Thursday, October 27, 2011

Juice Cleanse!

I realize that I have not updated this blog in quite a while, and I apologize, but I really want to share my juice cleanse experience (and recipes) with you.  Recently, a group of my coworkers embarked on a cleanse that I, being vegan, wouldn't have benefitted much from.  Dismayed, I looked elsewhere for a cleanse that spoke to me.  And, weirdly, my answer came in the form of a Groupon the next morning: JUICE CLEANSE.

The problem?  The price.  Even on markdown, I couldn't fathom paying $100 (normally $180) for SIX juices.  And that price is for ONE day.  You're supposed to do the cleanse for 5 days!  No thank-you.

Dismayed once again, I decided to research these cleanses.  Why were people willing to fork over $30/juice for 5 days?  What magic was stirred into these colorful bottles?  I looked into the top three cleanses: the local Catalyst Cleanse, the popular BluePrintCleanse, and the celebrity Cooler Cleanse.  From there, I combined what I learned and created my own cleanse.  This is what I came up with:

Basically, you drink 6 juices/ day.  Two are essential green juices, one is an essential red juice, one is the ever-popular spicy lemonade (aka Master Cleanse), one is a cashew milk, and the last.... varied.  I loved the idea of having #4 be a choice, so as to not fall into a boring routine.  In between the juices, you drink plenty of fresh water.  Decaf tea is allowed, as well.  What isn't allowed?  EVERYTHING ELSE.  

So, without further nonsense, here are the juice recipes.  Skip to the bottom if you want to see if I am surviving.

Juice #1 & #5: Essential Green

I get bored easily, so I decided to have two options for my green juice.  However, I have found that it is easier to just make one big batch in the AM.  The flavors all go really well together, and you'll thank me once you're cleaning your juicer over and over and over.

Green #1:
- Huge handful of kale (I use about three handfuls)
- 1 cucumber
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 green apples
- 1/2 lemon
- some ginger root (about an inch-sized piece)

Green #2:
- Handful of kale
- 1 cucumber
- handful spinach
- half handful parsley
- 2 apples (I've been using Honeycrisp)
- 1/2 lemon 
- some ginger root (about an inch-sized piece)

For both of these recipes, just juice everything together! :)

Juice #2: Spicy Lemonade

I guarantee that you've heard of this one.  It's referred to as the Lemonade Diet or the Master Cleanse.  I totally hopped on that bandwagon and drank just this for three days one Summer.  But!  It is an amazing drink: yummy and so powerfully good for you.  

Spicy Lemonade:
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 tbsp (or less) agave nectar
- shakes of cayenne (as much as you can handle)
- water

For this juice, simply juice a lemon and combine with the other ingredients in a glass.

Juice #3: Essential Red

- 1 to 2 beets
- 4 carrots
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 apple
- 1/2 lemon and/or inch-sized piece of ginger to taste


Juice #4: Choice

Choice can mean anything from another green, another red, or a fruit juice.  If you're new to cleansing (or veganism or raw foodism), go for a fruit drink.  If you're vegan, raw, and/or have done this before, go for another green or red.  If you're bored, go for something different.  Three simple and delicious recipes that I love for this option (keep it simple!):

#1: Grapefruit Mojito:
- 1 red or pink grapefruit
- 1 lime
- 5-7 mint leaves
agave nectar to taste

#2: Pineapple Mint:
- 1-2 cups fresh pineapple (depending on if you add or don't add one apple)
Optional: 1 apple
- ginger (very small piece)
- mint (about 5 leaves)

#3: Watermelon Mojito:
- 2 cups watermelon
- 1 lime
- 5-7 mint leaves
agave nectar to taste

For these juices, blend everything together in a blender and enjoy!  For the grapefruit juice, juice the grapefruit and lime with a citrus juicer before blending with mint.  Same goes for any lime in the recipes.

#6: Cashew Milk

Yum.  If you don't love it, add some frozen banana pieces and blend again.  This is your reward, enjoy it.

Cashew Milk:
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (or less)
- 1 tsp vanilla (bean if you're rich, extract if you're not.  Obviously the bean is better.. but.. let's get real)
- Shakes cinnamon
- 1-2 cups water (to taste) 

For this one, soak the cashews for as long as possible beforehand.  An hour is great.  Then, blend everything together in a blender and enjoy.  You made it through the day!


So, how am I doing?
I'm currently on day four, two juices in.  I have to say... it's awesome.  
A) I've noticeably lost weight (!!), 
B) I'm full ALL DAY, 
C) The juices are delicious.  No joke.  My favorite is actually the green!
D) Everything cost me roughly $70-80, and I'm going to have a bunch of greens left over.

The negatives?
A) No coffee.  I'm normally a 4 cup/ day girl.  AH!
B) I'm really annoying at work, because I have to excuse myself to use the restroom QUITE a bit.
C) I'm dreaming about food.  Literally.  Whether it's dreaming about cheating and eating, or just food.. it's happening.
D) My brain is driving me crazy.  I never realized how mental eating is!  I'm full all day, yet I'm constantly dying to eat.  Dying to chew, crunch, and snack.  I couldn't possibly fit anything else into my stomach... but I totally would if I could.  All I can think about is bagels, burritos, tortilla chips and guacamole.....

Curious?  Give it a try!  Let me know how you do! :)

**Update!  I finished the cleanse, and loved it.  It really wasn't hard, I swear.  I can't believe how easily I got through the day on less than one cup of coffee!  I was always full, but it was nice to eat brunch the next morning!  My skin glowed, I looked noticeably skinnier, didn't crave sweets (amazing), and will absolutely be adding these juices to my normal routine.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The February Daring Bakers' Challenge

Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen was the host for February's Daring Bakers' Challenge (can I quickly mention that I do, indeed, have a sofa in my kitchen? Best idea ever if you don't have one!).  The challenge was actually a two-in-one: Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies.  I loved this challenge because I have never had either of them previously, and they were both super easy to veganize.  I did my research, and a few options to replace the gelatin exist.  I decided to go with agar-agar (super expensive, but totally does the trick).  Here's what I came up with:

(Vegan) Panna Cotta with Mango Compote and Florentine Cookies


For the Panna Cotta:
- 3/4 can light coconut milk
- 1 cup vegan vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons agar-agar (I used the flakes)

For the Mango Compote:
- 2 1/2 mangoes
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Juice from 3 limes
- Juice from 1 large lemon

For the Florentine Cookies:
(I used the recipe from Daring Bakers, but changed a few things)
- 2/3 cup vegan butter
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash salt
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup mixture
(3/4 molasses, 1/4 light corn syrup)*
* you can also use 1/4 cup dark brown corn syrup, but I wasn't looking to buy this

For the Panna Cotta:
1. Grab a medium-sized saucepan, and add the coconut milk, sugar, and agar-agar.  Let it sit for a minute before bringing to a simmer.  
2. Reduce heat, and simmer (stirring constantly) for 10-15 minutes.  You're looking to dissolve the agar-agar here.  It won't completely disappear, but you'll see a difference. 
3.  Remove from heat, and immediately wisk in yogurt and vanilla.  Wisk more!
4.  Pour into glasses or fancy ramekins, cover, and place in 'fridge.

For the Mango Compote:
1. Peel mangoes and gather all of the lovely chunks in a bowl.
2. Throw chunks in a food processor for a few seconds and pulse: you don't want to liquify the mangoes (although, you totally can and it'll be delicious), just make them into teeny pieces.
3. Meanwhile, heat the water, sugar, and juice in a small saucepan.  Wisk until the sugar dissolves.
4. Transfer the mangoes to a deep bowl before macerating with the hot, sugary liquid.

For the Florentine Cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  
2. Grab a medium-sized saucepan and melt the butter.  As soon as it melts, turn off the heat.
3. Throw in your oats, sugar, flour, molasses and corn syrup mixture, almond milk, vanilla, and salt.
4. Mix!
5. Drop a spoonful onto a Silipat (or throw down some parchment paper), leaving plenty of room for each to spread a good inch-and-a-half around.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7. Let the cookies cool while you melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan.
8. Once cooled, match up each cookie to one that seems to match.  Spread melted chocolate on the inside of one, and marry them.  Or, drizzle the chocolate on top!

Panna Cotta can be a assembled in two ways: in a pretty glass, or unmolded.  I did both because, well, it's more fun!  If you choose to layer your panna cotta and compote in a glass, be sure to refrigerate for a few minutes after adding each layer.  If unmolding, you'll have to use a paring knife to cut around the edges.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gossip Worthy Monday!!!

Sort of.  It's only me this time, but tonight is the second-to-last episode until the show goes on hiatus.  AGAIN.  Of course, that means a lovely dinner for one.  And a cocktail, of course.

This recipe is actually from Alex Guarnaschelli from the Food Network.  I saw this on an episode of her show, and put it in my recipe box for a special occasion.  Seems like the perfect fit.

(Vegan) Farfalle Pasta with Beet Vinaigrette and Parsley Pesto

I'm going to copy and paste her recipe, but if you'd like to see it on Food Network's site, click here!  I omitted the parmesan cheese because this recipe really doesn't need it, but feel free to use vegan parm if you'd like!


For the Parsley Pesto:

  • - Kosher salt
  • - 2 cups fresh curly parsley leaves
  • - 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • - 1/2 cup olive oil
  • - 1 cup thinly sliced scallions, green and white parts

Beet Vinaigrette:

  • - 5 medium beets, thoroughly scrubbed and quartered (reserve and finely slice beet greens, if attached)
  • - 2 cups water
  • - 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • - 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • - 1 pound farfalle pasta
  • - Kosher salt
  • - 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • - 1/4 cup vegan parmesan (*optional)


1. For the parsley pesto: Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the kosher salt until the water tastes like seawater and stir to blend. Add the parsley and cook for 1 minute, and then remove with a slotted spoon. Immediately plunge leaves into an ice bath and allow to cool, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the leaves slightly and then put them in the blender with the sugar and olive oil. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add some water to facilitate blending. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the scallions and set aside in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta.
2. For the beet vinaigrette: Put the beet pieces in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Allow it to reduce until there is about 1/4 cup liquid. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and reduce again until you have only 1/4 cup left. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the red wine vinegar and olive oil.
3. For the pasta: In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous amount of salt; the pasta water should taste like seawater. Add the pasta to the pot and stir so it doesn't stick to the bottom as it cooks. Cook the pasta until al dente (chewy but not hard or raw tasting) 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving some pasta cooking liquid in case you need it later.
4. To serve: Pour the pasta into the bowl with the parsley pesto. Add the beet vinaigrette and butter and toss to blend. Add the Parmesan and finely sliced beet greens, if using. Serve immediately. Alternatively, you can drizzle the red beet vinaigrette over the pasta for a different color effect.

Enjoy!  Blair and Dan better NOT get together....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!

I made these for my 2nd grade class!

The rose is from one of my students:)
The recipe for these mini- golden vanilla cupcakes and decadent buttercream icing is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  If you don't have this book, GET IT!  The recipe is super simple and always comes out perfect.  All I did to make them my own was: add some red food coloring, red and pink sanding sugar, one (mini!) chocolate chip each, and one of those cliche candy hearts.  Of course, I didn't realize that those little guys they aren't vegan!  I read the bag during class (I gave out the extras at the end of the day)- what a bummer!  I didn't eat any because I remember them tasting like nothing.... but still!  Fail!

Some of the raving reviews:
"Miss Amandah, these are the most delicious ever."
"These are so good, can we have them every day?"
"YUM!" (mouth full of cupcake)

S-T-E-E-L-E-R-S Salsa

I'm still crushed that my Steelers lost the Superbowl.  They're still the best team in the NFL, though, and the best team deserves the best salsa.  I served this up with some other black and yellow snacks, some classy beers, and my easy party favorites.

(Vegan) S-T-E-E-L-E-R-S Salsa

- Two mangoes
- One large can black beans
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- One avocado
- Handful fresh cilantro
- One jalopeno pepper
- Juice of one lime
- Generous shakes of sea salt and pepper
- One bag of yellow corn tortilla chips, and one bag of blue (the dark ones look black!)

This recipe makes a ton of salsa, and it takes better if you make it a little ahead of time.
1. Get chopping!  And dicing... and slicing... and mincing.  I made this FAST, so try to do a little better at making stuff the same size.  Chop your mango and red onion, mince that garlic and jalopeno, and go to town on your cilantro.  Toss it all in a bowl and set aside.
2.  Add the beans to the bowl and mix well.
3. Chop your avocado, and stir it into the salsa.  Hopefully you have one that's nice and ripe, so it kind of disappears into coat-y goodness.
4. Squeeze or pour on the lime juice, sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and mix well!
5.  Cover and refrigerate.  When it's gametime, break out those BLACK AND YELLOW tortilla chips!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I've never had a quesadilla... until now.

Yesterday was me & my boyfriend's 3-year Anniversary (cue the "awwwws") and we went to this cute tapas place where you pay way too much for (very delicious) drinks, sit in swinging chairs, and eat food so small that you buy snacks at the drugstore on the way home (we went with Oreos and Lays, possibly the best combination of snack foods in existence).  Anyway, he got this amazing-looking (non-vegan) quesadilla, and I realized that I've never had one!  So, this is what I made for dinner tonight:

(Vegan) BBQ Seitan Quesadillas with Spicy Avocado Cream

- 4 Organic, Red Chile Tortillas
- 1 Package Seitan
1 Package Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
1 Jar Organic Salsa (I used Whole Foods Tequila Lime!)
4 Tablespoons EVOO
1 Cup BBQ Sauce (your favorite- but totally try Black Angus Dark BBQ)
2 Avocados
1 Cup Vegan Sour Cream 
1/2 Cup Vegan Cream
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
Juice of 1/2 lime
A few shakes of Sea Salt
Start with the spicy avocado cream, as it will need to chill.  This recipe makes a lot, so feel free to halve!  I just LOVE it, so I make extra for sandwiches.
- Peel & pit avocados, and cut into chunks.  Toss them + the sour cream, creamer, sriracha, lime juice, and sea salt into a food processor or blender.  Blend to smooth.  Cover and place in the 'fridge to chill.
- Cook the seitan!  Be sure to rinse before using, and break into small pieces.  Warm a wok over medium-high heat, and throw in 2 tablespoons oil.  Once it starts to smoke, toss in half of the seitan and toss to coat.  Cover completely with BBQ sauce, and continue to stir.  You'll get a nice char on it, and it should only take about 4 minutes to cook.  Repeat with the rest of the seitan, and set aside.
- Warm a skillet over medium heat, and use a very small amount of oil on the pan.  Toss on one tortilla, and cover with 1/3 of the seitan, 2 heaping spoonfuls of salsa, and a sprinkle of Daiya.  Throw another tortilla on top, and cook for 1-2 minutes before flipping.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat with the rest of the stuff!
- Serve with the avocado cream.  Mmmmm:)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January Daring Bakers: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entremet

January's Daring Baker's Challenge was created by Astheroshe, and is something I had (past tense!)  absolutely no idea about.  Basically, it's an almond sponge cake with baked-in design on the cake.  It's fancy and French (it's named after the Mona Lisa), and is usually baked into multiple, very thin layers or filled with mousse or cream.  My original plan was to make the multiple thin layers, butttt I ran out of batter.... so I filled mine with pastry cream (others chose mousse, which I wish I would have done).  It was quite a task (the recipe provided required roughly 8,000 eggs), but I feel that it came out well.  I have a few changes for the next time I tackle this, though, which I'll mention at the end.  Here is my finished creation:

(Vegan) French Vanilla Chai Tea Entremet

For the Joconde & Joconde Decor Paste*:
I based this recipe off of Vegan Vistor's L'Opera Cake, with just a few tweaks

- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
*for the paste, add 2 tablespoons cocoa to 1/2 cup joconde batter

For the French Vanilla Chai Tea Pastry Cream:

- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1/4 cup French Vanilla (vegan) creamer
- 4 French Vanilla herbal tea bags
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Dash salt
- A few shakes cinnamon and cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Fancy Tools Needed:
- A Silpat or other non-stick baking mat
- Piping supplies, whether they be "serious" or a plastic bag with a corner cut off

1. Start with your joconde, as it will need time to harden in the freezer.  Grab three bowls: add the dry ingredients to one, and stir to combine.
2. In the second bowl, wisk together the almond milk and vinegar.  Then, add to the dry mixture in batches.  Mix, but do not overmix!  It will look like pancake batter.
3. Steal about 1/2 cup batter and place it in the third bowl.  This is your makeshift decor paste that will be used to pipe your design.  Add the cocoa OR coloring of your choice, wisk, and set aside.
4. Place your Silpat on an ungreased baking sheet (and if you'll be doing an elaborate pattern, throw your design under the Silpat to trace, but remember to remove it before baking!).  Assemble whatever you'll be using to pipe, and fill the bag with your decor paste.

5. Pipe your design(s) on the Silpat, and toss in the freezer for 15-25 minutes (to harden).  Once this time passes, cover the design with the rest of the batter and throw back in the freezer.  This time for 30 minutes.
6. While your design freezes, make your pastry cream (or other filling)!  For mine, I warmed the milk in a saucepan over medium- heat, and steeped four bags of herbal tea.  Once the milk was flavored yum-fully, I added the sugar and salt.
7. Continue to stir while you add the flour and cornstarch + wisk to thicken.  Don't stop, or it'll stick!
8. Cover with wax paper (literally on the top of the cream, or it'll grow a lovely film!), and refrigerate.
9. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
10. Bake your joconde for roughly 10 minutes.  It's done once it is golden brown in color, and the edges seem to come away from the mat.  Allow time for it to cool.
11. Once cooled, flip the baking sheet onto a powdered-sugar or floured (or non-stick) surface.  The design will be facing up.
12. Measure your springform pan.  Or, if you're lazy like me, guess how much you'll need to fill the outside ring of the mold, and cut parchment paper to fill the sides:

Photo courtesy of Astheroshe

13. Now, cut the cake into those measured-out sizes, and press the strip onto the edge of your pan.  You may also opt to cut out a circular bottom of cake:

Photo courtesy of Astheroshe

14. Fill with the pastry cream, and decorate!  I decided to make an extra "design" with my leftover decor paste to make it look fancier, and sifted some confectioners sugar + cocoa over the top.

Oh, and if you choose a smaller cake like I did, you'll have plenty of extra (super yummy) cake to dip in your coffee:

So, what would I change?

1. I would be sure to really, really grind down my almonds.  I loved the little bits I left in, BUT! it made it impossible to pipe.  I ended up actually busting the bag I was using, and had to settle for squiggles from a spoon instead of the fun, elaborate design I had originally envisioned.

2. I would make a light mousse filling.  Don't get me wrong, this pastry cream is great.  However, something about the two together is a little heavy and awkward for me.  I think the cream would be better for a crostada or maybe a beignet, while a light mousse would really make this dessert.  An espresso one would be AMAZING.

3. I would not use clumpy confectioners sugar to top it!  LAZY!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And Something Fried

Oh, in regards to my last post, I also had SEVEN sweet potatoes left after the big clean.  I made some fries, I made waffles, and then I made these:

(Vegan) Sweet Potato Pancakes

Kind of not the best picture, sowwy
Roughly 2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons AP flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 yellow onion
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Shakes and shakes of salt, pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg (to taste)
Canola oil for frying

1. Chop the onion!  Shred the taters if you haven't already.
2. Grab a medium- sized mixing bowl, and throw in the sweet potatoes, flour/cornstarch, and spices.  Mix well before adding coconut milk, and again before tossing in the onion.  Taste and adjust spiced as needed.
3. Heat a skillet over medium-heat, and add a shallow pool of oil for frying.  Once hot, spoon 1/2 cup batter into skillet for each pancake.  Flip after about 3 minutes, or until you have a solid pancake that doesn't break apart when touched (and is golden brown/dark brown in color).
4. Place on a plate with a few paper towels to soak up a bit of that oil!  Serve with (vegan) sour cream and/or applesauce!

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Vegan) BBQ Sauce Overload

I did the monthly 'fridge cleanup, and when I finally put back what I had.. all that was in there was five different kinds of BBQ sauce, two bottles of Sriracha, half a package of collards, 1/4 a yellow onion, some mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, some garlic, and a Red Bull.  What the heck was I supposed to do with THAT?  I went to Whole Foods with a budget of $5 and my "ingredients" in mind.  I bought one package of seitan and some corn, and made this hearty delight--

BBQ Seitan with Garlic Collards

BBQ sauce of your choice (approx. 1 cup)
One container of seitan
3/4 cup corn
6-8 collard greens
4 cloves garlic
1/4 yellow onion
1/4 cup water
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Start your collards first, as they will need about an hour to cook through.  Add the water to a medium-sized saucepan, and throw on the medium heat.  
2. Chop the onion and mince the garlic, and toss it in the pan.  Stir constantly.
3. Cut the collards into strips, and add to the pan.  Stir between batches, and cover when all collards are in the pan.  Lower to a simmer, and stir every once in a while.  Simmer for at least 45 minutes- 1.5 hours.
5. Grab a small saucepan and warm up your corn.  Cook over medium- heat for about 8 minutes (stirring occasionally), and drain.
6. Grab a wok or frying pan, the oil, BBQ sauce, and seitan.  Warm your wok/pan over medium- heat.
7. Once ready, add about 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan.  Add a few pieces of seitan, and toss.  Add enough BBQ sauce to cover the seitan, and cook until you see a nice glaze.  Continue until all seitan is cooked.
8.  Throw the drained corn into the wok/pan, and toss to coat lightly.
9. Assemble and enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

THE best healthy lunch ever.

OMG.  I like, no, I love something that is healthy.  And easy to make.  And portable.  Hell yeah!

(Vegan) Lemon Pepper Tofu over Wild Rice

Perfectly Portable:)

(Makes enough for a workweek of lunches) 
2 cups wild rice (I used Lundberg Jubilee & Lundberg Black Japonica)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the rice)
2 packages extra firm tofu
2 lemons
1 avocado
2-4 tablespoons lemon pepper
Sea salt and pepper to taste 

I made this with time in mind, so it's super easy and doesn't involve much work.   
1.  Cook the rice ahead of time, so you can throw your lunches together in the morning.  Cook the rice according to package directions (will take one hour so plan ahead!).
2.  Cut the tofu into cubes, and warm a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
3.  Throw in the tofu and stir constantly.  I didn't have time to press my tofu, so this was my bright idea of how to lose some of the water....
4.  Add the juice from one lemon.  Grate in some zest if you have the time!
5.  Mix and cook for a few minutes before adding the spices.
6. Mash the tofu with a fork, and cook for a few minutes.
7. Throw some of the rice and some of the tofu into your Tupperware of choice.  Chop up 1/4 of an avocado, and squeeze a lemon wedge over your meal to preserve the avocado until lunchtime).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Healthy 2011

Like everyone, I'm really trying to be healthier this year.  This concoction has been one of my go-to meals. I was inspired to cook with collard greens and lentils after watching an episode of Down Home with the Neely's on The Food Network.  I absolutely LOVE them, and every one of their meals looks so delicious.  The rest of the meal was inspired by my recipe for Seitan Tikka Masala.  I really wanted to cook with some garam masala, and this is what I came up with.  I went with the "kitchen sink" mind-set, and threw in random things I had laying around.  I don't know if this counts as a stew or a dish, but whatever it is, it's good.  Even my non-vegan-doesn't-like-healthy-foods boyfriend loved this.  It's a keeper!

(Vegan) Indian-Spiced Collards and Lentils


6-8 collard leaves
1 cup lentils
1 medium-sized yellow onion
1 medium-sized tomato
1 can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
A few shakes salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, and chile pepper

1.  Chop the onion and tomato and set aside.  Mince the garlic and set aside.
2.  Grab a large pot and saute the onion and garlic over medium-heat.  I actually used 1/2 cup water to be healthier (and because I didn't have much oil).  Feel free to use either!  
3.  Once the onions begin to look translucent, throw in the spices to create a glaze.  Stir constantly.
4.  Add the chopped and crushed tomatoes, and toss in another 3/4 cup water. 
5.  Roll your collards and cut into strips.  Toss these into the pot, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for a good half-hour.
6.  While this is going on, cook your lentils according to the package.
7. Stir the lentils into the pot, and finish simmering.  
8.  Serve and feel skinny.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Easy Finger Foods

Happy New Year! I worked until well into the evening on New Year's, but I really wanted to make some fun finger foods for my boyfriend and friends to enjoy while watching Snooki take us into the New Year. Luckily, all of these snacks can be thrown together quite quickly (with some pre-service prep), and really satisfy a crowd.

New Year's Eve Finger Foods

(Vegan) Mexican Hot Dogs in Blankies:
- Vegan jumbo hot dogs 
- Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- One package vegan bacon 

 - 2 medium tomatoes 
- 1/3 medium red onion 
- 1/2 jalopeno 
- 2 cloves garlic 
- Juice of 2 limes 
- Handful of cilantro 
- Salt and pepper to taste 

- 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise 
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha 
- Pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar 

(Vegan) Loaded Potato Skins:

- 4 potatoes, baked
 - 3 tablespoons canola oil 
- 1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan cheese 
- A few shakes each of salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper
- 5 strips of Fakin Bacon
- 3/4 cup Daiya chedder cheese 
- 1/4 cup vegan sour cream 
- Chives or green onions for garnish

(Vegan) Deviled Tofu:

 - Recipe by Mo from Mo Betta Vegan 

(Vegan) Mini Bagel Pizzas

- Bag of whole wheat mini bagels
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- One can of pizza sauce 
- Daiya Mozzerella cheese 
- A few shakes Italian seasoning 

(Vegan) Mexican Hot Dogs in Blankies 
1. For the pico de gallo: Dice the tomatoes, onion, and jalopeno. Mince your garlic, and chop your cilantro. 
2. Throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, and add the lime juice, salt, and pepper. Done! 
3. For the Sriracha mayo: wisk ingredients together. The salt, pepper, and sugar are to taste, so play around with them. Feel free to add more sriracha if you're feeling crazy. Set aside.
4. Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
5. Cut the hot dogs in half, and wrap each in one piece of "bacon."
6. Roll each doggie in a dough triangle and place on a baking sheet.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
8. Top with Sriraca mayo and pico de gallo. 

(Vegan) Loaded Potato Skins 
1. If you haven't baked your potatoes already, do so first!  
2. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
3. Cook your "bacon" according to package directions.  Once cooled, crumble and set aside. 
4. Once they're soft, cut each lengthwise and scoop out the middle leaving a "bowl" before placing on a baking sheet.
5. Wisk together the oil, cheese, and spices.  Pour or brush mixture onto each potato skin.
6. Bake until crisp (about 10 minutes).
7. Fill each skin with cheese and crumbled Fakin Bacon.  
8. Place back in oven for another few minutes (until the cheese melts).
9. Garnish with sour cream, chives, and/or green onions. 

(Vegan) Mini Bagel Pizzas
1. Open or cut bagels in half.
2. Minch garlic and set aside.
3. Spread pizza sauce over each mini bagel, and top with garlic, cheese, and a few shakes Italian seasoning.
4. Throw in a toaster oven or broiler until the cheese melts!  Add fun toppings! 

... and to end the night:)  Happy New Year!