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Monday, February 24, 2014

Makin Fakin Bakin for Meatless Monday

It's Meatless Monday so I thought I'd offer up a recipe to magnificently mimic one of meat eater's most favorite meats - bacon.  Sometimes I invent recipes.  Other times I "borrow" and tweak.  This time I just pretty much took the recipe for Coconut Bacon from The Simple Veganista and made it as-is.  The only thing I really changed was cutting the recipe in half because I used Melissa's Coconut Chips which come in a 3 ounce package instead of the 7 ounces called for in the recipe.
Bakin' Before Bakin'

Be sure to take note of The Simple V's recipe suggestions at the bottom of her post - they all look amazing.  As you can see, my "bakin" came out like Julie's, and as soon as the avocados I just bought are ripe I'll be making a Cobb-ish salad, some split pea soup, and maybe some maple bakin cupcakes.  I hope you'll stay tuned  .....

Bakin' After Bakin'

Friday, February 14, 2014


Chocolate Crispy Hearts (vegan)

Whether it's love for one another, love for you-fill-in-the-blank with your favorite thing, love for animals and the less fortunate, and/or love for yourself, feeling it, sharing it, receiving it, and being grateful for it is what V-Day means to me.  You?

I'm also grateful for the growing (pun) interest in eating a plant-based diet.  Whether it's for the animals, for your health, for the environment, or for whatever reason, this movement is going in the righteous direction.

In order to feel part of today's love fest I had this idea to make something chocolaty that was also vegan and that was also something I haven't eaten in forever because conventional marshmallows are made using gelatin, and gelatin is derived from animal by-products.  So I'm sending out some love to Chicago Vegan Foods for creating Dandie's vegan and air-puffed marshmallows!

For your Valentine's Day plant-based eating pleasure I present my Vegan Chocolate Crispy Hearts.  Love, sweet love - it's the only thing that there's just too little of.

Chocolate Crispy Hearts (vegan)
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance buttery sticks
1 pkg. (10 oz.) Dandie's marshmallows
5 cups Three Sisters Cocoa-Snapz (or another chocolate crispy cereal)
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. grape seed oil
1 box Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate squares, melted

Combine the cereal and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking oil.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on low heat, add the marshmallows, and stir, stir, stir for about 4-5 minutes until the marshmallows are completely melted.  Add in the water and oil and stir, stir, stir until the mixture is creamy smooth.  Turn off the heat, pour the cereal/pecan mixture into the marshmallow cream a cup or so at a time and stir to incorporate.  Be sure to get everything well mixed or it won't hold together.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan, spread out to about 1/2-3/4" thick, using a wooden spoon to press down.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make individual crispy hearts and set aside.  (Sorry, but you'll just have to scarf down the trimmings like I did.)

Melt the chocolate squares in the microwave according to package directions.   Spread melted chocolate over the top of each heart, and set aside to dry/harden.  When one side is completely dry, turn the hearts over, remelt the chocolate, and spread chocolate on side 2 and set aside until hardened.  If you need to store the hearts, carefully place between parchment paper in a sealed container.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chinese New Year Part 2

CNY Slaw

Our Food Bloggers Los Angeles group gathered last weekend to celebrate all things chocolate and champagne.  Since I'd heard through the bloggervine that there would be plenty of both, I decided to give another shout out to Chinese New Year 2014.

At the TechMunch blogger conference last week I met some people from the Beyond Meat Company, and since I'm way beyond meat I decided to incorporate one of their great items in a CNY Slaw.  

CNY Slaw Assemblage

Basically it's shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, julienne cut red bell peppers, snow peas, celery, and green onion, raw almonds, chow mein noodles, and stir-fried Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken-Free Strips.  A dressing made up of equal amounts of sesame oil and  seasoned rice vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons each of teriyaki sauce and sweet chile sauce bring all the classic flavors together.  And instead of a recipe you can call it an assemblage.

Fantastic FBLA Spread with my little CNY slaw in the bottom left corner
Photo stolen from Shockingly Delicious' Dorothy Reinhold

Hopefully I haven't missed the boat on getting this post added to the "blog-hop" for the FBLA group event. (Here's where I could probably use some of that Chinese New Year good fortune.)

Click HERE for all the chocolate recipes and champagne recommendations from my great FBLA friends!  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Bao's for You

Jackfruit Bao

The Chinese Lunar New Year begins Friday, January 31, honoring the Year of the Horse.  The 15-day holiday period includes parades, special meals, gifts to ensure future riches, and symbolic decor  based on both ancient Chinese culture and modern, regional traditions.  To honor my Jewish-Chinese-food-loving
ancestors and my vegan aspirations, I've produced these Jackfruit Bao to kick-off my plant-based CNY party.

Traditional, steamed, pillowy buns filled with bbq p--k are must-haves at dim sum lunches from San Gabriel to Singapore.  At 28+ years as a vegetarian (and going strong), I've discovered a fantastic vegan, even more delicious version.  This recipe is easier to make than I expected, extremely easy, and tast too,  not only suiting my personal eating style perfectly but for anyone else who wants to eat in a healthier way.

Canned Green Jackfruit in water (available at Asian and Indian markets) is the unbelievable replacement for the filling, not to mention that the jackfruit on its own is fat free and a whopping 120 calories for the entire can.   When cooked it produces a shredded meat-like texture and it's neutral flavor absorbs the sauces and seasonings in a beautiful, tasty way. The buns can be purchased already made at an Asian market, but they were really easy to make at home.

Whether you create a banquet, order take-out, see a parade, or exchange gifts for prosperity, I hope you'll find your own way to celebrate Chinese New Year.  Wishing you, your family, and friends a year filled with good fortune and great plant-based food!

I used this bao/steamed bun recipe:  Easy, great video, just cut the sugar in 1/2)

Jackfruit Filling
I used this filling recipe:, cutting it in half down the line, replacing brown sugar for the white sugar, and adapting the other ingredients based on what I had on hand.

Both recipes combine to make 16 Jackfruit Bao.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Game Day Nachos

Delicious dairy-free, meat-free, wheat-free nachos

The Super Bowl is coming up soon and while some of you really care about who's in it and who wins it, I'm on team Super Bowl Snacks, which win every time.  I'm a big fan of tortilla chips, and an even bigger fan of dousing said chips with tasty Mexican condiments.  Condiment doused tortilla chips a la nachos feature ooey gooey cheesy sauce, and since I'm trying to veganize recipes where I can, I've replaced the cheese with this healthier, tastier "Low-Fat Chipotle Nacho Sauce" from Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese.

My go-to chips are the white corn, all natural ones that you can find at the supermarket for $1-$2/bag.   Place a handful or two of these on a  dinner plate or platter.
Spoon some beans* over the chips.
Spoon some fresh cooked corn (off the cob + grapeseed oil, s&p) over the beans.
Sprinkle some diced, roasted fresh chiles (charred on the stovetop) over the beans, along with some salt and pepper.

Pour the hot, creamy nacho sauce over the beans and chips, like they do at your favorite restaurant.
Spoon fresh salsa (Roma tomatoes, scallions, garlic, lime juice, hot sauce, s&p) and diced avocado over the top of the sauce.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, unless you hate cilantro.
Grab your favorite big game beverage, lots of napkins, and start scooping. Score!!

*I used a mixture of black beans and blackeyed peas, cooked in water and fresh garlic.


Low-Fat Chipotle Nacho Cheese Sauce by Miyoko Schinner
Low-Fat Chipotle Nacho Cheese Sauce
(created by Miyoko Schinner)

1 cup cooked/mashed butternut squash (I used delicata)
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened (this is key) coconut or soy yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown or white onion, quartered
5 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup raw cashews
3 Tbsp. tapioca flour
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, divided in 1/2
1 tsp. salt or 1 Tbsp. miso paste

Combine the squash, yogurt, water, onion, nutritional yeast flakes, cashews, tapioca flour, 1/2 the chipotle pepper, and salt in a blender, and process until smooth and creamy.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick and gooey.  Taste and add the remaining chipotle for more heat, and also additional salt if necessary.

Whisk until you get that great, thick but slightly runny, ooey, gooey nacho sauce consistency and then pour over the already assembled nacho ingredients.

(Note:  Leftover sauce made a delicious, quick mac 'n cheeze.)

Be sure to check out for lots of delicious, healthy, game day ideas!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blackeyed Peas = Happy New Year!

Traditions are an important part of holiday meals, and one Southern mainstay may be worth including in your own celebration.  On New Year's day (or thereabouts) it's the eating of the beans, more specifically blackeyed peas, that is a must-eat if you would like good fortune to shower you with coinage.

For an appetizer you could try a blackeyed pea salsa, and/or for a side dish you might want to go classic with Hoppin' John.  I went to my got-to-try-this-recipe-someday file and found a "burger" recipe, staring blackeyed peas, from the Chubby Vegetarian.  It almost looks to easy to be good, but don't let that fool you like it almost fooled me.  It's better than good.

Now I love my store-bought veggie burgers a lot, but I really enjoy (successfully) making recipes from scratch too.  You can see from the photo, these babies look like the real deal.  Note that whether you use Melissa's Steamed, Shelled, Ready-to-Eat BEP's like I did, or Melissa's Blackeyed Peas in a tub, or dried blackeyed peas, or canned blackeyed peas, the key is to mash them until they're the consistency of refried beans.  When combined with the oats this will result in the right texture for binding and cooking.

One recipe makes 4 quarter pounders, or you can divvy it up for more portion controlled patties, or even smaller for sliders.  Whichever way you go, select a suitably delicious bun and your favorite condiments - I went with a little Dijon, bbq sauce, mixed greens, red onion, Roma tomato, and Vegenaise (it makes everything even more delicious).  This way to a good burger, and good fortune:

Good Fortune Blackeyed Pea Burgers (a la
1 pkg. Melissa's Ready-to-Eat BEPs or 1 1/2 cups cooked BEPs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (the 3-5 minute kind)
2 Tbsp. shallots, minced
3/4 cup portobello mushrooms, cooked and diced (optional)
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. beet juice
2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil for the pan
garnishes of your choice

In a medium sized bowl mash the peas until they're the consistency of refried beans.  Add in the dry oats and combine.  Add the shallots, mushrooms (optional), vegetable oil, beet juice, lite soy sauce, and liquid smoke, and stir together until you get a firm consistency.  Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

With damp hands form the mixture into the size patties you desire.  Set them aside for at least 15 minutes prior to cooking.

Add a tablespoon of oil to a saute pan on medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to sizzle, add a "burger" to the pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side.  Repeat.  Then garnish like a fool and enjoy!

Get your New Year's party started with this amazing flashmob performance by The Black Eyed Peas:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Spumoni Shortbread Cookies

FBLA 2013 Cookie Exchange Recipes

Non-Cookie Items

If Santa has a list that he checks twice to see if you've been a naughty or nice food blogger then he probably won't be stopping at my casa this year.  The nice bloggers actually post on a regular basis, while the naughty bloggers wait until the local food blogger group (FBLA) that is nice enough to let them be a member has an amazing annual cookie exchange (check) with related recipe round-up that everyone participates in (un-check).

So I'll try and remedy this by providing my recipe, and I use the term loosely, for the really cool looking and tasty Spumoni Shortbread cookies that I brought to the party:

1.  Make shortbread cookie dough or cheat like me and buy a package of Betty Crocker shortbread cookie mix.  Just add butter, or Earth Balance sticks like I did to make the cookies vegan.

2.  Divide the dough in 3 parts and flavor/color each one like so:
     A.  Maraschino cherries, juice, and red coloring (add almond extract if you have it - I didn't).
     B.  Pistachio nuts, green coloring, and the aforementioned almond extract.
     C.  Unprocessed cocoa powder and espresso syrup (or the like).

3.  Place one part at a time on a sheet of parchment paper and form into a narrow rectangle about 1/2" thick. Stack the other 2 parts on top.  Wrap and refrigerate several hours - over night is easiest.

4.  Unwrap dough, cut into 1/4" slices, place on a parchment lined baking sheet an inch or so apart, and bake according to package directions.

5.  Remove from oven, let cool on racks, and then spread melted dark chocolate (Valrohna that your friend Judy gave you if you're lucky, or another good quality chocolate) on the chocolate section and let the chocolate set about 30 minutes.

These cookies are nice to look at and nice to eat.  Santa, should I leave a few out for you?

Real, delicious recipes from the nice FBLA bloggers: