Vegan MoFo – Gettin’ Down with Brown


The point of this post is definitely not to be like “Look What I Ate!”  Trust me, I am aware that this is not 2007.  But once in a while I get excited about something I’ve made out of whatever stuff I have lying around.

Plus I’m really excited about the little bowl I made today because it fits in with my MoFo theme this week in that it’s full of yummy and under-appreciated brown foods!

Allow me to introduce you to the Brown Bowl (with accents of green of course!):

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You’ve got your quinoa, your steamed kale, tempeh sausage crumbles, and brown rice all in one! (Sorry the image is a little off-center…Wordpress and I are currently having a disagreement over photo-editing.  And of course the rice looks white…sigh.)

Anyway, the bowl.  It’s a super-yummy and healthy option for lunch or dinner!  I suppose it doesn’t technically need a sauce but I like to have one.  Here, I used straight-up sriracha but a tahini sauce would be amazing as well (specifically I’m thinking a sriracha-tahini sauce.  Yeah, I’m obsessed.)

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(And in this one everything is still off-center and looks yellow/orange.  Grr.)

I used the recipe for Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from Vegan with a Vengeance (click for recipe).  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the early stages of my tempeh appreciation.  I’m loving this recipe as a cheap and versatile way to incorporate this protein- and iron-rich food into my diet.  Seriously, a single serving of tempeh (1 cup) has 31 grams of protein.  [Source:]  Compare to a serving of steak (3 oz., and who actually eats that little?) which has 23 grams of protein but is also served with an unattractive side of cholesterol [source].

My first go at the tempeh crumbles recipe made enough to feed me for something like 5 meals.  Last week I packed it up with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes (left over from this recipe) and steamed kale.

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I didn’t eat it in little perfect sections obviously.  Here it is, all mixed up like 311:

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Tempeh sausage crumbles…not just for brunch anymore!

Spring In My Step

Good day, fair bloggonians!

I am feeling extraordinarily chipper today, due in no small part to the fine spring weather that has decided to grace us with its presence this week.  Boston is truly a wonderful place to be when the weather turns warm; people take to the streets en masse,  smoothies and iced coffees in hand, wearing smiles and sunglasses and taking extra-long lunch breaks.

In addition to lifting my spirits, the arrival of springtime also tends to make me feel rather industrious.  For example, this past week, I finally managed (after living there four months already!) to make a dent in my long list of things to do around our new house.  I’ve also been doing some serious recipe-hunting and list-making, with every intention of cooking up some big-batch recipes.  This is mainly because I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which for me always means having to make some adjustments to allow for a new schedule, budget, etc.

In the past, I’ve found that having food prepared in advance makes any adjustment period a lot easier to handle.  Often, I do this in the form of soups.  However, lately all I can think about is spring produce!!! Hence, I have other recipes in mind.

As I am particularly excited for spring’s leafy greens, the Weekend Glow Kale Salad from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Oh She Glows, will definitely be on the menu.  This recipe is a little time-consuming to prepare because of all of the vegetable chopping involved, but produces a lot of food and is therefore a great prep-ahead, eat-for-days recipe!

Look at all of the amazing ingredients that get mixed in with the kale base:
You’ve got your avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, carrots, and dried cherries (because I didn’t have raisins or goji berries).

Served on top of raw kale, with Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing:

You let it all marinate together and then enjoy!  I adore this salad; its many flavors and textures all combine perfectly to make your tastebuds very, very happy.  I have made this a number of times since last summer and it always lasts me at least 3 days, and sometimes up to a week, because it makes so much (I prepare it in the biggest mixing bowl I have and sometimes bits still fall out while I’m tossing it!).  Obviously you could halve the recipe if you wished, but I personally love the feeling I get when I behold a massive mountain of salad.  Also, after consuming this I always feel incredible.  It’s hard not to when you’re fueling your body with such incredible, vibrant ingredients.  I highly recommend making this!

Well I just realized that the other recipe I wanted to post about today is also from Oh She Glows, but oh well (seriously, it’s an amazing blog…check it out).  This is her High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad.  A perfect recipe for berry season!

Strawberries, cherries, and [hidden] blueberries, chopped and ready for use.

All Mixed Up (like 311)

And who doesn’t love a good quinoa close-up?

This is another recipe that can quite easily feed one person for an entire week (depending on the freshness of your berries), and the quinoa turns an increasingly deeper shade of red/purple each day that it sits.  Delicious, nutritious, and energizing, this recipe is perfect to prepare on a Sunday and use throughout the week as a pack-and-go breakfast.  Alas, it’s still a little too early in the season to make this, but believe me, it’s on my mind and will be first up on my recipe roster once the warm weather truly rolls in to stay!

Enjoy the rest of this gorgeous week!

Gobbling Garbanzos

Man, I just friggin’ love chickpeas. Their texture is pretty much perfect, the flavor is tame enough to be dressed up with just about anything, and they are super-healthy. My only problem with chickpeas is that I eat too many of them, which is not the best thing for me to do when I’m watching my weight, because they are pretty calorically dense.

But I digress. Two of my favorite ways to cook chickpeas are either Indian-style (in my own, very loose adaptation of chana masala) or in the Quinoa-Chickpea Pilaf from Veganomicon.  Observe:

Indian-style: this is one of my impromptu “masala” chickpea dishes.  Basically I sautee some onions and garlic, then add a buttload of veggies (carrots, broccoli, some potatoes, and in this one I used fresh tomatoes, though I often use canned).  Then I add a liquid, either broth or one of those delicious simmer sauces in a jar that you can buy at the store.  I usually use broth (mostly because I can’t take the salt in the jars, but they are delicious, and handy when you want something super-quick).  Then add the chickpeas (I almost always used canned these days because I’m lazy).  If using broth, you then need to add lots of good spices.  Curry powder, obviously, and some cumin, chili powder, a little garam masala, and black pepper.  I just do it to taste.  It’s so tasty and lasts for days.
(Sorry for the weird picture…for some reason, no matter how I format it, it still looks odd. Oh well. It was tasty.)

PILAF!!!  From Veganomicon, this is one of my favorite recipes ever and I have made a rule that I cannot eat any of it until 20 minutes after it’s done cooking…for some reason when it’s piping hot I cannot resist throwing back bowl after bowl of it, so I have to wait for it to cool and then slow my roll and enjoy it.  LOVE the taste of the ground coriander in this.

Oh, and I have the nutrition facts for it! Well, sort of. The following numbers are based off of my observation that the recipe yields roughly 6 cups, and then from that I derived the following numbers for a serving of 1 cup (or 1/6 of the recipe):
224 calories, 38g carbs, 5g fat, 8g protein, 6g fiber, 518 mg sodium, 14% DV iron, 26% DV Vitamin B6, 5% DV calcium, 5% DV Vitamin E. Woo!

Another fun way I like to make chickpeas in order to eat them as a snack or as a salad topping is to roast them (like Dreena’s Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas…I think from ED&BV).  And I am dying to try this recipe from Fitness Magazine for Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas, for obvious reasons (namely, that I am obsessed with both chickpeas and Indian food).

Happy gobbling!

A Vegan-ish Christmas

Happy New Year!!! First, news: I got a new digital camera for Christmas so now I can get back to blogging. Yayyy!!!

Second, food!  Christmas 2008 was a bit of an unusual holiday at the Cook house.  M was away for the week and didn’t return until about 7 p.m. on Christmas Day, so most of the presents and stuff happened at night instead of our usual morning.  Also, the food was alot different than normal.  Both of my parents have been working really hard to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, with great results!  Because of this, our Christmas dinner was very veggie-heavy, and actually was 100% vegan outside of the turkey.  It might not seem like alot, but it was really exciting stuff for me!  We had mounds of roasted vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and rosemary potatoes.

Here are all the veggies laid out, waiting to be roasted:


Then we had to consolidate in order to fit everything in the oven.  Aren’t they gawwwgeous??


Here is a picture of the spread, before the turkey came out: there are the veggies of course, plus a quinoa dish (with assorted chopped vegetables and spices cooked in), and in the pear thingy was the most delicious squash soup (made with onions, roasted garlic, broccoli and cauliflower stems, and butternut squash), which my Daddy invented (no pic of the soup itself…but you get the idea.  It was orange.) 


As for dessert, traditionally every year M and I spend all of Christmas Eve day baking cookies to bring to our neighbors and friends.  The cookies we always used to make weren’t vegan, with the exception of one: Betty Crocker’s gingerbread!  I was so pleased last year when I realized I could continue to make this holiday favorite. 


Since M wasn’t here this year to bake with me, I didn’t go too overboard, but I did make sure to carry on one Cook family tradition, the Tiny Tim gingerbread cookie.  I think this originated 2-3 years ago, when M and I were cutting out the cookies and she accidentally cut off one of their legs.  For whatever reason, we called the cookie Tiny Tim (though I’m aware that Tiny Tim’s ailment had nothing to do with having only one leg!) and every year we make one.  So here he is. 


Our other dessert was Gingered Pear Crisp, which I believe is from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan.  I didn’t have the foresight to bring any of my cookbooks home with me for the holidays, so I got the recipe off of Dreena’s blog


The pear crisp was delish; I loved the flavor of all the spices in it, and the topping was addictive.  If I made it again, I’d definitely use a different sort of pear (maybe Bosc or really ripe Bartletts), because the d’Anjou pears I used were a little too firm for my liking, even after baking.  I guess I wanted it to have more of a gooey texture like apple crisp, and I think altering the type of pear could make the difference.  Still, a really yummy and festive dessert!

I’m on break for another week and I’ve been cooking up a storm, so I’ll definitely have more posts to make.  Also, I used a Christmas present (Amazon giftcard!) to finally purchase The Everyday Vegan, and I’m really excited to start cooking out of that as soon as it arrives!