Tuesday, November 30, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Baskets, Road Trips, and More!

I can't believe it's over already!  Well, sorta.  This month feels like it started forever ago, but the year is swiftly coming to an end and I'm wondering where the time went.  This has been my favorite VeganMoFo to date.  I just felt more connected to a community that I have come to thoroughly enjoy over the past few years.  I saw some of the greatest blogging in my life this year.  There are tons of new blogs I fell in love with (and thousands of posts I have to read).  More than anything, I'm proud of pushing myself further than I ever thought I'd go.  So, thanks to everybody for a wonderful November!  I have a ton of blogs to catch up on but I will do it...even if it takes several months. :)

I decided to make a short video about my vegan journey and why I know I'll be vegan for the rest of my life.  Pardon the video thumbnail.  Youtube seriously hates me because there was this one and two others with my mouth wide open and me looking crazy!

Next month, Era and I are taking the dogs and driving to San Antonio.  I'm dreading it a bit because of my Spring Break trip, but I'll have another driver with me this time so it shouldn't be so bad.  I'm excited and trying to think of some good, healthy road trip foods because I hate wasting money at fast food places and would rather not stop.  I'm the type of road tripper who loves going for 5 hours straight, only stopping to get gas.

I've also spent today thinking about Christmas/Festivus gifts to give to the family.  I'm doing gift bags this year because I can't afford more than that until Southern California decides it wants to hire people again.  I always love making gift baskets or bags because it's cheap but takes a lot of effort.  I thought I'd share my formula with you.

I try to go with something sweet, something savory, something inedible, and something d-i-y.  I'm still trying to narrow down the cookies I'm making.  But I think I'm going with a couple of different cookies, biscotti, breads, and crackers.  Also thinking candy and spiced nuts.  Each person gets a little of each.  Here are examples of stuff I did in the past.

Breakfast Basket
Jam, Wholesome cookies
Pancake Mix

Secret Santa
Mug, Tin
Three kinds of cookies
Savory Crackers

Christmas 07
Cookies, toffee, bread

Game Night
Board Game, Cards
Chips, Snack Mix

The possibilities are endless.  That's why I love giving them.  It's never a boring ordeal.  What do you like to put in a gift basket or bag?

Monday, November 29, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

Today I decided to go with dinner and a movie.  Technically, it was lunch and a movie.  I'm a huge fan of Back to the Future.  This year is the 25th anniversary so I've heard a lot about it recently.  I decided to bust out my trilogy and watch the first two.  The third is my least favorite.  Just not interested when a franchise decides to go to the old west.

The menu today was based on diner food.  I went with burgers and fries, but tried to do the "futuristic" twist. And because I'm trying to eat better after Thanksgiving, I decided against a milkshake like I originally wanted.  Onto the good stuff.  Welcome to Doc Brown's DeLorean Cafe!

Flux Capacitor Menu
Biff's Beefy Bacon Burgers
Sweet-On-Your-Son Sweet Potato Fries
Sugar Free Cup of Faux Joe

The burger patty is the Beefy Bacon Burger from 500 Vegan Recipes.  I also made hamburger buns, but they looked so horrible I actually made another burger on sourdough just to photograph.  Haha.  I still have not mastered making homemade buns.  The fixins on the burger: cheddar Daiya, mustard, pickles, tomato, and red leaf lettuce.  Served on sourdough.

The fries are sweet potato oven fries.  I seasoned them with Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning and baked at 375 for 20ish minutes.

The "cup of joe" is black English breakfast.  I'm not the hugest fan of coffee, and tea takes way less time to make.

This was a perfect meal to laugh at how the 80s perceived the 2000s.  They did get the whole 80s nostalgia thing right, though.  But I'm still waiting on a flying car.  Or at least a damn hoverboard.  I mean, c'mon!  McFly had sneaks that laced themselves and that movie came out over 20 years ago!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Kitchen Gadgets

Here I am talking about my favorite and least favorite kitchen items.  Thanks to Kimberly for the suggestion!

What are your favorite kitchen things?  Is there anything that you never use or wasn't worth the money?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: It's Survey...It's Survey Time

I held out as long as I could to do the survey.  I am so lazy today that I couldn't be bothered to shower or get dressed for the day.  I'm okay with that.  Thanksgiving totally killed me.  I am done eating leftovers as they are and already transformed some into Shepherd's pie.  Tomorrow, I'm gonna use the sweet potatoes for muffins and bread or something.  I'll probably freeze it for quick breakfasts.  I haven't the slightest idea what to do with the stuffing.

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Shrimp.  I loved shrimp as an omni.  It's not a killer craving like it used to be.  I don't even crave vegan shrimp. 

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
Avocado.  Sauerkraut.  Cilantro 

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Most mac and cheese recipes.  Out of all of them, there are only about three that I really like.
What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
99% of the time, we only ever have water and almond milk.  I use almond milk for baking/cooking mostly.  So water.  Some days I'll drink a lot of tea: English breakfast, Irish breakfast, and Darjeeling are my faves. 

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
I haven't been to a gathering in a long time.  I usually either brought cupcakes or oreo truffles.

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
Not really.  The only thing I can think of is: I HATE RAW CABBAGE.  HATE.  If it's not cooked, I won't eat it.  Also , I have made my stance known on candied sweet potatoes.  Lastly, I do have rules when making sandwiches.  Example: If mustard and mayo are on a sandwich, the mustard touches the cheese and mayo touches tomato.  And when I made my leftover sammie, the cranberry sauce touched the stuffing and dijon mustard touched the vegan turkey.  So...yes.  Yes, I do!

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Sweets.  Things with chocolate in them, though not actual chocolate.  Chocolate bars last forever in my house, but choc chip cookies?  Not so much. 

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Seitan and sausages.  Also, I often make my own vegan cheese.  I am completely against buying vegan junk food that I can make myself (cookies, cakes, etc).  The only exception is bakery goods. 

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Earth Balance.  Almond Breeze.  Vanilla. 

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
Definite snacker.  Protein smoothies, green smoothies, sweets, bananas, apples, toast w/ almond butter and dates. 

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Mushroom, pineapple, olive. 

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
Favorite vegetable is probably collards.  Favorite fruit is a tie between watermelon and Ataulfo mango. 

What is the best salad dressing?
Trader Joe's goddess dressing is like liquid crack.
What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Baked beans.  Almond butter and smooshed dates.  EB and jam.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
I make a soup with as much garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper as I can stand then add veggies and gluten free pasta. 

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
It's the margarita cupcakes from VCTOTW.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Gingerbread biscotti from VCIYCJ. 

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Pasta w/ Esme's sauce and added broccoli or spinach. 

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Raisins.  Sweet lord.  Era hates raisins and anything raisin-like.  As he gets older more things get added to the list.  He hates raw cucumber, raw celery, and cherry tomatoes as well. 

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
I dunno.  Maybe an hour on a usual day?

That's all for now.  Tomorrow I should have some video on my favorite and least favorite kitchen stuff.

Friday, November 26, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: How Many Pics Does It Take...

...'til you get to the center of a Thanksvegan?!  Seriously, though.  This year was insane with the food!  INSANE!  I was really happy with most of it.  The stuffing and gravy from the vegan turkey was horrible, but I totally made my own as well.  Are you ready for the pictures?  Here's the full spread (with links)...

this food wouldn't fit on the table so we used our counter
Martin Cisneros ThanksVegan 2010 Menu
Black Olives
Spicy Pickled Okra
Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey
Gummy Bread Stuffing
Gravy Puddin'
Cranberry Sauce from Veganomicon
Smashed Potatoes w/ Mushroom Cashew Gravy
Green Salad
Triple Apple Cider Bundt Cake (or the half that actually came out of the pan...ha!)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie from 500 Vegan Recipes

clockwise from top left: collards, sweet potatoes, smashed potatoes, salad, triple apple cider bundt, mushroom cashew gravy, pumpkin cheesecake pie, rolls, pickled okra, gravy pudding, olives, vegan turkey, and maque choux
Prep work saved my arse this year!  We were eating by 1PM, and that's only because I woke up late.  Everything exceptin' the aforementioned gravy and stuffing was AMAZING.  The only mishap was an undergreased bundt pan and half a cake clinging to the bottom of it.  Still, the cake is so frickin delicious!

This was a lot of food.  Today is leftovers, tomorrow I'm having my sammich, then all of this gets packed the fork up in a freezer or potpie or something.  More than ever, I wish we had friends in this city because it's such a shame to have such good food and not share the wealth.

various shots of my leftover plate...and pie
Here's how crazy things were yesterday.  I didn't even begin to finish my one plate of food!  Neither did Era...which is pretty much unheard of.  Even my leftover plate, which only had one single soup spoonful of each food, was a lot of food.  I think that's the best problem to have because cooking will be so easy for the next week.

The shining star of the show was definitely the rolls!  I have been ogling these things since John wrote about them.  I didn't even test them to see if I'd like them.  I just knew!  And they were gorgeous coming out of the oven!  Era and I tasted them before we ate because we couldn't take the taunting.  I even told my mom they were the best rolls I've ever had.  Her response?  A totally unamused, "You're treading into my territory now."  Bahahahaha!

Unity Inn Rolls of DOOM
I didn't change the actual recipe, but streamlined the execution to make my life easier.  Instead of rolling them out (I had no counter space at the time), I just made 24 balls.  I flattened them and folded them in half like the recipe stated.  I also didn't dip them in Earth Balance.  I brushed the pan and rolls with EB.  They were gooood.  These things are even great the next day!

I was also majorly in love with the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie.  It's basically a veganized Keebler recipe.  Imagine a pumpkin pie/pumpkin cheesecake hybrid and that's what you've got.  I don't even like pumpkin pie and this was truly excellent to me!  Mmmm.

So, that was our Thanksgiving!  How was yours?  Today, I'm buying nothing because my schedule is lookin' like this: leftovers, pie, nog, maybe booze, Buffy, reading blogs, rinse, and repeat.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey Review

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!  I'm drinking cider laced with Jameson and watching Buffy right now.  I thought I'd share my experiences with the Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey.  That way, it's here for anybody else looking for reviews.

The entire thing comes with one turkey shaped roast, stuffing, and gravy.  It's a huge box and the price is around $40 (but it is 4 times the size of a Tofurky).

photo from Vegetarian Plus website

Roast: It's just cooked in foil and no basting necessary.  It was pretty moist coming out of the oven.  It's also ginormous.  4 lbs.  I was incredibly weirded out stuffing it, though.  It split on one side and I said to Era, "Hold this so I can stuff the cavity."  I never want to say that again.  Ever.

Stuffing: I had to add sage, salt, and pepper.  It was okay before it went into the oven, but sorta gummy after being baked.  Plus, there was way too much to fill the roast.

Gravy: When it thawed, it was weird.  The starch completely separated from the broth.  When I cooked it, it had the consistency of pudding.  Pudding!  I don't know what starch they use, but I didn't like how fast and fiercely it thickened.  The flavor was pretty okay.  Nice and peppery.

4 lbs
moist out of oven
no basting
comes unstuffed so you can put what you want in it
texture looks freakily turkey-like

gummy stuffing
gravy pudding
comes unstuffed so you have to stick your hand in a cavity...brr
though the texture looks great, it's not Gardein chick'n scallopini great

Basically, if you are crazy enough to spend 40 bucks on a Thanksgiving main just buy 4 Tofurkys.  I think I just want to make my roast from now on.

I'll update with the full meal tomorrow.  Hope everybody is enjoying their day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Insert Video (or Pie) Here

Last weekend I filmed this video, hoping I'd have it done on Monday.  Alas, that didn't happen.  Here it is.  Better late than never. :)  Also, I can't figure out how to get rid of the black bars.  I tried using the formatting tag and it's driving me crazy!  Anybody know?

Recipes found here.

But I am about to start baking.  I'm doing Isa's triple apple cider bundt and the pumpkin cheesecake from 500 Vegan Recipes.

All of this got me to thinking about pie.  Who am I kidding?  I've been thinking about it since Sunday or so.  I was trying to remember what we've had for the past few years.  I know a common theme is pecan and lemon.  I've already told you how they were my beloved pregan favorites.  I really love pumpkin cheesecake too.  Not so much with the pumpkin pie, though.  The only real constant is that I make no less than two desserts.  That's how it was when I grew up because I hate hate hate sweet potato pie and that's my family's jam.  The other types we had were my Aunt Evelyn's cheesecake, lemon meringue, maybe peach cobbler, and I think I remember a cherry pie once.  I'll leave you with a history of pie at our vegan Thanksgiving...

pumpkin pie cheesecake, Thanksgiving '07
smlove, Thanksgiving '07
chocolate bourbon pecan pie, Thanksgiving '08
lemon bars, Thanksgiving '08
lemon pie with cheesecake and shortbread topping and pecan pie fail, Thanksgiving '09

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Preparation Thanks

I am seriously burned out right now.  I haven't finished editing the show yet, so that's coming tomorrow.  Sorry for the lack of commenting lately.  I promise I'm going to catch up with blogs super soon.  I have Thanksgiving on the brain and I won't be thinking of anything else until I am chewing on some pumpkin cheesecake on Thursday.  So, this post is really about the prep work I'm doing. Since I'm a fan of lists, this will be in listy format.

thaw vegan turkey
chop vegetables and bread
make Viva Vegan chorizo

vegetables/bread for stuffing, onions for collards and onions/poblano for maque choux
marinate vegan turkey
make 4 cups vegetable broth
bake sweet potatoes
bake cornbread for stuffing

the marinade is Jess' method: sparkling cider, garlic, rosemary, and I added tamari
cook greens
prep mac n cheese, stuffing, and sweet potatoes up to baking point
make maque choux
prep deviled tofu
make desserts (apple bundt and pumpkin cheesecake)
make cranberry sauce
prep gravy

make rolls
cook vegan turkey
bake sweet potatoes, mac n cheese, and stuffing
make mashed potatoes and gravy
eat and fight "the -itis"

I'm sorta surprised I've kept on track.  I usually have the best intentions but end up cooking for 5 hours on the actual day.  This is going to be one speedy Thanksgiving!

How are your Thanksgiving plans coming along?

Monday, November 22, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Recipeas Salad

I have the silliest grin on my face right now.  The vegan meat cake and my blog were mentioned on VegNews.com!  So exciting!

EDIT: Fanny totally made a vegan meat cake and it's freaking beautiful!

Speaking of cakes, please go to Louzilla's blog and vote for your favorite gay cake.  Full disclosure: I voted for entry 1 because it is absolutely stunning AND the theme is magnificent!

On to MoFo...  I have three recipes which are included in the show I'm editing.  However, I need Era to help with some audio and a video problem I'm having.  I'll come back and add the show to this entry later.  But for now, I'll give you the three recipes.  Two of them (pasta and pea salad) have been taken to many, many omni potlucks and devoured.

I used to take this pea salad to every Thanksgiving potluck when I was in Texas.  I was sorta shocked that omnis had no problem with the tofu.  You can dice it smaller than what is pictured here if you like (or leave it out).  For the mayo, I prefer reduced fat Vegenaise because it's much thicker when mixed with stuff.

Pea Salad
4 oz extra firm tofu (just remove 1/4 of the 1 lb block)
1 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup vegan mayo, preferably reduced fat
1 1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar (leave out if using full fat mayo)
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 15 oz cans of green peas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan bring the water, 1/4 cup of vinegar, and salt to a boil.  Add the tofu and simmer for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Remove from the water and let cool before dicing into small pieces.

In a medium bowl mix together the mayo, mustard, and onion.  Fold in the tofu.  Then fold in the peas.  Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

The pasta salad is something I usually bring to barbecues and gets consumed so ridiculously fast.  It works well for any vegan-unfriendly situation because it's a meal in one.  You can replace the veggies with anything you like really.  This just happens to be my favorite combo.

Pesto Pasta Salad
1 lb rotini
4 cups kale, rough ends removed, leaves and stems thinly sliced
splash of water
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
for the salad:
hot water
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced black olives
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, make the pasta according to package directions.  While the pasta is boiling, make the pesto.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a splash of water and the kale.  Cook until the kale starts to wilt and turns bright green all over.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, process the walnuts and garlic until they are finely chopped.  Add the nutritional yeast and salt and process again. When the kale is cool enough to handle, add it to the food processor and chop until fine.  Add the parsley and  cilantro and do the same, being sure to scrape down the sides.  Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

In a large bowl, add the drained pasta and pesto.  Mix the two together, using hot water if needed to make the pesto more spreadable.  Add the tomatoes, cucumber, and olives and mix thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now onto the deviled tofu.  I wanted to do some variations on my beloved appetizer (Era and I seriously killed these yesterday).  I came up with a smoky version and a Tex Mex one.  Both are really good.  By the way this tastes fantastic on cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes!  This photo is from last year, but what evs.

Deviled Tofu
soy free option: use tomatoes, celery, cucumber, bell peppers, or mini potatoes instead of tofu and soy free mayo

1 lb extra firm tofu, divided into four blocks (cut across the length and width)
4 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt*
15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup vegan mayo
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
pinch or turmeric
1 heaping Tbsp dill relish
black salt (kala namak) to taste
minced chives or green onions for garnish
paprika for garnish

In a huge pot bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil.  Add the tofu and simmer for ten minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove from water, drain, and let cool before slicing into squares.  I usually get 20 squares, but slice as thick as you like.  When cool enough to handle, pat them dry and refrigerate until ready to serve.  If using vegetables instead, slice and prep them anyway you like and refrigerate.

Puree the beans, mayo, mustard, and turmeric in a food processor (or with an immersion blender) until smooth.  Add the dill relish and black salt to taste.  Pour into a piping or sandwich bag and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.

Remove the tofu or vegetables and bean spread from the refrigerator right before serving.  Pipe on the bean spread and garnish with paprika and chives.

Smoky variation: Replace the dill relish with 2 Tbsp imitation bacon bits.  Replace the paprika with smoked paprika.
Tex Mex Variation: Replace the dill relish with 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp crushed Mexican oregano, and 1 Tbsp finely minced onion.  Garnish with chipotle chile powder and cilantro.

That's all for now, I have some Thanksgiving prep to do!

*For the deviled tofu, the actual tofu part should taste just slightly salty like the whites of a deviled egg.  I use regular coarse sea salt for this because the black salt flavor just disappears in the water.  Feel free to use fine sea salt.  Just add to taste.  The water should be salty enough to flavor the tofu.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Free Dates and Cookbook Lovin'

Yesterday we did our big Thanksgiving shopping.  The stores weren't nearly as packed as I expected.  I'm glad that we got it out of the way, though.  I'm super stoked, and the menu is finalized.  In fact, I think I'll start the prep work today so I don't have to chop onions all day Wednesday.  I'm determined to NOT follow my family's tradition of eating at 7PM this year.  We always aim for noon, but never actually make it.

On to the title of this post...  Era scored some free dates!  He always gets really good free stuff, which is one of the cool things about living in farm land.Fresh dates are juicy and not that dried out garbage you get on the grocery shelf.  If ever you visit SoCal, make sure to come here because this place will rock your date loving world!

5 lbs of dates....for free!

This week is pretty much going to be non stop video and super quick posts.  I'm currently editing another episode of the show.  Hoping to get it up tomorrow!  For now, this is the last of the Top 5 that I taped two weeks ago.  I'm going to tape the two suggestions I got tomorrow.  Here I am geeking out over my most used  cookbooks (I really love tres leches...ha ha).

Links to everything:
5. 500 Vegan Recipes-By Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman
4. Vegan Brunch-By Isa Chandra Moskowitz
3. Vegan with a Vengeance-By Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2. Veganomicon-By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
1. Viva Vegan-By Terry Hope Romero

Saturday, November 20, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: How Smackers Got His Groove Back

After the big gay cake fail from a few days ago, Smackers really needed cheering up.  He wanted cake and was a little bummed that he couldn't eat a rainbow of jello.  So, I decided to make a mini gay cake just so I could say that I didn't give up.  I cranked up the oven, pulled out my ingredients, and Smackers donned his favorite gay apron so we could get to makin' cakes.

I used a recipe from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes.  It was the miniature yellow cake recipe in the section dedicated to children and Easy Bake Oven recipes (the best thing EVER).  I flavored it like lemon, doubled the recipe for each layer, and made a very simple tfrosting.  Even though the frosting was easy, it was seriously temperamental.  Too melty at room temp, too stiff when refrigerated.

Here is Smackers trying to serve himself before I even took pictures.  He always forgets that pictures are necessary when making gay cakes.

Smackers doesn't like this food photo thing

Trying to pry the cake away from him was a little hard because he had forgotten to eat breakfast before we started baking.

he's seriously not giving it up!

When I finally convinced Smackers to sit still for pictures, I was stoked.  He wants everybody to know that he did the frosting, which is why it's a little wonky.

with no opposable thumbs, whatcha gonna do?

I think my favorite part was definitely coloring the cake.  I used coloring gel and divided each layer into three. Then I just did ROY G. BV because 6 colors was easier than 7.  There was a little swirl action on top, and the cakes looked really cool unfrosted.  Here's a  closer picture of the inside.

gay and loving it!

Smackers and I gave this cake two snaps, a twist, and a kiss.  I was really glad I finally made a gay cake!  I'm certain I will attempt the jello thing again in the future, probably on a smaller scale.  I can't wait to see all the entries for Louzilla's contest!  Excited!

Hope everybody has a fabulous weekend!

Friday, November 19, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Pancake or Death?

Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day.  No hesitation in that statement.  In fact, I would like to campaign to make breakfast foods a part of every meal.

In the beginning of my veganism I never really knew what to eat for breakfast.  I didn't know anything about tofu scrambles and my first pancake ventures ended horribly.  So I decided to take pictures of what I ate for breakfast this week.

Often times it's just a smoothie or maybe some oatmeal.  Sometimes, I'll just eat leftovers from dinner.  As witnessed here:

eggplant rollatini and kale salad

With VeganMoFo going on, I've had to eat leftovers for breakfast or freeze a lot of stuff.  It's much harder to cook new things everyday than I thought!  Ha ha.  Here are some leftovers from last week's Iron Chef challenge.  The bowl looks deceptively big.  It's only 1/2 cup and the plate behind is a tiny appetizer plate.

quinoa caviar and eggnog quinoa & tapioca pudding

Some days I'll crave something super sugary for breakfast: cinnamon rolls, cake, fritters.  Other days I only want a green smoothie or juice of some kind.  I love juicing carrots because they almost get a creamy texture.

carrot, apple, celery, kale, parsley juice

Yesterday I woke up and wanted an epic breakfast, so I had a full English (a first for me)!  It was seriously delicious, though I'm making my own sausage next time.

sausage, baked beans, creminis, sourdough toast, scramble, potatoes, fresh tomato, and English breakfast tea

Last night we went out with a friend to see a deejay in Palm Springs.  I guess staying out as late as we did got to me because I woke up with a sore throat.  I opted for tea and cream of rice this morning.  Cream of rice is my absolute favorite!  I eat it with a bit of cashew butter and brown sugar.  I just noticed that my health food store sells cream of brown rice, so I'll have to try that next time.

horrible picture, but I assure it's delish...served with English breakfast tea

Other breakfast regulars for me are: pancakes, cereal and yogurt, toast with Earth Balance and jam, breakfast tacos, fruit and yogurt, muffins, smoothie made with frozen fruit and pea protein, and Barnard's brown rice breakfast (from How It All Vegan).

What's your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Ain't Nothin' But a Pizza Party...Party...

I am in a serious funk right now.  You know when you think you've offended somebody, but don't know how to ask without sounding cuckoo?  That's how I've felt and the paranoia has turned me into a ball of nerves and inexplicable guilt.  So, today I wanted nothing more than something quick and easy to do for MoFo.  What's quicker and easier than pizza?  How about pizza that doesn't involve making dough or sauce?

chasing daylight: pizzas on my favoritest piggy cutting board
Pita, polenta, and sourdough pizzas!  The pita pizza is stuffed with ricotta, a brilliant idea I got from Tahinitoo!  I topped it with pesto, a small bit of Daiya, and fresh tomato.  The only thing I had to make here was the pesto, which took all of 30 seconds.

The polenta pizza was a small round topped with soyrizo and Daiya.  Then, I added a bit of sour cream.  Next time, I will definitely make the polenta less thick with a bigger surface because I wanted crunch and there wasn't any.  Also, I should have added avocado.  Word.

The sourdough pizza was topped with mac n cheeze.  It sounds weird, but it really is the best in decadent pizzas!  Usually, there is a bit of cheese sauce added before the mac goes on.  I was feeling way too lazy for that and just did a pat of Earth Balance.  I added broccoli because I always feel like there has to be greenery in a field of all yellow.

Well, I'm gonna get back to this Angel marathon.  I'm blaming my extreme need for Whedon shows on the PPK and the power of suggestion!

Tomorrow is a post dedicated to breakfast and Saturday's will be about my second gay cake attempt.  Truly excited!  I have some blogs to read.  Peace out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: Thanksgiving Tryouts

Before I begin, run to your nearest Trader Joe's and pick up the pear cinnamon cider!  So. flippin. fantastic.

Thanksgiving is most definitely my favorite eatin' day of the year. It's always a recipe for disaster when your entire family gets together, but the food is good (and the booze is even better). I usually start planning as early as September, trying to narrow down the menu. This year is different because I'm really trying to find the perfect recipes to keep as regulars. We never have the same menu every year and things would be simpler if I kept some staples and maybe had one rotating dish a year.

I've been trying to figure out the main dish since last month. We actually bought a Vegetarian Plus vegan turkey, but I had (and still have) extreme doubts. Era thought it would be a good idea to have one less major thing to worry about, so he bought it anyway. As far as mains go, I've already made the Festivus Loaf and Seitan En Croute from 500 Vegan Recipes. Right now, the Seitan En Croute is winning as an alternate to what we already have.  I took this picture when my camera broke so it's not the best:

I still need to make Bryanna's soy and seitan turkey to see if that's what I'm going with. My sides are pretty set.  I'm just trying to find the best version of them  Tonight I made some mac and cheeze, collard and sausage stuffing, baked tofu, and cashew gravy.

The mac and cheeze was good, but I'm probably just making Jess' adaptation of the New Farm recipe.  The stuffing was a ridiculous thing on my part because I was never a fan of meatiness in stuffing.  This called for andouille, but I used the sausage I had on hand (Yves Italian).  The collards and sausage took away from the "cornbreadiness", which is my absolute favorite part about stuffing.

closer look at stuffing

The baked tofu is just something I threw together.  I marinated extra firm tofu in fresh squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, poultry seasoning, thyme, and slivered garlic.  The cashew gravy was from Megetarian, and that ish is the jam!  It's seriously good and frickin' easy.  Totally added to my menu.  I might throw some mushrooms or thyme in there, but it was delicious as is.

Thanksgiving at our house is a meal with huge variety and it's usually filled with soul food.  Growing up the sides were cornbread, mac and cheese, pinto beans, collard greens, cornbread stuffing, canned jellied (brrr) cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls.  Maybe some other stuff that I can't or don't want to remember.  This year I'm going back to that sorta...except I always needed green salad and tons of color.  Also, I cook entirely too much food because I have to have variety.  At least there are guaranteed leftovers.

The Tentative Menu
deviled tofu
pickle and olive tray

cornbread stuffing
mashed potatoes
collard greens (adding garlic and veg broth to this)
sweet potatoes
maque choux (w/ Viva Vegan chorizo)
mac and cheese
pea salad (maybe)
green salad
cashew gravy
cranberry sauce from Vcon (w/ orange juice/zest and brown sugar)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

After tonight and the two slices of meat cake last week, I'm almost Thanksgivinged out.  I'm gonna freeze all of tonight's leftovers so if I get a hankering for stuffing in March it's there.

What about you?  Have you finalized your menu yet?

P.S.-Thanks for all the great words yesterday.  Y'all made me smile when I was having a bad day.
P.P.S-Smackers and I baked a mini gay cake.  I'll be sure to post it later this week.
P.P.P.S.-I forgot to say that I won a giveaway!  I'm getting Vegan Unplugged!  Thanks again to Robin Robertson!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

VeganMoFo IV: The Day a Gay Cake Owned Me

I almost quit MoFo today.  For reals.  While baking a pound cake earlier, my microwave burst into flames.  Burst!  Flames!  Okay.  It was a small flame, but a flame nonetheless.  I wasn't even using it.  Now the little plastic turntable piece is completely melted.  I'm afraid to use it.  We'll have to tell the landlord and hopefully it will get fixed.  Though, he still hasn't painted the walls or moved all his stuff from the backyard yet and we've been here since July.  Grr.  I am such a crankypants right now.

Then to end this day of not awesome, my gay cake was a flippin' disaster.  I think it was part ambition and part lack of attention that did me in.  After thinking about the cake and my extreme need to do a jello mold, I looked around the internet and found a rainbow jello mold with instructions here:

My idea was to flip the colors and do a rainbow jello mold perched atop a pound cake with frosting to look like clouds.

What went wrong:
1. Vegan jello needs to be perfected.  I used some that had carrageenan in it.  I should have known it wasn't going to work because a mold shouldn't be "juicy" before you flip it.  Especially,  not after two days of setting.

2. My cake was too small.  The mold was larger.  It was a bonehead move on my part for not double checking.

3. Instead of refrigerating the jello, I popped it in the freezer.  My impatience caused the mold to have distinct layers instead of everything fusing together.

All that being said, I flipped the mold over onto the cake.  For a split second, I saw the beautiful colors before  all the layers slid off...one by one.  I was left with this:

this was left on my counter after I scooped the rest up
scooped into the bundt for later because...$16 worth of jello
At this point, I wanted to cry.  Only 1.5 layers stayed on the cake.  You can witness what all of my hard work left me:

sad face
Tomorrow, I'm thinking about doing Thanksgiving stuff.  We'll see.  I still have a roundup to do.  Hope everybody is having a fantastic Tuesday! :)