My Thanksgiving Feast

It’s a good thing I took Wednesday off of work and school. It took me a day and a half to make the following menu: sweet potato biscuits, green bean casserole, cauliflower mashed potatoes, savory onion gravy, stuffing/stuffed portobellos, pumpkin pie and baked apples.

The biscuits and potatoes can be found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction. The biscuits were just, meh, okay, but the potatoes were awesome. The savory gravy was great, kind of sweet, but not overpowering. And green beans needed more liquid and salt (I am horrible with salting things, I never salt anything!) I am not sure what went wrong with the stuffed portobellos, my caps collapsed on me and all of the stuffing fell out 😦 And the two desserts were excellent, that pumpkin pie was the best pumpkin pie EVERRRR!

WEDS PREP

Onto the pumpkin pie…

Viola!

Stuffing prep…

Sweet potato biscuits…

Around this time I got lazy and ended up focusing on cooking and less on photographing.

Thursday – GAME day!!

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Chickpea Fix

Wow am I stressed. My remaining final projects are eating a hole through my stomach lining. Yet somehow I have a ravenous appetite. I skipped class to finish a project (which was originally due tonight, but we received a week extension if we needed it) and I had so much on my mind, I couldn’t think of making a big meal. I knew I had that gigantic avocado that needed to be consumed, so I made a quick guac and marinated chickpeas in a taco seasoning then roasted for 15 or 20 minutes. Enough lolly-gaggin, back to the books.

 

Coconutty, Caramely Cupcakes

 

Isa Chandra Moskowitz does it again, her Dulce sin Leche cupcakes (Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) are a sinful treat. They are so dangerous that I am working on getting rid of the dozen I made right now. So if anyone is around St. Cloud, give me a jingle and I’ll deliver this extra special treat 😉

Much love.

Extra Large Avocado

I came across this humongous avocado at the co-op the other day, but opted to not get it. However, my decision haunted me. I dreamed about these avocados in my sleep. I had to get my hands on one before they were out of season. Luckily the co-op still had some in stock. I grabbed one and am undecided on what to make. This guac recipe sounds pretty tasty. As does an avocado pasta dish…any suggestions? It’s really hard to not just eat it whole, right now.

Smashing Pumpkin Pie

The Smashing Pumpkins is a great band, regardless of what some may say about Billy Corgan’s unique vocal abilities. And making this pumpkin pie made me think of the band. While I didn’t listen to my Siamese Dream CD, I did listen to my new Christmas album, which I encourage you all to purchase (proceeds go to musical education for youth non-profits). Alright enough of my random banter. Here is the recipe:

Smashing Pumpkin Pie

1 ready-made pie crust (dude I am lazy and wince at the notion of making my own crust)

Mix together: 2 c pureed pumpkin, 1 c non-dairy milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbls apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 c maple syrup.

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: 1/4 c flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves.

Add dry into wet. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Let cool completely (at least 25 minutes).

*note: after trying this pie, there will indefinitely be another trial run. The consistency was pretty mushy and the spice was way too much. If you prefer a mushier and spice-rich pie, then this would delight your taste buds 🙂

Favorite Vegan Staples

I’ve been dabbling with some interesting new (and old) products and I want to share some of my top fav’s…

Doesn’t Yogurt Come from Cows?

I recently came across Amande (non-dairy) yogurt. So far I’ve tried coconut, strawberry, peach, blueberry and plain. Coconut is nice for a sweet treat, but plain is my absolute favorite. When I ate dairy yogurt, I despised plain yogurt. But the almond yogurt has a nice base and doesn’t leave a grimy filling in your mouth.

The small containers sell for about $1-$1.70. I’ve seen them at Cash Wise and Coborn’s (St. Cloud) and Good Earth Food Co-op. Coborn’s has the large containers (plain and vanilla) for $3.39 (or $3.99, I can’t remember). These yogurts are also really great for baking, they give desserts a nice, moist texture.

Vegans Can’t Eat CREAM Cheese…

Next up is another faux dairy product, chive and garlic dairy-free cream cheese. Normally I feel like the non-dairy cream cheeses are weird, I mean, on a bagel they are okay, but I used to eat (dairy) cream cheese straight from the tub. After trying Galaxy’s chive and garlic cream cheese, I’m hooked. Seriously this stuff needs to be locked up. Yes, I will eat it straight from the tub. It pairs up nicely with some brown rice cakes (Trader Joe’s, $3!)

I’ve seen Galaxy products around town, but I was only able to spot the chive and garlic flavor at Fresh and Natural in Shoreview. But for some reason, I feel like Seward has it too….

 

RAW Cheese???

And last but not least, my favorite addition to a bowl of popcorn, Parma! chipotle cayenne powder. I tried this a while back by contacting the vendor and they sent me out a full-sized bottle to sample, for free! It was great. (*note, that was when I was living in Walker, MN where we had limited access to veg-friendly products). I’ll put this on steamed veggies, pasta dishes, soups, salads, etc.. The chipotle gives it a nice smoky flavor and the cayenne packs a heat, but it’s not too overwhelming.

It goes for about $3 or $4 a bottle, but it lasts forever. I’ve seen the plain and garlic flavors at various co-ops in Minneapolis, but I’ve only seen the chipotle cayenne at, again, Fresh and Natural. A definite must have!!

Chocolate Chip, Nestle Style

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? This is probably the best recipe I’ve tried yet. It’s been modified from Nestle Tollhouse’s recipe. I can’t wait to share these with my friends today. The sooner I get the cookies out of my house the better! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon of Ener-G egg replacer (at most grocery stores, usually in natural foods section)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (dark brown sugar adds a nice touch of molasses flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

Turn on the oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Combine dry, set aside.

Beat the margarine and the sugar together until they are well combined and creamy.

Add the vanilla to the mixture. Then add the dry ingredients bit by bit until they are completely mixed. Don’t overmix. At this point, it will probably be too dry. Add a small amount of cold water bit by bit until the dough just starts to hold together. You’ll probably need about 1/4 cup of water total, but add it in smaller amounts.

Add the chips (and nuts if you’re using them) and mix them evenly through the batter.

For baking, form the dough into balls on a baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

(PS Thanks to Dave Rolsky for sharing this WONDERFUL recipe!!)

Heart Happy

This has been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. On Monday my mom underwent open-heart/bypass surgery. I spent most of the day Monday and all day Tuesday in the ICU with her. When she finally got transferred to a private room, I bought her a tacky balloon and tear-jerking card. I am thrilled to say that she is going home today with a nearly clean bill of health. Due to the trauma of the surgery, she has developed type II diabetes, but this is normal with heart patients and her body should balance itself out in the weeks to come.

From this experience, I am going to work 10x harder at leading a healthy lifestyle. It comforted me, beyond belief, when her heart surgeon praised my vegan diet. (*Note, vegans can still be unhealthy, there are such things as vegan junk foods!) I don’t think my mom plans on converting to veganism overnight, but hopefully I can help her with the transition of giving up unhealthy foods and embracing healthier and delicious foods.

For breakfast, I made a tasty pumpkin oatmeal: 3/4c boiled water (with a few raisins added in to plump); then 1/4c oats, 1/4c-1/2c pumpkin puree, 2 tsp maple syrup (agave would work great too!), a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer until everything is cooked. Serve with some walnuts and cool it down with some unsweetened almond milk.

A Fall Feast

Sautéed kale with sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, pumpkin cornbread and a chickpea loaf. If that isn’t the perfect fall menu, I don’t know what is! The sautéed kale is so simple, it does not even need a huge write-up. De-stem the kale, boil for 20 minutes (until very tender), drain and add to a pan with oil and garlic. Saute until fragrant, add more oil/kale stock as needed. Re-hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes for a few minutes in the kale water. Add to the pan. The kale should be super tender when it’s done.

Here are the rest!

Pumpkin Cornbread (modified from SwellVegan)

  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c non-dairy milk
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra to brush the top of the bread

1. Mix dry

2. Combine milk and vinegar, let curdle

3. Whisk together wet, add in milk mixture

4. Add wet to dry

5. Bake at 350F for 35 min in an 8×8 pan

6. Brush with maple syrup and broil for a minute or two (not five like me, unless you like burnt crust!)

Chickpea Loaf (modified from Growing Up Veg)

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4 c bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tbls parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbls tamari
  • 1/2 jar pasta sauce
1. Blend all ingredients (minus the sauce) in a food processor until smooth
2. Form into a patty and bake at 325 F for 30 minutes
3. Pour sauce over loaf, bake for another 10-15 minutes