Try This: Radish Chips

I think radishes are totally underrated.Radish Chips 002I haven’t always felt this way.  I certainly did not grow up eating radishes, and while I do remember that they were one of “those things” that Daddy liked but “we” didn’t, I have no memory of ever actually trying them.

The first time in my entire life that I was ever aware of eating a radish then was last spring when I did a 3-day detox meal plan from Maria Marlowe, and one of the salad recipes called for them.  At that time, I discovered that I actually like these crunchy, peppery little guys!

If radishes aren’t yet a part of your rotation, give them a shot!  My favorite way to eat them these days is what I call Radish Chips.

Radish chips can be either raw or roasted.  As is the case with most root vegetables, roasting makes them more tender and sweet than their raw counterparts.

To Make
All you do is slice a handful of radishes thinly and toss them with olive oil and salt.   I like to eat them raw at this point, but if you want to roast them, you can do so in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side (or a little longer if you want them pretty crispy…just be careful not to burn them!).

Roasted Radish ChipsAnd of course you can add your seasonings of choice, to either the raw or roasted version!  Pictured above are roasted radish chips with the following seasonings (clockwise from top): cumin, plain (just salt), oregano, and turmeric.

Weigh in on radishes in the comments–do you love ’em or hate ’em?

This post is part of a series on the blog called Try This, providing new or interesting ways to prepare and enjoy a staple vegan food.  They’re not really recipes, just fun ideas!  Other posts in the series:
Try This: Banana Breakfast “Burritos”
Try This: Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Try This: Tofu Bacon

Have a great weekend everyone!  Go Seahawks!

Football Party Pie

Remember two weeks ago when I promised I’d reveal what those weird boomerang-y things covered in coconut whipped cream were?

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No?  Me neither.  I can barely remember what happened 2 hours ago.

Well anyway, they were the edges that I cut away from my pumpkin pie to make it into a FOOTBALL PIE!!!


To see all the steps for making a pie that’s also a football, check out my guest post on Chic Vegan.

Even though my beloved Patriots are no longer in the running for this year’s championship, I’m obviously still going to watch the Superbowl.  I’ll be rooting for the Seahawks, mainly because their kicker is a local guy, but also because I really have run out of patience with Prince Peyton, his forehead, and his stupid pizzas.

I haven’t quite settled on what to bring to the party that H and I are going to on Sunday.  It’s a complete certainty that I’ll be making Becky’s Spinach Artichoke Dip with Garlic Cashew Cream (after all, I have sworn to never again host [or in this case, attend] a party without it), but apart from that I’m undecided.  I figure I’ll wait a couple more days for the blogosphere (and Twitter, and Pinterest) to beat me over the head with ideas before reaching a final decision 🙂

Go Seahawks!

Shameless Indulgence: Spicy Chicken Quesadillas

Over the weekend, I was incessantly hungry, and so I ate.  A lot.  I don’t know what was with me, but I would eat and then be hungry an hour later no matter what.  So I indulged, and it was glorious.

One such indulgence was this VEGAN Spicy Chicken Quesadilla, made with good old-fashioned commercial store-bought products.

I’m doing a juice cleanse later this week (for a review), so when I’m detoxing like crazy, I’ll know where to point the finger of blame…

Spicy Chicken Quesadillas 006…right here^

Here is how I made it:
1) I sauteed 1/2 a yellow onion (diced), 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/3 of an orange bell pepper (diced), and 1/2 a jalapeno (minced) in 1 tsp. of coconut oil over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.  I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.
2) When the veggies were starting to get slightly tender, I tossed in 6 strips of Beyond Meat southwest style strips (cubed) and browned everything together, another 3 minutes or so.  [Note: this makes enough filling for two quesadillas.]
3) I removed the veggies from the pan and set them aside.  In the same pan, I placed a corn tortilla (I use Trader Joe’s) and topped with about 1/3-1/2 cup Daiya pepperjack style shreds.  I warmed it for a minute until the Daiya started to look slightly melty.
4) I scooped the veggie and “chicken” mixture on top of the Daiya, then covered it with another corn tortilla.  I warmed it another minute, then flipped it and cooked it 1-2 minutes more until the Daiya was totally melted.

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5) I used a pizza cutter to slice it into four wedges, then topped it with salsa and feasted.

Is it 100% whole foods?  No.  Is it oil-free?  Negative.  I’m okay with this.  Hell, I’ve got a lot more Daiya and Beyond Meat to finish up so I’ll probably make it again (maybe after the cleanse though).  It was delicious.

Now for some real talk.

Sometimes I just need a little vegan junk food in my life.  I don’t have to feel shame when I indulge or when I buy and cook with convenience food.  Instead, I’m choosing to celebrate this weekend’s shameless indulgence by sharing it with all of you!

Food guilt is something I’ve been pondering a lot recently.  Laura recently wrote a post about letting go of food judgment and I think it was one of the things that set my wheels turning.  The trigger for me to finally write my own follow-up to her post was the minute of hesitation I felt today about sharing this not-terribly-healthy, semi-homemade “recipe,” worried about the reactions it would get.

As a food blogger, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and writing about food.  I am perpetually reading other people’s blogs and viewing glimpses of the food they eat and lifestyles they lead through the lens of my computer screen.  In turn, I open up on this forum and share parts of myself, my kitchen, my home, my marriage, with people all over the world.

I never consciously compare myself to others but lately I’ve wondered if it’s possible to not do it at least a little bit on a subconscious level.

We all have to make choices every day that pertain to our diets, our health, our work, our lifestyles.  These choices depend on our individual needs, body composition, constraints on our money and time, and any other number of things.  There is no one perfect model or perfect solution.   What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Another blogger isn’t “better” or “worse” than you because he or she uses Daiya in recipes, or doesn’t.  Another blogger isn’t necessarily “healthier” than you because he or she drinks a green smoothie for breakfast every. single. day.  We all should do what works for us as individuals.

It’s also important to keep in mind that what you see on someone’s blog or website is only what they choose to share publicly, and represents a very small portion of who they are.  Just because someone chooses to do, say, a themed week of salads on their blog doesn’t mean that they only eat salads and are somehow more “virtuous” than you.  I mean, maybe they do/are.  Or maybe they’re just picking a theme and sharing some nice recipes.  Either way, it’s not a contest of who is “better” or “healthier.”

I think we need to let go of food guilt and food judgment once and for all.  I don’t exactly have a solution for how to do this, as I’m clearly still working through it myself.  But I’m certainly ready to confront it, and I welcome the dialogue.

Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far!  As always I would be interested to read any of your thoughts in the comments section.

It’s Cold, and I Want Curry


Really, I’m not even going to complain about how cold it is.  But I do just have a few remarks/casual observations.

1) On my walk to the train this morning (which takes all of 15 minutes), the part of my scarf under my chin literally had effing ice crystals on it from where my breath froze onto it as I exhaled.
2) The heat was not on inside the train.  #MBTAfail #unsurprising
3) I wore a dress to work today, and in the process I was forcefully reminded that tights, no matter how cute they are, do not protect against 1° climes.  Ski pants would have been more appropriate, though possibly frowned upon.

I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside, all I want is spicy-hot food.  A good curry always does the trick.  And thank goodness for that, because as luck would have it, I have this beacon of all that is right and warm with the world awaiting me for lunch today:
Curry 015Black Eyed Pea Curry with Collards & Potatoes, from the Post Punk Kitchen (click for recipe)

As promised, on Tuesday night I managed to haul my sorry ass up from the pits of my post-AFC Championship despair and cook some dinner.  It was this dinner.  And it was good.  So, so, SO good.  Spicy, saucy, filling goodness that will help you thaw out no matter what it’s like outside.

I made this curry extra-hot by using a green chili pepper that I bought at the Indian grocer in place of the two jalapenos the recipe calls for.  When I was checking out, the cashier studied me for a moment before stating, “This pepper is very hot,” and I was all, “Yahtzee,” and seriously, the chili was like less than half the size of my pinky finger but good gracious did it pack a punch.  Curry 014Like all good curry/stew/soup recipes, this one makes leftovers for days!  One thing to note about leftovers is that after the curry has had some time to sit, it seems to want a bit more salt.  I attribute this to the potatoes soaking up additional flavor but what do I really know.  Just something to be aware of.

H also loved this curry, telling me that I can add it to the list of vegan dishes he’ll always eat.  At this point, I’ve discovered that this list of his is mainly populated by curries.   Other favorites include this Coconut Red Lentil Curry from VegNews and the Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon (our all-time fave).  [I believe you can find the recipe online, but I will not post a link because the author has not chosen to publish it for free on the web.]

So now I’ve been thinking a lot about curry (because, after all, all I do all day is think about food).  There are so many different types!  There are Thai-style curries with their signature coconut milk base, hints of tamarind or lemongrass, and added flavor of different colors of chili (red, green, yellow, etc.).  And of course Indian curries, flavored with that incredible yellow spice mixture, whose possibilities to me are limitless in terms of what you can add in.

The recipe shown above is a great example, because any of the ingredients can be substituted with something else; kale for collards, chickpeas for black eyed peas, etc.  I bet cauliflower would be incredible in this as well, either as an addition or a substitution for the potato.

As such, I think this recipe, as well as the general food group that is curry, provide a great example of how incredibly flavorful and versatile plant-based cooking can be.  It warms both my heart and my tummy 🙂

Stay warm out there friends!

Moving On

Well, it’s Tuesday morning.  The Patriots’ season is over and it’s time to move on.  Go ‘Hawks, I guess.

I know, I know, it’s just football and it’s entertainment and not a real life problem.

“I just want to tell you that some people have war in their countries.” 

But yesterday I spent my day off from work basically in mourning.  Normally I would be so excited to have an entire day available to spend in the kitchen making yummy stuff.  Instead, I made exactly one thing and I did so only in the interest of stuffing my face with sweets.

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Rice Krispie treats!  I got this ultra-simple and delightful recipe from Becky of Glue and Glitter.  The coconut oil totally elevates it.  Try this; you won’t regret it.

With that, here is the complete, unabridged list of what I accomplished yesterday:

1) Made coffee.
2) Turned the knob of the dishwasher to “on” (probably the most useful thing I did actually)
3) Melted some stuff in a pan and called it “cooking” (seriously though it’s a fab recipe and I recommend it) 🙂
4) Ate a whole bag of baked Tostitos scoops.  Also almost an entire jar of salsa, plus my lazy bastardized version of guacamole where I take an avocado and mash it with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
5) Watched five movies.  Actually almost six, but one of the free movies On Demand that I started was too scary and also stupid to continue.

And no, I never got dressed.

But like I said, today I am moving on!  Step one:Rice Krispie treats 006This one was a real winner: 1 cup water, 1 frozen banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, and 2 collard leaves, plus 1 cube of coconut water that I had frozen in an ice tray.  I cribbed that brilliant idea from Kathy of Happy Healthy Life.

Step two: tonight I actually will make dinner for myself and my dear, sweet, loving, patient husband.  I’ve got this Black Eyed Pea Curry with Collards and Potatoes from the PPK on my mind.

See you next season ❤Rice Krispie treats 001Yes, I do have a calendar of “Football All-Stars” that you color yourself.  This was a Christmas gift from my sister, whose ingenuity in gift-giving knows no limits.

Try This: Banana Breakfast “Burrito”

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Easy as 1-2-3, for those mornings when you can’t possibly handle more than that.  

1) Cut the banana and your wrapper of choice (I used a brown rice wrap from TJ’s but any kind will do) in half.

2) Spread peanut butter (or any other kind of nut/seed butter) and jelly across the wrap and place the banana in the lower half of the wrap.

3) Roll it up and go!

Tip: for more texture, use chunky peanut butter, or add a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top of the peanut butter.

This seriously travels so well and has become my go-to for a healthy, filling breakfast on the fly.

This post is part of a new series on the blog called Try This, providing new or interesting ways to prepare and enjoy a staple vegan food.  They’re not really recipes, just fun ideas!  Other posts in the series:
Try This: Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Try This: Tofu Bacon

Have a great weekend!  

Oh and GO PATS!!!

Easiest Lentil Soup and Quick Homemade Croutons

It’s still January.  It’s still cold and gross outside.  So I’m still eating soup every single day.

Sometimes I’m lazy though and all I can muster the energy to make is this lentil soup, which is in all seriousness one of the easiest recipes anywhere.  And, because I almost always have the key ingredients (dried lentils, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and vegetable broth [or bouillon cubes in a pinch]) in my kitchen already, I am also saved a trip out into the ick for any groceries.

Lentil Soup 004

Easiest Lentil Soup
Yield: 6-8 servings
Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free (just check your broth!)

6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups dried brown or green lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. turmeric
Couple dashes cayenne (optional)

[Ingredients note:  I included the cumin, thyme, turmeric, and cayenne because that is how I make the soup, but if you don’t have one or any of them, I just want you to know it’s okay! You can get away with using only salt and pepper as the seasoning for this soup, and it will still be delicious. ]

Line the bottom of a large stockpot with water and begin to warm it over medium-high heat.  When the water begins to steam slightly, add garlic and onions and saute until onions soften, about 5 minutes.

Add carrots and celery and saute another 2-3 minutes, until softened.  (If anything is sticking, add a few splashes of water or broth to unstick it.)

Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, stir, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for as long as it takes your lentils to cook.  This can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.  You will know they’re done when the lentils are very tender (but not mushy!) and much of the liquid has been absorbed.

Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Serve as is, with a side of crusty bread, or with Quick Homemade Croutons.

Meal Plan 001
To Make: Take two slices of whole wheat (or gluten-free!) sandwich bread (preferably sort of stale, but this is not strictly necessary), brush each side lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and dried oregano, and toast in a toaster or 350 degree oven until crispy and browned.  Cut into squares and use to garnish soup or salads.

This recipe for lentil soup has been given an enthusiastic omnivore seal of approval by H!  He loves to take leftovers with him to have for lunch at work.

What is your go-to soup recipe?

Coconut Whipped Cream and Elation!

I am very blessed in life and in general I am a pretty happy person, but every once in a while I just feel elated and today is one of those days!!!

I don’t really know why but I don’t really care either!

I did just eat a really incredible salad:Salad 002

Romaine, cucumber, carrot, baby beets (hence the pink hue to everything!), radishes, and the rest of the baked marinated tofu from the other day.

I’m not sure if scientifically you can get a high like this from food, but I’m going with it 🙂

More likely though I think it’s because I just had one of the best weekends of my life!

On Friday, H and the cats and I had a very chill night watching the original Batman.  Then on Saturday morning I got into the kitchen to do some baking for an upcoming blog post on Chic Vegan…

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…and had my first experience making Coconut Whipped Cream!

To make it, I used this tutorial from Oh She Glows.  I ended up adding about 3 tsp. of confectioner’s sugar and a full 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract.

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Holy crap it was rich and delicious!  Really easy to make too…I kind of can’t believe I had never done it before.

H and I enjoyed some with our breakfast:
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And if you’re wondering what the hell that is, fear not!  All will be revealed in due time 🙂

That afternoon, we dug up all of the waterproof gear we’ve ever owned and headed down to Foxborough for Patriots vs. Colts in the AFC divisional playoffs!!!

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Oh my God I had the frickin BEST time at both the tailgate and the game, totally in spite of the stupid rain!

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Our seats were incredible!

Pats 011

And the atmosphere was so charged up!  This one took the cake for my favorite game ever, even surpassing the divisional playoff game from 2 years ago (against the Broncos and Tim Tebow).

Oh, yeah, and they won 🙂

Sunday by contrast was just ultra-relaxing, watching the other two divisional playoff games, eating junk food, spending time with my hubby, and cuddling with the cats.

Pats 009You can’t really get more relaxed than that.

How was your weekend?  Does anyone else ever get weirdly elated for no apparent reason??

Try This: Chili Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pantry 002

Who doesn’t love roasted sweet potatoes?  Give some extra pizzazz to this tried and true side dish by cutting a medium sweet potato into chunks and tossing with:

1 tbsp. olive oil (or refined coconut oil, melted)
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or chipotle chili powder if you want a real kick!)
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. cayenne (more or less to taste)
Sprinkle of sea salt

Roast at 400F for 10 minutes, flip, and roast 10 more minutes.  That’s it!

These are absolutely delightful dipped in sriracha ketchup, dijon mustard, or anything else your heart desires!

This post is part of a new series on the blog called Try This, providing new or interesting ways to prepare and enjoy a staple vegan food.  They’re not really recipes, just fun ideas!

To see the first post in the Try This series, follow the link–Try This: Tofu Bacon.

Have a great weekend!

Tempeh Sweet Potato Curry. Or, Adventures in Tempeh Land

I know that I’ve previously alluded on this blog to the fact that I have a weird relationship with tempeh, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really offered an explanation for this.  [Don’t worry, there is a recipe at the end of this post!]

In my pre-gan days I had always been a fan of faux meats as well as other meat “stand-ins” such as tofu.  So although I didn’t learn about tempeh until after I had become vegan, I was excited to try it and figured it would become something I ate regularly, just like tofu.

So imagine my surprise when, the first time I tried tempeh, I HATED it.

I don’t remember the first time I had most foods, or what the first vegan dish I cooked was, or anything like that.  But I vividly remember the first time I tried tempeh.  It was after making the Smoky Grilled Tempeh from Veganomicon (and actually I blogged about it in one of my earliest blog posts!).

A round of applause for the blurry 2008 blog photo please!

Those nice-looking triangles were in fact inedible.  The texture–simultaneously chewy and crunchy–was unexpected and unpleasant.  The flavor of the liquid smoke overpowered and really I just hated it.  [As a sidenote, this was also the only time in my entire life that I have made a recipe by Isa Chandra and not liked it!]

This experience scarred me in several ways.   For one, ever since that day I have been extremely stingy with liquid smoke.  I decrease the quantity by at least half in any recipe that calls for it.  Only recently, nearly 6 years later, have I started to become a bit braver with the smokey-smoke.

Additionally, it was a long time until I tried tempeh again, and I was only brave enough to do it in the form of bacon (I think the tempeh bacon from Peace o’ Pie I described in this post was actually the first time I tried it since the above-described debacle).  And even then, I didn’t like it much.  [As a sidenote, this is the only thing I can remember that I ever ate at Peace o’ Pie that I didn’t like.  Are we sensing a theme?]

I only FINALLY started to enjoy tempeh after having it at Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank, New Jersey, near where my parents live.

Tempeh Land 1Sweet mustard tempeh Love Bowl from Good Karma Cafe

I don’t know what kind of magic the crazy elves who work at Good Karma work on the tempeh but holy hell is it delicious.  I often crave specifically THIS tempeh, but sadly I can only get it when I go down to Jersey.  Even my sister M, who has no love for tempeh (but is definitely on Team Seitan!), is a big fan of this stuff.

At some point, I also acquired a liking for the Tofurkey folks’ maple tempeh bacon.  I don’t buy it often because it can be pricey and because I am pretty good at convincing myself that I should eat less storebought stuff, but I do like it.

The other night, as part of my ongoing but recently revitalized effort to scourge our pantry and freezer, I used some overly long-frozen tempeh bacon to make a “California burger.”  [Isn’t that what restaurants always name a burger with avocado on it?]

Pantry 005Of course, you can’t see the avocado in this photo, but it was there, under the lettuce.  The patty was a Quorn vegan burger that was also floating around the freezer.  [Sidenote: these patties are mediocre at best and they also smell really strongly, and not in a good way, if you microwave them.  I don’t particularly recommend them.  Also, Quorn, why is like 99% of your stuff not vegan?  Possibly take a look at the market and reevaluate who your core audience really is.]  The bun was from Trader Joe’s and also had been living in–you guessed it!–the freezer.

Anyway, it was a very tasty burger, and I was really pleased with how well the tempeh bacon froze and reheated in my cast iron skillet.  And I think I should buy some more of it.

Finally, the other day I made a curry because, also in line with the kitchen cleanout, I had the following items that needed to be used ASAP: a sweet potato, a red bell pepper, one broccoli crown, and a package of…wait for it…tempeh (the SoyBoy 5 Grain variety).

And whaddya know, I liked it!  A rich, silky curry recipe like this could warm me up to just about anything.

Tempeh Land 3

Tempeh Sweet Potato Curry, adapted from a free recipe for “Tempeh Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans” I once picked up in a Whole Foods somewhere
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Easy variation for gluten-free and soy-free 

1 + 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or water), separated
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 package of tempeh (8 oz.), cubed (and pre-steamed if desired…see recipe note)
1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 crown broccoli, cut into small florets (use the stems too!)
1 red bell pepper, diced or cut into small strips
1/4 tsp. sea salt
(optional) a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro
(optional) a few dashes of cayenne pepper (how much will depend on your personal tastes plus how hot your curry powder is)

Bring 1/2 cup vegetable broth to a simmer in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until onion is tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Stir in curry and cumin and cook for 1 minute.

Add coconut milk, potatoes, tempeh, and remaining 1 cup broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in broccoli and bell pepper and return to a simmer, uncovered.  Cook about 5-10 minutes longer, until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Stir in salt and optional cilantro and cayenne.

Serve over cooked brown or basmati rice.  Enjoy!

Recipe note: Some people like to steam their tempeh before adding it to a recipe like this, to draw out some of the bitterness.  To do this, simply cut the block of tempeh in half and place in a steamer basket over a pot with a little bit of boiling water in it, cover, and steam for 15 minutes or until tender.  Remove tempeh and set aside until it is cool enough to cut into cubes.

Variation: You can also make this recipe with tofu in place of tempeh (keeping in mind that you won’t need to add it until near the end of the cooking process), or with veggies only!  This would be useful for those avoiding gluten and/or soy.

Tempeh Land 2

How do you feel about tempeh?  

What foods you have tried and struggled to like?