Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12th - Eggplant Parmesan II

Wow, I've missed a whole month's of posting.  Sorry.  But Dave made Eggplant Parmesan again on Sunday and OMG it was amazing!  It was so crispy on the outside and yummy, creamy on the inside.

Here's what he did.

He took about a half cup of flour and put it in a bowl.  Then he mixed in unsweetened almond milk into the flour until it was like pancake batter.

He peeled the eggplant and then cut it lengthwise pretty thin.  Then he coated the eggplant with the flour/almond milk batter and then dipped it into seasoned panko breadcrumbs.  (I didn't even realize they had seasoned panko breadcrumbs.  I thought he had used half regular panko breadcrumbs and half seasoned regular breadcrumbs.)

Then he fried it in a frying pan with a generous amount of oil until they were golden brown.  Then he kept them warm in the oven about 350 degrees.

We just had it with plain spaghetti sauce and spaghetti noodles.  It just melted in my mouth it was so yummy.

I had it leftover for lunch yesterday too.

Here's what the eggplant looked like on the baking sheet.

I think you should definitely give it a try.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13th - Eggplant Parmesan

I know I missed the Sunday family recipe day last week.  But I was a bit jet lagged from flying home to the east coast from California the day/night before.  So, I'm sorry I've been a bit lax with my family recipe posting and all week of no posts.  I also started a new job on Monday so I've been quite busy.

But Monday night Dave made Eggplant Parmesan for dinner.  It was soooooooooo good.  We all really like it.  Dave was so sweet because he Googled "vegan eggplant parmesan" to make it.  I know him and he wants to perfect it and make it more crispy but I think it is wonderful.

Here's how he made it.

Eggplant Parmesan
1 eggplant peeled and sliced
almond milk
panko bread crumbs
canola oil
spaghetti sauce
spaghetti (cooked according to package and drained)

Sprinkle the eggplant with salt  and let stand for about 20 minutes.  Then wash it off.     Coat the eggplant with the flour, then dip in the almond  milk and then coat with the panko bread crumbs.  Place coated eggplant in a hot frying pan with a thin layer of canola oil.  Fry the eggplant slices.

Once all the eggplant slices are cooked serve with the spaghetti noodles and sauce.  You can keep the cooked eggplant sliced warm in the oven (about 250 degrees) while the rest are cooking.

p.s. Be on the lookout for updates to the Eggplant Parmesan recipe.  Dave is already talking about mixing the flour with the almond milk and making a coating and then coating the eggplant with the panko.  I don't mind the experiments!  It was delicious on Monday and very good for leftovers in my lunch!

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4th - Pinwheels Appetizers

I previously froze half of the mushroom & eggplant mixture (recipe here) from the other day and I still had some leftover cashew cheese so I decided to make some pinwheels for my sister-in-law and nephew to try.  I like the mushroom & eggplant mixture both ways and I really like the cheese pinwheels.

I just made another row of the mushroom & eggplant puffs and then I made the pinwheels.  I spread a thin layer of the mushroom mixture on half of the 2/3s piece of the puff pastry for the mushroom & eggplant pinwheels.  For the cheese pinwheels I spread a thin layer of the cashew cheese on the other third and then I sprinkled some shredded cheddar Daiya on it.  I rolled them both up and then sliced them. 

I baked them at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

Using the puff pastry is very easy and my mind is racing with yummy ideas to fill it!  Plus it really makes a ton of little appetizers!  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1st - Reflections on my first Vegan MoFo

Wow, I made it.  I did a post every day of September for my first Vegan MoFo.  I must say I’m pretty proud of myself!  It truly hasn't been easy since I've been at my parents' house in California for the past two weeks and my dad was in the hospital the first week I was here.  I think it’s harder being in someone else’s kitchen any way and then add that you don’t eat animal products and you want to try to make things for this Vegan MoFo you've signed up to do!  I did prepare many of my posts and post ideas on my flight here.  I had five hours to kill on the flight to Phoenix.  (I’m still here until Saturday!)  I was lucky enough to have quite a few pictures of meals I've already made and lots of ideas in my head.  My mom has also been pretty open to whatever I made too.  My dad is recovering from surgery and he needs his “protein” (insert animal protein in their eyes) to heal so we've been making a few beef hamburger patties for him too.  I keep teasing him and telling him I’m putting him on the “Bill Clinton Diet” soon! 

Vegan MoFo is one of the many internet “things” that have really helped me in my first year of switching to a plant base diet.  I couldn't imagine doing it without the internet.  There are so many resources out there to help figure out meal ideas, information and support.  I pretty much search any recipe I’m thinking about and put vegan in the search too.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it comes up vegetarian.  Sometimes I just figure out how to make it vegan and taste good.  I truly think plant base eating is going to explode in the next few years.  So many people are leaning towards it. 

Since I've been pretty busy with my parents and their needs I really haven’t had much time to do my internet searches.  I really wanted to check out more of the other Vegan MoFo participants.  I will go back to their posts and note the blogs that inspire me and those I’d like to follow.  Speaking of which, this blog Your Mom's a Vegan was one of the ones I found last year when I came across their blog roll last year.  The name of her blog made me want to check it out.  It is fun to periodically check out other’s blogs and see what they are doing. 

My sister-in-law has been eating this way for a while and my nephew, her son, is vegan.  They live here in California and they are coming over this morning.  It’s fun to have someone who eats like you.  I’m going to make the rest of the mushroom puffs (I froze the half I didn't use).  I may even try some of my cashew cheese in some of the puff pastry.  I was thinking I could even do pinwheel like bites.  I think I even saw some vegan vegetable egg rolls in my parent’s freezer. I could make those to snack on too!  

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 30 - calzone

I decided to make a couple mini calzones to use up the ingredients from the fridge.  I just made a quick smaller version of my dough for this recipe. It’s pretty easy with 1 cup of flour and half cup of warm water with 1 tsp. yeast, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. sugar.  It is simple and easy to mix together.  And delicious!  This recipe is good for four snack size calzones or two meal size portions.  I absolutely loved these.  I think my family will like them too! 

1 recipe dough below
Tomato/pizza sauce
Toppings – I used mushrooms, black olives, and red onions.  But you could also put any veggies in this calzone i.e., green peppers, zucchini, broccoli, etc.  You may want to steam harder vegetables a little bit or par boil them so they are partially cooked before adding to calzone.
Daiya shredded cheese ( used the cheddar because that is what I have today.)

Split dough in quarters.  Spread out/roll out into 4 circles.  Place a few tablespoons of sauce on top of the dough.  Top with desired toppings.  

Bake in 400 degree oven for 18 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

On the baking sheet - finish.  The sauce & cheese came out a little bit.

1 cup flour
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. active dry yeast
½ cup warm water

Put all dry ingredients in a glass mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Pour in the warm water and mix until forms a ball.  Knead ball in bowl for a few minutes.  I just used the fork to continue to stir and knead the dough. Cover and allow to rise approximately 2 hours. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 29 - sweet and sour cabbage

So for family recipe day I’m pulling one of my all-time favorites!  Sweet and Sour Cabbage is what we call it now but the recipe card just says “Cabbage.”  This recipe is from my side of the family specifically my dad’s mother’s aka Grandma Margaret’s recipe.  My parent’s usually have it with pork roast, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and gravy.  I make it sans the meat and a veggie gravy made from better than bouillon no beef/chicken bouillon.    

Here’s the actual recipe:  (in my mom’s handwriting but you can tell it was written a long time ago!)

Place in kettle ½ cup water
½ cup vinegar
Add about       ¼ cup of sugar
Salt & pepper (lots and lots)
(pepper is what makes it good)
At least 2 tablespoons drippings or margarine.  Bring to a boil and add shredded cabbage.  Cook very slowly (approx.. 1 hr.)

Stir occasionally.  Add more water and vinegar if needed.  Taste syrup – add sugar & pepper to taste. 

The slower it is cooked the better.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 28 - fresh tomato pasta sauce

I love fresh pasta sauce.  It is so easy and so yummy and soooooooo much better than jar sauce.  The ingredients that make the sauce so good are using fresh basil and garlic.

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce
10 small Campari tomatoes
8 – 10 small/medium basil leaves sliced thin
1 clove garlic cut in half
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
Pasta of your choice

Chopped up the tomatoes and put in a sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat.  Put in the basil, garlic, salt and sugar.  Cook until tomatoes soften and become saucy. 
While tomatoes are cooking make your pasta.

Remove garlic pieces and serve over hot pasta.

I would normally also puree with my hand immersion blender but my mom doesn’t have one.  It’s more like a jar sauce when you puree it.  Maybe next time.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 27 - red potato & red onion pizza

I had some leftover pizza dough from making pizza the other night so I thought to myself I should try the potato pizza.  So, I did.  I flattened out the pizza dough and put a little olive oil on it, then I put thinly sliced red potatoes, little red onion slices/pieces, a little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt evenly over the pizza.  I baked it in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  It was actually pretty good.  I would probably add more spices next time.  i.e., garlic salt and some crumbled thyme leaves sprinkled over top before baking. 



Red Potato and Red Onion Pizza
Pizza dough (my recipe here)
Olive oil
Thinly sliced red potatoes (about one small/medium for each pizza)
Thinly sliced red onion (about 1 tablespoon for each pizza)
Sea Salt
Optional – garlic salt, thyme leaves, rosemary, basil to taste

Make pizza dough according to recipe.  Allow it to rise the 2 hours.  Split dough into 6 pieces for small single size pizzas or split into 4 servings for bigger single size pizzas.

Spread olive oil on top of rolled out pizza dough.  Arrange potato and onion slices over top.  Sprinkle with spices and a little bit of olive oil.

Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 26 - daiya cream cheese spread

I’m in love again with another Daiya product!  They have made an awesome soy free cream cheese style spread.  I really, really like it!  To be honest I have only tried it on my morning bagels but it is oh so yummy.  It spreads nicely and has a really good flavor.  

I have only tried the plain one so far.  I will probably try the chive and onion one too soon.  I’m not too keen on sweet cream cheeses so I probably won’t try the strawberry one. But you never know!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan MoFo day 25 - cashew cheese

Here’s how I made the cashew cheese for yesterday's Eggplant and Mushroom Puffs because I didn’t have tahini or onion powder.  I can think of endless ways to flavor this cheese.  I think I’d start with the cashews, salt, nutritional yeast, and the creamer and go from there. My mom even liked it!  It's very good on toast too!

Cashew Cheese
2 cups of cashews (soak in water over night or several hours)
1 small chunk of onion chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 T. nutritional yeast
3 T. coconut milk creamer
Juice of ½ a lemon

Put all ingredients in the food processor (or Vitamix or high speed blender) and pulse to combine and stir down a few times until well combined.  Then, mix continuously for at least 5 minutes until ultra smooth and creamy! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 24 - mushroom and eggplant puffs

I saw this recipe when I was checking out fellow Vegan MoFo’s postings and I’ve been craving to make it ever since.  The Luminous Vegans’ Creamy Mushroom and Eggplant Strudel  looks amazing.  Here’s my version though because I didn't have the phyllo dough and I really didn't feel like dealing with it.   The puff pastry was really quite easy.

Mushroom and Eggplant Puffs
1 small eggplant peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
1 package (from Costco – pretty big not sure the weight) mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves chopped
½ large sweet onion cut into large chunks
1 tsp. salt
3 green onions thinly sliced
2 – 3 T. cashew cheese (big dollop)
Puff pastry

Put the eggplant, mushrooms, garlic and onion in the food processor.  I processed it a lot.  It was more like a wet paste.  Put in a skillet and add salt and sliced green onions.  Cook over medium heat until the moisture is mostly gone.  Allow to cool. 

 before cooking out liquid

 When I got up this morning I put the cashews in the water to soak.  After the mushroom/eggplant mixture was cooling I made the cashew cheese.  See “my” recipe in tomorrow’s post.

Add about 2 - 3 tablespoons of the cashew cheese to the cooled mushroom and eggplant mixture.  I just added a dollop of the cashew cheese mixture.  It looks about to be 2 - 3 tablespoons to me.

I also took out one of the puff pastry sheets and put it in plastic wrap to thaw out earlier.

Unfold the puff pastry sheet and cut in thirds.  Spoon one-sixth of mixture down the middle on each piece of puff pastry.  (I only used half of the musroom/eggplant mixture for 1 sheet of puff pastry.  So, I have some leftover which I think I will freeze for later or I could make another batch and freeze them before cooking.  It makes a lot!)

Fold over, seal, and put seam on the bottom.  Score each piece of puff pastry into about 1 ½ inch pieces.  

Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 2o-25 minutes or until brown. Serve immediately. 

To freeze:  once puff pastry is filled cut into 1 ½ inches pieces and put on a baking sheet.  Freeze until firm – at least an hour.  Store in freezer bags or other freezer container.  To heat place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until brown. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 23 - pickled asparagus

Here is a super easy but delicious side dish.  My friend Cindy showed me how to make this one!  It’s pickled asparagus. 

Pickled Asparagus
Asparagus cut into bit size pieces
Rice wine vinegar

Rinse and cut asparagus into bit size pieces.  Put into an old pickle jar (or any container) and fill with rice wine vinegar.  Put in the refrigerator for at least a few hours to allow the asparagus to pickle. 

Serve over sliced/cut up tomatoes.  This is also good over a tossed salad as the dressing. 

I’m sure you could use any cut up vegetable i.e., cucumbers, green beans, zucchini, cauliflower etc. and pickle them too!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 22 - golumkies

It’s Sunday so it’s family recipe day!  I made this plant base version of these cabbage rolls a while ago.  I really haven’t had them in a long time because we usually have them at one of my husband’s family’s get togethers and I think we’ve pretty much either gone out for them or it’s either been Thanksgiving or Christmas and we don’t normally have them for those holidays. 

Here’s the recipe I made this time.  Honestly they are pretty good but a little mushy on the inside.  I need to experiment more with different fillings.  I love the flavor though.

½ medium/large onion finely chopped
2 T. vegan butter
Small container white mushrooms – cleaned and finely  chopped
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 cup cooked rice
1 big can of tomato sauce
¼ cup sugar (up to ½ cup if you like it really sweet)
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Sauté the onion in vegan butter until soft.  Add finely chopped mushrooms and cook down.  Add the rice, salt and pepper.  Cool.

Core the cabbage.  Put core side down into a pot of boiling water.  Cook covered until outer leaves become soft and tender.  Start to peel off the outer leaves.  Allow to cool. 

In a small saucepan put the tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Take about ¼ cup of mushroom/rice mixture and put in the middle of a cabbage leaf.  Roll up like a burrito – middle, side, side and then roll.  Continue making rolls until all filling is used.  Put a little bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.  Placed cabbage rolls on top of sauce.  Spoon sauce over top.  (At this point cabbage rolls can be put on a baking sheet lined with foil and frozen to cook later.)  

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until middle of the cabbage rolls are hot which is approximately 30 minutes.    

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 21 - freezer snacks

Here is an easy dinner/snack from the freezer.  I found these frozen veggie fried rice, vegan spring rolls and vegan dumplings.  They were pretty good “fast” food for me.  I think I found the "fried" rice at Trader Joe's and the spring rolls and dumplings at Wegman's.  It sure hit the spot.

I am noticing more and more products actually have the label "VEGAN" on the front of their packaging.  Wow, isn't that nice to see?  Well, it is for me!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 20 - finding vegan

I’ve been very busy this week with family obligations and up until now I’ve had recipes and ideas to be able to post.  Today I will post about a favorite website of mine - finding vegan

It is one of my favorite places to surf around to find new vegan food ideas.  There are also many Vegan MoFo participants who also post to finding vegan  too. 

Surfing the web for vegan recipes is a lot of fun and also a great way to find some new food ideas!  Happy surfing!  I’d love to hear about anyone else’s surfing finds!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 19 - white rice with green peas

Here is one of my favorite simple dinners.  It’s a one pot meal and there are always leftovers for me for lunch! 

White Rice with Green Peas
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup frozen green peas

Put rice in a pot and cover with the water and add the salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.  Stir in the green peas and continue cooking until all water is absorbed – about 5 to 10 minutes.  Fluff to serve from pot or put in a serving dish.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 18 - corn chowder

This isn’t the first time I’ll be posting about my corn chowder.  In fact it is the third time I’ll be posting about our favorite family soup.  The first time I posted it was under my first blog (Bad Beer, Good Cook) but it wasn’t a vegan soup because of the bacon the family recipe.  I adapted the recipe in January to be able to be on my plant base blog by omitting the bacon and using vegan “butter.”  Here’s the link to that post.

My dad always wants me to make it when he sees me whether at my home in Maryland or his home in California.  I’m here in California so of course I had to make a big pot of it for him.  My mom says she doesn’t like corn much but she always has a bowl too.  My dad usually has at least two bowlfuls if not three! 

I had my usual bowl of soup too but then I started craving it to be creamy.  So, I took a small ramekin of the soup and a fork and I mashed up the potatoes to make it creamier.  Then, I added a splash of my coconut milk creamer.  OMG – it was like a creamy of potato soup with corn in it.  I love the flavor of thyme and especially in soups.  I like it this way too! 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 17 - ice cream bars

I’m really not that big of an ice cream eater.  If I had to pick between something salty and something sweet, then salty would win probably most of the time.  When I first started eating this way I asked Amy Q. (who told me all about Forks Over Knives and her new way of eating) what was the hardest part of this way of eating and what did she miss the most?  Well, she said she really missed ice cream.  Hmmm.  Now, I can’t say I really miss ice cream because I rarely ate it before but I do like the occasional ice cream sandwiches from Charlie – the ice cream man that comes around the neighborhood.  Well, I found these wonderful ice cream sandwiches made by So Delicious.  (Yes, the wonderful people who make my coconut milk creamer!)

I love the coconut milk ice cream bars.  They certainly hit the spot and are only 100 calories each.  And if Dave and I split one then it’s only 50 calories!  David also likes them too.  And guess what?  They don’t have any soy products in them either! 

These are one of those items that I think are found mostly are your specialty stores.  I can get them at Wegman’s and Whole Foods but I also found them at Food Lion too.  They are easy to find at Whole Foods because they are right there with all the other ice cream.  Wegman’s has a special frozen/refrigerated section right behind the flower shop area of their store that has special diet items.  It’s also where there Daiya cheese products are found and the Earth Balance mindful mayo is located in the refrigerator section.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 16 - Kind Bars

I found myself traveling again last weekend but this time I was traveling by airplane.  I had an early flight and only had two cups of coffee before I left the house.  I’m not particularly hungry first thing in the morning and especially not at 4 a.m.!  I grabbed two Kind Bars for the first leg of my trip as I was walking out of the house.  I am absolutely in love with Kind Bars.  They are so much better than any other granola type bar.  They have big chunks of nuts and fruit in them.  I’m pretty sure they fall into the vegan category.  If not, they are definitely in my 90% personal plant base living rule and doing the best I can motto.  My Kind Bar really hit the spot an hour into my flight and I had a 5 hour flight.  

Hmm, you might wonder how I came to even try a Kind Bar.  Well, let me tell you – I was at Whole Foods looking at their huge wall of granola/energy bars and checking out all the labels.  I look for free of animal products as well as free of soy products.  When this lady picks up one of the Kind Bar boxes and dumps all of the dark chocolate nuts and sea salted bars into her cart.  

Of course I had to say “Guess you don’t like that one at all?” and she laughed and said “Nope, not one bit.”  So, I had to try one.  The rest is history.  I really like the dark chocolate nuts and sea salt but I also like all of the ones I’ve tried so far.  If you haven’t yet, I would really recommend you try them!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 15 - haluski

My husband’s family is half Polish. So, there are many yummy (my favorite word I think) dishes from his mom’s side of the family.  Haluski is one of my favorites and was always a part of Christmas Eve dinner.  I remember asking Aunt Rita about how to make it and I distinctly remember her saying its better with a lot of butter.  It’s really not that hard to make and tastes even better the next day. 


1 large onion chopped
4 tablespoons vegan butter
1 small/medium head of cabbage chopped in about 1 inch chunks
1 tsp. salt (or to your own taste)
½ cup of water
1 lb. box of bow tie pasta
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tablespoons vegan butter (to make it yummier)

Cook the onions in the vegan butter until soft and starting to caramelize in a big pot.  Add the chopped cabbage, salt and water.  Stir until the cabbage is well coated with the onion mixture.  

Cover and cook on medium heat until cabbage is tender.  Stir every so often to make sure it doesn’t stick to bottom of pot and add water if necessary.  (I usually do.) 

While cabbage and onion mixture is cooking cook the bow tie pasta according to the package.  Make sure to salt the pasta water too – about 1 tsp.  I like my pasta soft for this dish so I definitely do not cook it al dente.  Drain.

Once the cabbage is really soft add all of the cooked pasta to the pot.  Stir well.  Add the pepper and extra vegan butter. 
Dave’s mom and Aunt Rita would make this dish at least a day ahead and just reheat it in the oven.  You can also use any type of pasta you want.  I would just recommend a short flat noodle.  I think many traditional recipes use egg noodles but I’ve always made mine with the bow ties or farfalle.  Aunt Rita would make the noodles so soft they would just break up and meld into the cabbage and onions.  

I’m thinking I will try to post family recipes on Sundays.  I have my version of vegan stuffed cabbage (golumkies)  I need to make a list of Dave’s family Polish recipes and how I can make them plant base versions.  i.e. belinis (potato pancakes), poppy seed roll,  I am half Dutch and the other half consists of (Canadian, Scottish, Irish and English,)  So, I have a few family favorites I’d like to figure out how to make them good for me to eat too! 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 14 - onion & garlic polenta

I absolutely love polenta.  I like it creamy when it’s first done and I like to put the rest in a casserole dish and make it into squares.  It freezes very well too.  Here is one of my favorite polenta recipes!

Onion& Garlic Polenta

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan butter spread
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove minced garlic
4 cups water
1 cup ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper (I like to use white pepper)

Sauté the onion in the olive oil/vegan butter until slightly caramelized over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the water.  Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil and slowly add the cornmeal whisking constantly to avoid lumps.  Once the mixture is thick and creamy (20 – 30 minutes) take pot off heat and add the vegan butter, salt and pepper. 

Serve as is or put in a greased 9x13 glass pan spreading out evenly.  Place in refrigerator to cool completely.

After it is set, cut the polenta into squares in the pan or turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into desired shapes i.e. circles, triangles, etc.  

Put a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and sauté them over medium high heat.