Tag Archives: Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I am not a breakfast person. I don’t like sweet breakfast foods, and I have a smoothie every morning. If there isn’t a smoothie, usually breakfast gets skipped and I have an early lunch. But I am warming up to brunch, mostly because of booze. But this list is probably just breakfast foods. *shrugs* Oh well. They are brunch to me. Almost all are sweet things, so don’t get too mad is you are a savory fan. 

One Bowl Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These were super fast to put together, and the result is a super soft and yummy muffin. I subbed spelt flour for all purpose flour since I had it on hand. But as promised, you used only one bowl, making it a quick muffin to make. This is a great dish to make for a super sweet muffin on the weekends.

She suggests adding cream cheese to the middle, and I used whatever I had left for the centers. I wasn’t impressed with the centers as they were too tart in my opinion. She says the sugar is optional, but I think it is a must. I used Tofutti cream cheese, and it cooked up fairly stiff. If anyone else tries as different cream cheese with different results please share! Since I didn’t have enough cream cheese only some of the muffins got the center. I found that they baked up fine without the cream cheese center.

Bottom Line: Super yummy, mix sugar in the cream cheese!

Raw Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge

I’ve mostly been eating chia pudding for my pre-morning run. It is easy to make and pretty much something to make the night before. This buckwheat porridge ranks up there with easy accessibility. It is simple and easy, and very yummy. My only problem is that you need access to fresh fruit as a topping, which sometimes isn’t as readily available during the winter.

I also found that sometimes buckwheat can be pricey, depending on where you go. And this recipe will use to up a good amount of buckwheat groats fast. But you CAN find buckwheat for cheaper prices, you just need to keep your eyes peeled. 

Bottom Line: Good for weekday OR weekend

Easy Vegan and Gluten-Free Pancakes

What a boring name for these? Banana Buckwheat Pancakes is more interesting. Gluten-free Banana-Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes is even better. But hey, whatever. Doesn’t matter what they are called because these are delicious! I was shocked at how well it all worked together.

Sure they aren’t 100% like normal pancakes, but they don’t really seem “gluten-free” either. They have an earthy-nutty flavor that is welcomed. The bananas add a nice sweetness to the pancakes without it being overwhelming. The only downside is that the batter is thick so I had a hard time getting “pretty” cakes.

I didn’t start with buckwheat groats, but instead had some leftover buckwheat flour from a local Asian food market. I can only imagine that this helped the texture in the end since the store bought flour would have a more consistent texture than home ground flour. I was lazy and didn’t make the homemade whip cream, but these pancakes tasted great with some blueberry syrup.

Bottom Line: Yummy but not too heavy like more “gluten-free” pancakes

Norwegian Cinnamon Buns (Norske Kanelsnurrer)

I am so excited to finally try a recipe from Seitan is my Motor. I love how much thought and planning goes into Constanze’s recipes. I’ve learned quite a lot of European baked goods, and given me a much needed window outside of American sweets. This was the first year having my In Laws over for Christmas morning, so I wanted to include them on our growing tradition of brunch on Christmas.

My overall biggest complaint is that the recipe uses rapid action yeast. So you can’t make it as quickly as regular cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I tried my best to wake up and start the dough right away, but I don’t think they were fully finished until 12:30-ish. You need to proof the dough twice, once for 90 minutes and another for 60 minutes.

Aside from that, the recipe worked wonderfully. I liked how the rolls weren’t too sweet and used healthier flour than just all purpose. Having the spelt and whole wheat makes them more filling, though I am sure a little more tough compared to if I made them with just all purpose flour. I may have also overbaked them slightly working against a fluffy texture.

Bottom Line: Yummy, but wished there was an overnight option

Scramble Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi

I feel like the dish is the definition of brunch- breakfast and lunch combined into one. Taking a lunch sandwich (Bahn Mi) and mixing it with the classic scrambled tofu for breakfast. This is something I love since I am more of a lunch person than and breakfast person.

I have a confession. I’ve never actually ate Bahn Mi before. I’ve heard about it, but never took the dive before giving up meat. Steak was never my favorite. So I can’t judge it on how authentic it is. I can judge on how tasty it was. The tofu is wonderfully spiced, and does look a lot like eggs. The Star Anise Daikon Pickles were a great add on. They were crisp and probably gave it that Bahn Mi feel. The downside? There was a little bit of leftovers. No big deal. It will just make a Bahn Mi wrap for lunch. This is definitely a something that will grace our table over and over again.

Bottom Line: Great for people who prefer more of the Lunch of Brunch

Almond Butter Banana Breakfast Bars

I always hate when I find vegan recipes that use lots of expensive ingredients. One cookie recipe used teff flour, maple syrup, and almond butter in huge quantities. It made me wonder how much each cookie cost? I was too afraid to find out. This recipe does use some expensive items like maple syrup and almond butter, but uses them in small reasonable amounts. I like that. All the other ingredients are cheap and commonly found in a vegan pantry.

The recipe is easy and fast to make. I made a change with the maple syrup since I ran out of it. I used a little blackstrap molasses and agave to fill in the rest of the syrup needed. I think blackstrap molasses was too strong, and I wish I used the maple syrup since the flavors would of worked really well. I also swapped spelt flour for whole wheat since i had it on hand. The dough was thick, but the end result is very soft and fluffy.

I divided the bars up into 8 pieces not 10 or 12 as suggested to give a hearty breakfast, but dividing them up smaller makes a great side for breakfast. Maybe a tofu scramble? Or sauted veggies? These are drool inducing bars, but they are tasty and not too desserty like some baked breakfast foods.

Bottom Line: Really tasty!

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With the Christmas season here, there is a good chance you are making cookies. And I thought it would be a good time to try out a bunch of recipes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. It is a classic vegan cookbook that covers the topic of… well… cookies. It goes a little further covering bar cookies, brownies, and biscotti. Some of the cookies I made for christmas, and some I’ve made in the past for daily eating.

Photos

There are lots of photos in this book, I would say about half of the cookies have a photo. All are well lit and beautifully photographed. All the cookie photos are places on brightly colored backgrounds, making the photos very kid friendly (which let’s face it, we all remember the joys of cookies as kids.) There are enough photos to spark the reader in making new cookies, but I do have a problem. There are a few cookies that are nicely clipped to have white backgrounds and randomly show up in recipes. For example the Mexican Snickerdoodles show up in the recipe for Chocolate Marmalade Sandwich Cookies. At first I found this confusing, until I noticed the same cookies photo appearing over and over again.

Set-up

The book starts with some cookie basics which truthfully I skipped. I started to read it, but it can be painfully boring to the seasoned vegan baker. BUT it is filled with important information to a new baker. For example, I think my husband could read it and feel more confident about the different flours out there. There is even a section that have various troubleshooting situations. So if your cookie doesn’t turn out right, you can fix it.

They divide the cookies up by drop cookies, wholesome cookies, bar cookies, fancy cookies, and roll and cut cookies. When flipping through, it is easy to go from one section to another without ever noticing. I think this is true for all of their baking books. I am not really sure if I care too much about having “sections” or not. 

Writing

The book has the usual fun writing styles of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. They really make you feel comfortable with baking, and make veganism seem less exclusive. They also make you smile for the “fancier” cookies, they aren’t that hard, you got this. The directions are easy and to the point, making it easy to tell if I need a stand up/hand mixer or just a big wooden spoon.

Overview

I love this cookbook. All these cookies have been winners, though I wish or rather could see this book being much bigger. Compared to the vegan pie in the sky and the cupcake take over the world, I feel like there are SO many types of cookies that I wish this book could be just a little bit bigger. There seem to be a large amount of drop cookies that used oatmeal. There also aren’t many of the classic Christmas cookies that you might find with Christmas tree decorations, or other classic cookies I grew up with. I know they can’t cover ALL cookies ever made, but I feel like there are so many that aren’t easily interchangeable like how a cupcake can be paired with different frosting to make a new flavor.

But everyone loves the cookies I’ve been making, and there are so many new inventive flavors. Carrot cake cookies? Grapefruit? Tahini lime? And out of all the cookbooks there are the least amount of “weird” vegan ingredients. Meaning I would feel pretty comfortable giving these recipes to an omni baker, who wouldn’t have to go out and buy new ingredients.

Below are all the cookies I made from the book- which is a lot. They are so good, and I recommend buying this book for any vegan who needs to make cookies from time to time.

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Isa Chandra Moskowitz is known for her decadent vegan recipes from Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance. Here recipes, although delicious, sometimes would be very complicated. I would hesitate to cook anything from her books since the amount of dishes seemed intimidating. Most recipes were set up by veggies sides, a grain, and a protein. Sure the tofu would be manageable, but making the rice and the veggie side? It’s all just seemed too much for two adults on a weeknight.

But then came Isa Does It. The book focuses on weeknight cooking for people who are cooking for themselves, or for two. It always felt like Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance was cooking for a large family setting, or perhaps for a pot luck dinner. Isa Does It is quick and most importantly cheap. Yes, the focus on cheaper ingredients really helped me take a dive into the cookbook. 

Photos

There are lots of photos in this book. I am so glad that the publishers ditched the grouped photos that appear in Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance. I always find it hard to associate the recipe with the photo that way. Although there isn’t a photo for each recipe, majority of the recipes are covered. It is always nice to see what Isa got compared to what I got. Nothing is more frustrating than when you find out your snickerdoodle looks totally different than your friends, even with the same recipe.

The photos are beautiful, each photo is more of a scene than just the cooked meal. Each photo has a story set up, making the reader feel like they are viewing a window into the kitchen. Ingredients line up against the wall, flour spreads out on the counter, and utensils are waiting to be picked up. Some plates are plopped in a bowl for your weeknight dinner, some are plated as if you are going to a four star restaurant.

There are even a few instructional photos of how to cut tofu and tempeh. Sure it is a pretty simple task, but it is always a good idea to try and have your food as close to the recipe as possible. You know, for consistent results. Plus, when you first start out on a vegan diet, tofu is REALLY intimidating. I mean scary.

Set-up

The book is set up to be read from beginning to end. She gives basics about how to cook, what to have, chopping your tofu, etc. It is pretty simple, not overwhelming for a newbie, but not too simplified to bore a seasoned chef. Then Isa moves to Soups, stating they are the best recipe to start when learning how to cook. They are hard to mess up, according to Isa. I would probably have to agree. Then she moves to salads, which are still pretty simple. Handheld foods are next, things like burgers and tacos, then moving to the other common dinner categories (stews, pastas, sautes, etc).

It wasn’t until the last few chapters I felt a little weird. She put a chapter for Sunday Night Suppers, which to me defeat the purpose of the whole book. These recipes are more complicated, time consuming meals that are suggested for nights that you have more time to kill. Then she moves to Breakfast and Brunch which is a big carb-fest. Considering most of the book centers around dinner, it felt a little out of place, and the recipes didn’t personally speak to me. Then she has a chapter for desserts, which isn’t the worst. I just feel like there isn’t many new recipes brought to the table since she has three different books devoted to dessert.

Writing

I was getting a little fed up, my husband kept complaining about dinner. He meant well, he would get a little bored with the dinners I picked out, and I get that. I was picking what I wanted, not what he wanted. I remember eating with his parents and getting tired of not choosing my dinners. So I handed him Isa Does It, and asked him to pick out some recipes. He read a little and came back saying how he could understand why I like Isa Chandra Moskowitz so much. He thought her writing was honest, fun, and non-judgmental.

Isa continues with her signature writing style with this book. She takes all the romanticism typically associated with food writing and pokes fun at it. My favorite example? Isa proclaimes that she created the perfect dish to eat outside on a porch, or maybe your fire escape, don’t have either, just open a window and stick your head of it. Pop culture and jewish references are still overflowing out of the book.

As for errors? I think I might of read one recipe that might of skipped what to do with the salt, but nothing that would make or break a recipe.

Overview

I have to say when my husband said his one co-worker picked up this book to try and eat less meat and dairy, I couldn’t think of anything better to start with. I think this out of all Isa’s cookbooks give a great collection of easy to make recipes with realistic ingredients. Sure the seitan and tofu might be a little intimidating, but she provides recipes on how to make you own seitan which saves lots of cash. And even if you stay away from all seitan, tofu, and tempeh recipes you can easily find recipes to make throughout the book. Recipes that are filling, and don’t need “vegan specific” foods like soy milk or faux butters.

I can safely say that this cookbook will be one I will be using over and over and over again. These recipes are perfect for everyday cooking since they are fast and use cheap ingredients. One average I don’t think I would spend more than $10 overall per dish, which divides up as being fairly cheap per serving. Ingredients are flexible so it is easy to switch out ingredients (if you own a CSA) and Isa tells you how.

This is a cookbook for vegans, omnivores, beginners, or advanced chefs that are just trying to give weeknights more flavor. I would recommend people pick up this book over Veganomicon, as you will find more recipes to make in this.

Recipes

I always test some recipes from a book to give personal reviews on it. This book, I have a ton. I could blame my husband (who I told to pick things that he wanted to eat, they were almost always soup) or I could blame how relevant this book is to my life. Ingredients are cheap and recipes are fast, which made weeknight menus revolve around this book.

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04-20-14

Earrings: Target | Shirt: Monteau via Modcloth | Skirt: Downeast via Modcloth | Tights: Target | Shoes: Rocket Dog via DSW

I think my blog should be called “The girl who shops at Modcloth” because it is scary how much stuff I get there. Sometimes I make delusional memories of buying my clothing from Ruche, but I seriously only made one order from there. Eek. Truth is that I like the shoppers that Modcloth has, they have great quality for whatever price range.

This outfit was for Easter dinner. I wanted something that was comfy since my husband and I were driving all the way to Long Island to visit my Grandma. To put in perspective how annoying this is, you have to know New Jersey and New York culture. Long Island is next to Manhattan (what people think of when they say New York City), and is easy to see on a map of New York state. The island is where Brooklyn and Queens are located, but if you hear someone from New York or New Jersey refer to Long Island, they mean everything east of New York City on the island. Part of the distancing of New York City and the Long Island name is probably because Long Island is so freakin long. I mean it is the same length as Connecticut state. That means it takes a long time to and from the island. Commuting to New York City from Long Island could take just as long as some of the suburbs in New Jersey. And it is one of most densely populated islands in the world, making everything congested. Probably half the time I spent in the car was just trying to get through the island. Luckily she lives in Amityville, which is less than halfway in the island. And yes, it is the town in The Amityville Horror.

04-20-14-0

But if Long Island cultural perspective is boring to you, maybe cookies and cauliflower won’t be. I had a feeling no one would of made me a vegetarian dish, so made I made a side dish of roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, and olives. I remember making this recipe in the past so I figured I would give it a go. I also knew I should make these yummy carrot cake cookies.

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