Posts Tagged VeganMoFo

VeganMoFo: One Feast to Rule Them All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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VeganMoFo: Native Foods

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

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

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

photo source blog.nativefoods.com

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

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

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

photo credit – blog.nativefoods.com

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

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

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

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

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

photo credit – http://www.ocmenus.com

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

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

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VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

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

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

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

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

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

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

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

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

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

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

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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VeganMoFo: Food Fit for the Playoffs

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

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

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

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

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

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

For dessert, mini double chocolate muffins with local Ghirardelli.

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

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

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

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

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

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VeganMoFo: Celebrations

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

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

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

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

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

all packed up for shipping

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

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

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

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VeganMoFO: Christmas in Central Texas

In what has seemed to become my unofficial theme for VeganMoFo 2013, here is another post about something that happened last year!

My brother was stationed at Fort Hood mid-last year and so he, my sister-in-law, and their baby Josie moved to Killeen, Texas.  My family decided to meet there for Christmas so they wouldn’t have to travel, and my mom found Weatherstone cabin bed and breakfast in the nearby town of Salado, which had the perfect amount of space for all six of us.

Flights into Killeen were super expensive, so I flew into Austin and rented a car instead.  I was hoping we would be able to work in a day trip to Austin but knew with the baby it might be difficult, so I wanted to choose a restaurant for a late lunch after landing.  It was really hard to choose one place from all the awesome-looking vegan food in Austin!

In the end I went with Wheatsville Coop, first because I had heard the tales of their popcorn tofu, and second because I wasn’t sure what would be available food-wise at the cabin or in Salado, so I wanted to pick up a few supplies.

The Buffalo Popcorn Hero was really tempting, but I stuck with the classic Popcorn Tofu Po’boy, which comes with cashew tamari and fresh veggies.  I also picked up a kale and beet salad, mac and cheese from the hot bar, an oatmeal cream pie, and a Blue Sky Jamaican Ginger Ale.

The sandwich was good; the tofu was firm and chewy and made great little fried nuggets.  The salad was really nice, a good mixture of sweet and tangy.  The mac was saucy, warm, and cheesy.  The oatmeal cream pie was a good simulation of the Little Debbie classic; the cookies were chewy and had a strong brown sugar flavor.

Full, happy, and tired, I made the drive to Salado, where I met my baby niece for the first time.

That night we hung around the cabin, ordering pizza delivery for dinner.  I wasn’t very hungry after my big late lunch, so I just asked for a double side salad.  What I didn’t realize is that apparently they put shredded cheese on side salads at a lot of places in the area.  (This began a trend I saw throughout my few days there.)  I just picked the cheese off as best I could.

We chose 9AM as our breakfast time, and being on west coast time and in vacation mode, I slept right up until then (as I did the next two mornings).  Our host Kay had already been hard at work and had everything ready.  My mom had let them know about my diet when booking the rooms and they had said they could accommodate me, but I still had no idea what to expect.

Fresh fruit on a pretty plate is always a good way to start.

While the rest of my family was served an egg casserole, I got my own little plate of veggie sausage patties and bread which had been toasted in margarine.  Kay picks up the bread, which was delicious, from a local bakery.  She also had coffee brewed and offered refills while we ate, in addition to seconds on anything.  She had soy milk for me to use in my coffee, and the cabin was stocked with bottled water, soda, tea, and a few snacks.

We didn’t really have an agenda for the day, so I spent some time taking in the cute Texas decor.  We also got a tour of the barn out back, which they rent out for events.

my brother Tate and seven month old Josie

my parents and Kay

We eventually headed out and walked down Main Street, which is lined with antique shops and all sorts of cute little stores.  We ended up at Adelea’s on Main for lunch, which Kay had recommended.  I forgot to take a picture of my meal, but not because it wasn’t good!

They didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but I noticed that hummus was available as an appetizer special, and there was a veggie wrap that usually came with black beans and artichoke dip.  I asked our waiter if they could sub hummus for the dip on the wrap and he seemed a little flummoxed by my request, but immediately offered to ask the chef and returned with a positive answer.  Despite being a kind of random gathering of ingredients, the wrap was very tasty and nicely grilled, and it came with their freshly made kettle chips.

On the walk back to the cabin we came across Salado Creek Winery.  I was not expecting to see a winery in this tiny town!  My mom and I popped in for a tasting.  Their wines definitely have personality; for example, the Cowpuncher Cabernet.  I do not advocate punching cows though, and I don’t believe they do either :)

I first tried their “Vaquero” Shiraz/Tempranillo Blend, which I like so much that I bought a bottle to bring home.  Shiraz is my favorite wine, and this was a lighter, tangier spin on it.

I also tried the Brown Chicken Brown Cow, a sweet shiraz flavored with chocolate.  The winery’s website says “As far as we know the only ‘chocolate’ wine made in Texas!”.  It was definitely good, but incredibly rich.  A few ounces went a long way.

For dinner that night we headed to Johnny’s Steaks & BBQ, another local restaurant which had been recommended.  It’s the type of joint that puts meat in all the side dishes, so I went for the ol’ side salad and french fries dinner.  The point of being there was to spend time with family, so as long as I got some calories in my belly it was alright.  Josie didn’t want to sit in the high chair, so we took turns holding her and walking around the restaurant, while she made friends with all the other guests.

After we got back I sampled the Red Rabbit Bakery donut holes I had bought at Wheatsville.  They were a little dry, but to be fair it had probably been a few days since they were made at that point.  I liked the flavor.  My brother did not, but my brother is picky.

The next morning, breakfast for the family was french toast, and for me it was waffles piled high with fruit, and veggie sausage links.  The waffles were also gluten free, as Kay was looking to expand her resources for special diets, and they were quite good.

That day we headed out to the Round Rock Premium Outlets for some shopping action.  We took a break for lunch at the food court, which didn’t seem too promising.  I did find Phil’s Philly Grill which had a veggie philly on the menu, so I asked for that without cheese plus a side salad.  Again, the side salad came with unadvertised cheese which I had to pick off.  I also snagged a few of my brother’s curly fries.

After more shopping and the drive back a few of us weren’t feeling so well, so we decided to stay in and take it easy that night.  We were going to call for pizza again, when after searching around I randomly found that the burger place down the road was advertising a vegan veggie burger, actually using the word vegan!  That was a surprise for such a small town.  My mom and I headed to Old Fashioned Burgers and Ice-Cream and placed our order with the one lady working there, who promptly started working hard to make all the food.  I think she may have buttered all the buns but I didn’t say anything since she was clearly busting it to get the food done.

The burger was pretty tasty, and we shared a big order of fries too.

The next morning we were greeted with a gigantic platter of fruit.  I don’t know where Kay was buying the produce, but she managed to find good melons and berries in Texas in December.

The highlight of the fruit was the sugared bananas.  She just rolled sliced bananas in cinnamon sugar, and the sugar takes on the moisture from the bananas and makes something like a glaze.  Delicious.

My main dish was hash browns, veggie bacon, and biscuits made with margarine.

That day we ventured to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Killeen to check it out, watch football, and for them to get a workout in.  They’re very serious about weight training and power lifting – no breaks on vacation!  For lunch we headed to Red Onion India Bistro, which I was very excited about, only to find that they were closed on Sundays.  Sad Face.  There was a McAlister’s Deli next door, a suitable second choice.

I went for the Spud Ole with veggie chili and jalapenos (no cheese).  I used to go to McAlister’s a lot in Florida, so this was a fun trip down memory lane, as well as a filling meal.

That afternoon, Tate gave us a tour around Fort Hood.  I had never been on a military base, so it was a really interesting experience.  I didn’t realize that some bases are open to the public; Fort Hood has a visitor’s center and two museums.  It’s a lot like a college campus, there are offices, barracks, sports fields and training grounds, as well as business like gas stations, restaurants, and the commissary.

This was the last vehicle out of Iraq after the US withdrew.  Very cool to see.

I’m not sure if you can tell the scale of this helicopter, but it is massive.  Its job is to pick up and move other vehicles and equipment.

For dinner, we went to Texas Roadhouse.  I had a side salad with a dressing off of the “light” menu, a baked sweet potato, and a vegetable skewer.  Not bad for a vegan steakhouse meal.

The next morning I was up early, saying goodbye and driving back to the Austin airport.  I’ll remember this trip as a lot of things:  meeting my niece for the first time, spending time in a cute little Texas town, and eating a lot of potatoes.  A lot.

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VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Polenta Rancheros from Vegan Brunch

Tamarind BBQ Tempeh & Sweet Potatoes from Appetite for Reduction

Goddess Nicoise Salad from Appetite for Reduction

Tempeh Pot au Feu from Vegan on the Cheap

Brussels Sprout-Potato Hash from Appetite for Reduction with leek & dill quinoa

potatoes with pumpkin-cheese sauce, bacon bits and green onion

Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry from Appetite for Reduction

Creamy Picatta Pasta, roasted vegetables & swiss chard

Kidney Bean & Sweet Potato Jamba Stew from Appetite for Reduction

Ye’abesha Gomen, Mushroom Tibs, and Ethiopian Millet from Appetite for Reduction

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