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.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hippie Loaf Fix Up

Hippie Loaf Sandwich

I mentioned in my last post that I had made the Gluten Free Hippie Loaf from Happy Herbivore on Monday. However, I haven’t been able to get mine to set up like Lindsey’s did. Part of it may be that I mashed the black beans and rice together and part of it maybe that I made a mistake in the recipe; I forgot the rice flour (actually any flour). So my loaf was rather soft and would have fallen apart if taken out of the loaf pan. What is a person to do at this point? Improvise. I cut slices off the loaf in the pan and then pressed and reshaped them so they would stick together a bit more. Then I fried them up in my non stick pan and had them as an open faced sandwich on bread, covered with either ketchup or BBQ sauce. This has been my lunch for the last few days and it is quite good and filling; especially on this chilly, rainy and dreary day in Florida.

I do really like the flavors of this loaf and am going to make it again, but change the recipe a bit. First of all, I plan on chopping up the veggies in the blender, just so they are in smaller pieces. I think that I will use amaranth instead of quinoa or rice, and won’t mind if it is sticky, since it will help the whole thing stay together. I will also use some vital wheat gluten to help it stick together a bit better (to keep it gluten free you could use some chickpea flour as a binder instead). And I may do this as either a veggie burger or as mini meatloaves in the toaster oven. This could actually get a lot of use when working next spring when I have a job for a few months.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Comfort Food for Cooler Days

Yes, you did read that title correctly. Fall has arrived for us Floridians and we have our second cold front come through the state today. It’s not as cool as it could be, but 60s and 70s are nice compared to 80s (and did you hear that Dallas got snow today). Now if the humidity would just go down. I actually still have to run the AC occasionally to get the humidity out of the apartment. However, this does mean that I can use my oven and so it has been getting ample use this week.

Ginger Roasted Winter Vegetables and Hippie Loaf

On Monday I made some Gluten-Free Hippie Loaf (from the Happy Herbivore blog). And last night I made the Ginger Roasted Winter Vegetables from VwaV. So they both were for dinner last night. I’ve wanted to make this dish for a while, but have had one problem, the butternut squash. I’m really not able to prep that in my kitchen, but am lucky enough to be able to buy it already cut up for a few weeks each fall in November, so this has been on hold till it came back into the stores. I made this with dark agave, since I didn’t have enough maple syrup and amazingly enough it didn’t get to dark and caramelized wonderfully.

Mac Daddy

Tonight, I made some Mac Daddy from VCON, using the chickpea variation. However, I did change the recipe just a bit, since I don’t have a pan as big as called for in the recipe. I made it in an 8x8 cake pan and used 1 can of chickpeas with one batch of Cheezy Sauce. It cooked in the oven for 25 minutes and after sitting for 10 minutes it was ready. If you haven’t made this yet and am not sure that you want a really saucy Mac and Cheese, you may want to try it this way. I may have to make a second batch of the Cheezy Sauce for reheating, but that is really not a problem; because I can still control how much sauce goes into the dish. And it should reheat nicely in the toaster oven.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well, Thanksgiving 2009 has come and gone. I hope yours went well and you were able to gather with family and friends. My fiancé and I had a simple dinner, but that is all you need when it is only the two of you.

Thanksgiving 2009 Plate 1

This is the first plate I had yesterday. On it is Celebration Roast with Vegan Brown Gravy (from Lindsay at Happy Herbivore), candied sweet potatoes, potato roll (from Wal-Mart), and some steamed corn. If you have not yet made Lindsey’s gravy, please give it a try. It has very few ingredients and comes together quite quickly and is also quite flavorful. The candied sweet potatoes were simply a roasted sweet potato, candied with some brown sugar and water then drizzled with some marshmallow ice cream topping. Perfect for a serving of one, since they were only for my (my other half won’t eat sweet potatoes).

Thanksgiving 2009 Plate 2

On my second plate, I had another potato roll, mashed potatoes and more of the brown gravy as well as finishing up the last of the Cranberry Waldorf Salad in the refrigerator. After all that, I was way to full for desert; but since I have been eating Lindsay’s Pumpkin Brownies all week don’t feel sorry for me since I have not been deprived of having pumpkin.

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chickpea Scramble, Take Two

I hope all of you in the US are enjoying this Thanksgiving eve. Hopefully, your weather is better than ours in Florida is at the moment. Fall has definitely arrived here, but that has brought us rain off and on all day today. It may clear up tomorrow, but we have a front in the area, so who knows. It has cooled down, no more highs in the 80s, but the humidity is still here. Once that goes away, the weather will be great. But I really shouldn’t complain about the rain. We need a winter with high rainfall and a normal rainy season next year to have our drought declared over.

I am not doing a lot of cooking for Thanksgiving, don’t really need to with just the two of us. I will be heating up the Celebration Roast and potato rolls (from Wal-Mart) tomorrow, make the mashed potatoes and gravy, roast a sweet potato for me and steam some corn. Neither one of us is into really big meals, so that will be enough. And I will most likely have some Celebration Roast leftover to make some sandwiches on Friday and even possibly into Saturday. This is fine; since I will be the only one eating any leftovers (my other half doesn’t like to eat them).

Asian Chickpea Scramble

However, I have done some cooking. In fact, I made the Chickpea Scramble again, but this time tried to give it more of an Asian flavor. I added baby bok choy and cooked the bok choy and red bell pepper in vegan oyster sauce before adding the chickpeas, rice, corn, green beans and shredded carrots. It worked out really well; the vegan oyster sauce definably changed the flavor profile of the dish. The next time I do this Asian variation however, I am going to use more Asian vegetables, such as baby corn and water chestnuts. In fact, I am also looking at doing a Mediterranean variation and a Latin America variation (with black beans) as well. This recipe just has so many possibilities.

All for today, and I will come back on Friday to show you my Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 16, 2009

Things I Have been Cooking Lately

Sorry to be away for so long. Due to my tax class, I really did not cook at all the first week of the month. But that is now completed (I passed) and may result in some work starting in January, but I won’t know about that till December. And I have been cooking a lot, since my refrigerator totally ran out of food.

Curried Udon Noodle Stir Fry

The first thing I made was on November 6, the only day that week with no class. I decided to make the Curried Udon Noodle Stir Fry from VCON, which had been on my list for the past few weeks. It turned out fairly good, but I did make a few errors. The first was making the roux for the gravy; I don’t think I did it correctly. Either that or it is supposed to be much thicker than I realized. The second error was in trying to warm up my precooked udon noodles in a colander under hot tap water, when I should have used a pan with hot water instead. As you can see, they all broke apart. I will just have to try again, because even with all those errors, it was quite good. But a visit to Just Hungry may be in order to learn more about Japanese curries.

Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens

The next time I was able to get some cooking done was after the class was over, last Wednesday. I made the Seitan & Polenta with Fresh Greens from Vegan Express again. This time I got the bok choy, but decided to use Vegetation’s variation of seitan sausage. The sausage I used was the Field Roast Italian Sausage. They had been sitting in the freezer just waiting for it to cool down a bit (and it has finally) so that I could make this again. I think that Vegetation may have been onto something, because using sausage just seems to make this recipe better. If you know of someone who thinks that vegan food is bland, feed them this and they will change their minds.

The last three things were part of lunch today, but I made them last week. Just did not get any pictures till today.

Black Bean and Potato Patties

First, my lunch today was one of the Black Bean and Potato Patty from 366 Ways to Cook Beans, Rice and Grains; my latest cookbook purchase. It is not a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, but all the recipes are by default vegetarian and most can be veganized quite easily. In this case, I substituted chickpea flour for the eggs and used panko breadcrumbs. Put some salsa on top and these are quite good, they would be good plain as well.

On the side is Cranberry Waldorf Salad. It has all the standard items in a regular Waldorf Salad; apples, celery and walnuts and adds crushed cranberries to the mix as well. If you are still looking for some salads for your Thanksgiving dinner, this would be a good one to think about, since it lets you put cranberries on the table in a way more people may find to their liking.

Chocolate Chip Scones

The last item is my desert for today; the scones from VwaV, done as the chocolate chip variation. I had to use my only and last container of MimicCreme to make them, but it was worth it. They definitely are a different texture when using crème instead of all milk. Unfortunately, since I can no longer get MimicCreme that will mean that I have to make my own with cashews or use the So Delicious Coconut Milk Cremer when making these.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last day of Vegan Mofo

Ok, today is officially the last day of Vegan Mofo. I have missed a few days this week, but have made up for them with weekend posts, so I don’t feel that bad. In fact I think that I have posted 23 as of today, so that isn’t half bad for just planning to post on weekdays.

Today let me show you what I had for breakfast today. And it will make all of you soy free very happy, because we again have a sausage replacement that we don’t have to make. When I was shopping yesterday at Rollin Oats, I found that Sunshine Burgers has a new product, a breakfast patty. I looked at that and realized that it could have some possibilities, so I picked up some English muffins, knowing that at home I had rice cheese and some of Bryanna’s Chickpea Chilla mix still in the refrigerator. Vegan Egg Muffin, here I come.

Vegan Egg Muffin

The “egg” was an idea that I has been floating in my mind for a while. I knew that it cooked up quite well as an omelet or crepe, but wondered how it would do if I cooked it up in a smaller mold to make an “egg”, that could be put on sandwiches. So last night, I tried out my idea using ¼ cup of the Chickpea Chilla cooked in a 2 ½ size biscuit cutter (that is open on top). As you can see from the sandwich, it worked quite well and looks most egg like. I got two from what was left from the batter and put them both in the refrigerator till today.

This morning, I toasted the English muffin in the toaster oven and then heated up the Chilla “egg” in the toaster oven as well, while heating the breakfast patty on the stove. Then it was just a matter of assembly. Bottom of the English muffin, breakfast patty, “egg”, rice cheese and then the top. This was quite good, but I forgot how thick these sandwiches can get. However, it would be great for taking into work and reheating in the microwave, since all you would have to do is reheat it from the refrigerator. You don’t even have to cook the breakfast patty, since it just needs to be defrosted and heated to eat. And the Sunshine Burger Breakfast Patty is a very acceptable sausage replacement. I just wish they gave you more than three in a box.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce with Bow Tie Pasta

Sorry about missing yesterday. My life is really hectic right now with this tax class. And I only have time for a quick post today. I also don't see really doing any cooking till after this is all over. When you lose 3 hours of your day to something (plus study time), it really affects how one schedules the rest of your time. And I am sure my eating is suffering as well.

This is lunch from yesterday and probably will be lunch or dinner for today also. Just some of the Summer Vegetable Sauce from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen on some bow tie pasta. The pasta is from the organic line that DaVinci has, which I didn't even know existed. And I checked it is good old pasta, just semolina flour and water; like pasta should be. 

All for now.  See you on Friday. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vegan Mofo Survey

I really had no time to do any cooking today.  So I thougth this might be the time to roll out this survey that has been passed around.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?

Rice is my everyday milk, but I will also drink almond and homemade cashew milk also.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?

just check out my Monday posts

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?

don’t really eat popcorn, but nutritional yeast sounds good

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

my first attempt at making peanut tofu, I think the peanut milk was overheated and the curds were so small they went through the cloth lining the mold

5. Favorite pickled item?

my grandmother’s homemade sweet pickles that my dad used to make, otherwise bread & butter pickles from the store

6. How do you organize your recipes?

I use Living Cookbook, but I also have some in OneNote and others saved as files on my system, they will all get into one place someday

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?

trash and garbage disposal

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?

chocolate, peanut butter, coconut (I know, it should be there already)

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?

My mother’s cinnamon rolls made with a potato roll recipe she got from the local agriculture office. She would cover them in chocolate pudding and coconut for me.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?

Coconut Bliss and Purely Decadent with coconut milk are a tie

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?

My new blender. I can actually do things with it now.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

Curry (does that count)

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?

My very first cookbook was one put out by Betty Crocker for kids, but I also have the Little House Cookbook as well. The first one I bought for myself was Laurel’s Kitchen Recipes.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

pink grapefruit marmalade, Stonewall Kitchen makes a really good one

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?

my finace loves Sloppy Sams (a sloppy joe variantion made with lentils)

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?

well I can’t eat tofu or tempeh, so it would have to be seitan

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?

doesn’t matter, I eat to live and don’t really live to eat

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?

storage containers, cornstarch, baking powder

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.

a bag of ground flax seeds, nutritional yeast, hamburger buns

20. What's on your grocery list?

changes from week to week, but always veggies, bread, walnuts (I eat about a pound a week)

21. Favorite grocery store?

My main shopping is at Publix (they are close enough to walk) but I also go to Nature’s Food Patch in Clearwater, Nature’s Finest in Gulfport (St. Petersburg) and Rollin Oats in St. Petersburg

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.

not sure yet

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?

Oh, boy. I read a ton. More than is in my blogroll. However, those are my basics. I must have about 50 in my RSS folder.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?

rice milk chocolate bars

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?

the three pounds of raw peanuts to make peanut tofu, and I also plan on buying some coconut butter to help me use up all that peanut pulp

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?

I really haven’t found anything yet I can’t deal with. But then I am not that adventurous.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Final Week of Vegan Mofo

I’m not going to do a menu this week, since I plan on only making two new things. The Black Beans and Potato Cakes (which may or may not get made again due to refrigerator space) I had planned on making last week and I also plan on making the Curried Udon Noodle Stir Fry from Vcon. However, this week will see my main meal being eaten at lunch not dinner, because my tax class starts today. That schedule is four nights this week, four nights next week and two nights the week after. Needless to say it will mess up my evenings because it runs from 6-9 pm. It also means eating lunch and dinner earlier than normal, since I will be leaving for the class about the time I usually eat dinner.

I also did a lot of research this weekend to find some ways to use all the peanut pulp I will soon have on hand. I found an interesting cookie recipe up at The Sunny Raw Kitchen that looks promising. It doesn’t use a dehydrator and I would think it would work as well with peanut flour (or nut pulp) as it does with cashew. Now anything I make will only quasi-raw, just to let you know, since I don’t buy the virgin coconut oil nor raw agave. And in this recipe, I am tempted to use regular chocolate chips, instead of making the raw ones suggested. I also found a recipe for Raw Reese’s Cups that looks promising as well. Unfortunately, this weeks schedule is going to force me to wait until Friday for more peanut tofu experiments. But that gives me time over the weekend to make some raw treats.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Iron Chef Vegan Mofo Entry

The ingredients this week were peanut butter and apples. I figured that they were something I could do something with and while this is not the most inventive idea (I took the apple peanut butter wrap idea and ran with it a bit). It is quite good.

Apple Peanut Butter Desert Chimichanga

1 tortilla, burrito sized (or more if making more than one)

1 apple, chopped

1 banana, sliced

1-2 Tbs peanut butter, smooth is better but chunky is alright also

Drizzle of dark agave nectar

Chocolate chips (optional, but add a nice taste)

Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Take the chopped apple and sliced banana and sprinkle with some lemon juice, so that if you don’t use them all know, you can eat them later without being brown. Spread the peanut butter on the top ½ of a burrito size tortilla. Add the apples and bananas, drizzle the agave nectar, then add the chocolate chips and walnuts. Fold like a burrito and place on a heat pan until one side is crisp. Roll over and cook until the other side is crisp. Let cool, slice and eat.

Simple, easy to make and quite good. I used a Fuji, but a baking apple would be better, just couldn’t find any today. So there you are, enjoy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wayfare Cheese: A Product Review

This may be the best soy free cheese to come onto the market (which I say never having tried Playfood cheese). You open the continuer and it looks like something you would make at home. The amazing thing is that it is oatmeal based and all the ingredients are pronounceable. If you have ever made your own cheese sauce at home, then you may have noticed that the oatmeal based ones are a bit smoother than the nut based cheese sauces. And for some lucky reason, we Floridians get this early in the game not late (like MimicCreme, which I found today I can no longer buy).

I first saw this at Nature’s Food Patch in Clearwater around Labor Day and bought some of the Cheddar Cheese style spread to try on crackers over the holiday weekend. I was quite impressed, you could put this in a dish and no one would realize it was vegan cheese, let alone soy free. I would have said something before now, but wasn’t quite sure how to use it, since neither the company’s website nor the containers give any suggestions. Then I saw this over at A Bear’s Fare and realized it may be more useful than I thought. Even though, just to have a soy free cheese spread for crackers is a big win in itself.

Today I bought some of the Cheddar Cheese style dip and have used it twice, for a quesadilla (lunch) and a grilled cheese sandwich (dinner and suggested by A Bear’s Fare). I didn’t mean to use it twice in one day, but was not really hungry, so wanted simple things to eat. All I can say is that you have to at least give this a try. The dip is more like a semi set cheese sauce, when you open the container. And I find you can scoop it out and spread it with a spoon quite easily. The cheddar flavor isn’t overwhelming, which may or may not be a good thing. The cheese does actually melt, much to my surprise, since it has no cornstarch or arrowroot in it (per the ingredients). Needless to say I am quite pleased and can’t wait to see if it will also make a nice rotini and cheese for one.

Now I haven’t tried the other flavors yet, but would suspect that they are also quite good. What I really would like to get my hands on would be the sour cream, since there are no vegan sour creams on the market that are soy free. Alas, I have not been able to find that yet in the one store I know carries this line. I am not really a sour cream user, but there are some recipes where you need it as an ingredient and it is a bit of a pain to always have to make it yourself.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner, Part 2

Yes, I am doing it again. This time it was with the Chickpea Scramble (from Vegweb), more of the Sweet Potato Hash (from VwaV) and a Flatout wraps.

I know I have been promising this for a little while and finally got to it tonight. I did make two minor changes to the recipe though. No mushrooms, because my mushrooms went bad in the refrigerator and no sour cream because I didn’t have any soy free vegan sour cream. However, I don’t think it hurt the dish. It may not photograph well, but does taste quite good. And it will most likely be great in a wrap with some cheese. I don’t know if it should be called a scramble or maybe stir-fried rice for breakfast, since it seems more like a stir-fried rice recipe. Along that line of thought, I may season it differently next time with some yellow curry and smoked paprika. In fact I think you could season this in a few different ways. You could go Italian, Indian, Cuban or Asian; depending on the spices or sauces you added. It could be most versatile.

P.S. What is going on with Blogger.  Is anyone else unable to import pictures from Flickr or other services on the web. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Using Leftovers

Tonight was about using leftovers, specifically a half of eggplant and a half of spaghetti squash. And since it is starting to heat up here again, the idea was not to use the oven.

The spaghetti squash was easy. I just put it in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes, let it cool and then scraped it with a fork to pull out the meat. All the insides went into a small pan with some olive oil and nutritional yeast. Stir it around a bit and done. Simple and quite good, also.

The eggplant was a bit harder. I thought about using a recipe I have for Barbecued Eggplant (from Vegweb), but really did not want to use the oven. However, it did occur to me that if the eggplant was diced fairly small and cooked on the stovetop, then covered with BBQ sauce, that could also be good and would make an open face sandwich. And that is exactly what I did, and yes it was quite good. The sauce I used is Annies Naturals Organic BBQ Sauce Sweet & Spicy. It is so good that I may never make my own sauce again. Just the right balance of sweet and heat. Also bonus, it is soy free.

On the side is just a simple salad of romaine, carrots, celery, and radishes; then topped with Drews Raspberry Vinaigrette. If you are looking for raspberry vinaigrette, this is not a bad one to use. It has a nice raspberry flavor. I still have some of the salad in the refrigerator and the rest of the eggplant is going on it in a wrap for lunch tomorrow. Should be good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Just had another wonderfully cool day in the Tampa Bay area. I am really going to be a bit unhappy when we warm up at the end of the week. I really like not running the air conditioning and running up a near 100 dollar electric bill in our tiny apartment.

Dinner was breakfast, for me today. I figured with the cool weather and lack of humidity, it would be a perfect day to make the Sweet Potato Hash from VwaV. The only thing I hate about this dish is cutting up the sweet potatoes, other than that I could easily make this weekly. Tonight it is paired with some more of the Puttanesca scramble made with Bryanna Grogan’s Chickpea Chilla. And since I cannot find any watercress around here, I use frozen spinach. I do lose some nutrition in squeezing out the thawed spinach, but that can’t be helped. A very nice little dinner.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu for Week of October 18

Here is the tentative menu for the week. As you will notice, since I neither got to the Chickpea Scramble nor the Sweet Potato Hash last week, I just moved it forward to this week. I think you will also notice that I have a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator right now. That does happen with me, every couple of week or so. I just make too much and don’t eat enough. But a lot of that should be cleared out this week. So next week will be a big week of cooking for me. However, next week will be busy for me also, since I will be starting a tax preparer course for a local company and hopefully be able to work tax season and make a bit of money.

I am also going to have to change what goes into my meals since it appears that fall has finally come to Florida, for this week at least. The low at TIA was 48 this morning, which is a new record. Unfortunately, the forecast for the week shows the temperatures going back up to the mid-80s by week’s end. I have some soups and chilies I would really like to make, but not until it cools off and stays that way. Which the way our fall is going this year, that may not be until December.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spaghetti Squash and Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce

Fall is finally making its way to Florida. We have a cold front that is hitting us tonight and the Tampa Bay area has had rain off and on all day and the highs for the weekend will be dropping into the 70s. It has been so warm here that we have been setting new records for record lows for the month, because the lows have been in the mid to high 70s. For the next few days, that will be the highs. This means that I can again use my oven. And that meant I could finally make something that I’ve had for a couple of weeks, spaghetti squash.

I got this on my last trip to my store in Clearwater. They were up front and in a nice bushel basket. Now normally I don’t buy spaghetti squash unless it is already pre cut in half, since I was not sure if I could do that at home. However, I saw this fairly small one and thought it was just the right size to work with at home. So into the basket it went and it has been just sitting until it cooled enough to be able to use the oven.

It cut in half much easier than I expected and the seeds came out fairly easily. After about 40 minutes in the oven, I took it out to let it cool enough to scrape the meat out with a fork. While the squash was in the oven, I also heated up some the Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce, thinking that it would work well with the squash. Once the squash was cool enough to handle, I scraped it into the pan with the sauce and mixed them together. Then pour on the plate and eat. Not a bad little light dinner.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Peanut Tofu: Not Good Beginnings

I am not going to talk about my dinner tonight, since all I had was a smoothie (peanut milk, peanut pulp, banana, frozen cherries, agave nectar and chocolate powder), walnuts and my daily brownie. For some reason I am just not hungry and I have learned that when I don’t feel hungry I shouldn’t eat because it can really upset my stomach. But I do have a few things to talk about tonight.

The first is my new Oster blender. So far I have used it today to make the peanut milk for my peanut tofu attempt and the smoothie I had for dinner. This blender is far superior to the Magic Bullet, due to its size and power. The smoothie came together quite easily and I didn’t have to worry that if it ran to long the lid would stick. The peanut milk was also a cinch to make. And I am going to have to check how much milk I am getting from each cup of soaked peanuts, because I think it is more than one quart; which is what I expected to get. The nut pulp I am getting as leftovers is so fine it is like nut flour. I may have to try and make raw peanut butter cookies out of it. So am I happy that we spent the money on it, not really; however now I don’t understand why I didn’t do this sooner.

I also made an attempt at the peanut tofu this morning. Unfortunately, the attempt was a failure. I made the peanut milk, added the nigari and let it sit. Curds and whey did form, but when I poured it into the mold, it went right through the cloth that came with my kit to line the mold. Apparently the curds were too small. I went back to Pangea and looked at the ingredients again and noticed that they actually use two coagulants in make the Nufu Tofu, nigari and calcium sulphate. Not sure as to why they do this, but it appears this will not be as simple as we all hoped. However, I would think that we can duplicate the process or figure out another one that works also. I’ve sent an email asking for help to Brenda Wiley (she provided the tofu directions as Bryanna Grogan’s site) and am waiting for a reply. Hopefully she can come up with an idea or may even figure it out and let me know how to do this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Orzo and Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce

Today started somewhat like yesterday. I was making the peanut milk to make the first attempt at peanut tofu and what should happen; my lid is stuck to the Magic Bullet container. It is currently in the freezer, to see if I can get the pressure inside reduced so that it will come off. However, last time this happened, it took a few days for me to get the lid off. Therefore, I now have a new Oster blender (that my fiancé was nice enough to buy for me) and the Magic Bullet will be retired. Tomorrow I should be able to make my first batch and I will have something to report tomorrow night. And I have found one way to reduce the nut pulp from this. The finer you grind the nuts, the less pulp you have in the end. But I am still going to be overrun by it.

Since I had to go to the store today and buy some more bread, I also picked up an eggplant to make the Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce from The Mediterranean Vegan. Mine doesn’t look quite as nice as what Kmouse put up on PPK, the eggplant is cut a bit too big, but it was as good as it looked. I had it with some orzo that was sitting in the fridge as a leftover from another recipe.

I may have to take another look at this book. It may be more useful that I originally thought on first look. Even if I don’t use the recipes as written, I can take bits and pieces and use those as in other ways.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Puttanesca Scramble Variation and Salad

This has not been a good day. I went to grab my eggplant to make the Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce from The Mediterranean Vegan and found that it had gone bad on me. Ok, I thought, plan B; I will make the Puttasesca Scramble with Bryanna Grogan’s Chickpea Chilla and a salad for dinner. So I start to make my salad, and in the process of getting the romaine head out of the bag, the other two fall out onto the floor. I have had to put way to much produce down the drain today. Not happy. I don’t like to waste food and we are too poor to really be able to do so. Like I said, not a good day.  At least the food was good.

I did take a few liberties in making the scramble. Since I had no fresh herbs, I had to use dried and all of the herbs, capers and tomatoes went in together after the garlic was finished. I also used jarred minced garlic, since I normally don’t keep whole garlic around and was unable to find any pre-sliced garlic in the store. After cooking the tomatoes and seasonings, I left about a quarter of it in the pan and then stirred in the cut up pieces of the Chickpea Chilla (which were made as normal, except for omitting the tomatoes). I then let it sit on the stove and let the omelette get hot and covered in the tomato scramble mixture. The idea worked much better than I expected.

The salad is just romaine, carrots, celery, and radishes with some Drew’s Raspberry Vinaigrette. It was just the right thing to cool my mouth off after eating a few bites of the scramble. And a cool side dish on a very hot night in Florida (we are still in summer down here).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu for the Week of Oct. 11

I think this will be the workaround (print screen, Microsoft Paint, save as jpeg file, upload) for putting my weekly menu online and not having to retype it. Actually I just wanted to show off my computer. As you can see above, I write my menu in OneNote. How do I do that you ask? Simple, I have a convertible laptop/slate that spends most of its time in slate mode. Much better to use when you have chronic tendonitis in my hands, as I do. Now I do type some things, such as this blog post, but my typing is limited. I hope to do more with dictation, but that is currently waiting for Windows 7.

I moved the Summer Vegetable Sauce and Vegan Mozzarella Cheese to this week, since I was unable to make them last week. I also have some scrambles I am making as well. The Chickpea Scramble is something I have wanted to try and I am taking a different take on Isa's Puttanesca Scramble from Vegan Lunch. I am making the Sweet Potato Hash from VwaV simply because it will work well with most of the main dishes for this week and the sweet potatoes in the market are decent again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Do Eat Sweets

If any of you have taken the time to look through some of my past posts, you would think that I live a fairly virtuous life, as far as food goes. One thing I don’t talk about a lot is sweets. And to tell you the truth, I don’t eat a lot of surgery things. Since I don’t really eat a lot, I try to no fill up on empty calories. However, I do like to have a treat every day and sometimes will make something special for a holiday. Today I want to tell you about two things I had over Labor Day weekend.

The first is this huge brownie I made and put some Coconut Bliss ice cream in between the layers. The recipe for the brownie is a clone of the No Pudge Brownie mix that I found up at Recipezaar and is vegan if you omit the egg whites. The mix even works with the single serving recipe for the No Pudge Brownie. Here I made a quadruple batch (but would have been just fine with a double or triple) and then split the brownie in half and filled it with Coconut Bliss ice cream. And I drizzled some chocolate syrup over it just to add more chocolate (I’m a chocoholic). These brownies are as dense and fudgy as the store bought mix and the ice cream was great as a filling. And just to let you know, my regular daily treat is a single brownie made with coconut milk yogurt, chocolate if I can find it.

The second is an interesting cake I found at Vegweb called a Cinnamon Roll Cake. I made this because I felt like cinnamon rolls, but don’t have the space to make them in my kitchen, so this seemed like an acceptable substitute. On top is a fudgy chocolate icing and some coconut. Just the way I used to enjoy cinnamon rolls as a kid. I altered the recipe a bit and put the cinnamon layer in the middle, since I wasn’t sure how it would work with a regular frosting, instead of a glaze. Also quite good and I really need to make this again. Maybe around Thanksgiving.

So as you can see, I do eat the sweet stuff occasionally. But like all things, I do try to keep it in moderation.

Just a reminder that I am not posting on the weekends and I will see you all back on Monday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What to do with Leftovers

This is something we all have to deal with as home cooks. Not only leftovers from meals, but for those of us that make our own soy or nut milks, those create their own leftovers as well.

Both lunch and dinner for me were leftovers today. Lunch was a plate of the Bok Choy rice from Vegan Express (with the cashews and oranges added now). For dinner I had more Curried Orzo Salad with Mock BBQ Pork and added some peanuts to the orzo dish, just to round out the meal.

Now that I am going to start making peanut tofu, I have just discovered that I have a new leftover problem, peanut pulp. If I was making regular tofu and had a lot of okara to use I could always do what SusanV suggests at Fat Free Vegan, make cookies. Or I could do what Bryanna Grogan does at Notes From the Vegan Feast Kitchen; make Okara Parmesan or Okara Miso Pate. But I’m not, so what can I do with peanut pulp?

I may do the same thing I did with the cashew pulp I had from recently making a few batches of cashew milk. I used the pulp to make Coconut & Cashew Bread Paste from Recipezaar. But when you have up to 3 cups of peanut pulp a week that may not be enough. I faintly remember reading on other blogs and possibly up at the PPK forums that people have used the pulp for cheese spreads and as binders in other dishes. But I’m not sure how to go about that. So you tell me, what are some of our favorite ways to use up the pulp left from making nut milks? And do you have any good recipes?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tofu Bacon

Yes, I know that title sounds strange coming from someone who doesn’t eat tofu. However that is what I had with my dinner tonight and also earlier this week. However, it was not made with regular tofu. I made it with a new product from Sunergia Soyfoods called Nufu Tofu or tofu made with peanuts. Unfortunately, I can only get the Herbed Hickory flavor here, so I decided to see how it would work as“bacon”. And I am happy to tell you that peanut tofu works quite well.

This is the plate of my tofu bacon I made on Sunday. The recipe I used is from AllRecipes. It is quite easy to make, but the marinade is more a paste than a liquid. However, it does give the tofu a definite bacon taste.

And what did I first do with the tofu bacon. Why I made TLT’s of course, using a wrap though because I was using grape tomatoes. It was good, but the next time I do this it might be easier to east if tofu bacon was cut up and mixed in with the lettuce and tomatoes.

And this was dinner tonight. I took the last of the tofu bacon and heated it up in the toaster oven. It was then put on top of the Simple Vegetable Orzo (this time seasoned only with olive oil and nooch). On the side is some steamed broccoli topped with vegan parmesan. Reheating the tofu bacon just made it better and it worked quite well with the orzo. This would make a great lunch at work as well. Can you reheat tofu bacon in a microwave?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Asian Inspired Dinner

Tonight’s dinner, if not truly Asian; definitely had all the flavors one would expect in an Asian meal. And that was with me forgetting part of the ingredients for one of the dishes.

The rice dish you see is the Bok Choy, Edamame (Green Beans), Cashew and Orange Rice from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. This was the highlight of the meal even though I forgot to put in the orange (from a can, since I couldn’t find any Clementines at the store) and the cashews. With the oranges and cashews balancing out the teriyaki sauce and sesame oil, it would have been even better. However, it does have Bok Choy; so at least I got some leafy green vegetables with dinner.

Next to that is Mock BBQ Pork (page down till you see the recipes), which is a recipe for seitan I found over at the Vegetarian Resource Group. This is a bit different way of making gluten, because you start with plain gluten that you flavor after poaching the gluten log. After the marinating the gluten pieces, you then bake them and at that point they are ready to use. Like I said, a bit different. And I would not make these again, unless they were going into a stir fry. That seems to be the best way to eat them.

The last item I had for dinner is some broccoli. I had been planning on doing the Spicy Sesame Broccoli, also from Vegan Express, but I don’t have any more containers for the refrigerator. Since I need to use these up, I just decided to put some broccoli in the oven, to heat up with the Mock BBQ Pork and then topped them with some Gomasio, from the refrigerator. For those of you not familiar with Gomasio, it is a condiment from Japan usually used on rice in bento boxes and is salt covered sesame seeds. I used it to add some extra flavor and nutrition to the broccoli.

So that was dinner. One hit, one miss and on filler. All in all not bad

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu for Week of October 4

As promised on Friday, here is what I plan on cooking for the week. Some of it is from the past week, that I have yet to finish; but mostly it is new dishes. I had hoped that I could just import this from OneNote and then paste it up on the blog, but Blogger doesn’t work that way; apparently. So I am going to have to type it in below.

Before I give you my weekly menu, however, I want to tell you how it comes about. Usually on Wednesday I start to search through both my paper cookbooks, ebook cookbooks and my electronic Living Cookbook for recipes to make for the next week. I am basically looking for recipes that will work well together and will last well throughout the week. Some weeks I also look for specific ingredients, such as eggplant or kale. I try to get a good mix of vegetables over the course of a month. If anything, my diet is deficit in green leafy vegetables, and I haven’t quite found the way to remedy that situation, since I don’t eat a lot of salads. I guess I need to find more recipes that use them as a component.

Rotelle with Mixed Summer Vegetable Sauce TMV pg. 119 (however, I forgot to get the pasta at the store, so will have to use some orzo I cooked up this past week, may not make till weekend, have no more containers for the refrigerator)

Get Your Groove on Veggie Burgers (in the freezer, from

Mock BBQ Pork (from

Bok Choy, Edamame, Cashew and Orange Rice Vegan Express (using green beans in place of the edamame)

Spicy Sesame Broccoli Vegan Express (not making this week, have no more containers for the refrigerator)

Simple Vegetable Orzo (leftover)

Curried Orzo Salad (leftover, from PDQ Vegetarian)
I also have a few other things that will round out what I eat for the week, such as walnuts, brownies, fruit, rice and some sauces.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Simple Vegetable Orzo

Simple Vegetable Orzo is something I made up this week to use a as side dish. Between the vegetables and orzo, I get to kill two notional birds with one dish, servings of veggies and carbs. And since I eat things multiple times in one week, tonight is the second night I had this. The recipe leaves the seasonings up to you; so I used olive oil, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley blend and a generous sprinkling of nooch (nutritional yeast).

Along with the orzo I had some Burmese Tofu, done in the smaller and quicker way that Vegetation came up with on her blog. Its round, because the best dish I had to mold this was a small ramekin. The chick-fu was just sliced and then baked in the toaster oven. Didn’t need to do anything fancy to it. I’m really just using here for my protein for dinner.

Earlier this week I had it as the side dish for my all time favorite veggie burger (at least for the moment). Here it is on the side (with the same seasonings as above) of a Get Your Groove on Veggie Burger. I like it because it is lentil based, and as I am anemic, I need all the lentils I can get. I also like that you can add whatever veggies you like to it, so I use this as an opportunity to put some more mushrooms in my diet. Mushrooms are not one of my favorite things, but I do realize that they are a needed vegetable that I had to figure out how to eat. Since they are also in the orzo, I get a nice serving of them here.

Thus ends the first two days of VegaMofo. I will only be blogging on weekdays, so no posts this weekend. Hopefully, that will allow you all to catch up on the huge public RSS listing of participating blogs. I don’t know about you, but I am a bit overwhelmed. Correct that, extremely overwhelmed. All those blogs are turning my mind to mush. But I have also found some that I may continue to follow after this is over. Look for next week’s menu on Monday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegan Mofo Day 1

It’s that time of year again. Time for a month of showing how great and varied vegan food can be.

Last year I just missed this and only read the blogs. This year, will be my first to participate and I am looking forward to showing people that great vegan food doesn’t have to have tofu or tempeh in it. Since I am soy intolerant most of what you see will be either seitan based or bean/lentil based. But that doesn’t mean that I am greatly limited. Sure there are some things I really can’t do, like “vegan fish”, but there are other dishes I can make. I even managed to find a cookbook lately that only had grain and bean recipes in it. Some of those will appear this month and in the future here.

I also plan to do some experiments with my new great find, peanut tofu. I know, doesn’t sound quite right. However, there is a commercial version and I would really like to make it at home, since it would give me a lot more options in dishes. I am buying my first batch of raw peanuts tomorrow and will have a tofu kit in the next week. Hopefully I can make it work.
There will be some things with the Burmese Tofu as well. It is such a simple dish and great for a quick dinner, so I don’t want to forget about it either.

I want to warn you that I eat a lot of leftovers, since I more or less cook for myself. Over the years I have figured out how to re package them, so I hopefully won’t bore you too much with them.

On Mondays I am hoping that I can show you the food plan for the week. The way I do it is in OneNote. I look at what is left over from the week before and also what is in the freezer. From there I look through all my recipes and figure out what to eat for the next week.
The last week of this will probably be devoted to quick and easy dinners; since that is the week I start an income tax preparation course. The class starts at 6, which means I have to eat a bit earlier than normal. And if I have picked up a short contract assignment by then, it will mean a real quick dinner on the fly. However, the class is very near a Chipotles, so I might just go there one night for dinner; especially if I am working.

So hope you enjoy what you see. If you have not been here before feel free to look around. I have some tutorials on Burmese Tofu and a list of soy protein free products that are vegan (to bad it isn’t longer). If you know of any product I may have missed, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

All for now. See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Still Eating Leftovers

I’m still eating leftovers, so no food today. However, there is some housecleaning (as people would say) to do, so let me get on with that.

First, I received quite a surprise on my shopping trip earlier this week. Not only did I find the new So Delicious Coffee Creamer (website not yet updated to show product), but right next to it was sitting MimicCreme in the 16 oz size they have for coffee creamer use. After having it in my coffee for the last two days I can tell you that any hype you have heard is all true and you should run out and buy some immediately. I have even added some agave nectar and cocoa to some to make a chocolate creamer (I like chocolate in my coffee). And ironically the only reason they are now stocking MimicCreme is because this store no longer sells Silk soy milk products, due to their decision to stop using both local and organic soybeans (but not reflect the change on their boxes), so these creamers are their replacement.

Second, I have plans to start making my own peanut tofu. Unfortunately, I have only fnd one store (of the three that I frequent on an as needed basis) that carries raw peanuts. And none of the stores around here seem to carry granulated peanuts or peanut pieces (like what is needed to make Celine’s Peanut Milk). So I may have to look at using salted peanuts that I rinse thoroughly with water before using; however, I am not sure that is a great idea and would only be a fall back solution. I also plan on ordering a tofu kit sometime in the next week and am looking for directions on making silken tofu as well. With tofu, I can live without tempeh.

Thirdly, I am still drinking kefir, but do plan to stop my experiment. Currently I am using a starter (that is not vegan, but vegetarian) and have realized that I really do not have the space in my tiny kitchen nor the desire to have to drink this every day. I am not saying kefir is hard, just that it doesn’t work for me and my needs. Lately I have realized that this is something that I will have to drink for the rest of my life to occasionally eat soy products and that really doesn’t make sense to me. With the peanut tofu now, the only product I would want would be tempeh, and then only on occasion. Also the only other time I would eat a soy vegan product is at a restaurant. It just does not make sense to devote time and space to something; that though helpful, is a daily commitment. I am now looking at the possibilities of what I can use for occasional eating of soy products. More to follow on this. However, for those of you that are soy allergic I do suggest that you look into this and it may be a great help for you.

Fourthly (and last), starting next week is VeganMoFo 2009, which is a food blogging event that Isa at PPK Forums has put on for the last few years. I just missed last year and will be participating this time. The goal is to blog regularly in the month of October and show the world how good vegan food can be. I intend on showing that even those of us with food intolerances can still eat very healthy and wonderful vegan food. If you are not part of the PPK forums you can still participate by getting in touch with kittee and have your blog added to the list. Or you can just read and enjoy. And I hope you don’t mind leftovers, because you will see them here on a regular basis next month.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thai Tossed Salad

I have been looking for different salads in all of my books and this has been one that sounded interesting, to say the least. Since I have never been to a Thai restaurant, I can’t say if this is authentic or close to what they serve; but it does have the flavors of Thailand.

This is another recipe from Vegan Express, actually two recipes; since the dressing is also from the book. The salad is really easy; just some broccoli, red bell pepper, cucumber and roma tomato. The recipe also calls for sliced mushrooms and some sprouts, but because I’m not fond of either of those, I just left them out. It is also supposed to have some pineapple as well, but for some reason I totally forgot to put that in until after I ate. The pineapple, though, would have added a definite sweetness that would have been quite nice.

And the recipe is quite easy. Just prep the veggies, toss together, place on top of lettuce and pour on the dressing. The dressing is the Coconut Peanut Sauce or Dressing, from the same book. And that is easy also. It just has jarred Satay Sauce, agave nectar, coconut milk, and some curry paste. It is quite easy to put together and tastes quite good. And it doesn’t thicken in the refrigerator. Wonder how it would work as a dressing on a rice or pasta salad?

And just to round out the meal, I had some Burmese Tofu that was simply baked in the toaster oven. It was very good with the Coconut Peanut Sauce or Dressing on it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Broccoli Slaw with Craisins and Ginger

I’m using another recipe from PDQ Vegetarian tonight. This time it is a salad based on broccoli slaw that has raisins and candied ginger added to it. Or it is supposed to be raisins; I didn’t have any, so they got replaced with craisins instead. Don’t think it hurt the salad though. The dressing is just vegan mayo, rice wine vinegar and powdered ginger. And just in case you think that the ginger will overwhelm the salad, it is a nice accent, but not an overwhelming flavor. The ginger was also nice with the Dijon Beets (that I earlier wrote about here) and my favorite veggie burger. All in all it was a simple dinner for the end of summer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kefir Update and Curried Asian Vegetables

First off, time for the kefir update. Today was my last day of the second quart of the So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir. I started drinking four ounces per day at the end of last week, without any problems. And since today was the last day, that meant it was time for my test. As part of lunch today, I had a single serving of Silk Live yogurt. This was around noon. As of right now (6:45) I feel fine and have no nausea; which was my major symptom of soy intolerance. Does this mean the kefir helped? Not sure, but it is interesting. And it does mean that I will continue this experiment. Now I just need to make my own kefir. So next on the things to do is to buy some of the starter from a store and also look into getting some of the grains as well. After drinking this for a month, I should see if I can eat tempeh. That would be a real challenge to see how well I tolerate soy.

For those you who want to try this, please heed this warning. I am not here to give medical advice and have no medical training. If you are soy intolerant or even soy allergic, this will be an attempt at your own risk. If you still want to try this experiment at home, please follow the suggestions below.

  1. Start slowly. Only drink an ounce or two for the first few weeks. After that you can increase the amount taken daily, but do not attempt any soy until you have had at least two quarts of kefir.

  2. After having two quarts of kefir, I would suggest that your first soy food be yogurt; simply because it also has probiotics in it and is the soy protein least likely to bother you in the first place. If you are soy allergic, please make sure you at this point, you have your auto injector or some Benadryl around, in case you have a reaction. Also do not do this alone and do it in your doctor’s office, if you can get them to come on board with this experiment.

  3. If the yogurt goes well, and you are drinking from 4-8 ounces of kefir a day; I would not try tempeh or tofu till you are have gone through at least another two quarts.

  4. This is not a cure all and results may differ. It will not work the same in everyone. You will not be able to eat all the soy protein you would like to do so. But it will allow you to eat tofu or tempeh when you have no other options and for those who are allergic, it may allow you to handle soy lechitan or soy sauce again. And that should make your lives much easier.

And now onto dinner. I wasn’t sure if I would even have dinner tonight, since I was unsure how I would be feeling. But, earlier in the day I made some of the quick Burmese Tofu developed by Vegetation (it does work with the chickpea flour as well), just in case. And in looking at my food plan for the week, Curried Asian Vegetables from PDQ Vegetarian seemed to be the simplest thing to have for dinner that would go well with the chick-fu. So it ended up being a nice, simple dinner that was not cold; since I am sick of cold salads and cold meals. The chick-fu is round, simply because that was the smallest container I had that could be used as a mold.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nufu Tofu and Sweet Potato Cakes

No, you are not misreading the title of this post. That is a new product from Sunergia Soy Foods and it is a tofu made from peanuts and seasoned with wither ginger or herbs and hickory. And how do you make a tofu from peanuts you ask, why just like regular tofu. First you make peanut milk, then you add nigari, then you press it. Viola, peanut tofu. Oh, and it doesn’t taste like peanuts.

For dinner I had BBQ Nufu Tofu with Sweet Potato Cakes and a simple salad. The tofu cooks up just like regular soy tofu and even looks white when one takes it out of the package. It has the same feel and slices up quite easily. Place it in a pan and it browns up, just like tofu would do. After it had browned on both sides, I put some BBQ sauce (Bryanna’s Bourbon Barbeque Sauce, page down to find), turned off the heat and let it sit in the sauce. I don’t know if it soaked up any of the sauce, but since it comes pre marinated and seasoned, that may not matter. The Hickory and Herb did meld well with the BBQ sauce I used, and would most likely work well with almost any BBQ sauce.

On the side I have
Sweet Potato Cakes. This is something I found up at Vegweb. The base is sweet potatoes, but they also have corn and shredded zucchini. Oat flour and panko breadcrumbs act as a binder. If you like sweet potatoes, needless to say, this is a dish for you; since it is a very different way to eat your sweet potatoes. These would be great to bring in a lunch, since I think they would reheat well in a microwave or could be eaten at room temperature.

My other side dish for tonight is just a simple salad of romaine, shredded carrots and grape tomatoes. On top is some Annie’s Naturals French dressing. Annie’s makes a quite good French dressing, which is both vegan and soy free.

As for my kefir experiment, I think I was overloading my system a bit; so I have cut back to only 2 oz a day. Since I don’t want to try to eat the soy yogurt until I have had at least two quarts of kefir, that will push off the final test at until early September. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kefir Experiment Day Two

Day two of the kefir experiment. I have just had my second cup. I must warn you though, that if you try kefir, it does not taste a bit like yogurt. When I took my first sip yesterday, I could not believe how tart it was. And I am drinking the strawberry one (that has pureed strawberries in it). I cannot imagine what the unflavored one tastes like. However, I do understand now why people say that it can be used as a replacement for buttermilk. Not sure if I notice anything yet, but then it has only been two days.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Salads, Seitan, Sandwich and Kefir

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it. And this is only the last two days.

First the salads. It is still hot and humid here in Florida, so salads are still a large portion of what I am eating. My lunch is composed of two of whichever ones I have in the refrigerator at the moment. For today, my lunch was PJs Fresh Corn Salad and Miso Lentil Salad. I have been working on the corn salad since last week. It makes a ton, so if you need something to take to a potluck, this would be a good dish. The Miso Lentil Salad is my protein for lunch and also some probiotics, since the dressing is miso and apple cider vinegar.

The seitan is Dr. Pepper Seitan from Vebweb. I had high hopes for this, but am not really fond of it. Partly because I still have not figured out how to do baked seitan and partly because I don’t really like the BBQ sauce. It just has too much oil for my tastes. On the side is Southwestern Corn and Black Bean Slaw from Healthy Eats up at Food TV. This is a contribution from their vegetarian blogger, who is a regular poster. I am not normally a fan of coleslaw, but this is quite good. And you should try her Papaya Salsa Slaw from her blog Dine Dish Delish.

The sandwich is part of dinner tonight and was inspired by a post this week up at Dine Dish Delish. She had an open face sandwich of naan, spicy mustard, apple and soy cheese. Here I took the concept and made a sandwich of naan, baked eggplant slices and my mozzarella cheese. Once it cooled down enough to eat, it was quite good. On the side is some more of the Green Bean and Chickpea Salad from Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

The last thing for today is kefir. For those of you who do not know what kefir is, it is cultured milk that has its origins in the Caucuses Mountains. In doing some research on the web, I discovered that in 2006 some scientists in Taiwan found that (and this is in laboratory mice) it reduced the allergic response to both soy and milk proteins after drinking either soy or milk kefir. That got me thinking that maybe it could help me tolerate soy better, at least enough so that I could occasionally eat it. To that end I am going to drink one cup of the coconut milk kefir for the next 8 days, that would be two quarts, and then eat a soy yogurt to see the results. If it works well, kefir might become a regular part of my diet. I bought the kefir today and will let you know how it is going tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

I have two people to thank for dinner tonight. One is CCV, for pointing me to Dominix Eggplant Cutlets that are breaded, vegan and soy free. The other is kibbles up at PPK, for pointing me to a recipe for mozzarella cheese that is quite good.

It was because of both of them that I finally got to have something that has crossed my mind since starting to eat eggplant, Eggplant Parmesan. The only reason I have not made this till now is that I didn’t know what to do with the eggplant that did not go into the dish, because I would be making it for one and not two (the TeddyBear would never eat this). CCV did a review of the Dominix Eggplant Veggie Burgers on her blog Chocolate Covered Vegan, and while I could not eat those (they contain soy); it did point me to their Eggplant Cutlets, which solved my first problem. Kibbles started a thread for “favorite vegan cheese” up at PPK and pointed me to this homemade vegan mozzarella that is quite good. All I had to do was add some pizza sauce from a jar and semi instant dinner. And this is even healthier than how I have been eating eggplant in the past, since the cutlets have their skin on them. I’m getting a whole bunch more vitamins and other things I was missing out on before, because I have not been eating the skin.

On the side is a salad from Donna Klein’s The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen. It is the Chickpea and Green Bean Salad from the Salads chapter. Since it is still hot and humid in Florida, I am really scouring all my sources for any salad recipe and this one is really good. It has very simple and basic flavors that blend quite well together. And it doesn’t clash with the Eggplant Parmesan. So I get another vegetable along with some protein.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salads using Mayonnaise

I have been eating two salads lately that have mayonnaise as part of the salad dressing. One of them is a pasta salad that you would not even realize that mayo was part of the dressing and the other is something I picked up from VeganYumYum.

The pasta salad is called Main Dish Delish Summer Pasta Salad and I found it up Vegweb. Here I am having it with Lentil Rice Salad for a quick and easy lunch. Even though one cannot tell from looking at it, the dressing on the pasta salad does have mayo in it. Of course, with only ¼ of a cup with 8 oz of vinaigrette, you really can’t expect to see the mayo in the salad anyway. By the way, this salad makes a ton and if you are looking for something to bring to work or to a picnic, this would be the perfect thing. No one would ever suspect that it is vegan.

This second salad is something that I saw over at Lolo’s blog, VeganYumYum. It basically is a BLT salad; with raw kale, tempeh bacon (I used mushrooms to make my bacon) and cherry tomatoes. When I saw this, it looked intriguing and I was wondering if my homemade, nontraditional mayo would work. I cut the kale in as thin strips as possible and thoroughly massaged the dressing on them at least 6 hours before eating dinner. By dinner time, the kale was wilted and “cooked” in the dressing. The mushroom bacon is just thinly sliced Portobello mushroom caps, marinated in VWAV tempeh bacon marinade and then fried in a dry pan till crisp. The tomatoes are grape tomatoes, since I like those better than cherry tomatoes. All in all it was quite good, considering that this is most unique thing I have ever eaten.

So as you can see, even a homemade mayo works quite well, in many recipes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soy Free Mayonnaise

I have been using a lot of mayonnaise lately and thought that this is an issue I should address. For those of us who have problems with soy, mayonnaise is a big issue. If you are soy allergic, you have to make your own, since every commercial mayo (whether vegan or regular) contains soy. For those of us that are soy intolerant, you are only out of luck with the vegan mayos, since they all contain soy protein as an egg replacer. Therefore, what is a person do to; why you have to make your own.

And that is not as hard as it seems. You can make mayo with any decent blender, even a stick blender; if that is all you have available. The only ingredients in mayo (unless it is vegan, of course) is oil, egg, an acid and whatever seasonings you decide to use. The tricky part about making mayo is getting the oil and protein from the egg to emulsify (or combine), which is where most people fail at making mayo. The good news is that if you are making a vegan mayo, it is even easier (or at least I have found this to be true).

If you look on the web, finding a vegan soy free mayo recipe is not hard. I have managed to collect quite a few recipes that I have tried and been fairly happy with using. I have also been making these in a Magic Bullet blender, so if they can be made in that, then you should be able to make them as well. Some of these are nut based; either cashew or almond, and some of these are use a starch as a thickener, such as arrowroot or cornstarch. I even have one that uses flax seeds as its base.

Today I am going to give you all the mayo recipes that I have decided to add to my recipe book so far. Most of them I have tried and they work quite well in any type of dish. However, I will warn you that for the recipes that are nut based, you may want to consider those only if you have a high speed blender. Lower speed blenders may leave pulverized nut pieces in the finished product and while that won't hurt it, you may find them grainy when using as a spread.

Almond Mayonnaise – from Recipzaar, can use ¼ heaping cup of almond flour if don't have almonds, only good for a week or two in the refrigerator

Almond Mayonnaise – from, easy to make, would work better in a high speed blender

Almond Mayonnaise – from, haven't tried since don't keep lechitan around

Bryanna's Delicious Low-Fat Veggiennaise (page down to find)– from Bryanna Grogan, tried but didn't like the consistency that the arrowroot gave it, lasts for a few weeks in the refrigerator

Cashew Mayonnaise – from, was my regular mayo, found that I needed 1 cup of cashews to make it work right, lasts for several weeks in the refrigerator

Low Fat Mayonnaise – also from, my new regular mayo, easy to make, supposed to taste like Vegannaise, good for several weeks once made

Mock Mayonnaise (near the page bottom)– from the web, have not tried since don't keep xanthan gum around

Real Tasting Mayonnaise – also from, uses flax seeds as an egg replacer, need to have the finely ground or show up as specks in the final product

Vegan Mayo – also from, failed on my attempt to sub the chickpea flour for the soy flour, might work in a high speed blender

So there you have it. Hope you find one you and your family likes. Tomorrow I will show you what I have been doing with mayo lately. Including one from Lolo, that you not believe works with a noncommercial mayo.