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Vegan Chicks Rock



The trials and tribulations of an amateur vegan chef



Updated: 2017-12-10T19:12:12.754-08:00

 



Roasted Potatoes & Field Roast Sausages

2011-11-10T10:23:22.965-08:00

This was one of those meals that came from trying to get rid of a few odds and ends of things and turned into something really delicious. I've actually made this again since because I liked it so much. The best part is that you pretty much just throw everything into the oven and forget about it until the timer goes off. You could use this as a side dish for dinner or brunch or just eat it as a meal for breakfast. Either way, it's filling and hits the spot.


Just throw whatever you want in here - anything you're trying to use up the last of. I do think that the tomatoes kind of make it, though. I've been big into roasted slices of tomatoes lately so maybe that's just me.


Throw in some clean, chopped potatoes (I don't know how much I used, pretty much just enough for an 8" x 8" pan.), dice a few shallots or an onion and a few cloves of garlic and toss them with a bit of olive oil. If you're adding any other veggies, put them in now as well. Put the dish in the oven at 425 F for about 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, stir in a chopped Field Roast sausage (I used the chipotle flavored ones), some herbs (fresh or dried - herbes de provence is a good choice here if you're unsure) and stir everything up a bit. Add some sliced tomatoes to the top and bake for another 30 minutes. Let everything cool for 5 minutes before you start eating. Add some hot sauce or nooch or whatever you like.



Nacho Bar Madness

2011-11-06T07:19:59.328-08:00

Nachos are one of my favorite food groups. I love them so much that sometimes if we're out at a bar or something I'll order no-cheese nachos just to have them. I always get weird looks when I do that, but whatever. I make nachos at home sometimes, too. Those are usually those lazy nights when I'm staying in and watching some stupid movies or a Vampire Diaries marathon or something. Nachos are good for that.

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Please ignore the timer in that picture. I forgot to remove it from the table when I took these. We were doing laundry and timing the loads, not timing how long we had to eat. haha

Of course I was totally stoked when Sara Beth had some nacho bar ingredients listed for her recipe testing. Oh, yes. I am so on board with this. It's really not that hard to convince me to eat nachos, though, so to be honest. 

The only bummer about this meal was that I forgot to buy avocados earlier in the week so they'd be ripe for guacamole. Also, I was supposed to make some pico de gallo, too but the tomatoes at the store looked skeezy so I just bought salsa instead. No matter, everything was still awesome. 

The nacho cheese is the star of the show. James almost lost it when he tried this. It's cashew based witha  secret ingredient to give it that awesome tang that nacho cheese has with some spices added in to give it a bit of something extra. I am so in love with this stuff. I will be making this quite often.

This is tempeh taco "meat". I've always just used one of those flavoring packets when making something like this so it was super cool to make the flavoring totally from scratch. I love tempeh, so this was extra wonderful in my books. We had some leftovers from all of this and made some sandwiches out of the tempeh and nacho cheese. That stuff is pretty awesome to put on a sandwich or in a wrap, actually.


Last, but not least, I made some sour cream. This was crazy simple and really delicious. It went so well with everything else. You could easily make this the day before if you wanted to, which is always a cool thing. Also, I think this could stand in for any kind of store bought sour cream you might use. Score!



Braised Tempeh & Fluffy Couscous

2011-11-03T15:44:06.549-07:00

I've been cooking up a storm these last few days. I have this week and next week off work in between contracts. Yay for staycations! I've been way busier than I thought I'd be between renewing my drivers license and running to the market and cooking and all those fun errands I finally have time for. I can't believe this week is already almost over. This is really the best time that I could be doing some recipe testing, though. I've been making an average of 2 different things each day right now. So awesome. It's been a blast, I hope I get to keep doing stuff like this.


One of my favorites from Terry Hope Romero's upcoming international vegan cookbook is the Braised Tempeh with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons. Tempeh and I are good buddies already, so any excuse to do something new with it and I'm in. This stuff was fantastic. I've been wanting to try preserved lemons for a while (the recipe for this will also be in the book) and I already love olives. So delicious. So there's tempeh, some caramelized onions, green olives and preserved lemons and a few other things. It's easy to put together and so good. I was excited to eat the leftovers.


I decided to pair this with Terry's Fluffy Spiced Couscous. This is a cool recipe because you can customize it depending on what else you're making. I haven't made couscous in ages. I don't think I'll wait so long to make it again, though. This came out fluffy as promised and full of flavor. I put dried apricots, preserved lemons and pistachios in mine. Yum!


Between testing for Terry and Sara Beth, we've been eating so well lately. It's awesome because I never have that problem where I have no clue what to make for dinner. I just find a recipe on the list that I haven't tried yet and there you go. I'm going to try making some granola bars this weekend. Awesome, right?




Walnut Spice Sticky Cake

2011-10-31T15:35:07.393-07:00

It's the season for recipe testing! I'm also testing for Terry Hope Romero's upcoming international vegan cookbook. It's a delicious job, let me tell you. Doing all of this testing for Terry and Sara Beth have really put me on a mission. It's so much fun trying new things. I've been inspired by different techniques and flavor combinations and will definitely carry some of that over into my own recipes.

I totally took a bite out of this before I took the picture. I couldn't resist.

Today I made Terry's Walnut Spice Sticky Cake. I don't normally make cakes because it's just the two of us here and it's sometimes hard to eat a whole one. The sacrifices you make sometimes! This cake is not one that's likely to sit around going bad, that's for sure. I literally just finished eating a piece of this and I'm holding myself back from having a second piece. I will definitely have another one after dinner tonight.

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Fresh from the oven!

This walnut cake is made with spelt flour, which I love and has just the right amount of spice to give it flavor without being hot or too overpowering. There's a bit of orange zest in it and an orange syrup poured on top after it comes out of the oven. I much prefer cakes like this to the kind with frosting. I'm not a frosting hater, but normally I scrape most of it off because it's too much sugar for me. I feel like I could eat a piece of this for breakfast and not start the day off on a sugar high.


Okay, maybe I will have another piece. Just a small one.



Veggie Fritatta and Sunshine Smoothies

2011-10-30T19:02:29.717-07:00

I've been recipe testing for Sara Beth Russert's upcoming cookbook for the past few weeks. I've been really loving everything I've made so far. I think you guys are going to love this cookbook. I've already found some things that will definitely be making it into a regular rotation at our place. Two of these are the Veggie Fritatta and the Sunshine Smoothies.


As I'm sure you can tell from the photos, there are greens in the smoothie being all sneaky and stuff. You can't taste the greens at all, which surprised me. It was so yummy, I've made these a couple of times since I originally tested the recipe. Perfect for an afternoon snack or with your morning breakfast. These smoothies aren't frozen, which is the way I typically make mine so no brain freeze first thing, either. Just lots of fruits and greens and vitamins and yumminess.


This veggie fritatta was crazy awesome. I don't know how many this is supposed to serve, but we ate half of it between the two of us for breakfast along with our smoothies. Then, a few hours later, I was still thinking of how good it was and ate the rest of it all by myself. I can't say enough times how good this was.


Maybe you shouldn't try and eat this all in one sitting like I pretty much did. You'll sure want to, though.



Simple Brown Gravy

2011-10-29T17:11:41.157-07:00

I just realized that I said I'd post a simple brown gravy recipe and then never did. Oops. I don't have any pictures of, but it pretty much looks like you'd expect a brown gravy to look. This is great to go with the Vegan Holiday Roast or stuffing or pretty much anything you need gravy for.

Here is a picture of two of my cats instead. These two are sisters and I always catch them snuggling. This was probably one of the funniest contortions they've been in.


Here's the great thing about this gravy. You can make it just bare bones and it tastes great or you can add a thing or two to jazz it up a bit if you want. I like to add mushrooms to mine so I'm going to give you the recipe with the mushrooms added. If you don't like mushrooms or don't want to do that, just leave them out. Add some fresh herbs if you want. Thyme, marjoram or sage would be nice with this. Also, if you're out of vegetable broth you can either add in some broth powder with water or just use water instead.

Brown Gravy

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup flour
3 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce

Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the oil over medium heat until the onions are transluscent, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the broth and water and whisk in the flour.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the pot with the onions and mushrooms. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, still stirring often as your gravy starts to thicken. Add the soy sauce and cook for about 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat and blend the gravy until it's almost smooth. (Or make it totally smooth if you don't want any bits of onions and mushrooms in your gravy.) An immersion blender is great for this but if you don't have one, a blender or food processor would be fine.

Return the gravy to the pot and cook for another 10-15 minutes as your gravy finishes thickening. Whisk in some more water if you find it's getting too thick.




A Halloween Round-Up

2011-10-28T07:58:32.513-07:00

I've been thinking about making something fun and festive for dinner on Halloween night. Those cute little pepper jack-o-lanterns I discovered yesterday might just be the thing. If I make that, I still need something spooky for dessert. I've done some neat cupcake things in years past so I might do something like that again. As I've been thinking about all of this, I decided to do a bit of a Halloween round-up today. Here are a bunch of things that I've made before and I'm seeing on other people's blogs right now. Are you making anything Halloweeny this year?Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Spiderweb Cupcakes and Chocolate Spider Mini Cupcakes - I brought these to work a few years ago and they were quite the hit.Vampire Cupcakes! They "bleed" when you bit into them. These are really easy to make, too. I included the tutorial on how to do this in the blog post.Hannah made these adorable little pumpkin candies over on Bittersweet.Ghosts are popping up everywhere at Fancy Flours!VegSpinz made her own Candy Corn last year and now you can, too!Aren't these falafel spiders just the cutest?! There's a great recipe for falafel on this page from Veggie Bellly's site, too.How about some sweet potato-chocolate swirl muffins from the Vegan Cookbook Afficiando?I would swear there were some more Halloween things popping up in the MoFo this year. Maybe I'll do another round up this weekend if I find some more. [...]



The Cutest Jack-O-Lanterns Ever!

2011-10-27T10:58:15.954-07:00

Is this not the cutest Halloween dish you've ever seen?!


These are Spabettie's Carrot-Ginger Quinoa Pepper Jacks. Otherwise known as the most adorable jack-o-lantern food ever! That's her picture, not mine. I just can't get over how cute these things are and I had to share.

Edit: I just realized these are in a Halloween recipe contest. You can vote here if you want.



A Wayward Brunch

2011-10-26T19:37:10.957-07:00

After getting quite a few great suggestions for breakfast in Seattle, we decided to try out Wayward Vegan Cafe. Seriously, holy cow. I will definitely be going back there again. The food was amazeballs. I want to try one of everything on the menu. I also always forget how large the portions are in the US so we ended up with a ton of food. I can never say no to grits with my breakfast, though so that's partially my fault. Ah, well.



This was my plate. Country fried seitan steak with hash browns and tofu scramble. So good. The gravy was really good, I kept scooping it onto my hashbrowns to eat it with them, too. I think that if I ever order this again, I'll ask for extra gravy just for that very purpose. I don't eat a ton of seitan because it has a tendency to set off my allergies, but sometimes I like to throw caution to the wind. The delicious wind. The seitan was lightly breaded and crispy and tasted great. I really liked it, but I think I actually prefer the country fried steak at Georgetown Liquor Company more. No worries, there are tons more things to try on this menu so it'll be a while before I get back around to this, especially considering that I don't live in Seattle.

Now let me speak of this tofu scramble. At first I was all oh, yeah, whatever. Boring tofu scramble on the side. But no! Even though this is just plain tofu scramble with no frills, it was really tasty. It's really fluffy and light and full of flavor. I think I mowed through that first, actually. I couldn't get enough. Yum, yum, yum!


James ordered the seitan hash. The blurry seitan hash as it were. I've learned my lesson about trying to take photos in the morning before I've eaten. This is the second time in a week I've done this. But, I digress. Here's the thing about the seitan hash. We were tricked! It doesn't look like anything all that special, but it tastes amazing. Somehow they've mixed the seitan in with the tofu so you barely notice it in there when you're looking at it. They used some kind of tasty herbs and spices when making the seitan to make it even more awesome. There are also huge chunks of potatoes, green peppers and onions. He kept saying how good the toast was, too. It'll be hard not to get this and try something else next time we're there.


And, of course, I can't go without my grits. You can pretty much tell what was going on with the grits. I mixed it all together, added some salt and pepper and a little nooch and ate until I thought I might burst. Good times.

As I'm trying to write this, James is sitting behind me reading some old song lyrics that he wrote in 1992 in high school. He just found this notebook that has written on the cover: "DO NOT: read, look at, take, open, abuse, touch or go near this book" Greatness. So if none of this post makes any sense, you can blame him.




Is It Like Trick-Or-Treating If You Pay For It?

2011-10-25T18:29:41.201-07:00

We were in Seattle this past weekend, where I always get into so many kinds of trouble with food. And I mean trouble like sneaking out at night to go the best party every and not getting caught sneaking back in trouble. Eating is one of the highlights for sure. I always go to Mighty-O on my way out of town on Sunday mornings so I can grab a dozen donuts to take back home with me. Sadly, I came down with the flu on Sunday morning so we had to skip it this time even though that totally breaks my heart.

However, we did go for an awesome breakfast at Wayward Vegan Cafe on Saturday morning (more on that tomorrow) and then got pulled in by Sidecar across the street. Since it's the end of October I sort of felt like we went trick-or-treating after we left that place. I bought so many delicious goodies. The funny thing is that we don't typically eat sweets except for every now and then. I think this'll keep us set for quite a few months.


Some of this stuff I can get in Canada, but only if I make the trek out to New Westminster where the only vegan store is. It's a bit far so I don't end up going there as much as I'd like so I'm honestly not sure if they now have some of the flavors/brands that we picked up. I know that some of this stuff I've never seen in Canada at all. I pretty much bought a bunch of stuff that looked delicious that I can't easily get up here. This is what happens when I go into a vegan store on a whim, I guess.

I can't wait to be done with this flu so I can get to eating some of this stuff! I'm really excited to try the Nacho Mama Queso. We're big fans of tortilla chips and salsa and/or guacamole at our house so this'll slip right into our snacking quite well. I always say that nachos are one of my favorite food groups! The peanut butter cups we tried when we were in Hawaii and I regretted not buying a bunch more to bring home. That explains why we bought an entire box of them. I mean, come one. Organic, dark chocolate peanut butter cups. What isn't to love?!



Vegan Holiday Roast

2011-10-24T16:38:55.205-07:00

I've had quite a few requests for the Vegan Holiday Roast recipe, so here it is! I originally got this online but the recipe isn't there when I go back to my bookmark. I can't remember exactly what it was called before, so Vegan Holiday Roast, it is! Luckily, I have a little notebook where I copy down recipes from the internet, so I still have it.I've been making this for just over 4 years now and it's been a hit every single time. Even the omnivores end up having seconds. Personally, I think that one of the keys to success with this is to have a really delicious gravy with it. My favorite for the past couple of years is the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance. If you don't want to bother with making your own gravy, the Simply Organic Mushroom Sauce packets are quite good. You'll just want to make sure to buy 3-4 packets so you have enough for the entire roast. I'll put up a brown gravy recipe tomorrow if you want something that's more traditional.You can make this roast stuffed or not. I've never made it not stuffed, but I imagine it would be sort of like a big slab of seitan if you did it that way. Not that this is a bad thing, necessarily but for me, I think part of what's great about is that it doesn't seem so heavy with the stuffing in the middle and it's not nearly as scary for any non-veg*ns you might be eating with. If you're not going to stuff this, you can just put it in a loaf pan to bake if you want it to retain its shape. Otherwise, you can just form it a loaf shape and put it in a baking pan like you'll do with the stuffed one.If you're stuffing this, and I think you should, you can always use my stuffing recipe. It's fast and super easy and tastes great with this roast.Vegan Holiday Roastroast:2 cups wheat gluten1/2 cup soy or chickpea flour1/2 cup nutritional yeast2 teaspoons onion powder1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)12oz firm tofu1 1/2 cups water3 tablespoons soy sauce1 tablespoon olive oilbroth: (use 1 1/2 times the amount of broth if you're stuffing the roast)2 1/3 cups vegetable broth2 tablespoons olive oil4 cloves garlic, minced1 teaspoon each, fresh chopped sage, thyme and rosemaryPreheat your oven to 325 F.Mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the tofu, water, soy sauce and olive oil to a food processor and blend until combined. Add the dry mixture to the food processor. Mix it until a ball forms.If you're not stuffing this, form into two loaves and place them in a baking pan.If you are stuffing this (my favorite way), divide the dough in half. Roll out half onto a clean surface using a wet rolling pin. You want to make about a 15" circle. Mound 3 1/2 cups stuffing in the middle. Fold dough up and around the stuffing into a loaf shape, pinching to seal. Repeat with the second half of the dough and place your loaves into a baking pan.Pour 1/2 cup of broth over the top of your roasts and cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes and remove the foil. Add half of the remaining broth. Bake for another 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the loaves over. (I usually need to use two spatulas together to do this without tearing the roasts.) Pour the remaining broth over the loaves and bake for 30 more minutes, basting often.Your roasts should completely soak up the broth by the end of the cooking time. If they don't (and mine rarely do), just cook in 30 minute increments, basting every 10 minutes or so until there is little or no broth left. I usually end up needing another 60 minutes.Remove the roasts from the pans, let cool for at least 5 minutes then slice it up and serve.[...]



Coconut Milk Yogurt for the Win

2011-10-23T10:00:00.513-07:00

I've been hearing about all of these great coconut milk products from people in the US. I've been waiting patiently for them to start appearing in Canada. We've had the coconut milk drink for about 6 months or so, I think, but we haven't had any of the yogurts (that I've seen at least) until just recently. The market near my house started carrying it last week, so of course I nabbed some.



I really miss yogurt. I used to eat soy yogurt all of the time. I love the Nancy's soy yogurt so much. I've been trying to limit my soy intake so that's gone off the menu except for every now and then. I'm stoked to finally have a replacement. This stuff is so good. It's thick and creamy and delicious. Just like you'd expect from it. I'm pretty sure that everything I've had that's been made with coconut milk has been awesome. Coconut milk ice cream, I'm talking to you.

So far I've only tried the vanilla flavor, but there were a few others at the market that I'm definitely going to grab when I'm there next week.





Things that are Awesome: Holy Crap Cereal

2011-10-22T10:00:04.876-07:00

I remember about a year ago James telling me that he heard something about the woman who started Holy Crap cereal on the CBC (that's like NPR in the US). Apparently it was so popular that it was backordered for months. I think the popularity took her by surprise. There was some other stuff, but I forget exactly now and I don't want to spread lies, so just check out the google if you're curious. Anyway, I remembered that discussion when we saw it at the market the other day. Intrigued, we decided to buy some.

Immediately I was struck by just how friendly this cereal is to a variety of diets. It's vegan, gluten-free and nut-free. How cool! Plus, the package says it's "the world's most amazing breakfast cereal". If the packaging says so, it must be true.

So what you do is add 2 tablespoons of cereal to 4 tablespoons of liquid. I've been using almond milk, but it even says you can use yogurt or something if you want. After you mix it, you let it sit for about 5 minutes. There are tons of chia seeds in this so they absorb a ton of liquid as it sits and turns into an almost pudding-like consistency. That may seem a little odd, but I actually kind of like it. It's different than normal cereal, that's for sure.



Now you're probably looking at these pictures and thinking it looks kind of grey and bland. But no! It's actually really tasty. There's some dried fruit in it which adds a bunch of flavor. This is my first time eating hemp hearts and I think I like them. They have a nice nutty flavor with just a tiny hint of chocolate to them. Oh, and speaking of pictures, I'm sorry that these are so blurry. It was really early in the morning before work when I took these and I clearly don't know how to focus before I've eaten my breakfast.



I kind of love that it's called Holy Crap. Just the name makes me giggle. I like to say it like an exclamation even if it's in the middle of a sentence. To me there's always an exclamation point on the end. I usually like to add some fruit to my bowl of Holy Crap! as well. We've been putting blueberries and strawberries in with it this week.






Vancouver Food Trucks: Mom's Grilled Cheese, the Sequel

2011-10-21T10:00:00.093-07:00

I went back to Mom's Grilled Cheese on yet another gorgeous fall day to enjoy a sandwich and the nice weather. The truck was still mobbed, but not quite as much as the last time I was there. Good for them that they're doing so well! The food is really delicious.

 I got my sandwich in a cute little cone this time. There are some potato chips at the bottom under the sandwich. So cute!

I had the same thing as last time: marble rye with Daiya cheese, pickles, onions and tomatoes. I got mozzarella Daiya this time, though. That's my favorite. They had all three flavors this time, which is pretty rad. My sandwich had a little bit of olive oil brushed on it before grilling this time. That definitely gave it a bit more of that grilled cheese texture and flavor. So good!

Cindy was nice enough to give me a sample of the tomato soup. It's made vegan, but it comes with cheese on it, so just ask for no cheese if you order it. The soup was really tasty! It had such a nice flavor with some definite Italian herbs in there. I really liked it. I can see myself going back for a big cup of soup on a particularly blustery day or a day when I'm not feeling quite so great. This is not some crappy, boring tomato soup.

My sample cup of soup is balancing on top of my ginger tea.

I also ordered a ginger tea this time. It's pretty much just ginger and a bit of demerra sugar. Absolutely wonderful. I will probably stop by just for some of this tea sometimes. It's gingery without being too spicy and just a touch sweet, not too much sugar. It was a wonderful thing to have on a day with a crisp wind blowing.



Weekend Brunch

2011-10-20T12:49:52.306-07:00

I've been looking through some of my older photos on Flickr and I came across this triad of brunch photos. This might be my absolute favorite thing to eat for brunch. I know I've said this before, but just looking at these pictures is making me hungry. Good thing it's almost lunchtime.



The Tofu Bennies, Temphe Bacon and Diner Home Fries are from Vegan Brunch and the chard is from the ground. I know, I'm hilarious. I'll be here all week, folks. Oh, and did you notice that huge slice of heirloom tomato? That's right, there's no playing around when it comes to tomato slices at my house. I've been making the Tempeh Bacon recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance for years now and love it. The one in Vegan Brunch is pretty similar, but has some different stuff in it. I'm not sure which one I like better, I've never done a side by side taste comparison. But there's a fun idea for breakfast! If I know I'm going to make this in the morning, I try and marinate my tempeh slices overnight just to give it a little more flavor.



Okay, so I didn't cut the bennies into cute little circles. It looks super cute, but then I have all this leftover tofu and really squares and circles taste pretty much the same. I usually wait for company to get fancy with my tofu cutting skills. This was just a weekend at home. I've made a bunch of things from Vegan Brunch, but the bennies are one recipe that I keep going back to over and over again. I make them on english muffins sometimes, but I actually prefer them just like this - on a bed of potatoes.



And speaking of potatoes, these Diner Home Fries are delish! Back in the day, I used to buy hash browns from the freezer section of the grocery store. I would always get the one with the onions and green peppers in it because that was my favorite. I never really tried to add those things to my potatoes at home until a big "duh" went through my head when I was reading the recipe for these. So good. If I'm not feeling so hands off that I just want to roast my potatoes in the oven and forget about them until the timer goes off, I make them this way. The hollandaise sauce from the bennies goes great on them, too. So good!



Vancouver Food Trucks - Off the Wagon

2011-10-28T16:46:34.574-07:00

The food truck journey continues today with Off the Wagon. This place was actually recommended to me by Cindy from Mom's Grilled Cheese. All I had to hear was vegan tacos and I was sold.

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Yes, I loaded up on the habanero sauce. I love that it's yellow!
Off the Wagon is in a cute little school bus painted red right at the corner of Burrard and Dunsmuir. It's right by the Burrard Skytrain entrance, which is handy if you're coming from across town. And who wouldn't cross town for a yummy taco?! If you're at the winter farmers market at Nat Bailey Stadium, you can also find this food truck there with even more veggie options I'm told. The tacos are all $3. The special today was 3 tacos and a drink for $10. I think that saves you $.50 or something like that. The truck downtown only has 3 tacos every day, one of which is a yam and black bean taco. The third taco changes and is sometimes also a veggie taco. I was told that sometimes they'll use pumpkin! I would love to try a pumpkin taco. Yum!


I ordered 3 of the yam and black bean tacos for lunch today. These babies have yam, black beans, onions, guacamole, salsa and cilantro. If you're a cilantro hater, I'm sure you can ask for it without, they make them fresh as you order. There's a bottle of habanero hot sauce to add some heat if you want it, which I surely did. The tortillas were soft and didn't fall apart. The ingredients all seemed really fresh and quite flavorful.


These little tacos were quite good. I would definitely go back here again. The person that took my order was very friendly and immediately told me that the tacos were vegan when I asked about dairy. That make me happy and I'm much more comfortable about my food. I do typically go to the farmers market quite often and I'm excited to try some of the other tacos they'll have this winter.





Cheap and Easy Noodle Soup

2011-10-20T10:52:18.350-07:00

There are some nights when you just don't feel like cooking. We typically have a stash of things to reheat in the freezer for nights like this, but right now it's pretty much all chili and tomato rice soup. I love both of those things, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for something thick and tomatoey.


These are the days that we have ramen for dinner. I'm lucky that I live in such an international city. The market that I go to has a plethora of different types of food, including tons of different flavors of ramen. The sesame oil flavored one is the only one I've found that's vegan. That's totally cool with me because this one is actually super tasty. Even just on its own, this is pretty good. There's a spice package inside and also a little pouch of sesame oil to add in to your soup. Neat!

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See, it even says on the package that it's yummy!

Another great thing about these noodles is how cheap they are. You are definitely not going to break the bank by buying something like this for dinner. Plus, these noodles are a great vehicle for those leftover veggies that you don't know what to do with. I'll typically just add some of whatever we happen to have in the fridge. This time we had a bunch of spinach, shitake mushrooms and green onions so that's what went in. On other occasions I've added ginger, carrots, celery, or James's favorite, broccoli. Pretty much anything goes. Do you like it spicy? Just add a spoonful of some chili paste or a dash of hot sauce and you're good to go.


Quick, cheap, easy and delicious. If you have any kind of Asian market near you, check it out, you might luck out and find something like this. It's also awesome because on the nights we're short for time or don't have much of anything else to eat in the house, we can always make ramen and it doesn't feel like we're settling for something not as good.



Vancouver Food Trucks: Loving Hut the Sequel

2011-10-20T10:52:17.766-07:00

I spent a beautiful fall day last week surrounded by gorgeous leaves and eating yummy junk food. Most of the leaves still haven't gotten around to changing here. It seems like it always happens all at once. Green leaves, then brilliant colors then a few days later, the streets are full of piles and piles of brown leaves. The fall colors are something to enjoy while they last, that's for sure. Speaking of enjoying things while they last, that's exactly what I did with my lunch at the Loving Hut food truck! The sun was really bright and I wasn't sitting on the best bench for photos. I couldn't get any decent pictures of my sandwich and I took tons from all different angles. Oh, well. Just imagine some extra yumminess in there if you can. I'm kind of cheating by visiting Loving Hut's food truck again. It's just around the corner from my office, which is pretty rad. There are more to discover, but some days I just don't feel like traipsing around the city at lunch, you know. That sometimes depends more on what kind of shoes I'm wearing than anything else, I'm afraid to say. I'd been really looking forward to trying the crispy chik'n sandwich so that's exactly what I ordered. There are sides now, too, which is great. You can choose between zucchini sticks or yam fries. Zucchini sticks sounded quite a bit different than what you can normally get with your lunch, so I got some of those, too. This stuff may be vegan, but it's definitely junk food. There were so many zucchini sticks, they were definitely not being chintzy on that. Thick, fried pieces of zucchini. I don't eat fried stuff all that often so it was a bit much for me. I don't really care for mayonnaise based sauces (or mayonnaise at all for that matter, usually) so I tried the dipping sauce but didn't really eat it much after trying it. I think most people would like it, it's just not my thing. It's also a bit sweet which I also don't tend to care for. Keep in mind that I think things are sweet that most people think are not sweet at all, so you can't judge too much by that. I think there are some red peppers or ketchup or something mixed in there that gives it that sweetness. The crispy chik'n burger was doused in that same sweet mayo sauce. I bet most people would like that stuff, it looks to be the same color as the "secret sauce" that you see on things all the time. Though, how secret can it be if everyone knows about it? There was also some guacamole, lettuce, tomato and this yellow apricot/jalapeno relish along with the sauce and the chik'n burger. I ended up getting quite messy. I saw another guy eating his with it still partially wrapped up in the paper. I should have done that instead of taking it out like I did. I really liked this, but I think that next time I'd get it without the sauce for sure. It was delicious and I think it would be even more delicious without that. But, again, it's just not my thing, you might like it with the sauce.I noticed they're still selling those cookies, but now instead of $2, they're $2.50. Each! Yowza. Guess what I'm never buying with my lunch?[...]



Hot Cereal with Raspberries

2011-10-20T10:52:18.210-07:00

 This is Bob's Red Mill 8-Grain Wheat Free Hot Cereal with raspberries and agave nectar. A delicious way to start the day.


It's always nice to start the day with something hot and hearty, especially as the weather starts to turn colder. We had a huge amount of frost on the roof yesterday morning and this morning. Looks like fall is finally starting to come out full force. I'm loving the gorgeous, crisp, sunny days we've been having lately.



More Flour Than You Can Shake a Stick At

2011-10-20T10:52:18.346-07:00

Sometimes I wonder who coined a certain phrase. Who was the first one to say that something was more *insert word here* than you can shake a stick at? Because what does shaking a stick at something have anything to do with it? Upon googling this, the internets seem to be unsure where exactly this came from, but apparently it has something to do with shaking sticks at people meaning they're worthy opponents. Ummm... okay. So how did turn into meaning there's an abundance of something? These are the things I think about.I wish I had a stick so I could shake it at all of this awesome flour that we just picked up! Earlier in the summer I signed up for a local wheat CSA from Urban Grains and everything was harvested and packaged and ready for pickup this weekend. I found out about a potato CSA a little too late, but I'm definitely going to do that one next year, too.Paige is inspecting the flourYes, apparently it meets her standards. She seems pleased with the 20kg of flour on the table.Here's what's awesome: this flour is local, organic and ends up being cheaper than buying this same amount at the market. I like supporting local farmers and have been trying to eat as local as possible for the past few years. I'm lucky to be living in British Columbia for that. There are so many wonderful small farms in this province. The farmers markets here are pretty great and there's even a winter market so you can get local stuff year-round.I go through quite a bit of flour so I'll have absolutely no problem using it up. I wonder if I'll even make it to the new year? There are two kinds of flour: soft white and hard red wheat.  The soft white is supposed to be especially good for pastries and cookies and that sort of thing. The hard red I'll probably use as my main bread flour.While I was taking pictures of the flour, this is the kind of tomfoolery that was going on behind me. Now I wonder where tomfoolery came from...My girls are always hanging out on top of the refrigerator. Phoebe especially likes to sleep next to potted plants for some reason. She really likes this one and a little pine tree we have in the bedroom. Sometimes we call her Jungle Cat because of it.Looks like Paige is about to head up there to join the fun. More like she'll make one of them move so she can sit up there. That's my little crotchety old lady for you.[...]



Lunch Salad in the Park

2011-10-20T10:52:17.843-07:00

When the weather is nice, I really enjoy eating my lunch in the park. I like to read at lunch and it's quite nice to sit in the fresh air and relax for a bit in the middle of a hectic work day. I wish I remembered to bring my lunch more than I do.

We don't have anywhere to eat lunch in the building where I'm currently working so it's either bring something cold to eat in the park if it's nice weather or go out to eat somewhere. That pretty much negates bringing leftovers for lunch like I used to do. Sometimes I cheat and go to a coffee shop and order a cheap tea and eat a sandwich or something in there if it's raining. Luckily, we've had some amazing weather out here in Vancouver lately so it hasn't really been an issue.


 

I get tired of sandwiches after a while and I've never been a huge salad person. I like my salads full of stuff with just a bit of lettuce as an accent, not as the main ingredient. One thing that really makes salads awesome for me are those Gardein Crispy Tenders. The plain ones or the newer chipotle lime flavor are both great. I'll cook them in the morning while I'm getting ready for work or even sometimes the night before and then chop them up and put them on a salad. That really adds a bit of jazz to the salad!

These things are really great at room temperature and add some extra goodness to wraps, too. Oh yeah, that's another favorite thing to do with those, but I never remember to take a photo when I do it. I eat them too fast. These Crispy Tenders are also really great on a caesar salad if you want a little something extra.

Disclaimer: I totally took this photo over the summer and forgot about it. Vegan MoFo is great for getting me to blog about photos I keep shuffling around on Flickr.



Vancouver Food Trucks: Mom's Grilled Cheese

2011-10-20T10:52:18.355-07:00

Thanks to Twitter, I found about this really cool food truck that just opened this week in Vancouver. This discovery has actually inspired me to try and take the next two weeks of the MoFo and discover more vegan yummies at food trucks around town. Stay tuned for more of that! It's going to be like a delicious scavenger hunt. Anywho, I wandered on over to the Vancouver Art Gallery and found Mom's Grilled Cheese right there on Howe at Georgia. That's a really great location for them. It's quite pleasant to sit on the VAG steps and eat lunch. I see tons of people hanging out over there all day long. It's great to have a place to sit (or stand if you want) and eat from a food truck without feeling like you have to eat while walking or you don't really have anywhere to chill out for a minute with your food. So A+ for location, for sure. Even better, though, Mom's Grilled Cheese has vegan stuff! Well, obviously they do or I wouldn't be talking about it, right? I guess that was a bit of a given. For vegans, you have two options. You can order the tomato soup, hold the marscapone or you can order a grilled cheese sandwich with Daiya. I haven't tried the soup, yet, but I was told it's made vegan, so just ask for no cheese on it. I'm going to go back and try it one day next week, I think.As for the sandwiches, you can choose from a bunch of different types of bread, even a gluten-free one! I love that they're offering that. I know so many people with gluten intolerances, it's nice to see more places offering options like that. When I went yesterday they had pepper jack and cheddar Daiya, so you can have either one you want. I got a mix of both on my sandwich. For an extra 50 cents per extra, you can add onions, pickles or tomatoes to your sandwich as well. I added all 3 because I'm crazy like that. You'll get some chips and a pickle spear with your sandwich. They're usually served in this really cute cone of paper, but since the Daiya doesn't really stick together, they put mine in a clamshell so it didn't get too messy. Extreme closeup of my delicious sandwich with Daiya, tomatoes, pickles and onions on marbled rye.I had never had these before, but I've heard tales of Pop Shoppe sodas from lots of Canadians. Apparently it's something they used to have back in the day that had all but disappeared. Recently they've started resurfacing in a few places. Mom's Grilled Cheese has a ton of different Pop Shoppe flavors and even though I almost never drink sodas, I decided to try a root beer just because. Served with chips and a pickle spear, though my pickles are hiding behind the sandwichOne note - make sure you specify that your sandwich is vegan when you order. They usually brush butter on the bread, but they won't do that if you ask them not to. Pretty awesome. They were all working so fast and were quite friendly and very nice. I pretty much liked everything about Moms Grilled Cheese and will definitely go back there again.They were jammed when I was there yesterday so I had to wait a few minutes for my sandwich, but that's really not that big of a deal. Cindy, (the Mom of Mom's Grilled Cheese) was offering so many of us a complementary soda or ginger tea or soup as a thank you for waiting for our sandwiches. She even offered for a few of us to come back another time for a free sandwich. I'm looking forward to collecting on that in the next few days. If you're in Vancouver, check them out if you're downtown and feeling hungry, even if you just need a homemad[...]



Green Bean Casserole and the Rest of Thanksgiving 2011

2011-10-24T16:40:00.511-07:00

Mostly I want to post the recipe for my green bean casserole, but I thought I'd also give the rest of Thanksgiving dinner a bit of time in the spotlight.  I make this homemade vegan roast every year at Thanksgiving. Even the omnivores get seconds, sometimes even thirds. It's quite good. I found the recipe online. (Edit: The recipe page isn't online anymore, but I have it written down. If anyone wants it, let me know and I'll do another post with the recipe.) (Edit: You can get the Vegan Holiday Roast recipe here.) I found that it needs about an hour longer of cooking time than it says to soak up all of the broth. Keep that in mind if you make it. It's so good and everyone will think you're a genius for making it.I found the recipe for these Harvest Pies over at Vegan Dad's blog. I wish I had taken some photos of them without the tops on. They're full of butternut squash and potatoes and carrots and stuff. I think tempeh would be a great addition to theses as well. I'm going to try that the next time I make them. These are especially good with a bit of gravy. Speaking of gravy... what Thanksgiving would be complete without it?! Stuffing and gravy are two of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal. I've started making the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance every year. The first time I made it, I was in heaven. I could probably eat this gravy with a spoon by itself and be happy. Quite a few people commented on the tastiness of the gravy this year, too. The only thing I do differently from the recipe is puree it. I like my gravy smooth so I stick my immersion blender in at the end and puree the heck out of it. The mashed potatoes are almost gone! You know how to make mashed potatoes, I don't need to tell you. My secret ingredients are Earth Balance and vegetable broth. Yum!  And now for the green bean casserole! James was nice enough to top and tail them for me while I was doing other things... like finishing up that Sm'love Pie you see in the background there. The thing that makes my casserole special is the homemade mushroom soup. It's not hard to make and it freezes well so you can always make it in advance or make a double batch and stash some in the freezer for a rainy day. I also find it quite delicious on its own. You can make cream of pretty much anything using this recipe. Just substitute the mushrooms for whatever you like. Cream of asparagus, anyone?Green Bean CasseroleNote: If you're making this for a crowd, double the recipe to fill a large rectangular baking dish. That's what I did for Thanksgiving. You might end up with some leftover soup, especially if you double it. I usually just freeze it and eat it later as a soup with some asparagus or something added to it.3 cups of green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half (I'm guessing here. Use however many fill a small 8" square baking dish. When I buy them from the market they come in bags, so I usually just buy one bag for a little bit and 2 bags for double this.)Cream of Mushroom Soup (recipe below)1 can of fried onionsPreheat your oven to 350 F.Mix the green beans, the soup and 3/4 of the can of friend onions and pour it all into an 8" square baking dish. Top with the remaining fried onions. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.Cream of Mushroom Soup1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour, up[...]



Lemon Cream Pie and Other Stories

2011-10-20T10:52:18.218-07:00

I can't quite remember which year I started this, but it's a tradition for Thanksgiving to have 3 pies, now. I always make the Sm'love pie every year because everyone always asks about it and then proceeds to get this blissed look on their faces while eating it. Who am I to deprive people of their chocolatey Thanksgiving goodness? I try and shake it up a bit with the other two, though. I like to do one fruit pie of some type and the other can be whatever I feel like making at the time. All that was left of the Lemon Cream Pie at the end of the nightHow can you not love the Sm'love Pie?I've made my award-winning Hazelnut Apple Cider Pie two years in a row because it was requested this year. That's kind of awesome, actually. I couldn't find any pink lady apples so I had to make do with Granny Smith apples instead. It was still great, I just prefer the pink ladies for my pies. They have such a great combination of sweet and tart and crisp. I actually ended up having to send James to the store at the last minute to get more apples for me. I wasn't paying attention when I was simmering the apples in the cider and all of a sudden I had applesauce. Well, not all of a sudden, more like 20 minutes too long while I sat on the couch checking my email with one of the cats in my lap. What a bummer. Now I have to find things to eat applesauce with for the next few weeks to use it up. I put it all in jars and then realized that I didn't add any lemon juice so it won't be shelf-stable. Dang it.The remnants of the Hazelnut Apple Cider PieFor the third pie, I wanted to do a lemon cream pie. I got inspired by the Coconut Cream Topping that Vegan Dad made.  For some reason I was thinking the coconut cream would get super fluffy and it didn't really. It wasn't runny or anything, though. I think next time I might try adding a bit of arrowroot or cornstarch or something and beating it for a long time to see if I can get it any stiffer. Experimenting can be delicious! Also, I know that sometimes when you buy cans of coconut milk it's separated into milk and cream in the can, but mine wasn't like that this time so I just chucked it all at the beginning of the recipe and it seemed to turn out fine. So if you make this and have that same thing happen, don't worry, it's all good.I used to love my Grandma's lemon meringue pie when I was a kid; though I remember loving the lemon part way more than the meringue. I'm going to have to do a bit more experimenting to get the lemon part of the pie a bit more like Grandma's was but this was still quite good. I got the recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Blog. I noticed that a few people commented that the recipe was too sweet as is and I generally like things less sweet than most people so I heeded their warning and reduced the sugar a bit. I ran some lemons through the juicer for fresh juice and I think that really made quite the difference, too. Oh, did I mention that there's no baking at all involved in making this pie? Just heating up some stuff on the stove and then refrigerating!I only have two large pie dishes so I ended up using a springform pan for my lemon cream pie. You can use whichever you like, but the pie dish is probably best if you expect to have leftovers. It looks so cute just out of the springform pan, but I still think a pie plate would be best.Copied and Pasted, here is the recipe for the lemon cream pie:Make whatever kind of pie crust you like. I just used a grah[...]



Thanksgiving Bounty

2011-10-20T10:52:18.097-07:00

I have another Thanksgiving dinner to go to this evening and I've pretty much spent most of the day chilling out after cooking for 2 and a half days. More recipes later in the week. For now, check out what we had for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.


Green Bean Casserole and Homemade Tofurkey


Harvest Pies, Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing


Kale, Mashed Potatoes and Chickpea Gravy


Lemon Cream Pie, Hazelnut Apple Cider Pie and Sm'love Pie