Friday, November 27, 2009

To roast, or not to roast...

Thanksgiving 2009. Last Thanksgiving we tried a Tofurkey. was tolerable in very small bites. I figured that there is soooo much else with Thanksgiving dinner, that I would be happy to forgo faux meat and enjoy all the other goodies on the table. You know, stuffing muffins, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, etc.

This year a sweet surprise arose. Kristin's sister took the order for specialty items to be brought from Minneapolis and she threw in a Celebration Roast from the Field Roast Grain Meat Company. Kristin and I already knew about the Celebration Roast and loooooooove every FRGMCo product that we've tried, but after the Tofurkey...we'd lost faith.

OK, I cannot give the Celebration Roast enough praise. It was deliscious!!! Hot = yum, cold = yum. We unwrapped it yesterday and sliced off a few pieces to try it out. Marvelous. I then got into trouble because I kept taking slices when no one was looking and during those long hours waiting for everyone else's carcass to bake in the oven.

My advice, don't be afraid of the Celebration Roast! Its a keeper for sure.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Minneapolis Eating Tour 2008

It was time for the bi-annual Minneapolis pilgrimage. We really wanted to see Cracked Pepper announce at a North Star Roller Girls bout. As new vegans, the opportunity to dive into vegan friendly restaurants was just too thrilling!

What?! EVERYTHING here is vegan?!

What?! The menu is plainly marked whether items are vegan or can be made vegan....without dirty looks...

(insert angelic chanting sounds and warm, glowing light here)

So, after exhaustive research from the internets with our bums firmly planted on the couch....the following are the joints that we ended up stuffing our faces at. There are other places that we just couldn't fit in on this trip :-( If you get to or live in the Twin Cities area, I would recommend all of these good eats.

Most of the couch-bound ressearch came from here:
VegGuide Twin Cities
Happy Cow Vegetarian Restaurant Guide

4/24/2008 one rainy day -------------------

Seward Café (breakfast)

What we had:

  • Mexicali ( tofu on corn tortillas with pinto beans, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, rancheros sauce & melted soy cheese)
  • Vegan French Toast ( thickly sliced, house-made whole wheat bread dipped in flax & soymilk batter) + maple syrup + soy margerine + blackberries + vegan sausage
  • Iced Chai (Home Brewed Chai, served hot or iced) w/ soy
  • Nice cold glass of Soy Milk

*bonus* there is the Seward Community Co-op store next door and thus commenced our shopping spree…

*tip* bring cash, fill out your own order and pay for it at the counter - menus and order forms are near the counter, ride a bike - there is ample bicycle parking on the side!

Evergreen Chinese Restaurant (runch)

What we had:
  • Sweet & Sour Mock Chicken (Battered mock chicken with green peppers, onion, and pineapple in sweet and sour sauce)
  • Wheat Gluten with Pickled Vegetables (Sliced wheat gluten roll, similar to, but not the same as mock duck cooked with hot peppers and pickled vegetables)
  • Vegetarian Rolls ( Deep fried spring rolls filled with vegetables)
  • Mango Soy Milkshake
  • Jasmine Tea

*bonus* authentic Taiwanese with many mock-meat options throughout menu. The food made me want to eat my weight in mock chicken! I was so happy with the food I wanted to kiss the owner….with my tongue….all over him….and his wife….rolled in pickled cabbage….or not.

*tip* keep your eyes peeled looking for this one. there is parking in the back - otherwise you'll have to find a spot on the street. walk into building and look to your right - go down stairs to the restaurant. leave your victorian eating etiquette at home - YOU ARE GOING TO SNARF AND SNORGLE UP DELISCIOUS FOOD!

Pizza Luce’ (dinner)

What we had:
  • Bruschetta w/ Rinotta (rinotta UNcheese, contains nuts)
  • Lil Gracie Pizza (Veggie sausage, phony pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives and soy cheese on red sauce) -black olives +pineapple
  • Cream Soda
  • Beer *burp*

*bonus* they’ve got vegan brushetta n cheesy garlic toast, amongst other things. Our pizza was tip-top and devoured.

*tip* i've made plenty of deliscious vegan pizzas at home but must admit that having one baked in a big ol' pizza oven with love from Pizza Luce' was simply scrumptious - try a pie!

4/25/2008 another rainy day --------------------

Namaste’ Café (lunch)

What we had:
  • Mamacha (6 pieces of delicious dumplings filled with tofu, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, & a delicate blend of spices. Served with freshly prepared sesame sauce)
  • Kwati (A variety of sprouted beans and flat pieces of dough cooked in a thick soup with cumin, cayenne, ginger, garam masala, & bay leaves over a serving of rice)
  • Namaste Special Curry (House curry prepared with tumeric, ginger, onions, garlic, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, & fresh scallions over a serving of rice)
  • Masala Chai (1 hot, 1 iced)

*bonus* another meal that I had to activate my impulse control to keep from licking all of the goodness off of the bowls. My first nepali eating experience and I want another one now!

*tip* their chai was rated #1 for 2008 in the Best of Pages, so, order one up! Also, our service was very slow, I don't know why, perhaps a fluke - just in case, plan for a long lunch :-)

Falafel King (snickety snack)

What we had:
  • Falafel King Combo (Hummus, tabouli and falafel with pita bread, 22 oz. pop)

*bonus* for middle eastern fast food, you can’t beat the falafel king! What a treat for fast food! Ha!

*tip* there are many locations - we tried the one on Lake St. and you'll have to maneuver around road construction for a few more months, but it is worth it! look for a big, gold crown on the corner of a building and you've found goodness within...

Midori’s Floating World Café (dinner)

What we had:
  • Edamame (boiled & salted soy beans in the shell)
  • Vegetable Gyoza (vegetable dumplings with dipping sauce)
  • Vegetable Tempura (deep fried vegetables in light batter)
  • Kaiso Salad (marinated sea vegetable assortment)
  • Veggie Tempura Roll (asparagus, sweet potato, avocado)
  • Rishi Fairy Flower Tea (The tea buds are tied into a ball and are highly scented with fresh Jasmine flowers. The balls not only give a fragrant aroma, but also a surprise when
    a row of hidden flowers open in hot water.)
  • House Sake *hic*

*bonus* very very very very tasteeee food here. Period. We tempura’d our asses off here….NOMNOMNOMNOM

*tip* this little joint gets BUSY! cuz it is that good. if you are planning to go there during peak hours, call for a reservation!

4/26/2008 whoa nelly! a snowy day --------------------

French Meadow Bakery & Café (breakfast)

What we had:
  • Sweet Corn Arepas (Corn cakes layered with vegan sausage, fresh organic spinach, sautéed red peppers and balsamic reduction)
  • Vegan Black Bean Chili (Organic black beans, ancho and chipotle peppers, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions)
  • Grilled Tempeh Reuben (Marinated and grilled organic tempeh with sauerkraut
    and spiced tomato-soy aioli on organic rye bread)

*bonus* yet another NOMNOMNOM type of joint. We pick’em that way as we are certifiable foodies…..if you are into *not vegan alert* sweet rolls, holy moly, this place serves a cake size of a sweet roll….you’d have to be a sweet roll loving mo' fo' for sure. *end not vegan alert* As I am not, I chose some sweet corn arepas that knocked my socks off. I must add that Kristin didn't really like her Reuben because it wasn't zippy enough. We like Reubens that make your eyes go wide when you bite in 'em :-)

*tip* this place is packed during peak hours, be patient and pick out a seat before you jump in line - turn over of the tables are pretty fast so keep your eyes peeled & jump on one when it becomes free!

Hard Times Café (lunch)

What we had:
  • Vegan Gyro
  • Some Asian Sammich thing - sorry can't remember the name of it :-(

No website, so here is a review from someone else that I feel nails it on the head..

Hard Times is the ultimate punk-rock all-night vegetaria

n cafe and restaurant. At any given moment expect to see intellectual punkers, hobos with coffee, and everyday folks playing chess. The atmosphere is pure 1970s grunge, with a kick. The music is a bit too loud, but tolerable; the food is well-priced and tasty, with various comfort-foods, gyros, tacos, burgers, hummus and desserts. They can make pretty much anything vegan and everything is vegetarian. Waits for food are long and the service isn't the friendliest, but it's crisp and mostly efficient. Come to Hard Times for the food and the vibe. It's a Minneapolis institution.

*tip* bring cash, menu is at counter with order sheets - fill one out and pay right there, bus your table when done, wonder over to Cedar St. and shop at the little world market store across the street - if you are lucky, the lady's dog will be awake and you can pet her!

Ecopolitan (dinner)

What we had:
  • Flaxseed Tostadas (Two flaxseed-sunflower shells topped with spiced lentil mix,
    marinated mushrooms, olives, onions, cashew “sour cream”,
    hot sauce & cilantro, served with salsa & guacamole)
  • Casheese Roll (Rolled in sun-dried tomatoes, basil and olives, topped with
    balsamic onions and reduction, served with flaxseed crackers)
  • Jasmine Green Tea

*bonus* there is nothing at all to feel guilty about when you eat here…and it all was so damn tasteeeeeee. We knew that it would be good….but how good can raw vegan food be….i’ll tell you, REALLY GOOD!

*tip* wonder into the back down the hall to peruse some neat books.

The King & Thai (more dinner, cuz ur on vacycay n feel decadent....pass the body glitter)

What we had:
  • Vegetables with Sriracha Sauce
  • Indian Curry Fried Rice with Tofu
  • Mock Duck Curry Puffs

*bonus* it is thai food. Thai food is always a bonus ;-P this was a suggestion for downtown faire. It was pricey but they understood what we wanted when we said vegan so it was all good.

4/27/2008 gorgeous sunny day in tie for us to leave, damnit -----

Seward Café (brunch)

What we had:
  • Mexicali ( tofu on corn tortillas with black beans, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, rancheros sauce)
  • Hashbrown Supreme ( hashbrowns topped with grilled onion, green peppers, mushroom, tomatoes)

*bonus* it is just that good here….

*tip* don't forget to do some shopping next door at the co-op store!

In the end, we left Minneapolis very satisfied and the car loaded down with food n kitchen stuffs. That can be mentioned in another blog. Kristin's favorite meal was the first trip to Seward Cafe for Mexicali and my favorite was Namaste Curry at Namaste Cafe.

The end.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Burger Goodness

Dinner tonight was Chipotle Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries. I bought a case of Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle burgers from work, good price and they are fully vegan. And fully tasty. And in the future they will be put to use in fajitas, tacos and other Mexican fare. Served them up on a bun with chipotle vegainaise, onion, tomato and leaf lettuce. Julienned some sweet potato, tossed with roasted garlic oil, cumin and salt. I loved the burger, but the fries could have been better. Crispier with more salt and cumin.

I will be attempting to cook with tempeh for the 2nd time tonight. I made some gawdawful chili a few weeks ago with it. I did not cook the tempeh long enough and it was bitter. I hope to make some tempeh salad for sandwiches for lunch. I have been looking longingly at people's sandwiches at lunch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vegan Snacking, oh, my.

I snacked on veggeroni (fake pepperoni seitan) tonight. And I really enjoyed it. Oh, my.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good Golly Gee Wizzz

What a busy day it has been. Kristin has been whipping up so tastee vittles left and right....I am the lucky taste tester :-) I've got our vegan friendly ETSY shop fired up and ready to list. We've decided to give a whirl with soapmaking, bath salts, and home products initially.
Today, I listed the inagural item in our shop, a magazine bowl. An upcycled Real Simple magazine that is pining to find a new home now. The inspiration came from A Little Hut's blog tutorial. I had been searching for a way to upcycle old phone books and this seemed to be a perfect fit! Though this one isn't a phone book, you get the idea. Tomorrow I'll post a phone book bowlie.

Anywho, swing on by our ETSY shop, Marge & Vina, as new vegan goodness will be added as often as we can crank it out! Some of you all might know me from Oso Azul Design where I sell me arts. No worries, I am still selling the arts over there....I am just working with Kristin to sell some homey goodness over here! Wanna check out my art here. nitey nite.


"Sour Cream Chick'n" Enchiladas, bitches!

I made these tonight. If I do say so myself, they were excellent. And being newly vegan, I think I especially appreciate that I could not tell the difference between these and omni enchiladas. I think I enjoyed them more, as I tasted the different veggies more, as they were not loaded down with sour cream, or cheese. My mother loved them. Dad didn't have any, wasn't feeling well. But I bet he will. Yes, indeedy. His opinion is the one I really wanted, as he is more of a meat-and-potatoes kinda person.

First, this recipe would actually make two pans of enchiladas. But I love the filling so much, that I made 1 pan enchiladas, and I am going to use the rest of the filling for quesadillas, and a tasty southwest chicken salad. Roasting or grilling the vegetables is a bit of extra work well worth the time. It gives them so much more flavor. The amount of poblanos depends on how spicy they are, or how much heat you like. The same goes for the chipotle. I made these for a dinner with the parents so I wanted them mild.



  • 8 oz. package "chik'n strips" (I used Morningstar brand) , or equivalent frozen, thawed and drained tofu (not silken!)

  • 1-2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced

  • 1 zucchini, diced

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 15 1/4 oz. can corn, or small bag frozen

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes , drained (I only used half a can), or fresh diced

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tsp. oregano leaf

  • 6-12 oz. Tofutti "Better Than Sour Cream", depending on how much "dairy" you like. I used 9 oz. or 3/4 of a container

  • 1-2 T. chipotle in adobo, pureed or mashed

  • salt to taste

  • 1 16 o. can green enchilada sauce, or homemade if you aren't lazy like me!

  • about 9 6" corn tortillas

1. Thaw "chik'n" or tofu. If using tofu, squeeze out all water. Dice it up.

2. Drain canned corn or thaw frozen. Toss corn, onion and diced zucchini with a very small amount of oil (just enough to barely coat veggies), broil or roast in oven at 500 degrees until onions start to brown. I actually like mine a bit burnt. You could also grill them.

3. Mix "chik'n" or tofu, chiles, onions, corn, zucchini, drained tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, beans, cumin, oregano, chipotle and salt to taste. At this point you could just leave out the "sour cream" if you want a less fatty enchilada.
4. Heat up a very small amount of oil in a pan and quickly saute each side of the corn tortillas, just heating through. If you do not want the added oil, you could just cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave.

5. Dip the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, stuff and put them in a lightly oiled pan. Top with more sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. I topped mine with fresh tomato and green onion when they came out of the oven.

I used what I had at my house. Certainly fresh or frozen corn would be better. Fresh tomatoes, dried black beans and homemade enchilada sauce would also be good. But, HOT DAMN, these turned out swell. I am new to the vegan thing, but have cooked professionally for years and am happy for that. I think I know a few more tricks, and such. Elli is just finishing up the dog's new vegan muesli, wit
h some TVP, shredded carrots, parsley and celery. So far he approves of the sample he was given. Oh, and above is a picture of the tastee brownies Elli made. My mom snarfed them down. -Kristin

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cooking adventures

So, this whole vegan thing has really inspired me to really cook again. Last week I came home and baked bread. I have never done that at home before. My vegan ranch turned out swell. I roasted five pounds of garlic. That almost killed us. Once I took the foil off the top of the pan to check it our home was filled with garlic fumes that made our eyes tear up and burn like the dickens. I made hummus yesterday. I need to pay more attention when I make it next time, because it is very tasty, if I do say so myself. When I do I will post it. I just took my first batch of seitan ("veggaroni") out of the oven and it is cooling on the porch. It will top the pizza we are having tonight. Thanks to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for the recipe! AND I made the filling for what will be tomorrow nights "sour cream-chicken" enchiladas. Hot damn, I think they are going to be good. I believe that they would be tastee without the Chik'n strips, and with more roasted poblanos and chipotle, but they are for dinner with the parents and I need to customize it a bit for them. Tomorrow night I will put up the recipe with a picture.

We have been having some "crap" meals and some healthy ones, as well. By crap I mean tofu dogs with crescent rolls wrapped around them, with fries and frozen broccoli. Or hard shell tacos and taco salad the next day. Chipotle "mayo" topped veggie burgers with tater tots. High sodium, a little more fat, etc. The first week I believe we ate a bit better. I am not going to be too hard on myself, though. Compared to the pure, unadulterated crap I ate before, I am eating much better than I have in my entire life. And as stated earlier, there have been healthy meals, too. I had hummus with veggies and minestrone soup for lunch. Made tofu stir fry Saturday night. I need to have my "crap" meals once in a while. It certainly eases the transition.

We started to watch the documentary "Earthlings" on Google video last night, and after about 30 minutes, I had to turn it off. Just too disturbing to watch all of the way through. I had never heard of it. I think we will maybe watch it in a few more installments, so that we do not completely lose our minds. Watching it really solidified that this is not a diet. This is our life from now on. Forever and ever amen. Neither one of us sees how we can go back after starting on this journey.

That is all. Tomorrow we shall see how the enchiladas turn out. And I am now going to go get the seitan off the porch and try it. I do miss pepperoni on pizza, so here is hoping that it turned out good. -Kristin