Tag Archives: vegan mofo

Guest Blogger: A House Full of Health – Such a busy day! Testing!

8 Oct

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks. Hope everyone is enjoying the magic that is Vegan Mofo. Please welcome back a veteran VBU! contributor – Marsha, author of the blog A House Full of Health. You can see her first post for VBU! here, second and third. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and of course her blog. Welcome back Marsha!

First day of Vegan Mofo and here I am blogging at 7pm! Yes, I’m behind! But, let me tell you about my day.

I woke 12 hours ago ready to start my day. For the last 2 weeks I’ve been “testing” recipes for a business venture I’m looking to pursue. Plant-Based Personal Chef. Today was another testing day. My steps are simple. Go grocery shopping, pick up fresh bread (if needed), cook, package, dishes (interlaced throughout the day). Sounds easy, right?

Wow! It’s hard work! Rewarding. But, taxing. Maybe I’m just getting old??!!

Last night I took some time to prepare my menu for the week. I used to do this on Thursday evening to subsequently shop on Fridays but with shopping on Mondays, for the time being, busily worked on it last night. Anyway, when preparing a menu I decide on what we will be having for dinner each night as well as ingredients I need to get and at which store. I then wrote down each item I would be cooking including all the “kitchen gadgets,” I would need and all the ingredients for each. This makes it easier to know how many total carrots (or other item) I would need. This makes prep that much easier.


Monday: BBQ Ranch Quinoa Salad. This is a recipe I was so excited to try off of Wendy Polisi’s page Cooking Quinoa. ¬†This is to be served with chips and salsa. Guacamole too!

Tuesday: Since I’ve gotten in the habit of salads on Tuesdays I’m keeping with the theme. Big Ole Salad night! With a Country French bread.

Wednesday: Pita sandwich. Filled with a quinoa, chickpea salad. With black-eyed pea hummus. Sweet potato fries as a side dish.

Thursday: Chili (oh yes! It’s that time of year again. I can finalize my recipe!) with rice. Cornbread as a side dish.

Friday: Spaghetti with “meatballs.” Garlic bread as a side

Saturday: Tunisian Bean Stew with Country French Bread. Salad as a side dish. I was wanting to use pumpkin since it’s October and all so I found a great recipe on Susan’s website, Fat Free Vegan.

Sunday: Roasted Squash stuffed with quinoa. Cranberry green beans (getting ready for Thanksgiving too!) as a side dish.

One thing I learned in Culinary School (among many, of course) was getting everything ready for prep. Mis En Place. If I need carrots for 4 of my recipes it would be best to get them all prepped at once. It does seem to make things a tad easier.

I felt as though I had an assembly line going on for produce. I had 7 onions to cut!

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets, my egg slicer. Although, I never use it for eggs. Funny, huh? I use it for mushrooms. Sometimes black or green olives. It’s so convenient and easy to use!

For my chili I roast up some red bell peppers and jalapenos. Today, I did something a little differently. I cut the red bells into large slices. The jalapeno, I cut in half. I roasted that way, it was actually easier than doing them whole. I love roasted veggies!

I believe I sauteed a pound a half of mushrooms today. I guess I like to incorporate mushrooms. They are so flavorful, meaty, and full of great nutritious value.
Today’s cook took 8 hours. That’s not including the 2 hours it took to shop. I’m still learning and I’ve realized this one every recipe I chose had many components. Each one took longer than anticipated which is why my 5-6 hour cook time ended up being extended. I’m in learning mode, that’s for sure.
I’m wiped!
We are certainly prepared for the week. And, the hubby got dinner on the table tonight. He did the finishing touches so I could spend some time with my little one.
This is why I do this! More time with the family. So, yes, a little late on my blog but I have a good excuse, right? And, I now have dinner for the week! Yay!
What time savers do you do in the kitchen?
Do you ever prepare meals ahead of time?


Guest Blogger: La Vida Vegga – VeganMoFo 101: Let the MoFo-ing Begin!

1 Oct

Happy Vegan MoFo everyone! So excited for all the fantastic blogs that signed up. I’m sure the recipes are going to be amazing and just mind blowing. Every year I think man, people are too creative and it shows. We have a brand new VBU! contributor – Kelly, author of La Vida Vegga, her post is perfect to kick off VeganMofo. Here she is in her own words, “I’m a born-and-bred Rhode Islander living in Madison, Wisconsin. Being vegan in America’s Dairyland isn’t always easy, but I make it work. If I’m not in the kitchen cooking up something delicious, I’m giving belly rubs to my Ewok-ian dog, working on some sort of crafty project, or blogging over at La Vida Vegga, my humble little home on the web. Come say hi sometime!” Keep up with Kelly at her blog, and Twitter account. Welcome Kelly! Happy first day of VeganMoFo everyone!

Orange banner with the words Vegan Month of Food 2012.

Perhaps, in your wanderings around the world wide web today, you’ve noticed a preponderance of animal-free foods. Or maybe you logged into Google Reader this morning and found far more unread items than you’ve ever encountered on a Monday morning. Don’t worry; you’re not imagining things – this, friends, is the first day of VeganMoFo. If you’re a vegan who likes food and blogging, chances are good that you’re already familiar with the wonder that is VeganMoFo. If you’re not acquainted with it, boy howdy, are you in for a treat!

Treats? I love treats! What’s Vegan MoFo?

No, it’s not your answer when someone asks about your dietary preference (“Vegan, mofo!”). It’s the Vegan Month of Food, a month-long celebration of cruelty-free, conscience-friendly, and oh-so-delicious eats. VeganMoFo was the brilliant brainchild of a few folks at the PPK (that’s Post Punk Kitchen to you!), and this is its sixth year running. Participants pledge to post anything and everything related to vegan food for at least 20 days in October, although some folks go all-in and post every single day. I’ve taken that approach since I first started participating in 2009, and it’s both exhilarating and exhausting. (I like to take breaks by posting about simple meals… like roasted delicata squash rings. So good.)

Close-up of the squash circles.


What makes VeganMoFo special is that all participants, even our meat-eating friends, must promise not to post any non-vegan food during October. This saves us from seeing images of raw chicken wrapped in bacon, topped with mozzarella, and deep fried in lard (or whatever it is that omnis are into these days) when all we want is to look at a picture of a pretty vegan cupcake, damn it. VeganMoFo is all vegan, all the time!

I love vegan cupcakes. What else will I see?

If you’ve never gone blog surfing during VeganMoFo, this month is gonna blow. your. mind. Many bloggers spend months planning and coming up with truly amazing themes. Last year, the Wikos took us on a culinary tour of street food around the world, from Buenos Aires to Sri Lanka to Seoul and all points in between. And Cara from Fork and Beans delighted us with adorably cute Halloween-themed delicacies that’d make Martha Stewart green with crafty envy. I’ve never quite managed to come up with a single theme for the entire month, but last year I did a couple of Recipe Showdowns (pitting three recipes for a single dish against one another) that were quite popular. Eating mac & cheeze and brownies all month long… sigh. The life of a MoFo blogger is hard, y’all.

A photo of three brownies stacked on a plate; they're obviously fudgy and have a crackly top layer!

The winning brownie recipe!

This year promises to offer just as many inspiring themes. Lidia, who blogs at Air Eater and coordinates Vegan Bloggers Unite! will share an entire month of raw pizzas. Cold and Sleepy Cooks will feature 31 days of dips. And Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen will create a month’s worth of delightfully fun themed dinner parties. These folks and 500+ others will pull out all the stops to make October the most mouth-watering month of the year.

Okay, Kelly, I am thoroughly convinced that VeganMoFo is the greatest thing since vegan marshmallows. How can I participate?

If you haven’t signed up to participate, it’s too late to get into the official blogroll (though you could certainly participate in spirit!). If you’re not a blogger, the best thing you can do is read, read, read and comment, comment, comment! First, check out the blogroll and subscribe to one (or all!) of the RSS feeds using your reader of choice. Then, prepare to be inundated with a flood of awe-inspiring posts. And please do comment on them – your support and cheering-on really does give participants the motivation to continue posting! And don’t just comment on those super-popular blogs that already have 200+ comments by the time you settle down with your Google Reader and a giant mug o’ coffee on a Sunday morning – support the little guys, too. They’ll really appreciate it. And by they, I mean we. ūüėČ

As MoFo progresses, check out the official MoFo blog and website for best-of posts, troll the PPK forums to see people’s favorites, and let us know you’re reading! And if you begin to get MoFo fatigue halfway through October when your reader has 1000+ unread items, you haven’t slept in two weeks, and you’re turning as orange as an Oompa Loompa from making at least two pumpkin-based recipes every day… take a breath, mark everything as read, and start fresh. It’s okay. We won’t blame you for not reading every single post.:)

Got questions? Leave me a comment! And stop by my blog during MoFo – I’ve got lots planned, including more Recipe Showdowns. Want a sneak peek? Oh, fine, since you asked so nicely:

Glass baking dish with pumpkin cinnamon rolls drizzled with a white icing.

Pumpkin cinnamon roll showdown – commence!

Happy MoFo, y’all!

Guest Blogger: Carrie on Vegan

28 Oct

Carrie Forrest is a graduate student in public health nutrition and the author of the blog Carrie on Vegan. Through her writings, step-by-step photo guides and recipes, Carrie inspires readers to prepare plant-based recipes that are 100% delicious. Carrie firmly believes that superior health is achievable through nutritional excellence and specializes in whole-food, simple recipes that are low in added fats, sugars and salt. Welcome Carrie!

I’m honored to review the new Rabbit Food Cookbook as part of the book’s “blog tour.” The cover of the book is adorable and inviting:

The book itself is really neat. It starts with a brief history of our food supply in the United States and includes interesting information such as how ice was cut from Northern lakes in the late 1700s to preserve food, since iceboxes and freezers weren’t yet invented. Also, it wasn’t until 1815 when the first cookstove was introduced into households. Up until that point, people were cooking on open fires in large fireplaces (I can’t even imagine how difficult that must have been).

The most charming part of this book is the fact that the author, Beth Barnett, did illustrations for each recipe. The illustrations are a clever substitute for traditional cookbook photos. Beth is obviously a very talented artist and I admire how much care went into this book. There is even a detailed section on how to make your own grocery and produce bags.

But, a cookbook isn’t actually worth much without good recipes, right? I read through a lot the recipes before selecting one to make. I was impressed by how comprehensive this cookbook is, with very tempting recipes from “Eggless French Toast” to “Crunchy Broccoli Salad” to “Tofu Pot Pie.” Given my love for Indian food, I chose to make the “Chana Masala” recipe.

The ingredient list is pretty short which also makes it a good fit for me, it only calls for: garbanzo beans, ginger, onion, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste and spices:

Making this recipe was a breeze. I heated up the oil, spices, garlic and ginger:

Added the onion, tomato paste and lemon juice:

Last, the garbanzo beans and liquid from the beans:

I simmered it for about 15 minutes and served it over rice (shown with a some steamed greens):

This dish was a wonderful example of how a quick recipe with few ingredients can taste much more complicated. The spices, of course, make all the difference. And, even though I normally don’t use oil in my cooking, the two tablespoons were spread out over at least six servings.

Here is the full recipe:

Chana Masala – printed with permission from Rabbit Food Cookbook


2 cans garbanzo beans, drained, with liquid set aside (I recommend using no-salt added beans)

1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs lemon juice

2-3 Tbs tomato paste

1/2 to 1 tsp salt, to taste (I left out the salt completely)

2 Tbs vegetable oil (you could use coconut oil if you prefer)

Spice list:

1 tap garam masala

2 tsp coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I recommend 1/8 tsp unless you really like spicy food)

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp amchur (supposedly available at an Asian grocery; I could not find it so I left it out)


Heat oil with spices, ginger and garlic first. Then, add onion, tomato paste, lemon juice, and finally about 1 cup of leftover bean liquid. Allow to simmer briefly. Next, add the chickpeas and stir. Cook covered for about 20 minutes. When ready, the chickpeas will have soaked in the flavor of the sauce and will be tasty all the way through. Serve with rice. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.

While this book isn’t exactly Fuhrman-friendly (it uses oils, salt and sugar), it is very inspiring and reasonably healthy. I plan to make more recipes from this book with the necessary modifications for my eating style.

Here’s the rest of the “tour dates” for this book if you want to check them out:

October 24‚ÄĒCake Maker to the Stars
October 25‚ÄĒCook Vegan Lover
October 26‚ÄĒBake and Destroy
October 27‚ÄĒCarrie on Vegan
October 28‚ÄĒVegancraftastic
October 29‚ÄĒManifest Vegan
October 31‚ÄĒVegansaurus

Click here if you want to order a copy of this book.

Wow, can you believe we are nearing the end of Vegan Mofo? I originally wanted to blog each weekday for a total of 20 posts this month, but it looks like I’m going to end up with about 14 or so. Not bad for my first year! For a listing of all my posts so far, click here.

Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a bottle of Ovega-3 DHA/EPA! There will be two winners randomly selected and the odds are pretty good right now. It is really easy to enter and the giveaway ends on Friday, October 28th. Enter here.

Twitter: @carrieonvegan

Guest Blogger: Bread Without Butter

21 Oct

Tiffany has been cooking since she was a child. After becoming vegan nearly three years ago, she started writing about the plant-based food she enjoys cooking and eating. Tiffany’s blog, Bread without Butter, ¬†primarily documents what comes out of her California kitchen in a way that combines her love of words with that of food. Please welcome Tiffany!

I may be stretching the theme for today’s Vegan MoFo snack post, so please excuse my inability to follow my self-imposed rules. Now let’s talk pie.

I don’t normally eat dessert-type items as anything other than dessert, but after an experimental baking session, followed by an ever so patiently wait for the results to properly cool and set overnight, I figured that snack time was as good a time as any to finally give this jewel of a creation a taste.
Just so you know, when it comes to sweets, I’ve never had a particular preference for pie. But when pecan pies start showing up seemingly everywhere I turn (curse you, Internet), I can’t help but be tempted to find a way to try one. Being a curious cook and lover of nutty edibles, I decided to make my own pecan pie.
This is where part two of the theme-stretching comes into play. While I did consult a cookbook for my pie-making venture–BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, to be exact–I also took a fair amount of liberties with the recipe. None of the recipes in the book are vegan, making certain adjustments necessary in order for my experiment to even work. But I ended up tweaking measurements and ingredients to a point at which the process only vaguely resembles what was written in the book. But I definitely derived inspiration from BAKED and used the baking temperature and timing as a guide, so I don’t claim that these results were purely a work of my own creative genius.
I specifically referenced the recipe for Lewis and Poliafito’s Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Pie, which is just as indulgent as it sounds. It is not your average pecan pie and definitely not a light snack. This thing is loaded with pecans and sticky, booze-infused caramel, all¬†resting over a layer of chocolate. By chocolate, I mean chocolate chips–not ganache, syrup, or mousse, but straight-up chunks of chocolate. Thinking that replacing the eggs in the dessert may be problematic, I took some cues from the Maple Pecan Pie recipe posted at The PPK, substituting pureed soft tofu blended with cornstarch for stability. (By the way, isn’t Isa’s recipe included in her and Terry‘s new pie cookbook? Let’s consider that my vegan cookbook reference.) I also used a mixture of agave and maple syrups instead of corn syrup, reduced the overall sugar content of the BAKED recipe, and used vegan scotch whisky instead of bourbon (I only had the former on hand). For the crust, I used the same recipe I used for making azuki turnovers. I didn’t roll out the dough enough for it to overlap the edges of the pie pan, hence the minimal and downright pathetic-looking crust.
The pie smelled absolutely divine as it baked up. It tasted pretty good, too. Even after reducing the amount of fat, syrup, and sugar called for in the original recipe, the pie was still rich and plenty sweet–almost too sweet for my tastes. Almost. I’m not the biggest lover of tofu-based desserts, but with all the sweet madness going on in this pie, one would be hard-pressed to find any trace of tofu here. I think the whisky brings the pecan pie up a notch; the semisweet chocolate pretty much takes it over the top. This pie is definitely not a food someone like me, who usually avoids immensely saccharine (dare I say, cloying) treats, could handle on more than an occasional basis (and certainly not a casual snack) in small amounts. However, for a once-in-awhile act of indulgence, a whisky pecan chocolate pie seems rather appropriate.
Because Friday is reserved for posting about desserts, it looks like I get to make a second treat this week. I don’t think anything can top the utter decadence of this pie, but that’s probably a good thing.

Twitter: @breadwobutter

Guest Blogger: Vegan Family Dinner

13 Oct
Meet Courtney Ann Melzer: Creator of the blog Vegan Family Dinner,¬†fianc√©e¬†to Jared, cat mom to 3 kitties, and hailing from Chicago, IL. Courtney’s¬†favorite hobby is¬†photography. She studied acting in undergraduate school, but is now working on her¬†MAT (Master of art in Teaching) for elementary education. ¬†Currently teaching a Junior high blogging¬†class in an after school program in the Logan Square neighbourhood¬†(Chicago). Let’s see what Courtney has in store for us. Welcome Courtney!
One of my favorite sandwiches is my version of Big Macs.
Although they are quite different than their McDonalds cousin,
do not be tricked… although¬†completely vegan¬†these little
guys are far from healthy.
                                                                          To create the Big Mac, I start by making a recipe of Veggie
out of Vegan with a Vengeance.¬† It’s
the perfect burger recipe for this sandwich because it makes burgers
that a super thin and crispy.
I also make a batch of Special Sauce because it needs to chill in the
fridge for a bit.
Special Sauce
1/2 cup Vegenaise
2 tablespoons low fat french dressing
4 tablespoons minced sweet pickles
1 tablespoon minced white onion
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
Mix all of these ingredients together and stick the sauce in the
fridge to chill.

 Once the burgers are done I melt a bit of Daiya Cheddar Style
Shreds on top. ¬†Then it’s time to build the masterpiece. ¬†I
start with a whole wheat bun then layer from there… ¬†burger
with cheese, sweet pickles, minced white onion, shredded lettuce,
special sauce, bun… repeat! ¬†This double decker burger is super
messy to eat, but is delicious all the way through!

Guest Blogger: Until We Eat Again

5 Oct

Please welcome Willie, an American living in Toronto blogging about being vegan while doing his Ph.D. I met Willie in September of this year as we have a mutual vegan friend in common. Very charming fellow! Please enjoy his blog post below.

Hi all!

So today is October 1st, which this year is day one of the Vegan Month of Food, or as it’s more curtly known around the interwebs, VeganMoFo. For those not familiar with this yearly event, VeganMoFo brings together hundreds of vegan bloggers under the shared aim of publishing a continuous stream of content for one entire month—and when I say continuous, I mean a post every day. Why any sane blogger would ever agree to this is beyond me, and why I ever agreed to this is definitely beyond me. Yet here I am, one lunatic among many, signed up and ready to write.

While some bloggers choose to do a specialized theme for VeganMoFo, I’ll be keeping things more or less the same here at UWEA: which is to say, a healthy mix of recipes, restaurant reviews, and general reflections. And today for my first post, I wanted to kick things off with a more reflective post and talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while, and which seems like an appropriate way to inaugurate this month of madness: namely, why I blog.

(And okay, yes, I also wanted an excuse to post these photos of me posing with my friend (and personal photographer)‘s kitten.)

There are many reasons why I started blogging, many of which I’m sure other bloggers share: I wanted to share my food life with others, to keep in touch with friends near and far, to become part of the food blogging community, to meet new people and forge new friendships, to keep a personal record of all the food I make, to help myself remember all the recipes I like, to provide some extra motivation to challenge myself more in the kitchen, and of course, to let my mother know I’m still eating.

These are all excellent reasons for anyone to blog, and even if this were all there was to blogging for me, I’d probably keep doing it. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that blogging is the ideal medium for the vegan movement. That is, I believe that blogging is the best form of activism that vegans have got going for them right now, and that we have more to gain by blogging than does your average food blogger. Here’s why:

Veganism has made some amazing strides since its inception in the mid-20th century. Today, more people than ever recognize the ethical reasons for being vegan, and many are starting to see the environmental and health benefits, as well. And this is great: veganism is not just a diet but also a lifestyle and ideology, and it’s important for people to see and understand this. However, it’s clear that these arguments only do so much, as there are plenty of people who acknowledge them yet keep on eating animals. And this shouldn’t surprise us, since persuading people by reason alone has never, ever worked.

So what’s missing? As I see it, though people may know why to be vegan, they still don’t know how, or if they can. That is, though people may agree that they should be vegan, and may even want to be vegan, taking that extra step to actually doing it and being vegan can be very difficult. It’s not simply a matter of weakness of will, either; rather, what non-vegans need most is information on how to do it: what vegans eat, how we stay healthy, and where we still struggle—in other words, the normal everyday stuff of how we live our lives. In this way, the biggest challenge facing the vegan movement right now is convincing people that not only is veganism right, but that it’s also joyful and doable, even for perfectly ordinary folks. And this is where blogging steps in.

First and foremost, blogging is egalitarian. Anyone can blog about whatever they want; no agent or publicists or book contracts are required. Because of this, most of the vegan food bloggers you’ll find are ordinary folk—people who are amateurs, if not complete beginners, at writing, cooking, and often, veganism. These are not people trying to make a living off you reading their blog; they’re just folk with a story to tell. Thus if the vegan movement wants to show outsiders that vegans are people with lives like everyone else, the vegan food blogging community provides the perfect place to start.

Second of all, blogging is down-to-earth. On food blogs, nothing need be elevated or haute cuisine; and since bloggers are most often not professional chefs, they actually are the perfect example for other non-professional chefs to follow. What newcomers to veganism need most is food that is tasty and also simple, affordable, and unintimidating—and to me, food blogs are the best place to find such recipes, since bloggers themselves are often still relative novices in the kitchen and always on the lookout for new culinary shortcuts and secrets. The ingenuity and small tricks you’ll see and learn on blogs are the sort of thing you’ll rarely read in books or hear from chefs, but they can really take your cooking to new levels. (The abundance of blog photos guiding you along every step of the way also helps on this score.) Which is all to say: if you want to learn how to become vegan, food blogs are an excellent way in.

Finally and most importantly, blogging is diverse. Possibly the greatest asset blogging has over any other medium is its sheer diversity. Since anyone can do it, lots of people do, and the variety of vegan food bloggers you’ll find out there is astounding. And this means that every fledgling vegan has all the more chance of finding a blogger that speaks directly to them and their unique situation. Whether you’re an aspiring vegan mother, father, student, or ultra-marathon runner, there’s a blog for every lifestyle. And this is what non-vegans most need to see: that vegans are just like them, with busy lives and multiple responsibilities—and nonetheless able to eat the foods they know they should.

And that’s why I keep blogging: because I honestly feel like it’s part of something bigger, to whatever small extent; because I want others to hear my story and see how a grad student copes with the pressures of being vegan; and because I think it’s precisely the sort of activism that’s most needed right now if veganism is to gain any real presence in the population.

And I guess that’s part of the reason I signed up for VeganMoFo, too, making this a fitting way to start off the month. So get ready: you’re about to see a lot more blogging here than ever before. Just don’t expect to see another post this long until this month is over.

VeganMoFo #1/31

Until we eat again,


Vegan Mofo 2011!

1 Oct

It’s time and the pressure is on! Ooh, the excitement, the challenge to make something every day. Amazing how we make food every day, but to blog about it is a challenge.

What’s your theme!? Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have guest bloggers for Vegan Mofo. Let’s showcase your talents! Comment or email and let me know!