November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

These little guys decorated my windowsill.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are all finished over here at Manriquez Manor, bellies puffed out pathetically like the zombie that ate Lori Grimes.

Oh, snap! Good one, Mom! Wait, I'm not allowed to watch Walking Dead...
I spent two days cleaning and cooking, and the food was gobbled up in about ten minutes flat. Oh well... Isn't that the plight of all home cooks on Thanksgiving?

Blessed and thankful, indeed.
This was my second all-vegan, 100% cooked-by-me Thanksgiving meal. My mom isn't vegan, but she went with the flow. However, she admitted that she didn't like the Tofurkey. It seemed like she enjoyed everything else though.

Today is also my mom's 64th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!
Here's what we feasted upon...

Tofurky with Roasted Veggies in Wild Mushroom Gravy
"This Ain't Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole" from Oh She Glows
Green Bean Casserole from Vegan Celebrations by Alicia Simpson
Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Chocolate Mousse Pie from The Cancer Project
Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie from
 We also had mashed potatoes with brown gravy, whole cranberry sauce, jellied cranberry sauce, and ciabatta rolls (which got a little bit burnt - my bad).

Who burned these dang biscuits?! Mom!!

Here's what Jason and I looked like before we started stuffing our gullets...

Out 9th anniversary is on December 17th. Yay, us! And yay love!
And here's what we looked like after we gorged ourselves on Thanksgiving fare...

Insatiable! We've got the hunger for tofu-flesh. We can't be stopped!!
After dinner we walked to the park and tried to make my Star Wars X-Wing fighter kite fly, but it was a dud.
I got a great workout, though! I need to (attempt to) fly kites more often. Running after this thing 800 times really got my heart rate up.

Fly, dammit. FLY!!!
This is the most air I got out of the thing.
Look how disappointed Jason looks, holding the dud kite. Poor fella.
We didn't have turkey, but I sure ate "a bird" this Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful day! I am thankful for compassionate vegans, amazing vegan food, a fabulous family who loves me, beautiful North Texas, and YOU! Thanks for reading. You are appreciated.


November 12, 2012

Homemade Vegan "Parmesan"

I've had this cookbook, Vegan Food Gifts, on my Amazon Wish List ever since I got wind of it, and I tried unsuccessfully to win it from two or three different blogs during MoFo. When I finally figured out I wasn't going to win it, I just sucked it up and bought the damn thing. Because (spoiler alert to my friends, family, and neighbors) this year I'm planning to give "food gifts" as presents. My first course of action is to start making and sampling the recipes so I can figure out what's good to give.

So far, I've made the Fudgy Brownie Mix (photo at the bottom of this post) and the Italian-Spiced Parm-y Sprinkles. There are about 50 remaining recipes I'm dying to try. They all look soooooo good! And since nobody else I know is vegan, besides my husband, and my health guru, Katherine, I have to choose wisely when considering what to give as gifts. So far, I've only tried the two recipes, but they were both fantastic. And I wanted to share the "parmesan" recipe with you because, not only does it taste amazing, but it's easy to make, not too pricey, looks and smells gorgeous, makes a fabulous topper for garlic bread, spaghetti, popcorn, and salads. And I think even non-vegans can appreciate the yummy flavors it presents. Plus, it's got walnuts in it! Hello, protein! My daughter hates the taste and texture of nuts, but she loves this stuff. So, now I can sprinkle the health benefits of nuts onto her salads and she's none the wiser.

1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 panko-style bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed (*I subbed cumin)
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until the walnut pieces have been ground into a powder. 
  • Yield: About 1 1/2 cups.
And, since I want to make you really, really crave chocolate right now, here's a picture of the brownie mix prepared...

The mix would be so cute in a jar, and all your recipient has to add is milk, oil, and applesauce. I will definitely be handing this one out for Christmas!

November 8, 2012

Zucchini and Three Bean Soup

I hope everyone had a great MoFo! I know I did. I discovered lots of great new vegan blogs, made some friends, and even won some stuff! I'm an Irish girl, but I am ironically and very notoriously unlucky. October 2012, however, was my lucky month! I won a free pint of Nada Moo, a free tub of Earth Balance butter, and three (seriously, THREE!) new cookbooks. How awesome is that?! 

Here's the list of my new cookbooks, and the respective blog from whence they were won:
Okay, okay. That's enough braggin'. Here's the recipe...

I have a jalapeno pepper plant growing in my front yard and, even though it's fruit is probably flavored by the car pollution streaming off the heavy traffic on the street in front of my house, I really love to stick jalapenos into anything that will complement them. And I want to use up the last of my peppers before winter comes! One can only eat so much pico de gallo...

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 large zucchini squash, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Additions:
1 pound extra firm tofu, cubed and pan-fried
4 links Tofurkey Italian Sausage, sliced and pan-fried
  • Pre-heat a large pot. Add oil and let the oil heat up. But not too much! You don't want it to start smoking. 
  • Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Sautee for several minutes, until veggies are tender and your kitchen starts to smell amazing.
  • Add broth, seasoning, beans, and zucchini. Bring soup to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat and add cilantro.
  • Cover and allow to simmer on medium-low heat for a half hour to an hour, tasting occasionally to check for flavor. 
  • Add more seasoning if you wish, but keep in mind that this makes a huge pot of soup, so a whole bunch of it is likely going to go in your fridge. And, as it sits, the seasoning and spices get more intense. It will be much more spicy on Day Two than it was on Day One. Just giving you fair warning!
  • If you're going to add one of the optional ingredients, wait to do so until just before serving.
  • Tastes great with a side of vegan-buttered baguette.
  • Enjoy!

October 30, 2012

Mummified Corn Dawgs

Aren't these too cute?! I can't take credit for the idea. There are actually dozens of versions of this recipe floating around the internet. This one is from the gorgeous blog, Fork and Beans.

Here's the original post: 

As you can see, her mummy-bandage work is much more sophisticated than mine, but in my defense this was my first try. And, when it comes to mummies, I can work miracles with a roll of toilet paper and some tape! Just ask my kid.

Here's her recipe:

1/2 c. corn meal
1/2 c. gluten-free all purpose flour mix
1 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup non-dairy milk + 1/2 Tb apple cider vinegar
2 Tb oil
3 Tb. cornstarch (for coating)
4 gf/vegan tofu pups
4 lollipop sticks
Vegetable oil for frying (approx 2 quarts)
1/2 c. Veganaise “mayo” (placed in a squeeze bottle)
Mustard (for the Mummies’ eyes)
  • Heat up oil in a deep fryer or in a pot until it reaches 350 degrees (takes 5-7 minutes to heat up approx).
  • Roll each hot dog into the cornstarch, creating a thin layer to coat prior to dipping into batter.
  • Place a stick into each of the hot dogs and set on a plate.
  • Combine the corn meal, flour, salt, baking soda and powder together.
  • Add milk + vinegar mix, and oil into dry ingredients mix.
  • Dip each hot dog on a stick into the batter. Place into hot oil and cook 3 minutes or until nicely browned.
  • Place on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess oil.
  • Using the squeeze bottle filled with Veganaise, create lines on the corn dog like mummy bandages.
  • Squirt mustard for the eyes.
  • I used black sesame seeds for the irises in my mummies' eyes.
  • This recipe definitely tasted good, but the batter was thick and crumbly. In the future I think I may try this with Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Beer Batter. It holds together well, and it tastes amazing. Also, I'm addicted to it, so yeah...
  • I may also try to make "bloody bandages" with ketchup the next time I do this. I think the taste would be complimentary.
Before you run off to make these mummified treats, please pay a visit to my new geek blog, JEN THE GEEK! It's brand-spankin' new so the posts are limited. But I'll be working on it regularly, when I'm not cookin' up the vegan grub.

October 29, 2012

Southwestern Black Bean Soup

I have my usual Autumn head-and-chest cold. I'll get another one sometime in January or February. It happens every single year, like clockwork. If the world ever goes to hell, and we lose our calendars, we can always tell the general month by when I get sick. Just remember that.
Needless to say, I haven't posted in a while. It's also needless to say "needless to say" but I like to say it. And I'm sick. So there.
The past few days have been a whirlwind of Tofurkey pizza, Amy's No-Chicken Noodle Soup with a side of vegan-buttered baguette, and hummus with chips and a side of kalamata olives. All of my favorite vegan comfort foods. The only thing missing is tabbouleh, dolmas, and candy. I need some sweets, people! And I'm too sick, and way too snotty and phlemmy and gross, to go anywhere near the kitchen and bake.
Can someone please send me a bucket of GoMaxGo bars??? I will put up a picture of you in my kitchen and pay homage to it daily. No, seriously, I will. *nods emphatically*

Needless to say (ha!), I didn't actually make this soup recently. I made it several days ago, when I was just starting to feel the ache in my sinuses. And I took one crappy picture (see photo above for evidence of craptastisity), then called it a day. But now I sure wish I had another big bowl of this stuff. It's so yummy! Very hearty, a bit spicy, with a stick-to-your-ribs quality that would really perk me up right now.

Go forth and make. Think of me while you're cooking. Think of where, in your city, you can purchase GoMaxGo bars at a decent price. Think of poor, sick, snotty Jen and how much she would enjoy some sweets. Email Jen for her mailing address. Stamp and send. Don't forget to include your picture! A drawing will suffice. Really, anything that I can pay daily homage to will suffice.
Oh wait! I can sweeten the deal. (I really, REALLY need some candy, dammit!) Any vegan bloggers who send me a GoMaxGo bar (or two or three...) will have a special feature right here on Bankrupt Vegan about their blog. I might even make a recipe or two and post the photos. You got it? Candy bars equal blog-love.

Now, go make this soup. It's totally bad ass.

1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Homemade Taco Seasoning
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 package Tofurkey Italian Sausage links, sliced and cooked (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
First, chop your vegetables and have them ready to go.
  • Preheat a large pot or Dutch oven. Add oil and allow it to heat up for a minute or so. 
  • Add vegetables and gently saute until they are cooked through. 
  • Add taco seasoning and stir to coat vegetables. 
  • Add broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir well. Add bay leaf and stir again. 
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour.
  • Add cilantro leaves and allow to simmer a few more minutes.
  • If you're using the Italian Sausage, go ahead and slice it and cook it while you're soup is simmering. I just cook the slices in a little oil on a cast iron skillet until the edges are brown. Add it into the soup at the same time you add your cilantro.
  • Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Enjoy with a side of warmed and buttered corn tortillas.

October 21, 2012

Cranberry-Almond Kale Salad

I am always searching for more ways to cram kale into my diet. I love the stuff! And I always feel so great after I eat it - energized and... uh.. well, you know... "rollin' in the colon" and stuff. Hey, I just made up a new phrase! Rollin' in the colon. I like that.

1 bunch fresh kale, stalks removed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup, agave nectar, or sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely grated (I use the little frozen squares)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • First, whisk together the following items in a large bowl: orange juice, apple cider vinegar, sweetener of your choice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. 
  • Add the ginger and whisk again, until very well incorporated.
  • Add the kale and use salad tongs or hands, or whatever you've got, to gently toss the kale in the dressing until every leaf if covered and dripping with good stuff.
  • Now add your almonds and cranberries. Toss again.
  • Enjoy!
And now I have a strange request for my readers...

I have a mystery tree growing my backyard. We've only lived here for a year, and all year long I've watched these weird little pink balls growing on the tree behind my bedroom window. Now they are falling off and I'm like, "Should I be roasting these or what?" I have no clue what they are. The little black thing on top reminds me of a persimmon, but I saw some persimmons at the grocery story recently and they were way bigger than what I have. So, I am flummoxed. Can anybody shed some light on this??

And, if you know what it is, can you also throw a recipe or two my way? The Bankrupt Vegan title is not just a clever moniker. If I have food growing in my backyard, I need to eat it!

October 17, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Nirvana Smoothie

You know what's hard to take a good picture of? Smoothies!
That said, this was by far the most delicious and decadent smoothie I have ever tasted. I got the recipe from my pal, Katherine Lawrence, at her sister site Delectable Planet.

Here's the original recipe:  

It's just four simple ingredients, it's packed with vitamins, and it is truly so rich and chocolatey that you feel like you're somehow "cheating," but you're not! My daughter and I knocked it back in a minute flat. Delicious!

2 cups unsweetened frozen cherries
1 banana
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
  • Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and serve.
  • Makes 2 servings.

October 16, 2012

Cinnamon Whole Wheat Cupcake with Orange Buttercream Frosting

We were invited to some friends' house for dinner last Sunday and I really wanted to bring something nice as a thank you. But I didn't have a lot of stuff on hand, so I culled this little number together based on my limited pantry offerings and, you know what? It turned out great! It's whole wheat, with a hint of cinnamon flavor in the cake, then topped with a rich orange buttercream frosting. I gave a couple of them to our sweet neighbors across the street and here's the message they posted on my Facebook timeline this morning: "Those vegan cupcakes were AMAZING!!! They were gone in about 2 seconds."

Yep. My work here is done...

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or coffee liqueur)
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups.
  • Put the teaspoon apple cider vinegar into a 1C measuring cup. Then pour the milk on top of it to fill the cup. Stir it gently and set it aside for a few minutes to allow it to curdle. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together all wet ingredients, including milk, as well as sugar.
  • Gently dump all dry ingredients on top of your wet mixture. Do not stir until all dry ingredients are added. Then stir or mix gently, until just mixed. Do not overmix.
  • Fill each baking cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until cupcake springs back when lightly touched.
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract
2 tablespoons soy milk
Orange food dye, just a few drops (optional)
  • Cream together butter and shortening until well mixed, and light and fluffy.
  • Add 1 and a half cups of powdered sugar, and the orange extract, and mix well.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar, along with the milk and mix again.
  • Add dye, a couple of drops at a time, if using.
  • Only frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled.
  • Enjoy!

October 15, 2012

Divine Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I know there are about eight billion banana bread recipes floating around the interwebs, but I have an entire tropical forest of overripe bananas sitting in my freezer and I need to use them!
I swear, I've never made the same banana bread recipe twice. I am always changing up my recipe, trying new ones, different flavors, exotic add-ins. Today I just wanted something simple. I went with what I had in my pantry, which explains the use of brown sugar and coffee liqueur (which I've discovered is a great substitute for vanilla). It turned out very moist and not-too-sweet, and we all really enjoyed it. This might be the one banana bread recipe I actually make more than once. I hope you like it too! 

2 tablespoons golden flax meal
1/4 cup warm water
4 medium to large overripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a standard loaf pan.
  • Mix the flax meal and water together, and let stand for several minutes. Stir again before adding to recipe.
  • In a large bowl, mix together bananas and oil. 
  • Add flax mixture, and mix again.
  • On top of your wet mixture, gently dump all of the dry stuff. Do not start mixing until all of the dry ingredients are in the bowl.
  • Gently mix or stir until everything is well-incorporated. Be careful not to overmix. Batter will be slightly lumpy, and that's okay!
  • Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for at least half an hour before digging in. Slice, butter, and enjoy!

October 13, 2012

"Cheesy" Corn Grits with Yellow Squash

Sorry I haven't been posting much this week. My husband and daughter both have sinus infections (and so does everyone else in town, it seems) thanks to the massive influx of ragweed blowing in the air. Lo and behold, although I too have been struggling with allergies to the ragweed, I have managed to stave off the sinus infection via use of the magical Neti Pot. If you have seasonal allergies, get one! It totally works. It feels gross when you're pouring salt water into your schnoz, but it's totally worth it. And now I'm the only human in town who doesn't have a sinus infection. I wonder if the Neti Pot also works for zombie outbreaks? Better keep it handy, just in case...

So, today the family seems to be perking up a bit. My husband even cleaned the family room and the kitchen while I took an amazing nap with my two fat kitty cats, Paddy and Putter Jack! It was a magical Saturday afternoon for Jen, y'sir. And when I woke up, feeling totally renewed, I blew into the kitchen to concoct this grits recipe. I had some leftover squash after frying up squash and zucchini in fabulous beer-batter (yes, those are beer-battered zucchini sandwiches you see in the photo) and I didn't want it to go to waste, so here's how I used it:

3 cups water
1 cup white corn grits
1 tablespoon olive oil (or water)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup yellow squash, finely chopped
1/2 cup vegan cheddar, shredded
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Add the grits while gently stirring.
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed.
  • While grits are cooking, saute squash and garlic with oil (or water) in a smaller pan or skillet, until soft.
  • When grits are finished cooking, add squash and garlic, along with all remaining ingredients to your grits and stir until the vegan cheese is melted.
  • Salt and pepper on the plate after serving. 
  • Enjoy!

October 9, 2012

Beer-Battered Onion Rings

These onion rings were a happy accident. And now I'm certain I'm going to make them every weekend as a special treat!
What happened was this... I was making the Beer-Battered Tofu recipe in Isa Chandra Mosokowitz's fabulous cookbook, Vegan Brunch*, and I just happened to have some batter left over. So, my husband suggested that I "pick any vegetable and fry it up in the batter." I had an organic onion sitting on my counter about to go smushy, and the rest is history! This was, of course, my first attempt at onion rings. I think I will cut them a lot thicker next time. But thick or thin, it doesn't really matter, they were great!

You will need...
1 to 2 large white or yellow onions, sliced and rings separated

And here's the recipe for the batter, from the cookbook Vegan Brunch:

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold dark beer
1/2 cup cold water
Salt, for sprinkling
  • Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Pour in about a half inch of oil. Proceed to make the batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to combine the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the beer and water. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Test the oil by dropping in a drop of the batter; if rapid bubbles form around it then the oil is not hot enough. If you have a thermometer then it should read between 325 - 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Okay that's the batter from the cookbook.
The rest is up to me. Here it goes...
  • Dump as many onion rings as you think will fit into your frying oil into your batter and coat them thoroughly. Your hand are going to get messy!
  • Gently slip the rings, one at a time, into the oil and try to keep them from being too crowded. Drop medium sized rings into the larger ones, and so forth, but don't pile them all on top of one another. 
  • After a minute or so, flip the rings over and allow to fry on the other side. It won't take as long this time, just somewhere between thirty seconds and a minute.
  • Allow cooked rings to drain on several paper towels. 
  • If you're going to salt them, it's best to do it immediately after removing them from the oil, to help it stick. 
  • Repeat with remaining rings.
  • Then dip in ketchup and enjoy!
*If it seems like I'm yapping about Vegan Brunch a lot, it's because I've only had this cookbook in my possession for a couple of weeks. I know it's been around for several years, but it's new to me. And I am excitedly discovering all that it has to offer, which is a whole lot of yum!