Friday, August 31, 2012


I was so excited to leave work early and come home to make dinner - a breakfast themed bowl that sounded more unhealthy than it actually is. Totally didn't realize that the recipe calls for finely ground cashews. I have no clue how I'd grind cashews. Wouldn't the blender or food processor make cashew butter? I came home to realize that the dinner is not going to happen tonight. D'oh! I even remembered to press the tofu! I decided to soak the cashews, so they'll blend more easily with the other ingredients called for in the sauce recipe. Blending the sauce ingredients sounds like a safe plan. I will be heading to Chipotle for dinner tonight to use a free guac and chips coupon (you have to buy a burrito/tacos/salad to get the free items). I know what you're thinking. I could use the pressed tofu tonight in something else, then press more tofu for the dish I wanted to make. I had tofu for the last two days. Making another tofu dish then the one I wanted would mean 6 days of tofu. I think that might be a bit too much tofu, even for a tofu lover like me. I'll break it up with Chipotle tonight. Since I have no food photos to share, I'll share some quotes. :)


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three-Alarm Lo Mein

I had some rice noodles hanging out in the pantry for what seems like forever. I was flipping through Vegan Fire & Spice and saw this recipe. It uses chili oil, but I didn't think it was very hot. Maybe the chili oil I have isn't that hot. This recipe calls for bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and Asian tofu. The recipe calls for store-bought pre-marinated tofu, but I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. The two tofu marinades (Asian and Italian) in that book are gold! I use them frequently. I pressed my tofu overnight with my Tofu Xpress, then let it marinate all day while I was at work. Between the pressing and long marinating time, these tofu triangles get some color, which is amplified by a 5 minute cooking time on each side. This was a great recipe, but I think I should have included a little Sriracha when serving the dish.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jerk Burgers with Pineapple

I knew this recipe for jerk burgers with pineapple was perfect for me. They have white beans, sweet potatoes, and other goodies I like. They do require a little planning. I soaked my beans overnight, then cooked them in my crockpot until they were tender. I made the rice and baked the sweet potato, as well as cooking the beans, a day before I planned to make the burgers. I did all that prep work on a weekend day, making it easy to make these burgers after work the next day. I could have made the burgers in advance too, but I got tired of being in the kitchen so much on a Sunday. I threw some pineapple and onion slices in a skillet with jerk seasoning and a quick spray of olive oil. Don't judge me for using those little skinny buns, they were all that was left in the store. They're quite good, but I normally don't buy the skinny buns.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello Kiddo Handmade

I'm always looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste I generate. I have been carting the same two boxes of Ziploc bags during moves for years since I use Pyrex glass and some plastic storage (for the plastic, hand wash and do not microwave!), I wash my aluminum foil before putting it in the recycling, and I bought a Rubbermaid spray mop to resist buying a Swiffer (had the vacuum one in BR and loved it, but left it). I sometimes reach for paper towels for small messes, but I really shouldn't. I go through them very slowly, since I use them mostly to wipe out the cat boxes when needed. I do use them for little spills, but I shouldn't use them so much for those little spills. I decided to try to convince my friend Ashley to sew an alternative. I had seen snapping towels on Etsy, but didn't want to pay the price requested. When Ashley posted a picture of a bowl cover that could be an alternative to plastic wrap, I suggested the towels on her facebook. She agreed and contacted me over the details. She even came up with a durable way to use the towels on a standard holder - adding snaps to plastic stitching board! I love the towels and bowl covers. I bought two sets of towels (15 towels of each design) and a three-piece set of bowl covers (small, medium, and large sizes). Here are some photos to show off my goodies from Hello Kiddo Handmade. I love the little care tags that were sent with the thank you note. :)







Saturday, August 25, 2012


I had some of the tempeh bacon left from brinner, so I thought it would be nice to make a BLT. I never used to eat BLTs as an omnivore because I hate raw tomatoes. I would just have a BL sandwich. I decided that I'd need to find a way to cook the tomatoes to include them in my sandwich. I decided to roast them in the oven and followed the guidelines on David Lebowitz's site. When the tomatoes were cool enough to handle, I made my sandwich - toasted wheat bread, sliced avocado (yum!), tempeh bacon, roasted tomatoes, and lettuce. I served the sandwich with mini pretzels and a spoonful of dark chocolate peanut butter. I was really pleased with the sandwich, and was glad that I added some avocado. Avocados are one of my obsessions right now since they're so cheap. Because I rearranged my dinners during the week, I had a sandwich for dinner too. I made oyster mushroom sandwiches. It was a good way to use some of the ingredients left from lunch, as well as an onion and bell pepper languishing in the fridge. The oyster mushrooms were very good, but be careful of the amount of lemon juice used. It's a very noticeable taste in the final product.




Friday, August 24, 2012


I *love* brinner (breakfast for dinner). I decided to make this meal during the week, which was a huge mistake from a time perspective. I ended up having a very late dinner in the middle of the week, but it was tasty. I made the "egg" and chorizo frittata from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, but I omitted the black salt. The black salt is supposed to add a real egg flavor, but I never liked eggs so I omitted it. I used Helen's Kitchen soy chorizo, which was a new brand for me. The recipe says the french fried onion topping makes the dish, but I disagree. They're a nice crunch, but I don't think they're essential. I served the frittata with the puffy pancakes from PPK, except mine weren't very puffy. I didn't have vegetable oil, so I used coconut oil. My flax seeds are coarsely ground, not finely ground, so that may be a factor too. The baking powder in my cabinet is not that old. Isa really tests her recipes, so I doubt it's because I used soy milk instead of almond milk, because she listed both in the recipe. The taste was very good and I'd be willing to try the recipe again to get the beautiful puffiness. I used to love bacon with breakfast, so I bought some maple smoky tempeh bacon. I don't care much for tempeh's bitterness, but these strips are pretty darn good and not bitter. This meal kicked butt and made enough for several days' dinner. :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Southwestern Pasta

Sometimes I just want pasta. I am not afraid of carbs. ;)

This southwestern pasta hit the spot as a big, comforting meal. It makes so much that I could have split it into 3 dinners, but I choose to make 2 giant meals. I decided to omit the oil for the dressing, but use all the seasonings (chile powder, lime juice, etc). I used agave in place of honey, added sauteed mushrooms, and topped it with diced avocado. I figured the avocado was enough healthy fat that I didn't need to drown the food in oil. I've never been a fan of dressing, since I was grossed out by the way they separate in the bottles at the grocery store when I was growing up.


Monday, August 20, 2012


Yay! Taquitos! I veganized this recipe by using Tofutti cream cheese, Daiya pepper jack shreds, and freshly made tortillas with hatch chiles in them (bought them from HEB Central Market). I got 12 taquitos from the recipe, not 16, since I used ~2 Tbs of filling per tortilla. I used a very flavorful chipotle salsa, which I think really helped this dish. I served it with some more salsa, smashed avocado (they're only a dollar here!), and the refried beans from Appetite for Reduction. Those beans are my go-to refried bean recipe and they use tomato sauce instead of oil! These were a fun meal and I enjoyed them even on the 3rd day.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Vegan Snacks

I've been spending my weekends checking out grocery stores. Not the most exciting thing ever, but I've really enjoyed it. There are 3 different Whole Foods within a decent drive, a Trader Joe's is on the way, and several regular grocery stores. I've found a few new snacks worth mentioning. I'm still on the hunt for Beanfield chips, because the HEB Central Market that is listed on the Beanfield website did not have them in stock when I've visited the store. That store has knife-sharpening and a surprisingly good selection of vegan goodies and a LARGE bulk section. If I lived closer, it might be a viable alternative to Whole Foods for certain items.

Beanitos - the chipotle bbq variety is amazing
Crispy Cat mint coconut bar - weird combo, but tasty

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Samosa Casserole

I've had this casserole recipe on my Pinterest for a very long time, so I finally decided to make it. I had intended to make this over the weekend, since it's a bit involved. However, I took my knives in for sharpening this weekend, so I couldn't prep all the vegetables. Since I finished work early today and my advisor didn't come in, I decided to make this casserole finally. The cauliflower was starting to look a little sad in my fridge. Overall, I liked the flavors of the casserole, but I think I'd double the dough recipe in the future. I rolled the dough out really thin and still couldn't get it to fully cover my large casserole dish. I used all purpose flour, since I didn't have any wheat flours on hand. I also put all the potatoes on the bottom to soak up any juices left from cooking the other vegetables in the vegetable broth.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vegan Potluck

My pen pal recently started a vegan group in her town. I decided to look if such a group existed in Houston. This is the 4th largest city in the US, so I knew there was chance of finding a group. I got lucky! There is a monthly potluck hosted by a local vegan group. I attended the potluck and was quite impressed with the turnout of ~30 people. I brought the vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World topped with a Nutella-like frosting. Instead of using Nutella in this recipe, I used Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter. You can see the cupcake on the left side, I marked one with a toothpick to grab it when the buffet opened. They were quite good and got nice reviews from other guests. I filled my plate with a tiny bit of everything on the buffet, even going back for seconds on the baked pasta, tofu scramble with black beans & tortillas, and flax crackers & hummus before picking up a mini slice of apple pie. :)


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hawaiian Sloppy Joes

I received a recommendation from a friend to try the Hawaiian sloppy joes on Chef Chloe's website. She was the first vegan to win Cupcake Wars on Food Network and a couple other vegans have competed since her appearance on the show. I thought she was great on the episode and was very pleased that her win allowed her to appear in many mainstream publications and on tv shows. What an excellent way to promote veganism! Anyways, back to the sandwiches - the sweetness from the pineapple is great, but I couldn't really taste the mushrooms. I made the lentils one day in advance, so these were simple to put together when I got home from work. I served these with baked fries and peas. Yum!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Tofu Cheesesteaks and Avocado Fries

I waited all week last week for the weekend, because I wanted to make this slow-baked tofu cheesesteak sandwich! The recipe says there are shortcuts, but I didn't want to short-change a potentially awesome sandwich. When I made the sandwiches yesterday, I tried them with smashed avocado instead of the avocado aioli. I was not interested in buying a $6 jar of vegan mayo when I *hated* regular mayo. I can't imagine what I'd use the rest of the jar for, so I just used smashed avocado. I thought the flavor of the avocado got drowned out by the Daiya havarti cheese that I used. Tonight, I decided to use the rest of my avocado for baked avocado fries. These seem really popular on Pinterest, so I wanted to veganize them. I used Ener-G instead of egg, Earth Balance margarine for the butter, and Whole Foods brand panko bread crumbs. I would recommend increasing the seasoning quite a bit, because the seasoning was hard to taste. I saw on several other recipes that avocado would need to be seasoned aggressively if baked. I agree and I wish I had used some cayenne pepper to give the fries a kick. Overall, the sandwich was awesome and fries have serious potential. :)


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sweet & Savory Tofu

I am known to enjoy the combination of sweet and savory on occasion. I pinned this sweet chili tofu recipe on my Pinterest board a while ago, but decided to make it now that I have an abundance of tofu. The Costco in this area has a 3-pack of tofu for only $5! I am a happy girl. :)

For the sweet chili tofu, I pressed it for a while using my Tofu Xpress. I marinated the tofu in the sauce recipe during the day while I was at work. When I cooked the tofu in the skillet, I made another batch of the sauce to add to the tofu. So much flavor. I skipped the coconut quinoa recipe, but used the kale recipe with spinach instead. I know this photo is rather blah, but I literally was about to eat the first bite before I realized I should snap a quick photo.