March 31, 2016

Beef(less) Mushroom Stroganoff


Sorry I've been slow to update the site, but I've got an exciting excuse! I used some of my tax return money to enroll in the Forks Over Knives cooking course, and it's been keeping me busy during my tiny bits of "computer time" each day. Next year I'm really hoping to enroll in the Plant-Based Professional course, and become a bona fide vegan chef. Maybe start earning money with my cooking? Yes, please! I'll keep you guys updated on my progress.

In the meantime, I'll post as often as I can. The FOK course ends in May, so I should be posting with more regularity by summer. Hang in there!

I was craving something classic, hearty, and old-school, so I pulled down the only non-vegan cookbook I own, which is called Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy: 200 Classic American Favorites Low in Fat With All the Original Flavor. I freakin' love this cookbook. It's got all the classic American staples in it, and they're all sort of semi low fat, not that anyone cares about fat anymore, but if you could see the adorable photo of the author, a tiny little ol' lady named Jeanne, you'd fall in love like I did.

So, I cracked it open to a classic Beef Stroganoff recipe, and I veganized that bee. So, here's my version of Beef(less) Mushroom Stroganoff, adapted from the Jeanne Jones cookbook referenced above.

12 or 16 ounce bag of any wide, flat noodles
3 tablespoons oil or vegan butter
1 little carton of mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 bags of Gardein Beefless Tips*
2 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups vegetable or no-beef broth
3 tablespoons marsala wine ($3.99 for a huge bottle at Trader Joe's!)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 cup vegan sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped (to garnish)
*If you can't swing the cost of Gardein, sub two extra cartons of mushrooms.
  • Pre-cook your noodles in a large pot according to package directions, drain them, shock them by running cold water over them until they're totally cool, then put them back in the big pot and set them aside.
  • In a large, nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons of the oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until just beginning to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your mushrooms. Cook them only a few minutes more, stirring frequently, until they are just beginning to soften. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil or butter in the same hot skillet. Brown the outsides of your Gardein Beefless Tips, if using. When you're finished, dump the Gardein into the same bowl you have your onions, garlic and mushrooms in. 
  • In your same hot skillet, brown with goo from cooking (which is exactly what you want), place your flour. Slowly stir in the broth, whisking constantly, until the flour isn't clumped. Heat should be medium. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste, paprika, dried basil, and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly. 
  • Turn off the heat and add the sour cream.
  • Pour the sauce into the large pot containing your pre-cooked noodles. Add the beefless tips (if using), mushrooms and garlic. Gently stir and mix everything together until all the noodles are coated with the sauce and the mushrooms and beefless tips are spread throughout.
  • When you serve the dish, top it with some fresh, finely chopped parsley. It's easy to grow, so you shouldn't have to buy it, but if you do have to buy it, it's cheap. And it's a showstopper that really elevates the look of the dish and freshens it up on your palate.
  • This makes about four really big servings, or eight small to reasonable-sized servings. We Texans like huge servings, so it's always hard for me to make a calculation on these things.
  • Enjoy!




March 4, 2016

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Shake


It's already getting steamy in the great state of Texas. I started pumping the AC somewhere around mid-February, which means it's finally time for some cold drinks up in here! Enter this bad boy, the one containing the holy trinity of sweet flavors - chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas. Woot woot! Try it. You'll never be the same, friend.

2 ripe bananas
4 dates, pitted*
1 cup non-dairy milk
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
10 ice cubes, or more to taste

*Sometimes you can find dates at a decent price (Trader Joe's has them pretty cheap) and sometimes you can't. If your budget doesn't allow for dates, replace them with a liquid sweetener, like agave or maple syrup, about a teaspoon of sweetener for each date. Or just leave the sweet stuff out altogether! If your banana is ripe and your peanut butter has sweetener in it, you may not need extra sweetener at all. But if you can swing the dates, I highly recommend them. They add a lovely touch of natural sweetness to this drink. Some rum would be nice too...

  • Place bananas, dates (or liquid sweetener), milk, peanut butter, and cocoa powder into the blender and blend until nice and smooth. 
  • Add ice cubes, a few at a time, until cubes are crushed and drink is chilled.
  • Makes one large glass (think Mason jar) or two smaller glasses.
  • Enjoy!

February 9, 2016

Dreena's Best Banana Muffins


Almost four full years ago, I posted what I still consider to be the best vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe any of us will ever try. That recipe was the invention of Dreena Burton, and it's so wonderfully simple and chewy/crispy and perfect, I continue to make it at least once a month. My whole family loves it!

Dreena's gone and done it again in her new cookbook, Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a photo of the banana bread muffins from this new cookbook on her Instagram account, and it looked so good, I asked where I could find the recipe. She graciously responded that it's in her new cookbook and even gave me the page number. Lucky for me, I'd just bought the cookbook a few days prior to this encounter, and since all of the ingredients are things I already had on hand, I was ready to give this recipe a try. And I'm so glad I did! The muffins are chewy and lightly sweet, with the littlest hint of guilty-pleasure to them. Only you don't have to feel guilty! Seriously, they're just great. Give these a try, and when you're done go buy everything Dreena's ever published. Her recipes never fail.

P.S. Dreena did not put me up to this. I bought this cookbook with my own money and I'm raving about Dreena Burton of my own free will. You will too after eating these muffins!

P.P.S. In the cookbook, this recipe makes either a loaf of banana bread or twelve muffins. I'm only providing the info for the muffins, and I'm partially paraphrasing her recipe in my own words. So, the baking instructions you find below aren't exactly what's in the cookbook. Just lettin' ya know!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pureed overripe banana
1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with paper baking cups.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the pureed banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour mixture into muffin cups (I used a large cookie scoop to measure out the batter). 
  • Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a center muffin comes out clean.
  • Let cool before eating.
  • Enjoy!
Before I go, let me tell you about the exciting new thing I'm doing! I've been thinking about the kind of career I want to start to build for myself at this stage of my life. When I was graduating from college with a Communications/Theatre BA, I couldn't possibly have known that in ten years I would be vegan and have an earnest interest in becoming a vegan chef, teacher, coach, and professional baker. So, at the ripe li'l age of 43 (my birthday was last Thursday!) I am taking my first steps in pursuing my dream. Step One, for me, is enrolling in a vegan cooking school to learn all the chef basics, tricks and tips. I just signed up this very morning, and I am so excited! I will keep you all posted on my progress as I proceed through the program.


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!


December 11, 2014

Alicia Simpson's Sweetgrass Snickerdoodles

Naughty li'l elves!
I have yet to try an Alicia Simpson recipe that doesn't taste amazing! This snickerdoodle cookie recipe is no exception. Crispy, cinnamon-y and full of seasonal oomph, I'm planning to give little stacks of these beauties as Christmas gifts. They go great with coffee or chai tea. And, as you can see in the photo, Santa's Scout Elves just love them! My daughter has two scout elves because Santa determined that she needed an extra set of eyes on her during the holidays - she's a chronic gift-jiggler. She named her elves Lula and Layla, which makes me curious about the names of my future grandchildren...


Alicia Simpson's Sweetgrass Snickerdoodles
from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food (affiliate link)

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Garnish:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream the margarine and shortening with the applesauce and sugars. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the creamed mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix with an electric mixer until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Chill the dough for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. 
  • Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon. 
  • Scoop 1-inch balls of dough with a teaspoon. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture, coating all sides. 
  • Place on a baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart and bake for 12 minutes for chewy cookies and up to 15 minutes for a crisper cookie.
  • Remove from baking sheet, cool, and enjoy.
Please Note: Alicia Simpson did not put me up to this. I purchased the cookbook on my own, years ago, and I love it! If you want to support a fantastic vegan cookbook author, buy something with her name on it. You won't be sorry! I've included all of her Amazon.com cookbook listings below. If you click and buy one (or all!) of these books through my links, I'll get a small percentage of the purchase price, which really helps me out. Thanks!

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."

November 3, 2014

Raspberry Waffle Syrup


I am forty-one years old and pre-menopausal. Is that something I shouldn't talk about online? I don't care! It's a living hell. And no amount of hormonal-type (i.e. of animal origin) food avoidance is helping. I'm as pimply as a teenager, and I have daily hot flashes that my daughter's Girl Scout troop director accurately described as "my own private summer." And, hey sue me buddy, but sometimes a pimply, middle-aged woman having a hot flash needs a got-dang waffle, and sometimes there's no syrup in the house. So, she hits the internet and finds a solution. In this case, it was homemade raspberry syrup. I'd purchased two cases of raspberries the day before because they were on sale for 99 cents a case, which is a steal! So, now we're here. This syrup is delicious. We were spooning it out of the saucepan before it was even cool. Give it a try, and enjoy!

HOMEMADE RASPBERRY SYRUP
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 3/4 cups water with sugar. 
  • Add raspberries and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Allow mixture to simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Place the mixture in a fine, mesh sieve and press to release all of the liquid into a bowl or large cup. Return liquid to saucepan.
  • Whisk in cornstarch remaining tablespoon water.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook one minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat. Allow to cool before serving.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week in an airtight container.
  • Enjoy!

August 16, 2014

So, Basically I'm a Genius

I discovered something wonderful. 

If you put this...


and this...


together like this...


it totally tastes like this!


You're welcome.