Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

December 15, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 1 Comment
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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those foods that is traditionally thought of to be meat laden and very heavy, however I am lucky enough to have no pre-conceptions of how one should taste as I never once ate a Shepherd’s Pie growing up. Many traditionally meaty foods I have never eaten until I was vegan.ย  My first Shepherd’s Pie experience was from the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. Oh how I miss shopping at Traders. Why there are none in Utah is beyond me. It was sooooo good! It had tvp inside and mashed potatoes on the outside. I lived off them for an entire winter, and then like most foods I am obsessed with from Traders they just stopped stocking them one day and they never returned. Fast forward to last winter. Vegetarian Times magazine had an amazing recipe post for Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. It is one of my husbands favorite dishes that I make. The filling is turnips and cannelloni beans. Yum!

Today’s item review is for Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Cheese Slices, American flavor.

I like these a lot, especially since they have been reformulated. They are easy to find and have a nice texture very similar to real processed cheese slices. I haven’t yetย  tried to eat them out of the plastic by themselves yet. This vegan cheese tastes great and has a nice melt to it. I put them on everything: veggie burgers, sandwiches, etc…I do however wish for a Jalapeno Jack flavor though…. ๐Ÿ™‚

***** out of 5 stars

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Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce

December 14, 2010 at 12:59 am | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan | Leave a comment
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I am trying to be more frugal and make wiser grocery store trips. I am upset that food gets wasted and decided to write a meal list for two weeks and try to target 7 dishes. The meal list is as follows: Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie , Cauliflower Mash, Mexican Food, Masala Cornmeal Brussels Sprouts , Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce, Mustard Sauce, and Chickpea Tagine.ย  ย  Sone of these I have made a million times with consistent success last winter so they were easy choices: Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie, Mexican Food, and the Chickpea Tagine. The rest of these just looked good and had economical ingredients.

So far I have made the Linguine in Lemon Cream Sauce. It was pretty good, but my husband liked it more than I did. I also think it would have tasted better if I had followed it as written, with real cream cheese. I used Tofutti cream cheese which I don’t think tastes very much like cream cheese but I use anyways. The sauce just tasted a little off to me, but in all it was a satisfying meal in 30 minutes.

I recently had a lucky find at the grocery store, some biscuit cutters with fluted edges. They were inexpensive and I was so exited! I decided to break them in last week and made biscuits and gravy with tvp sausage. This was my first time using all purpose wheat flour instead of pastry flour on the biscuits. They were good and tasty, but I prefer a flakier biscuit so back to pastry flour. I found the most amazing white gravy recipe on Chez Bettay The Vegan Gourmet. I prefer to make my own soy crumbles out of tvp, but in a pinch breaking up patties would work pretty nice too.

Stuff we have tried lately.

The Sweet and Sour stuff was good. It tasted a lot like all the other vegan “meat” we get from the Asian grocery store. We were not in the mood to eat any grains the night we ate this so we put it on top steamed broccoli and zucchini. These fake meats are nice to have around the house for work nights and lunches on days off. I just microwave them for 2 minutes.

The product I am reviewing this week is Smart Deli Turkey Slices. Yum! I eat these alot and they taste great and are inexpensive. They are also pretty easy to find as I see this brand whenever I go to a major grocery store like Smiths or Wynco.

**** 4 out of 5 stars

They reminded me of pork chops…

December 5, 2010 at 2:07 am | Posted in cats, cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 2 Comments
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I made seitan cutlets for the first time a few nights ago.ย  They were pretty good, but I made them a little chewy, and when I took them out of the oven I remarked to my husband that well, they look a little bit like pork chops. They were small and kinda round, and had a brownish tint to them. Well, I fried them in a little oil and served them up with some Spicy Boiled Collards and realized that they had a similar texture to the pork chops I remember eating as a kid- chewy. CHEWY. I was sad. Next time I’ll add a bit more water to the initial gluten mixture in the hopes that they are not chewy. I followed the recipe to the letter, and have I ever mentioned that I am not always good at taking instruction? I’ll keep you updated on the seitan cutlets when attempt two happens. Still, not bad for a first try.

See what I mean?

Does anyone here use Mimic Cream? I read about it on one of my fave blogs, Veganize it… Don’t Criticize it! And I can’t wait to try it. Apparently Good Earth in Provo sells it.

Down home vegan

December 2, 2010 at 3:46 am | Posted in cats, cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegetarian | 3 Comments
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Wow, tonight’s dinner was so good I had to blog about it when it was still fresh in my mind. I made Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh with mashed potatoes smothered in Jalapeno Corn Gravy. Wow, talk about delish broke food. ๐Ÿ™‚

Both recipes come from Veganomicon. (Normally I would just embed links for everything, but the link thing on WordPress is still broken.)

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce package of tempeh

1/2 cup broth
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
hing
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.

Cut the tempeh in half widthwise then cut each of those squares diagonally to form 4 large triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.

Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. To grease it, brush lightly with olive oil or if you have a spray bottle of olive oil, that works, too. (Get a spray bottle of olive oil already!)

Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Alternative broiling instructions:
Preheat the oven broiler. Place tempeh in a rimmed pan (I like to use my cast iron pan for such purposes). Spoon some of the marinade over it and broil for 5 minutes. Flip it and spoon some more marinade over it and cook for another 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Jalapeno Corn Gravy

Ingredients:

1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
hing
2 jalapenos, diced
2 cups corn
1/4 cup milk (I used almond)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Saute the hing and jalapenos in the oil for 5 minutes, until soft.
Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes.
Mix cornstarch and broth together in a bowl. Add broth mix and milk to pan, stir, and let thicken for four minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer to blender or food processor and puree. Add lemon juice to taste.

I felt like such a grownup eating this.

Things soon to come: seitan, more greens, and fudge!

Something to be thankful for…

December 1, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Posted in baking, cooking, Life, vegan, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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A vegan Thanksgiving is something I am sure that the animals are thankful for. Our Thanksgiving was 99.999% vegan as I used Amy’s Semi-condensed Mushroom Soup for the green bean casserole which had a little bit of butter in it. I was afraid of using a non-condensed soup in my casserole as normally make this dish traditionally withย  Cream of Mushroom soup and make it my one non-vegan meal of the year. I subbed out silken tofu for the cream. My husband liked it, but I thought it was a little bit off. Hopefully It’ll come out better for Christmas.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Cranberry Chutney made by my dear husband. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cranberry Chutney Rules! Perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

Note to self, put more marinade in next time. The taters stuck to the dish.

Green bean casserole.

Mashed squash, yum! Also my husbands idea.

Dinner, is served.

Thanksgiving dinner was great. A few things I feel the need to improve- such as the Tofurky. I have cooked many a Tofurky in the past and I have never had one dry out on me like it did this year. I guess I just need to use more basting sauce next time. I thought I used enough, but I guess I was wrong. I also forgot to buy carrots to put with the potatoes and that was a real bummer. I also need to find a solution to my green bean casserole crises. To me, it just isn’t a holiday dinner without it and I want it to be both vegan and flavorful. For all the flavor and texture I lost I almost wish I’d just made it the normal way with the canned cream of mushroom soup. I don’t want to make it gourmet or sophisticated or anything, I just want it tasty and vegan. Any suggestions folks?

Lasagna MoFo

November 29, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Posted in animals, cats, vegan, vegan mofo, vegetarian | Leave a comment
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I wanted to make sure that I did a Lasagna post this MoFo as I want to dispel the myth that lasagna is difficult to make. All you need are a few simple and relatively inexpensive items: Vegan Cheese (optional, but sometimes I like it on top); quick cooking lasagna noodles;ย  can spaghetti sauce; about one cup of small chopped lightly steamed veggies of choice (I recommend zucchini); tofu ricotta (quick recipe is one 1 lb mashed tofu, a little lemon juice, salt, nootch, and thyme all mixed together) and one chopped roma tomato. Here are the steps:

1. Layer sauce and tomatoes on bottom.

2. Place dry pasta on top of sauce and tomatoes and cover with more sauce.

3. Layer Tofu Ricotta on next

4. Another layer of lasagna noodles and sauce with diced tomatoes.

5. Layer on steamed veggies and diced tomatoes.

6. Another layer of pasta, sauce, and cheese.

(The cooked and uncooked dish looked almost the same)

I undercooked it due to some problems I am experiencing with my oven. Due to this it fell apart and dose’nt resemble lasagna so there are no pictures of it plated up. I recommend cooking it for about 40 minutes covered and another 10-15 uncovered.

Today’s product review is Whole Soy and Co. lemon yogurt. Yum. I was very pleased. It tasted almost like the real deal.

Rating: ***** Five out of five stars

Cuteness!

Mofo Tofu

November 29, 2010 at 4:54 am | Posted in cooking, Life, utah, vegan, vegan mofo | Leave a comment
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Mofo Tofu almost sounds like something I would expect to find in the perfect hipped out vegan Asian fusion restaurant I wish existed. Mofo Tofu is Isa’s recipe for Italian Marinaded Tofu out of V’con pressed in a Tofu Express I served the tofu with boiled Turnip Greens.

Overall I really liked the tofu marinade recipe but I felt overall like the tofu needed a sauce or something to go with it. But I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what type of sauce would be good on it so I just sprinkled on some nootch and drizzled jalapeno infused olive oil on it as I’m out of Tabasco. The Turnip greens were inspired by the Spinach and tomatoes recipe out of the same cookbook and came out amazing, but I will use less water/broth next time.

I was very impressed with the Tofu Xpress: http://www.tofuxpress.com/ I pressed my tofu and went to bed. When I woke up it was less than half the size it was the night before. I cubed it and placed it back in the Xpress container with the marinading lid and went to work. Nine hours later I cooked the tofu. It was pressed consistently and evenly and seems to be of sturdy construction. It is very small, just a tad bit larger than a pound block of tofu so I can see why some people own more than one.

Rating: ***** out of five stars

What do vegans eat anyways?

November 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Animal Rights, cats, why vegetarian? | 2 Comments
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I often get asked what I eat and it suprises me as there are so many more plants to eat than animals and animal products. The list of what I dont eat is way shorter than the list of what I do eat. First, let me define veganism: Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. The most common reasons for becoming a vegan are ethical commitment or moral conviction concerning animal rights, the environment, human health, and spiritual or religious concerns. Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources for animal farming .” (from Wikipedia)

What I don’t eat:

eggs

milk

cheese

meat

honey

What I do eat:

veggies

soy

junk food

fast food

fried food

chocolate

sweets

faux meats

starches

carbs

raw foods

sugar

agave nectar

legumes

nuts

oil

faux cheeses

almond milk

The list of what I eat could go on forever as I eat a wide and varied diet. Veganism is not some fad diet. Veganism doesn’t limit one to a raw diet, or no fried food or sugar, etc. Vegan food doesn’t mean health food. Vegans come in all body types both fat and thin and everything in between. The days of the anorexic pale vegans are over. I am most certainly not some anorexic vegan. I am a good cook and it shows. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been vegetarian since my 18th birthday back in 1995 and I have been integrating a vegan diet for the past 2 years. I still slip up once and a while but I don’t beat myself up about it. It’s amazing the stuff that dairy products are hidden in!

I have held strong convictions about animal rights for many years. I learned about vivisection when I was 11 or 12 and protested against it but didn’t put it together with what was on my plate. I come from a very meat and potatoes family and I think my vegetarianism made me a bit of an outcast. But I am okay with that too. ๐Ÿ™‚ In high school I had some vegetarian friends. None of them were veggies for animal rights reasons though and on my 18th birthday not too long after I had moved out of my parents house I quit eating meat for good. I wish I had access to the vegetarian and vegan resources then that I have now as it was really really hard for me. I didn’t know how to cook and all the fake meat subs and veggie burgers back then tasted a lot like cardboard. Fast forward to two years ago. I cooked a bunch of yummy cheese and milk laden dinners back to back and ended up in the hospital and had to take almost a week off work. It really sucked. I have had a lifelong cow dairy allergy and it had finally caught up with me. Now I had to deal with the fact that my current lacto-veg diet was not living up to the needs of my body and the fact that I really was not helping to save animals by being vegetarian. It was time to live up to my own ideals. It was time to go vegan.

I have read a few really good books on animal rights and veganism. Here are the books that have made my life better: The Skinny Bitch, The Skinny Bitch in The Kitch, Animal Liberation, and Vegan With A Vengeance. I just received Free the Animals- the story of the Animal Liberation Front in the mail today and I look forward to reading it. I also have another book coming in the mail- Vegan the new ethics of eating. I really look forward to reading it. I may not be the perfect vegan. I have the occasional dietary slipup but being hardcore and unforgiving won’t make anyone a better person. I aim for perfection, but my feet are on the ground. I have no plans on blowing up a lab anytime soon, but I do like to fantasize about freeing all the cows that I see in the pastures here in rural Utah. Well, thats my vegan story. Want to tell me about yours?

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Last night for dinner Tota made some delish dal and rice.

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The Lovecats.

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