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Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie and Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

So, it has been a really long time since I have posted.  During my pregnancy, I just overwhelmingly didn’t feel like posting anything.  Now, of course, with a 4 month old, I have very little time to write anything.  In the beginning, I was sleeping while she slept, like everyone suggests, but these days I try to get stuff done or get ready for work while she’s sleeping.  While she’s awake, though, I want nothing more than to stare at her little beautiful face and blow raspberries on her little baby belly.  She’s such a doll and I’m so happy to have her in my life.  She’s got such a personality and is generally a very, very happy and very perceptive baby.  We are really very lucky.

Charlotte | A Vegan in Progress

I happen to have this week off (my office is closed), so I thought I would try to get my momentum back.

I made this Oh She Glows Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie for this past Thanksgiving and it was so popular with my family that it was requested I make it again for Christmas.  Luckily for me, it’s pretty simple, especially with a tweak for the lazy.  I simply got store-bought pie crust from the frozen section (they came two to a package – more pie!) rather than making my own.  This pie is very likely the best vegan dessert I have ever had, let alone made myself!  Don’t let the coconut cream scare you away if you aren’t a huge coconut fan.  It’s not the overwhelming flavor of the dessert – that would be yummy, yummy chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Rather than make the strawberry vanilla compote from the Oh She Glows website that I’m sure is delicious, I felt that a cranberry-raspberry compote would be more fitting for the season.  I did a quick google search, then chose a recipe that looked the easiest (that’s usually how I work) and ended up with this one originally from Bon Appetit.  I would make this 100 times over – it was that good.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Eggplant and Artichokes

This is a slow cooker recipe with good flavor that adds some variety to our standard evening meal rut.  It’s from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.  My only complaint is that I’m not a fan of slow cooker recipes that require 30 minutes of prep and cooking before even putting the food in the slow cooker.  It’s not absolutely required, but the cook book says that cooking it in advance gives it the best flavor.

Moroccan Eggplant and Artichokes | A Vegan in Progress

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen artichoke hearts or 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots (I didn’t add these)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish (I didn’t have any)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, for garnish (I didn’t add this)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas (optional – I am definitely adding those next time)

 

Directions:

  1. For the best flavor, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer.  Add the eggplant and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle on the coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayanne, and stir to combine.  Alternatively, omit the oil and saute these ingredients in a few tablespoons of water or combine them in a microwave-safe bowl with a little water, cover, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the artichokes, bell pepper, olives, raisins, and chickpeas.  Stir in the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook on Low until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.  Serve hot, sprinkled with the lemon juice, parsley, and lemon zest.
  4. Serve over couscous.

Vegan Recipe – Buffalo Hummus

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I love buffalo sauce.  A lot.  The problem is, a lot of it contains milk/butter.  Sriracha is a pretty awesome substitute, but sometimes you want that uniquely buffalo flavor.

I also love hummus.  It’s great with veggies, pita, spread on wraps, whatever.  The problem with store bought is that the flavors are very limited.  You’re lucky if you find a selection of original, garlic, red pepper, and artichoke in one place.  It’s also pretty pricy for something that’s easy to make at home.

So, I decided to try my hand at making Buffalo hummus using this recipe provided by No Meat Athlete (shared on Oh She Glows).

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I like things really spicy, so when I finished, I felt like it was just vaguely buffalo flavored, so I increased the amount of hot sauce.  In fact, I doubled it.  Unfortunately, this made it too spicy for most of the people who tried it.  I loved it, but could only really eat it with pita bread to absorb some of the heat.  I think somewhere around 1 1/2 tablespoons of hot sauce would work.  It was delicious and so easy to make with a good food processor.  If you don’t have one, I’m sure you could use a good blender, but get yourself a food processor – it’s so useful!

Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Pillsbury Crescents

Sometimes I think I should have called my blog “Semi-Homemade Vegan” because I’m not a from-scratch cook on a day-to-day basis.  I like to challenge myself and try tougher recipes from time to time, but in general I like to make it easy on myself.  My cooking style often reminds me of that of Sandra Lee with the Semi-Homemade cooking show on the Food Network.  However, she can take it to the extreme.  I once saw her take a perfectly good store-bought pumpkin pie and scoop out the pumpkin filling for use in another recipe.  Talk about wasteful and expensive!  Especially when canned pumpkin pie filling can be found at every grocery store in the Fall.

Anyway, this is a very simple and impressive recipe that’s good for morning pastries, snacks, or dessert.  It’s not particularly healthy, but can be thrown together in minutes.

CrescentsIngredients are simple, one roll of Pillsbury Crescents – they are accidentally vegan! – and one bag of vegan chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.

Simply unroll the dough, top the short side of each dough triangle with a handful of chocolate chips, then roll the short side over the chocolate chips toward the point.  Follow the regular Pillsbury Crescents instructions.

When done, eat the crap out of these warm, gooey treats!

Crescent Rolls | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Sriracha Tofu Wraps

I recently found myself wanting to cook with tofu again, since I had done so little of it in the past.  I also wanted to try making something with Sriracha sauce.  I came up with Sriracha Tofu Wraps.

Sriracha Tofu Wrap | A Vegan in Progress

It was relatively easy to make.  First, I started with preparing the tofu much like I did in my Tofu Vindaloo with Cauliflower Rice post.  For the sake of ease, I will post it again here.

Directions

1.  Ahead of time, maybe in the morning (or at least an hour ahead) press the tofu.  You can use any technique you like, but I placed a towel on a plate, then paper towels on top of that, sandwiched the tofu between more paper towels, then another plate, and stacked cans of beans on top.

2.  Cut the tofu into the strips.

3.  Marinated the tofu using Liquid Smoke and a little bit of Tamari sauce (like a soy sauce, without the salty flavor).  I let it marinate for about 30 minutes, but I’m sure it would only improve if it sat longer.

4.  Next, I tried a great tip that I found at delish.com, I tossed the marinated tofu strips with about 1/2 a cup of cornstarch before pan frying it.  It helps create a crispy outer coating.  Pan fry the tofu until all the sides turn a golden brown.

Sriracha Tofu | A Vegan in Progress

Spread any kind of hummus on a tortilla, add the Sriracha, and roll up.  This is the lazy version, but I bet the recipe would be even better with some greens.

Sriracha Tofu Wrap | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Tempeh Bacon

I never realized the delicious smokiness that is Tempeh Bacon until a visit to Venice Ale House in February.  This weekend, I found myself craving some kind of vegan meat, but without any Tofurkey sausages on hand.  After a quick search, I found this recipe on Chez Bettay.  It seems like something that would be tough to make yourself, but it was actually surprisingly easy.  Give it a try.  If I can do it, anyone can!

Tempeh bacon | A Vegan in Progress

Tempeh bacon

The following is the recipe from Chez Bettay, modified for my preferences (I often refer to my blog for ingredients when cooking and grocery shopping later).

INGREDIENTS:

Tempeh Bacon ingredients | A Vegan in Progress

  • 1 package tempeh of choice (sliced in long thin slices)
  • 1/8 cup organic maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons liquid smoke (I prefer it smokier rather than sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper (I would leave this out if cooking for Eric – too spicy)
  • 1/8 cup tamari
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin coconut oil (melted)

DIRECTIONS:

Tempeh Bacon strips | A Vegan in Progress

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large non-stick skillet until coconut oil melts, then add tempeh strips.
  2. Bring contents of the pan to a simmer over low heat and cover with a lid.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes and then slip each tempeh bacon strip over and cover the pan for another 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook over medium-high heat and flip as necessary until both sides are a crispy carmelized brown and the marinade is completely evaporated.

Vegan Recipe – Tofu Vindaloo with Cauliflower Rice

This recipe came together out of fate.  I happened to have most of the necessary ingredients on hand and stumbled upon Archer Farms Vindaloo sauce at Target that looked good.  I love Indian food and had been looking for a reason to try cauliflower rice that didn’t scare me.  Cauliflower just smells so – cauliflowery – that I’ve been reluctant to try it with anything other than a fragrant sauce that smothers it.  I also had some tofu on hand and have never tried to prepare if any way other than as a filling, like in my Stuffed Shells Recipe.

This was very simple to make, but very hot!  Eric couldn’t take a full serving.  It was my fault for buying Hot Vindaloo sauce, but I’m pretty sure the jar I originally picked up said Medium and, somehow, after looking at the ingredients in the Vindaloo as well as the ingredients in Tikka Masala sauce, I accidentally bought the jar of Hot.  I’m thinking that I will pick up a jar of Medium or Mild next time I’m at Target and I will look for a good slow cooker vindaloo recipe so that I can cook everything but the tofu all day and pan-fry and add the tofu before serving.

Tofu Vindaloo | A Vegan in Progress

HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE (adapted slightly from this link):This is so freaking simple, it made me wonder why I never made it before.

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1.  Cut cauliflower head into florets… I used about a third of a head of cauliflower.

2.  Pulse fresh cauliflower in food processor until it is all about the size of bulgar (or rice).  You could also shred it with a cheese grater (but I’m not sure a lot of vegans would have that in their kitchens).

3.  Microwave in a covered dish (I cracked the lid on the dish slightly to let the steam out and microwaved it for about 2 minutes).  DO NOT ADD WATER.

HOW TO MAKE THE VINDALOO:

Tofu Vindaloo | A Vegan in Progress

     Ingredients
–  One can of chickpeas
–  One bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
–  One can of chopped tomatoes
–  One container of tofu
–  A few tablespoons of Liquid Smoke
–  A couple of tablespoons of Tamari sauce

Directions

1.  First, cut the tofu into the strips.

2.  Ahead of time, maybe in the morning (or at least an hour ahead) press the tofu.  You can use any technique you like, but I placed a towel on a plate, then paper towels on top of that, sandwiched the tofu between more paper towels, then another plate, and stacked cans of beans on top.

Pan-Fried Tofu | A Vegan in Progress 3.  After pressing the tofu, I marinated it.  I didn’t want a marinade that would compete with the Vindaloo, so I used Liquid Smoke and a little bit of Tamari sauce (like a soy sauce, without the salty flavor).  I let it marinate for about 30 minutes, but I’m sure it would only improve if it sat longer.

4.  Next, I tried a great tip that I found at delish.com, I tossed the marinated tofu strips with about 1/2 a cup of cornstarch before pan frying it.  It helps create a crispy outer coating.  Pan fry the tofu until all the sides turn a golden brown.

5.  Cook the tomatoes, chickpeas, and bell pepper for a little bit in a large skillet (maybe 5 minutes).

6.  Add the Vindaloo sauce and simmer for a few more minutes until the bell peppers soften a bit.

7.  Add tofu, mix all ingredients, and serve over cauliflower rice.

I originally made the mistake of adding the tofu too soon, so it looked and smelled amazing when it went into the skillet, but was a lot softer when served.  It still tasted amazing, but next time I will follow the directions I posted above.

I served it with green beans and Trader Joe’s Tandoori Garlic Naan Bread.

Go ahead and give it a try if you come across the Archer Farms Vindaloo sauce at Target or something like it.

Vegan Recipe – Super Simple Mini Pizzas

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I was home for dinner on my own one night recently and wasn’t in the mood to cook much.  I looked through the pantry and finally settled on mini pizzas made on pita bread.  This is no ordinary pita bread.  It’s super thick and soft.  I buy it at the Sherman Oaks Farmers Market from the Brothers booth.  They sell also awesome hummus and garlic spreads as well as stuffed grape leaves.

Super Simple Mini Pizzas | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • Soft, thick pita bread
  • Daiya vegan mozzzarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce (or any vegan pasta sauce)
  • Toppings of your choice (I used sundried tomatoes and olives)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Spread sauce thinly over the pita (be careful not to get it too close to the edges)
  • Sprinkle Daiya cheese all over the top, but don’t cover every bit of the sauce like I did… this was too thick – let a little sauce peak through
  • Sprinkle toppings to your taste
  • Cook for about 20 minutes
  • Watch for the Daiya cheese to melt, that’s all you’re really waiting for since none of the raw ingredients will make you sick.  Just keep in mind that non-dairy cheese doesn’t melt exactly the same as traditional cheese, and you don’t want to overcook it.

These mini-pizzas came out great.  The pita bread, which started out incredibly fluffy and thick, became a little thinner and stiffer – much more crust-like.  I loved it and will make it again when I’m fending for myself for dinner or Eric and I are each making our own meals (he wouldn’t like this much).  The leftovers also held up surprisingly well.

Super Simple Mini Pizzas | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Thug Kitchen Buffalo Falafel Balls

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If you haven’t heard of Thug Kitchen, do yourself a favor and head over to Facebook and like the page, where recipes and healthy eating advice are presented in a really frank and funny way.  Each post is accompanied with a recipe in the caption.

The other day I saw this post for Buffalo Falafel Balls and realized that we had almost all of the ingredients for it and what we didn’t have, I could get at the Sherman Oaks Farmer’s Market that night.  The original recipe can be found here.

Thug Kitchen Buffalo Falafel Balls | A Vegan in Progress

I used the Thug Kitchen recipe, but I wasn’t sure how much cauliflower I would need for 1/3 pound.  I rationalized that a head of cauliflower would weigh about a pound (that could be totally off), so I pulverized 1/3 of a cauliflower head in the food processor.  Then I started to think that this would be way too much cauliflower and had visions of really dry, crumbly falafels, so I held back a little.  This turned out to be a mistake.  I would recommend either following the recipe exactly or adding more and more cauliflower until you reach the desired consistency.  You don’t want it to be too dry and not hold together, but if it’s so wet that it’s sticking to your hands more than forming into balls, it needs more cauliflower.  I ended up letting them cook much longer because mine were so wet.  They were really hard to flip over halfway through without losing their shape and came out much softer and flatter than they should have been, but they still tasted great.  I will be making this again and experimenting with the ratios.

I didn’t have bread crumbs, so I used Corn Flake crumbs, which worked just fine.  I used 1 tsp pizza seasoning and 2 tsp cajun seasoning since I didn’t have any all purpose seasoning and felt that the original measurements seemed like too little seasoning.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time after fighting an hour of traffic to get to Sherman Oaks to go to the Farmer’s Market with my sisters, I didn’t have a lot of time to cook, I ended up using store bought buffalo sauce.  I just made it less hot by mixing one part buffalo sauce and one part vegetable oil.

Buffalo Falafel Balls Pita | A Vegan in Progress

These falafel pitas were delicious and relatively easy to make considering what you get.  Eric liked them a lot as well, but said they didn’t hold up too well after refrigerated overnight.  We will definitely have these again.

Vegan Recipe – Soyaki Sliders

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Well, I kind of stole this recipe from my mom.  As you may remember from previous posts, my mom’s meatless meatball sliders are pretty famous with our friends and family.  They are great little bites of party food and pretty simple to make.  I will post her recipe one of these days, but for now, here’s my quick version.

Soyaki Sliders | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

All ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joe’s, making this a one stop shopping trip.

soyaki sliders | A Vegan in Progress

  • Bag of Mini Sesame Seed Buns
  • Bottle of Soyaki sauce
  • Bag of frozen Meatless Meatballs (these meatballs are great for anything, including smushing and using as meatless ground beef, because they are so soft)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Put the meatballs on a plate and microwave for one minute.
  • Put the, now mostly warm, meatballs in a small saucepan.  Add enough Soyaki to coat the meatballs thoroughly.  The ton of sesame seeds in the Soyaki sauce add a great texture.
  • Simmer the meatballs for 5-10 minutes until warm all the way through.
  • Place one or two meatballs on each slider bun and enjoy!