One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breakfast Sausage Style Links by Lightlife

When it comes to Lightlife brand of products sometimes I love them and sometimes I hate them. The Organic Smokey Tempeh Strips were on the hate them side but I have to say that I actually like the Lightlife’s breakfast sausage style links. Although my favorite vegan sausage of all time is the now discontinued Publix brand sausage this is a pretty good compromise. It has a great little bite to it and a wonderful mix of spices. It has been decades since I had pork or beef sausage but my instincts tell me that if you’re looking for either of those flavors to be duplicated you won’t find them here, but they are delicious on their own and a wonderful protein boost to your breakfast.

Although they are technically breakfast links the taste is closer to that of the type of sausage you would find on a pizza so that’s exactly how I like to use it. After trying it once as a side to some tofu scramble and sweet potato waffles I decided to use a little left over teese and make sausage mini pizzas. It was 1000 times better as a pizza topping than as a breakfast sausage. It’s also pretty pliable so you can just pinch off pieces of it add it to pizzas, make a breakfast burrito with a little tofu scramble or just eat it as is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Organic Smokey Tempeh Strips by Lightlife

I have tried for years, 3 years to be exact, to like Lightlife’s Smokey Tempeh Strips but to no avail. I keep on buying them thinking that this time things will be different but they never are. In my mind I’m imagining a rich smokey thin slice of tempeh with a hint of sweetness but it never turns out that way. For some reason all I taste is the smoke, and a tart smoke at that. Someone out there obviously likes them since they keep on showing up in my grocer’s refrigerated section time and time again. As for me, I just can’t stomach them and I’m done wasting my money trying.

Note: If anyone has a good way to doctor these things up and make them halfway edible I’d love to try it since I still have about 9 strips left and don’t want to waste them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trader Joe’s Barley Soup with Vegetables

A while back while stocking my vegan pantry with non perishables I decide to throw in a can of Trader Joe’s Barley Soup with Vegetables. It was less than $2 a can and weighed in at over 28 ounces so I was clearly getting a deal. As an added plus there were no mystery ingredients on the label; just water, barley, vegetable and spices. Now that we are reaching record low temperatures here in Georgia I thought it would be a perfect time to breakout the soup from the back of my pantry.

No need to add water, just heat and serve. Simple enough. This soup had so many things going right for it that I didn’t anticipate the one thing that could go wrong – way too much salt. So much salt that I could freeze it and turn it into a salt lick for my goats. I tried to dilute it with ¼ cup of water and add some freshly ground pepper. When that didn’t work I added a couple more tablespoons of water. Then I just gave up and began to eat it. I tried to keep happy thoughts in my head and remember all the things that drew me to this soup: wholesome ingredients, low in calories, great price and high in fiber. But eventually, after managing to eat half a bowl I just couldn’t go on any further and immediately went upstairs to rinse the salt out of my mouth before it crystallized and I had a deep sea adventure on my tongue.

If you are used to eating a diet high in salt then the taste probably won’t bother you. But mind you, 1 servings (which is 1 cup) of this soup has almost 40% worth of your daily salt intake and that’s if you eat a 2000 calories diet. For someone like me it’s nearly 50% of my daily salt intake per serving. Had I paid attention to that little nugget of information on the label I would have most likely steered clear from the beginning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gingerbread Donut Holes

When December roles around I always get a craving for all things gingerbread. Gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cake and now gingerbread donut holes. The makers of these delectable treats, Nutrilicious Natural Bakery, have a line of donuts and donut holes that never disappoint. Although there standard flavors of yogurt glazed, cinnamon spelt and chocolate/carob are all amazing it’s their seasonal flavors that make me do a little happy dance.

For the thanksgiving holiday it was pumpkin, which tasted like little bites of sugary heaven. For the Christmas season they have unveiled their gingerbread flavor. After winning a box of these treats in the trivia round at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppes 2nd Annual Bake-Off I couldn’t wait to get home and try them. I warmed them in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften them up a bit and then took my first bite. Celestial! So sweet, so rich, so perfect. Most of the gingerbread taste is in the icing so, if you’re like me and like them a little warm, make sure you heat them until they are just soft but the icing doesn’t begin to melt (about 7-10 seconds).

To find a retailer in your area that carries these mouth-watering treats head to the Nutrilcious website or order online at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vegan White Chocolate Chips By Oppenheimer

Oh how I love love love white chocolate! However, for the last 3 years I have been without this luscious treat. White chocolate is just one of those treats that I had to part with forever when going vegan, I accepted it and moved on. But it looks like I moved on too soon and thanks to Oppenheimer white chocolate has come back into my life.

The taste, the texture, the sweetness, the creaminess it is all there. Oppenheimer’s vegan white chocolate chips taste even better than I remember white chocolate to be. At first I was afraid to try the chips alone so I whipped up some white chocolate macadamia nuts cookies (pictured below). Heaven! Pure bliss! I was on cloud nine. I decided to try a couple chips alone and well, by now you can guess my reaction. This is the best $3.99 I have spent this month thus far. I’m not a huge sweets person but I will be keeping a bag of these delicious vegan treats on hand as a permanent part of my vegan pantry.

To get your own bag head over to Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Goodbelly Multi – Fruit Drink Shot with Multivitamins

After I tried Goodbelly’s Probitoic fruit drink I had to try their fruit drink shots with multivitamins. What an ingenious idea of adding multivitamin’s into your daily probiotics. I’ll never go back to yogurt again (well, maybe a little Ricera every now and then). Goodbelly’s shot come in their own little nutrient and probiotic packed shot cup. In only 2.7 ounces they manage to fit amazing flavors (Peach/Mango, Blueberry Acai and Strawberry/Rosehips), 20 billion active probiotics, 100% of the daily requriemente for Vitamins C, E, K, Riboflavin, B6, Folate, B12, Biotin, and Pantothenic Acid; 50% of the daily requirement for Thiamain, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium and Molybdenum and is a good source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A. All this for only 50 calories.

And did I mention that these little shots pack tons of flavor! The Peach/Mango is velty smooth, creamy and sweet. The Blueberry Acai taste likes like a rich blueberry smoothie. I did not get an opportunity to taste the strawberry rosehip as it was sold out at both my co-op and Whole Foods, if it’s demand is any indication it seems to be a consumer favorite. Like the Fruit Drink it is vegan, soy free and wheat free as well. The GoodbellyProbiotic website has a buy one get one free crequirementoupon for the 4-pack of Goodbelly Multi and the Fruit Drink in the quart size. At the Whole Foods here in Atlanta the multi-shots are about 50 cents cheaper than the fruit drink but with the coupon I stocked up on both.

Buy one get one free coupon good until 12/31/08

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drink

After the disappointment of So Delicious Coconut Yogurt I was looking for another, more satisfying way, to get probiotics into my diet. I’ve been adding Acidophilus powder to my smoothies but it really hasn’t been smoothie weather lately (something about 41 degree highs doesn’t scream smoothie for me). My probiotic drink of choice has always been Kombucha but the strains of bacteria floating around it always weirded me out and I had to psych myself up to gulp it down – not to mention that I also had to cover the bottle so I couldn’t see what I was drinking.

But just as I found myself alone on the dance floor with the house lights dimmed, a disco-ball appeared from the ceiling and a spotlight followed me as I walked towards my probiotic destiny – Goodbelly Probiotic Fruit Drink. I was cautious, but I decided to take the plunge and dance (after all there was a disco ball). Thanks to a buy one get one free online coupon I was able to try all 3 flavors for half the regular price (knocking each quart down from nearly $5 to $2.50). For the first time in a long time I actually enjoyed every flavor I tried. Although, out of the Mango, Black Currant and Watermelon/Cranberry flavors Watermelon/Cranberry is my favorite. Not only is every flavor fantastic but each one is also low in calories averaging 100 calories a glass and packed with vitamins & minerals such as vitamin E, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6. They are, of course, vegan but not only that they are perfect for those with allergies because it is wheat free and soy free as well (although it does not say gluten free and there is a distinction between wheat free and gluten free so make sure to double check if you have a gluten allergy)*.

The price of Goodbelly varies from store to store but ranges between $4-5. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see it at many major grocery stores such as Publix and Wegman’s on the East Coast and Safeway & select Albertsons on the West Coast. It is also available at most Whole Foods and local co-ops. For a location near you, check the company’s website.

*Note: The labeling online and in the retail stores of “Vegan” varied so I double checked with the company to make sure all of their products are vegan. I also asked for clarification of the “wheat-free” vs. “gluten-free” labeling. Both answers from the company are below:

All GoodBelly products are completely vegan and have no animal derivatives. The plant where we produce GoodBelly, is solely dedicated to production of GoodBelly. It may put you at ease to know that our company was started by Steve Demos, the man who started White Wave Tofu and Silk Soymilk.

There are no genetically modified ingredients in GoodBelly- GoodBelly is GMO-free! As well, we just received our Organic Certification from Quality Assurance International, a very reputable Organic Certifier.

We only claim that GoodBelly is wheat free – not gluten free.
GoodBelly uses oat flour as the basis for growing probiotic culture. We use a small amount of barley malt that assists the oats in the culturing process.

We have had the GoodBelly tested for gluten and have found consistently that gluten is not detectable…even at a detection limit of 20ppm (parts per million). However, we will still not make a claim that GoodBelly is gluten free, as it contains traces of gluten from barley malt.
For a list of frequently asked questions regarding GoodBelly products please go to Please don't hesitate to contact us with additional questions or comments.

Buy one get one free coupon good until 12/31/08

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not-So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that Turtle Mountains So Delicious Ice Cream made with coconut milk is just as the name states "purely decadent". The bad news is this same great taste does not translate into their coconut milk yogurt.

The blueberry and raspberry flavors were good but not great, certainly not worth the $1.99 spent on each of them. In general they were way too sweet and had a bit of an after taste that sticks with you until your brush your teeth. The vanilla was completely inedible. The slight aftertaste of the blueberry and raspberry flavors was the entire taste of the vanilla flavor. Everything was wrong with it. Too sweet and yet tart at the same time. I was starving so I tried to finish it but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, instead I just brushed my teeth to get the taste out of my mouth and left the house hungry.

If you feel like shelling out $1.99 for yogurt that is just ok then I would recommend the blueberry and raspberry flavors. Steer clear of vanilla. But honestly, that money can be better spent elsewhere.

Update: It's very rare that I reject a comment on this blog but I have to say for this particular review I've had to reject at least 4 from people with some really mean-spirited comments regarding my review. And trust me using the term "mean spirited" is an extremely watered down version of what has been written - all this over a little coconut yogurt review. I wanted to take this time to clarify my review, especially for those who just read the title but not the entire review. I really liked the blueberry and raspberry flavor (hated the vanilla). But overall I don't recommend this yogurt not based on the taste but on the cost. I had a little extra food income this month so I splurged and bought some blueberry, passionate mango and strawberry banana flavored coconut yogurt. At Whole Foods it was about $1.89 and at Publix/Krogers it was $2.59! And that's just for one little cup of yogurt! Frankly, that's absolutely ridiculous.

What makes the whole situation even worse is that I'm now head over heels in love with the strawberry banana flavor and in a semi-like with passionate mango. I wake up in the morning wanting a cup but who can afford $2.59 each morning for just yogurt? I've also heard rumors that there's a pina colada flavor out there that I would love to try. Really the only flavor that I don't like is vanilla. As you read above. It makes my tastebuds revolt against me.

So hopefully this has cleared up my position on coconut yogurt and the hate mail can stop now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Restaurant Review: Village Pizza Company Atlanta, GA

I've always been jealous of cities like New York and Chicago where a vegan slice of pizza is not terribly hard to come by. Little did I know that right here in my backyard of Atlanta I had access to great vegan pizza by the slice or a whole pie.

Village Pizza Co. ( 186 Carroll St., Atlanta, GA 30312) , nestled in the heart of the Cabbage Town district of Atlanta, has an excellent assortment of vegan ingredients including soy based vegan cheese, vegan sausage, vegan beef and vegan pepperoni in addition to just about any other type of veggie you like on your pizza. The prices are low and the slices are huge. For me one slice of the Village Vegan Supreme Pizza (pictured above with vegan cheese, vegan sausage, vegan pepperoni, vegan beef olives, bell peppers and onions) is more than a meals worth. Here’s a quick guide to all things vegan on the Village Pizza Co. Menu:

21 different types of vegetables (and fruit) including: mushrooms, onion, green peppers, red peppers, Roma tomatoes, black olives, green olives, broccoli, baked eggplants, artichoke hearts, garlic, jalapeño peppers, banana peppers, pepperocini, pineapple, sundried tomatoes, zucchini, basil, spinach & summer squash

Vegan Meats: beef, pepperoni, sausage

House Salad (minus the mozzarella) with balsamic vinaigrette – romaine lettuce, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives & Roma tomatoes

Green Salad (minus the feta cheese) – mixed field greens, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, red peppers, broccoli, Roma tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers and pepperocini

Spinach Salad (minus the feta cheese) – spinach, Roma tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette

Specialty Pizzas:
Veggie – mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, green olives, Roma tomatoes, garlic and cheese (make sure to ask for soy cheese)

Veggie Supreme – spinach, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, Roma tomatoes, garlic and cheese (make sure to ask for soy cheese)

Village Vegan Deluxe - vegan cheese, vegan sausage, vegan pepperoni, vegan beef, mushrooms, black olives, green olives, green bell peppers and onions

The Village Calzone (minus the ricotta and Parmesan cheese) – garlic, Italian spices and your choice of filling from the toppings selection (ask for soy cheese instead of mozzarella)

Village Pastas:
Classic Marinara – Roma tomato sauce made with extra virgin olive oil, sautéed onions, garlic, red wine, basil herbs and spices

Panini Sandwiches:
Veggie Delight – mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, green peppers, artichoke hearts, black olives, tomatoes (ask that they replace all cheese with soy cheese)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pillsbury Pizza Crust (Vegan Calzone Recipe)

Pillsbury is one of my favorite mainstream brands that has a wide range of accidentally vegan products. Two of my newest favorite products are Pillsbury’s pizza crust in original and thin crust. Although I love to make my pizza dough from scratch it’s nice to have a low cost back-up when you’re low on time. With the Pillsbury original pizza crust I made a classic vegan pizza with loads of veggies like broccoli, spinach, tomato, onion and bell pepper with no cheese just a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on top of the veggies. It cooked up in 10 minutes and made a perfect quick lunch between classes.

I used the thin crust pizza dough to make a gooey cheesy vegan calzone and the leftover dough to make garlic knots. Recipe follows:

Vegan Spinach Calzone
Yields 2 Calzones

1 package Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
½ cup vegan mozzarella
½ cup tofu ricotta
½ cup steamed spinach
Canola oil spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Roll out Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough on a lightly floured flat surface. Cut dough in half with pizza. Divide vegan mozzarella, tofu ricotta and steamed spinach evenly amongst two sides of pizza dough. Fold dough over to cover cheese/spinach mixture and use the pizza cutter to round out the edges dough. Crimp the ends of calzone closed with the tip of a fork all the way around dough.

Lightly spray a foil lined baking sheet with canola oil. Transfer calzone’s from working surface to baking sheet and spray tops lightly with canola oil. Bake for 10 minutes allow to cool slightly and serve.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Veganism Made Simple: 24 cupcakes, 3 minutes, $5

Vegans have a special obsession with cupcakes. There’s even an entire cookbook dedicated to Vegan Cupcakes. The thing is, sometimes you want cupcakes and you just don’t feel like dragging out 10 different ingredients and taking the time and money to bake delicious vegan cupcakes. Like most of you, I grew up on boxed cakes, as a vegan I really stopped paying attention to everything on the baked goods aisle besides sugar, flour and shortening. But I sold myself, and veganism, short! You would be surprised at the arsenal of products on the shelves that are vegan, many of which you have been eating all your life.

My new favorite is Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Cake Mix. Despite the name there isn’t an ounce of butter or any other type of animal products in this cake mix. In fact, nearly the entire line of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Cake Mix is vegan including:
  • Banana Supreme

  • Butter Recipe Golden

  • Butter Recipe Fudge

  • Classic Yellow Cake

  • Dark Chocolate Fudge

  • Devil’s Food Cake

  • German Chocolate

  • Lemon Supreme

  • Orange Supreme

  • Pineapple Supreme

  • Red Velvet Cake

  • Spice Cake

  • Strawberry Supreme

Now here’s the trick. The back of the box calls for 2/3 cups water, ½ cup softened butter and 3 eggs. This can be easily veganized. Try the following substitutions:

  • Replace the ½ cup softened butter with ½ cup softened Earth Balance

  • Replace the 3 eggs with 3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer whisk together with ¼ cup warm water, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce and ½ teaspoon baking powder

Follow the directions on the back of the box and within 3 minutes you have yourself a full batch cupcakes or a mouth-watering cake.

I topped it off with Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Chocolate Fudge icing (many of Pillsbury’s frostings are also vegan, but always do a label check just to be sure).

All in all these cupcakes cost me less than $5. The cake mix was $1.07 (but I had a coupon for 50 cents off so it only cost me 57 cents!), frosting $1.50, cupcake liners $0.99. Everything else I already had around the house bringing my grand total to $3.56.

Cooking Notes:Be sure to only fill the cupcake liners somewhere between 1/2 - 3/4 full. If they are too full you'll end up with cupcakes that are delicious but look disastrous. If you accidentally fill up the liner too full then wait until cupcakes are completely cooled before you take them out the pan then let them sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight to stiffen up a bit. You can proceed to ice them from there although the center will still be a bit crumbly.

Also in place of 3 eggs you can also use ¾ cup pureed soft silken tofu or 4 ½ teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vegans Guide to the Universe Part 5: Egg Replacer 101

After 4 years of being a cheese-obsessed vegetarian I finally went vegan. It wasn’t hard taking the cheese out of my diet, mainly because after 21 days without it I no longer had a taste for it, but it was hard to figure out how to replace eggs. All of a sudden it seemed like everything I made needed eggs in some way shape or form.

After a good deal of trial and error, Google searches, triumphant tries and complete culinary flops I finally came up with a working list of egg substitutes for nearly every recipe.

Baking (1 egg equivalent):
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce + ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup pureed soft silken tofu (plain)
1 tablespoons ground flax seed simmer in 3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon canola oil + 2 teaspoons baking powder

Scrambled Eggs:
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled – find your favorite tofu scramble recipe and you’re off!

Quiches, Omelettes and Frittatas:
Firm of Extra Firm Silken Tofu should be used in place of eggs. Popular Recipes are the Papa Chorizo Frittata, Susan V.’s Vegan Omelette for One and Susan V.’s crustless Quiche

Ener-G Egg Replacer is also an excellent choice for replacing eggs in baked goods. 1 ½ teaspoons + 2 tablespoons warm water whisked together equals 1 egg. 1 box has over 113 servings! So it’s a great low-cost way to replace eggs in baked goods.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Restaurant Review: Healthful Essence - Caribbean Vegan Restaurant (Atlanta, GA)

I'm always excited when a new vegan restaurant opens in Atlanta. Like every restaurant, you go in praying it will be good but brace for anything. The grand opening of Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegan restaurant (875 York Ave, Atlanta, GA) was October 18 and my first visit to the restaurant was the 22nd. I've been to several restaurants in their first week of business and its always usually a bit scattered and manic but the opposite was true for Healthful Essence.

When I walked in I was immediately greeted by several members of their helpful staff and was elated to see that the food was served in a "hot bar" style where all the food was already prepared, piping hot and just waiting for me. Meals ranged from $2-$10 (choice of 1 item to 4 items respectively). And the serving sizes are very generous. For my first meal I went conservative with brown rice, barbeque tofu and plantains ($8 and enough for two meals). The brown rice is not your typical brown rice it was beautifully seasoned and mixed with a variety of different color bell peppers. The bbq tofu was the perfect texture and the sauce was amazing! Definitely homemade, I've never tasted sauce that good coming out of a bottle. Of course the plantains were perfect, it takes a lot of effort to mess up plantains.

For my second trip I moved away from my comfort zone and into unknown territory. There was something on the menu I thought I'd never hear of at a vegan restaurant - curry goat. I never had this dish in my omnivore days and two out of my 6 companion animals are goats (one of which is named Curry) so the thought of eating anything that might even closely resemble the taste of my beloved goat just grossed me out. But...with much hesitation I tried it. It wasn’t bad and if there wasn’t a goat named Curry in my backyard right now I probably would have liked it.
Other must try items on the menu are the Jerk UnChicken, Fried UnFish Cakes, Curried Vegetables and Collard Greens. The only thing that Healthful essence is missing is my all time favorite, the Jamaican Veggie Patty. But the rest of the food is so delicious that I will forgive them on this one point.

Update!!! After taking a brief hiatus I found myself back at Healthful Essence and the food is better than ever! With some delicious additions to the menu including...drum roll please...Veggy Patties! Not only that but you simply must try their raw foods bar as well. The Spicy Kale Salad and Nori Rolls are worth every penny and will literally make you want to lick your plate clean. And don't get me strated on the Chickpea Patties. I dreamt of them last night and woke up craving them this morning. If a dish is able to make it into my dreams then it truly holds a special place in my heart.

They also now take credit and debit cards for orders over $10 so no need to run to the ATM before venturing down to Healthful Essence.

Hours of Operation:
Monday 2pm - 7pm
Tuesday 11am - 7pm
Wednesday 11am - 7pm
Thursday 11am - 7pm
Friday 12pm - 8 pm
Saturday 12pm - 8pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Papa Chorizo Frittata: The Recipe

As you may or may not know this little Guinea Pig has been working on a cookbook for over 3 years now. I finished my first one in February ’08 and am currently in the process of getting it published (which takes a whole lot longer than I ever imagined!) In the meantime I have started to work on books number 2 & 3. Unfortunately there are no frittata or omelette recipes in my first book but there will be in books 2 and 3. But instead of making you wait another 2 years for either one of those books to come out I’m going to go ahead and release one of the favorite recipes now (by popular demand).

Note: If these pictures seem a bit familiar it’s because I blogged about this recipe during Vegan Mofo (I just failed to provide the actual recipe that went with it)

24 ounces extra firm silken tofu
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons potato starch
½ teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon onion powder

Combine all frittata filling in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 red potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 link vegan chorizo, crumbled (I pulse in a food processor for about 30 seconds)
¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons flat lead parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

In a large sauce pan heat warm oil over medium to medium high heat. Add potatoes and onion and cook until potatoes are tender (about 8 minutes). Add garlic and chorizo and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in roasted red peppers and parsley.

Stir filling into frittata mix.

Lightly oil a 9 inch spring form pan or a quiche pan. Pour frittata mix into pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until filling is firm and you can run a clean toothpick through it.

Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove frittata from pan and serve. (Can be served warm, room temperature or cold)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Purely Decadent Ice Cream (made with Coconut Milk)

I’m the kind of girl who likes a good cup of hot tea in the summer and ice cream in the fall & winter. What can I say, I’m weird that way. The folks over at Turtle Mountain (the makers of Purely Decadent Coconut Ice Cream) must have felt my autumn cravings emerging and in turn created a new line of vegan ice creams made out of my latest obsession coconut.

Growing up I hated coconut with an unnatural fervor. However, when I became vegan my taste changed and all of a sudden me and coconut’s were BFF’s. I started experimenting with everything I could get my hands on from Thai curries and soups to raw coconut ice cream. Although I love the taste of raw homemade ice cream it does require that you crack open 2-3 Thai coconuts. After doing this about 4 or 5 times I realized that I had wasted at least an hour of my youth cracking open coconuts. Even though the rewards were great it ultimately wasn’t worth it.

Purely Decadent’s Coconut Ice Creams, although not raw, are a dream come true! When I saw them in my grocers freezer I immediately wanted to try every flavor but opted for trying their Vanilla Bean (because if you can’t make a good tasting vanilla then what’s the point?!) & Cookie Dough. The vanilla bean was perfect. I mean perfect. There was a light hint of coconut taste but otherwise it tasted like a traditional vanilla bean ice cream. This says a lot considering that I don’t like the soy based Purely Decadent Purely Vanilla. With a couple spoon full’s of vanilla bean settling down happily in my stomach I moved on to the Cookie Dough. After the first taste it was like finding your one true love. Fireworks went off, a gospel choir appeared in my living room and began singing “O Happy Day” and I swear the pups started doing the electric slide. Did I mention that I liked it?

Aside from the amazing flavor this new line of ice cream offers it also has a huge plus for those who suffer from allergies. The chocolate, coconut and vanilla bean flavors are all soy free and the cookie dough is gluten free. As an added plus, all flavors are made with agave nectar which has a low glycemic index.

In Atlanta, this frozen treat runs about $4.99 for a pint. If you’re on a budget, like most of us are, the Turtle Mountain website does offer coupons so check it out at

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Garlic-Herb Twice Baked Potatoes

Vegan Mofo Post 20! I didn’t think I would actually be able to make it but, by the skin of my teeth, I have made 20 posts. Thank you to all my subscribers for putting up with nearly daily emails and notifications, I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging sometime next week, and yes the recipe for Papa Chorizo Frittata is on its way!

For my last post of Vegan Mofo I wanted to help out my old and dear friend Leia (name has not been changed to protect the innocent). Although Leia has made it all the way through med school and is now a brilliant physician she has yet to master the art of a good twice baked potato. Earlier this week there was an unfortunate calamity that involved a potato, an oven, a microwave and hours of baking and labor which was not fruitful. So Leia, this one is for you.

Garlic-Herb Twice Baked Potatoes

2 medium-large russet potatoes
Canola oil
Salt (optional)

1 cup vegan garlic-herb cheddar cheese, divided*
¼ cup vegan sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
Dash of freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Scrub potatoes and stab with a fork several times. Rub potatoes with canola oil, just enough to coat, and lightly salt.

Bake potatoes in small baking pan or sheet for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.

Remove potatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly (about 10 minutes). With a serrated knife cut each potato in half and spoon out the majority of potato flesh making sure to leave the shell intact.

Add potato flesh, sour cream and salt to a food processor and process until completely smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and add ½ cup of garlic-herb cheese and ground pepper. Stir to combine.

Spoon potato flesh back into potato shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place prepared potatoes back in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

*Note: I used Cheezly’s Garlic-Herb Cheddar which, to my knowledge,it is only available in the U.S. at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe. You can order it online at or visit them here in Atlanta Tuesday – Sunday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Papa Chorizo Frittata

Being jobless has one major advantage, everyday is a weekend. Which means every morning i can crawl out of bed and make a big full breakfast for myself that would usually be reserved for a Saturday or Sunday. With just one Mexican Chipotle Sausage link left in the fridge I decided to make Papa (Potato) Chorizo Frittata's. Although I got off to a rocky start by nearly burning the onions in the first couple steps of the recipe, everything turned out well in the end and I have a full belly to prove it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vegan Mofo: The Breakfast of Champions - Banana Pancakes

This morning when I rolled out of bed I needed some inspiration. So, as usual, I wandered down to the kitchen and started cooking. I always buy bananas and never end up actually eating them. They end up in smoothies or in the freezer for months on end. This morning I decided to take one of the two remaining very ripe bananas I had left and make banana pancakes. They are so sweet and appetizing that they are good just as they are without syrup. I paired it with some leftover tofu scramble, a ripe pear and a glass of OJ (with calcium) and I have to say, now I'm feeling very inspired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Rustic Spinach Salad with Agave-Dijon Vinaigrette & Candied Pecans

The countdown begins. 3 more days left in the Vegan Month of Food aka Vegan Mofo. I can't wait to get back to life as just a little vegan guinea pig eating food, reading books and taking names. But for now 4 more post to go in Vegan Mofo.

Today for lunch I had a Rustic Spinach Salad with Agave-Dijon Vinaigrette and Candied Pecans. Although it sounds fancy and complicated this salad was actually really easy to prepare and I made most of the components last night so I could just throw everything in a bowl this afternoon and toss with the vinaigrette. This is another recipe I’m experimenting with for one of my upcoming cookbooks so, unfortunately, a concrete recipe isn’t available for the entire salad yet. I’m still working on the exact cooking time for the pecans and a couple components to the salad itself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Raw Black Walnut Brownies

Onward with my quest for raw dessert perfection. My first time making raw brownies turned out to be quite a success. I used an almond and medjool date base and added black walnuts in at the end for and addition boost of EFA (Essential Fatty Acids). Like the raw sweet potato pie the recipe is not 100% ready yet, it just needs one or two small tweaks to get the texture just right and then they will be perfect.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vegan Mofo: The Raw Sweet Potato Pie Experiment

2 years ago I didn’t know that things like raw nachos, tacos, brownies and pies existed, never mind them even being good. Now I dine regularly at spots like Lov’n It Live and have a growing collection of raw “un”cookbooks. After years of trying and perfecting other’s recipes I’ve decided to branch out and try creating a couple raw dishes of my own. My latest attempt was a raw sweet potato pie. The taste is great but the texture is still not perfect yet so, unfortunately, I don’t have a good recipe to share right now. I do, however, have a great picture of it to share. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Chorizo Breakfast Quesadilla

As promised in my review of Field Roast Mexican Chipolte Sausage I recently veganized the recipe of the Field Roast website for Chorizo Breakast Quesadilla's. The result was a scrumptious and spicy adaptation that brighetened up a very rainy day here in Atlanta.

Chorizo Breakfast Quesadilla
Makes 3 Servings

1 vegan chorizo sausage link
½ lb firm tofu (drained, pressed and crumbled)
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed chili pepper (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup vegan Monterey jack cheese, shredded and divided
3 large flour tortillas

In a large skillet or sauce pan (I prefer cast iron) heat canola oil over medium heat and add onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to become translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add crumbled tofu, spices and stir constantly until tofu is completely covered with spices. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Add chorizo to a food processor and process until broken down into small crumbles (about 30 seconds). Add crumbles to scrambled tofu and continue to cook for an additional minute.

In a separate large sauce pan or skillet over medium heat add 1 tortilla (if using a cast iron skillet lightly spray with oil so tortilla doesn’t stick). Add 1/3 cup of monetary jack cheese and 1/3 of the tofu/chorizo mixture to one side of the tortilla. Fold in half. Cook on both sides until the tortilla becomes slightly crispy and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients until all quesadilla’s are assembled. Cut in half and serve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Chik'n Parmesan aka The Best Meal I've Ever Made

I apologize ahead of time for there being no recipe to go along with this photo but this one must be kept tightly under wraps...for now. I think as an omnivore I had chicken Parmesan once, maybe twice. Somehow as a vegan I perfected the recipe and it's one of the most sought after and asked about dishes that I have ever made. My omnivore friends even preferred this over the "traditional" version of the recipe. Although I can't divulge the entire recipe just yet I can tell you that the secret is in the homemade marinara sauce and of course the addition of Cheezly to the top of the chik'n.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Bulgar Sausage & "Egg" Biscuit

This picture is all that remains of this beloved breakfast sandwich. When you're working on 3 cookbooks at once (1 in post production and 2 currently being produced) it's hard to keep track of your recipes all the time and, unfortunately, this one has disappeared somewhere into a stack of papers and hand written recipes (on napkins, index cards, the back of envelopes and candy wrappers) to be never found again. All I remember is that it was delicious and made me do a little happy dance in my kitchen.

The components of it are:
Whole Wheat Biscuits
Bulgar Sausage
Vegan Egg with some type of veggies in it
Vegan American Cheese Slice

When and if I find this recipe I will post it, guaranteed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vegan Gathering: Potluck/Picnic at Candler Park (Atlanta)

Calling all Atlanta Vegans. This upcoming Sunday, October 26 at 1:30 pm there will be a Halloween inspired Vegan Potluck at Candler Park. We had a similar potluck in April and it was a huge success so hopefully this one can be even bigger. Don't forget to bring the following:

  • Plates & utensils for yourself and your guest

  • Folding chair - just in case we run out of space at the tables

  • To-Go containers to take home any leftovers

  • A vegan dish that will feed about 8-10 people

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Pumpkin Cakies

I can't believe I'm already 12 post into Vegan Mofo! When it started I thought I would barely be able to get in 5 by the end of the month. The pumpkin theme continues with the invention of my Pumpkin Cakies which are a hybrid of a cookie and a mini-cake. These scrumptious little treats are soft and moist and I even tried to make them semi-good for you by adding in some whole grains. Unfortunately the sugar and shortening pretty much blow all hopes of them actually being rated as healthy but healthy or not they are still delicious!

Pumpkin Cakies
Yields 24

2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl combine whole wheat pasty flour, unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl cream together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable shortening and applesauce until combined (there might still be little specks of shortening but this will dissolve as you add flour).

½ cup at a time add flour mixture to pumpkin batter until all ingredients are incorporated.

Drop batter (about 2 tablespoons worth at a time) onto a prepared cookie sheet about 1 ½ inches apart and flatten slightly with the floured flat surface of a drinking glass – just enough to make an even surface on the top of the cakie. (This step will need to be completed 2 more times to bake entire batch)

Bake cakies for 12-14 minutes, remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool on wax or parchment paper.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vegan Mofo Doggy Style: Rice & Peas with Peanut Butter/Pumpkin Gravy

No one enjoys leftovers more than my three pups (Brit, Tyler & Piedmont). Mainly because anything and everything that I have left over after making my own meal turns into a meal for the pups. Lately I've been going a little pumpkin and sweet potato crazy - I'm an Autumn baby, what do you expect?! I made a huge batch of brown jasmine rice to go with my favorite Costa Rican breakfast meal of gallo pinto (essentially black beans and rice) and I recently made enough spicy pumpkin soup for 6 people and had a little extra pumpkin puree left over. Along with a few ingredients I had laying laying around the kitchen I put together a delicious meal of brown jasmine rice and zipper peas for the pups and topped it with a peanut butter and pumpkin gravy. They went absolutely crazy for the zipper peas most likely because they have a similar flavor profile to edamame (a popular snack amongst the pups). Brit dove face first into the peanut butter and pumpkin gravy and spent at least 10 minutes trying to lick it off his nose and whiskers before he moved on to the rice and zipper peas. Piedmont and Tyler completely ignored me for a solid 15 minutes while they finished off their meals. No amount of sweet talking would get them to lift up their un-groomed little heads from their bowls, hence the pictures of the back of their heads. The recipe for peanut butter and pumpkin gravy will be available soon in my upcoming zine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Pigging Out...Vegan Style!

I remember it like it was yesterday, my very first trip to Veggie Bite (Chicago, IL). I didn't really know what to expect from a vegan fast food restaurant but as a faithful guinea pig I was compelled to try everything on the menu. I fell in love immediately (if it is possible to fall in lust with food then I might have done that too). Since writing my first review on Veggie Bite in April I have been to both locations at least 20 times - which is quiet a feat considering I don't even live in Chicago, or the Midwest!

My most recent visit to Chicago was this past August for my bestfriend's wedding. Imagine my joy when I did a quick mapquest search and realized that the church where the wedding would be held was only a couple miles from the Southside Veggie Bite! Immediately after the wedding my boyfriend and I headed over to Veggie Bite for our own version of a reception (since we already knew there would be no vegan food, aside from a salad, available for us at the real reception). Imagine me in a gorgeous dress and my date in his best suit sitting down to cheese fries, a Philly cheesesteak and a meatball sandwich. It's a wonder I didn't end up getting faux cheese and sliced seitan all over my dress. But we managed to make it out in one piece with some chix-free nuggets to go, just in case we got hungry during the electric slide.

The next day we woke up with Veggie Bite on the brain. We were staying within minutes of the Northside location and as soon as the clock struck noon we were lining up to pig out, vegan style. Here's where the above picture comes in. We got a little carried away with ourselves and ordered damn near everything in the place. It was so much that I just had to take a picture. We took up two tables with all of our food (and I'm positive I gained 5 pounds from this meal alone!) In summation we ordered: 1 Philly cheesesteak, 1 Italian melt, 1 large chix-free nuggets, 1 strawberry milkshake, cheese fries, chili cheese fries and a couple donuts. I believe I even threw in a salad for good measure but I can't be sure. So it's official I'm in love with Veggie Bite. The only thing that would make my life more complete is if they opened one up in Atlanta.
And for the record that's not me, that's Drew pigging out vegan style - you don't think I'd actually put a picture of me up with a mouthful of food?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Recession Proof Vegan Pantry

For Vegan Mofo I've been posting a lot more pictures of food and recipes than you're used to out of this little Guinea Pig. During these hard economic times I don't get to grocery shop as much as I like ( I can usually find an excuse to be at my co-op, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's at least twice a week), but this doesn't mean that I don't get to cook as much as I like anymore.

If anything I've become more creative with my daily menus basing them 99 percent on whatever I happen to have lying around the kitchen. As you can see from my pantry this leaves me a lot of options. But a pantry overflowing with vegan goodness doesn't take $700 billion to stock. You can have a completely stocked pantry that will have enough food to last you months for less than $250 - so far I've made it 3 months with just the food in my pantry and freezer (and you can see how much food I have left!)

So what's in this pantry? Let's start from the top. First you have to have your cereal grains. There's steel cut oats, quick oats and Kashi cereal (Go Lean and Go Lean Crunch are my favorites!) I also stock up on grains that are versatile enough for every meal including quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat groats and kamut. Of course there's the old stand by grains as well: brown rice, jasmine rice and arborio rice for risotto. Next there's the canned goods section. For me this is mostly tomato products since I use dry beans (which are much cheaper than canned). There's tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce (even though I prefer making my own) and a little canned vegan dog food as a treat for the pups. Then there's the optional section which you really don't need but I have ended up accumulating over time. Its the protein powders. As a guinea pig I have a little of everything here (which I'll review and blog about a little later): hemp protein, Trader Joe's soy protein ( about $4) and brown rice protein.

On the next shelf down I keep all my miscellaneous items and extras from when I get stuff on sale and have a surplus ( i.e. Maple syrup, raisins, vinegar, cocoa powder, jams, nutritional yeast). Plus all my spices ( must haves are cumin, curry, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, chili powder, paprika and vanilla extract). I have two shelves full of every sort of bean imaginable. All dried, except for a couple cans of refried beans. The rest of the pantry is filled with an assortment of flours ( unbleached flour, 8 different type of gluten free flours, whole wheat pastry and masa), sugars, shortening, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, non dairy milks (oat, soy, hemp, etc.) and brown rice pastas.

Along with these key ingredients I've had to make a couple trips to the store to get fresh greens like spinach and kale as well as fresh fruit (in season is cheaper), carrots and avocado.
So how do you fill your pantry full of all these goodies for cheap? Easy! There 3 very simple rules I live by:

  • Buy in bulk (grains, dried beans, spices, salt, sugar, flours, etc.)

  • Buy on sale (and clip coupons!)

  • Buy in season (when you have to buy fresh fruits and veggies)

My local co-op also gives me a 10 percent discount once a month so I take advantage of that as well. So there you go, the keys to my recession proof vegan pantry.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

2nd Annual Vegetarian Restaurant Week (Atlanta)

Here's some details about the Opening Reception:
Vegetarian Restaurant Week Opening Reception

Thursday, October 16 at 8pm

An evening of savory vegan appetizers, A Tea Experience: Learning & Tasting by Dr. Theresa Bey, Tea Educator with Green Tea, musical performance by Forgotten Foods Remembered with Baratunde the Herbalist a seriously Guitarist, The Golden Child, Spoken Word Artist and King Ma-at on Conga, give-aways and other surprises.... Our Featured Chefs are Jenny Jahfa and Chef Elitahl, Our Featured Exhibitors are Grammy's Kidz, Rah Eco Designs, and Djali's Healing Touch.

The Grounds Coffeehouse at Sky Lofts

898 Oak Street at the intersection of Ralph David Abernathy Blvd and Joseph Lowery Blvd; in the rear of CVS parking lot.
Reserve your space now, 770.621 5056 See you there!

Our door prizes so far...

10 subscriptions to VegNews, $20 value Gift pack from VegNews, including their signature over-sized tote bag, 6 jumbo vegan cookies, a one-year subscription to the magazine, and a copy of the current edition

1 Deluxe Gift Bag Body care by Grammy's Kidz, $50

1 half hour massage by Djali's Healing Touch, $30 value

1 bottle of Immune Protection 10th Power

2 bottles Blood Tonics, all are $40 value each

5- 21st Century Vegetarian Cookbook by Martha Theus, $19.95

1 Delicious Jamaica! by Yvonne McCalla Sobers $12.95

Restaurants Participating:

Enjoy three-course meals and special discounts at your favorite vegetarian restaurants for one week only.

Make sure you call and visit the restaurants and tell them you are participating in Vegetarian Restaurant Week.

Calabash Vegetarian Kitchen (an island inspired cafe)
10% off with at least a $6.00 purchase
404 957 7376
233 Mitchell Street
Atlanta GA 30303
404 957 7376
Monday - Saturday 10:30am - 7pm
(closed Sundays)


Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegan (cooked and raw)
404. 806 0830
875 York Avenue
Atlanta GA 30310
Tuesday - Friday 11am -8pm
12pm - 9pm Saturday
12pm - 6pm - Sunday
(closed on Mondays)


Lovin' it Live (all live and raw cuisine)
404 765 9220
2796 East Point Street
East Point GA 30344
(closed on Mondays)


Sunday, October 26 3pm
Sid's Gourmet Vegetarian Cafe
770 389 9181
1445 Rock Quarry Road
Stockbridge GA 30281

Monday- Friday 11:30am - 7pm
Sunday 11:30am -
(closed on Saturdays)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Spinach Omelette & Pumpkin Waffles(GF)

Good morning!'s morning somewhere. Yesterday morning, after night 4 of virtual insomnia, I decided to make one of my favorite meals for breakfast to perk myself up a bit: spinach omelette's and sweet potato waffles. I've been trying to go gluten free for the last month so instead of my traditional recipe for sweet potato waffles I decided to try Susan V's (Fat Free Vegan Kitchen) recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles. They not only look divine they were absolutely delicious. The waffles needed no added margarine or oil and went perfect with just a couple tablespoons of Grade B Maple Syrup on them. Susan says that the recipe makes about 4 waffles but mine made 8! I ate two, saved two for today and froze the rest to enjoy next week.

Susan also has an amazing recipe for vegan omelette's but I did not use hers for this omelette. I've actually been working on my own for about 6 months now and I think I've finally come up with a wonderful recipe that fits my taste perfectly. The filling was very simple to make. Usually I would wilt fresh spinach but the budget is tight so I'm using whatever is available in the house right now, which happens to be frozen spinach. I steamed about a cup of frozen spinach and squeezed out all the water I could. Then I lightly sautéed 1/4 cup red onion, 1/2 small purple bell pepper and minced 1 large clove of garlic. Breakfast heaven!

The best part about this breakfast is that I was able to work in two types of vegetables, a generous serving of essential vitamins and minerals and stay gluten free and very full.

The Spinach Omelette Recipe is available in Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food in stores now!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vegan Mac & Cheese Two-Ways

When it comes to vegan mac and cheese everyone is a critic! As a new vegan you’ll probably see a vegan mac and cheese recipe in every cookbook and on almost every blog – and this blog will be no exception!

Because of the diversity of recipes I typically never make the same mac and cheese recipe twice (I am a guinea pig after all!) So far I have two favorites: The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook’s Mac & “Cheese” Casserole and Vegan Dad’s Mac and Cheeze. If you like baked mac and cheese I would recommend you try New Farm’s version first and if you like your mac and cheese on the stove top then I would go with Vegan Dad’s version first. No matter which recipe you try first you should definitely try both.

Out of the two recipes the “cheese” sauce I love the most is my adaptation of Vegan Dad’s. It goes perfectly on cheese fries, nachos (just add a little cayenne and chili powder), over veggies or you can take down the amount of dry pasta you use by 1 ½ cups and add broccoli, peas, chickpeas and other veggies to make a filling casserole.

Another important thing to note about vegan mac and cheese is it never tastes anything like mac and cheese made with cow’s milk (unless you are using store-bought vegan cheeses like sheese, cheezly or follow your heart). But the best part is that it tastes 1000 times better. I’ve made various versions of vegan mac and cheese for my omnivore friends and relatives and they all loved every version. But I do always serve it to my omnivore friends with the preface that it will not taste like cow’s cheese.

I never make the same recipe twice but I also never follow the recipe to the letter when making a mac and cheese recipe. So below are my versions of both of these recipes:

Mac & Cheese Casserole Adapted from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook by L. Hagler & D. Bates

3 ½ cups dry macaroni, cook according to package directions
½ cup Earth Balance Margarine
½ cup flour
3 ½ cups hot water
2 tablespoon Bragg's liquid aminos
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
¼ cup canola oil (optional)
1 cup nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a saucepan, melt margarine over low heat. Whisk in flour and continue to stir over medium heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Whisk in boiling water, Bragg's, garlic powder and turmeric.

Cook the sauce until it thicken and bubbles. Stir in oil (optional) and nutritional yeast until completely incorporated.

Add cooked pasta to sauce, transfer to a casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika and bake for 15 minutes. Then put under broiler for a few minutes until the top is crisp (checking often).

Creamy Mac and Cheeze
Adapted from Vegan Dad (

½ cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons macadamia nuts (about 8 whole nuts)
2 ½ cup unsweetened soy milk, divided
2 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 cup firm silken tofu
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon turmeric
¾ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons white miso
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot

16 ounces brown rice macaroni or shells, cooked according to package directions

Place all ingredients (except 1/2 cup soymilk) in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup of soymilk and blend until incorporated. Add sauce to a large dutch oven, over medium heat and cook until sauce begins to thicken (about 5 minutes). Add pasta and stir until pasta is completely coated.

At first it will seem like there is way too much sauce for the amount of pasta used but as pasta sits the sauce with absorb and take on a perfect texture.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Fusilli with Spinach and Sweet Red Pepper Sauce

One of my favorite methods of creating new recipes is just to open up my pantry (which has enough dry goods to feed a family of 8 through a long winter) and my fridge and just start throwing a meal together from the first couple of things I see. I’m knee deep in midterms right now so I don’t have time to make complex meals that require more than 1 pot or 3 or 4 steps. My latest recipe for fusilli (using brown rice pasta) with spinach and sweet red pepper sauce fit the bill perfectly. All I needed to do was prepare the pasta. Add all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender combine it with the cooked pasta and spinach and voila! A meal so good it makes you forget we are at the periphery of The Great Recession as my friend Stiles would say.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Chorizo Empanadas (Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausages)

As a California girl (born and raised) I am a sucker for any and every type of Mexican food. The traditional Mexican empanada is usually served as a dessert or breakfast dish but when I saw Field Roast's Mexican Chipotle Sausages I couldn't resist turning them into savory and spicy empanadas. I'm working on making an official recipe but basically the filling is just sautéed Mexican Chipotle Sausage (or soy chorizo) with chopped tri-color bell pepper, about 1/2 cup of red onion, a little garlic and the empanada dough of your choice (there are tons of recipes online for dough).

Field Roast's Mexican Chipotle Sausages are an amazing addition to any traditional Mexican dish. To date I've had them in tacos, burritos, nachos, enchiladas, tamales and taco salads. Each sausage has 23 grams of protein and only 250 calories. A little goes a long way, it only takes 2 sausages to make 24 empanadas, 1 to make about 6-8 tacos, and 2 to make about a dozen tamales. These sausages are now are permanent staple in my kitchen and I'm constantly experimenting with new ideas. My next project will be to veganize the Chorizo Style Breakfast Quesadilla on the Field Roast website and in honor of Vegan Mofo I will post the pictures and recipe here as soon as I do.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Sweet Potato & Carrot Mini-Pies for Dogs

No one said that Vegan Mofo had to only be about vegan food for people. My companion animals (Brit, Tyler, Piedmont and Brodie) love all things vegan. They can't get enough of shelled edamame, brown rice, zucchini, kale, broccoli, sliced apples (no seeds they are toxic), peas, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, carrots and just about anything else you can think of.

I thought I would mix two of my dogs favorite foods into delicious mini-pies as an early autumn treat. Needless to say they gobbled them up with lighting speed and now every time I reach into the refrigerator they get excited.

I'm currently working on a zine of Vegan Dog Food and treats that will be out within the next couple months so hold tight for a recipe soon.

Tyler grabbing some pie

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wilted Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

After about 6 months of eating vegan cupcakes and cookies with wild abandon the slight rip in my jeans told me that it was time to push those vegan cupcakes to the side for a while and focus on the basics of good healthy food. The easiest and tastiest way to do this is to start incorporating more raw foods into my diet. In the world of green leafy vegetables spinach and kale rule supreme for me, so Tuesday I set my sites on making a Wilted Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing. The original recipe came from The Raw Chef but I adapted the recipe to fit what was in my fridge a bit better and bring the servings down to a more manageable size. What I came up with is an amazing entrée that even my omni friends are raving about. I hope you love it just as much as I did.
2 heads kale, stems removed and sliced very thin
1 tablespoon sea/mineral salt
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
Place kale in a large bowl, add salt and massage the kale until it wilts and takes on a "cooked" texture (will turn a dark shiny green)
Add tomatoes and sunflower seeds to the bowl and mix by hand

2 avocados
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until creamy and mix into kale by hand.

Note: This taste amazing the day you make it but the flavors really sing once they have been allowed to blend overnight.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Come here you Vegan Mofo!

Vegan Mofo begins today! What is Vegan Mofo you ask? Well it's the Vegan Month Of Food. The goal of Vegan Mofo is to blog as much as possible about any aspect of vegan food for the month. The goal is 20 posts, but if you've been a GuineaPig reader for any amount of time you will know this will be a near impossible feat for me especially with midterms coming up but I will do my very best! I am just one of many bloggers participating in Vegan Mofo this year you can keep track of the rest of my fellow Mofoers (yep, just made that up) on the PPK Forums and Blog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A New Handy Little Widget

You might have noticed a couple small changes to the left side of your screen. I've decided to add an widget that has links to many of my favorite products that I review on this site. Everything from TVP and nutritional yeast to cookbooks and supplements will be featured on the widget. Happy Shopping!

A Vegan’s Guide to the Universe Part 4: Vitamin B12

As a vegan you’ll be surprised to learn that you really don’t need to take any supplements to get the vitamins and minerals you need – eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains will provide you everything you need except Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is actually a bacteria that is found in soil and water which is where most animals get it from. But this doesn’t mean it’s wise to go out and start eating soil just yet. A very minute amount of B12 is needed and lucky for you many of the foods that you already eat are fortified with it. The RDA’s for Vitamin B12 are 2.4 micrograms for adults, 2.6 micrograms for pregnant women and 2.8 micrograms for lactating women. You might also be surprised to learn that over 95% of the cases of B12 deficiency do not occur in vegans, but in omnivores. This basically means that you need to be aware but not maniacal about your B12 consumption.

As mentioned before B12 is already in a lot of the foods that you eat, here is a short list:

Although many foods are fortified with B12 physicians and dietitians still recommend that vegans take a B12 supplement of some kind. Many debate on whether it should be daily, weekly or monthly supplementation. I take a weekly sublingual supplement and might convert to doing B12 shots on my next physical just so it’s one less thing to think about.

My supplement of choice is DEVA Vegan B12 (with folic acid and B6). It contains 1000mcg of B12 which is 16,666% of the RDA as well as 100% of your RDA for folic acid and Vitamin B6. I get mine locally at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe but you can also find it on Cosmo’s online store or if you scroll through Guinea Pig's Favorites on the left of the screen you'll see a link to DEVA Vitamin B12 as well. You’ll find that almost every health food store and vitamin shop has B12 on their shelves. Just make sure it’s vegan!

Oh and just a quick legal disclaimer. Always consults your physician before taking any dietary supplement.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Vegan’s Guide to the Universe – Part 3: Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Textured Vegetable Protein, also known as TVP, another funny word to add to your vegan vocabulary. It sounds pretty alien but it might be something you have actually already used. If you’ve perused down the frozen food isle of your local grocery store then you’ve probably seen Boca Ground Crumbles as well as Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles. Both of these are just flavored TVP. It is also the key ingredient in many commercial meat analogs such as veggie burgers, hot dogs, chik’n patties and vegan sausage. See, it's not so alien after all!

TVP is made of dehydrated vegetables (usually soy) and is a protein powerhouse (15 grams of protein in 1 ounce). It has no real taste of it’s own so it is easily adapted to any recipe that you would have used ground flesh for in the past. My favorite places to use TVP are in Manwhich sloppy Joe's ( a favorite from my childhood), Spaghetti and tacos. But the uses for it are limitless. You can make homemade veggie burgers, mock-meat balls, chili, etc.

TVP is dehydrated so it has a very long shelf life (15-20 years !!!). To rehydrate it use a 1:1 ratio of water to TVP. When a recipe calls for a pound of ground flesh you can easily substitute 1 cup of dehydrated TVP in it’s place.

My personal recipe for re-hydrating TVP is:

1 cup TVP
1 cup vegetable stock (dark)
1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke

Boil the vegetable stock, stir in liquid smoke and pour over TVP. Wait until all the liquid has absorbed (about 5 minutes), fluff with a fork and use in your favorite recipe.

TVP is found in the bulk section of most health food stores and I have begun to see it pop up in small bags in mainstream grocery stores as well, although it tends to be more expensive there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Vegan’s Guide to the Universe – Part 2: Nutritional Yeast

Chances are before you became vegan you never heard the words “nutritional yeast” muttered a day in your life and now it seems to be in every vegan cookbook you look up! So what is this stuff and why are vegans so crazy for it?

Nutritional Yeast is an inactive dry yeast filled with a healthy dose of vitamins and protein. It is coveted for its “cheesy” taste and if you haven’t already noticed nearly all vegan mac and cheese recipes call for it in varying amounts. But it is more than just a cheese-tasting substitute it adds a rich flavor and a creamy texture to a range of dishes. It’s perfect on popcorn (and yes, I’ve snuck it into the movie theatre on more than one occasion). It’s great in soups, casseroles, gravies, salads, steamed veggies, etc. Damn near anything you eat goes great with nutritional yeast. As an added bonus it is loaded with vitamins, minerals and 8 grams of protein for every 1 ½ tablespoon serving.

Nutritional Yeast is available in the bulk section of most health food stores and co-ops and is fairly inexpensive. 1 pound will run you somewhere between $5.99-$7.99 in the bulk. Typically I get a couple cups at a time which runs me about $2 or less. One important thing to make sure of when getting your nutritional yeast in bulk is that it is the Red Star brand. Red Star brand has the highest vitamin and mineral content and, in my humble opinion, the best flavor. Here’s the macro and micro nutrient content of Red Star Nutritional Yeast:

1 ½ tablespoon servings contains:
60 calories
1 gram of fat (1% daily value)
5 mg of sodium (0% daily value)
7g carbohydrates (2% daily value)
4 grams fiber (16% daily value)
8 grams protein (17% daily value)

9.6 mg Thiamine/B1 (640% daily value)
56 mg Niacin (280% daily value)
240 mcg Folic Acid (60% daily value)
22.4 mcg Selenium (32% daily value)
0.77mg Iron (4% daily value)
9.6 mg Riboflavin/B2 (565% daily value)
9.6 mg Vitamin B6 (480% daily value)
8 mcg Vitamin B12 (133% daily value)
3.2 mg Zinc (21% daily value)

Other vitamins and minerals less than 20% daily value: biotin, pantothenic acid, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium

We’ve establish that nutritional yeast, despite it’s funny name, taste great and is really good for you now here are a couple recipes to get you acquainted with the taste of nutritional yeast.

Mack the Spork's Cheeze Sauce (Check out what other PPKers like to do with Nutritional Yeast or "nooch" on the PPK Forums)

2 cups water
1 cup nooch
4 oz. jar pimentos, drained
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb lemon juice
1/2 Tb mellow white miso
1 Tb dijon mustard
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Blend everything in a blender/food processor until completely smooth. Pour into a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Add a dash of black pepper, and taste for salt/lemon.

Notes from Mack the Spork: It’s my modification of the “Nacho cheeze sauce” from Jennifer McCann’s blog (of Vegan Lunchbox – recipes are at Shmooed Food) which I think in turn is based off of something else. It’s so easy and sooooooo good. And it doesn't have that "feet" smell that some nooch sauces have. My pantry is filled with jars of pimientos and cashews because I live in fear of not being able to make this on the spot. I actually made some last night with just 1c water so it would be thicker, and a little extra nooch and cornstarch. Added thawed chopped broccoli, and stuffed it into a basic dough for cheezy broccoli pockets. Leftovers for luuuuuuncchh, blarrrrgghhhhhharghargggh *Homer Simpson drool noise*

Spicy Popcorn (courtesy of

4 cups Popcorn
1 to 2 tablespoon Olive or canola oil
¼ cup Red Star ® Vegetarian Support Formula™ nutritional yeast flakes
½ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Chili powder
1 teaspoon Dried oregano leaves

Place the popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the oil and tossed well.

Place the nutritional yeast flakes, salt, chili and oregano in a small container. Cover tightly and shake well.

Sprinkle the nutritional yeast mixture over the popcorn, and toss until evenly distributed.

Guinea Pig Note: As far as cheese sauces go every vegan has their favorite and you can rarely find more than a handful who will all rave about the same recipe. I've only run across a couple I don't like and about a dozen I'm in love with. Do a google search and you'll find dozens and dozens of different variations of vegan mac and cheese trial and error will be the only way to determine which one you love the most!

One More Guinea Pig Note: Although nutritional yeast is an amazing addition to any recipe I recommend finding places where you can use it without having to expose it to the heat of cooking (as this destroys some of the vitamin B complex content).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Vegan's Guide to the Universe Part 1: You don't have to eat tofu

Ok, you’ve done it. You’ve made the commitment to put your health first, the planet first and most importantly animal and human rights first – you’ve gone Vegan. Now I know that is a lot of “first” to cram into one title but that’s the amazing thing about being vegan. If done right you can do all those things simultaneously with little to no effort. You’ve made the big plunge into Veganism so now what? Thus far this blog has been a good to guide for all the great things that veganism has to offer from amazing cruelty-free cheeses to restaurants in your area that cater to vegans. But what about the basics? When you walk into your local health food or grocery store for the first time what the hell are you supposed to buy? From big cities to small towns you can usually find the standard meat analogs: vegan burgers, smart pups, chick’n nuggets and patties, Boca grounds, etc. But a vegan cannot exist on meat analogs alone, and frankly shouldn’t. Those are there for your transition, and for those times when life is so crazy that grabbing an Amy’s Kitchen Enchilada out of the freezer and popping in the microwave is honestly the best option for the day, or the week (trust me, I’ve had weeks where I’ve lived off of Boca burgers, nuggets and Amy’s Kitchen Dinners out of a complete a total lack of time. It’s a wonder I knew my own name by the end of the week).

Throughout the month of September (and probably a bit of October) I’m going to highlight some vegan basics that every vegan should have in their arsenal. From food, books and magazines to helpful websites. And guess what? Tofu isn’t on the list! Yep, you read right. This is a tofu free zone. First lesson in veganism, all vegans don’t eat tofu. It took me years to learn to love tofu. It really all comes down to how you cook it and how you season it (which is true for most everything you cook). But if you’re a new vegan and you’ve got a tub of that white block of soy sitting in front of you right now with no clue what to do with it, have no fear you don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to and the Vegan gods will not frown on you for it. But since you already have it, you might as well use it.

If you have resolved that you’re going to at least try the tofu you bought and not let it be a complete was of money start off with the scramble. Tofu Scramble! Tofu has the amazing ability to mimic the texture of eggs perfectly but tofu scramble is millions of times better than scrambled eggs. The very first recipe I ever tried was from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen fame. The basic recipe is below, however, I strongly recommend heading to her website and checking out all the comments on this recipe for a plethora of ideas on how to change up the scramble to your liking. I have two tofu scramble recipes of my own in my upcoming book Tacos & Collard Greens but Isa’s scramble was my first (thanks Isa!). The first time I made this recipe I think I cut the amount of onion in half to ½ cup and omitted the carrot. I also tried one batch with lime and one without. But play around with it, at least you’ll have one bonafide tofu dish under your belt. But don’t worry, like I said before, you don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to. It’s not in the Vegan code of ethics that you have to and there is an overabundance of other high protein options out there that are absolutely delicious. So, if you’re scared of your tofu and just not ready for the scramble, donate it to one of your tofu loving friends or stick it in the freezer until you get up the nerve to try it – just an FYI freezing tofu completely changes the texture, but in a good way. Without further ado Tofu Scramble:

1 lb. extra firm or firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped white onion (about a cup)
2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 carrot (this is optional, I grate it in at the end, mostly for color)

Spice blend
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high. Sauté onions 3 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms, sauté 5 minutes more. Add garlic, sauté 2 minutes more. Add spice blend and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices. Crumble in tofu and mix well. Don't crush the tofu, just kind of lift it and mix it around. You want it to remain chunky. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Lower the heat a bit if you find that it is sticking. Add lime juice. Add nutritional yeast and mix it up. If it seems too dry add splashes of water. The moistness really depends on how much water the tofu was retaining before you added it. Grate the carrot into it and fold.
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