Friday, December 28, 2012

Post X-Mas Buzz

 Hope everyone had a great Tuesday. Nothing like an ol' Tuesday for opening gifts and hoggin' out on comfort food. Happens all the time.

I wish I could tell you I spent all my Christmases eating Chinese food and going to movies, but I didn't. I'm from an assimilated family and was raised with the holly jolly dysfunction of commercialism tied in with a splash of the baby Jeebus. So at our house, we celebrate both. To me, it's really all about the food!
I gotta talk about the chance I had to have some "me" time--went out for Indian food and tried Bhindi Masala for the first time. Woah, I never thought I could like curried okra, but I do!  My only regret is diving in before taking a picture of the uneaten meal. The local eatery Taste of India has plenty to eat if you're vegan. They label anything on their menu that's vegan with a big, fat "V" for vegan friendly. How cool is that?
And the holidays wouldn't be the holidays without something pumpkiny. I am a fan of these pumpkin cheesecake squares from Kittee's bake 'zine Papa Tofu-(I think it is out of print!)

Selfish plug: I removed captcha from my blog to encourage others to comment. I'm kinda sad that the only comments these days come from spammers. Ugh. So please, if you are a real person, leave me a real comment on any of my entries to cheer me up a little. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So Busy!

 What's up That PITA Vegan readers! Sorry for the hiatus. I just finished a mean streak of working overtime at my job and now am free to blog a little more. What do I do with 10 hour work days and two kids? Not much. I have been eating a ton of sandwiches, drinking bevvies, and trying out schmears! Shown above is my favorite indulgence, the Paul Reuben.
 I've been lucky to get some really sweet products from my local food bank. Products that I could not really afford at the grocery store because I'm broke! The first are these crazy drinks by Mamma Chia. I've tried grapefruit/ginger, cherry lime, and kiwi lime. My favorite is the cherry lime. These drinks are not for everyone, the texture can be a bit at first, but they really grew on me. They make a great middle-of-the-day pick me up! Packed with omegas, fiber, and even 4g of protein!
I've already gone on and on about the tonguegasmy pleasure of Lilly's roasted jalapeno hummus. But I've also recently tried the smoked tomato and basil, and kalamata olive flavors! I. Am. In. Love. IN LOVE! I normally don't buy store bought hummus, but I'd skip all the blender business to buy this anytime-(hint-hint, I'd love some coupons, Lilly!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

How I get things done

My life gets hectic, and I bet yours does too! I'm currently working mandatory overtime until February, and that's 50 hours a week. Yuck. M-F I don't have time to do anything but work, throw dinner together, kiss the kids, and go to bed. But on the weekends, I cook two big meals and portion them in tupperware so I have stuff to eat throughout the week.

I know what you're going to do. You'll go get Chinese and feel awful about it. That's because that stuff has a bunch of grease and msg your body doesn't need. Save yourself a couple of bucks and make your own at home! This tasty ensemble is beefless broccoli in a garlic black bean sauce over rice. Easy peasy. You mix about a cup of black beans with some teriyaki sauce and a couple cloves of garlic in your blender to get the sauce. Mix that with some shredded carrots, broccoli, and seitan for the best stir fry around town. Pour it over rice, and you have a powerhouse lunch to make those days at the factory or office a little more tolerable. You will want to have a breath mint or gum to use afterwards, because the dish will turn your tongue into a little dragon with breath funkier than George Clinton.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Product Review: Lilly's Hummus

 I normally don't buy store bought hummus, I'd rather make my own. I was given the opportunity to try some of this tongue-gasmy stuff by Lilly's Hummus. Holy cow! I made the best sammy ever: The Mean Greenie
The MG is Lilly's Roasted Jalapeno Hummus, arugula, avocado, and dill pickles on toasted Ciabatta bread. Not a bad gig for my mouth. The hummus was delightfully smoky and savory, the perfect fix if you're in the mood for a cheesy but not cheesy schmear!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yes, You Can Haz Cheesecake.

Yes, you can haz cheesecake. These are the pumpkin cheesecake squares from Kittee's 'zine Papa Tofu. So no more excuses about how you can't go vegan because you can't give up cheesecake. These morsels are sweet, creamy, and well--cheesy. The main ingredient is tofutti better than cream cheese, which is kind of expensive, but really worth it. The crust is a shortbread pecan sort of thing, so imagine glorious pumpkin cheesecake goodness on top of a pecan sandie and BOOM! you have this dessert that was meant to impress. This made a fabulous end to our Thanksgiving meal.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Product Review: RAAW Juices

 These It Tastes RAAW juices were available to me while shopping at my local food bank. Both were really good! The raspberry lemongrass was amazeballs and made a great mocktail when mixed with ginger ale. It does have a perfume like aftertaste, but not so much to be gross--that's just how lemongrass is.

Speaking of afford, 'tis the season to donate to your local food bank. It doesn't matter how much you give, just give. A dollar goes a long way. For example, $1 buys about 7# of food where I shop. If you don't have a local food bank to donate your green energy to, consider giving to Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chili Mac!

I made this with a Soy Kaas Cheddar block. They make both vegan and vegetarian cheese, and I got a free block of it. I did not like this cheese. It wasn't acidic at all, and needed some miso and vinegar to the mix to make it tang like a good cheddar cheese should. This would have been much better with Daiya or Teese.

So Chili Mac. My favorite. When I was little my aunt would make this with deer meat. Gross city! These days I make mine by mixing my favorite vegan chili with my some vegan mac n' cheese. It's a no brainer. For those of you contemplating veganism, you don't really need too many cookbooks in the beginning. Just go to the library and get some books for cryin' out loud, see what you like, and then make a purchasing decision. I started with Vegan with a Vengeance and that gave me the initiative to really dive into this thing. There's also so much out there on teh interwebz where you should never feel deprived of something you love eating. Vegan haggis or vegan Menudo? Ew. That might be your thing, though so don't be afraid to use that Google search engine.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rebooted and Ready To Roll

Nice to be back. I usually take a week or so off after MOFO because my brain is fried from all the activity.

I warned you I'd be on with the sass, and it's on. No more Ms. Nice Gal. You wanna be vegan? I can help you. Give this a chance and you'll see how awesome your life can be. The next few posts will be about vegan cheeses and cheese inspired dishes to get you off the dairy-go-round.

So Fall is in full swing and that means comfortable and cozy Autumnal dishes. Back in my pregan days, the  favorite was broccoli, cheese, and chicken casserole, the legend dish of any church potluck. But then I went vegan and thought I could never have it again. Not so. One of the biggest excuses people have for not going vegan is this inexplicable love affair with cheese. I was in that boat too.

 Then I had kids and learned that cows have to be in lactation mode to make milk, Duh. And that means continuously being pregnant for about 4 years until becoming a pair of boots. When I breast fed both my babies, it was exhausting. I was never one of those dames that rocked pregnancy. It was awful. I couldn't imagine being pregnant over and over again like that just to make people milk, cheese, and ice cream. Fuck you. No thanks. And I haven't even touched on how much fun it is to have mastitis. Yeah, that's right. Cows get that too. There's more in that milk than just milk, kids.

So if you are a cheese addict, my tough love words to you are nut up and cut the cow out. Now. Don't wait. It's not the cheese you crave, it's the company. It's the fatty-salty-stretchy that can be achieved by using any of the vegan cheeses out there.

I made this casserole with cooked rice, Ms. Dash, Daiya cheddar shreds-on clearance for $2 a package, broccoli, and Gardein chick'n strips, which I found on clearance for $1.89 a package. Everything was ready in less than 45 minutes, including prep time. This is so easy to make and you'll hardly miss the real live cruel version after having this. But veganism is so expensive. Shut up. I'm sick of your excuses. The ingredients to make this are no more expensive than getting quality cuts of meat and cheese from an animal. You know what's REALLY expensive? A heart attack, cholesterol controlling medications, and going to see the doctor all the time because you feel like shit from all that dairy. I'm done hearing it. Just do it. Just quit. Now. Don't worry if you don't make the shift perfectly. I know you can do this. If I can do it, you can do it.

Cheese Insanity Replacements rated best in:

Note all three freeze well. 

One I'm not so wild about:
  • Cheesely
  • Soya Kaas Vegan cheese

What I use when I don't want vegan cheese but want that cheese like flavor and fat:
  • Avocados mashed and mixed with a little salt
  • Hummus
  • Nutritional yeast mixed with some salted cashews

Cookbooks to help you with your cheesly desires:
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Best vegan queso:
Food For Lovers Queso

Vegan cheese tips:
  • Don't eat raw, it doesn't work and tastes gross.
  • Use sparingly, some of the flavors are strong if you're not used to it.
  • Try, try, and try again. Find one that you like and stick with it.
  • Cost? Most brand names  have online coupons.

I love you. Stop making excuses. Go vegan.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #31: The Grand Finale

 Whatever happened to Herschel's leg? I think it's still on the prison floor. At the end of MOFO, I'm always stumped for ideas, and a reader suggested making a leg of Herschel sandwich. I didn't have the time to put a lot of love into that idea, but I did buy some pizza dough from my local eatery and made a pizza instead.
 I give you the Herschel. It's a pizza with my pesto sauce and sun dried tomatoes. You can rip the toes off and dip them in your favorite sauce if you so desire.

This has been a great MOFO and I appreciate everyone hanging in there with me. I certainly hope you've enjoyed yourself. I feel my theme wasn't as strong as last years, but I stuck with it and that's all that really matters. I already have an idea for next year's mofo, so I'm going to start taking pictures and working on recipes so I can have my ducks in a row come next October. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #30: Woodbury Special

 In Woodbury, folks like to keep life simple: no Starbucks, no cell phones, no adult movie theaters, early curfew, and no zombies. Hell, I'd move there--even if the Governor is a mega crazy ultranationalist who keeps a collection of walker heads in aquariums. Everyone has their vice.
 The town special isn't special at all. It's just some potatoes, onions, green peppers, and Yves Italian Sausage slices all fried in a skillet. Serve it up with some strong coffee-(sorry, no fancy foo-foo drinks in this town) and you've got a breakfast that will keep you focused on protecting the borders of your little slice of heaven. Let's face it, no one wants a town crawling with the undead ruining your Tea Party.
 If you like the Walking Dead, you should tune in to Bankrupt Vegan's geek blog, titled Jen The Geek . She likes to dish out her views and news about all things from the nerdly kingdom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #29: Using What You Have

 So what are they gonna do with all that canned and prepackaged food in prison? Make some seitan n' dumplings. It's super easy. You don't even need a recipe, right? Just make yourself some seitan stew using broth, veggies, and seitan. I like to thicken the mix with a little cornstarch so I have a nice thick stew. I used about 3T total for a 32 oz container of no-chicken broth. While the concoction is all nice and bubbly, plop your dumpling batter in the mix. Cook for 10 minutes covered, then another 10 minutes and you have a filling dinner.

Since I'm no recipe master, I used Bisquick-(accidentally vegan!) to make the dumplings.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #26: Instant Gratification S'mores

 What would a zombie apocalypse camp be like without s'mores? I'll tell you: a zombie apocalypse camp from hell. We all need to gobble something sweet to distract ourselves from the herd. So I whipped up a batch of graham crackers from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and slapped some Smucker's marshmallow ice cream topping-(accidentally vegan!) and a handful of vegan chocolate chips in between 'em. Wrapped it in some foil and warmed it in the Georgia heat. It was gloriously delish and messy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #25: The Governor's Stir Fry

 The Governor wants everyone to eat more vegetables. He'll make it law. Someone should probably tell him he's not really the governor anymore now that the 'pocalypse is hizzere. This all reminds me I have to vote pretty soon, but I digress.
 The people agree that veggies are important, and vital in making one healthy enough to dodge a walker. He told everyone he marinated some tofu in teryaki sauce/sesame oil and broiled the crap out of it. SIDE NOTE: spell check just suggested "Trekkie" for teryaki. Guffaw. Then he served those nomable planks of soy over some cooked rice mixed with steamed veggies. "If you mix the veggies with the rice, you won't eat too many carbs." Says Mr. G. Doesn't he know carbs are good in zombieland? Fad diets are all out the window. The motto these days is eat or be eaten.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #24: The Nom-Nom-Nom Salad

 Hey Kids, I'm not feeling so hot so today's entry will be short and sweet. Cold and flu season is here-- I hope I'm not turning into a zombie.
 Everyone else on the show has had a dish, but I haven't told you what I've been eating. I give to you the nom-nom-nom salad. It's a mixture of chard, arugula, and kale topped with roasted eggplant, roasted yellow peppers, and olives. Perfect fuel for those days when you're on the go running from walkers until the sun sets.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #23: Great Escape Butterscotch No Bakes

 What were these prison survivors up to in the kitchen?
 Making cookies, of course. Isn't that what everyone does in the zombie apocalypse?
 Great Escape Butterscotch No Bakes

You'll need:
  • 1 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c vegan milk
  • 1/2 c earth balance or other vegan butter
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 2/3 c vegan butterscotch chips
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 3 .5 c oats I used old fashioned, which wasn't smart. Use 3 c. quick cooking oats instead.

Mix sugar, milk, vanilla and add vegan butter over medium-high heat until you get a soft boil. Add the butterscotch chips next and allow them to melt with the mixture, you'll want to turn down the heat to low for this and stand close watch. Did you hear me? Stand close watch for both walkers and watching your mixture. Those chips don't melt easily and the walkers can smell something good. After the chips have melted, add your peanut butter and stir until that's melted. Finally, add your oats and scoop mixture out by using an ice cream scoop by plopping it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Give these babies about an hour or so to set or you'll be pissed and sad. Enjoy with a cold glass of your favorite non-dairy milk.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #22: Go Fudge Yourself

 Michonne is a gal of very few words.
 What gives this superbabe her amazeball powers? Dip. Yeah, that's right--dip.
 Not just any dip, it's her signature Go Fudge Yourself Dip

you'll need:
1/2 c. black beans
2/3 c. chocolate chips melted
1/2 c. vegan vanilla yogurt
1/2 t. vanilla

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and add to the beans, yogurt, and vanilla. Blend in a blender or use a food processor. Serve immediately with graham crackers or fruit. You'll wanna keep any unused dip in the fridge. Once cooled, the dip takes on a different texture which reminded me a lot of chocolate mousse.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #20: Down on the Farmwich

 What helps Jimmy with shooting practice? A nice veggie sandwich. We like to call this one, down on the farmwich.
 I know you can't see it, but there's eggplant in there underneath all that olive ranch dip-(see yesterday's post!), chard, and tomato. You don't always need a bean burger or seitan to make a nice sammy, the fleshiness of eggplant is perfect for noshing. The key is roasting the eggplant with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum. That's what the zombies said when they ate poor Jimmy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vegan MOFO Day #19: Ears to You, Daryl

Reader Erinwiko from Aussieland asked if I was going to do a post about Daryl's ear necklace. Yep! I wanted to save this for later this month. I didn't make my holes big enough, so I couldn't make a necklace, but that doesn't mean these ears and dip weren't tasty. Getcha some.
The cracker recipe is the cheezy quackers by Celine Steen. The dip is by me and is my new favorite: Olive Ranch. Super easy to make. And Mike Tyson thought he'd never get to eat ears again once going vegan.
Olive Ranch Dip
You'll need
  • 1/2 c. vegan mayo
  • 1/3 c. vegan cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. chopped spanish olives
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1T no salt all purpose seasoning
  • 1/4 t. dill
  • 1/4 t. parsley

Mix it all together and let it chill overnight in the fridge, so the flavors can meld. Serve with your favorite cracker or veggie.