So as we have clearly established, I am a lazy gal. I am always happy to find a shortcut. Especially when a shortcut is equally delicious as the real thing. I was cleaning out the cupboards and came across a powder mix of gluten free brownies from Trader Joes. The mix itself was vegan. The add-ins were not. So I took it as a personal challenge to make those puppies work anyways. The mix called for one egg, 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 a cup of oil (or something like that) and I totally went out on a limb and used 1/2 a cup of water, 1/2 a cup of apple sauce and 1/4 cup of avocado oil. I also added approximately 1/2 a cup of partially melted all natural (just peanuts) peanut butter.
The results were jaw droppingly good. Maybe the best vegan brownies I have ever had. Let alone gluten free ones. I win!
Next time you pop into Tj’s, grab one of these packages and go to town. You could add just about anything! I was thinking maybe next time I would use dandies vegan marshmallows. Mmmmmm marshmallows……
So a few years ago (when I still ate dairy) we had dinner at the Cheesecake factory. The Hubs and I wanted to share an appy (because their portion sizes are scaled towards football players clearly) and we picked the mushroom lettuce wraps. I thought I would easily reproduce them at home with the addition of some smoked tofu, because really, what isn’t made better by smoked tofu???
I had left over “Fu Sauce” that I used to make the scrambled tofu from the Cafe Flora cook book so I figured I would use what was left over from that. No sense wasting. The Hubs was ALL over these. It was our dinner. And South Beach friendly to boot.
Don’t they look awesome!? They were SO yummy!!!
Here’s what you need:
1 head of iceberg or even romaine lettuce, cut in half and washed well
1 package of organic smoked tofu, cubed
3 large carrots, julienned
3-4 cups of mushrooms sliced. I think anything would have been great but I got crimini and oyster (mostly because that’s what my store had)
3 stalks of green onion, sliced small
1 cup of “Fu” sauce from the cafe flora cook book or any asian inspired sauce of your liking. Hoisin with some light soy, or some sesame oil with some tamari and garlic. The sky’s the limit here. Go nuts! I added sriracha as well because that’s how I roll.
Literally toss everybody into a large pan or wok and cook until the carrots are just cooked but still have some bite. Add the green onions and fill up your cups!
So good. Must eat. GO. Now.
Our last stop in Seattle was a place we happened to find in a magazine in Redmond, WA called the Pomegranate Bistro. The executive chef is a caterer and she opened up an awesome restaurant/food prep kitchen which makes for a very neat dining experience as you can see her catering facilities in behind the dining area. There seemed to be a nice bar area and take out area as well but we managed to call ahead and put our names down and really didn’t wait long at all for our table. The Kid had fallen asleep in the car away (urgh) so we weren’t really in a rush at that point.
What drew me to this place (since it was a good 15 minutes north of where we were staying) was that there was a vegan entree on the menu in addition to the regular meatatarian fare that the Hubs would gravitate towards. It was a vegan sausage with a veggie and bean ragu that was simply awesome.
I also fell madly in love with the plates the kids meals were served on. There is a lot of research out there that suggests that if allowed to serve themselves, children will take far less food than when their parents serve them. Not a huge wonder why obesity is such a plague on North Americans really. Check out these plates and take note that it was a white pizza which was served with fruit, veggies and a very small cookie.
Now I wouldn’t normally be too keen on the Kid eating what amounted to bread for dinner, but since we were on vacation I wasn’t too concerned. And honestly, I was just mesmerized by the plates. Most dinnerware for children is made of crappy plastic or melamine which is questionable IMO and these were ceramic. Naturally the first thing I did when I got home was find and order a set of two from a very cool website called uncommon goods. I am obsessed and sold a whole bunch of the Kid’s plates. How many plates does one child need anyways?
The desserts were also pretty awesome. I am 100% sure they had dairy. I made an exception on that one. They were pretty ridiculous and I hadn’t cheated at all so I let myself have that one.
Peanut butter and chocolate pot as well as bread pudding. YUM. If you are in this area, check this place out. If you are going to just be in the area, add it to your list of must eats!
So I kept seeing recipes online for something called soy curls. A dash to my local(ish) whole foods left me empty handed and wondering what the heck they were. Luckily our trip to Seattle allowed me access to all the awesome stuff we can’t buy up here in the great white north. Ah Ha!! Low and behold, the Lynwood, WA whole foods had Butler’s Soy Curls. Vegan, Gluten Free and Non-GMO. SOLD.
Since I had no idea what to do with them I figured I would try one of the recipes from their own website. The Luau dish. It was like sweet and sour chicken. But vegan. And awesome. I also made a few tiny adjustments and I think mine was fabulous. The Kid ate his and the Hubs took all the left overs for lunch. Win.
Very easy to prepare them too. Just soak in some hot water for 10 minutes and then use as you would chicken strips. The possibilities are endless! I’m thinking fajitas next time, maybe something with bbq sauce or hot wing sauce as well.
Sweet and Sour Soy Curls
8 oz. bag of Soy Curls™
1/2 Red Bell Pepper–Chop into Large Chunks
1/2 Green Bell Pepper–Chop into Large Chunks
1 Can of Pineapple Tidbits in natural juice (20 oz can)
— Drain and reserve juice for sauce
3 T Nutritional Yeast (aka Yeast Flakes)
1/2 t Salt
4 T Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
2-3 T Oil for Sautéing
Ingredients for Sauce:
Reserved Juice from Pineapple Tidbits
(use entire amount from can)
1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 T Potato starch
Put 8 oz. of Soy Curls into a bowl and cover with hot water–let stand for about 10 minutes. Drain well and use your hands or the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Chop the onion and peppers. Drain the pineapple juice into a cup and set the juice aside for the sauce.
In small bowl mix the ingredients for the sauce (pineapple juice, sugar, lemon juice, and starch). Stir well until starch is completely dissolved. Set bowl aside to add to sauté later.
In a frying pan, on med-high to high heat, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of Oil. Sauté Soy Curls in Oil and then add 3 T Nutritional Yeast Flakes, 1/2 t salt, and 4 T Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce. Sauté until golden brown. Once well cooked, remove Soy Curls from the frying pan.
Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and add the chopped onion, chopped peppers, and pineapple tidbits and sauté until onions appear transparent-do not overcook–you want the peppers a bit crunchy. Then add in the cooked Soy Curls to the vegetable mixture in the frying pan.
Pour the Sauce mixture into the frying pan and toss until mixture becomes slightly thick.
Remove and serve immediately with rice.
So it was my 30 something *cough cough* ish birthday last week and a very thoughtful friend got me some vegan salted chocolate caramels from a wicked vegan shop in New Westminster BC called Karmavore. I have never seen such a confection and I’m not going to lie, they were ridiculous. I have VERY super crazy sensitive teeth and they were actually hurting them a LOT but I just kept eating them. All six. In three days. They aren’t even in his photo because I ate them all before I even had the sense to take a photo. They were lovely looking. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
This company, Desiderio, makes all sorts of delicious sounding confections. See if you can find them. SO good. So so very good.
If you are going to have a treat, why not have a fabulous, high quality amazingly delicious treat. Trust me, one or two is enough to feel satisfied. I guess I’ll be going to Karmavore soon….
I have had my fair share of vegan ice creams. I’m not going to lie. They usually have more of an ice taste than a cream taste. Molly Moon however knocked it out of park. I had heard that they have the most amazing ice creams and was really just hoping that they would have something vegan. Full disclosure, I probably would have just ordered a regular one. They looked SO good. I’m weak. But, they did have a vegan option! And to make it even better, they had vegan cold fudge sauce to go with it!!! The waffle cones were also fresh made on the spot and were just ridiculous. Not sure they were vegan mind you. I chose not to ask. The vegan flavour that was available was coconut chocolate chunk.
This place is going into the roster of must hit spots in Seattle. They have a few locations too.
The Hubs got the “scout” mint (girl guide mint cookie) ice cream with a shot of hot fudge. I had a tiny taste. It was pretty ridiculous. We had a massive dinner that night too. It was pure gluttony. Pure bliss. Tee hee.
So I am the vegan who is a closet junk food junkie. Okay so maybe not so closeted. I love me some candy. I love me some cookies. I love me french fries. I eat a whole lotta fruit and veggies, but I would SO rather be eating junk food. Lucky for me, there is The Veggie Grill! They recently opened in Seattle (I have been to the location in Los Angeles) and I was NOT about to spend the weekend there and not have at least one meal. Vegan fast food is really my happy place.
We were in town and decided to stop in for lunch. I thought lunch was great but did have one minor issue with the Kid’s meal. The cookie that is offered with the meal was actually two Newman’s Own brand oreo type sandwich cookies. In the past he has been served an actual cookie. House made I assumed. So that was a bit of a bummer. Hoping it was just because they are still new and sorting things out. His meal was great though. “Chicken” fingers and sweet potato fries. Plus a drink that we all shared since it was self serve strawberry lemonade!
The Hubs and I polished off the rest of the fingers as the Kid only had one. He just wanted the cookies. Oh to be four…..
I got the Santa Fe crispy chick’n sandwich and it was great. The Hubs got the Crispy Chick’n plate. He liked it, but said he would just get the kid’s meal next time. Sigh. Oh well, at least he didn’t complain.
I’m already looking forward to going again in L.A in May. Yes, I plan my family vacations around my meals.
Yup….I sure do. Yum.