Waffle Wednesday: Banana Split Waffle Sundaes!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Waffle Wednesday - Banana Split Waffle Sundaes (0002)

Leslie Knope likes her waffles like she likes her Ben*: served in a short stack and smothered in whipped cream.

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For this year’s MoFo, I really wanted to recreate the gorgeous tower of whipped cream that always seems to find its way onto Leslie’s waffles. Unfortunately, none of the alternative food stores in my area carry the cans of SoyaToo whipped topping that would help me pull it off. (Or any vegan whipped cream, for that matter. Boo!) Instead I opted for the next best thing – making my own using coconut cream.

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Carbs & Rec: Insanely Good Messy Brownie Bites

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

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I would like to be president someday, so no, I’ve not smoked marijuana. I ate a brownie once at a party in college. It was intense. It was kind of indescribable, actually. I felt like I was floating. Turns out there wasn’t any pot in the brownie.
It was just an insanely good brownie.
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I won’t lie: for a second or two (or sixty), I was super-tempted to recycle my not-pot brownies (of VeganMoFo 2012 fame) for this post. I mean, they’re kind of perfect, right? The thyme looks like marijuana, but it totally isn’t! But because I’m not a cheater and (perhaps more to the point) those brownies didn’t photograph particularly well, I decided to make an all-new recipe instead.

I kind of wish I’d went with option A, y’all.

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In theory, the Mini-Rocky Road Brownie Bites from Betty Goes Vegan sound epically awesome: individual, mini-cupcake-shaped brownie bites stuffed with mini Dandies marshmallows, chocolate chips, and roasted peanuts, each with its own crispy round edges and delightful muffin tops.

Carbs & Rec - Insanely Messy Brownie Bites (0002)

Artfully arranged with the least scrappy of the bunch on top.
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In practice? They made me cry. And not in a good way.

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Z is for Ziti All’amatriciana

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Z if for Ziti All'amatriciana [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

You guys! Can you believe that VeganMoFo ’13 is nearly over? We did it!

To celebrate, I give you this big, steaming plate of Z-is-for-Ziti Ziti All’amatriciana. Only I used penne in place of ziti, on account of we have just about every type of pasta in the pantry save for ziti. That and I’m a big old cheater. Surely you can forgive me, this being the last letter of the alphabet and all?

So this recipe, like many of the others I blogged this month, is from Betty Goes Vegan. The sauce is a mix of diced tomatoes, mashed tofu, and some other goodies. I also threw in some tomato powder and tomato flakes to help add extra flavor to the tofu, but I bet tomato paste would work just as well. (I just didn’t feel like breaking open a whole new can.)

I’m a little fussy when it comes to tofu (in fact, for the letter T I briefly toyed with the idea of writing a Fussy Vegan’s Guide to Hiding Tofu in Your Favorite Dishes, but scrapped it in favor of Tuscan Bread Soup; but, seeing as it’s a question I’m asked with some frequency, I might just write that article anyway) and prefer my tomato sauce without it. Even so, it turned out tasty enough and I licked my plate clean.

The recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of ziti, which even now seems so small as to be a typo. I multipled it by eight and cooked four cups (dried) of penne, figuring that I could set the extra aside if I made too much. I didn’t need to – the sauce coated the pasta just fine. I think three cups might be the sweet spot though. Or maybe I just don’t know my pasta All’amatriciana – is it a dish that’s supposed to be awash in sauce?

Served with a few hearty slices of Easy Olive Oil Garlic Toast, also from Betty Goes Vegan. If enjoying bread with pasta is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

 
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V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0008)

WOW. Like I’ve seriously been sitting here at my keyboard for five minutes, trying to think of something, anything, to say about this Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie from Betty Goes Vegan, and this is all I can come up with. Just, wow.

I mean, talk about yer vegan comfort foods. This is basically just a giant plate of junk food. And I mean that in the best way possible!

The “crust” is a blend of vegan ground beef (Lightlife, in my case), bread crumbs, A1 steak sauce (A rather common ingredient in Betty Goes Vegan! I bought a bottle just for this cookbook!), red onions, and some other goodies.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

Press it into a pie plate, bake until golden brown (the directions say five minutes, but I easily tripled that), and then add the potato “filling.”

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Baked potatoes, mashed into creamy goodness (skins and all!), and seasoned with garlic, nutritional yeast, and veggie broth, then mixed with bacon bits and cheddar cheese.

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

Top with more cheddar, bake until gooey, and dinner is served!

Garnish with tomatoes, pickles, french friend onions, or legit onion rings. (That last is my idea. I tried it with the leftovers and it was hnnng!)

V is for Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Pie [Betty Goes Vegan] (0021)

Totally worth the twenty dishes it generated. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We’ll call it a baker’s dozen.

And now for the obligatory Dean Winchester gif. BECAUSE PIE!

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Updated to add: Vegan MoFo central is giving away a copy of Betty Goes Vegan to five lucky readers as we speak! Talk about serendipity. Go enter here.

 
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U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

I don’t know if the corn chowder found in Betty Goes Vegan can rightly be called THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE – mostly because I haven’t tried nearly enough corn chowder recipes to consider myself the arbiter of such titles – but it is pretty damned good. It gives my own recipe a run for the money, anyway. With two kinds of corn and potatoes (creamed and frozen and fresh and hashed, respectively), it’s almost as hearty as it is easy to make. The secret ingredient? Lemon pepper, the presence of which is subtle yet unexpected. (But you can always add more for that extra kick. I did!)

Along these lines, I paired the soup with the Lemon Pepper Garlic Bread, also from Betty Goes Vegan. Sounds a little weird, but lemon on garlic bread? Crazy good. Genius, even. But then I’ve been hooked on the stuff (lemon pepper; though I am addicted to all the breads, too) since I discovered it last summer.

U is for The Ultimate Corn Chowder Experience [Betty Goes Vegan] (0009)

 
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S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

In the middle of making this dish – lasagna noodles sticking to the bottom of the pan, tomato sauce splattering every oven-adjacent surface – I thought to myself: “I’ve made a huge mistake.” But when the first bite passed my lips – tender noodles, rich sauce, melty cheese – it pretty much made the whole hour-long affair worthwhile. Worth repeating, actually. This is some forking good pasta, people.

In theory, the Skillet-Style Lasagna from Betty Goes Vegan is supposed to be a rather no-fuss, no-muss, one-dish meal. And while it’s true that it only requires one dish – a skillet, and the bigger, the better! – it’s a lot fussier than the directions let on. I suppose this could be due to my choice of pasta noodles: the recipe calls for mafalda noodles – a sort of mini-lasagna – which I was unable to find anywhere. (And believe you me, I looked!) I briefly considered using elbows or rigatoni, but that felt too much like cheating, so I opted for regular lasagna noodles broken into smaller pieces instead. Some of the mafalda I found online resembles lasagna sliced horizontally – long, thin, ribbon-like strips – while other versions look like shrunken lasagna noodles. At first I tried replicating the thin, frilly noodles, but by the end I was in such a rush that I snapped the lasagna into thirds, resulting in square-ish pieces.

So basically you fry the onions, garlic, and soy meat in a large skillet, and then throw in the pasta sauce, spices, and (uncooked) noodles, along with a little extra water for cooking. The noodles cook on the stovetop, along with the sauce, supposedly in ten to twelve minutes or so. Perhaps the lasagna is thicker than malfada, but I stood over that hot stovetop for at least a half hour before the lasagna was al dente. And it’s not the sort of job you can leave unsupervised, either; more than a few minutes without stirring, and the noodles clung to the bottom of the pan. Dislodging them proved no small task, either – the skillet was so full that more than the gentlest of nudging sent pasta sauce flying over the rim and onto the backsplash. (Exhibit A: My filthy mess of a skillet.)

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

When done, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (Daiya) and bake at 350F for five minutes or until the cheese is melted. I kept in in an extra five, just to make sure all the noodles were baked through. When all was said and done, a half hour meal took me at least an hour to make.

THAT SAID. This is some ridiculously good pasta. Next time I’ll probably try it with a smaller, thinner pasta – something that cooks in less time and isn’t too terribly difficult to stir. That should speed things along. Also, the soy meat is optional, imho. It makes a nice, meaty sauce, but you could just as easily swap it out for veggies or whatnot. I like veggies, veggies are good.

On the side is a slightly different version of the Green Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic from Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano. Instead of canned tomatoes and fresh green beans, I used what I had on hand, namely fresh tomatoes and canned green beans. It’s not quite as phenomenal as the original, but it’s pretty damn close. Good enough for me, seeing as my fridge is stuffed with fresh grape and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I could seriously eat this meal all day.

S is for Skillet-Style Lasagna [Betty Goes Vegan] (0011)

 
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R is for Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo

Friday, September 20th, 2013

R is for Rosemary Vegan Chicken and Olive Orzo [Betty Goes Vegan] (0001)

So this is a rather simple, easy dish from Betty Goes Vegan. With pan-fried vegan chicken strips, red peppers, Roma tomatoes, green zucchini, Kalamata olives (not enough, imho, but I say that about all the things), and orzo pasta – one of the more underutilized pasta shapes, if you ask me. (Love that baby pasta!)

The rosemary is rather understated, so you may want to add a little more, depending on your tastes. Ditto on the salt.

Overall, a nice filling weeknight meal. I’m stuffed.

 
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P is for Potato Salad

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

P is for Potato Salad [Betty Goes Vegan] (0006)

I have so many potato salad recipes filed away that its inclusion under the letter P was pretty much predestined. (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about pizza! Just relocated it.) Betty Goes Vegan alone features three different versions: Classic Deli Potato Salad, German Potato Salad, and Curry Vegan Chicken and Potato Salad. I chose the Classic Deli Potato Salad because it’s classic – it says so right in the title! – and you can’t go wrong with the classics. Also, it was the easiest of the three. Lazy, who me?

This one calls for Vegenaise, of which I bought a brand spanking new jar just for this purpose. Normally I’m a Nayonaise gal, so I was a bit skeptical. But it’s not half bad! At least not in potato salad – which, to be fair, is one of the few places I use vegan mayo. Actually, it’s pretty damned tasty when flavored with nooch, mustard, soy sauce, and all the other goodies that go into this dish. I also added some salt and, next time around, will probably throw in some pickles, too. Aside from potatoes and mayo, it’s the single most important potato salad component, imho.

This recipe doesn’t make a whole lot so, if you’re cooking for a potluck or picnic, triple or even quadruple it. The hungry masses will thank you.

P is for Potato Salad [Betty Goes Vegan] (0003)

 
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I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0004)

Initially I’d planned on making the Irish Stew from The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe to stand in for the letter I…and then I realized that I had way too many soups and stews on tap, and this was the first to go. Not because it doesn’t sound delicious – it does! – but rather its replacement looks even better. Enter: the Inner Beauty Patty Melt from Betty Goes Vegan.

(Actually it was a bit of a toss-up between this and the Inside-Out Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger – so much junk food, so little give in my pants! – but the patty melt won out since rye bread proved easier to find than vegan whole wheat burger buns. Sorry, bacon cheeseburger. Them’s the breaks.)

So I’d never had a patty melt before, and now I’m afraid I might be addicted. Shane actually made these for dinner – after a day spent outside in 90 degree weather, I was much too tired – and I shouldn’t speak for him, but the recipe looks hella easy. Just mix your vegan ground beef (in our case, Lightlife) with some seasonings, shape into patties (special made to fit the bread perfectly!), and fry along with red onions (which smell heavenly, btw) until lightly browned. Then you stack them into sammies with the rye bread and vegan cheese (Daiya!) and bake at 350F until warm and gooey. After baking, the bread was a little on the dry side, so next time I might add a dab of margarine to each slice, but otherwise? Freaking amazing.

The name of the dish, by the by, comes from the fact that it’s not super-photogenic: “this sandwich may not have all the snazzy colors of a good old-school salad, but it has good personality, and that’s what counts!” I don’t know, I think it’s pretty smokin’. But then I like my food a little sloppy.

Served with a handful of my all-time favorite salt and vinegar chips, because what’s comfort food without a side of comfort food?

 

I is for Inner Beauty Patty Melt [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

 
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G is for Gnocchi

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

G is for Gnocchi [Betty Goes Vegan] (0005)

Unlike pierogies, vegan gnocchi is super-easy to find in regular grocery stores, and so I’ve never been tempted to try making it myself. That is, until this whole alphabet thing came into my kitchen. What else to make for the letter G than one of my favorite carb delivery systems?

As it turns out, this experiment? Totally confirmed my suspicions. Gnocchi is a food better bought than made. As per usual, it was the blending of the baked potatoes that proved the most trouble; by the time I was done, blobs of mashed potatoes covered one whole side of my kitchen, and I was ready to retreat to my soft, comfy bed for a nap. According to the directions – I made the Whole Wheat Gnocchi from Betty Goes Vegan – I was to blend the potatoes until “soft and fluffy.” Instead, mine turned into a giant, gooey blob, the likes of which you’re apt to see in the cheesiest of ’70s B movies. (I suspect I left them to cool too long; you’re supposed to blend them while still hot.)

At this point I was rather skeptical that I could ever transform this monster dough into something edible but alas, I powered through and ended up with a batch of gnocchi that may be lacking in the looks department, but is pretty tasty nonetheless.

G is for Gnocchi [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Gnocchi-in-progress.
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They’re not the prettiest things, but hey. It’s only my first time, right? I vacillated between making shell and cornucopia shapes (most of which came to resemble vulvas), and while it took me awhile to work through all the dough, the process went much faster once I got the hang of it. Supposedly the recipe only makes two servings, but we ended up with five hearty bowls full, at least. With sides, this could easily serve six to eight people. I counted the gnocchi as I boiled them – twenty at a time, in a large stock pot – and there were 128 total. Big ones, too!

Annie recommends topping them with basil, but I opted for homemade marinara sauce, owing to the abundance of tomatoes in my garden. I mostly winged it, but the final concoction was rather similar to this Greek-Style sauce.

Stick-to-your-ribs good, though next time around I’ll mostly likely get my gnocchi from a bag.

 
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D is for Doughnuts, Mini Pumpkin Spice

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

D is for Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts [Betty Goes Vegan] (0002)

Originally I was going to blog about the Dollar Tree for the letter D (You can special order cases of soy milk online! Even if your store doesn’t carry the stuff! It’s true!) – and then Shane suggested the obvious: donuts. Or doughnuts, if you prefer. I should probably use the latter spelling, since that’s how Annie Shannon rolls – and it’s her recipe featured here today.

Betty Goes Vegan includes no fewer than eight doughnut recipes – thirteen if you count churros, fritters, and turnovers. (And why not? The famed Ronald’s Donuts in Las Vegas sells turnovers, and that’s good enough for me.) In an uncharacteristic effort to keep it seasonal, I chose the Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts (but only because I didn’t have the Betty Crocker Praline Crunch ice cream topping required for the Baby Bluths). My first foray into the art of doughnut making wasn’t the rousing success I’d hoped for – but neither was it a total loss.

My first clue that something was amiss was when I ended up with waaaay more batter than needed to make just two dozen mini doughnuts. Probably I could have made at least 48, but after the first two batches I threw in the Ove Glove and turned the leftover batter into thinnish cupcakes (about the same size as the mini-doughnuts, but minus the hole in the middle!). It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had bought two mini-doughnut pans (WHY DIDN’T I BUY TWO MINI-DOUGHNUT PANS?!?), but as it was I could only bake a dozen doughnuts at a time. Two rounds of that and I was fried.

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VeganMoFo 2013 Sneak Preview

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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Sign-up began yesterday, but I started working on my theme weeks ago.

On this plate: the Classic Deli Potato Salad from Betty Goes Vegan, along with Eggplant Fries and Baked Hush Puppies from Vegan Comfort Food. A weird combination, but it works. Three letters down, just 23 to go!

Vegan Chicken Tetrazzini

Friday, April 26th, 2013

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In my nearly 35 years, I’d never had Chicken Tetrazzini before Betty Goes Vegan. Looking at the dish’s description on Wiki, it’s not hard to see why – my mum probably would have dismissed the rich, butter cream sauce as too fatty. That, and I can’t heave milk! (On second thought, that’s really the more obvious answer. Doh me.)

Turns out that Chicken Tetrazzini is quite tasty, though I think it’d be even better un-baked and extra-saucy! I’d also rather omit the nooch (used for garnish on top) and just add some homemade parm upon serving, but that’s just me.

Pro tip: the recipe calls for plain creamer, which I can never find ’round these parts, so I swapped it out for soy milk and added a little cornstarch to thicken things up. Worked like a charm.

Bananas Foster Waffles

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

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Technically Bananas Foster is a dessert made of rich, sugary sauce mixed with fresh bananas and served atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Waffles fill in for the ice cream in this dish from Betty Goes Vegan, though I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t throw a scoop of ice cream on there for good measure. For extra shiny bonus points, make it banana ice cream!

Not that these waffles aren’t already diabetes on a plate, nosiree. In other words, delish. Just don’t plan on doing any math afterwards.

Pro tip: this recipe only makes six waffles, leaving quite a bit of sauce left over. I saved it for use on pancakes, but I bet it’d also make for a great banana ice cream flavoring. NOTE TO SELF.

Spiced Apple Waffles

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

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Slowly working my way through all the breakfast items in Betty Goes Vegan. idk why, but I’m super-into pancakes and waffles lately. Maybe because Shane always volunteers to make them for me?

The Spiced Apple Waffles (page 39) are pretty tasty on their own, but I bet my apple pie insides would really take these bad girls to the next level. Fresh apple slices, maple syrup, and margarine works in a pinch though!

Potato, Tempeh, and Tofu Scramble

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

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From Betty Goes Vegan, but with a few minor changes: baked white potatoes in place of boiled red ones; white onions instead of green; and green bell peppers where the red ones should be. Oh, and I baked the Lightlife Smart Bacon instead of frying it and then mixed the pieces right on in before serving. Tasty, though not nearly as much as pan-fried strips.

Overall this scramble’s really good, though I think I overdid it with the olive oil when frying the potatoes – it was difficult to cook off all that moisture once I added the tofu. Next time I might prepare the taters in their own skillet and toss it all together at the end. Also could’ve used more seasonings, but that’s a pretty common complaint with me. Garlic and onions, you can never have enough.

(Sorry if it looks a bit radioactive – I managed to snap a quick pic just as the sun was setting. Days, just hurry up and get longer already!)

Blueberry Banana Bread Pancakes & Bitch Magazine

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

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What better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning, am I right ladies?

The recipe’s from Betty Goes Vegan, which I’m really digging so far. I just have two BGV dishes under my belt, but still. The pancakes are thick and hearty, and really do taste a lot like banana bread. Probably more so if you leave out the blueberries – they steal some of the banana’s spotlight – not that I ever would. Blueberries are my most favorite of all the fruits.

Betty Goes Vegan with a Big Greek Salad

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

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I swore I wouldn’t give in to temptation – I have more than enough vegan cookbooks to keep me busy clear through Vegan MoFo 2015, yo! – and oh, how quickly I caved. I did it. I bought a copy of Annie & Dan Shannon’s Betty Goes Vegan. With FIVE HUNDRED “classic” comfort food recipes, veganized. At first glance, it’s kind of like Vegan Junk Food, but hella thicker. Vegan junk food heaven, here I come.

In my defense, Amazon had a great discount on it, and I needed to buy a second book to get the free shipping deal, so there you go. (The other purchase? A boxed set of The Uglies, also on deep discount. Five books for under $40, yay me. In all seriousness though I miss the public library something awful. Our small town doesn’t have a library – it keeps getting voted down, boo! – and once Shane started working at home full-time, the KCMO library became more of a drive than it’s worth. I keep joking that his new boss oughta give him a book allowance. Le sigh.)

Somewhat ironically, the first recipe I tried was on the healthy side: Greek Dressing, enjoyed on a bed o’ spinach, black and Kalamata olives, carrots, and red bell peppers. Impromptu lunch, I guess I’m doing it right?

Tasty, though the lemon pepper wasn’t as strong as I expected. I ended up topping the salad with an extra 1/8 teaspoon of the stuff.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go drool over the pizza and pasta sections.