Archive for December, 2009

Kevin and I have been in Austin these last few days (hence the lack of posts). We’ve going during our Christmas vacation these last two years, and I have to say, I think I could easily live in Austin. They have some great, walkable urban areas, lots of cool independent business and a crapload of vegetarian-friendly restaurants. While I had fun, I was happy to get home last night. Here’s some of the veg-friendly eats we enjoyed (all pictures were taken by Kevin):

The Berkeley Vegan Pizza from Z Pizza. Holy crap, this had to be the best pizza I have put in my mouth, vegan or otherwise. I think they use Daiya cheese, and wow, it’s amazing! So melty and gooey! And the crust is perfect—fairly thin, but still soft and chewy. I wish we had one of these in Fort Worth!

Vegan wrap at Flipnotics. Can’t remember what it was called, but inside it had brown rice, nori, thai peanut sauce. This was good, but I think it would’ve been even better warmed up. Loved the atmosphere here. Reminded me of places in Portland, OR.

Blue Dragon Smoothie from Juan Pelota Cafe. This smoothie is made with blueberries, pineapple, coconut and soy milk and it was awesome! Totally puts Jamba Juice to shame.

Veggie Frito Pie from Jo’s Coffee. We discovered this lovely coffee shop in the 2nd St. District (there’s also one on South Congress) last year and fell in love! You can get a vegetarian Frito pie made with either veggie chili or wheat roast. I picked the wheat roast and . . . wow . . . loved this, but I couldn’t begin to eat all those Fritos. Kevin tried to help, but we still left about a million Fritos behind.

I don’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s Eve! We usually have parties to go to, but this year I think we’re going to stick around the house and recover from our trip.

So . . . see you next year!

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These little guys are easy to make, tasty, and pretty healthy. I prefer date sugar for these, but since date sugar can be hard to find, turbinado or organic sugar will work as well.


3 cups uncooked quick-cooking oatmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1-1/3 cups date sugar (1-2/3 cups other dry sweetener)
1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
1/2 cup soy or almond milk

Combine the oatmeal, cinnamon and coconut in a large bowl. Set aside. In a saucepan, combine sugar, nut butter and soy milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly (it may not be easy) until mixture is smooth and sugar is melted. Don’t boil, and make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oatmeal mixture and stir until combined. Once combined, let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes to cool and set up. Form the mixture into balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Variations: After the mixture cools, stir in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or cacao nibs, if desired. For chocolate asteroids, add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the peanut butter mixture.

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These cookies are my piece de resistance. I came up with them in college, wanting to making a decadent vegan cookie that didn’t contain any oil, margarine or shortening. Natural-style peanut butter does the work in these cookies. I make these at least a few times each year, and they tied for first place in a cookie contest at work and no one knew they were vegan (I still haven’t told!).

This recipe first appeared in my cookzine Rabbit Fodder Addict in 2003, then it was published in Veggie Life Magazine and Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan.

So here it is. You can find vegan chocolate chips here. And you must use natural style peanut butter; don’t try sneaking in any JIF or Peter Pan. ;-)

White Diamond Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups natural style peanut butter
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together sugars, milk and peanut butter with an electric beater. Beat in cornstarch mixture and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa and baking soda. Stir in the flour until it is well mixed with the cocoa and soda. Add to peanut butter mixture and stir or beat until well mixed. Stir in the white chips. The mixture should be somewhat crumbly, but if it’s too crumbly (powdery) add up to 1/3 cup more milk or nut butter thinned with water until you’re able to form it into
balls. Once you’ve formed the dough into balls, flatten them in your hand into cookie-shaped rounds. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Let them cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool. Devour.

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Sunday night we went to a vegan potluck Christmas party, so I decided to make VeggieGirl’s Gluten-Free Blondies. They went fast and got lots of compliments. And they really don’t taste gluten free.

I doubled the recipe and made a few modifications. Here’s how my version went:

12 ounces (2 single-serving sized containers) chocolate vegan yogurt (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt)
1/2 cup applesauce
1-1/2 cups organic sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons agave
2-1/2 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat an 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick cooki ng spray.

In a large bowl, add in the yogurt, applesauce, sugar, vanilla extract, and agave. Mix well.

In the same bowl, add in the flour, baking soda, chocolate chips, and walnuts. As the mixture starts to thicken up/combine, add as much nondairy “milk” as you need (but not too much) so that the batter is mixable. (I didn’t have to add any milk.)

Pour mixture into the 9×13″ baking pan.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean.

I think I will be making these a lot in the future. Thanks for your great recipe, VeggieGirl!

Yesterday was uneventful food-wise. This morning, however, I had peanut butter-hemp nut oats.

I cooked 2/3 cup quick oats with 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk and 2/3 cup water, then stirred in a little organic sugar and 1 tablespoon PB2. I topped it off with 3/4 tablespoon hemp nuts. It had just the right combination of sweetness and peanut buttery-ness, and the hemp nuts added a nice texture.

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

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Today, Kevin and I headed to the Bishop Arts District to do a little shopping and hanging out. Highlights included lunch at Cafe Brazil (no pics, unfortunately. I’d already eaten most of my meal before I thought of that :-P)—they have an amazing Pumpkin Cheese cake with a brownie crust that I must veganize, shopping at Shambala, where we picked up some Christmas gifts, a stop in at the Soda Gallery, and Dude, Sweet Chocolate, an amazing little chocolate shop. We picked up one of their Albinao & Cardamom bars. I’ll write a review of it once I try it. :-)

When we got home, I was in the mood to make something, so I made these No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bites from Pimp My Protein Shake. I ended up modifying the recipe pretty heavily, subbing almond butter for the peanut butter, chocolate coconut milk yogurt for the plain, chocolate protein powder for the vanilla, and I omitted the cinnamon and vanilla. Then, I realized I only had 3 scoops of protein powder instead of five, so I upped the oat flour. They still turned out great. I rolled half of them in flaxseed meal and half in hemp seeds. Kevin’s enjoying a pile of them right now.

I thought these turned out really well. They don’t have a nasty protein powder taste. I used Spiru-tein because it’s pretty much the only protein powder that doesn’t make me retch (sorry, Jay Robb, I tried to like your protein powder, but I just can’t). They’re also not too sweet and they’re filling enough that I don’t want to gobble down half a dozen at a time. Teamed up with a glass of almond milk, a few of these would make a filling breakfast.

Tomorrow I’ll be making goodies for a vegan potluck. Stay tuned for pics tomorrow! :-)

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Veggiesmack now has a real, live url: www.veggiesmack.com. The WordPress URL still works too, so now you have a choice when you just don’t have the energy to make those extra keystrokes. ;-)

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I made the sushi bowls again tonight, but this time they’re on a plate and I added sweet potato and steamed broccoli. The results? Deliciousness!

I’m working on a cookie recipe I hope to post sometime next week. I made a test batch last night, and while they were pretty tasty, they had issues. I have a few ideas to fix them, so I’ll make another batch next week (my waistline can’t afford to have cookies in the house every night, not even low-fat vegan ones).

I’ve been trying to decide what all I’m going to make for Christmas. I know I’ll be making a few cookie tins for gifts, and I know for sure I’m making Happy Herbivore’s Soy-Free Mac ‘n Cheese, vegan sausage balls, and biscuits and maybe a pumpkin pie, but beyond that, I’m clueless.

Speaking of biscuits, here’s a quick and easy recipe for vegan biscuits made with Heart Smart Bisquick, modified from the recipe on the back of the box. I made them for dinner last night, and I was shocked by how good they were. They’d make a tasty breakfast sandwich with some tofu scramble and soy cheese (or fake bacon and soy cheese). We had them with tomato soup.

Vegan Bisquick Biscuits

1-1/2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

Preheat oven to 450F. Mix Bisquick and milk together in a bowl. Transfer to a kneading surface sprinkled with Bisquick and knead 10 times. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter (or the open end of a glass). Bake on a lightly oiled (or parchment-lined) baking sheet for 7-9 minutes.

What meat-free wonders are you cooking up for the holidays?

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My exercise routine has really suffered over the last three or four months, and I’m not sure why. I know why it crapped out in November–I was packing and working crazy overtime at work. But as far as August, September and October are concerned . . . I think I was just being lazy. As a result, my weight loss has completely stalled, and I need a serious jumpstart. Kevin and I have started riding our bikes more lately, and that’s a good thing, but the weather’s been crazy cold lately (not to mention it gets dark so early now). So I went to Amazon the other day and ordered three Leslie Sansone DVDs. I know, they’re a little bit . . . I don’t know . . . soccer mom, but I rented some of Leslie Sansone’s DVDs from Netflix a while back and I really do like them. They don’t require any special equipment, she encourages you to work at your fitness level and modify if needed (how very Susan Powter!), and they’re divided into 15 minute workouts. You can do one or several, depending on how long of a workout you want. And now that I don’t live in a second-story apartment with a squeaky wood floor, I don’t feel guilty about disturbing my downstairs neighbor with all the stomping. Our house has concrete floors, perfect for walking in place and stomping around :-). I did three one-mile workout yesterday, and I signed up for her 10 Day Challenge, though I’m not following the meal plan being I’m doing the McDougall Program. I’m excited about getting back into an exercise routine again because I’ve felt really lazy and gross these last few months without one.

How do you manage to squeeze exercise into your day and what kind of exercise do you do? Bicycling? Walking? Running? Do you get up early, or do a few shorter workouts throughout the day?

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Inspired by Happy Herbivore’s Sushi Rice Bowl (can’t seem to find the direct link on her site anymore), I made this last night.

Normally, we have several vegetarian-friendly restaurants we can walk or bike to in our neighborhood (and a wonderful all-vegan restaurant just two blocks away), but on Sundays it’s like everyone thinks the Blue Laws are still in effect. I wanted to cook, but there wasn’t much in the house, and we didn’t want to drive anywhere. So . . . we got on our bikes and rode to the nearest grocery store, which happened to be Fiesta. While we were there, we discovered Fiesta has a pretty kick-ass international aisle, and after a lot of walking around and deliberation, we grabbed some Cal Rose rice, avocado and nori sheets (among many other things) and headed home. So we got our grocery shopping and exercise done in one fell swoop, no small feat in Texas where everyone likes to use their car to go everywhere (we have certain neighbors who drive 1/4 block to each others’ houses :-\).

Anyway, when we got home, we made these sushi bowls. They’re perfect when you want the taste of sushi, but don’t want to spend your afternoon rolling [or when all the nearby sushi joints are closed because it's Sunday :-(].

Also, I know I don’t cook the rice in the traditional way for sushi, but it seemed to turn out fine. If you want to rinse your rice like a real sushi chef, go for it. Also, you can sub short-grain brown rice if you want; I was just in more of a white rice mood last night. :-)

Avocado Sushi Bowls

1 cup Cal-Rose Rice (or sushi rice)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 small avocado, cut into chunks
1 sheet toasted nori (or 1 soy wrapper if you’re not into seaweed)
Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and all it to sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the vinegar, agave and salt. Continue stirring the rice often until it cools to room temperature (or cooler). Divide the rice between two bowl and top with avocado chunks. Cut or tear the nori into small pieces and sprinkle some on each bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired. Serves 2.

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Last night we had another Christmas party to attend, so I took these:

These tasty bars are chock full of good stuff: blueberries, oats, applesauce, and whole wheat. They’re fat-free and full of fruit and whole grains, so you can enjoy them guilt-free. They’re even good for breakfast! Enjoy!

Blueberry Oat Bars

3 cups quick-cooking oats
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cups organic sugar
1-1/2 cups applesauce
12 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 12-oz jar strawberry all-fruit spread (I use Polaner’s)
1 tsp. whole wheat pastry flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the first four ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the last three ingredients. Reserve 2 cups of the oatmeal mixture and press the rest into a lightly oiled 9 x 13 glass pan and bake for 15 minutes. Then, spread the blueberry mixture over the baked oat crust and crumble the reserved oat mixture over the top. Bake for 20 more minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

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