Month: September 2011

Chorizo Seitan & Potato Tacos with Low-fat Guacamole

  • One package Upton’s Naturals chorizo-style seitan
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cherry peppers
  • fingerling potatoes, chopped
  • tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Tofutti Better than Sour Cream
  • Bryanna’s Low-fat guacamole 
  1. Roast fingerling potatoes with a little olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper until a little crispy .
  2. Saute onion and cherry peppers until onions are tender. Add seitan and cook until hot and a little crispy.
  3. Put everything in a tortilla.

The low-fat guacamole was surprisingly good, but for some reason it was brown. The lima beans, green beans and avocado were all green when I put them in the food processor, but kind of turned brown after being blended. H thought it was hummus. So it’s a good dip – a decent substitute if you are watching what you eat (and it is better than guaca-edamame), but it is definitely not the real thing.

Red Lentil & Rice Patties with Coconut-Mint Sauce

This is confusing. So I saw this meal on Fat Free Vegan’s Facebook last week and it sounded delicious. I decided that if I could find mint at the farmers market on Saturday, I would make it, because I had everything else. I did snag the second to last bag of mint at the farmers market, but I read the recipe wrong and thought I didn’t have enough red lentils. I used 1/2 cup of red and a 1/2 cup of black, when really the recipe called for 1/2 cup of red. Regardless, this tastes amazing, but the black lentils made everything gray, so these weren’t as pretty as Susan and the blog, Albion Cooks, that Susan used to make the recipe. The shredded coconut I had was sweetened (also, I don’t like shredded coconut). Instead, I googled “coconut mint sauce” and found this amazing recipe.

Spicy Coconut-Mint Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • Three 1/4-inch slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (my lime was bad, so I used a lemon)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro

In a blender, combine the coconut milk, mint leaves, ginger, garlic, lime juice, jalapeño and cilantro and puree until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper if you’d like.

After I made the recipe, I read Susan’s blog post and she also didn’t have the ingredients and made a few adaptations. My adaptation of her adaption was closer to the original recipe. You might want to triple check the ingredient list before you try this one. I do strongly recommend it though. It’s a super easy recipe, especially if you use a rice cooker, and the flavor combination (cumin, red pepper flakes, mint and jalapeño) is phenomenal.

Peanut Butter Tempeh with Swiss Chard

Today I watched this VegNews video for Quick Kale Tofu Pasta, which looks delicious, but I didn’t have tofu, kale or lime.  So I improvised with tempeh, rainbow chard and lemon.

  • 2 packages tempeh, cubed (plus marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon/lime juice, vinegar, garlic and/or ginger mixture or your favorite tempeh marinade)
  • 1 package brown rice fettuccine
  • 8-10 stems of swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/3 + 1 heaping tablespoon creamy peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • juice from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Sriracha to taste
  1. Cut tempeh into cubes and steam for about 5 minutes. Marinate tempeh for 30 minutes to an hour (or do it in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day).
  2. Boil a big pot of water. Add noodles and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Add swiss chard and cook for about 6 minutes more.
  3. Heat sesame oil in a cast iron skillet and add tempeh until a little brown.
  4. Whisk remaining ingredients together.
  5. Drain pasta and chard and return to the pot and coat with peanut butter mixture. Stir in tempeh.

Martha Stewart Monday: Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

Apples are everywhere at the farmers market, which means fall is officially here. I’m looking forward to some hot apple cider this weekend. I had a bag of apples from last week’s market that I needed to use, so I browsed through Martha’s apple slideshow this morning. This recipe was a quick and easy with the help of frozen vegan pork fillets from Chinatown. The apple chutney is vegan, so all I had to do was sub pork fillets.


My Birthday Weekend

Yesterday was my birthday and H and I had a great time celebrating in Chicago (and a little bit in Woodstock). I started the day with some yoga at the Woodstock Recreation Center; I am trying to be more consistent about going to yoga. Then H and I went to the farmers market to watch a demonstration by Leslie from Expressly Leslie.

She explained what an Israeli breakfast is and how to make Jerusalem salad.

(the vegan part of the Israeli breakfast display)

She gave some good cutting tips.

Beautiful fresh veggies from the farmers market

After the demonstration, we went over to Expressly Leslie for breakfast. I had the vegan version of the Ful Plate. Delicious!

We caught the 1:48 train to Chicago. H mentioned it was my birthday when he made our hotel reservation at Trump Tower, so we got a free upgrade. Our room was huge! There was a kitchen, dining area, living room, amazing bathroom (a TV built into the mirror? not necessary but nice for watching college football while you get ready to go out) and bedroom.


A fireplace (not real)


The incredible view

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H ordered an exotic fruit platter and champagne to be delivered to the room. They also brought a free birthday cake, but I could only eat the raspberry.

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20110918-074058.jpgFor dinner we went to Green Zebra, a fancy vegetarian restaurant. It has a menu of small plates and recommends 3-4 plates per person. We ordered 6 in hopes of saving room for dessert. It’s hard to pick a favorite, because it was all so good, but the black bean dumplings and country flat bread would be at the top of my list.


Chilled Somen Noodles, Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, papaya, edamame, shiso, ginger-soy

Caramelized Onion Soup, Vidalia onion, sauteed ramp bulbs, leeks, sherry

Slow Roasted Shittake Mushrooms, crispy potato, savoy cabbage

Black Bean Dumplings, chimichurri, roasted tomato puree

Roasted Eggplant, braised artichokes, olives, Romesco, toasted almonds

Country Flatbread, smoked white bean puree, tropea onion, broccoli florets, chili oil, sesame

We ordered a dessert and a “small bite” cupcake, which was actually full-sized, so we took part of it home (I finished it this morning while H ate my Trump birthday cake).

Blueberry Moelleux, lemon fondant, crystallized ginger, blueberry-banana “ice cream

Chocolate Ganache Cupcake

After dinner, we stopped at our hotel room to put away the cupcake and catch the Navy Pier fireworks from our bedroom window.  Then we went to Rebar at Trump Tower and met up with some friends for drinks (and olives, Rebar serves great olives). We snagged a table by the window overlooking the river.

Today I slept in, had coffee in the living room, and went to the gym. The cardio room has an amazing view (of course).  After checking out, we met my friend Kristin at Karyn’s on Green, who was in town from DC. I finally tried something besides the crab cake sliders.

Sweet corn soup (delicious!)

Portobello burger cheddar, tomato, red onion, spring greens, sweet BBQ sauce

Birthday Cake Remix

While calories generally kept me away, one of the best places for an ice cream splurge, in my pre-vegan days, was Cold Stone Creamery for a Birthday Cake Remix: cake batter ice cream, brownies, fudge and sprinkles. For my birthday, I decided to veganize this delicious treat.

Vegan Cake Batter Ice Cream

  • 2 cups soy creamer (I used french vanilla, which tasted fine. Unfortunately, it made the ice cream brown)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk (the canned, full fat kind)
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (1/2 if you use french vanilla creamer)
  • 1 cup vegan cake mix (check the ingredients, because they will sneak in a milk product. I used a vanilla cake mix from Trader Joe’s)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the creamer and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, arrowroot powder and vanilla.
  3. Stir in cake mix until there are no lumps.
  4. Pour mixture into the ice cream maker and mix until it has thickened (about 30 minutes).
  5. Put ice cream in freezer-friendly container and freeze overnight.

Vegan Birthday Cake Remix

  • Vegan cake batter ice cream
  • Your favorite vegan brownies (I used the recipe from Vegan Cookies invade your Cookie Jar)
  • Chocolate sauce (or chocolate fudge, there are lots of recipes online. Fudge is more authentic, but chocolate sauce tastes good)
  • Sprinkles

I don’t have a cold stone, but I do have a room temperature cutting board (Room Temperature Cutting Board Creamery, not as catchy).

Start with the ice cream

Add the brownies

Mix the brownies

Add the chocolate sauce/fudge and mix.

Add the sprinkles

Enjoy! Besides the color (should have bought regular soy creamer), this is perfect.  It tastes just as good as Cold Stone Creamery without the cruelty!

30-Day Vegan Challenge

So my newest vegan book is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 30-Day Vegan Challenge.

It’s a vegan guide book with a decent amount of recipes. I have only skimmed through it, but I liked it so much that I ordered 4 more copies to give to family and friends. It offers advice on eating at restaurants, provides important dietary information and tells the truth about the dairy and meat industry.  But wait, there’s more! Meal plans, baking tips, and vegan shopping advice!

Tonight I made a garlic and greens soup from 30DVC. I added some white beans for a little extra protein.

To go with the soup, I made pumpkin cheddar biscuits from Vegan Crunk, which can be found in this month’s VegNews along with 5 other delicious-sounding pumpkin recipes. It was 39 degrees this morning, so fall is definitely here. Pumpkins! Apple cider! Hot Chocolate with Dandies marshmallows!

The soup and the biscuits were both delicious!

Top Chef Wednesday: Lemon Beignets with Basil Sugar

Lemon Beignet with Thai Basil Sugar

By Melissa Camacho


  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Egg replacer
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 25 grams sugar
  • 150 grams all purpose flour
  • 50 grams Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
  • 5 grams salt
  • 250 grams non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk, the stuff from a box, not a can)
  • Oil, for frying

Lemon Curd:

Use Kathy’s Vegan lemon curd recipe

Basil Sugar:

  • 100 grams Thai basil
  • 50 grams sugar


  1. Whisk egg replacer & water. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, milk and margarine in a pot.
  3. Melt margarine with milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add flour to cook for about two minutes.
  5. Transfer to kitchen aid with paddle attachment. Start on slow speed. Add egg replacer mixture in two batches. Form into balls and set aside.
  6. Fry at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. (Or bake at 400 until puffy and a little brown on top. I’m sure it’s better fried, but I baked them last night- it’s marathon taper time!)

For the basil sugar, I did not understand her directions (dry in a off oven for 20-40 minutes? How is an off oven different than a counter top and how does sugar dry in an off oven?), so I just mixed basil and sugar together and rolled the fritters around in the mixture.

The basil and lemon flavor combination is actually quite good. The lemon curd is delicious! I need to make more of it with lemon poppy seed muffins.

Last night’s show was amazing! What kid hasn’t wanted to be in Willy Wonka’s factory where everything is made of candy. Plus Charlie Bucket (who got out of the chocolate business to become a veterinarian), Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee and Violet Beauregarde were there! No Augustus Gloop (maybe they were afraid he would eat everything before the judges got it).

There were some very imaginative ideas (chocolate waterfall, edible wallpaper) and some not so good ones (giant edible-ish gummy bears). Craig finally went home, as did Melissa (your beignets are good, but I guess your doughnuts are not). Chris was pissed his chocolate waterfall didn’t even get him in the top (but besides some creative engineering, he just made chocolate milk). Katzie won with a beehive and a carrot patch. They were very cute and apparently tasted great, too.

Dinner: Iraqi-Inspired Seitan and Eggplant Stew

It’s been a while since I made something from Fat Free Vegan. I found this recipe while looking for something to do with seitan that expired on 9/14 and the eggplants I bought at the farmers market last weekend. Susan’s recipe for seitan looks good, so I’ll have to try that the next time I make this. Not surprisingly, Jewel does not sell pomegranate molasses, so I made my own with this recipe.



Missoni for Target

Second update: I won. PayPal ruled in my favor and I got my money back. I also got a gift card as an apology. Take that snotty customer service reps who said nothing could be done!

Update: I am boycotting Target. It took my money, lost my package (created a shipping label, but never gave the package to UPS) and a month and a half later wants to give me a gift card because I used PayPal. (I only used PayPal because the website crashed five times while I was placing an order. I entered my credit card number so many times I practically had it memorized. I saw PayPal as an opportunity to go through the checkout process faster). At checkout, it says that if the buyer returns any times, s/he will receive a gift card. I have been unable to speak to any reasonable person at Target who can comprehend this situation. I am not trying to return my order. The risk of loss does not transfer from a merchant to a buyer until the shipper receives the items. UPS never got the package & Target suffers the loss.

How can I return items I don’t have? Besides, I want these items! I placed an order for a specific jacket and vest, not whatever Target feels like substituting. Target is initiating the “return;” therefore, I should not have to take a gift card. Until Target gives me my money back, I am not shopping there.

It was pure madness at Target yesterday when it released the Missoni for Target line. The heavily advertised, zig-zag line ranged from womens dresses to kitchen glasses to carry-on suitcases. I woke up around 6:15 yesterday to check out the new line. There was one jacket I saw in the advertisement that I really wanted:

There were a couple dresses that I thought were cute (only one was in stock though) and I was going to get some towels for the guest bathroom. I was about ready to check out when the website crashed. The website was down for hours; I checked periodically on my iphone, on my way to Chicago. After delivering my documents to the Judge, I had about an hour and a half to kill before my train, so I decided to take the bus down to Target and see what they had there. Nothing. It was all gone! At 10:30 in the morning, there were no womens clothing items left. (The trip down there wasn’t a total waste. I stopped at Whole Foods for a Upton’s Natural pastrami sandwich and a Sweet & Sara peanut butter s’more). There were 2 ugly picture frames and some girls clothing and that was it. But then the website started working again, so I found the items I wanted and was in the process of checking out when it crashed again!

When I got home from Chicago, I was able to get on and check out. I got the jacket! I also bought a sweater shell and some tights.

After work, I went over to McHenry. I figured most people out here have never heard of Missoni, but even this store was picked through. There were a couple dresses I tried on, but neither of them were very flattering. The line runs big. I even tried on a poncho sweater from the girls section. It was cute & the XL fit perfectly, but honestly, where will I ever wear a poncho?I did buy a barrette, some hair pins, a pair of socks and tumblers. The McHenry store also had the luggage, which looked great. I just bought a new suitcase last year, so I didn’t need another. Of course, I could have been a jerk, bought it for $160 and put it on ebay for $300. I can’t decide which is worse: the people who bought everything up to put on ebay or the people who are actually buying Target candles for $80. Yes, it’s Missoni, but it’s still Target, people!

Some of the sweaters and the one button-down shirt at McHenry looked extremely cheap. But the sweater dresses and the poncho looked decent and there was a baby coat that was adorable! If I had a baby or was pregnant, I would have bought all the baby items. Hopefully, my jacket is just as nice.

Unfortunately, the ties and scarves were silk and the winter accessories were a wool blend. McHenry had a lovely blue winter scarf that I would have bought if it didn’t have wool in it. The sweaters and jackets that I looked at were all wool & silk-free.

Are you ready for some football?

Last week was the start of college football and Alabama soundly defeated Kent State (even with five turnovers!). Unfortunately, the game was at 11:30 and we just finished breakfast, so there was no sports bar food involved. We made up for that this week with nachos and wings during the Alabama versus Penn State (H’s alma mater).

Nachos with Daiya cheddar, black beans, 2 kinds of peppers, black olives, Tofutti better than sour cream, and avocado.

Gardein buffalo wings with Organicville non-dairy ranch

Good food, good game. I was a little nervous during the first quarter, but Alabama pulled it together and beat Penn State 27-11.  Roll Tide!