Plethora of Pie (Vegan MoFo #10)

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Thief of Always was the first book I read that was written by Clive Barker, so it holds a special place in my heart (and personal library). It is an enchanting story of a regular ten-year-old boy, bored from school and a dull home life, being swept away to a magical place called the Holiday House where he can have fun all day long.

Harvey loves this new place and enjoys the special treatment. Mrs. Griffin, the House’s care taker, explains that this is a get-away for unique children like him. There are only two other kids there with him, Lulu and Wendell. Wendell is near Harvey’s age and gives him a big tour of the House and explains that every day is full of holidays. Every morning is spring (which usually consists of playing in the tree fort), followed by afternoon summertime (full of naps and exploring), fall in the evening (Halloween and trick-or-treating), and lastly Christmas (with any toys you desire magically appearing under the tree). Other than Mrs. Griffin, there are other strange adults there who don’t seem to be normal humans. But Harvey is willing to look past this oddity since the Holiday House is so wonderful.

Harvey would like to spend the rest of forever here, until things start becoming weird. Lulu, though never particularly friendly, starts acting oddly secretive. And when Mrs. Griffin and the other adults refuse to answer his questions, he becomes suspicious. Then any attempts to leave the House are thwarted by mysterious powers. Now all Harvey wants is his dull life back, but he might not survive another attempt at escaping the Holiday House.

Harvey set himself down at the kitchen table, and within sixty seconds Mrs. Griffin had set a dozen plates of food in front of him: hamburgers, hot dogs and fried chicken; mounds of buttered potatoes; apple, cherry and mud pies, ice cream and whipped cream; grapes, tangerines and a plate of fruits he couldn’t even name.” – Thief of Always (paperback) page 20

I always imagined Mrs. Griffin being the perfect grandmother prototype with her elderly age and love of cooking pies. I didn’t want to choose a more ordinary pie (like the aforementioned apple or cherry), so the recipe below is for a rich and creamy mud pie!

mudpie

Mud Pie

Ingredients:

2 cups chocolate pudding (homemade or Jell-O brand is accidentally vegan)

1 graham cracker crust (either store-bought or homemade)

1/2 cup Smuckers marshmallow topping (it’s accidentally vegan and is found in the ice cream topping area)

1 cup vegan cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons original soymilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup raw pecans

Directions:

Set oven to 375 degrees. Bake the graham cracker crust for 3-5 minutes, just enough to let it brown and bake together (especially for looser homemade recipes). After baking, set the crust aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the marshmallow topping, cream cheese, soymilk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.

Next layer the pudding and cream cheese mixture into the pie crust. Put down a layer of pudding, then cream cheese mix, rest of the pudding, then drizzle the last of the cream cheese on top. Sprinkle with pecans and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Then slice and serve! It’s quite messy, but very delicious.

Breakfast of Witch Fighting Champions (Vegan MoFo #3)

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The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney is about Tom Ward, a young seventh son of a seventh son who is apprenticed to the local Spook. Spooks are fighters of the dark who battle witches, ghosts, boggarts, demons, and even the Fiend himself. As Tom starts his apprenticeship, he learns about all the things that go bump in the dark. His learning focuses on witches especially since they are quite common in this area. There are blood witches, who like to drain blood for ceremonies and occasionally drink it, and also bone witches, who will cut off the thumbs of enemies for spells. The Spook warns Tom that the easiest way to identify a disguised witch is by her pointy shoes.

One day, during an errand run into town, Tom meets a young girl named Alice. She seems fairly harmless and nice, but there’s one problem. She wears pointy shoes. Despite this, Tom has a hard time believing the girl could be capable of harming anyone. Since he has no friends since moving in with the Spook, he decides to befriend the girl.

Soon the Spook has to travel due to a job in another town. He leaves Tom in charge of the house, and promises to be back within a few days. Almost immediately, things take a turn for the worst. It’s not long before Alice is back, and Tom has a promise to keep to her. Through trying to keep his word and an unfortunate beginner’s mistake, Tom releases one of the most feared witches in the County, Mother Malkin. As she begins to terrorize him and his family, and without the wise guidance of the Spook, Tom must learn to fight the dark on his own.

“Yes,” I said “it was the very best breakfast that I’ve ever tasted. And I’m sorry for coming down too early and I promise that it won’t happen again.”

At that, the Spook grinned so much that I thought his face was going to split in two; then he clapped me on the back and led me out into the garden again.

It was only when we were outside that the grin finally faded. “Well done, lad,” he said. “There are two things that respond well to flattery: boggarts and some women. Gets them every time.” – The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch (hardcover) pages 94-95

In the Spook’s home is a boggart that cooks, cleans, and protects the property. While it is a friendly boggart (most of which in the book are not), it does not like people coming down to breakfast early or insulting its cooking. The result is the offender either getting boxed in the ears or their food being burned. In honor of the boggart’s breakfasts, I’m made breakfast food for lunch today (since waking up early to cook an actual breakfast is over rated).

boggart breakfast

Plated up is some cheesy tofu scramble (this tofu recipe with a handful of Daiya), Gimme Lean sausage patties, and a drop biscuit with strawberry preserves.

Sandwiches, Scones, and Game of Thrones

The weather was extremely nice last week, so Peter and I had a picnic at the park. There we munched on these grilled pizza sandwiches (which had pizza hummus and Daiya inside) and cucumber slices dipped in Italian salad dressing.
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I made a batch of Mom’s Chili, which I ate with crackers. I skipped using canned beans though, and cooked up some dried black beans and red beans the day before in the slow cooker. Then I mixed them with the rest of the ingredients to make the chili.

???????????????????????????????The next day the leftover chili was turned into a “Frito pie”. With layered crushed Frito corn chips and chili then smothered in healthy cheese sauce.

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Tomato-rosemary scones from Vegan Brunch. I’ve actually never baked scones before, but these were extremely easy to make and very delicious. My favorite way to have these is warmed up with a pat of margarine in the middle.
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Soft tacos with Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan, Daiya pepper jack, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was my first time trying the Upton’s seitan. I really liked the taste and texture of it, but the small amount of seitan per package for a fairly high price (at least at my local Earth Fare) was not worth it.
???????????????????????????????“Chicken” parmesan, made with soy-tan dream cutlets from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (which I breaded and pan-fried), with melted Daiya mozzarella, all on top of spaghetti in a creamy marinara sauce, and sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
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Lentil and veggie soup, which I mostly made because I needed to clean out my refrigerator’s produce drawer. It has lentils, onions, corn, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lima beans which were all cooked in a garlic tomato broth.

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For our three-year anniversary, Peter got me (along with a few other things) The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. I’m a big fan of the television show and hope to begin reading the books soon, so I was super excited to have these recipes based on the series.

Our local gaming group is actually starting a GoT roleplaying campaign, so for our session I made Arya’s Apricot Tart to share. Except there are no fresh apricots available around here, so we settled for peaches. To veganize the recipe I subbed Earth Balance for butter, coconut milk for heavy cream, and I used this recipe for the crust. It turned out delicious with a flaky crust, juicy peaches, and buttery crumble topping. I can’t wait to try more recipes from the cookbook.

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Summer Food Lovin’

Summer is upon us! So now is the time to be free and spend my days cooking, baking, crafting, blogging, and playing with my new kitten (who shall get his own post later).

I moved out from the dorms and into a lovely apartment with my friend, Ryan. We have a nice kitchen with plenty of space, and I plan on trying at least one new recipe a week over the summer break. This should give me plenty to blog about and, hopefully, add a few good recipes to my repertoire.

Below are the meals I’ve made from the last two weeks of school up until I moved into the apartment (except the last one).

Chilled rice salad made with brown rice, corn, carrots, tomatoes, and water chestnuts, all tossed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing and placed on top of mixed greens.
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Spaghetti with “meaty” marinara sauce, and a side salad.
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Slow cooker refried beans. Not particularly pretty, but delicious and much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought canned kind.
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Homemade salsa verde made by blending tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice, and garlic in the food processor. ???????????????????????????????Soft tacos with black beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and salsa.

???????????????????????????????Homemade chick’n seitan patty with ketchup, a side salad, and Spanish rice.

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And now I bestow upon you, my faithful readers, the most delicious vegan mac and cheese in existence. I tried the recipe on a whim, but this butternut squash mac and cheese is totally amazing. A lot of vegan cheese sauces are close, yet not exactly what I remember mac and cheese to taste like. But this recipe is so creamy and cheesy tasting, I bet you could even trick an omnivore. It reminds me of the Cracker Barrel mac and cheese I loved during my pre-vegan youth.
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Veggie salad with saffron couscous.???????????????????????????????One of the first meals I made in my new kitchen was seitan tetrazzini, mashed potatoes and squash, and fresh corn on the cob (take note of the awesome pig corn holders). I changed the tetrazzini recipe by adding an onion, Mrs. Dash garlic and herb, and using Morningstar chick’n meal starter strips instead of seitan. It was good, but a bit dry after baking it. Next time I’ll probably skip baking it and just broil the Daiya on top.

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Dorm Noms

I finally got a camera cord, yay! Well actually I got a camera cord a few weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to blog until now. School work is taking up more time this semester, so my posts will be more sporadic but will probably have a lot more stuff covered in them.

Here’s what I’ve eaten so far this semester:

Carrot cake muffins from a recipe on The Flaming Vegan.

Seasoned black beans mixed with Daiya on top of chipotle tomato rice.

The local eatery, Eclipse Coffee and Books, has added several new vegan items to their menu and I decided to try them out.

First was the couscous and quinoa salad. Gotta be honest, I don’t really like the texture of pearl couscous or quinoa, so this wasn’t a huge hit for me. It had a great taste, kinda spicy with a citrus-y undertone, but the texture was a deal breaker for me. The coconut macaroon cookie from Alternative Baking kind of made up for it though.
Although the first vegan dish was a bit disappointing, the second definitely wasn’t! They added a veggie burger to their menu and it is fantastic. It’s made with quinoa and beans and is served on rye bread with your choice of toppings. I got mine with lettuce, tomato, mustard, and ketchup.

I guess Eclipse’s burger got me in the mood for sandwiches, because a few days after that I tried my hand at making my own veggie burgers. I very loosely based it around this recipe, but made lots of changes.

I mashed up a drained can of black beans, added about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup diced onions, 2 tbsp taco sauce, and some Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy. Then I formed them into four patties and cooked them in an oiled  skillet for a few minutes on each side. They were sooo good. After making these, I may just stop buying pre-made veggie burgers altogether. I need to make another batch and test whether they can withstand freezing very well. I ate my sandwich on a onion bun with pickles, tomato, and some Vegenaise mixed with Sriracha.

I broke out the slow cooker this weekend too and made some Mom’s Chili, seen here topped with some Tofutti sour cream.

On Saturday I spent time with my friend Skye and her lovely mother Sally. We went to Whole Foods and ate lunch at their cafe. I got fried tofu (with ketchup), a seasoned mixture of black eyed peas and butter beans, and a grain salad with millet, barley, and brown rice. It was all really yummy and I will definitely be going back their to eat soon.

And also for dessert at Whole Foods I got a double chocolate vegan cookie, woot!

Fall is the Season of Blogging

Well  summer has come and gone, thank goodness! As much as I like having nothing to do, I have desperately missed school and Montevallo. And for some reason when I have nothing to do, I don’t blog either. It may seem strange, but when I’m back at school (even with homework and projects to do) I have much more drive to blog just for the fun of it.

But just because I didn’t write this summer doesn’t mean I didn’t photograph all of my good meals. Here’s what I enjoyed:

Super veggie salad with mixed lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, a chopped Boca chick’n patty, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Baked tofu that had been dipped in a simple coating of flour/soymilk with tons of seasonings and topped with caramelized onions.

I realize this salad (can it really be called a salad if there’s no lettuce?) isn’t the prettiest dish around, but it sure was tasty. A tortilla bowl with beans, spiced veggie crumbles, nacho cheez (made with Daiya) and guacamole.

I also found out that the cardboard braces in the tortilla shell box make fantastic crowns! That is me modeling it below with my serious face on.
Summer is the perfect time for an ice-box pie. So I made this cherry cheez-cake pie. It’s just a simple homemade graham cracker crust layered with a mix of cream cheez, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar, then canned cherry pie filling. Super simple and fast, but really good.

Here’s yet another salad. This one has mixed lettuce, red onions, tomato, smoked tofu, and kalamata olive Greek dressing. I (sadly) can’t remember the name of the dressing brand, but I bought it at Earth Fare. It is by far the best salad dressing I’ve ever had, so if I can find the name I’ll be sure to share it here.

And this summer I also experienced something wondrous: I ate my first peanut butter cup since going vegan four and a half years ago. My traveled to Cullman, AL to visit my friend Seth and while we were there we found Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. They are less sweet than the traditional Reese’s Cups that I remember, but the dark chocolate and natural peanut butter were phenomenal together. Definitely worth the long wait to find something this good.

Biscuits & Beans

Since gas prices suck nowadays, I am trying to drive less places or at least not as far for things I can find nearby. So that means I am using our local Lucky’s grocery store for most of my ingredients, which forces me to rely on less processed foods (Boca patties, Vegenaise, etc.) and more on regular stuff.

The cookbook Table for Two is helping with this, because most of the recipes use common ingredients, plus the small quantities from the recipes make it where I am not forced to eat leftovers by myself for a week.

One of the recipes I used from the book was for whole wheat biscuits, but I subbed all-purpose flour for the wheat. These lovely little drop biscuits took less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and were delicious. I ate some with Earth Balance and strawberry jam for breakfast this morning.

Although it’s getting really hot outside, I am still eating a lot of hot food. I started swimming twice a week, and after getting out of the pool I am cold and wanting something filling. Chili is the answer! This particular chili had Navy and pinto beans and TVP. I actually ate this with some of the leftover biscuits and it was fantastic. This shall be my lunch for the next few days.

For dinner today I had a marinated bean and corn salad. I took a can of black beans, a can of corn, freshly chopped tomatoes, and let it marinate for a while in the fridge with Kraft mango chipotle dressing. I then put it on a bed of baby spring lettuce with crushed Fritos. The mango chipotle dressing was just okay, the mango taste seemed a bit artificial to me. But to not waste so much food, I just loaded on some salsa and the salad was saved.