fresh ginger ale

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

Vegan Mania was this weekend, and believe me, I stuffed myself full of delicious vegan food.

The thing I was most excited about, though? Ginger Ale.

I used to love Reeds Extra Premium Ginger Beer, but then it switched from sugar to honey sweetener, and that meant that we were no longer friends.

Lately, I’ve been crushing on Fentimans, which is pretty damn good, and has a hell of a kick. But sometimes I don’t want something that’s so strong it’ll take me a number of hours to drink it. So I was very pleased when they were sampling this Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale that I had seen but never gotten the chance to taste. It’s got the bite, but it’s not crazy strong, it’s just crisp and nice.

So yeah, if you can find this in your area and you want a ginger beer that isn’t as strong, I can highly suggest it! Plus, it’s just water, fresh ginger, and sugar! Yea for lack of weird additives!


leprechaun food

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

Vegan MoFo 2012 is upon us! I’m going to try really hard this year to hit the total number of posts, which I came a bit short of last year.

I have never been an oatmeal person. The mush-ness of it just wasn’t for me. But everyone and their mom was going on and on about overnight oats, so I decided to give that a try, thinking that the lack of cooking it might allow it to maintain some actual texture instead of becoming a pile of glop. The first try was not to my liking, but I remembered I had a bunch of applesauce I needed to use up, so I attempted more of an apple pie kind of taste, and it worked pretty well! The thing was, eating this, and a lunch, and a big green smoothie, and yogurt with fruit, plus whatever dinner I was going to eat…well, that was too much damn food for me. So! I had the wonderful thought of trying to get some of the smoothie goodness into the overnight oats. Turns out, adding a scoop of spirulina to the mix, while making it a crazy emerald color that is not terribly appetizing to the layman, totally didn’t affect the flavor in any way! And then I get my seaweedy goodness.

So. Before you look at this picture and go “Oh dear god, there’s no way I’m eating that,” I just have to ask you to trust me and try it once.

Also, I never measure this, I just throw stuff in until it looks right. I suggest you kind of do the same, adjusting to your liking.

Leprechaun Food
adapted from Oh She Glows

ingredients

-about 1/4 c of rolled oats
-1 heaping tsp chia seeds
-1 heaping tsp of spirulina powder
-a few good dashes of cinnamon [I usually put around 1/2 tsp]
-a dash of salt
-4 good scoops of applesauce [probably 5-6 tbsp]
-almond milk [maybe about 1/2 c?]
-1 banana, sliced
-a little agave or maple syrup [omit if you are using sweetened almond milk]

to do

1. Mix together the oats, chia seeds, spirulina, cinnamon, and salt.

2. Plop in your applesauce, and then pour a bit of almond milk in, then stir very well. You don’t want spirulina getting stuck in the corners or blobs of it unincorporated. It is so much worse than when you get a ball of hot chocolate powder left, believe me.

3. Slice up your banana [I like to cut it lengthwise, and then slice it, so you have smaller bits], and add to the mix. Mush it in a bit.

4. You want the end mix to be a bit runny, so add more almond milk if you need it.

5. Add a bit of agave or maple syrup if it needs to be a bit sweeter. This can also be adjusted in the morning.

6. Seal it up, stick it in the fridge overnight, and grab it on your way to work!


creamsicle ice cream – take one

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

As mentioned previously, I got Mom’s unused ice cream maker while back in Iowa. So despite the fact that it’s getting quite chilly here, I have been wanting to make ice cream. And since I overloaded on sugar last weekend, I wanted to make one that wouldn’t require me adding a pantload of it.

So I was quite pleased when I remembered Hannah’s Purple Cow ice cream recipe. It’s so easy peasy, and no added sugar! But Trader Joe’s didn’t have any grape juice concentrate, and the one at Whole Foods was $5. Boo. But Trader Joe’s did have [organic] orange juice concentrate for $3, so of course, “Creamsicles!” busts into my head.

I mixed it up according to the Purple Cow recipe, and added a tablespoon of [bourbon] vanilla. Which might have been my first problem, as the stuff just would not freeze up in the machine. It was still just liquidy when the machine shut off after 45 minutes. So I poured it in a container and stuck it in the freezer, giving it a couple manual stirs while it froze overnight.

Got it out this morning, and while it wasn’t hard as a rock, it certainly wasn’t ice cream textured. It was more like a granita. But still good? Actually, it was a little…saturated? and off for me. Like the ratio of oj concentrate to almond milk was not right. But it certainly didn’t need any sugar, so that was nice. I’ll probably just end up mixing it in to smoothies rather than eating it plain.

I’ll keep working on it. I will get an awesome creamsicle ice cream recipe, I promise you that.


light bright asparagus soup

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

I know this is more of a spring soup, but dangit, I wanted asparagus. And I’m cold as hell. So asparagus soup it is. This involves so little work it’s crazy. Roast, blend, warm. The beans add a nice creaminess without adding a pantload of fat. Even though I need that fat to keep me warm through the awful weather that’s in the post…

Light Bright Asparagus Soup

ingredients

-2 bunches of asparagus [about 1 1/2 lbs], ends trimmed
-olive oil
-1 small onion, sliced
-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-2 c veg broth
-1 can [15oz] of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-salt
-nutritional yeast
-1 lg lemon, juiced

to do

1. Heat the oven to 400°. Spread the asparagus into a cake pan, drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and roast 10 minutes more.
2. Take the veg out of the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes. Dump all of the roasted veg into your blender with the broth and blend up. Add the beans into the blender and blend all until smooth.
3. Add the puree back into a large soup pot and heat through. Add the salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to taste. I like it tart, so I added all the lemon juice I had, plus a little apple cider vinegar.


extended family christmagiving

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

So, as mentioned earlier, I was back in rural Iowa this last weekend for a family gathering. My grandma winters in Texas, so we have Christmas and Thanksgiving in the middle of October. It’s actually quite nice; it has all the joy of family gathering and heavy eating without all the stress and snow and dangerous driving that accompanies proper Christmas.

But as you might have guessed, what I am able to eat at such a gathering is usually pretty much limited to whatever I bring. I was also the only person who brought anything green [jello salad, of which there were eight, so does not count]. So these are the things I made and how they went over:

Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze: I added broccoli and spinach. I liked the cheese sauce but didn’t think to season it more after I added the butternut squash. If/when I make this again, I would make sure to do that. Also, I would leave out the broccoli. I like broccoli, I like mac n cheese, I just don’t seem to like them together.

Oh She Glows’ [yes, again] Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies: I’ve made these before, so I already knew they were awesome. Mister is obsessed with them. And they went over quite well, even though the cookies didn’t quite get cooked through [even though I cooked them almost 150% longer than normal. I blame Dad’s oven.]

Green Vegan Living’s Vanilla Salted Caramel Ice Cream: This went over like gangbusters. For the caramel, I ended up just using almond milk instead of the cream, and in the ice cream, vanilla extract instead of the bean. All my very omnivorous family kept talking about how it tasted just like “real” homemade ice cream. I was quite pleased and will definitely make it again.

So yeah. Successful gathering! Thankfully, in the blind gift exchange, I was not one of the four or five people who ended up with beef jerky.


migas

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

Migas! Very similar to chilaquiles, but slightly different. Also, if you’re Spanish or Portuguese, we’re thinking of different things. The Mister is Texican, and a version of this is the first thing he ever made me. So every time he goes out of town, I make them, as they are my comfort food. But I will absolutely make them any time, empty house or not.

What veggies/faux meats you throw in there can vary, much like stir fry. But the basis is the salsa, tortillas, and eggs [which, of course, we do with tofu.] I’m going to list here what I did today. Sometimes people eat this with more tortillas and beans, but I find that this does me pretty well just on its own.

Migas

ingredients

-vegetable oil [you can use olive, but it’s not going to taste as authentic]
-1 package tofu, drained and pressed
-salt
-nutritional yeast
-2″ thick pile of corn tortillas, cut into strips
-1/2 c salsa
-1 onion, sliced
-1 jalapeño, sliced
-2 tomatoes, diced
-4 tomatillos, diced
-1/2 c nopales [that’s cactus, kids]
-cayenne to taste
-1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped [leaves only]

to do

1. Make your tofu eggs. Crumble the tofu into a cast-iron pan with a dash of the oil. Salt and nooch it. Cook through until it resembles scrambled eggs. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Put a bit of oil in the pan and cook up your tortilla strips. Add some lime juice and salt if you have it. Cook until they are starting to get brown and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Yup, just a little more oil. Saute your onion and jalapeño, stirring occasionally. When the onions are starting to turn translucent, start throwing in your other veggies [tomatoes, tomatillos, nopales], for maybe 5 minutes more.
4. Add in your salsa and let it all cook down a little bit. Add salt and cayenne to taste.
5. Mix in your tofu eggs. Let that cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the tofu can soak up the flavors.
6. Add the cilantro and taste one last time, adding more salt or cayenne if it needs it.
7. Top your plate with a handful of the cooked tortilla strips, then add a big honkin scoop of your veggie/tofu mix.

Yea! Migas!


new pioneer co-op

It's Vegan MoFo, bitches!

So yeah, after being overwhelmed with work, now I’m back in Iowa for my family’s Thanksgiving/Christmas [long story.] Which makes even cooking a challenge, let alone making something blog-worthy. I am from an extremely rural area. Extremely. Let’s put it this way: the nearest McDonald’s is 30 miles away. So you can imagine that the local grocery store [singular] is not exactly swimming in vegan yogurt. So I end up bringing bags of stuff from Chicago, things like nutritional yeast, chia seeds, kale, snacks, etc.

But there is one shiny diamond on the trip: Iowa City. The bluest little dot in a land of red. Hippie-run college town. You better believe they got stuff for me. And it’s exactly halfway between Chicago and my hometown. We don’t usually have time to stop and have lunch at some place like Masala or The Red Avocado [though I hit them a lot when I was going to college there.]

What I always have time for? New Pioneer Co-Op. It’s like a tiny Whole Foods, only way more awesome. And sure, I’m not a member, so I pay a little extra, but it’s totally worth it.

You kids know how food on a long road trip goes: either Subway or Clif Bars. Neither of which is overwhelming. So what did I have for lunch today?

-awesome sandwich called Cashew On a Hot Tin Roof [store-made sourdough bread, spicy cashew spread, spinach, tomato, peppers]
-blueberry Wildwood yogurt
-giant cinnamon roll
-kombucha

I mean, crap. That’s an awesome lunch, but to get that in the middle of Iowa? That’s freakin’ sweet. Sometimes I’ll get a hot chocolate or a fresh juice [apple, beet, lemon, ginger is my favorite], but today I was happy with just what I got.

So yeah. If you’re ever near Iowa City, know that they totally have you covered. Yea hippies!