Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegan MoFo: 1st Annual Cleveland VegFest Gala

When you think of the major vegan-friendly cities in the US, what comes to mind? Portland? Seattle? NYC? Austin? DC? Same here! And what else do all of these cities have in common? Their own VegFest event! Never having had the privilege of attending such an event, and being a native NE Ohioan, I was beside myself with pure, unadulterated JOY when I found out that next summer Cleveland will be hosting its first annual VegFest! To prepare for the event the Cleveland Vegan Society hosted a VegGala a few weekends ago with proceeds going toward the main event in June.

The turnout was incredible! The space couldn't adequately hold the amount of hungry attendees and eager vendors I encountered. It was truly an amazing spectacle.

But what was truly amazing was the spread! All vegan, all local, all delicious. There were sweets, savory dishes, and an impressive silent auction filled with veg-friendly products.

With how difficult it was to balance my wine, plate, purse, and camera while being shoulder-to-shoulder with hungry peers I could not adequately document all of the vendors present, but check out some highlights! For instance, raw lasagna rolls... delicious.

Butternut Squash Bisque shots!

So much to satisfy the sweet tooth...

My plate: chana masala and veggie pakora with tamarind sauce, vegan Cuban sammies, coleslaw...

Vegan snickerdoodle gelato from The Sweet Spot!

My dessert plate: pumpkin cupcake, snickerdoodle gelato, a buckeye, cookie with marmalade, and the most amazing chocolate-dipped ice cream sandwich I have ever eaten. Pretty sure I made some rather inappropriate noises while enjoying this...

All in all, it was a great event and I want to thank the Cleveland Vegan Society for hosting such a friendly get-together! Looking forward to Cleveland VegFest next summer, directly following  Vida Vegan Con 2013!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake

'Tis the season for all things pumpkin! Pies, muffins, soups, lattes (not S-bux, whose syrup has dairy!)... you name it! Whether it's sweet or savory fall is the time for pumpkin dishes. When I found this recipe for raw Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake on Sweetly Raw's blog it was immediately added to my "must make" list.

The idea of raw cheesecake is born of pure genius. Who want to slave away at a dessert you have to prepare, bake, and then chill when you can cut out one of the steps and have a slice on your plate even sooner? That might just be my sweet tooth talking... but, still - here's a quick, painless, and simple recipe using flavorful, raw ingredients.

And the taste? Divine. The crust is just the right balance of bitter cocoa and sweet dates and raisins. The filling is creamy-wonderful and reminiscent of baked cheesecakes due to the versatile nature of coconut oil when chilled. Highly recommended as a treat to share or hoard during this lovely fall season.

I also made little cheesecake bites for a potluck this past weekend and they were a hit!

What is your favorite pumpkin dish?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Raw Tacos!

My first encounter with a raw taco was at Vida Vegan Con 2011 - who had ever heard of raw taco meat?! Well I became a believer upon my first bite of the savory blend of walnuts and spices enveloped in a crisp lettuce wrap... To re-experience this tasty memory I made fixins for raw tacos this past weekend and have been enjoying them for lunch every day!

The combination of the salty/spicy walnut "meat" with the sweet and tart onion salsa and the creamy guacamole is absolutely divine. These babies don't need anything else to please your taste buds.

For a quicker assembly during the week I have been making raw taco salads - delicious! I highly recommend trying this dish and getting creative.

What's your favorite raw meal?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Amaranth Loaf & Giveaway Winner!

Let's begin with announcing the winner of the Parmela Giveaway! Congratulations, Green Veggies - you have an e-mail waiting for you to claim your winnings! Can't wait to see how you parm up your meals.

With fall upon us it is the time of year for warm and hearty meals. When I was a kid this meant lots of mashed potatoes served with a side of meatloaf. I've tried my hand at making lentil loaf before, with results being meh, so I approached my latest culinary adventure cautiously.

The recipe I used for this loaf called for amaranth in addition to lentils. Never having tried the pseudograin before, yet having read blog posts about it, I had high hopes that it would bring a needed nutty flavor the dish. I was not disappointed this time!

With the right combination of spices and flavors this loaf was satisfying and delicate at the same time. Topped with homemade ketchup (no sugar or processed foods, per my Whole Life Challenge!) and joined by a huge serving of roasted carrots, cauliflower, and brussels... my taste buds were singing!

The ketchup turned out surprisingly well, although the addition of the cinnamon, per the recipe, was a bit strange and I don't think I would add it again. The veggies were topped with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Very simple.

Also included on my plate are *spicy* cauliflower bites! The recipe couldn't be simpler: toss chopped cauliflower with Frank's Hot Sauce and bake for 20-30 minutes. Nom!

What's your favorite fall, child-memory-inducing meal?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Raw Apple Pie

I don't know about you, fellow bloggers, but I have a SERIOUS sweet tooth. With the Whole Life Challenge afoot I have been searching for healthy, non-processed ways to satisfy said tooth and have found many promising raw dessert recipes have real potential to do the trick!

This raw apple pie recipe called my name immediately. With the most simplistic and top-quality ingredients and ridiculously easy preparation this dessert is perfect for all seasons, all diets, all culinary levels.

There is something special about warm, flaky pie crust and hot apple filling... yet the cold, tart slices of Granny Smith in combination with the chewy and sweet almond-date layer were incredibly satisfying and so addicting.

I highly recommend this dessert, especially to share with others. What is your favorite raw dessert?

Don't forget to enter the Parmela Giveaway before it ends on 10/17!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Parmela Giveaway!

It's time for a giveaway! If you haven't tried any samples from the wonderful world of vegan parmesan toppings, welcome to the real deal. Parmela offers a tangy, cheesy topping for all of your favorites which is completely cruelty-free. The ingredients are: raw almonds, raw cashews, nutritional yeast, fermented soybean soy sauce, vegeterian lactic acid.

I have tried Parmela on a few dishes and it did not disappoint. It's different than the traditional sprinkling of nooch and, while I don't think it tastes just like parmesan, it provides it's own complex and satisfying taste.

Here's your chance to win a Parmela shaker! You have four chances to win:

  • Comment on this post stating your favorite dish in which you use vegan parmesan.
  • Like Vegan Noms on Facebook and post a separate comment stating you have done so.
  • Post a link to the giveaway on your blog and provide the link in a separate comment.
  • Post a link to the giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook and post a separate comment stating you have done so.

Contest will end on Wednesday, October 17th at 9pm and winners will be announced shortly after. US residents only. Please provide an e-mail address so I can contact you when you win!

Note: Parmela did not sponsor this giveaway.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Tempeh Scramble w/ Oven-Roasted Tomatoes & Nooch Sauce

Is there anything better than a jam-packed scramble on a sunny  morning? I don't think so. With tofu being out of the picture, per the rules of my Whole Life Challenge, I tried my hand at making a tempeh scramble so that my breakfasts throughout the week can be protein- and veggie-packed.

Serious YUM. I made a shitload of this stuff - about 7 servings. The nooch sauce really brought it all together and made for a savory and toothsome meal. The addition of black salt made it taste slightly eggy and quite perfect. Here's the recipe:

Tempeh Scramble with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and Savory Nooch Sauce

3 blocks tempeh, crumbled
5 tbs peanut oil
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 bell peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
2-3 large leaves of kale, torn into chunks

Nooch Sauce:
1.5 cups  water
1 cup nutritional yeast (nooch!)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black salt (very important!)
generous sprinkle of cracked black pepper

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking sheet and spread out tomatoes. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a very large skillet. Cook tempeh and onions until a little browned. Add peppers, tomatoes, and kale. Add some water to pan to help steam/saute everything so it doesn't dry out.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together ingredients for nooch sauce.
  • Top individual servings with sauce and enjoy! Remember: this recipe makes a shit-ton of food, so adjust accordingly!

What's your favorite savory breakfast dish?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Quinoa Casserole

Eating whole foods can make for an energy-sapping day if not done correctly. What I'm learning in my Whole Life Challenge is that there needs to be a balance with fresh fruits and vegetables with other high-protein foods, since grains and gluten are out of the picture. I have been taking advantage of the great staying power of legumes and quinoa lately and exploring different ways to prepare them.

This week I have been snacking on Pizza Quinoa Casserole, a quick & simple dish that satisfies on a comforting level as well as keeping my tummy happy and energy high during the day. All sorts of ingredients can be added to this recipe to mimic your favorite pizza toppings - all without the gluten and with tons of protein!

I also made Lentil Sloppy Joe's. Although not being hugged by wheat buns, this mixture is great on its own. It reminds me of the Sloppy Mac & Cheese made at the wonderful, local Ms. Julie's Kitchen, which I miss so dearly...

What protein-powerhouses do you stick to when you need to curb your hunger?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Homemade Tempeh Bacon

If you're a seasoned veg*n you've experienced the magical beauty of tempeh bacon. With its own unique combination of nutty/smoky/salty/sweet flavors it is a perfect accompaniment to TLTs, tofu scrambles, casseroles, or any brunch worth attending. If you're new to veg*n food, this is the post for you! There are a couple different tempeh bacons on the market now and work so very well for convenience.

Unfortunately, for my Whole Life Challenge, I am unable to consume some of the processed and soy ingredients found in the marinades used in these products. So, what's a gal to do? Make her own! After searching for a tweakable recipe online I concocted my own gluten-free, sugar-free tempeh bacon recipe.

The secret behind these strips is Coconut Secret's Coconut Aminos - an excellent alternative to soy sauce which boasts more amino acids than other soy-based products. It is made from sap from the coconut tree. I recommend giving it a try! Behold:

Gluten & Sugar Free Tempeh Bacon

1 block of tempeh, cut into thin strips
2 tbs Coconut Aminos
1-2 tbs peanut oil
1 tsp stevia
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

  • Combine marinade ingredients and coat tempeh strips well. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
  • Heat a pan with peanut oil on medium heat and saute the strips on each side for about 3-5 minutes, or until browned.
  • Enjoy!

I served these puppies up for breakfast with savory mashed sweet potatoes with onions, rosemary, and thyme. Yum! How do you tempeh?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Pizza Kale Chips Recipe

In the mood for a crunchy, salty, savory, sinful-feeling snack? You and I are going to be great friends. Being a huge lover of comfort foods like pizza I jumped on the chance to try local brand Good'n'Raw kale chips. Based in Lakewood, OH, this company describes its mission to be "To increase the potential of humanity naturally, with nutritious, living foods".

They have 5 different types of kale chips that I've seen: Pizza, Chizee, Sesame, BBQ, and Ranch. Each container runs btwn. $8.50 and $10, so they're a rare treat. I took home the Pizza and Chizee flavors and was BLOWN AWAY. Each was so fantastic and complex and tasted sooooo naughty. But, with kale as the base and whole, nutrient-packed ingredients as they flavoring these morsels are a healthy treat.

Wanting to replicate the taste of the Pizza kale chips I created a recipe of my own, which I would like to share. Behold!

Pizza Kale Chips

1 bunch kale, rinsed & torn into chunks
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
spices to taste: garlic powder, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper.

  • Heat stove to 350 degrees
  • Rub baking tray with olive oil and spread tomatoes out. Roast for 30 minutes.
  • Lower oven temp to 200 degrees.
  • Mix tomatoes and other ingredients (except kale) in high-speed blender until creamy.
  • In large bowl mix kale chunks with the paste until completely covered.
  • Spread onto as many as 3 lined baking sheets (w/ foil or parchment paper), making sure to leave some space between the kale so it will cook more quickly. Place baking sheets in oven and leave oven door slightly ajar.
  • Check kale every 30 minutes or so, turning the pieces and removing any that have become perfectly crispy. Continue checking until all kale is crispy (btwn 2 & 3 hours). Do not immediately store or else kale will become soggy!

You will not regret making these and I wouldn't be surprised if they disappeared in a day! So tasty. What's your favorite way to prepare kale?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan MoFo: Mung Bean Fettucini Alfredo!

Welcome to MoFo 2012, bloggers! Another year is upon us and I am so excited to be a part of the festivities again. I remember the first year I witnessed MoFo was in its second year... I had just started rudimentary blogging and was in absolute AWE of the beautiful and drool-worthy posts all around me. Sigh. Now it's year SIX and there is more content out there than you could shake a bag of nooch at... So let's get started!

Some of you may be familiar with the Whole Life Challenge in which I am participating (no grains, sugars, alcohol, or processed foods). Well, we are two weeks in and I'm feeling really great! My appetite is leveling out and cravings are being satisfied with healthier foods. I still have tons of energy to tackle my daily tasks and am appreciating the improvement in flexibility my daily yoga is providing. What have I been eating this week? Let's start with some pasta.

Mung Bean pasta, that is! While searching, in vain, for a pasta made from quinoa or amaranth that didn't also have other grain flours, I stumbled upon this at my local health food store. Made just from beans?! I had to give it a try.

The recipe that had been on my mind was my Creamy Miso Alfredo... so rich, cheesy, alfredo-y... I had to have it. Luckily these noodles served as a pleasant foundation for the dish. They had a different taste and texture than wheat noodles, yet it wasn't that bad. I'm not sure if I would try them again soon, but they definitely served to satisfy my need for an old favorite meal.

Cheers to trying new things! Which is what you can expect from Vegan Noms in the coming weeks. I have some giveaways in mind, updates on stellar recipes and meal planning, and some other ideas floating around. :) So, please, come back for seconds!