Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spinach Soup

I am the lover of all things spinach. Maybe it's from watching too much Popeye as a kid, but I love it! And I know how good it is for me!

I have this amazing friend who I have known for years. I haven't seen her in almost 7, which makes my heart break a little! We talk a lot, though, which is awesome since we went almost 4 without. I'm so glad she's back in my life, I'm actually going to post a horrible picture of us from 7 years ago. This was my 21st birthday:

This was the bar I worked at...she was always there (to visit me, not necessarily drink!) and she was always cheering me on when I sang...

And us being crazy. Something we were awfully good at!

Life with Rissa was always fun. Laughing, reading, tea time, snuggling...I'm a pretty lucky girl to have such a wonderful friend in my life! Exciting news, too: MARISSA HAS DECIDED TO GO VEGETARIAN!!! Yes, it may mean no more eggy cheesy bacon bagels, but I'm still working on how to veganise that one! :) She sent me an email this week with a Spinach Soup recipe from Kitchen Parade. I saw it yesterday and made it immediately. I trust her taste in food and I had the ingredients to make it, so here it is! The veganized version of Spinach Soup:

Spinach Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 tbsp Earth Balance Soy Margarine
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
10 ounces frozen or fresh spinach (If you're using fresh, which you should, it's about 5 cups)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
Salt & pepper taste

1. In a large saucepan, melt Earth Balance on medium high til shimmery. Add onion, stir to coat, let cook until beginning to soften.

2. IF FROZEN SPINACH While the onion cooks, thaw the spinach in the microwave. Add to the onion mixture and cook for about 5 minutes. IF FRESH SPINACH) While the onion cooks, wash the fresh spinach very well by soaking and swishing in cold water. (It needn’t be trimmed but must be grit-free; to test, eat a piece of the raw spinach.) Stir into the onion mixture by the handful and cook until cooked but still bright green. Transfer the mixture to a blender (I used my food processor) and blend until smooth, adding some broth or stock if needed. Return the mixture to the saucepan. (Don’t waste the spinach left in the blender, just use the rest of the broth or stock to rinse it out into the saucepan when called for.)

3. Sprinkle the spinach mixture with the flour and stir in. Add the broth or stock, a tablespoon at a time at first, incorporating each addition before adding more. Stir in nutmeg and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add milk and bring just to a boil but do not allow to boil. Season to taste. Spoon soup into bowls.

This soup was SOOOO good. I had two bowls, and when Cody got home, he took one bite and said, "Wow, babe. This is good." I don't know why he doubted me, but ha HA! Veggies 1, Carnivores, 0.

Thanks, Marissa! I love you!!! xo

PS: Want to win some awesome Muscle Soak from an awesome SkinnyRunner??? Go check it out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Drumroll please......

..........................The winner is, RACHEL over at Reaping What I Sow and Life with the Bugs!!! Rachel is someone I met in boot camp.

We looked a little less like this...

And a little more like this...

Regardless, we became Marines together! She has a beautiful family and has started cutting meat out of their diet. Maybe not the husband's...yet...but I know she'll keep pushing! I've seen it firsthand. Congratulations, my dear! Send me an email with your address and I will get these delicious cookies out to you asap!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

If nothing in this blog title makes sense to you, keep reading and expand your horizon (and your tastebuds).

falafel |fəˈläfəl| (also felafel)
a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls or fritters and deep-fried, usually eaten with or in pita bread.
ORIGIN from colloquial Egyptian Arabic falāfil, plural of Arabic fulful, filfil ‘pepper.’

tzatziki |tsäˈtsēkē| (also tzatziki sauce)
a sauce of Greek origin, made from yogurt, garlic, and cucumbers.
ORIGIN mid 20th cent.: modern Greek, from Turkish cacık.

Prior to last week, I had never eaten a falafel before. Thanks to the goalie in THIS movie:

...I had heard of them, but never experienced them. So I did a little research, checked out a few different recipes, and decided to throw my own together.

Before we go any further, I would just like to let you know that this is our new favorite. Not just C-Dizzle and mine, but also Dei, the not-so-picky-anymore one. We ate every last morsel and I've already made them again.

*Note: If you're going to be eating these, be prepared for garlic & onion breath for a full 24 hours. Make sure everyone you surround yourself with is also going to be eating falafel. Otherwise, you might seem toxic.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp FRESH parsley, chopped
1 tbsp FRESH cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2-4 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl, mash the garbanzo beans with a potato masher or a fork. Getting these as mashed as possible is key! Set aside. In a food processor, mince the onion and garlic cloves till finely minced (for the onion hater in your life!). Add to the mashed garbanzo beans. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, coriander, turmeric, and crushed red pepper. Start out with 2 tbsp of flour. If you need more, add it 1 tbsp at a time. Add the salt & pepper, if using.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, get 2 tbsp of olive oil nice and hot. Form the falafel mix into golf ball size balls, slightly flatten, and add to the pan carefully. Cook until a little darker than golden brown; flip and cook on the other side.

Tzatziki Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes

2 6-oz containers PLAIN soy yogurt (meaning unsweetened!)
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp FRESH dill, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
Salt & pepper, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.


There is no science here! Take a warm flat bread or pita, spread a layer of tzatziki sauce, add lettuce, tomato (the picture is Dei's falafel. We do not consume tomato. Bleck!), whatever else your heart desires, and a little more tzatziki. I served this with tabouli, warm pita slices, and Kale Chips.

Here is the nutritional value for the falafel:

Look at all that protein! These would be great for carbo-loading, too.

And here is the tzatziki sauce:

The serving size here is a bit bigger than what you actually use, so don't be frightened by the calories!

This meal was so light, believe it or not, and very fresh. It's perfect for the upcoming summer weather and I have a feeling I'll be making it a lot! You should, too!

PS: There are still a few days left to enter my Alternative Baking Company Cookie Giveaway! The rules are easy: you just leave comments!

PPS: My mom is going to be here in 24 days! Woo hoo!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Who doesn't like a good Reuben sandwich? (I guess if you don't like sauerkraut, pastrami, Thousand Island dressing, or rye bread, you probably don't. Meh.) I love them. They're a little sweet, a little salty, and rye bread is deLISH. C-Dog and I were grocery shopping the other day and I came across a jar of sauerkraut. I put it in our basket and he was like, "We're never going to eat all that sauerkraut. You're crazy. Woh woh woh woh woh woh woh woh." I got it anyway, mostly because I wanted sauerkraut all over my Smart Dog.

(We're halfway through the huge jar. FTW.)

I love Smart Dogs, but I can't eat them everyday. I knew I had to come up with another way to utilize the sauerkraut, mostly just to prove the hubster wrong. That's when I remembered Reubens. When was the last time I had a Reuben??? It had probably been years, considering how long it's been since I've eaten meat. Well, our Reuben-less days are over, my friends!

Thousand Island Dressing
Prep tim: 5 minutes

1/4 cup Vegenaise
1/2 pickle, chopped, or 1/4 cup relish
2 tbsp to 1/4 cup red pepper relish
1/4 tsp garlic powder

(This is the red pepper relish I used; thanks to my amazing sister for sending it to me from home!)

Reuben Sandwich
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Seitan slices, or your favorite vegan sandwich meat
Rye bread
Earth Balance
Thousand Island Dressing, recipe above

1. I use a panini press for this, so if you have one, plug it in! If you don't, you can toast your bread in the toaster OR cook the sandwich in a large skillet. Butter one side of rye bread slices. Place buttered side down on the panini (or skillet), spread about a tablespoon to two tablespoons on the bread. Throw down a few slices of seitan or vegan sandwich meat, smother with sauerkraut, and top with the other buttered piece of rye bread. Press for 5 minutes or until golden brown. If you're using a skillet, cook on one side till golden brown, flip, and cook some more. If you're using a toaster, DON'T BUTTER YOUR BREAD FIRST, just toast and assemble.

We've had Reubens THREE TIMES since the sauerkraut debate. I pretty much love anything that comes out of my panini press (thanks, C & D!), plus I made a whole seitan love AND we've got all this sauerkraut. Works in my favor!

PS: If you haven't entered my ABC Cookie Giveaway, get on it! I'm giving away some of the best cookies in the world that happen to be vegan.

PPS: HAPPY EARTH DAY! Get out there today and go for a walk, pick up some trash, recycle, plant something, JUST GET OUTSIDE!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

...Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Who doesn't love cookies?? Let's be honest here, cookies are like gold. They can be brought to special occasions. Made for dessert. Enjoyed for breakfast, if you're really daring. You can add more goodies to them or make them plain. Dunk 'em in (soy)milk. Make them huge for birthday cakes. And if you have a cookie monster husband like me, use them to get what you want. Mwahahaha!

The amazing folks at Alternative Baking Company sent me a few cookies to giveaway. Obviously I split one with Cody, though. He charges a cookie tax to everything AND I couldn't give a cookie away if I hadn't tried it! What if it wasn't good?

They're good, I promise. So good, I almost didn't want to do this giveaway.

Here are your rules!

1. Go to the ABC site and tell me which kind of cookie makes your mouth water.

2. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite cookie is and your favorite time to eat them.

3. Leave a separate comment (more than one comment means more than one chance to win!) letting me know if you're a carnivore, veggie, vegan, raw...whatever you are! :)

4. Am I on your blogroll? Leave another comment!

5. Leave a comment telling me you linked back to this blog on YOUR blog! Make sure to leave a link, too! Shameless plugging is ok! :)

6. Let me know if you share this with your peeps on Facebook. Yes, I just said "peeps".

7. Got Twitter?? Tweet! Let me know (you guessed it, with another comment) that you did.

I'm going to give this one a few let's say on April 25th, I'll go to and pick the winner. Good luck!

PS: Don't forget to check out my guest blog on Living and Loving in L.A.! Konbanwa, my little fashionista!

Fresh Asparagus Alfredo

I think I might be one of the few crazies out there who doesn't really mind Mondays. I don't work till Tuesday, so I always get a 3-day weekend. Monday's are nice; I can run without worrying about how long I'm taking. The husband is at school, so I have a few hours of me time. I can also run whatever errands I didn't get done over the weekend. Mondays aren't that bad for me!

Speaking of Mondays, have you heard of Meatless Monday? I had never heard of it until my beautiful friend, Erin from Living and Loving in L.A., started posting meatless recipes every Monday. What a great concept, right? The whole thing is to commit to cutting out meat (at least) once a week. Might as well make it Monday since "Meatless Monday" has a great ring to it. "Wingless Wednesday" just doesn't sound the same.

If you don't follow this runner, cook, fashion designer, and great person, you should. Reading her blog is something I do every morning with my cup of coffee. She's that good. Unfortunately, she'll be in Tokyo and Shanghai this week for work (unfortunate for us, not for her), so I stepped up and wrote a Meatless Monday blog for her.

Happy Monday!

This is what I made...and I promise you, it's worth making. It's inexpensive, relatively simple, quick, and can be made gluten free!!! What more could you want?

Stay tuned for my take on the Reuben...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The BEST Chocolate Cake You'll Ever Eat!

I know this blog title is a little cocky, but I'll challenge you to a cake-off. This cake is super-chocolatey, not too sweet, MOIST, and fluffy. What more could you want??

My inspiration for this cake is a girl named Paige. I met Paige 5 years ago in Small Town, Oregon. I was on leave visiting my future husband. Cody & Paige have known each other for what I would assume is forever. She ended up marrying her long-time boyfriend and another small-town friend of his, who is now in the Navy. She randomly emailed Cody last week and let him know that she found my blog via VegWeb and that she, too, is vegan. Small world, even smaller internet! We've been kinda chatting back and forth and she asked about a cake recipe. You guys know me and my cupcakes. I gave her those links, but now it's time for an actual cake. Ask and ye shall receive!

Chocolate Cake
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

*I know this cake calls for a lot of sugar. I don't want comments about how to make it's dessert. Sometimes it's ok to go a little crazy. It's still vegan!

1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (DARK cocoa if you have it!)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add the water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar; make sure to combine until it's no longer lumpy!

2. Lightly spray an 8x8 baking pan. Add your cake batter, put in the oven, and wait for your house to smell delicious. This will take 30 minutes. :) Cool for at least an hour before frosting.

Speaking of frosting....

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Prep time: 5 minutes

1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (again...dark if you have it!)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp soy milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium bowl, beat together the Earth Balance and shortening. Sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar; add the milk and vanilla and beat for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides as you go.

This is my favorite frosting. It tastes so much like Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Kreme Donut, it excites me.

This cake really doesn't take long at all, plus it's marvelous, so get your cake on! Go!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sweet Winner Announced and a Lovely Award! must really this girl because she was one of five lucky winners in my last giveaway, too. Before you think I'm being biased, remember, I do use a random generator and if you look at the comments, she left the most. So congratulations, Erin @ Living and Loving in L.A.!!!

Don't fret, my loves...I have another giveaway coming VERY soon. You will love this one, too!

On to the next thing...

My wonderful friend, Rachel, over at Reaping What I Sow, awarded me this sweet little nugget of love.

Rachel and I have known each other for 6 years, although thanks to the wonder that is Facebook, we finally got back in touch after a few years. We did this crazy thing once; we went through Marine Corps boot camp together. Ever heard of 'em?

Anyway, what I'm supposed to do is list 10 honest things about myself. I hope you're prepared. I've lived a crazy life and I'm brutally honest sometimes. :)

1. I was a United States Marine. I stood where very few have and I am forever proud of this accomplishment. It's how I met my wonderful husband, who was also a Marine, and some of the greatest friends I've ever known. It was hard, it was trying, but it was worth (almost) every minute of it.

2. I was kicked out of Canada. Twice. Yes, deported. The first time, I was living and working there just because and apparently word got out and officials came to escort me over the bridge. All my stuff was still there, my best friends, my boyfriend, so I went back. Shame on me for going back, but shame on them for letting me back in! No worries, though. Because of super-secret #1, I'm allowed back in.

3. I love feeding people. That may not sound like a secret, but I really love feeding people. I fed Marines for years. Sometimes 12 at a time. I love making people full and happy. I love when people remember gatherings and the great food they had there. Maybe that's why I also love waitressing. I get to serve good food and get paid for it. It's not my first choice in careers, but it's fun, I'm good at it, and it helps pay for school.

4. I have to count my calories down to the last piece of hard candy. It's kind of an obsession. I work out a lot, and I love food, so I like to see how they balance out. It's great, too, because I can pretty much eat whatever I want, so long as it's in my budget. I don't believe in fad diets or pills; caloric intake is science and it just plain works.

5. Just like above, routine is another obsession. I have a coffee cup for every day of the week, so I get up, greet my Keurig, make my coffee, grab my Mac, and turn on Today. Even on workout days, it's the same. I check my email, my Facebook, my favorite blogs, then Perez Hilton. It very rarely changes.

6. I'm a Christian. Sometimes I get slack from people I surround myself with, but it doesn't change the fact that I have a relationship with God and I wouldn't have it any other way. My dear friend just gave me a study Bible and I couldn't be more excited about it. I don't push my beliefs on people, but I am more than willing to share my experience and my love for Jesus if anyone cares to ask.

7. I've been vegan for just over a year. I was a vegetarian for a while...more specific, I was a pescetarian, meaning I still ate fish. It wasn't until we moved home from Japan that I decided to give veganism a try. Needless to say, I fell in love with all it had to offer and I haven't even dreamed of looking back.

8. I reallyreallyreallyreally want to end up back in New Hampshire. I'm not sure it's going to happen, but that's where I truly feel at home. Not just because my family is there, but because all of my memories are there. I know New Hampshire and I love it. I know Cody would, too, if he just gave it a chance. :)

9. As I get older (when did 28 happen???), I understand that dealing with drama isn't necessary. There is an out, and it's just ignoring it. I used to think I needed to be friends with everyone, but it just isn't the case. Especially people who don't bring any positivity into my life. Sometimes it stinks because I would like to think I can be friends with everyone, but recently Cody and I both have cut some people out of our lives and we're just better off for it.

10. People give me crap because Cody looks young, and he's 3 1/2 years younger than me. Here's the deal. I always dated older men. Seriously. And it obviously never worked out. Then I met Cody and within months, I knew he was the one. He's responsible, so smart it makes my head spin, talented like there's no tomorrow, and LOVING. Not a day goes by where he doesn't do something that shows me how much he loves me. And not a day goes by where I don't love him even more. So do 3 1/2 years matter to me? Absolutely not. Aside from me being ready to have babies and him not-so-much, I hardly even notice.

That's it! Now I get to name 10 people! :)

1. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
2. Tasha @ The Voracious Vegan
3. Leslie @ Better Together
4. Erin @ Living and Loving in L.A.
5. Sarah @ Skinny Runner
6. Jaclyn @ Vegan Yumminess
7. Dawn @ Out of Africa
8. My favorite beer geek @ Albuquerque Beer Scene
9. Lindsey @ Happy Herbivore
10. Mandee @ Cupcake Kitteh

That's it! Enjoy, folks! And congratulations to you, my dear Erin. xo

Stuffed Zucchini

Have you NOT entered my GIVEAWAY yet??? What on earth is wrong with you?? All this amazing sweet stuff from Suzanne's Specialties and you still haven't entered? Phhh!

Anyway, time for a new recipe.

I LURVE zucchini. Which is crazy, because I used to hate it growing up. I remember my mom used to boil zucchini and summer squash and it was mushy and gross and used to make me gag. It's giving me the heebies just thinking about it. I know my mother is my inspiration for most things, but this is NOT one of those times. I know she now steams her, I believe taste buds we can be squash friends again.

Zucchini was on sale at the market so I had to buy some. I was going to make some Zucchini Weenies ala my beautiful New Hampshire-born friend, Jaclyn, but I wanted something more meal-oriented, so I went with Stuffed Zucchini. I've never made Stuffed Zucchini before, so the wheels were turning, but they were pretty tasty and really got me excited for summer!


Stuffed Zucchini
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes

4 medium zucchini (6-8 inches long)
2/3 cup TVP
1 cup water, boiling
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer OR 1 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp water OR 3 tbsp water, if using flaxseed
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp Italian spice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for topping (optional)

1. Bring 4-6 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Cut about 1/2-inch off each end of the zucchini. Carefully place in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, pour a cup of the zucchini water over your TVP and let it hydrate.

2. Preheat oven to 350° F. When the zucchini are cooled, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Put the seedy parts scooped in a large mixing bowl and set the skin aside. Add your hydrated TVP, bread crumbs, egg replacer, and tomato sauce. Mix well. Taste a little bit and see what the salt level is like before you add additional salt. Add your spices.

3. Spoon the tomato mixture back into your zucchini skins. It's ok if it's overflowing! Sprinkle nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan over the top, place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

That's it! It's a little more work than someone should commit to on a nice summer-y day, but it's worth it. You could even prepare these ahead of time and just stick them in the oven when you're ready to make them. I love food like that!

Do you have a favorite summer food that you simply can't WAIT to whip up?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Strawberry Tart

I love Sunflower Market. It is my all-time favorite grocery store and sometimes I think I'd rather go shopping there than, let's say, the mall. Their produce is so fresh and inexpensive, their bulk section has almost everything I need for my crazy vegan recipes, and the have an amazing beer and wine selection. What more do you need??

When I went a few days ago to pick up some odds and ends, I noticed that they had pints of strawberries for $.97!!! Big, red, juicy strawberries for under a dollar. Obviously I bought some! First thing that came to mind was Strawberry Shortcake. Who doesn't LOVE Strawberry Shortcake?? I almost picked up a package of silken tofu so I could try to create some kind of whipped topping, but I didn't. I changed my mind. I wanted a chocolate strawberry cake or some kind of strawberry pie.

This is what I came up with:

Strawberry Tart
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus chill time
Cook time: 45 minutes

Scant 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp Earth Balance, chilled
3 tbsp cold water
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp corn starch
(Another) Pinch of salt
1 tbsp soy milk

For the crust:

1. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a measuring cup; level with a knife. In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the salt; cut in 3 tablespoons Earth Balance with a pastry cutter or a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons ice water; stir just until moist. Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface; knead lightly for 30 seconds. Divide dough into 2 equal balls. Place each dough portion between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; roll each dough portion, still covered, into an 8-inch circle. Chill 20 to 30 minutes.

For the filling:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch and salt. Stir to combine.

2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Uncover dough; place dough circles on a baking sheet. Arrange half of the strawberries in a pinwheel pattern in one of the dough circles, starting in the middle and forming circles of strawberries, leaving a 2-inch border. Repeat with the second dough circle and remaining strawberries.

3. Fold up the edges of the dough circles over the berries, crimping to seal. Lightly brush the pastry with the soy milk.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

I decided to top mine with some Chocolate Brown Rice Syrup from Suzanne's Specialties. When I opened the jar, I immediately smelled the intense chocolate aroma and knew I was in love. It was thick, just like the kind of chocolate you get on your ice cream at Mack's Apples (which happens to also be where I got married!). It melted on the warm tart and I sifted a touch of powdered sugar over it. I love this dessert and I will DEFINITELY be making it again soon! I hope you'll give it a try!

PS: If you're looking for some tasty sweet stuff of your own, DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!!! You can win a whole bunch of Suzanne's Specialties goodies for yourself!

PPS: I mentioned my love for chocolate AND that I got married at Mack's Apples, so it's only fair that I mention the love I have for my husband. Cody, you are the most supportive, wonderful, sweet, talented, smart, understanding man I have ever known and I'm so lucky to have you as my best friend. Here's to a lifetime of love!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Veggie Burger

Every now & then, I can convince Cody to go out to eat. It's not that he doesn't like going out to eat, he's cheap. It doesn't bother me all that much. When he was still in the Marine Corps and I was working full time, we went out to eat a lot more because we could. Things have changed so we're a bit more thrifty, and I'm officially a picky eater due to my awesome vegan lifestyle, so we eat at home. I'm ok with it. I know what goes in my food and I know it's (almost) always going to be awesome.

Last week was one of my lucky weeks. We went to a new restaurant that came highly recommended from our friends (and boss'), Five Star Burgers. The ambiance was nice, although a little cold. You could definitely tell it was new and that some of the servers have never waited before. Totally ok in my book. I'm a good experience for them..."Is there eggs in this?", "Do you butter that?", "No aioli, please..."

Cody ended up getting a green chili cheeseburger of sorts. It came with green chili mayonnaise, onions, and pickles. No lettuce or tomato, which I thought was a little odd. I chose the veggie burger and I was not disappointed. The burger was hanging over the buns, the flavor was out of control, and I honestly couldn't even finish it. We split a side of sweet potato fries. For the money, I was thinking we'd get a little more, but since I had so much burger, it was fine. Of course, you know me: all I could think about was how to recreate this burger. So here it is. :)

Veggie Burgers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

2/3 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour (you could easily use whole wheat or even brown rice flour here. Hooray for gluten-free substitutes!)
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced, green parts only
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (I had a jar in the fridge!)
1-2 green chillies, diced (optional, but not in this household)
1 handful fresh baby spinach
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tahini (optional)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
dash salt and pepper, to taste
oil for frying

1. Get your vegetable broth boiling in the microwave or on the stove top. Meanwhile, put the TVP in a medium-sized bowl. Once your broth is boiling, add to TVP and let it hydrate for about 15 minutes. Add flour, egg replacer, vegetables, nutritional yeast, tahini, and spices. Mix well. If it's too sticky, add a few extra tablespoons of flour. If it seems too dry, add a few tablespoons of water.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil or cooking spray. Shape about 1/2 cup of burger mixture into a patty, place carefully in pan, and cook until golden to dark brown. Flip; cook on the other side.

Voila! I served mine on sourdough bread because...well...that's what I had. I threw some fresh spinach on top because I didn't have lettuce and I lurve spinach. I also took some of my Vegenaise and mixed it with one chopped up green chile so we could enjoy tasty green chile "mayo"naise. So tasty.

PS: Don't forget about my sweet, sweet GIVEAWAY!!! Get on it!

PPS: Now I leave you with something to brighten your day. As if this recipe isn't enough! Yes, I toot my own horn.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Candied Sweet Potatoes...and a Sweet Giveaway!

Hello, everyone! I hope you're all having a fabulous Monday. I'm still waiting for my first cup of coffee to kick in so I can go running. I had a 5-day weekend so obviously I'm tired. Not that I did much. :) Thursday was Every Time I Die with my favorite drummer. Friday, Cody, Dei, and I went to Stone Face Tavern for dinner & beer. Saturday was mostly preparing for Sunday's meal. Cody was in the back gardening nearly all day while I was cookin'. Sunday morning was one of the most beautiful Easter services I've ever been to at Desert Springs Church with an even more beautiful couple. Afterwards, Dei came over for dinner (Chuck is off saving the world!) and we relaxed and ate way too much.

Dinner consisted of Honey Glazed Tempeh, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and Pillsbury Crescent Rolls(or Butter Horns, as Cody likes to call them). The tempeh came out just ok; the flavor was there, but something wasn't quite right. I think for a real ham-like experience, I'll use seitan next time. The mashed potatoes and carrots were awesome, but I really want to share the sweet potatoes with you.

I'm a huge fan of sweet potatoes. They're a fast snack in the microwave, a great side dish for dinner, and so high in potassium. I've been craving them a lot, so I've been eating them a lot. Here's my recipe for a traditional holiday sweet potato dish:

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

2-3 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsweetened, full-fat soy milk
2 tbsp soy margarine (I use Earth Balance!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup Suzanne's Specialties Ricemellow Creme

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Don't stab yourself. Cook them in the microwave on your BAKED POTATO setting, or for about 9 minutes. Check them and make sure the skin has slightly pulled away from the flesh. Cut in half and let cool a lil' bit.

2. Preheat oven to 400° F. In a casserole dish or large pie plate, scoop out all the sweet potato, making sure to not get any of the skin! Mash in the soy milk, margarine, cinnamon, nutmeg, syrup, and brown sugar. Make sure it's nice and smooth, making sure to smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes.

3. When your 25 minutes is up, take it out of the oven and spoon some tasty Ricemellow Creme on top. There you have it! haven't heard of Suzanne's Specialties??? If you have, you know how AH-MAZING the all-natural, gluten free, vegan, and organic sweeteners and toppings are. If you haven't, you're missing out. Either way, keep reading to find out how YOU can win some tasty sweet stuff for yourself!

The generous folks over at Suzanne's Specialties sent me loads of tasty stuff to give away. See for yourself:

One lucky reader is going to get to soothe their sweet tooth for themselves! I'll be announcing the winner on April 12. Before you start leaving comments, just remember: you can leave more than one! Each comment gives you an extra chance at winning. Here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite, guilty sweet is. (Mine is Cody, just in case you're all wondering. Ha!)
2. Go to Suzanne's Specialties and tell me which product you would love to try.
3. Leave a SEPARATE comment letting me know I'm on your blogroll.
4. BECOME A FOLLOWER OF MY BLOG! The area looks like this:

So what are you waiting for???
5. Follow me on Twitter.
6. Link this on your own blog, if you have one. IF YOU LINK BACK... leave TWO comments telling me you did. Yeah, that's right. You get two comments for this one. ;)
7. Let me know you posted this on your FACEBOOK OR TWITTER. If you did both, leave two SEPARATE comments.

I know the list gets longer and longer, but that means your chances get higher and higher. Booyah!

PS: If you're like me and you LOVE giveaways, check out this AWESOME giveaway over at Love Veggies and Yoga. Because everyone should have one of these.