Hey guys… my dad passed away last night so I’m heading to Florida to be with family and attend the service, so it’ll be pretty quiet around here the next week or so.
I’m not entirely sure if “Taco Quesadilla” is really a thing, but it was delicious and that’s really all that matters, right? They’re full of everything you’d put into a taco: crispy lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa and your favorite vegan mock meat. The bonus is that you get to use A LOT MORE CHEESE than you would in a taco. I used a whole wheat tortilla though, so the calories don’t count.
On an entirely unrelated note, I seem to be reliving my childhood through my cooking. By that I mean I keep making dishes that seem like something your child might respond with when asked what she wants for dinner. Beanie Weenies! Breakfast Pizza! Taco Quesadillas!
I’m not saying I see a problem with this, but I do realize that I’ll need to come up with something a bit more elegant before my next dinner party, ha ha.
(I might still stick with a Mexican food theme though, so that I can keep using these glasses!)
True story: I bought those in Tijuana in 1999(!!) on a little jaunt with my roomies-at-the-time, Randy and Theron. In the past 14 years they’ve survived many moves:
- From San Diego to LA apt #1
- From LA apt #1 to LA apt #2
- From LA back to San Diego apt #1
- From San Diego apt #1 to San Diego apt #2
- From San Diego apt #2 to San Diego condo
- From San Diego to Colorado Springs house #1
- From Colorado Springs house #1 to house #2
- From Colorado Springs house #2 to Denver storage unit
- From storage unit to current Denver abode
- (coming soon… from current abode to TBD abode!)
That’s a lot crazier than it looks. Well, maybe it’s just as crazy as it looks. I moved to SD from NH to try something new, then to LA because it seemed like more fun. Then back to SD for grad school. The building manager at my first apartment was a stalker (honestly! she stalked me! she went into my apartment when I wasn’t home and then would make creepy comments to me about things inside that she couldn’t have seen otherwise!) so I moved in with my friend Tawnia, then into a condo my mom had bought for my little brother to live in (I was a squatter, haha!). I guess the rest is pretty unremarkable (other than the fact that a college educated woman who always votes ‘D’ chose to move to Colorado Springs!?), and no, I don’t know about my next move yet. I just know it’ll be this summer.
My point was (I think), isn’t it amazing those glasses have survived all those moves? One is chipped on the bottom, but that’s it. Impressive packing skills, amirite?
And that salsa? Deelish! The next person I get paired up with in the vegan food swap is getting some Pueblo Chile Salsa I think!
Taco Quesadillas (makes 2 quesadillas)
I used Lightlife smart ground “mexican” in these, but you can use any sort of crumbled vegan meat alternative, or even just slightly mashed beans!
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 1/2 cup of your favorite vegan crumbled meat substitute
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- Vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Daiya in these)
- 1/2 cup chopped lettuce
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- Heat your crumbles or beans in a pan with the taco seasoning and a little bit of water, until it’s heated and seasoned through. Set aside.
- Place two tortillas in the pan (over medium) and top with half the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, crumbles and a bit of salsa, then the rest of the cheese.
- Cover the pan and reduce heat to low and let sit until the cheese starts to melt. Top with the remaining tortillas and flip. Leave in for another 2-3 minutes or until your tortillas start to crisp and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately with sour cream or guacamole!
No, this pot pie wasn’t discovered in some no-tell motel, that’s not why I call it a cheater I call it my Cheater Vegetable Pot Pie because you use puff pastry for the crust, which makes it feel so easy you’ll feel like you’re cheating!
It’s also healthier than a lot of pot pies out there because there’s only crust on the top. You’d be surprised how much fat and calories that’ll save ya. It’s also full of all my favorite veggies including: kale, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers.
Yes, you read that right. I put kale in a pot pie!
This might seem like another seasonally-odd menu choice, but I made it last week during that silly snow storm we had here along the Front Range (and we’re having more winter weather this week, sheesh!). Plus you can totally enjoy pot pies all summer long- just fill ‘er up with your favorite summer veggies instead of the heavier root vegetables they’re usually made with.
“Cheater” Vegetable Pot Pie (makes 7-8 servings)
- 1 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced (peeled or unpeeled is up to you)
- 1 Tablespoon vegan butter
- 2 red potatoes, chopped (peeled or unpeeled is up to you)
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 6-7 crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth
- Half cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 2/3 cup frozen sweet peas
- 1 sheet puff pastry crust, thawed and rolled out (Pepperidge Farm is accidentally vegan and available at most stores, or you can make your own!)
- Water saute the onion, kale and carrots for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the butter, potatoes, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms and cover with the heat on medium/low for 5 minutes.
- Stir the flour into the veggie mix, mixing until it’s all combined, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the veggie broth and the almond milk. Keep stirring until there are no flour lumps, then bring to a simmer. It’ll start to thicken up in about 4-5 minutes. Add the frozen peas then remove from heat.
- Add a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then stir. Spray your 8×8 baking dish with some non-stick spray, then pour in your delicious veggie mixture. Cover with your puff pastry and cut slits in the top to vent. Bake at 375 until the crust is golden brown, 15-20 minutes (or maybe more depending on your oven). Let cool for a few minutes then serve.
This contest is now closed and the lucky reader is … Connie! She uses the Barista creamer in pretty much everything, judging by her comment, haha.
They now offer a line of Coconut Milk Barista Style Creamers, in both original and french vanilla.
And (even more exciting for me, who doesn’t drink coffee), an Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk!
Barista Style Creamers
When I opened the box they sent and saw so many containers of the creamer, I knew I was going to need reinforcements… so I did what any nice vegan does, and I shared! I had some happy co-workers that day I’ll share their opinions below, but first I want to share mine. I kept one container of the ‘original’ flavor for myself and used some of it for a double batch of my Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup I was making for a recent Meetup. When I had originally created that recipe I used a soy creamer, and this was my first time subbing something else in… and it worked great! I didn’t notice any difference in the final product, so while I can’t speak really to the taste of the creamer in coffee, I can vouch for how great it works in cooking.
As for the peeps I shared with? One was a lifelong vegetarian who drinks one cup of coffee a day. She said the flavor and consistency were great and would purchase it again. Thumbs up!
The other two were actually husband/boyfriend of my colleagues, both of whom are committed omnivores (although one has recently been diagnosed as lactose intolerant so has been looking for dairy alternatives). The great news is that they really liked it too, and said they’d also purchase it again! These non-vegheads said they really enjoyed the flavor and liked how creamy it was. They had tried other non-dairy creamers in the past and hadn’t been happy with the consistency… until now!
I love introducing non-vegans to vegan products and getting such positive feedback!
These I kept all for my greedy little self To give you a little bit of background, I was never a fan of dairy milk. Other than on cereal or when cooking/baking, I hardly ever consumed it. When I first switched to plant-based milks, I was so pleased with the flavor of the sweetened and vanilla flavors that I went a little wild, ignoring the difference in calories between those versions and the ‘regular unsweetened’ versions. I’ve since switched entirely to the regular unsweetened (always either coconut or almond), but have missed the vanilla flavor. It’s so good on cereal and in smoothies!
The point I’m getting at is that now I can once again enjoy the vanilla flavor, guilt free! It has the same number of calories per serving (45) as their unsweetened coconut milk (the one in the green container), and fewer calories than their original (sweetened) version (in the red container) which has 70 calories per serving!
In case you jumped ahead to the giveaway part and ignored all that, the short version is “Thumbs up all around!”
One lucky reader, to be chosen randomly from the comments below, is going to win two FREE PRODUCT COUPONS, good for any So Delicious brand items! These are what they call VIP coupons. So Delicious was good enough to share them with me, and I’m passing them along to you, cause you’re all VIPs to me!
The contest is open until Midnight (Mountain time), Sunday 4/21. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced the following day. To Enter: All you gotta do is leave a comment below telling us your favorite way to use plant milks. Do you drink them straight? Make milkshakes? Use them as some sort of weird shampoo?
Want more than one chance to win? Go ahead and do any or all of the following, and leave a separate comment for each, letting me know you did it. (Multiples grouped into one comment will only count once!)
- Follow TWV? on Twitter
- Tweet about the giveaway (make sure you tag me!)
- Like TWV? on FB
- Follow TWV? on Pinterest
- Like So Delicious on FB
- Follow So Delicious on Twitter
- Follow So Delicious on Pinterest
*So Delicious Dairy Free provided me with free product to review, but the opinions are 100% mine!
When Go Veggie! (formerly known as Galaxy Nutritional Foods) sent me some of their new vegan shredded cheese and asked if I wanted to participate in National Grilled Cheese month, it was really a no-brainer. Not that I knew it was National Grilled Cheese month until they told me… but once I found out, I was totally in! And so I present to you (drum roll please)… the Vegan “Broccoli Cheese Soup” Grilled Cheese Sandwich!
It’s got steamed broccoli, sweet onions sauteed with garlic, and a delicious mix of Go Veggies! new vegan Mozzarella and Mexican shreds combined with just a little bit of vegan butter. It’s rich, but it also has a ton of broccoli so we’re going to call it a health food, k? What is absolutely healthy is that delicious massaged kale salad in the background – they went perfectly together!
As you can see from the pictures, the shreds melted perfectly. I still have lots of the mozzarella left, so I’m thinking another crazy pizza creation is in my near future, ha ha. I’ll keep you posted of course!
“Broccoli Cheese Soup” Grilled Cheese Sandwich (makes 2 sandwiches)
- 4 slices hearty bread (I used a homemade multi-grain ‘cause I’m fancy)
- Vegan butter
- 1 heaping cup broccoli florets (it helps if they’re sliced thin)
- 1+ teaspoon garlic powder
- Sea salt
- 2 1/4 inch slices of sweet onion, each sliced in half so you get the long pieces of onion
- 2 handfuls Go Veggie! vegan cheese shreds (Either flavor would work, I used a mix of both… ’cause I’m fancy!)
- Schmear butter on one side of each slice and set aside.
- Steam the broccoli (I use a colander in a pot of boiling water because maybe I’m not so fancy after all?) until it turns bright green, 5-6 minutes. About halfway through, sprinkle it with the garlic and sea salt and give it a stir.
- Water saute the onions just until soft, 4-5 minutes. Give them a sprinkle of garlic too!
- In a frying pan over medium heat, lay down your first two slices of bread, buttered side down. Top each with about 2/3 of the cheese, then add the broccoli and onion. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low, just for a couple minutes. We want that cheese to get reeaaal melty!
- Turn the heat back to medium and remove the cover. Add the rest of your cheese and the remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Now, if you want your sandwich to be a little bit extra decadent, add a little butter to the side of the bread that’s facing the cheese. It’s not required, but it sure is good!
- When the bottom slice is browned, flip and continue to cook until the color is the way you like it! Serve immediately!
*Go Veggie! provided me with free product to review, but the opinions are 100% mine!
Ahhh… Vegan Chinese Food. Yes, that’s right, I said VEGAN. In a time when so many Asian-style restaurants are loading their dishes with fish and oyster sauce, finding suitable options at your local Chinese joint can be challenging to say the least. But if you’re lucky, you have at least one local spot where you can get veggie lo mein or maybe some sesame tofu, right? Well, if you’re really lucky, you live within driving distance of Southeast Denver and can pop into Sunny Gardens because not only do they skip the fishy sauce, they also have vegan meat!
Yes. Vegan meat.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some veggie lo mein and sesame tofu, but ohmygosh what a treat it is to be able to enjoy sweet n’ sour chicken again without all that pesky guilt and those cancer-causing proteins! And since I know you’re probably wondering what the vegan meat is made out of, it seems to be seitan-like. They said it’s made out of gluten, mushrooms and other vegetables. They did have a little problem a couple years back when they switched to a faux meat that contained egg powder (as their yelp reviews show), but happily for us and the hens, they’ve switched back to a fully vegan product!
First of all, does “vegetarian meat soup” not make you laugh? It made me laugh. Also (and this is the bestest), the veg section is on the FRONT COVER of their menu! When vegans and vegetarians visit Sunny Gardens we’re not some kind of second class citizens who need to skulk in the back door and be happy nibbling on fortune cookies dipped in spicy mustard. Oh no. We’re the guests of honor!
And my excitement doesn’t stem only from the possibility of vegan food, oh no. I’m excited because the food here is really good. Really. Really. Good.
My girlie Jamie (speaking of bestest!) and I had dinner here last Sunday. It was my second visit and I couldn’t wait to take her there.
We always share (cause that’s how we roll), and since we couldn’t really narrow it down, we ordered 3 dishes to split. To quote JL, no shame in our game!
Hands down, my favorite was the Sesame Chicken with Tofu. The tofu was all breaded up and fried, and the “chicken” was fried as well, just enough to be a little bit crispy. I also love how there were so many veggies, and the entire plate was ringed with steamed broccoli!
A strong second place goes to the Orange Chicken (which wasn’t spicy like the menu indicated) but still delicious. Again, the “chicken” was a bit crispy and felt very meaty in my mouth. If it had tofu as well, it would’ve tied for first! Once again there were tons of veggies and the wonderful ring o’ steamed broccoli.
This last one was our least favorite, although it was still quite good. It was the Double Delight with Garlic Sauce and included veggie chicken and beef. Jamie thought the flavoring of the ‘beef’ was a bit strong, but I liked it. It wasn’t fried though, so the texture was a little softer.
Favorites and least favorites aside, you can’t go wrong when everything is this tasty! And veeegan!
The restaurant is located in a strip mall just a mile or two off I25 (Yale and Monaco for you locals), and while it’s nothing fancy, it is clean. It seems to be family run, and our server was very nice and knowledgeable.
Did I mention how yummy it was?
Did you know I can read minds? It’s true!
For example, right now you’re thinking “Is this girl cray-cray? It’s springtime! I don’t want banana bread!” And you’re right, the timing on this post is a little off.
But the thing is, I only recently discovered that I’m no longer allergic to bananas, and so I’ve been going a little, well, bananas eating them. I’m putting them in smoothies, pancakes and breads, and I’m loving it!
I know right now you’re wondering how my allergy was miraculously cured, or if maybe I really am crazy and was imagining the whole thing… but we’re going to go with the miracle cure theory. It’s a miracle, yay! See?
So I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was great and bad. Bad because poor Cooper has an ear infection AND a skin infection (I had to give him a medicated bath on Saturday night, he did not like it). But my weekend was also great because I had the most fabulous lunch on Saturday with JL! We met up in Castle Rock at the Old Stone Church restaurant which is in (you guessed it!) an old stone church.
A very cool place, the church was built in 1888 and still has all the original stained glass windows! They were also super sweet and willing to make us a special vegan meal, although we both just veganized a salad that was on their menu. We also had some wine. And then some more wine. And we planned some vegan world domination
Back to the bread: The banana bread recipe comes from Isa Chandra, but I added slivered almonds. I mean, everyone puts walnuts in their banana bread and I just wanted to be different. The bread itself was delicious, moist and not too crumbly, and I thought the amount of banana flavor was perfect – not too overwhelming. I added about 3/4 cups of the slivered almonds, which weren’t as ‘in your face’ as walnuts can be because the pieces were so small. Overall, a success!
There are plenty of ways to enjoy asparagus, especially now that warm weather is arriving, but I need to strongly recommend that you give Sesame Parmesan Roasted Asparagus a try.
Or, as I like to call it, Sesaparms ‘spargus. Go on say it. It’s fun!
I made this the same night I gorged on Somer’s Vegan Orange Sesame Seitan and they went together perfectly. I feel like asparagus is the quintessential spring/summer vegetable and would go perfectly with anything, really. Grill it, roast it, steam it, boil it… you can’t go wrong!
Sesame Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
- One bunch fresh asparagus
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Sesame seeds
- Nutritional yeast
- Wash your asparagus, then chop off the woody ends at the natural breaking point (you know, where it snaps when you bend it)
- Arrange on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and drizzle with just a bit of olive oil
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then place under the broiler (on low) for 6-8 minutes, turning once. Keep an eye on it! Don’t let it burn!
- Plate the ‘gus and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds and nutritional yeast, and serve while still warm.
I love Chinese food but it’s one of those things I don’t often make at home… until a few weeks ago when Somer posted her Vegan Orange Sesame Seitan as an answer to any “meaty cravings” vegans may be having.
You must go make it. Seriously. Tonight. I don’t care what you were planning to have, make this instead! Here’s her recipe.
The only changes I made were to serve it over brown rice, and I used chia seeds instead of flax because I couldn’t find my darn flax seeds! It worked, but I don’t feel like I got the complete coverage she did. It was still yummy though! (Obvs, since I’m still gushing over it after all this time, right?)
As for that delicious looking asparagus, check back in on Friday for that recipe!
Now go make it, k?
When my friend Tinya from the Vegan Society of Colorado Springs emailed and asked if I’d be willing to drive down and join the presentation team at one of their upcoming Plant Strong classes, I said “Heck yah!”
Okay, confession time. I may have gulped and worked up a bit of nervous sweat first, but then I rallied and said “Heck yah!” And I’m so glad I did!
Honestly, I was never that nervous. I do a lot of public speaking and training for my day job, so I’m pretty comfortable with that aspect. And you know I love to talk about food Plus, my old kitchen was actually set up almost like a food demo – I used to love having friends over who would sit at the bar and drink and chat with me while I stood there and prepped our meal.
The entire Plant Strong class was amazing. You can see the full list of topics here, but some of my favorite topics were Keeping a Social Life in a Carnivorous World and Everyday Super Foods. That last one has actually motivated me to re-read my Dr. Fuhrman books and stop being such a ‘junk food vegan’. Jacqueline, one of the organizers and fellow blogger, also did a bad@ss food demo right before lunch.
Mine was after lunch, as part of multiple breakout sessions. In hindsight there were certainly things I’d do differently, but overall I’d say it was a success! I was lucky to have my pals JL, Bianca and Christy (who are all seasoned food demo-ers) to pass along some great advice before hand, and then I had my friends Jamie and Sarah there in person to ask me some helpful leading questions during the demo if I was forgetting to say something important!
But the most important thing… what did I make? Well, for the lunch (before my demo) I brought a big ol’ crockpot full of my Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup (2 full batches, all of which were eaten right up!)…
And for my actual demo I made my Chik’n Salad with Cranberries and Pistachios (also a hit!)…
And I finished up by telling them a little bit about my homemade seitan, which would also be delicious in that chik’n salad if you don’t have soy curls. Of course I also brought a few loaves with me, which I chopped up and let them try.
I’m happy to report that everyone seemed to enjoy my food in all 3 demos that I did! And I’ve been invited back to do more, which is certainly the biggest vote of confidence possible