October 31, 2012

Vegan Cashew Cheese

We had a Halloween party this past weekend and I made a new-to-me recipe that I absolutely loved!

Vegan Cashew Cheese, meant to taste like Boursin.  I added a touch more sea salt and pepper plus some fresh chives. It turned out so well...great on crackers, and especially good spread over french bread.

If you'd like to give it a go, here's the recipe from My Life in a Pyramid!
My husband and I went as Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky from Moonrise Kingdom :)

October 30, 2012

Peacefood Cafe Follow Up

Today, my good friend and I ventured out after Hurricane Sandy and didn't find much open. 

Peacefood Cafe was one of the few places open...and they were packed.

I started with a Brazil Nut Chai Latte...perfect on a cold and windy day.
And the soup special - Coconut Carrot Bisque. It sounds strange, but it was seriously delicious.
And the Japanese Pumpkin as a side - don't you love the colors?
I had the Other Caesar Salad as my entree, always a favorite of mine. I've heard that they will be opening a second location soon, near Union Square!

October 29, 2012

Cafe Blossom - Brunch Edition

This past weekend, I had brunch with my family at Cafe Blossom in New York. We were a large group, so we shared several different items.

Vegan Benedict - tofu, Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce on an English muffin with a side of asparagus and potatoes.
Black Eyed Pea Cakes with yukon potatoes, red pepper coulis and chipotle aioli.
And the Root Vegetable Phyllo Pastry - rutabaga, carrots, peas, turnips, sweet potato wrapped in phyllo with a white wine mustard cream sauce.
I really loved the Black Eyed Pea Cake and the white wine mustard sauce was uber-tasty. I tend to go for the appetizers and small plates over the entrees or large dishes. I like lots of small dishes so I get to taste more!

You can see my previous post on Cafe Blossom here.

October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

Every fall, I make Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares. They're always a huge hit and I absolutely adore the pumpkin and chocolate combination (see my dad's recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins here).
They're so good and easy to make. I use Earth Balance instead of butter, 1 T ground flaxseeds + 3 T water instead of the egg, and vegan chocolate chips.
During the holidays, I give them as gifts and leave a note letting the recipient know they're vegan!
I'm making these this weekend for our Halloween Party. I'll have lots of pics to post on Monday of the other vegan eats we'll be serving! We're going as Moonrise Kingdom this year!

October 25, 2012

Green Juice

Do you green juice? A couple of years ago, I came upon Kris Carr's website and have been completely enamored with her ever since. She has an amazing book called Crazy Sexy Diet that totally got me into juicing. 

When I'm in New York, Organic Avenue and Juice Generation are my go-to juiceries.

Even better...I have a Breville juicer at home, and when I have time, I prefer to make my own. 
Here's the recipe I use, adapted from Kris Carr's Make Juice Not War Green Juice

3-4 stalks of kale
1 organic cucumber
1 broccoli stem
1 apple, I like Honeycrisp, Mutsu or Fuji
1/2 cup pineapple, cubed (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 lemon or lime, peeled
small piece of ginger, peeled

I love this juice, and surprisingly I never get tired of it. I add in the pineapple if I'm craving something sweet or I'm sharing with friends who may be a bit weary of green juice :)

October 24, 2012

Vegan Lasagna

This colder weather has me craving warm comforting food...like lasagna. 

I made an amazing vegan version not long ago, using this recipe for Tofu Ricotta at it totally rocked. 

Whole Foods also makes great no-boil lasagna noodles. For sauce, any jarred variety will work, or you can make your own (see below for the recipe I use). And for cheese, I like Follow Your Heart mozzarella. Not many vegan cheeses melt like this. I first fell in love with Follow Your Heart at Waldo Pizza in Kansas City. I could not believe how...well...cheese-like it was. You have to bake it for 2-3 times as long, but it's so worth it!
Tomato Sauce

2 T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz cans San Marzano pureed or whole peeled tomatoes 
pinch or two of sugar
7-8 large basil leaves, chiffonade
salt + pepper to taste, seasoning throughout

Sautee onion in the olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for several minutes. Stir in the tomatoes (if whole break them up with a wooden spoon), sugar, basil and simmer for at least 20-30 minutes. The longer you simmer, the more time the flavors have to develop. Make sure to season with salt and pepper throughout the process

For the lasagna, layer sauce, noodles (make sure to boil first if they're not no-boil noodles!), ricotta and any vegetables or burger crumbles you may be adding, and cheese. Repeat. Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is golden and bubbly.

October 23, 2012

My Go To Cookbooks

These are some of my most used cookbooks. I have so many cookbooks that just sit on the shelf, and only about 7 or 8 that I use frequently.  

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker - I use this all winter. I love using the slow cooker and this has some really awesome recipes. Also, I saw that she just came out with Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, which I will definitely have to pick up.
The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook - Also great for cold weather. I love the Shepherd's Pie + the Faux Chicken Potpie.
Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook - My husband lives for the Cassoulet recipe.
The Conscious Cook - If you haven't tried Tal Ronnen's Chicken Piccata, you are seriously missing out.
Vegan Cooking for Carnivores - this cookbook is by Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's personal chef, Roberto Martin. It's pretty spectacular. I love the Mac and Cheese and the Rice and Beans. You can find more of his recipes online here.
DG at Home - I lived in Omaha for two years and my favorite restaurant there was Daily Grub (now closed). They've come out with a cookbook of their favorite recipes and it is so good. I believe I lived off of the Ancho Cashew Cream sauce those two years.
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - the only vegan cupcake recipes I use.

October 22, 2012


This past weekend, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Smorgasburg with some friends.
Smorgasburg is in Brooklyn Bridge Park every Sunday through mid November. All kinds of amazing food vendors come together and offer some killer eats. I was most excited to try a Phatty Beet Slider from Chickpea & Olive. They're organic, vegan and local. And they're one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Beets, barley, mushrooms and lentils, topped with habanero ketchup, vegan mayo and lettuce on vegan brioche. You can also add pickled jalapeno, tomato, avocado and/or Daiya cheese. I cannot explain how good this was...it was out of this world. My husband said it was the best vegan food he'd ever had.
 And...they also serve dessert. Chocolate and hazelnut spread on brioche.
I also tried Cheong Fun Noodles from Noodle Lane. Rice noodles with scallions, peanut sauce, cucumbers, bean sprouts, fresh herbs and sriracha.
It's such a great thing to do on a Sunday, lots of vegetarian and vegan options, and the scenery is pretty great too.

October 19, 2012

Union Sushi Follow Up

Union Sushi is a great restaurant for vegetarians and vegans. As I mentioned in my previous post, they have a full vegetarian menu and their servers are very well educated as to which items can be veganized. 

This visit, I started with the Roasted Cauliflower Salad - fennel, balsamic caramelized onion, kumquat, red pepper and orange sesame vinaigrette,
The BBQ Cauliflower with red miso and joshua tree spice,
And the Cucumber roll - lettuce, cilantro, avocado, red onion, enoki mushroom, jalapeno, fried ginger, green onion, black sesame, sesame paste, wrapped in cucumber.
I love the plethora of veg options here, one of my favorite sushi spots in Chicago.

October 18, 2012


A few weeks ago, my husband and I stopped by Scofflaw in Chicago for a pre-movie snack.

They have a salad trio that was so so good. I only partook in two of the salads, as the other contained mayo. The salad on the left is filled with tomatoes, greens, peas, onions and a light dressing. The salad on the right consists of shaved red onions, orange slices and nuts, also topped with a light dressing.
They're both so simple, but full of flavor. A much better snack than movie theatres offer.
They also have some seriously good french fries.

October 17, 2012


Our good friends Susan and Todd introduced us to a great sushi restaurant in Logan Square (Chicago) called Wasabi

I started with the Grilled Zucchini Skewers - gooey, caramelized and seriously delicious. We also partook in the Seaweed Salad and Edamame.
For rolls, Susan and I shared the special Vegan Ceviche Maki - cucumber, asparagus, cilantro, radish, mango and serrano. Serious yum.
And the Hot Yogi Vegan Maki - asparagus, cucumber, avocado, shiitake, carrot, lettuce, chili oil, sweet sesame sauce, lotus root chips, sriracha and sesame. I loved the sriracha on top and the lotus root chips on the side. Awesome dinner.

October 16, 2012


Vera is a great spot for small plates in the West Loop of Chicago. We've stopped by several times, and each time the menu is different. Their Vegetable section isn't completely vegetarian, but you can always find veggie items and a lot of dishes can easily be veganized.
During the summer they had a Strawberry Gazpacho with onions and garlic that was so good. Really unique flavors and very complex.
The Grilled Zucchini with romesco sauce, basil and hazelnuts was also pretty stellar.
They also have Papas Bravas (ordered without the mayo) - super salty, crispy and delicious. Their bread is always served warm and with a strong olive oil. Great place for a snack.

October 15, 2012

Cinnamon Snail

It's Meatless Monday...and I had the most amazing meatless lunch today from The Cinnamon Snail. It's a vegan food truck in New York/New Jersey and their food is incredible. There is always a line, a long line full of vegans and non-vegans.
For lunch, I tried their Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich with garlic aioli, kale, tomatoes and onions on grilled spelt bread. First, I did not know that was spelt bread until just now. That was by far the best spelt bread I've ever had. The sweet mustard flavor was so good and I love love loved the kale.
They have so many amazing vegan pastries, but I chose the Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie to take home. Mmmm...super rich, creamy and peanut butter-y. 
I met some friends from Ohio there and had them take some pastries back to my parents. I'll have a full report on their thoughts in the comments tomorrow. I sent them a Bourbon Creme Brulee donut, a Caramel Apple Crumb donut, an Apple Cider donut, Lavendar Pear turnover and a Curry Lentil puff.

October 12, 2012

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

My husband and I made Vegan Stuffed Peppers this week, and they were so good.
Here's the recipe, if you'd like to try it out!

4 medium size green bell peppers
2-3 T. oil
1-2 T. vegan butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz vegan burger crumbles
3/4 cup marinara sauce
Handful of breadcrumbs, optional
Shredded vegan cheese, optional
1 cup rice
2 cups vegan chicken stock (I like Better Than Bouillon)
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and set aside. Add the rice to a medium saucepan over medium heat. I like to toast the rice slightly before adding in the stock. Make sure to move the rice around frequently so it doesn't burn. Add the stock and simmer while covered until all the liquid is absorbed. 

Heat the oil and vegan butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and burger crumbles and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Add the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

When the rice is ready, add to the burger crumble mixture and stir to combine. (If adding breadcrumbs or cheese, add in as well). Fill the bell peppers with the mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes. You want the peppers to be slightly browned. I also like the peppers with a bit of crunch, so I take mine out a little early.

October 11, 2012

Native Foods Chicago Follow Up

My husband and I recently had lunch at Native Foods in Chicago. We've been many times, but tried two new things on the menu.

The Reuben, with thinly-sliced, deli-style seitan on grilled marble rye, topped with homemade sauerkraut, horseradish cheese and Russian dressing. (The seitan, cheese and dressing are all made in house).
And the Caesar Salad with grilled veggies, tofu croutons and caesar dressing.
Both were amazing, as always. I also highly recommend their Native Nachos and Chicken Run Ranch Burger! You can see my previous posts on Native here and here

October 10, 2012

Tuscany on Taylor

I can't believe I haven't posted about Tuscany on Taylor yet. It is one of my favorite spots in Chicago. 

Instead of bread with plain olive oil, they serve roasted garlic with oil and roasted chiles (ask for them to leave out the parmesan if you're vegan). We also add a bit of salt and pepper. This is quite possibly my favorite thing to eat. I never realized how much I completely and utterly adored garlic before I had this. And the hot chiles are such a nice addition...I could live off of this stuff.
Whenever we go, I order the Capellini. Angel hair pasta topped with San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh basil. And yes, I add in whatever garlic we haven't eaten. (Order this dish without cheese as well, if you're vegan. Even though there doesn't appear to be cheese, it's mixed in). It's such a simple and classic meal, and it's so so good. I crave it at least once a week.

October 9, 2012


After our huge dinner at gobo (see below), I got to try a new-to-me flavor at Lula's Sweet Apothecary...Sundae Cone. It's vanilla cashew cream with chocolate, peanuts and pieces of sugar cone mixed in. It is oh so good. And I've heard they now have Pumpkin!!!

(Mint Chip is still my favorite).