fake bacon!

I know it’s been a while since a posted anything, I wanted to make sure whatever came next would be exhilarating and delicious! I chose fake bacon. Bacon is probably the meat I miss most. I love the smell, the crunch and the fact that is delicious on just about anything. It’s hard to perfect a fake bacon because the texture, crunch and flavors, but this recipe is one of my new favorites. Now before I launch into this I would like to ask for no judgment. I love sandwiches, so I would guess that 1/3 of my recipes will probably be different kinds of sandwiches.
Moving on, this recipe is from the cookbook “500 vegan recipes”. This cookbook is great and has so many fast and yummy recipes. The recipe is called “Seitan Bacon Crumbles”. Side note: Seitan and Vital Wheat Gluten are pretty much the same thing. Vital Wheat Gluten is a powder that makes Seitan. So you just mix together 1/2 cup of Vital Wheat Gluten, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp. Liquid smoke, 1 tsp ketchup, 1 Tbsp peanut oil and 2 Tbsp water. Once you’ve mixed this, it will be the consistency of organic peanut butter when the oil is at the bottom of the jar. Fire up your pan with a light oil (I used canola) and once its hot, toss the little bites into the pan. Keep it on there as long as you want (I like mine a bit crunchy so I keep them in there for about 8 minutes). While the “bacon” is heating up, toast your bread, chop your veggies and pull out your tofutti cream cheese! I chose a multi grain bagel, tomato, spinach, red and green peppers and avocado. Put everything together and VOILA! One delicious, hot, bacon tasting beauty!
Vital wheat gluten is cheaper than buying fake meat that is already prepared, so you’re saving a few bucks there. I always try to buy food from farmer’s markets to save money and shop local. The only pricey item is the tofutti cream cheese and its about the same price as the real stuff. Either way, this sandwich is cheaper to make at home than going out and its full of yummy veggies and protein! I hope you like it!

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On the road

I love visiting my parents in Des Moines. There’s something about that place that is calming and pleasant. And within the last 10 years, the place has just exploded with awesome restaurants and shops. It’s a twenty something’s heaven. But the one thing I worry about is food. When am I going to eat and what am I going to eat. I definitely don’t want my parents worrying about my abnormal diet or breaking the bank trying to buy things they’ve never heard of in order for me to eat. So my solution and advice for anyone that might encounter a situation like this; plan ahead.
I always pack a few snacks that are high in protein (to fill me up) or something that can hold me over. I usually pack trail mix or almonds, popcorn and some kind of fruit (usually dried mango or apples). I like buying Naked Juices “Green Machine” because its like a multi vitamin in a delicious beverage!
My second secret weapon to not starving: do your research. Whenever I travel, the second thing I look up (after fun activities) is grocery stores and co-ops. So I know there is a co-op a block away from my parents house. I know there’s a Whole Foods 3 blocks away from a friend in Chicago. I know in Wisconsin, there is a family owned grocery store with a health section about 3 miles from my father in law’s house. It’s always fun to explore local co-ops and grocery stores just to see the different products. I buy a few simple items that I know I can finish during my stay and a few items to make a nice dinner or dish for my hosts and I’m set! This might not be as exciting as going out to eat, but how many restaurants can offer a vegan meal besides pasta? This way, you know you’re eating healthy and you can choose what you want and not be disappointed when a restaurant doesn’t have a vegan substitute for a burger or tofu for a curry dish.
I know I’m going to enjoy a delicious veggie hummus wrap and a chocolate mouse “cheesecake” from Campbell’s nutrition before I leave Des Moines!

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snack time!

Have you ever bought a can of beans and not known what to do with what’s left over after you’ve used your desired amount? Sometimes I throw a plastic bag over the can and place it in the fridge, just to end up throwing the can away a few days later. Well I’ve just encountered a dish that will solve that problem for me! This is of course, if I’m using black beans or garbanzo beans (chickpeas). This dish is like pico de gallo meets a middle eastern dip. Its pretty great because you just throw together a small amount of black beans, a small amount of chickpeas, some lemon juice, some mint leaves, garlic, tomato, onion, sea salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil and mix! You’ve got your beans for protein, a few veggies, olive oil for your omega 6 and lemon juice to add a little glow to your skin and hair. It doesn’t take long to throw together since you can put however much of each ingredient you want, but don’t forget to taste test as you’re making it, so you know its going to be great. And if there’s any advice I can give you, I would say be careful of the lemon juice, a little goes a long way!
I really enjoyed my balela on some pita with a little bit of hummus (another use for chickpeas). It held me over between lunch and dinner and kept me away from the cupcakes! Enjoy!

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the line up

Tonight’s dinner has been in our “line up” for about 3 years now. Everyone has a “line up”, you know, those 4 or 5 main dishes that you fall back on when you’re not feeling creative and you want something fast and good. The awesome thing about this dish is, you’ll probably always have these ingredients in your kitchen. They’re really easy to make and they are soooo good. So what is it? Drum roll…Tofu nuggets!!
Preston always makes these because he never messes the recipe up and he knows we’ll be eating within a half hour of deciding to make these. So the first step is to drain your brick of tofu and put a cookbook on it while you’re preparing everything else. This drains all of the water so the tofu is really crunchy. Then in one bowl, you’ll add 2 cup flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp. Onion powder, 1 tsp pepper and if you do have nutritional yeast, 4 tbsp. Of that. In a different bowl, you dilute 3 tbsp. Of mustard with 1/2 cup of water. Give that a good mix, then add 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to the mustard mixture. Now go back to your flour mixture and add 2 tbsp. Of baking powder.
Now you’ll want to heat up your pan with a light oil (we use safflower). Cut your tofu into desired sized pieces and throw them into the mustard mixture. After they are covered, throw them into the flour mixture. This can get messy, I like to take my rings off and have the washcloth readily available. Once your tofu is covered with flour, place it in your pan. Make sure all sides are golden before you take them out of the pan. We usually serve these with barbecue sauce and green beans (the beans to make us feel somewhat healthy while we gorge in grease). If you make these small enough, you can throw them in a stir fry or salad, or even a pasta dish. They’re super crunchy and they hit the spot when you want something fried! I’m not sure how much something like this would cost if you were to go out to eat, but this is one of the cheapest dishes to make at home. Trader Joe’s has organic tofu for $1.99 , so this becomes even cheaper by picking up your tofu there!
I won’t divulge too much about dessert, but I made apple pie cupcakes. They are super delicious, and this was the first time I’ve ever made a sort of “roux” for a dessert. I chopped up apples and put them in a pot with butter, brown sugar, lemon juice (freshly squeezed), nutmeg, cinnamon and ground cloves. After about 10 minutes on the stove, I let it cool while I prepared the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Combine the dry and the wet and put that in your pan, throw it in the oven for 20 min. And Voila! They’re nice and fluffy! I made a “cream cheese” frosting with cinnamon and nutmeg, but the cupcake is so good, you can put any topping on it!
Please don’t get the impression that I’m always in the kitchen working on something. These are just really simple recipes that anyone can enjoy!

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Lunch!

yummy sandwich

yummy sandwich

Today’s lunch was inspired by a restaurant I went to in Wisconsin. I had a delicious melt at this restaurant, minus the cheese. It was good, but I figured I’d make it at home and perfect it, vegan style. This sandwich cost $7 at the aforementioned restaurant, but at home, this sandwich totaled around $2.
I hate reading recipes that sound great but are super expensive and really time consuming. Which is half of the reason I’m starting this blog. I love food, but I’m an American, which means I hate to wait. So I’ll post my makeshift, easy and delicious recipes which are usually inspired by pictures of food I see, conversations I have about food or the Vegan Jedi herself, Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
Anyway, Preston and I buy frozen bread dough, so I made a loaf. As soon as it came out of the oven, I squeezed an avocado on one side of the warm bread, cut up a red pepper, green pepper, yellow onion and an heirloom tomato and put that on the other piece. I put some spinach on the squishy avocado and then I smashed the two pieces of bread together and threw it in a frying pan (sprayed lightly with canola oil). Each side grilled for approximately 5 minutes, then voila!! It was juicy, salty and super delicious in every way!! There aren’t specific measurements for how much peppers or onions and avocado, you just have to cut as much as you want. Hope you love it as much as I did!

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