Happy Cheese Pizza Day!

Today is national cheese pizza day, and I plan on celebrating! To do so, I did some research for the holiday, or rather some taste testing. I went to the grocery store and bought the two vegan pizzas I found. One was a cheese pizza from the brand Daiya. The second was a spinach and cheese pizza from the brand Amy’s. 


This is the Amy’s pizza. Does not look the most appetizing but it was delicious. Of the two, this is the one I would serve to a non-vegan. This one was more expensive in my area, but by a very insignificant amount. This exact pizza is also much more difficult for me to find in my area, but it was worth the hunt!


This is the Daiya cheese pizza, which is much easier for me to find. This pizza has a very destinctive Daiya cheese flavor, which I am very used to at this point and do not really notice anymore. Of the two cheese pizzas, this was my least favorite of the two. But in general, national cheese pizza day aside, the Daiya margherita pizza is by far my favorite vegan pizza! 

More pizza tips I can offer on this lovely holiday include getting a pizza at Whole Foods if you have one near by. You can special order a pizza with vegan cheese on it! I don’t go to Whole Foods often, but when I do, I celebrate with a vegan pizza. Another tip I like to offer people new to the vegan lifestyle is to not give up on pizza delivery. I’ve often heard people complain that they could never be vegan because they love pizza too much. And it’s so convenient to just have a pizza delivered to your door! Guess what?! You can still order pizza, just ask for no cheese! I usually order mine with pineapple, onions, jalapeños, and banana peppers. The point is, you have so many pizza options as a vegan, enjoy!

Vegan “Chicken” and Gravy

My fiancé was really craving a traditional American meal.. Not always the easiest thing to do on a vegan diet. More specifically, he requested a meal with some sort of gravy. Determined to make it work, I dug through my cookbooks to find a recipe for gravy that would work. Most vegan recipes for gravy that I find involve mushrooms. While they may be good recipes, mushroom gravy is not the traditional gravy flavor I crave. 

Luckily I was able to find a gravy recipe involving no mushrooms! It was a very simple recipe based on flour, nutritional yeast, dairy free milk, seasoning, and the star of the show, Better Than Bouilon vegan beef flavoring. The gravy turned out creamy, flavorful, and just down right perfect. Using the other food we found in the fridge, we made a wonderful meal to enjoy our gravy with!

We baked a sweet potato, cooked up some green beans, and baked some vegan chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s. It was very reminiscent of chicken fried steak, minus the cruelty! The gravy was so good, we ended up topping everything on the plate with it! Making meals like this gives me so much hope. Every time I recreate a meal from my childhood, meals traditionally not very vegan friendly, I know it is possible for everyone to adopt a plant based diet.

Thug Kitchen

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Today I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite cookbooks, the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I will start by saying this is not your typical cookbook. In explaining how important it is to put real, quality, plant based food in your body, “Eat like you give a fuck” is often used to help get the point across. Some folks may be offended by this, I find it real and relatable. This cookbook starts with a lot of basics, such as an explanation of the book, recommended tools for a Thug Kitchen, and how  to cook basics. The cookbook also includes breakfast, salad, soup, mini meals, soups and stews, snacks, main dishes and desserts. Flipping through the book, every single meal looks fucking delicious!

I have personally created many of these recipes and I enjoyed every single one. Most recently I used the recipe for “Almond Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons”. First of all, the croutons are wonderful. But the dressing is even better. Creamy and tangy, it really reminds me of the caesar dressing I used to enjoy. I have also made “Warm the Fuck Up Minestrone” soup and “Potato Leek” soup using Thug Kitchen. Both are phenomenal. By fiancé has also used this cookbook to make a tortilla soup that was so spicy and satisfying. I am also obsessed with pad thai so creating a vegan version was very important to me. The recipe for pad thai in Thug Kitchen is by far the best vegan pad thai I have tried. I have also recreated the “Sweet Potato, Squash, and Black Bean Enchiladas” and “Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos” for my non-vegan family. Both recipes blew them away, especially the tacos.

Besides all the amazing recipes I have tried, every other recipe in the book looks delicious. This was the second vegan cookbook I added to my collection and it was so fucking worth it! I highly suggest you go to a library or bookstore and flip through it. I don’t think you will be able to leave without it. This book does not only offer up recipes, it educates you about food and cooking technique in a very understandable and relatable way. I love everything about the Thug Kitchen cookbook, and I hope you will too. If you have used this cookbook before, I would love to know what you thought about it in the comments!

Caesar Salad Sandwich

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A few weeks ago, I used the Thug Kitchen cookbook to make vegan Caesar dressing and homemade croutons for a delicious salad. While my fiancé and I were enjoying a delicious meal, he said something that inspired me to turn this salad into a sandwich. The croutons would become the bread, the dressing would become a sauce, and the lettuce, tomato, and onion of the salad would become toppings (of course you can add whatever you want). While I don’t mind a veggie sandwich, some people are not too fond of that, so I decided to add some Gardein crispy chick’n tenders to complete the sandwich.

This was such a success! My fiancé loved it and I really enjoyed it too. I’m not much of a sandwich eater, so next time I am going to use the romain lettuce to make a Caesar salad sandwich wrap. I sliced a ciabatta loaf into individual sandwiches and then used the Thug Kitchen recipe for croutons to flavor the bread. We tossed the bread in to oven with the Gardein tenders for about 7 minutes. I made the Thug Kitchen Caesar dressing recipe as well. It is delicious! Once everything was ready we pilled it all on a sandwich and enjoyed!

 

French Onion Soup

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Last night I made some vegan French onion soup. This is an item I could never pass up if I saw it on a menu before going vegan. I made this soup in a crockpot, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I love tossing all the ingredients in, letting it cook for a while, and coming home to a meal ready  to eat. The recipe I used was very simple and this is something I have made before. I really enjoy it, and it fills my craving for one of my favorite food items, but I do think the recipe needs just a little tweak. The soup is not quite as salty as I remember the non-vegan version being. Next time I make it, I plan to add some Better Than Bouillon to hopefully amp up the flavor, but overall this dish is so satisfying.

The recipe calls for:

  • 4 sweet onions sliced
  • 4 gloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Baguette
  • Vegan cheese shredded, such as mozzarella

Cook the onions and garlic in some olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat, then add them to the crockpot. Add the other ingredients to the crockpot, besides the bread and cheese, and cook on low for 4 hours. When you are ready to eat, if you have oven safe bowls, place soup in a bowl, place sliced bread on top, and cover with cheese. Place in oven under broiler to melt cheese and crisp up bread a little. I do not have oven safe bowls, so I sliced up my bread, covered it with cheese, and broiled it on a baking sheet. When the cheese was melted, I removed the bread from the oven and placed it on top of my bowl of soup. Such a satisfying meal on a cold snowy day!

Vegan Pulled Pork?

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Last week I was finally able to try the Upton’s Naturals bar-b-que jackfruit. I have seen many vegan bloggers mention this product and I was excited to be able to try it for myself. I have previously had a jackfruit sandwich at a vegan restaurant in St. Louis and I really enjoyed it. Pulled pork was something I liked to eat before going vegan, so having a vegan option is something I really enjoy. I cooked the Upton’s Naturals jackfruit per the package instructions and toasted up some vegan pretzel buns. I also had some cucumber in the fridge and fried onions left over from the holidays that I decided to use on the sandwich as well. Overall I enjoyed the sandwich, but the sauce on the jackfruit was very sour. I am someone who likes sour, and it was a little too much even for me. The sauce was vinegar based so the flavor was understandable, I just did not quite enjoy it.

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The brand has another flavor of prepared jackfruit, chili lime, that I am looking forward to trying. I think that would be really good on some nachos! Overall, I would buy this product again, and just add some other sauce to the jackfruit to try and make the flavor less tangy. I am also excited to get some jackfruit and mix up a sauce of my own. I love the options a product like this provides for a plant based diet. If you have tried this product or something similar I would love to know about your experience in the comments!

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I added some hot sauce and a side of sweet potato tots to my sandwich!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook

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This cookbook by Angela Liddon is the first vegan cookbook I added to my now quickly growing collection. I saw it at a bookstore and the cover was so beautiful, I was instantly drawn to it. I flipped through it and I was so inspired. Now, about a year later, I have made a few of the recipes and I still love this book. It is filled with over 100 recipes and beautiful photos to match. Recipes range from breakfast, smoothies, juices, teas, appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, sides, power snacks, desserts, and wonderful recipes to make homemade versions of cooking staples, such as almond milk or grapeseed mayonnaise. The book also includes her suggestions of what she keeps in her pantry, her favorite kitchen tools and equipment, and a very handy cooking chart in the back.

My absolute favorite recipe in this book is a simple one, but it is perfection to me. The salt and vinegar roasted chickpea recipe is by far the recipe I have used and enjoyed the most! I love to make this for a snack when I have to drive four hours to visit my family. I have also made her recipe for chickpea salad sandwich, when I was in school I would make this every other week so I would have something quick and easy to pack for lunch. I also made this when I went to visit some friends in Indiana. I knew the small town they lived in and their daily diet was not vegan friendly, so I made a batch of this and never went hungry. I have also made the effortless vegan overnight oats many, many times. I make it with chocolate almond milk and it turns out wonderfully. Both of the soups I have made from this cookbook were spectacular. The red lentil-kale soup recipe turned out to be one of the best soups I have ever tasted. And the soul-soothing African peanut stew was exactly that, soul soothing.

Of course, their are many other recipes I have recreated. Kale chips, black bean and sweet potato enchiladas, roasted rainbow carrots, and I could just keep going. This cookbook really is wonderful in my opinion. If you aren’t in the market for a new cookbook though (see if your library has it and just flip through perhaps) Angela also has a blog. You can sign up for email updates from her blog and have her wonderful vegan recipe goodness sent right to you. I also follow her on instagram and snapchat because I love to see the photos of the yummy food and drinks she is always creating!

Oh She Glows blog: http://ohsheglows.com

Instagram @ohsheglows

Twitter @ohsheglows

Snapchat: angelaliddon

Thai Curry

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A few nights ago my fiancé and I made a red curry for supper that was inspired by a Pacific organic Thai sweet potato soup we found at our local grocery store. I already had a little jar of vegan red curry paste and rice at home. So along with the soup, we picked up some coconut milk and cubed tofu to made a yummy, Thai inspired meal.

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We just used the vegetables we had at home already, so we added onion and bell pepper to the tofu and curry mixture. You could really add whatever you would like though. Next time I think I will add green beans and carrots as well. The soup was very good, with a strong lemongrass and lime flavor, but it was very rich. Next time I will not eat it with the same meal as the curry, since they both are quite rich. We did not add any spicy peppers to the curry since the curry paste was labeled as hot, but my fiancé and I did not find it hot at all. Next time we will definetly add some Thai chilies! This meal is a work in progress, but overall it is super simple to make and very yummy!

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Red Thai Curry
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Pacific Organic Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Baked Tofu

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Recently I attempted to bake some tofu for a yummy Mexican meal my fiancé was making for us. I baked the tofu for 40 minutes, flipping it over ever 10 minutes, at 400 degrees fahrenheit.  When I fry tofu, I usually cut it up thin and make it very crunchy, so this baked tofu was a little too soft for my liking. The instructions I was following said to use extra firm tofu, but I only had firm, so that may have changed the outcome a little as well. Obviously, baked tofu is much better for you then frying it in a bunch of oil, so I would love to find the perfect way to bake up tofu for my recipes.

The rest of our meal was completely delicious. My fiancé made some rice and a green chili sauce for the tofu.

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When the tofu was mixed in and everything was tossed in a tortilla, the meal was very satisfying. And the green chili sauce was very spicy!

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If you would like us to create a recipe for the delicious rice and green chili sauce my fiancé makes, please let me know in the comments. Also, I would really like to know if you have ever baked tofu and what worked best for you! I am on a mission to create the perfect baked tofu!

I Heart Keenwah

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I do not live in the most vegan friendly, progressive area so I often hear about interesting snacks but can’t ever find them. Odd as it may sound, I often go to T.J. Maxx to find new, unique snacks. And that is where I finally found the I Heart Keenwah quinoa puffs! I first heard about these when I was watching a vegan snack box unboxing on YouTube posted by Rhian HY (I love her videos). She seemed to really enjoy them and I love to have a crunchy snack around to curve my chip craving. I went on a mission around to every T.J. Maxx in my area to find more flavors.

On the website for the company they have four flavors listed, sea salt truffle, herbes de provence, sweet chili, and aged cheddar. All the flavors but aged cheddar are vegan. I was really hoping all four would be vegan snacks, but three is better then nothing (something to think about though I Heart Keenwah company). I found every flavor but herbes de provence and I obviously did not buy the aged cheddar snacks due to it not being vegan. The first flavor I tried was sea salt truffle. I was not a huge fan of the flavor but I did like the texture and crunch of the puffs. The second flavor I found was sweet chili. I liked the taste of this flavor better, but it definitely has a very mild chili flavor.

This snack is wonderful because it is vegan, gluten free, non-gmo, and since it is made from quinoa flour, it contains 5 grams of protein per serving. Obviously snacking on fresh fruit or vegetables would be healthier, but every once in a while I need to indulge in a guilty pleasure and I would rather reach for a quinoa puff than a potato chip. At my T.J. Maxx these snacks were priced at $2.39, but the price tag says compare at $4.00. I can tell you right now, I would never pay $4.00 for this bag. On the website they are for sale for $3.49 for a single bag. They can be purchased in bulk on the website for discounted prices and if you spend $50, your order ships for free.

I don’t know if I would purchase this snack online, but I would definitely buy it again if I saw it at T.J. Maxx in the future. If you have tried these snacks I would love to know what you thought about them in the comment section below!