Friday, September 28, 2012

Celebrity Celery: Which Famous Vegan did I Stalk this Week?


Wedding Special! Natalie Portman



Awww that crazy bitch from Black Swan got hitched. I sure hope she was only acting because in real life she seems adorable. And she's Jewish (who knew?).




The 31 year old longtime vegan married her Black Swan sweetheart Benjamin Millepied Saturday, August 4th along the Big Sur Coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

To keep it green they chose to serve a strictly vegan menu, used wildflowers grown locally and gave packets of seeds as party favors. Love this! Compared to the usual crazy Hollywood divas who have thousands of dollars worth of flowers flown in from some far away land. What a waste.

Love her. Obsessed actually. And now I love Benjamin. Congrats to the Millepieds!



Enjoy!

-Joanna


Sources: people.com, yeeeah.com, earthintransition.org and media2onsugar.com

Vegan Dinner: Shepherd's Pie


Top 'oh the mornin to ya! Well not really but I don't know any other Irish lingo. One thing I really miss at times is some old fashioned Irish pub food. I didn't know how much I really missed it until visiting McGuire's last weekend with Hubs and my besties. Craig and I ate before at our favorite vegan restaurant Sluggo's then met our friends for some Irish pub craziness. Some friends had French onion soup, some had fish and chips and some had steak. What did I have? Water and my friend's leftover asparagus...boy do I know how to party. Although we had a phenomenal dinner at Sluggo's I couldn't help but think how it was such BS there were no options for us. Then I thought of one of my favorites...Shepherd's pie. Love it. Always have and always will. So in order for me to prove my point that anything can be healthy, delicious and vegan I made a vegan version of Shepherd's pie. You're welcome.




Ingredients:

-5 large potatoes, skinned and cut
-2 8oz cans of organic tomato sauce
-1 10oz container of tofu crumbles (see picture below)
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 16oz can of organic corn
-1 16oz can of organic peas
-1/2 cup vegan butter
-1/2 cup vegan sour cream
-1/4 tbsp salt
-1/4 tbsp garlic powder
-1/4 tbsp pepper
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Fill a large pot with distilled water and bring to a boil
3. Reduce to med-high heat and add potatoes, cook 20 minutes until extremely soft (should break apart with a fork)
4. Drain large pot, then add butter and sour cream to potatoes and mash with a hand masher. Add salt if you prefer
5. Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp of organic olive oil over med-high heat
6. Add tofu crumbles, reduce heat to medium and cook 4 minutes
7. Add tomato sauce then cook 5 minutes
8. In a glass baking dish layer peas, corn, sauce with tofu, then top with potatoes
9. Cover with foil and cook 20 minutes
10. Remove top, sprinkle yeast and cook an additional 10 minutes

Enjoy!

-Joanna

Monday, September 17, 2012

Italian with a Twist Cooking Class


Well it happened...it's been many months of hard work and I finally had the chance to teach my first cooking class after joining forces with Kaleidoscope Associates and Distinctive Kitchens, located in Downtown Pensacola, FL.



It was titled a "Lunch & Learn" and took place in front of a sold out class of 30 people. I couldn't believe it...people were eager to eat the food that I had made and wanted to know how I made it. What a great feeling! If any of you are reading this post...Thank you SO much for coming. I don't think you'll ever know how much that day truly meant to me. This may seem like just a little blog and the class was something small but this is only the beginning! It's corny, but my mom always told me since I was very little that I could do anything I ever wanted. Who knew? She was right! This little blog has turned into something so much more. I've begun to build a career and live a dream I never knew I had.

...well that paragraph got pretty deap. Back to the class details...

The deal was that guests paid $15.00 which included an appetizer, entree and dessert. The recipes were also given to each guest to keep so they could cook the dishes later at home.



First up was a simple salad which included these ingredients:

-balsamic vinegar

-olive oil

-garlic

-sliced tomatoes

-crushed cashews (I forgot to bring my almonds! ugh...but the cashews were still delicious)

-carrots

-spinach

-arugula

Piece of cake! Below are some pictures of the ingredients I used.




 

 


Next up was my own Grilled Eggplant Lasagna (see my previous post for more pictures)

Ingredients:

-1 container of Egg-less Lasagna

-6 bella mushrooms, chopped

-1 package of organic super firm tofu (Nasoya brand)

-1 26. oz jar of Marinara Organic Pasta Sauce

-5 handfuls of spinach

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1 eggplant, skinned and chopped

-1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

-4 tbsp minced garlic

-2/3 cup water

-4 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 cup of Nutritional Yeast

-1 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance)

-Salt and pepper as needed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat

3. Add 2 tbsp garlic and cook 1 minute

4. Add chopped mushrooms and spinach, cook until spinach becomes wilted (about 4 minutes)

5. Remove skillet from heat and set aside

6. Cook lasagna as instructed on the box and set aside for later

7. In a blender, add 2 tbsp garlic, tofu, yeast, water, basil and the cooked mushrooms and spinach

8. Blend until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste

9. Using the same skillet, add 2 tbsp of olive then cook zucchini and eggplant for 3-4 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste

10. Combine tofu spinach mixture, tomato sauce, zucchini and eggplant and mix lightly with a spoon

11. Line lasagna pan with non-stick aluminum foil

12. Layer the lasagna by alternating between noodles and the sauce mixture, starting with the sacue until all sauce is completely gone

13. Cover with tin foil, cook 25 minutes

14. Remove foil, sprinkle 1/3 cup of additional nutritional yeast and cook another 10 minutes

Done!






Last but not least was the dessert which I have to give credit to the Hungry Hungry Hippie. Her blog is a great one to follow and her cheesecake post is one to check out!

(I did make a few changes so here is my recipe below)

Ingredients:

-1 container of "Wholly Wholesome" Graham Cracker Pie Crust

-1 cup of water soaked cashews

-4 oz Extra Firm Tofu

-4 oz of Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese

-4 oz of Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream

-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-2/3 cup agave nectar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

3. Add mixture gently to pie crust

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then an additional 15 minutes at 250 degrees




Be sure to follow my Facebook Page for upcoming cooking classes. There's going to be plenty more in the future!

Enjoy!

-Joanna

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vegan Appetizer: Spinach and Artichoke Dip


Football season is here! It all began Thursday...Hubs and I sat and watched the Giants/Cowboys game. I've been a NY fan since the womb so the game was tough to watch at times. But still I'm excited that the season has started!

I've mentioned before Nutritional Yeast has become a staple ingredient to many of my comfort food recipes. Read my previous post to learn more about the healthy benefits.

Here is another recipe to add to the list. Can you believe there's NO dairy in this? And there's actually protein? Serve this with some Blue Corn Tortilla Chips and you're set for the weekend game. Once again Nutritional Yeast scores a big Touchdown.




Ingredients:

-One 15 oz. can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts (chopped)

-10 oz. chopped spinach (about 1/2 cup)

-One 8 oz. container of Tofutti Cream Cheese

-1 cup nutritional yeast (1/2 in recipe, 1/2 for sprinkling on top)

-2 tsp red pepper flakes

-2 tsp garlic powder

-salt, as needed

-1/2 cup of Tofutti Sour Cream




Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Mix all ingredients together in small baking dish

3. Cover with tin foil, cook 15 minutes until bubbling

4. Remove tin foil, sprinkle 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast on top and bake an additional 10 minutes




Enjoy!

-Joanna