A vegan's adventures cooking for her meatatarian husband

New Year, New Me!! And Cool Lunches For The Kid

Well I have officially been M.I.A. I own it. I took it upon myself to become a yoga instructor! Namaste yo! This very exciting new chapter in my life also was the most time consuming and all encompassing as well. Sadly something had to give and it was cooking. Ha. Sorry family. Mommy fail for 3 months. Alas, what can you do? Now I’m done and super excited to get back on track. Stay tuned for some great new recipes as well as a focus on some cool raw vegan items. I also decided I would try to add much more raw into my diet and have been experimenting a fair bit lately especially with desserts. I don’t think the Hubs is going to jump on the raw kale salad anytime soon, so dessert may be our common ground. In the meantime, for any of you awesome readers out there with kiddos that are in a mid way of the year lunch box slump I will share what my kid got today. Firstly, you need one of these. Then go crazy. I find it way easier to fill a lunch box when I have size restrictions. It’s really just like packing for vacation. Once you know which suitcase you’re taking, packing should be a breeze! This little bad boy has vegan squirley bread with Adams Peanut Butter and Organic Santa Cruz Concord Grape Jelly. Good old seaweed snacks and an organic Trader Joe’s cheese string. Add in some grapes and some red peppers and you’re laughing. The Kid actually ate the whole thing. There was one grape left in the container (why do kids do that anyways!?!?) and I was pretty chuffed since he usually objects to something or another in there. Almost five is a glorious age. And by glorious I mean god awful. AWFUL. Stay tuned readers! Exciting things to come.

lunch box lunch

 

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Who Likes Pie?? ME! Who Likes Pie FOR Dinner?! EVERYBODY!!!

I am always on the hunt for new recipes. Especially ones that seem pretty straight fowrad and easy. If I think the Kid AND the Hubs will eat it, I’m all in. When I came across this recipe on a very cute/funny site for Vegan Mushroom Pie I though, okay, who wouldn’t want pie for dinner!? While making the recipe I realized that the instructions are a bit lacking so I wouldn’t suggest using their instructions to be honest. That being said, the pie was a HUGE hit. The kid wasn’t feeling well but I suspect he would have gobbled it up otherwise and Hubs ate about half and took the leftovers for lunch. I’d say that’s a win. Plus I learned something new. Tenderflake puff pastry is accidentally vegan!  Because who are we kidding, I’m sure that was not their intention. Nice bonus though! I’m sure all the Oreo fans out there would agree that sometimes the accidentally vegan items are super awesome. I’m not an Oreo kinda girl but I do see the appeal. Here’s how mine turned out. Not too shabby for a first try I would say.

vegan mushroom pie

mushroom pie dinner

 

I decided to make pan fried potatoes and some roasted asparagus but honestly anything would pair well with this. Broccoli or carrots would be nice or a big green salad or some steamed garlic kale…..mmmmm kale…… Anyways, so just go for it. Plus, you can buy the crust, so it’s SUPER easy to make. Enjoy!!!

Here’s what you need:

1 oz dried mushrooms

1 TBSP EVOO

2 Large Portobello Caps brushed and diced small

2 Cloves garlic minced (or just buy the crushed kind like I do and use about a TBSP or more depending on your preference)

1/2 Large White Onion diced small

1/2 Cup of left over re-hydration liquid from the dried mushrooms

2 TBSP Earth Balance or other vegan margarine

2 TBSP flour (chickpea, or whatever you have on hand really)

1 Tsp Oregano

1 Tsp Thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

3/4 of a package of frozen puff pastry, completely thawed (this is key!)

 

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350.

Place your dried mushrooms in a glass bowl and just cover with very hot water. Approximately a cup. Meanwhile, get your EVOO going in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. The dried mushrooms should have soaked for about 15 minutes and then you can chop them up. They can stay larger than the diced ones but I wouldn’t leave them huge. Add all the mushrooms to the pan with 1/2 cup of the liquid from the dried mushrooms and your spices and stir occasionally for approximately 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. While they are cooking, spray a glass pie dish with cooking spray and roll out your puff pastry on a lightly dusted surface. cover the bottom of your dish with one half of the pastry and then roll out about half of the rest of what you have or the whole thing if you want to completely cover the pie. I made a lattice so I didn’t need the whole rest of the package. But if you cover the whole pie remember to add knife slits on top to let the air out. Or kaboom.

After the 10 minutes, add the Earth Balance and Flour and stir to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour your mushroom mix into your pie dish and add whatever top you are going to do. Lattice or full pie crust on top. Either will be awesome. Bake for 40-45 minutes and remove and let sit for 5 minutes. The fill is HOT. So eat with care. But eat eat eat!!! So good. Enjoy.

Is Gnocchi Really Pasta? Okay Who Cares, This Gnocchi Rocks

So I’m not really a pasta girl. Perhaps you will notice on my blog that I AM a carbs girl. But my kind of carbs are bready, muffin-y, cookie goodness. Pasta has never really float my boat. The Hubs however, is a huge pasta guy. I wanted to blow the bank this past meatless monday and thought back to a dish I had many many years ago on our anniversary or his birthday or something that was pretty basic. Gnocchi in a brown butter sauce. It was way too rich for my taste and he pretty much ate my whole dinner. I looked around for a good sounding gnocchi and found a sweet potato gnocchi in a sage butter sauce that is totally vegan by Chef Chloe Coscarelli. Hardcore vegans will be familiar with her work, the rest of you should be. Check these bad boys out:

sweet potato gnocchiKind of beautiful right!?

As much as I don’t love gnocchi there was something about these that were just amazing. Plus they are cooked in batches and I realized that they were even more amazing when the earth balance was a bit hot and they got a crispy exterior on them. Perfection.

Plus, it was REALLY satisfying when Hubs walked in and balked when he realized that I was making them from scratch. Clearly he thought I meant I bought sweet potato gnocchi when I asked if he was okay with that for dinner. HA. Take that silly meatatarian! He made it clear that he has never made gnocchi before because he is always scared they will be rocks. Mine were perfect. Maybe could have been a teeny bit lighter but we were both super happy with the result. Making these again next week for sure!

Here is her recipe with a few of my added tweaks!

What you need:

2 Large (approx 2 lbs) Sweet Potatoes or Yams (depending on the colour you are working towards)

2 tsp kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 to 3 cups unbleached AP flour (or a GF mix if that’s how you roll)

1/2 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)

1/2 cup fresh sage leaves torn into large pieces

 

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees . Bake your sweet potatoes until tender, approximately 40-50 minutes. Give them a firm squeeze if you’re not sure. Once they are cooked through and cool enough to handle, scoop all the flesh out and mash in a bowl and place aside or in the fridge to cool completely.

Add the salt, nutmeg and pepper to the cooled sweet potato and mix. Add the flour half a cup at a time until the mixture becomes a slightly sticky dough that you can handle but be sure not to over work it and don’t add too much flour! This is apparently the trick. Too much flour and too much muscle equals rock hard gnocchi. Divide the dough into six pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured surface, again, not too much until you have six “ropes” that are about half an inch thick. Cut your gnocchi into half inch pieces and if you want to be fancy, you can roll each one with a fork for that restaurant look. Clearly I did NOT do this.

Get a medium pot going with boiling water as well as a pan with the margarine and sage leaves. I would keep the margarine pretty hot, medium high heat so that you get that nice crispy exterior on the gnocchi.

In batches, add about 20 gnocchi to the gently boiling water for about five minutes. They should start to float to the surface after about four minutes. If not, give them some time to float up. Then transfer to the “butter” and sage and fry for a few minutes and flip until each side is nice and crunchy.

Serve! I added a sprinkle of salt to mine. Hubs added cheese. Sigh. I was so close. Ah well. It was still awesome!

Vegan Donuts That Will BLOW Your MIND!

So let me first say that I’m not a huge fan of donuts. I would pretty much choose any pastry over a donut. There are good vegan donuts, great ones even. I like Mighty-O’s but then I have to drive all the way to Seattle and no donut is worth a two hour drive. Actually, I would like to restate that, there is now a donut that is worth a two hour drive. Cartems Donuterie in Vancouver is beyond words. Let me instead show you some photos and then try to do them justice with a short spiel about how amazing they are and why

cartems donuteriecartems donut

Okay so that little beauty up there. With the flowers on it. That was the vegan one. I’m not going to lie, all the other ones were not, but honestly, who cares. Look. At. That. Donut. I believe it was a Earl Grey and it was ridiculous. Unlike most vegan donuts, it was light and fluffy and had a sweet but not cloyingly sweetness to it. The rose petals (which I hate) did not lend any rose-y flavours thank goodness and it was just perfect. They also had Gluten Free AND Vegan ones but since I don’t have a gluten intolerance I didn’t go that route, but there is something for everyone. The Kid that the chocolate one with the little balls (Triple Chocolate Threat) and HOOVERED it in about two minutes flat and the Hubs pretty much ate all the other ones. No seriously. He had three. I took a tiny bite of the powered sugar one that was stuffed with real blueberries and was amazing as well. The salted caramel one was also pretty sick and he was all over the bacon one. Barf. Whatever.

What I also loved and appreciated was the locally sourced and mainly organic ingredients. LOVE. I think we will be weekly visitors now. Might have to start biking there to negate the calories of course…..

Where Have You Been?? Okay, Where Have I Been!? Here’s A Vegan Ice Cream Cone Cupake To Make Up For It!!!

Okay yes, I have been MIA for a while but I’m back and have an AWESOME recipe for you! Look at this bad boy!!! Friends again?

vegan cupcake cones

Looks like an ice cream cone right? Wrong! It’s a cupcake! I saw a recipe for this ages ago and thought it was just the cutest party idea ever. We had planned for a bbq that got a bit weathered out by the recent wonky weather here in the Pacific Northwest so we just had a few friends over with kids the same age as The Kid. I figured I would make these and see if they were decent. I may have made a bit of a misstep by putting them in the fridge after I made them but I was a bit scared the vegan butter cream would start to melt. I think next time I would just wait until the very last minute to ice them because the cones were not crispy at all and it lended them an odd texture. The cupcake part and icing were great though and I would make these again in a heartbeat!

Here’s What You Need:

Basic Vegan Cupcakes:
1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla because that’s what I had)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup mild oil (avocado would be good but any veg oil would work too)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons of sprinkles if you want to make them “funfetti” cupcakes which is what I did.

4-5 tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips to sprinkle in the bottom of the cones (why leave this step out!)

Here’s What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the almond milk and vinegar to make buttermilk. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the oil, vanilla and sugar to the “buttermilk” and then slowly stir into the dry ingredients until combined. Add the sprinkles if you want and then drop a tsp or so of chocolate chips into the bottom of each cone. Stand the cones in a regular muffin tin and fill each with the batter (I poured the batter into a spouted measuring cup for easier pouring) until almost full.

Bake in the middle rack for 20 minutes or so. Test them at 18 minutes to see if a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack until completely cool. Make your favorite vegan butter cream icing. Vanilla or chocolate or both and ice them to look like ice cream. sprinkle more sprinkles on top if you like or add a drizzle of melted chocolate.  YUM.

Mock Tuna Salad

The only thing I really miss (A LOT) is tuna salad sandwiches. I don’t even know why really. I really hated anything “fishy” when I was a kid, but there was something about a homemade tuna salad sandwich that really did it for me. Nostalgia maybe, but I do miss them. Well, I did anyways until I came across this recipe for Mock Tuna Salad. The gates of heaven opened and I heard the angels sing. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Look!

mock tuna salad

Now wait a minute you are yelling! That’s just smushed chickpeas. Oh no my friend. It is just SO much more than that. It actually tastes like tuna salad!! (mostly anyways). It totally gives me that fix I need and let’s face it, this is wayyyyyy better for you than traditional tuna salad. Plus there the whole thing of not having to kill tunas. So there’s that. It really is yummy and you must try it.

Here’s what you need:

    • 1(15 oz.) can chick-peas, drained (or 1.5 cups cooked)

 

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
    • 1/3 cup minced celery

 

    • 2.5 Tbsp minced dill pickle (one smallish pickle)

 

    • 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

 

    • 1 green onion, chopped

 

    • 1 tsp soy sauce

 

    • 1/2 tsp kelp powder (or since nobody on earth likely has this, use minced seaweed snacks! This is a must. It provides that “fishy” ish taste that mock tuna really needs to have to be called mock tuna!)

 

  • salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:

Mash the chickpeas (which can be annoying and time consuming, so toss them and pulse in a food processor if you’re lazy like me) and add the rest of the ingredients and stir all together. Eat as a sandwich, stuff into a tomato or use to top a nice green leafy salad. YUM.

Toronto’s Hogtown Vegan Left Me In Hog Heaven.

I’ve been home over a week now. I’m still dreaming of the food at Toronto’s Hogtown Vegan. I convinced the Hubs to go to a new Toronto vegan restaurant while we were both there (me for pleasure and him for business) recently. We got there a little late and there was a bit of a kerfuffle getting seated but we did get a table about ten minutes after we arrived. Let me be honest here, if you are the type of person who cannot stand the Toronto summer heat without AC this might be a place to visit in the spring, fall or winter. I however, enjoy the hot hot heat of summer in T.O and wasn’t too bothered by the lack of AC. But it was hot.

We ordered two appies to share (we were STARVING) and two entrees which we were going to share as well. Our appies too an hour. AN HOUR. The poor waitstaff were pretty horrified (as were we) and tried to assure us that there was a major issue in the kitchen and they were trying desperately to get everybody’s food out. As bad luck would have it, we were the last table seated of about 6 (there are only 10 or 12 tables in this little joint) and so we were waiting the longest. It was pretty awful. The food however was spectacular! And they comped up most of the bill as there were a few other issues as well. None of which take away from the fact that the food was awesome and they did everything right trying to make it up to us. I can’t wait to visit again. I almost want to travel back just to eat there again!! Here’s what we had:

hogtown vegan taco salad

Yummiest taco salad ever. EVER.

hogtown vegan unchicken and waffles

These little beauties were exactly how I remember buffalo chicken wings tasting. Delish.

Hogtown vegan Philly cheese steak

The fries were just fries but the “steak” in this was amazing. So thin and tasty! NO idea what the real thing tastes like but I’m SURE this is better. Plus they make their own cheese sauce and I generally hate any fake cheese product and this was awesome.

Hogtown vegan Philly cheese steak

The winner of the evening. Sadly they were out of the collards and the mash was cold but the dish was still the best. The Hubs said he would eat it again for sure.

Check out the Hogtown Vegan if you live in T.O or will be in the area, you will dig the food for sure.