Tag Archives: vegan mofo 2011

Workout fuel

13 Oct

I am currently testing the limits of my sanity – and my physical endurance.

I don’t purport to be a fitness blogger, which is good, considering how out of shape I am. I’m always trying to get myself into a regular routine, so I do post about fitness here and there (mostly there; occasionally here). But, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s far from the norm. I’m certainly no Fitnessista or Caitlin (though maybe someday I will approximate their exercising awesomeness). The man I live with isn’t exactly an Olympian either, so we spend a lot of sedentary time together.

Well, that changed. He announced that he wanted to begin working out, and specifically he wanted to try a cycling class. That scared the bejeesus out of me. I always found riding Marcello to be a strain, so a 50-minute class full of taught bodies jumping and sprinting and cranking up the resistance sounded like torture. Mr. X, however, was sure it would be doable.

For the record, I was right. It hurt, friends. It hurt. And our legs weren’t the problem – it was the combination of butt-mangling seats and nauseated tummies that did us both in.

Of course, we returned the following week. And the week after. Yep, we are gluttons for punishments who now attend voluntary torture cycling class every Tuesday and Thursday, with our padded seat covers in tow.

Now there’s also the Saturday Pilates class in which we’d like to become regulars . . . and I have, for some heinous reason, agreed to join a Couch to 5K program with some of my coworkers. This will be the fourth time I’ve attempted the program, which I’ve yet to complete. Is now the time? I have no idea. I can only say we have our first group run next Wednesday and, well, I r scurred.

A recurring theme with all my cardio is the stomach upset. I’m either nauseated from eating too much or too little, which is hindering my performance. I’m sure my wheezing is, too, but I’m working on that. This weekend, when I plan next week’s meals, I will make a concerted effort to plan better, but at the moment, I’m a little stumped.

What’s your favorite workout fuel? I know I’m not burning enough calories to consider a protein powder. I am trying to find a vegan replacement for yogurt, my former go-to pre-run munch, and haven’t sampled any of the dairy-free versions. I know potassium helps me prevent side stitches, so bananas and potatoes are on the mental list. This week, I’m turning to a banana, half a whole-wheat bagel, and a smidge of peanut butter in the afternoon following a light lunch.

Something similar was dinner Tuesday night, ‘cause we were tired and, well, too nauseated to eat anything heavy:

Bagel with peanut butter and a smoothie – enjoyed in bed while watching Jeopardy! Lazy nerds. The smoothie was one banana, ½ cup frozen mango, ½ cup frozen strawberries, and enough hazelnut milk to puree the whole thang. We’ve been craving smoothies all week!

Send me your vegan workout fuel ideas! I’m a girl on the run (and the spin) who needs to get herself together.

Mushroom pasta delight

12 Oct

The big, nasty fight with our roommate went down on a Monday, and we weren’t willing to hit the kitch again until Friday. I won’t even recount the fast-food meals and wasted money that characterized the rest of the week.

Anyway, we decided to make a third recipe from The Voluptuous Vegan, namely the Pasta with Fresh Shiitakes, Tomatoes, and Basil. However, by the end of the week, the fresh tomatoes were gone, as was nearly all of my garlic, so our version was highly, highly altered. Plus, a 1/2 cup of olive oil? Really? I cut that way, way down. Enter the B&X spin:

Shiitake Mushroom Pasta with Basil
6 to 8 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 box whole wheat pasta (I used rotini, but farfalle or fusilli would have been good, too)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup basil, washed and cut into a chiffonade
Black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Add the mushrooms to a bowl and top with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the soy sauce, mixing to coat thoroughly. Pour them on a prepared baking sheet and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 or so.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of water until al dente (according to package directions). Drain and set aside.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive in a pot over a medium-low flame. Add the sliced onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until caramelized and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about two minutes or until softened but not browned. By now, the mushrooms should be warm and soft. Remove them from the oven and add them along with the pasta and basil to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes until everything is warmed through. Top with black pepper to taste.

Serves 4.

It was deeeeeeliiiiiicious. The mushrooms cooked with soy sauce were an ingenious addition to super-basic pasta. I never would have thought to combine them with fresh basil, but I certainly will again. I topped mine with nutritional yeast, which was tasty but not necessary. I would increase the garlic next time and cook it a little longer, but this method worked in a pinch.

What’s your favorite pasta ingredient?

What a week and two recipes

10 Oct

WOW. The last week did not go the way I had planned. I envisioned a lovely week of cooking a variety of new vegan recipes and enjoying “fall” in LA. But things did not go that way. Instead, I was sick most of the week and, even worse, we got into a huge, nasty fight with one of our roommates, which almost saw us moving into the first vacant apartment we could find. Seriously. As a result, my mood was in Hades, and we cooked about three times total. Yeah, it was bad, and I feel puffy and broke. I kept sitting down to blog, but it just wasn’t going to happen. However, I am not abandoning Vegan MoFo, or this little blog at all – I promise!

Before everything went down, we made two recipes from the cookbook of the week. (Well, actually, I was cooking when the fight happened. Bad times.) Then, when we were feeling a little better, we made a third based on the book, too, which I’ll share soon. See? I did my homework – I just neglected to turn it in on time. Drop me a letter grade.

For the record, I used my shiny new LA Public Library card to pick up Myra Kornfeld’s The Voluptuous Vegan as this week’s selection. In all honesty, it was really hard to choose what I wanted to make from her book for three reasons: 1. all the recipes are higher in fat than I prefer, 2. many include unusual and/or expensive ingredients (kudzu and burdock are just not on my usual grocery lists), and 3. most contain too many steps and ingredients. I like a fancy meal as much as the next gal, but I’m pinching pennies these days, and I’m too starving by the time I get home to spend two hours over my cauldron.

Sidebar: wouldn’t it be bad-ass if I actually cooked over a cauldron?

Anyway, I’ll give a full review another day this week (no, really!) and get straight to the food. Our first meal involved a bastardized version of two recipes:

It was Kornfeld’s Butternut-Lemongrass Soup, made with her Southeast Asian Stock. I made a lot of changes to both recipes, so I’m sharing my versions with you.

Asian-Inspired Soup Stock

  • 1 onion, peeled and diced*
  • 1 leek, cleaned thoroughly and diced*
  • 2 celery stalks, diced*
  • 1 carrot, peeled (or scrubbed, if you’re lazy) and diced*
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced*
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • Zest from one lime, cut in long strips and lightly bruised
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced*
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 8 cups of water

*Feel free to leave all these veggies pretty chunky. Since you’re making stock, they’ll be fished out at the end anyway, so size and shape aren’t very important.

Toss everything into a large stock pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Taste to test for flavor development. When done, drain out the chunks and store the stock in a large container with a tight lid. It makes about six cups when done.

Sorry for the lack of pics. It was a seriously bad day.

OK, four cups of that goodness went into our soup:

Butternut-LemongrassKabocha Lime Soup

  • 1 medium or large kabocha (or other) squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
  • About 1/4 cup diced leeks
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 14-oz can low-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups Asian-Inspired Soup Stock
  • Zest from one lime, cut in long strips and lightly bruised
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Juice of one lime

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Stab the squash with a knife or fork several times all around – I usually do about 6 stabbings. Bake it in the oven until it’s fork tender, about 45 minutes. Let it cool, then cut it in half, discard the seeds, and scoop the flesh into a bowl.

Heat the oil in a medium or large pot over a medium flame. Add the shallots and leeks and sauté for about five minutes, until they become soft. Add the garlic and stir for three additional minutes.

Add the squash, sweet potato, coconut milk, stock, lime zest, and ginger to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking, covered, for about 15 minutes. When the potato is softened, remove the lime zest. Now you have a choice: either do the less-weird thing and blend the soup in a regular blender or with an immersion blender, or, since the blender belongs to the roommate you may or may not have just called a naughty word I won’t write on this blog, use a potato masher to break down the sweet potato and squash directly in the soup pot. Add lime juice and black pepper to taste.

Eat. Enjoy. Makes 4 servings.

It was a tasty soup, which Mr. X liked more than I did, but I suspect blending it would taste a lot better – as would using lemongrass. I swear I saw it in every grocery store one week, and then last week, the shelves were bereft of it. Sad, no? I asked what the deal was, and one store representative told me they hadn’t received any due to the “weather change.” Hmm . . . it was 80° one day and 75° the next. Brrr? Anyway, the stock was quite good, and I plan to use some in our dinner tonight. I probably wouldn’t make the soup again, but I’m glad I experimented.

Review: Green Peas ****

3 Oct

To kick off Vegan MoFo, X and I decided to head to a local place that serves vegan breakfast items. After some research, we settled on Green Peas, partly because they were near our morning errands, partly because of the favorable review on The Actor’s Diet, and largely because of the prices ($6.95? Yes, please.). Their website is down, so we called first to make sure they still exist, and thankfully they do.

The place is super cute, I must say. It’s also really close to work – dangerous!

I started with coffee and he opted for freshly squeezed orange juice:

My beverage was just the way I like it: really delicious, dark and oily without any burnt or bitter flavor. It was perfect. The OJ was divine. It was sweet and fresh and lip-smacking good.

Anyway, it was tough to choose from their robust menu, but we both ended up leaping at the Vegan Breakfast Burrito #2:

It is described as containing: “Garden chicken, potatoes, grill onions, red bell peppers, daiya cheddar cheese and spinach on wheat tortilla” (spelling and capitalization theirs). Breakfast items come with your choice of potatoes or fruit. We both opted for the latter, as you can see. I’m not a huge melon fan, other than that of the water variety, but I decided to chomp down on the honeydew this time and was pleasantly surprised. I skipped the cantaloupe, however. I would like to blame the Listeria outbreak, but the truth is that I really, really dislike the stuff. I loved how tiny the pieces were, and definitely how perfectly fresh they tasted.

The burrito came with a side of unidentified spicy sauce that was the love child of salsa and a sun-dried tomato sauce. Delightful. In all, the burrito was not my absolute favorite vegan brunch item of all time, but it was quite good. I think the boy liked it even more than I did. I’m not sure if it was the Gardein chicken or what, but something just didn’t send me quite all the way over the moon. All that said, I will certainly be back to try some of the other offerings.

In fact, I was excited enough by the tantalizing menu of vegan sandwiches that I returned for lunch today. It may be true that my Sunday-night laziness, which prevented me from preparing my lunch, was in part spurred by the possibility of hitting Green Peas up at the noontime hour. That, and I had a hideous migraine yesterday.

Anyway, I decided to try something that I wouldn’t normally order and landed on the Rolling Steak Sandwich. It is described as containing, “Gardein steak, Grilled onions, cilantro, spinach, avocado, mozzarella daiya cheese, and vegenaise” (capitalization/spelling theirs).

As you can see, I opted for house salad on the side. The other options are soup and roasted potatoes. Here’s another shot of the sandwich:

This was a very tasty combination. I’m not usually a fan of soy cheeses – yes, including Daiya – but I loved the vegan mozzarella on this concoction. I would go so far as to say that it totally made the meal. The avocado was wonderful, as always, too. I think I actually prefer the fake beef to Saturday’s faux chicken, which surprised me. However, Gardein products are gluteny, and my stomach isn’t feeling 100% at the moment. Next time I hit up Green Peas, I’ll have to try a tofu- or veggie-based meal instead. Not their fault, obviously. My stomach just doesn’t like vital wheat gluten very much.

And the salad was awesome. It was basic – just greens and shredded carrots – but the garlicky balsamic dressing was wonderful. I will definitely eat it again.

Rating: ***** for veggie options and *** for deliciousness.

Green Peas is at 4437 Sepulveda Boulevard in Culver City.

Waffle Sunday #1

2 Oct

The house we moved into came with a waffle iron, which was really exciting. I’ve never made waffles at home before, so I jumped at the chance to find an excuse to use it. Enter Sunday football. I’m not much of a sports fan, so a day of ball-playing is a good enough excuse for me to take to the kitchen. Enter my first vegan waffle attempt:

My love is a big New York Giants fan, so I swung with a red-and-blue theme. My recipe is based on one from Mama Pea, but with my own spin.

X’s Giant Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used a combination of unbleached white and whole wheat pastry)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (less approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries

Preheat your waffle iron and spray with oil.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine milk, maple syrup and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

If you have a large Belgian waffle maker, pour about 1/4 of the batter in. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of berries on top. Ours was a mixture of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Cook according to your maker’s settings. Mine beeps. Continue until you’ve used all the batter, remembering to spray the waffle maker each time. Serve and enjoy.

Makes four big-a$$ waffles.

We topped ours with real maple syrup and served some meat-less sausage alongside. Oh yeah, and we enjoyed these:

Homemade mimosas! Easiest recipe ever:

(Wo)Manly Mimosas

  • 10 oranges (or about 3ish cups of pre-squeeze orange juice)
  • One bottle of prosecco or other white sparkly vino, chilled

Juice your oranges. We have this really awesome old-school juicer that I’ll show you sometime. Fill Champagne flutes about halfway or so with juice, then top with chilled prosecco. Enjoy!

All together now:

Heaven.

And now I leave you with this very important video. (Fast forward to 6:15 if you just want to hear the amazing song.)

Craziness!

1 Oct

Hello! Today is the first day of Vegan MoFo, and I wish I had time for a big, fancy post. However, I’m working today. Yep, on a Saturday. However, I will have a restaurant post AND waffles to share tomorrow, so please check back. Until then, happy vegan eating!

Hug a Vegetarian and MoFo Intro

30 Sep

Hey friends! It’s Hug a Vegetarian Day. You know what that means . . . send your hugs my way all day long. I will receive them through the ether.

Between today’s very important (tee hee) holiday and tomorrow being the first of October, and hence the beginning of Vegan MoFo, what better time than now could there be to map out my posting plan for the month? So, without further ado, here’s what you can expect from Vegging Out during the Vegan Month of Food (MoFo):

1. 30 days of vegan blogging. Once again, I am committing to at least one post for every day in October. You can expect posts on the following subjects:

  • Five recipes a week. Expect at least five different flavor combinations each week. I did this one last year and loved the challenge.
  • Waffle recipes every Sunday. Eek! I’m excited about this one. It will replace my baked goods on Fridays since I’ve tapered off of that since shacking up with a diabetic.
  • Cookbook of the week. This one is a reprisal from last year, too, but it was a fun way to force myself to explore new cookbooks and ones collecting dust on my shelves.
  • Links to other great vegan blog posts. I haven’t done a ton of link-sharing in the past, but I’m a big reader of other blogs, so I want to share the love!

2. Updated pages on the blog. I will update the Recipes page weekly. I will, I will, I will . . .

3. A recap of the week every week. It keeps me honest.

Here’s to another fun MoFo!