Jose travels for work a lot. I know that trying to be vegetarian and traveling don’t mix. It’s important to have something healthy and satisfying to munch on, so I made Trail Mix the night before one of his recent trips. He liked it so much that he asked me to make some for snacking when he gets home from work (he’s usually home before me). There’s really no science to making a Trail Mix, but I’ve decided to blog this recipe anyway.
1 part dried fruit (we use apple)
1 part banana chips
1 part macadamia nuts
1 part pine nuts
1 part walnuts
1 part pistachios
1 part raisins
1 part sunflower seeds
1 part cereal (like cheerios)
1/2 part cashews
1/2 part cranraisins
Mix all the ingredients together and store in a large container. Keep in a cool dry place and enjoy handfuls whenever you need a “boost” !
as some of you know, i am the organizer of a local veg*n meetup group. we meet at least once a month at veggie friendly restaurants or potlucks where we engage in friendly conversation, share recipes, etc. it’s a lot of fun. i am very proud of our group !
we wanted to have a thanksgiving potluck event sometime around thanksgiving and meet at our favorite vegan restaurant, Sublime, on the actual thanksgiving day. Sublime is one of the best vegan restaurants in the country which we are blessed to have in south florida.
hurricane wilma had different plans for us. Sublime suffered major roof damage and will be closed until January 2006. we were bummed, but still looked forward to the potluck. i called several places to see if they would host our potluck with little luck. one of the yoga studios was actually going to “make an exception” and offer their space to us, but their class schedules conflicted with our request. finally, i found a park that had an available pavillion. it was perfect, i thought, but i had to run it by the group first. there were mixed thoughts about it, but i decided to go for it anyway and i am happy to say it was a major success that will probably turn into an annual event.
the weather was perfect ! it was one of the best days we’ve had this fall. it was cool and sunny and the humidity didn’t exceed 100% for once ! by the time this was all put together, it was the tuesday before thanksgiving. for a moment, i thought “nobody is going to show up.” surprisingly, many people RSVPed “yes” to the event and those who couldn’t make it actually took the time to say why and how sorry they were to miss it.
due to all the trouble with finding a place, some of us were actually considering meeting for Indian or Thai food on thanksgiving. one of the members pointed out that wouldn’t have been very much in the spirit of thanksgiving, but we were desperate. i think that thanksgiving has to be one of the hardest days for vegans. some don’t spend that day with their families and those who do are sometimes given a hard time about their healthy, ethical and compassionate choice. i wanted to make everyone in the group feel like we were part of a big happy family gathered together for good food, good times… not for a funeral. i also wanted the event to feel a little bit like a real thanksgiving. i decided to make an unturkey from a company called now & zen. this is not at all like tofurkey, which i am grateful for, but do not love. the unturkey is seitan based with bread suffing and comes with delicious vegan gravy. yum ! i also made a side of garlic/herb potatoes, my awesome salsa, and apple crumb pie.
everyone brought delicious dishes. one of our most active members actually brought a gazillion watt microwave for us to be able to heat our food. he also brought a juicer and made yummy delights for other members. i brought my camping stove (hurricane necessity) on which he made fresh pasta to go with a delicious homemade sauce. yummy !!
kissy fit may have survived hurricane wilma, but not unscathed. shortly after the hurricane had passed, she developed a strange rash in her face. a few days later, her face exploded. my theory is that something came through my broken window and bit her. Jose and i decided to take her to the vet. they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, but somehow determined she needed antibiotics. when in doubt, KILL everything ! agh !
after being on antibiotics for a few days, we started noticing that she was spending more time in her litter box than outside of it. we were worried. then she started throwing up. everything. all the time. back to the vet she went. this time, they decided to keep her for close examination. they did bloodwork, xrays, etc etc and found nothing. they sent her back home with some pills to prevent vomiting and laxatone (are you kidding me ?). she was good the first night – didn’t through up until 4 hours after she ate. i guess the pill was working… against the symptom, NOT the problem.
i dragged my not very feisty by this point, but still very furry fur monster back to the animal hospital. this time, it was serious. they kept her for 5 days. they ran a barium test on her to make sure she wasn’t “blocked.” funny how nobody thought of doing this first ! she wasn’t, and it was finally concluded that the antibiotics had caused “irritable bowel.” they gave her steroid shots and put her on a bland diet but she was so hungry and ate so fast that she continued to throw up. they decided to feed her small quantities of food every 4 hours.
when she finally came home, it was like having a baby. i had to set my alarm to go off in the night in order to feed her. Jose and i had to count the exact number of paletts she was supposed to eat. all the while, she’s hungry and boy does she let you know it ! but i do have to admit, i am glad she’s back home. i missed my furry friend.
I’ve been busy trying to come up with a good peanut sauce recipe for stirfries. Tonight, I finally created something I’m happy with. For best results, freeze the tofu over-night and allow to thaw completely before you get started.
1 tbsp peanut oil
16 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
1 small eggplant, halved across and sliced
1 zucchini, halved across and sliced
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 tbsp tamari sauce
4 oz flat udon noodles
1 cup scallions, chopped
4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground coriander
1 cup hot water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dry sherry
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1. Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium heat.
2. In large bowl, combine tofu, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and tamari sauce.
3. Move mixture to skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If veggies become too dry, add a few splashes of water.
4. Cook noodles according to directions on package.
5. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients. Stir to mix well.
6. Pour sauce over veggie mixture and lower heat. Add scallions and cook for another minute.
7. Serve veggies over udon noodles and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
I loved this dish. I will definitely make it again. I might try soba noodles next time.
My friend came over for dinner and I wanted to make her something really yummy so I made this.
8 oz penne pasta
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
3 cups broccoli slaw mix
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Cook the ginger and garlic in hot oil for 30 seconds.
4. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add broccoli slaw mix and teriyaki sauce. Cook and stir for 5 more minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.
6. Toss broccoli mixture with hot pasta and add scallions. Serve immediately.
If you can’t find packaged broccoli slaw mix, make your own with white and red cabbage, broccoli stems and carrots.
This is what I make when I want to cheat. You know those days when you want to make something yummy but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. What can i say ? It was a rough weekend. Still, I didn’t want to let Jose down.
8 oz spaghetti pasta
1 jar marinara sauce
1 pkg favorite brand veggie meatballs
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat marinara sauce in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add veggie meatballs and cook for about 10 minutes.
3. To serve pour meatless ball sauce over warm spaghetti pasta.
I like to serve this dish with warm garlic bread. Jose is in charge of that. He cuts a French baguette into pieces and sprays each piece with olive oil. Use a brush if you don’t have a spray. Then he tops each piece with garlic powder and vegan Parmesan cheese. Place in oven for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
Brownies are starting to grow on me. Here is the latest recipe from my brownie experiment project.
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar or substitute
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
3. Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, oil and sugar. Mix together for about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and mix for 3 more minutes.
6. If desired, fold in the chopped walnuts.
7. Spread brownie batter evenly into baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
These brownies are very moist. Serve them warm with Soy Delicious ice cream.
Egg replacement is the the most challenging aspect of a vegan diet. Personally, I don’t miss scrambled eggs. I was never a big fan of eggs to begin with. However, I do like to have breakfast options that don’t involved cold cereal and soy milk or hot cereal and soy milk all the time. With that said, here is a basic Tofu Scramble recipe that I like to make.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
16 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Saute the garlic and onions until softened.
3. Add the peppers and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Add the cumin, thyme, paprika, turmeric and salt. Mix well. add 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the spices.
5. Crumble the tofu and add to the mixture in the skillet. Mix well and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.
Jose wanted vegan ham in this particular scramble, so I cut two slices into small squares and added them about 5 minutes after I added the tofu. Feel free to add other veggies to your Tofu Scramble. You can spice it up with salsa to make a Ranchero style breakfast skillet or add lemon juice (1 tbsp) and nutritional yeast (1/4 cup) to give it a cheesy taste.
My mom may not be the best cook in the world, but she certainly knows her way around the kitchen. As a kid, I loved my mom’s French Toast. In the past few years, I have tried to veganize French Toast with mediocre results… until now ! Thanks to Isa and her fabulous Vegan With A Vengeance cookbook, I can finally enjoy a vegan version of my mom’s special French Toast.
This is a slightly modified version of Isa’s recipe.
1 french baguette, preferably stale
1 cup soy milk (vanilla flavor works best)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp anise (optional)
2 tbsp canola oil
1. Slice baguette into 1 inch rounds.
2. Pour soy milk into a wide shallow bowl.
3. Mix in the cornstarch and stir until dissolved.
4. Add the chickpea flour and mix well. Some lumps are OK.
5. Mix in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and anise if desired.
6. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
7. Soak the baguette slices (as many as will fit into your pan) in the soy milk mixture and transfer to the skillet.
8. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
Jose loves fruit, so I served the French Toast with two of his favorites: bananas and strawberries.
I love quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”). It is very rich in protein. Actually, quinoa is considered a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Quinoa is also high in calcium and iron and is a good source of vitamin E and several B vitamins. Now, I know what you’re wondering and the answer is yes, it is very tasty ! Here is a basic recipe.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
salt (to taste)
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
8 oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1. Bring water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer for 8-12 minutes until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers and cook for 4 minutes.
4. Add cumin coriander, salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir in tofu and cook for another 4 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and add to quinoa.
6.Aadd walnuts and cranberries. Mix well and serve immediately.
Jose had seconds and ate leftovers for lunch the next day. He even asked me to make this again. Look out for other quinoa recipes in the future !