The Final Day of Vegan MoFo!

Since today is September 30, the last day of the month, it is also the last day of the blogging whirlwind known as Vegan MoFo.  This was my first year participating, and I’m so glad I did.  Not only was the goal of blogging every single day a fun one to set for myself, it was a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to lots of other blogs and delicious recipes and kindred spirits.  Couldn’t be more pleased with how the month went.

Today also marks Queenie’s first day at her new school here in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s a big day for us.  We spent last year as “unschoolers” (or life learners, or whatever other label you want to use), traveling around and having fun in a decidedly unorthodox way.  Before that, our life was in Los Angeles.  So today feels really big and different and new and exciting.

Today’s post is about the food connected with this big day, namely the lunch I packed for Queenie’s first day of school.  I love packing lunch for her, making sure she is nourished in body (with the food) and spirit (with all of the love and hugs I pack with the food).  Today’s lunch:

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Since the weather here is quite different from LA, she requested that a warm soup be involved, so I made our favorite potato leek soup from the Moosewood Celebrates cookbook.  She also has home-made hummus and carrots from our CSA, crunchy green grapes, Earth Balance “cheesy” vegan popcorn, and a little bag of checkerboard cookies that we picked up at the Vegan Haven bake sale yesterday.  Finally, there’s a love note from me, so she knows I’m thinking of her, which I will be all day.

Thanks for following along during Vegan MoFo.  I look forward to staying connected, albeit more sporadically.

xo

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Vegan MoFo 29: Vegan Bliss in Seattle

Queenie, Mr. Man and I have been looking forward to today because it promised to be pretty blissful for a bunch of vegans.  Indeed it was!

Vegan Haven, the wonderful vegan grocery shop that is a fundraising source for the also wonderful Pigs Peace Sanctuary, was hosting a vegan bake sale all day.  Hip, hip, hooray!! Tons of kind, generous bakers donated home-made treats to raise money for the sanctuary.  And, of course, all of the usual tasty offerings were available at Vegan Haven.   Queenie left quite happy, with her pockets stuffed with various candies.  

I figured if we were going to be there anyway, we had to have lunch at Pizza Pi, the delicious vegan pizzeria in the next block.  So to the University District we headed, and feast we did.  My plan was to document this outing for blogging purposes, but I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to reach for my camera.  Hence, some general pics will have to do.

Here’s the adorable Vegan Haven:

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Here’s one of the many piggies whom they support at their sanctuary (that’s Queenie, giving a belly rub):

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And here’s the fabulous Pizza Pi:

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It wasn’t part of the original plan, but once we were in the vicinity, we found that we could not stay away from Violet Sweet Shoppe, so off we went.  A visit to Violet Sweet Shoppe is always, always a good idea.

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A very happy day!  xo

Vegan MoFo 28: Tofu Fillets and Cherry Tomato Salad

Here’s a tasty, simple lunch I put together the other day.  The tofu fillets are the “Stedda Fish Fillets” recipe from Marilyn Diamond’s The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen, and the salad is the “Cherry Tomato Salad with Tarragon and Chives” from Ann Gentry’s Real Food Daily Cookbook.  They are both easy and yummy.

For the tofu fillets, I used gluten-free panko crumbs, plus nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and powdered kelp.  Diamond just uses olive oil to adhere the coating, rather than a more elaborate dredging, and it works great.  For a topping, I made home-made tartar sauce (also Diamond’s recipe), which is Vegenaise, sweet pickle relish and a splash of lemon juice.

The cherry tomato salad is lovely.  Start with olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper for a dressing.  Toss with cherry tomatoes (I used two colors), fresh chives and fresh tarragon.  That’s it!

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Enjoy!  xo

Vegan MoFo 27: Ridiculously Easy Taco Salad

This recipe is so easy, it’s borderline embarrassing.  But when you need to put together a meal in a flash, like I did yesterday for lunch, having a recipe like this in your bag of tricks is a good thing.

The chunky stuff:  pinto beans, corn kernels, sliced black olives.  Add whatever else you like and have on hand (you can never go wrong with avocado here).

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The dressing, which I adapted from a recipe in the Nava Atlas book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook:  Vegenaise, fire-roasted diced tomatoes (including the juice), splash of red wine vinegar, bit of chili powder.  Mix together.  Not very photogenic, but really great on this salad.

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Toss all of the above with lots of greens and some crumbled up tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a meal.  I’ve also had success with this dish at potlucks – just keep the dressing separate from everything else and combine when people are ready to start eating.

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Enjoy!  xo

Vegan MoFo 26: Tahini-Watercress Dressing

One thing that’s been difficult about moving to a new city has been leaving beloved restaurants behind.  One of our very favorites was Real Food Daily.  Queenie and I ate at the Santa Monica location on a very regular basis and are missing quite a few of their delicious dishes.  Happily, I’m able to make some of them because the owner and visionary behind RFD, Ann Gentry, has written two cookbooks.

Lately, I’ve been craving the RFD house salad.  In the restaurant, it’s a simple blend of greens and shredded carrots and shredded beets.  It’s the dressing that is especially wonderful.  I should disclose that I adore tahini.  I could probably put it on just about anything and be happy with the result.  This dressing is all about the tahini.  It’s not a mild addition to the recipe.  It’s front and center.  This works for me (and how!), but if you’re less enamored with tahini then you might want to try the RFD Caesar dressing on the next page (Queenie’s personal favorite).  The cookbook I’m referencing is The Real Food Daily Cookbook, the first of Gentry’s books.

For the tahini dressing, put all of the following in a blender:  watercress, TAHINI!, lemon juice, scallions, tamari, water, garlic.

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Blend until very smooth.  It will be a beautiful, bright green.

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I slathered it on a bed of greens, to which I’d added shredded zucchini and shredded carrots.  Simple and absolutely divine.  So happy to be able to make this when my RFD tahini craving strikes.

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As Gentry notes, this recipe isn’t limited to salads, saying it “can be used on grain dishes, pressed salads, and – the most popular way at RFD – over the entire Real Food Meal,” which is basically a bowl consisting of grains, legumes and vegetables.  In other words, pour it on everything!

Enjoy!  xo

Vegan MoFo 25: Green Juicy-ness

There is a reason that the green juice craze has been such an enduring one:  because green juice is good and good for you!  In a couple of swigs of tasty juice, you can get a lot of readily available nutrients delivered right to your system.  That’s a craze I can get behind.  

I bought a juicer a few years ago after reading Victoria Boutenko and Kris Carr, among others, extolling the virtues of greens in liquid form.  I love the endless combinations of juice that can be made, and I love how starting the day with a glass of green juice always makes me feel great.

My standard green juice is a riff on Kris Carr’s standard green juice, and it goes something like this (subject to what I have around):  cucumber, broccoli stem, kale, apple, celery, lemon, ginger.  It looks something like this:

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A couple of years ago, the “Skittles Juice” was featured on the PPK 100.  I became instantly addicted to the sweet tartness of this juice and made it a lot.  So much that I needed to take a break from it.  But this morning, I decided the time had come to make it again.  It’s just Granny Smith apples, parsley, ginger and lemon juice, and it’s super yummy.

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Just run everything except the lemon through your juicer, then squeeze lemon juice into it at the end.  (Or have your kid do it, if you happen to have one sitting around… Queenie loves “feeding” the juicer.)

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You’ll end up with a glass of deliciousness!

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I go in phases with my juicing, as sometimes I get tired of the clean-up after.  But it’s really not that bad, and considering how good I feel when I’m doing it consistently, it’s well worth the trade-off.

Here’s the original Skittles Juice link:  http://www.theppk.com/ppk-100/27-skittles-juice/

Enjoy!  xo

 

Vegan MoFo 24: Rhubarb. Who knew?

I recently joined our local CSA, and we received our first box on Friday.  It contained an ingredient that I have never worked with before:  rhubarb.  Determined to put everything in the box to good use, I decided to do the obvious and make a strawberry-rhubarb pie, specifically the strawberry-rhubarb pie in Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage (aka The Urban Vegan).  I only recently got this book, and this is the first recipe I’ve made from it, so it was a double gamble.  All I can say is:  jackpot!!  The pie was exquisitely delicious, much easier than I would have imagined (why did I think rhubarb was difficult to work with?) and a huge hit around here.  Bonus:  the cinnamon-rich crumble topping makes the baking aromas extra divine.

Step one:  make the crumble topping by combining brown sugar, flour, oats, margarine, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Mix it together and set aside.

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Next, make the filling by mixing together granulated sugar, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, rhubarb and strawberries.

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Fill a prepared pie crust with the filling, and then sprinkle on the crumble topping.

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Balcavage suggests covering the pie edges with foil to prevent over-browning.

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Remove the foil after about 20 minutes, and then continue baking until the top is nicely browned.

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I served the pie with a bit of “Vanilla Island” Coconut Bliss by Larry & Luna, and it was perfection.

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Can’t wait to try more recipes from this book and see what else may present itself in our next CSA box!

Enjoy!  xo