Chicago-Style Italian "Beef" Sandwiches...Yummy!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Alright, so I had some seitan in the fridge that was just begging me to be used, and I wanted to try something different with it. I usually will incorporate it into a stir-fry or a tofu scramble, but I wanted to make something where it would be a “meat” stand-in, since my fiancé has now officially been “vegetarian” for 5 weeks now, and he was craving the meat! So, he loves Italian Beef Sandwiches. I know that one of my favorite restaurants makes an awesome Italian Beef sandwich using seitan, so I started scrambling the web to find a good recipe, when I happened along this one on Let me just say, that this sandwich recipe has my personal stamp of approval…because not only was it delicious, but it is SOOOO Simple!!! You just toss everything into a slow-cooker and forget about it!

Chicago-Style Italian "Beef" Sandwiches

1 pound seitan, very thinly sliced
3 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 tablespoons Hot Italian Giardiniera (if you can't find it, substitute 1/2 teaspoon red
pepper flakes, for heat)
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 sliced and seeded green bell peppers
French rolls

Combine all ingredients and stir to incorporate. Cook on HIGH for 2 to 4 hours.

If using a stovetop: Place all ingredients in a large pot, stir to combine, and simmer, covered, over medium heat for 1 hour.

Lightly steam French rolls. Spoon seitan and peppers into each roll. Just before serving, spoon a few tablespoons of the "au jus" over each sandwich to somewhat saturate the roll. (In the best Chicago sandwich joints, they simply dunk the whole sandwich!)

(Photo credit to Opal_Moon on

Weekend Treats!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So I know that it’s already Wednesday, but I had such a goodie-packed weekend that I just wanted to share! Now, don’t judge me, I haven’t had a sweet thing in ages, and my new medication is starting to kick in finally so I’m exercising like a crazy woman, and I thought I deserved a little indulgence this weekend!! Friday night, Julian and I went to our favorite 100% vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Madison, the Green Owl, just for dessert and drinks, since we had already had a nice dinner by the time we craved sweets! We usually try to get different desserts when we go here, so we can try each other’s, but this time, there was one dessert that just really stuck out to both of us, and I’m glad we each had our own piece, otherwise there may have been a fight…haha! We both got the vegan berry tart, which was a vanilla-rosemary shortbread filled with a vanilla custard and topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries! *Heaven* in my mouth!!! We washed this down with a lovely drink made with their own homemade Pineapple Rum…which I think may now be up there in Julian’s all-time-favorite-rums (second only to my mother’s homemade Ginger Rum, of course!)! All in all, another successful experience at the Green Owl!

Saturday, I started off my morning volunteering at a charity fundraiser for the Heartland Farm Sanctuary, which is quickly gaining notoriety in the Southern Wisconsin region! I think that, for the first big fundraiser that the Sanctuary has had, it was definitely a success! It was great seeing how excited kids got being around the farm animals, and the money it brought in for the Sanctuary was obviously great, too! It also got recognized on a few news stations, so that’s great too! I got home, sweaty, stinky, and yucky, and got a big grin from my boy…telling me he STILL had a sweet tooth even after our amazing dessert last night! So, I hopped in the shower, and hopped on Facebook, to see what a local bakery’s specials were that day. Just two short miles from our place is a very new cupcake shop called Bloom Bake Shop. Now, it is not all vegan, but they do always try to have an equal amount of vegan cupcakes each day to their non-vegan counterparts. Not to mention, they are insanely delicious! Well, considering every flavor looked good on the vegan cupcake front, we headed over for a little mid-day treat. I got the vegan vanilla butter cake filled with orange marmalade, topped with a dark chocolate ganash with an orange buttercream flower on top…100% vegan, 100% delicious! Honestly, I don’t know how I didn’t gain 15 pounds this weekend!!

Can you say, insanely delish?!

I must say though, sweets aside, I did keep my diet in check the rest of the weekend…aside from the sweets, we did a raw veggie weekend, and it was great! There are so many delicious veggies in season right now, that our selection definitely wasn’t lacking, and I got to put my brand new eco-friendly knife set to use chopping up all our lovely veggies!! Thanks for the great Prepology knives, mommy!!

LADIES ONLY!!! Menstruation Ahead!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Photo from the Diva Cup Facebook Page

Did you know…

The average woman uses between 300-420 pads/tampons a year???

So…what happens to all those when we are finished using them? Or, let’s take a look at the bigger picture…

“Women, on average, experience a lifetime menstruation span of 41 years (11-52). From use of disposable feminine hygiene, an estimated 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons are dumped into the North American environment each year (1998). More than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. Our revolutionary, reusable product is a modern, viable alternative to disposable tampons and pads.
Most tampons and pads contain surfactants, adhesives and additives. In addition, most pads contain polyethylene plastic whose production is a pollutant. Also, dioxin, a known carcinogen, is a by-product of the bleaching process of tampons containing rayon. In landfills, many of these substances can leach into the environment (groundwater, streams and lakes) causing serious pollution and health concerns.”
~Taken from the DivaCup Website

170,000 tampon applicators alone collected on the US coast in only a year?!?! That’s disgusting! Not to mention, terrible for the environment. But what can we do?! It’s not like we can just let it all hang out, so to say…it’s not really something that as a woman, we can do without. What is left for us?!
Ladies (and probably not gentlemen), I give to you, the Diva Cup!

Okay, by now you probably think that I’m insane, talking about something like this, but I was asked for a tampon at work today, and told that I don’t use pads or tampons, and was met with the strangest look! I explained what I used instead, and was met with curiosity. I then tracked down the website and sent it to her, and the lady went out to Whole Foods on her lunch to buy herself one! After browsing their site myself, I realized how terrible for the environment all the other stuff really is…and how much of a burden it can become on your wallet.

I have been using a Diva Cup for about 9 or 10 months now, and I cannot believe I ever used anything else! I don’t know what it is, but the terrible cramping I used to experience (I used to miss at least one day of school or work a month due to cramps, severe nausea, and vomiting) disappeared instantly! Not only that, but mine cost $30…which is about what I would spend on 3 months’ worth of tampons. It’s recommended to replace the cup every 1-5 years, so you can see how much money I’m saving by using one! AND, the environmental aspects of this are awesome, too! Before I made the switch, I used OB tampons, because they don’t have an applicator, and I hate how much trash was involved in a tampon anyway. Now, I don’t have to throw anything away!! There is no footprint associated with the cup! And unlike a tampon, where I would go through a super-absorbency tampon every 45 minutes-1 hour, I can wear my cup all day long, for up to 8, sometimes 10 hours before I have to empty it! No worries, no carrying around obnoxious and embarrassing supplies during that time of the month, nothing!
Diva Cups are also made of medical grade, hypoallergenic silicone and not latex, so they can be used by nearly everyone. And if you do decide to make the switch and don’t know what to do with those leftover pads and tampons, you can always donate them to women’s shelters or homeless shelters. It sounds strange, but feminine hygiene products are the #1 needed item at these places, as women cannot afford them.

Seriously though, feminine products are filling up our landfills, are made with toxic and cancerous chemicals (yuck!), and seriously, aren’t we all a little tired of sticking that super dry, uncomfortable hunk of bleached cotton up our poonannies?? I know I was!

Think About It...

Friday, July 23, 2010

About 2,000 pounds of grains must be supplied to livestock in order to produce enough meat and other livestock products to support a person for a year, whereas 400 pounds of grain eaten directly will support a person for a year. Thus, a given quantity of grain eaten directly will feed 5 times as many people as it will if it is eaten indirectly by humans in the form of livestock products....
-- M.E. Ensminger, PH.D.

Waistline-Friendly Lentil Burgers

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So it’s summer, and sometimes, vegan or not, you just want a nice, summer-y burger to throw on the grill. Well, I’m not a huge fan of buying pre-packaged food, especially veggie burgers (unless they’re Sunshine Burgers, but I digress), so I took a look through the cabinets, and made my own veggie burgers. Now, these things are absolutely amazing! They held together really well, were super filling, and VERY nutritious! Not only that, but you could pretty much add anything to the patty to add your own personal flavor. The recipe makes a lot, so it’s good for when you have friends over, or to store. I like putting the leftovers in individual freezer containers, so I can grab one and pop it in my lunch bag before work, or have something to throw on the grill on those nights you just don’t have time to cook. Sure, they look a little odd…but don’t most veggie burgers?! So anyway, here’s the recipe for my super hearty, filling, and super nutritious…

Waistline-Friendly Lentil Burgers
(Makes 8-12 patties, depending on size you make them)

•1 c. uncooked lentils, rinsed (you can probably get away with any lentils, I used green)
•1 c. uncooked brown rice
•1-1/2 c. uncooked oats
•2 seeded and diced jalapenos*
•1 large carrot, diced*
•1 white onion, diced*
•Whatever spices you like (I used Mrs. Dash onion spices, Garlic Powder, Vegan “Burger” spice by McCormick, Chile Limon powder, and some cayenne for the extra kick)

*Vegetables are optional, or you can use whatever veggies diced that you like to incorporate into the patty.

Put lentils and rice into a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low, cover, and let cook for 45 minutes. Let cool.
Once lentil and rice mixture is cool, pour mixture onto a cook board or counter top. Combine all other ingredients with your hands into the rice and lentil mixture. Mix and squish well with your hands, until it feels really sticky. Taste and add more seasoning to your liking. Once the mixture is properly mixed and seasoned, form it into patties. Throw these patties on an oiled skillet or on a hot grill and cook, about 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Any remaining patties can be frozen for a later use.

I put these patties on a toasted whole grain onion bun from Whole Foods with some habanero hummus, leftover Galaxy Cheese from the "Hardcore Jalapeno Tomato Cream Pasta" recipe I posted a few days ago, some pickles, and I was in heaven. THIS is what summertime food is all about!!

My New Drug...Cookies and Cream Cake

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I am pleased to announce my *favorite* latest addition to the bakery counter at my Whole Foods here in Madison…individual cake slices from the Vegan-World Famous Chicago Diner!! Driving through Chicago a few months ago to visit some family on the east coast, Julian and I made it a point to stop here, because I’d heard so many things about it, and had bought their cookies before from Whole Foods. The Chicago Diner is a 100% meat-free diner located in the Boystown District of Chicago. I can promise that you will not be disappointed with ANYTHING on their menu (I can promise this not only because they are awesome and that’s my opinion, and also because I’m not affiliated with them, so it won’t be on me if you are disappointed…hahaha)!! Anyway, when I was looking at all the pretty cakes that my WF had to offer, I came across their new “Chicago Diner” section in the cold case. I immediately began salivating and just *knew* I *had* to have one…I mean hello?! It’s vegan gourmet cake! How do you pass that stuff up?! I decided on the cookies and cream cake, so that I wouldn’t feel super guilty about eating it. With this flavor, I could give half to Julian and therefore only have to feel half as guilty, hahaha. So, I got home, put it out, and we both sat for a second and just admired the beauty radiating off this little piece of heaven. We put our forks into the soft, delicate cake, closed our eyes, and let the flavors do the talking…it was like having a f*cking gospel choir singing praises to my taste buds, I swear! So…freaking…delicious! If you live near Chicago, or if you live near a Whole Foods that carries their products…definitely give them a shot. Or don’t. I suppose if you don’t want to be addicted to something that is as hard to get off of as heroin, you may want to stay away. But this is good, good stuff ;-)

Hardcore Jalapeno-Tomato Cream Pasta!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Alright, spicy lovers! I was lurking around the blog/cyber world last week, and on the PETA website, I found a recipe that looked absolutely yummy! Unfortunately, I had everything I needed to make it at home, except for the two key ingredients, which I was fresh out of. I knew that making a Jalapeno-Tomato cream sauce would be pretty difficult if I didn’t have any freaking tomatoes or jalapenos, so I filed the recipe away in my memory for a time that I wasn’t too lazy to go to the grocery store after work. Well, I get home, and find a small bag of fresh veggies on the kitchen counter! Julian’s boss has started a garden at their place of employment, and she encourages the employees to take whatever they like from it when they want something. Well, my fabulous man must have read my mind, because he brought home jalapenos and tomatoes, among other things!! Nearly peeing myself with excitement, I began to put together the recipe I had read. Let me just say, with a few personal adjustments (my personal recipe is included), this recipe was insanely good! Definitely give this one a shot. If you don’t have fresh veggies, that’s all good, but if you have access to the peppers and tomatoes fresh, definitely use that to your advantage in this recipe!

How can you resist fresh-picked vegetables?!

Jalapeño-Tomato Cream Pasta
1 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Butter
1 Tbsp. flour
3/4 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella (one that melts! For this recipe, I used Galaxy Vegan Mozzarella)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. fresh, minced jalapeño (I used two jalapenos, which made more than 1 tsp, but that’s how I like it!)
1 cup diced tomato (I used two tomatoes)
1 12-oz. package dry whole-wheat pasta of your liking (I used Rotini)

Love my Galaxy Cheese!!

Melt the margarine in a small sauce pan over low heat, then add the flour and stir. Cook for 30 seconds, then pour in the soy milk while whisking continuously. Add the vegan mozzarella and stir until the cheese is melted and well combined. Add the salt, pepper, jalapeño, and tomato and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more soy milk. While your sauce is being prepared, cook the whole-wheat pasta according to the package directions, then drain. Pour the cooked pasta and the cream sauce into a large bowl and stir until just combined.

Diced tomatoes added as a garnish...perfection in the making!

Invisible Victims of BP

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I don’t usually watch a lot of late night news…so the whole “Anderson ‘Sexy’ Cooper” thing is a bit lost on me. After going to a friend’s concert last night though, I was flipping through channels, not expecting to be moved in the way that I was. After a night of “not thinking” of all the crap going on around me, I was quickly brought back to remembering how much help this world needs right now. And Anderson Cooper, holding a tiny, scared little puppy in Louisiana, reminded me.
Since the BP Oil Disaster, I have donated the little money that I could to the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research Foundation. Seeing the images of these poor, innocent and terrified birds, turtles, and other wildlife has honestly haunted me the past couple of months. However, I hadn’t even thought about the domestic pets that are being affected too, and as Mr. Cooper said, they haven’t even seen a drop of oil.

What I’m talking about is the families who have been financially burdened in the Gulf by America’s selfishness and dependence on oil. So many people right now have had their livelihood taken away from them. People can’t pay their mortgages, their utility bills; put food on their table, all because of oil. And in times like this, people have to start looking at what they can and cannot afford, and make adjustments accordingly. Sadly, the family pet, like it or not, has to become expendable. Families in tears and ashamed that they can no longer pay to put food in the mouths of their four-legged family members are having to take on their last resort by surrendering their beloveds to shelters, which are quickly becoming over-populated. These are not stray animals, or violent dogs, but loving, nurturing members of a family who are scared, confused, sad, and hurt; who do not understand why they’ve been abandoned. They are surviving for now in shelters that kill, so their time here is being cut short, for no reason other than BP not getting their act together. These families have had to put even more stress in their lives by being forced to make a decision that nobody should have to make. It’s truly a terrible situation, not only for the families, but for the animals, too. The fear and terror in these poor dogs and cat’s eyes was enough to not only make me cry myself to sleep, but to see their faces in my dreams all night.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about this situation that seems all but helpless. I’m not trying to depress or upset anybody, because I want you to know that there are ways that we can help. Since the need is so strong, the Louisiana ASPCA is looking for foster homes outside of Louisiana, as well as in-state, so please contact them if you are interested. You can also send supplies, like dog or cat food, kitty litter, etc. directly to them, or make a monetary donation. I’m currently looking into the possibility of adopting, although I have not gotten a response at the moment and don’t know if they will adopt to someone thousands of miles away, but the thought of at least saving one animal’s life is worth the effort of finding out, in my opinion. So please, if you are able, see how you can help in this dire situation.

To see the CNN Story (please do), click this link

To Donate to the Tri-State Bird Rescue, click this link

To Donate to the Louisiana SCPA, or see how you can help, click this link

Taking Comfort Food to a Whole New Level

Monday, July 12, 2010

I promise, you won't be able to eat just one serving!!!

I’m pretty sure you can all bow down to me as the goddess of ooey, gooey goodness now!! I am pretty certain that I have mastered the art of comfort food by combining two of my favorite non-vegan dishes and veganising it for the most delicious treat you can give yourself! Seriously, to me, there is nothing in this world that is yummier than a super thick and creamy macaroni and cheese or a savory green bean casserole. Well, I wanted both of them the other night (go figure), so I took one of my favorite sauce recipes and made some little tweaks here and there, and came up with a dish that my omni loverboy couldn’t even get enough of! If you’re not so much a fan of the green beans, you can also do this dish as an incredible macaroni and cheese, which honestly, I like this recipe more than any REAL mac and cheese I’ve ever had! All you have to do is use elbow macaroni, remove the green beans, and that’s it! Easy as that!

Southern Comfort Cheesy Green Bean Casserole•3 1/2 cups whole grain penne pasta, cooked and drained
•1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
•1/2 cup flour
•3 1/2 cups boiling water
•2 tsp. salt
•2 Tbsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos or Shoyu
•2 tsp. garlic powder
•Tumeric to taste
•1/4 cup oil of your choosing (for this, I just use regular Canola Oil)
•1 cup nutritional yeast
•2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
•Fried onion straws (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a saucepan, melt Earth Balance over low heat. Mix in the flour. Stir continuously over medium heat until smooth and bubbly. Stir in the boiling water, salt, liquid aminos, garlic powder, and turmeric. Continue whisking until dissolved. Once the sauce thickens and is bubbling, stir in the oil and the nutritional yeast flakes. Mix about 3/4 of the sauce with the noodles and place in a casserole dish. On top of the noodle and sauce mixture, layer the green beans. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with a layer of fried onions, a la green bean casserole. Bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Now honestly, if this recipe doesn’t take care of your comfort food cravings 100%, then feel free to completely rip me and this blog a new one...but seriously, give this recipe a try. Do it.

A Little Rock and Roll Couldn't Hurt...!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Me, rocking out with some of my favorite peeps!

So, I watched a film last night on my computer called “Edge” about the straightedge subculture amongst the punk-rock scene.
Being somewhat of a “rocker girl” myself, I found the film quite interesting, as it seemed to go hand in hand with one of my all-time favorite books, Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. The book is an interesting tale of punk rock and religion, and how the two can truly become one entity. The film I watched last night was very similar. A lot of it was about the drug-free movement amongst certain punk rockers and a sober, yet still totally rock and roll lifestyle. There was also a part in it about animal cruelty, and being completely drug-free and cruelty free, and still being rock and roll. Now, some people may think that you can’t be hardcore and rock and roll without the “extreme” lifestyles of debauchery and drug usage and the biting off of bat heads (I love my Ozzy, but this thought gives me nightmares!). I mean, I’m not saying that you can’t have a good time…I’ve been known to throw down a 5th of Jack before a party has even started, but that’s beside the point! What I’m getting at is, you don’t have to fit into a mold to be who you are. Just because you are vegan doesn’t mean you have to run around smelling like onions because you don’t shower and don’t shave and hug every tree you see. Just as much as being rock and roll or punk rock doesn’t mean you have to live your life in a drug-fueled, hate-fueled haze.
Anyway, I think that this is an excellent movie, and everyone should definitely try and watch it, vegan or not. Like I said, it’s just a small part about animal cruelty in it, but I think that it speaks volumes. It was also produced by Compassion Media, which is a great production company to support. Give it a watch, and tell me what you think! And, if you don’t believe you can rock the stage until the sun comes up without animal protein, check out this small compilation of musicians (just that I know of, I’m sure there are more) who go out and do it every night!!

Joan Jett
Karl Buechner of Earth Crisis/Freya
Ray Cappo of Youth Of Today/Shelter

Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat
Bull Gervasi of R.A.M.B.O.

Chrissie Hynde
Quinn Allman of the Used
Fiona Apple
Hunter Burgan of AFI
Davey Havok of AFI
Terence “Geezer” Butler of Black Sabbath
Dave Davies of the Kinks
Boy George
Dave Goodman, original producer of the Sex Pistols
Alanis Morissette
Reggie Riot of Three Man Riot

Pat Thetic of Anti-Flag
Weird Al Yankovic (no, I’m not kidding!)

So there. And like I said, I’m sure that this is not all of them, just ones that I have heard of around the grapevine. So you can have your rock and be cruelty-free, too!!!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Okay, so some may find this slightly offensive, but hey! My blog, my rules, right?! I know this has nothing to do with recipes, but it’s the little things like this that just totally make my day. Julian and I were flipping through the channels last night while I was turning my Banana Cake recipe into cupcakes for the office. All of a sudden, on one of the channels was a home video of a deer kicking the sh*t out of a hunter! Like, not just getting a kick to the gut, but seriously beating the hell outta this guy, a la Fight Club! I nearly peed myself laughing, and in my head wondering if that guy would think twice from now on before pointing a gun at an unarmed creature. Unfortunately for the buck, the guy survived, but it’s the little things like this…seeing an animal get its justice, which put a smile on my face!

(Not really sure of the source of this photo...but sometimes I wish I could see this driving down the street rather than vice versa!)

Chocoholics-Anonymous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like I said in my last post, when it’s someone’s birthday, I can’t help but make massive amounts of baked goods. That kick-ass banana cake was just the tip of the vegan goody iceberg! Once again, this recipe is super super simple, and no crazy ingredients (I don’t think). I know that a lot of people have fears of vegan cooking and baking because they see all these recipes with crazy ingredients that they’ve never heard of or have no idea where to buy such items. I try really hard to keep it simple. I’m very lucky that, even though I live in the Dairyland now, I’m surrounded by stores that carry all that “funky” stuff, but I know that there are people who do not have many of those stores around them, so I try to keep my ingredients as basic and user-friendly as possible. So, here’s another variation on one of my old non-vegan recipes that once again, tastes better veganized!

Chocoholics-Anonymous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole flax seeds
1/2 cup soymilk
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grind the flax seeds on high in a blender until they become a powder. Add soymilk and blend for another 30 seconds or so. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a separate large bowl, cream together oil and sugar. Add the flax seed/soy milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla.

Fold in the dry ingredients in batches. When it starts to get too stiff to mix with a spatula, use your hands until a nice stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate chips and mix with your hands again.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a disc that's about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then set them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Kick-Ass Banana Birthday Cake!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Look how happy this vegan cake made him!!!
So Friday marked the 26 anniversary of the birth of the most amazing man in my life! And the way I see it, there’s no better way to celebrate something like that than eating delicious foods! Now, I know some of you were followers of my old baking blog, and I know I haven’t really updated as many of my treats as I wanted to by now (the whole “losing weight” thing makes it hard to have baked goods in the house too often!) but I took one of Julian’s favorite cake recipes of mine, and worked my magic in turning it vegan. To my surprise (to his, also!), the cake turned out BETTER than my non-vegan original recipe! Not only was this probably the easiest cake I’ve ever made, but it was so delicious. I didn’t tell his parents that it was vegan until the end, and they honestly couldn’t believe it one bit. It was so moist and literally melted in your mouth. It was also my first time experimenting with Tofutti vegan cream cheese (I’ve used their sour cream product before) and I must say, it made an excellent base for the cream cheese frosting! So, if you have a birthday to plan, or if you just feel like baking something sweet, delicious, and cruelty-free, I give you:

Go Bananas! Vegan Banana Birthday Cake

•2 cups flour (I use whole grain, but use whatever you care to)
•1 1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 cup sugar of your choice (I use Sugar in the Raw)
•1/4 cup oil
•4 ripe bananas, mashed
•1/4 cup water
•1 tsp vanilla
2 tblsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and sugar.
Put water, bananas, vanilla, and oil into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour in bowl with dry ingredients and stir until mixed well.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

And for my new take on Amazing Cream Cheese Frosting:
•1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, softened
•1/4 cup Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese, softened
•2 cups vegan confectioner’s sugar, sifted
•1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Makes enough to frost one cake.


I promise you, this is so simple you’ll be amazed! And, you’ll want to make this every day…it’s just that good! And honestly, look at those ingredients…it’s not even *that* bad for you!! Make it without the frosting, and it’s still super delicious and even more on the healthy side. I really hope/know you’ll all enjoy this so much!

I dare you to only have once slice!

Recipe Recommendation: Masoor Daal

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Photo from the amazing blog of Spicy Habibty.

I love lentils. They’re little protein-packed bursts of goodness that can really be built into any meal. Unfortunately, I have a man in the house that is not a lentil fan.

Well, when he went out of town a while back, I made this amazing lentil dish for myself from a dear friend’s blog, Spicy Habibty. It’s a Pakistani dish called Masoor Daal, which is a Red Lentil Soup that I make really thick and pour over a bed of rice…not exactly a breakfast dish, but as I write about this at nine in the morning I instantly crave it! Now each and every bite of this dish is an incredible flavorful experience that your palate will thank you for, I promise! I enjoyed it so much that I just KNEW I could make this for Julian, whether he’d like it or not! So, the other night, he seemed distracted enough with the television for me to begin cooking this dish like a stealthy little ninja. Little did he know that those amazing smells coming from the kitchen would be his new favorite dish…a lentil dish, at that!

Not only is this dish amazing, but seriously, it’s one of the cheapest, yet most filling meals you could possibly make! I don’t know what prices are everywhere, but where I’m at in Madison, a 25-pound bag will run you $20…that’s it! And believe me, 25 pounds can last you a LOOONNNNGGG time! All of the spices are super cheap, and ones that I’m sure most people have in their pantry’s already, so if you have a family to feed on a budget, than this is the perfect meal. My math skills, dividing the price of the lentils with how much I used, with the rice and spices comes to about three pennies per person for this meal, so it’s definitely budget friendly. So anyway, I’d like to direct you to the amazing and incredible blog of Spicy Habibty to check out this amazing dish!!

I keep these lentils stored in jars after I open the large bag to keep them fresh.

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