Monday, January 30, 2012

Tomato Jam, Eggplant Crème, & The Savory Tomato Muffin Adventure

If you didn't see my New Year's post, check out the veggie napoleons. They rocked. Perfect combo of flavors, absolutely delicious ingredients, and all veggies- so a nice change from the typical heavy dips and cheese & crackers people usually bring to cocktail parties. But with a roasted tomato on the bottom, they were slightly tricky to eat. I wanted to do something more creative then just put the veggies on top of bruschetta bread (although, that does taste good). I decided to attempt a reinvention of the veggie napoleons (ummm.... have I been watching too much Top Chef?!)

This is what I came up with: savory tomato muffins with a tomato jam filling and the eggplant mousse topping (unchanged from the original recipe). A totally different appetizer that's filling but healthy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Carrot Cake Cookies

 Need I say more??? Best. Cookies. Ever.

I don't know about you, but I love carrot cake. Of course you do too. On those rare occasions when I come across someone who claims they don't like carrot cake, I have been known to tell them that's impossible, there is no way anyone could not like carrot cake. (I have a similar disbelief when people say they don't like ketchup. Yes, very American of me.) BUT, even if you are one of those crazy people who says they don't like carrot cake, trust me, you will LOVE these cookies. Just take a look at the ingredients, and you'll be convinced.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chard Florentine Toast

I know I keep saying it... but I love Vegan Yum Yum. I haven't tried a recipe in it that I haven't liked, and most of them I absolutely love. This is one of those love ones, which completely surprised me because... yes, it's a vegan cheese sauce. Now, please don't judge by the pictures. I didn't even bother trying to submit them to Finding Vegan. I know the pics aren't enticing. I was too hungry to care and couldn't wait to dig in. But trust me when I say: these are yummy.

They got eaten up in almost no time at my vegan dinner party.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fig Bars with Whipped Coconut Cream Topping

The minute I saw this post on Choosing Raw, I knew I wanted to make these fig bars. But for some reason, they've been sitting on my recipe to-do list for a while. This weekend I decided they'd make a good dessert addition for a dinner party. And I added my own special touch to them: a delicious whipped coconut topping.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vegan Dinner Party 1

Here's a teaser of more recipes to come, from a dinner party I hosted this weekend:

Ok, so this is actually vegan dinner party 2, but I didn't capture all the pics from the actual #1. (And yes, that is regular cheese in the top left corner- my husband insisted- but the vegan cheezy app actually got eaten up first!)

Vegan Dinner Party #1 Menu (6 people): 
Appetizer: Amazingly delicious cheezey chard toast florentine
Main: Walnut & pear cabbage salad and a mushroom, broccoli, and orzo bake
Dessert: Fig bars and carrot cake cookies

Posts for each of these are coming!! And, I am happy to say, they were all totally delicious. All the guests (including meat-eaters) went back for seconds. People were commenting they were stuffed but having trouble not eating more.... that makes for a happy chef ;-)

And in case you were wondering...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Veggieosity: Chard

Have I mentioned how much I love my grocery store? Berkeley Bowl is sort of famous in the SF Bay area. Before moving here from across the Bay, whenever I mentioned Berkeley, people would almost always say, "Oh, have you been to Berkeley Bowl?!" I had no clue what all the fuss was about.

Now that we live here, Berkeley Bowl West is my go-to place. It is kind of like a more hippie Whole Foods, with incredible variety and the largest produce department you will ever see. I sort of feel like Julie Andrews in the Berkeley Bowl produce section - I'm ready to run around, grabbing persimmons, kabocha squashes, and Swiss Chard, singing.... OK, maybe not. My singing voice sucks. But, it's the kind of place where you get excited about fresh, healthy food, where you find new items every time you go, and where people will strike up a conversation in the aisle about this or that vegetable or health food product, and what to do with it.

On one such occasion, a fellow Berkeley Bowl-er was pondering what to do with rainbow chard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Banana-Stuffed French Toast Cupcakes

I love making cupcakes. I made these for a friend's baby shower, and they were a total hit. I was even told they tasted better than Kara's (a local favorite).

Just what is a banana-stuffed french toast cupcake, anyway? This idea was inspired a little bit by the most epic brunch I have ever had: banana stuffed french toast, ordered in as room service after my first marathon, eaten in bed. Epic, I tell you.

So I decided to bring a little brunch into dessert...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Bundt Cake

I don't know what it is about getting married that makes you think you need things like a springform or bundt pan, if you've never used either before. But, I asked for them, I got them, and both have been sitting in my cabinets, unused, for 3 years.

This weekend, I got a case of the "I just want to bake something"s, and decided it was time to use that damn bundt pan. And one of my awesome new cookbooks, Veganomicon. Let me just say right off the bat that my husband took a few bites of this cake and said, "Ok, this goes on the list of your best vegan dishes." Score! Chocolately, but low in fat. Double score.

I don't really go out of my way for chocolate desserts, but this has a hint of almond flavor and light, moist texture that is just awesome. It's reminiscent of a brownie, but a more impressive, grown-up brownie. De-lish. And easy to make, too.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maple Tofu & Eggy Breakfast Sandwich

This is a picture of me taking my foot out of my mouth. What, you don't see it? Oh, right, that's the completely delicious, amazing breakfast I had today. With.... wait for it.... cheesey, eggy tasting tofu "eggs." Yes, I said cheesey-tasting. And eggy tasting. REALLY.  My husband even liked it. You may recall me saying on more than a few occasions that vegans shouldn't call things "cheesey" because it never tastes anything like the real thing. But {removing foot from mouth}, this is me letting you know these tofu-omlette stacks that go into the sandwich taste deliciously eggy-cheesey.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vegspiration: Vegan Dinners

Since vegans and vegetarians often get asked, "What do you eat?" I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes so far to inspire meatless meals for everyone. It's more than just salads, that's for sure! ...Not that there's anything wrong with salads, of course ;-)

Yeah- so it's too bad vegans don't have anything to eat, right? ;-)

Recipes pictured above (all are vegan; those with stars are my favorites. See tabs above or info below for more on these and other dishes):

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Veggieosity: Tofu and Tempeh

I'm starting a series of posts designed to be helpful references. This post is for those of you not so familiar with tofu and/or tempeh.

I'm not a fan of veggie pho-meats (other than the occasional Morning Star Farms chick'n patty when I want a quick, easy, I'm too lazy to make anything and want to eat like an 8 year old meal). But I do really like tofu and tempeh. Yes, that's what I said. I really like them. Some of it is developing a taste for them, some of it is learning which variety and brand you like best, and some of it is learning how to best prepare them. So let's take a little stroll down soy-protein lane, shall we?

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Real Breakfast of Champions

Nothing fancy here. Just singing the praises of pumped-up oatmeal.

Pumped-Up Oatmeal Ingredients:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Date & Oat Bars

This is a variation on the homemade banana oat & fruit bars I posted earlier, but they are slightly nuttier tasting due to using a little more flax seeds. Easy to make, healthy, and maybe better than store bought (?!) . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Liebster Love

As you may have noticed, I've been updating not only my food preferences but also my blog quite a bit recently. I put a fair amount of time into most of my posts, so it completely makes me happy to hear when other people enjoy them. (I love comments!)

So I was pretty psyched to hear that Genevieve from Vanilla & Spice nominated me for the Liebster Awards. What's that you- and I - ask?

Vegspiration: Salads

Tired of boring salads? I've posted before on big salads and ideas, but here's a little eye-candy and some recipe links to get you inspired:

Salads pictured above, clockwise from top left: Artichoke & chickpea salad, Fresh summer corn & avocado salad, Broccoli, mushroom & tofu salad, Kabocha squash salad, Asian spinach salad with miso dressing, Broccoli, chickpea, and tomato salad, and (middle): an easy big salad.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Black Bean Very Veggie Soup

Is it a soup or is it a stew? This dish is thick and hearty like a stew, but is completely vegan and takes only about 20 minutes to make. And did I mention it might be one of the best soups I've ever tasted? I know that's a big statement, but oh man, this is delicious and hearty. I was going to serve it with bread but I don't even think it needs anything else... (although, I do love soaking up yummy soup with a good bread). Filling, healthy, easy, and delicious. Exactly what I look for in a great dinner.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Artichoke & Chickpea Salad


Golden chickpeas with a slightly sweet flavor, rich artichoke hearts, and a hint of lemon. It's like a nutty lemony bowl of goodness. I serve it over a bed of fresh greens without any dressing, and it makes for one kick-ass lunch. Or, actually, 2-3 kick-ass lunches.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012! Let's Go Vegan!

As you can see, I've updated my blog picture and title - since actually, I DO want more cookbooks (previous title: Not Another Cookbook). Specifically, I want more VEGAN cookbooks!

A few months ago I tried out an experimental vegan month, and the seed was planted. I’ve been meat-free for a long time, and though I kept transitioning from different, more ‘true’ forms of vegetarianism, I think I'd fallen into a bit of a food rut. Before trying out a vegan diet, I had always considered veganism extreme and overly restrictive. To my surprise, after testing it out, I actually found my options opened up in new ways, with innovative and delicious recipes and ingredients. Trying a vegan diet for a month not only drove me to try new foods, but also to ask questions about foods I’d been eating for decades. After all this, I kind of couldn't get the whole vegan thing out of my head. I've decided I'd like to more seriously commit to going vegan in 2012. Labels and categories don't always fit perfectly, but focusing on animal-free food and products is something that seems fulfilling and right for me right now.