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!