Posts Tagged pumpkin

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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Happy New Year, Let Me Show You My Thanksgiving Dinner!

So, I didn’t intend to take such a long break after VeganMoFo ended!  I fell out of the blogging habit pretty hard there, so now I’ll have to get back into it to get caught up.  Let’s start with the most delicious of meals, Thanksgiving!

We had a big group this year, twelve guests in total, so we cleared all the furniture out of the living room and moved in some tables.

Dave decided we needed a fancy menu like a fancy restaurant…

We prepared a huge meal, so I kept the appetizers light – grapes, veggies, crackers and cashew cheese spread.

The whole spread…The green bean casserole is my recipe, with canned fried onions on top.  Dave was in charge of the sourdough stuffing, which included homemade mushroom broth and lots of fresh herbs.  For the mashed potatoes, I simmered smashed garlic cloves in the almond milk while the potatoes cooked, to have the garlic flavor without the garlic pieces.  I also mixed in truffle salt and white pepper.  They were quite the tasty potatoes.  You can’t see the braised greens here, but they were slow cooked with onion, garlic, fresh tomato and homemade vegetable broth.

I also made Oh She Glows Fluffy Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, except I let them go too long on the second rise and they turned into cut-apart diner rolls.  Even so, they were light and tasty.  As a special treat, I also made “honey butter” using Earth Balance and Just Like Honey Rice Nectar.  I used to love biscuits with butter and honey, and not having had honey in over six years, I really liked the Just Like Honey.  It has that sweet tang that I remember honey having.

I didn’t want to have to prepare an entree for myself, so I bought a Field Roast Celebration Roast and just zapped it in the microwave.  It turned out a little dry, so the canned cranberry sauce was a nice accompaniment.  I was going to make some gravy but ran out of time; I missed it a little but certainly had plenty to eat.

Dessert was a whole ‘nother extravaganza.  The three pies were store bought because, you know, six desserts are better than three!

By request, I made pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting, which are always a hit.

This is The PPK’s Triple Apple Cider Bundt Cake Stuffed with Apples, which was really tasty!  My glaze, sadly, was too thin, but it was yummy nonetheless.

Lastly, Gingerbread Biscotti from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I had never made biscotti before, and it’s quite easy.  You just make regular cookies in log form, bake, cool, slice, and bake again.  Takes a little longer, but the crispy-chewy bite is definitely worth it.  These guys were dark and spicy and gingery, and definitely more-ish even at the end of a big feast.

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VeganMoFo: Thanksgiving 2010

We originally invited four friends over for Thanksgiving but only one could make it, so we had a small, relaxed gathering.  We set the table up behind the couch for easy football watching during dinner – excellent.

Our appetizer was Pepper Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese, balsamic roasted figs, and crackers.  The cheese log was AWESOME.  I super heart it.  The recipe is C’est La Vegan’s adaptation of the Vegetarian Times recipe, and I really appreciated the extra commentary and directions that she provided.  I was worried that my cheese wasn’t going to hold together because it didn’t drain off much liquid and felt soft coming out of the oven, but it held together well enough to transfer to the platter, and the consistency was perfectly spreadable.  I would highly recommend giving this a try if you like tangy, spreadable, delicious vegan cheese.  The recipe seems lengthy, but it doesn’t have to be; I soaked the cashews while at work the day before, blended it that night and let it sit overnight, then baked it in the morning.

The figs were tossed with a bit of balsamic, olive oil and salt and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.  They weren’t a huge hit with Dave or our guest, but I liked them well enough.

I also put out a bowl of sweet ‘n spicy mixed nuts, which I over baked a little.  Oops…

I wanted to serve soup and salad, and kept the servings small so that we wouldn’t fill up before the main event.

Chestnut & Celeriac Soup with Sherry-Cider Reduction.  As I said in the recipe post, I put a bit too much reduction on the soup – It really only needs a small drizzle.

Chopped Salad with “Honey”-Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette.  I planned to make this for Thanksgiving ever since it went over so well at our Showcase dinner.  I substituted agave for the honey, and left out the apples and avocado.  I can see how it would be even better with avocado.  Neither of the guys ate their entire salad, but they both said they liked it, which is really impressive for a salad containing both raw kale and brussels sprouts.

There was so much food, we used every surface.  Dave did make a turkey with gravy and non-vegan stuffing, but other than that, everything was vegan!

He also made a vegan oyster mushroom stuffing, which was really nice because it was one less dish I had to worry about.  And as a bonus, it was really good!  Earth Balance, onion, celery, oyster mushrooms, fresh sage, thyme and rosemary, stale bread cubes, and unchicken broth.

Mound of mashed potatoes with Earth Balance, truffle salt and almond milk.

Green Bean Casserole, topped with French’s fried green beans as opposed to freshly fried onions, at Dave’s request.  While I do like my version with homemade crispy onions, I also have to admit that the French’s onions are quite excellent for this purpose.

Orange-Cranberry Sauce.  I wasn’t going to make any cranberry sauce this year because it’s not our favorite part of the meal, but my CSA sent me a package of fresh cranberries the week before, so what choice did I have?  I set out to make a mold, but it didn’t set up enough, so I called it a smooth sauce.  No recipe – I just cooked the cranberries with the juice of two oranges and zest of one, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave nectar.  They simmered just until soft, then I blended the mixture and returned it to the pot, adding a few Tablespoons of agar flakes and some maple syrup.  It tasted nice, but I was sad when the mold didn’t hold its shape.

My entree was the Nut Roast Extraordinaire that I froze a few weeks ago, on the plate with corn and Our Veggie Kitchen’s Turkey Gravy.  The gravy actually did kinda taste like turkey!  Granted, it’s been a long time since I had turkey.  While it wasn’t my favorite gravy ever, it’s definitely worth a try if you’re looking for a vegan turkey gravy.

All together.

Dessert was Pumpkin Pie from the Mission:  Impossible Pies e-book, served with Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Vanilla Ice Cream.  Dave wanted a store-bought pie and was suspicious when he heard that our pie wasn’t going to have any crust, but in the end he admitted that this version was good too.  He certainly didn’t complain while we ate the leftovers!

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VeganMoFo: Squashes, Pumpkins and Other Things Autumnal

Welcome to Vegan Month of Food!  If you missed my last post with my plans for VeganMoFo 2010, check it out.  I’m starting out by catching up on some stuff that’s been going on recently.  To get into the spirit of Fall, I’ve been eating as many Autumnal flavors as possible!


This is autumn millet, tempeh, roasted brussels sprouts and toasted pepitas.  I don’t know if I can adequately express my love for roasted brussels sprouts.  I could eat at least three times the amount pictured here in one sitting.  Love!  For the millet, I was inspired by Lilveggiepatch’s Autumn Millet.  I’ve never been a huge fan of millet, because I had never figured out how to cook it correctly, and now I think I’ve found the formula.  Some people say to use 2 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out underdone and crunchy, and some people say to use 3 cups water to 1 cup millet, which I think turns out wet and squishy.  So, I compromised and used 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup millet and the texture was perfectly light and fluffy.  I also toasted the millet very well in a dry pan before adding the water, which I think is key.  The tempeh was simmered then quickly marinated in orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, cumin and coriander.  The toasted pepitas totally sealed the deal on this dinner.

When I first saw the frittata recipe from the VeganizeIt! column in the May/June issue of VegNews, I knew I would love it.  The description promised an eggy texture and taste from chickpea flour and kala namak, and while it didn’t seem extremely eggy to me, I did like it a lot.

I served the frittata with roasted pumpkin, cooked in coconut oil and spiced with garam masala and coriander.  I used leek in the frittata instead of the onion which was called for, just because I had a leek in the fridge.  I also reduced the amount of margarine from 1/4 cup to 2 Tbs, because I just didn’t see the need for that much margarine.  The frittata didn’t feel low fat even with the reduced amount, and I was particularly happy with the calorie count – under 150 calories for 1/6 of the whole pie!

I bought a block of Galaxy Vegan Cheddar to try out on some chili, and when I came across (never home) maker’s Smoked Pumpkin Chili I thought it would pair perfectly.  Verdict on the cheese:  It’s…okay.  It’s not better or worse than Daiya or Teese, just different, and I guess I would buy it again if I needed some cheese and it was available.  It did shred very easily, so that’s a plus.

Verdict on the chili:  Delicious!  The pumpkin puree made the broth wonderfully thick, and the smoked paprika gave it a great smoky flavor.  I added a few dashes of cayenne pepper, because my chili has to be spicy.  My only complaint is that the recipe didn’t include any actual chili powder, which to me is an essential ingredient.  I hope to make this soup again sooner than later, and I will probably add a tablespoon of chili powder when I do.

The latest East Bay Vegan Bakesale was last Saturday, and while I didn’t have time to bake for it, I made sure to stop buy and pick up a few goodies.  This is a pumpkin whoopie pie and a sweet potato muffin, and they were both fantastic.  I also bought a mini-banana muffin and scarfed it too quickly to photograph.  There were also brownies, giant cinnamon rolls, cookies, cupcakes and all sorts of other goodies on display, and I used my amazing skills of self-control to not buy it all.  Or, I was broke at the end of the month.  One of those…

For dinner tonight, I baked up a spaghetti squash then tossed the flesh with Vegan Dad’s Alfredo Sauce and some steamed spinach.  I’ve had some major let-downs in the alfredo department since going vegan, but this sauce did not disappoint!  I again reduced the amount of margarine called for, because I just can’t justify putting 1/2 cup of Earth Balance in something that I’ll be eating all by myself.  I can see how the sauce would be more rich with the full amount, but I don’t think it really suffered for taking out some of the fat.  I also reduced the amount of onion powder a bit, and added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, because everything needs nutritional yeast.  On the side, I had some roasted beets and radishes.  Beets and radishes play surprisingly well together.

I’m so excited to read all of the upcoming VeganMoFo posts from bloggers around the world.  There are over 500 blogs signed up!  A full list will be posted here within a few days:  http://veganmofo.wordpress.com/blog-roll-2010/

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Hello Fall!

Fall is quite possibly my favorite season.  I’ve been getting pumped up for Fall, but it hadn’t yet felt like Fall.  Until today.  It’s been hot lately here, thanks to our “Indian Summer“, but the air was crisp and cool today.

Every year when gourds appear in stores, I am compelled to buy a variety just to have around the house.  Here’s my collection so far.

Also, this:

Brussels on the stem!

It’s been a good day.  I took care of a bunch of nagging errands, shopped at my favorite grocery store, and now I’m watching college football and playoff baseball.  To take advantage of the weather, we grilled for dinner.

Balsamic portobello, fingerling potatoes and amazing baby yellow zucchini with garlic.  The texture of the zucchini was like buttah.  After dinner we were both feeling like dessert, so I made the fastest thing I could think of.

Microwave cakes!  I used this recipe.  I didn’t feel like mixing up an egg replacer, so I just added a bit of cornstarch to the mix.  With a proper egg replacer, I’m sure they would have risen more.  Either way, they were delicious!

It was much like a pudding cake, warm, dense and chocolaty.  I would totally make this again, and probably will.  I’d be highly interested in a microwave pumpkin cake for one.

Jake has been excited to sit on any blanket that we happen to leave laying around.

Really, that is Jake’s excited face.

Does it feel like Fall where you are?

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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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Sweet Potato Chili & Thanksgiving

All my posts as of late have an “&” in the title.  I will try to find time to post more often and avoid the “ands”!

Last week I wanted to make a big pot of deliciousness.  It’s definitely chili weather here and it’s been at least a year since I last made chili, so chili it was.  I use this as my basic veggie chili go-to recipe.  If you follow the recipe you’ll have a tasty, meaty omni-friendly chili, and it’s great for variations.  It’ll taste good pretty much no matter what you do to it.  I’m trying to stay away from processed food though, so instead of faux meat I diced a huge sweet potato and tossed it in.

To go with the chili I made my whole wheat cornbread and wilted some arugula.

On to Thanksgiving!  This was my first Thanksgiving with bf’sfamily, so I didn’t want to get to crazy with the “weird” vegan food and I stayed fairly traditional.

When I made the cornbread above I doubled the recipe so that I could make cornbread stuffing, using this recipe from Vegan Chef.

This was very tasty!  Everyone else kind of looked at it funny, but that’s fine – more leftovers for me!  The only thing I might change next time would be to use a little less parsley and green onion, and a bit more broth to make it all mush together.

The best green bean casserole, from Fat Free Vegan.  This was a hit with everyone.  Well, at least everyone who likes green beans.

Robin Robertson’s Cranberry Relish.  I’m not a huge cranberry sauce person, but I got two bags for 99 cents, and this recipe looked really interesting, with additions like shallots and red bell peppers.  I liked it a lot, but it’s still not something I can eat a lot of.

My cashew miso gravy.  So good.

It’s very hard to get a decent picture of just gravy.

My plate.  BF’s mom left some potatoes on the side for me to mash with Earth Balance and soy milk.

For my “entree” I made seitan cutlets from VCON.  I have to say, I’m not digging them very much.  It might just be that I left them too thick, but the texture turned out so rubbery I have a hard time eating them.  For this meal I cut one in half to make it thinner, coated it in flour and pan-fried it.  It was pretty good this way, along with gravy and everything else on the plate.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of them that are currently stashed in my freezer though.

Here’s another view of my plate, just because I think the picture turned out better.

For dessert I made Pumpkin Pie Brownies from The PPK, which I have been wanting to try for over a year.

They were really easy to make and the texture turned out great, but I thought they weren’t sweet enough, which is odd for me.  Normally I think desserts are too sweet!  The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate and I used unsweeted, so I’m sure that took a little sweetness away, but I was very surprised.  They were kind of an “adult” dessert, where the bitterness of the chocolate comes through.  If I make them again I will definitely add more sugar, maybe some chocolate chips in the brownies and whipped cream for the top.  Then I think they will be stellar.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am holding my very first contest!  Well…it’s not really a contest…more like a giveaway.  I am approaching 1000 approved comments, crazy!  To thank you all for continuing to come back and read (even when I’m only posting once a week), I will send a package of sweets to whomever posts the 1000th comment!  I won’t say how close I am – it may not even happen for this post.  But I will announce the winner when it happens.

Lastly, I only took two lunches for last week’s shortened workweek, so here they are.

11-24 better than cream cheese & pumpkin butter sandwich on wheat,
celery & carrots sticks, banana pieces, candy cane jo jo’s

11-25 sweet potato chili, cornbread, wilted arugula, a clementine

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is getting into the holiday spirit!

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