Month: October 2012

Z is for Zombie


Happy Halloween!

I was able to leave work a little early to be home in time for Trick or Treating.  I put out some pumpkins and a happy Halloween sign to let kids know candy is available! There are kids in the neighborhood, but I guess they think people in our units don’t hand out candy because some will  just walk right by our door.


We don’t get a lot of trick or treaters, so I usually have a ton of extra candy. This year I bought a lot less, but I bought quality vegan candy: Sjaaks Halloween bites (peanut butter and orange – that’s two different flavors, not a combination) and caramel bites, all with fair trade chocolate, and Surf Sweets Sour Berry Bears.


Halloween dinner:
Black tofu, forbidden rice, orange bell pepper, and roasted butternut squash with coriander seeds (from Veganomicon) .

20121031-215815.jpg 20121031-215858.jpg 20121031-215904.jpg

While I waited for trick or treaters, I made Halloween sugar cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

Zombies and braaaains!


Bats, cats, ghosts, pumpkins and witch’s brooms.

20121031-215947.jpg 20121031-215941.jpg 20121031-215952.jpg

Ghosts in the graveyard with vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream


Last weekend, I celebrated  Halloween with a costume 5K and brunch party.

The Running Scared 5K in McHenry benefited Illinois Special Olympics. This was its first year, so it was not a large race, but the majority of people were in costume. I went as Robin.


And I won! During the whole race I was in front, which is a scary place to be when you don’t know the route. I have never had to worry about making a wrong turn in a race before. Turns out, I am not a good race leader. Either I missed an arrow or the race missed putting an arrow at the intersection, but I led around 15-20 people on a .3 mile detour; it was a long 5K. My official time was 24:33 and I probably added about 2 minutes by doing the extra loop.

Halloween Brunch Menu

Spooky Hummus

Caramelized Onion Quiche

Pumpkin French Toast

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Apple Sticky Buns

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

Hot Cranberry Apple Cider

The quiche, french toast and pancakes were from Vegan Brunch; my friend brought the pumpkin muffins.

20121031-220057.jpg 20121031-220103.jpg 20121031-220109.jpg 20121031-220115.jpg 20121031-220123.jpg 20121031-220241.jpg

X is for Xian Bing

X is for Xian Bing, Di San Xian and Xi lan hua. Not just one “X,” but three.

Xian Bing (meat pies). I used Upton’s Naturals’ ground seitan instead of ground pork and the filling was delicious.

20121031-002346.jpg 20121031-002337.jpg

Di San Xian (three delight): My absolute favorite dish from Beijing; I practically lived off this stuff when I was there. It’s a delicious mixture of eggplant, potato & green pepper. This recipe is pretty authentic tasting.


And finally, one of my favorite vegetables: xi lan hua (broccoli)


S is for Spanakopita

I finally got around to making the Layered Spinach Spanakopita recipe in the June 2012 issue of VegNews. The herbed feta recipe is phenomenal, but the spanakopita was just okay. The nutritional yeast was overpowering (why did I bother making the herbed feta if I don’t get to taste it?) and my phyllo pastry was too dry. With better phyllo and less nutritional yeast, this would be great.

20121024-210542.jpg 20121024-210528.jpg 20121024-210431.jpg

R is for Ramen

I had planned on making a mushroom ramen dish from Takashi’s Noodles, but I needed to go to Meijer for some of the ingredients. Since I was going to McHenry, I decided to go to Michael’s and Pier 1 for Halloween stuff and Dick’s Sporting to replace my old compression shorts. By the time I got to the grocery store it was 8:00. There was no way I was going to come home and cook a fancy meal at 9:00. Instead, I bought a package of Annie Chun’s Spring Vegetable Ramen and added shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and green onions. Of course it’s not going to compare to a home-cooked (or Takashi-cooked) meal, but it is good in a pinch.

20121023-221251.jpg 20121023-221224.jpg

I also picked up a box of Melissa’s Edamame.


Meijer has a good selection of vegan items. It has a huge international aisle, Asian produce, and a decent variety of Gardein, Amy’s and Lightlife products at low prices.

Q is for Quinoa Burger

For my birthday, my sister got me The Best Veggie Burgers in the Planet. Tonight I tried the super quinoa burger, which was quite delicious. I don’t like peas, so I subbed edamame and made it even more super. I served it as recommended: over lettuce with the tahini dressing. H thought it was a delicious “crabcake” (maybe because it didnt have a bun, it came across as less burger-y). I also made salt & vinegar mashed potatoes and kale.

20121023-001103.jpg 20121023-001110.jpg 20121023-001115.jpg