Monday, August 31, 2009

muh-muh-muh-my granola (sung to the tune of "my sharona" by the knack)

Ooh my little pretty bowl, pretty bowl.
Do you have fruit and nuts in you, granola?
Ooh you make my tummy full, my tummy full.
I'll eat you with some soy milk or yo-gurt, granola
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a hungry girl. Always get it up for flavor of the
oaty kind. My my my i yi woo! M M M My Granola...

yeah, i know. i'm a huge cheez puff. anyway, one of my major vegan disappointments is trying to find a vegan granola on the market that i don't have to take a second mortgage on my house to purchase. no such luck really. the average price for 8-10 oz of vegan granola is anywhere between $5 and $10. sorry, the only way i'd pay that much for a package of granola is if i knew i'd get a prize in the bag, like one of those foam capsules that would turn into a real live sarah kramer or isa chandra clone if you added water to it. a sarah or isa clone wouldn't be bad to have around the house, y'know?

as usual, i took matters into my own hands. i went online and looked for an easy vegan granola recipe-(from and i found one that i tweaked to reflect what i had on hand. please observe:

muh-muh-muh-my granola:

1 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
3 c. quick oats
1/4 c. ww flour
1/2 c "brown" sugar-(turbinado+1t molasses)
5 T veg oil
1/2 t salt
1T vanilla
3-4 T agave nectar
1t cinnamon
1/2 c dried cranberries

preheat oven to three-fiddy. in a skillet containing no oil or liquid toast seeds and nuts on low heat until you smell a pleasant nutty flavor. combine seeds/nuts with remaining ingredients except for dried fruit. spread the mixture onto 2 cookie sheets and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden, turning the mixture frequently with a spatula or wooden spoon. remove from oven and leave granola on pan while cooling. add dried fruit to granola and stir to combine. store in an air tight container.

my mistake: cooking for a full 20 minutes. i should have paid attention to the "until golden" part. some of it got a little charred, but it was still very good granola. mr. jewy liked it and i can't wait to make it again.

got a favorite granola combo? discuss.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

product review!

amy's and kashi foods seem to be my go-to for product reviews, and i'll tell you why: the frozen meals are usually found on sale at kroger's, and since i don't get care packages from companies that are seeking reviews, i don't want to spend a whole lotta green to review a noshable.

this was a nice filling meal, but the spice could be amped because i'm a heat ho. i don't want my mouth to burn, but i want something more than a mild spice, especially if it is a mexican influenced meal. i'm very happy amy's has gone to the trouble to add more vegan options to their product line, and encourage them to continue to offer such items to their customers. hey amy's, how about a line of desserts?

so--keep your hot sauce and a lime wedge handy, because that would make dish much better. i give this one turntable, one microphone--which is a reasonable rating.
now for my "close but no call" review: kind plus antioxidants cranberry and almond bar. looks healthy, almost made the vegan pass, but it has honey! why-oh-why do these food in bar form companies taunt us with almost vegan eats? this bar would be just fine with any number of sweeteners instead of the aforementioned honey. they should call the bar "almost kind". pthhhh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

another k.i.s.s. meal

fresh avocado slices and my signature salsa on top of a vegan black bean chipotle garden burger. deliciously simple.

sad note: i broke my vidalia chop wizard yesterday and nearly cried as i threw it in the garbage.
happy note: mr. jewbacca went to CVS and scored me a new one with his extra bucks, coupon gangsta skills, and a gift card--FREE. it was waiting on the counter for me when i got home. what a nice mr. jewbacca!

jewbacca's salsa: (aka ass of fire salsa)

  • 1-2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1T ms. dash chipotle flavor
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1T olive oil
  • 3/4 chopped fresh cilantro, less if you want. dried can be used here, but it isn't as good.
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano chiles de-seeded and de-membraned *in a pinch i've used chopped pickled jalapenos, about 1/4 c. worth
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon-(YES cinnamon)
  • 1/2 t salt or 1 t of bragg's liquid aminos

if you have a vidalia chop wizard, use it to chop your tomatoes, onions, and chile peppers. drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. make sure you wear gloves when chopping chiles, you could really burn your skin. toss everything together in the oil, juice, spices, etc. let flavors meld overnight in fridge. this salsa makes everything taste better. add more chiles if you want to turn up the heat and have a tuchus of fire.

Monday, August 24, 2009

k.i.s.s.=keep it simple, stupid

no-no-NO. not THIS KISS-(did anyone ever tell them to just leave that make up on?)! this k.i.s.s.:

for the record, i know i'm not stupid. sometimes i just forget to keep meals simple, especially with my expanding waistline and the growing baby in my belly. i'm only 25.5 weeks along, and i feel more and more drained every night. i haven't been cooking as much.

so here's a nice k.i.s.s. meal: a garlic bagel topped with my pesto sauce-(remember how i told you to freeze batches of pesto in ice cube trays? i used one melted cube for each side of the bagel) topped with cherokee purple tomatoes from my garden. i served it with a side of tomato soup and it was an awesome filling lunch.

what is your favorite k.i.s.s. meal?

Friday, August 21, 2009

won't you take me to...shawarma king? sung to the tune of "funkytown" of course.

well, i'm on the road in a couple of hours. by 7:30 tonight, i'll be eating with my family and good friends at one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world: shawarma king in kalamazoo, MI. me and mr. jewbacca are originally from that area. and while we're very happy that we don't live there anymore-(the winters there are BRUTAL), we miss having SK near us.
the first time i went vegan-(a loooong story you can read about that adventure at the very beginning of this blog), i recall having an issue or two while dining out where i'd learn that the middle eastern eatery of choosing would make their falafel with a binder, usually egg. when i asked this question here, the waitress raised a suspicious eyebrow and told me, "what you were having was not falafel. falafel should never be made with egg, we'll never make it with egg. if it has egg in it, it isn't falafel!" well said, waitress.
while shawarma king does offer many options for omnivores that follow the dietary laws of halal, they also offer many vegan options. you can check out their menu here. all veggie dishes are free of animal by products and damn tasty. i don't know what the chef does to that hummous, but i've never been able to replicate it. it is without any lumps and tastes light like mousse. absolutely delish. the closest thing we have to a middle eastern restaurant down here is falafels, an israelli place and their food isn't as good as SK, and way too pricey-(yes, really).
soooo, whenever i'm in kalamazoo--it is mandatory we go there. and if i'm meeting with old friends, i make them meet me there too, even if they don't like middle eastern food-(did i ever tell you i'm stubborn?) if i don't go up north and mr. jewy goes, he brings a cooler and comes home with fattoush, falafel, and that awesome hummous.
so if you happen to have travels that require you to be in or drive through kzoo, go there. you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

product review!

readers, i think i'm getting a cold. aaaaand i have to go out of town tomorrow. yuk! that's part of the reason i didn't post last night, i just wanted to go to bed.

so--this week's product review: ethnic gourmet's pad thai with tofu. vegan? check. priced nicely? on sale, check. was it good? yup. the serving was just right, and believe it or not, even though it says "mildly spiced" it wasn't mild at all. granted, i like things pretty hot on the spice scale, and this exceeded my expectations. if i had a cold chai tea with me while eating this, i would have felt like i was at btown's local thai eatery, siam house. btw: siam house guarantees that vegan/vegetarian dishes contain no fish products, a common downfall of many thai restaurants.

so, this gets two turntables and a microphone. do keep in mind, that is pretty high praise for a frozen meal. i'd much rather eat pad thai at a restaurant or make my own bastardized version of it which is very spicy.
it'll be hard to post from the road, but i'll see what i can do. if you don't hear from me tomorrow, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

happy birthday...huh, what does that say?

remember the dot art at the mall? the stuff you had to squint at and you'd see something like a dolphin or a unicorn? my 42K college education informed me this was called pointillism, but i'll just call it dot-art. seurat was the best known artist for this method. television is a series of dots too, in case you didn't know. well, i don't know if the TV functions on pointillism anymore now that we have HD stuff. wait--am i getting side tracked? look at the damn cake. if you squint hard enough, you'll see happy birthday....?!?!?! it should really say alex, but i prefer to call him--well, you can read, right?

alex is my adorable brother-in-law. he's so not vegan, but i made him a vegan birthday cake for his special day anyway. i cheated and used a box mix. here's a not-so-secret-secret: most commercial box mixes are vegan. chemical, but vegan and come in handy when you want to eat cakes with loved ones and don't have a ton of time. just check your labels for the obvious and not so obvious ingredients. when making the cake, just sub those eggs with blended silken tofu, use oil, and soy milk if applicable and you have a mega-moist cake. i think this flavor was triple fudge or something like that. it reminded me of a giant oreo cookie. my decorating skills are terrible, so i played up this cake wreck by telling him how i felt. i didn't have enough room to write, "please drive sober because i won't bail you out of jail" so i summed it up with a simple birthday greeting.
he happily ate the cake and took most of it home with him to share with his band mates.

Monday, August 17, 2009

who said the what about the what?

i think one of my fellow bloggers was talkin' about how it was summertime and the bloggin' ain't easy. true dat. readers, i'm getting bigger, more uncomfortable, the weather is stanky hot, and i don't feel much like cookin'. i will do my best to post as much as i can, but be prepared to see some pretty unfancy eats-(aka more sammiches and schmears than you can shake a stick at) and more product reviews. i'm so dang exhausted.

this is a picture from a few weeks ago when our friend beff came to visit us. i made us all a nice shabbos dinner of tofu scramble with kale and carrots, roasted potatoes, and a gravy made with portabello mushrooms and walnuts. like traditional jewbacca family fare, the gravy was made on the fly and i don't have an official recipe, but i will tell you what was in it:

  • sauteed onions, about 1 cup of portabellos, and a cup of walnuts in a mixture of 2T of olive oil and 1T of EB
  • added 1 c soy milk once onions were clearing up in the sauce pan
  • 2T ww flour
  • some pepper
  • some salt

i put everything in the blender and it made a nice super thick gravy. i transferred it back to the pan and added bits of water to thin it out. again, sorry for no recipe. just think of a vegan "mock chopped liver" recipe thinned out with some extra pepper and you have the gravy. the mushrooms juxtaposed with the walnuts gave it a nice rich flavor.

Friday, August 14, 2009

mocha fudge...not so delicious this time

dear so delicious:
so delicious you have failed me! i bought your mocha fudge on sale at kroger's to review for my food blog. i was excited about trying a new flavor. i opened the container and saw a mostly mocha soy ice cream with faint whispers of what i would guess to be fudge ripples. at first i thought, well if i scoop deeper, there's surely some more chocolate in here, but there was not. BOO!
if you're going to call something "blah blah blah + fudge" here's a suggestion: don't go skimpy on the fudge . us fudgies are depending on nice thick gooey ribbons of the stuff to fulfill our 6-8 daily servings of chocolate that we need or we'll DIE. do you want the death of a chocolate addict that couldn't get her fix on your hands? i don't think so, because it would negatively affect your sales. especially the death from chocolate deficiency of a pregnant woman, who cannot get the craving of chocolate out of her head no matter what she does.
i wanted to cry, and can't think of anything to do with the rest of my ice cream that i'd enjoy. i've doctored it up with chocolate syrup, but with every bite, i felt an unquenchable resentment from the miserly doling of your chocolate swirls. i'm giving this particular flavor of so delicious a rating of the following: dropping of the mic. no turntables, no microphone.
jewy the foodie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

i would do anything for loaf, but i won't do that...

ever since poopie bitch blogged about her meatless meatloaf success story eons ago, i've wanted to go to vegan lunchbox's magical meatloaf studio. well, i finally did it and i had a pretty awesome experience. mr. jewbacca found the lentil loaf to be "too flavorful"-WHA?!?! nobody's perfect, so before you ride mr. jewbacca's hiney, please know he is a huge fan of my cooking and happily eats 98% of what i make. not every dish i make will be a winner with everyone, but i still liked it enough to eat most of it every other day during the week. pictured above is slice of said loaf with some steamed broccoli, mashed taters with my signature miso happy gravy.

so here's the recipe using stuff i had on hand:

jewbacca's lentil loaf
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 2T olive oil
  • one small onion minced
  • one large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large carrot peeled and grated
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 c. mushrooms cleaned and chopped
  • 2 c. cooked lentils
  • 1 c. dry whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. vegetable broth-( i use V-8) as needed
  • 1/2 c. cooked oatmeal
  • 1t cumin
  • 2T nooch
  • 2T ketchup (plus a little more for the top of the loaf while it bakes)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 t salt

preheat oven to three-fiddy. spray loaf pan with nonstick spray.
grind the pumpkin seeds into a coarse meal using a spice mill or coffee grinder. place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. saute veggies until soft. add to the seed mix along with all the remaining ingredients. mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is NOT runny-(you may not even need to add any veggie broth at all--i didn't because the mushrooms and veggies created a nice gravy like broth with veggies.) add more bread crumbs if the loaf seems too wet.

press mixture into prepared pan, smear some ketchup on top of the loaf, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through. let the loaf cool in pan for 10-15 mins. then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. cold leftover slices of this totally kicks ass.
for now, i'm still on the hunt for the perfect loaf for mr. jewy. because i love him fiercely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

i'm a pepper, you're a pepper!

i love chinese food with a firey dragon passion. but it's full of MSG, lots of fat, and possibly has fish sauce. so instead of going through the pains of going to my local chinese eatery and asking a barrage of questions, i took the cause into my own hands and made a veganized version of pepper steak.

i used referee
Lord Seitan's seitan recipe from the Bleedingheartland Rollergirls:
Equipment: Large ceramic or glass bowl, Smaller bowl for liquid ingredients, Skillet (Cast Iron is best), Large soup pot with lid
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup very cold water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Simmering Broth 10 cups water or vegetable broth +1/2 cup soy sauce
In a large bowl, mix together Vital Wheat Gluten Flour and nutritional yeast flakes.
In a seperate bowl, mix together reamining ingredients: water or veg broth, soy sauce. tomato paste, garlic, lemon zest.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula, knead dough for about 3 minutes until a spongy, elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for a couple of minutes and prepare your broth, but don’t start boiling it.
Now roll your dough into a log shape about 8 inches long and cut into 3 equal sized pieces. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the water/broth be very cold when you add the dough, it helps with the texture and ensures that it doesn’t fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.
When the water has come to a boil set the heat to low and gently simmer for an hour, turning the peices every now and again.
Now you’ve got gluten. Let it cool in the simmering broth for at least a half an hour. It is best if it cools completely.
jen's tip: bake this seitan after you boil it to give it a nice steak-like texture.

as for the sauce, i used some bragg's, chinese 5 spice (about a t worth), crushed garlic, hot chili sesame oil, a Tor 2 of canola oil, and a T of vegan hoisin sauce. i sauteed the peppers and onions first, then added the prepared seitan to the mix in the ol' wok for a minute or so. while this party was going on, i cooked up a big ol' batch o' brown rice in my rice steamer.

the results? pretty dang good chinese made by a darling jewmutt. i wasn't wild about the 5 spice, so i might omit it from the blend next time. i feel like a big dummy-- i wasn't aware that anise was in that 5 spice blend, and i hate that stuff.

what's your favorite chinese food to make?

Monday, August 10, 2009

yeah-yeah: i know it's been a few days!

yup-i'm quite aware i've been off teh internets for the past few days. my plate has been both literally full of stuff to eat and figuratively full of stuff to do. i still have a list of stuff that hasn't been done yet. (((sigh))) with temps turning way up here in southern indiana, i don't plan on doing too much cooking this week.

how do i manage to get my meals prepared, made, photographed, downloaded, and blogged about? i've shared with y'all that i spend about an hour or so tuesdays, thursdays, and sundays prepping food after my son has gone to bed for the night, so i have measured amounts ready to roll the next day when i cook. when i get up at 6:30 am, me and the boy eat breakfast, and while he's watching blue's clues i cook a dish, side, or dessert--sometimes all three. i can't do that too often or i run out of time before i go to work. THEN when i get home, i have dinner ready to go and photograph it outside in natural light on my side porch. after i have a few days of pictures banked, mr. jewbacca downloads them and they're ready to post on the blog. i try to blog every night, but sometimes i just run out of time.

if i've run out of time to blog at home, i'll do a quick product review from work, which brings me to my most recent review of kashi's veggie medley frozen sammich pocket. as with most of my product reviews, i scored this on sale at kroger's. kashi hasn't let me down yet, so i was fairly excited about trying this. they've really gone out of their way to make more vegan options which makes me deliriously happy.

the sammich? forewarning: THIS IS VERY SMALL. i mean REALLY SMALL. we're talking half the size of a hot pocket. like a flattened, filled, multi-grain dinner roll. the taste is pretty good and surprisingly filling if you're someone like me who is constantly on the go and needs to fill the tank with something reasonably wholesome. this would make a great snack at work instead of stopping by the vending machine for a bag of chips or getting fries from a fast food joint. the fiber and protein content in this little puppeh is impressive as well: 10 g protein and 6 g fiber--yay for pooping! i'd give it a full two turntables and a microphone, BUT since this is so depressingly small, i have no other choice but to give it a microcassette rating, guffaw. even on sale, i still think the size of what i got for the price i paid was kind of a rip off. that's the problem for convenience foods, though. you're paying for convenience.

tip: the instructions say to not cook it in the toaster oven, but that's the only way to get the pocket to get nice an' crispay. toaster oven at 400 degrees, 5 on one side, 3 on the other, then nuke for about 45 seconds. perfect.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

in memoriam

today is the yartzheit-(anniversary of death) of my sister-in-law melanie. help me celebrate the beautiful memory of her by eating some form of mac n' cheez with baked beans in the next 24 hours. in the true spirit of melanie, you should eat the beans on top of the mac n' cheez.

thank you for your support. i'll resume normal happy food posts tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


yesterday, i would have made an entry but severe storms hit southern indiana and we were without power for 11 hours yesterday. i considered it a blessing and a sign from mother nature that i needed to skip teh internets and get some much needed shut-eye. i slept from 8:45 pm to 6am! on a sad note, we had to throw away about $30 in food from our fridge. fortunately mr. jewbacca did the dirty work while i was toiling away at my job so i wouldn't have to cry about it. anyway, this entry isn't about sleep or throwing away food-- it's about waffles, awesome waffles! these are the banana nut waffles from veganomicon. they were tasty--but i experienced some logistical problems with the waffle iron. even though i sprayed it liberally with canola oil, the batter kept sticking to the iron. one set of waffles came out in pieces, but they were still very yummy.
i made these for a house guest-(our pal beff from lansing) who came over last weekend. i told her i was making her a special "beff-fast", and that made us all giggle. i scored some red raspberries and fresh peaches that were a bit beat up and need of some serious love at the food pantry. they washed up nice and were pureed into a gorgeous and bright raspberry peach sauce courtesy of my quisinart. i found the spreadable fruit to be much more interesting than maple syrup. i did add an extra drizzle of agave, but that's just my thang. the combination of berries, nanners, fruit, and nuts made for a nice saturday morning breakfast.

what is your favorite waffle recipe? or are you a pancake person?

Monday, August 3, 2009

happy accidents

this dish was supposed to be a burrito, but the type of tortillas i was using were teff flour tortillas, which are more appropriate for ethiopian cooking. my first burrito fell apart, i cussed a few times, then i had a huge light bulb go off above my head. what would a good midwesterner do? make a casserole! it is a widely known fact that us folks from the midwest thoroughly enjoy bastardizing a perfectly good meal by throwing it in a casserole dish and occasionally topping it with french's french fried onions. casseroles are the glue that keep potlucks alive and the tummies of the sick, mourning, and new parents full of goodness. you might think i'm joking, but i've seen people jailed for not fulfilling this quota.

so i spread some enchilada sauce on the bottom of a lightly oiled glass baking dish, layered some of the tortillas on top of that, put my burrito fillings of veggies, pintos, ground boca burgers, brown rice, and taco seasoning, and repeated the sauce, tortillas, and the rest of the beans and rice on top. covered that puppito with some foil and cooked for 45 at three-fiddy, then uncovered for about 10 minutes more. topped it all off with some chopped jalapenos and banana peppers and had a dyn-o-mite burrito casserole that i happily nommed for three days in a row-(the second day i had it twice). i was amazed that i didn't turn into a giant fart machine, and i found that to be an added bonus. the flavors were perfect. i accented the casserole with a little tofutti sour supreme, home made salsa, avocado slices, and of course the obligatory consumption of frank's red hot.

so the next time a regular recipe goes awry in your kitchen, ask yourself: WWJD? what would jewbacca do?

tell me about a happy accident. what happened?