Tag Archives: Vegan Recipes

Lovely Luau

My awesome and amazing girlfriends threw me a luau-themed birthday party!  This was a perfect way to forget the dreary January weather and post-Christmas blues.

It’s not a luau without cheesy tropical drinks.  I made 2 pitchers of Bahama Mamas using orange juice, pineapple juice, Sierra Mist, sliced oranges, lemons, and limes.  I added Malibu coconut rum to one pitcher; the other pitcher remained Virgin Mamas.  I bet you can guess which pitcher was more popular.

My favorite Bahama Mama helped me garnish each drink with an orange slice, a maraschino cherry, and a drink umbrella!


My friend Matt is a very talented self-taught vegan chef, and he made carrot-ginger soup!  He said he found it on a Hawaiian lady’s blog.  I’ll have to ask him for the link.  It was full of warming spices, perfect for a winter’s eve luau.  We had that with some King’s Hawaiian rolls, provided by Kate.  I love those.

I hate to say this, but it wouldn’t be a Hawaiian party without some Spam.  Thanks to Sara and Marc for balancing out the vegan offerings!

I made some Hawaiian Fried Rice.


Jenny made me a heavenly glazed mango-coconut-macadmia loaf:

And Sara made a decadent chocolate-macadamia pie.  So, yeah, my friends rock.  I couldn’t be luckier.  And now they all have birthdays coming up, so it’s time to start planning!

“I’m Tiki Man, and I approve this fried rice.”


1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil: $0.04
canola oil: $0.06
1 lb firm tofu, diced $1.99
1 medium red onion, finely chopped: $0.79
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped: $1.43
1 small yellow bell pepper, fine chopped: $1.43
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped: $1.19
1 medium carrot, finely chopped: $0.08
5 cups cooked jasmine rice: $2.33 (I used the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s; would have been a lot cheaper to cook it the old-fashioned way)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce: $0.05
2 tablespoons oyster sauce: $0.30
1 tablespoon sambal oelek: $0.12
1 cup diced pineapple: $3.49 (I used more than a cup, and it was the fresh stuff, already cut.  It would probably be cheaper to use canned OR hack up a pineapple yourself.)
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped: (I omitted these to keep it cheap)

= $13.30 for a HUGE wok-ful!

/12 servings




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.

Pumpkin Fanatic

When I was a kid we had a cat named Dusty II who would go to great lengths to get my Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie.  She would climb on top of the fridge, chew through saran wrap, get lids off with her paws, etc.  When autumn rolls around, I AM Dusty.  I can’t get enough pumpkin soy lattes, pumpkin sweets, pumpkin-scented candles, and even savory pumpkin entrees.  I would like to think that it’s due to some kind of seasonal vitamin A deficiency, but I’m pretty sure it’s all about mental comfort.  There ARE worse dependencies, though, right?

Cartoon Found on Pinterest

Anyway, when I saw Amber Shea’s Creamy Pumpkin-Pecan Oatmeal on Almost Vegan, I HAD to try it!  I modified it for the microwave because I hate washing dishes.  I just mixed the following in a bowl:

  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetener of choice (I used a drizzle of agave nectar)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Then I microwaved it for about a minute and then let it sit for about a minute.  It was like pumpkin pie for breakfast: sooooo delicious!

  • 1/4 cup quick oats: $0.02
  • 1/4 cup soy milk: $0.05
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée: $0.20
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon: $0.03
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract: $0.05
  • Sweetener of choice (I used a drizzle of agave nectar): $0.02
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans: $0.05

=$0.42 for a perfect breakfast!

Also recently I made some pumpkin cupcakes for a friend’s birthday party.  I used the easiest recipe in history.  Just mix:

  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Spoon into 12 muffin cups, then bake at 350 for 22 to 24 minutes.

These come out fluffy, moist, and super low in fat!

In keeping with the whole low-fat thing, I decided to frost them with a healthy chocolate-pumpkin frosting.  Just mix:

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

This stuff tasted good.  I liked that it wasn’t too sweet.  BUT I was really disappointed with the consistency.  The picture on the Web site has a perfectly piped petal pattern, but my frosting was gloppy, runny, and ugly.  No problem.  I spooned a SMALL amount on each cupcake and then ran to the corner store for some sprinkles.  When I got to the party, the frosting was pretty smooshed, but sprinkles hide all decorating sins.

People said they liked the cupcakes, including one guy who normally doesn’t like pumpkin.

  • 1 box of spice cake mix: $1.29
  • 1 can of pumpkin: $1.79
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract: $0.10
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin: $0.40
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder: $0.36
  • 1/4 c. honey: $0.75
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce: $0.17

=$4.86 for a dozen cupcakes or $0.41 each

I won’t give up on my pumpkin obsession until after Christmas.



Edamame Dip

There’s a local company that makes a really delicious edamame dip.  I love to support local businesses but at $5 for an 8-ounce tub, it’s hard for me to justify buying the stuff very often.  What’s a thrifty blogger to do?  Craft her own copycat version, of course!

I started with about half a bag of frozen shelled edamame, which I thawed in the microwave and then dumped into my food processor.  Then I added 2 cloves roasted garlic, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and a good drizzle of sriracha sauce.  I blended that, scraping the sides once in a while, until it was nice and smooth.  I found that it took longer to blend than hummus.  Patience is a virtue here.  You don’t want grainy edamame dip.

Then I topped it with more sriracha (I can’t get enough of that stuff lately) and served it with dried peas.  Once you try this stuff, you’ll be putting it on everything: sandwiches, baked potatoes, salads.  You won’t feel bad about it either, because edamame is super nutritious and a cheap source of protein!

  • 1/2 bag edamame: $0.85
  • 2 cloves garlic: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar: $0.03
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce: $0.03
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil: $0.26
  • about a tablespoon of sriracha: $0.06

=$1.33 for a little less than 2 cups of edamame dip!

So this was less than 1/3 the cost of buying a tub at the store and yielded a little bit more.  And it was super EASY to make!  Maybe next time I’ll share.

Breakfast-for-Dinner Potluck

Our latest potluck theme was Breakfast for Dinner.  Yum!  Sara graciously hosted and made mimosas!  Thank you, Sara!

I made Herbed Whole-Wheat Drop Biscuits with Smoked Almond Gravy from a cookbook called Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskovitz.

Jenny brought amazing vegan cinnamon rolls from the health-food store.  A new friend brought spinach-artichoke quiche (not vegan but I don’t care)!

Another friend brought French toast (also not vegan), and somebody else brought chocolate-pumpkin muffins that just happened to be vegan!  They were made using a low-fat recipe that calls for mixing a box of cake mix with a can of pumpkin.  The result is moist and delicious.  Kate brought one of her famous pies, which also happen to be vegan.   Her crust is always light and flaky, just about the best I’ve ever had!  The strawberry filling was perfect too.  She also provided some super flavorful home-grown strawberries from her garden.

Breakfast for Dinner was a delicious carb-fest success!  We definitely need to fit in at least one more potluck before I leave.  We’re thinking maybe Italian food or maybe a nachos bar.  The food is always great, but it’s really the company that makes these lovely affairs.

Herbed whole-wheat drop biscuits

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Grease a baking sheet.  Mix:

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary (I used fresh and added it with the wet ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cut in:

  • 3 tablespoons cold non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons cold non-hydrogenated margarine (I didn’t have any shortening, so I just used 5 tablespoons of margarine)

Stir in:

  • I cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk.  I used soy)

Use an ice cream scoop to drop dough on baking sheet in mounds (about 1/4 cup each.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until firm.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

Smoked almond gravy

In your food processor or blender chop:

  • 2 cloves garlic

Then add:

  • 1 cup smoked almonds (I was disappointed to find that Trader Joe’s didn’t have smoked almonds.  No problem.  Instead I used regular almonds and added several grinds of TJ’s South African SMOKE Seasoning Blend.  This was probably even better because I was able to control the amount of smoky flavor, and this stuff is gonna be great on lots of vegan foods)

Then process the almonds into fine crumbs.  Add:

  • 1 1/4 cups water (I used unsweetened soy milk instead)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Process until smooth.  Don’t worry if it seems thin right now.  Pour it into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.  That’s it!

Baked Potatoes with Pesto-Tofu Cream

This is from a cookbook called The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, which was a belated Xmas present from my awesome friend Jesi. When I saw this particular recipe, I knew that I needed to try it ASAP.  It did not disappoint.  The tofu mixture has a creamy, comforting texture, and the fresh flavor of the basil is a lovely counterpoint to the earthy potato.

It makes enough to fill about 12 potatoes (more like 8 for me since I used less tofu), but the authors point out that you can also use it on sandwiches, pasta, or as a dip.  This is one of those things that tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to marry.

This is super easy to throw together.  Just grab a potato or two.  Stab it with a fork a few times.  Rub the skin with a bit of oil, and throw it in the oven at 375 degrees about an hour before you want to eat.  Meanwhile, blend in your food processor:

  • 19 ounces firm tofu (I used a 12-ounce box of firm silken tofu)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder (I omitted this because I was out)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar (I will omit this next time…I thought it was too sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (I used dried)

Then cut your potato open and fill it with about 2 heaping tablespoons of creamy pesto deliciousness!

  • 12 ounces silken tofu: $1.99
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil: $2.50
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar: $0.32
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil: $0.20
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes: $0.02
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard: $0.04
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme: $0.05
  • 8 potatoes: $1.99

=$7.46/8 servings


Girls’ Night: Korean Potluck

Our Korean potluck was a smashing success!  There was a LOT of amazing food (and we ate ALMOST all of it!)

I made Korean Fried Tofu, using this recipe I found on the Web.  It didn’t exactly say how much tofu to use.  I went with 1 pound and doubled the sauce for extra deliciousness.  I “dry-fried” the tofu, using this method.  I love to cook tofu that way, because after you’ve cooked out most of the water, it is ready to really soak up your sauce or marinade.  Kate said that this sauce would also be good on salads, and she’s right.

I was disappointed to find that the Trader Joe’s kimchi was temporarily out of stock, but they did have the frozen Kimchi Fried Rice.  That stuff is delicious!  And easy!

Jenny made a fresh Asian salad, and Kate added homegrown greens from her garden!  Kate also brought homegrown catnip for my kitties and Jenny’s kitty, so they weren’t left out of the festivities.

Jenny also made a FANTASTIC “beef”-and-broccoli dish with seitan and white rice.

Our friend Sara brought steamed shumai.  Kate had been craving these for weeks!  Elena brought Kung Fu Girl wine.  What a feast!

For dessert I made Green Tea Soy Ice Cream.  It was loosely based on this recipe.  What I did was mixed in the blender:

  • 2 cups soy creamer
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon Ener G egg replacer

Then let that chill in the refrigerator until I was ready to put it in my ice cream maker for half an hour.  It came out a little bit soupy, but after this picture was taken I put the leftovers in the freezer, and it firmed up perfectly after an hour or so.

Jenny said that vegan green tea ice cream was her “dream come true.”  Then she asked me what my dream was, since she and Kate had both gotten exactly what they’d been craving.  I had to think about it overnight, but then I was inspired.  Breakfast for Dinner.  I think that’s going to be our next potluck theme.  I might even try to make vegan biscuits and gravy.  I’m going to flip through my Vegan Brunch cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz for inspiration.

PS: Good news!  I get to spend the whole summer in San Francisco!  YAY!!!!  I couldn’t be more excited, and I will eat well out there, but I will miss these delicious meals and especially the girl talk that goes with them.