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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Catching up on the vegan goodness

I'm afraid I've been so swamped lately, I've been sorely neglecting the vegan foods aspect of my blog. I'm hoping to get caught up today with one big, long post.

Yesterday I made
Spinach-Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds, a Vegetarian Times recipe.

I also made my friend Lisa's Three Bean Salad recipe.

Lisa's Bean Salad
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can green beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine drained beans, corn, onions, and pepper, and toss to combine. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together remaining ingredients until very well combined and pour over bean mixture. Stir, cover, and chill - the longer, the better.
I also made Pa's Beans a few nights ago and had the great idea to add in a bunch of chopped kale to increase the already high nutritional power of this dish. I added the chopped kale while I was cooking the onions and bell pepper.

From The Joy of Vegan Baking, in the past month, I've made several things... the Blueberry Lemon Muffins (pg. 39) were awesome, as were the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (pg. 38). I also made the Chocolate Brownies (pg. 124), which were quite good, if a bit rich and gooey (that's not a bad thing, you just have to eat smaller pieces I guess; Matt actually said they were "almost too chocolatey").

This book is really a delight, with clear, easy-to-follow instructions, lots of full-color photos, and plenty of interesting factoids and info on veganism. The only thing I don't like about it is that from what I've seen so far (which is by no means the entire book), there's not much discussion of whole grains. I use whole grain flours (usually white whole wheat) in almost all my baking these days and in most recipes, you really can't tell much difference. Just a thought.

Also from TJVB, I'm planning to make gingerbread scones soon, and the lemon squares are calling to me.

I don't think I mentioned yet what I made for Christmas Eve Dinner... it was all from Veganomicon, and it was all super tasty. Thanks to the book's handy section, 'Menus for the Masses,'* I didn't even need to tax my poor little brain by trying to figure out what to serve with what - it was all lined out for me. We feasted on Chickpeas Romanesco, Saffron-Garlic Rice, Roasted Green Beans, and Caesar Salad with homemade Roasted Garlic Croutons. Everything was SO good; I highly recommend all of these recipes. The only thing I would change next time is to use less garlic in the Caesar dressing; it was quite overwhelming. Also, the dressing makes a TON; consider yourself warned.

* This seems like such a no-brainer to me, but for some reason, Isa and Terry did not include the page numbers to help you find the recipes in this otherwise wonderful little appendix at the back of the book, so you have to flip from the menus appendix, to the index, to the recipes, to find them all. Maybe it's a minor thing but it bugged me.

I also made the 'Spicoli' Burgers recently from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan** and I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed. So many people have been making these and saying how wonderful they are, but Matt and I didn't really agree. They were edible, but nothing special, and the recipe yielded mountains of burger batter, so we were stuck with it for a long time.

** Is it strange that I feel compelled to include that second comma in the title even though the author omitted it?

Oh yeah, I've also been addicted to making smoothies in my new blender lately. I've been trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables every day and this is a great way to do so. I keep chopped bananas, blueberries, and strawberries in the freezer, and whenever the mood strikes, I throw some of each into the blender, along with some hemp milk, orange juice, and a splash of flax oil, and blend it all up. The last few smoothies I've made have also included kale leaves, which you really can't even taste in the finished product, but they add a lot, nutrition-wise. You can use one or two leaves per smoothie, depending on the size of the leaves. Just cut that big fat stemmy part out of the middle of the leaf and tear it into smaller chunks before throwing it in the blender. Hmm... I might need to go make one right now.

And last but not least, I found these awesome Red Bird Brand Peppermint Soft Sticks on clearance at our local Restoration Hardware store the other day. I am a big fan of peppermint, and I absolutely love the softer, melt-in-your-mouth type of after-dinner mints, but they are often non-vegan (I think they usually have gelatin in them). These are not only vegan but delicious as well! Peppermint perfection.

Okay, I feel like I've filled my imaginary vegan foods quota (the quota is imaginary, not the food) so I'll most likely be back to jewelry stuff now soon...


Robin Marie said...

Quinoa is one of my favorite foods! My mom cooks it in vegetable broth instead of water and we put it in all kinds of things. It's so delicious!

Vegan Girl said...

Actually I believe the author is correct, you don't need a comma after and word that is before the and. Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. :) No I wasn't a teacher or even an english major, just a smart a*s. Just joking! The peppermint sticks look really good and I have a friend that works there so I think I might ask her to get me some! I bet Carlos loves your baking! I have a few of those books you mentioned as well. Great blog! Now I must eat too.

mama herbivore said...

hi tamara,
michelle here, from herbivore! i am one of those spicoli burger lovers....
but, i write through here b/c every email i send you doesn't go through! i've tried and tried and tried...and i want to order some stuff for the store! do you do that? what's the scoop, etc.
thanks, happy new year!

Lotta said...

Thanks for the link to Vegetarian Times. I've been looking (well, not really looking, but meaning to look) for a site with nice veggie recipes. Now I don't have to :)

Vegan_Noodle said...

Glad you caught up with all the vegan goodness you've been making. I love that quinoa salad from veg times. Reminds me I should make it again sometime!

I haven't tried anything new from JOVB in awhile, maybe I need to break it out this weekend. Those brownies look so good.

Oh, and I think you have some good comments about the cookbooks. Just a few small changes and they would be much easier to use...

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tamara said...

Vegan girl, it's definitely a hotly contested issue and not everyone agrees with me. ;-)

I'm on board with this explanation of why that last comma is necessary:

"Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." You may have learned that the comma before the "and" is unnecessary, which is fine if you're in control of things. However, there are situations in which, if you don't use this comma (especially when the list is complex or lengthy), these last two items in the list will try to glom together (like macaroni and cheese). Using a comma between all the items in a series, including the last two, avoids this problem. This last comma—the one between the word "and" and the preceding word—is often called the serial comma or the Oxford comma. In newspaper writing, incidentally, you will seldom find a serial comma, but that is not necessarily a sign that it should be omitted in academic prose."

- from

Anonymous said...

I always want to add the comma before the and even though I know it's antiquated. it just looks right to me! :p

Tamara said...

It's not antiquated! :-) Ah, who knew I could spark such controversy...

Vegan Girl said...

Thanks for the explanation of the comma. As I re-read my comment above I see many gramatical (I just made that word up) mistakes. I left out the word, "the" and I should of ended one sentence with a period instead of a comma. Perhaps I should go back to school.
:) Hope your feeling well to come down here tomorrow!!

Tamara said...

So far, so good. Just a mild runny nose for me and Carlos; hopefully it doesn't get worse while we're there. Not to sound like a total baby, but it just sucks traveling with a sick 2 year old.