Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chickpea Cutlets with Mashed Butternut Squash and Corn

Source: Veganomicon

My friend Mary has featured these chickpea cutlets on her blog more than once, and she always raves about them. Given my love of chickpeas, I cannot explain why I didn't try them until this weekend. And once I did, I realized how completely warranted Mary's praise is.

Aside from mashing the chickpeas, this required such little effort. I roasted the butternut squash while putting together and cooking the cutlets. Everything came together easily and quickly; these cutlets might quite possibly be climbing the ladder that is my list of favorite foods.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tempeh Curry

Source: Whole Foods

I'm not sure how I feel about curries, but when I saw this recipe featured on Whole Food's Facebook, I decided to give it a go, simply because of the sweet potatoes. Yes, my culinary decisions are that easily swayed.

The prep took a bit of work - steam and cut tempeh, peel and cut sweet potatoes, cut onion, cut green beans - but after that, it was pretty easy to pull together.

I'm still not sold on curries, but that isn't to say this was a bad recipe. I just don't know how well curries and I mesh. If you like curries, or are tempted to try one, I'd say give this one a go!

Serves 4 to 6


1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups water
1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon ground curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Bring rice and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed and rice is just tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange steamer basket in a pot. Add enough water just to reach bottom of basket. Bring to a boil. Cut tempeh in half and place in the steamer basket. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and steam about 15 minutes or until tender. Remove tempeh and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut tempeh into 1/2-inch cubes.

Bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in curry and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk, potatoes, tempeh and remaining 1 cup broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer, uncovered. Cook about 5 minutes longer or until potatoes and green beans are tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons cilantro and salt. To serve, spoon curry over rice and garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Per serving: 510 calories (110 from fat), 12g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 80g total carbohydrate (13g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 24g protein

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Excuse the poor quality of this picture. I forgot my camera, and my phone doesn't have a flash. Womp womp.

One night last week, I was starving but had no motivation to really do anything about it. Nothing really appealed me to, and I didn't feel like cooking anything. My mom came to my rescue by taking me out to Amiccis, a cute little restaurant in Little Italy.

It was our first time there, and it was an okay time. They served (cold) Italian bread prior to the meal, and though I've never encountered a loaf of non-vegan Italian bread, the waitress said they used eggs in their bread. Okay. I ordered the penne primavera (zucchini, artichokes, olives, tomatoes, onions) for my entree, though, and it was so yummy save for the olives. Olives are on my "Will Not Eat" list.

I didn't really get the cold and not warmed up bread with eggs thing, and our waitress was a little odd, but the food was terrific. And now my mom and I have another restaurant we can both go to and enjoy, and it's only about 10 minutes from home!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Toast

Reprinted Online:

Last night, a wintry mix moved through Maryland, thus causing a snow day and giving me a four day weekend. This was much appreciated, since I randomly woke up around 4:45 this morning and was unable to go back to sleep. After watching the news and reading a bit of my newest book, I drifted back to sleep around 6:30.

I finally dragged myself out of bed around 10:30 and had a serious hankerin' for french toast. It came together so quickly and yummifully. I added just a smidge of vanilla extract to the ingredients, too. A perfect brunch for a laid back snow day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stir-fry Veggies and Cashews

I was off of work today, and after a fairly productive day of errands, housework, and a good workout, I wanted a quick and easy meal. Thus this delicious stir-fry. The beautiful thing about stir-fry veggies is that you can use just about any combo you please, you can cook as much or as little as you want, and they cook fairly quickly.

This general outline for this recipe is as follows:

- rice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- half a medium yellow onion
- two cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp-ish grated fresh ginger root
- half a cucumber
- a handful of baby carrots
- half a red pepper
- one can baby corn (you can substitute fresh baby corn)
- half a can of water chestnuts
- two handfuls of mung bean sprouts
- soy sauce to taste
- cashews and sesame seeds, for garnish

1. Get rice cooking per its directions.
2. Heat olive oil; add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook 4-5 minutes.
3. Add cucumber, carrots, and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until veggies start to soften.
4. Add remaining veggies and cook until the soften.
5. Season to taste with soy sauce. Add cashews and sesame seeds to your liking.

I don't think it gets much easier than that!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Upcoming Events!

Hey yall! In the latter half of this month, there are some veg events happening around Baltimore. I just want to spread the word!

Monday January 24,7PM - 8PM
Crazy Sexy Diet Book Tour
Breath Books, Hampden

Author of Crazy Sexy Diet and cover girl of the most recent VegNews Kris Carr will be at Breath Books for part of her month-long book tour. I've yet to read her book, but her feature in VegNews is nothing short of inspiring!

Sunday January 30, 4:30PM - 8:30PM
Animal Awareness Project Benefit
Johnny Rad's Pizzeria Tavern, Fells Point

The Animal Awareness Project and Johnny Rad's are joining up for a vegan benefit to raise money for the AAP, which strives to end animal cruelty. Johnny Rad's has several vegan items on their menu, and though I've never been, I've heard lots of good things about it! I'll be there for this event, and hope you will be, too!

Sunday January 30, 7PM - 9PM
A Night of Classical Music and Fine Wine & Food
An die Musik Live!

Peabody-trained violinist Sarah Lowenstein and Open the Cages Alliance are teaming up for an OTCA benefit. The event will include vegan hors d'oeuvres and wine and a performance by Sarah and her pianist. Classical music and vegan food? I'm sold.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hottie Black-Eyed Peas & Greens with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Isa Chandra Moskowitz has penned some of my favorite cookbooks; in a word, she's fabulous. As a post-Christmas gift to myself, I bought her most recent book. I've made two recipes from it thus far, and already I'm in love. I'm trying to eat as balanced a diet as possible, and each of these recipes details all the nutritional information! Even better, a single serving of every recipe is under 400 calories. Another bonus? A lot of the foods can easily be made gluten-free with some simple substitutions!

Prior to this recipe, I'd had black-eyed peas only a few times and had never had collard greens. I was excited to try something totally new, and I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor of the black-eyed peas & greens was a new experience for me, one I really enjoyed. I think it was the hot sauce that won me over - I love hot and spicy! And we all know I'd never say no to a sweet potato. It's safe to say my first adventure with this book was a success.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Banana Pancakes

Snow day! I might be nearing my mid-twenties (dear god, I'd never thought of it like that before), but I don't think there's much that could diminish the excitement of a snow day. After the most awesome morning of sleeping in - seriously, who doesn't love snuggling under the covers until well after 9 on a Wednesday morning? - I woke up in the mood for pancakes. This coupled with my desire to avenge the mediocre pancakes of the weekend ultimately lead to pancake heaven.

This recipe comes from the same book as the previous post about pancakes, but they turned out way, way better. Now that my tummy is happy and my ego is re-assured, I'm going to curl up with a book and enjoy this very lazy, very snowy, work-free Wednesday. If you find yourself in need of a quick and easy breakfast, you can find the recipe here!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Grate" Potato Bake

This Christmas, Santa brought a new cookbook for me, hooray! I was super excited about this, because I love her other book. When I was looking through it, this recipe immediately caught my eye because potatoes earn a very high ranking on my list of favorite foods. I thought this paired with steamed broccoli (also a high achiever on my favorite foods list) would be perfect.

Perfect is not how I would describe the outcome, and the fault is mine. Prior to grocery shopping, I made the assumption that we had dill in our otherwise fabulously well stocked spice cabinet. Wrong, and you know what happens when you assume. So, when I realized my mistake while mid-prep and wrist deep in grated potatoes, I decided to just carry on and omit the two teaspoons of dill. The end result was more than a tad bland.

When recipes don't turn out quite like I expect, they end up on one of two lists: 1) Hell No Am I Ever Trying This Again, or 2) I Will Try Again and I WILL Prevail. This one definitely earns a spot on the latter, if for no other reason than my untamable love for potatoes.

In the end, all was well because there ain't nothin' a little ketchup can't fix.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Black Bean & Corn Soup with Fired-up Jalapeno Cornbread

For my birthday - over the summer, mind you - a good friend of mine gave me 1000 Vegan Recipes. New cookbooks incite a special kind of excitement, but this particular book also invoked a feeling not typically associated with recipe books: trepidation. One thousand recipes? Kind of intimidating. I didn't know where to start. I've made a few recipes over the months I've had it, but I hadn't really dug into it.

One day, I decided enough was enough. I felt foolish for letting the sheer size of the book deter me, but I also kind of felt like a jerk for not getting the most out of a very thoughtful gift from one of my favorite friends. Whether I was ready or not, I added 1000 Vegan Recipes into my regular rotation.

Given my newfound sense of determination, I first tackled Black Bean Soup. Mexican-inspired food is easily one of my favorites. I attribute this to my affinity for: beans of all kinds, corn, and spicy foods.

The soup turned out beautifully. I love everything about this soup: the colors, the texture, the flavor. I also whipped up a batch of the Jalapeno corn bread, which went with this soup perfectly.

The undeniable yumminess of the soup only adds to my feelings of foolishness and jerkfulness. Oh, well. You live and learn.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Basic Pancakes & Homemade Applesauce

I woke up this morning with a hankerin' for pancakes, but was crushed when I realized my favorite pancake recipe card is MIA. After recovering from my devastation, I sifted through cookbooks before finding a simple recipe in HiAV. They came together pretty quickly, but as the ingredient list is quite sparse, I was anticipating kind of boring pancakes. I was right. The batter was pretty bland - it actually kind of reminded me of pretzels. They also cooked kind of strange looking. Because "plain pancakes" is synonymous with "maple syrup" in my mind, the blandness of the pancakes alone sort of became a moot point. Not the best pancakes (for that, I'd suggest One World Cafe), but they served their ultimate purpose: filling my tummy.

Apples are one of my favorite fruits because they're so versatile, and delicious in just about every form. By themselves raw or baked, in pies or muffins, as juice, jam, or cider - I'll eat it all. A friend shared this simple apple sauce recipe with me years ago, and because I'm kind of a snob who won't eat slightly past-their-prime apples, this one gets a bit of use. This is kind of a general outline, as it depends on a variety of factors, but it's just about fool-proof.

You'll need:

- 5 or 6 apples
- 1 C water
- sweetener and cinnamon to taste (I use agave nectar)

1. Cut and core apples into bite-size chunk. I leave the peel on, but I suppose you could also remove it.
2. Put apples in medium or large pan (depending on how many and how big the apples) over medium-low heat, and add water. Allow apples to cook down 15 - 20 minutes. Do not drain water!
3. Once the apples have cooked down, use a potato masher or fork to mash apples. How smooth or chunky you like your apple sauce will determine how much mashing you do.
4. Season apples to taste with sweetener and cinnamon. Enjoy!

These are equally yummy hot or cold, too!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Go Green!

Confession: I haven't always liked vegetables. Before going vegan, my vegetable intake was primarily limited to salad basics, just about any canned variety, and broccoli. Once in a while, I'd buy a cucumber for snacks, but never, ever in my pre-vegan days did I get excited about raw baby carrots and hummus (which now appear in my lunch three to five times a week).

When I went vegan, I realized I'd have to learn to like vegetables because I eliminated a lot of typical American foods. Now, green juices/smoothies are one of the fastest, easiest, and tastiest ways I get in lots of raw, nutrient-rich green vegetables. Why? Because the fruit flavors tend to mask the strong taste of the raw greens!

This is the sort of thing that  just depends on what you have on hand. I use any combination of fruits and green vegetables. I almost always have frozen fruit in the freezer, and how much frozen fruit I use determines if it's more of a green juice or green smoothie. Sometimes I'll use a few ounces of fruit juice, yogurt, or coconut milk. Your preferences also play a big part in determining what ratio of fruits to vegetables you use. If you're new to it and aren't crazy about raw kale, use more fruit. Change your ratio to more evenly balance, or favor, greens as you discover what combinations you like and as your tastebuds get used to these new textures and tastes!

For this particular juice, I threw the following into a blender:

- a frozen, sliced banana
- a hunk of watermelon (really specific, I know)
- two raw kale leaves
- two ounces pineapple juice

Going green has never been easier!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blueberry Muffins & How to Freeze Muffin Batter

Muffins. So light and fluffy and yummy. Also portable and easy to eat while driving.

I am absolutely not a morning person. I sleep as long as possible, and therefore have minimal time to get ready for work in the morning. I'm not the type of person who can skip breakfast (prolonged states of hunger make me resemble teething toddlers), so muffins are the perfect solution to my "How can I sleep as long as possible and still get everything done before work?" dilemma.

These muffins in particular are one of my favorite varities because I love blueberries in baked goods. Over the summer, I bought probably twice my body weight in pints of blueberries, and froze nearly all of them. While my dad could not understand why I possibly needed 243 pints of blueberries, I knew exactly what I was doing: preparing for the end of blueberry season! Store-bought frozen blueberries are disgusting, and I refuse to pay for over-priced, bland, and sometimes mushy blueberries. My fresh-frozen blueberries make a world of difference in taste!

Another reason why muffins earn a gold star is because muffin batter is so easy to freeze. When I started regularly making muffins for breakfast, I found I either had to eat an exorbitant amount of muffins within a few days, or throw food away. Both options irritated me. I looked into freezing muffin batter, and discovered it's insanely easy. Now, I bake a day or two's worth of muffins at a time, and am able to prevent Muffin Monster from emerging and avoid throwing away food. The muffin papers tend to get a little smooshed in the freezing process, but my chief concern is taste, and that's never compromised. Win-win situation in my book.

To freeze muffin batter, you'll simply need a few muffin tins (I prefer the foil, six-muffin tins), freezer bags, and yummy muffin batter! First, make the muffin batter per usual. Line your muffin tins. Spoon muffin batter into tins. Freeze overnight. Once frozen, remove from pans. Sometimes the muffins get stuck in regular tins, which is why I prefer the flexible foil kind. Place frozen muffins in freezer bags. When you're ready to bake, follow baking directions per your recipe. So simple, right?

Now my only worry is my rapidly depleting blueberry supply... Come on, May!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Taco Dip

Source: My Genius Brain

Happy 2011! Life is pretty good in Baltimore - I had two fantastic weeks off from work, the Ravens are in the playoffs, and I've got high hopes for 2011. I don't make resolutions per se, but my two most immediate goals for this year are to get into grad school and get a bike.

I spent my New Year's Eve with some of my favorite people: my brother, my best friend/cousin, and her brother. It was super chill and low-key, and I had a fantastic time. I made taco dip for the occasion, as it's one of my favorite party foods. It's really easy to make, you can make it to your liking, and thanks to Daiya, it tastes delicious. I have multiple omnis who can attest to this.

I layered: vegetarian refried beans (Amy's Kitchen), dairy-free sour cream (Tofutti) seasoned to taste with taco seasoning (read: LOTS), dairy-free cheddar cheese (Daiya), lettuce, and tomato. Presto! I told you guys I had a genius brain.