Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Win a copy of all of my cookbooks!

So here we are.  Saying goodbye to another year of MoFo'ing.  Oh my goodness.  This has been a pretty epic MoFo for me, how about you?  I love MoFo, and while I am certainly sad to see it go away for another year, I am willing to admit, that a small break (just about a week) will be welcomed.

Since this month has been all about the giveaways, I decided to finish it up with a bang!  I am giving away all 6 of my published books (plus a bonus copy of the self-published, Cozy Inside) to one winner.  Just follow the prompts in the widget below.

It has been an absolute blast doing these giveaways with all of you.  Reading your responses to the questions has been so fun, and I have even learned a trick or two from some of you!  I hope you all still check in often. And, while I can't promise a giveaway with every post, I will promise to do my best to continue to post yummy vegan recipes, designed to prove to the world, once and for all, that it simply is not necessary to torture or kill another living being for the sake of a tasty meal!

Thanks for playing along!  Until next time, MoFos!

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vegan Mofo 2013: Book Review and Giveaway: Julie Hasson's Vegan Pizza

I have been a fan of Julie's for years.  The first of Julie's books I ever bought was her cupcake book, way back in 2005!  And each and every book she has put out since has been even better, so you can only imagine how excited I was to get my hand on a book full of recipes for vegan pizza!  Yeah, I was pretty excited.  And now the wait is over.  Julie's new book, Vegan Pizza: 50 Cheesy, Crispy, Healthy Recipes in finally in my hot little hands.  And I was so excited about it, I bought 2 copies!  So now I have one to give away to one of you.  Just follow the prompts in the widget below to enter to win.  Since I am sending it out, this contest is open to anyone, worldwide!

Julie Hasson's Vegan Pizza

Now on to the book review.  The intro is sweet and Julie tells us about her personal love affair with pizza and how her transition to veganism had her rethinking her pizza making.  Then she teaches us how to stock our pantry with all of the vegan pizza necessities.  Moving on, there are tips and techniques for making the perfect pie, and's on to the recipes!

She starts us out with plenty of different dough recipes, including my favorite kind of pizza dough, that I never make myself, but now I can, Cornmeal Dough (page 12), then she blows my mind with a whole chapter on house made meats....wha-wha-what?  This lady is reading my mind!  Faux-meaty are some of my favorite recipes in the world, and now I have 6 new meaty ways to top my pizzas.  Next up are the cheesy sauces and spreads.  Yep, a chapter devoted to making your own delicious creamy and zesty sauces.  My favorite?  The Smoky White Cheese Sauce (page 30).  Now, with just these recipes, there is enough ammo to make an abundance of delicious pizzas, and we haven't even gotten to the  recipes for entire pizzas yet!

Components taken care of, Julie now gives us the recipes for all sorts of pizzas, from pizzaria classics, to those inspired by the fresh bounty at the farmer's market.  And then it gets really creative!  Cheeseburger Pizza, complete with dill pickles (page 72), Bibimbap Pizza (page 88), and she even finishes with some sweet pizzas for dessert...Coconut Caramel Pizza (page 107) anyone?

This book is smartly laid out with easy to follow recipes, sidebars and variations giving more in depth info on the recipes, and the recipes almost all nicely fit on a 1-2 page layout, so there is no page flipping in the middle of your pizza making.  In the back of the book, Julie offers up some useful resources and metric conversions, and a user friendly index.  The only thing missing is the full color photos.  But seriously, how many different ways can you take a picture of a pizza? Besides, Julie posts lots of pictures on her flickr photostream and on her website to give us a good idea on what these amazing pies (as well as lots of other yummy foods she makes) should look like.

Get yourself a copy of this book!  Even if you aren't vegan, or even vegetarian, because knowing how to make a pizza from scratch, at home, is something every home cook should know, and Julie can teach you how to do it with no fear and no hassle.  This book gets two thumbs up from me.

Julie also was kind enough to share a recipe to get you excited about the book. And, lucky for you guys, it features the The Smoky White Cheese Sauce I mentioned above!

Smoky Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza (page 60)

Smoky Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE  (C) 2013 Julie Hasson, reprinted with permission

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE  (C) 2013 Julie Hasson, reprinted with permission

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE  (C) 2013 Julie Hasson, reprinted with permission

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan MoFo: Sophie's Kitchen Vegan Seafood Review and Giveaway

The fine folks at Sophie's Kitchen were kind enought to send me a few coupons to sample their vegan seafood.  I was finally able to get to a market that carried it, and picked up 3 varieties.  Breaded Vegan Fish Fillet,  Breaded Vegan Shrimp, and Breaded Vegan Scallops.

The Breaded Vegan Shrimp were pretty interesting.  I baked them in the oven according to package instructions for about 15 minutes from frozen.  Crisped and brown on the outside, firm, chewy, and white (with a novel orange skin!) on the inside.  These were more realistic than I thought they would be.  Very shrimpy!  I served these up appetizer style with Spicy Sushi Sauce for dipping.  Pretty tasty.  They are also soy free, so bonus for those with soy sensitivities.  Would I buy them again?  Sure!  The novelty alone is reason enough to pick these up and bring them to a party or potluck.

I used the fish fillets in a sandwich, a cruelty free, healthier version, just ever so sightly reminiscent of one of those at the evil fast food restaurant that employs a freaky clown who lives under some golden arches.  I used 2 slices of pumpernickel bread, a fat schmear of Vegenaise, 2 slices of the new Daiya Cheddar Style Slices and 2 pieces of the Breaded Vegan Fish Fillets.  I cooked them in my toaster oven, according to the directions on the box, which was fast and convenient, a no brainer.  When I pulled them out, they definitely smelled like what I remember a fishstick to smell like.  And the breading was definitely what I remember fishsticks were like. They taste good, I would say a little more like chicken then fish, but they do taste good. The texture is interesting.  Not flaky, as I would have expected, but more like a cross between tofu that has been previously frozen (which is a good thing) and seitan.  Would I buy them again?  Sure!

Right off the bat, I will admit that I was the most skeptical about the Breaded Vegan Scallops.  Their appearance was more like a short tater tot, than that of a scallop, but of all three, these probably tasted the best! I pan fried these, according to package instructions, straight out of the freezer and served them with linguine alfredo (the sauce was Earth Balance, Garlic, Almond Milk, Daiya Jack Style Wedge, and black pepper.)  They were very buttery.  The flavor was mild, and they were only lightly breaded (a good thing!) The texture was similar to the shrimp.  These are also soy free and gluten bonus for those with sensitivities.  Would I buy them again?  Sure!

Want to try Sophie's for yourself?  Follow the prompts in the widget below and I will send you a Sophie's prize pack.  Because these are perishable, I can only ship within the Continental United States.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day Giveaway

I first reviewed this book in August of 2012, but since I love Celine and Tami, and the folks at Fairwinds were kind enough to give me another book to give away, I thought it would be nice to reprint it again here.

Never eat a boring sandwich again!

Celine and Tami's new book Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!: Revolutionary New Takes on Everyone's Favorite Anytime Meal is finally out, and man, you all need to get your paws on it!

Amazing recipes for amazing sandwiches. I fancy myself a bit of a sandwich snob, and this book has impressed me from page one. Smartly laid out in a fun format, this book has tips, tricks, and of course amazing photos of delicious sandwiches.

My favorites so far:
Berry Stuffed French Toast Pockets (page 34) because the crispy, crusty french toast recipe is great on it's own, but the berry filling makes a great surprise. These also work great on the go as a handheld. Super yum.
Orange Fennel Summer Rolls (page 83) because they are so easy, fast, and refreshing on hot days. NO COOKING REQUIRED! Plus they are so pretty, and make a great appetizer as well.
The Party Monster (page 124) because it is delicious green bread stuffed with delicious home made deli slices and other savory goodness. It's a bit time consuming, but oh-so-worth it.
Oreo Wafflewiches (page 173) because, even though it's meant as a dessert, this one screams breakfast (to me) and tastes like a giant Oreo cookie! Whoa.

Another fabulous feature of this book is Chapter 8: The Building Blocks, which is has recipes that can be used throughout the rest of the book, or on their own. Recipes for how to make your own sandwich breads, and deli-style slices to come up with your own sandwich creations.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Sure, I am biased!  Because I love Tami and Celine.  But I only love them because they are so awesome, and so are their recipes.

And guess what else?  The fine folks at Fairwinds Press have offered a copy for me to give away to one of you!  And because they mailed it directly to me, this giveaway is open to readers worldwide!  Simply Follow the prompts in the widget below to enter.

The lovely ladies were also kind enough to lend a recipe to share with y'all, so here it is:

The Almighty BLT from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day
by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, Photo by Celine Steen.

The Almighty BLT

For spread
1 jar (14 ounces, or 392 g) hearts of palm, drained
1/4 cup (60 g) nondairy sour cream or unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
1/2 cup (112 g) vegan mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
1 tablespoon (8 g) drained capers
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (14 g) sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

For sandwiches
8 slices any bread (crusty or soft), toasted
4 large lettuce leaves
1 recipe Tempeh Bacon, panfried (recipe below)
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into
12 slices
4 razor-thin slices red onion (optional)

To make the spread: Process the hearts of palm in a food
processor until coarsely chopped. Add all the remaining
ingredients and pulse a few times to leave chunky, or process
thoroughly until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Chill in an airtight container overnight to let the
flavors meld. Enjoy the leftovers within 1 week.

To assemble the sandwiches: Smear 1 tablespoon (16 g)
spread on each slice of bread. Top 4 slices of bread with 1
lettuce leaf, 2 ounces (57 g) bacon, 2 slices tomato, 3 slices
avocado, and 1 slice onion. Top with the 4 remaining bread

4 sandwiches
2 cups (515 g) spread

Tempeh Bacon

8 ounces (227 g) tempeh
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable broth
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon (16 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) tamari
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) liquid smoke, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the tempeh into 1/4-inch
(6-mm) strips across the short side. In a 9 x 13-inch (23 x
33-cm) pan, combine the broth, syrup, tomato paste, vinegar,
tamari, cumin, coriander, salt, onion powder, garlic powder,
and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the liquid smoke. Place the
tempeh strips in the marinade and turn to coat. The strips
will probably be touching, which is fine. Cover with foil and
refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2). Bake
the strips in the marinade, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Most
of the marinade will either be absorbed or coating the tempeh.
Remove from the oven. At this point, the strips may be
prepared for serving or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1
week and cooked as needed.
To cook, combine the olive oil and remaining 1 teaspoon
(5 ml) liquid smoke in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over
medium heat. Brush both sides of the tempeh strips with the
olive oil mixture and, working in batches, cook for 4 minutes,
or until browned. Turn and cook the other side for about 3

8 ounces (227 g)

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Follow Your Heart

Friday Night Fun Nachos featuring Follow Your Heart Vegan Shreds in Cheddar.
Also Featured, TVP taco meat, green onions, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos,
cilantro, Spicy Sushi Sauce, and black pepper.

About a month ago, I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Follow Your Heart main office and manufacturing plant to celebrate the launch of their new Vegan Shreds.   That day was one of the hottest days of the summer.  I was at work that morning, and packed my "party clothes" to change into later in the afternoon as I headed for Chatsworth to attend the event.  It was 98 degrees when I left Laguna Beach at 1:30 pm.  Once I got on the freeway, it was smooth sailing through the freeways of Orange County, but then I crossed through the orange curtain into LA county and it was if the traffic gods knew I needed to get somewhere and wanted to play a cruel trick on me, my car was now traveling at about 3 miles per hour.  It was 102 degrees.  Those not familiar with Southern California might not realize that the 80 mile drive that should take less than an hour and a half to travel, in LA traffic took me over 4 hours.

And my little 1999 Honda Accord was none too happy about the slow moving in such hot weather.  I overheated twice on the way there, and had to turn the A/C off and the heater on for the remainder of my drive.  But I made it.  Hot and sweaty, but I made it.  It was about 5:45 pm.  I changed into my clothes in the pasenger seat of my car, put on a little make up, and tried to fix up my limp mess of a hair do.  It was 105 degrees.  I checked in at the front desk, got my luau inspired name tag, and was in.  I had never been so happy to see free booze in my life!  There were big dispensers filled with a tropical conconction that was just what this girl needed to relax and enjoy the rest of the event.

The Follow Your Heart folks really put on a great party.  There were tables set up throughout the area, and booths with beer, wine, and the Rainforest Alliance was there sharing information on Palm Oil and Follow Your Heart's commitment to using only sustainably grown Palm Oil grown in non Orangutan habitats.  You can read more about Shreds for Change, here.  In addition to the booze and booths, there were tours of the factory.  It was really fun to see where some of the wonderful and delicious products like Vegenaise are developed and made.

That's me with Jackie from VeganYackAttack and Jessica
from TheVedgeApp's sweet little Goose all suited up for
our tour of the factory.  It was really cold in the warehouse,
which was a really nice change from the heat outdoors!

Well, all I can say is that I pretty much failed as a vegan blogger when it came to taking pictures of all of the wonderful food they fed us.  Luckily, The fine folks at Vegetarians In Paradise took lots of pictures of the food. And the food was great!  We were served mini appetizer sized versions of traditionally bigger foods all featuring products from Follow Your Heart!  We got mini grilled cheeses, cheese stuffed chik'n fingers with marinara for dipping, mini tacos, mini quiches, mac and cheese, enchiladas, and my absolute favorite, the mini wedge salad featuring Follow Your Heart's new Vegan Bleu Cheese dressing.  This stuff is incredible.  And I have been craving it ever since that party.  But I cannot seem to find it anywhere around here.  I think an online order is in order before I have a serious vegan bleu cheese melt down.

Now let's talk for a minute about the new Vegan Shreds, since that is what this party was all about, right?  So, I was able to get my hands on the cheddar flavor.  The store was all out of Mozzarella and Fiesta. That's a good sign, right?  So I decided to play around with it.  I didn't want to make Mac and Cheese, because I wanted to really showcase the cheese.  So, remember last Friday when I said I was gonna make some nachos?

Nachos, uncooked on the left, after 3 minutes in the microwave on the right.
Pesto pizza, uncooked on the left, after 90 seconds in the microwave on the right.
The verdict?  Well, as you can see, the meltability was only so-so.  After a ridiculously long time in the microwave, these shreds pretty much remained the same shape.  But more importantly, how did they taste?  Damn tasty!  Tasted like cheddar, and despite the fact that they seemed not to melt, when they were hot, they were indeed gooey to the bite, and creamy. Would I buy them again?  Absolutely.  I am glad there is another vegan shredded option on the market.  And I am looking forward to trying the Mozzarella and Fiesta flavors.

So for today's giveaway, I am putting together a Follow Your Heart prize pack packed up all pretty in a Follow Your Heart tote bag.  In it will be a coupon for vegan shreds and a whole bunch of other FYH yummy stuff, provided by me and the fine folks at Follow Your Heart.  Because I will be shipping perishables, this giveaway is only open to those within the US.  Sorry, international readers.  Simply follow the prompts in the widget below to enter!

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegan MoFo: Book Review and Giveaway of Judita's Raw and Simple

You all know me by now, and you know that I really do enjoy decaent comfort foods.  Mashed potatoes, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, tacos covered in rich sauces, the list goes on and on.  What you might not know about me, is that I also actually like to eat healthy nutritious meals.  Shocking, right?  So, I do have a pretty big collection of raw cookbooks, oil free cook books, and other books full of nutritious, clean and healthy recipes.  Raw foods are kind of my favorite way to eat clean.  Pure and simple.  I try to incorporate at least one meal of raw veggies and fruits every day, whether in a salad or a smoothie, or even dessert.

The trouble a lot of people run into is how seemingly difficult a raw foods diet can be.  Dehydrating, soaking, sprouting, slicing, dicing...all the prep can sometimes be daunting.  But it doesn't have to be!  Just like getting used to cooking without animal ingredients, cooking without heat just takes a little geting used to.  And, yes, there are some raw chef's out there (Hi there, Juliano!) who create some really ridiculous time consuming and difficult raw recipes.  But, there are also lovely raw food chef's who come up with books full of easy to follow delicious simple recipes that anyone can prepare.  Raw and Simple, by Judita Wignall is one of these books.

Raw and Simple by Judita Wignall
Judita is the author of two raw food recipe books, Going Raw and Raw and Simple. She's a Certified Holistic Health Counselor trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a Raw Food Chef and Nutrition Educator from the Living Light Culinary Institute. 

Both of her books are super bright and happy.  There is an infectious positive vibe that beams from the pages.  Seriously!  Usually I am critical of books that feature gratuitous pictures of the author instead of the food, but Judita is so darned cute, with such an amazing smile, that it really doesn't bother me.

The book is broken into three main chapters and starts out with a chapter on "Why Raw Rocks" which includes sections on what a raw food lifestyle entails, some nutritional information, and some interesting info about blood sugar levels.  Next is the chapter on "The Raw Kitchen"  full of shopping lists, stocking a raw kitchen, not-cooking tips and techniques, and info on sweetener and superfoods.

Then, there are the recipes! The proverbial meat and potatoes of the book.  Some of my favorites so far include the Chipotle Not Chicken Salad Wraps (page 124) and the Heirloom Tomato Stacks (page 115), both of which contain only simple ingredients that can be picked up at only any grocery store.  One thing I really love about Judita's recipes are the options to "lightly cook" the recipes to warm them. I find that eating only cold food would be a turn off for many, so having the option to warm these recipes is a great one.

The photography is gorgeous with vibrant beautiful full color pictures of a lot of the recipes (and some of the author, as mentioned above).  The book is well alid out, the design is very hip and nice to look at, and the index is very useful.  Overall, this is a lovely addition to any cookbook shelf, whether embarking upon a raw foods lifestyle or not.

The fine folks over at Quarry Books were kind enough to offer up a copy of this book to one lucky reader, and because they will be doing the shipping, it is only open to US residents.  Simply follow the prompts in the widget below.  Now, to give you your own taste of one of the recipes from th book, try out the Thai Veggie Noodles below!

Thai Veggie Noodles
Noodles plus creamy curry sauce plus tons of vegetables equals one of my favorite dishes. You can play around with the amount of veggies, but I like to go crazy and pile them on. If you can’t find kelp noodles in the refrigerator section of your local health food store, you can replace them with two additional zucchini.

Makes 4–6 servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
1 12-ounce (340 g) package kelp noodles

½ cup (112 g) almond butter
¼ cup (59 ml) water
¼ cup (59 ml) tamari
2 tablespoons (30 ml) brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons (15 g) red Thai curry paste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons (28 ml) agave nectar or few drops liquid stevia
1 tablespoon (8 g) grated ginger or ginger juice
1 clove garlic

1 lemon
4 zucchinis, peeled
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large carrots, julienned
2 green onions, green parts sliced thinly
2 cups (100 g) bean sprouts
½ cup (20 g) Thai or traditional basil, shredded
4 cups (120 g) spinach

Rinse and loosen the kelp noodles and place them in a bowl. Cover the noodles with water and squeeze the juice from the lemon into it. Allow them to soak for 30 minutes.  While the noodles are soaking, make your sauce by processing all the sauce ingredients until smooth in a blender.

After 30 minutes, rinse the noodles and place them into a medium–size bowl. It's helpful to cut noodles with kitchen scissors, as they tend to be crazy long.

Spiralize the zucchini with a vegetable spiralizer or use a peeler to turn them into ribbons. Combine the zucchini with the kelp noodles and toss with sauce. Serve the zucchini– noodle mixture on a bed of spinach and top with vegetables and shredded basil. This will last two days in the refrigerator.

Chef Tip: Warm this dish by placing noodles in a dehydrator for one hour at 145˚ F (62.8˚ C) or warm in a saucepan on low heat, stirring frequently. For a lightly cooked version, place noodles and vegetables in a large saucepan or pot and warm gently for 5–10 minutes, stirring constantly.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Just for Fun Friday!

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Tonight we won't be cooking or going out to eat.  Because Fridays are for fun.  So I won't worry about nothin' and if I'm hungry, I will snack the night away on whatever is leftover from the week.

Lucky for me, I have a ton of stuff hangin' out in the fridge.  I am thinking I may just make a mean plate of nachos with all the leftovers from last night's tacos!  All the talk of taco cleanses had me craving tacos!  So I finally broke down and made some.  Semi homemade style, since my sister and her man were joining us and I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen all night!

I set up a mini make your own taco bar in my kitchen.  I went crispy this time, as a change from the street style soft tacos I have been making a lot of lately, and for the meaty stuff I went with TVP reconstituted with a packet of storebought taco seasoning and a little extra oil (you know because there isn't enough oil in those fried shells), spinach instead of lettuce (cuz that's what we had in the fridge) and for mine, I added red onion, green onion, cilantro, and of course, Spicy Sushi Sauce, though I added a whole lot more sriracha this time than I normally do.  There was also home made guacamole, chopped tomatoes, salsa and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream to choose from.

So for tonight's giveaway, I thought I would also do something fun!  A surprise giveaway.  A secret pack!  Filled with things I know you will love, but it's a mystery until you open it up.  I promise it will be awesome.  So, if you wanna have some fun with me this Friday, why not follow the prompts below to enter this vegan giveaway?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Joni Represents Whole Foods at the Taste of Laguna Wednesday September 18

On Wednesday, September 18, I will be representing Whole Foods Market, Laguna Beach at the Taste of Laguna food festival. Our store will be presenting 2 dishes, and I am presenting the vegan one.  Because this is a store sponsored event, I used ingredients easily purchased at the store.  I am sharing this recipe, along with giving away a $25 gift card to Whole Foods Market, paid for out of my very own pocket.  (Just follow the prompts in the widget below to enter.  Sorry, this one is only open to US residents.)

Herb Goddess Chik’n Salad over Grilled Crostini smeared with Herbed Aioli
and topped with Pickled Onion and Fennel Relish

I love Whole Foods, and not just because I work there.  I have been shopping and eating at Whole Foods long before I worked for the company.  I know many vegans have a problem with Whole Foods because they do sell and serve meat and dairy.  I just want to let you know that since I began working there, I have been counsel to many a beginner (and veteran) vegan, showing them the ropes, offering advice and recipes, showing off the coolest and best vegan products, and being a pretty darned good representative of the cause.  Besides, for many people, Whole Foods is just about the only place where one can buy many of the specialty vegan convenience foods that are now on the market. So it is with great pride and pleasure that I share this recipe with you.

Herb Goddess Chik’n Salad over Grilled Crostini smeared with Herbed Aioli and topped with Pickled Onion and Fennel Relish
This delicious herb infused open faced sandwich is perfect for casual entertaining, brunches and luncheons. All of the components can be made ahead of time making assembly on the day of your event a snap. This recipe is great for everyone, meat eaters and vegans alike. Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips are so realistic that no one would know they weren’t real chicken unless you told them!

For the Pickled Onion and Fennel Relish:
1 white onion, paper thin julienne cut
1 bulb fennel, paper thin julienne cut
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar

For the Herb Goddess Chik’n Salad:
2 packages Beyond Meat Chicken Less Strips (available in the dairy aisle), plain or grilled
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 clamshell (3/4 ounce, or 21 g) local Kenter Canyon Farms organic chives, chopped very fine
1 clamshell (3/4 ounce, or 21 g) local Kenter Canyon Farms organic chervil (or flat leaf parsley), chopped very fine
1 clamshell (3/4 ounce, or 21 g) local Kenter Canyon Farms organic tarragon, chopped very fine
1 ripe avocado, peeled and mashed well with a fork
3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice
1 cup (235 ml) vegan mayonnaise, such as Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise
Salt and pepper to taste.

For the Grilled Crostini:
2 crusty La Brea French baguettes, or other crusty bread
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper

You will also need a few handfuls of Kenter Canyon Farms Wild Arugula

Method for the Pickled Onion and Fennel Relish:
Place thinly sliced onion and fennel in a re-sealable plastic bag.
Add vinegar and sugar. Shake to combine.
Allow to marinate overnight.
Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Method for the Herb Goddess Chik’n Salad:
To make the chicken salad, chop the Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips into small cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add celery, and onion to the bowl.
In a smaller bowl, mix together chopped chives, chervil, tarragon, avocado, lemon juice, and vegan mayo.
Reserve ½ cup (120 ml) of the dressing to be used as the aioli for the crostini
Add remaining dressing to the chopped chickenless strips, celery and onion. Toss to mix.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Method for the Grilled Crostini:
Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, and into 3 pieces across (you will end up with 12 total pieces) and brush the cut side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the seasoned side fave down on the grill and grill until toasty and crisp.
Set aside until ready to serve.

Method for Sandwich Assembly:
Smear grilled side of crostini with reserved herb dressing.
Top with several leaves of arugula.
Add a generous scoop of Herb Goddess Chik’n Salad
Top with Pickled Onion and Fennel Relish

Yield: 12 open faced sandwiches

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Book Review and Giveaway Plus a Bonus Recipe from The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester

Kathy Hester has already taught me so much with her first book, The Vegan Slow Cooker, and now she's taught me so much more with The Great Vegan Bean Book. I thought I had already posted a review of this awesome book when it first cam out but apparently I hadn't, so I am delighted and excited to share this review as well as give away a copy (just follow the prompts in the widget below to enter!) courtesy of the fine folks over at Fair Winds Press. Because they were kind enough to send the giveaway copy directly to me, I am able to do worldwide shipping, so this contest is open to readers worldwide!

The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester

Did you know that you can make a pie crust out of beans? How about biscuits? And what would you say if I told you you could make fudgesicles out of beans? Wha-wha-what? Yep! Kathy has recipes for all of these, plus more than a hundred other innovative recipes featuring the magical fruit. I will admit that I had my doubts when I heard Kathy was writing a book all about beans. I mean, how many different ways are there to make beans? Well, apparently, hundreds! And I was absolutely floored by the amazing ways she put them together. I mean just check out the Cherry Basil Crumble below.

This book is really well laid out with a short and sweet intro that gives the reader all sorts of awesome bean how to tips and a glossary of different types of beans. Then come the recipes. Organized by style of meal, (Morning Beans, Portable Beans, Bean-a-licious Sweet Treats) these recipes run the gamut from pancakes to stews to macaroni and cheese (hello white bean cheesy sauce!) and each one seems more innovative than the last.  MAny of the recipes also come with Soy free, gluten free or oil free options, and many have "Fancy Bean Substitutes" suggested just in case you want to make use of some fancy heirloom beans.  The index is concise and easy to use and each chapter opener has a a list of every recipe and pagenumber in the chapter.  Finally, the photographs are stunning

I have so many pages bookmarked in this book, that my husband told me he is worried about me eating too many beans (you know, the more you eat the more you...) but no worries, Kathy even has tips for using natural herbs to help you digest these beans more easily.  Some of my favorites so far include the Hawaiian Sliders (page 96), The Pumpkin White Bean Chowder (page 75), and, of courde, The Cherry Basil Crumble Bars (page 182) below.

Cherry Basil Crumble Bars
Gluten-free option*

It’s beans that allow the crust to be oil-free, but it’s the cherries and basil that make them extra special.

For the crust
1 cup (179 g) cooked white beans
½ cup (55 g) slivered almonds
½ cup (48 g) rolled oats (*use gluten-free)
½ cup (60 g) whole wheat pastry flour (*use gluten-free)
¼ cup (80 g) agave nectar

For the topping
½ cup (90 g) cooked white beans
½ cup (55 g) slivered almonds
½ cup (48 g) rolled oats (*use gluten-free)
½ cup (60 g) whole wheat pastry flour (*use gluten-free)
¼ cup (80 g) agave nectar

For the filling
2 cups (310 g) pitted or frozen cherries
¼ cup (6 g) fresh basil
¼ to ½ cup (80 to 160 g) agave nectar, depending on tartness of fruit
½ teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Yield: 12 bars
Per bar: 268.2 calories; 7.4 g total fat; 0.6 g saturated fat; 7.0 g protein; 43.1 g carbohydrate; 6.7 g dietary fiber;
0 mg cholesterol.
Total Prep Time: 30 minutes (less if not using cherries)
Total cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C, or gas mark 4). Oil an 11 x 8-inch (28 x 20 cm) casserole pan **or use a nonstick pan.

To make the crust, add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until the consistency of large cornmeal. Press into the bottom of the pan.

To make the topping, add all the ingredients to the food processor bowl before you wash it and pulse until the almonds are broken up well. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

To make the filling, you can still use the unwashed food processor and add all the ingredients. Double-check that all the cherry pits have been removed. You’ll hear them in the food processor if any slipped by. Spread the pureed filling over the crust and then crumble the topping over that.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the topping browns and the filling has set up. Let cool and then cut into 12 bars.

Serving Suggestions & Variations:
Try with different seasonal fruits and herbs or spices: apple cinnamon, blueberry mint, or even strawberry basil.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: It's Crunch Time!

We are coming pretty close to the middle of MoFo so that means crunch time.  Time to get remotivated and keep the energy up.  Time to get reinspired by other blogs and refocused on the task at hand.  And that is spreading the good word about vegan food!

Crunchies BBQ Roasted Veggies and Mixed Fruit
The fine folks over at Crunchies Food Company were kind enough to send me a few samples of their freeze dried fruits and veggies.  I am no stranger to freeze dried foods, but these ones were really, really crispy and, well, CRUNCHY!  Other brands I have tried get kind of soggy once you open the pack, but these ones stayed nice and crisp for over a week once they were opened.

I will admit to never snacking on freeze dried veggies before, so that was a nice change of pace.  The BBQ Roasted Veggies made a great snack.  Not too salty and just the right blend of spices.  They offer lots of flavors of both the fruits and he veggies.  The ingredients are so awesome, just fruits and veggies!  (And spices if it's a flavored mix.) ANd you can't get cleaner than that.  They do offer a few organic varieties, but please use caution when picking these up, as some flavors are not vegan, like the Sweet Buttered Corn which has real butter in it.

But other than snacking, what else do you do with freeze dried fruits and veggies?  Me?  I cook and bake with them.  The freeze dried blueberries are perfect for blueberry pancakes and muffins, and the strawberries are awesome in muffins and cookies.  I also add them into dry mixes for gifts.  Here is a recipe from Vegan Food Gifts that uses these freeze dried fruits perfectly.

Photo by Celine Steen

Strawberry Pineapple Orange Cake Mix


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (20 g) freeze dried strawberries*
1/2 cup (10 g) freeze dried pineapple*

Into a clear cello bag, layer the ingredients in the order listed above.
Tie closed with a pretty ribbon or twine, and attach the recipe card below.

RECIPE CARD (Printable copy of this recipe card below)
Strawberry Pineapple Orange Cake Mix
You will need:
Cake Mix
1 cup (235 ml) soy, almond, or coconut milk
1 cup (235 ml) orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) canola or other mild flavored vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Lightly coat an 8-inch (20 cm) square or 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with nonstick spray.
Empty entire contents of mix into large mixing bowl.
Add milk, orange juice, and oil.
Stir until well combined.
Pour batter into cake pan.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before inverting from pan onto cake platter.
Add a simple icing of powdered sugar mixed with orange juice if desired.

Yield: 1 (9-inch, or 23 cm) single layer cake

Illustrations by Kurt Halsey

On a side note, today's post is the 500th post here on JustTheFood.  How cool is that?  500 posts about nothing but vegan goodness.

Enter to win a Crunchies Prize Pack by following the prompts in the widget below.  Unfortunately, since I will be shipping food, this contest is only open to residents of US and Canada.  Sorry guys, thems the rules.

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Thoughtful Thursdays: Book Review and Giveaway of Whole Grain Vegan Baking

There is simply no denying it.  Summer is officially over, even though it was 85 degrees today!  Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are making there way onto coffee shop menus.  Squash and figs are abundant.  No matter how sunny and warm it is, my mind still wants to turn on the oven and start baking!  Thank goodness I am armed with this amazingly adorable book filled with whole grain vegan goodness.

Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes
Seriously, every single page of this book is friggin' adorable.  From the pictures, to the layout, to the graphic design, all the way down to the fonts.  This book is so damn cute!  But she is more than just a pretty cover and sexy pages.  She is full of amazing recipes.

From sweet to savory, simple breakfasts to decadent desserts, this book has something for everyone.  Some of my favorites so far (and I still have many bookmarked pages!) include the Pesto Knots (page 114) the Whole Wheat Lemon Tartlets (page 167) and the Lemon Ginger Rolls (page 45).

The book is well laid out with a easy to use index, and a short but informative intro that lays down the 4-1-1 on whole grain ingredients and baking techniques.  Celine and Tami are very kind an mindful of those with food allergies and note that many of the recipes can easily be made soy free by making simple substitutions.  And let's not forget to mention the unbelievable photographs. How Celine can continue to impress me with each and every book she puts out (both with content and beauty) never ceases to amaze.

I feel that this book is a must have for every baker's cookbook shelf, whether they are vegan or not!  The recipes are dependable, wholesome, and delicious.  The fine folks over at Fair Winds Press have kindly offered up a copy of this beautiful book, and since they sent it directly to me...I have decided to open this one up to anyone in the world!  So, my overseas friends, please do enter the giveaway!  Simply follow the promts in the widget below to enter.

And to whet your whistle until you can get your hands on this tasty book, here is a sample recipe from the book.  Perfect for the fall!

Ginger and Spice Cookies from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes.
Photo by Celine Steen
Ginger and Spice Cookies
Perfectly gingery, with a slight molasses flavor, these cookies will permeate your whole home with a holiday scent that just can’t be beat. Gluten-free brown rice flour benefits from the addition of whole spelt flour here to give the cookies a great structure, as well as texture. Note that it’s important for all the ingredients used here to be at room temperature and not cold, so that the coconut oil does not further solidify as you mix the dough. (Quick reminder: Semisolid coconut oil is of the same consistency as slightly softened vegan butter.)

44 g (2 tablespoons) molasses
96 g (1⁄2 cup) Sucanat
56 g (1⁄4 cup) semisolid coconut oil
8 g (1 tablespoon) cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder or pain d’epices spice mix
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
88 g (1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole spelt flour
100 g (1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) brown rice flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegan milk, more if needed
30 g (2 tablespoons) chopped soft candied ginger

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Combine the molasses, Sucanat, oil, cornstarch, ground ginger, spice powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well mixed.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the flours and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients onto the wet, and mix to combine. The mixture will look dry and crumbly. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, until the dough holds together well when pinched. Add more milk if needed. Mix the chopped ginger into the dough until just combined.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon (24 g) packed dough per cookie, placing 9 of them on each baking sheet. Remove them from the tablespoon and place them flat side (the side that you flattened to pack the dough into the tablespoon) onto the sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes (for slightly chewy cookies) to 15 minutes (for crisper cookies). Leave on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Yield: 18 cookies

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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni