9.16.2013

Jack's magic three bean chili: Moody Monday

I'm not going to lie, I've always been a ridiculously big fan of fairy tales. Whether it was the haunting, twisted Grimm Brothers' tales or the fluffed up, sexually-biased Disney versions. So when I decided to dedicate VeganMoFo to all the fabulous (and maybe less-than-stellar) shows out there, I absolutely knew I had to do a dish for Once Upon a Time.

While I could have easily done another rad apple pie of some sort, I decided to tackle something with good ole' magic beans - Jacks to be certain.

And since fall has been flirting with those of us in Ohio for the last week, I figured what better dish to make than a three bean chili?

The best part about this (other than the magic)? It's got no fake meat and loads of cauliflower!


Jack's magic three bean chili
(makes 8-10 servings)
Ingredients: 
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can black beans
10 roma tomatoes, cup up (about dime-sized pieces)
1 red onion, diced
1 28 oz can of tomato sauce
2-3 cups water (depending on how chunky/watery you want your chili)
3 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBS vegan worcestershire sauce
2 TBS chili powder
1 TBS crushed red pepper
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried basil

Directions
Dice up tomatoes (try to keep as much juice as you can for the chili!) and toss them in a big ole' pot on the stove. Add water and tomato sauce. Cook on medium to high heat. Add diced up onion, jalapeno peppers and chopped up cauliflower. Stir in brown sugar, vegan worcestershire sauce, chili powder, red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon and dried basil. cook for 15 minutes. Stir in garbanzo, cannellini and black beans. Cook another 30 minutes on low to medium heat (you want a slow boil/bubble).

Serve with your favorite vegan cheese and chip!

9.12.2013

Trekkie tacos, the next generation (again): Throwback Thursdays

So I'm not going to lie. 

I'm a girl that likes her tacos. 

I'm also a girl that really, really digs Spock (not the original Star Trek one, more the Zachary Quinto variety). 

So this past Tuesday my husband and I finally caught up with the rest of the world and watched the latest Star Trek movie. I loved it, by the way. 

Afterwards we started perusing Netflix and found literally every Star Trek series and movie a trekkie could dream of. So we started watching the old school 1960s version and it was actually pretty entertaining. I decided I wanted to dedicate a VeganMoFo meal to it, but really, what the heck are they eating up in space? Freeze-dried meatloaf? 

Rather than try to make since of this, I used my English-loving background and decided on tacos, because Trekkie Tacos is quite a nice alliteration, don't you think?

These bad boys didn't last for long in our house. Chick peas make an awesome taco filler and I cooked them with some spicy cream cheese verde sauce. Yeah, they're delish.


Trekkie Tacos
(serves 4)
Ingredients:
2 cans chick peas
1-2 TBS taco seasoning (you be the judge, some people like em really tacoey some don't)
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1 small jar of artichoke hearts
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 cup verde salsa
Your favorite taco toppings (we had lettuce and pico)
Small corn tortillas
Splash of oil to cook with

Directions: 
Add about a TBS of oil to a large saute pan. Turn burner on medium heat and add chick peas to the pan. Add taco seasoning. Soften vegan cream cheese (you can microwave if for a 20 seconds) and then stir it with the chick peas. Add your verde salsa. Stir in artichoke hearts and diced up jalapenos. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Throw on your favorite tortilla and top with the works!

9.11.2013

A chocolate zucchini doughnut fit for Homer: Wild Card Wednesdays

You might have read about my passionate love for Patrick Dempsey and all the other McHotties on Grey's Anatomy on Monday, but today's post is a love affair that has lasted almost as long as I've been alive. 

No, seriously. 

Since premiering in 1989, at the ripe age of four, I've been utterly obsessed with everyone's favorite yellow family, The Simpsons. It's probably not something I should be proud of, but I can quote nearly every episode, I dragged my husband to see the movie on opening night and I've owned, beaten and replayed every last Simpsons video game. 

I'm what you call a super fan. 

When I worked at the newspaper my editor and I used to quote lines from the Simpsons back and forth to each other, because, let's be honest, who doesn't need a little wisdom from Ralph Wiggum in their life? In fact, my dad not only went to school with Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, he was friends with her. 

Isn't it funny what a small, crazy world it is?

So now, in honor of my hands-down favorite cartoon in the entire world (and serious contender for television show EVER), I just knew I had to dedicate something to Homer. And if you've seen The Simpsons, you'll know there's only two dishes I could have possibly tackled when making something for VeganMoFo.

Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a vegan substitute for a three-eyed, radioactive fish, so I had to settle for creating the perfect doughnut recipe ever. And considering my husband, daughter, nieces and nephews bashed on these doughnuts, I'd say they were officially successful. 

Don't let the zucchini fool you. With a little help from your awesome food processor (don't have one? Stay tuned, I'm going to announce the king of all giveaways later today) you won't even notice a little veggie in your doughnut!


Chocolate zucchini not-too-good-for-you doughnuts
(makes 48 doughnuts)
Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups zucchini, cut and pureed
1/2 stick vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegan coffee creamer (I used Silk French Vanilla)
2/3 cup vanilla coconut milk yogurt
1/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips, you can buy them at most groceries or health food stores)
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS baking soda

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray or grease a mini doughnut pan. In a large bowl, cream together your sugar and softened (not melted) vegan butter. In a food processor, blend chopped zucchini, oil, applesauce, creamer and yogurt. Add to sugar and vegan butter mix. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda. Stir in flour, cup by cup. Add in chocolate chips and mix until you reach almost a thick texture of mouse/brownie batter/dough. 

Once your dough/batter is mixed, scoop into a gallon Ziploc bag and cut a small tip at the end of a corner. Pipe your doughnut mixture into the doughnut circles. I filled mine almost all the way full, this resulted in chunky, super cute fatty donuts.

Bake for 10 minutes. When you first pull them out, let them sit for about five minutes and then turn them over and tap them out onto a wire baking sheet.

This recipe originally appeared on my Sunday segment on Mom-Spot.com


9.10.2013

Vegan beef stroganoff straight off of Wisteria Lane: Trashy Tuesdays

We're moving right along with our VeganMoFo theme this week with our Trashy Tuesday segment. I was in my first year of college when Desperate Housewives came out. I had been too busy with selecting the major that would impact my entire life, meeting my best friends, playing softball and you know, doing that classes thing to actually start watching it when it first came out. Luckily my mom taped it (I'm not sure if we had DVR back then), so I got my taste of Wisteria Lane over summer break.

My absolute favorite character was the seemingly perfect, but utterly neurotic Bree Van de Kamp. How could you not love the completely uptight, straight-laced, dinner is at 5 p.m. sharp and if you miss it I might gouge  your eyes out with my perfectly done nails and our wedding silverware attitude?

Sure, she ended up going a bit psycho, who wouldn't under such stress? She was the perfectionist of all perfectionists. And that's why I'm dedicating this Trashy Tuesday to Desperate Housewives. Because I can't even begin to imagine all the home-cooked, straight-outta-Betty-Crocker meals Ms. Van de Kamp cooked up for that family.

I've been having a craving for a while, expedited by one of my friends asking for a recipe for it, so I decided it was time to experiment with my own vegan "beef" stroganoff. This is chock full of mushrooms and all that other awesome ooey-gooeyness you remember about the classic dish. Now, it might not be a healthier version, but it is cruelty free!


Vegan beef stroganoff
(Serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
16 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cut into quarter-pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups "beef" broth (I used Edward & Sons Not Beef bouillon cubes to make this up)
1 cup vegan mushroom gravy (I used a generic store brand that was animal-product free)
1 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black ground pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
10 ounces wide noodles (my local grocery store has a completely egg-free, not just yolk-free, egg noodle style noodle)

Directions: 
 In a small pot, boil water and cook your pasta per instructions, set aside once fully cooked and drained. Cut mushrooms into quarter pieces, dice onion and garlic and cook on medium heat in a skillet with the balsamic vinegar, until almost tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet (you want all that yummy flavoring), cook vegan beef broth on high. Reduce heat to medium and stir in flour with a whisk until completely blended. Stir in vegan sour cream, gravy, salt and pepper. Once combined, turn off heat and stir in mushroom mix from earlier. Serve over your favorite noodle (make it authentic by finding an eggless "egg" style noodle!)

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9.09.2013

Not your cafeteria's vegan mac and cheese: Moody Monday

Welcome to the second week of VeganMoFo! Hard to believe we've already been blogging for six days now, am I right? I'm telling you, the first week of MoFo feels super chaotic and confusing (even when you have the best laid plans), so I always seem to enjoy the second week more. Most everyone is in their groove, the really awesome recipes start coming out and the big giveaway announcements start appearing.

(Stay tuned for my really big, really awesome giveaway announcement on Wednesday. Trust me, with a retail value of $450, this is one contest you really, really want to be around for.)

The funny thing about my second week is that I didn't (and don't) have it nearly as scrupulously planned out as my first week was. I was done cooking last week's food on Monday! This week, I'm lucky to get it done the night before!

But that's the way the VeganMoFo cookie crumbles, and as long as there's a recipe for that cookie, it doesn't matter!

In case you're new to my blog or not privy to my theme, I'm dedicating this month to many of our beloved television show favorites. Last week we tackled True Blood, Melrose Place, Big Brother and Gilligan's Island. And don't you worry, we've got just as much fun in store for you this week.

So for today's Moody Monday madness, I've decided to create a recipe for my favorite television show in the entire world: Grey's Anatomy. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a mature Patrick Dempsey. And well, when Eric Dane was still on the show, he wasn't too hard on the eyes, either.

So while brainstorming ideas with my husband about what I could do, I told him I was thinking about revamping cafeteria food found in a hospital, you know, since Grey's Anatomy takes place in a hospital. I was pleasantly surprised when the same exact food came first to both of us: macaroni and cheese.

And what's even better about this awesome Moody Monday recipe is not only does it meet my theme, it falls in line with VeganMoFo's daily theme of Mac and Cheese Monday (because really, what other kind of Monday even exists?)

So I present you with this killer loaded vegan mac and cheese recipe you probably won't find in any hospital cafeteria near you, but you'll wish you could!


Loaded vegan mac and cheese
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt (I find it's a little more sour than sour cream sometimes)
1/2 cup plain almond milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
10 oz cooked whole wheat elbow pasta
1 wedge Daiya cheddar cheese
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS garlic powder
Handful of fresh chives, diced into tiny pieces
Breadcrumbs or panko for a crunchish topping
Vegan bacon bits (I stirred in half a cup and then added another half a cup on top).

Directions:
In a small saucepan, boil the cashews on high heat for 15-20 minutes. (You just want enough water to keep them submerged). In another saucepan, boil your pasta according to the packaging instructions.

Once the cashews are cooked, preheat your oven to 350. Toss cashews, yogurt. almond milk, nutritional yeast, onion powder and garlic powder into a food processor. Blend until super duper creamy (it kind of looked like cake batter).

In a medium bowl, stir your nut "cheese" blend with your pasta. Take your wedge of Daiya and cut into small chunks (about the size of a dime). Stir these cubes into the cashew pasta mix. Stir in chives and bacon bits. Scoop into a casserole dish (mine was 1.5 QT) and bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and top with breadcrumbs or panko and vegan bacon bits. Bake for 10 more minutes.

This ends up tasting like one of the best comfort, homecooked foods ever. Trust me.

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9.08.2013

Why Facebook makes my blood boil

Consider this your warning: Below you will see some curse words. You'll also see some photos that might be considered adult in nature. I'd rate it PG-16, however, four of the eight photos that appear below in these collages are allowed on Facebook. I'll let you determine which ones you'd want your child to see.

While I've been busy whipping up a batch of amazing macaroni and "cheese" for my Moody Monday's television recipe, I decided to take a break and start perusing my Facebook page. I was recently introduced to this kick-ass "project" by one of the mommy blogs I follow, called the 4th Trimester Bodies Project.

This photography project is "dedicated to embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our bodies by motherhood, childbirth and breastfeeding."

It's sad that we live in a day and age where we have to EMBRACE the beauty in being a mother. In the stretch marks it may leave us with, the slightly knottier breasts, the sometimes chewed-on nipples, the wider, curvier hips birthing a human being can leave us with.

Every mother is beautiful and different in her own way. Heck, even if you weren't physically able to birth a child, but adopted one instead, it doesn't mean that motherhood hasn't had it's wear and tear on your body. Your arms from lifting it, your smashed chest from clutching a child, the crumbs and spit-up you find in your hair, clothes, hell, cleavage. Being a mother - in any sense of the word - changes your body forever.

We live in a society where we don't just celebrate beauty, we demand it. We want it in our faces, we want more of it and we use it to complete nearly every task throughout the day. Want to sell a hamburger? Just put a a bikini-clad girl in your commercial licking barbeque sauce off her fingers. Can't decide what kind of cologne is right for your hubby? Just find the one with the hottest, most-naked man on the box. Need to get that special woman something in your life to reignite the romance? Clearly you should get her some edible underwear.

We don't want to see what real people look like. We'd rather stare at the photoshopped faces and bodies of our beloved celebrities and then pick at ourselves in the mirror. We need to feel badly about ourselves because what happens if we actually become comfortable with our looks. What happens if we wake up one day and decide we are good enough - without the push-up bras, mascara and four-inch heels? Well, for starters, our entire market would probably collapse. According to an article that appeared on The Economist website, the beauty industry alone (make-up, diet, grooming products) generates at least 160 BILLION dollars worldwide. Yeah, we may say we need to "embrace" our inner beauty, but I've got 160 billion George Washington's that says we don't practice what we preach any time soon.

So that's what was so awesome about this 4th Trimester Body Project. It's something that's empowering to women. It's something for women. It's something that finally says "I'm OK with my body and showing it off doesn't mean it has to be sexual." The pictures are tastefully taken, most of them depicting women in a simple pair of black underwear and a bra. (I carefully chose the word underwear there, because if I would have used 'panties' it might have sounded too sexual, crazy, huh?) Some of them show a woman breastfeeding her child, however, if the caption didn't tell you that's what was happening,  you wouldn't know. Because guess what? The child's head is covering the woman's breast.



I'm not saying you have to be all ra-ra-ROAR about breastfeeding and natural parenting to get on board with this campaign. The first time I breastfed my daughter in public, I felt incredibly uncomfortable, not because of anyone else, but because I just couldn't get the hang of it. Am I a supporter of women being allowed to breastfeed? Yes, I am. Even though it wasn't quite my cup of tea, I think that women shouldn't be shoved into a bathroom stall or their car because they want to feed their babies.

 Might it result in a few sideway glances from 10-year-old boys or an awkward conversation with children who haven't been exposed to breastfeeding before? Sure. But guess what?  It's called being a freaking parent. Sometimes, you have to educate your children. Sometimes, you have to accept that just because you don't think boobs are made to feed babies and formula is fine, not everyone feels that way. And if you really have that big a problem with boobs and the female body, you should probably avoid the mall, where there are photos plastered everywhere with bras and boobs the size of my entire body; the beach or pool, where there are boobs BUSTING out of bikinis and well, the grocery store, because there are women, with breasts and cleavage EVERYWHERE.

So here's the big picture. The people behind this awesome photography project keeps getting banned from Facebook and Instagram because their photos are "violating Facebook's Community Guidelines." Which, I've read them and can't say they have. But let's pretend we've got some 900-year-old prudes running Facebook and they really do have a problem with the "nature" of these photos.

I present you with this (a collage I put together of four photos pulled from community pages active on Facebook as of 9/8/2013), and ask you, why is it these "groups" are still actively allowed to post (you know, if we're all just about following the rules here, Facebook Gods).

Maybe it's because the girl in the top left is just dancing, or had an itch, right? And the one next to her is just bowling, because, who DOESN'T go bowling in just their underwear and post it on Facebook right? And the girl lying on the bed in some knee socks and a thong? I bet she's reading a good book and is just part of a book club on Facebook. And the last picture, clearly she's OK because she's just showing off her right to bear arms (and boobs for that matter).

To be honest, I don't have a problem with any of these photos. The female body is an absolutely gorgeous thing. I do, however, have a problem with some asshole social network execs censoring one because, what, it's too real? Being a mother and being beautiful isn't allowed? Or is it that being a mother means that we're not beautiful anymore? Which is it, Facebook?

Guess I'll just quit wasting my valuable time on your biased, censoring website and get my ass back in the kitchen where it belongs. Because if I'm female, then that's probably all I'm good for.

Well, unless I'm bowling in my panties. Then I'm OK.

Please consider signing this petition to tell Facebook what assholes they're acting like.

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9.06.2013

VeganMoFo 2013: My first Fab Five Friday

Somewhere amidst all the menu planning, baking and eating required for VeganMoFo, we've got to find time to peruse each other's blogs. If we're too busy cooking up our own dishes for VeganMoFo then how the heck are we supposed to enjoy all the other awesome vegans out there?

So every Friday during VeganMoFo I like to turn my oven off and step away to admire and appreciate the hell out of all you fabulous fellow veggies. I like to call these my Fab Five Fridays, a blog post dedicated solely to five kick-ass dishes I saw during the week.

For starters, apparently I'm on a vegan seafood kick because I found myself drooling over Olives for Dinner's vegan scallops with pea puree and watercress multiple times this week. In fact, I was sitting at lunch with my husband and I actually looked up the original link I found on Twitter just so I could show him how amazing these faux scallops were. I then added it to my shopping list like ASAP because if mama wants vegan scallops, mama needs to have some vegan scallops.

And to keep the vegan seafood kick rolling, if you haven't seen Food and Yoga for Life's raw, vegan "salmon" nori rolls then you should probably just head on over there right now. I have always been a sushi lover, long before my vegan days, so being able to have a cruelty-free version of something I used to be literally addicted to is astounding.

And while the next dish isn't from the vegan sea, it is something I've never, ever heard of, but feel like I NEED to have it right away. The Jolly Fox tackled some Hawaiian delight known as a loco moco, which consists of rice, veggie burger and a fried vegan "egg." It doesn't matter that this "egg" is tofu-based and stacked on a veggie burger, this dish looks super duper rich ... and did I mention delicious?

I might not have seen an actual photo of the Illustrated Guide to Vegan Delight's sauerkraut soup you never know you wanted, the funny illustrations of a cartoon woman shoving sauerkraut into her mouth by the handfuls made me really, really want some soup. And it made me wish I was capable of creating funny drawings.

And because NO Fab Five Friday would be complete without some sort of amazing dessert. I may not be on the raw-food train just yet, but these chocolate peanut butter and jelly raw bars from Unrefined Vegan  might be enough to do the trick. Not only are they seriously yummy looking, they're easy peasy to put together and they're healthy. And let's be honest, how do you say no to peanut butter and chocolate:?

What amazing dishes have you seen this VeganMoFo? Think I missed one? Have something awesome planned? Make sure you let me know and I'll be sure to pay a visit next week!

9.05.2013

Gilligan's coconut curry soup, straight off the island: Throwback Thursdays

Well friends, this isn't my usual early post. Life happened and my Thursday was absolutely swamped.

But never fear, we had a delicious dinner inspired by a very, very popular throwback show: Gilligan's Island!

While I wasn't exactly an avid fan of the show myself, I know it was a big hit and and I know the gist of what it was about. Adults, stranded on an island, with goofy ole Gilligan bumbling stuff up at least once an episode. While they never officially made it off the island in the television series, there were made-for-tv movies which got the group off the island, only to wind back on it again, off again and eventually they turn it into a resort and call it home.

This coconut curry soup we made is probably something they'd serve at the resort. It's got an awesome, mild flavor thanks to the yellow curry and the veggies and rice make this a filling soup for dinner!


Gilligan's coconut curry soup
(Serves four)
Ingredients:
1 regular-sized can full-fat coconut milk (you want the creaminess, don't skimp out for fewer calories)
2 cans of veggie broth
1 cup water
1 8oz bag of shredded carrots (you could use coined or just whole carrots, I had shredded in the fridge)
2 red bell peppers
1 medium onion
1/2 a head of broccoli
1/2 a head of cauliflower
1 cup cooked brown rice
3 yellow curry bouillon cubes (we used Edward & Sons)
Sprinkle of salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
In a stock pot, cook coconut milk, veggie broth and water on medium high heat. In a small saucepan, boil your carrots until they're super soft (about 15-20 minutes for shredded carrots), set these aside. In another saucepan, cook brown rice. Once warm, stir in three yellow curry bouillon cubes. Dice up all your other veggies (pepper, onion, broccoli, cauliflower) and toss it in the liquid. Continue to cook on medium heat. Stir in rice once it's done. Take your boiled carrots and puree them in a food processor. Stir this into the soup, it'll help give it some thickness. Sprinkle in pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with a splash of hot sauce if you want to get really wild and crazy!

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9.04.2013

Getting sloppy, chocolate chip cookie dough style: Wild Card Wednesdays

Hard to believe day three of VeganMoFo is already upon us. Following along with my television theme, I deemed today Wild Card Wednesday. This means every Wednesday of September I'll use some random television show as my inspiration for a dish that day.

And because we're in the midst a heated season already, I decided to dedicate today's dish to my mother's favorite reality series ever - Big Brother.

Don't worry folks, I'm keeping things simple this time. Instead of cooking up some crazy concoction of jelly beans and vegan tuna fish, I decided to tackle something much, much easier. I'm going to revamp the Big Brother slop.

In case you're not familiar with the show, Big Brother is a reality series where a bunch of adults live together in a house, compete for prizes and deceive the hell out of each other to try to win a million bucks. Or half a million, I can't remember. Anyway, each week, there are winners and losers of this challenge. The winners get the opportunity to eat whatever delicious pantry food their little heart desires. Meanwhile, the losers have to eat "slop." This is basically a porridge-oatmeal blend, aka, incredibly bland.

I didn't have any crazy porridge on hand (because I'm not Goldilocks or the three bears for goodness sake), so I just used some instant oats to whip up this bad boy. I had a hodge podge of ingredients, but luckily, it doesn't take much to make this chocolate chip cookie dough slop.

Trust me, it might sound a wee bit off-putting at first thanks to a secret ingredient, but it gives this recipe a protein boost plus, it helps give it the oooey-gooeyness of real cookie dough.

And for real, who turns down cookie dough for breakfast?


Chocolate chip cookie dough "slop"
(makes 4 servings)
Ingredients:
1 cup one-minute oats
1 cup vanilla coconut milk (I dig the creaminess it gives the dish)
1 cup water
1/2 cup pureed white beans (I used cannelini, don't get freaked out, it gives the recipe a nice smoosh)
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk, water, butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar to a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in oats and pureed white beans. Let cool for a few minutes and then stir in chocolate chips. Scoop into a bowl and eat while warm. If saving leftovers, make sure you add a TB or two of coconut milk to revive the texture of the "slop."

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9.03.2013

Veganizing Melrose Place, sliders style: Trashy Tuesday

If you've been keeping up with my blog here and there, you'll know that we got rid of our cable a year ago. Now, I'm forced lucky enough to fill my occasional downtime with reruns of shows Netflix has in its line-up; ones I watched in my childhood, when I was supposed to be sleeping.

One of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures: Melrose Place.

Don't worry, folks. Despite the fact that I was only seven years old when the show first aired, I had absolutely know idea what the hell I was watching. After rewatching the first few seasons on Netflix, I realized how utterly naive and innocent I was as a child. All the sexual tension and innuendos were lost on my pre-tween mind. I just watched it because I wasn't supposed to ... and because the cast from 90210 (another show that completely went over my head) appeared on it.

Another thing I missed out on the first time around while watching Melrose Place was how much time the cast spent at Shooters. It's some kind of bar and grill, with pool tables, high tops and lots of beer. Occasionally though, when the cast makes it out in the daytime, we get to see them actually eat food there. And the food they always prefer? Burgers and fries.

Ah, crazy Melrose Place kids, you can sleep with everyone under the sun and swap partners like it's the era of free love and peace, but you can't ever eat anything not on a bun or fried?

So instead of doing a traditional burger and fries, I decided to spice it up some (because that's one thing Melrose wasn't lacking - spice) and make an updated version of Shooter's burger and fries.

And thus, the Jalo-peen-yo business sliders and house chips were born. (I know that's not how you spell jalapeno, FYI, I was trying to be funny and do a play on words, pronounce it likes this: All-up-in-yo. Giggle.


Jalo-peen-yo business sliders and house chips
(Makes 12 sliders and enough chips for four)
Slider Ingredients:
One cup lentils (once you cook them, they double, so it'll end up being like two cups)
1 package of Lightlife "sausage" (it comes in a tube, it helps bind and bring a little extra flavor)
1 wedge of Daiya Havarti jalapeno garlic cheese
1 bulb of fresh garlic, diced (yep, the whole thing folks, at least you'll be vampire free!)
6 fresh jalapenos, diced (you can alter this some to your tastes, six was just the right spicy for us)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 TB hamburger seasoning

House chips Ingredients:
3 parsnips, thinly coined
2 carrots, thinly coined
Olive oil (enough to drizzle on chips)
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Cook one cup of lentils for 20 minutes, mash up. Knead in sausage. Cube Daiya into quarter-inch pieces (this will melt as you fold it in). Smoosh together. After dicing up your garlic, jalapeno and onion, smoosh these into the mix. Add seasoning. Refrigerate for an hour.

While the "burger" mix is setting up, we can get our "chips" ready. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thinly coin your parsnips and carrots, the thinner the better. (Ours were a little bit thicker than a nickel, so if you can achieve something thinner you might want to bake for less time).

Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over them. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, take out, turn them over or "fluff" them up and then bake another 20 minutes, until you see them curling up slightly with crispy edges. You can take these out and let them cool.

We made our sliders a little bigger than our buns, so we rolled them out to about hackey sack size. Once you smoosh them down you want them to be about half-an-inch thick. Cook them in a saute pan with a light coating of olive oil on medium to medium-high heat for three-five minutes on each side. These burgers will form a crispy outside and a cheesier, gooier inside, the perfect combo!

Share with your friends, or, just keep them all to yourself and pretend they're better for you because they're smaller and have lentils in them.

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9.02.2013

True(ly) Bloody good vegan whiskey cake: Moody Mondays

Happy VeganMoFo day one! It's so exciting. It feels a little like Christmas doesn't it. Except, I guess it probably feels a little like Christmas every.single.day of VeganMoFo because we spend all month long blending, cooking and feasting, over and over again.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm a girl that loves her food!

So to kick-off my super duper awesome third VeganMoFo, I'm doing dishes inspired by or featured in all of our favorite television shows, from cartoons to reality programs we're too embarrassed to admit to liking!

Because it just wrapped its season recently and because I'm obsessed with the leading bad boy vamp played by Alexander Skarsgard, I decided to dedicate my first VeganMoFo 2013 dish to True Blood.

In case you're not privy to the supernatural romanti-thriller-drama-hotness of a show, True Blood centers around a small-town, Louisiana waitress named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie isn't any ole' run-of-the-mill waitress though, she's also got the ability to read people's minds. (I know, super jelly, right?)

And to make matters even more complicated, she's got the hots for all sorts of supernatural creatures, like werewolves, vampires and shapeshifters.

Because this show takes place in the deep ole' swampy small town of Bon Temps AND because Sookie works at Merlotte's Bar and Grill, I decided to make my own bar-inspired dessert: bloody whiskey cake. Truth is ever since my aunt made her own version of cake using Crown, I've been itching to try one of my own, vegan versions, using my all-time favorite whiskey, Jack Daniels. What can I say, I'm a Jack kinda gal. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to squash my desire to fuse alcohol, cake AND pay homage to one of my favorite television shows (and book series, except for the last book, I hate it).

I'm told this works with any kind of whiskey, in addition to rum, but I can only vouch for the Jack Daniels. And let me tell you, if this is any indication of the desserts the South has to offer, I"m totally headed there. Like, now.


Truly Bloody whiskey cake
(makes one bundt pan's worth)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups vegan butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup applesauce
1 large package of vegan powder vanilla pudding mix
1 TBS maple syrup
3/4 cup frozen raspberries

Glaze ingredients:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS maple syrup
1/2 to 1 cup black walnut pieces (whatever you prefer)

Directions:
In a food processor, blend frozen raspberries and maple syrup, set aside. Grease a bundt pan and preheat your oven to 325 degrees. For the cake mix, in a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups melted vegan butter, almond milk, water, vegetable oil, Jack Daniels, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in cake flour, white flour, baking powder and vegan powder vanilla pudding mix. Blend together with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into the bundt pan. Take your raspberry mix from the processor and spoon it around the batter you've poured into the bundt pan (it doesn't have to be perfect, it's going to get messy). Pour the rest of the cake batter over the raspberry mix and then bake for 50 minutes to one hour on 325 degrees. (You know it's done when the cake pulls away and is a nice golden brown).

For the glaze, in a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup melted vegan butter, brown sugar, powdered sugar and maple syrup with a hand blender. Stir in walnut pieces once mixed. Set aside.

To "remove" the bundt cake, simply allow to cool for 30 minutes and then place a plate or cookie sheet over the bundt cake. Flip it over so that the plate or cookie sheet is on the bottom. Tape the top of the bundt pan to help the cake out. Mine came out mainly in one piece, but there were a few pieces that stuck to the pan some because of the "bloody" filling. Don't fear though, just scrape it off and pat it down on the cake. With the nutty glaze you won't know the difference. Drizzle your glaze over your bundt cake. Cut a slice and enjoy. Best eaten warm, but feel free to eat at any temperature.

While the whiskey cooks out in the baking process, there is still a subtle flavor of it in the cake. The glaze really helps balance out the tang.

If you're feeling really wild, enjoy while watching True Blood, with a True Blood! Ha!

Stay tuned, we're cooking up something from Melrose Place tomorrow!

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