Posts from the ‘Recipe’ Category

TJ’s Beef-less Strips Get In My Wrap

When I became vegetarian over 10 years ago, TJ’s didn’t have much too offer me. I have friends, though, obsessed with TJ’s, so I decided to give them another go.

At Trader Joe’s, I spotted their brand of beef-less strips and decided to give them a try. As I kept shopping, I grabbed container of fresh sliced mushrooms (cause I’m lazy enough to pay the extra 30 cents), fresh garlic, and a bag of frozen broccoli florets.

After I got back to the house, the experimentation began.

  • Tortillas (I grabbed Mayan Farm brand at the local supermarket; to my surprise, I flipped over the bag and saw the symbol…sold.)
  • Broccoli Florets, Frozen
  • Fresh Sliced Mushrooms, Washed
  • Onions, Diced
  • Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips
  • Soy Sauce (low sodium preferable, so you can salt everything to taste)
  • Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt (I used Trader Joe’s Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals; I like the built-in grinder.)
  • Butter or oil for the pan (Seriously, I’m trying to burn through a tub of shortening so that’s what I used.)

Fry the mushrooms and onions in a pan until tender. Sprinkle some salt over the mushrooms. Mix some fresh garlic with the onions.

Pour the broccoli in a bowl and microwave for time specified on bag. Sprinkle with coconut and red pepper flakes and fold in. (If you have more time or no microwave, you can place them in the oven.)

Lay the beef-less strips on a plate. Drizzle soy sauce over and flip the strips to coat. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Tip: if you have a gas stove, put the burner on low to heat the tortillas a few seconds on each side. CHECK FREQUENTLY.

I love the TJ’s brand of beef-less strips. They have suggestions on the back for putting them in a variety of dishes. I could see myself making the fajita pizza or zesty fettuccine.


What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s find?


Virtual Vegan Potluck: Sweetened Collard Greens

I’m so happy you could make it to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! Thanks for saving a little room for the sides. If you skipped ahead of the line, feel welcome to go back to the beginning and fill up your plate.

For my recipe, I took a cue from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Sweet & Salty Carrots and sweetened a veggie you wouldn’t necessarily think of in this way. Hope you enjoy!

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup Agave Nectar

dash of salt

20 oz Chopped Collard Greens (fresh, canned, or frozen; drained)

dozen Grape Tomatoes, halved

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees
  • Fold together collard greens and tomatoes
  • Spread out in pan
  • Whisk agave and balsamic vinegar
  • Pour over greens
  • Sprinkle with a dash of salt
  • Bake 45mins to an hour

Simple Teriyaki Seitan and Veggies

imageWandering through my Whole Foods, I was looking for something quick to make with as few dishes as possible that was filling. A freezer dinner wasn’t it; neither was the salad bar. While I like both, I was also looking for the most bang for my buck. I saw an Amy’s Kitchen frozen meal and my mind drifted back to my own freezer; I had a bag of frozen veggies.

  • WestSoy Cubed Seitan (You can use any brand you prefer)
  • Brown rice (I picked up a frozen bag of Whole Foods’ from their freezer case)
  • Veggies (I used a bag of Green Giant Steamers, which included sliced carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, but fresh is great if you have more time…or energy.)
  • Teriyaki sauce (Again, I just grabbed Whole Foods’ store brand)

Total was about $12, which fed me for two meals, and I still have half a bag of rice and more than half a bottle of sauce. Some will challenge, but my microwave is my friend; took me less than 10 minutes to toss this together. You can make this in a skillet on the stove top, though; which is good if you want the veggies and seitan to take up the sauce. I wanted portion control, so I just drizzled a little over top.

Seeing Red…Velvet

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Rocky Road for March Madness


March is what college basketball fans wait all year for. Even if you’re not generally into hoops, you probably created a bracket and played that odds…even if that involved eenee-meanee-minnee-mo.

I’ll admit I didn’t have any b-ball tie-in in mind when I decided to make these. If you’re planning any Final Four or National Championship parties for this Saturday (3/31) or Tues (4/2), you may want to though.

I was gifted a box of Dandies and thought, ‘What should I do with a dozen bags of vegan marshmallows?’

First up, Rocky Road Cookies! The recipe I used is a variation from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

I kick myself for not taking better, or even just more, pictures of these cookies. These cookies were a big hit. One of my coworkers said they reminded him of Snackwell’s Devil Food Cookies.

The book’s recipe calls for white chocolate chips; I substituted the vegan marshmallows. Initially I patted the marshmallows on top, but I suggest folding them into each cookie you roll. While they taste the same either way, they just look more inviting this way. (In the pick is visible a first batch cookie (top) and second batch (peeking out from below).

These cookies were super…correction: SUPER…soft. I actually had only a fourth of the cocoa powder the recipe called for. I replaced a portion of the difference with extra flour. To some extent, this was a que sera, sera endeavor. You can make them to the book’s recipe, then you can go crazy and alter as desired.

Have fun! Eat yum!

Show Your Green This St. Patrick’s Day

The traditional Irish diet is heavy on meat and potatoes. If you’re veg*n, don’t fret. The isle’s cuisine also features vegetables like cabbage, curly kale, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and onions; and fruits such as apples, pears, plums, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s in high spirits with these vegan recipes.

Boxty (Novel Eats)

Champ (It’s Less Important Than You Think)

Colcannon (Choosing Raw)

Colcannon Puffs (Fat Free Vegan Kitchen) – variation on the original

Corned Beef and Cabbage (La Pure Mama)

‘Steak’ and Stout Pie (PETA)

Scott Pilgrim’s Shepherd’s Pie (FunCoast: Cooking Corner: Grace Ellis)

Irish Soda Bread (Hungry Gnomes)

To satisfy your sweet tooth, try mixing up some Irish Potato Candies (just replace the cream cheese and butter with veg varieties like those from Galaxy and Earth Balance to veganize), whipping up some Inside-Out Irish Potato Cupcakes, or blending a Copycat McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

If you’re hoping to head out, VegNews has you covered with a list of vegan-friendly bars if you’re in major cities like Portland (OR), Columbus (OH), or Brooklyn (NY). If you live in smaller towns and are planning to head out for the night, check out Barnivore. Veg*ns concerned with vegan beer, be aware that most Guinness is not; of the offerings from the notable Irish Beer brewer, only the North American Extra Stout.

Even if you’re not Irish, everyone gets a free pass this weekend. Go forth and show your green.

May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live.Irish proverb

Tis’ the Season for Girl Scout Cookies

It seems everyone in my office is indulging in the seasonal guilty pleasure of Girl Scout cookies. I could knock back a box or two, particularly Samoas and Tagalongs, in my youth.

Of course, I wouldn’t do it now for health reasons, but also because my favorites aren’t always what I’d like them to be. Ideally I’d love them to be vegan, but some I don’t really consider vegetarian. For instance, Tagalongs (aka Peanut Butter Patties) are listed as having whey, which I haven’t necessarily considered vegetarian because I was told it may come into contact with animal rennet.

Judging from the ingredients, five varieties of Girl Scout cookies may be vegan.

  • Thanks-A-Lot
  • Thin Mints (ABC)
  • Lemonades
  • Shout Outs!
  • Peanut Butter Patties (this one’s confusing cause PB Patties are supposed to be the same as Tagalongs)

However, some may have concerns about bone char sugar and/or palm oil, among other ingredients.

If you prefer to have more control, try these:

An alternative on the go that I was excited to find when I wasn’t looking for it is the Coconut Chocolate Chip CLIF Bar. The verdict isn’t unanimous; some love em’ and some hate ‘em…but isn’t that how everything is? Personally, I’m pro; they remind me of Samoas.

Happy scouting…for cookies.

Cloudy With a Chance of (Veggie) Meatballs

March 9th is National Meatball Day! We all hopefully know this children’s story. So brush off your copy of Judi and Ron Barrett’s 1978 book (or your DVD of the 2009 movie adaption) Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and travel to Chewandswallow. You can chew on this yummy vegetarian meatball sandwich while you’re at it too.

  • Two slices toasted bread (your choosing)
  • Tomato sauce (fresh or jarred)
  • A few meatless meatballs, sliced in half…makes the sandwich more manageable (I used Veggie Patch’s Vegetarian Meatballs (contain eggs))
  • Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella Cheese, grated (vegan cheese is not as firm as dairy-based cheese, so try grating across rather than angling downwards)

This sandwich is simple to put together. Be sure to heat the ingredients before constructing but pop in the microwave for 30-45secs more to melt everything together nicely.

Momma’s Jelly Meatballs…Veganized!

Since I was a little girl, my mother has been making Jelly Meatballs. When we saw the yellow slow cooker we knew. (And I say yellow not like yellowed, old, gross; like that 70′s yellow from when that yellow was cool…it probably complimented an olive fridge somewhere, lost to time.)

They were a real treat for us. I haven’t the slightest clue where my mother heard of this from. I don’t miss too much because the good out weighs. They were one of the things I missed about being veg. A delicious vegan variation can be achieved, with the same great taste and no guilt…okay maybe a little guilt cause too many Jelly Meatballs and you might just turn into one.

If you’re making a large batch, my momma says one jar apple jelly to two jars chili sauce. She would always slow cook the meatballs in the sauce for something like 12 hours. Non-meat substitutes won’t take that long to cook through, but I still recommend letting the meatless meatballs simmer in the sauce to take in its’ flavor.

For mine, above, I used Nate’s Meatless Meatballs. My mother used to roll very small meatballs. If you’re okay with eggs, you can use Veggie Patch’s Meatless Meatballs, which are smaller than Nate’s. If you want small vegan meatballs, you can roll your own using Lightlife’s Gimme Lean Beef; especially good if you’re slow cooking. If you are, ‘forget frozen,’ you could try recipes like those from Whole Foods, the Post Punk Kitchen, and Back To Her Roots.

My mom always used Apple Jelly, but I’ve been searching for months and just couldn’t fine a jar of it. So I actually used apricot spread, which still gave it the sweetness and thickness of the apple jelly. Ours were also always served over white rice; but, alas, all I had was Brown and Wild Rice.

If you’re flying solo, like me, and want a small portion of something different:

  • Mix 1/4 bottle of Chili Sauce (any brand; I used Walmart’s) and 2 tablespoons apple jelly (or apricot spread) together in a bowl.
  • Heat up a serving of Meatless Meatballs (time varies).
  • Heat the sauce for 45 secs, then pour over the meatballs.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a single serving of rice (I get the Ready To Serve cups of Minute Rice).
  • Reheat the Meatballs with Sauce for 30-60sec.
  • Pour over the rice and serve.

Simple, easy, tasty.

Mini Cupcakes

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World is a must buy. It’s fun to whip up a batch of cupcakes and this book makes it very easy.

I made “Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake.” I must not be very generous or maybe overly cautious; the book says the recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but I can always make way more.

I filled up one mini cupcake pan, then I added half a cup of chopped Mint Newman-Os to the remaining batter and filled up another mini cupcake pan. So 48 mini cupcakes in total.

I went the mini cupcake route so there would be more to share. If you make minis, be sure to cut the bake time by half. I’d start checking them after 10 mins.

For the icing, I made a half batch of the “Chocolate Buttercream Frosting” for the first cupcakes. With the little left over, I added in another fourth portion of the icing ingredients and the centers of the Mint Newman-Os.

Make sure to soften the shortening and margarine.

A piping bag makes a world of difference. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive; I picked up a cheap set on clearance at A.C. Moore. If you’re making the cookies and cream variety and plan to use a piping bag, make sure you follow the icing instructions and mash finely.

Topped the Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Almonds and the Mint Cookies ‘N Cream Cupcakes with cookie pieces.


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