Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Trader Joe's Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roasts with Cranberry Stuffing and Gravy

I was trying to search for reviews on Trader Joe's Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roasts with Cranberry Stuffing and Gravy but didn't see any on Google. So, I decided to write my own as I make them!

They're $4.99 at my Trader Joe's and serve two. All you do is stick them in the oven on some parchment paper, so they're very easy to make. And they could take up very little space in the oven which is great if you're fighting for oven space on Thanksgiving.

OH MY GOD. Had to take a break from writing when they came out of the oven. The smell is heavenly...

 ...and they taste even better than they smell.  You're going to want to get a lot of these.

^This is when I had to stop taking photos because they were just too tasty to wait any longer to finish eating.

(It comes with more gravy than shown here, but since it came in two packets I decided to just use one and save the rest for mashed potatoes.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beginning Vegan Cheat Sheet

I've been vegan for two years now and I love trying out all the different vegan cooking tricks and mock animal products. I decided I couldn't keep all these tasty cooking secrets to myself, so here are some of my favorites.

I love Chloe Coscarelli. Her cupcakes are amazing (especially when you use coconut milk). She's won multiple Cupcake Wars and they are truthfully the best cupcakes I've ever had.

My gluten free adaptation from her chocolate strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe:

On the healthier side, there's:

Aaand you can find many mouth-watering vegan recipes on Pinterest:

Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella is great baked on pizza and lasagna and is strangely similar to cheese. My omnivorous family loved it.
Here's what it looks like when baked:

(I got distracted and the crust burnt which is why I cropped it - the cheese is all that's important anyway, right?)

Earth Balance is a great vegan butter.

Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds make the best mac 'n' cheese. Just Daiya, a bit of unsweetened non-dairy milk, maybe a bit of Earth Balance, and a little salt is all you need.

Daiya Jack Cheese makes a good quesadilla, especially good with chopped chives added.

Almond milk is my favorite non-dairy milk in general. Try it, you'll love it.

A thumb's worth of peanut butter and a thumb's worth of banana makes a great egg replacer for chocolate chip cookies.

For cakes, baking soda and vinegar do the trick. Coconut milk gives the cakes an amazing texture too. (See: Chloe Coscarelli)

Black bean brownies are awesome. You can probably google a recipe for these. Or just rinse some black beans and blend them with equal parts water, then add the mixture to your brownie mix in place of the eggs and water, 'til it's a typical brownie batter consistency. I like to add a little bit of Earth Balance and semi-sweet Ghirardhelli chocolate chips or Trader Joe's chocolate chips to the mix too to make it extra rich.

Vegenaise tastes better than mayonnaise in my opinion. You can also make your own mayonnaise out of tofu (you can find recipes on google).

If you ever miss meat, feel free to explore the faux meats and see which ones you like. Gardein is a pretty safe choice, most of their stuff is delicious. Some more of my personal favorites are Tofurky Hickory Smoked Deli Slices, Boca Chik'n Patties, Morningstar Hickory BBQ Riblets, and Trader Joe's makes some really good frozen faux meats if you have one of those around (they have a lot of other delicious vegan options too - just look for the 'V').

If you've been scared of tofu or had a bad experience with it - try it this way. Start out with super firm tofu, cut into cubes, marinate with your favorite sauce, or coat with your favorite seasonings, then bake in the oven. I like to coat mine with a mixture of soy sauce (I use Bragg's Liquid Aminos), rice vinegar, garlic powder, and pepper.
Crispy, dense, perfect tofu you can add to salad, stir fry, rice, etc. or just enjoy on its own. You can also try it scrambled in place of scrambled eggs.

There are tons of foods you wouldn't expect to be vegan, but are, too (like Oreos, Clif bars, Nissin oriental and chili flavor Top Ramen, and a lot of semi-sweet chocolate chips are vegan):
Accidentally Vegan

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Meatrix

Kid friendly summary of some of the main issues surrounding factory farming:

Monday, December 5, 2011

To all you skeptics, please be more skeptical.

     There's a lot of misleading information going around about The Humane Society of the United States, especially that one well advertised bit I seem to always hear - that they only donate 1% of their money to shelters. Let's clear some of this up. First, the HSUS is not a shelter funding organization, it's an animal welfare organization. Its work goes far beyond shelters. 

    The Humane Society of the United States fights cruelty through laws, regulations, publicity, and effective but very dangerous undercover work. They assist in large raids of puppy mills, dog fighting rings, and hoarding situations. They are boots on the ground at every natural disaster. That's what saves millions more animals from suffering compared to what a shelter is able to do.

What does a year of HSUS spending look like?

     Now let's take a look at the organization telling you this misleading information.

     Humane Watch: funded by the industries who profit from the cruelty the HSUS fights.

Berman and Company, the firm behind Humane Watch:

"Berman and Company is a dynamic research, communications, advertising, and government affairs firm. We blend aggressive, creative thinking with functional expertise to achieve extraordinary results for our clients."

"They are aggressive, innovative, and they play to win." - Michael Mullins, VP - Cargill, Inc.

It's not even hidden that they're an advertisement campaign. It's not hidden at all that they have clients like Cargill funding them. But they're counting on you to not research their claims, and unfortunately, it's working.

Also, in case you didn't see it, if you click 'Help Us' at the top of the page on humanewatch.org, guess where it links you to?

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) (formerly called the "Guest Choice Network (GCN)") is a front group run by Rick Berman's PR firm Berman & Co. for the restaurant, alcohol, tobacco and other industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, animal advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them "the Nanny Culture -- the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who 'know what's best for you.'"

Please know your enemy, especially when it's disguised as a friend.

"The Humane Society of the United States announces the formation of another agricultural council, this one in Colorado! Farmers and ranchers who are doing it right know that the HSUS is not the enemy.

"As a Colorado cattle rancher, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with The HSUS when it comes to the treatment of farm animals," said veterinarian Tom Parks, who will chair the new council. "It's a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges."

Slowly but surely, the tide is turning for farm animals!" 

Groundbreaking: The HSUS teams up with the United Egg Producers for animal welfare http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/07/humane-society-united-egg_n_892682.html

Thursday, July 28, 2011

(Better than) Meatballs Recipe

What you'll need:

1/4 of one large white onion
1 small handful of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
1 carrot
Celery salt (or any kind of fine salt will do)
1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Liquid smoke
2 Boca 'original vegan' patties

Step 1: Microwave (or bake them if you're feeling fancy) Boca burgers for 2-4 minutes, flipping over halfway through. While you're waiting...
Step 2: Chop up onion then puree with sundried tomatoes
Step 3: Sliver carrot, then give it a rough chop and add to onion and sundried tomato puree and blend (for easier ball molding later, be sure the carrots end up fairly finely chopped. You can have them as big as shown in the picture, and that's fine but probably no bigger. You can puree the carrot as well and it turns out just as nice.)
Step 4: Add a pinch of celery salt  (you can adjust the amount later in the recipe if you want more, but you most likely won't need it), a teeny tiny bit of liquid smoke (a small dash. It's easy to accidentally overdo it with the liquid smoke so don't try to pour the right amount in.), about 1 1/2 teaspoons (or to taste) of FINELY ground black pepper, and start with about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder depending on your tastes.
Step 5: Take this mixture, and pour it onto the cooled, microwaved Boca burgers. Now mix together with your hands til it looks like this:

 The great thing about Boca burgers is that they absorb whatever flavor you put into them. I actually hate Boca burgers on their own, but I love to use them as a kind of blank canvas for cooking.

Step 6: Now you're going to want to microwave (or bake) this mixture to get out some excess moisture. Put it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes each time, and toss around a bit in between. Stop when it looks about like this:

Step 7: This is my favorite part (besides eating them of course). Roll the mixture into balls, whatever size you prefer. Since they're very flavorful, I like them to be a little on the small side. You also get a higher percentage of crunchy coating on them when they're smaller. As you can see by mine, they don't have to be perfect. You'll be stuffing your face with these so fast you wont even care or notice what they look like!

If your balls are still really moist, at this point you can microwave them a bit longer. I also like to give them a taste before I mold them and make any adjustments I might need to the seasoning (a bit more garlic or a bit more pepper).

Step 8: Heat a pan with a generous coating of olive oil on medium-high heat. Be sure the oil is hot enough before you put in the balls - you don't want them to stick to the pan and fall apart! To check the heat, you can put a tiny bit of the mixture into the pan and listen for the sizzling sound and little bubbles coming up.

When you have that down, it's time to put in your balls. When you see the edges of the balls turning a nice golden brown, turn them (I like to use tongs as you can see). Keep turning 'til all sides are golden, and they're done!

Final step: Serve with spaghetti or enjoy on their own! Mmmmmm.

P.S. Ignore the gross looking spaghetti (I left it out just a taaad too long).
       These are also delicious baked in the oven, they just won't have the same crispy coating.