Monday, January 28, 2013

Cookbook Challenge: Color Me Vegan

The past couple weeks I have been trying to get through all the recipes I picked to make from Color Me Vegan by Coleen Patrick-Goudreau... I was over zealous as usual and picked out way too many recipes and it ended up taking me 2 weeks to get through a supposedly 1 week challenge. This is a challenge I do within a private facebook group comprised of many of my LT vegan homies that I have known since the day I went vegan and googled "Vegan Recipes" and found an amazing vegan community online, we have since moved from that public community to a private FB group :)

Anyways, the book seems like it would appeal to people who desire healthy-whole-foods-plant-based recipes as the book is divided into basically colors of the rainbow so that you learn to cook and eat a wide variety of foods. I quickly picked out and shopped for recipes that sounded delicious. Here is what I ended up making labeled by color:

Quick Curried Swiss Chard (Red) with Coconut Rice (White/Tan) and Eggplant with Sweet Miso Sauce (Purple)

Verdict: The chard was so delicious and so so easy and would be good with even plain rice. As you can see, I mixed the Curried Chard with the Coconut Rice. This was because I accidentally dumped too much salt in the chard so I mixed it in with the rice to balance it out and it turned out perfect. The Eggplant with Sweet Miso Sauce was ummmm FUCKING SICK... I chucked that shit out... Too salty, too seedy, almost like that chia-seed hippie goop that everyone has been eating (Chia pudding and chia kombucha come to mind though I have never tried either, I think the texture alone would make me spew).

South African Yellow Rice (Yellow) with Southern Style Succotash (Rainbow)... Apparently I never got a shot of the rice, must have chucked it too quick, pictured instead, is just a Mexican Themed-Tofu-Garbanzo Bean-Bell Pepper-Onion-Taco Seasoning-Slop-Stirfry ;)

Verdict: Rice was way too liquidy, had to cook it longer and even bake it. After all that hassle the shit was too sweet, if I want desert I will eat ice cream or some shit I don't want sweet rice with my dinner BLECH, NO THANKS... it made a bunch and I choked down a few servings and threw the rest out. Succotash, was just MEH, almost like a pathetic "slop stirfry"... this recipe made TONS so I would halve this... I probably ate through half of it and chucked the rest later in the week. It was just a bunch of frozen and canned veggies barely seasoned, I don't know why I expected something magical.

Salt & Pepper Tofu (White/Tan)

Verdict: Very easy and pretty darn good, will be adding this to my collection of go-to recipes! All it consists of is green onions, garlic, olive oil, turmeric, smoked paprika, and s&p I believe.

Blackberry Breakfast Bars (Purple)

Verdict: DELICIOUS AND EASY... My friends were raving about them all throughout the challenge week, I made a double batch and subbed a frozen mix of blue/ras/ and blackberries and rolled oats in place of quick (Googled the difference and they are basically the same thing). Also tried this recipe on an omni who loved it and asked for a copy of the recipe :)

Overall, these recipes seem like a hit or miss, healthy and simple but sometimes lacking taste. Glad I made use of this cookbook though, which is exactly why I got this challenge going.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Man Have I Been Eating A Shit-Ton of Loving Hut Lately

YES EXACTLY AS THE HEADING READS... I can't get enough of Loving Hut, Ladera Ranch, CA this past week and have ate takeout more than a few times (Sometimes I want to eat dank food without cooking, I confess)... Loving Hut is EVERYWHERE and the menu has similarities and differences between each location and is priced CHEAP for vegan-fare... So basically, I am going to make you green with envy (not your hippie green juice) about all the delicious vegan Asian food I have shoved in my face this week.

Starters: Golden Nuggets & Jumbo Drum Sticks

Golden Nuggets verdict: BOMB! Better than Pink Slime Mc Donald's Nuggets any day... The barbecue sauce was even better than Mc D's too and that is some hard shit to beat!

Jumbo Drumstick's verdict: Pretty good, I liked that what looked like a chicken bone was actually a SHROOM that you could eat (As in the whole thing was edible, some vegan places have the fake bone for looks but you can't eat it).

Chef's Special: Clay Pot (Keep in mind, all of this is to-go packaged)

This shit was BOMB, loved the sauce, can't really say it tasted fishy (Which is probably a good thing) but it was delicious and the look was spot on as well as the texture... Mad props.

Rice Dishes: Tangy Orange (I suppose it is called a "rice dish" because it comes with rice?! Though that is an inconsistent hypothesis if you look at the dish above)...

Really liked this... Reminds me of orange beef, and it came with a cute salad with some whack-ass dressing so I used some of my own since I was in the luxury of my own apartment :)

Noodles & Soups: BBQ Noodles & Pho

I have had the BBQ Noodles before at a Loving Hut in Orange, CA and they were AMAZING... These were mediocre at best compared to my first experience, maybe it was because they were to-go?

Here are the noodles mixed up and the okay-tasting Crispy Roll gone from the picture into my tum tum :)

Now the Pho was OFF THE CHAIN (Ya, I just said that)... Perfection, SOOOOOO GOOD! I will admit though, I have never had Pho with animal meat in it so I cannot compare. I have had vegan pho at an actual pho restaurant and it was bland and boring as shit (Vegans apparently don't need flavor only steamed veggies and broth that tastes similar to water)... This dish definitely changed my opinion on how Pho is DANK when done right!

Thank you for reading my reviews and if you want to punch me in the face for all this I understand. I am sorry if you live somewhere where such amazing vegan restaurants aren't like EVERYWHERE (Hey, I ain't in LA though so it is kinda "Hood" for vegan restaurants)... The times are changing, hang in there fellow vegan comrades, I am sure one will pop up soon!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Eat A Lot of Tacos & Stuffed Bell Peppers... Thought You Might Like To Know

Yuppppp, Yuppers, Fo Sho... I eat a shit ton of tacos and stuffed bell peppers and I kinda think you should too... For starters, Vegan With A Vengeance (VWAV for all you trendy as fuck vegans out there) is my go-to for stuffed peppers and holy shit, I just found the recipe with this simple thing called GOOGLING: Black Bean, Mushroom, and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers!!!

So I have made these probably a hundred times and I strongly recommend you make them 100 times too so chop chop, get on that... Sometimes, I swap shit out... For instance, below I subbed Japanese eggplant for the shrooms and pintos for the black beans :)

I also eat a hella lot of tacos... more like veggie fajitas for that matter... portabella, bell pepper, and onion are my favorite and most of that shit you can find at the 99 Cents Only store here in So Cal (SOMETIMES EVEN ORGANIC AND SHIT)... Just slice your veggies, saute in some oil or a little veggie broth (I always use homemade, we will talk homemade broth soon), add some taco seasoning (VEGAN POLICE: WATCH OUT FOR COW SECRETIONS IN STORE BOUGHT TACO MIX) and you have yourself some fajitas. Now heat up some tortillas and top with the fajita veggies and other faves like lettuce, vegan sour cream, homemade guac, etc. (I assume you have made a taco and can figure this out).

Here is my friend Leia's recipe for Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix in case you only have secretion taco mix to choose from :)

6 tsp. Chili Powder
5 tsp. paprika
4 1/2 tsp. cumin
2 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
3 tsp. Onion Powder
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients together, and mix well. 3 tablespoons mix equal one packet of taco seasoning.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Vegan's Do After Activism: THEY MACK DOWN!!!

Hello Luvers,
I didn't make many new years resolutions this year, only a couple... One of them was to get involved with Animal Rights Activism! I have been a passive vegan for the past 3ish years just trying to convince people being vegan was easy through my happy vibes and food sharing. For 2013, I decided it was time for me to get my butt out there and use my enthusiasm to be a voice for the animals whose cries for mercy fall on death ears. I haven't been involved long but THANK GOD I GOT ACTIVE... Mind you, I went to these events BY MYSELF at first with no one with me for moral support... I felt, OUT OF PLACE... Everyone seemed to KNOW EACH OTHER... Will shit, a few demos in and I have made some AMAZING FRIENDS and my life feels that much more complete! I now show up to events and always see a few familiar faces and if not... VEGANS ARE FUCKING AWESOME AND WELCOMING... Step out of your box and get involved, I promise you it will be fulfilling! ANYWAYSSSSSS... What do Vegans do after protests? WE EAT DANK VEGAN RESTAURANT FOOD AND WE TAKE PICTURES BEFORE WE EAT IT! Soooooo awesome to find people as strange as myself :)

Last Saturday, I joined Fur Free LA for a fur protest outside of Intermix in Beverly Hills straight across the street from The Ivy where all the yuppies go to try to get noticed... Fur is so cruel on so many levels and completely unnecessary in our times... If you are a caveman/woman you are excused otherwise, you are just an asshole without a heart or soul... If you need to see how fucked up this is for yourself, Peta2 has some intense videos... Animals are skinned ALIVE for fur, that my friends is SADISTIC whether companies do it or you create a demand by wearing it. Please read "Ingredients" on clothing to make sure you are not supporting fur, leather, wool, or silk... FUCK THAT NOISE FOR REAL. So after an amazing protest, I carted a car full of vegan girls and met a few other protesting homies at Doomie's in Los Angeles, CA... This is vegan fried comfort food... The shit you eat on a rare occasion so enjoy!!! Me and my friend Sara, who is also my navigator for finding demos in places outside my radius (I call her Columbus), shared 3 dishes cause we are fatties :) The Big Mac (On the "Secret" Menu), Fried Chicken, and the Seafood Combo... All were awesome comfort food and I wish my stomach was bigger so I could eat more!

Last Sunday, I boycotted the shit out of a pet store called Barkworks that sells puppy mill dogs (This Barkworks was located in Riverside). Side note: My sisters fiancee worked there so I actually have first hand knowledge that many of the puppies that arrive to the pet store DIE and the ones that do survive sit in tanks without being walked until some dip-shit buys them... Did you know that you can ADOPT the designer dog of your choice through for a fraction of the price?! Or, if you don't give a fuck like myself, you can adopt a fur-baby, PREFERABLY A MUTT, at a shelter (Or for me a KILL SHELTER) and save an animals life who will love you forever for it... The choice is easy: ADOPT or be the reason another homeless companion animal is euthanized this year. So on to food... Me and Sara had to go to Native Foods to try their new limited time Southern Fried Stack available only 1/18-1/20/13... I can tell you that while it was pretty good, I wouldn't order it again... Not overly impressed but ate the whole damn thing... I was impressed however with my side of choice: Chipotle Black Bean Soup!!! It was bomb and I will order it again! See below:

If I can encourage anyone out there... Look at for vegan groups in your area or be like me and facebook friend request the hell out of vegan people and meet tons of new friends and have the inside scoop on TONS of events you would have never known existed. I know eating vegan is the most positive impact you can make but I challenge anyone reading my randomness to try one event this year... I think that is a realistic goal for anyone... Don't you agree?



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TJ's Product Reviews: Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds & Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix

2 products I snatched up recently at Trader Joe's were Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds & Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix (I believe this may be seasonal as I picked it up around Christmas). I am going to subject myself to the wrath of many Daiya loving vegans but I HATE DAIYA SHREDS WITH A PASSION as far as I am concerned they nasty and stick to your teeth, don't melt as pretty as I would like, and basically I want to gag just thinking about them... DAIYA WEDGES on the other hand are another story, I love the shit out of those except for the fact that they use palm oil... well, "sustainable" palm oil they call it. Anyways, I am getting sidetracked, I really enjoyed these TJ's shreds! They were maybe around $3.50 and melted nicely and didn't smell like vomit (Always a plus for vegan cheese). I made a few piles of nachos with them and boy were they good! I think these shreds melt better than Daiya (teeth gunk) shreds anyways.

Next up, yes, I know, I actually baked something holy shit... TJ's Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix which is vegan by default and only becomes toxic poison if you add chicken periods, oops I mean chicken eggs... I of course chose not to poison myself and used Ener-G Egg Replacer for the egg. You could also do the ground flax and water method to substitute the egg (Google: Flax Egg Recipe). Aside from the vegan egg replacement, the only other ingredients specified on the box were vegetable oil (I used canola) and water. This turned out bomb for me! Though, mind you, I think I added like 15 minutes onto the baking time for a knife to come out of the center clean... I don't have an oven thermometer so I am not sure if it is my oven or a problem others might have.

Till tomorrow,



Monday, January 21, 2013

Cooking From Cookbooks: Spork Fed

A goal of mine for 2013 is to go through my 20-something vegan cookbooks and use them all. Spork Fed is the cookbook I chose for this post. I received the book as a gift from a longtime vegan friend of mine, Don, who didn't find much use for the book so shipped it to me :) (Along with 3 other cookbooks he hadn't even mentioned he would send) Vegans are such generous and kind people it baffles me sometimes.

I went through the book and chose to make Spicy Seitan Buffalo Wings (Made with the books recipe for Chicken-Style Seitan) & Southwest Black Bean and Corn Mini Burgers (With Smokey Paprika Cashew Cheese which I skipped). I also planned on making a few other dishes that never panned out because I was too busy and the ingredients ended up going bad :(

The Spicy Seitan Buffalo Wings were good. I loved the fact that the recipe included an additional recipe for Buffalo Wing Sauce so that I didn't have to resort to bottled crap with all of it's weird chemicals and colorings (Yes I use this shit, but I am trying to get away from using anything processed and containing chemicals for ingredients... Baby Steps).

The recipe in this book for Chicken-Style Seitan was also good, but I have made better versions of seitan. The method used here was boiling which resulted in a bit of a rubbery texture. I prefer steaming seitan or baking it. I also used the entire batch of Seitan (The recipe says to use a little over half) and still had extra breading and Buffalo Sauce. Here is the Chicken-Style Seitan before I used it in the Wings recipe:

To summarize my experience: I would say that the Spicy Seitan Buffalo Wings recipe is perfectly legit to serve to vegans that are down with seitan. I didn't mind the rubbery-ness of the seitan because it was breaded and saucey, plus I paired it with my homemade vegan ranch and some mashed potatoes. The Buffalo Sauce was great and I will probably use it as a replacement for bottled crap... It is thicker but still very good and I have some leftover that I plan on using to make some Buffalo Tofu Sammies this week!

Next up was the Southwest Black Bean and Corn Mini Burgers. These were okay. I know the authors said you really need to make the Smokey Paprika Cashew Cheese to make this recipe a hit and I did skip it and replaced it with Daiya. The burgers held together fine with some extra breadcrumbs added. I got through eating them all throughout the week but these aren't something I would bother making again... Still looking for a veggie burger recipe that tastes better than just plain old store bought stuff so that I feel like all the effort is worth it.

Overall, Spork Fed is a mediocre vegan cookbook... A lot of fancy stuff which would probably be good if I had the time and energy to find all the ingredients and construct the recipe... I have met the authors in person and they are both very lovely ladies and I am more than positive that if I had more time, I would have more fun with the book.

Next up with cookbook reviews is Color Me Vegan =)



Thursday, January 10, 2013

Easy Meals Always Seem Asian Themed These Days...

I think I consume an Asian themed dinner the majority of the week... Stirfry's are so easy to "Slop" together whether they develop in the form of a rice, noodle, or tofu based dish... Seems that I always have the items on hand to throw together some bomb fried rice! Pictured above is fried rice: Room temp (or cold) cooked Calrose rice, ALWAYS seasoned with Bragg's, Sweet Chili Sauce, Rooster Sauce and fried up in some olive oil... The additions to the base recipe this time were some frozen mixed veggies, diced red onion, and diced homemade baked teriyaki tofu.

Above is some fried rice with the same base seasonings. I then added leftover Japanese eggplant that I had sauteed with garlic and sweet chili sauce some julienned carrots and sauteed diced yellow onions.

And next we move to the INFAMOUS RAMEN NOODLE... Maruchan Oriental Flavor BITCHES and they also have a Spicy Flavor (BE A VEGAN & READ DEM INGREDIENTS) that is vegan as well that can be purchased 5/$1 at your local 99 Cents Only Store... I am not saying this is vegan health food that will have you shitting rainbows and flying with unicorns but it tastes GOOD. I always cook the noodles first but not too much, strain and rinse them with cold water and set aside, use some noodle cooking liquid/ broth/ water to cook up the veggies (Here was some sliced red onion and a pre-chopped broccoli carrot mix), then drain extra liquid, add seasoning packets and noodles, mix and eat :) LET'S MOVE RIGHT ALONG...

Tofu Stirfry's... Vegan staple here kids... If you have a Tofu Press (I have the Xpress) your life is that much easier... Or you can be a damn granola-hippie and do the old heavy-pot-on-top-of-tofu-wrapped-in-paper-towels-method (TREE KILLER!!! CALL THE VEGAN POLICE!! TREES FEEL PAIN TOO OMG)... Anyways, take the drained and pressed firm tofu, cut it into cubes and pan fry that bean patty until it's golden on all sides (The best you can), then pair with some special sauce.. The night I made this, Veggie Broth, Bragg's, Agave, Garlic, and Chili Flakes tickled my fancy... Threw in some broccoli florets at the same time and paired my stirfry with some freshly cooked Calrose (aka "sticky") rice.

Pictured above is another tofu stirfry with sauteed Japanese Eggplant, Bamboo Shoots, String Beans, Onions and Boy Choy for the veggies... A spin off from a Thai Green Curry recipe from a cookbook my friend facebook messaged me... The sauce was sugar, coconut milk, green curry paste, Bragg's and veggie broth, thickened with a cornstarch slurry.



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

French Bread, Oh How I love Thee...

I do a lot of shit with french bread... I love it toasted in the oven and use it to dip in soups, make awesome sammies, slather with spinach dip, etc... Below are some of my recent love affairs with toasted french bread; Keep in mind that if I could drink Vegenaise I just might because I love to slather that shit on everything... So if you have a problem with creamy white stuff you better take your business elsewhere.

I took various versions of Garbanzo Bean Salad Sammie recipes to make easy french bread flavor toppers... Pictured is mayo + kelp seasoning (mock tuna style), mayo + indian black salt (that is pink in color ((don't even fucking ask me how this makes sense)) for an "eggy" style), and mayo + curry powder for (indian style)... All were delicious but the "eggy" flavored mayo + black salt won my heart.

I also piled these puppies with the Garbanzo Bean Salad base mix and sprinkled the seasonings on top... Yum!

Lastly, I got this idea from my friend Melissa though she adds artichoke hearts to the middle, which my cheap ass didn't have on hand. Basically here, I mixed vegan mayo, nut yeast, and black salt together, dolloped that shit on some slices of french bread like an egg yolk and dusted with paprika and baked at like 350F until the mayo turned that lovely egg-yolk-like hue THESE ARE BOMB KIDS!!! Switch these out for Chicken Periods (Oops I meant deviled eggs) for your next holiday get together. Melissa's version did not include the black salt and did include a marinated artichoke heart at the center of each of these lovely little appetizers.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Odd Obsession With This 'Thang Called Soup

Ya us vegans are weird folk, nah not really but if you know any real life vegans, you know they are down with SOUP... Soup is on the same level as hummus, garbanzo bean salad sammies, and tofu scrambles: IF YOU DON'T LIKE THESE ITEMS YOU NEED TO GET YOUR VEGAN HEAD CHECKED OUT because you officially became wierder to a huge group of pretty rad weirdos, just sayin...

SOUP is this magical substance that fills your belly full of joy :) You can also pack in tons of nutrients, chuck in random shit from your fridge that needs to be used up (In something other than my infamous "Slop Stirfrys"), and have meals for days! Pictured above is the tried and true Minestrone recipe I always use with the modifications always being only 1 can of garbanzos and no pasta (With the substitution of extra veggies)... I sometimes even omit the oil and just cook the veggies in a little broth instead.

Recently I made Red Lentil Thai Chili and it was heavenly! Fair warning: If you are single and cooking for yourself and your friends hate sweet potatoes you probably want to half this recipe... I think I ate it for a week straight and got through 3/4th's of it before just chucking the rest.

I've made this Hot & Sour Soup recipe a few times as well and it is always a hit with me as I love spicy & vinegary foods :)

Lastly is some "Random Shit Soup" I made by boiling some potatoes in veggie broth, mashing them and adding some frozen corn, and seasonings... Not bad!



Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Peasy Vegan Hoildays with TJ's Vegan Turkey-Less Roast

Well folks, in case you haven't noticed, Trader Joe's (aka TJ's) carries a Vegan "Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast with Gravy" at a whopping price of..... $9.99!! Holy shit batman,  vegan store-bought holiday roasts just became both inexpensive and still delicious! This roast is reportedly made by Gardein but packaged by TJ's :) so that means half the price! So enough with all my exclamation points!!!!!!!

I enjoyed this roast for ThanksLIVING...

...As well as Christmas this year. (I did not eat that animal butter!)

The roast is really easy to bring along and pop in the oven and it is done in about an hour. You will need some veggies like potatoes, onions, carrots and celery to surround the roast when it is baking as well as a little seasoning to taste. 

On an important side note, the gravy tastes like caustic chemicals so I really wouldn't bother polluting your roast or mashed potatoes with it ;) 

So hopefully, you have a TJ's in your area or I am just sitting here typing and feeling like an asshole since I was also able to stuff my face with store bought vegan pumpkin pie...

The life of a vegan is just so damn difficult these days ;)