Tag Archives: Vegan Holidays

Thanksgiving 2012

It was good to have the family together after too many years and to celebrate with some flexibility in my eating habits.  😉

For breakfast I made pumpkin-cranberry scones from a mix from Trader Joe’s (had to get some pumpkin in somewhere)

My Dad made a ham, so I tried to think of hearty vegetarian entrees that would complement that.  I decided that pineapple would go well with sweet potatoes (much better than the classic/gross marshmallow topping) and then found this lovely recipe for pineapple upside down sweet potatoes.  It was wonderful!

 

I also made my Nine a Day Salad, which is always a hit. 

and some collard greens with pecans

 

 

some simple garlic mashed potatoes (made with soy milk)

cornbread stuffing mix from Trader Joe’s to which I added sauteed onions and celery + corn kernels

My sister made the classic/delicious green bean casserole: a huge crowd pleaser.  My Mom made Pilsbury crescent rolls and 2 pies: apple and pecan.

Everything was absolutely delicious!  I was thankful for an abundance of good food and family.

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Happy Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake Day!

Did you know that today is Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake Day?  I only found out when I saw it in my Facebook feed, thanks to Food.com.  I did make a vegan pineapple-upside-down cake for craft/potluck night a few weeks ago, just because it sounded good.  This is definitely comfort food; my Grandma makes it whenever we visit.

I used this method for the caramely syrup, but put everything in an 11 x 7″ rectangular pan.  My friend Kate did a BEAUTIFUL job of arranging the fruit, didn’t she?  Then I poured in this cake batter.

Pineapple-upside-down cake is seriously underrated, in my opinion.  The caramel-y flavors of the baked sugar syrup complement the citrus-y pineapple beautifully.  And don’t forget the cherries!

 

 

GALentine’s Day: Pizza and Raspberry-Chocolate Truffle Brownies!

Since my sweet boyfriend is so far away and my neighbor’s husband had to work on Valentine’s evening, she suggested a Galentine’s Day celebration!  We had SO much fun!  She made a lovely vegan pizza:

She used dough from Trader Joe’s, Newman’s Own sauce, Daiya vegan cheeze, and topped it with garlic, onions, mushrooms, and kale.  I loved the idea of kale on pizza.  It got nice and crispy.  We enjoyed that with some salad, wine, and good conversation.

Then we watched the film Bridesmaids.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE!  I hope Melissa McCarthy gets the Oscar for best supporting actress.  It’s refreshing to finally see actresses in genuinely funny roles.

For dessert I had made these Raspberry-Chocolate-Truffle Brownies from the Post-Punk Kitchen:

http://www.theppk.com/2012/01/raspberry-truffle-brownies/

They taste decadent, but they’re actually low in fat and high in antioxidants (and easy to make)!  What more could a gal want?

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate: $1.60
  • 1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread: $0.87
  • 1/2 cup sugar: $0.08
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce: $0.33
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract: $0.40
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract: $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups flour: $0.08
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder: $0.18
  • baking powder+soda+salt: about $0.01
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries: $0.83

=$4.48/12 brownies

=$0.37/brownie!

Wow!  I knew it was cheaper to bake at home, but I had no idea HOW cheap!  It’s easy to get sticker shock at the grocery store when you’re buying a whole bag of flour, bottle of vanilla extract, etc, but that stuff goes a LONG way!

I served these up with some Coconut Bliss Ice Cream.  That stuff is seriously good, definitely the most rich, creamy vegan ice cream you can buy at the store.  And I garnished it with a few fresh raspberries.

We also enjoyed some Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate tea that her husband had bought for her:

It was really good.  I might have to buy some.

Then I talked to the BF on the phone.  He’s sending me some chocolates.  What a sweetie.  I’m so happy.  The best part is: I get to see him in San Francisco in just three short weeks!

Spinach-Artichoke Hummus with Fresh Pita Chips

Super Bowl (of Dip)

I don’t follow football, but I do like just about any excuse to make snacks and get together with good friends.  Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday, and I made spinach-artichoke hummus!  This was inspired by some really good store-bought hummus that my friend Heather brought over when we had dinner at Julie’s a couple weeks ago.  I thought that using hummus as a base was a brilliant way to veganize spinach-artichoke dip (one of my favorites), so I decided to make my own, chunkier version.  My friends said they really liked it.  I will definitely make this again.

I started by basically making Kate’s famous hummus recipe:

“1 large can (28 oz?) garbanzos, drain but save the liquid. 2 ROASTED garlic cloves (you can do this on the stove- leave the skins on during roasting and use a dry skillet.) Puree the beans and the garlic first, adding a drizzle of olive oil and some of the liquid from the can until the desired consistency is reached. Then add at least 1/3 c tahini (it’s a LOT cheaper if you buy it at an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery store, btw) and a squeeze of lemon. Usually I don’t add salt, since canned beans usually already contain plenty. Puree it some more so that the tahini and lemon are thoroughly mixed in, and you’re done!”

Then I added a 10-ounce package of frozen spinach (thawed, squeezed, and drained), and pulsed it a few times in the food processor (until it was incorporated but not pureed).  Then I scraped the goodness into a bowl and stirred in one 24-ounce can of quartered artichoke hearts (drained), by hand.

  • large can chickpeas (28 oz): $1.99
  • 2 cloves garlic: $0.10
  • 1/4 cup olive oil: $0.20
  • 1/3 cup tahini: $0.83
  • 1/2 lemon: $0.33
  • 10-oz package frozen spinach: $1.69
  • 14-oz can artichoke hearts: $2.99

=$8.13 for a HUGE bowl of hummus (filled a 1 1/2 quart-sized bowl).

If I hadn’t added the spinach and artichokes it would have been $3.45 for a BIG bowl of plain hummus: way cheaper than what you can get at the store!

I also made my own fresh pita chips.  I bought a loaf (10 slices) of fresh locally baked pita bread from Jerusalem Bakery for just $3.00.  Then I cut each slice into 8 triangles (scissors are the easiest tool for this job), and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I sprayed the bread with a good coat of cooking oil spray and then sprinkled with kosher salt.  I like the spray oil here because it’s easier to apply and lower in calories.  Then I flipped the bread and repeated.  Next I baked it at 400 degrees for 8 minutes (flipping after 4 minutes).  I repeated that process several times and ended up with a HUGE bowl of the best pita chips ever. This was not hard to do, and I was able to work on other things in the kitchen whenever a batch was in the oven.

  • 1 loaf pita bread: $3.00
  • About 1/4 can cooking spray: $0.50
  • kosher salt: We’ll say about $0.02

…so for about $3.50 you can get a tiny bag of hard, stale pita chips at the store or you can make 80 fresh, flavorful chip, more than enough to fill a 4-quart bowl!

…so altogether I spent $11.65 on snacks to bring over to my Chris and Yaina’s house for Super Bowl Sunday.  There were five party people.  Four of them were omnivores.  We all filled up on this hummus, and there were still leftovers.  So, I’m going to say that this could feed at least eight people at a party, which comes out to about:

$1.46/serving

 

Lovely Lentil Loaf (+ Sandwiches)

Image

This is basically a recipe from Alex Jamieson’s Great American Detox Diet:

http://www.food.com/recipe/veggie-loaf-248055

It’s a wonderfully versatile recipe: you can use whatever legume, grain, and veggies you have on hand.  I especially like to use leftover cooked lentils and grains here, so it’s a little bit different each time I make it.  This time I used red lentils and quinoa.  This was my favorite combination so far.  The textures worked better in loaf form than brown lentils and rice.  I also used a couple of ribs of celery instead of the bell pepper and dried instead of fresh parsley.

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa: $0.45
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils: $0.18
  • 1 cup uncooked instant oats: $0.07
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushroom: $0.67
  • 1 medium yellow onion , finely chopped: $0.25
  • 1 medium carrot, grated: $0.08
  • 2 ribs celery, diced: $0.24
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts: $0.66
  • 1 can tomato paste: $0.89
  • 1/4 cup green olives: $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley: $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: $0.18
  • 2 tablespoons mustard: $0.23
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage: $0.02

$4.51/10 servings

 =$0.45/serving!

I served it with:
  • roasted sweet potato wedges: (1/2 a large sweet potato): $0.15
  • crispy roasted Brussels sprouts:  (1/4 a bag from Trader Joe’s): $0.70

The sides were easy to prepare.  I just sliced the sweet potato, sprayed it with canola spray, and put it in the oven 30 minutes before the loaf was finished (flipping after 15 minutes).  For the Brussels sprouts, I steamed them in the bag in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, then cut them in half, sprayed them with oil, and put them in the oven 15 minutes before the loaf was finished (when I flipped the potatoes).  Then I put them under the broiler for a few minutes to get them nice and crispy.

…so my whole dinner only cost $1.30!

By the way, this loaf is one of those things where the leftovers are even better!

Speaking of leftovers, I used some of them to make really good sandwiches:

  • 2 slices of whole-grain bread: $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard: $0.08
  • 2 teaspoons Vegenaise: $0.05

=$0.83/sandwich

with leftover Brussels sprouts my lunch came to: $1.53!

This was a nice, hearty sandwich that really hit the spot!

 

Chili Verde

There’s no doubt that chili (sin carne) is a vegetarian staple.  Without the meat it’s still hearty enough and recognizable enough to please omnivores and vegans alike.  But, of course, variety is the spice of life, so I’ve been thinking about developing a veggie version of a white chili or green chili recipe for some time.  When I had some friends over for my birthday this week, it was the perfect chance to test my idea, and I was happy with the results.

Before leaving for work I threw the following into my crock pot:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 cans green chiles
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

I let that cook on low for about 7 hours (or you could cook it on high for just a few hours).  When I got home, it was a bit soupy, so I added:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

…and let it cook for another hour.  That soaked up the extra broth and added exactly the textural dimension it needed.

Feel free to garnish it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, crushed tortilla chips, Tofutti sour cream, etc.

  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 can cannellini beans: $0.89
  • 1 can corn: $0.49
  • 2 cans green chiles: $1.58
  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped: $0.10
  • 4 fresh jalapenos, chopped: $0.80
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed: $1.40
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced: $1.99
  • 4 cups veggie broth: $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon oregano: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon cumin: $0.02
  • 1/2 cup quinoa: $0.67

=$11.09/8 servings

=$1.39/serving!

PS: Kudos to my friend Kate for bringing over homemade guacamole and pico de gallo.  They were delicious!!!

Happy Vegansgiving!

The holidays can be hard.  And they can be even harder when you have to endure teasing for/endless questions about/(un)intentional misunderstandings of your choice not to indulge in a giant bird carcass.  To be fair, it can be difficult for people to understand why you would reject family traditions.  Luckily, though, most people are understanding of alternative diets these days, and potentially tense situations can usually be avoided or diffused with a sense of humor.

This week will mark my fifth Thanksgiving as an herbivore, and it will be the very first time that I will get to have an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner!  Yay!  Although I wish that I could spend the holiday with my (omnivorous) boyfriend, I’m excited that my lovely friend Alison and her hubby (both herbivores) have invited me over, and I am already drooling over the menu, which includes:

Cranberries (vegan)
Chestnut-Apple Stuffing (vegan)
Tofu Roulade (vegan)
Mashed Potatoes (will keep some vegan)
Sweet Potatoes with Grand Marnier (served in little half-oranges, will make one vegan)
Butternut Squash Ravioli (not vegan)
Blue-Corn Muffins (not vegan)

I’m going to bring a vegan green bean casserole and a vegan pumpkin cheesecake.  I can’t wait to blog details/pictures.

In the meantime, I know that not everybody gets to have an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving.  If you are an herbivore and have been invited to an omnivorous feast, offer to bring a hearty side dish and dessert.  That way, no matter what, you will have something delicious to eat.  Make enough to share.  Your friends/relatives might really enjoy your dish, or they might not even touch it (this has happened to me), but don’t be offended either way.  Just enjoy yourself no matter what.  You might find that people who ask lots of questions are genuinely interested.  I have had a lot of people tell me recently that they are trying to cut down on meat for health or environmental issues.  Your veggie dish might be a welcome addition to the table.

If some drunk/mean relative makes fun of your Tofurkey (this has also happened to me), just try to diffuse the situation with humor, if you can.  What works for me, usually, is to calmly point out that I don’t judge his personal dietary choices, and that there is no reason for him to worry about mine.

If you are an omnivore who is expecting an herbivore for dinner, be sure to ask questions about his/her specific dietary parameters.  Don’t stress.  Don’t worry about learning how to cook tofu.  Most vegetarians are perfectly content with a meal of hearty side dishes.  Ask him/her for any favorite recipe ideas and/or to bring a dish.  He/she will be honored to be included!

Recipe Ideas

Last year I made a tofurkey with stuffing from scratch!  It was fun and delicious!

I used this recipe.

…and found this cute video helpful for the “construction” of the “roast:”  

I didn’t bother with little faux drumsticks.  It turned out nicely, especially near the bottom, where the marinade dripped down and got nice and brown.  However, it was a lot of work, and I prefer nice, crispy stuffing.  The next time I make a Thanksgiving entree, I’m going to make my Mom’s cashew stuffing and bake it in portabello mushrooms.

In the past, I have also enjoyed this recipe for tofu turkey slices.  It was easy and good.

I have also made vegan shepherd’s pie for Thanksgiving.  I used a recipe from Vimala Rodgers’s Vegetarian Meals for People-on-the-Go.  I loved that it was basically a whole Thanksgiving meal (veggies, mashed potatoes, and gravy + chickpeas for protein) in one dish.

Other years I have tried some of the turkey analog products that are commercially available.  I found Tofurkey to be pretty bland and dry.  The Field Roast Celebration Roast was okay:  I liked the stuffing, but I generally am not a big fan of gluten-based meat subs; they taste like bread to me, and not in a good way.  My favorite so far was the Quorn-brand Turk’y roast.  It was the most convincingly turkey-ish in taste and texture (note: it does contain egg whites).

A lot of herbivores prefer to not even pretend to eat turkey, and there is wisdom in that.  Non-traditional entrees can be even more satisfying.  Dreena Martin’s Festive Chickpea Tart looks super delicious to me!

There are lots of other yummy vegan Thanksgiving recipes over at Alicia Silverstone’s blog or on the Post-Punk Kitchen site.

…but who needs entrees when you have dessert (especially if that dessert involves pumpkin)?

Good vegan pumpkin pie recipes are plentiful on the Web, most of which involve tofu.  I can vouch for this one.

You can mix a box of spice-cake mix with a can of pumpkin for the easiest delicious dessert EVER! 

Last year I wanted to have pumpkin AND chocolate together, so I made pumpkin brownies.  This Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf looks really good too.

I could keep posting all night.  It’s fun to look for new recipes and ideas.  PLEASE SHARE your ideas for vegan Thanksgiving yumminess in the comments!

This year I am thankful to have a bounty of nutritious food in my fridge, the support of loved ones, and my computer (just back from repairs after a near-death experience).

Thanks for reading!