Friday, October 4, 2013

Missing Cheese? Join the club!

I greatly apologize for my sporadic posts.  I have been into my last phase of my degree and mixtures of hair pulling over reading heavy material and the fight against procrastination have taken over, on top of the other areas of normal "need-to-do's" that I have to get done.  But believe me, I have not forgotten!

So I have been craving pizza and all things cheesy for a while now.  Maybe it's because the weather has turned chill and when the grey skies bring along a frostiness all we want to do is to cuddle up around a fire with a dish that sticks to your ribs and ensures you won't be hungry again in an hour, like salad.
However the problem vegans face so often is that authentic cheesy goodness is very difficult to find, especially when you don't feel like making something from scratch yourself!
There are vegan cheeses out there on the market, but let's be honest, none of them still taste (or comfort) just like the real deal.
I have heard of some cheese brands that are very promising (which I haven't been able to try just yet), but in our town, with what few resources we have, the most promising is still the gluten free, nut free, soy free, casein free: Daiya cheese.

Daiya was the innovation that cuddled every vegan's heart.  It melted easily and stretched just like all those cheese commercials, but the taste....
So, the following tips (not really a recipe) are how to improve the flavor of your Daiya.  Because it is primarily a tapioca based "cheese" its flavor (while it does have some) is quite bland and mild.  Enhancements and improvements can be made with the combination of the following:

garlic powder
onion powder
nutritional yeast
oregano (if you're making pizza or italian food)

the trick here is to SALT your food, as many (if not most) cheeses are salted, and the nutritional yeast brings out that "cheesy" flavor.  Garlic powder and onion powders kill the tapioca-y flavor and enhance the other flavors around it, making it more cheesy and good.

I hope you make your favorite pizza this weekend and try this method, if you haven't already tried some mixture like this.  Let me know how things turn out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Yup, you heard me, Vegan, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes.  These are no joke.  There are quite a few flours to deal with but the end result is sooooo worth it, especially if your taste buds have been screaming for fall flavors like pumpkin.  Everyone in the home I'm staying in have been talking about pumpkin flavored coffees, pies, etc. as the weather seems to lure ourselves to do so.
So, pull out your best griddle or skillet and get crackin'! (without the eggs, because it's vegan) :)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes
adapted from The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott
serves 4

dry ingredients:
1 1/2 c sorghum flour
1/4 c teff
1/2 c potato starch
1/4 c tapioca starch
2 tsp baking powder*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar (raw sugar or turbinado can be substituted)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

wet ingredients:
1/2 + 1/3 c pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
1 1/2 c vegan milk mixed with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 c warm water

*I forgot the baking powder in my batter this time, and I think I put in 2 tsp of baking soda instead, and it still turned out beautiful, so if you suddenly have run out of powder, no worries!

1.  mix all the dry ingredients together.  mix the wet ingredients together.
2.  preheat griddle/skillet to medium high.  have oil spray, oil or vegan butter for greasing ready.
3.  pour wet ingredients into dry, and MIX AS FEW STROKES AS POSSIBLE, just until the batter is incorporated and there are few lumps but the batter is smooth (lumps remaining are fine).
 4.  with a 1/3 c measuring cup OR a ladle, pour batter onto greased pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until edges look golden or dry and the center has bubbles.  now flip!
5.  cook other side until just golden, 1-2 minutes.  now cook the rest of the batter.
if you find that your batter is browning too quickly, adjust heat.  Every stove is different and has its own temperaments so please adjust as needed.
6.  serve with vegan butter and maple syrup OR try a vegan cream cheese frosting.  either way, Tuck In!

Friday, September 20, 2013


Fall has slowly begun to creep in to our lives and it's not only evident by the leaves changing their colors, but definitely the chill that you feel (or is that just a sign of old age?).

As I write this, I am sitting under a pile of blankets with a warm, comforting bowl of Mochi, prepared the way the Japanese serve Kuzumochi in the summer, but WARM.

For anyone who doesn't know what 'mochi' is, it is a sticky, chewy dessert prevalent in Asia, that is made from pounding steamed sweet rice (a.k.a. glutinous rice) until it stretches and is chewy.
It is the ideal sweet as it is low in additives, diverse, and gluten free!
The Japanese depend on mochi heavily for their tea ceremonies as an accompaniment to macha, but it is eaten widely for celebrations and special occasions (or as a traditional snack).  In Korea it is also used for birthday celebrations, made in a shape like a cake, but many other forms can take shape.

This bowl of mochi is perfect for a chilly day as it's comforting and warm, and texturally complex.

Mochi Bowl
inspired by JustHungry's kuzumochi recipe
(serves 2 small or 1 generous portion)

half a square of Brown Rice Mochi (I used Grainaissance original)
1/4-1/2 c kinako (toasted soy bean powder)
molasses, to taste (*note:  molasses has a bitter/metallic flavor so please use sparingly at first)
anko (adzuki bean paste) (optional)

1.  follow package instructions and toast the mochi in oven.
2.  in a bowl, lay out mochi and anko (if desired), sprinkle the kinako over, and drizzle with some molasses.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Low Glycemic Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Okay, so I was getting really bummed that I hadn't eaten any rhubarb this summer.  The supermarket was selling the last of the summer's fresh rhubarb for $6 a pound!  I refuted that highway robbery and decided to check out the farmer's market.  Lo and behold, $2 for the necessary bundle.  Thank you local farmers for coming through.
Message of the story:  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMS :)

Now that I'm off my soap box, let's move on.  I had been wanting to experiment with whole grain gluten free baking for a while and had not found a chance to.  The truth is, I don't like making baked goods all the time, whenever I crave them because I usually live alone and ..... you see where this is going?  Yup, if I baked a pie, you'd find me 3 days later, strewn in my living room floor, coming down from a pie hangover with nothing to show for it but an empty pie pan, a guilty conscience and some extra poundage 'round my middle.
I refuse!!! Never again!!! So, I've been trying to be good and only baking when there's gatherings where a dish is required.

Fast forward to present day and while I'm staying with a family, I can now bake things and only eat a SINGLE serving while we all equally share the loot.
Here is my first and last attempt (for this summer) of the classic Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.  Mind you, I kind of emptied some of my cupboard for this, using up certain things that I had bits of, so feel free to switch out certain things.

Low Glycemic Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
serves 6-8 

3 c rhubarb, washed, trimmed and diced into 1/2 inch slices
3 c strawberries, washed, tops removed and quartered
2/3 c coconut palm sugar
1/3 c fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of an orange OR 1 tsp dried lemon zest
1/4 c tapioca flour
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c sorghum flour
1/4 c teff flour
1/2 c rolled oats OR quick oats
1/8 c potato starch
1/8 c tapioca flour
1/2 c hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/8 c flaxseed meal
1/4+ c coconut palm sugar (adjusting to your liking)
1/4 c earth balance
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  prepare a 8 x 8 baking dish.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, mix in all the filling ingredients.  pour into the baking dish and let it sit.
3.  In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients of the topping.  mix in the earth balance with your hands (finger tips) until the "butter" is mixed in throughout the flour, creating course crumb like bread crumbs.
4.  Spread the topping evenly over the filling and bake for 45-55 minutes, depending on oven.  Pull out when the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and thickened.
5.  Let it cool a bit, and serve with your favorite vegan ice cream!

I challenge you to only eat a SINGLE serving!  :)

Reboot Your System! Fruity Kale Smoothie

I know I've been away for so long!  I've been busy getting settled into my new city, where my initial living situation fell through.  I was left with the task of finding a new place, and thankfully a family at my church graciously have let me live with them.... and invade their kitchen.
I've found that if a kitchen is well situated and well stocked, organized and the citizens that own the kitchen willing to be adventurous with food, I am a happy, content little thing.

So~  because my hiatus has been so long, here are 2 posts.
First:  Fruity Kale Smoothie.  This is my attempt to make a smoothie that my best friend and I tried at a vegan restaurant in Toronto called FRESH.  If you've ever been there, you'll know that they're amazing, catering to food allergies but also to the gourmet vegan pallet.  The salad I had was great, but I must say, the winner that day was their quinoa onion rings.  Oh man!  It's a good thing I didn't order them because ..... slam!  I would have ordered like.... 3 orders.

Anyway, here's the great smoothie my friend had: fruity, healthy and so fresh! (see how I worked that pun in? hehehe)

Fruity Kale Smoothie
serves 2 large OR 4 regular 

1 bunch red (or green) kale, chopped chunky (I don't use lacinato/tuscan kale)
1 lb strawberries, washed and tops removed
1 small pineapple, peeled and cores removed, chopped roughly

1.  in a Vitamix OR high speed/power blender, put pineapple and strawberries in.  blend until fairly liquidy, then add kale.
2.  slowly turn up the speed and blend until kale is not in chunks.  on a Vitamix, ultimately, speed 5 for about 1-2 minutes.  the smoothie should be brown.

drink and enjoy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gluten Free Ginger-Banana Bread!

Oh man.  It has been a couple of crazy busy weeks, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop.  Between having dinner dates with friends for last minute catch up before I move, to going on spontaneous adventures with friends, the weekends have been jam packed.  When I woke up this morning, I had slept 4 hours for the last couple of days, and my body was definitely exhausted.  On days like this, what does my body want more than anything? (other than more sleep) SUGAR!!!!!  But~ being the person that I am, I'm not just going to go guzzling down a ton of sugar.  Exhaustion doesn't want to throw even the simplest ingredients together for pancakes, and jam on toast won't cut it.  So what do I do?  I pulled out the Ginger-Banana bread with Walnut and Chocolate Chips (optional) that I had made last weekend on a whim to use up bananas and had frozen.
Did it do the job?  OH YEAH BABY!!!!  Nutty, chocolatey, and completely gluten free (and whole wheat to boot) it was just what the doctor (and when I say doctor, I mean my body) ordered.

I adapted this recipe from a couple different recipes, and in cutting fat and sugar contents have made it my own.  I find that it's not too sweet and is perfect for that high tea accompaniment.

Gluten Free Ginger-Banana Bread (with nut and chocolate options)

1/4c buckwheat flour
3/4c sorghum flour
1/2c teff flour
1/2+1/8c potato starch
1/4+1/8c tapioca flour
 1tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c coconut palm sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder (mixed into the banana mash)
3 Tbsp  olive oil 
1/4c earth balance, melted
1/4c MINUS 2 Tbsp of molasses, at room temp
1/4+1/8c warm water
2 c ripe bananas, mashed (can use frozen;  just defrost and let runny juices drain)
1tsp vanilla extract

Extra Options:
**more spice: 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cardamom (choose 1 or try all! experiment!)
**add ins:  
2 c rough chopped walnuts 
1-1 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  
2.  Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. (I like the mix the walnuts and chocolate chips at this point, into the dry batter because I heard the flour mix coating the chips and nuts prevents them all from sinking to the bottom of the pan)
3.  Mix together wet ingredients.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, making sure to incorporate mixture with slower, large strokes just until there are no more dry pockets of flour.  Pour into loaf pan, and put into the oven for 55 min.-1 hour, until a toothpick or chopstick inserted into the center comes out clean (melted chocolate doesn't count). 
4.  Turn out of the pan, let it cool.  Serve immediately if eating fresh, or cool completely before freezing it in an airtight plastic bag or container.  


Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Recipe Slam! Part 2

Okay, so I promised to upload 3 recipes total, but I just couldn't help myself and I'm uploading 4.  I know, wut wut! Hope you enjoy. :)

Veganized Okinawan Taco Rice
(taco "meat" inspired by PPK's Ancho Lentil Tacos)

4-6 servings of rice (prepare according to package instructions OR purchase from local restaurant)
9-15 leaves of iceberg lettuce, shredded
4 tomatoes, small diced OR 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 avocados, sliced or diced*
*avocado can be replaced with vegan cheese or favorite vegan cheese sauce)

Taco Meat Ingredients:
1 1/2 c dry green lentils, cooked in water for 25-30 min OR 3 1/4 c canned, cooked lentils, drained
1 large onion, small diced
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 c tomato paste
1/4+ c water
3 Tbsp hot sauce

1.  cook lentils, and prep onions and garlic.  mix spices from oregano to salt together and set aside.
2.  In a large skillet, cook onions and garlic in some oil for 3 min.  Pour in spice mix and sautee for 30 seconds.
3.  Pour in lentils and the remaining ingredients, mixing well to incorporate.  Taste to adjust levels of soy sauce, spices, water and heat for preferred levels of flavor and thickness. Cook for another 5 minutes and turn off heat.
4.  Assemble plate:
on a plate, spread out a serving of rice like a rice pizza layer.  Next comes the taco "meat", then lettuce, tomato and avocado (or vegan cheese/sauce).
5.  To eat, normally the Japanese mix it up, like a taco salad, and consume, but it's up to you.  Just make sure you get all the layers in your mouth at once.  Yeah baby!

Buffalo Chickpea Salad
(inspired by PPK's Ranch Salad with Buffalo Tempeh)

3 cans of chickpeas, drained
1-5 oz. bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce
1/2 c vegan mayo (I used Follow Your Heart's Veganaise Gourmet Garlic flavor)
2 Tbsp soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp oregano
1 green onion OR small bunch of chives, thinly sliced

1.  roughly mash chickpeas (you can always pulse coursely in a food processor).
2.  throw remaining ingredients in with the chickpeas.

To serve, I placed my Buffalo Chickpeas onto a bed of lemon juice massaged kale, but you can eat it any way you like.  In a sammy, over rice, on pizza (woah now, gettin' crazay!).  Get creative, and enjoy!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Recipe Slam! Part 1

I know, it's been a whole month since I posted last.  It's been nuts!  I had to move my stuff to Rochester, then move out of my apartment, move in with a friend temporarily, and now, I've had to move into my last temporary nest until I finally move completely to Rochester (I'm from NY by the way) so it's been a crazy month, but things are looking a little settled, so I thought I'd make up for lost time with the following recipes:

Quick PB frosting
Korean Squash Soup
Veganized Okinawa Style Taco Rice

If that isn't enough, I'll give you a teaser for a dessert I'm working on for my best friend: Vegan PB Smores Pie!  (Wipe your drool off your chin). :)
I've also found a couple of awesome new vegan websites: (mostly vegan, but not completely)

If you wonder if ANYONE speaks like the author of thug kitchen, the answer my friend is YES.  Before you doubt my credibility, you must realize that I am related to one such "flamboyant" speaker: a.k.a. my sister.  So boo ya!
and~ without further ado, here are the recipes:

Quick Peanut Butter Frosting
(for a 5 second frosting fix)

smooth, salted PB
liquid sweetener of choice: agave, honey (not vegan) or maple syrup

1.  it's easy: 2:1 ratio of PB to sweetener (make that 2: 0.5 if you want it less sweet).  stir well to incorporate.  I find that you can chill the frosting to make it more stiff, but because of the sugar, the frosting is stiff enough after stirring for regular consumption.

Korean Squash Soup
(adapted from Maangchi's recipe)

*equipment needed:
blender (immersion or high speed)
3 small mixing bowls
measuring cups/spoons
large stock pot
wet tea towel

2 small butternut squash, washed well, halved and seeds & stringy bits removed
1/4 c sugar (I used organic cane sugar) plus extra
2 c Sweet rice flour (I used Mochiko)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4+ c hot water
1/2 tsp mugwort powder (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1.  In a large stock pot, place cleaned, halved and seeded squash in and cover with water. (if you find the squash too big to fit, quarter the squash, it's fine.)  Boil for 20-30 minutes or until tender.  Remove from pot and let cool.
2.  While squash is boiling, mix rice flour with salt.  ***Here is where the options come in***
**IF you want to just have white rice cake balls, DO NOT DIVIDE THE FLOUR.  Just pour the hot water in and mix until a ball of dough can be formed.  set aside with the moist tea towel or plastic wrap to keep moist.
divide the flour mix into 3 bowls each with 2/3 c of flour mix.
bowl 1-white rice cakes: mix with 1/4+ c hot water, until a ball of dough can be formed.  wrap in plastic and set aside.
bowl 2-green rice cakes: add 1/2 tsp mugwort powder, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/4+ c hot water (continue like above)
bowl 3-brown rice cakes: add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/4+ c hot water (continue like above)
3.  Once squash is cooled, scoop out flesh into pot (for immersion blender) or a standing blender and blend with 2 cups of water until smooth.  Pour the mixture back into the pot with 2-3 cups more water (depending on how thick you like it), adding 1/4 c sugar as well.  Bring to a boil.
4.  While the soup is being brought to boiling, begin rolling the rice cakes into little balls the size of marbles.  You can make them larger if you like, but keep in mind that the rice cakes expand some while cooking.  When the soup is boiling, drop the rice cakes in.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the rice cakes float (you may have to help it along a little bit by stirring to see if cakes float as the soup can be somewhat thick).
Garnish with some pine nuts or serve as is.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Healthy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I'm sure you thought, "What?!?" when you read cinnamon rolls with 'healthy' attached to it.  It's true though!  I found this recipe looking for a healthier way to make cinnamon rolls, and I've modified it to make it more like pumpkin pie.  mmmmm~

*gluten free, nut free (optional)

Healthy Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen's recipe

dry ingredients:
2 1/2-3 c raw buckwheat groats
1 c tapioca flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp nutmeg (depending on how much you like nutmeg)
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

wet ingredients:
1 c canned pumpkin puree
1 c unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c+1Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 c coconut oil or canola/grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c non-dairy milk

3 Tbsp room temperature earth balance (or coconut oil)
1/3-1/2 c coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 c chopped pecans (optional)

3/4 mashed sweet potato, still warm (I used Japanese sweet potato)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1.  In a high speed food processor, blend buckwheat groats until they are a fine flour.  Sift, and measure out 3 cups.  Now mix the remaining dry ingredients together.
2.  Now mix the wet ingredients EXCEPT milk, in food processor/blender to make it smooth.  Mix it in with dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Dough should be sticky.  If the dough looks too dry and is not mildly sticky, then begin adding the milk in NOW, beginning with 1/4 c.
3.  Onto a tapioca floured surface, turn dough out, and sprinkling more flour on top of dough, begin rolling out.  The trick here is to flip the whole dough sheet over once in a while and flouring gently to keep it from sticking.  If it still sticks, it's okay. Roll out the dough to a rectangle shape, about 1/2 inch in thickness.
**caution: do not over flour the surface, as it could make the dough too tough.
preheat the over NOW to 350.  And grease a cake pan with oil or a little vegan butter.
4.  Now's the fun part.  Except the oil/butter (and nuts if you're adding nuts), throw together the rest of the filling.  Using a spatula or a spreading device (spoons work too), spread a thin layer of earth balance or coconut oil on the whole dough sheet.  Then sprinkle evenly the sugar mixture, sprinkling on nuts afterward.
5.  Starting from the edge towards you, begin lifting gently and folding over the edge, rolling up the dough evenly.  Now, make a roll!  Good Job!
5.  Cut the roll up into 3 inch rolls.  You should end up with 8-10 (if there's more or less, that's fine, just grease another cake pan and bake em in there!)
(optional:  you could also get extra fancy by brushing on a bit of vegan butter or extra oil on the top to make a nice golden brown, but I didn't bother)
6.  Bake for 20-26 minutes, watching for goldenness.
7.  To make the frosting, blitz everything in a blender/food processor until smooth.
8.  Frost and consume rolls.  SO GOOD!!!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vegan Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

It's been quite a gruesome couple of weeks, and it won't end until the middle of July.  I work and am attending school, but it just so happens that the final week for school and the end of my lease is up at the same time.  So, I have to pack and move the same time that final papers are due.  Yikes!
I never realized it before, but being in the kitchen, playing a video on my laptop and just cooking is becoming my go to relaxation time (since cleaning or organizing has NEVER stuck as a "relaxing" habit).  I guess it's the act of creating something that you know will get immediate results (happy reactions from people.... hopefully) that makes it fun.  Since these next couple of weeks are going to be my last with my roommate, I thought I'd cook her favorite meal for her (she hates cooking) and a treat for dessert.  She decided on tuna melt on naan bread (she claims I make the best), and I decided vegan cookie dough balls, which can be eaten as they are OR blended into some banana soft serve for cookie dough soft serve!!!! YUM!

There are a LOT of recipes for vegan raw cookie dough balls out there.  But~ I thought I'd try my hand using ingredients that I had on hand, since I had to clean out the food in the fridge and pantry anyway.

*You can tweak the ingredients a bit to your liking, if you prefer cashews instead of almonds, but I would suggest a more bland nut as opposed to slightly bitter nuts like walnuts.
*Also, if you wanted it to be nut free, I'm sure you can use more oats and some medjool dates, pulsed in a food processor until broken down to form a paste, but you'd have to experiment with that
*You could probably also omit the choco chips and add raisins instead, adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to make an oatmeal cookie ball
*if you added some molasses (maybe half molasses, half syrup?) with some spices, the mixture would become gingerbread OR molasses cookie balls.
*I'm sure you can also use almond paste, marzipan if you wished to make an italian cookie flavor.
Have fun!  Experiment!  and let me know what you create!

Vegan Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
makes 12-20 balls, depending on how big you roll the dough

1 c almond flour (what I did was take almonds and blend it in a blender until flour consistency) OR 1 c raw cashews, blended until like flour
1/3 c + 1 generous Tbsp quick cooking oats
3 Tbsp maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, or rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c chocolate chips IF using mini chips, 1/3-1/2 c if using regular sized chips
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

1.  blend nuts into flour (do not over blend, as it will become butter), then pulse in oats until course.
2.  mix syrup, vanilla, salt and coconut (if using) into dry mixture.  stir in chocolate chips.
3.  prepare a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper and place rolled dough balls onto tray/plate.  freeze for 30 minutes, and if you like, place into an air tight plastic container for later consumption.  I'm assuming they should keep for at least a week or two, but they've never lasted that long in my house so....

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pistachio Banana Soft Serve

Does anyone else have fond memories of their parents taking them to Baskin Robbins as a child?  Unfortunately, my mother would only allow me to get either Rainbow Sherbet or Pistachio.  I don't know why... I guess she thought both were far less fattening and better for you than the other decadent flavors.  Regardless of my restrictions, I grew to love Pistachio, and am glad to report the success of a vegan banana soft serve version.  Perfect for those warm, summery days.

Pistachio Banana Soft Serve
serves 1

1/4 c shelled, salted pistachios
1/4 tsp almond extract*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract*
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or 1 piece of maple sugar)
1 frozen banana
1/3-1/2 c nondairy milk
*make sure that your extracts are gluten free if you have an intolerance.

1.  pulse pistachios in food processor until some pieces are chunks and others are like fine crumbs.
2.  add remaining ingredients, blitz until well incorporated, and EAT!

This is SO good, I may have to make another one tomorrow. :)  I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bits and Bobs Stir Fry

This week, my dinner idea was a failure.  I've been finding more and more foods that I find difficult to digest, so when a recipe called for thawed, shelled Edamame (soy beans), I just went with it.  Oh, did I pay for it.  The recipe didn't say to cook it, so I didn't.  Never again.

So I had to come up with something with left over veggies sitting in the fridge.  Mushrooms, zucchini, half a red onion.... those blasted edamame.  There was only one solution: Stir Fry!
I got creative and used nuts for texture and some raisins for a sweet surprise.  It turned out much better than I thought.  You can experiment with your own levels.  That's the great thing about stir fry and cooking, it's about having fun!

Bits and Bobs Stir Fry
serves 2 or 1 very hungry vegan

1 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 in. squares (or to your liking)
half a small red onion, sliced thin
10-12 oz of mushrooms, halved or quartered
5-6 oz of shelled edamame, steamed or microwaved (follow package instructions)
1 suggested serving of Daiya cheese (optional, but I find the creaminess adds a lot)
1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
1/4 c raisins (optional)

1.  Prep all the veggies and ingredients.  The stir frying bit comes together pretty fast.
2.  Pour/spray some oil into a skillet (or just throw a couple Tbsp of water if you prefer) on med-high and fry up the onions until translucent.  Then add the mushrooms, cooking until just softened.  Season here, with salt and pepper.
3.  Add zucchini, edamame, nutritional yeast, and almonds.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, just until cheese is beginning to melt, and transfer to a plate/bowl.
4.  Add raisins.  Enjoy!

I find that eating this dish with something tart, like pickles, adds punch, as the vinegar revives your tastebuds in between bites (although the sweet, crunchy, savory mix really doesn't let your tastebuds get bored). :)
Try mixing and matching other veggies: green/red peppers, eggplant, squash (I would omit the raisins, unless you like sweet dishes), and roots like potatoes or yams for more starch.  Play with your food!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Quick "Raw" Oatmeal Cookie Dough

I remember when I was back in college, a friend of mine was doing a fast called the Daniel fast.  She was only allowed to consume fruits, veggies, beans and nuts.  I think that was the moment I was introduced to my current vegan diet for the first time.
Well, she came walking down the hall with this bowl of "cereal", but it looked like oatmeal and cookie dough mixed together.  Once she gave me the recipe, I remember eating that thing everyday for weeks and weeks on end!  almost ten years later, it is still one of my favorite go-to's for when I want a healthy cookie for breakfast. :)
Thanks Michelle for sharing this discovery with me!

"Raw" Oatmeal Cookie Dough 
*gluten free (if using certified gluten free oats)
*nut free (if substituting with sunflower seed butter)

1 ripe banana
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or any other butter you prefer)
1/4-1/2 c of quick or regular rolled oats (depending on how chunky or thick you like it; you can add    more if you prefer)
couple pinches of raisins
1-2 Tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)

1.  Mash the banana well to form a nice paste, then mix in the peanut butter.
2.  Throw remaining ingredients in, mix well and devour!

~I like to eat my bowl of dough drowned in soy milk like scotch porridge is eaten.  I love it that way, it's just like eating cookie dough and milk!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Easy After Party Egg Rolls

My band played a show last night and it was great.  With old friends and new friends hanging out and having a good time, what more could be better?  Well, if you have to get up early the next day, you don't want to go to the store the night before and I was tired!  But since I'm a vegan, I have to make everything from scratch, especially if you want to save some money.  So looking at my pantry, I tried to satisfy my chinese food craving (but didn't want to suffer the calories) and created the following.  I never thought I'd be able to create some thing this tasty but there you go.  Necessity really is the mother of invention.
I had watched an episode of Unique Eats where one of the food trucks in Portland made dumplings that were stuffed with American comfort food favorites, like the hamburger.  So, using the vegan veggie patties that were in the freezer, the rice egg roll wrappers I hadn't used in FOREVER, and some random veggies in the fridge, I created the following.

*Note: these are gluten free because I use large vietnamese rice paper wrappers (you could find them nowadays in Asian sections of grocery stores), but if you only have wheat on hand, It won't matter.  you'll just have to cook them a little longer in the pan.
**If you have non-vegan guests, just use regular hamburger!  That's the beauty of this recipe, you can adapt it to the consumer's desire. :)
***Also, if you have any vegan (or regular) cheese, try putting it in!
****If you don't have Ginger and Orange Marmalade, using plain Orange Marmalade is fine.

Easy (lazy) Egg Rolls
serves 2 as appetizers OR 1 large meal

3 veggie patties, thawed and cut into 1/2 in. strips
6 rice wrappers
3 cabbage leaves, de-veined and julienned
1 small-medium carrot, julienned
1/4 c thinly sliced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)

1 Tbsp ginger & orange marmalade (I used St. Dalfour's)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce OR tamari OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos

utensils needed:
2 plates
1 pie pan or a wide & shallow dish

1.  Pour very hot water into pie pan.  get an assembly line arranged for fast assembly.
2.  Dip a rice wrapper into the water.  let it sit for about 1-2 min. until it gets soft.
Carefully spread onto a plate, and about 1/3 way up from the bottom of the wrapper (closest to you) stack the pattie and veggies up nice and tight.
Then gently, but tightly, fold the bottom flap over the stack, tuck the sides in, and roll it up. place finished egg roll on a clean plate.  Try not to let the egg rolls touch; rice wrappers tend to stick easily.
3.  Repeat for the rest.
4.  In a skillet or saucepan on med-high, pour or spray some oil in pan, and fry up the egg rolls on each side (about 2 min. each)
5.  Make the dipping sauce, and enjoy!

I have to say, the dipping sauce was a surprise.  I didn't think it would be so good!  Yum!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gluten Free Gingerbread Pancakes

I've been training for a half marathon, which means after I do a long run, I'm hungry ALL THE TIME!  I'm also told that you have to up your caloric & carb intake like crazy.  2000 calories and 60% of my meals to be carbs.  Well, today was one of those days where I needed the carbs, but I also wanted something.... molasses-y.  So, I found 2 recipes and spliced them to fit my needs, pancakes for 1 person.  :)  Necessity is the mother of invention.  Here it is!

*NOTE 1:  most gluten free mixes and recipes call for ingredients that are potato or white rice flour based which are very similar to white bread while others utilize a lot of oats and not oats are gluten free.  That's the reason why I really like Tammy Credicott's recipes because she uses seed flours, like Teff, to make whole grain gluten free goods.
That being said, please overlook the fact that the recipe does call for quite a bit of ingredients.  I promise that if you do a lot of gluten free baking, then having these flours in store is awesome, as it will produce great pancakes, waffles, scones, biscuits, etc.  I highly recommend her book for perusal.
*NOTE 2: if you have difficulty finding some of these flours, Bob's Red Mill sells all of them, and you can purchase them easily online.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Pancakes
(inspired by Tammy Credicott and Erin McKenna's recipes)
serves 1

scant 1 Tbsp teff flour
1/3 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 Tbsp potato starch
scant 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
small pinch of cardamom
small pinch of nutmeg
small pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp ginger
1/3 c nondairy milk mixed with
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegan oil)
1 Tbsp molasses (I like blackstrap)
1/4 c warm water
crushed pecans (optional)

1.  mix dry ingredients together and mix well, removing clumps.
2. begin heating a griddle or a skillet.
3. mix nondairy milk and vinegar together, set aside.  mix wet ingredients together, including milk and pour into dry ingredients.  DON'T over mix.  Stir just enough so most clumps are removed.
4. ladle out 4 pancakes on a griddle or skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on med/med-high heat (depending on burner) on each side.
5.  to serve, sprinkle nuts on (if you like) and pour maple syrup over, with a side of eggs & brekkie meat or the vegan alternatives.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Raw Garden Pasta

First, I have to apologize for my absence.  Unfortunately, they're going to be more frequent as my Summer semester has started and it's a condensed semester, which means that I have to finish 16 weeks' worth of work in 8.  Plus, I'm moving before it ends, which means I'll be bald before it's all over. :(
Luckily, summer's on its way in, and I found the perfect recipe to prepare you for it.  It tastes like summer, fresh and full of flavors, but it doesn't way you down, perfect for that beach bod you want or that extra outdoor activity you're going to be running out to do. :)

The following recipe is from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, and I've tweaked it to become a raw pasta dish to reduce carbs and for that extra fibrous punch. The following recipe is to serve 4-6 but you can easily make smaller portions.  I usually make a huge batch and just eat it for the whole week.  Also, if you want to try warm pasta, all you have to do is just heat the dish really quick in a skillet for about 30 seconds-1 minute, just until the dish is mildly heated through and it's divine!  Tastes better than the real deal.  Hope you enjoy it!

Raw Garden Pasta
(inspired by Ina Garten's Summer Garden Pasta)

4 small-medium sized zucchinis (or courgettes if you speak French)
4 pints of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved (you can go fancy and use the multicolored ones if you like)
1/3 c good olive oil (I use extra virgin)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 Tbsp minced garlic
18 basil leaves, julienned (and more, if you like, for garnish)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
Vegan grated parmesan (optional. but it adds a LOT of flavor)

1.  Spiralize or cut the zucchini into pasta-like strips. place in a large bowl.
2.  mix oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic in a bowl.  add in tomatoes and basil.  mix well.  Let it sit for 4 hours.
3.  Toss everything together.  sprinkle oregano and parm over the dish, give another stir, and enjoy!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Full British Brekkie

Some people HATE tomato beans (or baked beans, as they call it here in the U.S.), especially when they think about putting it on buttered toast, but~ I always say, hate AFTER you've tried it.

I don't remember when I became an anglophile, I think it began way back when my sister and I started listening to the Spice Girls (yes, a mildly embarassing adolescent memory, but still).  I became infatuated with the accents, then moved on to the culture, literature, etc.  So when friends introduced me to the food, I was elated.  I was warned, however, that British food is traditionally very bland and boring.
Well, I am happy to report that I love traditional British food: Cornish Pasties, Yorkshire Pudding, traditional sunday roasts with parsnip bakes, banoffee pie, Custard, really good British Tea (which really isn't British), and the full English breakfast.
Traditionally the English breakfast consists of bangers (sausages), bacon (British bacon is more like Canadian bacon, less fatty and meatier, cut thick and not smoke cured I found), eggs, grilled/pan fried tomatoes and mushrooms, beans, and either potatoes and/or toast.  It really is a FULL breakfast.  Sometimes it includes blood pudding, if you like that or not.
As a vegan, I have definitely missed this meaty breakfast, so I've adapted it (as many other vegans have done before me) to fit my dietary needs.  Feel free to mix and match, but this is how I've done it today.

Toast (gluten free bread/biscuit if you are allergic)
Earth Balance "butter"
baked beans
tempeh sausage crumbles (or any quick breakfast meat to your liking)
tofu scramble (optional, to replace eggs)
tomatoes, quartered and grilled quickly, just until tomato is heated through and golden on each side

Homemade Tomato Beans
(adapted from Tammy Credicott)

*I like saucy beans, so that's how I've adapted this recipe.  If you don't like that much, halve the recipe after the onions.
2 cans of white, pinto or kidney beans (I sometimes use up whatever beans I have on hand), 1 can drained only
1/2 onion, diced small
2/3 c ketchup
4 Tbsp soy sauce OR tamari OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses (if you don't like molasses, just substitute for maple syrup)
4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp chili powder (optional, I didn't use any)
salt and pepper to taste

1.  sautee onions in a pot with some oil on medium heat until transluscent.
2.  add all ingredients in and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10-20 minutes.

When everything is fried up and ready to be consumed, you toast your bread, butter it, then smother it over with the beans.  mmm~ yummy goodness!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Random Salad with My Mom's Barbeque Sauce

I've been studying all day, and haven't had the motivation (or the time) to go to the store to restock the bare shelves.  Every week, I try to only go to the store once (or make all the trips in 1 go), and eat whatever I have for that week.  By today, I had some salad greens, a couple of tomatoes, a grapefruit and a small squash. I did have some left over chimichurri tempeh from the week's meals, and a block of tofu.  This had to last me for the rest of the weekend.  Four meals with this?  So, after polishing off some of it for lunch today, I decided to get creative.  I first pressed the extra firm tofu to remove more moisture, and then sliced them into thick slabs of tofu steaks, and marinated them in my mom's barbeque sauce.  Then, I took half of a grapefruit and threw slices and chunks onto a bed of greens and sprinkled some dried cranberries atop.  I made sure I had all the juice from the grapefruit on the greens as well (because I don't use dressing on my salads).  Then, I sprinkled a light dust of cinnamon, topped it all off with grilled BBQ tofu, and voila! a dinner to satisfy the vegan gourmet palate.  For more texture, add a sprinkle of either crisp noodles or your favorite seed (like pumpkin or sunflower) and it will be divine.

Mom's BBQ Sawce

your favorite vegan BBQ sauce (I used Wegman's Organic)
Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
several cloves of garlic, minced

1.  This recipe is simple: 3 parts BBQ sauce to 1 part red pepper paste.  (if you like it spicier, make it 2:1).  Add in the minced garlic, give it a good stir, and you're laughin'!

*what's great about this sauce is that the sugar in the BBQ sauce carmelizes when you grill it, so remember, that's what you want!
**Remember, if you're going to make the tofu, to press it before hand so that you get a meatier tofu texture.  You can try this on tempeh or whatever other vegan meat you like.

 Random Salad
(makes 2 very large portions or 4 side salad portions)

a VERY large handful of your favorite (or left over) salad greens (I used organic field greens)
half a grapefruit, sliced and roughly torn with fingers (remember to save juices!)
some dried cranberries (optional)
some pepitas or pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp or so of a light dusting of cinnamon over salad

1.  layer salad together, top with BBQ tofu, and done!

The Recipe I Forgot: Mango Salsa!

Oooh man.  Once you've tried this baby, you'll not want to go back to regular salsa again.  It's SO good!  I grew up on mangos, living in California.  My dad would cut them up for us, and my sister and I would fight over who got to gnaw on the meat around the seed (because that was the fun part!). :)  We lived off of Mexican food too, although it started with Taco Bell, and as we got older (and wiser) we were introduced to REAL Mexican cuisine.  So, I don't know why it never crossed my noggin to mix the two.
Fast forward 20+ years and at a work party, my co-worker brings in his belatedly promised Mango Salsa.  Skeptically, I grab a chip, dip, and then gasp.  "OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING!!!!"  Then, began to stuff my face.... trying to leave some for the rest of the crowd (to my dismay).  I stalked him and got this recipe.  He was very gracious to allow me to share it on my blog.  I made it, then forgot, and now, I am sharing it with you!  So make it and let me know how much you love it!!!!

Mango Salsa
(courtesy of Jonathan Dann)

*TIP: when cutting any veggies into a mix, try and get all the veggies the same size.  That way the flavors and textures are complimentary.

1 well ripe mango (or 2 champagne mangoes), diced
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp sweet, yellow, orange, and/or red pepper, diced
1-2 Tbsp red onion, minced
1-2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seeded for milder salsa; for spicier, use a habanero/scotch bonnet pepper)
1-2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
zest from 1 lime
1 fresh garlic clove, minced

optional additives:
-more diced tomatoes for color and size
-salt and pepper to taste

1.  mix and eat!

I dare you to try not to eat the whole serving in one sitting!  I assume this would be lovely with salad, with chimichurri-ed tofu/tempeh (or meat, for your meat loving friends), with tostones, with ANY latin cuisine, really.  Get creative!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Banana Ice Cream

So~ I love ice cream.  Who doesn't?  But my recent health problems have kept me from being able to eat the delicious vegan coconut ice cream I've come to love (SHOUT OUT TO Luna & Larry's Ginger Caramel!), so I've had to sit with a sad face until I saw Banana Soft Serve mentioned on ohsheglows' blog.  Why didn't I think of that!  So when the munchies hit tonight, I definitely put my vitamix to good use and did the following.  You can adjust the recipe to what you like, but remember: get CREATIVE!
For example: Mocha Ice cream (a shot of cold espresso with cocoa powder) or Jamoca Almond (mocha ice cream with almond butter or crushed almonds mixed in), or how about Pistachio flavor!  Below is the most basic, classic recipe: Chocolate!

Chocolate Banana Soft Serve
adapted/inspired by ohsheglows

2 frozen bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional, *if allergic, make sure extract is gluten free)
1/4 c cocoa powder (raw cocoa powder if you're trying to go as raw as possible)
1+ Tbsp maple syrup (more if you like sweet ice cream)
1/4+ c non dairy milk (to help it along, the measurement will depend on how dry or stiff the mix looks)

1.  Blend everything in the processor.   You are going to have to scrape down the sides a couple times to help it along the way.

and voila!

add in ideas:
peanut butter/almond butter
cocao nibs (i totally added a whole bunch in for that added crunch)
fruit (if you're a choco and fruit kind of person)
maple cream
cookie bits/cookie dough

the options are endless!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ultimate Pickle: Korean Kimchi

Okay friends,
Here's the moment of truth:  like pickles?  check.  like spicy?  check.  like good bacteria? (think yogurt) check.  Then here's the the superfood side dish for you: KIMCHI!!!

It isn't easy to find vegan friendly kimchi from stores because traditional recipes call for fish sauce, oysters, and salted shrimp brine.  Some also have been using MSG (ewwwwww!).  I was not happy to find that my favorite Kimchi brand was not vegan friendly.  So~ like the determined korean I am, I decided to make my own.

Ladies and Gents, get ready to challenge your taste buds to the best spicy/sweet/tart condiment to everything you'll eat for now and ever more!

I tried making Cubed Daikon Kimchi and the traditional Cabbage Kimchi.  The spicy mixture for the Daikon and Cabbage Kimchi is 1 kind that can be used in both (which makes life easy). :)  It's easier if you make the two different kimchis (or 1 very large batch) all at once.  If you want to only make 1 kind, then double the napa cabbage or double the daikon.

these recipes are adapted from Maangchi's Kimchi Recipe

Utensils needed:
2 large airtight plastic or glass containers
(like large pickle jars)
mandolin (if you have one, otherwise sharpen your knive skills)
3 large bowls (or large pots)
measuring cups

**do NOT wear white while attempting this recipe!!!

Cabbage Kimchi

1 napa cabbage head, cut into longitudinal quarters (length wise, the long ways)
1 c of course kosher salt

1.  make sure the cabbage is washed well (cabbages can carry dirt very well), making sure to wash between the leaves.  drain well.
2.  in a wide, large bowl/pot, throw generous amounts of salt in between each leaf.  NOTE:  this is a very important process, so do NOT skimp on the leaves and the salt.  let all the cabbage sit for 2 hours, then turn the cabbage over so the salt seeps into the leaves and removes the moisture for another 2 hours.
3.  when the cabbage has wilted after 4-5 hours, rinse the cabbage well in cold water for 2-3 washes.  rinse well.  drain, and set aside.

Daikon Kimchi

1 12-18 inch long, 6 inch wide Chinese radish/daikon (can be attained from an Asian market)
1/2 c fine salt

1.  scrub the daikon very well.  cut off the head and the tail and cube the daikon into 1 inch cubes.  don't worry if the cubes aren't uniform.
2.  in a wide, large bowl, sprinkle salt over the cubes and mix the salt through.  let it sit for 2-4 hours, mixing half way through.
3.  rinse well in cold water and drain.

Spicy Paste/Mix/Porridge!

1-8x10 in. sheet of kelp (dashima)
1/2 c dark miso (if you have gluten allergies, make sure the miso is gluten free)
1/2 c sweet rice flour
2-4 c of korean red pepper flakes (gochu garu)
2 c diced asian chives (buchu)
2 bulbs of garlic, minced (about 1 c)
1 c finely diced onion
1 bunch of green onions, diced thinly
2 carrots, thinly shredded
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
2 c shredded daikon/radish (mu)
1 c shredded asian pear
1/2 c grated asian pear (like apple sauce)

1.  An hour before the cabbage and radish are done wilting, begin the vegan stock.  Place 5 cups of water in a pot and add kelp.  Let it steep slowly for 15-30 minutes simmering, then add the miso.  Let it boil until the miso is completely dissolved.  Remove the kelp and add the sweet rice flour, stirring it in until a paste forms.  Turn off heat and let it cool a bit.
2.  In a bowl, pour the paste in and begin adding the other ingredients one at a time.
**NOTE about the pepper flakes:  I mixed in 2 cups because I'm a horrible Korean and am a weakling when it comes to spice, but if you're a spicy food guru, mix in the full 4 cups.**
Mix well until everything is a spicy, colorful paste/porridge.

Now the fun begins!

3.  Prepare the jars/containers right next to you so you can transfer the ready cabbage and radishes without staining things.
Put 1 of the quartered cabbages in the spicy paste bowl and begin spreading the mixture in between each layer.  Make sure to get right into the "roots" of the leaves.  When all the leaves are done, turn over, and gently squeeze and wrap the large leaves around the inside of the cabbage.  If the paste seeps out, don't worry about it.  Repeat with the remaining cabbages.  Stack the wrapped cabbages in the container tightly.
About half of the spicy paste should be left over.
4.  Mix all the daikon cubes into the remaining paste, and mix well.  Pour the daikon mix into another container.

Let the kimchis sit for a couple of days before trying, although eating the fresh kimchi is good too!  But when the flavors seep into the veggies, it's even better.  The kimchi should last in your fridge for a couple of weeks, even months, but remember that cabbage kimchi will get very "ripe", which means the fermentation/sourness is very strong, the older it is.  If you have difficulty eating very sour kimchi, then make sure to consume sooner.  Otherwise Kimchi stew or Kimchi pancakes are perfect dishes to use up very "ripe" kimchi.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beat Spring by Juicing!

My roommate and I have been juicing a LOT since I purchased a Vitamix.  I just have to say that WE ARE IN LOVE.  How did we ever live without one in the past?  Why was I so deprived and uneducated?  It is pitiful how empty my life (and my digestive tract) was previous to my juicing splurge.
So I thought I'd share two great recipes.  Actually I really don't like health drinks, and believe it or not, I grew up on fast food and junk, so the fact that I'm a vegan and a health nut is definitely a miracle from God (do you hear the angels' chorus?).  :)  I don't really suggest anyone make this unless they have a good quality, high speed blender because regular kitchen blenders don't break down the veggies enough to create a smooth consistency that's palatable (even for the toughest green drink consumer).  Also, some recipes all for protein powder to be added, but I highly DISCOURAGE this!  The result is grainy and makes me want to gag (and I personally pride myself on having a high gross-tasting-but-good-for-you food tolerance).  Seriously though, after you go a week or two (or the rest of your life!) drinking such drinks, you'll feel like you could do anything.  Be Superman/woman!

*Note:  I buy organic produce and just wash the produce, leaving on the skin on the veggies whenever I can, but you can peel all the skin off of your veggies if you like :)

Green Juicing Drink
(adapted from ohsheglows' Green Monster)

2 c kale, roughly chopped
1 whole english cuke, peeled, seeded and chopped into large chunks
1 c pineapple
1-2 tsp ginger, peeled and diced small
1 large sweet apple, chopped
1 banana (optional)

1.  in blender, start either by pulsing or on a low setting.  push down the veggies to get them going.  when all the veggies are blending without your help, turn up the speed gradually (on a Vitamix, start at 1, work your way up to a 4) and blend until desired consistency.

The next drink is great for naturally beating allergies that come every Spring because pineapples and berries have natural antihistamines (or so I've been told), but won't make you drowsy!  Ginger helps with digestion and is great for your immune system helping to fight colds, so chug this ruby red baby down if you want to keep any sniffles away!

Red Juicing Drink

1 beet, scrubbed and chopped
1 medium carrot, scrubbed and chopped
1.5 c pineapple
5-6 strawberries
1 tsp ginger, diced small
1 while english cuke, peeled, seeded and chopped into large chunks

1.  follow instructions for green drink

Now, go and save the world!

Some Zingers

This week's meal plan is out of this world!  I couldn't wait so I'm sharing it right now!
Remember the last post, the Vegan Shepherd's Pie?  Well I made the filling again and smothered it over brown rice pasta and a little extra sauce and BAM!  it was divine.  I also wanted some "cheesy"ness so I used avocado (since I can't eat anything that's 'put together').  It was easy!

Avocado "Cheese" Sauce

2 Avocados
6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste
(if you can't stand that avocado-y taste, put in lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time until desired flavor)

1.  mash avocados.  mix everything in.  stir. enjoy!

Then~ I made a veggie bake and it turned out delicious!

Brussel Sprout and Butternut Squash Bake
(inspired by ohsheglows' Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts recipe)

2 lbs of brussel sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
1 butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 medium onion
3-4 garlic cloves
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, removed from twig and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil or oil of choice
salt and pepper to taste

1.  preheat oven to 350.
2.  mix all prepped veggies together in a bowl or in baking pan, drizzle with oil and mix well.  sprinkle in salt, pepper and rosemary.
3.  the key here for great baked veg is this:  single layer spread!  do NOT dump all veggies into 1 tray because you don't want to wash 2 trays (which is my M. O. guilty!)  this allows for the veggies to crisp and cook evenly.
4.  bake for 45 min-1hr.

And that, my friends is the BEST week meal (well... until next time, that is :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Not Too Late to Celebrate My Irish Roots!

So I wanted to do something Irish because in my heart of hearts, I believe I am Irish (or British, or Scottish.... whatever I really feel like that day), and having a little bit of the celtic tradition isn't bad at all, especially when it comes to good ol' comforting potatoes.  But~ what more can be Irish than Shepherd's Pie and Guinness?
Frankly, since I've been on my clean/gluten-free eating regime, it hasn't been the easiest.  I mean, I LOVE sandwiches, and the rule is: NO bread (even if it is gluten free), NO rich foods (like vegan cheese sauces), just simple, plucked-from-God's-green-earth to your table kind of food, which I love, but when you see someone walking around chowing down a pizza, your jealousy arouses.  Grrr!  :)

So~ I was really happy to see that Shepherd's Pie would be an easy, YES food that I could eat and enjoy.  YAY!  I looked at a couple different recipes and wanted to make something as authentic and close to traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie as possible, so the following is the end result.  However, I did add beer to the recipe instead of water because, let's face it, what true Irishman would add water when they could add Guinness?  (because of my gluten free diet, I used gluten free dark beer instead of Guinness).  The end result?  Massive flavor and just the right amount of starch that anyone from the old country would love.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie
(inspired by Danny Boome's recipe and Vegan Shepherd's Pie recipe)
serves 4-6 (depending on how ravenous you are)

Mashed Potato layer:
5 russet potatoes
1 c coconut milk OR a non-dairy milk of choice
1/4 c olive oil OR 3-4 Tbsp earth balance
2 tsp salt

Sauce for Filling:
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
1/2 a vegetable bouillon cube mixed into 
1/2 c beer
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce 

Bottom layer / Filling:
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2-1 c peas
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
2-8 oz pkgs of tempeh OR 15 oz of meatless meat crumbles OR 1-16 oz pkg of extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
2 Tbsp soy sauce OR BRAGG'S liquid aminos OR Tamari

1.  Make mashed potatoes.  Put potatoes in pot with salted water to cover and cook until fork tender.  While potatoes are boiling, prepare the "meat".  
*If using tempeh:
Cut tempeh into 1 in. cubes and put in a saucepan/skillet with 2 Tbsp soy sauce and let simmer for 20 min. or until water is evaporated/absorbed.  Mash with a masher, then sautee with some oil for 10-15 min. until the tempeh resembles meat crumbles.  
*If using tofu: 
stir fry tofu cubes until crisp on each side OR put in oven on BROIL for about 15-20 min. until cooked all around.
*If using meatless crumbles: 
follow package directions.  
2.  When the potatoes are about done, bring the milk and butter/oil to just bubbling on the stove.  Then drain and mash the potatoes and pour in the liquids: the key is to heat the liquid and fat, and pour into warm potatoes so the potatoes absorb all the liquid and create that creamy consistency.
3.  Now, let's finish the remaining filling parts.  
Stir fry onion, carrots, celery, garlic in another pan till just mildly tender.  Stir in thyme and peas and tempeh.  add tomato paste first, sautéing for a minute, then add remaining sauce ingredients.  Bring to a boil, when heated through, turn off stove.
4.  In a casserole dish or  9 x 13 baking dish, layer the meat and veggies down evenly, then layer on mashed potatoes.  if desired, add vegan cheese on top.  
Bake at 400 for 20 min. 

I can't tell you how delicious this was.  I think I'm going to take the filling/stew-y bit next week, add a little bit of tomato sauce (just a touch) and pour it over some brown rice pasta and call it pasta putanesca.  Mmmm~  It's making me hungry just thinking about it. :)
If you make this dish, let me know what you think.  Happy Dingus Day everyone!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Vegan Korean

Hello All!

My post title is not a declaration of my dietary and ethnic stance but the topic of food discussion today.
The truth is a lot of vegan options come from Asian cuisine, especially because traditionally, soy is heavily consumed especially in SouthEastern Asian countries.  Miso (Japanese)/Dwen-Jang (Korean), a fermented soy bean paste most commonly used in soups and/or as a seasoning, are from the soy bean and are used in every day cuisines.  In China alone there are at least 6 different types of bean pastes!
Aside from this, there is tofu, tempeh and soy sauce to name a few.  Being one of the very few complete proteins to grow in the fields and not come from a butcher's block, soy is a wonderful source of meeting your protein needs.
Aside from soy, the variety in Asian cuisine makes vegan cooking fun!  Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese (not to generalize the great varieties of cuisine in the different provinces alone in this great nation), Japanese, Korean, Fillipino, etc. all lend interesting takes on a lifestyle that can easily be misunderstood as eating, "rabbit food".
The other great thing about Asian cuisine is that because so much of their food is based around rice, it is gluten free, although sometimes depending on the dish (and more recently with western technologies) foods can contain wheat.  So please check packaging for ingredients!
So~ what did I make this week?  Korean Food!  I have been craving rice cakes like crazy.  Sweet and savory/spicy (which is a Korean must), so the following recipes are for a basic Sweet Rice Cake (it's originally called Baek Sul Ki), with options for tasty modifications, and the ever popular Korean staple, Dduk Bbok Ki (spicy rice cakes).
Some of the ingredients may be purchased at Korean or Asian specialty food stores.  Make sure if you have a wheat allergy that you specifically read the ingredients to make sure you get rice cakes for the spicy dish without wheat!  The same goes for Miso, as some contain grains other than rice.

Sweet Rice Cake (Baek Sul Ki)
adapted from Dr. Ben's recipe
Utensils needed:
pot with a steamer insert and lid OR
pot with a fan steamer, and the rim frame from a springform pan and lid
2 sheets of thick paper towels (bounty really is the best)
1 large bowl
1 medium bowl
wooden spoon OR mixing spoon
dish cloth/tea towel

1 lb of frozen rice flour (not the sweet rice kind), thawed for 30 min. - 1hr.
2 Tbsp of sweet rice flour
1-2 Tbsp of raw sugar (or any other sweetener you like)
2 Tbsp-1/4 c water

1/3 c of reconstituted and cooked black beans
*tip: boil dry beans for 30 min. and they should be fully reconstituted and cooked through
1/4 c each of golden and Thompson raisins (or any other dark raisin)
1/2-1 c of fully cooked chestnuts
(I use cooked chestnuts vacuum packaged in simple syrup, but you can buy peeled chestnuts and steam them yourself)

also try: adzuki beans/paste and korean jujubes julienned.

1. prepare the pot, filling with enough water to not reach the bottom of the steamer when boiling (you may have to refill the water in the pot if necessary).  line the steamer with paper towels (if you are using the makeshift steaming basket, here's how to do it:
open fan steamer, place the springform frame on it.  line with paper towels.  if you happen to have a fan steamer with a handle in the middle, just work around it.)
2.  mix the rice flours and sugars together in a medium bowl (if you're planning on using a liquid sweetener, mix it in with the water until dissolved).  slowly drizzle in water and mix through.  ditch the spoon and begin rubbing the clumpy flour together, ensuring that the moisture reaches all the flour.
3.  sift the clumpy flour through a sifter.  TURN ON STOVE.  make sure the water is a gentle rolling boil, or enough to create steam inside the pot, about Med, Med/Low.  Keep lid on pot until everything's ready.
4.  mix in whatever you want to add, then evenly distribute into steamer.  DON'T PRESS THE RICE CAKE DOWN.  I found that when I did that, it didn't cook through.  you can lightly pat the surface, just to even things out, but don't compact it like sand.
5.  place steamer in pot, cover with towel, then lid, and let it steam for 40-45 min.  I like to tuck the tea towel up over the lid and place a weight on the lid.
6.  Turn off stove, then remove steamer, and onto a plate, turn out the rice cake.  remove paper towels and enjoy!  :)

Dduk Bbok Ki
adapted from Maangchi

1 large carrot, sliced thinly into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 green onions, cut into 3-4 in. lengths
1/4 of a small cabbage, cored and sliced into thin shreds
1/3-1/2+ c red pepper paste (to taste)
2 Tbsp miso (make sure it's gluten free if you're allergic)
8 inch sheet of dried kelp
1 pkg of rice cakes for Dduk Bbok Ki (about 2-3 lbs)
4 c water

1.  In a good sized pot, pour water in with kelp.  Bring to a simmer, and let simmer for about 15 min.  This is creating the seafood-y stock flavor.  When the water is a gentle, clear green, put the miso in, and crank stove to HI.
2.  Put the veggies in, and the red pepper paste.  When boiling, put rice cakes in, and let it stew for 15-30 min.  The longer it stews, the more the starch from the cakes thickens the sauce and the flavor gets absorbed into the cakes.  This is what you want!  If you want better rice cakes, make this ahead of time and just reheat a day later.  It is delicious!

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Favorite Go-To Chili

Hello friends!

I know that I am a very sporadic blogger, and I apologize for that.  I'm currently working a full-time job, teach pilates at a gym a couple nights a week, am in Grad school, in a band and I also help out at my church sometimes.  So~ it's difficult to have sanity time sometimes. :P  But I wanted to share the recipe that I am currently making RIGHT NOW! :)

I just came back from a visit to the Nutritionist because I've developed some food allergies over the years, and as I've become vegan, the number has increased.  I've also developed a sensitivity to certain foods, so I decided to be my own Sherlock Holmes and get to the bottom of all of this.
Doctor's diagnosis:  clean eating and NO gluten for 4 weeks.  Yikes!  So, making this week my last fling for a month (mostly because I have leftover desserts from this weekend's birthday party), I'm making Vegan Chili and my vegan tofu fries again.

Post Punk Kitchen's Tempeh Chili con Frijoles has been my go to chili for the last month.  When I, Queen of I-get-bored-with-food-blah-blah make a dish 2x in a single month, it's that good!  So here's my recipe, with the modifications off of PPK's wonderful original. :)

Go-To Chili
(adapted from PPK's Tempeh Chili con Frijoles)

1-8 oz pkg of tempeh, cubed
2 green peppers, diced
5 medium sized carrots, diced or sliced into 1/2 in. circles
2 medium yellow onions, diced
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
some olive oil for sauteing
1 Tbsp soy sauce
5-6 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
couple dashes of black pepper
2-15 oz cans of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint of chocolate stout (I used Young's Double Chocolate Stout)
1-6 oz can of tomato paste
1-28 oz of diced tomatoes
2 tsp maple syrup (or a couple more to taste)
juice of a lemon
2 large handfuls of cilantro, chopped roughly
*if the chili is much thicker than your taste, add 2-3 c of water, adding 1 cup at a time.  I like my chili flavored intensely and thick, so I omit the water all together.

1.  in a saucepan with a lid, add tempeh and water just enough to cover it and the soy sauce.  Bring it to a boil, reduce to med-high heat, and let it simmer until all the water has evaporated.  This can take 15-25 min.
While that's going, in a large pot, put in your onions, peppers and carrots and saute with a Tbsp of oil on med-high heat.  It should brown but not char, as if you were caramelizing the veggies.
2.  When the water evaporates from the tempeh, mash them with a masher, and add a tsp or two of oil and saute for another 10-15 min.
When the veggies are good and browned (about 20 minutes or so), add garlic and cook for 1 min.  Then add spices and cook for another minute.
Add beer and cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbly (turn heat up to high).
3.  Now, add the beans, tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Tempeh should be done now, so add tempeh as well.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer at med-high heat for 20 minutes.  *If you added water, then uncover pot and boil for another 30 minutes uncovered on med heat.
4.  When done, add maple syrup, lemon and cilantro.  Now consume with either vegan sour cream or guacamole! mmmm~
(very delicious with cornbread too!)
**Note:  Chili, like all saucy dishes, taste better the next day.  All the flavors marry and have time to develop, so if you can make it a day before, I highly recommend it!

For dinner, I'm going to take some of this chili and drown my tofu fries in it.  Instant chili fries! What! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arsenals For Your Armory

Two posts in a day?!?  I know!  :)
But while I had my computer up and running, I thought I'd give a simple overview (not the most exhaustive, I assure you) of some great beginning books for starter vegans.

I believe I posted a couple of easy vegan websites to view if you're new to the vegan scene on my very first post. If you are one who loves your neighborhood library or spending hours at your nearest bookstore poring over cookbooks for free (ahem, guilty!), then here is a list of books that I have found to be very useful.  In all actuality, there are some that I depend on everyday, no joke, while others are there for ideas/inspiration.  Overall, each vegan has their own bodily needs, some are prone to eat more grains while staying completely away from fats, while others eat healthy fats (avocados, coconut products, nuts, etc.) but will go easy on the carbs for example.  Listen to your body and do what is best for you.  Each person is different, so you may have to experiment for a bit but doing what is best and makes your  body feel at its optimum best is what's good.  There's no cookie cutter recipe for all of us, but putting good, clean food into us, coupled with a healthy lifestyle will provide a basis for a strong and healthy body.  

(not in any definitive order)
Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon
Everyday Happy Herbivore (by same author)
Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Brunch (by same author)
The Sexy Vegan Cookbook by Brian L. Patton
The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen
The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
New Food for Thought by Jane Noraika (this can only be purchased in England, as far as I know)
The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld and George Minot
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
The Forks Over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe, Julieanna Hever, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Darshana Thacker.
Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner
I Am Grateful by Terces Engelheart and Orchid (this is a RAW cookbook)
The Healthy Gluten Free Life by Tammy Credicott

*I also like using regular cookbooks for inspiration and any cooking shows as well.  If you loved the legendary Betty Crocker Cookbook, you will be glad to find that there is a veganized Betty cookbook:
Betty Goes Vegan by Dan Shannon and Annie Shannon

One of my favorites are recipes that are very stripped down so that the vegan conversion will not be so complicated.  Some of my favorite chefs that offer such simple recipes are:
Jamie Oliver, Barefoot Contessa (back to basics), Giada DeLaurentis, Kelsey's Essentials, Rachel Allen, Aarti Sequeira, Ree Drummond, Claire Robinson.

If you are a baker, here are some baking books that might suit your fancy:
Babycakes by Erin McKenna
Babycakes Covers the Classics (by same author)
Sweet Gratitude by Matthew Rogers, Tiziana Aripo Tambora and Terces Engelheart
Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (by same authors)
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (by same authors)

There are also a lot of baking recipes in many of the vegan cookbooks noted above.
If you have a favorite Vegan restaurant that you attend, they may have a published book of your favorite dishes.  Make sure to check with the cafe/restaurant to find out.  Some of the cafes/restaurants that do have publications are:

The Candle Cafe cookbook & Candle 79 cookbook
Food For Thought
I Am Grateful & Sweet Gratitude (from Cafe Gratitude)
ReFresh cookbook

Whew!  You don't have to be an avid reader, but it pays off to do some studying when you're a vegan.  It makes for keeping away boring meals and conforming to the vegan stereotype: you eat rabbit food.

Comfort Food for the Long Stretch

I apologize for the hiatus.  Work, grad school and life in general has been kickin' my butt!  But~ I had a wonderful food revelation and I needed to share it, so I finally found time to write up another post.  :)
It was any typical Friday evening.  I was hungry and tired, having skipped out on exercising to run errands and got home late.  I have been cutting out most of my carbs of late (with a few indulgences here and there) and I needed to fulfill my 50 grams of protein quota more than have more sugar in my veins.  But I didn't want rabbit food.  Nope, I wanted edible comfort, it being cold and everything.  Then, it hit me.  SMOTHERED FRIES!!!!
For anyone living in Buffalo, NY you would have heard at least once somewhere about Amy's Place on Main St. near UB's South campus.  A college student staple, it is also one of the few vegan-friendly restaurants in town, offering seitan/tofu options to most every dish.  It is truly a gem, and one the items on their menu that I've heard raves about is their Veggie Wet Shoes Fries, curly fries doused in lentils, veggies and cheesy goodness.  So, I thought I'd try my take on it (though I've never had it before).

Here's what I did:
*Tofu Fries (the base)
*curried broccoli, baked
*raw red peppers (or lightly sauteed if you like)
*vegan velveeta cheese sauce!!!!

and the end result:

Here are the recipes:

**TOFU FRIES (baked)
-extra firm tofu (preferably pressed further to pull extra water out), cut into fry sticks
-oil spray
-salt and favorite seasoning (I like garlic powder)

1.  put oven on broil OR 400 degrees.  place parchment paper on baking sheet.
2.  coat tofu fry sticks in a bowl with oil, salt & seasoning, very well.  place on sheet and bake.
if BROIL:  for 20 minutes.  if 400:  12 minutes each side.

-half a head of broccoli, size of handsbreath
-1 tsp curry powder
-1/4 cumin powder
-1/4 coriander powder
-garlic powder
-oil spray

1.  cut broccoli into pieces (i like 1 inch chunks with the stems and halves of the florets).
2.  in a bowl, spray broccoli with oil, then sprinkle in the spices and salt, mix well.
3.  i like to bake them on the same tray as the tofu fries, but you need to put them in for just half the baking time, otherwise they burn.  (so just for the second half of baking time)

-1/4-1/2 red bell pepper (depending on how much you like peppers), cut into 1 inch chunks.

1.  you can sautee them in a skillet, but I liked them raw.  it added a sweetness to the overall dish, and fresh crunch.

I found this recipe at Plant Powered Kitchen


1.  In a bowl (or a plate if you don't mind spreading mess), layer tofu fries on the inside of the bowl, not stacking them in a heap but laying them out, like a blanket.  
2.  Then dump in your veggies in the center of the well, and douse with the cheese sauce.  

I found that the flavor comes out better when I sprinkle with a bit of salt after everything's assembled (maybe sauce needs more salt?) but that's based on your preferences, so please do as you like.  
Anyway, enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

My New Favorite Sammich: the REUBEN

I LOVE visiting new towns.  The thing is, whenever I have to go visit another city, I research my meal options as if my life depended on it.... well it sorta does. 
I have found so many wonderful gems: 
Saratoga Springs-Four Seasons store and cafe (the BEST carrot cake EVER!!)
Rochester-Lori's Whole Foods

but from them all, my greatest find was in Syracuse:
oh my word.  Completely vegan friendly, their vegan milkshake variety is to die for.  But, from everything, what brought me to absolute tears were their sandwiches. 

Can I just pause for a moment to savor in the beauty that is sandwiches?

It seriously brings a tear to my eye when I remember my first vegan sandwich at Strong Hearts.  I didn't think I could eat a deli meat imitation sandwich ever again!  The kicker here is, the sandwich I ate was a reuben. 
Now, the only memory I have of eating my solitary reuben (yes, I've only eaten 1 real reuben sandwich in my entire life.  what can I say. I've been deprived), all I can remember is grease.  Grease and fat.  I liked the first couple of bites, but afterwards, it was an uphill battle. 
But the vegan reuben was sheer bliss. 

So, I thought I'd try my hand at making my first batch of vegan deli meat, a.k.a. seitan sliced thin.  I thought, it's my first batch, why not be creative?  And what's reubens without Corned Beef, right?  So here it is:

Vegan Corned Beef
(makes 2 small "loaves" of seitan, like mini corned beef briskets)

you'll need:
steam  basket
pot large enough to hold steam basket
aluminum foil
potato masher
large bowl

1-15 oz can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of pickle juice (you know, the water left after you eat all the pickles out of the jar, make sure it's not a pickle that's too sweet, the more tart the better)
1/3 c soy sauce or tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
2 1/2 c vital wheat gluten
1/2 c & 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1tsp-1Tbsp black pepper (depending on your own taste)
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
pinch of mustard powder
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice

1.  I took the pickle juice and let every spice from the whole black peppercorns down soak in the fridge for a couple days. 
2.  when you're ready to make the mock corned beef, set the steaming basket in the pot and fill just below the basket with water.  remember that when the water  boils, it will start to seep up into the basket, so adjust water levels accordingly.  turn on the stove to bring to a boil.
3.  assembling the seitan:
in large bowl, mash the beans until smooth.  then mix all the remaining ingredients in order listed and incorporate well.  divide the dough into 2 loaves, and mold each into a football shape and wrap loosely into aluminum foil sheets.  roll the loaves up loosely (they need room to expand) like you would a small candy, tightening either ends by twisting and tucking under.
4.  place the wrapped loaves in the steaming basket, place lid on pot, and let steam for 1 hour.  remember to put the loaves in with the end flaps (the opening) up, so the water doesn't seep into the loaves. 
5.  once the loaves are done, remove from foil and let rest to room temp before slicing.  for easier slicing, place in freezer for 30 minutes. 

Now, all you have to do is to slather some thousand island dressing on some rye or pumpernickel bread, top with some vegan cheese, some sauerkraut and the vegan corned beef, toast it in a press or on the griddle, and voila!  No more reuben deprivation.