Holiday Recap and a Soy Curl Potpie Recipe

I’ve been so busy lately. Between graduate school, taking an improv comedy class, the holidays, my grandmother dying, etc., I’ve barely had time for cooking. I was able to create two Youtube videos in the beginning of the semester, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIGj10TPGenVBNH6vySDPpw! I hope to make more videos on Youtube in the coming year.

I’ve also been regularly updating my blog’s new(ish) Instagram account, which you can follow @bananacurlvegangirl

If you’re not on Instagram or following along here, I’m going to do a quick photo recap of some of the food I made for the holidays.

For some homemade gifts, I made my famous sour cream and onion kale chips, green tea, goji, and coconut superfood energy bars (adapted from this recipe), vegan and gluten-free marshmallow wreaths, and chocolate peppermint patties from a recipe that’s basically this (not pictured).

 

We had 4 relatives staying with us from Christmas Eve day until yesterday. My aunt and uncle and cousins have a tradition at their house of making appetizers on Christmas eve. So, I made lentil faux chopped liver dip, a spinach and artichoke dip, and we made mini potato latkes because it was also the first night of Hanukkah and my dad celebrates the holiday and loves having latkes. Instead of using eggs, we used the Neat egg for the first time and it worked out really well! There was also a salad made that I was able to eat.

 

For dessert, I had these gluten-free, vegan sugar cookies I made from a recipe on Minimalist Baker. Check the recipe out here.

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For Christmas morning breakfast, everyone else was having bagels. My mom was nice enough to go to a local gluten-free bakery and pick up some vegan and gluten free bagels. I topped them with Kite Hill chive cream cheese, my papaya lox, and capers.

lox-bagels

For my dinner later that day, I made gluten-free, vegan stuffed shells with Kite Hill almond ricotta and pesto. I forgot to take a picture of them. We also had my favorite vegan caesar salad ever, which I also forgot to photograph, but believe there are previous posts on this blog about it.

It was a sweet Christmas! I hope you had a very merry one yourselves! As a thank you for reading, here is a picture of my three cats, that my brother photoshopped for a card.

christmas-cats

However, the best Christmas present is that I have a new recipe! For a soy curl chickun potpie that is soooo good!

WordPress has a new feature here, so I’m going to try to see what happens when I upload a word document of the recipe.

soy-curl-chickun-potpie (link to a downloadable recipe? or something)

Soy Curl Chickun Potpie

Vegan and Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soy curls
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 6-8 baby carrots chopped into rounds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ cup vegan no-chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain coconut milk
  • 1 no-chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 gluten-free, vegan pie crusts, homemade or store bought

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Soak soy curls, corn, and peas in a bowl with enough warm water to cover. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and drain. Set aside.
  3. Steam potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket for 10 minutes.
  4. Place olive oil, celery, onions, and garlic in a skillet on medium heat and sauté until soft. Add in the soy curls, corn, peas, nutritional yeast, sage, and ¼ cup broth. Mix in the potatoes and carrots. Stir and heat until the soy curls are warm.
  5. To make a gravy for the pie, place the vegan butter and garbanzo flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until crumbly and beginning to brown. Slowly add in the coconut milk, continuing to whisk. You may need to lower the heat. Add the remaining ¼ cup broth and the bouillon cube. Keep whisking until the bouillon melts and the gravy is thick. You can add salt and pepper to taste once you turn off the heat.
  6. Add the gravy into the soy curl and vegetables.
  7. Spoon into a bottom of a pie crust. Place the top of the pie crust as you like it. Make slits in the top to allow steam to escape. You may have some leftover filling that you can eat separately or make into other dishes.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden in color.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  10. Bon Appetit!

Enjoy the new year festivities if I don’t post before then (but I do have several posts lined up!) Happy Holidays from Banana Curl, Vegan Girl!

 

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Easy Baked Seitan Recipe for Vegan Homemade Hibachi!

Hi all, it’s been awhile since I have posted anything. I’ve taken a sort of unofficial break to work on some other stuff.

Things like my running blog, actually training for a half marathon, and my Banana Curl, Vegan Girl cookbook zine that’s all my favorite recipes from my childhood. I hope to complete it and start selling it by March. I’ve also started a new website, but haven’t done much work on it yet. It’s not ready to share yet, but I plan to have it be an informational website for vegans of all levels interested in various topics around veganism for social justice and support for people who want to become new vegans. I’m really excited about it, but I have to be patient and keep it secret for now while I’m working on it.

In the next few months or so I will be trying to post new recipes more often as I’ve gotten a bit out of habit with it. I will be sharing recipes I’ve created for the zine too to get you all excited about buying it when it comes out…(It’ll be cheap, like 2-5 dollars I think).

One of those recipes I’d like to share is my recipe for Vegan Hibachi. I loved hibachi and other Japanese foods so much growing up as a kid. We had this restaurant in Providence called Fuji when I was very young in Providence that we would always go to. We went there so often that we got to know the family who owned it really well. Their daughter even came with us on a trip to San Francisco. Unfortunately, it went out of business years ago, but I still have fond memories of it. They always gave us Botan Rice candies as a treat when we left, which I still love (and they are vegan too!) It wasn’t a hibachi restaurant. It was more traditional.  After it went out of business we often went to Hibachi restaurants. I feel like trying to recreate a dish from Fuji I would never get right, and would not do justice to. So, I have settled on making yummy vegan hibachi.

This recipe consists of 4 major steps, but with some planning I am sure you can pull it off! Make the Yum Yum dipping sauce and baked seitan the day before, then prepare the veggies and seitan and mushroom hibachi right before serving.

vegan hibachi!

vegan hibachi!

Recipe for Yum Yum Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup Just Mayo (a commercial vegan mayo that can be found at Target and Whole Foods, among others)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • dash cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Stir together all ingredients.
  2. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Use as a dip for the hibachi.

Recipe for Seitan:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. If you have an electric stand mixer, place them in the bowl for that.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into another bowl or large measuring cup. Stir together well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir until there is no loose powder.
  6. When cohesively stirred together, use the dough hook attachment on your mixer, or knead the dough by hand on a clean surface for 10 minutes.
  7. Place into a loaf pan, stretching it to fit the length of the pan.
  8. Heat for 30 minutes, flip over, reduce heat of oven to 350 degrees, and heat for another 20 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then take out of the loaf pan and place on a plate to cool.
  10. Slice up into pieces as desired.

Recipe for Seitan w/ Mushrooms and Veggie Hibachi

Ingredients for seitan hibachi:

  • 8 oz whole white mushrooms, sliced in halves
  • 1 batch Seitan (in the basics chapter)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and Pepper

Ingredients for hibachi veggies:

  • 2 cups chopped zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp earth balance
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

Directions for Hibachi:

  1. Place a tablespoon of oil in two separate skillets. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Melt Earth Balance in the skillet in which you will cook the veggies in.
  3. In the other, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the mushrooms.
  4. Cook mushrooms until their juices are released.
  5. Melt the Earth Balance with the mushrooms and 2 more tablespoons soy sauce.
  6. Add seitan to the mushrooms, cook until heated, stirring frequently.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. In the other pan, place the veggies into the oil and melted Earth Balance, add 4 tablespoons soy sauce, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Stir frequently, until everything is fully cooked.
  10. Serve with Yum Yum sauce to dip in.

If you like or dislike this recipe, please tell me why in the comments. And keep an eye out for the zine that will have this recipe inside!! 🙂

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Ps: here is a beautiful picture of my cat, Franz, that I took recently and wanted to share. Isn’t he cute?

Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe, slop slop sloppy joes!

Before I get to the recipe I have a funny story to share.

First of all, I don’t think my mother would have ever made sloppy joe’s for my brother and I to eat if it weren’t for my dad’s apparent love for musical comedy CDs.

My dad is famous in our family for several things. For awhile, it was always needing the newest technology to play music or movies with. He had cd players in his cars pretty early on. The other thing he was famous, but still continues to this day, is the sick joy he gets out of torturing his family with the way he listens to music when we are in the car with him. He will make a point to have a bunch of music queued up, and will play the first 30 seconds of each song, until he finds the most annoying song he has, and then listens to that one in its entirety.

Anyways, some time during my childhood, there was the song that all I remember from it was the chorus of “Sloppy Joe, slop sloppy Joe, yeah.” Except, until now, I had somehow thought that this song was either a Meatloaf song or some other classic rock group’s song (as those are probably my Dad’s other favorite types of Musicians). I don’t even know why, it’s obvious that this song was not meant to be serious. After researching for more details of the “Sloppy Joe song slop sloppy joe” (yes that’s what I googled) it was on an Adam Sandler CD. Apparently I was only 9 at the time when this song came out, and I don’t remember any of the other songs on this album. Up until now I hadn’t even realized it was an Adam Sandler song, even though I know all of the lyrics to the Chanukkah songs by heart.

So, as I realized that there did not yet exist a vegan sloppy joe recipe that’s main ingredient was jackfruit, this song popped back into my head and I made it up. The jackfruit ends up complementing the other flavors very well, because jackfruit is a bit tangy, and with the seasonings and sauce almost makes it taste like there are pickles in the recipe. To me it tastes kind of like a fake cheeseburger with no burger or cheese.

IMG_2479

Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans jackfruit, drained and rinsed, chopped in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups Heinz Chili Sauce or ketchup
  • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp turmeric (I’ve been reading all these articles lately about the benefits of turmeric lately, so I try to put it into my recipes as much as I can)
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce or vegan steak sauce
  • Vegenaise as needed
  • Vegan Kaiser rolls sliced in half

Directions:

  1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large frying pan with cover.
  2. Add in the onions, allow to cook until translucent.
  3. Add in the pepper and garlic and cook until the pepper turns bright green and then softens.
  4. Stir in the jackfruit and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir for a bit, place the cover on top for a minute or two, and then take off the cover and stir a bit more.
  5. When the jackfruit has heated, reduce the heat to low and add the chili sauce, sugar, seasonings, and worcestershire sauce and stir until combined.
  6. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Spread Vegenaise onto the bun and put a generous amount of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bun.
  8. Try not to make too much of a mess of yourself while eating it.

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Vegan MoFo 2014: Sunday Brunch: Bagel Casserole

During Girls Rock Camp this Summer, we had an influx of day old bagels being donated to us daily.It was awesome and fed a lot of hungry campers and volunteers. However, I ended up with most of the leftover, slightly stale bagels that we had cut in half for ease of serving. What was I to do with all these? Well, considering I was already thinking about recipes for Vegan MoFo (in the very early stages, however) I thought: VEGAN BAGEL BREAKFAST CASSEROLE!

And so, this beauty was born.

photo 1 (1)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large somewhat stale everything bagels, cut in half and then into chunks
  • Oil cooking spray
  • Vegan chive and garlic (or onion) cream cheese (I used Go Veggie vegan brand by Galaxy Foods, Daiya makes one too)-the whole container
  • 3 daiya cheddar slices, broken into bits
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/4 tsp (or less) Indian Black Salt (the kind that smells like eggs)—this is somewhat optional to your preferences and availability of this ingredient
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt, to taste (I used none)

Directions:

  1. Spray a 13”x9” casserole dish with cooking oil spray
  2. Place bagel chunks into the dish, and spray the oil again over the bagels
  3. Take a butter knife and place chunks of the chive cream cheese around the bagel chunks
  4. Do the same with the pieces of Daiya cheddar slice bits (refer to picture)
  5. Drain and break up the tofu into a food processor, and add the hemp milk, blending until smooth
  6. Add the remaining ingredients into the processor and blend until combined
  7. Pour this mixture over the casserole you have assembled so far (picture)
  8. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator over night.
  9. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, place in the oven for 45 minutes, uncover, and heat for another 5 minutes.
  10. Voila! Dig in!

photo 1 (2)

Reference picture for step #4

photo 2 (1)

Reference step 7

photo 2 (2)

A photo of the finished product!

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Vegan Mofo Day 17: Worldly Wednesdays: French Onion Soup

Okay, so this could have easily also went into Saturday’s theme, but I felt for some reason that having it in Worldly Wednesday was more fitting.

French onion soup with melty cheese on top of French bread croutons

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French onion soup with melty cheese on top of french bread croutons

This recipe took a lot of research and was referenced to two different recipes, one vegan from the start and one not. The main recipe I want to give credit to is the recipe I based the cheese off of, http://vedgedout.com/2013/03/11/individual-vegan-margherita-pizzas-with-homemade-fresh-moxarella-cheese/. I tweaked it quite a bit because I wanted it to have a sharper flavor that tasted more like the cheese I remember from this dish and rewrote the directions based upon my own experience with making it.

My entire family (none are vegan themselves) all ate it and said it tasted like the real thing. My mom (although full disclosure: has not eaten real cheese since the 90s, longer than I have abstained from it) said the texture and melty-ness of the cheese was spot on and was of excellent flavor.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the soup:

  • 1 stick earth balance (1/2 cup or 8 tbsp)
  • 4 vidalia onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup vegan red wine (See barnivore.com to be sure the wine you select is vegan)
  • 3 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium variety)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I only added 1/2 tsp black pepper because I’m watching my sodium and it didn’t seem bland at all)
  • 1 french baguette, sliced thick
  • 1 batch melty tapioca cheese (see below)

For the cheese:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

For the cheese (it is best to make this first because it can sit while you cook the rest):

  1. Blend ingredients in a good blender until totally smooth/liquid.
  2. Pour into a saucepan and cook while stirring constantly on medium-high heat.
  3. After it begins to look as if it is separating (and is), turn the heat to medium and continue to stir until it becomes very thick and is a melty, stretchy consistency. It will also be bubbling quite a bit. Pretend you are a witch making a fancy vegan potion or a mad scientist doing a new experiment. 😛
  4. Set aside or place in the fridge when cool for use a bit later when the rest of the soup is done.

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After the cheese is done

For the soup:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the stick of Earth Balance.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs and cook covered for about 20-25 minutes until the onions are browned, soft, and caramelized. Check about every five minutes or so and stir gently to make sure it doesn’t start to burn.
  3. Add wine, boil, and reduce the heat to simmer until the wine is mostly evaporated and the onions are somewhat starting to dehydrate. Leave the pot uncovered for this step. This will take at least 10 minutes, maybe longer.
  4. Add the flour and stir. Reduce the heat and cook for about 3 minutes or less if the flour really starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add the vegetable broth and stir the contents of the bottom of the pot to deglaze the flour and onions stuck to the bottom.
  6. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Add pepper and/or salt as desired. Don’t be tempted to add too much salt as the salt in the vegetable broth should be enough (unless you bought a salt free brand). I just added 1/2 tsp black pepper, you might like more or less.

To put it all together:

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet, spray both bottoms and tops with cooking oil, and place a good sized dollop of the cheese (about 2 tbsp) on top.
  3. Broil for 3-5 minutes watching and checking quite carefully. Don’t let making the soup distract you because you could easily burn them beyond recognition if you don’t.
  4. Place soup in bowls or pretty ramekins and place the croutons on top of the soup, allowing the soup liquid to seep into the bread.
  5. If you have any leftover cheese, it might be a great idea to add a bit more to the soup and float it around for more of that gooey, stretchy, deliciousness.

I’m back with a new recipe! Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Hello there,

There are lots of new things happening in my life lately. I have lots of new ideas for this blog. I am planning on changing the content I post a bit, to be more informative about food and nutrition, post more of my recipes, and also talk about other vegan, health, and wellness related topics.

Unfortunately my last semester at my community college where I will graduate with my associate’s degree and planning for the next step of working towards my bachelor’s degree has had me quite busy lately. I hope to be able to find more time to write here though soon. By Summer there should definitely be more time.

Today I made a recipe though, and am sitting down to type it up and share it in this post.

Before I was vegan, my mom used to make Jambalaya with a seasoning mix and rice, chicken, shrimp, and sausage. I liked it even though it came from a box. I had been thinking about it lately, and how to veganize it.

I wanted to make it with quinoa because I am not the biggest fan of having rice all the time. Plus quinoa has more protein in it, which I like.

This recipe used store-bought meat substitutes for the vegan chicken and sausages, but you could find recipes to make your own if you desire. For the vegan shrimp, I had a plain batch of leftover shrimp seitan  that I froze and defrosted from when I made the vegan shrimp bao recipe. It is not gluten free because of the shrimp seitan, but there may or may not be other vegan shrimp alternatives that are gluten free that you can find in stores if that is important to you.

I do not know for sure if this is very authentic jambalaya, but since it is inspired by it, that is what I am calling it. It is really yummy though, that is for sure!

Image Recipe for Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Makes about 10 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vegan shrimp (either store bought or made from scratch via this recipe)
  • 2 Tofurky Italian Sausages, sliced into rounds
  • 3 pieces Gardein Chick’n Scallopini chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more to cook the veggies
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 small-medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz canned tomato sauce (I used a no-salt added brand)
  • a splash to 1/4 cup of vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium broth)
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more if you like salt)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Before you really start to cook, combine the spices in a bowl or little ziplock bag and set aside. Also cook the quinoa in advance, if you wish. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, so either way is fine.
  2. Cook each vegan “meat” in a frying pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil separately, one at a time, until slightly brown or golden. You can use the same pan for each of them, but I think it works best to cook one at a time, and then set it aside on a plate while you cook the next one.
  3. After the “meats” are cooked, heat a little more olive oil into the pan. Add the onions and peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for a bit longer, stirring a bit.
  5. Add a splash (or more) of vegetable broth, the spice mix, and tomato sauce. Make sure the spices and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, then fold in the quinoa and the vegan shrimp, sausage, and chick’n. Stir to incorporate everything together.
  7. Allow to heat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  8. Eat! Enjoy!

Image

 

Playing a bit of catch up-tofu, hibachi, gyros, and taco salad

I have been a bit missing in action lately. Sorry!

Next weekend I am playing food Coordinator again at the Ladies Rock camp through Girls Rock RI so that will be super fun, but I will also be super busy.

Here is what  I’ve been cooking up!

photo 3 (2)This is what I made for breakfast today. It was the Curry Scrambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway from the Vegan Brunch Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moscowitz. My kitchen still smells absolutely amazing from cooking it, and it’s now 3:30pm (I got up at 8 to cook it). Yay. Also, I love that it’s a fusion of Russian and Indian food together, which are two cuisines I would not think to pair together but love individually. They work together too, to my surprise. I always reduce the salt when I cook by a lot…I am not a fan of it and try to cook without it when possible. I did not always do that, though.

photo 2 (2)I made vegan hibachi vegetables with a vegan version of my favorite Japanese dipping sauce (called “yum yum sauce” on recipe sites). Basically for the veggies you just cut 4 zucchini into bite size pieces and 1 1/2 white or yellow onions and stir fry it with 2 tbsp Earth Balance and 4 tbsp soy sauce until cooked thoroughly (I think 5-8 minutes?). For the mushrooms just chop them and cook them in 1 tbsp Earth  Balance and 1 tbsp soy sauce. For the Yum Yum sauce I used this recipe  and made vegan substitutions with vegenaise and Earth Balance and used a bit less water (or you can just add more vegenaise after and stir it up to make it thicker like I did). It’ll need to rest overnight before you eat it so the flavors set.

photo 1 (2)

Tempeh Gyros with tofu Tzatziki! From this recipe! They were so good and quite healthy! The Tzatziki is made with silken tofu and you can’t even tell it’s not made with yogurt of some type. The only thing I realized is that there is an error in the recipe and they do not tell you what to do with the cucumbers they allude to later (like how much to use and how to cut them up) so I just omitted them and put sliced cucumbers into the sandwich.

photo 1 (1)

I used the recipe from the Eat To Live Cookbook for the taco salad. It’s really healthy, but could use some kind of improvement in flavor I think that I cannot quite pinpoint. Maybe some more spices or some cherry tomatoes, I do not know! It has corn, black beans, red onion, red and green bell pepper, and a “guacamole” dressing.

That’s all for now! For dinner tonight I am making the Bacon Cheeseburger Pie from Betty Goes Vegan, so I will let you all know how that goes sometime soon!

Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–I am sharing the recipe!

I have so much I want to say about what went into creating this recipe. I have broken them up into sections so that if you do not want to read a ton of text before you get to the recipe, but some of my ideas and advice may be of interest to you, you will be more apt to read the pertinent ones.

My Inspiration

First of all, this was an attempt to recreate and veganize this recipe that I was originally alerted to on Pinterest. I had been saving it for a long time, waiting for the right moment in time to do it, and I decided the other day to try.

Nutrition Information

I was recently doing poorly with my B-12 intake food-wise (I take a vegan B complex vitamin but typically also try to get enough from nutritional yeast added to my food as well. As vegans the food we eat does not naturally have this essential vitamin in it, so it is crucial that we take a supplement and/or eat fortified foods in order to be able to do the awesome work we vegans do for our health, animals, the environment, etc. Not doing so can cause many health issues, such as Anemia.) and my nutrient tracking showed me I needed to improve on that (I use sparkpeople.com to track my food and other health/wellness/goal related things). So I decided to make this, because I knew it’d have a lot of nutritional yeast in it, and it definitely does. It helps me meet that goal exceedingly well!

I also did not want to further bread with flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fry the mac and cheese buns for my recipe. If you want to, go ahead! But I feel this fits with more with what I wanted and that step is unnecessary. It is still sinfully delicious (albeit maybe a bit less crispy and might not stay together as well).

The calories (if that concerns you) can vary a lot. I definitely don’t recommend attempting to fry the mac and cheese buns if you are concerned about them. I used a calculator to determine and tweak the amount of servings and such, but it will vary a lot most likely for everyone depending on how big you choose to make the burgers, the mac and cheese buns, etc. The way I made it, though, It comes out to be approximately 465 calories.

Making it gluten free

It has the potential to be gluten free if you use certain substitutions. I think a whole grain gluten free elbow pasta would work fantastically, as I think it might lend itself to being a bit more thick and sticky which will be pretty helpful in the long run for getting the buns to stay together more. Use a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour that I used. I think the rest of the ingredients I used should be gluten free, but please make sure you check further with people more knowledgeable than I am about gluten free ingredients if making it for yourself or others who have sensitivities or allergies.

This recipe is really kid friendly (not just because of the taste!)

I had a lot of fun making this recipe, not just to create conceptually, but also to prepare. When I was setting up the mac and cheese buns, and making the burgers, I felt like a kid again. It is ooey and gooey in certain parts, you can use your hands a lot to touch slimy and fun textures, can make some funny noises, and get dirty. When I was a kid, these were all qualities that made me interested in helping my mom with cooking, as well as the characteristics of a task that made me want to do it (my earliest “culinary” experience involved me making “mud cookies,” putting them in my outdoors “oven” and then proceeding to convince my younger brother they were actually edible…) so you may really want to have your kids help at certain parts of the preparation! I would recommend having them help you especially while making the mac and cheese and laying it out in the pan, and also making the burger mix! Unless they’re much older, I would say that setting up the mac and cheese buns after they have set and need to be shaped into the buns will be much safer, and less frustrating and wasteful if an adult does that part. It takes a bit of finagling, craftiness, dexterity, and a lot of patience to do that part.

Some other helpful tips:

Do not make this at the last minute. You will need to make the macaroni and cheese at least the night before so it sits for awhile and sets really well in order for the buns to stay together. I probably let it sit in the fridge for more than 24 hours though.

Adjust the burger servings to the amount of buns you make. This may require making the burgers bigger or reducing the ingredients, or just plan to have lots of leftover burgers!

Making them into the buns requires a bit of patience and skill, don’t get frustrated, it will still taste just as delicious with falling apart buns or even just as a side to the burgers with some ketchup on it.

My non-vegan brother was a bit thrown off by the taste of the Mac ‘N Cheese. If this is something you want to make for someone who is not vegan, and is unfamiliar with vegan cheesy tastes, it may not go over so well. I thought it was delicious because I love vegan Mac ‘N Cheese, and I haven’t had real cheese in ages.

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The recipe!!!!

(Makes anywhere from 5-10 complete burgers, depending on how large you want to make the veggie burger piece, you will have leftovers. I made 18 veggie burgers for a small slider size and it worked really well. I recommend saving the leftovers, maybe even freezing them for later, and putting them in other types of buns, or doing this again! Or you could just half the recipe for the burgers…)

Ingredients:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese (it’s great as a stand-a-lone or typical baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you want to eat it by itself and not make it into the buns!)

  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 slices Daiya cheddar cheese (what I used) or 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (you can substitute it with gluten free or whole wheat elbows if desired)

For the Burger sliders:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unflavored veggie-based protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (if you can’t find a gluten free brand, maybe use extra smoked paprika and use gluten free tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce (the kind that’s sort of like ketchup, I used it and think it tastes a bit better than ketchup)
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if not available…I buy my smoked paprika at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp salt-free italian herb blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste (optional…I try to cook with no added salt lately)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (can omit if necessary)

Directions:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese buns:

  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package. Note: I would suggest you don’t drain it immediately, and let it sit a bit to get a bit stickier, but don’t wait horribly long. You can definitely start the cheese sauce while you are cooking the pasta, and then let it sit until you are almost done with the sauce.
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce by pouring the almond milk into a large sauce pan.
  3. Place the margarine  into the pan, and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Stir somewhat frequently until the margarine is melted, and the almond milk is hot but not fully boiling.
  5. Add in the flour, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Stir the nutritional yeast until combined.
  7. Add the cheese, stir until melted.
  8. Continue to stir if possible, and fold in the salt, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, and mustard.
  9. Pour the drained elbow macaroni into the sauce, mix until every bit of pasta is completely covered.
  10. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet (it needs to have sides, though…) with a small amount of oil.
  11. Place the mac and cheese on top. If you are working with kids (see my note about kid friendliness up top) I would say it would be really  fun to use your bare (clean) hands. But if you do not like making funny squishy noises and getting your hands really messy, then take a piece of plastic wrap that covers the pan completely, and squish down, making it as compact as you can.
  12. Place in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or longer.
  13. When set, preferably after you have cooked the burgers (see below for instructions), preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. There are several ways to make the bun shape. I used a drinking glass. But you could also use a biscuit cutter, or a ramekin, or whatever else you think may work like that.
  15. In my case with the drinking glass, I pressed the opening lip into the mac and cheese, wiggled it in a circular motion a bit, and pulled up. It might (and did for me) get stuck inside the glass (that is actually a good thing for the final product, I believe!) What I did to correct this is to take a knife and un-wedge the pasta circle by sliding the knife around the edge between the glass lip. Work slowly and carefully, and be ready to place it down onto another baking sheet sprayed with a small amount of oil before you get it unstuck.
  16. Repeat until you are out of Mac ‘N Cheese to make into buns. Or you can save some of it to eat on it’s own, along with the potential mangled reject mac buns which are very likely to end up existing.
  17. Place in the oven until crispy. This takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your buns and also your oven.

For the slider burgers:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil along with the chopped veggies until soft, somewhere around 5 minutes in a large frying pan. Let sit for a bit to cool before placing into a food processor. Do not discard the pan as it will be used for cooking the burgers.
  2. In the food processor, blend the beans along with the condiments, spices (except for mustard seeds), and protein powder until they are no longer resembling whole beans, and the other ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  3. Add in the veggies, blend until combined, but not to the point where they are complete mush.
  4. Take out the mixture and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread crumbs and brown rice, and combine with a spoon or (better yet) use your hands to mix it really well.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and follow the same procedure as the last step, making sure they’re spread evenly throughout.
  7. Spray the frying pan with a lot of oil so it is heavily coated. Heat on medium.
  8. Place the burgers into the pan carefully, in batches if necessary.
  9. Heat each side about 3 minutes, or until completely cooked and lightly browned.

To assemble the whole burger:

  1. Take one Mac ‘N Cheese bun, place the smooth side up.
  2. Place the burger on that side.
  3. Add any desired condiments, it tastes delicious with just some chili sauce or ketchup on top, and some salad on the side.
  4. Carefully place the other bun on top,  smooth side down. You may want to use a toothpick in the middle to help it stick together.
  5. It’s going to be a bit difficult to eat the whole way through in tact, but definitely take a few bites out of the Mac ‘N Cheese Bun burger before it falls apart!
  6. Eat, enjoy, and have fun!

 

 

 

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday, Thanksgiving Edition!

I’m still kind of super tired, I guess my cold is not totally gone and it’s upsetting to me a bit.

So I apologize, but I’m going to try to get through posting this fairly quickly so I can go to bed early, haha.

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This was one of my better Vegan Thanksgivings though. I ended up making a Tofurky roast feast in the crockpot with this recipe. I also cooked up the gravy that came with it. My grandmother brought some jarred pearl onions and we cooked them with some pepper, paprika and earth balance. I don’t know why, but I always liked that, it’s simple and really good. Probably the most elaborate thing I made, besides the pumpkin pie I ended up making, was the green bean casserole. It was well worth it though, it was quite tasty. Actually, I had been worried about it because I thought it might taste too parsnip-y, but it balanced really well. I only put 1/2 tsp salt in it total, though, and it was fine. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp! No way. I’ll definitely be making it next year, though (well, if I decide to make a green bean casserole…and other factors…heh).

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Additionally, I made potato latkes for Thanksgivukkah. I also made Baba Ganoush for an appetizer. I don’t think I can link the recipe to it though, I found the recipe that I had printed out awhile ago and have no idea where I got it from now. But it’s quite tasty. You roast 2 eggplants with some garlic (you put the garlic on it halfway through cooking the eggplants). Then you use the roasted garlic, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt, etc and make a paste in a food processor, then add the eggplant and combine.

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I know I had said I was making pumpkin pie graham cracker squares for dessert, but I ended up getting the Eat To Live Cookbook I had ordered and they had a fantastic sounding pumpkin pie that I decided to make instead. So I did. It’s sugar and flour free, which is awesome. It’s sweetened with dates instead. Aside from the fact that the crust is made from almonds, I couldn’t tell any other aspect was done differently than the traditional recipe. It was soooo good and I liked the cashew cream to put on top but I should have made a little less since I ended up giving a lot of the pie away without it so that I wouldn’t end up eating the whole thing myself (my family is not big on pumpkin desserts for some reason, but I am…)

My meals leading up to Thanksgiving basically just consisted of two things:

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Pumpkin Echiladas from the Vegan Stoner Cookbook, and Green Bean Casserole Pizza from Bake and Destroy.

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I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving, or Thanksgivukkah (Hanukkah…although it’s still happening…) if that’s your thing too. I was very glad to have a cruelty free and vegan Thanksgiving for myself once again, so I’m going to leave you this picture of me in my majestic Compassion Company Thanskgiving t-shirt.

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