Posts Tagged soup

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: 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: Dyspepsia Diet Stage III

As I mentioned in the first post about my dyspepsia diet, I stayed in Stage II a bit longer than originally planned, because I didn’t feel ready to move on.  By this point in the plan I was feeling much better and had the inflammation/acid issue under control, so it was more about adding healing and soothing foods like miso, lemon, turmeric, root vegetables, and fruits.  I was able to reintroduce most foods at this point except the major culprits.  I also started taking papaya enzyme and artichoke leaf extract since they are supposed to help with digestion.

I welcomed acidic fruit back into my life in the form of kiwi, on yogurt topped with Nature’s Path cereal.

Oatmeal is good for the stomach all the time, so I made a savory oatmeal bowl with tempeh, greens, roasted mushrooms and Oh She Glows’ Butternut Cheese Sauce, which I loooove.  I usually use canned pumpkin instead of the butternut, just for ease.

I had some fennel from the CSA to use up, so I sauteed it with carrots, peas, and chickpeas and seasoned it with ginger and turmeric.  Served over Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction.

Asparagus was in season at the time, so I used some in the Asparagus and Spinach Soup from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, subbing kale for spinach.  The soup also contained wild rice, mushrooms and summer squash, and was light yet hearty at the same time.  On the side are Cheese and Herb Corn Muffins from the same book, which are quite good and freeze well.

To use root vegetables and lentils, which are supposed to be good for the stomach lining, I made the Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Dal from Appetite for Reduction.  I really liked the texture of this dish, but the flavor was a little off for me.  The recipe calls for parsnips and turnips OR rutabaga.  I went with rutabaga, and I think the root vegetables were a little sour when combined with all the spices.  I love turnips, so I’m sure I would like the dish more that way.

Stage III eating was very similar to how I usually eat, just without the more acidic/irritating ingredients like vinegar, mustard, tomatoes and pepper.  It wasn’t difficult to find delicious food to eat in this stage, and by the end I was feeling much better!  Afterward, I incorporated ingredients I had been avoiding very slowly back into my diet, and I am happy to say that in the six months since then I haven’t had any tummy troubles!

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VeganMoFo: Vegan Dyspepsia Diet Stage I

Stage I of my vegan dyspepsia diet was all about foods that were easy to digest, in order to give my stomach a break as much as possible.  This included soups, porridges, smoothies, juices, cooked veggies, soft fruits, and carbs such as white bread and mashed potatoes.  Think baby food, but for adults.  In addition to the things to avoid for the whole plan (spicy, fatty, caffeine, alcohol & chocolate), in this stage I avoided high fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, nuts & seeds, and beans & legumes.  If you look at my regular diet it’s pretty much founded on those four categories, so it was not easy!  Luckily, this stage only lasted two days.

(Click here for the full plan.)

For breakfasts I cooked up a big crockpot full of porridge.  The mucousy nature of porridge is supposed to be good for the stomach lining.

I don’t remember the exact grains that went in to this, but I’m sure it contained at least amaranth and quinoa.

I topped a small serving with unsweetened applesauce, almond milk, and cinnamon.

I had to really brainstorm for smoothie ideas, since the berries, mango, and pineapple I usually use were too acidic for this stage.

Yogurt is pretty much always good for digestion due to the probiotics, so I started with Trader Joe’s cultured coconut milk, which was a new product at the time.  To the yogurt I added pumpkin puree, banana, hemp protein powder, and stevia.  This was very tasty, filling, and easy on my stomach.

For snacks, I bought a jar of pear halves.  I actually really like canned pears but never buy them, so this was a good excuse to have them.  I rinsed them off before eating, since grape juice was off limits.

For the first night’s dinner, I made a big pot of vegetable soup including potatoes, green beans, zucchini, carrots, and swiss chard, being sure to cook the veggies well.  Although I was supposed to avoid onion and garlic, I figured using vegetable broth would be okay since the solids were strained out.  I knew the soup alone wouldn’t be enough to keep me full, so I got a loaf of white Pugliese bread from Trader Joe’s.  I don’t have white bread very often, so this was kind of a treat.  The bread was soft and fluffy and soaked up the soup perfectly.

To avoid eating soup every meal for two days, and to have something to actually chew on, I made this meal of white rice, dry-fried tofu, and steamed carrots.  It was weird to not add any seasonings, but despite the plainness it was a tasty meal!  Much like the white bread above, the white rice was kind of a treat since I usually only eat brown, and the carrots were a nice sweet contrast to the tofu.

For beverages in this stage, I stuck to water and chamomile and ginger teas.

Now, let’s talk about the real issue with this plan:  caffeine withdrawal.  When the doctor told me I needed to avoid caffeine in order to get better, I knew I was in trouble.  I was addicted to caffeine and honestly didn’t have a problem with that since I only have about two cups of coffee or tea per day, but I knew I was going to go through withdrawal.  The first day wasn’t too bad, I got a headache, but nothing that put me out of commission.  Second day was the same.  The third day, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was a Monday and I was at work.  I got a headache in the morning, and as the day went by I became cranky and irritable to the point where I couldn’t stand being around anyone or anything.  It was probably the worst mood I’ve ever been in in my life.  I left work early, went home, and just laid down for the rest of the day.  On the fourth day I was really un-energetic but better, and it improved from there.  Truthfully, even after a month my energy levels never recovered. I never felt like I had a good level of natural energy upon waking, and I always knew that I’d go back to caffeine as soon as I could, and I was okay with that.  I have great admiration for people who quit caffeine for good!

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Team ASPCA Raffle & Dinners for Busy People

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here about my regular, every day eats.  I have been cooking (and of course eating) but I’ve also been extremely busy, so my meals have had to be more of the simple and quick variety.

My current project is that I’m training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon with Team ASPCAThe ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States, a mission close to my heart.  I’m really happy to be a part of Team ASPCA and honored to be raising both awareness and funding to support the ASPCA’s programs!

As part of my fundraising, I’m hosting a raffle!  Head on over to the Raffle Page and check it out!  The list of prizes is really awesome, if I do say so myself, with an estimated value of over $1,100.  There are over 30 great prizes to be won, and you can enter for as little as a $5 donation!  To entice you, here’s a pile of some of the prizes, just waiting to be shipped.  The bottom right box might be of particular interest to some people…

Please check out the Raffle Page on The Vegan Weight Watcher and consider donating to The ASPCA!  The deadline to enter for the first drawing is this Friday, September 14th, at 12PM noon PDT.

I started running around July of last year, and have been training for one race or another ever since.  Between working full time, training, and other obligations, I don’t have much time to cook, but on the other hand, I need healthy meals to fuel my training.  So, I’ve turned to a few particular cookbooks and fast meals to get by.

First up, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  I posted a review here and more photos here, and this continues to be my go-to for flavorful and balanced meals that don’t take a long time.  The book has an index of recipes that are ready in under 30 minutes, which makes it even easier to pick out quick meals.

This is Goddess Nicoise Salad.  I don’t normally love olives but liked them in this, and the cooked green beans and potatoes made it feel hearty enough to be a full meal.

Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry is the perfect way to use fall CSA produce.

Pasta con Broccoli may look a little dry, but it’s actually quite flavorful and moist.  I added chickpeas to round out the meal, as the author suggests.

With only about 20 minutes active cooking time involved, Kidney Bean & Butternut Jamba Stew is a delicious, spicy meal in a bowl.

Forty-Clove Broccoli & Chickpeas and Colipots was really intensely delicious, but not as filling as I had hoped.

Fusilli Roasted Vegetable Primavera teaches you a great way to make a flavorful summer pasta without too much effort.  I added mushrooms and chickpeas, and wouldn’t make it again without.

Quick Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson is a cookbook which is geared specifically toward speedy vegan meals.  Luckily, most of the recipes are relatively healthy too, with plenty of veggies.  Looking through the index, there are plenty more recipes from this book that I want to try!

The Roasted Asparagus Soup gets its creaminess from potato and non-dairy milk.  The soup was delicious, but I thought it missed some of the asparagus flavor by adding the other ingredients.  On the side, I made a quick potato, corn, and black bean hash.

Barbecue Pinto and Portobello is like a souped up version of baked beans, with a fast homemade barbecue sauce.  It’s intended to be a sandwich filling, but in an effort to keep it a little more light, I had the beans on their own with a side of coleslaw pasta salad.

This Indonesian Vegetable and Tofu Scramble was a great way to use up all the bok choy I receive from the CSA.  Adding hoisin sauce and ground coriander made it really different from other scrambles.  On the side is chili-lime roasted sweet potatoes.

Tropical Quinoa and Black Beans develops the flavor of the islands in a short amount of time.  I served it over steamed kale, topped by pumpkin seeds, which were nice textural contrasts.

Since I’m also watching my budget, I turn to Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson as well.  The recipes tend to rely on fresh vegetables a little less than I like, which is understandable based on the title, but I have found a few good ones so far and plan to try out more.

The mix of sweet and spicy in this Moroccan-Inspired Lentil Soup was great.  I served the thick soup over grits.

I added some chipotle chili powder to this Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Chowder, rendering it spicier than expected, but it was still quite delicious topped with avocado and served with sprouted blue corn tortilla chips and steamed broccoli.

I really like raw foods during the summer months, both for their speed and simplicity.  One book I’ve really been enjoying is Practically Raw by Amber Shea Crawley.  Some of the recipes require time or dehydrating, yes, but many of them are really quick and accessible.

The Deconstructed Sushi Bowl was a really fun way to enjoy sushi without cooking rice and bothering to roll anything.  Since the meal was mostly vegetables, I bulked it up by adding edamame and a quick spicy sauce.  I’ll write a full review of Practically Raw once I’ve had the chance to try more recipe!

These Gingery Sunflower Seed, Cabbage, and Red Apple Rolls from Choosing Raw were simple and delicious!  I wrapped mine in collard leaves instead of the nori sheets, just because that’s what I had, and the sweet apples were a great contrast to the bitter greens.

One obvious time saver is the slow cooker, which I don’t utilize nearly often enough.  Maybe once the weather turns cool again I’ll yearn for more stew-like, comforting dishes.

Here’s a non-soup recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester, Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole.  You layer corn tortillas and sweet potatoes with canned enchlada sauce and beans.  The recipe called for one can of beans and vegan chorizo, but I used two cans of beans instead to try to keep it a little more whole-foods oriented.  I topped the casserole with a little slaw and salsa verde that we happened to have in the fridge, and served roasted brussels sprouts on the side.

Slow cooker minestrone, adapted from this recipe, with leeks, yelllow squash, zucchini, lima beans, green beans, swiss chard, and quinoa pasta.

I LOVE salads for summertime meals.  I’ve been known to use an entire head of lettuce for an entree-sized salad!

Kale salad with avocado, blood orange and chipotle-ginger tempeh.  Since the tempeh was the only cooked component, this one came together quickly.

Black bean, zucchini and corn fajita salad with salsa and Daiya Jack style wedges.  I really like the new Daiya wedges!

Reuben-ish salad with lettuce, carrot, celery, dill pickle, roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, bacon bits, sunflower seeds, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressing from Eat to Live.

Blackened seitan salad with cusabi dressing.  The seitan was broiled with the blackened seasoning mix from Appetite for Reduction, and the cusabi dressing was a first stab at veganizing the cucumber-wasabi dressing that turned out okay, but not great.

Kale salad with red cabbage, carrot, edamame, tahini dressing, and sesame seeds.  Shredded red cabbage in kale salad is my favorite!

And, of course, the easiest way to make quick meals is to have some cooking knowledge and experience up your sleeve so that you can throw something together from what’s in the fridge that turns out edible!

Sesame-tangerine soy curls with bok choy, bean sprouts and brown rice.

Red curry lentil stew with wild rice, brown rice and spinach.

Clean-out-the-fridge tofu scramble with shallot, mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts and leftover grilled potatoes.

Socca with herbed white beans, Daiya mozzarella, and balsamic roasted carrots and raddichio.  Socca is the best, you just mix equal parts chickpea flour and water, a pinch of salt, and a little olive oil if you want, then cook it like crepes!

Broiled tofu and roasted cabbage over brown rice with dulse flakes and sesame seeds.

And lastly, the SUPER simple.  I can’t tell you how many times over the past year I’ve come home from a workout and warmed up a veggie burger because it’s all I could muster!

Tofurky and hummus, my very favorite sandwich!

Grits, canned refried beans, salsa and pickled jalapeno.

Grilled Daiya mozzarella sandwich with tomato-miso-leek soup.

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VeganMoFo: Reno

I’ve been to Reno too many times to link to all my posts about it (here’s a link to a blog search), but on this latest trip I made it a point to try to find even more restaurants which were vegan friendly.

To start out my Saturday morning, I went for a run along the Truckee River.  There is a pathway along the river which happens to run right through downtown Reno, which made for a really nice run.  There were lots of other people out running, biking and walking their dogs.  Breakfast was a Larabar and a banana which I had brought with me.

For lunch, I headed to Fairly Grounded Too, which I had read about on Vegan Coaches page about dining in Reno.  It’s on Virginia Street a few blocks south of the river, and it’s easy to miss – the sign mostly says “coffee” really big.  Going inside, it’s a modern yet cozy coffee shop with plenty of space for you, your coffee and your laptop.

Their sandwiches and salads are premade and none are vegan, but if you ask the nice people behind the counter they will let you know if anything they have that day is vegan.  This rainbow vegetable soup was recommended; I don’t know if the have it every day or if it’s a special, but it was delicious.  The vegetables were chunky and not overcooked, and there were some interesting spices that I couldn’t put my finger on.  It came with a slice of bread, and they actually had Earth Balance for spreading.

I needed a caffeine fix, so I got a soy latte as well.  This was one of the best soy lattes I’ve ever had, slightly bitter but not too strong.

The girl also mentioned that the biscotti was vegan.  I’m not usually a big biscotti fan, but obviously I had to try it.  It was cherry almond flavor, with both almond extract and chunks of whole almond.  The biscotti was chewy and crispy at the same time, and very good.

That afternoon I had a massage (heaven), and we decided to embark upon the Reno Beer Crawl, which occurs the fourth Saturday of every month.  You buy the glass for five bucks, and can get 6 oz pours at eleven bars for one dollar each.  It was really fun, and a great way to explore more of downtown.

After all that beer and walking around, I was in need of some serious fuel.  We walked down to Pie Face Pizza, as I had heard a rumor that they had vegan cheese.

The rumors were wonderfully true.  Even though it’s not listed on their online menu, they do have Daiya.  This is The Resa specialty pizza – sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, jalapeno, red onion, spinach, pine nuts, Daiya instead of goat cheese.  It was spicy and garlicy and melty and I ate the whole thing and I’m not ashamed.  Pie Face was a hip and happening place, and I would definitely go back.

Sunday morning I went for brunch at Pneumatic Diner.  I had been there once before for lunch, but it was at a weird time of the afternoon and there was nobody else there, so I wanted to go again when they were more busy.  I was hoping they would have some sort of vegan breakfasty item like pancakes, but they did not.  The menu is massive though, almost too big, so everyone will find something they like.

The breakfast burrito immediately caught my eye, but I think that’s what I ordered the first time I went, so I chose The Vegan Bubba, a sandwich with hummus, red onion, shredded carrot, marinated grilled eggplant and zucchini, and greens.  I chose to add the optional “slab”, which is grilled tofu.

Look at all the deliciousness spilling out!  This was actually a really tasty and satisfying sandwich, despite its apparent simplicity.  It kept me full for a long, long time.

On the way back home, we stopped around 4PM for a late lunch and headed toward a Togo’s, which was in a shopping plaza with not much else.  Walking up to the store, something caught my eye.  It was a sign in the window of Flour Garden Bakery that said “vegan black bean chili”!  Needless to say, I went inside to check it out.

Sadly, they had just put the chili away to freeze (even though it was over an hour until they closed), but luckily they had tofu salad sandwiches on display.  The tofu salad was tasty, but the bakery’s sprouted wheat bread was the real standout.  It was soft, hearty, and a little sweet, the perfect sandwich bread.  If you ever happen to be hungry near exit 199C on I-80, pull over and find Flour Garden.  It’s a great feeling to find things marked vegan unexpectedly.

That’s it for this rendition of vegan in Reno.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to Freeman’s Natural Hotdogs.  There’s always next time!

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VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Mushrooms

My second ingredient for Flavor Bible Week is mushrooms, specifically shiitakes, from page 228.  The flavor matches that jumped out at me were bacon, celery root, lemongrass, onion and soy sauce.  Another flavor match listed was soup, so that is what I made.

If you’ve never cooked with celery root (aka celeriac), give it a try!  Once you get past the nubby exterior it’s easy to work with.  Celery root lives up to its name; it tastes like celery but feels like a root vegetable.

Celeriac & Caramelized Onion Soup with Lemon grass and Shiitake Bacon

The lemon grass and onion highlight the creamy celeriac soup, while the shiitake bacon is the real star.  This recipe gives you enough mushrooms to have a piece with almost every bite.  The shiitake bacon method is borrowed from the Bauman College cookbook.

1 Tbs olive oil
large sweet onion, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 lbs celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
stalk lemon grass, smashed and cut into 6-inch pieces
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
dash salt, or more to taste
dash ground white pepper
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thinly
1 Tbs coconut oil, melted
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs tamari

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, stir to coat, and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until caramelized and slightly browned.  Watch to make sure the onions don’t burn or get too dry.
3. Turn up the heat to medium high.  Add the garlic and poultry seasoning and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
4. Add the celeriac, vegetable broth or water and lemon grass.  Cover, turn the heat up and bring to a boil.
5. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer 20 minutes, covered, until celeriac is easily pierced by a fork.
6. Meanwhile, combine the shiitakes, coconut oil, smoked paprika and tamari.  Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping the mushrooms once after 15 minutes.  If smaller pieces start to burn, remove them to a plate as needed.
7. Remove the lemon grass pieces from the pot.  Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches if necessary.  Add the almond milk, salt and white pepper and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
8. Divide the soup among four bowls and top with the mushrooms.  Serve hot.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 288.88
Calories From Fat (26%) 75.72
% Daily Value
Total Fat 8.7g 13%
Saturated Fat 3.72g 19%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 526.39mg 22%
Potassium 1281.21mg 37%
Total Carbohydrates 50.92g 17%
Fiber 8.48g 34%
Sugar 8.52g
Protein 7.64g 15%

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VeganMoFo: Vegan on the Cheap

I learned about some of the recipes in Robin Robertson’s Vegan On The Cheap by seeing them on the blog Two Vegan Boys.  All of the dishes looked really tasty, so I bought the book and gave a few recipes a try.  I’m not on as strict a budget as I have been at some points of my life, but I still try to keep my grocery bill to a reasonable amount, so I liked the idea of choosing recipes specifically for the low cost.

One thing that this book has going for it is that the recipes are generally hearty, comforting and filling.  This is a great quality, but for someone who’s watching their portions and calorie intake, it can make recipe selection a little more complicated.  Many of them are higher in carbs than I usually prefer, and I like to bulk up my plate with veggies.  So, I picked recipes that worked best for me, lowered the amount of oils called for, and supplemented with veggie side dishes.

These are Mu Shu Burritos, and for a recipe with so few ingredients it was really delicious.  The main seasoning is hoisin sauce, which helped with the depth of flavor.  (Whole Foods has an organic house brand of vegetarian hoisin which I like.)  The recipe calls for seitan but I used soy curls because I already had some in the pantry.  What could be more cheap than food that’s already in the pantry?  The texture of the cooked cabbage was a nice contrast to the soy curls.  I served my burritos with a little chopped broccoli salad seasoned with rice vinegar and sweet chili sauce.

I served up the Three Bean Loaf with beets and roasted brussels sprouts.  The loaf was held together by bread crumbs, oats and vital wheat gluten, and it actually loafed!  The beans and binders were combined with carrot, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar and cider vinegar, and the combination of sweet, savory and tangy flavors was mouth watering.

The Peanutty Pumpkin Stew was a meal unto itself.  The broth was thickened with canned pumpkin and peanut butter, and other ingredients included carrot, potato, tomato, curry powder, kidney beans and green chiles.  I added a pinch of cayenne powder for a little bit of heat.  The thick/chunky texture may not be pleasing to some, but it really worked for me.  Most of the ingredients could be already found in your pantry and vegetable crisper.  To get some green in my meal, I steamed some kale and mixed it into the soup.

This Blushing Alfredo Fettuccine was the perfect way to use up a partial jar of marinara that was lingering in the fridge.  The sauce includes your typical vegan alfredo ingredients such as cashews, silken tofu and nutritional yeast, but you pump up the flavor even more by starting with sauteed onions and garlic.  I served the sauce over shirataki noodles, which are tofu based, very low-cal noodles.  They’re not amazing, but I do like to use them instead of pasta sometimes so that I can have a big dish of food without lots of calories.  I topped the noodles and sauce with roasted cauliflower, baked tempeh and fresh parsley.

I really enjoyed every recipe I’ve tried from Vegan On The Cheap so far.  The recipes and techniques are solid, the flavor combinations are familiar yet tempting, and the recipes live up to the book title’s promise by costing less at the grocery store, and using up some pantry items if you plan well.

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