Monday, July 26, 2010

Everyday Soul

I've been getting pumped the past few days about a new job I just acquired as a camp counselor for lil' behbehs, teaching music, cooking and yoga! Woohoo!!! Compiling this Everyday Soul felt especially sweet in light of this news.

First, to celebrate future paychecks earned, I ordered a round of Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese, an aged cashew cheese that is in fact much smaller than I perceived it to be from the pictures. And at first I didn't even really care for it. But THEN, I tried it on a piece of GF toast with some blueberry jam and WHAM, it hit me: this is a dessert cheese, for sure!! The rest will most certainly be consumed in this manner. Worth the cost? For me, yep.

Second, waited patiently all yesterday for one of the only shows I care for on television, Mad Men. It was always the costumes, the sets, the aura of the show that made me want to watch--that is, until the end of last season. The writers set up some maaajor drama! Last night's premiere did not disappoint. Can't wait to see what's up next.

And finally, I have officially been shampoo-free for two months! Okay, that might sound like a weird and kinda gross thing to confess on the internet, but really, it's been great! And by that I mean washing my hair exclusively with baking soda and conditioning occasionally with lemon juice was one of the best eco-decisions I ever made. After a period of about three weeks during which my hair was almost constantly in a bun because of the extreme greasiness, I came out the other end with a fuller head of hair than it seemed to be before. Here's where I learned how to do it.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Cow's and AMC.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Neither Quiche Nor Pie

Cashew Quiche-Pie

I started out craving quiche. In the past, I've tried all-tofu and tofu-cashew mixtures to serve as the egg-y substance of a quiche, but this time, I only had cashews. So I went for it! Just turned out a little bit more like a dense, savory cashew pie instead. It got good reviews from the housemates, though, despite the departure from the dish they were originally expecting. It'a fill ya up, that's for sure. Enjoy al fresco with a crisp glass of white wine. :)

Cashew Quiche-Pie
makes 4 large pieces, 8 smaller

1 frozen vegan pie crust
2 cups raw cashews
2 whole cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 small potatoes, diced
1 whole bag fresh spinach

Pre-bake the pie crust in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. In the meantime, saute the potatoes in olive oil until browning, then add spinach and wilt. Once the potatoes are almost cooked through, pour the veggies into the pie crust. Blend the cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, nutmeg and turmeric in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the crust and mix gently with the vegetables before returning to the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vegan Pandamonium Blogger Meet-Up

Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be able to make it over to Tampa, FL for one of my besties, Vegan Pandamonium's vegan blogger meet-up. The authors of VP, Blake Bakes, haiku tofu, Organically Me, plus some non-blogger friends and I got to nerd out over the huge vegan menu at this restaurant called Trang Viet Cuisine, compare recipes and have a generally lovely time.

Trang Viet Cuisine Steamed Buns
The steamed buns, which I ordered because I was reminded of these delicious BBQ pork buns I had at a dim sum restaurant years ago. These were very different. But very yummy all the same.

Trang Viet Cuisine Noodle Cake
My main course, the fried "noodle cake". Not really my thing, and apparently not anyone else's either. Oh well.

Trang Viet Cuisine Carrot Cake
The redeeming vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Dense as hell. Mmm

Overall, the place had a relaxing atmosphere and some rather tasty items along with some eh, meh items as well. Thanks, Sammi, for arranging such a fun little outing!

JSYK: Bianca of Vegan Crunk (a creative vegan Southern/soul food cookin' blog) is giving away some soap nuts, these funky little fruits that you can effectively wash your clothes or hair with. Check them out - I'm hoping to win so I can try 'em!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Return of Vegan Seafood

This weekend has been rather pleasant due to the presence of a bunch of lovely ladies that I haven't seen in a while. The Satur-Sunday portion has been dedicated to the Endless Bummer music festival at a bike shop in Gainesville, but Friday, it was decided that we would celebrate Independence Day a second time 'round. We have but one week remaining in the original Cheetah House - the one with a pool, mind you - so we spent the evening swimming, dancing and eating chips with this deceivingly crabby faux crab dip. Partytime!

Faux Smoked Crabby Dip

Smoked Crabby Dip
makes enough for a small party to dip 'til their hearts content

2 14-oz. cans of palm hearts
4 tablespoons Veganaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
a dash of s&p
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup slivered almonds
paprika to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the hearts of palm and transfer to a mixing bowl. Break up using a fork and knife, so that it's a flaky texture. Mix in all ingredients except the almonds and paprika. Pour into a ceramic baking dish, sprinkle with nuts and paprika and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Celeb Inspiration: The Barefoot Contessa, Pt. 2


My Mimi was a pro at Ina Garten's spanakopita, or spinach pie. The original recipe calls for eggs, parmesan and feta, but as I am finding to be true with nearly all of Ina's recipes, it was easily veganized, and the result was serenely nostalgic for me. This luscious filling is more than I even hoped for. Best of all, I didn't have enough phyllo to use it all up in the pies, so I just re-purposed it the next night in some vegan dumpling wrappers - BAM, vegan ravioli!

Spinach Ravioli

Basically, this filling is a keeper, y'all.

makes about 14 individual pies

1/4 cup good olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1 package firm tofu, blended
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
plain dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, blended
3 tablespoons pine nuts
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 7-8 minutes over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl. When the onion are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the tofu, nooch, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Fold in the cashews and pine nuts.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with Earth Balance and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don't stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed.

Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Everyday Soul

This weekend, thankfully, held quite a lot of soul in store. Saw a fantastic documentary from 1960 about a kickin' jazz festival, appropriately titled Jazz on a Summer's Day. The style, from the cinematography to the clothes and music, made me feel like I was right there watching Louis Armstrong improvise.

Was treated by a dear friend to a still-warm mason jar of homemade blueberry jam, delivered right to my doorstep.

And my momma has been keeping me up to date on a cleanse she just started, the Detox for Women by Natalia Rose. We've already read a couple of her books on how to make the transition to a raw diet without wreaking havoc on one's digestive system, and this one, tailored specifically to women, I can hardly wait to get in the mail. If you're interested in raw food, but want to ease into it, Rose knows how, allowing a cooked meal for dinner and even wine and chocolate everyday! Sounds pretty do-able to me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dinner in 20

Here's one of my momma's tried and true recipes for a quick, veeery nutritious weeknight dinner. Leftovers taste even better!

Beans n' Greens

Beans n' Greens
serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
red pepper flakes
1 large bunch of kale, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 drops liquid stevia (or other sweetener)
2 cans cannellini beans
s&p to taste

Saute the garlic, onion and red pepper flakes in a skillet until softened. Add the kale and water or stock, steaming until the kale is wilted. Fold in the apple cider vinegar, stevia or other sweetener, beans, s&p. Heat the beans through, then serve with a sprinkle of your favorite hot sauce.

Fantastic over polenta or with corn bread, jsyk.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Since Daiya came into my life, the vegan grilled cheese has been taken to a previously unknown level of wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that if they were a little bit more nutritious than they actually are, I would eat them three times a day. Once will have to do for the time being.

So last night, I decided to apply some pistachio pesto to those beloved pressed sandwiches and practically died and went to heaven. Uhhhh, such a GREAT combo!!! You should make this as soon as is humanly possible.

Pesto Grilled Cheese
Delicious sandwich approaching my mouth...

Pesto Grilled Cheese
makes 2 sandwiches

[Pistachio Pesto]
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
1/2 cup packed fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon capers
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup walnut oil

[Grilled Cheese]
4 pieces of sandwich bread (I used GF Millet-Flax bread - it mimics white bread like you wouldn't believe!)
ample Veganaise
abundant Pistachio Pesto
Daiya mozzerella cheeze to your liking
2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor, adding the oil as it blends. Meanwhile, heat the Earth Balance in a skillet over medium-high. Spread two pieces of bread with Veganaise and two pieces with pesto. Sprinkle with lots of cheese, close, and fry until GB on both sides. (I like to mush mine down with a spatula for maximum cheesy-melty-stretchiness.) TAH DAH!