Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I few weeks ago I made the Low-Fat Pumpkin Bean Bars recipe from Happy Herbivore.  They were delicious, although I  hesitate to call them "bars" due to the fact that they weren't firm enough to pick up.  It seemed more like a pie filling than a bar and once I realized that, I could hardly wait to make them again!  So for Thanksgiving, I made the recipe and poured it into a ready-made graham cracker crust.  

The result?  YUM!!  We ate it at room temperature but when I had a leftover slice the next day, it was straight from the fridge and tasted even better cold.  The filling is smooth and velvety, almost like cheesecake.  It is a tad too sweet so I think I'll try making it without the brown sugar next time, especially if I want to have the graham cracker crust.  

What I love about this dessert is that it doesn't use tofu like so many other vegan pumpkin pie recipes.  (Not that I have anything against tofu but I do try to be conscious about the amount of soy I consume.)  I also love the texture and the fact that it is so easy to make!  I just blend all the ingredients in my VitaMix, pour it in a pan, and bake it.  

I forgot to take a picture before most of it was eaten. 
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading out to buy another graham cracker crust for my leftover pumpkin puree. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roasted Holiday Vegetables

Roasted Holiday Vegetables

1 large carrot, chopped
1 small potato, chopped
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 cup squash, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
 *See NOTE below regarding vegetables.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp water
1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  In a medium baking dish, toss together all the ingredients until well coated.  Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes covered with foil or until veggies can be poked easily with a fork.  (Or bake 30 minutes covered with foil, 15 minutes uncovered.)

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

NOTE: Any combination of vegetables will do.  I used half of a large sweet onion, 3 parsnips, 2 sweet potatoes, 5 carrots, and 2 beets.  Although I didn't measure the veggies, I doubled the other ingredients because I had a very full pan.  It was enough for 6 people plus leftovers!

From La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer.

Wild Rice and Veggie Stuffing

As promised, here is the recipe for my stuffing.  It was in the Detroit Free Press in an article about vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving.  I've noted the ingredient changes I made.

Wild Rice and Veggie Stuffing 

1 cup uncooked wild rice 

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion 
4 cups vegetable broth 
2 tbsp. Earth Balance
A few grinds of black pepper or to taste 

5 cups herb-seasoned stuffing cubes, such as Pepperidge Farm
NOTE: I substituted homemade French bread, cubed and dried, along with the following herbs: 

1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh snipped rosemary
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp ground thyme

I also added 2 chopped Granny Smith apples and a couple handfuls of dried cranberries along with the bread cubes 

1. In a slow-cooker, place the rice, mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot, buttery spread, vegetable broth and black pepper. Stir well. Cover; cook on lowest setting for 5 hours.

2. After the 5 hours, stir the stuffing cubes into rice mixture. Cover; cook another 50 minutes. Stuffing should be moist and tender.

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 6 hours in a slow-cooker 

Nutrition Information (with Pepperidge Farm stuffing):  
 339 calories (44% from fat ), 17 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat ), 5 grams carbohydrates , 17 grams protein , 1,298 mg sodium , 8 mg cholesterol , 4 grams fiber. 

From Susan Kline of Troy. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

French Bread

1 cup plus 7 tablespoons filtered water*
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
1-1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
2 teaspoons Sucanat or fructose 
4-1/3 cups bread flour 
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1. Add ingredients in the above order to your bread machine. Close lid and select the desired setting (many machines will have a setting for French bread). Press start and let bake. 

2. When complete, remove bread pan from machine and invert to remove loaf.

* I find that I usually have to add an extra couple of tablespoons water during the 1st kneading cycle because the dough seems dry.  Keep an eye on it.


Here are some photos from our almost* vegan Thanksgiving feast.  I'll give the recipes in subsequent posts.

Roasted Holiday Vegetables from La Dolce Vegan!  I used carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, and sweet onion.  My brother said they were the best part of the meal.
Wild Rice and Veggie Stuffing - This stuffing was a grand slam because not only was it delicious, it cooked in the crockpot, which meant less juggling of oven temperatures and cooking times.
Homemade French bread used to make the stuffing.

My plate - along with the stuffing and vegetables is Meatless Meatloaf from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook.  Instead of gravy I used ketchup, although it was also delicious on it's own.

Other menu items included unadulterated steamed green beans, mashed potatoes (non-vegan), Road's End shiitake mushroom gravy, Trader Joe's refrigerated biscuits (non-vegan), pumpkin pie, and sugar cookies (non-vegan).  All in all it was a delicious meal and although I thought I kept myself under control, I was so full afterward.  We have some leftovers but my dinner tonight is going to one huge salad!

* Since I am the only vegan in my family and I respect everyone's eating decisions, I don't get all preachy about non-vegan items being served at dinner.  The majority of the meal was vegan and (other than the turkey that my brother snuck into the house) the rest was vegetarian.

We also ate at my in-law's house earlier in the day.  My contributions to that largely non-vegan meal were a large green salad and (slightly modified) Edamame 3-Bean Salad from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.  I also had some vegan stuffing that my sister-in-law made that had Brussels sprouts and garam masala but forgot to snap a picture.

Edamame 3-Bean Salad

What was your favorite dish at Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oatmeal Love

In my last post I mentioned that I would devote this one to my daily bowl of oatmeal.  I love my oatmeal.  It's what gets me out of bed in the morning.  Lately, however, I think I've been loving my oatmeal a little too much.  Although I measure everything out, my portions have gotten bigger and bigger.  The 1/2 cup has become a heaping 1/2 cup - with perhaps a few more oats thrown in for good measure.  As the amount of oats increases, so does the milk and the raisins and the agave and . . . you get the point.  Even though I tell myself that I'll scale it back, when I go to make it I am usually too hungry to do so and then I'm left feeling too full and weighted down.  Not a good way to start the day.

The solution?  Pre-measure all the dry ingredients and put them in Ziplock bags (to be reused, of course).  Then I just dump it into a bowl, add the liquid and raisins, and I'm good to go.  Not only will it keep my portion sizes in check but it will also save me a little time in the morning to not have to measure everything every day.    It will be like my own homemade instant oatmeal packets only healthier and more delicious.  Everyone knows how to make oatmeal so this isn't rocket science, but here's my tried and true recipe.

Amanda's Oatmeal

1 tbsp. ground flax seed
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
cinnamon (to taste)

3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Almond Breeze) 
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins (It's a lot, I know, but I loooove raisins!)

Stir together oats, flax, walnuts, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add almond milk, water, agave, and vanilla and stir.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir and microwave for another 30 seconds.  Add raisins and stir well.  Cover with a plate and let sit for 3 minutes.  Enjoy!  

(If too much liquid has been absorbed, add a little water or almond milk.  You may have to experiment a bit until you reach your desired consistency.)

*Note - This oatmeal is best enjoyed while working on the daily crossword puzzle.

What do you like to mix into your oatmeal?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Smoothie

Nothing says Fall like an ice-cold tropical smoothie, right?  I know, I know.  There are so many thing wrong with that statement.  An icy drink on a blustery November day and tropical fruits that don't grow in Michigan during any season, to name a few.  But I've grown desperate!  The past two weeks have left me feeling weighed down, bloated, and in serious need of some detoxification.  I've decided that although I love my oatmeal (my next post will be entitled "Ode to My Morning Oats"), having it every day for 3 months straight might not be in my body's best interest.  

Tropical Spinach Smoothie - So creamy I have to eat it with a spoon!

So today I had my favorite smoothie for breakfast before heading to the gym for a short elliptical workout and to try out a kettle bell class for the first time.  It was a really good strength workout and I'm pretty sure I'll be sore from it in the morning.  I thought that kettle bells were a new fitness fad but was surprised to find out that they've been around for hundreds of years.  

A healthy smoothie, lots of water, and a good workout has left me feeling alright.  I'm confident this week will be a better one (fingers crossed).  I loved my breakfast today but tomorrow I'll be back to my oatmeal.  And wouldn't you know - just a one day break and I'm looking forward to it already!

Tropical Spinach Smoothie
(printable recipe)


1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1 frozen mango, (peeled and cut into chunks before freezing)
Fresh or frozen pineapple chunks (about a handful)
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks before freezing
1 scoop VEGA Wholefood Health Optimizer or other protein powder (optional) 
Water to reach desired consistency (I don't add any water because I like it thick and extra creamy)


1. Rinse the spinach well and place in blender.  Don't worry about drying the leaves.  The water that clings to them will add a little more necessary liquid.

2. Add mango, pineapple, and VEGA (if using).  Blend all ingredients together.  If you are using a VitaMix or other high-powered blender, use the tamper to press everything down as you blend on high.  If you aren't using a VitaMix, you may have to stop and start as you press the ingredients down and stir.  You may want to add water to help get things moving more freely.  

3. Once everything is mixed well, add the banana and blend on high.  Do not over-blend unless you want it more liquidy.  You might need to eat this with a spoon - I do!

Makes 1-2 servings.

*NOTE: I burned out my top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid blender in 6 months just from making these.  That's why I got the VitaMix.  With a lower-powered blender, you might want to let the fruit thaw a bit before using and add enough water to help the blade do it's job. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Un-Stir Fry

My stir-fry plans for last night's dinner had to be modified when I remembered that we don't have a suitable wok.  The non-stick coating on our old one was starting to flake and peel, so we had to throw it away and haven't gotten around to getting a new one yet.  Not to be deterred, I tossed all of the veggies in a baking dish, along with some teriyaki sauce, and roasted them.  The texture turned out surprisingly similar to veggies prepared in a wok.  Although stir-fries are super easy, this was even better because once in the oven, the veggies didn't need much tending to. 

I didn't measure anything out and you could use any combination of veggies/sauce.  Here's what I did:

1. Cut up a variety of vegetables - enough to fill a 9x13 baking dish.  I used broccoli, red bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, and vidalia onion.  I just made sure that everything looked pretty equal.

2. Add sauce.  I used Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce - just enough to coat everything.  You could use any type of sauce that you would normally use for a stir-fry.

3. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes (uncovered).  

4. Add about 3/4 of a cored pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks, and a package of West Soy Chicken-Style Seitan strips.  Stir and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

5. Serve over rice, adding more sauce if necessary.  

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture last night when I made it and again tonight when we had leftovers.  It was so delicious and I was so hungry (having just come home from a challenging 60-minute cycle class) that I didn't think of it until long after it was gone.  This is a meal I'll certainly be making again so next time I'll be sure to get a picture.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Morning Running

This is the second Sunday in a row that I've gotten up and gone for an 8 a.m. run.  There is something incredibly peaceful about running at a time when I only pass a few other people and there aren't many cars.  It was pretty chilly but the sun was shining and I dressed warmly enough.  Powered by a banana, I ran my 6.3 miles with an 8:03 pace.  Not bad for a windy day and some hills. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Overly-Ambitious Blogging Plans

So my plan to post something every day in November has already gone kaflooey.  It's like when I said I would cook at least one new dinner and dessert each week and after week one I was back to spaghetti, tacos, big salads, and Subway, with Lara Bars for dessert.  SO, the new plan is to post as often as I have time.  

I'm excited because I just placed an order at Vegan Essentials.  The main reason was to order Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix by Cherrybrook Kitchen.  Shipping is a little ridiculous so I figured I better add a few more things, such as some fudge sauce, a carrot cake mix, some digestive enzymes, and a probiotic.  There were a few other tempting items but with Christmas cookie season fast approaching, I decided it was best to hold off other treats.

Looking forward to a good long (and cold!) run in the morning, followed by a cup of hazelnut coffee and blueberry bagel from Panera.  And now it's time to brew some Yogi Peach DeTox tea and find something to watch on Netflicks... 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Supino Pizza - Detroit, MI

If you live in the metro Detroit area and have not been to Supino Pizzeria in Eastern Market, you are missing out on some damn fine pizza!  After talking about it for way too long, Brian and I finally went there for dinner on Saturday night.  Brian ordered the Supino, which is decidedly non-vegan so I won't describe it in any detail.  The only thing I will say is that he was already talking about our return trip before he finished his pizza.  It was that good.

Make your own pizza - red sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red peppers

I ordered a make your own pizza with red sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and roasted red peppers.  This ended up being a winning combination which could only be enhanced by the addition of kalamata olives.  Next time.  All of the veggies were abundant and fresh (no skimpy pieces of canned mushrooms here!) and the sauce has a perfect flavor.  The best part of a Supino pizza, however, is the crust.  Thin and light as air, slightly chewy and crisp.  Unlike many thin crusts, this is not "crackery", as Brian said.  It was by far the best pizza crust I've ever had.  I could have easily eaten the whole 10'' pizza right then and there but decided to save some to enjoy the next day.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Delicious Date Bars

Since yesterday was World Vegan Day and November is Vegan MoFo (Month of Food), I figure now is the time to start posting!  My goal is to post something every day of this month so that by the end of the month, it will be a habit.

Today my husband and I went to Avalon Bakery in Detroit.  During the summer I visit the Avalon booth at my local farmers' market to get my weekly date bar fix.  I actually start looking forward to the next Friday as soon as I finish savoring the last bite of my date bar.  Now that it's officially fall, the market is closed and my Fridays just aren't the same.  

With the day off today, my husband and I figured it was a perfect opportunity to head downtown to Avalon.  Now, out of the 10 or so baked goods at the farmers' market, nearly half of them are vegan so I know that Avalon has no shortage of vegan items.  I was surprised, however, by just how many options they have at the bakery!  Cherry bars, apple bars, carrot cake, granola bars, chocolate cake, and about 6 varieties of cookies.  Oh, and date bars.  I was torn.  I couldn't pass up a date bar when it was staring me in the face but I also wanted to try all of the other sweets.  After much deliberation, I decided to get one new thing - a coconut chocolate chip cookie - along with the date bar.  I was going to save both of them for later but the date bar was especially gooey and delicious looking that I had to have it then and there.  It did not disappoint!  I ended up eating the cookie a few hours later.  (Before remembering to take a picture - doh!)  Surely it would not be as good tomorrow, right?  It was tasty but not anything to write home about.  I think next time I'll get either the trail mix cookie or the carrot cake.  Oh, and a date bar.

The Holy Grail of date bars

Friday, October 22, 2010

A year in the making...

I've been wanting to start a blog for well over a year but never got around to it, mostly because I was stuck on a title.  I wanted it to have something to do with veganism but not be exclusively a food blog since there are so many other components to a vegan lifestyle.  As time went on, I also started to think about how to incorporate another passion of mine into my blog - exercise.  My mother-in-law recently began referring to me as "The Road Runner" and thus my blog was born.  So here it is!  Check in to read my ramblings about vegan products, recipes, and running as I strive to live a healthy, conscious, and compassionate life.