Spring Break Noms

I have been on a blogging break for spring break, but it’s time to start back now that school begins tomorrow morning. I ate a lot of good food over the break and now it’s time to share pictures of all my noms.

Right before leaving for the break, the cafeteria actually made a nice vegan lunch. They had grilled eggplant “steak”, steamed broccoli, and spicy hummus paired with some tomatoes, olives, and cucumber slices from the salad bar.

My boyfriend, Peter, and I went to Arkansas last weekend to visit my mom, so we got the pleasure of not having to cook and let her be the one to feed us. She made some great blueberry muffins with streusel topping for breakfast.

Not everything was homemade though, we did get us some pizza from the US Pizza Co.

We got the veggie-lovers pizza. Though I had to eat mine cheese-less because I had no Daiya on hand, it was still really good. The thin crust gets super crispy and they use canned mushrooms which gives it a meatier texture. Yum.

Once back home in Alabama, I thoroughly enjoyed having my own kitchen to cook in. I am still not used to the icky public kitchens in the dorms. For lunch I cooked up some frozen hash-browns with spicy seasoning, a bit of salsa, and a ton of Daiya cheddar. I topped the hash-browns with Tofutti sour cream and added a Garden Burger black bean patty on the side.

The four ingredients in the following picture are magical… No, not really, but it seems like they are. (scroll down to see why)

Those ingredients turned into one of the best dishes I have ever made, chick’n and dumplings. I brought about half of the container of Imagine No-Chicken Broth to a boil, stirred in a vigorous dose of Mrs. Dash, added the chopped up Gardein chick’n, and lastly threw in the pre-made dumplings to cook. All in all, this meal took at most 15 minutes to make, and it was delicious.

Another experimental dish that turned into a keeper was this creamy pasta with sausage. I threw some spiral pasta in to cook and then began making a sauce. I added a can of diced Italian tomatoes, two big handfuls of chopped kale, a dollop of Tofutti sour cream, a healthy dose of Parma vegan parmesan, and some chopped of Yves Italian sausages. The sauce simmered for about ten minutes while the pasta cooked, then I threw it all together in a pot. I served it with a whole-wheat Alexandria’s roll on the side. This was delicious and my sister and her boyfriend (who are sometimes known to be picky around vegetable filled foods) sucked down all the leftovers with their compliments to the chef.

I know Easter is still two weeks from now, but I couldn’t resist making these cute cookies. They were pink lemonade flavored, and they were *gasp* from a box mix. The cookies tasted great though, but the bunnies were an issue. I found the adorable Easter decorations at  Walmart and since the box said “edible” on it, I assumed it was true. These sugar bunnies could literally chip your tooth if you tried to chew on one, they were like rocks. Everyone enjoyed the cookies though and just pulled off the decoration.

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Finals Week Food

Once this week ends, it’s onward to home and freedom! This semester has not been hard at all though, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the rest of my college experience is such a breeze (yeah, right). The cafeteria’s food is still pretty bad, but the other day they had two wonderful vegan things: peppery hummus and minestrone veggie soup. Below is the soup and the hummus piled on top of some lettuce, green olives, and tomatoes.

Even though the cafeteria is trying (slowly, but surely) to step up their game, I still feed myself two of my daily three meals. Which means I sometimes reach for the traditional college student staple, ramen noodles. Though I’m not willing to eat the super bad for you kind that is sold for 15 cents a package. I’m willing to pay the extra 35 cents and save my health. I eat Koyo garlic pepper ramen which is baked, made with organic ingredients, and has 190 calories and 1 gram of fat. That is fantastic in comparison to the 380 calories and 14 grams of fat found in Maruchan Top Ramen packages.

So I made the garlic pepper ramen below and topped with some Wild Wood baked teriakyi tofu for extra protein. This only took 5 minutes. So a meal that’s not too bad for you, filling, fast, and cheap. Sounds like me and Koyo ramen are going to be friends for the next four years to come.

I’m excited to be going back home for three weeks though. No more wearing flip-flops in the shower, waking up early, or having to carry all my cooking stuff down two floors to make a meal. Now I can make yummy junk, like this pizza pictured below that I made last weekend. It has roasted garlic marinara sauce, Daiya cheez,  Yves “beef” crumbles, mushrooms, and kalamata olives. Not very pretty, but very yummy.

Along with the pizza, I also baked some mini blueberry and cream cheez pies last weekend. I thought these up on a whim, and they only took about 30 minutes total to make and bake them. The reason they were so simple is because I used a few *gasp* pre-made ingredients. I know, I know, the whole speech about how making things by hand makes it healthier and better overall, but sometimes I just don’t feel like going through the trouble.

So the crust is from pre-made crescent rolls dough, folded neatly into a muffin tin. The filling is vegan cream cheez that has been blended with lemon juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, then all that was topped of with blueberry pie filling. I folded the tops over the filling, baked them for 10 minutes, and voila! Delicious and adorable mini pies.

Speaking of adorable desserts, I made these sweet and simple reindeer cookies. I was inspired by a photo on Pinterest (my new addiction), and decided to make a batch to bring to the FCS Student Group Christmas party. They are just Nutter Butter cookies that has been coated in dark chocolate, then topped with pretzel antlers and frosting facial features.

And sadly, this last Wednesday was my final Food Prep class. The theme for the cooking lab was appetizers, so I brought a recipe for vegan crab cakes. At first, all the omnivores were skeptical because the recipe called for lots of “weird” ingredients like tempeh and Vegenaise, but once they tried a bite everyone was head over heels for this recipe. It was a bit time-consuming to make, though so very worth it. I’m saving the recipe and definitely going to make it again soon. This was a great dish to end this class with.

Thanksgiving – Pigs, Cards, and Cake!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived Black Friday (if you dared to venture out). Now is the time to begin prepping for Christmas, and since I’ve decided every one of my gifts will be homemade, I need to get to work asap. But there is no need to skip Thanksgiving, like many major store chains seem to be fine with doing. It should get just as much air-time as Christmas.

Before I blab about our holiday surrounding thankfulness, food, family, pilgrims, and football, I need to give you a daily-dose of cuteness. Look at the adorable little pot-scrubber Peter gave me for my birthday:

I love this little piggie, and it makes the annoying chore of washing dishes much more pleasant.

On to Thanksgiving though! My mother enjoys sending me cards at school and they’re sweet reminders to not stress too much about classes and enjoy life as much as possible. Here’s the most recent card she sent:

It says “Go stuff yourself!” inside. What a cute and vegan-friendly card.

For our Thanksgiving meal we had Tofurky roast, mashed potatoes topped with “poultry gravy”, green bean casserole, and buttery Bisquick biscuits.

For dessert we had cream-filled gingerbread bundt cake.

This was the first bundt cake I’ve ever made and I was quite pleased with how it came out. I looooved the cake’s cream “cheese” filling and how it coordinated with the spices in the cake. It was a tad dry, but I think I may have just baked it for too long.

Peter’s family also had Thanksgiving celebrations later in the week. I brought another Tofurky roast with some mushroom gravy (which I didn’t bother to photograph) and a lemon-berry cheez cake.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Lemon-Berry “Cheese”cake Recipe

When I went vegan I was afraid that I would have to give up many of the foods I loved, including cheesecake. But then I discovered silken tofu!

Like most tofu, it’s tasteless and white, but with a soft and creamy texture. When you mix it with other tasty ingredients and bake it in a pie shell it ends up with the texture and taste of cheesecake! I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for while and I’ve finally got it how I like it.

Lemon-Berry “Cheese”cake

Printable Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients:

One graham cracker pie crust (store bought or home-made)

1 cup silken tofu

1 cup strawberries (fresh or thawed frozen)

1/2 cup mixed berries, I used blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 TSPS lemon extract

2 TBSPS cornstarch

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, combine silken tofu, mixed berries and strawberries. Process until smooth. You’ll probably have to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure everything is combined.

Add constarch and lemon extract, then blend until smooth. Then pour in the sugar and (for the last time, I promise) combine until smooth.

Pour the tofu/berry mixture into the pie crust. Put the pie into the heated oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Chill for at least 5 hours, then slice and serve! Feel free to garnish with vegan whipped cream.