Tag Archives: rosemary

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!

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Roasted Acorn Squash (+ Seeds!)

I picked up an acorn squash at Trader Joe’s a few days ago for $0.99! Sure, it wasn’t organic (so I didn’t eat the peel), but still! Under a dollar for a pound or two of sweet, decadent bliss? I’ll take it.

I just cut it in half, scooped out the guts and seeds, sliced it into crescents, then very liberally drizzled it with extra-virgin coconut oil. A few big pinches of sea salt, some black pepper, and crushed rosemary sealed the deal and into the 400 F oven it went for 40 minutes or so! I’ll tell ya, coconut oil might be even better than olive oil for roasting squash or sweet potatoes…

Is there any pleasure in life greater than slightly charred on the outside, creamy on the inside roasted orange/yellow-fleshed veggies? Maybe roasted orange/yellow-fleshed veggies spread with peanut butter, but that’s all I can think of.

Waste not, want not! Roasted squash seeds!

Spritzed with canola oil and sprinkled with sea salt, cinnamon, cumin, and mesquite powder. Toasted 20 minutes or so at 350 F.

And thennnnn, I had way too much fun:

Don’t judge me?

More Fresh, Whole Foods + First Giveaway!

Okay, so on the stomach front (It’s hard not to talk about when it’s all I’m thinking about, all the time – sorry!), I got a CT scan this morning. I don’t know if any of you have ever gotten one, but you have to drink this disgusting barium sulfate stuff. I’ve heard it described as a chalk-flavored milkshake, but I would describe it more as cough-syrup/the-worst-berry-bubblegum-toothpaste-you-can-ever-remember-having-as-a-child-at-the-dentist flavored laundry detergent. Either way, not a fun thing to wake up to at 7 in the morning, especially in the quantity of 900 mL. Also, just thought of this – wouldn’t it have been funny if I’d food porned it? Haha.
Anyways, I felt really sick afterward and actually had to leave work early (thanks, Susan!) But, I’m seeing a specialist on Friday, and I’m still eating detoxifying whole foods and avoiding salt – except for the occasional spoonful of [salted] creamy TJ’s peanut butter (I may feel awful, but I still have my reputation and self-identity, which is inextricably linked to PB, to think about too, ya know…).So, I’m still eating extra simply and healthfully…

Antioxidant-Rich Acaí-Cocoa-Banana-Cherry Smoothie:

Blended with almond milk and topped with fresh blueberries and cinnamon.
Sliced Apples with Rosemary from Ani’s Raw Desserts:

I know you don’t really need a “recipe” for something like that, but without Ani’s suggestion, I might not have thought to combine apples, rosemary, and fresh lemon juice, and I’m so glad I did! It was so refreshing and exotic (AND it reminded me of these oat bars that I loved).

Detox Bowl # ? (I lost track…)Wild rice with lemon, nooch, and some random spices, topped with more chickpeas, steamed sweet potatoes, and pineapple-soy yogurt sauce, all on a bed of romaine lettuce:

And now for my first ever giveaway! I wish I could say that some cool health food company had offered me and a lucky reader free products, but alas, I’m not that popular. Instead, I’m offering up a box of Weil by Nature’s Path Fruit & Nut Bars (scroll all the way to the right) that I happen to have, being an intern at Weil Lifestyle! The winner will get their choice between Goji-Moji, Banana Manna, and Pistachi-Oh! In addition to being vegan, these bars contain nothing artificial, and are certified as being non-GMO. Their ingredient lists might not be quite as short as those of our Larabars, but I promise Weil bars won’t disappoint!

To enter, just leave a comment telling me what your ultimate bar flavor would be (and who knows? Maybe if your idea is appealing enough to me, I’ll actually make it, blog it, and dedicate it to you, á la Norabars!) If you want to be entered twice, just blog about this giveaway. Also, for those of you who are particulary ambitious, I’ll enter you THREE times if you join Dr. Weil’s Facebook Fan Page: Andrew Weil, M.D. (plus, I think you’ll appreciate the info you get there anyways, and would recommend staying on as a fan afterwards). If you blog about the giveaway or join the page, leave me a comment letting me know! Also, very sorry to do this, but this giveaway is only open to U.S. readers–I’m not going to overseas ship 16 nutrition bars–we need to maintain some semblance of a sustainable lifestyle here, guys! I’ll leave entries open until 12:00 am, August 1st.


Golden Oats

I know most vegans have oats all the time, but they’re usually sweet, am I right? Maple syrup, nut butters, fruit. Yeah, all delicious, and I love sweet oatmeal, but you’re definitely missing out if you never try savory oats. I’ve made them before, using nooch and some of Celine’s sliced Pumpkin Fauxsage, so I knew they were good, but I’d prepared them just like I would sweet oats. Today, however, I made the Golden Oats Pilaf from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s The Fiber for Life Cookbook, which are prepared differently, dry toasting the oats before adding the liquid at the end. I changed the recipe up a bit, so I’m gonna post it!

Golden Oats Pilaf

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or other herb of your choice)
1 small onion, sautéed
1 small zucchini, thinly slice and steamed (or other veggie of your choice)
garlic (optional)

In a blender, combine flaxseeds and water and blend several minutes (I used my handy Magic Bullet). Place the oatmeal in a medium bowl and add the flaxseed mixture; stir to coat thoroughly. Heat the Earth Balance in a large heavy skillet (the same one you sautéed the onions in!) over medium heat. Add the oats mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until the oats are dry, separated, and lightly browned (this is essential for keeping the texture and integrity of the oats before the next step).

Add the broth, salt, nutritional yeast, rosemary, and garlic if using (I didn’t and it was still packed with flavor). Cook, covered until the liquid evaporates, stirring frequently enough to prevent sticking (mine stuck a lot, so seriously, STIR!). Mix in zucchini and onions, and serve immediately.

Obviously, this recipe is super flexible–this is just the route I chose to go. You can leave out the nooch, add different veggies and herbs, or be crazy and add some toasted nuts or dried fruit! I just love how simple and easy it was, while still being surprisingly flavorful and healthy. Plus, I love the chewy texture the oats retain through the cooking process. Definitely a keeper. I served mine with half a baked sweet potato because, not only are oats and sweet taters two of my favorite foods, but they’re both loaded with soluble fiber for my tummy (as are flaxseeds). I still need medical help, but this meal at least didn’t make me feel worse, like some of my raw meals did.

Europe Part I: Italian Eats

Freaking finally, right? It only took me a month.

First night in Rome. Pizza Marinara with extra vegetables. Nice and simple, so the tomato and oregano can really shine.

The Beehive. Organic Vegetarian B&B and restaurant in Rome.

No fixed portion sizes or prices. The restaurant looked like a normal house. You just sit down in the kitchen, tell the chef exactly what you want, and he makes it fresh right in front of you.

A delicious mixed salad. Simple, but a welcome relief to the not so vegan-friendly Roman carb fest.

The meze platter my mom and I split, including vegan burger patties and special hummus.

A nice cafe in Montepulciano, a medieval hill town in Tuscany, This was the raw zucchini salad.

The best spinach ever. Just dressed with REAL olive oil and the biggest-ass pine nuts ever.

Lampone-Rosmarino (Raspberry-Rosemary) Gelato from the Pluripremiata Gelatería–Gelato World Champions, 2006-07 and 2008-09–in San Gimgiano.

Potato-Rosemary Focaccia in Cinque Terre.

I know this is an absolutely horrible photo, but it’s RICE MILK GELATO in Lago Orta, Italy! I almost had a seizure when the guy told me it was vegan. So much better than fruit/sorbet gelato.

Stay tuned for Part II: Greece soon!

Nut Butters, Moroccan Tagine, and Oat Bars!

Hello joyful vegans! (and curious omnivores, vegetarians, flexitarians, etc.)

I got an exciting delivery a few days ago! Three Naturally Nutty Nut Butters! I’ve been super excited to try these ever since Shelby at La Belle Vegan has raved about their Vanilla Almond Butter, so I finally ordered their 3 jar sampler pack:

Gosh, I’m so glad I did! First of all, I really appreciate that each flavor contains flax and hemp seeds–it’s a great way to sneak in some healthy omega-3 fats and extra fiber into whatever nut buttery meal or snack you have! I thought the Cinnamon Cherry would be my favorite, but the cinnamon and cherry flavors aren’t quite as pronounced as I would have liked! Still it’s delicious, and I like how it only has 6g of sugar/serving. It reminds me of a less sweet version of PB & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, though if I have to be honest, not quite as delicious. The Mocha Peanut Butter is good, but similarly not sweet at all, and the coffee flavor is VERY strong–it’s almost like fine coffee grinds mixed into peanut butter–so it’s not the best on its own, but I think it’d be delicious stirred into something, or spread on toast, waffles, muffins, or bagels. And yeah, the Vanilla Almond Butter is the star. Just the right amount of sweetness and kinda tastes like cake batter!

Overall, I really like these nut butters, but they’re just not quite as addictive as PB & Co’s Mighty Maple, Dark Chocolate Dreams, and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. However, the fact that they have a lot less sugar is worth it if you’re in the mood for something slightly less decadent.

A couple days ago, I made the Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables from Vegan with a Vengeance. What attracted me to this dish–and the reason I loved it–was that it contained so many flipping vegetables! (Isa does say in the intro that it’s a “veritable powerhouse of nutrition”) Seriously, onions, carrots, zucchini, grape tomatoes, green beans, and spinach, and herbs like cilantro and mint! Plus, who doesn’t love lentils. And raisins. Okay, I’ll stop.

Served over fluffy quinoa with a lemon wedge for squeezin’ of course.

Finally, Apple Rosemary Oat Bars from the May/June issue of the Vegetarian Times! I love exotic ingredient combinations, so I knew I’d be making these from the moment I saw them. They lived up to their name, and I loved the kick they received from the lemon zest and juice.

My only complaint was that there is NOT enough oat mixture to form two layers in an 8 1/2 X 11 pan, as the recipe claims. I used a smaller pan, and it was still a reach. Also, I added an extra half of apple grated because I thought the filling was too sweet. So do that, or just cut down on the agave! But seriously, a big winner!

Till next time…