Monday, February 22, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan French Bread Pizza

As a long time Jersey Girl, you can imagine going vegan has been tough in terms of pizza.  I can go to our local kosher pizza place and get meatless meat pizzas, but there's no where local that I can get a pizza with vegan cheese.  Which to me is crazy, but it's way cheaper and healthier to eat vegan mozzarella than to eat regular mozzarella.

Anyway, this was a super quick, we got home too late to make a real dinner, kinda dish.  French bread...well, maybe it's more like an Italian roll....whatever...jarred sauce, onions, peppers, vegan pepperoni (truthfully, the Tyrant loved it, I thought it was okay) and vegan mozzarella cheese.

I am obsessed with the ease of Somer McCowan's version.  It's basically a mix of cashews, water, seasoning and tapioca (I used plain old corn starch) I would give you the recipe, but as she points out:  
"Note: This recipe is one of the most popular recipes on my site and is therefore one of the most copied/imitated. If you make this cheese and like it enough to blog about it, please have the ethics to respect me, my creativity and the weeks that I spent developing this recipe by simply linking to this post rather than sharing the recipe on your own site. ❤️ -Somer"

Recently, a slew of studies have come out from Harvard and what not, all talking about how we shouldn't be drinking milk.  So if you don't care about those poor cows being forced to give birth over and over, and having their babies stolen from them, leaving them distraught and crying out for weeks because you lack empathy and compassion.....then maybe you should care about your own health and well being.  Just saying.  

I'd link a bunch of studies, but they are long and not always an easy read.  I hope this chart makes you at least think about what you're doing.  Why are you continuing to eat and drink things that are making you sick?  You should want better for yourself and the people you love.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Recipe Review List for: A Modern Way to Eat, Anna Jones

UPDATED: 8/22/2016

A while back, I did a book review on I've Been Domesticated for Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing).  I thought it would be interesting to start going back to some of the books I've reviewed and tell you if they're actually as good as I thought they were going to be.

For the record, this cookbook is not vegan, but it is easy to convert her recipes to vegan friendly ones. She points out in her introduction, "Many of my recipes are naturally vegan...I've included a lot of egg and dairy alternatives in my recipes as it's becoming more and more a way of life for people who want to lighten the load on their bodies and the planet."  So great, they're easily veganized, but are they good?  Here goes:

Overnight oats with peaches p. 20  Okay, so I left out the lemon juice and peaches, but it's not peach season!  Otherwise, I mostly followed this recipe.  It was my first foray into muesli, or overnight oats.  It is amazing and while I still don't follow this recipe to a T, I do use it as a guideline for how much nuts, seeds, etc. to put in.

Banana, blueberry, and pecan pancakes p. 39  Mine looked nothing like the picture.  They came out like an oatmeal cookie/pancake hybrid.  I think I took "Grind the oats in a food processor just slightly, until you have a rough oat flour" too literally.  And She said the pecans should be "roughly chopped."  I ground both to what I thought was a rough flour, and I think that was the problem.  I'm going to try these again, but I'm going to grind both the oats and nuts into a normal looking flour.  They were good, but not what I wanted when I was looking for a pancake breakfast.

Picture from

Cherry poppy seed waffles p. 42  I think these were meant for a Belgian waffle maker, not my old school, cast iron, flat, rectangle waffles.  They came out doughy.  So far the only waffle recipe I really like in mine is Marion Cunningham's yeasted waffle recipe.  I bet these would be better in a Belgian waffle maker, so I'd give it a go if you own one.

Speedy sweet potato quesadillas p. 52 Honestly, I didn't think this would be impressive.  I mean, really, grated sweet potatoes and mashed beans?  They turned out to be really good!  I used these habanero and lime tortillas from Trader Joe's.

Walnut miso broth with udon noodles p. 80  Much like the Ricotta, thyme, and sweet potato bake, this is a dish that sounds weird and seems like it shouldn't work, somehow it does.  I used shuchieh spinach I got at H-mart, enoki mushrooms only since I had no shimeji mushrooms..mainly because I don't know what they are...and udon noodles.  She said soba noodles could also work, but I think udon are the better choice.  ,We also wound up using twice as much udon noodles as the recipe called for.  The walnut miso paste is so good, I could sit and eat it with a spoon.

Pan-dressed noodles with crunchy cabbage and crispy tofu p. 157  This recipe had a pretty picture and I happened to have all the ingredients laying around, so I figured why not.  (I used Nasoya Sesame Ginger TofuBaked tofu, I don't know how it is with plain tofu.) Honestly, I wasn't expecting much because the recipe didn't seem that exciting.  Then I made it, and holy guacamole, it was amazing!  Like really amazing!  If you're not taking a pic of your incredible meal before you eat it, just go ahead and mix everything together when you're done with the components.  It'll be easier to get a little of everything in every bite.

pan-dressed noodles
Picture from
Perfect chili p. 182 This is the perfect warm weather chili.  Light, but filling.  Definitely a great change from the typical bean-heavy vegetarian chili recipes you usually see.  I actually prefer this to the beef chili I used to make back in the day. 

The really hungry burger p. 186 I have yet to find a veggie burger recipe that is like the holy grail of veggie burgers, but this one is really good.  I like the addition of dates, soy and miso.  It adds this whole sweet, savory, umami thing.  There is a lot of depth of flavor for sure.  Mine did not look remotely as dark as the one in her picture, and they were way better sauteed in a pan with oil than baked.  Baked was a little on the blah side.

Picture from

Ricotta, thyme, and sweet potato bake p. 192 This was labor intensive.  Well, definitely too labor intensive for a weeknight meal.  I was really skeptical about the lima bean sauce...especially since I am quite certain I never ate a lima bean before.  Guess what?  Super delicious!  The sauce especially.  I feel like this combo of food shouldn't go together, but it did.  I did use ricotta cheese, since I was vegetarian and not vegan when I made it.  I wonder how it'll be with a non-dairy ricotta.  I'll keep you posted.

One-pot mushroom and bay leaf biryani p. 212  My Indian friend said it's good, but it's not biryani.  She didn't specify why, but there was an undertone of a white person can't possibly write a good biryani an Indian pride not anti-white way.  Whatever....I liked it.  I'm all about one-pot dishes.  So is the Hubby, since he's in charge of clean up.

Artichoke and fennel seed paella p. 218  This was amazing.  Like, wtf? how is this this amazing?  I was going to add some vegan sausage, but it really didn't need it.  I left out the green peppers, because I didn't have any.  And if you don't have saffron, don't worry.  Just substitute 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric plus 1/2 teaspoon of paprika for the 1 teaspoon of saffron.  I substituted shaoxing wine for the dry sherry, 2 teaspoons of dried parsley in lieu of the fresh and a 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers instead of the piquillo peppers.  This is one of my favorite recipes from this book.

Any-night-of-the-week pizza p. 226 Now, for the record, I didn't make make this recipe.  I made the pizza base, which is a cauliflower crust.  As for the toppings, I just used sauce and vegan mozzarella.  I was surprised it worked, but it was delicious.  Definitely not the same thing as a nice, crispy, chewy, doughy pizza, but a nice change of pace.

Super raw brownies p. 299 Holy crap. If you've never made a raw brownie before, this is the one to try.  I substituted Be Free Honee for the regular honey, and walnuts for the pecans.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to bring these to hide in the work fridge, so I don't have to share with anyone at home...

Endless lemonades p. 322 This was good and inspired me to start making lemonades and ice teas on a regular basis.  I didn't really like it with the agave, but I think that's because the agave I have is kind of blah.  It was better with pure cane sugar.

These are recipes I intend to try, but haven't gotten to.  Either I don't have an ingredient readily on hand or I'm waiting for the summer when I'll have garden fresh veggies to use.  I'll update this post as I continue to cook from this book.

Dosa-spiced potato cakes with quick cucumber pickle p. 45 (I always forget to save avacados for this)

Smoky walnut and cumin muhammara p. 58 (I keep thinking I'll pick up pomegranate molasses and Turkish chile flakes, but it's not happening.  I'm going to just make it with her suggested substitutions)

Maple peanut California wraps p. 60 (No clue why I haven't made these yet)

Spiced salt-caramel popcorn p.66 (butter free caramel? I'm intrigued)

Killer smoked tofu club sandwich p. 69 (Again, always out of avacados and chipolte)

Chickpea and preserved lemon stew p.74 (There are a handful of ingredients I don't have at home)

Seeded bread and roast tomato soup p. 77 (waiting on those tomatoes)

Restorative coconut broth p. 82 (I never have lemongrass, my mom is successfully growing it in Alabama, so maybe I'll try it too)

Sweet tomato and black bean tortilla bowls p. 85 (tomatoes...when will it be spring?!)

Lemony lentil and crispy kale soup p. 91 (my kale plant is frozen solid outside)

Okay, typing in all the recipes I intend to try is taking forever.  You'll just have to check back and see how it's been going.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan Nachos

Here's the thing about being vegan.  You can eat things that are just like the stuff you're used to eating.  The difference is, because everything is plant based, it's generally no one had to die or suffer so you can eat it, in case you care about that kind of thing.

The Hubby was working late, so me and the Tyrant decided we'd have a junk food dinner night.  We started with french fries....good God, don't buy the bagged stuff!  Just cut up some darn potatoes and put them in oil.  Crank up the heat and voila, fries!  I saw it on America's Test Kitchen and it worked amazingly.  Then we were of course still hungry, so we decided on nachos.

1. I started with organic chips from Costco has almost no vegan

2.Then I poured on some vegan nacho cheese.  I use Hot for Food's version, although I used the starchy water from boiling the potatoes instead of non-dairy milk, cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder, and a hot pepper from my garden that I pickled in straight vinegar.  Don't let not having the specific ingredients stop you from trying things, just make substitutions, it'll be okay.

3. I quickly sauteed some black beans (I always use dried, cook them in the slow cooker and freeze them in mason jars) with a splash of oil, some onion and cilantro.  Threw those on top.

4. I added some taco "meat" I made with Gardein beefless ground beef.  I didn't use a recipe, but I cooked it with some onion, garlic, cumin, chili and coriander powders, tomato paste, Maggi seasoning sauce and the BJ's organic ketchup, in lieu of brown sugar, because it's crazy sweet.

5. I made the vegan cashew sour cream, also from Hot for Food.  I use that stuff in place of mayo on my sandwiches, it's delicious.  Make sure you soak your nuts for a few hours, at least.  I only soaked mine for maybe 20 minutes and the sauce didn't come out nearly as smooth as it does when I soak them overnight.

6. Finished off the nachos with cilantro and some chopped garlic chive blossoms.

I'm not going to run the nutritional numbers for you, because I'm lazy.  But I'm going to guess that vegan nacho cheese is healthier than a big block of plastic looking Velvetta.  We all know beef is full of fat and artery clogging properties, beefless beef is plant based and while high-ish in sodium, I bet this whole dish had less sodium than your average plate of nachos (plus I only used maybe a 1/3 cup of "meat").  Black beans made from scratch have only the salt you add and lots of fiber. Cashew cream sour cream, obviously better for you than dairy.

My point is, vegans still eat what everyone else is eating, just healthier versions.  You don't have to be vegan for ethical reasons, why not just because you don't want to be obese and have a heart attack. Just saying.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Eating Animals: An Animated Rap About Factory Farming

Have you heard of Tofuna Fysh?  

"Changing the world, one meal at a time.  There simply is no reason to continue eating meat and supporting factory farms or any other form of animal cruelty - including the commercial fishing industry."

I couldn't agree more.  

I've been substituting chickpeas for tuna in my sandwiches, but I know my Hubby has missed the convenience of popping open a can of tuna.  Jackfruit and organic seaweed?  Who would've thunk it.  Unfortunately,they're not selling it anywhere near me, but I remain hopeful it'll be at my local grocery stores one day soon.

Check out their Kickstarter campaign.  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

If you wouldn't eat a dog or cat, why is a pig or cow okay?  You don't like those images of dogs being crammed into crates in China, but it's okay when we do it to every other animal imaginable?

 #Make the Connection

I wish more people would see the disgusting and disturbing photos of the conditions these animals live in and instead of saying, "I don't want to see that" they instead say, "That's horrible.  We should do something to stop that."  I understand that a lot of you will never give up meat regardless of how unhealthy it is to eat it; but, why are you standing in the sidelines while these animals are abused and tortured?  What's happening to us as a society that we are okay with sticking our heads in the sand and pretending these things aren't happening?

It makes me sad for these animals.  And it makes me sad for all the people unwilling to demand more, demand better for themselves and these poor tortured creatures.  If Gandhi was right, if , "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated," then we are a disgrace.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan Bulgogi

So I received Koreatown: A Cookbook from Blogging for Books and have been trying out some of the recipes.  (I got the book in exchange for a review, these follow up recipe reviews are of my own doing and I get no compensation.)

  I used to get Bulgogi, a marinated beef, from Hmart as a quick, we finished shopping and I want something fast to make for lunch kinda meal.  Now that we're not eating meat, that is no longer an option, but thankfully that doesn't mean we have to stop eating bulgogi.

You can find this package of soy based "vegetarian beef" at pretty much any Asian store.  I know some people are weird about soy, but I'm not buying into the hype. (Honestly, where is that info coming from? Research done by lobbyists for the meat industry? Where your info is coming from and who's paying for it matters people, educate yourselves, and then decide for yourself.  My opinion, everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb.  Plus, I'd bet a little soy every week is still healthier than eating beef...and no one has to be murdered, just saying.)

Now, if you buy it, you're going to look at this weird, vacu-sealed stuff and think, really?  You want me to eat this?  This is going to look like beef?

Well, shabam people...yes it does!  Anyone who grew up eating American-ized Chinese food can tell you that beef from Chinese food restaurants never really taste like beef.  They always have a softer, chewier texture.  This vegetarian beef is like that.  So when you substitute it in Asian recipes, it really does taste like the real thing.  Of course, that made me wonder...are they really serving beef or has it been soy meat all along...?

For dinner, we followed the recipe, kind of.  I used romaine lettuce leaves, because I couldn't find the red lettuce at my closer than Hmart Asian market.  You layer on rice, bulgogi, Ssamjang (which is this crazy good sauce with, oddly enough, walnuts) and kimchi.  I know the picture is not great, sorry.

I didn't take a picture the next day, but I made the most amazing wrap with it.  Flour tortillas, bulgogi, ssamjang, du chua (a Vietnamese daikon and carrot pickle), cilantro and bean sprouts.  Holy crap, it was delicious!  So for anyone thinking of making the switch to veganism, it's easy to swap stuff out.  I feel like I could have used beans or mushrooms and this would have been equally amazing.  Don't feel discouraged to try new things, just because a recipe is meat based.  I'll keep you posted on how my veganized versions of the recipes in Koreatown: A Cookbook are coming out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Gentle Barn: Karma's Reunion

This is literally the video that made me give up dairy.  A big thank you to The Gentle Barn for helping me see the light.

Could you imagine, giving birth only to have your baby stolen from you?  If it's a boy, normally it's life would be a few weeks in a litter box-esque containment unit, being fed garbage.  Then they murder your baby so some idiot could eat veal for dinner.  And if it's a girl, then she'll be forced into the same miserable life you had.

This is literally Hell on earth for these poor cows.  But, hey, feel free to drink that glass of milk with a clear conscience...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: Koreatown: A Cookbook

I will say, I was a little nervous about reviewing Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard.  Korean food, as I know it, is super meat heavy. Fortunately, much like Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees (you can read my review here), the majority of these recipes are easy to veganize.

First the easy stuff, leave the shrimp out of the kimchi.  I never put it in, and it's fine.The whole egg on top thing...just leave it out.  Korean food is so flavorful, a missing egg isn't going to ruin the dish.

And really, everything is not better with bacon or an egg on top. Don't drink the Kool-Aid, people.  The rest... do what you do with any meat-based recipes... substitute with tofu, plant-based faux-meat products, or use veggies.

Some of the ingredients might seem foreign to you, but yay for the internet. Everything you need is online.  If you're near an Asian market, or H-Mart, even better.  And believe, me, once you start using gochujang, it will change your life.

I am most interested in making Ssamjang, The Great Korean Barbecue Condiment, which is allegedly "a killer dip for raw vegetables like carrots and celery."  All of the banchan looks great, but I'm slightly obsessed with banchan.  The Dubu Jorim, soy-braised tofu, looks more like something I'd take for lunch with a side of rice than banchan, but I'm going to try it out tomorrow.  The next day, it'll be Korean Fried Broccoli...everyone does cauliflower, but broccoli?  I'm fascinated!

WOULD I BUY IT:  Absolutely.  None of the recipes in Koreatown: A Cookbook look overly complex.  They include ingredients I already own, but in fairness, I doubt the average person would have all of them.  And if you get stuck on substitutions, just google it.  I found a million sites with vegan substitutions for fish cakes and squid.  

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy is Here! | Ben & Jerry’s

I am super excited.  Like, really, super excited.  See...being vegan doesn't mean giving up all the good stuff.  It just means eating healthier and not torturing or murdering a bunch of animals...just saying.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Meatless Everyday: Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Woks of Life had this really great looking Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe.  I would highly recommend going to their site to find the recipe.  They have amazing pictures, unlike my crappy ones.  And detailed instructions.  My version is basically the same with minor adaptations.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
adapted from Woks of Life, "Eggplant with Garlic Sauce"

First make the sauce:

1 Tbs broad bean paste with chili (Ming Teh is my favorite brand)
1 tsp Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil  (this is my favorite brand)
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp Pure Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar (most white sugar is not vegan)
1 Tbs cooking wine (I was out of shoaxing wine)
1 tsp vegan fish sauce (try this one out at Vegan Miam)

Then prep the rest of the ingredients:

6 cups of eggplant (I used a globe eggplant) cut into pieces (look at their pics to see approx. size)
2 scallions cut into 2 inch lengths (I just sprinkled them on top instead of cooking them)
3 Tbs oil
4 oz. meatless ground beef (I used gardein)
1/2 Tbs julienned ginger (I like a lot of ginger)
1 tsp crushed dried chilies (I used one broken up dried red chili and you'd take a bite with a piece of it and want to die because it was so hot.  I'd say put a few pinches in of in so it gets distributed more evenly)
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1 Tbs cooking wine (again, I ran out of  shoaxing wine)

The rest is easy:

1. Heat a tablespoon of oil on high heat and add half the eggplant.  Sear it all around, maybe 5 minutes.  Then repeat with the second batch.

2. Heat the third tablespoon of oil and add the meatless ground beef and the ginger. Once the "meat" starts to brown, add the garlic and red pepper.

3.  Then throw the eggplant back in with the sauce you made, plus 1 Tbs of cooking wine (idk why you can't just add that extra cooking wine to the sauce...maybe next time.)

4.  Top with scallions and serve with rice.

I could literally eat this every day.

I used Sri Lankan red rice, because it's healthier...and I'm Sri Lankan....

I also served it with Dry Fried Lotus Root.  You can find the recipe in Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking, which for the record is amazing.  You can turn most of the recipes into vegan versions.

You probably don't have a lot of these ingredients.  I do, because I practically live at HMart.  But I included a bunch of Amazon Affliate links for some of the stuff.  Everything's online people, don't let unusual ingredients stop you from trying new things!