We have a new winner for cookies! Although I still love my Lunchbox cookies, I don’t have almond butter on hand usually, and the recipe only makes a very small amount. Also, my daughter can’t take anything with nuts to her school. In my ongoing quest for cookie recipes, there were two miserable fails on other recipes I tried. Think I am kidding? Making it to the blog requires that it works for non-technical, bumbling cooks like myself!
This is NOT from a picture of the new recipe, will not be posting this recipe!
This recipe can make 3 1/2 dozen, and is more of a basic cookie recipe. I used this recipe as the base and made a few changes.
Everyone liked them a lot, and even though they made more cookies, they still didn’t last 24 hours!
More Tasty Cookies
1-1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 T ground flax seeds in 1/4 cup warm water (OR 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce)
In a large bowl, beat the first six ingredients until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto un-greased cookie sheets Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks.Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.
I have been searching for a specific Indian black salt called kala namak for awhile. Not so hard that I would actually drive to Beaverton, or even NW Portland, but I do look in all the spice areas of stores. I’ve been looking for so long, I forgot which recipe I needed it for! Finally, a spice store from the coast opened a brand new location in our neighborhood and they had it in stock.
It is a very interesting salt with it’s sulfuric smell and taste.
I decided to start my experiments with this quiche from the One Green Planet’s list, simply because I had all the ingredients.
This was very healthy, although I ate way too much of it. No crust makes this gluten free too. After all this, I almost forgot to use my special new salt instead of regular when making this recipe!
Easy Spinach and Pepper Quiche [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt (black salt if you have it!)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup arrowroot or cornstarch
1½ tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a shallow 9″ pie dish and set aside.
Combine all ingredients, except spinach and pepper, in a Vitamix or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to break up chunks and scrape the sides as necessary.
In a bowl, mix chopped spinach and pepper.
Add the batter and mix well.
Transfer batter to pie dish.
Using a spatula, spread the mixture around so it’s even and tight.
Bake 30-40 minutes, until golden and the center is not still mushy.
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing (luke warm or room temperature is best for slicing).
I’m finally writing about a reunion last month with my two best friends from University. I have known these women since we were about 19 years old (more or less), and well- we’re gaining on our 3rd decade of friendship. But we all look exactly the same (at least that is what we think). I am now older than my PARENTS were when I graduated from college, that is so bizarre. I feel lucky to have these forever friends, and even if we all live in different states, our states are adjoining ones. Since moving to Portland in 1999, there aren’t a lot of people in my daily life who knew me before I was married with kids, and all my “old” friends have a special place in my heart.
We’ve made it a point to get together at least once a year. Sometimes with families, sometimes just us. I found photos of the three of us in shoulder pads, stone-washed denim and big permed hair from the late 80s, and photos of all of us at each others weddings. Through marriage, kids, deaths, job changes, and other life changes, I know we all support each other. We had a lot of laughs trying to take a decent selfie for this trip, we just don’t practice enough I guess!
For this February weekend, we took over my parent’s home on the Oregon coast. And they were kind enough to leave town so that we could have it all to ourselves to talk freely (and without my mom seeing how many wine bottles we went through). Since my two friends both had some travel costs, I offered to plan and pay for the food and of course be the driver.
My friends are not vegan, and when we were planning the trip, they were really kind about saying I could make whatever I wanted.
I challenged myself to come up with food that they would hopefully enjoy, always trying to present an easy and delicious view of vegan food using whole foods. Making things that are supposed to emulate meat doesn’t really measure up to those who eat meat regularly (I’ve found). They are more satisfying for those of us who haven’t had the real thing for awhile!
Indian Vegetarian Korma Substituted coconut milk for the heavy cream to make it vegan. I also made some chickpea cutlets for the first time from Veganomicon, but those weren’t my favorite. However, people love those, and so I might try again and see if there was something that went awry. My friends said they liked them, but they are kind people, so what else would they say?
I ended up talking to them more about my vegan ideas and philosophy than I usually do. Later, I thought about that. I try to be careful with all my friends not to cause any alarm… or maybe to appear “normal enough” so they will continue to invite me over for dinner. (-; With these friends, I am not worried that they will abandon me, even if they don’t agree with me. Because it has become a very important part of my life, it was nice to be able to share that side.
We ended up eating out only a few times over those three days. On the way to the coast, we ate at Laughing Planet. Lazy Susan at the coast, where I was personally disappointed about the lack of even a non-dairy creamer for the coffee. It is charming, but not vegan-friendly… but the other options were Pig n’ Pancake or Scoop n’ Grill which definitely weren’t better. Sweet Basil’s Cafe is the most vegan-friendly option in Cannon Beach, but they open at lunch. For dinner back in Portland, we went to Pizzeria Otto, and tried their vegan pizza- cashew “ricotta”, lemon and pumpkin seed pesto. It was really good!
We had a pretty rainy weekend, but honestly, it didn’t matter that much. What a gift to be able to catch up on all the new developments in each others’ lives, talk about anything and everything, and reminisce. We may not talk often, but when we see each other it is like no time has passed.
I love you girls! Thank you for your friendship as we change through the years, but always remain the same at heart.
We’re updating the blog, and as I reorganized some old posts, I realized that I missed celebrating my Veganniversary. February 1, 2012 I started this journey and have consistently stayed true to this commitment. And yes, I still count myself as vegan even if I slipped up sometimes.
I really didn’t know if I would relapse, but at this point, I feel even more strongly about the movement than before. It has made a huge impact in my life, and changed how I view the world. I’m now advocating every day for the animals, the earth and my kid’s future. Not to mention, our health. In the past 4 years I have read so much, and learned even more than when I started. I now have experience in cooking plant-based meals and there are more products even then when I started.
Besides trying a new vegan restaurant to celebrate, I have a new goal to start for March. While we feel positive about veganism from a standpoint of animals, environment and health, I think our family can make improvements to our meals and cut back on processed foods and oil. If you are just beginning, meatless chicken patties and prepackaged meals can help make the transition easier. Since I have had time to fall back on that, I want to delve deeper into making our meals to include even more whole foods and less sugar.
Mostly, I just get lazy sometimes and don’t feel like planning ahead. However, I want to help some people in my community who also struggle with meal planning, so I am going to put in the effort and make healthier meals that everyone will eat. I’m pretty sure that this is one of the major stumbling blocks for a lot of people. Once you remove cheese- how do you make quesadillas, grilled cheese, and other easy items? I’m not a fan of soy-based cheeses, so this means being more creative so the recipe doesn’t NEED the cheese. I love this easy, delicious cauliflower alfredo dish for example:
1/2 cup unsweetened and unflavored almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
Fettuccine pasta of choice
Put cauliflower in a large pot and cover with water or steam it until fork tender, around 5-7 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, sauté the minced garlic in oil over low heat for 4-5 minutes until softened and fragrant, but not browned.
In a high speed blender, add the cooked and drained cauliflower, sauteed garlic, milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until really smooth sauce, let it run for a minute or so. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your desired amount of pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.
Add cauliflower sauce into the empty pot and add the drained pasta. Heat over low-medium until heated enough to your liking. Salt again to taste.
Serve with fresh minced parsley and black pepper. Add in sautéed peas, spinach, or broccoli if you like.
I draw what I eat (usually), and write some commentary about it and the recipes. However, that makes it really hard to separate the recipes out. So, the plan is to reorganize! In the meantime it is a muddle… I made Mujadara yesterday for the first time. I don’t make as many Middle Eastern recipes. This recipe was simple enough, but it takes a full hour and a half to make. You pre-cook lentils, and then take time to really caramelize the onions, and the rice cooks in that mixture afterwards.
It turned out well- my caveats: probably used the wrong lentils. Ours were green, not brown. I felt like it used a lot of oil. I think I would cut that back from 1/4 cup. That was the only thing that wasn’t very healthy about the dish. I skipped the crispy onion part since I already used 2 onions, which is 2 onions too many for one of the kids.
Lastly, I finally got the vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after much hype about it. I had visited our local B&J shop at least twice, and they didn’t have it, kept checking Fred Meyers with no luck. Finally, I tried Target since I heard they had it. I hate going to Target because I end up spending too much money buying stuff I don’t need. I made this special trip to buy the ice cream (along with some kid clothes). It was very disappointing to see that they didn’t have it there.
In this case, I decided to ask the stock person (on the advice of another local vegan). He said it was actually in the back. I waited for probably around 15 minutes while he went into some deep freeze area and came back with 4 options. All of them cost $4.99, much more than their dairy counterparts. I got two of them to try out.
This ice cream is made with almond milk, and I really like the coffee caramel fudge one. Maybe it’s elusiveness added extra pleasure. After my daughter tried it she exclaimed, “that’s it, I am going vegan”.
Sorry for the silence lately. There has actually been a lot happening, and much to write about. There have been two big reasons for the silence.
One: I have a lot of work to do! For my design firm I have some great clients and am doing book illustrations, t-shirt designs, logos, a website and more.
Two: I just haven’t been really feeling like I have anyone reading this website.
Except… for my mother. And this post is for her.
My mom probably inspired me the most to be an artist. Since a young age, she has always given me opportunities and encouraged me. She frames my artwork, printed thank you notes that I drew, and enrolled me in art classes. She is a very creative person in her own right in so many ways: knitting, stamping, watercolor, gardening, and cooking.
She has been very supportive of my vegan lifestyle, even if she is not vegan herself. She enjoys trying new foods like tempeh, cashew cheese, and tofu and has given me some great recipes to try. She is queen of the kitchen gadgets and among other items, wanted a Vitamix before it was even on my radar. Now, it is my favorite and most-used kitchen appliance. Recently she got a spiralizer and has been making zoodles (zucchini noodles), and all sorts of interesting things. I am sure it is only a matter of time before I get one. We share recipes- successes and mistakes.
I am fortunate to have a very veg-friendly family in general. Our relatives have been great about making sure we have something to eat at all the gatherings, and choosing restaurants that have veg options too. When I visit my sister, she gets non-dairy milk and plans veg meals. Last Thanksgiving, my family even decided to have a turkey-less meal, which was so incredibly wonderful. I didn’t ask them to do this, but it was so appreciated. My mom substitutes out the chicken broth, and makes us meals.
My mom has always been encouraging of my endeavors, and I know she is my #1 supporter of everything, including this blog. It keeps me motivated to write, when I know people are reading it..
Thank you for being such a great mom, who accepts change, new adventures, and compassion. Love you!! Hope to try even more kitchen appliances and recipes with you for many more years (Instant Pot is next on my list, and cauliflower rice)!
Here is a vegan version of my mom’s delicious General Tso’s cauliflower recipe breaded in panko. It has been approved by my dad and picky kids alike.
I had a great long weekend filled with good friends, food and a lot of wine. I am trying to catch up- but there is my actual work to do as well and catching up with family as well. Here is today’s food diary. I made some favorites: Lunchbox cookies (somehow only made one dozen!!) which lasted only one day, and Vegan shepherd’s pie made with mushrooms. The recipe is in the comments, but you the little video is so well-done and makes this look even easier than it is. It was once again so good that we decided not to bake it and just ate the whipped mashed potatoes with the delicious “gravy” filling on top. All of us had leftover vegan meatloaf from the Engine 2 Diet book.
My first favorite cookie has been de-throned! I’m in love with this new recipe.
Last night, looking through the internet for a different recipe to try, I was a little shocked by some of the amounts of oil. One recipe asked for 3/4 cup oil. My other recipe uses 1/2 cup coconut oil. I have been hearing mixed reviews on coconut oil lately, more about that later!
What attracted me to Fork’s Over Knives Lunchbox Chocolate Chip Cookies was two things. One, the recipe is by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, vegan cookbook goddess. Second, it uses almond butter and flax seeds to add more protein and Omega oils.
I was getting ready to haul out my trusty mixer but the recipe says, mix with a fork. And doesn’t ask for multiple bowls for wet and dry ingredients. Less cleaning adds even more bonus points.
Here is my own version of this recipe since I was missing a lot of specific ingredients. Like almond butter, oat flour and sorghum flour. Try mine, or go for the original!
What I really love about these cookies is they have texture. I am not into the cakey type cookies, and those flax seeds and oats make these a hearty cookie. Mine were pretty sticky, but otherwise worked great. I couldn’t stop eating the raw cookie dough. Which is one of the biggest perks of making vegan cookies: no raw eggs.
My husband wasn’t a fan of my photo, but he definitely liked the taste. And it passes picky girl’s criteria which is a very, very high certification.
Amy’s Lunchbox Cookies
Makes 24 cookies, ready in 25 minutes
⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
⅓ cup almond butter (I used peanut butter)
½ cup dry sweetener (I used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⅓ cups oat flour (I ground up oats in Vitamix- I think it is the same thing?)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sorghum flour, or whole wheat pastry flour (flour)
½ cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips (dark chocolate chips)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats.
2. In a large bowl, use a strong fork to beat together the applesauce, almond butter, dry sweetener, and flaxseeds. Once relatively smooth, mix in the vanilla.
3. Add in the oat flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well.
4. Add the sorghum flour and chocolate chips and mix well.
5. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets in about 1½-tablespoon scoops, about 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies a bit, so that they resemble thick discs (they won’t spread much at all during baking).
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crispier they will be.
7. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I don’t have much to say about today’s meals. We are running out of vegetables, so I roasted what we had: small potatoes and sweet potatoes with some olive oil and sea salt for lunch. It was really tasty though! That rounded bread is from Grand Central bakery– Como bread… and I could live on that alone. I take great pride in scrounging together meals when I have basically nothing in the fridge. It is like a “Chopped” cooking challenge when they get those mystery boxes with odd ingredients. I almost had enough coconut milk to make another curry but not quite. Kids had noodles with daiya cheese and mixed veg, along with some Quorn “chicken” nuggets for protein. The Quorn is fungi, not soy-based, and the cheese is potato-based. Sadly Quorn uses egg whites and milk, so they aren’t vegan.
On a completely different note, we have been putting stuff from our garage outside our house with a free sign and it gets carted away within an hour usually. It is amazing. Dusty old BBQ grill with bag of charcoal that got wet- gone. Tall cheap IKEA bookcase- gone. Top of an IKEA chair that could possibly be returned, but that would mean having to go to IKEA- gone! Definitely beats hauling it somewhere or haggling over $10 with some stranger from Craigslist who conveniently forgot that you said CASH ONLY.
If you enjoy this veg blog, I would love to have you join the @eatlessmeat4all Facebook page!
Day two of the food drawings, and nothing makes you more aware of what you are going to eat than knowing you have to draw it. To see it visually represented has impact, and I am working on a way to share the sketches if others want to make their own visual food diary.
I ate a lot today, and much of it was not that easy to draw- rice, quinoa, I will need to work on that! Also a lot of fruit today. My favorite is “apple” bananas. Not sure about their technical name, but I ate so many in Hawaii and love them. Found them at our local Asian grocery… last time we bought tiny bananas there we had a terrible fruit fly infestation! Hoping these won’t have that issue.
I have posted my egg recipe before. Other than that, I didn’t use any recipes today. For lunch, a simple bowl with things I had in the fridge: rice from last night, beans, spinach, salsa and roasted corn. So good! For dinner, we had tacos, which was similar to having a bowl but served in a shell without rice. I added avocado for the kids, and a friend brought us delicious quinoa with vegetables. Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and very healthy.
Today someone commented on the amount of soy we eat (mostly me). I’m going to try to keep that more balanced. I can use rice milk in cereal for example. Almond milk is good, but we don’t buy it often since it is an extremely water-intensive product.
One other note, we have pastel-colored Fiesta ware which is why many of the mugs/plates/bowls look the way they do. Not great for photographing food!