February 3, 2016

Asian-Inspired Apples & Tofu


This recipe is adapted from one I found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook, Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. It was one of those situations where I had a bunch of apples, a bunch of tofu and some noodles on hand, so I flipped through the indexes of all my cookbooks to see if there was a recipe that might miraculously meld these random ingredients. And, sure enough, there was! Aren't cookbooks just so magical? I took a few liberties with the original recipe since I didn't have all of Isa's ingredients on hand, so this is my version of the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it. We sure did!

1/4 cup water
5 tablespoons white miso
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into equal triangles
1 pound sweet red or pink apples; peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 10-ounce pack of Chinese rice noodles, cooked according to package
Handful of arugula, cut in chiffonade fashion
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
Sriracha (for garnish)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Stir water, miso, mirin, ginger, garlic and liquid aminos together in a small bowl until well-mixed.
  • Place your tofu triangles side by side, but not touching, in a 9 x 13" baking pan. 
  • Pour the marinade of the top of the tofu. If you like, you can flip the tofu and jiggle the pan to make sure every side is coated, but you don't have to.
  • Layer the apple slices over the top of the tofu.
  • Cover with tin foil and back for 30-45 minutes.
  • Garnish with arugala, sriracha and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

February 1, 2016

Review of Chick-Fil-A's 'Superfood Side'

Before I get started, let me say thanks to those of you who kindly went over and followed The Thinking Spoon at my behest. I really appreciate that! But, after loading a couple of old Bankrupt Vegan posts to the new site, and realizing that I had like 200 more to go, I decided, "Naw. This is crazy." So, I'm going to stick to the Bankrupt Vegan blog. Yay for your bookmarked recipes! You won't have to change them. You'll only have to wait a few days while I fix up all the old recipes with my new watermark and re-post them. I'll try to get at least five per day re-posted, so it shouldn't be too long before all of your favorites are back up. And don't worry if you followed The Thinking Spoon on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I kept all of those accounts and just changed the name back to Bankrupt Vegan. So, there's nothing you need to do except keep on reading along and cooking with me. And again, sincerely, I apologize for this craziness and confusion. Having my photos stolen really did a number on me. So, I'm going to take great care to keep that from happening again.

Now, here's the review...

I was out running errands today and I was starving! The only thing nearby was a Chick-Fil-A, so I thought I could at least get an iced tea and some french fries to keep me from passing out. But, as I was standing in line I noticed a sign for a new "superfood side" featuring kale, broccolini, nuts, and dried cherries. And listed on the menu overhead was a "fruit cup." So, Yay! Food for me!

Image courtesy of Chick-Fil-A.com

PROS
  • Thank you, Chick-Fil-A, for offering something green on the menu that doesn't contain meat or dairy! McDonald's has, literally, not one single meat-free salad on the menu. Their fruit tray comes with yogurt in it, and their oatmeal has so much sugar in it, I might as well eat a candy bar. So, it's nice to know that when I really need it, I can turn to you, Chick-Fil-A, for some friggin' kale. (Of, course, I can get an entire bunch of organic kale for 99 cents, so... it's there, but only when I really need it.)
  • The taste is nice! I enjoyed it. The slightly sweet dressing puts the whole salad on the sweet side, so it can co-mingle nicely with fruit. In fact, the serving was so small (see 'cons' list) that I dumped my fruit cup into it to bulk it up. And it was great!
CONS
  • I was disappointed with how teeny it was. For almost $3, I found this four-bites-at-best serving a little underwhelming. 
  • There were also a lot of thick broccolini stems in it. Again, for almost $3.00, I don't want to find a bunch of stems in my salad. I just want the really delicious, tender stuff. 
  • The nuts are glazed with some kind of sugary goo. Unnecessary added sugar. Ugh... Nuts taste great all by themselves! According to the Chick-Fil-A nutrition information, this tiny serving contains 11 grams of sugar. How is that even possible??
In conclusion, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, and would eat it again. It's not something I'm going to make a special trip for, but if I'm out running errands and I get hungry, I know there's something readily available for me that's not total garbage.

Please note that I was not offered a free sample of this item in return for a review. I was genuinely hungry, bought this with my own money, and thought I would tell everyone about it since it's vegan and all. If you've tried it too, let me know what you think in the comments!

January 27, 2016

Triple Protein Power Wrap


Feeling peckish, friend? Try this triple protein wrap and you will perk right up! It couldn't be easier. Just get the following stuff together and wrap it up into a little burrito of awesomeness.

Large tortilla, warmed on the stovetop
Your favorite hummus
Several medium tomato slices
A handful of lettuce
A handful of sunflower seeds
A handful of your favorite nuts (I used pecans)
Your favorite salt, pepper, herbs and spices*


*I used the Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's. It's so yummy! (And cheap.) If you don't have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, you can put together something similar on your own. The Everyday Seasoning contains sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika and chili pepper.

Sweep the hummus on your tortilla, then top the whole thing like a pizza. It should look something like this. 


Then carefully, and as tightly as you can, roll it up into a lovely wrap. Cut in half and enjoy! Taste great with a kombucha or an iced tea!

January 16, 2016

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce


Oh my Lord, people. My life just got seriously better because I tasted this cheese sauce. It is AMAZING! And, guess what, it's two main ingredients are carrots and potatoes. Seriously!

How do carrots and potatoes come together to chemically formulate what is easily the best-tasting vegan cheese sauce I've ever stuffed into my face? Is it magic? Some kind of medieval sorcery? I don't know, but I am so grateful!

2 cups peeled, cubed, boiled, drained potatoes (about 2-2 1/2 medium potatoes)
1 cup peeled, chopped, boiled, drained carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil*
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice, to taste
  • Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender** and blend. It's just that simple! Put your drained carrots and potatoes into the blender right after you drain them, while they're still piping hot, so your cheese will be piping hot too.
  • As you're blending, drizzle in some milk to help thin it out a bit, if you want to. 
  • Can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container (I'm not sure how long because we always eat it up pretty quickly), for a few days, perhaps? 
  • *I'm working on figuring out a way to reduce the oil in this recipe. It's way too much, I know. I'll keep fiddling with it and get back to you.
  • **If you don't have a high-powered blender (I sure don't), you might want to liquify in a food processor first, then transfer to a blender and drizzle in the milk while blending, to keep your little $20 blender from overheating.
  • Enjoy!

October 12, 2015

Fresh No-Cook Spaghetti Sauce


In the mood for something fresh, light, easy and breezy? You have to try this amazing, no-cook spaghetti sauce! A few days ago, a friend of a friend on Facebook posted a video from Food & Wine magazine that I saved immediately because I just knew I had to try it. You just use a box grater to grate tomatoes into a bowl, add a few other ingredients, mix it with cooked pasta and you're good to go. I thought it must be too good to be true, but I tried it for dinner tonight and I'll be danged if it isn't delicious! Here's the video:



And here's my take on it:


16 ounces spaghetti noodles, cooked
6 to 8 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes, cut in half
3 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped


  • Grate the tomatoes into a large bowl with a box grater.
  • Add remaining ingredients, to taste, and stir. 
  • Toss with your spaghetti and serve.
  • Seriously, it's that freakin' easy.
  • Enjoy!


November 4, 2014

Easiest, Yummiest Mac and Cheese


It's finally Autumn in North Texas, my favorite time of year! After another brutally hot summer, it's finally cool enough to open the windows and let some crispy fresh air come inside. Even better, it's pouring down sweet, much-needed rain right now. I have the house to myself. And I'm catching up on both my cleaning and my Netflix queue. It's a great day! Of course, a great day like this calls for some comfort food. I made chocolate oatmeal energy balls last night, so sweets are covered. The only thing missing is something cheesy. Enter the Easy Vegan Macaroni and Cheeze recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. I just did a quick Google search for "the best" vegan mac and cheese and this is what popped up. Oh, and guess what? It's absolutely delicious! Creamy and "cheesy," even better than the boxed stuff - vegan or otherwise. Give it a try. It's perfect for this Fall weather, and I'm 99.99% certain that I will be serving it on my Thanksgiving table this year.

EASY VEGAN MACARONI AND CHEEZE
(recipe by Susan Voisin, who writes at blog.FatFreeVegan.com)
"Besides being low-fat, this recipe is also low in sodium, so salt-lovers may need to add salt. The tahini adds a little fat but a lot of flavor; still, leave it out if you need a completely oil-free dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta (regular or gluten-free), cooked according to package directions
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup plain, fat-free soymilk (may use other non-dairy milk)
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (optional, but lends creaminess and flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon mellow white miso (or additional salt)
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the pasta on to boil, according to package directions. While it’s cooking, blend water and all remaining ingredients together in a blender. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and return the pasta to pan. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Add a little of the pasta water if more moistness is needed.
  2. If the sauce is not as flavorful as you’d like, add a little more mustard and onion powder.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 303 Calories (kcal); 4g Total Fat; (10% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 54g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 316mg Sodium; 5g Fiber. Also, if you use nutritional yeast fortified with B-12, one serving provides 100% of the daily requirement of that vitamin."

October 2, 2012

The *NEW* Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie!


Anybody remember this post from a year ago? The one where I touted a certain chocolate chip cookie as being "the best?" Yeah, well that was a good cookie - don't get me wrong - but it has now been replaced by these! This is the "Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe from Dreena Burton's cookbook, Vive le Vegan!(published by Arsenal Pulp Press).

If you don't already own this cookbook, you should get it, especially if you're the parent of a young child - it's chock full of kid-friendly recipes and tips. I pull this one down off the shelf at least twice a week. And I have owned this cookbook for well over a year, but I never tried the chocolate chip cookie recipe until yesterday.

I am seriously lamenting all the months I spent not knowing how fabulous these cookies are. These are easily the best vegan chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten. I just had to share this recipe! The problem with most vegan cookie recipes is that they are too cakey, not like their omnivorous counterparts whose massive infusions of butter make them so ooey-gooey soft on the inside and crispity-crunchy on the outside. I don't know how Dreena Burton did it, but she came up with a magical combination of ingredients that makes these cookies seem like they're baked with two sticks of butter. And she keeps the refined sugar to a minimum as well. Thank you, Dreena Burton. You are my new hero!

Be sure to follow the directions exactly as they are written. If you don't, your cookies may not turn out right. I know this because my first attempt at this recipe failed miserably when I went my own way with the mixing method.

Oh, and just a warning - you might want to put a lock on your cookie jar. My four-year-old loved these cookies so much she kept traveling back and forth to our Doctor Who Tardis Cookie Jar. I know this because the jar makes a sound every time it's opened and I heard that sound a lot yesterday!

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or 1 1/4 cup spelt flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil (a little generous)
1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until well combined. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the oil until well combined. 
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (do not overmix).
  • Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little.
  • Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). 
  • Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.
Visit Dreena Burton's website, Plant Powered Kitchen!

Other cookbooks by Dreena Burton:

March 31, 2011

Sweet Chili Carrot Fries


Looking for a novel new way to eat your carrots? Look no further than these Sweet Chili Carrot Fries! Easy to prepare, and baked in a jiff, they are the perfect after-school snack. They also make a great side to veggie burgers and tofu dogs. I served them with Tofu Florentine last night, and the whole family loved them. Delicious!

16 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Black pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the carrot sticks in a large Tupperware bowl that has a tight-fitting lid.
  • Pour oil and remaining ingredients into the bowl, on top of the carrot sticks.
  • Secure the lid and shake the ingredients around vigorously until every last carrot stick is coated with flavor.
  • Place the carrot sticks, in a single layer, on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  • Bake for about 15 minutes. Check the carrot sticks, shake the pan, flip them around, whatever you need to do.
  • Continue to bake for an additional 5-15 minutes, until carrot sticks are soft in the middle but nice and crunchy around the edges. Watch them closely.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • Enjoy!

February 26, 2011

Tofu Scramble with Red Pepper and Sausage


I found the most gorgeous organic red bell peppers at the grocery store yesterday! They were picture-perfect, and even though I love roasting red peppers, these were just too pretty to blacken over a flame. So, what did I do? I chopped 'em to bits and threw 'em in a scramble! Seems like a reasonable compromise, right?

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 cup water, plus more if needed
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced (if you can't afford red, green will work too!)
14 ounces extra firm tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons paprika, to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
5 small to medium-sized links/patties of vegan sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Shredded vegan cheddar, for garnish (optional)
Vegan sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Corn tortillas, for use as a vehicle to get the scramble to your mouth (optional)
  • Place 1/2 cup of water, onions, and garlic into a large skillet and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  • Add peppers and continue to saute for a couple of minutes, until they begin to soften. Add more water, if needed, to prevent sticking.
  • Add tofu and continue to saute until all ingredients are soft and heated through. Continue to add water, if needed.
  • Add soy sauce, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Stir until well-blended. 
  • Add the sausage. 
  • Cover and simmer on low heat for just a few minutes. You can use this time to heat up your tortillas, if you're using them.
  • Load the scramble onto a tortilla. Top with cheese and sour cream, then munch! High in protein, this scramble is a fantastic and delicious way to start your day. You will be zooming with energy for hours!
  • Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

February 18, 2011

Bankrupt Bitchtastic Brownies



Today's brownies are actually a cheapified version of the Bitchtastic Brownie recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. I cannot afford fancy ingredients like Sucanat, so I just used plain ol' sugar (although I did go organic). Instead of safflower oil, I rocked the canola. You get the idea.
Ever since I went vegan, I've been looking for a great brownie recipe, and this is a good one. These brownies are fudgy, chewy and deeply intoned with rich chocolate flavor. Yummy!

Make these for your loved one, make them for your "girly time," make them for parties, share 'em or don't. Just promise to give them a try. They are delicious!

Here's my version of the recipe:

5 ounces unsweetened vegan baking chocolate 
1 1/4 cups sugar 
3/4 cups silken tofu
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for the pan
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Lightly oil an 8x8" baking pan; set aside.
  • In the top of a double boiler, or in a medium metal bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring just until smooth.
  • Transfer the chocolate to a food processor. Add the sugar, tofu, oil, and vanilla. Process until smooth.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt, pulsing until just combined.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. 
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Thoroughly cool on a cooling rack before cutting into 9 or 12 squares.
  • Enjoy!

January 20, 2011

This Guac Rocks!

The powers-that-be over at the Wholly Guacamole company happened upon my Simple Vegan Nachos to Daiya For post and asked me if they could send some products to review. My answer?
"Well, heck yes!"

Listen, I'll admit that maybe it's not really fair for me to accept their guacamole to review because I already know that I love it. I've been eating the organic stuff for years, and I practically pee myself with glee every time I find a coupon for it. It was also one of my daughter's first baby foods! But, I am not the kind of girl who turns down free guacamole, so I let them send it to me anyway. When the package came, I didn't just get one pack of regular ol' guac. Nuh-uh. The box was filled to the brim with all kinds of neat stuff, including salsas and guacamole snack packs! Did you even know that Wholly Guacamole came in snack pack form?? I didn't. And I sure as heck didn't know they made salsa!

Here's the rundown of what I received, and my thoughts on each...

CLASSIC GUACAMOLE
The reason I started eating this particular brand of guacamole in the first place is because of the ingredient list.
Check this out:
Hass Avocados, Jalapeno Puree (white vinegar, jalapeno peppers, salt) Dehydrated Onion, Salt, Granulated Garlic.
That's it! Just normal ingredients, nothing weird, no chemicals. That was the first attraction for me, and then I tasted it... YUM! This is the closest to good, old-fashioned homemade guac I've ever eaten. And, since it uses real ingredients, it's packed with loads of vitamins and minerals. And, yes, it comes in an organic variety too!

SNACK PACKS - SPICY / CLASSIC
The snack packs are fabulous because sometimes I want some guac, but if nobody wants to share a regular-sized pack with me, I'm stuck either eating the whole thing myself (which isn't always a problem, I've been known to do it many times) or trying to store it. And, since the ingredients do not include preservatives, the guac will brown just like the regular stuff will. Now, I recently discovered that if you do not remove the unwanted portion of guac from the plastic bag and just clamp it shut with a clothespin, it will stay nice and green. So, that's one way to do it. But if I want to put it in a sack lunch, I won't have that option. So, here come the snack packs!
If you're counting calories, they're already portioned into 100 calorie packs. Guilt-free and full of vites.
WHOLLY SALSA - MILD / MEDIUM / HOT
Once again, just look at these ingredients:
Tomato, Onion, Green Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Lime Juice, Salt, Garlic, Spice, Garlic Powder
Nothing creepy, no chemicals. I love that! I really wish more companies would take the hint that we don't want foods with an ingredient list that looks like a NASA experiment.
I'm a Texan, and Texans love salsa. Most of us make our own, and I'm no different. But sometimes I need a quick batch for a party, or just a spoonful to ladle onto my tofu scramble. And that's when I turn to the store-bought stuff. I despise picante sauce, so I shy away from anything that looks watery. And, ever since my pregnancy, it is very difficult for me to look at an over-cooked green bell pepper without queasing up a bit. So, anything with little over-cooked gray squares in it, squares that were once green bell peppers, is definitely out! That lowers my choice factor quite a lot. And I have honestly never found a store-bought salsa that just blew me away... until now. This stuff is perfect for me. Yes, it has green bell peppers in it, but they are cut small enough that I don't even notice them and, on top of that, they have not been over-cooked. They're still green! Can you imagine?
The flavor is only very mildly spicy. Even the "medium" salsa was low on the spiciness scale. If you like it spicy, I recommend the hot one. I am not a fan of the spicy, so it was just right for my tastebuds.
I tried it both on Daiya quesadillas, and on plain old baked tortilla chips, and it was excellent. I now officially have a salsa that I can buy at the store and enjoy just as much as the homemade stuff!


Go HERE to register for special offers and giveaways from Wholly Guacamole.
They'll give you a coupon just for signing up!

*Please note that, while I was sent a free sample of the above-reviewed goods, I was not paid in any way, shape or form to do this review. My opinions about this product are honest. I raved about the stuff because it was legitimately tasty. And I am always happy to back a product that I really like.

December 1, 2009

Veggie Rainbow Salsa


I was looking for a "snacky-type" recipe that makes a TON of food, doesn't cost a lot and is super healthy. When a friend of mine brought Black Bean Confetti Salsa to a Labor Day Potluck party, I loved it and knew this might be the one. I made a few adjustments based on what I actually had in my pantry (and the fact that I love to put garlic, lime juice and tomatoes into everything). I also left out the oil to save on a bit of fat. So, here's my version...

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, diced (green are the cheapest)
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 large white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Super easy to prepare. Throw it all in a very large bowl and stir it around. Then get out some tortilla chips, or veggie slices, and start dippin'. 
  • Makes 12 servings.
  • Enjoy!