Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkin Applesauce

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"

Day 31: Halloween

Just a cool shot from our boat of a bridge being build over the Grand River. 

Make chunky applesauce, add lemon juice and cinnamon while cooking. At the end, add some canned pumpkin and vanilla. No sugar needed! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Spinach Dip Crescent Roll Ring (One Green Planet)

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October) 

"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good." Psalm136:1
(not original to me! King David gets full credit for those beautiful words!)

Day 30: Practice for Thanksgiving 

Gotta have lots of appetizers and snacks on T-Day

The light is at the end of the Vegan Month of Food tunnel! Tomorrow’s post will be the last one, and I must say, 31 posts in 31 days has been a challenge, but I did it. Hopefully some of you became more motivated to try vegan food and meals and attitudes. Remember, ‘vegan’ doesn’t mean weird or hippie or liberal or deprived or grungy – no. It means not hurting animals. That’s the bottom ‘vegan line.’ Leave animals off your plate.

When I think of eating animals, the most upsetting situation is Thanksgiving. Imagine all the turkeys. Every single home, every single American. All the traditions of being thankful have been lasered in on one iconic item: the turkey. When did stuffing our bodies full of turkey almost to the point of illness become our sole representation and expression of thankfulness?

We won’t be eating a turkey at my home as a way to express our thankfulness. We will celebrate family and friendship with a table full of the earth’s bounty.

Autumn always puts me in a thankful mood: I love the cool air, the colors, the gentle sunlight, and the darker afternoons. If you’ve been reading these October posts, you might recall this line of poetry, which to me says it all.

‘October is a gentle queen who crowns the year in gold.’

Penning that one line was how I began this year’s Vegan Month of Food journey. I was a passenger on a long car trip, trying to decide if I should once again tackle this huge challenge (31 posts in 31 days, guys!). I was scribbling down ideas and landed on my theme of “Lines and Light.” This was the first line I wrote, and it has been my undergirding theme of the entire month.

Be thankful this season and show it in gentle ways. 

Original recipe can be found HERE. This was surprisingly good! 

8 ounces vegan cream cheese
3 ounces vegan sour cream
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze dry
1 tube crescent roll dough

Arrange the crescents in a big pointy star. Mix the filling well. Spoon on the dough and fold the points over to form this ring. Bake 400 about 20 minutes. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Italian Sausage (vegan)

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of Michigan light every day for the month of October)

Day 29:History: What would you cook for your favorite historical figure
Light on a secret place

(That pinkish stuff all over the place is the most flavorful sauce made from the juice of my roasted tomatoes, Dijon mustard, and vegan Ranch dressing. OMG.)

(Day 2. I  chunked up the leftover sausage, sauteed them in a bit of oil and added to to jarred Marinara sauce. Better than meat!)

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation of the church, I decided to make sausages, mashed potatoes, green beans, and roasted tomatoes for my favorite reformer, Martin Luther. If there has even been a single person who has changed world history, it’s Luther! Reformations and Counter-Reformations and new denominations of Christianity and huge divisions in the church – there’s no way he could have known what his influence would be. I totally admire his willingness and bravery to speak his mind, even to the point of excommunication!

(If Mrs. Luther had fennel, she would have used her Brazilian mortar and pestle to grind it,
just like me.)

He stood before emperor and said, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”  Think of it! That’s crazy!

My favorite Martin Luther quote is this, “You can’t keep birds from flying over you but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”

Another Luther gem, “The devil should not be allowed to keep all the best tunes to himself.”

If you don’t know much about Martin Luther, I suggest that you watch one of the many movies made about him, or even take a glimpse at Wikipedia. He was a pretty fascinating guy. I’m positive his beloved wife, Katherina, made him this meal.

If you haven’t made homemade vegan sausages, fear not! It’s so easy and way better than store bought ones. I find most of the brands way too salty for my taste. These are simple to make and it really doesn’t take much time. My recipe is based on Isa Chandra’s Italian Feast Sausages, from her Vegan Brunch cookbook.

(I know what you're thinking.....but trust me, these are so good!)

Here’s what you need:
¼ C chickpeas
1 ¼ C vital wheat gluten
1 C broth made from Chicken Style Seasoning (find that amazing recipe  HERE )
1 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated finely
¼ nutritional yeast
2 t fennel seeds, crushed
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t sweet paprika
1 t dried oregano

(My famous drizzle sauce: juice from my homemade roasted tomatoes, (I call it liquid gold),
 dijon, and Ranch.)

Here’s what you do:
Smash the chickpeas with a fork until every single one has been smashed. Add the gluten and mix a bit. Make a slurry with the remaining ingredients, whisk, and pour over the dry stuff. Use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix everything together. It will seem wet. It won’t be too  long before you observe long threads of gluten in the mixture – that’s when you know you’re ready for the next step.

Divide the stuff into 4 sausages and carefully wrap them in aluminum foil. Steam them for about 40 minutes! Voila! They are ready!

I like to cut them lengthwise and fry them a bit. Serve with mustard, or sautéed onions and garlic, or in sauces, or on bread, or sliced into disks. Very good.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Avocado Potato Toast with Almond Hollandaise

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light" 
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of Michigan light every day in October)
Day 28: Brunch

I served my Avocado Potato Toast on a lightly dressed chopped salad.

Did I invent Avocado Toast? No. Did I invent Avocado Potato Toast? I was hoping so, but a quick google search reveals other home cooks who have already put these two favorites together. (But truth be told, mine was pretty delish! We scarfed.) 

The hollandiase was simple and very lemony and light. It would be great on a tofu scramble or even in a falafel sandwich. 

The star of the meal is the huge roasted potato chip. Bake it till it's nice and crispy. 

(Below, is today's photo of beautifuul Michigan light. Taken at Art Prize in Grand Rapids in 2015)
"Me and Starry Light"
Here's what you need:
large russet potatoes, sliced lengthwise about 1/3 inch thick. Use only the nicest pieces for the best 'chips' . Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden. Flip them over once in a while. 
ripe avocados
ripe tomatoes

For the hollandaise: (recipe from Hot for Food)
1/2 C raw slivered almonds
1/2 C soy milk, plus more to thin
1 T coconut oil
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 t trumeric
pinch of salt

Put all the hollandaise ingredients in a high speed blender and continue to blend until it is completley smooth and emulsified. Heat super gently on very low heat, adding more milk if necessary. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Grilled Peanut Butter Sammies

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)

Day 27: Meal for the young

Marching band echoes down my street
Red and white eighths and quarters bouncing off living room walls
Warm memories of my happy musicians

I have been eating grilled peanut butter sandwiches since I was a young girl. I still love them. I ate this one today for breakfast. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Triple Lemon Cupcakes

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)
Day 26: Showstopper dessert

October is a gentle queen that crows the year in gold
She blankets us in sunlight and invites us along her soft paths
She stills my restless and overwrought spirit
like a heavy blanket sheltering me, healing me from the heat of summer
She stands at the gates of winter and shelters me from the cold

This is perhaps my best recipe. You can't believe the burst of flavor from these gorgeous cupcakes. They receive rave reviews everywhere they go. A true showstopper

Yes, this is a repost, but it's worth it! See the original post HERE  and get the complete method for the candied lemon zest, the cupcakes, and the frosting. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vegan Zucchini Parmesan

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light" 
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)

It's Raining
Two days of constant rhythm
Grey. Slate. Iron. Fatiguing.
The cold bleakness offers some warmth, though
a tiny rubber boot
wet bangs stuck to foreheads
puddles under reluctant dogs
open umbrellas propped against a bookshelf
Sated trees thankfully lifting October arms 

Day 25: Best Friend

I made a lovely zucchini parmesan for my best friend tonight. I've been making dinner for him for over thirty years and I never get tired of setting the table, placing a plate of homemade food before him, and sitting together after a long work day. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we eat in silence. It's all good. In fact, it's awesome. 

I LOVE the New York Times method of prepping the zucchini. Slice it thinly lengthwise (maybe 1/4 inch), place on lightly greased baking trays, brush lightly with olive oil,  and roast at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, babysitting and flipping the strips over if needed. 

Use an excellent quality sauce and the best quality vegan parmesan cheese. This excellent casserole freezes well. I have a huge one waiting in the freezer for Thanksgiving weekend. 

Also, consider prepping the pasta a bit before plating. Here, I sauted garlic and hot pepper flakes. I added water and white wine, Lawrys Season salt and lots of dried parsley. These simple additions create an excellent pasta side dish. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Power Nachos

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)
Day 24: Party! Finger Food!

I can neither confirm nor deny that we ate or did not eat this entire tray of nachos. But I can say we used our fingers....and it tasted like a party!

Today's photo is one of the most amazingly dramatic clouds that blew over our bayou a few years ago. Can you imagine the storm that this cloud brought? 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Best Vegan Tacos with Perfect Lime Slaw

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)

Someone I know is broken
Life is too heavy for him
But as long as one blade of grass pushes up
I will believe in the goodness of life and hope for a new tomorrow
Grow, grass. Grow.

Day 23: Fancy

Oh, how I fretted over today's theme of 'fancy.' I just couldn't pull myself together to create a 'fancy' meal -- you know the type: served on the china stored away in the basement, maybe served with a chilled sparkling wine.... Nope, I just didn't have it in me this time around....so, I made tacos. Amazing vegan tacos with perfect lime slaw. Fancy enough for Sunday afternoon. 

Here's what you need for the taco meat: (from Pinch of Yum)
3 C chopped cauliflower
2 C raw walnuts
2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (I used 4 and it wasn't too many for our taste)
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin 
1 t salt (which I wish I had left out....)

Here's what you do:
Blend all in a food processor and bake on a greased sheet at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring at the half way mark

Here's what you need for the Lime Slaw:
6 C slivered cabbage
1 jalapeno, diced
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 C red onions, sliced thinly
1/2 C pepitas
4 T olive oil
2 t lime zest
2 T lime juice
2 t agave
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C cilantro

Toast the seeds for about 5 minutes. Whisk the dressing (zest, juice, agave, oil, salt, pepper. Pour over salad ingredients and mix well. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Middle School Millet Salad

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of light every day in the month of October)

Day 22: Weird Grains

I made this millet salad for my 5th and 6th graders because we are studying Africa. Lots of millet is eaten in Africa (and all over Asia as well). I have to be honest and admit that they really did not like it. I think a few kids only licked one tiny grain and called it good. I kept saying things like, "It's not spicy!" or "I think you'll like it if you take a whole spoonful," or, desperately, "Keep chewing!" Ha!

Mince onions and green peppers and garlic and saute. Whirl a carrot or two in a food processor until minced and almost juicy. Add carrots to the saute. Add millet and saute a bit. Add the correct amount of vegetable broth and simmer until nice and soft. Lots of chopped cilantro at the end. 

I thought it was delicious, but I'm weird that way - I love weird grains. (Is there even such a thing?)

Today's photo comes at the end.... my beautiful dog, Lucy. 

"Light on a nose"

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