Vegan Nachos Supreme

Posted in Appetizers, Entrees, Party Food, Recipes | 3 Comments »

Vegan Nachos Supreme
Once you’ve made these, you’ll understand why it is completely necessary to call them “supreme.”

You want to hear something kind of crazy? This is the first time I’ve ever had nachos. Ever.

I fully realize what a complete oddball that makes me, but in my defense, even before I went vegan the sight/smell of “nacho” cheese has always been enough to keep me far, far away. It grosses me out on a level I can’t even describe. I will actually get up and move if someone sits down somewhere close to me with a container of nachos, it’s that serious.

However, when I saw this post from Kathy Patalsky last week in advance of Cinco de Mayo, I thought, “now these are nachos I can get DOWN with!” I whipped them up last night – making way too much for a solo meal – and actually had to throw them away to make myself stop eating. It was a little ridiculous.

Anyway, I can’t wait to make these again sometime when my husband is home. Taking a cue from Kathy and using a metal pie plate makes a perfectly sized serving for two. Of course, the beauty of something like this is that you can pretty much do whatever you want, but my ingredients list below can be used as a good starting point. Enjoy!

Vegan Nachos Supreme

Ingredients

Tortilla chips
1 small jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
Daiya Pepperjack cheese, to taste
1-2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 avocado, diced
Red onion, diced small, to taste
Black beans, to taste
1/3 package Tofurky Chorizo Style
1/2 recipe, Lime Cream
Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Spread a single layer of chips into a metal pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese and jalapenos. Repeat once more
  • Bake layered chips, cheese and jalapenos for 10 min.
  • Meanwhile, heat beans and prepare meatless ground
  • Remove chips from oven and layer beans, meatless ground, tomatoes, avocado, drizzled lime cream, red onions and cilantro to serve


Yield: Serves 2

Ellen’s Vegan Transition

Posted in Advocacy, In the News | 2 Comments »

GREAT article in yesterday’s Washington Post about Ellen DeGeneres’s vegan transition. I love that she doesn’t pull any punches about how difficult it was for her. It’s an extremely relatable and realistic position and one that is ultimately super useful for average American eaters.

However, I think the best info in the article comes from her personal chef, Roberto Martin (author of a new vegan cookbook):

…the key to helping people make the switch – or even simply reducing their consumption of animal products – is to think about creative substitutions. Break a recipe down into protein, acids, liquids and fat. Substitute plant products for the animal products like meat or milk or butter, then apply good technique, such as stir-frying or sauteing to produce deep flavors.

Right on, brother!

Although it probably wouldn’t please Alicia Silverstone (whom I adore), this is much more my style of vegan cooking – especially considering that my husband isn’t vegan – and I find it’s far more appealing to a mass audience to boot.

 

St. Louis Vegans/Vegan Drinks

Posted in Advocacy, In the News | 1 Comment »

St. Louis VegansHousekeeping Note: I’m not dead!

But seriously, sorry for the continual unannounced blackouts here. Life has gotten busy, etc., etc.

I don’t know when I’ll pick back up with daily posting on a regular basis, but I do know that I’m not finished here so check back every now and again, k?

Now on to the topic at hand: There’s a new networking group around these parts and it’s for VEGANS!!! Clearly, I’m a little excited about that.

St. Louis vegans is an offshoot of “Vegan Drinks,” a group that holds monthly social networking events for people interested in promoting vegansim and advocating for animal rights. The original group was formed in New York but the idea has since spread out to a variety of additional cities, now including St. Louis!

The very first event in St. Louis is TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 25th at 7pm at HandleBar in the Grove. There will be a variety of vegan-food options available, including vegan pizza made exclusively for the event. A list of vegan-friendly beers and wines will also be on hand. In addition to chatting up fellow, local vegans, there will also be vegan trivia for prizes.

Seeing as how I just found out about it, I am super sorry to say that I can’t make it to tomorrow’s inaugural event. Now that I’ve joined the St. Louis Vegans Facebook group though, I should be able to find out when the next gathering is well enough in advance to attend. I absolutely love the idea of having an opportunity to meet up with other local vegans, so I hope this catches on!

If you’re able to go tomorrow, be sure to give me the scoop!

Vegan Chicken Cacciatore

Posted in Entrees, Meat Substitutes, Quick & Easy, Recipes | 2 Comments »

Vegan Chicken CacciatoreI very rarely step outside the basic tomato sauce box when it comes to pasta but this recipe’s got me thinking I should try it a little more often. I used Two Buck Chuck Cabernet from Trader Joe’s to make this red wine sauce and it was super tasty and kind of delightfully different.

You can serve this over nearly any kind of pasta or rice. I used brown rice pasta and it was delish!

Vegan Chicken Cacciatore
Recipe courtesy of Health.com

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
4 pieces Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow or green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups tomato basil pasta sauce
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Directions

  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat
  • Add Chick’n and sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt and pepper over chick’n
  • Cook about 2 min. per side, transfer to a plate and set aside
  • Combine bell pepper and mushrooms in the skillet
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, cook 4 min., stirring occasionally
  • Add wine, cook 2 min.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, heat through
  • Return Chick’n to skillet, reduce heat to simmer, turning once about 4 min.
  • Top with parsley and serve


Yield: Serves 4

Temple Grandin at Lindenwood

Posted in Advocacy, In the News | No Comments »

You’re probably familiar with Temple Grandin‘s work via the fantastic HBO Film about her life starring Claire Danes (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend checking it out). To recap, Grandin is a big figure in autism awareness, agribusiness and animal welfare both because she herself is autistic and is also widely recognized as the industry’s leading authority on humane slaughter and animal handling.

Her unique perspective led her to recognize a problem that few others in agribusiness saw or cared about and design a solution that both improves efficiency and standards of care for animals during slaughter – understanding that it would not be possible to gain support for the second objective without the first.

I have the highest respect for Temple Grandin’s work. Knowing that she designs slaughterhouses, you might think that odd given that I am who I am, but here’s the thing: the meat industry exists. It exists and it’s not going anywhere for awhile – if ever. Knowing that, you bet your a$$ that I’m going to support any effort to make that whole terrible process as humane and painless as possible for the animals involved. If Temple Grandin’s work makes those final terrifying minutes just a little more bearable for the animals that can’t be saved – and it does – then I’m down.

The point of all this, by the way, is that Grandin will be speaking tomorrow night at Lindenwood University as part of their 2011-12 Speaker Series. I’m excited about the prospect of hearing her speak in person and as an animal advocate, I’m intensely interested in what she might have to say.

She is scheduled to speak at 7 pm at the Bezemes Family Theatre at 2300 West Clay Street in St. Charles. Admission is free and open to the public and doors open at 6. It is expected to be extremely crowded, so plan to arrive as early as possible if you’re interested in checking things out. Hope to see you there!

“Interdiet” Relationships

Posted in Advocacy, In the News, Lifestyle | 8 Comments »

Last week I came across an article on CNN about how differences in diet can cause serious divisions in relationships. As you would expect, the article primarily focused on couples with extremely different diets with more than a few examples of half vegan/half omni pairs. What struck me was how seriously the couples in the story and the author treated the subject, even going so far as to offer up tips for navigating this issue from a licensed psychologist.

I suppose my surprise stems from my own experience as the vegan half of an “interdiet” relationship. When my husband and I met 10 years ago I ‘d never given a second thought about the implications of eating animals and had an appetite for them that matched his own. Fast forward to today where I’m now an enthusiastic animal advocate who keeps a fairly strict vegan diet while he remains a conscientious but dedicated omnivore.

I suppose on paper that sounds like a recipe for disaster (and according to this CNN article, it is!) but that couldn’t be further from the truth for us. Andy has been and remains open-minded and supportive of my slow but steady transformation from unequivocal meat eater to full-on vegan even as he continues to include animal products in his diet.

Certainly it helps that he is the least picky eater possible (he can be counted on to dispose of the failed vegan experiments that even I won’t touch with a ten foot pole) but more than that I think the reason our differing diets have been such a non-issue for us is owed to our deep mutual respect for each other. While I do keep an entirely vegan kitchen/home, he’s free to buy and prepare anything he wants (an option he very rarely exercises). Likewise, when we eat out, he orders as he pleases. As for me, I keep all my gross-out facts and guilt-inducing stories of animal abuse and neglect to a bare minimum in his presence (sometimes it slips!) and abstain from food-related judgement or preaching.

Sure, I would love it if he decided to become vegan but if things are just the way they are now in 50 years, I’m cool with that too. I’d bet you he feels the same.

I know our situation isn’t an uncommon one, so I’m curious: if you’re in an “interdiet” relationship, how does it work for you? Is it a major issue? Give me the scoop in the comments!

 

Vegan Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese

Posted in Dairy Alternatives, Entrees, Kid-Friendly, Recipes | No Comments »

Vegan Gnocchi Mac n' CheeseYowsa. That’s all.

Vegan Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese
Recipe inspired by The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

Ingredients

1 lb purchased or homemade gnocchi (Racconto makes a good Whole Wheat version)
2 tbs Earth Balance
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbs all purpose flour
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar style shreds
1/3 cup vegan Parmesan
salt and white pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Prepare Gnocchi according to package directions
  • Drain and place gnocchi in a single layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with  non-stick spray
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  • Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 sec.
  • Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon
  • Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 min.
  • Combine cheeses and add small handfuls to the milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful
  • Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper
  • Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle Parmesan over the top
  • Bake until gnocchi puffs and cheese is slightly golden and bubbly, about 25 min.
  • Let gnocchi rest about 5 min. before serving


Yield: Serves 2-3

Vegan Fiesta Lime Rice

Posted in Entrees, Quick & Easy, Recipes, Sides | No Comments »

Vegan Fiesta Lime Rice
I found this a few weeks ago from a blog that’s been burning up Pinterest of late, Skinnytaste. It’s really great when you need something yummy, quick and simple. Beef it up with Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers for dinner or have it solo for lunch. Either way, it’s pretty darn good!

Vegan Fiesta Lime Rice
Recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cooked long grain rice (I prefer brown)
3/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and heated
3/4 cup frozen corn, heated
1 large tomato, diced
1 large scallion, diced fine
2-4 tbs chopped cilantro, to taste
1 tbs fresh squeezed lime juice
salt to taste

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients
  • Toss and serve


Yield: Serves 4

Update: I almost always serve this with a few slices of avocado on top as well. It’s a nice touch.

Vegan Grasshopper Pie

Posted in Baking, Desserts, Kid-Friendly, Recipes | No Comments »

Vegan Grasshopper Pie
Last weekend my husband and I visited good friends of ours that have recently had a baby (a super cute one, at that!). We thought it might be nice to make dinner for the busy new parents and this pie was what I brought for dessert.

When I was trying to decide what to make I had three objectives:

  1. Need to be able to make it the night before (which also means it must travel well)
  2. Needs to be sort of a universal crowd-pleaser
  3. Needs to be delicious



Obviously, that’s sort of a tall order. However, as I was thumbing through Vegan Pie in the Sky, I came across this little slice of heaven and knew it was just what the doctor ordered. If you’ve got an occasion coming up or are just in the mood for something yummy, give this one a try.

Vegan Grasshopper Pie
Recipe courtesy of Vegan Pie in the Sky

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups finely ground vegan chocolate wafer cookies (Newman’s Own makes a good one)
3 tbs sugar
4 tbs Earth Balance
1 tbs plain soy or almond milk

1/2 cup whole unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2-8 hrs or until very soft
1 (13 oz) can coconut milk at room temp.
1/4 cup creme de menthe
1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp agar powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract
4-6 drops green food coloring

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp coconut oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate w/non-stick cooking spray
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and sugar
  • Drizzle in the butter and use a spoon to blend the mixture thoroughly to moisten the crumbs, then drizzle in the milk and stir again to form a crumbly dough
  • Pour the crumbs into the pie plate
  • Press crumbs into the sides of the plate first, then work down to the bottom
  • Bake for 10 min.
  • Set aside to cool
  • Drain the cashews and place them in a food processor or blender
  • Blend with the coconut milk and creme de menthe until totally smooth
  • In the meantime, stir together the almond milk and agar powder in a small 2 qt saucepot
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring consistently
  • Boil for 30 seconds, then lower the heat so that you’re just getting small bubbles and cook for about 5 min., stirring occasionally
  • Whisk in the sugar, add the coconut oil and mix until melted
  • With the food processor running, stream the hot mixture in until thoroughly blended with the cashew mixture
  • Add the vanilla, mint and food coloring and pulse to combine
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared crust and refrigerate until set, about 4-6 hours
  • When the pie is almost set, melt the chocolate chips in a bowl and stir in the coconut oil to melt
  • Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic bag
  • Snip a tiny corner off the bag and drizzle the chocolate all over the pie
  • Return to the fridge to set for at least 20 min. (to bring out the full flavor of the mint and mellow the coconut flavor, chill overnight)
  • Serve with vegan whipped cream


Yield: One 9-inch pie

Back to the Start

Posted in Advocacy | 1 Comment »

A friend sent me a link to this super cool video put together by Chipotle.

Now, of course, I am of the opinion that we should just forgo the concept of raising animals for food entirely. However, I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon – if ever – so certainly, the least we can do is make the whole process as humane and respectful as possible. Better for the animals, better for the planet, better for health – which is the basic message this video is putting out there.

Footnote: I feel like I can’t post this video without mentioning that Chipotle gets under my skin a little. For as much good as they’re doing (and they are), I think their talk is a lot louder than their walk on the whole concern for animals front, especially a few years back when they really started pushing this messaging hard. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate their efforts. I recognize that something is better than nothing.

Regardless of how I feel about Chipotle though, there is no denying the radness of that Willie Nelson cover. What a perfect fit, right?! I’m going to need that download.