Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheese and Sausage Nightmare

I had a dream last night that I was eating a sandwich with cheese and sausage. I was horrified but I kept eating it anyway. What the heck does that mean??!!

Good thing it wasn't real! I loved my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast, salad and potato wedges for lunch and faux chicken patty, pasta and garlic bread for dinner.

To sweet vegan dreams,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tempeh Bacon and Subpar Pumpkin Pancakes

I have been wanting to make pumpkin pancakes and tempeh bacon for months now. I typically wake up early and go into work on the weekends so I haven't had the opportunity to do this. If I didn't go to work then I was out of pumpkin or tempeh. I purposely stayed home yesterday morning to make pumpkin pancakes and tempeh bacon. The bacon was pretty tasty however the pancakes were reminiscent of a crappy pie I made a few weeks ago...subpar.

marinating tempeh...(new band name??)

The bacon...
I will start with the bacon because I was proud of how this turned out. I bought Lightlife Soy Tempeh
and cut in small, thin strips. I added it to a pan with olive oil, liquid smoke, tamari, garlic and pepper. I let the tempeh and marinade hang out for a bit and turned the tempeh over a few times to allow both sides to be coated.  Once the pancakes were declared a disaster, the same griddle was scraped off in preparation to cook the bacon. I poured a lil olive oil on the griddle and placed the bacon strips on the griddle about 3 minutes on each side. It crisped right up, just like bacon without the fear, death, misery or saturated fat (if you need a personal reason to refrain from killing animals for food when it isn't necessary).

tempeh bacon with tolerable pancake

We loved the bacon so much that we enjoyed it again for dinner in a sauteed veggie sandwich. I added kale, green onions, mustard greens, mushrooms, nutritional yeast, garlic and then lemon juice and zest to a pan. Once mixed and warm, we placed on toasted bread with tempeh bacon. Damn that was a good sandwich. No pictures, I ate it too fast.

The pancakes...
The pancakes were made from a box mix (first mistake). I asked Elena to prepare the flax egg that she KNOWS is one tablespoon of flax seed and 4 tablespoons of hot water. I am not sure what she was thinking though because her flax egg was a some flax and some cold water. Oh well, I used it anyway (second mistake). I added canned pumpkin to this mix which changed the consistency so I added more milk to thin it out (third mistake). Needless to say, I should have made the pancake batter from scratch instead of saving time with a mix. For some odd reason, two or three of them turned out while the remainder made a huge globby mess.

Big globby pancake mess

Jason was incredibly supportive as I beat myself up over crappy pancakes. Thanks cutie! I will just have to try again if I can ever stay home again on the weekend.

To experimenting and trying again,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New Family Traditions

Last year at Thanksgiving, we refrained from turkey and ham however dined on dishes containing butter, eggs and cheese. We were learning more and thinking about the impact of our decisions however we were not there yet. The holidays and family gatherings were the most difficult for me to refuse food I didn't want because I was afraid to offend loved ones. I wasn't comfortable enough yet to defend my preferences and found it easier to just give in. Many times Elena and I took food and then put it back when no one was looking.

This year we had our first Thanksgiving with vegan dishes. My mother in law embraced it calling it our new family tradition. She made turkey for the meat eaters and Jason bought a Trader Joe's turkey free roast for us. We brought vegan mac and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Linda made vegan spicy squash and onions and sweet potatoes. We took Earth Balance with us and everyone used it!

Linda, Elena and I on Thanksgiving

Dinner was wonderful. Jason's stuffing was the best I have ever enjoyed before! Everyone ate lots of food including the vegan dishes. Vegan Thanksgiving with the family was a success!

Loaded vegan plate...YUM

Spicy squash and onions with love

We all had a great time and made sure to remember family that were not able to be with us or those we have lost. We drank a toast to Brenda, Hop and those that are out of town with a wonderful wine made specifically in Aunt Brenda's honor.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is about appreciating what you have and spending time with loved ones.

Gobble gobble,


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jason's Shells and Cheese

Jason has been cooking more due to my yoga teacher training weekends and a particularly yucky project at work. One evening after an exhausting yoga weekend (we were in plank for long periods of time while trying to transition each other into other positions), I came home to a dinner of falafel burgers, mac and cheese (YUM) and roasted potato pieces. I have made quasi mac and cheese here and there using vegan parmesan, Earth Balance and a splash of milk but I have not yet tried to go all out and make real vegan mac and cheese. Jason went all out.

Jason's shells and cheese with a panko crust topping

He used whole wheat shells, Daiya cheese, Earth Balance, diced red pepper pieces, almond milk, nutritional yeast, veggie broth and garlic. Elena and I loved it! We have asked him to make another pan for Thanksgiving. He is thinking about adding broccoli and cauliflower next time. The potatoes are a staple at the Thierbach dinner table. We roast onions and sweet potato pieces as well. The burgers were made from Fantastic Foods Falafel mix. Everything was very tasty and I so appreciate my husband making dinner so often anymore, not to mention the laundry, dishes, etc. Thanks Jason!

My vegan family

To an awesome and supportive family,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We All Scream For...Vegan Raspberry Sorbet

I have been wanting a Vitamix for some time now. It was a good thing I mentioned this to Jason casually, planting an idea for a possible Christmas gift. He informed me that his mom had one and hasn't used it (that he was aware of) for a long time. We went to see Linda this past weekend and because she is moving into a smaller place, she asked if she had anything that we could use. No way, I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Vitamix. It is an older model in perfect condition. It is pretty. Check it out...

Cashew butter and ice cream for everyone!

The first thing Elena wanted to make was ice cream. We added raspberries, vanilla (just a small capful), a splash of almond coconut milk and ice to the Vitamix and let it go. We ended up with more of a sorbet but that was OK, it was delicious anyway.

Elena adding the raspberries
Raspberry Sorbet
I am thinking a banana chocolate ice cream for our next try or maybe something with peanut butter. My kid pointed out that the taste was so fresh that you could taste the different ingredients. She was right. The vanilla added a depth to this treat that was definitely worth the effort. Who says vegans are missing out??

My beautiful mom in law with Elena ironically in Graeter's PV (pre vegan)


Wait a minute, Thanksgiving is next week. How about Pumpkin Ice Cream?!

To a cool treat on a cool evening,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Never the Same Veggie Soup

We love soup! It is so easy to make and a wonderful way to keep warm in the fall and winter.  A few days ago, we made a wonderful veggie soup with butternut squash and zucchini however last night we made a equally comforting veggie soup with mustard greens.

Squash and zucchini veggie soup with mixed grains

Every pot is different but they will all contain celery, onion and carrots that have been sauteed in Bragg's Amino Acids, liquid smoke and plenty of garlic. We will add either veggie broth like Trader Joe's Organic Vegetable Broth or veggie bouillon cubes. Next we add noodles, couscous, beans, barley, or quinoa (or a combination of several). Don't forget nutritional yeast and I know if my yogis from The Lucky 13 are reading you will not forget the nutritional yeast. Then add any special vegetables for example, rainbow chard, mustard greens, squash cubes, peppers, zucchini, you name it. We let it all cook together for 20 minutes on medium high and then serve with salad or sandwich. It is good right away but even better tomorrow.

Veggie soup with mustard greens and rotini

Stay warm,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Subpar Pumpkin Pie

Oh my goodness. It has been way too long since my last post. I have so much to share and NO time to do it. For the past few weeks, a complex project at work coupled with two back to back yoga teacher training weekends have left no time to call my dad, eat lunch or post updates on the blog. I am not only neglecting the blog, I feel like I am neglecting my family.

Last Sunday, after being gone all weekend with yoga and staying late at the work during the week, I promised Elena we would make a pumpkin pie. We had looked at several recipes and decided to use a recipe with silken tofu. I picked up one package of silken tofu and headed home, exhausted and not really wanting to bake at all. Elena was so excited that I had to bake the pie. It was our time together that weekend. I opened the pack of silken tofu and started to squeeze some of the water out of it. Having only cooked with firm or extra firm tofu, I was in shock as the whole block of silken tofu slid out of the container and down the drain! I was so upset at ruining Elena's only time with me that weekend that I started crying. She hugged me and said we didn't have to bake the pie (total sweetie). I was determined now. We found a recipe without tofu and then realized we didn't have sugar or any other sweetener except for molasses. We made the pie with molasses and it was not good. We called it our Subpar Pumpkin Pie.

This weekend we bought sugar and decided to try again. I decided to skip the silken tofu this time. Someone tell me how to remove the water without destroying this stuff. Anyway our new pie was awesome and no tears shedded!

Elena's first time electric mixing!

Above Average Pumpkin Pie
Elena and Jaben, just because

To A Vegan Fall,