Sunday, June 6, 2010

Soy Curls and Double Decker Chikn' Tacos

It is the absolute truth that Mexican food is my favorite. I remember the first time I had taco bell as a kid (have I mentioned that?) and how it was my favorite fast food restaurant growing up. Taco bell even released some food-kits in the grocery store where you could recreate certain items on the menu and I loved those as well.

One thing that really stuck with me from the Taco Bell days were Double Decker tacos. I like to believe they invited them but I don't know if there is any truth to that.

Essentially you take a tortilla, coat it with refried beans and wrap it around a hard shell taco. MMMMMM!

Vegan boyfriend and I will typically fill the hard shell tacos with boca ground beef but this time we worked with Soy Curls. When I first heard about SC I chalked it up as a vegan food I would never be interested in trying. I had the chance to taste it though at Native Bowl food cart and OMG soooooooooo good! They sell them now at Blossoming Lotus too and even there they are good. So I figured WTH I'll give them a whirl.

SC are very easy to make. You heat up some water and soak them for 10 minutes. Cook them on your stovetop with oil and seasonings and you're good to go. (Hint - use lots of flavor since these have none). They remind me a lot of those morningstar strips that came out once upon a time but much less expensive and far less ingredients.

Go make some tacos!

Arroz y Habichuelas

This is one of my favorite recipes from the "Dining with Friends" cookbook. It's so simple and satisfying. I find this to be true of Priscilla's other recipes too and I go back to them again and again.

I prefer canned beans to dried and this recipe calls for the later though I use the former. :) This time around I wasn't thinking and added the salt intended for dry beans into my sofrito...3 teaspoons!! It was soooooo salty and completely inedible. I had to double the recipe by adding a can of tomato sauce and black beans to mellow out the taste. The aftermath was still salty but this time it was in fact edible.

I hope to never make that mistake again!


Okay, honestly, how long can a girl who LOVES breakfast go without buying a Waffle Iron? I caved in about a week ago and when I took my treasure home I learned my new toy was busted. I had to postpone my waffle making glory to the week following when I returned/upgraded my iron and voila - success!

I am trying to figure out if there is a difference between waffle and pancake mixes...does anyone have the answer to that? It seems that the products in the grocery store are interchangeable as they're often marked "pancake/waffle mix." I was leery of screwing up my first attempt so I googled some recipes and came to the following link.

I changed nothing of the recipe and only added some blueberries. It seemed to cook pretty well in the iron though the cooking part initially took FOREVER. Eventually I had to turn the dial to the max so I could get the damn thing to brown.

It made a pretty waffle (see?!?).

Vegan boyfriend ended up being the taste-tester and we had the following dialogue:

VB - "It tastes like an ice cream cone"
Me - "Oh, you mean a waffle cone?"
VB - " the regular cheap tastes like those things they give out in church"

Ok, great. So when I got around to mind, I could see his point. It wasn't bad though; it held together and with butter, maple syrup and fruit, it wasn't a big loss. We'll just go for a different recipe next time.

Italian Food in the Great Outdoors

I was totally stoked to find a cute bistro set that was 1. small enough for my tiny patio and 2. within my tiny budget. I fell in love with this at Home Depot and couldn't stop thinking about it. When I went back a week later to make my purchase it had gone on sale - $40 off!! ZING!

Isn't it lovely?

Vegan boyfriend made a tasty Italian dinner and it ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered. yummy?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Strawberry French Toast

There are few things more romantic than Strawberry French Toast. Eating it makes you feel like you're sitting in a bed of roses. Ordinarily, I'm not *that* into French Toast...I always felt it was overrated and never quite understood the hype. That being said I don't dislike it by any means s it's more of a once or twice a year dish.

I found that cutting up the berries on top didn't quite give me as much strawberry as I was looking for. Or maybe it was that we were eating berries early in the season and they weren't quite packed with that flavor. Either way, next time I'll experiment with some kind of puree or sauce. MmmmMmm!

If I recall, this was essentially sour dough bread with a mix of soymilk, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Meh.

Tofurkey Cheeze Pizza


There are 3 glorious flavors but I decided to start at the beginning: Cheese. Tofurky paired up with Daiya on these frozen wonders. I can't help but think to myself how ridiculously loaded those Daiya people must be...where don't they have relationships? This stuff is being stuffed in gardein, tofurky and restaurants everywhere. Genius + delicious = genicious. $6 and change.

I felt kind of embarrassed walking out of Food Fight with this box in my clutches. Not so much for the product but mostly because 1. I'm the type of person who buys frozen pizza and 2. I publicly stand in line like a dork for the latest cheezy vegan things.

I had to laugh to myself at how much this reminds me of brands like Tombstone frozen pizzas. My parents often defaulted to frozen pizza when my sister and I grew up. We'd buy the veggie version though none of us were vegetarian. My mom was convinced the meat varieties were made of "rat meat." I hated the wilty little veggie was always frozen in the center and so sooo yucky; it was my opinion this never happened with the pepperoni. ANYHOO, the tofurky pizza was looking a little sparse in the center and reminded me of the good ole days. :)

As you can see, the cooked version looks exactly like the baked. It was not bad! I would say this could feed 2 people in a sitting...obviously the pie is MUCH smaller than takeout. My only gripe is that it wasn't very saucy and I like extra sauce typically. NOM!

But honestly, a frozen pizza to heat up in only 10 minutes...that is crazy! Go out and buy some!

I'd die for you, Daiya

Daiya!! When the vegan boyfriend pointed to the glorious package at Whole Foods it was decided: I would write the first blog post on Daiya with their new baggie packaging. Well, I really don't know what happened but several weeks have passed and I hadn't written a word. I haven't seen any posts and I'm perfectly satisfied living in denial so here it is!

Obviously a pizza was in order...look! heirloom tomatoes.

and of bean quesadillas...


Soft Shell Tacos

Even though there is nothing special about this post, I just really wanted to share the picture. Not because there is anything special about this picture either but I really love Mexican food and soft shell tacos make me happy!! :)

Has anyone else noticed how unbelievably good tofutti sour cream is?!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Pancakes are possibly one of the first recipes I ever perfected...both vegan and non. I would love to say I get creative with them and have crafted tons of different varieties but that would be a lie. I like a classic pancake with a dash of cinnamon and a good amount of chocolate chips!

Spring and summer are hands down the best time of year for these treats because all the berries are finally in season. Pancakes are extra special when loaded up with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries!

If any of you are struggling to find a decent pancake recipe, this is my standby:

-2.5C flour
-2TB sugar
-1TB baking powder
-1TB oil
-1tsp salt
-2.5C soymilk
-dash of cinnamon
-anything else you like! Bananas, chocolate chips, blueberries...

Turkey a'la Mode

Does anyone, besides me, remember Turkey a'la Mode? The catholic gradeschool I went to served this and you could do turkey or chicken on top of a starch... I really don't recall if it was rice or mashed potatoes.

Anyhoo, this is our variation!

This is so *SO* tasty! I'm thinking it should be the new Thanksgiving. Our mashed potatoes are basically russets mixed with plain soymilk, whipped earth balance butter, and herbs. However, I've been dying to try a sour cream and chive spin; I guess I've been reluctant because I don't know how the tofutti sour cream would hold up. Has anyone tried this? I would love to hear about it!!

The turkey portion is a package of tofurkey deli slices (either Oven Roasted or Hickory Smoked) cooked stovetop. Vegan boyfriend usually does these because he is the master seasoner. We frequently mix it up but one thing I really suggest is using hot pepper infused olive oil for an extra kick. So crispy delicious.../drool.

Beefless Stew

I remember being a kid and eating canned Beef Stew at my parent's house during the winter. It had little hamburger pieces in it with grill lines as if it were fresh meat. I always loved that soup. It wasn't until I was searching vegan recipes on Ellen Degeneres' website that I came across this little ditty. Basically, wow, it tastes like that childhood favorite! For the wine I used 'Our Daily Red' - I'm not sure how that compares because I'm not a wine drinker and this was one option that said vegan on it. Turned out great as far as I'm concerned!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Banana Bread

Once upon a time I worked in a natural foods store in Milwaukee, WI. I was part of the bakery team and was new in my trade...and well, I sucked. So I got stuck on banana bread every week...baking 92 loaves at a time. Unfortunately they were not vegan and alas I had to crack open dozens of eggs per the recipe. One tragic day red liquid spilled out of an egg and an affirmation of veganism flashed before my eyes. That baked good was hence forth was called "the bloody chicken bread."

Perhaps this is why I don't bring good ole banana bread into my kitchen but today we had a couple of brown naners stinkin' up the place and what's a girl to do?

Welp...bake some damn banana bread.


Pesto Tomato Mozarella Panini

Vegan boyfriend made these panini's the other day. The recipe can be found in "Conscious Cook." It's focaccia bread, pesto, tomato and mozzarella (I think we used follow your heart brand...which is good but not great in my opinion). I think I would've liked this more if I had my choice of cheeze (maybe something in the world of teese?). Great pesto though...garlicky and full of flavor!!

Quickie Meal

We have a couple of staple meals when we're either short on groceries, in a rush, or just plain tired. For this particular meal we feasted on a a couple of Gardein chikn' tenders (NOMMY!!), fries, and a baguette burger. The burger is essentially any frozen vegan patty, lettuce, tomato, raw red pepper, onion, mustard, ketchup, mayo...anything goes!

Breadstick Vs. Pizza

I know it's ridiculous but I like my pizza to basically be a huge breadstick. That's why when we make pizza, vegan boyfriend makes 2 so he doesn't have to eat it. (He prefers something that I can only consider a vegan "Works").

This has an awesome base which is essentially: EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and a bunch of seasonings. For toppings I used wilted spinach and tomato. Pizza sauce I actually use as a dipping sauce. on the side. mmMMmmmm

Sunday, January 31, 2010



Now that I've gotten that out of my system I'd like to share more about tonight's meal: Enchiladas. The great thing about something like Enchiladas is that you can play around with the ingredients depending on what you have, what is in season or what you feel like.

Vegan boyfriend and I have different preferences so it's easy to wrap up separate goodies and bake them in the same dish. I ate on (boca) beef and black beans with toffuti cheddar on top. Boyfriend did the same with black olives...yuk! Sides, which were not pictured, were Spanish rice and refried beans.

Shepard's Pie

This is a favorite we come back to time and time again. I believe there are a few variations (and someday I hope to try Veganomicon's with plantains and sweet potatoes!).

In our house we keep it simple: mashed potatoes, corn, and (boca) beef. Mmmm! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pan Fried Pizza

This evening I tried another recipe from the "Vegan Italiano" book. The idea is using self-rising flour and frying the crust on your stovetop then broiling it with toppings and sauce to finish it off.

I made an herbed crust with seasonings I'm pretty sure were meant for sauce...but since I already had a ready-to-go sauce that I LOVE I just ended up with an awesome crust too. :)

As the author mentions, you can make self-rising flour just by adding salt and baking powder...which is the route I went but i was expecting the dough to rise further. It seemed kind of dense which makes me believe that something went wrong but I just don't know what.

The only real benefit to this pizza versus what we do traditionally is that it is MUCH speedier. Yet the portions were very small (we basically split the pizza and there are no leftovers).

Product Review: Naked Dillo, Choco Dillo

TWINKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you know that name brand Twinkies are not even vegetarian because they have beef fat in them?? That is disgusting! Thank goodness for Cakewalk's delicious treats. I saw these on sale at Food Fight and I just couldn't justify passing them up.

As you can see they basically look like the real deal. Except, I don't remember Hostess having an awesome chocolate covered one...zing!

These little cakes were very moist and the filling was very fluffy and *just* like I remember. Couldn't ask them to change a thing.

French Onion Soup

Vegan boyfriend beat me to the punch on dinner last week. He did a vegan variation on a French Onion Soup he found online. As for his spin on the cheezy topping he melted a slice of tofutti mozzarella on a piece of bread and dropped it in...genius!!

The soup was a bit sweet but otherwise good. Growing up, I never had too much FO soup so I had no expectations going into this. But I will say I love love LOVED the cheezy toast. MMMmm

Product Review: Ricera Yogurt

As a child, and long before I knew what vegan or vegetarian meant, I despised dairy in the forms of milk and yogurt. I was the notoriously picky eater in the family. Even to this day I don't find myself indulging in too many vegan milky foods (except cheezes which I adore).

The other week at Whole Foods, I saw this Ricera yogurt product on the shelf and thought I'd give it a try. It was vegan...and it was peach (my favorite!) so why not?

Well, I don't think this was a life changing product. The yogurt is made of brown rice so I was pleased to have a soy alternative but it wasn't anything out of this world. It was your run of the mill yogurt which just isn't for me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pasta E Fagioli

Tonight we dined on Italian and it was glorious. Pasta E Fagioli (aka: pasta fazool).

I used the recipe from but subbed Kidney beans in for the Cannellini which was really the only difference (minus the fact I completely forgot about parsley). When I make this dish I really like to use shells because the pasta sometimes craddles the little beans like a baby...and well, its just so gosh darn cute!! >_<
I know how terrible this pic came out but when you gotta make a point, you gotta make a point. Also, I usually just throw in a whole package of pasta so it's not really that soupy in the end. But you know what? I just like it that way. :) And so does vegan boyfriend.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Chip Muffins! As much of a muffin-nut I am they do rank 2nd place in my world to the delicious PANCAKE. Nonetheless, there are days when you gotta go muffin.

This was the lemon-blueberry recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking modified. Pretty easy and pretty fantastic!

Check out this muffin top action...awesome...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mediterranean Tacos

Sometimes you just need something light and tasty after a long day's work. I whipped up some quick little wraps tonight and looking back I feel like Mediterranean Tacos more accurately reflects this meal.

This was very easy!

-1 cup long grain white rice, 2 cups water and 1 veggie bouillon cube cooked together
-1 chopped roma tomato, lightly salted
-1 leaf romaine lettuce
-1 ripe avocado
-2 TBSP Brianna's French Dressing
-small tortilla wraps

Seasoned rice is simple to make if you have any bouillon cubes on hand and many different flavors can be created. It's one of my favorite things to make! Also, Brianna's French Dressing is possibly the best french dressing on earth. Must. Buy. Always.


Pizza Soup

For Christmas I was gifted the "Vegan Italiano" cookbook by Donna Klein. One recipe that stood out as an immediate MUST TRY was the Pizza Soup. Obviously I'm a soup gal.

Basically this soup is traditional veggie pizza toppings (chopped onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic) mixed with pizza sauce and broth. As suggested, we served it with garlic bread.

Unfortunately, for me, this recipe fell flat. :*(

We ended up adding all the pepper and onion versus the 1 cup recommendation so I'm pretty sure it was a little chunkier as suggested. I think I prefer my soups to be a little creamier and softer - like beans and stewed tomatoes - whereas this maintained some crunch.

In all fairness, I was a little queasy the night we made it so perhaps this is a totally biased post. Plus it might be worth mentioning the day after it was a bit tastier perhaps after the flavors melded overnight. While the soup turned out good, it wasn't exactly my style so I don't think I'll be rushing to the kitchen to make this again.

Product Review: Leahey Broccoli & Cheese Soup

Yum!! Broccoli and Cheese Soup!! Back when I lived in Wisconsin this was a wickedly popular soup and it was frequently on the menu at local lunch spots. I've had a few "cream of broccoli"s since my days gone vegan but nothing remotely close to the original.

Enter Leahey powdered soup.

This soup was ridiculously similar to the ole classic and so SO *SO* easy to make (uh hello, add water and heat?). For $2 a packet this is totally worth your time.

And yes, that's my Hello Kitty Toaster. That's what's up.