Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Curried Chickpeas & Kale

This recipe for curried chickpeas and greens is from Appetite for Reduction. It was a simple recipe, but I did soak and cook dried chickpeas instead of using canned beans. It's interesting that the cookbook notes that eating enough servings of kale can serve as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can see here that there are ~121 mg Omega-3s in one cup of kale, and people with a history of heart disease need ~1 g Omega-3s per day (here). It's not the most abundant source, but I was surprised. I think of vegan sources of Omega-3s as flaxseed, walnuts, and certain oils (although I wouldn't use oils as my source). Anyways, this was pretty satisfying over a portion of quinoa.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chinese Brown Sauce

I always wondered what is in the brown sauce that is so ubiquitous at Chinese restaurants. In the Forks Over Knives Cookbook, there is a recipe for Chinese Brown Sauce. It has low-sodium soy sauce, vegetable stock, date molasses or brown rice syrup, ginger, garlic, and arrowroot powder listed in the recipe. I switched out the date molasses for blackstrap molasses, since I had that in the fridge. Agave nectar may have worked in a pinch. I also used cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder, since I forgot that I had arrowroot powder in the pantry. I stir-fried some onion, garlic, kale, and tofu, which I then covered in the sauce. Pretty darn good!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lunch Potluck & Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I had lunch at a friend's today for a housewarming. She recently moved, so it was great to see how peaceful her new place is. One of her new housemates joined us and said she was really impressed by the food. Of course, only the best food comes out of my friend's kitchen! I didn't get a chance to make anything last night to be able to bring to the party. I worked all day, then I had a friend coming over to make pizza. I had planned to bake some cupcakes, but I didn't want to be in the middle of baking cupcakes when my other friend arrived expecting to pop a pizza into the oven. We topped our pizza with sauteed mushrooms, marinated tofu (the Italian marinade from Vegan with a Vengeance), Daiya mozzarella, a jarred roasted garlic and herbs sauce, and I put Kalamata olive slices on my half. I totally cheated and bought the dough from the Whole Foods pizzeria. Anyways, back to the potluck! Check out this plate - lentil soup, mac and cheese, raw zucchini noodles with avocado sauce, kale salad, and walnut-mushroom pate with homemade bread. The walnut-mushroom pate recipe is from Veganomicon. We had a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert!
67928_10102660017794863_2041219617_n 554299_10102660017884683_1341774498_n

Thursday, January 24, 2013

North African Chickpeas & Vegetables

When I was flipping through my new copy of Forks Over Knives Cookbook, I saw this recipe and the sauce really intrigued me. It has spices, tomato, cilantro, lemon juice, and Kalamata olives. I had to buy sweet paprika, but I had everything else. I soaked some chickpeas and cooked them in the slow cooker (about 3 or 4 hours on high). I left the sauce a little chunky for fun, even though I could have made it super smooth in the Vitamix. I followed the serving suggestion and made a little portion of brown rice to serve with the dish. It was a interesting mix of flavors and I enjoyed it. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quan Yin Vegetarian - Chinatown, Houston, TX

Last Friday night, my friend finally moved into her new place. She started her postdoc at another university in the fall, but her landlady turned into a total nut. She had to move! Thankfully, she had a month-to-month lease so it was easy to leave. A bunch of us got together to move her stuff. We were a modern caravan - 5 cars full of boxes. She moved into a furnished room, so she sold all her other furniture over the weekend. To repay us for helping her move, she took us out to Quan Yin, a vegan pan-Asian place in Chinatown. I think the owners are Vietnamese. We picked out a few appetizers and several entrees. We had the big table with the lazy susan so we could share family-style. It was a fun time.
Spicy Eggplant


"Egg" Rolls




Salted Tofu


Curry Chick'n


Buffalo Iron Plate - there were steak-like strips in this!


Lo Mein entree - can't remember the exact name


Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter Foods

It was pretty cold in Houston recently, but it's finally warming up. I made this soup a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting it on the blog. This soup recipe is from Oh She Glows. It has quinoa, sweet potatoes, and black beans. I topped it with some diced avocado and cilantro. Yum! Perfect for cold weather! I've got some pictures from the weekend, but I haven't uploaded them to my computer yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Junk food alert! Everyone deserves a cheat meal, right? ;) The nacho cheese recipe is from Artisan Vegan Cheese and it includes non-dairy yogurt, some cashews, a chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, and other things. It was very good and it tasted fine as leftovers too. I made the beans using my go-to favorite recipe from Appetite for Reduction. Yum!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


My friend came over to use the new Vitamix to make mushroom-walnut pate for the potluck. It was similar to the recipe we had at Thanksgiving, which came from Veganomicon. I made the chocolate cupcakes and frosting from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook. The frosting is made from pureed dates and some other ingredients. I used agave nectar instead of the suggested brown rice syrup. The frosting was SO fudgy, which was surprising since there's no refined sugar in the frosting. These were well-reviewed by the people at the potluck. I only made a dozen, but we had so many people in attendance!
IMG_0626-2 IMG_0628-1 IMG_0627

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Yes, I bought a new car finally! I meant to post this on Friday, but the weekend was busier than I expected. After Xmas, I bought a 2010 Mazda3 with very low mileage. It has fancy technology, like Bluetooth and an auxiliary input. I can use my old iPhone as an iPod now. :)
IMG_0632 IMG_0633 IMG_0631 IMG_0629 IMG_0630

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Xmas Ever

This Xmas was one of the best ever! I received a Vitamix from my mom, the Forks Over Knives cookbook from my grandma, a running belt and some socks from my vegetarian aunt, an Amazon gift card from my step-grandma, and a candy cane pin from my aunt. My sister got me a purse, which had some bath stuff and a candle in it. My other grandma sent a card with money, like she does every year, which I used for lunch at Genghis Grill with my best friend. I used the Amazon gift card to order Wild About Greens, Artisan Vegan Cheese, and a pair of VEGAN socks. :)
IMG_0616 IMG_0618-2 IMG_0617



Wednesday, January 9, 2013


OK, the last holiday food post! I have a couple holiday-related posts left, but they're about gifts! For Xmas eve, my mom and I were out running errands during the day, so we stopped for Chinese food take-out. Many places were closed, duh. My mom suggested Chinese, which is pretty rare, so we stopped at a little place called Ling Express on our way home. I picked out the Ma Po tofu dish from the vegetarian menu.

I already posted about Mellow Mushroom, and I didn't bother to photograph all the burritos I ate from Moe's and Chipotle while I was home. But I did get a photo at Genghis Grill, a build-your-own-stirfry place. It's nice to pick out all of your own vegetables, protein (tofu in the veggie section, not the meaty section), sauce, and starch. It's a fun place to go, but I have yet to visit one of the Houston's locations.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Home-Cooked Holiday Food

Here are some photos of food that was home-cooked during my trip home for the holidays. For Xmas week, I made some mashed potatoes, a Tofurky roast, and green bean casserole using the recipe from Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations. My mom loves green bean casserole, but I used to hate it. She makes her version with cream of chicken soup, even though the traditional way is with cream of mushroom. The vegan recipe uses soy milk, fresh mushrooms, and some flour to thicken the base.

For my family gathering, my vegetarian aunt made some recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance - chickpea spinach curry, balsamic mushrooms, and apple sauce. So good! She said she snuck some leftover beet greens into the curry, but I didn't taste them. My plate looks so messy, because I snapped the photo of my second plate.

For New Year's Day, I made some collard greens with a splash of vinegar, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I served these with some canned black-eyed peas, since I didn't have time to simmer beans on the stove. I wish we had the ingredients for cornbread!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Resolutions

I didn't make many resolutions for 2012, just to lose the extra weight I gained during 2011's "weight-gaining diet of champions." I lost most of that weight last year, mostly since moving to Houston. I'd say I'm close to my goal, just a little bit left to go.

This year, I'd like to make some more resolutions:

(1) Return to being active. Even in the winter. I stopped running a couple months ago when the temps dropped so low. I can use my treadmill, even though it is really loud and scares the cats, or do some of the fitness videos on the On Demand tv menu. OR I can quit being a baby and go out in the cold. Just being active should be enough to shake those last few pounds.

(2) Better manage my money. This has been pretty easy for me most of my adult life, but the last couple months have been difficult to keep my budget in line. Now that I have a car payment to make every month, I need to better manage my money so I still have a tiny bit for a social life and to start saving again.

(3) Join some social activity groups. The vegan group is nice, but it's not physically active. I probably will put this off until the summertime, but I think it's important to meet people through group activities where I can get to know them a little before inviting them into my life.

(4) Make some progress in my research and determining a career direction.

(5) Dietary changes - Eat more leafy greens. Eat less sugar and palm oil (the main ingredient in vegan margarines, also found in lots of other processed foods). Even though I don't use a lot of oil in my cooking anymore, I'd like to switch to coconut oil when I do want to use oil. Quit drinking Coke Zero daily (a bad habit from thesis writing).

OK, I'm typing this up today because I was still at home on vacation on the 1st. Today is the day that I start my resolutions. I did a tv workout this afternoon when I got home from work and I made a chili using leafy greens. Happy new year, everyone! I'll be back to posting about food tomorrow. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mellow Mushroom!

I *love* Mellow Mushroom! They have awesome food - pizza, build-your-own calzones, and sandwiches. I went there FOUR times over my trip home. I had two pizzas, a spinach-mushroom calzone, and a tofu hoagie. They have Daiya vegan cheese! I remembered to take pictures of the pizzas, but it was hard to get an appealing picture of the calzone. I loved the Thai Dye pizza, but the Mega-Veggie was also very, very good. The Thai Dye pizza has an "Olive oil and garlic base, all natural grilled curry chicken, mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce." It mentions on the menu that curry tofu can be substituted to make the pizza vegetarian, so I did that and substituted Daiya. The mega-veggie pizza is "Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and tofu." I just switched out the cheeses for Daiya.
IMG_0501-2 IMG_0587

Yum! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sweet Pea Cafe - Tallahassee, FL

On my way home for the holidays, I stopped in Tallahassee for dinner and to visit with friends (my vegan inspirations actually!). I had dinner at Sweet Pea Cafe. It's a small building, but the food was pretty awesome. I ordered the buffalo tofu sandwich with a side of poutine. Poutine is a Canadian thing - french fries smothered in gravy and cheese. Sweet Pea Cafe uses Daiya vegan cheese for the poutine. The buffalo tofu sandwich was out of this world. That fried tofu covered in buffalo sauce impressed me at first bite! I ordered a root beer float for dessert. The ice cream was made using coconut-almond milk, I think. It was produced locally by icycle Works. SO good! I would totally recommend this place to anyone in the Tallahassee area!
IMG_0499 IMG_0500-2

Friday, January 4, 2013

Holiday Baking

I packed my Kitchenaid stand mixer for my trip home for the holidays. It's totally normal to travel 1000 miles with a mixer, baking supplies, and kitchen tools, right? :)

Gingerbread cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for an early Xmas dinner w/ the family. Got rave reviews from the people who were willing to eat them.


Eggnog cupcakes from Robin Robertson's blog for Xmas dinner w/ the family. I used the rum extract, so I had to add a little plain soy milk to the frosting.


Cinnamon rolls from Chloe's Kitchen for Xmas brunch w/ the family. These were well received! They do have 12 TABLESPOONS of Earth Balance though. I used a warm towel out of the dryer to cover these to encourage them to rise.


Double Chocolate Brownie Bites from Chloe's Kitchen for my dad, whose sweet tooth is actually worse than mine.


Chocolate-covered cherry cookies from One Green Planet for my mom. I used pitted sour cherries in a can from Whole Foods, since the morello cherries listed in the recipe are a type of sour cherry. The recipe makes way too much chocolate sauce.


White chocolate from Bittersweet blog with chopped craisins and raw almonds (1/2 cup of each) for my best friend. She loved them!


Rice krispie treats from Olives for Dinner blog for me & my mom to share. I made frosting using Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter according to the peanut butter frosting recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (omitted the molasses though).


Chocolate chip cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance - didn't remember to take a photo of these...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Return from Holiday Hiatus

I had an absolutely wonderful, but entirely too short, holiday break. I have SO much to post about that I'll get started on tomorrow. I went to out to eat A LOT, baked A LOT, and got some awesome presents. I spent so much time with my mom, my sister, my sister's family, and my best friend. I can't wait to share it all. I'm almost ready to close my eyes right now, since the cats were not the best travelers. I hope that everyone had a happy and safe holiday season. :)