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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vegan Creamy Stuffed Mushroom

I have an obsession with mushrooms, especially portobellos!  The other night I was in the mood for a stuffed mushroom, but not being able to use cheese can be challenging.  I used a recipe found on Daily Garnish and modified/tweaked it based on what I had.
When I first started cooking I was so afraid to change up recipes, but after sending J on one too many road trips to the grocery store for 1 or 2 items, I tried subbing other ingredients and changing recipes around a bit.  I was so relieved when my kitchen didn't explode and our food still tasted good.  I have realized that I can use recipes as templates and change them around depending on my mood, ingredients on hand, and personal preferences.  SO with that being said, please feel free to change this (and all recipes!) around as much as you would like ;)

Vegan Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 4 portobello mushrooms (I used 6 mini portobellos that looked way too cute to not buy at Trader Joes)

  • 1/2 package frozen organic spinach
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 TBSP sundried tomatoes 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP Tofutti (Better Than) Cream Cheese
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 tsp salt (and more if necessary - taste as you go)
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • With a damp paper towel, wipe off mushrooms
  • Remove stems from mushrooms 
  • Spray or lightly wipe down mushrooms with EVOO 
  • Roast face up for 20 minutes
  • Prepare your filling: 
    • Sauté chopped onion over medium-high heat until they become translucent
    • Add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes 
    • Add chopped sundried tomatoes to the mix for another 2 minutes 

    • Throw in the 1/2 bag of frozen spinach and let it thaw in the hot pan with the rest of the ingredients

    • Once the spinach has thawed out and everything is all mixed together - add nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, cream cheese and salt 
    • Taste & add any more spices & flavors you think you need
  • Once the mushrooms have roasted for 20 minutes - flip and roast face down for another 5 minutes 
  • Take mushrooms out and stuff em!! 
  • I used the leftover mixture and put it in our farro that we ate on the side - super delish! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegan on Vacation

So obviously I didn't get to post at all on our vacation, but I kind of knew that was going to happen!  This was my first vacation eating vegan, so I knew it would be a little challenging.  Luckily we stayed with my grandma, who is the sweetest & cutest person on the face of the Earth, so I knew if all else failed - we could always cook there.  Our first stop (after hitting the pool of course) was to the Whole Foods hot bar right down the block.  We also picked up some essentials for the next few days (tofu, almond milk & soy yogurt) and we were ready to be serious beach bums!  Here's a run down of our trip/meals in case you ever find yourself in Fort Lauderdale looking for some veg options:

  • Lunch - WF hot bar
    • What we ate  - J: A ginormous salad, Me: Mix of tofu curry, grilled veggies & salad
    • Rating - Just OK, the hot bar near me is better & has more flavorful options
  • Dinner - Grandma's 
    • What we ate: Split Pea Soup & Salad
    • Rating - Awesome of course, it's Grandma's!  (Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't think you can dine there while vacationing in the FL region)
Later that night: Drinks & Bar Food!
Sweet Potater Tots!? Yes please
  •  Breakfast - Grandma's Kitchen 
    • What we ate: Tofu Scramble 
    • Rating - I made a tofu lover out of my Grandma and Aunt Gina - who can be tough critics so I would say it's still a winner! 
  • Lunch - Grandma's Balcony
    • What we ate: Yogurt Parfaits 
    • Rating - Good, but isn't a parfait always good on a hot day??
Soy yogurt + fresh fruit on a hot day - nothing better!
    Soy vanilla for me - Organic Regular for J!
    Yogurt with a view!
    • Dinner - Sushi from the local Japanese market
      • What we ate: J & Grandma - lots of specialty rolls & sashimi, Me - Vegetable roll & Cucumber/Avocado roll (my fave)
      • Rating - As for mine, it doesn't change much wherever I go, but it was delicious!  Grandma & J said their fish was very fresh
    • Breakfast - cereal with fresh fruit & almond milk... no description necessary
    • Lunch - Green Wave Cafe (I bought a Groupon for this a few weeks ago) - it's an all raw & vegan cafe; when I broke the news to J on the way his response was, "What?! You mean it's not cooked??"
      • What we ate: 
        • Super Nachos - These were amazing, I need to learn how to make these chips & cashew cheeze sauce 
        Looked weird - tasted GREAT!
        • Vegan Cheese Burger - J thought it was just a little too vegan for him; the bread is more like a big thin cracker, and he assured me that it tasted nothing like a burger - but he ate it like a champ!
        • Vegan Burrito - it came out looking like a big sprouted salad rather than any burrito I ever had; the flavors of the cheeze sauce & guacamole were delicious, but you had to make sure the sauces were on every bite!  
        • Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake - J was very nervous when it came out looking very... er, gray... BUT it tasted awesome and was definitely one of the best parts of the meal - next to the nachos!
    um... this is grey.
    And now its GONE!

        • For J: BBQ Cheddar Pizza with BBQ sauce, red onion, dairy free cheddar & cilantro - very good, tasted a lot like our BBQ Seitan/Tofu Pizza

        • For Gma: Veggie Burger with black japonica, red mahogany rice, black beans and jalapeno mayonnaise - served with some bangin sweet potato fries - this was awesome!!  It was a huge & think burger and we all helped Grandma eat it, one of the best veggie burgers I have ever tasted 

        • For me: Portobello Stack with sauteed spinach, tomato, rosemary & mashed potato - this was also very tasty!  I love me some portobello mushrooms, but it was especially yummy in a hearty marsala sauce

        • Dessert - Coconut Cake  - Amazing!  we split it 3 ways and since we all licked our plates clean already, we had a tough time even making a dent in it, but don't you worry - we powered through ;)

    This was our last day, so we took it easy with the food - I think we were all still full from the night before!  For lunch we had what I like to call a kitchen sink salad - throw literally everything in but the kitchen sink.  We had a huge salad filled with lettuce, peppers, onions, chickpeas, beets, avocados and I'm sure more veggies that I can't remember at the moment.  Grandma made a simple balsamic olive oil & oregano dressing which definitely hit the spot.

    Kitchen Sink Salad

    We had a wonderful few days away,  but I didn't forget about you!  Look we brought back some sunshine ~ 

    Who else is ready for summer!?!?

    As always, Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Sunday Morning Pancakes

    I know it's not Sunday, but J and I never have our days off together so when we do it kinda feels like a Sunday.  He works at a hospital, so he works weekends.  When we do have mornings off together we like to make them special, which usually involves making pancakes!  It always brings back warm memories of being the "flipper" while my dad made pancakes on Sunday mornings.   There's really no reason to buy Bisquick or other prepackaged pancake mixes that usually have lard (bleh!) and other sketchy ingredients in them.  Making your own pancakes is super easy, much healthier, cheaper, and delicious!

    Vegan Pancakes

    • 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
    • 3 TBSP Sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 1 1/2 C Almond Milk
    • 2 Flax Eggs (2 TBSP Flax + 6 TBSP Water)
    • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
    • 1 TBSP Earth Balance Butter
    • *Optional* Nuts, Chocolate Chips, Bananas or any other topping!
    • Make your flax egg & set aside
    • Heat a large heavy skillet on the stove over high heat - when it starts smoking it's ready!
    • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder & salt)
    • Mix wet ingredients (almond milk, flax eggs, olive oil, vanilla) well and combine with dry - leave a little lumpy 
    • Rub Earth Balance over the hot pan, wipe off with a paper towel (you don't want your pan super greasy), turn heat down a little to med/high
    • Pour about 1/4 C of batter for each pancake into the pan
    • If you are adding any optional ingredients - push them into the pancakes now (I made the mistake of mixing them into the batter and lost all control... DON'T be like me!)
    Monsta Pancake
    • Flip when you start to see little bubbles around the edges & they are golden brown 
    • Enjoy with pure maple syrup :)
    If I make extra I love to freeze them and take them to work as a quick breakfast treat!

    J & I are off to Florida TOMORROW so if you don't hear from me, I'm too busy basking in the sun B-)  (That's me with sunglasses in case you were wondering)

    Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    The Best Salad I Have Ever Made

    With warmer weather coming (c'mon Spring, I really miss you) I have been craving more refreshing and lighter foods than the heavy comfort foods we have been eating.  I even busted out the Cuisinart blender to start whipping up green monsters again in the morning.  I came across Oh She Glows Long Weekend Salad and used that as my starting point.  I made my dressing (for the first time I actually created it myself - woah!) and once I stirred it all together and tasted it, I fell in love.

    Refreshing Corn, Bean & Quinoa Salad

    • 2 zucchinis - sliced length wise equal widths (does that make sense??)

    • 2 bell peppers (any color) sliced in pretty big chunks
    • 1 C quinoa
    • 2 avocados
    • 1 bag frozen corn (I used Trader Joe's fire roasted)
    • 2 15 oz cans of black beans 
    • 2 limes 
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1- 2 TBSP chopped cilantro
    • 3 TBSP EVOO 
    • dash of cayenne 
    • 1/2 TBSP maple syrup
    • Start cooking your quinoa in 2 C water 
    • Slice zucchini & peppers 
    • Throw zucchini & peppers onto either a hot grill or a grill pan - about 5-7 minutes or until they get some nice color  

    • When the veggies are cool - dice them up 
    • Rinse & drain black beans 
    • Peel, pit & dice avocados
    • In a *large* bowl - combine grilled zucchini & peppers, cooked quinoa, diced avocados, bag of corn and black beans: give it a stir
    • In a small bowl - combine: the juice of 2 limes, EVOO, diced or pressed garlic cloves, chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of cayenne, and maple syrup - whisk well

    • Pour dressing over salad, mix well and either serve right away or store in the fridge covered in saran wrap

    I hope that you enjoy this salad as much as I did!

    Peas & Love,

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Chili's Comeback

    Nix what I said about that chili, J & I both had it for lunch the next day and it was unfreakingbelieveable! I've noticed that when I make chili and have leftovers the next day, it's so much better than the day before.  From now on all chili will be forced to hang in the fridge overnight before being eaten :)

    I now feel confident enough to give you the recipe:

    Hearty Vegan Chili
    (Based on this recipe - Thank you healthy girl's kitchen!) 

    • 2 cups chopped onion
    • 6 garlic cloves - chopped or pressed 
    • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes 
    • 3 15 oz cans black beans
    • 1 bag frozen corn (I used Trader Joe's fire roasted corn)
    • 1 4 oz can green chilies
    • 1 TBSP olive oil 
    • 4 TBSP chili powder 
    • 2 TBSP oregano
    • 2 TBSP cumin
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (my secret chili ingredient - don't tell anyone!)
    • 1 tsp cayenne (omit if you don't like spicy)
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat 
    • Add onions and let them cook down for 8-10 minutes 
    • You may want to add a little water before adding garlic so it doesn't burn
    • Add garlic and let it chill out with the onions for about 2-3 minutes 
    • Add tomatoes with juice, green chilies & spices - let them cook together about 10 minutes 
    • Rinse beans well and drain - add them along with the bag of corn
    • Let it all hang out for a while!
    • Stick it in the fridge and eat the next day for lunch or dinner - get ready for an explosion of sweet & spicy deliciousness!
    I hope that everyone had a great Valentine's Day!  J & I celebrated at our favorite Thai restaurant - tofu & veggies a plenty!

    Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    It's a Vegan Chili Kinda Day

    It is fuh-reeeeezing here in NY today!  Since we don't have a washer and dryer and I despise laundry mats (where else can you go to get things clean but feel so dirty at the same time?) I often go to my parents house to get that annoying little chore done.  I hate to be a mooch, so tonight I'm bringing along pumpkin cornbread muffins and ingredients to make vegan chili!  I stumbled upon these recipes after losing a few hours to pinterest & recipage.
    Fast forward a little and the verdict is in: the chili unfortunately didn't get rave reviews - but I made a lot of changes to try to make it my own.  It was a little too dense so next time I may add some veggie stock to thin it out a little and I will actually follow the recipe!  This was the kind of chili that you really need to eat as a dip with tortilla chips... so the wheels started turning in my head and this little baby was created tonight:

    Vegan Chili Dip
    (Serves 2 Pretty Serious Snackers)
    • Spread the Tofutti evenly in a microwave safe dish
    • Add the layer of chili 

    • Add the layer of salsa 

    • Sprinkle Daiya over the top
    • Microwave for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly 
    • Let cool for a minute (if you can stand it) and dig in with tortilla chips!

    This is what J and I are munching on while watching the Grammy's - what are you eating?? 

    Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Quinoa For Breakfast?

    I came home sick from work yesterday, and am still not 100% today.  So like any sicky, I wanted something bland but slightly sweet, something with texture, and something that would warm me up.  My first thought was oatmeal - but since I have it for breakfast all the time, I wanted something different.  After a quick google search, I had it!  Breakfast Quinoa (which will now be called BQ)!  Before I get into the recipe you should all know I went on a little shopping spree last weekend with the one and only Kristine, so this week I put myself on a spending freeze (something my dad coined when I was younger - looking back, I'm pretty sure we were on a "spending freeze" for about 90% of my childhood).  This meant no ordering out for dinner, no manicures, and NO food shopping this week!  In the infamous words of Tim Gunn, we had to make it work.  The dinners came out pretty good; we dined on veggie burgers (of course), stir fry, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and a tofu version of my BBQ Seitan Pizza.
    BBQ Tofu Pizza 
    The dinners were all pretty good and we cleaned out our fridge - score!
    Since we wiped out all of our fresh veggies, I had to be creative when looking for my BQ toppings.  Alas I found one little lonely apple!  I knew she had to be cooked down with a little EB (Earth Balance, duh)  and cinnamon so it would be like a quinoa apple pie.

    Apple Breakfast Quinoa

    The original ingredients - more joined the mix later!

    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1/2 cup quinoa 
    • 3 TBSP brown sugar (I cut it down to 2 - and will use pure maple syrup next time)
    • (around)1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 TBSP Earth Balance 
    • 1 apple - peeled, cored and chopped

    • Bring almond milk to a boil
    • Add quinoa and bring down to a simmer; cover and let cook for about 15 minutes - stir frequently
    • While you are waiting for your quinoa to cook - add chopped apples, earth balance & a sprinkle of cinnamon to a microwave safe dish
    • Microwave apple for 45 seconds, remove & stir, and microwave for another 45 seconds
    • When quinoa is cooked & no liquid remains, add the remainder of ingredients: cinnamon, brown sugar or maple syrup and apples
    • Let them cook together for about 5 minutes over a low flame 
    • Taste and add seasoning to your liking :) 
    This should be enough for two, but I inhaled the whole pot... so make extra if you're anything like me!

    Peas, Love & Thanks for Reading!

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Vegan Super Bowl

    I know... it's just a little late... but maybe you can bookmark this and come back to it next year when you're just dying for some vegan Super Bowl recipes ;)
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am a pretty bad food blogger.  I have all these great ideas, and take pictures of every meal I make, but when it comes time to sit down and type it all out, I don't do it.  I'll work on it... New Years resolution part deux.  Why not?  Especially since the coffee addiction has been beaten!
    I hope everyone had fun watching the GIANTS WIN!!! (sorry to our friends & family from New England!)  Of course I hope that everyone enjoyed the yummy Super Bowl snacks.  Most house parties probably had the usual suspects - some pizza, wings, nachos, maybe hotdogs & hamburgers.  Our spread however, was a little different.  Sure there was a six foot hero - but we also munched on a vegan 7 layer dip, buffalo tofu with dairy free blue cheese, guacamole (of course), and finished it all off with vegan cookies & cream truffles.

    Buffalo Tofu 

    Ingredients for Baked Tofu

    • Firm or Extra Firm Organic Tofu
    • Panko Bread Crumbs 
    • EVOO 
    • 1 TBL Nutritional Yeast 
    • 1/2 tsp Cayenne 
    • 1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic 
    • A Shake of Salt & Pepper 
    Ingredients for Buffalo Sauce 
    • 1/4 Cup Franks Red Hot 
    • 1/8 Cup Earth Balance 
    • Press/drain tofu well - at least 30 minutes
    • Preheat oven to 375 
    • Cut the tofu into bit sized pieces 
    • Combine panko, nutritional yeast, cayenne, garlic, salt & pepper in a medium sized bowl
    • Dip the tofu in EVOO then right into the panko mixture, make sure to coat all sides
    • Place tofu on a cookie sheet (make sure you spray it so it doesn't stick!) and bake for 30 minutes - flip it at the half way point
    • While your tofu is cooking, melt your earth balance in a sauce pan
    • Once the EB is melted, add the Franks Red Hot (or any buffalo sauce of your choice) and stir until well combined - keep on the stove on a low setting 
    • When your tofu is nice and crispy, toss it in the buffalo sauce mixture and serve immediately - with vegan blue cheese of course!
    Nice & crispy tofu - Ready for a buffalo sauce bath!!
    Dairy Free Blue Cheese
    This is by *no* means healthy - but you can't have buffalo anything without blue cheese dressing!!
    • 1/2 cup Veganaise 
    • 1/8 block tofu - be sure to press out all moisture
    • 1/8 tsp tahini 
    • Tiny dash of: garlic powder, lemon juice & apple cider vinegar
    • Mix all ingredients - except tofu
    • Add the "dashes" a little bit at a time - taste and tweak to your preference, the vinegar & lemon juice give it that tangy taste 
    • When it tastes how you like it - crumble up the tofu and mix into the dressing - it will now look like blue cheese!
    • 3 ripe avocados (should be soft to the touch)
    • 1/4 red onion - chopped finely
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime 
    • 1/2 can tomatoes with green chilies (you can of course chop a few tomatoes and chilies - I was lazy)
    • Salt & Pepper 
    • 1 tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp Vegan Worchesteshire Sauce 
    • Peel and mash up those avocados - I like to use a potato masher 
    • Add the rest of ingredients and stir until well combined, I like my guac chunky - but stir more if you like it a little smoother 
    • Cover with saran wrap so that the wrap is literally touching the guac - if air gets in the avocado will oxidize quicker and turn brown 
    • Refrigerate for at least an hour 
    Cookies & Cream Truffles
    • Large package of Newman's O's
    • 1 8 oz package of Tofutti (Better Than) Cream Cheese
    • 2 cups dairy free chocolate chips 
    • In a food processor, grind up the cookies until they look like a delicious cookies n cream powder yummm (or put cookies in a large freezer bag and smash with a rolling pin - get some aggression out!)
    •  Move cookies to a stand mixer and add package of Tofutti and beat with the paddle attachment until it is mixed throughout - you can do this by hand with a spoon, but it will take a long time and you will have sore arms
    • Refrigerate cookie mixture for at least 30 minutes 
    • Melt chocolate chips either in a double boiler or microwave for 30 second increments (4-5 times) stirring after each time until the chocolate is melty & shiny 
    • Roll chilled cookie mixture into 1 inch balls and then roll around in the chocolate until covered
    • **BONUS STEP** get sprinkles in the color of your choice and cover them before the chocolate dries
    • Transfer to parchment paper & refrigerate chocolate covered balls for at least an hour
    • Try not to eat the entire batch - they may be vegan but they are by no means low cal!

    And I just realized why I never post - it took me all freaking night to write this!!  My computer has been so slow it is painful - Mac friends, what's up with that!?

    Anyway, I'll try to post again soon!
    Peas & Love,