Category Archives: Uncategorized

April Pupdate

I haven’t taken many food shots lately, but with the new love in my life – my Canon 5D Mark III – I can’t wait any longer to post some photos. My last post on my dog Rupert was pretty popular, so I thought some of you animal lovers might be interested in a little pupdate on the most charming member of the Kuby family.

Rupert’s as goofy as ever, and though not quite as badly behaved as he was in his younger days, we still find his snout in the wine bucket from time to time…

I’d love to regale you all with stories of Rupert’s triumphs and adventures since the last time you saw him, but honestly, all he really does is lie around the house in various odd locations for shamelessly long amounts of time.

…But does he ever look cute doing it!

Happy Easter!

From your favorite Austen-admiring half-Jew!

I’m on a 28-day raw food detox program with my newly vegan mother (!!!), so for now I’m eating lots of rabbit food – in addition to fish food (i.e. algae), which isn’t quite as tasty – like these gorgeous rainbow carrots from my local Tempe Farmers Market.

Don’t you think it’s more appropriate to celebrate easter by eating like a bunny rather than dyeing/eating eggs from an industry that grinds male chicks alive? Yeah, I think so too.

My finger-lickin’ raw nacho kale chip recipe to come soon!

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Even being the master of denial that I am, I can’t help but think that, in this case, leftovers are symbolic of a bit more than the excess of Thanksgiving; this post itself is a bit of a leftover, seeing as Thanksgiving was over two weeks ago. The fact is, I’ve been a bad blogger, and I know it. I got crushed under the weight of 700+ India photos and sort of crumpled into a sad little heap – but I’m back! (And that India post is soon to come). I’m so back, that I’m actually making a casserole as I write this, my left hand checking its progress in the oven as my right hand commandeers the keyboard.

My family Thanksgave in Philadelphia this year with my dad’s side of the family. The first Thanksgiving I can remember away from home – I instantly told myself that I’d only be making the vegan main course, some gravy, a vegan dessert, and maybe, just maybe, one side. After all, I was going to be in someone else’s kitchen, without my trusty cookbooks, equipment, and stockpile of somewhat exotic ingredients (okay, I don’t think they’re exotic, but someone who’s not a foodie might…).

Of course, the vegangelical master chef in me reared her overachieving head, and all of a sudden, I was packing seven photocopied recipes – Faux Turkey Breasts, Rosemary Mushroom Gravy, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Pecans, Candied Sweet Potato Discs and Apple Slices, Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes,” Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Crumble – and multiple plastic bags worth of pre-measured and labeled spices, herbs, flour, and sugar into my suitcase. So much for sitting back and contentedly watching the parade.

This was my third Thanksgiving as a vegan and I knew I wanted to make a special main course. Year one, hosting my friend Chelsea and my visiting mom, dad, sister in my tiny Edinburgh University student flat in Scotland, I’d made a peanut-based nut loaf from a box mix because I was having trouble finding away to churn out a feast’s worth of food with little to no counter space and an oven the size of an Easy-Bake. It was good, but, c’mon, it was from a box. Year two, we just did the Tofurky Roast, which was pretty decent; but now, in my third year of veganism, I’m almost too vegan for those things. I try to avoid processed faux meats and pretty much stick to whole foods.

These Faux Turkey Breasts from the Real Food Daily cookbook are what the Southern California restaurant itself serves  for Thanksgiving. After combining shredded tofu and tempeh with sautéed onions, miso paste, mustard, and spices galore,  the mixture is shaped into breast-like patties, brushed with olive oil, and baked in the oven. The whole ingredients make for a delicious texture – almost like “turkey” and stuffing in one! As I said on Twitter at the time, “you know you’re a level-7 vegan when your homemade faux turkey contains three different types of soy, two of which are fermented.”

The Rosemary Mushroom Gravy from Get It Ripe was the perfect light topper for the “turkey,” and it also went pretty darn well with the Mashed Cauliflower I made. I used a recipe (see link), but it was more of a template than anything. My family loved it, and, I’ve become unpardonably obsessed with it. Proof: since Thanksgiving, I’ve made it almost every day and developed my own superior (in my opinion) iteration of it, the recipe for which I plan on sharing in my next post! I apologize in advance for making you “that person” who shows up at the Whole Foods check-out line with 6 heads of cauliflower.

Thanksgiving’s not Thanksgiving without Brussels sprouts. Roasted, they are truly the candy of the vegetable kingdom. But Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Pecans? Outrageous.

The recipe’s from The Vegan Table, with pecans subbed for pistachios; I’m all for being “alternative,” but pistachios at Thanksgiving just doesn’t fly with me. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, people who had Mac ‘n Cheese – vegan or not – at your holiday table. Pardon my language, Auntie Jane, but what the hell is up with that? You have 364 other days to have it.)

For the obligatory sweet potato side, I chose the Candied Sweet Potato Discs and Apple Slices from Vegan Soul Kitchen. We’ve made these before – you can’t really go wrong with layered apples and (pre-roasted) sweet potatoes, drenched in a spiced agave-lemon-orange-apple cider syrup. Plus, can someone please tell me what’s more fun than using a baster? I really have no idea.

The desserts Liv and I made were just mediocre, so I’m pretending they didn’t happen because I only publish the best. :)

Despite our Thanksgiving being a potluck with 25 extended family members and friends, all assigned to bring something, at the end of the day, my contributions turned out to be pretty necessary. My grandma had no idea I was making as much as I did, but if I hadn’t, there literally would not have been enough food for everyone. We hardly had any leftovers!

However, there were some leftovers. And like many before me, I enjoyed them for breakfast the next day even more than the original meal. I like them cold, after a long morning of Black Friday sales (okay, Liv and I just hit one store, but it took a while).

We had a little of everything, including the sweet potatoes my aunt made, whipped with coconut milk and topped with shredded coconut and toasted almonds, and a green bean dish contributed by my uncle.

I’d say it was a pretty successful T-day. Not only did I spend a lovely evening with family who I don’t see anywhere near often enough, but I got 25 people – many of whom know fairly little about veganism – to eat a meal that was at least 50 percent vegan. Making the world less cruel, one sweet tater at a time!

Pesto White Bean Bowl

I’ve only recently acquired Jae Steele’s two cookbooks, Get It Ripe and Ripe From Around Here. Really, I shouldn’t even call them cookbooks; they’re more like holistic vegan lifestyle books, replete with nutritional information, tips for digestion and detoxification, the ins and outs of the organic and local food movements, and even recipes for make-at-home natural cleaning products! Sometimes it bothers me when the first half of a cookbook is wasted on something other than recipes, but with Jae’s books, I don’t mind. Everything she has to say is genuinely interesting, and I’m better off having read it.

I’m a pretty big fan of bowl-type meals (Anyone remember the Love Bowl?!), consisting of grains, veggies, protein, and a tasty sauce; so I was immediately drawn to the Pesto White Bean Bowl in her first book, Get It Ripe.

Fresh baby bok choy is laid atop a bed of fluffy quinoa, then topped with white beans (I used a mixture of navy and cannellini beans) combined with delicious pesto. Finally, the whole bowl is drizzled with olive oil.  I used Jae’s Cilantro Pesto from the same book; but really, you could use whatever pesto’s sitting in your fridge. For the olive oil, I used some fancy Basil Olive Oil I just bought from Outrageous Olive Oils, here in Scottsdale, AZ. Since I made cilantro pesto, I had to find a way to get some basil in there somehow!

As I knew it would be, this bowl was a slam dunk. My dad and I both loved it. Fresh, simple, and wholesome food at its finest. Given that the one other recipe I’ve made from Get It RipePerfect Peanut Sauce – was, in fact, perfect, I’d say Jae Steele is two for two. I’ll be getting more ripe very soon. :)

Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dreena Burton is the master–er, mistress–of vegan soups. You might not know it because she’s more commonly known for her hummus, which occupies an entire chapter of her newest book, Eat, Drink & Be Vegan; but believe me, she is. In fact, the three best soups I’ve ever had have come from that very book.

The first two–Puréed Spicy Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with Chickpeas and White Bean Rosemary Soup–have made frequent appearances in my kitchen, especially during my cold winter abroad in Scotland! If you know anything about me, the first one really should not come as a surprise given that it’s basically my three favorite foods having a party.

My new Dreena favorite is a little humbler, but no less delicious: Lemon Chickpea Lentil Soup. It has a base of chickpeas, red lentils, zucchini, celery, and onions, all of which is puréed before additional chickpeas and fresh lemon juice are added. Garnished with additional lemon juice (I couldn’t get enough!) and parsley, you have yourself a little bowl of Mediterranean-inspired heaven.

This soup is hearty while still being light, thanks to the vibrant lemon and hidden vegetables. However, in 112° Arizona, it’s still a little hot for soup, no matter how light it is. I solved that problem by enjoying my mug of soup with a little bit of unsweetened Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt. The cool tangy bite of the yogurt tempered the warmth of the soup just enough to make it refreshing after a long day of photography errands.

If you don’t own any of Dreena’s books, what are you waiting for? Insane vegan soup is just a click or two away (on Amazon, that is!). Or, check out some of the recipes she’s posted on her blog.

Here Comes the Sun

A few days ago, I was honored to be given a Sunshine Award by Kiersten from Vegan Awakening (formerly Full of Beans). I can’t explain how fortunate I feel to have found all of you–and the vegan community as a whole–online.

Your posts, friendship, and really, your mere existence, truly do brighten my days. I may think awards like this one are cheesy (from now on, I’m going to say “noochy” instead), but that doesn’t changed the fact that I was nonetheless touched to receive mine; that’s why I want to keep distributing the sunshine! I’ll leave you with an inspirational Austen quote:

“Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does.”

Oops, that’s not the one I meant. Let’s try this again…

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves…”

So without further ado, here are those bloggers whom I have no notion of “loving by halves:”

Celine from Have Cake, Will Travel
Nicole from Rambunctiously Soft-Spoken
Alex from Cute and Delicious
Kathy from Healthy Happy Life
Jacqueline from Sweet Beet and Green Bean
Naomi Rose from The Gluttonous Vegan
Bianca from Vegan Crunk
Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs
Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Dreena from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
Hannah from BitterSweet
Mary from Mitten Machen
Kiersten from Vegan Awakening

For those of you that I named, the rules for accepting this award are:
1. Copy and paste these rules on your blog so your award winners could follow.
2. Put the logo flower on your blog or within your post.
3. Pass the award onto twelve bloggers of your choice.
4. Link the nominees within your post.
5. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting about it on their blog.
6. On your blog post share the love and blog link of the person from whom you received this award.

Father’s Day Brunch

Greetings, readers! I’m black from planet Vega! Okay, you caught me–that’s not really why I’ve been absent for a month and a half. Since my last post, I’ve graduated from college, moved back to Arizona, traveled to Portland & Seattle, and got myself a job! Any downtime I’ve had has been strictly devoted to the NBA Playoffs and the World Cup. Plus, I’m lazy.

Whew! It feels good to get all that off my chest. Moving on, it was dad’s choice from Vegan Brunch for Father’s Day yesterday, and he chose the Tofu Benny.

I’ve never had Eggs Benedict–but by my parents’ account, the vegan version was infinitely superior. Pan-fried tofu medallions and juicy smoked-salt tomatoes sit atop a bed of peppery Home Fries (you can also use an English Muffin), all drenched in a tangy Hollandaise Sauce and sprinkled with fresh parsley. I just love how Isa was able to turn such a classically unhealthful brunch entrée into a little tower of nutrition. That’s why vegans rock, in a nutshell.

The Tofu Benny is the perfect dish to make when you need to impress. With all its separate components–potatoes, tofu, sauce–it’s a lot of work, but the presentation makes it totally and completely worth it, as I hope you can tell! On occasions like Father’s Day when scrambled tofu just won’t do, you gotta pull out all the stops and that’s where recipes like this one from Vegan Brunch really shine.

What did you all make for Father’s Day? I’m up for a little healthy (no pun intended) competition! ;)