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!