Sunday, February 28, 2010

Making vegan pizza for the 1st time ever

My favorite pizza as a non-vegan was white pizza with pesto and sliced tomatoes from Grimaldi's. I thought it would be fun to make vegan version of my favorite pizza. The main difference between vegan pizza and non-vegan pizza is cheese, in my opinion. I was on the hunt for a cheese that would melt, since many reviews of vegan cheese online say that they don't melt. I read about Diaya cheese and knew if I wanted vegan pizza, this would be the cheese to use. We made our weekly grocery trip to Whole Foods instead of Sunflower Market, in order to pick up the cheese we needed.

The vegan pesto we made turned out AMAZING! We have plenty left over for future use.

Vegan Pesto


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts may be substituted)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a food processor until nuts are ground. Pesto should still have texture and not be completely smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! One variation is to add 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. For a lower fat version replace half the oil with soy milk.

Vegan Pizza Crust
Ingredients (use vegan versions):

    1 pkg. yeast
    3 cups flour
    1/3 cups lukewarm water
    1 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup lukewarm water


Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup lukewarm water and let stand 10 minutes. In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, blend, then add 2/3 cup lukewarm water to make a pliable, elastic dough. Form into a ball, cover with a clean cloth, and let rise until doubled in a warm place (about 20-30 minutes).

Variations: Add 4 tsp basil for a more flavorful crust. Kneed in 4 Tbsp.  margarine for a more pastry-like crust. Vary these quantities according to your taste.

Roll out dough onto pizza stone or a flat pan; leave a lip around the edge. (Variation: Top with olive oil.) Spread sauce, add toppings of your choice. Bake at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until crisp.

We spread our homemade pesto on the dough and then laid thinly-sliced tomatoes on top. We finished the pizza with the Diaya cheese and cooked for 20 minutes. In the future, I will cook the pizza longer so that the cheese gets a little firmer/stretchier. The cheese melted well, but I felt it would have had a "cheesier" texture, if cooked longer. Not too bad for a 1st attempt at vegan pizza!

Love the new bread box

Love the new bread box
Originally uploaded by Fifilynn
I picked up this up at Target today...good to hide all of Matt's bread.

Framed some prints from The Little Friends of Printmaking for the living room and added yellow accents

I might be obsessed with citrus. I love citrus flavors, but I also love the colors. I have had my fix of lime and apple green. I have now moved on to yellow in the living room and orange in the kitchen. I now have an orchard assortment of colors throughout the house!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vegan Quinoa Cocoa Cupcakes With Vegan Chocolate Frosting

My goal is to make 1 batch of vegan baked goods every week. This week, I wanted to find a fun unique vegan chocolate cupcake. I knew I would be limited in my choices, due to the ingredients on hand. I had about 2 cups of cooked quinoa in the refrigerator and came across a cupcake recipe made with quinoa.
I had a feeling the recipe would be a disaster, but knew if it was good, it would be really good. From start to finish, this recipe intrigued me. While mixing the ingredients, the batter was so dry that I thought I did something wrong. I decided to add another tablespoon of oil and 3 more tablespoons of water. This was a good choice because I don't think the cupcakes would have turned out, if I didn't. Next time I make this recipe, I may add more liquids to see how it changes the recipe. The batter was really thick, which makes it easy to put into the cupcake liners. While watching the cupcakes baking in the over, I watched them rise up into the top of the cupcake liners and they looked moist.
I let the cupcakes cool and frosted them with a vegan chocolate frosting recipe. I like the stiffer frosting, so I can use a frosting bag. I will use more powdered sugar the next time I make the frosting, so it gets thicker. I halved the recipe, but probably could have quartered it. I have enough frosting leftover to frost another batch of 12 cupcakes.
Matt loved his cupcake, as did I. Enjoy!

Vegan Quinoa Cocoa Cupcake Recipe


  • 3/4 Cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 Cup White Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Water

First, rinse off just over 1/3 cup of dried quinoa. ( It has a bitter coating that must be rinsed off. ) Before baking, pre-cook the quinoa. Place quinoa in a covered pot with about 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and simmer approximately 25 minutes. Check to ensure quinoa does not boil dry. Allow to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients well.
Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting
(You could easily make 1/4 of this recipe and have enough frosting for 1 batch of cupcakes) 


    1 cup vegan margarine
    4 cups powdered sugar (make your own if you want - blend sugar and cornstarch)
    2 tablespoon vanilla
    4 tablespoon soy milk
    1/2 cup cocoa powder (or more)
    dash of salt


The vegan margarine should be at room temperature when placed in bowl. Blend until mushy, and then add vegan powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, chocolate and soy milk. You can add in more soy milk to make it a bit smoother but not too much. Spread on cake and enjoy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kung Pao mock chicken (seitan)

I thought it would be cool to find a recipe calling for chicken and replace it with seitan. Tonight, I dreamed of Green's Kung Pao chicken. I looked up recipes online and found a kung pao chicken recipe that had over 200 reviews. I modified the recipe and the results were fantastic. Even if you aren't vegan, try this recipe with chicken...I'm sure it is yummy!

Kung Pao Seitan Recipe

SERVES 3 -4 




  1. Cut seitan into small pieces and combine with cornstarch in small bowl.

  2. Toss to coat.

  3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet or wok on medium heat.

  4. Add seitan.

  5. Stir fry 5- 7 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat.

  7. Add onions, garlic, red pepper and ginger to skillet.

  8. Stir fry 15 seconds.

  9. Remove from heat.

  10. Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in small bowl.

  11. Stir well.

  12. Add to skillet.

  13. Return seitan to skillet.

  14. Stir until seitan is well coated.

  15. Stir in nuts.

  16. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.

  17. Serve over hot rice.

Seitan (we pronounce it SA-TAN for fun) and Vegan Yum Yum Seitan and Brocollini with Clementine Teriyaki

I had never ever heard the word seitan before. My friend Ty sent me the recipe, when I mentioned I was on a quest to make mock chicken. This recipe is beyond amazing and the possibilities are endless. We are going to use seitan and tofu to replace chicken in many of our vegan meals.

Here are some fun facts about Seitan:

From http://www,
Seitan (say-TAHN) is made from gluten. Seitan is a low fat, high protein, firm-textured meat substitute. It has been eaten in China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the Middle East for thousands of years. It is a food rich in tradition as well as nutrition.

As a protein source, seitan contains about 31 grams of protein per 4 ounce serving (which means it has more plant protein per serving than tofu), provides a modest amount of B vitamins and iron and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Ty's Seitan Recipe

You need:
Vital Wheat Gluten (sold in bulk at whole foods or in boxes by arrowhead mills at Sunflower)
Vegetarian Faux Chicken Stock (sold in a yellow cannister at Ranch 99 or other Asian markets - you can use your favorite veggie stock in a pinch.

Bring 3 quarts water with four tablespoons of chicken stock powder to a boil

In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons chicken stock powder to 1 and 7/8 cup hot water. Chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hr.

Mix chilled stock concentrate with 2 cups vital wheat gluten and let rest for ten minutes. It forms a dough.

Knead dough for 5-7 minutes until it forms a kind of tough, chicken-like skin.

Cut the dough ball into 1/2 inch fillets. They will look like chicken breast fillets.

Add fillets to boiling stock water. Return to a boil and simmer for 50 minutes.

After that, you can store the chicken in the refrigerator with the stock you boiled it in. You can just pull the chicken out and use fillets as needed for any recipe.

Vegan Yum Yum Seitan and Brocollini With Clementine Teriyaki Recipe

Serves Two
8 Ounces Sliced Seitan (I used the recipe above)
1 Cup Sushi Rice (I used brown rice)
6-8 Stalks of Broccolini (I used regular broccoli)
2 Clementines (I used tangelos)
1 Tbs Vegetable Oil
Japanese Seven Spice, optional (I didn't use this)

Clementine Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 Cup Low Sodium Tamari
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Fresh Clementine Juice (I used tangelo juice)
1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1/4 Cup Water
Zest from 1 Clementine (I used tangelo zest)

Rinse your sushi rice in cool water and drain. Cook in your rice cooker or on the stove according to package directions, but 1 cup of sushi rice is usually cooked in 1 1/4 cups of water. Allow to cook completely and steam for 5-10 minutes off the heat while you are preparing the rest of the meal. Total cooking time for the rice will be around 20 minutes.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small pan let it go at a lively simmer for 20 minutes, until reduced and slightly thick. The sauce will NOT be super thick when it is hot. It will very slightly cover the back of a spoon and look syrupy, but it’s not going to be thick until it cools, so don’t worry if it seems runny. At the end of the cooking you should see large, excited bubbles (this is the sugar caramelizing), so if you don’t see those, keep cooking. Once the sauce is done, it’ll taste good but pretty strong. Set aside.
While the sauce and the rice are cooking, prepare your seitan and broccolini. Slice the seitan into 1/8″ thick medallions, or something similar. I usually don’t prep broccolini any more than rinsing it and chopping off the ends, but if the stalks are particularly thick, you may wish to half them lengthwise. This shouldn’t be the case with most bunches you find in the store, however.
Heat a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the seitan and let brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl, turn up the heat to high, and add broccolini in one layer. Once you get color on one side, flip, reduce heat to low, and cover the pan to finish the cooking, another 2-3 minutes. The broccolini should be bright green and cooked to a tender-crisp.
Once you are ready to serve, add the seitan to the pan with the broccolini. Drizze enough teriyaki sauce in to coat everything. Beware, if the pan is too hot you risk burning your sauce, so take good care here. Once everything is heated and covered in a nice glaze, serve immediately with the sushi rice. Top with seven spice if you like a little heat.
This sauce is strong so you just need enough to coat — save any extra for a future meal.

Garlic Ginger Tofu

We are on an Asian-inspired kick this week. We made garlic ginger tofu for dinner on Monday night. We paired it with quinoa and steamed broccoli. The recipe makes 8 servings, so you can easily half  it or quarter the recipe. We halved it and have leftovers for lunch!


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon tamari, or to taste
  • 2 pounds firm tofu


  1. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute. Add tofu to the pan with tamari, and stir to coat. Cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Squeeze lime juice over tofu before serving.

Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

I first tried quinoa in a burger from Stax in Scottsdale. I was intrigued by the taste and texture. It makes a soft patty, just firm enough to be sandwiched between buns or bread.

I could eat the burger mix's THAT good! We serve these with baked sweet potato fries and a veganeise/ketchup sauce.

Quinoa Black Bean Burger Recipe
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced .
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & sliced .
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin .
  • 1 c quinoa .
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained .
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder .
  • 1/2 c red onions, grated & squeezed dry .
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, sliced .
  • 1/3 c dry breadcrumbs .
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil .
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper .
  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • Step #1 Rinse quinoa under cool water for couple of mins in fine sieve to remove bitterness.
  • Step #2 Put in rice cooker with just over 1 & 1/3 c water & set to cook.
  • Step #3 Transfer to food processor/blender fitted with metal blade.
  • Step #4 Add beans, garlic, salt, jalapeno, 1 tbsp of oil, onion, cilantro, chili powder, cumin & pepper.
  • Step #5 Puree until smooth.
  • Step #6 Form into six 1/2-inch thick patties.
  • Step #7 Place bread crumbs in shallow bowl.
  • Step #8 Press patties into crumbs, turning to coat both sides.
  • Step #9 In non-stick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat.
  • Step #10 Cook patties in batches, turning once, for 8 mins or until browned.
  • Enjoy the Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers recipe

I'll post some photos of these, the next time we make them.

Vegan cupcakes take over the world!

I still need to feed my sweet tooth, even though I am now vegan. I knew that if I could make a vegan cupcake, I could survive being vegan. Total success! I went though a number of vegan cupcake recipes online and found a recipe from a cookbook called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. The vanilla cupcake recipe is soooooo yummy. I used a vegan frosting recipe I found online and modified it to make the most out of my citrus bounty.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World Vanilla Cupcake Recipe: 


1 cup soy milk (I used Silk vanilla soy milk)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

¾ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)

½ cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened, or ⅓ cup canola oil (I used canola oil)

¾ cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract (I added just a splash of tangelo juice)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
  3. If using margarine: Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
  4. In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  5. If using oil: Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain.
  6. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.
This content is from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Vegan Tangelo Vanilla Frosting


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1/8 cup vanilla soy milk (I miced in tangelo juice into this measurement)


Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend until creamy. The consistency of the frosting may vary. Add more sugar, margarine or soy milk as needed.

We've gone vegan!

Our vegan adventure began on 2/15/2010. We decided to watch the movie Food Inc. I could have watched it months ago, but I had to put off watching it until I was ready. I'd hate to say a movie impacted a huge lifestyle change, but it did.
I haven't eaten red meat or pork for about 16 years, but I somehow accepted that chicken and turkey were fine for me to eat. I should have changed my ways a long time ago and I probably would have avoided a nasty case of Salmonella in 2001-the result of eating grilled chicken that touched uncooked chicken juice.
I'm not going to use this blog to get political or try to preach being vegan because I believe people can decide for themselves what they want to eat.
I have always allowed myself to eat anything I wanted. I have a penchant for junk food. This bad lifestyle got me through day to day without much illness, but I certainly didn't have much energy. And, I have been constantly battling my weight, due to my poor food choices. I am excited for being vegan because I can't just grab something to go or not take a second to think about what I am putting in my mouth. I have to read labels and be more conscious of what I am eating. It requires a huge commitment from yourself to stop eating things you are so accustomed to eating. I have found a lot of great alternatives for my normal go-to foods:
Light dairy yogurt: Soy yogurt
Skim milk: Silk vanilla soy milk
Chicken and turkey: Tofu and Seitan
Cheese: Must find some vegan cheese that is good!

I have decided that this adventure to me is about being more accountable for what I eat and also about becoming healthier. I have not had a diet coke in over a week. The longest I have gone without diet coke is 6 months. I've needed to give up soda for a long time, but never found something I enjoyed enough as a replacement. My diet coke replacement is Passport pomegranate citrus twist green tea, which is available for purchase in bulk from the coffee counter at Luci's Healthy Marketplace. I love it so much that I do not miss diet coke at all! Luci's has the iced tea available by the cup as their 'house iced tea'. I highly recommend trying it.

This week, I'll be reviewing new recipes and talking about my 1st week being vegan. I am a creature of habit, but I am hoping to open my food horizons and expand my recipe catalog.