Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

Yes, Halloween is Sunday, but we're celebrating at work today. And yes, I do eat sugary cupcakes, but not very often. I don't like eating them often because I'm fully aware of the affect they have on me, but they're a nice treat from time to time. 

I usually make cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I didn't have a lot of free time this week. Luckily, my friend Kelly came across this recipe for easy pumpkin spice cupcakes on the Real Simple website. I bought a box of Cherrybrook Kitchen yellow cake mix, added a can of pumpkin and half a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 20 minutes later I had cupcakes! I topped them with cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Aren't they cute?

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kung Pao Broccoli and Tofu

Whenever I hear the words "Kung Pau", I think of Seinfeld and George Costanza. "George likes his chicken spicy!"

Well, Dennis likes his tofu spicy, so when I saw this recipe on Dr. Weil's blog, I knew it would be a good dinner choice. I had some broccoli and tofu in the fridge, but I didn't have scallions and I didn't feel like running out to get some. Water chestnuts are one the few plant-foods I really, really dislike, so I definitely didn't have of them in the house either. I did a little improvising and added onions and mushrooms, and adjusted the sauce recipe according to what I had in the cabinet. I served it over leftover black rice from the cauliflower cashew curry I made yesterday. It was really, really good and I'll definitely make it again.

Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable, and it contains high amounts of vitamins C and A as well as folic acid, iron and calcium. In fact cooked broccoli contains as much calcium as a 4 ounce glass of milk and calcium from broccoli is much easier for the body to absorb than calcium from milk is. The nutrients in broccoli are known to prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as well as lower cholesterol. So make sure broccoli is a regular part of your diet!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cauliflower Cashew Curry

I love this time of year, because I love stews and curries. This cauliflower cashew curry recipe from 101 Cookbooks is a fall/winter favorite of mine. I didn't make this dish at all last winter because I was avoiding both coconut and soy. But since I've added them back into my diet, I've been looking forward to making it again. I used tempeh instead of tofu and served the dish with black rice. I doubled the recipe so there would be leftovers for lunches. It was delicious!

Since the Great Cauliflower Incident of July, I have been able to work through my fear of cauliflower. But I am still only able to buy pre-cut cauliflower. Pre-cut veggies are more expensive but cut down on prep time and make cooking on busy weeknights easy, so I'm okay with the extra cost. And of course, there's the peace of mind that comes from knowing there aren't any large bugs setting up house in the middle of my veggies.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu

As you may remember, last weekend, my friend Jenna and taught a vegan protein cooking class. Jenna showed out to make delicious sweet chili lime tofu with steamed collard greens and quinoa. The recipe is from Vegan Yum Yum, and it's really delicious. It was so good, that I had to make the dish for dinner. It seems a little daunting when you read the directions, but it's actually pretty quick and easy, so don't let long cooking instructions keep you from making something.

Tofu and quinoa are both high in protein, and even the greens contain protein. This dish contains about 35 grains of protein in total. The average woman needs about 45 grams and the average man needs about 55 a day, so this meal contains almost an entire day's protein needs! So where do vegans get their protein? From their food!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

A Day in Red Bank

Over the weekend, Dennis and I decided to take a mini-trip to Red Bank. It's become quite vegan friendly lately, and we wanted to sample some of the local treats. 

We started with lunch at Good Karma Cafe. We ate there with our friends Jessica and Greg a few months ago and wanted to try more of their dishes.

We started out with raw nachos.

I had the Love Bowl with tempeh and spicy peanut sauce.

Look at how good that peanut sauce looks! The love bowl is available with either tofu or tempeh and with your choice of either Thai coconut, spicy peanut or sweet mustard sauce.

Dennis had the veggie burger with tempeh bacon and cheesy sauce.

After lunch we went over to NovelTeas, which is a really cute tea shop. Papa Ganache, a local vegan bakery, just opened a stand inside NovelTeas, and Jessica happened to be working there when we went in!

Look at all of those yummy vegan treats! There were quite a few gluten-free options.

I had a mini pumpkin cupcake.

Dennis had a cheesecake cookie.

We split a pot of Paris tea. It was really, really good! I wish we had bought some to take home with us.

Even their tea cups are cute!

They have special "man cups" for guys so they don't have to drink out of frilly flowery tea cups.

For dinner, we went to Pizza Fusion. They have vegan and gluten-free options. Our waitress was vegan, so we knew we didn't have to worry about the order getting messed up.

The gluten-free crust was a little chewy, but I didn't mind it because the pizza was really good. However, it was $6 extra for the gluten-free crust, and $2 for each additional topping. We added spinach and olives, and as you can see from the photo, that's definitely not $2 worth of spinach. I don't think the pizza was really worth the extra $10.

We brought some goodies home with us too. A giant chocolate chip cookie, a mini pumpkin cupcake and two cheesecake cookies from Papa Ganache.

Gluten-free cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, a tiramisu cup, raw crackers and raw Dr. Cow's cheese from Good Karma Cafe. None of these goodies lasted very long in our house!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions

I have come to the end of Pumpkin Week! That doesn't mean I won't be cooking with pumpkin anymore though! Far from it. I have more muffins and pies to make! Maybe I should have a second pumpkin week soon?

Yes, I have made Pumpkin Ziti with Caramelized Onions before, but it was so good the first time it was definitely worth another go. This recipe is from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, which is packed with good things. This time I made the tofu ricotta that the recipe calls for. (Last time I made ricotta with cashews.) I used rice pastas and rice bread crumbs for the topping instead of wheat. Instead of cooking them in margarine, I mixed them with some olive oil. This dish is really delicious and Dennis said it made him want to curl up with warm blanket. Ah... comfort food!

And speaking of pumpkins, here is picture of my pumpkins, Archie and Schroeder, checking out some birds outside the window. Aren't they adorable?

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Quinoa

It's day four of Pumpkin Week! Since I love pumpkin and I love quinoa, when I saw this recipe for pumpkin quinoa from Koko's Kitchen, I HAD to make it. Since the recipe called for caramelized onions and sage, it didn't taste like it should be a breakfast food, like the pumpkin alfredo did.

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. It is also full of vitamins C and K, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. The nutrients found in pumpkin are anti-inflammatory, are know to slow the process of aging and can reduce cholesterol. Most people buy pumpkins to decorate with at this time of year. Yes, they are pretty, but they're so nutritious, that they're much better off in your dinner than on your doorstep!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Alfredo

It's day three of Pumpkin Week! Today's dish is Pumpkin Alfredo. I found this recipe on the Manifest Vegan blog. I used rice pasta and served it with sautéed purple kale.

I will admit that this dish did not live up to expectations. The sauce seemed a little too thick, and because of the cinnamon and allspice, this seemed like a breakfast pasta. It wasn't bad but any means, but it just didn't seem like a dinner dish. My friend Jenny tried the recipe and tweaked it a little. She added some vegetable broth, onion, garlic, sage and cayenne, and she said it was delicious, so I'm going to give it another try soon.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Welcome to day 2 of Pumpkin Week! Todays' dish is pumpkin oatmeal. This is one of my favorite breakfasts for this time of year. If I have time, I bake it after cooking it on the stovetop and make sort of a casserole. I usually top half of it with pecans and the other half with pumpkin seeds, making his and hers oatmeal, since Dennis doesn't like pecans.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

1 cup rolled oats
1 banana, cut into chunks
1 cup canned pumpkin 
2 cups milk of choice (I use hemp milk)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cashew or almond butter
handful of pumpkin seeds

Boil oatmeal in milk. Turn down heat to medium and stir in the pumpkin, banana, spices and seeds. Cook together for a few minutes until oatmeal has thickend. Turn off the heat and then stir in the nut butter.

Baked Oatmeal
Once oatmeal has been cooked, transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle chopped pecans or pumpkin seeds on top. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

I have declared this week to be Pumpkin Week!

This is the time of year for yummy fall foods, my favorite of which is pumpkin. I've been adding it to everything lately and I'll tell you all about it in upcoming blog posts.

This is a recipe given to me by friend Vanessa. It wasn't vegan, so I veganized it and swapped out wheat flour with spelt flour. The topping is supposed to be crumbly, but when I made it, my margarine wasn't cold enough and the topping was sort of a paste. I put it on top of the muffins anyway, and it gave them a nice little crunchy crust, which was pretty tasty. These muffins did not last very long at all in my house!

2 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water mixed with 3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups apples, peeled and finely chopped

Streusel Topping:
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold margarine such as Earth Balance

Preheat over to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
Add liquid ingredients and stir until just moistened.
Stir in the apples.
Spoon into greased muffin tin or a muffin tin lined with paper liners, about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle with streusel topping.
Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Eggplant and Peanut Stew

I'm not really sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but some how I found the Glitter and Glue blog and this recipe. I'm a total sucker for anything with peanut sauce, so I wanted to run into the kitchen and immediately make it.

This stew contains okra, which I don't make very often, but I do like a lot. The main reason I don't cook it much at home is because it tends to be a slimy, which is a huge turnoff when cooking and eating food. The okra did add a bit of slime element to this dish, but I was able to work through my fear of slime and I ate it anyway. It was really delicious, so I'm glad I did. My friend Karyn read online that if you stir fry okra at a high heat, it keeps it from being slimy, so I will do that next time I make this. And I will definitely make it again because it was so good.

It is believed that okra originated in Egypt and was a favorite of Cleopatra's. In other countries, it is called gumbo (the stew is actually named after it), bhindi and lady's fingers. Interestingly, it is from the same family as cotton, cocoa and hibiscus. Okra has many healing properties; stabilizing blood sugar and reduce inflammation being two of the main ones. It is high in vitamins C, A, K and B vitamins, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium and manganese. So buy some okra and give it a try!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tofuna Salad

Even though Autumn is here, we had a few warm days here in NJ, and I felt salad was in order. Like I said on Tuesday, I've added small amounts of soy back into my diet and I've been okay with it. I came across a tofuna salad recipe that looked really good, so I made it - with my own alterations, of course. Dennis and I both really loved it, so  it will definitely be back in my meal rotation.

Tofuna Salad
serves 2-4
1 container firm organic tofu, frozen
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon tamari
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon kelp
1 teaspoon dried dill

1.  Remove tofu from freezer. Allow to thaw. Squeeze the water out of it.
2.  Crumble tofu, add remaining ingredients and mix. Chill for a few hours so tofu can absorb the flavors. Season to taste.
3.  Serve as a salad or on sandwiches.

Feel free to add or subtract ingredients to your own liking!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans and Crushed Peanuts

I first saw this dish in an issue of Vegetarian Times last year. Since it's made with coconut milk and peanut butter, I knew I had to make it. I will admit I wasn't too impressed the first time I made it, but I decided to give it a second chance, and it did not disappoint. It was sooooo good that I've decided to demonstrate this recipe at my protein cooking class this weekend.

Tempeh is a fermented soybean that is high in fiber, protein and vitamins. It is the only traditional soy product that does not originate in China or Japan. It's actually from Indonesia, where it is a primary source of protein. Because it is fermented, tempeh is easier on the digestive system, and doesn't cause gas like other soy products can. 

There are still a few spaces open in Sunday's plant-based protein cooking class. If you'd like to attend, please send me an email: 

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Montclair Vegans had a brunch potluck on Sunday at my friend Jen's house. It was so much fun and the food was amazing. I took my camera with me and had planned on taking photos of the food and my friends, but I was hungry, so I just dove in without snapping any pics. Oh well - maybe next time.

I made spinach and broccoli tofu quiche. The recipe came from 101 Cookbooks and it's really tasty. I used spelt flour for the crust, and a few people told me that they really liked the way it came out. There was lots of wheat in the form of muffins and scones, so I wanted to make sure I made something that I knew would be wheat-free.

I've added small amounts of soy back into my diet and I've been okay with it. Soy had gotten a little bit of a bad rap in the health press lately, but most of the hype isn't true. Unprocessed soy is a good source of protein and has many health benefits. Heavily processed soy and isolated soy protein is something you do need to watch out for though, because just like any other processed food, they aren't healthy foods. Tempeh, tofu, miso and edamame are the best soy options. If you'd like to read more about soy, take a look at this article by Dr. Mark Hyman.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Double Broccoli Quinoa and Black Bean Patties

Yep, I've made both of these recipes before. But I wanted to show them off again because I will be making them at my healthy protein cooking class on Sunday, October 17th.  I will also be making tempeh with green beans and lentil carrot soup. My friend Jenna will also be making a few yummy dishes.

The class will held at my house in Montclair, NJ. If you're interested in attending, please drop me a line - There's still room left for a few more people.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beans and Polenta

This is a dish I like to make a lot in the cooler months, and it's quick and easy, so it's good for an after work dinner. I cup up a tube of pre-made polenta and grilled the pieces on the stovetop. In another pan I cooked peppers, onions and tomatoes and then added a can of black beans. I sprinkled a little bit of Daiya cheese on top once it was all cooked. Delicious!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spicy Quinoa and Chickpeas

Now that it's getting cooler out, It's time for some hearty warming foods! I've added more cooked grains into my diet because they're warming and . This meal is a stir-fry made with peppers, zucchini, onions and chickpeas. I added red peppers flakes and hot peppers to add some spice to the dish. This meal is perfect for a cool fall evening!

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