Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksvegan successful!

wonderful thanksgiving celebration at my aunt's house this evening! =]
everyone enjoyed learning and savoring all the vegan delights i prepared.
sorry there are no pictures...i forgot, and now pretty much everything is gone!

pumpkin cashew cheese dip: this was probably the biggest hit out of everything i made, i received so many compliments! i served it warm with apples and crackers. my only disappointment was that it really had very little cheese taste -- i might add some nooch next time, but it was a delicious, lightly sweet but still savory party dip. yummy, festive, and simple.

sweet potato casserole: this was amazing. i loved it. end of story. i didn't hear people raving about it, but it was the only thing on the table that was completely gone.

harvest stuffed mushrooms: i'm not a huge mushroom fan but picked these out as more of an entree type of thing for the vegetarians (2) and vegan (1) haha. the omni's enjoyed them, although i really should have made a nice vegan gravy to go over them. the cranberry sauce didn't do them justice, they remained a little bland and a little dry.

cornbread stuffing: this was another great highlight for me. i found it really savory, maybe a little on the dry side as well, but the 'sausage', cornbread, leeks, and great seasonings all came together really well.

pumpkin brownie pie with pecan topping: i'm so happy that everyone was so full from dinner that the desserts went virtually untouched. i just got to trying some of this pie and it's the bomb dot com. seriously amazing. i do wish it had been baked a little longer, but it's soft and a little gooey!

well that's my thanksvegan round-up! hopefully you all had a great holiday :]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

loooong weekend and an even longer one is coming up!

i worked all weekend, so here's a little recap.

thursday i threw together a quick salad before work. i don't remember what was in it, other than that it included kale, tomatoes, red onions, and this killer greek vinaigrette dressing from wegmans that is organic and vegan. it's a creamy dressing that really brings me back to the ones i'd have at greek style diners with greek salads (although they always included gyro and feta cheese...)

i actually clopened on thursday/friday (you'll see this come up, it's when one closes the night before and then opens the next day!) so with the quick turnaround and early morning, i didn't cook that night or the next morning. i did my BIG grocery shopping for thanksgiving at whole foods and costco that afternoon and headed home to make rice for several recipes i had going on throughout the following week. friday night i went out with my friend natalie who is back in town!! :) we went to shirlington and saw a documentary called inside job about the meltdown of the financial industry, which was good, but definitely made me really concerned about the world, mortgages, trusting people, financing my money, etc. on a lighter note, we went to busboys & poets for an AWESOME dinner! we split vegan nachos, which were good, but i felt like the daiya could have been better assembled as a sauce rather than sprinkled on. we both had the tempeh panini (TLT!) and it was very good. i've had it twice before! busboys always has a vegan cheesecake, and we had the pumpkin, which was dense, flavorful, creamy, and delicious!

saturday morning, natalie and i went to the gym for a hard workout. i came back and made this awesome breakfast quinoa from angela at oh she glows filled with maple syrup, apricots, pecans, and so much other goodness! it was a seriously glorified oatmeal. i don't particularly enjoy oatmeal, but this was fantastic, not to mention FILLED with protein. i think i brought an amy's burrito for dinner at work that night.

sunday we hit up the gym again and i came back to make some cornbread waffles from isa's vegan brunch. i added a bit more maple to this as i wanted a sweeter flavor rather than a savory cornbread. they had such a great texture from the cornmeal, although they were a bit dense, probably because i overmixed them. i have a habit of doing that, haha...anyways! i later made a butternut squash curry with tempeh (it strikes back!) and lots of aromatics. it was really spicy and hearty, so i brought it to work with me to enjoy over rice.

yesterday i woke up and saw that melissa had tweeted, among many delicious recipes, these mocha chocolate chip muffins. i am a fan of every term in that recipe. they were rich and decadent, not really breakfast muffins, but overall easy and tasty. i finished up the rest of the squash and chickpea salad from angela that i made last week for lunch over some greens. if you didn't tell, i absolutely love squash. i find its fall flavor hearty, sweet, and really versatile with so many different seasonings. i came home after my class and debate meeting to make the spicoli burgers with potato smashers from dreena burton's eat, drink, & be vegan. i had bookmarked this recipe to make some time ago, but after seeing pictures and a rave review from keri over at i eat trees, i knew i had to make it. i have to agree, i believe these may be the best veggie burgers i have ever made. they were extremely hearty, crispy, and savory. i enjoyed them on a hamburger bun with avocado, tomato, and red onion. the potato smashers were pretty tasty, too. at any rate, the spicoli burgers are a MUST try! i had some trouble forming the patties, the mixture was extremely moist, but once i got it down they were good to go!

i made a great green monster this morning! i loaded it up with ground flax, kale, a frozen banana, and coconut kefir! the kefir made it especially tangy, but it still wasn't quite sweet enough for me, so i added 3 packets of stevia and it was truly delicious. i'm off to class, lunch, and work! :]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

i should get to updating this daily!

i cook every day! i really have been doing a great job at it. it's been saving me money on eating out at restaurants, and i've been eating more wholesome, less processed foods, which is great. my point is that i really should blog these things every day. despite that, i love being in control of what i eat -- it's an amazing feeling.

sunday was a BIG day of cooking! i opened the store for the first time, so i had all day to gallivant and prepare yummy food! for lunch i made gardein scallopini over ww spaghetti. i seared the gardein 'breasts', removed them, and then sauteed garlic and capers and reduced it with white wine. i brought the sauce together with lemon juice and a few tablespoons of earth balance 'butter'. it's a combination of the suggested serving on the bag of gardein and tal ronnen's recipe, and it really works for me. if you haven't yet tried gardein, i highly suggest it. it's quite amazing. i later made some cranberry orange pecan muffins from isa chandra's vegan brunch, and, well, they're all gone as of today, so they were clearly delicious as well. for dinner, i made red hot chili tofu from robin robertson. i served it over rice and had doubled the sauce. it was divine. spicy, crispy, and very flavorful. the ginger flavor was especially wonderful.

monday is my busier day, and although i had some things planned, i shifted them to later in the week. i (more than happily) ate leftover red hot chili tofu for lunch, went to class, held my debate meeting, and came home to make mama pea's oatmeal cream pies. these tasted creamy and, dare i say, better than the original!

tuesdays i generally get out early from my afternoon bio lab and head home to make some dinner. i threw together some mashed potatoes to serve under isa's chickpea picatta. it had the great flavors of a picatta with white wine, lemon, and capers. when topped over peppery arugula and creamy mashed potatoes, this dish was extremely comforting and delicious, but also very balanced and low fat.

doesn't that just look hearty and delicious? well, it was. you should be jealous and go make it.

this afternoon i made a butternut squash and chickpea salad from angela over at oh she glows. she is my favorite new blogger, definitely up there with my seasoned favorites mama pea and happy herbivore. she is extremely creative, descriptive, takes beautiful photographs, and dreams up the most decadent yet simple and nutritious recipes. at any rate, the salad was pretty good. the dressing made such a large quantity, but the combination of the bold tahini, the mild tomatoes and chickpeas, and the nutty squash was great.

tonight, i took the night off from all my cooking (and cleaning of dishes...) with chinese takeout. it was good, but i can tell i'm feeling a little off from eating something more oily than what i have become accustomed to. i really am passionate about my cooking :]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

it's probably made out of thin air.

i tweeted about this a few weeks ago and it has been bothering me ever since. THIS FOOD has been making me think.

don't get me wrong. this stuff is seriously delicious. it makes me so nostalgic over the many nights i consumed microwave mac & cheese. but what is it even made of?  


alright. it's not exactly as bad as i thought it was. i just feel like it isn't very natural. which is fine, i'm sure no one eats this stuff every day, i wouldn't. 22 grams of fat isn't anything to brag about, either. whatever. just a pet peeve, i guess. /rant


Saturday, November 13, 2010

i really need to blog more often...

i'm really not so great at this whole blogging thing! it must have been how i stopped before. at any rate, i got the night off to judge for the debate tournament today, so i'm here relaxing and know i should get back to mofo'ing it up!

wednesday night i really did it up. big time. i kept telling myself that it's okay, i don't deep fry, and it's okay, because i don't do this all the time...but man, this southern fried tofu was DELICIOUS. it seriously had a chicken-like flavor from the salt/pepper/garlic rub and the hot sauce in the liquid. i don't think i've prepared tofu in many better ways. okay, i love a great tofu scramble. but this just tore it up haha. i served it up with (as suggested) vegetarian baked beans and some corn. the baked beans were from a can i bought on sale, and they ended up having a very short ingredient list! serious comfort food was enjoyed.

okay, as i was making it, i knew it would be super rich and fattening, so i made a little side spinach salad. haha.

thursday night i worked and had a nice microwave amy's burrito! yum. i got home from work and made these brownies. definitely fudgy, rich, decadent, but low fat! i should have baked them a few more minutes, they were still very battery, which was tasty, just not really solid enough to transport anywhere.

friday i threw together a comforting but super healthy roasted vegetable soup! i'll post the recipe sometime soon, i promise! then i made veganomicon's apple peanut butter caramel bars. i've made these once before, and they were just as delicious the second time around. i'm about to have leftovers!

i actually went through and did meal planning on friday morning, did all my grocery shopping, and have tons of food to prepare for next week. look for some great updates!

now i'm watching whip it. what a fantastic movie! :]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a little update and a survey

tuesdays are usually my nights off from everything, but i covered robert's shift at hot topic. it actually went very well, we had some great sales! because i jumped from class to lab to work, i went to subway and got a veggie sub for dinner. it really was pretty good...

last night i made mama pea's zucchini quinoa casserole. this is the second time i have made it and it was even better! i love the softness of the zucchini as well as the zesty taste and texture from the quinoa. it's quite a great combination. i really think omni's would enjoy it. the only modification i have made is that (because i have been without an 8x8 up until today) i have made it in a longer and narrower pan.

i'm watching fight club right now. i've never seen it before. i'm actually really intrigued with it. except i won't watch the whole thing tonight as i know i should sleep, which is a shame because i'm already a little absorbed.

here's a survey from keri and andrea that i'm copying! i totally agree with andrea that this definitely made me think of myspace. i think the nostalgia encouraged me to complete it though!

1. What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
i don't miss beef at all. i thought i would, because even though i never ate it often, i'd always found steak delicious. i very seldom crave beef though. conversely, the one food i didn't think i'd miss when vegan, but do, is bacon. i didn't eat bacon very often when i was an omni, but its perfect saltiness and chewiness is something that is hardly matched by any vegan alternative. i've tried making tempeh and all sorts of mock meats and nothing is nearly as good. :[
2. What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
mushrooms. definitely.
3. What vegan dish or food you feel like you should like, but don’t?
daiya cheese. I've tried it so many times. I don't think it melts very well. I don't think it becomes creamy. and I think it has an awkward tapioca aftertaste that lacks the saltiness and texture of cheese. I've used the cheddar and melted it in a sauce for mac & cheese, and it does work okay, but i'm not wild about the taste.
4. What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
i drink a good amount of water, other than that, i like so delicious coconut milk, or iced tea.

5. What dish are you famous for making or bringing to gatherings?
i don't have a new go-to vegan dish. i guess it was usually brownies when i was omni, and although i've made lots of vegan brownies, one hasn't stuck out to me. i should look to evan, though, as i know he has many recipes that would make that happen. i'm now remembering that i bring lots of cupcakes places. i've made chocolate and fruit-based varieties often.

6. Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
i'm the opposite of andrea! i need everything on a plate to be finished at the same time. that's about it though. i also love sauces and dislike anything that is obnoxiously dry.

7. What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
bread. i love baguettes or any variety of french/italian bread. i dip in olive oil that is sprinkled with crushed black pepper and red pepper. yummmm.

8. What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
couldn't think of anything.

9. What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get the good stuff?
organic ketchup! not that much more, but it's fantastic. i also like gardein products, that are expensive but delicious nonetheless. the scallopini are fantastic.

10. Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
cliff bars, smoothies, crackers, hummus, and the aforementioned baguette.

11. What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
i've only had vegan pizza two or three times. i don't love it (see daiya).
12. What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
kale and broccoli are up there. tomatoes and bananas are better! surprisingly, i probably eat the fewest vegetables of any vegan that is reading this. or even some omnis. i eat a lot of pasta dishes and legume-based dishes.

13. What is the best salad dressing?
greek vinaigrette dressing from wegmans. maybe hands down the best vegan or non-vegan dressing i've ever had.
14. What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
earth balance! although i realized it's quite high in fat, so i've attempted to substitute it for jams.
15. What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
i made a KILLER cocoa coconut chili from eat, drink, & be vegan. that's not the blog/book of the author, but the recipe is there. you will love it. i find soup so warm and comforting. i also like panera's black bean!

16. What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
chocolate anything!

17. What is your favorite kind of cookie?
oatmeal chocolate chip. i love the ones from potbelly's, and i have since made them vegan.

18. What is your most-loved weeknight meal?
gardein scallopini over cappelini. definitely easy and so delicious.

19. What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
my parents and brother are pretty impressed and attempt to try anything i make, most of the time. i think they've been scared of kale, at least my mom has. oh well. haha.

20. Favorite non-dairy milk?
so delicious coconut original! it's weird, i find myself one of the few vegans that can drink an already sweetened non-dairy milk and enjoy it. oh well, i like the flavor.
21. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
i attempted to make tiramisu waffles after being inspired by isa chandra tweet about testing them, and they weren't very great. they just tasted too plain. i like things flavorful and bold.
22. Favorite pickled item?

23. 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)?
gardein scallopini, baguette, and chocolate!
24. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
i used to eat tater tots and fish sticks very often. or spaghetti and meatballs. very classic american. i also ate matzo ball soup and challah on friday nights, from my jewish culture!

25. Favorite vegan ice cream?
so delicious turtle trails! i love salty/sweet in anything, it might be my favorite flavor combination.26. Most loved kitchen appliance?
microplane zester, immersion blender, and smoothie blender are way up there.

27. Spice/herb you would die without?
SALT. also: cinnamon, basil (fresh), and vanilla extract.
28. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?

29. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
i've made a lot of soups and they tend to go over well.
30. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
31. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
BRUNCH. i love it.

32. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
frozen strawberries, gardein scallopini, and frozen bananas.
33. What’s on your grocery list?
tortilla chips.

34. Favorite grocery store?
WEGMANS. anyone who knows me, knows that i love wegmans. then whole foods. then trader jose's.
35. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
36. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
mama pea, the wanna be chef, and oh she glows! i'd say i love the recipes from happy herbivore and isa chandra though, although they don't blog often.

37. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
chocolateeee in many ways.
38. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
hmmm. no idea.

FIGHT CLUB IS SO GOOD. i can't stop watching it. but i'll attempt to. night!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

busy weekend and i'm already behind on blogging :(

work, pet-sitting, and more work have consumed my weekend. :(((

not too pleased with that. but i'll live. speaking of living, i've been living on a lot of quickly thrown together meals or take-out the past few days (that i haven't been blogging because i haven't been at my computer...)

i did have time to make oh she glow's new healthy cookie bites! they were delicious. i loved that they contained 1 gram of protein and 1 gram of fiber per serving -- that made them all the better!

i had planned to make several recipes from alicia's the kind diet this week. sorry, i pretend that i'm on a first name basis with people like alicia (silverstone), chelsea (handler), rachael (ray), lisa (lampanelli), pete (wentz), and i suppose a few others. in my head, i know them, i any rate, i've had alicia's book for a while now. it intimidated me when i first got it though. i have felt at times as though my diet is limiting. of course, i have learned that it is full of new options, i have grown more creative, and i can enjoy my life completely with a vegan diet. but alicia's book places, or rather suggests, many new things to avoid. i am slowly incorporating them into my life.

i'm just worn out. i haven't even been tweeting much. blahhhhh. i'm realizing i need to get some pictures up in here!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

pumpkin madness!

i never got to meal planning last night :(

as such, i got home from my boring errands, lame classes, and line to voting and didn't know what to make! i had a ton of produce leftover from last week in the fridge, as well as some leftovers, but i wanted something warm and fresh. i decided to put together another one of mama pea's recipes: pumpkin curry with tofu! (i promise i cook from other cookbooks, authors, and bloggers...i just have a ton of her fantastic recipes starred on my reader that i have been meaning to get to, and she seems pretty cool!) it was pretty good, although a little thick for me. i will probably thin it out with some hemp milk i have (i tend to use it as unsweetened for cooking, i keep sweetened coconut milk around for drinking, trying to minimize my soy and i find so delicious to be just that -- so delicious!) substitutions i made included one large onion, more garlic, and using zucchini for carrots. it was comforting and filling, which i appreciated :]

i might get to meal planning tonight...we'll see!

Monday, November 1, 2010


i've decided to blog a bit for vegan mofo. the purpose is to really get some more vegan recipes out there, bring awareness, share stories, etc. i feel as though as a new(er) vegan, a college student, and someone that has a busy life, i can bring a lot to this discussion.

i'm at panera now, i just enjoyed a mediterranean veggie sandwich with no feta, which is fantastic. their black bean soup is also seriously delicious and vegan. although those are pretty much their only vegan items, i'm a fan.

last night i made mama pea's brown sugar bars! i added pecans and chocolate chips, they were really good! will probably make again some time soon. i'm also putting together my meal plans for this week -- will let you know about those tonight!