Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

8 oz Semi sweet baker's chocolate (you can use chocolate chips, they just don't melt as well)
8 oz Tofutti cream cheese
1 C Powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
8 oz Unsweetened baker's chocolate (you can use chocolate chips here too, they just don't melt/coat as well)
Parchment or wax paper

Beat cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar until a paste forms and then mix in vanilla.

Melt semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until it is completely melted and smooth. Add chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and combine well. Place mixture in the fridge and let chill at least 3 hours (the original recipe said 2 but it needed a bit longer to be really chilled).

After filling is chilled, use two spoons or your hands to scoop out and shape your filling into balls (or as close as you can get). Place balls on sheets of parchment or wax paper. Place balls in the freezer while you melt the coating chocolate to harden them a bit.

Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Take filling balls out of the freezer and, using two spoons, dip/roll them in the unsweetened chocolate. Ben and I were able to accomplish this by having me use one spoon to pick up the filling balls and drop them in and him using one spoon to fish them out. After you have fished them out and drained the excess chocolate off of them, place them on a new sheet of parchment paper. Place finished truffles in the fridge until the chocolate shell has hardened before serving.

Note: If you want to add toppings (like sprinkles or cocoa powder) to your truffles, you will have to do so within a minute or so of dipping them. If the chocolate shell has a chance to harden while you are busy dipping the other truffles your toppings will fall right off.

Makes about 30 truffles.

Recipe thanks to:
Herbivore Dinosaur

Shortbread

1 C Earth Balance
3/4 C Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 C Unbleached white flour
2 Tbs Vanilla sugar (optional)

In a medium bowl, cream together Earth Balance and powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla and then slowly mix in the flour until well combined.

Evenly spread the dough into a 9" pie dish or tart dish and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove shortbread from the fridge and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.  Using a fork, score the shortbread every few inches to ensure that it does not rise. Score the shortbread with a knife about 1/4 inch into the dough where you will want to cut it once it is finished. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool one hour before cutting

Recipe thanks to:
Martha Stewart

BLONDIIIIEEEEE! or, Almond Butter Blondies

Sorry, if you've never seen The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, you will have no idea what I am talking about. If you have, you're cool.


1/2 C Almond butter
1/3 C Plant milk
1/4 C Vegetable oil
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Almond extract (optional)
1/2 C Brown sugar
1 C Whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus a few to sprinkle on top
2 Tbs Almond paste chunks, plus a few to sprinkle on top

Note: Almond paste is a bit hard to find. If you leave near me (central Utah) then you can find a 7 oz box of it at Macey's or Smith's on the baking isle for around $7.

In a small bowl mix together the almond butter, milk, oil, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar until creamy. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and almond paste chunks.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and gently fold until all ingredients are just incorporated. Careful not to over mix! The batter should be thick and stuff but not crumbly. If it is crumbly, add a tablespoon or so of milk.

Spoon the batter into a greased glass 9x9 pan and spread it with a spatula. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips and almond paste chunks on top—you may way to push in the almond chunks in a bit.

Bake for 14 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Recipe thanks to:
Wing-It Vegan

Chocolate Covered Cake Balls


1 9x13 Cake (I used a box mix)
16 oz Frosting of choice (I used one batch of the cream cheese frosting in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
12 oz Semi sweet baker's chocolate (you can use chocolate chips, they just don't melt/coat as well)
Parchment or wax paper

Cook cake according to package directions. Remove from heat and cool completely. When cooled, crumble the cake into a large bowl. With your fingers, thoroughly mix the crumbled cake and frosting together.

Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler until liquid. Remove balls from the fridge. Using a spoon, dip/roll the cake balls in the chocolate and then place on parchment or wax paper. Tap off excess chocolate on the side of the boiler before placing on the wax paper. Keep the chocolate in the double boiler and the heat on low to keep the chocolate liquidy. Place balls in the fridge to harden the outer shell before serving. Makes about 30 balls.

It's amazing in here
Recipe idea thanks to:
Bakerella

Peppermint Russian Tea Cakes

1 C Earth Balance, melted
2 1/2 C Powdered sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 1/4 C Unbleached white flour
1/2 C Walnuts
3 Peppermint candy canes (I like TruSweets brand from Whole Foods, they're organic and corn syrup free)
1/4 tsp Salt

In a food processor, pulse candy canes until they are in small chunks about the size of sunflower seeds. Do the same thing with the walnuts. In a large bowl, mix Earth Balance, 1/2 C of the powdered sugar, vanilla, and candy canes with an electric hand mixer until blended. Add in processed walnuts, flour, and salt. The resulting dough should be crumbly but stick together when pressed.

Each ball should be about 1 Tablespoon of dough. I used my hands and formed rough balls. Place balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart.

Bake 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool. Place remaining powdered sugar (2 C) in a shallow bowl. When cookies are still warm but not so soft you dent them when you touch them, roll them in the powdered sugar. Right before you serve them, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Makes about 30 balls.

Recipe thanks to:
Meet the Shannons: The Betty Crocker Project

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Double Boiler Improv

Ok, I am writing this post so that those of you who don't have a double boiler (like me) and had no idea what a double boiler was before reading you need to use one in some recipe (like me) can melt stuff.

The picture to the right is an improvised double boiler. I actually found the picture on the internet, but it looks exactly like how I do my double boiler at home.

Basically you just take a pot with a few inches of water in it, place either a glass or metal bowl on top of it, and then heat up the water so that the steam melts whatever you put in the bowl. While the things you are trying to melt will melt faster if you stir them continuously, they will not burn if you don't stir them like they would if you had just thrown them in a pot on the stove.

The way this works is that The phase change of water from liquid to vapor occurs at 212° F. Therefore, as long as the pot holding the water does not become pressurized or boiled dry, the maximum temperature the stuff in the bowl on top will come in contact with is 212°. Awesome. This also means that the temperature of the stuff in the upper bowl will remain constant because steam doesn't change temperature. Cool.

The only problem with using a bowl instead of a real double boiler is steam will escape from the sides and might get some condensation in whatever you are melting, which would be bad. But as long as you keep your eye out for this and don't let condensation build up around the edges of the bowl, you should be fine.
Baker's chocolate squares melting in my home-made double boiler

Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day

Ben working on goodie boxes
 For Christmas this year Ben and I took it easy. All of Christmas Eve day we worked on the Christmas goodie boxes we gave as gifts. We worked on the boxes until pretty late and fell asleep without much ceremony.

Molly wearing a tape crown on Christmas
The cute PJs my mom made us
We woke up early on Christmas and put together a goodie box for my parents, then ran over to their house to jump on the phone call with my brother Austin and watch the little kids open presents. My brother Austin is currently on an LDS mission in Guatemala and only gets to call two or three times a year for a few hours.

Holding the phone, talking to Austin
He called around 9:30 am and we opened the gift box he sent us while on the phone. As seen in the picture above, I got a Guatemalan beaded necklace :) Molly was, of course, present. After the phone call Ben and I watched my four little brothers and sisters and two cousins, who live with my parents, open presents. We hung out at my parents house all day and has Christmas dinner with them. My family's Christmas dinner consisted of  meat and some non-vegan side dishes, so Ben and I threw together some mashed potatoes with olive oil and a nice salad with avocado and pepperoncini peppers.

Cutting veggies for sandwiches
On Boxing Day (Sunday) Ben and I went to Ben's mom's house to hang out with a few of his siblings. We brought them all goodie boxes and had a fun watching them open them and taste everything inside. Ben's mom made us veggie sandwiches and a coconut black bean soup for dinner. After dinner Ben's sister Emily and her boyfriend, Colin, took us to see Black Swan, which I missed out on seeing with my friends last week because I was sick. It was really good!

Christmas Goodie Boxes

For the past few months (particularly during Vegan MOFO) I have been bookmarking holiday treat recipes like crazy. There have been so many tasty looking recipes lately I just couldn't help myself. So when Ben and I started thinking about what we would give out to our family members for Christmas the first thing that popped into my head was a goodie box. Ben thought it was an awesome idea and we know all of our family members like to try our vegan creations so we decided to go for it. The result was awesome!

First, we picked out six recipes we wanted to try and then bought all the ingredients. We found the perfect boxes at Target and got some ribbon to make them a bit more festive. We spent all Christmas Eve day mixing, baking, and dipping and then on Christmas and Boxing Day made up a total of four boxes of treats for my parents, two of Ben's sisters and their significant others, and Ben's brother.

Look how beautiful!


They turned out really amazingly. All the recipes were delicious and I couldn't have been more pleased with how they looked. Here are a few boxes on our table before they got ribbonized:


And here is a better shot of the inside. From top right clockwise we have chocolate covered cake balls, peppermint Russian tea cakes, chocolate truffles, almond butter blondies, chocolate peanut butter fudge, and shortbread. Click on the links for recipes!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Clam' Chowder

When I was growing up clam chowder was one of my favorite foods. I remember feeling like I couldn't eat it fast enough and would shovel spoonfuls of soup into my mouth in such rapid succession I would make myself sick. So when I made my roux-based seitan and dumpling soup a few days ago, the first thing that popped into my head was clam chowder. I immediately emailed my mom for the recipe and went and got the needed ingredients. Though I know you can buy cans of vegan 'clams,' I wanted to make the soup today and didn't want to have to search around for some. Since the original recipe calls for not only clams but the liquid they are canned in it usually has a kind of fishy clammy flavor throughout. Since I didn't have anything to mimic that flavor it wasn't exactly clam chowder, but the texture and the basic taste was PERFECT. I am absolutely in love with this soup. The veggies are perfectly tender, the roux-based milky broth is lovely, and the seitan was actually really good.


But I shouldn't take all the credit. Ben, being a complete dear, made soup while I laid in bed watching a documentary on David Bowie titled Sound & Vision. It was fabulous! Anyone who is a Bowie fan should watch it, they have in on YouTube in ten minute segments.

Anyway, back to the soup. I included the original recipe and then my version.

Original recipe:

1/2 C Butter
1/2 C White flour
2 Quarts (8 C) Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 C Yellow onion, diced
1 C Celery, diced
2 C Potatoes, diced
2 C Clams with liquid, minced
1 C Corn

My version:

1/2 C Earth Balance
1/2 C White flour
2 Quarts (8 C) Unsweetened plant milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 C Yellow onion, diced
1 C Celery, diced
2 C Potatoes, diced
2 C Seitan, diced (I used WestSoy strips)
1 C Corn

Place onion, celery, potatoes, corn, and clams in a medium pot with just enough water to cover them. Simmer until vegetables are barely tender.

In a large pot, melt butter (Earth Balance) and whisk in flour to make a roux. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper and then vegetables. Cook over medium heat until soup is heated throughout.

Recipe thanks to:
My mom

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BLT Sandwich?

These are AMAZING.While I have to admit they don't really taste like a BLT, it was amazing if you just think of it like a tofu sandwich. Definitely a new favorite.

Bread (I like either Alvarado Street or Dave's Killer)
Avocadoes, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Lettuce, sliced
14 oz Extra firm tofu, pressed
3 Tbs Soy sauce or Braggs
2 tsp Liquid smoke
1-2 tsp Maple syrup (I actually used agave, which was ok, but maple syrup would have been better)
~1/4 C Nutritional yeast
Black pepper
Canola oil for frying

Mix soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and pepper together. Slice the tofu thinly lengthwise to make strips.

Oil your pan. When the oil is nice and hot (when you drop water into it it sizzles) add the tofu strips, making sure they don't touch each other. Brown them on the bottom, moving around every so often so that they don't stick. Once they are brown, flip them over and brown the other side. Once both sides are browned, pour liquid mixture over the top of each strip and then sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes over the top. Flip the strips and then sprinkle more nutritional yeast on the other side. After about thirty seconds, flip again to cook both sides. If you want them a bit more crispy, leave in the pan a bit longer.

Note: I did a couple of batches of tofu strips because they all didn't fit in one pan. However, by the second batch the bottom of the pan was super sticky and hard to get anything off of. It you can, try and do all the strips in one go to avoid this.

Recipe thanks to:
Newly Vegan

WestSoy Chicken-Style Seitan

Usually I make my own seitan. However, I have really been wanting to try the store bought kind just to see how it compares. So last week I bought some Westsoy Chicken-Style seitan and ended up using it a 'chicken' dumpling soup (recipe here). When I opened the package to chop it up I was surprised by the firm texture, usually my seitan is much more spongy. I chopped it up into little pieces and added it to my soup along with some vegetable broth. But when I tasted the soup, I could have sworn it was made with chicken broth! The flavors of the seitan seeped into the entire soup and made it just like chicken based soups I have had in the past. It was actually kind of creepy. The texture of the seitan was also quite strange. It really felt/tasted like chicken! Though you would think this was a good thing, I'm still in the air about it. I think the soup could have done just fine without the seitan, so I'm not sure if I didn't like because of that or because of the ultra-realistic texture and flavor. I kind of want to use it in something like fajitas where it is fried or something, but we will see. I'm kind of scared to buy it again :/

UPDATE (12/18): I used the regular WestSoy seitan to mimic the texture of clams in 'clam' chowder (recipe here) and it worked pretty well. The favor was much better than the chicken-style and I would definitely use it again. The texture was quite different as well, much more like the seitan I make at home.

Seitan and Dumpling Soup

Finals are over; and I'm sick. However, I have a few things to be thankful for: 

Thankful #1: I don't have the flu and it's just a shitty head cold/throat thing.

Thankful #2: I get to work from home and all the projects I have right now don't require much brain functionality. Just patience.

Thankful #3: Ben is done with his finals too and doesn't have a job SO he is here to wait on my every need. what a darling.

So, will all those things going for me, I'm in pretty good shape. But even though I don't have the flu, I have still don't really have an appetite. Yesterday I hate oatmeal for breakfast before the real sickness hit but then didn't eat again until last night when Ben ran to Wingers and got some of their steak cut fries for me (don't judge, it's the only thing that sounded good ;) ). After watching Donnie Brasco and ditching my headache, I decided I needed to eat some real food. SO I wandered down the stairs in my adorable (gag) outfit consisting of a massive sea foam green 'Gateways' sweater I stole from my grandpa and some of Ben's grey sweat pants. While Ben cleaned the tower of dishes that have built up over finals week I made some dumpling soup! Yum! It turned out to be absolutely amazing. I have never had dumplings before, but I am sold now. I had two big bowls before falling asleep and then had another bowl for breakfast when I finally fell out of bed this morning. I modified the original recipe a bit and will add more veggies and less seitan when I make it again, but other than that it was perfect.

Soup:

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 C Carrot, chopped
1 C Celery, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 Bay leaves
1/4 C Flour (I used unbleached white)
6 C Vegetable broth (I use Rapunzel brand)
1/4 C Plant milk (the recipe actually calls for a plant based cream but I didn't have any)
2 C Seitan, chopped (I used the Westsoy chicken-style, see my review of it here)

Dumplings:

1 C Plant milk (I used soy)
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
2 C Flour (I used half whole wheat half unbleached white)
1 Tbs Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
2 Egg equivalent of egg replacer (I used EnerG)

In a large pot, heat the Earth Balance and olive oil over medium heat until the Earth Balance is melted. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for about two minutes. Add the broth and while stirring continuously. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring intermittently.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the dumpling batter. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar together and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Beat in egg replacer and then slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Stir in plant milk and seitan into the soup pot and bring the soup to a low boil. Using two metal spoons to shape the dumplings, carefully drop small balls of dumpling batter into the soup, stirring to make sure they don't stick to each other. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the dumplings are firm and puffy and cooked throughout.

Recipe thanks to:
Vegan Chicks Rock

Monday, December 13, 2010

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a household favorite with Ben and I. Something about the salty, watery-ness of it that is just so fabulous.We make ours a little chunky (as you can see), but we both like it that way.

1/4 C Brown rice miso (I use Miso Master brand)
1/3 C Hydrated wakame (I use Eden Foods brand)
1 Bunch green onions, chopped
7 oz Tofu
6 C Water

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add onions and wakame and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften. Lower heat to a simmer and whisk in miso paste, making sure it completely dissolves. Chop tofu into bite-sized pieces (whatever that means to you) and add to saucepan. Serve miso soup while it is still warm! Also keeps well in the fridge for about a week.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sage's Brunch in Salt Lake City, Utah

Yesterday, Ben and I treated ourself to a mid-finals week brunch at Sage's Cafe (see my other post about Sage's here). We desperately needed it. Those of you still in school know how it is. The rest of you can probably remember. But brunch at Sage's followed by grocery shopping at Whole Foods immediately dispelled any kind of finals week anxiety or tension.

Here is what I got:


A nice little side salad and super fabulously tasty hash browns with an ENORMOUS seared veggie, tofu, and pesto filled whole wheat crêpe. It was amazing, really. The hash browns were amazing but the crêpe filling was my favorite part. Carrots, tofu, big slices of portobello mushrooms, a few green bell pepper slices, and yummy (perfectly oily) pesto. Ah I was in heaven. AND I ate the whole thing. It was fabulous.

Here is what Ben got:


This is the current seasonal special at Sage's and is equally as fabulous as my dish. Fluffy pancakes with walnuts and beautiful apple slices and a side of maple syrup. He also got a side of tofu scramble (top right) which he regretted afterward because the pancakes were so massive. Seriously, they were probably ten inches in diameter. I only got a few bites of these so I can't rage about it like my meal, but they were really, really good. 5/5 stars!

Jedi Juice (aka Green Smoothie)

This green smoothie is actually something that has been passed down with the generations. When I was young my mom called it 'Jedi juice,' and my brothers and sisters and I pretty much thought it would give us the force. This was before episodes 1-3 people — I'm talking about the original trilogy. Though now I know it won't give me the force, I still drink it almost every day. Jedi juice, I love you. You are so simple, healthful, and tasty. Below is my (my mom's) recipe for two big servings of Jedi juice.

2 Bananas
1/3 C Orange juice concentrate
2-3 C Water
Enough fresh spinach, kale, or collards to fill up the blender (don't worry, it will liquidize and become a lot smaller)

Since Ben and I drink Jedi juice every day, we have to keep the ingredients handy. One was to do this is to keep a stockpile of bananas and spinach frozen at all times (this is also something my mom taught me to do). To freeze bananas, you will want to peel them all, cut them into around 4 chunks and lay them out on a baking sheet. Freeze them until they are completely frozen and then you can dump them into a plastic bag together. The reason you lay them out is so that when you throw them all in the bag together they don't stick. If you throw raw bananas in a bag together they get all stuck and impossible to pry apart.

To freeze spinach, I usually just buy a pre-washed, pre-cut 3 lb bag from Costco and throw it directly into the freezer. Then when you want spinach in your smoothie you can just grab a bunch of the little frozen leaves. I do the same thing with kale and collards. You can buy a 1 lb bag of pre-washed pre-cut kale or collards from Sunflower around her and I just throw it in the freezer. Super easy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Shopping

I have been getting a ton of newsletter emails from different vegan retailers about vegan Christmas shopping, so I decided I would share. Not only are there some good sales going on, I also just thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite vegan retailers with anyone looking for something specific for Christmas.

Herbivore Clothing, an online vegan retailer who is my friend on Facebook, had an interesting status the other day that made me think. They said, "...every vegan business I know is struggling, ourselves included. None of us are out to make a fortune, all of us give back to the cause with time and money donations. So if you're buying presents this year, please buy from vegan retailers..." While reading it I really thought about how we should try to support businesses whose ethics we approve of. While I do not necessarily agree that we can 'vote with our dollars' since it is inevitable that we will have to purchase something from a company whose ethics we do not support; I do beleive that people who are trying to make a living by providing vegan food, clothing, books, makeup, etc. deserve our support. So, if you can, buy from vegan retailers this Christmas :)

First, and most importantly, The Herbivore Clothing Store (mentioned above) is having a 20% off sale on EVERYTHING until tomorrow (Friday). Just enter coupon code ELF at checkout and you will be set. Herbivore has all kinds of random awesomeness, from clothing, bags, and jewelry, to books and art work. Go go go check it out.

VegNews has picked out 15 of their favorite holiday gifts and put links to them on their website. Some of their gift ideas include vegan chocolates and other assorted vegan treats, a calendar, best of VegNews cookbook, and magazine subscriptions. Check out their holiday list here.

Earthlings, one of the most amazing movies of all time, is on sale right now for the holidays too! If you don't have a copy, you need to get one. You never know who you might need to lend it to... besides, Shaun Monson is an awesome dude. Support him and help him get another movie out asap. Right now he is offering 20% off of the entire Earthlings store if you enter promo code GIVING at checkout. I am not sure how long the sale will last, so get over to the store here and buy some Earthlings shit!


Next, check out the '21 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Activists and 'Eco-Terrorists' in Your Life' here at GreenIsTheNewRed.com They have some cool and unique ideas for gifts including the new film Bold Native (which I am super stoked to see), t-shirts, whale wars boxed sets, books (including one by my friend, Peter Young titled Animal Liberation Front: Complete Diary of Actions, The First 30 Years), aprons, etc.


Personally, I am getting Ben some Novacas boots (see left) from Moo Shoes for Christmas (don't worry, he already knows). Moo Shoes is probably one of the best online vegan shoe stores, and they have such cute styles. If you are vegan, you know how tough it can be to find CUTE vegan shoes. Rubber-looking boats on my feet just don't do it. Sorry. Moo Shoes has both men's and women's shoes, belts, wallets, bags, and even clothing. You can buy basically all of their stuff online, but they also have a shop in New York.

My other favorite shoe company is Vegetarian Shoes. I am pretty sure that they and Moo Shoes tie for first in best vegan shoes. For my birthday I got these boots and this jacket from them and they are both amazing. In the past I have bought vegan shoes that fell apart in less than six months, which totally sucks. But not Vegetarian Shoes! The material they use is seriously amazing. It wears great, looks awesome, and is even warm! Vegetarian shoes also sells jackets and belts.

If you are looking for a present for your hubby or boyfriend (or dad? do you guys have stylish vegan dads?) it also may be a good idea to check out this new website, The Ethical Man. I am still oggling over their fabulous men's pea coat (see right). They even have a fashion tip blog for men!

Speaking of Christmas gifts for boyfriends, I am also buying Ben some vegan caramels for Christmas. We just recently discovered JJ's Sweets online and have to try their vegan treats. One of the things Ben misses the most about being an omnivore is luscious caramel. Luckily, JJ's Sweets has come up with four tasty looking vegan caramel flavors I cant wait to roll around in my mouth. They even have chocolate covered caramels... ah, I can't wait until Christmas. Not only are JJ's Sweets vegan, but they are also gluten, corn, and soy-free! Awesome.

But enough about the men. What do YOU want for Christmas? More importantly, what do I want for Christmas?? Happily, I am actually already wearing one of my Christmas presents. It is a coat from ModCloth, which is actually NOT an all-vegan retailer :/ Sorry, I know. Breaking my rules already. BUT do you see how cute it is, sitting there on the right? Adorable, you have to agree. And now that the snow is (kind of) setting in here, it is a must-have. ModCloth has a bunch of retro and stylish clothes, many of which are vegan. Just make sure you check the materials before buy!

I will also probably treat myself to way too many things from Lush. While Lush is not 100% vegan (they have beeswax and honey in some of their products), they do not do any animal testing and have awesome goals and initiatives as far as the environment goes. They have some of THE MOST AWESOME products. My favorite include their solid soaps, bath bombs, facial scrub and toner, deodorant, and body powders. On the left you can see my all-time favorite soap, sandstone. Yummy.

Though I am pretty set as far as make-up goes, I also wanted to give a plug for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I just learned about them recently and am really excited to try some of their products. They have 100% vegan cosmetic products as well as nail polish and make-up brushes.

Last, but not least, Ben and I have about a hundred books on our wish list. But this post is long enough already, and I am pretty sure most of you don't need another book to add to your lists. Happy holidays everyone, I hope all of your Christmas shopping goes well!

Vegan Food on Campus: La Esquina

Finals week means eating on campus. It also means frantically typing as fast as possible for days on end, but that is beside the point. If you go to UVU and are looking for bank-for-your-buck food, go to La Esquina. It may not be the cheapest food around, but it definitely has quantity on its side. Located in the food court, La Esquina has staple foods like tortillas, beans, and rice, and they also have a ton of yummy vegan-friendly toppings that you can put together any way you like and they will come up with a way to charge you for it. What we have below is called an 'open veggie burrito' by some of their cashiers and a 'salad' by others. Depending on which cashier you get it will range you from just under $3 to around $5.50. Either way, its pretty cheap for how much freaking food you get.

Here is my favorite. Tortilla in the tin with half black beans and half refried (they're vegetarian!), white rice (they don't have brown), green sauce, a ton of lettuce, yellow onions, salsa, guacamole (top right), and olives. You can also get little tortilla chip strips, lime juice, and chopped tomatoes. One of these tins is right around 10" in diameter and is filled to the brim with food. If you can get it all down in one sitting, it can basically function as lunch AND dinner. Or you can do what I do and eat half at lunch, and half at dinner.

Downside to La Esquina? They close at 2. Which really sucks if you are on campus in the evening. But the food is awesome and filling and the staff is super nice. Probably a 3/5 for having one good dish in the middle of a non-vegan campus.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tofurky Pizza

So I decided to try out this new Tofurky vegan pizza. Last night I went to Good Earth and they were having a promotional sale since they just started selling them. They only had the cheese pizzas, but I figured I could just spice it up at home.

When I got home I threw on some tomato, mushroom, and red onion slices and threw it in the oven for 15 minutes on my awesome pizza stone. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was! But I guess you can't really go wrong with Daiya cheese. I am happy with Torfuky for teaming up with such an awesome product. The crust was nice and crusty and there was the perfect amount of cheese and sauce. Ben and I split it, but I am pretty sure we should have gotten one for each of us, even though they are right about 1,000 calories each. BUT two pieces just wasn't enough. Overall score, probably a 5/5 if you add your own toppings. I am excited to try the two other Tofurky flavors!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Seitan Roast 'Beef'

Another Thanksgiving recipe, this time our seitan roast 'beef'. Ben has been wanting to make this for quite a while and Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to have a holiday roast. It turned out to be absolutely fabulous with our meal and on roast 'beef' sandwiches the following days. Though I have never had real roast beef before, those who have had it said that it tasted just like the real thing. Either way, I definitely thought it was impressive! Sorry again about the picture, wish I had gotten a good one of the roast beef. Check out the link to the original recipe below for more pictures.

Dry ingredients:

2 C Gluten powder
1/2 C Full-fat soy flour
1/2 C Nutritional yeas
1 tsp Sage
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder

Wet ingredients:

12 oz Firm tofu
1 1/2 C Water
3 Tbs Soy sauce
2 Tbs Olive oil
2 tsp Vegan worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Vegan “beef” bouillion

Marinade:

2 C Hot water
1/3 C Vegan “beef” bouillion
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 tsp Vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Sage
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Garlic powder

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, mix wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix/knead well. Though the dough will be very rubbery and hard to knead, knead as hard as you can for 5 minutes. Place a cloth over the doug hand leave it for an hour.

Knead the dough, adding more gluten flour if needed, for a few more minutes. Divide into two balls and form into loaves. Preheat oven to 375. Line two loaf pans with tin foil and then place the dough into the plans.

Combine the marinade ingredients and then pour over each loaf evenly. Cover the pans with foil and place in the oven. Once the loaves are in the oven, immediately lower the temperature to 200 degrees. Cook for three hours.

After three hours, take the pans out of the oven and reheat it to 375 degrees. Turn the loaves over in the pans, recover, and then place back in the oven. Once the loaves are in the oven, lower the temperature again to 200 degrees. Cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, repeat the process. Remove the loaves and turn them over. Preheat the oven to 375 and then lower again once the loaves are in the oven.

After the second thirty minutes, repeat the process for the third and last time. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool on a rack. The loaves will firm as they cool. The loaves will do fine frozen for about a month if you wrap them well.

Recipe thanks to:
A Vegan For Dinner

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Graham Cracker Crust

As I was posting about my breakfast I realized I got so caught up in getting back into school and preparing for finals after Thanksgiving I never posted any of the recipes! I will have to get those up this week. First, pumpkin cheesecake.

I got this recipe from a friend on mine and it is fabulous! Sorry the picture sucks so much, I didn't get any good shots of dessert on Thanksgiving. Believe me, it's really good.

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

12 oz Firm silken tofu
8 oz Cream Cheese (I use Tofutti)
1 C Pumpkin puree (I used fresh)
1 C Sugar
3 Tbs Flour
1/2 tsp Ground ginger
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1 Graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature for 30 minutes. Cover, and place into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 package Graham crackers (I use Health Valley)
~1/2 C Earth Balance

Crush Graham crackers by hand or in a food processor. Melt Earth Balance and pour into crushed crackers. Mix with your hands until mixture begins to stick together. Add more Earth Balance as needed. Press the mixture evenly into a pie dish. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until it begins to smell.

Recipe thanks to:
Kaycee Bassett, Heart Break World

The whatever-you-have-in-your-fridge breakfast scramble

This morning I wanted veggies. But I didn't want a potato hash with veggies like I usually have so I went for tofu. I threw a bunch of veggies together and it turned out really well, so I thought I would share. Besides, I haven't posted in five days and I'm feeling a bit guilty.

So here we go:
~2 oz Silken tofu
~2 oz Extra firm tofu
1 C Kale, fresh or frozen
10 Baby portabella mushrooms
2 thick slices of Red onion, chopped
1 T Canola oil

Chop the kale into chewable pieces. Place in a pan with onions and oil and saute about 5 minutes. Cut the baby bellas into fourths and then add to the pan. Saute for about 5 more minutes, or until the kale is soft. Cut the extra firm tofu into bite-sized pieces and then add to the pan with the silken tofu. Season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you think may be fun. I used a dash or two of curry powder and a dash of chili powder, which worked pretty well.