Monday, September 30, 2013

Kabocha Squash Soup

Hello on the 30th and final day of the Vegan Month of Food! Today's food post is a quick and easy dinner since I wanted to focus on my round-up!

Kabocha Squash Soup

My mom found this for me (she's always searching for vegan goodies), and it looked like the perfect fall soup. 

(The chunks of squash sunk to the bottom of my soup instead of floating at the top...)

I just warmed it up on the stove-top and had it with some crackers and the leftover fries from yesterday. 

It was really good, though I might add in some rice next time.

This month has gone by so quickly, but it has been a lot of fun! I posted each and every day (30 posts total), and I finally attempted some themes. I enjoyed the randomness of the first two weeks, but having themes for the last two (Nostalgia Week and Parks and Recreation Week) was nice in that it gave me a specific focus and was a creative challenge.

OK, now prepare yourself for lots of lists and links!

My five most-viewed posts this Vegan MoFo:

I discovered & started following so many great blogs:

And I bookmarked lots of recipes that I want to try:

I intend to keep up with my blog in between now and the next Vegan MoFo; Zach suggested doing one post a week, and I think that sounds like a good idea. One of my plans is to blog about the above recipes when I try them out. I think it would also be fun to do some posts about Mystery here and there since people seemed to enjoy her photos. Anything else you are interested in seeing in future blog posts? Let me know in the comments. :)

Thanks so much to everyone who read my blog, who commented, and who shared my posts with others! And thanks to my fellow bloggers for inspiring me throughout the month with such amazing recipes! It's great to see all this delicious vegan food, but I think one of my favorite parts of Vegan MoFo is getting to "meet" so many lovely vegans and the non-human animals with whom they share their lives. Seeing pictures and videos of others' companion animals during Vegan MoFo is a really encouraging thing, and it serves as a simple reminder of why we are vegan: For the animals.

If you aren't vegan but would like more information, I'd recommend the Vegan Starter Kit. Check out the resources section in my blog's sidebar for additional links, and of course, I'm here if you have any questions. :)

Here's Mystery saying bye for now; it's time to get some rest after all this excitement!

Peace. :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Random Vegan Noms

Hello on the 29th day of the Vegan Month of Food! I can't believe there's only one more day left! I've had so much good food this month, but I didn't get the chance to post everything, so here's a photo & commentary post of some additional vegan noms I've enjoyed in the past several weeks.

Random Vegan Noms

Hummus and Pretzels

My new favorite snack to have with tea time!
Sprouted Quinoa with Gardein Chick'n and Spinach

Still getting used to quinoa...

Chick'n Soup with Wild Rice and Spinach

Served with crackers.

Spaghetti with Smart Dogs

I did this one as a tribute to The Big Bang Theory, when Penny offers to make spaghetti for Sheldon, and he requests that she mix in chopped-up hot dogs.
Mac & Cheese with Smart Dogs

Pretty good, just using up those Smart Dogs!

Made utilizing the leftovers from April and Andy's Frisbee Chili.

Peanut Butter Brown Rice (with Broccoli and Peppers)

And baked potato "fries."

Be sure to check in tomorrow for my Vegan MoFo round-up! I plan to include links to all the amazing recipes that I hope to try soon, as well as to give shout-outs to my favorite blogs this Vegan MoFo!

Mystery spent a good portion of the day snuggling with Zach on the couch.

Oh, and be sure to hop over to Lymie Eating Coconut to see the awesome sketch she did of Mystery in Caturday and Kit Kats!

Peace. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Quiet Corn's German Muffin

Hello on the 28th day of the Vegan Month of Food, and the seventh (and final) day of my Parks and Recreation theme week!

The Quiet Corn's German Muffin

In "Camping" (season 3, episode 8), having successfully pulled off the harvest festival, the group goes on a camping trip in order to come up with the next big idea. Everyone assumes Leslie will have the best idea, so no one else puts much effort into the brainstorming session. When everyone decides they want to go home for the night instead of camping (or, as Leslie proposes, working through the night), they discover that the van's battery has been drained by all of Tom's electronics and fancy camping equipment. They decide to walk to a nearby bed and breakfast to spend the night there. When they arrive, Elsa Clack welcomes them to The Quiet Corn and informs them of the breakfast menu.

Elsa: We have hardboiled eggs, homemade tomato slices with dry seed and leek jam, and your choice of German muffin.
Ron: The f**k is a German muffin?

I, like Ron, have no idea what a German muffin is, but this is my attempt at one (my recipe is a slightly modified version of the one for "nutritious muffins" on the package of the Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran Cereal).

--3/4 cup whole wheat flour
--3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran Cereal
--1/2 cup brown sugar
--1 tsp baking powder
--1 tsp cinnamon
--1/2 tsp baking soda
--1/3 cup banana, mashed
--1/4 cup soy milk
--1/3 cup applesauce
--2 T coconut oil
--1/2 tsp vanilla
--1/2 cup carrot, shredded
--1/2 cup raisins
--1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

*I used the leftover salt from the bottom of a pretzel bag, a fun trick that I saw with Lymie Eating Coconut's cookies here: Caturday and Cookies.

(Preheat oven to 400°F.) Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. Then, combine the two and stir well until moistened thoroughly. Add in carrots, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. Line a muffin tray with paper cups; fill the cups about 2/3 full. Lightly sprinkle some salt atop. Bake for 18 minutes. (Makes 12 muffins.)

For as messy as they were when I removed the paper cups, they were so good! I'll definitely be making these muffins again! Yum!

Bonus video clip/quote from the episode:

(Everyone is gathered around the campfire, leaning in and listening intently.)
Ron: And when she looked in the back of her car, she saw that even though it was her own private property, she would be forced to take it in... for a state inspection!

"I know what a German muffin is, but I'm not telling."

Peace. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Ben's Calzone

Hello on the 27th day of the Vegan Month of Food and the sixth day of my Parks and Recreation theme week! I'm also pretty excited because this is my 100th post! (I would have hit this milestone sooner had I not deleted my first several posts, including those of Vegan MoFo 2010, but ah well...)

Ben's Calzone

In "The Comeback Kid" (season 4, episode 11), Ben, having resigned from his job as assistant city manager, has been keeping himself occupied by shooting a (very short) claymation video and learning to make calzones. (Leslie and the rest of the parks department have been planning a comeback for her city council campaign, but when everything goes wrong, she decides to hire Ben as her campaign manager.)

Chris: So, Ben, why calzones?
Ben: Glad you asked, Chris. You know, there's fast-food hamburgers, there's fast-food Mexican, there's fast-food Chinese, blah, blah, blah. Have you ever wondered why there isn't a fast-food option for Italian food?
Chris: What about pizza?
Ben: "Pizza? Never heard of it!" That's what people will be saying in 20 years because pizza is old news, Chris. Pizza is your grandfather's calzone.
Chris: I never thought of it that way.
Ben: What I'm talking about is a portable, delicious meal that is its own container. It's a whole new spin on Italian fast, casual dining.
Chris: Amazing!
Ben: Now, you of all people will like this: I'm going to use low-fat ingredients.
Chris: Game-changer!
Ben: And I will call my new Italian fast casual eatery the Low-Cal Calzone Zone.
Chris: That idea is literally the greatest idea I have ever heard in my life.
Chris (to camera): That idea is terrible.

--1 Bob's Red Mill 16 oz. package Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix
--2 T flaxseed meal + 6 T water (replaces the 2 eggs)
--1 1/2 cups warm water
--2 T olive oil
--yeast packet (included in the pizza crust package)
--tomato sauce
--shredded Daiya (both mozzarella and cheddar)
--vegan pepperoni slices (I used Lightlife's Smart Deli Pepperoni)

(Preheat oven to 425°F.) Combine yeast and water in a large bowl; let stand a few minutes. Add the flaxseed meal and olive oil, stir. Add the pizza crust mix; stir until combined. Split dough in half, leave in bowl, covered for 20 minutes so it can rise. To make two calzones, take one of the doughs, split it in half, and spread out two round crusts on the greased baking tray. Bake for 7 minutes without toppings. (Store second unused dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge.) Remove from oven, add tomato sauce to one half of each crust, then Daiya and vegan pepperoni on top.* Fold the empty half over to cover the toppings. Crimp the edges closed with a fork (if possible; wasn't for me, oops!). Add a bit of olive oil atop the calzones and make a few small cuts in the top, then bake for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool; the calzones will be much hotter than a pizza. Serve and enjoy!

*To use up some leftovers, I (over)filled one of the calzones with some chopped yellow onion and Boca chick'n instead of pepperoni.

This was my first time making calzones, and while they were messy (and I was unable to get them fully closed), they were still delicious. I think it would be fun to experiment with different fillings (the two versions I made were both great), but all in all, I'm more of a pizza person. Sorry, Ben! 

Bonus quotes from the episode:

Leslie (to her former campaign managers): I just had a big meeting with my new advisory board, and they are brilliant and amazing. They're real killers.
Andy (in background): Leslie? I tried to make ramen in the coffee pot, and I broke everything.
Leslie: Thank you, Andy; I'll be right in.

In other vegan news, today is Hug a Vegan Day! So here's a big hug for all my vegan readers and fellow bloggers!

Mystery, however, is rather skeptical of all this hugging going on...

Peace. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tom's Chicky-Chicky Parm-Parm

Hello on the 26th day of the Vegan Month of Food, and the fifth day of my Parks and Recreation theme week!

Tom's Chicky-Chicky Parm-Parm

In "Soulmates" (season 3, episode 10), Ann helps Leslie sign up for online dating; when Leslie is matched up with Tom, she is surprised and confused. She decides to take him out on a date to get to know him better and to see if she can figure out why the dating site put them together. When Leslie asks him to lunch, Tom asks if he can order "apps" and "zerts," and then goes into an explanation of his unique names for things.

So, from that list, I chose to make a vegan version of "chicky-chicky parm-parm" with "long-ass rice."

--tomato sauce
--2 servings spaghetti (I used angel hair)
--vegan cheese sauce*

*To prepare the cheese sauce, see the ingredients and recipe on Vegans Eat Yummy Food, Too! (It's perfect that today is "Thankful Thursday," because I am certainly thankful for discovering this quick and easy recipe! Thanks, Sandy!) Note: I didn't need as much, so I only made 1/4 of the cheese sauce that her recipe makes.

Place the two chick'n "breasts" in a baking dish, add some tomato sauce on top of the chick'n, then add the cheese sauce. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 375°F for 20 minutes. Cook the spaghetti, drain, return to pot and pour in the sauce packets from the Gardein, stir and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy your chicky-chicky parm-parm and long-ass rice! All in all, it turned out pretty good, and it was fun to use a new recipe from a fellow blogger.

Bonus quotes from the episode:

Leslie: How did you and I get matched up?
Tom: I made 26 profiles, each designed to attract a different kind of girl. Tom A. Haverford, sporty and sexy. Tom B. Haverford, smooth and soulful. Which letter did you get?
Leslie: "N." Tom N. Haverford.
Tom: (laughs) The "N" stands for "nerd." I never even check that one because no one ever responds to it.
Leslie: OK, well, whatever...
Tom: Tom N. Haverford collects globes.
Leslie: Great, that's enough.
Tom: His favorite movie is books.

And now it's time for the premiere of the sixth season of Parks and Recreation! So excited!

But first, here's a photo set of a sleepy little Mystery.

Peace. :)