some people go even less frequently than that. It is important to poo regularly. Some doctors say that for optimal health you should poo after every meal.[2] Your poos should be regular and effortless. If you are straining or reading magazines, then you aren't getting enough fiber. Poo that sticks around in the colon for too long causes toxicitiy and can cause tumors in the colon, among other problems.

Most Americans, don't get enough fiber. They eat white flour, white pasta, and other white foods that contains little fiber and almost no nutritional value. When things back up, they rely on laxatives to get things moving again. I'm not sure why the mental connection to diet isn't made??

So, where does fiber come from? Great sources of fiber come from the plant kingdom - not meat. These include spinach, broccoli, mustard greens, collards, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beans, nuts, grains, etc. So, go eat those veggies. And note that another benefit of veganism is regular poo and a healthy colon.

[1] Yes, I am going to use the word "poo" throughout this post, I like it better than defecate.
[2] This should be very distressing to an unnamed co-worker who believes that pooing should be done at home (in the morning), and not at work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Masao's Kitchen in Waltham - Restaurant Review

A co-worker and I drove over to Waltham for lunch today to try out Masao's Kitchen, a vegan macrobiotic restaurant. Masao's has a buffet all the time with both hot and cold items plus a couple of other entrees and sandwiches to choose from. The buffet is definitely the way to go.

Today's buffet was full of good stuff: A breaded seitan appetizer, BBQ Tofu, brown rice, Adzuki bean stew, broccoli and kale mixed together, and mixed root vegetables (butternut squash, potatoes, onions...). The buffet also had a green salad, a potato salad, and a seaweed salad. There were roasted pumpkin seeds and roasted sunflower seeds for garnish. And, there is seasoning area that contains sesame seeds, soy sauce, and other goodies. The price is very reasonable. The buffet is about $8.00/lb. Both of our very full plates were under $10.

I finished all of this off with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (sadly they were all out of the vanilla cake with chocolate frosting... I guess I'll just have to go back).

The food was all very good and I highly recommend this place. It is a tiny place with only 5 tables, but I have always been able to get a table when I've been there (despite the fact that they do get plenty of business). Parking is available on the street.

I give it many thumbs up.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Let's make biscuits! LET"S MAKE BISCUITS! [1]

Fwd: Fake Sausage and Biscuits

After trying a couple of other vegan biscuit recipes and finding them dry and brick-like, my husband started veganizing his favorite biscuit recipe. This was originally an Alton Brown recipe. We always have them with vegan sausage.

Mike's Vegan Southern Biscuits

2 1/4+ cups of flour (the last 1/4 cup is a judgement call. You will want them moist but workable)
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 Tbsp shortening (we use Earth Balance shortening)
1 cup chilled soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar with a whisk or fork and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub margarine and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the soy milk mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

[1] The title is an Invader Zim reference. I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it.

Why does my CSA need laying hens??

I joined a new CSA this year after careful research. I am getting very excited that my first pickup is coming up fast (June 7). As the date gets closer, I am starting to get email news from the CSA. Sadly, one of the first emails I got from them says "we're going to have laying hens at the farm this summer". This makes me sad. I obviously won't take any eggs, but now I feel like part of the money I paid them for my share of the vegetables is going to support some animal agriculture. One of the things that I liked about them was that they didn't have any eggs or meat as a part of the share like some CSAs do. I want to send them an email to express my displeasure about this development, but I can't figure out what to say. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should write in the email to the CSA? Should I just ignore this development?

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's about the ethics, stupid!

This article and its comments, Vegetarian vs. Vegan? Some Sense 'Holier than Thou' Condescension, made me so mad this afternoon. There were various things they said that made me mad (which I will go into in the extended entry), but none of it is new. So, I was a bit confused about why this article got under my skin so much. Later this evening I realized, with great sadness, that this article concisely summed up the confusion that non-vegans have about vegans and made me realize how much people don't understand me, understand why I am vegan, and probably will never get it. I can explain it to friends, co-workers, etc. till I am blue in the face and most of them are just not going to get it.

The big problem, as I see it, is that a lot of people think vegan is a "diet". For me, being vegan is not at all about my diet. It is about my beliefs and ethics. I don't believe in killing other animals. Period. I don't believe in causing suffering to other beings. I don't distinguish or value one being over another. I don't think that a cow has less value as a being than a horse or a cat or a dog. To eat meat would go against everything I believe in. My veganism is about compassion and morals. I think it is morally wrong to kill another.

Am I "holier than thou" as the article proposes? Maybe. But it is not any different than a religious person believing that they are right about their morals. If I come across as holier than thou it is because I want others to see what I have seen and understand. People put on blinders about where their food comes from. They don't want to know [1]. They don't want you to even tell them about it. What are they afraid of? Are they afraid that if they found out the truth that they wouldn't be able to eat animals anymore? If that's true, then can they not see that their subconscious knows that eating animals is wrong?

[1] If anyone reading this, want to borrow my copy of Earthlings, I'd be happy to mail it to you. You can see for yourself.

More on this article in the extended entry...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mexican Salad on Grilled Totillas

Tonight we made a nice summer dinner: Mexican Salad with grilled corn and avocado served on a grilled tortilla with arugula and tomatoes. The recipe is from Jack Bishop's, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen (not much vegan in this book, but this recipe is really good). Here is a picture:


And because I knew you wouldn't be able to see the black bean salad under the arugula, here is a picture from before I added the arugula:


Wild and Woolly Pinenut beast

I was at a restaurant/bar with co-workers a few nights ago. It was a regular old (high-end) beer/burger/pizza kind of bar. I wanted some potatoes. I don't know why, just had a craving. So, I made sure the waitress knew that I didn't eat any animal products (and gave her the usual list) and asked for oil instead of butter for cooking the potatoes. I also ordered some Chard and a big salad. I was picking stuff from the side orders to make a meal. As she took down the order, I made sure that there was no cheese on the salad. She said there wasn't and wrote it down and then got look on her face, like she thought of something I wouldn't eat and wanted to warn me, and said "Oh, but the salad has pinenuts. I can have them leave those off". She looked confused when I said that pinenuts were absolutely fine.

I'm not exactly sure where she though pinenuts came from.

But aren't you worried about all the bugs you are killing (swallowing) when you eat your vegetables?

I was recently mis-quoted (mis-understood) on another blog where the person accused me of being a vegan who didn't care that I was harming bugs. This pissed me off to no end.[1] The whole question just seems stupid to me. Of course I don't want to harm bugs. Would I not be harming bugs if I ate meat instead? Should I quit eating all together? Ridiculous. If I ate meat, I'd be killing bugs for all the grain grown to support the animal agriculture (and tons of pesticides used for this) and I'd still be killing bugs eating vegetables along with the dead animal flesh.

As a vegan I want to do as little harm to other beings as possible. I can't be perfect. I can try though. If there is some tiny place where I can't be perfect, does it mean that I should give up trying and go back to not caring at all and join in with the rest of the humans in the United States in killing over ten billions animals a year? Of course not. I can kill as few beings as possible. I do carry bugs outside when I find them in my house. I can't stop eating, and I do need to wash my vegetables.

This question is just a stupid ignorant way to try and discredit "the vegan" in an attempt to find an inconsistency in logic - an attempt by a meat-eater to justify their own killing and moral inconsistencies. I don't usually even attempt to answer these types of questions and I guess this is what got me in trouble here.

I guess I am the "angry vegan" now.

[1] - This person had asked me this question at work in the public kitchen area. I don't like to talk about veganism at work too much and I thought the question was silly, so I kind of brushed it off to end the discussion about it. Grr.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Vegan in San Francisco

I know it's been quiet over here, but boy have I been busy. This week I have been in San Francisco for the JavaOne developer conference. I'm actually in the airport at the moment, waiting for my red-eye home. Traveling with co-workers, as a vegan, is always a challenge for me, but I did ok. I managed to go to Greens one night with a co-worker and got all 6 to go to Millenium another night. Everyone loved Millenium. I had a really yummy smoked maple glazed tempeh served with mashed potatoes and grapefruit segments at Millenium and a Strawberry Spring Salad. At Greens I had a vegetable gratin (no cheese). They had to make it special for me to make it vegan. Last night I had some take out chinese from a vegetarian chinese place near Union Square. It was just ok so I won't bother to mention it's name.

I don't have much else to say, but I promise a decent blog entry in the next few days when I haven't been on the computer for 6 days straight. Any requests or questions that you want me to blog about? Otherwise, I will pick from a couple of co-worker questions about veganism that I have been saving up.

Friday, April 27, 2007

An entry not at all related to being vegan

I rarely post anything here that is unrelated to veganism, but I thought you might be amused by my misfortune this morning. And, if the F-word upsets you, stop reading now.

I woke up this morning and it was pouring rain. It was really coming down. So, when I left the house I grabbed an unbrella in addition to my raincoat and opened the umbrella just to get to my car (about 15 feet from the door) - that's how hard it was raining. I get to the car (the nice Audi, btw) and sit down in the front seat and close the umbrella and my seat was wet. I said to myself, "What the fuck?" And then I was even more confused by the fact that I was in my car and was still getting rained on. I looked up and realized that I left the sunroof open overnight. Then my brain said "Oh fuck" and a second later as comprehension really set in, "OH FUCK". I'm not just cursing for your benefit, this really is what my brain said. I turned on the car and closed the sunroof and then went back into the house for an armload of towels. I dried off the inside, but the ceiling was so wet that it continued to drip on me the whole time I was driving. I think I managed to get most of the liquid out of the seats (and the 1" puddle in my armrest console) and out of the ceiling by the time I got to work. I guess the windows will have to sit open all day Saturday to dry it out. Luckily my iPod was spared from the wetness.

Did I mention that I am trying to trade this car in next week?? I hope I don't have watermarks on the ceiling.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lentil Salad with Baby Romaine and Hummus

Tonight we made a great lentil salad from a recipe posted on Eat Air. When I make this again, I think I would leave out the olives. I am not a big fan of olives, but I thought if I chopped them fine that I wouldn't notice them. Dinner was still really yummy, despite the olives. I made the lentil salad as specified on Eat Air (except I used sherry vinegar instead of red wine vinegar... it is just what I had). I REALLY liked the avocado in this. I tossed some baby romaine with a tad bit of olive oil, a splash of sherry vinegar, and some salt and pepper. I served the lentils with the baby salad greens, some hummus, and some whole wheat pita.

Lentil Hummus Salad

Oh, and this makes enough to serve an army. Consider cutting it in half. Just so you can see how much, here is a pic of the lentil salad in my largest bowl (actually a large popcorn bowl):

Lentil Hummus Salad

This looks a bit more nutritious than peanuts and beer!

What's a vegan to eat at Fenway Park?

Last night I got a last minute ticket to the Sox game [1]. My friend, Chris, had an extra and needed someone to go with. There wasn't much time between work and the game. I needed to catch the 5:15 commuter rail in so that I could get there in time. I raced home and fed the cats and changed clothes. I didn't worry too much about dinner. I thought I'd find something: "Surely there would be a salad somewhere at the park!". My brain even tried to convince me that Fenway might have gotten veggie dogs in the last year. Well, the only thing vegan at Fenway park is beer and peanuts. That was my dinner last night (not that peanuts and beer tasted bad!).

Next time I will take the extra few minutes to throw a PB&J in my pocket to eat on the train. The weather was so nice and warm last night that even though the game was not a great one, it was still really nice to sit and drink beer at Fenway in the outdoors.

Multimedia message

[1] -against Toronto - Sox lost.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grilled Vegetable Burritos

It was almost 80 degrees here in Boston today. After working on the yard all day, cleaning up the winter cruft, we grilled out some fresh vegetables and wrapped them in a tortilla with some black beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo.


Grilled Vegetable Burritos
2 small zucchini, sliced into small planks
1 red bell pepper, cut into large slices
1 red onion, 1/4 finely minced, and the rest chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon, plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 heirloom or 4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 jalepeno, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

Pico de gallo - Mix tomatoes, jalepeno, minced red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add about 1 tsp olive oil and salt to taste.


Place the black beans in a small pot and cover with water. Add garlic, and 1/4 tsp cumin (if desired). Heat on low while grilling vegetables.

Coat the remaining red onion, red bell peppers, and zucchini with olive oil and toss with oregan and cumin.


Grill vegetables in a grill basket till desired doneness.


Wrap the tortillas in paper towels, sprinkle with water, and microwave for about 40 seconds.

Assemble: flour tortillas, black beans, vegetables, pico, guacamole. Try to wrap them up, and then eat.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Beware the SoyJoy Bars - Throw them away

I don't know why I got a box of free SoyJoy bars in the mail today. But, in case you do too, do NOT eat them. They contain all kinds of nasty ingredients that are definitely not vegan.

The "Raisin Almond flavor has: Butter (from milk), Frozen Egg, Parmesan Cheese (from skim milk), Natural Flavors???, ...

The "Mango Coconut" flavor has: Butter (from milk), Frozen Egg...

The "Apple" has: Butter (from milk), Frozen Egg, Parmesan Cheese (from skim milk), Natural Flavors???,...

and the "Berry" flavor has: Butter (from milk), Frozen Egg, Natural Flavors???.

I can't figure out why in hell 3 of the bar flavors (or any of them for that matter) need parmesan cheese. That's ridiculous. And what's up with frozen eggs? And thanks, SoyJoy, for the butter in the seemingly healthy snack - at least they'd like you to believe that they are healthy. Throw these away if you get them in the mail. Thank god I looked at the ingredients.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Baked "Cheesy" Pasta with Vegetables and Baked Tofu

I don't normally like frozen dinners, but there is one Amy's bowl used to love in my pre-vegan days, Country Cheddar Bowl. I was thinking about it the other day and decided to recreate it as a vegan meal. I used Jo Stephaniak's "Amazing Mac 'N Cheez Sauce" (from the Uncheese Cookbook) as the base. Here is my version:

Baked "Cheesy" Pasta with Vegetables and Baked Tofu

Baked Cheesy Pasta with Vegetables
10 oz. Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta
10 baby red potatoes, halved
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tbs Olive Oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 small Carrot, cut into matchsticks.
1 small Red Bell Pepper, cut into short narrow strips
2 cups Broccoli florets
1/4 cup white wine or water
1 Tbs tamari
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
2 cups soy milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 lb. Baked Tofu (Wildwood savory style or White Wave, italian style), cut into 3/4" pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9x11 casserole with olive oil spray.
Cook Rotini Pasta according to package directions. Drain, Rinse, set aside.
Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil or parchment. Coat with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
MEANWHILE, heat olive oil in a heavy pot or large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until they just start to turn brown, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Add the carrots and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add bell pepper and broccoli along with 1/4 cup wine or water and 1 Tbs tamari. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes, until broccoli is tender, but still crisp. Set aside.
To make the sauce, combine flour, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the soy milk, olive oil, and mustard. Cook over medium heat until it thickens and is smooth and bubbly.
In a large bowl (or the pot used to boil the pasta), mix the pasta, tofu, potaotes, vegetables, and "cheese sauce". Pour into the casserole and cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Are comments working?

I was having problems with comments a couple of weeks ago, so if you try to leave me a comment and it doesn't work, please send me an email: kristin at beansandgreens dot net.

Time's Global Warming Survival Guide: Go Vegetarian!

From Time's article on 51 things you can do to save the enviroment:

Skip the Steak:

Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it's the burger. The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions—even more than transportation—according to a report last year from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Much of that comes from the nitrous oxide in manure and the methane that is, as the New York Times delicately put it, "the natural result of bovine digestion." Methane has a warming effect that is 23 times as great as that of carbon, while nitrous oxide is 296 times as great.
There are 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo on the planet, along with 1.7 billion sheep and goats. Their populations are rising fast, especially in the developing world. Global meat production is expected to double between 2001 and 2050. Given the amount of energy consumed raising, shipping and selling livestock, a 16-oz.T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate.

If you switch to vegetarianism, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to research by the University of Chicago. Trading a standard car for a hybrid cuts only about one ton—and isn't as tasty.

Another easy tip from the article: skip the plastic bags. We bought these reusable bags a year ago and they are great!

The whole article is pretty good, so go check it out. You will have to click 51 times though.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tacos Tacos Tacos

My friend Chris accused me of never posting anything. In my own defense, I have been out of town taking care of some family business. But, here's a post! Tonight we made quick tacos. Here is the recipe. You will have several pots to manage. Make the various parts and assemble. This looked great on the plate, but I forgot to take a picture.

Tacos (serves 4)

~ 10 soft corn tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1 package of mexican flavored baked tofu (pre-baked, seasoned), chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1 bunch collard greens, destemmed and chopped
1/2 to 1 tsp sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or red wine garlic vinegar
guacamole (I like the Whole Foods store made kind that is found in the produce section)
1 tomato, chopped
olive oil

Black Beans: Put the black beans in a small pot with the garlic and cover with water. Heat while working on other items.

Peppers and Onions: Add 1/2 tbs olive oil in a skillet and cook red onion and pepper until soft and browned. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Greens: Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Add the greens and about 1 tbsp water. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Move greens to a bowl.

Tofu: Heat tofu in the skillet and then move to a bowl.

Tortillas: Wrap 5 or 6 tortillas in a paper towel a sprinkle with water. Microwave for about 45 seconds. Heat more in a seperate batch if needed.

Assemble tacos to contain black beans, greens, peppers & onions, tofu, tomatoes, and guacamole and eat. Serve with chips and salsa.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Skip the milk

I thought I had posted about the many reasons that you should find alternatives to drinking cows milk, but it seems that I have not yet posted about this. There are many reasons not to drink milk. There are also many alternatives. I'll talk about both.

First, drinking cow's milk is just plain weird. That's right. Weird. It would be less weird if we drank human milk, but we don't and we even find that to be pretty disgusting (outside of feeding babies). I don't know why we don't think it is just as disgusting to drink cows milk. Even so, we really shouldn't drink human milk either. I just wanted to make a point. Cow's milk is for baby cows. Human milk is for human babies. What if I offered you some dog's milk to drink? I bet you'd think that was pretty weird and you'd probably say no. Most animals (including most of us) become lactose intolerant as we grow out of babyhood because we don't need to keep drinking milk after this point. "Human beings are the only species (other than house cats) to consume milk past childhood." [1]

Cows are killed to make that gallon of milk for you. A lot a vegetarians think it is ok to drink milk because "no animal gets hurt". This is just not true. Cows do not miraculously generate milk. They have to be regularly impregnated to produce milk (just like humans). Dairy cows are forced have a calf about 2x a year to produce this milk. These calves are IMMEDIATELY separated from their mothers (and the mother cows get very upset by this). If the calf is female she will be raised to replace aging dairy cows. If male, they will either be raised for beef, killed immediately for dog food, or sent to be shackled in a small crate for veal. Dairy cows, who would normally live to be about 20 years old, are sent to slaughter after about 3-5 years when their production wanes. They are killed for a hamburger. [2]

Dairy cows do not live an idyllic life in a nice green pasture. The cows you generally see in fields are usually beef cows. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated and kept pregnant to produce over 100 pounds of milk a day[2]. They have been genetically modified to produce this much milk. This is stressful and they have a lot of mastitis infections, which causes all that pus in the milk that I posted about a few weeks ago. Dairy cows have a hard miserable life.

Oh, and they won't explode if you don't milk them. I don't know where this weird notion comes from.

Milk does not do a body good. Milk isn't very good for you. You can get calcium from other sources. Dairy consumption has been linked to numerous diseases including [1]: ovarian cancer, diabetes, prostate cancer [3], obesity, heart disease.

Alternatives - Any of these alternatives can be used in cereal, or used interchangeably in reciples that call for milk or you can just drink them. Experiment and see which one you like and see if you can remove milk from your diet:

Soy Milk
Rice Milk (tastes like skim milk)
Almond Milk
Oat Milk

Soy Creamer for coffee (Silk or Wildwood)

Other sources of calcium: broccoli, dark leafy greens (such as kale), firm tofu, soy milk, fortified cereals, blackstrap molasses, soy beans, white beans, cow beans (I think these are black-eye peas), sweet potatoes, bok choy, oranges, pears, raisins, dates, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, filberts, sesame seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peas, amaranth, quinoa, oats and barley... [4]

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vegan Fried "Chicken" with Mashed Potatoes and Brussel Spouts... and brownies

Well, my week of only cooking from recipes that I can give you from the web is over. So, tonight I cooked vegan fried "chicken" from a recipe in La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer. It was really really good. There was no disagreement in the house about the fact that this was coming back again. We served it with mashed potatoes (made with soy milk and earth balance) and roasted garlicky brussel sprouts (from Vegan with Vengeance).

Vegan Fried Chicken

Yesterday we made brownies from Vive Le Vegan, by Dreena Burton. They are all gone. Here is a pic, for those of you who thought that vegans couldn't have brownies:

Vegan Brownies

Our other interesting cooking experiment for the weekend was to make our own vegan cheese from a recipe in the Uncheese cookbook. We made a colby style. I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells really good. I'll let you know how it is. I have a few things planned for the vegan cheese this week. I'll try to remember to take some pictures of it.