Category Archives: Vegan

Wake Up to the Smell of Delicious – Crock Pot Oatmeal

It’s Monday morning and usually I am cowering in the corner dreading facing the day.  However, on this lovely Monday morning I’m having a healthy, hearty and delicious breakfast while I sit, type and procrastinate getting dressed for work. I don’t mean to post about breakfast two days in a row but this was just too good not to share. Plus you have the rest of the work week to try it!

Disclaimer – I have no idea if it is actually a lovely Monday – I have not checked the weather nor have I been outside.  It snowed here yesterday, snowed.  It is almost freaking April 1st!

We’ve been talking about making crock pot oatmeal for about a week.  So last night we made a bet on the UNC v. South Carolina women’s basketball game.  Loser makes the crock pot oatmeal…not that it is hard…we’re just not very motivated evening people.  Even though South Carolina lost, we made the oatmeal together.  Weekday breakfast for me is usually on the go and not very healthy and sometimes non-existent.  As you may have gathered from yesterday’s post, Lisa is a smoothie kind of girl…drinks them every day…It’s just not my thing.  Getting up extra early to prepare a well-balanced breakfast is also not my thing…and let’s be honest – we all have a little snooze button in us…So this crock pot oatmeal is genius. I don’t know who the first person to this was but I’m sure they enjoyed an extra 15 minutes of sleep as well.

The batch we made last night was TheYummyLife.com’s Overnight, Slow Cook, Banana and Coconut Milk Steel-Cut Oatmeal – long in title but pretty straight forward ingredients.  We, of course, always tweak slightly so those comments are in red.

INGREDIENTS
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced (approx. 2 cups)
2 (14 oz) cans light coconut milk* (we substituted one can with a can size full of regular rice milk)
1/2 cup water
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces, optional (omit or substitute margarine for lactose-free, vegan) (Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground flax-seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: additional sliced bananas, chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts, toasted coconut, maple syrup, additional brown sugar, additional coconut milk or butter

DIRECTIONS
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

*Find coconut milk in the Asian aisle of your grocery store.

We have a rather large slow cooker so you’ll notice on Yummy Life that there are directions for setting up a double boiler in your slow cooker.  We made our oatmeal this way and it worked perfectly!

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Oh crap, it’s after 7:00 AM!

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It’s the Freakin’ Vegan Weekend! I’m about to have me some BREAKFAST!

Hungry?!? Good, because this is one Big Vegan Breakfast blog post! And if you’re reading the title in any other way than to the tune of R. Kelly’s Ignition (Remix), you’re doing it wrong.  So read it again, correctly!

One of the last meal’s of the day we mastered in our house was breakfast.  I’m not sure why – There is just so much more to life than a kale smoothie (my LMS would probably disagree).  As a kid I remember looking forward to the weekend – no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks – at least for two days…And Saturday morning cartoons.  I woke up early to start my binge watching and didn’t stop until something for grown ups came on at noon which if I remember correctly was a poor quality local weekend news show.  My breakfast of choice then was cereal or Jiffy muffins.  Super healthy, right?

Looking back, I guess it’s better that I really didn’t like what the big Southern breakfast consisted of anyway – eggs, meat products and dairy – OH My!  As a vegan though, I welcome a big breakfast and so do my taste buds!  When Lisa and I have the weekend off at the same time we always make a good homemade breakfast. Last summer one of our friend’s brought us some Adluh stone ground grits straight from Columbia, South Carolina.  Of course, we needed something to go with those grits –

1. Biscuits

Now there is nothing quite like a homemade biscuit.  Check out this recipe from the Minimalist Baker.  These biscuits will make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life because it was empty before they came!

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (we sub 1 cup with home ground flour, so our biscuits are slightly nutty)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup unsweetened PLAIN almond milk + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (We use rice milk)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add cold butter and use fingers or a pastry cutter to combine the two until only small pieces remain and it looks like sand. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir gently while pourIMG_4099ing in the almond milk mixture 1/4 cup at a time. You may not need all of it. Stir until just slightly combined – it will be sticky.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a bit of flour and then very gently turn the dough over on itself 5-6 times – hardly kneading.
  6. Form into a 1-inch thick disc, handling as little as possible.
  7. Use a 1-inch thick dough cutter or a similar-shape object with sharp edges (such as a cocktail shaker) and push straight down through the dough, then slightly twist. Repeat and place biscuits on a baking sheet in two rows, making sure they just touch – this will help them rise uniformly. Gently reform the dough and cut out one or two more biscuits – you should have 7-8.
  8. Next brush the tops with a bit more of melted non-dairy butter and gently press a small divot in the center using two fingers. This will also help them rise evenly, so the middle won’t form a dome.
  9. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly golden brown. Serve immediately. Let remaining biscuits cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or bag.

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2. Vegan Tempeh Facon

I hated bacon as a meat eater…even the smell of it grossed me out…especially first thing in the morning.  Then entered tempeh facon. I’ve been making this item the longest.  It started as a fix for Lisa’s love of BLTs. The LunchBoxBunch.com‘s recipe is very easy to make – Of course, over time I’ve taken some liberties with the recipe and they have thus far worked out! This is a great recipe that can be altered to the type of tempeh bacon you want.  I prefer to have a very strong maple flavor and I’m a heat wimp so I can’t take more than a sprinkle of cayenne. I’ve added my notes in red.

Tip: I always double this recipe still using only 1 pack of tempeh.  I like the extra flavoring and I don’t feel like I’m stretching the mixture to make it work. 

Tip:  Steam your tempeh before making this recipe. I just take the tempeh out and cut it to fit in my steam basket, then steam for 10 minutes or so – just until it gets soft and looks a little expanded. It cuts some of the bitterness but if you love tempeh you probably didn’t notice anyway.  For a more technical approach check out – Vegansaurus!

Tempeh Bacon, Vegan Facon
makes about 1/2 cup
*a nice stack for 1-2 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

5 ounces tempeh (2/3 a standard 8 ounce pack)
1-2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup (Always use 2)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne
1 tsp liquid smoke (opt’l) (Never used, never missed)
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp thick black pepper (More like 1/8 to a 1/4)
for pan: 2 tsp olive oil (Use a non stick pan and don’t use oil in pan)
*if you don’t have liquid smoke use these BBQ spice combos
(garlic, pepper, paprika and onion) (Never use this option either)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Very thinly slice the tempeh.IMG_4106

2. As thin as you can slice it without it falling apart

3. Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish.

4. Soak tempeh in marinade for 1-2 minutes.

5. Turn saute pan on high, add 1-2 tsp olive oil. Lay the tempeh flat on skillet. One layer only. Drizzle a bit of excess marinade onto skillet-it should be sizzling a lot now.

6. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then flip. Allow to cook for another minute on other side-or until both sides are crisp and browned.

7. Lay cooked tempeh on parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle with black pepper and thick sea(Drizzling extra marinade is key in my opinion salt to taste. (I never add pepper and sea salt)

8. For a crisper tempeh bacon, do not pour excess marinade in skillet, and allow all liquid to steam off of pan while cooking.

3. Grits

This is not something I’ve always loved.  Growing up I was not fond of grits unless they were loaded with cheddar cheese and butter. However, this past summer my friend Dianne brought us some Adluh grits up from South Carolina.  We started making grits to accompany our tempeh bacon and couldn’t stop.  Locally we pick up a back of Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits.  I’m not going t post directions because we just follow directions on the bag then add salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and occasionally some Daiya cheese. We also like to just put the slices of tempeh bacon right on top.

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4. Tofu Scramble by Happy Herbivore

IMG_4104Lastly, scramble up some tofu and veggies for a nice egg substitute. It strikes me as strange to say substitute or replacement but I’m a former omnivore so my first encounter with dishes was not as a vegan.  You may not be able to tell but our Happy Herbivore cookbook has seen some meals.

This is something my LMS prepares.  We don’t have it that often but when we do it is delicious!

INGREDIENTS

1 pound extra-firm tofu
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Drain excess water off of tofu and place it in the center of a non-stick or greased skillet.Using a spatula, break tofu up into thick cubes. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until the tofu release its water. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Continue to cook and stir for another 5-10 minutes, breaking tofu chunks into smaller pieces so the consistency resembles scrambled eggs. Add a splash of non-dairy milk or lemon juice if the tofu starts to dry out or stick to the skillet. Once the tofu has the right consistency, is yellow in color and is thoroughly warm, add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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I think this vegan breakfast proves that no matter how you were raised, where you’re from, or where you end up – compassion is possible and anything can be veganized!

 

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Vegan Cornbread Of My Dreams

My mother’s pantry always had Jiffy mix inside…cornbread muffins, blueberry muffins, apple cinnamon muffins…  It was a staple…And on Thanksgiving my mother cleared the shelves down at the Bi-Lo of all their Jiffy cornbread mix to make her ma-ma’s cornbread dressing…Of course, the ease of the directions meant as a kid I got to accomplish baking Jiffy muffins of all types frequently.  My mother always said the muffins tasted so much better when I made them…and even though I’m pretty sure you can’t mess up a Jiffy recipe – I ate up the praise and believed I had a special talent for Jiffy muffin baking…I certainly had a talent for eating half a tin of muffins slathered in butter…And even though now I’m a vegan my tastes haven’t changed much…I still need that sweet cornbread that I grew up eating…so I was disappointed to learn that the Jiffy mix of my childhood contains animal shortening –

INGREDIENTS: WHEAT FLOUR, DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN MEAL, SUGAR, ANIMAL SHORTENING (CONTAINS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: LARD, HYDROGENATED LARD, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED LARD), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SALT, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID.

CONTAINS: WHEAT

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a vegan girl to do?  She hits the internet and starts looking for other Southern vegans with recipes for sweet cornbread like momma used to make straight out of the box with the Jiffy label!  I tried a few recipes before finding Savvy Brown’s Vegan Cornbread!  The recipe is easy and really is the closest thing to a Jiffy corn muffin but no animals were harmed!  It’s great with chili and even makes a great cornbread dressing (for another post)!

Sweet Vegan Cornbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (I like the real stone ground stuff, not Quakers)
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5tsp Ener-G egg replacer plus 2 tbsp of warm water*
  • 1 cup soy milk or almond milk (I use rice milk and the recipe worked fine.)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray or grease a 9 inch round cake pan or cast iron skillet (I like using my mom’s old skillet for this!)
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.
  3. Ina small bowl pour warm water into egg replacer and stir until well blended and thick (like batter)
  4. Stir egg substitute mixture, milk and vegetable oil into dry ingredients until well combined.(Don’t over mix! The batter will be a little lumpy) Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

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On Cobbler…

One thing people tend to obsess over when the word vegan is mentioned is – giving up something or that they’ll have to miss out on something…but what you learn after going vegan is that it is not about loss but about gaining…a new perspective on things – exploring options – living a new way – retraining the brain…Also the word “Can’t” comes up – “Oh, you can’t eat butter” or “oh, you can’t eat eggs.” – Not exactly true, I’m still capable of eating those things, I just choose not to…I’ve had to retrain myself to not say can’t as well…still sometimes there is a noticeable pause…as I almost spit out the word can’t and then rephrase…so instead of focusing on loss, choose cobbler — or something else new!

In my backyard there is a tree which turns out to be a mulberry tree – I’ve always heard mulberry bush but this is definitely a tree…dropping many berries in my backyard subsequently attracting many birds and turning the soles of our shoes purple…so we decided to make something with this delicious backyard surprise!  I actually did not participate in the berry harvesting myself.  I was also the only one hesitant to use these berries for fear that I may hallucinate and/or die…I was not interested in either scenario…

Clean berries from the backyard – mostly bug free!

5-6 Cups of berries is actually a lot…many berries contributed to our cobbler…fresh strawberries, frozen blueberries, frozen berry mix…I’ve made this cobbler a few times now – and every berry ratio works…don’t be scared to mix your berries up or just use one berry…the choice is yours!  This recipe is easy – will please any sweet tooth veg or not!

Click here to  link to the recipe – Berry Cobbler 

Berry mixture:

  • 5-6 cups fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or a mixture of these)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar

    Mixture of fresh, frozen and straight off the tree berries…Because using one berry is never enough!

Topping:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup fortified soymilk or rice milk

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Spread berries in a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Mix in flour and sugar. Place oven until hot, about 15 minutes.

To prepare topping, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add milk and stir until batter is smooth.

Spread evenly over hot berries (don’t worry if they’re not completely covered), then bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

 Recipe from Healthy Eating for Life for Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.

 

Ta-da! Finished product complete with Trader Joe’s vanilla soy cream and mint fresh mint.

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Super Bowl BBQ Sauce

One of my favorite condiments is – BBQ Sauce – I put it on burgers, dip fries in it, drizzle a little on baked beans…I just love the sweet and tangy flavor…I used BBQ sauce to cover up the taste of meat for most of my life…I made this realization when I was making my transition to a plant-based diet…It was the sauces and spreads that I really had the taste for – not what I was dipping in it (with the exception of french fries)!  Don’t you just love a good Ah-Ha! moment!  So when Super Bowl Sunday rolled around yes, I’ve been slack on posting) I knew I wanted BBQ sauce on something – but BBQ  sauce on what?…I didn’t just want a veggie burger…the wheels were really turning…you’ll just have to trust me on that…and I had just discovered Pinterest around this time so I was dying to find things to pin…meanwhile, LV was working on perfecting her baked tofu…Finally, I knew what Super Bowl Sunday needed – BBQ tofu sandwiches with coleslaw. I Googled and I Googled some more until I found…Kathy’s Smoky, Sticky, Sweet BBQ Sauce…so I think this actually was my first Pinterest pin…or second. Kathy’s Smoky, Sticky, Sweet BBQ Sauce
vegan, makes about 1 1/2 cups

4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp Black strap Molasses
2 1/2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
2 tsp Liquid Smoke (Did not use either time I’ve made the sauce)
*I like Colgin brand. It says it’s vegan on the bottle
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp spicy mustard
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp organic tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
*thickens the sauce like corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (adjust for heat)

I’d like to point out that this sauce is vegan – and also point out that finding a BBQ sauce recipe and making it vegan is not at all difficult…As personal taste always plays a role in these types of things, I made a few tweaks to the recipe…I’ve made this sauce a couple of times so I’ve learned some lessons too.  Also don’t be alarmed by the number of ingredients…seems like like a lot but after you purchase what you need…you’ll have plenty to make many batches of BBQ sauce.

Not Pictured: Tomato Paste, Cayenne Pepper and Lime Juice

Easiest Directions Ever:
Combine all liquid ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients one at a time. Make sure to add the arrowroot powder slowly to avoid clumping.

It looks like BBQ sauce, it smells like BBQ sauce, it tastes like BBQ sauce - It must be BBQ sauce!!!

Lessons Learned:

  1. 1/4 tsp of cayenne goes a long way (The second batch I used an 1/8 tsp)
  2. If you don’t need the smoky flavor – you don’t have to add it.
  3. 1 tsp of pepper is too much for my taste (The second batch I used 1/2 tsp or less)
  4. The sauce doesn’t really need the arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  5. To thin it – substitute tomato sauce in place of the tomato paste
  6. Tofu and BBQ sauce are an amazing combo!

    Baked BBQ Tofu sandwich with Slaw

 

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Vegan Though You’re Not…

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When I decided to go vegan it’s not a decision that I took lightly…I had always flirted with vegetarianism through my natural likes and dislikes of certain foods…but I had to spend time thinking about what it meant for me to become a vegan…what beliefs I hold…was it the right thing for me physically, socially, ethically and mentally…and how that all fit together…because if I am making a lifestyle change it has to be something believe in…

So what do I believe in?

I believe in the circle of life…in science…in progress…in God…in evolution… And the realization that I came to was all of  those things afford me choice…and even free will…and none mandates me to eat animals…I don’t have a primal urge to go kill my food…any primal instinct in my lineage is long gone…I do believe that humans are omnivores based on certain functions that the human body performs and the need for a few vitamins that aren’t reliably found in plant based foods…whether that was an initial design or an adaptation based on necessity – I’ll leave that to the scientists… but just because my body can digest animal products doesn’t mean it has to do so…I do not live in an area or a time period that vegetation is scarce…there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, spices and even supplements – to give me what I need nutritionally and don’t include hormones or chemicals…It is true that I enjoy food for more than just substance to keep my body functioning…I’ve always known food as a social activity with friends and family, an experiment in taste, and an edible art form… and I was given a brain and two hands to combine all of these wonderful things into something nutritious and delicious…so what I’m given is a choice…to choose not to eat living things…and I make that choice not with vanity, hate or judgment but with an open mind and a loving heart…

They say you shouldn’t talk about religion, money or politics in social situations…apparently dietary choice should be added to the list…in discussing my choice I’ve been given support from close friends and family even if they have little understanding of what it means…and I’ve been asked, “Why?” with innocence and disgust and one friend even seemed a little angry.  Some people may find it different…strange…weird…whatever adjective you want to use for not being status quo…so their reactions are probably how they respond to change and differing opinions in general…I get this…I do…And realize that it isn’t me or veganism that is the problem – It’s their attitude…I don’t feel judgmental about people who choose not to be vegan because it is so personal…so to those who are a little judgy…I say…even though you’re not vegan, I am going to be and I am still me. 

I do tend to sound a little proud when I talk about the foods I’ve learned to make…but that’s because I am…  

To me becoming vegan is an adventure every day…it’s not a burden…nor does it leave me hungry like your average quick fix diet…I’m still learning, growing and building my vegan foundation…I’m not being forced into it nor would I ever force or guilt someone into veganism…and if you’re worried about my B-12 consumption, I take a supplement…and if you wonder what I’ll wear…well there is a wonderful world of clothing out there that is sans animal product and by-product…and then there is the realization that there are some things that are out of my control and all I can do is my part…

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