April 20, 2013

"Plant-Powered 15" Black Bean Soup

The most popular post, of all time, on this blog is the one where I lauded Dreena Burton's fantastic chocolate chip cookies from her cookbook Vive le Vegan! It's the most pinned of all the recipes on this site, and it's the most searched for. And all I can say is... "Thank you, Dreena Burton, for bringing these fantastic cookies into our lives!"

Not only is Dreena a lovely health-conscious mom, and the perfect example of a glowing-from-within vegan, but she's also friendly and sweet. And she has graciously offered to allow me to reprint one of the recipes from her latest cookbook titled Plant-Powered 15.

Plant-Powered 15 is an ebook that features 15 gluten-free, oil-free, and totally-vegan recipes.

"These recipes were selected with a few criteria in mind. To give you recipes that will delight your taste buds, that are not too time consuming or difficult to make, and that are chocked with whole-foods goodness! Yes, these recipes feature whole-foods ingredients: whole grains, whole-grain flours, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, natural sweeteners, and no oil. They range from breakfast and baked goods to sauces, soups, burgers, and even a few sweet treats!" 
-- Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered 15

Dreena generously allowed me a peek at the cookbook, and let me tell you, it looks amazing!

Here is a list of the 15 mouth-watering recipes featured in the ebook:
Almond Zen Granola
Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Creamy House Dressing
Green Goddess Dressing
Orange-Miso Dressing
Wonder Spread 
Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes 
Presto Pistachio Pasta
Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers 
Sneaky Chickpea Burgers 
Coconut Pillows 
Sticky Almond Blondies 
Peanut Butter Munchy Squares 

Ever since I watched the The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, I've been toying around with all of my staple recipes, experimenting with removing as much added oil as possible while keeping a delectable flavor and texture. Thank you, Dreena, for giving me a leg up on going oil-free with this fabulous cookbook!


"'This soup has an irresistible quality, the flavors are deep and earthy with some sweetness from the potatoes. Don't let the number of ingredients intimidate you - they build layers of flavor, but this soup is not at all difficult to make!'
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups chopped onion (one large onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups combination of chopped red and green peppers
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (generous is good)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (rounded)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or less/more, to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 4 medium - large cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups black beans (reserve 1 cup; this is three 14 or 15 ounce cans)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed (in small chunks, about 1/2") yellow sweet potato (or can substitute white potato)
  • Chopped cilantro for serving
  • Extra lime wedges for serving
  • Chopped avocado tossed with lemon juice and dash of salt, for serving
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water, onions, red and green peppers, salt and pepper, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until onions and peppers start to soften. Add garlic. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and let cook another few minutes to soften garlic - if sticking/burning, add another splash of water. After a few minutes of cooking, add 3 1/2 cups beans (reserving one cup of beans), water, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, and maple syrup (start with 1/2 tsp). Using an immersion blender, puree soup until fairly smooth. Increase heat to bring to boil, add bay leaf and diced sweet potatoes, then once at boil reduce and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add remaining cup of black beans and extra maple syrup if desired (taste test). Stir through, let simmer for another few minutes, then serve, topping with cilantro if desired and with lime wedges. Also delicious to top soup with some chopped seasoned avocado or a simple guacamole.  Serves 4-5 as main course.

Sweet Potato Tip: Sometimes I have leftover sweet potato home fries that have been seasoned with just sea salt. If so, I take a recipe and chopping shortcut and simply add these to my soup during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, just to heat through.

Recipe from 'Plant-Powered 15' by Dreena Burton. For more recipes and information, visit www.plantpoweredkitchen.com. Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy."


Dreena has offered up a free copy of her new ebook to one lucky winner. Just visit the Rafflecopter widget below and enter to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 17, 2013

"AwesomeSauce" Even Omnis Will Love

My favorite vegan restaurant, Spiral Diner Fort Worth, makes an amazing nacho dish with what seems to be the latest sensation, a vegan "cheesy" sauce made from cashews. I love these nachos super hard. They are mouthwatering and fantastic. I even eat the jalapeno slices on top, because there's the microscopic possibility that they might be ever-so-slightly impregnated with the sauce. The only problem is that, despite their fantastic food and friendly waitstaff, Spiral Diner has one slight imperfection... It's expensive! And I'm eternally broke! To be fair, they do charge a decent price considering that the bulk of their foodstuff is organic. And, if I could afford it, I would not feel ripped off eating there every single day. Hell, every single MEAL if I could! But, sadly, my trips to Spiral happen only a handful of times per year. And I am forever trying to copy their recipes so that I can make their delicious yums at home for a fraction of the price. They do teach cooking classes on occasion, but I can't afford those either. What's a poor vegan to do??

Today I was really, desperately craving those nachos. Like, I mean, I had to have 'em, man! And I know the  not-so-secret ingredient in Spiral's "cheesy" sauce is cashews. But, since when can a poor person afford raw cashews? Since almost-never, that's when. So, I farted around with a couple of cashew-free "cheesy" sauce recipes I found online and came up with my own delicious chip-dipping substance, sans the expensive cashews. And it is fabulous!

Even your omni friends will love it. They won't have any idea it's vegan - it's way too decadent to be rabbit food! They'll think it's some exotic, richly creamy awesomesauce. Hence the name, "awesomesauce." I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon mustard
  • Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring to a slight bubble, stirring constantly, over medium heat. 
  • As soon as mixture begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and continue whisking until sauce thickens. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so be careful not to overcook.
  • Turn heat off and remove saucepan from heat source. Stir a few more times and serve. 
  • Enjoy!
P.S. AwesomeSauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. To reheat, just add a tablespoon or two of water and stir gently over medium-low heat until warm.


April 13, 2013

"May I Be Frank" is, Frankly, Amazing

I was recently contacted by an employee of Cinema Libra Studio and asked to review a copy of their film, May I Be Frank. I was vaguely familiar with the title of the film, and the Frank in question, because I'd just seen the documentary Hungry for Change, in which Frank is featured, a couple of weeks ago.
As a result of being moved by Frank (who gives a brief but tearful account of his transformation in May I Be Frank) in Hungry for Change, I fortuitously found a copy of May I Be Frank available to HuluPlus viewers. I don't have cable TV and I am a HuluPlus fanatic! I immediately placed the film in my queue. Then, I kid you not, the very next day I received the email asking me to review it. Looks like it was meant to be, yes?

This morning my husband and I sat down to watch the film, thinking we could take it in 15 to 30 minute snippets throughout the day, watching while we snack during breaks between weekend chores. But it only took about 10 minutes to get us hooked, and we could not stop watching for anything. It was brilliant and fascinating, and the title character, Frank, is instantly recognizable by the viewer as being a reflection of oneself, and society at large. He is brash and funny on the outside, and (like many of us) uses hedonism as a defense against his own self-loathing. Even being a Southern woman, I found that I easily identified with this loudmouth Sicilian guy from Brooklyn. I recognized quickly that there is a "Frank" in all of us - someone who desperately craves healing, who wants to be loved, who wants to find health, happiness, and peace. I am already finding myself asking, "What would my inner Frank say to this?" And I will probably use that as a mantra to combat bad decisions in the future! WWFD?

Frank Ferrante, before his incredible transformation.
The basic premise of the film is that this overweight, ex-junkie with hepC named Frank casually wanders into a raw vegan restaurant in San Francisco called Cafe Gratitude, where he befriends three young guys who work there. These three guys, with the help of the restaurant's owner, challenge Frank to 42 days of their health and spiritual coaching, as well as eating three meals a day at Cafe Gratitude, and drinking a gallon of water a day. He complies, signs a contract, and begins a journey that will change his life forever.

It all starts out with the diet changes, as a viewer might expect. And, at first, I thought it was going to be another one of those "veganism is the only answer" documentaries. Don't get me wrong - I love those documentaries! And I do affirm, after many years of struggle, that veganism is the answer. But, thanks to this film, I now also understand that a healthy, plant-based diet is only the beginning of healing.
Once Frank's body begins to heal itself, his mind and emotions all begin reaching out for help as well. His body, in releasing the toxins gathered and stored through 54 years of abuse, also finds the strength to release its emotional toxins. It is truly, truly inspiring. I couldn't help but question my own psychological baggage while watching Frank set his down, open it up, and sort it all out right in my living room. I was moved to tears more than once. Frank's energy and his emotions become so raw and palpable that you feel like you're right there in the room with him, watching all of this amazing stuff happen to him like a fly on the wall, wanting to speak to him directly, but unable to.

Frank Ferrante today. Happy, healthy, and healed.
I cannot recommend strongly enough that you watch this film. Even if you think you've got it all figured out, there is still something profound to be learned from Frank. His documented journey is having a domino effect with viewers everywhere, I'm certain, as it has with me. Frank changed his life, and now he has inspired me to go even further and deeper into changing mine, creating and revelling in my own transformation.

Thank you, Frank. 


  • Watch the film on HuluPlus, which you can enjoy free for two weeks by clicking THIS LINK.
  • Rent or purchase a digital copy of the film from Amazon HERE.
  • Purchase a DVD copy of the film from Amazon HERE.
  • Purchase a DVD copy of the film directly from the Cinema Libre Studio Store.
  • OR you can try to win a copy from ME! Details to follow...
The folks at Cinema Libre Studio have graciously offered up two copies of the May I Be Frank DVD to be given away on Bankrupt Vegan. How fabulous is that? To enter, follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget below.

April 12, 2013

Got a Great Haul, Y'all!

Shortly after I started this blog, I made a post about the wondrous magic that is the salvage grocery store. Almost every big city has at least one, and even a few small towns have them scattered about. The salvage stores don't have money to advertise, so you generally only find out about them through word-of-mouth. Start asking around! Seriously, you will save a crap-ton of your cash if you can find one. Let me prove it to ya!

In today's particular haul, I purchased the following items:
  • Gluten-Free Crackers (x4 boxes)
  • Organic Toasted Sesame Seed Oil
  • Alexia Sweet Potato Fries (x3 bags)
  • Organic Whole Wheat Couscous (x2 boxes)
  • EnviroKids Cereal (x2 boxes)
  • Zevia Soda (x4 cans)
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • La Croix Soda (8-can case)
  • 2 lbs. Whole Wheat Flour
  • Organic Quinoa (x2 bags)
  • Sea Snax Snack Bags (x6 bags)
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Drew's Organic Salad Dressing
  • Silken Tofu (x8 packs)
  • Clean Well Natural Hand Sanitizer (x2)
  • Organic Tahini Paste 
  • Firm Tofu (x2)
  • Organic Decaf Coffee
  • Eli's Earth Bars (x8)
  • Indian Food Pouches (x2)
  • Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars (x2)
  • Leap Frog Flash Card Sets (x2)

Nice haul, right? Now, guess how much I paid for all of this organic, vegan goodness - which, at a regular store would easily have cost somewhere between $150 and $200, if not more. Go ahead, guess!

$54 and some change. That's it!
Anytime you've ever seen an ingredient on this blog that is way too expensive for a "bankrupt vegan" to afford, it's in my kitchen because I found it at the salvage store. Visit the original post for more information, and a couple of links that might help you find a salvage store in your area.


April 10, 2013

Never Pay For Vegetable Broth Again!

A gallon jug of vegetable broth made from scraps previously destined for the compost bin.

I tell ya, if I'd ever had even a teeny clue how easy it is to make vegetable broth at home, I would never - NEVER - have paid a dime for the stuff at the grocery store. Plus, now that I see how simple it is, and how little it costs (just the price of water from my tap, and the gas I use on the stovetop), I know I've been getting royally ripped off all these years!

Seriously, never buy vegetable broth at the grocery store again. If you do, you might as well bend over and put a "welcome" sign on your butt, because the store is going to be "puttin' it to ya good," if you know what I mean... and I think you do...

First, you just start collecting your veggie scraps in a bowl in the freezer. I don't even keep a lid on mine. I just leave an open bowl in there and, every time I peel a carrot, or cut the tip off a green onion, or clip off cilantro and kale stems, I just chuck my scraps into the bowl in the freezer. When it starts looking kind of full,  I take it to the next level.

Dump the scraps into a large stock pot and cover with water. There are no exact measurements in this process, just make sure they are covered. Don't put in too much water, though, or your broth will be thin and flavorless.

Next, you bring it to a boil, give it a good stir just to make sure everything's mingling well, then cover and simmer on medium-low heat for at least an hour.

Allow the broth to cool completely before straining. Once it's cool enough to handle, use a fine mesh strainer like this one...

... to pour the broth through, catching the vegetables and dumping them to another bowl (destined for your compost bin) as they overfill the strainer.

You can store your broth in the fridge for several weeks. Or, better yet, freeze the broth in ice cube trays! You will never run out of the stuff, unless you stop eating or cooking with vegetables. And that would be a tragedy all on it's own...

April 4, 2013

Simple Stick-To-Your-Ribs Lasagna

I pulled this creation from thin air yesterday when I wanted a hot, hearty meal but I didn't want to do a lot of prep (i.e. chopping veggies for half an hour). I wasn't sure how it was going to taste, but it smelled amazing as it bubbled in the oven, and the entire family gobbled it down like it was chocolate lava from the Alps. It was so delicious! And, quite honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between my version and the "real deal," even though I can admit that it's been a long time since I've tasted the real deal. Anyway, this would be the perfect dish for a non-vegan dinner guest or an omni potluck.
Put this one together when you're really hungry, and want some comfort food, but don't want to work too hard for it.

9 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions then "shocked" with cold water
1 pound firm tofu, drained
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • PREP
  •  First, you need to whip up the noodles. Easy enough. After you've drained them in the colander, just "shock" them by rinsing them off with some cold tap water until they're nice and cool. This will keep them from sticking together while you make your tofu ricotta.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Now, to make the tofu ricotta, you simply dump your drained tofu into a bowl and add the spices. Use a fork to smush the tofu and push in the spices. Just smush and stir until everything's combined. It only takes a minute or so. It should look like this - 

  • Now you'll just layer your ingredients in a casserole dish like so.
  1. little bit of sauce on the bottom
  2. 3 noodles
  3. little more sauce - paint it over the noodles with the back of a spoon
  4. a third of the ricotta
  5. a smattering of mushrooms
  6. 3 more noodles
  7. little more sauce
  8. another third of the ricotta
  9. more mushrooms
  10. last 3 noodles
  11. remaining sauce
  12. remaining ricotta
  13. remaining mushrooms
  • Put it in the oven, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through and sauce is bubbling.
  • Allow it to rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it. 
  • Enjoy!

April 2, 2013

That's So Corny!!

Corn gets a bad rap - and rightly so when it is consumed in its most notorious form, high fructose corn syrup. But straight-up corn, shucked right in your own kitchen, then boiled, grilled, or roasted, makes a fantastic side for a meal, or even a great snack.

Right now the price of corn is hitting it's spring and summer low. Just like my beloved avocados (which are 3 for a buck at Sprouts this week, by the way)! This is the perfect time to get to know corn. I'm seeing fresh ears for sale as low as 5 for a dollar. Experiment with roasting and grilling. Try swabbing on some butter and nutritional yeast, or some vegan mayo and paprika. Get crazy!

The best part is that it comes in it's own packaging, no waste! Just stick those shucked leaves and corn silk threads into your compost and let nature do the rest.

Or, if you're so inclined, you can make a corn-husk doll!
How about a corn cob pipe?

Now, don't even get me started on popcorn. Seriously, do NOT get me started. Oh dang, it's too late. I'm going there...

Homemade popcorn is the best stuff on earth, packed with fiber, antioxidants, and even a vitamin or two or three. Don't bother with that microwave junk. If the processed ingredients don't give you cancer, the chemical crud lining the bag sure as heck might.

The best way to cook up your popcorn is in an air popper, such as this.
But, if you don't have one of these bad boys, you can just pop it up in a large lidded pot with some high-heat oil (I use canola, but grapeseed would work too).

Here's a great instructional video about getting the perfect pop.

Oh, and let's not forget about the awesomeness of corn grits! Mmmmmmm...