Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Summer Time...It's whats for dinner

I know I already talked about the tunO salad sandwich's but I just wanted y'all to share in my excitement for summer time!  It's 82 here in Davis and I'm as happy as a lark.  It gives me so much inspiration for all of the yummy refreshing meals to come in the summer. Like lemonade, light pasta, grain salads, all kinds of fresh veggies,  more sorbet, barbeques!  The list goes on...  The tunO sandwich was a perfect start.  I also made a side of fresh salsa.  I used 2 fresh tomatoes, some diced onions, a garlic clove, lemon juice, salt/pepper, dash of cayenne, a few dashes of hot sauce (to make up for my lack of peppers in the house) and freshly chopped cilantro.  THE ultimate refreshing side!!  *Happy Sigh*  Man does the weather know how to bring up my mood!  Cheers to many more sunny days! 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vegan "tuna" Salad Sandwichs

Just a simple blog today.  I found this recipe on Happy Herbivore for a mock tuna salad and I couldn't help but share.  It seemed super easy, and I was intrigued.  Honestly I wasn't a big tuna fan before becoming a vegetarian but there are things I didn't really like as a meat eater that I like the "fake" versions as a vegan so I thought I'd give it a chance.  It was really good and extremely close to tasting like the real thing.  It was so close, it was almost wierd.  lol.  This is definitely a recipe I'm keeping and will probably make often when I need something quick and easy.  The only adjustment I made was leaving out the kelp, I wasn't sure how it would turn out without it, since it probably gives it that "sea" flavor, but I felt it was good even without it. I toasted a piece of sprouted wheat bread and topped it with the tuna salad.  Enjoy!!!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegan Corn Dogs and Cajun Collard Greens

TICKETS ARE BOOKED FOR NOLA!!!!!!!!  I'm sooo excited.  It's been 2 years since I've been back and it's been waayyy too long.  We're stopping in Austin, Texas to see my sister for a few days, then driving to Houston to see my Aunt, then flying to New Orleans.   Two whole weeks of vacation!!  I'm going to be counting down the days.  =) 

I thought this picture was too pretty not to post.  Chopping the Collard Greens.  Cut off the stem, roll and chop!

In honor of our upcoming Nola trip I made a half cajun meal of collard greens.  My husband actually likes dark leafy greens and asked me to make them.  It was hard finding a recipe that didn't include a ham hock, but I found one at  It was good, and had a nice spicy kick to it.  Even Bella liked  The only adjustment I made was using only about 1 1/2 tomatoes, I felt 4 would be a little much. 

I also bought some tofurkey dogs awhile ago and needed to eat them.  I've been wanting to make corn dogs but am a little too scared to try deep frying foods in my kitchen.  After the water loss, I'm not trying to burn down the place.  I found a recipe for baked vegan corn dogs on Happy Herbivore.  Honestly everytime I make something with veggie dogs I'm disappointed.  I always except them to taste different.  Something about them just tastes off.  It's not that they were bad, they tasted fine, just not my favorite meal.  Husband liked them.  He said he likes the smart dogs better though.  If you like veggie dogs you'd probably love these.  They aren't very pretty.  Since your baking them the batter kinda of slips down the dog, so it doesn't make a perfect shape.  I've heard you can get a "twinkie" pan to make perfect corn dogs.  My oven also hates me and likes to burn the bottom of everything I make, so...yeah.  =/  Here are some pics of the cooking process:

Cut doggies.  <--  That just sounds wrong...

The batter.  I choose the wrong bowl to mix this with, it was almost the exact same color.

Less pretty than the baked dogs.  It was kinda of hard to coat them without having spots uncovered.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dinner Party with Friends -- Stuffed Tomatoes & Red Velvet Cupcakes

Lets start with I have great friends!  I'm sure I've mentioned before but I honestly don't know a single vegan/vegetarian besides myself and one old highschool buddy I found on facebook.  So I am around the world of omnivores a lot.  Honestly being vegan is a bit foreign to most that I hang out with.  This doesn't bother me at all and I have such amazing friends and family that accept my choices and are always there to back me up.  With that said I had a fabulous dinner party last night with two great old friends from highschool (and prior).  We had a spread of mostly vegan food.   I'm so lucky to have such open minded friends that don't mind eating a mostly vegan meal!  Eating vegan can be a bit "scary" if you aren't familiar with it.  Even for myself when I first became vegan it was a bit daughnting to think about.  What will I eat??  But not for my friends they are always willing to try anything.  ♥ 

Steph brought vegan mac n' cheese which was great!!  I made stuffed tomatoes that were also really tasty!  I'm definitely going to make them again.  I searched online for a recipe and didn't find anything in specific that I thought appetizing.  So I decided to make up something on my own, I made a vegan pesto which was super easy, mixed with some cooked rice, onions topped with a little vegan parmesan, baked for about 35 minutes.  Fab!!!  I brought some roasted garlic bread from Sam's Club that had whole cloves of garlic baked in.  SOOO yummy!!  Kayla brought the salad, wine, and a few non vegan dishes that the others said were fab!  Husband loved her potatoes!  Then I brought vegan red velvet cupcakes with "cream cheese" frosting.  They were soo delish!!!  Recipes to follow: 


After being baked
10-12 fresh basil leaves
2 T olive oil
2 T of your choice of nut, pine nuts is most common but I subbed for walnuts because that's what I had on hand
2 cloves of garlic
1 T or so of vegan parmesan (you can adjust this to your liking, feel free to omit if you'd like)
Salt to taste, but go easy it doesn't need much, if any at all

Blend everything together until you get a paste.  I used my mom's magic bullet which was awesome but I'm sure you could use a food processor or blender just the same. 

Stuffing for the tomatoes:
About a cup (rice measurement, not an actual cup) of uncooked rice, cooked
Half an onion sauted until soft
All of the pesto that the above recipe makes.  About 1/4 of a cup if I had to guess, maybe a little more or less

6 beefsteak tomatoes

1.  Start the rice while you prep everything else
2.  Chop the onion and cook until soft.  Add to a medium size mixing bowl
3.  When the rice is done add to the cooked onions
4.  Make the pesto and add to the rice mixture.  I made my pesto a little too salty so I didn't add any extra seasoning but you might want to add some if needed
5.  Cut the top off of the tomatoes, then core and scoop out the filling leaving enough of an edge so the skin doesn't break.  I found it easiest to take a small knife and cut into the tomatoe like you would cutting a bread bowl.  Then I took a small ice cream scoop like this one: and scooped out the insides. 

  The good parts of the guts I cut up and added to the rice mixture, discard what you don't use
6.  Take some olive oil and spread the outsides of the tomatoes and the bottom of your baking dish.  I used one of those rubber basting brushes. 
7.  Spoon in the stuffing to the tomatoes and fill to the top, making a small mound. 
8.  Sprinkle with vegan parmesan if desired. 
9.  Bake at 350* for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes are "wrinkled" and soft. 

Mac N' Cheese!

Roasted garlic bread.

Batter ready to bake!

Baked nice and purdy!!!

Tofutti cream cheese frosting

Cupcakes frosted with a slice of strawberry and sprinkles!!
I found the recipe for the red velvet cupcakes for Kathryn Lovett's Blog.  They couldn't have come out any better, even if they had eggs or dairy in them!  My mother who is the test of all things southern LOVED them, along with all of the dinner guests.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  The link I have attached calls for 1 1/2 cups of flour, but if you click on the link to the right to the same recipe it calls for 2 cups.  I used the link to the left and used 2 cups of flour.  It obviouisly came out fine.  The batter was very thick which is probably because of all the flour, but I wouldn't say it needs to be reduced.  This recipe also called for 3 T of red food coloring.  My little bottle was 1 T and was totally enough red to make that deep red I was looking for.  The frosting I felt needed a little more powdered sugar as it was a little thin and runny.  And as you can tell from the photos the icing wanted to run off the cupcakes.  I would have thickened it up but I ran out of powdered sugar.  It still tasted great.  If you are going to make it I would start with what the recipe called for and adjust accordingly. 

Everything at dinner was great, not just the food but the company and conversation.  I'm so lucky to have such great friends.  Can't wait to do it again!  =) 

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Orleans Muffaletta .... Veggie Style

I didn't even realize that yesterday was my 50th post!!   WhooHoo for milestones at Amateur Vegan Chef!  Cheers to 50 more!  I am happily snuggled on my couch with a blanket and my Bella.  As most of you know I don't have to commute to work since I live above my office.  Today I had to drive out to Sacramento for a continuing education class, of course it just happened to be the stormiest day this week.  At least I'm home now and tomorrow is Friday!!! 

Since Mardi Gras I've been craving muffaletta's.  Muffaletta's are a typical New Orleans sandwhich.  The distinguishing feature is an olive salad that dresses the sandwhich.  Typically it is layered with different Itilian meats and cheeses all on a nice round crusty bread.  I wanted to make a veggie version and found this recipe at No Meat Athlete.  In New Orleans you can buy the olive spread in the grocery stores.  We normally bring some home with us when we go but I didn't have any handy so I made my own.  It was just as good as the store bought.  I followed the recipe from No Meat Athlete.  I would watch the salt if you decide to add any.  The olives are already pretty salty on their own.  I followed the rest of the recipe exactly except leaving out the mozzarella and it turned out great.  I'm sure you could sub for some vegan mozzarella but I didn't have any on hand.  Rich even loved them.  The picture above on the left is a picture of the olive salad on the bottom of the sandwhich on the right is with all of the toppings.  I put the olive salad on the bread while the peppers and artichokes marinated in the vinegar so the juices would soak into the bread. 

I made potato salad on the side.  Chopped some potatoes added them to a pot of water and boiled them until fork tender.  Add some chopped red and white onions, a few scoops of vegenaise, mustard, relish, horseradish, salt and pepper.  Mashed together...voila!  It was a great dinner and hit the spot.  The olive salad is great on other stuff too.  On any sandwhich or mixed with the potato salad.  Definitely on the keep list! 

Saturday I'm having dinner with some friends!  Can't wait!  Till then....

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"New" Apartment

I thought I'd get back to blogging sooner but I guess not.  I don't have any food to talk about, just left over stew and quinoa and veggies for me.  I did want to show everyone the apartment now that it's all back together again! 

before, with half the carpet out and before walls were painted

This is after the primer.  We had it tinted to the color we were going to paint the walls but it ended up being PURPLE!

We got new paint and here is the final color before the tape was off

The other side of the room after paint

Paint after the tape removed in the daytime.

Better lighting from the other side of the room.

With all our stuff packed up, just the furniture left, waiting for new carpet!

New Carpet!!

It looks a little pink in this pic, but it's really just pink!

Back together again!!!

First vignette next to Rich's desk

On the opposite wall by Rich's desk.  See the chunk of plaster the carpet guys took out.  We're fixing that.. Top right is a chalk board

Another vignette, Rich has since tucked the cords under the carpet so they aren't showing

The bench behind my couch.

My kitchen table and my new yellow bread box!

My fridge and my beautiful nieces and nephews!

Behind the kitchen table

My built in make up desk.  LOVE!

Look into the kitchen from the living room.

Close up of my kitchen cart and wall art. 

Kitchen coming in from the front door.  It's a little dark in this corner.

The old school metal cabinets.  =)

The bedroom.  This room still needs some work.  I'm having a quilt made for the bed! 

From the bed looking into the kitchen

The top of our dresser and window sill.
 So that is my apartment!!!  It's SOOOO can't even imagine to have everything back to normal!  I made some muffaletta's tonight for dinner.  I'll blog about it tomorrow!  Till then...

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!