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Vegan MoFo button 2013

Friday Try-out

Friday seems a good day to try things. Like those unfamiliar ingredients I bought on a whim, or that instant dessert I got sent but haven’t dared dip into yet. And don’t forget about the vegetables I don’t like much and need to find tasteful recipes for. Like beetroots, for example…

Gonna beat those beets!

Beets & I, we don’t get along very well. Can’t blame them because I used to HATE them as a child -of course that was in the time the only beet dish we knew in Holland was (over) cooked- but it beats me what my excuse is. Love their colour. ;) Okay, I guess I just don’t like the combined flavour of sweet and “earthy”. I’m more of a spicy, savoury kind of grrl; not too fond of a sweetish dinner.

Over the years I’ve found a few beet recipes that I can appreciate: beet risotto, red beet hummus, cooked beet salad or roasted beet salad, even chocolate beet cake. Still, each time those red veggies pop up in my CSA I go like: uh-oh. And I give them to my aunt. So the search continues until I root for beets!

Beet ‘n Berry smoothie

Beet & Berry Breakfast Smoothie
Time to try a beet smoothie. I found this rather attractive looking recipe on Choosing Raw combining beet with orange (juice) and frozen berries. Many of the ingredients I usually have at hand… unfortunately not today. I was not to be deterred though and experimented with substitutes from my pantry.

Ingredients
Serves 1 (about 1 litre)

1 medium beet, steamed (cooked), cooled, peeled & roughly cut
3 handfuls frozen mixed berries & strawberries (about 200 ml)
200 ml apple juice
250 ml vanilla soy milk
splash of rice milk
1 teaspoon of almond butter, heaped
1 tablespoon hempseed
1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon sucanat (or other sweetener)

Preparation
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender. I have a multi-purpose kitchen machine with blender option in which it took less than a minute.

The Verdict

Although it was not as delicious as my favourite breakfast smoothie, I rather liked this beet breakfast. I barely noticed anything earthy; only when the liquid starting warming up it appeared. Of course nothing beats the flavour combination of beet and orange of the original recipe so next time I’ll definitely try that. Still, apple juice complements quite nicely as well. I would have loved to use dates for sweetener but I hadn’t planned that: they need to be soaked for several hours. I’ve tried using dates dry once and I tell you: my immersion blender did not like that. At all. O_o Of course you need to cook, steam or roast your beet in advance as well, and give it a chance to cool down. So unless you’re using the pre-cooked kind that gives you enough time for soaking too.

I did a not-100%-successful experiment roasting my beet in the microwave… It seemed logical: if you can make jacket potatoes in it, the same goes for beets? Well, guess again (or smell my kitchen). Next time I’ll just nuke it in a normal way or cook it on the stove. If you’re lucky to have a Vitamix you can just blend beet raw!

Another thing: next time I’m going to use only frozen strawberries or raspberries. A smoothie should be velvet-y and the hard seeds of other berries annoy me. But your hearing me right: I’m talking about next time!

If you can recommend any beet recipes I’d really appreciate it!

* This post will be updated later to share whether this breakfast took me all the way to lunch or if I got hungry before that. *

Banner Vegan Month of Food 2013

VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

* Due to circumstances MoFo posts #3 and #4 are currently missing but will be updated as soon as possible *

Vegan MoFo button 2013
One of my reasons for joining VeganMoFo is that I seem to have lost my appetite for cooking and blogging. VeganMoFo combines the two and may be just the thing to get my mojo back!

The same goes for bentoing… Might this bento be a whole new beginning and not just the start of a new week???

Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento #210

A Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento” — now THAT’s a mouthful!
And a tasty one as well haha (yup, bad joke). A lunch that I happily dug into during my break.

Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento, 02-09-2013

Carbs tier
Pasta salad (chilli pasta with sundried tomatoes, spring onion, black kalamata olives, parsley and a pesto vinaigrette) on iceberg lettuce.

Veggie tier
Corn cob (freezer stash), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and radish to dip with houmous.

On the side
Houmous in the small container, carrots and two sandwiches with apple butter that are not shown in this picture because they were not in the box but in snacktaxi baggies.

Local & organic: corn, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, parsley
Organic: cucumber, olives, sundried tomatoes, pasta, apple butter, ingredients vinaigrette

What did YOU have for lunch on this VeganMoFo Meatless Monday? Have you ever made a bento?

Banner Vegan Month of Food 2013

VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

Banner Vegan Month of Food 2013

VeganMoFo 2013

It’s that time of year again: VeganMoFo has returned to your homes! And what could be better than a Vegan Month of Food than to revive this blog? If there’s any life left in it, some good food should do the trick ;)

Carnegie's Cottage

Today I had lunch in an ‘ordinary’ restaurant called Carnegie Cottage, located in the beautiful rural area of Hoge Veluwe. We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and it was her treat. When she called a few days in advance to make reservations, she didn’t only ask whether they’d be able to provide something vegan, she was bold enough to request I’d have a choice! Wow, who doesn’t want a MIL like that? :D As the restaurant assured her that would be no problem at all, I was excited to see what I’d get!

Carnegie’s Cottage restaurant “review”

So, how was it?

Carnegie Cottage certainly didn’t disappoint me: there were two vegan options for me to choose from. Which I couldn’t… so I took both!

My vegan lunch at Carnegie's

Yes, there’s a bite taken out of that sandwich ;) My nephew who was hungry! There’s celeriac soup and a salad with green asparagus and chantharelle mushrooms. On the side some Waldkorn bread and a vinaigrette made of superior olive oil. It looks good, don’t you think? It was delicious! Both soup and salad tasted of fall, bearing the full flavours of their ingredients. Needless to say I enjoyed my lunch very much.

Hit or Miss?

It’ll come as no surprise that I do want to recommend this restaurant to vegans. I especially like that the staff immediately knew what veganism entails and was easy about getting me something plant-based. AND that was no empty promise — which has happened to me a few times. Carnegie’s Cottage has a pension as well so maybe I’ll go and stay there for the weekend sometime! It’s really a gorgeous area, especially suitable for outdoor recreation. But there’s cultural heritage to be found in Hoge Veluwe National Park too. Just perfect!

As a bonus they’ve got a special tea menu as well! I have no choice but to go back now because I only got to try two today: sencha lemon and sencha cactus & fig. Who doesn’t want to enjoy nice ‘cuppa’ like this?

Sencha lemon green tea at Carnegie Cottage

And an even bigger bonus… there’s a cute Carnegie Cat! So friendly that when I tried to photograph her on the table where she lounged, she immediately jumped off to say hi. :D Alas, as we’re kindly requested not to feed her we have no way of knowing whether she likes to eat vegan too. ;)

The red cat of Carnegie Cottage

Did YOU do anything special this Sunday?

Vegan MoFo button 2013VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

Logo Veggie ChallengeIn June and July this year, the Dutch youth foundation Viva Las Vega’s organized the Veggie Challenge: a dare to eat less animal produce for at least once a week during a whole month. Depending on their diet, participants would set their own goals, e.g. 1 day vegetarian for omnis, a day vegan for vegetarians, an extra day veggie for flexitarians et cetera. 2000+ people gave it a go! Among them were three people I know — and no, I had nothing to do with that ;) Curious about their experiences, I decided to interview them for VeganMoFo.

We’ve heard from YvonneP and Uniflame and today the spotlights are aimed at JannyAn! Again, Janny is someone I met on-line first at the Boekgrrls mailinglist; I’m not sure how long ago exactly. Soon we saw each other in real life on book swaps and Wandelgrrls hikes. Now we’ve even started a film club together: the Cinephyles! It’s obvious we’ve got lots in common, except maybe that JannyAn is a real globetrotter, and I’m a bit of a homebody. ;)
A jar of Cremisso sandwich spread paprika-chili (Tartex)
Janny discovered Tartex cremisso paprika-chili sandwich spread – she thinks it’s the best alternative to cheese! I agree it’s absolutely yummy. :)

How would you describe yourself before starting the VeggieChallenge?
I was a flexitarian. By the way, there are certain things I really refuse to eat. Those are tuna, lobster, veal, frogs legs. And of course only farm-laid eggs.

Why did you decide to join the challenge?
Because I think it’s better to eat less meat. For my own health, environmental issues and, equally important, because of animal welfare.

What goals did you set and did you achieve them? Was that hard?
My goals were to eat 4 days vegetarian and 1 day vegan. The vegetarian days weren’t that hard to achieve. The vegan days were the real problem. Mostly because I do like cheese a lot. And so many products I usually eat contain butter or eggs.

What was you biggest discovery?
That’s a difficult one. Maybe that I really don’t miss eating meat. O, and I discovered that whole-meal bread with peanut butter and banana is delicious :-)

What was the most difficult or disappointing?
Eating vegan one day in a week. So many products that contain butter, eggs, gelatin, etc. It was even difficult to do shopping, find something that you like to eat on a sandwich instead of cheese, or, how can I replace eggs in a recipe.

What was the best thing you ate or drank during the VeggieChallenge?
Well I really like this pasta with spinach beet, raisins and pine seed

If you’re in a relationship: did your partner join you in the challenge and how did he/she experience it?
No, he didn’t. Sometimes I make a dish without meat and he’ll eat it. And if it tastes good he won’t mind eating vegetarian. But he likes meat too much to become vegetarian. Not to mention eating vegan.

Has anything from the challenge lasted?
I still am a flexitarian, but I now eat less meat/fish and more often vegan.

Would you recommend the VeggieChallenge to nothers ext time? Why (not)?
Yes, I would. It’s good to think about what you’re eating.

The VeganMoFo theme on Graasland is ‘vegan en route’. Do you have a suitable tip to share with us?
Always bring your own peanut butter ;-)

Do you know I’ve never tried banana on peanut butter? I guess I should! Thanks JannyAn, it’s fascinating to read about your experiences in the Veggie Challenge as a flexitarian. I recognize your frustration about how many products contain dairy, eggs or gelatin. As a vegetarian I never paid that much attention to labels, especially E-numbers,and now I’m shocked to find that some of them are not even veggie! So as a vegetarian I have probably been eating ground scale insects (E120), bones (e.g. E542, E640) animal fat (e.g. E470-479) and horse’s, cow’s, pork’s and even human hair (E920). Eew!

Anyway Janny, I hope you know that you can always ask me questions about substituting ingredients?! That goes for anyone, really. :)

Over viewing this series I’m so glad to see that all three participants look back positively! Imagine you’d join the Veggie Challenge next year, what goals would you like to set?

- – – – -

Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!

Amelishof organic CSA week 43, 2012

Lots of C’s in this week’s CSA haul. Elstars, leek and salad greens rich with vitamin C, and carrots, corn salad and cilantro starting with it… No-one’s laughing, I know. ;)

  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Corn salad
  • Leek
  • Elstar apples
  • Fennel

My fridge is pretty full with open tins, leftovers and even more vegetables, so here’s my plan to use up as much as possible.

Menuplan Friday October 26th  – Tuesday 30th

  • Noodles with leftover takeaway garlic tofu from Soy with additional vegetables (carrot, leek, yellow pepper, borlotti beans) and mushrooms. [Friday]
  • Pea soup (freezer stash), pasta salad with leftover avocado pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, Caesar salad (dressing from La Dolce Vegan! p.93), bread and dip. [Saturday - DEXTER DATE]
  • Leek & potato soup with cilantro (La Dolce Vegan! p.109), tasty tempeh chili for NVV-forum La Dolce Vegan! cookbook challenge (p.163) and bread.
  • Potato salad with avocado pesto, balsamic vinegar, onion and sun-dried tomatoes, coconut-carrot soup with cilantro (La Dolce Vegan! p.112 half recipe).
  • Fennel salad with tomato, basil and olives, roasted sweet dumpling pumpkins stuffed with Gyro seitan from my new Terry Hope Romero cookbook Vegan Eats World (p.54 & 253), leftover dill sauce.

Last night I went to the Terry Hope Romero cooking demo, Q&A and book presentation of Vegan Eats World (more about that soon). We got to taste the gyro seitan with creamy cashew sauce and a banana-chocolate ‘cheesecake’. Both were awesome so I bought the book and put the seitan on the menu right away! It’s my first time making seitan, so fingers crossed…

Gyro seitan with creamy cashew sauce by Terry Hope Romero

Banana Chocolate "Cheesecake"  by Terry Hope Romero

I had planned a nice bento in orange colours last week, but unfortunately I had to skip it. But here’s a green one today instead!

Greenish Bento, 24-10-2012

First tier
Pasta salad with avocado sauce, peas, corn & sun-dried tomatoes, escarole and tiny tomato from the balcony.

Second tier
Pecans for the salad, courgette fritter, cucumber to dip in spicy houmous, and (Gnoe getting frivolous here ;) gherkin hearts.

On the side
Gingerbread with soy margarine & agave syrup and fruit salad for dessert: apple, satsuma and mango in a lemon-ginger dressing with cinnamon.

I’ve been looking for a good pasta salad recipe and now I’ve found it! I use Chloe Coscarelli’s avocado-pesto sauce, either leftovers of dinner like today, or made afresh. The sun-dried tomatoes are a must but for the rest it’s just what I have at hand. Made it with young broad beans once — ‘t was great!

Bento submitted to What’s for Lunch Wednesday on Bentolunch.net

Courgette fritters

This weekend two events came together: a ladies only family weekend and the Greece-themed Kookgrrls’ cookalong. Oh, and VeganMoFo of course. ;) Efficient woman I am, I combined as much as possible and chose a courgette fritters recipe from A Vegan Taste of Greece.

One of the first things I learned to cook as a vegetarian -we’re talking about 21 years ago- were Greek zucchini patties. I miss those now. So I’m on a quest to find a recipe without cheese, eggs or dairy. The recipe in this cookbook makes use of faux parmesan. That’s not ideal but it was worth a try! And yes, they were quite a success. Mr Gnoe and I made them again for dinner tonight, with the addition of a soygurt-based garlic-dill sauce. I will keep looking but for now this recipe will certainly do!

I posted it in Dutch on the Kookgrrls’ Blog, so that’s where you can find me today!

 

Logo Veggie ChallengeIn June and July this year, the Dutch youth foundation Viva Las Vega’s organized the Veggie Challenge: a dare to eat less animal produce for at least once a week during a whole month. Depending on their diet, participants would set their own goals, e.g. 1 day vegetarian for omnis, a day vegan for vegetarians, an extra day veggie for flexitarians et cetera. 2000+ people gave it a go! Among them were three people I know — and no, I had nothing to do with that ;) Curious about their experiences, I decided to interview them for VeganMoFo.

First to go was YvonneP. Today I’m interviewing Uniflame from She Likes Bento. I think I met her two, three years ago on Twitter — my radar picked her up as a fellow Dutch bentoïst blogging in English about her vegetarian bento lunches. Since then we’ve discovered other similar interests, like reading books and doing challenges. She’s also a loyal participant of WeekendCooking.

Here’s Uniflame’s most recent vegan bento.

Uniflame's vegan Inarizushi Bento (#126)

Uniflame’s Inarizushi Bento

Uniflame wants to be represented by an avocado, though she can’t say why. Well, I know. Avocados are so delicious you just can’t stop thinking about them! ;)

Avocado drawing

How would you describe your diet before starting the Veggie Challenge?
Officially I am a pescetarian because I still eat fish sometimes. However I eat mostly vegetarian.

Why did you decide to join the Veggie Challenge?
I like to experiment with vegan recipes, but some aspects were scary to me. Like vegan baking, for example. Committing to eat vegan for 2 days a week, forced me to step out of my comfort zone so I could experiment.

What goals did you set and did you achieve them? Was that hard?
I chose to eat vegan for 2 days a week and I did archieve that. Other than that I set some mini goals, like try vegan baking and make vegan snacks. I also wanted to eat outdoors as a vegan one time, but the latter goal I failed to do.

What was you biggest discovery?
That vegan baking doesn’t have to be hard at all, if you pick the easy recipes that don’t require to hunt down all kind of special ingredients.

What was the most difficult or disappointing?
The most difficult was to not give in to cheese cravings. It can be difficult staying committed if your house still is full of non vegan stuff. Also: I hate the fact that a lot of stuff isn’t available in the supermarket, and that I have to hunt stuff down in a lot of different stores. Like vegan bread for example. You have to make most things yourself and with my poor health, I just don’t have enough energy to keep doing that.

What was the best thing you ate or drank during the Veggie Challenge?
I can’t choose between the lemon poppyseed muffins and the cashew and bell pepper spread that I used to make vegan sushi with. So I will just mention both ;)

If you’re in a relationship: did your partner join you in the challenge and how did he/she experience it?
He did join partially. He isn’t a vegetarian but we just cook the same main dish for dinner. So on my vegan days, he ate vegan together with me. And because I made more vegan snacks, like the muffins mentioned above, he also had those. But if he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, he just ate one.

Has anything from the challenge lasted?
Yes, I try to make more vegan recipes now than I did before. And I also made my blog more vegan friendly, like listing in my recipe index which recipes on my blog are vegan. My stack of vegan cooking books has grown and I love requesting vegan titles from NetGalley as well to review on my blog.

Would you recommend the Veggie Challenge to others next time? Why (not)?
Yes, I would. It is fun to have a reason to think out of the box. And even if you only go vegetarian or vegan for just one day a week, it makes a huge difference.

The VeganMoFo theme on Graasland is ‘vegan en route‘. Do you have a suitable tip to share with us?
Always be prepared. If you want to stop at a certain lunch room, call ahead to see if they have options or are willing to create something. If not, make sure to have something delicious with you. To me nothing is as frustrating as to not be able to have a good meal while I see my omni friends eating away and all I have is a mediocre tasting salad. Then I rather make my own. ;)

Thanks Uniflame! I’m glad it all went well and I love how you set yourself some extra mini challenges — very creative! It doesn’t matter that you didn’t accomplish them all. I had expected you to share an avocado recipe with us though… But there’s plenty of those on your blog and with the vegan-friendly makeover they’ll be easy to find!

- – – – -

Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!

ExtraVeganza! button

Vegan Wednesday buttonIn the first week of VeganMoFo I stumbled upon the Vegan Wednesdays meme. Participants are asked to photograph their food during the day and share it in a wrap-up post at night.

Not as easy as it sounds… At breakfast time I’m usually not awake enough to think about taking pictures! So I missed the first one. I missed the second. But this morning I remembered in time!

So here’s what I had today. ;)

Breakfast

Blue Witch’s Brew

Breakfast smoothie with purple kale

Aka La Dolce Vegan breakfast smoothie with purple kale. Not a good idea – Dutch kale is too tough for smoothies.

Lunch

Bloody Belly Button

Bara

Aka store-bought bara (Surinamese snack) with chilli-tomato sauce.

Dead Bat Salad with Boogers and Bile Dressing

Salad with crispy kale & curry dressing

Aka Lollo Bionda with crispy kale, pepita mix and curry dressing.

Diner

Gastric Acid Soup with Blood Clots

Pumpkin-tomato soup with coconut

Aka Asian flavoured pumpkin soup (inspired on Seitan Is My Motor) with tomato.

Crushed Toad Salad

Mixed salad with nuts & avocado

Aka mixed greens with mushy avocado.

Unnameable Dessert

Dessert

Professor Grunschnabel Café el-Khatib (coffee & cardamom) ice cream with fresh mango and chocolate syrup.

You didn’t know vegan food could be so horrid, right? ;)

Once upon a time… I promised you a category on Graasland intended for Cabbage Recipes. It did appear, but fell into a slumber after I’d only shared three dishes with you. Well, now’s the right season to revive it!

Here’s a vegan version of coleslaw that I adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Groentegerechten by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

This salad is a kind of tsukemono (preserved vegetable) recipe, so it holds well and is perfect for travelling, like in this Goodbye Bento.

Coleslaw with Avocado Dressing

Coleslaw with avocado dressing

Ingredients
Serves 3-4.

  • 350-400g white or pointed cabbage
  • salt
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbs vegenaise, soygurt or faux sour cream
  • salt ‘n pepper

1. In advance

Cut its core from the cabbage, discard wilted outer leaves and thinly slice the veg. I don’t have a fancy machine to do this so I use my mandolin or a big, sharp knife and heavy wooden cutting board. Of course you can also buy pre-chopped cabbage…

Put the cabbage in a bowl, scatter some salt over it and weigh it down with a pan filled with water, supported by a saucer. Let it rest for a while until water comes out, preferably for a few hours.

2. Dressing

To make the dressing, scoop out the avocado, slice the green part of the spring onion in rings and put these aside. Chop the rest of the onion in small pieces and blend with avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, veganaise (or substitute). Add pepper to taste but refrain from adding salt until you’ve tasted the cabbage in step 3!

3. Assemble

Put the cabbage in a sieve, rinse and drain, pressing out excess water by hand. Now taste! Decide whether your dressing needs any more salt – if so, add it.

NOTE: if you do not intend to eat all of the coleslaw at once, just drain the cabbage you’re reserving and put it in a Tupperware box in the fridge. Only rinse and wring the veg when you’re ready to use it.

Place the cabbage on a nice plate or in a salad bowl, spoon the dressing in the middle and sprinkle the remaining onion rings on top.

As you can see I added some tomato and olives to the salad last time. Possibly it’s better without to let the smooth avocado dressing come to its full advantage.

Enjoy!

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

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