September 25, 2014

Sleepaway Camp Surprise



MoFo's almost over and I haven't even posted half the stuff I made and photographed! It's been an epic month of stress after stress for me, so ya gotta cut me some slack.

Stress #1. My daughter started kindergarten at a charter school that I thought was going to be awesome, but turned out to be a steaming pile of poodoo. So we are now homeschooling her.

Stress #2. My mom (she had a stroke last December) decided that she needs to live in her own apartment. She can cook and tidy up and take care of herself, but she still can't speak or read or write. How is she going to call 911 if something happens? How is she going to tell the landlord that her oven is leaking gas??

Stress #3. I quit my job at the church yesterday. Hello poverty! It's nice to see you again in the near future, when my paychecks stop coming... It's a long story that I don't want to go into right now, but I had no choice, it had to be done. Also, as a result of working in a church, and being both a witness to (and a victim of) the dark underbelly therein, I am also no longer attending church, which is a huge deal as I was raised in the church and have attended for over 40 years.

Stress #4. The car that I was buying from my mom broke down in a neighborhood near where my husband works and, despite our best efforts to get it running again, it will not budge. So, as of two days ago, it has two orange stickers and a parking ticket on it. As of yesterday, the city towed it away.


Okay, okay. The pity party is over. But you can see why I haven't made the 20 posts I swore to myself I would achieve for MoFo this year! If I'm really diligent, though, maybe I can cram in a few more before it's all over. Let's do this.


If you have ever seen the fabulously awful movie, Sleepaway Camp (1983), you already know the "surprise." I shall reveal said surprise after the recipe, so if you haven't seen the film and don't want the surprise ruined, don't scroll down past the recipe.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Sleepaway Camp is a film that defies explanation or definition. It's just terribly, terribly bad. But it's so much fun to watch (seriously, it is!) it has a cult following almost on par with the Evil Dead trilogy. The original film (along with it's equally terrible predecessors) has it's own website. And the star of the film, Felissa Rose, is a frequent guest of honor at horror conventions all over the world. A Sleepaway Camp Reunion in 2001 pulled hundreds of fans who came to get a glimpse of the cast and have their t-shirts and memorabilia autographed.

In honor of Sleepaway Camp, and just good ol' summer camp food in general, I am posting a very simple, but delicious broccoli and rice casserole that is reminiscent of camp cafeteria food, but way tastier.

The recipe comes from the cookbook, The Compassionate Cook: Or, Please Don't Eat the Animals, which I was fortunate to find on the Half Price clearance rack for two dollars. Woo hoo!


BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE
from The Compassionate Cook: Or, Please Don't Eat the Animals!

"The nutritional yeast gives this casserole a 'cheesy' quality, the broccoli gives it color, and the spices give it pizzazz."

1 10-ounce package frozen broccoli florets, or 1 bunch fresh, cut into pieces
2 cups white rice (I used long-grain brown rice)
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine (I used Earth Balance buttery spread)
1/22 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch of turmeric
I cup of nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of paprika
  • Steam the broccoli, about six minutes.
  • Prepare the rice according to package directions.
  • Spread the cooked rice evenly over the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the broccoli over the rice and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the margarine in a medium frying pan over low heat.
  • Beat in the flour with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, then whisk in the boiling water, salt soy sauce, garlic and onion powders, and turmeric. 
  • Cook the sauce until it thickens and bubbles, then whip in the yeast. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the sauce over the broccoli and rice, sprinkle the top with paprika, and bake for 15 minutes. 
  • If desired place pan under broiler for a few minutes until the sauce is browned and crusty.


Okay, are you ready for the surprise?

Are you sure you're ready?!

Don't scroll down if you haven't seen the movie and don't want to ruin the ending!

That's your warning!

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

Here it comes...

Surprise! It's a weenie!
(A vegan one, of course.)


In the final scene of Sleepaway Camp, a twist is revealed. Angela, our heroine, has killed a boy and is crouched over the body. When she is approached by two camp counselers, she stands up, stark naked, to reveal that she has a dong, is a boy, and has been a boy from the get-go. She is also, naturally, the murderer. It's nonsensical gender-bending horror hi jinx like only the 80s can produce!

And, as a very special treat to my readers, I give you this...


September 18, 2014

Earth Balance Review


I'm going to take a quick detour from my Vegan MoFo theme and do a review of this amazing Earth Balance stuff that I won - yes, WON! - from VeganMoFo.com. So, I'm just putting it out there that I wasn't given this stuff specifically to review, and nobody asked me to review it. I am reviewing it because I thought it would be a nice thing to do since I won it. Did I mention that I won it?! Seriously, though, I only won it because MoFo is a time of magic, when unicorns whinny outside my kitchen window and pixies poop jellybeans into my morning coffee.
I love you, MoFo! Thanks for the giveaway and the awesome prize! And, mucho thanks to Earth Balance for supplying and shipping it - oh, and for inventing it too! I bet I eat my weight every year in organic Earth Balance butter, a substance for which I will always be grateful to you. Love the stuff.

This is my prize. ALL of this! Mine! ALL MINE!!!
Fra-geeeee-laaaaaay.

That top picture,yeah that one with all the goodies, is what came in a rather beat up box to my modest home in Fort Worth, TX, on a hot summer day earlier this week. I was tired from work and grouchy from the heat. Cracking open a homely and unassuming box to find pure treasure inside was such a delight!

Now, on to the reviews...

 Earth Balance Creamy Peanut Butter

It's creamy, sweet (but not too sweet), and easy to spread on toast. What more can I say? Oh yeah, it doesn't separate. You don't have to spend two hours digging into the dry gulch at the bottom of the jug, knocking oil out all over your countertop, trying to get the nuts and the oil to kiss and make up. It's easy-peasy to work with and it's delicious.
Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares

Oh my goodness, these are so yummy! They are light and buttery. The "cheese" flavor doesn't come through very strongly on the first bite - it's more of an aftertaste. But I didn't mind. These were really tasty. I had to stop myself from gorging on them. And today, when I got home from work, I was really looking forward to having another handful only to find that my husband and daughter had eaten the whole box! Grrrrrrr.


Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Kettle Chips

I'm gonna be honest. This was my least favorite offering from the box of goodies. The chips themselves are cooked perfectly - flaky and crunchy, and kind of oily, exactly like a good kettle chip should be. But the "cheddar" flavor is a bit off-putting. It's very strong, and it's not at all like traditional cheese. It has that weird whang of Daiya cheddar in it. If you've ever eaten Daiya you probably know what I mean. It's good, but it doesn't taste a thing like cheese. And it leaves an oily aftertaste in your mouth. To the chips' credit, though, I liked them enough to down the whole bag at work today. I let some of my coworkers try them too, to mixed reviews. I think this is a 'like it' or 'hate it' kind of treat. Some liked it, others hated it. My husband was one of the haters, but he also hates Daiya. I don't mind Daiya so much, if it's used on the right dishes. And I didn't mind these so much either, but I don't think I will buy more unless they are on deep clearance.


Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Mac and Cheese

It is absolutely amazing how much this looks like standard Kraft mac and cheese. It's a dead ringer! The flavor is nice, but it isn't going to fool anyone. It's amazing to behold, though - it's the closest I've ever seen to the boxed mac and cheese in vegan form. Like the kettle chips, it has a little whang of that Daiya-type aftertaste, and a slight acidity that I'm unaccustomed to in mac and cheese. But, if you don't go into it expecting it to taste exactly like the mac and cheese of your youth, and just go with it for what it is, you will be pleasantly surprised. My six-year-old daughter, who is a very picky eater, ate 2/3 of the bowl you see in the photo, so that right there is a vote of confidence. I think we will be buying this again, depending on the price. Take my advice and sprinkle a little nooch and freshly-ground black pepper on the top. It cuts the tiny sting of acidity you get (it's almost like a slight vinegar taste) and makes this totally snarf-able. My only complaint is that one box doesn't make very much. That bowl you see in the photo is the entire box! The bowl I used is just a standard-sized rimmed soup bowl that will comfortably hold one regular can of soup. The nutrition label purports to contain two and a half servings, but unless you are feeding tiny gnomes, you're hardly going to get two and a half servings out of it. 


Earth Balance Vegan White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

This box of mac and cheese was a vast improvement over the orange cheddar one. The flavor was much more smooth, less acidic. I really liked it and so did my daughter. This is the flavor we will likely be buying on a regular basis. The nooch and black pepper on top (not pictured) is good on this as well, but not 100% necessary. It tastes good all by itself. Thumbs up! Again, though, it didn't make very much. It's really just one serving unless you're eating it alongside other foods. But who the heck does that?? When I make mac and cheese it's because I'm too lazy to really cook, and the mac and cheese is all I eat. This happens more often than I care to admit... *sigh*

Altogether, my family and I thoroughly enjoyed this sample box of goodies and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to try all of this wonderful stuff! 

P.S. Earth Balance, I have one request - please offer the white cheddar mac and cheese in a gluten free option and I will be your best customer. Seriously, I will eat it every day! Thanks!

September 16, 2014

Christine's Premium Motor Oil


Christine's Premium Motor Oil tastes oddly like chocolate syrup...

There are those perfect vegans in the world whose taste buds are so pure, unadulterated and refined that they claim to never crave any unhealthy foods. They might say, for instance, "I used to Jones for ice cream 24/7, but now all I ever want is kale." To this I say both Piff and Twaddle. C'mon, guys. Are you seriously telling me that you never crave slumber party food? Like, never?! 



Well, the opposite of that is me - I am a junk food enthusiast who could live on homemade popcorn drenched in vegan butter and nooch, and who loves to bake bake bake! Yes, I do try to control my intake of junk food, and I eat my fair share of kale, but I would be straight-up lying if I said I never had a sharp craving for the rich stuff - sugary, chocolaty, richy rich, ooey gooey, yummy stuff. Yeah, you know what I'm talkin' about!

Luckily, thanks to the absolute necessity of learning to cook if you want to be a healthy vegan, I can make my own versions of just about anything I'm craving. That's where this li'l awesome recipe comes in.

My six-year-old daughter, Lila, wanted ice cream with chocolate syrup. (She has two boxes of Ruby's Rockets in the freezer, but - no! - it had to be ice cream.) We all know the frozen banana ice cream trick (if you don't know it, scroll down to the bottom of this post), and it always suffices. She loves the stuff. But what about the syrup? I could probably find something that's technically vegan at the grocery store, but I don't want my little toot gobbling up gallons of HFCS and artificial dyes. What to do? Keep reading and you'll find out...

Christine (1983)

Anybody remember the movie Christine? The book was by the great Stephen King, the movie by the equally great John Carpenter. If you've never seen it, it's honestly really good. And, like so few horror films from the 80s, it stands the test of time. If you have cable TV (I, myself, do not *sigh*) I'm sure you'll be able to catch it in October when AMC starts running horror films all month. I highly recommend that you DVR it. Also, the title character, Christine, is a car. Thus, the motor oil association.

And now, let's get to the chocolate syrup recipe... Nom nom nom.

Christine's Premium Motor Oil

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup sugar, or more to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
A few drops/squirts liquid stevia (optional)
  • Bring the milk to a gentle boil in a small saucepan, stirring frequently with a whisk. 
  • Add the sugar and whisk to dissolve.
  • Add the cocoa and salt. Whisk to mix. Reduce heat to medium-low. 
  • Let mixture simmer for a few minutes, stirring or whisking occasionally, until it starts to thicken a bit. It will thicken more as it cools.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  • Grab a spoon and try some. If it's not sweet enough, you can stir in a few drops of liquid stevia to pump it up.
  • Allow to cool before pouring on ice cream or stirring into milk. This stuff makes a fantastic glass of chocolate milk!!
  • Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Oh yeah, buddy! Banana ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup.
Life is gooooooooooood.

Side Note: We have begun homeschooling our daughter and this recipe was a fantastic cooking lesson for a six-year-old. It didn't have a lot of ingredients, but it did involve actual stove top cooking and mixing. She loved it!

Banana Ice Cream
If you've never made the banana ice cream, you must try it! It's so wonderful, and so insanely easy, you will never look back. Peel some bananas, break them up into two or three pieces and freeze them. When you're ready to make the ice cream, just toss the frozen bananas into a food processor and whirl until smooth - no sugar needed. My kid eats it right out of the processor tub and this is the reaction I get every time.

 A smile worth every dollop of ice cream dropped on the kitchen floor.

September 10, 2014

Evil Dead Delights



I work in a church and the sales rep from a giant corporate Christian book supply company just happened to stop in a few days ago to check in and see if we needed to order anything or whatever. He's a really nice guy, but I don't know him very well. I've only met him one other time in the year that I've worked there. Being a hospitable Southern gal, I offered him a muffin (vegan banana chocolate chip) and this sparked a nice conversation about vegan food and my blog and, of course, my MoFo theme. And then, get this, he says, "I have an idea for you. Evil Dead Delights." 

You have to picture it. This is a corporate Christian book supply guy in a button down shirt with a name tag on, not at all someone you'd expect to know what the heck The Evil Dead is. That's what I get for judging the book by it's cover, V'egg in my face! And I, of all people, should know better because nobody would ever look at me, in my dorky mom clothes, and think I love sci-fi and 80s horror films. 

So, this one's for you, really nice corporate Christian book supply guy in a button down shirt with a name tag on! I applaud your taste in 80s horror films. 

The Evil Dead (1981)

If you are unfamiliar with The Evil Dead trilogy, allow me to introduce you to it. It is the creation of Sam Raimi, whom you may know from the likes of Xena, Warrior Princess; SpiderMan; and Drag Me to Hell. The brilliant thing about The Evil Dead trilogy is that it starts off in all seriousness, with the first film being gory, gross and really spooky. Then the second film, The Evil Dead 2, starts to get a bit comical toward the middle - ridiculous amounts of blood, Ash's hand turning against him (this is where he gets his famous chainsaw arm), among other silly things. The third film in the trilogy, Army of Darkness, just goes balls out with zaniness. Ash is a total bad ass and he says tons of hilarious stuff. You can find literally thousands of Ash and Army of Darkness t-shirts, posters, toys, action figures, comics and so much more. It's a cult sensation. And it's totally delightful, just like these Evil Dead Delights.

Army of Darkness has a fabulous tagline:
"Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas."

I have a confession to make. I am one of those degenerate regulars you see in the clearance section of Half Price Books. You know, that shadowed section full of weirdos way back in the butt end of the store, right next to the bathrooms. Yeah, that's the one! Well, you may not know it but there's a cookbook section back there. And it rocks! My most recent score was a clean hardback copy of Skinny Bitch Bakery. Guess how much I paid for it. Go ahead, guess! Two bucks, my friend. It even has the dust jacket on it. Yeah, it's missing a few pages in the middle, but that ain't no thang. I can cook around that.

How can your mouth not water just looking at these things?!
And, yeah, they taste every bit as good as they look.

So, here's the recipe I chose to represent my Evil Dead Delights - Kim Barnouin's "Sanctuary Tracks Cookie Bars" from the Skinny Bitch Bakery cookbook. My personal baking notes are written parenthetically to the side of each ingredient. Deeeeee-licious!

1 tablespoon soy milk or creamer
1 cup mashed banana (I used one banana)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I used regular ol' salt)
3/4 cup non-dairy margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (I used organic white sugar)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup crunchy organic peanut butter (I used creamy)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
1 cup organic raspberry jam (I used apricot preserves)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9" pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and mashed banana and mix well. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the margarine, sugars, and peanut butter; then add the vanilla extract and banana mixture.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until well combined. Evenly spread half of the dough in the pan. Spread the raspberry jam on top of the dough, and add the remaining dough mixture; smooth with a rubber spatula.
  • Bake the cookie bars for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden on top. Let the cookie bars cool completely before cutting them into squares.

September 4, 2014

The Stuff

"Are you eating it? Or is it eating you?" 


Anyone remember The Stuff? It's a bit more obscure, I'll admit, but the message resounds still today that primarily greed rules our food supply. The basic premise is that some miners find this yogurt-y lookin' "stuff" bubbling up from the ground, they taste it and decide it's delicious, then it gets marketed to the general public, who become addicted to it, become zombies, and basically get eaten from the inside out by it, eventually dying. 

The Stuff (1985)
Now, tell me how creepily familiar this next part sounds...
So, once it's discovered that The Stuff is killing people, and John Q. Public has been warned to dispose of his stash, the food industry starts experimenting with using smaller amounts of The Stuff inside regular ice cream so that they can keep the buyers addicted,and keep making money on it, but hopefully not have the customers get eaten from the inside out, at least not fast enough to have The Stuff be blamed for it. 

MSG anyone? Processed meat, maybe? Trans fat, much?!

Now let me just step down off of my soap box, brush myself off and get composed...
Ah, there we go. Let's get down to my very edible, healthy, and non-addictive (at least not in the "bad" way) version of The Stuff.
The Stuff in the film is white, but who wants to eat white puddin', I ask you? So, mine is chocolate. I threw coconut shavings on top for some white effect. So there.


This is an even simpler version of the Vegan Chocolate Mousse we all know and love. You know, the one where you melt chocolate chips down and combine them with non-dairy milk and sugar and tofu. But, frankly, when I'm really craving chocolate, I'm also usually in a brain-state that dictates, "You are too tired and bitchy to wait for chocolate to melt!" That's where The Stuff comes in. It's just powdered cocoa, silken tofu (hell, I don't even drain it), your choice of liquid sweetener, and a touch of vanilla. And it's awesome! 

Try some!
You'll love it, pretty mama.

2 12.3-ounce boxes silken tofu
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
1/2 cup your choice liquid sweetener*, or more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • This could not be simpler. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and whirl until it's smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides every now and then. Once it's creamy, give it a taste and add more sweetener if necessary. That's all there is to it.
  • *I used raw agave with a touch of liquid stevia, but maple syrup or homemade simple syrup (probably just about anything sweet and runny) works too.  
Please take care to tighten the lid on your food processor, or this might happen...


September 2, 2014

Scanners Scramble



Hey, who remembers Scanners? It was a David Cronenberg film, so if you are at all familiar with Cronenberg's body of work you can immediately imagine how bizarre and disgusting it is without me even having to describe it. It concerned a rare and small group of "special" people, called Scanners, who could do all kinds of crazy telepathic and telekinetic things, like read thoughts, start fires with their minds, control the bodily processes of other people, and - most notably - make people's heads explode.    

Scanners (1981)

I will spare you from photos of the infamous head explosion scene, because I don't want you to lose your appetite, Instead, I will cleverly use my tofu scramble to demonstrate the basic logistics of the scene.


Here we have two fully functioning brain lobes, just pulsing away happily.

Then this guy catches wind of something in those lobes he doesn't like.

And now the brains look like this... Ya get me?

'sploded or not, that scramble looks delicious. And it is! The recipe is not my own. Alas, it belongs to one Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Veganomicon fame. It is my favorite tofu scramble recipe and the only one I ever make anymore, simply because it is the best! Trust me and give it a try. Here's the original recipe post on the Post Punk Kitchen website. You can also find it in Isa's fantastic cookbook, Vegan Brunch. I'll put links to the cookbooks at the bottom of this post. Now, on to the scramble!

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt*
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fresh black pepper to taste
(*This is way too much salt for me. I only use a half teaspoon when I make this and it always tastes great. I recommend starting with less and adding more later if you want to.)
  • First stir the spice blend together in a small cup. Add water and mix. Set aside.
  • Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic in olive oil for about a minute. Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and saute for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is. Use a thin metal spatula to get the job done, a wooden or plastic one won’t really cut it. The tofu should get browned on at least one side, but you don’t need to be too precise about it. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the ban. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate.
  • Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. 
  • Cook for about five more minutes. Serve warm.

As you can see in the photos, I topped mine with fresh pico de gallo. I had some leftover from yesterday's C.H.U.D. C.H.I.L.I. so I used it to top my scramble, which was ever-so-gently lain on a stovetop-warmed tortilla from Trader Joe's. Dang, it was good! Best.Breakfast.Ever.



Happy MoFo'ing, everyone!


 

August 31, 2014

C.H.U.D. C.H.I.L.I.


Why, yes, that is an edible C.H.U.D., complete with carrot claws and olive eyes. Is it too terrifying to eat, or too cute? I'll let you decide.
Happy MoFo, everyone! Let's get this month-long party started! 
The theme I'm working with is 80's horror films. And what better film to start with than C.H.U.D.?

I grew up in Waco, TX, and the only place to rent movies was at a place called Flicks, which was in a tiny converted house wedged between the Piggly Wiggly and a full-service gas station. I was a frequent Flicks customer. My PawPaw drove me there every Friday and Saturday and I would easily watch between 4 to 6 horror films every weekend. There really wasn't much to do in Waco, TX, in the 80s before you were old enough to drive. My grandparents weren't too savvy about the movie titles, and they never ventured into Flicks themselves, so they didn't have a clue what I was watching. Seriously, I saw The Exorcist (alone!) at ten years old. And The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And The Amityville Horror. And on and on and on... Am I scarred for life? Maybe, but the point is this: My middle-aged brain is now full of mildly useless trivia and quotes from all the horror movies I watched as a kid. And now I'm going to parlay that knowledge into fun recipes for the purpose of Vegan MoFo 2014. Woo Haw!

C.H.U.D. (1984)
C.H.U.D. - if you didn't already know - stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. The movie is terrible, but a lot of fun to watch. This one is particularly special to me because it is the only horror film I ever watched with my grandparents in the room. I was horrified the entire time it played, but MeeMaw and PawPaw chuckled in the background and chatted with each other, probably just bored and wishing they were playing dominoes or something.

I really want to get my hands on the C.H.U.D. DVD because, apparently, there is a fantastic commentary track that is "better that MST3K" (according to a reviewer on the movie's IMDB page). Being a huge fan of MST3K, I need to find out if this is true. I suspect it might be, as Daniel Stern is one of the commentators and that guy is hilarious.

So, anyway, on to my first MoFo creation, C.H.U.D. C.H.I.L.I!

I topped my C.H.U.D. C.H.I.L.I. with sliced and browned
Tofurky Italian Sausages and fresh pico de gallo.
1 cup vegetable broth, or more as needed
Half a white or yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 red bell pepper, diced (can sub green if you're broke)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large zucchini, peeled and chopped (don't peel if it's organic)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 28-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

  • In a large pot, get your vegetable broth cooking over medium-high heat. Once it's pretty toasty, toss in your onion, garlic and carrots. Saute them in the broth until they begin to soften. This only takes a few minutes. Don't let your veggies turn to mush.
  • Add the zucchini, bell pepper, jalapeno and spices. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add more broth if needed, just to keep things from sticking.
  • Throw in your beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Cover and cook for about half an hour on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Dribble in some extra broth to get it to the texture you like. Some folks like thick chili, some like it runny. 
  • When it's about ten minutes from being ready, toss in your cilantro. I like to give the cilantro just enough time to flavor the chili, but not overcook it so that it stays bright green and beautiful.
  • Keep tasting and tweaking every now and then. You might want more spices or more beans. This chili is very forgiving. Just get it to the point that it tastes fantastic to YOU.
  • I like to top my chili with sliced and browned sausages (Tofurkey's Italian Sausages are only $2.99 at Trader Joe's right now!) and fresh pico de gallo. You can also try some vegan sour cream or vegan cheese! Vegan queso is delicious on this too.
  • Enjoy, and don't get too close to any steamy manholes.

August 30, 2014

Oh, The Horror!

Yes, these are my actual eyes. My six-year-old daughter did the make up for me.
80s horror film make up? Nailed it!
Vegan MoFo 2014 is about to start and (especially since I missed it last year), I am super fired up for a great run this time around. I've got two previous MoFo's under my belt, but I've never done a theme before. I've never really been able to settle on one - there's so much weird crap that I like to talk about! I love sci-fi and can pretty much talk all day about the minutia therein, but there are already a handful of sci-fi themed MoFo'ers this year. My favorite movie of all time is Aliens, but Chestburster Chorizo and FaceHugger Falafel just don't sound all that appetizing. Don't steal this idea, though! I might go for it next year.
I also love The Walking Dead, but someone did that a couple of years back and it was fabulous - they made a necklace with ear-shaped bread strung on it a la Daryl Dixon. I ask you, how can I top that?!
But there is one thing that I am almost embarrassed to admit I know a lot about, because I was a teenager in the 80s, and because I was weird. 80s horror flicks. There probably isn't a single one I haven't seen. Granted, it's been a zillion years since I've watched any of them, but I loved them so much! They were terrible, even then, but so much fun to watch. So, that's the theme I'm gonna go with. See you come MoFo 2014 time! Only two more days to go...

August 16, 2014

So, Basically I'm a Genius

I discovered something wonderful. 

If you put this...


and this...


together like this...


it totally tastes like this!


You're welcome.