Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tax Season is Finally Over

Yes, I know that tax season officially ended (in the US at least) on April 15th, but I have spent the last couple of weeks recuperating from it.  Sorry that I didn’t do any posts while running the tax office, but I did not realize how exhausting it would be, until I started the season.  Near the end, I didn’t even do a lot of cooking, simply because I didn’t know how busy the office might be and when or what I would be able to eat.  Most of my meals the last couple of weeks before the 15th were either sandwiches (made with Field Roast), and quick stir fry with frozen vegetables, Pop-tarts (the Brown Sugar Cinnamon without icing are vegan) and Larabars.  Not exactly healthy, but they kept me going.  And since the 15th, I really haven’t done a lot of cooking either.  It is so easy to just sit down and do nothing. 

I do plan on getting all the pictures up of what I did do, and will most likely do it in just one post.  It may be all pictures, but that may be the easiest way to do it. 

As for this week, I’ve done a few things.  The first is I made my absolutely favorite dessert out of Vcon again, the Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding.  I made it with the SilkAlmond Original and used dark Agave in place of the maple syrup.  Since the almond milk is already sweetened, I only used 1/4 cup instead of the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe.  As you can see, it came out just right and isn’t to sweet.  If it hadn’t been sweet enough, that would have been easy to solve with some chocolate syrup drizzled over it. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

This isn’t what I had planned on for dinner, but what I had planned on eating, seemed a bit to much for dinner tonight.  I’ll eat it tomorrow.  Since I still had two of the Home-style Vegan Meatloaf in the refrigerator, that seemed like an easy main dish and decided that a side dish of sautéed frozen spinach and corn would make a simple dinner.   All I had to do was finish the mini meatloaf in the toaster oven, since I only partially baked them when they were made last week.  While that was baking, I put the spinach and corn in the non stick skillet and cooked them till the spinach was done.  I added a bit of Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning to the veggies and a ribbon of BBQ sauce to the mini meatloaf. 

Homestyle Vegan Meatloaf

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Joe’s Oat Patties: A Product Review

I started to see these little bags of oats and spices pop up on store shelves around here in the past few months. It turns out they are a new veggie burger that is sold in mix form called Joe's Oat Patties. They have a few flavors, including Taco, but the one I selected to try is the “Meatless Chicken”. Part of the reason I selected this is that their website has a recipe for “Chicken Salad” to use in sandwiches. Since I was still putting my food list together for starting back to work, I thought that if this worked, it might be nice to use as something to bring for lunch to work. And since it is soy free, that is a big bonus.

The mix is basically oat and quinoa based, with various spices and other ingredients, depending on what type of veggie burger it is supposed to make. The directions to make each mix are the same: for one bag of mix, combine it with one cup of hot water of broth, let sit for 10 minutes, stir well. Once the mix is cool, then shape and fry up. You can also scramble the mix, which means to cook it up and move it around until you get smaller pieces until they are done. I did two things with the mix. I used the single batch directions to make a single pattie, and then I scrambled the rest to turn it into a “Chicken Salad” sandwich spread.

Joe's Oat Patties

Here is the single pattie mix made as to mini chicken patties on some potato rolls (acting as buns). The sauce on the bun top is some Annie’s BBQ sauce. On the side is some steamed green beans and simple potato pancakes (leftover mashed potatoes and flour, and then pan fried). Amazingly enough, the patties do taste chicken-like. And you would never know that this is just grains and other ingredients mixed together and cooked up. I don’t know if you can get 6 patties from each batch, they would be quite thin.

Chicken Salad

The other thing I did with it is make a “Chicken Salad”. I was going to use the recipe on their website, but decided to just make a traditional recipe with mayo, mustard and pickle relish. I “scrambled” the rest of the mix by making the left over mix with ¾ cup of water and then putting spoonfuls of it into the pan. As they cooked up, I broke them into smaller pieces until it was all in fairly small pieces and cooked through. At that point I put it in the refrigerator until cool and mixed in the mayo, mustard and pickle relish. It may not look that great, but tastes quite good. I took the last of it in my lunch on Monday, and it was a nice way to start the week.

So there you are. Quite an interesting new product and the best thing is that it is made here, near Orlando. I don’t know if this will ever go national or overseas, but this is one of those things that is worth a try if you see it on the shelves in your area.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Field Roast Meatloaf

Hope you all had a happy New Year. Teddybear and I did absolutely nothing this year. We didn’t even stay up till midnight or drink any Asti. Maybe I’m getting old?

I also haven’t been cooking a lot. I was sick the week before Christmas and then spent the week before New Year’s planning for when I went back to work in January. I also spent the last two weeks of last year worrying about my new job. Being a new tax preparer is bad enough, but running an office just adds to it. So far it has gone fairly well, but the rush starts next week, so we will see how things are then.

Field Roast Meatloaf

The Field Roast Meatloaf was something I picked up, thinking it would make a nice, quick dinner. Little did I know at the time, it would be a perfect comfort dinner for a cold week in Florida. And if you like the sausages or the Celebration Roast from them, you will love the meatloaf. If you fed it to an omni, they may not believe it is vegan. The directions suggest that you coat it with something when heating it, so I made a sauce of equal parts of some Annies Original BBQ sauce and some leftover cranberry sauce from Christmas. It added a nice touch of a little sweetness and a little spice.

On the side are some corn and an interesting little side dish called Korean Style Romaine, part of my plan to get more greens in the diet. It is basically sliced romaine lettuce that is seasoned with a hot dressing of sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and hot pepper flakes. You pour the hot dressing over the lettuce and let it sit for 30 minutes, and then it is ready to eat. It is a bit spicy, but it could easily be made without the pepper flakes; if you want it milder. It is also a different way to eat your lettuce.

I also have some other things to show you this week, including an interesting new product that is made in Florida. So see you all later.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vegan at Disney: With no Tofu or Tempeh

Sorry that there is no pictures, but I was with my brother and sister-in-law. Since they are not aware of this blog, I couldn’t really take a picture of my lunch. I also did not want to come up with an explanation for my inquisitive nephews about why I was taking pictures of my food.

Since I was with family, and suspecting that they would most likely be eating at the quick service places at Disney Hollywood, I was expecting that my lunch would be a veggie burger. However, I got very lucky. We ended up having our lunch at the Backlot Express, in the Echo Lake area of the park. It is right between the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and Star Tours. They have the one sandwich at the park that is both easily veganized and also soy free, the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. If you have it without the cheese, it is vegan and comes with a black bean salad on the side. The sandwich is grilled mushrooms, zucchini, red bell peppers with tomato and watercress on a cibatta roll with sundried tomato pesto. The black bean salad is just black beans, diced onion and some type of vinaigrette dressing. All in all a quite filling and nutritious meal. I would be quite happy to eat this a few days in a row.

Now suppose they had decided to eat somewhere else and I was stuck with a veggie burger (which are Boca burgers, from what I have read on the web). Would I have been in trouble, since it contains soy? Not really, because I now have a solution for when there is no other choice but to eat a soy base based product, Enzymedica Digest capsules. These are capsules filled with digestive enzymes that will allow me to occasionally (key word) eat soy products. I have even been able to eat tofu (after taking three capsules before the meal). Now this is not a solution if you are soy allergic (probiotics may be a better solution in that case). However, if you are soy intolerant this may give your digestive system the added boost it needs to digest soy.

For those of you planning a trip to Disney, the best resource I could give you is the special dining page at ( They have a comprehensive listing of all the vegetarian and vegan options at all the parks and resorts. I will also tell you that Disney works very hard to accommodate visitors with special dietary needs. They will allow you to bring food into the parks (yes you are not stuck eating on the property). If you are on the food plan and willing to plan ahead about where you want to eat, I would suggest that you get in touch with the park and see if they can substitute seitan for the tofu in some of the dishes at the sit down restaurants and the resorts. If not, they should be able to make something for you. And if you need more resources just google “vegan Disney” and a lot of things will pop up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you have all been doing well. Sorry to be away for so long, but right after I got back from Disney I came down with my death of a cold. The Teddybear was off all last week and I was so sick that not only did I not really cook, but I didn’t really eat either. In fact, today is the best I have felt in almost two weeks. Good thing, since I start a new job in January. I’ll be running a tax office for Amscot during the tax season. It’s only for a few months, but much better than nothing. And it might help me get another position down the line. I plan on blogging about what I’m taking for lunch and showing you all my various lunch boxes.

Vegetable Soup

I’ve done some cooking this week. This soup is something I made off the top of my head to give me something simple and nutritious for lunch. It is just some vegetable stock (from the carton), chopped kale, carrots and celery. I cooked them for about 30 minutes, till the kale was soft. I then took it off the heat, added a heaping teaspoonful of chickpea miso and stirred that through. Then I added the last of my udon noodles from the refrigerator by dumping them in the hot soup and letting it sit on the counter for 15 minutes. That was enough to warm them up and let them separate in the broth. Quite good and filling. Not bad, considering that I prefer recipes to free willing my cooking.

Five-Minute Coconut Fudge
I also did my only bit of Christmas cooking today, by making a batch of Hannah Kaminsky‘s Five Minute Fudge that I found over at Using a tip found up at PPK, I used So Delicious coconut milk creamer (plain) to make it. It is quite good and fudge like, much to my somewhat surprise. While the ½ cup of coconut milk (or cream) may not seem enough, the recipe does work. And it looks quite chocolaty, considering that I had to use regular cocoa since I couldn’t find any Dutch processed cocoa.

My guy has to work tomorrow (ugh) so I made up another batch of the Holiday Nog and plan on just snacking and listening to holiday music till we have dinner fairly late. At least he is supposed to be off at 5:00, so we can at least plan on having dinner. It will be just about the same as what we had on Thanksgiving, except I have a new cranberry sauce to try and no sweet potatoes (because I can’t find any in the store).

I do plan on telling you about Disney, but that will have to wait till this weekend at the earliest. Till then, I hope you all have a healthy and safe Christmas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Nog

Holiday Nog

I had originally planned on being at Disney today, but that got moved back to tomorrow; so I thought you might be interested in this.

This is the Holiday Nog I found on the VegNews website last year. It was too late in the year to be able to have it for Christmas 2008, so I have been saving it for Christmas 2009. I made it on Monday and on that day it was pretty good, however after sitting for 24 hours in the refrigerator, it was great. It looks, smells and tastes fairly close to what you think eggnog should taste like. Hard to believe it is just cashews, dates, water, nutmeg and vanilla. The best news is that you really don’t have to strain this through a nut milk bag, or I didn’t any way. And I made it in a regular counter top blender, but if you had a milk maker that makes raw nut milks, you could possibly use that as well. So if you are looking for an eggnog replacement and either don’t like what is on the market or can’t have soy, try this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thai Fried Rice

Thai Fried Rice

This has been my lunch for the last few days. Vegan Dad’s Thai Fried Rice and the Smoky Miso Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum. The fried rice goes together really easily and is not very spicy, despite the curry paste and sweet chili sauce that is part of the recipe. I still had some mushrooms left from making the Hippie Loaf, so I decided to dump those in as well. I also dropped the green onions, since I have not been able to find them pre chopped in the store lately. The coconut and cashews add a really nice touch to the rice and also help to cut any spiciness.

On top is some of the Smokey Miso Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum made with the Hickory Nufu Tofu and some chickpea miso. As you can see it worked really well in this recipe, but if you should make it, I do suggest that you use a brush to apply the marinade to the tofu. I tried this using a spoon and the marinade pooled around the tofu on the sheet pan. That excess marinade burned in the oven, and stuck to the pan to the Silpat. So make sure you keep the marinade on the tofu, if you make this.

I’m going to Disney on Wednesday to see some family that has come down for the week. I hope to report that one can eat at Disney and be vegan and soy free, but what I have seen so far is not promising. However, I will tell you how I am able to cope; when I have to do so. See you later in the week.