Friday, November 28, 2014

Guest Blogger Cookbook Review Coming Up!

I was sent a review copy of The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet by Tracy Russell.  This book will be available on December 16, 2014 and it's full of fun recipes to amp up your nutrition in a healthy, delicious and vegan way.

When I got the cookbook, I considered trying the recipes by myself but then remembered Miss M., my 14 year old daughter loves smoothies and will be able to give me a unique insight into which ones may be favorites of other kids like her. Mothers everywhere are looking for ways to get more greens into their kids' diets.

For instance, last week I made this delicious Pina Colada smoothie from one of my favorite websites.  We both loved it!  Two days later I got a text from her asking me to have one waiting for her for when she gets off the bus.  

You want a cup of spinach waiting
for you when you get home?
Sure thing!

So, for the next couple of weeks, we will be testing smoothie recipes and at the end of it Miss M. will be A New Day Vegan's guest blogger giving a review of the recipes she's tried.  All this comes during the time that I'm eagerly anticipating the delivery of my new (refurbished) Vitamix.  

The Universe works in wonderful ways!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Business Spotlight - Water Street Brewing Company

First, an explanation:  There are no vegan or vegetarian restaurants within a 60 mile radius of our home so when I do a local Business Spotlight I choose places that are kind, welcoming and accommodating to vegans.  With that said, let's go on to today's Business Spotlight!

I have been coming to this locally owned brewpub since before I was vegan. As a vegetarian, I was thrilled to find many options to choose from and the beers they make are fantastic!  They have a type of counter service where you place your order at the bar and a server brings it to you at a table.  

The bar stretches across good part of the restaurant with about a dozen tables scattered around the front of the room.  The shiny beer tanks, where the magic happens, sit across from the bar.  The ambiance is cozy, casual and welcoming. There's plenty of space here for a large group.  Their website mentions just one of the reasons it's one of my favorite places.

"We invite you to experience our space, our beer, our people. Oh, and no TVs."

No TVs!  Yes!

My most recent visit was with Dr. D. on a cold and rainy Saturday in November.  As soon as we walked in we were warmly greeted by Dan who was working behind the bar. 

"How are you?"
"Cold," I grumbled.
"Then you need to try our scotch ale!  That'll warm you up!"

I asked for a sample and he was right!  It was a delicious ale called Bonnie Knees. The blackboard on the wall details not only the beers that are currently available but the International Bitterness Units (IBU) and Alcohol By Volume (ABV) numbers so you know what to expect.  Their beer selection changes with what the brewer decides to concoct and flights of beer are available to allow you to try many at once.  I'm an IPA girl so I opted for a pint of their current IPA on tap called Head First and Dr. D. ordered their Hefeweizen.  

A selection of wines is also available if beer isn't your thing and they haven't forgotten our four-legged buddies either!  You can buy Barley Bites (not vegan) made from brewing grain by the bag .

Water Street Brewing

(Sunday only) Two handmade pretzels with a side of spicy mustard for dipping.

Fresh, warm and delicious. Want vegan? Just ask.
(ed. note: they used the V word!)

After our beers arrived, Dan came to take our lunch order.  I had stashed a new jar of Just Mayo in my purse and asked if the cook could use it on my lunch.  Dan checked with the kitchen and was told they weren't able to allow it in the kitchen but I was welcome to use it on my food at our table.  That was fine with me although I'd really love more restaurants to carry this delicious plant-based mayo for their vegan customers.

Just Mayo and a hoppy IPA!

I ordered my favorite meal, Tempeh Spiedies which are served in a wrap.  For those of you who aren't familiar with spiedies, they're a local favorite here in the Greater Binghamton area and are usually made with meat which has been marinated and cooked on a grill on a skewer.  The tempeh spiedies at Water Street Brewing taste incredibly similar to chicken spiedies and are delicious!
They are usually served with barbecue sauce, tomato, onion and lettuce but I asked them to hold the sauce so I could put my Just Mayo on it.  Dr. D. ordered a black bean burger which we confirmed was indeed, vegan.  Many veggie burgers in restaurants contain eggs and/or cheese making them suitable for vegetarians but not vegans.  Dan even went the extra mile and asked if we'd prefer the vegan chickpea salad instead of the usual coleslaw as a side.

Our lunch was delicious and the fries were just right!  Fries are a rare treat for me lately so when I splurge it had better be good.  These did not disappoint!  Dan chatted with us after our meal telling us he was a member of Triple Cities Runners Club and had many vegetarian friends.  It was so nice to have a server who was sensitive and agreeable to our requests.  Water Street Brewing offers many other vegan and vegetarian options as well such as hummus, salads and soups.  They're able to accommodate those on a gluten-free diet too.

I highly recommend Water Street Brewing Company for vegans as well as vegetarians and omnivores.  There's something to please everyone here!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Business Spotlight - Baked! By Camille

Anyone who knows Camille Ciotoli knows she's been the premier baker in the Greater Binghamton area for years.  What you may not know is that she does fantastic vegan and gluten free cakes.

We had a small luncheon after our wedding on June 27th and had Baked! By Camille do a vegan cake for us.  It was simple, just white cake with white frosting.  Our guests are still talking about how wonderful it was.
Our pretty little cake for The Best Day Ever in June.
My brother and his wife are vegan and gluten free so when we celebrated their marriage two years ago, we called on Camille to make the dessert.  Again, she came through with a delicious cake all of us could enjoy.

When Dr. D. and I got married in June, we didn't have a traditional reception so we decided to have a party later with all our friends and family.  It was important to us that we have a traditional wedding cake for our party.

I sat down with Camille in September to discuss making this cake for our post-wedding party.  No matter what curve I threw at her, she said it was possible. 

Purple accents on the cake?  No problem. 

Part chocolate, part white?  No problem.  

When you're vegan, you expect to encounter problems when asking for special orders but Camille felt perfectly capable of providing us with exactly what we wanted.  

We had our party on November 1st (World Vegan Day) and once again, she came through!  We had almost 100 people there and went home with only couple of slices left over (which Willow the Wonder Dog found and consumed).  Everyone raved about it!  It really was fabulous!

Our vegan wedding cake!
I highly recommend Baked! By Camille and will continue to call on her whenever we need a special dessert.  Check out her new place at 1405 Watson Blvd. in Endwell and tell her I sent you!

Mirthful Monday!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Three-Bean Salad

This is my all-time favorite recipe for three-bean salad!  My sister Joann gave me the recipe years ago and I've made it for many potlucks over the years.  It's a great way to use up the abundant green bean harvest this time of year!

Three-Bean Salad

1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzos, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 cup fresh green beans

1 tsp. minced garlic or to taste
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 Cup olive oil

Steam the green beans for 5 minutes and combine with beans.

Combine the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil and pour over beans.  

Serve chilled.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Restaurant Review - Strong Hearts Cafe, Syracuse, NY

Although I live only an hour away from Syracuse, I just finally got up to Strong Hearts Cafe.  Situated on a one-way street in the heart of Syracuse, the cafe is easily found and has ample parking.

The cafe is not only 100% vegan but also environmentally conscious and community focused.  They use local produce and compost all their food waste as well as their compostable food packaging.  Best of all, the food is delicious!

I treated myself to a vegan reuben and was not disappointed.  It was grilled to perfection and topped generously with sauerkraut and Russian dressing.  I was given a choice of potato chips or greens on the side (I chose chips because I'm not that righteous).

I couldn't wait to take the picture before
biting into this scrumptious sandwich!

If you're a fan of milkshakes, Strong Hearts can deliver!  I counted 44 different kinds of shakes on their menu all named after famous movers and shakers.  Try the Medgar Evers shake made with peanut butter and strawberries or the Farm Sanctuary shake made with caramel cookie dough.  All vegan!

The soups and muffins served change daily and they're even open for breakfast!  Check them out and let me know what you think!  I know I'll be back for more!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Avgolemono Soup from Vegan Mos

There's not much to say in this blog post except, "Yum!".  The star of tonight's dinner was Avgolemono Soup from Vegan Mos.  Avgolemono may be a mouthful to say but I guarantee this vegan version of a Greek egg-lemon soup will be a delicious mouthful!

It was super easy to make too!  I made it using staples I always have on hand.  While you're checking out the recipe, check out the rest of the Vegan Mos blog.  You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A New Name - A New Day

After almost a year of being known as The Born Again Vegan blog, I have changed the name. 

Welcome to A New Day Vegan!  Sure, it's a corny play on words with my new last name but it's also a sign of more good things to come.  

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vegan Bargains

I will often get asked if it's expensive to become vegan.  Well, usually the "question" is posed more like this:

"But vegan food is so expensive!"

Not true.  Let me show you.


If you restrict all your shopping to a specialty health food store you most certainly will spend more.  However, on a couple of recent shopping trips, I found bargains galore on some of the more common items that should be staples in every vegan kitchen.  I did the work, now you get to benefit from my research in frugality.

My youngest, Miss M. and I ventured into a traditional Asian market last week and I was thrilled to find shelf-stable tofu for only $1.49!  I love this kind of tofu as we can store it in the pantry and it doesn't take up space in our tiny fridge.  This usually sells for $1.99-$2.25 in most stores.

Check out the bulk foods section of your grocery store or food co-op.  Often, you can find items such as nutritional yeast or chia seeds much cheaper than if they were pre-packaged.

We have an Aldi's about a mile from our home but I usually only shop there when I need canned goods.  If you've never shopped at Aldi's, you're in for a treat.  You deposit a quarter in the cart which is refunded to you when the cart is returned.  Bring your own bag or you'll end up paying for one and watch the cashier line carefully to see what the protocol is for paying for your items.

If I haven't scared you off and you decide to make the trip into this unusual store, you will find many bargain items for the taking.  Dried beans of any type imaginable, organic bananas for 59 cents a pound, avocados for 89 cents each and my most recent discovery, organic agave nectar for only $2.49!  For those of you not familiar with agave nectar, it's frequently used as a vegan alternative to honey.  At Wegmans, this sells for $4.99.  You don't have to be a math genius to figure out that's half the cost!  

Right next door to our Aldi's is a store called Big Lots.  Big Lots is always a fun place to shop because the inventory changes so you never know what you'll find.  On this trip I was happy to find the biggest selection of Bob's Red Mill products I'd ever seen!  Of course, it may not be there the next time I go.

I picked up some pearl couscous at a great price as well as this for only $2.00:

Wegmans price: $3.49
For those of you blessed with a Trader Joe's nearby, you will find many items for your vegan pantry at a much lower price than most grocery stores.  I have yet to find raw cashews (a must if making "cheese" sauces) that cost less than at Trader Joe's.  As with any kind of shopping, however it pays to know the average cost of your staples.


One trap a lot of new vegans fall into (myself included) is trying to find substitutes for the food they're used to.  For instance, processed meat substitutes like veggie burgers, soy bacon or sausages and vegan cheeses can be pricey.  I've learned to only treat myself to those every now and then and to focus more on whole foods that are much more beneficial to your health as well as your wallet.

Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber and average around $1.39 a pound!  That's a whole lot of nutrition for pennies!  In my blog post from July 12th, you'll find a favorite recipe for Masoor Dal where approximately 75 cents worth of lentils will give you four meals.

One of my favorite "fast food" meals is greens and beans.  You can use swiss chard, endive, escarole or any of the other kinds of greens you find in your produce section.  Saute them in some olive oil and minced garlic and add a can of black-eyed peas (79 cents) at the end.  This will make two servings of a filling and nutritious meal.

We use a lot of vegetable broth and usually buy it at the store but making your own vegetable broth is super easy!  Save your vegetable scraps and throw them in the freezer.  When you have enough for stock, cook them in salted and/or seasoned water and voila!  Instant vegetable stock for next to nothing.  This website is great for more detailed instructions.

If you're looking for inexpensive vegan cookbooks to get your creative juices flowing, check out BookBub.  The offers are only for a limited time but I found the following titles for FREE:

On Amazon
Vegan Sandwiches by Ruby Cooper

Now $3.99

These were all free when I got them but are now $1.99-$3.99 so sign up for BookBub emails so you don't miss the next round of free vegan cookbooks!

I'd love to hear about your experience finding great prices on vegan eats.  Shoot me a message in the comments section!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Days & CPG - Falafel Burgers

I love falafels!  They're one of the few things I can eat at various summer festivals but I always have to tell them to hold the tzatziki sauce since it's made with yogurt.

The Falafel Burgers in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table came together easily and I liked that the burgers were baked instead of fried.  We ate them without the bun and with this amazing tzatziki sauce from Vegan Mos (I love those guys!) instead of the sauce in Colleen's recipe.  I added some fresh dill since we have an overabundance of it from our CSA box and that really added to the deliciousness of it.  

Psst...I'll let you in on a little secret.  Dr. D. doesn't like falafels so I told him they were chickpea burgers.  He enjoyed them but said they were a little dry while piling on more of that yummy sauce.  I thought they were very good but agreed that they were a bit on the dry side.  We'll definitely make them again though!

  • Ease of preparation - A 
  • Availability of ingredients - A 
  • Taste - B (due to the dryness)
  • Appearance - A

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Days & CPG - Basil Pesto

As many people do at this time of the year, we have a bumper crop of basil in The New Day Garden.  I took my shears to it yesterday and gave it a good trimming and in return it gave us a meal!  Sitting on our sunny deck pulling leaves off of fragrant stalks of homegrown basil is my favorite way of "making dinner". 

Most pestos use some sort of cheese usually Romano or Parmesan so it's difficult to enjoy this dish in a restaurant.  CPG's recipe in The Vegan Table uses four simple ingredients: olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and lots and lots of basil!  I've found pine nuts to be ridiculously expensive so was thrilled to find a great big bag at Sam's Club this weekend for a decent price.

For dinner, I prepared this mung bean fettuccine.  This was perfect for a couple of reasons, 1) it's not a starchy pasta and 2) the noodles are wide enough to be the perfect vehicle for getting that delicious pesto into your face!  Dr. D. found it at Down to Earth but I'm sure your own health food store or Wegmans will carry it.

And here it is!  Basil Pesto from The Vegan Table!

  • Ease of preparation - A (what could be easier than putting four ingredients in a food processor and pressing Start!)
  • Availability of ingredients - A 
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A

The Days & CPG - "Honey" Mustard Salad Dressing

I know, I know.  Salad big deal.  However, I never make my own and usually resort to olive oil and vinegar poured on top of my salads.  It can get old after a while.

While perusing The Vegan Table for this project, I came across this recipe for "Honey" Mustard Salad Dressing and thought I'd give it a try.  We loved it!  Agave nectar takes the place of the honey to make it vegan and the rest of the ingredients are those found in most cupboards or fridges.  By the way, if you need any Dijon mustard, I have three jars.

Here it is!

"Honey" Mustard Salad Dressing
*Wheat-free, soy-free

Makes: 5 (2-tbsp per) servings

3 to 5 tbsp agave nectar (I used 5 but you could definitely get away with 3 or 4)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (I wasn't sure what the difference was between rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar so I used the one I had (rice vinegar) and it came out great)
1 tbsp olive oil (optional) (I used the full tablespoon)

Directions: Blend/whisk until smooth and enjoy with salad mixings of your choice!

We had it over Boston curly lettuce and I added sliced almonds and dried cranberries.

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A 
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Days & CPG - Garlic Glazed Green Beans

Another recipe from The Vegan Table but this one is one that will appeal to vegans as well as omnivores.

We had this delicious dish as a side for barbecued tofu and rice.  The glaze on the beans made a nice topping for the rice as well and both Dr. D. and I really enjoyed it.

My tips for this recipe are to use only 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and to make sure you use a full pound of green beans.  We ended up with a lot of leftover oily glaze.

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A (I actually had marjoram leaves in my cupboard!  I'll bet you have them too!)
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - C (not a pretty presentation)

Find the recipe here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Days & CPG - Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

When Dr. D. is in the kitchen, we eat healthy, whole foods mainly from recipes in The China Study Cookbook.  It's a great cookbook and the food is always delicious but sometimes you just want old fashioned comfort food!  

Enter Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese from The Vegan Table.  Creamy, decadent and delicious!  If you really want to splurge, crumble potato chips on top before you put it in the oven.  I tried to compensate for that sin by adding 16 ounces of steamed broccoli to the mixture.

Some things to know; 1) I baked mine with good results but I'm sure it would be just as delicious using the stove-top method, 2) this will fill up a large food processor so be prepared, and 3) I gave this an A for availability of ingredients but it doesn't mean you'll have everything on hand.  We always have nutritional yeast, miso paste and raw cashews in our kitchen but understand that many non-vegans may not.  A trip to your local Wegmans or health food store is all that's needed to stock your kitchen.  If you're blessed with a Trader Joe's in your area, the cost for raw cashews there is unbeatable.  We stock up whenever we make our pilgrimage to TJ's.

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A 
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A

Find the recipe here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Days & CPG - Tofu Scramble

I didn't cook tofu very often until the past six months or so.  It seemed so difficult to handle and I'd had bad tofu before.  Not something you want to taste.

I bit the bullet and bought myself a Tofu XPress and never looked back.  The key to good tofu in a recipe is to press most of the moisture out of it.  It's easily done without a fancy schmancy press as well.  It's also important to get the right texture by using Extra Firm tofu easily found in your local grocery store.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's Tofu Scramble from The Vegan Table is our favorite.  It's best when you have all the ingredients (i.e. spinach, mushrooms, etc.) but we've had it without.  The variations are endless.

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A

Here's the recipe!  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Days & CPG - Basic Tomato Sauce

I don't usually use a recipe for my spaghetti sauce but when I saw one in The Vegan Table I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was disappointed.

It's very basic and maybe that was the problem; very few spices and nothing to counteract the extreme acidity of the tomatoes.  I added baking soda, brown sugar, red wine, more garlic, more garlic and more garlic and it still was only fair.  I'm sorry, Colleen but this isn't one I'll be making again.

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A
  • Taste - D
  • Appearance - B

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Days and CPG - Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)

I'm a freak for lentils.  I can't bother with lentil soup but man, give me lentils with caramelized onions or a Tarka Dal at Moghul Indian Restaurant and I'm one happy chick.

In The Vegan Table, Colleen shares her recipe for Masoor Dal (Red Lentils).  This is one of the easiest recipes I've made and the results are delicious!  I serve it over jasmine rice made in my rice cooker.  The lentils start out a coral color but are golden after they're cooked.  I like to add an extra clove of garlic to this recipe.

I made this recipe for a board meeting recently and everyone loved it.  Give it a try!

  • Ease of preparation - A
  • Availability of ingredients - A
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A (as pretty as lentils can manage to be)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Vegan eating in Punta Gorda, Belize

We recently spent a week in Punta Gorda, Belize. For two vegans, this meant doing a little research on what our options were for meals and to be prepared to be flexible in this Central American country. 

Before leaving, I contacted the owner of the place where we'd be staying. Hickatee Cottages is a remote jungle retreat but the owners, British ex-pats Kate and Ian Morton were very accommodating. Kate asked lots of questions beforehand such as: do you eat honey? do you eat Marmite? (nutritional yeast here in the U.S.) do you like peanut butter? (truly vegan butter substitute in Belize is unheard of) so I knew from the beginning we were in good hands. 

Upon our arrival, Kate had prepared chips and salsa along with some champagne and had it waiting in our room. This was a very welcome treat after a long, hot journey.  Dinner would be provided every evening except Saturday and Wednesday and rides into town for dinner were arranged on those nights. 

Since we arrived on Saturday, Ian took us into Punta Gorda (PG to the locals) to Mr. Gomier's restaurant. I had researched this unique eatery prior to arriving and was really excited to finally experience this local eatery. 

Mr. Gomier is Rastafarian and makes his own tofu. He also offers tofu making classes from his unassuming restaurant on the Caribbean Sea. When we arrived, Ian took us inside and shouted, "Gomier!  Are you cooking tonight?" 

The inside of the restaurant looked like a busy Caribbean kitchen, unlike any restaurant we'd ever seen. A round woman in a t-shirt and skirt who acted as both waitress and cook wordlessly led us to the deck where she covered a wooden table with a colorful cloth and took our drink orders. Reggae versions of 80's music played on the sound system. We were the only customers.

You may be cool but you'll never be
Belizean Rastafarian tofu-making cool.

We'd already been introduced to Belize's own Belikin beer earlier in the day so we ordered two stouts to go with our barbecued tofu platter. This platter included a large portion of rice and a small tossed salad. It was just as delicious as I'd expected and we enjoyed every bite. We returned to visit Mr. Gomier on Wednesday night as well bringing with us Ray McDonald, the Garifuna drummer we had met at Hickatee earlier that evening.  What a pleasure to spent time with Ray and to meet the ultra cool Mr. Gomier himself!

Breakfasts at Hickatee were a tropical paradise of fruits and homemade breads. Dragon fruit, papaya, banana, and the best mango I've ever tasted were offered each morning.  We were introduced to soursop juice, a local treat we both loved.  Kate spoiled us with fantastic vegan chocolate muffins!  Peanut butter and jam were always available and we made sandwiches for our lunches. 

Dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and banana.

What?!  Ian's rum punch isn't mentioned?

Dinner was a treat!  Homemade bread or rolls, delicious soup and a hearty entree awaited us on the nights Kate was in the kitchen.  On our last night, we had tofu with cohune cabbage.  I enjoy cabbage but it didn't sound like a good combination until it was explained to me that cohune cabbage was otherwise known as hearts of palm.  It was fantastic and Kate kindly sent the recipe after we returned home.

As I mentioned above, Kate cooks every night but Saturday and Wednesday so we were prepared to have dinner at Hickatee on Thursday night until Ian arrived at our cottage with the news that he'd be taking us into town for dinner that night.

"The flood flies have hatched.  Kate can't cook."

Flood flies are winged termites and they make a grand entrance for about four hours and then disappear.  They swarm and head for the nearest light source before losing their wings and dying.  A sad short life.  We turned out the lights in our cottage and piled into Ian's truck to go to Asha's Culture Kitchen in Punta Gorda.

Unassuming is an understatement for this eatery on the Caribbean Sea.  A big blackboard displays the menu and we easily found something vegan for dinner; curry veg with coconut rice on the side. A refreshing glass of watermelon juice tasted amazing in the Belizean heat.  The meal was delicious but I was feeling under the weather and didn't eat very much.  Asha generously offered to give us free dessert but we politely declined as everything contained animal products.

On our second to last day in Belize, we headed to Belcampo Lodge for lunch and massages.  A beautiful resort, they pride themselves on being a farm to table restaurant.  Unfortunately, we got a glimpse of the unsuspecting farm animals soon to be taking that trip to the table.

We were there for the organic produce and promise of great food.  We explained to our waiter that we're vegan and he was very helpful in guiding us through the ordering process.  We decided on tortilla chips as an appetizer which came with a dip on the side.  When we asked what it was, we were told it was hummus.

It didn't look like any hummus we'd had before but we tried it and I immediately tasted something non-vegan.

"Is there mayo in the hummus?" I asked.

"No, no mayo.  Yogurt."  Immediately, we witnessed the poor waiter's light bulb moment when he realized he had just given two vegans a dairy product.  He apologized profusely and whisked the plate away to replace the "hummus" with salsa. 

Our meal at Belcampo was less than memorable; two vegetable wraps that didn't impress either of us.  But the view was stellar and watching the hummingbirds flutter around our table while we ate made it all worthwhile.

We both feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to visit this wonderful country with its beautiful, gracious people and delicious food.  As always when traveling, it's challenging to adhere to a vegan diet but we never went hungry and so many were eager to accommodate us.  I told Kate before we left that she may have a new niche market for vegans with her phenomenal cooking skills.  I'm not sure if she's happy about that or not.

The Days & CPG - Beet Bundt Cake

Dr. D. loves beets.  I hate them.  I know how good they are for you nutritionally, I just can't get past the fact that they taste like dirt. When I saw Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's book The Vegan Table had a recipe for Beet Bundt Cake, I knew I'd have to make it for my husband.  

It was delicious!  I served it plain but it would be wonderful with a glaze or berries as shown in the picture.  Next time I may get a little crazy and throw some chocolate chips in the batter!

This cake received six thumbs up from the contractors working on our gazebo!  Beefcakes love beet cake!


  • Ease of preparation - B (beets are messy!)
  • Availability of ingredients - A
  • Taste - A
  • Appearance - A

Epicurious featured the recipe here.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Days & CPG

In the spirit of the movie Julie & Julia, Dr. D. and I have decided to cook our way through one of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's cookbooks.  For those of you not familiar with the movie, the story is about a woman named Julie, played by Amy Adams who spends a year cooking her way through 524 of Julia Childs' (played by Meryl Streep) recipes.  It's one of my favorite movies and Dr. D. and I decided to put a vegan spin on it.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has influenced both of us immensely not only by her great recipes but by her compassionate approach to spreading the word about veganism.  Our favorite cookbook by CPG is The Vegan Table so that's the one we chose.

The recipes will not be shared here but reviews and pictures will be.  We will grade each one based on several factors:

  • Ease of preparation
  • Availability of ingredients
  • Taste
  • Appearance

I hope you enjoy this adventure through The Vegan Table.  Please feel free to post comments!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Foodie Friday! Broccoli Alfredo Lasagna!

Deliciousness on a plate!

This recipe for Broccoli Alfredo Lasagna was created by my own brother, The Meaty Vegan.  Eric has a doubly challenging task in that he, his wife and their toddler son are not only vegan but gluten-free as well.  

Dr. D. and I had this a couple of weekends ago and it was very good! There are a couple of things I feel I need to point out.  You will need nine (9!) cloves of garlic for this recipe; five for the filling and four for the Alfredo sauce.  Do not skimp!  All that garlic makes this dish taste amazing!  Also, the recipe calls for two boxes of lasagna noodles but I found one to be sufficient.  

Eric created this recipe for a contest for Follow Your Heart vegan cheese but you can substitute any kind of vegan cheese you prefer (I love Daiya!).

This will be a dish you make for company and bring to potlucks to prove how fantastic vegan food is!  Check out the recipe on the Meaty Vegan blog here. Tell my brother I sent you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Foodie Friday! Rich Mocha Cake!

I made this cake for dessert recently and was so pleasantly surprised by how delicious and easy it was!  No need to get out the mixer for this one; just use a whisk or spoon.  It's so moist!  I even heard you can substitute the oil for an equal amount of applesauce to cut the fat content.  You will get lots of compliments on this scrumptious one-layer cake!

A slice of vegan heaven!

Mocha Cake 
(adapted from a recipe in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table)

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used vanilla flavored almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup black coffee of your choice
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or 1/3 cup applesauce) 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil an 8- or 9- inch cake pan. 

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until mixed thoroughly. It may be necessary to sift the cocoa powder to make sure it is very fine. 

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add milk, coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For the icing, I improvised using a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Isa Does It.  Bring 2/3 C. almond milk to a boil, add 2 Tbsp. real maple syrup.  Reduce to a simmer and add chocolate.  

I didn't have vegan chocolate chips on hand so I chopped up 6 oz. (2 bars) of Wegmans Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Flakes and added it to the milk mixture.  The recipe calls for 8 oz. of vegan chocolate chips but the 6 oz. I used was perfect.  I let it cool for about 15 minutes and then gently poured it on top of the cooled cake.

This cake will please vegans and non-vegans alike!  Enjoy!