Thursday, October 28, 2010

(Vegan) Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes for my Mom!

My Mom came to visit!:)  She only had three days off, so I was only able to see her a day, but in that day we packed in as much as possible!  She lives in Texas, so we made sure to catch game 1 of the series, although it was devastating.  She's spending today with her Mother and my brother, and unfortunately I have work.  Since I can't be there with them, I wanted to at least send some goodies along for them to enjoy together.  My Grandma is diabetic, so she can't really have a lot of sugar or anything extravagant. So, I decided to go with her favorite: a simple vanilla cupcake (but in a mini version).  I can't just give someone a plain cake, so I decided to get fresh strawberries to use as a garnish (and to take more of the actual sweet cake away).  To make them more exciting for my Mother and brother, I made a strawberry shortcake cupcake with a chunky strawberry syrup filling and some yummy strawberry buttercream.

(Vegan) Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes 
 .. and Strawberry Minis!

For the Cupcakes:
- 1 3/4 cup AP flour 
- 3/4 cup sugar 
- 1 teaspoon baking soda 
- Dash of salt 
- 1 cup coconut milk 
- 1/2 cup canola oil 
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
- 1 3/4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar  

For the Strawberry Syrup:
- 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped into teeny tiny pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
 - A squeeze of lime juice (or lemon)
 - Dash of salt 

For the Strawberry Buttercream
(I used the Fluffy Buttercream recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World + strawberries and strawberry jam for color) 
- 1/2 cup vegan shortening
-  1/2 vegan butter
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup soy milk/creamer/etc (I used 1/8 coconut milk + 1/8 Silk creamer) 
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 4 strawberries, cut into teeny tiny pieces 

- Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a cupcake tray with liners (with this recipe, I made 11 big and 9 mini cupcakes).
- Grab two medium-sized bowls.  Combine the dry ingredients in one, and the wet in the other.  Combine the two and mix until thoroughly combined.  
- Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full.  Place in the oven and cook for roughly 18 minutes.  
- While the cupcakes are baking (and making your kitchen smell fabulous!), make the strawberry syrup. This will need to cool completely before you can fill your cupcakes!  
- Combine all of the ingredients, except the vanilla extract, in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly.  I used a potato masher to smoosh the strawberries to create a thicker consistency.  This isn't necessary, but will make it look more like a chunky syrup than sauce with strawberries in it.  Add the vanilla and stir.  Remove from heat, and place in your fridge to cool completely.
- At this point your cupcakes should be about done.  Do the toothpick test, and if they're finished, set them aside to cool.  These also need to cool completely before you can assemble and frost them!
- For the buttercream.... I hope you have an electric mixer.  Mine is broken, and I about died wisking them by hand (with my $1 wisk).  It is possible, it will just take forever and make your hand fall off.   Cream the shortening and butter together until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar in batches, and continue to mix (or wisk...).  Add the vanilla and soy milk, and mix to fluffy.  Fold in your strawberry jam and strawberries for a fun color and delicious flavor!

For the Strawberry Shortcakes:
1. Grab a cupcake! 

2. Cut a hole in the center of the cupcake using a paring knife or one of those fancy cupcake tools:

3. Fill with strawberry syrup:

4.  Ice those babies!  Garnish with fresh strawberries:

For the Simple Strawberry Minis:
1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above.
2. Fill with either half of a strawberry or teeny tiny pieces of strawberries.
3. Send to your Grandma!!! 

:)  Oh, and the extra frosting is for you to enjoy!  You deserve it after all of that!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gossip Worthy Monday: Bowtie Pasta, Crostini, and Martinis!

Yay!  Gossip Girl is back!  To celebrate, we decided to be corny and make bowtie pasta (get it?*), crostini, and martinis.  We loved the idea of it being so basic, yet open to interpretation.   And I mean honestly, who doesn't love any excuse to eat carbs?

My version: (Vegan) Sundried Tomato, Olive, and Basil Bowties with Vodka Sauce, Mango Avocado Crostini, and a Vanilla Martini with Lime

For the Pasta:
- One box bowtie pasta
- 2 cups tomato sauce 
- 3/4 cup vodka 
- 1/4 cup vegan creamer 
- 1/4 cup coconut milk 
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesean cheese 
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
- One small can sliced black olives
- One package sundried tomatoes 
- 1/2 cup fresh basil 

For the Crostini:
- One loaf baguette bread 
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
- One mango 
- One avocado
- 2 cloves garlic 
- 1/2 one yellow onion 
- One jalapeño pepper
- Juice from 1/2 a lime 
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro 
- Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Martini
(which my boyfriend and I drank out of whiskey glasses because we're classy like that) 
- Absolut Vanilla Vodka 
- Extra Dry Vermouth
- Juice from 1/2 a lime 
- Martini Olives 

- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Begin to boil water for your pasta, and cook to your preference.  We love al dente.
- Simmer the vodka and tomato sauce in a saucepan over low heat.  Allow it to reduce for about 20 minutes.
- While your sauce reduces (stir constantly!), make the mango avocado spread.  Toss the mango, avocado, garlic, onion, pepper, and cilantro in a food processor.  When it's almost as smooth as you'd like, add the lime juice, salt, and pepper, and continue to process to finished.
- Slice the baguette into very thin slices, and line on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and toss into the oven.  Bake for about 8 minutes, or until golden. 
- Back to the sauce.  Stir in the creamer, cornstarch, and parmesean cheese, and continue to stir over medium heat. 
- Once your pasta is cooked to your liking, add the olives, sundried tomatoes, and chopped basil.  Toss with the vodka sauce!
- Your crostini should just be finishing up in the oven.  Take it out, allow to sit for a moment, and top with the mango avocado spread.  
- Oh, I didn't forget about the martini.  Add 2 ounces vodka and 1 ounce vermouth with a squeeze of lime juice per martini.  Toss in an olive and you're all done!  

Chelsea's version: (Vegan) Bowtie Pasta Salad with Fresh Peppers, Green Beans, and Capers tossed with Balsamic Vinegar, Kalamata Crostini, and a Lemon Raspberry Martini

For the Pasta:  
- One box bowtie pasta 
- One yellow, one red, and one orange pepper 
- One red onion 
- 1/4 cup green beans 
- 1/4 cup fresh basil 
- 1 tablespoon capers 
-  1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Crostini
- One loaf olive baguette 
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (smoked if you're able to do so!)
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste 

For the Martini
- Gin
- Chambord
- Limoncello
- Lemon juice
- Raspberry club soda
- Lemon rind twist 

- I'm not going to bore you through this again.  Just read the directions for my stuff, and do the same things with Chelsea's ingredients with a few changes:
   - Chelsea's dressing is wonderfully simple.  Just wisk the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper together, and viola!
   - For her tapenade, just toss everything in a food processor.  Pretty much the same as mine, but without the second step.
   - Chelsea isn't all about measuring (and honestly, I only do when I'm posting my stuff..).  We're going to suggest using 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce chambord, 1/2 an ounce limoncello, juice from 1/4 a lemon, and about 2-3 ounces raspberry soda.  

That's it!  Hurry up and grab your dinner, your dogs, your best friend on iChat, and get ready for another amazing episode!  Xoxo, Gossip Amandah.

* You know, bows.  They're girly.  Duh. 


Sunday, October 24, 2010

(Vegan) Sweet Potato Burritos

This recipe is a favorite in my house.  I adapted these from a burrito recipe on (link to the original post at end), and they're a constant go-to meal.  Really.  We make them all the time.  The flavors are just perfect together, the ingredients are simple and easy to find, they're ready in no time, and although they fill you up, you don't feel like a fat slob afterwards. Winning combination if you ask me.

(Vegan) Sweet Potato Burritos
(Makes 2 extremely large burritos, or 4 "normal" ones) 
- Tortillas (I prefer whole wheat, but it was my boyfriend's turn to choose)
- One large sweet potato
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
- One small tomato, chopped
- Vegan sour cream 
- Three cloves garlic, minced
- One small yellow onion, chopped
- One 15oz can black beans
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- Few shakes cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste 
-  Sriracha (my boyfriend puts this on EVERYTHING)
- Start by cooking your sweet potato.  I usually fall under the lazy category when I want a burrito, so I just throw mine in the microwave for 6 minutes.  Feel free to actually cook yours!
- We like to warm our burritos in the oven.  If you do as well, preheat your oven now.
- Saute the garlic and onions in a skillet over medium heat.  
- Once soft, add the black beans.  Mash them slightly with a potato masher.  You can leave them chunky or completely mashed.  Gradually stir in the water, lower the heat, and continue to stir constantly.  Add the spices, mustard, and soy sauce.  
- Start to warm your tortillas now!
- Chop or mash your sweet potato, and get a nice burrito assembly-line going: bowls of the bean mixture, tomatoes, vegan sour cream, sriracha, sweet potatoes, and any other favorites.  I also like to put out cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper for everyone (ie. myself and my boyfriend) to season their own burritos.
- Assemble and enjoy!  

Hopefully the tortillas you choose don't break if you touch or breathe near them....:) 
Check out the ORIGINAL RECIPE from  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Phillies Phare: (Vegan) Phucking Schmitters

Here in Souf' Philly, there is only one thing that people love more than their sports teams: their cheesesteaks.  But, yeah, the vegan cheesesteak has been done.  For today's game, I wanted to tackle a sandwich that is close to every Phil's Phan's heart: the SCHMITTER (not named after Mike Schmidt).  Behold:

When you're taking in a game at Citizen's Bank Park, if you're not eating a hot dog, you're eating a Schmitter.  If you're vegan, you're chowing down on some of MLB's best vegan- friendly ballpark food: hotdogs, cheesesteaks, chicken cheesesteaks, crab cakes, or some of those ballin' crab fries.  To die for, yes, but... I wanted a Schmitter.

The (Vegan) Schmitter

Hell yeah!
-Kaiser rolls
-Vegan salami deli slices
-Vegan cheese slices
- One tomato, sliced 
- One small yellow onion
- One container of seitan
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke 

"Cheese Whiz:"
(I interpreted this from a friend's recipe for nacho cheese
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
 - 1/5 cup flour 
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
- 1 cup water 
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard 
- 2 cloves garlic
- A few shakes onion powder and garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

"Special Sauce:"
(I had two ideas for this: "Big Mac" or Russian.. I went more in the "Big Mac" direction)
 - 1/4 cup Vegannaise 
- 2 tablespoons French dressing
 - 2 tablespoons sweet relish 
-1 teaspoon sugar 
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
 - 1 teaspoon white vinegar
 - 1 teaspoon catsup
 - 1 teaspoon salt 

(There are a lot of short steps to this.  I just did each thing on it own, and made an "assembly line" of ingredients on the counter.  You can multi-task or skip around, if you'd like.)
- Start with your "Special Sauce."  It's really easy!  Just wisk everything in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate!   
- Make the seitan marinade.  Wisk together the soy sauce, EVOO, and Liquid Smoke in a wide, shallow bowl.  Drain the seitan, rinse, and soak in the marinade.  If you want to be authentic, chop it up!  Cover, and place in the 'fridge.  
- "Cheese Whiz" time!  Wisk the dry ingredients and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once it begins to bubble, turn to low heat, and wisk in the mustard and vegan butter.  Once you have a smooth sauce (it will thicken), turn off the heat and set aside.
- Fried onion time!  Slice half of the onion, cut in half, and saute with 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium heat.  Place cooked onions on a plate with a few paper towels- might as well save a few calories...
- I really, really wanted to char the salami and seitan on the grill.  But, it was raining.  So, I fried them.  Grab a small frying pan and coat with canola oil.  Fry the salami over medium heat.  I used three slices for each sandwich.  It will cook fast, so don't step away! 
- Again, I was super bummed about not being able to char-grill my seitan.  I did my next favorite thing, and cooked it in a wok.  Basically, you just want to brown the seitan.  As with the other steps, throw in a little canola oil and saute over medium heat. 
- At this point, you should put your buns in the oven to lightly toast.
- Assembly!  Take a look at that first photo, and follow the directions!:)  From the bottom: bottom bun, vegan cheese slice, seitan "steak", fried onions,  tomato slices, "cheese whiz," grilled salami, "special sauce," top bun.

Grab your Schmitter, pop a koozie on your jawn, and toast to the P-H-I-L-L-I-E-S!  BEAT SF!


Friday, October 15, 2010

(Vegan) Almond Joy Cupcakes

Chocolate.  Coconut.  Almonds.  Need I say more?

Earlier today, my boyfriend mentioned that a friend was driving from Long Island, NY to pick up some music equipment.  We felt bad about how far the dude had to drive, and thought it'd be nice to have some snacks for him to take for the trek home.  I had a bunch of almonds laying around from my attempt at vegan macarons, and decided to make some Almond Joy cupcakes!

(Vegan) Almond Joy Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream, Toasted Coconut, and Chocolate-Covered Almonds
- 1 ½ cups AP flour 
- 1 cup sugar 
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
 - 1 cup coconut milk 
- ½ cup canola oil 
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
- 2 teaspoons vanilla

- 1 cup vegan butter (or 1/2 cup butter + 1/2 shortening for a more fluffy buttercream)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut (plus another 1/4 cup for toasting)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup almond milk

- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 12 whole almonds 

- Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Grab two medium-sized bowls, and line a 12-cupcake pan with liners.
- In one of your bowls, combine all of the dry ingredients.  I just bought a sifter and used it for this, and was really happy with the outcome.  Use one if you have it!
- In your second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.  Add to the dry ingredients and wisk until well combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake pan.  Fill each about 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until you pass the toothpick test.

- While your cupcakes are baking, prepare the toppings!  I started by toasting some coconut.  Simply grab a frying pan and toss in the extra coconut (more or less depending on your taste).  Push around with a wooden spoon over low-medium heat until golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.
- Onto the chocolate- covered almonds.  Make your ganache (I used a recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen- it's the perfect recipe!) first.  Warm the almond milk over low-medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and add the chocolate and maple syrup.  Stir constantly until you have a smooth, creamy ganache.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Once cooled, toss in 12 almonds.  Stir to coat.  Place in your fridge to cool.  Feel free to make less, you won't need much.  Or, drizzle the extra over the cupcakes!
- Buttercream time!  This frosting is SO GOOD.  Whip up the butter and powdered sugar until it's fluffy.  Then toss in the coconut, vanilla, and almond milk.

- Time to assemble!  Make sure your cupcakes are cool, or your icing is going to slide right off.  Ice your cupcakes, sprinkle on some toasted coconut, and top with a chocolate- covered almond.  Viola!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

“The only real failure is failing to try...”

... and my vegan macarons :(.

Let me start from the top.  My first shot at making macarons was a complete success!  Feet and all!


I made these "Pinkarons" for MACTWEETS' October Mac Attack.  The theme was Pinktober for Breast Cancer Awareness month, which holds a special place in my heart.  My aunt Laurie was diagnosed with breast cancer this year.  She is one of the strongest women I know (seriously, you don't want to mess with her!), and is holding her own in her personal battle with cancer.  I love you, girl!  She lives in Texas, but I've tried to do anything in my power to give her hope and to motivate her to continue to fight (not that she needs it!).  This year, I participated in Philadelphia's LIVESTRONG Challenge in her honor, and my team raised over $5, 000 for cancer research.  I ran a personal best 10K that day, because her strength pushed me to try my hardest.

Back to the macarons.  Those are not vegan.  Hear me out.

When I came across the Mactweets challenge, I had absolutely no idea that making vegan macarons is some crazy difficult thing that people have been trying to figure out for years.  Seriously, google it!  These French delights are literally one of the only things that I have not seen veganized!  Of course, I don't believe that it cannot be done.  It's just going to take a few tries.  After talking to a bunch of people (both vegan and not), I decided upon a game plan:

Step 1: Get the boy some macarons.  The only catch was that he had to eat them in front of me, allow me to poke them and take them apart, and he had to report every last detail about taste and texture.

Step 2: Make non-vegan macarons.  This was a tough choice.  I've actually never done this, ever.  My reasoning for this one-time ever decision?  1) My boyfriend had eggs that he wasn't planning on using, 2) I had no idea what the consistency of meringue was, because I have never had it, and 3) my best friend loves macarons and told me that she'd eat them and report back.

Step 3: Make even better vegan macarons.  Anything can be veganized, and done better than the original.  It just takes time!

And so, my journey began.  I have to say, it's been... real.  First of all, nobody sells almond flour.  I went everywhere: Whole Foods, Essene Market, my favorite Asian market, Acme, Williams Sonoma, etc etc.  I finally gave up and bought some slivered almonds and made my own flour.  Problem one solved!  From there, I followed a recipe by David Lebovitz.  The result:

Beautiful.  This really siked me up to make the vegan batch!  I got right to work in my kitchen laboratory mixing starches, gums, and sugar.  It was going well, I actually started to see a fairly decent faux meringue, when all of a sudden...

The toughness of the faux meringue caused my electric mixer to short out!  You can't really tell, but there is smoke billowing from my mixer!  May it rest in peace...

So now what?  As you can clearly see, I was not nearly done mixing!  I took a wisk to it, and I wisked and wisked and wisked.  It sucked.  I couldn't get the consistency I wanted, but I also had to stop mixing eventually.  I reluctantly piped the mess onto the sheets, and baked away.  I wasn't expecting much, but I definitely wasn't expecting this:

Chelsea thinks that they look like "skin pepperoni," and she's kind of right :(.  I couldn't even do a humorous side-by-side comparison because they stuck to the paper!  However, I will let you know that I am not giving up.  I'm looking into soy proteins, as well as new combinations to create that special meringue-like consistency.  If you have any suggestions or want to come along for the ride, leave me a comment!  Let's figure this out!  I really want to perfect these, and to show the world that you do not have to "give up the good things" to be vegan.

And so, "failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely."

PS? IT CAN BE DONE! Check out Bittersweet's Vegan Macarons.   How does she do it?!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Very (Vegan) Autumn Breakfast!

My main source of income is a fun one: I walk dogs.  I'm pretty much a mailman: I work 365 days a year through rain, sleet, and snow.  I've learned to enjoy every type of weather because of this, which is truly a wonderful thing.  This morning was a beautiful one for walking dogs.  It was a cool 48 degrees with a light breeze quiet enough to allow me to hear the fall leaves crunching under my bike tires.  The sun was warm but not overpowering, and the roads were strangely desolate.

I stopped for a Green Tea Soy Latte, and while waiting for my drink I overheard about 5 people order Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  Mmmm.. I decided to grab some pumpkin puree from Whole Foods before heading to my next few walks, and decided to have a late breakfast for lunch today.  My boyfriend was pretty thrilled about it, too.

(Vegan) Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Whipped Pumpkin Butter and Baked Apples & Pears!

For the waffles:
-1 1/2 cups flour (I used about 3/4 cup AP and Whole Wheat Pastry)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A few shakes of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger
- 3/4 can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon applesauce 
- 2 tablespoons canola oil 

For the pumpkin butter:
- 1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree 
- 2 tablespoons of the leftover spice blend for the baked apples and pears (or simply throw in some sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger)

For the baked apples & pears
- 1 Honeycrisp apple
- 1 Bosc pear
- 1/4 cup almond milk 
-  1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons AP flour 
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
- A few shakes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger

- Start with the baked apples and pears, as these take the longest.  Preheat your oven to  350°F.
- Wash your fruit and slice it.  Toss the slices in a wide, shallow bowl.
- In a small bowl, make your spice blend.  When combined, dump it over the slices and hand toss to coat evenly.
- Place the coated slices in a casserole dish or other oven-safe bowl.  Pour the almond milk over the slices, and toss to coat.  
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- Onto the waffles!  Preheat your waffle maker and grab two medium sized bowls.  
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in one, and all of the wet in another.  Be sure to beat or wisk the wet ones well to combine. 
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well.  Pour into your waffle maker!  Be sure not to put too much, unless you had planned on inviting Ivan Ooze to brunch.
- While your waffles are cooking, you can make your pumpkin butter.  This was simply a way for me to add more pumpkin flavor and to use up the rest of the pumpkin puree and spice blend.
-  Grab a small bowl and add the vegan butter, pumpkin puree, and spice blend.  Wisk!  It's that easy.
- Throw it all together!  I also opted to use some pure maple syrup!  Yum!:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gossip Worthy Monday: (Vegan) Pistacio Crusted Tofu

Introducing a new ritual!  My best friend, Chelsea, lives in California.  I live in Philadelphia.  I talk to her all day every day, and on Monday's we freak out about Gossip Girl together.  While dishing about the dinner I was creating for myself, she decided to make the same thing.  Our switch was in the sauces and sides.  And thus, Gossip Worthy Monday was born! On the menu this week?  (Vegan) Pistacio Crusted Tofu, two ways.
My version:  
(Vegan) Pistacio Crusted Tofu with Pineapple Coconut Sweet Chili sauce 
 and an Apple Carrot Side Salad

- 1 block extra firm tofu 
- 1/2 cup pistacios (I had wanted uncooked/unsalted, but I ended up getting roasted and salted.. and they worked great!)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil 

For the sauce:
I added 3 tablespoons crushed pineapple and 1/4 cup shredded coconut to an entire bottle of WorldFood's Thai Sweet Chili with Kaffir Lime sauce

For the salad:
- One Granny Smith apple
- One Gala apple
- handful of baby carrots 
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
 - few shakes sea salt and cracker pepper

- Begin by pressing your tofu.  My favorite, although not super-green, method is to take a few paper towels, wrap the tofu, and stack a cutting board with a few heavy things on top.  Repeat again after 15 minutes.
- Pulse your pistacios in a food processor to desired consistency.  Coarse, crunchy pieces are super yummy!  Set aside.
- Make your sauce!  In a shallow bowl, mix the entire contents of the Sweet Chili sauce, crushed pineapple, and coconut.  
 - Marinate the tofu in the sauce for at least 15 minutes (or longer if you have the time).
- While the tofu marinates in the bowl, make your salad.  Wisk together the EVOO, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Cut the apples and carrots into strips, and toss with the dressing.
- Back to the tofu!  Cut lengthwise to make two equally sized pieces.  Press each side into the processed pistacios, and pan sear each side over medium heat for about 3 minutes (until golden brown).
- When plating, sprinkle each piece of tofu with more processed pistacios, and pour on some extra sauce.  Enjoy! 

Chelsea's version:  
(Vegan) Pistacio Crusted Tofu with Lime Gyoza sauce and Edamame Mashed Red Potatoes 

Everything is the same as above, EXCEPT:
- Sub the sauce with a Gyoza sauce, and squeeze in some fresh lime juice.
- Sub the sesame oil with EVOO.
- Instead of/in addition to the salad, prepare your favorite mashed potatoes (potatoes, soymilk, Earth Balance, garlic!).  Chelsea and I like to spice up our potatoes, so she decided to use red potatoes and added some edamame!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

(Vegan) Mock Chicken Tetrazzini

I took a "technology in the classroom" course a few semesters ago, and one of our projects was to create an instructional video podcast.  I had no idea what I was going to do for it, and like any studious person I decided to put it aside and watch television.  Luckily, The Soup was on... and I was inspired by this segment:

The Soup: The Maury Show and Chicken Tetrazzini
(unfortunately, all of the good versions have been taken off of YouTube, and the Embed feature for this one has been disabled.  If you have a link to an embedded version, PLEASE send it my way!)

If you didn't watch it, it's a clip from the Maury Show.  Basically, this woman thinks her boyfriend, Paul, is cheating on her with her best friend, Dominique, and that Dominique's chicken tetrazzini is to blame. Obviously, after seeing this, I had to make a vegan version.

(Vegan) Mock Chicken Tetrazzini


- 3 cups cooked pasta 
- One container of seitan (I like Ray's, but use whatever is available to you).  Approx. 2 cups.
- Vegetables (I used one large red bell pepper.  Peas would also work well) 
- 11/4 cup soymilk
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth 
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
- 1 can mushrooms (Mushrooms are a big element in tetrazzinis.. but I don't really like mushrooms.  If you do, put a ton in!)
-  heaping spoonful of pimento
- vegan parmesan cheese
- handful almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of pepper
- your favorite spices 


- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Start your pasta now if it is uncooked! 
- Toss a handful of almonds into a food processor.  These will top the dish, so it's up to you how much you should grind them.  You can chop them if you'd prefer.
- Cut up your vegetables.  Small pieces or slices work well.  Set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the soymilk, vegetable broth, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  This is your "cheese sauce."
- Bring the wet mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Stir constantly.  When it comes to a boil, throw in 1/4 cup vegan parmesean cheese.  Stir in, and turn off the heat.
- Sauté the seitan with a bit of oil and your favorite spices.  
- In a separate pan, sauté the peppers over medium heat.  Once they're looking good, throw in the mushrooms and pimento.  
- Throw your pasta, seitan, and "cheese sauce" into the pan, and cook everything together for a few minutes.
- Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle with more vegan parmesean cheese and almonds. 
- Cook for 25 minutes.  It's down when it's bubbling and/or the top browns.

That's it!  If you really, really, really want to see my podcast, CLICK HERE*.
* This is from before I worked in a restaurant, so don't mind my terrible knife skills (I only had one knife), and my gross old kitchen.  I have since moved!:)  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Leftovers from The (Vegan) Carbo-Loading Meal

Have a bunch of pesto to use up?  These are two of my favorite leftover ideas:

A very (vegan) grown-up breakfast!

It feels grown up to me.  When I have extra pesto, I'm all about making yummy breakfast melts in the morning.  My favorite is this: pesto, (vegan) cheddar cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes on Le Bus toast (or any, I'm just obsessed with their breads).  You can also add some (vegan) sausage crumbles or pieces of tempeh bacon.  Just spread the pesto on the bread, grate some (vegan) cheddar cheese on top, and sprinkle on some diced sun-dried tomatoes before tossing it in the broiler for a few minutes.  While it's getting all delicious, make yourself some coffee and find the latest episode of Gossip Girl online!  Yum!!

Hello Kitty Paninis!

Sorry about the yellow photo... 
Speaking of being a grown-up, why not make some Hello Kitty Paninis?  I bought this as a total impulse buy (you're shocked, I know), and once I told my boyfriend about it, he asked me to make one of the sandwiches that he orders on his lunchbreak.  And so, the Official Hello Kitty Panini was born.  They're made with pesto, lots of tofurkey slices (we love the Peppered ones), (vegan) cheddar cheese, slices of green peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes... on Le Bus bread (obviously, I made these on the same day).

I know that there's a million things to do with pesto; tell me your favorite!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(Vegan) Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

I almost didn't post this because, well, type "vegan pineapple upside down cake" into Google.  See what I mean?  Everyone's done it.  And done it well.  And I'm a new blogger.  Aren't I supposed to be "fresh" and original?

Whatever.  This is fresh and original to ME (yes, I had never had the caramel and pineapple goodness that are these lovely little cakes before this day).  Quick note: this recipe makes 5 mini cakes, or you can be all classic (or lazy) and just throw them all into one pan and call it a day.  The pans I used are TINY (4x1), I bought them to bake my dog's birthday cake:).  So, yeah, without further ado...

(Vegan) Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

-1 cup AP flour
- 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 can of sliced pineapples
- Maraschino cherries (5-7 is all you'll need)
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice (just use what's left from the slices)
- 1/3 cup applesauce (I used cinnamon)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Non-stick cooking spray (bonus points if it has flour in it) 
& have brown sugar and vegan butter (like Earth Balance) handy 


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  
2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix your dry ingredients together + a little brown sugar for good-luck.   
3. In another medium sized bowl, mix together your wet ingredients.
4. *optional* Melt some vegan butter (a few tablespoons) in a saucepan over medium heat.  Toss in some brown sugar to create a caramel sauce.  Not necessary, but a really yummy addition.
5. Spray your pans (or pan) with the non-stick cooking spray.  (If you opted for the caramel sauce, drizzle a little into the bottom of each pan)
 6. Put a pineapple slice on the bottom of each pan, and stick a cherry in it!  Sprinkle brown sugar on top.
7. Mix your wet and dry ingredients together.  It's always easier (and many times less messy) if you take your time adding the dry ingredients.
8. Pop those bad boys in the oven!  About 40 minutes later, toss on your oven mitts, carefully remove them from your oven, and let them cool.  Seriously, hold back your excitement.  I was so excited to "see if they worked," that I totally forgot they were piping hot and immediately grabbed one to flip.  Bad idea.
9.  Once they've cooled enough, it's time to flip!  Grab a plate and place it on top of the pan.  Then, flip it!  It should come right out.  If it doesn't, give it a little tap taparoo.  Just taaaap it in. 

And viola!!

I don't have more than 3 of any of my 5 sets of plates...

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Anything Apple"

Recently, I applied for a position that required a video application.  Luckily, my boyfriend works for Apple (I did not catch the irony until just now, I swear), and I have the geeks of the world at my disposal.  He did the filming, and his friend edited and completed my video application- in less than 24 hours.  And, it was amazing.  Kind of unreal.  To thank his friend, I asked what his favorite dessert was.  His response?  "Anything apple."  Of course, visions of pies, tarts, and cobblers popped into my head.  The problem, however, is that my boyfriend commutes to work.  His over-an-hour commute includes walking and two bus rides, and let's face it: he's a dude.  He's not toting an apple pie on his coffee run and the bus(es). Note: my boyfriend is awesome and he totally would (I think).

So!  An apple dessert that can survive handling by a dude and two bus rides, and still look cute..  Duh, muffins!

(Vegan) Apple Strudel Muffins 

- Two cups Granny Smith Apples (I grated 1/4 cup, diced the rest) 
- Two cups AP flour 
- One teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (more or less to taste) 
- 1/2 teaspoon salt 

- 1/2 cup softened butter (Earth Balance is great)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (I used cinnamon)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used half light and half dark)
- Equivalent of 1 egg ENER-G egg replacer 
- 1 teaspoon + "a little extra" vanilla (1 tsp should be fine but a little extra never hurt anyone)

- 2/3 cup brown sugar (I like half light, half dark)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1.5 tablespoons AP flour
- 2 tablespoons softened butter 


1. Preheat your oven to 375°F, and line a 12-cupcake tray (or a muffin tray if you have one, I do not).  Get three mixing bowls ready: two medium and a small.

2. Grab one of the medium bowls and mix all of your dry ingredients (minus the sugar and egg replacer.. which, technically, is a wet ingredient).

3. Make your egg replacer.  The instructions are there for a reason: use WARM water.

4. In the other medium bowl, wisk together your sugar and wet ingredients (butter, applesauce, egg replacer).  Once it's as smooth as you can get it, mix in your vanilla and grated apples.  Fold in the apple pieces, followed by mixing in the dry mixture.

5. Fill up your cupcake tray!  You should have enough for 12 perfect muffins.  Remember, muffin mixture fills up almost the whole liner.

6. Throw your remaining ingredients into the small bowl, and then mix in your butter.  Your life will be a lot easier if you use butter at room temperature.  Mix together until you have the yummy, crumby topping.  Top your muffins!  Feel free to double this for extra topping for your muffins (or just to eat...).  

7. Bake your muffins for about 20 minutes (make sure to do the toothpick test*!).

And that's it!  Feel free to throw a bunch in a ziplock bag, and hand them off to your boyfriend.  If he doesn't end up eating them along the way, they should make it safely to their destination.  A good way to avoid the whole "being eaten" problem is to make a few extras!:) 

* Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin (pick one in the middle). If it comes out clean, they're done! Otherwise, put 2 more minutes on your timer, and try again. Make sure you use a new toothpick, and if you're like me and don't just have toothpicks lying around, use a kebob stick or something of the like.  

13.1: The (Vegan) Carbo-Loading Meal

If you run, you probably look forward to carbo-loading as much as the next person.  I mean, really, who doesn't love an excuse to eat a bunch of carbs?!  If you do not run, runners load up on carbohydrates to store glycogen (energy) in our muscles.  We need as much energy as possible to blast through those miles! Of course, there are a few rules to abide by:

1.  Be conscious of your timing.  Your body doesn't know that you have a race in x-amount of hours.  It needs time to digest the foods you put into it.  The later you eat, the better your chance of having excess food inside your body during the race.  Yuck.  This can lead to all sorts of race-day problems.  Eat an early dinner the evening before your race, and get plenty of sleep (not that I'm one to talk...).

2. Portion control!  Just because you have an excuse to eat lots of bread and pasta doesn't mean you should gorge yourself on a never-ending pasta bowl.  Eat a dinner that is in normal portion to how you would normally eat.  Your body doesn't need extra surprises the night before your big day!

3. Limit your fats and caffeine.  Again, I am not one to talk.  But, the rule of thumb is: no excess fats and/or caffeine 24-48 hours before your race.  I've learned my lesson on this one: I will no longer consume multiple avocados with my pre-race dinner, and chug 3 coffees the morning of my race.  Limit your fats, and only allow yourself one cup of coffee a few hours before the starting gun goes off (or have some soothing peppermint tea: peppermint helps with stomach discomfort).

Without further ado, here is my go-to meal for carbo-loading:

(Vegan) Carbo-Loading Pre-Race Dinner

(Vegan) Lemon Pesto Pasta with Baked Tofu and Avocado & Sun-dried Tomato Sammies
- Whole grain pasta
- One block of extra firm tofu
- Non-stick cooking spray 
- Favorite spices (stay away from spicy ones that may upset your stomach)
- Sun-dried tomato bread
- One avocado*
- Sea salt 

For the pesto:
- The juice of one lemon (or half if you're not a lemon nut like me)
- Two cups of fresh basil leaves
-  Four cloves of garlic 
- 4-5 tablespoons of pine nuts 
- 4-5 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

* Be careful with the avocado.  Fats take longer to digest.

1. Start the tofu ahead of time.  I usually put about 2 hours aside for pressing the tofu.  Use your favorite method to press the tofu; this is mine (it is not terribly green): Wrap the tofu in a few paper towels, and place on a plate with a few heavy things on top (I like to place my roommate's huge container of protein powder on top of a cutting board).  After 15 minutes, repeat this process again once or twice.  The idea is to get the water out, and to flatten the tofu to about half it's original size.

2. Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Begin boiling your water for the pasta.

3. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Cut the tofu into pieces (I like mine to be about the size of a crouton), and place on the sheet.  Spray the tops with non-stick cooking spray, and place in the oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, flip them over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  It will appear golden brown when finished.

4. While the tofu is baking, start cooking your pasta according to the instructions on the box.

5.  This is usually when I will make my pesto.  Throw all of the dry ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Once you've got the beginnings of a pesto, throw in the EVOO and process again.  Remove, squeeze in lemon juice, and put aside.

6. Get a medium-sized bowl and throw in a good amount of your favorite spices.  These will coat the tofu.  I like to use a mixture of lemon pepper, sea salt, and this wild "Grilling Seasons: Vegetable Seasoning" that my roommate bought and forgot about.  It's a mixture of onion, garlic, black pepper, sea salt, cumin, bell peppers, coriander, oregano, and cilantro (and it's all organic!).  Throw in your tofu and get tossing!

7. Once your pasta is done and drained, you can mix in the pesto and tofu.  Yum!

8.  Finally, the sammies.  These are so easy it's kind of embarrassing.  Quick note: I LOVE AVOCADO.  I will use any excuse to include them in every single meal.  All these babies are is slices of avocado and sea salt on sun-dried tomato bread (mine is from Le Bus, Mmmm)!  Press in a panini maker or just leave as is! 

Serve with a tall glass of water (you have to hydrate!!), and enjoy!  If you use this as your pre-race meal (or even if you don't), please tell us how you did in the comments!  Good-luck (or just, happy eating:))!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Welcome Post

Welcome to my blog!  The premise is simple: I do not make "vegan food."  I make delicious food that just so happens to be vegan.  This blog will serve as my online recipe box, and a place to share some of my favorite recipes.  Plan to see a lot of brunch and dessert foods, as these are my favorite.  I also love to create dishes inspired by Throwdown! With Bobby Flay.  Corny, yes, but it's fun (and a bit of a personal challenge) to tackle these almost-always-not-vegan dishes.. especially since he has been quoted as saying that veggie burgers are "evil" (broke my heart just a little bit, Bobby).  I love cooking for "meat-eaters," and surprising the pants off of them when they fall in love and ask for seconds.  And thirds.

Aside from cooking and baking, my passion lies in running and in sports.  Thusly, you can also expect to see some great "carbo-loading" meals, healthy smoothies, and recipes for energy bars.

Finally, don't expect any kind of continuity.  I am constantly jumping from creating light, healthy meals in responsible portions, to going all out and indulging sinfully delicious nowhere-near-healthy meals in portions that can only, honestly, lead to a satisfying nap.

To entice you to return, here are a few of my favorite past dishes:

(Vegan) Scrambled tofu and tempeh omelets

(Vegan) Lasagna
(Vegan) Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream Cake
(Vegan) Flaxseed Bagels
 :) !  Now is also a good time to mention that I am in no way a photographer.  I use my iPhone to take photos, and am usually so excited to eat that I use the first picture I take.  Objects in photos are yummier than they (sometimes) appear.