_
This is one of the fanciest meals we’ve ever made. It had a bunch of different components that each tasted great on their own, but came together the be even better. The description in the cookbook talks about how this is the thing to make if you want to really impress people but not do a lot of work. We second that sentiment. It seemed a refined and complex delicious meal that was pretty easy to make.We haven’t ever cooked seitan in a skillet like this, and it made for a completely different texture. The strips got crispy on the outside but stayed soft on the inside. The flavors of the sauce brought everything together really well and helped to keep it light and balanced. Potatoes and seitan are both pretty heavy foods, but the citrus and white wine in the sauce brightened them up. The capers and olives were just delicious.The green beans were the only component that didn’t totally fit. They were so big and long and the only thing that required a knife. It was hard to get them in a good bite and the flavor didn’t quite fit in with the others. Asparagus would probably be good in their place.Note: the recipe says to serve everything over mashed potatoes, but doesn’t include making them in the recipe. So don’t forget your potatoes!
Seitan Piccata with Olives and Green Beansfrom Veganomiconserves 4-1 lb seitan-1/3 cup flour-olive oil-1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots [3 - 5, depending on size]-4 cloves garlic, chopped-1/3 cup dry white wine-2 cups veggie broth-1/4 tsp salt-sever pinches black pepper-small pinch dried thyme-1/4 cup capers with a little brine-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half-juice of 1 lemon [2 - 3 tbsp]-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley-1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed-mashed potatoes to serve1. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. 2. Cut the seitan into long, thin pieces, slicing off any rounded ends so that they will lay flat. Ideally, the slices should be a little over 1/4 inch thick, 3 inches long, and 2 inches across.3. Coat the bottom of the skillet with oil and let it get hot. Dredge half the seitan slices in flour to coat. Add to the pan and cook until lightly browned, about 2 mins on each side. Proceed to coat the other slices and repeat. Place the cooked seitan slices on a tray or plate covered with aluminum foil, to keep warm. Do not rinse out the skillet or turn off the heat, as you’re going to make the sauce in it.4. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the green beans, but don’t boil them just yet. You just want to have the water at the ready.5. If there is enough oil left in the seitan pan to saute the shallots and garlic, then do so. If not, add a little oil and saute them for about 5 mins, stirring often so as not to burn.6. Add the white wine to the sauce and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Add the broth, salt, pepper, and thyme. Again, bring to a rolling boil and let the sauce reduce by half - this should take about 7 to 10 minutes.7. Add the capers and olives to heat through, about 3 minutes. At this point, add the beans to the boiling water and let cook 2 minutes, then strain.8. Add the parsley and lemon juice to the sauce and turn off the heat.9. To serve, make a pile of mashed potatoes. Place beans and seitan over potatoes. Use a ladle to douse everything in plenty of sauce. Serve immediately.

This is one of the fanciest meals we’ve ever made. It had a bunch of different components that each tasted great on their own, but came together the be even better. The description in the cookbook talks about how this is the thing to make if you want to really impress people but not do a lot of work. We second that sentiment. It seemed a refined and complex delicious meal that was pretty easy to make.

We haven’t ever cooked seitan in a skillet like this, and it made for a completely different texture. The strips got crispy on the outside but stayed soft on the inside. 

The flavors of the sauce brought everything together really well and helped to keep it light and balanced. Potatoes and seitan are both pretty heavy foods, but the citrus and white wine in the sauce brightened them up. The capers and olives were just delicious.

The green beans were the only component that didn’t totally fit. They were so big and long and the only thing that required a knife. It was hard to get them in a good bite and the flavor didn’t quite fit in with the others. Asparagus would probably be good in their place.

Note: the recipe says to serve everything over mashed potatoes, but doesn’t include making them in the recipe. So don’t forget your potatoes!


Seitan Piccata with Olives and Green Beans

from Veganomicon
serves 4

-1 lb seitan
-1/3 cup flour
-olive oil
-1 scant cup thinly sliced shallots [3 - 5, depending on size]
-4 cloves garlic, chopped
-1/3 cup dry white wine
-2 cups veggie broth
-1/4 tsp salt
-sever pinches black pepper
-small pinch dried thyme
-1/4 cup capers with a little brine
-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
-juice of 1 lemon [2 - 3 tbsp]
-3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
-1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed
-mashed potatoes to serve

1. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
2. Cut the seitan into long, thin pieces, slicing off any rounded ends so that they will lay flat. Ideally, the slices should be a little over 1/4 inch thick, 3 inches long, and 2 inches across.
3. Coat the bottom of the skillet with oil and let it get hot. Dredge half the seitan slices in flour to coat. Add to the pan and cook until lightly browned, about 2 mins on each side. Proceed to coat the other slices and repeat. Place the cooked seitan slices on a tray or plate covered with aluminum foil, to keep warm. Do not rinse out the skillet or turn off the heat, as you’re going to make the sauce in it.
4. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the green beans, but don’t boil them just yet. You just want to have the water at the ready.
5. If there is enough oil left in the seitan pan to saute the shallots and garlic, then do so. If not, add a little oil and saute them for about 5 mins, stirring often so as not to burn.
6. Add the white wine to the sauce and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Add the broth, salt, pepper, and thyme. Again, bring to a rolling boil and let the sauce reduce by half - this should take about 7 to 10 minutes.
7. Add the capers and olives to heat through, about 3 minutes. At this point, add the beans to the boiling water and let cook 2 minutes, then strain.
8. Add the parsley and lemon juice to the sauce and turn off the heat.
9. To serve, make a pile of mashed potatoes. Place beans and seitan over potatoes. Use a ladle to douse everything in plenty of sauce. Serve immediately.

A few weeks ago, we made our own gyros from scratch. We had some left over seitan, and put it to use in this sandwich. You first cooked the seitan in a marinade, to give it a good zesty flavor. We could really taste the lemon, white wine, and garlic - all the flavors of Greece were present. Then we made a [soy] yogurt sauce to go with. It was very dill-y, and not what I wanted. It was also in very stark contrast to the hot seitan, being a cold sauce. That made it weird. It didn’t taste much like a tzatziki sauce either. Not the best part.We topped it off with some chopped up red onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Those were fine, but I would have preferred a Jerusalem salad. And hummus. Maybe I just want a falafel instead.The seitan was obviously not the same consistency and texture as regular gyros, which made this stand apart from being just a non-meat copy. It was its own thing, with flavors of gryos. Overall, not a good or bad meal, just neutral. At least Books the Cat thought it was interesting, he wouldn’t get his head out of the photos.
Gyro Roasted Seitanfrom Vegan Eats Worldserves 4-1/4 cup lemon juice-1/3 cup veggie broth or white wine-3 tbsp olive oil-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced-1 + 1/2 tsp dried oregano-1/2 tsp ground cumin-1/4 tsp salt-2 seitan cutlets1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a 9x13x2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish, whisk together all the ingredients except seitan.2. Slice seitan into strips 1/4 inch wide. Add to marinade and flip several times to coat completely. Set aside to marinate while oven is preheating.3. Roast the seitan for 25 mins, turning the strips frequently with tongs. Remove from oven and serve immediately.Seitan Gyro Roll Upsfrom Vegan Eats Worldmakes 4-6 sandwiches -1 recipe Gyro Roasted Seitan, kept warm-6 greek-style thick pita breads-olive oil for brushingYogurt Sauce:-1+1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy yogurt-1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 tbsp dried dill-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced-2 tsp olive oil-1/2 tsp saltGarnishes:-diced red tomato-slices of peeled cucumber-slices of red onion1. In a food processor, pulse together all the Yogurt Sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.2. Brush both sides of pita lightly with olive oil. Preheat a skillet over high heat, then grill each pita for about 1 minute on each side, until the bread is soft and the surface is gently toasted. [We put ours in the oven for a few minutes instead, while the seitan was cooking. and with no oil.]3. To assemble sandwich, brush one side of a pita with Yogurt Sauce. Fill with seitan as desired. Top with tomato, cucumber, and red onion, and roll up.

A few weeks ago, we made our own gyros from scratch. We had some left over seitan, and put it to use in this sandwich. You first cooked the seitan in a marinade, to give it a good zesty flavor. We could really taste the lemon, white wine, and garlic - all the flavors of Greece were present.

Then we made a [soy] yogurt sauce to go with. It was very dill-y, and not what I wanted. It was also in very stark contrast to the hot seitan, being a cold sauce. That made it weird. It didn’t taste much like a tzatziki sauce either. Not the best part.

We topped it off with some chopped up red onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Those were fine, but I would have preferred a Jerusalem salad. And hummus. Maybe I just want a falafel instead.

The seitan was obviously not the same consistency and texture as regular gyros, which made this stand apart from being just a non-meat copy. It was its own thing, with flavors of gryos. Overall, not a good or bad meal, just neutral. At least Books the Cat thought it was interesting, he wouldn’t get his head out of the photos.


Gyro Roasted Seitan

from Vegan Eats World
serves 4

-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/3 cup veggie broth or white wine
-3 tbsp olive oil
-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
-1 + 1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 seitan cutlets

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a 9x13x2-inch ceramic or glass baking dish, whisk together all the ingredients except seitan.
2. Slice seitan into strips 1/4 inch wide. Add to marinade and flip several times to coat completely. Set aside to marinate while oven is preheating.
3. Roast the seitan for 25 mins, turning the strips frequently with tongs. Remove from oven and serve immediately.


Seitan Gyro Roll Ups

from Vegan Eats World
makes 4-6 sandwiches 

-1 recipe Gyro Roasted Seitan, kept warm
-6 greek-style thick pita breads
-olive oil for brushing

Yogurt Sauce:
-1+1/2 cups plain unsweetened soy yogurt
-1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 tbsp dried dill
-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
-2 tsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt

Garnishes:
-diced red tomato
-slices of peeled cucumber
-slices of red onion

1. In a food processor, pulse together all the Yogurt Sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.
2. Brush both sides of pita lightly with olive oil. Preheat a skillet over high heat, then grill each pita for about 1 minute on each side, until the bread is soft and the surface is gently toasted. [We put ours in the oven for a few minutes instead, while the seitan was cooking. and with no oil.]
3. To assemble sandwich, brush one side of a pita with Yogurt Sauce. Fill with seitan as desired. Top with tomato, cucumber, and red onion, and roll up.

I recently found a bundt pan for a steal at 50 cents. How could I pass that up? Now I can make every cake a bundt cake. This recipe was meant to be a bundt cake [although I actually don’t know if you need a different recipe for a bundt pan?]. We wanted to sub out the blackberries for marionberries, to make it real Oregon-y, but we were a bit too early for their season. So blackberries and lemon, still a good combination. The cake was quick and easy to put together. It used three types of lemon - zest, juice, and extract, but still wasn’t very lemon-y. Maybe more zest next time. For the glaze, you had to smash the blackberries through a strainer. That was definitely the most annoying part, but once done you just drizzle it over the top and the cake is ready to eat. It tasted great, with a soft inside and sweet outside from the glaze. It stayed good for a long time in the fridge, too.
Lemon Blackberry Bundt Cakeadapted from Sarah Bakes gluten free treatsserves 4cake:-3 + 1/3 cups flour-2 tsp baking powder-1 tsp baking soda-1/2 tsp salt-1 + 1/2 cups soy milk-1/4 cup lemon juice-1 + 3/4 cups sugar-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce-1/2 cup canola oil-2 tsp lemon zest-1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract-1 + 1/2 tsp lemon extractglaze:-1 + 1/2 cups fresh blackberries-2 cups powdered sugar-1 - 2 tbsp soy milk-1/2 tsp vanilla extract1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare bundt cake pan by spraying with cooking spray.2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.3. In a separate bowl, mix together soy milk and lemon juice until curdled. Add sugar, applesauce, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon extract. Pour over flour mixture and stir to combine.4. Pour batter into prepared bundt cake pan. Bake 43 - 45 mins or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 mins before flipping out onto cooling rack to cool completely.5. To make glaze, start by smashing 1/2 cup of blackberries through a fine-mesh sieve to make blackberry puree. Add powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, and vanilla extract. Add additional milk if needed. Stir until smooth. Pour over cooled cake. Garnish with remaining blackberries.

I recently found a bundt pan for a steal at 50 cents. How could I pass that up? Now I can make every cake a bundt cake. This recipe was meant to be a bundt cake [although I actually don’t know if you need a different recipe for a bundt pan?]. We wanted to sub out the blackberries for marionberries, to make it real Oregon-y, but we were a bit too early for their season. So blackberries and lemon, still a good combination. The cake was quick and easy to put together. It used three types of lemon - zest, juice, and extract, but still wasn’t very lemon-y. Maybe more zest next time. For the glaze, you had to smash the blackberries through a strainer. That was definitely the most annoying part, but once done you just drizzle it over the top and the cake is ready to eat. It tasted great, with a soft inside and sweet outside from the glaze. It stayed good for a long time in the fridge, too.


Lemon Blackberry Bundt Cake

adapted from Sarah Bakes gluten free treats
serves 4

cake:
-3 + 1/3 cups flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 + 1/2 cups soy milk
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 + 3/4 cups sugar
-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1/2 cup canola oil
-2 tsp lemon zest
-1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 + 1/2 tsp lemon extract

glaze:
-1 + 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
-2 cups powdered sugar
-1 - 2 tbsp soy milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare bundt cake pan by spraying with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together soy milk and lemon juice until curdled. Add sugar, applesauce, oil, lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon extract. Pour over flour mixture and stir to combine.
4. Pour batter into prepared bundt cake pan. Bake 43 - 45 mins or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 mins before flipping out onto cooling rack to cool completely.
5. To make glaze, start by smashing 1/2 cup of blackberries through a fine-mesh sieve to make blackberry puree. Add powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk, and vanilla extract. Add additional milk if needed. Stir until smooth. Pour over cooled cake. Garnish with remaining blackberries.

Daniel’s favorite Indian meal is Baingan Barta, an eggplant dish. We had made my favorite dish, Palak Paneer, before, but wanted some variety. This one was not as easy to make, the eggplants had to be roasted and gutted before you could even start cooking. It was also under-seasoned, we added a lot more of all the spices. In the end, it was really good. It was made up of big pieces of vegetables, unlike the Palak Paneer which is pureed, giving them a good contrast. 
Roasted Eggplant Masala [Baingan Barta]from Vegan Eats Worldserves 4-2.5 lbs Asian or globe eggplant, whole and unpeeled-2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil-1 tsp black mustard seeds [we used 1 tsp mustard powder]-4 cloves garlic, minced-1 large onion, peeled and chopped-2 - 3 green hot chile peppers, seeds removed if desired and minced-1 + 1/2 tsp ground coriander-1 tsp ground cumin-1/2 tsp ground turmeric-1 cup chopped tomatoes or 2 large plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced-3/4 tsp salt-1 tbsp lime juice-1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Poke eggplants all over with a fork, place on baking sheet, and roast 20 - 30 mins until the skin is heavily wrinkled and the eggplant can be easily pierced with a knife. 2. Remove from oven and cut a slit down each eggplant to allow some steam to escape. When cool enough to handle, spread eggplant open and use a large metal spoon to scoop out all the flesh. Heat it on a cutting board and roughly chop. Discard the skins.3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until it ripples and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cover the pan as soon as the seeds pop. 4. When the popping almost stops, uncover the skillet, stir in garlic, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Stir in onions and chiles and fry for 3 mins or until onions are softened, then stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric [and mustard powder, if using instead of seeds], and stir fry for 30 seconds.5. Add eggplant, tomatoes, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should look juicy and bubbling.6. Stir in lime juice, taste, and season with more salt or lime juice. 7. Turn off heat and cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a wide, deep serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or rice.

Daniel’s favorite Indian meal is Baingan Barta, an eggplant dish. We had made my favorite dish, Palak Paneer, before, but wanted some variety. This one was not as easy to make, the eggplants had to be roasted and gutted before you could even start cooking. It was also under-seasoned, we added a lot more of all the spices. In the end, it was really good. It was made up of big pieces of vegetables, unlike the Palak Paneer which is pureed, giving them a good contrast. 


Roasted Eggplant Masala [Baingan Barta]

from Vegan Eats World
serves 4

-2.5 lbs Asian or globe eggplant, whole and unpeeled
-2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
-1 tsp black mustard seeds [we used 1 tsp mustard powder]
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 large onion, peeled and chopped
-2 - 3 green hot chile peppers, seeds removed if desired and minced
-1 + 1/2 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
-1 cup chopped tomatoes or 2 large plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced
-3/4 tsp salt
-1 tbsp lime juice
-1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Poke eggplants all over with a fork, place on baking sheet, and roast 20 - 30 mins until the skin is heavily wrinkled and the eggplant can be easily pierced with a knife.
2. Remove from oven and cut a slit down each eggplant to allow some steam to escape. When cool enough to handle, spread eggplant open and use a large metal spoon to scoop out all the flesh. Heat it on a cutting board and roughly chop. Discard the skins.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until it ripples and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cover the pan as soon as the seeds pop.
4. When the popping almost stops, uncover the skillet, stir in garlic, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Stir in onions and chiles and fry for 3 mins or until onions are softened, then stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric [and mustard powder, if using instead of seeds], and stir fry for 30 seconds.
5. Add eggplant, tomatoes, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should look juicy and bubbling.
6. Stir in lime juice, taste, and season with more salt or lime juice.
7. Turn off heat and cool for 5 mins, then transfer to a wide, deep serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or rice.

This is the second installment of quick breakfast ideas - fruit bread! I recently got a loaf pan and wanted to make everything in loaf form. It was sort of like eating a muffin, but in a different shape. The original recipe called for strawberries and mangoes, but I figured I could swap out any fruit and we had a bunch of peaches, thus became strawberry peach bread. It was a good sweet breakfast bread. I’ll try it out with other seasonal fruits in the future.
Strawberry Peach Loafadapted from One Green Planetmakes 1 loaf-6 oz strawberries, cut into 1/4 inch pieces-2 peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces-3/4 cup nondairy yogurt-2 tbs lemon juice-6 tbs maple syrup-6 tbs coconut oil-2 tsp lemon zest-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour-1 cup unbleached flour-2 tsp baking powder-1/4 tsp baking soda-1/4 tsp salt1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.2. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, peach, yogurt, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, and lemon zest. Set aside.3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.4. And the fruit mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into an oiled loaf pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

This is the second installment of quick breakfast ideas - fruit bread! I recently got a loaf pan and wanted to make everything in loaf form. It was sort of like eating a muffin, but in a different shape. The original recipe called for strawberries and mangoes, but I figured I could swap out any fruit and we had a bunch of peaches, thus became strawberry peach bread. It was a good sweet breakfast bread. I’ll try it out with other seasonal fruits in the future.


Strawberry Peach Loaf

adapted from One Green Planet
makes 1 loaf

-6 oz strawberries, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-2 peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-3/4 cup nondairy yogurt
-2 tbs lemon juice
-6 tbs maple syrup
-6 tbs coconut oil
-2 tsp lemon zest
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1 cup unbleached flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the strawberries, peach, yogurt, lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. And the fruit mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into an oiled loaf pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

Once I decided that I wanted to make a bunch of breakfast foods that I could easily grab on my way to work. The first recipe was granola bars. It was really easy to put together, similar to when we made Chocolate Crispie Treats. In both recipes, you mix a bunch of ingredients together with agave and smush them into a pan. This one is more than just chocolate and peanut butter, and tasted pretty good, but still probably not a healthy breakfast. They were also gooey and fell apart, so I haven’t wanted to make them again since. I’ll keep searching for quick breakfast ideas.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Barsfrom Once Upon a Chefmakes 18 bars-6 tbs vegan butter-1/3 cup dark brown sugar-1/4 cup plus 2 tbs agave-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract-1/8 tsp salt-2 cups instant oats-1 3/4 cup crispy rice cereal-1/4 cup flax meal-1/3 cup chocolate chips1. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.2. In a large pot, combine the butter, brown sugar, and agave. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in vanilla and salt.4. Add the oats, rice cereal, and flax meal to the pan and fold with a rubber spatula until combined.5. Transfer the mixture to the oven pan and press down lightly with a rubber spatula to even out. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and press down firmly so that the chips stick.The mixture should be tightly compacted.
6. Place pan in refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.7. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into rectangles. Store in an airgtight container in the fridge.

Once I decided that I wanted to make a bunch of breakfast foods that I could easily grab on my way to work. The first recipe was granola bars. It was really easy to put together, similar to when we made Chocolate Crispie Treats. In both recipes, you mix a bunch of ingredients together with agave and smush them into a pan. This one is more than just chocolate and peanut butter, and tasted pretty good, but still probably not a healthy breakfast. They were also gooey and fell apart, so I haven’t wanted to make them again since. I’ll keep searching for quick breakfast ideas.


Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

from Once Upon a Chef
makes 18 bars

-6 tbs vegan butter
-1/3 cup dark brown sugar
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbs agave
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/8 tsp salt
-2 cups instant oats
-1 3/4 cup crispy rice cereal
-1/4 cup flax meal
-1/3 cup chocolate chips

1. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large pot, combine the butter, brown sugar, and agave. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until sugar dissolves and mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in vanilla and salt.
4. Add the oats, rice cereal, and flax meal to the pan and fold with a rubber spatula until combined.
5. Transfer the mixture to the oven pan and press down lightly with a rubber spatula to even out. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and press down firmly so that the chips stick.The mixture should be tightly compacted.

6. Place pan in refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
7. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into rectangles. Store in an airgtight container in the fridge.

A message from sametattoos
Hi! I am visiting Chicago in a few weeks and was wondering if y'all had any suggestions for vegan restaurants or places that aren't vegan but have vegan dishes. Thanks.

Our favorite places in Chicago include:


Unfortunately, there isn’t any vegan deep dish in Chicago that we know of, unless you get Lou Malnati’s without the cheese. If you really want pizza, Dimo’s has vegan pizza by the slice in a bunch of flavors at their Wicker Park location.

Another night Daniel’s dad was in town, he wanted to go to a fancy restaurant in our neighborhood that he saw and thought looked good - Levant. We’d never thought about going there before, since its pretty fancy and had a lot of meat, but we are glad that we did. They served a high-end interpretation of Middle-Eastern food, tapas style. So we got a bunch of plates to share. 

Some of the things we got were what you’d expect, like hummus and pita, cauliflower, and falafel, but the really impressive things were those that we hadn’t had before, like fried green almonds. They told us that these young almonds have a very short season, so it was special to have them. I don’t usually like nuts, but these were so soft and delicious, not at all like a regular almond. 

We also had calcots, a type of scallion from Catalonia, Spain.They were grilled and came with a delicious sauce. It was both of our favorite dish. Another thing we never had - its always cool to try unusual foods. 

Finally, we got a mountain of vegetables over a grain - one of the larger main courses. It included all different colors of heirloom carrots, leeks, asparagus, tomato sauce, and some crispy greens on top. It was really good, but not as impactful as the things that were new to us. 

When Daniel’s dad was in town, he wanted to take us for dinner to a place that we wanted to try but hadn’t yet been to. Blossoming Lotus quickly came to mind. We heard its one of the best vegan restaurants in Portland, and it mostly lived up to its reputation.We started with Rosemary Flatbread, a raw appetizer. It was the only unsatisfactory part of the meal. We’re just not that into raw food most of the time, I guess. It was a fairly dry cracker topped with a green salad. Not that interesting or tasty.The main courses were way better, and made up for the lackluster appetizer. I got Chana Waffles, a spinach waffle topped with curried chick peas and crispy cauliflower pakora. It was so delicious. A savory take on waffles. I assumed they’d be at least a little sweet, since it was a waffle, but it tasted just like the flavors you’d find at an Indian restaurant. It was really inventive. Daniel got Ramen, his first time having non-packaged ramen. The noodles were fresh and a great texture. There were also tons of good vegetables and the grilled tofu had a delicious smokey flavor. Like many other vegan restaurants, this one isn’t focused on one particular cuisine. They have dishes from all parts of the world, made vegan. It seems a little problematic - if you make so many different types of food you have to be super knowledgeable and proficient in so many different things, where as if you focus on one type its easier to get it exactly right. That applies to a lot of vegan restaurants, not just this one. However, we were really happy with the food we got, and will return in the future.

When Daniel’s dad was in town, he wanted to take us for dinner to a place that we wanted to try but hadn’t yet been to. Blossoming Lotus quickly came to mind. We heard its one of the best vegan restaurants in Portland, and it mostly lived up to its reputation.

We started with Rosemary Flatbread, a raw appetizer. It was the only unsatisfactory part of the meal. We’re just not that into raw food most of the time, I guess. It was a fairly dry cracker topped with a green salad. Not that interesting or tasty.

The main courses were way better, and made up for the lackluster appetizer. I got Chana Waffles, a spinach waffle topped with curried chick peas and crispy cauliflower pakora. It was so delicious. A savory take on waffles. I assumed they’d be at least a little sweet, since it was a waffle, but it tasted just like the flavors you’d find at an Indian restaurant. It was really inventive. 

Daniel got Ramen, his first time having non-packaged ramen. The noodles were fresh and a great texture. There were also tons of good vegetables and the grilled tofu had a delicious smokey flavor. 

Like many other vegan restaurants, this one isn’t focused on one particular cuisine. They have dishes from all parts of the world, made vegan. It seems a little problematic - if you make so many different types of food you have to be super knowledgeable and proficient in so many different things, where as if you focus on one type its easier to get it exactly right. That applies to a lot of vegan restaurants, not just this one. However, we were really happy with the food we got, and will return in the future.

To continue using up the various cheese from our vegan cheese plate, we made another recipe that was pretty similar to this pancake recipe, but better. This was our first attempt making vegan crepes, using the recipe from Vegan Brunch. And they turned out super nicely. The book made a point to say that crepes are notoriously tough to get right, and not get discouraged, but for all that, they seemed easier than they were made out to be. They all looked nice and tasted great, and they were a great base for the fillings we put in them.

We put a layer of our homemade vegan goat cheese, onion, herbs, and maitake mushrooms that we got at the farmer’s market. We’d never used this type of mushroom before, but they were great to cook whole and fit in really well. And the goat cheese was a great base due to its creamy texture and mild flavor. These crepes would probably be good with any sort of filling you’d want to put in them, sweet or savory.


Whole Wheat Crepes

from Vegan Brunch
makes 10-12 crepes

-1 cup nondairy milk
-1 cup water
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-2 tbs tapioca flour
-1 tsp salt
-2 tbs vegetable oil
-2 tbs agave or maple syrup

1. Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds, scraping the sides once, until everything is blended. The batter will be very thin.
2. Refrigerate for one hour.
3. Preheat crepe pan or large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly spray with oil.
4. Ladle 1/3 to 1/2 cup of batter in the center of the pan. Lift the pan of the burner and tilt in a circular motion so that the batter spreads in a thin layer across the bottom.
5. Cook until the top of the crepe is dry, the center is bubbling, and the edges are lightly browned and crinkly and are pulling away from the sides of the pan. Gently tun the spatula under the crepe to loosen, carefully flip, and cook on the other side for 30 seconds. Slide the crepe onto a dinner plate.