Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Taco Rice

For those of you who don't know, Cody & I spent the last 3 years (and some change) in Okinawa, Japan. It was such a fun experience; we made some of the best friends in the world, traveled, got certified in SCUBA diving, drove on the wrong side of the road, and always had food adventures. There were lots of crazy Japanese food that we would try and some that we absolutely would not. (Pig snout anyone?)

Our dear friend, Keith, lived by this tiny little stop called King Taco. They sold the greatest taco rice in history. I love sticky rice as it is, so top it with taco-seasoned meat, lettuce, cheese, and loads of delicious hot sauce, you've got one happy Elizabeth. I serve the best New Mexican food in the history of life on a daily basis, and yesterday, it made me crave taco rice. Here is my vegan version!

Taco Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

3 cups medium grain white rice (or sushi rice)
3 cups water
3 tbsp Sushi Vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 package Boca Crumbles

1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano and sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Note: Use 3 tbsp of mixture for 1 package of Boca Crumbles. Keep in an airtight container as this will keep forever AND it has far less sodium than your commercial seasoning mix!

Veggie Cheese
Hot Sauce
Toffuti Sour Cream
Tomatoes (not in THIS household!)
Whatever else your heart desires!

1. To prep your rice, place all of it in a colander with a larger bowl underneath that fits. You're going to fill up with water so the rice in the colander is covered. Press the rice, swish it around, you'll notice the water becomes cloudy. You want to rid the rice of the starch for optimal stickiness! Remove the bowl underneath, drain, and repeat this process until your water is clear.

2. Cook in a rice cooker or in a medium pan over medium heat. You want to steam the rice until there is no water left.

3. While the rice is cooking, add your Boca Crumbles to a large pan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of water to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. When the crumbles are heated through, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the seasoning. Stir to incorporate well. Add more water by the tablespoon if it appears too thick.

4. When your rice is out of water, remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the sushi vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined. Add to the rice one tablespoon at a time.

5. Arrange your rice on a plate, top with meat, then all your toppings. Enjoy with chopsticks or forks for those of you who aren't quite there yet. :)

This really came out so good. I wanted a second bowl, but I had some delicious dessert waiting for me thanks to me chia seeds from Living and Loving in L.A. and a great recipe for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding from Love Veggies and Yoga.

I can't believe 2010 is tomorrow. I'm not quite sure where 2009 went, let alone this entire decade! I have so many things to look forward to next year: my high school baby sister & best friend's wedding (two totally separate weddings...)...Manchester Orchestra...more school...and hopefully a marathon with the sister-in-law. I won't be running by her side because she's so darn fast, but I'm hoping we can run one together because I need the motivation and she's got it!

I hope you all have a wonderful end to 2009 and an even better beginning to 2010.

The Doctor is in!!!

For those of you who haven't been to visit Living and Loving in L.A., you need to check yourself. She is honest, amazing, insightful, motivational, funny, giving, and a great cook! No, I'm not sucking up because I want to win her latest giveaway. I mean, I do want to win, but most importantly, I want the world to know how wonderful this girl is! Go! Check her out!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Today marks the 4th anniversary of my marriage to the most amazing man alive. Through good times, bad times, and the crazy ones in between, we've managed to come out even stronger. Thanks for loving me so much and being such a patient taste-tester.

I love you, Cody!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Biscuits & Gravy

Two weeks ago, my husband & I ventured to Oklahoma to pick up my Christmas present...A KITTY!!! Yes, I know, Oklahoma??? Cody insisted we get a Scottish Fold. Sister-in-law has one, Ms. Kitty, and she is the most amazing kitty. So he spent some time searching online for a Scottish Fold...all across the country! We finally found a tiny little kitty in Oklahoma, and because we would be driving so far, he was free. This was our first picture of our kitty:

When we got there and picked him up, he was shaking, so I put him on my lap in the car to snuggle him & warm him up. That's when I noticed he was covered in fleas. Not just a few, but so many that you could see them swimming under his fur. He was also really skinny & when we fed him, he acted like he'd never eaten before. After bringing him to the vet twice, it turns out he also has ear mites and worms. He was definitely a rescue kitty.

Here is a picture of our almost-healthy kitty, Magnus.

So back to food. On our drive home from Oklahoma, we passed a brunch billboard. Cody made a comment that he "missed Awase", a golf course restaurant that we used to go get brunch at all the time in Japan. They had the best biscuits & gravy. As a treat, the following day, I decided to cook up some vegan biscuits & gravy. OH my goodness...AMAZING!!!

Biscuits & Gravy
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

"Buttermilk Biscuits"

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup Earth Balance
¾ cup plain soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and Earth balance. Using a knife or a pastry cutter, combine until the mixture becomes crumbly. The pieces should be pea-sized.

2. In a measuring cup, measure your soy milk and add the apple cider vinegar. Let this curdle...yum!

3. Slowly drizzle the "buttermilk" mixture into the flour mixture and combine until just mixed. If you combine too much, you won't get the flakiness you're looking for! On a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 1/2-inch thick and cut into either 12 2-inch circles or 6 3-inch circles.

4. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. They won't look too golden on top but they will be on the bottom.

"Sausage" Gravy

5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
4 Boca Breakfast Patties
sea salt to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if you like spicy
1 teaspoon black or white pepper

1. In a large saucepan, cook the sausage patties over medium heat. When heated through, put on a dish and crumble with a fork.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in the same saucepan. Add the flour and wisk until smooth. You need to cook this until it turns a caramel brown color. Add your pepper here...LOTS of pepper!

3. Slowly wisk in the soy milk. This will thicken really fast, so be careful! Turn the heat down to low, add salt to taste and red pepper flakes, and the sausage.

4. On a plate, arrange your biscuits and smother with gravy.

So it's not that healthy for you, but it's still a B-. Every now & then it's OK to have a not-so-good for you breakfast! Eat like a king for breakfast! Plus, it's so tasty you just won't mind.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! xoxox

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Best Chili Ever!

This time of year always makes me think of my grandparents house. After all the families opened up presents, ours included, we would head over to Nana & Grampa's. There would be cousins and aunts and uncles galore. Eggnog and coldcuts and cookies and stained glass. The adults would pass around "the doctor"...Doctor McGillicuddy, that is. A little Peppermint Schnapps to warm the soul. There would also be chili on the stove. My grampa made some of the best chili on the face of this planet.

As you all may know, I've been a little sick the last few weeks. I can't seem to fight it, no matter how hard I try to take care of myself. Chili sounded like a pretty good companion for el sicko, so I cooked up half a batch (and still had leftovers). This chili is hearty, spicy, and is even better the next day!

The Best Chili Ever!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: As long as you want!

1 package Boca Crumbles
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 15-oz can kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-oz can pinto beans (with liquid)
1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
1/2 cup diced green chili (2 chilies)
1/4 cup diced celery (1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
3 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 cups water

1. Heat the Boca Crumbles in a large pot over medium heat. Add all the other ingredients, including the onion, and let simmer for at least an hour!

*I should add that Cody & I like really hot chili. I added some habanero powder (that Cody made) and some red pepper flakes. Just so you know.

That's all there is to it, folks. Easy. Delicious. Pair it with some corn bread or rice. Eat it the next day over tofu dogs. It's just that easy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

'Tis the season... catch whatever sicky-poo bug is going around. And yes, I managed to catch it. Even though my daily routine includes vitamins and working out, I manage to catch something gross. I've had congestion in my sinus and my lungs and quite frankly, I'm sick of it! Not to mention I lost my without a voice is a complete disaster. I don't know many people who like to talk as much or as loud as I do. So this is just pure torture.

If you or someone you know gets sick this season, I highly recommend Green Chile Stew. It's warm, which feels great. It's steamy, which is even better. And the heat from the chile warms you from the inside out.

So if you're sick, or you just want something to keep you warm, make this stew. Curl up on the couch with a blanket, put on A Christmas Story, and try not to think about your current ailment!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Burrito Pie

I'm not exactly sure where Burrito Pie came from, but it's been a staple in our household for the last 4 years. It's easy, you rarely have to buy anything to make it, and it's super tasty. Oh yeah, and it leaves leftovers. If you know Cody, you know leftovers are like gold.

Anyway, Burrito Pie isn't the classiest of meals. It isn't flashy or impressive. It isn't all-natural or organic. It is, however, a meal. A warm, home-cooked meal that tastes great and leaves tummies happy. To me, that's the most important factor of all.

Burrito Pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 package Boca Crumbles
1 package Taco Seasoning (I used Taco Bell)
1 can vegetarian refried beans
4-6 8-inch tortillas
1/2 cup salsa

1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a large frying pan, heat the Boca Crumbles over medium heat until warmed through. Prepare according to the Taco Seasoning packet (usually it's a little bit of water, about 2/3 cup).

2. In a deep pie plate, pour just enough salsa to coat the bottom. You don't want the tortilla to stick! Place one tortilla down, top it with 1/3 of the refried beans, a little bit of salsa, then top with 1/3 of the "meat" mixture. Do this two more times or until all of your filling is gone, making sure to keep just a small amount of refried beans for the top.

3. On your last tortilla, spread the last of the refried beans. You can put a little vegan cheese over this or even a little bit of the salsa. Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through.

So that's it! It's pretty high in sodium, but you could make your own taco seasoning in a pinch with some cumin and chili powder. I just really like the taste of Taco Bell's seasoning! In this picture, I have my slice of pie smothered with red chile from La Salita. This is where I work and their vegan options are AMAZING. I brought home some red & green chile over Thanksgiving because I knew I would start to crave it over my 5-day weekend. That's actually the reason I made Burrito go with my red chile! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know I did...I thoroughly enjoyed my first Tofurky Roast...and I'm still enjoying its leftovers. We had quite the feast at the sister & brother's house.

Ok. So now onto this post. I went a little cook book crazy and ordered a whole bunch off Amazon. I've been checking a constant three out of the library, but I decided it's just time to own them. The first one I ordered was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (and yes, they are...), then I added How It All Vegan! and Vegan With a Vengeance (which was a gift from a friend. Yeah, I have some of the greatest friends.).

I am so absolutely obsessed with the cupcakes from VCTOW. Seriously, they all look sooooo amazing I want to do nothing but bake. Since I work with some of the greatest people alive, I like to spoil them and bring in baked goods. However, these cupcakes might not leave my house.

The first cupcakes I made were Tiramisu Cupcakes. A few weeks ago when my sister/best friend was visiting, I decided to make tiramisu. It was awful. And I don't bake anything awful. Thankfully, these cupcakes made me forget all about my baking disaster! They were absolute heaven. Double thanks to the husband for hating all things coffee: MORE CUPCAKES FOR ME!!!

Tiramisu Cupcakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-22 minutes

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (increase salt to 1/2 tsp if you're using oil instead of margarine)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened, or 1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract

Tiramisu Shtuff

1/3 cup espresso or strong coffee
1/3 cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
12 chocolate-covered coffee beans, or 12 chocolate chips, or 12 coffee beans.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few minutes to get good and curdled (yum!).

3. If using margarine: Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.

4. In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy, but don't beat past two minutes. Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrap the sides of the bowl a few times.

5. If using oil: Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until no large lumps remain.

6. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes till done. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.


7. While the cupcakes are cooling: Cream together margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Use a handheld mixer to whip while adding the confectioners' sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla.


8. Mix together the espresso and the Kahlua.

9. Use a measuring spoon, a regular teaspoon, or a paring knife to carve out a small cone in the center of the cupcake. Place spoon about 1 inch from the center of the cupcake, then dig the spoon in about 1 inch deep and cut a circle around the center. Carefully scoop out a cone, trying your best to keep the chunk as intact as possible.

10. Use a spoon to pour the Kahlua mixture in the cavity of the cut cupcake, making sure that all sides of the cavity are drenched, using up to 2 tablespoons of liquid per cupcake. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting into the cavity and smooth over with the back of the spoon. (Make sure to reserve a few tablespoons of frosting to dollop on top of the cupcake.). Dip the bottom of the cut-out chunk into the Kahlua mixture, but keep the top part dry. Place the cut-out chunk on top of the frosting and gently pat it into place. Continue the process with the remaining cupcakes.

11. Place the chocolate and cinnamon in a small strainer and dust all of the cupcakes. Dollop a small amount of the frosting on top and place a chocolate chip or espresso bean on the dollop. Let sit for about 10 minutes and serve.

Seriously, folks...these cupcakes are perfection. I would vote for these cupcakes and let them rule in a world of caffeine and fluffy cupcake parliament. Watch out, Palin.