A vegan's adventures cooking for her meatatarian husband

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Okay, it’s Halloween! And if you have rugrats like us, you have a grand total of 13.5 minutes to get home, make dinner and head out to trick or treat.

I have a solution. Make these!

FAST, easy and almost healthy. Plus they are just so freaking cute!

For the vegans in the crowd, Daiya would be a good choice in place of the cheese strings or your favorite cheese sub will do just fine. Since I wasn’t eating these, I caved and used the Kid’s Trader Joe’s Organic cheese strings.

Muffin Mummies

Whole wheat english muffins

Pizza or tomato sauce

Cheese strings or vegan substitute

Pimento stuffed olives (sliced thin for use as eyes)

Amounts will vary depending on how many of these little mummies you need. But this one is pretty straight forward!

Preheat oven to 350 0

Split the muffins in half and spread your sauce on each half. Pick apart your cheese and use as mummy cloth strips, or arrange your “cheese” for a similar effect. Add two eyes to each and place in oven until cheese has melted, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Serve warm.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Who could resist?

I love Halloween. Have I mentioned that yet? I’m a sucker for sugar. I always have been, and probably always will be. I am well aware that all my favorites have gelatin in them, and while I don’t buy marshmallows with animal gelatin, I do, on occasion have candy with it. I’m weak. Forgive me.

But I did make the kid some fabulous little vegan carrot muffins and MacGuyver-ed a vegan cream cheese frosting to put on them.

I made them mini muffins and called them cupcakes since he is more likely to mow down cupcake than a muffin, but who are we kidding, these are super healthy and were delicious. They are moist and light and quite lovely.

Yes, I added candy corn, but tis the season!!!

Leave them off. Use something else. Whatever floats your boat!

Sprinkles would be nice, or even some sweetened shredded coconut.

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffins

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup maple sugar

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour should work too)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 cup grated organic carrots (one really big one or two medium ones)

1/2 cup crushed fresh pineapple including juice

Directions:

In a small bowl mix baking powder and applesauce into a foamy mixture, set aside.

In large bowl mix flour, sugar baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; mix.

Add oil, honey, carrots, pineapple with the juice, and applesauce mixture.

Mix well

Add nuts, raisins, or dried cranberries if you like, I added about half a cup of raisins.

Scoop mixture into cupcake liners.

Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the Frosting:

1/2 cup soy based cream cheese

1/2 cup earth balance

1 cup vegan icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream all ingredients, frost. I ran out of piping bags so I used the good old baggie trick. Just fill a baggie and snip one tiny corner off. Done!


Have you ever discovered a new and unbelievable new restaurant and been torn between telling absolutely everybody about it (because you think everybody deserves to try such fabulous food) and keeping your big fat mouth shut so that you don’t have to wait an hour for a table???

Alas, with such a shortage of great veggie restaurants in Vancouver (and almost none that have multiple vegan and gluten free options to boot!)  I felt it was my responsibility to share my experience at Heirloom Vegetarian.

Now, for the sake of total transparency, my husband does know the owner, they are friends in fact, but he too is a meatatarian who appreciates the importance of a plant based diet and saw the void in the Vancouver restaurant scene of restaurants with great veggie food.

So became Heirloom.

Creative, delicious and generous portions.

Check out what we sampled!

The “famous” (yes, they have only been open a few weeks but trust, these will be famous” Avocado Frites served with smoked tomato ketchup (but it tasted like marinara to me….). These beauties were vegan.

 

So yummy

 

Tagliatelli Pasta (so huge that the hubs took half home for dinner the next night!!) which was veg with lentils and amazing pasta but did have cheese. Could have asked without but hubs like cheese. So fine.

 

HUGE portion

 

 

And last but definitely not least, the Pumpkin Chai Mousse (totally vegan and totally amazing!). Also totally vegan.

I could have eaten three of these

We also tried the crispy chickpeas which were very good, the wild mushrooms in a coconut based sauce and served with walnut bread that was awesome and hubs tried the chocolate cake (which is vegan if you leave off the tiny canelle of goats cheese) which had a hint of cayenne and he was a huge fan.

 

If you are in the Vancouver area or live here, you must try this place. They are opening for lunch/brunch soon as well. I can’t wait to go back. Going to take the GF vegan-ish best friend next week for dinner. The hubs doesn’t often rave about veg restaurants but we found a winner!
Bon Appetite.

 


Dear Gardein,

I love you. I would marry you if I could. You make my life infinitely easier with your veg/soy based replica meat products. The kid will eat your 7 Grain Crispy Tenders EVERY single day of his life (note to reader, I do NOT feed them to the kid every day, but man alive, he WOULD eat them if that were in any way possible). My current favorite is the award winning Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. I’m not going to lie though; I am not crazy in love with your sauce. I do make my own.  But I will continue to purchase your products because they are about as good as processed foods get and when I get home from work and the kid is hungry and I have 15.5 seconds to get something even moderately healthy on the table that I know for sure he will eat (and those my friends are very rare foods indeed), I turn to you. NEVER LEAVE ME.

Love J

Do you buy Gardein? I cannot live without it. Yes, it is pre-packaged and mostly frozen food but look at the nutritional label. Two 7 grain crispy tenders have 30% of an adult’s daily requirement of B12. Who are we kidding; even the kid can polish off 4 of those puppies in one sitting. More if they were available.

I decided to make the orange chick’n and make my own sauce. It was fast and easy and with a big scoop of long grain brown rice, a nice perfectly balanced meal. Even the hubs ate it and liked it! Sadly I didn’t have time to cook the chick’n and veggies separately, which is my preference as it is MUCH better crispy. Next time.

Try it!

1 Package of Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup toasted unsalted whole cashews

Sauce:

½ cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp low sodium organic soy sauce

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp ginger root, minced

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

2 stalks green onion, chopped

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons potato starch

1.5 tablespoons water

In a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.

Combine potato starch with 1.5 Tbsp of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir starch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Leave on low. Whisk occasionally.

Cook up your Chick’n (I use coconut oil but any good cooking oil would do) as per directions and set aside. Fry up 2 bell peppers with 1 small onion until desired softness (as always, we like ours on the crispy side so we only fry for about 5 minutes, if that). Toss everything together in a big pan (veg, chick’n and sauce) and serve over brown rice (or white if that’s all you have). Toast your cashews in a pan on medium heat or in the toaster over and sprinkle over your dish.  YUM.


Veggies and Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Ahhh peanuts. How I love you. Let me count the ways.

Dessert? Sauces? Garnish? Yes yes yes!!!

Another favorite of the hubs is my veggie stir-fry with peanut sauce. I have made this dish many times and each time the sauce is slightly different. This one you really need to play with and make your own. Here are the basics:

½ cup of natural/organic creamy unsalted peanut butter

2-3 Tbsp organic low sodium soy sauce (why organic you ask? I always buy organic non-GMO soy products whenever possible and yes, it’s not always possible. But if you can, you should. GMO foods are gross modified options or genetically modified organisms and it’s always better to eat food that hasn’t been a science project right??)

2-3 Tbsp sesame oil

1-2 cloves crushed garlic

½ cup rice wine vinegar and or lime juice. Use what you have handy, both are good.

Red pepper flakes or srirracha to taste.

Warm the peanut butter and stir everything else in. Yup. It’s THAT easy.

Keep playing with the sauce until you like the flavour. The viscosity should resemble loose pancake batter. I like to fry up my tofu (smoked is my favorite but any firm organic tofu is good!) in some coconut oil and then once it’s crispy, add in the veg! Whatever you like. I used carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, mushrooms and green onion as a garnish. To placate the hubs, I took out some prawns for him to toss into his. Sometimes he uses chopped chicken breast and preps it the same as I do the tofu. Once you get the right softness of the veg (we like ours slightly crunchy), toss in some sauce and Bob’s your uncle. The hubs decided that Soba noodles are best with this meal, but we have also had it with brown rice noodles and I’m sure any whole grain or hearty noodle would do.

Clearly this is one of those meals that leaves everybody happy. I however am happier when he leaves out the meat (tee hee) but that doesn’t really ever happen with this one. Can’t win’em all people!!

Garnish with toasted peanuts and a slice of lime if you are so inclined.  Apparently the shrimp version goes well with beer.


I LOVE Halloween. LOVE. A holiday dedicated to dressing up and getting free candy. LOVE.

When I saw these cookies on Babble this week I knew I was going to make them.

I am however,  one of those lame-o mommies/wives that tries to make EVERYTHING healthier. When I discovered that Trader Joe’s made white whole wheat flour I did a little happy dance and was all over that stuff like a pig on.. well you know.

The Kid loves “helping” me make anything in the kitchen, but I use the word “help” VERY loosely. So at the time of year when we are surrounded by candy and chocolate I thought, why not make cookies. Makes sense right?

I didn’t change much of the original recipe, but I did use my handy dandy white whole wheat flour and as I didn’t want to open a whole can of pumpkin I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter instead.

Be careful with sprinkles. MOST are not vegan. I’m not going to lie, these may not have been either, but they looked good and I did skim the ingredient list and nothing jumped out at me. But they probably were NOT. Did I mention that I’m about 90% vegan and 10% totally lazy???

Make the cookies.

Vegan Halloween Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes approximately 2 dozen (unless you’re like me an always make cookies too big….don’t judge me)

dry:
2 1/2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

wet:
2/3 cup water

2-3 Tbsp canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar (break up any clumps by melting into warmed vegan butter)
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted/warmed in microwave
2 Tbsp maple
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, room temperature

fold-in:
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

topping: Halloween sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together dry ingredients. Fold in the wet ingredients. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips and the optional egg replacer. Adjust with a few spoonfuls of flour if the dough is too sticky to hand roll into balls. Otherwise, you can chill dough in fridge or freezer for easier handling.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on a rack.


Tuscan Inspired Kale Soup

People ask me ALL the time: “How do you cook for your family when you don’t eat meat or dairy and your hubs is a meatatarian?”

The truth is, I didn’t. But this fall the hubs decided that he wanted to eat a little healthier and the easiest way to do that would be to just eat what I was cooking for me and the kid. So the gauntlet was thrown down and off I went trying to find things that he would eat and actually like that were totally veg. For the sake of full disclosure, there are some recipes that lend themselves to the addition of meat (in his mind, NOT MINE!) and that has become an integral part of my cooking. Mostly because I would still rather cook a meal and will suck it up if he wants to add some shrimp or chicken. Not because I think he should be eating meat, but because I’m not hallucinating and am fully aware that he is highly unlikely to ever go fully veg. Okay, he is never going to become a vegetarian unless something magical happens. I’m waiting people. Send me some magic!!

In the meantime, we are enjoying this little foodie adventure.

I begin with one of his favorites. Totally vegan and super hearty and delish.

I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as we do. It’s part of our regular winter rotation.

The Soup

1 Tbsp EVOO (or oil of your choice)

1 large white or yellow onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1 can organic whole Roma tomatoes, crushed by hand (more on this later)

1 large head of organic kale, any variety will do, leaves ripped into small bite sized pieces (discard the tough stems, they aren’t edible)

1.5 litres (those tetra pak style boxes are good) organic low sodium veg stock (or if you are super human, home made veg stock would be amazing)

6-8 crimini (brown) organic mushrooms, chopped

1 can (or one cup cooked) organic cannellini beans

2 Tbsp herbs de provence

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes (optional but if you are heat averse, just add a tiny bit, it really adds to the flavour of the soup)

Cook your onion in the EVOO on medium heat until translucent (4-5 minutes) and add in the garlic and cook another few minutes. Add your tomatoes (I just dig into the can and crush them over the soup pot but if you aren’t afraid of an extra dirty dish, it’s probably easier to just do it in a bowl) and then the kale and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and then add everything else except for the pepper flakes. Lower to a simmer and cook covered for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the mushrooms and kale and nice and soft. Keep and eye on the liquid level and add stock as required to get your preferred viscosity.

Fill your bowl, add a few dashes of red pepper flakes and enjoy. If you’re like me, you won’t wait until the soup is a reasonable temperature and just eat it scalding hot. If you’re like the hubs, you will wait a few minutes and actually taste your food.