Banana Pudding with a Twist

Banana Pudding

I had a hankerin’ over the weekend for banana pudding and was excited to find a recipe in “Vegan Pie In The Sky.” I had most of the ingredients on hand already (a well-stocked pantry always helps). The problem? I could not find vegan vanilla wafer cookies at the supermarket up the street, and I didn’t want to have to drive across town to find some. But just as I was about to give up on my craving, my husband picked up a bag of ginger snaps that happened to be vegan. “What about these?” he said. I wasn’t sure how well the ginger would go with the bananas, but I thought, “Sure, why not?”

After all was said and done (and by “done,” I mean we finished off the entire 9 x 13 pan in less than two days), I have to say that ginger snaps may be my new, go-to banana pudding cookie. I was worried the cookies would be too hard for the dessert, but they soften just enough in the pudding and the crumbled cookies on top added just the right amount of crunch for texture. As for the rest of the recipe, it was extremely easy to put together and sets up fairly quickly (I really didn’t want to have to wait overnight to indulge my sweet tooth).

And, of course, while walking back from the grocery store, my husband and I couldn’t help but reference this sketch from “The State” (I think I’m showing my age here):

Vegan Round-up: Grilled Cheese, Dinner Rules and Lots of Cauliflower

Caffe Latte

I hope you all have had a great week! Below are a few links to vegan-related items that may interest you. I’m off to yoga training this weekend. Have a lovely one yourself!

Macaroni and Cheese with Chickpeas and Spinach? Um, yes, please. I want to veganize this.

Who says vegans can’t eat grilled cheese? Here are four different variations.

100 Rules of Dinner

A great roundup of vegan kitchen staples.

There’s nothing like a well-made veggie burger, and this Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger looks ridiculously good.

Cauliflower is this year’s Brussels sprout. I’m totally calling it.

Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu

Greek Wrap

I always find a ton of recipe ideas while perusing Flipboard, and often email them to myself only to forget about ever sending them. However, this time around, I actually remembered to come back to this particular recipe.

These Greek Wraps with Lemon-Kissed Tofu were actually featured in a contest for Vegetarian Times and So Delicious Dairy Free. I love, love the technique used for pressing lemon zest into the block of tofu and then searing both sides of the tofu block. It’s such a great idea and I plan to use it for other tofu dishes.

I have to admit, though, that I didn’t care for the So Delicious Plain Greek Cultured Coconut Milk. I love coconut milk yogurt, but I found this too sweet for being a plain yogurt. I actually used some salad dressing I had on hand to jazz it up. (Next time, I’ll use a different plain yogurt and turn it into a tzatziki sauce with dill and cucumber.) The final result was pretty tasty and filling.

Hope you all are well!

Vegan Food Happenings: Barley Bliss Casserole and Avocado Toast

Barley Bliss Casserole

Barley Bliss Casserole

We’re having to rein in our food budget and have been searching for healthy and budget-friendly recipes. We definitely found it in this Barley Bliss Casserole from Chloe’s Kitchen. (You can find the recipe here.) I had never cooked with barley before, but have had it in soups and stews. The casserole does take a while to cook, but it comes together very quickly. Simply cook the onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Add the seasonings, and then combine everything into your baking dish and cook. That’s it. I served mine with a simple salad of mixed greens on the side.

Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

I love, love avocado and will eat it on anything (or by itself). I’ve seen various avocado toast recipes around the Web, including some that use a dash of hot sauce. But I love the idea of sprinkling turmeric on it since it has lots of healing benefits. I just toast two slices of sprouted wheat bread, spread half an avocado on both slices, and then sprinkle with a little sea salt, cracked pepper and turmeric. That’s it. It makes for a light lunch (add some fruit or fresh veggies) or a great afternoon snack before heading to yoga or the gym.

I hope you all are well!

Lunch: Tomato Soup and Chickpea of the Sea Salad

Tomato Soup and Chickpea Salad

Neither the soup nor the salad you see here are new recipes; I’ve blogged about them before. But this is kind of where we are right now with our food: sticking to tried-and-true favorites for the sake of saving both time and money. We’re trying our best to get our food budget down as much as possible so that we can reach specific goals we’ve planned for this year. We’ve stumbled a few times, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely. And hey, I got to try out my new (old) soup and sandwich set. I’m just amazed at how much smaller the portions were 50+ years ago. I have coffee mugs larger than the soup bowl.

I hope 2013 is going well for you so far!

My Favorite Winter Soup: French Lentil with Tarragon and Thyme (and a Side of Cornbread)

French Lentil Soup

Of all the recipes I’ve made from “Veganomicon” (and there are still a ton that I haven’t made), I’ve probably made this French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme the most. (You can find the recipe here.) The soup comes together really quickly; just chop the onion and carrots and throw it all into a pot to simmer. I like to serve mine with crumbled cornbread on top, making it a hearty and filling meal for a cold winter day.

Enjoy!

Vegan Round-up: Burritos, Meal Planning and Smoked Buns

Caffe LatteI haven’t exactly been living up to my New Year’s resolution of blogging more, have I? Excuses, I have them. But you don’t want to hear those. I hope the New Year is treating you well. Here are a few things I found on the Web to send you off into the weekend. I hope all is well!

I’m making these delicious-looking burritos for our lunches next week.

Where did Vegan Yum Yum go?

I’m curious about Luminous Vegans’ experience with Well Vegan, a vegan meal-planning site. (I still want to make this site more about meal-planning.)

The New York Times has some great recipes if your New Year’s resolution was to go vegan.

Smoked Tofu Buns? Um, yes, please.

Here’s another new vegan cookbook I’d like to add to my collection. Too many to choose from nowadays!

Have you heard? David Bowie is putting out a new album! Here’s the first single (hopefully it won’t get taken down):

Have a great weekend!

New Year’s Resolutions, Vegan-Style

New Year's Resolutions

I can’t believe 2012 is almost over. Time truly does go by so quickly. I always look to the New Year with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I realize that January 1st is just another day on a calendar, but I like the feeling of starting fresh with a new focus. The worrier in me, however, is nervous of what the new year might bring — a mindset that I’m hoping to channel into something positive next year.

I know a lot of people scoff at the idea of making New Year’s resolutions, but I actually enjoy making them. I like reflecting on the past year and what I would like to see happen in the next. And as a compulsive list maker, jotting down my goals helps me focus on the things I find important; otherwise, the thoughts just swim around in my head and never come to fruition.

2013 is going to be a big year for us. We’re taking a dream trip to London in February (!), I’m hoping to become a certified yoga instructor, and all the while saving up to buy a house by the end of summer/early fall. It’s all very good things, but it’s going to require a lot of discipline, especially with our budget.

This being a food blog, I thought I’d share my food-related goals for 2013. I may not fulfill all of them, but that’s ok. Sharing them with the public is certainly motivation for following through with each one.

So, in no particular order, below are my 2013 food-related goals:

Eat less refined foods, such as white flour, white rice and pasta. I want to switch out white flour in our baked goods with more wholesome replacements.

Keep fake meat products to a minimum. I look at fake or faux meat products as junk food. We are pretty good about not eating them on a regular basis, but I’d still like to lessen our intake even more and truly focus on 100-percent, plant-based meals.

Stick to a food budget. As I mentioned above, the coming year is going to be an expensive one, which means we have to be stricter with our food budget. While we’re really good about always going to the grocery with a list, we’re not very good about establishing a set amount before we make the list. We can’t be at the mercy of our grocery list. So, expect a lot of food-budget-related posts next year.

Blog more. I know. I say this all the time, but while I have my good moments, I’m bad about staying regular with my posts.

Take better food pictures. My little 10-year-old point-and-shoot camera isn’t cutting it anymore. I’d like to upgrade to an SLR camera, but it may have to wait until we find room in the budget.

I hope that 2012 was a good one for you and that 2013 is even better!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you had a nice, relaxing day yesterday. I think this Christmas might go down as one of the laziest for us. We went out with my family on Christmas Eve for bowling and dinner, followed by gifts. That left Christmas day for just the two of us. My husband and I typically do a movie and Chinese food out, but this year we stayed home and watched “Indiana Jones” movies (my gift to him) all day in our pajamas and ordered Chinese takeout. It was fabulous.

This year, we decided to keep gifts to a minimum because we’re taking a big trip in February and need to keep a strict budget, but my husband still came up with a great gift for me. I’ve had my eye on this vintage soup and sandwich dish set for about a year now. I was so excited to see it when I ripped open the wrapping paper. I can’t wait to serve up a warm cup of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on it.

Vintage Soup and Sandwich Dish Set

I hope you all are well. I’m very fortunate to be off the next few days, so I plan on cooking up some new recipes. I’ll post soon.

Please Stand By and a Little Holiday Music While You’re Waiting

Hey there! I apologize for the lack of posts. The holidays are keeping me busy and I haven’t had a lot of time for cooking and blogging about it. However, I am off all next week and one of my goals is to try a few new recipes. I will definitely post on them as soon as I can. I hope you all are well and are having a wonderful holiday season. Here’s a little Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass to put you in the holiday mood: