Posts Tagged bread

Thanksgiving 2012 – Main Course

My goal this year was to post about Thanksgiving dinner earlier than I did last year, which was in January.  That obviously did not happen!  Still, it was a great meal that I want to show you.  You can read about the appetizers here.

We don’t normally get too crazy with decorating the mantle, but I got inspired by Pinterest to make a wreath, with a lot of help from this felt flower tutorial.  I think it turned out really cute!

For the side dishes we stayed pretty traditional, changing things up just a bit from the year before.

We like our smashed potatoes chunky with the skins on, and add garlic, Earth Balance and almond milk.  I sprinkled on some minced chives before serving.

Dave made his most excellent stuffing with sourdough bread, shiitake broth, fresh portobello, and lots of herbs.

As a light counterpoint, I made this Green Cabbage and Red Apple Slaw.  I used kale instead of the brussels sprouts called for, and soaked the red onion to cut some of the rawness.  I really liked this salad but don’t know that everyone else loved it.  I think the raw greens and vinegar might be a little too bitter if you’re not used to them, even though the apple was nicely sweet.

Dave wanted something a little different than the usual green bean casserole, so I chose Lemony Green Beans with Almond Breadcrumbs.  This was really tasty, even though I tripled the recipe and the beans didn’t cook evenly since there were so many in the pot.

To our usual canned corn, I added minced sauteed shallot, red bell pepper, and fresh oregano.  I cooked it gently to keep the flavors mellow and buttery.

The recipe that took by far the most effort and time, but was so, so worth it, was Herbed Focaccia from veganbaking.net.

Look at those air pockets!  This was easily the best bread I’ve ever baked, but boy does it take a long time to make.  You make the herbed olive oil, mix the dough, shape, stretch, fold and rest three times (at 30 minutes each), rise for one hour, refrigerate twelve hours, rest three hours, rise three hours, and FINALLY, you bake!  Good things come to those who wait with this bread, and the flavor and texture were perfect.  If I can make this without screwing up, so can you!

I served the bread with caramelized onion butter, which was just Earth Balance blended with caramelized Cipollini onions.  It was delicious and sweet, but it melted everywhere by the end of dinner since the room was warm…

My entree was Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy.  I had bought the roast a few weeks before on a whim ($9.99 is a great price) and didn’t necessarily plan to have it for Thanksgiving dinner, but that’s how it worked out.  Luckily, I really liked the roast!  It’s similar to the Tofurky roast but maybe a bit more tender.  The gravy was a little sweet for my tastes, but still went nicely with the smashed potatoes.

The second best part about Thanksgiving?  Leftovers!  You better believe I had almost this exact same plate a few more times.  I also made great sandwiches with the focaccia, roast, cranberry sauce, and Vegenaise.

Next up, desserts.  Hopefully I’ll post before three months from now!

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On The Road Again, Part II

For the second leg of our tour, we were away from home for four nights.  This was the part where I got to go to Portland for the first time, and I was pretty excited for that!  We got up Monday morning and headed for Eureka, CA.  Once you get past Santa Rosa there is really not very much on the way, so my lunch was what I could scrounge up at the freeway corner store.

Yum.  Actually, I had never tried the Naked gold machine before, and it was quite nice.

When we arrived in Eureka it was like a ghost town.  It was Memorial Day, and nothing seemed to be open.  We checked in at the venue, and the bartender recommended that Eureka Natural Foods might be open, mentioning that they had a deli-style area including vegan options.

I had a hard time choosing, so I got a few things.

Hugely stuffed sandwich – horseradish vegenaise, spicy mustard, carrot, cucumber, pickles, tempeh, sprouts, avocado, tomato and lettuce on sprouted wheat bread.  The sandwich guy mentioned that they marinate the tempeh in soy sauce then saute it, and he cooked it again while making the sandwich so that it was nice and crispy.

Curry tofu samosa.  This was fine, but I think it would’ve been better warm.

Corn chowder, with carrot, potato and cauliflower too.  It was rainy outside, and the soup was hot, well-seasoned and comforting.

I’m not sure I would purposefully go to Eureka again, but if I did I would make a point to stop at Eureka Natural Foods.  They had a cute little area to eat the prepared foods, and walking around I saw lots of products that I would normally buy.  They had flavors of Zevia I had never seen!

For breakfast the next morning, I tried Artisana’s Cashini Butter.  We had stayed at a Hampton Inn, so I even had the luxury of toasting my english muffin!  Cashini, which is a combo of cashew butter and tahini, is delicious!  It tastes great on its own, but would probably be even better with some jam.  I felt really healthy eating something that said “high in calcium & iron” on the package.

We stopped over for lunch in a random commercial area and settled on Pita Pit.  I lived near a Pita Pit in college and ate it a bunch (admittedly, usually the tuna, before I was vegetarian), so going there is kind of nostalgic for me.  Although they have a new spicy black bean patty which is apparently vegan, I went with the old stand-by of falafel and hummus.

We arrived in Portland and sought out a sports bar to watch the A’s game, and managed to find probably the one restaurant in the city with nothing vegan on the menu.  Even the veggie burger had egg in it.  So, plans changed and we headed down the street to La Sirenita, a taqueria with decent online reviews.

The woman at the counter helped me figure out what was vegan, and I ended up with a very tasty fajita burrito with black beans.  I know the inside of a burrito isn’t very pretty, but this one was good enough to warrant showing!

After dinner we went to the hotel, and I started narrowing down my Portland must-do short list.  We only had one day there, and you can be sure I was planning to make the most of it!

With the help of The PPK forums, I decided on Junior’s for brunch.  Junior’s is a cute little hole-in-the-wall diner in the southeast quadrant which purportedly has lines out the door on weekend mornings.  I knew the boys wouldn’t want to spend quite as long as me in the city, so I hopped on public transit and went on my own adventure.

After reading this post I had a hard time deciding on the superhero scramble or the potato plate, but I went with the scramble in the end.  I think the sausage component won me over.  This scramble had “garden sausage”, tomato and spinach, and the potatoes were well cooked and crispy.  The toast came with earth balance, and I had a happy tummy.

My next stop was walking distance from Junior’s.

The vegan mini mall!

Cute stuff from Herbivore – a tote, a t-shirt and Papa Tofu.

Haul from Food Fight – white chocolate chips, Dandies marshmallows, bulk soy curls, Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Peace Bomb, and a Jokerz candy bar.

While I was shopping the mini mall, the boys called and said they were on their way into town, to go to Prost!, a German beer bar and restaurant.  While Prost! sounded excellent in and of itself, it also happens to be next to the food carts where Native Bowl is located, so it was a double win for me.  I picked out some goodies at Sweetpea Baking Company and hopped in the van.

On the way, I ate this amazingly delicious apricot danish from Sweetpea.  I don’t think I’d ever had a vegan danish, and this one didn’t disappoint!

The super-flaky crust was more salty than sweet, which played perfectly off the sugary jam and glaze.

I drank a delicious wheat beer and willed my stomach to have more room in it…Around 3PM, I decided I could handle lunch before the carts closed.

Because I wasn’t very hungry, I had a hard time deciding on what to choose.  The guy working the cart helped me narrow it down, and I went with the Alberta Bowl – jasmine rice, garlic tofu, Fire Breathing Dragon Sauce, housemade furikake, shredded green cabbage, carrots and scallions.

I knew the bowl was going to be good, but didn’t know it would be THIS GOOD.  The rice and tofu were cooked perfectly, the sauce was creamy and spicy, and the raw veggies gave it the perfect crunch.  I am in love with this bowl and can’t stop thinking about trying to recreate it at home.  The bowl was so good, in fact, that Dave chose to get one for himself over the other meaty food cart options.  He said his Couch Bowl was maybe a tad too spicy, but other than that he enjoyed it.

After some time driving around and checking out Powell’s (which might be the biggest bookstore ever), we decided to go back to the hotel to rest up before the show.  I had one more item on my short list of must-dos to take care of first.

Homegrown Smoker, ya’ll.  I couldn’t possibly fit anything else in my belly at that point, so we took it to go.

The entire menu looked fantastic, but their sandwich special made ordering easy.  (I did not get the fried oreos.  Even on vacation, I’m not sure I could let myself get fried oreos…)

This sandwich was seriously amazing.  The bread was really sturdy and somehow held all the fillings together.  The smoked soy curls were possibly the closest thing to meat that I’ve had since being vegetarian/vegan, texture- and taste-wise.  The mac and cheese was really good; it seemed like they sauced it once when making it, then sauced it again when plating, which made it really creamy.  I would compare the flavor to Souley Vegan’s mac.

My stomach was starting to protest at this point, but I couldn’t not eat this peanut butter brownie that I had bought at  Sweetpea earlier.  That would just be ridiculous.

After eating my way through Portland I was pretty pooped, so I got a soy latte at Stumptown Coffee Roasters before the show.  Even though it was ordered to go, the barista poured this cute little soy heart on top.

As expected, I pretty much fell in love with Portland and can’t wait to go back in August for Vida Vegan Con!

Breakfast on the way to Seattle was Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter on Good Seed bread.  Separately they are wonderful, and together it was the best breakfast ever.  I’m pretty sure you could ice a cake with the hazelnut butter, it’s so sweet and rich.  The bread is chunky with seeds and whole grains, and almost tastes buttery on its own.  I want to hire Dave to live in my house and bake bread every day.

Arriving in Seattle after a few hours, it was high time for lunch.  We drove by the venue just to check it out, and as you so often do on tour, we ate at the closest decent-looking restaurant.  This one had a big Pho sign in the window, which was enough to draw us in.

I started with fresh rolls of fried tofu, sweet potato, carrot, noodles and lettuce, with peanut sauce.

Tofu pho – I was excited to see actual vegetables in the bowl!  This was pretty good for your standard veggie pho.

A few of us had never been to Seattle, so of course we had to check out the Space Needle and Pike’s Market.  We had a very confusing bus ride back.  There was a sign over the place where you pay that said something to the effect of “pay as you get off”, but then nobody ever asked for money.  If Seattle doesn’t want my two dollars, they’re not getting it!

photo by Eric Atria

Most of the gang had pizza by the slice for dinner, and I convinced Stacie from Morningbell to take a hike with me to check out Cyber Dogs, a vegetarian internet cafe serving international gourmet hot dogs.  Intriguing, right?  I couldn’t decide between two dogs, so I just got both!

(iPhone pictures because my memory card was full)

Chicago-style dog – brat with dill pickle spear, tomato, pickled peppers, celery salt and mustard.  We realized after being served that these were not hot dogs you pick up and eat.  Stacie ordered a chili cheese dog, and couldn’t even see the dog under all the chili!  This dog was really tasty and I loved the pickle spear.  My only complaint is that there was a whooole lot of mustard, and I am generally a mustard lover.

Hungarian Goulash Dog.  I really only needed one dog for dinner, but this one was too amazingly weird not to try.  Potatoes, “beef”, celery, carrots and noodles stewed with Hungarian spices and topped with “bacon” and kraut.  There’s a hot dog and bun under all that, and there were actually lasagna-style noodles and veggie bacon lining the bun, and some sort of liquid pooling in the bottom.  Despite the wackiness, this actually tasted really good.  I couldn’t tell the potatoes from the beef from the vegetables, but I forged on and got through about half of it.  I would say it’s worth trying if you’re looking for something different.

We had a place to stay in Seattle, but decided to drive home through the night instead.  We just wanted to get back home.  The snacks I had packed came in handy, especially the ProBar.  Tour isn’t always the most convenient form of vacation, but I had a great time, saw some new places, and ate some great food!

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Heading To The Cabin

I haven’t heard from the second winner of the Appetite For Reduction giveaway, so I’m hoping the third time’s a charm!

The new winner is number eight, Autumn Tao.  I’ve e-mailed you!

The day after Christmas, I flew to the east coast to spend time with my family at “the cabin”.  A few years back, my parents bought a cute little cabin in Clayton, Georgia, so now they head up whenever they can, and I was happy to be able to join them as well as my brother and sister-in-law.  I didn’t anticipate when planning my trip that Atlanta and northern Georgia would experience a big snow storm beginning on Christmas day!  I’ve got lots of pictures, so I’ll try to keep the text short.

For comparison, the same tree in October.

We didnt spend much time out here on this trip!

death icicles

I was a little concerned about finding vegan food in small-town back-country northern Georgia, but my mom assured me that I would find enough to eat.  The Ingles grocery store there was pretty well stocked, and downright pleasant!  Between what my parents brought, stuff we bought and local restaurants, I was plenty well fed.

Oatmeal with bananas, Back To Nature Harvest Blend trail mix (good stuff!) and agave nectar.

cute little kitchen set up

Possibly my favorite sandwich:  hickory smoked tofurkey, hummus, mustard, pickles and mixed greens, with baked chips and my mom’s veganized ginger cookie.

We found this really delicious, locally made bread at Ingles.  It even said “vegan” on the label!

My sis-in-law had never seen snow (I know!), so upon arrival she immediately jumped out of the car and made a snow angel.

bustling downtown Clayton

bookstore kitty!

For dinner, we went to Mama G’s.  The pizza crust was confirmed as vegan, so I ordered this delicious personal pizza with broccoli, garlic, artichokes and sundried tomatoes.  It was really tasty!

my family at Mama Gs

Yay for beer that I can’t get at home!  Ingles lets you build a six pack from single bottles, so I got to try a variety.

Tofu scramble breakfast made with onion, mushrooms and what I could find at the cabin – salsa, garlic salt, mustard and dried cilantro if I remember correctly.  My parents had some for breakfast too, although my dad wanted a swipe of Miracle Whip on his :)

Brother and SIL in Franklin, NC

On the way back to town, we stopped at Fatz Cafe, a local chain, for lunch.  I knew there wouldn’t be much for me on the menu, but what I did end up ordering was pretty tasty.

house salad (minus cheese, bacon and croutons) with raspberry walnut vinaigrette

baked sweet potato, loaded up with salt and black pepper

We stayed in for dinner that night – spaghetti, focaccia and roasted veggies.  I started to feel under the weather this night, but I wasn’t going to miss…

Our day trip to Asheville, NC, and lunch at Laughing Seed Cafe!

Before we left, I fueled up with peanut butter and banana on cinnamon raisin toast.

While we waited for our table at Laughing Seed, we walked around and checked out some shops, my favorite of which was The Spice & Tea Exchange.

I bought little packets of ras el hanout, zahtar and spicy cocoa mix, but I wish I could have bought a lot more!

When we finally sat down at Laughing Seed, we shared two appetizers.

pakoras - tri-pepper and squash-onion

crispy wontons with delicious sesame-ginger dressing

Moms plate - roasted veggies and sauce over toast, and a salad (their menu changes seasonally and this meal isnt listed any more...)

Dads "Lumberjack" - seitan with spinach and gravy over toast, and mashed potatoes

My Havana Cuban, with vegan cheese spread instead of swiss, and carrot soup. Didnt really taste like a Cuban, but it was good!

coconut cream pie; I dont love coconut usually, but this was nice!

Vegetarian food isn’t always my family’s favorite (I’m looking at you, brother!), but everyone found something on the menu that they liked well enough.  I thought the Laughing Seed Cafe’s food was really nice, and I’d love to go back sometime.

We passed by a gingerbread house contest - Dr. Suess house!

This house had its own garden, adorable!

last breakfast at the cabin - pita with peanut butter, soy yogurt with trail mix, and coffee

We said goodbye to the cabin (and the snow) and drove down to Florida, where my parents dropped me off in Gainesville, where my friends were getting married on New Year’s Eve.  I was pretty sick with a head cold by this time, but I only had two nights in Gainesville so I tried to make the best of it!

I met my friend Jackie for lunch at Boca Fiesta, which opened up soon after I moved away and now seems to be all the rage.

herbivore menu section!

Vegan queso! You could tell that it had been thickened with flour, but the flavor was good. I dont complain about vegan queso, ever.

I got a giant burrito, salad and collards. This was so much food, but I managed somehow.

That night, my wonderful friends Janeen and Mark got married!  I won’t post many pictures for privacy’s sake, but here’s one – look how pretty!

A few of the other guests were vegan, so there was a vegan-only food table.  Sadly, not everyone got the memo, and there wasn’t much left by the time I got there!

I had some vegan drumsticks, pakoras, mac n cheese, and vegan cheese and crackers, which was plenty enough for my sick head and tummy.

The cupcakes on the table were vegan!

We held sparklers instead of throwing rice, which was only slightly terrifying.

Despite catching a death-cold that ended up lasting three weeks, and having the worst flight home ever (my ear didn’t pop on the way down from my first flight, and I had to walk around the airport basically deaf and miserable), my trip was so fantastic!  I only wish that I could have spent more time with my friends and family.

On a side note, check out xgfx.org, a new vegan and gluten free website run by three lovely ladies – Allyson of Manifest Vegan, Kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars, and Jessy, my favorite happy-faced vegan!

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VeganMoFo: Other Bloggers’ Recipes Week – Vegan Crunk

Welcome to Other Bloggers’ Recipes Week!  I couldn’t think of a better name, and from now on it shall be referred to as OBR.  This week, I will be featuring five of my favorite vegan bloggers and their recipes.

To get started, I chose the fabulous Miss Bianca of Vegan Crunk fame.  Immediately upon starting to read her blog a few years ago, I got the feeling that she and I would be fast friends.  We’re both southern-born and raised, about the same age, and into healthy food but also “junk food” and indulgences such as beer, in moderation.  In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting Bianca when she was in San Francisco on a business trip back in January.  We dined at Millenium, because really, if you can have one meal at one vegan restaurant in SF, it has to be at Millenium.  I don’t seem to have blogged about it for some reason, but Bianca did here.  I’m starving now after reliving that meal!

Bianca doesn’t give out many of her recipes because, understandably, she is hoarding them for her upcoming cookbook.  (Which, by the way, I am totally psyched for.)  I decided on her Sweet Tater Bread, which she had posted as a sneak peak.

I grew up eating my mom’s pumpkin bread every fall and winter, and actually tried once to veganize and healthify it (fail), and I was hoping that Bianca’s bread would fill this void in my life.  It totally did!

For starters, I cheated and used a can of sweet potato puree instead of cooking the sweet potatoes myself.  Not that it’s that hard to cube and boil some sweet potatoes, but it definitely made my life easier on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

This picture was taken soon after the bread came out of the oven.  If you can stand it, you should probably let the loaf cool completely before digging in, but obviously I couldn’t stand it.

Here’s the bread a few days later.  It firmed up after resting, but still remained moist and dense and wonderful.  The addition of ginger to the spicing was an unexpected and lovely touch – we’re not messing around with nutmeg and allspice here, people.  Also, I love that the pecans were toasted before adding them to the batter, which really made their flavor pop.  The bread made for a fantastic breakfast or snack throughout the week, and it kept really well.  If this recipe is an indication of what’s to come in Bianca’s cookbook, we’re all in for a treat!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

…Even though it’s two days after Thanksgiving now.  Happy four day weekend!  I’ve been taking the opportunity to sleep in and take care of business.

This year, for the first time, Dave and I decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.  We invited our friends Tom and Hope over and had a nice, intimate, huge feast.  I even decorated the table like a real adult.

And made a centerpiece, Martha Stewart-style.

We started with appetizers.  This is the Walnut Mushroom Pate from Veganomicon with some crackers, carrot sticks and peppadews (mild pickled peppers).  Tom and Hope’s dog Lucy also came over and I had forgot that she really loves to eat carrots, so that was a nice treat for her.

Since we were sitting down to a real dinner, I included soup and salad on the menu.  For the soup I wanted to keep the flavors simple and express my new found love for cardamom.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Orange Soup with Pistachio Dust

1 large butternut squash (3-4 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large shallots, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbs virgin coconut oil, melted
3 cups vegetable broth
1 large orange, zested and supremed
2 Tbs orange liqueur (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cumin
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
5-6 grinds freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
2 fresh sage leaves, minced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Divide the squash, shallots and garlic among the pans, add 1 Tbs of melted coconut oil to each pan and stir to coat the vegetables.  Roast for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Allow to cool slightly.
2. Place half of the vegetables in a blender, add half of the broth and blend until smooth.  Pour into a large pot.  Place the remaining vegetables and broth in the blender and add the orange segments, orange liqueur, cardamom, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth and add to the pot.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
3. Heat the soup gently over medium heat, stirring often and turning down the heat if it starts bubbling.
4. Meanwhile, place the pistachios in a food processor and process into the size of fine breadcrumbs.  Add the sage and 1 tsp orange zest and pulse to combine.
5. To serve, ladle the warm soup into bowls and top with the pistachio dust.

Servings: 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 365.04
Calories From Fat (23%) 82.37
% Daily Value
Total Fat 9.73g 15%
Saturated Fat 4.65g 23%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 185.43mg 8%
Potassium 1661.7mg 47%
Total Carbohydrates 66.3g 22%
Fiber 7.74g 31%
Sugar 9.44g
Protein 8.82g 18%

Our salad was the Roasted Fennel and Hazelnut Salad with Shallot Dressing from Veganomicon.  I first made this a few weeks ago and couldn’t find the chicory it called for, so I had it with mixed greens and butter lettuce, and after trying it with chicory I have to say that the bitter greens make all the difference in balancing the sweet elements of the salad.  I also learned that I like whole hazelnuts.  Delicious!

I didn’t want to hold my fellow diners up, so I didn’t get pictures of all the individual dishes.  Here is my plate.

For my “main” I had a chickpea cutlet from the freezer with some cranberry sauce that Hope brought.  The roasted brussels sprouts are this recipe, chosen because I found out that neither Tom nor Hope likes brussels, and I was determined to show them that they’re good.  They both tried them and said they’re okay, but they’re still not brussels fans.  I can try, no?

These rolls are the Homestyle Potato Rolls fromVeganomicon.  Yes, I relied heavily on Veganomicon for our meal.  It’s a great cookbook filled with a lot of fall-appropriate recipes.  Anywho, the bread dough was really nice and easy to work with, and it expanded even while in the fridge overnight.  I served the bread with some herbed butter.  I mean, herbed Earth Balance.

Dave requested chunky mashed potatoes with the skins, and lots of them so he could have leftovers.  I added a bunch of Earth balance, almond milk, truffle salt and black pepper to get ‘em tasting good.  Everyone else enjoyed turkey gravy, but I came up with this red wine gravy as my contribution.  It’s not the best looking color of gravy, but it tastes quite nice.

Red Wine Gravy

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth, at room temperature
1/2 cup almond milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 Tbs tamari
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1. Heat a medium pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Sprinkle the flour into the pot and whisk immediately to make a smooth paste.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add the broth, milk, wine and tamari and turn up the heat to medium-high.  Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Turn the heat down if the gravy is bubbling too much.  Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the nutritional yeast.  Serve hot.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 102.56
Calories From Fat (61%) 63.06
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7.15g 11%
Saturated Fat 0.94g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 262.38mg 11%
Potassium 44.39mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 5.03g 2%
Fiber 0.87g 3%
Sugar 0.18g
Protein 2.28g 5%

And of course, I had to make green bean casserole.  It’s my quintessential Thanksgiving dish.  Dave said that the ones I had made in the past were good but could have more flavor, so I set out to create my own version, and I have to say that it was probably the best green bean casserole I’ve ever had.  I wanted to make everything from scratch instead of using store bought fried onions, and I tried to inject as much flavor as possible at every step.

Green Bean Casserole

1 1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb mixed wild mushrooms, diced (I used chanterelle, oyster and shiitake)
6 Tbs high heat sunflower oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 large shallot, minced
5 Tbs all purpose flour, divided
1 cup vegetable broth, at room temperature
1 cup almond milk, at room temperature
2 Tbs sherry
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the green beans in a steamer over simmering water and steam for 20 minutes, until beans are tender.  Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 Tbs of the oil.  Add the garlic and thyme and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside.
4. Place a small pot over medium heat and add 3 Tbs of the oil.  Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, until they are starting to turn translucent.  Add 3 Tbs of the flour and whisk to form a smooth paste.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the vegetable broth and whisk to combine.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.  Once the sauce has thickened slightly, add the milk and sherry and continue to cook, whisking frequently, until thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine the green beans, mushroom mixture and sauce in a baking dish.
5. Combine the sliced onion and 2 Tbs flour in a bowl and toss with your hands to coat.  Heat a medium pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 Tbs of oil.  Add the onions and any remaining flour to the pan, stir to combine and cook until most of the onions have browned, stirring frequently.  Pour the onions on top of the green bean mixture and spread evenly.
6. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes and serve hot.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 192
Calories From Fat (50%) 96.94
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.97g 17%
Saturated Fat 1.12g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 30.35mg 1%
Potassium 497.72mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 20.21g 7%
Fiber 2.73g 11%
Sugar 2.26g
Protein 4.85g 10%

For dessert, I attempted to veganize the Cranberry Upside Down Cake from the latest issue of Eating Well magazine.

It tasted alright, but it refused to upside-down itself from my cast iron pan, so we had it rightside-up.  That’s what I get for making the recipe the first time that day.

We ate, we chatted, we had some wine and Dogfishhead Chicory Stout, and we watched Elf.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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CSA’s & Laptop Lunches

Geez, it’s been a long time since I posted my foods!  I’ll try to keep my rambling and descriptions short, since I’ve got a lot of pictures!

8-27 CSA:  corn, rosemary, pears, zucchini, cucumber & lavender

onions, figs, tomatoes, beets, squash & honeydew melon

When I got this CSA box, I was actually growing tired of snacking on fresh figs.  Gasp!  I’m spoiled, I know.  I decided to make a poached fig salad, based on a recipe I found online that I can’t find again now!  Which is a shame, cause it was really good.  The fresh figs were poached in a whole bottle of port, then the wine was reduced down to a syrup.  There was also a simple vinaigrette, pisatchios, shallots and faux feta cheese.  The poached figs were STRONG, but good.  I also had some herbed pumpkin seed crackers.

I had taken note of the Teriyaki Quinoa recipe in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan during my August cleanse but didn’t get a chance to try it then.  I’m glad I tried it afterwards, because I love it!  It’s so simple – just cook the quinoa and mix it with the sauce.  I served the quinoa with stir-fried veggies (seasoned only with tamari and ume plum vinegar), and instead of sprinkling with sesame seeds as the recipe called for, I used some sesame gomasio that I had bought for no specific reason.

Quinoa close-up!  Looks like…quinoa…

I had a huge heirloom tomato sitting around doing absolutely no good, and I decided I wanted to slice it up for a grilled cheese sandwich.  There’s a big hole in the middle cause the tomato had a big, tough core that had to be cut out.

I wanted to make bread machine bread for my sandwich and…FAIL.  I modified a multigrain bread machine recipe that I found online and it really didn’t rise at all.  It was edible but incredibly dense.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad or if it was the fact that I used the time delay feature and the ingredients sat there for hours before the machine started mixing.

The cheese in the sandwich is the Gooey Grilled Cheese from The Uncheese Cookbook, which I love.  I also love pickles on grilled cheese.  On the side was broccoli and cucumber with goddess dressing, and oven-baked beet chips.

I had corn and squashes left over from the CSA box, and thought they would make nice side dishes for black-eyed-pea gravy and biscuits.  I have no idea where I got the gravy idea from, but it worked out.

For the biscuits, I used Happy Herbivore’s Whole Wheat Low Fat Biscuit recipe, and they turned out quite well!  I rolled mine out and cut them into circles with a glass though, rather than just dropping them like the recipe calls for.  That way you get the flaky sides, and they’re easy to cut in half.

Gravy close-up!  The gravy turned out okay, but it was a little too acidic and the onions weren’t cooked enough, so I need to work on it a bit before I have an official recipe.  For the creamed corn, I just cooked some corn kernels till tender, blended up some of them in the food processor, added it back to the pan with some soy milk and cooked a bit just to thicken.  The squash and zucchini were sauteed with probably a pinch too much red pepper flakes.

9-10 CSA:  lettuce, thyme, zucchini, swiss chard & grapes

tomatoes, plums, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic & oranges

There’s nothing particularly special about this salad, except that it was topped with Annie’s French Dressing, which I had never seen before and like a lot.

With the abundance of tomatoes in this CSA box, I thought I ought to try my hand at making gazpacho.  I’d had gazpacho before a number of times but never made it.  Turns out it’s ridiculously easy to make!  The blender does most of the work.  I followed the recipe from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons and it was perfect.

On the side is a slice of Bianca’s awesome Whole Wheat Beer Bread.  I grew up eating beer bread, and this totally hit the spot.  I added FYH cheddar and some rosemary just cause I could.  I also totally screwed up and mis-read the recipe.  I thought the bread only baked for 30 minutes, so I pulled it out then, let it cool, and was totally surprised that my first slice was completely raw in the middle!  Then I re-read the recipe – doh!  It bakes for 55 minutes.  The slice on my plate up there went in the toaster oven just to finish, which is why it looks funny, and the rest of the loaf went back in the oven.  Read your recipes all the way through, people!

9-24 CSA:  swiss chard, lettuce, cucumber & more lettuce

beets, tomatoes, red onions, grapes & peppers.  I also got a galia melon but it didn’t find its way into the picture.

Another sandwich, this time on store-bought sprouted bread.  I had an avocado ready to use, and thought it would go perfectly with the CSA tomato and lettuce in a great sandwich.  I was thinking along the lines of a BLT, so I sauteed tempeh then glazed it with soy sauce, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  Delicious!  The sandwich also had red onion jam, spicy mustard and a slice of vegan cheese.  Those nuclear chips in the front there are Buffalo Chips from Food Should Taste Good.  They didn’t really taste buffalo-y, but they were tangy and spicy and good.  If you haven’t tried Food Should Taste Good chips yet, do so!  They feel so much lighter than other chips, and their flavors are fun and imaginative.

10-8 CSA:  arugula, lettuce, acorn squash, more lettuce & baby bok choy

plums, potatoes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, onions, peppers & beets

I haven’t done anything with last week’s CSA box yet, but…there it is.

Laptop lunches!  I don’t have the time these days to neatly pack everything every night, but I do when I can.

9-8 pasta salad, steamed carrots, beanie weenies, cauliflower

9-10 biscuit & black-eyed pea gravy, creamed corn, spicy sauteed squash

9-15 cheddar-rosemary beer bread, gazpacho, baked beans, grapes

9-17 sesame noodles, sauteed cabbage, grapes

9-28 peppers lavender tofu, scalloped zucchini,
slow roasted tomatoes, grapes

10-1 multigrain sesame-beet pilaf, spicy daikon slaw, gf corn muffin, grapes

Bonus Jake.

And armless Jake.

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Vegan Weekends (or, The Post of Many Pictures)

Against my predictions, June was just as crazy for me as May, if not a bit crazier.  Almost every day of every weekend was booked, and then some.  So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last five weekends…

The first weekend of June we had some friends join in on our tailgating for an A’s game and bf and I kind of went all out.  BF has been interested lately in making our own buns for hamburgers, which translates into ME making our own buns for hamburgers.  I had seen some loaves of Easy French Bread from La Dolce Vegan floating around the blog world, so I made some buns using that recipe.

I forgot to add the sesame seeds until after the second rise, and in adding them and trying to make sure they didn’t fall off I basically pressed all the rise out of the buns, so they were a little flatter then I wanted.  They tasted good though, and were definitely sturdy enough to stand up to burgers.

I don’t know what got in to me, but I had a mad desire to make Ramen Slaw, which is a dish commonly found at southern pot lucks and the like.  I found and followed a recipe online, but for the life of me I can’t find it again.  I’ll post up the link when I get home.

Ramen slaw, up close and personal.

Post-almond topping.

Here’s my plate:  veggie burger on homemade bun, grilled corn that I accidentally set on fire (like for real, flaming husks and all) and ramen slaw.  I went back for seconds on the slaw, so good.

It was bf’s cousin’s birthday, so I made dessert too.  I had a hard time deciding but in the end wound up trying the Black Bottom Blondies from My Sweet Vegan.

The look innocent enough from the top…

Bonus chocolate layer!  These were tasty enough, but honestly I didn’t like the texture.  It was kind of gummy and dense.  I’m thinking I may have overbeaten the batter, but the instructions say to beat it!

The next Saturday I was invited to a picnic at Tilden Park to celebrate the marriage of my friends Becca and Steve.  They got married in New York, so this was a nice was for us to get together.  I was completely blanking on a good picnic food to bring, so I asked Becca and she suggested the ranch dressing that she had at my house once.  Easy enough!

The food was good and simple, perfect for a picnic.  First plate:  veggie burger, chips & hummus, veggies & ranch.

Second plate:  fruit salad, pasta salad, tofu and tomatoes and more cucumbers.

Third plate, just because the roasted red peppers and grilled zucchini were done.

Lucky for all of us, Melisser of Sugar Beet Sweets made cupcakes!

Gluten free strawberry shortcake and peanut butter cup.

La la lemon and chocoate chocoalte.  I had a lemon and a pb cup.  Oink oink!  You can’t only have one of Melisser’s cupcakes.

Tilden Park is kind of amazing in an it’s-huge-and-you-will-get-lost kind of way.  There is a great old style carousel, and after lunch a group of us decided to act like children and go on it.  There are all sorts of beautiful, detailed animals.

Deer, zebra and kitty.

Lion, rooster, frog and horse.  There was also a dog and a panda and lord knows what else.  I chose the frog.  Becca didn’t want to ride because of motion sickness, so she tried to snap pictures of us.

My head is on the left above the rooster head.  Good times!

The next day I drove down to Santa Cruz to meet the NorCal PPK crew at Amey’s house for a potluck.  This was a vegan potluck of a magnitude never achieved before, and quite possibly never matched again.  Here’s the table when I got there, and food seemed to flow in continuously afterwards too.

Overflow area:

My contributions were a layered salad bar-style salad with iceberg, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, red and green bell peppers, carrots, peas, red onions, seitan pepperoni, bacos, sunflower seeds, croutons and choice of ranch or balsamic vinaigrette.

And Fatfree Vegan’s Southern-Style Banana Pudding.  This was a big hit – really delicious and very easy to make.  I used EcoPlanet vanilla cookies because they were all I could find, and it worked well.

Obviously, I had to try a little of everything.  Plate 1:  empanada, mini bagel with herb spread, pirogi with caramelized onions, crackers with walnut miso dip, bread with yellow pepper dip, a spring roll with garlic scapes and mandarins and other crazy stuff, and grilled tofu on baguette with some sort of delicious spread.

Plate 2: pasta salad, salad with ranch, chips and guacamole,

I was stuffed at this point and put off dessert as long as I could stand, but it all looked so good!  Some more non-dessert arrived in the meantime, so that’s why there’s green on my mostly-dessert plate:  brussels sprouts with pistachios, braised peach and fig salad, swedish cinnamon roll, raspberries, key lime pie with white chocolate mousse, rice krispy treat, apple coffee cake and banana pudding.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Melisser made a ridiculous dessert.  If I remember correctly it was pie crust, cookie dough, cake AND meringue.  Here she is torching the meringue.

Inside shot.

Group shot!

There were SEVEN doggies at the potluck (three of which were Amey’s), and surprisingly enough I liked them all!  All the doggie owners tried to wrangle them in for a picture.

Here’s the ever-popular Strummer, sunning herself on Megan’s lap.

Our gracious host Amey with Snoopy the cutie-pie.

And my favorite pittbull, Fiona.

After pigging out we all sat around and chatted for a while, then Megan, Melisser, her husband Ryan and I went to downtown Santa Cruz to walk around and check out some shops, so at least I worked off a FEW calories.  Check out Amey’s blog post here, she has more detailed pictures of most of the food.

The next weekend we went to Vegas!  BF’s sister is graduating from her master’s program and wanted to get together to celebrate so a group of 13 of us went, mostly bf’s family and his sister’s boyfriend’s family.  Whew.  We scored an amazing rate at Paris, and really enjoyed staying there.  It’s a comfortable hotel, and the kind of place you wouldn’t really have to leave the whole weekend if you didn’t want to.

We got in late afternoon on Friday, settled in, and ate at a cafe in Paris that really isn’t worth writing about, except for the fact that I got a whole bottle of wine for $8 when most of their single glasses are more than that.

HERE is what Vegas means to me.

Ronald’s Donuts, my friends.  The donuts are out of this world good, they have soy milk for coffee, and I will happily make myself sick eating their apple fritters.  Here I am, slightly hungover and unshowered, in apple fritter heaven.

We had plans for dinner but needed to have a late lunch somewhere, because one cannot exist on apple fritters alone.  Enter Le Burger Brasserie in Paris.  I took a chance that this place would have something I could eat, and I won!  Upon inquiring of the waiter if their veggie burger had any dairy or eggs, he cringed and said “Yeah, I think it does…it has mushrooms, grains, vegan cheese…Wait!  Vegan cheese has no dairy!” and checked with the kitchen to be completely sure.

This was a good, good veggie burger.  The patties are made in-house, and are at least an inch thick and very tasty.  It comes with two topping, but I added one and chose portobello, avocado and caramelized onions.  Seriously, this was one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had and I’d recommend Le Burger Brasserie over the meal I had at Burger Bar easily.

The one caveat about this place is that it’s not cheap.  The burgers don’t come with fries, you have to order them separately.  But I would recommend that you do.

Because their fries are really good, despite the blurry image.  They have steak fries, shoestring fries AND waffle fries and you can get a three fry sampler if you want.

Sometimes when the waiter forgets to ask whether you want an orange or lemon slice with your Widmer and they bring you both, you put them both in.  It’s Vegas, you gotta get a little crazy!

Dinner that night was at The Wynn Buffet, where the lighting apparently does horrible things to my pictures.  Like last time I visited, I didn’t get to check that anything was vegan, but when in doubt went the cautious route.  So don’t take my word for it on this stuff…

Plate 1:  salad with vinaigrette, asparagus and pea salad, strawberries, dried fruit, marinated artichoke, pickles and a little piece of bread.

Plate 2:  pita with hummus and baba ganoush, rice pilaf, curried chickpeas.

Plate 3:  Asian slaw, spicy cucumbers with citrus, sushi, seaweed salad, and the most amazing miso udon which I tried to replicate after the last time I had it but didn’t really come close.

I also had a few bites of sorbet for dessert, but it was nothing picture worthy.  For the life of me I can’t remember where or if we had lunch the next day.  Maybe I just ate a bunch of donuts?

For dinner, we had a date with Hoffbrauhaus, a full-on German-style restaurant like in Beer Fest.  You sit at a long table with other parties, there is a band with an accordion on stage, and the waitresses can carry multiple mugs of beer in one hand.  Look at this perfect pour!

The menu includes two vegetarian entrees, but they’re both laden with cheese or cream, so I asked about a few side dishes and ended up getting three.

Yummy pretzel with sweet mustard.

Cucumber salad, which was good but not worth the $7 it costed.

Red cabbage.  The flavor was good, but they somehow managed to make the cabbage HEAVY.  I couldn’t even finish this small bowl.

I would recommend the Hoffbrauhaus if you’re into that sort of thing, but warn that it is not really within walking distance of the strip.  It may look like it is on a map, but please take a cab!

After dinner we went to Cirque du Soleil Mystere at TI.  It was quite a show, but overall I think I liked La Nouba in Orlando better.  Not that Mystere was bad, it just wasn’t better than La Nouba.  It was also really expensive; our discount tickets were more than I really wanted to pay, but I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity.

That was it for us in Vegas, but on the way out of town we stopped off at Ronald’s again.  I had asked around in the Bay Area to see if anyone wanted donuts brought back and had a large response.  So I bought ten half dozens, which didn’t include the donuts I bought for the ride home, or the donuts that the sweet people at Ronald’s GAVE to me!  Here are the donuts I distributed, with my pepper grinder for size reference (and bonus grease spots).

The next weekend, in addition to going to two baseball games, I baked a donation for the San Francisco Worldwide Vegan Bakesale.

These are Chocolate Chip-Raspberry Blondies from Vegan With A Vengeance, but made with Blackberries instead.  They are super-duper good and I can’t believe I waited this long to try them!  I did have a tricky time getting the blackberry filling to work, it kind of seized up and got stringy.  The recipe calls for tapioca powder and I used tapioca flour because I thought they were the same thing.  Anyone know if they’re the same thing?  I added some extra water to the filling and despite being really sticky, it worked out.

Seeing as SF is not a short trip exactly, and I had a hard time getting going that morning, I was a few hours late for the bakesale.  They had already sold out of a lot of items, but had enough to keep going.

We did really well with foot traffic due to our fantasitc location in front of Ike’s.  Ike’s has pretty much the best sandwiches ever (with extensive vegan options), so of course I had to get one.  I really wanted the Paul Reubens special but they had run out of Tofurkey, so I had a “Not So Sloppy” – meatballs and bbq sauce.

So friggin’ good!  And if you order a vegan sandwich they give you a vegan lollipop.

The bakesale was a HUGE success.  Between the two days and locations they raised $3,000 dollars.  Three thousand!  The proceeds were split between Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates.  I feel proud to have been a small part of such a great event.  Thanks to Melisser and Laura for organizing!

That brings us to this past weekend, which was the Fourth of July.  We kept it small and just went to a friend’s house to grill, hang out and play board games.  I decided to make a fancy grilled portobello sandwich, and started by marinating some big mushrooms according to this recipe.

During the veggie grilling session (after the grill had been cleaned of any remaining meats) we cooked the portobellos along with pattypan squash and corn.

I served the mushrooms on storebought ciabatta with lettuce, caramelized onions and avocado-horseradish sauce.  Delightful!  The portobellos weren’t the best I’ve ever made, but I think that had more to do with me cooking them over high heat for a few minutes too long than it did with the recipe.

In keeping with my one year tradition of making a red, white and blue dessert, I put together a trifle.  The layers are lemon pound cake from Veganomicon, strawberries, blueberries and coconut whipped cream.  I was going to do a simple silken tofu whipped cream but couldn’t find silken tofu anywhere, so I bought two cans of coconut milk, remembering that I had read somewhere that you could whip it into cream.  I followed the technique of this recipe, using all the cream from the tops of both cans (about 1 1/2 cups), 6 Tbs powdered sugar, 4 Tbs soy milk powder, 1 tsp almond extract, and a pinch of salt.  It did whip up and turned out nicely.

While I was carefully layering the trifle, bf asked me “Why are you arranging it so carefully if you’re just going to cover it up?”.  Well, this is why:

Trifle’s are supposed to look pretty from the side!

And from the top.  It tasted really good too.  There were lots of flavors going on between the vanilla and lemon in the pound cake, the coconut and almond in the cream and the berries, but it came together well and the pound cake had the perfect squishy consistency.

Lastly, here is how Jake likes to spend his time while I’m out galavanting and running around.

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Piccata, Risotto & Focaccia

Time for some fancy foods!  Piccata, risotto and focaccia are all restauranty-sounding dishes to me, things that a few years ago I would have never thought I’d be making for myself.  They also all have double letters that I have a hard time remembering where to put.

Let’s start with the CSA delivery that brought me some of the ingredients:

leaf lettuce, chard, artichokes, collards, asparagus & rosemary

tangerines, beets, shallots, kiwis & apples

It was a lovely coincidence that I saw Lindsay’s post on piccata the very same week I received asparagus, which everyone knows is good with piccata.  Even those of us who’d never tried it before, like me.  She made hers with her chickpea cakes, which I’m sure are good, but I decided to go with the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon, because I love them and it had been a very long time since I made them.  I followed Lindsay’s sauce recipe exactly though.  Like all of her recipes, the sauce is fat-free, so I feel like the end result might have been lacking a little bit of richness you might get from a “normal” piccata.  The sauce was definitely not lacking in flavor though.  In fact, I was quite happy the sauce was fat-free, because I used olive oil on the asparagus and earth balance in the mashed cauliflower.

Yes, I know that mashed potatoes go with piccata and asparagus.  But I like to use cauliflower instead of potatoes sometimes to lighten up a meal.  I chopped up a bit of fresh rosemary to go in the cauliflower, and it lent just the faintest hint of delicious rosemary flavor.  I was suspicious of using fresh rosemary because I’m not a huge fan of dried, but for serious:  fresh is awesome.  And it lasts a lot longer in the fridge than I thought it would.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of making risotto.  You hear about having to stand in front of a pot, stirring forever, and all for some flavored rice?  But I kept seeing risotto pop up on the internets, and it didn’t seem to be such a big deal.  So when the CSA newsletter came with a recipe for Red Chard Risotto, I gave it a whirl.

I had to figure out what “dry white wine” is to make this.  (Google it.)  And I learned that you don’t actually have to stir constantly; just a lot.  It turned out pretty well, but the rice could have been cooked more, and the flavor could use a boost.  So I will rework this soon and have a recipe.  The good news is that I am no longer scared of arborio rice.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the majority of my fresh rosemary, and the only idea that came to mind was focaccia, so I went with it.  I followed the recipe in Veganomicon, subbing half whole wheat flour.

This was very easy to make, and the rosemary flavor is awesome.  I have one question though:  What makes focaccia different from regular ol’ bread just shaped into a disc?  The texture seemed like normal bread.  Not that I’m complaining…I just want to know.

To go with the focaccia, I remade the stuffed collards that I first tried here.

My filling of choice was lentils and tempeh, and the flavor of the filling was great.  It didn’t quite stick together enough to recreate the original though.  I think I have a solution, and I happen to have collards in the fridge, so hopefully with one more tweak I will have a recipe to share.

Speaking of recipes that I’m working on, here’s a sneak peek.

It’s going to be my first recipe contest entry.  It’s fun to be working toward something instead of just cooking whatever I want sometimes.  Can anyone guess what the triangles are?  Hint:  it’s not tofu.

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Christmas Dinner

Happy day after day after Christmas!  I hope everyone had a good one.  We’ve been at bf’s mom’s house since Wednesday afternoon, just chilling out and spending time with his family.  I packed up a whole bunch of food to get me through four days away from home.  The big party here is on Christmas Eve, and  I wanted to keep things simple food-wise.  Ever since Thanksgiving I’ve been thinking of those “leftover sandwiches” people make, so I made my own version.  I started with bread on Sunday, made in the bread machine.

I used a recipe for Whole Wheat Bread that came with the machine, and subbed half the flour with spelt flour, quinoa flour, oats and wheat germ for greater grain variety.  This was a very tasty bread – perfect for sandwiches and SO good as toast.

The sandwich insides were spinach, tofurkey, vegan cream cheese and cranberry sauce.  I toasted this one in a pan.

Here’s a better picture of a test-run sandwich I made a couple days before.  This one also had red onion and pickles and was heated in my sandwich press.

To go on the side I made coleslaw with dried cranberries and pecans.  I originally wanted to make broccoli slaw, but I didn’t anticipate that they don’t sell broccoli slaw out here!  Must be a southern thing.

I also made orange-ginger mashed yams.  I roasted baby sweet potatoes and yams with shallots, garlic & ginger then mashed with a bit of orange juice.

I was going to take a picture of my plate, but I was getting enough weird looks for having a sandwich at Christmas Eve Dinner, so I abstained.

For dessert, I made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies again, by request.

I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t love these.  I used canned pumpkin instead of fresh this time, so there was a little less than two cups.  I also baked them about ten minutes longer, since last time they were so soft that they stuck to the plate.  They were just a bit crunchy on the outside but still super soft on the inside.  So good.

I hope everyone had a great holiday!  Santa was quite good to me.  Kitchen related presents received were Vegan Lunchbox, Vegan Fire & Spicy, a cast iron skillet, cast iron pizza pan, stock pot, large flat-bottomed saute pan, rice cooker, and a julienne peeler.  I am so excited to try all my new toys, thanks Santa!

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VeganMoFo: Mom’s Pumpkin Bread

I wasn’t too interested in cooking as a kid, but I did enjoy baking with my mom.  She made the best brownies, and a fantastic pumpkin bread.  Just before I moved from Florida I found the card above mixed in with some recipes.  I wrote it out when I was a kid.  I can’t remember if it was for an elementary school project or just my ocd tendencies showing early on, but I’m glad I have it!  Yeah, it’s written in pink pen.  I’m a girl, whadayawant?

(Mom, if that’s not the right recipe please send it to me!)

To go along with my new attempted healthy eating regime, I decided to try to recreate the bread in a more healthy fashion.  I may have gone overboard with the changes though.

It looks alright and tastes very good, but somewhere along the way I went astray.  I made the bread vegan, sugar-free, lower-fat and whole grain.  It was a case of too many changes.  I had a feeling in the beginning it wouldn’t work out perfectly, but I wanted to try.

As you can see, while the outside is done the inside is still gummy and undercooked.  Very edible, but not even close to perfect.  I think soon I’ll revisit this and just make less changes.  The loaves didn’t rise very well, and I think one of the main culprits is using all spelt flour.  Next time I’ll try half spelt half whole wheat pastry.

Jake was interested, but when I offered him a little piece he didn’t want it.

Yeah, I take pictures on the floor sometimes.  It’s where the best lighting is until we get a dining table.

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