Thursday, December 29, 2011

Delicious Vegan Bolognese Sauce and my In-Law Rant

Vegan Bolognese Sauce

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Rich and hearty bolognese sauce brimming with a colorful array of vegetables and gets its full, hearty texture from a lentil and walnut crumble deliciously flavored with italian spices and liquid smoke for that extra punch of flavor.    Bolognese is traditionally a meat-based sauce served over tagliatelle pasta, however, this meatless version is full of flavor and texture without the health damaging effects of its traditional counterpart.

I took sometime off of blogging to spend with my family over the Holidays and enjoyed the short time off.  I finally found my food creativity again and this delicious vegan bolognese sauce was created!!!  I have been so excited to share it with you, I just have not had the time to post until today.  

Warning, In-law rant coming on........

growing tired of their intense fear of all things plant-based or vegan  
It is interesting that I create delicious recipes for a living and have a wonderful following of fans and yet my in-laws are so afraid of eating something 'weird'  I have been relegated to bringing relish trays and green salads to EVERY family party all year long.  The  summer of 2010 I rebelled against this and I brought a delicious vegan burnt almond fudge pie smothered in homemade caramel sauce with a homemade graham cracker crust.

It was really enjoyable to sit by the dessert table and watch piece after piece be eaten and everyone raving over how rich, creamy, and delicious it was!  No one had any idea I had brought it or that it did not contain any dairy.  I was delighted to see everyone enjoying the food I had made......until.......
My nephew came to the dessert table and saw this delicious ice cream pie and started to serve himself a piece and then with the slice in hand he turns to me and says, "who made this pie?"  I quickly and proudly answered that I had made the pie.

This 11 year old boy got a disgusted look on his face and said, "Then I don't want any."  He proceeded to put his slice back into the pie plate, grabbed a chocolate chip cookie and ran off to play.
I sat there in shock for a minute and then realized.....He DID NOT get there by himself!!!!  I realized that his parents must have been gossiping enough about me to cause their 11 year old son to refuse to eat anything I might have made.

I noticed over the coming  year that this became a trend among my in-laws, NONE of them would touch anything I had brought to family parties.  I retreated from my rebellion and brought a green salad to the next party as asked and interestingly I brought home a HUGE bowl of leftover salad...untouched.  I overlooked it and figured, knowing them well, they don't really eat much salad so I didn't think much of that.  However......

The next time I rebelled again and instead of bringing a green salad no one would eat I brought a delicious pasta salad with red grapes, apples, celery, cashews smothered in a delicious veganaise coleslaw dressing.....and yet again I brought home a HUGE bowl of uneaten pasta salad that my family ate for the next week, I had to throw out the remaining salad at the end of the week.

At first I didn't think much of it, it was a waste but I figured I'd just make less next time. 

I was asked to bring dessert to a family Christmas party.....SHOCK and SURPRISE!!  I was thrilled with the challenge and so I made a delicious chocolate peanut butter mousse pie with a homemade brownie crust.  This time my brother in law, not the father of my nephew who refused the last pie, started to serve himself and with an eerie similarity asked who made the pie and when my husband told him it was me he put it back and got a few cookies and walked away.  I went home with half of a pie and asked my husband who ate the 5 pieces.  He had been lingering and talking around the dessert counter in the kitchen all night....surprise!  I realized it was me, my husband, my daughter, my son and my husbands twin brother.  My husband did tell me what happened with my brother in law and I told him I would not bring any more food to his family parties, it is a waste of money not to mention the fact that it hurt my feelings.

I tried one more time of rebellion and brought delicious OVERSIZED chocolate mint cookies to the Christmas day dinner.  This time the ONLY other desserts were a store bought box of hard butter cookies in assorted types in a tin and some brownies that my sister in law admitted to messing up terribly and my husbands twin said they were AWEFUL!!   She kept apologizing profusely for the mess up on dessert.

There were my oversized chocolate mint decadent cookies sitting there as the only dessert that wasn't store bought or a total flop on the dessert counter and one ate them.  They all sat there eating the brownies, pulling faces and then throwing half of it away and yet my cookies remain......untouched.

After three of my in-laws started to serve themselves something I had made and then put it back after finding out I had made it, I finally stopped bringing food of any kind to parties for quite awhile.  This Christmas I brought a delicious salad with a homemade strawberry vinaigrette dressing that was amazing!  Unfortunately, yet again, as each family member walked out of the kitchen, not a one of them had any on their plate.  My mother in law only 'tasted' it AFTER she had eaten her dinner.  

My husbands grandparents had planned to go out to dinner with us.  We had called them frequently when going to our favorite restaurant in the city and they said they wanted to try it out with us.  So we planned a day and time to go with them.  My husband called a few days before to confirm with them and they asked what type of restaurant it was....Italian, Mexican.....My husband said, vegetarian.
Here is his grandmothers exact response:

Oh, we don't eat that kind of food!

As you can probably guess, we never did go out to dinner with them.

I hear so many people claim that vegetarians are rude and make rude comments to them.  I have heard people say that vegetarians just try to 'convert' everyone at the dinner parties to be vegetarian.  In my over seven years of being a vegetarian I have NEVER, EVER seen this happen.  I have MANY vegetarian family members and friends and not one of them is in any way confrontational.  They all quietly serve themselves and then put up with the barrage of rude comments from others while trying to eat their dinner.  I have been to vegetarian potlucks and have listened to story after story of extremely rude dinner hosts, rude family members and people trying desperately to defend themselves and their eating habits despite the fact that the poor vegetarian has not uttered one word to them, just simply tried to blend in and eat and enjoy the dinner party.

I have suffered through so many dinner parties, as soon as someone notices my plate does not contain meat the barrage of rude remarks, jokes and defensiveness automatically begin.  An enjoyable dinner party can deteriorate into a fest of 'pick on the vegetarian' in a matter of seconds.  I have my own theories about why this happens but all I am going to say is sad.

Having lived through extremely difficult dinner parties time and again, and listening to other vegetarians talk about being attacked at dinner parties I have realized that people are extremely defensive of their eating habits and when someone threatens the status quo by simply not eating something that is considered controversial not to eat, it becomes threatening and the defenses go up.

Unfortunately due to my food choices and a few other misunderstood things I do, I have become the black sheep, the outcast, the leper of my husbands family.  I say this just as a wake up call to people, seriously???  You treat someone this way simply because of a food choice?  It is a sad reality but I have seen it time and time again......

Okay, off my soapbox and on to the delicious vegan bolognese sauce recipe!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Quick Gluten Free Holiday Treat Recipe

Melt in Your Mouth Vegan and Gluten Free Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cake Recipe

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Delicious, melt in your mouth Mexican wedding cookie recipe to grace your Holiday dessert table!  These little round cookies are an absolutely delicious vegan and gluten free version of the ever popular Mexican wedding cookie also known as Russian tea cake.   My grandmother used to make the most delectable collection of Christmas candies, including these delicious little cookies.   I have been thinking a lot about her this Christmas season and all the wonderful traditions that she started in our family.  The delicious holiday desserts and candies are one thing I fondly remember about my grandmother and in her honor just before the holidays I wanted to post my delicious rendition of her amazing, melt in your mouth Mexican wedding cookie aka Russian tea cakes.

I know I have been MIA for a few days, it has been an extremely busy holiday season for me, and hardly any of my holiday shopping has been done, I have been enjoying family and enjoying many other aspects of the holidays and I have been avoiding the crazy shopping that seems to occur this time of year.  I have been reflecting on those who live in third world countries who have so much less than we do and how often we forget to serve the less fortunate, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, comfort the widow, to serve others and give of what we have.  If more of us would step outside of our small little busy world we create for ourselves and do what is REALLY important this world would be a much better place for ALL!

I haven't been able to thrust myself into the shopping frenzy, the gift buying madness because it all seems so selfish and so trivial when you reflect on what really matters in life.  As long as there are people on this earth who are suffering, starving, cold, and in need the last thing on our mind should be  buying gifts for those who already have more than they need, we should be giving of our substance to those who are truly in need!  

It says a lot about a society that is richly blessed when they forget the hungry, the homeless, the naked, the widow, the suffering and then go and  spend  ridiculous amounts of money buying 'gifts' for those who have no need! 

So even though many would see my lack of shopping to be laziness or a lack of Christmas spirit, in reality it has been my hearts desire to spend this season with more in my heart than just thoughts of buying gifts for those who have no need for them.

Okay, so I guess it is time to jump off my soapbox and post my delicious recipe.  But maybe as you prepare this wonderful holiday recipe you will remember my words and hopefully you will feel inspired to do some service for someone in need.  Enjoy!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Latest Vegan Holiday Candy Recipe to Tempt you!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

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If you are a chocolate chip cookie fan this new vegan holiday candy recipe will have you doing cartwheels!  Delicious chocolate chip cookie dough is hand rolled and then dipped in delicious, rich dairy-free melted chocolate and then chilled to perfection!

These little truffles were a HUGE hit with my family!  My kids kept begging for more, however, I only made about 8 total because I did not want my kids gorging themselves into sugar induced mania!   They have had more than their share of sugar and junk food this holiday season and I did not want to contribute more to the problem.

My hubby has finally started to recognize the health damaging effects of sugar!  He is a sugaraholic of the worst kind.  He doesn't have one cookie, or two, he will eat 5 cookies and then complain about not feeling well.  He has begun struggling with headaches, joint problems, inflammation and host of health problems.  He finally came home yesterday and said, I need to get off of sugar!  He has said this many times before so I generally do not get overly excited when he says it but I hope this time he will actually do it.

He is on Day Two of not eating sugar!  Who knows if he will make it home from work without sugar, and I know it is tough over the holidays to avoid it and I am sure he will have dessert at the Christmas parties but starting January I think we will all be making quite a few changes.

So, what does this mean for the blog?  I will be focusing on healthy, whole foods in the coming year!  The recipes will still be as delicious and satisfying as ever but the desserts will probably begin to be roasted apples and cinnamon or lightly sweetened with much less sugar!  Hopefully my blog readers will also take the challenge to reduce refined sweeteners and embrace an even healthier lifestyle in the coming year!

Okay, enough rambling on about not eating sugar, LETS HAVE SOME TRUFFLES!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Delicious Vegan Christmas Candy Recipes

Collection of Vegan Christmas Candy Recipes

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Enjoy this delicious collection of rich creamy caramel, chocolate peanut butter cups, english toffee and a whole collection of delicious vegan candy recipes you can take to holiday parties, deliver to your neighbors, or just keep them all to yourself and eat them while watching your favorite Christmas movie or while drinking hot chocolate in front of a fire!

I created these recipes back in 2008 but I have not published the recipes on the blog......until now!  I hope you enjoy making these vegan holiday candies, but I hope you enjoy eating them even more!

Interestingly this holiday season I have not been doing much recipe creating.  Usually I can't stop, I am just coming up with recipe after recipe idea but this year I have really been watching what I am eating and our dinners have been very simple so I haven't felt that they were worth sharing on the blog.  I hope you will enjoy these holiday candy recipes until I can get past this 'chef block' and  start creating again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Soy Free, Egg Free Vegan Scramble

Soy Free, Egg Free Vegan Scramble

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This simple, hearty and fiber filled breakfast begins with mashed garbanzo beans, cashew milk and a few seasonings to create a delicious, soy free, vegan scramble for a hearty breakfast on a cold winter morning!  I decided to try a non-conventional approach to vegan scramble, most scrambles are based around tofu and while I enjoy tofu in a variety of recipes I thought a high fiber, high nutrient legume based scramble would be a nice change of pace. 

I certainly do not subscribe to the fear mongering of soy that the majority of people have fallen into and no I do not believe soy is going to change my gender or turn me into a zombie or anything like that, but I do believe it is important to enjoy a variety of foods to obtain the best nutritional benefit from your diet.  My kids LOVED this scramble!!  I wasn't sure if they would eat it as they are very partial to buckwheat waffles and cereal but they really enjoyed it.  I hope you enjoy it as well!

I am about to begin posting my holiday recipes, including my famous vegan chocolate candies, peanut butter cups, peppermint truffles and all kinds of yummy goodies but I thought before we get into all the sugary holiday fare I would post this delicious, hearty breakfast.

I have been busy lately doing some prenatals as a midwife apprentice again, it has been a long time since I have been able to do that and I am enjoying the opportunity to be able to do so again.   I am also working on many fun and exciting new things that I hope you all will enjoy and participate in.   I have been going through a bit of 'chef block'  if that is a word :-D   I have felt a little uninspired these past couple of weeks about creating recipes and I REALLY could use some help from my readers.  

I LOVE to  hear from you!  I love getting recipe suggestions from readers as it helps get my creative flow going.  I just received a request to create a vegan pad thai and that is certainly on my to do list this week!  Please keep the suggestions coming.

Successes and failures......I have created a lot of delicious versions of seitan but since my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease seitan is unfortunately not something I make anymore.  My daughter LOVED seitan and I have been feverishly trying to come up with a gluten free version of seitan!  Unfortunately I have met with quite a challenge, they all have a great flavor but I have not been able to get the right texture, I am getting close, my last one was pretty good.  As soon as I am able to get the right recipe I will post it as I know many vegetarians and vegans are gluten free and looking for delicious substitutions for assured I am working on it.

If you have any recipe suggestions I'd love to know what you would like to see featured on the blog.

This scramble has a very distinct flavor, it is slightly cheesy, creamy and it has a lot more depth of flavor that a traditional egg based scramble.  This hearty breakfast provides better balanced nutrition than a traditional scramble:

Scrambled Eggs                                                 Egg free Vegan Scramble










 Scrambled eggs contain NO fiber and NO carbohydrate necessary to fuel the brain, kidneys, nerve cells and other processes in the body!  This delicious egg free scramble provides far superior nutrition!