Category Archives: Recipes

Vegan Cottage Cheeze with Pineapple Chunks

Here is one of my favorite snacks. It’s inspired by the Creamy Cottage Cheez recipe (p. 46) in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak. My version is a little lazier, but it’s still high in protein.

Vegan Cottage Cheeze with Pineapple Chunks

1 14 ounce tub firm (or soft) tofu

1 20 ounce can sweetened pineapple chunks

salt and pepper to taste

*

Drain out most (but not all) of the syrup from the can of pineapple chunks.

In a colander in the sink, crumble the drained tofu between your fingers. The colander will catch the tofu and let the liquid drain out. Crumble it in your fingers until it’s the consistency of cottage cheese.

In a bowl, combine crumbled tofu with the pineapple chunks and syrup (little bit left in can). Mix together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy by itself or with your favorite soup, salad, and/or sandwich!

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Nutritional Yeast: the surprisingly yummy vegan treat!

Normally, I prefer to use ordinary, everyday ingredients in my cooking. You know what I’m talking about. The type of ingredient that you can get at virtually any grocery store, whether it’s in Los Angeles or the most out of the way town you can find. Things like flour, spinach, apples… heck, even vegan soy milk can be found in almost any store nowadays. They sell it in Target! But one of the few products I try to always keep on hand, even if I have to drive out of my way to get it, is Nutritional Yeast. Why? Well, there are several reasons.

First and foremost, it’s yummy. I am completely serious. I know the name sounds unappetizing, but that’s not the point.

Nutritional Yeast usually comes in bags or a plastic container that you can buy at your local health food store, co op, or even order online. You can sprinkle it on salads or add it to dishes like soups and sauces for additional flavor. Sometimes I like to sprinkle it on dishes just because it makes the presentation pretty. It looks like golden colored flakes or powder.

That’s important. Nutritional yeast comes as pretty golden flakes or a fine golden powder. It is NOT the granular yeast you get to make your bread rise. If you get that stuff and use it as a condiment, you’ll be very disappointed.

Nutritional Yeast lives up to it’s name because it’s very, you guessed it, nutritional. Mainly, it contains a ton of B vitamins, as well as being cholesterol and fat free. And tasty. Did I mention tasty?

The flavor has been described as both nutty or cheesy. I think it has a hint of both. It’s used in a lot of vegan cheesy-ish type recipes for soups, sauces, and even faux cheeses. Honestly though, if you really want to know what it tastes like, you’ll just have to taste it. You can usually get a small bag of nutritional yeast for a few dollars.

Now, I’m not telling you to rush out, buy a bag of nutritional yeast, and just eat it straight. But as a condiment? Heaven! I find it combines nicely with vegan margarine on mashed potatoes or popcorn, but I’ve also loved it on salads, soups, and even in brown gravy!

Among vegetarians and vegans, Nutritional Yeast is a staple for the simple reason that it’s an easy and versatile source of B12. I’m not going to go into incredible detail about why vegans need to make sure they have an adequate source of B12. Just trust me. It’s important. It’s not difficult either since many cereals, soy milks, and other staples are already routinely fortified with B12. As I said before though, Nutritional Yeast has other benefits.

On the B12 note though, let me mention one more thing. Not all Nutritional Yeasts are created alike. The Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula Nutritional Yeast contains B12, but some of the other ones do not. Some stores even carry (for some unimaginable reason) Nutritional Yeasts that contain non vegan ingredients such as whey and other dairy products. So it pays to read the label.

So let’s sum up. Nutritional Yeast. It’s nutritious. It’s a great source of B vitamins – especially B12. It’s versatile, yummy, and last but not necessarily least, it’s pretty.

What are you waiting for?

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A Very Vegan Christmas!

When I first went vegan, I was asked several times what we’d do around the holidays – as if eating flesh, eggs, and dairy were prerequisites for a happy holiday!

I offer as an example our Christmas feast for this year (2008).

We had Celebration Roast with brown gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots, and brussell sprouts with mustard sauce. Everything was incredibly easy to make and find.

I had been toying with the idea of making a vegan mushroom strudel, but then I saw the Celebration Roast at my local conventional grocery store. I was dying to try it! I’d heard rave reviews about it on the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast.

The Celebration Roast was absolutely delicious! The flavor was divine – something of a roasted vegetable flavor. The gravy complimented it nicely. Since the gravy had no fat, my Mother in law (who is on a restricted diet) was even able to eat some. The carrots and brussell sprouts were steamed, and the mustard sauce was something I’ve improvised before. I make the sauce similar to white gravy, but use mustard and lemon juice and less margarine. I used soy milk instead of cow’s milk.

For dessert I made a pecan pie, but since I don’t care for pecans I also made brownie a la mode for myself. The brownie recipe is super easy (I made both desserts last night). I heated the brownie for about 30 seconds in the microwave and topped it with So Delicious vanilla ice cream and sprinkled it with slave free cocoa.

It was yummy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this and maybe will try some of these recipes in the future. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an enjoyable meal that was so easy to prepare. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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Christmas Craft: Vegan "Gingerbread house"

I wasn’t going to post anything specific to the holidays this year, but this craft was too cute to pass up. Christopher’s second grade class did this as a Holiday project, so I can’t take credit for the idea. I did “veganize” the ingredients though. 😉

What you will need:

1 quart soymilk or orange juice container (or a single serving one)

scissors

white frosting

graham crackers

assorted colorful candies

You can get the basic idea from the photo. Cut the container to the appropriate size. You’ll be using the slanty top for the roof of your “house.”

Frosting is to be used as the mortar of the house. You can either put it on the back of the individual pieces of graham cracker and candies or you can just spread it over the house. We did a little of both.

Break off the graham crackers to the appropriate size and mortar into place on the container. Our soynog container had a round hole for the top to screw on. We used that as the chimney. The more colorful the candies, the more colorfully you can decorate the “house.”  We used jellybeans, hard peppermint candies, smarties, and lollipops.

Have fun with your creation!

*Please make sure all the ingredients are vegan: meaning no animal products such as milk, cheese, whey, eggs, or honey. Also, please do not use any slave chocolate or slave cocoa products. The ingredients for the project are easily found in almost any grocery store if you just read the ingredients.

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Recipe: Dilled Puree'd Lima Beans

As a little girl, I never was fond of beans. I’m not talking about regular ol’ string beans, but BEANS beans if you know what I mean. You don’t? Well then, I guess I’ll have to explain. The little roundish beans of infinite variety – everything from black beans and pinto beans all the way to (gasp) LIMA BEANS. Honestly, I don’t even remember if I’d ever had Lima Beans as a little girl, but that didn’t stop me from hating them anyway just out of principle.

So, you can imagine the enthusiasm with which I greeted my husband’s offer to make Dilled Puree’d Lima Beans one Thanksgiving several years ago.

Yes, I’m sure you can.

But I was wrong! So wrong I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong I was… They’re something like the consistency of mashed potatoes, all “buttery” and creamy richness. I loved them, so if I, of all people, loved them I’m sure you will too.

Dilled Puree’d Lima Beans

You will need:

Lima Beans (obviously)

nondairy margarine (such as Earth balance or Smart Balance light with Flax oil)

dried dill

lemon juice

salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook lima beans according to package directions. When done,drain and put in food processor.

Add remaining ingredients in the following order : margarine, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I’m not going to give you hard and fast amounts because its really up to your taste, and I never got the recipe from hubby so I just winged it anyway. :) But I usually use 2-4 Tab of margarine, 1-2 Tab dill, a few squirts of juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Puree’ til the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!

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Yummy Chunky salad

Mixed greens

baby spinach

chopped fresh vegetables (red pepper, broccoli, green onion, etc.)

raisins

sliced almonds (or other favorite nut like walnuts)

1 can rinsed chickpeas

1/4 lemon (squeeze on top)

about 1/2 cup (canned) fried onions (on top of everything else, like croûtons)

Mix everything together in order. The measurements are really up to you and your taste. Toss with your favorite dressing (like Poppyseed dressing) or just oil and vinegar. Balsamic would go nicely on this.

*If you use walnuts and/or olive oil, you can get your Omega 3 fatty acids in this!

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Creamy French Onion soup

4-5 Tab olive oil

4-5 onions, chopped (more if you wish for a thicker soup)

salt and pepper to taste

Herbs de Provence, dried

1/2 – 1 whole head of garlic

2 cans cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans)

1 or 2 lemons (for juice) OR 2/3rd cup lemon juice

Roasted garlic (optional)

Bread

Vegan Parmesan, for topping (optional)

Balsamic vinegar, for topping (optional)

*

Heat olive oil in a large pot or pan.

When about medium heat, add a LOT of chopped onions and sautee til translucent.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add dried herb de provence, and continue to heat til onions start to brown. (I either smush the herbs between my fingers or crush with pistol and mortar to give it more flavor).

While cooking, crush garlic cloves with pestle and mortar. ( I use 1/2 to a whole garlic head. I like the trick where you lay the knife over the clove with the skin on it, and then pound it to get the skin loosened. Take the skin off, and then crush the cloves with the pistol and mortar. )

When onions become a deeper brown, and the herbs start to make everything smell great, add garlic. Turn heat down a little to make sure you don’t burn the garlic. (Burning the garlic will ruin the dish)

Meanwhile, drain and rinse 2 cans of cannellini beans.

Stick beans in food processor with enough lemon juice to make a thick but slightly liquid mixture -about 2/3rd cup of juice. If you have any roasted garlic, you can throw a little of that in too. Puree.

Boil some water.

Add small quantity of water to onion mixture. Stir, and add a little of the bean mixture to thicken up. Alternate adding water and beans until you get the creamy consistency you want.

On the side have some thick bread, garlic preferably. Maybe add a little vegan parmesan to the top of the bread and toast slightly in oven to brown the top.

Put bread in bowls, and ladle soup over bread. Top with a little balsamic if you like.

This soup is very filling with the bread. It can be a whole meal in itself or with a nice salad. Enjoy!

*I made this soup up mostly myself, but my initial inspiration came from Dino Sarma’s podcast for the Alternative Vegan.

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Fantastic salad!

Fresh spinach and/or mixed fresh greens

fresh strawberries

raisins (and/or dried dates, any kind of small chopped dried fruit)

sliced almonds (or you may substitute crushed walnuts)

*Assemble ingredients in order listed. Add dressing. Either an Asian ginger vinaigrette or a poppyseed dressing will go well with this salad. It’s yummy!

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Poppyseed dressing

1/4 cup Raspberry balsamic vinegar

4 teas sugar

2/3 teas salt

2/3 teas mustard

2 teas lemon juice

2/3 cup veg oil

1 Tab Poppyseeds

Mix all ingredients. Enjoy!

*Note:  I looked at a bunch of recipes for this at different websites, and tweaked one of them (but I honestly can’t find the one I tweaked)!  Anyway, this is really, really good!

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Lemonade cake

* 1 cup sugar

* 1/3 cup nondairy margarine

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 2 1/4 cups sifted flour

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

* 1 cup water

* juice from 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS

1. Cream together the sugar and margarine.

2. Use a sifter to add the rest of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix thoroughly.

3. In a separate bowl, mix water and lemon juice.

4. Slowly add liquid to mix, and stir together to make a fluffy batter.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (165 degrees C) for about 45 minutes.

6. When cooled, top with your favorite icing. This recipe goes best with lavender icing.

*altered by MeowieAllieCat and ganymeder from recipes at allrecipes.com

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