Holiday Lentil Loaf 

What does a vegan who is nursing a toddler who’s allergic to soy, wheat, and cashews have for Thanksgiving? Lentils! I actually had this last year too before Jack developed his food allergies, because it’s that good!

I posted a lentil loaf recipe before, and I still make that one often. It’s more of a meatloaf than a holiday dinner.

I should have posted this last week, but life got in the way. My apologies! But this is good for any holiday as a poluty substitute. I actually assembled the loaf the night before and baked it the next day. It is very allergy-friendly and tastes great! Even my  meat-loving husband took several bites!

Holiday Lentil Loaf IMG_0439
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups brown lentils
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 stalls of celery, 
chopped fine
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh sage, 
minced
1/4 tsp thyme, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/4 nutritional yeast
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook lentils according to directions on the package.

Cook lentils according to the directions on the package.

While those are cooking, sautée the carrots, celery, and onions in a little bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add all remaining ingriedents, expect the salt and pepper, and whisk together.

Drain both the lentils and quinoa, add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the sautée vegetables and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and also mix well.

Spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Form a loaf on the pan with the lentil mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and a light crust forms.

Cut off a slice and top with some vegan gravy. Enjoy a taste of the holiday season everyone can enjoy!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

This morning my husband accidentally woke the baby up early. And guess who had to get up with him? Anyways, I got to watch my favorite cooking show of all time, Good Eats. And the episode featured my favorite vegetable, Brussels Sprouts. I’ve seen the episode before, but kind of ignored it since I loved my sprout cut in half and pan fried. But today I paid attention and saw him make the most delicious looking dish ever. Shredded Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and pecans. I had all those ingredients in my fridge and couldn’t decide what to make, this recipe was just what I needed! I made it vegan and added a few ingredients too. This dish would make a fantastic healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 ounce raw pecans, chopped
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 ounces dried cranberries
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the brussel sprouts and remove any brown leafs. Cut off the tip of the steam. Cut the brussel sprouts into shreds (or use a food processor like Alton did).

In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the chopped pecans. It will only take a minute or two. The color won’t change much but you will be able to smell the aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the butter and brussels sprout shreds. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sprouts soften.

Next add the cranberries and cook for one minute longer.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now dig into this delicious dish! Michael and I devoured the bowl. I even hoped Jack wouldn’t eat his  portion (I gave him just the sprouts, never give a baby nuts as they are a choking risk).  But he devoured his too! I will need to make this again soon, it was just so good!

Thanksgiving 2013: Thanksgiving Casserole

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones. We had a wonderful time in Tracy, thank you so much Lori and James for having us!

I have a lot to be thankful for this year:
  • I am thankful to have married the man of dreams two months ago. Thank you for taking care of me this past few months, I know I have not been the easiest pregnant lady.
  • I am so thankful for my unborn son (I keep forgetting to make a gender reveal post….). This pregnancy has not been very fun so far, but I know he will be worth it. I can’t wait kiss his sweet little face in April.
  • I am thankful for my amazing parents. Thank you for always supporting me and loving me. We all might be crazy, but at least we can be crazy together!
  • I am thankful for all my amazing in-laws.  Thank you to my wonderful parents-in-law for being so kind and supportive through these crazy few months. And thank you to my wonderful sisters-in-laws for being so open and accepting from moment Michael brought me home.
  • I am thankful for my cats. Penny makes me smile everyday with her antics (Did you know a cat can be condescending?). And, I am grateful for Zoey’s snuggles. I am so happy my kama’aina kitties came to California.
So, as I said in my menu post, I made a layered casserole thing. I wanted baked tofu, stuffing, and mashed potatoes—but I did not want to bring 3 separate dishes. So I just combined them into one. It’s not that complicated to make, but a little time consuming.
Thanksgiving Casserole

Tofu Turkey Layer:
28 oz (2 blocks) of firm tofu, frozen then thawed
7 oz (1/2 block) silken tofu
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs herb de Provence
1/2 tps pepper
Stuffing Layer:
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tbs celery leaf
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 tbs sugar
4 cups vegan stuffing mix (just check the label, it’s not that hard to find)
1 medium carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup onion, chopped finely
Mashed Potato Layer:
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbs vegan butter
2 tbs vegan cream cheese
1 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat a dutch oven pot or a deep casserole pan lightly with olive oil.
Tofu Turkey Layer:
In a colander, drain the firm tofu very well. I mean get it as dry as you possibly can. Squeeze it out with your hands. Don’t worry about crumbling it.
Drain off the liquid the packaging liquid from the silken tofu, but leave this tofu still moist.
In a food processor, all the tofu, soy sauce, garlic, herb de Provence, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Pour into the dutch oven and smooth so the top is even. It will only cover an inch or so on the bottom.
Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
In the mean time…
Stuffing layer:
In a small sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth, cranberries, celery leaves, herb de Provence, and sugar to a boil over.
Reduce to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries burst open and soften.
Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, add the chopped stuffing mix, carrots, celery, and onion. Pour the broth/cranberry liquid in slowly, stirring gently.
Once the tofu has cooked for an hour, remove from the oven and spread the stuffing over top (without burning yourself on the hot pan).
Cover with the foil again and bake for 45 minutes.
And while that cooks….
 
Mashed Potato Layer:
Once your potatoes are peeled and quartered, add them to a large pot of cold water.
Cover and bring to boil.
Remove the lid and let them boil until tender (when a fork can be easily inserted).
Drain and return back to the pot.
Add the butter and cream cheese. Mash very well.
Slowly add a little bit of vegetable broth at a time until the potatoes come to a creamy but firm consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the stuffing layer has cooked for 45 minutes, remove the oven and spread the mashed potatoes on evenly (again, be careful).
Turn up the heat to 425 degrees.
Cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
I served this with some simple gravy. I also had some cranberry sauce and corn. It was so delicious, all the flavors of Thanksgiving all rolled into one. Everyone else tried it too and said it was good! I would totally make this again next year.

Thanksgiving 2013: Slow Cooker Seitan Roast

As I mentioned in my previous post I was going to make a seitan roast in my crockpot for my work’s Thanksgiving potluck. It came out awesome!!! This is my new favorite way to make seitan. So easy, very little mess, and it was so juicy!

Crockpot Seitan Roast
2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 soy sauce
1 tbs herb de Provence
1 garlic, minced
1 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 stalks of celery,  cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into quarters

4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large blow, mix together the vital wheat gluten, 2 cups vegetable broth, soy sauce, herb de Provence, and garlic. It should form a moist—but not sticky-dough.

Knead the dough gently for a minute or two.

(I made my dough the night before and left it in the fridge overnight. I don’t think this changes the flavor or texture, so this step is optional).

Shape the dough into a loaf.

Place in your slow cooker.

Cover the loaf with the cut carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion.

Cover the loaf and veggies with the remaining vegetable broth.

Turn your cooker on medium-low and let it cook for 4-6 hours (I put mine in at 8 AM and it was ready around 12:45).

It’s ready when the seitan firm (but not hard) and no longer chewy….and obviously when vegetables are soft. There should be a little broth left (which should have tons of flavor by now and will make a great thin gravy).

I found a nice platter in the cabinet at work, so I sliced up the seitan and plated everything nicely. The president of the company—who is a big meat eater—took a sliced and liked it! I had to go back to work so I forgot to see if any was left afterwards….so  I am going to imagine it was all gone 🙂

This is a seriously awesome and easy meal, any time of the year.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Finally, my last Thanksgiving 2012 recipe: chocolate pumpkin pie. This was actually a big hit with all the non-vegans on Thanksgiving too. It’s got more protein from the tofu. Plus it has less fat and no cholesterol.

And once again, I forgot to take a picture of the whole pie. I remembered half way through eating my piece. When I went back to take some, it was already half gone.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
1 16 oz can of pumpkin
1/2 block of silken tofu, drained
2 tbs of coco powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of soy milk
2 tbs of maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade is fine)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour into the graham cracker crust.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center is firm.

Top with some vegan whip cream or my favorite, coconut cream.

Stuffed Pumpkin

source

This dish was fantastic and so adorable…too bad I forgot to take any pictures of it! I can at least post the recipe so you can make your own adorable little stuffed pumpkin.  I took this to my second Thanksgiving on Friday since we had to travel two hours. I just heated it up when I arrived.

Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin (Mine had about an 6 inch radius)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cups cornbread stuffing (I used a box mix, but you can make your own as well)
1/2 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and dried well and cut into small cubes
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 of a small onion, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the stem off the top of the pumpkin and hollow out the inside (detailed instructions on my pumpkin craving post, just minus the actual craving part).

Coat the inside of the pumpkin with some olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, combine the stuffing, tofu cubes, chopped celery and chopped onions.

Stuff the pumpkin with the stuffing mixture. Make sure to leave a little room at the top. Cover the stem with foil and place back on top.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours. The pumpkin should be tender enough that a fork can easily pierce through it.

Now remove the stem, and cut into slices. You eat both the filling and pumpkin flesh. Goes lovely with some gravy.

Next time I promise to remember the pictures…

Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast

I originally wanted a Tofurky Roast, but I did not find find any at Trader Joe’s. I did not feel like going to another store so I just settled for Trader Joe’s brand. While I still like Tofurky better, this roast was fantastic. It comes with its own gravy too. I served it over roasted veggies. Only a few people tried it for dinner, but those who did said it was good too. This would be a great options for those transitioning to vegetarian or veganism.

Before the oven, I accidentally forgot to take photos of it cooked…opps!

This recipe will work with any other alternative roast, just adjust the temperate and bake time as needed.

Turkey-less Roast
Olive oil
4 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 large carrots, cut into 1 inches pieces
4 large parsnips, cut into 1 inch pieces
Handful of brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 tbs herb de provence
Salt and Pepper
1 Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast
1 cup vegetable broth, divided in half

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the bottom of a roast pan with olive oil.

Prep and chop all the veggies accordingly.

Add the veggies to the pan, plus the herb de provence and the salt and pepper. Mix together to coat everything in olive oil.

Remove the roast from the packaging and place on top the veggies.

Pour half the vegetable broth over the roast.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the veggies are thoroughly roasted and roast is heated through.

Heat up the gravy packet that comes with the roast, pour it on, and enjoy a healthy and meat-free meal!

Mashed Cauliflower

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was very lovely, so nice to spend time with my new family.  I thought I would post some of the recipes I made. I am going to break it into four posts to make it easier.

Here is the recipe for mashed cauliflower. It has a lot less carbs than potatoes. Now, I am not going to lie…I did not have high expectations. Mashed Potatoes is one of my favorite foods and I thought nothing could replace it. But this was fantastic! It is just as good, if not better. And it was so easy.

Mashed Cauliflower
1 medium head of  cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Wash the cauliflower head and dry.

Remove the florets from the base stem.

Fill a large pot with water and add the florets.

Place the pot on the stove over high heat on the stove. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, uncover and add a bit of salt. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain well and return to the pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash everything together well.  Try to get the cauliflower as smooth as you can.

Now your mashed cauliflower is ready to serve! I topped mine with vegan gravy but any traditional mashed potato toppings would work great too.

Five Layer Dip



*This is repost, since for some unknown reason, the first one got deleted.


I hope you all had a fun Fourth of July!

Once again, so for not posting very often. As I mentioned in my last post, I am moving to California. I am still staying with Michael’s parents and looking for a job (got some good leads so far!). Hopefully soon I will have a job and my own place so I get back to posting more. 

Yesterday Michael’s parents had a little BBQ so I thought I would make something nice for everyone too: five layer dip. I made this for a party before and it was gone within minutes. What’s not to love about layers of spicy beans, creamy guacamole, tangy Tofutti sour cream, fresh salsa and gooey cheese sauce? 


Some of the layers are from recipes I have posted before, so I will spare you the repeat and just post the links. 

Five Layer Dip:

First layer: Spicy Beans
16 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium onion
1 large bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, minced


Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. 


Chop the onion and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Mince the jalapeño. 



Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.


Saute the onions and peppers until slightly golden.






Add the beans, garlics, and red pepper flakes. 












Cook until the beans are heated through. Mash the beans into a paste as it cooks. 








Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and add the jalapeño. 


Remove from heat and set aside to cool.






Second layer: Basic Guacamole 
Third layer: Tofutti Sour Cream


Fourth layer: Fresh Salsa 
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste


Dice tomatoes and onions, then add to a large bowl.



Mince the garlic and jalapeños and, add to the bowl. 






Add the cilantro and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 


Fifth layer: Cheese Sauce


Assembly:
I suggest doing this in a large see-through (I know I did it in a pink one, it was the biggest one I could find) bowl or dish so you can see all the contrasting layers.


In the bottom of the large bowl, spread an even layer of the Spicy Beans. 



Second, spread on the Basic Guacamole.



Next, cover with as much sour cream as you like. 


Then, put the salsa on top of the sour cream.

Lastly, pour on the cheese sauce. Garnish with some red pepper flakes and cilantro. 



This was big hit! We munched on this while the grill heated up and it was devoured quickly. 


Sugar Cookies

I am sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I was in a car accident. I am fine, just a concussion and whiplash, but sadly my car was totaled. What pisses me off the most was I was not doing anything bad—not speeding, playing with my phone, or goofing around at all. The car just started spinning out of control and I crashed. That aside, it could have been a lot worse so I am glad that I only have minor injuries. But, crashing your car the weekend before finals does not leave a lot of time to cook yummy food, so please forgive my absence.

Baking with a neck brace, so sexy. Thanks to my
 wonderful friend Joely for the apron, I smiled for the
 first time all week when I opened my package.
I wanna help mama.

Anyways, it’s only a few days before Christmas so it’s cookie time! I love decorating cookies with my family, I’ve done it since I was a little girl and plan on doing it every christmas to come. I decided to decorate cookies anyways this year even though I am by myself, it would not be christmas without them! Plus I was not totally alone, Penny tried to jump on the table 3 times while I was decorating them.

I planned on making cookies from scratch, but after spending 4 days in muscle relaxer coma on the couch,  I did not feel like doing all that work. So, I decided to go with a package mix. Like I said before, proceeded foods should be eaten in moderation and very rarely. A few cookies for the holidays is fine. I am keeping a couple for myself and taking the rest to work for everyone to share.

I used the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. I substituted vegan shortening for the butter and soy milk for the egg. Although it does not say to do so on the package, I refrigerated the dough over night like normal sugar cookie dough. This really makes rolling out and cutting the dough easier. However, I needed a lot of flour to prevent the dough from sticking. This is a common complaint I found on the reviews for this mix. The cookies tasted good in the end, but the dough puff up more than I would have liked. Overall, if you want cheap and easy sugar cookies, this mix is just fine. But it’s nothing special, homemade from scratch are better.

I made a double batch so I used two packages. Half this recipe for a single batch.

Sorry I did not take pictures of the whole process, I made the dough last night when I got off work and was I too tired.

Sugar Cookies
2 packages of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
2 stick of vegan shortening (I used Earth Balance), softened
1/2 cup soy milk

In a large bowl,  mix together all the ingredients until. Make sure all the shortening is worked in and there are no lumps.

Spray some plastic wrap with cooking spray. Form the dough into a ball and cover with the plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

On a clean, well floured surface, divided the chill dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time and put the rest back in the fridge.

Roll the dough to desired thickness and cut out your cookies with festive cookies cutters.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. The edges will be slightly golden and the inside still white.

Let them cool on the baking sheet for a minute then remove and let them cool completely.

Then decorate them as desired. I used sparkle gel icing and basic Christmas sprinkles.

Every year I make a Shaun White sugar cookie because he is my favorite snowboarder.

Shaun White cookie!

I also made a bloody car crash victim person, because that’s just the kind of girl I am 🙂

Car crash cookie. There was no blood in my
 accident but that is not as fun to decorate.

I am feeling better so I should be back to my normal blogging soon. Look out for my Thai feast Christmas Eve dinner….