Whole Foods Restaurant Row
CHeU Noodle Bar
Oh my. This is definitely a late post. It is probably- a year old? Maybe less. This was either Valentines Day, or for our anniversary (in May) Regardless, this post is so overdue that the food we got isn’t even available here anymore. So this post is a little all over. So lets start with what happened.
So Jon and I took a romantic trip in Philadelphia to visit the art museum and grab some grub. We originally wanted to get a cheesesteak from Whiz Kid. At the time they were JUST opening their brick and mortar store front, but only had a location at Whole Foods. So my husband and I went, and was surprised. The Whole Foods had moved since I’d last been there, making me very confused and panicked. Jon was already a little annoyed we were going to Whole Foods for lunch instead of someplace only found in Philly, so I felt extra pressure to not get us lost, and therefore extremely hungry from not eating. Luckily a local heard our confusion, and told us where to go (pretty much behind the Barnes Museum.) The new location is much nicer, providing more parking, a shopping cart elevator (THE BEST PART), and what they call restaurant row.
So I thought it would be worth the time to talk about this new restaurant row. I loved the idea especially since finding a vegan restaurant near the parkway can be hard. If you are visiting Philadelphia to visit The Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rodin Museum, or The Barnes Foundation I strongly suggest stopping here. You can easily buy a snack of fresh fruit, ice cream, chips, snack bar, anything you could find at a normal Whole Foods, but they also have options of drinks and food made fresh.
Let’s start with the booze. This was my favorite part, though I wasn’t really getting anything. I was still pretty sleep deprived at this point and having one beer for lunch probably wouldn’t of been the greatest. But you can get REALLY cheap beer on tap here. I am pretty sure the cheapest beer was $4, and it looked like it was a local craft beer!
Beer not you thing? I’m pretty sure there was wine- I mean look at that photo- that looks like wine bottles behind that lady right? I am pretty oblivious to wine, soooo… sorry guys for being a crummy reporter. lol. There was also a “cocktail” bar. I am pretty sure you can get the cocktails at the beer/wine bar, but they had another booth just for seasonal cocktails, which was closed at the time.
Don’t drink alcohol at all? Then you can check out the coffee bar that’s found at almost all Whole Foods. Pretty much I treat my local Whole Foods as a coffee shop anymore since they do not charge extra for soy or almond milk. Plus they have some of the best almond milk ever. Just take note that the coffee is on the first floor by the street entrance. Everything else is on the second floor.
Then you have the restaurants. There are little booths all set up in a row near the front of the store, kind-of looking like the little booths you see at malls. At the time we went there was CHeU and Wiz Kid, but they are now gone. I am not sure if this is a decision by Whole Foods, or the owners of the restaurants to move on out.
CURRENT VEGAN OPTIONS ON RESTAURANT ROW:
Clearly the restaurants rotate to keep things fresh. As of posting this in February 2018, these are the current options at restaurant row. There is ALSO a coffee, beer, and cocktail bar that will have varying vegan options. I recommend double checking the current restaurant listing Whole Foods Website to see their most up-to-date listing of restaurants.
Dizengoff 11 am – 8 pm
This restaurant chain offers middle eastern food. Although some of their specialities are meat based, most everything is vegan. Expect hummus with rotating seasonal toppings. Read review of the original store location here.
Goldie 11 am – 8 pm
This restaurant serves 100% vegan options. You can expect hot falafels, fries, and tehina shakes.
When Jon and I went, we ate at CHeU. This was a place I wanted to check out for awhile now. I deeply miss eating a good bowl of ramen. I knew they had a vegan option out there, so when Wiz Kid was closed, I was more than happy to grab a bowl from here.
When you go to CHeU, you won’t be getting a traditional bowl of ramen. The food is definitely fusion cuisine, the owners are very open about their lack of authenticity. And the beauty of CHeU is that their menu is small. This can be a blessing or a curse. If you are an adventurous eater, this is great. You get one option that is vegan, but it is solid and well thought out. If you are a picky eater, well, you have only one option.
Okay, well you get a little more than one option. The food is labeled as vegetarian, though it appears only one can not be made vegan. I also recommend DOUBLE CHECKING with servers. Philadelphia is a pretty vegan friendly area, so staff is probably use to the question. So here are your options as of February 2018:
- Broccoli (small bites, ask for no pork)
- Sweet and Sour Brussel Sprouts (small bites)
- Coconut Curry Noodles (bowls)
- Sichuan Spicy Fat Noodles (bowls)
- Shrimp Yakisoba (bowls, sub tofu, no egg)
- Chicken Karaga Rice Bowl (bowls, sub tofu, no egg)
- Kimchi & Bok Choy (add ons for bowls)
When went, the menu was a little different. Yes, there was the Coconut Curry Noodles, but there was also Cold Sesame Noodles. These were really yummy, and Jon was happy with his decision. The noodles were really chewy, and dish was just the right amount of spicy.
I got the Coconut Curry Ramen, which seems to be a classic option that is still on the menu. It was just what I wanted it to be. I was afraid it would be too dense, like a thick curry sauce. The spice and flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and the coconut added a creamy slippery texture to the broth. The noodles were chewy, and there were nice bursts of fresh flavor from the garnishes.
Naturally this trip wasn’t for reviewing, so the photos are just with the iPhone. If you want something prettier, I suggest taking a look at Ted Ngheim’s blog with his photos of the store location. I strongly recommend checking this place out. Clearly they are pretty aware of having vegan options available, and do a pretty darn good job considering how limited the menu is to begin with. I strongly recommend this place if visiting the city. It is in the heart of center city, and is perfect for a quick meal.
I originally bought this book my Mother for Christmas. She said she wanted to eat more vegetables, so I thought this would be a great book for that. At the time my Mom was living with my sister while looking for a new home, so my sister ended up flipping through and liking a few recipes. So she bought the book for herself.
Funny thing is for awhile my Mother and my sister would tell me to make a recipe from the book, and I keep pointing out that I don’t own it. I still don’t. I’ve been checking out from the library. I think I was afraid because the book is so small. Did I REALLY need a whole book on salads? Answer- yeah- I really do.
After reading Jenny Marie’s cook-a-long monthly challenge, I thought it would be fun to share some posts reviewing the book as well. If you have a blog with a review (specifically of the recipes), leave a comment and I will add you to the list.
Not a big fan of the black side bars. Although I LOVE how visually it is different from other cookbooks, it is easy to leave marks on it. I think the biggest issue is the fact that it is a salad cookbook, meaning you are using oil for dressings, and I left quite a few greasy finger prints on the side (right where you touch to turn the page!). And since this is a library book, I could easily see which recipes other patrons made (hello Fiery Fruit and Quinoa Salad!) Naturally my vegan mind is racing- are they vegan? Are they omnivores diving into the vegan world? Did they like it?!
As always I love the photos in the book. They are done by my second favorite food photographer (my main man will always be Ted *insert winkie face*) Vanessa K Rees. I’ve mentioned it in other reviews, but she has worked with Romero before for Protein Ninja and Moskowitz for Isa Does It. You will recognize her signature style photographing from above. If you want a preview of the sexy photography there are some on her website.
What I do love about the photos is that the images aren’t unrealistic. Nothing bothers me more than inaccurate photos. I’ve caught a few photos in other books where CLEARLY different vegetables are in the dish, or the color is unattainable. What I like about these photos is the dishes are shown as a reasonable end result. The green apples are big chunks for the Reubenesque salad for example. And there notes when they are being fancy, like in the Mermaid salad (no, I sadly didn’t make this) They spiralized the beets instead of julienned them.
The book is divided up by the introduction/information, dressings, side salads, salad toppers, spring, summer, fall, winter, and then breakfast ‘salads.’ The last chapter is clearly bending the definition of a salad, and frankly the easiest to ignore. Sorry. But I am glad she divided the recipes up by seasons. Yeah, sure you can make a winter salad in the summer (or vise versa) but if you have a CSA share, you would much rather wait till the summer when the produce is super fresh, knowing it will taste better. This is also why I have tried mostly the winter and fall salads, I keep making salads during this time of the year.
I feel a little crazy writing this- but Romero’s writing is a little bland in this. Sure there is a lot of wit and spunk in the introduction, but not as much personality in the descriptions. Maybe I am just imagining that? Regardless, I think my favorite part of the book- no diet talk. No talk about gurl you gonna be so thin with this salad talk.
Vegans have a love hate relationship with salads. So many times we know in the back of our minds that if we go to a restaurant there will “always be a salad option.” A lot times it is sad and pathetic- iceberg lettuce, oil and vinegar, and subpar veggies cut in large chunks. I had a similar issue when living with my in-laws. Although they are great cooks, every single dinner included a side salad with oil and vinegar. I think they genuinely enjoyed this, but I couldn’t help but think of better uses of the lettuce.
Salads have been morphed into the pinnacle of diet culture and clean eating. It has been called out for being an excuse to starve yourself, and for being overrated. Most salads in American culture are either heavy fat-calorie bombs (pasta salad, chicken/tuna/egg salad and the like) or watery-crunchy-vegetable based meals that are so bland you need to drench them in dressings.
But if you ever got a salad from a higher-end restaurant, you will know they are so much more. It is a delicate balance of flavors as you only have a few ingredients, they need to work with each other. There is also the question of quality, if your produce isn’t at it’s peak quality your salad is lacking. And this is what Romero addresses in her book. She wants you to use produce when it is fresh- and that’s why she organizes everything by season. She wants people to eat well thought out, flavorful salads that are more than lettuce, cucumber, and radishes.
Pretty much Romero wants to take salads away from rich white women who are littering their wellness Pinterest boards with expensive fancy looking salads, and trying to democratize them. They are filling, full of flavor, and pretty affordable. Salads, at least in this book, are for everyone. And I love Romero for being able to accomplish that.
As with all my cookbook reviews, I try my best to leave links with recipes that are online BUT are up there with the publishers permission. I also won’t link recipes that might stray too far away from the recipe (which some bloggers do) I also made sure I provided at least one recipe from each section of the book.
I asked for a slow cooker for Christmas, thinking mostly about making bulk staples- cooked beans from dried, vegetable stock, tomato sauce, etc. But I knew I would eventually try some other recipes, that would be served up as dinner. So here are my findings- with mostly good results.
Sadly I think the point of a slow cooker is slightly missed here. The recipe calls for you to add more ingredients midway through the slow cooker. I get it. It tastes better and prevents overcooking this way. But realistically you can’t just come home from work and add more food. You could still make it if you plan on waiting even longer once you get home for the added ingredients (and if your slow cooker has a timer)
But aside from that, the flavors are all there. And since I am a stay at home mom, it all worked out. It does call for a specific flavored vegan sausage, but that is my only complaint. I am sure you could google a recipe on how to make one if you can’t find it near you.
Bottom Line: Good for stay at home days or timed cooker
So many mixed feelings about this soup. For starters- I love how cheap it is to make. Carrots, celery, onions, and split peas. I could crunch the numbers but I am fairly certain the whole soup costs less than $5. It is also REALLY easy to make. Chop- toss- and let it cook. I love how the texture is very smooth but not puree smooth.
The flavor was pretty good, but not mind blowing. I always bring this up since I feel like traditionally non-vegan foods that are close to being vegan need to be a solid 100. Otherwise people swear by that little “je ne sais quoi” that meat brings to the table, in this case a little bit of ham. So I wish she included a little bit of paprika or liquid smoke, etc. I can easily do that, but non-vegan readers might not think of that.
Bottom Line: Overall good, easy to enhance
This recipe, although it isn’t in the title is suppose to be inspired by a Moroccan tagine (or tajine). If you never had one before it is just a spiced stew cooked in a clay pot, commonly cooked in Northern Africa and the Middle East. I’ve made a few tagine recipes, but not in the traditional cookware.
The first thing I noticed was that there wasn’t that many spices. Seemed a little suspicious so I doubled the spices (for some.) Truthfully I wish they included a wider variety of spices becuase they didn’t jump out that much. I also skipped the raisins and the chickpeas. The chickpeas because of a weird scheduling issue, and the raisins because I thought it would be too sweet. I’m glad I did that because all the root veggies were super sweet!
This was a fast-yet-slow slow cooker recipe. So much time was spent peeling and chopping, but the slow cooker gets put on high so it only takes about 4 hours overall. Making it not so great if you want something to cook while you are at work (unless you work from home) Overall this isn’t a bad dish, though it felt like it was missing something. It does make a HUGE amount.
Bottom Line: Very sweet. Wolfie LOVED it.
I wanted to try and pick recipes that weren’t just soups and stews for this review. I’ve modified quite a few recipe to use a slow cooker to ensure that I don’t burn things on the stovetop or know that I can go for my “late” walks (you know… at 4-5pm) and still have a dinner on the table.
I’ve also made quite a few vegan mac and cheese recipes. So I have quite a few high standards. Let me state that vegan mac and cheese is sort of like a chili- you need a really good balance of flavors. So usually when I see a vegan mac and cheese with a short list of ingredients, I am skeptical. But I gave it a go.
What I got was a SMELLY house… or maybe not. I mean my house smelled terrible, but it could of been because of our trash, but likely a combination. Honestly- it smelled like vomit. I have no idea why. It crept up all morning, but all that was in the slow cooker was water, canned tomatoes (didn’t use fresh like the recipe), butternut squash, and herbs. WHAT?! I also found that the pasta was easy to over cook. If you are wondering how you make this recipe- you cook the squash for several hours, blend, add the rest for about 15-20 minutes for the pasta to cook. Also there just wasn’t enough bang in the sauce. I eventually add some miso to add a little kick.
But that all being said, the overall concept wasn’t bad. I think in the future I would tweak the recipe around, and pay more attention to the pasta while it cooks up. I probably would snag a mac and cheese recipe I like and modify it for the slow cooker to include all the flavors I like. And Wolfie LOVED the dish. So it wasn’t a total bust.
Bottom Line: Interesting concept, needs tweaking to the sauce, needs attention towards the end.
I remember awhile ago learning that you can make seitan in a slow cooker. One day I remembered that and searched for a recipe. This was the first one, and I think I should of looked harder. The name of the author sounded familiar so I figured, gotta be good right?
Overall the recipe worked. The veggies cooked up and were yummy. The seitan cooked and was tasty, buuuut wasn’t the best seitan I ever had. It was pretty plain and I could think of a million other recipes that were tastier. The seitan works perfectly fine for OTHER recipes, but not something that I would want as a Thanksgiving dinner.
Bottom Line: Method check out, flavors meh
I love seeing price breakdowns of food. I hear things like “serves two people for $10!” and I THINK that’s a lot, but I really don’t know. I just know how much a spend each week for my husband and I (and now little munchkin.) But by having the prices next to the food I can think “am I over paying for lentils?” and “thank god for Trader Joe’s coconut milk!” So I think I overall spent LESS than her numbers, but I haven’t personally crunched the numbers for spices and veggies (how can I? they were from my CSA)
So let’s go with how the food turned out. Overall the recipe is pretty straight forward. Toss everything into a crockpot. Cook. Add coconut milk. Okay. Simple enough. The end result? Pretty tasty, though I am not 100% amazed. I would certainly recommend this recipe. Super easy, great for working families. TONS of food. It wasn’t mind blowing though. BUT I like how simple it was, and it is great way to introduce vegan food to newbies. Simple, cheap, nothing crazy, and full of flavor.
Bottom Line: Great for vegan newbies and busy families.
Well, it is the end of January and it was just as hectic as last month. We spent most of the month without a washer, so I had to schlepp Wolfie and the laundry to my in-laws and my sister’s house to get it done. Then my shoulders and neck muscles were strained and I couldn’t pick up Wolfie, and when I was JUUUUUST about well enough to start to pick him up again, my husband got the flu. And then Wolfie got a cold. And just as Wolfie’s cough is under control- I am pretty sure I got a cold. So- you know- cool. Oh no wait- Jon has the cold now. *sigh*
Well, the month is over and we are just crossing our fingers for a mellow month.
Reading: I started this year with a LOOONG book, so it isn’t helping my reading challenge stats. XD I am reading The Magicians. I talked about how I watched the SyFy series, and didn’t like it at first, but I eventually got hooked (like all SyFy series.) Part of the reason I bothered to pick up the book was that I remember reading about how they switched a lot of thing around in the book and the show to tell the story. One thing I noticed was how much they tried to diversify the series. Some characters were clearly white, but they switched their ethnicities. The show also tried to include more women and made them more dynamic. I am about halfway through and it is JUST getting to the juicy part, so I guess I will have a better idea of if i liked the book next month.
Watching: We are having a total Queen-a-thon by watching The Crown and Victoria. Funny thing is that I don’t care much at all about the monarchy. But I do find it intriguing that it has lasted so long, and I love strong women. It started with Jon wanting to watch The Crown and when I found out that there was a series for Queen Victoria, I thought her life was much more interesting.
Comparing the two I think The Crown is MUCH better. I think they do a better job balancing the personal conflict with the family with political issues of the time. Victoria is a lot more melodramatic, and I don’t think does as good of a job setting up what is going on. Like the first episode Victoria kind-of came off as petty and paranoid, but I later found out WHY she was so distrustful of Sir John Conroy. So there has been a lot of watching Victoria, then listening to episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Exercise: I love doing the Winter and Summer Shape Up programs by Gina Harvey, and this year I wanted to the Winter Shape Up, but because of my neck and shoulder injury I had to wait a week. But I’ve been following the program fairly spot on for the first week. I will hopefully continue with this momentum for the rest of the program.
Eating: I’ve been cooking a lot from Salad Samurai and Great Grains Cookbook to post a review on the blog. I pretty much finished Salad Samurai, but I have one more recipe to make, and I need to return it to my local library. The Great Grains Cookbook still has a lot more to go.
I also been going nuts with Whole Food’s almond milk lattes. I love getting my coffee there because they don’t charge extra for plant milks, and for a whole week they took a dollar off any drinks with their barista-sweetened almond milk! A latte for less than $3?! YES PLEASE! I pretty much went so often I now tallied up a free drink so horray!
And I had my first FitQuick waffle. I bought the double chocolate raspberry since they were on sale (Is Holly discontinuing this?) and ended up being $20 when all said and done with the shipping. I have to say it was strangely nice to make a waffle so fast (I never do mixes) and it was the best waffle I’ve made yet. Clearly we need to cook our waffles longer than the machine is telling us too. The waffle had a little of that powder protein taste, but not much. I just wished for more raspberry and more chocolate flavor.
Podcasts: So it is the new year and everyone is trying to loose weight (oh wait! that’s me!) Although, my goals are mostly to workout more and eat more healthfully (and intuitively) rather than drop a dress size. My favorite podcasts have a few diet-culture episodes that are making me happy. For example Gastropod just released a WHOLE episodes on dieting, but in a very body positive way. They talk to the author of one of my “want to read” books, Calories and Corsets. I think they do a great summary while being sensitive to the body positivity movement.
And if you want to add more to your diet history, you can check out Gastropod’s Calorie episode, Stuff You Missed in History Class’s Linda Hazzard’s Stavation Heights, Sawbone’s The Salisbury Diet, Sawbone’s Weight Loss, and FINALLY Oh No! Ross and Carrie’s Purium Transformation Part 1 and Part 2. Clearly there is the content warning about weight, food, and body image. And a quick little spoiler about the Purim Transformation, Carrie got the test results back, and there is lead in the shakes. Just a little FYI.
Wolfie: As you can see I FINALLY posted his last two month updates on the blog. I don’t know if I will be making posts every month as a summary. Maybe one every six months? A year? Random little life udpates? I don’t know. I also know at some point he will be getting too old for me to invade his privacy like this, so we will see.
BUUUUUTT…. until then let me share a story that will totally embaress Wolfie when he gets older. Now, I know many readers aren’t Mom’s so let start by saying the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding for at least 2 years. This really isn’t common in American society, lots of Mom’s still nurse, but it is kind-of weirdly hush-hush. ANYWHO, I’m still nursing and Wolfie is starting to point at things and go “whaat?” (imagine a little boy saying What like a parrot) Now he is constantly whacking my boobs saying “what?” Progressing more and more- Mommy- Bra- Boob- Nipple- Shield. It’s weird, funny, and creepy all at the same time. But it is a great story to tell his future partners. And to make things weirder- he now can say boob. Luckily this is not his first word- it goes (in order) “All Done,” Ma-ma, Da-da, more, “Brown Bear,” up, what, THEN boob. Thank god.
Crafting: Fell off the “crafting” wagon. I’ve been busy overall, plus there has been some issues with being sick and trouble falling asleep. So after awhile I was nervous it would mess up my sleep. But I saw my basket with all my projects and it is a giant mess. So I am trying to rush with getting my one needlepoint done for a friend, hopefully I will have photos to share next update.
Goals: Well, some goals I am doing well, like I’ve been working out a good bit and trying to eat more healthfully (with varying degrees of success) The whole tea thing was going strong for awhile, but I’ve just been trying to focus on minimal snacking (doing good with limited it to just a few chocolate squares) but some nights my tea is just amari… which isn’t the worst. XD I’ve already fell behind on my cake challenge, but I will probably make up for it by making two next month. Oh well.
What’s your favorite thing this month?
Things have been so busy that I couldn’t write the Month Eleven post. Heck I didn’t even have time to write the Month Twelve post! This kiddo is over 13 months old at the point. All I can say is thank god there are no more of those stickers left. I carefully saved all the stickers when he was little, but quickly it became obvious that he rips them off and makes them all crinkley. There is no month 12 photo because we took the photo, and when I tried to transfer the images from the camera to the computer I realized I didn’t have the memory card in the camera. By that point I was done with those photos. He just squirms around too much. Next time, I probably won’t do the whole laying on their back thing.
FOOD: We are pretty much living off of solid foods. I keep being told he eats a lot- but does he? I think it might be an illusion? People are surprised when I say he eats a whole banana for breakfast, an oat cake, and milk from nursing) but it makes sense because it ends up being 260 calories (minus the breast milk). Some sources say toddlers need 900 calories a day- and if he eats that much every meal, that comes to 780 calories, leaving 220 calories for snacks. Okay maybe it is a lot because I am still nursing. Whatever. He seems healthy.
DEVELOPMENT: Last time I posted Wolfie was walking but couldn’t get to a standing position by himself. He was able to do this month 11, and now is running with confidence. Recently I saw my cousin who is 9 months old, and it was funny seeing him crawl and how “floppy” he still looked. I don’t remember Wolfie looking this way when he crawled, but he probably did.
PLAY: Suddenly Wolfie is getting how to “play” with his toys. There are so many toys that would have an actual goal but he would just take them and suck on them or clang it together with something else. Now he seems to try and actually interact with the toys. He goes over to his toys and makes them play music so he can jam out (even if the tunes are weak.) He is starting to mirror things I do. Like I was playing with his new barn toy putting the animals into their stalls. He then started to grab anything he could and shove the animals in the stalls. Nice try but I don’t think the horse, chicken, and 2 pigs can fit in one spot.
GROWTH: So we went for his 12 month visit and Wolfie is now big enough that he stands on the scale! Whoo! And he now keeps his clothes on- meaning he is now getting big enough that ounces don’t make that much of a difference. So he weighed at 22 lbs 14oz (getting close to 23!) in the 75th percentile. His height keeps going up at 2ft 7inches in the 89th percentile. But his head is super tiny- 22nd percentile.
TALKING: We got Mama and Dada down. And I think he is saying more, but it is hard to understand when you intuitively know what your kid is trying to say (combined with his inability to properly say the word.) But we have had some glimmer of talking. Somedays I can see him try hard to say words, and some days out of the blue he will say a word, then never again. For example one morning he said “brown bear” and handed me the Brown Bear Brown Bear book. Jon thought I was crazy until Wolfie said it again. We haven’t heard him say it ever since. My Mom claims she heard him muttering it to himself the other day…
SOCIALIZING: Now that Wolfie is interacting with other people more, it makes him seem like a “real kid.” I am guessing that he will be very outgoing since he never really seems to be going through a “mommy phase.” I think there was one week where he didn’t want to be left alone with anyone else (poor Justine got stuck with a screaming babe for 2 hours SORRY!) but aside from that he is doing well. He was very interested in everyone at my family get together for Christmas, and wanted almost nothing to do with me during his birthday.
He is now also playing with other kids. I’ve been taking him to the library since they have a big interactive kids section. If possible I try and take him to story time, which pretty much means kids play afterwards. It makes me nervous, I have kind-of no problem letting him play and learn his own boundaries, but then I feel like I am doing a bad job. Plus, I can already see that Wolfie is fairly assertive, and I am more afraid of him pushing someone down or pulling a stranger’s hair.
SLEEP: I didn’t really think there would be much else to say but his naps are FINALLY coming into place. Oddly I think it is because of consistency. We finished up our share at our CSA so the morning nap didn’t get disrupted. And my Mother got knee surgery done so she hasn’t been able to watch him. As a result I was able to get a schedule going for him. It has been the best. There has been ups and downs with the naps, and there was one day he woke up at 5 (what the heck!?) but he has been pretty awesome. I am constantly watching out for when he is growing out the morning nap, but that isn’t happening anytime soon.
I originally started this post two years ago. It was suppose to be for a Vegan MOFO prompt. I am not 100% sure what it was, but it was something like “favorite cookbook” or “show us your cookbook collection.” I figured I would do a quick post about this one. Well, considering this was my very first vegan cookbook and I’ve owned it for over 10 years, it has had a few recipes made from it.
After reading Jenny Marie’s cook-a-long monthly challenge, I thought yeah, I should finish this post. In the spirit of this post I figured I would share some posts reviewing the book as well. If you have a blog with a review, leave a comment and I will add you to the list. And as always I try and share links to recipes. Most of the time I try and only share recipes that are sponsored/approved by the publishers but I went ahead and linked every blog, livejournal, and whatever that had her recipes. It was a different time on the internet back in 1999, and well, I think it is in the spirit of the book to share all the vegan love.
None. A big downfall of the book, I know. There is no photos of the recipes, but there are some retro stock photos at the beginning of the chapters. There are some fun retro styled clipart throughout the book. The green and greyscale design does keep the book visually interesting. This never bothered me much since photoless cookbooks I think were much more common at the time, before the blogalution
What I love about this book is that it is very “zine”-y. I might not of known much about zines when I first picked this up, but I loved how personal it was. It didn’t start with a chapter how they were chefs, or their relationship with food, no it was about why they became vegan. I think this was the first time I’d ever actually READ a cookbook.
After the introduction of why Tanya and Sarah went vegan, the book goes into a quick substitute section, giving readers a rough idea of how to modify non-vegan recipes. The chapters then go into various different food types, breakfast, soups, drinks, entrees, etc etc. Then instead of ending with desserts, the book continues with various little recipes and tips for raising vegan kids, and other hacks that are vegan but aren’t food related. My REAL favorite part of the book was the list of non-vegan ingredients.
As mentioned the charm and shortcomings of the cookbook can be credited to their zine roots. On Sarah Kramer’s website, she says how she and co-author Tanya made homebound recipe zines for friends and family. After the positive feedback, they decided to try and publish a book. This book reminded me of the cookbook my older sister made to raise money for her sorority. These are recipes made for people who are cooking in regular old kitchens, with budgets, and limited time. The ingredients are practical, instructions are easy, and everything is easy to modify for personal preference.
But since Sarah and Tanya are not chef’s there are some holes. Some recipes are overly simplified, or not as good as what they could be. And some of information is a little vague, or at this point outdated. For example B12 is listed under non-vegan ingredients, when I am 99% sure almost all B12 supplements are vegan (well, the B12 part, the capsules might not).
And then she has the whole breads section saying yeast is bad. It is a little confusing, as they recommend sourdough starters. Spoiler alert- that’s yeast! I get it. There are lots people who think instant yeast isn’t as good as sourdough, but that isn’t communicated in the book. Plus they give recipes soda breads, which doesn’t fix the active yeast problem. This blog post is really good at explaining the theory about why instant yeast isn’t the greatest. She also says kamut is a great wheat replacement. It isn’t. It is just a different STRAIN of wheat. It is easy to give her a pass since the internet wasn’t so expansive as it is today. Answers weren’t as easily a google search away.
As I mentioned- I’ve had this book for over 10 years, and we are getting close to their 20th anniversary! I would love to see a big book revamp for the occasion. New photos! Updated information (as mentioned with the bread thing)! Anything really. It looks like their 10th anniversary release didn’t have that much changed other than a pretty little logo on the front.
As much as I love how down to earth and un-intimidating this cookbook is, so much has changed since it’s release. Veganism is much more common, probably thanks to blogs. Oh blogs, you have given us so much in the publication front of cookbooks. They are both a blessing and a curse.
One thing I am loving about How It All Vegan over most modern vegan cookbooks is how much information this has. Just little bits of stuff in the kids section, lots of homemade toiletries, and cleaning tips. I would love to see this book become more trendy to reach a wider audience. Come on Sarah Kramer! I know you can do this! All that being said, I think this book is still super useful, and every new vegan could learn a lot from this book. It is easy to flip through, and it easy to add your own personal flair to all the recipes.
I do warn anyone who wants to see what I made from the book. THERE IS A LOT! I know I’ve made even MORE in the book, and boy I don’t even feel like I scratched the surface. There are LOTS of recipes in the book. I’ve made more than what I wrote about for sure, but I don’t remember the results. I know I’ve made more her desserts, but I’m a little fuzzy on the details.
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.
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!
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
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
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
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
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!
Hey everyone! Remember my last post talking about how rough things were kind-of financially (ie a new car and a large vet bill?) well our washing machine broke on New Years Day! HORRAY! Also Wolfie definitely has a cold. Great way to start the new year right?!
Well, I use to always make a post making various goals for the new year. 2014 was mostly about getting my butt into gears to work on the blog- back when I kind-of did some fashion posts. While 2015 I actually set some specific goals. So that meant that 2016 I reflected on if I kept those goals, or not. But I never posted anything for 2017 because of being busy with Wolfie, but also because of Post Partum Depression. So in that vain I will reflect on my 2016 goals-
Work out More Often – Not really. I think I had a good string going for awhile, but then I got pregnant and had a baby and well, you will see below
Start Practicing Yoga and Meditating – Nope. Not even close.
Stop Late Night Binge Eating – Not really, mostly because once I started to nurse I would have to cram calories in my mouth so eating a late night snack became common place again.
Read 28 Books – I got close! I read 24 books.
Start trying to get pregnant – accomplished
Buy a second couch – This never happened in part because my husband REALLY wants to get a new one. He has been dragging his feet about getting a second hand couch from the restore. Little does he know this meant that he won’t be getting a second couch until our child(ren) are less disgusting.
Hike More – Aside from the whole baby thing- I think we hiked a little more? I definitely took much more frequent daily walks
Visit a new vegan restaurant with Alexa once a month – This didn’t happen at all.
Watch a Movie Once a Week – This didn’t happen at all either
Start working towards the goal of being a Dietitian or Wellness Coach – Hey look another goal that didn’t happen! As I did more research about becoming a registered dietitian I became more confused if it was something I wanted to do. I am still kind-of confused of what direction I would like to take my career.
Goals for 2018
Workout and Run More Often
Surprise, surprise. This makes the list again. But unlike my previous goals, this one REALLY is essential. I have pretty much cut out exercise from my life and that is bad. I was at one point walking everyday about a mile or two around the neighborhood, but stopped since it has been really cold. Recently I had a few nights where I tossed and turned for hours getting only 3-4 hours of sleep, and I never had that problem. I am fairly certain it has to do with extra energy (a long with other stressors)
I was thinking about doing a Photo a Day challenge again, but I already forgot to take a photo on day one. Oops. But I haven’t been using my SLR camera much, and I would like to start using it again and playing around with the settings. I’ve gotten out of the habit since Wolfie is a little handful. Maybe start a photos of the month post?
Have a Cup of Tea Every Night
This was actually a goal from 2015, and I think it would be nice to bring back. It is nice a relaxing and will help curb my habit of a late night snack. It is important to get rid of the late night snack because I am not nursing a whole lot less.
Get a New Job
I have been wondering what to do for a living for awhile now. I went to school for Film, thinking I would spend my life working on movies and such. But I decided sitting in front of a computer wasn’t what I was passionate about, and there was a lot of competition in the field. And even now I can’t decide what I want to do. I love food but I know it is market that is hard work. I love my job as a framer but it doesn’t pay the bills, and I can never REALLY work full time there. So I am going to try to either get hired at another place, or find another source of income as self employed.
Try and Lose Weight
This has been a topic that I’ve been thinking a lot about. I try and be very body positive and fat positive. I am not fat, but I try and keep negative fat talk out of my language. But I can’t help but want to loose some of the baby weight I’ve gained, and maybe some more. I have so many clothes that I don’t fit into anymore, and that bothers me. I know I am not going to fit into everything, but I would like to try to loose some. I won’t be going crazy with the dieting, and some of my goals are well intentioned. I want to work out more (read above) and eat more healthfully, which I kind-of don’t anymore. These are my two main ways of trying to loose weight, so that’s good right? I am also going to work on not putting myself down if I fall short on this goal.
Read 20 Books
I think I always set book goals because of Goodreads. I like to read but I am a slow reader. I thought I was going to read SOO many books in 2017 because of nursing. But that didn’t happen. Instead of reading while nursing I was more likely to play games and scroll instagram on my iphone. But now that I am sleeping more regularly I am getting in more reading time before bed. So maybe setting the goal of 20 books isn’t so crazy. If you are curious you can check out my reading summaries from previous years.
Bake at Lest ONE Successful Cake a Month
See not that devoted to the whole diet thing. XD As mentioned I wanted to continue my American Cakes concept for Vegan MOFO (maybe doing some American pies) so I want to get a jump start so I don’t go into a sugar coma when it comes time. I have a few I already have ALMOST ready, just need a few extra tweaks and photos
More Cookbook, Restaurant, and Recipe Reviews
I might not have THAT many new restaurant review since I am a little broke, but I can do more recipe round ups and cookbook reviews. I miss doing them, plus it really helped me make the most of my cookbooks. I have a few I haven’t even TOUCHED since receiving them. Making these reviews help me delve deeper into them.
Be More Patient with Wolfie
I’ve been very quick to get angry lately with Wolfie. It might be because he secretly has been sick for the past two weeks. Regardless he is getting older and how I react will seem normal, and therefore he might grow up to be more short tempered. Ugh. Being a parent sucks, being accountable for your actions. Plus, if I am lucky, we might do potty training this year so… that will need lots of patience.
Update this layout!
My husband and I say it every year- make a new layout- update the blog- do more with it. And we never do. THIS WILL BE THE YEAR! I want a new layout that looks a little more professional. I also want to up my SEO game, because I write posts that I DO WANT PEOPLE TO READ. Sometimes I don’t care about hits and traffic, but then there are few posts that I think can be really helpful to people and I wish they could find them. I don’t want my layout to be 100% cookie cutter, but I would like to have look a little cleaner, plus I never really finished editing this layout to begin with.
So what about you guys? Any plans or goals for 2018?
Gosh talk about Vegan MOFO drop off! Okay so I posted quite a bit RIGHT after Vegan MOFO, but only posted ONCE in December. Yikes. I mean, it was about tacos, everyone loves tacos right? But I figured I would keep people in the loop about what the heck has been going on.
For starters it goes without saying that I’ve been busy this holiday season. Thanksgiving, Wolfie’s Birthday, and a Christmas marathon. And I am sure every parent know this- but once kids in the mix, Christmas ramps up to new levels of crazy. On top of the expected craziness we had two major life blips. Let’s start with the less sad-
THE CAR: We had two cars, one is nice and decent, the other is a disaster. It was never a nice car, it accelerated slowly, braked slowly, and had lots poor design feature. Mainly that when it rained sometimes the water would leak through the inside. We had a bucket to catch said rain water. It was 14 years old, and we were reaching that point of should we or shouldn’t we pay for any sort of repair. Sadly we reached a point where the most recent repair didn’t work, and the check engine light wouldn’t go off. It ran, but there was a scheduled state inspection and if the check engine light is on you don’t pass. This happened two weeks before the deadline. We had no choice but to get a new car.
This cut into our time and finances as we were not ready to buy a new car. Which sucks. And this has been all watered down from all the little details of suckatude. The summary is that we ALMOST could of gotten away with driving our crummy Dodge Neon for a little longer. But we didn’t.
TOULOUSE: I don’t post as much about her, but Toulouse is an important member of our family. Like parents do with their children- Jon mixes up Toulouse’s name with Wolfie’s all the time. Instagram followers may have noticed that I posted recently about my cat. She wasn’t eating which is rare because she is normally meowing up a storm and begging non-stop.
We went to the vet and got blood work done. She had INSANELY high levels of a toxins in her body. I can’t remember the specifics but when I first wrote the numbers down they were so far fetched I thought I misheard him. The vet even said he has never seen numbers so high. After much crying and freaking out, we came to the conclusion that we should treat her for kidney inflammation before getting the biopsy results back. We were mentally prepared to put her to sleep.
She almost immediately started to improve. She became a lot more sociable, and slowly gained more and more of her appetite. I didn’t give a big ol’ thumbs up on instagram because I wanted to wait until we got the biopsy to make sure she would be ok. She is. She got pretty much all her blood levels under control. The vet was pretty shocked.
Now, here is the downside. She took a really long time to eat her food last night. We are fearing that her kidney is flaring up again, and that isn’t too far fetched. The vet asked if we had certain medications that she might of eaten that would cause the kidney inflammation. We couldn’t think of a cause, so that left the lingering thought that the trigger would still be around the house. I have a sneaking suspicion it might her Greenies treats. I knew they had recalls in the past, but seeing all the complaints on consumer affairs, it is a little sobering. We always gave her some treats before bed, and didn’t have any troubles. ONCE she vomited from them, we threw the bags out assuming it was a bad batch. I recently got a HUGE tub of them, and I think we got it right when she started to get sick. We just stopped giving them to her. The lack of appetite could just be holiday stress, but we will keep a close eye on her.
THANKSGIVING: I didn’t really talk about Thanksgiving so I will keep a small summary of what we made. We had a low key Thanksgiving at our house with my Mother and Father in Law. We made:
- Green Bean Casserole from Vegan Casseroles.
- Cosmos Apple Pie from Vegan Pie in the Sky
- Chickpea Cutlets via slower cooker roast from Veganomicon
- Miso Mushroom Gravy modified from How It All Vegan
- Fingerling Potatoes with Creamy Worcestershire Sauce from Vedge
- Roasted Miso Brussel Sprout from Gimme Some Oven
- Mother in Law: Cranberry Sauce
- Mother in Law: Stuffing (no particular recipe)
- Mother in Law: Stuffed Onions
- Mother in Law: Turkey and Gravy for themselves
Thanksgiving went well. Wolfie seemed to like all the different Thanksgiving foods, until we gave him the cranberry sauce. Oh boy. I regret that. Afterwards that is all he wanted. He was not happy, and at one point we had to mix the sauce with all the other food and spoon feed it to him. I also remember him going to bed pretty early, and we showed off his sleeping skills to his Grandma and Grandpa by falling asleep on his own in the crib.
CHRISTMAS IN BROOKLYN: This is the second longest trip Wolfie has taken. Much shorter than traveling deep into Long Island to Amityville, but still pretty long. We went into my parent’s car again, and drove through the snow. We had SOOOO much packed! Much more than what I would normally bring. We had lots of food, gifts, but the biggest thing was the stroller. We were going to stop by my sister’s new apartment (which is cute as a fuckin button) for appetizers then walk to my Aunt’s for the main course. That meant walking in the snow with Wolfie. It was both a pain and a little magical. Hopefully in a year or two he will be making a trip up to Brooklyn to visit his Aunt to check out all the fun Christmas stuff in NYC, the mainstream Rockefeller Center and the lesser known Dyker Heights.
It turned out to be a pretty nice trip. It was a nice practice run to see how Wolfie would react to bigger crowds. He was going to have lots of family at his birthday party, on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. He seemed pretty chill with everyone, and I think there were enough people he knew that he felt comfortable. The downside was that on the ride home it took him awhile to fall asleep. My Father is a little foot heavy on the gas and breaks so he would periodically wake up on the ride home- plus the salting vehicles are clearly being driven by mad men.
But let’s be real- what did we eat?! Well I made the Welsh Rarebit casserole from Vegan Casseroles. I have to say I was really surprised by how good it turned out! I was scared it would be terrible because the bread went stale- yikes, and I made the sauce ahead of time and it was super solid. But it all worked out. Some people didn’t like it though, the beer I picked out was VERY hoppy and bitter. I made the Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, and Grape Quinoa Salad from The Full Helping. If you are going to make a salad for a big party- this is a great one! I can’t remember if I doubled the recipe or not, but we had leftovers. I probably would of spent more time roasting the veggies, they were a little underdone. But the leftovers kept well, and it was easy to mix together the day of to bring up. Then for dessert I slaved away making the Beer Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Tart from Vegan Pie in the Sky. If you are thinking that you’ve never heard of that recipe that is because it is a modified recipe from the Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart. I don’t like to toot my own horn but I think this was the star of the party. Though I am not sure if I’ll be making it again anytime soon. It took a lot of time to make the crust and caramel. Lots of time spent on setting and waiting.
WOLFIE’S BIRTHDAY: I am hoping to write up a long post about the party for the blog. I think it was fun, and it would be nice to talk about hosting an all vegan party with people who might not dig all vegan food. What I can say is that everyone loved the cake! And I am waiting for my Father in Law to go through the photos on his camera. I forgot to put my memory card into mine. Yikes!
ILLNESS: Oh boy. There were a few people who came to Wolfie’s party who were almost over a cold. It wasn’t that big of a deal really. But then Jon got sick. It was a pretty mild cold. No big deal. Then I got sick. Still, no biggie, mild cold right? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I got so sick. I later found out that my Mother in Law got the same bad cold as well. And since it was the holiday season it just lingered. I was sick, and so anxious about all the things I had to do, cooking, wrapping, etc that I spent three nights in a row tossing and turning until 2-3 in the morning, and waking up between 5-6 for Wolfie. It was awful. I am just getting over it, so it has been over a week. Now my husband has the cold so, you know. Not fun.
CHRISTMAS EVE & DAY: Well, since I was sick I skipped out Christmas Eve get together. Bummer. But I still spent the morning cooking, oddly. I kept it simple and made a Martha Washington Great Cake from American Cakes, but it crumbled out of the cake tin. It tasted awesome, but I need to tweak the recipe I guess. So I scrambled to make a Derby Pie from La Dolce Vegan! Let me tell you- it is a very ugly pie but soooo yummy! I also made the Tempeh Sweet Potato Shepards Pie from Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook. I didn’t try the pies until the next day, but both were amazing. Since I wasn’t there I only heard stories about what went on including a giant cousin bath tub session, Wolfie stealing a pacifier out of someone’s mouth, and kids dropping the f-bomb.
Christmas Morning my Mother and Father in Law came over. We ended up having a bunch with leftover Tempeh Sweet Potato Pie and Tofu Scramble from Oh She Glows. I made Norske Kanelsnurrer (Norwegian Cinnamon Buns) from Seitan is my Motar. I liked how they weren’t as sweet and sticky as tradional buns, but I didn’t like how I couldn’t let it rise overnight. I can tweak the recipe, I am sure, but otherwise we didn’t get to eat these until past noon, past brunching time.
This was the first year I hosted Christmas dinner with MY side of the family. Usually we would spend Christmas morning with at my sister’s with my immediate family, then dinner with Jon’s parents. But we switched it around this year now that we have lil Wolfie. It occurred to me that Jon’s parents could stay for dinner, so they left so my family can exchange gifts, then came back for the dinner. So, I think we can say my family isn’t too keen on holiday foods. Like we have nothing against it, but we aren’t against straying away from it. So we ended up doing Indian food for dinner. My sister made some chicken dish (like a butter chicken), brought some frozen naan and samosas. My mother made the Makhani cauliflower dish from Vegan Richa and a spiced rice dish with peas. While I made masoor dal tadka via slow cooker and the famous Mango Tofu Curry. We were going to make more but forgot- got lazy- dunno. But we had plenty for 9 adults, and 3 children. It was pretty yummy. Dessert was pretty laid back, just cookies from my sister, and leftover derby pie.
Oh boy are there a million tacos out there! We are just barely scratching the surface with what’s out there. And even though they are all over pinterest, I think this was one of the hardest compilations to get together. Why? I think tacos are just way too easy to stray away from the original recipe. But I did it! So check out the recipes below!
This recipe is actually an amazing weeknight meal. Aside from my kitchen being so small that taking out the food processor is a pain, it is a super meal. All you need to dirty up is really the food processor, a baking tray, and cutting board. And while the falafels bake, you can clean up most of the dishes. Brilliant! The dinner made pretty much spot on what it would make- granted if you eat only two tacos. That can be hard since they are so tasty, but two tacos has 16 grams of protein. Not too bad considering my husband at three- which would be 24 grams of protein. Downside, I think the sriracha-tahini sauce was a little too thick, but then again I was getting to the bottom of tahini where they was very little oil.
Bottom Line: Quick and easy weeknight dinner
There’s been a lot of hub-bub with Thug Kitchen and if their writing is mocking African Americans. Although I find the juxtaposition of harsh language in a medium that uses flower language funny, I do think they could of done it without singling out a certain culture. I never really intended to check out Thug Kitchen, but I found this really yummy recipe that I just wanted to try badly.
Did the recipe hold up? Umm…no. The salsa was pretty darn spicy. Which to me isn’t too big of a deal except there was a lot of hot sauce in the cauliflower portion. I like it when you divide the heat up within certain ingredients, not piling on everything hot. The cauliflower was very watery from the beer, which makes me wondering if it would of worked better as sort of a “refried” cauliflower filling? And overall there were WAY too much onion flavor. I didn’t even use as much as they recommend since I didn’t have them, like adding more green onions!
There were some great flavor combos, but there should of been more finessing with the cooking process. Maybe saute the onions in the cauliflowers, only spice in the salsa, etc. Overall it isn’t bad though.
Bottom Line: Alright recipe, needs more streamlining.
There is so much flavor going on with these tacos. They are easy to make and great for a more fall based taco when sweet potatoes are in season and when the temperature is going down (to turn the oven on). The great thing about the recipe is that the author is very open to variations so I did and found ways to improve the taco.
One thing I found needed improvement in the recipe is the texture. She has a smooth bean spread and soft sweet potatoes that probably have a nice outside texture from roasting. BUT I felt like it needed a little extra tooth, and adding quick pickled shredded cabbage I think did the trick. Avocados are also a major must as well, if it is in your price range.
I loved the flavor from the coconut cream, but it seemed more like something that would be great as a dressing. The blog post does suggest that this dish makes a great salad, so maybe I missed the memo that the cream was just suppose to be a dressing? Maybe, maybe not. But I wouldn’t bother with it unless you want to make a salad over a taco.
Bottom Line: Super yummy, but needs a lettuce or cabbage paired with it.
This recipe is pretty easy and fast to make. What is both nice and disappointing about this recipe is how flexible it is. There aren’t any specifically highlighted flavors, which I tend to like from a taco recipe. But it does give a recipe for a very flexible taco filling that you can pretty much do any day of the week. Don’t have avocado? You’ll be fine. Don’t have cabbage? Just use lettuce. So I could imagine using this recipe as a basic structure to make on a busy weeknight.
I did NOT make the cashew cheese sauce mostly because I had some homemade vegan sour cream that needed to get used up. But the recipe for the cashew cheese sauce looks pretty good, and would of made a great addition to the tacos. Overall I think this is a recipe I might use again, it only took about 15 minutes to make. And as mentioned it is pretty flexible for interpretation, and she makes sure you still get your greens.
Bottom Line: Great recipe for starter vegans.
This recipe involves a lot of planning, but overall pretty easy. What takes the most amount of time is freezing the tofu, thawing it, pressing, then marinating. None of those steps take particularly long, but you need to think ahead. I think most vegans don’t know how to plan these steps since these are mostly common for meats. But I found that I froze the tofu one day, the next day remove and let thaw in the fridge. Then the day of making I pressed for an hour (it wasn’t fully thawed at the time), and marinated it before heading into work. That way it took a 30 minutes to bake giving lots of prep and clean up time.
BUT I do have a problem with the recipe. Although it was easy to make, there wasn’t nearly enough fat. The overall result was super acidic, but I wish she put a little oil in the marinade, or used cashews for the crema. Aside from that, I was totally happy with the results. There was a little extra of tofu for leftovers (hubs and I had three tacos each) so if you have a big family, you might want to double the tofu.
Bottom Line: Needs a little more fat, but tasty overall
Hmm… how do I feel about these tacos. So many emotions. First let me talk about prep work. It is pretty easy. I spent most of the time working on the peach-lime chutney. It wasn’t too hard, but it does involve a lot of fine chopping, so it was probably a total of 30-40 minutes, but worth noting there was lots of time to do other things. In fact I made the fennel slaw while the chutney cooked up. So all I had to do was roast the eggplant and put together the tacos when it came to dinner time. Dividing up the work makes the clean up more manageable.
Flavors have been interesting. I can’t say I hate and I can’t say I love it. My husband summed it up as minty and fruity. I think we both weren’t huge fans of the mix of fennel and peach. I think I might want to “dilute” the fennel by adding a little cabbage next time. Also I didn’t like how the eggplant “shredded.” I mean it kind-of did, but it was mostly just mushy shreds. I would probably just use beans or jackfruit in the future.
And it is worth noting that I had uneven amounts of food. I get it- when your recipe calls for one fennel bulb and mostly nothing else, you are going to have varied amounts. I ended up with a full little jam jar of the chutney. We had NO eggplant leftover, and there was enough slaw for maybe one two extra tacos. Not the worst, but something to keep in mind if you hate leftovers.
Bottom Line: Lots of prep, mixed emotions