update and recipe for vegan Portuguese muffins!

Hi! I’ve been gone for awhile. The reason for my absence has been because I have been putting most of my recipe energy into working on the cookbook zine, school, and am also planning food for another Ladies Rock Camp! Speaking of which check me out in their volunteer spotlight!

Valentines day has come and gone. That day I cooked up a storm. I veganized our family’s brisket recipe using seitan for my zine, I made heart shaped frosted sugar cookies, and I veganized a recipe for Portuguese muffins.

cookies

I used this recipe (although I changed the icing recipe a bit to add raspberry juice and almond milk).

I have always lived in an area where there is a large Portuguese population. The grocery stores always sell sweet breads and Portuguese muffins here. I used to love them. Portuguese muffins are basically like English muffins without the nooks and crannies and are made from sweet bread.

I have been craving them badly lately, but they are not vegan. They contain milk and eggs.

So, I adapted this recipe to become vegan.

These are the ingredients I used:

1 cup vanilla almond milk or other nondairy milk of choice
4 tbsp Earth Balance
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tbsp potato starch
1/4 cup soy flour
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1 package teaspoons instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Ener-g Egg Replacer and 4 tbsp water whisked together
2 tsp vanilla
1 lemon’s worth of lemon zest

You basically follow the directions on the recipe exactly, although ignore the parts about how much it should rise as I don’t think it really did the amount it said it would and they still came out alright.

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If you’ve never had them, now you can try them vegan! If you have, enjoy the comforting flavor of sweet bread again!

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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?

Vegan Mofo Day 29: Meaty Meatless Mondays: Seitan overview and recipe links

Seitan–what is it even? Simply put, it is a meat-like vegan substance typically made from vital wheat gluten. It can be used in place of almost any meat depending on how you flavor it.

Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it is not gluten free which makes it difficult for vegans who are also gluten free to enjoy. However, upon making some mochi the other day, I think I may be able to figure out how to make some gluten free seitan eventually, so keep an eye out for when I do!

I think seitan dishes may be the theme of next year’s vegan mofo, but don’t quote me on that yet. I started a zine about it, but I am not sure if I plan on finishing it any time soon. We shall see; I’ll keep you posted.

Here are some of my recipes from the past that have used seitan in them:

French Toast, Seitan Ham and Homemade Cheese Sandwich

Ham Seitan itself

Quinoa Jambalaya with Shrimp Seitan

“Shrimp” Bao

Additionally, this past week I made some bacun seitan from this recipe and made BLTs with it as evidenced here:

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If you’re looking for a good cookbook that features a lot of good sandwich friendly seitan recipes, I suggest you check out Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has recipes for chick’n patties that several of the recipes do different, beef style seitan, deli meat style, etc that all have tons of uses for in their many delicious sandwich recipes. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love sandwiches.

Vegan MoFo 2014: Day 14: Sunday Brunch: French Toast, Seitan Ham, and Homemade Cheese

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After making my ham seitan recipe, I decided to make a breakfast sandwich out of it. This sandwich utilized one of my earlier recipes, Simple Vegan French Toast, and another recipe I love for vegan Muenster Cheese (not my own). There won’t be a specific recipe this time, as all you do is make the french toast, cheese, and ham and then slice the ham and cheese and put it into a sandwich. There will be, however more pictures. And also, a question I need you all to help me with.

Whether you are vegan or not and reading my blog, I need your help. After I am done with Vegan Mofo 2014 I want to start posting (at least once a week) a common reason people say they can’t become vegan and tackle the solutions to it.

Some of the reasons I’ve thought of so far are:

  • It’s too expensive.
  • I like cheese too much.
  • Bacon.

I’d like to hear from you, the readers of my blog about what other reasons you have or have heard to avoid going vegan and would like to see me address in my own unique way. Please comment on this post to share. Thanks!!

Oh, and here are some more food pics, as promised:

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The vegan muenster cheese

photo 2 (7)

Vegan MoFo day 8: Meaty Meatless Monday-Rosemary Agave Ham Seitan Loaf

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For those who might be reading my blog and be new to the idea of veganism and vegan food, I’d like to offer a definition of what seitan is:

Seitan: a vegan mock meat (or meat substitute) made from wheat gluten. It has a firm and somewhat rubbery texture. It is typically made by making a dough (main ingredient: vital wheat gluten) with a variety of dry and wet ingredients and be made to substitute many different meats. Seitan needs to be cooked in a broth for a fairly long time in order to form properly, but the method in which you can do that varies. I have made seitan in a crockpot and been able to go about my own business most of the day, but I’ve also made it in the oven on low temperatures and had to stick around and be more careful. You can also boil it on the stove, and then saute or bake it, but that requires the most care and time. It is probably one of the most advanced types of foods you will consider making as a vegan concerning the cooking skills required to make it.

This recipe was adapted from here. It came about from the need for a vegan ham I could make myself. Next Sunday I plan on using it in a recipe for brunch. This would work really well if you make another sweet glaze for it and use it as a roast or something. I didn’t try that (yet!) but it can essentially be used in multiple ways and serve many purposes. As always with seitan, if you can’t use it all within a week, wrap the pieces up in plastic wrap (and maybe a plastic bag too) and freeze until needed.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup soy flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed between fingers

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup hot water

  • 3 tbsp vegan bac’un bits
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu crumbled into pieces
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp agave

For the cooking broth:

1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp marmite (a yeast extract that can be found in your grocery’s British international section if it has one)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan poultry seasoning blend
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke

Directions:

  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or your electric stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
  2. In a blender, place the hot water, bac’un bits and whir the blender on a high setting until the bits have combined with the hot water as much as possible. Add the tofu, cold water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, tomato paste, and agave and blend.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and run the mixer with the dough hook for about ten minutes. Alternately, you can knead it by hand for about 15 minutes, I’ve done it before, it takes a lot of elbow grease, but is possible. It is more difficult to knead than bread, makes your hands smell a bit funny, and can make quite a sticky mess on the surface you are kneading it on.
  4. Let the dough sit covered for an hour.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the cooking broth. Place the broth, water, marmite, and agave together in a saucepan.
  6. Heat over medium heat until the agave and marmite melt into the other liquids.
  7. Take off the heat and stir in the seasoning blend, sesame oil, ketchup, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
  8. After the hour of letting the dough sit is over, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  9. Knead the dough for another ten minutes. The dough should be smooth.
  10. Take the whole ball of dough and place into an oiled loaf pan. Press down with your hands. Pour the broth over the seitan. 
  11. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven.
  12. Immediately after placing in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200 degrees F.
  13. Bake for three hours.
  14. With a good spatula, loosen the loaf and flip the seitan so that side that was the bottom is now the top and facing up. Re-cover with the foil.
  15. Turn the heat back up to 325 degrees again and bake for another 30 minutes.
  16. After the 30 minutes, flip again, re-cover, and bake for 15 minutes.
  17. After the 15 minutes, flip for the last time and re-cover and bake for a final ten more minutes or until the broth has been fully absorbed into the seitan.
  18. Take out of the oven, let it cool slightly. Slice as desired and use in other recipes, such as my french toast, rosemary “ham” and cashew cheese sandwich coming next Sunday! I love freezing seitan wrapped in plastic wrap and in ziplock bags to save for later when my recipes call for it, as mentioned in the beginning of my post.

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Sharing my breakfast today with my readers!

I made a delicious breakfast this morning.

I made lemon poppy seed pancakes from this recipe, topped with a tiny bit of Earth Balance Spread, and a side of Upton’s Naturals seitan bacon (my new favorite vegan bacon!).

 

Image I am hoping I will have time to post more soon, but it is starting to be crunch time at school.

Vegan “shrimp” Bao

So before I went vegan I was obsessed with the non-vegan version of these that I would buy at Trader Joe’s. Recently I was longing to eat something like it again, but wanted it to be vegan of course.

vegan bao

I did not want to attempt on my own to create a recipe for the Chinese Bao (steamed bun) dough myself, as I have never tried to make these before…so I referenced this recipe for that. I also had found the perfect vegan “shrimp” seitan recipe  online long ago, so I decided to make that instead of coming up with something entirely original. The part that was all my own was how I cooked the shrimp seitan to fill the bao with.

Also, I recommend a using a large steamer if you want to make this recipe. If you do not have one, I do not know what to recommend in order for them to come out right. I imagined trying to steam on the stove in a saucepan sized steamer, all 24 bao, and it just seemed impossible. Luckily, I remembered that I had found an electric steamer for free from the Providence Really, Really Free Market awhile ago (that I had never used since picking it up, of course, haha) and used that and it worked smashingly well.

Here is what I did:

I made the recipe for the “shrimp” seitan the night before. I had baked some sweet potatoes and just pureed them with a small amount of water in the food processor beforehand. Also, because it’s slightly unclear, the “gluten flour” they reference is actually vital wheat gluten flour. I used kelp granules instead of dulse.

The next day (you need quite a bit of inactive time to make these, so do not try to make these if you need to be out of the house or an hour before dinner! Read the directions carefully so you know how much time to allot) you make the dough from the recipe. Towards the end of the time that the dough is sitting for 2 hours, you will want to make the filling with the “shrimp” seitan according to my recipe:

vegan shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, mince
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 batch of “shrimp” seitan 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan.
  2. Add garlic and ginger stir in the oil until fragrant.
  3. Add the “shrimp” seitan
  4. Cook until the seitan starts to become shiny and turns a slight golden brown color
  5. Add soy sauce and sriracha, mix until thoroughly coated
  6. Add chives and stir to disperse throughout the seitan shrimp batch

Then get back to the bun recipe. I did not follow the recipe exactly as it said. I basically did not care about making them super pretty, so I did not roll out the dough I had sectioned into 24 pieces. I just smooshed them down with my hands, worked them into a circle with my fingers, placed a small amount of the shrimp filling inside, and then pinched the dough closed around the filling. Then resumed the rest of the recipe’s instructions.

I used two layers in my steamer, and the first layer that was closest to the steam was done probably in 15-20 minutes. I took that basket out, so it would stop cooking, and moved the top one down. That took another 15 minutes at least. You just want them to start looking less like dough, and more like a very soft bread.

bao

 

That’s it, enjoy them! I wish I could have figured out a way for them to have more sauce in them, but I think it would have been too difficult to pull off when steaming them, anyhow. Overall, quite yummy!

 

Becoming a Healthy Vegan

I’m on a quest to become a healthy vegan. Becoming a healthy vegan may not always mean the person trying to become healthier needs to lose weight, but for me it has. I started out obese, and a doctor’s visit before I went back to veganism showed that my cholesterol was high, and so was my blood pressure (for my age especially, which scared me, which is why I started this quest right away after realizing it all). So far I have lost a bit over 50 lbs, and am really happy so far with my progress. I want to share some ideas I have about how people can become a healthy/healthier vegan, based on what’s worked for me and also what I’ve read about and the information I’ve absorbed.

As I like to say, often when talking to non-vegans about veganism, it is entirely possible to be an unhealthy vegan. People seem to think vegan = healthy or vegan=skinny but that’s just not true all the time.  Just taking a look at all the mainstream brands listed here that carry “accidentally vegan” products will give you an idea of how that’s possible (note: I’m skeptical that some of these are completely vegan, as some may have bone char sugar used sometimes, etc so eat these at your own risk).  Plus, vegan companies (and companies that aren’t exclusively vegan but market vegan products occasionally) are often devoted to veganizing non-vegan junk food staples.

My philosophy about becoming a healthy vegan though is to not give up too much more than what I have to. I’m already refraining from dairy, meat, and other animal derived products (for many reasons- both ethical and health-wise), so having junk food in moderation, or a good helping of pasta (like the cashew mac and cheese I made the other day) once in awhile isn’t going to totally hurt me. Especially if you look at the types of foods I’d typically eat when not vegan.  I mean, if you want to totally cut out all overly oily, starchy, sugary, types of snacks and meals all the time, and stick to just the healthy necessities,  then I commend you! But personally I feel like I will be too grumpy without indulging sometimes. It’s okay to have treats as long as I don’t go overboard or neglect other healthier and important food groups.

With that in mind, I try to eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but really, I aim for at least 10! The most I’ve ever done in a day since trying to increase my consumption of fruits and veggies is 15 (but I counted 5 of them from my shake, so maybe that’s technically cheating?) I try to have well balanced meals with every main food group involved but that can be difficult especially because I personally can’t eat 3 large meals only a day…I need to have 3 medium sized meals a day at normal mealtimes and about 3 other small meals (basically snacks…but not always junk food snacks) in between or I get too hungry and irritable feeling.

So, you may have seen it on pinterest or my facebook page (which by the way you should like it here if you haven’t already!) but a little while ago I illustrated a vegan food pyramid to put in a post like this.  I’m really excited about it because it looks SO AWESOME. I definitely put a lot of love and time into it. It’s not a perfect nutrition guide, but hopefully it can give you an idea of what a vegan food pyramid would be like, and all the different examples of awesome food we vegans eat. It’s not a comprehensive list of all the foods in each group, because, uh, the possibilities are so abundant and always expanding and I wouldn’t have room for that on a 8.5×11″ paper… (my hands would’ve hurt 1,000x more too after it was “complete” hehe). Anyways, without further ado (Please click on it to see a larger, more readable size):

food pyramid

I can’t say I follow this perfectly every day, but I do make sure that I eat at least 7+ servings of veggies most days, and that basically everything else is met throughout the day. I just don’t necessarily make sure every meal is the way the food pyramid says to do it (I based/adapted my image off of a vegetarian food pyramid I saw on the back of a can of chickpeas). I have given up all carbonated beverages after reading in several places how horrible carbonation is for your body (never mind the artificial sugars or fructose syrup they’re often ladled with), only cook occasionally with alcohol (but never drink alcohol or do drugs!) and only have about 1 cup of coffee a day. These things are definitely good to keep in moderation if you  don’t want to completely abstain from them.  I probably should have had something about smoking and drug use illustrated too, because I don’t recommend that in order to get healthy either, but yeah! And I drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water a day (I’d rather get my calories from food, not drinks that neglect to make me feel fulfilled.) Also, exercise is so good for you! It helps me a lot with mood problems and has lots of other benefits for your body, such as ability to decrease blood pressure, lose weight, stay active and sharp-minded, have fun, reduce stress, combat depression, etc (the list goes on and on!)

In addition, there are some really great tools I have found. For me, it’s made sticking to my goals much easier if I track my food and exercise every day and am completely honest with myself about it. The best place to do it I’ve found, is a website sparkpeople.com. I love this site because not only does it have a calorie tracker, but it also takes some of the guess work out of figuring out a calorie range you need if you want to lose weight healthfully, has an exercise tracker and lots of exercise demos (both strength training and cardio), lots of ways to get support from people on the web (especially people like me trying to get healthy or trying to lose weight), message boards, health articles, recipes, etc! It can be a great way to get a fairly good idea whether you need to ramp up your B vitamins and other vitamins and nutrients because it keeps track of how much you’ve consumed through food each day. It’s the best. I recommend it to everyone who asks about what I’m doing or who talks to me asking for advice based on my success so far. The best part is it’s a completely free website except for the sparkcoach, which I don’t need or want…haha.

I also like some exercise apps on my iPhone, such as Runkeeper and Gympact. Sparkpeople has an app that is really useful, although that does cost a small amount to purchase from the app store. It has all the same stuff as the website has though, I just like it because I can track things on the go without having to go to the computer all the time.

Also, if you’re reading this as a non-vegan and want to know more about simply becoming a new vegan, here are two great resources I recently found:

Going Vegan Isn’t Crazy (Reader’s Digest)

Go Veg Guide (Vegnews Magazine)-for people ready (or who may need some convincing!) to take the Vegan plunge (in .pdf form)