Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Fusion Food!

Oops! I tried to schedule this post a day early to show up on September 30th because I had an event that night and couldn't post. But I forgot to hit publish! So you're getting my last Mofo post on October 1st! Happy World Vegetarian Day!

It's the last day of Vegan Mofo! I'm both a little sad and a little relieved. I'm sad because I'll miss reading all the fun themed posts on my new favorite blogs, but I'm so happy to have found a bunch of new blog friends and blogs to read! I'm also relieved that I don't have to post on the weekends anymore! I can go back to my 4-day-a-week posting schedule.

The last Mofo theme is fusion food!! And I'd been meaning to create a Tempeh BLT Sushi recipe for my retro vegan cookbook anyway. It'll be in the 90s chapter since the 90s were all about both sushi and fusion food.

These were so yummy! And so easy! I made a tempeh bacon and then I rolled that with a homemade spicy mayo, strips of tomato, and romaine lettuce. Instead of wasabi, I served these with sriracha. And soy sauce for dipping of course. On the side, I made some tofu inari because it's the best thing in the world.

Here's the recipe! You'll probably want to make the bacon the night before so it can marinate. And I also make my sushi rice the night before to save time.

Tempeh BLT Sushi
For the bacon:
1 8-ounce package tempeh
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoison sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke

For the spicy mayo:
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 1/2 Tbsp. sriracha
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For the sushi:
2 1/2 cups dry sushi rice
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
6 sheets toasted nori
1 small tomato, cut into thin strips
3 leaves romaine hearts
Soy sauce, for serving
Sriracha, for serving

To make the bacon:
Slice the tempeh lengthwise into about 10 to 12 long, thin strips. Bring a few cups of water to boil in a steamer basket or in a large skillet with sides. Place the tempeh strips in the steamer basket or directly into water in the skillet. Steam for 10 minutes. 

Stir together the vegetable broth, soy sauce, hoison sauce, maple syrup, and Liquid Smoke in a large plastic or glass storage container with a lid. Place tempeh slices in the container, making sure liquid is covering each slice. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate overnight.

To cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a medium-sized baking sheet. Drain marinade and place strips onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through baking.

To make the spicy mayo:
Combine the mayo, sriracha, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Stir well.

To make the sushi rice:
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Cool and stir in 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar. 

To make the sushi:
Place one sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat. Add 3/4 cup rice to the roll and press out flat, leaving about an inch without rice at one end of the nori sheet furthest away from you. Spread the spicy mayo in a thin line horizontally on top of the rice closer to the end facing you, leaving a little rice exposed, about a half an inch. Add the tempeh on top of that, and then the strips of tomato and romaine. 

Starting with the side closest to you, use the sushi mat to begin to roll the sushi in a tight cylinder, making sure the filling tucks inside the rice as it goes. When you reach the exposed end of the nori, where there is no rice, pat it with a little water to help it seal and roll the rest of the way. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the nori can soften and become easier to cut.

Slice the sushi into about 8 pieces using a very sharp knife. Serve with sriracha and soy sauce.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Car Snacks

Today, we're supposed to blog about our favorite car snacks for Vegan Mofo. I'm sort of cheating a little with this post because I've already blogged about my fave road trip food in this post about my trip to Bonnaroo this summer.

But in case you missed it, my fave car snacks are Go Picnic meals!

They only make a couple of vegan meals, but they're delicious and easy to eat in a car. And they're basically a full meal! I get these at Target, and they also have a store brand of similar meals under their Simply Balanced line. A couple of those are vegan too. This Sunbutter & Crackers meal has multi-grain crackers, sunflower butter, applesauce, a fruit strip, and two vegan chocolate chip cookies!

The other vegan one — Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips — is my fave.

It has plantain chips, black bean dip, a gingery fruit & nut mix, edamame, and a fruit strip. I actually ate this at the Bonnaroo campsite this summer, but it's perfect for the car too.

Other fave car snacks — PB & jelly sandwiches, popcorn, carrots & hummus, and any kind of chip! Oh, and bars! Lots of bars!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Tacos Vs. Burritos

Blogging every single day in September and sticking to the daily themes has been tough. But the entire month of Mofo combined wasn't as hard as today's challenge — choosing between tacos or burritos. Yes, that's right. The powers that Mofo be are forcing us to make life's toughest decision.

I thought long and hard about this one all month. And I was tempted to be all, "But I can't choose! You can't make me!" But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, you know, when I go to Chipotle, I usually opt for the tacos but only because they're smaller and less calories. Deep down, I always wish for the nearly 1,000-calorie burrito. So burritos it is! Just by a hair though.

I didn't have time to make a burrito this week. Sadness, I know. So I thought I'd just make this post an homage to burritos past. Here is a rundown of burritos I've eaten and blogged about on Vegan Crunk since I started the blog in 2007. Oh, and for fun, here I am eating my first Chipotle burrito back in 2011 when they opened their first Memphis store.

A close-up of that Chipotle Black Bean & Veggie Burrito with black beans, fajita veggies, rice, and guacamole. This was pre-tofu sofritas — my only choice now.

A Breakfast Burrito with tofu scramble, potatoes, vegan sausage, and Daiya. The recipe is here!

A Sweet Potato & Lentil Burrito from 2008! I don't even remember eating this. Looks good though.

This is the Black Bean & Veggie Burrito from the Hot Mess burrito truck in Memphis. It has squash, sweet potatoes, and peppers. They make their own tortillas, and their veg burritos are naturally vegan, no need to ask for no cheese. Love that! This is a horrible pic, but it's hard to photograph the inside of a burrito!

This is the best way to photograph the inside of a burrito — open-faced! This was the Big Ass Veggie Burrito from Skinny Bitch, which had black beans, brown rice, nacho Teese sauce, and a veggie mix of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more. According to the 2009 post about this burrito, I ate it with Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos while watching L.A. Ink on TLC.

A couple shots of my Country Fried Steak Burrito from Wayward Vegan Cafe in Seattle. This giant burrito was stuffed with country fried seitan steak, hash browns, and peppers! OMG!

A big ole Brown Rice & TVP Burrito that I made at home in 2010. Looks like there was some avocado and tomato in there. And red cabbage? I also don't remember this one.

The Bandito Burrito from Vegan Bites — pintos, bell pepper, corn, jalapeno. Kale on the side like you do.

There are LOTS more burritos on old blog posts, but I need to go bed. And I bet you're tired of looking at burritos. So I'll leave you with this most awesome burrito ever — the Tofu Inari Sushi Burrito from the Germantown Whole Foods. Mmmmmm.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Favorite Spice

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been obsessed with seasoning salts. I remember playing around in my mama's kitchen, developing "recipes" that called for nearly every seasoning blend in her overflowing spice drawer.

Herbs are nice, and powders — like chili, garlic, or onion — are vital to my cooking experience. But I still have the deepest love for salt blends. Paul loves them too, and we're both constantly buying all sorts of seasoning salts. I keep a number of them over my stove — my smoked salts, my lemon-rosemary salt, my sriracha salt, and herbed Aegean blend. But the rest get crammed into our super-unorganized spice cabinet. Out of all the blends though, Tiger Seasoning is my very fave!

Now, I'm sure the health-food types will be completely appalled by this, but Tiger Seasoning contains — gasp! — MSG. And to be honest, that's what makes it so delicious. It's a blend of salt, MSG, dextrose, cornstarch, spices, and garlic. And it makes everything taste amazing. No, it's not health food. But the jury is still out on whether MSG is bad for you. Many people have allergies to MSG, but I don't, so why not use it in moderation? I seriously doubt a sprinkle here and there will kill me.

I actually have to thank my friend Drew (my bestie's partner) for my Tiger salt addiction. I was visiting their house in Little Rock last year, and Drew was like, "You've got to try this stuff!" Now, Paul and I go through a ton of it. It's mostly Paul though, as he likes to eat it by itself (yes, he's weird, and yes, that's horrible for his blood pressure). I just use it on food, and I sprinkle lightly because a little goes a long way.

I always add a touch my ramen bowl. Here's the bowl of Lotus Foods Jade Pearl Rice Ramen that I made yesterday morning with tofu, peas, carrots, and Tiger Salt.

I also added some to this Black-eyed Pea, Corn, & Squash Salad, and it gave it a nice garlicky kick.

I took this salad to a full moon potluck on Friday night, but I omitted onions and garlic from the recipe because one of the girl's has a health condition that prevents her from eating those things. I thought it was a tad bland without those staples, so when I got home with the leftovers, I added fresh garlic, sliced red onion, and Tiger salt. And then the salad went from "meh" to "yummers."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Making a Dish From Pantry Staples

In today's Vegan Mofo post, we're supposed to imagine we're snowed in and can't leave for groceries. What would we make with items already in our pantries, fridges, and freezers? The temps are still in the high 80s here, so that's a little hard to envision. And quite frankly, I'd prefer to never see snow again. Screw winter.

But for the sake of this post, let's just pretend stupid winter is already here. Memphis rarely sees snow, but we do get at least one snowfall, typically in February. And we usually get a few awful ice storms. If that happened today, I'd reach for an item that I need to review anyway — Earth Balance Gluten-Free Vegan Cheddar Flavor Mac & Cheese. I've had this lingering in my pantry for more than a month now! Why have I waited so long?

This is new in the EB line. The gluten-containing mac & cheese has been out for awhile, and it's the perfect substitute for the old Kraft mac & cheese. But as someone who prefers the texture of gluten-free mac, I'm happy to see they've released this new version! Same delicious powdered cheese, but the noodles are made with corn and rice flour. They're not gooey or fragile though. In fact, they're almost indistinguishable from the regular pasta used in the original version.

But back to that snow storm. I could make plain ole macaroni and cheese. That would be delicious and comforting. But why stop there? I had some homemade steamed seitan sausages in my freezer, so I sliced and sauteed three of those. And I added some peas for good measure. I always have frozen peas in the freezer.

Mmmmm. Nothing like mac & cheese with wieners in it to warm you up on a (pretend) cold day!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Share Your Favorite Cuisine

So I know y'all are expecting me to say Southern food is my favorite cuisine, right? Well, it is! But so is Ethiopian food and Americanized Chinese food and basically any kind of vegan fast food. And what does all of that have in common? It's comfort food! Maybe it's cheating, but comfort food is my fave. And that encompasses cuisines from a lot of cultures, including my own Southern American culture.

So I'm taking this post as an opportunity to review a great new vegan comfort food book, The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. The book, with recipes from Nelson and Kim Campbell (T. Colin Campbell's son and daughter-in-law), coincides with Nelson Campbell's documentary of the same name. And that film is having a one-night-only screening in Memphis on Wednesday, September 30th at the Malco Paradiso (details at the bottom of this post). So I needed to get this review in before the 30th, and it's perfect for a post about comfort food.

Before I get to the book though, I should tell you a little about the film. I wrote a full review of the film for the newspaper I write for, The Memphis Flyer (always great to get my vegan propaganda in the paper!). The documentary follows T. Colin Campbell's son Nelson as he tries to get the Kentucky legislature to adopt a program that will help low-income people access healthy vegan meals. But of
course, there's pushback from Big Ag, and the proposal fails. Here's an excerpt on what happens next from my review:
So Nelson goes D.I.Y. and heads to Mebane, North Carolina, which he calls "land of barbecue" (clearly, he hasn't visited Memphis), to test his plant-based nutrition program on its residents. 
Sixteen people sign up for the first PlantPure Jumpstart program, a 10-day vegan challenge in which Nelson and his wife prepare heat-and-eat lunches and dinners made without meats, eggs, dairy, or oil. (Oil is vegan, but Nelson is pushing an oil-free diet to help people reverse serious health problems). 
The group — a diverse mix that includes a politician, a journalist, and a cattle farmer — starts and ends the program with biometric testing. One woman's cholesterol count drops from 176 to 139 in only 10 days, and by the end, everyone tests healthier.
The film is an amazing testament to the health benefits of a vegan diet. And this accompanying cookbook is filled with recipes that are PlantPure Jumpstart approved. That means they're oil-free and super-healthy. But (and here's the big "but") they're all comfort food dishes — buffalo tofu hoagies, eggless tofu salad, creamy African peanut stew, white veggie lasagna, sesame noodle lettuce wraps, to name a few. No weird raw dishes here. Just comfort foods made healthy, which is great for people transitioning into veganism.

I tried a few dishes from the book, starting with Nelson's Grits — a creamy Southern-style breakfast with yellow corn grits, bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, and smoky bacon bits. Loved this dish! Honestly, I did add a tad bit of Earth Balance and some extra nooch (the recipe only called for a small amount). But this was a perfect start to my day!

Next, I tried the French Dip Sub, which is basically my favorite genre of sandwich.

The filling is made from portabellas and onions, sauteed in broth rather than oil. And it's dressed with a homemade cashew-based horseradish aioli. I didn't miss the fat at all in this oil-free sauce! And the mushroom filling was hearty and delicious. The au jus was made with mushroom broth, vegan worcestershire, and balsamic vinegar — tangier than most au jus sauces I've had but absolutely delicious.

Finally, I whipped up this Pineapple Coconut Smoothie for breakfast this morning.

Although the book shuns oil, they do call for healthy fats in some recipes. This smoothie has a little full-fat coconut milk, which made for a very creamy, almost milkshake-like drink. It also has banana and pineapple, and I added some Vega One French Vanilla protein powder.

If you're local, don't miss the screening of PlantPure Nation next Wednesday! Here are the details!
PlantPure Nation screens one night only on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:30 p.m. at the Malco Paradiso (584 S. Mendenhall). Tickets will be sold at the box office, but seating is limited so an RSVP is required. Call 901-590-2754 to reserve a seat. There’s a pre-party with vegetarian food samples from 6:30 to 7 p.m. at Whole Foods.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Vegan Mofo: What Would [Insert Famous Name Here] Eat If They Were Vegan?

For tonight's Vegan Mofo post, we're supposed to blog about what the famous person of our choice would eat if he or she were vegan. At the time I was planning my posts for the second half of the month, I was obsessed with Macklemore's new single "Downtown." Okay, actually, I'm still obsessed. It's basically the greatest video ever. And I'm a huge Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fan. Here's a pic I shot of him from the photo pit at Bonnaroo a couple years ago!

So I googled "Macklemore's favorite food." And I found this article from The Seattle Times, which says the rapper loves pho. What a coincidence! Me too! Because noodles!

Here's a choice quote: “For someone whose job description entails giving high-fives to sweaty drunk people around the world, and sleeping on couches in venues that haven’t been cleaned since the ’80s, it’s almost guaranteed I will spend four months of the year with a cold. That hoisin sauce, broth, lime, basil, noodles, beef combination–it’s the best comfort food.”

I pulled out my copy of Robin Robertson's Vegan Without Borders and found a yummy-looking recipe for Pho Chay, the naturally vegan version of pho popular among Buddhist vegetarians.

This super-simple recipe is rich with complex flavor. The broth is seasoned with lots of hoisin, so it's both savory and sweet. And the soup is chock full of shiitake mushrooms, onions, and brown rice noodles. And, of course, fried tofu.

It's served with cilantro, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Mmmm. This was so good. I know Macklemore is a meat eater, and he occasionally uses dead animal furs and taxidermy in his videos. And it makes me sad because, other than that, he's awesome and all about human rights. I'd like to think that, maybe, if he had a taste of this vegan pho chay, he'd start to swing in a more animal-friendly direction.

Okay, you know I have to include this amazing video.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Autumn Equinox Eats

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I have a love-hate relationship with fall. The cooler temps are nice, but I prefer the scorching heat. My birthday and Halloween/Samhain are in October, and I love me some pumpkin. But I'd trade those for an endless summer with tomatoes forever. Still yet, there's nothing I can do to stop the changing of the seasons. So I might as well accept it.

And the one thing that gets me through the "prelude to the winter" are the hearty, autumn meals — corn dishes, soup, chili, pumpkin everything. Tonight, I celebrated Mabon — the pagan Autumn Equinox holiday — with an amazing meal that just might have pushed me into the realm of autumn acceptance.

I started the day off summer-style with a run followed by a power bar, and for lunch, I had a cocoa banana smoothie and salad rolls from the new I Love Juice Bar in Midtown. But by this evening, I was ready to face the truth — autumn is here. So I whipped up these Corn Pancakes with Black Bean Salsa and Savory Sour Cream from Cooking By the Seasons.

Cornmeal cakes flecked with hot peppers are fried on a griddle and topped with a spicy black bean salsa (okay, my version was super spicy because I added Paul's homemade Trinidad Scorpion hot sauce). That's all topped off with vegan sour cream seasoned with lime juice, cumin, and cinnamon. Wow! If I can eat like this all season, I might be okay with it.

On the side, I had a Salad with Apples, Toasted Walnuts, & Ginger Vinaigrette, also from Cooking By the Seasons. The apple in the salad was from the Memphis Farmers Market. Also in the salad were raisins and red onions. And the ginger vinaigrette was made with sesame oil (mine was sesame-chili oil, so it was spicy), which added an interesting kick.

Basically, everything in this meal was spicy, just the way I like it. I washed it all down with Our Daily Red organic, vegan table wine.

No Equinox celebration is complete without a cakes & ale ceremony (I used my red wine instead of ale though because it's what I had). For my cake, I picked up a Caramel Apple Cupcake from Pink Diva Cupcakery — vanilla cake stuffed with caramel apples, topped with buttercream and a caramel drizzle. Imagine a caramel apple in cupcake form. Mmmmm.

If you can't beat autumn, join it, right? Happy Mabon, y'all!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Dish Made From Seasonal Produce

Aw, it's the last day of summer. Bummer! Even though my birthday and Halloween/Samhain and Thanksgiving (my three favorite holidays!) are in the fall, I still can't get past the idea that fall is a giant prelude to the dark, depressing, cold winter. I hate winter. And I wish I lived in some magical land where summer never ends (Hawaii?).

But alas, fall will be here Wednesday. But thankfully, in the South, we're still in summer produce for a few more weeks. I went to the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturday, and there were still stands bursting with juicy tomatoes, fresh okra, bell peppers, watermelon, fresh black-eyed peas, all the good summer veggies. I loaded up on fresh okra.

And tomatoes, which I promptly took home and boiled to remove the skins.

Then I got to work making fresh Stewed Okra & Tomatoes, a classic Southern dish. There's a version of this in Cookin' Crunk, but it's made with canned tomatoes. For this version, I used fresh tomatoes, plus some hot peppers from our front yard garden, which is still going gangbusters. Here's a pic of our tabasco peppers.

I used a few of these in the okra dish. I also pickled a bunch to make hot pepper vinegar, which I sprinkled liberally over the okra upon serving. Here's the finished dish!

Stewed Okra & Fresh Tomatoes
Yields 4 servings

5 fresh summer tomatoes
40 fresh okra pods, sliced, tops discarded
1-2 fresh tabasco peppers, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
Salt & pepper to taste
Hot pepper vinegar or hot sauce to taste

Place the tomatoes in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 to 10 minutes or until the skins begin to crack. Drain and rinse tomatoes under cold water and remove the skins. Don't burn yourself!

Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing and discarding the tough center pieces. Add those to the soup pot, along with the okra, hot peppers, garlic, oil, sugar, and liquid smoke.

Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until okra is soft and tomatoes have cooked down. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot vinegar or hot sauce.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Stranded on an Island

I'm watching Lost for the first time. I'm only on the first season, so we can't really talk about it for fear of spoilers. BUT I LOVE IT! Like I just want to stay at home for a couple weeks and binge-watch all the seasons. I have some vacay time left at work. Maybe I'll work that out.

But anyway, today's challenge is to narrow down three endless supplies of food I'd want if I were stranded on an island. And we're to assume all of our nutritional needs are met, so somehow this magical island is producing fruits, veggies, and plant proteins. So the three foods Mofo-ers pick are meant to be extra — that bonus junk food you need for your spiritual nourishment.

I could have picked products, and I almost went with Daiya Cheezy Mac, Tofurky frozen pizzas, Koyo ramen, and popcorn. But I know that's four, and I simply cannot narrow that list down any further. So I thought, well, if this island is indeed magical and producing food for my vegan nutritional needs, maybe rather than supplies, it can just give me three finished meals. Or maybe, if I know ahead of time that I'll be stranded, I can make a bunch of these three meals and freeze them. Be prepared, right?

Since I can't choose between mac & cheese, pizza, ramen, and popcorn, I've decided that we should just combine two of those into one item — the Buffalo Ranch Mac & Cheese Pizza! My friends and I made these one night at my house, and I've been dreaming about it ever since. This is definitely coming on the island.

I still want that ramen. And I'd actually be content with simple packages of ramen — just noodles and flavor packets. But if I could have an endless bowl of this Vegan Garlic Chicken Ramen with a Vegan Hard-boiled Egg, that would be way better. I made this back in 2011 from Meet the Shannons. Best ramen bowl ever. Here's Annie & Dan's recipe.

And finally popcorn! I have a bit of a popcorn addiction. Once I start, I can't stop until every kernel is gone. Doesn't matter how much popcorn is in front of me. I eat it all. And I eat it very slowly, one kernel at a time to savor the flavor. If you sit next to me at the movies, I'm probably your worst nightmare. I pack my own noochy popcorn when I go to the movies, and I stash it in a big ole bag. And then I crunch, crunch, crunch for the whole movie. Sorry, not sorry.

So yea, this is going to be a pretty awesome stranded-on-an-island situation for me. I won't need Mr. Locke to kill a poor wild boar or Hurley to spear some sweet little fishy (sorry, Lost references!). 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Veganize a Family Recipe

I'm taking the easy route for tonight's Vegan Mofo theme of veganizing a family recipe. I didn't have time to cook anything new, but I've already veganized a ton of family recipes in my cookbook, Cookin' Crunk. In fact, I'd say at least one-third of the recipes in the book are vegan versions of the stuff my mama and grandma used to cook.

I thought it'd be fun (and easy) to mention a few of those veganized family dishes. The most important family recipe in Cookin' Crunk is definitely my Mama's Cornbread Dressin' recipe.

In my family, my mama's Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dressin' is legendary. No one makes it as good as she does, even when they're using her recipe! She developed a vegan version back in 2004 after I went vegan, and she makes me a little pan of that over the holidays while everyone else eats the turkey broth version. It's pretty fantastic because it means I don't have to share with anyone, and I get to bring tons of leftovers home! Anyway, her version is in my cookbook, but if you make it, it won't be as good as hers. She works some kind of voodoo into it.

Another old family recipe in the book is the Hungry Jill Casserole — baked beans, biscuits, and vegan cheese baked into a casserole! My mama used to make this all the time when I was a kid. It was actually called Hungry Jack Casserole, and she got the recipe from a box of Hungry Jack biscuits. But I veganized, so I changed it to Hungry Jill.

My Mama's Macaroni & Tomatoes are in the book too! Slow-cooked, stewed tomatoes (cooked down from fresh, juicy, summer tomatoes), olive oil, and pasta. So good! A summer classic.

The Mess O' Greens recipe in Crunk is my version of Granny's famous greens and turnips. Her recipe is naturally vegan, but she doesn't write anything down. So when I asked for the recipe, she said "Oh, just a little bit of oil and a little bit of sugar." You know, a little this, a little that. I had to guess on the amounts, but I think I came pretty close. You can find that recipe here.

Granny helped me develop most of the dessert recipes in Cookin' Crunk, and many are her old family recipes. But the one pie that stands out the most is the Old-Fashioned Coconut Pie. Granny has been making this pie vegan for years, and it's a hit at all of our family gatherings. That's in the book, but the recipe is also posted here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Lunch on the Go

Today's Vegan Mofo theme is "Lunch on the Go." I guess that could mean a lot things — fave fast food, stuff to eat in the car, etc. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about one of my favorite easy work day lunches.

I cook a few days a week, and the leftovers from those meals usually become my lunches for the week. I tend to work through lunch most days, just munching on a meal at my desk while I'm writing or editing or checking emails. But some days, I don't have leftovers — like if I haven't had time to cook much that week. On those days, I love frozen convenience foods.

And my very favorite frozen foods are Sweet Earth burritos! I like to pair them with veggie sides, usually procured from the Whole Foods deli. Last week, I had the Kyoto Burrito with Cajun Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges from Whole Foods and a Pure Doctor Live Kombucha Soda.

This Sweet Earth burrito had adzuki beans, edamame, bok choy, shiitakes, spinach, and ginger. This was the first time I've had this flavor, and it was probably my least fave of the burrito line. But still delicious! My fave is the Big Sur breakfast burrito with tofu scramble, but I also love the Indian-spiced Curry Tiger burrito (it has seitan!).

The sweet potatoes were awesome. Perfectly spiced. I could easily make them at home, but then I would have had to cook. And I didn't have time for that last week. 

That Live Kombucha Soda was probably the best thing about lunch though. I first sampled these at Vida Vegan Con, and I finally found them sold here at Target (which is also where I buy the Sweet Earth burritos). The soda tasted just like Dr. Pepper, but it's stevia-sweetened, and it's booch!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Vegan Mofo: Honor Those Who Inspire Your Veganism

Today, for the Vegan Mofo theme, we're supposed to honor a human or non-human animal who inspires our veganism. I considered dedicating this post to Jil Evans, an old friend from Food Not Bombs who inspired me to make the switch from vegetarianism to veganism back in 2004.

But I've lost track of Jil. She moved away years ago, and the only pics I have of her are from my old film camera. And I'd have to dig those out and scan them. But Jil was awesome, and she taught me how easy it was to be vegan.

Instead, I'd like to dedicate this post to my animal family. Paul and I share our home with 10 animal companions! I've shared pics of them on the blog before, but who can say no to more cute fuzzy animal pics? These little guys remind me every day that there's no difference between eating a pig or a cow than eating a dog or a cat or a squirrel.

My oldest dog is Datsun. He'll be 14 in February! He's such a good boy. Obedient, loving, friendly. And he loves to play, even though his hips are starting to give out. Datsun is basically the best dog ever. I've had him for longer than I've lived in Memphis! In fact, I was still college when my ex and I adopted Datsun.

And then there's Maynard — the white devil. Maynard is a rescue pittie, and he's a bundle of energy. He's stubborn and hyper. He jumps on people and knocks them over. He doesn't listen all that well. But when he finally calms down, he's a very sweet pup. He follows me all over the house, and I can't sit on the couch without Maynard wanting to sit in my lap. And he weighs, like, 70 pounds! Big ole lap dog!

We have six kitties, the oldest of which is Akasha. My ex and I took him in just a few months after Datsun, so he's almost 14 too. Akasha is such a sweetie. He LOVES to cuddle and to be picked up and carried around the house. He has a disease called mega-colon, so he takes two meds twice a day. But he's so worth all the money and time at the vet.

And then there's Pandora, our only girl kitty. She's so soft. But she's not really into being held or sitting in laps. She does love tummy rubs though! Because she's the only girl, she has the run of the house. All the other animals basically bow down to Pandora. She's the queen bee.

Polaris is our loud kitty! He meows ALL THE TIME. Just walks around the house meowing for no reason at all. If he sits next to you and you move a muscle, he'll meow at you. If he wants something, he'll meow. If he doesn't want something, he'll meow. Sometimes, he'll even have a conversation with you —you meow, he meows, and it goes on until you get bored and stop. He always wins at that game.

Gelfling is Paul's favorite. He rescued him from the streets when he was a tiny kitten, and those two are inseparable. They lay in the recliner together every night and watch movies together. Gelfling is super sweet, and he loves to head butt. But he's also a bully. Sometimes, he chases Maynard, the pit, around the house. And he steals treats from the other cats.

Ozzy was Paul's former roommate's cat when Paul lived in Nashville. The guy couldn't pay rent one month, so he moved out while Paul was at work. But he left his cat. What an ass. It's fine though because Ozzy is much better off with us. He's a sweetie. He likes to paw me in the nose. And we do yoga together in the mornings.

And finally, there's Seymour, the Cupboard Cat. He's a major fraidy cat. He's scared of everything — people, dogs, other cats. So he chooses to live above the kitchen cabinets. Never comes down. He's such a sweetie though! He loves being pet (I climb onto the counters for that), and he loves to eat.

Y'all know about Herman, right? Herman was a baby squirrel who fell from our backyard tree last summer. We raised him and released him, but he came by every few days to visit up until about 2 weeks ago. I think he's finally left the nest for good, which makes me sad. I'll miss this guy! Here's a pic from Herman's first day outside last October! Exploring the big wide world.

And now we have a new baby squirrel — Mabel — who fell from the same tree a couple weeks ago. We'll release her in the same way when the time is right, but she's still nursing for now. Her tiny eyes just opened last weekend!