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Love ’em some pies

I wish I could be one of those foodie blogging experts that only puts the creme de la creme pictures of food up on their blogs.  As for me, I suppose I will settle.  I know I am an amateur and so if it tastes AMAZING its worth mentioning.  Enjoy the vegan pot pie from VegWeb. Btw, it was incredible!

The "healthiest" vegan pot pie

Incredible This-will-become-your-favorite Veggie Pot Pie

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 frozen pie shell, or fresh dough if you have time
2-3 cups veggie broth
1-2 potatoes
3 medium carrots
a variety of veggies such as green beans, zuchinni, mushrooms, or just about anything.
1 package frozen spinach
vegan grated or sliced cheddar to cover pan in two layers
lots of good spices: garlic,
cumin, tarragon makes it savory, whatever you like.

Directions:

Thaw pie she’ll and try real hard to take one 1/2 out of the tin w/o it breaking into a million pieces. If you manage, you are a god(dess).  Meanwhile, cook chopped veggies (NOT spinach, just keep it till later).  Cook in micro or oven till about 3/4 cooked.  To make sauce, heat broth in large kettle, add spices, and lower heat.  Add slowly either cornstarch or flour (I use flour), till slightly thickened.  You can add dairy free milk and use veggie buillon cubes.  Add to this cooked veggies and coat them w/sauce.

Meanwhile, layer 1/2 cheese on bottom of lower crust.  Spoon in veggies and sauce, then add spinach on top.  add rest of cheese on top of that, and close it up as best as you can w/ the torn top shell. at least mine always tears. bake at 400 for about 45 min, till crust is brown and delicious cheese and juice oozes out.

Serves: 3-4 hungry adults

This recipe is from Veg Web.

vegan homestyle goodness

One tip, which was also mentioned on the original vegweb recipe.  You don’t need to try to separate 1 pie shell.  Actually, I am not even sure how you do that.  I have been using  double pie shells purchased from almost any grocery store.  I just meticulously check the ingredients to make sure there is no butter, milk, or lard–>gross!  Fortunately, there are pre-made pie shells that are vegan friendly.

Oh yeah. one more tip that has previously been mentioned: try baking the bottom pie shell in the oven for 10 minutes before filling with veggies and covering.  This will help to keep the shell from getting soggy.  We don’t like soggy bottom pies!

slicing the pie-here is comes!
The healthiest pot pie there is! The "healthiest" pie around

More to say about this awesome pot pie soon!

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Bananas in what???

Plantains-the superior banana

Plantains-the superior banana

Hi friends,

Here to share a slammin’ stew from Veganomicon.  This is one of Isa’s amazing recipes for Pinto Bean and Plantain Stew.  I made this for the first time in February when my in-laws were visiting.  They love healthy foods, but I wasn’t exactly sure what they would think of this stew.  It had tomatoes, plantains, pinto beans, parsley, onions, garlic.

Honestly, it looked interesting while it was cooking.  I was a little bit nervous about how it would turn out.  This was the first time I ever shopped for plantains, so I wasn’t sure what to be looking for (yellow, spotted, black?)  I went with something in the middle.  Well, actually looking back they look pretty yellow.  Okay, so just to clarify, I am aware that they are not actually bananas.  To be clear, Webster says: any of a genus (Plantago of the family Plantaginaceae, the plantain family) of herbs with basal rosettes of usually lanceolate or elliptical leaves and spikes of minute greenish flowers.  For our purposes, however, we will stick to layman terms: superior or magical banana.

It was pretty simple to make.  And my mother-in-law loved it.  Before we even sat down to eat, she was standing over her bowl “tasting” it.  (That’s the polite way of saying standing and eating).  We had to convince her to wait until we sat down to all eat together.  I felt honored that she liked it so much!

The irresistable Pinto Bean & Plantain Stew

The irresistable Pinto Bean & Plantain Stew

The stew was both sweet and savory.  I think thats why both my husband and I enjoyed it so much.  I am the sweets girl, and he is the salty/savory guy.  (There’s almost always one in each couple ; )  This dish was nice and hearty and delicious.

I made this stew again last week while visiting a friend out of state.  It was really yummy, but I think I should have let it simmer and stew a bit longer.  The complex tastes were there, but they hadn’t mixed and mingled as much as I would like.  Good thing to remember for next time.

P.S. Friend, thanks for helping me in the kitchen.  Feel free to rate the stew.  I would love your input.  Also, I understand if you don’t repeat this recipe, as your husband would ask, “Bananas in WHAT!?”  But I am glad you shared it with me  = )

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The joys of the vegan bakery

coconut cupcake

vegan coconut cupcake

vegan brownie and coffee

vegan brownie and coffee. I guess we knew it wouldn't last long once the wrap was off!

The only thing difficult about being a vegan is keeping my fingers off those darn good sweets.  I love vegan baking.  These were some of the goods J and I got on our first date to a vegan bakery.  Yum!  Even J loved it and asked why I can’t make brownies that good.  I’ll work on it.  All that to say, vegan baking rocks!

the dilemma of vegan baking...so good!

the dilemma of vegan baking...so good!

Also I met up with a new mom who needs to kick dairy for a bit.  I am excited to pass on recipes to her and have more reasons to explore non-dairy cheese products.  I am looking forward to making some chocolate chip cookies for her too.  She seemed most excited about that!  I am glad that the little knowledge I do have of vegan cooking can be beneficial to others too!

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Chile Encrusted Tofu Po’ Boys

Hey all,

Some scandalously delicious  sandwich comin’ your way…

chile encrusted tofu po' boys

Chile Encrusted Tofu Po' Boys

These bad boys took quite a while to make, but that’s mostly because I made my own vegan friendly mayo and coleslaw.  Now, that is not actually as hard as it sounds, but it is time consuming (even more so if you’re OCD).

Condiment 1) I got the recipe for vegan mayo from an old raw cookbook I had Chavez’s The Raw Food Gourmet.  It’s primarily an almond based sauce accented with lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, pepper and a little sweetener.  So first I blended that up.  And then I worked on cleaning and food processing the cabbage and carrots.

Cabbage for coleslaw

Cabbage for coleslaw

Slaw sans mayo

Slaw sans mayo

Condiment 2) I mixed all those fresh carrots and cabbage together with some vegan mayo, pepper, lemon juice.  And this is what I got…

Coleslaw for Po' Boys

Coleslaw for Po' Boys

Now, on to the tofu.  I used firm tofu and pressed it between paper towels weighted by a cast-iron pot.

pressing tofu...go cast iron!

Pressing tofu...go cast iron!

The cast iron pan won!  Woohoo!  Next, I seasoned the tofu with some po’ boy chile spices: cornmeal, chile, cayenne, cumin.

po' boy chile spices

Po' Boy Chile Spices

frying up the tofu

Frying up the tofu

I hate frying food, but it was for the good of the sandwich ; )  The tofu had fun.  They dipped, they rolled, they swam, and then laid out to dry.

tofu drying off

Tofu drying off

Finally, I cut up a long french baguette into 4 equal size pieces.  I layered each with vegan mayo, jalapenos, chile encrusted tofu, coleslaw.  By the way, I love baguettes.  They are fun to buy and even more fun to eat.  I always wanted a good reason to buy one.  You know, better than the fact that I would otherwise want to just come home and eat it straight from the bag.  I think making these sandwiches were a perfect occasion to buy a baguette.

po' boyyyyyyeee

Po' Boyyyyyyeee

The good news is, after all that fun in the kitchen, Jerry and I loved them!
They were so sloppy and delicious!  Jerry rated them a 8.5-9/10.  Well, to me that makes it worth it.  Goodness, they were yummy.  Just writing this makes me want to get back in the kitchen and start cooking.  I hope you enjoy.  Compliments to Isa Moskowitz & Terry Romero, the authors of the amazing cookbook Veganomicon from which this recipe came.

P.S. Next time, I’ll just have to have y’all over to taste it for yourself!

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Amazing Find

Hi friends,

So today I went to the asian supermarket to pick up some green thai curry paste.  While I was in the area, I stopped at a thrift store and found Judy Krizmanic’s The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook.  It was the only vegan friendly cookbook in the store.  It was $1.91 so I bought it.  Okay, so I am not really a teen anymore.  But most times I think I am.  And I know I am totally a beginner in the kitchen, so I think this is a good place to start.

Afterwards of course, I wanted to find out if this book was any good.  So, I tried to research ratings and reviews for it on the internet.  Some people seemed to really like the book, others thought it was too elementary.  Well, I was flipping through the book and guess what I found!!?  Broccoli Pesto Calzone-I could not believe it!!! This is the original recipe that we’ve all been salivating over.  It’s not just on the internet, its actually from Krizmanic’s book-my new book!  I am so excited!  I had never even heard of this book before, but now I am sure the recipes are going to rock.  I can’t wait to try more of them.  Sweet!  Hope you enjoy those calzones!

Culinary OCD...well, at least it's pretty too!

Culinary OCD...well, at least it's pretty too!

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Hmmm somebody likes food…

My Homemade Valentine's Card

My Homemade Valentine's Card

vegan nachos

vegan nachos

I know I already wrote a little something about Valentine’s Day, but my Valentine’s Day just came to completion yesterday (more about that in a few) So. the Valentine posts continue…

Confession: My husband is the real foodie around our home.  I am the health nut, he’s the foodie.  He has a much finer taste than I do and for now, definitely cooks better than I do.  He is a bit of a food snob, but he also loves himself some junk food or greasy fast food.  Lately however, he’s been wanting to cut back on snacks and get back in shape.  To that end, we haven’t had his favorite snacks around the house.

So for Valentine’s Day I secretly bought him a bag of baked tortilla chips, vegan cheese, and jalapenos.  We already had refried beans and peach mango salsa at home.  I hid the coveted chips and then brought them out as a surprise on the 14th.  I veganized one of his favorites: Nachos!!!  And I allowed/encouraged him to eat as much of the vegan nachos as he wanted for lunch that day.  He loved it!  And I loved it too!  It is a classic comfort food, made healthy.

My Valentine celebration continued because…

Harry & David's pears

Harry & David's pears

pear-pictures alone cannot do it justice

gourmet pear

they say they're so good, you can eat em with a spoon!

a vegan treasure

we were waiting for these beauties to arrive!  They smell and taste so amazing.  I told Jerry that they have the very essence of pear x 10-that distinct refreshing & yet endulgently sweet flavor.  They were so good!  Well, I only had one so far.  But the company says they’re so good, you should eat them with a spoon.  Oh my gosh, they are perfectly ripe and delicious.  Thanks Jerry!  Great job!

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Vegan Broccoli Pesto Calzone

Hi friends!  Here is the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  The Vegan Broccoli Pesto Calzone recipe was taken from here VegWeb-BPC.  I wish I could take credit for it, but I was just trying someone else’s recipe.  But dang, was it good!  It was so good!

Vegan Broccoli Pesto Calzone

Vegan Broccoli Pesto Calzone

The recipe calls for homemade pizza dough.  I have made my own pizza dough in the past, but this time I just bought Pillsbury pizza crust.  It had no animal products and rolls out so easy!  Also I steamed the broccoli (and my added cauliflower) a little too long.  Remember, crisp veggies are the best kind.  You definitely don’t need to steam more than a few minutes.  They really just need a quick flash steam or blanch.  (I don’t know if flash steaming is an actual cooking term, I simply call it “flashing”.  Ahh the multiple meanings of the word.  I mean it in the cooking sense.)  Otherwise, these were pretty amazing.  The cornmeal on the outside gives it a great taste and crispy-ness.  My husband gave it a 8.5-9 out of 10.  Sweet!  So I hope you get a chance to try the recipe and tell me what you think.

By the way, my husband rated the vegan chocolate chip cookies (below) and gave them an 8/10.  I served them to my in-laws while they were in town and they seemed to like them too!

These are my blueberry cornmeal pancakes.  They also have been a big hit!  My friend Nikki says they’re the best vegan pancakes she’s ever had (she’s not a vegan).  Haha!  Well, she said they were so good she would have never guessed there were no eggs or milk in them.  She wasn’t sure if that was an insult to a vegan-should they taste specifically different?  No way!  As long as she thinks they are delicious, I’m happy with that.  This recipe was also taken from VegWeb-BCP.  Enjoy!

stack of vegan pancakes

stack of vegan pancakes

Vegan blueberry cornmeal pancake

Vegan blueberry cornmeal pancake

Just something to keep you comin’ back for more. Mmmmm.

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