Tag Archives: vegan cooking

Tiramisu cuppies, garlic soup, Trader Joe’s and Veggie Bite!!

I’m not gonna lie…I’ve never like tiramisu very much. It’s just not chocolaty enough for me. In fact, the only chocolate in there is a lame dusting of cocoa powder on top. Blah. The first time I had it was when my mother and I went to eat at a restaurant in Colorado while visiting my brother about 13 years ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was sorely disappointed, let’s just put that out there.

Last week, my best friend Robert went to a wedding in California. I told him that when he got back, I would make him the tiramisu cupcakes(p119) from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. So, these are for you, gayhole.

You are making the basic vanilla cupcakes(p33) but doing things to the cupcake afterward to make it all tiramisu-y.

1 cup soy milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 1/4 c ap flour

2 Tbsp cornstarch

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 c canola oil

3/4 sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

Put the soy milk aside with the cider vinegar to curdle, making it our version of buttermilk. This should only take about 5 minutes. Next, mix wet ingredients into it. Mix dry stuff separately, then mix it all together until there are no large lumps. As always, and you’ve heard it a million times, DO NOT overmix. Please.

Fill your lined muffin tins about 3/4 full or until you’ve used all the batter to make 12 cuppies. Bake for 20 minutes, maybe 22 if your oven is a jerk. Let cool.

I did not let mine cool completely, instead, I only let them cool for about 15 minutes. Then I cut out a cone shape with a paring knife. One of the only good uses for a paring knife, I believe. (How often do you use that thing? I mean, come on.)

Next, I made the cream cheese frosting(p158).

1/4 earth balance (or any non-hydrogenated vegan margarine)

1/4 vegan cream cheese, i used toffutti

2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Cream margie and toffutti until fluffy, add vanilla, add powdered sugar. Bam! This didn’t taste very cream cheese-y to me, but it was still the shiz, so I’m keeping it.

I then mixed 1/3 cup Starbuck’s coffee liqueur with 1/3 cup water and 3 tsps of instant coffee mixed and microwaved. I wanted it strong, yo!! (You can use any coffee liqueur, really.) And for my straight edge friends, obviously if you omit this, add more of the extra strong coffee, probably espresso powder instead of coffee would be better. And if you have an espresso machine…well, you rule. Use that instead. And marry me, please.

You put about 2 Tbsp of this into the cavity of each cupcake, make sure it’s nice and soggy. Believe me, you want to taste the coffeeness. Pipe in your cream cheese frosting, and the replace the cone once you have dipped it into that coffee ooze. Use your sifter to dust a mixture of 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp cocoa powder over the tops of these.

These were amazing. I am totally hurting my shoulder patting myself on the back right now, but they were THAT good.

I also went to a place called Veggie Bite today and had the most amazing chocolate shake. My friend lives right by the one on 111th (which I had no idea of) in Chicago so I told her i would be visiting her more often. Even she, the veal and pate loving omnivore said, and I quote, “I am really impressed with how good this shake is right now.” Then she proceeded to argue with me- right in the joint- as to why cow’s milk is totally normal and good for you and okay to drink. Sigh. And she’s in law school, ya’ll. Don’t ya just love lawyers? They can rationalize anything.

And Trader Joe’s- what’s that all about?? I went there like ten years ago and forgot it even existed for while but I went back today. I wanted to take a picture of my receipt because, seriously, everything I bought was like two dollars. Seriously. I will be shopping there from now on. I think it’s totally worth the 25 minutes drive.

Oh, and I made this kickass garlic and white bean soup from Vegan With a Vengeance(p67). I served it with crusty wheat artisan (vegan) bread. It had just enough fennel to NOT be overpowering, because I totally hate that black licorice crap flavor, and I got to put my immersion blender to work. That poor thing has been collecting dust for far too long. Even my omni hubby loved this hearty and filling soup! But really, who wouldn’t like two whole bulbs of garlic roasted then squeezed and blended into soup? Especially these crazy eye-talians I find myself suddenly related to!

Until next time…vengeance is mine!! Oh, and so is the falafel.

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Affordable Veganism

First off, my husband has been hard at work making this giant Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. I wish I could get him to put that much of himself into dishes or laundry, but oh well. A giant robot is the next best thing, right? On to the food…

I’m going to warn you up front that this is a loooooong winded blog but I think you’ll find the info interesting if you stick around to read it all.

I have been working on a feature for this blog titled- you guessed it- affordable veganism. My point is to simply let others know that you do NOT have to spend two hundred dollars a week at your local health food store in order to make this lifestyle choice.

Your first purchase as a vegan will undoubtedly be about four or five cookbooks, like mine was. I have some that I can suggest, but I would also like to suggest others that I do not have, but have researched and my sources tell me they are fabulous. Vegan Planet is awesome and has recipes for stuff like tofu sour cream and little things that you don’t want to have to spend all your money on. Veganomicon is kind of like the bible in that I reference it about 9 times a day and I am always quoting it. It has a few casseroles and one pot dishes that you can switch up a bit to suit your tastes, and they aren’t horribly expensive to make. Eat, Drink and Be Vegan is good, but some of the recipes can get a little pricey or weird. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World is great for sweet treats but you’re going to have to buy things like non-hydrogentated shortening and vegan margarine to make the frostings. The good news is, you only need a quarter cup of each so they will last you a while, but sticker shock may keep you away from them. Don’t let it. Oh, and Smart Balance makes a vegan margarine that is sold at your local chain. Good times!!!

Ah, unfrosted poptarts. The lazy vegan’s best friend for about a month until you get sick of the same three flavors.They are always on sale at my Jewel for like five dollars for three boxes.

My Jewel also carries it’s own line of organic crap so yay me. This soy milk pictured was $2.50 per half gallon. It sounds like a lot when cow’s milk is three bucks for a whole gallon but whatever. It’s cheaper than Silk. Also, this oatmeal (vegan) pictured is two for three dollars right now, so stock up.

I would go on Amazon.com for your cook books. While normally I would suggest giving your money to the authors of these books, we are doing this on a budget, right? And the point is to not exploit, harm, or kill any living being because of the food we eat so we’re not going to worry too much about lining the authors pockets at this point. Although, I guess technically they are living beings as well, but let’s not go there right now. However, if you can afford it, go right ahead. You only make it possible for them to write more wonderful cook books in the future so it is definitely good karma, or feng shui, or whatever.

In the front of most of these books is a “pantry” section where they tell you what you should always keep on hand. Some of the staples include coconut milk, canned pumpkin, etc as well as things you’ll REALLY need like canned tomatoes, beans, pasta, etc. I’m here to tell you scrap the coconut milk and canned pumpkin for now.

One of the cheapest, easiest things I make at least four nights a week is simply this- pasta, veggies, and beans. If tofu was on sale that week, i toss it in there, too. Of course, make sure your pasta is vegan, some of them use eggs. Go to your produce section and buy whatever is on sale this week- zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, escarole, tomatoes, eggplant (although, this can be a little tricky to cook with if you aren’t experienced in cooking), broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc. You can even be super cheap and go to the freezer section and buy frozen. It doesn’t really matter. This also works when certain things are not in season.

Next, go to your canned goods aisle and buy canned, chopped tomatoes. They come in all flavors now including olive oil with oregano, basil, garlic, and/or parsley, so half the work is done for you. Then you scootch down a few feet and pick out cannellini beans or garbanzos or navies and presto. Dinner is done for a couple days. This makes a huge pot of goodies. This picture above is of some spices and herbs that my Jewel carries for a dollar a bottle. They taste just as good as McCormick only without the price that makes you feel like your being violated in some way. Only thing is, it’s back by the dog food. I know, right?? And this giant bottle of pre-chopped garlic was like five bucks when i bought it a few months back. When I’m cooking for other people, I use the real peel and chop stuff, but when it’s just us…there you go. Anthony Bourdain says if you are too cheap and lazy to buy and chop your own garlic then you don’t deserve to eat it, but I disagree. I still love him, though.

Last week at my local Jewel, this hummus was buy one get one free. I bought a box of wheat thins (also on sale AND vegan) and baby carrots and my snack time was taken care of. This seasoned tofu was BOGO, too. The Italian stuff I’m using for tonight’s pasta dish. The Asian stuff went for yesterdays lunch with broccoli and carrots and white rice.

It’s all about looking through your paper and finding what’s on sale and making it work for you. Pre-sliced apples were buy one get one free also. I would never buy those things otherwise.

Each one of the canned goods I have pictured was right around a dollar. I am somewhat health conscious so I make sure my kids and I all get our veggies in, as well as our fruits, and mass amounts of protein in bean form, usually.

I do recommend picking out one or two of the meals from one of your books so that you can keep your family NOT bored with your food. I could eat the pasta stuff all year long with all the different combos of veggies and beans and it wouldn’t bother me. My kids, however, are a little more fickle. They get that from their dad.

This stuff is leek and bean cassolet with biscuits from Veganomicon. Next we have matzo ball soup from Vegan With a Vengeance. Tasty, but a pain in the ass to make. Then we have cholent, also from Veganomicon. My kids loved this stuff!!!

Next week, I’m going to make something a little more pricey. It has sun dried tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and some other stuff. Oh, and seitan, which i made myself last week and ate with my pasta but discovered that having a gluten intolerance means that eating

something made from gluten is a bad idea. Duh. Eating the pasta is bad enough but that only gives me minimal amounts of pain and torture. So, I’m going to use tempeh from now on.

And here’s one last picture of my little peanut. You know, doctors do everything they can in the emergency room to save lives so that they can say just that- “We did everything we could possibly do.” I don’t have much of a chance to make a difference in the world so I’m going to do it in a way so that I can say to my children some day, “I did everything I could possibly do.”

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The Mostly Vegan Gourmet!

Well, I finally got all my vegan cookbooks and then discovered there was one more i needed- Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. However, i must tell you a secret…I’m trying to just veganize the recipes i make now so my kids don’t get all freaked out by the weird stuff I will soon be making.

Today’s lunch consisted of something we make at the restaurant where i work. It’s simply called “escarole with sausage” but my super-Italian boss just calls it “shcarole” pronounced like you’re rolling the R just a tad. I don’t know, it sounds funny to me, so i just say to people, “Oh, you’d like the escarole with sausage? Sounds delicious!” (And he’s kind of a stroke so who cares how he says stuff.)

Anyway, I simply boiled rigatoni pasta noodles for the correct amount of time- no more than that though because I freaking HATE slimy, soggy, mushy pasta- then while that was happening, i sauteed the sliced soy/veggie italian sausage with some olive oil, chopped garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. When it was mostly done, i threw in the green stuff and let it wilt down quite a bit while tossing it here or there. I kept adding touches of oil because i love the stuff.

Here’s my confession- I’m pretty sure the sausage wasn’t totally vegan. Oh, and my other confession- I’m not sure I care all that much. See, here’s my problem…

I was vegan a long time ago, and I only lasted about 8-9 months. (I already posted why previously so if you wanna know why, go back and read about it.) And i was “that guy.” You know the one. You sit down in a restaurant and you order a BLT and I’m the one who starts in with how pigs are kept in factory farms and tortured and blah blah blah. (Only it’s NOT blah blah blah, but still, not the time or the place.) I harassed everyone i went out to eat with. I was a complete pain in the ass at restaurants and had to make a point of my politics to every single human i came into contact with.

I’m a different person now. I made the veggie transition over a couple of days last month and it worked out well so far. I’m very hesitant to refer to myself as vegan though and here’s why- I’ve met soooo many vegans who are now just the way that i was then. Assholes. “What are you doing using Burt’s Bees? Don’t you know that’s stealing?!” (I love the stuff!) I don’t want to be an asshole. I try desperately to use soy milk in my coffee every time and most of the time i do, but if I’m somewhere where there happens to be no soy milk and the only thing available is that powdered crap with trace amounts of casein…I’m using it. Sorry.

I will do what i can when i can to eat as little animal products as possible but I’m not going be a militant jerkoff about it. I’m not going to lecture people or tell them they’re going to hell. (Is there such a place?) I’m not going to starve myself. Don’t get me wrong, I will never eat meat again, but we plan on going to Italy for our anniversary (apparently he has family there. who knew?) and while I could eat pasta marinara the whole damn time, I’m not going to. I’m going to taste the regional cheeses. I am, after all, a food lover. It’s just something I’ll have to deal with when it happens.

So, I’m only going to refer to myself as mostly vegan. And lazy. And cheap.

The “Lazy, Cheap, Mostly Vegan Gourmet.” It has a ring to it. Enjoy.

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Just Desserts going vegan?

Nah…but I am going to dabble. Okay, here’s the deal.

Over a year ago my daughter decided she was done eating things that were once alive. She was surfing the web one day and came across the infamous PETA video of minks being skinned alive so that J-Lo may wear their precious fur. She was inconsolable. She said it made her feel guilty, and honestly, like she wanted to throw up all the meat she ever ate in her life. I supported her and tried to make things that i could easily set aside a portion of before i threw the meat into. You know, spaghetti, stir fry, that type of thing. I ended up buying her pre-made vegetarian stuff that while tasty, was not nearly as healthy as it should have been. She informed me that she wanted to do it the healthy way so i told her to go look at my cookbooks, since i have an arsenal of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks from my days as a person who once gave a crap about the environment.

That was so long ago, almost 8 years since i gave it up. Like all new vegetarians, i armed myself with the PETA starter kit-complete with stickers and a list of things that would be different if people would stop eating meat- and a brand new attitude about the sanctity of life. I was ready to be a good vegetarian, to have a plant-based, peace loving life.

I was shot down by about every single stinking person i came into contact with. I got laughed at, called names, had burger patties thrown at me. Yes, these were actual adults stooping to this level of childishness. I worked in a restaurant and no one there had any patience for a person like me. I was basically against everything they stood for, i suppose. I started to question the aforementioned sanctity of life thinking, “if i shanked one of these jagoffs, would anyone notice? Really?”

Anyhow, I was a vegetarian for quite a few years. I went vegan for about 8 months but I became skeletal because of my work schedule as well as my finances. I was too busy to make things and too broke to buy things pre-made. There was just nothing i could eat so i started eating cheese again and after about a month’s worth of shakes from Steak and Shake, i gained all my lovely weight back. Hooray!

I then met my now husband. He thought it was ‘cute’ that i didn’t eat meat so he tried to have meatless frozen dinners for when i would come to visit. Mmmm. Yummy. Not! When we moved in together, we settled into those sickeningly domestic roles of “I’ll cook and clean, you mow and take out the garbage.” It got too difficult to make two separate meals so i gave in and started eating flesh again. Fast forward almost 8 years and I’m ready to make my move against meat.

As you may have read in an earlier post, my hubby and i started the Nutri-system diet and i have chosen the vegetarian option as a precursor. I have many reasons for doing this. One of them is that my toddler won’t touch meat no matter how i cook it. She chews it, then spits it out. Another reason is my middle child pretty much goes with the flow and as long as there’s food, she’ll eat it. Myself, well, I’ve always been lactose intolerant so cheese hurts, as does a milkshake. I’m wheat intolerant, too, but that one i’ll deal with accordingly. I think the main reason is that whole environmental thing. Going green. You can’t avoid it anymore. Even celebrities are like “i like meat and all, but if it helps get Obama elected, I’ll stop” or whatever lame reasoning those creeps have. I don’t even care anymore, as long as people start doing something. Anything, really. I even called my garbage company and asked for two more recycle bins because i know i can throw more stuff in there and NOT in the local landfill.

I’m listening to my beautiful, wonderful Edward Norton narrate and host a program on channel eleven that i am DVRing to watch later. He’s talking about our country going to shit. Depressing. He said “it’s not enough to do just one thing anymore, we have to do more, but if only one thing is what you’re willing to do, then stop with those little plastic grocery bags. Many countries have banned them already. Why not us, also?” I love him.

Vegan is definitely the ultimate goal, or at least mostly vegan so i bought an arsenal of books online tonight, all of which i have posted in my blog for you to look at and then go purchase for yourselves.

Here’s a link to cupcakes made by my friend Natalie. They are vegan cookies and creme and i think she did a nice looking job, don’t you? you should tell her so. Chicks love compliments. And presents.

Vegan Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

So this will conclude my post on hopefully going vegan. My only issue will be dealing with all the extra gas from all those delicious veggies. I’m gonna have to buy up some stock in beano. Ahem.



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