Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vic's Deli Slices

My friend Vic (from The Life blog) created a truly amazing recipe for homemade vegan Deli Slices. I baked the Deli Slices on Monday and I have been eating them every day ever since then. The recipe was very simple and easy to follow and it was not time consuming to prepare. However, it took a long time to steam and bake, plus there was some additional time for cooling. I also liked the fact that it did not have any soy ingredients, I needed a break from soy and this was a great idea.
I decided to change up the spices a bit, I left out the cumin and added "poultry seasonings" (sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg) and few dashes of hickory flavored liquid smoke.
When I got the wonderfully smelling stuff out of the oven, it reminded me of a vegan meatloaf. I could not resist and ate some still warm with some mustard and bread. Yummy! Then I let it cool and it firmed up nicely. The texture and taste reminded me of Tofurky Italian Sausage. I made some tasty sandwiches (with tomatoes, lettuce and vegan mayo) for dinner that evening, and more sandwiches during the week for work.

I crumbed up some Deli Slices into a salad the next day, for a filling and delicious dinner.

I also used it crumbled up in tomato sauce instead of vegan meatballs. That was fantastic!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

I replaced the traditional bulgur in Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa. Quinoa is a very nutritious ancient grain, because it contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. I love this funny looking grain :-)

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

1 cup uncooked Quinoa
4 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber (preferably seedless), diced
2 scallions, diced
2 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine the Quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until the grain gets cold.
In a large bowl, combine all the veggies, herbs, optional garlic and Quinoa. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Czech style Christmas dinner in USA

Traditional Christmas dinner in the Czech Republic is fried carp, fried chicken, or fried schnitzel and potato salad. Making a veganized Christmas dinner from my homeland is one way how I stay connected with my family roots and traditions overseas. I made my "famous" potato salad (recipe here) and fried Boca Original Chik'n Patties. Then I squeezed fresh lemons over the warm patties. The warm Chik'n patties with lemon juice and the cold salad were a perfect combination.

I indulged myself with divine hot chocolate and Dandies vegan marshmallows.

I made another traditional Christmas dish. Its name would translate into "Mushroom Kuba ( Jacob)". It is a very easy dish. It was made out of cooked barley, sauteed porcini mushrooms with onion, garlic, ground caraway seeds and marjoram. Everything is mixed together and baked.

I used some leftover potato salad to create these traditional open faced mini sandwiches (Obložené chlebíčky). I added some Tofurky Deli Slices and a pickle.
I love these mini sandwiches. They are very easy to make, but look quite festive.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Czech Christmas Cookies

Let me introduce you to traditional Czech Christmas cookies.

*Vanilkové rohlíčky (Vanilla-nut cookies covered in powdered sugar)

*Perníčky (Gingerbread cookies with traditional Czech spices)

*Linecké cukroví (Linzer Cookies)

There are tons of different cookies that we make, but these three are the most common cookies that most Czech families bake around Christmas.
I used a recipe from Czech Vegan Society for the vanilla-nut cookies that are shaped like the letter C. I used walnuts instead of hazelnuts, but you can use whatever nuts you want, even almonds work very well in this recipe.
For the gingerbread cookies I found an inspiration on Mattie's Vegan Baking website. I used his Gingerbread Cookie Buddies recipe that I modified. I substituted half brown sugar and half cane sugar for the turbinado sugar. I used extra molasses instead of the barley malt, and I had to add some almond milk because the dough was too dry and did not stick together. I used mini gingerbread man cookie cutter and wild forrest animals cookies cutters. For the icing I used powdered sugar and lemon juice.
I also used my own spices. The traditional Czech gingerbread spices are cinnamon, coriander, star anise, allspice, cloves, anise, nutmeg, fennel and sometimes ginger. I added ginger to the mixture, too.
The recipe for Linzer Cookies was my own and I am going to put it in my upcoming cookbook. I used seedless raspberry jam and red currant jam for the filling.

All of these cookies taste the best after a few days, not fresh out of the oven. They get softer and more flavorful.

I spent the whole afternoon baking and decorating these cookies, and cleaning up the huge mess. I realized something today, I am a terrible gingerbread cookie decorator! After several very ugly cookies I decided to leave the rest of the cookies "naked".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter food samples

It has been really cold in the past few weeks so I have been cooking more comfort, savory foods that make me feel warm. I have been experimenting with various grains and beans, including quinoa and whole grain bulgur. Here are some samples of my winter meals that I ate in the past week. I got a takeout from Moe's as well. I also ate some vegan donuts, brownies and gallons of hot cocoa.

*Bulgur with sauteed red kale, onions, garlic and asparagus

*Bean chili with vegan sour cream and jalapeno peppers

*Vegan burrito from Moe's

*Eggplant, zucchini and tomato ragout with chickpeas, fresh parsley and lemon

*Three pepper stir-fry over quinoa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vegan S'mores

I love Sweet & Sara's vegan marshmallows. I have tried all of their flavors and haven't found any that I didn't like. I just ordered their popular vegan Smores (original). This was my very first time that I ate S'mores. I read a lot about this American tradition of making S'mores but I have never tried non-vegan or vegan S'mores before and I didn't think that a combination of a crunchy graham cookie, fluffy marshmallows and a layer of chocolate would be something that I would enjoy. I only ordered one package, since I was worried that I would not like the texture and the flavor combinations. This was a mistake. After I tried the first bite I knew that I should have ordered at least a dozen! The first bite was surprisingly amazing, crunchy graham cookie, soft fluffy marshmallow and a thin layer of delicious chocolate......

Then I put it in the microwave for 15 seconds. The marshmallow puffed up like a big vanilla cloud and the chocolate started to melt over this fluffy treat. I did not even mind that my fingers were covered in chocolate, getting dirty was part of the fun. Thank you, Sweet & Sara for making these amazing treats!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso review

After I read all the positive reviews about this newest vegan phenomenon known as Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso I decided to order a jar few days ago. Before I became a vegan I used to enjoy warm cheesy nachos, but since I became a vegan I could not find anything similar so I had to stick with boring tortilla chips and salsa. I bought some vegan nacho cheese dip few years ago, but it was quite weird and it didn't taste cheesy.

When my Nacho Mom's Ultimate Vegan Queso arrived I warmed some up on the stove and poured the queso over warm tortilla chips. OMG! The first bite awoke my memories of real cheesy nachos that I used to love. It was so good I could not believe that something so simple could be so realistic and so good. It was just perfect, not too mild, not too spicy, perfect texture, consistency and flavor.
If I didn't read all the blog reviews, I would be skeptical about this queso, because I would not imagine that tomatoes, nutritional yeast, chillies, flour and spices could create such an amazing cheesy dip.
This queso is not only delicious, but healthy, too. It is vegan, fat-free, soy-free, and the whole jar has only 160 calories.

These nachos were so good. I can see Beavis & Butthead eating them while sitting on their couch saying: "Heh heh heh, yeah, these nachos rule!"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan Goodies

Today I received a box with vegan goodies that I ordered from Vegan Essentials. I had a code for a free shipping. The code is in the newest issue of the Veg News magazine. It is good until December 15 so I might order some other stuff before the code expires.
I cannot wait to try the new Nacho Mom's queso that everyone is raving about.
I got a cool magnet with pictures of a dog, cow, pig and cat. The quote on the magnet reads "Why love one and kill the other? Make the connection. Go veg for life."
I got my favorite vegan donuts from Nutrilicious company. I love their donuts and donut holes. They are soft, moist, sweet and rich. They have a different texture and flavor than freshly baked non-vegan donuts. The yogurt glazed and the apple spice glazed are the best. I haven't tried all flavors, but so far I like these the best.
I also bought my favorite "cheddar" crackers from Eco-Planet company. I love this cheesy stuff. The crackers are shaped like sun to represent solar energy, pinwheels to represent wind energy, planet Earth, and like hybrid "green" cars.
I got an assortment of chocolate and candy, lip balm, and raw kale chips.
So far I ate few of the donuts, almost all of my delicious Sjaak's chocolate and some kale chips. I tried the Whizzers chocolate footballs for the first time today. I assumed that British chocolate would be great, but I was wrong. This reminded me of a dry cocoa powder flavored chalk. I love chocolate, but this I could not even swallow. I am very disappointed with this chocolate. It didn't even melt in my mouth and I had a hard time chewing it. On the other hand, the Whizzers chocolate beans were delicious. They were almost like M&M's. They had crunchy shell and yummy chocolate filling.
I have mixed feelings about the kale chips. The "leaves" are good, but I found a lot of hard, long and dry sticks in the bag (I believe that they were the tough stems). When I make my kale chips in the oven, I remove the tough stems before baking. I am little upset that I paid $2.89 for 1 oz bag that had so many hard, tough inedible kale stems. Thankfully my dog enjoyed the stems :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Primal Strips-vegan jerky review

The picture above is from Primal Spirit Foods website.

I have been buying Primal jerky for years now. I like the juicy, "meaty", and flavorful Primal Strips. They are all natural, low in fat, high in protein, and they contain only Non-GMO ingredients. They don't contain any MSG, artificial colors or preservatives. Unfortunately, my local stores offer a very limited selection of this jerky so I could not do a full review based only on two flavors that I knew. Primal Spirit Foods was nice and sent me some samples to try so I had a chance to try all of their flavors. I was even able to share some with few of my friends, some meat eaters and some vegans. They all liked it. Primal Strips are flavorful, moist flaky layers of soy, seitan or shiitake mushrooms. The texture is very different from Vegan Dream Jerky or Tofurky Jerky (Jurky).

"Thai Peanut"-Seitan

1 oz package contains 74 calories, 2 g of fat, 10 g of protein

Peanut butter and fresh Thai basil give this jerky a very nutty and savory flavor. You can taste the peanuts very well. I tried adding some to my stir-fry instead of the usual tofu and it was pretty good.

"Mesquite Lime"-Seitan

1 oz package contains 74 calories, 2 g of fat, 10 g of protein

I love the combination of tangy, salty and smoky flavors. Fresh lime juice, dill pickles and chili give this jerky a really nice flavor.

"Texas BBQ"-Soy

1 oz package contains 81 calories, 1 g of fat, 10 g of protein

This is a sweet, juicy and smoky treat. It has the right amount of spiciness, smokiness and sweetness.

"Hickory Smoked"-Soy

1 oz package contains 99 calories, 3 g of fat, 10 g of protein

I love this salty, smoky jerky. It tastes like it was smoked over a real hickory wood. I am not a big fan of licorice root, but I hardly noticed the licorice in this jerky. I noticed a hint of black pepper though that was very nice. It is so good!


1 oz package contains 99 calories, 3 g of fat, 11 g of protein

This jerky does not taste like teriyaki to me, even though it is sweet and salty. It is quite good, but it didn't blow me away.

"Hot & Spicy"-Shiitake Mushrooms

1 oz package contains 108 calories, 4 g of fat, 6 g of protein

WOW! They were not kidding when they named this jerky "Hot & Spicy". It is very spicy. Unfortunately for me, the licorice root overpowers any other flavors in this jerky, so it tastes like a licorice and hot sauce to me. That isn't a bad thing if you like licorice and a hot sauce, specially if they are combined.

My favorite three flavors are "Mesquite Lime"-Seitan, "Hickory Smoked"-Soy, and "Texas BBQ"-Soy. They are amazing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My favorite soy yogurts and Vegan Dream Jerky giveaway winner

Here is a picture of my Abbey with a breakfast soy yogurt, granola and cherry parfait that I make quite often :-)

I have tried several different brands and styles of soy yogurts. Some of them were funky, some had a strong soy taste that I was not trilled about and some were too watery. So far, I found four of my favorite soy yogurts. They all have live and active cultures that are good for your digestive system and immunity. They are cholesterol free and do not contain any animal ingredients. They have a good amount of protein and they are thick and creamy, without any soy aftertaste. They are made with organic soybeans so you can be sure that the soybeans were not Genetically modified.

Silk "Vanilla" 32 oz.
1 serving (8 oz) has 180 calories, 6 gram of protein, 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber, 40% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 50% of vitamin C, and 8% of iron.
This yogurt has a very pleasant mild vanilla flavor. I eat it almost every day because I can buy a big (32 oz) container for under $3, which lasts me several days. I use it for yogurt-granola-parfaits, I mix it with frozen blueberries or raspberries for a quick dessert, I mix it with apple sauce, raisins and cinnamon as a treat, and I add it to some baked goods. I like the plastic lid on the container that keeps the yogurt fresh for days. You can clean the container and use it for food leftovers later. My furry babies love this yogurt as well. I occasionally let them lick the container or a spoon after I am done with the yogurt. When I had my tooth pulled, I would eat at least one big container a day.

Whole Soy & Co. "Lemon" 6 oz.
1 container has 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 30% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 2% of vitamin C, and 6% of iron.
This is a delicious, tart and creamy treat. You can see and taste the lemons. It is like a lemon pie filling in a yogurt cup. I can never have enough of this lemony goodness. However, the price is much higher per ounce then the Silk yogurt. Most stores charge $1.19 for the Whole Soy & Co. yogurts.

Whole Soy & Co. "Cherry" 6 oz.
1 container has 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 30% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, and 6% of iron.
This is a creamy cherry dessert. You can see and taste the pieces of real cherries. It is amazing! The price is the same like the Whole Soy & Co. "Lemon" 6 oz. I like to eat it plain, or top my cream of wheat or oatmeal with it.

Whole Soy & Co. "Vanilla" 24 oz.
1 serving (8 oz) has 210 calories, 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 45% of your daily recommended amount of calcium, 2% of vitamin C, and 6% of iron.
This is a plain vanilla yogurt that is thick and creamy, but has more fat and calories than the other yogurts that I mentioned. It has a nice plastic lid to keep the yogurt fresh for days. I buy this one when the store is out of Silk "Vanilla" because it is much more expensive. I pay the same price for this as I would pay for the Silk "Vanilla" 32 oz. I use it the same way I use the Silk "vanilla" yogurt. I also tried to make a hot vanilla sauce for some rice pudding and it turned out great!. It is a little bit thicker then Silk yogurt.
Whole Soy & Co. has other delicious flavors. All of their yogurts remind me of old-fashioned dairy yogurts from my childhood. Besides the lemon and cherry flavor I like the strawberry, peach, raspberry and blueberry flavors. However, the cherry and lemon are the best. Silk has other fruity flavors but I prefer their vanilla.

The winner of Vegan Dream Jerky giveaway is comment number 12.
Congratulations to Vegga. Please, email me your address and full name so I can send you this delicious jerky. (

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mock "Tuna" Salad Sandwich

Few days ago I found this cool vegan cooking blog with video recipes. I saw a recipe for a mock "tuna" salad sandwich that looked very promising. The cook and blogger calls himself the Sexy Vegan. He has some funny and interesting video recipes on his blog, including this one. If you are a Star Wars fan you will love this video recipe. He uses a "real" lightsaber instead of a knife. Are your curious to see how that works out for him? Go over to The Sexy Vegan blog and watch this video recipe.
I have never had a real tuna salad in my entire life. I had fish before I became a vegetarian and later a vegan, but never a tuna salad. I always hated fishy taste and smell so I didn't use the dulse flakes for this salad. I used a little bit of fresh flat leaf parsley instead. This salad blew me away! It was sooooo good! I made one batch with capers and one batch without and both were great. It reminded me an egg salad that I used to like in my pre-vegan days. It was quick and easy to make.

This is the last day when you can enter my Vegan Dream Jerky giveaway. I will randomly pick a winner tonight.