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Archive for the ‘Food in General’ Category

My husband Kevin and I eloped in November 2009. We decided instead of having a big crazy wedding, we’d just swing by the courthouse and throw a low-key party later. Before we even got married, we knew we were going to have all vegan food at our party, and we knew that awesome food would come from Spiral Diner, our most favorite restaurant in the world.

Behold the deliciosity! All vegan, all awesome, put together by Lindsay—pigs in blankets, veggie wraps, chips, hummus, salsa, chickenless salad, and fresh fruits and veggies. The only other vegetarian in our family besides Kevin and I is my mom, but we heard nothing but good things about the food from our omnivorous friends and relatives. My favorite item was definitely the pigs in blankets, followed closely by the chickenless salad.

And of course there was cake! Glorious Neapolitan cake—layers of chocolate and white cake with strawberry icing, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate-covered strawberries—all put together by the very talented founder of Spiral Diner, Amy McNutt. OMG! And yes, it was vegan, and everyone raved about it! It was soooo moist and sooooo delicious (and pretty to boot)!

Here’s another view of the yumminess:

The party went down at The Usual, our friendly, local prohibition-era cocktail-serving bar. Seriously, if you’re a cocktail connoisseur or or just looking for a good Friday night cocktail, you have to check this place out. I’m a fan of the Scorpio and the Mai Tai. Click the link to check out their happy hour specials.

So that’s our vegan wedding party. I was so stuffed by the end of the evening, but it was all sooo, sooo good. And no one except my carnivore brother seemed even reluctant about the food. So there you go . . . vegan wedding shindigs can totally be done and they can be thoroughly awesome!

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I tried two new recipes this weekend. The first was Karina’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas from the Gluten-Free Goddess blog. Take a look at the tastiness:

These really were very good. I love just about anything with black beans and sweet potatoes, and these were no exception. I was afraid it was going to be too spicy with all the chilies, but they really weren’t that spicy at all. This recipes definitely a keeper.

After I assembled the enchiladas, I still had a sizable amount of sweet potato mixture and beans left, so I assembled some sweet potato & black bean quesadillas—sweet potato mixture and beans sandwiched between two corn tortillas—wrapped them individually and thew them in the freezer. On a night I don’t feel like cooking I can thaw them a bit, throw them on a hot skillet, and have almost-instant dinner. Yay!

I also finally got around to making some of Katie’s famous Fudge Babies. These are amazing! If you’re a fan of Larabars or chocolate, you must make these. So fudgy and good (and healthy!). I think next time I make these I’ll throw in some peanut butter for Peanut Butter Cup Babies.

This morning I made Happy Herbivore’s Fat-Free Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls. I’d never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before, but these seemed much easier to make than I expected. They’re gooey and sweet and so tasty. I had two for breakfast, and Kevin had three. These will definitely make it into regular long-weekend breakfast rotation.

I’ll have a new recipe up tomorrow, so check back then! :-) In the meantime, have a lovely Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

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I’m a little late hopping on the New Year’s Resolution train, but whatever. My new year goals almost always involve eating healthier, shedding pounds, exercising more, writing more . . . it doesn’t change much. So here’s what I’m working toward in 2010.

1) Eliminating sodas. When I was in high school I stopped drinking all sodas, and I stayed soda-free for about five years. I started drinking diet sodas again around 2003-ish. I was at a party with my husband (boyfriend at the time) and there was nothing vegetarian to eat, and I was starving for something, so I had a Diet Coke. And that started me down the path of soda-drinking again. I’ve been trying to quit ever since. A couple of years ago I discovered Zevia sodas, and they’re really good (and way healthier for you), but still, they’re kinda pricey, and there’s really nothing better for you than water. So far this year I haven’t had one, and I haven’t been terribly tempted (and we have free sodas at my office). Water is by far the best beverage for your body, so that’s what I’m going to drink. I also drink 1-2 cups of black coffee per day, and an occasional glass of unsweetened tea. I don’t plan on giving those up. But I’m glad to be without the carbonation.

2) Exercise. I’d gotten into a good groove of regular exercise since July 2008, until around September 2009 I just kinda crapped out. I still went for light 20 minute walks, but to meet my health and weight loss goals, I need more than that. I started back up exercising right before Christmas with some Leslie Sansone DVDs that I really enjoy. I also walk and ride my bicycle outside. I enjoy exercise once I’m doing, it’s just the motivation to start that I lack. I’m keeping an exercise log on this blog so I stay accountable, and it’s kept me on track so far. I’m also incorporating strength training into my daily exercise routine, to build lean muscle and help out my lazy-ass metabolism. I have Smoothie Girl to thank for planting this idea in my head.

3) Food issues. Boy do I have food issues. I’m trying to have a more sane relationship with food, and it’s getting better. I think I’ve realized the hardcore low-fat dieting is not for me. I need moderate amounts of healthy fats from avocados, nuts, coconut, and nut butters. I still avoid straight oils because they’re highly processed and have no nutritional value other than tons of calories. I’m also trying to avoid lapses into what I like to call “binge days” or “bad days.” Just because I have one fatty/sugary/uber unhealthy thing that doesn’t mean the whole day is a wash and I should just have a free-for-all with the chips and ice cream. So far this year, I haven’t had any epic diet lapses, maybe just a bite of something her or there, or one slightly “off” meal. The key is to get back on track ASAP and not dwell on your dietary screw-ups. They happen.

So there we have it. All my issues out here for the interwebs to see. What are your exercise/health goals for the new year?

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Spiral Diner is hands-down my most favorite restaurant ever. Spiral is a vegan restaurant that opened in Fort Worth in 2002. I’ve been going ever since opening week and I’ve rarely had a thing I didn’t like.

Spiral has a regular rotation of Blue Plate Specials. Past ones have included the Festivus Sandwich (cranberry pecan dressing, Tofurkey, cranberry sauce, cream cheese, and mayo all sandwiched between two slices of whole grain bread), the Paul Reuben (vegan reuben), chili mac, crazy baked potatoes, and countless other awesome things.

Their newest Blue Plate is an assortment of vegan quesadillas (made with Daiya cheese and all kinds of awesome fillings) and vegan nachos (made with their own cashew cheeze sauce). Of course, as soon as we found out they were offering these tasty gems, Kevin and I had to go down there and try them out. We ordered the Blackened Tofu Quesadillas:

And the Black Bean and Cheese Nachos:

We shared both, and WOW! The quesadillas consist of whole wheat tortillas stuffed with melty Daiya cheese (this stuff is magical!), crisp blackened tofu, corn, tomatoes, green onions and creamy chipotle. On the rare occasion I’ve had regular quesadillas, I always feel gross after eating all that greasy cheese. The Daiya cheese is melty and creamy without all the grease, and the tofu and corn add the perfect combo of textures and flavors.

The nachos were also a winner. The piping hot cashew cheeze sauce is smooth and has a great nutritional yeast/”cheezy” flavor, and the black beans, tomatoes, and onions all added great substance and flavor. They reminded me a little of the vegan nachos we had at Hungry Tiger Too in Portland, Oregon.

If you live remotely close to a Spiral Diner (there’s one in Fort Worth and Oak Cliff), get there fast before these babies are gone. I really, really hope these get added to the regular menu. In fact, now I’m inspired to make my own vegan nachos . . .

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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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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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