Food For Thought XII

Things have been pretty repetitive in the ol’ kitchen lately.  I’ve been on a “clean out the pantry” kick, so there’s been a lot of repeats and unexciting meals being thrown together.  But there have been a few new and exciting things definitely worth sharing.

We went to a small party on Superbowl Sunday last month.  I knew in advance there would be a couple of plant-based-friendly options, but I made and brought a couple more.  The meatballs were just Trader Joe’s meatballs that I threw into a crock pot with grape jelly and barbecue sauce.  They were good, but y’all, these cauliflower wings from Sexy Vegan were CRAZY good!  I will be making these for any and every tailgating/finger food event I ever attend ever again forever.  Yes, forever.

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I had also flagged this recipe for LA-Style Chimichurri Tacos in my Chloe’s Kitchen cookbook when I first got it for Christmas and made it recently too.  I guess the way I assembled it I can’t really call it a taco, but whatever.  It was still freaking delicious, so let’s roll with it.  (After I snapped this pic, I rolled it up like a burrito.)

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Bianca at The Friendly Fig totally showed out on this Crockpot Ginger & Cauliflower Curry recipe.  This was perfection.  Chop some stuff up and throw it in a pot?  Yep, I’m a fan already.  It was absolutely delicious.  But I atleast quadrupled the curry in it because I’m super adventurous like that.

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And finally, I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon this recipe for Black Bean and Cilantro Lime Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, but I’m damn glad I did!  I froze half of the stuffing when I first made these, and I’ve got the other half thawing out for tonight.  Good stuff, I say… good stuff.

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Have you tried any good new-to-you recipes lately?  Share!

Food For Thought X: My Plant-Based Thanksgiving!

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This is my second year of being the only herbivore at Thanksgiving.  The first two years, I was vegetarian, so that was pretty easy.  Pass up the turkey and the ham, and you’ve got yourself a vegetarian Thanksgiving.  But after I went totally plant-based, most of the Thanksgiving dishes we’d always served were off limits.  Deviled eggs, hashbrown casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, potato salad, and the list goes on.  So for the past couple of years, I’ve found veganized versions of some these things, and y’all, I don’t feel deprived one tiny bit.

We went to my parents’ house this year.  There were only six of us there, but MAN, you should have seen the spread.  I brought everything you see above, and my mom made all of their meat, a few vegetable sides, and all the desserts.  I feel like I kind of get the raw end of the deal here… I bring all this vegan stuff to share with everyone else, but they don’t have to share their meat and dairy-laden stuff with me!  haha  Although in the interest of full disclosure, I did cheat and have a piece of very much nonvegan chocolate chess pie.  I never claimed to be perfect.

So what did I bring?  Since I didn’t get a chance to get to Nashville (the nearest place that sells vegetarian roasts), I just made a hippie loaf as my main dish with golden gravy to smother it with.  This is seriously the best brown gravy ever.  The dressing was just plain old cornbread dressing, which is easily veganized from any recipe you might find just by using substitutes for the egg and milk in the cornbread and by using No-Chicken broth when you’re putting the dressing together.  The green beans are just plain ol’ green beans with a little no-beef broth powder and garlic added while they were simmering, and the turnip greens just had a splash of white vinegar and quite a bit of cayenne pepper.  The sweet potato casserole is my signature dish.  Everyone has asked me for years to bring this stuff, and no one batted an eye when I veganized it last year.  I don’t have a link to the recipe as it’s one I just have typed up and saved, so I’ll add the recipe to the bottom of this post.  The only new-to-me recipe I tried this Thanksgiving was Cookin’ Crunk’s Deviled Tofu Bites.  They were AMAZING.  It was remarkable how much they tasted like deviled eggs.  These will definitely be a new holiday staple!

Sweet Potato Casserole:

  • 4-1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg equivalent of Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish.  In a food processor, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup Earth Balance, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, and egg replacer.  (I have to do this in two rounds because it won’t all fit in my food processor.)  Spread mixture into dish.  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and flour, then mix in the other 1/3 cup of Earth Balance until mixture is crumbly, then mix in pecans.  Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the pecan topping is golden brown.

Food For Thought IX

I feel like I should put a little disclaimer out here.  Since I’ve renamed and migrated this blog, I’ve picked up a few new foodie followers.  To you guys, I say… unless you’re here to laugh at me, you’re sure to be sorely disappointed!  haha  I am not a foodie.  I am not a food blogger.  I am definitely not a chef!  I’m a decent cook if you give me a recipe though.  I can follow the shit out of a recipe.  This “Food for Thought” series is just that–me cooking my way through some of my plant-based cookbooks and sharing the good and the bad.

Swedish Meatballs from Happy Herbivore Abroad – I really have mixed feelings about this one.  The gravy was perfect, but all the recipe used for the “meatball” was cubed tempeh.  For me, the flavor of the tempeh completely overpowered the flavor of the gravy.  It took a LOT of gravy to compete with the tempeh.  I love tempeh, but its flavor was just a little too strong and out of place here.  This gravy would be fantastic with a different vegan Swedish meatball though.

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Migas from Happy Herbivore Abroad – Not a fan.  At all.  It’s similar to a tofu scramble but very bland.  The recipe suggested serving it with a side of refried beans and salsa, but I ended up mixing the salsa in with the migas just to give it a little flavor.  Won’t be making this one again.

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Mongolian BBQ from Chloe’s Kitchen (full recipe in link, and I use this recipe to make the hoisin sauce rather than using store-bought) – This stuff is the shit.  Absolutely perfect.  It isn’t a new-to-me recipe, but I haven’t made it in a long time for no other reason than I can’t buy seitan around here.  (It’s funny…I used to find seitan but not tempeh, and now I can find tempeh but not seitan.)  But I had a couple of baggies of seitan left in the freezer from when I made the roast a few weeks ago.  Chloe gets two thumbs up and a pat on the ass for this one.

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Cheesy Burger Mac from Cookin’ Crunk – Back in my pre-herbie days, before I knew anything at all about nutrition, I ate more Hamburger Helper than I care to admit.  Hey, it was quick, it was cheap, and it required no culinary skill.  Right down this busy, broke kid’s alley.  Somewhere along the way, I saw the light and realized what shit it was and started finding from-scratch versions of my favorites.  Then I stopped eating animal products, which all those dishes were laden with, and so I hadn’t made a Hamburger Helper-ish dish in quite a long time.  Until I made Bianca’s Cheesy Burger Mac!  This really was good, y’all.  It had such a satisfying junk food feel to it.  haha  I either made too much sauce or not enough noodles and “beef,” so the sauce completely smothered everything, but that was perfectly fine by me.  I’ll definitely be coming back to this one, and next time I’ll make sure I have some vegan bacon bits on hand to go with it!!!  (And file this one under the TMI category, but the quinoa shells gave me terrible gas!!!  haha  At least I assume that’s what it was as that’s the only thing I’d never tried before!)

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With a side of slow-simmered kale with Tabasco sauce–oh yeah!


Food for Thought VIII – All Things Pumpkin!

Yep.  I’m one of those people.  One that goes nuts every fall and wants pumpkin in All The Things.


Pumpkin Spice Latte (full recipe in link) – I love a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte as much as the next guy, but I don’t get them often for several reasons.  First, they’re stupid expensive.  Second, the nearest Starbucks is over an hour away.  Third, (and even if the first two weren’t an issue) even when you order it with soy milk it’s not vegan as the pumpkin flavoring they use has dairy in it.  My average of three or so yearly PSLs are some of my very few cheats!  This isn’t quite as good as a Starbucks PSL, but it’s cheap, it’s convenient, and it’s completely veganizable!


Pumpkin Pancakes from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean (also on the HH web site–full recipe in link) – I wasn’t so crazy about these.  I like my pancakes light and fluffy and these were heavy and dense.  They had a great flavor, but they just sat really heavy on my stomach.


Pumpkin Banana Smoothie (full recipe in link) – I had some canned pumpkin left from making the pancakes so I went to the internetz to find a smoothie recipe using it, and I found this one.  It was really, really tasty!  But the second time I made it I added more cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Gooey Pumpkin Pudding Cake by Chocolate Covered Katie (full recipe in link) – This recipe showed up in my Facebook news feed and I couldn’t NOT make it knowing I had everything I needed already in my kitchen!  It was absolutely delicious.  Katie nailed it!

It smelled AMAZING!
It smelled AMAZING!
YUM!  Only thing missing was a big scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream!


Food for Thought VII

I’m still working my way through some of the cookbooks and bookmarked web sites I already have (before I hopefully get a couple of new books from my wishlist for Christmas!).  These all came from web sites, so I’ve included links with all of them.  Good stuff here!
Vegan Sloppy Joes from Mouthwatering Vegan (full recipe in link!) – Again, this isn’t a new one, but it’s one of my favorites.  For me, sloppy joes are like chili–I never make them when it’s warm.  I don’t know why.  They just seem like a fall comfort food!  My favorite thing to use as a base for these is Ground TSP Beef from Cookin’ Crunk.  I’ve used frozen vegan crumbles before, but it just wasn’t the same.  Bianca’s ground TSP makes a PERFECTLY textured sloppy joe!
Stuffed Shells from Little House of Veggies Blog (full recipe in link!) – I want to print this recipe and start handing it out to everyone who sees tofu in my grocery buggy and says, “Soooooo…. what do you DO with it?”  I believe it would win anyone over!  I didn’t have any of the big shells on hand, so I used regular ol’ lasagna noodles and made rollups out of them instead.  Sometimes when I make something that’s REALLY good, I get a little sad that I don’t have anyone to share it with.  (D suffers from a severe case of vegophobia.)  This was one of those nights.  I halved the recipe, and it was enough for 8 roll-ups (four lasagna noodles broken in half).
The stuffing
The finished product

Chef Chloe’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese (full recipe in link!) – This was… okay.  That’s about all I can say about it.  I won’t make it again, but I didn’t throw it out.


Seitan gyros with cucumber sauce (full recipe in link!) – I used the gyro seitan roast recipe from The Gentle Chef to make these.  It was my first shot at a seitan roast, so I was just happy it didn’t explode in the oven as they are known to do when not done properly!  The gyro sandwiches were great, but I agree with my friend Shelly–they fall apart so easily and are much better as a salad!

Food For Thought VI

Keeping in line with every other aspect of my life, I’ve been in a rut in the kitchen lately, too.  I really haven’t been cooking all that much.  The past few weeks I’ve had salads and popcorn and cereal  and smoothies for dinner more than anything else, and the nights that I have cooked it’s mostly been old familiar recipes.  But I did squeeze in a couple of new ones!

Taco Burgers from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean – Super quick, super easy, super yummy.  WIN!

Thai Tacos, also from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean (full recipe, along with a couple more from HHLL, featured here!) – This one also was really fast to throw together.  Bonus–no cooking required!  I ate it at room temperature the evening I made it and right out of the fridge for lunch the next afternoon.  I think I liked it cold even better.  And the slaw that you top it with is SO GOOD.  I’ll probably make that on its own at some point in the future when the occasion calls for coleslaw.

Morgan’s Veggie Chili from Little House of Veggies (full recipe in link!) – Okay, this is nothing new to me, but it is an all-time favorite and definitely share-worthy.  I’ve got like three chili recipes that I rotate through, and this is one of them.  We’ve had a couple of chilly nights lately, and I was excited to have an excuse to make this again.

I like it chunky.

Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches from Cookin’ Crunk – On my third day of eating the chili, there wasn’t enough left for a full meal, so I needed something to go with it.  I’ve had this recipe flagged for a while, and I figured this was the perfect time for it.  I used to loooooove pimiento cheese before ditching dairy, and y’all, this stuff is just like what I remember.  Appearance, texture, flavor…all of it.  PERFECT!  All hail the power of the chickpea.

Food for Thought VI (Fourth of July edition)

My favorite part of holidays is always just the family get-togethers, and part of that is because I love cooking for everyone!  I’m still trying to convince my family that you do NOT have to have meat and dairy in a dish to make it tasty!  I proved my point x 4 last Saturday at our Fourth of July cookout.

Corn and Black Bean Burger from Food52 (full recipe in link) – These burgers had the PERFECT texture to them.  I added cayenne pepper and hot sauce to mine when I was mixing it up too.  And I think they would have been even better if I’d used chipotle too.

Coleslaw – Nothing special about this one.  Just used a regular ol’ recipe for coleslaw but used eggless mayo instead and WHAT A SHOCK… no one knew.  haha

Boozy Baked Beans by Cookin’ CrunkIf I’m being completely honest this is the first time I’ve ever made baked beans.  My mother-in-law’s are kind of famous, so she always makes those, but she’s not exactly feeling up to cooking these days.  And they have animal product in them.  While these were REALLY good (yes, everyone said so!) they weren’t that thick, sweet baked bean that I’ve been missing since going veg.  I really want to ask my MIL for her recipe so I can adapt that, but like I said, that’s always been her thing and I don’t want to make it sound like we don’t think she’ll ever make them again or anything, so I’m leaving that one alone.

Black Bean Brownies by Chocolate Covered Katie (full recipe in link) – These are f’ing amazing, y’all.  No other description is needed.  EFFING.  AMAZING.  They were half gone before I could even take a picture!

Food for Thought V

Some new ones and some old favorites!

Hippie Loaf from (full recipe in link, also found in Happy Herbivore Cookbook) with mashed taters and Lick the Spoon Golden Gravy from Plant Hungry (full recipe in link) – Southern comfort food at its finest.  I’ve used both of these recipes several times but the good ones are worth coming back to over and over.

Cauliflower Manchurian from Everyday Happy Herbivore – This really wasn’t anything that ever jumped off the page at me and said “MAKE ME!” but I accidentally bought two heads of cauliflower at the grocery (#herbieproblems) so I had some to play with.  It was pretty damn good!  Excuse the shitty presentation.

Supreme Nachos using the Quick Nacho Cheese from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean –  I threw this together one night when I was just craving junk food, and I swear it’s the most satisfying meal I’ve had in a long while!  Tortilla chips, cheese, pinto beans, fresh guacamole, salsa, Tofutti, black olives, green onions, jalapenos.  And beer.  WIN.

Caribbean Chili from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean – I’m usually not a soup or chili in the summer kind of person, but I saw that this one had pineapple in it, and I just happened to have pineapple as well as everything else I needed, so I couldn’t NOT make it.  It was REALLY good!  I loved the sweetness of the pineapple and brown sugar combined with the heat.

And then there was the Tempeh Shepherdess Pie from Veganomican (full recipe in link).  Y’all, it tasted amazing, but it was NOT a pretty dish.  LOL  I took a picture, but now I’m all, “Dude, I can’t post that.”  haha  Just check out the link from another blogger.  She made it and hers was way prettier than mine.

Food For Thought IV

Woops!  I just noticed this one has been sitting in draft form for several weeks.  My Food for Thought was growing mold.  haha

Apple Crisp Muffins from (full recipe in link) – I don’t bake  Like, EVER.  But I came across this recipe one evening and realized I had everything here to make them (once I found out old-fashioned oats and rolled oats are the same thing haha).  I made them the next morning and took them to work fresh out of the oven and everyone LOVED them!  They tease me about my eating, so I love proving to them that you don’t have to have meat and dairy for stuff to taste awesome!

Cheesy Tofu Scramble from Cookin’ Crunk – I make tofu scrambles fairly frequently for breakfast on the weekends but this is the first time I followed Bianca’s recipe.  They’re all basically the same, but I loved the flavor that her soy sauce/spice blend gave it!  She suggests adding veggies of your choice, and for this one I used yellow sweet peppers, green onions, black beans, and kale.  YUM!

Moroccan Lentil Soup from Everyday Happy Herbivore  – Y’all, my whole house smelled AHHHHH-MAZING while this was cooking.  I love lentils, and I love anything with a Moroccan flair to it, so this was just perfect for me.

Tempeh Bacon from Plant Hungry – You just can’t beat a BLT.  Unless you add avocado to it.  I had never tried tempeh until about a year or so ago (because no one around here carries it and I have to buy it out of town!), and bacon was one of the first things I learned how to make with it.  I hate myself a little bit for not doing it years ago.

Red Red Stew with Fried Bananas from Everyday Happy Herbivore – The stew itself was okay, but HOLY HELL, how have I never had fried bananas before?!?!?!  I’d have been happier if I had a meal of fried bananas with a side of stew.  haha

Food for Thought III (You Win Some, You Lose Some)

Cumin-infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa from Fat Free Vegan (full recipe in link) – WIN!  I love it when I see an ingredient in a recipe list and think, “Really?  That?  In there?” and then it totally works.  The raisins made this dish.  I couldn’t stop eating it.

And the rest are all from Everyday Happy Herbivore since I’m still trying to go light!

Andrea’s Puttanesca – Lose.  It looked pretty enough, but it was pretty bland.  Won’t be repeating this one.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh – This wasn’t a favorite either.  I’ve made a very similar dish using her teriyaki sauce from the same book and it was muuuuuch better.

Chili-Sweet Mango Noodles – I hate mangoes.  Not their flavor.  They’re freaking delicious!  But I HATE, HATE, HATE cutting them!  They’re so damn juicy and sticky!  But DAMNIT they were good in this!  To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed by this one either when I ate it right out of the skillet.  But when I ate it cold out of the fridge for lunch the next day?  It was a completely different dish.  If I make this one again, I’ll definitely make it ahead and eat it cold!

Indian Spiced Chickpeas and Kale – Mmmmmm, kale.  Big win!  This recipe says it serves two.  Yeah… about that… not if I’M one of those two people.  Haha  This was crazy good.  I love the flavor of garam masala, so this was right up my alley!