TVP Pulled Pork Sandwiches

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What do you when your whole family wants pulled pork sandwiches and you’re vegan? Pull out for textured vegetable protein (TVP) and veganaise! A lovely dinner to welcome the start of summer, which is right around the corner.

This recipe is super easy. Can be pulled together in minutes—way easier than making pulled pork! But it tastes just as good as if it had been cooked hours and hours.

This recipes makes 4 sandwiches.

TVP Pulled Pork Sandwiches
 1 cup Textured Vegetable Protein
 7/8 cup of boiling water
 1 medium onion, dicedIMG_3995
 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 tbs flax oil
1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
 2 cups shredded cabbage 
(or a bag of coleslaw vegetables)
 1/2 cup Veganaise
 1 tsp Dijon mustard
 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
 Squeeze of lemon juice
 Salt and pepper, to taste
Additional BBQ, to taste
4 hamburger buns or rolls

In a large bowl, add the TVP and pour the boiling water. Add the 1/4 cup BBQ, flax oil, and liquid amigos. Stir together well.  Set aside for 15 minutes

In another large bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients—except the BBQ and bun— to make the coleslaw. Cover and place in the fridge to chill.

Once the TVP is rehydrated, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and TVP mixture to the skillet. Cook until the onions are translucent and the liquid is mostly gone.

Add additional BBQ to the TVP if you like for more flavor.

Time to assemble! Place a big scoop of the TVP mixture on the bottom bun, top with a big scoop of your chilled coleslaw and top with the rest of the bun.

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Sweet, tangy, and satisfying! No reason you have to feel left out this summer at a BBQ.

Pilothouse and The Argonaut Cafe

A few weekends ago, Michael and I went on our babymoon in California’s Gold Country. Check out my pregnancy blog for a full review of the trip and money saving travel tips. We had both been dying for a Gold Country trip for over a year now, so this was the perfect way for us to have some quality time before the baby comes. We ate at two restaurants that really impressed me, so I thought I would share.

Old Town Sacramento at night.

We went on our babymoon starting the Saturday of Presidents’ Day weekend, so we decided to save our fancy Valentine’s Day dinner for that night. We both wanted a nice dinner in Old Town Sacramento, so I did some online research and found Pilothouse.

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The restaurant is located inside the Delta King Hotel, a retired riverboat docked along the Sacramento River. I made reservations online, but we probably did not need them. We came later in the evening so we missed the rush, and the hostess told me that the day after Valentines Day is never that busy. She suggested that in the future we always make a reservation just in case.

The staff was very friendly, though our specific waiter was kinda slow (Michael’s beer and our bread came about 15 minutes later). The atmosphere was very nice, the whole dinning room restored to it’s 1930’s charm. And the view of the river all lit up at night was lovely.

I ordered the beet salad (Michael just ate the cheese for me). It was sooo good. The beets were perfectly cooked and very juicy.

For my entree, I had to order the only vegan thing on the menu, Grilled Vegetable Tagine. I was a little annoyed at first there was only one choice, but it was tasted good so I have no complaints. Lovely crisp veggies served over rice, seasoned with a sweet but savory spice blend. I am sorry I don’t have a photo of my entree, I know I took one and somehow it vanished off my phone….

Michael ordered the Saturday Night Steak Dinner Special—nothing besides his starter salad was vegan. He always wants steak for Valentines Day. I can’t complain because I didn’t have to cook it for once. He loved his organic and antibiotic free prime rib. And was in heaven with his buttery mashed potatoes. Meh, I will stick to my still delicious healthier food 🙂

Aren’t we cute all dressed up?

This place is expensive, but it was a lovely treat. We got to dress up and snuggle up next to each other. It would have been even better if I could have sampled the wine selection…..

On Monday while visiting the Marshall Gold Discovery Park, we had a lunch at this adorable little cafe across the street from the Visitor’s Center. The Argonaut Cafe is an organic, farm-to-fork style restaurant. It’s a tiny little building, and even at 2:30 PM when we entered, it was pretty busy.

The cafe is decorated like an old Gold Rush era store, mostly wood and metal. There are a lot of picnic tables out back with a great view of the American River.

The menu is basic cafe foods, like soups, sandwiches, salad, and a few desserts. I ordered the Fresh Veggie Sandwich (without the cheese) on Sourdough and Michael got the Organic Smoked Turkey on Sourdough. My sandwich was heavenly. Fresh, crispy veggies with a creamy hummus. And I love buttery California avocados. I was so happy to find fresh organic food in such a small town at reasonable price (both sandwiches were $8 each).  The soup of the day was vegan chili, but I didn’t want to be too full and set off my acid reflux. It looked really good though, maybe next time.

We want to do a bigger Gold Country trip when Jack is old enough and I totally plan on coming to both these restaurants again. Though, Jack might stay the night with his Auntie who lives nearby when we go back to Pilothouse so momma can enjoy some wine in peace.

And see, it’s not that hard to go on a vacation and eat vegan. Just do some research and be prepared that your food will be delicious, just not a mound of buttery mashed potatoes. Or who knows, maybe you will luck out and find an awesome organic cafe!

Roasted Bell Pepper and Spinach Sandwhich

This is the sandwich to go with my gazpacho recipe. Not too complicated but tasty!

This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but can easily be multiplied.


1 red pepper pepper
Olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach (frozen is fine)
2 rolls (I used torta rolls)
Mustard
Horseradish
2 slices of vegan swiss cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rub the pepper with some olive oil. This does not really help with the roasting process, just adds flavor.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the upside is lightly browned.

While the pepper roasts, sautee the slices onions and spinach in a pan over medium heat, with a touch of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, set aside.

Remove the peppers from the oven and turn them over.

Bake for another 15 minutes.

The skin should be charred now and the pepper should practically be falling apart.

Place your pepper in a zip-lock bag. Let it sit and cool for 5 minutes.

Now the skin will be soft and cool enough to peel off. I usually peel the pepper in the bag, so there is less mess. Just peel off all the charred skin either with your fingers or a small knife.

Now cut the pepper in half. The steam and attached seeds will come out easily.

Wipe away any remaining seeds.

Set the two pepper halves aside.

Now we can assemble….

Heat a pan (the one you did the spinach in is fine) over medium-high heat.

Take spread of mustard and horseradish on each roll.

Add a slice of cheese on one side of each roll.

On half of the bell pepper on top of the cheese for each roll.

Add the spinach mixture on top of the pepper pepper.

Top with the other piece of the roll.

Squish the sandwich down a bit, this will help it all stay together

Place in the hot pan. Cook a few minutes, until the roll is crisp and golden.

Flip over and repeat on the other side.

Now you have a tasty grilled sandwich to go with your soup!

Sloppy Joes

This morning that commercial for an “unsloppy joe” recipe came on. Michael and I both turned to each other said we wanted sloppy joes for dinner.

Don’t bother with pre made sauces in a can. Sloppy joes are just as easy to make on your own. It is really just tomato paste and seasoning. I used Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style in place of beef. And I added bell peppers for more nutrition.
This makes about 4 sandwiches.
Sloppy Joes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbs agave
1 and 1/4 cup  water
Salt and pepper to taste
Buns or Rolls
Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Saute the chopped onion and bell peppers until tender.
Add the jalapeños and “ground beef”.  Cook until heated through.
Add the tomato paste, agave and seasonings. Mix together well.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
Serve on the rolls or buns.
I made coleslaw with a light vinaigrette as a side dish. This was exactly what we wanted, so good!