Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thanks Guys!

I got 18 responses for testers! Yea! That sounds like a good number to get started, so I'm going to cut it off for now. But if I later decide that 18 isn't enough, I'll put out another call. I totally appreciate all of you (the testers, the lurkers, and the regulars who don't have time to test!). I don't know what I'd do without my blogger buddies.

On that note, I'm sorry I've been bad about commenting on other blogs lately. I'm technically on Xmas vacation from work, and I've been busy traveling back and forth from my parents house in Arkansas and my boyfriend's place in middle Tennessee. But I'll get back in the swing of things as soon as the holidays are over.

Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tester Site! And a Stake-Out!

Okay ya'll, I've finally set up my invite-only Cookin' Crunk tester site, where interested folks can drop by and test the recipes I've developed for my Southern vegan cookbook. If you're interested in becoming a tester, email me at tofuwitch[at]yahoo[dot]com with your email address and I'll send you an official invite.

In other news, my vegetarian group (Food Awareness) got together on Sunday for a veggie lunch and "stake-out." Vaughan ordered some cool yard signs that say "Meat Is Killing Your Health, Our Environment, and Billions of Farm Animals: Learn and Improve with Local Volunteers" and it also lists our website,

Vaughan stepped in dog poop after placing these signs!

We placed the signs on abandoned lots and near stop signs and intersections. Since there's a city ordinance against this, they'll likely be taken down. But maybe some will stick around and make an impact.

I'm placing a sign near a busy intersection. Luckily, there was no dog poop here.

Before the stake-out, we met for lunch at the Young Avenue Deli, a hip music venue/deli with a large selection of vegetarian options and plenty of good beer. I had the Super Veggie, a pita wrap with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, black olives, sprouts, and hearts of palm:

It was okay. The veggies were a little bland, could have used a stronger marinade. But the Deli's World Famous French Fries are out of this world good:

Their fries have won several awards and they serve enough in a small order to feed an army. I could live off of the Deli's fries.

Don't forget to e-mail me if you wanna join the tester site!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Goodbye Christmas

So Christmas is over ... it's a relief, but it's bittersweet. No more sparkly lights or anticipated gifts. No more excuses to pig out on cookies, cakes, pies, and Tofurkey. But on the other hand, we have new presents to play with! I got a Nikon D60 digital camera (no more crappy photos!), a KitchenAid stand mixer, a travel mug coffee pot, lots of clothes, all five seasons of Saved By the Bell on DVD, and a cool "As Seen on TV" veggie slicer.

I also got to pig out at my Granny's house on Xmas morning. Instead of the traditional Christmas dinner, my family does Christmas Breakfast:

Most of the food is not vegan, so I bring my own tofu scramble, biscuits, soymilk gravy, and soy sausage. The hash browns that my Granny serves are vegan.

She also veganized her Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie for breakfast dessert (shouldn't every breakfast end with dessert?):

Wow, this stuff was AMAZING! I have a new favorite pie. My Granny convinced some waitress at a steakhouse to give her the recipe, and then she veganized it (she even made a whole wheat crust!). She gave me the recipe on Christmas morning, so I'll definitely include this in the cookbook.

As part of my Christmas gifts, my dad ordered me some more Teese and some Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheese in Aged Cashew with Hemp Seed:

Our first impression - yuk! It had a slightly sour fermented taste, and my dad actually thought it was spoiled. But I got on the PPK forums and asked around. Apparently, it's supposed to taste like that. So I tried it again, sliced very thin, on whole grain crackers. And I actually really liked it that way. It's just not a cheeze that should be eaten alone.

If you choose to order this stuff, be warned that it is very, very small. But since it needs to be sliced thinly, it'll last awhile. I think it'd be nice with some grapes and red wine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Goodies

I'm not Jewish, but sometimes I wish I was. They get EIGHT days of celebration for Hanukkah and let's face it, dreidels are pretty darn cool. So are matzo balls and latkes. To celebrate the first day of Hanukkah on Monday, I made the Autumn Latkes from Veganomicon:

Shown here with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream, these babies are far from the traditional potato latkes. They're made with shredded beets, sweet potato, and carrot. I needed to use up some sweet potatoes and I knew these were good (it was the first dish I tried from VCon when I got it last Xmas), so it seemed an obvious choice.

I also whipped up some Apple Sage Sausages from a recipe I found on Get Sconed!

The recipe originated on the PPK from Jayne (aka Virginwithamemory or VWAM), but it's reprinted in full on Jess' Get Sconed site. They're gluten-based sausages steamed using the Julie Hasson method and get their awesome flavor from dried sage, dried apples, and a bit of mashed potato. These have been perfect for breakfasts this week with leftover Fruitcake Muffins (see last post).

Finally, I've been giving out Xmas gifts of homemade Chocolate Fudge from The Joy of Vegan Baking:

All I can say is, WOW! I'd never made fudge before, but it's super easy and this stuff tastes just like the non-vegan fudge I remember. It's very rich, and really addictive. I can't stay out of it. But who cares? It's the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I'm fixin' to sit down with a cup of soy nog-spiked coffee and watch Earnest Saves Christmas for old time's sake. I'll going to be parents' house tomorrow for gift time, followed by Xmas breakfast at Granny's, and Xmas with my boyfriend's family in Clarksville.

Happy Holidays, Ya'll!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice!

Tonight is the longest, darkest night of the year and it marks the beginning of winter. So I celebrated by opening gifts with my six cats and my dog, Datsun. Here's Polaris getting into the holiday spirit:

Yes, I'm one of those people who tortures her cats with silly costumes ...

Datsun loves to unwrap gifts! Here he is unwrapping a new rope ball - one of the only kinds of toys that he cannot destroy in five minutes.

The kitties — Akasha, Pandora, Polaris, Gelfling, Ozzie, and Seymour — shared a stocking filled with catnip mice, jingle balls, and other goodies. Pandora especially loved the fluffy cat teaser:

Seymour preferred the toy mice. He's the baby kitty, and he's painfully shy. He prefers to eat in a separate room away from the other cats and he hides when anyone comes over:

Yesterday, I went to my Me-Maw's for a Christmas lunch with my mom's side of the family. I brought the Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes from Pudge-Free Holidays by Happy Herbivore:

I was a little scared to make cupcakes without oil, but they turned out great. They totally didn't taste low-fat, and my family loved them. They were super-duper minty because I subbed Vitasoy Chocolate Peppermint soy milk in place of the regular chocolate milk in the recipe.

Last night, I made a batch of Pecan Pie Truffles from VegNews to give out with my Xmas gifts:

Sorry for the crappy photo. My borrowed digital camera wouldn't focus for some reason, even though I used the close-up feature. It doesn't have the option of manual focus. These are phenomenal though! They only have a few ingredients — pecans (I used local ones from my uncle's farm), bourbon, brown sugar, maple syrup and graham cracker crumbs. My chocolate shell isn't as pretty as it could be, but hey, it was my first time making truffles.

Finally, I made the Fruitcake Muffins from VegNews to bring to a Solstice potluck tonight (before opening the gifts with the pets):

Wow! I love these! They're made with whole wheat pastry flour and no sugar. The only sweetener is maple syrup and they're chock full of dried fruit, walnuts, and pecans. I had a few leftover, so I know what I'm having for breakfast.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dijon Pecan, Take Two

A few days ago, I posted a picture of some Dijon Pecan Tofu that I'm testing for my cookbook. The flavor of mustard and crunchy, Southern pecans made for a tasty coating, but I wasn't happy with the soft texture of the tofu under the heavy breading. So I vowed to try again using seitan in place of tofu. I did that tonight. Here's my Dijon Pecan Seitan:

They were more like seitan nuggets because my homemade seitan always ends up in little nuggets or chunks. But it could be rolled out and shaped better, I'm sure. Unfortunately, this wasn't really what I was hoping it would be. It tasted okay and the texture was better this time, but that seitan really soaks up oil when fried resulting in a pretty greasy hunk of wheat gluten. Tasty, but damn, I feel fat after eating that stuff.

Since I already have a few fried faux meat recipes for the book, I've decided to try this flavor combo yet again ... but next time, I'm going to bake it. So it'll be kinda healthy. Southern food doesn't always have to be about fat and grease, right?

On the side, I made the Maple-Glazed Veggies from Pudge-Free Holidays by Happy Herbivore (head over there to get your own copy!):

The recipe calls for two cups of whatever veggies you want, but I followed the suggestion in the intro and used carrots and parsnips. These were so yummy, and I believe they were even fat-free (no oil!). The fat-free part made me feel a little better about my fried seitan. Frying doesn't always bother me, but some days it does. Probably because I didn't have time for the gym today.

Here's the whole plate:

I'll keep ya'll posted on the next incarnation of the Dijon Pecan Seitan. And hopefully, I'll have some yummy Solstice and Xmas sweets to show ya'll soon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams

Honestly, I don't really know what a yam is. I've read (thank you, Wikipedia) that the sweet potato is not even related to the yam, even though Americans tend to use the names interchangably. I've never even seen a yam in the grocery store. When a recipe calls for yams, I use sweet potatoes — like in this dish, Farmhouse Chedda and Yam Soup from The Uncheese Cookbook:

I'm not sure how it would have tasted with actual yams, but it was delectable made with sweet potatoes. Remember that Campbell's condensed cheese soup in a can? I used to be obsessed with that stuff when I was a kid. This is kind of like that, only with far more complex flavors and none of that funky processed canned soup crap.

It's made with yams (or sweet potatoes), nooch, carrots, onions, and green pepper. But everything is pureeed, so the veggie flavors meld together and get all creamy. This was perfect for a cold winter night, served alongside crusty whole wheat garlic bread and a salad with vegan ranch and faux bacon bits.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Got My (Sweet Potato) Hash Pipe

Yea, I know ... cheesy post title. But I don't care. My breakfast this morning was so good, it might as well have been a hash pipe. I made my own recipe for Sweet Potato Hash and served it alongside Sprouted Grain Toast with Brother Juniper's Blueberry Spreadable Fruit:

The hash is my own recipe that I'll be putting in my cookbook. You can't really see here, but it does have soy burger crumbles in it. I usually use the frozen Morningstar Farms brand, but this time, I only had Boca Vegan Burgers on hand, so I smushed a a couple up with a fork and tossed them in.

I outta change my blog name to Sweet Tater Crunk, cause you'll be seeing plenty of them in future posts. I'm working my way through a huge box right now. Hope ya'll are ready to get crazy with the sweet potatoes. I know I am.

In other news, I've been given TWO blog awards. I received this one courtesy of the lovely Breedale of Perpetually Creating (check out the clove-studded oranges on her blog now).

Here's what it means (excerpted from Breedale's blog): "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Thanks lady! And then I also got the Proximity Award from the awesome Pixiepine Palace (who just got engaged):

Here's what it means: "This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

So it's kinda the same thing (only one has some other language that I cannot read), but with different pictures. Thanks guys! And I know I'm supposed to pass these on, but I really think all my blogger friends are deserving and there's so many more than eight. So I pass both awards on to all my peeps!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mama's Cornbread Dressin'

My mom makes the best cornbread dressin' on the planet. And I'm not just sayin' that cause she's my mom. It's a proven fact. Everyone who's tasted her dressin' has said it's the best. When I made the decision to go vegan the day after Thanksgiving in 2004, one of my biggest concerns was the fact that I'd never be able to eat her dressin' again.

But thankfully, the following Thanksgiving, my mom figured out how to veganize it with homemade vegan cream of celery soup in place of the canned stuff in the non-vegan version. Now on Thanksgiving, "my" dressin' tastes way better than the old kind. Unfortunately, my mom isn't really the type that writes down recipes.

I had to go to a Winter Solstice potluck yesterday, and I really wanted to try my hand at Mama's Dressin' and in the process, record a recipe for my cookbook. Here's what it looked like:

I used my own cornbread recipe (that's also going in my cookbook) and made a triple batch since I knew there'd be about 30 people at this potluck. The result: Good, but not as good as mama's. I think I need to tweak my cornbread recipe because, as it stands now, it contains a lot of flax in place of eggs. The result when making a larger batch (and thus using more flax) was a little more gummy that I would have liked. So next time, I will use egg replacer instead of flax and see what happens (that's what my mom does in her vegan cornbread).

But it was still really good. And the leftovers were excellent served alongside the Garlicky Sauteed Kale with Tahini Sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance:

Though I've seen this dish on numerous blogs, it was the first time I'd tried tahini sauce on my kale. And now I doubt I'll ever eat kale without it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Family Favorites

I don't have any fancy recipes or pictures of cookbook experiments to share with you today. Instead, I want to talk about one of the simplest, most sentimental snacks I can think of — My Daddy's Favorite Microwave Nachos:

Yep, it's pretty simple — just blue corn tortilla chips, Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar, and Trappy's pickled jalapenos from a jar.

But when I was little kid, this was one my dad's favorite quick late-night snacks. He'd take a handful of plain ol' tortilla chips, toss some shredded cheese and jalapenos on top, and nuke it for a few seconds in the microwave. Instant nachos. And if I saw him in the process of making himself a plate, I'd always request one too, sans the peppers.

I'm sure he still makes this every once in awhile. But it had been years since I'd had this quick snack. Then one day, a few months ago, the memory of daddy's quick nachos came to mind, and I felt compelled to try it with vegan cheese. Turns out FYH melts in less than 20 seconds in the microwave.

Since that day, I've been bringing this one out every once in awhile. Today, I ate the nachos for lunch along with baba ganoush on pita bread. And as expected, a wave of childhood memories washed over me. It's weird how certain foods can do that. How about ya'll? What are the most memorable foods of your childhood?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dijon Pecan Tofu

Food tastes better when it rhymes. That's what inspired my latest cookbook creation. But really, it just so happens that pecans and dijon mustard taste great together. I found that out tonight when I ate my first batch of Dijon Pecan-Encrusted Tofu:

Now, the picture doesn't really do this dish justice. My borrowed camera doesn't do well in low lighting, so I had to use a flash and it's out of focus in the foreground (which bugs the crap out of me). But the tofu was marinated in a "chicken" marinade, dipped in a dijon sauce, and breaded with pecans, flour, and thyme. Then I fried it up. Though the coating was very tasty, I think texture-wise, this breading would better suit a batch of seitan. So I'll try it again soon with seitan before adding the recipe to my cookbook files.

Speaking of my cookbook, I'm setting a New Year's resolution to finally set up a tester site. I've been creating and filing away recipes for almost a year, and it's time to set some testers loose on this stuff to make sure I don't have some crazy palatte or something. I'll keep ya'll posted.

I served the tofu with some Road's End Organics vegan mac and cheese, courtesy of Lindsay's awesome care package.

Sorry for the god-awful picture...

I love this stuff, but don't buy it often enough! Tastes like creamy, noochy mac without all the time spent making a nooch sauce.

And I also roasted some Brussel Sprouts:

Honestly, these could have cooked a little longer. I was in a huge hurry to go Christmas shopping before the mall closed (it's a 20-minute drive out to the suburbs), so I rushed the sprouts. But I left the rest in the oven while I ate, so my leftovers will be much better tomorrow.

DOGGIE UPDATE: As most of you know, my doggie Datsun had a tumor removed last week. His doctor called me on Monday to let me know that his biospy came back and, in the great words of Arnold Swarzenegger, "It's not a tuma." It's some kind of benign lump thing with a long medical name. So yea!!! Thanks for all your positive words and thoughts!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cooking with Liquor

The only thing better than drinking alcohol is cooking with alcohol. And my favorite liquor-friendly food blogger, Lisa of Show Me Vegan, has a knack for what alcohol goes best with what flavors. When I saw her recipe for Chipotle Bourbon Sweet Potato Quesadillas, I knew they'd be great. So I made them tonight:

And my suspicions were correct. This was a creative and tasty spin on the traditional vegan sweet potato/black bean quesadilla.

The sweet potatoes, which are baked for 30 minutes prior to combining the rest of the filling, are spiked with Wild Turkey. Though I typically hate whiskey and bourbon when drunk alone (it smells like vomit), its taste was the perfect complement to the sweetness of the potatoes and the spiciness of cloves. The recipe called for dried apricots, but I left them out because I forgot to buy them (oops!).

The baked, mashed potatoes are then mixed with black beans, corn, and chipotle powder (though I used a whole chipotle pepper). And then the filling is stuffed into a tortilla folded over and fried lightly in a skillet. I used the Food for Life Wheat-Free Brown Rice Tortillas for the first time and I absolutely loved them. They had a chewier texture than a traditional flour tortilla, and I'm a huge fan of chewy.

Served with a simple salad of field greens and Amy's Woodstock Dressing, Lisa's quesadillas were a quick, satisfying weeknight meal. I suggest you head over to her blog now and check out the recipe.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quickest Dinner Ever

Some nights, I love to spend hours slaving over an extravagant meal. But other times, I'm just hungry and need sustenance as quickly as possible. Tonight fell into the latter category. I spent the weekend visiting my boyfriend in Clarksville (3 hours from Memphis), and I arrived home just in time for dinner. I was famished so I whipped this Spicy Kung Pao Beef-less Stir-fry in minutes:

How did I conjure such a meal so quickly? I cheated, that's how. I used this Simply Asia Stir-fry Meal kit and a box of Trader Joe's Beef-less Strips.

I don't usually splurge on convenience items, like the stir-fry kit, but they were on sale at Big Lots for $2 a piece. I believe Whole Foods sells these for about $4 here. I couldn't resist a sweet deal like that. The kit comes with rice noodles, sauce, and Asian veggies (baby corn, water chesnuts, bamboo shoots, carrots, and mushrooms). I also added some green onion and extra mushrooms that were about to go bad in my fridge.

And I'd picked up the beefless strips at the new Trader Joe's in Nashville last time I was there. I'd read about them on a few blogs, and since I love all things faux meat, I had to scoop some up when I had the chance. These are excellent and I'll definitely be stocking up next time I go to Trader Joe's. They also make chicken-less strips that I'd like to try.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hot Damn!

I finally ordered my copy of The Dirty South Cookbook/Hot Damn and Hell Yeah: Recipes for Hungry Banditos a few weeks ago. I don't know what took me so long considering that I am, in fact, a "Dirty South Vegan."

This book, published by Microcosm, is really two cookzines bound together. One half of the book is The Dirty South Cookbook, with Southern favorites like Yvette's Aunt Cathy's Potato Salad and Almost Paula Dee's Blueberry Buckle (the "n" is left off of "Deen" for some reason). Flip the book over and it's Hot Damn with mostly South-of-the-Border inspired dishes (i.e. Chili Con Non-Carne, homemade corn tortillas, etc.).

Flipping through the pages, I noticed a recipe for Vegetable Mountain with Gravy, which sounded intriguing. Honestly, anything with gravy sounds intriguing. So I made it for dinner last night:

It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but it's a pile of mashed potatoes loaded high with sauteed spinach, red bell pepper, carrots, mushroom, and onions. And then it's all doused in a healthy portion of gravy (note: I put way more gravy on this after snapping the photo ... just didn't want it to look like a gravy blob in the photo).

Though the book includes an easy gravy recipe, I used the packet of Road's End Organics Savory Herb Gravy that Lindsay sent me in her vegan care package. I'd tried the mushroom gravy flavor before, but never this one. It reminded me of steak sauce, like an A-1 taste. Definitely hearty and the perfect topping for this savory pile of taters.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Love Miso Mayo!

Don't get me wrong. I heart Vegenaise. But I've just discovered a new love, and his name is Miso Mayo. I'd seen him in Whole Foods a time or two, and though I was attracted to his colorful packaging, I didn't think he shared my vegan beliefs. Luckily, Miss V of Miss V's Vegan Cookbook is really into him too. She wrote about Miso Mayo in a blog post a few weeks ago. Intrigued, I picked up a bottle at Whole Foods.

Miso Mayo is made from expeller-pressed canola oil, miso, cider vinegar, organic gluten-free tamari, and onion. It tastes very different from Vegenaise, which is more reminescent of omni mayo. Miso Mayo actually reminds me of the cheap tubs of French onion dip that I used to devour as a kid. I LOVED that stuff with chips. And though it's not exactly the same, the onion in the mayo lends it a similar flavor.

For lunch today, I used some of the alternative mayo to make this Miso Mayo Tofu Eggless Salad:

Served on sprouted grain pita bread with sunflower blue corn chips, the stuff made a filling and quick lunch. Here's the recipe.

Miso Mayo Tofu Eggless Salad
1 lb. firm tofu
1/4 cup Miso Mayo
2 Tbsp. dill pickle relish (I used my Granny's homemade stuff, but storebought it fine!)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. diced red onion
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble tofu and stir in miso mayo, relish, onion, and spices. Eat and enjoy!

And in case ya'll were wondering, Datsun's surgery went fine. I won't know anything about the tumor until biopsy results come back, but the vet thinks the lump looked more like a cyst. Datsun's kinda drugged up right now and he keeps stumbling around the house. But, as you can see here, he still wants to play with his dirty old ball:

I've been telling him "no ball" all night because the vet advised against activity. But it's so hard to resist that cute puppy face!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Raw Food Tuesday

My monthly "first Tuesday of the month" raw food cleanse couldn't have come at a better time. I'm sure my body is kinda pissed over all that crap I ate on Thanksgiving day (and the next day and the next day and the next). So raw food day was my chance to tell my tummy that I'm sorry for being such a processed food-loving glutton.

My belly was totally pleased with this Raw Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples, Cinnamon, and Raisins:

I adapted it from a recipe in Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy. She used oat groats, but I only had steel cut. So I soaked them for two days, and then blended them with a 1/2 cup of raw almond milk, an apple, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, some maple syrup (probably not raw, but the book recommended it), vanilla, and a pinch of salt ... oh and added raisins in the end. It's not all that pretty, but it tasted great.

For lunch, I ate a Giant Garden Salad with Agave Mustard Dressing:

There was a crap ton of veggies in this salad — carrots, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, red bell pepper, and avocado (I also intended on adding mushrooms and green onion but accidentally left those at home when I went to work this morning). The dressing recipe was also from Cornbleet, but I substituted raw agave for the honey in her recipe.

For my pre-workout snack, I thawed out a few Raw Brownies that I made and froze during last month's raw day. They were perfect crumbled up with a banana.

And for dinner, I made Zaphod's Universal Chi Live Tabouli from Vegan Fusion and the Conquering Lion Cashew Cheez (also from Vegan Fusion):

Sorry for the crappy flash photo, but my borrowed camera doesn't do well with low winter lighting.

The tabouli was made from sprouted wheat berries, which I sprouted in a jar in my pantry for two days. It was yummy! And it went great with the cashew cheez spread on buckwheat crackers. The cashew cheez (made with cashews, red pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic) is hands down my favorite raw dish, followed closely by raw garlic "mashed potatoes" (made with cauliflower). Crap, now I'm craving raw mashed potatoes ... ah, maybe next time.

BTW, ya'll please think happy thoughts about my doggie Datsun! He's having surgery in the morning to remove a tumor from his tail. We don't know yet if it's a bad tumor or a benign one, but just think positiveness!

Homemade Bagels!

For the past several days, I've been subsisting on Thanksgiving leftovers and restaurant food. But I finished my last Field Roast and dressin' sandwich tonight, and I'm ready to come out of foodie hibernation. What a better way to start than with Homemade Whole Wheat Poppy Seed Bagels:

A LONG time ago, Mihl of Seitan Is My Motor made some tasty-looking whole grain bagels using all kinds of healthy flours and seeds. I remember thinking, without reading the entire recipe, that it sounded really hard. So I just forgot about it. But then a non-foodie co-worker mentioned that she'd recently made some, and I thought, if Mary can do this, so can I (btw, click on the "Mary" link to see her "In the Bluff" blog ... and despite the name, she isn't naked).

I chose an easier recipe than the one Mihl gave out, mostly because I didn't have lots of flours on hand. Instead, I used this recipe from Baking Bites. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the bread flour and skipped the egg wash. Oh, and I used one teaspoon of salt rather than the tablespoon called for because that sounds crazy ... even to a salt lover like me.

Though bagel-making turned out to be pretty easy, it was also quite labor intensive. Kneading, waiting for dough to rise, shaping, letting dough rest, boiling in water by four-bagel batches, and finally baking in the oven for 20-ish minutes. Whew!

Luckily, I made plenty and froze some for later use. I ate one and a half (cause they're kinda small-ish) this morning spread with Brother Juniper's Blueberry Spread and the Rich Tofu Cottage Cheese (sans the garlic though) from The Uncheese Cookbook. I took a picture of the dressed bagels, but it was ugly. Sorry.

See ya'll tomorrow on Raw Food day!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Vegeversary to Me!

Today makes 14 years vegetarian and 4 years vegan! Back in 1994 (when I was 14), I made the choice to give up poultry and fish on the day after Thanksgiving. I'd given up beef and pork a few months earlier and after a day of gorging on turkey, I decided to become a vegetarian.

On the day after Thanksgiving in 2004, to celebrate my ten year vegeversary, I went a step further by entering a vegan trial run — I vowed to eat no cheese or dairy for one whole month. After a month went by, I realized that I didn't really miss dairy products and I loved vegan cheese substitutes. So I made the trial run a permanent thing and never looked back. (Technically, the anniversary date is probably not today since Thanksgiving moves around date-wise, but I find it easier to keep track of this way).

This morning, my mom and I celebrated my vegan-ness with a Black Friday shopping brunch at Brother Juniper's, an awesome breakfast joint with lots of veggie options. Here I am eating the Veggie Sausage Tofu Scramble with Home Fries and Whole Wheat Toast:

The scramble had veggie sausage chunks, spinach, and roasted red pepper. And I spread that toast liberally with Brother Juniper's special blueberry spreadable fruit (the BEST stuff!) instead of that nasty whipped butter on my plate. My omni mom even ate a tofu scramble and declared it the "best breakfast ever."

For dinner tonight, I had a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, which I have a TON of hanging out in my fridge. Here's my plate from yesterday:

There's a yeast roll, mama's vegan cornbread dressin', homemade cranberry sauce, 2 slices of Field Roast Celebration Roast, Granny's Southwestern corn salad, vegan cole slaw, green beans, baked kabocha squash, vegan hash brown casserole, and vegan broccoli & cheeze casserole.

My mom and I always get up early on Thanksgiving Day and we cook all day long. She makes the best vegan cornbread dressin' in the whole world ever! And all the sides are veganized so I can eat them too.

Here I am stirring some apples with cinnamon, sugar, and pecans:

You can't see it here, but my shirt says "Save a Turkey, Eat Tofu." Clever, huh?

And here's what the apples went into — the Apple Streudel from The Joy of Vegan Baking:

OMG! This stuff was amazing! Apple pie-style filling rolled up in buttery sheets of crispy phyllo and topped with toasted cinnamon pecans and vanilla icing.

Granny even veganized her Coconut Cake recipe:

This is my dad's favorite cake, and even though coconut isn't a traditional Thanksgiving ingredient, it went over really, really well. No one could even tell it was vegan. And since it sits in the fridge for three days and gets all moist and yummy, it really melts in your mouth. Granny also tried to veganize her pecan pie, but it flopped. So she made one the regular way instead. She gets bonus points for trying though ... I doubt I would have had enough room in my belly for pie anyway!

Hope ya'll had a fabulous Thanksgiving and Black Friday!