Tempeh, lettuce, and tomato (with Tempeh Bacon)

Another tempeh recipe, super simple this time. We swapped our homemade labneh-type cheese for hummus because we thought it would fit well enough. Also used our homemade 100% whole-wheat bread since that’s how we roll around here. Also, if we make non whole-wheat bread it ends up in the freezer forever, and I need my freezer space! Other than that, I loved the alfalfa sprouts. Used to eat them a lot more, but now buying them doesn’t really fit with our less-waste lifestyle… Maybe we should start sprouting our own.

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Anyway, this was a fun and filling dinner, without much fuss. Best kind, really.

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Coconut Heaven Cupcakes

The first of the cupcake recipes! We’ve done over 80% of the recipes in the book, but still haven’t gotten around to the cupcakes yet… There are just so many sweet recipes in the book, I never realized it before. I love anything coconut and cupcakes are always fun, so we made them when a couple of friends came over for dinner.

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We made mini-cupcakes because we like them better (and we didn’t keep our regular-sized cupcake pan once we bought the mini-sized one…), and let everyone put their own frosting on because some of us (read: me) like our sugar better than others (read: Daniel). BTW, Daniel just joined me in doing the whole sugar-only-once-a-week thing. Kudos for him! These were delicious and I had my fill for the week. I didn’t take photos of the frosting, but trust me – it was white and pretty (and tasty to boot).

Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza

And so we begin with the Tempeh recipes…

After cooking for a while (read: over a year and a half) from the book, we don’t have many recipes left to make. It’s basically down to sweets, which take us some time because we only eat sugar once a week, and Tempeh, which was just impossible to find anywhere in the last 6 months. Eventually we gave up on the shops and bought a bunch of Tempeh from someone who makes them at his home. His Tempeh is quite good, so maybe it’s a good thing we couldn’t find the regular kind…

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Anyway, this is the first recipe of the “Tempeh series” to come. We do a weekly pizza night every Thursday, so this fit right in with our schedule. And we loved it so much that we made it again the next Thursday! It really was very tasty. The Tempeh crumbles are wonderfully savory and the whole thing together has a brilliant depth of flavor, as well as great texture.

And this concludes the “Pizzas and Pastas” section! My favorites were this Tempeh Sausage Pizza and the Green Goddess Garlic Pizza, and of course the Classic Pesto is a beloved staple around here.

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

With the holiday baking season approaching, now is a good time to try some new, easy to bake cookies. And this are just the ones! They take all of 15 minutes, and are way too tasty to keep at home (sharing is caring!). We played around a bit and tried just putting a piece of fruit on top of some of the cookies instead of jam. ‘Twas fun and tasty.

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Thanksgiving!

We’ll be back to regular programming soon, but first – a Thanksgiving recap.

A year ago we decided to adopt Thanksgiving as a holiday even though neither of us grew up celebrating it. We skip a lot of religious holidays but still wanted to have special days in the year to celebrate with family & friends, and Thanksgiving looked like a great holiday to add to our lives.

This year the theme for the menu was all things American: some traditional dishes like mashed potatoes, green beans & pecan pie, some old vegetarian holiday favorites like nut loaf, and some were new like quinoa, roasted sweet potato and cranberries salad, and homemade cultured cashew cheese (did you know cashews originally came from America?! That was totally new to me).

Here’s the full spread:

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In the middle (on the board) is Peter Reinhart’s excellent Wild Rice and Onion Bread. Next to it is cultured sun-dried tomato & basil cashew cheese from Miyoko Schinner’s “Artisan Vegan Cheese” cookbook, and a zucchini-onion dip. Then there’s the mashed potatoes; roasted cauliflower; nutloaf on the far left; a green salad (the bowl on the bottom), some guac (next to the nutloaf) and mung beans (next to the mashed potatoes) that guests brought. At the top left are the roasted green beans, to the right of it is the aforementioned quinoa salad loosely based on this recipe (and we loved it, so it’s a keeper),  a simple pan-roasted tomato & basil salad, and last but not least – gravy (from here).

We used this recipe as a template for the nut loaf with some minor swaps like nuts we had on hand instead of the ones listed and fresh parsley for dried. Daniel made a glaze based on Gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste for those unfamiliar) instead of a ketchup-based one, and it was awesome. People went nuts for the nut-loaf! (see what I did there? hehe.)

For dessert we made an apple pie:

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And a maple pecan pie:

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Both are from Isa & Terry’s “Vegan Pie in the Sky”. That is such a great cookbook! The pecan pie is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

We had so much fun! The company was great and it was really nice to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while. There was way too much food, but that’s also traditional, right? And it meant no cooking on Friday, just resting after a week of cooking every night after work in preparation…

Happy holiday weekend everyone!

Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce

My workplace has an unusual food situation. On the one hand we have anything you can imaging in the kitchen – fruits and veggies, vegan yogurts and plant milks, an orange juice machine, bread (and a toaster), containers filled with different kinds of nuts and a whole drawer of candy, chocolate and protein bars. There are local high-quality fruit-based popsicles in the freezer which people go crazy for. We can get subsidized lunches from different restaurants around town, and there’s a cheaper salad-bar three days a week in the office. Crazy, right? I know people (and not just a few) who eat all three meals at work and basically have an empty fridge at home.

Even with all this abundance at work, I find myself eating mostly at home, and bringing a home-cooked lunch to work most days. The food at work just doesn’t align with my way of living and eating. I don’t eat sugar on weekdays, which leaves me out of the popsicle fun, and saves me from the candy drawer. That also rules out the yogurt and plant milks (though I really don’t mind about those since we have a soy milk maker at home which is, like, the best thing ever). As a short woman I can’t eat a ton of calories, so nuts are mostly out, along with the orange juice. The restaurants we can order in from don’t have a lot of vegan dishes, and the ones they have are mostly uninspired and not worth the cost (even subsidized), and the in-house salad bar doesn’t have any vegan protein most days, and they don’t have a set menu so it’s always a bet. Besides, I like sitting down for breakfast and dinner with Daniel every day, and wouldn’t like to spend more time at work than I already do.

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My routine in the last couple weeks has been to eat at the salad bar one day a week, order in one day a week, and bring home cooked meals the rest of the week. Besides that I enjoy a handful of macadamia nuts and a few pieces of 99% cacao chocolate every day. Both are delicious and feel like a complete luxury!

Daniel doesn’t have any lunch arrangement at work, so he brings his own every day. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for good work lunches to add to our meal planning rotation. And these croquettes fit the bill perfectly! They’re nutritious and filling, taste great and are really easy to just heat up separately and add to a vitamin-rich but protein-poor salad from the salad bar. The mushroom sauce is also great, and goes well with simple homemade baked Seitan. So glad to find a new winner!

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Revolutionary Spanish Omelet with Saffron and Roasted Red Pepper Almond Sauce

I’ve never been to Spain or had Spanish omelet. I’ve also never had saffron before, so this dish sure had a lot of “firsts” for me!

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Saffron is expensive as hell, and it had a distinct taste but we may have put a bit too much because it kind of took over. The texture was wonderful, though (we made it with homemade tofu which helped with a more omelet-y texture), and it didn’t taste bad, just overpowering. I’m now researching what to do with the saffron we have left. Swedish saffron buns look interesting, and there are some Indian recipes which I might try.

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The sauce was so good! I don’t usually like bell peppers, but this just hit the spot.

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This was the last recipe from the Entrées section! My favorites were: Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy, Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Tofu, Jerk Seitan (which we make all the time now), Green Thai Curry,  Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan, Millet and Spinach Polenta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Eggplant and Artichoke alla Napoletana. The highlight was most definitely learning how to make our own Seitan, which we’ve been doing in earnest ever since.

BBQ Pomegranate Tofu

BBQ sauce seems to be ubiquitous in the American food world. It’s really not much of a thing here; as a kid we always had a ketchup bottle in the house, but never BBQ sauce. In fact, I’ve never even tried bottled BBQ sauce. By the time I’ve learned about it, I had already transitioned to making my own staples. Hanging around the American food blogosphere and cooking from American cookbooks means I get to try all kinds of BBQ-sauced-things, and I’m mostly pleased with the results.BBQ_tofu_2.JPG

What I *am* familiar with is pomegranates, and having them in abundance in the market, plus knowing I won’t have an easy time finishing a whole jar of pomegranate molasses (we’re still struggling with finishing the tamarind paste from the Pad Thai a gazillion years ago!), convinced me to make my own pomegranate molasses for this one. It basically involves juicing a few pomegranates and cooking the juice until it’s reduced to a thicker consistency.

All in all it turned out to be a great recipe. I’ll keep it in mind for when we have tofu around.

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Right after coming back from Japan, I started doing Hal Higdon’s Novice 10K Training Program. I was trying to get in a few runs a week before departing on the trip, but felt that it would be easier to commit and advance with a program. And it worked! It’s a two month program, and I’m about 1 month in. Last week I ran 7 km, and was giddy all day about it.

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Running makes me a bit hungrier during the week, but I still limit added sugar to once a week. I had these pancakes on one of these sugar days, and they were so good! I had like 4 of them, and it was definitely enough for the whole week… We used white chocolate chips because we had some that we wanted to use up, and we ate the pancakes with some maple syrup and cut-up fruit (not pictured). Simple and delicious.

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Mango-Ginger Tofu

Recipes like this one are the reason I’m so happy I took this challenge to cook an entire cookbook. I would never have tried this otherwise, because “I don’t like mangoes”. Well, you know what? Apparently I like mangoes!

It’s not that I haven’t tasted them before, it’s just that I kept trying raw mangoes and the texture put me off, which became a general don’t-like-mangoes statement which I held onto for way too long. Mangoes are readily available and actually quite popular here, but really only raw or in fruit smoothies, not in cooking, so I haven’t really gotten a chance to taste them that way. But this recipe totally convinced me to start cooking with mangoes! Which I’ll have to wait for next summer to actually do, haha…

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The tofu was excellent. We took our usual shortcuts for marinated tofu which always make it a much simpler process: we don’t press the tofu and don’t let it sit in the marinade. It’s coated in the marinade and goes straight to the oven. I swear you cannot tell the difference. At least we can’t. And the sauce! It was so great! We had a whole jar of it leftover and we ate it for a week with everything we were having – seitan, rice, etc. I could not get enough of this stuff. I bookmarked the recipe and am (impatiently) waiting for next summer to make ALL THE SAUCE.