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Day 13  – Kitchen Tour

  
I’ve been looking at all the awesome vegan kitchens on Instagram, so I’m here to add my very suburban vegan kitchen. I love my new kitchen. It’s so bright and sunny. As much as I miss our old loft, the kitchen was so dark. I had to take food to the living room to get a decent photo. 

Things I love about my kitchen:

  • an island – my first kitchen island!
  • the wide refrigerator – it’s probably not any bigger than a standard fridge because it’s not very deep, but it’s easier to find things in there
  • five gas burners
  • two ovens
  • cabinet storage
  • a huge pantry- the previous owners, an elderly couple, built the house and added an elevator shaft with the potential for installing an elevator when they couldn’t handle stairs. So right now there are three big closets on the first floor, second floor and basement. We made the first floor closet a pantry. It’s a work in progress, so no pictures yet. 

What I do not like: the color of the cabinets. 

Favorite kitchen appliances: KitchenAid mixer and Vitamix. Both worth every penny. 

   
 

We just hung up our first photos last night. We have a lot of decorating left to do, but here is the artwork I bought for the kitchen. It came from a cute little gallery downtown.  

 
The artist is Molly Sim. 

Day 3- Quick. Fast. Delicious. 

  
Gone are the days when I spent four hours in the kitchen recreating a Top Chef recipe. I spend nap time making dinner, so I still have some time to spend on cooking. But lunches have to be fast – either leftovers or something that I can do while trying to keep H & E from killing themselves or each other. It usually involves tofu. H & E love tofu. This has proven to be my most valuable kitchen tool:

  
The Tofu Xpress drains tofu quickly and without 50 paper towels. 

My favorite tofu recipes are the basic baked tofu from Appetite for Reduction, the Italian and Asian tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance and a stir fried or baked tofu with the tahini sauce from Isa Does It. That tahini sauce is amazing and H would eat it with a spoon if I let him. But sometimes even these simple recipes have too many ingredients. And that’s when I make tofu with Bragg’s liquid Aminos. After draining your firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry in a wok with a little oil until lightly browned. Sprinkle with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. So easy and yummy. 

 

Same Vegan, Different Suburb

Hello! I have moved from the land of milk and dairy to a suburban vegan oasis. 

  
Just kidding. I still live in the real world where people needlessly murder innocent animals for food. However, there are a few more vegan options here. It’s a step in the right direction. 

We moved back to the east coast, I quit my job and now I have lots of time to blog in between chasing two toddlers around the house (ha!) After a brief stay in Northern Virginia, we bought a house and moved to Maryland last month. We have most of our boxes unpacked, no pictures hung and several empty rooms. I joined a gym, the local mothers of multiples group and the local library. We’re settling in and finding fun things to do and vegan things to eat. 

  
It’s Vegan MoFo again. I missed the deadline this year, but that’s probably for the best. I’m not sure if I even posted twice last year. I will try to participate even if I’m not on the official blog roll. But no promises. 

The challenge for day 2 was to recreate something from your childhood. 

  
I have never actually been to the fast food chain, but I remember drinking homemade versions as a child. It was pretty much how I remember it. H and E enjoyed it, but with all that sugar, it won’t be a regular addition to their diet. 

Vegan Orange Julius

  • 6 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes 

Blend everything together and drink. 

Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

It’s vegan pizza day, which I believe is the biggest holiday after Christmas. For this sacred day, I made kale, sweet potato and caramelized onion pizza with a homemade cheese spread and Upton Natural’s bacon and red pepper pizza with Teese.

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Kale, Sweet Potato & Caramelized onion pizza

  • 3/4 cup raw brazil nuts, soaked for 1 hour
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons miso
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup cooked sweet potato, diced
  • pizza dough (I used the recipe from the Vegan Table, which I highly recommend)

For the “cheese,” combine brazil nuts, chickpeas, garlic, miso, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper.

For the topping, slowly cook onions in a little olive oil until they are richly browned. With the sweet potatoes, I cheated and used a salad from Expressly Leslie.  So feel free to add your favorite spice to the potatoes.

To assemble: spread “cheese” over pizza dough, cover with kale. Sprinkle sweet potatoes, then onions over the top. Bake according to your dough recipe.

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Bacon & Red Pepper Pizza

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Downton Dandy

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Last night was the season 3 finale of Downton Abbey in the US, so I attempted to create the castle out of peanut butter rice krispies treats (the peanut butter gives it a more authentic color).  It took 4 bags of Dandies marshmallows, a stick and a half of margarine, 2 cups of peanut butter and a value size box of Rice Crispy’s

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Chicago Vegan Foods is having a contest for fanciest Dandies marshmallow creation. Hopefully they will announce a winner, because the last time I entered their contest no winner was announced.

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***SEASON 7 SPOILER ALERT***
Downton Abbey is bombed by Germans. Oh, no! Matthew resurrects from the dead to single-handedly defeat the Nazis.

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Earth Balance’s New Treats

Earth Balance has recently come out with four new snacks: three popcorn treats and cheddar cheese puffs.

Peanut Butter Popps: The peanut butter popcorn is amazing; it took great restraint not to eat the whole bag in one sitting.  However, I could do without the bustle of oats. It doesn’t taste bad, but it pales in comparison to the popcorn. I’m going to try to recreate the peanut butter popcorn and leave out the bustling oats.
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White cheddar cheese puffs are also pretty tasty.  The cheesy flavor is believable.

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We had these for lunch today with Amy’s Sonoma burger, which is one of my favorite packaged burgers (the other being Trader Joes’s masala burger).

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OCD Sweets + Teal Cat Project

Happy Valentine’s Day. I am not a big fan of this holiday, but I am a huge fan of chocolate.  This year a great candy company and a fantastic charity paired up for Valentine’s day to bring a fabulous box a treats.

The Teal Cat Project takes old cat tchotchkes, paints them teal and sells them to raise funds for cat rescue organizations that practice trap, neuter, and release.

Obsessive Confection Disorder is a vegan California-based candy company specializing in caramel.

The box contained 2 Rose Petal Caramels With Gold Leaf, 2 Mel’s Way Candy Bars wrapped in teal foil (like Milky Ways!), 2 Love Bomb Lollies (salted caramel dipped in chocolate), and 4 Love Nips which are: lavender mint shortbread Meowmies with chocolate whiskers AND vanilla beans shortbread hearts dipped in chocolate. Delicious!

Also pictured is my teal cat.

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Amy’s Vegan Margherita Pizza

I’ve tried a bunch of great vegan products recently, so expect the next week to have more product placements than an episode of Project Runway.

First up, Amy’s Vegan Margherita Pizza with Daiya cheese. I’ve been wanting to try this forever.

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Amy’s pizza were on sale at Whole Foods last week and I wish I stocked up. I like Daiya, but in moderation and this pizza has just the right amount. There’s enough of that cheesy taste without the overwhelming sensation that you are eating fake cheese. The sauce is delicious and the crust is nice and crispy.

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Chopped/Vegan – Brunch edition: Breakfast sandwiches and pancakes

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I always have a hard time choosing between sweet or savory at brunch, so with my first attempt at Chopped/Vegan, I did a savory dish and a sweet dish. The four required ingredients were: butternut squash, popcorn, fresh rosemary, and apricot preserves. Both dishes include all four ingredients.

Chopped Savory

Tofu breakfast sandwich with homemade bacon and butternut squash mayo on rosemary popcorn bread; side of roasted rosemary potatoes and butternut squash

Breakfast sandwich:

Rosemary popcorn bread (veganized from this recipe)

  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup cold almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups popped popcorn (whole kernels only)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer; 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 cup vegan margarine, melted
  • 2 1/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Combine water and milk in a large bowl. Stir in yeast and sugar and let them “work” about 10 minutes.
2. Run popcorn through a blender or food processor until it is the consistency of cornmeal. Add popcorn and salt to the mixture in the bowl.
3. Then add egg replacer and cooled melted margarine and gradually work in flour. If you don’t have a machine, knead the mixture well by hand.
4. Let dough rise (usually 25-30 minutes). Punch it down then let rise once more.
5. Roll into shape and place in greased bread pans. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Remove from oven and butter the crusts (margarine the crusts?).

This bread is amazing! Why don’t I bake bread more often?

Vegan Bacon from No Meat Athlete

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans or other small red beans
  • 1/3 cup hulled wholegrain buckwheat (not buckwheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (May be substituted with soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Tofu:

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu: drained, pressed & cut into 6 tofu steaks
  • 1/4 apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup of veggie broth

Whisk together all ingredients (except tofu). Place tofu in marinade and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Fry in cast-iron skillet until brown and crispy.

Butternut squash mayonnaise:

  • store-bought vegan mayo or tofu mayo (How it all Vegan has a good recipe)
  • butternut squash puree
  • cinnamon to taste

Puree ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Put it all together: two pieces of tofu, 3 slices of bacon, some wilted kale & bread with butternut squash mayo.

Roasted rosemary potatoes and butternut squash:

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a baking pan; roast at 400 F for 45-50 minutes.

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Chopped Sweet

Butternut Squash Pancakes with rosemary-apricot syrup and bacon caramel corn

Butternut squash pancakes:

modification of pumpkin pancakes from Vegan Brunch (sub butternut squash puree for pumpkin puree and omit maple syrup)

Rosemary-Apricot syrup:

  • apricot preserves
  • water
  • arrowroot powder
  • fresh rosemary

Bring apricot preserves and water to a boil in a small pot; whisk in arrowroot powder. Add rosemary and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bacon Carmel Corn (veganized from here)

  • 4 slices of homemade vegan bacon (see above)
  • 2 1/2 cups popped popcorn (plain)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted, chopped pecans

1. Place the bacon, popcorn, and chopped pecans into a large bowl and toss them together.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, and corn syrup and stir them together over medium heat. Once the sugar and margarine have melted, stop stirring and insert a candy thermometer.

3. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches 238 degrees F (114 C) on the candy thermometer, which should only take 3-4 minutes.

4. Once at the proper temperature, remove the pan from the heat, add the baking soda, and stir vigorously. The sugar mixture will foam up, so be careful during this step.

5. Pour the foamy sugar over the popcorn mixture in the bowl and quickly stir everything together, making sure the popcorn, nuts, and bacon are coated with caramel.

6. Spread the popcorn out over the prepared baking sheet. Bake it for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to distribute the caramel. Watch this carefully so it doesn’t burn.

7. Once it is golden brown and crunchy, take the popcorn out of the oven and allow it to cool completely. Store Bacon Caramel Popcorn in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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