Holiday baking is something that I normally go overboard on...but I feel so behind today! I know it's only the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I feel like Christmas is already here. Lights and decorations are going up all around me and all I have to show are two dish towels with reindeer on them. 😳
#firstworldrpoblems, I guess...
I decided to bake some quick, easy, delicious and somewhat healthy cookies for this post. I'm a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, one of the best dessert blogs I've ever encountered. She makes easy recipes that have accessible ingredients, delicious crave-able flavors, and offers all the substitutions you never knew you needed. Her blog was one of the first ones I read when I started to experiment with vegan baking. I had no idea what stevia was and had no clue that you could bake a cake in the microwave. She showed me the truth and I am bestowing my knowledge unto you now.
Behold! My recreation of a recipe from CCK's cookbook (which you should probably buy):
These pixie cookies are delicate and fluffy drops of cake-like chocolate with a hint of cool peppermint and rolled in powdered sugar to make them look like they've been on a romp in the snow. ❄️☃ These take only 12-15 minutes to bake and they are small, so if you are feeding a crowd of up to 9 people, you're perfectly fine without doubling the recipe. Also, if you have peppermint extract (or peppermint stevia at your own risk), you can whip these cookies up any time because they only use staple pantry ingredients. My rendition has a few minor changes so make sure you check the ingredients in case you need to plan ahead. Otherwise, whip up a batch now and join me in cookie heaven! 🍪🍫😇💖
Mint Chocolate Pixie Cookies
Adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar, Nuts, Soy*
Yield: About 18-24 cookies
I'll spare you the anecdotes and get right to the Thanksgiving food porn. I've listed everything I made for my first Thanksgiving dinner here. I will be seeing my immediate family this weekend where a second feast will take place. I'm blessed to have amazing family and friends who allow my boyfriend and I to bring our own food. I'm also grateful for my mom and dad who make sure that all our sides are vegan so that I can eat everything I want!
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a festive weekend. I hope for those that work, you take a moment for yourself in any way you can. You deserve it.
Now, feast your eyes...😳😍🍂🍃🦃🍁🌳💝
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
No recipe for this...I literally threw it together. But, if you want a good homemade recipe recommendation, see The Minimalist Baker. We made this version last year and it was delicious. This year, i just approximated everything. It's a very forgiving dish. Also, we used an entire container of fried onions because it's time to feast.
Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes
Again, no real recipe. I can tell you roughly how I did this:
Today's color scheme is "goth" inspired...I went with purple, since I happened to find a bag of organic purple sweet potatoes one day. It was a very exciting find. I've never tried these little guys before...I'm sure I'll love them just as much as their orange and white cousins! Sweet potatoes are a food that I began to love as a vegan moving in a more health conscious direction.
To go with my potatoes, I've added other wonderful purple produce: onion (or red, I guess), cabbage and eggplant. My favorite way to eat eggplant is in curry, so I spiced them with garam masala, chili pepper, and black salt. This soup doesn't take very long. You can have it finished in about an hour if you use pre-made stock or bullion cubes. All you need to do is wait for the potatoes to soften and you're good to go!
For even more gothic charm, use the optional red wine while you saute the onion and cabbage.
Gothic Purple Soup with Eggplant Chips
Quite simply, I thought this meal would look fabulous in black and white, as well as in color. These ingredients jumped to my mind when I saw this prompt so I ran with it.
This is a quick blog post, as it's mainly about the picture!
The recipe follows if you'd like to make some at home. The croquettes are a winner, I must say! If you don't want to fry them, you can try baking them, but I cannot vouch for the results. I would maybe oil them a tad just do they don't burn. The vegetable broth I've included is just to give the noodles a slightly soup-y texture, so it's optional. Enjoy!
Forbidden Ramen and Black Bean Croquettes
Today's prompt is "favorite food", which, if you've ever seen my first year participating in Vegan MoFo, you would know is Japanese Food!
I love to cook Japanese inspired dishes that combine the American hodgepodge, often unorganized style of cooking with traditional ingredients and simple flavors. I love food that is prepared in a minimal way that emphasizes the individual ingredients. Although, sometimes I like to get complicated when I bake. 😅
This dish is a rendition of one of my favorite college breakfasts: an omelette on top of rice with some vegetable. I love eating out of bowls...the act of digging into my food is appealing some how. I bought eggs quite a lot in college since I was poor and a vegetarian still. Now, I usually substitute tofu for eggs and it suits me perfectly fine. I made my tofu a little more robust so I could fry it into an omelette shape. The result is nice savory croquette of "egg" like flavor and texture, although it is much drier than an omelette would be. It's still delicious!
I sauteed some white button mushrooms on the side for a meaty addition that offers protein and earthy flavor. My grandmother always made her omelettes a little sweet by adding a pinch of sugar and soy sauce to her eggs before she cooked them. I added a little mirin into the mushrooms, which create a wonderful sauce in the pan as they cook. For an interesting depth of flavor, spoon some of the sauce onto your rice for a finishing touch. It's a wonderful departure from your generic tofu scramble and toast. 🤓🍳🍞
Japanese Omelette with Sauteed Mushrooms
Fusion food day is here!
Last year, I made some risotto with a Mexican twist. It was quite magical. For some reason, I can't stay away from that theme so here I am again. I'm fusing the burrito and spicy chipotle flavor with the Philly staple: the cheesesteak.
Cheesesteak was always something I disliked, even when I ate meat. The ones they served in elementary school for lunch always put me off...something about the gross fake cheese. 😖
Now, I figured I should give cheesesteak another go, but with some conditions: no cheese, no steak. Sounds great! 👍 I replaced the steak with nutritious portabella mushrooms. You can also use a vegan meat substitute if you like. I tried to keep this recipe as clean and healthy as possible. I also love the meaty and earthy taste of mushrooms. I can't get enough of them.
The cheese sauce is made with sweet potato for extra flavor and nutrition. I think it makes a wonderful counterpart to the spices in the mushrooms. I wrapped the whole mess up in a gluten free tortilla. This would also be wonderful on bread...or on rice...or any old way, really.
Dig in and try to forget about the election. I know I haven't, but this food might help me get there a little. 😜🌶🌯🍄
Chipotle Portabella Cheesesteak Burritos
Free from: gluten*, refined sugar
Yield: About 3-4 servings
Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Today's recipe is a simple one that I love. I almost never make Korean inspired food. I also can't really go out to get it since Korean restaurants are typically not vegan friendly. When I was younger, I ate at a few Korean BBQ restaurants with my family. One of those restaurants was in Japan, believe it or not! There was a big beautiful yellow lab parked outside to greet customers. She was their mascot and the inspiration for their name, too.
My favorite part about Korean BBQ is the marinade, which is the case for many people, I would assume. For those who eat meat, they may feel differently. I took the simple yet flavorful marinade and slathered it on some tofu for a quick and absolutely delicious meal. No need for meat here. 😉
I served the tofu with some rice and pajeori. Pajeori is a dish I had never heard of before. It's a beautiful salad of julienned scallion and spiced with Korean chili flakes. If you don't have the Korean variety, just substitute regular dried chili flakes.
I cooked my tofu in a pan with some coconut oil. You can absolutely bake or grill it for a sightly charred effect. I wish I could grill mine, but it is quite chilly where I live! (Also, no grill. 😅
Any way you cook it, give it a try! Tofu is good any way you cut it, so spice it up next time you need a quick meal. Let's begin a love affair with Korean food together! What d'ya say? 😍🌶🍚
Korean BBQ Tofu with Pajeori
Free from: gluten, nuts, refined sugar
Yield: about 4 servings
Adapted from My Korean Kitchen
Where do I want to eat when I want someone else to cook for me?
The answer for this post didn't come easily at all, but if I had to pick...
I would absolutely have to pick The Tasty. Debuting earlier this year as a highly anticipated Philly vegan diner, The Tasty has gained momentum and is now traveling at warp speed into the realms of plant based deliciousness. They've expanded their already amazing offerings to specialty coffee drinks, baked goods, and seasonal specials. Everything on their menu echoes what one would find at a regular diner in and around the area: sandwiches, waffles, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, salads and appetizers. It's immensely satisfying to be able to go eat brunch or breakfast somewhere when, as a vegan, eating those meals out is very difficult at mainstream restaurants.
I can only picture my sad breakfast options at other diners: fruit cups, dry toast, bagels, and maybe oatmeal if it's made without milk or butter. I guess you can technically count hash browns, but they are so often contaminated by shared cooking surfaces that they don't really appeal to me anymore. 😥
So when I visit The Tasty (pretty often), I usually go for veganized omelets or tofu scrambles of delicious veggies, non-dairy cheese and vegan meat subs. These aren't items I use at home very often, so I figure why not go all out if I'm not cooking? 😏
I snapped a photo for you of their spinach and soysauge omelet. It's absolutely to die for if you like savory spices, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach glued together by vegan mozzarella and pillowed by the most soft and fluffy egg-free omelet you've ever dreamed of. I think it's a mixture of chickpea flour and tofu judging by the texture, but I could be wrong! 😜
If the omelet isn't enough food, they pile home fries on the other half of the plate for good measure. They're crispy and soft at the same time, just the way I like them. They're also seasoned with something wonderful, so every bite you take is going to be a good one. There are many more amazing dishes on the menu that I've had before. Here are a few of them to tempt you: vegan mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad, breakfast burrito, PB&J french toast, biscuits and gravy, tater tots...you get the idea.
Heading over to Philly yet? I'll be back next week. 😉🐷
I had to give you some close ups...mmmm.
The second photo shows a huge glorious piece of caramelized onion. 😍👄
There are also lots of awesome things to look at inside and outside of The Tasty. Their sandwich board is always on point, which you can see from the first photo I featured. They also have a parade of dogs walking outside when it's nice out. You can't beat that.
Inside, there are whimsical decorations that seem to be things that you may find in either your grandmother's house or your friendly punk's house. There are also some cute handmade art pieces like this adorable clock.
The winking toast is everywhere, too. I like to think that they're congratulating me on my meal decision. 🍞😉
They also serve coffee in mismatched mugs that you might find in your own cupboard, which is a nice homey touch. The staff and owners are very friendly too, so make sure you say hi and ask for their recommendations! This place is just about as comfortable as going to a friend's place for brunch (or whatever meal you choose).
Next time you're in Philly, make sure to give The Tasty a try. Try not to order the whole menu at once. 😜
This MoFo prompt is my kind of low-key meal!
I love to cook, don't get me wrong. 😉
But, some days and nights are busy. I hate to make a ton of dirty dishes just to feed myself. My favorite quick and easy food used to be instant ramen in my younger days. This bowl of rice noodle soup is similar in taste but much healthier!
I've given you some photos of the most simple way to make rice noodle soup with basic pantry ingredients (well, if you keep these in your pantry...which you should!). Having tamari or soy sauce on hand will really help make your broth flavorful and rich. If you have liquid aminos, that will do just as well! I also dissolved some white miso into mine for extra flavor, salt and health benefits. This is optional, unless you have miso lying around!
The point of this meal is to be easy, right? I say, if you've got it, throw it in! I had some leftover strips of carrot that I had cut up, some baby kale, wakame, and some spices (garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes). You can throw frozen veggies in, tofu, tempeh, or whatever you fancy. 😍
When I add miso to a soup, I always take a spoon and dilute it with a little of the hot water. This helps the miso dissolve into the soup evenly and avoids it clumping up and sinking to the bottom.
Finished product! 😋
It's the last day of VeganMoFo 2015!!!! ='(
I'm very sad to see this month come to an end. Even though I faced a bit of a challenge making sure I posted every day while working full time, I managed to pull it off! Phew!
Although it was tiring, it was the most fun I've had in the kitchen in a very long time. I loved being able to come up with creative ideas (sometimes on the fly...eheh) and see them come to life. Tasting them wasn't bad, either. ;)
Best of all, I got to share my dishes with all the vegan blogging community! I've never felt so supported and humbled at the same time. I think everyone did an amazing job and I want to commend all those who participated!
My final dish for you this month is my answer to the Fusion Challenge: Chipotle Risotto & Beans!
It took everything I had to not make a Japanese fusion dish, but I'm glad I didn't. I have to credit by boyfriend for this idea. He helped me when I was second guessing what to make and he suggested this dish. What an amazing thing.
What I love about risotto is that it's very easy to customize once you know how to cook it correctly. The first time I made risotto, I did it right but it took forever! I didn't prep adequately so I spent forever gathering all my ingredients. Now, I feel that simple is better.
This risotto may look complicated, but it really isn't. I basically took a "rice and beans" approach to this with regards to flavor. I coated back beans in chorizo-type spices and roasted them to give them a little bit of texture.
The beans pair nicely with the creamy risotto. The risotto is a tad spicy and buttery, while the beans are warm and smokey. I garnished everything with some bright cilantro and my goodness it was perfection! The smell of this dish is great just by itself.
Serve this risotto in small portions for an appetizer or larger ones for an entree. You can also make them into arancini. I won't stop you. ^_^
Thanks for reading, everyone! I'm stoked for next year's MoFo already. Keep reading for my rocky adventure into the holiday season! ;)
Chipotle Risotto & Beans
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.