What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast:  sludge-colored pumpkin pie smoothie (canned pumpkin, almond milk, banana, rolled oats, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baby kale)

Morning snack:  Arkansas Black apple, roasted almonds, multivitamin, papaya complex tablets, (unpictured) coffee with hazelnut soy creamer

Lunch:  quinoa & black bean salad over romaine (shredded red cabbage, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, mint, dressing of orange segments blended with peanut butter, garlic, ginger & sriracha)

Afternoon snack:  Persian cucumber with curry hummus (one can of chickpeas, drained, 1 Tablespoon tahini, juice of half a lemon, pinch of salt, heaping teaspoon of curry powder).  I ate about a third of the hummus pictured, I like to take a container to work and eat a portion, and bring fresh cut veggies every day until it’s gone.

Pre-workout snack:  two prunes

Dinner:  Two-bean chili over a baked sweet potato with roasted cauliflower.  The chili was made up as I went, and turned out pretty well – onion, carrot, celery, red and yellow bell pepper, garlic, and mushroom (all water sauteed), chili powder (both regular and chipotle), smoked paprika, cumin, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, no-chicken broth, kidney beans, pinto beans, corn, salt, pepper.

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What I Ate Wednesday

I enjoyed writing my first WIAW post a few weeks ago, so here is another!  I’m not used to taking a picture of every single thing I eat and I forgot to snap one of breakfast, but it was a green smoothie with almond milk, pineapple, banana, Vega One natural flavor, and baby kale.

Morning snack was an apple, walnuts, and coffee with coconut creamer.

Lunch was leftovers of what I’m calling Creamy Tahini Zucchini Soup.  I simmered a sliced leek, five chopped zucchini, two smashed garlic cloves and a few twigs of fresh time in vegetable broth until soft, then blended the mixture with a drained can of chickpeas, a Tablespoon of tahini, smoked sea salt, and white pepper.  I’ve been putting tahini in/on everything lately.

My afternoon snack was the standard veggies and hummus, this time Eating Right brand from Safeway, since that’s where I grabbed groceries over the weekend.  I liked the hummus, it wasn’t heavily oily and had lots of good flavor from cumin and lemon juice.

I whipped up dinner from what I could find in the fridge and pantry – soba noodle and broccoli salad with edamame and sesame lime dressing.  I chopped two stalks of broccoli then got a pot of water boiling while I whisked together a dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, agave nectar, sriracha, and ground garlic and ginger.  The soba noodles only needed to boil for three minutes, so I also threw the broccoli in there to blanch.  Soon as the noodles and broccoli were ready I drained them and rinsed under cool water, and tossed into the dressing.  Then I added some shredded romaine and carrot, mixed well, and topped with black sesame seeds.  It wasn’t the most amazing meal ever, but for something I pulled together in under thirty minutes it did the trick!

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VeganMoFo: One Feast to Rule Them All

VeganMoFo 2013 has come to an end!  I didn’t reach my goal of posting every weekday, but I did make 19 posts which is great considering how sporadic my blogging has been the past two years.

Dave and I are kind of nerds when it comes to how much we like watching movies.  We’ve been talking for a while about holding a Harry Potter marathon, where we watch all the movies in one day back to back.  This would take about twenty hours and we’d like to wait until the weather is cooler, so as a test run we decided to have a Lord of the Rings marathon with a few friends.  We originally intended to just make a bunch of easy food that we could eat all day in order to relax, but of course I had to get all intense about it and decided that we’d eat the way hobbits do, which is many, many meals a day!

“And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them).”  The Fellowship of the Ring, Prologue, J.R.R. Tolkien

In the movies it’s seven meals.  I thought we wouldn’t need supper and dinner after a full day of eating and lazing, so we stuck with six.  I found this post incredibly useful in planning the timing of the movies and meals, and this fan fiction post on meal etiquette helped us figure out what to actually serve for each meal.  In the interest of not being in the kitchen all day, we chose a lot of foods that could be made ahead of time and reheated or served cold.

Here’s the schedule we aimed for, although everything ended up running a little later.  We let the credits roll for bathroom and fresh air breaks, and only took real breaks for lunch and supper so that we could eat at the dining table.

8:30 – The Fellowship of the Ring
noon – The Two Towers
4:00 – The Return of the King

8:30 – Breakfast
9:45 – Second Breakfast
11:15 -Elevenses
1:00 – Lunch
3:45 – Afternoon Tea
6:00 – Supper

Our friends brought over their super awesome Salvation Army find, two authentic Lord of the Rings goblets!  The Arwen glass held my OJ, and later, beer.

Breakfast was Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal from Chocolate Covered Katie, baked in muffin cups for easy serving.  Rather than frosting, I thought Stewed Apples would be a nice, light topping to start with.  I wasn’t sure how the healthy, vegan baked oatmeal would go over, but everyone seemed to like it!

For Second Breakfast, Dave made everyone else egg and cheese casserole and sausages, so here is my version.  I made a variation of the Shiitake Dill Frittata from Vegan Brunch, swapping the shiitakes out for criminis, subbing chives, parsley and tarragon for the dill, and adding Daiya cheddar shreds.  The sausages are Vegan Dad’s Breakfast Sausages, which I like very much and now have a freezer full of.  The toast was made from a country style wheat loaf, with boysenberry jam.

You know we had to have some Lembas bread for Elevenses!  I veganized this recipe, adding some almond extract and chopped toasted almonds, since my extensive internet research suggested it was a good idea.  It turned out a little dry and plain, but good enough to eat, which was kind of exactly the point.  We also served Earl Grey tea and non-vegan chocolate biscuits.

Lunch was a picnicky affair, a build-your-own-plate type of meal.  In the Lazy Susan is heirloom tomatoes, canned beet slices, olives, marinated mushrooms, dill pickles, and two types of mustard.  Accompanied by potato salad with mustard vinaigrette, Black Forest Rye bread, and a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Dave and our guests also had a platter of cold cuts and cheeses.

I had open-faced sandwiches with Tofurky roast beef slices and Daiya swiss.  I really enjoyed this meal, there were lots of different flavors and the dressings on the salads were very tasty.  It was very filling while still feeling light.

Etiquette dictated that we serve something sweet after lunch but we didn’t want it to be heavy since we still had one and a half movies and two meals to get through.  These fresh strawberries were nice with cool whipped coconut cream.

Afternoon Tea was a particularly special affair with a real life fancy tea set purchased last minute from Goodwill.

Tea sandwiches and scones seemed like the only appropriate food for high tea!  Dave wasn’t sold on the tea sandwiches, but they turned out really well – cucumber and Tofutti cream cheese or radishes and Earth Balance on white bread.  They would’ve been perfect if I had sprinkled on a bit of salt while assembling.

The scones were lemon poppyseed, adapted from my scone recipe and cut into mini scones.  I added lemon zest, subbed fresh lemon juice for some of the liquid, and used baking soda in place of some of the baking powder.

None of us were hungry when it came time for dinner, but we forged ahead in the name of The King!

Dinner started with vegetable barley soup that had been simmering all day, and actually simmered a bit too long.  It tasted good but the vegetables were definitely overcooked.

The main course was chicken (Gardein for me), mushrooms slow cooked in garlic and white wine, braised cabbage and kale, roasted root vegetables, and corn on the cob.

For dessert, I made a warm Blueberry-Blackberry Tart served with vanilla ice cream.  The crust turned out a little tough, but that was probably my fault.  I’m not that great with pie crust.  The filling was really good though, and it was a nice end to our gluttonous day.

Yes, we ate all that food in one day!  We finally finished the last disc after 10PM, and everyone pretty much went straight to bed.  It was actually exhausting watching movies all day.  I have to say that watching them all in a row made me appreciate them even more, including appreciation for my crush on Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn…

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VeganMoFo: Native Foods

When I signed up for a conference in Newport Beach, I didn’t know much about the town other than the fact that it was the setting of Arrested Development.  Then, I found out there is a Native Foods there.  Then, I found out it was right across the street from the hotel hosting the conference.  Then, I found out it was under a ten minute walk from the hotel to the restaurant!  I had never had the opportunity to eat there, but could tell from their menu that it was the type of place I would like.

I ate there all four days of the conference, and I was really excited to post about it.  Then, my phone was stolen, along with the photos of my meals.  Sad face!

I’m going to tell you about the dishes I tried there anyway, because they were all so good!  Luckily, it seems like I can borrow other photos from the internet.

photo source blog.nativefoods.com

I first went for a late lunch on the day I arrived, after flying west across the country.  I wasn’t feeling my best and although everything sounded delicious, I knew that something on the healthier side would hit the spot.  I went with the Sesame Kale Macro Bowl – Grilled Native Tempeh atop steamed kale, brown rice, creamy ginger sesame sauce, tangy sauerkraut, gomasio and toasted sesame seeds. Green onion garnish and crunchy cucumber seaweed salad on the side.  I’m a sucker for sauerkraut, and my only complaint was that I could’ve used about triple the amount they gave me.

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

I also got an Oatmeal Creme Pie to take back to my room.  It was less authentically Little Debbie-esque than the one I had in Austin, but still very good.  The cookies were thick and a little crumbly, and the filling was like whipped cream.

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

Next, I tried their Classic Deli Reuben – thinly-sliced, deli-style Native Reuben Seitan piled high on grilled marble rye.  Topped with homemade sauerkraut, Native Horseradish Cheese and a slather of Russian dressing.  Told you I’m a sucker for sauerkraut.  I’ve had many variations on a vegan Reuben from many different restaurants, and never met one I didn’t like.

The seitan really is pink!  And, like this photo, I also ordered a side of potato salad, which was very tasty and not too heavy, with plenty of fresh dill.

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

For an early dinner Friday evening, I went with what I really wanted: the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger and sweet potato fries.  Thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a bun slathered with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, onions, and tomato. Topped with crunchy battered dill pickle chips.  This beast of a sandwich really was piled up that high, and was difficult to put together.  It didn’t really taste like a “burger” since the meaty part was seitan, but it was still really amazing.  Every bite had a different texture and flavor; the warm, melty cheese, the crunchy, smoky bacon, the cool dressing, spicy BBQ sauce and crunchy veggies.  And I adored the fried pickle chips.

Despite making it through that massive sandwich, I had room for dessert.  The Strawberry Shortcake Parfait is vanilla cake layered with almond creme and fresh sliced organic strawberries.  I like a biscuity texture for shortcakes, so the cake didn’t quite hit the spot for me, but the almond creme was kind of mind blowingly delicious.  It was smooth and fluffy and the delicate almond flavor played nicely with the vanilla and strawberry.

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

For my last meal there I had to try one of the entree salads, namely the popular Ensalada Azteca – fresh avocado, cucumber, and jicama salsa atop quinoa, romaine, and an award-winning mango lime vinaigrette. Topped with currants, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cilantro.  It was a massive salad, definitely enough for a full meal.  There were lots of great contrasting flavors and textures going on.  And yes, it did come with a big mango slice and a whole sprig of cilantro like this picture!

I really love their approach at Native Foods.  They make everything in house, including the buns, cheeses, seitan and sauces, and you can tell that a lot of care is put into each plate.  If there was a location near me I would make an attempt at trying every menu item!

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VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

Last week’s Semi-Wordless Wednesday turned out pretty well, so here’s another random assortment of things I have made!

Pad Thai Salad with kelp noodles, adapted from Appetite for Reduction, and orange-glazed tempeh

Avocado Cream Soup (better than it looks) and Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara (best raw marinara ever) from Practically Raw

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You, topped with pineapple and sriracha mayo

Moroccan Chickpea & Lentil Soup and Cheese Herb Corn Muffins fro Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

Reuben salad with roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, pickles, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressings from Eat to Live

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

Almond Butter Sesame Kelp Noodles from Practically Raw with Sesame Garlic Marinated Tempeh.  Loved the noodles, not so much the tempeh.

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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VeganMoFo: Food Fit for the Playoffs

Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of any NFL team.  The closest teams (the Bucs and Jags) were an hour and a half away each, and we were just much more into college football.  (Go Gators!)  That all changed when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with Dave and adopted his team, the Forty Niners.  Now I consider myself a diehard fan!

The Niners had a great run last year that ended with two playoff games and a Super Bowl berth.  We celebrated properly for each game, having friends over and making lots of food.

For the first playoff game against the Packers, we went with a San Francisco staple and Dave made cioppino.  I wanted delicious soup as well, so I made this Mixed Mushroom Soup from 101 Cookbooks.  I’m not a huge barley fan, so I used wild rice instead.  For such a simple recipe, it was really complex and delicious.  We served the soups with sourdough bread.

For a special treat, I made marbled cupcakes that were supposed to be red and yellow, with red frosting.  The color didn’t turn out so well, but the game did!  Niners won and advanced to the NFC Championship game against the Falcons.

I think our food theme for the day was small foods, although I can’t remember why now.  These taco cups turned out really well.  I cut circles out of flour tortillas, pressed them into muffin tins, and baked until crispy.  I then layered in vegan chorizo, refried beans, and Daiya cheddar shreds and baked again until melted.  Topped with shredded lettuce and tomato, they were delicious!

I roasted some red and yellow beets, just to have some red and yellow food.

For dessert, mini double chocolate muffins with local Ghirardelli.

For the Super Bowl, we went with typical Super Bowl party foods.

I put together a red and yellow veggie tray with agave mustard dressing and salsa.

I was seeing a lot of buffalo dips around the internet at the time, and found many versions of buffalo chickpea dip.  I went with this cashew and bean-based version, which seemed at least a little healthier than the others.

The dip turned out to be really tasty, perfect with carrot and celery sticks.  The one thing I didn’t like is that the chickpeas were really chunky compared to the creamy dip, so next time I would chop them up a bit for better distribution.

Lastly, I made my previously undefeated cookie cake.  I also made cookie cakes for the Packers and Giants most recent Super Bowl wins, so I was two for two.  I would like to think that the horrible attempt at red icing and the fact that I forgot the red part around the inside of the S didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the Niners unfortunately lost, ending what was an unexpectedly fantastic season.

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VeganMoFo: Celebrations

This is my 300th post!  To celebrate, I figured I’d show you some celebration food.

St. Patrick’s Day – corned beef seitan, spinach potato patties, soda bread, a shamrock shake made with avocado and mint, and Guinness Extra Stout.  Guinness Extra Stout distributed in the US is vegan!

Cinco de Mayo – ground “beef” tacos with guacamole, rice and beans.

Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Covered Katie’s Snickerdoodle Blondies cut into cute little heart shapes.

Easter – homemade peanut butter cups.  I was going to make eggs but Michael’s was out of egg-shaped molds, so hearts it was!  The filling was 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter mixed with 2 teaspoons melted Earth Balance and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  The coating was a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips melted with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil.  The cups had a really good texture, but you could taste the coconut oil a bit, so I’d reduce it next time.

all packed up for shipping

I made the Ultimate Vegan Brownies from veganbaking.net to send to my mom for her birthday.  There are a few steps to the recipe, but it’s so worth it – they are by far the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had.  They’re the perfect mixture of fudgey and cakey and crumbly, and even have the desirable crunchy top.

We went to a San Francisco Giants tailgate for Dave’s cousin’s birthday, so I brought cupcakes – yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and white and orange sprinkles for the Giants fans.

I’m not a horseracing fan, but Dave and some of our friends are, so we had a little gathering for the Kentucky Derby.  I made Wolffie’s Derby Pie from La Dolce Vegan.  The filling starts as something like a dough, with flour, margarine, sugar and flax seeds, which you then combine with chocolate chips and walnuts.  It’s probably one of the richest things I’ve ever made, and so delicious.

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