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Friday, September 21, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 21: Scratch and Dent (Food, Not Me...)

Today our challenge is to make something using a reduced price item, you know... scratch and dent, clearance, whatever.

I'm lucky because sometimes the store where I work will give me things totally free that are barely out of date since they can no longer sell it legally. Before they do the giveaways, they pull close to expiring items and put them on the clearance shelf. This is not just helpful for my kitchen in general, but also makes it a lot easier to experiment with new recipes because you know.... new recipes usually take several tries (or more than several) to get them just right when it comes to baking. I just picked up a bag of reduced price organic rice flour. I also happened to have a bag of sorghum flour in my freezer that they had given me not too long ago. Both of these items would've been staples in my pantry while I had my bakery, but not since the storm. I was so happy with these items, major scores in my life. With them I made brownies. Actually I made them twice today, once in the morning before work with rice, the second, tonight, with sorghum. I thought the first batch was dry and gritty, but they ate them at the cafe anyway with gratitude. I fixed them in my opinion, and the cafe will be getting this little tray too. Need a tiny pick-me-up? Make this, it's not a big recipe. Scroll to the end for the recipe, it's actually not bad at all. The recipe also includes organic flax meal that was given to me for free by a friend who didn't want it (score!) and a dash of that $1 jar of Justin's peanut butter we spoke of yesterday. 

Bad lighting for a bad brownie.
Too dry, you can see the cracks.
Even the peanut butter was too dry (nearing the bottom of jar).
Better lighting for a better brownie!
Far better than first try.
Added a touch of non-GM safflower oil to the peanut butter.
Added some Fleur de sel.
Added some aquafaba to the batter.
Used chocolate soy milk instead of plain (evil genius).
These are good enough for a quick snack if you want a gluten free sweet. I don't recommend these for anything else, maybe it's just me but I've made better brownie recipes before. I like this though because you only need a 6" pan and well if you're sad you won't stuff your face with too much crap (or is that just me?) Here's the recipe with the changes I made for the second version. Use rice flour if that's what you have. Add enough aquafaba to make it smooth, and not overly sticky.

One Bowl Vegan Fudge Brownies (gluten free) - modified from www.thefitcookie.com

1/4 cup oil of choice (I used non-GM organic safflower)
1/4 non-dairy milk of choice (I used chocolate soy)
1 tsp organic vanilla
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup fine grind organic flax
1/4 cup (heaping) organic cocoa
1/2 cup sorghum flour (or rice)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup organic chocolate chips (I omitted, this is budget week!)
a little bit of your $1 Justin's peanut butter, yum
1 little bit of Fleur de sel for sprinkling, if you want
Aquafaba

Preheat oven to 350 (325 for convection). Prepare 6" round (or square) baking pan by using veg spray and parchment, or however you normally do it. In a large bowl, whisk oil, non-dairy milk, vanilla, sugar and flax seed. Sift and whisk in cocoa and sea salt. Stir in the flour. Add a little aquafaba to smooth the batter, not too much. Add chocolate chips if using. Spread in pan. Add peanut butter and sprinkle w/Fleur de sel. Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely. 

I'm making an educated guess this small pan of brownies cost me no more than $1.75. You cannot even buy a cookie for that rate. Not bad!

xo



Thursday, September 20, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 20: 4 4 4

Today is feed 4 for $4. I've got some stuff for you, read on (links to recipes at the end, scroll down if I bore you.... no harm no foul)

First, I made a recipe from www.howdoigovegan.com off their facebook page for Banoffee oats. I wasn't even sure what Banoffee was, I had to look it up. It's an English dessert pie. It contains bananas, cream and toffee. So, ok... easily veganized, and better still someone already took care of that for me. For your information, their social media page is in "pounds" as far as money goes, and I don't have a symbol for that. Here I'm in U.S. dollars, my service price was a bit higher, I used organic. I didn't use almonds on the top, I used pumpkin seeds because I had them. I also added 2 strawberries to mine because, strawberries.

Scroll down to the bottom of the blog for the recipe
This ended up being about $.95 per serving
Maybe just a little less depending on your banana price
Then I got busy making soup for tonight. One of my favorites is a West African Peanut Soup, but it would exceed the budget because it has some extra things in it. I found a similar recipe on Minimalist Baker for Thai Carrot soup. I guess the Thai part of it was supposed to be the basil, funny about that.... she calls for regular basil, but I happened to have Thai basil in the spice drawer, then I forgot to add it. So basically this is carrot soup w/peanut butter (OMG the peanut butter I'm using is a jar of Justin's for $1.00 the other happy vegan found at the market marked way down because they were clearing the shelves to make room for a new floor plan. I used the regular price of peanut butter when I calculated, not many people will find $1.00 peanut butter of any brand lying around). Here's the picture:

Scroll down to the bottom of the blog for the recipe link
This ended up being $.80 per serving
About the bread? Scroll down a bit more!
The soup is SO good! And, because it's soup, really you can adjust for preferences and what you have on hand. No matter though, carrots are always dirt cheap!

Next I made a Thai Coconut Jackfruit Crabless Soup. It's a recipe that is published in the latest VegNews recipe. They don't give it up on the internet yet, I am going to publish it on my facebook page tomorrow for you ok? I've never had crab in any form anytime in my life. No idea what it tastes like, nor do I want to know. I imagine it's got an "of the sea" flavor, which if you know anything about me at all, you already know that "of the sea" ANYTHING is really nasty to me. This includes sea vegetables. Remember Fukishima? I still have one last bag of Kombu that hasn't been opened. I bought a stash right when the disaster happened, and never bought any since. That's how much I use sea veggies.... not much at all. But.... I did break down and pick up a shaker of kelp granules for this particular recipe. And, I have a small shaker of dulse that's also about 100 years old, which I do nothing with. Although over budget,  I've chosen to include it for 444 day because when I was at the Asian Market last week (I'm getting a lot of mileage from that trip for sure) I noted that jackfruit in water was .88 a can! What is typically on shelves here is pushing $5 a can, and it's a smaller can than the Asian Market ones I saw. But.... what we DO get down here is organic and branded. Truth be told, this was one of my 2 last cans of jackfruit that was donated to us a while ago. Diversion story time...

One day when I was picking up messages, a very kind man had left a voicemail of how he just left us a case of jackfruit outside our driveway. I never called him back. I was so far down the rabbit hole of depression I was not speaking to anyone at that time. I sent the other happy vegan out to get the jackfruit and I stayed in bed for like an additional month or 2. I've gotten a lot of mileage from that one donation, having some freedom to experiment with different jackfruit recipes. I don't really like BBQ jackfruit which is the most popular way it's caught on. It's a texture thing for me.... too much like dead. Because I've been able to experiment without financial pressure of this ingredient, I've found quite a few ways I really do like jackfruit. So, anyway, I've included this recipe because the jackfruit was donated to us, and because in so many areas around the world it is extremely budget friendly. I would venture a guess breadfruit will work in this. And, if it's all just too out of reach, use white beans (dried of course for budget reasons..... save the aquafaba for mousse and egg replacer!) But.... as it is, this recipe came in at $1.85 per serving. Which mainly was the cost of the mushrooms, lemongrass and the organic pasta I used. Do not skip the lemongrass, really... it's what puts this over the top. I have a friend who grew lemongrass in her garden like crazy. She used to give it to me for free, and even gave me a few stalks to plant. No more, sad face time. I also liked this recipe because it really does not taste "of the sea" despite having kelp in it. It simply tastes flavorful. The recipe looks complicated, nope, it's just a long list of ingredients as you'll see on tomorrow's post (there is no link, VegNews doesn't give us one, it's in their current issue mag). You can pull the cost down by using garlic powder, skipping the Thai basil (which I forgot to use anyway). One more thing... about that red curry paste. Who the heck can find VEGAN red curry paste? Not me. I used 1/4t turmeric, 1t coriander, a shake of red pepper flakes, and 1tsp Srirachi hot chili sauce (also more budget friendly than premade curry paste). And, holy mother of crap, I forgot to put the coconut milk in the recipe.... My price includes using it, I just forgot to pour it in.  Look at this picture!

This was so good that my before cooking plans were to give it away!
Nope, not anymore... it's mine, all mine.
And, about that bread. We discussed this recipe multiple times through the years on this blog. There's no pictures of the loaf, but you see slices here. There is enough for at least 6 generous servings, or more. On my calculations the serving cost is .33 per person. Do you remember 2 years ago for VeganMoFo I made those veganized BLTs for the other happy vegan, with rice paper bacon. MMMM. This was the bread I used, and if you read that post, you'll see I even made my own vegan mayo using aquafaba. Pennies, just pennies to make!

Let's not forget the aquafaba mousse I brought you a few days ago. I did the calculations and mine was .28 per serving using a good quality chocolate. Incredible!

I make my own broth using scraps from veggies. I toss all my scraps in a container for the freezer, when it's full, I boil it with just enough water to cover and maybe a bay leaf. No salt, nothing else. It's basically free, and you can just season it as you'd like when you use it depending on your recipe.

Used dried beans and grains.

About those oats. It's enough for 2 people. You can put them in cleaned out peanut butter jars, put the lid back on and you've got a "to go" breakfast. The people on www.howdoigovegan.com had theirs in a really pretty tall sundae dish. I'm lucky to have any dishes at this point in my life. I thought it looked just as pretty in a jar and damn it was tasty. I even had leftover caramel date sauce, I'll use it tomorrow.

Sure it's challenging to eat 444. Most people I know are in different areas of the country where tomatoes, corn and zucchini are growing like crazy in gardens. Here, a single zucchini is $2.50 and they are small. Tomatoes, forget about it.... from Mexico mostly. Corn? Never.... it's feed corn down here and a fortune. So, basically you need to do some planning for cheap meals like using dried beans and grains which are batch cooked and frozen, stocking things on sale, making your own veggie broth, and eating seasonally for your own area. Cheap comes with some preparation, but unless you're eating at Taco Hell every day or buying your home meals pre-prepared, we've all gotta do some prep at some point.

CARROT SOUP LINK: https://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-thai-carrot-soup-with-basil/
BREAD LINK: https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/homemade-artisan-bread-easiest-bread-recipe-ever.html

I have to give you the oat recipe, it's off a social media page from www.howdoigovegan.com and I cannot link, so here:

Banoffee Oat Sundae (this recipe made 2 servings for me, it's a lot of food!)

Ingredients: 
1 cup oats
2 bananas (1 mashed, 1 sliced)
8 dates
a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla essence, if available
Peanut butter and flaked almonds to serve

Directions:
1. Soak the oats in enough water (or use all-plant milk if you prefer) to just cover them. Add 1/2 of the mashed banana and stir.
2. Place the dates in a blender with salt, vanilla essence, and enough hot water to blend to a smooth consistency. If you don't have a blender, chopped dates will work perfectly well!
3. Layer the oats, sliced bananas, date caramel, and mashed banana into a glass, alternating. Top with a few dots of peanut butter, and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Hopefully today's great recipes make up for yesterday's disappointment. You'll like all these recipes, really they are great.

TTYL!

xo


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 19: Leftovers for A Broken Heart

Yesterday I made an Unturkey using Miyoko Schinner's magical recipe. I still have about 9 pounds of it left. I planned on making soup, but everyone does that anyway, right? Instead, I found a recipe for Asian style rolls, you know, eggless egg rolls for lack of a better term. The Universe continues to do some serious ass kicking on my heart. Today was difficult, time was not on my side because of extenuating circumstances. But I had a secret weapon in my fridge.... vegan egg roll wrappers. Or so I thought. Referring once again to the trip to the Asian Market last week, I had picked up what I thought were won-ton wrappers. They are vegan, indeed, I read the ingredients correctly. But get this.... they are bean curd sheets. Fresh bean curd sheets. Exactly what I needed for the Unturkey was lurking in my fridge all along. I grabbed the wrong thing as far as wonton wrappers, nope not them. Why am I even talking about this? At the last minute I decided to make vegan Unturkey, cranberry and vegan cheeze egg rolls. I really thought I had this one in the bag.

If nothing else, Vegan Month of Food gets me to try new things, new styles of cooking and new products. Here are my vegan Unturkey egg rolls:


I mean, they don't even look good, do they. Believe it or not, that plate is green. The dip is a cranberry mustard dip which is bright red, you know... cranberries. Ugh, it's hard to believe sometimes I think I know what I'm doing in the kitchen.

So, as far as flavor, not really bad, but the sheets are not crispy as they should be. They browned and puffed slightly, but not like a wonton wrapper. And they also have a flavor that was ok, but overwhelming in the recipe. The wrapper should be the carrier, not a main flavor. I shredded some leftover Unturkey in my food processor and added a touch of the leftover powdered seasoning I had from yesterday's recipe. I then made a fast vegan spread cheeze using soaked nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper and miso, and used smooth cranberry sauce. Put it all in the wrapper, rolled it up and baked 20 minutes. I'm telling you the method because if this was done in the right wrapper, it would've been good. The sauce is cranberry sauce, with a splash of Dijon mustard and VEGAN Bee Free Honee (that's the brand I use).

I have a different recipe I am going to hopefully bring to you after Vegan MoFo is over. It's an Unturkey sandwich style meal, using leftover mashed potatoes in the waffle iron, with sliced leftover  Unturkey, cranberry sauce, avocado, and baked tofu (seasoned with kala namak, you know to make it like an egg) in the middle of the sandwich. I think I'll leave the tofu out, and add rice paper bacon. Tune in another day for that, today I just didn't have time. If you read my Facebook page you know why.

I'm tapping out for tonight.

Jen
xo

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 18: "Pre-Leftovers" Day

Today we are tasked with making a meal for you that will be used as a different meal tomorrow... you know, repurposing leftovers. For those of you who don't want to read, scroll down for the pictures and recipe link at the end. For those that want to read, here we go.

I bring you now, Miyoko Schinner's famous Unturkey!



Does anyone remember Now and Zen company when it first began and was founded by the amazing so far ahead of her time Miyoko Schinner? Yes, the same Miyoko who is now famous for her groundbreaking non-dairy artisan vegan cheeses! That company was close to my heart for 2 things.... vegan chocolate pudding, and the Unturkey. Nope, not Tofurky (which I crush majorly on as well), but UNturkey. This was one of the first (perhaps THE first?) vegan turkey analogues. I bought my first one around 20 years or so, give or take, in a crunchy granola store down the shore. Interesting look on the box, interesting concept especially with Thanksgiving coming up and me expected to produce dinner for the family and a few friends. I labored for hours in the kitchen with sides, a from scratch meal and the Unturkey (that part was fast, the rest not so much). When I sat down to the table, I cut the Unturkey, plated the food and took a bite. My first bite included yuba "skin" (commonly referred to as "bean curd sheets I later learned). Listen, I'm the one who bought the thing, cooked the thing, and plated the thing. I had full and total control the entire time, yet I swore up and down that someone made a mistake and I was eating animal skin. I was horrified. I ran to the box to read the ingredients again. Vegan. But HOW???? I peeled the weirdness off anyway, still convinced it was flesh. It wasn't. It was bean curd sheets, which is a skin that forms when soy milk is produced. Back then I had no idea. I came to learn that indeed it's vegan, and I continued to buy Unturkey until gasp.... it was DISCONTINUED! Looking up the dates, the Internet tells me it went away in 2006 but it seems to me it was way before then that I lost my true love, the Unturkey.

After a few years I stumbled upon a few threads confirming the Unturkey had gone to it's Unrainbow Bridge because the company was sold. Miyoko was no longer associated with Now and Zen so that explained it. But the greatest thing happened, the recipe was eventually shared. Years ago I was stalking some zombie threads and found an underground recipe version before Miyoko published it. Please remember, back then the extent of my cooking ability was dialing out for pizza (w/o cheese of course, again so far before Daiya or anything of the like). I did not cook. Reading the underground version long ago it was far too complicated for me to even consider. I was happy because Tofurky is one of my holiday loves and we remained besties (still to this day!) But I never forgot my other love, the Unturkey. I decided to finally make an Unturkey after watching Miyoko's video about 10 times (not kidding) quite a few years after moving here, as by then I had enough years of serious cooking sorcery under my belt. It really did not look that difficult, but WTF is this bean curd sheet thing? I made my first Unturkey maybe 3 years ago. I couldn't find yuba. Let me tell you, I'm hardcore.... I made my own yuba. It was one of the messiest and most frustrating things I've ever done. But, I persisted and had enough to cover an Unturkey after maybe 2-2.5 hours at the stove. Mine was sloppy.... yuba is produced in drum size containers of the 55 gallon variety which makes a big ass sheet of yuba. Being that I'm not a commercial tofu or soy milk producer I used my largest skillet and went to town. That first Unturkey wasn't as pretty as Miyoko's on line video version, nor the one I pulled from the box, but damn it was delicious. And HUGE, over 10 pounds.

I'd like to stop writing here, but there's more.

I got up extra early this morning to make a second Unturkey for Vegan Month of Food. The first I made yesterday but there was a mistake in the measurements of the recipe I followed. The seitan loaf itself didn't come out perfect so I decided no biggie I'll make another one, the first one we'll use for deli slices. Get this.... last night in preparation for this morning's second Unturkey prep, I reached out to the most revered Miyoko herself and guess what SHE WROTE BACK! I would be starstruck meeting her in person. I have so much respect for her. She was so far ahead of her time with the Now and Zen company, and being a woman at the helm to boot. Really, I have so much admiration for her for these reasons. Anyway, back to the second Unturkey....

Today absolutely spiraled far out of control with animal issues. If you read my facebook page, you have an idea of one of the issues, but trust me there were more. I'm skipping over it, really. I had started to mix my Unturkey when things began to go wrong. I left one of the necessary bags of gluten at the market. Paid for. Lying there lonely on a converyor belt when it needed to be here. The other happy vegan was already out for another emergency and said he'd pick up the gluten. He did. But then I had my own non-MoFo emergency. All the partially mixed dough got put to the side with a damp towel over the already huge vat of gluten mix and I left. I didn't get back to it for close to FIVE HOURS. Five hours of it just lying in a stainless bowl, growing and growing. When I got back to it, the towel was dry, the mix had grown and it was taking over my bowl. I said "f-this" and reshaped it into a log as it was and began the baking & cooking process. When it finally came out of the broth about 1.5 hours later, it was so huge it began to crack in 2. At this point I was (still am actually) continuing to deal with the other plural emergencies at hand. I again said "f-it" and decided to run with it anyway. I soaked the bean curd sheets. Seriously, look at the shit it ended up to be:

Dammit! This is supposed to be a SHEET!
A FREAKING SHEET! NOT CRUMBS!!!

As you will note from the photo above, my dehydrated bean curd sheet (my ass!) was pulverized to bits. I salvaged what I could to cover my beloved Unturkey which was going south so quickly my head was spinning. Apparently I should've checked the Asian market freezer or refrigerator case for FRESH bean curd sheets. Friends, NEVER buy these dehydrated pieces of you know what or you'll be sorry. But, again, that was my first ever trip to the Asian market last week for "hot without chilies" day, don't you remember my glee? Yeah, it was all sucked out of me today when I opened my beany curd sheet (my ass!) package. BOO HISS.

If you follow the recipe on the link I'm providing below, you will have at least 10 pounds of Unturkey. I know perhaps it's not elegant but neither is a dead turkey with stuffing shoved up his ass.  ASS STUFFING! How can anyone eat that?!!! Go for the Unturkey, I mean, have some fun won't you? Now that I've made my Unturkey, I have all that leftover for tomorrow's prompt which is "use leftovers from yesterday's recipe." Leftovers? Oh heck, I got 'em, I got 'em good. 

Without further nonsense of the day that turned to shit, here are more pictures, and the link. As I said, this is Unturkey, not something super elegant. These pictures look a little freaky, to say the least!

This is how my second Unturkey came out after baking (before simmering)
It grew so much that it
actually hit the rack above, despite me pre adjusting the racks immensely.
How can I in all good conscience publish such an ugly photo you ask?
I respond "because it's real!"
This is the bean curd sheets (my ass!) lining my roasting pan
along with the bottom of my unturkey sliced after simmering for an hour.
This is a huge volume of stuffing placed over the bottom piece.

This is my Unturkey after placing the top split piece back on over the stuffing.
It's covered with bean curd sheets (my ass!) and basted with the seasoning mix.
After baking!
This is part of the reason we have no video tonight.

I had visions of me in the kitchen tonight gracefully showing you how to rehydrate bean curd sheets (my ass!) as I waxed poetic about the ease and simplicity of applying said sheets. Uh.... no.

This is what we saw when the other happy vegan sliced it!
NOM!
And, this was the plate I made for him.
Perhaps I should've saved my bean curd sheets (my ass!) for "fail day." But, this isn't a fail overall it's just a crappy package and I shouldn't have gotten the dried version. Guess what I have another pack of the bean curd sheets (my ass!) so I'll have to find some way to use them up. For now, I've got about 9.5 pounds of Unturkey left for tomorrow and I swear I'm going to find some way to incorporate those bean curd sheet (my ass!) bits into tomorrow's recipe along with the Unturkey leftovers if it kills me.

Here's the link:

https://www.artisanveganlife.com/will-the-real-unturkey-please-stand-up/ 

Also, here's a different link which is to the video demo Miyoko published. The audio quality is exceptionally poor, but this was so helpful to me to actually watch her make it so here it is for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6kHOxR4bDY

Now, my parting comments. Firstly, I found a link that said use 4 cups gluten, in fact it may even be in that video link. When you see that DON'T DO IT! The correct quantity is 8 cups of gluten. Yup, EIGHT! That was part of my fail for the first Unturkey I was making for this post.

Secondly, this makes a huge roast, absolutely huge. You can halve the recipe, but if you do halve ALL OF IT, not just the gluten, ok? But, my thought is you're going to all this effort to make this, why not just make the giant one, and have leftovers and/or freeze some of it. Really, you will love this. Make it in a pretty roasting dish. You most likely will not be able to lift it out of the roasting pan to place on a platter. I forgot that part and instead used one of my large stainless roasters which I use to make those oven roasted seasoned potatoes that you feasted on all those years. Remember? 

Thirdly, this is so not for every day eating. There's oil (which I omitted entirely from the gravy by the way). There's sodium. But, hey to answer the age old question of protein, there is officially a crap ton of protein in this recipe, seriously it's almost off the charts. Give it up to vital wheat gluten for protein content. My point is, before anyone starts crying of how unhealthy this is, consider what too many DO eat on holidays anyway.... it's not healthy and it sure wasn't healthy for the carcass considered a centerpiece either, was it?

If you have any questions, fire them off to me, I promise I'll answer you if I see it. You can always email me at the bed and breakfast too. Do not be intimidated by this recipe. And, if you happen to get pulverized bean curd sheets (my ass!) like I did just rehydrate the bits anyway, squeeze the water out and scoop them with a spoon over your Unturkey. It will crisp up anyway, and you sure know it by now it's not animal flesh... yet crispy and succulent. If you cannot find the bean curd sheets (my ass!) either make your own (messy and time consuming) or just omit it. The world won't stop spinning if you make your Unturkey without those bean curd sheets (my ass!)  

Wasn't this fun?

xo


Monday, September 17, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 17: Cheap Sweets (YASSS!!!!!)

For the love of dog... this has TWO INGREDIENTS!
It is delicious!
Wasn't sure if this would land in "free from" week or this week for "budget friendly."  As you see, in the end I chose budget friendly. However this recipe is vegan, gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free (duh, VEGAN) and soy free (provided you use vegan chocolate which is allergen free).

Today, 2 ingredient chocolate mousse. Two ingredients and you're on the way to super deliciousness sans the brutality of dairy. Oh, did I mention TWO FREAKING INGREDIENTS!!!!!



If you add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and a splash of plant milk, you have 4 ingredients. The recipe works with it, or without it. I did not add any sugar, none, zip, zilch, zero.

The credit for this recipe goes to Lazy Cat Kitchen.
Their link is: https://www.lazycatkitchen.com/fluffy-vegan-chocolate-mousse/

1 cup aquafaba (240ml) (I did not reduce mine, you'll see in the video)
140 grams good quality vegan chocolate (I used Multiple Organics, a fair trade allergen free chip)
optional: sugar (you seriously do not need it)
1 tsp vinegar (optional)
splash plant milk (optional)

Pour the aquafaba in a stand mixer, add vinegar if using. With balloon whisk, turn mixer on from low to high and let it whip (visions of Dazz Band now) til 100% firm. You'll know when it's ready.

Heat chocolate and splash of plant milk if using. I used the microwave at 30 second intervals. Whisk til completely smooth. Cool completely, 100% cooled!

When chocolate is cooled and AF whipped, add in your chocolate to the AF and fold in completely, gently. The AF will deflate, it's ok, that's what it does. When combined, pour into dishes of choice. Recipe says 4 servings, I got way more than that and if I had enough dishes I could've probably done 10!  Chill overnight, it gets fluffy and perfect.

Have at it. You will not be sorry!

xo

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 16: Getting the Goods While On A Budget

Today we are tasked with a clear your pantry meal. Can I just say, I'm loving these prompts! Videos and posts for the super majority of topics have really have been (for me at least) falling into my lap. Today is another one of those "oh happy day, lucky me!" topics.

A few weeks ago, I was following the bouncing ball on a week of cheap nutritious eating with recipes from www.howdoigovegan.com I think they called it their cheerful cheap week or something like that. I was famished because I ate nothing all day. I was contemplating eating something vegan but unhealthy and then I remembered I deserve better than that. Scrolling through the cheap easy recipes l was pretty sure I had everything already in my possession for the post on quick coconut tofu stew. I walked into the kitchen and replicated their recipe almost exactly in 15 minutes flat.

Quick Coconut Tofu Stew
Made for pennies, in just about 15 minutes flat!


What I didn't have on hand was curry powder. The challenge is to make a dish with ONLY what we happen to have on hand, not with what we have PLUS going to the market for the 1 ingredient missing. So I did a quick "help what can I substitute for curry powder" Internet search and simply subbed in 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and 1 teaspoon cumin for the 1 teaspoon of curry. I used a full block of tofu, because if not I'd have a half a block of random tofu just sitting in the fridge most likely til it got shoved to the back, and onto science experiment life. Pass.

It's hard to believe I had scallions lying around in the fridge, but I did. I bought them for a raw recipe that I never got around to. I had to peel a few of the outer leaves off, but they were on hand. The mushrooms were just about to turn too.... another purchase for a raw recipe that I just didn't get to. And lastly, I had the frozen spinach on hand because I've been putting it in my smoothies. It's like a wizard peeked into my kitchen and then wrote this recipe. I was shocked how good it was, actually I think it's better with my spices than the curry would have been. Some people really dislike curries (including the other happy vegan, although he won't admit that publicly). He devoured this stew, sans curry.

There will come a point that I will do a public "eat on x-dollars a week" theme around here. For now there's still too much chaos and my schedule is too unreliable to commit to much meal prep. I'll be there for you on that soon though.

Their recipe straight off their facebook page ends today's post. For now, check back tomorrow for another great recipe for pennies. This week is all about the budget. I'm already planned til almost the end of the week, I'm so excited about this week!!!

Vegan, budget friendly love to you and yours. Scroll down for the recipe:

Courtesy of www.howdoigovegan.com
"cheap and cheerful week"
For Day 5, Dinner, we had a Quick Coconut Tofu Stew. 
Ingredients
1 can reduced fat coconut milk
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup or suitable-for-vegans sweetener
1 tsp curry powder
Approx. 130g canned tomatoes
1/2 block tofu, cubed
5 mushrooms, sliced
2 large handfuls spinach
2 scallions, sliced
Directions
Add all of the ingredients to a large lidded saucepan, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
We also made an easy flatbread by combining 200g flour, 100ml water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp oil. We mixed it well for about 3 minutes (no need to knead) and divided it into four. We rolled two of the pieces out, dry fried them until they started to bubble, and then flipped them to fry the other side.
My changes were: 1 full block tofu, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. cumin, omit the curry, I used more mushrooms because I had them and they were getting ready to turn,  I used a little bigger can of tomatoes because it's what I had, I omitted the sugar, and I used Bragg's liquid aminos instead of soy sauce. As far as the bread, I added nutritional yeast to mine for more flavor before baking. Work with what you have. Buy nothing. xo




Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 15: Harboring a Fugitive, Truth Bombs and a bit about GAPS

I'm starting this post minutes PAST midnight on the 15th, past deadline for "today's" topic, which now is actually yesterday's post. Considering the time of day (night) and how my day went, plans are to keep this short.

Our topic "today" (yesterday...) is anything "free from" to close out free from week. Read on.

Minutes ago I walked in the door from dropping truth bombs for a few hours on Duval Street, Key West. Yes, it was another "Cube of Truth" event organized by Anonymous for the Voiceless: Florida Keys. Cubes I feel are some of the best activism I've done in my life, but I won't lie, they take a toll on my emotions.

After I walked in, I snapped a picture of my topic for tonight (scroll down) and was walking over to the computer to do this post when the other happy vegan stumbled out of bed and says to me "did you see the kitten?"

......

Uh.....

......

At present, we are harboring a fugitive. I've learned we have a kitten who showed up a few days ago at one of the feral feeding sites. No idea where she came from, but she was fairly friendly meaning she wouldn't run when we put the food down. And, she chummed up with one of the regulars. Two days ago, she had an injury or something. With the help of another angel for the ferals, an agreement as made if he or we catch her, we will get her to the vet for necessary care. I guess tonight was the night. She is in the area where we used to feed all you wonderful people the epic breakfasts over the years. She's hiding. Who can blame her.

There. So far, I've covered truth bombs and fugitives. On to the topic.

One of my first years here, I had a guest come in adhering to something called the SCD diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). I had barely dealt with any special food needs. I remember researching this SCD thing on the Internet, and getting ready to cry. It's super unvegan-friendly. I did my best, one of the hardest I've ever worked for a guest. Fast forward to know, and we have something called GAPS diet which is something that is either like SCD or a hybrid of SCD. Regardless it is just as unvegan-friendly. I did a little reading earlier this week, and learned about the steps for GAPS and it's goals. It's very restrictive, and embraces things like bone broth, meat, eggs, fermented dairy.... and the steps progress. I'm not here to debate the merits of GAPS. All I'll say is I know it exists. I did make a raw cake years ago for someone on GAPS, it complied with the restrictions, was vegan, and although it was easy to make, it took quite a bit of research on my part. Mission accomplished at least. So, there are ways around this non-vegan nightmare it would seem. I even found a vegetable broth to make from scratch which according to my reading is GAPS compliant.

My contribution for today is Kombucha. It's fermented. And, it's compliant for full GAPS, not the early stages. Don't worry about the stages unless you're going for it, right? I'm not going to explain them. It's irrelevant for this post. I'm here to tell you how I brew my own Kombucha.

Considering I was up to a 2 bottle a day habit, things had to stop retail-wise, ya know? I bought a jar from the fancy site Cultures for Health, a SCOBY and whatever else I needed. Guess what, the jar is broken (defective upon purchase and now I'm stuck trying to get my $60 back) the SCOBY molded over (now I realize it's because the jar was broken) and I've got all that crap I'm not even using. A friend gave me a healthy SCOBY with a cup of starter, and I got a jar at the thrift for $4. Here's my current brew, yes it looks freaky, but this is normal! That is NOT mold! SCOBYs freak people out, but they really just want to be loved...

This is my Kombucha.
That is not mold. That's a healthy SCOBY.
The jar looks frosted because of the lighting.

Here's my Kombucha recipe:

1.5-2.0 gallons water
About 1.5 cups sugar (sugar, not liquid stuff, not fake sugar, not Stevia)
Black tea of choice (about 10 bags)

Boil the water, add sugar til dissolved, turn off heat, then add the tea bags. Remove tea bags after brewing (about 10 minutes or so) cool completely, do not refrigerate!

Use a large vessel (a Kombucha jar with a spigot is my jam considering I'm doing continuous brew), pour in your sugar/tea mixture, add in your starter plus SCOBY (which you get from a friend... you NEED this and my suggestion is don't waste a penny of your hard earned $ on a dehydrated SCOBY or any other shit from Cultures for Health, they do not stand behind their products at all!) put the lid on your jar, cover it with a lovely piece of fabric to darken and then sit it on the counter. Mark your date for about 7 days to taste. Here, I'm bottling my Kombucha in 8 days. It's fermenting so fast with the heat, even wtih AC on in the house. Sometimes you may choose to go up to 14 days. It will get very sour almost like vinegar, that's not really  your goal. The SCOBY eats the sugar, that's how she survives. So your final product is not sweet. You can either drink it plain when you taste it (bottle it and get another batch going, leaving some in as starter and your pretty little SCOBY friend) and just keep going and going and going.

I do a second fermentation using grapefruit. That's pretty much NOT GAPS compliant. But, damn if my first brew at 7 days isn't delicious as it is!

You can look on line and lose your mind with Kombucha videos. I was terrified on my first batch. And, when it failed, I thought I just sucked at it. Nope, it's the SCOBY. A $4 jar and the price of tea and sugar I'm brewing about 8 bottles at a clip. It's so delicious. And GAPS compliant unflavored.

This isn't a meal, but it's good for almost any of us. Fermented foods are good for gut health, easier to digest and delicious. Choose the vegan ones, I mean geez I make non-dairy yogurt at least once every 2 weeks no need for all that dairy.

Please don't let my time on Duval Street be in vain. Go vegan, you don't need a Cube of Truth to tell you what we all already know. Vegan is love.

There, I'm done.

xo


Friday, September 14, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 14: No Salt, No Problem!

Today we are tasked with bringing you low sodium, full flavor.  I've totally got your back, well ok.... Food for Thought in Marathon has our back today.

I'm working part time in the kitchen at Food for Thought in Marathon as we here at Deer Run work through our Irma recovery. I like it there, as I've said before. The food is great, the people in there are wonderful and treat me with respect, the customers very often have similar values as I do (vegan, mindful living, compassion), and I am free to speak about my own business if it comes up. This is a big perk for me because people travel from all over the world to visit the Florida Keys and often times ask if I happen to know any great places to stay because they love the Keys so much they're coming back. And, guess what, I sure do happen to know the best place in the Keys to stay.... Yay Deer Run!

I love all the small natural food stores in the Keys, you know that. I've waxed poetic for years on them. Also, if you've stayed here, you know I've always shared my opinion with you that Food for Thought consistently puts out some of the absolute best quality and tasting food in all of the Keys. You can be as "crunchy granola" as you want in there, or you can dive off the deep end and indulge in a Beyond Burger for example. They are exquisitely vegan friendly, the entire menu is either already vegan or there's a vegan option for any non-vegan menu items. It was no surprise that one of the specials in the cafe today was a live food taco!

Living Food Tacos!

Let's break it all down. First, everything is organic. Next, the ingredients; red cabbage "shells," house made seasoned walnut ground "meat," riced cauliflower, house made pico de gallo, house made cashew cream, red pepper, avocado, along with a side salad which is served with house made dressing. Oh. Ehm. GEE!!!! You know, "they" say we first eat with our eyes. Looking at this plate, I'd have to agree.

The walnut "meat" is seasoned with organic spices, not sodium. And, it sold out completely today, no surprise there either.

A few years ago, after the other happy vegan had a few health issues, I became an expert at low sodium cooking and baking. To this day when I cook for just us, I still only use low sodium bouillon, zero sodium home made broth, zero sodium Spike, or just my own combination of seasonings. Since I'm consistently dabbling in raw cuisine, when I do eat things with regular or high sodium it sort of seems "off" to me in that all I taste is salt, not the flavors of the food itself. For those not in the know.... there actually are zero sodium baking powders out there which work beautifully. I've used them extensively when zero sodium guest have been here.

Here we will always choose small businesses over corporations any time we have a choice. It's crucial for as many of us to make these choices, if we hope to continue to have actual choice in our lives when it comes to purchases (in my opinion). If you want some of the best and most nutritious food in the Florida Keys you will choose any (or all) of our natural grocers and cafes. And since I'm in the kitchen at Food for Thought at least for now, you'll surely want to stop in, say hello and grab a bite. They can accommodate us low sodium peeps without batting an eyelash.

Vegan for the win, low sodium style. And, always for the animals.

Vegan love til tomorrow!
xo


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 13 - Package Free Snacks

I like to color outside the lines. Often. Love me or leave me, that's just the way I am. Don't expect any major changes there. Today we're tasked with bringing you package free snacks (remember... this is "free from" week).

First, banana:



Certainly a package free snack. Not very original perhaps from a Vegan Month of Food celebration point of view. Well, too bad, because actually ANY snack is a package free snack. It's merely a matter of how willing are we all to save the planet by buying in bulk, packing our own snacks in reusable tins, avoiding as many things packaged as possible and blah blah... thinking out the consequences of our choices. None of us likely will avoid packaging totally, although there are people who make very diligent efforts to live a zero waste lifestyle. That is what I want to talk about today, sort of.

I actually was told by someone this week that paper straws are annoying. Then they had every excuse in the book why a reusable was unsuitable for them. After which they announced to me that plastic straws should always be an option. And... this was from a certified wildlife paraprofessional. I couldn't contain my horror, surprise, surprise. I offered any kind of free straws they wanted.... totally "on me" you know the one who doesn't have a house and is still with a business closed for over a year from storm damage, I would buy this person who had a house, a job and helps animals any freaking reusable straws they wanted. Nope. And, when I said really we should all skip the straw I think I saw some of their brain cells actually die right before my eyes.

We can't fix stupid, and for now it's not likely plastic is going to be removed from society. But.... we have choices! And we should do everything in our means to live authentically mindful. You know, like being vegan (whoops, did I just get ignored by some of my closest non-vegan friends.... and/or this post just get clicked to "off" position.... oh my)

One of the most distressing things about living through Irma was being an eye witness to the environmental disaster that followed. Everything served in plastic. We didn't have water for a long time either.... ever take a water bottle bath? Plastic was EVERYWHERE, not only from the disaster washing it through, but from the aid that came along after. Before the storm, we had stocked water in every single available container in the B&B which we stored at the "safe house." It was still there and we used it. But services were out for so long, and even when water got restored, it was not potable at first.... we were forced at times to use water bottles. We challenged ourselves with a game, how little water can we really use. And we stuck to it. But, it still sucked. It was like 15 years of green living and green business just evaporated.

Now, there are companies making edible packaging (so interesting, I read about quite a few today), and other companies making truly biodegradable and compostable everything. And, then there are companies like this TerraCycle which makes it easier to recycle things that are "non-recyclable".... here is their link: https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/  If we can't get behind a company that recycles those shitty things like "K-cups" well then we don't deserve to be here anyway (as a side note, I read that the inventor of the K-cup completely regrets their invention because of the eco-damage they have caused... nice, but still a little late to the party wouldn't you say?)

So, today in a nutshell? Banana. TerraCycle.

Then, every day in a nutshell? VEGAN!

Toodles til tomorrow. Enjoy your banana.

xo


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 12 - Dats a SPICY (vegan) meatball... (or let's have some cabbage...)

How dreamy is this!
Today we're talking about spicy and hot without chilies. As this is "free from" week, we're avoiding chilies today because they are in the nightshade family which is an allergen for some people (yup, I've encountered that with guests here in the past, it's really not that unusual after all). Funny thing about hot sauce; I love it but don't do very well with the super heated stuff like ghost peppers. On the flip side, I love horseradish, wasabi and Asian mustard. That stuff is hot, sure, but it is so tasty and so much more tolerable for me than chilies and hot sauces. The other happy vegan is the exact opposite. Today I did a little investigation and learned that there are different receptors on different parts of the tongue that supposedly makes it easier to eat peppers for some people and not the trifecta of horseradish, wasabi and Asian mustard. I actually did eat a dumpling with Asian mustard with first contact on the front third of the soft palate. It worked, not as hot! Psychosomatic? Not sure.

Anyway, today I had my first visit to an Asian market in my entire life. We were in Miami for business, and after headed over to the market. I was hoping to get some fresh horseradish root, but they didn't have it. Instead, I walked out with wasabi paste, hot mustard and wasabi peas. Wasabi is in the cabbage family, no chili or pepper relation. Hot mustard is straight up mustard root. Wasabi is sort of rare outside of Asia, and many commercial wasabi preparations use horseradish. Both the powder I show in my video and the paste do contain actual wasabi, but also horseradish (again, no chilis, just a root). The powdered wasabi is a far superior product having a mere 3 ingredients best as I can recall. I also read that wasabi does grow in North America in Oregon, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Here's a little video for you today:



Although I don't eat much wasabi, I almost always still have the powder version in my pantry because I absolutely love it with my mango vegan sushi (don't knock it until you've tried it). Of course my sushi is made without any sea veggies or nori (that's a story for another day) I prefer soy paper, coconut wraps or rice paper. As far as the mustard, now that I have my hot little hands on the hot little mustard, I foresee a crap ton of that being mixed into my everything but breakfast oats. We shall experiment!

While I was in the Asian market, I did pick up a few other things, including one specifically for an upcoming prompt. I couldn't figure out what everything in that store was, not everything had English. It was far more vegan friendly than I ever anticipated, but it was also far more trippy with non-vegan items in there that I didn't even know existed. Rough stuff at times, as nothing is off limits apparently.

Hope you've enjoyed today. Check back tomorrow for something else, whatever it is, I'll be there!

xo




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 11: Dessert Without Added Sugar

As "free from" week marches on for Vegan Month of Food, today I was tasked with bringing you a great vegan dessert without any added sugar. For me, no added sugar includes NO maple syrup, rice syrup, dates, agave, Stevia, or anything artificial (not that you'll EVER find artificial sweeteners in my cabinet anyway). I still have a stash of fresh local mangoes here. They are in my fridge. This is to slow down their ripening as much as possible so I won't have to freeze them and I can still eat them fresh. I don't have as many as I'd like, and there won't be anymore this year as mango season is over, I will have to wait til next summer. One of the most delicious desserts I can ever hope to eat is mango ice cream. These mangoes are perfection, seriously perfection. I moved here thinking I hated mangoes (I've devoted several posts to mangoes in the past, and always say this one thing....) but I never hated mangoes, I just never had a real mango until I moved here. Those little orange orbs sold in the freezer case.... not mangoes. Those rocks sold in the product section of mainstream stores... not mangoes, not even when they ripen. Mangoes come fresh from the tree down here. You have to wait until they are just right, which basically is when they have some (or many) blackish spots on them, and the skin yields to gentle pressure when you pick it up. Another clue is the fragrance.... you'll know, trust me.

There's lots of ways to make mango ice cream vegan style, but my favorites are the simplest. The easiest way is to peel and cut your mango, freeze those pieces overnight, then make "nice cream" with either your  high speed blender or Champion juicer using the blank. With the Champion you add absolutely nothing else, just fruit (you can do this with any kind of fruits, it's called a "fruit freeze" the places I'm familiar with). If you use your Vitamix, you may want to add a dash of unsweetened non-dairy milk, my favorite to use for frozen desserts is coconut milk. Today, all I did was cut and freeze 2 large mangoes last night before going to bed. I pulled them out of the freezer, plunked them into my Vitamix, and added a little unsweetened reduced fat coconut milk (I'd say roughly 1/3 cup), then blended. This will NOT work with a regular blender. After everything was mixed, I scooped it into my ice cream maker. The one I got second hand that I've had for years now. It survived Irma! No, my $700 mixer didn't make it through unscathed, but my $10 ice cream machine sure did. I froze my ice cream container last night, and today just ran it for about 10 minutes. As you can see, it's perfect!

This mango ice cream is exploding with flavor and is SO creamy!
Look at the difference in the mangoes....
the one in the back is not ripe, its green and no flecks
the one in the front is reddish and has spots... she's ready for breakfast!

Even if you don't have an ice cream maker, it's perfect. It was softer of course out of the Vitamix, but the flavor is just as divine.

If I added sugar to this it would ruin it. On season ripe mangoes are so sweet on their own, plus the flavor just shines through so beautifully.

Mango sorbets are just as easy.... usually just fresh frozen mango and lemon or lime juice. Personally I wanted something creamy, not icy. It is still hot as Hades here. I know other people are considering pumpkins and mums, but I'm the tropical gal going kicking and screaming into pumpkin territory. 

So, there you have it. And, as you can see from the photo, you'll note a few black flecks starting to pop up on my mangoes. I pulled 3 out for tomorrow already. Mmmmmm. No added sugar or sweeteners!

xo


Monday, September 10, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 10: Gluten Free Baking

Pardon the lighting.
I should do my videos in the daytime, really.
This is a gluten free vegan white cupcake with
gluten free vegan cream cheese frosting and
gluten free vegan silver stars.
Recipe from The Vegan 8.
It's bad ass.

Of all the challenges I've had since working the Deer Run vegan kitchen, gluten free vegan baking was the biggest for me. I was on my own way back when I started my own quest for high quality gluten free vegan baked goods. I had no professional training that covered gluten free, there was very little support was on line, and what I did find often wasn't vegan. I finally found a very obscure blog by someone who had Celiac disease as well as dairy sensitivity. Basically someone who was vegan, but not really by choice. She wrote about her life and how horrible it had been until she was finally diagnosed as having Celiac along with a dairy sensitivity (surprise, she's not a baby cow...) She included her stories about her hospitalizations due to severe and frequent illness, as well as her progression to reclaim her health via learning to cook and BAKE gluten free once finally diagnosed. Her recipes did not always work for me, probably because of my climate down here. But as I got more experienced I began to figure out more and more what DID work down here without gluten. Years, I'm telling you, years of work went into the gluten free vegan recipes I now use. It's one of those things that unless you find yourself in the situation of NEEDING to remove gluten, most people don't give it a second thought.  I've come to realize that although I do not have Celiac, I do have a sensitivity to gluten. It causes inflammation for me, which makes my life more difficult at times. I'm still  not 100% gluten free, but more and more I do kick it to the curb completely from time to time. When I do, I feel so much better. Also, since more companies are finally producing true gluten free vegan products that actually taste good it's much easier to be gluten free in my opinion.

Let's get back to the baking issue. Vegan baking has no eggs. Gluten free vegan baking has no gluten. Eggs provide moisture and binding in recipes (along with a heavy does of torture and cruelty), while gluten provides elasticity in baking which helps the dough's condition. It also provides protein, but who the heck do you know that eats a cupcake for protein anyway? Besides, gluten free flours provide levels of protein anyway. Damn, the last thing I ever want to hear is where do I get my protein... it's NOT in a cupcake. Removing those ingredients means we have to substitute other ingredients that will mimic the same or similar functions of the other ingredients. I have developed my own gluten free baking recipes that are fully adapted to the extreme humidity we have year around, as well as the heat which also compromises baked goods. Because my issues aren't your issues, today I'm linking you to a recipe from Brandi at the Vegan 8. She is a master recipe creator, all vegan, all gluten free and best of all her concept is all recipes have 8 ingredients or less. She has a cookbook out now too, I don't have it yet but it's one I am longing for. You can go to her blog and find tons of recipes, she is so generous with her own recipes.

I made you the Vegan 8 gluten free white cupcakes. She also provides a recipe for frosting, but I simply used a little of the leftover vegan cream cheese frosting I had from Mahogany cake day. The frosting happened to be gluten free. Also, I used gluten free vegan silver stars as decoration, my preferred sprinkle shop is Sweetopolita on Etsy, although now there are also finally more and more vegan sprinkle companies popping up too.






This is the link to the recipe I used http://thevegan8.com/2018/07/12/vegan-gluten-free-vanilla-cupcakes/

When you bake gluten free, unless you are buying a premixed blend of flours, you will have to keep a variety of different gluten free flours on hand. For me I tend to rely on more light flours than most other people would consider because the conditions down here are so extreme that it's bananas to bake with heavy flours. It's also bananas to use bananas or too much applesauce in tropical gluten free baking, they too are typically far too heavy for baking down here. I have almost every egg replacer you can name always on hand including aquafaba, EnerG egg replacer, the Vegan Egg, applesauce, tofu, flax, chia just to name a few. They are all gluten free, but not all are appropriate for every application. Trust me, gluten free baking is more challenging, but it's so rewarding. I do remember the time I made a gluten free vegan cake for someone who had not had a birthday cake in over a decade. She cried because she was so happy. I know I know.... cake cannot solve the problems of the world, but life is hard enough as it is, surely cake can brighten any day. 

As you start to bake gluten free, just give yourself the latitude to make mistakes, and then keep going forward. You'll get the hang of it thanks to great recipe creators like Brandi at the Vegan 8.

xo




Sunday, September 9, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 9: Creamy Is As Creamy Does

Today we are tasked with bringing you vegan food, creamy style. The deal is we are not allowed to use nuts. Actually, all this week we're tasked with talking about various topics encompassing dietary and lifestyle restrictions. I think this week is a lock for me. When I took over the kitchen here, all I planned on was delicious vegan food. In time I began seeing more and more guests with allergies, intolerance and health issues.  In the beginning it was not always easy for me, some of the situations that cropped up were things I'd never even heard of. There would be hours and hours of research and recipe testing for some guests prior to their arrival. I always brought my "A" game, and I absolutely feel like when my head hits the pillow at night I have always done the best I could.

Now, this creamy thing WITH nuts vegan style... it's actually very easy to do. This includes decadent cream sauces, desserts, and meals. Cashews are especially beloved because they are soft in texture to begin with and they have a relatively neutral flavor. Too many nuts though.... not a good thing generally speaking for health issues, obviously much worse for those with raging nut allergies. Remarkably, I bring you a vegan cheese sauce crafted out of vegetables!!! Potatoes and carrots to be specific. LOOK!!

The creamiest mac & cheeze you'll ever have
Actually most of the ingredients are already in your pantry most likely (potatoes, carrots, neutral oil, water, lemon juice and sea salt). Nutritional yeast is the "wild card" in this recipe, many of us keep it on hand already too. Nutritional yeast ("nooch" to many of us) is an inactive yeast that has a mild cheese flavor. It's very versatile, and people like me sprinkle it on pretty much everything anyway. I'd forgotten about this sauce, somehow it popped up in my "memories" feed very recently and wow was that great timing. This recipe is from Vegan Yumminess, they published it about 4 years ago. It doesn't really taste like cheese because it has such a mild flavor, however the other happy vegan said if he didn't know it was vegan, he'd guess it was just a really mild dairy cheese. It's creamy, it's stretchy and it is super delicious. Add whatever you want to it (ie: smoked paprika, onion powder, hot sauce, whatever...) but do it AFTER you follow the recipe to the letter because honestly it is so good you may really not want to personalize this one. Come see!




Here's the recipe
(courtesy of Vegan Yumminess http://veganyumminess.com/creamy-vegan-mac-and-cheese/

2 cups peeled, boiled potatoes, mashed
3/4 cups peeled chopped boiled carrots
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup neutral oil (original recipe calls for olive oil, I used non-GM safflower oil it's more neutral)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 teaspoons sea salt

Boil the potatoes and carrots together til soft, drain. Mash the potatoes to measure the appropriate amount, carrots can be loosely measured.

Place everything in the blender (really, you need a strong blender here.... I use a Vitamix)

Blend low to high about 30 seconds til completely smooth

Serve immediately any way you'd like. Keeps they say about 1 week, but it won't last that long. Reheat as necessary.

This makes about 2 cups or so of sauce, roughly. I made a whole pound of GF pasta, and still had about .5 cups left over of the sauce.


This doesn't taste exactly like a cruel dairy sauce, it's mild, but no matter trust me this is absolutely delicious. You can customize as you like, but really follow this recipe first, you may not want to change it at all (I used it exactly as published).

It's super to have a recipe in your tool kit that is so allergen free. Not only are many people allergic to nuts, but I've met more than my fair share that seeds are off limits too. This fits the bill in the most tasty way possible.

My work here for the day is done. Go forth and be epic with your potato carrot cheese.

xo





Saturday, September 8, 2018

Vegan Month of Food 2018 Day 8: FOOD FAILS!

Today I'm tasked with the issue of food fails. At first, I thought we were just supposed to show/talk about fails. Heaven help me but I have so many pictures of food fails I could spend weeks just on this topic. However, when I went back to check the topic, I interpreted it differently in that I should show you how I fix a food fail by repurposing it. Challenge accepted.

Crappy Cake
Good Cake Pops
The video is pretty straightforward. I did two cakes yesterday, a suckass one and a decent one. I hoped they would both be good, no I don't plan my food fails just for Vegan Month of Food. I put the suckass cake aside for today, and wrote about the decent cake yesterday. Since at first all I thought all  had to do was show you my crunchy cake and while I stabbed it to death it on video I figured yay this is easy. But as you note above I realized perhaps I should do something with it besides a big video stabfest.

This cake was so hard and crunchy I dubbed it one of the worst cakes I've ever made. It's not burned, it's simply a dried out slab of cake. It was in the oven just like yesterdays... 20 minutes on the bean.

When I find someone else's recipe to work with, why oh why won't I listen to my instincts that it's either a good base recipe or a bad base recipe. I only chose this recipe because it was a different method for a Mahogany cake and I wanted a cake comparison. When the batter was mixed, it actually was like plaster. I baked it anyway.

Enter the cake pop. Friends, listen to me and listen good. When life hands you shitty cake, make cake pops. Unless it's burned. If it's burned, you're on your own with your head hung low as you slink out to your composter.



So, there it is.

xo