Posted in Cheese, International vegan cuisine, Italian, Plant Based, Vegan

Easy Vegan Pizza Bread

What do you do when you want to make vegan pizza at home, but you don’t want all the calories that come with store bought (or homemade) pizza dough?

You get a nice hunk of bread from the bakery, making sure to read the ingredients that most store bakeries list to look for non-vegan ingredients such as milk powder or cheese powder. I recommend ciabatta bread or some kind of wide-ish roll that will hold enough vegan pizza toppings to satisfy your appetite.

There is no secret to this recipe, it’s vegan pizza only it’s served on bread. So gather your favorite vegan pizza toppings and cook them, or not, depending on how you like it and pop it in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Continue reading “Easy Vegan Pizza Bread”
Posted in Breads, Cheese, International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pizza, Vegan

Friday Night Vegan Pesto Pizza Brot!!

I don’t usually post on Fridays anymore because everyone is so busy planning for the weekend there isn’t much interaction but I just couldn’t resist with this easy vegan pizza recipe.

It doesn’t require a whole big thing, in fact that only difference is that I replaced pizza dough with bread.

Why?

Mostly because pizza dough is super high in calories and honestly, as good as pizza is, it’s just not worth it. But if you love pizza and want to enjoy it without an 800+ calorie meal, try out the different options at your local bakery, or if you’re like me bakeries.

Enjoy my Friday Night Vegan Pesto Pizza Brot!

This particular vegan recipe included: vegan mince, homemade pesto, bell peppers, onions, shallots & vegan mozzarella shreds.

Continue reading “Friday Night Vegan Pesto Pizza Brot!!”
Posted in Asian Food, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Salads, Vegan

Quick & Easy Vegan Salads ~ Cucumber & Wakame Salad w/Ponzu Dressing

For today’s recipe I’m going to get back to one of my favorite vegan recipes. Salads.

I don’t know about you but everyone in my life who isn’t vegan–which is most of the people in my life–loves to make jokes about salad being the only thing my husband and I eat. They think they’re hilarious but any good vegan knows just how delicious a properly made vegan salad can be. I’m not talking about a few tomato wedges or three slices of cucumber with some heavy creamy salad dressing.

Oh no.

If you’re interested in some delicious vegan salad recipes that are a meal on their own, check out these recipes:

(Mostly) Raw Vegan Cabbage Salad
Vegan Sushi Salad
Crispy Chickpea Rainbow Salad
Vegan Buffalo Chicken Salad
Vegan Potato Salad

Today’s vegan salad recipe is a side salad and it goes great with just about anything. In fact, this salad was a nice little addition to a pizza bread recipe, which you can find here.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Salad Recipe:

*Just 8 ingredients (mostly ALL pantry staples)
*It’s delicious
*Packed with nutrients
*Uses wakame!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Continue reading “Quick & Easy Vegan Salads ~ Cucumber & Wakame Salad w/Ponzu Dressing”
Posted in Herbs, International vegan cuisine, oil free vegan recipes, Plant Based, Salads, Sandwiches, Vegan

Quick & Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas

I know that not everyone has the luxury of working from home, which means you can’t take your time in the kitchen to whip up healthy and delicious vegan meals at your leisure. Many of you have to commute and work in an office or warehouse or studio somewhere and you’d just really like to get something healthy and delicious, with the caveat that it’s also fast.

Right?

Believe me, I know and this is where a little bit of prep time in the kitchen can go a long way. A really long way.

Today’s quick and easy vegan lunch ideas make great vegan sandwiches, salad dressings and even pasta, so let’s not waste anymore time, yeah?

Easy vegan lunch ideas for me, usually start and end with sandwiches because they are delicious and you can literally put just about anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich.

Vegan pesto & tapenade sandwiches

The question in our home when it comes to sandwiches is usually, open faced or closed? Why? Simple, open-faced sandwiches give you more yummy sandwich filling while closed-face can satisfy any carb craving.

So, choose wisely from one day to the next.

Continue reading “Quick & Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas”
Posted in Grains, Plant Based, Sandwiches, Vegan

Vegan Sandwich Recipes ~ Spinach & Artichoke Open-Faced Sandwiches

I used to be a sandwich snob. The kind of snob who thought that open-faced sandwiches were an abomination. A way to eat a sandwich without actually enjoying it. I don’t know, there’s just something about biting into two pieces of bread filled with goodness and hoping like hell that the insides don’t fall down your shirt.

Ah, good times.

I still contend that closed sandwiches are superior, but I am doing my best to become a better human, to expand my horizons, and to learn to love open-faced sandwiches. Progress, as they say, comes in teeny tiny baby steps.

Easy vegan spinach and artichoke sandwich recipe

Do you love spinach & artichoke dip? You know filled with vegan mayo or veggiegurt, with red bell peppers, tons of spinach and artichokes and garlic, topped with cheese? Well this is one of my favorite dishes to recreate into pasta dishes, dips, stuffed mushrooms, pizza and pretty much anything that can be spinach and artichoke-d.

If you do, this vegan sandwich recipe is right up your alley. It gives you all the goodness that you get from the dip, only now it’s a hearty and satisfying meal perfect for any weather, the pickiest eater or just for your beautiful self.

Continue reading “Vegan Sandwich Recipes ~ Spinach & Artichoke Open-Faced Sandwiches”
Posted in International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pasta, Plant Based, Snacks, Vegan

My Vegan Junk Food Haul

I’ve made no secret on this blog about my attempt to eat healthier. I started a vegan lifestyle in May 2017 and since then I’ve lost more than 45kg, I have increased my muscle mass and have almost no jiggly skin remaining. Yay me.

But I’m not telling you this just to brag or clap myself on the back, I’m telling you because I have worked really hard to maintain a healthy diet at all times without going overboard. But, a person with more than 45 kilograms to lose has a clear love and/or addiction to food, right?

Soooo right.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a little bit of junk every once in a while. And whenever there are new vegan products that hit the market, I try them out to see if they’re worth breaking the calorie bank. Newsflash: They usually aren’t.

But let’s dig in and see, shall we?

Before I get into my vegan junk food haul, let me tell you a little bit about the healthy things I do to keep the weight off and stay healthy & fit.

Continue reading “My Vegan Junk Food Haul”
Posted in Grains, International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pasta, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Creamy Vegan Mushroom Tetrazzini

Whenever I think of tetrazzini, instantly I’m propelled back to the 90’s when my former step mother would make this dish with leftover dry chicken (or turkey if it was just after Thanksgiving) and mushrooms and some cream-type style. It wasn’t my favorite dish back then, other than the fact, you know, that pasta is delicious.

In fact, I’d argue that pasta is a lot like pizza. Even cold and a day old, it’s pretty damn good.

So why on earth did I request mushroom tetrazzini when it was my night to choose what we would have for dinner?

No clue.

But here we are, or rather, there we were.

Just so we’re clear, this is a bastardized version of whatever ‘traditional’ tetrazzini is supposed to be, but it’s close enough in my opinion that I’m called it a vegan mushroom tetrazzini, whether you like it or not.

Continue reading “Creamy Vegan Mushroom Tetrazzini”
Posted in Grains, Herbs, Italian, Sandwiches, Sides

Quick & Easy Plant Based Lunch Ideas

Lunch. It’s the meal that gets you out of the office for an hour and it’s also the meal mostly likely to obliterate all your ideas about eating healthy and controlling your portion size. With all greasy, sugary, fatty fast food options available, there is no end to all the options at your fingertips when the clock strikes noon. Or if you’re like me 2:30 or later.

I work at home so lunch isn’t quite such an ordeal for me, but it can be a pain in other ways. By the time the lunch hour rolls around, I’m deep into my writing groove and the last thing I want to do is stop and worry about fixing up a meal that’s delicious and nutritious and will keep my weight heading in the right direction. But I’ve learned that with a little bit of planning, eating a healthy, plant based meal in the middle of the day doesn’t have to turn into the biggest ordeal of the day.

My go to option is usually some kind of sandwich and when I’m really feeling nostalgic I’ll vegan-ize one of my favorite sandwiches from back in the day. One of those is the stromboli. It may not be a ‘real’ stromboli or whatever but this is what my favorite pizza joint in my college town served and I loved it.

I know it looks complicated but this is pretty easy to make. All you need is: tofu crumbles, onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, some kind of long bread and that’s it. Cook it up in the pan for 5 to 8 minutes until the onion and pepper still have a little bite to them, add the tofu and tomato sauce plus herbs & spices and you’re ready to go.

Back in the day I would have made an extra big helping of fries to go with it but when your mother in law has a big old container of Murături, then that’s what you have because it reminds me of eating my hometown version, giardiniera. Plus eating a few pieces of pickled cauliflower, cabbage and cucumber is WAY less calorie dense than fries and this is just lunch so…

But if you really want to be naughty and have something to go along with this yummy sandwich, I have a suggestion.

But if you have a little more time or you want something a bit more than a sandwich, might I suggest frikadeller? It’s a Danish or German version of a pan fried meatball but when you make them vegan you have WAY more options.

One of those options is vegan tomato frikadellen. All you need is your own combination of vegetables to mix with flour and some kind of binding agent. I like Arche brand VegEgg because it is amazing and it works for meatless balls, loafs, burgers and even baked goods. I’ve never used Follow Your Heart but from what I understand it’s the US equivalent. Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge before you whip them up.

These are low in calories so we paired it with a side of brown rice and more murături because, have I mention that I love the stuff?

In fact we loved it so much, that the Husband made his own version of frika (my affectionate name for the little balls I fell in love with as a carnivore and then a vegan) with rice, scallions, garlic, carrot, tofu and plenty of herbs and spices. He made two batches one cooked with oil and one without. The oil frika were crispier on the outside so a little tastier but the others would be fantastic between a bun as a vegan burger.

But, we can’t all be good all the time so we paired these with one of my top 5 favorite foods. Potatoes.

It’s important if you want to eat vegan and healthy that you plan your meals ahead of time as much as possible so you don’t end up hungry with nothing available, especially if time is a factor.

What’s your favorite quick & easy vegan lunch?

Posted in Curry, Grains, Herbs, Indian, Pizza, Plant Based, Travel, Vegan

Traveling While Vegan: Creativity & Compromise A Must

One of the things you might have guessed about me is that traveling is at the top of my favorite things to do list. Honestly, I’m not that picky. Okay, I do have an extensive list of places I would like see and the things I really want to do when I get there but what I mean is that I just like to go to new places. Whether it was going from Charleston to Carbondale when I was in college, a quick day trip to Salem when we lived in Massachusetts or a weekend in San Diego when we lived in California…I want to go to there.

We haven’t been too many places in the 18 months since making the change to a plant based diet but aside from a few memorable places in Germany, eating out has been kind of a drag. If you’re lucky then maybe you’ll find a vegan option or two, but what if you’re in the heart of carnivore country and the notion of a animal free meal is as likely as riding a unicorn to get there?

You get creative. You cobble together something resembling a meal with the side dishes. Some form of potatoes–usually fries because everything else has at least butter if not also cream or milk–and broccoli is my go to option but only if they don’t have a problem steaming new broccoli without butter for me. Sometimes you get something amazing like grilled asparagus or roasted Brussels sprouts but usually it’s nothing as glamorous as all that. So…you compromise. Usually I end up ordering a salad, the bigger the better, with French fries and then booze. I can get a little greedy and get a shot and a beer or maybe, if I’m feeling good, a couple cocktails.

But when I get home I have to fix something with some sustenance to it.

Which brings me to the most recent trip: Busteni

Busteni is a small mountain town in Prahova County, Romania with some amazing scenery and a gondola from which you can see it all. This place was gorgeous even though it was just a tad too late to get the full beauty of the autumn colors. And even though it was too windy to ride this particular gondola and even though I moaned and groaned about it, a ride on another gondola much later in the day proved the wisdom of their decision.

I took this shot on the sidewalk outside the train station!

Since this was an up and out the door early kind of day, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat before making the long-ish hike to the telecable building. As we passed eatery upon eatery where there was not one dish without either meat or cheese, though most had both meat and cheese, I saw French fries in my culinary future. And you know what was most annoying? That there was so much variety from traditional Romanian restaurants to Italian, Irish, Hungarian and even a Bulgarian place. But we finally found a place with a lentil soup that sounded like the perfect way to start a day of walking and climbing, but they didn’t have it. After it became clear that we didn’t have many options our waitress said the magic words, “We have a vegetable ciorba.” The hubs and I looked at each other, smiled and asked for two big bowls. Along with some crusty bread and two tall beers.

And then we were off.

 

The gondola took us up first to 1500 meters which was pretty cool and at about the halfway mark is when I began to understand why the other gondola, the one that went up about another 1,000 meters, was closed. There was wind, more than enough for this Chicago girl, but it was enough to ride safely up the mountain so I don’t want to imagine how windy the other was.

2k meters high!

We did a lot of walking and a lot of climbing and the old me would be so disgusted with the new me because, yeah, I had a good time. When the day started my light makeup looked good and my afro was mostly shaped and shiny. But that took no time at all to undo and I didn’t even care. I climb even higher than the 2,000 meters and I made it, something I couldn’t possibly have done 22 kilograms ago! Sure, I huffed and puffed a little but my lungs didn’t burn and none of my muscles gave out.

Yay, me!

We walked around the town and stopped at a few artisan tents to see what was on sale and I found a beautiful ring made of lapis lazuli that I haven’t stopped wearing since.

Then it was time to eat and we did the dance that all traveling vegans know all too well. We stopped at about six different places to look at menus and see if any eateries had vegan meals and if not, who had the best a la carte options to put a meal together. Ultimately we settled on an Indian style restaurant that was the only lowlight of the day.

The mushroom masala was…okay. It was seasoned nicely but nothing to write home about. Unfortunately.

We ordered pizza because nothing else was vegan. Nothing. Else. Here’s a little tip for you: If a place can’t make small adjustments to make a dish vegan, chances are good that all the food has been made ahead of time (at least) and not fresh to order.

The pizza was also lacking with no tomato sauce to speak of, barely cooked vegetables that slid off with every bite and a dough that left a lot to be desired. I wasn’t surprised but I was totally bummed because it was the worst cherry on top of a pretty good plant based sundae.

But it was a great day and that’s what matters…right?

Posted in Asian Food, Seafood

Thai Spring Rolls

Thai spring rolls_01
Thai spring rolls with shrimp and basil

Food, for me, has always been about more than sustenance. In college food was a treat from the special reservation-only shrimp or steak dinners to my Wednesday takeout while I watched Dawson’s Creek. I would rush home from Mock Trial practice, place my order for pizza or grinders (those are super delicious warm sandwiches on the tastiest toasted bread you have ever sank your teeth into), get into my comfy clothes, pop a vodka cranberry into a glass and get giddy when the first strains of Paula Cole’s “I don’t wanna wait” started.

I don’t think the food had much to do with it considering my love—even today—of Dawson’s Creek, but whenever I think of that time the food always plays a role.

Today though, when I think of food I think of the event surrounding a new dish. The first time I tried Indian food I was in Washington, D.C. after a week of DNC training. The food was awful and it would be about 3 years before I ate a good Indian dish. The first time I ate sushi was in 1996 before it was “all the rage” because I read some chic lit novel and it sounded delicious and sophisticated to a teenage girl eager to be an adult. I have tons of these, but I won’t bore you with them all lest I use up all the space on the internet!

Ah, I lied…there’s one more. But it’s relevant, I swear. Continue reading “Thai Spring Rolls”