Tuesday, January 31, 2012

OYMST Day #31: WHEW! In Conclusion

In the past 48 hours I have had not one, but TWO or THREE opportunities to have a vegan dessert when I was not expecting it and have turned it down. Really? Like really! Today I considered making cookies, but decided to have apple slices and some pumpkin dip instead. Why did this miracle happen?

Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth. Has it in fact been yanked? Not really, but I have experienced a change that has altered my relationship with eating sweets. Prior to this experiment, I had been making a return to mindless eating, something that is not really good for me. I also have a family history of the diabeetus and I need to be careful. I really didn't think I'd be able to make it.

Then I decided to blog about it and reach out for support. I treasure dessert for what it really is: a beautiful end to a nice meal with friends, family, self, and as a special treat. Not something that I scarf before my 4 year old son sees me and asks if he can also have cookies for breakfast. You can only bullshit a kid for so long until he smells the turd of deceit. What kind of lesson would I be teaching him then?

I've reignited a love for fruit, something I can share with my kids since they adore fruit too. I've found that and some hot tea really does the trick. I feel better. It isn't so hard to get up in the morning. I can concentrate better at work, and I think people have noticed. I've discovered that there are different ways to have sweet treats without feeling deprived. Day 10 was really hard, but after day 15 or 16 it just didn't seem like such a big deal.

What will happen to me when I have dessert tomorrow? I have no idea. I'll keep the size small and will be eating with a bunch of people so I don't eat an entire Smolve pie by myself. I've always enjoyed cooking for people, but now I really treasure eating a meal with the people I cook for. Today I took my daughter out for Thai food at Bloomington's best ethnic restaurant: Siam House. This is a must if you are visiting our little city for whatever reason. The cozy lil' gem is located on 4th and Dunn St. During warm weather you can enjoy your meal outside. They have one of the best lunch buffets, $9. Get this: no fish in the vegetarian dishes. In fact, there are big labels on the dishes that say VEGAN. No guesswork-- I counted 5 things on the buffet! I had red curry w/tofu, soup, spring rolls w/ peanut sauce, a delicious savory salad, and fresh cool melon. I thanked the wait staff for taking the time to label everything. I got a container to go for my spouse and the waiter insisted on holding my daughter so I could tend to that task without any distraction. Is that service or what? You'd really be a fool to not hold her. She's super cute.

I haven't seen my tally for this month, but I'm pretty sure that I was able to raise $15 for the food bank on my hits alone--that's 105# of food! Thank you so much, beautiful readers. Stay tuned for fun stuff next month. I'll be cooking the $#!T out of 500 Vegan Recipes and The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions. You'd think I was married to Celine or Joni, but I'm not. I'm just really believe these books don't get enough cred.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

OYMST Day #26: School is in session!

Back in the days of my early veganism, I made hummus with lima beans!

I started teaching a class on compassionate eating at church. Pretty cool, huh? That's the UU denomination for you. I'm pretty sure I'd be allowed to teach just about any subject so long as I could connect it to how the lesson brings people together. I was so psyched when my proposal was accepted! The class meets once per week for two hours for ten weeks. My angle was to teach and NOT preach my experience, strength, and hope eating a vegan diet. No expectations, just sharing good food and fun.

The weather was iffy, so I only had half the class in attendance. It was still a blast! We had introductions and part of the process was to finish the sentence, "When I hear the word vegan I think..." Here were the responses:

"Fake Blood at PETA demonstrations."

What an array of responses! I talked to them about my vegan journey and why I do what I do. Then I launched into a discussion about hummus and schmears. You do NOT have to have the standard hummus as a dip. Live it up and try to make your own unique schmear! A good schmear or hummus is made from the following: a source of protein, fat, vegetable, salt, garlic, lemon juice (or some kind of acid), and spices. I regret not taking pictures of our awesome meal, but I'll let you know what was on the menu:

Black Bean Dip- 1 can of rinsed black beans, 1/2 cup of store bought salsa, 1/4 t cumin, 1/2 t ms. dash's Caribbean citrus, and some sea salt. Puree in a blender. Low fat! Serve with pita, fresh colored peppers, and avocado slices.

A heavily improvised muhamara- 1/2 c. bread crumbs, 1/2 c. olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 cap of AC vinegar, sea salt, 1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, black pepper, roasted yellow peppers and one roasted mirliton. Add contents to blender and add a little water. You want it to be the consistency of pate. Serve with cheesy quackers from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Buffalo Black Eye Pea Dip- Buffalo Dip from 500 Vegan Recipes + 1 can of rinsed black eye peas. Pulse in a food processor. You don't want this to be smooth--let it have some texture! Serve with cuke slices, celery sticks, or both. This was the belle of the ball.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Dip- My own creation! This was inspired by one of my readers, Sharine. I took 2 cups of canned pumpkin, 1/4 c. brown rice syrup, 3 chopped dates, 1/4 t vanilla, 2T soy or coconut coffee creamer, 3T water, 1/4 t nutmeg, 1/2 t cinnamon, and a shy T of cocoa powder. I served this with apple slices as a non-traditional dessert option. It went over so well!

Fig and Lentil Soup from 500 Vegan Recipes- If you can't already tell, this is my new favorite cookbook. Seriously people, this book doesn't get enough love. I own many vegan cookbooks, but not this one. I checked it out at the library and I'm now convinced this is the ONLY cookbook I need. Stay tuned for a full review-(and giveaway!) at a later date.

I brought in a few of my cookbooks, and I had a very informal Q&A session. I discussed where I get my protein, that milk can be made from anything-(that's next week's topic!), and that one could make an exciting dip from just about anything.

One student asked, "How can I make a dip low fat?"

Easy. Bypass the amount of oil. You want a little, but not the standard amount in recipes. You don't even really need the fat, but a little gives a big punch of flavor. Example: the "muhamara" had the most oil, and I cut 1/4 out of the recipe based on a bunch I reviewed. The buffalo dip used light mayo instead of full fat vegan mayo. The bean dip had zero oil added as well as the pumpkin pie dip. I explained one could roast or boil a vegetable-(their choice, try to go with one that is creamy when pureed) and cut it into the bean, lemon juice, garlic, and spice mixture to reduce the amount of oil or nut butter one would normally use. That approach enhances the texture, color, and flavor without a bunch of extra fat.

Their homework? Easy-invent your own creative bean schmear and tell me about it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OYMST Day #25: 6 Days and counting

Man-oh-man, I'm so looking forward to ending this month. I'm going to make some S'molve Pie and/or cookies and pass out for a few days. I kid, really Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth has brought me closer to myself, namely my insatiable need to consume more sweets than vegetables, which isn't the ideal path for a vegan.

Some of the cravings have subsided. I have noticed that when I eat something even mildly sweetened, it is a little too much for me. I've come to appreciate dates on a whole new level. Dried figs are my new buddies. I cherish the flavor of a fresh orange or apple slice. This is important because as much as I declare myself a hard-core-vegan-foodie, there is something to be said about mindlessly noshing away. I personally found myself not appreciating the flavors of sweets so much as I thought I had to have them, like a smoker has to have a cigarette. For me, I want to avoid that.

What will happen post-project? I'll still eat sweets, but I'll look for new takes on old favorites. My tried and true loves will be eaten less often so I can really appreciate their flavors. I'll make more stuff with fruit.

Before the project, a fellow PPKer sent me this incredible care package loaded with chocolate. One of the gems in this package was made by The Tea Room (?) and was the best chocolate I've ever tasted with the exception of Enjoy Life's Boom-Choco-Boom dark bar. The chocolate fusion bar was super dark with fruity tones and a distinctive coffee flavor. I melted it and used it to coat cookies--divine!

Have you ever taken a break from something you enjoy because you were losing your respect for it? Tell me about it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

OYMST Day #23: What's up, buttercup?

Back in August, I went to Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR. You should already know about this because I can't shut up about it. If you're reading That PITA Vegan for the first time, you can read all about it here, here, or here. Yeah, I know I shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. NOTE: they're thinking about moving it on over to Chicago for the 2013 conference. I have my fingers, toes, earlobes, and eyes crossed they do it. That means I could just drive up and go since Chitown is just 4 hours away!

Anyway, while at the conference, I had the chance to sample Earth Balance's Organic Coconut Spread on a small piece of bread. I was skeptical and expected it to be really sweet and smack of--well, coconuts. I was surprised. It truly is the perfect blend of margarine and coconuts. The flavor is very subtle and I was totally jazzed to get a free coupon for a tub when I returned home.

Until I learned that there wasn't any to be found at my local food co-op, Kroger, et al. Sad face. Major sad face.

So I procrastinated writing Earth Balance about this quagmire, and finally got around to it. I made a shameless plea to have them send me standard EB coupons since my local grocers carried that style but not the coconut spread. I received an email from the gnawdorable representative Adriane and she said they would SEND ME THE COCONUT SPREAD via FedEx with a little freezer package to ensure freshness.

Whuuuuuuuuuuut? Get outta here. Again, I ended the sentence with a preposition. Would you care about grammar if you knew you were getting a tub of this stuff? Pssst, your answer is "Hell no, Jen."

Since I'm at the tail end of Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth, I haven't used this for baking cookies, but I have used it on waffles and in my oatmeal. You could spread it on Styrofoam and I'd happily eat it. It's really that good.

For those of you who refrain or have reduced your use of tropical oils because of what commercial farming does to the habitats of orangutans and other wild life, fear not: the peeps at EB are committed to sustainably harvesting the glorious coconut oil without bugging our ape friends, tiger buddies, and elephant comrades. Pretty cool, huh?

A big fat coconutty thanks to Adriane and EB for the hook up of delicious Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

OYMST Day#21: I love you a latke

With 10 days and counting, I ask myself--will I make it through Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth? Yep. For those of you just joining in, I've decided to bypass all traditional desserts for the month of January to challenge myself, get a little more connected to my food, and to raise some $$ for the food bank that keeps me filled with tofu. I've relied more on fruits, trail mixes without any refined sugar, home made lara bars-(only mine are balls). (((giggle))) Laraballs.

So this picture is way old--like from Hanukkah 2011. I know it isn't that long ago, but I just thought I'd let y'all know this isn't a recent photo. Most of mine aren't, and I'm trying to get better about that.

These are my signature Lazy Assed Latkes. They are NOT fried and therefore aren't authentic, and I bake the potatoes prior to shredding them, so I guess they aren't lazy at all, they're ambitious. As much as I lovey-love-love fried food, I'm not a fan of the traditional latke. They're just too greasy. I want a big assed potato pancake that I can top with veggies, vegan sour cream, or applesauce. My mom used to make potato pancakes with a mixture of instant potatoes and mashed tater tots. Now that's lazy. Good lazy.

You'll need:

  • 4-6 really huge potatoes
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 t fresh dill (FRESH!)
  • 1/4 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t salt
  • grated carrots (optional for color)
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs-(use crushed corn chips for GF)
  • 1.5 T canola oil
  • 1T flax seed meal + 3 T warm water, set aside
  • 1/2 c. mushed firm tofu OR 1/2 c. mushed beans of your choice
  • ground black pepper

First things first: bake those taters. Let 'em cool. I'm personally a fan of washing them, massaging them with a little OO, sprinkling some kosher salt on them, talking a little dirty to them and baking them in the oven without foil.

Now that you've cooled the taters, grate them with a cheese grater. Yes, it will be messy. Yes, you'll have some pesky skins to deal with--but IMO that makes 'em gooood. Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and dill in a skillet with a little oil or vegan margarine. Set aside. Add the flax egg, mushed tofu or beans, bread crumbs, and the sauteed veggies. Now make some patties. C'mon, you heard me--MAKE PATTIES! I usually get six to a cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes on one side, flip and 7-10 on the other. If you don't want to use the oven you CAN use a griddle and have a latke party. You just don't want to fry these because they'll just fall apart and you'll be pissed and sad. I dare you to try these with purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, or Jarusalem artichokes-(I'd boil and mash these if I were you instead of shredding.) Report those findings.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

OYMST Day#19: Yeehaw! Do Texans really say that?

Being a gigantic Yankee, I have all sorts of ideas about Texas based on movies and television. Like that scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. For a spandex second, I really thought there might be a basement at The Alamo!

This dish is one of Molly's recipes for Texas style vegan chili. Sans beans, of course--and served on top of a bed of corn chips. That's authentic, right? I think so, but then again I hail from the land of automobiles, snow, and Derek Jeter. I added just a kiss of Daiya to cut the heat. I scored a flamin' hot bag of corn chips that was accidentally vegan. Pair this with an ice cold root beer or ginger ale, and well--you've got a meal. I had the co-workers sample this and they described the chili as, "Awesome" , "Perfectly spiced!", and " I never thought of using that ingredient as part of a chili recipe."

The recipe and so many more can be yours by purchasing the cook 'zine Sunny Days in Texas. $$ goes to the animal sanctuary and you'll be armed with some really boss Tey-has recipes. Like the recipe for Spiral Diner's famous ranch dressing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

OYMST Day#18: I think I might be able to do this!

No kidding. This month has been a big ol' learning lesson so far. While I am great at cooking and have adopted a greener lifestyle by going vegan, my inclination to eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and snacks is not exactly the healthiest move for me. So I embarked on a crazy mission to bypass all traditional desserts this month and lean on eating substantial meals that weren't covered in chocolate or frosting.

I'm learning quite a bit about myself, largely that I'm more focused and less crabby when I eat more whole foods and less baked goods. I'm still looking forward to eating a nice big dessert in February, I just won't be having it every day of the week. I've found a new love--fresh fruit! Dates for the win! Bananas make everything better! (Insert Sir Mix-a-Lot here) I like big nuts and I cannot lie-(((giggle)))

I did this for a few reasons: spiritual, I was starting to feel a disconnect when I ate, and that isn't a good thing for me. Physical, I have a family history of diabetes-(on both sides) and even with a vegan diet I should really be careful about that. Financial- I wanted to increase traffic on my blog to raise a few extra bucks for Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, the mega-awesome food bank that helps me and my family out on a regular basis. There's no way that we would eat the variety of foods we eat without their help, period. Every 1,000 US visits=$3, which doesn't seem like much but each $1= 7lbs of food! I average about $7-$9 a month. That's anywhere from 50-60# of food to families in my local community. During MOFO 2011, I was able to raise $10 for them and $10 to the local animal shelter. Jen's Soapbox Moment: NEVER underestimate the power of giving anything to charity, even a few pennies. I know people get caught up in the amount of money to donate and will hold back because they can't make it work, but that's ego talking. Just give what you have. Chances are it will be bigger than the generous wealth of the 1% in our country, because it came from your heart and not from a tax write off.

Okay, enough of the preachy preach, let's talk about that reuben at the top of the page. I like to skip the vegan cheese and put a big ol' slice of avocado on top instead. I also like to make the dressing with vegan mayo+hot sauce+ bbq sauce+pickle relish. Don't screw your nose up at me kids, it's really good!

Monday, January 16, 2012

OYMSTDay #16: Plantain Failure

Like seriously, how hard is it to mess up a plantain? For me, easy enough. I got these at the food bank super excited because I had such a great time cooking with them last time and they were so delicious. What did I do wrong? I think they weren't ripe enough. The ones I got last time were brown, and dismissed as overripe bananas by the other shoppers. This time they were green. I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon and a touch of sea salt and bleeeeeech. When I ate them they were still a little under cooked, and not at all like the plantains I had last time. I topped them with a balsamic plum sauce and toasted pumpkin seeds. If you can get past my awful photography, you can see this is a pretty dish. But hot damn was it awful. Just awful. I hate wasting food too. I ended up having oatmeal for breakfast instead.

Friday, January 13, 2012

OYMST Day #13: How many days do I have left?

I'm such a dumb ass. WHY did I think this was a good idea? (((((insert the biggest nasal whine here)))) WHY????? I should have just called Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth Operation Jen Is Crazy For Not Eating Sweets for 31 Days instead. When it comes to stupid, I like to do it right.

I picked these up at the food bank and this is a nice lil' time machine--snack sized gelatin like things made with real fruit and without real hooves. I was amazed that I could pronounce and knew exactly what all 7 ingredients were! Yay! Made by Zensoy, these come in strawberry or orange and save you time hanging out at the stove with juice and that perfect mixture of agar-agar. Seriously, I had my doubts--but there I was, eatin' vegan J-E-L-L-O, saying to myself, "Hell, this ain't half bad!" I would imagine these would be really comforting if I were sick. Did anyone else have a momma that made them eat that when ill? I recall being 8 years old and recuperating from a tonsillectomy eating my weight in that stuff.

Like most vegan convenience foods, this one does come with a price: $3.49 for a 4 pack. Really? Yup. You'll have to decide if you'd rather spend this amount for saving time, or spend that amount for a packet of agar-agar at your local East Asian market, or much much more for the vegan gelatin at a health food store. If you ask me, I'm on the side of saving some time every now and then. Especially if it means I play some Katamari instead of eating cookies.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

OYMST Day #12: Clean Yo Pantry

I threw this together in less than 45 minutes. It's a burrito casserole thingy I do a few times a year. Stale tortillas layered with a tomato/chile/oregano sauce, re fried beans, corn, and dollops of cilantro pesto on top. Layer it like lasagna, baby. In the oven at 350 for a half an hour, then uncovered for another 10-12 minutes. You can use vegan cheez if you wanna, but with all those flavors going on, why mess with perfection? Go the natural route by throwing some avocado slices on top. Looky-looky, you have yourself a casserole that will make your friends think you spent a couple of hours in the kitchen. Clean Yo Pantry! I promise I won't tell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

OYMST Day #11: It's High Time I Had a Product Review

Happy Humpday. It's been a while since I've written a product review, and most of the ones I do are anywhere from okay to stellar. Today my friends, is the big day where I rip a product a new @$$HO!E and I refuse to apologize for it.

This is one of Morningstar Farms frozen "meals." First of all, we bought this on closeout. That was red flag #1. To my credit, I've done this a zillion times and haven't had a dud, until now. While this meal is completely vegan, it was so awful that I pouted while eating it. I'm pretty sure Sara McLaughlan was singing in the background while I wept about my $2.50 that can never be recovered. I wanted to ceremoniously set it ablaze, but I didn't bring anything else to eat that day, so it was me and this "entree."

The chik'n was freezer burnt. The noodles aren't Asian style at all, it's just spaghetti. WHY do companies insist on dubbing this "Asian?" I wonder if they know that India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia are all in Asia. You hear that Morningstar Farms? That's the wailing of the entire country of China telling you that you guys have it wrong. The sauce is (insert your favorite expletive here) bland. Bland as a rubber band. Where were the veggies? You tell me. There were a couple tablespoons in there at most. Someone call me a whaaaaambulance. MSF, you have been chopped.

Boy, I'll be happy when I can go back to eating cake for lunch again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

OYMST Day #10: Sweet Grits?

I'm totally addicted to Food Network's hit show Chopped. Pure genius watching chefs get stumped with a basket of obscure-(and often gross!) ingredients. If only they'd come up with a vegan version. Imagine the hilarity of chefs being stumped by what to do with tempeh, Speculoos, and durian. I'd totally be the host. I'm funnier and much better looking.

So in the dessert round of one of the episodes, a chef from Senegal made sweet grits with carrots and cream. I felt a little happy on the inside because I like my grits sweet as well. I don't know why, I just do. To some people that just spells D-U-M-B, or C-R-A-Z-Y, but I like to call it G-O-O-D.

Pictured above is my experiment from yesterday: I cooked my instant grits with 1T of dark chocolate, 1t agave, 1.5 brown rice syrup, chopped up banana, and pecans. It reminded me of cocoa wheats. Very warm and filling.

I've also made them with a little Earth Balance and brown sugar. On day 2 of this experiment, I was hungry for my usual cookie meal, but replaced it with grits with chopped figs, dates, cinnamon, ginger, and a little soy milk. Wow. One of these days, I'll have them as intended--plain or with some cheeze and hot peppers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

OYMST Days #8 and 9: Cheezy Quackers are PEOPLE!

I needed to take a day off blogging yesterday. Don't worry, you didn't miss anything.
I'm not as cranky today. I do notice that it is much easier for me to get out of bed in the morning and not as difficult to get started. I also think I'm developing a sensitive tooth because I tried sweetening my grits this morning and found them to be too sweet after 1t of agave and 1.5 t of brown rice syrup. Sweet grits? I know I just made a gaggle of you savory grit people groan in unison by typing that. So I like sweet grits. Sue me.

So what's up with the shitty photograph of the bowl of soup topped with little dudes? I made a batch of Celine Steen's cheezy quackers using tiny gingerbread cookie cutters. Why not? People eat animal crackers and goldfish crackers all the time. Why not gender neutral bald people? They made a great topping for some asparagus dill soup I made a while back.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

OYMST Day #7: This is where I break down and cry...

...because I want A F^(@!ng COOKIE! Actually I'd like a chocolate cookie dipped in batter and deep fried served with a side of cookies and cookie ice cream. Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth is KILLING me today! No amount of dates, fresh fruit, tea, nutrient dense stir frys, and other foods are taking away that urge. Why did I do this? Oh yeah, to practice more mindful eating and raise money.

Just to be clear--my experiment is to avoid any cookies, cakes, candy, pies, etc. for the entire month because I've developed a habit of devoting half to 2/3 of my food intake to sweets, which I admit is not very healthy. So PLEASE make this worth my while and tell everyone you know about my crazy assed mission to make more money for Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. Because I'm gonna be really pissed if I do all of this and only make a little money for them.

I'm going to go out with my family and have dinner at a very non-vegan restaurant. No problem for me. I called in advance and they have a sandwich that any mycophile would love. I'm gonna smuggle in some condiments because I'm crazy like that.

Friday, January 6, 2012

OYMST Day #6: Stay Gold

Ah, my new love, the golden beet. There are few vegetables I don't like, and for a long time beets were among the two or three I just refused to put in my mouth. I'm not sure if it is the earthy taste, the staining, or just the way that I've had them prepared-(mostly in a can). Regardless, I'd NEVER call myself a beet lover. Ever.

A long while back, Mother Hubbard's Cupboard had bottles of Biotta Beet Juice. I tried it. A little strong, but when cut with some club soda and a little cranberry juice, I had me a great mocktail! I tried to find it at the local grocery store but it was $6 a bottle! No sale. Then I gave the real deal a try when I saw some Detroit Red ones sitting all lonely at the bottom of a bin at the food bank at a later date. I made this pie for 2011 Vegan MOFO.

Fast forward to last week, and I'll tell you about how I brought home what I thought was going to be a red beet because it was so dark on the outside, then I peeled it and saw this glorious yellow gold. I held it against the gray sky outside, gazed lovingly at the orb, and pretended it was the sun. Thank goodness it wasn't really the sun, or I would have burned my eyeballs out of their sockets.

So--um, what do I do with these? I'm still at a loss as to how to prepare them, and I only had this one beet. I finished peeling it, sliced it 1/4 inch thick, coated it in some olive oil, kosher salt, and dill. Since my oven-oven was full, I put it in the toaster oven at 300 for 10 minutes, flipped, then another 10 minutes. After the 20, I couldn't fully pierce it with a fork, so I set the timer for another 5-7. Perfect. Rays of light fell from my mouth with each bite. Not as earthy as a red beet, just sweet bliss. I'm sure they're great raw, but I'm not ready for that level of commitment.

What vegetable did you used to despise then later changed your mind? How did you prepare it?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

OYMST Day #5: Squashy McWaffles

Much like early veganism, Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth is forcing me to come up with creative solutions to replace my usual meals that have way too much sugar. Sometimes it is a hit. Other times, I get a miss. This is a little of both. I tried to make protein rich waffles using quinoa, soy, and garbanzo flour, but the waffles were very moist, almost too moist. Perhaps more flour in the future? I'll have to keep going back to the mixing bowl and see what happens.

For now, give these a try. I imagine they'd make better pancakes. Tell me what you think!
*The crushed rice krispies make this recipe NOT GF, just wheat free. If you are a person who cannot tolerate barley-(and many cereals contain barley malt), try a rice cereal that doesn't include it or use rice flour.

Squashy McWaffles w/ Mango Balsamic Topping

Dry Ingredients
1/3 c quinoa flour
1/3 c rice krispies, crushed or pulverized in a food processor
1/3 c garbanzo flour
1/4 c potato starch
1/4 c soy flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 pinches garam masala
2 pinches clove powder

Wet Ingredients-(blend in a blender or food processor)
1T brown rice syrup
1T canola oil
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 c soy milk (any non dairy milk will do)
2T ground flax seeds
1 c roasted butternut squash (I'm also sure pumpkin or sweet potatoes would be fine)

Balsamic Mango Topping:
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and pureed
1/2 t balsamic vinegar

Mix wet and dry together. The batter will be really, really thick. Spoon 1/2 c in your waffle maker (mine is a cheapy square one) and follow your manufacturer's instructions. SPRAY that iron with canola spray, do you hear me? Mine took about 5 minutes--but they stuck to the iron. They're super moist the moment you eat them, but if you store in fridge for later, they seem to be better toasted in the toaster oven.

For the topping:
In a small sauce pan, heat the pureed mango and balsamic over med heat until you get a nice soft boil. The vinegar really makes the mango do its thang! Spoon over your waffle and top with a little vanilla soy yogurt and extra dash of cinnamon.

Would you buy a 'zine dedicated to waffles and pancakes? Would you prefer paper copy or paying for a PDF download to save trees?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

OYMST Day #4: I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

When the holidays are over, I still like holiday food. Here we have a nice lentil, rice, & walnut loaf matched with some cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce-(no sugar!), and mashed turnips in lieu of potatoes. That bit of yellow in the far right corner is my new love, the golden beet. I'll talk more about that later.

Although my intentions were to reduce some of the carbs by including more veggies, I must have done something wrong in the cooking process, because the turnip mash was watery and not very creamy. Note: use coconut milk in the future and a little garlic powder. That ought to do the trick. Or maybe do 1/2 potatoes and 1/2 turnips, kind of like Isa's caulipots- (photo in link by Maggie Muggins) from Appetite for Reduction.

I'm finding that I'm still pretty hungry between meals, and I'm not sure whether that is psychological or physical. Regardless, I still snack away and stick to nuts, fruit, or vegan yogurt between meals. The objective is to lay off the dessert, not diet! I'm just amazed at how much of my daily food intake was from dessert type items. I want to carve out better habits for myself so I can appreciate my dessert a little more instead of mindlessly stuffing my pie hole.

Is there an activity you find yourself doing that has gone autopilot? What is it? What can you do to make it a special experience again?

Thanks for supporting my project and please spread the word about Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

OYMST Day #3: Hey Everybody, Have You Seen My Balls?

Don't be fooled. This isn't a cookie, or candy. It's a ball of energy boosting goodness. Don't get me wrong, it's NOTHING like any of the sweets I'd like to be nomming right about now. It does sate the ol' sweet tooth though. I was looking at the complicated ingredients of a Larabar and thought to myself: I've done this before, and I can do it again. Chocolate Covered Katie has about a hundred versions of these things and they're all the talk of the vegan blogosphere. Don't be so intimidated, It's basically the following:

1 c. dates, soaked overnight
1T cocoa powder
1/4 c. cashews
1/4 c. quick oats

After you've worn your patience pants and let your dates soak overnight, you might want to check the bathtub to see if they're all still alive. I kid, I kid. I'm talking about the fruit date, not the person/people you brought home with you last night. I think I just opened up a can of corny jokes.

Seriously, drain your dates, squeezing them slightly, and reserve 1/4 of the date water. (((giggle)))This makes an excellent sweetener for coffee and tea! (((more giggles))) Put the dates, whatever water is left, cashews, cocoa, and oats in a food processor and blend it. It will be sticky and messy. Make some balls out of that concoction and store in them in the fridge.

Tell me about a challenge you went through and how it transformed your life. Did you read all the Harry Potter books overnight? Did you re-enact Rock N' Roll High School with your friends? Did you eat all your veggies? Run a marathon? Tell me about it, stud.

Monday, January 2, 2012

OYMST Day #2: Sometimes You Feel Butternut, Sometimes You Don't

Butternut Coconut Rice from Appetite for Reduction paired with some steamed broccoli and West Soy Brand Asian Teriyaki Tofu made for a really nice lunch today. Question: why call it "Asian Teriyaki?" Perhaps Westoy's Product Development also subs as the Department of Redundancy Department. I used the pink rice I received in my swag bag from Vida Vegan Con. I honestly never knew rice could be so beautiful!

I'm finding making veggies that are sweet when roasted helps with the ol' sweet tooth. I was more upset with the tofu than anything else. C'mon tofu factory, if you're gonna make something that is labeled Teriyaki, please for the love of all things soy, make it taste like that. All Westsoy seems to taste the same to me. I shouldn't sound so ungrateful, it is just one of the many things that I get from my local food bank. In fact, The tofu, broccoli, and butternut squash came from The Hub.

Thanks for all of the encouraging comments! I'm seriously thinking about that pumpkin dip. Onward and upward Operation Yank My Sweet Tooth!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

OYMT: Day 1 Guess what?

Let me start out by saying this is a really lame entry. Not much funny going on, but I'm not going to worry about it. I just don't have a big ol' goofy story of how interesting it is to focus my day on other things besides eating cookies and candy.

I can't believe it. When I don't start my day with sweets I'm not ravenously hungry by 11am. I'm a little less crabby and more focused. I know you all are thinking DUH, but I guess I just needed to take this adventure to see for myself. I'm really bad about using the following sentence as an excuse: "Well, that doesn't apply to me because I'm not diabetic. So why worry?"

Well, I'm sick of feeling like crap in the mornings, and I'm sicker of being moody. I know there's a connection to the amount of sweets I eat and my moods. I know it.

I had hummus and bread for breakfast, a lentil loaf sandwich and an orange for lunch, and the macaroni and cheese from Vegan on the Cheap for dinner, along with some baked beans, and another orange. Again, I really don't like keeping any sort of a food journal so that part of this challenge is going to be tough for me.

So how about that mac & cheese? Not bad. It's a tofu and nutritional yeast based cheese sauce and I added some extra lemon juice because it tasted a little bland. It does the job, but there are other recipes I like better. It was good--don't get me wrong, but it was missing some zip. Most of Robin's recipes are super easy to throw together and this one was no exception.

I'm hungry right now, and I'm wondering what I should fix myself for a snack. What do you raw/ low/no sugar people do? This is typically cookies & milk time right about now. I'm thinking some hot cocoa, but my Abuelita cubes are sugar, fat, and chocolate-so maybe some oatmeal? A handful of nuts? I've never done something like this without everything blowing up in my face.

Remember, there are two ways to support this project, you can send a direct PayPal payment to jennifermolica@gmail.com or you can read the blog every day, like fifty times. I don't think that would be such a great way to spend the day, but I'd be flattered by the dedication.