Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Easiest Veggie Pot Pie

An easy way to put together a veggie pot pie comes from the freezer. Here's what you need:

* A pie pan if you are making a one-crust pie. If two-crust, use the pan that comes with the frozen crust.
* Frozen vegetable mix - choose what you like that would work in a pot pie. About 32 oz. should work.
* Optional - canned, frozen, or fresh mushrooms
* About 1 c. mushroom or other veggie gravy. Can be from a carton, mix, or your own invention.
* Frozen pie crust(s) - one or two, your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you are going for a two-crust pie, place the vegetables (and mushrooms if using) into the bottom crust. Mix gently if necessary. If you want a one-crust pie, dump the veggies and mushrooms into an empty pie pan.

Pour the gravy over the veggies:

 Up-end a pie crust over the pie:

Cut some slices into the crust to vent steam.

Bake for about one hour, until crust is brown and gravy is bubbling:

Scoop with a large spoon for best results:

Variation: Cook the vegetables and gravy together in a saucepan until warm prior to adding to the pie pan.  In this case raise the oven heat to 425 and cook for about 30 minutes, or until crust is browned and filling is hot. I haven't tested this option myself so I don't know exactly how long it should cook!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


This is not the picture I meant to have in this post. I meant to have a full glass of my version of a mocha coffee freeze (aka "frap"). But I couldn't let it sit. I had to drink it right then. So will you.

I have a weakness for these frozen drinks but I can't afford them all the time and I can't control everything that goes in them when I go to the shop. So I went online to see if I could find recipes. I tried several and came up with this combination as my favorite:

Mocha Freeze

1 c. soy or other non-dairy milk
1/2 c. strong coffee
1 T. cocoa powder (unsweetened, vegan)
1 T. sugar (your choice; I like brown sugar)
about 1 c. ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Option: use instant coffee, 1 T. or to taste,  and a little more soy milk, instead of the 1/2 c. strong coffee.

One obvious advantage to making your own is the quality of the drink. Use high-quality cocoa and coffee and you'll notice.

crossposted at Vegan Soapbox.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Vegan Cake Mixes hit the Market

A young couple from the small coastal community of Los Osos, California is taking its vegan awareness to the stores. Jeffrey Bailey and Veronica Rains offer cooking classes in their home, cater special events, and take part in other local events. Recently they have started to create and sell baking mixes at farmers' markets, in some local groceries, and online.

In the last six weeks, Wholesome Chow has sold over 500 mixes, an indication that the small company has found a respectable market for its products. There are good reasons for the popularity of these mixes:

* They are made with high-quality ingredients, including as many local ingredients as possible and healthier sweetening options. Most of the ingredients are organic, none are artificial, and there are no preservatives.
* The packaging is simple and recyclable, a sealed paper bag that reduces waste.
* Instructions are easy to follow
* The baked goods taste good!

Choices include chocolate, vanilla, lavendar, lemon poppy seed, and chai spice cake mixes, and corn bread mix. Gluten-free mixes will follow soon.

Rains and Bailey behind their work.

Bailey and Rains have been vegetarian for over 16 years. Rains has a culinary degree and teaches vegetarian, vegan, and raw food preparation.

The Wholesome Chow website includes more than baking mixes. There are recipes (vegetarian, not all vegan), event details, sample menus, and more.

crossposted at

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yum! Fries from the Oven

Sometimes I just need that crunch, but I don't need the fat. So here is how I make oven fries:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Peel as many potatoes as you feel like eating, but no more than can be spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Rinse and slice into french fry shapes or round slices, whatever you like. Spray a cookie sheet with spray oil mix, or line with parchment. Pile the sliced potatoes in the middle and sprinkle generously with a seasoning mixture of your choice. Mix it up with your hands and spread the slices in a single layer.

Place in oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick the slices are. Turn the slices after about 10 minutes and again after 20, or as needed. You'll know they are done when the edges are browned and the slices have puffed up a bit. Remove from oven and place in bowl or plate. Salt to taste and eat right away!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Quick Bean & Chard Soup

I was scanning my email the other day and saw a post from that featured a white bean and spinach soup. I scanned the recipe for a sense of the soup and went to my kitchen.

I didn't have cannelini beans or spinach. Of course I wouldn't have chicken broth. So here's what I did:

Butter Bean and Swiss Chard Soup

* Took my soup saucepan (I guess it would be called "medium" in size) and added water to it, maybe three cups.

* Threw in two vegetable broth cubes (the 2-cup variety).

* Added a teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar in the fridge.

* Rinsed a small bunch of swiss chard, cut off bad parts, sliced the stems off (I usually make an upside down V in the stem to get most of the stem away from the leaves but big deal if you don't). As I cut the stems into small pieces (1/2" each, about) I tossed them into the pot.

* Cut up the chard leaves roughly.

* When the stem pieces had cooked a few minutes (five - eight +/-) and were about done, I tossed in the leaves.

* Rinsed a can of butter beans and tossed into the pot.

* Heated through, making sure the chard leaves were cooked enough to my taste (very short time).

I ate it that way, adding a bit of salt and pepper at the table. Some cayenne would be good, too. An added benefit, to me, was the nice flavoring the butter beans added to the broth that would not have come from cannelini beans.

Yum!! I ate it all, I am a little embarrassed to admit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

L.A. Area Residents: Veg Out!

I have tested a few vegan food delivery services (See posts on Veggie Brothers and BuyKind ). Because I live in an area of small population, I have had to order from other states. Orders arrive in cartons with special cold-packs and the shipping is fairly pricey. The food was good but sometimes the packaging left something to be desired. For those in the greater Los Angeles area, and even beyond to San Diego and Santa Barbara, there is another option: Vegin' Out.

Vegin' Out is a fresh vegan food delivery service. Orders placed by Friday are delivered fresh on Mondays. Beyond the greater L. A. area they are fed-exed and arrive Tuesdays. The basic order will provide nine meals (three of each of three entrees, plus sides and desserts). A double-order saves money. All food is vegan.

The price for a single order is $110, $125 if FedEx is necessary. Cheaper than restaurant delivery but more than home-cooked, of course.

Because of where I live I can't test this out. If I should find myself in Los Angeles for several days and it's convenient, I might get the chance.

As you might imagine, the testimonials include some from well-known stars, like Alicia Silverstone. I would like to hear your experience if you try this or have tried it. Please let us know your experience.

crossposted at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A cool soup for a hot summer day

The other day I turned to my trusty Vegan Express Cookbook for inspiration. I chose the Curried Cashew and Green Pea Soup because it sounded just right for a summer evening. I was right. It as sophisticated, cool, delicious. Here's the recipe:
Curried Cashew and Green Pea Soup (from Vegan Express)
2 cups rice milk
1/2 cup cashew butter
1 12.3-oz package firm silken tofu
1 - 2 tsps good-qaulity curry powder
1/2 tsp minced fresh or jarred ginger
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 medium tomato, diced
3 cups frozen green peas, steamed
1-2 scallions, green parts only, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tbs lime juice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine 1/2 c of the rice milk with the cashew butter and tofu in a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed.

To serve at room temperature, transfer the puree to a serving container, then stir in the rest of the rice milk and the remaining ingredients. Check the seasoning, then serve. To serve chilled, refrigerate the soup for an hour or so. (Serving chilled means you can prepare ahead, have it ready when you are)

To serve warm, transfer the puree to a small soup pot. Add the rest of the rice milk and the remaining ingredients, stir together, and heat until just warmed through. Adjust the consistency with a little more rice milk if needed. Check the seasoning and serve.
I served the soup with a side of cauliflower and carrot salad, also from the same cookbook.

This cookbook has become one of my favorites. Good food, interesting and fun, and easy and fast to make.