Monday, November 30, 2009

More Pie

Well, I had my final Thanksgiving dinner for the year yesterday at my aunt's house. On Saturday I made my green bean casserole, and the caramel apple pie that I found on VegWeb. Let me just say that when people hear the words "caramel" and "apple" together, they go completely pie-crazy. The pie was gone in like three minutes. And even though there were plenty of pies there, everyone kept asking for this one. And nobody knew that it was vegan. Thank goodness I grabbed a piece when I did, because it was heavenly. I wouldn't say there was a strong caramel flavor to it, but definitely something more than just a plain apple pie. And it was easy to make. It was my first attempt at an apple pie, and I must admit, it was a success. It even looked pretty! You can't really tell from my photo; I had to snap a picture of Grace eating hers because by the time I thought to get out my camera, my plate was empty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Heaven belly is really, really full. I just ate leftovers from lunch, topped off with a piece of vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Wowza!

There are a jillion recipes for this online, and most of them are probably about the same. This is the most delicious pumpkin pie I have ever had, vegan or not. I have not been a big fan of pumpkin pie since I was a kid and my brother and I attempted to eat an entire leftover pie on Thanksgiving night. I went years not touching the stuff after that. In fact, I always passed it up, until I made this version. I promise this will be my last pumpkin-related post for a while.

Today we ate lunch at my in-laws. I ate my delicious green bean casserole (I can't stop eating it!), corn, fruit salad, cranberry apple relish, a bun, and a sweet potato (no butter or anything because once again I forgot my Earth Balance). For the cheesecake, I was lazy and used a store-bought graham cracker crust. I then managed to forget the flour, but it made no difference. It was sublime.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 12 oz. package silken tofu
1 container vegan cream cheese (I used Toffuti)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup natural sugar
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda

Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Pour into graham cracker crust. Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. That's it. Seriously. You're welcome. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day of Food

We are almost to Thanksgiving already, and naturally, I am thinking about the food I will be making for myself. I was informed that my mother-in-law is making the corn with no butter in it and setting aside a baked potato just for me. sweet! But still, I am going to make my favorite vegan green bean casserole. I am also going to make my favorite pumpkin "cheesecake." I just finished off a batch of pumpkin oatmeal cookies. I think I might turn orange, like Garrett did when he was a baby and loved to eat squash and sweet potatoes.

I also ran across a recipe that I MUST try. Caramel Apple Pie. Oh, yeah. It's real. It's vegan. It's fattening. It looks easy. I think I will bring that to a family get-together I am attending this weekend. Along with more green bean casserole, of course. And a lovely fruit salad, because I can't live without fruit.

Sometimes it's hard to feel thankful for all that we have. Sometimes the terrible things stand out more than other times. Here's to pushing the nastiness aside and enjoying each other. And enjoying great food, as well.

I'll share some recipes later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fake Meat Blues

I ate the veggie lunch meat a few times, and I can honestly say that I am not going to eat any more of it. Maybe I just got sick of it. I don't know. I think it is actually too much like real meat, and the thought of even eating it again is making me feel sick. I really don't need anything to replace the meat. I have plenty of other foods that give me wonderful, healthy protein.

Not that it wasn't tasty. I don't mean any kind of disrespect to Vegan Dad.

My favorite Cuban beans and rice recipe is on the menu for tonight. Along with some steamed broccoli.

I am getting paid on Friday and I am soooo excited to go buy groceries. How lame is that? I was thinking today that I am a pretty low-maintenance kind of girl. No makeup, no fancy hair styling or coloring, no expensive jewelry, and I get my clothes at thrift shops or on the clearance rack. Once I had a purse that I bought at a garage sale for 10 cents, and I used that purse for about three years. I save money in so many areas, including food, that I feel justified in buying the best ingredients, and trying out new foods as well.

Just no fake meats for a while.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holy Cow I Did It!

A long time ago I read a post by Vegan Dad on his seitan lunch "meat" and went on with my life, never imagining that it would be something I could actually make myself. I don't know what it was that intimidated me so, but I figured since my last attempt at seitan went so well, maybe I could do this one as well.


If you can measure, use a blender, and mix things together, you can make this stuff.

Funny note- His instructions said to use a blender to mix the beans, water and spices before adding the wheat gluten. Stupid me thought for some reason that I should use my food processor. After three seconds of that and wiping up the mess, I decided that it was pretty presumptuous of me to think that I knew more than Vegan Dad. Use a blender.

I rolled the dough into a log and wrapped it in foil like a tootsie roll. For the steamer, I used my bamboo steamer that I have never used before. I put water in my wok and placed the steamer with the seitan over the water, covered it and let it steam for an hour. The thing was, I had to add some water after a while. Then later I forgot about it and it ran out of water, and my wok had a big black spot on it and my house reeked of burnt wok and almost-burnt bamboo steamer. But all was well. It was ready for the oven anyway.

After it cooled in the refrigerator for a while, I sliced a couple of slices off and made myself a sandwich with whole grain bread and Vegenaise. Grace shared it with me, because she does not have the ability to eat her own food. It was DELICIOUS! I am betting it would be even better with lettuce and more veggies on it. Woo-hoo! I am Super Vegan Woman! I can do anything!

OK, not really. But, still. It was fun.

Yes, I am aware that my photo sucks. And I am aware that it doesn't look much like Vegan Dad's lunch meat. Those things just do not matter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Big Question

We have a new lady at work and she found out today that I'm a vegan. So came the question vegetarians and vegans always get: "What do you eat?"

She imagined that I spent my days eating salads. Oh, if only that were true, maybe I wouldn't be overweight. Quite honestly, there are days when I don't get enough vegetables. Like when I am not feeling well and really lazy and just have a sandwich for supper.

This lady was very nice about it and was just curious about the kinds of things I eat, and how my family eats. She said, "So you're pretty limited on what you can eat then."

I don't see my diet as very limited, unless I am at certain restaurants or looking through my children's Trick-or-Treat bags. I don't need all that candy, and I don't need fast food. So, in certain circumstances it is limited, but it's worth it to me.

Sometimes it's annoying to be asked questions, partly because I don't like to have attention focused on me like that. But it's also a good thing, because I had a chance to educate someone about an animal-friendly diet. Where this person lives, she may never meet another vegan/vegetarian again in her lifetime. It also depends on how the question is asked. There's a difference between real curiosity and the beef farmer who is personally offended by how I eat and not afraid to give me a lecture about how we need meat to survive.

The main reason I started this blog is because I get asked that question so often. It's nice to show people that there are different ways to eat, and that I have oodles and oodles of delicious choices every day. Food and nutrition for me is fun now; an experiment, an exciting adventure. I mean, how often do people really think about what they are eating? How often do people enjoy every single bite they eat, experience all the flavors together and really appreciate it? People need to do that more often.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Because I Can't Get Enough Pumpkin

I tried a new recipe last night for a Pumpkin Pie Shake. I found the recipe HERE.

It was a little different drinking something that tasted like a pumpkin pie, but it was really yummy. I am going to drink my leftovers right now!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seitan Worship

Yesterday I didn't have a lot to do, and I was feeling really good. I got really ambitious and decided to make myself some homemade seitan. I have never done it before; I had never even eaten it before. I was always quite intimidated by the whole process of making my own, which ended up being pretty easy. I used the recipe from VWaV, and it turned out perfectly. In this picture, the dough that I kneaded and sliced is simmering in the broth. I swear, when this stuff was done, it looked exactly like roast beef. The texture was chewy and meaty. But, thank goodness, it didn't taste like roast beef. It tasted wonderful. A new world of fake meat has opened for me, beyond tempeh and tofu. Think of the possibilities! I can stir fry it, make a sandwich, barbecue it...

I pulled a double-duty and made two meals at once last night. I made homemade hamburger stroganoff for the boys, and the Seitan Portabella Stroganoff from VWaV. My recipe turned out to just be okay. Nothing spectacular. But I have leftover seitan, so I am off to my favorite recipe sites to find out what is for supper tonight.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More Pumpkin

Yesterday I finally made the pumpkin bread, and it sooooooo delicious and moist. The recipe in Vegetarian Times had eggs in it, but I used flax eggs to replace. I use 1 tbsp. of flax meal (or ground up flax seeds) and mix it with 3 tbsp. water to make one egg. Always works wonderfully, and this was no exception. You should really use pure maple syrup if you can. There's nothing better. It's very expensive, but I was lucky to find two large jars at the B&D for $3 each. You could also buy it in bulk from your local food co-op and not pay an arm and a leg. Believe me, it's worth it.

Maple Pumpkin Spice Bread (recipe used without permission from Vegetarian Times magazine Nov/Dec issue)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil (or unsweetened applesauce)
2 flax eggs (or real eggs, if you want)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional- I didn't add any nuts)

Preheat oven to 350- Spray 9x5 in. loaf pan with cooking spray or coat with oil. Mix together flours, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice in large bowl. Whisk together maple syrup and oil in separate bowl. Add eggs or egg replacer, then pumpkin and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and mix. Add nuts if using. Pour into loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on rack 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. Eat this stuff warm, and add a little Earth Balance margarine if you want.