Friday, March 30, 2012

Killer Chili Mac

Who doesn't love carbo-licious pasta mixed with all the traditional chili fixin's, a bit of spice, and melty cheese? No one I want to meet, that's for sure. The queen of Mac is at it again - Barb from That Was Vegan? provides a wonderfully tasty and healthy take on chili mac'n'cheese. This recipe made for some comforting lunches and was very filling! I only used one can of beans and didn't include the chilis (because I didn't have any on hand), but it was still very satisfying. I'm sure it would have been even better with fresh tomatoes, but alas... they are not yet in season. It was a tie in tastiness with my chili mac recipe, that's for sure!

Jealousy-inducing lunchtime feast.

This recipe makes a ton of food. How much, exactly? I'll show you...

Uhh... yeah. Tons of food! I have leftovers in the freezer and had the opportunity to offer dinner to an omni friend - it was approved! Don't you just love sharing delish vegan comfort foods? This is sure to please a crowd, or just yourself (for many days!), so give it a try!

Thanks for your creativity and obscene use of Daiya, Barb! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My 101st Post: Vegan-Palooza!!!

What-what, 101 posts! I... should have reached that number much earlier, considering I've been blogging for 3.5 years. Oh, well - excite!

Yesterday I attended Vegan-Palooza at local vegan bakery Vegan Sweet Tooth. What an incredible event! Located in a southern suburb of Cleveland, VST is located in upscale Eton mall, a gorgeous kiosk draped in sunlight from skylights above.

They had live music, raffles for lovely vegan prizes, guacamole and chips from a local Latin restaurant, a cupcake tasting, sprinkle bar, and - of course - tons of fresh baked goods for sale. Also, local cookbook author extraordinaire Tamasin Noyes (of American Vegan Kitchen and others) was present and her husband provided the tunes! I wish I would've known earlier - I would've said hello!

***Update: Check out Tami's post!***

Among some of the raffle prizes were a Veg News subscription, a copy of American Vegan Kitchen, local restaurant gift cards, a VST gift card, local business gift cards, a baking utensil basket, and more.

I love that VST is located in the middle of the mall - that way there's no way passers-by can miss the delicacies waiting in their glass cases...

They have many different cupcake varieties, but there were also cookies, scones, brownies, and bars! They also specialize in custom cakes.

They couldn't stock their cupcakes fast enough! Chocolate Kahlua, Irish Princess, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.

Vanilla Lavender (delightful), Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Chocolate.

I chose to try the Irish Princess, a seasonal treat. A chocolate cupcake soaked in Jameson simple syrup with homemade "Bailey's" Irish cream frosting! This was moist, luscious, creamy... absolutely fantastic.

On the way home I couldn't resist a trip to Whole Foods - the closest location to Akron is still 45 minutes away! Among some of the other gems I picked up (caramelized onion hummus, Candle Cafe's seitan piccata frozen dinner, and super-cheap dry pasta) I also grabbed a slice of their vegan pizza selection - Mediterranean style. Kalamatas, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes with Italian style Daiya. Unfortunately, it sounded way better than it tasted... kind of bland. I prefer a thicker, softer, fluffier crust and more sauce - just my preferences! But still totes an amazing concept.

I hope VST hosts another event soon! What fun!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Vegan Oasis: Pad Thai

Another wonderful Akron restaurant, Pad Thai, which has more vegan options on their menu than I have fingers. What a great feeling! The bestie and I went there last weekend and enjoyed some delicious cocktails (lychee martini or Russian green tea, anyone?) and equally delicious meals.

The Thai Salad: "Fresh lettuce from the garden, cucumbers, bean sprouts, onion, carrots, and bell pepper tossed in our Thai dressing and peanut sauce." A very light beginning to our meal. The dressing was especially fantastic.

Bestie's course: the Yellow Curry with Tofu, subbing peppers for mushrooms and broccoli. I had a taste - also very light and perfectly spiced.

My entree, the classic vegetable Pad Thai (hold the egg). This is the Pad Thai on which I judge all other Pad Thais. And it wins every time. Perfectly peanut-y with the right amount of richness and faint spice. The rice noodles melt in my mouth and the crunchy veggies and bean sprouts add so much complexity. One of my favorite go-to restaurant meals!

What are some of your favorite Thai entrees?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Green Recovery: My story on Choosing Raw!

I can't express how excited I am right now! A few weeks ago I submitted my story of recovering from an eating disorder and how veganism has positively impacted my relationship with food and personal health to Gena Hamshaw's Green Recovery series on her incredible blog, Choosing Raw. I had committed to making a submission the very first day the series debuted, but wow - such a personal thing to share! As I watched the series grow and absorbed other women's accounts of their struggles and triumphs, I realized how valuable it is to share this stuff.

I met Gena at Vida Vegan Con this past summer and, once I had told her I would submit my story, I thought "well now I HAVE to follow through!" Gena's commitment to raising awareness of the role of veganism/health & nutrition knowledge/ethical eating as it relates to ED recovery is unwavering and a constant inspiration. I feel so honored to be a part of this series and hope more and more vegans share their stories!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Butternut Mac & Cheese = Perfection

Is your mouth watering yet? There are a few butternut mac recipes floating around, but this... this, my friends, is a particularly sinful version. Using veggie broth, soy creamer, and an entire bag of Daiya cheddar, this mac isn't messing around and will surely satisfy any creamy craving or nostalgic blue-box pangs you might have. It is truly addicting!

Thanks to Barb of That Was Vegan? I have been enjoying this dish nearly every day this week for lunch. Although naughty, the recipe can be modified to be more healthy with the addition of different veggies or legumes. I added peas to mine!

Please forgive the crappy lighting and notice how creeeeeamy it is! One batch makes 5 good sized servings and it heats up easily - just undercook your pasta a little bit. Sadly, I ate my last portion today... who wants to make me some more? :)

To make up for my late night kitchen pic, here's one of my pup. Isn't she sweet? I'll be reviewing some recently discovered vegan doggie treats soon!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Southwest Pinto & Black Bean Burgers

Happy Sunday evening, all... I have a recipe for you! It all started with a 4 for $5 sale on organic beans. And what is one to do with a surplus of beans on hand? Well, making burgers is one option, that's for sure. Knowing I had both pinto and black beans in my cupboard it seemed only natural to make a spicy southwest burger...

Topped with a creamy hot sauce/Vegenaise concotion... they would be really great with guac and salsa, too!

Southwest Pinto & Black Bean Burgers

1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 - 1/2 c frozen or fresh corn kernels
3 T hot sauce
1/2 t dried cilantro
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t Mexican seasoning
1/2 c cornmeal, plus 1/4 c more for coating

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mash all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. Pour reserved cornmeal onto a plate.
3. Form into patties and coat in cornmeal. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25-45 minutes, flipping every 10-15 minutes, until desired consistency is reached.

The key is draining the beans as best you can, otherwise the mixture will be too difficult to form into patties. It would be very tasty to include bell peppers or jalepenos in the burgers, as well, but I didn't have any today. These aren't very spicy, so crank up the heat if that's your thing. Experiment! And enjoy.