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I’ve been a little obsessed with everything tiki/’50s faux Polynesian lately. So I decided to try my hand at make vegan rumaki.

Rumaki is a faux Polynesian dish that consists of chicken livers and a water chestnut on a toothpick wrapped in bacon and broiled. Sounds like a vegan’s delight, right? According to Wikipedia, rumaki was first concocted in the 1940s for Don the Beachcomber’s tiki restaurant.

So what did I use as a vegan substitute for chicken livers? I used firm tofu. I don’t know how genuinely similar it is, since I’ve never had chicken liver, but I figured it would work. For the bacon, I used Morningstar bacon. The taste was good, but the problem with pretty much all vegetarian bacon is low fat content—it burns really easily. I wish some company would make a fattier vegan bacon for dishes like this. I know that sounds horrible, but seriously, it would be a huge help.

Other than the easily burning bacon, I was happy with how my rumaki turned out. I think next time I’ll slice the bacon length-wise, leaving two long, thin strips—this way I could wrap it completely around the water chestnut and tofu. I might also experiment with other brands of meatless bacon.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Try it for your next tiki party or any time you get a craving for something bacon-wrapped.

Vegan Rumaki

1/2 cup tamari sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 package firm water-packed tofu, drained and pressed
1 8 oz can slice water chestnuts
1 package vegan bacon
Toothpicks

Whisk together the tamari, water, sugar and ginger. Set aside. Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces—about 1-inch wide and just under 1/4 inch thick. Cut the bacon slices in half (width-wise, or length wise, depending on how you want to wrap it). Sandwich a water chestnut slice and tofu chunk together and wrap with a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Continue until you’re out of bacon. Place the rumaki in a large bowl or pan and cover with the tamari mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 6–8 hours.

After the rumaki has marinated, drain and place your rumaki on a foil-covered pan. Broil under medium heat until the bacon is cooked, turning often. Be careful not to burn the bacon. Total cooking time will be around ten minutes.

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I haven’t been posting very regularly lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. I have a backlog of stuff to post, starting with this lovely recipe.

I love peanut sauce and I love broccoli slaw, so why not bring the two together? I’ve never been a big fan of mayo-drenched coleslaw, so this is a great alternative. Enjoy with veggie egg rolls or pot stickers!

Asian-Inspired Peanut Slaw

3-1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons agave nectar
Dash tabasco
12 oz bag broccoli slaw (or cole slaw)

Whisk together everything but the broccoli slaw until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Toss with broccoli slaw until evenly coated and serve.

Variation: For a fruity twist, toss in a drained 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple. You could also throw in a few tablespoon of chopped peanuts for some crunch.

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This recipe is from the very first issue of my long-forgotten zine The Cheap Vegan. It’s simple and totally cheap to make, and these can actually be burritos or tacos, depending on the tortillas you use. If you have large flour tortillas, you can fill ‘em up and make burritos. If you use corn tortillas, place a line of filling down the middle, fold in half, and you have a taco. Sweet!

Be sure to save your leftovers. The filling is even better the next day!

Cheap As Dirt Vegan Tacos (or Burritos)
2 small potatoes, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup TVP
1 cup water or light veggie broth
7/8 cup hot water
1 T chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T soy sauce or tamari
Corn or flour tortillas (crispy taco shells are dope, too)

Combine the onion, potatoes, garlic salt, onion powder, chile pepper, black pepper, and 1 cup water in a large, nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. While the vegetables are simmering, combine the TVP and the 7/8 cup of hot water and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes. After the vegetables are done simmering and the potatoes are tender, stir the soy sauce into the TVP and add to the potato mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine the TVP and the potatoes and simmer for five minutes. Spoon into homemade tortillas and top with vegan cheese, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado or nothing at all.

Variation: If you don’t have any TVP on hand, you can use 1-1/2 cups cooked, drained beans instead (that’s what I used in the ones pictured). Omit the 7/8 cup water if using beans.

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Holy crap! I’ve gone over a week without posting a new recipe! How sad! Don’t fear, though. I’m back with something you can make for breakfast.

Granola is a healthy breakfast food that often gets loaded with oils, sugar, corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients, and the brands with healthier ingredients tend to be crazy expensive. So what’s a granola-lover to do?

Make this!

No oil. No refined sugars. Just wholesome tastiness. Enjoy it with your favorite vegan milk, on yogurt, on top of your I-Scream Sundae, or wherever you need the tasty crunch of granola.

Low-Fat Granola

4 cups oatmeal, quick or regular
1 cup oat bran or another cup oatmeal
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit (dried cranberries are great)
1/3 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (optional)
Tiny pinch salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine everything except the apple juice concentrate, agave and the spices in a large bowl. Combine the spices, agave and the apple juice concentrate in a small bowl. Add the apple juice mixture to the oat mixturel. Mix with a spoon until everything is evenly coated. Spread the granola out on 1 or 2 very foiled-lined (spray foil with nonstick spray) baking sheets. Bake until toasted, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Allow it to cool completely on the baking sheets, then store in airtight containers.

Variation: If you like your granola nutty, add up to 3/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds or chopped nuts. Pecans or walnuts are tasty!

For “flavored” granola, add up to 1 teaspoon of your favorite extract–vanilla, almond, coconut, or whatever you like–to the apple juice mixture.

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Need some hearty comfort food to get you through the winter (holy crap, it’s been cold lately!)? Check out this filling pasta dish. It’s reminiscent of Hamburger Helper, but without the meat, dairy and general processed grossness of its pre-packaged cousin.

For the pasta, I used rice penne, but rotini or macaroni would work well, too.

Hamburger Helper with a Vengeance

2 cups uncooked pasta
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
12 oz package “beef” crumbles
3/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Cheeze Sauce
1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon vegan mayo
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, making the cheeze sauce. In a small sauce pan, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. When it just starts to boil, lower the heat and cook until thickened. Set aside.

Cook the onion, crumbles, and cajun seasoning in a lightly oiled skillet until onion is translucent and crumbles are heated through. Add the drained, cooked pasta, almond milk, ground pepper, and cheeze sauce and cook over low heat until everything is heated through. Serves 4.

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Note: This post would have a picture, but alas, all my smoothie pictures came out blurry and gross. So you’ll just have to imagine what the chocolaty, strawberry-y goodness looks like.

I love smoothies. I don’t make them enough, and I’m not really sure why. They’re by far my favorite thing to have for breakfast, so this year, I resolve to make more smoothies. Here’s one of my favorites.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries
1-1/2 cups almond milk (chocolate, plain, vanilla–they all work)
3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Spiru-tein)
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
Tiny squirt (about 1 teaspoon) agave or other sweetener (use more if you like sweeter smoothies)

Place everything in a blender or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.

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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.

Asteroids

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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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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