Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Bear Burrito

Yesterday was such a fun day. My boyfriend and I spent the day in Big Bear, sledding and enjoying the cold weather, getting some Christmas shopping done at the cute outdoor shopping area.

I may be from Colorado, but hear it from me first, I'm a wimp when it comes to the cold! I had jeans, snow pants, two sweatshirts, a coat, gloves, hat, thermal socks, boots...I felt like that kid, the one from "A Christmas Story" who's mother bundles him in so many layers, he can't move, and falls over on the way to school. "I cant get up!! I can't get up!!"

We stopped in at a cute looking mexican restaurant for some lunch. Something about playing in the snow that really works up an appetite. I remember when me and my brothers were young, we were always ravenous after long days of sledding. That's the best time to bake cookies!

I couldn't find anything on the menu at first, and I guess my boyfriend could tell I was annoyed and asked if we should go somewhere else. After help from my gracious server (bringing me the package of lard which was fab, but what kind of restaurant uses store bough tortillas??) and a unique request, I was able to order a rice, salsa, grilled veggie and gaucamole burrito.

This thing was so huge, halfway through and I was getting full. Great day, perfect way to finish the Thanksgiving weekend with my baby <3

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I can't believe I forgot my camera on Thanksgiving...I'm kicking myself repeatedly for this. My meal was AMAZING, so delicious, as were the leftovers (that I may have munched on late last night...don't judge!)

Cranberry Walnut Stuffing
(now this dish was so freakin delicious. I used smart balance and apple juice to moisten the dry bread crumbs, celery, herbs, walnuts and dry cranberries...omg I can't wait to make this again, and I'll post a picture that time!)
Country Mashed Potatoes (I leave the peel on because I love the rustic look and flavor, with smart balance, garlic, onion)
Glazed sweet potatoes (with brown sugar and yes, more smart balance...."butter" overload...but it was thanksgiving!!)
Sourdough Rolls (store bought, I'd love to learn to make sourdough bread sometime)
Perogies (spelling? The dough consists of flour, water oil, and my potato filling was simply potatoes mashed, garlic, onion and smart balance)
Also mixed veggies and pecan pie. I think it's safe to say we were all a little too full, but it was worth it, I just loved this meal. I didn't feel deprived at all on my first vegan thanksgiving (I have been vegetarian for 8 years and vegan for only 4 months or so), I was able to create vegan versions of all my favorite dishes, yay go me! Haha.

While in the other room, I overheard the cutest conversation with my little sister Lizzy (7) and my boyfriends cousin, Jess. Jess was commenting on my vegan food that had been set aside (I'm the only vegan in my family and far!), my little sister explained to her that I'm vegan. Jess asked, "why is she vegan?". Lizzy went on to explain "well you see she doesn't want to hurt animals and like she hates all the cruelty that goes on with the animals. And you know vegan food doesn't have to taste bad, sometimes it just means leaving something out..." she went on to explain and repeat everything I've told her about veganism and why I decided to become vegan. It was just so sweet because it let me know that she had been listening to me when I explain things to her, and that she took the initiative to stand up for me. She's the cutest kid, really.

I posted above a picture of the Perogies. His family is Ukranian/Irish, and my family is Irish/Polish, so I'm used to having them on holidays as well, but I had never made them from scratch before. It was so much fun learning to make them. My boyfriends mom taught me and his siter how to make them, and I can see now why they only make them on holidays, it takes forever!!
The dough:
6 cups all purpose flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil

mix with hands, add more flour or water as needed, until the dough is the right consistency to roll out. Using a rolling pin roll the dough out, until about 1"8 inch thick, or about the same as if you were making a pie crust. Cut into round circles, whatever size your prefer, usually about 3 inches in diameter. (I used a glass to cut them with, or a cookie cutter could work too)

The Filling:
potatoes, mashed, with smart balance, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and whatever herbs you like.

Place a small spoonful of potato on the center of the dough cutouts, fold over, and pinch the pastry closed, making sure that you don't let any of the potato ooze out, or they will explode when you boil them. You want them to look like little moons. It's really hard to fill the perogies with enough potato while at the same time not using too much, so they explode. It took me a while to get the hang of it, I have to admit the fist ones I made were pretty sad!
Boil the perogies for about 4 minutes, or until they float to the top. Traditionally they are served tossed in melted (vegan) butter, but a lighter option would be to serve them without.
Sometime soon I'd like to try my hand at sweet potato perogies, doesn't that sounds yummy? I'm obsessed with sweet potatoes.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baked Samosas

Serves 1 as a main dish or 2 as an appetizers.

For the dough, I used the same pastry dough as I used for the pecan pie (see recipe below)
Use your best judgment as far as how much, and roll out a portion of the pie pastry dough until about 1'8 thick. Cut the pastry into desired sized circles with a knife. You can make big samosas or little ones, whichever you prefer. I chose to make one giant samosa, and serve as a main dish. This would also be great as an appetizer, shaping and frying them into little bite size pieces.

For the potato filling:
1 small potato (or 1/2 large)
1/8 c. chopped onion
pinch of each: paprika, nutmeg, garlic powder, cumin, salt/pepper to taste.
2 tbs frozen peas
1 tsp vegan butter (I like smart balance)

Peel and cube the potato, and boil along with the onion until soft enough to simply mash with a fork. Then mix in the spices, vegan butter, and peas.
Spoon the potato mixture onto the middle of the pastry rounds, and fold over, forming a little "pie". Use a fork to seal the edges. Place on a baking sheet, and brush with olive oil. Bake in 375 degree oven until golden brown.
This was delicious, and not as fattening as fried samosa, but just as delicious! Now that I know how easy samosa is to make, I plan on making them all the time.

Frustrated with Ignorant People!

I'm so tired of having to defend myself for being vegan. Whenever someone finds out I'm vegan, they either write me off as a flaky kook or want to argue with me about it.

They say things like: "But God designed us to eat meat, just look at our ancestors." Well actually, if you are Bible believing person, if you read genesis, Adam and Eve did not consume animals until after The Fall, it was after they sinned that God gave them permission to kill animals for food. Which I find a little interesting. As for our ancestors? People evolve, just because something has been done for many many years doesn't mean that it should continue to stay that way. Think outside the box, dude.

"What the hell do you eat?"

How about Everything else, thanks. I eat a wider variety of healthy and delicious foods, maybe even more variety than you.

"It's a big inconvenience"-my boyfriend
He says he just doesn't understand and thinks I'm "weird" (great!) but that he will support me because he knows it makes me happy.
I try my best to not let it be an inconvenience to my boyfriend. I know sometimes it is, but being vegan is something that I'm passionate about, and I plan on being vegan forever. I also reminded him that I still cook his favorite non-vegan dishes occasionally, like the very non vegan brownies yesterday!

"why why why?"

Because to me it's just not ethically or morally wrong to kill another living thing, what right do we have to rob, harm or kill another living thing for our benefit? It seems a little unnatural to consume milk from another species, would you suck the milk from the cow yourself? I'd hope not!
I also find eggs repulsive. You like to eat a chickens reproductive waste? That's pretty gross, who's the kooky one now?

I could go on for days about all the discussions and arguments I've had with non-vegans, anything from simply "you're dumb" to hour long debates. Now I'm a very easy going person, I love to talk, I don't mind people asking questions, etc. I understand that being vegan is intriguing to many people, I get that....and also, maybe I just happen to come across the most rude and ignorant people, but if one more person wants to disrespect me and call me weird or dumb, or wants to get into it with me, well then fuck off.

This isn't kindergarten, calling someone dumb or stupid because they are different than you is simply ignorant and immature.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Vegan Pecan Pie Oh my!

I cant contain my excitement, I've finally got the guts to attempt making a vegan pecan pie. Pecan pie isn't just one of my favorite holiday desserts, but one of my all-time favorite desserts, period! I don't know what it is about this pie that is so comforting to me..maybe the holiday memories of enjoying it with family, the different textures, the crunchy nuts paired with the gooey sweet goodness, the flaky crust...

But when I became vegan I thought I'd have to give up the goods for life. But I did a little research online and came across a great vegan pecan pie recipe, with great reviews to boot. With Thanksgiving a few days away, I thought what better time to try it out.

Here is the recipe I used, only I added a dash of cinnamon to the wet mixture.


Makes one 9” pie

NOTE: I use cornstarch or wheat starch because they are the most reliable as far as results go. I have not tried this with arrowroot or kuzu, so I can’t say what the results would be with either of them.

9” pie crust, unbaked (see my low-fat oil pastry below)

1-2 c. toasted, unsalted pecan halves


You have two choices for the sweetener:

1.) 3/4 c. water plus 3/4 c. white beet sugar or light unbleached cane sugar AND 1/2 c. brown

sugar (packed) or Sucanat (granulated sugar cane juice)

OR 2.) 1 and 1/2 c. maple syrup


3/4 c. water

pinch salt

1/4 c. cornstarch (can be organic) (or wheat starch)

mixed with 4 and 1/2 T. cold water OR rum or bourbon

2 T. vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance or Soy Garden

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Poke the pie crust all over with the tines of a fork and pre-bake for 3 minutes. Remove from oven to a rack.

In a medium saucepan combine either the water and sugar mixture OR the maple syrup with the second 3/4 c. water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Add the salt and the dissolved cornstarch, whisking vigorously. Stir and cook over high heat just until the mixture thickens and is clear. Remove from heat and stir in the margarine and vanilla—stir til the margarine is melted. The mixture will still be fairly liquid.

Pour this into the pre-baked pie shell. Arrange the pecan halves on top, pressing them down into the mixture a little. Place the pie in the middle of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 30 minutes. The filling will still be “jiggly”—don’t worry; it will set as it cools. Cool on a rack for about 1 and 1/2 hours, then refrigerate until thoroughly cooled and set. Serve with vanilla non-dairy “ice cream” such as Tofutti, Soy Delicious or Soy Dream.


And for the crust I used the following recipe:

* 1 1/2 cups flour (can be white or whole wheat or combo of both)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons sugar (vegan is best)
* 1/2 cup oil
* 2 tablespoons orange juice (or vegan soymilk)

In a large bowl place all of the dry ingredients.

Add Orange Juice, mix with a fork

Pat into 9-inch pan with fingertips. If pre-baked crust is desired bake at 425 for 10 -12 minutes.


Now,the only problem is, how am I going to manage to stop myself from devouring the entire pie? This might be a little tricky...Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've gone Bonkers for Beans

Lunch this afternoon:
6 bean salad (kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, fava beans), sprinkled with salt, paprika, and a dash of italian salad dressing (I did this randomly a while back, and since then I've been addicted to the tangy flavor on cold bean salad) Another variation to this bean salad would be to add corn, or even cranberries. I did that last week and it was great, added a sweet flavor which accents the tangy flavor of the dressing. I've become addicted to cold bean salads. In fact, I've always preferred my beans cold, rather than hot. As a kid I used to eat lima bean straight out of the can. My mother must have thought I was quiet peculiar!
I served the bean salad with steamed brussel sprouts and a homemade vegan cinnamon walnut muffin (brushing with olive oil, sprinking with spices, and roasting in the oven is another great way to prepare brussel sprouts, but I was lazy and found steaming them to be quicker)


Falafle, Greek Salad (sans feta) hummus, pita, fabulous bean salad.

This past weekend my boyfriend and I were doing a little shopping at the mall, and found ourselves at the food court. My first thought is that I wont possibly be able to find anything to eat here, and started to get a little cranky.
To my surprise, I was not only able to find a healthy vegan meal, but a delicious one! I freakin' love greek food!
My boyfriend liked the chicken plate, but picked salad off my plate heh.
I asked the bored and bitter looking young woman at the counter if she knew if the falafle was prepared with eggs. She said she didnt know, so I then asked if she could be so kind as to check the ingredients for me. They didnt, which was awesome because I had been craving falafle for a while now, yum-o! I also asked that she leave the cheese off the greek salad and no yogurt sauce for the falafle.
Sometimes it's difficult to motivate people to go the extra mile, but it worked out okay.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I wish I had Jillian to kick my butt in gear

Exercise has always been the hard part for me, with enough motivation, healthy diet isn't so hard, ordering veggies instead of fries, how much effort does that take? But actually putting on those running shoes and hitting the pavement? That kind of motivation is on a whole different level.

Every few weeks I get all hyped up, "I'm gonna get so strong!" I load my ipod up with motivational music, buy new workout clothes, vitamin water, anything that I think my help me actually just freaking MOVE MY ASS. I've been paying my gym membership for well over a year, and I've honestly probably only been a couple dozen times.
I wish I had Jillian from The Biggest Loser screaming in my ear "RUN RUN YOU PIECE OF SHIT YOU ARE WEAK! JUST RUN DONT STOP!" That just might work. At first I thought I'd like Bob as a trainer, because he's not quiet as harsh, and kinda cute. But then I realized that if I'm attracted to my personal trainer, that might get awkward, having sexual fantasies while trying to do leg curls would just be distracting you know?

So here I am, sitting in my workout clothes, ipod in hand, writing about how I need to get motivated to work out. It's always tomorrow...tomorrow I will. Tomorrow all of a sudden something will click and I'll be uber motivated and eager and actually look forward to working out. Yeah right, why do I wait for that, I'm never going to want to get on a stairclimber, those things are torture machines! Take it from Nike, and JUST DO IT. If I dont, I never will.

On that note, I'm off to the gym, pray for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I used to get my fiber from Fiber One cereal, the dry pellets that look like rabbit food (or so I've been told..) and scratch your throat as you try to swollow. People always look at me like I'm crazy as I try to choke down the stuff.

So I was happy when I discovered Trader Joes "Fiber Cakes" 80 calories, Vegan, and 12 grams of fiber. Cant beat that with a stick. The little muffins are very dense, and just slightly sweet (sweetened with fruit juice only), but they are actually pretty decent, and I've come to love them, I eat one every morning with my coffee. If you're looking for a dessert cake-like muffin, then this isn't what you're looking for, but if you're looking for a yummy way to get your daily fiber, these are surprisingly good.

mmm I love fake chicken

I haven't had chicken nuggets in many many years, so when I saw these vegan chicken nuggets at Trader Joes, I had to try them. All other fake chicken nuggets contain egg whites and sometimes dairy, but these are completely vegan, sweet!
Here is a link with the soy nuggets nutrition information.

I baked them in the oven until they were golden brown and crispy (at first I took them out of the oven too soon and they were flabby and the texture was horrid, they MUST be crispy). I served with some sweet potato fries (also available at trader joes as well as regular grocery stores) and cooked broccoli. Yum! This is my new favorite dinner :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Maple Peanut Cookies

Let me just say that I LOVE these cookies. I also am hopelessly addicted to anything containing peanut butter and or maple, so my opinion is somewhat biased. I found that by adding the maple syrup it worked as a binding ingredient, much like an egg does. These cookies have a nice texture, not too flaky or healthy like many vegan cookies are.

Ingredients: 2.5 c. flour (or whole wheat flour, healthier, but makes the cookies more heavy)
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. white granulated sugar
2 tsp maple extract flavoring
1/2 c. vegetable oil or vegan margarine

Start by creaming the wet ingredients, then add in the dry ingredients.
Form into desired sized balls, then press them down on a baking sheet. I also like to use a fork to make marking on the top of the cookies, I just like the way it looks. Then bake in a 350 degree oven til just slightly golden on top. I hate crunchy cookies, so I take them out when they are still pretty soft, dont worry they harden considerably once they are cooled.