September 30, 2011

The Best Taco I've ever eaten

I don't use terms like "The Best <food item> I've ever had" Lightly. I reserve it for something truly special.

This taco is something special. I don't know why, but the flavors just blended together perfectly, AND it's healthy! It had just the right amount of spice, just the perfect blend of spice and sweet. It was... divine. This recipe makes enough for 2 delicious tacos!

Black Bean Tacos
2 taco shells
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar
1/2 cup Black beans
1 tbsp taco seasoning mixed into 1/8 cup water
1 handful baby spinach
1/3 cup Salsa (I used peach mango salsa- I recommend!)
Turn on the Broiler. 
Spread the Daiya across one side of the taco shells, and place that side down on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it. Pop into the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly. 
Meanwhile, in a small non-stick frying pan, combine the taco seasoning and beans, cooking on medium-high and stirring often, until the water is dissolved. 
Finally, take the taco shells, and fill them with the baby spinach, salsa (divided in two) and beans. 
Eat, and enjoy the magic in your mouth!

September 29, 2011

Thursday's Quick Lunch- Ramen Done Right

Every once in a while upon learning that I'm a vegan, I will be asked  a question by someone which has become tiresome over time.

"But isn't being a vegan expensive?"

I'm not entirely sure where this falsehood has emerged from, but it has plagued me for quite some time. I want to equivocably say, right now, NO, Being vegan is not more expensive than not being vegan. In fact, I have found it to be LESS expensive. And here's an example as to why, (With prices in Canadian Dollars)

Quick and Easy Ramen
1 Carrot, cut into slices
1/3 cup broccoli slaw (or normal coleslaw mix)
5-8 snow peas, cut in half
1 ramen noodle block
1/2 bouillon cube of choice (I used mushroom)
2 cups water

Bring a few cups of water (not the ones specified) to boil, and drop in the ramen. Cook until soft, drain, and rinse. Set aside. 
In a small saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water and the bouillon cube to boil, reduce to low-med, and add in the carrots, simmering until softened
Add in the broccoli slaw, and snowpeas, cook for about 1 minute on low. 
Add in the ramen noodles, and swirl to combine. 
Transfer to bowl, and enjoy

Cost Breakdown: (approximates)
Bag of carrots: 2$ for about 12 carrots, used 1, so about 17cents
Coleslaw Mix: 2$ for a bag, used about 1/8 of a bag, so 25 cents
Snow Peas: 3$ a bag, I used 1/4 of it, so 75 cents
Bouillon Cube: 3$ a box, which has 6 Cubes, I used 1/2 a cube, so 25 cents
Ramen: Varies, but I used gluten free, which came to about 1$ a block, however normal ramen costs approx 30 cents a block. 

Total Cost:  2.42$ for gluten free, 1.72$ for regular noodles. 

Not too expensive, eh?

September 25, 2011

A yummy Panini

I don't bake bread often.

When you bake gluten free bread, it's more of an event. It's expensive, it can easily fail, and it can be very very frustrating. So I need a really good reason for why I want to make it.

Then I saw This.

Holyyyyy crap! That looked like the most amazing sandwich on the planet of the earth.

So I had to make it.

I made a few changes however, and will list them below!
Tempeh Ruben Style Sandwich
Altered from Olives for Dinner

Alterations made:
I did not use liquid smoke on the tempeh. This was purely accidental, but it tasted good!
Instead of brown sugar, I used maple syrup. I like maple-ey tastes!
I (obv) did not use rye bread (Gluten) and instead used Brown Rice/Sorghum bread, which tasted really good regardless. 
I used Daiya Pepperjack Shreds (a little extra spice!)
And finally, I didn't grill it in a pan, I made it on the panini press. Sandwiches always, for some mysterious reason, taste better after being grilled on a panini press!

September 22, 2011

Thursday's Things

Welcome to a "Way out of my price range" Thursdays Things! Shall we see what I've come up with today?

Gorgeous tropical themed dress! So bright! So cute! What could possibly go with it?

Maybe this stunning peacock necklace?

Or maybe these electrifyingly brigh wedges to keep up the tropical feel?

And enjoy this cheerful little song while you think about island breezes :)

Pancake Coated Eggplant

I have been ridiculously busy lately, I apologize for my shoddy blog-keeping. My whole personal life in in shambles because my professional life is so busy! Good times!

However, I did make this for my early dinner tonight, and it was bloody delicious, so Enjoy!

Cheezy Pancake Coated Eggplant
2-4 Slices of eggplant, about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup pancake mix (I use bisquick, but whatever you like is fine!)
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Daiya Mozarella Shreds

Pre-fry the eggplant for about 30 seconds on each side, or microwave for a minute or so, until softened.
In a bowl, mix the pancake mix, soy milk, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and daiya. (You may need to add a bit more soy milk to get it goopy enough, depending on your mix! Also, you might need a bit less, so add it a bit at a time and mix until it's a dippable consistancy)
coat the eggplant slices in it, moving to a non-stick frying pan and frying until the batter is cooked on both sides. The coating of the eggplant is similar to how you would coat for french toast, but make sure to get some of the cheese shreds on it!
Repeat with all the eggplant. If there's any batter left, you can cook them up like pancakes! Delicious!
I like mine with Ketchup! :)

September 18, 2011

Unusual Pancakes for Dinner

Today I had a bizarre encounter, one of those strange encounters that you get when you live in a city.

As one of my many money-making odd jobs, I walk dogs. Dog walking is one of my favorite odd jobs, as it pays well, it's easy, you get some exercise and sunshine, and dogs are great company! Matthew was home, and a woman in the next building asked me to walk her 3 dogs- 2 huskies and a husky/corgi mix, because she had to work long hours for the weekend, and her husband was out of town.

So Matthew and I are walking the dogs (who are generally very well behaved) and a woman with a cat on a leash walked around the corner. The dogs started barking, and the little corgie/husky (who wasn't barking, just curious) slipped her leash and went over to the cat, and sniffed at it. The cat freaked out and started hissing (understandably.)

Now, If I were the woman (and if any of you were the woman) I would have A) Never walked my cat on a leash and B) picked up the cat and walked away. Instead she stood there looking confused as I had to pick up the 40 pound dog and walk across the street to try to get the walking harness back on.

ANYWAY, onto the recipe! A yummy pancake concoction with Daiya cheese and peanut butter! I know this seems weird, but my favorite sandwich as a child was peanut butter and cheese, and this combines these two flavors in a non-animal producty/glutinous manner, and is SUPER delicious!
Peanut Butter and Cheese Pancakes
1 cup GF Bisquick OR 1 cup GF Flour mix (with xanthan) or (if not GF) 1 cup bisquick or flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (depending on texture)
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/3 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
Maple Syrup (for topping)

In a bowl, combine bisquick, peanut butter, vanilla, oil, and a bit of the milk. Stir to combine.
While stirring, add in a bit of milk at a time, until it is a nice runny consistancy (like normal pancake batter)
Add in the cheese, and stir to combine.
Heat up a frying pan on medium high, and spray with some non-stick coating.
When nice and hot, drop in some batter, and cook until the uncooked top is bubbling up, and the edges look  crispy/dry.
Flip pancake, and cook a few minutes more until cooked through.
Repeat with rest of batter.
Serve with Maple Syrup, and enjoy the unusual but delicious pancakery!
Nom Nom Nom

September 16, 2011

Poutine Re-Do

I love poutines, quite a bit. But I try not to flood the blog with all sorts of similar things. However, when I come up with a great alteration to a dish I love, I think I can share it with you.

Usually, I make my poutine Quebecois with some regular white potatoes and sweet potatoes, however, I have discovered that beets can also be used to great effect!

Beet and Potato Poutine
Before Baking, looking good!
Gravy of your choice, about 1/3 cup
4 small potatoes, cut into fries
2 medium beets, cut into fries
Olive Oil, salt, and pepper
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella style

Preheat the oven to 425.
Coat the fries and beets with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Place the fries onto parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, and flip.
Bake for another 15 minutes, until outsides are crispy.
Take a small casserole dish, and cover it in aluminum foil.
Transfer half of the baked fries to the casserole dish.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the Daiya cheese on top of the fries. Add the rest of the fries, and top with the rest of the cheese.
Put the casserole dish into the oven, and bake for approx 10 minutes, until cheese is nice and melty.
Heat up the gravy at the same time.
Remove the fries from the oven, and transfer to a dish. Top with gravy, and enjoy!

Melty Cheese! :)
And for your viewing pleasure, completely unrelated to food... My Grumpy Kitty!

September 15, 2011


I apologize for my lack of presence this week!

My mother was visiting and I had a large deal of school related ridiculousness to deal with, and blogging got sadly shoved to the wayside, however I am regrouping and next week I will be back en force with some new recipes, and such.

I apologize again for totally failing at blogging this week!

Back soon!

September 11, 2011

Vegan Breakfast with Extra Breakfast

And kudos to anyone who knows where I stole my title from...

I must preface this by saying I do not often eat breakfast foods, at least not at breakfast time. This was no exception, as I ate it at night, and encourage people to mix up their food eating habits to break the rut every now and again. Curry for breakfast is delicious, and pancakes for dinner is divine!

On this sunday early evening, I bring you something which many vegans may feel they can no longer have... a delightful scrambled egg breakfast, with potatoes and sausage.

I am here to tell you "Stop being so silly!"

While you might not be able to have EXACTLY that, you can get something which fills the same craving for breakfast foods, without the cholesterol and sad animals! There are many recipes similar to this that you can find, this is just how I make em!

Without further ado:
Vegan Breakfast with extra Breakfast

This is a three part meal, so I give you 3 different recipes!

Simple Fried Potatoes (For 2 People)
4-5 smallish potatoes, cut into cubes, about 3/4 inch in size
1 tbsp vegan margarine
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a frying pan on medium, melt the margarine.
Toss the potatoes in, and stir around to coat them in the melted margarine.
Fry, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and crispy on some sides.
Grind some salt and pepper on top of them, and toss.
Eat :)

Tempeh Sausage Patties
A few slices of tempeh, cut about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (enough for 2 people!) (You can also use tofu if you want, but tempeh just has something... amazing about it)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Tamari
a dash of liquid smoke

Mix the oil, maple syrup, tamari, and liquid smoke.
Toss the tempeh or tofu in it, coating evenly.
In a smallish frying pan (nonstick works nicely) fry the tempeh on medium heat, flipping every minute or so until the outsides are nice and crispy.

Slightly Spicy Tofu "Eggs" With Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onion
1 block medium or firm tofu, crumbled into tiny pieces (I like medium usually, because I liked my eggs slightly runny, however I used firm when I made it last night)
1/2 pepper, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
4-5 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp turmeric (to make it all yellow and egg looking)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil (for frying)

In a frying pan (I use a wok, I find it easiest to make this in), heat some olive oil, and fry the onion, peppers, and mushrooms, for about 5 minutes.
Add in the nutritional yeast and turmeric, to evenly coat.
Add in the tofu, and toss everything together, coating the tofu crumbles with the veggies and spices.
Cook for about 5 more minutes, heating everything together.
Spice with the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
If the tofu gets really dry, add in a bit of olive oil to stop it from sticking.


September 8, 2011

Thursday's Things- Sept 8th

And here we are at another non-food related post, Thursday's things!

Isn't it the cutest dress ever? I want it to wear to a bridal shower, or engagement party or something!

I'm not usually a huge faux leather fan, but this awesome blue bag from matt and nat calls to me! However, It's also very very expensive, so not for me right now!

I feel sorry for the show Dollhouse because it was actually a pretty good show! I was the only one of my friends who liked it, but it was a neat idea which was executed ALMOST perfectly (I think it needed a different main actress, but the poor dear did the best she could.)

To go with the dollhouse theme, this hauntingly beautiful song with a rather depressing video (but very beautiful nonetheless) to go along with it. From what I understand, it was written for the season 1 finale of Dollhouse, where it worked perfectly with what was going on. (I won't tell you what, but it's pretty awesome) 


Thursday's Quick Lunch

Some yummy quick lunch for today!

For today I made fried polenta topped with sauteed peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic, with some marinara sauce, and freshly ground salt and pepper. 

It was delicious, I might have to make seconds! :)

September 7, 2011

Tiffin Lunch #2

So the greatest thing you can EVER pack for lunches are leftovers.

Leftovers tend to taste fine the next day, and by bringing them to school/work you prevent forgetting about them in the recesses of your fridge and finding fuzzy mystery used-to-be-food in a container. Never cool.

When I was little, my dad used to make leftover sandwiches for me from time to time. Whatever he'd made the night before he'd slap between two layers of bread and call  it a sandwich. Some were more successful than others. (Mac and cheese sandwich the other kids are jealous, baked bean sandwich and you get made fun of!) While this is fun occasionally, I tend to avoid sandwiches because you get caught in the PB&J trap when you're a vegan. Once in a while it's yummy, but every day, not that great!

Without further ado:
Tiffin Lunch #2- Leftover Salt and Pepper Spicy Dinner!
Layer 1
Layer one is brown rice with peas, mixed with some tamari and sesame oil, and topped with sriracha sauce. If it was for me, I would forgo the sriracha and sprinkle on a few red pepper flakes, but Matthew loves his spice!

Layer 2
Matthew's favorite apple slices again, but instead of cinnamon, a little bowl of mixed up peanut butter and vegan hazelnut/chocolate spread. (Basically vegan nutella) Nom nom! 

Layer 3
Layer 3 is my most complex this lunch. Divided with some plastic sushi grass, on one side we have coleslaw mix topped with the following dressing, a recipe by my good friend Dani:
Dani's Thai Style Dressing
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar

Put all ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake to mix. Top salad with it. 

On the other half is salt and pepper tofu and eggplant, which is easy to make, and SO DELICIOUS. 

Salt and Pepper Tofu and Eggplant
1/2 block medium firm tofu, pressed and cut into squares
1/2 medium eggplant, cut into squares
2-4 tbsp cornstarch
Salt, Pepper, and Red pepper flakes to taste, but be generous
Oil, for deep frying. 

Mix the cornstarch and spices into a large freezer bag. Dump the tofu and eggplant into the bag, and shake to coat with all the goodness. Set aside for now. 
Heat up oil in a pan on medium high. (Stick the handle of a wooden spoon into it to test. If bubbles form, the oil is ready!)
Fry the tofu and eggplant in batches for about 1 minute, until they turn brown and crispy on the outside. 
Drain on paper towel, and enjoy!

This made enough for 2 people to have for one night, and the amount you see for Matthew's lunch the next day. 

Happy Eating!

September 5, 2011

Tiffin Lunch #1

So I have been told by a friend trying to go vegan that her biggest difficulty is coming up with what to pack for lunch.
While her old lunches would have been sandwiches of meats and cheeses, becoming vegan (and gluten free) means adapting to different styles of packed lunches. (Especially if you want to also move away from processed foods!) So every monday and wednesday this month, I will be showcasing what I pack Matthew for lunches (as I am rarely out of the house at lunchtimes except for tuesdays, when I am a teaching assistant for a class in the afternoons. Otherwise, I am out before or after lunch, but tend to be here when my lunch is being eaten.

I pack Matthew lunches in a Tiffin, which is a 3 layered lunch box with a frame that snaps together to hold all of the layers together. It is made out of metal, and I got it in Chinatown in Montreal. However, you can buy them in a variety of materials and sizes online! Also, you can use bento boxes, or really any re-usable container for your lunches. I find the 3 layer tiffin to be useful as I tend to structure his lunch into 3 parts- vegetable, fruit, and a carb (to keep his energy a goin!) Since it is made out of metal, he has a little bowl he packs with it in order to microwave anything he wants heated up as well! :)

Without Further Ado:
Tiffin Lunch # 1

Layer 1:
on the bottom layer, I cut up apples, and dipped them in some lemon water (to slow browning) and then sprinkled them in cinnamon! 

Layer 2:
Layer 2 consisted of steamed corn on the cob and steamed carrots. I cut up the corn on the cop into little rings so it would fit. I also added a bit of vegan margarine, as well as freshly ground salt and pepper, to add a bit more flavor!

Layer 3:B
For the final layer, I put noodles, leftover marinara sauce, and frozen peas. Since this was for Matthew, and he isn't on a gluten restriction like I am, I tend to use Ramen noodles in his lunch, because A: He likes them, and B: They cook really quickly. I never use the sauce packets though, I put my own sauces (because they taste better!) He tells me it tastes very good with marinara! I added some freshly ground salt and pepper as well. 

And that's that!

Total prep time: Cutting the apples: 1 minute
Chopping and steaming the vegetables in the microwave: 3 minutes
Cooking the noodles and saucing them: 7 minutes

Total Time: 11 minutes. 

Make it right before you go to bed, and stick it in the fridge, and you're good to go for the next day!

September 2, 2011

Beginning Vegan- Cream Sauce Spaghetti

One of the most common (and annoying) things you will get asked when you become a vegan is the following sentence (or variation thereof):

"But... if you don't eat meat, where do you get your protein?"

It will get old REAL fast, trust me. However, the best way to deal with it is have a recipe on hand that has an overload of yummy plant based proteins to have a visual and nommable response to the question. 

This is such a dish. 

As a note, this does have 2 ingredients which may not be common to a new vegan, but should definitely be bought/ordered: Nutritional Yeast and Tempeh. I buy both of mine at the health food store, and I know that nutritional yeast can be ordered online. (Nutritional yeast looks like yellow flakes, and has a lot of Vitamin B12 in it, which is good for you!) 

Tempeh is fermented soy beans pressed into a patty, and is found in the frozen section. Don't fret if you can't find it, you can use Tofu as well, which is much easier to find! (Though Tempeh is so tasty!)

In addition, this recipe has a lot of ingredients, but is very very simple to make! Be not daunted!

Cream Sauce Spaghetti with "bacon" chunks
Serves 2
1/4 cup tempeh (or tofu) chopped into little chunks. (if you aren't GF, you can use storebought vegan bacon, and not have to make the marinade with the following ingredients!)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce

2 servings of spaghetti noodles (I tend to use either corn or brown rice noodles)

1 box silken tofu
1/2 tbsp corn starch
Soy Milk (a few tbsps)
Nutritional Yeast (to taste)
Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
All the different parts cooking at once!

In a small bowl, mix together the tempeh, 1 tbsp olive oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and Tamari. 
Add the tempeh/Tofu, and toss to coat. Set aside for a few minutes. 

Place a pot of salted water on the stove, and bring to a boil. Add in your spaghetti to cook while you prepare the sauce. 

In a blender, blend the tofu and cornstarch, adding in a bit of soy milk to get a nice creamy smooth texture. 
Add in nutritional yeast,  tasting every tbsp until it has a flavor you like. 
Season with salt and pepper. 

In a small frying pan, dump the tempeh mixture (even the marinade!) and turn the heat to medium. Fry, stirring every few minutes, until they're nice and crispy and brown. (Do this while making the sauce, which is the next instruction down!)  (same goes if you use Tofu. If you're using storebought vegan bacon, nuke a few strips, and then cut into chunks!) 

In a wok or high-sided frying pan, sautee the olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms, until garlic is fragrant, and mushrooms have turned brown and it looks quite yummy. 
Dump in the tofu blended mixture, and the cup of peas. Bring to a bubble, and simmer until the pasta is cooked. 

Drain the pasta, and add it to the sauce mixture, stirring to combine. 
Divide between 2 bowls/plates, and top with some more freshly ground salt and pepper, as well as the tempeh. 
Then eat and enjoy the proteiny goodness!

It's much easier to make than it sounds! Trust me!

September 1, 2011

Thursday's Things- Nerd Night

Thinkgeek has caught me in it's wonderful grips!

Chad Vader! Man I love Chad Vader!

Also, a secret surprise is coming up between me and my mate Ashley, a giveaway, later in the month, so keep posted!

Extra Thursday Dinner- Carrot and Cheese Bowl

Enjoy this super easy carrot and cheese bowl!

Carrot and Cheese Bowl
1 carrot, sliced up
1 slice of avocado, diced
1/4 cup chickpeas
1/3 cup Daiya Cheddar Cheese
Alfalfa Sprouts
Freshly ground salt and pepper

In a non-stick frying pan, stirfry (no oil necessary) the carrots and chickpeas until the carrots are mostly cooked.
Add in the salt and pepper, and mix to combine.
Add in the cheese, and mix to combine, allowing the cheese to melt.
Fill a bowl with the alfalfa sprouts, and top with the cooked mixture.
Top with avocado dices. Eat

Thursday Quick Lunch- Cheddar Fusion Roll

I created this for the Daiya recipe contest, so I won't post the recipe here at the moment, but it took less than 10 minutes, and I got to use up last night's leftover brown rice, so woot.

A Vegan Cheddar Fusion Roll. 
Before Rolling

The Finished Product!

Nom Nom!