Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My-oh-my, vegan pumkin pie....

So Thanksgiving is upon us.  Let's face it, as much as we are unprepared (ok, so maybe I am just talking about myself here...) Thanksgiving is a week away.  Yikes!  I don't know if any of you dear readers are hosting this year, but this very-nearly-vegan surely is.  At the time I am writing this, I haven't gone shopping, my house is a wreck, and I don't have a menu in mind.  Ah, the tribulations of a wannabe domestic diva... ok, ok, pity party over.  I will instead share with you the only thing I know I am making for sure, which is pumpkin pie!  I don't care if you are carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, nudist (??), WHATEVER... you will most likely be serving some form or variation of pumpkin pie this year.  Since I usually just buy the giant one at Sam's Club for $3.50 (which is not even nearly vegan...), until this year I had no idea how to make a pumpkin pie, and figured I should give it a little trial run before the big holiday. 

I admit, I was worried about how it would turn out, but good news folks, it was actually a smashing success!  I took a Williams Sonoma recipe that sounded tasty, and veganized it.  I also made it low sugar with some artificial sweetener for my dear old dad, BUT.... I know there is a lot of debate about artifical sweetener, so please feel free to use regular sugar.  That's just not an option for my dad, being as sugar is his mortal enemy. :) 

You wil need:

1 can pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar, OR half that amount Splenda brown sugar mix (which is what I used)
2/3 cup tofutti cream cheese, room temp
3 tsp ground flax seed, mixed with a little water
1 1/2 cups plain coconut creamer
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 unbaked whole wheat (make sure it's vegan!) pie crust (I found mine at whole Foods)

Make sure your oven rack is at the lowest rung, and preheat oven to 425.

Mix everything but the pie shell in a kitchen-aid style mixer, and pour into the shell.

Cook for 15 minutes at the high temp, and then another hour at 350.  Check the pie, and it may need more time, even a lot more time, because you want it to be just barely jiggly.  Also, and this is important, because of the cream and cream cheese substitutes, this will look much lighter than most pumpkin pies.  Don't burn the crust waiting for it to look orange!  Top it with a little Soy Whip, and you are good to go,  see? :)

Good luck readers, and have a great Holiday!  I am thankful for each and every one of you! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oodles of Noodles!

Ok, so if you read back through my posts, I think it's pretty evident that a lot of nights I am too lazy to cook something fancy.  I feel bad, because I know that makes me a junk food vegan, which most "true" vegans hate... but a the same time... my food is really good and I don't have all day to cook.  I like to think my cooking is vegan cooking for real people who are pressed for time.  In light of that, hubby and I had to go shopping the other evening.  I don't know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but last night here in Jersey it was just over freezing, and it was pouring rain.  Lovely.  So after our little excursion, we were famished, cold, wet, and tired.  Fun!  So I made like the laziest meal ever.

In case you're unfamiliar, the thing on the left is Indonesian Ramen Noodles.  If you've never experienced Indo Mie noodles before, they are by far superior to any and all other Ramen noodles available on the market.  The secret to their superiority is the four sauce packets, seen here:

Awwwwwwwwwwwww, yeah! *does happy noodle dance* 4 packets are where it's at!  And as long as I am reading the packaging right, the Mi Goreng flavor just so happens to be vegan! (PLEASE alert me if I am wrong, some of the writing in the ingredient list is just food chemical jargon, which I am unfamilar with, but know can sometimes mean there are traces of animal product in there they aren't telling you about.  I don't think there is, but don't hesitate to correct me, I would never want to lead my readers astray!)  Mi Goreng also happens to be the best flavor, in my opinion, so, bonus! Ramen is of course not a meal by itself, (unless you're in college of course!) so I added a can of Peking Vegetarian Roast Duck (which is vegan, don't know why it says vegetarian). 
You will need 4 packs of noodles and 2 cans of duck to make it like I did.

The cooking method went as follows:

Heat noodles in water in Microwave for six minutes, stopping to stir at 3:00.

(I did two packs at a time)

Cut up the duck.

Add noodles and duck to a pan, and pour on sauce packets.

Add some of this:

To taste.  Be generous, but don't go too far.  Know your sweet soy sauce limitations.  Note of caution: Don't think to yourself, "sweet soy sauce, regular, whats the difference?"  The difference is huge.  Kecap Manis Sweet soy sauce is available at most asian grocery stores, as are the Indo Mie noodles... put the effort in, you'll thank me.

The final product looked like this:

It was SO good.  Really hit the spot on a miserable night, and there were even some leftovers for the next day.  But I have to warn ya folks, this is not health food! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, I am bit of a Cookie Monster.  I can admit it.  I loooooove cookies.  It's more of an unhealthy obsession than love really... the kind of situation where I would follow them from a distance and take pictures of them sleeping, if cookies slept that is.  Let's just say if cookies weren't inanimate objects, healthy boundaries could be a problem for me, LOL!  But luckily for me, they are a less scary obsession than many I could have, so my obsession continues along unchecked.

I recently made a delightful batch of cookies, which I have dubbed "Chewy Trail Mix Cookies".  They are all the best parts of trail mix (like craisins and chocolate) without the down sides (all the seeds and bark and whatnot).

You will need:
1 cup earth balance
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs ground flax seed mixed with a little water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup oats
1 heaping cup semi-sweet choc chips
chopped pecans (just dump some in, more or less however much you like)
1 cup craisins

Heat the oven to 375
melt the butter
mix the water and flax, then toss everything else in
scoop out spoonfulls on a cookie sheet
bake 10-12 mins till golden brown and delicious

These are best served with ICE COLD almond milk, for dunking!  See?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

There's something fishy about these crab cakes....

They aren't real! :) Ok, so I know technically crab cakes are a little out of season.  But one of the great things about being vegan, is that since we don't eat real crabs, there is then no such thing as crab season! :)  Due to the ri-doncu-lously cold weather that has just rolled in, I felt like having one last defiant summer style meal.  Due to the fact that I had a soon to expire package of crab flavored match meat sitting in the freezer, I thought that was as good a reason as any to make crab cakes.  If you're unfamiliar with match meat, here it is:

This was actually my first experience cooking with match meat, but I have to say it worked really well.  It was easy to cook with, and the taste was really superb.  Now, I can't tell you if they tasted like crab cakes, cause' I have never had a real one.... but they were yummy! If you need more info than that, I guess you'll just have to make em yourself, and tell me if they taste like crab, LOL.

Here's the ingredient list:
1 pkg crab flavored match meat
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 cup almond milk
1/2 a small onion, minced, or several tbs of dried minced onion
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cayenne
1/2 Tsp mustard
2 tsp old bay seasoning
2 tbs vegenaise
panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp paprika

In a small sauce pan, mix oil and flour, over low heat, and then add milk and salt.  Cook until thick.

In another bowl, mix the thawed match meat with all ingredients except for the bread crmbs and paprika.  Chill for 3-4 hours.  (I didn't do this, but my cakes were a little smushy, so I think this wold help)

Shape the mixture into little cakes, and roll in a mix of bread crumbs and paprika. Fry the cakes in either canola or olive oil.  (They're still bad for you as oils, but they are the lesser of the evils...)  Make sure they get nice and crispy!

Serve with vegan tartar sauce, mmmmmmmmm. :)

I served them with corn on the cob, peas, and crescent rolls, though biscuits would have been better I think.  All in all, huge success of a meal, that even my husband loved.