Vegan Smoked Oyster Pasta

clean eating, Uncategorized

Let’s do some quick intros so I can get to this sexy-ass recipe cuz I know there’s bound to be some confusion with the title.

I am a bivalve vegetarian leaning toward vegan.

 

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Bivalves = mollusks without a central nervous system or sentience. This includes (but it not limited to): clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, and scallops. By definition I find them ethical for me to eat. See how I said for me? Calm your respective tits – we’re all family here.

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And now it’s time for the breakdown!

 

STUFF

Third box of pasta (every night can’t be a party)

4 cloves of garlic (I think it was 4… maybe it was 5..? ::shrug::)

1 large portobello mushroom, chopped

1 tin of smoked oysters (whatdja think, I made that shit from scratch??)

olive oil

half a lemon

some lemon zest

fresh rosemary – some of that, too

freshly ground Untitled

 

 

THINGS

Make pasta. I have faith in your ability.

In the meantime, brown the minced garlic in the oyster oil. Add the chopped portobello mushrooms. They’ll likely soak up most of the oil, being the greedy bastards that they are, so feel free to add a good amount of olive oil to the mix. Once they’re about halfway done, add the oysters, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste. I ended up mashing one or two little ersters in the process of mixing which helped make it super creamy. Do this!

Once it all starts smelling like bacon goodness – and it will, use a pair of tongs to free some pasta from the pot and add it directly to the pan. The pasta water clinging on for dear life will help to make the dish creamier by way of the starch given off during the cooking process. Mixy mix and cook a bit longer in the pan. Squeeze in half a lemon and add the lemon zest and fresh rosemary. Plate the sucka and drizzle some olive oil on top and finish with course sea salt.

Tastes like bacon, Parmesan, and joie de vivre.

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Vegan Egg Salad Sangwich

clean eating, Uncategorized

Snowed in, feeling creative, and really needed to get my shit together as far as this whole vegan gig. I’ve been slipping hardcore and my body is fighting back.

Vegans desperate for dupes have likely come across a few versions of the egg salad at this point. I don’t know what ya’ll have tried, but what I ended up messing with left much to be desired – it was some bullshit.

I found a basic recipe and fucked with it to my liking. As is typically the way I go about cooking, I don’t have exact measurements so do it all to-taste. Frustrating? Maybe, but you can’t CAGE. THIS. BEAST.

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Get all these things (or some… do whatever you like, man):

  • red lentils – I went with 1 cup
  • kala namak (black salt – super essential for the taste and smell as it is sulfuric)
  • potatoes – I ended up using 2
  • scallions (if you’re into it)
  • dill (if you like that in your egg salad)
  • carrots (if you’re feeling frisky)
  • paprika (do this or I come after all you hold dear)
  • vegan mayo

**feel free to follow my suggestions, tweak them, and/or add whatever else you like in your egg salad. It’s your bar mitzvah, Jack. I’m just reading the Torah portion.

Do all these things:

Cook the red lentils until they’ve cooked through and the water has completely evaporated. In the meantime, boil potatoes, let completely cool and chop. I had boiled potatoes chillin in the fridge overnight (don’t ask) which made cutting and keeping them together in the mix much easier. For this reason, I highly suggest refrigerating them. Once the lentils are done, mix until it becomes a uniform mush and so that you can ensure it’s completely dried out. Let it be like 3 little Fonzies. You need to let it cool otherwise the mayo wont hold up as it should. While that happens, get on to chopping the scallions, finely chopping the dill and grating the carrot finely. Once it’s all done, mix the lentil mush and vegetables together along with the vegan mayo, paprika and kala namak. Put on bread with your choice of fixins and consume.

Check it, I took one of those Tasty-esque shots. In all honesty, I took it so I’d remember how I made this to begin with and then realized I could document it in writing and share it – weeerrrrrrrrk!:

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My thoughts on the Organic Debate

advice, clean living, Uncategorized

NOTE: I wrote this over a year ago, and it still pretty much stands to reflect how I view the matter today. The only difference is that I’m now leaning toward veganism. That and I realized that the note neglected to point out that when I use the term GMO, I’m not referring to selective breeding, and I’m not talking about taking genes from one food to another with the intent of creating a new strain (whether for its flavor or ability to tolerate different climates and landscapes) – I’m talking about pesticides.

Read on and let me know your thoughts. I’m always open for discussion!

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I buy organic and as a result, I get into a conversation about the topic fairly often. I decided to put something together to make it a little easier for people to understand my stance on it.

 

A few things about me and the way in which I go about choosing the food I eat. I’m a vegetarian (for a few reasons) who’s phased out eggs and cheese for the most part. I eat very little processed food, and when I do, I’m reading the ingredients. If there are chemicals (READ: chemicals that are not essential for nutrition and that have proven to be harmful even in small doses. I believe that everything adds up and since these ingredients aren’t necessary anyway, there’s no harm in leaving them out), I don’t buy it or I learn to make it from scratch. I make everything from scratch including BBQ sauce, vegan sour cream (a recent thing and it came out freaking awesome), bread, hummus, seitan – damn near everything. The list doesn’t sound very impressive, I’m sure, but it’s not even 10:00 in the morning, so bear with me. The reason for it is because I’d like to know what’s in my food. Once I looked at the ingredient list of my table salt and saw sugar in there (among a few other things), I questioned everything.

 

As I’m writing this, I’m talking to my friend Marcus who was the last to get into the organic conversation with me. We’ve surmised that people know very little about the food they’re eating and it’s as a result of the convenience we’ve been handed. It’s made us lazy and we’ve stopped asking. We’ve stopped learning. There’s a very important learning process that comes with making something from scratch. Food is what fuels us and keeps us healthy. It can kill us if we’re not careful. I think that’s a good enough reason to be a bit more concerned and aware.

 

The reason I’m posting this is because my friend Ben (Marcus’s husband) linked me to an article about organic food being a sham. Here’s the link:https://www.facebook.com/IowaFarmBabe/posts/1613228518959586:0

 

Below is the response I posted to his page so as to let him know (since he’s actually asking, I wasn’t looking to get into it with Farm Babe) what I thought:

 

As far as the post regarding how much of a sham organic food is and how much safer synthetic pesticides are by a person who goes by “Farm Babe”, I’m going to respond to you because she speaks in definite terms in where none actually exist as of yet and you genuinely want to know what I think about it. I’ve pasted parts of her post and put asterisks at the beginning and end of her points for easier reading. I’ve also cited an article a point because a. it would take a very long time to put all of the information I’d like together in order to respond to this properly and fully and b. my point is not to say that organic is definitely safe of any harm – I don’t trust anything or anyone.

 

The same philosophy that I hold true as far as god is concerned holds true for this; definite proof does not exist in either direction and so I remain in the middle. As far as why I still buy organic food even though it’s certified by the USDA (see below on my feelings on that) and I don’t trust anyone when personal interest is involved (and it always is)? They claim to prohibit the use of chemical fertilizers, various synthetic substances, irradiation, sewage sludge, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic production. Even if there are loopholes and they are still able to mess with my organic food to a degree, I believe that at the very least, less is being put in and done to my food.

 

Her ABOUT section notes ***Farmers are the cornerstone of America and have a big job to do if we plan on feeding an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2040.***

 

1/3 of food produced is never even consumed according to the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology on behalf of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). We currently produce enough food to feed the world; the reason some people don’t have food is not due to scarcity, but inequality.

 

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a third of our food is produced through cross-pollination. The bee population has been suffering as of what is considered to be a result of GMO-laden crops.

 

Henry, Mickaël, et al. “A common pesticide decreases foraging success and survival in honey bees.” Science 336.6079 (2012): 348-350.

 

Monsanto put out and told us that DDT, Agent Orange, and PCBs were safe. The FDA doesn’t actually regulate what is being approved; they place the responsibility on the companies to ensure that their product is safe. You can find that information as they list it on their site:http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/Biotechnology/ucm346030.htm

 

I have visited Monsanto’s site.

I’ve read the many questions fielded by concerned citizens and Monsanto’s respectiveresponses. Most of the responses don’t actually address the questions asked and the others have a copy and paste (I noted the exact same verbaige on several responses – whether or not it applied) full-of-air, general response. Some responses as far as why other countries are banning GMOs were that of the countries’ different standards. Why aren’t those standards being brought to the forefront and being addressed if there’s no harm or worry? The responses were very vague and aren’t effectively answering or addressing anything.

This is also a newer portion of their site and the response to why they’ve joined the conversation too late is because they were too busy dealing with farmers and helping to feed the masses. With over 20K employees and a billion dollar industry, it’s hard to imagine they couldn’t address the staggering amount of backlash and concern because they just didn’t have the time. I suppose it’s because they have such a good hold on their political backers, they didn’t see it as much of a threat.

My main concern is that we’re entrusting big companies to make the right decisions as far as our health goes, but if you look into it, a lot of the regulations either A. Don’t apply because of loopholes, B. Don’t exist within certain industries or C. Are incredibly lax, allowing companies to conduct the research and regulate themselves.

There’s far too much to question and as a result, there’s a lack of trust on my end.

Damn the man, save The Empire.

 

USDA and EPA scientists and advisors admit there is a need for comprehensive testing and warn about “unpredictable unintended effects that could escape detection by current risk assessments” regarding the use of GMOs and its effects on dsRNA.Smith, Jeffrey. “Why Scientists are Worried about the GMO Potato and Apple.”

 

Other articles found showing pesticides not completely making their way out of the system in mice and while more studies need to be done, a prudent approach to GMOs is not far out.Malatesta, Manuela, et al. “Ultrastructural analysis of pancreatic acinar cells from mice fed on genetically modified soybean.” Journal of Anatomy 201.5 (2002): 409-415.

 

As far as the list provided showing natural substances to be used for organic farming

 

It’s important to note that when looking into 205.601, it states: “§ 205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production. In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in § 205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.”

 

To be clear, these synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production can be used unless they prove to be a contaminant. Some of the substances, as stated in the rest of the program’s guidelines, are only used to clean machinery, those used for actual pest control are specific as far as to the exclusion of nitrates, chlorides and other such harmful versions of the substance used and others used do not even come in contact with the actual organic food. Is that to say that organic is completely free of some form of pest control? Obviously not, but the pesticides used in conventional produce is either part of the actual food (Bacillus thuringiensis corn) or sprayed directly onto the food.

 

The USDA is not the most reliable and trustworthy company. It’s ridiled with corruption and is essentially run by Monsanto at this point. Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist turned USDA administrator and FDA deputy commissioner. Margaret Miller researcher for Monsanto. Former Monsanto lobbyist Islam Siddiqui is the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. There are plenty of others, enough to question the motives behind this kind of takeover.

 

Additionally, I don’t buy a lot of processed foods and if and when I do, I make sure to check the label. If there’s an ingredient on there that I don’t know about, I’ll research it. If it’s questionable, I avoid it. Being too careful? Possibly, but I don’t think the lack of these questionable ingredients will do me any harm and since I’m not left without any food options at the end of that decision making process, I don’t think it’s an extreme way to go about making food choices.

 

***Until recently, nobody bothered to look at natural chemicals (such as organic pesticides), because it was assumed that they posed little risk. But when the studies were done, the results were somewhat shocking: you find that about half of the natural chemicals studied are carcinogenic as well.” –https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html***

 

The rest of the post reads ***“It should be noted, however, that we don’t know for certain which system is more harmful. This is because we do not look at organic pesticides the same way that we look at conventional pesticides. We don’t know how long these organic pesticides persist in the environment, or the full extent of their effects.I say this… Not because I want you to fear Organic food. Quite the opposite. The moral of the story is that ALL food is safe, because the dose makes the poison. (Take 2 Tylenol, not the whole bottle) Farmers spray a very minimal amount on our crops, just to get the job done to rid of insects weeds, etc. They are very expensive, and it makes ZERO financial sense to “drench” our crops in chemicals.***

 

A. She mentions that natural chemicals used are more harmful than synthetic and yet states” all food is safe”. B. I’d agree with her in saying that the dose is very important, just as you can overdose on a vitamin which is thought to be inherently good for you, but to say that they spray a minimal amount is speculation. Additionally, the fact that a lot of the residual chemical has been found to stay in our systems, while the dose on the actual piece of fruit is minimal, the build-up of it in our systems and its effects over time may not be.

 

***GMO Corn gets sprayed before the edible part of the plant is present, and is protected by husks, anyways. It’s humanly impossible to “eat” roundup.*** It is possible to eat pesticides. Bt Corn, or Bacillus thuringiensis corn is categorized as a pesticide by the EPA.

 

Even though I buy organic, I’m aware the world in which we live turns on the little finger of the rich. I’m aware that they can get away with all kinds of things like skewing reports, greasing politicians and scientists and so I don’t think that there is a true and definitive answer out there as of yet and I wonder if we’ll ever really be told the truth once it’s uncovered. I just err on the side of caution and avoid having any extra ingredients in my food that are, for nutritional and cooking purposes, useless and possibly questionable.

 

If there was conclusively nothing wrong with GMOs, Monsanto would be responding to all of this backlash. The fact that they aren’t just makes it all look even more questionable. The argument that they don’t have to prove anything goes out the window where public health and safety is concerned. If it’s safe, educate your consumer. Get everyone on board.

Easy, Soy-free Vegan Ricotta Cheese

clean eating, clean living

 

ricotta

 

About 9 months ago, life took a bit of a different turn and I had to recalibrate and redesign. This left no time, energy, or will to experiment on food or be very creative in general but now that I am on the road to a more fulfilling and nurturing future – IT’S FUCKING ON.

 

hug movie happy gene wilder willy wonka

 

Good hug. Let’s do this.

Sooo… My parents are currently being held hostage at my place until renovation is complete on their new apartment. My dad claims the food I’ve made thus far is (surprisingly, as he never tires of highlighting) great and my mother has recently admitted that she will go meals without eating. Something about the way the food looks.. Ugh. She’s lucky she’s cute.

 

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Regardless of culinary preference, the vegan diet is doing their bodies good. They’ve admitted to feeling better since the forced switch – their bodies are functioning (ahem) a lot better than they have in ages and that when they do sneak regular food in (parties and such) they feel like shit afterward. Bonus.

I finally broke and felt bad for my mother so I decided to cut her a break. Figuring everyone loves Italian food, I went with a very basic lasagna. Layers of freshly-made sauce, sauteed onions, spinach and portobello mushrooms and vegan ricotta.

I don’t always work with measurements and so this is another to taste recipe. Breathe. I have faith in you – don’t overthink it and you’ll do just fine.

 

Have these things:

Almond pulp (I had a whole mess of this in the freezer since it’s a by-product of making almond milk)

Cashews, soaked overnight (unless you’re like me and did not plan this ahead. Soak in boiling water for an hour)

Almond milk (or water)

Lemon juice

Salt

 

Do these things:

Drain and rinse the cashews after soaking and blend in a mixing device with almond milk or water and lemon juice to taste until creamy. It will end up needing a lot more liquid than you’ll originally estimate, but I implore you – add it in little by little. You can always add. Flipping and reversing is an improbable pain in the ass.

Remove the creamy goodness from your mixing device and fold in the almond pulp until you’ve reached the sexy consistency of ricotta. Season to taste with salt, adding more lemon juice as needed.

DONE.

 

happy dance dance dancing excited friend

 

DIY Papasan Cushion

diy, frugal living, hacks, Uncategorized

I live a block down from a private school. 9 times out of 10 they leave a lot of bulk garbage out front and it happens to be right by my building’s bulk garbage pile. I call this wondrous place my Magic Pile. Why would I do such a thing? I’ll get right to it, but you should really get into why you’re so judgmental.

I’m sorry, I just overdid it on lunch and don’t know how to feel. So much daikon… We cool? Sweet, let’s keep going.

I’ve come across two perfectly good, fully-functional printers out there and sold the two on Craigslist for a combined total of $200. What freaking up?

I’ve also come across a few pieces of art and furniture – some of which I kept, some I’ve gifted, and others I’ve posted for sale as well. I clean everything properly the moment it comes into my apartment and I’m avoiding buying new and contributing to the ever-growing need for MORE. It all feels all warm and fuzzy as hell and every time I score I feel like I’ve somehow cheated the system.

Bonus.

A while back I came across the skeleton of a papasan, sexy chair that it is. I haven’t been able to pin-point its origins but it screams mid century to me and my place looks like that era had way too many Old-Fashioneds and vomited its guts up all over the place. My kinda jam.

I looked around and came to realize you can’t really just buy the actual cushion and if you do, you may as well buy the whole shebang at that price range. I came across two blogs attempting to use old pillows and so I reached out to friends and family and asked that they give up the crusty old pillows they’ve been holding hostage for no reason. I was able to amass 5 and that seemed like plenty.

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They look deceptively clean, don’t they?

The next step was to remove their covers and cut them into triangles and so I cut every pillow on the bias. God damn did that take a bit of time and hurt my fingers.

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Shit – in case you started cutting and didn’t realize this would never work with feather pillows, I’m sorry and

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I put them all on the floor in the shape of a circle to ensure it would work out.

IMG_20150927_111642266_HDRThen I realized they may be too damn big and so I picked them all up and re-arranged them on the chair to ensure the completed cushion wouldn’t be too small or way too big and floppy.

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Looks about right…

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Next step was taking this beautiful tapestry I ordered on Amazon, putting it facedown on the floor and re-arranging the triangles on top, with the points all meeting at what I decided would be the center of the completed circle. I cut around as best I could, considering this can’t be an exact science with some of the pillows being way more susceptible to smooshage and such. I folded the completed cut out circle into four, folded a crappy old flat sheet of mine into four as well and cut out a shadow piece to use for the back of the completed cushion.

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A little blurry artsy-fartsy shot for yas.

I lined the two fabrics up with the face of the material on the inside and sewed around the perimeter, save for a little room so that I can stuff the triangle pieces through and hand-sew the rest. Turns out you need to do a double-level, double-layer, otherwise you’ll feel every inch of the wood beneath you.

Heh.

Also turns out my boyfriend had an old papasan and he said the problem was still there even with an original cushion.

Light bulb!

I stuff his old papasan cushion in there along with the triangles (them being the top layer) and it is now the most comfortable spot in the entire joint.

I’m not saying you should go out and find a cushion, that defeats the whole purpose, but you should definitely get at least 10 pillows and pile them 2 high.

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Ahhhhh…..

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Soooooo comfortable.

Vegan Turkey Recipe

clean eating, Uncategorized

Miyoko.

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Know the name? If you’re vegan, vegetarian or just want to learn how to make stuff you’re used to out of stuff you’re not used to it being made of, get to know her. Ms. Schinner is the author of The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples and a few other cookbooks. I’m currently balls deep in this one.

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All up in this.

This vegan Unturkey recipe isn’t from the Vegan Pantry. I found her on Youtube teaching the masses about the Unturkey. Couldn’t find the recipe anywhere and so I proceeded to watch and pause the over twenty minute video so that I can take down the ingredients and instructions. This is how much I love you.

Feel free to check it out for yourself – it helps to see how she handles the fake, crispy skin for yourself. Yeah, man. You read that correctly. It is EVERYTHING.

Quick note – I hate using alternative terms for V dupes of foods like Wheat Meat or Chik*n. You’re purposely trying to copy a meat or dairy product. Labels aren’t the place for denial and these aren’t fucking curse words. I use V instead of vegan and vegetarian out of sheer laziness. Out of respect for Miyoko, since it’s her recipe and her world, I refer to the turkey as Unturkey. After having made that spice mix and turned it into a gravy, I’ll follow her to the ends of the earth.

The spice mix alone is worth a try even if you’re not looking to make an Unturkey. I’ve used it as a boullion for soup and holy mother of flavor. It made gravy so good, omnivores were giving me props. It’s so good I’m going home to make it tonight. God damn… Fuck yeah…

So the Unturkey has a shitload of steps and ingredients. Don’t let it throw you. What I did was make the spice mix a few days before I made the actual Unturkey (made that guy well before I needed it, too) and then defrosted it the day before Thanksgiving, leaving me with stuffing, gravy and basting liquid to make day of. Way easier doing it on separate days and in steps. Also, you end up with extra spice mix. It is the most umami-filled flavor bomb I’ve come across in my entire V existence. REJOICE!

One other thing to note. I actually ended up cutting the Unturkey in half because it makes a house-sized beast. The half I ended up using was so big I still have leftovers of that. Unless you’re making this for an international V convention, I’d recommend you do the same. What I also did, though, was make everything else as though I was making the full Unturkey, so there was a ton of stuffing and gravy. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Deep breath. Ok….. GO!

UnTurkey by Miyoko Schinner

Spice Mix

2 cups nutritional yeast

2 T sea salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon tumeric

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons marjoram

2 teaspoons tarragon

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons rosemary

4 teaspoons sage

4 teaspoons celery seeds

4 teaspoons garlic powder

4 teaspoons onion powder

Mix in all together in a blender.

Unturkey

3 cups water

3 T soy sauce

1/4 cup garbanzo flour

1/4 cup seasoning mixture

Stir well, then add

4 cups vital wheat gluten and mix well. Form the seitan into a large oval and place on cookie sheet, bake for half an hour at 350 to set so it doesn’t expand way too much when boiling and become spongy.

Broth

Pot of water

1/2 cup of seasoning mix

1/3 cup soy sauce

Remove, allow to deflate a bit as it will and then simmer in broth for an hour. Taste the broth after it’s simmered for a bit to see if it needs more seasoning mix. Remove and set aside to cool. Save the broth – freeze it if you’re not making the rest today, but save this magic juice. You’ll need it for the rest of the steps.

Once the seitan is completely cool, slice a bit of the fat side and butterfly it. Then slice the Unturkey in half (not all the way) and put the Unturkey back into the broth while the skin is being made. NOTE/REMINDER: I ended up cutting it in half and freezing them both until I needed it. If you’re making the Unturkey for the same day, just freeze the other half for when you’re making it again and continue on with your normal-sized portion.

 

Stuffing

Good amount of oil in a pan

1 large onion, diced

3-4 carrots, diced

3-4 stalks celery, diced

pinch of sea salt

Sautee for about 3 minutes – it doesn’t have to get tender as it will cook inside the Unturkey.

1 pan Breadcrumbs (cube day old bread and dry out in the oven for 15 minutes at 350). Mix vegetables with breadcrumbs. Add

1 T sage

1 T thyme

1 T rosemary

1 teaspoon celery salt

Mix very well to allow the oil to coat and soak into the breadcrumbs so that the stuffing won’t end up soggy. Once properly mixed, use 3 cups of the broth from the finished seitan for the stuffing. Mix well. Keep adding broth until the breadcrumbs are moist if needed.

Basting Liquid

1/4 cup seasoning mix

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup canola oil

Unturkey skin

2 Yuba (soy milk skin) fresh/frozen needs to be reconstituted in water. Fresh doesn’t.

Put the wrung out yuba sheets into a bowl with the leftover broth.

Take the skin and put it down into the baking dish, allow it to hang over the sides. Take the base of the seitan (butterflied piece) and put it into the pan. Add most of the stuffing on top of the base and mold into a tall mountain and place the now butterflied big piece of seitan on top of the mountain. Wrap the seitan in the overhanging yuba, take the second piece that has been soaking and cover the entire Unturkey, folding undernearth. For extra thick skin, you can add another sheet of yuba. Add veggies to the side of the tukey, baste Unturkey and veggies.

Bake for 30-45 minutes. If the seitan has been frozen, it’ll take a day to thaw in the fridge and an hour to cook in the oven.

Gravy

1/4 cup Oil

2-3 T flour

make a o-RUPAUL-facebook

Add about 3-4 cups of hot stock from the cooked seitan and whisk. Add a splash of white wine. Splash of soy sauce for color. Add 1 T of seasoning mix. Taste.

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That there is my blood, sweat, whining, finger-crossing and tears. I’m sure the vegetables would have looked slightly less sad had I not thrown it into a 450 degree oven out of necessity (an hour before Thanksgiving dinner, you can’t really be choosy with what’s already in the oven and the different temperatures at which they are required to cook). This actually caused the Unturkey to come out a bit rubbery, but when sliced thinly, leagues less noticeable. Avoid my mistake. Cook that puppy properly.

I told you it would be an intense journey, but it’s so worth it. Soooo worth it. You can use parts of this recipe if you’re looking to add crispy skin to your tried-and-true chicken recipe, make the gravy to top anything from meatloaf to meatballs to chicken, to veggies, to yourself. Roll around in it. Blast some Adele and just live inside of it. It’s just that butt-rockingly good.

All credit for this recipe goes to the Goddess herself, Miyoko Schinner.

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pure + simple: winter is coming. christmas, too.

all natural, bpa free, christmas, christmas gift, christmas shopping, game of thrones, gluten free, gto, lip balm, lip gloss, made in usa, natural, nature, non toxic, organic, organic cosmetics, organic makeup, pure and simple, vegan, vegan cosmetics, vegan makeup, vegetarian, vegetarian cosmetics, vegetarian makeup, winter is coming

winter is coming

Winter is coming.

I’m not at all prepared so I’ve been trying to ignore it with a healthy dose of disgust and disappointment to boot. There’s nothing fun about winter in New York outside of the first few hours immediately following a snow storm. Then it all turns into subway juice.

In an effort to keep parts of me winter-free, I’ve turned to pure + simple’s lip balms. I’m not yet vegan so their non-vegan version works beautifully for me. The vegan version is a bit less hard and so it glosses on rather than the usual Chapstick feel.

Check them out – they seem to be getting mad play from veggies and non-veggies alike! These handy little balms make for great stocking- stuffers!

http://www.pureandsimpleinc.org/

pure + simple tree

This is what they have to say for themselves:

Our lip balm is:

. offered in vegan

. natural / organic
. BPA free
. gluten free
. not tested on animals

. hand-crafted

. made in the USA

. shipped to anywhere in the USA for free

Regular lip balm ingredients: organic cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil (cocos nucifera), pure natural yellow beeswax (cera alba), pure steam-distilled or cold-pressed essential oils

Our regular lip balm has the consistency of a regular Chapstick-type balm in that it’s solid and hard in texture leaving a smooth, velvety protective layer on your lips.

Vegan lip balm ingredients: organic cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil (cocos nucifera), pure natural African shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), pure natural candelilla wax (euphorbia cerifera/euphorbia antisyphilitica), pure steam-distilled or cold-pressed essential oils

Our vegan lip balm has the consistency of a potted balm in that it’s not as hard as the regular balm and leaves more of a protective sheen on your lips. We opted out of putting the vegan balms in pots to avoid contamination from fingers digging into the product.

Materials:

Lip Balm Tube: Recyclable polypropylene

Label: 100% recycled brown kraft label, soy ink made from renewable, environmentally-friendly soybeans, non-toxic sealant spray

Shipping: 100% recycled content kraft mailer

We currently offer:

Grapefruit + Basil

Lavender + Spruce

Lemon + Eucalyptus

Lime + Jasmine

Tangerine + Peppermint

Our products do not contain preservatives and as such, they will expire naturally. To help ensure a great product, we make them in small batches to avoid rancidity. You can help prolong the shelf life of your balm by avoiding having it in direct sunlight, heat, moisture and any type of contamination. Good rule of thumb: if it smells bad, it may have gone bad.

**We will be adding more beauty products to our line very soon! Products will include lip gloss, deodorant and body lotion. Please write to us with any suggestions you may have for an all-natural product you’d like to see on our site!

Vegan, Gluten-Free brownies that taste like BROWNIES!!!!

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I’m not a huge fan of brownies (chill, I know…) but since I had a pant-load of soaked/cooked black beans leftover in the fridge, I figured I might as well make something not burrito-related out of it.

The last time I tried making black bean brownies, they sucked so bad my nieces stepped away from them slowly and looked up at me in horror. Not looking to scar them for life again, I changed a different recipe to my liking and it came out awesome!

Best thing about the recipe? Aside from the sugar, it’s actually really great for you. Cacao and black beans are superfoods (Google it, I’m lazy) and if you’re adding nuts, you amp up the superfood-ness of these badass yum-bombs.

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Stuff you’ll need:

2 cups soaked and cooked black beans, rinsed well (or use a 15 oz can and rinse the goop off)
2 large flax eggs
3 T avocado oil (use whatever you want, man)
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 heaping cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Stuff you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan.
Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in food processor and let rest for a few minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until way smooth. Pour batter into muffin tin. At this point you can add crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips – whatever your little heart desires.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Remove and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are super moist and fudgy.
Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer. I put mine in the fridge and found I love them cold soooo much.

And now, early Christmas:

Santa-Hat-Brownies

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Swiss Chard Vegan Pasta

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Cream Rules Everything Around Me.

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A couple of days ago, lazy and hungry, I dragged my body into the kitchen and vowed to eat something outside of from my ready to eat go-to: cookies. Judge all you want – those puppies require no chopping, simmering or dish washing.

All I had was some leftover plain, cooked ziti from two days prior, a tiny amount of will and a serious hankering for something heila creamy.

You got 15 minutes? Good.

See:

Pasta

Oil (my favorite is avocado)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup almond milk

2 T flour

Nutritional Yeast

Swiss chard

Tomatoes*

Do:

  • Chop up the tomato, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet under the broiler (high) until it reaches the charmander level of your choosing.
  • Tear up bite-sized pieces of swiss chard. Saute in oil, salt and pepper and put aside.
  • Using the same pan, cook the garlic in oil until it becomes fragrant.
  • Add the flour, mixing well until lumps form.
  • Add the almond milk slowly, whisking like the rent is due. Add the nutritional yeast and whisk some more. Vegan Ru!
  • If you’ve still got lumps, break out the immersion blender. This will also thicken it up a bit more.

Put ’em together and what have you got? Dinner, my fairiest of godmothers. You got dinner.

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*This is just how lazy (and sick) I was feeling – the tomatoes I ended up using came diced from a can. I broiled the ever living piss out of those bad boys for as long as it took to assemble everything and called it roasted tomato. You can’t shine every day, people!

How to Milk an Almond

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Dude, seriously…? Another post about milk alternatives?

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I finally gave almond milk a try and it wasn’t as annoying or difficult as I thought it would be!

To be perfectly honest, when I first made oat milk I strained it using a nutbag (heh) and it made me so angry I wanted to murder cute things with my bare hands. Then I remembered that this was so not Raven and moved on to using strainers. Pain in my padded ass.

I must have been overtired or just hungry because had I been thinking straight, I would have realized that all that starch was gunna screw me and make straining through a nutbag damn near impossible. Like pushing peanut butter through a brick wall. I washed and dried the bag, put it away and ignored/cursed its existence.

In the interest of not buying milk anymore since my body decided we were going vegan through epic bloat, I gave almond milk a try.

Do this now!

Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight

Rinse well

Add the almonds and a cup of filtered water into your pulverizing machine. Blitz to hell. It’ll be way thick at this point – bordering on nut butter.

Ew. That term never gets not gross.

Add another cup, continue to blitz through a few circles of aforementioned eternal damnation. At this point, the almonds should come to a smoother consistency. Do this with another 2 cups, one at a time. Why one at a time? Cuz I said so.

Also, the more water in there, the less you’ll be able to break down the almonds if you haven’t done it enough in the first 2 cups – they’ll just be swimming around, avoiding certain doom. Sounds like a lot of work but really takes about 2 minutes. If you can spare a minute for Jesus, you can give me two for almonds.

Now we strain!

Some sites tell you to strain a bit at a time, but fuck that, we don’t have that kind of time. Depositions, quantum physics; we’ve got shit to do.

Pour about half of the mixture in and milk the nutbag like the cow you’re glad it ain’t. Do the same with the rest of the mixture. Not sure why I had to add that. What else were you doing with the rest…?

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Done-zo. Put that magic in a container of sorts and you should be good to go for about a week. I’m not a scientist, psychic or doctor, so smell it before each use to ensure it’s still good. I imagine it would smell very obviously different or bad if it were. That or you’d get the shits. Either way: warning signs.

I did the math (and sometimes it comes out right, too!) and for a 3 pound bag yielding 9 cups of almonds at $17.99 from Costco, with each cup of almonds yielding 4 cups of milk, it comes out to $.50 cents a cup.

If you were to somehow buy a 32oz container of almond milk at $2.00 (which is unheard of levels of cheap), it would come out to the same price except that our homemade stuff has almonds + water. Nothing else. Their stuff has added sugar, toenail clippings and cancer-causing ingredients. No one wants your toe-jam, Silk.

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Also the percentage of actual almonds you get when you’ve got store-bought shenanigans is so minuscule, you may as well be mixing Elmer’s Glue and water.

I ended up folding the almond pulp into the quickest vegan pumpkin pie I’ve ever made – the grounds + 1 can of pumpkin puree, 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (home mixed) and 1 cup of maple syrup. Blitz it all together, stick in pie crust, in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 for 30 minutes. In the fridge a few hours and inhale.

I also attempted to make feta cheese with my first batch. That’s all I have to say about that. I’ll let you know when a batch comes close to cheese and then we’ll party.

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UPDATE: The pie sucked. I’ll work on making it suck less in the future… maybe. Hold tight, I’ll just find a different use for the almond pulp.