Friday, March 31, 2006

Gluten Be-Gone Vegan Cookies

So, for my new cookbook, I am including some gluten-free baked goods like cookies and muffins (well, if all goes well with the testing anyhow)!

I'm thinking that in addition to creating new recipes that are gluten-free, I would also "de-glutenize" (I'm quite certain that is not a word!) some favorite recipes from Vive and TEV. To start, I am deglutenizing (sorry, had to use it again!) my popular Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

I have been pleasantly surprised with the results for these cookies thus far. I have tested them with amaranth flour, and again with brown rice flour (and making other modifications). These cookies pictured are the batch with the amaranth flour, and while they have more texture than the original recipe (since the amaranth flour is more nubbly, kind of like a fine cornmeal), they taste quite wonderful and still have a moist, chewy texture. I was really very pleased with these first tests!!

So, I have a couple of questions for you guys. First, are many of you interested in gluten-free recipes? I have had a number of e-mails from people specifically asking for such, but I would love to get a measure of how the rest of you feel, to determine how much time I should devote to gluten-free goodies.

Second... please help me with a name for these cookies (I really struggle with naming recipes!). I have thought about "gluten be-gone chocolate chip cookies", but I'm sure there are more creative (and better) names than this - so if you have one, shout it out! :)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vegan Potato Skins

When I was in university, my honny (now hubby!) and I used to love getting potato skins at restaurants. They were everywhere then, so popular (maybe they still are...?), full of cheese and sour cream and piquant fillings like olives. Well, they were quite heavy back then with all that dairy and, at times, bacon (ewww, cringe)!

But, we still love taters in all kinds of ways in our house. As I mentioned before, I like to call hubby...

(except he doesn't have a moustache...) Sorry again hon! Hee!

Anyhow, I often bake potatoes whole as the quickest kind of a potato side dish. When there are leftovers (not often!), I can scoop out some of the potato flesh and make nummy potato skins! Here are the potato skins before topping them with vegan cheese. I've added in sliced green onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and green olives. Very simple. Then, top with some grated cheese and bake at about 400 until they cheese is melted and the skins are looking a little crispy.

Now, what to do with the potato flesh you've scooped out???

Well, my girls love mashed potatoes (don't most kids?), so I simply give them a quick mash with sea salt, and little non-dairy milk, and either some olive oil or earth balance margarine - and sometimes a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. If you want, you can use this mash to put back in the potato skins and still add the savory toppings. They will be more filling that way, perhaps being more of a 'main course'!

Try it and enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mushroom Pecan Burgers

These are my Mushroom Pecan Burgers from TEV, and the photo is courtesy of Nancy. (Thanks Nancy!)

You see, Nancy e-mailed me the other day to tell me that she made this recipe and they really enjoyed it, though hers "didn't come out as perfectly shaped as the photo in the book".

Well, I had to e-mail her back to say "great, yours are EXACTLY how they should look!!"

You see, food styling can be very deceptive! When these photos were done for TEV, I was surprised by how much may be removed/added to a recipe just for the looks, or artificial things used in place of real food.

With these burgers, the food stylist really wanted to make them look like a "real burger" (because we all miss those, don't we?!!!). I usually serve them without a bun and instead top them with Mi-So Good Gravy from TEV. But, 'burger on a bun' was the plan. I was preparing the burgers and remember saying "we're missing hoisin and some other ingredients". The food stylist explained we didn't need it, but that we needed to make the patties very stiff so add more breadcrumbs and whatever to firm them.

After the shoot they decided to eat the burgers and the stylist said "they are a little bland, need some onion or something". Now, being too polite for my own good I didn't say much, when what I should have said was "well, you are eating a 'breadburger', afterall!"

Funny, I learned a lot about food styling that day, though the next food stylist I worked with for a TV spot didn't change my recipe ingredients at all, which was so cool, because everything on that tv appearance looked just like it came from my own kitchen.

So, if you ever make a recipe inspired by a photo in a cookbook and it doesn't come out quite like the pretty picture... now you know why!

Cooking Tips: When you make veggie burgers/patties, there are a few tricks to help them stick and hold. First, if you if they are too moist, add some breadcrumbs or something like quick oats. If they are not moist, but a little crumbly and not holding, a nut or seed butter does the trick - try a tbsp or two of tahini, almond, or peanut butter - also, a little miso helps. Next, it does help to refrigerate them before shaping. And finally, your hands usually get sticky after shaping 4 or 5 patties, so rinse your hands, pat dry and keep going!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Favorite TEV Recipes

Julie asked what my favorite recipes in TEV are, since she just picked up a copy. I decided to post my reply, since many of you may have the same question. Plus, perhaps some of you can chime in on your favorite recipes since we all have different tastes and food preferences!

Here is a rundown of some of my personal faves...
Appetizers: Artichoke Delight Dip
Divine Tofu Spread or Dip
Roasted Red Pepper Dip (pictured left)

Sauces/Dressings: Mi-So Good Gravy
Tahini-Tamari Sauce
Amazing Creamy Caesar Dressing

Soups: Chickpea Mash Stew
Pureed Curried Squash and Yam Soup
Pureed Roasted Parsnip and Fennel Soup
and Spicy Thai Stew (actually looks different than the photo in TEV - more about that in tomorrow's post!)

Salads/Sandwiches: Roasted Potato Salad
Marinated Tofu Sandwich Filling (I even like this one on its own to serve with tortilla chips at parties)

Pastas/Veg Burgers/Entrees:
-Mediterranean Sauce
-Black Bean Millet Patties (with Mi-So Good Gravy or Tahini-Tamari Sauce)
-"Lightened-Up" Falafels (with Tahini-Tamari Sauce)
-Mushroom Pecan Burgers (definitely with Mi-So Good Gravy)
-Ginger Hoisin Rice Noodles
-Mediterrranean Tortilla Pizzas (pictured right), -Phyllo Spinach Pie ("Spanokopita")
-Roasted Veggie Feast
-Spiced Mushroom Potato Phyllo Pie
-Sweet and Sour "Neat" Balls (I really need to make these soon, we LOVE them!)

Side Dishes: Potato "Chippers"
Roasted Fennel and Carrots with Shallots
Roasted Turnip (this is rutabega to most of you) Puree
Tasty Tofu Tidbits, Yam Puree

Muffins/Snack Loaves: Apple Swirl Loaf
As-You-Like Muffins
Maple Banana Loaf

Desserts: Hot Fudge Sauce
Tropical Rice Pudding
Coconut Rasbperry Squares
Hint O' Cinnamon Chocolate Chippers
Double Chocolate Pecan Chippers
Ooey-Gooey Caramel Chip Bars
Baked Lime (or Lemon) "Cream" Pie, Coconut "Cream" Pie
and last but absolutely NOT least... Triple Layer Chocolate Cream Cake!

Any of you have other favorites that you can share with those browsing through TEV and wondering what to make? If you guys like this idea, I'll do the same next week with Vive!

Thanks Julie!! :)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cuckoo for Cocoa...

Chili ??! Yes, you read right - chili, not 'puffs'! And no, mommy brain hasn't completely taken over (well, not yet)!!

Chocolate and spicy ingredients are not an uncommon pairing. Check out this hot chocolate with chiles from Dagoba (not sure if this is vegan but their chocolate bar with chiles definitely is), and do you remember my LaraBar post? Well, I think my favorite variety is their Cocoa Mole flavor!

As I've said before, I'm all about soups these days, and this cocoa-chili recipe will be in my new cookbook. It includes anti-oxidant rich cocoa powder, as well as another one or two 'surprise' ingredients!!

It is such a deep, intense chili and I've paired it here with a salad of romaine lettuce, sliced jicama, cilantro, and Ataulfo mango (which I think are far tastier and less stringy than the more common variety often found in markets). I used Annie's Papaya Poppyseed Dressing on the salad... as you know it is a new favorite of mine!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Cashew-Ginger Tofu and more...

The other night I really wasn't sure what to make for dinner. I knew I wanted to test my new recipe for Cashew-Ginger Tofu, which is a very easy sauce pureed in a food processor and then poured into a baking dish with extra-firm tofu. Then, what to have with it...

Well, I knew I wanted to pair the tofu with quinoa, so I put on a pot. Then, I had some fresh kale and broccoli, so I decided I'd saute them together with olive oil, garlic, and a touch of sea salt just before the rest of the meal was ready. That really would have been enough except that I knew the tofu would be rich in that sauce, and a little salty, and that along with the kale and broccoli, I was wanting something with a sweeter note.

Hippity Dippity Sidebar Caution!: This is the VATA in me. Don't know if any of you follow, or are aware of Ayurveda. (Which is utterly fascinating, by the way. I learned about it many years ago on a trip to Arizona, and have since bought books on it and found it insightful and captivating. You can determine your 'dosha' through this link). Anyhow, I am about as close to 100% of a vata dosha as you can get! I have even thought about designing a few 'vata', 'kapha', and 'pitta' pacifying recipes for the new book, but I'm probably getting in WAY over my head with that!

So, off I went to balance that vata energy! I pulled out some yams that were quite small, so I baked them whole at about 400 degrees. Then, I thought - hmmm, a sauce for the yams and sauteed greens? I pulled together a Warm Balsamic-Maple Sauce for drizzling and decided to include this in the book too - it was fabulous and great the next day cold drizzled on my sandwich.

This meal was "yum, yum, yum, delicioso!" (backpack, backpack - Dora reference for all of those without kidlets) and came together much better than on nights when I think I've got everything well-planned and organized. huh.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New Vegan Cookbook Details!

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I have a little bit of news about my new cookbook!

First, I want to express how valuable working on this blog has been to me. When I started 'blogging' in November, I had already finished some new recipes and was toying with the idea of a new book, but that was about it. As I've mentioned on occasion, my life is beyond hectic at times with two young kids (and no family really nearby for support/babysitting), and so it is just hubby and me working through our days with the girls (some of you are probably in the same boat).

Anyhow, despite my life being very busy, I feel very inspired and creative, and that has largely come from the feedback I get from all of you that comment, and also from reading about cooking adventures (and fun food tidbits) on some of your blogs. So, I THANK YOU, all of you, that comment from time to time (and those that e-mail) with words of appreciation, encouragement, and also feedback on what you like/don't like about my recipes and blog posts. Sincerely, this communication from all of you has given me the interest and excitement to work on this next book...

which will be titled: "Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan!"

The theme of the book is celebratory! Vegan food is fun and fabulous, and is not about what we "cannot" have, but rather is about everything we do have!!

I will focus greatly on easy, fast foods - things like dips, spreads, casseroles, soups, stews, wraps, fast sandwiches, baked goods and pancakes (people seem to love pancakes), and yes, of course, what would the book be without desserts! As with most of my other recipes, these will again be based on legumes, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, some soy, and of course minimal amounts of refined flours and no refined sugars.

So, that's the brief for now!... I will be including some of the suggestions some of you mentioned yesterday - and thank you all for those great ideas!

The tentative publication date is late 2007, and I will update you more on the exact date as I iron out more details with my publisher!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Vegan Cookies!

Here is a new cookie recipe I tested yesterday for the new book (oh, and I'll post some news tomorrow about the upcoming book!).

These are Walnut-Cranberry-Carob Clusters, and they turned out awesome on just the first test (oh, how I love that!! - some of my recipes, like the Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Fudgy Brownies - I swear I tested those about 15-20 times)! So, I just have to tinker a little and retest a couple more times to sure things up.

Over the next months, I will be posting more new recipes, just because I am heavy into recipe development right now. Hope that works for you guys! Of course, I will still post Vive and TEV recipes here and there!

By the way, any requests/suggestions for recipes you would like to see in the new book - now's the time to have your say... I will work on them if I can!

Temporary E-mail Change

I have heard from a number of people that they've had trouble e-mailing me. Here's the deal...

My website is and also The domain has expired (I will be renewing it), which means no one can e-mail me at However, you CAN still e-mail me at so, please direct any future e-mails (until I notify you again) to:

Sorry for the troubles, guys, and I'll post later with food!! mmmm!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Chickpea Mash Stew

This weekend I made my Chickpea Mash Stew from TEV. This soup combines chickpeas with canned diced tomatoes, zucchini, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and a savory mix of seasonings including dried mustard, sage, tamari, blackstrap molasses, and fresh thyme.

The fresh thyme is added just before serving and it really accentuates the flavors in the soup and brings them to life! I have a small shrub of fresh thyme growing in my garden - and before you ask - I do not have a green thumb! I'm sure you can grow thyme yourself in your garden or a little window pot... give it a try! Far cheaper than buying sprigs in the grocery store, and we will soon see lots of little herb plants selling in our stores for spring (try to buy organic).

Anyhow, back to the soup. When TEV was published, a friend starting making this for her two young children. They absolutely loved it and it became their favorite meal! They still ask for it and she loves to make it for them because it's so very healthy, the ingredients are usually on hand... and well, it's easy!

Now, in my recipe I mention that you can mash the soup (with a potato masher) or lightly puree it. Of course, I must tell you that pureeing it - just a teeny bit - with a hand blender is the way to go! And, unlike other soups I've posted about, don't puree this one throughout, just give it a whiz in spots here and there to blend the ingredients a wee bit. As you can see in the photo, the soup retains a chunky consistency - that's what you want! In fact, a tip is to reserve about 1/2 cup of the chickpeas and add them after you've "spot-pureed" to keep more whole chickpeas in the soup!

P.S. On another note, I realized over the weekend that I hadn't checked the comments posted on my other blogs - Cooking with Dreena & Dreena's Posted Recipes - ooooops! So, sorry if you asked a question and were thinking "huh, not very responsive"!... I've now answered any questions there and I will check back more often! :)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Brownie Bartering

This week I made a batch of my Fudgy Brownies from Vive. Now, I know I posted about these not too long ago, but there is a story here that I wanted to share, and also I added a lil' somethin' to these chocolatey gems!

My dear friend that comments here from time to time recently gave me a 10% off coupon to our local whole foods store. I do what I call "big shops" there when I can score a coupon (which isn't often), and stock up on things that typically don't go on sale. I kept telling her to keep it for herself, but she insisted, and hey, I'm no fool where food shopping is concerned!

Then, a week later, she gave me another coupon for 15% off. Holy hannah!! This time I said "listen, you need to do a big shop yourself, just make a list and stock up on things". She insisted again saying "I won't save more than $10 there on a shop, so you take it". I told her I would have to make it up to her sometime, and she said "just give me a few brownies the next time you make some". I replied "listen, you're getting a whole batch"!!

So yesterday I saw her at a kids' activity and said "I've got something for you". Well, that girl bounded like Tigger into the air with joy!! She got into the container straight away for an early chocolate treat...

and I made that batch extra-special for my extra-special friend! If you remember I mentioned the idea of topping the brownies with some chocolate chocolate and soy milk? - like a vegan ganache. You can see it in the photo, the lighter color layer topping the brownies. I didn't have chocolate chips handy, so I used the Endangered Species Bat Bar, broke it off in chunks and melted it with soy milk. I love that bar, but it IS a darker, more bitter chocolate, and because I used plain rather than vanilla soy milk, I worried it might be too bitter for my friend. But, she didn't think so, and I just love the little bits of cocoa nibs in that bar!

So, that's it, I have started bartering with brownies! I still think I owe her another batch later on!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Giveaway: e-mail errors

Okay, so it seems that there are difficulties e-mailing me (maybe you're all e-mailing at once??? ha!). So...

Be the first to answer by COMMENTING on the PREVIOUS post, and I will then arrange for mailing details, etc, later.

Sheesh!! :)

Hey, hey, hey... I've got a giveaway!

I have a copy of the new March/April Sex & Romance issue of VegNews magazine to give away!!!

This issue also features my soup and salad recipes, I posted about last week.

The first person to e-mail me with the name of our cat will win (correct spelling required, hint: she added to my already hectic day last week!)


As soon as I get a winner, I will post it so you folks don't keep trying!

Note: Must be a US or Canadian mailing address. Oh, and for a chance to win a year's subscription to VegNews, get on over to VegBlog for this month's contest!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Things That Make You Go.... Mmmm!

As I mentioned on Monday's post, recently I have been using several salad dressings by Annie's Naturals. There aren't a lot of bottled salad dressings that appeal to me, but Annie's has some that I really do like!

A while back I posted about a pasta we had along with a salad topped with an Annie's dressing. An anonymous visitor commented that the Papaya Poppyseed Dressing was their favorite. Of course, I had to try it myself... and, I agree! I love this dressing, it is a little fruity and nice to pair with a stronger-tasting entree perhaps with a lot of spices or herbs.

Next, I love the Shitake & Sesame Vinaigrette. For those of you concerned about added sweeteners, this dressing has none. It lends a delightful Asian flavor to salads, with toasted sesame oil and the earthy flavor of shitake mushrooms. I often add a squeeze of agave nectar to the bottle and shake it through, since I think this addition of sweetness enhances the overall flavor.

Finally, I could not forget to mention Annie's very popular Goddess Dressing. My gosh, we go through bottles of this in our house! This dressing also does not have any added sweeteners and is quite thick. So thick that it is better served (in my opinion) as a dip for raw veggies, drizzled over pasta, whole grains, or in a sandwich, rather than to top delicate greens. A little ketchup mixed into this dressing is also delicious (just ask my 4 year old, who, by the way, LOVES this dressing the most).

I also love that I can catch specials on these dressings every couple of months that allow me to stock up! So, since that anonymous comment encouraged me to try the Papaya Poppyseed variety, are there other Annie's dressings that you really like - or other brands?

P.S. My daughter just walked in and seeing me do this post sang "Goddess Dressing, yummy, yummy, yummy, Goddess Dressing"!!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Carob Chip Muffins

Ok, don't think "ugh, carob" and link away!!

Carob needs some lovin'! I always say, "don't look at carob as a substitute for chocolate, just appreciate it for what it is". I enjoy carob for its own sweet, unique flavor, and I don't try and disguise it as chocolate, even though the powder and chips can be used in recipes in place of cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

These Carob Chip Muffins from Vive (I'm still using my 'cutesie' muffin liners from Valentine's Day cupcakes) are a delight, and they are wheat-free. They are a more treat-like muffin with a sweet, flavorful combination of nutty barley flour, carob chips, unsweetened coconut, orange zest, and nutmeg.

I make these muffins a little larger, so I get about eight, however, you can make them smaller to yield a dozen (just adjust baking time). Now... GO BAKE!!! :)

blogging troubles

I will be getting a post on sometime today, but I am having MAJOR troubles downloading my photo with blogger today, so as soon as I can get through the glitch, I'll have a new nummy for you!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sweet Maple-Hemp Vinaigrette

Recently I have been using several varieties of Annie's salad dressings, which I really like (and will post about later this week). Last night, though, I really wanted my own homemade vinaigrette, because I have yet to find a bottled dressing that stands up to the fresh taste and 'unheavy' texture of one that's freshly made. So, I made my Sweet Maple-Hemp Vinaigrette from Vive.

Vinaigrettes are simpler than most people think. I find it's easiest to use my - yes, you guessed it - immersion blender. That's because it: helps emulsify the ingredients, does so quickly, and is easy to clean. Below is the vinaigrette with the immersion blender before whizzing (I use cleaned jars from nut butters), and then after (on right). Then, I used a funnel to transfer my dressing to the bottle pictured on top.

I love this maple-hemp vinaigrette because first, it uses hemp oil, which is very healthful containing a ratio of essential fatty acids that is almost perfect for what our bodies need. I posted about hemp foods before, and Vive includes a section on these foods. You can also visit Manitoba Harvest for more information. Manitoba Harvest is the brand I use, and used for testing my recipes for Vive.

Secondly, I love this dressing because other than the hemp oil, the ingredients are stuff we have on hand and so that makes it super-fast and simple!

Finally, I love the combination of the maple syrup and the hemp oil. Through my testing, there are a few ingredients that I found really paired well with hemp... maple syrup is one, and this dressing highlights your salad with a slighlty sweet, sunflower flavor that goes well with many entrees!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Recipes in VegNews

The current (March/April) issue of VegNews magazine features two of my new recipes in their "Simple Meals" column. This is the first article I have written for VegNews, and I'm jazzed! It's an honor, really to be contributing material for their very fine, always insightful, informative, and fun magazine. I have been subscribing to VegNews for a long time now, since they were publishing their magazine in newspaper-style.

Anyhow, I first mentioned these recipes back in November, and tinkered and retested until finally submitting them to VegNews for this issue. If you have this new issue, you can check out the recipes for my Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup and Spinach-Fennel Salad with Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette on p.70-71 If you are interested in subscribing to VegNews, visit them here.

I really wanted to use Melissa's WOOT! somewhere here, but I think there might be an 'under 30' age limit to do so! :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Some Days Call For Soup!

What a day! First, we had snow. In Vancouver. In March. I drove my older daughter to an activity - it was cold and mucky, and a little dangerous driving (it IS Vancouver, people don't "get" snow). Then I picked up groceries with the baby tantruming. She is 15 months... early it seems for tantrums... sigh! After s-l-o-w-l-y driving back home, my older girl says "mommy, Sarabi (cat) threw up on the couch and the floor". Lovely.
Anyhow, this is definitely a soup night! I have some leftover Chipotle Corn Black Bean Soup from Vive le Vegan! Easy to prepare but with complexity in flavor... and although is has chipotle, it is not a spicy soup. I use Tabasco Chipotle Sauce in recipes where I want a hit of chipotle flavor. It is inexpensive, convenient, and you can use just a little for a hint of smoky spice, without the heat. Of course, if you want it hotter, add much more!

The soup is pureed a little just before adding the frozen corn, as pictured below:

Now, if at all possible, serve this soup with fresh lime wedges. Squeeze a little in each bowl, the flavor combination is sensational! Oh, and also sprinkle on some fresh cilantro (if you like it)!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Coconut Raspberry Squares

These are my Coconut Raspberry Squares from The Everyday Vegan. If you love coconut, you must try these. (I know some people aren't big on coconut, my hubby for one. He won't eat one, but my sister's family inhales them!)

Anyhow, you make a simple base (I used spelt flour instead of white) that gets pressed into a square pan. Then, you spread on some raspberry (or other jam), and then top with another simple coconut-flour mixture. Very easy.

A couple of cooking tips for you:
1) When sprinkling on the topping, lightly press it into the jam mixture.
2) For no-fuss cleaning, use parchment paper to line your pan. This is easier than you might think. Cut out a square and lay your pan on top. Then, cut slits at each corner into the pan, as pictured below. Rotate the pan and make another cut, until you have all corners. Then, pop the parchment into the pan and let those slits fold over one another (sorry, I meant to take a photo of this - next time).

Vegan Food For Thought: - Did you know that the late Donald Watson pronounced the 'p' in raspberry? I love that.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vegan Must-Read!

A brief departure from food today, to talk about a vegan must-read - Meat Market.

When Erik Marcus published his new book Meat Market last year, I bought a 'six-pack' from his early print run. Since then, I have given these copies to some friends and family members that have expressed interest in the vegan diet.

Two very good friends have made significant changes in their diets after reading Erik's book. One friend that was previously vegetarian is now eating almost completely vegan, and her family as well. My other friend is making more gradual changes, but in a carnivorous household that is now eating vegan meals several times a week and less meat. They have both said that Meat Market is a powerful book that has made them stop and think about how they live and has impacted their daily choices.

I initially met Erik through e-mail. I was completely delighted when he agreed to write the foreword to Vive le Vegan! I finally met Erik in person at a vegetarian festival back in October. How pleased I was to chat with such an important, influential leader of the vegan movement that is also so very genuine and 'real'!

If you listen to Erik's podcasts on and have read his books, you will understand that this is his life's work. Erik writes, travels, records his podcasts all with the goal to reduce and hopefully one day eliminate the animal suffering primarily caused by factory farming. Meat Market is important reading for all of us. It is even more useful if we can get others, who have even a hint of interest in vegan living or reducing animal suffering, to read it.

Please promote Erik's book and support his activism by buying a copy of Meat Market, or maybe two. You too may have friends that make a shift towards a healthier, more compassionate diet after reading this book.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Vegan Pizza Pronto!

You know those days... frantic from the get-go right up until dinner? You're tired, impatient and hungry, and just want to eat!

Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza to the rescue! We keep a couple of these in the freezer, stocking up when on special. Pair this vegan pizza with a big crisp salad, maybe tossing some nuts, seeds, or beans into the salad for extra protein, and you have dinner, pronto!

The pizza itself is tasty. However, I always jazz it up with extra toppings. Below is the pizza in its out-of-the box state:

Not too bad for toppings. Actually, this was one of the better ones I've bought. But for our house, it needs more toppings! I always have jars of roasted red peppers and artichokes in my pantry. I simply drain a few of each, slice/chop, and distribute them on the pizza, along with some pitted kalamata olives. This is the "after" shot:

The sauce base of this pizza is not your traditional tomato sauce. Instead, it is a thin layer of caramelized onions blended with shiitake mushrooms. It is a VERY tasty base - I think even those of you not partial to mushrooms and onions would like it, the onions are cooked down and sweet and there are no large pieces of either mushrooms or onions.

My only criticism of this pizza is that it has a white-flour crust. I wish Amy's would produce this pizza with a whole-wheat crust, as well as offer more vegan pizzas in their product line. But, for the occasional rushed meal, it is tasty and saves the day! For a full listing of Amy's vegan product offerings, click here.

Veg Blog Contest Winner!

Last month's Vive giveaway contest at Veg Blog was a big hit, and the winner is Nancy!

Congratulations, Nancy! It was very coincidental, because Nancy and I had just starting commenting back and forth a little on her blog. Go check out her new kitchen, by the way, it's very dreamy! Her recipe pics are fabulous too (gotta' love the four heart-shaped pizzas she made)!

I'll be sending the cookbook your way this week, Nancy... congrats! :)

Friday, March 03, 2006

ENERGY Cookies!

Whenever I make these, I wonder why I've waited so long! These are my Energy Cookies from Vive le Vegan! (p.38). They are a cross between a mini-muffin and a cookie, not as sweet as a dessert cookie, but smaller and more cookie-like than a muffin!

I love these. Well, we all love these. You can feel good about eating them too, because these energy dynamos are packed with sunflower seeds, hemp seed nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax meal, raisins, NO refined flours, and NO refined sugars. They also have carob chips (or chocolate chips), but if you want to omit these you absolutely can, and you can sub in some more dried fruit or nuts if you want.

Now, I know you may be thinking "how good can they be with all these earthy ingredients?" Well, they have lots of flavor from cinnamon, pure maple syrup, and also a touch of blackstrap molasses. Full of flavor, texture, and packed with nutritious ingredients for an energizing snack any time of the day!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vegan Ice-Cream Pie

As with last week's post on the pudding cups, this dessert is a cinch to prepare. Plus, it can be made WAY in advance and stored in your freezer until your dinner party or potluck or your night with some movies! :)

Tp make this you need:

1) Prepared pie crust. You can make your own, and I have a couple of recipes in TEV and Vive for doing so (see below note). However, for convenience and no prep or cleaning, pick up a prepared vegan pie crust. I like to use Wholly Wholesome's graham or chocolate pie crusts (pictured is the graham crust). I've mentioned Wholly Wholesome's products in two posts before, I think they have some terrific vegan options.

2) Quart of non-dairy ice-cream. I like to use Soy Delicious, and you can use any flavor. I have used Creamy Vanilla in this pie, and have stirred in about 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg.

3) Some toppings, and these are optional. For this pie I sprinkled on some crushed toasted pecans and carob chips.

To assemble, first bake the pie crust just a little while softening your ice-cream. I baked it at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. Put your quart of ice-cream in the fridge to slowly and evenly soften, for about 1/2 hour or more. Once your pie crust is cooled and the ice-cream is softened, you simply scoop the ice-cream into the shell and gently smooth it out. If the crust cracks - don't panic! Mine did too! But, once you refreeze the pie, the ice-cream will reset it and no one will notice! Then, sprinkle on your toppings and put your pie into the freezer to set.

Cooking Notes:
1) If using the nutmeg, first transfer your ice-cream to a bowl to stir the nutmeg through.
2) The Wholly Wholesome pie crust comes with an inverted cover. So once your pie is assembled, you can invert the cover to protect the pie in the freezer.
3) For other ice-cream pie ideas, see Why Deny? Ice-Cream Pie, p.198 of TEV, or Cashew-Chocolate Crumb Ice-Cream Pie, p. 120 of Vive.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

To-Do for your Tofu!

Whenever I marinate and either bake or saute tofu (firm or extra-firm), I always have extra slices or cubes left. You may not want to use them in the same meal again, so, what to do with that leftover tofu...?

Here's my favorite idea. Pop the cubes/slices in a food processor (a mini-chopper works great - mine is an attachment to my handblender - as I've said, I LOVE my handblender). Process it until very crumbly, and it may start to get 'sticky', depending on the moisture in the tofu. This is okay! In fact, it's great, because it will be used to spread on sandwiches, mixing in seasonings that you like.

You can customize these for yourself, your hunny, or your little ones. This variation was for my daughter. Here's "lunchkin for the munchkin". The processed tofu was mixed with a dab of nayonnaise, then spread between two slices of spelt bread with a smear of ketchup (don't you know, everything is better with ketchup?!!) and a little extra ketchup for dipping. (Also pictured are baby carrots and leftover roasted asparagus with Goddess Dressing for dipping - she loves this! - and rice crackers sandwiched with almond butter. Lunch is my daughter's best meal. After this she ate fresh pear and some popcorn.)

Now, for the more 'mature' palates, you can stir/mix in other seasonings with that tofu. Keep in mind that if your tofu was well marinated with tamari (see below note), you may not need much more than a spot of vegan mayonnaise. But here are some suggestions:
- Vegenaise or Nayonnaise on their own, or along with:
- dijon mustard or yellow mustard
- chopped pickles or capers
- dash curry powder or curry paste
- small splash balsamic vinegar and tamari
- vegan worcestershire sauce
- chili sauce
- ketchup (there are some big kids out there, right?)

Why process instead of mashing or slicing it? Well, you can mash it by hand, but it will take longer and be chunkier (if that's your thing, then fine, but you can also 'pulse' it in the processor to keep it somewhat chunky). It also holds better in sandwiches than slices do, and allows you to mix in all those yummy fillings! Plus, for kids or adults that are 'tofu-shy' and don't like to bite through a whole chunk of tofu, this processing 'disguises' the tofu!

Try this filling between bread, in pitas, spread on tortillas, or spread on crackers. I'll elaborate on this idea in my next book, and I'd love to hear any suggestions for your seasonings of choice!

For marinated tofu recipes, check out Lemon-Herb Tofu, p.65 of Vive, Tasty Tofu Tidbits, p.158 of TEV, or simply do this:

Cooking Tip: After cubing/slicing your firm/extra-firm tofu, pat dry a little and transfer to a very lightly oiled baking dish (or line with parchment). Sprinkle on a couple of tablespoons of tamari and a dash of s&p if you like (not necessary). You can also sprinkle on a couple of teaspoons of balsamic or other vinegar if you want. Toss a little, cover the dish with tin foil, then bake about 10-15 minutes at about 375 degrees. Remove tin foil and continue to bake if you want to brown it some. Remove and use in meals or as a side dish!