a whine, and tofu vs. bacon death match

“i’m having company this weekend, and he’s vegan. what do i feed him?”

that’s something i heard at the grocery store the other day. the employee promptly pointed this woman to the health food section, and left her to her own devices. i didn’t help her out either, so i probably don’t have a right to complain… but it irritates me to no end to hear things like this. people hear the word “vegan” and automatically begin treating us like we have something wrong with us. like we don’t eat the same food that the rest of the world eats.

vegan food isn’t just in the health food section… depending on the vegan’s level of snottiness, you can find veganity in every aisle including the soda aisle. yes, Coke is vegan as is every other soft drink on the shelf. on Christmas Eve i ran to the grocery store to get stay-at-home munchies for the fam. i picked up a bag of Original Gardettos, Pretzels, Sorbet, and Cherry Coke Zero. all of which are vegan. if you use your brain, you’ll realize that there’s more products out there than you think that are vegan…. Oreos are vegan, and my go-to cookie when i don’t want to bake. plain potato chips are vegan, and you can use almond milk in place of dairy milk in any baking/cooking recipe, as well as powdered egg replacer in virtually anything. (brownies, cakes, cookies, etc) i use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Egg Replacer in all my baking, and nobody ever knows the difference. you can use vegetable broth/bouillon instead of chicken or beef and many, many salad dressings are vegan. hell, i even use a vegetable bouillon in my Ramen noodles. (i toss the seasoning packet it comes with) if you want it super easy, there’s even vegan lunchmeat and sliced “cheese”.

being vegan isn’t difficult, it’s people’s preconceptions of it that make it so.

*sigh* rant over.

to lighten the mood, here’s Monsieur Tofu and Mister Bacon in a kitchen death match…

 

Vegan Egg Nog

one of my favorite things about the holidays has always been the egg nog. if the holiday’s were to be described by taste alone, that taste would be egg nog. unfortunately there’s the little thing about it containing eggs and milk.

thankfully, all our favorite brands of soy and coconut milk have created not just suitable but far superior substitutions for traditional egg nog. and by “traditional” i, of course, mean the stuff you buy in a pretty Christmas colored carton on the shelf of your local grocery store. none of that “made from scratch” stuff for me. πŸ˜‰

previously, my grocery store only carried one brand.

Silk Soy Nog

now, this stuff is pretty good. it has the taste of egg nog down pat... the only thing it lacks is the texture. this Nog is a little bit thin to hold up to the "real stuff". fortunately, it's SO much lower in fat than the dairy-based alternative, that it more than makes up for it. it's especially great for the people that say "i like the taste, but the thick texture grosses me out." well, this stuff has all the great taste, in a thin, milky texture.

 

i also discovered So Delicious Coconut Milk Nog, and this one won the taste test for me hands down.Β 

this vegan egg nog had the thick, creamy texture you expect from all the dairy-based egg nogs AND it had a great taste, with a pleasant cinnamon-y finish. the whisper of coconut complements the nog flavor nicely, and this carton of nog didn’t make it very far in the house before it was completely consumed. definitely my most favorite of the two!

My Vegan Essentials, and Where I Get Them

i wanted to write a post about these delicious chickpea bean balls i made tonight to go with our spaghetti, but i can’t. i can’t blog about them on account of them not being very good. if you know of any good vegan bean ball recipes that go good with spaghetti, point me in that direction. please.

moving on.

i realized today that there are certain things that i have to keep in my house ever since we became vegan. they’re my go-to ingredients for pulling something together for dinner, snacks, or whatever. there are some things i’ve always had in my kitchen, but you don’t want to hear about those. i mean seriously… who cares what type of flour, sugar, and spices i have in my cabinet???

pasta sauce. yes, i can make my own tomato sauce… but it involves things like sauteeing, chopping, boiling, tastingmeasuringandjustplaincooking. sometimes i don’t feel like cooking something with more than 3 steps… in that case, i fall back on my basic pasta sauce from a jar. Ragu Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce is vegan… and they sell it in bulk at Sam’s. they also sell a vegan whole wheat pasta. (i always have to check the back of the box) win.

nuts. i also buy my nuts from Sam’s. we always have on hand at any given time raw Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, and Pine Nuts. i also keep on hand dried cranberries, blueberries, dates, and prunes… also from Sam’s.

Vanilla Soy Milk. also gotten from Sam’s, we use it in everything from baking to cereal.

Almond Milk, unflavored. sometimes you don’t want your green bean casserole to reek of vanilla, in which case i go for the almond milk. i only keep a couple boxes of this on hand at a time since i don’t use it as much.

Butternut Squash. believe it or not, this is one mad-flexible veg. i use it in my vegan cheez sauce for faux mac’n’cheeze and it makes a kick ass soup. i’m going to try a recipe for a butternut risotto in a few days, and will let you know how that turns out.

beans. i keep a ton of dried beans on hand all the time. they’re super healthy, and great for all sorts of things… from bean burgers to soups, i love my beans. πŸ™‚ i keep on hand black beans, navy beans,

Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread. i use this shit on everything. it bakes, it spreads, it melts and tastes better than real butter. no joke. i keep it in stick form AND tub form in my house.

Milled Flax. it makes a great egg substitute in certain recipes, and is jam packed with all sorts of healthy little things that help your body do right.

Powdered Egg Substitute. for when i can’t use flax. this works just like a real egg… just 1 tbsp of this powder whisked into 3 tbsps of water, and you have an egg!

Hummus. i just recently discovered how amazing hummus is, so forgive me for my excitement. we buy huge tubs of it from Sam’s, and i swear they don’t last the week.

 

you’ll also find me using only these brands, for the simple fact that they’re the most easily accessible vegan version of their kind.

Mrs Baird’s 7 Grain Whole Wheat Bread... it’s one of the few that i’ve found that is vegan.

Fat-Free Tortilla Wraps… the regular kind use lard, and some of the flavored ones even have cheese in them.

Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips… the only one i can find that is easily accessible and vegan. i still had to mail-order it in bulk from Amazon.com.

Rapunzel Pure Organic Vegan Bouillon Cubes With Sea Salt… also gotten in bulk from Amazon.

 

anyways, so that’s a little peek into my cabinet. it doesn’t cover everything, but it’s what was on my mind today after a brief shopping trip. πŸ™‚

Sweet Potato Biscuits

the past couple days, i’ve tried a few new recipes. obviously, one of my favorites was my Creamy Dill Potato Salad.

i also attempted some Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters… which fell quite short from the mark. they were edible, but just not good.Β 

i also made some Spiced Sweet Potato Hot Chocolate. think it sounds nasty? it’s not. but it’s not good either.

don’t worry, not everything i made needs tweaking… (i’ll tweak the fritters to make them good, by golly! but i’m not gonna tackle Sweet Potato Hot Chocolate again)

i also made some Sweet Potato Biscuits, and they were AWESOME. once again, i don’t remember who i got the original recipe from, so if this looks familiar, speak up so i can give you props!

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits
vegan, makes 12 small or 8 large biscuits

1 cup mashed sweet potato, cooked (about 1 medium potato)
9 tbsps Earth Balance, softened

2 tbsps Earth Balance, melted
1 Tbsp Egg Replacer + 3 tbsp Water (whip these together)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
white flour (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups) plus some for pressing out dough
To Make:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Bake your sweet potato until fork-tender.

4. Peel and mash your sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.

5. Add softened Earth Balance, mash together.

6. Add in the maple or agave syrup, garlic powder. You should have a silky mixture of wet mashed potato now.

7. Add in the apple cider vinegar, baking powder. Fold well.

8. Next add in the flour, a little bit at a time. After you have added in about a cup of flour, you can fold in the egg replacer.

9. From this point on, you will fold in as much flour and even more water as you need to get a fluffy dough texture – barely dry enough to press out by hand. Once your dough is achieved, I knead it right in the bowl for a few minutes.

10. At this point, i just dropped the dough by the spoonful onto my baking sheet, and made drop biscuits. if you want a neater look, Lay some flour on a counter suffice and add your dough round. Press out by hand to be about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuit rounds – I use a wide glass. Lay on baking sheet.

11. Brush biscuits with last remaining 2 Tbsp of softened vegan butter. I also brush with a drizzle of maple syrup.

12. Bake for about 9-12 minutes. Pull from the oven immediately. the biscuits will further firm up as they cool. You do not want to under cook these biscuits. They may even look a tad under cooked when you pull them from the oven – but that is just because they are so buttery and moist.

Serve warm or store in fridge until ready to reheat in oven.

Dill Potato Salad

i just gave myself the “best potato salad ever” award. seriously. and it’s VEGAN. can’t get much better than that. πŸ™‚ i based this recipe on another one i found, but don’t remember who i got the original one from. if it’s you… speak up and link up!

Creamy Dill Potato Salad

8 Klondike Gold Potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Heaping Tbsp Veganaisse
2 Heaping Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Small Sweet Red Onion, Diced
Black Pepper and Sea Salt to taste

boil bite-sized potatoes until fork tender, but not TOO tender. drain, set in fridge to cool off.

meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients to make a creamy sauce.

at this point you can:

1) add sauce Β to the potatoes while potatoes are warm. they will melt into the potatoes, and you can either serve warm or chill until ready to serve.

or

2) refrigerate sauce until potatoes are cold, then mix it all together and serve.