Crazy for Carbs

The fact that the Atkins diet was once so popular baffles me. Why would people willingly give up delicious carbs? Pasta, bread, muffins, scones, pizza crust, potatoes… those are my favorite foods.

I recently made a delicious loaf of bread that was half all-purpose and half-spelt flour. It tasted the same as a loaf made of all-purpose, but the crumb was softer and more delicate. It made for a great firm but gentle dough, and it turned out to be fantastic for sandwiches. I topped it with sesame and sunflower seeds.

I need to work on a way to make those seeds stay on the bread. I tried to press them into the dough before baking a little, but when I took the bread out of the loaf pan half the seeds still feel off of the top. I’m definitely open to suggestions.

Last night for dinner I made gnocci with cashew pesto and the Greek salad from American Vegan Kitchen. The gnocci was significantly easier than I imagined it would be. All you have to do is boil or bake the potatoes until tender, peel off the skin, and mash them. Then add oil and flour until it makes a sticky (but not wet) dough, roll it into tubes, slice, and boil. I probably spent 10 minutes doing actual work on these.

I’m really proud of the pesto. It turned out great. I used cashews rather than pine nuts, and I started by blending the cashews and olive oil together for almost 5 minutes, until it produced a super-creamy base. Then I added the basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It was perfect.

The salad was delicious, and the only change I made to Tamasin’s recipe was using green olives rather than kalamata. I got most of the vegetables off the salad bar at my local grocery store because it’s cheaper than buying them separate. I let the tofu “feta” marinate for approximately 7 hours, and although it didn’t taste exactly like feta, it still contributed very nicely to the salad.

Have you ever made gnocci? If so, what’s your favorite sauce to use?

Wingbean

A few weeks ago I posted a quick write-up on a new Asheville vegan food delivery service named Wingbean. Well, owners Pamela and Scott gave my boyfriend and I a free order to try, and it was good. I’d been wanting to try the food badly, but with a part-time job in retail it’s hard to afford much.

The food comes nicely stacked in an insulated bag with reusable ice cubes. Everything is numbered according to the menu.

The menu was as follows:

Green-Nut Noodles
This is an Asian rice noodle dish with a peanut sauce and vegetables. The menu suggests re-heating, but this was also good cold. My only complaint about this dish was that it wasn’t spicy enough, but I just doused it with bottled hot sauce. The Great Slaw of China (below) goes incredibly well with this. I feel like this would also be good with whole or chopped cashews.

Sweet and Sour Tempeh
This was my favorite dish on the menu. The locally-produced tempeh was incredibly flavorful and juicy, and I loved the hunks of pineapple. I ended up eating all of the tempeh since my crazy boyfriend thinks tempeh in any form tastes terrible, but I wouldn’t complain about that! I ate this with a side of the Great Slaw of China.

Tamale Pie
This dish was a beans-veggies-tvp mixture topped with a corn grit cake on top. Again, it wasn’t spicy enough for me, but I do realize that most people don’t like to sweat while they eat, so I let it go. My boyfriend really enjoyed this one.

Fall Harvest Pilaf

This was the only dish neither of us were crazy about, but it’s more of a personal preference than it having to do with taste. Neither my boyfriend nor I are fans of cold grain salads. The acorn squash was really good though, and I love how pretty it looked opening up the container. The cashews were a really nice touch. I used the leftovers in a green salad the next day for lunch.

Saffron Zucchini
This zucchini was off the chain. It was really vibrant, and a great side dish. I used leftovers in a tofu scramble the next morning and it couldn’t of been tastier. The zucchini was cooked perfectly, and the spices were spot-on.

Beans-N-Greens
This was a good Southern-style dish that I enjoyed along with the pilaf and the Minestrone (below). It was really good, and seasoned well. (Of course, I added hot sauce because that’s what I do.)

Great Slaw of China
Asian-style cole slaw. Aside from going well with the Sweet and sour tempeh, this is a great snack, and really good on a sandwich. It’s made with greens and fresh herbs like basil and mint.

Minestrone Soup
This was a good, warming soup. Although I wasn’t too fond of the gluten-free noodles (they do taste slightly different), the overall soup was really good. With a piece of toast slathered in Earth Balance, this would make a lovely light lunch.

Cookies!
The New Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies were so good that my boyfriend and I split them and finished them off at once. Very delicious.

Overall
I was pleased with all the dishes, and it would definitely be a great option for people who are too busy to cook or students. I used the majority of these dishes to supplement whatever I was making for dinner, but they could certainly be eaten on their own. I just really enjoy cooking, so I would make something of my own to go along with the Wingbean options.

The print menu you receive with your bag lists detailed descriptions of the dishes, as well as information about how best to re-heat them and what other options they pair well with. The back side lists the ingredients for everything. I was really happy to see that all of Wingbean’s food is made with simple, whole ingredients, and the majority are organic.

For more information on Wingbean (and to look at their menu and place an order), visit their website: Wingbean.

Go Max Go! Review

Not having a computer is driving me absolutely bat-sh*t crazy. I feel so disconnected from the world when it comes to current events (we don’t have a TV), and I’m frustrated that out of three computers, none of them work. ugh. So I’ll continue to post when I can, and today I’ve got two reviews for you. First up, is Go Max Go! candy bars, and then following this post will be a review of Wingbean’s delicious food.

I was delighted when Go Max Go Foods offered to send me samples of their vegan candy bars. Here’s a quick run-down of what I got, and a few thoughts on each one.

Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
I loved peanut butter cups growing up, and I still like them enough to make them from time to time. These are just as delicious as the Resee Cups I grew up eating, except they taste more mature. The peanut butter is undoubtedly of better quality, and the rice milk chocolate coating is just as sweet and creamy as you can imagine. These are delicious, but I’m afraid I’d just as well make them myself, although if you want to satisfy your cravings more quickly, grab these.

Snap Bars
These are basically Crunch bars with rice-milk chocolate. They have a delightful crunch, and they’re the lightest tasting of all the bars. In fact, it’s the only sample I received that I almost finished off in one sitting.

Jokerz
My boyfriend said this tasted like a Babe Ruth, and although I’m sure he’s right, I can’t confirm since I haven’t had one since I was little and I can’t remember the taste. It was really good though, and was one of my favorites. It consists of really creamy caramel and chopped peanuts.

Mahalo
The Mahalo bar has a coconut filling with a chocolate coating and almonds on top. Although I absolutely adore coconut, this was too much for me to handle. I took my first bite expecting it to be my favorite, and was disappointed with how dense it was. I feel like it would taste better if it were thinner, or had a larger porportion of chocolate with the coconut. I couldn’t eat more than one bite of it because it was so thick. This was my least favorite of the six candies I’ve tried.

Buccaneer
This tastes like a 3 Musketeers bar. Thick nouget covered in rice-milk chocolate. It was really tasty, and it bought back memories of my grandfather, who used to keep a bowl of mini 3 Musketeer bars by the couch in my grandparent’s den.

Twilight
Undoubtedly my favorite, which is why I saved it for last. Lots of creamy caramel on top of chocolate nougat. Oh god, this was so good. I couldn’t stop eating it. Next time you’re in a store that sells Go Max Go products (I think most Whole Foods sells them), buy this! You won’t be disappointed.

Overall
My overall impression of this group of candy was that for the most part they’re so rich that one bite would probably be very satisfying for most people. That’s definitely a good thing since these vegan bars are slightly more expensive than their non-vegan cousins. As I was tasting these, I would end up taking one or two bites and sticking it in the fridge and eating pieces off of it over the next two days.

I also love rice-milk chocolate as an alternative to the dark chocolate I usually rely on when I buy vegan candy. It’s sweeter and feels like more of a treat.

Although I don’t see myself buying these very often, they’re great if you want to treat yourself to something special. Have any of you had any of these chocolate bars? What did you think?

For more information, visit Go Max Go Foods’ website.

Chickpea Salad with Coconut

Chickpea salad sandwich is a great standby for a healthy, easy vegan lunch. When I was in college and without a kitchen, I would make monthly excursions to the health food store for vegan mayo, so I could make chickpea salad a few times a week. I loved having something other than hummus and iceberg lettuce to eat.

It wasn’t until recently though that I decided to experiment outside of my normal recipe, which usually consists of chickpeas, celery, peppers, vegannaise, and mustard. I came across a recipe via StumbleUpon for Tuna Sandwich with Coconut and Cilantro from The Year in Food.

I didn’t exactly veganize the recipe – I wasn’t feeling the capers and I didn’t feel like adding cilantro (although you certainly could) because I usually don’t have fresh on hand. So I just took the idea of flaked coconut and created a new recipe using what I had in the kitchen.

This recipe is really good, and you can always add things to it. It is pretty salty, so feel free to use less salt. Also, if you want a more authentic “fishy” taste, you could add torn nori or kelp granules. To make it more attractive, I like to sprinkle smoked paprika on top.

So here you go!

Chickpea Salad with Coconut
(Makes enough for two sandwich fillings)

1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
1/8 cup vegan mayo
1-2 chopped scallions, sliced thinly (green and white parts)
1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar, or lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust according to taste).

Place chickpeas in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until chunky. A few whole chickpeas is ok, and adds to the texture. If you want to use your food processor, pulse them a few times. If you end up pureeing them the texture will be more hummus like.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients, adjusting the seasonings to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Use on crackers, sandwiches, or on top of greens.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think if you make it!

 

Pizza & Easy Chili

When my computer crashed I lost a lot of food porn that was going to be posted. So I’m not going to go into great detail about those lost meals, except to say that the mocha muffins from Vegan Diner are delicious and contain a lot of caffeine. They’re a great way to start the morning.

Anyway, here are a few meals I do have photos of:

Pepperoni Pizza

When my boyfriend and I eat vegan pepperoni, we almost exlusively use Lightlife (the rest of the time I make it). I had no idea that Tofurky, makers of delicious vegan “meats,” had their own brand. So when I saw it at Whole Foods I immediately grabbed a bag of mozzerella Daiya to pair with it. I also threw some basil strips on top.

I like Tofurky’s pepperoni more than lightlife, and the price isn’t terrible: $2.99 for enough pepperoni for two large pizzas.

Vegan Diner‘s Chili

Even though this chili is my least favorite dish from Vegan Diner, it’s still pretty good. I prefer my chili to be mainly beans, so I wasn’t really feeling the tvp. This chili would be a great option for a quick, throw-it-together meal. It takes less than 30 minutes start to finish.

And finally, as a teaser, I give you this photo from an upcoming recipe:

Chickpea “tuna” salad, with a very exciting twist!

You just have to wait a couple days for that exciting twist to be revealed!

Technical difficulties

Hey guys. I just wanted to say that posting is going to be spotty for awhile. My computer has stopped working and I’m not sure if I can afford to fix it. I’m still taking pictures, so I’ll post when I can from my boyfriend’s computer. Instead of every day, posts will probably be every three days or so.

<3