Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How To Get Past Veggie Hate

Ah, veggie hate. It's alive and well in practically every corner of the world.

First, I blame parents. I blame the parents that cook vegetables into a mushy pile of nastiness and force children to eat it before leaving the table because 'veggies are good for you.. eat them'

Not cool.

Secondly, It's a scientific fact that younger people have more taste buds so it stands to reason that they are bigger tasters in general so strong flavors are sometimes hard to deal with. This is one reason why most kids like the milder flavored veggies like corn, potatoes and peas and won't appreciate the stronger flavors until they are older.

If you still have veggie hatred in your soul, it's time to get past it. why? Veggies are good for you .. eat them!

Only this time, you'll eat them because you like them, they make you feel fantastic, they taste good and no one is forcing you.

Reasons for Veggie Hate

Childhood Trauma - I never recall anyone ever forcing me to eat anything but I have friends that lived this horror show and I can absolutely empathize with them but if this is your past, it's time to grow up and exorcise your veggie demons.

Attack of The Mush - if you grew up with parents that thought all veggies had one texture - MUSH - then I really do feel for you. It seems in the day and age of canned and frozen foods, it was forgotten that vegetables are not meant to be cooked into a blob. Veggies have texture! Who knew?! The only time you want mushy is in a baked sweet potato or mashed potatoes. Those you want nice and soft.

Afraid of Trying New Things - if you grew up seeing corn and peas on your plate night after night, you probably weren't really excited to eat something that looked like a mini tree or some oddly shaped bean. we tend to like what we know and anything new or different can send us into a tailspin... it's even worse as a kid.

Conditioning - if you touch a hot a stove, you know not to touch it the next time. The same can be said for less than stellar introductions to new veggies. If someone made you eat a poor pitiful brussels sprout that was cooked into mush then I can understand you being hesitant to ever try one again... but it's all in the preparation. I also know people that hate veggies so they deny their children veggies (or only give them the ones they like, never trying new ones).. which is probably one of the worst things ever. I can help you get past your conditioning.

I will also be talking about a few fruits, like tomatoes. As well as mushrooms and legumes (beans) in this post as most people consider those 'veggies'.

Exorcising The Veggie Demons

You know this will involve you eating veggies, right?  Stay with me. You can do this. I promise.

First, I want you to grab a piece of paper and make these four columns on it: Love, Meh, Hate, Never Tried

Here is how I define these columns:

Love - you buy this veggie and you make it and you love it. When you go to a restaurant, you'll order this veggie or it will make it onto your plate at a buffet or salad bar. You probably have a garden and grow these veggies.

Meh - you don't buy this to make at home but you wouldn't pick it out if it ended up on your plate at a friends house or in a restaurant. You don't love it, but you don't avoid it.

Hate - you would never buy this to make at home and when eating out you will specifically ask that it not be placed into your food. If you were to get a dish with this in it, you probably wouldn't be able to eat it or even pick it out. For example, I have severe hatred for green peppers. If I pick them out, it is still all I can taste. It ruins a dish for me.

Never Tried It - obviously, you've never tried it or you last tried it as a child. If you recall eating this as a kid, and hating it but haven't tried this as an adult.. you should place it in this column.

This list is not every single veggie on the planet.. but it has the most common ones available in a grocery store or specialty produce store, either fresh, frozen, dried or canned.

Now, plug these veggies into your chart... you may need to google them to see if you've had them before. Be specific. Some people love raw tomatoes but not cooked ones, I know people that eat onion rings but won't eat onions in anything else. I'll eat red peppers but I despise green peppers. List those in two columns. 

Let's be general in placing things in columns... if the only way you can eat a sweet potato is if it's loaded with sugar and cinnamon or the only way you'll eat an onion is if it's dipped in batter and deep fried, call that a 'love' for now but we'll need to talk about that later on. (wink)


Greens/Veggies and a few fruits:

arugula
bibb/boston/butter
kale
romaine
bok choy
broccoli
broccoli rabe
cauliflower
carrots
brussels sprouts
cabbage
celery
beet
collard greens
mustard greens
dandelion greens
endive
iceberg lettuce
spinach
pumpkin
zucchini
red pepper
green pepper
yellow pepper/orange pepper
cucumber
green onion
yellow onion
red onion
russet potatoes
sweet potatoes/yams
red potatoes
gold potatoes
peas
green beans
radicchio
swiss chard
tomatillo
watercress
avocado
eggplant
corn
baby corn
white mushrooms
cremini mushrooms
shiitake mushrooms
portobella mushrooms
tomato
butternut squash
kabocha squash
spaghetti squash
acorn squash
jalapeno
artichoke
capers
okra
garlic
asparagus
leek
chives
shallot
kohlrabi
daikon
bamboo shoot
radish
jicama
parsnip
rutabaga
split peas
water chestnut
dulse
hijiki
kombu
nori


Legumes (beans):

black
pinto
chickpea/garbanzo
lima
mung
red lentils
green/brown lentils
adzuki
black eyed
fava
white beans (northern)
kidney/red beans

edamame (soy beans)
tofu
tempeh
soy curls



Ok.... now that you have your columns, let's look at them.

The love column - obviously, you already love these but lets examine why you love them. Take a look at the flavor and the texture of the ones in your love column. Do you see any patterns? (are they all fried?, are they sweet? are they soft or hard in texture?) Make a mental note.

The meh column - this column has some potential. The potential for some of these foods to move into the love column. I suspect that maybe if you had them prepared a new or different way, you could graduate these into your love column.

The hate column - there may be things on here that have potential. I'm sure you have things that you wouldn't eat even if you had a gun to you head but there may be hidden gems that have been unfairly judged and placed in this festering pile of hatred. I suspect anything you had as a child is here in this vast wasteland. Also, pay attention to what the hate items have in common .. soft or hard? soft flavors or strong? certain groups? (for me, I don't like any squash except zucchini)

The never tried column - well, just look at all the fun in your future! What culinary adventures await you?

Please take a trip to the store and pick up a few things on your meh and hate lists. Try them in a completely new way. You can buy a small amount to try. Give the veggies a second chance. You may discover a new love. 

If you have kids.. encourage them to try new veggies by letting them choose one and then you can both find a recipe to try. Make it a weekly game.


The Right Technique

If you think cooking veggies involves a sauce pan and water, we need to talk. I'm certainly not saying that every vegetable you buy and prepare has to be fresh. I can appreciate canned, frozen and dried goods but you need to know the good from the bad and the ugly. These are just my opinions, of course but it's a good place to start. Fresh is usually best if you can get it.


The good - canned beans, canned tomatoes (for stew, soup, sauces and chili), canned spinach, frozen corn, frozen broccoli, frozen mixed veggies like corn/pea/carrot for soups, frozen potatoes, dried lentils and beans, jarred artichokes, canned and jarred olives, frozen spinach for recipes

The bad - anything canned that isn't in the 'good' section. Seriously... canned veggies = mush.

The ugly - frozen brussels sprouts, canned mushrooms, canned beets, frozen squash, jarred asparagus (really?)

If a veggie is on your meh or hate list, it could be just a matter of trying it prepared in a different way. I can't tell you the number of people I've converted into brussels sprout lovers with this recipe for Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts.

You can certainly scour the internet for recipes for individual veggies but I first recommend trying the all-purpose and easy roasting technique.. many veggies are amazing when roasted.

My faves are carrots, brussels sprouts, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onion and asparagus. Many root veggies work great roasted so give them a try with turnips, rutabagas and the like.

Chop your veggies and put them in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and whatever else you like (I like to use an Italian seasoning and nutritional yeast) and drizzle olive oil over them (not a ton. just enough to coat them very lightly). Toss to coat and then pour them on a baking pan and bake at 400 degrees until they are done to your liking. Remember, veggies have texture and bite to them. They should be fork tender but you should have to chew them!

Another great technique is steaming. Steamer baskets are cheap and you can usually find them in any grocery store. If you have a rice cooker, you can steam veggies as you're making the rice as well. some pan sets come with a steaming insert. You may have one and not even know it. They also make microwave steamers and even fancy electric steamers.

Click here for a nice tutorial of the different ways to steam.

I also like to pan fry/saute some veggies. The Brussels sprout recipe above is a pan fry recipe. I prefer my mushrooms pan fried in a little Earth Balance and sprinkled with garlic salt. For a side dish, I like mushrooms slightly browned but not cooked until they lose their moisture. Stir frying veggies is quick and really simple... just heat up a little olive oil or Earth Balance in a pan and saute them. Serve them over brown rice or toss with whole grain pasta and a little marinara. 

Just remember that there are a variety of ways to prepare all veggies. You may like some raw, some cooked, some partially cooked, some baked into a dish or some in a smoothie. I know people that swear to me that they hate kale until they try kale chips. You may only like beans baked into brownies or tofu when it's made into a chocolate pie. You won't know until you TRY a variety of things. If you love to use the 'it's a texture thing' excuse.. get over it and change the texture.


Turning Good Veggies into A Nightmare

Remember that sweet potato you could only eat if it was slathered in sugar, cinnamon and butter? Well... it's time you stopped doing that on a regular basis. If I get a baked sweet potato at a restaurant I usually use the cinnamon and sugar because it's already mixed together and I may even bring some Earth Balance to totally splurge but I probably have one sweet potato a year in a restaurant. At home I usually only use cinnamon as it's really sweet enough on it's own.

If you can only eat broccoli if it's covered in velveeta, your salad is swimming in ranch, if all your veggies are fried or if a baked potato is only attractive if it's covered with sour cream, cheese, bacon and butter then you need to take a serious look at your diet. 

Don't you dare utter the words 'at least I'm eating vegetables'. I will not be amused.

Veggies really are delicious all on their own with a pinch of salt. When you deface them with secretions and flesh or deep fry them... you are destroying their flavor and their worth. Plus, eating animal products has totally compromised your taste buds so you won't ever be able to fully appreciate veggies until you stop eating it.

You deserve better.

If you need a little transition time, try using similar products on your veggies ... salsa and fresh veggies on a baked potato, make some vegan queso for your broccoli, switch to Earth Balance instead of butter, maple syrup on your sweet potato, make homemade onion rings and bake them instead of frying them, tempeh bacon instead of pig flesh. You can find a way.


Recipes:

Massaged Kale Salad

Not Roast Crockpot Veggies


Our fave around here ..... Kale Chips - see Mimi Kirk making them here ..... you can also bake these in an oven slowly at 200 degrees or at 350 if you really watch them closely. I mix this with my hand, massaging the ingredients into the leaves.

Easy, Cheesy Kale Chips by Mimi Kirk

1 bunch of curly or dino kale


5-6 tablespoons virgin olive oil

4-5 tablespoons gluten free tamari (or soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos), depending how salty tasting you like them

Nutritional yeast, I just pour on top and mix with tongs until leaves are coated. It’s your choice how cheesy you like them. I like them cheesy.

Sprinkle in seasonings of choice, example; cumin, curry, pizza seasoning, chili pepper or none if you prefer, it’s good just with the nutritional yeast.

Directions.

Remove stem from kale and place in a bowl. Try to obtain large pieces as the kale shrinks in the dehydrator.

Pour the olive oil on top and mix with tongs until leaves are coated. Add the tamari and mix again. 

Lastly, add nutritional yeast and any seasonings you choose, and mix again. Nutritional yeast get thick when damp, so make sure to scrape sides of the bowl to incorporate.

Place on mesh screen of dehydrator tray and spread out somewhat. One bunch of kale will usually make 3 trays. Dehydrate 3 or more hours at 105–110 degrees until crispy like a potato chip.


Beans!

I want to talk about beans because many people call them veggies and many people have a deep hatred for beans. First off.. you should eat beans. They are a crazy good source of protein and so full of amazing nutrients and fiber that you are missing out on health wise if you refuse to find a bean or two you can love.


First up - gas. You should know, the more you eat beans, the more your body gets used to them and the less gas you have. If you use dry beans, soaking them and rinsing them before using and/or adding in a piece of kombu into the pot will get rid of the gas inducing properties and make them easier to digest. You can also buy OTC products like Beano.

I usually hear the word 'texture' when it comes to beans. I'm just not sure what an individual means when they say they don't like the texture of beans. Do they not like the bite of whole beans in chili? Do they not like the smoothness of refried beans or hummus?

I know people that love hummus but they tell me they don't like chickpeas. Hummus is made from chickpeas. I know someone that doesn't like straight up black beans but he is fine eating black bean soup or black bean burgers. Some people love pintos and hate kidney beans.

Please don't lump beans into one group... beans have very diverse and distinctive tastes. You really need to try all of them in order to truly say you dislike them. If you like baked beans then you like white northern beans, if you like refried beans then you like pintos, if you like hummus then you like chickpeas/garbanzos and if you like chili, you like kidney/red beans.

And if you are resisting me.. you can make refried beans with black beans, chili with pinto beans, and hummus with any bean. Your excuses are not valid here. If you don't like the texture.. change it.


Here are some tasty bean recipes for you to try:

Pintos & Brown Rice Bowl  - quick Chipotle Burrito Bowl clone!

Here is an easy and delicious recipe for refried beans from Happy Herbivore. I make these just about every week. I like to make quick bean tacos out of it but it's great as a side dish as well. I also add in garlic and onion powder. Feel free to play around with it.

Morgan at The Little House of Veggies makes amazing soups... here are my fave bean based ones:

Black Bean Tortilla Soup. I like to add a squirt of lime juice and ume plum vinegar to mine. You can adjust the texture of this soup. Keep it a little chunky or make it completely smooth.

Split Pea Soup. I make this in the crock pot. I skip the rice milk in this and it's still fantastic.

Two of my fave bean recipes come from Josh - he has this Chick Spread recipe that is really yummy. You can adjust the texture so it's flaky like tuna or smooth like a hummus. I like it as a sandwich or wrap filling or to top a salad. I skip the tofu but I like to add shredded carrot, some No chicken bouillon and extra nutritional yeast to mine. Make it your own! Here is a link to my adjusted recipe.

He also has my fave black bean burger recipe. I double this recipe and freeze the cooked burgers. Then I just thaw in the microwave (or on the counter) and then pan fry in a little olive oil. I love it topped with some chipotle mayo.

You can try my tempeh bacon recipe or my recipe for chocolate mousse! You can also see my review for Soy Curls, which is just soybeans pulled into a meaty ingredient! Try my Chickpea Patties for a great main dish.

Roasted Chickpeas - these are addictive! You can make them any flavor you can think of. I love to make them cajun! You can cook them until they are crunchy or pull them out when they are still soft.







Recipe - Baked Seitan Loaf

Thanksgiving is just a week away so here is a recipe for a basic seitan loaf that is easy .. you bake it!

This recipe is from 'Vegan on the Cheap' by Robin Robertson. 

I made the additions to get the flavor closer to the Tofurky brand Hickory Deli Slices. My husband and I both agreed it tastes the same. I usually make half a loaf for the two of us (half loaf is shown in the photo). I slice it up and serve it as the main course along side veggies and potatoes. if you can slice it thin enough, you can use it on a sandwich! It's also great chopped up and stir fried into dishes. I also pan fried it in a little oil and it got a lot like bacon.. I guess, turkey bacon. 


Baked Seitan Loaf

1/2 cup white beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth (I use bouillon in water)
2 cups vital wheat gluten (wheat gluten flour)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Shelly's Additions:

1 tsp liquid smoke (if you want a smoked flavor like the Tofurky hickory slices), 1/2 tsp celery salt and some Better Than Bouillon No Chicken flavor bouillon. I didn't measure the bouillon. I just added some into it until it tasted good.

Preheat oven top 350. In a blender or food processor combine beans, soy sauce, oil and broth until smooth.

in a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Mix to combine. Stir wet mixture into dry and make a soft dough. Make sure you have the gluten 'strings' .. pull it apart and you should see some elasticity to it. 


Knead for three minutes and shape into an oval loaf shape.

Place the loaf in an oiled sheet of foil and close it in the foil. Place loaf in a 10 inch baking pan. add an inch of water to the pan and lightly cover the entire pan with foil. Bake until form, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Note from Shelly - It doesn't take the full 1 hour and 45 minutes if you do half a loaf.... make note of how it feels before you bake it and then you'll understand what 'firm' means and when it's done. Also.. the water will burn off so check that and make sure you add more when needed otherwise the bottom of your loaf will be burned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Original Recipe: Pintos & Brown Rice Bowl

I am a fan of Chipotle Grill but I don't get there very often and lucky for me, I can make a yummy Burrito Bol here at home.

Chipotle offers their black beans for vegans as their pintos have bacon in them (boo hiss). So, I thought I'd create a pintos & brown rice bowl for us!

This recipe is basically one serving with a serving of the beans leftover.. unless you're really hungry.. then you can eat it all. I won't tell.



Pintos & Brown Rice Bowl

Beans:

15 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 cup water
few shakes of liquid smoke

Place the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the water has evaporated some and you are left with saucy beans.

Brown Rice:

1 cup prepared brown rice
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Combine ingredients. If rice was refrigerated when you mixed everything together, warm for 45 seconds in microwave. don't overcook it, it will get lumpy and dry!

Corn Salsa:

1/4 cup of your fave salsa
1/4 cup cooked corn

Mix together.



Additional optional ingredients:

Vegan sour cream (warm for 10 seconds to make it thin enough to drizzle)
Cheesy sauce - I like the vegan queso recipe on this post or you can use Daiya cheese.
Fresh veggies like lettuce, fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions.


Assembly:

Layer the brown rice on the bottom, then saucy beans, then corn salsa, then vegan cheesy sauce and finally, sour cream.



Monday, October 22, 2012

New Logo & Logo Shop!


Check out the new logo for the Plant Hungry blog!

I also opened up a fun Cafe Press shop so you can pick up logo merchandise to show off your plant based lifestyle!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You, Sir... are NO LION!

Meat eaters love to liken themselves to carnivores. Humans are not carnivores. In fact,  biologically, humans are herbivores. If you look at our nails, our teeth, our jaws, our digestive tract, digestive juices, and our intestinal track, it matches that of an herbivore, not a carnivore and not an omnivore.

Check out the chart below.

Humans have chosen to be omnivores, which basically means 'humans eat anything' but I think we all know that just because you can eat something, doesn't mean you should.

I'm looking at you, Cinnabon!

If humans were carnivores or even 'natural' omnivores as some argue (meaning biologically designed eat both plants and animals, like bears, raccoons, and chickens) then seeing road kill would make you want to stop and eat it or seeing a horse in a pasture would make you want to stop and kill it for dinner. Does that describe you? I sure hope not.

I had to adjust the size of the chart to fit here so I realize this chart might be hard to read here on the blog.. so please click here to see a bigger version. It's fascinating. Hard to argue with the facts, man.




The Lion Defense

When a meat eater uses the lion defense it irritates me. There is a big difference between a lion killing a zebra and a human killing a cow. Lions killing zebras is natural. Humans killing cows, is not. It's what we've been conditioned to do through the generations. It comes back to the child equation - if you put a child in a room with an apple and a rabbit ... the child will play with the rabbit and eat the apple. Not the other way around.

1. Lions don't breed zebras in captivity.
2. Lions kill one zebra at a time as needed. One lion kills around 15 animals a year. Lions are scavengers the rest of the time. The get 40% of their meat  from dead animals or stealing from other carnivores.
3. Lions don't torture and neglect the zebra before killing it.
4. Zebras have the possibility of escaping from the lion.
5. Lions kill their prey as swiftly as possible.
6. Lions eat their prey raw and they eat all of it - even the hide and the hair.  Without condiments.
7. Lions catch, kill and eat their prey without the use of tools, traps, weapons or a grill.
8. Lions swallow their food whole.

1. Humans breed herd animals because herd animals don't fight back. Why do you think humans use cows for milk instead of a lion? There is no nutritional need for the milk of other mammals. Cows were chosen because they are docile and can be easily exploited.

2. Humans kill more animals than they need and hundreds of thousands of pounds of flesh is thrown away and wasted on a daily basis .. making the sacrifice of that animal's life even more horrible and senseless.

3. Humans routinely torture and neglect the animals they keep for food.

4. Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other food animals have no means of escape from humans because we keep them captive.

5. Humans love to believe they have 'humane' slaughter. There is no such thing. Food animals must have a beating heart in order to bleed out at slaughter so 'humane' apparently means 'knocked unconscious'  but that doesn't always happen. It is very common for animals to still be awake and aware as they are being butchered - sliced open, bled and chopped up. At the very least.. animals are still alive even if they are knocked out.

6. Humans are not true carnivores since they do not eat their flesh raw and they only eat certain parts of the corpse. Humans must cook the flesh of animals in order to make it safer for consumption. Humans season their flesh in order to make it edible. Humans use ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, salsa, herbs, and spices.. which are all PLANTS. so.. humans use plants to make their rotting flesh edible.

7. Humans require tools and traps and weapons to catch an animal and while it's possible they might be able to kill certain animals with their bare hands, they'd need tools in order to dismember and eat one and they'd surely need fire to cook it. When was the last time you saw a lion with a Weber?

8. Humans must chew, a lot. In fact, humans don't chew as much as they should. Read this!

So, if you are a meat eater using this tired old debate.. you can stop now.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Original Recipe: Shelly's Chik'n Salad


Feel free to share this recipe but please link back to this blog.

I recently discovered a couple products that mimic the texture of chicken in a way that you can use them to make old favorites like 'chicken' salad.

This photo was the salad I made using Augason Farms Chicken Substitute but I have to be honest, I didn't like it as much as I loved Soy Curls so I would recommend making this with the Soy Curls instead. You'll just need to chop those up a little after rehydrating them.

The Augason Farms product had an odd aftertaste to me and it is far more processed and has more ingredients than Soy Curls so health-wise, choose the Soy Curls.

Give my friends at Fake Meats your business as they are an independent company and appreciate your orders! Their shipping is very reasonable and they ship quickly.



Shelly's Chick'n Salad

1/2 cup chick'n substitute or Soy Curls
1 cup water
1/2 tsp no chicken bouillon
2 stalks celery, diced
5 baby carrots (or one whole carrot), diced
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp season salt or Original Old Bay
1/2 tsp lemon pepper or lemon-herb Old Bay
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped (or sub sunflower seeds!)
Veganise (or other vegan mayo), to taste
salt & pepper to taste, if needed

You can also add in anything you'd like to make this amazing.. perhaps green onion or pickle relish!

Boil the water and bouillon and then add in the substitute or curls and cook for a few minutes to rehydrate and warm it up. Drain and squeeze out the excess water from the chik'n.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the mayo until blended. Add in the mayo a little at a time until it is how you'd like it. You want it to hold together but not be too wet and gloopy. Serve on a whole wheat bun, in a wrap or on top of a salad. You can also chill it for a more traditional salad before serving.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Soy Curls

So, I have a bit of a story to tell before I review Soy Curls.

The first thing.. do you know how hard it is to not type Curlz with a Z at the end? It was right there for the taking and they squandered it. Z, man.. Z

Anyway.....

I believe that the universe sometimes works in mysterious ways. Not an otherworldly or superior being-ish way.. just a sort of an odd 'wow.. look what had to happen in order for this to have come about' sort of way.

This is how I found Soy Curlz.. uh, Soy Curls.

So, a number of years ago.. many, many moons.... I met a girl online named Dee. She and I met on a message board. We stayed in touch thru the years and when Facebook came into being we ended up being FB friends.. and that is how I met her cousin in law, Pam.

Pam is a runner and she has a blog. I make jewelry and sell it on Etsy (yes, I'm going somewhere with this) and I created some running jewelry for Pam and then I expanded the 'Run' line and in order to promote the line, I offered Pam the opportunity to hold a giveaway on her blog because the universe knows, I am so not a runner and I needed exposure to runners.

She ran the giveaway and her friend, Kim, won it.  Kim is a vegan and she lives in the same regional area of Chicago as I do! What are the odds? I'm always happy to meet new vegans. While Kim and I were chatting via email she casually said 'oh, hey.. by the way.. my husband owns fakemeats.com .. here is a discount code for 15% off.'

I had heard of Fake Meats.com and I even 'liked' them on Facebook but I had no idea it was based here in Illinois where I live and I had no idea she was a friend of Pam's. I've even browsed their website. Now, if you know me.. you know that I rarely buy anything online without a discount code.

So.. off I went to browse again, 15% code in hand. I found Soy Curls (and some other chicken substitute and some cheddar bacon popcorn and..... but let's get back on topic, shall we?!) Now, I had heard of Soy Curls but hadn't really researched it or checked for reviews or looked for recipes. It isn't anything I can buy locally so I hadn't tried it yet. I honestly thought it was just TVP but it isn't. It's actually whole soybeans.. nothing else!

Yes.. it's a whole food.. like tempeh is. Hardly processed, really.

The Butler Foods website says this about Soy Curls "Select certified Non-GMO soybeans grown without chemical pesticides are soaked in spring water. Then the soybeans are cooked and delicately textured after which they are dried at low temperature thus ensuring the natural goodness of the whole soybean high in fiber and omega-3. Soy Curls™ are one of the most pure, healthful products on the market containing no chemicals, additives, or preservatives."

So ... by some strange universal magic... I found my way to Soy Curls via my friends Dee and Pam.

So... onto my review.... I f'ing love these things and so did my 'vegan at home' husband (he's an omnivore when he eats away from home). I can see these getting lots of use in my house!

I re-hydrated them by soaking them in a no chicken bouillon for about 20 minutes. Then I dredged them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried them in canola oil and drained them on paper napkins.
That gave me the base for what will become a staple around here... I had perfectly breaded morsels of goodness ready for whatever sauce I wanted... I coated them in buffalo wing sauce and served them as is with fries. We loved it!

They have a delightfully chewy meat-like texture and I'd imagine they'd pick up whatever flavor you cooked them with. I had a hard time staying away from them after frying them up. So, make extras for snacking.

Here are the photos I took of the process:









My husband made the same remark I did when seeing them .. they look like clam strips. so, I figured I could maybe season them with Old Bay sometime and make those for him. I could also imagine using sweet & sour or teriyaki on these and making fried rice or a stir fry. Kim says she makes fajitas out of it (sans breading) .. so, I think anything you can do with shredded chicken, you can do with Soy Curls.

Two thumbs up.. for sure. I'm gonna need to order more.




Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Clone Recipe: Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning

Feel free to share this recipe but please link it back to this blog. Thanks.

Clone Recipe: Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning

Ah, Trader Joe's. If you've been to one, you know and if you haven't you dream of one day visiting one.

Our nearest TJ's is an hour drive away so I only make it there a couple times a year. One of my most fave items is the South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (SASS for short).. it is large flakes of sea salt, paprika, basil and garlic in a grinder.

As much as I love it, I found myself wishing I could sprinkle it like salt, versus grinding it and having larger flakes on my food.  So.. I made my own! Plus, this means I can have it anytime and if you aren't near a TJ's.. you can enjoy it too!

I like it on popcorn, vegan mac & cheese and potatoes.

I recommend using a Bullet blender if you have one.

Trader Joe's South African Smoke Seasoning

5 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp hickory smoked salt

Blend together in the Bullet, Store in a glass jar or covered container. Use as you would salt.










Friday, September 14, 2012

$10 off at Vitacost!


Go get your $10 coupon at Vitacost thru my referral link!

They have great prices and lots of brands .... check them out!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meal Idea - Refried Bean Quesadilla

Here is a quick meal idea!

I try and keep a container of homemade refried beans in my fridge for a quick grab and go snack.

Sometimes I want something a little fancier so I make a quesadilla. If a quesadilla can be called fancy!

Heat up a dry skillet and place a whole wheat tortilla in it. One half of it, spread your beans and top with whatever you like.. I used nutritional yeast, green onions and chopped campari tomatoes in this one.

This is a good recipe to use up any leftover veggies you have in your fridge.

Fold it over and allow to brown before carefully flipping it and browning the other side. I'd normally top this with guacamole but I was out of avocados. It would also be delicious with my vegan queso sauce drizzled on top!

Super easy, super quick with no time for excuses.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Respect and Justification

I don't apologize for my views and I don't apologize for how my veganism makes other people feel or how it may make them look at their own values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with me. 

However, sometimes I am subjected to comments regarding respect and justification from meat eaters and I feel that I need to address these two things on my blog. It's a little bit of tough love.




Respect

At some point in every plant eaters life they will hear this sentence:

"I respect your choice to not eat animals so you should respect my choice to eat them"

Ok.. so here is my stance on 'respect'. I can and do respect the personal choices people make regardless of whether I understand them - like whether to believe in god or not, what color to paint their house, how they cut their hair, what clothes they wear, if they have tattoos and piercings, what kind of car to buy, who to vote for, what stores they shop at and who they choose to love or have sex with. I respect your right to eat an Oreo over a banana .. even tho I'd rather you had the banana, it's none of my business. I respect the right of a woman to make decisions for her own body like birth control, abortion and plastic surgery. I respect a man's right to watch porn or hire a hooker.

I do not, however, respect the choices people make when there is a victim of some sort. I don't respect serial killers that kill for the thrill or people who abuse, torture and neglect cats and dogs. I don't respect men who beat their wives and children and I don't respect pedophiles who exercise their personal right to molest a child. I don't respect the personal choice of someone that decides to burn down a building or start a wildfire. I don't respect the personal choice of my neighbors to crank their music up at 2am.

I don't smoke, drink or do drugs but I do think that it's s personal choice to participate in those behaviors.. however, if you want to smoke in my house, get into a car while drunk or give drugs to a kid, then those are no longer personal choices. They affect other people and I have a problem with it.

Those choices affect others .. be it on an individual level or a community level. I want people to be considerate of the whole when it comes to making 'personal choices' because many choices aren't actually 'personal' at all.

Do you see the difference?

I do not respect people that make the choice to eat other beings when there are other choices, which there are 99% of the time. Plus, choosing to eat animal products affects more than just that animal - it affects the environment and the only planet we have to live on, people are starving because land that can grow food for people is used to grow grain for land animals and to keep them, people get diseases from eating animal products, working in the slaughterhouses and factory farming industries. As a taxpayer you pay for the costs of their healthcare - medication, surgeries, and disability payments.

You may be thinking, 'well, I'm sure you have friends and family members that eat animals' and yes, I sure do and while I may enjoy their friendship and love them ... and even respect them in other areas of their lives, I do not and cannot respect their choice to eat animals and they know it. I can agree to disagree with people but I cannot respect certain behaviors.


Justification

One thing that I have a very big problem with are when people try and justify their animal eating behavior by drawing strange lines. One example are people who eat everything animal based except veal. They some how draw a line at eating baby cows. They very often say 'well, it's cruel to lock up baby cows in a small crate and deny them sunlight and grass and, plus.. they are babies!' .. and it sure is horrible but that happens to ALL ANIMALS RAISED FOR FOOD.

Almost all animals are still babies when they are slaughtered for the dinner table. They are 5 weeks to 6 months of age. We still call a dog a puppy if it's under a year old. Your freezer is full of baby corpses.

Another example is the 'free range', 'cruelty free', 'farm raised', 'cage free', 'grass fed' and any other wording used to make it seem like these animals are living the high life in a big pasture under blue skies. It isn't happening, folks .... there may be a few farms here and there that raise their animals that way but I can assure you that you probably can't afford to eat them.

The meat and dairy industries are interested in making money, they are not interested in treating the animals kindly. In the US, 10 BILLION land animals are killed for food each YEAR. 10 billion. It's 45 billion worldwide and those numbers do not include sea animals.

This is why there are dirt feed lots, where thousands of animals are packed into small spaces, fed grain to fatten them up, pumped full of drugs to deal with the fact that grain is not their natural diet and then slaughtered in what is not and never can be called a humane practice.  'Humane' to the industry is stunning the animals and hopefully knocking them unconscious while they are slaughtered alive. Their hearts are beating.. they must in order to bleed them out .. while they are cut into pieces.

The reality is that even if small 'humane' farms exist the animals are still all butchered in the same USDA approved slaughterhouses that the 'common' animals are slaughtered in. It's a law. If you buy meat for consumption then it has to be butchered at a USDA approved facility. There are only a few companies that provide the beef, pork and chickens to the public.. they just have multiple brands they package and sell under. Pretty much all of the meat in your grocery store comes from the same few places.

By using this odd justification, people try and make themselves feel better about eating animals. Perhaps they know on a moral level that they shouldn't be eating them so they think if they make certain concessions like paying more for what they think are 'better' products then they are somehow not as responsible for the horror.

In truth, anyone that eats any animal products of any kind holds the same responsibility. You cannot sugar coat murder, neglect, abuse, torture and exploitation. You cannot make it better.

I realize that people who eat animals maybe can't see this as I do so I want to give examples in non-animal terms that might make sense to people still choosing to eat animal products.

Saying 'it's ok to eat a pig if they were allowed to live their whole 6 months in a sunny barnyard with a watering hole and straw to sleep on and had a nightly belly rub by the farmer' is like saying 'it's ok for a pedophile to molest children if they take them to Disneyland first' or 'it's ok to beat my wife if I buy her a diamond ring first' or 'it's ok if i murder this hooker. She's a drug addict on welfare so no one will miss her.'

Obviously, you should find those statements appalling and wrong.

You cannot justify behavior that is inherently wrong. Even if you somehow make it 'less' wrong or justify why it's ok in some circumstances.. it's still wrong. If you don't think eating animals is wrong then own that.. don't tell me that it's too hard to be vegan or that you don't have time to eat plant foods or that the bible says you should eat animals or that your doctor says you 'need' meat to survive or that you simply can't take another breath without eating cheese.. don't tell me you 'love' animals right before you bite into a burger ... just tell me 'I like meat, it tastes good, I'm going to eat it and I don't give a shit about the animals that die for my hunger' ... just admit that truth about yourself and own the choices you make. Don't try and lessen your guilt by making excuses or trying to justify why you think you have to eat other sentient beings.




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Recipe - Roasted Garlic Aioli

You are welcome to share this recipe but I want it linked back to this blog. Thank you.

Aioli is mayo seasoned with garlic. I had been hearing about the Wildwood brand of garlic aioli and how popular it was and how yummy it was but I couldn't find it locally. I started to investigate and I discovered the ingredients of the Wildwood aioli were the same exact ingredients (minus garlic) as the vegenaise vegan mayo!

Such luck! So.. I set out to make my own!

First, you need to make roasted garlic ... find the instructions on one of my former posts!

Now.. I know there are people in this world that don't like mayo (I don't understand you but I know you exist!) .. I'd like to invite those people that hated dairy mayo to try vegan mayo. I've heard so many stories from people about how they hated dairy mayo but really love vegan mayo. So, you may want to give it a try one day!

Ok.. back to the recipe!

Shelly's  Roasted Garlic Aioli

1/2 cup Vegenaise
5-10 cloves roasted garlic
1/8 tsp dry mustard (optional)
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

You just smash up the garlic and mix everything together! I used 10 cloves in mine but it really depends how garlicy you want it.. remember that once it sits for awhile, the flavors will meld and it will get a stronger flavor. I like to add a little smoked paprika and dry mustard for a little zing but it's all about how you like it.. so it's optional!

This will be amazing on a Tempeh BLT or Tofurky sandwich. It would also be good used in place of plain mayo in a potato or pasta salad.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Snack: Nutty Salted Date Caramels

I love caramels and even tho you can absolutely make vegan caramels, I'm too lazy to embark on candy making most of the time so I combine a few yummy ingredients and fake it!

My friend, Morgan at Little House of Veggies told me to try this.

This is a sweet snack that is quick and easy and more healthful than candy!

They are so rich that I can usually only eat a few.

Nutty Salted Date Caramels


Dates (barhi ,shown or medjool are my faves)
Raw nuts (walnuts, shown or almonds)
Sea salt

Pit the dates and remove the weird little end they have, wrap each date around the nut and sprinkle with sea salt. If you use medjools, you can usually get one nut into each half of the date because they are so big.

They taste a whole lot like caramels!

Spirulina & Barley Grass Juice Powder

I love the smell of coffee but I hate the taste of it and for that I am thankful. I'm glad I never fell into the coffee pool that I see so many of my friends drowning in.

I have my own version of a morning pick me up and I look forward to it every morning. My first 16 ounces of water each day is blended with 1/2 tsp of spirulina, 1/2 tsp of Just Barley and sometimes I add in 1/2 tbsp of decaf instant tea. I pour it over a huge glass of ice.

I use a classic Blender Bottle. I picked them up at iHerb and VitaCost.  Amazon.com has them as well. The bottles come with a steel ball that helps to blend powder into liquid. You just shake it and pour or you can take it with you. You can find them for $5 to $8 each

Note: if you haven't ordered from iHerb before, you can use my referral code for $5.00 off! Just enter in the code AWE648 .. sometimes you can get 410 off $40 .. so double check.

If you haven't ordered from Vita Cost.. click here for $10 off your order!

I love the way drinking spirulina and barley grass just seems to wake up every cell in my body! I really notice it if I don't drink it first thing in the morning. I try to have 16 ounces of water before I have breakfast. It gets my body moving along .. much like coffee does for everyone else.

Not everyone likes the 'green' flavor but I love it and I crave it. I will say that I do not like the flavor of sea veggies like nori, seaweed and the like but I love the flavor of spirulina and BGJ! 

Spirulina

The folks over at Natural News have a fantastic article about spirulina so I'll let you head over there to read all about it, why it's good for you and why you may want to add it to your day!

The brand of spirulina I use is called Nutrex-Hawaii. There are other brands, of course, but I did some research and this is the one I decided on based on reviews and how it's grown and processed. It comes in powder or pill form. I like the powder because I actually love the green grassy flavor to it but some people don't. I also like that I can add the powder to a smoothie if I want to. 

The bottle says 1 tsp is a serving but I use 1/2 tsp so I should get about 300 servings out of one 16 oz bottle. On amazon.com you can get it for $25 to $28 with free shipping. I signed up for their subscribe and save plan and knocked an additional 15% off. You can adjust the shipping time to every 6 months and you can always skip the shipment if you want. It's a really easy way to save but you have to pay attention to your subscribe and save items so you don't get shipments you don't need! I have quite a few items on my account that way.

Barley Grass Juice Powder (BGJ)

I use the Pure Plant brand called Just Barley. Click the link to read about the history and benefits of BGJ. 

As always, I research various brands and I found this one to be the best reviewed. It's 100% organic and just barley grass with no additives or fillers. I've had other brands and they've tasted so horrible that I couldn't finish them. I love the taste of this but I like the green grassy flavor. I do tell people to give it a chance. I actually crave this now. You can always add it to a smoothie if you want to hide the flavor. I usually get this from iHerb or Vita Cost as they seem to have the best prices.

They have an 80 gram jar that has 80 1 tsp servings. I use 1/2 tsp so I get 160 servings.  I pay about $16 a bottle. 

As with spirulina, BGJ can be used in fresh juice or in a smoothie if you prefer.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Original Recipe: Massaged Kale Salad

This salad was almost 100% raw and almost 100% healthy and then I went and added crispy tempeh bacon to it.

I can hear the voices in your head saying 'but, tempeh bacon is healthy' and yes, crazy head voices,  it sure is... until you pan fry it in olive oil.

Whoops.

Is there a 12 step program for tempeh bacon addiction? Did I say that out loud?

So.... if you want it 100% raw, leave out the tempeh bacon. If you want it 100% healthy bake your tempeh bacon. (but it's damn good fried crispy in olive oil .. shhhhh... be quiet naughty head voices!)

I found a recipe online but when I started messing with it and adding things... it suddenly became my recipe.

Shelly's Massaged Kale Salad
Makes 2 entree salads or 4 side salads


8 oz of kale, stems removed and broken into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, very thinly sliced
2 carrots (or a couple handfuls of baby carrots), shredded
1 small avocado
6 cherry tomatoes (cut in half) or 3 small campari tomatoes (cut into 4)
8 slices temeph bacon, fried crispy (optional.. but not really)

Dressing:

2 tbsp water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice from one lemon (please use a fresh lemon)
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp salt
dash cayenne (if you want it to have a little spice to it)

In a large bowl, combine the kale, onions and carrots. Set aside

In a smaller bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix until smooth. (I used my Magic Bullet blender.) If you need to add an additional tablespoon of water, do so... you want it smooth and the thickness of a creamy salad dressing. No lumps! Not too thin!

Now... with your hand.. seriously.. the necessary tool here is your hand ... massage the dressing into the veggies ... making sure you massage it into each kale leaf. Use a swedish massage type effort.. not deep tissue! The acid of the vinegar and lemon juice and the fat of the avocado will soften the kale.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Plate the salad and top with tomatoes and tempeh bacon.. I know you're using it.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegan Ground Beef

A veg friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook one day of a burger made with Gimme Lean Ground Beef  and I was intrigued because it looked so much like a cow burger. I'd seen the product at my local store but I just never thought to pick it up but I did last night.

I had read reviews of this product and others and I got frustrated because some reviewers aren't fair to certain products like this.

I call them 'ingredients' because like raw animal flesh, they aren't usually good straight out of the package and you have to do something with them in order to make them into something delicious. Tofu and tempeh are other 'ingredient' products. They are not 'ready to eat' products like a nugget or finished patty is.

If you were to take a hunk of cow flesh and make a patty and fry it up.. it would be pretty boring and bland if you didn't season it with things like salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc (plants - how ironic) so it isn't fair to try and use these products 'as is' in a review.

You can't take a bite of flour and declare it bland and boring because it doesn't taste like a cookie!

Also, some reviewers are meat eaters. A meat eater simply cannot be objective when reviewing vegan anything. Their taste buds are compromised. I know this because I used to be a meat eater. It took me a good 6 months before I could like and appreciate vegan convenience foods. I needed the animal stuff out of my system. You cannot compare apples to oranges. Vegan foods are not trying to be meat .. they are simply in the same form of familiar foods - like burgers, hot dogs, balls, nuggets, deli slices, sausages and crumbles.

When I buy vegan nuggets I want something familiar to me that I can dunk into bbq sauce and serve with fries. They don't taste like chicken (beyond any familiar spices that are added) and I'm not wanting them to.

so.. that said... here is my review:

This comes in a one pound package that is much like those rolls of cow flesh you can buy. It holds together as it's slightly sticky like cow flesh is. It's a little more dense than I was expecting because my intention was to mix spices into it but it seemed a little tight for that. However, my friend adds bbq sauce to hers so I know it can be done, I just didn't want to mess with it today.

I sliced off a 2 oz chunk and formed it into a patty shape. It made a thin patty but comparable in size to a fast food burger and it was the perfect size for my bun. I sprinkled on some course ground 'steak' seasoning that has garlic, onion, red pepper, salt and spices. I fried in up in a pan with a little olive oil. It held together great and it looked just like a cow flesh burger. I think this might even be something you could toss on a grill without it falling apart. It browned up like a cow burger as well. I served it on a toasted whole wheat bun with leaf lettuce and some special sauce I made using Vegenaise, ketchup, dill relish and salt.

It was good. I'd eat it again. The husband (who does still eat meat when we go out) said 'it's pretty good' when I gave him a bite.

I'd compare this to a Boca type burger. They aren't my favorite and I'd rather eat any other kind of burger (ie: veggie, mushroom, bean) than a retail Boca burger if given a choice but I'll definitely make these again.
I think they'd make good meatballs and meatloaf. Although I didn't try to crumble this up, I think if you want to make tacos or use it as a crumble, you should buy the Lightlife crumbles... I think you'd have better luck but it may not be impossible!






Friday, July 20, 2012

Recipe: Shelly's Butterbeer


If you share this recipe, please link back to this blog! 

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Huge.

Fangirl proportions. Squee!

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I often wondered what Butterbeer tasted like! I'm not a drinker and I don't even like actual beer but my imagination had Butterbeer as a sweet and tasty beverage that would make me drunk and send me straight to Madam Pomfrey for sorting out!

I've come across various recipes for Butterbeer and they all seemed rather insane.. lots of sugar or actual dairy butter and even ice cream.. who wants to drink that? Who wants to give that to their kids?

I have a version that uses fruit and water .. kids won't know it isn't Butterbeer. Just make it when they aren't watching.... and get a frosty mug for extra effect. Serve along side some Pumpkin Pasties (ie: muffins) and your kid will have no idea you just used magic to get them to eat something good for them!

So.. do a little HP marathon and have good for you treats!

My magic ingredient? Butter extract from Watkins.  You can get it in the 2 oz size for $3.49 or the 8 oz size for $9.99. Sometimes it's on sale. It's possible you can find butter extract elsewhere but I have no idea.

In full disclosure, I am a Watkins Associate. It is a business I have. If you decide to order, please use my ID # 116054N to place your order so I get the commission!

Shelly's Butterbeer

12 ounces water
4 medjool dates (pitted)
1/2 tsp Watkins Vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Watkins Butter Extract
dash sea salt
Ice

Add the water, salt, vanilla and pitted dates to a high powered blender. Add in 1/4 tsp butter extract (you can add more if it isn't buttery enough) and blend until it's smooth. You want all the date pieces to be fully blended into your drink, no chunks! Pour over ice and serve with a straw. Let it sit for a few minutes and you get the nice foamy head shown in the photo!







Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cook Stocking Your Fridge in an Hour or Less!

There is nothing that frustrates me more than hearing someone say they 'don't have time' to cook. I get that people have jobs and kids and go to school or have other activities that take up their time but everyone has one hour to spare someplace.. and if they don't then they probably have enough money to hire a staff to cook for them!

You can find an hour by spending less time on Facebook or sitting in front of the TV. You could get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. You could surely find an hour on your day off.

I'm certain you have an hour. I'm positive.. if you look for it.. you will find it.

So... I timed myself and I made four recipes in about 45 minutes and since I've made all of these before, I might be a little faster at it so I am confident you can make these in under an hour.

Of course, planning is important as are the recipes you choose.. so you'll need to print out the recipes and add the ingredients to your weekly shopping list. The key to getting things done quickly and efficiently is making sure you are not interrupted (crate the puppy, turn off your cellphone, ask the kids to go do something or tell the spouse you need help to keep them busy), knowing where your tools and ingredients are, making sure they are within reach and not wasting time.. multitask in the kitchen! If I have my oven on baking black bean burgers, I'll also make a quick pan of croutons. I never let my oven work half full!

During this time I could have also made a batch of almond milk if I needed to as it takes 10 minutes and I had that 10 minutes available. If I'm cooking or baking, I cannot leave my kitchen or I will get distracted and end up burning things.. so I stay in there but I try not to have downtime when I'm in there!

If I decide to make cookies then I am doing things during the 10 minutes each batch takes to bake - be it washing dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, marinating tempeh, feeding my dogs, or even checking email on my laptop.

This cooking commitment is all about beans! If you don't like beans then you should learn to like them because they are one of natures most perfect foods! They are full of protein and fiber so they keep you full and give you lots of vitamins and necessary nutrients.

Once these foods are in your refrigerator you are literally a minute or two from a wholesome food choice.

People tend to overeat or eat the wrong things when they allow themselves to get hungry or they are too tired or unmotivated to invest time into making a meal right then... this is why you need things prepared ahead of time.

I usually have these items in my fridge every week (the soup flavor changes) and I like to keep homemade black bean burgers in the freezer as well.

Here is what you are going to make and how to use it:

Tempeh Bacon - make BLT's or toss the tempeh on top of your salad or chop it up with green onions, chopped tomatoes, a little dill and vegenaise and you have a delicious salad filling you can use in wraps, on a sandwich or just eat the salad plain!

Chick Spread - I like to add nutritional yeast and No Chicken Bouillon to mine as well. I usually skip adding the tofu and celery but I do like to stir in some shredded carrots when it's done blending. You can adjust the texture to your liking.. from a flaky tuna like texture to a hummus texture. Eat this like you would a tuna or chicken salad - on bread, on crackers, in a wrap, on a salad or with veggies for dipping.

Black Bean Tortilla Soup - I usually halve this recipe because it makes a lot for just two people. I like to add in some lime juice and ume plum vinegar to the soup at the end. It's delicious! Serve this along side a salad and a piece of crusty bread and you are set!

Refried Pinto Beans - You can make burritos or tacos, use it as a dip for chips or as a side dish. You can also serve it with some brown rice. I usually just heat some up and slap it into a tortilla for a quick snack.

Breaking Down The Hour

Take 5 minutes the day before your hour cooking commitment to slice up and marinate a block of tempeh for the tempeh bacon recipe because it needs to marinate overnight.

It will take about 20 minutes to get your soup and the refried beans to the stove. That includes chopping onions, measuring out the spices (they use pretty much the same spices so it's simple to do both at once. Just use two small bowls to measure each batch of spices as you go), opening the cans of beans and getting the ingredients into the pans.

Once your beans and soup are cooking you can get the tempeh cooking as well .. tempeh only takes a few minutes to cook.

Once your tempeh is cooked and packed into a container (don't forget to date your food so you know when it was made.. trust me, you won't remember so just put a date sticker on there!) you can make the chick spread while your soup and beans are cooking on the stove.

The chick spread took me 5 minutes to make. You toss everything in the food processor and put it in a container.

That is it! You now have a bunch of yummy food at your fingertips. That is what I call fast food!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Original Recipe: Summer Corn Salad

If you share this recipe, please link back here to the blog!


I live in the midwest so around here.. we like our sweet corn! It's sort of ironic that I use frozen sweet corn most of the time! Anyway... here is a yummy side dish!

Shelly's Summer Corn Salad


1 1/2 cups sweet corn (I used frozen and warmed it up)
3 small Campari tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes you have - about a cup or so) wedged
one small onion, diced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine corn, onion and tomatoes in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a measuring cup and whisk together.

Toss the veggies with the dressing and refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors can meld.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Original Recipe - Not-Roast Crockpot Veggies

If you share this recipe, it must be linked back to this blog. 

My fave part of a beef pot roast was the veggies cooked along side it. This recipe gives you the yummy veggies minus the pound of flesh.

I use 'steak seasoning' in this.. it's just large grains of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, red pepper and mixed spices.

Shelly's Not-Roast Crockpot Veggies


4 to 5 russet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
1 onion, diced
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 tbsp No beef bouillon paste (if you use broth, cut this back to half)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp steak seasoning

Toss everything into a crock pot and cook on high for 2.5 hours, until tender. If you want gravy, take the liquid and heat it up in a pan. Mix in a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour to 1/2 cup water and slowly add to the veggie liquids while whisking until thickened.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Original Recipe: Cheesy Potatoes

Feel free to share this recipe but it needs to be linked back to my blog. 

I used to love au gratin potatoes. I didn't even care if they were the crappy boxed kind.... give me potatoes coated in a cheesy sauce and I'm a happy girl. Going vegan meant no more cheesy potatoes.. until now!


I created this recipe by adapting the 'Thyme for Creamy Scalloped Potatoes' recipe from Chloe's Kitchen cookbook. You should just go buy this cookbook because it's fantastic and you will not be sorry... any who... her recipe is perfectly fabulous as is but I wanted to make them cheesy so I had to experiment!

The first time I made Chloe's recipe, I halved it so you can easily do that. Just use a 9x9 pan instead.

If you have a Vita Mix, you can skip the soaking part on the cashews

Shelly's Cheesy Potatoes

1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight or boil for 10 minutes to soften them)
2 cups water
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp sea salt
1 to 2 tsp fresh thyme (I sub in dried herbes de provence)
4 small to medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
4 to 5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan

In a blender, puree cashews, water, garlic, sea salt, thyme, yeast, onion powder and paprika until perfectly smooth. Absolutely smooth!

Arrange half of the sliced potatoes in the pan and cover with half of the cashew mixture. Repeat for a second layer. Cover with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes) and then uncover and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until lightly browned on top. You may need to adjust baking time based on the thickness of the potatoes and the pan you use. Chloe's recipes says 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered but I found that to be too long with my mandolin sliced potatoes. Mine came out very mashed potato like.. which was fine but if you want a sturdier sliced potato dish then cook less.