Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan MoFo: 30 days of Posting!

I made it!  This last day of Vegan MoFo and I posted each day!  I honestly did not think I would be able to, generally I do not have much to say.

I had good intentions of making something special for the MoFo finale however, I have extreamly sick today and yesterday.  Ashley was nice enough to come over and make me some soup.

It was very good, I think.  It was hard to tell since I am not sure I can taste much.  I hope I can get back to good health soon so that I can post more frequently (although not daily) and share more of my life with my reads.

MoFo was a lot of fun and I found so many great new blogs to follow!  It has been a fun month and I am sad to see it leave.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Fitting that after 3 brutal days of long hours at work, now, I am sick.  I blame the recycled air and neon lights.  I have another short shift to work tonight and it looks like I will be sick just in time for my days off.  Classic.

Since I did not have a bedtime snack, I found time to make myself a chocolate cake.  After my 17 hour shift (while feeling sick) last night, I decided to reward myself before bed with a quick threesome.  Me and two pieces of cake!

I hope that I will feel better and be able to make myself some soup or something tomorrow for the end of Vegan MoFo.  Until then, I will spend another night at work.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

44 hours in 3 days

By tonight, I will have worked 44 hours in 3 work days.  It has been long and tiring.  It has not allowed me much time to cook, let alone blog.

On thanksgiving day, Ashley brought me a plate of food while I was at work.  It was very nice of her and she even used some soy chicken to try out my spicy cranberry sauce recipe.  They turned out really well and added nicely to the plate of stuffing and her mac and cheese recipe.  It was really nice to have some food on a long day, especially one that everyone else was eating all sorts of homemade goodies.

With a few hours off between sleeping and my next shift, I was able to whip up a huge bucket of pasta to have for work.  This has been a lifesaver.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Relaxing rainy night of basketball

It was a rainy but warm night the other day.  I had some soy mint chocolate milk in the refrigerator.   I heated some up on the stove and sat out on the porch and relaxed with my awesome mug.

Later that same night, I had my usual.  A large plate of zesty french fries while watching the game.  My team lost so in my sadness, I made some popcorn to brighten my mood and hope the next game would go better.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yellow Gravy

This is the gravy I used for the mini  veggie pot pies.  It would also make a nice topping for some mashed potatoes or even steamed vegetables.

Yellow Gravy

4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon of onion (chopped)

1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of oregano
1  1/2 teaspoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of marjoram
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of sugar

In a sauce pan, bring the oil to low heat.  Add the turmeric, garlic, and onion and allow to cook for 5 minutes.  The garlic should not begin to brown.  Add the vegetable broth, corn starch and mix well.  It will not thicken immediately.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Reduce heat to as low as possible and allow to cook for 15 minutes.  This should not quite simmer but be close.  Stir frequently.

After about 15 minutes, it will be thickening slightly.  Personally, I like my gravy with the small (garlic and onion) chucks in it but adding the mixture to the blender for a quick puree will make it nice and smooth.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Miniature Vegetable Pot Pies

For those that regularly read my blog, it is obvious that I am far from a baker.  As I have said before, I have some great cheesecakes, and can tear apart a muffin pan but beyond that, I struggle.

This time of the year I think fondly of my Nana.  She had the best pie recipes in the world.  I know most people think their Nana did but, they are wrong.  Sorry.  No one has ever been able to master her crust since.  I have tried and can never get it to roll out.  Thinking outside the box and knowing my limitations, I have opted to take baby steps.

Craving some nice holiday pot pie, I used my Nana's recipe with my filling and went for it.  The results were surprisingly awesome.  I think my Nana would have been proud.

Today I was very motivated to make something awesome.  Occasionally, I bring food with me to work and share them with my co-workers.  Many of my co-workers have read or regularly read my blog and we talk about food often.  The other day, I received a sweet and humorous text message from some co-workers.  I hope this does the trick!

Miniature Vegetable Pot Pies


2 cups of flour
1 cup of vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons of cold water (roughly)

In a large bowl, add the flour and shortening.  Gently, with a fork, fold the shortening into the flour.  The mixture will begin to get dry, add 1 tablespoon of water and continue to fold.  If the dough is sticking to the fork and is wet, add more flour.  If it is still dry, add more water, very little at a time.  I end up adding about 2 tablespoons but many people many need less.


4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 potatoes (cubed)
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of eggplant (peeled and chopped)
1/3 cup of peas
1/4 cup of corn
2 tablespoons of vegetable broth
1  1/2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of green pepper (chopped)
1 tablespoon of textured vegetable protein (TVP)
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of pepper

In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add the potatoes.  Boil for 20-ish minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Strain and set aside.

In a saute pan on low-med, add the oil, garlic, onion, and jalapeno pepper, and heat for 2-3 minutes.  The garlic will begin to give off a pleasant aroma.  Add the green pepper, corn, peas, eggplant, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper, and allow to fry for 4-5 minutes.  Add the TVP and vegetable broth and mix well.  Reduce the heat to low.  Allow the TVP to hydrate for about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and mash lightly.  This should not be mush but should not have large chucks of potato either.


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take about 2/3 cup of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin.  With a biscuit cutter (or a jar, or any other circular utensil that you can either cut around or can itself cut) cut as many circles as you can out of the dough,  The max I could manage was 2.  I found the dough much easier to manage in smaller amounts, if you can roll it all out at once, feel free.  With a sharp ended spatula, pick up the circles and set them aside.

Once the dough has all been rolled out and cut (I was able to get 24 circles - 12 pies) take 1 1/2 tablespoons of the potato mixture and place in the center of half of the circles.  Gently pat the potato down so that is will fit.  There should be enough room on all sides to be able to connect the circle doughs.  There will be about half of the potato mixture remaining.  Eat it, it is good.

Once the potato is in half of your circles, take the circles that are empty and place them on top of the filled circles.  Gently, pinch all sides of the circles to seal the circle doughs together.  Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Serve with gravy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

Recently, I posted a recipe for some spicy cranberry sauce that could be used to tofu, tempeh, soy chicken, etc. and there was a strong response.  It seems like many people did not know what to do with their cranberry sauce.  Well, me? I eat it.  With a spoon or fork, in a bowl.  It is delicious.

Cranberry sauce is incredibly simple to make.  I though I would share my recipe in case people are not happy enough with theirs.  Your cranberry sauce should be good enough to sit down and eat with no other food around.  It does not need to be a topping.  Consider this an side dish or even a dessert.

Cranberry Sauce

12 oz of cranberries
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 teaspoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a pot, add the water, sugar, corn starch, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the cranberries and cover.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until most all of the cranberries have popped open.  Occasionally, I will pull out the masher and give it one or two mashes.  There should be numerous cranberries that are still nearly whole and the sauce should be thick.  It will become thicker as it cools.

Cranberry sauce is a staple at my holiday dinners as a child.  It was always something I enjoyed.  Slightly bitter and very sweet, it was always a winner.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pizza and Ryan Harvey

Ashley and I wanted to continue our lazy Sunday with some pizza before we went out that night.  Ashley has turned me on to what she calls Salsa Pizza.  We picked up some non-dairy cheese, some dough, fresh tomatoes, fresh cilantro, the final green pepper from my garden, fresh onion, and some soy peperoni.

the final pepper from my garden this year

The dough rolled out perfectly, we chopped some garlic and tossed it in some hot sauce, spread it over the sauce and added the cheese and veggies.  This pizza was an excellent dinner to compliment the assortment of pumpkin items from our breakfast.

That night we headed to WonderRoot to see Ryan Harvey play.  He is a political folk/punk singer from Baltimore.  It was a lot of fun and nice to see Ryan play.  If you have never heard Ryan Harvey, go check him out, you can download all of his songs for free on his website.  We stuck around for a few songs from The Wild but they were a little too "pop" punk for my taste.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Explosion! the muffins

As I said in my last post, in addition to the pumpkin pancakes from yesterday, I also made some pumpkin muffins.  These were very tasty.  Light and fluffy but still a good early in the day treat that will tide a person over.  The addition of the oats on the top was also ascetically pleasing!

Pumpkin Muffins

1  1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of raisins
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of oats (uncooked)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients, except oats, in a bowl and mix well.  Add the oil, apple sauce, coconut milk, pumpkin puree and mix well.

This should create a deep orange / brown wet mixture.  Spoon 3 heaping tablespoons full of the mixture into a total of 12 cup cake liners in a cup cake pan.  With the tablespoon of oats, evenly add the oats t othe tops of each muffin and bake for 35 minutes.

Let cool for 1 hour.

Quickly, I am coming to really enjoy pumpkin!  As a kid, my mum would occasionally toast the seeds and I really enjoyed them as a salty snack but now, I can get into the whole pumpkin.  Delicious!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

A lazy (and rare) Sunday off and Ashley and I had planned to head out to Dough in the morning for some stealth breakfast.  Sadly, they opted to do a stealth dinner instead.  With effort to make due, we had our own stealth breakfast.  We made some pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin muffins!

Interestingly, as we were making them, I looked at Ashley and asked "have you ever had pumpkin pancakes or muffins?"  She said "nope".  My response? "Me either.  I don't really think I like pumpkin."  She chuckled and said "me either."

To our surprise, these pancakes were great.  The pumpkin did not over power the traditional pancake flavor and the texture was almost silky.  We were both surprised full after each gobbling up a plate full.  Despite being full, we neither of us could wait to try the muffins.

If I blog about the muffins now, what will I post tomorrow?  Patience.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1  1/2 cups of flour
1  1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
5 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1  1/2 tablespoons of vegan margarine
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Allow the margarine to soften to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine and mix all dry ingredients.  Then add the pumpkin puree, margarine, non-dairy milk and mix well (a hand mixer works best).  This should be a wet and smooth mixture.  Heat a flat frying pan on med-low heat with a bit of additional oil or vegan margarine.

Once hot, pour pancake batter onto pan, the cakes should be about 6 inches from side to side and you should get about 6 pancakes.  Cook until most all of the bubbles that form pop, then flip.  Each side should cook about 8 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge

Now that I have lived for over 6 years in the south, I have noticed that the holiday traditional foods are very different from what I grew up with in the north.  Apparently, sweet potatoes are only eaten with marshmallows and everyone had mac & cheese during the holidays.  In the north, that was not the case.

One of the staples of my holiday diet was fudge.  Chocolate, mint, peanut butter, and plenty of others.  It was always something that my mum and nana tried to regulate my intake of because they knew I would steal at least twice what they allowed me to have.  It was battle and resulted in several nights of upset stomachs.

Later in life, as I learned how to make my own fudge, they became my gifts to others around this time of the year.  It was almost a joke gift that brought everyone back the memories of the fudge laden wars with me as a child.  Of course, even as an adult, and the maker of the fudge, I would too often overdose and pass out with an upset tummy on the couch.

Now, at the age of 30, I hope I have the wisdom to be more responsible with my indulgences.  If not, I will have to make sure I only make treats like these o n nights like this, when someone like Ashley is around to supervise.


Peanut Butter Fudge

3 cups of confectionery sugar
1  1/4 cup of peanut butter

1/2 cup of crushed peanuts (unsalted)
1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
1  1/2 tablespoons of vegan margarine

1 tablespoon of peanut pieces (unsalted)
1 teaspoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a double broiler, combine all ingredients expect the peanut pieces, and stir until smooth.  This should take about 8-10 minutes and the mixture should be warm.  Pour the mixture into a 4x6-ish pan, no need to grease the pan.  Quickly, top the heated fudge with the peanut pieces.  Allow at least 2 hours to cool.

If you do not have a double (as I do not), there is a very easy way to make one.  Take one pot, bring water to a boil.  Take a stainless steel bowl, set it on top.  Done.  This will allow the ingredients to cook without being in the hot pan.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Atlanta Sedition Orchestra

This weekend is the annual protest at School Of the Americas, the SOA Watch.  Thursday night, at Eyedrum there was a benefit event.  Ashley and I went and got there in time to see the final song of Emma's Revolution.  We saw the entire set of M.U.G.A.B.E.E. just before the brief intermission.

Not long after people began to roam around, we began to hear the sounds of the Atlanta Sedition Orchestra.  This is the reason I wanted to go.  These folks were so much fun to watch.  A group of radical musicians wailing out in the middle of the room, leading parades through the chairs and forming semi-circles of inspired sounds reminiscent of a time in my live that I have fond memories of.  Then, the marched back out the front door as loudly and ambitiously as they had arrived.

The Atlanta Sedition Orchestra is really a revolutionary art in motion.  Amazing to watch and makes you dream of better days.

My internet is back, no thanks to anyone but myself.  DIY or DIE I suppose, or at least go without the internet.  The good news is that despite the wrench in the works, I still did not miss a Vegan MoFo post!  That makes 19 in a row!  Given that this is a MoFo post I thought I should show what I ate for dinner before we head out to Eyedrum.

Mashed Cauliflower

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I do not follow directions

As my mum would verify, I have never been fond of (or good at) following directions.  It is something I (well, mainly others) have struggled with my entire life.  The way this effects me most now, is in the kitchen.  I have never been much for following a recipe.  I use them as inspiration and then make my own when I am in the kitchen.  This makes baking difficult.

There have been a few things that I can bake well, consistently.  Cheesecakes, muffins, and I recently developed a quality chocolate cake recipe.  Basically, I cook based on flavor.  I always have a testing spoon in my hand tasting everything as I go.  Baking does not work like this.  It is not always something you can taste as you go.

Apple crisp is something I have always loved.  It reminds me of being a kid and playing in the snow in my home state of Maine.  It is not just the taste but the smell of fresh local apples baking on the oven with gobs of cinnamon and sugar.

I have never been able to master the crisp.  The apple mixture I can knock out of the park, with many varieties but the crisp is too much baking.  I never get it right.

Not perfect so no recipe to share but I am getting there.  Damn that crumble topping!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That government is best which governs not at all

"That government is best which governs not at all"  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes the recipe that is best is not a recipe at all.

Tonight, my game time meal was not the greasy heavy french fries that is the norm.  It was a simple and ripe pomegranate.

Pomegranate really hit the mainstream food scene in the last few years.  I am not going to lie, up until a couple years ago, I had never tasted one.  However, I did briefly play a computer game back in the early 1990's that used pomegranates as currency.  Odd.

Such a great fruit and although it can make for some amazing recipes, I still would almost always prefer it on my plate, alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i am deticated.

I am dedicated.  I have not had internet access since Saturday.  I have been really committed to posting a MoFo each day so I am currently typing posts from Ashley's house on her lap top.  I set a personal goal for myself at the beginning of the month to make the best of this digital posting adventure and I plan to see it through.  My internet service should be back soon so I can get back to the normality of my mundane life.

I have also had some Real Estate business to attend to so this no internet has been a royal pain.  Not to mention, without the internet I have no idea what station to turn to on the TV for the latest basketballs games.  A crisis really.

I realized as I was posting yesterday that I mentioned a cranberry sauce I had  made but did not post a picture yet.  I love some homemade cranberry sauce.  The canned gel stuff is fairly nasty and certinly worthy of all the jokes made at its expense, however, the homemade stuff always hits the spot.  I could make and eat this quick dish all year long.  Not to mention my awesome vintage cookware that makes its appearance in this photo.

Otherwise, you would think a few days without internet service would lead to much cooking.  It has not.  In fact, I have just been eating quick foods.  Trying some new items I have found.  Some are pretty decent.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

As an additon to the purple potatoes and kale I went the easy way out and made some quick soy chickens.  I would much rather make my own but sometimes I just do not have the time.  I was going to simply add some Bar B Que sauce to them but Ashley asked me to make a sauce.  I had some leftover cranberry sauce from a batch I made the other night so I tried to put something together.

It was surprisingly good.  The cranberry sauce added a nice fruity and sweet flavor to the soy chickens and would be just as good with some tofu and even thinly sliced tempeh.  The addition of some heat was just what the sauce needed to stand out.  It would also make a great sauce for a holiday dish!

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon of onions (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon of water
2 teaspoon of oil
2 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of salt

In a sauce pan, bring the oil to low temperature and add the onions.  Once the onion is soft but not browning, add the water, cranberry sauce, vinegar, and hot sauce and stir well.  The cranberry sauce, as it heats,will loosen up.  Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes and add the salt and stir.  Allow to cook for another 5 minute but do not let simmer.  Stir frequently.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Purple Potato!

Purple potatoes are one of the most elegant foods I have ever gotten to cook with.  I love the rich color, it is such a rare oddity that I wanted to find a dish to further accentuate the beauty of the starch.  After some brainstorming I came up with what I think is the perfect match.  Both the color and autumn flavor of kale seemed to jump out and scream for a pair with the elegant purple potato.

 It came out very well.  A nice earthy flavor combination with full flavors allowing the potatoes to shine.  The kale ended up having that nice crunch texture much like kale chips. 

Purple Potatoes and Kale

4 med sized purple potatoes (cubed)
1/2 bunch of green kale
1/2 cup of onion (sliced)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Add the oil, salt, pepper, onion, and potatoes to a baking pan and mix well to coat the potatoes.  Bake for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, tear the kale away from the stem and set aside.  Once the potatoes have roasted, remove from the heat and stir well.  Add the kale to the pan.  This will seem like far to much kale but it will cook down very quickly.  Bake for another 10 minutes and remove from the oven.

Reduce oven heat to 250 degrees.  Mix and flip the potatoes to incorporate the kale.  Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top of dish and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lunch at the Jobby Job

It has been another two days off long hours at the jobby job.  A total of about 30 hours in 2 days.  Obviously, this did not allow me much time to cook or blog however, this is exactly what I had been preparing for.  Deli Slices and Japanese Mushrooms and Tofu Soup to the rescue!

I packed up a great couple of meals to drag to work.  Two sandwiches with vegan mayo and deli slices, a banana and a bowl of my new soup!  It was perfect.  In the two long days at work, typically I would have spend around $15 - $20 on food.  This time around?  $0.00.  Not to mention, it was so much healthier and flavorful.  I just hope I can keep up my good efforts!