Food For Thought XIII: Summer Eats

I don’t know about y’all, but the LAST thing I want to do in the summertime is come home after working and/or running and/or the gym and spend even a minute more than absolutely necessary in the kitchen.  Here are a few go-to quickies that I’ve found and am loving this summer!

Vegan Tempeh Salad (recipe in link) – It says the prep time for this is 45 minutes.  From start to finish, that’s probably accurate, but it’s not 45 ACTIVE minutes.  It’s more like “Put the tempeh on the steamer, go get int he shower.  Set aside to cool, go blow dry your hair.”  It really doesn’t seem like it takes that long.  And this stuff is so dang good.  It’s my new favorite way to use tempeh.

Tempeh Salad

Smoky Black Bean Wraps from the Happy Herbivore Cookbook (third party recipe in link) – I loooooove the smoky mayo in this.  I would totally use that on other stuff.

Smokey black bean wrap HHC

Tempeh Burger Pizza from The Friendly Fig (recipe in link) – Remember that time, like two minutes ago, when I said the tempeh salad was my favorite way to use tempeh?  Yeah, I had forgotten about this!  I may or may not have eaten the whole thing by myself in one sitting.  Spoiler:  I did.

Cheeseburger pizza Friendly Fig

Summer also brings with it a couple of fantastic BBQ holidays, and those are always a fun time to try out new things.  Between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, I made three new-to-me recipes.

Carrot Hot Dogs from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (I don’t find her recipe online, so I’ve included a link to the book it’s in, but there are variations all over the interwebs–just google it!)  These are fantastic.  I have bought my last commercial vegan hot dog.  These are my new cookout staple.  And they’re SO EASY!  Without giving away too much, all you do is boil the carrots, then let them marinade for at least 24 hours, then toss them on the grill or in a skillet.  You just can’t beat ’em.

Carrot dogs HHHG

Cowboy Beans from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (ditto above about not finding the recipe online) – I followed the recipe as it was published, but then (as with many of Ms. Nixon’s recipes) I found it … lacking.  But I was able to tailor it to my taste by using more of the seasonings in the recipe as well as tossing in a couple of my own.  By the time I got done with it, it was pretty good!  I’m still on the hunt for the perfect vegan baked beans recipe, so if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments!

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Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers from Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (recipe in link) – You know that smoky mayo up there that I said would be good with other stuff?  Well, here ya go.  I’ve made so many different bean burger recipes, using so many different kinds of beans, but this one was a first.  I’ve never used a white bean and certainly never sweet potatoes in a burger.  While these tasted great, they really didn’t turn out exactly right.  They took twice as long to cook as the recipe says and they still never got crisp, but I think adjusting the cook times and temps would make a big difference.

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What are some of your favorite summer eats these days?

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 XI

I got a couple of new plant-based cookbooks for Christmas last month:  Thug Kitchen and Chloe’s Kitchen.  If you’re not familiar with Thug Kitchen, go check them out.  NOW.  Even if you’re not plant-based.  Yeah, their food is good, but you don’t even have to cook anything to appreciate them.  They’re HILARIOUS.  In case you missed their book release trailer, here it is.  Do yourself a favor and watch it immediately.  Unless you’re at work.  In which case I’d advise waiting.  Or putting on your headphones.

Okay, now to the food.

Potato Leek Soup – This is the only one I’ve made from Thug Kitchen yet.  It was super easy and really good.  I would definitely make it again.  This is the first version of a potato soup I’ve had as a vegan, so although it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, it was still good.  I just read “potato soup” and had a flashback to the thick, chunky, dairy-laden potato soups that I used to know and love.  If anyone has a tried-and-true nondairy version of that, hit me up!

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Best Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese – This one (and the rest of them in this post) is from Chloe’s Kitchen.  Guys, the name freaking says it all.  I’ve tried several macaroni and cheese recipes and they’ve all been disappointing.  THIS!!!  THIS is what I’ve been looking for!!!

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California Chipotle Chop Salad – I admit I’ve always thought it was kind of stupid for salad recipes to be in cookbooks.

“Ingredients:  Whatever the hell you want.  Instructions:  Toss that shit in a bowl.  TAH-DAH!!!!!  Salad.”

And this one really was no different from that except for the dressing.  I left the oil out and just used the agave and lime juice and OMG it was delicious.  I’ve never dreamed that combining those two things would create such an amazing flavor.

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Peanutty Perfection Noodles – (Full recipe here!)  This stuff was crazy good.  I must have either not made enough noodles or made a touch too much sauce because mine ended up creamier than I think it was supposed to, but I didn’t care.  The author says this is her favorite recipe in the book, and I can see why.

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Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers – Fail.  Nothing about these worked the way it was supposed to.  I couldn’t get them to roll into balls no matter how dry or wet I made them.  I knew they wouldn’t hold together to fry, so I dropped spoonfuls of the batter on a sheet and baked them thinking I could salvage them.  I ate one and was disappointed.  And then I ate another one hoping that it would miraculously be better than the first.  It wasn’t.  I threw the rest out.  I’ll probably try them again sometime to see if I have better luck with them.

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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!