October 3, 2016

Banana Walnut (or Choc Chip) Muffins

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I've started homeschooling my kiddo  and that is keeping me very busy! Gone are the days of solitude where I can clean house for a while and then cook and blog while the washer is running. But, that's okay, I love homeschooling and so does my daughter! But I'll still post when I can. In the meantime, I picked up a new-to-me cookbook called The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (whose podcast, Joyful Vegan, is fantastic!) and I'm so excited about it that I wanted to share the first recipe I made from the book.

My daughter is 8-years-old and is obstinate about vegan food. Sorry, "vegangelicals," but she is very adamant that she does not want to eat vegan food and while I frequently encourage her to try it, I do not force her to eat only vegan. But, I am a sneaky redhead, so here's what I've been doing - I've been making vegan recipes and not telling her they're vegan and keeping tabs on the ones she really likes. So far, I've only been able to trick her with my three-bean chili. I use the Trader Joe's vegan ground beef substitute and she honestly hasn't noticed that it's not beef. Now, the reason I'm so excited about Ms. Patrick-Goudreau's cookbook is because it has lots of yummy-looking "kid food" in it, like mac and cheese, chocolate cake, and quesadillas, and when I showed my daughter the photos in the book she said, "Mmmm, that looks good! Get this cookbook." I never told her it was a vegan cookbook. I'll keep you posted on how she responds to the recipes.

This is the recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, but I didn't have any chocolate chips, so I subbed chopped walnuts instead.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped walnuts)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or stand-mixer, beat oil and sugar together. 
  • Add mashed bananas and mix.
  • Add water and vanilla. Mix again.
  • Use a spoon to gently stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
  • Fold in chocolate chips or walnuts.
  • Fill each muffin tin halfway with batter. (With the use of the Reusable Silicone Baking Cup Liners, I was able to get 20 muffins out of this batch.)
  • Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in a center muffin comes out clean.
  • Enjoy!

July 17, 2016

Our Trip to the V-Market

A fellow vegan mom from my daughter's Girl Scout troop invited me to her Facebook group called Texas Vegans. And on my very first day in the group I saw this poster. Talk about lucky! I honestly would not have known about this event otherwise. And I've been waiting for something like this forever. (Now if only we could get a sci-fi convention going in Fort Worth...) So, the whole family rode over to Shipping & Receiving, and while I was jumping up and down with excitement my daughter and husband were moaning and groaning. They did NOT want to go, they did NOT want to leave the house. I mean, it's really hot outside. But, by the end of the trip both of their tunes had changed, and we all ended up having a really good time. Although, between you and me, we spent way too much. But the goodies were just too hard to resist! Let me show you...

Our first stop was the Wayne's Popcorn booth. 

We sampled all five flavors and decided on a large bag of the peanut butter-chocolate flavor. It's all natural too - I think he said the only ingredients are coconut oil and whatever the flavor is, in this case some peanut butter, and a little agave and cocoa powder. Nice! And look how friendly! I can't say no to a smile like that.

Next we visited the Cykochik booth. She makes custom vegan handbags, and they are GORGEOUS! But insanely expensive, so all we bought was a $2 button to show our support. But someday I'm gonna get me one of those bags, dangit! Maybe I'll save up and be ready for the next V-Market...

Cute photo-op provided by CykoChik.

Our next stop was the lone food truck standing out back, Down to Earth.

Check out this menu! All vegan!

We chose the Quinoa Bowl, the Grilled Veggie Hummus Wrap, and the Summer Salad. Of the three, the wrap was our favorite. Next time I want to try the tacos. I saw people walking around with them and they looked really good! The Quinoa Bowl was just "meh," but the Summer Salad was light and refreshing. That wrap, though. So good!

The grown-ups got special drinks from the bar. One was whiskey and almond milk and something sweet - maybe caramel? The other was a spiced cider drink that was really tasty.

This is my hubs, Jason, enjoying the cider.

Then, of course, we needed dessert! My daughter is gluten-free, and we got really lucky. A vegan bakery called Reverie Bakeshop was there and they had a bunch of gluten-free goodies!

We were starting to get tired of carrying all of our new loot around, so we marched over to the HASOM Bags booth and picked out a super-cute bag donned with peace signs for only $8. 

Then we hit up the SEED FOR THE BODY booth and I purchased a $10 jar of the most wonderful-smelling, decadent, skin-softening body butter with a eucalyptus-mint fragrance (from essential oils, not fakey perfumes). It is fabulous! And I have rubbed it on my chronically-dry hands every night since with excellent results.

Our next stop was the Trust Printshop table. They were silk-screening t-shirts on demand, in a design that they created specifically for the event. How cool! And they were only $10, no matter what size you got. There were a few other t-shirt dealers at the V-Market, and their shirts were beautiful, but they ranged from $25-$40. I ask you - who, in their right mind, would pay $40 for a friggin' t-shirt?! I know I sound like an old lady, but c'mon guys. It's a t-shirt. $10 is the right price for a t-shirt. Maybe $15 if it's fancy. That's all I'm willing to pay for a slab of cotton with a logo on it. Thank you, Trust Printshop for getting this right!

It was so cool to see the silk-screening process up close. I've always wondered how that works. This is my t-shirt on the slab in this photo. 

My daughter changed into her t-shirt right away, she was so excited to sport it.

Our last stop was The Goat's Revolt cheese table. The line was really long to sample all of the nut-based cheeses, but it was worth it. I ended up purchasing the sun-dried tomato and basil cashew cheese. It tastes great on rice crackers! (But, I'm gonna be honest, there's a lot of garlic in it and it makes me fart like a soldier, so I think my family would appreciate my choosing a less offensive flavor next time.)

The very popular Goat's Revolt cheese lady.
There were at least a dozen booths we didn't get to - lots of candles and indoor plants and delicious-looking jams and nut butters. I wish we could have tried (and bought) something from every table! But there's always next time.

July 2, 2016

Vegan 'Puppy Chow'

Super easy to make, cheap, and delicious. Plus, it makes a ton! You can't go wrong with this stuff. It's a finger food, it's a kid food, it's an ice cream topping, it's a popcorn add-in, it's a pretzel mate, it's everything you dream of and more. There's no baking involved so feel free to let your kiddos get in on the preparation.

Here's what you'll need:

1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup nut or seed butter of choice (I used sunflower seed butter)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 12.8-ounce box of rice chex or crispix-style cereal
1 cup powdered sugar
  • In a double boiler, or in a metal or ceramic bowl placed over an inch or so of water, melt the chocolate chips, nut or seed butter, and vegan butter. Stir gently until smooth and well-mixed. 
  • Pour over cereal and gently stir, folding chocolate into the cereal, coating each piece. If you have a large Tupperware container with a tight-fitting lid, you can gently shake the mixture until everything is evenly coated. 
  • Once the chocolate has cooled slightly, go ahead and toss in the powdered sugar. Gently stir or shake again.
  • That's all there is to it. Enjoy!
P.S. We're experimenting with a hybrid of the gluten-free and Feingold diets to try to curb my daughter's ADHD symptoms before school starts back up. So, you'll be seeing lots and lots of gluten-free and low-salicylate recipes over the summer. If it works, you'll be seeing them indefinitely! Wish us luck. 

March 31, 2016

Beef(less) Mushroom Stroganoff

Sorry I've been slow to update the site, but I've got an exciting excuse! I used some of my tax return money to enroll in the Forks Over Knives cooking course, and it's been keeping me busy during my tiny bits of "computer time" each day. Next year I'm really hoping to enroll in the Plant-Based Professional course, and become a bona fide vegan chef. Maybe start earning money with my cooking? Yes, please! I'll keep you guys updated on my progress.

In the meantime, I'll post as often as I can. The FOK course ends in May, so I should be posting with more regularity by summer. Hang in there!

I was craving something classic, hearty, and old-school, so I pulled down the only non-vegan cookbook I own, which is called Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy: 200 Classic American Favorites Low in Fat With All the Original Flavor. I freakin' love this cookbook. It's got all the classic American staples in it, and they're all sort of semi low fat, not that anyone cares about fat anymore, but if you could see the adorable photo of the author, a tiny little ol' lady named Jeanne, you'd fall in love like I did.

So, I cracked it open to a classic Beef Stroganoff recipe, and I veganized that bee. So, here's my version of Beef(less) Mushroom Stroganoff, adapted from the Jeanne Jones cookbook referenced above.

12 or 16 ounce bag of any wide, flat noodles
3 tablespoons oil or vegan butter
1 little carton of mushrooms, cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 bags of Gardein Beefless Tips*
2 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups vegetable or no-beef broth
3 tablespoons marsala wine ($3.99 for a huge bottle at Trader Joe's!)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 cup vegan sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped (to garnish)
*If you can't swing the cost of Gardein, sub two extra cartons of mushrooms.
  • Pre-cook your noodles in a large pot according to package directions, drain them, shock them by running cold water over them until they're totally cool, then put them back in the big pot and set them aside.
  • In a large, nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons of the oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until just beginning to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add your mushrooms. Cook them only a few minutes more, stirring frequently, until they are just beginning to soften. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil or butter in the same hot skillet. Brown the outsides of your Gardein Beefless Tips, if using. When you're finished, dump the Gardein into the same bowl you have your onions, garlic and mushrooms in. 
  • In your same hot skillet, brown with goo from cooking (which is exactly what you want), place your flour. Slowly stir in the broth, whisking constantly, until the flour isn't clumped. Heat should be medium. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste, paprika, dried basil, and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly. 
  • Turn off the heat and add the sour cream.
  • Pour the sauce into the large pot containing your pre-cooked noodles. Add the beefless tips (if using), mushrooms and garlic. Gently stir and mix everything together until all the noodles are coated with the sauce and the mushrooms and beefless tips are spread throughout.
  • When you serve the dish, top it with some fresh, finely chopped parsley. It's easy to grow, so you shouldn't have to buy it, but if you do have to buy it, it's cheap. And it's a showstopper that really elevates the look of the dish and freshens it up on your palate.
  • This makes about four really big servings, or eight small to reasonable-sized servings. We Texans like huge servings, so it's always hard for me to make a calculation on these things.
  • Enjoy!

March 4, 2016

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Shake

It's already getting steamy in the great state of Texas. I started pumping the AC somewhere around mid-February, which means it's finally time for some cold drinks up in here! Enter this bad boy, the one containing the holy trinity of sweet flavors - chocolate, peanut butter, and bananas. Woot woot! Try it. You'll never be the same, friend.

2 ripe bananas
4 dates, pitted*
1 cup non-dairy milk
4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
10 ice cubes, or more to taste

*Sometimes you can find dates at a decent price (Trader Joe's has them pretty cheap) and sometimes you can't. If your budget doesn't allow for dates, replace them with a liquid sweetener, like agave or maple syrup, about a teaspoon of sweetener for each date. Or just leave the sweet stuff out altogether! If your banana is ripe and your peanut butter has sweetener in it, you may not need extra sweetener at all. But if you can swing the dates, I highly recommend them. They add a lovely touch of natural sweetness to this drink. Some rum would be nice too...

  • Place bananas, dates (or liquid sweetener), milk, peanut butter, and cocoa powder into the blender and blend until nice and smooth. 
  • Add ice cubes, a few at a time, until cubes are crushed and drink is chilled.
  • Makes one large glass (think Mason jar) or two smaller glasses.
  • Enjoy!

February 9, 2016

Dreena's Best Banana Muffins

Almost four full years ago, I posted what I still consider to be the best vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe any of us will ever try. That recipe was the invention of Dreena Burton, and it's so wonderfully simple and chewy/crispy and perfect, I continue to make it at least once a month. My whole family loves it!

Dreena's gone and done it again in her new cookbook, Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a photo of the banana bread muffins from this new cookbook on her Instagram account, and it looked so good, I asked where I could find the recipe. She graciously responded that it's in her new cookbook and even gave me the page number. Lucky for me, I'd just bought the cookbook a few days prior to this encounter, and since all of the ingredients are things I already had on hand, I was ready to give this recipe a try. And I'm so glad I did! The muffins are chewy and lightly sweet, with the littlest hint of guilty-pleasure to them. Only you don't have to feel guilty! Seriously, they're just great. Give these a try, and when you're done go buy everything Dreena's ever published. Her recipes never fail.

P.S. Dreena did not put me up to this. I bought this cookbook with my own money and I'm raving about Dreena Burton of my own free will. You will too after eating these muffins!

P.P.S. In the cookbook, this recipe makes either a loaf of banana bread or twelve muffins. I'm only providing the info for the muffins, and I'm partially paraphrasing her recipe in my own words. So, the baking instructions you find below aren't exactly what's in the cookbook. Just lettin' ya know!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pureed overripe banana
1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with paper baking cups.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the pureed banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour mixture into muffin cups (I used a large cookie scoop to measure out the batter). 
  • Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a center muffin comes out clean.
  • Let cool before eating.
  • Enjoy!
Before I go, let me tell you about the exciting new thing I'm doing! I've been thinking about the kind of career I want to start to build for myself at this stage of my life. When I was graduating from college with a Communications/Theatre BA, I couldn't possibly have known that in ten years I would be vegan and have an earnest interest in becoming a vegan chef, teacher, coach, and professional baker. So, at the ripe li'l age of 43 (my birthday was last Thursday!) I am taking my first steps in pursuing my dream. Step One, for me, is enrolling in a vegan cooking school to learn all the chef basics, tricks and tips. I just signed up this very morning, and I am so excited! I will keep you all posted on my progress as I proceed through the program.

February 3, 2016

Asian-Inspired Apples & Tofu

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook, Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. It was one of those situations where I had a bunch of apples, a bunch of tofu and some noodles on hand, so I flipped through the indexes of all my cookbooks to see if there was a recipe that might miraculously meld these random ingredients. And, sure enough, there was! Aren't cookbooks just so magical? I took a few liberties with the original recipe since I didn't have all of Isa's ingredients on hand, so this is my version of the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it. We sure did!

1/4 cup water
5 tablespoons white miso
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into equal triangles
1 pound sweet red or pink apples; peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 10-ounce pack of Chinese rice noodles, cooked according to package
Handful of arugula, cut in chiffonade fashion
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
Sriracha (for garnish)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Stir water, miso, mirin, ginger, garlic and liquid aminos together in a small bowl until well-mixed.
  • Place your tofu triangles side by side, but not touching, in a 9 x 13" baking pan. 
  • Pour the marinade of the top of the tofu. If you like, you can flip the tofu and jiggle the pan to make sure every side is coated, but you don't have to.
  • Layer the apple slices over the top of the tofu.
  • Cover with tin foil and back for 30-45 minutes.
  • Garnish with arugala, sriracha and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

February 1, 2016

Review of Chick-Fil-A's 'Superfood Side'

Before I get started, let me say thanks to those of you who kindly went over and followed The Thinking Spoon at my behest. I really appreciate that! But, after loading a couple of old Bankrupt Vegan posts to the new site, and realizing that I had like 200 more to go, I decided, "Naw. This is crazy." So, I'm going to stick to the Bankrupt Vegan blog. Yay for your bookmarked recipes! You won't have to change them. You'll only have to wait a few days while I fix up all the old recipes with my new watermark and re-post them. I'll try to get at least five per day re-posted, so it shouldn't be too long before all of your favorites are back up. And don't worry if you followed The Thinking Spoon on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I kept all of those accounts and just changed the name back to Bankrupt Vegan. So, there's nothing you need to do except keep on reading along and cooking with me. And again, sincerely, I apologize for this craziness and confusion. Having my photos stolen really did a number on me. So, I'm going to take great care to keep that from happening again.

Now, here's the review...

I was out running errands today and I was starving! The only thing nearby was a Chick-Fil-A, so I thought I could at least get an iced tea and some french fries to keep me from passing out. But, as I was standing in line I noticed a sign for a new "superfood side" featuring kale, broccolini, nuts, and dried cherries. And listed on the menu overhead was a "fruit cup." So, Yay! Food for me!

Image courtesy of Chick-Fil-A.com

  • Thank you, Chick-Fil-A, for offering something green on the menu that doesn't contain meat or dairy! McDonald's has, literally, not one single meat-free salad on the menu. Their fruit tray comes with yogurt in it, and their oatmeal has so much sugar in it, I might as well eat a candy bar. So, it's nice to know that when I really need it, I can turn to you, Chick-Fil-A, for some friggin' kale. (Of, course, I can get an entire bunch of organic kale for 99 cents, so... it's there, but only when I really need it.)
  • The taste is nice! I enjoyed it. The slightly sweet dressing puts the whole salad on the sweet side, so it can co-mingle nicely with fruit. In fact, the serving was so small (see 'cons' list) that I dumped my fruit cup into it to bulk it up. And it was great!
  • I was disappointed with how teeny it was. For almost $3, I found this four-bites-at-best serving a little underwhelming. 
  • There were also a lot of thick broccolini stems in it. Again, for almost $3.00, I don't want to find a bunch of stems in my salad. I just want the really delicious, tender stuff. 
  • The nuts are glazed with some kind of sugary goo. Unnecessary added sugar. Ugh... Nuts taste great all by themselves! According to the Chick-Fil-A nutrition information, this tiny serving contains 11 grams of sugar. How is that even possible??
In conclusion, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, and would eat it again. It's not something I'm going to make a special trip for, but if I'm out running errands and I get hungry, I know there's something readily available for me that's not total garbage.

Please note that I was not offered a free sample of this item in return for a review. I was genuinely hungry, bought this with my own money, and thought I would tell everyone about it since it's vegan and all. If you've tried it too, let me know what you think in the comments!

January 27, 2016

Triple Protein Power Wrap

Feeling peckish, friend? Try this triple protein wrap and you will perk right up! It couldn't be easier. Just get the following stuff together and wrap it up into a little burrito of awesomeness.

Large tortilla, warmed on the stovetop
Your favorite hummus
Several medium tomato slices
A handful of lettuce
A handful of sunflower seeds
A handful of your favorite nuts (I used pecans)
Your favorite salt, pepper, herbs and spices*

*I used the Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's. It's so yummy! (And cheap.) If you don't have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, you can put together something similar on your own. The Everyday Seasoning contains sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika and chili pepper.

Sweep the hummus on your tortilla, then top the whole thing like a pizza. It should look something like this. 

Then carefully, and as tightly as you can, roll it up into a lovely wrap. Cut in half and enjoy! Taste great with a kombucha or an iced tea!

January 16, 2016

Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce

Oh my Lord, people. My life just got seriously better because I tasted this cheese sauce. It is AMAZING! And, guess what, it's two main ingredients are carrots and potatoes. Seriously!

How do carrots and potatoes come together to chemically formulate what is easily the best-tasting vegan cheese sauce I've ever stuffed into my face? Is it magic? Some kind of medieval sorcery? I don't know, but I am so grateful!

2 cups peeled, cubed, boiled, drained potatoes (about 2-2 1/2 medium potatoes)
1 cup peeled, chopped, boiled, drained carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil*
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice, to taste
  • Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender** and blend. It's just that simple! Put your drained carrots and potatoes into the blender right after you drain them, while they're still piping hot, so your cheese will be piping hot too.
  • As you're blending, drizzle in some milk to help thin it out a bit, if you want to. 
  • Can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container (I'm not sure how long because we always eat it up pretty quickly), for a few days, perhaps? 
  • *I'm working on figuring out a way to reduce the oil in this recipe. It's way too much, I know. I'll keep fiddling with it and get back to you.
  • **If you don't have a high-powered blender (I sure don't), you might want to liquify in a food processor first, then transfer to a blender and drizzle in the milk while blending, to keep your little $20 blender from overheating.
  • Enjoy!