Saturday Dessert Plate

 Chocolate-filled Cookie Dough Truffles.  So, basically, for the chocolate part, mix up one batch of Foodie Fiasco's coconut butter, and use that in CCK's home made chocolate.  You'll have a bit leftover, but I'm thinking that this would be a good low-cal replacement for chocolate chips.  Then make the batter for these cookie dough truffles, using PB2 instead of peanutbutter, and stevia + molasses for the brown sugar (next time I would probably double the stevia, and throw in some cinnamon).  Leave out the chocolate chips, and add in 1-3 tbsp water to make a workable dough.  Wrap little squares of the dough around teensy balls of the chocolate, and refridgerate.  Done!

Blackberry cookies, adapted from Chocolawty.  They had a really pretty colour, and a nice, suttle blackberry flavour.  (I couldn't find stevia-sweetened blueberry jelly, so I bought blackberry instead... close enough!).  The only changes were halving the recipe,  using applesauce instead of oil, and using lemon zest in place of extract.

Made these peppermint patties... oh, HEAVEN!  It's been too long since I've had peppermint... Changes were using reduced fat coconut shreds instead of coconut butter (although I FINALLY broke down and bought coconut oil.  Dang, that stuff is expensive!), and using sugar free maple syrup.

Chocolate, Vanilla, and Brownie Pudding Pie.  Yes.  I used Chocolate Covered Katie's brownies, with dark chocolate cocoa powder for the brownies.  The only changes were halving the recipe, using stevia in place of sugar, and dark chocolate cocoa powder + extra soy milk instead of chocolate chips.  Even M, who doesn't like most of my desserts, LOVED this pie!

Lemon squares.  Not too good.... too much lemon, and a weird texture. :(

And, lastly, I finally made a variation on banana-fro yo (adapted from HHL).  It was 1/2 frozen banana + a scant cup frozen pineapple.  Yum!


Simple Soba Salad

You really can't get much more clean-out-the-fridge-before-vacation than this dish.
Man, you should have seen the inside of the fridge after this.  It was 99% empty!  Almost scary...

Adapted from Maple Spice
Sauce: blend
  •  1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • a pinch of dried ginger
  • stevia extract to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Grill tofu slabs drizzled with sauce, broccoli, red onions, red bell peppers, and carrots.  Serve over soba noodles, topped with avocado and leftover sauce.


Eating Vegan in NYC

Get ready for a lot of blabbering, and some food pictures.  And a really long post!

Ok, so NY is my favourite place in the entire world.  No kidding.  I love it there - the mobs of people, the weirdos (I saw some guy taking his pants off in the subway! Werid, yes.  And then the police showed up 5 minutes later.  I won't ask), and - no duh - the food.  Oh, the foooooooooood!  The cute little street vendors selling fruit!  I squealed when I saw Trader Joes!  So many different types and ethnicities! 

Well, I'll be honest.  I didn't like eating out all the time.  I never have, really.  I tried to tell myself it was "culinary research".  Which kind of worked, kind of didn't.  I like to have control over my portion size, and how much high-cal food goes in the dish.  Please note: I HATE wasting food, and eat everything on my plate, unless something is VERY off...
BUT, I am extremely pleased to say that I did not gain any weight at all during the trip - I left 131 lbs, and returned 130 lbs.  Yay for walking/standing all day!
On restaurant food: Yes, it's good.  But, to be honesy, after a few meals I got a really odd taste in my mouth, that I linked to eating foods prepared with oil.  If you've read any of my recipes at all, you'll know I barely use any oil at all.  I used to think that, if I could, I would eat fried foods and such all day long... this trip taught me differently.  Yes, I will never turn down deep fried tofu, fried rice, or something of that nature.  But after a few meals of food just lightly sauteed in oil, I'm like "no more oil, pleeease!"  I guess it's just what a person gets used to, after a while.
One of my biggest complaints about eating out is that it's so boring.  I normally do a sudoku or something while I eat, and you can't really do that at a restaurant.  M and I run out of things to say... so I am left starting around the room.  Which gets old.  I eat way too fast, as well, if my hands aren't occupied by a pencil or something. 
Last random thought, I promise.  I found out that organic foods taste better.  Like, automatically.  I never buy organic myself, since it's so darn expensive, but had a bit of organic while eating out.  DANG THAT STUFF IS THE BOMB!

Alright, now for the food.

So, my first morning there, I had a salad for b-fast, because that's all that I could find!  The rest of the mornings, I had an apple and everything bagel, since I found the continental b-fast at the hotel.
Salad with 6 toppings: lettuce, carrots, olives, broccoli, roasted bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas... with a balsamic dressing.  (And I totally told the guy to go easy on the dressing.  Guess what I found at the bottom of my bowl?  A lake of dressing.  -_-)
This was quite good.  I've never had a salad for breakfast, but this hit the spot!

I didn't have time for lunch that day - M and I spent ~4 hours getting to Staten Island for a college tour, and that ate up the whole afternoon.  So, needless to say, I was HANGRY (hungry/angry) by 6.  We went to Gobo, a sort of Asian, sort of American place.  They gave us some hearty, grainy bread with a sweet potato-raisin dip to start.  The bread was so good - thick, and hearty, like I said.  I got the Escarole, Frissee, Radicchio with Soy Cutlets and Pine Nut salad for starters, and I was like Whoa!  Maybe because I was so hungry, but somehow I don't think so.  The lettuce was fresh and crisp, they used fresh mandarines (I've only ever had canned), topped with sprouts, raisins and a few other goodies, finished off with a balsamic vinegarette.  And, oh, those soy cutletts.  Out of this world!  They kind of reminded me of chicken fingers, the way they were presented.  I would love to be able to re-create these!  The texture and breading were very similar to chicken fingers as well, but there was not really any taste to speak of.  I was totally OK with that, since there was enough flavour already in the salad.  But that texture... ohohohoh..
For my main dish I got the Pineapple Fried rice.  It came topped with avocado, which was a very pleasant surprise!  There was also some sort of bean in there, perhaps soy beans.  Veggies were pineapple, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, onion, and maybe a few other things that are slipping my memory.  A little greasy, perhaps, but what else is FRIED rice supposed to be?  I was so pleased with it, even after that amazing salad.  Needless to say, I was no longer hungry.

Sorry, the above picture is kind of pathetic... I forgot to get a shot until the bread was almost gone...

Doesn't this look tasty?  It's a Superbiotic 12" pizza (subbing sun dried tomatoes for the artichokes) from Naked Pizza.  So healthy.  So good.  The crust was REAL pizza crust - the kind that I'm scared to make (I just make that pathetic super-thin crust.  That'll change, soon, thought!).  Loaded down with real veggies, Daiya cheese (the first time I've had that stuff... GOOD!), and fresh tomato sauce, this was easily the best pizza I've had in years.  Oh, you darling, thick, crust... 
One thing I loved was that they posted nutritional info for their pizzas.  This made me more comfortable about eating a lot of it (I had 3/4 of the pizza... yes, I eat a lot).  The cashier was nice to us, as well, and pointed out vegan options.  :D

Sacred Chow.  Is. Really.  Good. 
A cute little vegan place with really nice waiters, and awesome decor.
I got the three tapas thingy, and was soooo happy with my choices!  For sure worth every last penny, and every last calorie (although it was pretty cheap and healthy!)
My three tapas were (in the order of the photos):
Roasted Black Olive Seitan.  This was served with a lovely dijon sauce over some spring mix.  There wasn't a lot of flavour, but the texture, especially the breading, was delish.
Mama's Soy Meatballs.  What can I say?  The sauce was loaded with veggies and spices, and the meatballs held together very nicely.  Again, great texture.
Root Veggie Latkes, served with date butter.  OMG THIS STUFF WAS AMAZING.  The butter, I mean.  Pardon the language, but that is the only way to describe its awesomeness.  The latkes were good too.  Nice and hearty, with root veggies like parsnips and carrots.  But that butter... sweet and savoury and amazing and awesome and fabulous and woooooowwww.  Yes, I would recommend getting the latkes...

Black bean burger and sweet potato fries from Quantum Leap.  Let me start with the burger.  The bun was legit.  Hearty, whole wheat, and mmmm-mmm.  The veggies made a nice topper, and the burger was flavourful, but not overly so.  It had an excellent texture, and was firm.  Not as chewy as seitan, but not falling apart like most home-made burgers.  It was juuuust right.
Now, about them fries.  Yikes!  Those babies were some of the best, if not the best, fries I have ever had.  They were sweet potato, which made them extra special to start with, and really thick.  There was a nice, almost sweet, light breading on them that added an extra kick.  I don't think they were deep fried, since they were not greasy at all.  Just enough oil to make them a guilty pleasure, but not too much.  Ahhh, if only I could make fries like that...
Totally recommend this place.
(Sorry about the red pic, the lighting was off and I didn't want to mess with my camera)

This was from Wild Ginger.  I was very disappointed.  The portions were small, and the food lacked flavour.  Enough said.  (I got the Sweet and Sour Sesame Soy Protein)

In Times Square, there's this really small gem called Moaz.  They do vegan falafel.  And, I mean, the DO vegan falafel.  You can either get a pita pocket or a salad, then you get some lettuce and 5 falafels, and they have a little salad bar (kind of like Whole Foods), where you can load your dish up.  I got the salad, and I would TOTALLY recommend doing that, because you can get more toppings.  Anyway, lunch was about $13 for two people, and was completely amazing.  I topped mine with tabbouleh, chickpea salad (it had red onions, etc in it), olives, roasted cauliflower/broccoli, tahini paste, and probably some other stuff that I forgot.  Wowowow, it was good...

THIS bad boy came from the PeaceFood Cafe.  The soup was mung bean and butternut squash.  I haven't had b-nut squash in ages, and this reminds me that I'll have to give that veggie some love this fall.
And that sandwich is the Pan-Seared French Horn Mushroom Panini.  It had mushrooms, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, mint/basil pesto, and artichoke aoli.  I spent almost half an hour deciding which sandwich to get, and I THINK I made the right choice with this one ;).  It was insanely good.  Like, really, really good.  Who doesn't love pesto?  One thing I found interesting is how much more mild their arugula was compared to my home-grown arugula.  Anyway, even though I'm not so big on mushrooms, this was amazing.  The bread was out of this world - so soft and satisfying.
Yes.  Visit the Peacefood Cafe.  You won't be sorry.

 This was Franchia's Duck Stone Bowl.  It also came with kimchi and sweet chili sauce (I ended up using all of the chili sauce...)  It was alright.  The restaurant was kind of cool - it had 3 different stories, and we sat on the top floor.  However, I was NOT impressed with the food.  Yes, the sizzling was kind of neat - my food was sizzling (the sound it makes when it's cooking in a wok) for about 10 minutes after the waiter brought it out.  However, the portion was small and it was lacking much flavour.  The 'duck' was good, but nothing to write home about.  I would certainly not return, or recommend this place.

These delish noshes came from The Organic Grill.  Ok, they had the BEST soup I have eaten in AGES.  And I'm not exaggerating at all.  I don't know what made it so good, but it sure was.  A-mazing.  The soup was kind of a veggie-corn chowder, with a super-thick broth.  Other veggies were onions, tomatoes, carrots, and I got one piece of zuchinni (which was fine with me, since I don't like zuchinni).  Yowzer!  I am now going on a quest to recreate this delicacy of soups.  Get ready vegan chowders, because here I come...
The huevos rancheros, made with scrambled tofu, topped with salsa and guac and drizzled with chipotle sauce, were excellent as well.  The fries, which were later smothered in organic ketchup by moi, did not disappoint either.  I have never really liked tofu scrambles, but this one really hit the spot!  Again, inspiration to make tofu scrambles ;).  I love b-fast for dinner - even more when I can get veggies included in the meal.

Sorry, Terri, but I think your Thanksgiving sandwich is adorable.  The pile of Tofurkey made me chuckle.  I mean, just look at it!  Piled high with sliced of tofurkey, slathered with cranberry sauce, and there's a few sliced of celery and walnut peices hiding in there... all stuffed between some toasted, thick, rosemary-laden bread.  What more could a hungry person ask for?  Oh, how about some fabulous split-pea soup for a few extra dollars, toast included?  Yes, please!
The atmosphere of the restaurant was excellent, too.  They had some nice, upbeat music, and a long counter with high stools to sit.  A fun, healthy place to grab lunch!

Yikes, that was a lot of writing... well, I hope some of you find this useful!  Go eat, my friends, go eat!


Pearl Couscous, Veggies, Tofu

I've had this little container of pearled couscous in my pantry for ages now.  It's actually expired... but the couscous totally tastes fine, and I'm not dead yet.  Just goes to show you that the labels are usually quite generous with their dates.
I don't know if you guys even CARE or not...

But I DO know that you care about a pile of carbs, protein, veggies and olives!

Gotta love those olives...

Adapted from Olives for Dinner

First up, press your tofu slabs - 2 per person

Cook some pearled couscous (aka Israeli couscous)

Mix together
  • Mirin
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Liquid smoke
  • Dried thyme
  • Lotsa fresh parsley
  • A drop of butter extract
  • Vegetable bouillon
  • A few drops stevia extract
Place chopped onions, red bell pepper, and tofu slabs on a panini press, and drizzle some of the sauce over the tofu.  Cook for ~8 minutes...
Serve: couscous, veggies, tofu, leftover sauce, and black olives.


Nacho-Themed Quinoa

Weee!  Nachos!  Erm... nacho quinoa.  Nat 'cho quinoa! 
Did I just make any sense at all?  I made that traditional bad pun there, at the end.  Can you tell?  (sorry, I'm really tired at the moment.)

Anyhoo, this was fun to make and eat.  Can't beat quinoa and avocado, can you now...?


Adapted from Sketch-Free Eating

Mix quinoa with a very generous amount of chili powder.
Cook chopped bell pepper and onion on a panini press.
Top with heated black beans, crisped (in the oven) tortilla strips, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, salsa, and the best cheese in the world.



I haven't made falafel in AGES!
Whaaat?  That shouldn't be legal...

But, I shall avoid those darn falafel police! ;)
Yummmmmy baked, herbed falafel... you know, I actually was going to throw some parsley in these,but totally forgot...

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup cilantro
1 sauteed shallot
1 sauteed clove garlic
a bit of cumin
a bit of cinnamon
a few tbsp water

shape into patties, bake at 375 for 25 minutes, and serve over lettuce, with grapes, and dressing...

Dressing (adapted from Healthy Vegan Recipes), blend:
2 peaches/nectarines (no need to peel, just pit them... I actually had some that got a little bad spot on them, and I froze them to use in situations like this!)
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh basil
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp sesame seeds


Quinoa Salad

Ok, guys... I have exciting news!

No, I'm not pregnent... or moving... although it seems like every other blogger is one or the other, which is kind of odd.  Anyhoo...

I'm going to the Big Apple tomorrow!  Yup, that's right!  For college visits/vacation, so I won't be here for the next few days... be back next Wednesday, though, with loooots of pictures of good vegan restaurant food.  You know, I haven't been on a vacation in... what, 2 years or so?  That's a long time!  Well, I'll leave you with a faboo salad to look at..
And if you want more food, check out my tumblr page!

Adapted from Cook Easy Vegan

Grill up some chopped onions, carrots, and mushrooms on a panini press.
Mix cooked quinoa with nooch, southwestern seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and  sumac.
Top with black olives, pistachios, and drizzle with sugar free maple syrup.


Rice Burgers with Fancy-Pants Cole Slaw

... I think that this was an excellent way to use up some old pineapple...


And, hah, nothing but teensy buns left in my freezer, so I elected to do an open face so I could have a decent amount of burger.

Adapted from HHL

For the cole slaw, mix together:
  • finely diced pineapple
  • shredded cabbage
  • finely diced carrots
  • pisachios
  • sugar free maple syrup
For the burgers, blend until mostly smooth:
  • ~1 1/4 cups chickpeas
  • small handful sesame seeds
  • ~2 tbsp nooch
  • ~3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup
Stir with 1/4 cup dry brown rice cooked, ~3 tbsp chopped onion cooked, 1 scant tbsp flax meal mixed with 2 tbsp water, and enough maple syrup to make things stick together.
Shape into somewhat patties, and bake for 25 minutes at 350.
Stick 'em on buns, and top with cole slaw... I chose to do an open face, since my bun was sooo teensy!


Cheesy Quesadillas

Adapted from Keepin It Kind

Blend until veeeery smooth: this queso cauliflower sauce, minus the miso, jalapenos, and hot sauce, and sauteing the onions and cauliflower before blending.
On a tortilla, spread ~1/2 cup sauce, jarred salsa (or make your own - that's what I'll do next time!), and the best cheese in the world; fold in half.  Cook in the oven or on a panini press until heated through and crispy, about 20 minutes.

This should make about 4 quesadillas.


What's Up Wednesday #7

Meh.  Sorry I wasn't blogging much last week... work just has me exhausted!  On both Thursday and Friday, I worked out in the morning for an hour, ate breakfast, went to volunteer at a food pantry for 3 hours, then went straight to work from 11.30 to 3... then I got to come home and make lunch... and cook dinner for M and I about an hour later.  And then Saturday was workout for 2 hours and work for 4.5 hours... yeah, that's why I've been MIA for the past few days.  Not to say I haven't been enjoying myself, I've just been too tired to blog!
But I'm back, now... for another week.  Then I'm off for a vacation - I'm so excited!  I'll be doing college visits/touristy stuff, so I'll see how that goes.  Lots of vegan eats where I'm going, so that shouldn't be hard.  But I can't not cook for an entire WEEK.  I mean, I am going to DIE.  ;)

Anyhoo, enough about my troubles...

Interesting two sentence article.  Totally made me laugh...

And I've decided to try to use fresh instead of canned tomatoes.  We'll see how long that lasts... but the principle is fairly simple.  You core the tomato, then cut a shallow X in the bottom of it, just to break the skin.  Dunk it in boiling water for ~45 seconds to loosen the skin, and voila - it comes right off!  Then you cut into fourths, work out the core/seeds with your hands, and plop them in your blender (Mr.V!).  Blend until desired consistency is reached - I made 'crushed' tomatoes, and used them in soup.  I could actually taste a very suttle difference.

Lemon banana pancakes! Used a flax egg, bananas in place of blueberries, regular stevia extract, and applesauce instead of oil. Comes out to around 280 calories for the entire recipe, and it's mighty big, my friends!

Have you heard of the new cookbook Vegan a la Mode?  It looks FAB.  And I really want it!  There's a giveaway for it over on Averie Cooks... and if you win, can we share? ;)

Arugula and Potato Pizza

So, I've noticed that potato pizzas seem to be all the rage right now..

So, OBVIOUSLY, I had to join the fun!

Aren't those fingering potatoes the c-uuu-test things in the world?

Ok, now I'm just blabbering...

Adapted from WTHDAVEA

The usual crust, cooked on the panini press
Topped with the best cheese in the world
Sprinkled with rosemary
Topped with grilled onion and boiled fingerling potatoes
And finished with a bit of arugula