Friday, 30 December 2011

Is That a Buffalo in That Salad?

Vegans are human, and wow has that human weakness been apparent in your favourite vamps for the month of December. Our usual supply of foodie goodness was replaced by the quick and convenient. Honestly, I am now to the point that all I want to eat are green things, or as Jennifer Saunders once said in a genius moment on 'Absolutely Fabulous', "Food with the dirt still on it."

I know that some vegans do not like the 'fake meat' products. We embrace Gardein as we do tofu, seitan and beans. In our kitchen there is a place for all deliciousness. One of our personal favourites is the Classic Buffalo Wings. Warning first: these are SPICY BABY! No wimpy vegans need apply.

I wanted a salad, I wanted wings, I made this amazing thing which I am convinced will be making a regular appearance in our food rotation.

washed baby spinach
3-4 mushrooms
1/4 of an avocado
2 tablespoons poppyseed dressing (it would also be good with a vegan ranch or blue cheese, but I was going for quick here and use a pre-made poppyseed)
5 Gardein Buffalo Wings

Salad assembly is pretty self-explanatory, right? Arrange your spinach, chopped up mushroom and avocado on a plate. Drizzle with the dressing. Prepare the wings as per package instructions. Put the wings and the sauce from the pan on the salad. Let the yummy flavours of the sauce blend with the cool dressing. Eat it. Thank me later!

* These instructions are the amounts for one salad. Multiply as needed when the people around you start begging for their own!
~ Denise

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Super Scrambliciousness

Who doesn't love a yummy fry-up? Ever since Melina and I have lived together, brunch has been a big part of our lives. There was the Mother Tucker's brunch buffet, where I learned that my new bestie considered a buffet to be a challenge. It was there that I saw her take on our friend Luke in a competitive eating challenge. She lost, but in fairness, Luke was amazing. Another memory: the many Sunday mornings with full breakfast and Coronation Street. Good times.

The bacon and eggs are a thing of the past, and we don't miss them one bit. Every vegan has their own version of the tofu scramble. We have many. This is just one of the many we have tried.

Tofu and Sausage Scramble

1 small block of extra firm tofu (227 grams)
2 vegan sausages (we like Tofurky Italian. Mmmmmm!)
1/2 medium onion
2 Tbs canola oil
salt and pepper

Sauté onion in the oil over medium heat until browned. Crumble the tofu and continue to sauté until it just begins to colour. Then add the chopped up sausages and continue to cook until lovely and brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like lots of pepper. Mmmmmmm!

We served with yummy kale and toast.  Amazing and so easy!

~ Denise

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

'THE' Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, finally, this is the post a LOT of people I know are waiting for. And we'll get to the cookies in a minute, but first I'd like to talk about the chocolate chip cookie. This is my favourite cookie, and always has been. When I was young, my mom bought the packaged ones, and they where ok. Then there was the President's Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie. This changed my life. It was love at first bite way back in the late 80's. Then I started making my own cookies. They were really good. Really, really good. I'd make them and bring them to my work, and I swear I got a raise at my first job because of them.

 I've made them and brought them in to every job I've had. This is the first time I've worked in such a large office, and also the first time I've had to make a quadruple batch. I've a growing list of separate little packages of cookies I need to make and deliver. I love to bake, and I love to feed people. I wish my company would just pay me to make the cookies for work everyday. It has been suggested. I don't think it will go too far.

Alright, back to the recipe. It comes form our very first vegan cookbook. There are some absolute gems in this cookbook. I just wish you could by them with laminated pages in a coil spine. As you can see, this has been through some wars.

                                                                 'How It All Vegan'

This holiday season, make everyone you know love you more, because food means love. Feed them. ; D

-Melina : D

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Non-Beef Stroganoff - Beating Betty

So, like lots of us, I didn't grow up vegan.  I grew up Betty.  I took over cooking rather young, and the Betty Crocker Cookbook was the only proper cookbook my mom had.  Plus, I liked pictures in my cookbook, as they were my teacher.

We ate a lot of horrible instant-types of food growing up, and Hamburger Helper was a regular dinner. We tried the Beef Stroganoff one once, and it totally grossed me out.  I've disliked the idea of it ever since.  (I actually loved this stuff as a kid but am learning I may have been the only person who did. ~ Denise)

However, Denise really liked this Stroganoff thing, (her mom cooked) and I said I'd make it tonight,  just veganize the Betty recipe.  I used Gardein Beef Tips.  It turned out well, Denise said it was really good. I liked it too so I think we will add this to the rotation.  (I liked real Stroganoff growing up as well, not just the Hamburger Helper kind.  We used to go to a kind of fancy place where I got Stroganoff crepes.  Now the idea of cow crepes is icky but this could be the solution. ~ Denise)

Vegan 'Beef' Stroganoff

1 package Gardien 'Beef' Tips, cut in 1/2
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1 1/2  cups veggie broth
2 tbsp ketchup (weird, but do it)
1 tap salt
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp flour
1 cup vegan sour cream

In a medium or large skillet, add the Earth Balance and 'beef' and saute on medium heat, till browned. Keep about 1/3 cup of the veggie stock, but pour in the rest, as well as the ketchup and salt and garlic. Heat to boiling and reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and onion, cover again and simmer about another 5 minutes, or till onion is tender. Whisk flour and broth together till it forms a sort of thickish paste, then add to 'beef' mixture. heat to boiling, stirring lots. Boil for 1 minute. Then add sour cream and heat till hot. Serve over pasta or rice.

I really enjoyed this, and will make it again. Soon. (YAY! ~ Denise)

- Melina : D

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bronski Curry

I love curry.  This is definitely the best chickpea curry I have ever eaten, and we have a lovely lady named Bronwyn to thank for it.  There are a few things you should know about Bron.  #1 She's vegan, which makes her cool.  #2 She's British, which makes her cooler.  #3 She has a tendency to pose in an inappropriate manner with statues, and occasionally cannons.  #4 She eats pickled onions, which makes me think she is very brave.  I can't get my head around them myself.

The availability of curry on every corner is one of the many reasons that Melina and I think living in the UK would be heavenly.  Also, the gorgeous scenery, shopping and sexy accents.  But I digress.

Our very favourite restaurant in the city is the Taj Mahal.  Melina has made me promise that when I get a novel published,  I will take her out to dinner there.  She has been planning the menu for ages.  In the meantime, we get by with an assortment of homemade curries, including this one.  It is known in our home as 'Bronski Curry', and I could eat it every day.  YUM!

Melina will explain further.  :)

Thanks, Denise.

Bronski is awesome. I do enjoy a fine curry. We thank her for this recipe. Yay!

Chickpea Curry

1 tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
5 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 good pinch cinnamon
1 cup water
1 large tomato, chopped
pinch oregano

Heat oil in medium pot. Add onion and saute till translucent, then add garlic and saute and minute or so more. Add ginger and curry powders, stir and saute for about 1/2 minute more, add chickpeas, water, salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Stir.
Then add the tomato and oregano. Stir.
Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until tomatoes cook down. Stir on occasion.
After tomatoes are cooked, remove lid and continue cooking to remove excess liquid. When you have desired thickness, serve over rice.

It is a good curry. It freezes well too.

- Melina  : D

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Holy Mochi!

I know you may be thinking, "What the heck is mochi?".  Or possibly, "How are you so beautiful AND smart?".   I can't answer all of the questions in one sitting so I'll focus on the first.

Mochi is a crispy, gooey and amazing bit of heavenly goodness.  This is amazing considering that it is only brown rice steamed and smashed into a hard cake.  What happens when you cook this stuff is MAGIC!  No, really.  We're witches so we are qualified to define something as magical.

There are a few ways to cook mochi, though we have only tried a quick fry.  It is so good that way, we have gotten stuck.  Mmmmmmm ... gooey and fried mochi ... yummy ...

OK, I'm back.  Mochi can be cooked with a waffle iron, and I am dying to buy a waffle iron if only to try this.  It can apparently be baked.  Once cooked you can use it as a crouton / dumpling in soup.  But this is not how we love it.

Heat up some oil in a pan, just enough to cover the bottom.  Cut the mochi up into 1 - 1 1/2 inch squares.  On a medium heat, cook the mochi for 7 - 10 minutes on each side, and watch it get crisp and puff up and change shapes.  MAGIC!!!

Serve drizzled with maple syrup, or brown rice syrup, or whatever sweet goodness you choose.   YUM!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Taco Salad, Meal of the Goddesses

I love taco salad. Oh, I supposed I should say something else as this is a blog.  I suppose you need to understand why I love taco salad. I've loved taco salad, in all it's various incarnations, for the last 24-25 years. The first taco salad I ever made was when I was 15, my mom had a little buy-at-the-grocery-store mexican cookbook.  There was a recipe for a taco salad. It was very similar to the taco salad you'd get in a mexican place.

When I first made it, I was not vegan, or even vegetarian back then. It was made with hamburger (barf) and  real cheese (barf). I used to make it with iceberg lettuce (which you could still use, it has a nice crunch thought not the most nutritious, or romaine if you like). I now make it with spinach. Since Denise's gall bladder removal, she cannot eat (digest) lettuce. Only spinach. Doctors say it has nothing to do with gall bladder removal. But she ate lettuce a lot before op, after op could not eat a bite without lots of pain. NO connection. Right.

Anyway, back to the joy of the taco salad. when we started this blog, I was excited because I knew we would be sharing my (Denise likes it a lot too) fave meal. It's the meal we have when we have something to celebrate, when we have people over, on holidays (usually on Christmas, as we have our Tofurky on Yule) or when we need some comfort. This salad might serve 4, but we don't roll like that, so it would be a big meal for 2. A very big meal.  (With lots of leftovers for lunch the next day, which is the best thing EVER!! ~ Denise)

Taco Salad

2 really big clamshells of baby spinach (or greens of your choosing) 10-12 cups, rinsed
1 package Daiya (we use cheddar)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tbsp minced onion
1 package veggie ground round (or similar)
1 tbsp oil
1 packet taco seasoning (or, if you want to keep away from processed, you can use a blend of spices to make taco-y, but you might want to add some thickener as well)
1 big bag tortilla chips (we love the que pasa ones) crushed
1 container vegan sour cream
1 jar salsa (or homemade if you prefer)

Ok, in a small skillet, add oil and ground round. Saute till sightly browned, then add 1/3 cup water and add taco seasoning, stir and simmer till thickened a bit.

In the biggest bowl you have, add minced onion, chopped tomatoes and toss. Add greens. Toss. Add crushed tortilla chips, and then add cheese, toss very well.

Now it ready to serve. Put greens mixture on plate, add some ground round, then a dollop or two of sour cream, and pour some salsa over it and you have a happy, happy taco salad.

I love it so much, I hope you love it too. This is my favorite meal. Ever.

-Melina  : D

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Frackin' Fabulous Falafel

Melina says; I'm so friggin' happy with this recipe. I was downstairs, taking photos of some new stuff for our Etsy shop. I started to smell really good things. Nevertheless, I worked away, 'snap, snap,snap'. I finish up, walked upstairs, and without seeing what it was Denise had made, I told her I didn't know what she was gonna eat (when we say that, we mean we are going to eat ALL of whatever it is, so the other one would need to look for food elsewhere).

It was amazing. I will be nagging Denise to make this again, and again. Or, I may try to make it myself. As I still don't love Denise in my kitchen. The falafel is well worth the making. I will never make any other.

Denise says - We are budgeting.  It is no fun, but what WILL be fun is buying a house in the country, and that is the goal.  So, with this in mind we have been trying to find some cheap meals.  This is why Melina allowed me to cook.  I have a knack for reading recipes and knowing what will be good.  More than once I have told my bestie that something sounded yummy and she thought I was full of poo, only to admit later she was wrong.  I won't lie; I enjoy this a lot.

I grabbed a homemade cookbook that I received as a gift from my friend Katrina several years ago.  She put together all of her favourite recipes, so I should qualify that I have no idea where the original recipe was found.  In this yummy collection was a recipe for homemade falafel and sauce.  I have been thinking a lot about making falafel from scratch lately because we have a stockpile of cans of chick peas that we got on sale.  I never expected them to be this yummy!  I will say in advance that they were baked, not fried, but still got quite crispy.  They did not hold together very well, so I might use a scoach more liquid in the next batch.  That's all I would change.


1 19 oz can of chick peas
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup minced onions
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 T tahini
1 1/4 t cumin
1 T parsley
1 T soy sauce
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper

I squished the chickpeas with a fork, and then blended all of the ingredients together.  Form into patties and bake a 350 degrees for 20 minutes on each side.  Voila!


1 1/2 cups water
2 t soy sauce
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
1 cup tahini
1/4 t salt

Mix it together, drizzle on top, thank me later!  And thank Katrina too,


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sweet and Sour and Never Bitter Tofu

Yup, that's what we think of every time we plan a meal with broccoli.  And we have been known to sing it.  CHOPPIN' BROCCOLI!  With FEELING!

Today's broccoli comes to us courtesy of Bob and Lorraine, my (Denise's) parents.  Whenever they come to visit they stop at a lovely market and arrives with gobs of vegetables.  Take note: if you plan on visiting a vegan any time soon, arrive with vegetables!  You will be loved.  And you may get offered a meal.

Today at work we were deciding what to do for supper, and we did something we do sometimes.  I give my initial thought and tell Melina to run with it.  Today it went something like, "I'm thinking broccoli.  I'm thinking tofu.  I'm thinking garlic.  GO!"  And this is what happened.  Take it away Melina!

Sooooo, as you can see, Denise has had me hard at work in the kitchen for the second night in a row. Hahaha. Well, I do love to cook. Every day at work, Denise nags me about what we are going to have for supper. And, as I'm at work and usually working, I try to either think of something quick, or ignore her... Which just pisses her off.

Anyway, so today she comes up with what I thought would be another annoying idea ( I occasionally resent that she has an opinion, even worse, a right to one) but it was actually a good one. Normally they sound pretty gross to me, but that is because I am a creature of cravings. If I crave something, I will do almost anything to have it.

She suggested tofu and broccoli with a sauce. I pictured fried tofu with a really nice sauce and some sweet steamed broccoli. Yeah, oh man, that would be good. Yeah, ok Denise, great idea. Then I remembered that she made an amazing sweet and sour sauce once. Yeah, that is what I was gonna do. I'd never made sweet and sour, but I knew there would be fresh ginger in it.

So, I sort of made my own version, as I like the sweet, and wanted lots of fresh ginger and garlic in it, as people are getting sick at work.

And fried or pan seared tofu, oh, yum.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1- 1 1/2 cups cool water
2-3 tbsp sweetener

Heat oil with the minced garlic and ginger. Sauté for about 5 minutes. While that is heating, combine the arrowroot starch with the water and stir till starch is dissolved. When the garlic and ginger are heated and fragrant add tomato paste, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar and sweetener. Mix till well combined. Then add water with arrowroot, and simmer on medium to low heat, stirring a lot till the sauce get thicker and a bit more translucent. Take off heat when done.

Take some tofu (we used a 454 gram package) and cut up and fry or pan sear. I fried mine in canola oil. So good.

I took two bunches of broccoli and cut up the heads, and rinsed well, and tossed in a wok with a bit of water in it, popped the lid on, and let it steam for about 5-8 minutes, till tender.

Denise wanted udon noodles ( I don't like them) so I put them in boiled water to soften.

Next, we assembled our meal.

It was so good, and I have to give props to Denise because she thought of a great idea. It will now be in our dinner rotation.

- Melina

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bad Ass Messy Bean Burritos

Recently, I've had a bit of a burrito obsession. Denise had to put a stop to every night burritos. Sometimes I can over do it. I have had things so much that I have to take a year off from them. I am a delightfully enthusiastic eater, who simply must obey her cravings. And I generally do.

So, after two or three weeks off the burritos, she suggested it last night, and I was all over that. I believe I hopped to the grocery store. But, as is always the way of two silly, tired, hungry, Aquarians in the 'G' store, we forgot the refried beans. Denise was kind enough to go back in to get them. My hero.

Bad Ass Messy Bean Burritos

2 tortillas (we like Ezekiel)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 gardein scaloppini piece, microwaved 2 minutes, slice length-wise
2 sweet peppers, julienned
1 jalapeño, sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 onion, sliced
1/2  cup refried beans
1/2 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
(Melina makes her own Mexican seasoning based on a recipe in The Kind Diet.  You can use your own, or pre-made.  YUM!  - Denise)

Some vegan sour cream, salsa, guacamole of whatever other condiment you like.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pan, toss in onion and sauté till soft. Then add gardien, sauté 2 more minutes. Then toss in the peppers and the mushrooms. Cook till peppers are soft-ish. They are still gonna cook in the oven.

Next, place the tortillas on a baking sheet, and spread 1/4 cup of the refried beans on each. When the peppers are cooked, divide mixture in the sauté pan onto each tortilla. Add 1/4 cup Daiya cheese.

This is where it gets messy. Try to wrap tortilla around contents and put open section face down on baking sheet. Make sure you have parchment paper or have oiled your baking sheet first! This is messy business folks.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Carefully move from sheet to plate. It is gonna be messy, and there will be lots left on the sheet. Scoop the remains (ooooh) onto the plate. Add the condiments of your choice. Enjoy!

P.S. You might need a napkin or two.

- Melina. :D