Tuesday, December 22, 2009

jaredisavegan: the workaholic

38 hours last week, 34 this week! i've been super busy at hot topic. i've done a few of these amy's frozen burritos, the indian one was delicious! we have a microwave in the back so i've been using it, but other than that it's been a lot of tired salads and decent cold wraps from mall places, and waffle fries from chick-fil-a! i love those.

dogwalking has been on hold severely this week because of the winter storm we had. fortunately i had stocked up on a few frozen chilis/soups that i had made since it begun getting colder, so i heated those up and enjoyed! with moving to sara's this week, i'm glad my refridgerator/freezer have been significantly emptied due to being stranded at my condo for nearly 2 days straight.

i made this vegan peppermint fudge for my family and some of my dogwalking clients and it was delicious! LOVE IT! it got rave reviews from all of the omni's i gave it too, so it is highly recommended if you are still looking for a holiday treat that is super easy to make.

hopefully i'll have some actual recipe to let you all see...i've been varying up the last pasta sauce with caramelized onions! i've used olives, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and artichoke hearts (all separately). it's taken on different tastes and is still simple and inexpensive to make. the only thing i don't like is the numerous dishes (sautee pan, pasta pot, cutting board, etc.) so i could work on eliminating some of those.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the best pasta sauce ever!

i've totally outdone myself. this is PHENOMENAL. and super easy! i eat pasta all the time, i've found that i really like the barilla gold brands that are whole grain but don't taste bad! i took an onion (i used a large yellow one, not one of my mayan sweets, and this made me cry for 5 minutes, even AFTER i finished chopping it!) and 3 large cloves of garlic sweat over the heat for a few minutes. i noticed that the smaller pieces were beginning to brown lightly and decided i could add the other ingredients now, or just let it all caramelize. well, i went with the caramelization and never looked back! i left it at medium heat but added a few tablespoons of nature's balance butter to help things brown and get creamy. i let it go for about 8 more mins and everything got nice and brown and smelled amazing! i added some rough chopped tomatoes to the pan and seasoned with a lot of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (my sauce staples) and let it go for another 8 mins, stirred around, and then another 8 (i'm sorry, 8 is my magic number). the pasta was done so i combined this rich, brown sauce and topped it with some fresh parsley (i knew it would be too heavy without a little fresh green something, and it complemented nicely). seriously, i demolished this bowl in about 10 mins. i don't think i've ever enjoyed something vegan in a LONG time. i am definitely making this for the next omni's that i have over for dinner!



i'm headed to work in a few minutes, i have to fix my hair and change and clean up these dishes but i will be good to go! i'm working a lot of long shifts, but the money is great. i actually did $200 in shopping merchandise last night at hot topic! but with my 50% discount this weekend it was only $100. and that killed a ton of people's presents, which i am grateful for my discount. i haven't really begun studying yet, but i'm not too nervous, i'm going into history and spanish in good standing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

i'm baaack!

I didn't forget about my blog! I've been really busy trying to finish up with school this semester -- fortunately my exams will all be done by next Thursday. I also got a new job last week! I'm working seasonal at the Hot Topic in Fair Oaks now. It's fun and keeps me going! I'm excited to use my discount to purchase some holiday gifts for people. Speaking of people, so many of my friends come back this weekend from school and I'm excited to spend time with them. Hopefully I'll throw a vegan dinner party again!

Here's something I made last week before work: a meatless meatball sandwich, cooked in homemade marinara, topped with mozzarella veggieshreds, broiled (so the 'cheese' gets super bubbly and brown, which I absolutely love) and served with some of my leftover ranch dressing (see the 'party' entry for the recipe) and organic crinkle cut french fries. The meatballs were on the grainy side (I used the Nate's brand, original style). I make my marinara in a super large stock pot such that I can have it readily available in my freezer for quick meals. I'll post the recipe sometime!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

it's finally thanksgiving!

This holiday symbolizes the genocide of the American Indian and the slaughtering of millions of turkeys. It's wonderful. As a foodie, I almost thought of simply going vegetarian for thanksgiving. Giving up the turkey for stuffing (one of my all time favorite foods), mashed potatoes, green beans, breads, and desserts would be really easy. But then I remember all of the negative health attributes of the dairy products that go into all of those foods, and the hundreds of thousands of chickens and cows that die simply because they don't serve the purpose of reproducing any longer. So I knew I had to be vegan this holiday. I'll publish my NEW pumpkin pie recipe (this one has a pecan crust and looks better) tomorrow or later tonight, as well as the other dishes I will have this evening.

I was shopping at whole foods and saw these gardein turk'y breasts stuffed that blogged about a few days ago and had to try them! I made some quick mashed potatoes with Silk "cream" and a few tablespoons of nature's balance buttery spread. I served it with some of my mom's peppery and zesty cranberry sauce, which is insanely good. I'm one that loves the canned, jellied cranberry sauce, and I really liked hers! I found an organic brand at whole foods of my jellied love that does not have HFCS or any of the nasty crap that goes into the normally canned stuff, so I was one happy camper. So here was the final product!

Monday, November 23, 2009

rainy day, great bowl of food is necessary!


I really like a hot bowl of something to curl up with on a rainy day. I've made a bunch of soups as of late (sorry they haven't been posted here, I'll eventually re-make them including my Faux Zuppa Toscana, Super Smoky Chili, and Creamy Roasted Vegetable) so I decided to stray away from that. I didn't really have a great day so I wanted to make something I really enjoy. I like pasta, as do many vegans, so I'm doing that tonight! I even remembered to take a picture this time.

Rustic Sauce
1 large onion (I used mayan sweet)
4 cloves garlic (sounds like a lot, they were small)
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, diced (and jus)
3 plum tomatoes, diced
3/4 c. white wine (or veg stock)
small handful parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in a few tbsps of EVOO to sweat over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and tomatoes and allow to saute for about 5 minutes, adjusting heat to medium. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper. When sauce becomes dry, add the wine and artichoke jus. Allow to reduce for about half an hour while you cook your pasta, or til desired sauce consistency. Top with parsley just before serving. Season again to taste. I served it with ww macaroni (didn't have anything else!) and it was delicious. I like the almost pickle-like flavor of the artichokes and the peppery zip. This does make enough for tomorrow's lunch as well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

pre-thanksgiving party!

I hope everyone had a good week! I've been really busy these past few days so there was not a lot of cooking going on...some take-out, some frozen dinners, etc. I had a midterm for my SOC weekend class today that was really easy, but I poured some time into studying for it, as well as the CSC exam, so I was excited to finally get cooking some yummy food!

I threw a house party last night, and because it was my house, I made all the snacks vegan! Overall I got rave reviews on everything, although I wasn't too thrilled with my pumpkin pie. I served up the following snacks:

Vegan Ranch Dip
1 container Vegenaise
1 container Tofutti sour cream
2 tbsps silken tofu (although you could use a firm)
2 tsps Adobo seasoning
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 c. water

Place all ingredients into a blender, streaming in the water to desired consistency. This came out really well, I think I like this more than some of the bottled ranches I've had pre-vegan! I like it a little thicker as a dip and served it with some organic kettle potato chips. This was a REAL crowd pleaser!

Smooth Salsa
8-12 plum tomatoes (see below)
1 large red onion (or two smaller ones, could also go with Spanish)
2 limes (juice and zest)
Salt, Pepper, and Hot Sauce to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and blend, or progressively through a blender. I have an immersion blender (handheld) that is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, I highly recommend it. It goes right up there with my microplane zester! I don't use cilantro or garlic in this as 1) there was garlic in the two types of hummus I shared, 2) I feel the onion flavor is almost similar, & 3) a lot of people just don't like cilantro. I start with 8 tomatoes and add some to work with the flavoring, depending on if I feel it is too spicy from the hot sauce. I made mine what I would consider to be "medium". I really like the blended salsa because it works so well with any type of chips, I used Tostitos Scoops, and is a nice change from a regular pico de gallo that you see pretty much everywhere.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie
1 15oz can pumpkin pie puree
3/4 c. sugar (as needed, see below)
1 1/2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice (cloves, cinnamon, etc.)
12 oz. silken tofu, blended to smooth consistency
Frozen pie shell

Thaw pie shell. I used a can mix that was already sweetened (but I added about 1/4 c. sugar) and already seasoned (but I added at least 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice) to suit it to my tastes. I like a flavorful pie, what can I say! I blended the pumpkin, seasoning, sugar, and pureed silken tofu in the Kitchenaid and poured it into the pie shell. I baked it at first for 15 minutes at 425 and then 45 mins at 350. It wasn't done (still not close to firm) so I continued to bake for another 15 minutes. I allowed it to cool for about 6 hours and served with some whipped topping -- I can't remember the brand but I found one that had no HFCS or trans fats and it was delicious. However, I found the pie to be mushy in texture. I read through several different vegan pumpkin pie recipes and was so excited to use tofu as a protein boost in dessert, but I was dissapointed. It was gone, though!

As stated earlier, I also served two types of hummus, a spinach artichoke and a roasted pine nut. I feel like hummus is always a crowd pleaser! I also bought a huge bag of pretzel chips, which are very popular among my friends. They always enjoy dipping them in cream cheese, so I put out some Tofutti cream cheese into a bowl and no one knew the difference. Or at least, they didn't bother saying anything to me and continued to eat it. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hi!

Welcome to my blog! I've been reading vegan blogs since reading Skinny Bastard and converting myself on 08/08/09. I've developed a lot of my own recipes and thought I could share some of them here as well as discuss stories or other things involved with being a busy college student.

Today I started my day with a usual shake I make -- Chocolate Banana. It's not too sweet but really gets me going in the morning!

1-1 1/2 banana(s), sliced and frozen overnight
1/2 c. - 3/4 c. chocolate light Silk soymilk

I go through a large bunch of bananas, cut them up, and section them off into baggies on Sunday nights so I have them throughout the week.

1. Place the frozen bananas in the blender.
2. Pour Silk over them to cover (more or less depending on how thick or thin you prefer)
3. Blend for about 15 seconds and enjoy!

It usually makes about 2 full glasses, I drink one while I get ready and then one when I can sit down and actually have breakfast. Occasionally I take one in a thermos on my way to school!

I had to finish a Computer Science Take Home Exam, so I didn't get to lunch until much later. I went to Chipotle, a restaurant I frequent at least once a week. Today I got a salad, which I usually get for lunch. I add a little rice (because it's too good), black beans, 2 scoops of tomatoes, salsa verde, corn salsa, and guacamole. Their dressing is amazing as well.

I have to go to class and turn in my exam, then I'll be home later to make some pasta for dinner!