Friday, October 30, 2009

Zevia Giveaway!

My beautiful friend, Living and Loving in LA always has the best news, DIY blogs, recipes, and giveaways. The giveaway she has up now is for Zevia soda. It's all natural, has ZERO calories, and tastes amazing! There will be a mixed case sent to one lucky Grand Prize winner and mixed sixed packs sent to 5 Runners Up!!! 6 chances to win??? Get on it! Go visit this amazing blog to find out how to win!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Maple Glazed Tempeh

Oh, tempeh. If you have never experienced with this meaty, soy tastiness, don't worry. I totally understand. If there's anything stranger and more hippy than tofu, it's tempeh. I've only used it once before and it was in Spicy Tempeh Sushi Rolls. It was definitely an experience.

Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soyfoods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today's Indonesia, and especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.

We had the sister-in-law over for dinner last night as her husband is off saving the world. I didn't really want to spend money on groceries, so I searched the fridge and pantry for possible meals. I had purchased some tempeh a few weeks ago, thinking I might make sushi again. I also had some carrots and a box of couscous (yum!) so I searched online for a tempeh recipe. I decided on a maple recipe since I had all the ingredients and it would work really well with the carrots. Without further adieu...

Maple Glazed Tempeh
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus marinading time
Cook time: 15 minutes

8 ounces tempeh
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle (or a couple pinches of cayenne)

1. In a saucepan over high heat, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Cool. While steaming, combine all the ingredients in a shallow dish or pan.

2. Slice the tempeh into 4 triangles, then slice in half width-wise, making 8 thin triangles. Soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

3. In a large pan over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray. Add each piece of tempeh carefully, making sure not to tear. Cook on one side for 7 minutes, adding marinade on top as you go. When you flip it, flip carefully. The color should be a deep maple color...if it starts to get a little black, that's ok! It adds flavor!

4. When both sides are cooked, serve!

I'm not going to lie, it was delicious! It had a chewy texture and completely took on the flavor of the marinade. My bet is that this would be good over rice, a salad,'s so versatile! If you're afraid of tempeh, get over it! Give it a whirl!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Perfect Strangers!

If you are unaware, my family here in New Mexico calls me EBeth (not for the same reason my best friend, Beth calls me EBeth...). They call me such because of the 'E': I'm obsessed with all things internet related. I am. I have Deidra's old iPhone, just in case there's free WiFi and I can check facebook. I blog. I have most updates (blog, fb, even banking) texted to my phone. I'm with the times!

Anyway, this blog has been so much fun. It motivates me to cook. It has introduced me to some amazing people who I consider friends (exhibit A). It makes me feel all warm & fuzzy when people I don't know leave me a comment or start following the craziness that I write. I got a neat little award today from Stephanie, someone I've never met. Obviously I'm going to do the natural thing and pass it along.

1. Where is your cell phone? still plugged into the wall
2. Your hair? I'm rocking bed-head right now.
3. Your mother? Too far away.
4. Your father? A riot.
5. Your favorite food? Hummus. And CoCo's.
6. Your dream last night? I usually forget!
7. Your favorite drink? Water. Coffee. Wine.
8. Your dream/goal? Radiology. Coffee shop. Book (???)
9. What room are you in? My living room.
10. Your hobby? Piano. Singing. Sewing. Baking.
11. Your fear? Not having babies.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? New Hampshire.
13. Where were you last night? La Salita.
14. Something you aren’t? A twig.
15. Muffins? Lemon Poppyseed...made them a few days ago & they rock.
16. Wish list item? Vegan cookbooks. I need to stock up.
17. Where did you grow up? New Hampshire.
18. Last thing you did? Made coffee. Well, watched my amazing Keurig make coffee.
19. What are you wearing? PJs
20. Your TV? News.
21. Your pets? Furbabies that belong to D & C.
22. Your friends? My family!
23. Your life? Close to perfect.
24. Your mood? Half sleepy.
25. Missing someone? Rob Pattinson. Oh, and my friends around the world.
27. Something you’re not wearing? Make up.
28. Your favorite store? Sunflower Market.
29. Your favorite color? Red, pink, and black.
30. When was the last time you laughed? This morning.
31. Last time you cried? It's been a while.
32. Best Friend? My husband.
33. One place that I go over and over again? Work.
34. One person who emails me regularly? USMC Marathon Training Program.
35. Favorite place to eat? Work.

Here are the 5 wonderful bloggers I nominate for this award!
Living & Loving In LA
Jaclyn's Vegan Yumminess
Better Together
Out of Africa
Turning Iwatean

These ladies make my day and their blogs really are over the top! Love you! xo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mac & Cheeze

Growing up, I loved macaroni & cheese. My mom made a really good casserole with fresh pieces of ham and Ritz cracker crumb topping. For the last 4 years of my wonderful, fun-filled marriage, macaroni & cheese has also been a staple. When I don't really feel like cooking but know Cody won't settle for just a sandwich, I make macaroni & cheese. It's so great because you can really get creative. Throw in tuna fish, peas, green chile (now that we're in New Mexico), and whatever else you need to get out of the fridge. Alas, those days have been over for me for a while.

Not anymore, my friends! The beautiful women of How It All Vegan! have brought this tasty meal back into my life! I found a recipe for Easy Breazy Cheezy Sauce that I made for a fondue party a while back. It was quite cheezy, so I decided to make some and mix it over some shell pasta that I had in the pantry. With a little bit of Frank's Red Hot on top, it was perfect and made leftovers for days!

Mac & Cheeze
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

1 box pasta of your choice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp flour
4 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard

1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to desired texture.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the yeast, flour, arrowroot powder (or cornstarch), and salt. Add the water and oil and continue to whisk thoroughly. Stir over medium heat until sauce becomes thick, then stir in the mustard. Heats for 30 seconds more and serve.

That's it!!! Can you eve believe how simple that is?? Now let's take a look at it's nutritional value...I'm going to do a little comparison for you so you can see the nutritional value of THIS mac & cheeze vs. the blue box of mac & cheese.

Here is the nutritional value for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese...

...and here we have vegan Mac & Cheeze.

I would like to point out a few things:
Serving Size is a bit larger for my mac & cheeze...
The calorie count is lower...
The saturated fat is lower...
The sodium...holy crap, is the sodium lower...
The cholesterol is higher, but that's because nutritional yeast contains HDL, which if you know your stuff, is the good cholesterol that reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol...
The iron count is a lot higher, too, but the the vitamins are a tad on the lower side.

Which would you rather eat or feed to your munchkins?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes!

Today is my friend & coworker's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I took it upon myself last week to make some delicious lemon cupcakes for another coworkers birthday; I love baking for people and celebrating birthdays AND I figured if they brought a cake in for her (which they did) it would not be one I could partake in. So I'm doing the same today. Any excuse to bake!

I decided to get store-bought frosting that doesn't contain milk...accidentally vegan, as I like to call it...and put it on top of some vanilla cupcakes. I found the recipe HERE and decided to give them a whirl. I'm kind of nervous...I haven't tried them...and my coworker's wife apparently makes the best vegan cupcakes. I hope they at least live up to her standards!!

I know, I know...there is a lone cupcake sad & unfrosted. One of the guys at work doesn't like frosting. Or puppies or unicorns or rainbows.

Fluffy White Cupcakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 scant* cups plain soymilk
2 1/8 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract (I used almond...I have to tell you, the batter was awesome!)

*scant: just under 1 1/2 cups!

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray 15 muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper cupcake liners (I like to spray the inside of the muffin papers with nonstick spray to help the cupcakes release). Set aside.

2. Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal 1 ½ cups. Stir well and set aside (yes, it's's supposed to!).

3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, canola oil, vanilla, and coconut (or almond) extract. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Fill each muffin cup with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

5. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

They're baking as I blog, ladies & gents. They smell delicious, and as I said, the batter was killer. I will post an update after they are devoured (or politely eaten) by the coworkers!

NOTE: If you haven't noticed by now, I don't post the nutritional value for desserts. They're desserts for a reason...enjoy them without feeling too guilty because you deserve them!

DOUBLE NOTE: I am happy to announce that these cupcakes were a hit. Profanity was used, lips were licked, and all the cupcakes were eaten. I have to admit, they were some of the best cupcakes I've ever had!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Potato & Leek Soup

This post is being written for two reasons: 1. The recipe is from an amazing woman who I admire and respect so much...Living and Loving In LA!!! She just ran her first marathon yesterday and I'm just so impressed with her. She put this recipe up like, one week ago because she was sick with the flu. (Yes, she was sick with the flu and then ran 26.2 miles. I know. Be impressed.) 2. This is such a warm, thick, wintery meal I thought it would be perfect for all my friends and family in New Hampshire who are on their second snow fall of the season. In October. Boo!!!

The soup is really simple and doesn't require a lot of ingredients. I had to have brother-in-law-Chuck bring their food processor because ours is a mini processor; when the soup is done cooking, you blend it up to create a smooth, creamy dish. Deidra called it Mashed Potato Soup because it was very potato-y. Which is good. Cody said he felt like he was cheating potatoes, but he ate his entire bowl. :) I loveloveloved it. After we were done eating, my belly was really warm, so if winter nights are sneaking up on you too fast or you're feeling a little under the weather, I highly recommend this soup!

Potato & Leek Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30+ minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 Leeks, white and light green parts only, washed, trimmed and sliced into coins
5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2 - 32 oz. containers vegetable broth (I use Better Than Bouillon!
Unsweetened soy, almond, or rice milk...whatever you have on hand
Chives, optional, for garnish
Soy Cheddar Cheese, optional, for garnish

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Saute the leeks and garlic until soft but do NOT let them brown. Add potatoes and cover with the broth. Cook until potatoes are mushy, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.

2. Remove pot from heat, and slowly start transferring the soup to either a blender or food processor. Blend the soup with some milk until it's a smooth and creamy texture. Continue blending and mixing until all of the soup is smooth. Top with either chives, like I did, or soy cheddar cheese.

Make sure to check the consistency of the soup as you add the milk. It is a thick soup but can easily be thinned out by adding more milk. After each addition of soup was blended, I put it straight into a bowl and added chopped chives on top. We paired it with some Eggplant Panini, which made Cody quite happy. I'm psyched that there are massive amounts of leftovers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

Yes, I know I've already done a post about whoopie pies. It's just that I love them & they're easy & they always remind me of my awesome childhood! Since I had some leftover pumpkin, I decided to make my Gram's regular whoopie pies, but have the frosting be pumpkin-y. The fam & I were going to a party so I figured they'd be great. I love being right! They were a hit, and one of the partygoers asked me for the recipe, so I shamelessly plugged my blog. :)

Here is a great recipe for chocolate whoopie pies with pumpkin cream cheeze frosting. I hope you try this one, too!

Yes, this photo is taken on my phone, so it is not the best quality. I just had to get a picture before they were all gone! You can't tell here, but the pumpkin filling is a pale shade of orange with specks of cinnamon & tasty!

Pumpkin Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp soy butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water
1 cup soy milk (try not to use light!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) soy butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Place soy butter, shortening, and sugars into a bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add flaxseed and water; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the soy milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

4. Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

1. In a medium bowl, whip together "cream cheese", soy butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

2. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

Brother-in-law Chuck & I both agree that these are better than the other whoopie pies. I like them because they're so much like my Gram's. Deidra likes the pure pumpkin pies better. So I guess you'll just have to make both and find people to taste them for you!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mushroom Marsala

If you haven't figured out by my posts about my mom, she's a great cook. She can turn anything in the fridge into a delicious meal (except for American Chop Suey, which I will forever hate...). One of my favorite things growing up was Chicken Marsala. It was always over pasta, the chicken was never dry, and marsala wine has a very distinct, sweet taste that just worked.

I had some mushrooms in the fridge and some marsala wine in the pantry, so I decided to make Mushroom Marsala for dinner served over whole wheat rigatoni. I paired it with some fresh, homemade fococcia bread that was to die for...and that recipe will follow shortly!

Mushroom Marsala
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsbp soy butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2-1 cup marsala wine
1 cup vegetable stock
8 oz pasta

1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute or so. Add the dry spices, then add the butter and melt.

3. When butter is melted, add the mushrooms and saute for 10 minutes, until nice and brown and the juices are released. Carefully add the marsala wine and cook until wine has reduced by half. Add the vegetable stock and cook until it slightly thickens. (Note: if the sauce is not thick enough for you, mix a little bit of cornstarch and water and add to it until you get the thickness you desire.)

4. Drain pasta, toss with the sauce, and try not to eat it ALL in one sitting! (Although, it's really not bad for you...)

It was a great meal and the bread was great to sop up the leftover sauce. Make sure to pick a pasta that will really allow the sauce to stick. Thanks, mom!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stuffed Shells with Pesto

I've gone on a few blog rants about how I LOVE Jaclyn and her awesome webpage. Plus, she's from my home state, so she's even cooler. One of her favorite recipes (according to her blog) is Stuffed Shells with Pesto. I love pesto. I love stuffed shells. Cody, however, feels a little iffy about tofu turned ricotta.

Not in this meal!!!

Found in the beautiful Isa's cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance, the recipes for both stuffed shells and pesto are combined and made into a beautiful dinner. The brother-in-law grew some basil over the summer and it turned tree-like towards the end, so I took it all. :) Good thing, too, because the pesto calls for so much basil my house smelled like an italian restaurant for days!

Stuffed Shells with Pesto
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Classic Pesto Ingredients
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

½ cup walnuts (I used pine nuts because I have a hard time thinking about pesto without them)
3 cups packed basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
1 ½ tsp coarse salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste (I added little by little...I probably only used 1/4 cup total)
½ cup nutritional yeast (optional - but it's not going to be the same without it! Cody & I agree, this was the best pesto ever.)
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Toast the walnuts (or pine nuts) in a toaster oven at 350* for 5 minutes or on a baking sheet in a conventional oven for 10 minutes, turning once. (Again, me being different, I put them in a pan and cook them for like, 5 minutes, flipping a few times.)

2. Combine the nuts, basil, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender and process while you add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and pulse to combine. The sauce should be the consistency of a slightly grainy paste, not a puree. I like it to be a little thinner so it's easier to spread it on the shells so I add a little more olive oil until it's the right consistency.

Basil-Tofu Ricotta Ingredients
Makes about 2 cups

1 pound firm tofu, pressed
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Dash fresh black pepper
Handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast

1. In a large bowl, mush up the tofu with your hands until it's crumbly.

2. Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Mush with your hands again; this you want to get it very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese.

3. Add the olive oil, stir with a fork. Add the nutritional yeast and mix all ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Stuffed Shells with Pesto Ingredients

Classic pesto recipe
Basil-Tofu Ricotta recipe
½ box of jumbo shells

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a baking dish with olive oil.

2. Boil water and cook shells until al dente. Drain.

3. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of Basil-Tofu ricotta into each shell (enough to fill it). Place each shell with the open side facing down on the baking dish.

4. Smear about a tablespoon of pesto on to each shell. It's not going to look pretty, but it's tasty.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and ENJOY!

I highly recommend only stuffing as much as you need. Because the pasta isn't in a sauce, the leftovers get pretty stiff. We put a little bit of tomato sauce on them every time we heated them up, which worked well, but only cook as many shells as you're going to eat.

This is definitely one of our new favorites. I'm going to use both the pesto and the ricotta again. Thanks, Jaclyn! You're the best!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

'Tis the season for pumpkin, my dear friends. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bisque, pumpkin pancakes (thank you, brother-in-law Chuck for making some of the tastiest this weekend!), and pumpkin whoopie pies. Whoopie pies are a thing of my childhood. My gram made the greatest whoopie pies in the world. Sometimes, we were lucky and my mom would recreate them. Now the recipe has been passed on. My aunt makes them, my brother has mastered them...if you don't know what a whoopie pie is, you need to get on that immediately. It's an absolute treat, one bite at a time.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a bit of a Rachel Ray fanatic. I have almost every cook book, thanks to the husband, and I also get her magazine. A few years ago, she had a recipe for her Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and I was instantly hooked. I didn't make them last year because it was a crazy fall. This year, when I found out sister-in-law Deidra loves pumpkin, I knew I had to make them. They were pretty easy to veganize, so here is my adapted version of Rachel's Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 14 minutes

Whoopie Pie
1/2 cup soy butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 egg equivalent (2 tbsp flaxseed, 6 tbsp water)
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (I refuse to buy pumpkin pie spice, so I used almost a full tbsp of cinnamon mixed with enough nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to equal a tbsp)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups unbleached flour

Cream Cheese Filling
1/4 cup soy butter, softened
4 oz Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 pinches salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the egg replacer, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.

3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 14 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened soy butter with the "cream cheese". Add the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.

Cody has put these in his top three favorite desserts. They're closely behind Sopapilla Cheezecake and my Apple Crisp. Personally, I like them better than the Sopapilla Cheezecake. They have a great hint of pumpkin and the filling isn't too sweet. I will definitely be making these again...probably more than once this season. You need to try them! I promise, you will love them.