Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm Back!

I know it's been a while since my last post. Life has been plenty crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm not cooking. It just took too much effort for me to both cook and then blog about it afterward. :) However, I did want to share a great new recipe I tried last week, and then the simple, but lovely dinner I had tonight. 

I borrowed a copy of Chloe's Kitchen from the library, and knew after flipping through the pages that the Falafel Sliders with Avocado Hummus was something I needed to try ASAP. There are three steps to this recipe: the falafel sliders, the avocado hummus, and the tahini sauce. I opted not to make the tahini sauce, just out of sheer laziness. Next time I'll try it as well. Even with the sauce, however, these sliders were a resounding success!
The creamy avocado hummus and slightly spicy chickpea burgers complemented each other perfectly. I served this with some kale chips. Such a great dinner. I will definitely make this again and again.

Tonight, I decided to opt out of Labor Day picnic grilling festivities and make something I've been craving for a while now: fried peanut butter sandwiches. Elvis' favorite, only with fresh raspberries instead of bananas, whole grain bread instead of white, and a mixture of natural almond butter from East End Co-op and the Peanut Butter Co's White Chocolate peanut butter.
I almost never have sandwiches, period, so this was a great treat.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What I Ate This Week

Leftover chickpea tacos with liberal amounts of red and green salsa (the taco shells were crumbled on the bottom).

Remember that slow cooker pasta sauce I mentioned in my last post? Here's a picture of it in the crockpot:
 Eggplant, fresh and canned tomatoes, green peppers, and onion.

And here the portion I took to work for lunch:
Delicious! Maybe it was all the fresh basil, but the sauce was surprisingly sweet.

I went nostalgic a few nights later with English muffin pizza. This is what my little brother used to cook for dinner, when my mother and I came home late from work/school. I used salsa instead of traditional pizza sauce. I love how well that Daiya melts ... 
And finally. I did a really weird thing and bought the newest Rachel Ray magazine. It dawned on me that there were a lot of recipes I could veganize. A few that were already accidentally vegan. So I picked up a container of fake chicken salad from Whole Foods, took all the necessary ingredients (two ears of sweet fresh corn, chives, tomatoes) from the fridge and showed J the recipe ... and when I came back from running, dinner was ready!
Faux Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes, with some of that leftover kale.

My mother's coming to town tonight, and we're going to the new Korean restaurant specializing in tacos. I hear there's a vegan taco on the menu ... (cue evil laugh) one step closer to tasting ALL the vegan tacos in Pittsburgh!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cooking Marathon

Today, I briefly returned to my roots and cooked three separate things. This hasn't happened in over three months, people! It may be the hot weather -- a really hot kitchen always motivates me to cook. Don't ask me the logic behind that. 

I went for my normal jog in the morning, and then got to work whipping up a batch of Banana Biscuits from Vegan Diner. I had one overripe banana sitting around, so it seemed like the perfect thing to bake. Now, I'd never had banana biscuits before in my life, but these were superb. They're described in the cookbook as being a cross between a biscuit and a scone, and that's exactly what I found.
My afternoon plans fell through (and I even had a contingency plan!), so I pretty much struck out socially this weekend. Ah, I did go to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops with a bunch of people on Friday night. Anyway, no plans meant a trip to the grocery store and the Co-op, with plenty of time to stop by the library for an armful of cookbooks. 

My slow cooker is busy percolating the Slow Cooker Summer Pasta Sauce from I'll post pictures of the finished pasta sauce once it's done. I also veganized a recipe from a neat cookbook called Soul Food: Recipes and Reflections from African-American Churchs, by Joyce White. 

The Mixed Greens recipe was a cinch to veganize, since the only meat product it called for was chicken broth. Super simple to sub vegetable broth. I also used kale instead of mustard greens, just because the other greens at the grocery store were wilty-looking. 

There's garlic, jalapeno peppers, and cider in this, which gives the kale a deep, spicy flavor. I'm planning on making this one again!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Loving Hut Buffet

So I attended my first Meetup event. For you folks who don't know what a Meetup is, it's where people with similar interests get together and hang out. That's the basic premise. I was excited to find a vegan Meetup in the Pittsburgh area, and equally excited that it was going to be held at Loving Hut. 

Sadly, I didn't meet anyone new! J and I were seated in a booth by ourselves. I looked around to see where the Meetup group could possibly be hiding, but there were no large crowd of people, or a sign. 29 people were signed up to attend, according to the website. I'm not brave enough to walk up to random people and say, "Hey, are you with the Meetup?"

At least the food was great. I've never been to one of Loving Hut's monthly buffet, and I have to say that it was excellent. Look at all the grub!

I had to try everything! Well, almost everything. There was a broccoli soup and pineapple fried rice I didn't get to taste. That's because I had to make room for ...
Tasty baked goods! Two hours later, I'm still stuffed. Note to self: I don't really have to try all the sweets available at a buffet.

Well, I'll give the Meetup another try, hopefully in a less confusing/isolating setting. I'm looking forward to meeting you, Pittsburgh vegans!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Southern Style, Vegan Style

Every once in a while I get a craving for mac and "cheese." Non-vegan, there was a dish I'd make with three kinds of cheese and bacon. Yeah, I know, it kind of sounds like a heart-attack waiting to happy. Now that I'm dairy and meat free, I either make my own or pick up a box of Amy's frozen mac and "cheese." 

But there's something really trashy and nostalgic about making it from a box. Which is why I picked up a box of this at the East End Co-op. 

Fifteen minutes and a half a cup of rice milk later, I ended up with this:
So I didn't end up with very much mac and "cheese." But that's okay, because I steamed some kale, sauteed mushrooms and garlic, then tossed everything together. 
Yum, this ended up being delicious! Next time I might fry up some tofu or seitan to make this a true Southern extravaganza.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Should Rename This Blog

and call it Wendi's exploration of all vegan hot dog and taco joints in Pittsburgh. That's a bit of a mouthful though, eh?

I was reading Pittsburgh Vegetarian's blog last night, and she mentioned having an amazing veggie dog at Joe's Doghouse.  Coincidentally, I needed to visit the very street the hot dog cart is parked on for a scary visit to Sephora. So I stopped on the way back and grabbed myself a veggie dog with all the works. This meant diced tomatoes, lots of mustard, and spicy giardiniera. All on a whole-wheat bun.
It was beyond delicious! I especially appreciated how the veggie dog was split lengthwise and grilled. It then became the perfect compartment for keeping the tomato/mustard goodness in place. 

Another perk was that my visit to Sephora was the least scary one yet. Two of the makeup specialists came up to me to compliment me on my robot earring. And then an older woman in line told me she "loved my hairdo." I don't know what was going on, but it was better than the surly experiences I've had in the past.

Back at home, the cats were doing an unexpected twin routine. 
Let me tell you, this never happens. My cats usually can't stand to be within two feet of each other. 
Look at their identically pissed-off expressions after I took the first picture! Too cute.

Monday, May 21, 2012

French Bread Pizza

This was so ridiculously easy to make, I don't know I never thought of it before. French bread baked in the oven with pizza sauce, Daiya, fake pepperoni, black olives, and a sprinkling of Italian seasoning. The pepperoni didn't get crisp, but it still tasted good. 

I was looking at my vegan peeps' blogs earlier. It amazes me how talented everyone is, whipping up homemade empanadas and pita bread, dehydrating cool raw foods, making magic happen with tofu. Maybe sometime soon I'll do something fantastic too. I do have a copy of the The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur that I have yet to crack open. Hmm.